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Firas Al-Atraqchi: How To Lie About Iraq

How To Lie About Iraq


By Firas Al-Atraqchi

In September 2000, as the Palestinian Intifadha raged, a blueprint for U.S. foreign policy and strategy was drawn up by a prominent U.S. think-tank. The blueprint, titled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, went largely unreported in U.S. media, but is available online. (http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0209/S00103.htm)

The report was drafted for Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush (U.S. President George Bush's brother and current Florida governor), Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby, then Cheney's chief of staff, before the 2000 U.S. elections. Today, Cheney is U.S. Vice-President; Wolfowitz is Deputy-Secretary of Defence to Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defence.

The invasion of Iraq, and control of the Arab Gulf region, is clearly defined as a central strategy in the report:

"The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

The report pinpoints the UK as 'the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership'; that this ally play a vital role in the 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars'; sees the U.N. as a weak, bureaucratic offset of the U.S.'s political will: peace-keeping missions are 'demanding American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations'.

The report goes on to indicate that U.S. strategic interests require that "even should Saddam pass from the scene, bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently - despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops - as 'Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has".

The report also sees the emerging unity of European markets as a liable threat against U.S. interests and subsequently, all industrial nations must be discouraged from rivalling or challenging the U.S.

Consequently, the U.S. public is being fed massive misinformation by a right-wing conservative, ultra-unilateralist faction that is obsessed with:

1) Ensuring that the majority of the world's energy supplies are under their dominance,

2) Ensuring that Russian oil companies stay out of Iraq, and more recently, Kuwait, where Russian Lukoil has been in negotiations with Kuwaiti oil companies,

3) That the Palestinian problem be solved by 'asking the Palestinians to leave' and declaring a homeland in Jordan, or possibly western Iraq, by 2004,

4) Dividing the oil fields of Iraq with Israel and the United Kingdom (the possibility that the latter may be stiffed is quite high)

5) Surrounding Iran by setting up military advance vanguard bases in Iraq, the former Soviet Republics, and Afghanistan,

6) Applying sufficient military, economic, and diplomatic pressures leading to the division of Saudi Arabia into four sectors;

7) Going after any irritant to Israel, including Hizbollah and Syrian-backed factions.

A quick read of recent various Washington-based think tanks reveal a deep animosity towards Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. The non-ethic of pre-emption is a means to an end, or several ends as listed above.

Much effort goes into achieving the above goals, but the overwhelmingly pivotal first step is the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with the other pieces to follow like the domino effect.

The invasion of Iraq requires a massive disinformation and propaganda effort not seen since the Third Reich brainwashed its own people into believing that the Jews must be eradicated in a Final Solution and that all of Europe must fall under German Aryan subjugation.

In the modern era the Final Solution is for the Iraqis in the small scale; the Arabs who get out of line, in the greater scale.

The disinformation initiative began well before September 11, 2001, with carefully selected articles making their way into mainstream media. The proponents of this initiative include CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The National Review and a bevy of syndicated columnists such as Ann Coulter ("let's invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity"), Charles Krauthammer and William Safire, and political heavies like Richard Perle, Henry Kissinger, and former CIA chief William Woolsey.

The list also includes various 'experts', military personnel, and Iraqi dissidents residing in the U.S. who believe supporting the Bush Administration will make their lives easier in the New World. British Member of Parliament George Galloway has publicly called these Iraqi dissidents as "bought and paid for by the Americans" (BBC - September 24, 2002).

The disinformation is perpetuated through the guise of a 'free press'. Unfortunately, North American free press is about as free as the press in Myanmar (formerly Burma). No one in North American media questions the official line; rather, they tout it hook, line and sinker.

Writing in the October 2002 issue of Harper's Magazine, Lewis H. Lapham bitterly criticizes U.S. media:

"Against every precedent in international law, in violation of the Unites Nations Charter, and without consent of the American Congress, the Bush Administration was proposing to sack a heathen city that had done it no demonstrable harm, and the news media were by and large happy to welcome the event with the obedient commentary supportive of the belief that if America allowed Saddam to acquire weapons of mass destruction we would suffer consequences frightful to contemplate and terrible to behold."

If Lapham is to be believed, there is no free press in North America, but a press that serves political and financial special interests groups and their initiatives.

The disinformation package is wide and varied but includes, among other things:

1) Iraq has been building weapons of mass destruction since it kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998.

Not true. Iraq had tried to thwart the mobility of inspectors to presidential sites because it was suspected that these visits were gathering intelligence on the whereabouts of Saddam and his security apparatus, and not concentrating on weapons of the destruction of these weapons. These suspicions were later confirmed when the U.N. admitted, much to its shame, that several inspectors were working for the CIA and Israel's Mossad. Iraq prevented their access to presidential sites fearing for the security of the Iraqi government. The U.S. ordered all U.N. inspectors out of Iraq (a decision not sanctioned by the Security Council) and immediately began bombing the very sites where the inspectors had carried out intelligence gathering. Iraq never kicked out the inspectors - the U.S ordered them out.

"Finally, after manipulating the inspections process to provoke a confrontation by demanding the right to inspect sensitive sites, inspectors were pulled out on U.S. orders -- not evicted by Iraq -- in December 1998 right before the United States launched cruise missile strikes on Iraq. Not surprisingly, Iraq has not been eager to allow inspectors to return, especially after it was revealed that what Iraq had long contended was true -- the United States had used inspectors to spy on the Iraqi regime." (Robert Jensen - professor of journalism at the University of Texas and author of "Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Analysis from the Margins to the Mainstream")

2) Of course, the Security Council authorized all member states to assist in gathering information on Iraq's secretive weapons program. The CIA and Mossad helped in this endeavour.

A half-truth. Member states were required by the Security Council to provide the UNSCOM inspectors with all assistance, including gathered intelligence. However, the same said member states were not authorized to receive, demand, or gather intelligence out of Iraq. This is a violation of UNSCOM's mandate. As UNMOVIC head Hans Blix recently stated, information is meant to be channelled one way - from member states to UNMOVIC - and not back to those member states. The spies in UNSCOM left monitoring devices in specific locations throughout Iraq to monitor the movement of Saddam and his inner circle.

On Friday October 4th, 2002, Ake Sellstrom, formerly employed by the U.N. weapons inspection organization UNSCOM led by American Scott Ritter, told Swedish Television:

"There were episodes you could sense were strange. One team member made too many copies of documents. Then there were those who went to their embassies at night although they were not really allowed to do so".

According to Reuters, Sellstrom also claimed that "information obtained by means of electronic surveillance of Iraqi security forces' communications had clearly fallen into wrong hands -- such as the U.S. and Israeli military -- during his time with UNSCOM."

3) The invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. If anything, it will create the right kind of environment for democratic institutions to be established in the region.

A blatant lie: As early as last spring, Israeli officials proclaimed that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's hands were restrained, pending the imminent attack on Iraq.

Viewed through the eyes of Israel's hawkish leaders, however, a US strike is not about Iraq only. Decisionmakers [sic] believe it will strengthen Israel's hand on the Palestinian front and throughout the region. Deputy Interior Minister Gideon Ezra suggested this week that a US attack on Iraq will help Israel impose a new order, sans Arafat, in the Palestinian territories.

"The more aggressive the attack is, the more it will help Israel against the Palestinians. The understanding would be that what is good to do in Iraq, is also good for here," said Ezra. He said a US strike would "undoubtedly deal a psychological blow" to the Palestinians. (Ben Lynfield, August 30, 2002 edition of the Christian Science Monitor).

An attack on Iraq, by Israeli official admission, would allow Sharon free rein with the Palestinians. Free rein means the final requiem of the Oslo Accords, and military control of the West Bank. As this article, goes to press, Israeli forces are contemplating an invasion of the Gaza Strip, having humiliated and devastated any physical remnants of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli press reports that Israeli commandos are rehearsing how to kidnap, kill or expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Harper's Magazine's Washington editor Christopher Hitchens believes there is ground for concern that the Israelis would institute a policy of ethnic cleansing in the West Bank should the bombs start falling on Baghdad. Writing in The Nation's Minority Report column, he says:

"The other concern is more immediate. Since it is estimated by the Pentagon hawks that a war with Saddam Hussein (not, please, "with Iraq") might well bring about the fall of the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan, and since we also know that there are those around General Sharon who are looking for a pretext to cleanse the Palestinians from the West Bank and expel them onto Jordanian soil, there exists the possibility that a serious moral and political disaster is in the making." (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020930&s=hitchens)

4) The Iraqi government is the greatest threat to human civilization.

