The White House No-Brain Trust sets its beady eyes on an even excellenter adventure in Iran
"Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program."
-- Seymour Hersh, in "Preparing the Battlefield,"
in the July 7 and 14 New Yorker
"Ooh, that Sy Hersh!"
This, I'm guessing, is what you would hear -- embellished with suitable expletives -- if you could plug into today's communications going in and out of the White House and the Pentagon and wherever the vice president is holed up this weekend.
Credit RawStory with alerting one and all to a new New Yorker piece, already published today on the magazine's website, in which investigative reporter Seymour Hersh (code-named "That Goddamn Busybody" in administration circles) tells us that last year Chimpy the Prez got congressional leaders to pass in silence on plans to spend up to $400 million for "a major escalation of covert operations against Iran," aimed at "undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change."
Apparently precious little detail was provided in the "presidential finding" that Chimpy had to provide to the so-called Gang of Eight, the party leaders as well as the ranking members of the Intelligence Committees in both houses of Congress. And some of those leaders are reported to have gone so far as to grumble about the failure to specify what exactly the cowboys of the Bush regime plan to do. According to Hersh's source, “There was a significant amount of high-level discussion,” but not enough to derail the plans.
Interestingly, Hersh's sources report considerably more pushback coming from the Pentagon, from both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirming the view we quoted just yesterday from intelligence and foreign-affairs expert Thomas Powers: "It is a strange fact that the locus of opposition to attack on Iran is not in Congress but in the Pentagon." (Note that the Pentagon figures generally agree with the Bush regime high command about the danger from Iran. What they disagree about is the wisdom of attempting military action.)
Some of what Hersh reports is so familiar that it would be funny if the matter weren't so serious. For starters, it seems that the Cheney-Bush no-brain trust is once again stonewalling, providing the congressional Gang of Eight with the absolute minimum of information they can squeeze the law into requiring -- and of course these are people who believe that the law is what they say it is.
Apparently, the "presidential findings" on covert activities that the administration is legally bound to furnish are being confined to activities exclusively conducted by the CIA. Of course there's also all that cluster of agencies around the Defense Department doing covert operations, and increasingly even CIA operations are done under joint command. As far as the administration is concerned, it appears, none of these activities require presidential reporting, since in their view, of course, the president is the chimp-in-charge of all military matters.
It's hard not to imagine as well that that dribbling psychopath "Big Dick" Cheney, thinking he's oh so smart, is doing the same thing he did with the gathering and analysis of intelligence to make sure he could have his war in Iraq: diverting as much of our covert activity as possible away from that damned CIA to people he can control better, as long as those CIA people keep sassing him about something they keep calling "reality," and refuse to see the world the demented way his diseased brain does.
The other intriguing wrinkle Hersh reports is an extension of the above. From people involved in successful U.S. special ops, he's hearing of significantly increased administration management, even micromanagement, of special ops, about which the No-Brain Trust knows even less than all those things it has shown itself so catastrophically ignorant of. According to Hersh's Pentagon consultant:
We’ve had wonderful results in the Horn of Africa with the use of surrogates and false flags -- basic counterintelligence and counter-insurgency tactics. And we’re beginning to tie them in knots in Afghanistan. But the White House is going to kill the program if they use it to go after Iran. It’s one thing to engage in selective strikes and assassinations in Waziristan and another in Iran. The White House believes that one size fits all.
One special point of contention is the No-Brain Trust's demand for immediate results in special ops. This, it seems, is exactly what you can't order up, since successful ops generally require patience, allowing for proper care in the planning and execution.
Wouldn't the world be a safer as well as saner place if the U.S. no-brain trust, headed (for want of a better word) by Big Dick and his sock puppet Chimpy, were spending all their time preparing defenses for their war-crimes trials? At this point, an insanity defense looks like a sure winner.