May 01, 2005

Bush Abomination’s #1 Failure: National Security

Bush Abomination’s #1 Failure: National Security

Bush administration eliminating 19-year-old international terrorism report

By Jonathan S. Landay
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.
Several U.S. officials defended the abrupt decision, saying the methodology the National Counterterrorism Center used to generate statistics for the report may have been faulty, such as the inclusion of incidents that may not have been terrorism.
Last year, the number of incidents in 2003 was undercounted, forcing a revision of the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism."
But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered "Patterns of Global Terrorism" eliminated several weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.
"Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," charged Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who first disclosed the decision to eliminate the report in The Counterterrorism Blog, an online journal.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who was among the leading critics of last year's mix-up, reacted angrily to the decision.
"This is the definitive report on the incidence of terrorism around the world. It should be unthinkable that there would be an effort to withhold it - or any of the key data - from the public. The Bush administration should stop playing politics with this critical report."
A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the publication was being eliminated, but said the allegation that it was being done for political reasons was "categorically untrue."
According to Johnson and U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the issue, statistics that the National Counterterrorism Center provided to the State Department reported 625 "significant" terrorist attacks in 2004.
That compared with 175 such incidents in 2003, the highest number in two decades.
The statistics didn't include attacks on American troops in Iraq, which President Bush as recently as Tuesday called "a central front in the war on terror."
The intelligence officials requested anonymity because the information is classified and because, they said, they feared White House retribution. Johnson declined to say how he obtained the figures.
Another U.S. official, who also requested anonymity, said analysts from the counterterrorism center were especially careful in amassing and reviewing the data because of the political turmoil created by last year's errors.
Last June, the administration was forced to issue a revised version of the report for 2003 that showed a higher number of significant terrorist attacks and more than twice the number of fatalities than had been presented in the original report two months earlier.
The snafu was embarrassing for the White House, which had used the original version to bolster President Bush's election-campaign claim that the war in Iraq had advanced the fight against terrorism.
U.S. officials blamed last year's mix-up on bureaucratic mistakes involving the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the forerunner of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Created last year on the recommendation of the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the center is the government's primary organization for analyzing and integrating all U.S. government intelligence on terrorism.
The State Department published "Patterns of Global Terrorism" under a law that requires it to submit to the House of Representatives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a country-by-country terrorism assessment by April 30 each year.
A declassified version of the report has been made public since 1986 in the form of a glossy booklet, even though there was no legal requirement to produce one.
The senior State Department official said a report on global terrorism would be sent this year to lawmakers and made available to the public in place of "Patterns of Global Terrorism," but that it wouldn't contain statistical data.
He said that decision was taken because the State Department believed that the National Counterterrorism Center "is now the authoritative government agency for the analysis of global terrorism. We believe that the NCTC should compile and publish the relevant data on that subject."
He didn't answer questions about whether the data would be made available to the public, saying, "We will be consulting (with Congress) ... on who should publish and in what form."
Another U.S. official said Rice's office was leery of the methodology the National Counterterrorism Center used to generate the data for 2004, believing that analysts anxious to avoid a repetition of last year's undercount included incidents that may not have been terrorist attacks.
But the U.S. intelligence officials said Rice's office decided to eliminate "Patterns of Global Terrorism" when the counterterrorism center declined to use alternative methodology that would have reported fewer significant attacks.
The officials said they interpreted Rice's action as an attempt to avoid releasing statistics that would contradict the administration's claims that it's winning the war against terrorism.
To read past "Patterns of Global Terrorism" reports online, go to

© 2005 KR Washington Bureau and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
Why World War IV Can't Sell
By John Brown
Tom Dispatch
Wednesday 30 March 2005
In a recent essay (Are We in World War IV?) Tom Engelhardt commented quite rightly that "World War IV" has "become a commonplace trope of the imperial right." But he didn't mention one small matter -- the rest of our country, not to speak of the outside world, hasn't bought the neocons' efforts to justify the President's militaristic adventures abroad with crude we're-in-World War IV agitprop meant to mobilize Americans in support of the administration's foreign policy follies. That's why, in his second term, George W. Bush -- first and foremost a politician concerned about maintaining domestic support -- is talking ever less about waging a global war and ever more about democratizing the world.
A Neocon Global War
The neocons have long paid lip service to the need for democracy in the Middle East, but their primary emphasis has been on transformation by war, not politics. You'll remember that, according to our right-wing world warriors, we're inextricably engaged in a planetary struggle against fanatic Muslim fundamentalists. There will, they assure us, be temporary setbacks in this total generational conflict, as was the case during World War II and the Cold War (considered World War III by neocons), but we can win in the end if we "stay the course" with patriotic fortitude. Above all, we must not be discouraged by the gory details of the real, nasty war in Iraq in which we're already engaged, despite the loss of blood and treasure involved. Like so many good Soviet citizens expecting perfect Communism in the indeterminate future, all we have to do is await the New American Century that will eventually be brought into being by the triumphs of American arms (and neocon cheerleading).
