Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Fresh Perspective

Sorry to rain on the parade but Billmon thinks that Robert Gates - the man Bush has proposed as Rumseld's replacement - "should fit right in". Iran-Contra you say? Not good.

He's not just connected to the Iran-Contra scandal though. On 31 January 1995, former National Security Council official Howard Teicher gave a sworn statement to a Florida district court (via Gates' Wiki talk page). He said:
I personally attended meetings in which CIA Director Casey or CIA Deputy Director Gates [that's our guy] noted the need for Iraq to have certain weapons such as cluster bombs and anti-armor penetrators in order to stave off the Iranian attacks.
[...]

The CIA, including both CIA Director Casey and Deputy Director Gates, knew of, approved of, and assisted in the sale of non-U.S. origin military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to Iraq.
[...]

One of the reasons that the United States refused to license or sell U.S. origin weapons to Iraq was that the supply of non-U.S. origin weapons to Iraq was sufficient to meet Iraq's needs. Under CIA DIrector Casey and Deputy Director Gates, the CIA made sure that non-U.S. manufacturers manufactured and sold to Iraq the weapons needed by Iraq. [That's one especially for all those people who endlessly note that that Saddam had no U.S. weapons so that proves that Reagan didn't supply blah blah blah.]
[...]

Under CIA Director Casey and Deputy Director Gates, the CIA authorized, approved and assisted Cardoen [a Chilean arms supplier] in the manufacture and sale of cluster bombs and other munitions to Iraq. My NSC files will contain documents that show or tend to show the CIA's authorization, approval and assistance of Cardoen's manufacture and sale of cluster bombs and other muntions to Iraq.
This testimony was essentially suppressed by the Clinton administration. (There are many reasons why the Clinton administration would block knowledge of secret CIA activities instigated by a previous Republican administration. Rather than go into that here, let's just say that Bill was not the angel some people think he was.)

So Gates may well have authorised, approved and assisted in the manufacture and sale of cluster bombs to Saddam Hussein. And he's going to replace Rumsfeld and turn things around in Iraq with his "fresh eyes".

That concludes today's episode of "You Couldn't Make It Up!"

Update

It gets worse (via a long chain but ultimately Michael. Good spot, that man).
The dust from Iran-Contra had settled sufficiently by 1991, when President George H. W. Bush nominated Gates to head the CIA. Then all hell broke loose... [A] former senior Soviet analyst and CIA division chief, Mel Goodman, stepped forward and gave the Senate intelligence committee chapter and verse on how Gates had shaped intelligence analysis to suit his masters and his career [my emphasis]. Goodman was joined at once by several other analysts who put their own careers at risk by testifying against Gates’ nomination. They were so many and so persuasive that, for a time, it appeared they had won the day. But the fix was in.

With a powerful assist from George Tenet, then staff director of the senate intelligence committee, members approved the nomination.
The article, written by ex-CIA analysis Ray McGovern, is worth reading in full. Gates was apparently the person "most responsible for institutionalizing political corruption of intelligence analysis". This institutionalised politicisation led directly to the point where the CIA (then headed by "slam dunk" Tenet) willingly produced the "faulty" intelligence used to justify Bush's war of choice.

And later today, we'll be interviewing the pigeon who's just been appointed head of Statue Cleansing Operations at Trafalgar Square. He's assured us that he'll be able to tell us what he plans to do without crapping on our hair. As we've no reason not to trust him, we won't be wearing hats...

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1 comment:

Sam said...

There are actually very few pigeons in Trafalgar Square nowadays, all thanks to the marvellous Red Ken. *cough*