Jack Kus is a regular reader of Secrecy News, a project of the Federation of American Scientists, since its editor and chief author, Steve Aftergood, turns up the most interesting things. One of the latest: a copy of the document that creates IRMO, the successor organization to the Coalition Provisional Authority, dated May 11, 2004....

By Jack Kus

United for Peace of Pierce County
June 18, 2004

Steven Aftergood reported yesterday -- also providing a .pdf link to a clunky-looking mimeographed copy of the thing, which seems to have been produced on some antique typewriter -- probably easier to keep the damn thing secret that way -- on a new NSPD (National Security Presidential Directive). [1]

You know -- an NSPD. The key instrument of the national security state, these days. How the president makes up the rules by himself.

Forget that "of the people, by the people, for the people" stuff.

That was then, this is now.

As Steven Aftergood has explained elsewhere, "In the George W. Bush Administration, the directives that are used to promulgate Presidential decisions on national security matters are designated National Security Presidential Directives (NSPDs). As discussed in NSPD 1, this new category of directives replaces both the Presidential Decision Directives and the Presidential Review Directives of the previous Administration."

Steve Aftergood follows these things pretty closely, but sometimes even Steve can't figure out the number of these things. That's the case here, so he designates it "NSPD XX."

XX. Not for kids. Adults only. Like "Fahrenheit 9/11."

The point of this particular NSPD XX is to establish the U.S.'s successor organization to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

To make it official and all, NSPD is signed by George Bush's own hand.

At least that's what I think that scrawl is.

Though to tell the truth, the signature looks more like it says "Mu Ze" than "George Bush."

And come to think of it, that "Mu" looks more like a ghost -- or is that a member of the Ku Klux Klan? -- brandishing a whip than a "Mu."

And that "Ze" looks more like a shark about to eat an eel than a "Ze."

You have Adobe Acrobat Reader. Take a look at it yourself.

NYPD XX is addressed, first of all, -- perhaps it goes without saying -- to "THE VICE PRESIDENT."

Next come all the cabinet officers.

Finally, six other high officials of the U.S. national security state: the president's Chief of Staff, the director of OMB, the assistant to the president for national security affairs (a.k.a. Dr. Rice, a.k.a. "Condie" -- we can be sure she'll have a special interest in IRMO), the assistant to the president for economic policy, the director of central intelligence, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

"SUBJECT: United States Government Operations in Iraq."

"Operations"? What the hell happened to "full sovereignty"?

Here's what NSPD XX declares: "I establish, in accordance with Title 5, United States Code, section 3161, a temporary organization within the Department of State and, if the Secretary of State so designates, within the U.S. Mission in Baghdad [where the U.S. will be "represented in Iraq by a Chief of Mission," by the way -- no mention anywhere in this document of an "Ambassador"], called the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO) to facilitate the transition in Iraq. The IRMO will be headed by a Director selected by the Secretary of State . . ."

CPA, meet IRMO.

You know, the folks down in Irmo, South Carolina -- all 13,325 of them -- must be pretty excited by this news.

Never heard of Irmo? Check it out. "Chartered in 1890, the town was named for two officers of the local railroad whose names were Irdell and Mosley. Irmo is ideally situated in a tourist paradise."

Why, in that case I'm sure they'll have a right fine sister relationship with some town in Iraq in no time. Exchange students and all that. Iraq is where the Garden of Eden was, right? A long time ago. And Irmo, South Carolina, is "ideally situated in a tourist paradise."

As Iraqis grow more and more prosperous in the happy days ahead, they'll be choosing Irmo as a vacation spot, just for fun. Think how the folks back home will smile when they get an "Irmo, SC" tee shirt, or maybe an "I ♥IRMO" tee shirt, as a present.

The Irmo Chamber of Commerce is probably already working on franchising rights with the PCO.

What's the PCO? Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

NSPD XX also establishes a "Project and Contracting Office (PCO) to provide acquisition and project management support with respect to activities in Iraq."

Later, NSPD XX says: "The effort to build a strong bilateral relationship with the Government of Iraq and support Iraq as it makes the transition to democracy must have the full commitment of all U.S. agencies. To accomplish our mission, I direct the heads of U.S. departments and agencies to provide, on a non-reimbursable basis, assistance, services and other support, to include security, medical, logistical and administrative support and details of personnel, with respect to U.S. activities in Iraq. To the maximum extent possible, the Secretary of State shall identify for the heads of relevant departments and agencies the expected requirements for non-reimbursable support for their use in preparing future budget requests. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall ensure that future budget submissions request the funding and authorities I determine necessary to support the U.S. Mission in Iraq."

So there it is.

George W. Bush has learned nothing.

He still wants to "do" Iraq on the cheap.

These NSPDs and their ancestors, the Presidential Decision Directives, by the way, are how the imperial presidency evades Article I, Section IX, Clause 7 of the U.S. Constitution, which specifies that "No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time."

This has not been respected for decades, according to historian Chalmers Johnson, who says that at this point Congress is no longer even capable of exercising its budgetary oversight powers.

What was the name of that poem by Robinson Jeffers?

"Shine, Perishing Republic"?

Wonder what Irdell and Mosley would have thought of all this.


By Steven Aftergood

Secrecy News
June 17, 2004


A National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) signed by President Bush on May 11 defines the organization and structure of the U.S. presence in Iraq that will replace the Coalition Provisional Authority following the planned transition to Iraqi sovereignty by June 30.

The NSPD establishes a State Department-controlled Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO) "to facilitate the transition in Iraq" as well as another entity within the Defense Department called the Project and Contracting Office (PCO) "to provide acquisition and project management support."

The directive was first reported by the New York Times on May 14. But as is the case with almost all Bush Administration NSPDs, the full text has not been made publicly available by the White House.

A copy was obtained by Secrecy News from a U.S. government source.

See "United States Government Operations in Iraq," May 11, 2004: