Why Europe Likes the Iraq Study Group Report More than the White House

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Backfisch_Michael_gro_.jpg
Tomorrow at 12:15 p.m., I will chair a meeting that is open to the public with the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Handelsblatt, Germany’s largest business daily.
I’ve asked Backfish to not only address the Iraq Study Group Report findings but also how Germans, and Europeans more broadly, are perceiving Guantanamo, CIA flights and extraordinary rendition, and the recent subpoena action (attempted) of 13 CIA agents in the kidnapping case of a German citizen who was mistakenly kidnapped and shipped off to Afghanistan for “questioning.”
The meeting will take place at the New America Foundation — 1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW; Washington, DC. Email me at clemons@newamerica.net if you plan to join us. You can bring a sandwich — we’ll provide the cookies and sodas.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

25 comments on “Why Europe Likes the Iraq Study Group Report More than the White House

  1. Arun says:

    >>>>Boy, this one really pisses me off. When are these assholes going to start introducing resolutions that deal with A-M-E-R-I-C-A-‘S best interests?? I am not spending my tax dollars so these sons of bitches can ignore Cheney’s human rights abuses while passing resolutions against Palestinians.<<<<<<
    The question to ask is why is there not a civil liberties movement just as influential if not more than AIPAC, that few politicians dare to cross? For that matter, is there a human rights lobby that is comparable in influence to the NRA?

    Reply

  2. David N says:

    Steve:
    I had to laugh when you called my name today, saying that I was shaking my head in disagreement. I have lived in South Asia long enough that when I wag my chin back and forth, it means what it means in India — yes.
    Anyway, thanks for giving me the chance to put my bare two cents in.
    I must say, the scenario for the administration’s plans that you proposed is quite frightening. The only thing that reassures is that your scenario is based on the assumption that the administration is rational. Whew!

    Reply

  3. pauline says:

    More on the Libby trial from David Ignatius —
    “A Failed Cover-Up: What the Libby Trial Is Revealing”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/01/AR2007020101784.html
    More finger-pointing at Cheney. Who really cares about the opinions of the Iraq Study Group when the real stuff/answers are unfolding right in front of us.

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  4. David N says:

    I’m going to go totally off subject and trivial and nonsensical here, and criticize Steve’s headline writing.
    Because it isn’t clear from the headline —
    Do Europeans like the Iraq Study Group Report more than they like the White House?
    or
    Does Europe like the Iraq Study Group Report more than the White House likes the Iraq Study Group Report?
    Wait, both are probably true. Very clever, Steve!

    Reply

  5. pauline says:

    Here’s a Hardball video recapping the dramatic testimony from yesterday’s Libby trial showing there is a definite path to Cheney’s door.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz8f6DRYaiI
    What will it take for these liars to be truly held accountable? All the reading I’ve done on Watergate shows VP Agnew resigned after being charge with tax evasion. Is Cheney’s lying us into war by lying about yellowcake and WMDs somehow less offensive?

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  6. Mike says:

    I would be interested to see what this person thinks about the changing energy situation with Iran and Russia, since this is an issue that is especially relevant for Western Europe, which gets much of its gas from Russia. Particularly, what does he think are the implications of this trend of Iran and Russia gaining political capital through energy resources for US predominance in the region? And doesn’t the fact that Iran essentially has so much power at its disposal in the form of natural gas- which an Israeli or American attack could really do nothing to in the long-term- suggest that it is absolutely essential that Iran is involved in a regional dialogue that includes all its neighbors, and particularly the US?

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Easy…
    Also here is a really interesting related piece on the AIPAC deal…and is evidence I think that there is more to come on the Israeli spying..it’s going to be a long running spy hunt. In the past congress has run interference for the Israeli spy cases but now after the FBI has put so many congressmen under indictment for corruption, and shown that they can march in congressional offices and take any records they want, congress may think twice before crossing the FBI any more. The latest Jane Harman-AIPAC influence investigation over the intell chariman slot didn’t come out of the clear blue sky and was a major public slap in the face to both a congresswoman and AIPAC…. The FBI is on a mission.
    Mole Hunt
    An expert on U.S.–Israeli relations reveals details from his recent visit with the FBI.
    By Jason Vest and Laura Rozen
    Web Exclusive: 09.03.04
    In May, Stephen Green was hard at work campaigning for a seat in Vermont’s House of Representatives when he got a phone call. The last person the 64-year-old former United Nations official, then preoccupied with health-care policy issues, expected to hear from was an FBI agent, who asked if he could come to Washington to chat with him about the history of Israeli espionage efforts against the United States.
    As the author of two books on U.S.-Israeli relations, Green knew something about the subject. Still, the phone call seemed to come out of the blue. Green quickly discovered, however, that the FBI had a keen interest in the subject. Federal agents were involved in an investigation into an alleged Israeli “mole” in the office of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy.
    Early reports suggested that the FBI had wiretap evidence that a veteran Iran analyst working in Feith’s office at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Larry Franklin, may have passed a classified draft of a National Security Presidential Directive on Iran to an official working for the pro-Israel lobbying organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Members of the organization, in turn, were said to have passed the document on to Israel. (AIPAC officials strongly deny the accusations.)
    But as Green spoke with investigators, he realized the agents were investigating far more than Franklin.
    “Larry Franklin’s name never came up, but several others did,” he said.
    Green, as the FBI agents knew, had a special expertise in the field of Israeli espionage in the United States. In the 1980s, he had taken time off from his job at the UN to look into the U.S.–Israeli “special relationship.” He spent years combing through public records, filing and litigating Freedom of Information Act requests, and tracking down current and retired government officials. He eventually wrote two books, Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations With Israel and Living By The Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East. The Times of London and Foreign Affairs commended his work, describing it as “praised by those who believe the United States has damaged its own security, and Israel’s too, by uncritical and often secret support of Israel’s actions, no matter how extreme.” Yet, as Foreign Affairs reported, Green’s work also caused “sputter[ing] with indignation” among “those who believe… that American and Israeli interests are identical.” ….
    you can read the whole article at the American prospect..
    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=8467

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  8. Easy E says:

    Thanks for the update, Carroll.
    All the more reason that the U.S. media needs to be reformed. “A more democratic US media system will lead to better public policies — at home and abroad.”
    FREE PRESS – MISSION AND PURPOSE
    Our current media system is the result of explicit government policies that are drafted by special interests behind closed doors in Washington, and serving private investors first and foremost, not public citizens. Vibrant, diverse and independent media is the cornerstone of a functional democracy. As corporate-crafted media policies increasingly weaken the foundations of our democracy, people increasingly understand that corporate control of the media is perhaps the most critical issue of our day. As they say “they who control the news, control the views.”
    Working together, Free Press and Free Press Action Fund strive to:
    Open up and democratize media policy debates and increase popular participation in media policy making.
    Educate individuals and organizations about the impact of media on their interests/agendas and get them involved with Free Press media reform initiatives.
    Stimulate academic research on media policy issues, and coordinating dissemination of research findings with policy makers and activists.
    Increase the movement’s overall capacity through increased collaboration, communication, and organizing.
    Improve the quality and increase the quantity of our institutional relationships.
    Organize popular support for legislation through coordinated grassroots outreach to a broad range of issue groups and constituencies.
    Shift media reform from a defensive posture to an offensive one, sponsoring proactive and viable incremental legislation with bipartisan support.
    Develop strategies to combat the excesses of big media at the grassroots level, through innovative state and local initiatives in the areas of media literacy, cable regulation and increased funding of public and community broadcasting.
    For further information, see http://www.freepress.net/

