Monday, January 08, 2007

Information Warfare and We're Still Losing

The AP issue isn't the only problem with the MSM and the fact that they seem to be working for the wrong side. This from StrategyPage:
Several media outlets have been citing FBI documents claiming mistreatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. However, these documents are the basis of what is really a big non-story. Why? Because the allegations of torture based on these documents have already been investigated by the Department of Defense (DOD) in 2005 and found to have no basis in fact.

The documents in question? They are the same FBI memos that formed the basis of Senator Richard Durbin's comparison of Guantanamo Bay to the actions of the Nazis and Khmer Rouge, and have been released in the course of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Now for what the media and ACLU won't tell you. The DOD investigations in 2004 and 2005 turned up very few incidents of mistreatment, and those incidents that did occur were often dealt with on the spot. Three of the incidents – and the response to them – are worth noting. The first was an incident uncovered, during the investigation, of the allegations from FBI agents. A naval officer threatened the mother of one detainee, a violation of Article 134 the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That matter has been referred to the Naval Investigative Service for investigation. In a second incident, an inmate who was chanting, had duct tape placed over his mouth by MPs, at the direction of an interrogator concerned about a potential riot. The person responsible was verbally reprimanded by a JAG for this one-time incident. In the third incident, an interrogator who was spat on proceeded to smear some red ink on the detainee. She was verbally reprimanded on the spot as well. In the second two cases, the investigations recommended different punishment for the infractions, but it does not detract from the fact that the DOD acted on the spot.

The only thing these latest round of reports has done is to give the mainstream media a chance to rehash old allegations and make the Department of Defense look like it is stonewalling and refusing to investigate allegations of torture. The ACLU gets plenty of press, which it can later use for a fundraising drive and to get attention in general. The DOD will get no credit for defending the country, nor will they get any credit for dealing with the real abuses. Given that several detainees, most notably Kudayev, have returned to the fight, the results of the ACLU's lawsuit could have a negative impact on the civil liberties of innocent people.
The ACLU's political agenda aside, the MSM, in general, fails to report the DoD investigation results. This constant method of rehash keeps the allegations in the public mind, even when they have been dismissed by the authorities.

Now with the change in the political masters in the US congress we get to see a rehash of the GITMO military tribunals issue again.
As the new Congress takes form, in a vital bipartisan action, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his predecessor, Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, will present a bill to undo the constitutional damage of last year's Military Commissions Act that stripped all prisoners at Guantanamo of their habeas corpus right to go into our federal courts for review of their conditions of confinement.

Getting this bill passed, and then overturning an expected presidential veto, is especially necessary now that the Pentagon plans to hold war-crimes trials for dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in 2007. Moreover, as Tim Golden writes in the Dec. 10 New York Times, the authorities there are now "taking a tougher line" with the detainees. For one example, the brutal force-feeding of prisoners engaged in hunger strikes continues, despite the criticism of international human-rights groups.
Specter and Leahy, no doubt looking only for the good of the country, are looking to overturn the legislation that was enacted. Not that they aren't interested parties, being on the Judiciary committee. Someone took one of their political balls out of the game so no doubt they are irritated. Can't wait to see those committee hearings.

This Op-Ed then goes on to make out that the GITMO detainees are all innocents.
Researched and written by law professor Mark Denbeaux; his son, Joshua (counsel to two Guantanamo detainees); and law students at Seton Hall, the reports demonstrate that:

"Only 8 percent of the detainees were characterized (in the Defense Department data) as Al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40 percent have no definitive connection with Al Qaeda at all." As for those picked up in Afghanistan, "86 percent were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody."

And there is this revealing information: "This 86 percent of the detainees captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance were handed over to the United States at a time when the U.S. offered large bounties for capture of suspected terrorists." The captives in these mass roundups were hardly screened carefully for their terrorist connections by the bounty hunters -- nor were they carefully screened, according to international law criteria, by our armed forces.
I don't see any evidence here that indicates that these people are innocent. In fact, I see a huge assumption that the CIA and Military Intelligence branches are completely incompetent. What interest would the intelligence community have in holding innocents? The number of actual Al-Qaeda terrorists may be a low percentage, but just because you can't clearly place the Al-Qaeda label on them doesn't mean they weren't either involved or heading there. Not to mention that mass round ups would give a much larger quantity of prisoners than are actually being held. The assumption is that the government just jailed them for no reason. That assumption assumes incompetence though it has no factual basis for why they are being held. Do you honestly think that the intelligence community has nothing better to do than capture and hold people who they have nothing against?

I don't doubt that there are some mistakes. And yes that sucks. But being perfect isn't a reasonable expectation. And demanding perfection isn't reasonable. Let's also recall that several released detainees were killed in fighting against coalition forces later. I love the explanation that they were made terrorists by their detention. It completely ignores alternative explanations that they were terrorists when captured. Don't expect to see that argument anywhere in the MSM.

Then we have the news about Israel's plans to use nuclear bunker busters against Iran.
Israel is preparing air force squadrons for a precision attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities using tactical nuclear weapons, Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported yesterday.

Israel denied the report, saying it was committed to a diplomatic solution.

However, Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, predicts Iran would be able to produce nuclear weapons within two years, the newspaper said, prompting speculation that a precision strike was not far off.

Citing what it said were several Israeli military sources, the paper said two Israeli air force squadrons had been training to blow up an enrichment plant in the concrete-shielded Natanz facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker busters”.

Two other sites, a heavy-water plant at Arak and a uranium- conversion plant at Isfahan, would be targeted with conventional bombs, the Sunday Times said.

Now who would benefit from putting this report out? Iran first off. Start the international tirade against Israel with the expectation that you can stop any attack. Israel could benefit if they actually believed that they could force Iran to stop enrichment in their hardened facilities. I'm going to bet this is completely off though. I don't think Israel would have any expectations of getting Iran to stop.

Should I even mention that nuclear bombs make really poor bunker busters? How about the fact that using the "nuclear" label will make the outrage even stronger against Israel? If this doesn't read like a typical Information Warfare story, I don't know what does.

Worst of all, I'm betting these bits of Information Warfare are effective in a country that always assumes the worst about our government.

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