Since at least 9/11, the neocons have rambled on… and on… about "World War IV." But no matter how often they've tried to beat the phrase into our heads, it hasn't become part of the American mindset. Peace and honest work, not perpetual war and senseless conflict, still remain our modest ideals -- even with (because of?) the tragedy of the Twin Towers. True, right before the presidential election, WWIV surfaced again and again in the media, fed by neocon propaganda; and even today it appears here and there, though as often in criticism as boosterism. Pat Buchanan and Justin Raimondo have recently used the phrase to criticize neocon hysteria in their columns; and in its winter 2005 issue, the Wilson Quarterly published "World War IV," an important article by Andrew J. Bacevich, which turns the neocons' argument on its head by suggesting that it was the U.S. which started a new world war -- a disastrous struggle for control of Middle Eastern oil reserves -- during the Carter administration. For Bacevich, it appears, the neocons' cherished verbal icon should not be a call to arms, but a sad reminder of the hubris of military overreach.
Try It Long
For all the absurdity of their arguments, neocons are, in many ways, men of ideas. But they do not live on another planet. They know that "World War IV" or even the milder "Global War on Terrorism" are not the first things ordinary Americans have in their thoughts when they get up in the morning ("Does anyone still remember the war on terror?" asked that master of the zeitgeist, Frank Rich of the New York Times, early in January). This unwillingness among us mere mortals to see the world in terms of a universal death struggle, which neocon sympathizer Larry Haas, a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, believes is caused by "our faith in rationality," upsets some of the Spengler-like neocons, most noticeably their cantankerous dean, Norman Podhoretz.
In February in Commentary (a magazine he once edited), Podhoretz offered the world The War Against World War IV, a follow-up to his portentous and historically falsifying September 2004 piece, World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win. In his latest piece, stormin' Norman castigates Americans right and left -- including "isolationists of the paleoconservative Right," "Michael Moore and all the other hard leftists holed up in Hollywood, the universities, and in the intellectual community at large," and "liberal internationalists" -- for being "at war" with his Rosemary's baby "World War IV." Somewhat defensively (for a rabid warmonger), he assures us that we, the American people, will, despite the best efforts of the critics, continue to support Mr. Bush, who in turn will not fail to uphold the "Bush Doctrine," which reflects, Podhoretz leaves no doubt, his own "brilliant" World War IV ideas (as admiring fellow neo-pundit William Safire described them in a New York Times column last August).
Mr. Podhoretz is angry at those who simply cannot accept his crude Hobbesian view of humanity, so he keeps shouting at us, but less virulent neocons and their allies, realizing "WWIV" has not caught on, are thinking up new terms to con Americans into the neos' agenda of total war.
Foremost among these is "the long war," evoking -- to my mind at least -- World War I, "the Great War" as it was known, which did so much to lead to the rise of fascism in Europe. (But how many Americans actually care about WWI?) A Google search reveals that as early as May, 2002, in a Cato Policy Analysis, "Building Leverage in the Long War: Ensuring Intelligence Community Creativity in the Fight Against Terrorism," James W. Harris wrote of a "long war" in describing post-9/11 world tensions. In June of last year, John C. Wohlstetter, a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, proclaimed:
"Now George W. Bush must rally the nation in the latest fight to the finish between imperfect civilization and perfect barbarism, that of free countries versus mega-death terror from both 'WMD states' and groups like al-Qai'da. The Gipper's testamentary gift to us is what should be our goal in a long war that strategist Eliot Cohen calls World War IV."
Podhoretz himself mentioned the "long war" in his September Commentary article. "[W]e are only," he noted, "in the very early stages of what promises to be a very long war." But the real star of the long-war proponents is Centcom commander General John Abizaid, about whom pro-Iraqi invasion journalist David Ignatius wrote a fawning portrait in the Washington Post in late December. "If there is a modern Imperium Americanum," Ignatius announced, "Abizaid is its field general." Playing the role of intrepid "action" journalist at the forefront of the global battle lines in "Centcom's turbulent center of operations," Ignatius breathlessly informs his readers that
"I traveled this month with Abizaid as he visited Iraq and other areas of his command. Over several days, I heard him discuss his strategy for what he calls the 'Long War' to contain Islamic extremism … Abizaid believes that the Long War is only in its early stages. Victory will be hard to measure, he says, because the enemy won't wave a white flag and surrender one day … America's enemies in this Long War, he argues, are what he calls 'Salafist jihadists.' That's his term for the Muslim fundamentalists who use violent tactics to try to re-create what they imagine was the pure and perfect Islamic government of the era of the prophet Muhammed, who is sometimes called the 'Salaf.'"
So now we understand why we're in a Long War: to free ourselves of the salacious Salaf.
If You Think It's Not Long Enough, How about a Millennium?
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, an early proponent of WWIV, is now turned on by the Long War idea as well. In December, in remarks titled The War for Democracy he said:
"Well, let me share a few thoughts with you this morning on what I have come to call the Long War of the 21st Century. I used to call it World War IV, following my friend Eliot Cohen, who called it that in an op-ed right after 9/11 in the Wall Street Journal. Eliot's point is that the Cold War was World War III. And this war is going to have more in common with the Cold War than with either World War I or II.
"But people hear the phrase World War and they think of Normandy and Iwo Jima and short, intense periods of principally military combat. I think Eliot's point is the right one, which is that this war will have a strong ideological component and will last some time. So, in order to avoid the association with World Wars I and II, I started calling it the Long War of the 21st Century. Now, why do I think it's going to be long? First of all, it is with three totalitarian movements coming out of the Middle East."
The three totalitarian movements, Woolsey goes on to say, are "Middle East Fascists"; "the Vilayat Faqih, the Rule of the Clerics in Tehran -- Khamenei, Rafsanjani and his colleagues"; and "the Islamists of Al Qaeda's stripe, underpinned, in many ways, by the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia."
With all this war-talk from the neocons, it's always reassuring to hear the voices of those who, if our world warriors had their way, would enthusiastically give up their lives for the "long war." On December 31, reader Robert S. Stelzer wrote a letter to the Denver Post in which he said the following regarding Ignatius's paean to Abizaid:
"I interpret the article as a propaganda piece to get the American population used to the idea of a long war, and then a military draft. Maybe we need an empire to maintain our standard of living, but if we have democracy we need an informed electorate."
Despite rare dissident voices like Stelzer's, the reaction of most Americans to the Long War jingle (as to "World War IV") has essentially been that of a silent majority: nothing. Count on the neocon bastion the Weekly Standard (in January) to try to whip up those silent Americans with a ratcheted up attack-the-mortal-enemy battle cry headlined "The Millennium War" by pundit Austin Bay, a colonel, who noted that "the global war on terror is the war's dirt-stupid name. One might as well declare war on exercise as declare war on terror, for terror is only a tactic used by an enemy… In September 2001, I suggested that we call this hideous conflict the Millennium War, a nom de guerre that captures both the chronological era and the ideological dimensions of the conflict."
But Austin B's MW (apologies to the German carmaker) has not sold either, being even less repeated in media commentaries than the Long War itself -- which brings us to the Bush administration's current attitude toward the neocons' WWIV branding.
Drop That War! The Product No Longer Sells!
If there's one thing the sad history of recent years has amply demonstrated, it's that the Bush White House is profoundly uninterested in ideas (even the superficial ones promulgated by the neocons). What concerns Dubya and his entourage is not thought, but power. They pick up and drop "ideas" at the tip of a hat, abandoning them when they no longer suit their narrow interests of the moment. (The ever-changing "justifications" for the war in Iraq are a perfect illustration of this attitude). The Bushies are short-term and savvy tacticians par excellence, with essentially one long-term plan, rudimentary but focused: Republican -- as they interpret Lincoln's party -- domination of the United States for years to come. Karl Rove's hero, after all, is William McKinley, the twenty-fifth president of the United States, who, some argue, was responsible for creating GOP control of American politics for decades.
The current administration, perhaps more than any other in history, illustrates George Kennan's observation that "[o]ur actions in the field of foreign affairs are the convulsive reactions of politicians to an internal political life dominated by vocal minorities." Indeed, there is a strong case to be made that the war in Iraq was begun essentially for domestic consumption (as White House chief of staff Andrew H. Card, Jr. suggested to the New York Times in September 2002, when he famously said of Iraq war planning, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August"). While all the reasons behind this tragic, idiotic war -- which turned out far worse than the "mission-accomplished" White House ever expected -- may never be fully known, it can be said with a strong degree of assurance that it was sold to the American public, at least in part, in order to morph Bush II, not elected by popular vote and low in the polls early in his presidency, into a decisive "commander in chief" so that his party would win the upcoming congressional -- and then presidential -- elections.
The neocons -- including, in all fairness, those among them honest in their unclear convictions -- happened to be around the White House (of course, they made sure they would be) to provide justification for Bush's military actions after 9/11 with their Darwinian, dog-eat-dog, "us vs. them" view of the world. And so their "ideas" (made to sound slightly less harsh than WWIV in the phrase Global War on Terrorism) were cleared by Rove and other GOP politicos and used for a while by a domestically-driven White House to persuade American voters that the invasion of Iraq was an absolute necessity for the security of the country.
But now Americans are feeling increasingly critical of our Iraqi "catastrophic success." "The latest polls show that 53 percent of Americans feel the war was not worth fighting, 57 percent say they disapprove of Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq, and 70 percent think the number of US casualties is an unacceptable price to have paid." To the Pentagon's great concern, the military is having difficulties recruiting; national Guardsmen are angry about excessively long tours of duty in Iraq; spouses of soldiers complain about their loved ones being away from home for far too much time.
So, as their pro-war manifestos become less and less politically useful to the Bush administration, the neocons are getting a disappointing reward for their Bush-lovin'. Far from being asked to formulate policy to the extent that they doubtless would like, they have been relegated to playing essentially representational roles, reminiscent of the one performed by the simple-minded gardener named Chance played by Peter Sellers in the film Being There -- at the U.N. (John Bolton) and at the World Bank (Paul Wolfowitz), two institutions which no red-blooded Republican voters will ever care about, except as objects of hatred.
