Shuffling Chairs Around on Bush’s Deck: Negroponte’s Move

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Some things make sense about Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte’s move to serve as Condi’s Deputy at the State Department — and others don’t.
As I have written before, there has been a long-term, subterranean war between Negroponte and CIA Director Michael Hayden on one side and Don Rumsfeld and Defense Department Under Secretary Stephen Cambone on the other.
While the Director of National Intelligence had significant legislatively drawn authority to govern the nation’s intelligence portfolio, the defense department had the lion’s share of actual resources.
With someone as bureaucratically skilled and as self-focused as Donald Rumsfeld, anyone would have difficulty working out an arrangement on intelligence bureaucracy management with him — even Negroponte. But Rumsfeld and Cambone are out.
Mike Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of National Intelligence and now Director of Central Intelligence, was a key ally of Negroponte in trying to wrestle back from DoD control of the intelligence machinery that were legally to work at the direction of the Directorate of National Intelligence.
In the rivalry between quietly feuding camps around Bush, Negroponte was informally close to Condi Rice and was part of the anti-Cheney/Rumfeld camp.
What does make sense about Negroponte’s appointment to succeed Robert Zoellick as Deputy Secretary of State is that he is a valuable bureaucratic manipulator. And Condi needs someone to give her both foreign policy intellectual heft as well as “bureaucratic power” heft. Negroponte — who is a long time foreign service officer who also served as US Ambassador to the United Nations and was our first post-Bremer Ambassador to Iraq before becoming the nation’s Intel Czar — adds enormous power to Condi’s force projection in White House circles.
That said, what does not make sense about the appointment is that with Condoleezza Rice at State, some allies at the NSC, Michael Hayden at CIA, Robert Gates at Defense, and Negroponte as DNI, the correlation of forces in place to check the considerable embedded bureaucratic power of Vice President Cheney and his acolytes was formidable.
The government has moved chairs around and now has to fill the DNI role, perhaps with Michael Hayden — though rumors abound that McConnell may be up. But this also leaves open the chance that a neocon hardliner or fellow traveler could now be appointed to this post. Someone like Elliott Abrams comes to mind, and that would be a disaster.
So in helping her own hand, Rice may have actually weakened, somewhat, the overall ability of those who know a new kind of diplomacy is needed in the Middle East to take back the helm of Bush administration foreign policy.
I wish Negroponte success — and Condi’s team — particularly if they wise up about their counter-productive resistance to building Syria and Iran negotiations into their next round of Middle East negotiations.
But when I saw Negroponte recently at the home of the British Ambassador and told him as I departed that I hoped he had some new ideas to help solve our Iraq mess, he responded, “Don’t hold your breath.”
— Steve Clemons

Comments

28 comments on “Shuffling Chairs Around on Bush’s Deck: Negroponte’s Move

  1. dış cephe says:

    Former official Rick Chidester, who served under Negroponte, says he was ordered to remove all mention of torture and executions from the draft of his 1982 report on the human rights situation in Honduras.

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  2. söve says:

    As reported by the Boston Globe on Jan. 2, the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG) is setting the stage for a U.S. military confrontation with Iran and Syria and is supported by BearingPoint, the same contractor that provided assistance for the Iraq Policy and Operations Group (IPOG), the group that helped bring about the disaster in Iraq. BearingPoint also had the contract for selling off Iraq state-owned enterprises and was involved in a number of the dubious financial deals of Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

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  3. rich says:

    Re The Bush Personnel Shuffle:
    via Digby
    The news that has everyone a bit agog is that the head of Central Command, General John Abizaid, will be relieved by Admiral William J. Fallon.
    ABC reports that “Fallon, who is in the Navy, is currently head of Pacific Command; he will be overseeing two ground wars, so the appointment is highly unusual.”
    I think ABC is missing the point.
    It seems highly unusual for a navy admiral to take charge of CENTCOM until you consider two interrelated things. First is that Bush needs a senior four-star in the CENTCOM job who hasn’t gone on record as opposing additional troops in Iraq. Second is that Fallon’s CENTCOM area of responsibility will include Iran.
    A conflict with Iran would be a naval and air operation. Fallon is a naval flight officer. He flew combat missions in Vietnam, commanded an A-6 Intruder squadron, a carrier air wing and an aircraft carrier. As a three-star, he commanded Second Fleet and Strike Force Atlantic. He presently heads U.S. Pacific Command. His resume also includes duty in numerous joint and Navy staff billets, including Deputy Director for Operations with Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia.
    If anybody knows how to run a maritime and air operation against Iran, it’s “Fox” Fallon.

