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Monday Message Board

February 5th, 2018

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

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  1. February 5th, 2018 at 08:46 | #1

    Lots of positive comments on Twitter given to a Matthew Parris article that appeared in The Times on the weekend extremely critical of the Conservatives unwilling to be honest about Brexit. Key section can be read as attachment to a tweet here:

    https://twitter.com/tds153/status/959713772066738177

  2. david
    February 5th, 2018 at 08:47 | #2

    Contrary to the assertions by Turnbull, Cormann and others Susan Lamb does not concede she is currently a British Citizen as confirmed by the relevant British Department correspondence which is in her entry in the Citizenship Register of the House of representatives.

    This comes from a man who so spectacularly failed in asserting the High Court would “so find” that citizenship must be held knowingly for a member to be disqualified under section 44 of the Constitution. The High Court did not so find unanimously 7 to nil. Brandis who asserted the same has since gone. His appointee Donoghue is till fronting up to the High Court carrying the can for his political masters eg. Alley v Gillespie which gets little public debate where Alley is represented by a real lawyer the respected Bret Walker SC. That section 44 case should be very interesting and critical.

    Lamb asserts she did all things she could do to renounce any British Citizenship which was unreasonably not registered by the British Department which in turn asserts there is no evidence she was ever a British Citizen. This flies in the face of the deceptive hysteria of Cormann this am. on ABC News.

    This deceit is typical of the Coalition of which there are many examples like Brandis verballing Justin Gleeson SC and the Yarra 3 Hunt, Sukkar and Tudge dishonestly being in contempt of the Victorian Court of Appeal. Do not forget the jury is still out on Cash and others misleading parliament in the circumstances of the AFP raid on the AWU.

    What a stinking mess !

  3. Moz of Yarramulla
    February 5th, 2018 at 14:38 | #3

    Yorkshire Ranter continues his posts on Coase and the nightmare of replacing a single firm with a network of contracts (explicitly wrt the privatisation model used in the UK and Australia): http://www.harrowell.org.uk/blog/2018/02/04/a-bit-more-on-coasian-hells/

  4. ZM
    February 5th, 2018 at 18:34 | #4

    I saw local economist Warwick Smith speak yesterday on housing affordability policy, which was quite interesting.

    He talked about people “tree changing” to live in this area driving up property prices. Making the commute gives them higher incomes. He also made a critique of economic rent seeking by land banking. He said some economists put forward a policy to make land tax annual, so that people with expensive houses (due to the housing bubble) but low incomes would potentially be pushed into selling their houses, making more housing available on the market.

    I asked him about my theory Victoria is in the early stages of a recession due to shops being shut and the government throwing money at infrastructure projects, and he agreed to an extent, saying it looked like Victoria was in a recession that was hidden by population growth. Because of how economic growth is accounted, population increases aren’t accounted for in growth figures.

  5. D
    February 5th, 2018 at 20:51 | #5

    Clive Hamilton seems to have jumped into the “foreign interference” mosh-pit with glee.

    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;db=COMMITTEES;id=committees%2Fcommjnt%2F1e36c2f4-7e55-46ed-ab03-e9bd81f4cdb8%2F0004;query=Id%3A%22committees%2Fcommjnt%2F1e36c2f4-7e55-46ed-ab03-e9bd81f4cdb8%2F0000%22

    Apart from now being great mates with Andrew Bolt, he says that Beijing interfered in the Bennelong by-election on behalf of Keneally.

    Everyone’s gone stark raving mad.

  6. February 6th, 2018 at 02:36 | #6

    Indian coal update. Self-described “capitalist tool” Forbes catches up with the slo-mo shipwreck:
    ******forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2018/01/30/india-coal-power-is-about-to-crash-65-of-existing-coal-costs-more-than-new-wind-and-solar/#2abeb51a4c0f

    There are now serious proposals for accelerated retirement of the uneconomic coal fleet. The rich owners of the stranded assets (including of course Adani) will jump at this, so the issue is not likely to go away.

  7. Svante
    February 6th, 2018 at 12:25 | #7

    @D “Beijing interfered in the Bennelong by-election – Everyone’s gone stark raving mad”

    Really? Where would Sam be sitting today if Keneally had got up?

