AS TWO REPORTERS WHO HAVE LONG AND REPEATEDLY DOCUMENTED THE 'JOURNALISTS' AT THE KOOL-AID TABLE, WE WERE NOT SURPRISED BY HILLARY IS 44'S "Hillary Was Smeared First - DailyCaller, Race-baiting JournoList, And DailyKos DailyKooks - The Big Media/Big Blog Cartel" -- WHICH DOES NOT MEAN WE WEREN'T APPALLED BY THE NEWS.
ALLEGED JOURNALISTS WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES, UNKNOWN TO THEIR READERS AND LISTENERS, TO ADVANCE ONE CANDIDATE, TO SUPPRESS NEWS WHEN IT REFLECTED POORLY ON BARACK AND TO LAUNCH ATTACKS TO DISTRACT?
THAT'S NOT JOURNALISM. WE'VE SEEN THAT BEHAVIOR BEFORE -- IN THE FILM "THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT."
WE PROPOSE AN IMMEDIATE STEP TO TAKE, MAKE A LIST. ALL THE JOURNOLIST PARTICIPANTS SHOULD BE KNOWN. WE'LL KICK OFF THE LIST:
1) KATHA POLLITT
2) SPENCER ACKERMAN
3) E.J. DIONNE
4) EZRA KLEIN
5) CHRIS HAYES
6) RICHARD KIM
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
In London today the Iraq Inquiry continued receiving public testimony. The big witness today was MI5 Director General (2002 - 2007) Eliza Manningham-Buller. Prior to her testifying, a [PDF format warning] letter she sent to John Gieve (Home Office) was declassified [though some parts remain redacted]. Gieve was the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office at that time and the position provided oversight to MI5 (which is Military Intelligence, Section 5).
IRAQ: POSSIBLE TERRORIST RESPONSE TO A US ATTACK
We have been giving some thought to the possible terrorist consequences should the US, possibly with UK support, seek to topple Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. I thought that you might find it helpful to see our current assessment, together with an outline of our own preparations.
2. Since the end of the Gulf War Iraq has been implicated in a small number of murders of Iraqi oppositionists in the Middle East but only one terrorist plan directed against a Western target -- a planned car bomb attack on ex-President Bush in Kuwait in 1993. There is no credible intelligence that demonstrates that Iraq was implicated in planning the 11 September attacks.
3. We judge that the current period of heightened tension between Iraq and the US is unlikely to prompt Saddam to order terrorist strikes against Coalition interests. Even limited military action (for example, cruise missile attacks such as the those in response to the attempted murder of ex-President Bush) would be unlikely to prompt such a response. We assess that Saddam is only likely to order terrorist attacks if he perceives that the survival of his regime is threatened.
In the UK
4. If Saddam were to initiate a terrorist campaign, we assess that Iraqi capability to mount attacks in the UK is currently limited. We are aware of no Iraqi intelligence (DGI) officers based in the UK. There are up to DGI agents here who report on anti-regime activities. But most of these agents lack the inclination or capability to mount terrorist attacks. So if the DGI wished to mount attacks in the UK it would need to import teams from overseas. It is possible that some Palestinian groups based outside the UK might be willing to mount attacks in support of Iraq,
5. Nonetheless, in case Iraq should try to co-ordinate action by existing UK-based agents, or to import its own or a surrogate terrorist capability, we will be taking a number of steps over the coming months, including:
reviewing our knowledge of past and present DGI visiting case officers to identify and disrupt any increase in DGI activity;
putting in place arrangements to deal with (and capitalise on) any increase in defectors, volunteers or callers to the Service's public telephone number who might have relevant information. Experience during the Gulf War leads us to expect an increase in such contact with the public in the event of conflict;
with the police, maintaining coverage of the Palestinian community, some of whom, as during the Gulf War, may react adversely to any threat to Iraq.
6. You may recall that, at the time of the Gulf War, a number of suspected Iraqi sympathisers were detained pending deportation on grounds of national security. These included members of Iraqi support organisations, as well as individuals believed to be associated with Palestinian terrorist groups, such as the Abu Nidhal Organisation. We currently assess that the number of individuals in the UK who potentially pose sufficent threat to be subject to deportation or detnetion is small. We are currently reviewing the cases of those who could pose a threat to establish whether there might be grounds for action.
7. We believe that Middle Eastern countries would be the most likely location should Saddam order terrorist attacks on Western interests. Other locations, for instance SE Asia featured in attempted DGI co-ordinated attacks during the Gulf War and are thus also a possibility. We will, of course, continue to liaise closely with FCO colleagues to ensure they are in a position to brief missions if the situation develops.
Chemical or biological (CB) threat
8. There were media stories during the Gulf War suggesting that Iraq planned to mount CB terrorist attacks in Western countries, and a 1998 scare (arising from a tale put about by Iraqi emigres) that Saddam planned to send anthrax abroad in scent bottles. Given Iraq's documented CB capabilities, we can anticipate similar stories again.
