Archive for July, 2004

Special Report: Study on US War Against Iraq; Fighting Terrorism or Conducting It?

War of Terrorism: Iraq One Year Later
By: Michael McGehee

NOTE: This was written on 19 March 2004, the one year anniversary of the start of the war/occupation of Iraq.

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war… But, after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.” ~ Herman Goering – German Nazi leader speaking at Nuremberg trials.

Beating the People With The People’s Stick…

The new National Security Strategy was released right before the announcement to go to war with Iraq in September 2002. This was also done during the mid-term election campaign which enabled the GOP to direct focus from domestic issues, which they are unpopular for, to the upcoming war on Iraq. Or as Karl Rove put it: The Republicans must “go to the country on the issue of national security.” Another more famous quote was from Walter Lippmann, an American political commentator and analyst who advocated corporate and government thought control in his 1922 book titled Public Opinion:

That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements, no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinion arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process is plain enough.

The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power.

Within the life of the generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. [Emphasis added]

The main reason stated for this war was the alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Saddam Hussein’s regimes possession. Some of the other reasons cited for the war, though as mere footnotes, were the “liberation” of Iraq, international terrorism (with heavy implications of links to al Qaeda), enforcing international law and the democratizing of the Middle East (which sounds sickly familiar to the forced “socialist republics” of Eastern Europe by Russia). The Bush administration had plenty of access to the media to inform America (the “modern means of communication” Lippmann was referring to), Congress and the World on this imminent danger in which Iraq allegedly posed. They chose to focus on WMD. “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on,” Paul Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair.

As mentioned, the new National Security Strategy (NSS) was revealed right before the announcement of the new danger that Iraq posed. I say “new” because in February of 2001 Colin Powell conceded that: “He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.” So with this new threat and the new NSS that stated:

Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States.

The U.S. embarked on another war in Iraq.

In a total of seven speeches George W. Bush, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld sold the war to the American public, Congress, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the World. Bush spoke to the
UNSC on 09/12/02, a fundraiser in Ohio on 10/07/02, State of the Union on 01/28/03 and the UNSC again on 03/18/03. Colin Powell addressed the UNSC on 02/05/3 and Donald Rumsfeld gave testimonies to Congress on 09/18/02 and 09/19/02. Analyzing their rhetoric revealed the following phrases used x amount of times. The pattern overwhelmingly shows what this war was sold on (not to mention just how wrong they were):

Threat: 165

Liberate / liberation / free: 34 (not always referring to “liberating” Iraq but also about freedom, liberty, etc.)

WMD / weapon(s) of mass destruction / biological / chemical / nuclear: 538

Democracy (bringing): 8

Disarm: 88

Clearly disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction was the main case for state sponsored violence. But, where is the WMD? Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld and the rest told us they had them. Rumsfeld even said he knew where they are: “We know where they [weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” David Kay, former head of Iraqi Survey Group (ISG), says they were not even there: “I don’t think they existed,” Kay said. “What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War, and I don’t think there was a large-scale production program in the nineties,” he said. There is no evidence to suggest that it was transported. Well, you do not have to worry about ever finding them because Ahmed Chalabi has admitted there was none. He and his men lied. He admits it by calling themselves “heroes by error” and in his statement: “What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We’re ready to fall on our swords if he wants.” To make things worse Chalabi and his men of disinformants are still being paid $340,000.00 a month for their “good information.”

But, what evidence was provided was quickly dismissed by the UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors in Iraq before the war. Hans Blix and Mohammed el Baradei in their 03/07/03 UNSC briefing both said they found no evidence to support Washington’s claims. Also, when el Baradei was asked about David Kay’s comment that “I don’t think they existed,” the head of the IAEA said: “We said already before the war, that there was no evidence of this, so this is really not a surprise.” Or they were dismissed by whole intelligence agencies whose dissent was censored from the NIE released to the public. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) noted:

Importantly, the unclassified October version, presented to the public before the war, notes only that some ‘specialists’ disagreed with the claim that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes for nuclear weapon production. The more accurate declassified excerpts released in July 2003, after the war, had additional detail, including dissenting opinions. This version made clear that entire agencies, not just some individuals, dissented on the aluminum tubes and a number of other key issues.

Or as one “intelligence official” said they “were just telling us what we wanted to hear.”

Well all of this caused considerable frustration for the Bush administration and a memo was leaked from October 16, 2003 from Donald Rumsfeld to Dick Meyers, Pete Pace, Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. What did this memo say? Well you can read it here. It discussed whether the DoD was transforming fast enough to the new policy being formed. What was an odd and peculiar question asked by the Secretary of War? “Does CIA need a new finding?” That is a very revealing comment. Rumsfeld asked what “new finding” could the CIA come out with that would undermine this turn of events that was costing the Bush administration so much.

So a new finding was revealed to the Weekly Standard. Doug Feith had a memo which allegedly showed that Iraq gave operational and logistical support to al Qaeda. It did not take long for this to be dismissed, though the obvious link to Rumsfeld’s memo a month earlier was never investigated. CEIP stated:

The Department of Defense issued a statement saying the memo had been misinterpreted, saying that the items were raw intelligence previously considered and did not represent new information. “The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions.”

What about the biological laboratories that Bush said were the WMD “found” in May 2003? Yes, the same ones that Vice President Cheney is still mentioning. A British scientist was reported to have said “they are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They don’t even look like them.” What was worse was that David Kay went public and said that the initial claim was “premature and embarrassing.”

Again, this is just the icing on the cake. Since the war began there have been countless claims that WMD was found. In each case after extensive testing the claims crumbled. What is being found is rocket fuel in mortars and sulfur from “pigeons and their droppings.”

There were, however, a few individuals with up close and personal access through out this long saga who dissented. Scott Ritter was a UNSCOM inspector, and former U.S. Marine, who made it his mission to expose the lies and deception of the Bush administrations case for the war with Iraq. In a June 2000 article in Arms Control Today titled: “The Case for Iraq’s Qualitative Disarmament”:

What is often overlooked in the debate over how to proceed with Iraq’s disarmament is the fact that from 1994 to 1998 Iraq was subjected to a strenuous program of ongoing monitoring of industrial and research facilities that could be used to reconstitute proscribed activities. This monitoring provided weapons inspectors with detailed insight into the capabilities, both present and future, of Iraq’s industrial infrastructure. It allowed UNSCOM to ascertain, with a high level of confidence, that Iraq was not rebuilding its prohibited weapons programs and that it lacked the means to do so without an infusion of advanced technology and a significant investment of time and money.

Given the comprehensive nature of the monitoring regime put in place by UNSCOM, which included a strict export-import control regime, it was possible as early as 1997 to determine that, from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq had been disarmed. Iraq no longer possessed any meaningful quantities of chemical or biological agent, if it possessed any at all, and the industrial means to produce these agents had either been eliminated or were subject to stringent monitoring. The same was true of Iraq’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. As long as monitoring inspections remained in place, Iraq presented a WMD-based threat to no one.

Then there was Denis Halliday, who was the Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations, who was staunchly opposed to the sanctions and disputed the claims that the materials needed to address the humanitarian concerns could be used for illicit weapons programs. Hans Von Sponeck, Halliday’s successor also resigned in 2000 on the same grounds. Halliday has referred to the sanctions as “genocidal.”

Probably the most under reported story, especially during the crucial moments (the period right before the war), was the leak by Katherine Gun. Ms. Gun leaked a memo from a U.S. spy to British intelligence asking for help in a spying ring or “surge.” Ms. Gun faced prison time for her revelation that the US and UK were spying on the UNSC. This has mostly been covered by the Guardian and some recent developments have been that the U.S. was exerting pressure on the “swing” votes to stop their diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution.

But, still other issues related to WMD remain elusive. For instance, the report that the US illegally removed pages from Iraq’s weapons dossier delivered to the UNSC. Or, like the one mentioned above, that the UNSC was being spied on.


Ken Roth of the Human Rights Watch addressed the “liberation” or “humanitarian intervention” and concluded with the following:

In sum, the invasion of Iraq failed to meet the test for a humanitarian intervention. Most important, the killing in Iraq at the time was not of the exceptional nature that would justify such intervention.

True, the killing was not of an “exceptional nature.” Not like the level of killing which came from the war by US and “coalition forces” or from the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in the first Gulf War. But, there was a time in which Saddam Hussein did carry out killings of an “exceptional nature.” Most prominent are the 1988 gassing of the Kurds in Halabja, Iraq and Saddam’s response to the US-provoked rebellion in 1991. Both of which were only made possible due to tacit support from the U.S. And, ironically, much of the same men in power today were the culpable ones from when these events happened with our support.

When Iraq was facing sanctions for the gassing of the Kurds in Halabja, Bechtel advised the Reagan administration, through an embassy cable, that:

Bechtel representatives said that if economic sanctions contained in Senate Act are signed into law, Bechtel will turn to non-U.S. suppliers of technology and continue to do business in Iraq.

Luckily, President George H. W. Bush vetoed the Chemical and Biological Control Act and business continued.
And, then in 1991, the
US incited a rebellion that took off in the south and north. U.S. forces blocked the rebels from access to arms and then allowed Saddam to fly over U.S. bases and crush the rebellion. This and the 1988 gassing in Halabja is where the “mass graves” comes from. Even the Defense Department admits that “most of the graves” come from the period in which the U.S. supported Saddam’s “reign of terror”:

Most of the graves discovered to date correspond to one of five major atrocities perpetrated by the regime:

· The 1983 attack against Kurdish citizens belonging to the Barzani tribe, 8,000 of whom were rounded up by the regime in northern Iraq and executed in deserts at great distances from their homes.
· The 1988 Anfal campaign, during which as many as 182,000 people disappeared. Most of the men were separated from their families and were executed in deserts in the west and southwest of Iraq. The remains of some of their wives and children have also been found in mass graves.
· Chemical attacks against Kurdish villages from 1986 to 1988, including the Halabja attack, when the Iraqi Air Force dropped sarin, VX and tabun chemical agents on the civilian population, killing 5,000 people immediately and causing long-term medical problems, related deaths, and birth defects among the progeny of thousands more.
· The 1991 massacre of Iraqi Shi’a Muslims after the Shi’a uprising at the end of the Gulf war, in which tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians in such regions as Basra and Al-Hillah were killed.
· The 1991 Kurdish massacre, which targeted civilians and soldiers who fought for autonomy in northern Iraq after the Gulf war.

These would not have happened without explicit U.S. support. There is extreme culpability for the current incumbents and others (not just Saddam and his men involved) in these graves.

So what was Iraq being liberated from? Better yet, why would those responsible for aiding and abetting Saddam’s brutal rule of the 1980’s and early 1990’s now be concerned for liberating those they have helped oppress for so long and, to do such a change without ever acknowledging their role in the events they now aim to try Saddam Hussein for?

Maybe it is important for a bit of history.

At the end of WW1 the Middle East was carved up in terms of economic interests. Russia was out of the game after the Czar was overthrown in a revolution (which was overthrown in a capitalist revolution nine months later by Lenin and Trotsky). Germany was out because it was the main enemy in WW1 and was defeated. The U.S. was not yet dominant enough to be involved. President Wilson claimed not to be into imperialism but his actions closer to home in the Pacific, Americas and Caribbean tell a different story. France was still in the game but very weak. This left the good stuff for Great Britain. Now, the region was carved up with no respect to the rich and diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The imperialists used this diversity to dominate the whole of their colony by pitting groups or tribes against each other. This is also how Saddam Hussein operated within Iraq.

After WW2 the U.S. took a starring position in global affairs, primarily the Middle East. President Eisenhower described it as the “most strategically important area of the world.”

And in the late 1960’s the U.S. supported a coup that brought in the Ba’ath Party. It was not long until Saddam Hussein was recognized as an asset. The British referred to Saddam in a 1969 cable as a “presentable young man.” In the same year the British also noted his “emergence into the limelight” and that “if only one could see more of him, it would be possible to do business.” But, maybe more revealing was a 1975 State Department memo in which Paul Bremer was present. If you do not know who Bremer is he is the new dictator of Iraq appointed by President Bush until a democratic facade can be established. This memo discussed Saddam Hussein where he was described as a “rather remarkable person”, “ruthless” and Henry Kissinger’s response: “That was to be expected anyway when they cleared the Kurdish thing.” [Emphasis added] Well, that “Kurdish thing” was a brutal oppression of the Kurds.

