Saturday, 08 December 2007

THE NIE REPORT

Ken Berwitz

Earlier this week the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) report was released.  It's first sentence suggests that Iran is not a nuclear threat.  Most of the rest of it suggests Iran is a very definite nuclear threat. 

The three writers of this self-contradictory document are all reputed to be enemies of President Bush.  Maybe this was their way of writing the facts while simultaneously giving mainstream media (most of which hate Bush's guts) a chance to attack the President when they reported it.

The disconnect between that first sentence and the body of the report is further proven by the fact that one of its authors, Thomas Fingar, testified specifically that Iraq IS a nuclear threat just four months ago.  I blogged about this earlier in the week and will now repost that segment for you:.

Consider that on July 11, 2007, roughly four or so months prior to the most recent NIEs publication, Deputy Director of Analysis Thomas Fingar gave the following testimony before the House Armed Services Committee (emphasis added):

Iran and North Korea are the states of most concern to us. The United States concerns about Iran are shared by many nations, including many of Irans neighbors. Iran is continuing to pursue uranium enrichment and has shown more interest in protracting negotiations and working to delay and diminish the impact of UNSC sanctions than in reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution. We assess that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons--despite its international obligations and international pressure. This is a grave concern to the other countries in the region whose security would be threatened should Iran acquire nuclear weapons.

This paragraph appeared under the subheading: "Iran Assessed As Determined to Develop Nuclear Weapons." And the entirety of Fingars 22-page testimony was labeled "Information as of July 11, 2007." No part of it is consistent with the latest NIE, in which our spooks tell us Iran suspended its covert nuclear weapons program in 2003 "primarily in response to international pressure" and they "do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons." .

Ok.  So we understand that the NIE report is artfully dishonest.  We also, it should be noted, understand that it was as easy for mainstream media to find this out as it was for me -- and they haven't done so.  Why?  You know why.

Now I would like to direct your attention to this well written assessment of how the NIE report affects a key ally, Israel.  It is written by Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post.  I have done some excerpting due to the length of her piece, but every word is worth reading, so here is a link to the entire article:  http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1196847275020&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

Here are the key sections of what Ms. Glick wrote:

.

Column One: The abandonment of the Jews

The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear intentions is the political version of a tactical nuclear strike on efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear bombs.

The NIE begins with the sensationalist opening line: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Teheran halted its nuclear weapons program." But the rest of the report contradicts the lead sentence. For instance, the second line says, "We also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Teheran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons."

Indeed, contrary to that earth-shattering opening, the NIE acknowledges that the Iranians have an active nuclear program and that they are between two and five years away from nuclear capabilities.

The NIE's final sentence: "We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so," only emphasizes that US intelligence agencies view Iran's nuclear program as a continuous and increasing threat rather than a suspended and diminishing one.

But the content of the NIE is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the opening line - as the report's authors no doubt knew full well when they wrote it. With that opening line, the NIE effectively takes the option of American use of force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons off the table.

Although Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continue to speak of imposing further sanctions on Iran, the fact is that after the report was published, any chance of getting an agreement on further sanctions evaporated. French President Nicholas Sarkozy stands humiliated for having dared to speak of the possibility of attacking Iran. The Germans will immediately reinvigorate their commercial ties with the mullahs as will the British and the French. The Russians and Chinese will drop even the veneer of opposing Iran's nuclear program.

The NIE makes light of Iran's acknowledged nuclear capabilities by intimating that Iran's intentions are not necessarily hostile. Yet, it gives no evidence that this is the case. Rather, the NIE projects the aspirations of its American authors on the Iranians. But since one's actions rather than the hopes of one's adversaries are the best indication of one's intentions, the only conclusion that can be reasonably be drawn about Iran is that its intentions are anything but benign.

For instance, Agence France-Presse reported that in 2005 Iran bought 18 Russian SS-N-6 ballistic missiles from North Korea. The North Koreans had modified the missiles, which were originally submarine-launched, to enable them to be launched from land-based mobile launchers and renamed them BM-25s. What is notable about these missiles is that the Soviets designed them specifically to carry one megaton nuclear warheads.

