Constant's pations

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Monday, December 05, 2005

How to find the CIA detainees moved from Europe to Africa

What’s worse than hiding evidence of war crimes?

It’s leaving a trail when you try to cover things up.

Here’s how to find the new location in Africa where the CIA detainees are being kept; and a methodology to cross check the original assumptions with what appears to be occurring.

* * *

The issue is: How many Americans are part of this detention system, once in Eastern Europe and now moved to Africa?

2 Nov was the start date for notification to the CIA.

By 5 Dec 2005, State reports that all the prisoners have been moved from Eastern Europe to Africa.

This means they've had approximately 35 days to move the prisoners.

* * *

We know three things: Either

A. they have moved all of them in 35 days; or

B. they were never in Eastern Europe the first place; or

C. they're still there; or

D. they were, for the most part, moved before 02 Nov 2005.

* * *

It is possible that State and CIA are lying about what is going on; and that the notices on the CIA flights were deliberately publicized to confuse the issue:

  • Relevant aircraft

  • Countries involved

  • Times

  • Destinations

    * * *

    Why would an agency that "just moved a bunch of prisoners form a location they weren't supposed to be in the first place" then announce where they are located?

    This means:

  • A. It is a ruse;

  • B. There is a rogue element in the CIA that disagrees.

    * * *

    Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that between 02 Nov and 05 Dec 05 all the prisoners have left/been moved; and that they were moved during a time of deliberate spikes in the CIA traffic.

    We don't know where they started; and don't know where they are now located.

    But what we do know is this:

  • There is a finite "aircraft movement rate" that was before the 02 November date; let's call this the baseline rate. Let's assume that X-percentage of the aircraft are not spotted, and have not been tracked.

  • There is also a post-movement-rate, the rate after all the prisoners have been moved. We can go back in time, and also forward in time to see what the baselines are. If we go back in time, we can assume that the "percentage of aircraft missed" will be approximately the same as during the actual shipment times.

  • There is a third-rate, the one of interest, the shipment-rate, between 2 Nov and 5 Dec 05.

    * * *

    The goal would be to see which locations have a spike. However, the key is to remember that there are diversions going on.

    Thus, we have to look not only at the specific location, but also the movement of aircraft after the notification, not just the location.

    * * *

    With time, what will be stripped away are the diversions. Remember, they're going to deliberately load and offload equipment and people that have nothing to do with what is going on.

    * * *

    The goal of this will be to see if there is a pattern in the spikes; and then look for a deliberate non-random aspect of the trips that is unusual but appears to be something that is normal.

    In other words, they're going to make it appear as though the "spike after 02 November" is random, and something that is related to what we would expect; at the same time, they're also going to have to physically move the people.

    * * *

    Who cares? Well, after a while, you're going to get a sense of the total, maximum number of flights that could have been accomplished in 30 days.

    This will be the maximum number of seats/physical space to move prisoners/detainees.

    This will be useful in setting an "upper bound" for the maximum number of prisoners that could be detained.

    * * *

    At the lower end of the scale, you're going to want to look for the spikes, and assume that they didn't mask anything. This will be the lower bound, or the most likely minimum number of prisoners.

    * * *

    Again, we have no idea where they are coming from, where they are going, or which routes.

    But the upper bound will be the maximum size of the facility required in both the original location; and the receiving one.

    The minimum number, or lower bound, will be the location as it appears on the satellite maps ... and was upgraded. Remember, the facility is underground.

    * * *

    Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the ratio of guards to prisoners is 11:1; this includes all staff, monitoring, and analysts.

    If we have an upper and lower bound for detainees, then we can compare the guard:detainee ratio figures to see which facility had to have had x-amount of traffic in and out.

    This traffic will bring food and other supplies that the guards need.

    We can use this to check our findings and assumptions from the original analysis.

    * * *

    At this point, based solely on the time [35 days], and the apparent spikes from X and Y locations; we can make some judgments about:

  • How many detainees are involved

  • How big the facility is in Eastern Europe

  • The size of the receiving network in Africa

  • The number of guards that are required to support that number of detainees

  • The approximate size of the facility-support staff

  • The required number of truckloads, flights, and other supporting shipments required to support X-number of guards for that facility

  • A number of target locations in Eastern Europe that would match the above description in terms of: Aircraft movements, personnel movements, and shipment of equipment and supplies.

