Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Intelligence Sources, Real and Fake

Such is the power of branding, marketing and advertising that we continue to believe in people, even when we have serious reason to question them.Image
An anonymous whistleblower states: "I know for a fact that the Obama admin sent letters - plural - directly to Soleimani."

What is in them? Who knows?

As it happens, Frantzman's article is about the issue of assassinating Soleimani. He critiques a 1/1/2018 (so look how far back this goes!) headline suggesting that the U.S. gave Israel permission to do it.

His issue was not the content, but the process of the reporting. 
I don't want to quote the whole thing or try to capture the essence of it, but when you really take a close look at the sources of some of these articles, it's clear that they can be great information "laundered" so that the source is untraceable - or pure junk. 
Just this:

"This pattern is followed elsewhere in the world where newspapers rely on anonymous sources to provide “intel” information." 
"These aren’t exactly government 'leaks' because they may have a clear agenda to move government intel into the hands of journalists for a variety of reasons and make it appear as if it was leaked and not just disclosed." 
"Sometimes this is done by officials to warn off the government from an operation. Sometimes to warn an enemy state. Sometimes to create misinformation and get the press looking in the wrong direction. There are a number of reasons." 
Probably the most convincing part of that article is the statement by Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA analyst herself. 
"As a former Shia militia analyst who served multiple tours in Iraq and worked at the White House under both Presidents Bush and Obama, & later at the Pentagon, I participated in countless conversations on how to respond to Qassem Soleimani’s violent campaigns across the region." 
"If you worked on the Middle East over the past 20 years, you dealt with the growing organization and sophistication of Soleimani’s covert and overt military activities, which have contributed to significant destabilization across the region." 
"I watched friends and colleagues get hurt or killed by Iranian rockets, mortars and explosive devices that were provided to Iraqi proxies and used against U.S. forces under Soleimani’s guidance." 
"We watched as his power increased and he brought strength and capability to groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and to smaller cells around the Middle East and the world, with devastating consequences." 
"We watched what can only be described as a cool war, taking place quietly under the surface of the public eye." 
"What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict?" 
"The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means. The Trump Administration has made a different calculation” 
DC Clothesline relies on "Al Jaridi" the "Kuwait paper of record" to claim "Israel had him in their sites in 2015....with Soleimani’s days truly numbered, and Israel’s finger on the trigger,President Obama notified Iran of the imminent assassination. Soleimani slipped the noose." 
This is the same media outlet that Seth Frantzman talks about in his article about questioning so-called "intelligence sources." And the topic is the same too - Soleimani assassination.

All this chatter alone is reason to give the story credence. 
Some media outlets try to keep a distance and establish a kind of moral equivalency so that the reader cannot determine which side is right.

@ggreenwald for example: "Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister."

The media use headlines to litigate: "Trump makes unfounded claim that Obama gave citizenship to 2,500 Iranians; President cites no evidence for allegation, first made by hardline cleric and circulated by agency linked to Revolutionary Guard"

"Fox News analyst and former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was dubious of the Iranian official’s allegation. 'This sounds like totally made up BS,' she said." 
"The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. A representative for Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also could not be reached for comment." 
But @politico (2017):

"The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook:
An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah's billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House's desire for a nuclear deal with Iran."

"Former Obama officials criticize Politico story alleging ..."

The story was damning and its credentials were damning too. 
"In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah," 
"even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation."

"Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the DEA amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate" 
"some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities." 
"30 U.S. and foreign security agencies"
8 years 
"But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy,"

"Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way" 
"The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players"Image
They wouldn't file charges against "a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force" - remember Soleimani was head of the Quds force 
"They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

- David Asher, Pentagon "illicit finance" expert who worked on the project 
"Obama had entered office in 2009 promising to improve relations with Iran....John Brennan...went further. He recommended in a policy paper...'greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system.'"

Here's the paper.
mentions compile 
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain.