FAKED WMD REPORT CAUSED WAR IN IRAQ
FAKED WMD REPORT..UPDATE:
Last Update: 28/08/2004 03:15
Report: Israeli spy said operating in the Pentagon
By Nathan Guttman, Haaretz Correspondent
The American TV network CBS reported Friday that an Israeli spy is operating inside the Pentagon.
According to the report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is convinced the spy has conveyed highly sensitive information to the Israeli government via two representatives of the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
The report says the suspected mole is a senior analyst who works in the bureau of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The person is also said to be closely associated with two senior Pentagon officials who are Jewish, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith.
"The FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to ... roll up someone agents believe has been spying, not for an enemy, but for Israel, from within the office of the secretary of defense," CBS reported.
The network said that the mole, whom it described as a "trusted analyst of the Pentagon," had last year passed on "secret White House deliberation on Iran."
It also reported that FBI investigators are concerned that Israel may have used the mole in an effort to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq.
The FBI has notified Rumsfeld about the investigation and has asked AIPAC to provide it with information about the two representatives in the organization who are suspected of involvement.
The Israeli embassy in Washington issued a statement in which it categorically denied the allegations, saying "they are completely false and outrageous."
AIPAC issued a statement saying "we would not condone or tolerate, for a second, any violation of U.S. law or interests. We are fully cooperating with the governmental authorities and will continue to do so."
CBS news said the person suspected of spying had not returned repeated phone calls.
In November of 1985, Naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was arrested at the gates of the Israeli embassy in Washington, on espionage charges. He was tried, convicted and handed a life sentence for spying for Israel.
Israel apologized for the incident and disbanded the intelligence cell of which Pollard was a part.
George Galloway vs. The US Senate
movie clip & transcript
The spy may have influenced policy on Iran and Iraq
Report: Top-level Israeli spy in Pentagon
Saturday 28 August 2004, 3:21 Makka Time, 0:21 GMT
The FBI is investigating the presence of an Israeli spy at the very highest level in the Pentagon, reports a US television network.
Our Real Government Is in Israel
How many taxpayer's dollars does your State give to Israel?
VIRTUAL JEWISH LIBRARY
U.S.S. liberty & Israel
Israel claims they mistook our ship for the out-of-service Egyptian horse
carrier El Quseir and that we brought the attack upon ourselves by
operating in a war zone without displaying a flag. Not so. We were in
international waters, far from any fighting, and flew a bright, clean, new
American flag. The flag we flew is on display at the National Cryptologic
Museum, Fort Meade, Maryland and can be seen there, or in the USS Liberty
FBI Probe Targets Pentagon Official
Analyst Allegedly Gave Data to Israel
By Bradley Graham and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 28, 2004; Page A01
The FBI is investigating a mid-level Pentagon official who specializes in Iranian affairs for allegedly passing classified information to Israel, and arrests in the case could come as early as next week, officials at the Pentagon and other government agencies said last night.
The name of the person under investigation was not officially released, but two sources identified him as Larry Franklin. He was described as a desk officer in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Bureau, one of six regional policy sections. Franklin worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency before moving to the Pentagon's policy branch three years ago and is nearing retirement, the officials said. Franklin could not be located for comment last night.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top Pentagon lawyers were told of the investigation some time ago.
One government official familiar with the investigation said it is not yet clear whether the case will rise to the level of espionage or end up involving lesser charges such as improper disclosure or mishandling of classified information.
The investigation has been underway for some months. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and top Pentagon lawyers were informed of it some time ago, officials said. But many other senior Pentagon officials expressed surprise at the news when it was first reported last night on CBS.
Several Pentagon officials sought to play down Franklin's role in policymaking, saying that he was not in a position to have significant influence over U.S. policy.
"The Defense Department has been cooperating with the Department of Justice for an extended period of time," the Pentagon said in a statement last night. "It is the DOD's understanding that the investigation within DOD is very limited in its scope." Even so, the case is likely to attract intense attention because the official being investigated works under William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary of defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Luti oversaw the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans," which conducted some early policy work for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
That office is one of two Pentagon offices that Bush administration critics have claimed were set up by Defense Department hawks to bypass the CIA and other intelligence agencies, providing information that President Bush and others used to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
The other office was run by a Luti superior, Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, and was known as the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Feith reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who in turn reports to Rumsfeld.
Neither the House nor Senate intelligence committees, however, found support for allegations that the analysts in the offices collected their own intelligence, or that their information significantly shaped the case the administration made for going to war. A law enforcement official said that the information allegedly passed by Franklin went to Israel through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying organization. The information was said to have been the draft of a presidential directive related to U.S. policies toward Iran.
In addition to Franklin, the FBI investigation is focusing on at least two employees at AIPAC, the law enforcement official said.
Last night, AIPAC vigorously denied any wrongdoing and said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.
"Any allegation of criminal conduct by the organization or its employees is baseless and false," spokesman Josh Block said in a written statement. "We would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of U.S. law or interests." He said he had been traveling and so had no additional information on the situation.
Another AIPAC official said: "Our folks are pretty outraged about this. We've had these kinds of accusations before, and none of them has ever proven to be true."
David Siegel, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said: "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous."
Israel is a close ally of the United States, but espionage investigations here involving its government are not unprecedented. In 1987, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan J. Pollard, admitted to selling state secrets to Israel and was sentenced to life in prison.
Franklin's name surfaced in news reports last year that disclosed he and another Pentagon specialist on the Persian Gulf region had met secretly with Manucher Ghorbanifar, a discredited expatriate Iranian arms merchant who figured prominently in the Iran-contra scandal of the mid-1980s.
That meeting, according to Pentagon officials, took place in late 2001. It had been formally sanctioned by the U.S. government in response to an Iranian government offer to provide information relevant to the war on terrorism. Franklin and the other Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, met with the Iranians over three days in Italy. Ghorbanifar attended these meetings. Rumsfeld has said that the information received at the meetings led nowhere.
Staff writer Dan Eggen and researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.
February 07, 2003 No 10 admits mistake in copying Iraq dossier
Downing Street today said it made a mistake in failing to acknowledge that a large section of a dossier on Saddam Hussein was copied from a Californian postgraduate student's outdated thesis.
The UK government and secret services are not some fly by night website that failed to credit someone out of ignorance. They stole the material in order to propagandize the world. So now people must know that it is little academic students who are behind U.S. and UK unintelligence. The UK and US governments have been playing the UN and the world for fools. Do not doubt that they are busy searching these little websites for angles to present to the world. The rather embarrassed U.S. Gov’t is now issuing a terror watch in order to distract the world.
THEY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED! http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1-569669,00.html site down
Brits' Iraq report was cut & paste production
WANTED! Cut & paste artists for our website, little intelligence required. Experienced personnel from UK's 'intelligence services' preferred. http://www.uscrusade.com/2003/British_Dossier_on_Iraq_Scandal.html
GOVERNMENT PLAGIARISES IRAQI "WMD" REPORT
The following information was circulated on the internet on the 6 February 2003.
It details how the British Government's report Iraq - Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation released Monday 3 February 2003 is a wholesale plagiarism of texts already in the public domain, and that consequently we must conclude "the UK at least really does not have any independent sources of information on Iraq's internal politics - they just draw upon publicly available data. Thus any further claims to information based on 'intelligence data' must be treated with even more scepticism."
And secondly that "the information presented as being an accurate statement of the current state of Iraq's security organisations may not be anything of the sort... the information presented as relevant to how Iraqi agencies are currently engaged with Unmovic is 12 years old." Report begins:
The British government's latest report on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, which claims to draw on "intelligence material", has been revealed as a wholesale plagiarism of three articles, one of them by a graduate student in California. The compiler did not even clean up the typos or standardize the spelling. The report, released by the British government last Monday [3 Feb 2003], is entitled Iraq - Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation.
It is reproduced online at http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page7111.asp (Page down)(references below to page numbers relate to the downloadable Word version).
The first sentence of the document claims that it draws "upon a number of sources, including intelligence material".
This is somewhat misleading.