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    And the fact that CBS hired Ciralsky after he was fired under suspicion of selling secrets to Israel tells you all you need to know about the media in the US.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Posted by Easy E at February 1, 2007 11:17 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Last I heard it is scheduled for June trial. It was suppose to be this January. Judge Ellis has finally turned down all the defense moves to have the case dismissed and ordered an investigation into who leaked that the FBI was investigating AIPAC..I don’t know why really, everyone in the FBI and CIA knows where the leak came from…someone in their agency passed to someone at CBS who broke the story…and they know who at CBS.
    Interesting story behind the leak is this..the Adam Ciralsky case. He is a jew fired from the CIA under suspicion of passing info to Israel. He failed two lie detector test given by the CIA when questioned about his Israeli activities. He has a law suit aginst the CIA claiming he was fired because the CIA is anti semetic. The jewish groups were in an uproar and when the AIPAC thing broke they claimed that it was also an anti-semitic witch hunt by the FBI. Same old, same old.
    After being fired from the CIA, Ciralsky went to work for CBS news…Leslie Stahl of CBS was the reporter who first broke the AIPAC investigation story…Ciralsky and Stahl work together on 60 minutes.
    So I don’t think it is any leap of imagination to assume one of Ciralsky’s friends or fellow jewish-isralei spies still at the CIA tipped him off and he gave it to Stahl to release.
    Here’s a bit more on Ciralsky.
    Feb. 7, 2000 Associated Press dispatch:
    “An agency memo said a Jewish attorney who says the CIA fired him because of anti-Semitism within the agency failed two lie-detector tests about whether he gave or sold US secrets ‘to an Israeli national.’ Adam Ciralsky, 28, of Milwaukee, joined the spy agency in December 1996 as a contract employee in the Office of General Counsel. By the following October, Ciralsky had been placed on unpaid leave. His top-secret security clearance was revoked in July 1998, and he was fired in late 1999. Ciralsky was airing his complaints against the agency Sunday night on CBS’ 60 Minutes.
    “The agency said it acted against Ciralsky because he did not fully reveal a relationship with two people holding dual US- Israeli citizenship, both employees of Israeli defense firms with possible ties to Israeli intelligence. Bill Harlow, CIA public affairs director, disputed Ciralsky’s allegations of anti-Semitism. He said the allegations had been reviewed by the agency’s inspector general, by several congressional panels and by a citizens’ review group.
    “The memorandum about Ciralsky’s case, first reported by The Washington Post, was written by Alan Wade, the CIA’s associate deputy director for security. The memo said Ciralsky failed two polygraph examinations. The questions he was asked, Wade wrote, were about ‘deliberately compromising US government classified information to an Israeli national, accepting compensation from an Israeli national in exchange for US government classified information, and deliberately concealing from the US government a relationship with an Israeli national.’ The CIA’s Harlow refused to discuss the memo. He said the agency had been willing to publicly discuss details of Ciralsky’s case, but that his lawyers had blocked them from doing so by invoking the Privacy Act.”
    http://antipolygraph.org/litigation/ciralsky/ciralsky-complaint.shtml
    Adam Ciralsky is based at CBS News, Washington DC

    Reply

  11. ET says:

    Volunteers Needed for Washington DC Event Tomorrow!
    Dennis Kucinich will speak on Friday, February 2 at 11:50am at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting in Washington DC. If you are in the area and would like to come to that event, Dennis would like to invite you to come walk in the meeting with him. Please arrive at the Hilton Hotel at 9am and come to the Kucinich table in the lobby. You will be escorting Dennis through the door of the DNC Meeting holding Kucinich signs. All materials provided.
    Democratic National Committee Meeting
    Washington Hilton
    1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW (Near DuPont Circle)
    Arrive at 9am
    Please RSVP to Evan at (828) 773-5338.

    Reply

  12. Marky says:

    POA, good point about Kucinich.
    Steve has presented the views of some real nobodies alongside those of the main players in US politics.
    Kucinich’s views should be represented here.

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    BTW, this is a direct quote from Kucinich’s website. Perhaps Steve won’t discuss Kucinich because Kucinich calls a spade a spade….
    “The punishment of Saddam Hussein for the deaths of 148 persons, albeit in a manner that civil society ought to find repugnant, raises compelling questions:
    Who will be held accountable for sending 3,000 US troops to their deaths in Iraq, for a war based on lies?”

