Emptywheel's new piece is v v good, my only comment would be is that it does well and truly state the obvious, that Bushmin wanted it their way no matter where the real truth lay. What I don't get is how they thought that the early floating of the white paper would help put the matter to rest once-and-for-all.i agree with simon that it does 'state the obvious' - but we also need to consider it in context. there was a LOT going on at this time, and EW has demonstrated just one of the tricks that was used. these people were very desperate and were fire-hosing one story after another - rather than looking for a 'once-and-for-all' solution. it appears that they were trying to run clean-up operations hither and tither - with each new lie just trying to buy a few more weeks.
There were Brits who were first-on-the-scene, and their findings got reported back to London and to Dr Kelly. It is fairly obvious that Judy was talking to him prior to June 7 ("I have no great confidence that it's a fermenter.."). I think this does allow Judy some credibility as she was accurately reporting the only dissent she was hearing.
Another point I would like to make is that there has been an assumption that the bogus labs would have been used to produce anthrax. This is a piss poor explanation of their purpose, even if they were real, Saddam could not have failed to have known that the US/UK forces who were likely to have faced him were full equipped, both by innoculation and with full NBC individual personal equipment, so as to counter the threat. Besides which anthrax is pretty unsuitable as a battlefield weapon in a defensive situation as it contaminates the defending side's land for generations to come. It's a shot-in-the-foot, esp. considering the other side has already had a shot-in-the-arm.
(I do think that Bushmin rely on the stupidity of the general public when it comes to NBC matters, and then turn to compliant journalists to do their dirty work for them. Either that or they are terminally stupid themselves for believing their own hype.)
re: "there has been an assumption that the bogus labs would have been used to produce anthrax." - i agree - the whole story is bogus. as i documented here, the whole 'mobile' thing appears to be a complete scare-story. the fixation on mobility is absurd (for one reason or other)
i've emailed Milton Leitenberg for his thoughts on my specific concerns - specifically these. he has just arrived home from a holiday to a full-ish email box - but says that he will reply in a few days and that "in a few days there will be a short "Part 3""
my email to him was as follows:
Hi Milton - I've been following your latest few posts online re Curveball and the mobile labs. Thanks for that.the plot thickens.
I'm just a curious observer / blogger in this affair - but I wrote a series of posts back in May that might be of interest to you - starting here. (and with an update here yesterday)
There's one particular element that you didn't mention in your latest few posts - and perhaps you are unaware of the fact - there's another secret lab (in your White Paper you refer to the possibility that there's another program). From the final 2 paragraphs in Washington Post on July 3, 03:Col. Bill Darley, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, said that Hatfill also designed a fixed or "static" nonfunctional bioweapons lab for use in training Special Forces in an unspecified location in the western United States.
Darley said he could not discuss details of how these labs have been used in training. The programs, he said, are at the heart of the "dark tactics, techniques and procedures" used to prepare troops for missions abroad.
We don't appear to have any knowledge of when this lab was built - and it may very well have predated the SAIC 'can.'
I also have a couple of questions, if you don't mind.
In your White Paper, you mention the Patrick/Hatfill collaboration/'novel design' - I'm somewhat surprised that these labs would be 'complete but not plugged in' - given:
a) the task at hand (Special Forces identifying and securing a possible lab), and
b) that there are any number of possible configurations for these labs. It would appear to me that the Special Forces would need training in all of the generic possibilities, rather than being exactly familiar with one possible 'novel' configuration.
Going further, I can't imagine any particular need to even develop a mobile lab at all, other than describing the possibile configuration of any lab (fixed or mobile) - with the added necessary stipulations for a mobile lab (e.g. 'must have good suspension' or some such.) Or possibly I'm being too simplistic.
Do you have any thoughts on that issue?
Secondly, the Washington Post article quoted above describes the Pentagon's desperation to put Hatfill back on the program (notwithstanding his recent firing and the revocation of his security clearance.) Is there any reason that they'd need a particular expert (given that the scenario that I described above appears to call for generic identification and securing of any presumed labs)?
One final thing, in your White Paper you refer to a July 2, 03 NYT article. I'll just point out that the article was written by Judy Miller (et al) and it might be relevant to consider that as we read the text. I have some suspicion that the NYT article may have been to pre-empt the WaPo article the following day. In that light, there are a few issues that can be conceivably read as misdirection in the NYT piece.