The ‘Rigged’ U.S. Election System

How many ways is the election system rigged in the U.S.?

First, there are various voter suppression tactics used by those in power. Wikipedia currently list examples including: impediments to voter registration, photo ID laws, purging of voter rolls, limitations on early voting, felon disenfranchisement, transgender disenfranchisement, disinformation about voting procedures, inequality in Election Day resources, closure of DMV offices, caging lists, gerrymandering, and off-year elections (Voter suppression in the United States). Other tactics can include changing polling locations, changing polling hours, reducing the number of polling places, and under-staffing and limiting the number of voting machines in select areas. There may be others I failed to cover here.

Second, the antiquated Electoral College system which allows the possibility that the winner or the popular vote could still lose the election. It also causes the votes of some to count more than the votes of others, and it causes parties and politicians to pander to and focus more on the concerns of some states over others.

Third, the two-party system has become so embedded that makes it almost impossible for third party candidates to have a realistic chance of winning, and the two major parties that have the power have an incentive to keep it that way. Independent or unaffiliated voters (which are currently 38 percent of the country vs. 32 percent Democrat and 23 percent Republican) may have difficulty finding candidates to represent them, and, depending on the state and party, they may or may not be allowed to vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries.

Fourth, there may be other issues with candidates going against those in the “establishment” within the respective parties. Possibly the most obvious example is the power of so-called “Super-Delegates” in the Democratic Party.

However, possibly the most significant way the election system is rigged is the influence of big money in politics….

Some time back, Larry Lessig presented a great TED Talk about ‘Lester Land’ and how we all live in it. The idea is basically that it’s the people with money who decide what our choices are. It costs quite a bit of money to run for office, and the higher the office the more it costs. Unless someone has money or wins the favor of those who do, they are less likely to get elected. So, our choices come pre-selected and only those candidates who are willing to support the interest of the ‘Lesters’ will come into power.

A 2014 study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities concluded that “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

The peer-reviewed study also said, “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence” and “Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”

The study found that the influence of the average American is at a “non-significant, near-zero level.”

I’ve seen many people reference George Carlin’s comments on the matter to explain why they don’t vote. Carlin argued that “The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ¬ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.”

Carlin argues that we only have the ‘illusion’ of choice. The Princeton and Northwestern study indicate this may be the case, that we really have an oligarchy posing as a democracy.

This is not inspiring, and it may largely explain why a great many Americans don’t bother to vote, why they might vote for a third party, or why they might be so frustrated they are willing to see it all burn down.

Unless we can begin to address the main issue concerning “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests” running the show, we aren’t going to be able to do much to address the other issues. Some Supreme Court cases will need to be overturned, or new laws or amendments need to be passed by Congress (which they will not be inclined to do). Larry Lessig has some suggestions, as do others like Cenk Uygur of the online TYT Network (see: Wolf PAC). Perhaps there are others….

However, until we can get big money out of politics, we aren’t going to have much control of anything.

Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy

The US is not a democracy but an oligarchy, study concludes

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Church/State Separation

Written: 08/04/2013
Presented at a General Meeting of the ACLU-Charlotte

In 1788, the United States Constitution was ratified, replacing the Articles of Confederation, and in 1789, the United States of America was born. The Constitution significantly did not establish religion. The establishment of a secular government, based on Enlightenment Principles of Reason, was unique in the history of the world. It was a new day dawning. No longer would a king or church rule over the minds and bodies of the People by a claim of divine right.

This new government was based on the authority of “We the People” alone, deriving its “just powers from the consent of the governed.” Now, the People would elect their representatives in a democratic republic, and the freedom of conscience of the individual would be held sacrosanct. Article VI, paragraph 3, of the U.S. Constitution states that: “….no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” As George Washington observed, “In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”

In 1791, the Bill of Rights were adopted. These were the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. The First Amendment reads in part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (on which the First Amendment was inspired and based), wrote that the First Amendment erected a “wall of separation between church and state.” He thought that mixing church and state would lead to the “corruption” of religion and “undermine all our civil rights,” and that keeping church and state separate was “absolutely essential in a free society.”

James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution,” and the “Architect of the Bill of Rights” expressed his interpretation of the First Amendment as a “perfect” separation between Church and State, commenting that: “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State,” and “I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

It was Madison who also warned: “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”

He was right to be worried….

During the Civil War era, eleven Protestant denominations began a campaign to add references to God to the U.S. Constitution and other federal documents. Their efforts resulted in the phrase “In God We Trust” being added to some Union coins.

In 1956, during the McCarthy era and Cold War “red scare” of communism, Congress passed a joint resolution making “In God We Trust” our National Motto. This replaced our former de facto National Motto, the Motto our Founders gave us, “E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One).” Two years earlier, the words “under God” had been inserted in between “one nation” and “indivisible” in the Pledge of Allegiance making those words into a lie.

Both the Motto and Pledge were originally secular and all-inclusive, now they were both made religious and exclusive.

In each case, these actions excluded anyone who didn’t believe in a monotheistic God, making them feel like second-class citizens in their own country.

Sadly, North Carolina takes this discrimination further. The North Carolina state constitution bars state office to “any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” This prohibition is ranked first, even above treason, in the state constitution (see: Article VI, Sec. 8. Disqualification for office).

In 1961, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that such restrictions constituted a religious test incompatible with the First and Fourteenth Amendment protections (see: Toraso v.Watkins) and are therefore unenforceable. Nevertheless, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas retain restrictive religious requirements in their Bill of Rights, Declaration of Rights, or in their constitutions.

The problem with having such restrictions in the state constitution can be illustrated by the example of self-described “post theist” Cecil Bothwell. In 2009, Bothwell won the election for a position on the city council in Asheville, NC. He was challenged by his opponents on the basis that North Carolina law does not allow atheists to hold public office. Regardless of the fact the challenge was ultimately ineffective and irrelevant, based on federal law, it was still used as fodder against him and can be used against him in the future when he runs again. It can also be used against any other nonbeliever who might desire to run for office, intimidating them from running. The net result is: nonbelievers without adequate representation.

Some might argue that issues like these are holdovers from the past. Unfortunately, and most disturbingly, North Carolina’s current representatives on the state level seem intent on further flouting federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

For example, over the past couple of years they have been starting sessions with clearly sectarian prayers. In 2012, North Carolina politicians crafted and passed a law that restricted marriage to one man and one woman, based solely on religious ideas. In 2013, they have passed a bill, and the Governor has signed it, that restricts a woman’s constitutionally protected right to control her own reproductive system. Earlier in this last session, some attempted to have Christian Bible study included in public education and to even establish religion.

This flouting of federal law and the U.S. Constitution is not limited to the state level. There are other examples in cities and counties across the state, of sectarian invocations being sanctioned by government representatives. Two recent examples come from Forsyth and Rowan Counties, where their respective City Councils were sanctioning clearly sectarian prayers before their meetings. In both cases, legal action was required to bring a halt to it. This was costly for taxpayers and created dissension in the communities that were affected. While not as blatant, even the Charlotte City Council seems to push the boundaries of the law as far as possible with their invocations and they will dance over the line on occasion. They are certainly intentionally violating the spirit of the law, if not the letter. It is likely this kind of thing is happening in other city councils and public schools across the state.

In fact, there seems to be a concerted attempt to undermine and destroy the public school system. The North Carolina Legislator has passed a tax bill that applies to every school district in the State of North Carolina and which will allow for transferring money, our taxes, from the public school budget to fund vouchers which may be used at religious, as well as Charter schools.

There are even those hoping to subvert the public school system by engaging in a campaign to “implant after-school ‘Good News Clubs’ in every public elementary school in the United States.” Mathew Staver–President of Liberty Counsel and leader of the Child Evangelism Fellowship initiative–wrote that Good News Clubs are a “high-powered Sunday school which can now be established in the public schools immediately after school.” The Child Evangelism Fellowship now has Good News Clubs operating in public school systems in all 50 states, and there are currently at least three Good News Clubs operating in North Carolina. Two are located in Fuquay Varina and one in Indian Trail.

James Madison’s warning about “the danger of encroachment” should never be taken lightly. In the past several decades, religious fundamentalists have launched a concerted effort to revise history to suggest that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles despite the clear evidence to the contrary. In order to do this, they have propagated false, altered, or out-of-context quotes from founders to further their agenda and to rewrite history wherever and however they can. Many of them seem intent on establishing their religion by whatever means necessary, even if they have to lie and deceive to accomplish their objectives. They seem to be willing and able to dispense with their own prime directive of doing unto others as they would have done unto them in order to accomplish their goals.

They are a clear and present danger to our democratic republic, to freedom of conscience, and to our country’s founding ideals of equality, liberty, and justice for all.

As many others have said before, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” This is certainly the case here. We need to keep ourselves informed about the actions of individuals, groups and politicians who attempt, by whatever means, to break down the wall between church and state. We need to draw attention to it when we see it happening, and we need to act–and to encourage others to act–to stop it. We can act by speaking out against it, by organizing protests, by exercising our right to vote, and, where appropriate and possible, to take legal action to mitigate and remove these activities.

The encroachment of religion into government is a threat to everyone’s civil rights. It isn’t just a threat to the irreligious; it’s a threat to everyone. Note that our founders weren’t just concerned that religion might corrupt government, but they were also concerned that government might corrupt religion.

What is ultimately corrupted is the freedom of conscience and civil rights of the individual.

 

North Carolina Should Say No To Senate Bill 138

Written: 03/04/2013
Published in the Raleigh News & Observer as an OpEd.

The Secular Coalition for North Carolina is extremely concerned about the recently proposed Senate Bill 138 offering students in grades 9-12 elective courses in Bible studies.

We believe this bill is problematic for many reasons, that it will likely not be implemented as intended, that the costs of adequate implementation have not been addressed, and that the end result will be a failed program which will put our school districts in legal jeopardy and North Carolina taxpayers in financial jeopardy.

We would like to cite Texas as an example of what we think is the likely outcome of this bill. In 2007, Texas passed House Bill 1278, a very similar bill to SB Bill 138. It was intended to promote elective Bible courses while protecting the religious freedom of students and families, just as SB Bill 138 is intended to do. A study recently released by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund found that most of the schools failed to adhere to guidelines to protect the religious freedom of students. Southern Methodist University Professor of Religious Studies Mark Chancey, who conducted the study, stated that, “Academically, many of these classes lack rigor and substance, and some seem less interested in cultivating religious literacy than in promoting religious beliefs.” He concluded that, “evidence of sectarian bias, predominantly favoring perspectives of conservative Protestantism, is widespread.”

Part of the reason for these problems with implementation of the bill in Texas seems to be that the state failed to allocate adequate funds for teacher training or curriculum development. One teacher in Abilene, Texas complained that “It would be nice to have some training and some guidance, but I’ll just have to wing it on my own. I’ll make it up as I go.”

We would like to point out that Bill SB 138 does absolutely nothing to make sure that teachers receive adequate training to teach these courses in such a way so as to ensure that constitutional guidelines are followed and the religious freedom of students is protected. We contend that the failure to address this issue in the bill is highly irresponsible and short-sighted, inviting the kind of problems now being experienced in Texas, and will set the stage for numerous future legal battles to be fought out on the local level when inadequately trained teachers fail to follow the constitutional guidelines.

We believe that our public schools at the high school level are not currently equipped to ensure these classes are taught as intended, that the resulting legal battles will be costly to the local communities across the state, and that the cost to hire or prepare teachers and create the curriculum to ensure the classes meet constitutional muster is prohibitive in the current economic climate.

Finally, we object to the favoritism of the Christian religion inherent in the bill. We question why the legislature would propose elective courses in the “holy” book of one religion and not any other. We feel this is discriminatory on its face and question the intentions and motivations of those proposing and supporting the bill.

In sum, we strongly object to and oppose this bill.

We suggest that colleges are better suited and equipped to teach classes in religious studies, and that free Bible study classes are already available for those interested in the abundance of Christian churches across the state.

The Case For The Impeachment Of George W. Bush


Written: December, 2006

Part 1: The First Charge

THE FIRST CHARGE: That George W. Bush and others in his Administration (including, but not limited to: Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice) deceived and mislead Congress and the American public to make war with Iraq in violation of the United States Constitution.

In order to establish this charge, I submit:

EXHIBIT A: Public statements that were made by George W. Bush leading up to the invasion of Iraq which indicated he was reluctant to wage war and that war was only the option of last resort.

EXHIBIT B: False and misleading statements by Bush and members of his Administration about the threat from Iraq in order to motivate public support for action against them.

EXHIBIT C: Evidence that the statements in Exhibit A were also false and that the statements in Exhibit B were designed to mislead Congress and the American public into a war that was part of a previous agenda pre-9-11 using 9-11 as a pretext.

EXHIBIT D: Why these actions violate Constitutional and international law.

EXHIBIT A: PUBLIC STATEMENTS OF THE RELUCTANT WARRIOR, GEORGE W. BUSH

“Of course, I haven’t made up my mind we’re going to war with Iraq.” [10/1/02]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021001-1.html

“Hopefully, we can do this peacefully…. Don’t get me wrong. And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there’s a chance he may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice, don’t… it’s my last choice.” [11/7/02]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/11/20021107-2.html

“This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It’s up to him to make his decision.” [12/4/02]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021204-1.html

“You said we’re headed to war in Iraq. I don’t know why you say that. I hope we’re not headed to war in Iraq. I’m the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully.” [12/31/02]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021231-1.html

“First of all, you know, I’m hopeful we won’t have to go war, and let’s leave it at that.” [1/2/03]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030102.html

“But Saddam Hussein is… he’s treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make. He’s the person who gets to decide war and peace.” [2/7/03]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030207-3.html

“I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” [3/6/03]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030306-8.html

“I want to remind you that it’s his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It’s Saddam’s choice. He’s the person that can make the choice of war and peace.” [3/6/03]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030306-8.html

“We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq, but if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [3/8/03]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030308-1.html

“Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.” [3/17/03]

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030317-7.html



EXHIBIT B: FALSE AND MISLEADING STATEMENTS ABOUT THE THREAT FROM IRAQ

The false and misleading statements made by Bush and others in his Administration about the threat posed by Iraq are so numerous that a comprehensive listing of every one of them would prove to be excessively long and distracting to include in their entirety here. Therefore, it may be best to first reference the Iraq on the Record report prepared by The Special Investigations Division of Congress at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman which identified 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq “made by the five Administration officials most responsible for providing public information and shaping public opinion on Iraq: President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice” in 125 public appearances. The report can be found HERE and an online database, searchable by speaker, subject, keywords, and date, can be found HERE. “The database does not include statements that appear in hindsight to be erroneous but were accurate reflections of the views of intelligence officials at the time they were made.”

The following is from the Findings section of the executive summary of the report:

Findings

Number of Misleading Statements. The Iraq on the Record database contains 237 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq that were made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice. These statements were made in 125 separate appearances, consisting of 40 speeches, 26 press conferences and briefings, 53 interviews, 4 written statements, and 2 congressional testimonies. Most of the statements in the database were misleading because they expressed certainty where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials. Ten of the statements were simply false.

Timing of the Statements. The statements began at least a year before the commencement of hostilities in Iraq, when Vice President Cheney stated on March 17, 2002: “We know they have biological and chemical weapons.” The Administration’s misleading statements continued through January 22, 2004, when Vice President Cheney insisted: “there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government.” Most of the misleading statements about Iraq — 161 statements — were made prior to the start of the war. But 76 misleading statements were made by the five Administration officials after the start of the war to justify the decision to go to war.

The 30-day period with the greatest number of misleading statements was the period before the congressional vote on the Iraq war resolution. Congress voted on the measure on October 10 and October 11, 2002. From September 8 through October 8, 2002, the five officials made 64 misleading statements in 16 public appearances. A large number of misleading statements were also made during the two months before the war began. Between January 19 and March 19, 2003, the five officials made 48 misleading statements in 26 public appearances.

Topics of the Statements. The 237 misleading statements can be divided into four categories. The five officials made 11 statements that claimed that Iraq posed an urgent threat; 81 statements that exaggerated Iraq’s nuclear activities; 84 statements that overstated Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities; and 61 statements that misrepresented Iraq’s ties to al Qaeda.

Statements by President Bush. Between September 12, 2002, and July 17, 2003, President Bush made 55 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 27 separate public appearances. On October 7, 2002, three days before the congressional votes on the Iraqi war resolution, President Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, with 11 misleading statements, the most by any of the five officials in a single appearance.

Some of the misleading statements by President Bush include his statement in the January 28, 2003, State of the Union address that “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”; his statement on October 2, 2002, that “the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency”; and his statement on May 1, 2003, that “the liberation of Iraq . . . removed an ally of al Qaeda.”

Statements by Vice President Cheney. Between March 17, 2002, and January 22, 2004, Vice President Cheney made 51 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 25 separate public appearances.

Some of the misleading statements by Vice President Cheney include his statement on September 8, 2002, that “we do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs . . . to build a nuclear weapon”; his statement on March 16, 2003, that “we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons”; and his statement on October 10, 2003, that Saddam Hussein “had an established relationship with al Qaeda.”

Statements by Secretary Rumsfeld. Between May 22, 2002, and November 2, 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld made 52 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 23 separate public appearances.

Some of the misleading statements by Secretary Rumsfeld include his statement on November 14, 2002, that within “a week, or a month” Saddam Hussein could give his weapons of mass destruction to al Qaeda, which could use them to attack the United States and kill “30,000, or 100,000 . . . human beings”; his statement on January 29, 2003, that Saddam Hussein’s regime “recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa”; and his statement on July 13, 2003, that there “was never any debate” about whether Iraq had a nuclear program.

Statements by Secretary Powell. Between April 3, 2002, and October 3, 2003, Secretary Powell made 50 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 34 separate public appearances.

Secretary Powell sometimes used caveats and qualifying language in his public statements. His statements that contained such cautions or limitations were not included in the database. Nonetheless, many of Secretary Powell’s statements did not include these qualifiers and were misleading in their expression of certainty, such as his statement on May 22, 2003, that “there is no doubt in our minds now that those vans were designed for only one purpose, and that was to make biological weapons.”

Statements by National Security Advisor Rice. Between September 8, 2002, and September 28, 2003, National Security Advisor Rice made 29 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 16 separate public appearances.

Although Ms. Rice had the fewest public appearances and the fewest misleading statements, she had the highest number of statements — 8 — that were false. These false statements included several categorical assertions that that no one in the White House knew of the intelligence community’s doubts about the President’s assertion that Iraq sought to import uranium from Africa.

While a review of every last misleading and false statement, and why they were false and misleading, will not be covered here, as we feel that the database found on the link above does an excellent job of that, it may be useful to look at a representitive sampling of some of the quotes to review the specific kinds of misleading and false claims that were being made.


CLAIM # 1: That Iraq attempted to purchase aluminum tubes needed for centrifuges used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

EXAMPLES:

“Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.”

President Bush, Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House, Oct. 7, 2002

“We do know that there have been shipments going . . . into Iraq . . . of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to — high-quality aluminum tools [sic] that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.”

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Sept. 8, 2002

“I don’t want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but it’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.”

Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC, Sept. 8, 2002

“We also know that Iraq has tried to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes which can be used to enrich uranium in centrifuges for a nuclear weapons program.”

Colin Powell, Press Conference on Iraq Declaration, State Dept., Dec. 19, 2002

To quote the Iraq on the Record report: “This [claim] was misleading because it suggested that Iraq sought aluminum tubes for use in its nuclear weapons program, failing to mention that the government’s most experienced technical experts at the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the tubes were ‘poorly suited’ for this purpose.”

Indeed, a Washington Post Sept. 2002 article covered a report by the Institute for Science and International Security, which said that the evidence was “ambiguous” and that it contradicted what was known about Iraq’s past nuclear efforts. The report was authored by David Albright, a physicist who investigated Iraq’s nuclear weapons program following the 1991 Persian Gulf War as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection team. The report contended that “the Bush administration is trying to quiet dissent among its own analysts over how to interpret the evidence” according to the article.

“By themselves, these attempted procurements are not evidence that Iraq is in possession of, or close to possessing, nuclear weapons,” the report said. “They do not provide evidence that Iraq has an operating centrifuge plant or when such a plant could be operational.”

The article continued, “According to Albright, government experts on nuclear technology who dissented from the Bush administration’s view told him they were expected to remain silent. Several Energy Department officials familiar with the aluminum shipments declined to comment.”

“Evidence on Iraq Challenged” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, September 19, 2002

Also, before the invasion, UN weapons inspectors concluded that the aluminum tubes in question were not suitable for uranium enrichment centrifuges, saying, “It was highly unlikely that Iraq could have achieved the considerable redesign needed to use them in a revived centrifuge program,” and, after reviewing documents, called the Iraqi alibi – that they were to be used for conventional weapons – “air-tight.”

Mohammed ElBaradei, Director-General, International Atomic Energy Agency said, “Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets…even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium tubes in question.”

Transcript of ElBaradei’s U.N. presentation, CNN, March 7, 2003

Department of Energy officials, who monitor nuclear plants, said the tubes could not be used for enriching uranium. One intelligence analyst, who was part of the tubes investigation, angrily told The New Republic: “You had senior American officials like Condoleezza Rice saying the only use of this aluminum really is uranium centrifuges. She said that on television. And that’s just a lie.”

“Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq” by Christopher Scheer, AlterNet. Posted June 27, 2003

See Also:

“The Selling of the Iraq War – The First Casualty” by John B. Judis & Spencer Ackerman, The New Republic, Issue date: June 30, 2003


CLAIM # 2: That Saddam sought uranium (“yellow cake”) from Niger in Africa.

EXAMPLES:

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

President Bush, “State of the Union,” White House, Jan. 28, 2003

“Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?”

Colin Powell, Remarks at the World Economic Forum, State Dept., Jan. 26, 2003

“His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department Briefing, Defense Department, Jan. 29, 2003

To quote the Iraq on the Record report: “This [claim] was misleading because it suggested that Iraq sought uranium from Africa despite the fact that the CIA expressed doubts about the credibility of this claim in two memos to the White House, including one addressed to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. CIA Director George Tenet also warned against using the claim in a telephone call to Ms. Rice’s deputy. In addition, the statement fails to mention that State Department intelligence officials also concluded that this claim was ‘highly dubious.'”

Also, before the invasion, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that the evidence backing this claim was forged.

Weapons inspector ElBaradei told the UN Security Council in March 2003: “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents, which formed the basis for the reports of these uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger, are, in fact, not authentic,” and “we have also concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.”

Transcript of ElBaradei’s U.N. presentation, CNN, March 7, 2003

On March 7, 2003 Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the U.N. Security Council that the documents involving the Niger-Iraq uranium sale were “obvious” fakes.

“Fake Iraq documents ’embarrassing’ for U.S.” by David Ensor, CNN, March 14, 2003

When the evidence for the claim that Iraq had attempted to buy five hundred tons of uranium oxide from Niger was later reviewed by experts, they determined they were fake in only a few hours with one senior I.A.E.A. official saying, “These documents are so bad that I cannot imagine that they came from a serious intelligence agency”:

The problems were glaring. One letter, dated October 10, 2000, was signed with the name of Allele Habibou, a Niger Minister of Foreign Affairs and Coöperation, who had been out of office since 1989. Another letter, allegedly from Tandja Mamadou, the President of Niger, had a signature that had obviously been faked and a text with inaccuracies so egregious, the senior I.A.E.A. official said, that “they could be spotted by someone using Google on the Internet.”

“Who Lied To Whom?” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, March 24, 2003

The State Department received copies of what would turn out to be forged documents suggesting that Iraq tried to purchase uranium oxide from Niger three months before the president’s State of the Union address, administration officials said.The documents, which officials said appeared to be of “dubious authenticity,” were distributed to the CIA and other agencies within days. But the U.S. government waited four months to turn them over to United Nations weapons inspectors who had been demanding to see evidence of U.S. and British claims that Iraq’s attempted purchase of uranium oxide violated U.N. resolutions and was among the reasons to go to war. State Department officials could not say yesterday why they did not turn over the documents when the inspectors asked for them in December.

The administration, facing increased criticism over the claims it made about Iraq’s attempts to buy uranium, had said until now that it did not have the documents before the State of the Union speech.

Even before these documents arrived, both the State Department and the CIA had questions about the reliability of intelligence reports that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger and other African countries.

Beginning in October, the CIA warned the administration not to use the Niger claim in public. CIA Director George J. Tenet personally persuaded deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley to omit it from President Bush’s Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

“U.S. Had Uranium Papers Earlier: Officials Say Forgeries on Iraqi Efforts Reached State Dept. Before Speech” by Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, Washington Post, July 18, 2003

See also:

“Chronology of Bush Claim that Iraq Attempted to Obtain Uranium from Niger” by Peter Kerr, Arms Control Today, Sept. 2003

“Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake — U.N. Nuclear Inspector Says Documents on Purchases Were Forged” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, March 8, 2003

“C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure In Preparing Iraqi Reports” by James Risen, New York Times, March 23, 2003

As early as February 2002, retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson was asked to fly to Niger to check out the allegation that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger:

In late February, the C.I.A. persuaded retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson to fly to Niger to discreetly check out the story of the uranium sale. Wilson, who is now a business consultant, had excellent credentials: he had been deputy chief of mission in Baghdad, had served as a diplomat in Africa, and had worked in the White House for the National Security Council. He was known as an independent diplomat who had put himself in harm’s way to help American citizens abroad.Wilson told me he was informed at the time that the mission had come about because the Vice-President’s office was interested in the Italian intelligence report. Before his departure, he was summoned to a meeting at the C.I.A. with a group of government experts on Iraq, Niger, and uranium. He was shown no documents but was told, he said, that the C.I.A. “was responding to a report that was recently received of a purported memorandum of agreement”-between Iraq and Niger-“that our boys had gotten.” He added, “It was never clear to me, or to the people who were briefing me, whether our guys had actually seen the agreement, or the purported text of an agreement.” Wilson’s trip to Niger, which lasted eight days, produced nothing. He learned that any memorandum of understanding to sell yellowcake would have required the signatures of Niger’s Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Mines. “I saw everybody out there,” Wilson said, and no one had signed such a document. “If a document purporting to be about the sale contained those signatures, it would not be authentic.” Wilson also learned that there was no uranium available to sell: it had all been pre-sold to Niger’s Japanese and European consortium partners.

Wilson returned to Washington and made his report. It was circulated, he said, but “I heard nothing about what the Vice-President’s office thought about it.” (In response, Cathie Martin said, “The Vice-President doesn’t know Joe Wilson and did not know about his trip until he read about it in the press.” The first press accounts appeared fifteen months after Wilson’s trip.)

“The Stovepipe” by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, October 27, 2003

By early 2002 U.S. Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick was asked about Iraq-Niger uranium trade; she informed Washington that there was no basis to suspect any link. Then Cheney’s office decided to investigate the letters’ substance. Former U.S. ambassador to Gabon, Joseph C. Wilson (a man of exceptionally distinguished diplomatic career), was (in his words) “invited out to meet with a group of people at the CIA who were interested in this subject” and agreed to investigate the content of the documents, which he had not seen. He left for Niger in February, and made an oral report in March. “Although I did not file a written report,” Wilson declares, “there should be at least four documents in U.S. government archives confirming my mission. The documents should include the ambassador’s report of my debriefing in Niamey [capital of Niger], a separate report written by the embassy staff, a CIA report summing up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally).” One must imagine that they came to Libby’s attention. The documents’ gist is: there was no evidence that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. Meanwhile, during the same month, a four-star U.S. general, Marine Gen. Carlton W. Fulford Jr., deputy commander of the U-S European Command (the headquarters responsible for military relations with most of sub-Saharan Africa) also visited Niger at the request of the U.S. ambassador. He met with Niger’s president February 24 and emphasized the importance of tight controls over its uranium ore deposits. According to MSNBC, he also visited the country two months later. This year, Fulford told the Washington Post that he had come away convinced that Niger’s uranium stocks were secure. His report went to European Command Commander, General Joseph Ralston, who passed it along to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers. The Post reports that “it is unclear whether they reached officials in the White House.”

“Faith-Based Intelligence – The Office of Special Plans, the Niger Uranium Fraud and Neocon Arrogance” by Gary Leupp, CounterPunch, July 26, 2003

See also:

“What I Didn’t Find in Africa” by Joseph C. Wilson 4th, New York Times, July 6, 2003


CLAIM # 3: That Iraq had a fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons in missions targeting the United States.

EXAMPLES:

“We know that Iraq has a number of so-called UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, of different types, that they train with them and exercise them.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Remarks to the Hoover Institute Meeting, State Dept., Feb. 25, 2003

“Now, umanned aerial vehicles, UAVs. Iraq has been working on a variety of UAVs for more than a decade. This is just illustrative of what a UAV would look like. This effort has included attempts to modify for unmanned flight the MiG-21 and, with greater success, an aircraft called the L-29. However, Iraq is now concentrating not on these airplanes but on developing and testing smaller UAVs such as this. UAVs are well suited for dispensing chemical and biological weapons. There is ample evidence that Iraq has dedicated much effort to developing and testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs.”

Colin Powell, Remarks to the United Nations Security Council, United Nations, Feb. 5, 2003

“We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States.”

President Bush, Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House, Oct. 7, 2002

To quote the Iraq on the Record report: “This [claim] was misleading because it claimed that Iraq’s UAVs were intended and able to spread chemical or biological weapons, but failed to mention that the U.S. government agency most knowledgeable about UAVs and their potential applications, the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, had the following view: the ‘U.S. Air Force does not agree that Iraq is developing UAVs primarily intended to be delivery platforms for chemical and biological (CBW) agents.'”

US military experts confirmed that Iraq had been converting eastern European trainer jets, known as L-29s, into drones, but said that with a maximum range of a few hundred miles they were no threat to targets in the US.

White House ‘exaggerating Iraqi threat,'” by Julian Borger, The Guardian, October 9, 2002

In making its case for war with Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration painted a much more threatening picture of Iraqi drones than was justified, according to Air Force intelligence estimates now coming to light…The Air Force, which has expertise in designing such unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, was never convinced Baghdad had developed drones capable of effectively distributing chemical and biological weapons as the White House claimed.

“Air Force Doubts Drone Threat. Report Says Bush Exaggerated Perils of Unmanned Iraqi Aircraft” by David Rogers, The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2003

On March 12, 2003, Iraqi officials showed off one of its UAVs to reporters:

To hear senior Bush administration officials tell it, Iraq’s latest pilotless drone has the potential to be one of Saddam Hussein’s deadliest weapons, able to deliver terrifying payloads of chemical and biological warfare agents across Iraq’s borders to Israel or other neighboring states. It could even, they say, be broken down and smuggled into the United States for use in terrorist attacks.But viewed up close today by reporters hastened by Iraqi officials to the Ibn Firnas weapons plant outside Baghdad, the vehicle the Iraqis have code-named RPV-30A, for remotely piloted vehicle, looked more like something out of the Rube Goldberg museum of aeronautical design than anything that could threaten Iraq’s foes. To the layman’s eye, the public unveiling of the Iraqi prototype seemed to lend the crisis over Iraq’s weapons an aura less of deadly threat than of farce….

Resting on trestles on a sidewalk, the drone seemed like a sad, patched-together affair. Its two tiny engines, each about the size of a whiskey bottle, and attached to minuscule wooden propellers, looked about powerful enough to drive a Weed Whacker, as one wag present suggested. Like a primitive biplane from the earliest days of flight, its wings and twinned tail fins were made of wood and stretched fabric. Swathes of plastic masking tape covered the wing joints.

Metal fastening plates had been crudely drilled for screws that appeared to have been forgotten, and electrical actuators for the ailerons and other flight surfaces were secured to the outside of the craft, unprotected against weather.

As if only divine providence could keep it aloft, the vehicle’s white-and-black fuselage was painted at several places with the words of the Muslim prayer, “God is great,” hand-lettered in red….

The subject was first broached at the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5 by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who set out American concerns about “unmanned aerial vehicles” under development by Iraq in the context of a crucial presentation of American evidence against Mr. Hussein’s government. On that occasion, Mr. Powell warned that the drones could carry biological and chemical warheads outside Iraq’s borders, and could even be smuggled into the United States….

The Iraqi officer who identified himself today as the drone project manager, Brig. Gen. Imad Abdul Latif, said with a note of self-reproach that the RPV-30A’s early test flights had been so wretched that it had ventured no further than two miles from the airfield, and that it had been grounded following “certain technical problems which had to do with aerodynamic design and engines.”

In any case, he and other officials said, the vehicle could not be controlled from a distance of more than five miles, in good weather, since its controllers tracked it “with the naked eye.”

As for the allegation that RPV-30A could deliver chemical and biological weapons, Gen. Latif scoffed.

“This is impossible,” he said. “This matter should be taken into consideration from the very beginning of the design — there should be safety measures, from the beginning, in the design.”

In any event, he said, the plant had never received any instruction, “verbally or in writing” to develop drones that could carry chemical or biological payloads.

Another officer, Gen. Ibrahim Hussein, director general of the plant, said the craft had been designed with a view to “reconnaissance, jamming and aerial photography….”

“He’s making a big mistake,” Brig. Latif said of Mr. Powell. “He knows very well that this aircraft is not used for what he said.”

“Iraq Shows One of Its Drones, Recalling Wright Brothers” by John F. Burns, New York Times, March 12, 2003

The final word on the matter:

Huddled over a fleet of abandoned Iraqi drones, U.S. weapons experts in Baghdad came to one conclusion: Despite the Bush administration’s public assertions, these unmanned aerial vehicles weren’t designed to dispense biological or chemical weapons.

The evidence gathered this summer matched the dissenting views of Air Force intelligence analysts who argued in a national intelligence assessment of Iraq before the war that the remotely piloted planes were unarmed reconnaissance drones.

In building its case for war, senior Bush administration officials had said Iraq’s drones were intended to deliver unconventional weapons. Secretary of State Colin Powell even raised the alarming prospect that the pilotless aircraft could sneak into the United States to carry out poisonous attacks on American cities.

….

But the Air Force, which controls most of the American military’s UAV fleet, didn’t agree with that assessment from the beginning. And analysts at the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said the Air Force view was widely accepted within their ranks as well.

Instead, these analysts believed the drones posed no threat to Iraq’s neighbors or the United States, officials in Washington and scientists involved in the weapons hunt in Iraq told The Associated Press.

The official Air Force intelligence dissent is noted in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s weapons programs, parts of which were declassified last month as the Bush administration tried to defend its case for war.

“We didn’t see there was a very large chance they (UAVs) would be used to attack the continental United States,” Bob Boyd, director of the Air Force Intelligence Analysis Agency, said in an AP interview. “We didn’t see them as a big threat to the homeland.”

Boyd also said there was little evidence to associate Iraq’s UAVs with the country’s suspected biological weapons program. Facilities weren’t in the same location and the programs didn’t use the same people.

Instead, the Air Force believed Iraq’s UAV programs were for reconnaissance, as are most American UAVs. Intelligence on the drones suggested they were not large enough to carry much more than a camera and a video recorder, Boyd said.

Postwar evidence uncovered in July in Iraq supports those assessments, according to two U.S. government scientists assigned to the weapons hunt.

“We just looked at the UAVs and said, ‘There’s nothing here. There’s no room to put anything in here,”‘ one of the scientists said.

The wingspan on drones that Iraqis showed journalists in March measured 24.5 feet and the aircraft were built like large, white model airplanes.

The U.S. scientists, weapons experts who spoke on condition of anonymity, reached their conclusions after studying the small aircraft and interviewing Iraqi missile experts, system designers and Gen. Ibrahim Hussein Ismail, the Iraqi head of the military facility where the UAVs were designed. None of the Iraqis questioned are in U.S. custody.

….

Before the war, U.S. intelligence agencies learned that officials with Iraq’s UAV program tried to buy commercially available route-planning software that was packaged with electronic maps of the United States, according to the declassified portion of the National Intelligence Estimate.

This discovery was interpreted by some analysts as a sign Iraq was trying to plan UAV bombing runs over the United States. But Boyd said Air Force analysts were unconvinced because maps are frequently bundled with such software.

At the United Nations in February, Powell told the world Iraq had test-flown a UAV well beyond a 93-mile limit allowed under U.N. rules. But both reconnaissance and offensive aircraft would need to travel long distances, Boyd said.

Compared to other agencies, Boyd said the Air Force relied more on information from reconnaissance satellites and less on defectors, in accessing Iraq’s UAVs.

Saddam’s regime had experimented with remotely controlled jet aircraft modified for biological and chemical attacks before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but U.N. inspectors found no evidence that program had been successful.

Boyd said attempts in the mid-1990s by Saddam’s regime to convert an L-29 jet trainer into a dispersal system were abandoned. U.S. weapons hunters also studied jet trainers found in northern Iraq but found no evidence they had been converted into biological or chemical weapons carriers, they said.

“U.S. military analysts who examined Iraqi drones discount Bush administration view the unmanned aircraft can spread” by Dafna Linzer and John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press, August 25, 2003


CLAIM # 4: That Iraq possessed long-range ballistic missiles that could travel hundreds of miles.

EXAMPLE:

“Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles – far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations – in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work.”

President Bush, “President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat” Oct. 7, 2002

Inspectors have found that the Al Samoud-2 missiles can travel less than 200 miles – not far enough to hit the targets Bush named. Iraq has not accounted for 14 medium-range Scud missiles from the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but the administration has not presented any evidence that they still exist.

“Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq” by Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, Washington Post, March 18, 2003

The al-Samond 2 missiles, that Iraq agreed to destroy before the invasion, only exceed their 93-mile limit by 15 – 20 miles before being loaded down with the extra weight of their guidance system.

“Inspectors Call U.S. Tips ‘Garbage'” CBS News, February 20, 2003


CLAIM # 5: That Iraq possessed a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and that they had weaponized them.

EXAMPLES:

“[Iraq] possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons.”

President Bush, “President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat” Oct. 7, 2002

“We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they’re weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Face The Nation, CBS, March 23, 2003

“We do know that he has stocks of biological weapons, chemical weapons.”

Colin Powell, Interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” CNN, Oct. 9, 2002

To quote the Iraq on the Record report: “This [claim] was misleading because it professed certainty when the intelligence community provided only an ‘estimate.’ According to CIA Director George Tenet, ‘it is important to underline the word estimate. Because not everything we analyze can be known to a standard of absolute proof.’ In addition, the statement failed to acknowledge the Defense Intelligence Agency position that: ‘There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons or where Iraq has — or will — establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.'”

Putting aside the glaring fact that not one drop of this massive stockpile has been found, as previously reported on AlterNet the United States’ own intelligence reports show that these stocks — if they existed — were well past their use-by date and therefore useless as weapon fodder.

“Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq” by Christopher Scheer, AlterNet. Posted June 27, 2003

On August 2, 2002, Scott Ritter, former head of the UN weapons inspectorate in Iraq, said in an interview:

“Are the weapons that were loaded up with VX destroyed? Yes. Is the equipment used to produce VX on a large scale destroyed? Yes. Did Iraq wind up VX? Absolutely. Do they have the capability today? No. We eliminated it. We took Iraq down as close to zero as you are going to get.”For Iraq to have these weapons today they would have to re-constitute that capability. It is detectable by the intelligence services not only of the United States, but every nation with an interest in Iraq would be able to detect this stuff. The fact Tony Blair cannot put on the table any substantive facts about a re-constituted Iraqi chemical weapons programme is proof positive that no such evidence exists.”

“Why we don’t need this war” interview of Scott Ritter by Mark Seddon, Tribune, August 2, 2002

On Februrary 24, 2003, Newsweek broke a story on the Iraqi defector Gen. Hussein Kamel:

On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that “raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist,” the magazine’s issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims.Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq’s deceptions about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced. But Newsweek’s John Barry– who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for more than a decade– obtained the transcript of Kamel’s 1995 debriefing by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM.

Inspectors were told “that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them,” Barry wrote. All that remained ere “hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches” and production molds….

…according to Kamel’s transcript, Iraq destroyed all of these weapons in 1991.

According to Newsweek, Kamel told the same story to CIA analysts in August 1995. If that is true, all of these U.S. officials have had access to Kamel’s statements that the weapons were destroyed. Their repeated citations of his testimony– without revealing that he also said the weapons no longer exist– suggests that the administration might be withholding critical evidence. In particular, it casts doubt on the credibility of Powell’s February 5 presentation to the U.N., which was widely hailed at the time for its persuasiveness. To clear up the issue, journalists might ask the CIA to release the transcripts of its own conversations with Kamel.

Kamel’s disclosures have also been crucial to the arguments made by hawkish commentators on Iraq. The defector has been cited four times on the New York Times op-ed page in the last four months in support of claims about Iraq’s weapons programs– never noting his assertions about the elimination of these weapons. In a major Times op-ed calling for war against Iraq (2/21/03), Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote that Kamel and other defectors “reported that outside pressure had not only failed to eradicate the nuclear program, it was bigger and more cleverly spread out and concealed than anyone had imagined it to be.” The release of Kamel’s transcript makes this claim appear grossly at odds with the defector’s actual testimony.

The Kamel story is a bombshell that necessitates a thorough reevaluation of U.S. media reporting on Iraq, much of which has taken for granted that the nation retains supplies of prohibited weapons. (See FAIR Media Advisory, “Iraq’s Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact,” 2/4/03.) Kamel’s testimony is not, of course, proof that Iraq does not have hidden stocks of chemical or biological weapons, but it does suggest a need for much more media skepticism about U.S. allegations than has previously been shown.

Unfortunately, Newsweek chose a curious way to handle its scoop: The magazine placed the story in the miscellaneous “Periscope” section with a generic headline, “The Defector’s Secrets.” Worse, Newsweek’s online version added a subhead that seemed almost designed to undercut the importance of the story: “Before his death, a high-ranking defector said Iraq had not abandoned its WMD ambitions.” So far, according to a February 27 search of the Nexis database, no major U.S. newspapers or national television news shows have picked up the Newsweek story.

Read Glen Rangwala’s analysis of the Kamel transcript HERE

“Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed” FAIR, February 27, 2003

Finally, an Oct. 8th, 2002 letter by CIA chief George Tenet, reported the CIA had concluded that “Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW (chemical and biological weapons) against the United States.” It said, “Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions” and that “Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”

“Hussein may strike U.S. if attacked” by Mary Jacoby, St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 9, 2002


CLAIM # 6: That Saddam had mobile weapons labs.

EXAMPLE:

“We know that Iraq has at lest seven of these mobile biological agent factories. The truck-mounted ones have at least two or three trucks each. That means that the mobile production facilities are very few, perhaps 18 trucks that we know of–there may be more–but perhaps 18 that we know of.”

Colin Powell, Remarks to the United Nations Security Council, United Nations, Feb. 5, 2003

As I noted on the 14th of February, intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks, in particular that there are mobile production units for biological weapons. The Iraqi side states that such activities do not exist. Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities. Food-testing mobile laboratories and mobile workshops have been seen as well as large containers with seed-processing equipment. No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found.

Hans Blix report to the UN, March 7, 2003

Powell’s presentation relied heavily on the claims of one especially dubious Iraqi defector, dubbed “Curve Ball” inside the intel community. A self-proclaimed chemical engineer who was the brother of a top aide to Iraqi National Congress chief Ahmad Chalabi, Curve Ball had told the German intelligence service that Iraq had a fleet of seven mobile labs used to manufacture deadly biological weapons. But nobody inside the U.S. government had ever actually spoken to the informant – except the Pentagon analyst, who concluded the man was an alcoholic and utterly useless as a source. He recalled that Curve Ball had shown up for their only meeting nursing a “terrible hangover.”After reading Powell’s speech, the analyst decided he had to speak up, according to a devastating report from the Senate intelligence committee, released last week, on intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war. He wrote an urgent e-mail to a top CIA official warning that there were even questions about whether Curve Ball “was who he said he was.” Could Powell really rely on such an informant as the “backbone” for the U.S. government’s claims that Iraq had a continuing biological-weapons program? The CIA official quickly responded: “Let’s keep in mind the fact that this war’s going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn’t say,” he wrote. “The Powers That Be probably aren’t terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he’s talking about.”

“The Dots Never Existed” by Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, July 19, 2005

Aside from Curve Ball, the main source for this claim, there was another source who they had relied on, Maj. Mohammed Harith:

A former CIA director who advocated war against Saddam Hussein helped arrange the debriefing of an Iraqi defector who falsely claimed that Iraq had biological-warfare laboratories disguised as yogurt and milk trucks.R. James Woolsey’s role as a go-between was detailed in a classified Defense Department report chronicling how the defector’s assertion came to be included in the Bush administration’s case for war even after the defector was determined to be a fabricator.

A senior U.S. official summarized portions of the report for Knight Ridder on condition of anonymity because it’s top secret. The report said that on Feb. 11, 2002, Woolsey telephoned Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Linton Wells about the defector and told him how to contact the man, who’d been produced by an Iraqi exile group eager to oust Saddam. Wells said he passed the information to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Woolsey’s previously undisclosed role in the case of Maj. Mohammad Harith casts new light on how prominent invasion advocates outside the government used their ties to senior officials in the Bush administration to help make the case for war.

By using his Pentagon contacts, Woolsey provided a direct pipeline to the government for Harith’s information that bypassed the CIA, which for years had been highly distrustful of the exile group that produced Harith.

Francis Brooke, Washington representative of the Iraqi National Congress, the exile group that produced Harith and other defectors, said intermediaries such as Woolsey and former Pentagon official Richard Perle, another leading war advocate, contacted the Bush administration multiple times on the INC’s behalf.

The Senate Intelligence Committee assessed the Harith case and found that intelligence analysts thought his claim was crucial in appearing to corroborate allegations by another defector, code-named Curve Ball, the main source of claims that Iraq had developed mobile biological-weapons facilities to deceive U.N. weapons inspectors.

The allegation was one of the most dramatic made by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other senior administration officials.

However, further intelligence assessments in April, May and July 2002 questioned his credibility – including a “fabricator notice” issued by the DIA. Nevertheless, Harith’s claim was included in an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and cited by Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union message.

There’s no indication in the Senate Intelligence Committee report why Bush and other top administration officials used Harith’s information after it was found by intelligence professionals to be bogus.

