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 Monday, September 18, 2006

2006 Build Up For US Military Attack on IRAN : Bush Replaying the Lead Up to 2003 IRAQ War.

  By Editor & Publisher Staff

Read here full article " False Reports on Iran a Replay of Run-Up to Iraq War? " by Editor & Publisher staff

According to reporters John Walcott and Warren P. Strobel some of the same type of shaky intelligence that proved false in the run up to the Iraq war may be rearing its head again in regard to Iran.

As Editor & Publisher magazine has often noted in the past, reports from Strobel, Walcott and others in the former KR Washington office, proved more accurate than those from other leading news organizations in the pre-Iraq invasion push.

They wrote:

"U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Bush political appointees and hard-liners on Capitol Hill have tried recently to portray Iran's nuclear program as more advanced than it is and to exaggerate Tehran's role in Hezbollah's attack on Israel in mid-July.

President Bush, who addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, has said he prefers diplomacy to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but he hasn't ruled out using military force.

Several former U.S. defense officials who maintain close ties to the Pentagon say they've been told that plans for airstrikes - if Bush deems them necessary - are being updated."

"It seems like Iran is becoming the new Iraq," said one U.S. counterterrorism official quoted by Walcott and Strobel. This official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the information involved is classified.

The article concludes:

" Some officials at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department said they're concerned that the offices of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney may be receiving a stream of questionable information that originates with Iranian exiles, including a discredited arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, who played a role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.

Officials at all three agencies said they suspect that the dubious information may include claims :

  • that Iran directed Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in July;
  • that Iran's nuclear program is moving faster than generally believed; and
  • that the Iranian people are eager to join foreign efforts to overthrow their theocratic rulers.

The officials said there is no reliable intelligence to support any of those assertions and some that contradicts all three.

The officials said they fear a replay of the administration's mishandling of what turned out to be bogus information from Iraqi exiles in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, documented earlier this month in a Senate intelligence committee report.

But they said this time, intelligence analysts and others are more forcefully challenging claims they believe to be false or questionable."

Earlier this week, E&P carried the following related story.

When Daniel Ellsberg, the defense analyst, leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, it created one of the most significant newspaper stories -- and battles -- of the century. One thing it did not do was prevent the Vietnam War, although it may have shortened it.

Now he is calling on officials within the government to leak "the Pentagon Paper of the Middle East" to modern reporters, to short-circuit another possible war.Ellsberg's challenge is found in the October issue of Harper's magazine, to appear next week.

E&P has obtained an advance copy.

The article is titled, "The Next War," with the conflict in question a possible face-off between the U.S. and Iran.

Ellsberg, based on unconfirmed reporting by Seymour Hersh and others, believes there is a "hidden crisis," with government insiders aware of "serious plans for war with Iran" while "congress and the public remain largely in the dark."

His remedy:

"Conscientious insiders" need to leak hard evidence to the press and public, while risking their current and future employment, as he did in the early 1970s.
But Ellsberg is hardly the hero of his own story.

While proud of what he did, he faults himself for waiting far too long in the 1960s. If he had leaked government information in 1964, it might have halted the entire enterprise in its tracks, he feels.

In the same way, he hails former Clinton and Bush terrorism expert Richard Clarke for blowing the whistle on trumped-up evidence used to support the invasion of Iraq -- but, as in his case, this came after the Iraq adventure had already come to fruition.

Indeed, Ellsberg had called for insiders, such as Clarke, to come forward before the Iraq invasion, in a January 2003 interview with E&P.

Now, in the Harper's article, therefore, he declares:

"Assuming Hersh’s so-far anonymous sources mean what they say -- that this is, as one puts it, 'a juggernaut that has to be stopped' -- I believe it is time for one or more of them to go beyond fragmentary leaks unaccompanied by documents.

That means doing what no other active official or consultant has ever done in a timely way: what neither Richard Clarke nor I nor anyone else thought of doing until we were no longer officials, no longer had access to current documents, after bombs had fallen and thousands had died, years into a war.

It means going outside executive channels, as officials with contemporary access, to expose the president’s lies and oppose his war policy publicly before the war, with unequivocal evidence from inside.

Simply resigning in silence does not meet moral or political responsibilities of officials rightly 'appalled' by the thrust of secret policy.

I hope that one or more such persons will make the sober decision -- accepting sacrifice of clearance and career, and risk of prison -- to disclose comprehensive files that convey, irrefutably, official, secret estimates of costs and prospects and dangers of the military plans being considered.

What needs disclosure is the full internal controversy, the secret critiques as well as the arguments and claims of advocates of war and nuclear 'options' -- the Pentagon Papers of the Middle East.

...The personal risks of doing this are very great.

Yet they are not as great as the risks of bodies and lives we are asking daily of over 130,000 young Americans -- with many yet to join them -- in an unjust war.

Our country has urgent need for comparable courage, moral and civil courage, from its public servants.

They owe us the truth before the next war begins."

The Washington Post reported that United Nations inspectors probing Iran's nuclear program have contested Bush administration's claims.

They "angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document 'outrageous and dishonest' and offering evidence to refute its central claims," the Post relates.

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