At the same time, and despite disquieting many foreigners by the selection of Bolton and Wolfowitz (widely perceived abroad as undiplomatic unilateralists) to serve in multinational organizations, the President appears to have recognized the existence of anti-American foreign public opinion, which has been intensely critical of the neocons' bellicose views and U.S. unilateral action in Iraq. The selection of spinmeister Karen Hughes, a Bush confidante who happened to be born in Paris (no, not Paris, Texas), as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department suggests that the White House staff has begun (against its gut instincts) to acknowledge what it dismissed in Bush's first term -- the usefulness of "soft power" in dealing other nations. This may only be from fear of excessively bad news coming from abroad that could lead to lower opinion polls at home and thus threaten current Republican hegemony in America, but no matter.
We Don't Demolish, We Democratize!
Few have actually been conned into the neos' war, whatever ingredient it be flavored with -- "IV," "long," or "millennium." Now the White House, far from promulgating neocon WWIV ideas, has been dropping most references to war as Bush's second term begins. Our commander in chief, still undergoing an extreme make-over as a man who considers peaceful negotiations at least an option, is being turned into an advocate of the politically oppressed in other countries and so has come up with a new explanation to sell his dysfunctional foreign "policy": global democratization, with a focus on the Middle East.
Bush did mention democratization in his first term, but today it has suddenly become the newest leitmotif for explaining his misadventures abroad. What, he now asks the American people, are we doing overseas? And he responds, we're not demolishing the world -- we're democratizing it! And thanks to OUR democratizing so far in the Middle East, including the bombing and invading of Iraq, the Arab world is like Berlin when the wall came down. (Forget about the fact that these two events took place during different centuries and in very different parts of the world base on the implementation of very different American policies)!
And don't you forget, Bush tells us, that we're on a path to reform our social security system, far more important than the war in Iraq -- though Dubya's call for personal accounts may, in appeal, prove the World War IV of domestic policy. As for democracy at home, that can wait.
So, after all the administration has done to ruin America's moral standing and image overseas -- "preemptive" military strikes that violate simple morality and the basic rules of war; searching in vain for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction; mindlessly rushing to implement "regime change" in a far-off Third-World country, an ill-planned effort that could result in the establishment of an anti-western theocracy harmful to American interests; brutally incarcerating "terrorists" with little, if any, respect for international law; arrogantly bashing "old Europe" just to show off all-American Manichean machismo; and insulting millions abroad by writing off their opinions -- Americans are now being told by Dubya and his gang what we've really been up to all this time across the oceans: We're democratizing the Middle East, and with great success thus far!
I don't believe a word of it.
Here's what the military newspaper Stars and Stripes wrote in 1919:
"Propaganda is nothing but a fancy name for publicity, and who knows the publicity game better than the Yanks? Why, the Germans make no bones about admitting that they learned the trick from us. Now the difference between a Boche and a Yank is just this -- that a Boche is some one who believes everything that's told him and a Yank is some one who disbelieves everything that's told him."
John Brown, a former Foreign Service officer who resigned in protest against the invasion of Iraq, is affiliated with Georgetown University. Brown compiles a daily Public Diplomacy Press Review (PDPR) available free by requesting it at Aside from public diplomacy, PDPR covers items such as anti-Americanism, cultural diplomacy, propaganda, foreign public opinion, and American popular culture abroad.
Published on Saturday, April 2, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times

'Curveball' Debacle Reignites CIA Feud
The former agency chief and his top deputy deny reports that they were told a key source for Iraqi intelligence was deemed unreliable.

by Bob Drogin and Greg Miller

WASHINGTON — A bitter feud erupted Friday over claims by a presidential commission that top CIA officials apparently ignored warnings in late 2002 and early 2003 that an informant code-named "Curveball" — the chief source of prewar U.S. intelligence about Iraqi germ weapons — was unreliable.
Former CIA Director George J. Tenet and his chief deputy, John E. McLaughlin, furiously denied that they had been told not to trust Curveball, an Iraqi refugee in Germany who ultimately was proved a fraud.
But the CIA's former operations chief and one of his top lieutenants insisted in interviews that debates had raged inside the CIA about Curveball's credibility, even as then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell vouched for the defector's claims in a crucial address to the United Nations Security Council on the eve of war.
"The fact is there was yelling and screaming about this guy," said James L. Pavitt, deputy director of operations and head of the clandestine service until he retired last summer.
"My people were saying: 'We think he's a stinker,' " Pavitt said. But CIA bioweapons analysts, he said, "were saying: 'We still think he's worthwhile.' " Pavitt said he didn't convey his own doubts to Tenet because he didn't know until after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that Curveball was "of such import" in prewar CIA assessments provided to the president, Congress and the public.
"Later, I remember the guffaws by myself and others when we said, 'How could they have put this much emphasis on this guy? … He wasn't worth [anything] in our minds," Pavitt said.
Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA European Division, said he and other senior officials in his office — the unit that oversees spying in Europe — had issued repeated warnings about Curveball's accounts.
"Everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening," said Drumheller, who retired in November after 25 years at the CIA. He said he never met personally with Tenet, but "did talk to McLaughlin and everybody else."
Drumheller scoffed at claims by Tenet and McLauglin that they were unaware of concerns about Curveball's credibility. He said he was disappointed that the two former CIA leaders would resort to a "bureaucratic defense" that they never got a formal memo expressing doubts about the defector.
"They can say whatever they want," Drumheller said. "They know what the truth is …. I did not lie." Drumheller said the CIA had "lots of documentation" to show suspicions about Curveball were disseminated widely within the agency. He said they included warnings to McLaughlin's office and to the Weapons Intelligence Non Proliferation and Arms Control Center, known as WINPAC, the group responsible for many of the flawed prewar assessments on Iraq.
"Believe me, there are literally inches and inches of documentation" including "dozens and dozens of e-mails and memos and things like that detailing meetings" where officials sharply questioned Curveball's credibility, Drumheller said.
The CIA's internal battles over Curveball were revealed Thursday in a scathing report by a presidential commission examining U.S. intelligence on Iraq and other key targets.
Drumheller and Pavitt, who each briefed the commission, added significant details in interviews Friday with the Los Angeles Times.
The CIA's assessment that Iraq had secret arsenals of deadly bioweapons, the report said, "was based largely on reporting from a single human source," Curveball, even though his reporting "came into question in late 2002." The failure to communicate serious concerns about him to Powell and other policy makers "represents a serious failure of management and leadership," the commission concluded.
The case began when Curveball, a chemical engineer from Baghdad, first showed up in a German refugee camp in 1998. By early 2000, he was working with Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, known as the BND, in exchange for an immigration card.
The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, which handled Iraqi refugees in Germany, furnished the engineer with the Curveball code-name. He soon began providing technical drawings and detailed information indicating that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein secretly had built lethal germ factories on trains and trucks.
But the DIA never sought to check his background or information. Instead, the commission found, the DIA saw itself as a conduit for German intelligence, and funneled nearly 100 Curveball reports to the CIA between January 2000 and September 2001.
Except for a brief meeting between Curveball and a DIA medical technician in May 2000, German authorities refused to let U.S. intelligence officials interview their source until March 2004, a year after the war began.
But warnings mounted from the start.
After the meeting in May 2000, the DIA medical technician questioned the validity of Curveball's information. Another warning came in April 2002, when a foreign spy service told the CIA it had "doubts about Curveball's reliability," the commission reported.
With skepticism rising about Curveball, Drumheller said he arranged a lunch meeting with a German counterpart at Pavitt's behest in late September or early October 2002 to ask for an American meeting with Curveball.
By then, Drumheller said, German intelligence officials were increasingly wary of Curveball. But he said they didn't want to acknowledge their doubts in public and risk embarrassment.
Drumheller said the German intelligence officer used the lunch to convey a stark warning: "Don't even ask to see him because he's a fabricator and he's crazy."
Drumheller said he passed that warning up to Pavitt's office. He said he also informed another senior official in the European division and sent a notice to WINPAC, where the chief bioweapons analyst was considered the Curveball expert.
In a separate interview, Pavitt said he didn't recall when he learned of the German warning. "A meeting took place without question," he said. "And I remember being told what he said. My recollection is I was told much, much later." He said commission investigators were unable to find a reference to it in his CIA calendar.
Pavitt rejected the notion that Drumheller should have issued a CIA-wide "burn notice" on Curveball's reports after the lunch, saying it would be inappropriate to unleash a sweeping condemnation after a single meeting with a foreign officer from an agency unwilling to stand behind its statements.
A week before Christmas 2002, McLaughlin's executive assistant held two meetings to discuss Curveball. One of Pavitt's aides told the group about Drumheller's meeting, and expressed other doubts. She also "made clear" that Pavitt's division "did not believe that Curveball's information should be relied upon."
The Curveball expert from WINPAC angrily argued back and apparently prevailed, the commission found. An official summary of the meeting later "played down" any doubts and said Curveball had been judged credible "after an exhaustive review."
Several weeks later, Drumheller discovered that his warning had been ignored when his executive officer brought him an advance copy of Powell's Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the U.N.
Drumheller said he then arranged a meeting in McLaughlin's office and described what the German operative had told him over lunch several months earlier. After listening for 10 minutes, Drumheller said, McLaughlin responded by saying, "Oh my! I hope that's not true."
McLaughlin, who retired in January after 32 years at the CIA, said he did not recall the meeting and denied that Drumheller told him Curveball might be a fabricator.
"I have absolutely no recall of such a discussion. None," McLaughlin said in a statement Friday. "Such a meeting does not appear on my calendar, nor was this view transmitted to me in writing." He said he was "at a loss" to explain the conflicting accounts.
But another red flag appeared. On Jan. 27, 2003, the CIA's Berlin station warned in a message to headquarters that Curveball's information "cannot be verified."
Drumheller, meanwhile, said he never heard from McLaughlin or anyone else to confirm that Curveball's material had been deleted from Powell's speech. So when Tenet called him at home on another matter the night before Powell was to speak in New York, Drumheller said he raised the Curveball case.
