History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Sunday, April 25, 2004


    In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
    -Winston Churchill

    On a thread at Little Green Footballs, I posted a short quote from Debka , an Israeli site that specializes in the Intelligence and Analysis business. The quote in question was this:

    DEBKAfile reports: Bush administration secretly designates Sunni former major general Abdullah Shehwani Iraq a’s next strongman supported by newly-appointed mixed Sunni-Kurdish-Shiite military command

    I stated that this statement was a fabrication, and not only that, it must surely have been an attempt at strategic disinformation. My reasoning for that comes from a hypothesis of mine: Debka is affiliated in some way with Israeli Intelligence. As part of that affiliation, they sometimes do "tasks" for the agency in question. This is not the only possibility, the equally likely one is that Debka is the Intelligence world equivalent of an internet tabloid, reporting rumor as fact. Attempting to determine which is the case is extremely difficult, as little information is available on Debka, its personnel and history. Also, the subjects covered are often of a covert nature, and it is difficult to verify if they are correct or not, even long after the fact. However, they have been proven right on occasion, the issue of Turkey and its refusal to allow US troops to stage from there for the Iraq War as an example.

    This is where the Winston Churchill quote comes in. During WW2 secrecy was paramount, and Churchill recognized that. The concept of strategic disinformation fully developed during the conflict, and was practiced numerous times, from Normandy to the invasion of Sicily. The idea was this: plant false information that would be picked up by the enemy, who would then be fooled into believing it, and act in a manner that would be disadvantageous to him. In order to protect the truth, you would need to surround it with lies that would fool the enemy, confuse him, if not completely throw him off track, at the very least reduce the value of any real information he acquired.

    Now Debka comes into play. If the rumors of their connections to Israeli Intelligence are true, why do they sometimes report "information" and why do their exclusives not always pan out? I speculate that Debka is involved, at times at least, in the business of strategic disinformation. They report just enough truth to get people interested, and "break" stories just often enough to get people to subscribe. Often stories that wouldn't hurt Israel (and possibly others) if they are released, or stories that need to be "leaked". However, they then fill their reports with information that is either patently false or devoid of any real meaning. This reduces the value that Debka might represent to hostile forces that might have evil designs on the Jewish State. By promoting disinformation, the truth is often obscured, and anyone with interest will have to question just what is true and what isn't. The intelligence world is full of doubts and uncertainties, and Debka might be designed to encourage those doubts, and to create more uncertainties. If it is reported on Debka, how do you know if it is true or false? If you have heard that same rumor elsewhere, does the fact that it is on Debka mean it might be accurate, or does it mean that it is in fact disinformation?

    Now, as for the actual report from Debka itself, it is false for the following reasons:

    1. The US would not pick a Sunni to be the next strongman. That would infuriate both the Kurds and the Shia. It would never work, and would guarantee a civil war. I could think of few things that the US could do that would be worse.

    2. The article in question states that the US has insufficient troops to take Fallujah. This is not the case. US forces available are more than capable enough to take Fallujah and eliminate the insurgents inside. My hypothesis on the US taking a "wait and see" attitude concerning Fallujah was a) to promote the IGC and moderate Iraqi leaders, and b) to buy time to fix the other problems in Iraq. The Fallujah crisis has inflamed Iraqis elsewhere, and helped fuel the fire behind Sadr's attempted uprising. Likely the US will solve the Sadr problem first, and then deal with Fallujah, or perhaps solve both at once in order to force the insurgents to choose between which battle-ground to reinforce.

    3. President Bush has been using the word democracy in nearly every sentence where Iraq has been mentioned, including, it should be noted, after things have "gone downhill" in Iraq. If he were to allow such a plan to move forward, he would have made a flip-flop that would dwarf any made by John Kerry, who is known for them. Changing positions like that would give Kerry an excellent opportunity to attack the President's credibility. Bush isn't going to support something that would likely ensure that he won't be elected.

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