May 31, 2008

WAR CRIMES DOSSIER: Recent WAR CRIMES developments this week following Scott McClellan's disclosures

The timing of a key DoD email to the White House shows the President and others wanted to deflect criticism of POW abuse, and focus on favorable aspects of information warfare.

These were not narrow public relations efforts. White House counsel was involved to ensure public information moved away from war crimes problems.

The DoD email shows the White House, State, and NSC were well aware of the military analysts, and their role in providing White House messages. One email provides no introduction, suggesting there were regular meetings within the White House to explore how to use military analysts to distract attention from the White House Press corps.

Ongoing Strategy Meetings To Spin Illegal Presidential Programs

In 2005, the Guantanamo abuses were prompting calls for its closure. The White House has a problem with war crimes.

The trip to Guantanamo was to dissuade public criticism of Guantanamo, precipated by the POW abuses. In parallel, the White House and DoJ were suppressing FBI efforts to retain war crimes evidence files.

The key phrase on page 120 is:

"As you may know", indicates DoD PA knew the White House and others had been told previously about what was going on. Before this transcript was provided, White House staff knew enough about the details to not require much background information.

"Once again" suggests DoD provided (another) example for the White House of a quick response to the President's public war crimes problem.

There would be no little reason to CC: White House legal Bartlet unless war crimes legal issues discussed.

The email is not an introduction, but a status report of things they were well aware. The email provides no information, as it should, if this was the first time the White House, State, and NSC were informed.

The comment isn't saying, "As you may know, we have a program," but does the opposite: It is very specific about a recent trip. The White House and others well knew what was going on. The trip was related to recent criticisms about the detention center in Cuba. Two weeks earlier, McClellan was hammered on Guantanamo.

Trips were planned to manage unfavorable public information about illegal activity. This trip was designed to repaint this Guantanamo story. McClellan: "there is a hundred substantiated charges of allegations of abuse and a little more than a hundred people that have been held to account. You're talking about less than 1 percent that have been found to have committed illegal acts against detainees"

It was only a "small" war crimes problem.

DoD PA to White House: "If you go there" it is "much more difficult to criticize the program." The White House used the analysts to focus on the benefits "intelligence gathering", and distract attention from the illegal activity, war crimes, and POW abuse.

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