Sunday, June 05, 2005

Rove and the deception

June 5 2005

pv vivekanand

Karl Rove, a senior political adviser to US President George W Bush, is said to be the key White House person who "arranged" to have Valerie Plame identified as an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Why would a senior White House official identify a CIA agent and thus cause immense harm not only to the person involved but also the agency as well national security?
Well, it has to do with Iraq and the Bush administration's campaign of deception in the run-up to the US-led invasion and occupation of that country. It was the Bush administration's way of punishing someone who dared to declare that the government was fabricating evidence against Iraq. Specifically, the "leak" targeted Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who investigated and found as untrue an American charge that Saddam Hussein had bought nuclear material from Niger. Well, it would have been okay if Wilson had simply done his job and filed a report to the government and kept quiet about it. He did more than that. He publicly disputed the administration's effort to establish that Iraq had bought nuclear material from Niger.
From the point of view of those who were plotting the war against Iraq, Wilson needed to be countered immediately if only to serve as a firm warning to others in the administration who were privvy to the truth that intelligence reports and other "evidence" were being fixed to strengthen the case of war against Iraq (as has been established by the infamous Downing Street memos). The result: It was "leaked" to the press that Wilson's wife was a spy for the CIA. The catch here is that she was not a CIA employee but an undercover agent.
Under the law, revealing such information means undermining national security and is an offence under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.
An unnamed secret agent was reportedly executed in a "hostile foreign country" as a direct result of the White House leak.
Rove, if indeed he is the source of the "leak," could face an indictment for perjury since he had denied that he was the source in front of a grand jury.
Rove, whose official title is White House deputy chief of staff, is very close to Bush and is credited with engineering the president's re-election last year.
The first revelation that Plame was a CIA spy came in a column written by syndicated right-wing columnist Robert Novak .
The column immediately sparked accusations that he had blown the cover of an undercover agent and thus placing both her and her sources in physical danger.
At the time, Wilson said he believed that Rove was the source, but the accusation was dismissed by the White House as "totally ridiculous."
The Justice Department named a special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, to investigate the case, and now the investigations are coming to a close and hence media focus on the affair.
Novak has reportedly reached a deal with the special prosecutor. He has been under an order not to talk about the case at all, but has said that people will be "surprised" when the name of the source is revealed.
Two other reporters, Matt Cooper from Time magazine and Judith Miller from the New York Times, who followed up the story could go to jail for upto 18 months beginning on Wednesday on charges of contempt of court unless they reveal their sources (Miller is facing jail time for refusing to reveal sources she developed during her reporting, even though she did not write a report on Plame or Wilson).
Cooper and Miller have submitted papers requesting house arrest or particular prisons if they had to be jailed, after the supreme court refused to hear their appeal.
Time magazine has surrendered Cooper's notes to the prosecutor and perhaps Cooper might get off the hook . Among the notes are emails showing that Rove was one of the sources for the story, according to reports.
Cooper wrote in an article "Some government officials have noted to Time in interviews... that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
Rove testified before a federal grand jury that he only talked to the press about Plame after her name appeared in Novak's column. The documents handed over by Time would mean that Rove lied under oath and this sets the ground for a perjury indictment.
Rove is not talking these days. His lawyer insists that Rove "did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA."
As charges and denials fly across Washington, the episode should indeed be seen as a reflection of the determination of the Bush administration to effectively deal with political opponents.
Investigations have shown that President George W Bush himself and his vice-president, Dick Cheney, did know of the "leak" but did nothing to prevent it. Surely, the list of people who knew does not end with them sincethe decision to "punish" Ambassador Wilson for speaking up against doctored intelligence reports was surely taken collectively by the neoconservative camp which plotted and orchestrated the invasion of Iraq.
The case should not be seen strictly within the confines of the law as a matter of perjury and US national security. It is yet another nail on the coffin of the Bush administration's deception of the people of American people to justify the invasion of Iraq.
The administration had set up the Office of Special Plans to circumvent the CIA in producing intelligence intelligence reports to justify the war against Iraq. The allegation that Saddam bought nuclear material from Niger had originated in the UK and passed on to the OSP, which readily grabbed it.
The main source for "intelligence" for the OSP was data gathered (read produced) by Israeli intelligence agencies particularly Mossad and information provided by Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC).
Interestingly, Judith Miller of the New York Times was the main conduit through which the INC passed on false information about Iraq that were turned into "authoritative intelligence information" — which has now been proved to have been hollow.

Use the following in a box:

Bush shifts to WWRs

US President George W Bush, in an interview with Britain's ITV1 on Monday ahead of the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Scotland, cited women without rights as one of the reasons for the war against Iraq. Some commentators see the comment as replacing the "weapons of mass destruction (WMD)" argument with "women without rights (WWR)."
One of the questions raised by the interviewer was: "Mr President, if I can move on to the question of Iraq, when we last spoke before the Iraq war, I asked you about Saddam Hussein and you said this, and I quote: 'He harbours and develops weapons of mass destruction, make no mistake about it.'
"Well, today, no WMD, the war has cost 1,700 American lives, many more Iraqi civilians killed, hundreds of billions of dollars in cost to your country. Can you understand why some people in your country are now beginning to wonder whether it was really worth it?"
Bush replied: "Absolutely. I mean, when you turn on your TV set every day and see this incredible violence and the havoc that is wreaked as a result of these killers, I'm sure why people are getting discouraged. And that's why I spoke to the nation last night and reminded people that this is a — Iraq is a part of this global war on terror. And the reason why foreign fighters are flocking into Iraq is because they want to drive us out of the region.
"See, these folks represent an ideology that is based upon hate and kind of a narrow vision of mankind — women don't have rights. And I believe this is an ideological movement. And I know that they want to use suicide bombers and assassinations and attacks on the World Trade Centre, and the attacks in Madrid, to try to shake our will and to achieve an objective, which is to topple governments."