Now, another reason this memo is so important is the date. One of the most commonly used apologetic response to U.S. support for Saddam was that it was because of Iran. Well the problem is, as the memo shows, was that we were aware of Hussein’s “ruthless” behavior because “[t]hat was to be expected”, that Saddam Hussein was having personal meetings with Shah Palavi and that the date of the memo is five years before the Iranian revolution. There were no “extremist” in Iran (as if Shah Palavi was not extreme) to cause us to bite our lip and deal with Saddam Hussein. Besides, he was a “rather remarkable person” as Kissinger “expected.”

William Blum wrote in Killing Hope:

When Henry Kissinger was interviewed by the staff of the Pike Committee about the United States’ role in this melodrama, he responded with his now-famous remark: “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.”

No doubt that the Iraqis deserved to be liberated. But, not just from Saddam Hussein but from the sanctions and the brutality of Western interference into their lives. The sanctions were by far the biggest killer in Iraq. Denis Halliday reported in September 2003:

In regard to Iraq, it’s even more immediate–in that it was the UN that sustained sanctions on the Iraqi people for 13 years. Yes, we know that sanctions were driven by the Security Council, which is made up of member states, and those member states were, I think, coerced, corrupted and abused by the U.S. in particular into supporting sanctions for 13 years.

But those of us who worked in Iraq reported–along with UNICEF and others–the impact of those sanctions on the Iraqi people. And I would say that we, the United Nations, killed more Iraqis through UN sanctions–probably a million people, particularly children–in those 13 years than Mr. Bush the First, Mr. Clinton and then Mr. Bush the Second did with bombs.

In an e-mail conversation with Mr. Halliday he also stated that:

[W]ithout 12 long years of devastating sanctions, those Iraqis into politics and social concerns would have taken action – just as the people did to overthrow Marcos and Suharto. As many of us have said, the UN sanctions strengthened the central Government in Baghdad and weakend the very people (intelegensia, professionals, middle income classes and trade unions) who would have demanded change.

The reconstruction of Iraq has also been lacking in Iraq. Security is still the main issue and women feel less safe now than they did under Saddam. Tales of a civil war are being used to push a nation along to accepting a rushed appointocracy. Robert Fisk reported earlier this month on the notion of a “civil war”:

It’s not that I believe al-Qa’ida incapable of such a bloodbath. But I ask myself why the Americans are rubbing this Sunni-Shia thing so hard. Let’s turn the glass round the other way. If a violent Sunni movement wished to evict the Americans from Iraq – and there is indeed a resistance movement fighting very cruelly to do just that – why would it want to turn the Shia population of Iraq, 60 per cent of Iraqis, against them? The last thing such a resistance would want is to have the majority of Iraqis against it.

Women have probably suffered more than any group since the war began. Jim Lobe noted that:

Iraqi women, who were among the most liberated in the Arab world under the country’s legal system, are seeing their rights stripped away by the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), according to 44 U.S. lawmakers who are calling on President Bush to take urgent steps to address what they call a “brewing women’s rights crisis.”

Probably most damaging was when Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, said women are worse off now than they were before. “For many women, they do not want to take the risk. They have seen what happened to Akila al-Hashemi,” Heyzer said. The Reuters report also stated:

In many areas, Iraqi women were too afraid to take their children to school for fear of them being attacked and some were being forced by male relatives to wear veils as a means of protection.

Liberation is as liberation does. I think those who have been consistent in their applications of constructive criticism and who have been aware of what has been unfolding can celebrate the fall of Saddam Hussein. Though, the future is still uncertain for Iraqis. I think Noam Chomsky’s response is clearer:

There can be no disagreement among decent people on the first two goals [overthrowing the tyranny and ending the sanctions]: Achieving them is an occasion for rejoicing, particularly for those who protested U.S. support for Saddam and later opposed the murderous sanctions regime; they can therefore applaud without hypocrisy.


One of the other “justifications” cited for the war was Iraq under Saddam Hussein had links to international terrorist groups, also with heavy un-substantiated implications that they were in operational and logistical support with al Qaeda. So much so that more then half of the Americans polled believed that not only was Saddam in on the events of 9/11 but, that there was Iraqi’s on the high-jacked planes. As with the WMD, each claim has been dismissed and was dismissed prior to the war.

Much has been revealed about the evidence. From the claims against al-Zarqawi to Czechoslovakian reports about alleged al Qaeda/Iraq meetings to Salman Pak. Each one of them was dismissed as baseless.

On Zarqawi, Gary Leupp reported in detail on 03/10/04:

At present, the occupation blames some of the disorder (especially attacks on Shiite shrines) on foreigners led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Recall that in his address to the United Nations in February 2003, Colin Powell, having detailed evidence for Iraq’s huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, proceeded to argue for an attack on Iraq using the additional allegation of long-standing ties between Baghdad and al-Qaeda. The cornerstone of his case was that ‘Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda lieutenants.’”Zarqawi,’ Powell continued, a ‘Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan war more than a decade ago.’ (Note 1: Powell had just accused Saddam of supporting Palestinian terrorism. Some sources, including Jane’s Intelligence Digest and the Christian Science Monitor, call Zarqawi a Jordanian Bedouin. The discrepancy in identification/linkage may be important. Note 2: Powell might have expanded the sentence: “fought in the Afghan war more than a decade ago, a war against a Soviet-backed regime, in which he was fighting on the same side as the U.S., along with thousands of other foreign jihadis recruited by the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI.”) Powell continued: ‘Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp. One of his specialties, and one of the specialties of this camp, is poisons. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in northeastern Iraq.’

Powell went on to describe a camp producing ricin and other poisons, operated by the ‘radical organization Ansar al-Islam that controls this corner of Iraq.’ He was apparently relying on the New Yorker journalism of Jeffrey Goldberg, which has been effectively picked apart by CounterPunch writers Alexander Cockburn, Kenneth Rapoza, and even questioned by my humble self. The nature of the ‘camp’ (obliterated in the opening stage of the war, leaving no evidence of anything) and of the Ansar organization itself remain unclear. Ansar has been variously described as a Kurdish organization, and as a group of mostly Arab al-Qaeda exiles living among Kurds. Goldberg alleged that Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda jointly sponsored the group, a charge heatedly denied by Baghdad (and not specifically echoed in Powell’s speech).

Zarqawi, Powell continued, ‘traveled to Baghdad in May of 2002 for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day.’ (The story widely circulated is that he had his leg amputated, but Newsweek currently reports, ‘The stark fact is that we don’t even know for sure how many legs Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi has’) ‘During his stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These al-Qaida affiliates based in Baghdad now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they have now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months. Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with al-Qaida. These denials are simply not credible. We know these affiliates are connected to Zarqawi because they remain, even today, in regular contact with his direct subordinates, include the poison cell plotters. And they are involved in moving more than money and materiel.’

According to the New York Times (which has a long distinguished history breaking these kinds of stories), on January 23 U.S. forces raided an ‘al-Qaeda safe house’ in Baghdad, netting a CD-Rom with a letter addressed to the inner circle of al-Qaeda. The author is not indicated, but reportedly someone captured in the house said it was written by Zarqawi to al-Qaeda. Note that this new story wasn’t announced in a press conference by Paul Bremer or military officials but by the NYT; nevertheless, it was immediately considered valid by the mainstream press and used by the latter to affirm al-Qaeda-linked Zarqawi’s nefarious role in Iraq.

(It kind of reminds me of the hand-written memo attributed to the Iraqi intelligence boss Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Takriti, revealed by the Richard Perle-linked Telegraph last December, which linked Saddam to Mohammed Atta, Libya, Syria and a ‘Niger shipment’ and touted by the neocon-friendly press as truly validating the war. Too good to be true, it’s been pretty much exposed as another piece of disinformation.But I think there will be more bogus letters, most likely linking Syria to something or other offering a pretext for regime change there.)
The text, translated from Arabic by the Coalition Provisional Authority, immediately appeared in abbreviated form on the National Review and Project for a New American Century and other such websites, just as you’d expect. They leave out much of the preamble, which comprises half the text of the 17-page missive, which recounts Iraq’s religious and ethnic history in detail that you’d think wouldn’t be at all necessary in a communication between a longtime al-Qaeda intimate and bin Laden’s inner circle. The writer denounces Shiites as snakes and vermin, does not recognize them as Muslims, and accuses them of working with the infidels. It notes that (1) the Americans have been ‘befriended’ by the majority Shiites, (2) the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty by June 1 will effectively end Iraqi resistance, and so (3) the al-Qaeda-linked resistance forces should do their best to provoke a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis so that the Coalition forces will have to remain and thus remain targets of the jihad.

Greg Weiher raised reasonable doubts about the authenticity of this letter. More tardily, Newsweek’s Rod Nordland has raised questions: ‘The letter so neatly and comprehensively lays out a blueprint for fomenting strife with the Shia, and later the Kurds, that it’s a little hard to believe in it unreservedly. It came originally from Kurdish sources who have a long history of disinformation and dissimulation.’ (Kurdish sources who may have a vested interest in fomenting inter-Arab Iraqi conflict to abet the cause of Kurdish independence.) I won’t repeat Weiher and Nordland’s points. I’ll just observe that if things go very badly for the U.S. in Iraq (as I think they will), and if civil war erupts (as I think it may), then the PNAC guys and whatever administration’s in power will need to say: ‘This mess isn’t our responsibility, not our fault. It’s Zarqawi, linked to al-Qaeda, linked to Ansar al-Islam, linked to Iran, linked to Syria, and linked to Saddam. All those evil people who started this by attacking us on 9-11. All those now trying to thwart our efforts to achieve main reason now justifying our war: to bestow democracy and our universally applicable values on Iraq.’

Democracy in this case means, of course, democracy in any shape and form chosen by the sovereign Iraqi people—just so long as it allows U.S. control over the flow of Iraqi oil, guarantees massive profits to U.S. corporations receiving contracts for reconstruction, permits the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases, abets Israeli security, and rules out any prospect of a Sharia-based legal system that might enhance the strength of anti-American religious fundamentalism (a phenomenon actually encouraged daily by U.S. policies towards Muslim peoples). The 60% of Iraqis who are Shiites must make a choice. Doesn’t the Zarqawi letter make it clear? Stand with the Americans against terror, or by resisting U.S. forces make common cause with a man who wrote to bin Laden describing Shiites as ‘vermin.’ We’re good, they’re bad. You’re for us or against us. And if you’re against us, you’re with Zarqawi. Make sense?

All of this now appears about as credible as the highly detailed, straight-faced charges about WMD. Anyway, having linked Zarqawi to al-Qaeda and to Iraq (specifically, to ‘his terrorist network in Iraq’ responsible for the killing of Agency for International Development operative Laurence Foley in Amman in 2002, a network plotting ‘terrorist actions against countries including France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia,’ and linked to terror in Georgia and Chechnya), Powell sought to persuade the world and his fellow Americans that Iraq was part of the general Evil requiring aggressive U.S. attention in the post-9-11 world. Some of his omissions (including lack of reference to the alleged ‘terrorist training camp’ at Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, where some reports have Zarqawi visit in 1998) are interesting; Powell, to the consternation of the disinformation enthusiasts at the Weekly Standard, sometimes draws a line with an eye to his historical reputation.

Robert Fisk pointed out in a recent article:

Let’s turn the glass around the other way. If a violent Sunni movement wanted to evict the Americans from Iraq — and there is indeed a resistance movement that is fighting very cruelly to do just that — why would it want to turn the Shia population of Iraq, 60 percent of Iraqis, against them?

But, there was also this report through Knight Ridder:

“We could find no provable connection between Saddam and al-Qaida,” a senior U.S. official acknowledged. He and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the information involved is classified and could prove embarrassing to the White House.

What is often left out is the role the U.S played in the development of al Qaeda and just how far back this relationship extends. In other words, how recent our operational assistance was intact.

The Mujahideen or “Afghan Resistance” was brought together by the U.S. to fight the Russians in their invasion of Afghanistan. Actually, former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, admitted that the U.S. tricked the Russians into an “Afghan trap” when he said: “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?” So naturally the U.S. also had a hand in the “resistance.” This “excellent secret operation” destroyed Afghanistan and is what made the Taliban such an acceptable change to the past. Using a people to draw another country into an economically devastating war without any care for the indigenous people is grossly negligible.

In a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report dated 11/02/82 the author noted:

All six major resistance groups appear to have adequate supplies of modern assault weapons and ammunition but still lack the heavier weaponry needed to turn the military situation in their favor. Smaller groups in isolated provinces, however, are still affected by shortages of small arms and ammunition.

