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Monday, January 16, 2006

Iran: Americans dream of war crimes

Marin Luther King had a dream. America's President is destroying that vision.

Iran is a case in point. America is unable to provide specific information form the NSA to guide IAEA inspectors. There is no evidence of any nuclear weapons program.

This raises the question: What is the US proposing to target; how is this targeting given to the IAEA to verify nuclear weapons exist; or is the US simply proposing to bomb non-military targets?

Rest assured the White House has through of everything, even how to get the DNC to cheer.

* * * *

If we do not heed Gore's warnings, we are going to do the same in Iran as we did with Iraq.

In short, if Iran was involved in developing nuclear weapons, the NSA would have already intercepted this "confirming information" and provided it to the IAEA for inspection--but the inspectors have found nothing. It is absurd to believe the NSA "knows, but is holding back." Bush has everything to gain if he can discredit the Iranian President, but we have nothing!

There's an important question. It relates to war crimes. Military commanders can only attack targets related to military purposes. However, there is a problem. NSA cannot provide anything to the IAEA. This leads to a question about the ongoing Joint Staff Planning: Why is DoD planning to target sites, but there is no evidence the IAEA can point to confirming any site is related to a nuclear weapons program? That is a major problem. The White House cannot provide an answer to Congress; and Congress has not asked.

There are simple lines of evidence. The White House's contentions do not add up. They have a problem, and now you can learn why we know the contemplated targeting is devoid facts and preparations for American military war crimes in Iran -- here.

Encourage your friends and legislators to review the material, and make the White House explain: Why does the NSA data not match what the DoD is targeting; if there is a nuclear weapons program, why isn't the NSA providing this data to the IAEA?

As with Iraq, the answer is this President hopes you do not ask the question. It is time to compel this President to answer questions, under penalty of perjury, and then independently gather facts with a special prosecutor, just as former Vice President has called for.

* * *

CNN has been caught adding information to Iranian President's speech. Originally, the Iranian President say, "Iran has the right to nuclear energy."

CNN Changed the speech to include the following words, which the Iranian President never said, "the use of nuclear weapons is Iran's right." [Ref Blogs News]

It remains to be understood how many other media outlets have incorrectly reported what the Iranians have or have not said.

Before we discuss what may happen if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it's prudent to explore a fundamental issue: Is there any evidence to warrant the concern?

* * *

The evidence suggests the opposite: Iran is not doing anything, and the NSA and White House know this. One cannot credibly assert Iran is or isn't doing something, but point to no evidence -- which must exist if Iran is developing these weapons.

We judge the lines of evidence are not consistent, as they should be, raising reasonable questions about the motivations of the White House. In light of former Vice President Gore's comments, we judge the White House plans to wage an unlawful war of aggression, and is directing DoD to use fabricated information -- the IAEA concludes there is no "nuclear weapons" link between the NSA data, DoD targeting, and the Iranian efforts..

* * *

The problem with America’s statements about Iran is that the US is unable to make a consistent argument.

They’re appealing to ignorance.

There are four lines of evidence indicating there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program.

First, the laptop. The laptop supposedly had an Iranian plan. Put aside the veracity of the plan for the moment. Once the plan was revealed, NSA should have been able to load up the document, scan for it, and find who else has been reading it. If there was a bonafide weapons program, then those who were reading this document before the NSA disclosure would reasonably have been linked to the program. The next step would be to guide the existing inspectors to those suspect facilities. However, let’s presume that has already happened – the laptop has been analyzed, and information gleaned -- yet, the inspectors have found nothing. Even if the laptop were real, and the plan a fabrication – NSA analysis has yet to provide a clear accounting of how this laptop fits in with the Iranian nuclear program, which people are involved, the associated documents on the cache file, other equipment and facilities connected to the associated information technology network. Again, given there has been no follow-up, and the IAEA inspector has found nothing, we judge the laptop itself is unrelated to any bonafide Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Second, the inability to find anything. Once NSA intercepts data, it creates high to low probability assignments for what is going on. After using analogies from similar programs, the analysts will assess what is most likely going on in a particular location. This late in the game, it’s too late to credibility believe the NSA is “holding back” or that the analysts are “waiting to show their cards.” Rather, the opposite is true: The analysts have already communicated their high concern areas – and the inspectors have found nothing. It’s not credible that the NSA is waiting or saving some “really big priorities” until the last minute. Rather, the most likely locations have already been discounted, leaving the NSA to do what it did in the wake of Cheney’s visits to the CIA: “Find something else that will sell this story.” That approach fails.

Third, the disconnect between what the US says may be going on, versus what the US is able to provide to the inspectors. If we are to believe that the Iranians are doing something related to nuclear weapons, we should be able to find evidence of support activity – then guide the existing inspectors to that location. Again, this has not been done.

Fourth, let’s presume DoD is targeting facilities in Iran. Why isn’t DoD providing this target list to the inspectors so that the UN inspectors/IAEA can confirm whether these are related to the nuclear program? DoD has no answer.

Bluntly, there is a problem for the White House – and the DoD Joint Staff, NSA senior leadership, and combat targeters inside the air units know this: There is a major disconnect between the following four items:

  • Lack of wall between the various intelligence services;

  • DoD targeting done without guiding the IAEA inspectors – yet still finding nothing on the sties checked;

  • The inability of the inspectors to find anything at the sites the NSA and DoD should be sharing with the IAES inspectors

  • The lack of data from the NSA and DoE analysis

    The inconsistencies are glaring, the war planners know this, and the White House cannot sustain a barrage of questions related to these issues. Yet, the media and DNC are silent. This tells us the decision to go to war has already been made; senior Congressional leadership have already been briefed in secret; and they have reservations, but are not allowed to discuss the technical issues with their peers – as Senator Rockefeller confirms.

    We judge the US has no interest in detecting bonafide nuclear weapons development efforts in Iran. Rather the US has no data and cannot explain why they are unable to provide specific supporting documentation to the IAEA inspectors.

    We judge there is no Iranian nuclear program; the White House knows this; and the intelligence community can confirm that the suspect locations are not related to the weapons program. Nobody can point to a follow-up analysis on the laptop; nor is there any bonafide link between the laptop plan and an existing Iranian effort.

    We judge the following:

  • A. the planned air strikes in Iran are not related to a bonafide nuclear weapons program; and that the DoD strike list has not been coordinated with the IAEA inspectors on the ground. Rather, DoD as it did with Iraq is taking a parochial view – we have the target list, we will not share, and we’re going to do what we want.

  • B. the planned US air strikes and targeting is not related to a bonafide military target and may subject US leadership and war fighters to a real threat of litigation and criminal charges for war crimes.

  • C. the DoD and White House are aware of this concern and, as was done with the DSM and UK resignations, there is a plan in place to mitigate this risk. We judge the effort will not succeed, but the DNC will be unsuccessful in asserting the rule of law over DoD.

    It remains to be understood how the DoD IG and General Counsel are advising senior commanders over the war crimes issues; and what scenarios commanders are providing to air crews to justify going after targets which the IAEA and NSA cannot provide data linking it with nuclear programs.

    We judge the proposed military strikes inside Iran – wholly devoid of any link to a bonafide military target – will be sold as “troop support” in that they will offer fire suppression and attack air defense and other military targets.

    However, it remains to be seen whether a court will find these military targets to be legitimate – in that a reasonable person would know the ultimate purpose of the combat targeting was not related to an imminent or real military threat. One cannot invade a country or use military power against bogus targets, while justifying using military force against supporting military targets. The only reason the Iranian military defenses would be a threat to the US was if the US invaded; however, because we know there is no bonafide Iranian nuclear program – and the US planners know this – one cannot claim their military planning, invasion, and subsequent air strikes is lawful.

    Rather, there are many people in the White House, Joint Staff, DoD, DoE, NSA and CIA who are doing just what they did with Iraq – playing stupid, submitting to White House pressure, and compromising their integrity.

    Given the lack of congressional interest in Iraq, we judge the White House has confidence it can continue to put pressure on NSA and CIA analysts to keep quiet about the non-existent Iranian nuclear program. IT remains to be understood what specific threats, promises, or other valuable consideration has been proffered in exchange for analysts issuing to Congress reports that are not supportable.

    We judge Congress has already been provided misleading information, and senior Congressional leaders have been provided this information on the promise that they not discuss it with anyone.

    We judge this disclosure is known to be misleading, and that Congressional leaders have grave reservations, but are deferring to the President in his benevolent “commander in Chief role”. Curious, this deference fell apart once the NSA disclosure was known. I

    It remains to be seen how many personnel inside the Joist Staff, NSA, CIA and White House have secretly met with the New York Times and Washington Post to discuss their concerns on background with the assurance the issue not be discussed until after the invasion; or what promises the White House has made with the media publishers and content providers to focus on other issues.

    * * *

    For purposes of a war crimes trial and evidence discovery, we recommend the Grand Jury and Prosecutor explore the following data. Prior to combat operations and war planning, the Joint Staff contracts with various civilian contractors to conduct simulations. It would be useful to subpoena the specific contract documents outlining the contract clauses calling for this work, and gather the assumptions used for the simulations.

    Then it will be useful to compare these ground rules to the actual data NSA was or was not providing to the IEAA and inquire into which specific program managers inside the Pentagon were responsible for the data transmissions, assumptions, and estimates associated with this pre-contract award planning.

    There has already been a meeting outlining the specific grounds rules for this simulation planning. It remains a matter of evidence whether key personnel on this planning team have already raise concerns with the program manger over the inconstancy between the ground rules and the actual data from NSA. Bluntly, the inability of the IAEA to find actual nuclear program data raises the real possibility force planners on this team have raised objections and been severely reprimanded to remain silent.

    It remains a matter of law to what extent these alleged conversions have taken place, to what extent the DoD IG is aware of should be aware of this problem, and to what extent lawful investigations into these conversations have been thwarted, interfered with, or shut down on direction of the White House, RNC, or Joint Staff.

    We judge the evidence of intimidation, retaliation, and abuse will be widespread, well known, and inconsistent with White House public assertions to the contrary.

    It remains matter of law to what extent the proposed target list is wholly devoid of facts that no reasonable war planner could reasonably have targeted these facilities; nor could anyone reasonably expect that “nobody” raised questions about these issues, given the glaring disconnect between [a] the inability of the IAEA to find nuclear weapons/support/related material; [b] the lack of NSA data to support a conclusion there is an Iranian nuclear program; and [c] no evidence that the NSA data was appropriately forwarded to the DoD and IAEA for resolution prior to combat operations.

    We judge the basis for the targeting is unrelated to a bonafide military threat and may constitute credible evidence of plans to engage in war crimes, namely action against targets that have no legitimate military purpose.

    We judge in the absence of any specific fact-based targeting or information corroborated by the IAEA, all US ground operations inside Iran is a white wash. All special forces units in Iran appear to have been deployed without any reasonable connection that they are targeting a specific nuclear threat. It remains to be understood whether these personnel are out of uniform and may be subject to execution for failing to appropriately wear insignia as required by the Geneva Convention.

    It remains to be understood why actions of special forces units are not also being coordinated with IAEA inspections and real NSA data of bonafide nuclear targets inside Iran. If the special forces teams have identified a target, it remains unclear why this information hasn’t been provided to the IAEA for resolutions.

    We judge the White House plans, as it did with Iraq, to blame the inspectors, and say they are not worthy of access to “sensitive” [ read =”Fabricated”] nuclear related information. It remains to be understood why special forces units are in Iran, but unable to provide specific information which the IAEA can emphatically say, “Yes, there is a nuclear program.” We have the opposite, just like Iraq: Many eyes, no evidence, and a momentum of support for unlawful war devoid of facts. The DNC is mesmerized given no Phase II and Cheney’s many visits to the CIA: “It’s happening again . . .” and they’re not simply powerless to stop it, but mesmerized and in awe that they are being lied to again, and nothing is stopping this.