    “Prof. Hamilton : …suddenly there was a highly effective campaign using Chinese language social media to mobilise Chinese-Australians in those electorates. That’s definitely happening. The reason it can happen is because there are well over a million Chinese-Australians who are potential voters…

    I wrote a piece for The Guardian Australia about the importance of Chinese investors in the Australian real estate market, and I used FIRB figures … a campaign started in the comments section—it was clearly an organised one … The Guardian buckled… So The Guardian published underneath it a statement saying, ‘This is nothing to do with us; The Guardian doesn’t agree with it.’ Two years later, when the newer FIRB figures came out, I was completely vindicated. It does show that organised campaigns by pro-Beijing people or organisations in Australia can have an influence in the mainstream media.”

    macrobusiness.com.au/2018/01/chinese-influence-much-worse-us-influence/
    afr.com/news/china-a-key-test-for-foreign-influence-crackdown-academics-20180129-h0qb12#ixzz55ghUcKCO
    afr.com/news/politics/aba-property-council-want-proposed-foreign-influence-rules-to-be-narrowed-20180128-h0pquj

  8. Newtownian
    February 6th, 2018 at 13:45 | #8

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2160278-it-may-be-impossible-to-live-comfortably-without-trashing-earth/

    Above is a recent NS article I just saw basically saying what we knew already – no current economic system is rational or sustainable because of limits to growth…..perhaps with a few honorable exceptions such as Herman Daly, the whole economics profession needs to resign en masse in light of their continuing failure over the 45 years since UNEP was founded and identified the core problem of unsustainable growth.

    The single graph is quite nice in that shows where we would like to be development and affluence v. ecological sustainability wise and how we are nowhere near it.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026786-900-special-report-life-in-a-land-without-growth/

    This second item is a link from the first article to the same concerns expressed back in 2008 in a special NS addition. Reading it is like watching Groundhog Day. Same concerns expressed in the form of a hypothetical about what things might be like 2020 if we had gotten genuinely economically rational which its easy to see we have not. Normally I would sniff at KPIs but I think in this case I can make an exception. We continue to run the experiment confirming our systems are unsustainable and yet again this is confirmed.

    When you read these articles you have to wonder if academics releasing a letter of concern as with the Murray Darling Basin mess the other day isnt a waste of time that would be better spent talking to school children who have more of a stake in the future than aging readers/listeners of newspapers and the ABC who have a diminshing stake in the future except to squeeze a retirement income out of the world in their twilight years.

  9. John Quiggin
    February 6th, 2018 at 14:55 | #9

    @Newtownian

    The article is paywalled, but, from the summary it appears to say, not that it’s impossible to live decently without trashing the earth, but that it’s not being done now, and can’t be done with current technology. OTOH, we know that it’s possible to combine generally improving living standards with essentially flat CO2 emissions. That implies that with a slightly slower rate of growth and more rapid deployment of renewables, we could combine improving standards with decreasing emissions. More on this here
    https://aeon.co/essays/we-can-end-world-poverty-without-destroying-the-planet

  10. D
    February 6th, 2018 at 15:56 | #10

    Svante,

    Hamilton’s contribution can be summarised:

    Prof. Hamilton : …. I have to say, this is speculation. I don’t have any evidence for this, but it seems to me ….

    Evidence free speculation.

    Or, this:
    —-
    Mr LEESER: To use the language of the legislation which we’re considering, a foreign principal, or an agent of a foreign principal, told the publishers that they would suffer the inability to get not just your book but other books published in China, cyberattacks and vexatious litigation?

    Prof. Hamilton : No. No actual threats were made, and, in a way, this is more worrying. It was the shadow that Beijing casts that was enough to frighten these very respectable publishers, and they had in mind, very clearly, two high-profile defamation actions that have been launched against major news organisations in Australia.

    Mr LEESER: If no actual threats were made, in what form were these threats communicated?

    Prof. Hamilton : They weren’t communicated. It was the sense that there are people in Australia with deep pockets who are willing, at the behest of or encouraged by agencies of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, to take legal action to punish major news organisations in Australia for writing things that were said to be defamatory.

    Mr LEESER: So, as it were, the publishers took a commercial decision based on a fear that those things might happen rather than anything that was actually threatened?

    Prof. Hamilton : Yes.
    —–

    Publishers were threatened. Not with threats. No threats were made or actually communicated. It was a sense of threats. A “vibe” perhaps.

    On any other topic that reasoning gets summarily dismissed as crazy conspiracy theory.

  11. Svante
    February 6th, 2018 at 16:58 | #11

    @D

    Hmm, I take it then we’re good on CCP, Bennelong, Keneally, and Dastyari.

    Now an interesting bit of cherry picking of Hamilton’s evidence before the committee. Is it all you have? Regarding this fruit selection then, you seem to think the otherwise willing 3 Australian publishers’ business relations with the PRC, such as book printing, would remain fine and dandy for them in future were they to publish Hamilton’s latest thoroughly vetted book on China’s influence in Australia. Also in regard to this instance of CCP muscle as experienced personally by Hamilton, may I suggest you search the transcript for the eleven instances of “defamation”.

  12. D
    February 6th, 2018 at 18:41 | #12

    Except, Hardie Grant are publishing the book and it is out in March.

    MUP and Allen & Unwin decided not to publish it. That’s the nature of the industry. No boogeymen required.

    People sue publishers for defamation all the time. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. That’s why we have a judicial system.

    Of course well-funded and bad-intentioned people of all types of backgrounds will sometimes use the courts with an ulterior agenda (that cuts both ways incidentally. Murdoch is said to have a three stage policy for publishing defamatory stories: 1. Will they sue? 2. Will they win? 3. If they win, how much will it cost us? And if he’s happy with the answers to those questions he publishes anyway).

  13. Svante
    February 6th, 2018 at 19:41 | #13

    “Except, Hardie Grant are publishing the book…”

    Correction, make that: Except, Hardie Grant at the time of Hamilton’s above linked appearance before the joint committee weren’t publishing the book, but a week later have made it known they are now to publish a rewritten version.

    Costs alone mean there are few if any winners in defamation cases. The main purpose of that particular oppressive part of our two tiered legal system. A point Hamilton made.

    Murdoch? As Hamilton stated, an opinion piece of his on this that ‘The Australian’ would like to publish is held up even though it has been “legaled”. The implication being that the pockets (China inc.) behind any likely defamation action brought are too deep even for News, or that it would impose China inc. costs on Murdoch elsewhere. Where might Murdoch have his books printed? And Murdoch’s substantial education and religious publications are printed where?

  14. D
    February 6th, 2018 at 20:41 | #14

    15 years ago yesterday Colin Powell made the infamous “WMD” address at the UN that directly resulted in the deaths of more than 1 million people and the destruction of at least 3 countries.

    “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

    Of course it was all lies. Evidence free speculation at best.

    The other, and more probable, implication regarding The Oz sitting on an opinion piece that has been cleared by legal and that they really ‘would like to publish’ is that Murdoch is playing games. The taxpayer picks up his legal bills via deductions and he happily spends buckets every year on defamation cases. The Murdoch press and its various properties, such as Bolt, are loving Hamilton’s latest iteration. Murdoch doesn’t like the Chinese government very much because they (unlike US, UK & Oz) stymied his efforts to create an influence machine big enough to cause them internal headaches and him vast power and profits.

    As for publishing the book – either the scary Chinese cast their threatening shadow which prevents publication without any explicit or implicit communication of a threat, or they don’t. The fact that a publisher is going to publish demonstrates that they don’t.

  15. Svante
    February 7th, 2018 at 00:58 | #15

    @D

    Now, that is a stretch.

    Powell unwittingly was duped. He was set up by others with misinformation from sources beyond his ken or control that he took on trust. Some fake dots joined by a seemingly credible but actually phony line of reasoning, all backed in by an appeal to his hijacked integrity and trusted authorities above his own. The poor sucker.

    In high contrast, Hamilton’s 300 page book is based on his own research. The 1200 footnotes are his own. Many, many, verified valid dots are no doubt joined by more than merely acceptable academic argument to make his case.

    The contrast between Powell’s unwarranted ‘trust me and what I’ve been handed’ and Hamilton’s ‘here’s what I’ve found, take a look for yourself’ could hardly be any greater.

    jìn shuǐ zhī yú xìng, jìn shān shí niǎo yīn – Near to rivers, we recognize fish, near to mountains, we recognize the songs of birds. It is very important to make on-the-spot investigations.

    Murdoch doesn’t like any government very much for very long. Anyway, his sentiment here regarding the Chinese government is irrelevant. It’s business. What’s the connection?

    Connections. We’ll see what Hamilton’s ‘Silent Invasion’ re-write looks like in, what, March do you reckon? With Hardi Grant CEO Sandy Grant’s bold specific reference to their previous ‘Spycatcher’ experience I wouldn’t be too surprised if I someday hear that with common background and interests the deep pockets of the Turnbull government executive have been offered to give support should some China inc. proxy bring suit.

    As for an ahistorical CCP project pushing an imperceptible barrow, all cuddly like, casting no shadows…

    That proud son of Heaven,
    Genghis Khan,
    Knew only shooting eagles, bow outstretched.
    All are past and gone!
    For truly great men,
    Look to this age alone.

    booksandpublishing.com.au/articles/2018/02/06/101588/hardie-grant-to-publish-hamiltons-silent-invasion/
    hardiegrant.com/au/our-board

  16. D
    February 7th, 2018 at 01:19 | #16

    Powell was lying and he knew he was lying:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-schwarz/colin-powell-wmd-iraq-war_b_2624620.html

    FFS! He was the US Secretary of State – in that position you don’t get to deflect responsibility for your lies to “bad intelligence” or bungling juniors. He is directly responsible for more than 1,000,000 dead people and your response is: “Ooops, he didn’t know”?

    Unless you’ve actually read Hamilton’s book already, we’re all in the same “trust me” boat regardless of how many footnotes he claims to have.

    The book is out on 2nd March (a remarkably quick production schedule from 31 January when everyone was too scared to publish because of the scary Chinese shadow threat, including a re-write by Hamilton).

  17. February 7th, 2018 at 10:32 | #17

    Powell gave a press conference after the notorious presentation to the Security Council, in a room that sports s tapestry reproduction of Picasso’s “Guernica”. Powell’s aides had it covered. Even in a reproduction, this work still had the power to shame, because it gold the truth about what the Bush Administration was planning.

  18. February 7th, 2018 at 10:34 | #18

    Told the truth! GIVE US EDIT

  19. February 7th, 2018 at 10:52 | #19

    @John Quiggin
    What a difference five years makes. In 2013, JQ was arguing that shifting to sustainable growth comes at an acceptable cost. Now it’s clear that in energy supply it comes at no net cost at all – not even counting the massive health benefits. In transport, we are nearly there for electric cars and trucks, and it’s beginning to look doable in short-distance aviation and shipping, also ironmaking.

    We face two big problems now: dealing with the transitional losses to incumbent vested interests, who are putting up a desperate and unprincipled fight; and planning to deal with the now inevitable overshoot of the 1.5 degree carbon budget, through massive sequestration using untested technologies and financing mechanisms.

  20. ZM
    February 7th, 2018 at 15:15 | #20

    James Wimberley :
    @John Quiggin
    We face two big problems now: dealing with the transitional losses to incumbent vested interests, who are putting up a desperate and unprincipled fight; and planning to deal with the now inevitable overshoot of the 1.5 degree carbon budget, through massive sequestration using untested technologies and financing mechanisms.

    There is a third problem I’ve noticed in Melbourne ; as the sustainability movement becomes more mainstream, at the same time it becomes more powerful. As a result some rather unscrupulous people are drawn to using the sustainability movement for their own ends. I’ve watched this happen particularly in the Melbourne climate emergency movement forums I’ve attended over the past few years. I personally support the idea of mobilisation for the climate like wartime mobilisation. But I’ve definitely noticed a few unscrupulous types drawn to this for their own ends. Can’t really be more specific without naming names.

  21. Svante
    February 7th, 2018 at 19:19 | #21

    @D
    Powell surely bears a share in the blame, but what exactly is he directly responsible for? The US decision for war was out of his hands and already locked in by Bush and Cheney before Powell’s February UN presentation and regardless of what if anything the UN might do following it. He had delayed and diverted that decision earlier and sought alternative outcomes, but halting the juggernaut of neocon warpigs that surrounded him was always going to be beyond his or anyone else’s ability. Cheney laughed at Powell’s predicament.

  22. ZM
    February 7th, 2018 at 22:36 | #22

    D :
    Apart from now being great mates with Andrew Bolt, he says that Beijing interfered in the Bennelong by-election on behalf of Keneally.
    Everyone’s gone stark raving mad.

    Gosh I can’t imagine Clive Hamilton and Andrew Bolt being mates.

    The submission is certainly interesting “However, I think most of the submissions miss the essential point of the proposed laws, and that is that the legislation is designed to protect our freedoms and to safeguard democratic rights that are under threat in Australia from the incursions of an authoritarian foreign power. This fact should not be forgotten: the bills under consideration are designed to protect our freedoms.”

    I’ve seen Clive Hamilton speak and I found him authoritarian to be honest. Earth Masters and Growth Fetish and Requiem For A Dream I find all his work quite bossy really, although I don’t know him personally of course. He’s in the Great Debate at the Sustainable Living Festival this weekend probably speaking from his new Defiant Earth book. The topic looks interesting, a a mobilisation to drawdown GHG emissions:

    “This feature festival event boldly sets out to make the seemingly impossible, possible – exploring the vital role carbon ‘drawdown’ could play in helping reach a below zero emission world. What will Australia’s role look like in mounting this historic social, political and technical mobilisation to cool the planet quickly?”

  23. February 11th, 2018 at 02:19 | #23

    Is Australia a country? Views differ, in New Hampshire higher education:
    ******huffingtonpost.com/entry/professor-fired-australia-country_us_5a7ddf58e4b0c6726e1305ad

  24. Ikonoclast
    February 11th, 2018 at 05:09 | #24

    BOB WOODWARD: “When Powell would be asked to go on television talk shows, the White House would tell him no and Powell would say privately to his deputy Richard Armitage, “I’m in the refrigerator, I’m in the icebox, they’ve got me put away and they’ll pull me out like a carton of milk when they need me and then put me back.””

    I knew the WMD lies were lies at the time from where I sat half a world away with no special knowledge. Of course Powell knew. If one had followed the whole Hans Blix, Weapons Inspector, saga as closely as I had then it was crystal clear that Saddam had no nuclear weapons. So-called chemical weapons might have been another story although I had doubts that he had much of those either.

    The whole WMD thing is built on misconstruction and misdirection. If you have conventional weapons on the scale the USA has them then they are weapons of mass destruction anyway. And explosive munitions are chemical weapons. They are made out of chemicals. This is not mere pedantry. Is it any more humane to be blown apart or turned to jelly inside by concussive force or burned by “conventional” munitions and left crawling around? No, of course not. Oh, and then there are the depleted uranium munitions used by the USA. If a countryside strewn with uranium oxide dust is not chemically dusted I don’t know what is.

    The US construction of war quite simply is that only expensive weapons are permissible. If you use cheap weapons then you are cheating. The expensive weapons rule makes, or seeks to make, war a rich country’s game only. “When we attack you with expensive weapons you are not to use inexpensive defenses nor are you to use asymmetric war. That makes you a war criminal. In fact, you are not to defend yourself at all.”

  25. Ikonoclast
    February 11th, 2018 at 05:20 | #25

    @James Wimberley

    “The professor, however, … stood firmly by her belief that Australia was not a country.”

    If the professor used the word “belief” that is a further concern. She needs to take a course on epistemology. How hard is it in this day and age to Google a list of countries? And it was never hard to look up an Encyclopedia in the old days either. Every educational institution and public library had one.

    Sacking or suspension was the wrong action. Being directed to take a course in epistemology would have been far more constructive all round.

  26. Ikonoclast
    February 11th, 2018 at 07:13 | #26

    … and geography of course.

  27. Collin Street
    February 11th, 2018 at 10:09 | #27

    Sacking or suspension was the wrong action. Being directed to take a course in epistemology would have been far more constructive all round.

    One of the conclusions I’ve worked out after half a life of arguing on-line is that, bluntly, it’s for all practical purposes impossible to teach adults out of their epistemological problems, because:
    + it’s actually pretty humiliating to realise that, essentially, you’ve been wrong about everything ever, and people are reluctant to accept that conclusion,
    + if you need epistemological guidance… you have epistemological problems, no? which will severely affect your ability to comprehend the guidance you require.

    The two together is a brutal combination; every pointless bullshit quibble gets raised, even the utterly-baseless ones every step of the way.

    The opportunity cost renders the exercise worse than useless. Focus efforts on the children and if some adults happen to fall through the gaps the best you can do is cut them free.

  28. Svante
    February 11th, 2018 at 15:55 | #28

    @Ikonoclast

    Joan Didion: “Woodward is a widely trusted reporter, even an American icon … Measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent (post Watergate) … a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured … political pornography”.

    That ABC AM item sandwiched the above Woodward quote with other comment drawn from his “Bush at War” that maybe were corroborated by several sources:

    JOHN SHOVELAN: As the emphasis moved from war in Afghanistan to a prospective war with Iraq, Bush’s Cabinet split.

    The Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was having private meetings with the President and Vice President Dick Cheney is described as “beyond hell bent for action against Hussein. It was as if nothing else existed”.

    At the same time, the President’s Political Adviser Karl Rove noted that he thought the Secretary of State Colin Powell had lost a step and looked uncomfortable in the presence of the President.

    JOHN SHOVELEAN: “The White House feared Powell’s views would contradict those of Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    Woodward says Powell had problems bonding with President Bush and his deputy, Richard Armitage, confirmed Rumsfeld was having regular private meetings with the President and told Powell he needed to do the same.

    In one two hour meeting Powell convinced the President the US had to go to the UN one last time. At a meeting of the National Security Council on August 16th the Cabinet agreed.

    Powell went on holiday satisfied.

    But eleven days later the Vice President gave a hard line speech that a UN resolution would only provide false comfort.

    At their next meeting at Camp David Woodward describes a clash between Powell and Cheney as “dancing on the edge of civility.”

    Is that the Woodward from November 2002, once again handing on what he’d been fed? And so soon when who, where, when, and what actually happened still unfolds now? Right now, for instance:

    LAWRENCE WILKERSON (Powell’s Chief of Staff. The guy actually in charge of preparing Powell’s Feb 2003 UN speech): “You would have a lot of sympathy if you asked me if I have some doubts about the U.S. intelligence agencies, all 17 of them now (16 then, including the comparatively small State Dept agency), definitely. But let me tell you what I’ve done over the last 11 or 12 years, on two university campuses with really brilliant students, in terms of enlightening myself, gaining new insights into what happened not only in 2002 and ’03, but what’s been happening ever since and, for that matter, what happened ever since Richard Nixon, with regard to the intelligence communities…” – Lawrence Wilkerson, I Helped Sell the False Choice of War with Iraq; It’s Happening Again with Iran, Democracy Now!, February 09, 2018 democracynow.org/2018/2/9/lawrence_wilkerson_i_helped_sell_the

    I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.
    Lawrence Wilkerson, New York Times, Feb. 5, 2018

    Lawrence Wilkerson: Trump admin. ‘like a mafia family’
    ‘”That’s essentially the way I view President Trump now – as a godfather,’ says the colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.” all-in/watch/lawrence-wilkerson-trump-admin-like-a-mafia-family-962531907675, MSNBC June 08, 2017

  29. Svante
    February 11th, 2018 at 17:00 | #29

    @D

    The US State Department employs diplomats. It also had a relatively small intelligence analysis section. They threw out some lies. Powell successfully culled a few others just prior to the speech. He binned other weak stories too, but the CIA as quickly found alleged new reliable humint backing those stories and revived them. Powell knew it was weak and full of holes. There was no way they could stop progress to war. Congress had long since signed off on what Cheney had had engineered and presented to them. Congress could not possibly nay say the NIE version they’d approved for public consumption.

    huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-schwarz/colin-powell-wmd-iraq-war_b_2624620.html
    POWELL: I only knew what the intelligence community told me.
    POWELL: These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries.

    That Huffington Post article has some points, sure (and errors), but it’s far more complicated and difficult to sheet home blame to any individual involved than the Huff could ever make out. Just as for the US black sites and torture there deliberately is a circle of individuals with overlapping involvements – the blame goes round and round and can land on noone in particular. There were departures from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), that smallish group of analysts, says the Huff? Just how high did State rank in the Bush/Cheney/neocon swamp until Condy took over? How high did Powell rank when his deputy had been on the inside of the “Vulcans” and Powell had not? How effective under Powell was State allowed to be in the scheme of things? State’s comparatively tiny budget and staffing (now shrinking rapidly under Trump) might also give an indication. US diplomat Powell’s address to the UN drew on the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq as produced for Congress the previous October by all 16 US intelligence agencies combined, whose combined budget, while unknown, ran to the many tens of billions of dollars. 15 other agencies, and some of those massive!

