Skip to comments.Joseph Wilson EPIC Lecture 6/14/2003 Outline/Transcript
Posted on 10/09/2005 8:55:28 PM PDT by Fedora
The following outline and transcript, created by the poster, are based on an audio recording of Joseph Wilson's evening keynote lecture to the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) on June 14, 2003, delivered several weeks prior to Wilson's New York Times op-ed of 7/6/2003 which preceded the controversial Robert Novak article mentioning Valerie Plame's CIA background. Wilson's speech was immediately preceded by that of the other keynote speaker, Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. After their individual speeches Wilson and McGovern held a joint question-and-answer session. Other participants in the forum and their respective topics of discussion included (biographical summaries are my abbreviations of original; see original link for additional details):
Introduction: Erik Gustafson, Gulf War veteran and EPIC founder; Zaid Albanna, Iraqi native and EPIC board member.
The Future of the Kurds in Post-War Iraq: Nijyar Shemdin, United States representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government and member of Iraqi National Congress of the Kurdistan Democratic Party; Mohammed Sabir Ismail, Iraqi-born physicist and PUK representative; Tanya Gilly, member of the Board of Directors of the Kurdish foundation and Women for a Free Iraq and participant in US State Department Future of Iraq project.
A Short History of Western Imperialism in Iraq: Judith Yaphe, Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.
Religious Politics & Emerging Political Movements in Iraq: Juan Cole, Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the University of Michigan; Phebe Marr, senior fellow in the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University.
Human Rights and Humanitarian Concerns: Sermid D. Al-Sarraf, Esq., Iraqi-American attorney from Los Angeles who works with the Iraqi Jurist's Association; George Devendorf, Director of Emergency Operations for Mercy Corps; Bill Frelick, director of Amnesty International USA's Refugee Program; Marc Garlasco, Senior Military Analyst for Human Rights Watch.
Consequences of War & Occupation: Stephen Zunes, Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project, political analyst for National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, the BBC, and MSNBC; Alistair Millar, Director of the Washington, DC office of the Fourth Freedom Forum; Glen Rangwala, lecturer in politics at Cambridge University, UK, coordinator of the Campaign against Sanctions on Iraq, originator of allegation that a major British intelligence dossier on Iraq issued by the Blair government had been plagiarized from a PhD student's thesis; Nathaniel Hurd, independent consultant on Iraq policy.
Iraqi Views on the Aftermath & Post-Conflict Resolution: Sam Kubba, Iraqi immigrant to US, Democratic Party member, FCDC Steering Committee Chair, Chairman and CEO of American Iraqi Chamber of Commerce, founding member of Iraqi American Alliance; Anas Shallal, co-founder of The Peace Cafe, a venue promoting dialogue among Jews and Arabs; Rahman Al-Jebouri, Iraqi native, coordinator of the Iraq Foundation; Jawad Al-Amiri, Iraqi immigrant to US active on Iraqi American Council; Tanya Gilly (see above on Gilly).
Outline and transcript notes: Due to the length of the lecture, only some select quotations are transcribed in full, with the outline indicating the general structure of Wilson's lecture and where the quoted comments fall in that structure. Digital numbers indicate minutes and seconds into audio where quoted statements occur. Passages in quotation marks are transcriptions of Wilson's original. The audio was transcribed in August 2004 and the transcript does not reflect any changes to the EPIC website which may have been made since that time. For the original audio see EPIC's website.
I. Wilson's lecture:
A. Opening chit-chat
[1:25: "Let me just start out by saying, as a preface to what I really want to talk about, to those of you who are going out and lobbying tomorrow, I just want to assure you that that American ambassador who has been cited in reports in the New York Times and in the Washington Post, and now in the Guardian over in London, who actually went over to Niger on behalf of the government--not of the CIA but of the government--and came back in February of 2002 and told the government that there was nothing to this story, later called the government after the British white paper was published and said you all need to do some fact-checking and make sure the Brits aren't using bad information in the publication of the white paper, and who called both the CIA and the State Department after the President's State of the Union and said to them you need to worry about the political manipulation of intelligence if, in fact, the President is talking about Niger when he mentions Africa. That person was told by the State Department that, well, you know, there's four countries that export uranium. That person had served in three of those countries, so he knew a little bit about what he was talking about when he said you really need to worry about this. But I can assure you that that retired American ambassador to Africa, as Nick Kristof called him in his article, is also pissed off, and has every intention of ensuring that this story has legs. And I think it does have legs. It may not have legs over the next two or three months, but when you see American casualties moving from one to five or to ten per day, and you see Tony Blair's government fall because in the U.K. it is a big story, there will be some ramifications, I think, here in the United States, so I hope that you will do everything you can to keep the pressure on. Because it is absolutely bogus for us to have gone to war the way we did."]
