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The Lie Factory: the inside story of disinformation from Mother Jones

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 02:50 AM
Original message
The Lie Factory: the inside story of disinformation from Mother Jones
www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2004/01/12_405.html

Only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story of how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.

By Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest
January/February 2004 Issue of Mother Jones

It's a crisp fall day in western Virginia, a hundred miles from Washington, D.C., and a breeze is rustling the red and gold leaves of the Shenandoah hills. On the weather-beaten wood porch of a ramshackle 90-year-old farmhouse, at the end of a winding dirt-and-gravel road, Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski is perched on a plastic chair, wearing shorts, a purple sweatshirt, and muddy sneakers. Two scrawny dogs and a lone cat are on the prowl, and the air is filled with swarms of ladybugs.

So far, she says, no investigators have come knocking. Not from the Central Intelligence Agency, which conducted an internal inquiry into intelligence on Iraq, not from the congressional intelligence committees, not from the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. All of those bodies are ostensibly looking into the Bush administration's prewar Iraq intelligence, amid charges that the White House and the Pentagon exaggerated, distorted, or just plain lied about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda terrorists and its possession of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In her hands, Kwiatkowski holds several pieces of the puzzle. Yet she, along with a score of other career officers recently retired or shuffled off to other jobs, has not been approached by anyone.

Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon's Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq's weapons and ties to terrorists. "It wasn't intelligence -- it was propaganda," she says. "They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together." It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials -- including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell's testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February -- that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war.

Until now, the story of how the Bush administration produced its wildly exaggerated estimates of the threat posed by Iraq has never been revealed in full.
But, for the first time, a detailed investigation by Mother Jones, based on dozens of interviews -- some on the record, some with officials who insisted on anonymity -- exposes the workings of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and of the Defense Department's war-planning task force, the Office of Special Plans. It's the story of a close-knit team of ideologues who spent a decade or more hammering out plans for an attack on Iraq and who used the events of September 11, 2001, to set it into motion.
...more...
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nofurylike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 02:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. excellent post! thank you, G_j!! n/t
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 03:08 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Tenet was asked about this story
>Asked to respond to our cover story revealing how the Pentagon manipulated prewar intelligence, George Tenet responded: "I haven't read Mother Jones in a while."

..more..
www.motherjones.com/news/dailymojo/2004/02/02_504.html
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 02:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. Well, what a dumb way to spend ten years.
Did the plans include all that flower throwing that never happened?
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stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 03:07 AM
Response to Original message
3. Does MotherJones
TRY TO SEND THIS INFO TO PUBLIC OFFICIALS?
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 03:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. I know we should be
a great article to send to Congress people and media.
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cryofan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. for the most part, neither they nor the elite media want to know...
....for the most part, the "investigation" is a facade.
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. I would think they try and send it to the public
"Public Officials" usually already know this stuff, in fact that is where it came from. "Public Officials"
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RBHam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 03:43 AM
Response to Original message
6. Here's a chilling snip...
Called in to help organize the Iraq war-planning team was a longtime Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, a specialist on Islam who speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi. Though Feith would not be officially confirmed until July 2001, career military and civilian officials in NESA began to watch his office with concern after Rhode set up shop in Feith's office in early January. Rhode, seen by many veteran staffers as an ideological gadfly, was officially assigned to the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, an in-house Pentagon think tank headed by fellow neocon Andrew Marshall. Rhode helped Feith lay down the law about the department's new anti-Iraq, and broadly anti-Arab, orientation. In one telling incident, Rhode accosted and harangued a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no "bartering in the bazaar anymore. You're going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so."

Rhode refused to be interviewed for this story, saying cryptically, "Those who speak, pay."

According to insiders, Rhode worked with Feith to purge career Defense officials who weren't sufficiently enthusiastic about the muscular anti-Iraq crusade that Wolfowitz and Feith wanted. Rhode appeared to be "pulling people out of nooks and crannies of the Defense Intelligence Agency and other places to replace us with," says a former analyst. "They wanted nothing to do with the professional staff. And they wanted us the fuck out of there."

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. and to think
that the "independent commission" is not supposed to even be looking at this. My blood has been boiling over this. It's an insult to the intelligence of anyone and everyone.
They might as well just say "we've put together a cover-up commission", it's so completely transparent.
absolutely criminal
absolutely maddening

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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Man-o-man!
Pass me the popcorn! :silly:
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. and
load the prozac into the crop dusters..

:hurts:
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #6
19. Mr. Rhodes does indeed get around
From: http://www.why-war.com/news/2003/08/08/secretta.html

"Secret Talks with Iranian Arms Dealer"
Washington -- Pentagon hardliners pressing for regime change in Iran have held secret and unauthorized meetings in Paris with a controversial arms dealer who was a major figure in the Iran-contra scandal, according to administration officials.

