29 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. 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.

  2. @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

  3. @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.

    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
    “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?
    Tomgram: Powers on George Tenet, the CIA, and the Invasion of Iraq
    The CIA did it!
    Tomgram: Jim Lobe on Timing the Cheney Nuclear Drumbeat
    Tomgram: De la Vega, Bush’s War, a Case of Presidential Fraud?
    (Tom Fingar) Post-Iraq-War US Intel Chief Praised
    Full text of Powell’s Feb 05, 2003, UN Assembly speech

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