C. Critique of Bush's four reasons for going to war with Iraq
[Includes statements: 5:13: "Now here in the United States on September 11, 2001, we suffered the lost of two buildings in New York and severe damage to one building in Washington and we suffered the loss of roughly 3,000 lives. In Iraq during the Shock and Awe bombing campaign, we now know that over 3,000 Iraqis were killed. . .and Lord knows how many buildings in downtown Baghdad and elsewhere were destroyed. . .how can we possibly assume that the anger that we felt when 3,000 of our fellow citizens were killed is not going to be felt in spades--not just in Iraq where 3,000 deaths represents to the relative population 10 times the number of deaths we suffered in our terrorist attack; or throughout the rest of the world. . .Of course we didn't find any terrorists when we got to Iraq, just as we haven't yet found any weapons of mass destruction, though on that score I remain of the view that we will find chemical and biological weapons, and we may well find something that indicates that Saddam's regime maintained an interest in nuclear weapons--not surprising if you live in a part of the world where you do have a nuclear-armed country, an enemy of yours, which is just a country away from you.". . .]
D. Argument against military intervention as means of liberation
[Includes statements: 14:05: "But I do know. . .that in order to have a liberation strategy, you have to have people who are willing to fight for their own liberation. Otherwise you will never get that liberation bounce that Ken Adelman promised us--that Richard Perle promised us, when he said that Iraqis would be cheering us from the rooftops at our marching in there." 15:52: "Evidence of that can be found in the Habbaniya gold market today. The price of gold jewelry in Habbaniya is cheaper than it is anywhere else in the world. And that is because the middle class has had to liquidate all their assets. In Iraq, like in many other parts of the world, people keep their assets, their wealth, in gold. . ."
E. Critiques results of war
[Includes statements: 19:00: "And even our military--and I speak to a lot of them; I used to be the political advisor to the commander in chief of US Armed Forces, Europe and I still have contacts in the command--even some of our military officers were absolutely dismayed at the slaughter they were inflicting upon poorly-trained, poorly-equipped Iraqi conscripts on the way up there."]
[Includes statements: 19:46: "The real agenda in all this, of course, was to redraw the political map of the Middle East. Now that is code, whether you like it or not, but it is code for putting into place the strategy memorandum which was done by Richard Perle and his study group in the mid-90s, which was called 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for the Realm'. And what it is, cut to the quick, is if you take out some of these countries, or some of these governments, that are antagonistic to Israel, then you provide the Israeli government with greater wherewithal to impose its terms and conditions on the Palestinian people. . .But that is the real agenda. You can put weapons of mass destruction out there, you can put terrorism out there, you can put liberation out there. Weapons of mass destruction got hard-headed realists on board, through a bunch of lies. . ."
II. Follow-up Q&A discussion:
B. Three questions taken for McGovern and Wilson: Regular cash payments to Iraqis? Importance of Iraqi middle class to creating democracy? How would Wilson suggest supporters go about implementing his proposals for Iraqi reconstruction?
C. Four questions taken for McGovern and Wilson: Risks to whistleblowers? Geopolitical agenda behind Iraq war to fill power vacuum left by fall of Soviet Union? Recommended talking points for talking to representatives? What do whistleblowers need to do to wake the public up?
8:05: In response to the question about risks to whistleblowers, Wilson refers to self as "the retired American ambassador to Africa who has been talking to the New York Times and the Washington Post".
11:08: In response to the question about what whistleblowers need to do to wake the public up, wherein the questioner mentions that, "You know, the documents are out there, thanks to Mr. [Glen] Rangwala and others, it was out there that this was all a lie, even before the war", McGovern replies that of all the administration's "lies", "the forgery of course is the most flagrant", and then Wilson adds, "on the last one [i.e. on the last question about what whistelblowers need to do], the administration was very careful about only talking, on the forgery, only talking at the Presidential level about uranium sales from Africa, until such time as it came out that they were talking about Niger, and then that was subsequently denied by the State Department, it was difficult to sort of make the case, although I think some of the people inside could have probably talked about it a little bit more openly ahead of time. The real problem with this is how this intelligence was used once it got in the hands of the policymakers, and clearly this was emphasized--the rumor part of it, the RUMINT was emphasized, and the debunking of it was just set aside. I think it probably has legs, too, because of the course the press operates on profits, and if they can make a scandal out of this they'll do it, you know, that'll be great. And you already hear people talking about the 'i' word."