As the on-line intelligence newsletter NightWatch noted this week, "Curious minds want to know why would Iran buy such a system from North Korea in 2005, if it had abandoned its nuclear warhead program in 2003?"

Beyond that, the NIE makes a strange distinction between Iran's "civilian" nuclear program which has not stopped for a moment and its "military" program which supposedly ended in 2003. Since both programs are controlled and run by the Revolutionary Guards, it is obvious that no such distinction exists for the Iranians. And as former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton wrote Thursday in The Washington Post, "It has always been Iran's 'civilian' program that posed the main risk of nuclear 'breakout.'"

Finally the US intelligence community's pathetic track record must be taken into account. American intelligence agencies failed to take note of the al-Qaida threat to US security before September 11. It misjudged Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction capabilities and intentions. And most recently, it failed to take notice of Syria's nuclear program even though the North Korean nuclear facility which Israel reportedly destroyed on September 6 was built above ground.

As for that, the Israeli strike showed clearly that there is no reason to assume that Iran's nuclear program is located only in Iran. It is reasonable to assume that some of its components are located in Syria, North Korea and Pakistan and perhaps in China and Russia as well.

The Israeli strike in Syria also demonstrated the superiority of Israel's intelligence on weapons of mass destruction programs over America's. And the NIE takes revenge on Israel for its comparative advantage.

Given the NIE's assertion that Iran is not a threat, the report is a direct assault on the credibility of Israel's intelligence services. Moreover, since Israel's intelligence services insist that Iran's nuclear program is the greatest threat to global security, the NIE serves to paint Israel's intelligence community not merely as unreliable, but as hostile to American interests.

So not only does the NIE make it impossible for the US to take action against Iran, it also sets a dangerous trap for Israel. If Israel doesn't take action against Iran's nuclear installations it risks annihilation. And if it does take action, it can expect to be subject to international and American condemnation far worse than what it suffered after bombing Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

The US has not limited its entrapment of Israel to the political realm. As The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday, due to massive US pressure, Israel and India were compelled to cancel the planned launch of an Israeli satellite on an Indian missile. The launch was scheduled to take place in September. It has yet to be rescheduled. Apparently, the US response to Israel's discovery of Syria's nuclear program was to undercut Israel's ability to enhance its intelligence capabilities.

The Israeli response so far to the NIE creates the impression that Israel's leaders are in a state of denial over what has just happened. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reacted with empty bromides about his close relationship with Bush.

By mindlessly agreeing that Iran did in fact halt its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Defense Minister Ehud Barak accepted the most ridiculous aspect of the report - namely that there is a distinction between Iran's "civilian" and "military" nuclear programs. In so doing, Barak effectively prevented Israel from attacking the report for its basic mendacity.

As for Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, well, she doesn't seem to understand that anything has happened. In a message to Israeli ambassadors, Livni urged Israel's emissaries to continue their efforts to promote sanctions claiming that, "All are in agreement that the world cannot accept a nuclear Iran."

And this is the final aspect of the NIE that bears mention. Both in its content and in the timing of its release the week after the Annapolis conference, the NIE shows clearly that in sharp contrast to optimistic statements by Olmert, Barak and Livni about Israel's wonderful relations with the Bush administration, the fact is that Israel's relations with the US are in a state of crisis.

Many commentators applauded the Annapolis conference, claiming that its real aim was to cement a US-led coalition including Israel and the Arabs against Iran. These voices argued that it made sense for Israel to agree to negotiate on bad terms in exchange for such a coalition. But the NIE shows that the US double-crossed Israel. By placing the bait of a hypothetical coalition against Iran, the US extracted massive Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and then turned around and abandoned Israel on Iran as well. What this means is that not only has the US cut Israel off as an ally, it is actively working against the Jewish state.

For their part, the Iranians are celebrating the NIE's publication as a major victory. And they are right to do so. With the stroke of a pen the US this week has let it be known that it doesn't have a problem with Iran acquiring the means to carry out the second genocide of the Jewish people in 70 years.