In 1990, the U.S. public was debating whether to go to war with Iraq to re-insert a corrupt and undemocratic Kuwaiti monarchy. When it appeared that the U.S. public would not favour U.S. intervention into Iraq, the Kuwaiti government sold the idea of war by hiring the U.S. public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton for 10.7 million dollars. The head of Hill and Knowlton was Craig Fuller, a former chief of staff for George Bush Sr. when the latter was Vice-President under Ronald Reagan. In 1990, Bush Sr. was heading the 'civilized' war against Iraq.

The firm of Hill and Knowlton was the first to break the story (London Daily Telegraph - September 5, 1990) of Iraqi soldiers hurling premature Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators and through hospital windows, or simply leaving them to die on the floor. The story quickly spread in North American media and the U.S. public was horrified. Memories of Nazi atrocities against Jews surfaced and Saddam was likened to Hitler.

The story was never checked, cross-referenced, or verified. Sources were never called back; their quotes weren't checked, their identities taken for granted, often quoted on a first name basis only. A failing grade in an introductory journalism class.

On October 10, 1990, the CNN viewing public around the world was shocked beyond belief when a U.S. congressional committee heard the testimony of a Kuwaiti woman called Nayirah; in tears over what she claimed were Iraqi soldiers taking Kuwaiti children out of incubators and left to die.

U.S. talk shows, national papers and columnists were outraged. Kill Iraqis, kill, kill, kill, they all shouted in unison. U.S. members of Congress, who could not decide which way to vote on a crucial bill to give Bush Sr. legislative power to declare war, later admitted that the Kuwaiti incubator story convinced them that Iraq should pay for its actions.

And dearly did it pay in 1991, but the story of Iraqi soldiers tossing Kuwaiti children out of incubators was a lie; a fabrication a la Hollywood.

"It is interesting that no one - not the congressmen in the hearing, or any journalist present - bothered to find out the identity of the young woman. She was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, and actually hadn't seen the "atrocities" she described take place. (When later confronted with the lack of evidence for her claims, the young woman said that she hadn't been in the hospital herself, but that a friend who had been there had told her about it.)

Similar unsubstantiated stories appeared at the UN a few weeks later, where a team of "witnesses," coached by Hill&Knowlton, gave "testimony" (although no oath was ever taken) about atrocities in Iraq. It was later learned that the seven witnesses used false names and even identities in one case. In an unprecedented move, the US was allowed to present a video created by Hill & Knowlton to the entire security council [sic].

The invented story eventually broke apart and was exposed. (I first saw it reported in December of 1992 on CBC-TV's Fifth Estate - Canada's "60 Minutes" - in a program called "Selling the War." The show later won an international Emmy.)" (Tom Regan - Christian Science Monitor, September 6, 2002).

5) Going after Iraq and implementing regime-change will ensure the human rights of the Iraqi people. This is not a war on the Iraqi people.

A lie on many fronts: Amnesty International has condemned Bush's U.N. speech before the General Assembly saying that the plight of the Iraqi people is being bulldozed before a military juggernaut.

"Once again, the human rights record of a country is used selectively to legitimize military actions." Amnesty International said.

"The US and other Western governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty International reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and ignored Amnesty International's campaign on behalf of the thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians killed in the 1988 attacks on Halabja.'

"As the debate on whether to use military force against Iraq escalates, the human rights of the Iraqi people, as a direct consequence of any potential military action, is sorely missing from the equation." (Amnesty International).

In September 24, 2000, Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald, (quoting a US Defence Intelligence Agency study entitled Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities and circulated to all major allied Commands) reported that U.S. airmen deliberately targeted Iraq's water filtration and purification networks despite known lethal consequence of such an action:

"It states that Iraq had gone to considerable trouble to provide a supply of pure water to its population. It had to depend on importing specialised equipment and purification chemicals, since water is "heavily mineralised and frequently brackish".