The bulk of the 19-page document (pp.6-16) is directly copied without acknowledgement from an article in last September's Middle East Review of International Affairs entitled "Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis".
http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue3/jv6n3a1.html site down
The author of the piece is Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has confirmed that his permission was not sought; in fact, he didn't even know about the British document until Glen Rangwala, a Cambridge-based Iraq analyst, mentioned it to him.
It's quite striking that even Marashi's typographical errors and anomolous uses of grammar are incorporated into the Downing Street document. For example, on p.13, the British dossier incorporates a misplaced comma:
"Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri as head"..
Likewise, Marashi's piece also states:
"Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Duri as head"..
The other sources that are extensively plagiarised in the document are two authors from Jane's Intelligence Review: Ken Gause (an international security analyst from Alexandria, Virginia), "Can the Iraqi Security Apparatus save Saddam" (November 2002), pp.8-13.
Sean Boyne, "Inside Iraq's Security Network", in 2 parts during 1997.
None of the sources are acknowledged, leading the reader to believe that the information is a result of direct investigative work, rather than simply copied from pre-existing internet sources.
The fact that the texts of these three authors are copied directly results in a proliferation of different transliterations (eg different spellings of Ba'th, depending on which author is being copied).
There are two types of changes incorporated into the British document.
Firstly, numbers are increased or are rounded up. So, for example, the section on "Fedayeen Saddam" (pp.15-16) is directly copied from Boyne, almost word for word. The only substantive difference is that Boyne estimates the personnel of the organisation to be 18,000-40,000.
(Gause similarly estimates 10-40,000). The British dossier instead writes "30,000 to 40,000".
A similar bumping up of figures occurs with the description of the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
The second type of change in the British dossier is that it replaces particular words to make the claim sound stronger. So, for example, most of p.9 on the functions of the Mukhabarat is copied directly from Marashi's article, except that when Marashi writes of its role in: "monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq"
This becomes in the British dossier: "spying on foreign embassies in Iraq".
Similarly, on that same page, whilst Marashi writes of the Mukhabarat: "aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes" - the British dossier renders this as: "supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes".
Further examples from the section on "Fedayeen Saddam" include how a reference to how, in Boyne's original text, its personnel are "recruited from regions loyal to Saddam", referring to their original grouping as "some 10,000-15,000 'bullies and country bumpkins.'" becomes in the British government's text a reference to how its personnel are: "press ganged from regions known to be loyal to Saddam" ... "some 10,000-15,000 bullies."
Clearly, a reference to the "country bumpkins" would not have the rhetorical effect that the British government was aiming for.
Finally, there is one serious substantive mistake in the British text, in that it muddles up Boyne's description of General Security (al-Amn al-Amm), and places it in its section on p.14 of Military Security (al-Amn al-Askari). The result is complete confusion: it starts on p.14 by relating how Military Security was created in 1992 (in a piece copied from Marashi), then goes onto talk about the movement of its headquarters - in 1990 (in a piece copied from Boyne on the activities of General Security).
The result is that it gets the description of the Military Security Service wholly wrong, claiming that its head is Taha al-Ahbabi (whilst really he was head of General Security in 1997; Military Security was headed by Thabet Khalil).
Apart from the obvious criticism that the British government has plagiarised texts without acknowledgement, passing them off as the work of its intelligence services, there are two further serious problems.
Firstly, it indicates that the UK at least really does not have any independent sources of information on Iraq's internal politics - they just draw upon publicly available data. Thus any further claims to information based on "intelligence data" must be treated with even more scepticism.
Secondly, the information presented as being an accurate statement of the current state of Iraq's security organisations may not be anything of the sort. Marashi - the real and unwitting author of much of the document - has as his primary source the documents captured in 1991 for the Iraq Research and Documentation Project. His own focus is the activities of Iraq's intelligence agencies in Kuwait, Aug90-Jan91 - this is the subject of his thesis. As a result, the information presented as relevant to how Iraqi agencies are currently engaged with Unmovic is 12 years old.
For reference, here are a few other summary comments on the British document.