The officials said at least two Pentagon officials working for Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith have held "several" meetings with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian middleman in U.S. arms-for-hostage shipments to Iran in the mid-1980s.

.....

Rhode is a protege of Michael Ledeen, a neo-conservative who was a National Security Council consultant in the mid-1980s when he introduced Ghorbanifar to Oliver North, a National Security Council aide, and others in the opening stages of the Iran-contra affair.


Seems like our Mr. Rhodes has some links to the Iran-Contra operation also. These people keep popping-up.


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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I think we are starting to get a view
of those that wear the "black hats" in the CIA.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-04 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #19
25. many would be surprised
at how many Iran-Contra players are back in game.

A BIGGER, BADDER SEQUEL TO IRAN-CONTRA
Jim Lobe, AlterNet

Just like Ollie North and his cohorts, a small network of officials are pursuing a covert foreign policy agenda -- except their aims are vastly more ambitious.

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16597

The specter of the Iran-Contra affair is haunting Washington. Some of the people and countries are the same, and so are the methods ? particularly the pursuit by a network of well-placed individuals of a covert, parallel foreign policy that is at odds with official policy.
Boiled down to its essentials, the Iran-Contra affair was about a small group of officials based in the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that ran an "off-the-books" operation to secretly sell arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. The picture being painted by various insider sources in the media suggests a similar but far more ambitious scheme at work.

Taken collectively, what these officials describe and what is already on the public record suggests the existence of a disciplined network of zealous, like-minded individuals. Centered in Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith's office and around Richard Perle in the Defense Policy Board in the Pentagon, this exclusive group of officials operates under the aegis of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney.

This network includes high-level political appointees, such as Undersecretary of State John Bolton, who are scattered around several other key bureaucracies, notably in the State Department, the NSC staff, and most importantly, in Cheney's office.
...more..
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
11. if you just listened to an hour of lies
here's a little truth...."fair and balanced"
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
12. Don't Forget to View the "Intelligence Chain"
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Good Chart , but notice none of the arrows end at Bush*
:shrug: will probably be his defense when the war crimes tribunal starts.
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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
13. God Bless Mother Jones!
.
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
16. Another good article on OSP, authored by LTC Kwiatkowski
The article is in 3 parts. Each links the next part at the end, so only the 1st link is really necessary. Disregard the fact that the article is from Pat Buchanan's mag, it is very good.

http://www.amconmag.com/12_1_03/feature.html

http://www.amconmag.com/12_15_03/article3.html

http://www.amconmag.com/1_19_04/article1.html
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peace4all Donating Member (428 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. interesting stuff
thanks


<snip>
At the end of the summer of 2002, new space had been found upstairs on the fifth floor for an "expanded Iraq desk." It would be called the Office of Special Plans. We were instructed at a staff meeting that this office was not to be discussed or explained, and if people in the Joint Staff, among others, asked, we were to offer no comment. We were also told that one of the products of this office would be talking points that all desk officers would use verbatim in the preparation of their background documents.

About that same time, my education on the history and generation of the neoconservative movement had completed its first stage. I now understood that neoconservatism was both unhistorical and based on the organizing construct of "permanent revolution." I had studied the role played by hawkish former Sen. Scoop Jackson (D-Wash.) and the neoconservative drift of formerly traditional magazines like National Review and think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. I had observed that many of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon not only had limited military experience, if any at all, but they also advocated theories of war that struck me as rejections of classical liberalism, natural law, and constitutional strictures. More than that, the pressure of the intelligence community to conform, the rejection of it when it failed to produce intelligence suitable for supporting the "Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States" agenda, and the amazing things I was hearing in both Bush and Cheney speeches told me that not only do neoconservatives hold a theory based on ideas not embraced by the American mainstream, but they also have a collective contempt for fact.

By August, I was morally and intellectually frustrated by my powerlessness against what increasingly appeared to be a philosophical hijacking of the Pentagon. Indeed, I had sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, but perhaps we were never really expected to take it all that seriously
<snip>
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. indeed!
some very revealing quotes there.

such as,
"I had observed that many of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon not only had limited military experience, if any at all, but they also advocated theories of war that struck me as rejections of classical liberalism, natural law, and constitutional strictures."
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FreakinDJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. So they are pissing off every one left and Right
They double crossed every one to get there Halburton corn fed oil war. Would like to see every one start emailing this artical to news shows
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
21. kick
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
22. And another
:kick:
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burythehatchet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-08-04 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
23. Its nice to see that Newt is goin down as well
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