Category Archives: Iraq

Declassified JCS report shows U.S. invaded Iraq based on flimsy evidence of Iraqi WMDs

The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began with the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, 1½ years after the traumatic 9/11 attacks, by a U.S.-led coalition.

The invasion began with a “shock and awe” bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as U.S. forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba’athist government of Saddam Hussein, who was captured in December 2003 and executed by a military court three years later.

But the war continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. Worse still, Saddam’s former military officers morphed into ISIS, which became the Islamic State. (See Blowback: ISIS leaders are former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army”) After officially withdrawing from Iraq in 2011, the United States became re-involved in 2014 as the Iraqi government proved itself unable to cope with ISIS.

The George W. Bush administration based its rationale for war principally on the assertion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) — yellow-cake uranium poison gas, biological weapons — and that Saddam’s government posed an immediate threat to the United States and its coalition allies. Saddam was also accused of of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, the terrorist group identified as the instigator of 9/11.

The rationale for the Iraq War has since been discredited. But a newly-declassified report to the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff provides even more evidence that the Bush administration went to war with, at best, flimsy evidence of Iraq’s WMDs.

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense 2001-2006John Walcott, adjunct professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, reports for Politico, Jan. 24, 2016, that on September 9, 2002, as the Bush administration began its public-opinion campaign for an invasion of Iraq, a classified report from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Air Force General Richard Myers.

The report began with these words:

“Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD. It is big.”

The report was an inventory of what U.S. intelligence didn’t know about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The report admitted that what the U.S. didn’t know about Iraq’s WMD program ranged from 0% to about 75%While the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iraq was at the heart of the administration’s case for war, the JCS report conceded that:

“Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence.”

Myers already knew about the report because the Joint Staff’s director for intelligence had prepared it. Clearly, Rumsfeld’s urgent tone conveyed how seriously he viewed the report’s potential to undermine the Bush administration’s case for war.

But neither Rumsfeld nor Myers shared the 8-page report with key members of the administration such as then-Secretary of State Colin Powell or top officials at the CIA, according to multiple sources at the State Department, White House and CIA who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. Instead, the report disappeared, and with it a potentially powerful counter-narrative to the administration’s argument that Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons posed a grave threat to the U.S. and its allies, which was beginning to gain traction in major news outlets, led by the New York Times.

A month after Rumsfeld’s note to Myers, on October 7, 2002, Bush appeared at a VFW hall in Cincinnati, where he declared without reservation: Iraq “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.” In February 2003, Powell appeared before the UN General Assembly to make the administration’s case, with CIA Director George Tenet sitting behind him:

“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What were giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

Below are screenshots of the 8-page report, preceded by Rumsfeld’s memo to Myers, and Director for Intelligence Major Gen. Glen Shaffer’s memo to the JCS (source: Politico). I supplied the red-color emphasis.

Iraq report Rumsfeld memo to MyersIraq report Rumsfeld memo to Myers1Iraq WMD1Iraq WMD2Iraq WMD3Iraq WMD4Iraq WMD5Iraq WMD6Iraq WMD7Iraq WMD8Altogether, the Iraq War exacted a toll of hundreds of thousands in casualties:

  • An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict.
  • 6,045 Americans were killed: 4,491 soldiers; 1,554 contractors. Additionally, 76,106 Americans were wounded: 32,226 soldiers; 43,880 contractors.

The Iraq War cost the U.S. government more than $845 billion — $720 million a day, if one takes into account the long-term health care for veterans, interest on debt and replacement of military hardware, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance professor Linda Bilmes.

The Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq on the basis that Saddam’s Iraq posed a clear and present threat to the security of the United States because they had Weapons of Mass Destruction. But it turns out that both the U.S. Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs of Staff knew U.S. intelligence did not support that claim in that there was no hard evidence of Iraqi WMDs.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are fast-tracking a resolution to give Obama unlimited war-making powers — unrestricted in time or geography.

See also:

-StMA

Islamic State says Muslims can cannibalize and harvest organs from live non-Muslims

First, an imam named Yasir Qadhi,who also is a college professor in Tennessee, says Muslims can take the property of Christians and Jews.

Note: An imam is an Islamic leadership position. For Shia or Shi’ite Muslims, imams are infallible.