    * * *

    If there is a bonafide Iranian nuclear program, there should be documents, memos, briefings, and presentations – not just inside Iran, but also throughout the US government. It remains to be seen how many people inside DoD have access to these reports, or whether copies have already been provided to the NYT and Washington Post.

    It remains to be understood how many people inside Congress have raised concerns in private, but are publicly cow towed to support another unlawful military adventure equally devoid of facts. Once was enough in Iraq, but a second time in Iran has something to be explained.

    We judge the RNC plans to leverage the Congressional complicity against the DNC before the November 2006 elections, with the aim of watering down any public outrage over the White House unlawful surveillance using the NSA. Other than Murtha, Congress especially the DNC has little stomach for standing up to this President’s repeat in Iran.

    * * *

    There is no evidence NSA has picked up information of activities related to active nuclear weapons development; then provided that to the IEAE; or the IAEA has verified that this activity is related to an Iranian nuclear development program.

    There is no evidence the IAEA inspectors are getting any specific, useful information from the NSA on information driving the White House concern.

    We judge the primary factory driving the pressure on Iran has nothing to do with facts – as was Iraq and the WMD -- and everything to do with a pre-existing timeline and set of agreements made prior to 9-11.

    As with the Downing Street Memo, and later revelations by the White House departing staff, we judge documents will show the ongoing planning against Iran is equally devoid of facts. Rather than explore the lessons of the Iraq WMD or complete the Senate Phase II, we judge the White House will cast Iran in a new light, never satisfactorily addressing the White House credibility issues raised with Iraq.

    Notice the big contrast between Iraq and Iran. The White House effort in Iraq was to provide evidence of WMD, discredit naysayers, and assert the only solution was war. However, with Iran, the White House points to the lack of evidence as proof of something – and the Congress has proven malleable in being concerned about the “lack of evidence.”

    Rather than make statements that there may be weapons, the US is taking the opposite approach stating, “The Iranians have failed to prove. They are not . . .” This is backwards. If the US proposes to take military action, the US needs to explain:

  • Why there is on evidence of a nuclear weapons program;

  • Why the US suspects something, but can provide no data to direct the inspectors

  • Why it continues target planning in DoD against facilities it will not share with the IAEA.

    If there were bonafide nuclear development efforts in Iran, the White House would point to the evidence to discredit Iran. It has failed to do so, raising questions about the basis with which US war planning are planning their bombing runs.

    We judge the disconnect – between the lack of NSA evidence and guidance to the IEAE – as something that is deliberately glossed over, so that the DoD war planners can claim they didn’t know, and provide a defense against war crimes.

    We judge this argument and defense has no merit. A reasonable person inside DoD would know that if the White House was serious about addressing the Iranian nuclear issue, the White House would ensure the NSA’s intercept data was consistent with directions given to the inspectors, and the inspectors would find something. Given we have no nuclear weapons program evidence, we judge NSA analysts and DoD senior planners know they are walking into another illusory WMD issue as with Iraq.

    The issue remains: Will Congress dare challenge the President, demand answers, and point to the inconsistency. We judge the DNC will fails to assert itself, fearing being called unpatriotic, and will get glassey eyed thinking, “Wow, the President has had so many problems, -- he’s doing it again to us.”

    * * *

    One likely argument the White House will present to avoid revealing NSA data about Iran’s nuclear weapons program – that we judge doesn’t exist – to the IAEA will be the classic, “We don’t share sensitive information.”

    This argument fails. Let’s suppose there is nuclear program data. Why is the US interested more in providing this data to targeters than in providing it to the inspector that will discredit Iran? The answer is that there is no data, and the US has already decided to take military action – as it did with Iraq – regardless the facts.

    Let’s consider the “we can’t reveal secrets”-argument form another view. Recall the JTTF findings over the cell phone purchases. If we are to accept the White House contention that “we can’t reveal secrets about Iran”, the White House has yet to explain why it is revealing information about the cell phone purchases. The White House has a credibility problem before FISA.

    At a time when the White House needs to show the FISA court it is doing the right thing, rather than present secret evidence to the FISA court about the cell phone purchases – thereby giving NSA the basis for a lawful warrant to explore the wider connections – the White House fails to provide this information, but openly discloses it to the public. We judge the disclosure is evidence the White House cannot credibly claim there is a security or classification issue with NSA data; rather, the White House hopes to classify the information so that the public and Congress do not realize there is a disconnect between what NSA has not found and what the White House is unable to provide to the IAEA inspectors.

    We judge a war crimes tribunal would likely find that the White House failed to exhaust all non-military options; and that information that should have been available – had it existed – was not appropriately forwarded from the NSA to the IEAE. Either way, both options support the contention that there is no bonafide Iranian nuclear program, the White House knows this, as do the NSA/CIA/Joint Staff planners – raising the real prospect the scope of military liability will be wider than Iraq, not just isolated to ground units, but involve air personnel

    * * *

    We judge the Iranian President’s statements are made with the full knowledge that his country is doing nothing wrong; and that he hopes to accelerate the PNAC timeline. This will ensure the US does less thinking, analysis, and planning; and limits the US’s ability to effectively glean the lessons of Iraq and apply them to Iran

    * * *

    To correctly see the White House approach to Iran, one need only take the general range of approaches taken in Iraq, and apply them to Iran. Conyers analysis of the Iraqi disaster is a good template for the range of options and approaches the White House will take.

    * * *

    Let’s consider what is actually going on. Iran knows that it’s doing nothing wrong; and it also knows the US is in a vulnerable position--The US, if it takes action in Iran, will have a four-front war, thinly spread, inadequately resourced, and unable to sustain long-term combat operations.

    The three existing fronts are:

  • 1. War on terror – whatever that means

  • 2. War in Afghanistan – that is more of a nation building exercise

  • 3. War in Iraq – which is a civil war

    DoD has already stated it plans to transition the combat operations in Iraq from ground forces to air forces. If the Iranian nuclear issues percolate as expected, we judge Iran is calculating that the US will not have enough air forces to sustain the stepped up air campaign in Iraq, while also embarking on random and sporadic air strikes in Iran.

