Spain pulling out...


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Il Duce
March 15, 2004, 09:52 AM
New Spanish Leader Vows Iraq Pullout

Monday, March 15, 2004



MADRID, Spain — Spain's new Socialist leader vowed Monday to bring home the 1,300 Spanish troops now in Iraq, a move that follows the worst terrorist attack to hit the U.S. ally.

"The Iraq war has been disastrous. It was a mistake," Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (search) told reporters in his first news conference after his party defeated conservatives in Sunday's elections.

The drastic shift in Spain's presence in Iraq comes after a series of terrorist bombings Thursday on commuter trains in Madrid that killed 200 people and wounded some 1,500, 243 of whom remain hospitalized.

"The Spanish troops which are in Iraq will be returning home," Zapatero told Cadena Ser radio before his news conference. He said the troops would be recalled once he puts together a government some time in mid-April and formally takes over as prime minister.

However, a party spokesman explained to The Associated Press that Zapatero sticks by his campaign condition that the 1,300 troops would stay if the United Nations (search) assumed control of the peacekeeping operation in Iraq.

Before Zapatero said definitively he would pull back the troops, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) said on "Fox News Sunday" that he saw a clear opportunity to get a U.N. mandate.

"Look at how much we've accomplished," Powell said. "We now have an administrative law that has been passed by the Iraqi Governing Council which gives the Iraqi people for the first time a bill of rights. It puts in place an independent judiciary."

But some analysts saw Zapatero's move as a direct slap at the United States.

"It's a terrible message to send. It's very divisive," David Gergen, a former communications adviser to several U.S. presidents, told Fox News. "This weaken U.S. policy in trying to bring unity to the West as we try and fight terrorism."

In Sunday's election the Socialists defeated the ruling Popular Party of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (search), jumping from 125 seats to 164 in the 350-member Congress of Deputies. The conservatives fell from 183 to 148.

"Aznar was like (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair for us. He was a stout ally. To have him soundly defeated at the polls was a big setback for us," Gergen said.

The Spanish stock market shuddered over news that Socialists will take power, with the benchmark Ibex-35 stock index dropping 2.4 percent at the opening bell. It was down 3.2 percent shortly after noon local time.

The conservatives' defeat was unexpected. Pre-election polls had projected the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy (search), would win comfortably, and even some exit polls Sunday showed it might win.

But when the ballots were tallied, the Socialists netted 10.9 million to the PP's 9.6 million. Turnout was 77 percent.

Zapatero ran for the first time for prime minister against an entrenched government and won. "That broke a lot of precedents," party campaign manager Jose Blanco said Monday.

The circumstances were exceptional.

The train bombings were followed by nationwide street rallies against the attacks, smaller ones against Aznar's increasingly beleaguered government and the arrest of five suspects in the bombings, including three Moroccans, and a reported Al Qaeda claim of responsibility in a videotape.

The tape raised the possibility that terrorists aligned with Usama bin Laden had changed the course of a national election. Spain's government has insisted its prime suspect in Thursday's rail bombings was the armed Basque separatist group ETA.

Zapatero said Monday he would attempt to form a purely Socialist government, not a coalition with other parties.

Late Sunday, Zapatero started his victory speech by remembering those killed in the railway bombings. "At this moment I think of the lives that were broken by terror on Thursday," he said, then asked the crowd to join him in a minute of silence.

"My most immediate priority will be to fight terrorism," he said.

The Spanish Socialist Workers Party ruled from 1982 to 1996 but ran afoul of corruption scandals and was voted out in 1996, when Aznar took power.

Savoring victory again, outside Socialist party headquarters 1,000 jubilant supporters cheered and waved the party's red flag Sunday. But they, too, mourned those killed in the railway blasts. "Not all of us are here. Two hundred are missing," the crowd shouted.

"I think the party won because of people's frustration people about the Popular Party getting us into the war in Iraq," said one of them, housewife Loli Carrasco Gomez, 36.

Of the troops in Iraq, she said: "I hope they all come home and never go back."

Aznar chose not to seek a third term, saying he wanted renewal in government and his party.


-------------------------

Sad to see...

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Iain
March 15, 2004, 09:54 AM
Turnout was 77 percent.

slight derailment - I'd have expected it to be higher coming the Sunday after the Thursday bombings.

rick_reno
March 15, 2004, 10:32 AM
Aljazeera news (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/487B6435-947F-48D0-8CF7-E6C7999B2026.htm) had a bit more of the new PM's comments that seem to have been left out of the US sources I've seen.

"Although he has not yet been sworn in as prime minister, Zapatero felt no hesitation in telling US and UK leaders to "engage in some self-criticism".

"You can't just go ahead and do things. You can't bombard a
people just in case they pose a perceived threat. You can't organise a war on the basis of lies."

His comments made a strong allusion to the insistence by Washington, London and previously Madrid that the conflict was justified by their belief Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction."

In an attemp to keep their news "balanced" - they had this from Jack Straw (isn't that the title of a Grateful Dead tune?)

With British elections in 2005, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has already reacted to a possible Spanish withdrawal from Iraq.

Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Straw said: "No one should get the idea that, somehow, if you were a country that was opposed to military action in Iraq, you are less of a target of al-Qaida and these terrible Islamic fanatics.

"Unless you are 100% with the terrorists, you are seen to be 100% against them."

Boats
March 15, 2004, 10:34 AM
Save for brief moments, Spain has been internationally impotent since the mid-1600s. From the quotes in the story you get a sense of why that is.