Now, the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) proclaims that, to save the life of a Muslim, Islamic law permits cannibalizing and taking the organs of “apostates,” who include non-Muslims.

The source of this revolting news is a January 31, 2015 memorandum issued by the ISIL Committee of Research and Fatwas, which was captured by U.S. special forces in Syria in May 2015. The committee reports directly to Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A fatwa is a legal opinion given by a qualified Islamic jurist or mufti on issues pertaining to the Islamic law or sharia. The fatwa in question is Fatwa No. 68.

The news agency Reuters reports on Dec. 25, 2015, that U.S. officials say the document was among a trove of data and other information obtained by U.S. special forces in a raid in eastern Syria in May. The memo does not define “apostate,” though the Islamic State has killed or imprisoned non-Muslims, such as Christians, as well as Muslims who don’t follow Islamic State’s extremist views.

Below is the U.S. government’s translation of the memorandum in its entirety (words in bold are the memo’s; I supplied the dark red color for certain phrases). You can also read the memo for yourself in PDF here.

ISIL COMMITTEE OF RESEARCH AND FATWAS
FATWAS NO. 61, 62, and 64-68

[Page 7 of 9]

The Islamic State
The Research and Fatwa Committee
In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Fatwa Number: 68
Date: 31 JAN 2015

Question: Is it permissible to take the captured apostate’s body organs and give them to Muslims who are in need of them?

There is no doubt that the Muslim hospitals are overwhelmed with diseases that are incurable by doctors and harsh on the patients, such as heart and renal diseases and other fatal or degenerative diseases.

Allah Almighty knows best what is right and what is wrong and there is evidence from texts and Islamic principles and laws supporting the notion that transplanting healthy organs from an apostate’s body into a Muslim’s body in order to save the latter’s life or replace a damaged organ with it is permissible.

Allah Almighty said [TC: Verse 5:32 from the Koran] {if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people}. One notices that the context of this verse is general and covers all scenarios of saving the lives of believers including transplanting organs. Saving a Muslim from death or deterioration is an Islamic legal duty that should be performed with every legitimate way or financial means.

The jurists of the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools and others permitted, when necessary, the killing of the infidel combatant or the apostate should one need to consume their flesh for the purpose of saving his own life. [TC: the author cites texts written by the Imam al-Nawawi, an Islamic scholar, on the legitimacy of killing the infidel fighters and apostates and eating them.]

If the jurists had permitted, when necessary, the consumption of human flesh as a means counter to death or harm, then it is even more appropriate to transplant of organs from the apostate to the Muslim to save the life of the latter. This is especially the case since it was ruled that the apostate’s life and organs are not protected. On the contrary, the apostate’s life and organs don’t have to be respected and may be taken with impunity. Based on aforementioned, the categories of the apostate’s organs are broken down into the following cases:
1-The rule is applicable to organs that could be put to use in both cases–pre and post-mortem.
2-The organs that can only be used pre-mortem, and those are divided into two groups:
a- Organs the removal of which would not be fatal: It is not prohibited to remove this type of organs from a living body as death would defeat the purpose.
b- Organs that end the captive’s life if removed: The removal of that type is also not prohibited, even if it is fatal for the captive. A group of Islamic scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh which is part of benefitting from his body. This encompasses everything that is needed to be taken from the apostate’s body.

The permission to transplant an apostate’s organs into a Muslim’s body facilitates, alleviates, and removes the difficulties endured by Muslims is corroborated by a reason strongly rooted in the pure Sharia. Allah Almighty says [TC: Verses follow from the Koran] {Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties}. He says: {Allah doth wish to lighten your (difficulties): For man was created Weak (in flesh)}. He says: {Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty}. He says: {has imposed no difficulties on you in religion}. Allah Almighty knows best.

Stamp:

stamp of ISIL Committee of Research & Fatwas

The Islamic State
The Caliphate State
The Research and Fatwa Committee

(End of translation)

Reuters claims that although the memo is “raising concerns that the violent extremist group may be trafficking in body parts,” there is no evidence to support the notion that it has already done so.

However, Iraq has accused Islamic State of harvesting human organs and trafficking them for profit. Iraq’s ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, told Reuters the documents should be examined by the U.N. Security Council as evidence that Islamic State could be trafficking in organs to raise cash.

