Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Iraq: Why Insurgents Target Media

WARN: We have doubts about the authenticity the memo provided.

* * *


If you read the message, you'll notice something: The language is flowery, has complicated words, and it not designed to communicate any specific recommendation. The message appears to have been written not by the Ambassador, but by someone familiar with English prose and linguistics inside the DoD propaganda cells.

Critical Disconnect

27 of 29 [lines 9-14] clearly asserts that information cannot be disclosed. If this is true, then the Ambassador cannot explalin why, despite the restrctions on disclosing sources and methods, the message containing sources and methods was not classified.

There is one reason: The information is desigend to be leaked as a non-classified document because it is disinformation. If the information was classified correctly, then the WaPo could be in trouble for disclosing the information. The workaround was to use incorrect information, not classify the information, and use the WaPo to spread the misinformation.

Pre-Iran Invasion Disinformation

In the event of US strikes on Iran, the US government is concerned that Iranian-backed militias in Iraq will target US forces, and increase the US military body count in Iran from several dozens to many hundreds per week.

Although the information may be somewhat true, there are too many inconsistencies in the document to justify absolute faith this is a bonafide US Embassy message, or that the contents should be taken on face value.

We judge the following:

  • the memo is designed as disinformation to cloud Iranian understanding of talks going on between the US and local insurgents;

  • the information is related to an effort to provide disinformation on the actual location of key US personnel locations; and

  • the information is linked with another agenda related to perceptions in the Embassy that their sources and methods have been compromised; and their effort to establish new security procedures and methods of collecting information.

    * * *

    US Embassy personnel use "press badges" instead of official credentials.


    Where else do US military and civilian personnel 'hide their true identity? Stateside.

    As you read the comments at the link, consider, "How does this compare to Louisiana?"

    * * *

    Concerns With Message Authenticity

    This could be correct information, but being put in a "wrong format" so that it can be later discredited, thereby discrediting the "bad news" that may actually be understated.

    * * *


    Something isn't quite right with this. Not sure. Still examining the document.

    The problem with the paper-document is that it's not a correct version of what a message looks like. It does not have the full message-traffic information from a message.

    Rather, the document appears to be a transcription of (what might be) an original, and has been transferred from the Government-version, to a paper version. Perhaps someone got a message, transcribed it, and then is using the paper-copy we now see.

    * * *

    Let's consider a comparison from another state department memo.

    Immediately, the following jumps out:

  • The message is not all caps

  • The heading codes aren't consistent

  • There are no double // slash marks in the message header.

  • The tags have spaces in them, while the comparison one does not: "TAGS: CJAN,PHUM,CASC,PREL,SP"

    * * *

    Consider the lexicon.

  • Para 1. "picking up", and "the public affairs office"

    Consider the unusual line breaks, suggesting the document was formatted elsewhere, then placed on the Adobe file. Yet, as you look at the Adobe page numbers, they match the lower right hand corner numbers; yet, there is no classification heading on each page.

  • Para 7. Line 8

    Consider the grammatical errors:

  • Para 18, "He, like other local employees, is financial responsible for his immediate and extended families." If he is a single person, then it would read "family" not "families."

  • Para 18, "He revealed that 'the burden of responsibility; new stress from social circles who increasingly disapprove of the coalition presence, and everyday threats weigh very heavily." [We have no information on where this quote came from; not talking about the person who made this, but who physically took the quote down, recorded it, then transcribed it from paper-recording to the message.]

    Notice the grammar, wouldn't it be more correct to say the following:

    The burden of responsibility; new stress from social circles who that (added) increasingly disapprove of the coalition presence, and everyday threats weigh very heavily."

    * * *

    Note: Page 6 of 6 says, "Our staff -- and our contacts -- have become adept in modifying behavior to avoid "alassas," informants who keep an eye out for "outsiders in neighborhoods."

    Why would the Ambassador in an unclassified message reveal the counter measures his staff was using?

    On this alone, we judge the message is designed to be published, and known, then fed back to the Iraqi insurgency to mislead them as to what is going on. This is far too critical information to disclose or have in writing, but casually refer to the message as "Not classified."

    * * *

    Para 21: "Our Staff report that security and services are being rerouted through 'local providers' whose affiliations are vague."

    Later, they say, "The central government, our staff says, is not relevant;"

  • They've changed tense. First it was "staff report" [implying that the staff is a single unit]; but in the same paragraph, they say "staff says" [implying that the staff is a unit of single individuals]

  • Why aren't they revealing the specificity of that "vagueness" -- what do they know; what is their plan to find out. These are not answered, suggesting a deliberate effort to play stupid about what may likely be an irrelevant issue.

  • Is "Staff" singular or plural?

  • If Staff is "singular" then it should read, "Our Staff reports. . ." not report.

    To be consistent para 23. should read, "Although our staff retains. . ."

    * * *

    We judge the document is merely a written summary of what has been well known. The issue is: What specific information contained in this message is designed to mislead; or how is it constructed to be deliberately be discredited (despite the likely accuracy of the content).

  • Para 23 "despite talk of reconciliation by officials" -- is meaningless. Who are these officials, and why should we believe that the "talk of reconciliation" is really happening; and who are they talking to; and what are the terms; how do these talks square with the other talks the US is secretly having with the insurgents.

