blogorrhoea
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
 
WHEN SCAPEGOATS RETIRE

Erstwhile head of the nuclear, chemical and biological branch of the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), Brian Jones has looked into the future and seen a big pile of poo coming at him.

He knows that when the going gets tough, power has a brutal way of distancing itself from responsibility.

And if the 'wmd' schemozzle isn't going to be the fault of messrs Blair, Campbell, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, well, it'll have to be sheeted home to 'the intelligence community'.

And if it's going to be the fault of that noble few, Jones is determined it won't be that of the DIS.

So look out, MIs 5 and 6. And look out, John Scarlett.

As Blogorrhoea's last post shoes, Jones was a pretty forthright witness before the Hutton Inquiry. Like eleventeen million others, he's not altogether convinced Hutton quite grasped the import of that evidence. So he's unloaded all over the front page of The Independent.: "In my view, the expert intelligence analysts of the DIS were overruled in the preparation of the dossier in September 2002, resulting in a presentation that was misleading about Iraq's capabilities."

Were I Deputy Political Editor in this post-Hutton world, perhaps I'd have relied a tad more on direct quotes from audible tapes, but this is Paul Waugh's take on what Jones told him: "not a single defence intelligence expert backed Tony Blair's most contentious claims on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction ... Dr Jones makes clear that he was not alone and declares that the whole of the Defence Intelligence Staff, Britain's best qualified analysts on WMD, agreed that the claims should have been "carefully caveated" ... Dr Jones makes clear that it was John Scarlett, the chairman of the JIC, who was responsible for including the controversial claims in the executive summary of the dossier that was used to justify war. It was Mr Scarlett's strong assessment that allowed Alastair Campbell to "translate a probability into a certainty" in Mr Blair's foreword to the document, Dr Jones adds."


MEANWHILE, ACROSS THE ATLANTIC ...

This just in from Jim Lobe of the Asia Times (February 4 2004)

"Did the intelligence shape policy, or did the policy shape intelligence?" asked Melvin Goodman, a top Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Soviet expert during the Cold War who currently teaches at the National War College ... Goodman says that Kay's assertions that the administration did not pressure analysts are simply "wrong". "I've talked with analysts at CIA and DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], and they all claim there was tremendous pressure put on them." Goodman said ... The fact, according to Goodman, that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created an Office of Special Plans (OSP) outside the formal intelligence channels with the specific mandate to reassess raw intelligence in order to find alleged links between Saddam and al-Qaeda suggests that the administration was applying that pressure in unconventional ways. "When Rumsfeld couldn't get what he wanted, he created his OSP," Goodman said. "That really gives away the whole game right there."


GIVING AWAY THE WHOLE GAME

Which reminds this blogger of something he reported back in September 2002; something that persists on the CBS site to this day:

" ... barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks ... With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." – meaning Saddam Hussein – "at same time. Not only UBL" – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden ... Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld. "Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Yep, things related and not.

 
political economic and cultural observations in the register of dismal dilettantism

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