    We can do this not only for the new facility; but for the original facility.

    They key will be to be aware that, because we are guessing, there will be inconsistencies; at the same time, these inconsistencies will leave us with a far narrower set of plausible assumptions about the original facility.

    * * *

    The point is that even though the prisoners may have been moved from Eastern Europe, we can no use the new information to make some judgments about the number of detainees, the number of CIA personnel who are involved, and the most likely number/location of the original location; and the most likely destination in Africa.

    Using the above analysis, we can then overlay this with the original methodology to find the sites in Eastern Europe.

    Not only did we have a method to find them before, we now have new information that will tend to shed light on what is reasonable to assume about the facility in Eastern Europe.

    When we pinpoint the most likely locations in Eastern Europe, we can then go forward in time and see whether the data/assumptions we are making about the detainee movements are reasonable.

    An unreasonable assumption would get highlighted by:

  • Having a disconnect between the likely-size of the facility in Eastern Europe, with the apparent number of flights out of that location to Africa;

  • A disconnect between the size of the facility, the realistic number of guards, and the supporting shipments in and out of that facility in Eastern Europe;

    Each of these profiles and patterns will have expected diversions in them. With some careful review, it will be possible to highlight the disconnects, and see which of the spikes are real, which are diversions, and which are bonafide.

    * * *

    It is now getting worse for the Americans: They know they're in trouble. And they're making mistakes.

    The worst thing you an do when you're caught is try to hide. All that does is leave more room for people to find more data, gather more evidence, and make more informed judgments about what was originally going on, and what appears to be occurring.

    There is now a second-level of evidence that can be used to find out the scope of this activity; what the numbers are; and whether "to meet that quota" there are most likely Americans involved in the pipeline.

    The above scenario assumes, perhaps incorrectly, that all detainees were moved subsequent to the 02 Nov 2005 WaPo press release.

    However, there is another plausible chain of events.

    First, the CIA may have worked with the WaPo to deliberately mislead the public. The CIA officials may have attracted attention to Eastern Europe on the assumption that this attention would distract focus on the actual locations, perhaps in Africa.

    Second, the objective of the CIA disclosures may have been to confirm old information as if it were true. This would create a relationship between the WaPo and the CIA officials; and the CIA may hope to rely on the WaPo’s ‘increased confidence’ in the CIA officials so that the CIA could mislead the WaPo and public in the future.

    Third, it is possible that the CIA had substantially moved all, if not most, of the detainees well before 02 Nov 2005. The purpose of the disclosure to the WaPo could have been deliberately created the false impression that the movement from Eastern Europe would occur after this date, thereby lowering the number of detainees “expected to have been held” to something much smaller. This would mislead the public as to the number of detainees, the number of CIA personnel involved, and the size of the facility in Eastern Europe.

    * * *

    It is possible that the CIA and others have deliberately "leaked" the information in October-November to the Washington Post as a distraction.

    If we consider this, then we could examine "how long ago" the detainees were held in Eastern Europe, and how the above analysis would change. Then, over time, we could compare the actual evidence to see which conclusion is most strongly supported.

    Let's presume the number of detainees is large; they were moved earlier than November 2005; the total time to move the detainees may or may not be related to the 35-day window between November 02 and December 05 2005; and that the WaPO article was a timed release about partially true events, but designed to distract attention from the actual detention centers, possibly in Africa.

    Here's a bullet list of the potential benefits:

  • Distract attention to Europe

  • Make the announcement at the end of the movement to Africa, or another location

  • Designed to undercount the total number of detainees

  • Incorrectly include the spikes in personnel/detainee movement as part of the baseline, thereby distracting attention from bonafide spikes;

  • Artificially limit the number involved, and investigators would look for a facility that is too small to accommodate the likely higher number of detainees

  • Mask the time, derogations, and construction activity in the Non-European countries, possibly in Africa.

  • Create an option to provide "legitimate" information about manufactured claims in re countries Congress is not otherwise inclined to believe warrant as much attention [i.e. Iran, Syria], in light of the Administrations' bogus claims about WMD in Iraq

    * * *

    Let's consider two options:

  • 1. The date of transport is 02 Nov - 05 December; or

  • 2. The date of transport was much pearlier than 02 November

    An initial analysis of the assumptions and scenario premised on the first option, would have us believe that the detainees, however large or small in number, would have to be moved in about 35 days. This would generate certain assumptions about the data before 02 November, and could artificially skew the analysis.

    Also, if we presume that the 02 Nov WaPo article was a bonafide surprise, then all the aircraft movement data before 02 Nov would be done without knowledge of [a] the WaPo article; and [b] the imminent spike in aircraft movement.

    Under Option 1, we would presume that the further we gat away from 02 November [going backward in time toward 9-11], the more likely we would approach "real data unrelated to the WaPo revelations.

    In turn, Option 1 would assume the closer we get to November 05, the more likely the cycles are adjusted.

    However, if we consider that the WaPo data is a ruse, and the actual detainee movement from Eastern Europe started much earlier in Option 2, then this would alter these assumptions about Option 1 in the following way:

  • The cycles may be deliberately "linked to" the 02 November WaPo article with the intention of making it appear the number of detainees is small

  • That the pre-November 05 data is apparently "cycling" for other reasons, but are actually related to the movement

    If Option 2 is real, then we have to ask: What would prompt the Americans to realize, "We have someone who knows something, but they haven't gone to the press, but it is likely this is blown" before making contract with the WaPo?

    If Option 2 is real, then we would have to expect that someone else other than the WaPo was about to make a credible claim which would be seriously considered, investigated, and be consistent with data.

    Also, if Option 2 is real, then the baseline data before the November 2005 announcement would be made with the knowledge that there was going to be an announcement.

    Also, if the Option 2 is real, then as we move backward in time from 02 November, closer to 9-11, then we may undershoot the window, unknowingly include actual detainee shipment data in the expected baseline-non-disclosed level, thereby understating the number.

    We judge it is most likely the CIA has already moved a larger number of detainees with the knowledge that the WaPo or another news outlet would publish information that was true, with the intent of providing misleading information about the current operations; and create an option for a larger deception in the future.

    It remains to be seen to what extent this apparent "aura of providing reliable information" is then used, perhaps without Congress knowing it, to justify a hasty decision or assumption of veracity where none is warranted.

    * * *

    We have little information from the WaPo about the identities of the personnel who provided the original information. This is not to say that the WaPo or the CIA personnel are misleading anyone, just that we need to consider that possibility.

    Bluntly, we have to explore what benefit, if any, the CIA and others would gain by providing the WaPo with partially correct information; and to what extent, if any, the WaPo would rely on this "track record of correct information" as momentum to "not check" other information, as the NYT-Miller did in re WMD.

    At this juncture, it remains to be seen what other future information may surface; and to what extent the "WaPo revelations about the European detention centers" will be used as a verbal shield to avoid needed scrutiny into other more complicated, and less certain matters.

    One possible risk is that the WaPo could be getting set up to act as a mouthpiece about "surprise information" about Syria and/or Iran, at the very time that the evidence for Bush's impeachment is mounting.

    It would be convenient for the White House if, by some "odd chance," there were "bonafide claims" which the WaPo "investigated and confirmed from previously reliable sources in the CIA" information that is as questionable as the Rendon-sponsored-nonsense in re Iraq's WMD.

    In turn, putting aside the WaPo's potential, perhaps unknowing, role in this potential future "disaster", it remains to be seen, despite the NYT-Miller-fallout, what sources Congress would rely on without either [a] doing detailed checking; or [b] applying the lessons of the Iraq-WMD issues which the Senate Intelligence Committees "should have" revealed during Phase II.

    * * *

    Phase II appears to be getting sidelined on the assumption that "the CIA doesn't have a problem with intelligence," but the issue is someone has leaked the information. Thus, the ruse appears to be one that the issue is isolated to a few mavericks, and is not a systemic problem.

    However, the larger issue is that the White House, regardless whether the CIA is or is not playing a PR game, has a larger problem.

    Rice, as National Security Advisor, was involved in the decisions following 9-11. She would have to have known what is going on with the detainees.

    Thus, for her to come forward at this point and make any statement seems absurd: She's already shown that her loyalty is to the President, not to the appropriate compliance with human rights.

    Also, the potential benefit of communicating an apparent "communication problem" between CIA-State-White House-DoD may be an illusion. This would complicate Fitzgerald's review. The White House staff has loyalty not to the rule of law, but to the RNC and President.

    We have three issues: Loyalty, law, and the thresholds for reporting. At this point, it is unclear whether the apparent "staff fear of public loss of confidence in an agency" is more than they fear a backlash by either the President, RNC, or specific staffers. Fitzgerald's indictment of Libby has sent shockwaves.

    Recall, Rice was with Bush at the Army War College. There are specific images of her and the President on the trip. There are discrete times. The issue is whether Rice, despite her proximity to the President since 9-11 and at specific times since then, can credibly claim "she didn't know about Eastern Europe." At this juncture, it appears not. It will be interesting to compare Rice's response and approach to questions in re 9-11; to how she responds to questions related to European Torture.

    It remains to be seen whether the CIA was actually caught off guard by the WaPo Article; or whether this was a feigned shock/surprise to add to Fitzgerald's challenges. However, Fitzgerald has already shown, despite the 18 month deadline for a grand jury, that he's not readily swayed to end an investigation by an arbitrary timeline; nor is he willing to "just let it go" when faced with something that appears inconsistent or challenging.

    In re Eastern European detentions, we judge Rice is either lying, stupid, or both.

    * * *

    It remains to be understood whether the actual fissures between Cheney and Bush are real, or designed to confuse the issues.

    What we do know is that Bush has made fatal admissions about the role he and others have played in re Downing Street Memo; analysts role; and who should or should not have been correctly providing information. It appears the President knew of the deceptions; was aware of the conversations; and is more interested in suppressing information than in providing truth.

    For example, if the claims about the AlJazeera bombing were false, then it would be prudent to timely provide a redacted copy of the transcripts with Blair to confirm. However, we see no transcript; a grand jury would likely conclude that the failure to timely correct a material, and damaging conclusion with available information is evidence of fraud; and the failure to provide information is further support for adverse conclusions.

    We judge that the White House is not engaging in an "apparent effort to create confusion," but is actually confused, and in crisis mode. It remains to be seen whether a specific event, question, or line of suppressed evidence emerged in late 2004 or early 2005 which would act as a catalyst for the CIA to quickly develop a back-up plan for the "movement of detainees from Eastern Europe", to be implemented at some point after this catalyst.

    We judge the actual catalyst for the movement of detainees has less to do with the WaPo revelations per se, and more related to an effort to distance the President from the potential for war crimes allegations in re detainees abuses. It seems likely, given Cheney's close relationship with Tenet during the WMD issues, that if Tent is found to have had a direct link in the German's detention in Afghanistan, that Cheney and Bush will not be far from the discussion.

    Again, this nexus also swirls around Gonzalez, Rice, and others within the National Security Council. It remains to be seen whether the WaPo revelations simply accelerated a plan that was already underway to move detainees; or was orchestrated to coincide with the tail end; or was the actual catalyst.

    We judge that there are a number of specific conversations within the White House staff related to impeachment, war crimes, and human rights abuses; and that the movement of personnel was an effort to insulate the President.

    The problem is: If this was the plan, why would people then, after the WaPo revelations, and apparent "disclosure of the ruse," then make subsequent revelations about the likely shipment to Africa.

    We judge, that there are two tracks: One track is the official back-up plan designed to protect the President; and a second track of bonafide CIA mavericks, who in light of the Downing Street Memo, have shifted their loyalties. It appears the plan to move the detainees was well planned; and it possibly was accelerated or put on a heighten priority once the Downing Street Memo surfaced. Yet, at first blush, it appears the link between the DSM and the detainees is far. This is where we fall back to the Bush-Blair transcripts.

    We judge there is a specific set of documents, transcripts, and key personnel who were aware of the discussions related to the common course of conduct that would link both the Downing Street Memo and the Eastern European detention centers to a common cause: The President, Vice President, and others in the White House.

    We judge the Grand Jury will most likely focus on the pattern of conduct related to the discussions the Vice President had with Tenet related to not just Iraq-WMD issues, but also the Renditions to Eastern Europe, and the discussions and legal defenses the White House counsel provided, which appear to be contrary to US treaties.

    We judge the White House perceives it is in a tight box, but believes can escape; we also judge there are specific staffers in the White House, CIA, NSA, and DoD who have realized that the White House is simply digging itself into a hole. Thus, we conclude that there are two tracks -- one of the official "protect the President plan" that is unfolding, and falling apart; and a second track of the bonafide effort to assert the rule of law over the President.

    We judge the rule of law, not the apparent conspiracy will prevail; and it appears the court has deferred judgment until Fitzgerald and DoJ staffers can complete their interviews.