DonP
March 15, 2004, 10:57 AM
Is the cultural rift that wide that I can't even understand their response to this attack?

A group kills almost 200 innocent citizens, proudly takes credit for it and makes it clear that it's payback for supporting a war on terrorism.

Your response as a people is to basically say; "please don't hit us again and we'll be good little Europeans and not fight terrorism anymore with the great satan."

Sounds like they are virtually asking Al Queda to take up residence in Spain and feel safe and secure. Because we're sure not going to do anything to piss you off.

My study of history, not to mention what I learned on the playground of my misspent youth, says that you don't succeed by appeasing a bully and hoping that he beats you up last or less.

Bottom line: They hit Spain and they won, getting exactly what they wanted.

My bet is that the next stop on that train is Italy.

Very sad to find a country born without a spine. They will come to regret this emotional outburst, just as we should regret Clinton not taking the first WTC attack seriously.

But what the heck do I know. I'm just another imeprialist war monger from the great satan.

gburner
March 15, 2004, 11:06 AM
My fear is that another attack here in the US similar to 9/11 before November will cause a similar reaction here. I'd like to think that we, as a nation, would not turn our hindparts up to the terrorists but I wouldn't bet on it.

Mark Tyson
March 15, 2004, 11:09 AM
Terrorism often works. This will be interpreted by the jihadis correctly as a sign of weakness, just as US withdrawals from Somalia and Lebanon were.
The citizens of Indonesia, Australia, Morocco and Turkey have also been targeted for slaughter despite their opposition to the war, so if Spain thinks this will buy them any favor with the terrorists they've got another thing coming. What's interesting is that the new President says that he will consider sending troops back in under UN auspices, as if that would appease the terrorists. Al Qaeda hates the UN too.

R.H. Lee
March 15, 2004, 11:19 AM
My fear is that another attack here in the US similar to 9/11 before November will cause a similar reaction here. I'd like to think that we, as a nation, would not turn our hindparts up to the terrorists but I wouldn't bet on it.

I think the American culture (as diluted and perverted as it has become), would not stand such an action without consequences. GW would win in a landslide and the missles would fly (hopefully against the sponsoring states).

In fact, even without another major attack on U.S. soil, the American people are not going to put a northeastern liberal/socialist in the WhiteHouse. This race has been run before, and the democrat lost. Remember Du-ca-cas?

TheEgg
March 15, 2004, 11:22 AM
Is this a test, a trial run of a tactic? Influence elections with terror?

It seems to me that we might expect a similar or worse attack some short time before our own election in November. After all, this tactic has just worked in Spain -- why not in America?

(And no matter how it is spun, the terrorists will look at Spain's election results as a clear win for their terror tactics -- even if the people voted the way they did for other, more complex reasons).

armoredman
March 15, 2004, 11:26 AM
COWARDS! Run, hide, cry and whine, the only differance will be you will be buried upside down so the whole world can see the broad yellow streak down your back! Get thee hence, and annoy us no more!:fire:

Mr. Kook
March 15, 2004, 11:30 AM
This just goes to show that threatening the weak can get the bad guys what they want. This attitude of appeasement is the same thing good liberal victims advocate for women being raped, families being robbed, and towns being ravaged by gang warfare.

This is the same kind of thing the League of Nations practiced in the lead up to WWII, appeasing Germany, rewarding it for its aggression.

America has (excepting the Clinton years) never made it a policy to appease the aggressor. We make it a point to beat the aggressor down, to end their miserable lives for the betterment of the world.

Another attack in the U.S. would only harden the resolve of the people to end terrorism. However, if Kerry were in office I shudder to think how quickly we would get down on our knees for the bad men with box cutters. Consequently I do not expect a terrorist attack before the election. It would only ensure Bush's victory. One afterwards though might be answered by the capitulation of Kerry.

As long as we have a strong President who is willing to take the fight to the enemy America safer from terrorism. Spain is going to find that by giving in to the demands of Al'Quida they make themselves an easy an reliabl victim, one who will acquiesce to the demands of those who are trying to kill them.

TaurusCIA
March 15, 2004, 11:31 AM
My fear is that another attack here in the US similar to 9/11 before November will cause a similar reaction here. I'd like to think that we, as a nation, would not turn our hindparts up to the terrorists but I wouldn't bet on it.

gburner,

Don't worry! We have the UN:what: to protect us.



:banghead:

Mark Tyson
March 15, 2004, 11:34 AM
Actually, I think a second attack might be blamed on Bush. The first attack is seen as a "bolt from the blue", a real sucker punch.

4v50 Gary
March 15, 2004, 11:36 AM
The vulnerability of the West has been exposed. Cower them and they'll run. This will only embolden OBL and his terrorists to heightened activity.

BTW, if the Liberals had it their way, we'd pull out of Afghanistan too and we'll have to wait until Al Qaeda hits us again before even the Liberals will wake up.

TheEgg
March 15, 2004, 11:42 AM
I wish I could believe that a second major terror attack in the US would harden the public's resolve ---


But I don't. Look at the polls, read many of the comments on this very board. I am sorry to say that I believe that given half an excuse, the majority of Americans will follow Kerry and Spain into appeasment mode.

I don't think that the American public has the attention span to stick with a policy that is working, but does not provide instant gratification (ie., war on terror).

longeyes
March 15, 2004, 11:49 AM
This country is waiting to spawn its own Putin.

For better or worse.

Jonesy9
March 15, 2004, 12:00 PM
lets see. Spanish people were against the war in Iraq, which many people outside of the US remember has nothing to do with the war against Al-Q.

A bombing brings the past opposition that the government disregarded to the forefront. The Popular Party then trys to obfuscate and save thier collective buts by hiding some evidence and trying to keep the blame on their own terrorists the ETA. Popular Party's strategy blows up in their face at a time of high emotion and costs them the election.

So they can have their 1,300 troops back, are they even doing anthing anyway? Have they lost one soldier?

So while all eyes are on Iraq, Al-Queda is able to pull off another stunning attack with little or no knowledge by world intelligence agencies. No mention of increased chatter, no raised alerts anywhere.

Bush's sideshow in Iraq is diverting resources we should be using to fight terrorists. Attacks like the one in Spain shows how Bush has weakened our protections against terrorists with the adventure in Iraq instead of pursuing the actual terrorists.

rick_reno
March 15, 2004, 12:11 PM
Something I can't understand with the "War on Terror" is people like the Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad. The Sheikh operates this website (http://www.muhajiroun.com/) which displays a photo of the US Capitol building on fire and has an ad for a talk radio show which reads "The obligation of inciting religious hatred" is allowed to remain free and spout his hatred. The Skeikh operates out of England, and has followers here in the US.
Think back to WWII, and imagine what would have happened to a German sympathizer who had decided to do something similar.

If we're at war why don't we get serious and start taking appropriate measures with the enemy? The fellow running this website is clearly not on our side and he is openly advocating attacking the US. This same enemy attacked our Nation and killed almost 3000 innocent people and it's time to take the gloves off. I hope we're not waiting for another horrific attack to get serious with these people.

7.62FullMetalJacket
March 15, 2004, 12:13 PM
Ho, hum. Al Qaeda racks up another BIG win. Europe is lost. The Islamic terrorists have put them in "fear" mode. Spain is tha last to fall. I hear Blair is in similar hot water in GB.

The people of Spain voted on a number of complex issues. Thet were Socilaist from way back through 1996, then Aznar untiol now. Back to socialism. Their stock market crashed this morning. Go figure :rolleyes:

No, the Spaniards know what they have done, but they are betting that we (USA) will win the WoT before they are significantly affected. They get to play both sides of the fence on this one: appease the terrorists abd pull out of Iraq, and wait til Daddy beats up the bullies.

A nation without a spine. Are we there? Lord, I hope not. :scrutiny:

lapidator
March 15, 2004, 12:21 PM
Save for brief moments, Spain has been internationally impotent since the mid-1600s. From the quotes in the story you get a sense of why that is.

While i certainly agree that the level of their effort has been minimal, it should be noted that Spain and Italy have in recent years been trying to nice up to the US and UK (through NATO), especially since France has been turning yellow again. The Spanish Navy in particular has been spending lots of time and money working with the US Navy effecting WMD inspections in the Persian Gulf.

This is indeed a sorry blow for both Spain and the US. I would expect to see Greece, Poland, or Italy as the next victem of a major terrorist attack. I doubt they'd hit the US until November.

Lapidator

Il Duce
March 15, 2004, 12:44 PM
Where's w4rma??? :confused:

:p

C'mon, what is it this time? Did Bush plan this terrorist act to intentionally put the socialists into power? Or did Karl Marx come back from the grave to free the Spanish from the influence of G.W.?



:D

Il Duce

7.62FullMetalJacket
March 15, 2004, 01:05 PM
It is a clever attempt by BUSH to install the socialists in power in Spain to further obfuscate the problems here in the US and to further show that the world is against us further driving the left wing into Bush's arms, which BTW, was all choreographed at Halliburton when Cheney was King.

:confused: :eek: :scrutiny: :barf:

316SS
March 15, 2004, 01:42 PM
Spain has entered into a social contract analogous to that between an armed robber and his victim: "If we give you want you want, promise not to hurt us." The problem is that this contract is both abhorrent and unenforcable; what's to stop the robber from putting a bullet in your forehead once he has your wallet?

Spain will endure further attacks, I predict, but without the dignity of standing up to terrorsist like they had a pair. Oh well.

316SS

R.H. Lee
March 15, 2004, 01:49 PM
That's quite a diatribe, jonesy9, but it's misinformed....

So they can have their 1,300 troops back, are they even doing anthing anyway? Have they lost one soldier?

10 Spaniards have been killed on duty in Iraq

IIRC, the Spanish President (Prime Minister) also recently visited his troops in Baghdad.

Bush's sideshow in Iraq is diverting resources we should be using to fight terrorists. Attacks like the one in Spain shows how Bush has weakened our protections against terrorists with the adventure in Iraq instead of pursuing the actual terrorists.

Our President showed traditional American leadership in his decision to invade and occupy Iraq, thereby taking the fight to the terrorists. There have been no attacks on American soil since 9-11. You would rather sit comfortably in Massachusetts waiting for Al-Q to come to you?

Invasion, occupation, deposing a murderous dictatorship and replacing it with something approaching a democracy, is hardly a "sideshow."

Nighthawk
March 15, 2004, 01:59 PM
Let's look at this logically.

Al Quida bombs Spain. Spain pulls its troops out of the Middle East. So what's Al Quida's next move? Are they going to un-bomb that train now?

Had the U.S. withdrawn all naval operations in the Pacific, would Japan have un-attacked Pearl Harbor?

