Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fort Russ — Head of French military intelligence on the real trouble with NATO

Did US intelligence get it wrong, or was it fixed as in the case of Iraq? You decide.
Here is a brief, but significant, extract from General Christophe Gomart's report to the Assemblée Nationale. General Gomart is head of French Military Intelligence. His complete report, given March 25, 2015, is here.  
Gen. Gomart: “The real difficulty with NATO is that the American intel is in preponderance there, while the French intel is more or less taken for granted, hence the importance for us to supply the NATO commanders with enough information of French origin.

"NATO announced that the Russians were going to invade Ukraine, the while that according to our information at the DRM (Direction du Renseignement Militaire), there was nothing to support this hypothesis — we had in fact stated that the Russians had not deployed either command nor the logistics, that would permit envisaging a military invasion, notably field hospitals, and that the second-line units had been exhibiting no movement.
"The outcome demonstrated that we got it right, since, if any Russian soldiers had been sighted in Ukraine, it would have been a matter of a pressuring maneouvre on Ukrainian president Poroshenko than of any prelude to an invasion."
Translated from French by Tom Winter


mike norman said...

Seems like typical French egoism. They want to feel relevant. So when they feel slighted the General says, it's the problem with NATO.

I don't think there are too many intel agencies that can compete with the U.S. and I am not a rah-rah, "Go USA" kind of dude. You know me. However, if I have a bazooka and I opt to not use your .22 caliber pistol, it kinda makes sense.

Tom Hickey said...

Like US intelligence on Iraq?

See Curveball)

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi (Arabic: رافد أحمد علوان‎, Rāfid Aḥmad Alwān; born 1968), known by the Defense Intelligence Agency cryptonym "Curveball",[1] is an Iraqi citizen who defected from Iraq in 1999, claiming that he had worked as a chemical engineer at a plant that manufactured mobile biological weapon laboratories as part of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program.[2] Alwan's allegations were subsequently shown to be false by the Iraq Survey Group's final report published in 2004.[3][4]

Despite warnings from the German Federal Intelligence Service and the British Secret Intelligence Service questioning the authenticity of the claims, the US Government and British government utilized them to build a rationale for military action in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including in the 2003 State of the Union address, where President Bush said "we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs", and Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council, which contained a computer generated image of a mobile biological weapons laboratory.[2][5] They were later found to be mobile milk pasteurization and hydrogen generation trailers. On 24 September 2002, the British government published its dossier on the former Iraqi leader's WMD with a personal foreword by Mr Blair, who assured readers Saddam Hussein had continued to produce WMD "beyond doubt".[6]

On November 4, 2007, 60 Minutes revealed Curveball's real identity.[7] Former CIA official Tyler Drumheller summed up Curveball as "a guy trying to get his green card essentially, in Germany, and playing the system for what it was worth."[2] He lives in Germany, where he has been granted asylum.[8]

In a February 2011 interview with the Guardian he "admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war."[8]....


Tom Hickey said...

"Curveball's story began in November 1999 when Alwan, then in his early 30s, arrived at Munich's Franz Josef Strauss Airport with a tourist visa. Upon entering the country he applied for political asylum because he had embezzled Iraqi government money and faced prison or worse if sent home. The German refugee system sent him to Zirndorf, a refugee center near Nuremberg.[9]

After he arrived at the refugee center he changed his story. Alwan's new story included that after he had graduated at the top of his chemical engineering class at Baghdad University in 1994,[10] he worked for "Dr. Germ," British-trained microbiologist Rihab Rashid Taha to lead a team that built mobile labs to produce lethal biological WMD.[10]

The Germans listened to his claims and debriefed him starting in December 1999,[11] continuing to September 2001. Although the Americans did not have "direct access" to Curveball,[12][13] information collected by the BND debriefing team was later passed on in part to the Defense Intelligence Agency in the United States.[14] As an incentive to keep supplying information to German intelligence, Curveball had been granted asylum, as he had applied earlier in 1999 and failed.[15] He had enough money that he did not have to work. He gave many hours of testimony about Iraq's WMD program and in particular its mobile weapons laboratories. Despite CIA technicians and weapon experts finding major flaws and inconsistencies with the designs and systems he asserted the military was developing, this information made it to the American government and although there were wide doubts and questions about the claimed informant's reliability and background, assertions attributed to Curveball claiming that Iraq was creating biological agents in mobile weapons laboratories to elude inspectors appeared in more than 112 United States government reports between January 2000 and September 2001.[16] His assertions eventually made it into United States Secretary of State Colin Powell's famous address the February 5, 2003 to the United Nations detailing Iraq's weapons programs.

Tom Hickey said...

I really doubt that this is French egotism. The head of military intelligence doesn't offer information out of the blue on his own. This is a signal that some more Europeans are not happy with the US-led NATO push against Russia in Europe based on fixed intelligence. The general is suggesting, it seems to me, that this is repeat of US intelligence on Iraq, and, it might be added, Iran.

The chief of Russian military intelligence pointed out US intelligence is not traditional intelligence which is about gathering information, processing it, and evaluating it analytically. US intelligence is an operational arm of policy.

Presently, the CIA is divided into intelligence department and an operations department. The director wants to formally remove the distinction as irrelevant. There isn't even any pretense anymore..

aliena said...

"typical French egoism" really?

France Knew Of Hijack Plot Before 9/11

and yes France did warn the USA.

Ryan Harris said...

Tom, What did you make of the Atlantic Council Report? Seems to finally put an end to the Kremlin narrative that the green men fighting in Ukraine aren't Russian troops operating Russian weapons....

Tom Hickey said...

The Atlantic Council is a US NGO run by top US policy makers and military people through the revolving door. Not exactly where I would go for objective information.