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Posted December 29, 2004 by publisher in US Embargo

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by Wayne Smith | from BaltimoreSun.com
The function of intelligence should be to provide as accurate an assessment as possible of a given situation to guide the formulation of policy.

But the Bush administration doesn’t see it that way; rather, it sees intelligence as something it can cite to justify a policy or an initiative it has already decided upon, as happened with Iraq. And if the facts must be twisted, misstated or even invented to justify that decision, fine. There is no commitment to truth.

Selig S. Harrison, the chairman of the Task Force on U.S. Korea Policy at the Center for International Policy, notes in the forthcoming January edition of Foreign Affairs magazine that the administration deliberately distorted its intelligence on North Korea.

In October 2002, the administration suddenly accused Pyongyang of secretly developing a program to enrich uranium to weapons grade in violation of its 1994 agreement with Washington. It then suspended the oil shipments the United States had been making to North Korea under that accord. North Korea responded by expelling international inspectors and resuming the processing of plutonium, suspended under the 1994 agreement. We were back to a crisis situation.

But according to Mr. Harrison, a review of the available evidence suggests that the Bush administration exaggerated the intelligence and blurred the important distinction between weapons-grade uranium enrichment and lower levels of enrichment. The first would clearly have violated the 1994 agreement. The second, while technically prohibited by the agreement, was permitted under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and would not have resulted in uranium suitable for nuclear weapons.

It was something the United States probably should have questioned but not something over which we should have brought U.S.-North Korean relations back to a crisis. But that is exactly what the Bush administration did. The results could be dangerous. It is as if the administration preferred a military confrontation with North Korea to continued negotiations and inspections.

And we see the same pattern with Cuba.

The administration charges that Cuba endorses terrorism as a policy and represents a threat to U.S. security. But on the contrary, Cuba has condemned terrorism in all of its manifestations, signed all 12 U.N. anti-terrorist resolutions and offered to sign agreements with the United States to cooperate in combating terrorism, an offer the administration ignores.

Nor is Cuba “harboring” Basque and Colombian terrorists, as the administration alleges. Members of the Basque ETA and the Colombian groups Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are in Cuba, but with the full knowledge of their governments. Both Spain and Colombia stress that they have no evidence that Cuba is involved in terrorist activities against them.

There are a number of American fugitives from justice in Cuba, yes, but even under our own legislation that provides no grounds for declaring Cuba to be a terrorist state; it certainly poses no threat to the United States. Further, if Cuba does not regularly extradite U.S. fugitives, the United States has not in more than 45 years extradited a single Cuban, including known terrorists guilty of multiple murders.

But the most flagrant misrepresentations are those of Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, who charged last spring that Cuba “is known to be developing a limited biological weapons [BW] effort ...” and “... remains a terrorist and BW threat to the U.S.”

Mr. Bolton cannot produce evidence of that, of course. But various U.S. delegations led by the Center for Defense Information have gone to Cuba and seen no evidence to suggest that this is the case. As retired Marine Gen. Charles Wilhelm put it after one visit: “While Cuba certainly has the capability to develop and produce chemical and biological weapons, nothing that we saw or heard led us to the conclusion that they are proceeding on this path ...”

In short, the administration has not presented evidence that Cuba supports terrorism or has mounted a BW weapons effort. It simply alleges this to be true. But just as it did in Iraq, on the basis of alleged evidence, it is moving toward confrontation with Cuba. It has virtually cut off all dialogue, has drastically reduced travel, tightened sanctions and called for the ouster of Fidel Castro’s government.

Under its policy of pre-emptive warfare, the Bush administration reserves the right to take military action against any state deemed to be a threat to the United States.

It has now said that Cuba poses such a threat. It probably has no intention of taking military action against Cuba, not with troops already in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, Cuba should be prepared for the worst.

Nor is this pattern of intelligence-tailoring likely to be corrected by the intelligence reform law. Not with President Bush’s newly appointed CIA director, J. Porter Goss, now cleaning out those at the CIA who dared to voice opinions contrary to those of the administration. Mr. Goss has insisted that all hands must unwaveringly “support the administration and its policies.”

Wayne S. Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, served with the State Department in Havana and Moscow.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 30, 2004 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    I wonder why after 40 + years is the US now so worried about Cuba and it’ government?

    Up to now the US didnt give a rats ass about Cuba or it’ people,so why all of a sudden are they so worried about Cuba?

    What? Are they after the newly found Cuban high grade oil? That’ a possibility that comes to mind!

    I mean,we all know the US just doesnt go into a place without having another agenda in mind,they always seem to come out of wars winning more then just a war!

    It will be a sad bloody day if the US would ever invade Cuba with military force,for some reason all they do is speak on Cuba’ military,but forget about every Cuban on the island who has always been willing to die for their country whether dictated or not,that has been the Cuban way long before Castro and will continue to be long after Castro,Cubans are to proud of a people to be bullied by another country!

    And do they really think every Cuban in the US would agree with a Cuba invasion?

    I see some serious problems occuring if the US ever invades Cuba,and not just in Cuba but right here in our own backyard!




  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 30, 2004 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    A few facts that were not mentioned in the above article presumably because they did not help Mr Smith’ case:

    In 2001 Castro visited Iran, Syria and Iraq (all supporters of terrorism) shortly before 9/11 and urged them to topple the US as they did the Shah of Iran in 1979. A saying comes to mind - show me who your friends are and I will show you who you are.

    The Cuban government has signed the UN declaration on Human Rights but has never implemented it, as this of course would mean the downfall of the Cuban government. Mr Smith must be extremely naive if he thinks that signing something shows Cuba’ commitment to that course of action.

    The fact that various US delegations have found no evidence of bioweapon development on visits does not mean that there has not been or is no such development! Of course they are not going to find anything on a short visit organised by the Cubans! It reminds me of the visits by leftists to the Soviet Union in the 1930’ who came back with reports of an abundance of food but somehow missed the famines that killed millions as a result of Stalin’ policies.

    Not an objective article.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 31, 2004 by waldo with 264 total posts

    And, who is the number one human rights violator in the world measured by the number of persons killed, mutilated, made homeless or tortured?

  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 31, 2004 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    The US!

  5. Follow up post #5 added on January 02, 2005 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    >>In 2001 Castro visited Iran, Syria and Iraq (all supporters of terrorism) shortly before 9/11 and urged them to topple the US as they did the Shah of Iran in 1979.<<

    Cubana, perhaps I misunderstand you.  Are you saying that Castro urged Iran, Syria and Iraq to topple the USA?  Why would he urge them to do something that would be impossible for them to do?

    Cubana, don’t you think that Cuba deals w/ these nations because fully and partial embargoed nations are forced to havce trade relations w/ one another if they are to have any unfettered trade at all? 

  6. Follow up post #6 added on January 02, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    Besides, Castro do not need to encourage them to topple the mighty US, because this is something that those countries think and wanted to do for decades. And Dana you are right they have no choice but to stick together to try to break the constant strangling menace from the Empire. And could not what the Empire did in Vietnam, Panama and Grenada and now is doing in Iraq, Colombia, Phillippines, the Balkans, ect. be considered a kind of terrorism? Many Americans think it does.

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