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  4. Blue Steel says:

    From http://www.waynemadsenreport.com – Jan.4
    “January 4, 2007 — The word from the State Department is that incoming Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will oversee an “embedded” unit of private contractors who are preparing for an attack against Iran. Although the Baker-Hamilton Commission called for dialogue with both Iran and Syria over the Iraq Civil War and quagmire the neo-cons foisted on the U.S. military, the Bush administration appears intent on confronting Iran militarily.
    As reported by the Boston Globe on Jan. 2, the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG) is setting the stage for a U.S. military confrontation with Iran and Syria and is supported by BearingPoint, the same contractor that provided assistance for the Iraq Policy and Operations Group (IPOG), the group that helped bring about the disaster in Iraq. BearingPoint also had the contract for selling off Iraq state-owned enterprises and was involved in a number of the dubious financial deals of Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
    BearingPoint also came up in the FBI and NSA set-up of imprisoned NSA “Iraq shop” signals intelligence analyst Ken Ford, author of an NSA report that concluded that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. BearingPoint acted as a go-between for an FBI confidential informant and NSA security. The confidential informant placed a classified document inside Ford’s Waldorf, Maryland home that was used to trigger a false prosecution of the NSA analyst and former White House Secret Service uniformed agent under President Clinton.
    BearingPoint was formerly known as KPMG Peat Marwick Consulting. WMR has been informed that KPMG Peat Marwick was involved in aspects of the 1980 October Surprise concocted by George H. W. Bush, William Casey, Robert Gates, and Donald Gregg. The demise of the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Chester, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, the very city (at Widener University) from which Vice Presidential candidate George H. W. Bush spoke on October 18, 1980 just prior to his secret trip to Paris to meet with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s representatives, also reportedly involved the disappearance of the SS Poet, which was “lost at sea” with its 34 crewmen, but was more likely involved in transporting the arms and spare parts to Iran promised by Bush and Casey if they held on to the American hostages until after the 1980 presidential election and “disappeared” on purpose. The Sun scandal also reportedly involved a little-known Mayor of Marcus Hook, the Sunoco “company town” adjacent to Chester, named Curt Weldon.”
    If this is true – Negroponte is’t being demoted – he’s just being “used” again as others have pointed out above.
    Blue Steel

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  5. Den Valdron says:

    More like Himmler vs Goebbels. The notion that there are ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in the Bush administration is fundamentally mistaken. The overall goals and views of the administration are uniform and reside in Bush himself.
    Bush was the guy who poked his head into a gathering of Senators and said ‘fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out!’ Bush, by all accounts, had his eye on Iraq from the start. It’s Bush who refuses to communicate with Iran or North Korea or Syria. It’s Bush who rejects any proposal to leave Iraq.
    For better or worse, he’s the guy that sets the direction and policy for the White House. The mistakes and disasters come home to him. Guys like Perle, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Cheney were elevated by Bush, not because of their Svengali like powers, but merely because they matched his ideology and world view.
    Colin Powell is often touted as a moderate, but its clear that he was never more than a house boy. His views carried no weight with Bush.
    As for Condoleeza Rice, she’s no moderate. She was one of the ‘Vulcans’ who schooled Bush in extreme right wing foreign policy. Her training and academic record suggests another second rate, right wing mind, trapped in the cold war. Her public statements and diplomacy do not speak to any kind of moderation. She’s merely another extremist.
    On the other hand, she’s black and a woman and comparatively young, so she’s been ostracized from the Extremists Old Boys club. Well, too bad for her, but that don’t make her one of the good uns.
    And as we’ve seen very clearly, it certainly doesn’t make her competent. But then again, we haven’t seen much competence or integrity from anyone over there.
    Negroponte, given his ‘cold warrior’ credentials, certainly is not a moderate. There are hundreds of thousands of dead people in central America who attest to that. Negroponte, in the most general possible sense, is a dedicated diplomat/spook who pursues a right wing extremist view of American interests ruthlessly and is indifferent to ‘little issues’ like human rights or integrity in the pursuit of the big picture. At worst, he’s an utterlyl corrupt, murderous ideologue.
    The key issue with Negroponte is that he is very comfortable in the Bush administration in a variety of roles. That tells you all you need to know.
    There are no ‘good guys’ versus ‘bad guys’ in the Bush administration. There is no real debate over ideology, principles, or even strategy or tactics. It’s merely one gang of unprincipled ideological thugs stabbing away at each other while the idiot boy king looks on and drools.