The NIE's message to Israel and world Jewry is clear. Again we are alone in our moment of peril. It is high time that our political and military leaders acknowledge this fact, stop hoping that someone else will save us, and get to work on defending us. .

Some years back I was watching a TV report of a teacher's strike.  One of the picketers held a sign that said "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance".  That was the most impactful image of the report.

In reading. Ms. Glick's piece, I can't help thinking of its parallel for the NIE report:  "If you think doing something about a nuclear threat is too dangerous, try not doing anything about it"


TROOP FUNDING AND THE POWER OF MEDIA PROTECTION

Ken Berwitz

Republicans could never get away with this.  Never.

They would be tarred and feathered by media every day.  Not just with news articles and devastating quotes from interviews with the people who are affected, but by the news features, panel discussions and all the other ways media cue their readers/listeners/viewers that a story is supersedingly important.

With that in mind, please read this excerpted Washington Post article.  It is about how Democrats are now going to do us all a great favor and allow our troops to be funded as they sacrifice for us halfway around the world.   Then we can talk about it a bit.  As usual, the bold print is mine.  Please pay particular attention to the tiny little reference which characterizes (President) Bush's approval ratings:.

Hill Close To Deal on War Funds
Democrats Would Drop Iraq Timeline

By Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, December 8, 2007; A01

House Democratic leaders could complete work as soon as Monday on a half-trillion-dollar spending package that will include billions of dollars for the war effort in Iraq without the timelines for the withdrawal of combat forces that President Bush has refused to accept, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said yesterday.

In a complicated deal over the war funds, Democrats will include about $11 billion more in domestic spending than Bush has requested, emergency drought relief for the Southeast and legislation to address the subprime mortgage crisis, Hoyer told a meeting of the Washington Post editorial board.

If the bargain were to become law, it would be the third time since Democrats took control of Congress that they would have failed to force Bush to change course in Iraq and continued to fund a war that they have repeatedly vowed to end. But it would also be the clearest instance yet of the president bowing to a Democratic demand for more money for domestic priorities, an increase that he had promised to reject.

"The way you pass appropriations bills is you get agreement among all the relevant players, among which the president with his veto pen is a very relevant player," Hoyer said. "Everybody knows he has no intention of signing anything without money for Iraq, unfettered, without constraints. I think that's ultimately going to be the result."

The Democrats plan to take a three-step approach to completing the deal. House leaders are considering an initial allotment of about $30 billion, ostensibly for the war in Afghanistan and some other military needs, which all sides in the deal recognize could be shifted to fund the Iraq war.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) then would allow Republicans to increase that amount to avert a filibuster of the spending bill in the Senate. The goal of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is $70 billion for the war, more than the $50 billion short-term funding that House Democrats initially proposed but far less than the $196 billion Bush has sought.

The Senate-passed bill would then go to the House for final approval.

McConnell was the first to suggest the outlines of the deal, which would allow Congress to pass the 11 remaining appropriations bills for fiscal 2008. Hoyer said Democrats are ready to accept that bargain.

But the deal has a long way to go before it can be enacted. Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed last month to oppose any additional money for the Iraq war that does not come with a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. In talks this week with White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and White House budget chief Jim Nussle, Reid signaled that he could accept the McConnell deal, according to Senate Democratic aides. But Pelosi is uncommitted, spokesman Nadeam Elshami said.

Republican leaders are badly divided on the plan. At a White House meeting this week, McConnell presented the proposal to Bush, but House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) urged the president to reject it.

Even as Bush's approval ratings have slid to historic lows, House GOP leaders have stood by him, twisting the arms of rank-and-file Republicans to uphold his vetoes of popular legislation, such as an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program and funding increases for health care and education.

White House acquiescence now to increased domestic spending would be viewed as a betrayal by House Republicans who are trying to reestablish their credentials as small-government conservatives.

"I am adamantly opposed to it," Boehner said Thursday. "I came here to hold the line on spending, not to raise it."