    We judge Operation Steel Curtain to be a public relations effort; partially designed to lend weight to information generated by DoD; while at the same time affording civilian contractors the special place to influence the media and add to the deception. Unfortunately, Congress despite the unfavorable weather, appears to be asking questions which DoD has for the most part not answered, but merely implied some sort of adverse consequence should the contractors not do what they were told to do: Provide propaganda with the intent that it be eventually consumed by the domestic American media market, in violation of the Smith Act.

    We judge there is mounting evidence of fissures across all agencies. Not only are the Senior Executive Service personnel immediately around the President suspect; but so too are the senior advisors.

    We judge there is a risk that civilians, in their effort to distract attention from initial questions in re war crimes, will rely on civilian “experts’ to pre-conclude military options, which are both contrary to law, and DoD cannot sustain in the long-run.

    We judge the White House will fail to adequately mobilize reasonable public concerns; and defer to “security, and secrecy” rather than disclosing reliable information that might otherwise move the congress to support his objectives. The issue is no longer facts, but whether the Congress will believe the White House, even if told the truth.

    We judge DoD plans to take no internal action against any of the contractors involved with the detentions either in Iraq or Eastern Europe; it will be a matter of law and procedure whether these issues are investigated by a grand jury, or a slow civil case is the mechanism for investigation. Congress does not appear inclined to put aside the unfavorable weather and focus on Constitutional issues.

    * * *

    The White House staff is in no more difficult of a dilemma than those who were involved during the Iran-Contra affair.

    It remains to be seen whether the issue is one of a simple resignation; or whether larger issues come to the surface. DoD doesn’t have the resources to wage a large scale war in the Middle East; and Congress appears sufficiently skeptical of the president to doubt any potential domestic incident as the “excuse” to assent to martial law.

    The White House has shown it will use surprising options to paint convenient pictures. It remains to be seen to what extent foreign media are persuaded to act as a catalyst for misinformation material for Congress.

    * * *

    It will be interesting to see what questions and issues ultimately drive the Grand Jury and Fitzgerald. What will be interesting is for the public to discuss:

  • Method to frame and organize this information

  • Signs the issues are or are not getting attention

  • Catalysts whistleblowers may be looking for to come forward

  • Indicators the public at large can monitor to assess what is real, what is a deception, and what is a bonafide conspiracy to obstruct justice, and/or cover-up war crimes.

    * * *

    It remains to be seen to what extent, the 2006 exit polls vary widely from the reported results. The contractors do not appear interested in letting their code undergo vigorous, independent stress testing. It remains to be seen whether non-electronic methods can be effectively reintroduced prior to the 2006 election; and whether states may have adverse financial claims should they cancel the contracts with the electronic voting machines.

    It is telling when federal-level results and issues of impeachment may be decided at the local level simply because the locals were unwilling to assert prudence over contractors -- more interested in achieving political objectives, thereby materially influence the funding flows from DC, than in providing accurate information.

    The Grand Jury has a way of finding the truth, despite the smokescreens.

    We judge Congress, despite its problems with oversight, will glacially move to address the issues. It appears the White House staff plans to throw more smoke and distractions before the committees before the election.

    It may be more prudent for the electorate, in the absence of conclusions by the Grand Jury or the Senate Intelligence Committee, to make adverse judgments about the reliability of the RNC to effectively lead the nation and execute budget policy.

    Perhaps only an overwhelming and decisive result, however tampered it may be, may prove to be the catalyst for decisive change. The White House has an interest in calming the nation and a track record of using non-sense to quell the excitable, yet "complaining about negativity" doesn't solve the issues or address the self-evident risks.

    It remains to be seen

    A. which symbol and color the opposition to the RNC embraces; and to what extent they are willing to put their personal safety at risk in order to preserve the constitution. The RNC had a show of force during the RNC convention in 2004;

    B. whether the events between now and the 2006 election are a catalyst for massive street demonstrations in the United States as we saw in Ukraine; and

    C. whether the national guard and other intelligence services are introduced to dissuade voting or subsequent lawful protest against what might be a fraudulent vote.

    Let us hope that more evidence of war crimes, adverse RNC actions, and other material timely surfaces to avoid what some might believe is one of the few timely and lawful options to preserve the American Constitution.

    There are other Downing Street Memos on the way.