According to Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, the Special Ops raid in May, which resulted in the death of Islamic State top financial official Abu Sayyaf and the capture of his wife, also netted 7 terabytes of data in the form of computer hard drives, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs and papers. 

See also:

Israel aids Muslim jihadists in Syria with weapons, air strikes, and medical care for the wounded

5 years ago, on December 18, 2010, a popular uprising in Tunisia began a wave of protests, demonstrations, riots and civil wars in the Arab world which the West enthusiastically praised and romanticized by calling the convulsions “Arab Spring.

By the end of February 2012, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests had broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests had occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and Palestine.

Instead of the West’s expectation that the convulsions heralded a springtime for democracy in the Arab world, what resulted was the electoral success of Islamist parties, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. All of which led some to characterize the convulsions as an Islamist Winter.

The on-going civil war in Syria between so-called “Syrian rebels” and the duly elected Ba’athist government of Bashar al-Assad had begun as “Arab Spring” civil uprisings in the spring of 2011.

In 2013, the Obama administration, together with Senate Republicans like John McCain, had agitated for a war to topple Assad. (See “Pulitzer-award journalist says Obama admin made up intelligence for war on Syria“)

Since then, the United States has continued to provide aid in training and weapons to the “Syrian rebels” hellbent on overthrowing the Assad government — the main opponent of ISIS or Islamic State in Syria. (See “CIA expands Obama-approved training of Syrian militants”)

The Obama administration insists that only “moderate” rebels are aided, but it is a known fact that those insurgents include al-Qaeda and ISIS. If Assad is overthrown, the overwhelming likelihood is that Syria will descend into chaos, with the apocalyptic and brutal Islamic State eventually seizing political power. (See “Despite months of U.S. air strikes, ISIS now controls a third of Syria“)

And now, with the Russian and Chinese military aiding Assad, the stakes are raised even higher, transforming Syria into an arena for a WWIII between superpowers.

None of that is in the interests of the United States, or so a rational person would think.

A little-reported and little-publicized fact is that Israel is exacerbating the descent of Syria into chaos by providing so-called Syrian “rebels” with:

1. free medical care to wounded “rebels”

Foreign Policy reports that according to a United Nations report, Syrian “rebels” have transported scores of wounded Syrians across a cease-fire line that has separated Israel from Syria since 1974. Once in Israel, they receive medical treatment in a field clinic before being sent back to Syria to continue their civil war against Assad. 

Daily Mail journalists embedded with Israeli troops report:

Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state…. Analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran…. Many of the casualties rescued by Israel belong to Salafist groups …. Some may be members of Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian group affiliated to Al Qaeda that has kidnapped scores of UN peacekeeping troops in this area, and has massacred Christians deeper in Syria…. In the three years that Israel has been running these operations, it has saved the lives of more than 2,000 Syrians – at least 80 per cent of whom are male and of fighting age – at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7 million)…. 

2. Weapons

Israel is also providing weapons to those Syrian “rebels”.

The Times of Israel reports that Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, who was arrested on July 22 by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front near the Israeli border, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support.

Safouri can be seen in the video above admitting to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms:

“The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities.”

Safouri said that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias. Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

3. Bombing Syria

The Guardian reports that the Syrian government claimed that, on Dec. 7, 2015, Israeli jets bombed two installations in Syria, one near the capital, Damascus, and the second in a town near the Lebanese border.

The report by Syrian state television described the attack as “an aggression”. The state news agency Sana said: “The Israeli enemy attacked Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, namely the Dimas area and the area of Damascus international airport.”

No casualties were reported and there was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the country’s civil war through a network of activists on the ground, said the strike near the Damascus airport hit a warehouse, and it was unclear what was in the building. The target of the strikes might have been advanced Russian-made S300 surface-to-air missiles.

The December 7 bombings are not the first Israeli air strikes in Syria. Israel has carried out several air strikes in Syria since the revolt against the Assad government began in March 2011. In June 2015, Israel struck targets inside Syria, including a military installation, following a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager. Israel said at the time that it had struck nine military targets inside Syria and had confirmed “direct hits”.

Why

George Washington writes for ZeroHedge, Dec. 14, 2015, that although Israel claims to be in a mortal struggle with Islamic terrorists, apparently some Islamic terrorists — Sunnis — are better than others.