The report stated: "Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidents, if not epidemics, of disease and certain pure-water dependent industries becoming incapacitated"

The report concludes: "Full degradation of the water treatment system probably will take at least another six months." (Sunday Herald, September 2000).

As history shows, during the 45-day bombing blitz of Iraq, eight water dams had been hit and severely damaged, causing floods and municipal, industrial, and irrigation water shortages. Seven of Iraq's major pumping stations were hit, four of them completely destroyed. Thirty-one municipal water and sewage treatment facilities were completely destroyed resulting in open sewage pouring into the streets and the Tigris River.

The Bush Administration reminds us that Iraq has "snubbed its nose" in the face of all U.N. resolutions and international law. However, the consistent bombing of Iraq's civilian infrastructure is in direct violation of Article 54 of the Geneva Convention, which states: "It is prohibited to attack, destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population" and includes foodstuffs, livestock and "drinking water supplies and irrigation works".

Today, typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, cholera, and polio ravage Iraqi children. These diseases had been all, but eradicated prior to the Gulf War.

Necessary equipment and chemical treatment (Contracts were for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing pumps, water tankers) needed to rectify Iraq's water problems are prohibited from Iraq by the U.S. delegation to the U.N. sanctions committee.

Norman Solomon, author of "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media", says:

"The State Department continues to veto some crucial shipments of basic medical supplies to Iraq, including such items as special centrifuges for blood separation, plasma freezers and fusion pumps. After three visits to southern Iraq, most recently in September, an Austrian physician named Eva-Maria Hobiger says in heartfelt imperfect English: "By the support of these machines, the life of many sick children can be saved. It has to be called a crime when innocent and suffering children are the target of policy."

6) Iraq and Osama bin Laden are one and the same. Iraq funds and arms Al-Qaeda and the latter have bases in Iraq.

There has been no evidence linking Iraq with al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden, despite hundreds of F.B.I, CIA and NSA agents scouring the world in search of such a link.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wrote this week that:

"When U.S. Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota asked the defence chief on Thursday: "What is compelling us to now make a precipitous decision and take precipitous actions?" an exasperated Rumsfeld sputtered: "What's different? What's different is 3,000 people were killed."

"The casus belli is casuistry belli: We can't cuff Saddam to 9/11, but we'll clip Saddam because of 9/11." (New York Times, September 23, 2002)

In light of the strategic report (Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century) prepared in September 2000, we now know that current senior U.S. officials had been eyeing Iraq well before 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001. The tragedy of September 11th serves as convenient public relations gambit to turn the focus on Iraq and add another reason to invade Iraq.

On September 26, National Security Adviser Condi Rice and Secretary of Defence Don Rumsfeld indicated separately that Iraq was linked to Al-Qaeda and that senior members of Al-Qaeda were presently in Iraq.

At a Pentagon briefing, Rumsfeld was asked how accurate the information of an Al-Qaeda-Iraq link was. Rumsfeld claimed that defectors and possibly Al-Qaeda detainees in Guantanomo had just provided the information.

Pressed further by Pentagon correspondents, Rumsfeld said:

"I can't tell if the information is accurate today as it was accurate then".

When asked who those senior Al-Qaeda members in Iraq were, Rumsfeld replied:

"Yes, I do know but I won't tell you. I have to check my information".

Immediately following the Pentagon briefing, David Ensor, CNN's National Security Correspondent (an expert on the U.S. Intelligence community and national security issues such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism and the national missile defence) said:

"There is scepticism among the CIA about an Iraq-Al-Qaeda link. The evidence is not there yet to suggest operational links."

Pat Buchanan of MSNBC's Press and Buchanan also believes that the link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda is dubious at best: "There are much closer ties between Al-Qaeda and Iran, Al-Qaeda and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia than there are with Iraq."

In addition to a weak, and unproven link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, the CIA and other intelligence networks are also sceptical about the sources of these tidbits of information. They believe that the defectors, dissidents and detainees pass on inconsistent and unreliable information that is usually warped for political reasons.

Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief, tells ABCNEWS that

"The quality of information from [Iraqi] defectors has been good and bad. But that's true of information from all defectors around the world. We've been given some crap that was clearly distorted." ( http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq020926_howeish.html )

Heavily depending on defectors and informants may also be leading U.S. foreign policy astray.

"In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, President Bush attributed the successful uncovering of the bioweapons program to the fortuitous defection of a senior Iraqi weapons official in 1995. In this case, the president does not appear to have been well briefed. In fact, in April 1995, four months before the Iraqi official defected, U.N. inspectors disclosed to the Security Council that Iraq had a major biological weapons program, including a sizable production facility. In later reports in June and July, the inspection team, known as the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq, or UNSCOM, added details about Iraq's research into weapons that could spread anthrax, botulism, aflatoxin and gas gangrene. The defection of the Iraqi weapons official, a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, in August provided some additional confirmation and prompted the Iraqi regime to make some more admissions, but the inspectors learned few new details. (Rolf Ekeus - Washington Post - Sunday, September 15, 2002; Page B01)

Statements made by senior officials of the Bush Administration concerning possible links between Iraq and Al-Qaida are also in stark contradiction to a U.S. State Department annual report on terrorism released in April 2001 which states: "the Iraqi regime has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since 1993."

The report also highlights that the small paramilitary groups that Iraq supports, such as the Arab Liberation Front (in Palestine) and the Mujahidin e-Khalq (for Iran), have no access to Iraq's more advanced weaponry, let alone weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. Intelligence officials are astonished at how the Bush Administration is rampantly making claims it cannot support.

John Diamond, of USA Today, writes in the September 17, 2002 edition:

"The Bush administration is expanding on and in some cases contradicting U.S. intelligence reports in making the case for an invasion of Iraq, interviews with administration and intelligence officials indicate."

"Administration officials accuse Iraq of having ties to al-Qaeda terrorists and of amassing weapons of mass destruction despite uncertain and sometimes contrary intelligence on these issues, according to officials." ( http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002-09-16-intell_x.htm )

The much-respected Jane's Intelligence Digest also doubts an operational link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest, recently told Australia's The Age:

"Saddam's Ba'ath Party regime, despite its Islamic trappings, is a deeply secular and fundamentally socialist ideology. You can think whatever you like about Saddam but he is not so foolish that he would threaten his own region's stability by financing the extreme and violent likes of al Qaeda." ( http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/11/1031608270446.html )

So shallow is the depth of the U.S. intelligence-gathering and fact-finding campaign to demonize Iraq that the U.S. State Department is planning to launch a massive, multi-million dollar media blitz to win the propaganda war.

"The White House is aware that it lacks substantial new intelligence on Saddam's nuclear programme or evidence directly linking Baghdad to the September 11 attacks. But it will build on the contents of President's Bush's speech made to the UN General Assembly last week, in which he listed Saddam's violations of UN resolutions. The campaign, which will initially receive over $200 million (£130 million), will be overseen by the Office of Global Communications, whose existence will not be formally announced until next month." (Tim Reid - The Times of London - September 17, 2002)

7) Inspections will not work. They have not worked in the past.

Ekeus is not as pessimistic.

"I do feel optimistic about these inspections because I know that they have worked in the past. I think it's important that [inspection boss Hans] Blix invites good specialists of the highest quality because it's important not to get into the politics, but into the technicalities." ( http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq020926_howeish.html )

Ekeus goes on to say:

"Our experience from those years proves beyond doubt that Iraq has the ambition and ability to acquire weapons of mass destruction. But it also shows that international weapons inspectors, if properly backed up by international force, can unearth Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. If we believe that Iraq would be much less of a threat without such weapons, the obvious thing is to focus on getting rid of the weapons. Doing that through an inspection team is not only the most effective way, but would cost less in lives and destruction than an invasion." (Rolf Ekeus - Washington Post - Sunday, September 15, 2002; Page B01)

He goes on to qualify the success of inspection regimes:

"Thanks to the work of U.N. inspectors, not much was left of Iraq's once massive weapons programs when inspections halted. The question now is how much Baghdad has managed to acquire since then."