    This message appears to be related to creating confusion over whether the US is or is not discussing issues; and why the US may or may not be rejecting overtures from Iran, while actually engaging in secret talks with the insurgents and the government of Iran.

    * * *

    Note the "geography" reference in Para 21: "As noted above" indicates that this is something that was written on a computer as a single text, and not on separate pages. If it was a bonafide message, it would refer to "message page number ___."

    * * *

    Consider the message we've been given has multiple pages.

    Why aren't the "heading comments" listed on all pages, as we see in this comparison.

    It appears as though someone may want us to believe that this is a bonafide message; but if it is, then someone needs to explain why the subsequent pages do not have the similar classification-heading information.

    Heading information isn't unique to a single message; it's associated with each page. What if the subsequent page gets dropped; or mixed up? There's nothing on pages two through the end which pages are which.

    How do we know, other than reading the text from front to end, that this was actually as single document? We have no way of knowing that, because each subsequent page does not have the message-header-format, which would indicate it is the subsequent page.

    The question is: Why, despite Adobe being around in 2001 [when the comparison messages were available] were they including message headers for each page; but suddenly in 2006, they've changed formats?

    * * *

    Notice the content of the message: It includes specific locations where personnel are staying. Why isn't that classified?

    If the information is true, that would amount to "target information," which -- if true -- would give someone outside the embassy a place to narrow their focus, examine travel routes, and explore ways of targeting the embassy personnel who might travel to these locations.

    Perhaps this is an SAIC-generated document, or something from the Lincoln group that is specifically identifying specific cities where there are problems, with the hopes of making people outside the Embassy think that there are US personnel in those locations, when they are actually located somewhere else.

    * * *

    Here's another comparison:

  • No spaces between Tag-names

  • All caps

    * * *

    Also, consider this DoD-like message, and compare it to the format heading in the State Department version.

    ZUI RHHMMCA1514 0142329

    R 141553Z JAN 03


    There is no information/courtesy copies, raising the questions:

    [a] How did this message (that apparently wasn't directed to anyone else) provided to the Washington post;
    [b] Why is WaPo revealing a document that supposedly nobody else, other than rice, had access to; and
    [c] if there was no courtesy copy on the message routing, how do we explain the copy
    [d] if they know that the EO was not applicable [E/O], what was the basis to not include a message of "who signed or actually sent the message". You going to have to make a good story to justify confidence that the Ambassador actually sate down at the computer and drafted the message. There are too many inputs from different sources; there had to be a staffer that complied the reports, then put it into a final format. The issue is: There's no message-related indication of which officer person actually typed the content. [Ex: #8002]

    * * *

    IZ is the country code for Iraq, and it also stands for the "international zone" in Bagdad.

    * * *

    Also, you'll notice some differences:

  • The Embassy text is not ALL CAPITALS, as most messages are.

  • There are routing and organizational codes missing

  • The font isn't in "message-style" font -- Messages use very distinct font-type, which doesn't match what you are reading now. They use special fonts so that as the information is copied onto paper, the characters do not bleed and get confused with other similar letters. The WaPo needs to explain why, if this is a bonafide message, the font-types are not the types in the message format; and what has changed, given that the classified information-related Executive Order has been invoked.

  • There are Zulu-times which are on the DoD-messages, but are missing in this memo.

  • This code is missing -- UUUU -- indicating that, despite it supposedly being a "sensitive, but not classified" message, that they didn't include this as required under the message routing.

  • Curiously, they've got some of the heading correct, but not the complete message format, suggesting that the message has been formatted to 'appear" to be a real message. WaPo needs to come clean: How did they verity that this paper is actually a bonafide message; and what copying may have been done between what might be the original version, and what we see now.

    * * *

    para 20: "Neighborhood power providers are not known" is utter non-sense. The only way that power can be provided is if they are known. This asks us to believe the opposite: That despite the embassy filled with CIA, that they have no clue who is there, or how to get embassy-related-personnel power attached.

    * * *

    Para 21: The following sentence makes no sense, and appears designed to be confusing, "As noted above, those who are admonishing citizens on their dress are not known to the residents."

    Leaving us with many (apparently, designed) questions:

  • What are they trying to say?

    * * *

    Spacing and formatting

    Note also, in para 21, after, "known to the residents," there is a gap, suggesting someone has moved a paragraph (added later). There is enough room after "to the residents' to include "Neighborhood." This suggests that there were a number of sentences crafted to "sound like message-related information", placed in order, then crunched together to appear as a single paragraph.

    * * *

    Para 22: This statement is not believable. How many streets have you seen, despite the problem with security/lack of water, is there enough foliage for any goats and cows to dine on?

    Even if true, who would care -- it would be good that there was food.

    * * *

    Let's presume -- for the same of argument -- that this is a bonafide message.

  • Why would the embassy use a different format

  • If this is truly only from the Ambassador, direct to Rice, how could anyone else have found it or seen it

    * * *

    Reported author.

    * * *

    You'll notice a problem in the heading: It states that it is not classified. OK, if that is true, why are they referencing an executive order that relates to the opposite -- classified information. EO 12958.