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Syria strike: US shared intelligence with Israel - Independent Online Edition > Americas

Before it bombed Syria, Israel provided the US with intelligence suggesting that North Korea was secretly supplying Damascus with nuclear technology, The Washington Post newspaper claimed yesterday.

However, there is considerable scepticism of the intelligence that prompted Israel's attack, with some proliferation experts querying whether Syria is even attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. The quality of the Israeli intelligence is also unknown, as is the extent of North Korean co-operation. Some people have suggested that a North Korean ship merely unloaded items it no longer needed.

The Bush administration has not commented on the Israeli raid or the details of the intelligence, which President George Bush was handed during the summer. The US reportedly corroborated some of the original intelligence it received from Israel, but fears remained that any immediate action would bring an end to negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.

The target of the Israeli bombers was reported to be in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. To maintain secrecy, the details of the mission were given to the pilots who conducted the attack only after they were in the air, the newspaper said.

by Fran on Sat Sep 22nd, 2007 at 12:55:49 AM EST
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However, there is considerable scepticism of the intelligence that prompted Israel's attack, with some proliferation experts querying whether Syria is even attempting to acquire nuclear weapons.

You can say that again.  Here is Joseph Cirincione in Foreign Policy:

This story is nonsense. The Washington Post story should have been headlined "White House Officials Try to Push North Korea-Syria Connection." This is a political story, not a threat story. The mainstream media seems to have learned nothing from the run-up to war in Iraq. It is a sad commentary on how selective leaks from administration officials who have repeatedly misled the press are still treated as if they were absolute truth.

Once again, this appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted "intelligence" to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war in Iraq, it should. This time it appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement. Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria. <...>

The real story is how quickly the New York Times and the Washington Post snapped up the bait and ran exactly the story the officials wanted, thereby feeding a mini-media frenzy. It appears that nothing, not even a disastrous and unnecessary war, can break this Pavlovian response to an "intelligence scoop."

We Got Tubed--Again

And here is Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a Worldview interview yesterday:

This latest business with North Korea and Syria, and the implication that Iran is there, started majorly with former Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs John Bolton.  And I have done some really rigorous telephone calling, emailing and so forth over the past forty-eight hours, and I can find absolutely no hard intelligence with my friends in Israel, or my friends in the U.S. government, or retired CIA or other retired intelligence personnel, that indicates that there is anything nefarious going on here.  I'm not saying there isn't, but no one's got any hard intelligence, and everyone is kind of shrugging their shoulders and wondering where John Bolton got all this stuff.

Lastly, it is, I think, and rightfully so for Americans, a matter of concern.  The administration seems to be -- and I'm growing more concerned every day -- hell-bent to start a shooting confict, a hot war, with Iran at some level.  And it's disconcerting, because it looks as if the same kind of public diplomacy, public affairs campaign is being conducted to excite the American people to this conflict as was being conducted before we went to war in March of 2003 with Iraq.  And I'm a person who is particularly skeptical about such things having gone undergone one of them that turned out to be basically false in its principle reasoning.  <...>

So I am concerned, and I grow more concerned as I said every day, that we seem to be setting up a road not unlike that we set up before we went into Iraq.



Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read or write.
by marco on Sat Sep 22nd, 2007 at 02:47:53 AM EST
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