Had the U.S. withdrawn all support for Isreal and pulled all its troops out of the Middle East, would Al Quida have un-attacked the World Trade Center?

I could go on and on, but I hope the point is made.

Just remember the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt (and I'm going to very embarassed if I've miscredited this quote): In politics, nothing happens by accident.

longeyes
March 15, 2004, 02:19 PM
Toro uno, Toreador nada.

Jonesy9
March 15, 2004, 02:25 PM
Our President showed traditional American leadership in his decision to invade and occupy Iraq, thereby taking the fight to the terrorists.

Depends on whether you belive Iraq had any ties to AlQ Riley. None have ever been shown and even Rumsfeld and the President have admitted there are none, but that was well after months of insinuating that there were to help market the Iraq war.

Obviously, I'm in the camp that thinks Saddam was not an imminent threat and we got snookered. I would have rather seen countrys with actual ties to AlQ and country's engaged in the proliferation of WMD to rogue states attacked instead of what you call the "traditional American leadership" positin of screwing up big time.


That's too bad that Spain lost 10 (actually I saw eleven, 7 of which were intel officers not soldiers) but 11 deaths and 1,300 troops is inconsequntial in the big picture.

I was glad to hear that we're starting a new offensive operation iin Afganistan but one wonders whether we would have already finished there and have done more damage to ALQ networks if resources hadn't been diverted to Iraq.

WilderBill
March 15, 2004, 03:13 PM
I think, perhaps, that Spain should have built the Pyrines a little higher and/or used the Basques as a buffer zone.
No good comes from being so close to France.

I expected Spain's reaction would be to send lots more troops to Iraq.

There seems to be some question about whether there were Al Quaeda operatives in Iraq before the war, but it's pretty obvious they are there now.
Since we know where at least some of them are, that's where we should fight 'em.

Z_Infidel
March 15, 2004, 03:25 PM
Regarding links between al Qaeda and Iraq:

Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique
Feith's Shops Did Not Usurp Intelligence Agencies on Iraq, Hill Probers Find

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 13, 2004; Page A11


In February 2002, Christina Shelton, a career Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, was combing through old intelligence on Iraq when she stumbled upon a small paragraph in a CIA report from the mid-1990s that stopped her.

It recounted a contact between some Iraqis and al Qaeda that she had not seen mentioned in current CIA analysis, according to three defense officials who work with her. She spent the next couple of months digging through 12 years of intelligence reports on Iraq and produced a briefing on alleged contacts Shelton felt had been overlooked or underplayed by the CIA.

Her boss, Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy and the point man on Iraq, was so impressed that he set up a briefing for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who was so impressed he asked her to brief CIA Director George J. Tenet in August 2002. By summer's end, Shelton had also briefed deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Shelton's analysis, and the White House briefings that resulted, are new details about a small group of Pentagon analysts whose work has cast a large shadow of suspicion and controversy as Congress investigates how the administration used intelligence before the Iraq war.

Congressional Democrats contend that two Pentagon shops -- the Office of Special Plans and the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group -- were established by Rumsfeld, Feith and other defense hawks expressly to bypass the CIA and other intelligence agencies. They argue that the offices supplied the administration with information, most of it discredited by the regular intelligence community, that President Bush, Cheney and others used to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

But interviews with senior defense officials, White House and CIA officials, congressional sources and others yield a different portrait of the work done by the two Pentagon offices.

Neither the House nor Senate intelligence committees, for example, which have been investigating prewar intelligence for eight months, have found support for allegations that Pentagon analysts went out and collected their own intelligence, congressional officials from both parties say. Nor have investigators found that the Pentagon analysis about Iraq significantly shaped the case the administration made for going to war.

At the same time, the Pentagon operation was created, at least in part, to provide a more hard-line alternative to the official intelligence, according to interviews with current and former defense and intelligence officials. The two offices, overseen by Feith, concluded that Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda were much more closely and conclusively linked than the intelligence community believed.

In this sense, the offices functioned as a pale version of the secret "Team B" analysis done by administration conservatives in the mid-1970s, who concluded the intelligence community was underplaying the Soviet military threat. Rumsfeld, in particular, has a history of skepticism about the intelligence community's analysis, including assessments of the former Soviet Union's military ability and of threats posed by ballistic missiles from North Korea and other countries.

Rumsfeld's known views -- and his insistence before the war that overthrowing Hussein was part of the war on terrorism -- only enhanced suspicion about the aims and role played by Feith's offices.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), a member of the intelligence panel, charged that Feith's work "reportedly involved the review, analysis and promulgation of intelligence outside of the U.S. intelligence community."

Levin pressed Tenet on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee: "Is it standard operating procedure for an intelligence analysis such as that to be presented at the NSC [National Security Council] and the office of the vice president without you being part of the presentation? Is that typical?"

"My experience is that people come in and may present those kinds of briefings on their views of intelligence," responded Tenet, who said he had not known about the briefings at the time. "But I have to tell you, senator, I'm the president's chief intelligence officer; I have the definitive view about these subjects. From my perspective, it is my view that prevails."

Hussein's Role


Feith, who worked on the NSC staff in the Reagan administration, is a well-known conservative voice on Israel policy who once urged the Israeli prime minister to repudiate the Oslo peace accords. His views are a source of tension between him and foreign policy officials at the State Department and elsewhere who advocate concessions be made by Palestinians and Israel to achieve a peace settlement.

No sooner had Bush announced that the United States was at war on terrorism than it became Feith's job to come up with a strategy for executing such a war.