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  6. Hyperion says:

    the blog owner wrote:
    …adds enormous power to Condi’s force projection in White House circles
    which kind of makes me wonder *what* battle is being fought here. is it us vs. iraq or condi vs. the white house?

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  7. Den Valdron says:

    Just a little primer on Negroponte:
    – US Ambassador to Honduras, 1981 to 1985.
    – During his tenure as US ambassador to Honduras, Jack Binns, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, made numerous complaints about human rights abuses by the Honduran military. In one cable, Binns reported that General Alvarez was modeling his campaign against suspected subversives on Argentina’s ‘dirty war’ in the 1970s.
    – 1981, Binns was replaced by Negroponte, who has consistently denied having knowledge of any wrongdoing. Binns claimed he fully briefed Negroponte on the situation before leaving the post.
    -In a biographical profile Foreign Policy In Focus reported that “on Negroponte’s watch, diplomats quipped that the embassy’s annual human rights reports made Honduras sound more like Norway than Argentina.
    – Former official Rick Chidester, who served under Negroponte, says he was ordered to remove all mention of torture and executions from the draft of his 1982 report on the human rights situation in Honduras.
    – Critics say that during his ambassadorship, human rights violations in Honduras became systematic.
    – Between 1980 and 1994 U.S. military aid to Honduras jumped from $3.9 million to $77.4 million.
    – “The high-level planning, money and arms for those wars flowed from Washington, but much of the on-the-ground logistics for the deployment of intelligence, arms and soldiers was run out of Honduras…”
    – “Negroponte was in charge of the U.S. Embassy when, according to a 1995 four-part series in the Baltimore Sun, hundreds of Hondurans were kidnapped, tortured and killed by Battalion 316, a secret army intelligence unit trained and supported by the Central Intelligence Agency,” Allen wrote.
    – During this period, approximately 40,000 citizens of Honduras were killed or permanently vanished. Hundreds of thousands were tortured. Death squads and a state of terror were installed.
    – According to the New York Times, Negroponte was responsible for “carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua.”
    – The United States Contra War against Nicaragua was run out of Honduras, and Honduran territory was used to host the Contra Armies and death squads which raided into Nicaragua. The funding for these armies and death squads, as well as managing relations between them and the Hondurans, planning, training and equipping, as well as some operational control all went through Honduras. Negroponte was up to his neck in this.
    – Negroponte supervised the creation in 1984 of the El Aguacate air base, where the US trained Nicaraguan Contras and which critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s.
    – In August 2001, excavations at the base discovered 185 corpses, including two Americans, who are thought to have been killed and buried at the site. Mass graves, anyone?
    – The Contra War is estimated to have cost at least 60,000 lives, although some estimates go as high as 250,000. Numerous atrocities were perpetratred by the Contras.
    – One survivor of a Contra raid in Jinotega province, which borders Honduras, reported: “Rosa had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off and their eyes poked out. They were killed by slitting their throats and pulling the tongue out through the slit.”
    – Witness For Peace, an American Protestant watchdog body, collected a list of Contra atrocities in one year, which included murder, the rape of two girls in their homes, torture of men, maiming of children, cutting off arms, cutting out tongues, gouging out eyes, castration, bayoneting pregnant women in the stomach, amputating the genitals of people of both sexes, scraping the skin off the face, pouring acid on the face, breaking the toes and fingers of an 18-year-old boy, and summary executions.
    – The Contras were frequently accused of being responsible for multiple political assassinations, kidnappings, and the widespread use of torture. They were opposed by many Nicaraguans as well as foreign human rights organizations who viewed their tactics, which included the targeting of civilians, as brutal and indiscriminate. The Contras were accused of blowing up bridges, civilian power plants and schools, burning fields of crops and attacking hospitals. Their tactics were said to include rape, kidnappings of peasants and civilians, ambushes and massacres against small rural communities, farms, co-operatives, schools and health clinics. Contra raids caused extensive damage to crop fields, grain silos, irrigation projects, farm houses and machinery.
    – Given that Contra forces were trained and often directed by the Americans, the source of these atrocities can be laid directly or indirectly upon the United States, which leads us back to Negroponte.
    – Even if Negroponte had no role whatsoever in the establishment of atrocity and terror as a strategic and tactical weapon in the Contras arsenal, he still played a major role in concealing, denying and minimizing the reports of these activities, making him in part an accessory after the fact. Basically, a woman was getting her breasts cut off and Negroponte’s job was making sure to look the other way and making sure that the guys who did it were protected.
    – In early 1984, two American mercenaries, Thomas Posey and Dana Parker, contacted Negroponte, stating they wanted to supply arms to the Contras after the U.S. Congress had banned further military aid. Documents show that Negroponte brought the two with a contact in the Honduran armed forces.
    – The operation was exposed nine months later, at which point the Reagan administration denied any US involvement, despite Negroponte’s participation in the scheme. Other documents uncovered a plan of Negroponte and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush to funnel Contra aid money through the Honduran government.
    – What this means is that Negroponte was involved in Iran-Contra (lying to congress, violating congressional directives, subverting the law, dealing with criminals, manipulating blood money) before there was actually an Iran-Contra.
    – Under the circumstances, we have to assume that Negroponte was one of the players in Iran-Contra.
    -When President George W. Bush announced Negroponte’s nomination as Ambassador to the UN shortly after coming to office, it was met with widespread protest. Despite the protests, the Bush administration did not back down and even went so far as to try to silence potential witnesses. On March 25, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported on the sudden deportation from the United States of several former Honduran death squad members who could have provided damaging testimony against Negroponte in his Senate confirmation hearings. One of the deportees was General Luis Alonso Discua, founder of Battalion 3-16. In the preceding month, Washington had revoked the visa of Discua who was Honduras’ Deputy Ambassador to the UN. Nonetheless, Discua went public with details of US support of Battalion 3-16. Coincidence???
    -In interviews recorded with CNN in September and October 1997, Negroponte argued the case that events in Central America at the time needed to be seen in the context of the cold war. “It was a central American domino theory if you will: so that if it happened at first in Nicaragua then in El Salvador and if they (communists) succeeded in El Salvador, then presumably they would try to finish off the situation in Guatemala, which was rather ripe at the time, you may recall. And then maybe Honduras would have fallen of its own volition, without necessarily even having to make that much effort. That was the theory in any case, and it seemed a plausible hypothesis at the time,” he said. This is as close to a confession as he came. Note that Negroponte at this time seems to be including Guatemala and El Salvador in his mandate.
    – In Guatemala during this time, there was a genocidal purge of Mayan indians. Entire villages were wiped out. 150,000 to 250,000 people died. The campaign was one of ethnic genocide, although Negroponte characterized it as a struggle against communism.
    – “We were all extremely focused on encouraging the electoral process in each of these countries. Certainly in El Salvador. … Some of these regimes, to the outside observer, may not have been as savory as Americans would have liked; they may have been dictators, or likely to [become] dictators, when you would have been wanting to support democracy in the area. But with the turmoil that [was there] it was perhaps not possible to do that,” he told CNN. Again, note the inclusion of El Salvador.
    – During the period of the 80’s, some 75,000 to 90,000 people were killed in El Salvador, a country of only three or four million people. 95% of these were by right wing death squads.
    – “In 1987, during the administration of Bush the elder, Negroponte returned to the NSC to work under Colin L. Powell as deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs. Within two years, he was back in Latin America; Bush appointed Negroponte ambassador to Mexico, where he served from July 1989 to September 1993. There, he officiated at the block-long, fortified embassy and directed, among other things, U.S. intelligence services to assist the war against the Zapatista rebels of Chiapas,” Foreign Policy In Focus reported.

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  8. Noziglia says:

    lukasiak:
    “this administration’s Iraq policy is now in complete disarray”
    Sorry, but I may have missed something . . . when was anything in this administration other than its political campaign strategy and domination of the news media in “array”?

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  9. rich says:

    Well said, Den. The surreal and stillborn notion that John Negroponte has served this country ably or fruitfully is doubly corrosive to the stability and national security of this country.
    ahem–I don’t care what his remit is. I meant State. Both Bolton and Negroponte are used to wreak havoc, not support our national security.
    Once a figure is neck-deep in blood and corruption, they get used over and over again. That’s why Rumsfeld stayed so long at the Pentagon. It’s much easier to use a tainted figure on the next rotten cancerous project, than to persuade, corrupt, and baptise a new office-holder in that level of sin and treason.
    Get it now?

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  10. Den Valdron says:

    Well, I’m sure that where there are nuns to disembowell, where there are schoolteachers to castrate and bury with their genitals in their mouth, where there are children to be swung by the legs and have brains dashed out, where there’s a need for electric needles and power drills through kneecaps… then there’ll be a place for John Negroponte.
    Let’s not forget, among Negroponte’s illustrious credits is that he was Ambassador to Honduras, Reagan’s front line guy on the El Salvador civil war, the Contra war in Nicaragua, the mayan genocide in Guatemala, the death squads of Honduras, the Noriega dictatorship in Panama. Total body count of these little dirty wars waged directly and indirectly, fully funded, armed, trained and directed by the United States… somewhere between a half million and a million.
    And that’s not even approaching the little exercise in treason that was Iran-Contra. By the way, let’s not ignore his Ambassadorship to Mexico, where he was up to his elbows meddling with the spooks in the Chiapas Zapatista uprisings.
    And what’s he done since coming back? Well, he was Ambassador to Iraq at the time that the so called Civil War took off. Amazing timing. Then he got to be director of Intelligence… based on what qualifications? His central America time?
    John Negroponte is the sort of man who could make a unicorn burst into flame just by walking into the same room with the poor thing.
    I am quite sure that if there is a hell, Negroponte will not be required to die to get there. They’ll send a limo to pick him up.
    And yet, we’re supposed to accept that Negroponte is on the side of the ‘good guys’ of the Bush administration? That he brings ‘intellectual weight’ to Condoleeza Rice? That he represents the struggle for the rule of law?
    Give me a break.
    The best I’ll give to Negroponte is that he stayed well away from the bloodshed that he was so instrumental in. There were generally two or three layers of insulation between him and the men who disembowelled children and cut the babies out of pregnant women.
    But you know what? Negroponte sheltered those guys, he moved their money, he concealed their works and turned a blind eye to their excesses.
    His eye was on the big picture, on the great game, the global conflict between Communism and Capitalism. The ‘little people’ were just unavoidable losses, mere statistics to the great big ideas and ideals.
    I’m sorry. That’s not good enough. We only get one life Steve, and each of us has to be accountable for the choices we make and the consequences of those choices. Negroponte always had choices. He made the ones he wanted to make. No one held a gun to his head. He chose to be a part of a great big machine of suffering and misery, and he helped to make that machine work.
    Nice fucking friends you’ve got, Steve.

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  11. bAkho says:

    Everyone is getting the shake up. Military commanders as well. Abazaid and Casey to be replaced by Fallon and Petraeus with Crocker to Baghdad as Ambassador.
    Does this mean that Bush wants to break past Iraqi relations and set out with new relations? I don’t see how more troops improves anything in Iraq and it sure can make things much worse. Does Bush explain it all to us next week? I am not holding my breath.

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  12. ahem says:

    Bush is really making a habit of chair-shuffling. Bolton goes from State to the UN; Gonzales goes from counsel to Atty. General; Miers goes from counsel to putative Supreme nominee; Zal Khalizad goes from Afghanistan to Iraq and now, apparently, to the UN; Negroponte goes from the UN to Iraq to DNI to State.
    It’s like the family tree of European royalty a century ago.
    But Zathras is right: State had a severe personnel shortage at the deputies’ level, and that’s the place for a lot of private and semi-private diplomacy. But it’s also suggesting something close to an abandonment, or a circumscribing, of public diplomacy: not necessarily that Condi’s out of her depth, but that she can’t do anything more than public stuff.
    The real gossipmongering would be that Condi is now being lined up to replace Cheney. That’s reaching, but I don’t see Negroponte content to have a conventional deputy’s portfolio and range. It says *something* — either about State, or the DNI, or the executive power-base in general — but only time will tell just what.
    “Negroponte’s moving into John BOLTON’s old stomping grounds.”
    Not really. Bolton’s remit was ‘arms control’, which meant stifling international consensus and frameworks on the control of chemical and biological weapons, and killing any chance of a UN Small Arms treaty. Negroponte is just not the same kind of operator, and he’s not getting Bolton’s remit.