Official authors are (in Word > Properties) P. Hamill, J. Pratt, A. Blackshaw, and M. Khan.
p.1 is the summary.
pp.2-5 are a repetition of Blix's comments to the Security Council on the difficulties they were encountering, with further claims about the activities of al-Mukhabarat. These are not backed up, eg the claim that car crashes are organised to prevent the speedy arrival of inspectors.
p.6 is a simplified version of Marashi's diagram at: http://cns.miis.edu/research/iraq/pdfs/iraqint.pdf
p.7 is copied (top) from Gause (on the Presidential Secretariat), and (middle and bottom) from Boyne (on the National Security Council).
p.8 is entirely copied from Boyne (on the National Security Council).
p.9 is copied from Marashi (on al-Mukhabarat), except for the final section, which is insubstantial.
p.10 is entirely copied from Marashi (on General Security), except for the final section, which is insubstantial.
p.11 is entirely copied from Marashi (on Special Security), except for the top section (on General Security), which is insubstantial.
p.12 is entirely copied from Marashi (on Special Security).
p.13 is copied from Gause (on Special Protection) and Marashi (Military Intelligence).
p.14 is wrongly copied from Boyne (on Military Security) and from Marashi (on the Special Republican Guard).
p.15 is copied from Gause and Boyne (on al-Hadi project / project 858).
pp.15-16 is copied from Boyne (on Fedayeen Saddam).
A final section, on the Tribal Chiefs' Bureau, seems to be copied from a different piece by Cordesman.
For more information please contact Glen Rangwala
+44(0)1223 335759 or firstname.lastname@example.org
09, Queens' College, Cambridge
07789 260207 01223 260207
Ibrahim al-Marashi is a lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at the Naval Postgraduate School, as well as an analyst at the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, in Monterey.
Al-Marashi received an M.A. in Political Science from Georgetown in 1997, and is currently finishing a Ph.D. at the University of Oxford, on Iraq's intelligence agencies. He has a B.A. in History from the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to joining NPS, al-Marashi worked at the Iran-Iraq Affairs Office at the U.S. State Department and served in the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Al-Marashi is the author of the Middle East Review of International Affairs article, "Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis" * http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/people/al-marashi.asp
Fake Terror Alerts
We're as stupid as they think we are
How stupid do they think we are? Only hours after our much-praised Secretary of State is revealed to have been using material plagiarized from a college student to justify why we're going to kill thousands of people with bombs, our government issues a terror alert and expects us to believe it?
REAL AUTHORS OF IRAQ DOSSIER BLAST BLAIR
Feb 8 2003
Exclusive By Gary Jones And Alexandra Williams In Los Angeles
JOURNALIST Sean Boyne and student Ibrahim al-Marashi have attacked Tony Blair for using their reports to call for war against Iraq.
Mr Boyne, who works for military magazine Jane's Intelligence Review, said he was shocked his work had been used in the Government's dossier.
Articles he wrote in 1997 were plagiarised for a 19-page intelligence document entitled Iraq: Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation to add weight to the PM's warmongering.
He said: "I don't like to think that anything I wrote has been used for an argument for war. I am concerned because I am against the war."
The other main source was a thesis by post-graduate student, Ibrahim al-Marashi, the US-born son of Iraqis, who lives in California. His research was partly based on documents seized in the 1991 Gulf War.
He said: "This is wholesale deception. How can the British public trust the Government if it is up to these sort of tricks? People will treat any other information they publish with a lot of scepticism from now on."
After the dossier's origins were revealed, Mr Blair was accused by his own MPs of theft and lies. The fiasco has deeply damaged his attempts to win backing for military action.
It emerged the PA to Mr Blair's spin chief Alastair Campbell was involved in drawing up the dossier which was published last month.
Alison Blackshaw and a Government press officer were both named on the dossier when it was first put on the Government's website. But the names were later removed.
The bulk of the Government's document is directly copied, without acknowledgement, from Ibrahim's 5,000-word thesis - Iraq's Security and Intelligence Network - published last September.
He did not even know the dossier existed until Glen Rangwala, a Cambridge-based Iraq analyst, spotted the plagarism and called him.
Ibrahim, whose parents fled to the US from Iraq in 1968, said the Government not only blatantly lifted much of his work, including typing and grammatical errors. Mr al-Marashi and Mr Boyne said their figures had been altered in the Government document.
