Sunday, July 17, 2005

Juan Cole On Matt Cooper/Karl Rove

Juan Cole On Matt Cooper/Karl Rove

Juan Cole analyzes Matt Cooper's replies to Tim Russert's questions on Meet the Press this morning and has come to these logical conclusions:

- Karl Rove not only knew that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, but also that she was working on the WMD issue.

- Rove must have known that telling Time Magazine about Wilson's wife would negatively affect her ability to do her job with regard to WMD.

- Rove knew that he was discussing classified information with Mr. Cooper. (Why otherwise promise that the information would "soon be declassified?")

- Before the Cooper revelations, Rove said that he did not know Joe Wilson's wife's name and did not reveal it. We now know that he told Cooper that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, without actually speaking her name. Juan Cole wonders, "when [Rove] says that he heard that [Wilson's wife] worked for the CIA "from a reporter", you have to ask yourself:
"Did he hear that from a reporter after he had already informed the reporter of it? Or did he hear it from a reporter after Scooter Libby, Rove's colleague, had already told the reporter about it?"
Here is a beauty of an analogy by Mr. Cole to show you how unnecessary the destruction of Joseph Wilson was - as unnecessary as the Iraq war itself -- but for sheer political furtherance, defensiveness, and aggression:
There was no Iraqi nuclear weapons program. It had been dismantled shortly after 1991. There was no program, ipso facto there is no plausibility to reports of significant uranium purchases, purchases which did not occur. The Rove approach is to insist that there is evidence that some creature ate grass on a farm in Maryland, and that it has not been disproved that it was African elephants that did the eating. That there are no free-ranging African elephants in Maryland does not matter if you keep pointing to the grass and say, well, something ate it and it could have been elephants.

There was no Iraqi nuclear program, and Rove knew this in summer of 2003 when he outed Valerie Plame.

Jay Rosen on Wilson Case and the Press

Jay Rosen on Wilson Case and the Press

Don't miss Jay Rosen's latest article at the Huffington Post. The White House is reaping that which it has chosen to sow, in their own unique (and ethically questionable) way. If the White House believed, as Karl Rove told Chris Matthews, that Joseph Wilson's wife was "fair game", then shouldn't the press consider questions about the case "fair game" in an atmosphere where reality is "created" every day?

This excerpt has a mountain's worth of a message in a just a few short paragraphs:
Within government, a representative figure for the pre-rollback era is David Gergen, the consummate insider who served as White House advisor to Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. He preached to both parties, the press, and to television audiences a cautious realism in media relations. It's long gone now but (in my paraphrase) it went something like this:

"The White House has a right to get its message out. The press has a right to question and probe. There are going to be conflicts (and during scandals much worse) but they ought to remain within bounds. The press needs the Administration, it's number one source. The Administration can be hurt by bad press, and helped by good relations with reporters. So calm down and let's get on with producing White House news together."

Or as Larry Speakes, fomer press secretary to Ronald Reagan, once put it: "You don't tell us how to stage the news, and we don't tell you how to report it." It's no surprise that Gergen moved easily from one Administration to the next, and from government into journalism and back. He had the insider's consensus narrative in his pocket. But what if one party unilaterally withdraws from Gergen-style managerialism? There's nothing in the press playbook about that.
I deeply appreciated Mr. Rosen's use of a Ron Suskind "parable" and contrasting the strange White House attitude toward delivering their created version of "the truth" to the reality of the needs of the real-world press, who are now asking some tough questions while reporting the developments in the story of the outing of Valerie Plame:

The Parable (Ron Suskind):

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Today the prosecutor is studying what they do, and there's no way to roll that back. In a Salon interview after the Times article came out, Suskind (whose sources were mostly Republicans) was asked whether the Bush forces were indeed trying to "eliminate a national point of reference on facts."
Absolutely! That's the whole idea, to somehow sweep away the community of honest brokers in America -- both Republicans and Democrats and members of the mainstream press -- sweep them away so we'll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.
No more honest brokers; and claims take the place of facts. Disguised by the culture war's ranting about media bias, this is happening all around us today. Limits on what liberties could be taken with the factual record without triggering a political penalty are being overcome. Joseph Wilson interfered, forcing the White House to pay a penalty (my emphasis in bold print): the so-called sixteen words in the State of the Union speech that had to be withdrawn after his op-ed. So he had to pay. And that's how roll back, freedom over fact, culture war, and the naming of Valerie Plame connect to one another.....

- Jay Rosen

E-Mail to Mark Steyn Regarding His Misleadings on Wilson

E-Mail to Mark Steyn Regarding His Misleadings on Wilson
Buying into propaganda doesn't fly in the face of facts pointing to the contrary.Fearmongering and avoiding the core issue, which is Karl Rove playing recklessly and loose with America's classified information, doesn't serve the public well.

I wrote to Mark Steyn today because I totally disapprove of his journalistic style and method, which is clearly one of avoidance, disinformation and fearmongering.

As the Londoners have recently proclaimed, and my heart is with them: "We are not afraid".

We will fight terror, but it can only be done, with cooperation, if we start from a point of honesty. Propaganda just doesn't work in the modern age.

I'll give you a reprint of my e-mail to Mr. Steyn today.

To: Mark Steyn mailbox-at-steynonline-dot-com
My Title: We're Not Buying Your Line of Reasoning
Re: Quote from your column in Chicago Sun Times 17 July 2005
Excerpt from your July 17 column:

"....Just about everybody on the face of the earth except Wilson, the White House press corps and the crowd accepts that Saddam was indeed trying to acquire uranium from Africa. Don't take my word for it; it's the conclusion of the Senate intelligence report, Lord Butler's report in the United Kingdom, MI6, French intelligence, other European services -- "

Dear Mr. Steyn,

I don't write many e-mails to columnists. In this case, I was driven to do so.

"Everybody on the face of the earth" is an exaggeration that few Americans are "buying." There is too much information out here to believe such a line, which sounds a lot like whistling past the graveyard.

We know this is about the gross abuse of intelligence and political retrubution toward the man who dared to try and dispel the inconsistencies on the part of the White House in building their case to make pre-emptive war on Iraq. The retribution came in the form of ceratin White Hose officials playing fast and loose with classified information.

Most people on the face of the earth can see that. There is no ethical excuse for what has been done to Valerie Plame. You can use all the fear-mongering and fact-twisting you'd like. In the end, truth always prevails. Mr. Steyn, I think you'd look a lot better, when the smoke clears, on the right side of history. That, of course, is up to you.

I cannot abide by your gross misleadings, though. I thought I'd write and tell you so. I'm an honest person who happens to believe Mr. Wilson. There isn't anything he's said, to this day, to convince me otherwise. In the end, I think most other American citizens who respect the value of good character will agree with me.

Jude Nagurney Camwell

Senate Intelligence Report -

In his testimony, George Tenet had obvious reservations about Cheney/Feith/Libby:


These reservations do not seem to have made it into the Senate Intelligence Report.

Comment from Guardian article, showing that Tenet was scapegoated instead:
Link -
The report repeatedly condemns the departing CIA director, George Tenet, accusing him of skewing advice to top policy-makers with the CIA's view, and casting aside dissenting views from other intelligence agencies overseen by the state or defence departments.

It blames Mr Tenet for not personally reviewing Mr Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, which contained since-discredited references to Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium in Africa. Mr Tenet has resigned, and leaves his post on Sunday.
** NOTE: The Senate Intel Committee used Tenet as scapegoat and told America they'd investigate the White House role "later"...and they never did.

Butler Report:

My comments: Joe Wilson's argument was not whether or not an attempt was made to purchase uranium, it was whether or not our American president was using incredibly shaky information in his State of the Union speech to promote an unnecessary war. The Butler Report only served to separate the British government's admittedly inconclusive intelligence from Bush's (ab)use of that intelligence.

Chapter 6.4
Section 503-

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.

b. British government intelligence from several different sources indicated that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased uranium, as opposed to having sought uranium. The British government did not claim this.

d. The forged documents were not available to the British government at the time its assessment was made and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.

Related post at my freelance blog

From Independent article:
"George Tenet, the CIA director at the time, declared that the Niger claim was "not tenable". And in last week's damning senate report on pre-war intelligence, a memo by a senior CIA official was revealed which said: "We told Congress that the Brits have exaggerated this issue."

MI6 -

see my comments here (many links):


French intelligence -

See: New Yorker/Seymour Hersh New Yorker Link
In the fall of 2001, soon after the September 11th attacks, the C.I.A. received an intelligence report from Italy’s Military Intelligence and Security Service, or SISMI, about a public visit that Wissam al-Zahawie, then the Iraqi Ambassador to the Vatican, had made to Niger and three other African nations two and a half years earlier, in February, 1999. The visit had been covered at the time by the local press in Niger and by a French press agency. The American Ambassador, Charles O. Cecil, filed a routine report to Washington on the visit, as did British intelligence. There was nothing untoward about the Zahawie visit. “We reported it because his picture appeared in the paper with the President,” Cecil, who is now retired, told me. There was no article accompanying the photograph, only the caption, and nothing significant to report. At the time, Niger, which had sent hundreds of troops in support of the American-led Gulf War in 1991, was actively seeking economic assistance from the United States.

None of the contemporaneous reports, as far as is known, made any mention of uranium. But now, apparently as part of a larger search for any pertinent information about terrorism, SISMI dug the Zahawie-trip report out of its files and passed it along, with a suggestion that Zahawie’s real mission was to arrange the purchase of a form of uranium ore known as “yellowcake.” (Yellowcake, which has been a major Niger export for decades, can be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors. It can also be converted, if processed differently, into weapons-grade uranium.)

"Other European services"
( ???????? ... )

Typical DLC: Tom Vilsack Wimps Out

Typical DLC:
Tom Vilsack Wimps Out

I could hardly believe it.
Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, new head of the DLC, appeared with John King on CNN just now and asked for Karl Rove to APOLOGIZE and said he expected we could "move on" with other issues.


What is WRONG with Tom Vilsack? Has he no courage or moral fortitude?

Rove should be kicked out of the White House - on his ass!

Vilsack’s leadership abilities should be scrutinized. He deserves to be thrashed for this wimpy performance.

He spells L-O-S-E-R for Democrats by taking such a weak position on behalf of the DLC.

John Fund = Liar

John Fund = Liar

On CNN's "Reliable Sources" (cough) with Howard Kurtz today, I observed partisan weasel John Fund protecting Karl Rove like a mother-bear would protect her cub. He's helping to spread the RNC lies about Joseph Wilson - trying to peg him as a liar. Why is John Fund engaging in this behavior? When Howard Kurtz asked John Fund, (not exact wording - transcript not yet availble): "Even if what you're saying may be so, did that give Karl Rove the right to discuss his wife with those journalists?" Fund had no reasonable reply.

*Note: My question as to why Fund would be acting this way is asked in jest. If you look at any of the links on this post, you will see that Fund has been nothing but an extension arm of the attack-dog arm of the RNC.

Mehlman Not Only Looked Ridiculous, He Looked 'Nuts'

There is a fine line in politics where, once you cross it, you begin to look like a bumbling idiot. Ken Mehlman has definitely crossed that line, in my opinion. His performance on Meet the Press this morning was both laughable and insulting to the common sense of most American citizens. While the general modus operandi, in politics, to attack an enemy who has negativity to desseminate about one of your own, you have to pick and choose your battles carefully. The modus operandi of Ken Mehlman's RNC is to attack like a rabid dog, frothing and spinning lies about the target of their defense. Now, in the case of Karl Rove, Mehlman is spewing outright lies and attacking wildly, regardless of the fact that the person he's covering for is a proven liar and glaringly unethical; regardless of any sense he hopes to make by the extremely general attacks. Mehlman thinks, simply by invoking names of certain politicians and organizations, (for example:, Hillary Clinton - whom Mehlman carefully referred to as "former First Lady) and Nancy Pelosi - another high-profile female in politics - women are all "fair game" to these goons, I guess.)

I'm starting to think Mehlman is 'nuts' - he must be. A sane person could not expect to sit on national TV and attack and Hillary and Nancy Pelosi for having reservations about what Karl Rove did when he engaged in a free-for-all discussion about classified information about a CIA agent with members of the press. Mehlman is attacking anyone and everyone who would even care to TALK about the issue at this time - calling them all "partisans". (Has he completely lost his mind?) Doesn't Mehlman see what he's doing? He's making the objects of his stupid attacks look really, really good by those attacks. It proves that Mehlman and those he defends have no sense about what Americans think about what constitutes good character and that the RNC doesn't hold good character as a serious value.