Blunt said yesterday that Democrats will give in on war funding, with or without additional money for domestic programs. "There's no reason to make a bad bargain," he said. "The president holds all the cards."

McConnell has been more circumspect in his public statements, predicting that an omnibus spending bill will pass only if Bush gets Iraq war funding with no timeline strings attached to it.

"We made our bright lines very clear," said Don Stewart, McConnell's spokesman.

Regardless of the spending increases for veterans, health care, education and other domestic priorities, however, several House Democrats have said they will vote against any bill that includes war funding shorn of policy prescriptions. Pelosi will have to attract considerable Republican support to get the deal through.

Ultimately, it will be up to Bush to decide whether to accept the deal. Sean Kevelighan, a spokesman for the White House's Office of Management and Budget, would not say how the president will proceed.

"Until we have seen a piece of legislation, it's really hard to speculate, because not only had [the Democrats'] strategy been shifting constantly, but we can't know whether or not the House and the Senate are even talking to each other," he said.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the president's position has not changed. He wants the war funds without strings, and he wants Congress to toe his line on spending.

Hoyer struck a pragmatic tone, pushing for Congress to adjourn for the year by the end of next week. He suggested that Democrats need to divorce their goal of ending the war from the battle over funding.

"We have to get to a point where the American public more clearly perceives our policy position and is not confused by whether or not the Democrats intend to support the troops that we've sent to Iraq. I don't think there's an option on that," Hoyer said. .

Ok.  What do we have here?

First of all, bottom line, we have Democrats saying "we refuse under any circumstances to fund the war without a withdrawal timetable ---- but if you give us lots of money for pork, we'll do it. 

What does that say about the honesty of the Democratic leadership?  About their principles?  

What it says is that they want to put on a dog and pony show for the Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade, the ones who want every soldier home today so we can lose in Iraq and they can denounce the soldiers in person.  For LAMBs, that's like hitting the daily double.

But, incredibly, Democrat leaders apparently think the LAMBs won't notice if they go back on that position and agree to unconditionally fund the troops.

Simply stated, this is pure unadulterated political BS.  And without media complicity they could never get away with it.  Even with media complicity they'll have trouble with the sorosian nutballs at the daily kos,code pink, etc.  

The fact that the Washington Post has published both sides of this story at all is a victory (albeit a minuscule one).  But keep your eye on the network news, the morning shows, the NY Times, etc. and see how they handle it - if they handle it.  Their track record is a pretty good predictor of what they will do - and two-sidedness isn't exactly their coin of the realm.

One other thing:  That line, gratuitously inserted in the story, which says  "...Bush's approval ratings have slid to historic lows" (complete with the disrespect of calling him "Bush" instead of "President Bush")?  It is an absolute unadulterated lie. 

Just yesterday I showed you President Bush's latest approval ratings which, to refresh your memory, average 33%.  That certainly is not in positive territory.  But it is far from a historic low.  It is even far from President Bush's low. 

The way the Post presents this, a reader would reasonably assume President Bush's numbers have been tumbling and are now the lowest they have ever been (isn't that what a "historic low" is?)  But in reality his poll numbers had previously fallen into the mid and upper 20's, and have RISEN to the low 30's. 

Further, the Post somehow forgot to add in that the Democratic congress, the other side of this battle over troop funding, has apporoval ratings  significantly lower than President Bush. 

Congress's latest average approval rating is 23%.  The last time I checked, 23%  is a lot lower than 33%. 

So why, other than for purposes of bias, would the Post not mention how poorly congress does in the same article?  Why does this stand exclusively as a way to nail President Bush and leave congress untouched? 

And why am I even asking you?  You know the answer as well as I do.


MORE ON THE BALTIMORE BUS BEATING

Ken Berwitz

Fallout continues regarding the beating inflicted on Ms. Sarah Kreager by nine "students" on December 4th while she rode a city bus with her boyfriend (who was also beaten). 

Here is the latest from the Associated Press.  Please pay special attention to the paragraphs I have put in bold print:.