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  13. rich says:

    The torture of Jose Padilla, US citizen, w/o charges or evidence–is more evidence of the extreme denial of the American public about the nature and brutality of effective torture.
    What’s effective torture? It’s the mittens and earmuffs and goggles and jumpsuits and shackles you see in the photos of prisoners at Guantanamo.
    That’s the Orwellian, Stalinist gulag. Where there is no reason, no explanation, just a Catch-22 of bureaucratic insanity & abuse. The poster on David Hicks is right(though I don’t know about the case.
    http://www.pacificviews.org/weblog/archives/002357.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/17/AR2005121700018.html
    It’s the earmuffs and goggles–there is no small insanity in that–because it looks ok, because it must seem okay–it’s a helpful treason. And no healthy American would last 48 hours– read the links.

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  14. Don says:

    Unless of course you realize that Negroponte is completely bored with the lack of any real influence as DNI.
    http://public.cq.com/public/20060303_homeland.html

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  15. Zathras says:

    Negroponte adding “enormous power” to Sec. Rice’s intra-administration force projection is one way to look at this.
    Another is that State has been without a Deputy Secretary for over a half year. The position had to be filled, especially with Zelikow now gone as well. I wonder that so much of the commentary by public officials, the ISG and the media about whether the administration should conduct a more expansive diplomacy toward Israel and the Palestinians, Iran or anyone else has avoided the question of whether the administration can conduct such diplomacy. It certainly can’t as long as so many senior positions at State remain vacant.

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  16. Leslie says:

    Do you really believe Condi welds so much power — more than the DNI Negroponte mind you, that he would actually jump at the chance to be HER subordinate? Regardless of whatever this administration may claim — that Negroponte’s not “comfortable in spook’s clothing,” don’t fall for it! The only reason Negroponte’s agreed to move is because Condi needs help, as she’s inept and way out of her league. — But I guarantee you she hasn’t the power, gall, or intellectual capacity to suggest such a thing.
    With that said, allow me to remind you that Bush never cared about solving problems in the intelligence community after 9/11. He didn’t want to appoint a national intelligence director in the first place. Chaos appeals to him. The more discombobulated things are the harder it is to understand what he’s up to.

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  17. rich says:

    Rearranging deck chairs on the Deck of the Ship of State is a titanic job.
    Negroponte’s is there to do the same kidns of things Bolton was intended for.
    Think about it: Why would someone of Negroponte’s stature and experience serve UNDER Condoleeza Rice? Unless all the dirty work gets funneled through HIM–and she can keep her hands clean when the inevitable questions and/or testimony comes. Negroponte flies under the radar. If that’s the case, I hate to think what they may have in store for the next few years.
    There are many who believe Negroponte was involved with American-trained, -backed, -financed, and -directed death squads in Central America when the US backed Somoza’s Contras against Nicaragua and Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras. Negroponte was ambassador to the UN when the vote was taken to invade Iraq–and his office underwent exorbitant “remodeling”–and not long thereafter, it was reported the US had eavesdropped on UN delegates before that vote and during deliberations. Many also thought that no good could come from Negroponte’s presence in Iraq as ambassador–and sure enough, we had and we have death squads and chaos–that it comes from multiple quarters doesn’t negate or mitigate the likelihood the US & Negroponte had their own special ops / death squads. To provoke, to splinter, to divide, to shatter Iraq as a nation.
    That was the whole point all along, after all.
    Total dismemberment of Iraq. You don’t close down newspapers and issue warrants for Moqtada alSadr’s arrest early on unless it was intentional. Bottom line, ONly plausible explanation. If you were Sunni Iraqi–would YOU bomb the Golden Mosque? No. Shiite factions would, for the wrong reasons–but only if they’d been pushed to the brink–and had no other choice.
    Sure these are broad statements. But the dynamics and policies are there. And the news reports that support what I’ve said. The essential American problem is the pretense that silence is necessary for our protection, when it is a betrayal equally as dangerous and criminal as the acts themselves.
    Oh–Happy New Year. But–hey, “Dont’ hold your breath.”

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  18. bAkho says:

    Well it is McConnell

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  19. Prabhata says:

    I don’t buy it. Negroponte is being demoted and I do’t know why. Maybe is because of El Salvador option
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/
    that Negroponte put in place in Iraq. Bush may not want Negroponte testifying how he is responsible for the death squads in Iraq.

