Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Greg Palast IV: Fixed Intelligence to Justify Iraq

BETWEEN THE LINES Q&A
A weekly column featuring progressive viewpoints
on national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media
for release May 22, 2005

http://www.btlonline.org/btl052005.html

British Memo Indicates Bush Administration Fixed Intelligence to Justify Iraq Invasion

Interview with Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author, conducted by Scott Harris

Listen in RealAudio:
http://www.btlonline.org/palast052005.ram
(Needs RealOne player or RealPlayer)

Just before Britain's parliamentary elections, the Sunday Times of London published a leaked British government memo that laid out the Bush administration plan for an invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power, justified on intelligence fixed around the policy. The memo, dated July 23, 2002, summarizes a meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with his security advisers and indicates that President Bush had already made a decision to attack Iraq in the summer of 2002.

The memo, front page news in Britain and Europe, specifically says, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," in a reference to the rationale for war -- namely weapons of mass destruction -- which have never been found. The revelation made just before the British people went to the polls may have played a role in significantly weakening Tony Blair's Labor Party May 5th election victory.

Although the U.S. press has paid little attention to the implications of the memo, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., joined by 88 members of Congress, has asked the White House to explain the memo's explosive assertions. Between The Lines, Scott Harris spoke with investigative reporter and author Greg Palast, who examines the political significance of the leaked British memo.

GREG PALAST: You have to understand Scott, this is Page 1 news in Britain. It's what sank Tony Blair. I mean, the guy only got by the way, 36 percent of the vote, or I should say, his Labor party -- 36 percent of the vote in Britain. This was the nail in the coffin.

It was a memorandum from inside his government saying that Blair had met with our president, Mr. Bush, at the Crawford ranch in Washington. This is eight months before the war, before we were told there was going to be a war. Bush had decided we're going in, the memo said that Bush was going in, no matter what. This had nothing to do with weapons inspectors because Tony Blair said, Well, we better come up with a story like "Tell Saddam he's got to bring in the weapons inspectors." This is where they came up with this idea. The excuse that Bush laid out was going to be weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's games with terrorism, and of course, Blair pointed out -- and it was pointed out that Bush himself recognized that -- and this is a quote, "The intelligence and facts were being fixed to match the policy." Again, intelligence and facts were being fixed and this is about our president. This is Page 1 news in Britain. You couldn't get a breath of this in the United States, and yet this is about our president fixing the intelligence to get us into war.

This is what nailed Nixon in the end, not just Watergate, but it was fixing the intelligence. In the case of Watergate, Nixon finally went down because he tried to blame the CIA and in our case, George Bush himself successfully did this. A month ago, we had a report out saying that the intelligence was not monkeyed with, rather the Rob Silverman report said that the CIA simply had the wrong information. Not so, the facts were being fixed, according to this internal memo.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Greg Palast, tell us about the veracity of this memo and the consequences in the U.S. Congress, if any.

GREG PALAST: The veracity is 100 percent, because Prime Minister Blair -- I should say the outgoing Prime Minister given what's happened -- did not deny the authenticity of the memo. In fact, David Frost put it right in front of his nose and said, "Explain this," and (Blair) said, "Well, you have to understand what it means." In other words, he didn't deny its authenticity, he just tried to explain it away. Pretty hard to do when it says basically, he's going along with a knowing lie, a fabrication about weapons of mass destruction, about terrorism and the connection to Saddam Hussein. It's a shocking piece, in fact, you can read it on my website. It includes that the preparation for the war was going to be timed around U.S. congressional elections to fix the elections for Bush, another little sickening note. That they're going to need 250,000 troops, by the way, when in fact they only sent in half that many, confirming the fact that if we were going off on this fake adventure, that we needed more troops to protect each other and we didn't get it. It also said in this memorandum that Blair brought up the fact that Saddam Hussein was not threatening his neighbors, he didn't have any weapons of mass destruction, and regime change, no matter how much it may be desirable, it was a violation of international law and unless there's a threat to the attacking nation. Blair and Bush knowingly together came up with a cockamamie scheme to sell the planet on weapons of mass destruction anyway.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Michigan Rep. John Conyers, joined by 88 members of Congress has asked the president for answers about this particular memo and the implications that the American people, the British population were lied to about the reasons for this war. What are the prospects he'll get any answers?

GREG PALAST: Well, I can tell you that John Conyers and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have previously taken reports of mine from Britain, from BBC and The Guardian and tried to get a rise out of this government, our government and tried to get some attention in the U.S. press and it doesn't happen. And they've tried this in the case of the fix of the vote in 2000; the fix of the vote in 2004; the Bush-bin Laden connection. Bless John Conyers for not just throwing in the towel and saying, "I give up, I'm going to try one more time." But, it's as if, if the report airs on BBC, well, "that's just you know, they're just some crazy pirate radio station out there and it can be ignored." And as long as the New York Times, our "Izvestia," and The Washington "Pravda" Post, carry roughly the administration line or factions of the administration, then it's case closed, no more discussion.

BETWEEN THE LINES: It's interesting that now it's President Bush's second and last term in office, but it seems that the Teflon still holds around him, and protects him from the scrutiny that you would think the press -- at least some quarters of the press -- would exhibit. As you mentioned at the outset, the British and European press is covering this story, but here in the United States, nothing much is going on. Have you had any discussions with press people here about why that's the case?

GREG PALAST: Press people here won't have discussions with me. (Laughs.) So, you know that ends that. You have to remember that, after all, I think one of the most important stories was brought out by Seymour Hersh, about the Abu Ghraib prison and yet that story went around to every major news outlet in the United States and no one would touch it until he did, and of course, he doesn't work for an American newspaper. He was hired by a British editor to the New Yorker magazine after being fired by the New York Times.

We do have a problem in the U.S. -- it's that we've just been completely blindsided because our press has decided to go to sleep. And any news journalist who suddenly wakes up from the hypnosis like Dan Rather did, soon finds themselves unemployed.

Related links on our website at http://www.btlonline.org/btl052005.html#1hed
* "Impeachment Time: Facts Were Fixed"
* "British Memo Indicates Bush Made Intelligence Fit Iraq Policy"
* "A New Memo-gate?"

Greg Palast is a former columnist with Britain's Guardian newspapers and is the author of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." Visit his website at http://www.gregpalast.com

*********************

Scott Harris is executive producer of Between The Lines, which can be heard on more than 35 radio stations and in RealAudio and MP3 on our website at http://www.btlonline.org. This interview excerpt was featured on the award-winning, syndicated weekly radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines for the week ending May 20, 2005. This Between The Lines Q&A was compiled by Scott Harris and Anna Manzo.

*********************

TO DONATE

It's your future ... help make a difference against the corporate media's blackout of news and viewpoints like those in the interview above by helping us distribute to a wider audience in 2005! Please send your donation to:

Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 110176 Trumbull, CT 06611

*** Please note: If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible, please make your check out to our fiscal sponsor, The Center for Global Communications Foundation Inc. (or The Global Center) and send to the above address.***

*********************

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news