"We said to ourselves, 'We are at war with an international terrorist network that includes organizations, state supporters and nonstate supporters. What does that mean to be at war with a network?' " Feith said in an interview.

But Feith felt he needed to bring on help in the Pentagon for another reason, too, said four other senior current and former Pentagon civilians: the belief that the CIA and other intelligence agencies dangerously undervalued threats to U.S. interests.

"The strategic thinking was the Middle East is going down the tubes. It's getting worse, not better," said one former senior Pentagon official who worked closely with Feith's offices. "I don't think we thought there was objective evidence that could be got from CIA, DIA, INR," he added, referring to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's main intelligence office, and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Feith's office worked not only on "how to fight Saddam Hussein but also how to fight the NSC, the State Department and the intelligence community," which were not convinced of Hussein's involvement in terrorism, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Feith set up the first of his two shops, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, to "study al Qaeda worldwide suppliers, chokepoints, vulnerabilities and recommend strategies for rendering terrorist networks ineffective," according to a January 2002 document sent to DIA.

The group never grew larger than two people, said Feith and William J. Luti, who was director of the Office of Special Plans and deputy undersecretary of defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

The evaluation group's largest project was what one participant called a "sociometric diagram" of links between terrorist organizations and their supporters around the world, mostly focused on al Qaeda, the Islamic Resistance Movement (or Hamas), Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. It was meant to challenge the "conventional wisdom," said one senior defense official, that terrorist groups did not work together.

It looked "like a college term paper," said one senior Pentagon official who saw the analysis. It was hundreds of connecting lines and dots footnoted with binders filled with signals intelligence, human source reporting and even thirdhand intelligence accounts of personal meetings between terrorists.

One of its key and most controversial findings was that there was a connection between secular states and fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.

If anything, the analysis reinforced the view of top Pentagon officials, including Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Paul N. Wolfowitz and Feith, that Hussein's Iraq had worrisome contacts with al Qaeda over the last decade that could only be expected to grow.

The evaluation group's other job was to read through the huge, daily stream of intelligence reporting on terrorism and "highlight things of interest to Feith," said one official involved in the process. "We were looking for connections" between terrorist groups.

From time to time, senior defense officials called bits of intelligence to the attention of the White House, they said.

Feith said the worldwide threat study itself never left the Pentagon. It helped inform the military strategy on the war on terrorism, but it was only one small input into that process, he said.

Mainly, the work of the evaluation group, Luti said, "went into the corporate memory."

'Very Helpful'


In the summer of 2002, Shelton, who had been working virtually on her own, was joined by Christopher Carney, a naval reservist and associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Together they completed their study on the links between al Qaeda and Iraq.

"It was interesting enough that I brought it to Secretary Rumsfeld because Secretary Rumsfeld is well known for being a particularly intelligent reader of intelligence," Feith said.

Rumsfeld told Feith, " 'Call George and tell him we have something for him to see,' " Feith said. On Aug. 15, 2002, a delegation from Pentagon was buzzed through the guard station at CIA headquarters for the Tenet meeting. Shelton and Carney were the briefers; Feith and DIA Director Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby accompanied them.

"The feedback that I got from George right after the briefing was, 'That was very helpful, thank you,' " Feith said.

CIA officials who sat in the briefing were nonplussed. The briefing was all "inductive analysis," according to one participant's notes from the meeting. The data pointed to "complicity and support," nothing more. "Much of it, we had discounted already," said another participant.

Tenet, according to agency officials, never incorporated any of the particulars from the briefing into his subsequent briefings to Congress. He asked some CIA analysts to get together with Shelton for further discussions.

Feith also arranged for Shelton to brief deputy national security adviser Hadley and Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

"Her work did not change [Hadley's] thinking because his source for intelligence information are the products produced by the CIA," White House spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Nor did the briefing's content reach national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Cheney or Bush, according to McCormack and Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems. (In November 2003, a written version of her PowerPoint briefing, a version submitted to the intelligence committees investigating prewar intelligence, was published in the conservative Weekly Standard magazine.) The briefing openly challenged the prevailing CIA view that a religion-based terrorist, Osama bin Laden, would not seek to work with a secular state such as Iraq. "They were the ones who were intellectually unwilling to rethink this issue," one defense official said. "But they were not willing to shoot it down, either."

Whatever the agency really thought of Shelton's analysis, on Oct. 7, 2002, CIA Deputy Director John E. McLaughlin sent a letter to the Senate intelligence committee which, in a general sense, supported her conclusion: "We have solid evidence of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida going back a decade," it said. ". . . Growing indications of a relationship with al-Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's link to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action."

A Nondescript Name


In August 2002, as the possibility of war with Iraq grew more likely, Luti's Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (NESA) was reorganized into the Office of Special Plans and NESA. Its job, according to Feith and Luti, was to propose strategies for the war on terrorism and Iraq.

It was given a nondescript name to purposefully hide the fact that, although the administration was publicly emphasizing diplomacy at the United Nations, the Pentagon was actively engaged in war planning and postwar planning.

The office staff never numbered more than 18, including reservists and people temporarily assigned. "There are stories that we had hundreds of people beavering away at this stuff," Feith said. ". . . They're just not true."

The office's job was to devise Pentagon policy recommendations for the larger interagency decision-making on every conceivable issue: troop deployment planning, coalition building, oil sector maintenance, war crimes prosecution, ministry organization, training an Iraqi police force, media strategy and "rewards, incentives and immunity" for former Baath Party supporters, according to a chart hanging in the special plans office, Room 1A939, several months ago.