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  20. p.lukasiak says:

    well, we’ll see about Condi…
    But what is obvious is that this administration’s Iraq policy is now in complete disarray….. and far more interesting than the change in the military command is Khalizad’s switch to the UN position. Apparently, despite the glowing reviews he got in Afghanistan, he has worn out his welcome in Iraq.
    …add to that the fact that Maliki has essentially said that he doesn’t want the PM job anymore……
    The country is falling apart….and we’re sending in a NAVY guy and a THREE STAR general to run a counterinsurgency campaign in the middle of a civil war…..
    these are NOT good signs….

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  21. section9 says:

    Sorry, luky, but Condi isn’t on her way out. Liberals would like to believe this, but it ain’t happenin’.
    What’s more interesting, right now, is the change of command in Iraq itself. Fallon and Petraus replacing Abizaid and Casey. Should get interesting.

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  22. p.lukasiak says:

    Steve is right….this doesn’t make sense. UNLESS….
    Condi is on her way out, and Bush wants Negroponte to replace her. However, this creates a problem, because Negroponte’s fingerprints are all over a plethora of Bush administration controversial policies, and confirmation hearings for Negroponte as Secretary of State would get EXTREMELY ugly….
    The solution …. get Negroponte appointed as Condi’s chief deputy — his confirmation hearings will get far less attention, and probably be far less contentious, if he’s only going for the Deputy job. Then, once Negroponte get approved, Condi resigns, and Bush nominates Negroponte and Bush insists that there be no confirmation hearings since he’d JUST BEEN THROUGH the vetting process for the chief deputy job.

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  23. LJ says:

    Wasn’t Negroponte not invited to a recent conclave in Texas? Maybe Bush’s fingerprints are on this.

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  24. Marcia says:

    The truly faithful are rewarded. Wolfowitz got the World Bank, his hands already so dirty that like Soligny in “Three Sisters” he should carry a bottle of cologne to cleanse them. Now the UN for Kalilzad it seems. The faithful get rewarded, the others get pushed out of the nest.
    The Borgia and Medicis families were like choir boys compared to our present blood brothers.
    Negroponte’s vampirish past is part of history and one day when the records are opened all these dark years of neocon perversity will be studied and people may wonder how we could have ever taken them seriously as though they were normal human beings, a normal administration.
    Just as in Germany people afterward were amazed that German citizens accepted the monster they had begotten.
    What a new year!

    Reply

  25. rich says:

    Negroponte’s moving into John BOLTON’s old stomping grounds. That can’t be good. (?)
    Of course, I still want to know what the exorbitant “remodeling” of Negroponte’s quarters at the UN reeaaallly involved–especially immediately before the US was caught eavesdropping on delegates from sovereign nations immeidately prior to the vote to invade Iraq.
    Hell, Negroponte’s coming full circle–and Bolton traveled most of that route.

    Reply

  26. Geoff Provis, president, Law Institute of Victoria says:

    Hicks, too, deserves ‘due process’, PM
    IT BEGGARS belief that Prime Minister John Howard can congratulate the Iraqi authorities on their fair legal treatment of Saddam Hussein while the Australian Government continues to deny David Hicks natural justice. How is it that the PM celebrates “due process” in relation to a murderous tyrant while stubbornly continuing to deny the same due process to Hicks?
    Hicks has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for five years without trial. And, with no trial date set down, there is nothing to suggest Hicks may not languish there for another five years or more — again without trial. This inaction by the Australian Government amounts to an ongoing indefensible abuse of Hicks’ human rights. The Law Institute of Victoria renews its call for the Coalition to demand a fair trial for Hicks before a US civilian court or a court-martial.
    Of equal concern is the PM’s tacit endorsement of the death penalty in his comments on Saddam’s execution. This flies in the face of Australia’s obligations to uphold human rights as a signatory to various international treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 3).
    And, from a self-interested point of view, it will make it much harder for the Government to intervene to protect Australians on death row in neighbouring countries. For how can Australia exhort others to spare our citizens when it does nothing to condemn the use of capital punishment against non-Australians?
    Geoff Provis, president, Law Institute of Victoria

    Reply

  27. Reader says:

    Gen. Wesley Clarke sees danger.
    Iran and Bibi’s M.I.T. savvy:
    http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20070102-125318-7565r

    Reply

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