13:33: In response to the question about the geopolitical agenda behind the Iraq war, Wilson replies, "On the other ones, the geopolitical situation, I think there are a number of issues at play; there's a number of competing agendas. One is the remaking of the map of the Middle East for Israeli security, and my fear is that when it becomes increasingly apparent that this was all done to make Sharon's life easier and that American soldiers are dying in order to enable Sharon to impose his terms upon the Palestinians that people will wonder why it is American boys and girls are dying for Israel and that will undercut a strategic relationship and a moral obligation that we've had towards Israel for 55 years. I think it's a terribly flawed strategy."
Do we actually have anyone in the CIA or State who is not a left-wing moonbat anti-Semite?
"...lecture to the Education for Peace in Iraq Center..."
One only needs to see the name of this organization to know where they are coming from.
Great work Fedora.
Can you double-check Part I.B.? Is that Ray McGovern or Joe Wilson speaking?
"Do we actually have anyone in the CIA or State who is not a left-wing moonbat anti-Semite?"
Hopefully we do, but I don't think they attended this lecture :-)
IB is Wilson. McGovern doesn't start talking until the follow-up Q&A session in II, where I've included a few small snips from him as context for Wilson's comments.
LOL! To get the full Joseph Wilson Experience, you really have to listen to the audio. "Pompous" was the nicest word that came to mind as I sat listening to it.
BTW one thing I included was Wilson's reference to the gold market in Iraq, which is one of his areas of business interest, it's worth noting.
Thank you for the work you have done to dig up this transcript. My suggestion is that you email this to Christopher Hitchens and ask him for comment. Christopher Hitchens seems to be the lone voice from the left who has supported Bush's efforts in Iraq, I would respect anything that he had to say on the subject.
things like this make me think that if fitz and co. go after a cheap shot press move , it will be very easy to crush it. those at the top of the plamme thing had better realize if this is another delay deal with puffed up charges and they can't make it stick , careers will be ruined but not at the WH. i'm not talking about denial of real facts i'm talking about an attempt to destroy bush. then well fitz may gain fame but not for the reasons he was promised. get ready to push back. rather was the warm up act.
I find it interesting that he inserts into his rant, apropos of nothing, that he went to Niger on behalf of the government and NOT the CIA. The only reason to my mind he would say something so out of place is that he suspects he could be in trouble for publicly discussing CIA intelligence gathering and is laying the groundwork for an argument that his mission was really on behalf of State or some other department and therefore not subject to the same secrecy obligations.
Thanks for the suggestion!
.... and yet we have seen some detailed accounts elsewhere (including from Joe "Blowhard" Wilson himself) about how he met with half a dozen CIA people to receive his assignment. Wilson described it later in the summer of 2003 when he was trying to refute allegations that his wife had any role in getting him the mission (she did) and he described how he didn't know any of the CIA people in the room, blah blah blah (of course, that said nothing to the question of what Valerie had done to cause him to be invited to that room at Langley in the first place).
Anyway, when you read all of his accounts and references to his mission across the many months there are many variations and inconsistencies. He definitely does not have a stable and rigorous mind, which is probably why even the other liberals at State tired of him and stalled his career in the mid-90s. I know I could not put up with his bloviating for very long.....
Yes, there are a lot of ways cheap shots could be countered.
Interesting line of thought. That is one of the curious discrepancies in Wilson's account of events. What he's said on that has not been self-consistent or consistent with other sources. It makes you wonder what the explanation for the inconsistency is.
Thus, and to begin with, Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless. What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press? Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend. Or you can say that the word of a mediocre political malcontent who is at a loose end, and who is picking up side work from a wife who works at the anti-regime-change CIA, may not be as "objective" as it looks. Rove Rage
Given the CIA's institutional hostility to the "regime change" case, the blatantly partisan line taken in public by Wilson himself... Plame's Lame Game
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