"I gave him the phone number for the guy he wanted," Drumheller recalled. "Then it struck me, 'I better say something.' I said, 'You know, boss, there's problems with that case.' He says, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm exhausted. Don't worry about it.' "
In a seven-page statement, Tenet sharply challenged much of that account.
Tenet called it "stunning and deeply disturbing" that the German warning in 2002 to Drumheller, "if true, was never brought forward to me by anyone." He said he first heard doubts about Curveball after the war, and only learned of the German warning from the presidential commission last month.
A series of formal warnings should have been "immediately and formally disseminated" after the lunch to alert intelligence and policy officials about the concern, Tenet said.
"No such reports were disseminated, nor do I recall the issue being brought to my attention," he said.
Tenet also disputed Drumheller's account of their phone conversation the night before Powell's speech. Tenet said he has "absolutely no recollection" of the CIA official warning him about Curveball.
"It is simply wrong for anyone to intimate that I was at any point in time put on notice that Curveball was probably a fabricator," he said.
© Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

Published on Monday, April 11, 2005 by

Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran
by Michael T. Klare

As the United States gears up for an attack on Iran, one thing is certain: the Bush administration will never mention oil as a reason for going to war. As in the case of Iraq, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will be cited as the principal justification for an American assault. "We will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon [by Iran]," is the way President Bush put it in a much-quoted 2003 statement. But just as the failure to discover illicit weapons in Iraq undermined the administration's use of WMD as the paramount reason for its invasion, so its claim that an attack on Iran would be justified because of its alleged nuclear potential should invite widespread skepticism. More important, any serious assessment of Iran's strategic importance to the United States should focus on its role in the global energy equation.
Before proceeding further, let me state for the record that I do not claim oil is the sole driving force behind the Bush administration's apparent determination to destroy Iranian military capabilities. No doubt there are many national security professionals in Washington who are truly worried about Iran's nuclear program, just as there were many professionals who were genuinely worried about Iraqi weapons capabilities. I respect this. But no war is ever prompted by one factor alone, and it is evident from the public record that many considerations, including oil, played a role in the administration's decision to invade Iraq. Likewise, it is reasonable to assume that many factors -- again including oil -- are playing a role in the decision-making now underway over a possible assault on Iran.
Just exactly how much weight the oil factor carries in the administration's decision-making is not something that we can determine with absolute assurance at this time, but given the importance energy has played in the careers and thinking of various high officials of this administration, and given Iran's immense resources, it would be ludicrous not to take the oil factor into account -- and yet you can rest assured that, as relations with Iran worsen, American media reports and analysis of the situation will generally steer a course well clear of the subject (as they did in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq).
One further caveat: When talking about oil's importance in American strategic thinking about Iran, it is important to go beyond the obvious question of Iran's potential role in satisfying our country's future energy requirements. Because Iran occupies a strategic location on the north side of the Persian Gulf, it is in a position to threaten oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, which together possess more than half of the world's known oil reserves. Iran also sits athwart the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which, daily, 40% of the world's oil exports pass. In addition, Iran is becoming a major supplier of oil and natural gas to China, India, and Japan, thereby giving Tehran additional clout in world affairs. It is these geopolitical dimensions of energy, as much as Iran's potential to export significant quantities of oil to the United States, that undoubtedly govern the administration's strategic calculations.
Having said this, let me proceed to an assessment of Iran's future energy potential. According to the most recent tally by Oil and Gas Journal, Iran houses the second-largest pool of untapped petroleum in the world, an estimated 125.8 billion barrels. Only Saudi Arabia, with an estimated 260 billion barrels, possesses more; Iraq, the third in line, has an estimated 115 billion barrels. With this much oil -- about one-tenth of the world's estimated total supply -- Iran is certain to play a key role in the global energy equation, no matter what else occurs.
It is not, however, just sheer quantity that matters in Iran's case; no less important is its future productive capacity. Although Saudi Arabia possesses larger reserves, it is now producing oil at close to its maximum sustainable rate (about 10 million barrels per day). It will probably be unable to raise its output significantly over the next 20 years while global demand, pushed by significantly higher consumption in the United States, China, and India, is expected to rise by 50%. Iran, on the other hand, has considerable growth potential: it is now producing about 4 million barrels per day, but is thought to be capable of boosting its output by another 3 million barrels or so. Few, if any, other countries possess this potential, so Iran's importance as a producer, already significant, is bound to grow in the years ahead.
And it is not just oil that Iran possesses in great abundance, but also natural gas. According to Oil and Gas Journal, Iran has an estimated 940 trillion cubic feet of gas, or approximately 16% of total world reserves. (Only Russia, with 1,680 trillion cubic feet, has a larger supply.) As it takes approximately 6,000 cubic feet of gas to equal the energy content of 1 barrel of oil, Iran's gas reserves represent the equivalent of about 155 billion barrels of oil. This, in turn, means that its combined hydrocarbon reserves are the equivalent of some 280 billion barrels of oil, just slightly behind Saudi Arabia's combined supply. At present, Iran is producing only a small share of its gas reserves, about 2.7 trillion cubic feet per year. This means that Iran is one of the few countries capable of supplying much larger amounts of natural gas in the future.
What all this means is that Iran will play a critical role in the world's future energy equation. This is especially true because the global demand for natural gas is growing faster than that for any other source of energy, including oil. While the world currently consumes more oil than gas, the supply of petroleum is expected to contract in the not-too-distant future as global production approaches its peak sustainable level -- perhaps as soon as 2010 -- and then begins a gradual but irreversible decline. The production of natural gas, on the other hand, is not likely to peak until several decades from now, and so is expected to take up much of the slack when oil supplies become less abundant. Natural gas is also considered a more attractive fuel than oil in many applications, especially because when consumed it releases less carbon dioxide (a major contributor to the greenhouse effect).
No doubt the major U.S. energy companies would love to be working with Iran today in developing these vast oil and gas supplies. At present, however, they are prohibited from doing so by Executive Order (EO) 12959, signed by President Clinton in 1995 and renewed by President Bush in March 2004. The United States has also threatened to punish foreign firms that do business in Iran (under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996), but this has not deterred many large companies from seeking access to Iran's reserves. China, which will need vast amounts of additional oil and gas to fuel its red-hot economy, is paying particular attention to Iran. According to the Department of Energy (DoE), Iran supplied 14% of China's oil imports in 2003, and is expected to provide an even larger share in the future. China is also expected to rely on Iran for a large share of its liquid natural gas (LNG) imports. In October 2004, Iran signed a $100 billion, 25-year contract with Sinopec, a major Chinese energy firm, for joint development of one of its major gas fields and the subsequent delivery of LNG to China. If this deal is fully consummated, it will constitute one of China's biggest overseas investments and represent a major strategic linkage between the two countries.
India is also keen to obtain oil and gas from Iran. In January, the Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) signed a 30-year deal with the National Iranian Gas Export Corp. for the transfer of as much as 7.5 million tons of LNG to India per year. The deal, worth an estimated $50 billion, will also entail Indian involvement in the development of Iranian gas fields. Even more noteworthy, Indian and Pakistani officials are discussing the construction of a $3 billion natural gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan ¬ an extraordinary step for two long-term adversaries. If completed, the pipeline would provide both countries with a substantial supply of gas and allow Pakistan to reap $200-$500 million per year in transit fees. "The gas pipeline is a win-win proposition for Iran, India, and Pakistan," Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz declared in January.
Despite the pipeline's obvious attractiveness as an incentive for reconciliation between India and Pakistan -- nuclear powers that have fought three wars over Kashmir since 1947 and remain deadlocked over the future status of that troubled territory -- the project was condemned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a recent trip to India. "We have communicated to the Indian government our concerns about the gas pipeline cooperation between Iran and India," she said on March 16 after meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh in New Delhi. The administration has, in fact, proved unwilling to back any project that offers an economic benefit to Iran. This has not, however, deterred India from proceeding with the pipeline.
Japan has also broken ranks with Washington on the issue of energy ties with Iran. In early 2003, a consortium of three Japanese companies acquired a 20% stake in the development of the Soroush-Nowruz offshore field in the Persian Gulf, a reservoir thought to hold 1 billion barrels of oil. One year later, the Iranian Offshore Oil Company awarded a $1.26 billion contract to Japan's JGC Corporation for the recovery of natural gas and natural gas liquids from Soroush-Nowruz and other offshore fields.
When considering Iran's role in the global energy equation, therefore, Bush administration officials have two key strategic aims: a desire to open up Iranian oil and gas fields to exploitation by American firms, and concern over Iran's growing ties to America's competitors in the global energy market. Under U.S. law, the first of these aims can only be achieved after the President lifts EO 12959, and this is not likely to occur as long as Iran is controlled by anti-American mullahs and refuses to abandon its uranium enrichment activities with potential bomb-making applications. Likewise, the ban on U.S. involvement in Iranian energy production and export gives Tehran no choice but to pursue ties with other consuming nations. From the Bush administration's point of view, there is only one obvious and immediate way to alter this unappetizing landscape -- by inducing "regime change" in Iran and replacing the existing leadership with one far friendlier to U.S. strategic interests.
That the Bush administration seeks to foster regime change in Iran is not in any doubt. The very fact that Iran was included with Saddam's Iraq and Kim Jong Il's North Korea in the "Axis of Evil" in the President's 2002 State of the Union Address was an unmistakable indicator of this. Bush let his feelings be known again in June 2003, at a time when there were anti-government protests by students in Tehran. "This is the beginning of people expressing themselves toward a free Iran, which I think is positive," he declared. In a more significant indication of White House attitudes on the subject, the Department of Defense has failed to fully disarm the People's Mujaheddin of Iran (or Mujaheddin-e Khalq, MEK), an anti-government militia now based in Iraq that has conducted terrorist actions in Iran and is listed on the State Department's roster of terrorist organizations. In 2003, the Washington Post reported that some senior administration figures would like to use the MEK as a proxy force in Iran, in the same manner that the Northern Alliance was employed against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Iranian leadership is well aware that it faces a serious threat from the Bush administration and is no doubt taking whatever steps it can to prevent such an attack. Here, too, oil is a major factor in both Tehran's and Washington's calculations. To deter a possible American assault, Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and otherwise obstruct oil shipping in the Persian Gulf area. "An attack on Iran will be tantamount to endangering Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and, in a word, the entire Middle East oil," Iranian Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezai said on March 1st.
Such threats are taken very seriously by the U.S. Department of Defense. "We judge Iran can briefly close the Strait of Hormuz, relying on a layered strategy using predominantly naval, air, and some ground forces," Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 16th.
Planning for such attacks is, beyond doubt, a major priority for top Pentagon officials. In January, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker magazine that the Department of Defense was conducting covert reconnaissance raids into Iran, supposedly to identify hidden Iranian nuclear and missile facilities that could be struck in future air and missile attacks. "I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran," Hersh said of his interviews with senior military personnel. Shortly thereafter, the Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon was flying surveillance drones over Iran to verify the location of weapons sites and to test Iranian air defenses. As noted by the Post, "Aerial espionage [of this sort] is standard in military preparations for an eventual air attack." There have also been reports of talks between U.S. and Israeli officials about a possible Israeli strike on Iranian weapons facilities, presumably with behind-the-scenes assistance from the United States.
In reality, much of Washington's concern about Iran's pursuit of WMD and ballistic missiles is sparked by fears for the safety of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, other Persian Gulf oil producers, and Israel rather than by fears of a direct Iranian assault on the United States. "Tehran has the only military in the region that can threaten its neighbors and Gulf security," Jacoby declared in his February testimony. "Its expanding ballistic missile inventory presents a potential threat to states in the region." It is this regional threat that American leaders are most determined to eliminate.
In this sense, more than any other, the current planning for an attack on Iran is fundamentally driven by concern over the safety of U.S. energy supplies, as was the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. In the most telling expression of White House motives for going to war against Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney (in an August 2002 address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars) described the threat from Iraq as follows: "Should all [of Hussein's WMD] ambitions be realized, the implications would be enormous for the Middle East and the United States.... Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror and a seat atop 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, [and] directly threaten America's friends throughout the region." This was, of course, unthinkable to Bush's inner circle. And all one need do is substitute the words "Iranian mullahs" for Saddam Hussein, and you have a perfect expression of the Bush administration case for making war on Iran.
So, even while publicly focusing on Iran's weapons of mass destruction, key administration figures are certainly thinking in geopolitical terms about Iran's role in the global energy equation and its capacity to obstruct the global flow of petroleum. As was the case with Iraq, the White House is determined to eliminate this threat once and for all. And so, while oil may not be the administration's sole reason for going to war with Iran, it is an essential factor in the overall strategic calculation that makes war likely.
Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Oil (Metropolitan Books).
© 2005 Michael Klare
Mounting Dangers
By Pierre Rousselin
Le Figaro
Monday 11 April 2005
Right now, it's easier in Beijing or Canton to express one's anger at Japan's "revisionism" than it is to express one's aspirations for true democracy in China. Even if the People's Republic worries about the scope of the movement, it has no one but itself to blame: in Communist regimes, nationalism always serves as the spare ideology to divert frustrations from their immediate target.
Nonetheless, the young Chinese who are demonstrating are not wrong to be alarmed. The incriminated history text is a reissue of a work that had already sustained an outcry upon its initial publication in 2001. Never is there any question of a Japanese "invasion" of China or Korea; the Nanking massacre is merely an "incident"; and the Calvary of "comfort women," those sex slaves in the service of the Imperial army, is never even mentioned.
Sixty years after the Second World War, Japan is unable to acknowledge its wrongs. No doubt a taste for self-criticism is not the primary character trait of our Japanese friends. Yet, in the modern world, international relations demand that each and every party take responsibility for its own past. Where would we be in Europe if Germany had not done so?
Is Prime Minister Koizumi only flattering Japanese nationalism each year when he insists on visiting the Shinto Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals are buried among the former Japanese combatants? In the absence of the indispensable pedagogical effort focusing on new generations, it's normal for the question to be asked.
This test of consciousness is all the more urgent in that Japan wants, rightly, to become a nation like any other, by breaking with the very pacifist constrictions of its 1947 Constitution. Even more than Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, the dispatch of a Japanese contingent of over five hundred men to Iraq symbolizes the evolution underway: little by little, the self-defense forces are assuming the missions of a real army.
If Japan emerges this way from its previous reserve, it's because it fears the growth in power of China, which was presented for the first time in the last Defense White Book at the end of 2004 as "a potential military threat." For its part, Beijing can only be alarmed to see Tokyo share a "common strategic objective" with Washington in the Straits of Taiwan, as was officially announced during Condoleezza Rice's visit to Tokyo in February.
The intensity of the commercial exchanges between these two Far Eastern giants cannot disguise the diplomatic crisis. Each fears the other, without any real dialogue that could diminish tensions and avoid nationalistic one-upmanship. The dangers are mounting.
Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.

Posted by richard at May 1, 2005 10:56 AM