“Former CIA director used Pentagon ties to introduce Iraqi defector” by Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, Knight Ridder, July 15, 2004

See also:

“Iraqi exile group fed false information to news media” by Jonathan S. Landay and Tish Wells, Knight Ridder, March 15, 2004

“Despite Defectors’ Accounts, Evidence Remains Anecdotal” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, February 6, 2003


CLAIM # 7: That Saddam was reconstituting facilities associated with his past programs to develop and produce nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

EXAMPLES:

“Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past.”

President Bush, President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002

“Under the guise of dual-use infrastructure, Iraq has undertaken an effort to reconstitute facilities that were closely associated with its past program to develop and produce chemical weapons. For example, Iraq has rebuilt key portions of the Tariq (ph) state establishment. Tariq (ph) includes facilities designed specifically for Iraq’s chemical weapons program and employs key figures from past programs.”

Colin Powell, Address to the the U.N. Security Council, February 5, 2003

The Bush administration helped rally public and congressional support for a preemptive invasion of Iraq by publicizing the claims of an Iraqi defector months after he showed deception in a lie detector test and had been rejected as unreliable by U.S. intelligence agencies. The defector, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al Haideri, claimed he’d worked at illegal chemical, biological and nuclear facilities around Baghdad. But when members of the Iraq Survey Group, the CIA-run effort to trace Saddam Hussein’s illegal weapons, took Saeed back to Iraq earlier this year, he pointed out facilities known to be associated with the conventional Iraqi military. He couldn’t identify a single site associated with illegal weapons, U.S. officials told Knight Ridder.

“The overall impression was that he was trying to pass information far beyond his area of expertise,” said a senior U.S. official. He and another U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity because some details of the defector’s case remain classified.

The defectors and exile groups who provided false information on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorism also assured administration officials and advisers that Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators, that the Iraqi military would surrender en masse and that former exiles could quickly help form a new Iraqi government and revive the country’s oil industry.

The White House used Saeed’s claims in a background paper nine months after CIA and DIA officers had dismissed him as unreliable.

“White House Released Claims of Defector Deemed Unreliable by CIA” by Jonathan S. Landay, Knight Ridder, May 18, 2004

…satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found “nothing.”

“Inspectors Call U.S. Tips ‘Garbage'” CBS News, February 20, 2003


CLAIM # 8: That Saddam had reconstituted nuclear weapons or had the infrastructure and a program to develop them.

EXAMPLES:

“We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

Vice President Cheney, NBC, “Meet the Press,” March 16, 2003

“We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon.”

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Sept. 9, 2002

“His regime has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, House Armed Services Committee, Sept. 18, 2002

“I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA, that they were six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.”

President Bush, President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Discuss Keeping the Peace, Sept. 7, 2002

To quote the Iraq on the Record report: “This [claim] was misleading because it failed to acknowledge the intelligence community’s deep division on the issue of whether Iraq was actively pursuing its nuclear program.”

Also, Bush’s statement about the IAEA report is entirely false; the IAEA report made no such claim.

CIA reports up through 2002 showed no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program and the UN inspectors believed that they had dismantled the Iraq’s nuclear weapons capacity by 1998 and said in March 2002 that “We have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq,” and stated that they had found “no indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected site.”

Elbaradei’s Report the the UN, March 7, 2003

“The Selling of the Iraq War – The First Casualty” by John B. Judis & Spencer Ackerman, The New Republic, Issue date: June 30, 2003

In February 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell had quoted a British report on Iraq’s nuclear program and praised it as an “up-to-date and unsettling assessment.”

Later, it was reveiled in the New York Times that the report was plagiarized from several academic journals, some published in 1997 about “the activities of Iraqi intelligence in Kuwait in 1990 and 1991.”

One plagiarized author was quoted as saying; “Had they consulted me, I could have provided them with more up-dated information.”

The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2003

There were many statements warning about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability and it is difficult to determine when they might have been referring to nuclear weapons or only chemical and biological weapons or both in many of these statements. It seems that these references to WMDs might have been a method of blurring the line between the different types of weapons in order to overstate the threat. Nevertheless, it may be instructive to review some of what was said about the threat from WMDs in Iraq by a couple of these same people prior to 9-11:

“He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.”

Colin Powell’s Press Remarks with Foreign Minister of Egypt Amre Moussa, Feb. 24, 2001

“But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let’s remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer, CNN, July 29, 2001

 


CLAIM # 9: That there was an operational relationship between Saddam and al-Qaeda. [This might be broken down into three or four individual claims.]

EXAMPLES:

“Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that…it’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.”

Dick Cheney, NBC, Meet The Press, December 9, 2001 [Making the claim that one of the 9-11 hijackers, Muhammad Atta, met with Iraqi an official in Prague.]

“We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases … Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.”

“President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat,” President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002 [Making the claim that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.]

“Zarqawi is the best evidence of connection to al Qaeda.”

President Bush, “Bush Says He’ll Defer to New Iraqi Leaders” by By Dana Milbank, Washington Post, June 16, 2004 [Making the claim that Abu Musab Zarqawi, leader of Ansar al-Islam, a group operating a base in Northern Iraq, was associated with al Qaeda.]

Regarding the Muhammad Atta claim:

This story came shortly after 9/11, when Czech intelligence officials did say they had a report from a source–a single source–that Atta had met with an Iraqi intelligence official in April 2001. Subsequent media reports in the United States revealed that the source was actually an Arab student who was not considered particularly reliable. The FBI investigated and found nothing to substantiate the report of the meeting. In fact, the FBI concluded that Atta was most likely in Florida at the time of the supposed meeting, and the CIA questioned the existence of this meeting.Also, on October 21, 2002, The New York Times reported that Czech President Vaclav Havel “quietly told the White House he has concluded that there is no evidence to confirm earlier reports” of the meeting. And it seemed that Atta had gone to Prague in June 2000, not April 2001.

“Cheney Reasserts Already Debunked Atta-Iraq Connection” Democracy Now, September 16th, 2003

Regarding the claim that Iraq was training al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases:

Although there have been suggestions of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda regarding chemical weapons and explosive trainings, the most detailed information alleging such ties came from an Al Qaeda operative who recanted much of his original information.

9-11 Commission Report, footnote p.470

A CIA document shows the agency in January 2003 raised questions about an al Qaeda detainee’s claims that Saddam Hussein’s government provided chemical and biological weapons training to terrorists – weeks before President George W. Bush and other top officials flatly used those same claims to make their case for war against Iraq.The CIA document, recently provided to Congress and obtained by NEWSWEEK, fills in some of the blanks in the mysterious case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a captured al Qaeda commander whose claims about poison-gas training for the Qaeda group by Saddam’s government formed the basis for some of the most dramatic arguments used by senior administration officials in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.

As NEWSWEEK first reported last July, al-Libi has since recanted those claims. The new CIA document states the agency “recalled and reissued” all its intelligence reporting about al-Libi’s “recanted” claims about chemical and biological warfare training by Saddam’s regime in February 2004 – an important retreat on pre-Iraq war intelligence that has never been publicly acknowledged by the White House. The withdrawal also was not mentioned in last year’s public report by the presidential inquiry commission headed by Judge Laurence Silberman and former Sen. Charles Robb which reviewed alleged Iraq intelligence failures.

….

What is known is that starting in the fall of 2002, al-Libi’s statements to his interrogators became the principal basis for a series of alarming Bush administration assertions about training that Saddam’s regime purportedly provided to al Qaeda terrorists in the use of chemical and biological weapons. President Bush first referred to the claims in his Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Cincinnati where he strongly emphasized Saddam’s ties to international terror groups in general and al Qaeda in particular. “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases,”

“Al-Libi’s Tall Tales” by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, Newsweek, November 10, 2005

A Senate report prepared by the C.I.A. in September 2002 on “Iraqi Ties to Terrorism” described claims that Iraq had provided “training in poisons and gases” to al Qaeda members, but “it cautioned that the information had come from ‘sources of varying reliability.'” By contrast, “Most public statements by Mr. Bush and other administration officials on the matter described the assertions as matters of fact.”

“High Qaeda Aide Retracted Claim of Link With Iraq” by Douglas Jehl, New York Times, July 30, 2004

Regarding the claim that Abu Musab Zarqawi, leader of Ansar al-Islam, a group operating a base in Northern Iraq, was associated with al Qaeda:

Although Zarqawi may have cooperated with al Qaeda in the past, U.S. officials say it is increasingly clear he had been operating independently of Osama bin Laden’s organization.

“Bush Says He’ll Defer to New Iraqi Leaders” by By Dana Milbank, Washington Post, June 16, 2004

Ansar al-Islam operated in a region of northern Iraq that was outside of Saddam’s control before the war.

Associated Press, January 24, 2004

Since the base where Zarqawi was outside of Saddam’s control, yet within the area of the “No-Fly Zones” where the US was bombing on an ongoing basis, why didn’t they target it before the war unless it would have removed one of the arguments being used for invasion?

Regarding the claim of an operational relationship in general:

Intelligence agencies knew of tentative contacts between Saddam and al-Qaeda in the early ’90s, but found no proof of a continuing relationship….No evidence of this has ever been leaked or produced. Colin Powell told the U.N. this alleged training took place in a camp in northern Iraq. To his great embarrassment, the area he indicated was later revealed to be outside Iraq’s control and patrolled by Allied war planes.

“Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq” by Christopher Scheer, AlterNet. Posted June 27, 2003

These claims have never been associated with any serious evidence and are highly unlikely, as Saddam and al Qaeda are natural enemies. In a reported statement before the invasion, bin Laden even spoke out against Saddam stating that “It doesn’t matter whether the socialist (Baath) party or Saddam disappear,” and that he did not seek victory for any of the “ignorant governments that rule all Arab states, including Iraq.”

“One Battlefield, Two Wars,” Justin Raimondo, Febuary 12, 2003

Finally, the 9-11 Commission Report concluded that there was no operational relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda:

…we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.

9-11 Commission Report, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

While no one in the administration ever went so far as overtly linking Saddam to the terror attacks of 9-11, claims such as these above and other statements, which included references to the 9-11 attacks while discussing the supposed threat from Saddam, helped create the mistaken impression that there was some connection between the two, as reflected in pre-invasion polls showing large percentages of the American public, who believed, incorrectly, that Iraqis were among the 9-11 hijackers (44% according to a January 2003 Knight Ridder poll) and that Saddam had something to do with the 9-11 attack (45% according to a March 2003 New York Times/CBS poll).

The power of these lies was considerable. In a CBS News/New York Times poll released on Sept. 25, 2001, 60 percent of Americans thought Osama bin Laden had been the culprit in the attacks of two weeks earlier, either alone or in league with unnamed “others” or with the Taliban; only 6 percent thought bin Laden had collaborated with Saddam; and only 2 percent thought Saddam had been the sole instigator. By the time we invaded Iraq in 2003, however, CBS News found that 53 percent believed Saddam had been “personally involved” in 9/11; other polls showed that a similar percentage of Americans had even convinced themselves that the hijackers were Iraqis.

“‘We Do Not Torture’ and Other Funny Stories” by Frank Rich, New York Times, November 13, 2005

SEE ALSO:

“Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda Are Not Allies” by Daniel Benjamin, New York Times, September 30, 2002


CLAIM # 10: That Saddam posed an urgent threat to the US.

EXAMPLES:

“Today the world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq. A dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction on his own people must not be allowed to produce or possess those weapons. We will not permit Saddam Hussein to blackmail and/or terrorize nations which love freedom.”

President Bush Speech to the Atlantic Youth Council, CNN, Nov. 20, 2002

“Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering danger. It’s a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the Middle East and to the international peace and stability. It’s a danger we cannot ignore.”

– Donald Rumsfeld, Address to the the Conference of Army Reserve Operators, Defense Department, January 20, 2003

“Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years, or a week, or a month, and if Saddam Hussein were to take his weapons of mass destruction and transfer them, either use himself, or transfer them to the Al-Qaeda, and somehow the Al-Qaeda were to engage in an attack on the United States, or an attack on U.S. forces overseas, with a weapon of mass destruction you’re not talking about 300, or 3,000 people potentially being killed, but 30,000, or 100,000 . . . human beings.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Live Interview with Infinity CBS Radio, Infinity-CBS Radio, November 14, 2002

“[N]o terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein and Iraq.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sept. 19, 2002

“On its present course, the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency. . . . it has developed weapons of mass death.”

President Bush, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution, White House, Oct. 2, 2002

“On the nuclear question, many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire such weapons fairly soon.”

Dick Cheney, Vice President Honors Veterans of Korean War, White House, Aug. 29, 2002

“The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Sept. 8, 2002

“Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof – the smoking gun – that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

President Bush, Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House, Oct. 7, 2002

Considering that the claims regarding aluminum tubes, yellow cake, UAV drones, stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs were questionable at best, that Iraq had not threatened the US or its neighbors since the last Gulf War, that they were under tight sanctions which included enforcement of the No-Fly Zones, that they had no operational ties with al Qaeda (and were, in fact, in ideological opposition to them), and that they must have known that any attack would have meant their ultimate destruction, it is highly unlikely that there was any reason to believe that Iraq was an urgent or immediate threat to anyone.

These claims of urgency, considered in the context of the dubious nature of the other claims and the reports regarding the establishment of the Office of Special Plans (OSP) to cherry-pick intelligence and the White House Iraqi Group (WHIG) to sell the war, the many reports regarding how some analysts were feeling pressured to produce certain results to back the administration’s claims, along with the leaked Downing Street Documents which suggested that the US was “fixing the facts around the policy,” and the pre-9-11 openly stated intentions of the same members of this administration that were pushing for this war (and establishing the OSP, WHIG and pressuring analysts) to use non-compliance with UN sanctions as a pretext to remove Saddam to in order to establish American military presence in the Middle East, it would seem that these statements were a form of fear-mongering in order to mislead the American public into support for a war with Iraq.

So, these were the major claims made by this administration leading up to the invasion of Iraq along with the evidence that these claims were questionable at best. All of the evidence presented here was either available to the public before the invasion or available to those who were making the claims. Yet, these claims were hardly ever qualified by those making them. In fact, in most cases they were made as if they were beyond question.

On March 30, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld had even claimed that they knew where the Weapons of Mass Destruction were located;

“We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.”

Donald Rumsfeld, “Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks on ABC ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,'” March 30, 2003

Since weapons were never found in these or other locations, this should also be considered as a false or misleading claim. Since one would have to know that there were WMD’s as a prerequisite for knowing where they were, this statement is doubly false and misleading. Obviously, Rumfeld didn’t know either of these things.

Before the war, CBS News reported that weapons inspectors found “nothing” at U.S.-implicated nuclear research buildings and they found “nothing” at specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. to find incriminating evidence in presidential palaces.

“Inspectors Call U.S. Tips ‘Garbage'” CBS News, February 20, 2003

But Rumsfeld wasn’t the only one making claims of certainty about one thing or another that would later prove false:

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Dick Cheney, Speech to VFW National Convention, August 26, 2002

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.”

Colin Powell, Remarks to UN Security Council, February 5, 2003

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

George W. Bush, Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003

“We do know that there have been shipments going . . . into Iraq . . . of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to — high-quality aluminum tools [sic] that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.”

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Sept. 8, 2002

“We know that Iraq has a number of so-called UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, of different types, that they train with them and exercise them.”

Donald Rumsfeld, Remarks to the Hoover Institute Meeting, State Dept., Feb. 25, 2003

“We do know that he has stocks of biological weapons, chemical weapons.”

Colin Powell, Interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” CNN, Oct. 9, 2002

“We know for a fact that there are weapons there.”

Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, January 9, 2003

“We know that this is a man who has chemical weapons…”

President Bush, “State of the Union,” White House, Jan. 28, 2003

Obviously, there was some doubt and obviously they didn’t know these things they were claiming they knew. Most of the time they merely made claims without qualification, but many times they went out of their way to say that they knew or that there was no doubt, as in the examples above, and many times, they piled one claim on top of another and presented Saddam as a grave and urgent threat. The fact that every last one of the claims listed above later proved to be false, demonstrates that they had to be misleading the public when they claimed certainty.

To be fair, there were three additional claims they were making before the invasion that everyone knew to be true:

That Iraq had invaded other countries – Iraq had invaded Kuwait. This had occurred before the first Gulf War as a result of a conflict between Iraq and Kuwait. Kuwait was violating OPEC oil production agreements as they pursued slant-oil well drillings from pools shared with Iraq, which was one reason Iraq began making threats against them, and when Saddam Hussein had asked April Glaspie, the US Ambassador, to explain the US position regarding the matter at the time, she had told him that the US considered it a regional concern and assured him that the US would not intervene.

That Saddam gassed his own people – a claim, supposedly occurring on two occasions. Once during the Iran/Iraq war, which occurred before the first Gulf War, during which time we were supporting Saddam against Iran and were aware of his use of gas in that war. The gassing was a result of Iraqi attempts to repeal an Iranian incursion into a Kurdish area. The second occasion was shortly after the first Gulf War, when Bush Sr. was encouraging the Kurds to rise up against Saddam and overthrow him, implying we would support them if they did. When the Kurds rose up and we didn’t back them, it became the Kurd’s Bay of Pigs.

That Saddam was “evil” and the Iraqi people were repressed – no doubt the Iraqi people were repressed, as are many other people in this world which we are not clamoring to “liberate.” We have even supported “evil,” “repressive” leaders in the past (including Saddam) and continue to support some today – we even supported the Shah of Iran for 25 years, whose brutal secret police had one of the worse human rights records in the world.

Since the first two of the claims in this group of additional claims were before the first Gulf War or shortly afterwards, with no indication that they were about to happen again and the last was supposing to hold Iraq to a higher standard than other repressive regimes we have supported and continue to support, these additional claims seem more like they were being used to pile on every reason they could imagine to drum up support — to throw in everything, including the kitchen sink. These additional claims seem disingenuous at best, especially in the light of the surrounding facts and when separated from the context of the fear-mongering rhetoric from whence they came.Bush repeatedly talked about being “forced into war” with Iraq. Iraq did not attacked us, Iraq did not threatened us, nor did Iraq appear to have the inclination or capability to bother us much. Saddam knew that any “attack” he might wage against us would be met with his ultimate destruction. He had been pinned-down and under restrictions for 12 years and we had been bombing on a regular basis all that time while enforcing the “No-Fly Zones” in northern and southern Iraq.

Since the first Gulf War, he did not attack or threatened anyone.

So, exactly how were we “forced” into this war?


In addition to these pre-invasion misleading and false claims, there were at least two other post-invasion claims to be considered, the latter of which seems to be a concerted attempt at historical revisionism:


CLAIM: That the WMD/mobile biological laboratories were found.

EXAMPLE:

“We’ve found the weapons of mass destruction. You know, we found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They’re illegal. They’re against the United Nations’ resolutions and we’ve so far discovered two. And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on.

But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong. We found them.”

President Bush on Polish television, May 30, 2003

This was reference to the discovery of two modified truck trailers that the CIA claimed were potential mobile biological weapons labs. But British and American experts — including the State Department’s intelligence wing in a report released this week — have since declared this to be untrue. According to the British, and much to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s embarrassment, the trailers are actually exactly what Iraq said they were; facilities to fill weather balloons, sold to them by the British themselves.

“Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq” by Christopher Scheer, AlterNet. Posted June 27, 2003

Bush described two Iraqi trailers as mobile biological weapons labs although two days earlier a Pentagon field investigation had debunked those suspicions in a report to Washington.

“George W. Bush IS a Liar,” by Robert Parry, Consortiumnews, April 14, 2006

Now, nearly three years later, the Washington Post has published an article revealing that Bush made his flat assertion about the trailers two days after a Pentagon-sponsored mission informed Washington that the trailers had nothing to do with producing biological weapons. Those findings from a nine-member team of U.S. and British scientists and engineers were in a three-page field report — followed three weeks later by a 122-page final report — but the contrary information was stamped “secret” and shelved.As senior administration officials, including the President and Secretary of State Colin Powell, continued to make false claims about the “biological laboratories,” the nine-member team disbanded. “I went home and fully expected that our findings would be publicly stated,” one team member told the Post. “It never happened. And I just had to live with it.” [Washington Post, April 12, 2006]

“America’s Matrix, Revisited,” by Robert Parry, Consortiumnews, April 12, 2006


CLAIM: That Saddam had not let weapons inspectors in before the war, forcing Bush to remove him from power.

EXAMPLES:

“The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.”

George W. Bush, July 14, 2003

“And then we went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution — 1441 — unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”

George W. Bush, Jan. 27, 2004

“The world said, ‘Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.’… We worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did. And the world is safer for it.”

George W. Bush, March 21, 2006

This is one of the strangest claims of all, and Bush has made it (or claims very much like it) on at least five occassions. It is well known that Saddam had let weapons inspectors into the country and was granting them access to suspected sites. The inspectors were not finding any prohibited weapons and were asking for more time to complete their work. Bush cut them off, invaded anyway, and has since repeatedly given this alternate and mistaken version of events as if he is attempting to rewrite history.

UN weapons inspectors worked in Iraq from November 27, 2002 until March 18, 2003. During that time, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC) conducted more than 900 inspections at more than 500 sites. The inspectors did not find that Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons or that it had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program….Unable to resolve its differences with Security Council members who favored strengthening and continuing weapons inspections, the United States abandoned the inspections process and initiated the invasion of Iraq on March 19.

Arms Control Association Fact Sheet

“Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history-revisionist historians is what I like to call them.”

George W. Bush, Elizabeth, N.J., June 16, 2003

“While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decisions or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began,”

George W. Bush, Veterans Day speech in Pennsylvania, November 11, 2005

Bush was not the only member of this administration indulging in historical revisionism after the invasion. Many others were trying to downplay their initial statements once reality began to settle in (go HERE and chose the topic “Iraq-Revising History” for some examples).

American Progress has another database of claims located HERE



EXHIBIT C: EVIDENCE THAT THE STATEMENTS IN EXHIBIT A WERE ALSO FALSE AND THAT THE STATEMENTS IN EXHIBIT B WERE DESIGNED TO MISLEAD CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC INTO A WAR THAT WAS PART OF A PREVIOUS AGENDA PRE-9-11 USING 9-11 AS A PRETEXT.

This evidence may be separated up into two sections. The first section has to do with evidence of prior intentions to remove Saddam Hussein from power pre-9-11 – this is to establish motive. This section can be broken up into three parts; the ideology of the neo-conservatives in this administration, the corporate and big oil interests that influenced this administration, and the personal desires of George W. Bush. The second section is a chronology of evidence obtained post-9-11 that, despite public pronouncements to the contrary (EXHIBIT A), Bush and his administration were determined to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

SECTION 1: PRIOR INTENTIONS

PART 1 – IDEOLOGICAL MOTIVATIONS

While the neoconservatives’ philosophy has been formulating over many years (see HERE), its first significant appearance on the world stage began with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1992, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and I. Lewis Libby drafted a report outlining the role the U.S. should play in the 21st Century which was called; “Defense Planning Guidance.” It suggested an aggressive, preemptive, and unilateral approach that would “discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role” and wanted to make sure that America would maintain dominance in the world “by force if necessary.”

When the draft was leaked, it met with plenty of criticism and was quickly withdrawn and denounced by Bush Sr., but the ideas it contained did not die with it.

During the Clinton administration, a group of like-minded neoconservative imperialists – funded by right-wing foundations, energy companies, and the military-industrial complex – continued the strategic planning outlined in the report, evolving into a group called; “The Project for a New American Century” (PNAC).

