Wat zou 'president-elect' Obama moeten vragen aan zijn top-intelligence briefer?

Obama wordt nu dagelijks gebriefd over de belangrijkste zaken op het gebied van internationale veiligheid. Hieronder aanbevelingen voor door hem daarbij te stellen vragen, van een voormalige CIA-analist.

The president-elect needs to start asking hard questions. Now. Here are some he might want to select for his next briefing:

1. The lead story in Friday’s New York Times undercuts the claims of Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili that he was acting in self-defense when he ordered his troops to fire artillery and rockets at the city of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia. The new information comes from international monitors of the highly respected Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and, oddly, is much closer to the Russian version of what happened.

Task: A two-page memo on who started the fighting and why? Deadline: Monday

2. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) produced last November concluded that Iran’s work on the nuclear-weapons part of its nuclear development program was suspended in mid-2003. National Intelligence Council director Thomas Fingar repeated that judgment publicly on Sept. 4, 2008.

I want to know how that squares — or doesn’t — with the claim by neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz, just hours after the NIE’s key judgments were made public, that Iran is “hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons,” and why Podhoretz would go on to charge that the intelligence community was trying to “undermine George W. Bush.” I notice, incidentally, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has parroted Podhoretz’s “hell-bent” phraseology, and that your boss, CIA Director Michael Hayden, has also publicly volunteered his “personal opinion” that this is so.

Task: A memo updating the judgments of the Nov. 07 NIE, as necessary. Deadline: Nov. 14

3. My aides have been telling me that, when speaking of the recent decrease in violence in Iraq, I have been mis-overestimating, so to speak, the success of the surge while mis-underestimating factors like the sectarian cleansing in Baghdad, the decision to pay Sunnis not to shoot at U.S. forces, and the decision of Muqtada al-Sadr to hold Shia fire pending the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which the Shia see as just a matter of time.

Task: A memo ranking the reasons for the downturn in violence in order of relative importance. It should address all these factors; it should also explain why the U.S. has several thousand more troops in Iraq now than were there before the surge came and went. Deadline: Nov. 19

4. Confusion reigns with respect to what is likely to happen when U. S. forces withdraw from Iraq. That administration officials and U.S. Army generals know better what to expect than the Iraqis themselves strains credulity. It has become increasingly clear that the Iraqi government and people believe they themselves can handle whatever comes once we depart, and that they consider the large U.S. troop presence part of the problem, not the solution.

Task: A memo addressing why the Iraqis are more relaxed about a U.S. troop withdrawal than most U.S. officials and pundits. Deadline: Nov. 21

5. No outsiders have been able to prevail in Afghanistan. What makes us think the U.S. can, no matter how many troops it chooses to recruit and insert?

Task: A formal National Intelligence Estimate on prospects for Afghanistan. Deadline: Jan. 9, 2009

6. Nuclear nonproliferation: The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently proposed a nuclear-free zone as the best way to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. I want to know why this proposal never gets off the ground. What are the obstacles?

Task: A memo addressing this in historical perspective. Deadline: Nov. 26

7. Peak Oil: the juncture at which demand keeps growing sharply while supply stagnates/recedes. Some say we are already there. What does the intelligence community think? Related question: Is it likely that China, India and other key countries regard the invasion of Iraq as the first resource war of the 21st Century?

Task: A memorandum addressing these questions. Deadline: Dec. 1

8. My advisers tell me that senior intelligence officials, including the principal deputy to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, have been briefing the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a creature of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Task: Please ask McConnell to let my staff know what other policy advocacy institutes his subordinates have briefed. Deadline: Nov. 10

9. Mike, one of my aides has read carefully through the memoir of your former boss, ex-CIA director George Tenet, who speaks very highly of you. The reader gets the clear impression you were one of his protégés; he appointed you personal briefer to President George W. Bush.

Now two questions for you, Mike:

(1) Tenet told his British counterpart, Sir Richard Dearlove, on July 20, 2002, that the “intelligence was being fixed around the policy” of invading Iraq to bring “regime change” there. (I refer, of course, to the so-called “Downing Street Minutes” of Dearlove’s briefing of British Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 23, 2002.) Did you know, Mike, the intelligence was being “fixed?”

(2) Tenet also says in his memoirs that you “coordinated the CIA review” of Colin Powell’s speech at the U.N. on Feb. 5, 2003. Your comment?

Nothing personal, Mike. But with all due respect, you will be able to understand why I would like to start with a fresh slate. Please inform your management that I would prefer a briefer untainted by the intelligence fiasco regarding Iraq. Add that I am offended that they would send me someone so closely associated with George Tenet, the consummate “fixer” of intelligence.

And please do not forget to pass along to your successor the requests I have made.

Thank you.

Beware The Obama Hype – What "Change" In America Really Means

President-elect’s Queries to Briefers (By Ray McGovern in Consortiumnews and ICH)

Obama’s first two crucial appointments represent a denial of the wishes of his supporters on the principal issues on which they voted. The vice-president-elect, Joe Biden, is a proud warmaker and Zionist. Rahm Emanuel, who is to be the all-important White House chief of staff, is a fervent "neoliberal" devoted to the doctrine that led to the present economic collapse and impoverishment of millions. He is also an "Israel-first" Zionist who served in the Israeli army and opposes meaningful justice for the Palestinians – an injustice that is at the root of Muslim people’s loathing of the United States and the spawning of jihadism.

No serious scrutiny of this is permitted within the histrionics of Obamamania, just as no serious scrutiny of the betrayal of the majority of black South Africans was permitted within the "Mandela moment". This is especially marked in Britain, where America’s divine right to "lead" is important to elite British interests. The once respected Observer newspaper, which supported Bush’s war in Iraq, echoing his fabricated evidence, now announces, without evidence, that "America has restored the world’s faith in its ideals". These "ideals", which Obama will swear to uphold, have overseen, since 1945, the destruction of 50 governments, including democracies, and 30 popular liberation movements, causing the deaths of countless men, women and children.

None of this was uttered during the election campaign. Had it been allowed, there might even have been recognition that liberalism as a narrow, supremely arrogant, war-making ideology is destroying liberalism as a reality. Prior to Blair’s criminal warmaking, ideology was denied by him and his media mystics. "Blair can be a beacon to the world," declared the Guardian in 1997. "[He is] turning leadership into an art form."

Today, merely insert "Obama". As for historic moments, there is another that has gone unreported but is well under way – liberal democracy’s shift towards a corporate dictatorship, managed by people regardless of ethnicity, with the media as its clichéd façade. "True democracy," wrote Penn Jones Jr, the Texas truth-teller, "is constant vigilance: not thinking the way you’re meant to think and keeping your eyes wide open at all times."

Beware The Obama Hype – What "Change" In America Really Means (John Pilger in ICH)

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