Michael Stephens, Research Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), explains:

“Above all, Israel wants to prevent Hezbollah from gaining control on the other side of the border. The Sunni militants are fighting Hezbollah, so for now they share the same objectives as Israel. That’s why we’re seeing this odd cooperation between people who would be enemies under any other circumstances.”

Indeed, an Israeli spokesman confirmed that no medical support has been provided to any militants from the Shia (or Shi’ite) alliance.

Kamal Alam, research analyst at RUSI and an expert in Syrian affairs, said:

“From an Israeli viewpoint, it’s a case of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. There is no one they can trust in the Syrian quagmire, but if you get rid of Hezbollah, that’s the end of Iran in the region. Israel’s main aim has to be to eliminate Hezbollah – and whoever takes on Hezbollah is an uneasy but necessary ally. [But in] giving medical support to these fighters, Israel has done a deal with the devil.

In fact, Israel has made no secret of the fact that it prefers ISIS and Al Qaeda to the Iranian backed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. In September 2013, outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview:

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc.… We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.

He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

In June 2014, speaking at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren extended Israel’s preference to include the apocalyptic Islamic State or ISIS. He said: “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail.”

Washington’s Blog points out that Israel’s support for al-Qaeda and Islamic State isn’t just about Iran or Shia Muslims. Israel decided long ago to break up Syria and Iraq into numerous mini-states, in part because a compliant government in Syria would allow Israel’s pipelines to win out over competing pipelines.

All of which would explain why, as Reuters puts it, “Israel loses no sleep over Islamic State”. Reuters’ Dimi Reider writes:

At first sight, it seems that Israel is just as preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State as anyone else….

Still, Israel remains the least concerned and least directly threatened country in a region increasingly rocked by Islamic State’s advance. It certainly does not see the group as an external threat. Shocking though the events in Syria and Iraq are, Israel is far beyond the range of even the most sophisticated of Islamic State’s weapons. The group’s immediate territorial interests do not extend to anywhere near Israeli borders, and its support in areas adjacent to Israel is still negligible.  What’s more, unlike many militant groups and states in the region, Islamic State has declared itself emphatically disinterested in intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring instead to draw its support from Sunni revanchism and introducing a semblance of order into war-torn regions of Iraq.

Islamic State also does not yet pose an internal threat to Israel. Unlike most countries bordering Syria, Israel has not been politically or demographically unsettled by the civil war there….

Even attempts by Israeli centrists and the U.S. to tie progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the fight against Islamic State have left Israel unmoved…. Israel has been able to extract some short-term gains from unfolding catastrophe. With the West again mobilizing against a radical Islamist group, Netanyahu find himself on the familiar turf of the “war on terror.” He is capitalizing on this by trying to equate Palestinian nationalism — especially the religious wing of it — with Islamic State at every conceivable opportunity….

More shockingly, there are some who say ISIS, which became the Islamic State, was a creation of Israel:

The 97-year-old wire service Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Aug. 13, 2014:

A senior employee of the Dutch Justice Ministry said the jihadist group ISIS was created by Zionists seeking to give Islam a bad reputation.

Yasmina Haifi, a project leader at the ministry’s National Cyber Security Center, made the assertion Wednesday on Twitter, the De Telegraaf daily reported.

“ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It’s part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam’s name,” wrote Haifi, who described herself on the social network LinkedIn as an activist for the Dutch Labor Party, or PvdA.

Haifi later removed her original message, explaining, “I realize the political sensitivity in connection with my work. That was not my intention.”

Blogger George Washington of ZeroHedge asks: “Perhaps that’s why ISIS, Al Nusra and the other Islamic terrorists in Syria haven’t tried to lay a glove on Israel?” He points out the following disturbing facts:

Writing for Consortiumnews.com, Robert Parry warns:

The Saudi-Israeli alliance has gone on the offensive, ramping up a “regime change” war in Syria and, in effect, promoting a military victory for Al-Qaeda or its spinoff, the Islamic State. But the consequences of that victory could toll the final bell for the American Republic….

As much fun as the “who lost Syria” finger-pointing would be, it would soon give way to the horror of what would likely unfold in Syria with either Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the spin-off Islamic State in charge – or possibly a coalition of the two with Al-Qaeda using its new base to plot terror attacks on the West while the Islamic State engaged in its favorite pastime, those YouTube decapitations of infidels….

