Thursday, July 14, 2005

Two great articles...

Via AmericaBlog, a Salon article on the facts regarding the Plame/Wilson situation. I learned quite a bit from this article. Some highlights,
On July 30, the CIA referred a "crime report" to the Justice Department. "If she was not undercover, we would not have a reason to file a criminal referral," a CIA official said. On Dec. 30, the Justice Department appointed Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for northern Illinois, as the special prosecutor.
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Wilson's article provided the first evidence that the reasons given for the war were stoked by false information. But the attack on Wilson by focusing on his wife is superficially perplexing. Even if the allegation were true that she "authorized" his mission, as Rove told Cooper, it would have no bearing whatsoever on the Niger forgeries, or any indictment. But Rove's is a psychological operation intended to foster the perception that the messenger is somehow untrustworthy and that therefore his message is too. The aim is to distract and discredit. By creating an original taint on Wilson's motives, an elaborate negative image has been constructed.
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In early 2002, Valerie Plame was an officer in the Directorate of Operations of the CIA task force on counter-proliferation, dealing with weapons of mass destruction, including Saddam's WMD programs. At that time, as she had been for almost two decades, she was an undercover operative. After training at "The Farm," the CIA's school for clandestine agents, she became what the agency considers among its most valuable and dangerous operatives -- a NOC, or someone who works under non-official cover. NOCs travel without diplomatic passports, so if they are captured as spies they have no immunity and can potentially be executed. As a NOC, Plame helped set up a front company, Brewster-Jennings, whose cover has now been blown and whose agents and contacts may be in danger still.
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When the Italian report on Niger uranium surfaced, Vice President Cheney's office contacted the CIA's counter-proliferation office to look into it. Such a request is called a "tasker." It was hardly the first query the task force had received from the White House, and such requests were not made through the CIA director's office, but directly. Plame's colleagues asked her if she would invite her husband out to CIA headquarters at Langley, Va., for a meeting with them, to assess the question.

It was unsurprising that the CIA would seek out Wilson. He had already performed one secret mission to Niger for the agency, in 1999, and was trusted. Wilson had also had a distinguished and storied career as a Foreign Service officer. He served as acting ambassador in Iraq during the Gulf War and was hailed by the first President Bush as a "hero." Wilson was an important part of the team and highly regarded by Secretary of State James Baker and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. Wilson was also an Africa specialist. He had been a diplomat in Niger, ambassador to Gabon and senior director for Africa on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. (I first encountered Wilson then, and we have since become friends.) No other professional had such an ideal background for this CIA mission.
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CIA officers debriefed Wilson the night of his return at his home. His wife greeted the other operatives, but excused herself. She later read a copy of his debriefing report, but she made no changes in it. The next they spoke of Niger uranium was when they heard President Bush's mention of it in his 2003 State of the Union address.
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The CIA subsequently issued a statement, as reported by New York Newsday and CNN, that the Republican senators' conclusion about Plame's role was wholly inaccurate. But the Washington Post's Susan Schmidt reported only the Republican senators' version, writing that Wilson was "specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly," in a memo she wrote. Schmidt quoted a CIA official in the senators' account saying that Plame had "offered up" Wilson's name. Plame's memo, in fact, was written at the express directive of her superiors two days before Wilson was to come to Langley for his meeting to describe his qualifications in a standard protocol to receive "country clearance." Unfortunately, Schmidt's article did not reflect this understanding of routine CIA procedure. The CIA officer who wrote the memo that originally recommended Wilson for the mission -- who was cited anonymously by the senators as the only source who said that Plame was responsible -- was deeply upset at the twisting of his testimony, which was not public, and told Plame he had said no such thing. CIA spokesman Bill Harlow told Wilson that the Republican Senate staff never contacted him for the agency's information on the matter.

Curiously, the only document cited as the basis for Plame's role was a State Department memo that was later debunked by the CIA. The Washington Post, on Dec. 26, 2003, reported: "CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the ... document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting.
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Helpfully guiding a reporter to the truth and away from "a story that was false"? Indeed, Rove was planting two false stories, not just one. The first was that "Joe Wilson's wife" had sent him on his mission; the second was to suggest that Wilson was wrong and that there would be new information to support the original Bush falsehood. In fact, the White House admitted that Wilson was correct and that Bush's 16 words were wrong. Yet Rove attempted to insinuate doubt in the mind of the reporter to discourage him from writing a story that was true.

A great article, a very worthwhile read in full. It is nice to know more of the details...



Next, a DKos piece about a WaPo article on what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison. More disturbing details about how the American Public has been lied to.

It doesn't sound like a few bad apples anymore, does it?

Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
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A central figure in the investigation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and later helped set up U.S. operations at Abu Ghraib, was accused of failing to properly supervise Qahtani's interrogation plan and was recommended for reprimand by investigators. Miller would have been the highest-ranking officer to face discipline for detainee abuses so far, but Gen. Bantz Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern Command, declined to follow the recommendation.

Miller traveled to Iraq in September 2003 to assist in Abu Ghraib's startup, and he later sent in "Tiger Teams" of Guantanamo Bay interrogators and analysts as advisers and trainers. Within weeks of his departure from Abu Ghraib, military working dogs were being used in interrogations, and naked detainees were humiliated and abused by military police soldiers working the night shift.

Miller declined to respond to questions posed through a Defense Department liaison. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said it is not appropriate to link the interrogation of Qahtani -- an important al Qaeda operative captured shortly after the terrorist attacks -- and events at Abu Ghraib. Whitman said interrogation tactics in the Army's field manual are the same worldwide but MPs at Abu Ghraib were not authorized to apply them, regardless of how they learned about them.

So it doesn't matter who taught the techniques? Protect the top, screw the soldier.


by Robster @ 7/14/2005 09:40:00 AM PERMALink
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