Here is a partial list of their members:

Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Stephen Cambone, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz, Dov Zakheim

In January 1998, members of the PNAC wrote a letter to President Clinton to recommending the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Among the eighteen signers were Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton.

In September of 2000, right before the elections and one year before 9-11, they released their seminal report titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” from which our National Security Strategy is based.

“At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals,” the report says, “The challenge of this coming century is to preserve and enhance this ‘American peace.'”

Iran, Iraq and North Korea are identified as potential targets in the same sentence, hence explaining the “Axis of Evil” remarks from Bush. “Past Pentagon wargames have given little or no consideration to the force requirements necessary not only to defeat an attack but to remove these regimes from power” it says.

It speaks of a “Pax Americana” where the US will have to perform “constabulary duties” and act preemptively and unilaterally to obtain its goals. This requires “American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations.”

Both the National Defense Strategy and the PNAC report have the stated objective of insuring that no country will ever present a challenge to the United States and both recommend almost exactly the same increase in military spending which has now occurred. This is so we can “fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars.”

The report recommends that the U.S. establish permanent military bases “within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia, as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S. troops” in addition to the roughly 130 nations where U.S. troops are already deployed. It refers to our troops as “the cavalry on the new American frontier” and our bases as “outposts on the new American frontier.” It says we need new bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia.

The report also recommends the repudiation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty, a strong commitment to a global missile defense system (otherwise known as “Star Wars”) and the development of small nuclear warheads “required in targeting the very deep, underground hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries.”

The report calls for control of the world’s energy resources and the targeting of Iraq to achieve our goals because “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 laments that the climate in America was not such that they could hope to achieve their goals in the near future without “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 Fiscal Years (Draft), Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992 — Excerpts: HERE

“Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 Fiscal Years (Revised Draft),” Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992

“Defense Strategy for the 1990’s,” Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1993

“Defense Planning Guidance for the 2004-2009 Fiscal Years,” Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2002

“A Clean Break – A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a memo to then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and others, July 8, 1996

PNAC: Letter to President Clinton, Jan. 26, 1998

PNAC Report: “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” Sept. 2000

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, 2002


PART 2: CORPORATE OIL RELATED MOTIVATIONS

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many countries in the Caspian Basin region came open to big oil businesses for the first time and they promptly acquired interests in these countries. The problem was getting the oil out. Until a pipeline could be built through Afghanistan, Iran, or some other willing country in the area, oil companies had to pay fees to Russia to use their pipeline, making the oil more expensive and the companies less profitable.

During the nineties, current Vice-President (and PNAC member), Dick Cheney, was chairman and chief executive of the petroleum corporation; Halliburton. While working face-to-face with Saddam Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton did $73 million dollars of business with Iraq.

Once elected as vice-president, Cheney conducted secret Energy Task Force meetings to develop an energy policy for the US. These meetings occurred several months prior to 9-11 and Cheney refuses to divulge any information about them.

It actually may be possible to guess what was discussed and suggested by the oil company representatives which attended at these secret Energy Task Force meetings by looking at a report that was submitted to Cheney in April, 2001 at about the same time the meetings were taking place. The report, called “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” was commissioned by the Council on Foreign Relations and James Baker, former Secretary of State under President Reagan and was linked to a “veritable who’s who of U.S. hawks, oilmen, and corporate bigwigs,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The report made the argument that there is a need of U.S. “military intervention” in Iraq to “secure control of its oil” and thereby address the coming energy crisis. It says that the U.S. should “investigate whether any changes to U.S. policy would quickly facilitate higher exports of oil from the Caspian Basin region…the exports from some oil discoveries could be hastened if a secure, economical export route could be identified swiftly.” [Emphasis mine]

Later, when the results of the Task Force meetings were announced in Cheney’s national energy plan, it contained the suggestion that the U.S. could no longer depend on traditional sources and would have to obtain supplies from the Caspian regions and that the U.S. would have to overcome foreign resistance to the current limitations of American energy companies.

Overall, oil and oil-service industries, along with various military contractors, all with extensive connections to the Bush administration, will make fortunes on a war with Iraq and the benefits of processing oil reserves, which are second in the world only to Saudi Arabia.

“STRATEGIC ENERGY POLICY CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY,” April 2001


PART 3: PERSONAL MOTIVATIONS

Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.” He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade – if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.”

….

Herskowitz’s revelations are not the sole indicator of Bush’s pre-election thinking on Iraq. In December 1999, some six months after his talks with Herskowitz, Bush surprised veteran political chroniclers, including the Boston Globe’s David Nyhan, with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event that got little notice: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” wrote Nyhan. ‘I’d take ’em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father. It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker.”

The notion that President Bush held unrealistic or naive views about the consequences of war was further advanced recently by a Bush supporter, the evangelist Pat Robertson, who revealed that Bush had told him the Iraq invasion would yield no casualties. In addition, in recent days, high-ranking US military officials have complained that the White House did not provide them with adequate resources for the task at hand.

“Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer” by Russ Baker, Guerrilla New Network, October 28, 2004

Bush had decided as early as his presidential campaign in the year 2000 that he would find a way to fight an Iraq war to unseat Saddam. I was in the studio with Arab-American journalist Osama Siblani on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” program on March 11, 2005, when Siblani reported a May 2000 encounter he had with then-candidate Bush in a hotel in Troy, Mich. “He told me just straight to my face, among 12 or maybe 13 Republicans at that time here in Michigan at the hotel. I think it was on May 17, 2000, even before he became the nominee for the Republicans. He told me that he was going to take him out, when we talked about Saddam Hussein in Iraq.” According to Siblani, Bush added that “he wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States.” Siblani points out that Bush at that point was privy to no classified intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs and had already made up his mind on the issue.

“The lies that lead to war” by Juan Cole, Salon.com, May, 19, 2005

From the moment he took office, Bush has made noises about finishing the job his father started.

“We’re Taking Him Out” by Daniel Eisenberg, Time Magazine, May 5, 2002

George Bush’s former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill claimed that:

“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic “A” 10 days after the inauguration – eight months before Sept. 11. “From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”

As treasury secretary, O’Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” were never asked.

“It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,'” says O’Neill. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”

And that came up at this first meeting, says O’Neill, who adds that the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later.

He got briefing materials under this cover sheet. “There are memos. One of them marked, secret, says, ‘Plan for post-Saddam Iraq,'” adds Suskind, who says that they discussed an occupation of Iraq in January and February of 2001.

Based on his interviews with O’Neill and several other officials at the meetings, Suskind writes that the planning envisioned peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals, and even divvying up Iraq’s oil wealth.

He obtained one Pentagon document, dated March 5, 2001, and entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts,” which includes a map of potential areas for exploration.

“It talks about contractors around the world from, you know, 30-40 countries. And which ones have what intentions,” says Suskind. “On oil in Iraq.”

“Bush Sought ‘Way’ To Invade Iraq?” 60 Minutes, CBS News, January 11, 2004

So we see three different sets of motivations to topple Saddam Hussein converging in the Bush administration; the ideological motivation of the neocon faction (which included Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, Defense Department Head of Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation Stephen Cambone, Vice President’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, Undersecretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer for the Pentagon Dov Zakheim, Defense Policy Board Member Eliot Cohen, and Chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Richard Perle – all PNAC associated), the corporate oil concerns (which includes all those with former ties to corporate oil associated to this administration – primarily; Vice President Richard Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former President George H. W. Bush, and President George W. Bush), and the personal desires expressed by George W. Bush to finish the job his father started.

(Note that Vice President Dick Cheney appears in both the first two lists above because of his relationships to both the PNAC and Halliburton.)


SECTION 2: A CHRONOLOGY DEMONSTRATING OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT DESPITE PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS TO THE CONTRARY (EXHIBIT A), BUSH AND HIS ADMINISTRATION WERE DETERMINED TO REMOVE SADDAM HUSSEIN FROM POWER.

September 11, 2001:

CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.That’s according to notes taken by aides who were with Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center on Sept. 11 — notes that show exactly where the road toward war with Iraq began, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin.

….

With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H.” — meaning Saddam Hussein — “at same time. Not only UBL” — the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn’t matter to Rumsfeld.

“Go massive,” the notes quote him as saying. “Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

“Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11” CBS, Sept. 4, 2002


September 12, 2001:

I expected to go back to a round of meetings [after September 11] examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were, what we could do about them in the short term. Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq… I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq…By the afternoon on Wednesday [after Sept. 11], Secretary Rumsfeld was talking about broadening the objectives of our response and “getting Iraq.” Secretary Powell pushed back, urging a focus on al Qaeda. Relieved to have some support, I thanked Colin Powell. “I thought I was missing something here,” I vented. “Having been attacked by al Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.”

Powell shook his head. “It’s not over yet.” Indeed, it was not. Later in the day, Secy. Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied.

On September 12th, I left the video conferencing center and there, wandering alone around the situation room, was the president. He looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. “Look,” he told us, “I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way.”

I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed. “But, Mr. President, Al Qaeda did this.”

“I know, I know, but – see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred…”

“Absolutely, we will look-again.” I was trying to be more respectful, more responsive. “But you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of Al Qaeda and not found any real linkages to Iraq. Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen.”

“Look into Iraq, Saddam,” the president said testily and left us.

“Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,” by Richard A. Clarke


September 13 – 15, 2001:

Two days later [September 13, 2001], Wolfowitz expands on the president’s words at a Pentagon briefing. He seems to signal that the U.S. will enlarge its campaign against terror to include Iraq: “I think one has to say it’s not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism. And that’s why it has to be a broad and sustained campaign.”Colin Powell and others are alarmed by what they view as Wolfowitz’s inflammatory words about “ending states.” Powell later responds during a press briefing: “We’re after ending terrorism. And if there are states and regimes, nations that support terrorism, we hope to persuade them that it is in their interest to stop doing that. But I think ending terrorism is where I would like to leave it, and let Mr. Wolfowitz speak for himself.”

Four days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gathers his national security team at Camp David for a war council. Wolfowitz argues that now is the perfect time to move against state sponsors of terrorism, including Iraq. But Powell tells the president that an international coalition would only come together for an attack on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, not an invasion of Iraq. The war council votes with Powell. Rumsfeld abstains. The president decides that the war’s first phase will be Afghanistan. Iraq will be reconsidered later.

“The War Behind Closed Doors – Chronology: The Evolution of the Bush Doctrine,” Frontline, PBS, Feb. 20, 2003


September 16, 2001:

Woodward reports that just five days after Sept. 11, President Bush indicated to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that while he had to do Afghanistan first, he was also determined to do something about Saddam Hussein.”There’s some pressure to go after Saddam Hussein. Don Rumsfeld has said, ‘This is an opportunity to take out Saddam Hussein, perhaps. We should consider it.’ And the president says to Condi Rice meeting head to head, ‘We won’t do Iraq now. But it is a question we’re gonna have to return to,’” says Woodward.

“Woodward Shares War Secrets” 60 Minutes, CBS, April 18, 2004


September 17 – 20, 2001:

On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 21/2-page document marked “TOP SECRET” that outlined the plan for going to war in Afghanistan as part of a global campaign against terrorism.Almost as a footnote, the document also directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq, senior administration officials said.

The previously undisclosed Iraq directive is characteristic of an internal decision-making process that has been obscured from public view. Over the next nine months, the administration would make Iraq the central focus of its war on terrorism without producing a rich paper trail or record of key meetings and events leading to a formal decision to act against President Saddam Hussein, according to a review of administration decision-making based on interviews with more than 20 participants.

….

The Pentagon, while it was fighting the war in Afghanistan, began reviewing its plans for Iraq because of the secret presidential directive on Sept. 17. On Sept. 19 and 20, an advisory group known as the Defense Policy Board met at the Pentagon — with Rumsfeld in attendance — and animatedly discussed the importance of ousting Hussein.

“U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past,” by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2003


September 20, 2001:

On Thursday, September 20 [2001], Tony Blair arrived in Washington for a meeting at the White House. Until now, many assumed his and Bush’s early talks had been limited to the coming war in Afghanistan. In fact, they also spoke of Iraq. At a dinner in the White House, attended also by Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and the British ambassador to the United States, Sir Christopher Meyer, Bush made clear that he was determined to topple Saddam. “Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq,” Meyer remembers. “On the one hand, Blair came with a very strong message-don’t get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, the Taliban. Bush said, ‘I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'”

“The Path To War” by Bryan Burrough, Evgenia Peretz, David Rose, and David Wise, Vanity Fair, May 2004


September 20, 2001:

We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….” It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.

PNAC Letter to President Bush, September 20, 2001


In the days after September 11, 2001:

They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal — a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi.According to the Pentagon adviser, Special Plans was created in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true – that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States.

“Selective Intelligence” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 5, 2003


In the days after September 11, 2001:

After he [Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld] became Secretary of Defense, a separate intelligence unit was set up in the Pentagon’s policy office, under the control of William Luti, a senior aide to Feith. This office, which circumvented the usual procedures of vetting and transparency, stovepiped many of its findings to the highest-ranking officials.

One such “finding” was stovepiped in the fall of 2001 to Cheney and he seized on it; an “amateurish and unsubstantiated” allegation that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger:

Sometime after he first saw it, Cheney brought it up at his regularly scheduled daily briefing from the C.I.A., Martin said. “He asked the briefer a question. The briefer came back a day or two later and said, ‘We do have a report, but there’s a lack of details.'” The Vice-President was further told that it was known that Iraq had acquired uranium ore from Niger in the early nineteen-eighties but that that material had been placed in secure storage by the I.A.E.A., which was monitoring it. “End of story,” Martin added. “That’s all we know.” According to a former high-level C.I.A. official, however, Cheney was dissatisfied with the initial response, and asked the agency to review the matter once again. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a year-long tug-of-war between the C.I.A. and the Vice-President’s office.

Senior C.I.A. analysts dealing with Iraq were constantly being urged by the Vice-President’s office to provide worst-case assessments on Iraqi weapons issues. “They got pounded on, day after day,” one senior Bush Administration official told me, and received no consistent backup from Tenet and his senior staff. “Pretty soon you say ‘Fuck it.'” And they began to provide the intelligence that was wanted.

“The Stovepipe” by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, October 27, 2003

See also:

“Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq — Intelligence ‘Misused’ to Justify War, He Says” by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, February 10, 2006


November 2001:

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, many in the Bush administration seemed most focused on a prospective move against Iraq. This was the old idea of ‘state sponsorship’ – even though there was no evidence of Iraqi sponsorship of 9/11 whatsoever – and the opportunity to ‘roll it all up.’ I could imagine the arguments. War to unseat Saddam Hussein promised concrete, visible action.I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, and one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan. So, I thought, this is what they mean when they talk about ‘draining the swamp.’ It was evidence of the Cold War approach: Terrorism must have a ‘state sponsor,’ and it would be much more effective to attack a state than to chase after individuals, nebulous organizations, and shadowy associations.

“Winning Modern Wars” by General Wesley Clark


November 19, 2001:

Defense Department strategists are building a case for a massive bombing of Iraq as a new phase of President Bush’s war against terrorism, congressional and Pentagon sources say. Proponents of attacking Iraq, spearheaded by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, are now arguing privately that still-elusive evidence linking Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s regime to the terrorist attacks Sept. 11 is not necessary to trigger a military strike.

“Pentagon builds case to bomb Iraq” by Barbara Slavin, USA Today, November 19, 2001


November 21, 2001:

“And there’s this low boil on Iraq until the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, 2001. This is 72 days after 9/11. This is part of this secret history. President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, ‘What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.'”

Woodward says immediately after that, Rumsfeld told Gen. Tommy Franks to develop a war plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam – and that Rumsfeld gave Franks a blank check.

“Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible,” says Woodward.

“Woodward Shares War Secrets” 60 Minutes, CBS, April 18, 2004


November 26, 2001:

LOOKING beyond what Washington now regards as an assured victory in Afghanistan, President Bush yesterday publicly laid out American strategy for tackling the terrorist threat from Iraq and beyond.

“Saddam is evil,” said Mr Bush, the first time he had applied that adjective to the Iraqi dictator. “I think he’s got weapons of mass destruction, and I think he needs to open up his country to let us inspect.”

Mr Bush said it was obvious from Saddam’s previous use of chemical weapons that he was a threat and harboured ambitions towards mass terrorism. “It’s up to him to prove he’s not,” said Mr Bush, reversing the onus of proof.

Mr Bush used an interview with Newsweek magazine to identify Saddam as a target, and appeared to relish the prospect of finishing the job of neutralising the Iraqi dictator, which his father did not achieve after the Gulf war 10 years ago.

“Bush turns America’s fury towards Saddam” by Stephen Robinson, Telegraph, November 26, 2001


December 2, 2001:

America intends to depose Saddam Hussein by giving armed support to Iraqi opposition forces across the country, The Observer has learnt.

President George W. Bush has ordered the CIA and his senior military commanders to draw up detailed plans for a military operation that could begin within months.

The plan, opposed by Tony Blair and other European Union leaders, threatens to blow apart the increasingly shaky international consensus behind the US-led ‘war on terrorism’.

It envisages a combined operation with US bombers targeting key military installations while US forces assist opposition groups in the North and South of the country in a stage-managed uprising. One version of the plan would have US forces fighting on the ground.

Despite US suspicions of Iraqi involvement in the 11 September attacks, the trigger for any attack, sources say, would be the anticipated refusal of Iraq to resubmit to inspections for weapons of mass destruction under the United Nations sanctions imposed after the Gulf war.

According to the sources, the planning is being undertaken under the auspices of a the US Central Command at McDill air force base in Tampa, Florida, commanded by General Tommy Franks, who is leading the war against Afghanistan.

Another key player is understood to be former CIA director James Woolsey. Sources say Woolsey was sent to London by the hawkish Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, soon after 11 September to ask Iraqi opposition groups if they would participate in an uprising if there was US military support.

The New York Times yesterday quoted a senior administration official who admitted that Bush’s aides were looking at options that involved strengthening groups that opposed Saddam. Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, said that action against Iraq was not imminent, but would come at a ‘place and time of our choosing’.

Washington has been told by its allies that evidence it has presented of an Iraqi link to 11 September is at best circumstantial. However, US proponents of extending the war believe they can make the case for hitting Saddam’s regime over its plan to produce weapons of mass destruction.

A European diplomat said last week: ‘In the past week the Americans have shut up about Iraqi links to 11 September and have been talking a lot more about their weapons programme.’

The US is believed to be planning to exploit existing UN resolutions on Iraqi weapons programmes to set the action off.

Under the pre-existing ‘red lines’ for military action against Iraq – set down by Washington and London after the Gulf War – evidence of any credible threat from weapons of mass destruction would be regarded as sufficient to launch military strikes along the lines of Operation Desert Fox in 1998, when allied planes made large-scale strikes against suspected Iraqi weapons complexes.

Opposition by Blair and French President Jacques Chirac may not be enough to dissuade the Americans. One European military source who recently returned from General Franks’s headquarters in Florida said: ‘The Americans are walking on water. They think they can do anything at the moment and there is bloody nothing Tony [Blair] can do about it.’

Bush is said to have issued instructions about the proposals, which are now at a detailed stage, to his Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, three weeks ago. But Pentagon sources say that a plan for attacking Iraq was developed by the time Bush’s order was sent to the Pentagon, drawn up by Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, chairman of the joint chiefs General Richard Myers, and Franks.

“Secret US plan for Iraq war” by Peter Beaumont, Ed Vulliamy and Paul Beaver, The Observer, December 2, 2001


December 18, 2001:

After their success in Afghanistan, senior US officials believe they now have more support for toppling the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

There is a distinct hardening of the American attitude towards Iraq.

“US builds support against Iraq” by Roger Hardy, BBC News, December 18, 2001


December 2001:

By the end of 2001, diplomats were discussing how to enlist the support of Arab allies, the military was sharpening its troop estimates, and the communications team was plotting how to sell an attack to the American public. The whole purpose of putting Iraq into Bush’s State of the Union address, as part of the “axis of evil,” was to begin the debate about a possible invasion.

“We’re Taking Him Out” by Daniel Eisenberg, Time Magazine, May 5, 2002


January 29, 2002:

Bush gives his State of the Union Address and calls Iraq part of the “axis of evil.”

I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.

State of the Union Address, George W. Bush, January 29, 2002


February 7, 2002:

In a major policy shift, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, declared yesterday that there should be a “regime change” in Iraq and that Washington was prepared to pursue that goal alone if necessary.America is spoiling as never before for action to settle its unfinished business with Iraq, the country singled out by President George Bush as the most menacing member of his “axis of evil”. Whatever he means, and whatever the obstacles, the name of the game is clear — “regime change”. But just how this will be achieved remains clouded in uncertainty. General Powell told Congress that Mr Bush was considering “a full range of options”.

“US Says it Will Act to Overthrow Saddam” by Rupert Cornwell and David Usborne, Independent, February 7, 2002


February 12, 2002:

President Bush has decided to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power and ordered the CIA, the Pentagon and other agencies to devise a combination of military, diplomatic and covert steps to achieve that goal, senior U.S. officials said Tuesday.No military strike is imminent, but Bush has concluded that Saddam and his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs are such a threat to U.S. security that the Iraqi dictator must be removed, even if U.S. allies do not help, said the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.

“This is not an argument about whether to get rid of Saddam Hussein. That debate is over. This is … how you do it,” a senior administration official said in an interview with Knight Ridder.

….

The course also is fraught with potential military difficulties, with most experts on Iraq warning that a campaign there would not be as swift or virtually free of American casualties as Afghanistan. There, rebels of the northern alliance, backed by U.S. commandos and massive U.S. airpower, quickly overthrew the Taliban regime.

Nevertheless, one foreign leader who met Bush recently came away “with the feeling that a decision has been made to strike Iraq, and the ‘how’ and ‘when’ are still fluid,” added a diplomat who asked not to be further identified.

….

Bush also is dispatching Vice President Cheney next month on a tour of 11 Middle East nations, including many of Iraq’s neighbors, whose leaders are leery of a U.S. attack on Baghdad.

While the mission’s purpose has been portrayed publicly as sounding out Middle Eastern leaders on Iraq policy, Cheney in fact will tell them that the United States intends to get rid of Saddam and his regime, several top Bush aides said.

“He’s not going to beg for support. He’s going to inform them that the president’s decision has been made and will be carried out, and if they want some input into how and when it’s carried out, now’s the time for them to speak up,” one senior official said.

“Bush has decided to overthrow Hussein” by Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott, Knight Ridder, Feb. 13, 2002


February 19, 2002:

The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries, military officials said….

The military has long engaged in information warfare against hostile nations — for instance, by dropping leaflets and broadcasting messages into Afghanistan when it was still under Taliban rule.

But it recently created the Office of Strategic Influence, which is proposing to broaden that mission into allied nations in the Middle East, Asia and even Western Europe. The office would assume a role traditionally led by civilian agencies, mainly the State Department.

The small but well-financed Pentagon office, which was established shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was a response to concerns in the administration that the United States was losing public support overseas for its war on terrorism, particularly in Islamic countries.

Little information is available about the Office of Strategic Influence, and even many senior Pentagon officials and Congressional military aides say they know almost nothing about its purpose and plans. Its multimillion dollar budget, drawn from a $10 billion emergency supplement to the Pentagon budget authorized by Congress in October, has not been disclosed.

Headed by Brig. Gen. Simon P. Worden of the Air Force, the new office has begun circulating classified proposals calling for aggressive campaigns that use not only the foreign media and the Internet, but also covert operations.

The new office “rolls up all the instruments within D.O.D. to influence foreign audiences,” its assistant for operations, Thomas A. Timmes, a former Army colonel and psychological operations officer, said at a recent conference, referring to the Department of Defense. “D.O.D. has not traditionally done these things.”

One of the office’s proposals calls for planting news items with foreign media organizations through outside concerns that might not have obvious ties to the Pentagon, officials familiar with the proposal said.

General Worden envisions a broad mission ranging from “black” campaigns that use disinformation and other covert activities to “white” public affairs that rely on truthful news releases, Pentagon officials said.

“It goes from the blackest of black programs to the whitest of white,” a senior Pentagon official said.

Another proposal involves sending journalists, civic leaders and foreign leaders e-mail messages that promote American views or attack unfriendly governments, officials said.

Asked if such e-mail would be identified as coming from the American military, a senior Pentagon official said that “the return address will probably be a dot-com, not a dot- mil,” a reference to the military’s Internet designation.

To help the new office, the Pentagon has hired the Rendon Group, a Washington-based international consulting firm run by John W. Rendon Jr., a former campaign aide to President Jimmy Carter. The firm, which is being paid about $100,000 a month, has done extensive work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Kuwaiti royal family and the Iraqi National Congress, the opposition group seeking to oust President Saddam Hussein.

Officials at the Rendon Group say terms of their contract forbid them to talk about their Pentagon work. But the firm is well known for running propaganda campaigns in Arab countries, including one denouncing atrocities by Iraq during its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The firm has been hired as the Bush administration appears to have united around the goal of ousting Mr. Hussein. “Saddam Hussein has a charm offensive going on, and we haven’t done anything to counteract it,” a senior military official said.

Proponents say the new Pentagon office will bring much-needed coordination to the military’s efforts to influence views of the United States overseas, particularly as Washington broadens the war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan.

But the new office has also stirred a sharp debate in the Pentagon, where several senior officials have questioned whether its mission is too broad and possibly even illegal.

Those critics say they are disturbed that a single office might be authorized to use not only covert operations like computer network attacks, psychological activities and deception, but also the instruments and staff of the military’s globe- spanning public affairs apparatus.

Mingling the more surreptitious activities with the work of traditional public affairs would undermine the Pentagon’s credibility with the media, the public and governments around the world, critics argue.

“This breaks down the boundaries almost completely,” a senior Pentagon official said.

Moreover, critics say, disinformation planted in foreign media organizations, like Reuters or Agence France-Presse, could end up being published or broadcast by American news organizations.

The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency are barred by law from propaganda activities in the United States. In the mid-1970’s, it was disclosed that some C.I.A. programs to plant false information in the foreign press had resulted in articles published by American news organizations.

Critics of the new Pentagon office also argue that governments allied with the United States are likely to object strongly to any attempts by the American military to influence media within their borders.

“Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad” by James Dao and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, February 19, 2002


February 2002:

In late February, the C.I.A. persuaded retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson to fly to Niger to discreetly check out the story of the uranium sale. Wilson, who is now a business consultant, had excellent credentials: he had been deputy chief of mission in Baghdad, had served as a diplomat in Africa, and had worked in the White House for the National Security Council. He was known as an independent diplomat who had put himself in harm’s way to help American citizens abroad.Wilson told me he was informed at the time that the mission had come about because the Vice-President’s office was interested in the Italian intelligence report. Before his departure, he was summoned to a meeting at the C.I.A. with a group of government experts on Iraq, Niger, and uranium. He was shown no documents but was told, he said, that the C.I.A. “was responding to a report that was recently received of a purported memorandum of agreement”-between Iraq and Niger-“that our boys had gotten.” He added, “It was never clear to me, or to the people who were briefing me, whether our guys had actually seen the agreement, or the purported text of an agreement.” Wilson’s trip to Niger, which lasted eight days, produced nothing. He learned that any memorandum of understanding to sell yellowcake would have required the signatures of Niger’s Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Mines. “I saw everybody out there,” Wilson said, and no one had signed such a document. “If a document purporting to be about the sale contained those signatures, it would not be authentic.” Wilson also learned that there was no uranium available to sell: it had all been pre-sold to Niger’s Japanese and European consortium partners.

Wilson returned to Washington and made his report. It was circulated, he said, but “I heard nothing about what the Vice-President’s office thought about it.” (In response, Cathie Martin said, “The Vice-President doesn’t know Joe Wilson and did not know about his trip until he read about it in the press.” The first press accounts appeared fifteen months after Wilson’s trip.)

“The Stovepipe” by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, October 27, 2003


Early 2002:

By early 2002 U.S. Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick was asked about Iraq-Niger uranium trade; she informed Washington that there was no basis to suspect any link. Then Cheney’s office decided to investigate the letters’ substance. Former U.S. ambassador to Gabon, Joseph C. Wilson (a man of exceptionally distinguished diplomatic career), was (in his words) “invited out to meet with a group of people at the CIA who were interested in this subject” and agreed to investigate the content of the documents, which he had not seen. He left for Niger in February, and made an oral report in March. “Although I did not file a written report,” Wilson declares, “there should be at least four documents in U.S. government archives confirming my mission. The documents should include the ambassador’s report of my debriefing in Niamey [capital of Niger], a separate report written by the embassy staff, a CIA report summing up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally).” One must imagine that they came to Libby’s attention. The documents’ gist is: there was no evidence that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger.Meanwhile, during the same month, a four-star U.S. general, Marine Gen. Carlton W. Fulford Jr., deputy commander of the U.S. European Command (the headquarters responsible for military relations with most of sub-Saharan Africa) also visited Niger at the request of the U.S. ambassador. He met with Niger’s president February 24 and emphasized the importance of tight controls over its uranium ore deposits. According to MSNBC, he also visited the country two months later. This year, Fulford told the Washington Post that he had come away convinced that Niger’s uranium stocks were secure. His report went to European Command Commander, General Joseph Ralston, who passed it along to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers. The Post reports that “it is unclear whether they reached officials in the White House.”

“Faith-Based Intelligence” by Gary Leupp, CounterPunch, July 26, 2003


February 28, 2002:

The Bush administration is stepping up its efforts to destabilize the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.U.S. officials say they are seeking to carry out President Bush’s policy of “regime change.” The evidence:

* U.S. diplomats and CIA officers in recent months have visited northern Iraq, an area protected by U.S. and British military overflights. “Our assessment is that this administration is much more serious than before,” said Mohammad Sabir, the U.S. representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, an Iraqi Kurdish faction.

* The administration plans to fund a meeting of several hundred Iraqi military defectors in Europe in March or April. Officials of the Iraqi National Congress, an opposition movement, said they would convene the meeting. But a senior State Department official said the Iraqi group would not act as the host.

Meanwhile, two experts on Iraq outside the government say the CIA already is implementing a new covert plan to topple Saddam, who has ruled Iraq for more than two decades. One of them, a former top CIA official who maintains contacts at the agency, says President Bush approved the plan three weeks ago.

Neither the White House nor the CIA would confirm Wednesday that such a plan exists.

“U.S. stirs efforts to oust Saddam” by Barbara Slavin, USA Today, February 28, 2002


March 2002:

By early March, 2002, a former White House official told me, it was understood by many in the White House that the President had decided, in his own mind, to go to war… The Bush Administration took many intelligence operations that had been aimed at Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the world and redirected them to the Persian Gulf… Chalabi’s defector reports were now flowing from the Pentagon directly to the Vice-President’s office, and then on to the President, with little prior evaluation by intelligence professionals.

“The Stovepipe” by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, October 27, 2003


March 2002:

“F___ Saddam. we’re taking him out.” Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America’s Middle East allies. Bush wasn’t interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile.

“First Stop, Iraq” by Michael Elliott and James Carney, Time Magazine, March 31, 2003


March 2002:

Dick Cheney carried the same message to Capitol Hill in late March. The Vice President dropped by a Senate Republican policy lunch soon after his 10-day tour of the Middle East — the one meant to drum up support for a U.S. military strike against Iraq… Before he spoke, he said no one should repeat what he said, and Senators and staff members promptly put down their pens and pencils. Then he gave them some surprising news. The question was no longer if the U.S. would attack Iraq, he said. The only question was when.

“We’re Taking Him Out” by Daniel Eisenberg, Time Magazine, May 5, 2002


March 2002:

Blair’s foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, assured Condoleezza Rice of Blair’s deadset support for “regime change.” Days later, Sir Christopher Meyer, then British ambassador to the US, sent a dispatch to Downing Street detailing how he repeated the commitment to Paul Wolfowitz, the US Deputy Defence Secretary. The ambassador added that Mr Blair would need a “cover” for any military action. “I then went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UN Security Council resolutions.” (Raw Story: Manning; Raw Story: Meyer)

“Path of War Timeline,” Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, Raw Story

MEYER MEMO


March 2002:

Sir David Manning, Mr Blair’s foreign policy adviser, returned from talks in Washington in mid-March 2002 warning that Mr Bush “still has to find answers to the big questions”, which included “what happens on the morning after?”.

In a letter to the Prime Minister marked “Secret – strictly personal”, he said: “I think there is a real risk that the administration underestimates the difficulties.

“They may agree that failure isn’t an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it.”

The Cabinet Office said that the US believed that the legal basis for war already existed and had lost patience with the policy of containment.

It did not see the war on terrorism as being a major element in American decision-making.

“The swift success of the war in Afghanistan, distrust of UN sanctions and inspections regimes and unfinished business from 1991 are all factors,” it added. That view appeared to be shared by Peter Ricketts, the Foreign Office policy director.

There were “real problems” over the alleged threat and what the US was looking to achieve by toppling Saddam, he said. Nothing had changed to make Iraqi WMD more of a threat.

The documents further show that the Prime Minister was advised that he would have to “wrong foot” Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, and that British officials believed that President George W Bush merely wanted to complete his father’s “unfinished business” in a “grudge match” against Saddam.

“Even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years. Military operations need clear and compelling military objectives. For Iraq, ‘regime change’ does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge match between Bush and Saddam.”

“Secret Papers Show Blair was Warned of Iraq Chaos,” by Michael Smith, Daily Telegraph/UK, September 18, 2004


March 12-13, 2002:

Manning meets with Condoleeza Rice. On March 14, he reports to Blair: “I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. . . . Condi’s enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed. But there were some signs, since we last spoke, of greater awareness of the practical difficulties and political risks.”

“Path of War Timeline,” Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, Raw Story

DAVID MANNING MEMO, March 14, 2002

DAVID MANNING MEMO, March 14, 2002


March 17, 2002:

Sir Christopher Meyer, British ambassador to the US, meets with Paul Wolfowitz. The next day, he reports to Manning: “On Iraq I opened by sticking very closely to the script that you used with Condi rice last week. We backed regime change, but the plan had to be clever and failure was not an option. It would be a tough sell for us domestically, and probably tougher elsewhere in Europe. The US could go it alone if it wanted to. But if it wanted to act with partners, here had to be a strategy for building support for military action against Saddam. I then went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors.”

“Path of War Timeline,” Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, Raw Story

CHRISTOPHER MEYER MEMO

‘Failure is not an option, but it doesn’t mean they will avoid it,’ by Michael Smith, Daily Telegraph/UK, September 18, 2004


March 8 – 25, 2002:

Several leaked documents show the British government considering the implications of shifting from an Iraq policy based on containment to one of regime change, along with considerations to be addressed in supporting Bush’s objectives. A memo from the British Foreign Secretary states: “The rewards from your visit to Crawford will be few. The risks are high, both for you and for the Government. I just that there is at present no majority inside the PLP for any military action against Iraq …A legal justification is a necessary but far from sufficient precondition for military action. We have also to answer the big question – what will this action achieve?”

“Path of War Timeline,” Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, Raw Story

IRAQ: OPTIONS PAPER, March 8, 2002

P F RICKETTS MEMO

JACK STRAW MEMO, March 25, 2002

IRAQ: OPTIONS PAPER, March 8, 2002

IRAQ: LEGAL BACKGROUND MEMO, March 8, 2002

JACK STRAW MEMO, March 25, 2002


April 3, 2002:

Mr. President, we urge you to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.

Second PNAC Letter to President Bush, April 3, 2002


April 2002:

Then, in April, Bush approached Rice. It was time to figure out “what we are doing about Iraq,” he told her, setting in motion a series of meetings by the principals and their deputies. “I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go,” Bush hinted to a British reporter at the time. “That’s about all I’m willing to share with you.”

“U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past,” by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2003


May 2002:

“Rumsfeld has been so determined to find a rationale for an attack that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking Iraq to the terror attacks of Sept. 11. The intelligence agency repeatedly came back empty-handed. The best hope for Iraqi ties to the attack — a report that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official in the Czech Republic — was discredited last week.”The White House’s biggest fear is that U.N. weapons inspectors will be allowed to go in,” says a top Senate foreign policy aide.

“We’re Taking Him Out” by Daniel Eisenberg, Time Magazine, May 5, 2002


From May 2002 until February 2003:

From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.

While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.

“The New Pentagon Papers” by Karen Kwiatkowski, Salon, March 10, 2004


May 6, 2002:

The US may try to remove Saddam Hussein from power even if he agrees to new weapons inspections, the secretary of state, Colin Powell, said yesterday…..

US efforts to link the Iraq issue to the “war on terrorism” have failed to bear fruit. Even the alleged meeting between Mohammed Atta, believed to have led the September 11 hijackers, and an Iraqi intelligence officer has been debunked in the US media.

“US wants to oust Saddam even if he makes concessions” by Brian Whitaker and agencies, The Guardian, May 6, 2002


From May 2002 on:

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.

The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make “regime change” in Iraq legal.

Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that “the US had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime”.

“RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war” by Michael Smith, The Sunday Times – Britain, May 29, 2005


June 10, 2002:

The Bush administration is developing a new strategic doctrine that moves away from the Cold War pillars of containment and deterrence toward a policy that supports preemptive attacks against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.The new doctrine will be laid out by President Bush’s National Security Council as part of the administration’s first “National Security Strategy” being drafted for release by early this fall, senior officials said.

“Bush Developing Military Policy Of Striking First – New Doctrine Addresses Terrorism” by Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, June 10, 2002

SEE ALSO:

“Bush to Formalize a Defense Policy of Hitting First” by David E. Sanger, New York Times, June 17, 2002

“The New Bush Doctrine” by Richard Falk, The Nation, June 27, 2002


July 2002:

Conditions for military action:

“1. The US Government’s military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq’s WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.

3. We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.

“Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action” The Sunday Times – World, June 12, 2005


July 2002:

SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL – UK EYES ONLY….

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER’S MEETING, 23 JULY

….

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

….

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

….

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun “spikes of activity” to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

….

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

“The Downing Street Memo, minutes of an official high-level meeting between British and American officials, July 23, 2002, leaked to The Sunday Times” The Sunday Times – Britain, May 1, 2005


July 2002:

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

“US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia,” the briefing paper warned. This meant that issues of legality “would arise virtually whatever option ministers choose with regard to UK participation”.

The paper was circulated to those present at the meeting, among whom were Blair, Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6. The full minutes of the meeting were published last month in The Sunday Times.

The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

“It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be “most unlikely” to obtain the legal justification they needed.

The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.

“Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’” by Michael Smith, The Sunday Times – Britain, June 12, 2005


July 2002:

“At the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn’t know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved.”Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this.”

“Woodward Shares War Secrets” 60 Minutes, CBS, April 18, 2004


August 2, 2002:

“Are the weapons that were loaded up with VX destroyed? Yes. Is the equipment used to produce VX on a large scale destroyed? Yes. Did Iraq wind up VX? Absolutely. Do they have the capability today? No. We eliminated it. We took Iraq down as close to zero as you are going to get.”For Iraq to have these weapons today they would have to re-constitute that capability. It is detectable by the intelligence services not only of the United States, but every nation with an interest in Iraq would be able to detect this stuff. The fact Tony Blair cannot put on the table any substantive facts about a re-constituted Iraqi chemical weapons programme is proof positive that no such evidence exists.”

…..

“The case for war cannot be substantiated. There is no national security threat, so we are talking about politics. The US is calling the shots, not Britain. It is the perfect visualisation of the special relationship. Tony Blair has allowed Great Britain to become the lapdog of the United States.

“Because of the frustration in the Right-wing of the Republican Party over eight years of Bill Clinton’s Presidency, we’ve rejected multilateralism. Unilateralists who are driven by ideological interests have seized control of American national security decision-making. These neo-conservatives have hijacked national security, foreign policy and now domestic policy using the ‘war on terror’ as a convenient vehicle.

“We are a democracy, but if anyone raises their hand and says ‘I have a question, they are attacked for being ‘unpatriotic’. It is worse than McCarthyism. This is the path towards the destruction of American democracy.

“I was a marine for 12 years. I raised my hand to give an oath of allegiance to the constitution, not an oath of allegiance to the President.

“We have a situation, post-September 11, where the President is forcing war on the American people and the world.”

“Why we don’t need this war” interview of Scott Ritter by Mark Seddon, Tribune, August 2, 2002


August 2002

Powell reports trouble getting U.S. allies on board for a war with Iraq and wants to consult the U.N. At a private dinner with Bush on Aug. 5, Powell warns the president that the U.S. should not act unilaterally and must fully consider the economic and political consequences of war — particularly in the Middle East.Powell’s view is championed by Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Adviser in the Bush I administration, who publishes an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 15 in which he argues that Bush is moving too quickly on Iraq, and advocates pressing for the return of U.N. inspectors.

Soon after, Vice President Cheney emerges as the administration voice advocating action against Iraq. In a Nashville speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cheney warns that “a return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of [Saddam’s] compliance with U.N. resolutions.”

Cheney also outlines a larger, long-term strategy whereby regime change in Iraq could transform the Middle East:

“Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace. As for the reaction of the Arab ‘street,’ the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are ‘sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.’ Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced, just as it was following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.”

As Bush leaves for an August vacation in Crawford, Texas, he agrees to take his case to the U.N. and asks his advisers to start preparing the speech.

“The War Behind Closed Doors – Chronology: The Evolution of the Bush Doctrine,” Frontline, PBS, Feb. 20, 2003


August 2002:

The White House Iraq Group (aka, White House Information Group or WHIG) was the marketing arm of the Republican Party whose purpose was to sell the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the public. The task force was set up in August 2002 by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and chaired by Karl Rove to coordinate all the executive branch elements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. One example of the WHIG’s functions and influence is the “escalation of rhetoric about the danger that Iraq posed to the US, including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud'”.

“White House Iraq Group” Wikipedia


August 29, 2002:

Vice President Cheney’s speech this week showed that the administration has no new evidence to support its claim that Iraq poses an immediate threat to the United States. Instead, Cheney used standard, vague terms: “no doubt” Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction or will acquire nuclear weapons “fairly soon.” The administration also points to the possible presence of fleeing al-Qaeda members in northern Iraq, perhaps of senior rank. But it has difficulty tying them directly to Saddam because the area is largely under the control of Kurdish opposition leader Jallal Tallabani, who has worked with the Bush administration against Saddam.Without convincing evidence of imminent danger, administration officials have been dusting off old cases that hint at Iraqi plots and conspiracies, but are unsupported by facts. Many worry that such incidents will be exploited as pretexts to justify pre-emptive strikes. The Navy, for instance, is considering changing the status of a pilot shot down over Iraq during the Gulf War from missing in action to captured. But, given no known physical evidence to support that possibility nor any new facts, some see this as one more cynical political pretext for invasion.

Bush administration officials also have been reviving the old story that Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta met in the Czech Republic capital of Prague with an Iraqi agent five months before the attacks — a possible link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. An unnamed senior administration official told the Los Angeles Times that evidence of such a meeting “holds up.” A federal law enforcement official, the Times reported, said the FBI has been reviewing Atta’s records with “renewed vigor” for a possible link to Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently added at a news conference that Iraq “had a relationship” with al-Qaeda.

But senior U.S. intelligence officials have discounted the meeting. “We ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller. The records revealed that Atta was in Virginia Beach during the time he supposedly met the Iraqi in Prague.

“Bush wrong to use pretext as excuse to invade Iraq” by James Bamford, USA Today, August 29, 2002


2002:

What most people will not have realised until now, however, was that Britain and the US waged a secret war against Iraq for months before the tanks rolled over the border in March 2003. Documentary evidence and ministerial answers in parliament reveal the existence of a clandestine bombing campaign designed largely to provoke Iraq into taking action that could be used to justify the start of the war.In the absence of solid legal grounds for war, in other words, the allies tried to bomb Saddam Hussein into providing their casus belli. And when that didn’t work they just stepped up the bombing rate, in effect starting the conflict without telling anyone.

The main evidence lies in leaked documents relating to a crucial meeting chaired by the Prime Minister in July 2002 – the documents which supported the Sunday Times story, published during this past election campaign, about how Blair promised George W Bush in April that year that Britain would back regime change.

A briefing paper for the ministers and officials at the meeting – this was in effect a British war cabinet – laid out two alternative US war plans. The first, a “generated start”, involved a slow build-up of roughly 250,000 troops in Kuwait. Allied aircraft would then mount an air war, which would be followed by a full-scale invasion. The second option was a “running start”, in which a continuous air campaign, “initiated by an Iraqi casus belli”, would be mounted without any overt military build-up. Allied special forces giving support to Iraqi opposition groups on the ground would be joined by further troops as and when they arrived in theatre, until the regime collapsed. A few days after the meeting, the Americans opted for a hybrid of the two in which the air war would begin, as for a running start, as soon as the Iraqis provided the justification for war, while at the same time an invasion force would be built up, as for a generated start.

The record of the July meeting in London, however, contains a revealing passage in which Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, tells his colleagues in plain terms that “the US had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime”. What is meant by “spikes of activity” becomes clear in the light of information elicited from the government by the Liberal Democrat Sir Menzies Campbell, who asked the Ministry of Defence about British and American air activity in 2002 in the southern no-fly zone of Iraq – the zone created to protect southern Shias after Saddam Hussein brutally suppressed their 1991 uprising against him.

The MoD response shows that in March 2002 no bombs were dropped, and in April only 0.3 tonnes of ordnance used. The figure rose to 7.3 tonnes in May, however, then to 10.4 in June, dipping to 9.5 in July before rising again to 14.1 in August. Suddenly, in other words, US and British air forces were in action over Iraq.

What was going on? There were very strict rules of engagement in the no-fly zones. The allied pilots were authorised to fire missiles at any Iraqi air defence weapon or radar that fired at them or locked on to their aircraft. As was noted in Foreign Office legal advice appended to the July 2002 briefing paper, they were only “entitled to use force in self-defence where such a use of force is a necessary and proportionate response to actual or imminent attack from Iraqi ground systems”.

That May, however, Donald Rumsfeld had ordered a more aggressive approach, authorising allied aircraft to attack Iraqi command and control centres as well as actual air defences. The US defence secretary later said this was simply to prevent the Iraqis attacking allied aircraft, but Hoon’s remark gives the game away. In reality, as he explained, the “spikes of activity” were designed “to put pressure on the regime”.