A prominent figure and group also emerged from this “resistance.” A young man from a wealthy family with business connections to the Bush family by the name of Usama bin Ladin (UBL) also gained popularity from the “resistance.” In a 1996 State Department memo on UBL we learn that:

Usama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Ladin is one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world today…

Bin Ladin gained prominence during the Afghan war for his role in financing the recruitment, transportation and training of Arab nationals who volunteered to fight alongside the Afghan mujahedin. By 1985, Bin Ladin had drawn on his family’s wealth, plus donations received from sympathetic merchant families in the Gulf region, to organize the Islamic Salvation Foundation, or al-Qaida, for this purpose.

Also nearly unmentioned was the response from family members of the victims on 9/11. The September Eleventh Families For Peaceful Tomorrows, in a publicized letter to President George W. Bush on Valentines Day, said:

Two years later, we ask you to stop exploiting the tragedy of September 11 for political gain and to join us in responding to that tragic day in a manner that brings about genuine healing and peace for Americans and the rest of the world.

We respectfully request a written response to the following questions:

1. You and members of your administration consistently invoked 9/11 as a justification for war in Iraq, without presenting any evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the attacks of that day. The confusing and misleading statements made by your administration that allude to an unproven link have caused a majority of the US public, (up to 70% according to a Washington Post poll taken in September 2003) to believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for September 11.You have exploited the American public’s genuine fear of another September 11 to pursue an unrelated war, which has already cost the lives of more than 500 US service people and an estimated 10,000 Iraqi civilians. We call upon you today to publicly acknowledge that your administration’s statements have misled the American people, and to clarify that there is no evidence of a connection between the events of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Please, Mr. President, will you correct this dangerous misperception?

Then, there was the Czech claim that Iraqi officials met an al Qaeda operative in Prague. This was almost immediately dismissed. This was covered in a Boston Globe article in 09/2003:

Multiple intelligence officials said that the Prague meeting, purported to be between Atta and senior Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, was dismissed almost immediately after it was reported by Czech officials in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and has since been discredited further.

The CIA reported to Congress last year that it could not substantiate the claim, while American records indicate Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., at the time, the officials said yesterday. Indeed, two intelligence officials said yesterday that Ani himself, now in US custody, has also refuted the report. The Czech government has also distanced itself from its original claim.

Basically, there is no evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda and no reason to believe so. These are two different groups diabolically opposed to each other. In October 2003 bin Laden gave a message to Iraqis where he said: “Voices have risen in Iraq as before in Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and elsewhere, calling for a peaceful democratic solution in dealing with apostate governments.” [Emphasis added] He also spoke about the Ba’ath Party in his October 2003 message to Iraqis that:

I am calling upon Muslims in general and Iraqi people in particular, to tell them to avoid supporting the American crusaders and those who back them. Those who assist them, whatever they are called, are renegades and infidels. This applies to those who support parties of infidels such as the Baath party, the Kurdish parties and the like.

But, there is a link to another terrorist group that does not get much publicity for obvious reasons. This group went into exile after they fled during the Iranian revolution. The MEK was then hired by Saddam Hussein to carry out terrorist operations against Iran and Iraqis. They have been since the fall of Saddam hired by the U.S.

But let’s go to back to al Qaeda. Clearly the U.S. had a direct role in the creation and nurturing of al Qaeda. But, how recent does this relationship extend?

As early as 1992 the U.S. was made aware of a growing al Qaeda presence in the Balkans to fight alongside the US assisted KLA. What was not known by those supplying Washington with evidence was that Washington was fully aware and arming the KLA:

Intelligence services of the Nordic-Polish SFOR (previously IFOR) sector alerted the U.S. of their presence in 1992 while the number of mujahideen operating in Bosnia alone continued to grow from a few hundred to around 6,000 in 1995. Though the Clinton administration had been briefed extensively by the State Department in 1993 on the growing Islamist threat in former Yugoslavia, little was done to follow through.

By early 1998 the U.S. had already entered into its controversial relationship with the KLA to help fight off Serbian oppression of that province. While in February the U.S. gave into KLA demands to remove it from the State Department’s terrorism list, the gesture amounted to little. That summer the CIA and CIA-modernized Albanian intelligence (SHIK) were engaged in one of the largest seizures of Islamic Jihad cells operating in Kosovo.

Fearing terrorist reprisal from al Qaeda, the U.S. temporarily closed its embassy in Tirana and a trip to Albania by then Defense Secretary William Cohen was canceled out of fear of an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija was formally characterized as a “jihad” in October 1998 at an annual international Islamic conference in Pakistan.

Nonetheless, the 25,000 strong KLA continued to receive official NATO/U.S. arms and training support and, at the talks in Rambouillet, France, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shook hands with “freedom fighter” Hashim Thaci, a KLA leader. As this was taking place, Europol (the European Police Organization based in The Hague) was preparing a scathing report on the connection between the KLA and international drug gangs. Even Robert Gelbard, America’s special envoy to Bosnia, officially described the KLA as Islamic terrorists.

More specific information was supplied on March 15, 2002 in The National Post:

Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network has been active in the Balkans for years, most recently helping Kosovo rebel’s battle for independence from Serbia with the financial and military backing of the United States and NATO.

In a report by Christopher Deliso we were told:

Last Summer, rumors of an unstated connection between NATO and the NLA persisted in Macedonia. Two occasions in particular drew attention. First, the Battle of Aracinovo, in which German and Macedonian sources alleged that 17 ‘advisors’ from MPRI took part on the Albanian side; Macedonian security sources claim that three Americans were among those killed. Second, was a mysterious airdrop by a US helicopter over the NLA stronghold of Sipkovice, filmed by a Macedonian television crew. They claimed that a ‘container,’ perhaps of weapons, was being given to the Albanians, for use against the Macedonian security forces.

Also, reported in the Guardian was:

The result was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah.

While on trial at The Hague Milosevic blamed the violence on “terrorists.” When drilled by the presiding judge Milosevic produces what was said to be a FBI document showing the support to the “terrorists”:

Presiding Judge Richard May asked Milosevic where he was getting his information and the defendant waved a document he said was produced by the FBI last December documenting al-Qaeda and mujahedin activity in Kosovo.

The document was entered into evidence but no details were discussed.

In July of 2001 a CIA operative allegedly met personally with UBL. If true, this is more damaging to Washington’s claims towards Iraq. In light of the U.S. relationship with the infamous terrorist group and others, and under the current standards of those in power, it is more arguable to call for an invasion in Washington than it was in Baghdad.

In a personal exchange of correspondence via e-mail while researching for this report Noam Chomsky remarked:

It is amazing. Just about the time that the Jihadis are trying to blow up the World Trade Center, almost succeeding, Clinton is ferrying them to Bosnia. And to this day the connection is pretty well suppressed here, despite ample evidence.

Probably the most damaging act of terrorism for the U.S. that resulted in the death of an American was the death of Rachel Corrie. An American activist who was plowed over by an Israeli soldier with American supplied bull-dozers, in a method much like the ones used in the first Gulf War that killed countless thousands of Iraqis.

International Law…
Another reason cited for war was the need to hold Saddam accountable to international law. Now, this would seem hypocritical coming from the country with the leading record of
vetoing UNSC resolutions and voting against or abstaining from General Assembly votes (which basically vetoes them). It even gets worse with the United States on violations of the very same resolutions that Iraq is supposed to be held accountable to. The negligent actions of the UN in response to humanitarian needs that caused Halliday and Von Sponeck to resign and the espionage and infiltration into UNSCOM that caused Ritter to resign in protest as well.Hans Von Sponeck:

For how long should the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this, be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done?

Scott Ritter:

Resolution 687, which had originally spelled out this obligation, was viewed by many in the Security Council (including Russia, France, and China) as no longer viable given UNSCOM’s untidy link to Operation Desert Fox, the 72-hour aerial bombardment of Iraq conducted in December 1998. At that time, the United States and the United Kingdom had used an UNSCOM report to the Security Council that laid out the record of Iraqi non-compliance with inspections as justification for the bombing—before the Security Council had any chance to deliberate on the report and without any authorization from that body. The unfortunate fallout from this military action was that Iraq not only refused to allow the UNSCOM inspectors to return, but also rejected any future cooperation with the organization. The inspection process was dead.

To make things worse, these “genocidal” (Halliday) sanctions that Von Sponeck said punished the “civilian population” were also abused by the U.S. in one of the most disturbing ways; analytical research into the health effects of destroying the water treatment facilities and then blocking efforts of getting the necessary equipment to repair the damage because it could be dual-use.Abu Spinoza reported in June 2003 that:

At the time of the first Persian Gulf War (1991), the United States’ military planners knew that Iraq’s water supply facilities were vulnerable to sanctions. They were also aware that Iraq’s vulnerability, owing to the lack of crucial imports of chemicals and equipment required for the purification of water, could cause deaths, diseases and epidemics. Yet planners went ahead with the imposition of sanctions that directly contributed to degrading Iraq’s water treatment facilities. The sanctions caused public health catastrophes, exactly as the planners had reasonably conjectured and anticipated in the planning documents dating from 1991. Declassified US government documents disclose planners’ complicity, foreknowledge and malfeasance in exploiting Iraq’s vulnerability in supplying clean water to its population.


Under the UN sanctions regime the US continued to withhold approval for Iraq to import critical chemicals and equipment and spare parts to purify water. The degradation of Iraq’s water system was one of the leading factors contributing to the rise of death rates and the widespread occurrence of disease among Iraqis, including women and children, as have been documented extensively by various UN studies and NGOs. Iraq’s incapacity to obtain approval to import essential chemicals and equipment, proved to be fatal for its population.

Probably the most pertinent point is not the past and present violations of UNSC resolutions by the U.S., the U.S. veto record and assistance to other states in more violations than Iraq was (Israel, Turkey and Morocco), but rather that the war itself was illegal and a violation of international law. Actually, it was the supreme crime that the Germans were tried for at Nuremberg. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg described the waging of aggressive war as “essentially an evil thing . . . to initiate a war of aggression . . . is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunal, called the crime of aggression “the greatest menace of our times.”

The United Nations Charter clearly states in Article 51:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The U.S. was neither a victim of “an armed attack” nor did the UNSC approve our actions. Thus, the war was illegal. But, this is also a “supreme” violation of our own United States Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution also clearly states in Article 6:

[A]ll treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land…

But, it is not even worth arguing. It has already been admitted that this war was illegal.Richard Perle advised:

[I]nternational law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone.

The notion of the U.S. upholding the UNSC resolutions is a total farce. The resolutions were on disarmament. It is and has been clear that Iraq was “qualitatively disarmed”, whether by the inspectors or Secretary of State Colin Powell. In essence, there was nothing to disarm. True, there were technical violations of the resolutions by Iraq but nothing on or near the level of justification for war. Quite the contrary, the aggression, mostly through the sanctions, periodic bombing through the illegal No-Fly zones and the abuse of the inspection process is much more damaging for Washington and London than it is for Baghdad.

To add another twist UNSC Resolutions 687 stated:

Conscious of the threat that all weapons of mass destruction pose to peace and security in the area and of the need to work towards the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of such weapons.

This would also be calling for Israel to disarm its known WMD, which the US aides in the production of and supplies the armaments used to deliver such WMD. The Washington Post reported:

The U.S. government ‘favors’ Israel’s preserving the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear force, just as it has since the late 1960s, a former senior U.S. diplomat said. ‘It gives it a strategic deterrence,’ he said, adding, ‘If [Israel] were being explicit, that would create problems with its neighbors like Egypt and Syria . . . whose leaders years ago agreed that [ambiguity] did not pose an offensive threat to them.’

Iraq and Iran, he added, are different because ‘they are destabilizing’ countries and could launch a first strike against Israel or U.S. forces in the region if they succeed in developing and deploying nuclear weapons. [Emphasis added]

In other words, Israel is an ally and Iran and Iraq are not. Therefore, Israel can have WMD, even if UNSC Resolution 687 specifically states otherwise.Resolution 1441 which was the most recent resolution before the war gave the inspectors and the council the authority to cite violations and not member states (U.S.). The reason for this was the abuse of UNSCOM by Washington that caused Scott Ritter to resign in protest. Resolution 1441 stated the UNSC:

Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security.

Since no violations were reported by the inspectors (actually, Blix and el Baradei have been strongly opposed to the war on the grounds that the war was illegal) and no authorization was granted from the UNSC this made the US/UK actions completely illegal and could easily be argued as an “act of aggression”, the “supreme international crime.” Also, the resolution said that it:

Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA…

The U.S. was in clear violation of this clause and has recently admitted it. U.S. Senator Carl Levin, the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a member of the intelligence committee, said that the UN inspectors were not given all relative information as resolution 1441 explicitly calls for. New York Times reported:

The Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged that it did not provide the United Nations with information about 21 of the 105 sites in Iraq singled out by American intelligence before the war as the most highly suspected of housing illicit weapons.

Considering the history the U.S. has with international law and Iraq alone it is absurd to contemplate seriously the claim that it was sincere in its intentions to uphold international law and to bring justice.


Finally, the Bush administration has advised us that the threat of terror can be addressed by forcing “democracy” on other nations. In a monumental and symbolic sense this may sound nice. But, much like “liberation”, democracy is as democracy does. Besides, after decades of American involvement in some of the most oppressive regimes, the people of the region are very bitter to the U.S. The last thing Washington wants is the people of the Middle East in control of their affairs. What will be suitable is what Gary Leupp pointed out above:

Democracy in this case means, of course, democracy in any shape and form chosen by the sovereign Iraqi people—just so long as it allows U.S. control over the flow of Iraqi oil, guarantees massive profits to U.S. corporations receiving contracts for reconstruction, permits the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases, abets Israeli security, and rules out any prospect of a Sharia-based legal system that might enhance the strength of anti-American religious fundamentalism (a phenomenon actually encouraged daily by U.S. policies towards Muslim peoples).

This is actually being carried out in an appointed way that makes Florida elections look flawless. Noami Klein reported on the fledging “appointocracy”:

Mr. Bremer wants his Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to appoint the members of 18 regional organizing committees. The committees will then select delegates to form 18 selection caucuses. These selected delegates will then further select representatives to a transitional national assembly. The assembly will have an internal vote to select an executive and ministers who will form the new government of Iraq. That, Bush said in his address, constitutes “a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty.

Got that? Iraqi sovereignty will be established by appointees appointing appointees to select appointees to select appointees. Add to that the fact that Mr. Bremer was appointed to his post by President Bush and that Mr. Bush was appointed to his by the U.S. Supreme Court, and you have the glorious new democratic tradition of the appointocracy: rule by appointee’s appointee’s appointees’ appointees’ appointees’ selectees.

Washington’s preference of “democracy” was spelled out clearly when Bremer, the new “appointed” dictator of Iraq who was present to the meeting on Saddam in 1975 that described Hussein as a “remarkable person” and “ruthless”, said he had the final say on Iraq’s laws:

It can’t become law until I sign it.

The apparent arrogance angered many Iraqis.

I think the absurdity of this excuse for state sponsored violence is obvious enough. Democracy is not something that can be manufactured and shipped through the barrel of a gun. No amount of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, MOAB’s or sonic devices (this is used as indiscriminate collective punishment) will bring democracy. Besides, democracy is what Iraq wants. It is Washington who is refusing to allow it.

Back in early December 2003 the U.S. declined a census for Iraq. Then later, when Shiites started heating up their requests for elections Washington took an odd stance. The Agence France Presse reported that:

Bremer noted the absence in Iraq of voter lists [census] or legislation covering elections and political parties as, he said, a visiting UN team highlighted last week.

‘These are major technical difficulties which are an obstacle to elections and make it impossible,’ to hold them.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, whose calls for quick elections have been thwarted by UN chief Kofi Annan, began Saturday to honor the death of imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, massacred at Karbala in 680.

Shiites, which slammed US plans to hand power over to an unelected authority in the summer, have demanded to know when national polls will finally be held.

Thousands of demonstrators marched in the holy city of Najaf on Friday in defiance of the Americans and the United Nations.

Their revered spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who had threatened mass demonstrations if Iraq’s first post-occupation government was not elected has insisted that any delay ‘must not be long’.

Sistani, who gave a written interview to the German weekly, Der Spiegel, on Thursday called for a new UN resolution giving ‘clear guarantees’ on when polls will be held.

His position has been backed by key Shiite interim Governing Council member, Muwaffaq Rubaie. ‘We need to agree on a definite date for elections, and we have to carve this date in stone,’ Rubaie told AFP on Friday.

There are still developments ongoing. Most recently has been the attention on a new constitution. This Shiites are already opposing it and not because of the Sunni’s, who the U.S. constantly tries to suggest a “civil war” is brewing with, but rather with the Kurds. This was covered by Reuters on March 9, 2004:

The main clause Shi’ites object to is one they fear will enable Kurds to veto a permanent constitution to be written next year if it does not enshrine their demands for autonomy.

However, the “appointees” were able to reach a “compromise” according to a U.S. official.

Democracy seems like a “distant dream” (Ghandi) for Iraq. In respect of the fact that there was no WMD (the UN published a document which advised that Iraq had not possessed WMD since 1994) and that there were no ties to al Qaida “democracy” seems as arguable as “liberation.”Reflection…

Iraq, a country carved up by colonialism and then spit back out. It seems the imperial beast is hungry again and behold Iraq is still a tasteful treat. Black Gold, Iraqi Tea. This little country and its inhabitants have been subjected to horrors unimaginable to most in the West and yet we seem unable or unwilling to take responsibility for our role in their misery, stop the violence and pay reparations. As long as there is something to exploit and “power and prestige” to protect it seems Iraq will continue to suffer. And, bin Ladin will continue to have a banner to organize under.

The brutality of Saddam Hussein was definitely not deserving of the adjective “remarkable” though “ruthless” was very fitting. And “covert action” really should not be “confused with missionary work.” That it would be “expected” should cause us to seriously reflect on what we have done and what we are doing (not to mention the criminality of Henry Kissinger!).

The sanctions… Ah, the sanctions. Denis Halliday was correct on the horrors of the sanctions. They were in fact “genocidal.” Vindication, however, will not bring back to life those who died or repair the damage. The one million killed was not “worth it” as Madeline Albright said they were. Slobodan Milosevic is facing charges of “genocide” and he was responsible for the lives of less than ten thousand according to his charges. These sanctions were criminal. And, Chomsky was right in noting that those who opposed the sanctions can at least rejoice in the fact that they are now gone, even if the future is still uncertain for Iraq.

The WMD scandal that terrorfied and still terrorfies so many Americans may, regrettably, do more harm than good. By amplifying a lie so loudly Washington has played the part of the boy who cried wolf. WMD certainly does pose a real threat and there should be serious measures taken to rid the globe of these life threatening devices. Of course this would take a real token of gesture from Washington that it is willing to disarm (which it is not. Actually, Washington is developing a new round of “mini-nukes”, “bunker busters” and is even gearing up for the weaponization of space). In the 1980’s the world was willing to do this but Washington was not listening. It had a Cold War to win and a globe to dominate. By attacking Iraq, a defenseless and WMD-free country and negotiating with North Korea who has nuclear weapons we have demonstrated our Achilles heel. The message could not be any louder: If you want to deter Washington you better have weapons of mass destruction or a military capable of inflicting serious damage.

Terrorism is another real threat that got lost in the propaganda machine that distorts the daily news. Overwhelmingly, the real threat of terror comes from the states who act with impunity (U.S., Colombia, Israel, Russia, China, etc.). Many have long argued that if we want to really stop terrorism we should stop participating in it. We should address the issues that underlie the reasons “terrorists” are terrorists. Spain is showing signs of doing just that.

Empowering the peoples of any country is a task worth fighting for. But, I cannot emphasize any stronger that democracy is as democracy does. The lofty rhetoric offered by those calling the shots is not testimony to reality. Ensuring that Iraq will be open 100% to foreign investment will not secure peace in the region. We have had decades of data to show the effects of “globalization” or “Free Trade.” We can only expect that things will get worse as the new government will ensure prime returns on investments once “security” is stabilized in Iraq. In other words, once the local resistance is squashed and Iraqis are put in their submissive places in the “New Iraq” then “democracy” can take effect. It is clear that this “democracy” is not about empowering the ordinary Iraqi. It is about empowering certain wealthy merchants who will ensure US access to vital resources and military bases. ”Look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century [sic]: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That’s what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East”, Garner added.

We should think really hard on why 10,282, civilians had to die and maybe up to 55,000 total. Why are we rehiring Saddam’s henchmen and then apologizing for them by calling them “those young men”? We should be asking a lot of questions. Especially, when every reason cited is a lie or a dis-interpretation of the facts. Why over ten thousand claims of “non-combat incidents” occurred? Why the Iraqi people must continue to suffer? Why the real important issues facing Americans are suppressed and fear is the commodity being sold?

The whole course of events that have taken place clearly had nothing to do with liberating, disarming or democratizing Iraq. Economic and military prestige has been a determining factor for decades. To use this war to argue the point of liberation or stopping an imminent threat is both ludicrous and grotesque to say the least.

In sum, the war was illegitimate, immoral and illegal. It did more damage than good. Saddam could have been dealt with peacefully in a variety of ways. The inspection process could have been allowed to operate. The sanctions could have been removed and Iraqis could have been allowed to live and free themselves. If necessary election monitors could have made sure free and fair elections were functioning. Iraqis were never given a chance. This was entirely unnecessary. Those of us who demonstrated and made our presence known on February 15, 2003 understand the pain and agony suffered by too many of us all too well. We are left with a gnawing feeling of pity and frustration.

Saddam Hussein was appeased, but it was when we supported him and his “ruthless” behavior that was clearly not “confused with missionary work.” It is when we removed them from the list of states that “supports international terrorism.” It was when we supported Saddam in full knowledge of his use of chemical weapons. He was appeased when we militarily left him in power. He was appeased when Madeline Albright said “it’s [the sanctions] worth it.”

Going to war under new false pretenses and suppressing these vital facts is not a proper solution. The accomplice who made it all possible is still loose. To date there has not been a serious and in depth look at this affair outside dissident circles. Such self-censorship is as, if not more, negligible as those who incited the massacres in Rwanda.

We should reflect on our mistakes and our successes. Realize what residue is left and prepare for another round. The stakes are building higher and higher. The survival of all and not the prosperity for a few should be on the agenda. There is no law of nature which dictates that man must act with such brutality. There is no law that says men must create B-52 Stealth Bombers equipped with MOAB’s, depleted uranium and/or cluster bombs. Just like there was no law of nature that said the Germans must create Zyclone B.

“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”

Mark Twain – writer, anti-imperialist . . .

Categories: Uncategorized

The 9/11 Report and Its Weak-Kneed Consensus

The 9/11 Report and Its Weak-Kneed Consensus


[Something to note about the 9/11 report: It does address one of the biggest problems: our policies and how they have and are affecting the Muslim world; thus creating “Islamic extremists.” These policies have created extremists who think the only solution is that the “head of the snake” (U.S. government) “must be converted or destroyed.” So rather than addressing the policies (because the report dismisses this notion) that create such an environment, the report stated that this “is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate… It [the “terrorists”] can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.” Did you catch that? Our solution is the same as the “terrorists.”

I found the report to be a white wash, though it did go farther than I thought – by acknowledging the root of the problem, the “head of the snake”: US policies.

There was some legitimacy to the “reform” needed in Arab governments, but that completely misses the problem. A “reformed” Arab and/or Muslim culture – whatever this is supposed to mean – will not, in any way, address the US policies that are the root. Actually, I do not even believe that the US will allow such healthy reform. I think the “reform” we are seeking is more totalitarian control for the governments of their people.

Are we to think that they should be more “civilized”? It is almost like we are saying: It may be our policies, but it is their reaction that is the problem. This logic sounds sickly familiar to the Israeli stratgey: end the reaction (the enemies “terrorism”) before stopping the action (Israeli terrorism); end the retaliation before ending the provocation.

But, let me get to something I noticed that I would like to share with you guys. The report and the below article did acknowledge the desire for these “extremists” to “convert or destroy” us. Okay. But, again, what was our solution for these terrorists? To “destroy or utterly isolate” them. Now, that is what I call “counter-terrorism”…

Is this what it looks like when you peer into the Abyss? And, is that what it looks like when Abyss peers back?]

Chapter 12 of the 9/11 Commission’s report, titled “What to Do? A Global Strategy,” is the philosophical heart of the entire report. It is certainly the most important chapter for those who believe that nothing the U.S. can do in expanding and reorganizing its military and intelligence apparatus will contribute anything of value to the future peace and stability of the world. If implemented, the recommendations in this chapter will instead take U.S. foreign policies down precisely the wrong roads — roads that will lead to less peace and greater instability for both the United States and the entire globe.

Everyone had undoubtedly seen, if not read, the 567-page volume — perhaps half the length of the bible — issued on July 23, and the commission seems to hope that the book will achieve at least half the importance that is accorded the bible by good Christians. The executive summary, a separate document not included in the ten-dollar reprint of the report available in bookstores nationwide, begins with two ponderous statements that, in substantive and functional ways, set a tone of self-importance for the commission. On September 11, the commission declares, “the United States became a nation transformed.” In almost the same breath, the commission congratulates itself for achieving unity in these difficult times: “Ten Commissioners — five Republicans and five Democrats chosen by elected leaders from our nation’s capital at a time of great partisan division — have come together to present this report without dissent.”

Chapter 12, with which we are concerned here, covers nearly 40 pages. Early in this chapter, in what may be the key passage of the report, the commissioners emphasize that, “The enemy is not just ‘terrorism,’ some generic evil. . . . It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism. . . . [Extremist Islam] is further fed by grievances stressed by Bin Ladin and widely felt throughout the Muslim world — against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, policies perceived as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and support of Israel. Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the ‘head of the snake,’ and it must be converted or destroyed.”

So far so good, but exactly at this point in the report, all ten commissioners approved the following assertion of their utter myopia. The Islamist position described above, they say, “is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground — not even respect for life — on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.” The statement does pay some lip service to the notion that “cures” to this situation must come “from within Muslim societies themselves,” but emphasizes that “this process is likely to be measured in decades, not years.” Then comes a little more lip service, saying that, of course, “Islam is not the enemy. It is not synonymous with terror.”

But overall, the commission’s categorical statements paint a bleak picture, describing a situation that allegedly cannot improve for decades. Many of us would argue the contrary case, that if the U.S. actually changed its foreign policies, seriously addressed legitimate grievances of Arabs and Muslims on the Palestine-Israel issue, and ceased its drive for political and economic domination over their areas of the world — the very grievances the commission acknowledges are widespread in the Muslim world — we could reduce the threat of terrorism against us in far less time. In addition, many of us believe that, unless the U.S. does change its foreign policies, the threat, and the actuality, of a heightened level of terrorism, and probably of nuclear warfare as well, against us and our allies will persist far longer than just decades. Given that fewer than 300 million people now reside in the U.S., whereas the rest of the world’s population, at 6 billion, is 20 times as large, American leaders today are playing an unwinnable hand and their drive for global domination is doomed beyond the very short term.

Quite grandiosely, the report states in more than one place, “The present transnational danger is Islamist terrorism.” Danger to whom? If you were a Muslim, might you instead figure that the “present transnational danger” to you was Christian fundamentalist extremism, given some of the statements certain fundamentalist leaders in the U.S. have recently made about Islam? Or might you see transnational danger arising from the alliance of Christian and Jewish fundamentalism arrayed against your world? It is not helpful to the future of global peace and stability that a combination of Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. would put out such a self-centered report, and then praise their own achievement of unity in doing so.

U.S. self-centeredness is also on display in the recommendations of the report. One recommendation in Chapter 12 is that the U.S. “must identify and prioritize actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries. For each, it should have a realistic strategy to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power. . . . We offer three illustrations that are particularly applicable today, in 2004: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.” Why was Israel not mentioned here? Is not Israel a potential or actual sanctuary for terrorists targeting Palestinians? Do not Israeli settlers ever commit terrorism? Do not Israeli soldiers ever commit state terrorism?

There is yet more in Chapter 12 that demonstrates the one-sidedness of this report. In discussing Saudi Arabia, the report says, with no qualifications, “The Western notion of separation of civic and religious duty does not exist in Islamic cultures.” This at least needs further discussion. The statement may be applicable to Saudi Arabia, but it is not entirely accurate with respect to Arab states that were or are largely secular, such as Iraq and Syria. It was and is not fully applicable either to the Palestinian Authority, although the secular aspects of that body have certainly weakened in recent years under the pressures of occupation.

Here is another recommendation of this one-sided commission. “The problems in the U.S.-Saudi relationship must be confronted, openly. . . . [An effort should be made to work toward] a shared interest in greater tolerance and cultural respect, translating into a commitment to fight the violent extremists who foment hatred.” Should not problems in the U.S.-Israeli relationship be confronted just as openly? If you were a Muslim, would you not regard it as equally important to global peace and stability that the U.S. work for tolerance and cultural respect in both America and Israel as well, and work toward translating that into a commitment to fight extremists who foment hatred of Islam in both nations?

One short paragraph of Chapter 12 reads this way. “In short, the United States has to help defeat an ideology, not just a group of people, and we must do so under difficult circumstances. How can the United States and its friends help moderate Muslims combat the extremist ideas?” The report wastes several hundred words trying to answer this question, but does not mention or discuss even the possibility that the U.S. might — just might — pursue policies toward Palestine fairer than those we have pursued in the past. If it is true that the U.S. “has to help defeat” an Islamic ideology espoused by a minority of Muslims, might not the best way be to help defeat another ideology — the ideology of a minority of Jews that “Judea and Samaria” should belong entirely and exclusively to Israel? Suggesting this may be a third rail of American politics, but that is not an argument that will persuade many moderate Muslims whom the U.S. is allegedly seeking to influence.

Anyone can find numerous other examples in Chapter 12, all leading to similar conclusions. Only one more point is worth making here. The executive summary of the commission report, which your ten dollars will not provide to you but is all that many government leaders around the world are likely to read, does not contain a single use of the words “Israel” or “Israeli” — or, one will not be surprised to learn, of words like “Palestinian” or “oppression” or “injustice.” This certainly gives high-level readers precisely the kind of picture of what’s going on in the world that U.S. leaders of both major political parties, and the leaders of the present government of Israel, want the world to believe. It is clearly not a fair and exact picture.

 – Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He is a contributor to Imperial Crusades, CounterPunch’s new history of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

 – Kathleen Christison, a former CIA political analyst, is the author of Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy and The Wound of Dispossession: Telling the Palestinian Story. They can be reached at:

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Fmr. CIA Analyst and FBI Whistleblower Dissect Final 9/11 Commission Report

As the bipartisan Commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks releases its much-anticipated final report, we take an in-depth look at what it says and what it doesn’t say with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. [includes rush transcript]

The bipartisan commission of ex-government officials investigating the Sept. 11 attacks published its much-anticipated final report yesterday.

The commission concluded that “The 9/11 attacks were a shock, but they should not have come as a surprise” and warned that without a historic restructuring of the nation’s intelligence agencies and a new emphasis on diplomacy, the United States would leave itself open to an even more catastrophic attack. The Washington Post reports that the panel was much gentler on the Bush administration than many Republicans and the White House had feared.

The panel said it could not determine whether the attacks could reasonably have been prevented. However, it identifies 10 “operational opportunities” to detect the 9/11 plot that were missed and identifies nine major vulnerabilities that enabled the attacks to move forward.

In a package of recommendations for overhauling intelligence operations, the commission called for a cabinet-level national intelligence director within the White House who would control the budgets of all 15 federal intelligence agencies. The intelligence director’s office would take substantial power away from the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the Pentagon, and it would essentially strip the National Security Council of its role in coordinating the actions of intelligence agencies.

The panel also advocates encoding U.S. passports with personal information and recommends standardized driver’s licenses nationwide. Both ideas were met with immediate criticism from civil liberties advocates.

In addition, the report recommended adherence to the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of alleged combatants saying “America should be able to reconcile its views of how to balance humanity and security with our nation’s commitment to these same goals.”

The panel finds that Iraq and al Qaeda had no “collaborative operational relationship “but outlines a deeper alliance between the terrorist group and Iran. The report alleges that as many as 10 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were able to freely pass through Iran, although there is no evidence that Tehran was aware of the plot.

The report also outlines how senior administration officials turned their attention to Iraq soon after the attacks. In the most glaring example, at 2:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers that his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time as Osama bin Laden. Four days later, when Bush convened a meeting of his senior advisers at Camp David to decide retaliatory steps, the Defense Department submitted a paper that depicted Iraq, the Taliban and al Qaeda as priority targets in the first stage of action. The report goes on to note that a failed Iraq in the wake of the U.S. invasion could become “breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home.”

The panel also concluded that there was no evidence that the Saudi government or Saudi officials knew of or supported the plot to attack the United States.

President Bush and former President Clinton, who were both interviewed by the commission, disagreed in their recollection of a two-hour meeting on national security and foreign policy issues in December 2000. Clinton recalls telling Bush that “by far your biggest threat is Bin Ladin and the al Qaeda” and that he regretted not capturing or killing the al Qaeda leader.

Bush told the commission. “that he felt sure President Clinton had mentioned terrorism, but did not remember much being said about al Qaeda.” Bush said Clinton emphasized other issues such as North Korea and the Israeli peace process.

The panel also found that 36 presidential intelligence briefings given Bush before the attacks that mentioned al Qaeda or bin Laden.

The 567-page report was based on 2.5 million pages of documents and testimony from more than 1,000 witnesses and is on sale in bookstores across the country.

  • Ray McGovern, 27-year career analyst with the CIA. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

  • Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator who was hired shortly after Sept. 11 to translate intelligence gathered over the previous year related to the 9/11 attacks. She speaks fluent Farsi and Turkish.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined right now by two guests in the Washington studio. We’re joined by Ray McGovern, who is a 27-year career analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. And we’re also joined by Sibel Edmonds, she’s the former F.B.I. Translator who was hired shortly after September 11 to translate intelligence gathered over the previous time related to the 9/11 attacks. She speaks fluent Farsi and Turkish. Let’s begin with Ray McGovern. Your response to the report?

RAY MCGOVERN: Well it’s clear, Amy, that the establishment has spoken here. The name of the game is reflected in the “Washington Post” headlines for today which says, “Final Report Faults Two Administrations.” So, the implication being that Clinton and Bush are equally to blame for overseeing this – or, you know, exercising oversight in the second sense over this terrorist threat. It’s really interesting to see how this thing has played out. The report deals with the symptoms. The analogy with malaria that I think you may have heard me use before. Defeating terrorism is like defeating malaria. Everyone knows to defeat malaria you need to set up sharp shooters around the swamp and try to kill as many mosquitoes as you can as they leave the swamp. Well, obviously, what you do to defeat malaria is to drain the swamp. That’s what you need to do with respect to terrorism, to get at the root causes of terrorism. This report, all 567 pages of it except two, deal with the symptoms, the mosquitoes, how to shoot the mosquitoes as they leave the swamp, how to set up the equivalent of radar so, when they come where they could hurt somebody, the radar will detect them and the equivalent of more easily and more protective mosquito nets to protect the possible victims of the mosquitoes. It doesn’t get to the root cause except well into it around page 400, which we can discuss later, but which very briefly talks about the root causes. Our policy toward Israel and our invasion and occupation of Iraq. That got in there to the credit of the drafters.

AMY GOODMAN: Ray McGovern, former C.I.A. Analyst, also one of the top daily briefers for Vice President George H.W. Bush. When we come back from our break we’ll get first response from Sibel Edmonds, an F.B.I. Whistleblower. Stay with us.

AMY GOODMAN: “The Price Of Oil,” Billy Bragg. He’s playing this weekend in Boston as the Boston Social Forum, leading up to the Democratic National Convention. Activists will convene from all over the country. I’m Amy Goodman. This is Democracy Now!, We’re talking about the 9/11 Commission’s report. It is out. It is being sold all over the country. It was released yesterday in Washington, D.C. We’re joined by Ray McGovern, who is a former C.I.A. Analyst, with the agency for more than a quarter of a century, and F.B.I. whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, who also joins us in our Washington studio. Sibel, your response overall to the commission’s report?

SIBEL EDMONDS: Well, Amy, I spent my day yesterday reading most of the report, and my first reaction was, okay, it explains why the report received a blessing from the administration and from the agencies, considering just in my case alone you have so much kicking and screaming and classification of – by the Department of Justice, and talking about the sensitivity and talking about certain diplomatic relations, and we didn’t have these types of responses to this report, which explains a lot alone by itself. Also, in reading the report, I just did not come across anything that in any way would establish any specific accountability. That also explains the lack of kick and screaming and lack of that type of a response from the administration. And also I was not that surprised to see that many incidents in their timelines were not mentioned, although two days ago, “Chicago Tribune” had an article regarding the incident of a long term F.B.I. Asset who provided specific information in April, 2001, to the Bureau talking about major cities being targeted and airplanes being used, and the order being issued by Bin Laden. There’s no mentioning of this. Although as you would see on this article, it has been already confirmed by the F.B.I. Authorities. So, I was not surprised, considering the fact that I attended these hearings, and I did not hear most questions being asked during the hearings, but I must say that I was still disappointed.

AMY GOODMAN: Sibel Edmonds, for people who are not familiar with your case, clearly, you have information the government is very concerned about, based on your translations after September 11, before September 11 wiretaps, because the Justice Department has attempted to reclassify information that you put out in a public hearing.