Such a spectacle would be hard for the world to watch and there would be demands on President Obama or his successor to “do something.” But realistic options would be few, with a shattered and scattered Syrian army no longer a viable force capable of driving the terrorists from power.

The remaining option would be to send in the American military, perhaps with some European allies, to try to dislodge Al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State. But the prospects for success would be slim. The goal of conquering Syria – and possibly re-conquering much of Iraq as well – would be costly, bloody and almost certainly futile.

The further diversion of resources and manpower from America’s domestic needs also would fuel the growing social discontent in major U.S. cities…. A new war in the Middle East would accelerate America’s descent into bankruptcy and a dystopian police state.

The last embers of the American Republic would fade. In its place would be endless war and a single-minded devotion to security. The National Security Agency already has in place the surveillance capabilities to ensure that any civil resistance could be thwarted.

See also:

-StMA

50+ U.S. intelligence analysts accuse Pentagon of altering their reports to present distorted rosy view of war against ISIS

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of Centcom

Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef report for The Daily Beast, Sept 9, 2015, that more than 50 intelligence analysts of the U.S. military’s Central Command (Centcom) formally complained that their reports on ISIS/Islamic State and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being altered by senior officials to present the terrorist groups as weaker than the analysts had portrayed.

The analysts are paid to give their honest assessment, based on facts, and not to be influenced by national-level policy. Assigned to work at Centcom and the U.S. military’s command for the Middle East and Central Asia, they are officially employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Ironically, the DIA was created to be immune from the pressures and biases of the officers leading the war, but the agency is supervised by officers at Centcom.

The analysts’ complaints prompted the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence.

The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command, charged with the war against the Islamic State, assesses intelligence. One defense official called it a “cancer…within the senior level of the intelligence command.”

In July 2015, two senior analysts at Centcom signed a written complaint to the Defense Department inspector general alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by Centcom higher-ups to adhere to the Obama administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.

In recent months, members of the Obama administration have sought to paint the fight against ISIS in rosy hues—despite the latter’s seizure of major cities like Mosul and Fallujah. As examples:

  • In March, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I am confident that over time, we will beat, we will, indeed, degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” the Obama administration’s preferred acronym for the group.
  • Obama said in May, “No, I don’t think we’re losing.”
  • In July, John Allen, the retired Marine general charged with coordinating the ISIS campaign, outright declared, “ISIS is losing.”

The written complaint was supported by 50 other analysts, who are willing and able to back up the substance of the allegations with concrete examples. Some of the analysts had complained about politicizing of intelligence reports for months. That’s according to 11 individuals who are knowledgeable about the details of the report and who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity.

The allegations echoed previous charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.

Some of those CENTCOM analysts described the sizeable cadre of protesting analysts as a “revolt” by intelligence professionals. The analysts accused senior-level leaders, including the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, of changing their analyses to be more in line with the Obama administration’s public contention that the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda is making progress. The analysts take a more pessimistic view about how military efforts to destroy the groups are going.

The complaints allege that in some cases key elements of intelligence reports were removed, resulting in a document that didn’t accurately capture the analysts’ conclusions. The complaints also accuse some senior leaders at CENTCOM of creating a “Stalinist” unprofessional work environment. Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria. Some felt it was a product of commanders protecting their career advancement by putting the best spin on the war.

Reports by analysts which were too negative in their assessment of the war were sent back down the chain of the command or not shared up the chain. Others, aware of “the climate around them,” censored themselves so that their reports affirmed already-held beliefs.

Two of the officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said that analysts began airing their complaints last October in an effort to address the issue internally and only went to the inspector general when that effort failed. Some of those who complained were urged to retire; some agreed to leave.

Yet a growing group of intelligence analysts persisted with their complaints. For some, who have served at CENTCOM for more than a decade, scars remained from the run-up to the 2003 war in Iraq, when poorly written intelligence reports suggesting Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, when it did not, formed the basis of the George W. Bush administration’s case for war.

According to a report by the New York Times on Sept. 15, 2015, it is highly unusual that an investigation would be opened about the intelligence conclusions in an ongoing war.

The Pentagon’s inspector general is focusing on senior intelligence officials who supervise dozens of military and civilian analysts at Centcom, which oversees American military operations against ISIS. Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s inspector general, said in an email, “The investigation will address whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression or improper modification of intelligence information,” as well as examine any “personal accountability for any misconduct or failure to follow established processes.”