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    Heres the website of the guy Steve refuses to talk about. He’s willing to steer you to Hillary’s carefully wrapped posturing, or to Obama’s web efforts….
    But Kucinich? Steve refuses to give him ANY exposure. I wonder why? Well, one think is for damned sure, he ain’t sharing his reasoning with us. Perhaps Kucinich isn’t in the AIPAC hall of fame, you think?
    http://kucinich.us/

    Reply

  15. Easy E says:

    Anyone know the latest of the Larry Franklin/AIPAC espionage case? Seems the Iran War we’re about to start has its roots in criminal neocon/Likudnik shenanigans that have been going on for several years. Appears that Scott Ritter was right as to who would ultimately make war against Iran.
    AIPAC espionage scandal
    http://www.answers.com/topic/aipac-espionage-scandal
    Cloak and Swagger
    The Larry Franklin spy probe reveals an escalating fight over control of Iran policy.
    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=8764

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    Boy, this one really pisses me off. When are these assholes going to start introducing resolutions that deal with A-M-E-R-I-C-A-‘S best interests?? I am not spending my tax dollars so these sons of bitches can ignore Cheney’s human rights abuses while passing resolutions against Palestinians. Here the United States is adopting policies of “rendition”, of torture, and sodomizing Muslims in some God damned Gulag hallway, and these bastards are wasting my dime on this horseshit. These people don’t work for Israel, they work for US. When are they going to act like it?
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#2474
    Lawmakers Demand Release of Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers
    House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the terrorist groups Hamas and Hizballah. The resolution condemns the organizations for failing to adhere to the “most basic standards of humanitarian conduct” by refusing to allow medical personnel and representatives of the Red Cross to visit the soldiers. The resolution also expresses sympathy for the soldiers’ families and denounces Iran and Syria for their ongoing support of international terrorism. Sponsored by Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), the resolution follows the June 2006 abduction by Hamas of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the July 2006 kidnapping by Hizballah of soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

    Reply

  17. ckrantz says:

    Do you mean the European public or the political/national security establishment who looked the other way or cooperated in CIA renditions? Because there is no public support for the current administration. The Iraq war is seen as mainly a war of aggression and GWOT as an expression of American empire building.
    What the whole mess since the go at it alone policies of the Bush administration made clear for many Europeans is that Europe needs to become an independent force and voice in the world. We can’t assume any more that Washington will take the needs of 500 million Europeans in considerations every time an American administrations sets it’s policies in the future.

    Reply

  18. Marky says:

    If the following is an accurate report, we really are doomed:
    “Concerns over Iran bombing grow.
    U.S. News: “Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly concerned that President Bush will order air strikes against targets in Iran in the next few months or even weeks. … [T]hey suspect Bush will order the bombing of Iranian supply routes, camps, training facilities, and other sites that Administration officials say contribute to American losses in Iraq. Under this scenario, Bush would not invade Iran with ground forces or zero in on Iranian nuclear facilities. But under the limited-bombing scenario, Bush could ask for a congressional vote of support…which many Democrats would feel obliged to endorse or risk looking like they weren’t supportive of the troops.”
    From thinkprogress.org
    If the Democrats can’t say no to Bush on Iran, they shouldn’t be in office. However, I’m not sure if this report is accurate.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    What to know what Europe thinks of the US?…here you go…
    US Tells Europe Not to Do Business with Iran…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/31/AR2007013102166.html
    But……Europe says…
    “Obviously Iran is very interesting oil territory for everybody,” said Patricia Marie, spokeswoman for the French oil company Total S.A., which invested about $4 billion in Iran between 1995 and 2002 and is sending a representative to the meeting.
    As for U.S. admonitions, Marie said, “We are listening. . . . But we respect the French law, the European laws; we are not obliged to respect American law.”
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Meanwhile back in Jurassic Park our political dinosaurs in the senate are nattering on today about how Europe invested 18 billion in Iran last year and how dare they do that!..how dare they!..don’t they know the enemy of Israel is our enemy and our enemies are their enemies….NOT.
    I don’t know how much longer I can listen to these senatorial fools before I need mental help, it’s like being tortured be being made to listen to the same song over and over and over for days, weeks, months, years, till you finally go haywire. They are even starting to look like those matrix animated people figures in cartoons with their square heads and little peep hole mouths and puffed sprayed hairdos and energizer bunny battery powered talking points…

