Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"supposed open letter" from Ray McGovern to Admiral Fallon

Below is Ray McGovern's open letter:



Dear Admiral Fallon,

I have not been able to find out how to reach you directly, so I drafted
this letter in the hope it will be brought to your attention.

First, thank you for honoring the oath we commissioned officers take to
protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all
enemies, foreign and domestic. At the same time, you have let it be
known that you do not intend to speak, on or off the record, about Iran.

But our oath has no expiration date. While you are acutely aware of the
dangers of attacking Iran, you seem to be allowing an inbred reluctance
to challenge the commander in chief to trump that oath, and to prevent
you from letting the American people know of the catastrophe about to
befall us if, as seems likely, our country attacks Iran.

Two years ago I lectured at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. I found it
highly disturbing that, when asked about the oath they took upon
entering the academy, several of the “Mids” thought it was to the
commander in chief.

This brought to my mind the photos of German generals and admirals (as
well as top church leaders and jurists) swearing personal oaths to
Hitler. Not our tradition, and yet …

I was aghast that only the third Mid I called on got it right – that the
oath is to protect and defend the Constitution, not the president.

*Attack Iran and Trash the Constitution *

No doubt you are very clear that an attack on Iran would be a flagrant
violation of our Constitution, which stipulates that treaties ratified
by the Senate become the supreme law of the land; that the United
Nations Charter – which the Senate ratified on July 28, 1945, by a vote
of 89 to 2 – expressly forbids attacks on other countries unless they
pose an imminent danger; that there is no provision allowing some other
kind of “pre-emptive” or “preventive” attack against a nation that poses
no imminent danger; and that Iran poses no such danger to the United
States or its allies.

You may be forgiven for thinking: Isn’t 41 years of service enough;
isn’t resigning in order to remove myself from a chain of command that
threatened to make me a war criminal for attacking Iran; isn’t making my
active opposition known by talking to journalists – isn’t all that enough?

With respect, sir, no, that’s not enough.

The stakes here are extremely high and with the integrity you have shown
goes still further responsibility. Sadly, the vast majority of your
general officer colleagues have, for whatever reason, ducked that
responsibility. You are pretty much it.

In their lust for attacking Iran, administration officials will do their
best to marginalize you. And, as prominent a person as you are, the
corporate media will do the same.

Indeed, there are clear signs the media have been given their marching
orders to support attacking Iran.

At CIA I used to analyze the Soviet press, so you will understand when I
refer to the /Washington Post/ and the /New York Times/ as the White
House’s /Pravda/_ _and /Izvestiya/.

Sadly, it is as easy as during the days of the controlled Soviet press
to follow the U.S. government’s evolving line with a daily reading. In a
word, our newspapers are revving up for war on Iran, and have been for
some time.

In some respects the manipulation and suppression of information in the
present lead-up to an attack on Iran is even more flagrant and all
encompassing than in early 2003 before the invasion of Iraq.

It seems entirely possible that you are unaware of this, precisely
/because/ the media have put the wraps on it, so let me adduce a
striking example of what is afoot here.

The example has to do with the studied, if disingenuous, effort over
recent months to blame all the troubles in southern Iraq on the
“malignant” influence of Iran.

*But Not for Fiasco*

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters on
April 25 that Gen. David Petraeus would be giving a briefing “in the
next couple of weeks” that would provide detailed evidence of “just how
far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.”

Petraeus’s staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which
captured Iranian arms in Karbala would be displayed and then destroyed.

Small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to
inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons they found nothing that
could be credibly linked to Iran.

News to you? That’s because this highly embarrassing episode went
virtually unreported in the media – like the proverbial tree falling in
the forest with no corporate media to hear it crash.

So Mullen and Petraeus live, uninhibited and unembarrassed, to keep
searching for Iranian weapons so the media can then tell a story more
supportive to efforts to blacken Iran. A fiasco is only a fiasco if
folks know about it.

The suppression of this episode is the most significant aspect, in my
view, and a telling indicator of how difficult it is to get honest
reporting on these subjects.

Meanwhile, it was announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate U.S. claims and
attempt to “find tangible information and not information based on

*Dissing the Intelligence Estimate *

Top officials from the president on down have been dismissing the
dramatically new conclusion of the National Intelligence Estimate
released on Dec. 3, 2007, a judgment concurred in by the 16 intelligence
units of our government, that Iran had stopped the weapons-related part
of its nuclear program in mid-2003.

Always willing to do his part, the malleable CIA chief, Michael Hayden,
on April 30 publicly offered his “personal opinion” that Iran is
building a nuclear weapon – the National Intelligence Estimate

For good measure, Hayden added: “It is my opinion, it is the policy of
the Iranian government, approved to the highest level of that
government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq. … Just make
sure there’s clarity on that.”

I don’t need to tell you about the Haydens and other smartly saluting
generals in Washington.

Let me suggest that you have a serious conversation with Gen. Anthony
Zinni, one of your predecessor CENTOM commanders (1997 to 2000).

As you know better than I, this Marine general is also an officer with
unusual integrity. But placed into circumstances virtually identical to
those you now face, he could not find his voice.

He missed his chance to interrupt the juggernaut to war in Iraq; you
might ask him how he feels about that now, and what he would advise in
current circumstances.

Zinni happened to be one of the honorees at the Veterans of Foreign Wars
convention on Aug. 26, 2002, at which Vice President Dick Cheney
delivered the exceedingly alarmist speech, unsupported by our best
intelligence, about the nuclear threat and other perils awaiting us at
the hands of Saddam Hussein.

That speech not only launched the seven-month public campaign against
Iraq leading up to the war, but set the terms of reference for the Oct.
1, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate fabricated – yes, fabricated – to
convince Congress to approve war on Iraq.

Gen. Zinni later shared publicly that, as he listened to Cheney, he was
shocked to hear a depiction of intelligence that did not square with
what he knew. Although Zinni had retired two years earlier, his role as
consultant had required him to stay up to date on intelligence relating
to the Middle East.

One Sunday morning three and a half years after Cheney’s speech, Zinni
told “Meet the Press”: “There was no solid proof that Saddam had weapons
of mass destruction. … I heard a case being made to go to war.”

Gen. Zinni had as good a chance as anyone to stop an unnecessary war –
not a “pre-emptive war,” since there was nothing to pre-empt – and Zinni
knew it. No, what he and any likeminded officials could have stopped was
a war of aggression, defined at the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal as the
“supreme international crime.”

Sure, Zinni would have had to stick his neck out. He may have had to
speak out alone, since most senior officials, like then-CIA Director
George Tenet, lacked courage and integrity.

In his memoir published a year ago, Tenet says Cheney did not follow the
usual practice of clearing his Aug. 26, 2002 speech with the CIA; that
much of what Cheney said took him completely by surprise; and that Tenet
“had the impression that the president wasn’t any more aware of what his
number-two was going to say to the VFW until he said it.”

It is a bit difficult to believe that Cheney’s shameless speech took
Tenet completely by surprise.

We know from the Downing Street Minutes, vouched for by the UK as
authentic, that Tenet told his British counterpart on July 20, 2002,
that the president had decided to make war on Iraq for regime change and
that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”

*Encore: Iran *

Admiral Fallon, you know that to be the case also with respect to the
“intelligence” being conjured up to “justify” war with Iran. And no one
knows better than you that your departure from the chain of command has
turned it over completely to the smartly saluting sycophants.

No doubt you have long since taken the measure, for example, of Defense
Secretary Robert Gates. So have I.

I was one of his first branch chiefs when he was a young, disruptively
ambitious CIA analyst. When Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey
sought someone to shape CIA analysis to accord with his own conviction
that the Soviet Union would never change, Gates leaped at the chance.

After Casey died, Gates admitted to the /Washington// Post’s/ Walter
Pincus that he (Gates) watched Casey on “issue after issue sit in
meetings and present intelligence framed in terms of the policy he
wanted pursued.” Gates’ entire subsequent career showed that he learned
well at Casey’s knee.

So it should come as no surprise that, despite the unanimous judgment of
the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran stopped the weapons related
aspects of its nuclear program, Gates is now saying that Iran is
hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.

Some of his earlier statements were more ambiguous, but Gates recently
took advantage of the opportunity to bend with the prevailing winds and
leave no doubt as to his loyalty.

In an interview on events in the Middle East with a /New York Times/
reporter on April 11, Gates was asked whether he was on the same page as
the president. Gates replied, “Same line, same word.”

I imagine you are no more surprised than I. Bottom line: Gates will
salute smartly if Cheney persuades the president to let the Air Force
and Navy loose on Iran.

You know the probable consequences; you need to let the rest of the
American people know.

*A Gutsy Precedent*

Can you, Admiral Fallon, be completely alone? Can it be that you are the
only general officer to resign on principle?

And, of equal importance, is there no other general officer, active or
retired, who has taken the risk of speaking out in an attempt to inform
Americans about President George W. Bush’s bellicose fixation with Iran.
Thankfully, there is.

Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to President
George H.W. Bush, took the prestigious job of Chairman, President’s
Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board when asked to by the younger Bush.

From that catbird seat, Scowcroft could watch the unfolding of U.S.
policy in the Middle East. Over decades dealing with the press,
Scowcroft had honed a reputation of quintessential discretion. All the
more striking what he decided he had to do.

In an interview with London’s /Financial Times/ in mid-October 2004
Scowcroft was harshly critical of the president, charging that Bush had
been “mesmerized” by then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger,” Scowcroft said.
“He has been nothing but trouble.”

Needless to say, Scowcroft was given his walking papers and told never
to darken the White House doorstep again.

There is ample evidence that Sharon’s successors believe they have a
commitment from President Bush to “take care of Iran” before he leaves
office, and that the president has done nothing to disabuse them of that
notion – no matter the consequences.

On May 18, speaking at the World Economic Forum at Sharm el Sheikh, Bush
threw in a gratuitous reference to “Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.”
He said:

“To allow the world’s leading sponsor of terror to gain the world’s
deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future
generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to
have a nuclear weapon.”

Pre-briefing the press, Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley
identified Iran as one of the dominant themes of the trip, adding
repeatedly that Iran “is very much behind” all the woes afflicting the
Middle East, from Lebanon to Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan.

*The Rhetoric is Ripening*

In the coming weeks, at least until U.S. forces can find some real
Iranian weapons in Iraq, the rhetoric is likely to focus on what I call
the Big Lie – the claim that Iran’s president has threatened to “wipe
Israel off the map.”

In that controversial speech in 2005, Ahmadinejad was actually quoting
from something the Ayatollah Khomeini had said in the early 1980s.
Khomeini was expressing a hope that a regime treating the Palestinians
so unjustly would be replaced by another more equitable one.

A distinction without a difference? I think not. Words matter.

As you may already know (but the American people don’t), the literal
translation from Farsi of what Ahmadinejad said is, “The regime
occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the pages of time.”

Contrary to what the administration would have us all believe, the
Iranian president was not threatening to nuke Israel, push it into the
sea, or wipe it off the map.

President Bush is way out in front on this issue, and this comes through
with particular clarity when he ad-libs answers to questions.

On Oct. 17, 2007, long after he had been briefed on the key intelligence
finding that Iran had stopped the nuclear weapons-related part of its
nuclear development program, the president spoke as though, well,
“mesmerized.” He said:

“But this – we got a leader in Iran who has announced he wants to
destroy Israel. So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in
avoiding World War III, it seems you ought to be interested in
preventing them from have (sic) the knowledge necessary to make a
nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very

Some contend that Bush does not really believe his rhetoric. I rather
think he does, for the Israelis seem to have his good ear, with the tin
one aimed at U.S. intelligence he has repeatedly disparaged.

But, frankly, which would be worse: that Bush believes Iran to be an
existential threat to Israel and thus requires U.S. military action? Or
that it’s just rhetoric to “justify” U.S. action to “take care of” Iran
for Israel?

What you can do, Admiral Fallon, is speak authoritatively about what is
likely to happen – to U.S. forces in Iraq, for example – if Bush orders
your successors to begin bombing and missile attacks on Iran.

And you could readily update Scowcroft’s remarks, by drawing on what you
observed of the Keystone Cops efforts of White House ideologues, like
Iran-Contra convict Elliot Abrams, to overturn by force the ascendancy
of Hamas in 2006-07 and Hezbollah more recently. (Abrams pled guilty to
two misdemeanor counts of misleading Congress, but was pardoned by
President George H.W. Bush on Dec. 24, 1992.)

It is easy to understand why no professional military officer would wish
to be in the position of taking orders originating from the likes of Abrams.

If you weigh in as your (non-expiring) oath to protect and defend the
Constitution dictates, you might conceivably prompt other sober heads to
speak out.

And, in the end, if profound ignorance and ideology – supported by the
corporate press and by both political parties intimidated by the Israel
lobby – lead to an attack on Iran, and the Iranians enter southern Iraq
and take thousands of our troops hostage, you will be able to look in
the mirror and say at least you tried.

You will not have to live with the remorse of not knowing what might
have been, had you been able to shake your reluctance to speak out.

There is a large Tar Baby out there – Iran. You may remember that as
Brer Rabbit got more and more stuck, Brer Fox, he lay low.

A “Fox” Fallon, still pledged to defend the Constitution of the United
States, cannot lie low—not now.



Ray McGovern; Steering Group; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity (VIPS)

*Ray McGovern, a veteran Army intelligence officer and then **CIA**
analyst for 27 years, now works with /Tell the Word/, the publishing arm
of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city **Washington***


It appears legit and I am attempting to verify the source of this but due to the content, the military world should be aware of this...... I saw on the news last night that the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and 6 other ships in the battle group left San Diego that would make 3 Air Battle groups available in the mid east if that is their destination.....

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: