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Old 03-28-2004, 06:05 AM   #106
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Did we bug Kofi Annan?

Ewen MacAskill, Patrick Wintour and Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday February 27, 2004
The Guardian

The UN expressed outrage yesterday after an extraordinary claim by the former cabinet minister Clare Short that British intelligence services were involved in bugging the private office of its secretary general, Kofi Annan.

Mr Annan's team, after speaking to the British ambassador at the UN, launched an inquiry into the legal implications of the alleged bugging.

"We want this action to stop, if indeed it has been carried out," said Mr Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard. "It is not good for the United Nations' work and it is illegal."

It is believed to be unprecedented for covert action to have been taken against the UN secretary general.

Ms Short, the former international development secretary, delivered her blow to Tony Blair while Downing Street was still reeling from the collapse of the court case against Katharine Gun, the GCHQ officer-turned-whistleblower.

She claimed that the intelligence services had been bugging Mr Annan's private phone for years, especially in the pivotal period in the run-up to the Iraq war last year. She said she had seen the transcripts.

Mr Blair, at his monthly Downing Street press conference, accused her of behaving irresponsibly but did not deny the allegation. He claimed that he could not comment out of duty to protect the intelligence services.

Ms Short said later: "What is the PM going to say? Either he has to say it's true we are bugging Kofi Annan's office, which he doesn't want to say, or he's got to say it's not true and he'd be telling a lie, or he's got to say something pompous about national security.

"There is no British national security involved in revealing that Kofi Annan's private phone calls have been improperly revealed and there is no danger to anyone working in the British security services by making this public.

"What will happen is it will stop and Kofi Annan will have the privacy and respect he should have."

Her allegation wrecked Mr Blair's press conference, which he had hoped would be a showcase for a new initiative on Africa. Ms Short's claim was a particular embarrassment to him, given that he described Mr Annan as a personal friend.

Apparently furious, he said the "intelligence services were performing a vital task for our country and it really is the height of irresponsibility to expose them to this kind of scrutiny and questioning in a way that can do this country no good".

The combination of Ms Short's allegation and the collapse of the court case against Ms Gun has left the Official Secrets Act in tatters.

The government is to conduct a cross-departmental review to see if the legislation can be tightened to prevent further leaks. Its scale is not yet clear, and it may ultimately prove fruitless.

Mr Annan's officials opted yesterday to present a relatively calm exterior in public, but behind the scenes they were raging.

One UN official described the revelation as "outrageous".

Another said: "We're looking at the legal side, whether intercepting by satellite is as illegal as bugging under the Vienna convention.

"The initial reaction of the legal counsel was that it's against civil, criminal and international law.

"But we're still going over the books."

Mr Eckhard said Mr Annan's office was regularly checked for bugs but he did not say whether anything had been found.

Ms Short chose to unleash her latest attack on Mr Blair on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the same forum that led to the allegation of Downing Street tampering with Iraq intelligence and the Hutton inquiry.

Asked whether Britain was involved in the bugging, she said: "Yes, absolutely." But in later interviews, she did not specify whether the intelligence gathering had been conducted by US or British agents.

Any bugging would have probably been conducted by US agents, given that New York is on the doorstep of the US national security agency.

Some cabinet ministers would like to discipline Ms Short for her repeated outbursts against the prime minister's integrity, but as she admitted yesterday, she is acting as a free agent. "I am not trembling in my shoes," she said.
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Old 03-28-2004, 06:10 AM   #107
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May 19, 2003

A Letter to Kofi Annan
The Missing Evidence
by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

The Honorable Kofi Annan,
Secretary General The United Nations
(via fax)

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

We are former intelligence officials who have served many years at senior levels of the US intelligence community. As the role of intelligence on Iraq assumed critical importance over the past several months, we established Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) as a collegial body to monitor the unfolding of events. Our first analytic paper was a same-day commentary on Secretary of State Colin Powell's performance at the UN Security Council on February 5. Six papers on related subjects have now been issued, three of which have taken the form of Memoranda for the President. We have had no response from the White House.

We turn to you now because it has become inescapably clear that the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq remains a most urgent one. We see no viable alternative to renewed UN involvement if this key issue is to be dealt with effectively. This letter is an appeal to you and Security Council members to pursue that objective with a renewed sense of urgency.