9. Most Iraqi CB terrorist attacks have been assassination attempts against individuals, often emigres.
Iraq used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war and also against civilian Kurds in 1988, but there is no intelligence that Iraq has hitherto planned or sought mass-casualty CB terrorist attacks. As with conventional terrorism, we assess that Saddam would only use CB against Western targets if he felt the survival of his regime was in doubt. In these circumstances, his preferred option would be to use conventional military delivery systems against targets in the region, rather than terrorism.
10. There have for some years been reports of contact between the Iraqi regime and Al Qa'ida about CB. But we have yet to see convincing intelligence that useful co-operation developed, or that Iraq provided genuine CB materials.
11. I am copying this letter to Stephen Wright, John Scarlett, Julian Miller and Tom McKane.
E L Manningham-Buller
Deputy Director General
That letter was sent in March 2002, nearly a year before the start of the Iraq War. And that was the intelligence assessment. At Committee member Usha Prashar's request, Manningham-Buller explained the Security Service's tasks: "collect intelligence from a rance of sources, some of them secret, on threats to the United Kingdom and to develop that intelligence, to analyse it and, where necessary, to act on it in mitigating or reducing those threats and also using intelligence generated by us to provide information to government on which policy can be placed and on which more general countermeasures can be developed." Committee Member Prashar wondered about "the intelligence pciture" on Iraq?
Eliza Manningham-Buller: But if I can refer to the letter from me as Deputy Director General from March 2002 which was released -- a redacted version was released today, six months before I became Director General we felt we had a pretty good intelligence picture of a threat from Iraq within the UK and to British interests, and you will see from that letter we thought it was very limited and containable.
We'll move ahead to the start of Committee Member Lawrence Freedman's questioning. Before we do, in the US, Bully Boy Bush and his lackeys were fond of tossing in "mushroom cloud" among their lies. In England, in the leadup to the Iraq War, liar and prime minister Tony Blair publicly insisted that Iraq could deploy WMD on England in 45 minutes. That was a lie. But he insisted it was true.
Eliza Manningham-Buller: As I said to Lady Prashar, we regarded the threat, the direct threat from Iraq as low. We did think -- and it comes in that letter -- that Saddam Hussein might resort to terrorism in the theatre if he thought his regime was toppled, but we did not believe he had the capability to do anything much in the UK. That turned out to be the right judgment. What the letter -- has been redacted from the letter, like I say, in general terms is that is partly as a result of action we took. But I don't think the threat in the UK was anything other than very limited.
Still in the exchange between Freedman and Manningham-Buller. And when you read this, grasp that in 2002 the CIA knew this. Therefore the White House knew it. And the British intelligence knew the White House wasn't happy with the truth the CIA was providing.
Committee Member Lawrence Freedman: Can I just ask one final question, which is related to the things that Iraqis might have done, and this refers to the proposition that Saddam's regime were in some way responsible for providing support, potential support to Al-Qaeda, and even might have been involved in 9/11. Did you give any credence to these sorts of assessments?
Eliza Manningham-Buller: No. I think you have material suggesting that there had been intelligence on occasional contact in the past but I think -- I wrote this down when I was preparing for today -- there was no credible intelligence to suggest that connection and that was the judgment, I might say, of the CIA. It was not a judgment that found favor with some parts of the American machine, as you have also heard evidence on, which is why Donald Rumsfeld started an intelligence unit in the Pentagon to seek an alternative judgment.
Committee Member Roderic Lyne asked about her Queen Mary College speech in 2006 where she stated that the Iraq War had increased the chances that England could be a terrorist target. She informed him, "I think it is worth saying that I needed the approval of the Home Secretary to make public speeches and he cleared the text with me, and John Reid and I discussed that part of it and he agreed that I should say that in public."
Committee Member Roderic Lyne: So you're saying you had evidence that the Iraq conflict, our involvment in the Iraq conflict was a motivation, a trigger, for people who were involved in the attacks in London in July 2005, who were going to Afghanistan to fight. Were there other attacks or planned attacks in which you had evidence that Iraq was a motivating factor?
Eliza Manningham-Buller: Yes. I mean, if you take the video wills that were retrieved on various occasions after various plots, where terrorists who had expected to be dead explained why they had done what they did, it features. It is part of what we call the single narrative, which is the view of some that everything the west was doing was part of a fundamental hostility to the Muslim world and to Islam, of which manifestations were Iraq and Afghanistan, but which pre-dated those because it pre-dated 9/11, but it was enhance by those events.
Lyne asked her to speculate about how such a threat might have been lessened even with the Iraq War proceeding and she responded that the peace could have been planned for, that following the initial invasion, measures could have been taken to return Iraqi lives to normal. "The insistence, for example," she offered, "of the Americans on sacking, you know, much of the Civil Service and the Army, the Ba'athists, was an error. Others much better informed than me will have given you evidence on that. I was asked on a visit to the United States on other matters to talk to Paul Wolfowitz about this issue and to seek to persuade him that it was not sensible to do this." Lyne asked if she managed to "convert him?" "Not a hope," Manningham-Buller replied.
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