    Reply

  20. Mike says:

    The only reason the Iraq Study Group is widely seen by Democrats and Europeans to have authority is because it has one key recommendation that actually does go significantly towards achieving a resolution of the current Iran-US issue. And that recommendation is to talk to Iran (and Syria). Many of Iran’s key political leaders have already indicated that they are highly critical of the current aggressive president, who should really just be seen as the mayor of Tehran, in that he can make grand pronouncements but is facing such a domestic revolt that his powers are sharply curtailed.
    This is why the current drive towards isolating Iran is farcical: many of its citizens, and increasingly also those in the political elite, realize that Iran must be willing to let way on significant issues, including a temporary suspension of uranium enrichment, dealing with the US on resolving Iraq, and so on.
    But the US, instead of actively engaging these people in dialogue about facts, declares Iran “evil” and refuses to even talk to Iran about Iraq. This is a shame and a blight particularly on the US leadership: the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis is on their hands. And yet they are refusing to take a pragmatic stance that actually brings stability.
    Anyway, my specific question to those of you more knowledgeable than me, is this. Wouldn’t it be more prudent at this point, taking into consideration that the White House is intent on continuing to occupy Iraq even though it has already destroyed one of the Middle East’s centers of civilization, that we should simply engage with people OTHER than the White House through constant public forums between us and foreign people affected by our policies?
    My suggestion to the Iranians is this. Continue to take positive steps in Iraq regarding the economy, but not just symbolic measures. Show the world immediately that you can at least provide aid or something to all Iraqis, including Sunnis. Also, and most importantly, support Khamenei as he tries to bring moderate leaders into power who will put in place a temporary suspension of nuclear enrichment. I say “support him” not because I particularly like him or because I am trying to dictate how to elect your leaders, but rather because he is supporting a pragmatic stance that will Iran to both consolidate its gains in the region, and will end the aggressive and dangerous stance from Israel and the US towards you.
    I have an Iranian friend who tells me that some day Iran and Israel will have peace talks. I don’t think that’s a crazy idea in the least: Iran’s citizens are ultimately pragmatic and prudent at heart, and so are many intelligent Israelis who do not have any political role.

    Reply

  21. Chris says:

    Virtuous Leaders or War Criminals?
    by Chris Leithner
    What Is a War Crime, Anyway?
    A war crime is a general label used to describe one of three specific crimes enumerated and described in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT). Immediately after the end of the Second World War, the governments of the “Big Four” (i.e., the U.S.A., Soviet Union, Britain and France) established the IMT in order to prosecute the leaders of National Socialist Germany and its allies. The Tribunal’s Charter, published on 8 August 1945 (ironically, shortly after the nuclear explosion at Hiroshima and just hours before the second detonation at Nagasaki), declared in Article 6: “The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility”:
    “Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.” In plain English, to invade a nation that has never threatened you and does not presently threaten you is a crime against peace.
    “War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
    “Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of domestic law of the country where perpetrated.”
    Article 6 warns: “Leaders, organisers, instigators, and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.” Section 7 states “The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.” And Section 8 cautions: “The fact that the defendant acted pursuant [to an order of a superior] shall not free him from responsibility …”

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  22. JustAsking says:

    What does Steve actually do for a living?

    Reply

  23. Marky says:

    Oh, isn’t this inspiring! Noted war criminal and hangman’s noose evader Henry Kissinger believes that Bush has a “secret plan” to end the war with Iraq.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/31/AR2007013102017_pf.html

    Reply

  24. karenk says:

    I recently met an expert on international law and I asked her if KSM and Ramzi Binalshibh would ever be tried in court. Her answer was “No, they’ve probably been tortured so badly it’s not possible.” When I responded, “That speaks to our integrity as a nation doesn’t it?-I mean it’s easy to set high standards for OTHERS to live by right?”, she just started to laugh(and she seems to be a very very serious woman). Hey, made her laugh at least! But really, nothing funny about this…same with rendition.

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  25. Mike says:

    Good luck with your discussion. However the Iraq Study Group report, right or wrong, would appear to be in George’s toilet. That tells enough of a story to indicate how hopeless is America’s (and her victims’) plight.

    Reply

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