    * * *

    The US approach is slightly modified, but more difficult. Unlike Iraq which was already under sanctions and under the no fly zone assumptions, Iran is free and clear. The US cannot claim it is taking action from the 1990s, as it did with Iraq in the wake of the Kuwait invasion.

    The US approach springs from the lesson of Iraq: Do not make up pictures and point to specific evidence that may come back to haunt you. With Iran, the opposite approach is taken: Appeal to ignorance.

    Rather than rely on many spokesmen as Bush did with Iraq, the White House with Iran hopes to introduce new players with new credibility. Despite the illusory restrictions against torture, Senator McCain has taken on Rice and Powell’s role as doomsayer and mouthpiece.

    It remains to be seen whether McCain’s statute – as was Powell’s – is being leveraged to avoid scrutiny; or whether he’s being set up to take the fall, permitting Rice to take the lead for the 2008 Presidential election. We judge both possibilities are likely, and in the end McCain will be discredited – as was Powell -- and Rice will take the lead position.

    * * *

    We judge the DoD and White House have yet to credibly respond to questions over this issue.

    First, if the DoD has specific Iranian targets in mind, can the White House show that it has effectively coordinated this list so that non-military/non-nuclear targets are removed from the proposed combat operations?

    Second, if the weapons inspectors find nothing at a specific site, how is this finding integrated into the DoD’s operating plan? It makes no sense to target facilities the IEAE have determined are for peaceful purposes.

    Third, what sampling size does the IAEA inspector propose using to be sure that Iran is not engaged in nuclear weapons development? If the sample size is 100%, we remain unclear that DoD – specifically NSA – is effectively coordinating its intercept analysis with the IAEA inspections.

    * * *

    Putting aside the technology and logistical issues of open combat, we need to consider the political arguments proposed by non-engineers. Specifically, in the NSA and DoE compartmentalized world, there’s little effective crossflow of information between different disciplines, especially when a situation rapidly unfolds as is Iran.

    One presumption is that “because the region wants nuclear weapons, then so does Iran.” This argument fails when we consider Iraq – it was in a region which had nuclear weapons, but had not ongoing nuclear weapons program.

    Another assertion is that Iran is a source of instability. This is ridiculous. The real source of instability is the reckless US policies and military actions.

    * * *

    The primary driver behind this action has nothing to do with facts, but the original PNAC plan outlined prior to the 2000 election. Despite the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the White House has not adjusted its plans for Iran. Rather, all the timelines have been accelerated, ensuring the lessons learned from Iraq are not incorporated – not just with the force planners but the congressional oversight.

    Iran already knows the US Congress, CIA, NSA, and White House are moving without regard to facts. The Iranian President is deliberately using speech to antagonize the White House – he knows there is nothing that the US can credibly target. His aim is to rub the White House nose into the facts.

    * * *

    One risk raised with potential sanctions are high oil prices. What seems lost is the Iranian solution to this shortfall: A peaceful energy program.

    * * *

    Like Iraq, because the US timeline is accelerated, there is insufficient time to consider the real issues: What is the endgame in Iraq; how many air strikes does the US plan to make before admitting there’s no progress. One cannot credibly go to Congress for money funding for ordinance when you know the ordinance is directed at non-nuclear sites.

    Like the Iraqi situation, we judge the State Department has already been tasked to provide a plan for post-war Iran, but this plan is devoid of the likely requirements to pick up the pieces – many thousands of bombs dropped on Iranian targets, none of which has a bonafide military relationship.

    We judge the scale of the destruction will be underestimated; and the international community will challenge independent satellite companies to provide visual imagery supporting their contention the bombing serves no lawful purpose.

    We judge the Americans have already coordinated with the European satellite companies and block release of this information; and that various efforts are underway to make arrangements with the Indian government to block visual confirmation of war crimes in Iran.

    It remains to be understood which personnel have been assigned to develop which guidance, legal arguments, and other information to sell this action to the military community. We judge the CIA will have on problem finding willing volunteers to engage in war crimes – as evidenced by their glee with the rendition program and subsequent indictments in Italy.

    * * *

    America’s problem in Iraq has been that it has squandered its ground based units. Given the likely air strikes in Iran, and the high tempo required to sustain combat operations in Iraq and Iran, we judge the air forces will eventually get ground down as have the military units. Training funding and spare parts are already in short supply. A sustained air campaign over Iran will likely deplete the reserves, stretching the units thin. As with Katrina, it remains to be understood what bonafide requirements blossom in the wake of the American air campaign in Southwest Asia.

    There are insufficient reserves to sustain the planned drawdown of American troops in Iraq, while still supporting the Iranian air campaign. The White House has yet to credibly explain to Congress how it will effectively transition from a ground-based program in Iraq to an air campaign, while at the same time ramping up for the air war over Iran. We judge the smoke and mirrors will be well placed.

    * * *

    America’s primary problem is that it has hitched its foreign policy and combat operations to a failed PNAC plan. Despite the realities in Iraq, this plan remains the guiding document for the White House. The US is acting out of fear, not strength; and the White House believes it cannot afford to lose – this is a trap which the Iranian President knows the Americans are caught.

    To explain away the self-evident mess, the simple unproven assertion is, “Iran is different.” Yet, we have no evidence from NSA to the IAEA; and DoD targeting continues despite providing nothing to the inspectors.

    * * *

    Congress needs to, and will likely fail in applying the lessons of Iraq to Iran – the downing street memo, Senate Phase II -- what the White House will do to:

  • A. Stay committed to a reckless plan;

  • B. Assert a problem without evidence;

  • C. Compel concessions and Congressional consent with unlawful military action.

    Again, the DNC and nation are merely in awe: “Look it’s happening again. The RNC is amazing.”

    * * *

    Review the documents about Iraq: The Conyers Report and apply these lessons to Iran. This White House and the DoD knows it is – as it was with Iraq – about to embark on unlawful combat operations over a sovereign country. It remains to be understood what concessions the US has provided to NATO, the EU, and Europe in general to expedite the “concerns” over what appear to be illusory programs.

