Thursday, April 12, 2007
my seeds grow with his seeds:
Don't miss Laura Rozen's piece in MoJo about Kurdistan's emergence as a gateway of for-profit regional gamesmanship.
Plenty of non-Kurds would like to help—and make a little profit along the way. According to lobbying records, the high powered, White House-connected lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers, LLC has earned $800,000 promoting the Kurdistan Regional Government’s interests since 2004; before hiring the firm, two U.S. sources say, Michaels had approached Jack Abramoff about representing the Kurds, but the discussions never went beyond the initial stages.

Russell Wilson, a former senior professional staffer for the House international relations committee who helped advise the Kurds on Washington representation and who was formerly listed as a non equity officer in Interop, notes that Kurdistan has many of the things the rest of Iraq lacks: “It’s safe, secure, it’s geographically rich”—features include plenty of unexplored potential oil and natural gas reserves—”and the people are extremely nice.” Wilson says it was he who recommended in the spring of 2004 that the Kurds hire Ed Rogers, a former political director in the Bush I White House, of Barbour Griffith & Rogers as their Washington lobbyist.

--Spencer Ackerman
Re: the Iraq war in general

(also see this post)

Ever since the months prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been a few reports in the newspapers that the Central Intelligence Agency was casting aspersions on the intelligence the White House was relying on to justify the war. The CIA has never given a position on whether the war is needed or justified or said that Bush is wrong to go to war. But doesn't it seem much more likely that the CIA is an extremely right wing organization than a left wing one? After all, even if the people working for them and at least a lot of the leadership really wanted a war for their own reasons, there are a lot of reasons for them to not want to tie their credibility to what they know is faulty information. They and their personnel, present and former, could use other means of promoting the Iraq war, and still be motivated to make the statements in the media. If the CIA got behind faulty information, they would have to make a choice between whether they would be involved in scamming the American people and the world once the military had invaded Iraq and no weapons were found- so: 1) Imagine the incredible difficulties involved in pulling off a hoax that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Imagine all the people you would have to be able to show the weapons to- the inspectors from the UN / the international community, the American press, statesmen, etc. Then imagine the difficulties of substantiating that story to people who would examine it- the lack of witnesses to a production plant that made the weapons or to transportation operations or storage of the weapons during Hussein's regime of them. 2) If the story fell apart upon inspection or the CIA tried not to hoax it at all, imagine the loss of credibility they would suffer. The CIA, it is safe to bet, does not want to be known to the American people as a group that lies to them to send them to war. Even within the CIA there could be disagreement among people about how involved they should be in promoting the war or the neo-con agenda more broadly, so the CIA would have to worry about lying to and managing its own people after trying so hard to get them to trust their superiors in the agency, and perhaps there simply might be too many people in the agency who knew enough about what was going on in Iraq to know if someone was deceiving people to promote this war.

So there is a lot of reason to be cautious against being seen as endorsing what they knew was false intelligence even if they were very strong supporters of going to war.
Blogger Swan | 10:51 AM