The insular nature of Luti's office, and his outspoken personal conviction that the United States should remove Hussein, sparked rumors at the Pentagon that the office was collecting intelligence on its own, that it had hired its own intelligence agents. Even diehard Bush supporters, some of whom were critical of Feith's and Luti's management style, were repeating the rumors.

Yesterday, Rumsfeld addressed the controversy, saying critics of the Office of Special Plans had a "conspiratorial view of the world." Shelton's analysis, he emphasized, was shared with the CIA, and White House briefings were not unusual.

"We brief the president. We brief the vice president. We brief the [CIA director]. We brief the secretary of state. . . . That is not only not a bad thing, it's a good thing."

warmi
March 15, 2004, 03:25 PM
UK and Poland are next on the list.
I hope Brits have bigger cojones than that …

I don't think Poles will cave ( I read somewhere that while there were millions of people protesting the war all over the western Europe and Russia , there were only 300 or so in Warsaw) but obviously Poland doesn't have means to support US the way UK did.

In any case, it was a sad they for western civilization.

DonP
March 15, 2004, 03:45 PM
I'm havin a little trouble figuring this all out.

We are being told repeatedly by Ted Kennedy, Kerry, our own "ABB" crowd that Al Queda had nothing to do with Iraq and that's one of the big reasons GWB must be an idiot and a liar.

Now a lot of the same people are telling me that the reason Al Queda hit Spain was because they are in Iraq with us?

Which is it?

If you really believe that there is and has never been a relationship between Al Q' and Iraq, why would they give a damn that Spain is/was in there with us?

Seems to me ...

Either Al Q' has/had a real presence in Iraq and are intensely interested in what happens there, (ergo GWB was right and that couldn't be).

Or

They are going to hit any country that has any kind of relationship with the US or the coalition e.g. Bali bombing (long before we went into Iraq) no matter what we do.

No matter how you look at it, turning tail just exposes another place to get kicked by these guys.

R.H. Lee
March 15, 2004, 03:56 PM
jonesy9 said
Depends on whether you belive Iraq had any ties to AlQ Riley. None have ever been shown and even Rumsfeld and the President have admitted there are none, but that was well after months of insinuating that there were to help market the Iraq war.

I think our dysfunctional intelligence apparatus led Rumsfeld and the President to conclude Iraq did have ties to AL-Q. Or maybe not. I do not think we citizens will ever know. I, for one, consider that a moot issue.

Obviously, I'm in the camp that thinks Saddam was not an imminent threat and we got snookered. I would have rather seen countrys with actual ties to AlQ and country's engaged in the proliferation of WMD to rogue states attacked instead of what you call the "traditional American leadership" positin of screwing up big time


For the sake of argument, let's say the nay-sayers are correct; the administration KNEW Saddam had no DIRECT ties to AL-Q. Further, the administration KNEW Saddam had no WMD and was in fact NOT an imminent threat (to the continental U.S.). The fact remains that worldwide terrorism stemming from radical Islam emanates from the middle east.
Perhaps the administration saw an opportunity to place U.S. forces in the most strategic location possible, oversold WMD, outsmarted the U.N., France, Germany AND Saddam. I think it was a strong move. The results speak for themselves. There has been no terrorist attack on the CONUS since 9/11.

I guess we're gonna have to agree to disagree, Jonesy, but one thing is for sure. There is no way the people of this country are gonna put John Kerry in the WhiteHouse.

Jonesy9
March 15, 2004, 04:00 PM
Now a lot of the same people are telling me that the reason Al Queda hit Spain was because they are in Iraq with us?

Which is it?

If you really believe that there is and has never been a relationship between Al Q' and Iraq, why would they give a damn that Spain is/was in there with us?


very specious argument and pretty simple actually. Which is it? probably both.To think it can only be one way or the other makes no sense and kills your argument.

why would they care? because Spain now has troops on muslim ground, hallowed muslim ground. The bombers also refrenced Spain in context of the Crusades. Spain was once Muslim land. Militant Muslims still view it as part of there empire that needs to be retaken by jihad for all we know.

It still looks like the Popular Party screwed this one up but maybe we'll know more later this week.

Red Dane
March 15, 2004, 04:02 PM
I am simply dumbfounded by Spain's reaction to the bombings. :confused:

Haven't they learned by now that there is no other way to handle crazy terrorist groups other than decisive harsh military action?

I guess the only way they will figure it out is by being repeatedly sucker punched.

I suppose that this is just the tip of the iceberg for Spain, so long as they keep providing the soap on a rope and an invitation.. the terrorists will oblige.

Adam
March 15, 2004, 04:30 PM
UK and Poland are next on the list.
I don't think Poles will cave ( I read somewhere that while there were millions of people protesting the war all over the western Europe and Russia , there were only 300 or so in Warsaw) but obviously Poland doesn't have means to support US the way UK did.

Poland to keep troops in Iraq, chides Spain

REUTERS
7:51 a.m. March 15, 2004

TARNOW, Poland – Poland vowed Monday to keep troops in Iraq and warned Spain's incoming government that its plan to pull out could be seen as weakness in the face of terror after the Madrid bombings.
Poland has 2,400 troops in Iraq and commands a 9,000-strong division of troops from 24 nations, including 1,300 Spanish soldiers, in a central-south zone.