    It remains to be understood which specific EU discussions with the media are made on the condition of non-disclosure. It is likely the German magazines are raising issues, and likely working on pieces raising issues – however, they may fear some sort of backlash by the newly elected leadership. They are in an uncertain period.

    * * *

    It remains to be understood to what extent the White House effort to target Murtha is designed to muffle discussions on Iraq. Murtha doesn’t truth the White House – the White House has lied. It remains unclear whether this veracity issue isn’t seeping into the closed door discussions over Iran. The American military is concerned with Iraq; the same concerns extend to Iran.

    * * * *

    Post war planning for Iran has been accelerated. The scope of the planning for the economic reconstruction is in the early stages. If the Europeans support the White House they stand to position themselves well during these pre-invasion contract discussions.

    There are records of the planning discussions, and there are uptics in NYSE-traded stocks in these sectors. It remains a matter of evidence how the parties envision carving up Iran, which factors will drive the final decisions, and when this evidence will most appropriately be admitted to the war crimes trial. DNC will be co-opted to support this planning, then blamed for failing to stop the unlawful actions.

    The White House-PNAC approach is to get the Iranians to lose face, prompt an attack. This approach is likely to fail in that Iran isn’t doing anything wrong, there are no WMD programs to hide. Bluntly, Iran is not cooperating because it doesn’t have to cooperate with demands based on fiction. Again, the lessons of Iraq will be ignored, and the international community despite the proposed lawlessness is already rapidly moving toward action devoid of facts. This is well known inside the NSA, CIA, and White House.

    There are going to be problems and PNAC already has contingency plans with the White House and Joint Staff to orchestrate public information campaigns to explain this away. The DNC is merely mesmerized. It remains to be understood which senior administration officials, like Powell, later claim, “I wish they’d told me.” In reality, the Congressional leadership failed to ask, despite the many warnings and public information. Sadly, their staffs are not all that well versed in what slaps them in the face: War crimes, Conyers report, and the news of war crimes. There are plenty of media outlets willing to run Joint Staff propaganda as “information pieces” that are essentially propaganda designed for domestic consumption, in violation of the Smith Act, and will not be assessed in terms of their support for an unlawful war of aggression.

    * * *

    The Americans have the burden of proof, and the Iranians are doing nothing wrong except – as the Syrians have done – asserting sovereignty. The Iranian President’s refusal to assent to American non-sense will likely be the “pretext” the Security Council uses. It remains to be understood whether other minds take a larger view or ask more probing questions. The Americans are not likely to patiently discuss issues when their agenda has already been established. They have important performance bonuses to win, regardless the legality of the results. Wise prosecutors are encouraged during discovery to check the stock purchases by those well connected with these discussions.

    * * *

    Not all the PNAC assumptions about Iraq and Iran are consistent. Iran is much larger, has not suffered under sanctions, and is more complicated than her neighbor to the west. There are also many facilities – unrelated to nuclear programs – that the Americans will likely target with bombs, not inspectors.

    * * *

    One argument is it is “no better time” to target Iran: they have few conventional weapons. Yet, they also have no nuclear weapons program. This argument is an illusory opportunity, as was the arguments for using US troops in Kuwait: “We need to use them, we can’t have them just sit there.” Small problem: War crimes and facts.

    Conversely, if the conventional targets are finite, this should theoretically make the nuclear targets that much easier to find: AN even smaller list. But we have no list, no evidence, and no discussions between NSA, IAEA, and the DoD targeters. Details.

    Rather, the paradox when contrasting convention and nuclear lists: The conventional list is small – while the nuclear list is unknown – hardly the basis to justify specific action, but Congress will grow glassey eyed and assent to absurdity.

    * * *

    The Iran air campaign has already shaped the budgeting reprogramming. This is a come as you are war, and the procurement programs have already since the 1990s been descoped. It remains unclear whether the likely American air campaign over Iraq will have been included with the requirements over Iran. Just as there was inadequate funding for body armor, so too will there be financial challenges for the air war in both theaters.

    Congress will have to make decisions on the taxes, deficits, and burden sharing.

    We judge the following:

  • A. US dollar will further collapse and the budget deficit will rise; and

  • B. RNC will blame the DNC for the “unwillingness to make hard choices, during this time of national sacrifice.” Never mind that the war is unlawful, budget problems well known, and this is an artificial timeline with real budget consequences for American households. The DNC will be mesmerized, “Wow, they’re doing it to us again. Aren’t they great.”
    * * *

    It remains to be seen which FOIAs will get rejected over matters related to the White House legal justifications and memoranda. These relate to the legal issues and concerns that are well known. Rather than wait for the White House to delay, it would be prudent for Congress to seek comment from the Congressional research service on the following legal issues:

  • A. Is it a war crime to target facilities that the NSA knows is not a bonafide military target;

  • B. Is it a war crime to knowingly plan to target a facility that IAEA inspectors found no evidence;

  • C. Is it a war crime to withhold information from IAEA inspectors that would show a given facility is or is not a nuclear facility;

  • D. What precedent is there from the US action in Cambodia that would hold administration officials liable for war crimes if they engage in planning, direction, and discussions over targeting installations they knew, or should know, have no real military threat or relationship with military programs?

    * * *

    The existing approach is success oriented, and not well adaptable to surprises. This is the driving factor behind the White House’s annoyance with the Iranian President’s comments – he’s being defiant while the US knows there’s nothing it can do about his words. The White House is in a poor position to deal with an uncooperative foe that has no program to target. Where the RNC demonstrators were shut down, the Iranian President seems well positioned to mock the White House staff. He’s doing quite a good job of twisting them.

    There is a surprise. The White House is missing something. The change will not be reported until too late. They have walked into another trap.

    * * *

    It is unlikely the HASC or SASC will exercise meaningful oversight or conduct inquiry. Defense contractors want the funding, regardless the legality of their use.

    The accelerated timeline means the Congress and Executive Branch are poorly positioned to digest the lessons of Iraq, much less contemplate a future for Iran. The US has a bad habit of believing its own non-sense, quite a challenge for a nation that was once a super power – its power squandered. The US has no facts or data to redeem itself.

    If the US was strong and the facts were on its side, it would let the Iranians fall into a trap: Deny something the Americans could prove. The Americans have nothing but the same non-sense of the 2002-pre-Iraq-invasion-era. This is well known, discussed, and documented in the intelligence community, White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and media.

    * * *

    American finds itself where it is because of blind deference to a failed plan and leaders who appears to mentally unstable, isolated, and delusional. Congress is unwilling to exercise needed oversight, awaiting more favorable weather. The leadership is overconfident that a magic solution will appear. One may assert a delusion, but this does not make one immune to reality. Then again, this rule doesn’t apply when the DNC is mesmerized with the RNC’s ability to avoid accountability.

    * * *

    Current simulations are not premised on valid assumptions. The Congress will find that the Iran-invasion simulations failed to establish one important ground rule: What happens if you have a moron in the White House. The DoD Joint Staff neglected to run that through their analysis – they do not consider things they cannot change or affect.

    We judge this will be a lesson learned for software developers.

    The trainers are going through the motions. War with Iran will expose the hidden vulnerabilities well entrenched, but not yet exposed in Iraq. We look forward to the many excuses to blame the public for the White House psychosis. You may wish to use a better grade of solvent, and open the windows to let the fresh air in.

    Inhale deeply, if the weather is right you may smell the Constitution burning.

    * * *

    Added 16 Jan 2006

    Let's take a broad view of this debate. Think of a scale of justice. On one side is the evidence presented above.

    On the other side, is the other argument, the other view. Namely, "the best others can offer to justify another conclusion."

    I submit, on this standard alone -- that the overwhelming evidence, or lack thereof -- clearly falls down on the side of, "There is no Iranian nuclear weapons program."

    I have submitted the above arguments, and the "best response" I've received follows. Bluntly, the best that can be done to "assert something otherwise" relies on non-sense.

    This is another way of saying: Their argument fails, and there is no evidence to justify a concern with an "Iranian nuclear weapons program." It may exist -- but all lines of evidence that should exist -- are as non-existent as the evidence with Iraq.

    It remains to be seen what other fabrications the White House, NSA, CIA, and others in DOD propose as they did with the Niger Yellow Cake. Unfortunately, there is someone in the CIA and NSA knows the story with Iran is no different than with Iraq. It remains to be seen whether the Fitzgerald Grand Jury will have to conduct another leak investigation over retaliation for someone speaking the truth.

    But to be fair, let's consider "the best" that the White House and RNC can offer . . .

    Cross posted: If you read nothing else today, I encourage you to simply take away the following conclusion: Both sides of the argument are relying on non-sense. This is dangerous.

    This is a call for reason. I would like to outline the various logic errors in the above discussion. Bluntly, some despite having a PhD fail to impress me with the lines of argument. I am walking away with a bad feeling that PhD’s, even if they have a reputation for insight, need to be challenged--what the Constitution’s framers called for when they had open debates in Congress and the clash of ideas in the court room -- and what we needed before we invaded Iraq in 2003.

    Let’s have the same in the After Downing Street, and I would like to thank David Swanson for giving me the opportunity to share my observations.

    Broadly, the 2006 arguments about Iran are no different than the 2003 arguments over Iraq: A lot of nonsense. Yes, I have details. First, compare the ffollowing discussion with what was done with the Iraq debate -- multiple logic errors: Red herrings, irrelevant issues, faulty/unsupportable assumptions.

    Next, I would encourage you -- rather, plead -- that you consider the basic premise: There is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. The NSA has not provided information to the IAEA. [For more discussion on the problems with the assertions over Iran, here's more.]

    Logic Errors over Iran

    To save you the time of mentally doing this yourself, let's go down the list of logical fallacies. I shall briefly state the logic rules, and show you how Josh Marshall appears to have violated them with his arguments.

    1. Faulty momentum: Movement in one direction is consistent with previous movement.

    Sample: Presuming the momentum started in Iraq must continue. The issue incorrectly is characterized as, "If we're going to Iraq first, then we'll go to Iran second."

    The problem with this assertion/”argument” is that it incorrect presumes [a] the initial momentum – namely action in Iran – was correct – which it is not; and that [b] subsequent action from that initial momentum is relevant – which it is not.

    Rather, the real question should be: If Iran poses a threat – unlike Iraq, which the White House knew had now WMD -- why didn't Iran get invaded first? They have no answer because they haven't made up the answer/excuse/story.

    2. Appeal to ego: Starting with a small action in Iraq, and then full ego in Iran.

    Sample: One's "manhood" or "womanhood" is not proven by invading Iran, but -- like Iraq -- there's no evidence to justify that action. That action, like the American invasion of Iraq -- without an imminent threat-- is a war crime.

    3. Red herring: Arguing over the status of an irrelevant issue to make a decision about something else.

    Sample: Arguing about an irrelevant issues [conventional weapons] as to whether the US should or should not take military action. Lawful military action depends on evidence and a real threat. We have only accusations.

    Whether Iraq does or doesn't have a conventional army is irrelevant to whether there is or isn't a nuclear program.

    4. Appeal to sympathy, false limited options: Use emotion to narrow the number of options, without giving time to consider other views, perspectives.

    This approach creates an unreasonable deadline, false timeline, and arbitrarily asserts that issues cannot be raised, discussed, or reviewed. This approach hopes to close doors and choral people into a limited number of options, but not real solutions.

    Sample: "We have limited options so we must . . . " This incorrectly asserts that the US must take the unlawful action: Military action without evidence warranting the use of military action.

    Sample: That "options are limited" doesn't mean that Iran should be asserted to have a program when there is no evidence of that program.

    5. Using symbols and labels as a faulty premise.

    Sample: One cannot assert there is an "Iran problem" -- when there is no evidence. Rather, the problem is the White House problem -- making assertions without evidence.

    This approach simply asks that we accept the idea/notion/concept – “the _____ problem” without examining whether “the problem” is real, or whether the problem is actually something else.

    6. Appeal to emotion: Painting pictures of doom, to distract attention from the lack of evidence.

    Sample: We cannot assert that "Iran will have the bomb" unless there is a program that exists.

    Whether the US does or doesn't have the conventional forces to do anything about Iran is irrelevant --one cannot invade Iran simply on the basis of an assertion.

    7. Appeal to ignorance: Using the lack of knowledge/evidence as proof that there is something there.

    Sample: The "program is too hidden and dispersed"-argument isn't supported by the NSA intercepts. They have nothing.

    A dispersed program -- as we are led to believe might exist -- would make the communications far easier to intercept. We have no NSA data; and the NSA isn't directing the IAEA to these "dispersed locations that are communicating." One cannot have a "program" when there is no evidence of it being coordinated.

    A consolidated program would imply they don't have to communicate, making the communications easier to detect – from a single location.

    Either way, the lack of NSA intercepts, and the failure of DoD to direct the IAEA inspectors with this “Iranian nuclear weapons program communications” mean it’s more likely that there is no program.

    8. Appeal to emotion: Speculative arguments, without any regard to the evidence required to achieve that outcome.

    Sample: To discuss Iran in the context of the "possibility of a nuclearized Iran" smacks of the same images of "Rice's mushroom clouds from Iraq." Again, it's a trap to buy into the fear of an image -- all the while failing to see the facts are not there.

    9. Absurdity: This one is a combination. First we [a] start with a faulty premise, then [b] assert without proof a fear -- then [c] assert others have failed -- therefore argue [d] we must act.

    Sample: Rather than focusing on the evidence of Iran, this argument starts with a faulty premise -- that there is an Iran problem -- and them says, "We need to deal with Iran, because the White House has bunged it so far."

    It's absurd to suggest "because we can't trust the White House, we can distrust their decision to go to Iraq -- so we can understand why they have no Iran policy -- therefore, given the lack of a policy we must take action." It's absurd to suggest we have no Iran-policy--There are sanctions in place. It's another matter whether the US wants to remove the sanctions and open a dialog with Iran.

    10. Appeal to incompetence: This is another combination – first we [a] Assert a premise without evidence; then [b] paint a picture of doom; and finally [c] use incompetence as the basis to argue for action.

    Sample Again, building off an absurd assertion -- that has no evidence: The issue of Iran -- but distracting the debate to issues of whether we can or cannot trust the leadership.

    Sample: The following question also is dangerous: "Do you trust this White House's good faith, priorities or competence in dealing with this situation? "

    This question doesn’t mean anything. It simply asserts – without proof – that there is a “situation” which does or doesn’t need dealing with. Rather than focus on the merits of whether the situation is real – the question shifts the focus to whether someone is or is not competent to deal with an issue.

    Because the question is the central foundation of the argument – we judge the underlying premise – which has been asserted, not proven – is wholly without merit. Again, if there is a bonafide program, we would have evidence. We have the opposite – wild claims, just as we had with Iraq.

    11. Changing the subject: Assert an unproven premise; change the debate from [a] whether the premise is true to [b] whether someone is or is not able to debate the unproven assertion.

    Sample: One way of reading this question is to presume the assertion – [“that Iran is a problem -- is true” -- unproven]; but not trust how the White House "deals" with the problem. This is backwards -- we start with evidence, or lacktheroef, and ask what is going on.

    To presume that Iran is a problem -- assumes without proof, that there is a problem which the White House must deal. Rather than focus on the evidence -- or lack thereof -- this White House is getting away with everyone assuming -- without proof --that there is a problem, and getting everyone to argue over whether this White House is or is not qualified to deal with the "Iran problem."

    That is a weak and unsupportable position to start the debate. Again, the starting point should be whether there is any evidence of anything -- and there is not, otherwise we'd have it -- and then consider whether anything needs to be done.

    12. Labels: Asserting something that has not been proven.

    Sample: At this juncture, it's a red herring to assume there's an "Iran problem" -- rather, there's a PNAC policy paper written before 9-11 that asserted an agenda. Today, despite no credibility, that PNAC agenda is looking for an excuse not a legal foundation.


    All of the above arguments are weak. Let’s presume in 2006 that this is the best than can be offered. We are three years after 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Today, we’re talking about another country: Iran. We have the same approaches as we did in 2003: Non-sense, emotion, and no evidence.

    If there is a program, there will be evidence. We must learn the lesson of Iraq: If there is no evidence, there is no basis for military action or concern. Indeed, there may be a basis for attention, but there is no basis for alarm of more of Rice's "mushroom cloud" analogies. One does not make a better argument by saying the failed arguments of Iraq apply to an equally unproven situation in Iran.

    Yes, now we know more in 2006 than 2003. But the answer is not to use the "lesson of the ignorance" as the basis to assert something. The real risk -- which PNAC isn't doing, but the DNC is advocating -- is that Americans are going to use the “proof of incompetence in the White House” as “evidence” that we have a “crisis that must be handled by someone else.” Stupid people, making stupid arguments, lead to the same thing: Stupidity.

    No, we have an assertion without evidence, and people using emotion/non-sense to justify confidence in a weak conclusion. This is a sign of a problem.

    We need to focus on the facts. There is no Iran problem. There is a white House problem. The White House problem can be solved by appointing a special counsel and looking into the NSA unlawful domestic spying, Downing Street Memo, and the unlawful use of military force to invade a country the US President knew was no imminent threat, and there existed no evidence of WMD warranting the violation of a nation's sovereignty.

    Assertions -- whether they be about Iran or Iraq or WMD or terrorism -- are insufficient. Just as there is no basis to assert warrantless surveillance, so too is there no basis to justify confidence in this White House.

    There is no Iran problem. There is a White House-PNAC problem.

    * * *

    Added: 18 Jan 2006

    Here's the key information the monitoring: The US Knows the seals have bene broken, but also know the type of activity occurring: Nothing.
    Iran, meanwhile, has not gone further than breaking the seals at Natanz, intelligence and IAEA officials say. It has not begun even small-scale enrichment.Ref

    I find it amazing, despite the lessons of Iraq, how the world seems resigned to accept "some outcome".

    If that is how the world really feels -- that nothing can be done to peacefully resolve a question, then why not simply quit bothering to read?

    I find it outrageous that the world appears to be "resigned" that nuclear war with Iran is "prewritten".

    . . . .

    Think about this: What will the US target?

    If "the targets" are bonafide "nuclear weapons programs" -- why isn't the US providing the "known nuclear programs targets" to the IAEA for inspection?

    Last time with Iraq -- the answer was, "OH, we can't trust the inspectors. . . "

    . . .

    So admit what is gong on -- the US is "making big plans about war" -- but there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program -- if there was, we would have NSA/CIA information going to the IAEA to "prove" the Iranians were lying.

    . . .But, as with Iraq, we have the attitude of "We have no choice, it's inevitable."

    Good grief -- has the last three years been for nothing? Has the world "resigned itself to another outcome" -- as the hands of the same arrogant people who lied about Iraq?

    All the arguments I’ve heard about Iran rely on one premise -- that "we just know"-something . . . well, if we "just know" something, why don’t we "just go" to the UN and "show the big evidence". . .

    . . .But remember what we heard over Iraq, "Oh, we can't show you that" . . . and we found out -- there was nothing there. Illegal war.

    . . .

    Ask yourself-- what is the "legal foundation" for this war: "Oh, we have no legal foundation -- just the same PNAC excuses for Iraq".

    Brilliant. Another "war because we want to" --

    Well, time to call up the Joint Staff and tell them, "You engaging in unlawful war planning -- targeting facilities that have no connection to a nuclear weapons program; there's no imminent threat; and you're going along with this as if Iraq never happened.

    Today, all we hear is the "big whine" about what is or isn't happening in Iraq -- now, we hear the same story over Iran -- .

    How many downing street memos?

    How many internal documents expressing "grave reservations' are we going to read after?

    How many people are writing more of the Senator Rockefeller-like notes, "Hay, I really disagree with this, but I'll be quiet. But I'll release it later when people find out I was told."

    It's time to quit this non-sense with Iran. Either the US does or does not have information that justify targeting. But the US has a problem -- it targets facilities, but cannot provide information to the IAEA.

    . . .

    What's needed is for someone to go to Iran, and just listen to them. No agenda, no goal. Just listen to them.

    And that's why we have this mess. Iran has been ignored. And the US thinks it "deserves" to have Iran grovel at its feet.

    The US is arrogant -- and it has no basis to justify compelling the work, much less Iran to grove. Sure, the US has many planes, allies; it tells a nice story.

    But we have the same problem with Iraq -- a mass of people "just going along with it" -- .

    This is absurd. All the lessons of Iraq -- and the world seems to "just go along with" whatever Bush, PNAC, and the US 'decide what is or isn't appropriate."

    Hello!?! We've just had the NSA spying-lying situation -- there was no WMD in Iraq. Now we're being told "Iran is a threat" -- so why wasn't Iran invaded first? Answer -- Iran is in the PNAC Agenda.

    The Agenda is outdated.

    And the American way of interacting is based on assertions, not facts. Where is the evidence of a "big threat" from Iran -- NSA has intercept data, supposedly. OK, why not share this information with IAEA and direct the inspectors to these sites.

    Just as with Iraq, "Oh, we can't do that."

    I think this is ridiculous -- and we went through Plame, the Ambassador Wilson outing, endless editorials.

    What's happened to you? It appears the world has just given up; has failed to use their mind; has just "accepted" that we have a system that is going to grind something.


    Well, let's talk about a solution. First, let's get the NSA and CIA to independently provide to Congress the real assessments of what is going on.

    Second, let's get the congress to decide whether they want to authorize military force over what is apparently non-sense.

    Iran has no imminent threat. The inspectors can't find something. OK, let's get the US DOJ and White House counsel to provide in writing under penalty of perjury a finding/assertion/statement that Iran is an imminent threat.

    Then, let's do what we didn't do with Iraq: Let's go check everything, find facts, and have a real discussion about Iran.

    I think the entire Iranian issue is complete non-sense.

    Here's my assessment of the Iranian issue: Why I think it is devoid of facts . . .

    And here's what I think ought to be the real focus: A state-level program in the US to draft articles of impeachment. Yes, You read that right -- there's a way to impeach the President without going through the House Judiciary Committee. The states have a role -- it's a rule in the House rules.

    Here's more:


    I accept that the world is a big place. I'm just one person. But the world is full of 6.2B people.

    The people who took action in Iraq did so on a mountain of lies. Based on what I've seen, we have the same nons-sense with Iran as we had with Iraq.

    Why is this world so willing to just "accept" the dire result -- it's as if the entire world population has put up a good fight, learned about the downing street memo, had their teeth kicked in with revelations of the NSA spying -- found out that it's all been a lie .. . .

    . . .but this time, we're expected to believe, "Oh, well we lied about Iraq, but Iran is a real problem."

    If that is true, why isn't the Congress asking -- demanding -- to know why the President "decided to put a real risk second, and an illusion first"?

    The launch-sites for the proposed air strikes into Iran are not from Iraq -- as some would have us believe, on the assumption we had to go into Iran first for bases -- but they're coming from Turkey.

    Ask that: If we are in Iraq -- why is the US "negotiating" with turkey over bases -- and not simply taking everything to Iraq for close strikes? I'm sure the Joist Staff is just sitting there with another story.

    Bluntly, I find it absurd this nation/world is "so outraged" over Iraq, and we're right back where we were in January 2003 -- alot of non-sense, no data, plenty of accusations, and a civilian population that has just given up.

    Who are you people?

    Do you need to have your Constitution burning in front of you?

    These idiots care more about the Flag that they do your Constitution.

    Tell the American legion to preserve the Constitution, and ignore the flag. Why aren't they putting energy into protecting the constitution?

    You will only have a credible system of government and leadership if you are willing to expect it. What's gotten into everyone -- get off your rear ends, and remember what Bush has done with Iraq.

    Why is this different with Iran?