Obama to let in 10,000 Syrian refugees despite no way of identifying terrorists

Obama’s policy and conduct in the Middle East are nothing but a disaster.

The disaster began with his celebration of the so-called Arab Spring that brought the radical Muslim Brotherhood (MB) into power in Egypt and replaced the Khadaffi regime with chaos in Libya.

Then the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq brought instead a new lethal threat of ISIS that now, as the Islamic State, controls a broad swath across Iraq and Syria. (See Blowback: ISIS leaders are former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army”)

Meanwhile, Obama is determined to do the same to Syria by arming and training so-called rebels who are every bit as extreme as the MB and ISIS, to topple the Assad government, under which Syrian Christians and Muslims had lived in peace. See:

The latest: Russia has entered the fray, with Russian troops reportedly in Syria to help the Assad regime.

Syria’s civil war, now in its 5th year, and ISIS are major contributors to the present “refugee migrant crisis” in Europe, the biggest since the second world war, as tens of thousands of Muslims pour across the borders of the Arabic Middle East and North Africa to overwhelm European countries.

The Guardian quotes an UN figure of 38% of “migrants” as coming from Syria. “The American decision to accept more refugees reflects how swiftly the Syrian war has morphed into the most pressing humanitarian crisis in recent years,” says the New York Times.

Mideast-Iraq-Syrian-Rrfugees2015 refugee crisis - asylum applications of European countriesKatie Pavlich reports for Townhall that yesterday (Sept. 10) afternoon, the Obama White House announced plans to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during the daily briefing:

“The United States, at the direction of the United States, [sic] has played a leading role in addressing the dire humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and North Africa. One thing that the United States can do is to begin to let more Syrian refugees into the United States. This year, this fiscal year that will end this month, the United States is on track to take in about 1500 Syrian refugees. The president has directed his team to scale up that number next [fiscal] year [beginning October 2015] and he’s informed his team he would like them to accept, at least make preparations, for 10,000 refugees.

There is no word yet on what the vetting process will be for refugees or how the White House plans to assure Americans the process will prevent ISIS terrorists from making their way into the United States.

Earlier this week in an interview with Fox News, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul expressed serious concern about national security and the acceptance of refugees from Syria:

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States. We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans.

In an article for Clash Daily, U.S. Infantry veteran Sgt. Omar Avila maintains that “Syrian operatives have claimed that more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen have been smuggled into Western nations – hidden amongst innocent refugees. The operative said the undercover infiltration was the beginning of a larger plot to carry out revenge attacks on the West in retaliation for the US-led coalition airstrikes.”

-StMA

Former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus wants U.S. to arm Al-Qaeda

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the same al Qaeda that was headed by Osama bin Laden and still identified as a terrorist organization, have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power — David Petraeus, retired U.S. Army general and former CIA Director and former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petraeus has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, according to information from four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly.

Shane Harris and Nancy A. Youssef report for The Daily Beast, Aug. 31, 2015:

The heart of the idea stems from Petraeus’s experience in Iraq in 2007, when as part of a broader strategy to defeat an Islamist insurgency the U.S. persuaded Sunni militias to stop fighting with al Qaeda and to work with the American military.

The tactic worked, at least temporarily. But al Qaeda in Iraq was later reborn as ISIS, and has become the sworn enemy of its parent organization. Now, Petraeus is returning to his old play, advocating a strategy of co-opting rank-and-file members of al Nusra, particularly those who don’t necessarily share all of core al Qaeda’s Islamist philosophy.

However, Petraeus’s play, if executed, could be enormously controversial. The American war on terror began with an al Qaeda attack on 9/11, of course. The idea that the U.S. would, 14 years later, work with elements of al Qaeda’s Syrian branch was an irony too tough to stomach for most U.S. officials interviewed by The Daily Beast. They found Petraeus’s notion politically toxic, near-impossible to execute, and strategically risky.

It would also face enormous legal and security obstacles. In 2012, the Obama administration designated al Nusra a foreign terrorist organization. And last year, the president ordered airstrikes on al Nusra positions housing members of the Khorasan Group, an al Qaeda cadre that was trying to recruit jihadists with Western passports to smuggle bombs onto civilian airliners.