SIBEL EDMONDS: Correct. The commission has had this information since February, 2004, and there was only one reference to it without any specifics saying that, please refer to the I.G. Report. Well, the I.G. Report, after two years of delay, came out and is entirely classified. So, the public cannot refer to the I.G. Report. As you know, the investigations by the Congress have been stopped and the only reasons cited by the Attorney General have been certain diplomatic relations, certain foreign relations. So, people cannot refer to the congressional investigations or findings, and obviously, the report by the commission does not contain this information. So, basically, that – there you have it.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask about some of the recommendations. Let’s go to the Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, former Congress member Lee Hamilton. He talks about what some of these recommendations are. Among package of recommendations that there should be a cabinet level National Intelligence Director. Let’s hear former Congress member Hamilton.

LEE HAMILTON: The critical theme that emerged throughout our inquiry was the difficulty of answering the question who is in charge? Who insures that agencies pool resources, avoid duplication and plan jointly? Who oversees the massive integration, and unity of effort necessary to keep America safe? Too often the answer is no one. Thus, we are recommending a National Counter-terrorism Center. We need effective unity of effort on counter-terrorism. We should create a national counter-terrorism center to unify all counter-terrorism intelligence and operations across the foreign and the domestic divide in one organization. Right now, these efforts are too diffuse across the government. They need to be unified. We recommend a National Intelligence Director. We need unity of effort in the intelligence community.

AMY GOODMAN: Vice chair of the 9/11 commission, Lee Hamilton. Ray McGovern, former C.I.A. Analyst, your response to this recommendation. Donald Rumsfeld was not pleased with it.

RAY MCGOVERN: Who is in charge? It used to be the buck stopped with the President. George W. Bush says he admires President Truman very much. That was Truman’s attitude. Who is in charge? The answer is very clear. The President is in charge. Let me outline the logic as I see it here. Several people, including Tom Kean, made the point very early on that we are not in the business of assigning blame. Well, why not? My cousin was killed in one of those twin towers. I’d like, if not blame – I’d like responsibility to be assigned. I’d like accountability of some kind. What the logic trail here that’s outlined is we’re he not going to blame anybody, and besides, it probably couldn’t have been prevented, and therefore, it’s nobody’s fault, so it must be the fault of the system. So, we’ll figure out a way to tweak the system whereby we can make it bureaucratically better, and the strategem that was picked here is both unnecessary and mischievous. Unnecessary because the Director of Central Intelligence already has the authority and the responsibility as the Chief Intelligence Advisor to the President to do all of these things. It’s just that we haven’t had a competent one since Stansfield Turner. These folks don’t seem to realize that. In other words, the authorities already exist. A lot of them are on referendum to the President. Stan Turner, when he was director, if he didn’t get cooperation from the F.B.I., he went down to the oval office and said Mr. President, I can’t do my job for you unless you get the F.B.I. to cooperate. Carter would call Ramsey Clark and say look, get that F.B.I. cooperating, sharing information with the C.I.A. That requires a certain, what the Germans call ‘vormacht’ a certain self-assurance and willingness to put other noses out of joint and a certain self-confidence. None of that has been exhibited in the D.C.I.’s that have existed since Bill Casey took over. So that’s one thing. The other thing, if you make this a cabinet position, that is the kiss of death for intelligence. Bill Casey demonstrated that, because Bill was the first person to be elevated to cabinet status. He sat in the cabinet under Ronald Reagan and made policy. Those two things are like oil and water. They should be separated. Intelligence cannot be in the position of making policy. Or else it loses its entire credibility. The institutional corruption of intelligence, the willingness to tell the White House sort of sniff the prevailing winds from downtown and tell the White House what the intelligence community thinks the White House wants to hear, that started to be institutionalized under Bill Casey and his protégé, Robert Gates. What we’re seeing now is a bubbling up to the top of senior managers who learned under Casey and Gates to try to tell the White House what they think the White House wants to hear. So, if you get a new Director of National Intelligence and you put that person in the Cabinet, you are further institutionalizing the prostitution, I would say, of intelligence. You are making it so close to policy that people won’t be able to distinguish between objective fact, speaking truth to power, telling it like it is without fear of favor, and accommodating to this or that policy stream.

AMY GOODMAN: Ray McGovern, you have referred before to the people during the first George Bush administration, President George H.W. Bush, and when he was Vice President, saying that some of the people in charge now–and maybe you could tell us who they are–that you all, including the President, then Vice President, George H.W. Bush, referred to them as the “crazys”?

RAY MCGOVERN: Yeah, well it was commonly known that these “crazys” existed, mostly in the defense department, but they were kept at sort of mid-senior levels where they couldn’t do much harm. We’re talking about Wolfowitz. We’re talking about Fife. We’re talking about Scooter Libby, who works for the Vice President. We’re talking about Cheney, in a way; Wormser, who is now with the Vice President; John Bolten at state. All of these folks were sort of around in these days. Some of them were also working for the Israeli government, interestingly enough. But they were kept at arm’s length from the policymaking apparatus.

AMY GOODMAN: Did Vice President George H.W. Bush refer to them as the “crazys”?

RAY MCGOVERN: Well, Amy, I’m not going to divulge what happened in the presidential daily briefings sessions because those are sacrosanct and I wouldn’t want to impede the access of my colleagues to that kind of one on one relationship. Suffice it to say that when Wolfowitz came out with his Defense Policy Guidance back in 1992, it outlined all of the kinds of policies that have now been implemented with respect to Iraq–We are the sole remaining superpower. We are derelict in our duty if we don’t exert that power, especially in key regional areas like the ones that have lots of oil, and like the ones that threaten Israel in some way. And, so, when we have an opportunity, it behooves us to exert that power in a military way, if necessary–Now, that was outlined in 1992, leaked to the “New York Times” and George Bush Sr. had to deal with that. He had Scocroft, he had Jim Baker to advise him and they tore it up and put it in the circular file. They said, this is not the way we’re going to act as the one remaining superpower, we’re gonna do it different. And so when we saw George W. Bush come into office. You know, we were from Missouri, we wanted to give him a chance. But then when we saw the “crazys” coming back—you know, this includes indicted people, this includes people guilty of felonies like Abrams, who is now running the mid-east policy down in BNSC.

AMY GOODMAN: Elliot Abrams.

RAY MCGOVERN: He was pardoned, you know …Yeah, Elliot Abrams… So, when we saw that, we said, my god, what’s going to happen now? And our worst fears have been borne out in the last three years.

AMY GOODMAN: Ray McGovern, what do you make as this 9/11 Commission Report is being released yesterday, that there was a hastily arranged meeting of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, and the army released a 300-page report detailing prison abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan? Were they obviously doing this at the same time to prevent attention?

RAY MCGOVERN: Of course.

AMY GOODMAN: Divert attention?

RAY MCGOVERN: Of course. And you know, Amy, I’m glad that you cited that one paragraph in the 9/11 Commission Report that talks about prison abuses, because that was sort of a gutsy thing for this commission to address. What they said was, that we really ought to proceed in a multilateral way and get our coalition partners together on a policy to deal with the treatment, the humane treatment, they say, of prisoners. And they referred explicitly to Article 3 of one of the Geneva conventions on prisoners of war. Now, why was that gutsy? Well, that’s gutsy because our President has been advised, and has acted on this advice, that he could simply exclude from coverage of the Geneva conventions whole categories of people like the Taliban. And his White House counsel has told him that he should go ahead and do that, and, quote, “there is a reasonable case in law”, unquote, whereby you could escape prosecution for war crimes under the War Crimes Act of 1996 if you go ahead and do that. Now, why do I raise that? Well I raise that because I think this is a reality that has been sort of missed in the press, and everywhere else. What does it mean? If I’m President Bush and I finally read the opinion now by Alberto Gonzalez, my White House counsel, because it’s been in “Newsweek”, I’m trying to sleep at night and I’m saying, hmm, there’s a reasonable case in law where I might escape prosecution for war crimes. Then I read the War Crimes Act and it’s laid out right there. That it’s tied intimately to the Geneva conventions. Specifically prohibits anybody from, by edict, exempting categories of people. There’s a procedure outlined in the conventions as to how to deal with uncertainties having to do with categories of prisoners. And that, too, is referred to in this report. So, what am I saying? I’m saying that George Bush and Rumsfeld and the Vice President and the top leaders, I don’t think they’re sleeping all that well these days. More immediately, as far as we’re concerned, four more years takes on a deeply personal immediacy here, if only to avoid the possibility that we might be prosecuted by some ill intentioned special prosecutor for war crimes. What does this mean? Well, it means to me — you know, there are people that say, well now, there’s a line that this crowd won’t cross. Well, I haven’t seen that line. And I’m beginning to believe there isn’t that line. When John Ashcroft gets up without the support of the Director of Central Intelligence without the support of the Director of Homeland Security, and fabricates a report saying that al Queada says that it’s 90% ready to strike the United States, and this is gonna happen before the election, I say, wow, you know. You don’t have to be a super analyst or rocket scientist to sort of suspect what’s going on here? Is Ashcroft trying to prepare the American people for the possibility that the elections might be postponed or even cancelled? I say, McGovern, you know, you’re getting a little paranoid. Then, on Sunday, I’m watching CNN and the banner question for the week is – “Should the United States postpone the election in the event of a terrorist attack?” I wonder…maybe we should postpone the election and maybe not? It’s become sort of accepted as an option. I’m thinking, my gosh, you know?

AMY GOODMAN: Ray McGovern, I’m going to give Sibel Edmonds the last word. Sibel Edwards, the F.B.I. Whistleblower. If you could point to what you think is the most egregious omission based on your review of information — based on what has happened to you since you’ve tried to get out information about the translated wiretaps that you had access to after 9/11, that were actually recorded before 9/11. What would you say is missing from this report?

SIBEL EDMONDS: Well, they again here are protecting certain foreign relations and certain foreign business relations. There are no mentionings there of anything that had to do with the united emirates and involvement of certain underground and semi-legit organizations through united emirates and also obtaining visas through bribery to certain state department individuals. There was no mentioning of the cell in Chicago and the activities that it brought about, and that were directly, these activities related to the 9/11 attack. As far as the money laundering is concerned, and I’m saying ‘is’, because these semi-legit organizations have not been named, and are still in operation. Again, just under the name of protecting certain foreign relations, there were no mentionings of these incidents. So again, anything that the administration wanted to protect has remained protected as you would see in this report, because there are no mentionings.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you very much, former F.B.I. Whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds and former C.I.A. Analyst for 27 years, Ray McGovern.

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9-11 Commission Report and Reflections On It: Imperial Domination or "Some Stirred-Up Moslems"?

So the 9-11 Commission came out with their report. I went to Barnes and Nobles and bought a copy for historical purposes. It is worth reading. You can read it for free online at:

The report does go over a lot and does a decent job of noting itself. Though I got a sense of dismissal to the political and social grievances of Arabs, Muslims and Osama bin Laden (well, pretty much the grievances of the world, but most notably, the third world). The grievances the report cites is a bin Laden speech from November 2002. You can read it online at:,3858,4552895-102275,00.html

But that’s just it. These grievances, however distorted or misinterpreted by Arabs, Muslims or bin Laden (or the rest of the world), do have a fundamental truth to it: We do act belligerently around the world. We are involved in other nation’s conflicts. We do support repressive regimes. We do support Israel in a criminal and biased way.

Let us keep solely with al Qaeda. We know where al Qaeda came from because the U.S. State Department acknowledged it in a 1996 memo on Usama bin Laden. You can read it online at: Al Qaeda was the financing arm of the “Afghan mujahadin.”

We know why he and his followers are angry with us. See Guardian article above.

We know what happened. We have exploited people to the breaking point. We were attacked and thousands of people have lost their lives. The cycle of violence not only has continued it has escalated. More people have died in our revenge for 9-11 than those who died on 9-111. We are peering into the Abyss and it is looking back.

The report not only dismisses recognizing these grievances and having a fundamental change in policy, it does not even mention them as part of a solution or recommendation. Furthermore, it dismissed them as “conspiracies.” In chapter 2 of the report and in their analysis on bin Laden they state: “[H]e offers simplistic conspiracies to explain their world.” This conspiracy is that America is behind all the grievances.

Like I noted above, it is true that bin Laden and others (from all back grounds and perspectives. The point here is not just Muslims, Arabs and liberals distort and misinterpret reality, but so do Christians, Jews and conservatives. The distortion and misinterpretation is a combination of intentional and unintentional ignorance. However, a clear enough picture is available, but it takes an honest, sincere and kind heart to view truthfully) exploits these grievances and some can definitely argue that he distorts and misinterprets them as well. More often than not, those who choose to attack bin Laden on specific and detailed facts such as the Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, etc. and state he is racist (anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-Western, etc.), biased and distorting the truth for his violence, fail to see the big picture and their own equal racism and bias that allows the violence to continue to escalate in our name and paid for with our taxes. Bin Laden may exploit, distort or misinterpret what is going on but it is going on. There is guilt on both sides, but we are responsible for what we do. And, it turns out that our guilt is a huge piece of the provocation. Addressing that and making appropriate changes is fundamental. I do think it is unacceptable to meet bin Laden’s demand to convert to Islam, but I do find some agreement in stopping our oppressive policies and ending support for other rogue states (and groups);  whether they are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or Alien. Simple respect for human decency should not even be an issue.

Let us then remember who created, funded and trained the mujahadin and why.

Here, I turn to a quote from the former National Security Adviser for President Carter,  Zbigniew Brzezinski, who played a major role in the foundation of the mujahadin and their capability to bring down the Russians and move on to other targets. You can read the interview here at:

Zbigniew Brzezinski said: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

Those “stirred-up Moslems” are what we left behind in Afghanistan and they formed the Taliban. Al Qaeda and the Taliban come from the same basket: our mujahadin. They served our purpose. Now the chickens have come home to roost and we are wasting more blood – on both sides – and more money. For what, to escalate, to play the same ole song and dance, to continue to look into the Abyss, to continue to having the Abyss look into us?

Perhaps we should reflect on what is more important: Imperial domination or the effects that can be created by “some stirred-up Moslems.”

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At the gates of Yassergrad

In the spring of 2002 Israel launched a raid into the Jenin refugee camp. It was a brutal raid that, which at first had the world concerned of a massacre. When it turned out that a massacre did not happen the event was played down (mostly because Ariel Sharon refused the UN to investigate the camp). There seemed to be a logic, at least in the American and Israeli press, that suggested since it was not as bad as we first thought that it was not bad at all. Keep in mind that Palestinians living in the “occupied territories” have lived under some of the most sustained and harsh treatment. Most of the young men Israel said they killed were “terrorists” and “gunmen.” This is probably true. No doubt that some Palestinian youths whose lives have been raised and exposed to a military occupation have succumbed to terrorism, though no where near the scale of Israeli terrorism (it is also important to point out not only the scale of “terrorism” but the difference between provocative and retaliatory “terrorism”; Israel regularly carries out “terrorist” actions which obviously elicit a “terrorist” response).

In the late 19th century European Jews started to migrate to Jerusalem – to return to their homeland – and lived amongst the Palestinian Arabs living under Turkish rule.

In the early 20th century many of the immigrant Jews were wanted as “terrorists” for their crimes against the Arabs and British. The Zionist movement had militant fractions that were intent on a Jewish state. The Palestinian Arabs placed their hope in an independent Arab state called Palestine due to the “liberation” that Lawrence of Arabia promised. The immigrant Jews placed their hope in an independent Jewish state called Israel based off the Balfour document. In essence, the colonialist British had promised the same land to two different groups. Fighting started almost immediately. Some of Israel’s founding fathers, like Menachem Begin, was wanted for his terrorist crimes.

After WW2 the Jewish – with world wide sympathy – were granted the state of Israel and the Israeli’s rushed to annex more land. You can find more about the covert terrorism of Israel in its early years by reading Moshe Sharett’s diary.

In 1967 Israel seized Arab land and has been militarily occupying much of it ever since.

It was not until 1988 that the Palestinians in the occupied territory actually started fighting back. Until this point most of the fighting was done abroad in places like Lebanon, where the PLO criminally placed the Lebanese in danger and the Israel’s willingly responded without any concern for those caught up in the crossfire.

The second intifada started in the fall of 2000 when Sharon, the butcher of Lebanon, gave his appearance in a sacred temple disputed between the Arabs and Jews.

Sharon, who was the military commander in their failed invasion of Lebanon in 1982, used excessive military force to silence his own provocations. This brings us to Nablus, Ramallah and Jenin.

I do not want to take away from the criminality of some of the PLO’s and other Arab states actions, but much of the Israel/Arab dispute has been centered around Israel’s own casus belli.

Anyway, I had been searching for a particular article. It was an article that appeared in an Israel paper a couple of months before the raid into the refugee camps. It was ironically a foreshadow of events to come. Israel – a country born out of the Holocaust – was open with its declaration to mimic the Nazi’s actions in the Warsaw Ghetto (the Germans used military force to squash a Jewish uprising in response to the bestial treatment of the Nazi’s)…

At the gates of Yassergrad

By Amir Oren

25 January 2002

In order to prepare properly for the next campaign, one of the Israeli officers in the territories said not long ago, it’s justified and in fact essential to learn from every possible source. If the mission will be to seize a densely populated refugee camp, or take over the casbah in Nablus, and if the commander’s obligation is to try to execute the mission without casualties on either side, then he must first analyze and internalize the lessons of earlier battles – even, however shocking it may sound, even how the German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto.

The officer indeed succeeded in shocking others, not least because he is not alone in taking this approach. Many of his comrades agree that in order to save Israelis now, it is right to make use of knowledge that originated in that terrible war, whose victims were their kin. The Warsaw ghetto serves them only as an extreme example, not linked to the strategic dialogue that the defense establishments of Israel and Germany will hold next month.

At around the same time, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer will visit Washington, and one of his interlocutors there, Secretary of State Colin Powell, will appear in two consecutive days of hearings before the foreign relations committees of the Senate and the House, where he will face trenchant questions about the Palestinians and terrorism in general and about Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in particular. Ben-Eliezer may find himself flanked on the right concerning the Palestinian issue, so much so that he will be left without ammunition for another item on his list of missions – Israel’s reservations about the Americans’ sale of advanced weapons (particularly the latest model of the Harpoon sea-to-sea missile) to Egypt.

The old and ludicrous slogan of one of his predecessors – “I came to strengthen and I emerged strengthened” – threatens to be manifested in Ben-Eliezer: the Americans are competing with the Israelis in taking an aggressive, suspicious attitude toward Arafat. The transfer of power from Ehud Barak to Ariel Sharon turned out to have less of an influence than George W. Bush’s climbing into the hot bed of Bill Clinton. The two most important dates in the history of the present confrontation between the Israelis and the Palestinians are January 20, 2001, when Bush took office, and September 11. Now even the skeptics admit that Arafat made a colossal blunder in his reading of the world map, from the American point of view.

The shares could fall

Despite the images of the armored raid in Tul Karm; despite the headlines, in the wake of terrorist attacks, about an Israeli decision to get rid of Arafat and bring about the collapse of the Palestinian Authority; despite the frequent warnings about Ariel Sharon’s “grand plan” – the fact is that all these interpretations have been proved wrong so far, and not by chance. Even more than Sharon hates Arafat, he loves himself. Sharon wants to stay in power and be prime minister until – and after – 2003. A full-scale war in the territories, or even a constant display of impotence in defending Israel’s cities and citizens against terrorist attacks, will not achieve that goal for him. In the shadow of the gap between the wish and the decision lie the constraints, external as well as internal. Instead of devouring Arafat whole, as he would do if there were no constraints, Sharon is nibbling at him, nibbling and gnawing.

The dispute between the proponents of the Sharon school of thought (of which Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz is the major embodiment, though his summations in discussions are less militant than his opinions) and that of Ben-Eliezer was sharpened in the past two weeks in the wake of Israel’s seizure of the weapons ship Karine A. The subject on the agenda was the entry into the “working plan” of the Central Intelligence Agency chief, George Tenet. Palestinians who are close to Arafat and object to his policy urged the Israelis to take advantage of the sharp downturn in violence – and the easing of the situation for the population – that followed the terrorist attack at Emmanuel and Arafat’s speech on December 16, and take up the Tenet plan. They argued that the plan, which includes a degree of mutuality in the operations of both sides, would enable them to demonstrate equality, as distinct from capitulation.

The moderate school in the defense establishment found this proposal positive: the mutuality is one of principle rather than quantity (the burden on the Palestinians is four times as great as that on the Israelis), Arafat is at a low point, the emissary Anthony Zinni is demanding vigorous, quantifiable deeds from him.

Sharon rejected this approach. He has grown fond of the continuing sight, the result of chance – no one planned it – of Arafat under siege in Ramallah and his strength running out. He wants to wait a little longer, exert more pressure, extract the maximum from the situation – he’s like an investor who follows the fluctuations in the stock market and refuses to be tempted into buying cheaply a stock that is falling in value, because tomorrow it will be even more worthwhile.

It was into this policy of refusing to shift policy that the assassination of Raed Karmi fell. As with the dozens of assassinations that preceded it, its major dimension – without which assassinations are not authorized – was the effort to preempt future terrorist attacks. To obtain intelligence information and to reduce the risk of revenge, arrests are preferred over assassinations, and hits are limited in terms of surroundings (innocent individuals in the immediate area), level and context. As a rule, there are no assassinations of individuals who are either too senior or too junior – in military terms, no one below the level of platoon commander or above brigade commander. Abu Ali Mustafa ,the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was most senior individual to be targeted, after it became apparent that his political activity could not be separated from his direct responsibility for terror attacks.

The leader of the Tanzim militia in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti, is defying, by his involvement in terrorism, the ceiling of assassination targets. His main flak jacket now is not Israeli fear of revenge at his death, but Israel’s desire to maintain a layer of Palestinian leadership, militant in its methods but moderate in its demands, for the post-Arafat era. Barghouti, who earned the reputation of a fighter through terrorist attacks but does not insist on the right of return as a condition for a settlement with Israel, is considered an acceptable potential candidate.

The assassination of Raed Karmi spawned two conspiracy theories. One holds that it was intended to foment the escalation that Arafat was in fact seeking, but in the form of a deterioration of the situation that would prevent him from rehabilitating his force and obtaining rockets and other weapons. Alternatively (or in addition), the Karmi hit is intended to thwart the attempt to get the sides back onto the negotiating track. Both interpretations are incorrect, or purport to rely on telepathy. The decision on whether to go ahead with an assassination is based on discretionary judgment, not on malice. In the discussions that preceded the Karmi assassination, the small number of people involved talked about the operational opportunity and the need to take out Karmi for instructing his people to plan and execute attacks. One of the generals warned that the intensity of the Palestinian reaction would depend on the display of Israeli responsibility. An official denial, he said, even if it is received skeptically, will reduce the risk of revenge attacks – as was the case with the mysterious explosions that occasionally killed terrorist activists even before the start of the current confrontation in September 2000. If he had thought that in the Israeli reality the policy of plausible denial (according to which Karmi’s death was due to a “work accident,” meaning a bomb of his own making that accidentally went off) would collapse within hours, the general said this week with regret, he would not have backed the assassination.

The IDF was taken somewhat by surprise by the meager resistance to the forces that entered Tul Karm. Things will be different next time, the IDF believes, especially if Arafat reaches the conclusion that there is no longer any prospect of getting the Americans back into his fold. Logic dictates that this will be the IDF’s line of thought: The U.S. successes in Afghanistan were achieved without an Arab or Muslim alliance. The Karine A weapons ship exposed Arafat’s two-faced posturing (and no less grave in American eyes, his contacts with Imad Mugniyeh, who works for the Iranians and Hezbollah and was behind the car bombs that took 260 American lives in Beirut). General John Keane, deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army, this week cited the attempt to destroy Israel and establish a Palestinian state in the same breath with terrorist crimes against the United States. After all these developments, Arafat is liable to entrench himself in Ramallah and establish a Yassergrad there as a trap for IDF armor.

He may well order tens of thousands of armed members of the Palestinian Authority security units (and the thousands of armed members of Tanzim and Hamas, whose help he enlisted by ignoring both his commitment under Oslo and the American demand to uproot the terrorist infrastructure) to launch a war of desperation.

PM suspends agreement to cooperate with UN Jenin mission

Israel refuses Jenin inquiry

The second intifada – an Israeli strategy

Palestinians Walled In, And Walled Out

Categories: Uncategorized

Saddam Hussein and a Fair Trial? Part Two

So what exactly happened yesterday with Saddam Hussein? He was charged right? No. It was basically a photo-op. The “judges” and “lawyers” were appointed by Paul Bremer and the “judge” even acknowledged that he represented the “coalition” (aka US occupational authorities or the White House). There were no defense lawyers and the recording was censored. Robert Fisk discusses this in more depth in an article below.

