Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Feith no more

David Swanson interviews Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, now retired from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary for Policy Near East South Asia (NESA) Policy directorate. Fascinating stuff and highly recommended. She discusses Feith's Office of Special Plans, the Iranian version of the OSP and much more. A teaser:
SWANSON: Did the operations led by Doug Feith gather intelligence?

KWIATKOWSKI: When I spoke to the DoD IG over a year ago (regarding the investigation that recently produced a report pronouncing the Feith operations as inappropriate), I tried to explain to the IG that what the Feith group and the Office of Special Plans was doing was information manipulation, not the production of what we legitimately call "intelligence." Intelligence is vetted, contextualized, and conservative. What Feith's OSP wanted, needed and produced was inflammatory bits of data, cherry-picked statements, and isolated observations by often shady characters, presented as if they were vetted, contextualized and conservative intelligence. Unlike intelligence, this effort was designed not to inform decision makers, but to shape a national conversation such that decisions already made by the administration (to topple Saddam and get bases in Iraq) could be pursued without political backlash. That's what Doug Feith and his folks did for Bush and Cheney in the Pentagon.
The OSP simply reemployed staff from the Iran Directorate.
SWANSON: What is the Iran Directorate?

KWIATKOWSKI: I have heard that it is much like what we knew as the expanded Iraq desk, the alternative nomenclature for the Office of Special Plans directed by Abe Shulsky in 2002 and 2003. Incidentally – the OSP, when formally separated from our spaces in late August 2002 was described to us by our boss Bill Luti (now at the National Security Council under Elliot Abrams) as the "expanded Iraq desk." However, within weeks, the two people working the Iran desk (Larry Franklin and Ladan Archin) were moved permanently into the OSP, indicating that in practical terms, Iraq and Iran policies were unified. I have heard Abe Shulsky runs the Iran office or Directorate today. Ladan Archin, a political appointee who worked with former Iran desk officer Larry Franklin, is reported to be working for Shulsky in the same capacity as she did in OSP in 2002. When observers note the similarities between the thoroughly discredited OSP and today's Iran Directorate under Shulsky, in terms of leadership, leakage of falsehoods and talking points designed to demonize Iran's government, and promote ideas of a Iranian threat to the United States, the "need" for the U.S. to foment "democracy" in Iran, and a warmongering agenda, they are on track. It's a real shame.
Check it out.

[via Scoop]


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