As we applied the rigorous evidentiary standards of professional intelligence analysis over recent months, we were inclined to place reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the "unconfirmed" category. However, the assertions of President George W. Bush and his senior advisers were so categorical--and their assurances so insistent--that it seemed reasonable to assume that they were in possession of more compelling evidence than that which had been made public, and that prudence therefore dictated giving them the benefit of the doubt. In doing so we found ourselves in step with most Americans, including some who are highly experienced in these matters--former UN inspectors David Albright and Jonathan Tucker, for example.

We find it deeply troubling, therefore, that two months after US and British forces invaded Iraq no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Statements by those close to the Bush administration have served to compound the confusion. On April 10, for example, Defense Policy Board member (and former Deputy US Representative to the UN), Kenneth Adelman, predicted that such weapons would be found "pretty soon, in the next five days." He now concedes that the situation is "very strange," and suggests that Saddam Hussein may have launched "a massive disinformation campaign to make the world think he was violating international norms, and he may not have been."

US Gen. Tommy Franks has said the search for weapons of mass destruction may take a year. We assume that the international community will find this unacceptable.

It became painfully obvious in the weeks following the invasion of Iraq that the US did not know the location of any weapons of mass destruction. Nor, at the outset, was the US able to pinpoint and take into custody those Iraqis who do know. This has now changed. A former chief UN inspector for weapons in Iraq noted last week that the US now has in custody four top Iraqi officials who "know exactly what the facts are," adding, "We need to know what they are saying."

Intelligence analysts rarely confess to being perplexed. We confess. We are perplexed at the US refusal to permit the return of UN inspectors to Iraq.

From an intelligence point of view, Washington's decision to bar the very people with the international mandate, the unique experience, and the credibility to undertake a serious search for weapons of mass destruction defies logic. UN inspectors know Iraq, know the weaponry in question, know the Iraqi scientists/engineers who have been involved, know how the necessary materials are procured and processed; in short, they have precisely the expertise required. Barton Gellman's detailed account of the abortive two-month search by US forces in Iraq ("Odyssey of Frustration," in yesterday's Washington Post) should remove any lingering doubt that the US needs all the help it can get. We are particularly troubled by reports of looting and thefts at Iraqi nuclear facilities.

UN prerogatives regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq offer a way out of this mire. Security Council resolutions requiring that UN inspectors certify that Iraq is free of such weapons before economic sanctions can be lifted can continue to play an important role. Indeed, it would be folly to attempt to resume normal economic activity while weapons of mass destruction remain unaccounted for. Just last week the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, warned that such weapons may still be in the hands of Iraqi "special units."

The draft Security Council resolution being promoted by the US, however, makes no reference to the mandated UN role in weapons certification. Thus, at the Security Council deliberations this week, the stakes--for the UN, for the spread of weapons of mass destruction, for the international community as a whole, and for the Middle East in particular--could not be higher.

It is understandable that you and other senior UN officials are unwilling to take at face value the intelligence reporting offered by the US on Iraq, particularly since the detailed assertions by Secretary Powell on February 5, by and large, have not withstood close scrutiny. Particularly distressing to us as intelligence professionals has been the revelation that some of the most important evidence cited by Secretary Powell, and by the president himself, was based on forged documents.

You will agree, certainly, that this is a starkly different state of affairs than that which obtained during the Cuban missile crisis 41 years ago. Then war was averted through peaceful means partly because of widespread trust in the integrity of US intelligence collection and analysis. Trust is a fragile commodity. The success of diplomacy leans heavily on it. If trust is squandered, all suffer.

Today, as veteran intelligence officials, we cannot stand by in silence as US credibility is in danger of being frittered away. This will be the inevitable result if previous US government assertions based on "solid intelligence" concerning the existence of serviceable weapons of mass destruction in Iraq remain without credible substantiation.

Only the return of UN inspectors to Iraq can determine on behalf of the entire international community the credibility of the intelligence upon which the US/UK invasion of Iraq was based. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to continue working toward that end. The restoration of an internationally sanctioned inspection and verification regime would be a giant step toward resolving lingering ambiguities. Equally important, it would ensure a stable foundation for the security of the next government in Iraq.

We have found it somewhat awkward to write you in this vein, but the urgency of the situation leaves us no alternative. We take no joy in sharing our confusion over our government's policies.

We appreciate your efforts and those of other member states to carry out the UN's mandate on Iraq and to assert UN prerogatives. The long-term credibility and role of the UN will be strengthened as you redouble your efforts to meet this formidable challenge.

We shall fax copies of this letter to the current members of the Security Council, including the US delegation.