Let us not forget, Saddam Hussein is guilty. He knew the fate of those who were executed when he assumed leadership of Iraq. He knew about the use of chemical weapons against Iran and Iraq. But, he does have a number of facts that are on his side. Mostly, this court system is illegitimate. The occupation is illegitimate. It was not authorized by the UN Security Council; in fact it was in violation of the UN Security Council and the UN Charter. Our war/occupation is an act of armed aggression. Personally, I think our more recent and ongoing crimes against humanity are in more need of a tribunal than Saddam’s crimes, which we made possible, from more than a dozen years ago. Actually, the fact that his crimes are isolated to a specific time period should be a focal point of this discussion. Especially when you consider that those in office now played a major role in the past when we “appeased” or provided a cover for Saddam’s worst crimes.

This “theatre” is nothing but a joke. What is needed is an international tribunal at something like the Hague. And, the accomplices who made it all possible should be sharing a cell with Saddam. But dont expect justice today. The Mafia Don is the judge, jury and executioner of the former-made man.

So let us not forget that even a guilty man can receive injustice. Even arrogant tyrants like Saddam Hussein.

Saddam was “charged” with the illegal invasion of Kuwait. How cynical. How was it that Saddam was “charged” with this illegal invasion of Kuwait? These charges were made possible by the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq! If Saddam deserves a war crimes tribunal for an illegal invasion, which he certainly does, then why isn’t the US charged for the illegal invasion of Iraq in a war crimes tribunal?

How can Saddam’s victims find closure in such a sham? Life in Iraq has not even returned to pre-war levels, security for Iraqi’s is in despair, water, medicine and food are in shortage, diseases from malnourishment and the war (i.e depleted uranium) are increasing despite the dropping of sanctions, employment is low, the economy is in shambles and the government is an appointed dictatorship with the façade of a democracy and a CIA agent threatening marshal law as “president.” Was removing Saddam Hussein worth it under these circumstances; war/occupation? Adding to the tragedy that is Iraq – and most resource-rich third world countries – hardly seems to be worthy of the title “liberation.”

While we continue to live our lives of sheltered comfort and (sometimes intentional) ignorance we at least owe it to Iraq to acknowledge their tragedy. We have played a major role in it; we provoked it, we escalated it… Wait a minute… I am speaking in past-tense… Damn…

Confused? Shadow of His Old Self? Hardly…


Saddam court coverage was ‘shambolic’,2763,1252734,00.html

1969 British embassy documents on how Saddam Hussein was a “presentable young man.” Just look at him yesterday. You can see it…

Another 1969 British embassy document that discusses Saddam’s “engaging smile”, “emergence into the limelight” and his desire to have a better relationship with America…

You may notice that in this 1975 US State Dept document that Paul Bremer was present. One of the topics was Saddam and a “Kudish thing”, which was his brutality to the Kurds. Kissinger said his “ruthlessness” was to be “expected”…

This is a December 1983 document on Donal Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein to create a personal and direct relationship between Reagan and Hussein. Saddam voiced his “obvious pleasure” with Reagan and Rumsfeld…

In this March 1984 document on “briefing notes for Rumsfeld visit to Baghdad” we learn about the “set backs” of “bilateral relations” with Iraq because of Saddam’s use of chemical weapons. The document points out that we advised him that “this issue would arrise sooner or later.” Regardless, the document pointed out our desire to keep “our relations on check” and to “continue to improve bilateral relations with Iraq.” Because wasnt it the US companies that supplied the chemical weapons materials? Wasnt that possible because the US removed Iraq from the list of countries that supported international terrorism (which meant any embargo was lifted)? When Donald Rumsfeld met Saddam in December 1983 didn’t he note that Iraq was using chemical weapons on “almost a daily basis”? Yes, no doubt we had reservations on him using them. Especially, on Iraqis. There were no condemnations against using them on Iran even though this document asserts “our strong opposition to the use of lethal or incapacitating CW, wherever it occurs.”

This is the document on Iraq use of chemical weapons on “almost a daily basis”, that the CW came from the West and possibly a US company (which it was later proven to be) and that the Iran-Iraq war was a popular theme. Can you pick up on the parts where it talks about the war? “As you are aware, presently Iraq is at a disavantage in its war of attrition with Iran.”

This is our National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 114) from Ronald W. Reagan. “U.S. Policy toward the Iran-Iraq War,” November 26, 1983. Can you tell “oil” is the primary concern?

In this 1988 document April Glaspie makes an appearance, she will show up later below, and the gassing of Halabja is mentioned. The US Senate was pressing for the “Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988.” Which, was ultimately vetoed. But, even if it passed we are assured that “Bechtel representatives said that if economic sanctions contained in Senate Act are signed into law, Bechtel will turn to non-U.S. suppliers of technology and continue to do business in Iraq.”

This is the National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 99) from Ronald W. Reagan. “United States Security Strategy for the Near East and South Asia.” Notice how much has been censored out. Apparently, the “US regional interests” are a matter of national security; they were removed from the document…

This is a transcript of a conversation between Saddam and April Glaspie, the ambassador to Iraq. She mentions that the media attention on Iraq for the gassing in Halabja was “cheap and unjust.” She also says that we are “neutral” and that “we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait… All that we hope for is that these issues are solved quickly.” And only six days later Iraq invaded Kuwait and quickly solved the issue. Unfortunately, for him this was the turning point in our relationship. Either he completely misunderstood our comment or we set him up. And now we are “charging” him for this illegal invasion. Irony…

Categories: Uncategorized

Saddam Hussein And A Fair Trial? Plus, News: 01 July 2004

So there was Saddam Hussein on tv. Shaking his finger. Speaking in third person. Attempting to deflect attention from him by manipulating facts. He was given his “preliminary charges”, which aren’t really charges but rather a photo-op. One of the accusations was the invasion of Kuwait. Interesting that Saddam is charged with an illegal invasion; what was it that the US just did in Iraq? An illegal invasion? Didn’t Richard Perle even admit that “international law would have required us to leave him alone”?

I hope that ends up in the “legal charges” which will be in about a year. Because I know Saddam will bring up his meeting with US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. Apparently six days before Saddam invaded he had a personal conversation with Ms. Glaspie about his ultimatum to Kuwait; relieve their debt for protecting them from Iran or we will invade and take Iraq back. See, Kuwait was created by Britain to block Iraq from the Persian Gulf and Saddam was rhetorically claiming that Kuwait is legitimately a part of Iraq. There is a thread of truth to it but it was still criminally insane to invade.

What it came down to was Iraq was going to get its ass kicked by Iran and this is why we gave him WMD. To level the playing field. But Iraq acquired a massive amount of debt. Saddam tried to relieve this debt with bellicose threats. None of the Gulf states wanted to forgive some of the debt. So, in the case of Kuwait, Saddam said relieve our debt or we take Iraq back. Glaspie said that Sec of State James Baker said we were “neutral” on the situation and if Iraq did anything, they needed to do it quickly. Saddam said he would give them the ultimatum in the next couple of days. They rejected. He invaded. We turned on him and it was down hill with his relationship with the US ever since.

The rest of the charges come from interesting periods; periods where Western support, primarily US, was the driving factor behind the capability.

In 1983 when Saddam was gassing “his own people” Donald Rumsfeld met personally with Hussein to talk about creating a direct relationship with Ronald Reagan. They did not discuss Iraq’s “almost daily use” of chemical weapons. The support continued through to the 1988 Halabja gassing. The US went so far as to blame Iran for that one when we knew full well that it was Saddam.

As mentioned above there was the Kuwait invasion and the possibility that Saddam took Glaspies comment, which she admitted to saying (it was recorded!), as a green light for the invasion.

Then after the Gulf War there was a revolution in Souther Iraq. Since it was a religious coup and not a military, the US sided with Saddam and allowed Saddam to massacre the Shias. The Sec of Defense at that time was Dick Cheney. So it is odd that we are trying Saddam for more crimes that we are culpable in. In this specific one we had the military capability of preventing the massacre and did nothing. Colin Powel was one of the Generals!

The pattern is obvious: not only is the US linked to all of the crimes Saddam is getting charged with, but the people in office now who are basically his judge, jury and executioner (wasn’t that the point of Bremers last minute edicts, to ensure a client state? We know who still runs Iraq…) were the ones who made it all possible then when it was happening.

So it is hard to expect a fair trial for Saddam under the circumstances. But, he did look nice with the loss of weight and the grooming. I can see what the British Embassy meant in their 1969 cable that Saddam was a “presentable young man” and in another cable that stated he was “merging in the lime light.” I can also see why Henry Kissinger and his aides (among them was Paul Bremer) “expected” Saddam to be “ruthless” in the “Kurdish thing.” I am referring to a 1975 US State Dept memo that is a transcript of a conversation, about and among other things, Saddam Hussein (another emphasis of this memo is that there was support for Saddam and his crimes years before the Iranian revolution). In reference to the “Kurdish thing” (actually it was a brutal oppression of the Kurds that Kissinger later acknowledged that “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work”) Saddam is described as “ruthless” and Kissinger says: “That was to be expected.”

I want to see Saddam pay for his crimes but, those who made it all possible and contributed should be tried and dealt with as well. I think it should be done at the Hague in an international criminal system. I think they all should get fair trials and should cooperate. But I know I am asking for too much. But this shouldn’t stop us from setting a decent set of standards, at least if we want to be decent people.

So with that in mind…

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you some of the American criminals who should be charged alongside Saddam Hussein in a fair trial at the Hague in the International Criminal Court: George HW Bush, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, James Baker and Paul Bremer. Sure there are more but these would be the “aces.”

A Pitiful Occasion for the People

by Robert Fisk

Bread and Circus Trials in Iraq


Iraqis Have Lived This Lie Before

by Haifa Zangana

Bremer Leaves, His Puppets Remain


Book by CIA’s “Anonymous” Reflects Analyst Outrage

by Ray McGovern

India Today

by Noam Chomsky

U.S. Says Poles Find Old Sarin Shells in Iraq

[Now, the article does admit that these are pre-1991 and that they do not prove that anything was produced after the first Gulf War but, do you see any reference to the shelf life of Sarin? Rumsfeld said: “Now these are weapons that we always knew Saddam Hussein had that he had not declared, and they have tested them and I have not seen them and I have not tested them, but they believe that they are correct that these, in fact, were undeclared chemical weapons — sarin and mustard gas — quite lethal and that is a discovery that just occurred within the last period of days.” So these expired shells are what we went to war for? These dozen expired shells? They are still “quite lethal”? As former Chief Scientist of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Peter Zimmerman explains, “Any sarin nerve gas that they were making in 1990-1991 had a known shelf life of about two months-I have confirmed this with inspectors and analysts who were deeply involved in the 1990’s analyses. If you made it 12 years ago and has a shelf life of two months, it may not be safe to drink, but it isn’t sarin nerve gas any longer-and there is no way the agency could not have known that.”]

U.S. Military Police Raid

[So, the US is now against prisoner abuse, we got a new change in heart. But, I admit I giggled when I read: “The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn’t strip them naked, photograph them or fuck them like you did.”]

Bush may transfer detainees to US jails,13743,1251104,00.html

Defiant Saddam Scoffs at ‘Theater’, Calls Bush Real Criminal

Defiant Saddam faces court,2763,1251451,00.html

Saddam’s ex-aides pliant in the dock

CIA Felt Pressure to Alter Iraq Data, Author Says

Insurgents Stage Attacks Across Iraq

New Iraqi Gov’t Left With Fraction of Rebuilding Funds

Iraqis sidelined during Bremer reign

US planes bomb Falluja

Iraq Regime Change a Sham, Say Mideast Experts

Iraq is Worse Off Than Before the War Began, GAO Reports

Report Shows Revolving Doors Between Gov’t, Business

Purported Iraqi group executes US soldier

Pentagon plans to call up reservists

Resistance attacks continue despite handover

80% of Iraqis Want US to Stop Patrolling Cities

Uncharged Saddam to make court appearance

Iraq to take legal custody of Saddam

[legal; not physical…],12700,1249930,00.html

Who Wants to Guess Where the Car Bomb Will Go Off Today?

Father of Iraq Beheading Victim Rips Bush

Amnesty: US Iraq detentions illegal

Billions of Revenue from Oil ‘Missing’

Supreme court blow for Bush on Guantánamo,13743,1249692,00.html

US tribunal named for Guantanamo detainees

Wartime President Is Again Outflanked

Clusters of Death

Goodbye, Mattie

Palestinians starve under occupation

Powell demands action on Darfur

[Over a month ago the UN was saying something needs to be done. US officials and the press have been relatively silent. How many of you knew about the Darfur issue outside of any of my news? Powell said: “I hope to give them a very direct message about how the United States and the international community see the horrific situation, we need to see action promptly.” How cynical…]

More American Adults Lack Health Insurance

Family Planning: ‘Failed Aid Kills A Million Women’

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