Baltimore Bus Beating Being Probed as Hate Crime

Saturday , December 08, 2007

A white woman beaten by a group of black students on a bus has prompted a hate-crime investigation, attempts by transit officials to reassure riders of the safety of the system, and radio talk-show chatter over comparisons with the Jena Six case.

The uproar prompted two leading black politicians to issue statements decrying the attack.

Sarah Kreager, 26, suffered broken facial bones and other injuries after she was punched, kicked and dragged off the bus Tuesday afternoon. Kreager's companion, Troy Ellis, was also attacked, but not beaten as severely. Kreager has an unlisted phone number and attempts to reach her Friday were unsuccessful.

MTA police said evidence has not been found to support claims by the students' parents that the children were provoked.

"We are at this point investigating it as a hate crime," MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said.

The attack immediately drew comparisons on talk radio and Internet blogs to the Jena, La. case in which a white student was attacked by a group of black students, leading to demontrations by black activists who alleged local authorities were prosecuting blacks more harshly than whites. Many callers and web site posters questioned what they considered a lack of outrage over the latest attacks.

But Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and Rep. Elijah Cummings, both black, issued statements condemning the attack.

"The physical assault of any human being, regardless of motivation, is conduct that is unacceptable. As police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime, we must rise together as a community to take a stand against violence toward any of our neighbors," Cummings said in statement issued Friday.

Dixon said after the attack that she was extremely concerned about the beating, which she described as "deplorable."

"I will not tolerate intimidation or violence anywhere in our city," the mayor said. "I have offered the MTA whatever assistance they need to investigate this incident and to do our part to ensure the public transportation system is safe for everyone."

MTA Northern District Capt. David Marzola said the middle school students, three females and six males 14 to 15 years old, are also accused of menacing an elderly white passenger and assaulting the bus operator, a black male who defended his passenger.

"He probably saved this gentleman's life," Marzola said.

The driver was not identified because he is considered a witness to a crime, the MTA said.

Video from a surveillance camera on the bus is also being analyzed as part of the investigation, the MTA said.

The students, who ride the bus to Robert Poole Middle School, have been released into the custody of their parents, Greene said.

Col. John Gavrilis, deputy chief of the MTA Police, said MTA Police have stationed an officer on the line since Tuesday and the city school police force has assigned extra officers to the Hampden school.

Greene said the nine students have had their bus privileges revoked.

"Riding the bus is a privilege," she said. "Public safety is our primary concern."

MTA officials noted the system is safe with a total of 381 crimes this year on the transit system, which carries 250,000 riders a day, with property crimes accounting for the vast majority. .

Nine "students" beat a young couple, resulting in the woman having a broken face.  And these geniuses tell the authorities that THEY are the victims?  Obviously logic is not one of their featured courses this semester.

I have to hand it to Mayor Dixon and Representative Cummings, though.  Read their statements over again and see a brilliant example of making it seem as though they are decrying a racial attack without actually saying it is one.  I love good wordsmithing, and this is great wordsmithing.  

The article points out that Ms. Dixon and Mr. Cummings are both Black and that the attack prompted them to speak out.  From this, it is reasonable to conclude that the reason they have spoken out is that it somehow falls on their shoulders to say something because they, like the attackers, are Black -- i.e. the similarity in skin color requires them to speak.

I would hope we agree that this is completely unfair.  Neither Ms. Dixon nor Mr. Cummings had anything to do with this attack.  They are no more responsible to speak up from a racial perspective than, say, Mayor Bloomberg of New York is if a group of Whites attack a Black person. 

In any event, as I pointed out above, their actual statements, implications aside, make no reference whatsoever to the possibility that the attack was racially motivated.  

I think the wording was designed to placate and settle down the White population of Baltimore, while not saddling the Black population with a racially motivated crime. 

The truth?  If I were clever enough to construct those statements, they are exactly what I would have said for exactly the same reasons.

We may never know if this disgusting attack was racially motivated.  If we ever do, however, let it be based on information rather than speculation.

Meanwhile, I don't give a damn WHAT color these nine kids are:  If they are guilty of this attack they belong in a reformatory or a jail.


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