Respectfully yours,

Kathleen McGrath Christison, Santa Fe, NM
William Christison, Santa Fe, NM
David MacMichael, Linden, VA
Raymond McGovern, Arlington, VA

Steering Group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:29 PM   #108
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars


If thatīs true, intelligence is not held responsible for the quality of its information. So the way the administrastion makes politics semms to work like "CIA or NSA tells us something, ok, we know that thereīs a big chance intelligence either doesnīt have the right info or doesnīt have the full info or that intelligence lies or intelligence is unable to verify the information, but anyway, lets trust intelligence, get it over with and bomb another country".

I think not only the American citizens, but all the citizens of the world have a right for political decisions which are based on accurate information. The public has the right on intelligent decisions, not on decisions which are based on informations from so-called intelligence which is not verified.

Maybe the system is the problem. Change the system.

Next time, let the public VOTE if they want war. Direct Vote, not Washington VIP Congress shitvote. If you let the public decide, thereīs no problem for politicians later on.

If the administration had played a fair game, Rumsfeld would have said "We think Iraq could have WMDs, we canīt verify it, so fact is, we want to go to War, not for the WMDs, but for removing a dictator, gaining influence in the region, securing energy for Americans, plus a little boom boom so we need to continue to invest a big percentage of the taxpayers money into arms production, maintainance and the armed forces, plus because we just wanna try if we can be held accountable for rolling over the world without the OK of the United Nations. Well, my dear fellow Americans, have a vote: all Americans should have a say whether American soldiers will die on the battlefield or not". If Rumsfeld or Bush would have said so, then the administration wouldnīt have any problem now.

As we can see, the administration wanted and needed that war. I can guarantee you now that in the next five years, the situation in the region of Iraq and surrounding countries in the Middle East will not cool down. The administration knows that. I can guarante you, they even had it predicted by intelligence, they knew that beforehand.

The interesting question is not "Did they lie or didnīt they?" Everyone knows they did, but like politicians, they always try to talk their way out of it... old game. I have seen it too many times, it bores me. The interesting question is "why did they lie?"

The Criteria for military action against Saddam is very clear and is laid down by the United Nations resolutions. Saddam was required to VERIFIABLY DISARM of all WMD. Saddam failed to comply with 17 United Nations resolutions all passed under Chapter VII rules of the United Nations.

It is a fact that Saddam failed to verifiably disarm as required by the United Nations. In light of that fact and in compliance with multiple UN resolutions, military force was used to insure the verifiably disarmament of Saddam.

The Presidents central case for the use of military force is NOT some intelligence finding from the CIA or NSA, but Saddam's failure to VERIFIABLY DISARM of all WMD.

The fact that Saddam had failed to VERIFIABLY DISARM of all WMD is a fact. The United Nations new this could happen in the future which is why it gave member states the authorization to enforce the resolutions with military force if Saddam failed to comply.

All opinion polls with the US public show that a majority believed military action was the right course of action to take. Today, one year after the war, the majority of the US public still feels that removing Saddam was the right course of action. If the US public does not like something a politician does, the next election is always around the corner. A government could not function if it had to have the entire public vote on every action. It would be impossible to properly defend the country if the President had to have the whole country vote on whether they could use military force or not.

This is why we have elections for a Congress and President. Every two years, there are elections to the US House of Representitives and every 6 years to the US Senate. The President is up for election every 4 years. Any President or Congressman who has abused their powers can be impeached and removed from office before the next election if the public feels that it is warented.

Public opinion is always monitered every week and tracked by elected representitives constantly.


In reference again to you paragraph about Rumsfeld, it was a fact that Saddam failed to VERIFIABLY DISARM. That was the President's central case for the use of military force against Iraq. The energy that comes from the Middle East is vital to the whole planet, not just Americans. Making sure that it is secure benefits the whole world.

The war in Iraq did not change what the United States already plans to invest in defense spending, aside from the cost of the war itself.

The United Nations has passed three different resolutions that approve of the use of Military force against Saddam. The United Nations has also passed three different resolutions approving the occupation.

The Security situation in the Persian Gulf in regards to threats to global energy supply and threats from WMD have never been better than now, with the removal of Saddam. Already, a majority of Iraqi citizens say that life now is better than it was before the war. No one can guarantee anything, but in 5 years time, its more likely than not, that conditions in Iraq and the rest of the middle east, except maybe Israel/Palistine, will be better than they are today. Political and Economic development take time though so naturally there will still be problems that those who opposed the removal of Saddam can point to. But as time goes by, those problems will become less in number. In 25 years, Iraq will probably be a full fledged democracy with one of the highest standards of living if not the highest, in the region, provided that the Coalition continues the current process of development.

The administration has yet to Lie about anything. A Lie is knowingly saying something that is false. There is no irrifutable evidence that this administration has even done this once. I think its time that critics re-examine their definitions of loosely used words as well as applying similar criteria for evidence and proof in regards to their charges against officials that they so often attempt to hold politicians by.
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:48 PM   #109
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Right, so it was a fact that Saddam failed to verifiably disarm.

However, what the Bush administration used as a very important factor in trying to persuade everyone that we should invade Iraq, was FALSE information about chemical weapons bunkers and imminent nuclear capability.

Now even if Colin Powell believed the information he was presenting to the UN and the world to be true, that information turned out to be false, and I think it would be nice if someone from the Bush administration acknowledged that fact and maybe (and boy this is really stretching it), just maybe apologized to the American people and the global community for presenting inaccurate information as fact before they actually had the chance to verify that information.

This is not about whether or not having Saddam out of power is a good thing. It's about owning up to your mistakes.
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:07 PM   #110
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Right, so it was a fact that Saddam failed to verifiably disarm.

However, what the Bush administration used as a very important factor in trying to persuade everyone that we should invade Iraq, was FALSE information about chemical weapons bunkers and imminent nuclear capability.

Now even if Colin Powell believed the information he was presenting to the UN and the world to be true, that information turned out to be false, and I think it would be nice if someone from the Bush administration acknowledged that fact and maybe (and boy this is really stretching it), just maybe apologized to the American people and the global community for presenting inaccurate information as fact before they actually had the chance to verify that information.

This is not about whether or not having Saddam out of power is a good thing. It's about owning up to your mistakes.

The Bush administration used some intelligence information as a supporting factor to its central case for war which was the verifiable disarmament of Saddam. Such intelligence will ALWAYS have some things which later turn out to not be accurate. This is definitely more often the case when dealing with WMD which easy to move, hide and conceal.

The only thing about the intelligence information that has turned out not to be accurate is the location of the WMD. Where the WMD currently is and in what state or condition it is in, is still not known. It is pointless to apologize for something that was not a mistake but simply the best intelligence available at the time. Most intelligence on a daily basis turns out to be wrong or not entirely accurate. Thats the nature of intelligence. The basis for war was Saddam's verifiable disarmament of all WMD, not intelligence that in the past had failed to determine that Saddam was only a year away from developing a Nuclear Weapon back in 1991.

It would have been a mistake not to include the best intelligence had to offer about what Saddam had or did not have as a supporting factor to the central case for war which was the Verifiable Disarmament of Saddam.
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Old 03-30-2004, 05:49 AM   #111
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen
Now even if Colin Powell believed the information he was presenting to the UN and the world to be true, that information turned out to be false, and I think it would be nice if someone from the Bush administration acknowledged that fact and maybe (and boy this is really stretching it), just maybe apologized to the American people and the global community for presenting inaccurate information as fact before they actually had the chance to verify that information.
Exactly. They don't have to say they lied, they don't have to say they were intentionally misleading people (however much many people may believe this). They just need to stand up and say "we're sorry, we were mistaken." I think there are many people who would have a lot more respect for this administration if they just had the humility to admit they were wrong on this occassion.
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:39 AM   #112
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Was Clarke really on the ball?

Al Qaeda absent from final Clinton report

Quote:
The final policy paper on national security that President Clinton submitted to Congress — 45,000 words long — makes no mention of al Qaeda and refers to Osama bin Laden by name just four times.
The scarce references to bin Laden and his terror network undercut claims by former White House terrorism analyst Richard A. Clarke that the Clinton administration considered al Qaeda an "urgent" threat, while President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, "ignored" it.
The Clinton document, titled "A National Security Strategy for a Global Age," is dated December 2000 and is the final official assessment of national security policy and strategy by the Clinton team. The document is publicly available, though no U.S. media outlets have examined it in the context of Mr. Clarke's testimony and new book.
Miss Rice, who will testify publicly Thursday before the commission investigating the Bush and Clinton administrations' actions before the September 11 attacks, was criticized last week for planning a speech for September 11, 2001, that called a national missile-defense system a leading security priority.
President Bush yesterday denied the accusation that his administration had made dealing with al Qaeda a low priority.
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