Former Labour Defence Minister MP Peter Kilfoyle said: "It just adds to the general impression that what we have been treated to is a farrago of half-truths.
"I am shocked that on such thin evidence that we should be trying to convince the British people that this is a war worth fighting."
And Labour MP Glenda Jackson said: "It is another example of how the Government is attempting to mislead the country and Parliament.
"And of course to mislead is a Parliamentary euphemism for lying."
The PM's official spokesman rejected Ms Jackson's claims but admitted it had been a mistake not to acknowledge Mr al-Marashi's thesis in the dossier.
He added: "The fact we used some of his work doesn't throw into question the accuracy of the document as a whole. This document is solid."
Asked whether Downing Street was embarrassed about the affair, the spokesman said: "We all have lessons to learn."
The dossier had been praised by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in his speech to the UN Security Council. Mr Boyne added: "Maybe I should invoice Colin Powell." http://web.archive.org/web/20040112233918/http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12620001&method=full&siteid=50143
Doctor who exposed Blair found murdered
The Death of Dr. David Kelly - British Doctor who Told BBC that Blair had Doctored Iraq Dossier Has Apparently Been Found Murdered.... Full report: http://www.apfn.org/apfn/dkelly.htm
More on Dr. David Kelly & The Hutton Report.
Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg
In the January 28 speech, Bush claimed that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." That assertion was similar to claims made previously by administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell (CBS Evening News, 12/19/02), that Iraq had sought to import yellowcake uranium from Niger, a strong indication that Saddam Hussein's regime was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. http://www.fair.org/press-releases/beyond-niger.html
How Bush And Blair Chose War And Then Chose The Justification
February 4, 2004
Sometimes it really is possible to fail to see the wood for the trees. We need to be clear that Tony Blair is claiming that the threat of Iraqi WMD justified a massive war against Iraq. We are to believe that after a major conflict in which 88,500 tons of bombs were dropped in 1991, after eight years of inspections, and after more than a decade of continuous bombing raids, and of crippling sanctions imposed under the most intensive and sophisticated surveillance operation in history, both Blair and Bush received intelligence suggesting that Iraq was a “serious and current threat”.
As we now know, this alleged intelligence is said to have been related to WMD and links with al-Qaeda that did not exist. We are to believe, then, that a rush of terrifying information relating to non-existent perils – a rush so overwhelming that long-standing policy was abandoned – suddenly emerged to lead Bush and Blair to believe that nothing less than war was required to avert the danger.
This truly is remarkable. We might expect one or two erroneous reports warning of something that isn’t there – but a weight of evidence sufficient to actually revolutionise policy? Beyond the possibility of some kind of mass hysteria, it seems almost unbelievable – this just isn’t how the world works. Of course it could be argued that the threat was always “serious and current” – in which case why do nothing for ten years? And in which case why did Colin Powell say of Saddam on February 24, 2001:
“He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.”– (Quoted, John Pilger, Daily Mirror, September 22, 2003)
Blind And Deaf – Faith-Based Intelligence
On the BBC’s News At Ten O’Clock (February 2, 2004) reporter Gavin Hewitt suggested that the inquiry into the failure to discover Iraq’s alleged WMD would likely focus on two issues: 1) Did the intelligence services “get it wrong”? and 2) Did politicians “fail to ask the people here [MI6] the right searching questions?”
In other words, were politicians at worst merely indolent in failing to challenge the wild intelligence claims they dutifully passed on to the public?
