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Iraq Survey Group
Donald Rumsfeld's Al Qaeda

by John Stanton and Wayne Madsen
July 9, 2004

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A recent email from (iraq survey group.military), commenting on our last article, "Torture Inc.: Oliver North Joins the Party," indicated that “I work for one of the company’s [sic] you mentioned in your article and it holds up to its title.  You are just jealous and ignorant. Both of you are flaming morons and your article is full of crap. Freedom of speech is wonderful isn’t it.” Indeed, it is, but we were intrigued by the fact that one of the defense contractors we named in our last piece [CACI, ZKD, Calnet, USIS, United Placements, Design Staffing] would use the US military’s Iraq Survey Group’s (ISG) email to express his view. So we looked a little bit closer into the ISG's charter and the characters that run the show.

Major General Keith Dayton, U.S. Army, was director of the ISG, a 1400 person outfit headquartered in Baghdad with operations in Qatar, Kuwait and Washington, DC.  Publicly, the ISG's mission is to search for Iraq’s nebulous weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), but a closer inspection of the ISG reveals that it is an intelligence tool of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. According to Rumsfeld’s favorite son, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, the ISG is a combat and intelligence unit that reports directly “into the Secretary of Defense with work product going to the Director of Central Intelligence.” According to Seymour Hersh, Cambone’s reputation is so bad that an active duty three-star general indicated that if the Pentagon was being overrun by the enemy, he’d use his last bullet on Cambone. The ISG and Dayton have been implicated in the shameful Abu Ghraib TortureGate scandal.

And with the ISG’s intelligence fusion operation located in Washington, DC, that means Rumsfeld’s hands are dirty. There is also a clear line that can be drawn between the ISG and Undersecretary for Plans and Policy Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans/Office of Northern Gulf Affairs (speculation has been that he is a dual USA-Israeli citizen like Dov Zakheim). Feith created the disinformation about Iraqi WMDs and then Rumsfeld/Cambone used torture as a tactic to elicit false confessions and exaggerated claims under extreme duress.  It is a tactic that SS Commander Heinrich Himmler and Soviet KGB Chief Levrenti Beria practiced so well in Germany and the USSR, respectively. No one claims that the USA and Israel rise to the level of Nazi and Soviet torturers, but, it is too early to say.

At a May 30, 2003 press conference, Cambone introduced Dayton to America’s subservient press corps. Little noticed was that Dayton was not a boots-on-the-ground military man, but was a political operative, battle-hardened in the Byzantine inside-the-beltway intrigues that pit the bureaucracy against elected officials, and the military against its civilian masters. In that press conference, Dayton expressed confidence that WMDs would be found (the pre-election 2004 surprise is likely to be the discovery of WMDs at the bottom of a lake near Baghdad).

Torture for the Greater Good

Dayton served as the director of the Defense HUMINT Service (HUMINT=human intelligence) within the Defense Intelligence Agency.  He was also a political-military operative, a defense attaché in Moscow, and spent some time at the Council on Foreign Relations where he worked on arms control matters. According to the New York Times, “Major General Keith Dayton of the DIA had primary responsibility for the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners designated as high-value targets. CIA employees would likely have participated in certain interrogations, according to intelligence experts. A CIA official told The New York Times that the agency was involved in the interrogation of no more than two dozen individuals at Abu Ghraib between September and December 2003.”  And that quote was from his old buddies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

That’s no surprise since back in May 2003 Dayton indicated that the ISG’s job involved exploitation and interrogation. “…the ISG will collect and exploit documents and media related to terrorism, war crimes, POW [prisoner of war] and MIA [missing in action] issues, and other things relating to the former Iraqi regime.  It will interrogate and debrief individuals, both hostile and friendly, and it will exploit captured materiel.  The goal is to put all the pieces together in what is appearing to be a very complex jigsaw puzzle…The main effort is going to be in Iraq, with the headquarters in Baghdad.  This collection operation will include a joint interrogation debriefing center, a joint materiel exploitation center, chemical and biological intelligence support teams and the ISG operation center.  The main analytic effort will be co-located with CENTCOM forward, as will the combined media processing center.  Furthermore, the ISG is going to have liaison elements with CJTF-7 [Commander Joint Task Force 7] in Kuwait and with other U.S. government agencies inside Iraq. And finally, the intelligence fusion center will be here in Washington, D.C.  And all are going to be linked electronically.”

Coincidently, Dayton left the ISG on December 7, 2004, after the ISG “intelligence fusion center” ­ the

parallel intelligence operation of Rumsfeld and Cambone—knew that the TortureGate scandal was about to break and their man Dayton was involved. Thanks to, Rumsfeld’s twenty-four detention facilities used in the "Global War on Terror"—including sites in Iraq, Pakistan,

Afghanistan, Jordan, and aboard U.S. Navy warships like the USS Bataan—were exposed; demonstrating that the Bush administration is quite capable of running Soviet-style Gulags.