Yet Petraeus and his plan cannot be written off. He still wields considerable influence with current officials, U.S. lawmakers, and foreign leaders. The fact that he feels comfortable recruiting defectors from an organization that has declared war on the United States underscores the tenuous nature of the Obama administration’s strategy to fight ISIS, which numerous observers have said is floundering in search of a viable ground force.

Read the rest of the Daily Beast article here.

George Washington of ZeroHedge observes that Petraeus is not alone:

As we’ve previously shown, other mainstream American figures support arming Al Qaeda … and ISIS.

The U.S. actually did knowingly support Al Qaeda in Libya. And also in Syria.

And we actually ARE supporting ISIS to some extent.

David Petraeus and Paula BroadwellA highly-decorated four-star general who had served over 37 years in the U.S. Army, David Petraeus had been Commander of the International Security Assistance Force; Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan; 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command; and Commanding General of Multi-National Force – Iraq who oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq.

On September 6, 2011, Obama recruited Petraeus to be CIA Director. A week before, in anticipation of that appointment, Petraeus had retired from the U.S. Army.

Petraeus lasted a little over a year as CIA director. On November 9, 2012, he resigned from the CIA, citing his extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, a married woman who is the principal author of Petraeus’ biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Petraeus claimed that the affair had begun in late 2011 when he was no longer an active duty military officer, and ended in the summer of 2012. The affair reportedly was discovered in the course of an FBI investigation into harassing emails that Broadwell had been sending to Jill Kelley, a Tampa socialite and a longstanding family friend of the Petraeuses whom Broadwell perceived to be a romantic rival.

~StMA

CIA director John Brennan is a Muslim convert?

Before John Owen Brennan became Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on March 8, 2013, he had spent 25 years with the CIA in a succession of positions, including as a Near East and South Asia analyst, station chief in Saudi Arabia, chief of staff to CIA director George Tenet, and director of the National Counterterrorism Center. After leaving government service in 2005, Brennan was CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a security consulting business. He returned to government service with the Obama administration as Homeland Security Advisor on January 20, 2009.

Barack Obama (l) and John Brennan (r) Photo by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Barack Obama (l) and John Brennan (r)
Photo by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Peter Baker and Mark Mazzetti write for The New York Times that “in the 67 years since the C.I.A. was founded, few presidents have had as close a bond with their intelligence chiefs as Mr. Obama has forged with Mr. Brennan. It is a relationship that has shaped the policy and politics of the debate over the nation’s war with terrorist organizations, as well as the agency’s own struggle to balance security and liberty.”

Given Obama’s special bond with Brennan, if the latter is a Muslim convert, there are troubling national security implications.

Brennan’s questionable loyalty dates back to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

On September 18, 2014, on the Ground Zero radio program, a whistle blower named Greg Ford of the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion claimed that Brennan, as chief of the CIA station in Jeda, overrode concerns and ordered that the visas of the 19 plane-hijackers be stamped. At 1:32:47 into the interview, Ford talked about ISIS and how it was created. Someone called in with a question about 9/11. Ford said:

“All 19 high jackers? Where did they get their visas stamped before they came to this country to launch 9/11? They got their visas stamped in the CIA station in Jeda. And the second in command said ‘No way, absolutely we are not going to stamp those visas.’ And the fellow who was in charge, his name was John Brennan. He was the person who overrode those concerns and cautions and ordered those visas stamped in Jeda.”

There have long been rumors that John Owen Brennan is a Muslim convert. A member of this Confortium, John Molloy, Chairman of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, has heard of those rumors from his military sources. Now, we have published confirmation from a credible journalist.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and columnist. As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency.  (See his extended bio here.) 

In a for-subscribers-only article for his news site, Wayne Madsen Report, on August 11, 2015, Madsen maintains there is “growing evidence that CIA’s John Brennan is a Wahhabist convert.”

Madsen begins by noting that Obama had wanted to appoint Brennan CIA director in 2009, but there was internal CIA and congressional opposition to his nomination, ostensibly because of Brennan’s involvement in “enhanced interrogation” techniques used against detainees after 9/11, but the actual reasons for the initial opposition remains unclear to this day.