What happened next was dramatic. In September, the amount of ordnance used in the southern no-fly zone increased sharply to 54.6 tonnes. It declined in October to 17.7 tonnes before rising again to 33.6 tonnes in November and 53.2 tonnes in December. The spikes were getting taller and taller.

In fact, as it became clear that Saddam Hussein would not provide them with the justification they needed to launch the air war, we can see that the allies simply launched it anyway, beneath the cloak of the no-fly zone.

In the early hours of 5 September, for example, more than a hundred allied aircraft attacked the H-3 airfield, the main air defence site in western Iraq. Located at the furthest extreme of the southern no-fly zone, far away from the areas that needed to be patrolled to prevent attacks on the Shias, it was destroyed not because it was a threat to the patrols, but to allow allied special forces operating from Jordan to enter Iraq undetected.

It would be another nine weeks before Blair and Bush went to the UN to try to persuade it to authorise military action, but the air war had begun anyway. The number of raids shot up, from four a month to 30, with allied aircraft repeatedly returning to sites they had already hit to finish them off. Senior British officials insist that no RAF aircraft opened fire until it was at least locked on to by an Iraqi radar, but it is difficult to see how the systematic targeting of Iraqi installations could have constituted “a necessary and proportionate response”. The story of the secret air war dovetails neatly with the other evidence from the leaked documents, further demonstrating why, even after the general election, Blair’s efforts to dispel the allegations about the background to war and get the country to “move on” seem doomed to fail.

It was the briefing paper for the July meeting which stated categorically that “when the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April [2002], he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change”.

The same document also stated bluntly that “regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law” and it was therefore “necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action”.

America had none of these problems. It was Washington’s view that it could decide for itself whether Saddam was in breach of his obligations to let in weapons inspectors. With British officials holding Blair back, insisting that without UN backing an invasion would be illegal, it would have been extremely convenient for Bush and Rumsfeld if Saddam had retaliated against the bombing offensive, thus giving London and Washington the chance to cry, “He started it!”

….

Under the US constitution, only Congress has the power to authorise war, and it did not do so until 11 October. Any military action to oust Saddam before that point would constitute a serious abuse of power by the president. But there is no reason to suppose that bothered Mr Bush.

“The war before the war” by Michael Smith, New Statesman, May 30, 2005


September 6, 2002:

When asked why the Administration waited until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq, White House chief of staff Andrew Card told The New York Times:

“From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

“Marketing Iraq: Why now?” by William Schneider, CNN, September 12, 2002


September 8, 2002:

President Bush said yesterday the world has all the evidence it needs that Iraq is continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, as he was host to British Prime Minister Tony Blair for a three-hour strategy session on building international support for aggressive action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein…..

Bush is scheduled to address the United Nations about Iraq on Thursday. His advisers say the speech will lay out the case for urgent action, and warn the international community that time is running out for stopping Hussein’s pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

….

Led by Vice President Cheney, several senior administration officials have said they see no purpose in another round of inspections, since Hussein repeatedly obstructed efforts that began after Iraq’s defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and has banned inspectors since 1998. Although officials said Bush shares that view, and believes a U.S. invasion of Iraq is inevitable, they said last week that he has agreed to issue one last challenge to the international community to make good on its resolutions against Iraq.

Officials said the U.N. speech would amount to an ultimatum in which Bush will outline the threat in its starkest, most immediate terms and indicate that the United States will not wait much longer for international action. They said some details of the speech are still under discussion, including whether Bush would propose that the Security Council set a deadline for Iraqi compliance or issue a resolution authorizing an international military force to compel inspections.

“Bush, Blair Decry Hussein” by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, September 8, 2002


September 9, 2002:

ZAHN: I want to have, hear your reaction to the whole range of Bush administration officials yesterday who essentially came out and have said that Saddam Hussein has been trying to obtain materials to build nuclear weapons, particularly trying to buy thousands of aluminum pipes that could be used in the manufacture of a centrifuge and ultimately used to manufacture weapons.What do you make of that?

RITTER: What an absurd statement. Thousands of aluminum pipes, and we’re going to go to war over thousands of aluminum pipes? Even the ISS report that you cite says that if Iraq was to have trying to do uranium enrichment, it would take them many years before they could do it. This is patently ridiculous. These are aluminum pipes coming in for civilian use. They are not being transferred to a covert nuclear processing plant or any covert nuclear activity whatsoever.

…..

ZAHN: But, Scott, why are you so convinced that these pipes would be used for civilian use when so many other people out there are absolutely convinced these pipes could ultimately be used to build a centrifuge? I mean that is true. These pipes could be used that way, right?

RITTER: Sure they could. But you say they’re ultimately convinced. What makes them convinced? What evidence do they have? We’re talking about going to war here, Paula. War. War kills people. War destroys things. War is something that’s going to put the lives of American service members at risk and if we go to war along the lines that Bush is talking about, destroy our reputation in the international community.

So frankly speaking, I’m going to need a hell of a lot more than some aluminum tubes before I’m convinced there’s a case for war. The bottom line is in 1998 the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iraq had no nuclear weapons capability, none whatsoever, zero.

So how suddenly are they now an emerging nuclear threat? We’d better have a heck of a lot more to go on than some aluminum pipes.

ZAHN: Let’s talk more about what some say is the only independent voice in this whole argument, and that is the International Institute for Strategic Studies. And you just cited the study. In this report, it suggests — and this report is just out this morning — that Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months if it had foreign help.

Let me read to you what the conclusion was, that, “War sanctions and inspections have reversed and retarded but not eliminated Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and long range missile capabilities, nor removed Baghdad’s enduring interest in developing these capabilities.”

RITTER: Paula, what do we have here? Rhetoric? Where’s the facts? Enduring interest in weapons capability? What does that mean? What evidence do they cite for this enduring interest? You know, ballistic missiles, they say he has 12. What, did they grow? Where are they? They didn’t have 12 when I was a weapons inspector.

Chemical weapons? Biological weapons? They talk about bulk agent in terms of Iraq’s biological weapons program. What bulk agent? Where did they make it? Bulk agent has a three year lifetime in terms of storage in ideal conditions. The last time Iraq was known to have produced bulk agent was in 1990. That stuff, even if they held onto it, is no longer viable. So to have bulk agent today, Iraq would have had to reconstitute a manufacturing base in biological weapons. Where is it?

This report is absurd. It has zero factual basis. It’s all rhetoric. It’s all speculative and, frankly speaking, it’s meaningless without, you know, with the sad exception that hawks in the Bush administration are going to point to this as justification for war.

We need a heck of a lot more than this if we’re going to talk about sending our forces off to fight in a war in Iraq.

…..

You know, I know that inspections did work. We achieved a 90 to 95 percent level of verified, absolutely certain accountability for Iraq’s weapons program, including all the factories and associated production equipment. This is why I’m just amazed when I hear reports coming from the IISS that Iraq suddenly has the capability. Where did it come from? Did they suddenly grow factories?

You build factories, not in a basement, not in a mountain cave, but it’s a modern industrial capability. Where did it come from? Where are the facilities? Where are the weapons? I’m tired of speculation. I won’t support a war in which the marines that I used to associate with are going to go off and fight and maybe get killed. It’s just not worth it.

“American Morning with Paula Zahn: ‘Interview with Scott Ritter,'” CNN, September 9, 2002


September 12, 2002:

Bush addressed the UN calling for a new U.N. resolution on Iraq. But the president also warned:

“The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced — the just demands of peace and security will be met — or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.”

BUSH: SPEECH TO THE U.N. September 12, 2002


September 16, 2002:

Iraq unconditionally accepted the return of UN inspectors.

“Timeline: Iraq weapons inspections,” BBC, November 18, 2002

“Iraq Agrees to Readmit Weapons Inspectors” PBS Hews Hour, September 16, 2002


September 17, 2002:

Bush’s National Security Strategy asserts that the US will never again allow its military supremacy to be challenged and embraces unilateral preemptive military strikes.

U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY

SEE ALSO:

“A Bush vision of Pax Americana” by Gail Russell Chaddock, The Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 2002

“Manifesto” by Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker, Issue of 2002-10-14 and 21 Posted October 7, 2002

“Our Way” by Fareed Zakaria, The New Yorker, Issue of 2002-10-14 and 21, Posted October 7, 2002


September 18, 2002:

President Bush said Saddam Hussein’s offer to let U.N. inspectors back into Iraq is “his latest ploy,” and said a strong U.N. resolution was still necessary.

“Bush Calls Iraqi Offer a ‘Ploy'” by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service, September 18, 2002


September 2002:

Bush proposes a congressional resolution to authorize military action against Iraq.

BUSH: PROPOSED RESOLUTION ON IRAQ, September 19th, 2002


September 2002:

A key piece of evidence in the Bush administration’s case against Iraq is being challenged in a report by independent experts who question whether thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes recently sought by Iraq were intended for a secret nuclear weapons program.The White House last week said attempts by Iraq to acquire the tubes point to a clandestine program to make enriched uranium for nuclear bombs. But the experts say in a new report that the evidence is ambiguous, and in some ways contradicts what is known about Iraq’s past nuclear efforts.

The report, from the Institute for Science and International Security, also contends that the Bush administration is trying to quiet dissent among its own analysts over how to interpret the evidence. The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, was authored by David Albright, a physicist who investigated Iraq’s nuclear weapons program following the 1991 Persian Gulf War as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection team. The institute, headquartered in Washington, is an independent group that studies nuclear and other security issues.

“By themselves, these attempted procurements are not evidence that Iraq is in possession of, or close to possessing, nuclear weapons,” the report said. “They do not provide evidence that Iraq has an operating centrifuge plant or when such a plant could be operational.”

….

According to Albright, government experts on nuclear technology who dissented from the Bush administration’s view told him they were expected to remain silent. Several Energy Department officials familiar with the aluminum shipments declined to comment.

“Evidence on Iraq Challenged” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, September 19, 2002


September 2002:

Last September 24th [2002], as Congress prepared to vote on the resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to wage war in Iraq, a group of senior intelligence officials, including George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iraq’s weapons capability. It was an important presentation for the Bush Administration. Some Democrats were publicly questioning the President’s claim that Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction which posed an immediate threat to the United States. Just the day before, former Vice-President Al Gore had sharply criticized the Administration’s advocacy of preemptive war, calling it a doctrine that would replace “a world in which states consider themselves subject to law” with “the notion that there is no law but the discretion of the President of the United States.” A few Democrats were also considering putting an alternative resolution before Congress.According to two of those present at the briefing, which was highly classified and took place in the committee’s secure hearing room, Tenet declared, as he had done before, that a shipment of high-strength aluminum tubes that was intercepted on its way to Iraq had been meant for the construction of centrifuges that could be used to produce enriched uranium. The suitability of the tubes for that purpose had been disputed, but this time the argument that Iraq had a nuclear program under way was buttressed by a new and striking fact: the C.I.A. had recently received intelligence showing that, between 1999 and 2001, Iraq had attempted to buy five hundred tons of uranium oxide from Niger, one of the world’s largest producers. The uranium, known as ‘yellow cake,’ can be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors; if processed differently, it can also be enriched to make weapons. Five tons can produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a bomb. (When the C.I.A. spokesman William Harlow was asked for comment, he denied that Tenet had briefed the senators on Niger.)

On the same day, in London, Tony Blair’s government made public a dossier containing much of the information that the Senate committee was being given in secret – that Iraq had sought to buy “significant quantities of uranium” from an unnamed African country, “despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it.” The allegation attracted immediate attention; a headline in the London Guardian declared, “african gangs offer route to uranium.”

Two days later, Secretary of State Colin Powell, appearing before a closed hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also cited Iraq’s attempt to obtain uranium from Niger as evidence of its persistent nuclear ambitions. The testimony from Tenet and Powell helped to mollify the Democrats, and two weeks later the resolution passed overwhelmingly, giving the President a congressional mandate for a military assault on Iraq.

When the evidence for the claim that Iraq had attempted to buy five hundred tons of uranium oxide from Niger was later reviewed by experts, they determined they were fake in only a few hours with one senior I.A.E.A. official saying, “These documents are so bad that I cannot imagine that they came from a serious intelligence agency”:

The problems were glaring. One letter, dated October 10, 2000, was signed with the name of Allele Habibou, a Niger Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, who had been out of office since 1989. Another letter, allegedly from Tandja Mamadou, the President of Niger, had a signature that had obviously been faked and a text with inaccuracies so egregious, the senior I.A.E.A. official said, that “they could be spotted by someone using Google on the Internet.”

“Who Lied To Whom?” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, March 24, 2003


October 2, 2002:

JOINT RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AGAINST IRAQ, October 2, 2002


October 2002:

A set of documents suddenly appeared that promised to provide solid evidence that Iraq was attempting to reconstitute its nuclear program. The first notice of the documents’ existence came when Elisabetta Burba, a reporter for Panorama, a glossy Italian weekly owned by the publishing empire of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, received a telephone call from an Italian businessman and security consultant whom she believed to have once been connected to Italian intelligence. He told her that he had information connecting Saddam Hussein to the purchase of uranium in Africa.She wanted to arrange a visit to Niger to verify what seemed to be an astonishing story. At that point, however, Panorama’s editor-in-chief, Carlo Rossella, who is known for his ties to the Berlusconi government, told Burba to turn the documents over to the American Embassy for authentication. Burba dutifully took a copy of the papers to the Embassy on October 9th.

George Tenet clearly was ambivalent about the information: in early October, he intervened to prevent the President from referring to Niger in a speech in Cincinnati. But Tenet then seemed to give up the fight, and Saddam’s desire for uranium from Niger soon became part of the Administration’s public case for going to war.

“The Stovepipe” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, October 27, 2003


October 7, 2002:

BUSH: SPEECH TO AMERICA, October 7, 2002


October 8, 2002:

While President Bush marshals congressional and international support for invading Iraq, a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration’s double-time march toward war.

These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses – including distorting his links to the al-Qaida terrorist network – have overstated the amount of international support for attacking Iraq and have downplayed the potential repercussions of a new war in the Middle East.

They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House’s argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary.

“Analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A dozen other officials echoed his views in interviews with Knight Ridder. No one who was interviewed disagreed.

They cited recent suggestions by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that Saddam and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network are working together.

Rumsfeld said Sept. 26 that the U.S. government has “bulletproof” confirmation of links between Iraq and al-Qaida members, including “solid evidence” that members of the terrorist network maintain a presence in Iraq.

The facts are much less conclusive. Officials said Rumsfeld’s statement was based in part on intercepted telephone calls, in which an al-Qaida member who apparently was passing through Baghdad was overheard calling friends or relatives, intelligence officials said. The intercepts provide no evidence that the suspected terrorist was working with the Iraqi regime or that he was working on a terrorist operation while he was in Iraq, they said.

In his Monday night speech, President Bush said that a senior al-Qaida leader received medical treatment in Baghdad this year -implying larger cooperation – but he offered no evidence of complicity in any plot between the terrorist and Saddam’s regime.

Rumsfeld also suggested that the Iraqi regime has offered safe haven to bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

While technically true, that too is misleading. Intelligence reports said the Iraqi ambassador to Turkey, a longtime Iraqi intelligence officer, made the offer during a visit to Afghanistan in late 1998, after the United States attacked al-Qaida training camps with cruise missiles to retaliate for the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. But officials said the same intelligence reports said bin Laden rejected the offer because he didn’t want Saddam to control his group.

In fact, the officials said, there’s no ironclad evidence that the Iraqi regime and the terrorist network are working together, or that Saddam has ever contemplated giving chemical or biological weapons to al-Qaida, with whom he has deep ideological differences.

None of the dissenting officials, who work in a number of different agencies, would agree to speak publicly, out of fear of retribution. But many of them have long experience in the Middle East and South Asia, and all spoke in similar terms about their unease with the way that U.S. political leaders are dealing with Iraq.

All agreed that Saddam is a threat who eventually must be dealt with, and none flatly opposes military action. But, they say, the U.S. government has no dramatic new knowledge about the Iraqi leader that justifies Bush’s urgent call to arms.

“I’ve seen nothing that’s compelling,” said one military officer who has access to intelligence reports.

Some lawmakers have voiced similar concerns after receiving CIA briefings.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said some information he had seen did not support Bush’s portrayal of the Iraqi threat.

“It’s troubling to have classified information that contradicts statements made by the administration,” Durbin said. “There’s more they should share with the public.”

In his Monday night speech, Bush stressed that if Saddam gained control of radioactive material no bigger than “a softball” he could build a nuclear weapon sufficient to intimidate his region, blackmail the world and covertly arm terrorists. But a senior administration intelligence official notes that Saddam has sought such highly enriched uranium for many years without success, and there is no evidence that he has it now.

Moreover, the senior official said, Saddam has no way to deliver a nuclear weapon against a U.S. target.

“Give them a nuclear weapon and you have the problem of delivery. Give them delivery, even clandestine, and you have a problem of plausible denial. Does anyone think that a nuclear weapon detonating in a Ryder truck or tramp freighter would not automatically trigger a response that would include Iraq, Iran, North Korea,” the intelligence official asked.

Several administration and intelligence officials defended CIA Director George Tenet, saying Tenet is not pressuring his analysts, but is quietly working to include dissenting opinions in intelligence estimates and congressional briefings.

In one case, a senior administration official said, Tenet made sure that a State Department official told Congress that the Energy and State departments disagreed with an intelligence assessment that said hundreds of aluminum tubes Iraq tried to purchase were intended for Baghdad’s secret nuclear-weapons program. Analysts in both departments concluded that the Iraqis probably wanted the tubes to make conventional artillery pieces.

Other examples of questionable statements include:

– Vice President Dick Cheney said in late August that Iraq might have nuclear weapons “fairly soon.”

A CIA report released Friday said it could take Iraq until the last half of the decade to produce a nuclear weapon, unless it could acquire bomb-grade uranium or plutonium on the black market.

– Also in August, Rumsfeld suggested that al-Qaida operatives fleeing Afghanistan were taking refuge in Iraq with Saddam’s assistance. “In a vicious, repressive dictatorship that exercises near-total control over its population, it’s very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what’s taking place in the country,” he said.

Rumsfeld apparently was referring to about 150 members of the militant Islamic group Ansar al Islam (“Supporters of Islam”) who have taken refuge in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. One of America’s would-be Kurdish allies controls that part of the country, however, not Saddam.

Current and former military officers also question the view sometimes expressed by Cheney, Rumsfeld and their civilian advisers in and out of the U.S. government that an American-led campaign against the Iraqi military would be a walkover.

“It is an article of faith among those with no military experience that the Iraqi military is low-hanging fruit,” said one intelligence officer.

He challenged that notion, citing the U.S. experience in Somalia, where militiamen took thousands of casualties in 1993 but still managed to kill U.S. soldiers and force an American withdrawal.

Iraqi commanders, some officials warned, also could unleash chemical or biological weapons – although the American military is warning them they could face war crimes charges if they do – or U.S. airstrikes could do so inadvertently.

Saddam also might try to strike Israel or Saudi Arabia with Scud missiles tipped with chemical or biological weapons.

Air Force Secretary James Roche said Sunday that the mobile missiles posed a threat that the United States did not know how to counter. “In 1991, we did a horrible job of destroying Scud missiles” that Iraq fired into Israel, Roche said, “and it’s not clear how well we would do now.”

One military officer recalled the armed forces’ “gung-ho” attitude in 1991 when called upon to drive Iraqi invaders out of Kuwait, and contrasted it with today’s reservations.

“People were ready to go. People were ready to volunteer,” the officer said. “There’s nothing like that now.”

Some military and civilian officials say they’re deeply troubled that in their private deliberations and public pronouncements, Bush and his top lieutenants gloss over the serious consequences that an invasion could have for the war on terrorism and for the Middle East.

Bush and his aides have tended to emphasize the benefits for the region of overthrowing Saddam, such as the spread of democracy through the Middle East. Iraqis “can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world,” the president told the United Nations in mid-September.

But Cheney, Rumsfeld and others are ignoring intelligence reports and analysis they don’t like, the officials say.

“There is group-think among the leadership,” said one Pentagon official.

It’s impossible to predict how an American invasion of Iraq would affect Bush’s war on terrorism or U.S. allies in the Middle East and South Asia, but intelligence analysts have concluded that some of the following are possible:

– Such an attack, especially if it involves large-scale civilian casualties, could inflame Muslim sensibilities and help al-Qaida recruit more would-be terrorists.

“Some in Bush administration have misgivings about Iraq policy” by Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott, Knight Ridder, October 8, 2002


October 9, 2002:

President Bush’s case against Saddam Hussein, outlined in a televised address to the nation on Monday night, relied on a slanted and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence, government officials and analysts claimed yesterday.

Officials in the CIA, FBI and energy department are being put under intense pressure to produce reports which back the administration’s line, the Guardian has learned. In response, some are complying, some are resisting and some are choosing to remain silent.

“Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements and there’s a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA,” said Vincent Cannistraro, the CIA’s former head of counter-intelligence.

….

In his address, the president reassured Americans that military action was not “imminent or unavoidable”, but he made the most detailed case to date for the use of force, should it become necessary.

But some of the key allegations against the Iraqi regime were not supported by intelligence currently available to the administration. Mr Bush repeated a claim already made by senior members of his administration that Iraq has attempted to import hardened aluminium tubes “for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons”. The tubes were also mentioned by Tony Blair in his dossier of evidence presented to parliament last month.

However, US government experts on nuclear weapons and centrifuges have suggested that they were more likely to be used for making conventional weapons.

“I would just say there is not much support for that [nuclear] theory around here,” said a department of energy specialist.

David Albright, a physicist and former UN weapons inspector who was consulted on the purpose of the aluminium tubes, said it was far from clear that the tubes were intended for a uranium centrifuge.

Mr Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington thinktank, said: “There’s a catfight going on about this right now. On one side you have most of the experts on gas centrifuges. On the other you have one guy sitting in the CIA.”

Mr Albright said sceptics at the energy department’s Lawrence Livermore national laboratory in California had been ordered to keep their doubts to themselves. He quoted a colleague at the laboratory as saying: “The administration can say what it wants and we are expected to remain silent.”

There is already considerable scepticism among US intelligence officials about Mr Bush’s claims of links between Iraq and al-Qaida. In his speech on Monday, Mr Bush referred to a “very senior al-Qaida leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year”.

An intelligence source said the man the president was referring to was Abu Musab Zarqawi, who was arrested in Jordan in 2001 for his part in the “millennium plot” to bomb tourist sites there. He was subsequently released and eventually made his way to Iraq in search of treatment. However, intercepted telephone calls did not mention any cooperation with the Iraqi government.

There is also profound scepticism among US intelligence experts about the president’s claim that “Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases”.

Bob Baer, a former CIA agent who tracked al-Qaida’s rise, said that there were contacts between Osama bin Laden and the Iraqi government in Sudan in the early 1990s and in 1998: “But there is no evidence that a strategic partnership came out of it. I’m unaware of any evidence of Saddam pursuing terrorism against the United States.”

A source familiar with the September 11 investigation said: “The FBI has been pounded on to make this link.”

In making his case on Monday, Mr Bush made a startling claim that the Iraqi regime was developing drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which “could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas”.

“We’re concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States,” he warned.

US military experts confirmed that Iraq had been converting eastern European trainer jets, known as L-29s, into drones, but said that with a maximum range of a few hundred miles they were no threat to targets in the US.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me if he meant United States territory,” said Stephen Baker, a retired US navy rear admiral who assesses Iraqi military capabilities at the Washington-based Centre for Defence Information.

Mr Cannistraro said the flow of intelligence to the top levels of the administration had been deliberately skewed by hawks at the Pentagon.

“CIA assessments are being put aside by the defence department in favour of intelligence they are getting from various Iraqi exiles,” he said. “Machiavelli warned princes against listening to exiles. Well, that is what is happening now.”

White House ‘exaggerating Iraqi threat'” by Julian Borger, The Guardian, October 9, 2002


October 9, 2002:

The Washington Post front-page headline read, “Analysts Discount Attack by Iraq.” The New York Times said, “CIA Warns That a US Attack May Ignite Terror.” But these newspapers could have reasonably announced, “CIA Information Indicates Bush Misleads Public on Threat from Iraq.”

In the past week, President Bush has been on a tear; in speech after speech (many of them on the campaign trail), he has been excoriating Saddam Hussein as a direct threat to Americans. At a political fundraiser in New Hampshire on October 5, he called Hussein “a man who hates so much he’s willing to kill his own people, much less Americans.” And Bush noted, “We must do everything we can to disarm this man before he hurts a single American.” During a primetime speech in Cincinnati two days later, Bush characterized Saddam as a “threat…that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.” He pronounced the Iraqi dictator a “significant” danger to America and said, “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.” He remarked, “we’re concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using” unmanned aerial vehicles “for missions targeting the United States.” And he proclaimed, “America must not ignore the threat gathering against us.” At an October 8 campaign rally in Tennessee, Bush remarked, “I’ve got a problem, obviously, with Mr. Saddam Hussein, and so do you, and that is he poses a threat. He poses a threat to America.”

The message is, Saddam is coming, Saddam is coming, and the United States better take the sucker out before he strikes America–meaning, you. But Bush has a problem: the CIA doesn’t back him up on this. In fact, it says the opposite.

At a hearing held by the House and Senate intelligence committees on October 8, Senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the Senate panel, read from a letter sent to him by CIA chief George Tenet. In that note, Tenet reported the CIA had concluded that “Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW [chemical and biological weapons] against the United States.” The CIA, according to Tenet, also had determined, “Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.” And the Agency found, “Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting a WMD [weapons of mass destruction] attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”

The bottom-line: Saddam is not likely in the near future to hit the United States or share his weapons with al Qaeda or other anti-American terrorists, unless the United States assaults Iraq. This is hardly the picture the President is sharing with the American public.

“CIA Report Refutes Bush’s Rhetoric” by David Corn, The Nation, October 9, 2002

SEE ALSO:

“Hussein may strike U.S. if attacked” by Mary Jacoby, St. Petersburg Times, October 9, 2002

“Get Serious” by Michael Kinsley, MSN/Slate, October 10, 2002


October 10, 2002:

Congress passed the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.

Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq

Congress Authorizes Military Force, if Needed, to Disarm Iraq, October 11, 2002


October 22, 2002:

In October 2002, in a notable front-page article titled “For Bush, Facts Are Malleable” (10/22/02), Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank noted two dubious Bush claims about Iraq: his citing of a United Nations International Atomic Energy report alleging that Iraq was “six months away” from developing a nuclear weapon; and that Iraq maintained a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used, in Bush’s words, “for missions targeting the United States.” While these assertions “were powerful arguments for the actions Bush sought,” Milbank concluded they “were dubious, if not wrong. Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States” and “there was no such report by the IAEA.”

“Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg,” FAIR, July 18, 2003

“For Bush, Facts Are Malleable” by Dana Milbank, Washington Post, October 22, 2002


October 25, 2002:

The Pentagon’s civilian leadership has ordered a small team of defense officials outside regular intelligence channels to focus on unearthing details about Iraqi ties with al Qaeda and other terrorist networks, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday.

In addition, Pentagon authorities are seeking to take over an intelligence-gathering program once funded through the State Department under the Iraqi Liberation Act. State Department officials, skeptical of the program’s efficiency and the wisdom of running a separate intelligence operation, have decided to drop the program. But the Pentagon wants to keep it alive and is looking for a way to finance its costs of more than $1 million — money used in part to help pay Iraqi informants or bring them out of Iraq.

The special Pentagon information-gathering team was created shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to take on a variety of counterterrorism assignments. Set up by Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary for policy, the four- to five-member group has been given the task of sifting through much of the same databases available to government intelligence analysts but with the aim of spotlighting information the spy agencies have either overlooked or played down, officials said.

….

“The Pentagon is setting up the capability to assess information on Iraq in areas that in the past might have been the realm of the agency,” said Reuel Gerecht, a former CIA case officer who has met with the people in the new Pentagon office. “They don’t think the product they receive from the agency is always what it should be.”

“They are politicizing intelligence, no question about it,” said Vincent M. Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief.

Pentagon Team Told to Seek Details of Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties – Effort Bypasses Regular Intelligence Channels; CIA Rift Disputed” by Bradley Graham and Dana Priest, Washington Post, October 25, 2002


November 5, 2002:

At a Sept. 7 appearance with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush said, “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], that they were six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.”

An IAEA report in 1998 (around the time that inspectors were “finally denied access”) did say Iraq was six to 24 months away from developing a weapon before the Gulf War in 1991, but its efforts to produce weapons-grade uranium were largely crippled by the war and subsequent inspection regime. It appears Bush was referring to that estimate to underscore the point that Iraq has already come close to developing nuclear weapons and will try to do so again.

However, he should have been clearer about when that capacity was discovered. By tying the pre-Gulf War estimate to when inspectors were “finally denied access,” Bush appears to imply that IAEA’s conclusion that Iraq was “six months away from developing a weapon” dated from 1998, rather than 1991. The IAEA summary of the report he is referring to in fact stated that as of 1998 it “has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.”

“Making Bush tell the truth” by Brendan Nyhan, SpinSanity, November 5, 2002


November 8, 2002:

The UN Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1441 imposing tough new arms inspections on Iraq and requiring Iraq to declare all weapons of mass destruction and account for known chemical weapons material stockpiles on pain of “serious consequences.” Iraq accepted the terms of the resolution and UN inspectors returned.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1441


November 15, 2002:

A small group of well-placed right-wing activists with close ties to hawks in the offices of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as next Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott, is busy readying a new campaign to rally public support for the invasion of Iraq.

The “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq” is setting up offices on Capitol Hill this week, according to its president, Randy Scheunemann, Lott’s former chief national-security adviser who last year worked in Rumsfeld’s office as a consultant on Iraq policy. The chairman of the new Committee, Bruce P. Jackson, is a former vice president of Lockheed Martin who chaired the Republican Party Platform’s subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy when Bush ran for president in 2000.

…..

The new Committee on Iraq appears to be a spin-off from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a front group consisting mainly of neoconservative Jews and heavy-hitters from the Christian Right whose public recommendations on fighting President George W. Bush’s “war against terrorism” and alignment with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the second intifada have anticipated to a remarkable degree the administration’s policy course.

…..

The mission statement of the new Committee, whose website is at www.liberationiraq.org, describes its purpose as “promot[ing] regional peace, political freedom and international security by replacing the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations.”

It says the current government in Baghdad “poses a clear and present danger to its neighbors, to the United States, and to free peoples throughout the world.”

“The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq will engage in educational and advocacy efforts to mobilize U.S. and international support for policies aimed at ending the aggression of Saddam Hussein and freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny,” it goes on. It “is committed to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy and the establishment of political pluralism, democratic institutions, and the rule of law.”

Scheunemann told FPIF the group will concentrate its efforts on the media “both in the U.S. and in Europe.”

The new committee appears to be the latest organization used by neoconservatives and other right-wingers in a long line of similar front groups stretching back over a quarter of a century….

“‘Committee for the Liberation of Iraq’ Sets Up Shop” by Jim Lobe, November 2002

SEE ALSO:

“The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq: PR Spinning the Bush Doctrine” by Kurt Nimmo, Counterpunch, November 19, 2002


December 2002:

Iraq submitted a declaration on its chemical, biological and nuclear activities which claimed it had no banned weapons. On December 19, The US accused Iraq of being in material breach of the UN resolution. On December 22, Iraq invited the CIA to come and look for WMD’s and UN arms inspectors entered the country.

Iraq timeline: July 16 1979 to January 31 2004, Guardian

IRAQI WEAPONS DECLARATION, December 7, 2002

Colin Powell, Press Conference on Iraq Declaration, State Dept., December 19, 2002

IAEA Says It Has No Evidence of Prohibited Iraqi Nuclear Activities, December 19, 2002

“Iraq hits back with CIA offer – US agents invited to search for weapons” by Ewen MacAskill, Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, December 23, 2002


January 28, 2003:

BLIX: REPORT ON INSPECTIONS – January 27, 2003

IAEA UPDATE REPORT FOR THE SECURITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO RESOLUTION 1441 (2002), January 27, 2003


January 28, 2003:

Bush delivered his State of the Union address, stating:

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.”

President Bush, “State of the Union,” White House, January 28, 2003


Later, the Washington Post would report:

The State Department received copies of what would turn out to be forged documents suggesting that Iraq tried to purchase uranium oxide from Niger three months before the president’s State of the Union address, administration officials said.The documents, which officials said appeared to be of “dubious authenticity,” were distributed to the CIA and other agencies within days. But the U.S. government waited four months to turn them over to United Nations weapons inspectors who had been demanding to see evidence of U.S. and British claims that Iraq’s attempted purchase of uranium oxide violated U.N. resolutions and was among the reasons to go to war. State Department officials could not say yesterday why they did not turn over the documents when the inspectors asked for them in December.

The administration, facing increased criticism over the claims it made about Iraq’s attempts to buy uranium, had said until now that it did not have the documents before the State of the Union speech.

Even before these documents arrived, both the State Department and the CIA had questions about the reliability of intelligence reports that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger and other African countries.

Beginning in October, the CIA warned the administration not to use the Niger claim in public. CIA Director George J. Tenet personally persuaded deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley to omit it from President Bush’s Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

But on the eve of Bush’s Jan. 28 State of the Union address, Robert Joseph, an assistant to the president in charge of nonproliferation at the National Security Council (NSC), initially asked the CIA if the allegation that Iraq sought to purchase 500 pounds of uranium from Niger could be included in the presidential speech.

Alan Foley, a senior CIA official, disclosed this detail when he accompanied Tenet in a closed-door hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday.

Foley, director of the CIA’s intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control center, told committee members that the controversial 16-word sentence was eventually suggested by Joseph in a telephone conversation just a day or two before the speech, according to congressional and administration sources who were present at the five-hour session.

At the hearing, Foley said he called Joseph to object to mentioning Niger and that a specific amount of uranium was being sought. Joseph agreed to eliminate those two elements but then proposed that the speech use more general language, citing British intelligence that said Iraq had recently been seeking uranium in Africa.

Foley said he told Joseph that the CIA had objected months earlier to the British including that in their published September dossier because of the weakness of the U.S. information. But Foley said the British had gone ahead based on their own information.

“U.S. Had Uranium Papers Earlier: Officials Say Forgeries on Iraqi Efforts Reached State Dept. Before Speech” by Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, Washington Post, July 18, 2003“Findings Of U.N. Group Undercut U.S. Assertion” by Michael R. Gordon and James Risen, New York Times, January 28, 2003


January 31, 2003:

It was the end of January 2003. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was five days away from giving a critical speech at the U.N. Security Council, laying out the case that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and posed a danger to world peace.But huddled with aides at the White House, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were not sure there was enough evidence to convince the Security Council. Without the council’s explicit authorization, their plans for an invasion to depose Saddam Hussein could be difficult to defend under international law.

Bush proposed an alternative: paint a U.S. spy plane in United Nations colors and see if that didn’t tempt Hussein’s forces to shoot at it. In any case, he said, the war was “penciled in” for March 10 and the United States would go ahead with or without a second U.N. resolution.

Blair replied that he was “solidly with” the president.

That is the gist of an account of the Jan. 31, 2003, meeting contained in the new edition of “Lawless World,” a book by British author Philippe Sands. He has not identified the writer of the memorandum on which the account is based, but British media reports say it was one of the aides in attendance: Sir David Manning, then security advisor to Blair and now the British ambassador in Washington.

A spokesman for Blair on Friday refused to address the allegations but repeated Downing Street’s insistence that there was no decision to commit British forces to war in Iraq until after it was authorized by Parliament on March 18, two days before the invasion was launched.

A spokesman for Manning said the ambassador would not comment.

“Blair ‘made secret US Iraq pact'” BBC News, February 3, 2006“Blair-Bush Deal Before Iraq War Revealed in Secret Memo” by Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian Unlimited, February 3, 2006


February 1, 2003:

Dr Blix took issue with what he said were US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents.Similarly, he said, he had not seen convincing evidence that Iraq was sending weapons scientists to other countries to prevent them from being interviewed.

Nor had he any reason to believe, as President George Bush charged in his State of the Union speech, that Iraqi agents were posing as scientists, or that his inspection agency had been penetrated by Iraqi agents and that sensitive information might have been leaked to Baghdad.

Finally, he said, he had seen no persuasive indications of Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda. “There are other states where there appear to be stronger links,” such as Afghanistan.

“US is misquoting my Iraq report, says Blix” by Judith Miller and Julia Preston, The New York Times, February 1 2003


January – March 2003:

The United States is conducting a secret ‘dirty tricks’ campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.

The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency – the US body which intercepts communications around the world – and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.

The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations ‘particularly directed at… UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)’ to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York – the so-called ‘Middle Six’ delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.

The memo is directed at senior NSA officials and advises them that the agency is ‘mounting a surge’ aimed at gleaning information not only on how delegations on the Security Council will vote on any second resolution on Iraq, but also ‘policies’, ‘negotiating positions’, ‘alliances’ and ‘dependencies’ – the ‘whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises’.

Dated 31 January 2003, the memo was circulated four days after the UN’s chief weapons inspector Hans Blix produced his interim report on Iraqi compliance with UN resolution 1441.

“Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war” by Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy, and Peter Beaumont,The Observer, March 2, 2003


February 5, 2003:

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the U.N. Security Council and attemted to prove that Iraq was evading inspectors, continuing to produce WMD’s, and was linked to al-Qaeda. Problems with these allegations would later be revealed.

Colin Powell, Remarks to the United Nations Security Council, United Nations, Feb. 5, 2003

As one example, Powell cited the British dossier of February 3 as a “fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed… which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.” Later it was learned that “large parts of the British government’s latest dossier on Iraq – allegedly based on ‘intelligence material’ – were taken from published academic articles, some of them several years old.”

“UK war dossier a sham, say experts” by Michael White and Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, February 7, 2003

In the Austin Chronicle on Feb. 21, Michael Ventura railed:

Powell claimed that one photo was of a lab for chemical and biological weapons — a “poison factory” he called it, run by “al Qaeda affiliates” in northern Iraq. Three days later reporters found their way to that camp and saw “structures that did not have plumbing and had only the limited electricity supplied by a generator” (NY Times, Feb. 9). Can an effective laboratory (much less a factory) be managed without running water? Ask your local druggist or high school chemistry teacher.The day after his testimony, a congressional committee asked Powell why a supposedly known al Qaeda camp was still operating in northern Iraq, where American jets have pummeled other sites? “Neither Powell nor other administration officials answered the question,” (NY Times, Feb. 7)

On Feb. 7 it was revealed that the British report Powell had quoted to the UN (praising it as “a fine paper,” an “up-to-date and unsettling assessment”) was actually a pastiche culled from academic journals, two of which were published in 1997, “about the activities of Iraqi intelligence in Kuwait in 1990 and 1991” (NY Times, Feb. 8). The author who’d been plagiarized, Al-Marishi, noted, “Had they consulted me, I could have provided them with more up-dated information.”

“Toward an Accounting” by Michael Ventura, Austin Chronicle, February 21, 2003

Also, shortly before Powell’s UN address, Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix cast doubt on another of Powell’s allegations:

The chief UN weapons inspector yesterday dismissed what has been billed as a central claim of the speech the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, will make today to the UN security council.Hans Blix said there was no evidence of mobile biological weapons laboratories or of Iraq trying to foil inspectors by moving equipment before his teams arrived.

“US claim dismissed by Blix” by Dan Plesch, The Guardian, February 5, 2003


February 9, 2003:

The Bush administration reacted with rage last night to a Franco-German initiative to extend arms inspections in Iraq, portraying the plan as a thinly disguised attempt to derail the US timetable for war…..

The Franco-German plan, revealed at the weekend, would triple the number of UN weapons inspectors and back them up with surveillance flights. One unconfirmed report said thousands of UN troops would be sent into Iraq to support the inspectors.

“US fury at European peace plan” by Ian Black, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 10, 2003


Februrary 10, 2003:

Iraq announced it was unconditionally accepting a U.N. request that it allow American U-2 spy planes to be used for aerial surveillance.

Washington Post, Februrary 10, 2003


February 13, 2003:

The Washington Post revealed that, according to anonymous sources, two Special Forces units have been operating in Iraq for over a month.

“Two Special Forces units have been operating in Iraq for over a month,” Reuters, February 13, 2003


February 14, 2003:

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said February 14 that no evidence of illegal nuclear activities has been found in Iraq but his agency is still investigating a number of issues relating to Baghdad’s nuclear weapons program.

“IAEA Has Found No Proof of Iraqi Illegal Activity,” February 14, 2003


February 20, 2003:

CBS News reported:

While diplomatic maneuvering continues over Turkish bases and a new United Nations resolution, inside Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors are privately complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases.CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports the U.N. has been taking a precise inventory of Iraq’s al-Samoud 2 missile arsenal, determining how many there are and where they are.

Discovering that the al-Samoud 2 has been flying too far in tests has been one of the inspectors’ major successes. But the missile has only been exceeding its 93-mile limit by about 15 miles and that, the Iraqis say, is because it isn’t yet loaded down with its guidance system. The al-Samoud 2 is not the 800-mile-plus range missile that Secretary of State Colin Powell insists Iraq is developing.

In fact, the U.S. claim that Iraq is developing missiles that could hit its neighbors – or U.S. troops in the region, or even Israel – is just one of the claims coming from Washington that inspectors here are finding increasingly unbelievable. The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous U.S. leads that they’ve begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.

U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.

Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found “nothing.”

Example: Saddam’s presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they found “nothing.”

Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the “Iraqi alibi air tight.”

……

So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they’ve been getting as “garbage after garbage after garbage.” In fact, Phillips says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they’ve found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.

“Inspectors Call U.S. Tips ‘Garbage'” CBS News, February 20, 2003


Februrary 24, 2003:

On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that “raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist,” the magazine’s issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims. Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq’s deceptions about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced. But Newsweek’s John Barry– who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for more than a decade– obtained the transcript of Kamel’s 1995 debriefing by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM.

Inspectors were told “that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them,” Barry wrote. All that remained ere “hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches” and production molds. The weapons were destroyed secretly, in order to hide their existence from inspectors, in the hopes of someday resuming production after inspections had finished. The CIA and MI6 were told the same story, Barry reported, and “a military aide who defected with Kamel… backed Kamel’s assertions about the destruction of WMD stocks.”

But these statements were “hushed up by the U.N. inspectors” in order to “bluff Saddam into disclosing still more.”

CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow angrily denied the Newsweek report. “It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue,” Harlow told Reuters (2/24/03) the day the report appeared.

But on Wednesday (2/26/03), a complete copy of the Kamel transcript– an internal UNSCOM/IAEA document stamped “sensitive”– was obtained by Glen Rangwala, the Cambridge University analyst who in early February revealed that Tony Blair’s “intelligence dossier” was plagiarized from a student thesis. This transcript can be seen at http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kamel.pdf.

In the transcript (p. 13), Kamel says bluntly: “All weapons– biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed.”

Kamel is no obscure defector. A son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, his departure from Iraq carrying crates of secret documents on Iraq’s past weapons programs was a major turning point in the inspections saga. In 1999, in a letter to the U.N. Security Council (1/25/99), UNSCOM reported that its entire eight years of disarmament work “must be divided into two parts, separated by the events following the departure from Iraq, in August 1995, of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel.”

Kamel’s defection has been cited repeatedly by George W. Bush and leading administration officials as evidence that 1) Iraq has not disarmed; 2) inspections cannot disarm it; and 3) defectors such as Kamel are the most reliable source of information on Iraq’s weapons.

Bush declared in an October 7, 2002 speech: “In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq’s military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 5 presentation to the U.N. Security Council claimed: “It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. The admission only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein’s late son-in-law.”

In a speech last August (8/27/02), Vice President Dick Cheney said Kamel’s story “should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself.”

Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley recently wrote in the Chicago Tribune (2/16/03) that “because of information provided by Iraqi defector and former head of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel, the regime had to admit in detail how it cheated on its nuclear non-proliferation commitments.”

The quotes from Bush and Powell cited above refer to anthrax and VX produced by Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War. The administration has cited various quantities of chemical and biological weapons on many other occasions– weapons that Iraq produced but which remain unaccounted for. All of these claims refer to weapons produced before 1991.

But according to Kamel’s transcript, Iraq destroyed all of these weapons in 1991.

According to Newsweek, Kamel told the same story to CIA analysts in August 1995. If that is true, all of these U.S. officials have had access to Kamel’s statements that the weapons were destroyed. Their repeated citations of his testimony– without revealing that he also said the weapons no longer exist– suggests that the administration might be withholding critical evidence. In particular, it casts doubt on the credibility of Powell’s February 5 presentation to the U.N., which was widely hailed at the time for its persuasiveness. To clear up the issue, journalists might ask the CIA to release the transcripts of its own conversations with Kamel.

Kamel’s disclosures have also been crucial to the arguments made by hawkish commentators on Iraq. The defector has been cited four times on the New York Times op-ed page in the last four months in support of claims about Iraq’s weapons programs– never noting his assertions about the elimination of these weapons. In a major Times op-ed calling for war against Iraq (2/21/03), Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote that Kamel and other defectors “reported that outside pressure had not only failed to eradicate the nuclear program, it was bigger and more cleverly spread out and concealed than anyone had imagined it to be.” The release of Kamel’s transcript makes this claim appear grossly at odds with the defector’s actual testimony.

The Kamel story is a bombshell that necessitates a thorough reevaluation of U.S. media reporting on Iraq, much of which has taken for granted that the nation retains supplies of prohibited weapons. (See FAIR Media Advisory, “Iraq’s Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact,” 2/4/03.) Kamel’s testimony is not, of course, proof that Iraq does not have hidden stocks of chemical or biological weapons, but it does suggest a need for much more media skepticism about U.S. allegations than has previously been shown.

Unfortunately, Newsweek chose a curious way to handle its scoop: The magazine placed the story in the miscellaneous “Periscope” section with a generic headline, “The Defector’s Secrets.” Worse, Newsweek’s online version added a subhead that seemed almost designed to undercut the importance of the story: “Before his death, a high-ranking defector said Iraq had not abandoned its WMD ambitions.” So far, according to a February 27 search of the Nexis database, no major U.S. newspapers or national television news shows have picked up the Newsweek story.