American Doctor Mengeles Wanted

On March 30, 2004, Charles Duelfer, Director of Central Intelligence Special Advisory for Strategy regarding Iraqi Destruction WMD Programs—the new civilian lead for the ISG—indicated that the ISG had to try harder to pry information out of suspected Iraqi WMD specialists on the rationale that they had been trained not to talk about them. Duelfer is a resident expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, which is headed by former Democratic Representative Lee Hamilton, the co-chair of the 911 Commission. From 1993 to 2000, Duelfer was deputy executive chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM). The UNSCOM team was withdrawn from Iraq in 1998 after reports emerged that the team had deviated from its charter to find WMDs and was involved in espionage against Iraqi government communications on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies.  The search for physical evidence of WMDs was nullified by Duelfer with the new focus being intent-to-build. “I arrived on the 12th of February 2004.  I have endeavored to refine the strategy for ISG in the weeks since.  In its simplest terms, my strategy is to determine the regime’s intentions for all the activities ISG has uncovered.  The people we need to speak to have spent their entire professional lives being trained not to speak about WMD.  Most of those in the ISG are not experts on Iraq, and most do not have extensive experience in the kinds of investigative operations and analysis they are asked to undertake.”

Rumsfeld’s Likely Recruits

“Investigative operations” is just another term for the torture of a non-white population. Most Americans are appalled by the torture of fellow human beings and, happily, that means it is going to be hard to find anyone with the “extensive experience” needed to bleed information out of a suspected WMD practitioner. However, given the misplaced anxiety of Americans that the devil is out to get ‘em, it’s easy to think about the most nightmarish of scenarios. One can only imagine that the ISG and its defense contractors are recruiting heavily from that minority of Americans who populate the despicable Aryan Nations, and other white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, who would jump at the chance to torture non-whites. And, not surprisingly, their numbers are rising.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Buoyed by rising numbers of Skinhead and Klan groups, the American radical right staged something of a comeback last year, following a tumultuous period that saw the destruction or hobbling of some of the nation's leading hate groups. As 2003 came to an end, the number of racist skinhead groups had doubled over the prior year. The neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, despite having lost its Idaho compound, boasted 11 new chapters. A newcomer on the scene, Arkansas-based White Revolution, had grown much more powerful and seemed poised to keep rising. Several new Klan groups had appeared, and Klan activity was significant.” They also reported that the number of “hate websites” have increased by six percent.

The potential recruitment pool in the USA among American racist organizations, incited by George Bush and many American “holy land” ideologues in power in Washington, DC, makes for bad dreams. Middle Ages Crusade propaganda still sells! Add to that the constant propaganda about “the other races hate our way of life” (might they want to charge a fair price for fuel) vomited from the US news media and the madness of Rumsfeld’s worldview (imagine the idiocy of a Rumsfeld who could marvel that US soldiers have digital cameras and that he stands up for 8 to10 hours a day, so then why can’t prisoners)—makes one wonder about his connection to reality. So goes the DOD.

Recent evidence offered by General Janis Karpinski, NGO’s and investigative reporters, indicates that

Israeli interrogators may have been active in Iraqi detention centers. But the Israeli government has stated that any Israelis in Iraq were there on their own. We are inclined to believe them to a point. The problem is that it gives rise to the specter that anti-Arab Israeli xenophobes, including members of the racist and terrorist Kach and Kahane Chai, were participating as either freelance torturers in Iraq or as part of a parallel intelligence operation -- separate from Mossad -- being run out of Ariel Sharon's office. They, like their American counterparts, make for great recruits. The scary part is that neither government can control them—or, perhaps, does not want to get involved.

Unfortunately, the question of the legality of Rumsfeld's personal intelligence operation in TortureGate, and all the connections, has received the glancing interest of Congress and the US media. But as more evidence of the illegal nature of the Pentagon's operations comes to light, and that of its associates, there is a clear need for the International Criminal Court to conduct its own investigation of the role of Rumsfeld's ersatz intelligence operation in committing human rights abuses in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer specializing in national security and political matters. He is the author of the forthcoming book, A Power, But Not Super. Reach John at Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. His forthcoming book is titled: Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops, and Brass Plates. Reach Wayne at  Stanton and Madsen authored America’s Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II released in May 2003.

Other Articles by John Stanton

* Turkey, Drugs, Faustian Alliances & Sibel Edmonds
* United Kingdom, United States and Israel: Kings of Pain
* Don’t Live the Lie, Boycott It
* Which Way John Kerry?
* The End of Freedom
* Landmine Mania: America’s Love Affair with Anti-Personnel Mines
* The Ghost of Adolph Hitler: Nazi Influence in America