When the Senate eventually voted to confirm Brennan in 2013, 34 senators voted no, including Rand Paul (R-KY), who attempted to filibuster the confirmation vote; Ted Cruz (R-TX); Charles Grassley (R-IA); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Mike Lee (R-UT); Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Bernie Sanders (D-VT); and Richard Shelby (R-AL). Barbara Boxer (D-CA) did not vote. Madsen asks, “What did these senators actually know about Brennan, especially the Democrats, who decided Brennan was not for for the job?

Madsen lists the following tell-tale signs of Brennan’s conversion to Islam:

  • When Brennan, then Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was sworn in to head the CIA, “the Jesuit-educated former CIA officer opted to take the oath on a copy of the U.S. Constitution, not on the bible as every past CIA director, Christian and Jewish, had done.”
  • Brennan is the highest-ranking U.S. official to have ever visited the Islamic holy city of Mecca, a privilege reserved only for pious Muslims and special guests of the Saudi King, who is the “Guardian of the Two Shrines of Mecca and Medina.” 
  • At the National Security Council and at the CIA, Brennan has forbidden the use of the term “jihadist” to describe Islamist terrorists, preferring instead the word “extremists.”

Madsen then presents the following “ample evidence” that Brennan is not just a Muslim convert, but a convert to Wahhabist Islam — the same sect as Osama bin Laden’s — who considers himself a “jihadist,” or “holy warrior”:

1.“The recent revelation by retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), that the Obama administration, including Brennan at the CIA, ignored the threat of the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), provides yet further proof that a Saudi and Wahhabist ‘Manchurian Candidate’ now occupies the director’s chair on the seventh floor of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Flynn said that the White House and supporters of the Syrian rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, ignored the DIA’s SECRET report from August 2012 on the rise of the Islamist caliphate in Syria and Iraq and did nothing to stop it.” Flynn also asserted that the Obama administration funneled arms to Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

2. Brennan has shuttled frequently between Langley, Jerusalem, and Riyadh to coordinate arms transfers and other logistical support to ISIL and their allied fighters in Syria and Iraq. Witnesses in Syria, the Golan Heights, Iraq’s Anbar province, and Iraqi Kurdistan to have seen CIA and Israeli Mossad commandos transferring weapons to ISIL and affiliated forces.

3. A few weeks before the Senate voted to confirm Brennan as CIA director, former FBI agent John Guandolo revealed that Brennan had, indeed, converted to Wahhabist Islam while he was CIA station chief in Riyadh. Guandalo quoted Brennan as having said that he “marveled at the majesty of the Hajj,” the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that is reserved only for devout Muslims. Guandalo was quoted as telling a radio interviewer, “Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on  the behalf of the United States in Saudi Arabia.”

According to Madsen, there are other CIA converts to Muslim, including:

    • The chief of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center under Brennan, who is known only as “Roger,” is a convert to Sunni Islam — a fact that was reported by The Washington Post. Roger’s career at the CIA started about the same time that Brennan joined the agency. Roger, whose real name is Michael A. D’Andrea or “Mike”, joined in 1979, Brennan in 1980. Both became fluent in Arabic. D’Andrea’s CIA nickname was “The Wolf.”
    • Muhammad Abdel Karim Grimm, a chief CIA operative at the Munich Islamic Center (MIC), is a German Christian convert to Salafist Islam. The MIC was funded by the CIA during the Cold War as a Muslim Brotherhood operating cell in Munich which recruited Turkish Muslim CIA operatives from Germany’s Turkish “guest worker” community.
    • Andrew Warren, who speaks six Arabic dialects and Persian, is another convert to Islam who rose in the ranks of the CIA. In 2008, Warren, the CIA’s station chief in Algiers, was ordered home by the ambassador after he was charged with drugging two Algerian Muslim women, having non-consensual sex with them, and filming the alleged rapes. Warren left the CIA and took a job with Citigroup in New York but quickly returned to the CIA after the 9/11 attack. In 2010, Warren received a 65-month prison sentence for “abusive sexual conduct” while in Algeirs and unlawful use of cocaine while possessing a firearm in  Norfolk. He pleaded guilty to the two charges but prosecutors decided not to charge Warren with rape, which would have carried a life sentence. Madsen claims that according to “a well-placed U.S. intelligence source,” Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings was working on a story about Warren and Brennan before he died in a suspicious fiery auto crash in Beverly Hills, California in June 2013, a little over three months after Brennan became CIA director.

~StMA