    Powell’s Chief of Staff at State, Lawrence Wilkerson, was in charge of overseeing Powell’s UN speech. Wilkerson regretted he had not insisted on the director of the small group of analysts at State, Carl Ford, being on the team (was that an Armitage move?). More so, he regretted not having Carl Ford’s deputy Tom Fingar on the team. Carl Ford would tell Powell there was a problem with another fraudulent CIA report that shortly followed the UN speech. Subsequently, when summoned to CIA headquarters to be carpeted, he told CIA Director George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin where to get off. Regarding their fraudulent attempt to salvage some credibility for ‘Curveball’ Carl Ford later said that Tenet and McLaughlin had not merely got it wrong but had lied and that Tenet and McLaughlin should have been shot!

    Tom Fingar later received praise for cleaning up US intelligence post Iraq, and restoring professionalism to it. He rose to Director of the National Intelligence Council, and he prevented Bush’s intended Iran invasion. In 2013, in retirement, hosted by the Oxford Union he received the annual award from Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence in recognition of Tom Fingar’s work from 2005 to 2008. That 2013 award ceremony was addressed by 2010 award recipient Julian Assange via videolink. Lawrence Wilkerson was the 2009 recipient of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.

    Powell’s speech was all but prepared at State by a team of under resourced amateurs who were being played mainly by the CIA, and a special intelligence unit set up within the Pentagon for the express purpose, all under express instructions from Cheney. Powell and team were ambushed with notice of only four days to prepare the speech and complex presentation. Powell spotted and tossed out the yellow cake story. Amongst other things Powell also spotted and tossed out all the rubbish about contacts between Al-Qaeda and Baghdad. Powell knew where tricks lay in the public version of the Congressional NIE, but as it was impossible to change he laid it all out again at the UN. Yes, including the aluminium tubes for nukes, and ridiculous fleets of biowarfare UAVs. The US was going to war in Iraq under Bush regardless of any UN developments. Cheney’s, and the other neocons’, count down to war was already far advanced. Powell called them “f—ing crazies”.

    Tom Fingar Post-Iraq-War US Intel Chief Praised
    consortiumnews.com/2013/01/14/post-iraq-war-us-intel-chief-praised/
    “When I tell Washington cognoscenti that this shielding can actually work, and that the debacle with “intelligence” on Iraq was the “Cheney/Bush exemption to the rule,” their eyes roll in disbelief. Everyone in Washington is perceived to have a political agenda. It takes guts for senior intelligence officials to avoid playing into that perception.” ““The job of the Intelligence Community is to help decision makers to make better-informed decisions. It most emphatically is not to lead or pressure them to decide issues in a particular way. … It is also the reason we spend billions of dollars on intelligence analysis. … In a fundamental way, we were simply ‘doing our jobs’ when we produced the Iran NIE…””

    Colin Powell: Useful Idiot or Co-Conspirator?
    counterpunch.org/2013/02/04/colin-powell-useful-idiot-or-co-conspirator/
    Tomgram: Powers on George Tenet, the CIA, and the Invasion of Iraq
    tomdispatch.com/post/174816/powers_on_george_tenet_the_cia_and_the_invasion_of_iraq
    The CIA did it!
    tomdispatch.com/post/1538/
    Tomgram: Jim Lobe on Timing the Cheney Nuclear Drumbeat
    tomdispatch.com/post/9301/%20jim_lobe_on_timing_the_cheney_nuclear_drumbeat
    Tomgram: De la Vega, Bush’s War, a Case of Presidential Fraud?
    tomdispatch.com/post/32550/
    (Tom Fingar) Post-Iraq-War US Intel Chief Praised
    consortiumnews.com/2013/01/14/post-iraq-war-us-intel-chief-praised/
    Full text of Powell’s Feb 05, 2003, UN Assembly speech
    theguardian.com/world/2003/feb/05/iraq.usa

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