8) This is not about oil; this is about democracy to the Iraqi people.

The issue of oil and secure natural energy resources has hardly come up in the political debate concerning Iraq. Moreover, politicians who festoon the airwaves and national media ostensibly avoid the fact that Iraq is known to be at the very least the world's second largest oil reserve.

The issue of oil-politick, however, has been raised by the public and is slowly making the headlines.

Canada's Maclean's Magazine ran the following in its October 7, 2002 edition:

"By installing a regime friendly to the United States in Iraq, which controls 11 per cent of the world's oil supply and has massive untapped reserves, George W. Bush would ensure the U.S. has cheap crude for years. "Oil is at the centre of our Middle East policy," said Charles V. Pena, a former U.S. Defense [sic] Department adviser. 'Everything we do in the region is to ensure ourselves a cheap supply.'"

(TOM FENNELL and WILLIAM LOWTHER, Maclean's - October 7, 2002)

Prominent statesmen like former South African President Nelson Mandela firmly believe that oil interests in the Middle East prompt the current crisis. In an interview with Newsweek, Mandela said that the current push for war

"is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W Bush's desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America". ( http://www.msnbc.com/news/806174.asp )

The prospect of pushing the world to the verge of war over oil rights in Iraq is neither surprising nor novel. According to Woolsey,

"France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq towards decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies will work with them. If they throw their lot with Saddam, it will be difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraq government to work with them." (The Washington Post, September 15, 2002.)

This is a frightening spectre; the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are not being shown explicit evidence of Iraq's threat to world security, but rather the profit that may be divided amongst them should they back the U.S. push for invasion.

Should an invasion occur and a puppet regime be installed, the oil game would greatly favour U.S. oil companies. The Washington Post also reported in the above edition that the INC leader, Ahmed Chalabi, favoured the creation of a US-led consortium to develop Iraq's oil fields.

The prospect of war is reaching critical point at an alarming rate. U.S. and British troops are massing in the Arab Gulf countries under the pretext of 'routine military exercises'. The world community is told that Iraq must disarm. When Iraq and the U.N. reached a deal for unconditional access to military (and other sites) in Iraq, the U.S., apparently embarrassed by the monkey wrench thrown into its war plans, threatened to bar the inspectors from entering Iraq. The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (France, Russia, and China) remain firmly opposed to a new, more stringent resolution, but they are being threatened, blackmailed and assailed by the U.S. and the U.K.

National Security Adviser Condi Rice says that regime change in Iraq is essential for global security. Less than a year ago, Rice declared that no one could have possibly imagined two hijacked planes striking the World Trade Center and that no information from intelligence sources could have possibly indicated so.

Recent Congressional hearings into the intelligence failures preceding September 11, 2001 have revealed that since 1997, the CIA had received several warnings of planes being flown into buildings in the U.S. The latest intelligence alert came as recently as August 2001:

"Tuesday, a source close to the congressional investigation said intelligence following the bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors in October 2000, indicated there was an increasing threat to the U.S. homeland. Investigators also learned there was evidence that al Qaeda considered using aircraft as a terror tool, the source said." ( http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/17/intelligence.hearings/index.html )

"FBI agent Kenneth Williams, based in Phoenix, Arizona, wrote a memo to his superiors in Washington two months before the attacks, suggesting that terrorists might be learning to fly commercial jetliners at United States flight schools. He asked for a check of flight schools, but no checks were made." ( http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/24/intelligence.hearings.ap/index.html )

Is it plausible, in light of the above, to believe that the head of U.S. National Security had 'no idea' that something as tragic as September 11 could happen?

These questions, and others, have been steamrolled, and strategically removed from public scrutiny, by another misinformation campaign - the invasion of Iraq.

So what is the push for war all about? Dowd of the New York Times sums it up as follows:

"The administration isn't targeting Iraq because of 9/11. It's exploiting 9/11 to target Iraq. This new fight isn't logical -- it's cultural. It is the latest chapter in the culture wars, the conservative dream of restoring America's sense of Manifest Destiny."

God help us all.

ENDS

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