"Revising our positions on Iraq after terrorist attacks would be to admit that terrorists are stronger and that they are right," Prime Minister Leszek Miller told a news conference in the Polish town of Tarnow.

Spain had been due to take over the command of the international division on July 1 but the plan was thrown into doubt Monday when Socialist Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he would bring the troops home.

The Socialist victory in Spain's general election Sunday followed last week's bomb attacks by suspected Islamist militants in Madrid, which killed nearly 200 people.

Poland, the biggest of 10 mostly ex-communist states joining the European Union in May, fears it may be the next target, prompting the authorities to step up security at borders, airports and railway stations.

Some analysts said Zapatero's pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq made Poland more vulnerable.

"If terrorists see that you can force a country to pull out, they may think it is worthwhile to try the same again," said Janusz Reiter, head of the International Relations Center in Warsaw.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20040315-0751-iraq-poland.html

Don't be afraid about Poland, even alone and under attack we will fight with terror, no matter where...

WhoKnowsWho
March 15, 2004, 04:41 PM
Any chance that this attack could have been done by some local extremists just to push the issue over the edge? Kill a few 100, save a 1000? Something sick like that?

Mark Tyson
March 15, 2004, 05:51 PM
Any chance that this attack could have been done by some local extremists just to push the issue over the edge? Kill a few 100, save a 1000? Something sick like that?

I doubt it. It would be a real departure for the ETA to do that. They've never targeted civilians en masse like that - it's usually a specific government figure or some such. They did blow up a market once and kill 20+ people(in the 80's I think) but they actually apologized for it. Also remember that ETA has Marxist trappings, and they'd be loathe to attack the mode of transport used by the proletariat/working classes. That's where their support comes from.

Michigander
March 15, 2004, 06:20 PM
Don't think a terrorist attack pre-November in the US wouldn't have a similar effect? I beg to differ.

I think the conservatives may be grossly underestimating the liberals this time around.

• The libs ferociously HATE Bush.
• To them, the skirmish in Iraq is about oil and power, not WMD's (which haven't been found) or US security or AlQ (WoT). To the libs, Bush really is an "international terrorist."
• Bush proposes a gay marriage ban amendment.
• The libs are going to do their best to make sure the Florida fiasco does not happen again. After all, they were, ooooh, just this close! And they all know Bush stole the election.

I believe the libs are going to be much more driven to the polls already. If similar events happened in the US as in Spain just before the election, I think it would propel the libs much more than the cons.

PATH
March 15, 2004, 06:22 PM
COWARDICE! Show it and they will return in greater numbers and with greater vigor. Spains people showed their true colors! They are yellow. Good riddance to fair weather friends.

God Bless the Poles who are sticking with us!!! We shall remember their courage always!!!

Declaration Day
March 15, 2004, 06:39 PM
SPINELESS!

commygun
March 15, 2004, 06:47 PM
To quote Stephen Den Beste:

Spain marched in the street on Friday

Then they crawled on their knees to the voting booth on Sunday.

Mark Tyson
March 15, 2004, 06:51 PM
El Cid is spinning in his tomb.

joab
March 15, 2004, 07:25 PM
El Cid is spinning in his tomb.
But Neville Chamberlain is nodding in agreement.

My fear is that another attack here in the US similar to 9/11 before November will cause a similar reaction here. I'd like to think that we, as a nation, would not turn our hindparts up to the terrorists but I wouldn't bet on it.
I have to believe that the American people will remember who they are and call for blood the way they always have, from the Alamo to the Towers. America as a people live by the feud always have and always will.

)I don't think Poles will cave ( I read somewhere that while there were millions of people protesting the war all over the western Europe and Russia , there were only 300 or so in Warsaw) but obviously Poland doesn't have means to support US the way UK did.

Lets not forget who the Poles are they were one of the only groups to oppose Hitlers great army using personal weapons in the Warsaw ghettoes and one of the first Soviet Bloc countries to tell mother Russian to go suck an egg. History shows them to be a proud and strong nation that does'nt like to be pushed around. (yeah I'm Polish

Cosmoline
March 15, 2004, 07:33 PM
Well it's their country and their troops, so they certainly have a right to pull out. But it does point to some really enormous difference between us and them. Vast, cavernous differences. Grand canyon differences. The US response to such attacks is 180 degrees different from the Spanish response. This goes way beyond Republican or Democrat. When we are bombed, we want our government to GO OUT and GET the bastards. Our arguments come over the methods used, not the goals. The Spanish are apparently very, very different. Perhaps all of Europe is just fundamentally different from us. That is one way of explaning why we seem to be at loggerheads over every issue.

WonderNine
March 15, 2004, 08:01 PM
Terrorists Win.

feedthehogs
March 15, 2004, 08:17 PM
A sad day for the world.
One more country is bullied into submission.

Better to die fighting, than live as slaves.

Spain, the new slave state.

Glock Glockler
March 15, 2004, 08:25 PM
Could anyone tell me what ETA's beef is? I've been trying to do research on them but havent found much. I understand that they're descended from the the Neolithic Europeans that inhabited the continent before the invasions of the Indo-Aryan tribes and they're proud and all, but why blow things up?

Franco was a jerk to them, but he's dead, and they already have a pretty good degree of autonomy. If they want an independant country I think they'd fare better by trying through peaceful means.

ZekeLuvs1911
March 16, 2004, 01:00 AM
Well so much for the reputed machismo of the Spainards. Don't need them anyways.....the govt want to sick their heads in a hole...better for them Terrorists to kick them in the ass.

Oleg Volk
March 16, 2004, 01:06 AM
Spaniards gutless? I recall a pretty major bloodletting c. 1936-39 in which people of that country fought hard. Plenty of gut-turning atrocities from all sides, too. And the "Blue Division" kicked butt on the Eastern Front for a while...

Il Duce
March 16, 2004, 09:02 AM
I believe the Poles will become our next great ally. Britain still holds the title, but I don't think it's to farfetched to say they may turn against us. The Poles learned the hard way what it's like to be slaves to a government. They might not have the numbers, arms, or technology that some other countries have, but they certainly have the heart. Makes me proud of my Polish heritage....I'm not biased or anything, though ;)

Maybe this will put an end to those lame Polish jokes people insist on telling me. :rolleyes:

Il Duce

7.62FullMetalJacket
March 16, 2004, 09:09 AM
How many germans, french, belgians and russians does it take to remove a brutal dictator and eradicate terrorism?

None. The Americans will do it with the Poles.

Il Duce
March 16, 2004, 09:19 AM
:D Il Duce likes...

ZekeLuvs1911
March 16, 2004, 11:06 PM
Well, thanks to the GUTLESS Spainish populance, terrorists have now found a new weapon. They know that in a democracy we value what the people think. They know that they vote. So now, let's influence the election and I bet your ass that we are now in it for another attack sometime before Nov. If it doesn't happen, great, I'll admit that I cried wolf. I don't think it won't occur though......

w4rma
March 17, 2004, 02:23 AM
Spain accused of easing up on terror watch
Signs emerge of serious intelligence and security failures before bombings

Giles Tremlett in Madrid, Owen Bowcott in Casablanca, Ian Black in Brussels and Sophie Arie in Milan
Wednesday March 17, 2004
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

Spain cut the number of police units responsible for watching radical Islamists in the months before last week's Madrid bombings, reducing numbers by up to a half in some cities and sending them back to ordinary police work, it was claimed yesterday.

A report in the newspaper El Mundo emerged amid numerous signs of serious police and intelligence failures in the run-up to the attacks that killed 201 commuters.

They include allegations that:

· Spanish police possessed phone taps linking a prime suspect in the bombings, the Moroccan Jamal Zougam, with Mohamed Fizazi, a jailed leader of the May bombings in Casablanca, Morocco;

· Arguments between Morocco and Spain over the island of Perejil, fishing rights and immigration had seriously hampered coordination on shared terrorism threats;

· Paperwork that should have allowed police to trace the sale in Spain of the explosives used in the attacks has reportedly gone missing; and

· Spanish police knew that Mr Zougam was closely connected to Salaheddine Benyaiche, another north African Islamist also imprisoned in Morocco for the Casablanca attacks.

It has also been revealed that of six other people now being hunted by Spanish police in connection with the blasts, the majority were already well-known for radical Islamist connections.

Last night, a Spanish interior ministry spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the reported reduction in the number of police devoted to watching Islamists.

But observers believe that a picture of missed intelligence opportunities and a failure to keep tabs on key figures is now emerging in the aftermath of the bombings.

The connection with Fizazi was revealed yesterday by a French lawyer, Jean-Charles Brisard, representing September 11 victims, who has access to Spanish police records.

In a phone call with a suspected leader of a Madrid-based al-Qaida cell that Spanish police monitored in August 2001, Mr Zougam said he had met Fizazi.

"On Friday, I went to see Fizazi and I told him that if he needed money we could help him with our brothers," Mr Zougam says, according to Mr Brisard.

Fizazi was one of 87 people sentenced in Morocco last August for their part in the Casablanca bombings last May which killed 45 people, including 12 suicide bombers.

He was ordered to serve 30 years in prison. He previously preached at a mosque in Hamburg frequented by some of the September 11 hijackers.

Mr Zougam's connections to militant Islamists were well known to both Spanish and French police and to intelligence services in Morocco. His Madrid apartment had been searched in 2001, turning up a videotape that included an interview with Osama bin Laden.

His half-brother Mohamed Chaoui, who has also been arrested, also features on Spanish police wiretaps of the suspected Madrid cell, according to Mr Brisard.

So far police have arrested three Moroccans, including Mr Zougam and Mr Chaoui, and two Indians in their search for the bombers.

Last night, police in the Basque city of San Sebastian said they had detained an Algerian man who allegedly talked about a terrorist attack in Madrid two months before it happened.

Another Algerian named Said Arel is also reportedly wanted by police, along with five other Moroccans, all of whom are well known to Spanish police but have disappeared from Madrid in recent days.

Police sources said no international arrest warrants had been issued, despite reports that many of the bombers may have fled the country. Another avenue for investigating the bombings - tracing the route followed by the Spanish-made Goma 2 explosives used between the factory door and the Madrid train bombs - has reportedly been hampered because the paper trail it should have left behind is incomplete.

The 100 to 150 kilos of explosives used in the bombs may have been exported to Saudi Arabia, Syria or Mauritania before being smuggled back into the country via Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar, police sources said.

Another area of failure appears, according to Aboubakr Jamai, editor of the Casablanca-based Le Journal, to be political rows that have prevented Morocco and Spain coordinating anti-terrorism efforts properly.

"There was little cooperation between the Moroccan and Spanish authorities because of political disputes between the two countries over Perejil island and fishing rights," he said.
...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/spain/article/0,2763,1170913,00.html

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