Consider Hewitt’s range of possible questions in light of comments made by Greg Thielmann to CBS News last October. Thielmann, an expert on Iraqi WMD and former senior foreign-service officer for 25 years, claims that key evidence presented by Colin Powell to the UN on February 5, 2003 was misrepresented and the public deceived:
“The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence. They knew what they wanted the intelligence to show. They were really blind and deaf to any kind of countervailing information the intelligence community would produce. I would assign some blame to the intelligence community, and most of the blame to the senior administration officials.” (‘The man who knew’, October 15, 2003, www.cbsnews.com)
Ray McGovern, a former high-ranking CIA analyst, told John Pilger last year that the Bush administration demanded that intelligence be shaped to comply with political objectives: “It was 95 per cent charade”, he said. (John Pilger, ‘Blair’s Mass Deception’ Daily Mirror, February 3, 2004)
Almost identical complaints have been voiced on this side of the Atlantic. Weapons expert David Kelly told the BBC’s Susan Watts that “lots of people” were concerned, that “people at the top of the ladder didn’t want to hear some of the things” and “in your heart of hearts you must realise sometimes that’s not actually the right thing to say”. (‘Beyond doubt: facts amid the fiction’, Vikram Dodd, Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Watt, The Guardian, August 16, 2003)
“The 45 minute point was a statement that was made and it got out of all proportion. They [the government] were desperate for information. They were pushing hard for information that could be released. That was the one that popped up and it was seized on and it is unfortunate that it was. That is why there is the argument between the intelligence services and Number 10, because they picked up on it and once they had picked up on it you cannot pull back from it, so many people will say ‘Well, we are not sure about that’ because the word smithing is actually quite important.’
Curiously, in declaring Andrew Gilligan’s claims “unfounded” in his January 28 report, Lord Hutton said merely of Watts’ report:
“Ms Watts recorded this conversation on a tape recorder and the recording was played in the course of the Inquiry.” (The Hutton Inquiry, Statement by Lord Hutton, January, 28, 2004, www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk)
Brian Jones, a top analyst in the defence intelligence staff, told the Hutton inquiry how the “shutters came down” in government, preventing experts on chemical and biological weapons from expressing widespread disquiet about the language and assumptions in the September 2002 dossier. Jones told Hutton:
“My concerns were that Iraq’s chemical weapons and biological weapons capabilities were not being accurately represented in all regards in relation to the available evidence. In particular – on the advice of my staff, I was told that there was no evidence that significant production had taken place either of chemical warfare agent or chemical weapons.” (‘The whistleblower’, Richard Norton-Taylor and Vikram Dodd, The Guardian, September 4, 2003)
Jones writes in today’s Independent:
“In my view the expert intelligence analysts of the DIS [Defence Intelligence Staff] were overruled in the preparation of the dossier in September 2002 resulting in a presentation that was misleading about Iraq’s capabilities.” (‘Hutton report: the aftermath – there was a lack of substantive evidence – We were told there was intelligence we could not see’, Brian Jones, The Independent, February 4, 2004)
Responding to Colin Powell’s February 2003 speech to the UN, former chief UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, said in an interview at the time:
“He just hits you, hits you, hits you with circumstantial evidence, and he confuses people – and he lied, he lied to people, he misled people’ The Powell presentation is not evidence” It’s a very confusing presentation. What does it mean? What does it represent? How does it all link up? It doesn’t link up.” (‘Ritter dismisses Powell report’, Kyodo News, February 7, 2003)
In his speech, Powell described as “a fine document” the Blair government’s February 3, 2003 dossier. Glen Rangwala of Cambridge University quickly spotted that much of the dossier had been copied word for word (including punctuation and spelling errors) from an article written by an American PhD student twelve years earlier and available on the internet. The only changes involved the doctoring of passages to make them more ominous: the assertion that Iraq had been “aiding opposition groups” was changed to “supporting terrorist organisations”. The comment that the Iraqi intelligence agency Mukhabarat had been “monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq” was changed to “spying on foreign embassies in Iraq”. (Jonathan Rugman, ‘Downing St dossier plagiarised’, February 6, 2003, www.channel4.com)
It’s hard to argue that the politicians merely misinterpreted intelligence in this case – the dossier was put together by a four-man team in Downing Street reporting to Alastair Campbell, then the prime minister’s director of communications.
Glenda Jackson, the former Labour minister, pointed out at the time that the government was misleading parliament and the public, adding: “And of course to mislead is a parliamentary euphemism for lying.” (‘Downing St admits blunder on Iraq dossier’, Michael White, Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, February 8, 2003)
All of this was beyond the remit of Lord Hutton, of course, who consequently cleared Blair and his Keystone Cops of all wrongdoing. Recall that Hutton was one of five law lords who accused their colleague Lord Hoffmann of acting as “a judge in his own cause” by failing to declare his links with Amnesty International when deciding whether the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was immune from arrest and extradition in 1999. The Guardian reported:
“Lord Hutton said public confidence in the integrity of the administration of justice would be shaken if Lord Hoffmann’s deciding vote that General Pinochet could be prosecuted was allowed to stand.” (‘Law lords condemn Hoffmann’, Clare Dyer, The Guardian, January 16, 1999)
Pinochet was released and, on arriving in Chile, rose miraculously from his wheelchair to embrace well-wishers.
Former cabinet minister, Clare Short, insists that Tony Blair was guilty of “honourable deception” using “various ruses” and “a series of half-truths, exaggerations, reassurances that were not the case to get us into conflict by the spring”. (‘Short: I was briefed on Blair’s secret war pact’, Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, June 18, 2003) Short has described how a small cabal around Blair ignored normal procedures of cabinet government, and ignored the advice of the intelligence and diplomatic community, which she claims privately opposed the war.
Former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, describes how “there was a selection of evidence to support a conclusion- intelligence was not being used to inform and shape policy, but to shape policy that was already settled”. (Ibid)
Like most of the media, Gavin Hewitt chose to ignore comments made by Paul O’Neill, former US Treasury secretary, last month. O’Neill, who attended countless national security council meetings, has explained how the Bush administration came to office determined to topple Saddam Hussein, using the September 11 attacks as a pretext:
“It was all about finding a way to do it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this’ From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go.” (‘Bush decided to remove Saddam “on day one”’, Julian Borger, The Guardian, January 12, 2004)
O’Neill reports seeing one memorandum preparing for war dating from the first days of the administration. Another, marked “secret” said, ‘Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq’. O’Neill also saw a Pentagon document entitled ‘Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts’, which discussed dividing Iraq’s fuel reserves up between the world’s oil companies.
The BBC’s Matt Frei chose to ignore these claims and instead instantly smeared the man and his message:
“If you remember, Paul O’Neill was sacked mainly because he was incompetent, and he was more infamous for his gaffes than his insights on economic theory. He once famously said that the collapse of the energy giant Enron was an example of the genius of capitalism, and perhaps more accurately that the tax code in America was 9,500 words of complete gibberish.” (Matt Frei, Newsnight, BBC2, January 12, 2004)
But the issue, clearly, is the credibility of what O’Neill has to say as supported by the 19,000 government documents he claims to have in his possession, one of which he revealed on live TV. US media analyst Alexander Cockburn comments:
“What bothers the White House is one particular National Security Council document shown in the 60 Minutes interview, clearly drafted in the early weeks of the new administration, which showed plans for the post-invasion dispersal of Iraq’s oil assets among the world’s great powers, starting with the major oil companies.
“For the brief moment it was on the TV screen one could see that this bit of paper, stamped ‘Secret’, was undoubtedly one of the most explosive documents in the history of imperial conspiracy. Here, dead center in the camera’s lens, was the refutation of every single rationalization for the attack on Iraq ever offered by George W. Bush and his co-conspirators, including Tony Blair.” (Cockburn, ‘The O’Neill/Suskind Bombshells – Bush, Oil & Iraq: Some Truth at Last’, Counterpunch, January 14, 2004)
And consider O’Neill’s revelations in the light of Tony Blair’s claims in the infamous BBC Newsnight interview of February 7, 2003:
“When people say you’re hell bent on this war, I’ve tried to avoid being in this position and I honestly thought there was some prospect last November when we passed the UN Resolution that he [Saddam] would realise we were serious about this and that if he didn’t cooperate he was going to be in trouble.” (‘Tony Blair on Newsnight – part one’, The Guardian, February 7, 2003)
It’s the use of the word “honestly” that is interesting.
BUSH and BLAIR'S IRAQ WAR................
The War On Iraq
TONY BLAIR'S IMPEACHMENT
Powell report full of CIA inaccuracies
The lies about the reason for invading Iraq
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Last updated 09/05/2010