Read Glen Rangwala’s analysis of the Kamel transcript: HERE

“Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed” FAIR, February 27, 2003


February 25, 2003:

As it launches an all-out lobbying campaign to gain United Nations approval, the Bush administration has begun to characterize the decision facing the Security Council not as whether there will be war against Iraq, but whether council members are willing to irrevocably destroy the world body’s legitimacy by failing to follow the U.S. lead, senior U.S. and diplomatic sources said.In meetings yesterday with senior officials in Moscow, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the Russian government that “we’re going ahead,” whether the council agrees or not, a senior administration official said. “The council’s unity is at stake here.”

A senior diplomat from another council member said his government had heard a similar message and was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war.

“You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not,” the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. “That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not.”

President Bush has continued to say he has not yet decided whether to go to war. But the message being conveyed in high-level contacts with other council governments is that a military attack on Iraq is inevitable, these officials and diplomats said. What they must determine, U.S. officials are telling these governments, is if their insistence that U.N. weapons inspections be given more time is worth the destruction of council credibility at a time of serious world upheaval.

“U.S. Officials Say U.N. Future At Stake in Vote – Bush Message Is That a War Is Inevitable, Diplomats Say” by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, February 25, 2003


March 3, 2003:

The Guardian reported that:

Britain and the United States have all but fired the first shots of the second Gulf war by dramatically extending the range of targets in the “no-fly zones” over Iraq to soften up the country for an allied ground invasion……

Analysts confirm there has been an intensification of what is known as “the undeclared war”.

“Allies bomb key Iraqi targets” by Nicholas Watt, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, March 3, 2003


March 5, 2003:

The chief U.N. weapons inspector said Wednesday that Iraq is showing signs of complying with its obligations to disarm and is cooperating with inspectors in some areas.

“Blix: Iraq is carrying out disarmament on missiles and in other areas” by Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, March 5, 2003


March 7, 2003:

Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the U.N. Security Council that the documents involving the Niger-Iraq uranium sale were “obvious” fakes:

Intelligence documents that U.S. and British governments said were strong evidence that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons have been dismissed as forgeries by U.N. weapons inspectors.The documents, given to International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, indicated that Iraq might have tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger, but the agency said they were “obvious” fakes.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell referred to the documents directly in his presentation to the U.N. Security Council outlining the Bush administration’s case against Iraq.

CNN: “Fake Iraq documents ’embarrassing’ for U.S.” by David Ensor, March 14, 2003

See also:

“Reason for War?” by John Cochran, ABC News, April 25, 2003

New York Times: “C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure In Preparing Iraqi Reports” by James Risen, March 23, 2003

“Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq” by Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, Washington Post, March 18, 2003

“Nuclear Inspectors Reportedly Angry” by Dan Stober, Mercury News, March 18, 2003

“Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake — U.N. Nuclear Inspector Says Documents on Purchases Were Forged” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, March 8, 2003

“Faked Nuke Papers Were Crude” Reuters


March 7, 2003:

UNMOVIC chief arms inspector Hans Blix provides a quarterly report to the UN Security Council on the progress of inspections in Iraq, as required by UN Security Resolution 1284 (1999). It is the twelfth such report since UNMOVIC’s inception. Blix’s report to the Council does not contain any evidence to support US and British claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the programs to develop such weapons. IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei also reports to the Council and says there are no signs that Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program.

Hans Blix report to the UN, March 7, 2003

Elbaradei’s Report the the UN, March 7, 2003

Transcript of Powell’s response to inspectors’ reports, March 7, 2003


March 14, 2003:

Top White House counterterrorism adviser Rand Beers quit.

Five days before the war began in Iraq, as President Bush prepared to raise the terrorism threat level to orange, a top White House counterterrorism adviser unlocked the steel door to his office, an intelligence vault secured by an electronic keypad, a combination lock and an alarm. He sat down and turned to his inbox.”Things were dicey,” said Rand Beers, recalling the stack of classified reports about plots to shoot, bomb, burn and poison Americans. He stared at the color-coded threats for five minutes. Then he called his wife: I’m quitting.

Beers’s resignation surprised Washington, but what he did next was even more astounding. Eight weeks after leaving the Bush White House, he volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss. All of which points to a question: What does this intelligence insider know?

“The administration wasn’t matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They’re making us less secure, not more secure,” said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. “As an insider, I saw the things that weren’t being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out.”

No single issue has defined the Bush presidency more than fighting terrorism. And no issue has both animated and intimidated Democrats. Into this tricky intersection of terrorism, policy and politics steps Beers, a lifelong bureaucrat, unassuming and tight-lipped until now. He is an unlikely insurgent. He served on the NSC under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and the current Bush. The oath of office hangs on the wall by his bed; he tears up when he watches “The West Wing.” Yet Beers decided that he wanted out, and he is offering a rare glimpse in.

“Counterterrorism is like a team sport. The game is deadly. There has to be offense and defense,” Beers said. “The Bush administration is primarily offense, and not into teamwork.”

In a series of interviews, Beers, 60, critiqued Bush’s war on terrorism. He is a man in transition, alternately reluctant about and empowered by his criticism of the government. After 35 years of issuing measured statements from inside intelligence circles, he speaks more like a public servant than a public figure. Much of what he knows is classified and cannot be discussed. Nevertheless, Beers will say that the administration is “underestimating the enemy.” It has failed to address the root causes of terror, he said. “The difficult, long-term issues both at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or shortchanged and generally underfunded.”

The focus on Iraq has robbed domestic security of manpower, brainpower and money, he said. The Iraq war created fissures in the United States’ counterterrorism alliances, he said, and could breed a new generation of al Qaeda recruits. Many of his government colleagues, he said, thought Iraq was an “ill-conceived and poorly executed strategy.”

“I continue to be puzzled by it,” said Beers, who did not oppose the war but thought it should have been fought with a broader coalition. “Why was it such a policy priority?” The official rationale was the search for weapons of mass destruction, he said, “although the evidence was pretty qualified, if you listened carefully.”

He thinks the war in Afghanistan was a job begun, then abandoned. Rather than destroying al Qaeda terrorists, the fighting only dispersed them. The flow of aid has been slow and the U.S. military presence is too small, he said. “Terrorists move around the country with ease. We don’t even know what’s going on. Osama bin Laden could be almost anywhere in Afghanistan,” he said.

….

When asked about Beers, Sean McCormack, an NSC spokesman, said, “At the time he submitted his resignation, he said he had decided to leave government. We thanked him for his three decades of government service.” McCormack declined to comment further.

However it was viewed inside the administration, onlookers saw it as a rare Washington event. “I can’t think of a single example in the last 30 years of a person who has done something so extreme,” said Paul C. Light, a scholar with the Brookings Institution. “He’s not just declaring that he’s a Democrat. He’s declaring that he’s a Kerry Democrat, and the way he wants to make a difference in the world is to get his former boss out of office.”

Although Beers has worked in three Republican administrations, he is a registered Democrat. He wanted to leave the NSC quietly, so when he resigned, he said it was for “personal reasons.” His friends called, worried: “Are you sick?”

When Beers joined the White House counterterrorism team last August, the unit had suffered several abrupt departures. People had warned him the job was impossible, but Beers was upbeat. On Reagan’s NSC staff, he had replaced Oliver North as director for counterterrorism and counternarcotics, known as the “office of drugs and thugs.”

“Randy’s your model government worker,” said Wendy Chamberlin, a U.S. Agency for International Development administrator for Iraq, who worked with Beers on counterterrorism on the NSC of the first Bush administration. “He works for the common good of the American people. He’s fair, balanced, honest. No one ever gets hurt feelings hearing the truth from Randy.”

The first thing Beers noticed when he walked into his new office was the pile of intelligence reports. The “threat stuff,” as Beers calls it, was 10 times thicker than it had been before the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.

….

“The first day, I came in fresh and eager,” he said. “On the last day, I came home tired and burned out. And it only took seven months.”

Part of that stemmed from his frustration with the culture of the White House. He was loath to discuss it. His wife, Bonnie, a school administrator, was not: “It’s a very closed, small, controlled group. This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There’s almost a religious kind of certainty. There’s no curiosity about opposing points of view. It’s very scary. There’s kind of a ghost agenda.”

In the end, Beers was arriving at work each day with knots in his stomach. He did not want to abandon his colleagues at such a critical, dangerous time. When he finally decided to quit, he drove to a friend’s house in Arlington. Clarke, his old counterterrorism pal, took one look at the haggard man on his stoop and opened a bottle of Russian River Pinot Noir. Then he opened another bottle. Clarke toasted Beers, saying: You can still fight the fight.

Shortly after that, Beers joined the Kerry campaign. He had briefly considered a think tank or an academic job but realized that he “never felt so strongly about something in my life” than he did about changing current U.S. policies. Of the Democratic candidates, Kerry offered the greatest expertise in foreign affairs and security issues, he decided. Like Beers, Kerry had served in Vietnam. As a civil servant, Beers liked Kerry’s emphasis on national service.

“Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror” by Laura Blumenfeld, Washington Post, June 16, 2003“Top White House anti-terror boss resigns” by P. Mitchell Prothero, UPI, March 19, 2003

SEE ALSO:

Text of John Brady Kiesling’s letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, February 27, 2003


March 16, 2003:

Vice-President Dick Cheney stated:

“We know he’s out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization. . . . We know that based on intelligence that he has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He’s had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong.”

“Interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney,” NBC, Meet the Press, Transcript for March 16, 2003


March 17, 2003:

Rep. Henry Waxman wrote a letter to the President:

I am writing regarding a matter of grave concern. Upon your order, our armed forces will soon initiate the first preemptive war in our nation’s history. The most persuasive justification for this war is that we must act to prevent Iraq from developing nuclear weapons.In the last ten days, however, it has become incontrovertibly clear that a key piece of evidence you and other Administration officials have cited regarding Iraq’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons is a hoax. What’s more, the Central Intelligence Agency questioned the veracity of the evidence at the same time you and other Administration officials were citing it in public statements. This is a breach of the highest order, and the American people are entitled to know how it happened.

….

Even more troubling, however, the CIA, which has been aware of this information since 2001, has never regarded the evidence as reliable. The implications of this fact are profound: it means that a key part of the case you have been building against Iraq is evidence that your own intelligence experts at the Central Intelligence Agency do not believe is credible.

Waxman: Doubts about Administration’s Nuclear Evidence on Iraq | Letter to President Bush, March 17, 2003


March 17, 2003:

BUSH GIVES IRAQ 48 HOURS, March 17, 2003

President Bush, Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003

“France: Most on council oppose war” CNN, March 17, 2003


March 18, 2003:

As the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged — and in some cases disproved — by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports.

For months, President Bush and his top lieutenants have produced a long list of Iraqi offenses, culminating Sunday with Vice President Cheney’s assertion that Iraq has “reconstituted nuclear weapons.” Previously, administration officials have tied Hussein to al Qaeda, to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and to an aggressive production of biological and chemical weapons. Bush reiterated many of these charges in his address to the nation last night.

But these assertions are hotly disputed. Some of the administration’s evidence — such as Bush’s assertion that Iraq sought to purchase uranium — has been refuted by subsequent discoveries. Other claims have been questioned, though their validity can be known only after U.S. forces occupy Iraq.

“Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq” by Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, Washington Post, March 18, 2003


March 19, 2003:

The US “officially” invaded Iraq as Bush sent war letter to Congress and addressed the nation:

My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

Bush sends Iraq war letter to Congress, March 19, 2003“President Bush Addresses the Nation,” The White House, March 19, 2003

Bush Announces Military Campaign, March 19, 2003

UN weapons inspectors worked in Iraq from November 27, 2002 until March 18, 2003. During that time, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC) conducted more than 900 inspections at more than 500 sites. The inspectors did not find that Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons or that it had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program….Unable to resolve its differences with Security Council members who favored strengthening and continuing weapons inspections, the United States abandoned the inspections process and initiated the invasion of Iraq on March 19.

Arms Control Association Fact Sheet




EXHIBIT D: WHY THESE ACTIONS VIOLATE CONSTITUTIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

According to John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon:

It Is A Crime To Make False Statements To Congress

It wasn’t a crime in President Polk’s day. Today, it is a felony under the false statements statute.

Two members of the Bush administration, Admiral John Poindexter and Elliot Abrams, learned about this false statements law the hard way, during the Iran Contra investigation. Abrams pled guilty to two misdemeanors for false statements to Congress, as did Robert McFarlane. (Both were subsequently pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.) Poindexter and Oliver North fought the charges, and won on an unrelated legal technicality.

Later, one of McFarlane’s lawyers, Peter W. Morgan, wrote a law journal article about using the false statements statute to prosecute executive officials appearing before Congress. Morgan was troubled by the breadth of the law. It does not require a specific intent to deceive the Congress. It does not require that statements be written, or that they be sworn. Congress is aware of the law’s breadth and has chosen not to change it.

Maybe presciently, Morgan noted that the false statements statute even reaches “misrepresentations in a president’s state of the union address.” To which I would add, a criminal conspiracy to mislead Congress, which involved others at the Bush White House, could also be prosecuted under a separate statute, which makes it a felony to conspire to defraud the government.

“Why A Special Prosecutor’s Investigation Is Needed To Sort Out the Niger Uranium And Related WMDs Mess” by John Dean, FindLaw, July 18, 2003

The two statutes Dean is speaking about are:

18 USC section 1001, which provides that in matters within federal jurisdiction, any person who “knowingly and willfully (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”18 USC, section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States.

According to former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, regarding the latter statute:

The President’s deceit is not only an abuse of power; it is a federal crime. Specifically, it is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States…..

The Supreme Court has defined the phrase “conspiracy to defraud the United States” as “to interfere with, impede or obstruct a lawful government function by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.” In criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement “between two or more persons” to follow a course of conduct that, if completed, would constitute a crime. The agreement doesn’t have to be express; most conspiracies are proved through evidence of concerted action. But government officials are expected to act in concert. So proof that they were conspiring requires a comparison of their public conduct and statements with their conduct and statements behind the scenes. A pattern of double-dealing proves a criminal conspiracy.

The concept of interfering with a lawful government function is best explained by reference to two well-known cases where courts found that executive branch officials had defrauded the United States by abusing their power for personal or political reasons.

One is the Watergate case, where a federal district court held that Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, and his crew had interfered with the lawful government functions of the CIA and the FBI by causing the CIA to intervene in the FBI’s investigation into the burglary of Democratic Party headquarters. The other is U.S. v. North, where the court found that Reagan administration National Security Adviser John Poindexter, Poindexter’s aide Oliver North, and others had interfered with Congress’s lawful power to oversee foreign affairs by lying about secret arms deals during Congressional hearings into the Iran/contra scandal.

Finally, “fraud” is broadly defined to include half-truths, omissions or misrepresentation; in other words, statements that are intentionally misleading, even if literally true. Fraud also includes making statements with “reckless indifference” to their truth.

Conspiracies to defraud usually begin with a goal that is not in and of itself illegal. In this instance the goal was to invade Iraq. It is possible that the Bush team thought this goal was laudable and likely to succeed. It’s also possible that they never formally agreed to defraud the public in order to attain it. But when they chose to overcome anticipated or actual opposition to their plan by concealing information and lying, they began a conspiracy to defraud — because, as juries are instructed, “no amount of belief in the ultimate success of a scheme will justify baseless, false or reckless misstatements.”

“The White House Criminal Conspiracy” by Elizabeth de la Vega, The Nation, November 14, 2005

Based on the evidence presented above, it seems clear that Bush and others in his administration have violated 18 USC section 1001 and 18 USC, section 371 of the US Code.

It is also clear that Bush violated Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution which says that: “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law,” since $700 million was illegally drawn from the treasury in July 2002. This money, which had been authorized by Congress as a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, was diverted towards tasks involving the eventual invasion of Iraq, uses for which it had not been appropriated, and of which Congress was kept unaware.

Additionally, it appears that Bush was already conducting war on Iraq, without authorization, for several months prior to any request from Congress. Since, under the Constitution, only Congress has the power to authorize war; he was thus violating Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution during this time as well.

All these are federal crimes, any one of which should warrant impeachment; however, there may be more to consider….

To conclude this first section of charges; Bush may also have violated UN Charter; Article 2, Sections 3-4, Articles 39-50, and Article 51, as well as the Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928, which are the “law[s] of the land” based on Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution.

It is clear that:

The War Powers Resolution, passed shortly after 9-11, did not give him the power to invade Iraq: “The president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons” since, despite his attempt to link Saddam Hussein to 9-11 in the public mind, he has repeatedly asserted that no one made the claim that Iraq had anything to do with 9-11.

The UN Security Resolution 687, which declared a cease fire at the end of the first Gulf War on the condition that Iraq accept the resolution’s terms, and authorized the continued use of force in the event of Iraqi noncompliance, did not give him the power to invade, since only the UN Security Council as a whole can authorize force.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1154 that warned Iraq that its continued refusal to abide by Res. 687 would result in the “severest consequences,” did not give him the power to invade, since the UN Security Council clearly stated that it alone was authorized to “ensure implementation of this resolution and peace and security in the area.”

The UN Security Council Resolution 1441 did not give him the power to invade, since it states: “that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations and will be reported to the Council” which will “convene immediately… 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.” So, once again, it was up to the UN Security Council to decide on further action, not the US alone.

And that only the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq passed by Congress in October 2002 could be possibly considered as authorizing Bush power to invade Iraq, but even that might be debatable for two reasons; the first is that it would seem that the UN Charter’s language in this area would necessarily supercede such a resolution since otherwise these “laws of the land” would have been irrelevant and meaningless at their conception, the second is that just because Congress abdicated its responsibility to declare war, that doesn’t automatically legitimize the president to violate the law. In other words, if the resolution itself is illegal, either because of the UN Charter superceding it or because Congress abdicated responsibility, this does not allow further illegal action by the president.

This concludes my case for making the first charge. Reference material is listed below. More charges to come.




REFERENCES:


DOCUMENTS & DATABASES

REP. CONYERS’ REPORT: THE CONSTITUTION IN CRISIS

REP. HENRY WAXMAN’S REPORT: IRAQ ON THE RECORD

REP. HENRY WAXMAN’S REPORT: IRAQ ON THE RECORD – SEARCHABLE DATABASE

AMERICAN PROGRESS CLAIM VS. FACT SEARCHABLE DATABASE

DOWNINGSTREETMEMO.COM TIMELINE DATABASE

U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY

THE BLUEPRINTS FOR EMPIRE: THE PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY REPORT; “REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES,” September 2000

“STRATEGIC ENERGY POLICY CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY,” April 2001

INTERVIEW WITH HUSSEIN KAMEL, August, 1995

ANALYSIS OF THE INTERVIEW WITH HUSSEIN KAMEL

ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION FACT SHEET

JOINT RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AGAINST IRAQ, October 2, 2002

AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE, September 18, 2001

IRAQI WEAPONS DECLARATION, December 7, 2002

KENNEDY AND BYRD SUBMIT RESOLUTION, January 29, 2003

MEMORANDUM OPPOSING U.S. IRAQ POLICY, February 24, 2003

HANS BLIX REPORT TO THE UN, March 7, 2003

ELBARADEI’S REPORT TO THE UN, March 7, 2003

TRANSCRIPT OF COLIN POWELL’S RESPONSE TO INSPECTORS’ REPORTS, March 7, 2003

DOWNING STREET IRAQ: OPTIONS PAPER, March 8, 2002

DOWNING STREET IRAQ: LEGAL BACKGROUND MEMO, March 8, 2002

DOWNING STREET DAVID MANNING MEMO, March 14, 2002

DOWNING STREET JACK STRAW MEMO, March 25, 2002

DOWNING STREET CABNET OFFICE PAPER, IRAQ: CONDITIONS FOR MILITARY ACTION, July 23, 2002

DOWNING STREET MEMO, July 23 2002

US PLAN TO BUG SECURITY COUNCIL: THE TEXT, March 2, 2003

UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 687

UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1154

UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1441

IAEA UPDATE REPORT FOR THE SECURITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO RESOLUTION 1441 (2002), January 27, 2003

BILLMON ARCHIVES

CARNEGIE REPORT: WMD IN IRAQ – EVIDENCE AND IMPLICATIONS, January 2004

REPORT OF THE IRAQ SURVEY GROUP – THE DUELFER REPORT, September 23, 2004

REPORT BY THE COMMISSION ON THE INTELLIGENCE CAPABLILITIES OF THE UNITED STATES REGARDING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, March 31, 2005

FINAL REPORT ON 9-11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION, December 5, 2005 (pdf)

FINAL REPORT ON 9-11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION – ONE LINE SUMMARY OF GRADES, December 5, 2005 (pdf)

18 USC SECTION 1001

18 USC SECTION 371


ADDITIONAL REFERENCE

“Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 Fiscal Years (Draft), Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992” — Excerpts: HERE

“Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 Fiscal Years (Revised Draft),” Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992

“Defense Strategy for the 1990’s,” Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1993

“Defense Planning Guidance for the 2004-2009 Fiscal Years,” Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2002

“A Clean Break – A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a memo to then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and others, July 8, 1996

PNAC: Letter to President Clinton, January 26, 1998

PNAC Report: “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” September 2000

“Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” – Report of an Independent Task Force Sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University and the Council on Foreign Relations, April 2001

The Office of Special Plans (OSP) – From Wikipedia

The White House Iraqi Group (WHIG) – From Wikipedia

Colin Powell’s Press Remarks with Foreign Minister of Egypt Amre Moussa, February 24, 2001

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer, CNN, July 29, 2001

“Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,” by Richard A. Clarke

“Winning Modern Wars” by General Wesley Clark

PNAC Letter to President Bush, September 20, 2001

“Pentagon builds case to bomb Iraq” by Barbara Slavin, USA Today, November 19, 2001

“Bush turns America’s fury towards Saddam” by Stephen Robinson, Telegraph, November 26, 2001

“Secret US plan for Iraq war” by Peter Beaumont, Ed Vulliamy and Paul Beaver, The Observer, December 2, 2001

Dick Cheney’s appearance on Meet The Press, NBC, December 9, 2001

“The Iraq Hawks” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, December 17, 2001

“US builds support against Iraq” by Roger Hardy, BBC News, December 18, 2001

“U.S. seeks al Qaeda link to Iraq” by Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times, January 14, 2002

President Bush, State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002

“US Says it Will Act to Overthrow Saddam” by Rupert Cornwell and David Usborne, Independent, February 7, 2002

“Bush has decided to overthrow Hussein” by Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott, Knight Ridder, February 13, 2002

“Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad” by James Dao and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, February 19, 2002

“U.S. stirs efforts to oust Saddam” by Barbara Slavin, USA Today, February 28, 2002

“The Next World Order” by Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, April 1, 2002

Second PNAC Letter to President Bush, April 3, 2002

President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Hold Press Conference, April 6, 2002

“US wants to oust Saddam even if he makes concessions” by Brian Whitaker and agencies, The Guardian, May 6, 2002

“We’re Taking Him Out” by Daniel Eisenberg, Time Magazine, May 5, 2002

“Military Bids to Postpone Iraq Invasion – Joint Chiefs See Progress In Swaying Bush, Pentagon” by Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, May 24, 2002

“Bush Developing Military Policy Of Striking First New Doctrine Addresses Terrorism” by Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, June 10, 2002

“Bush to Formalize a Defense Policy of Hitting First” by David E. Sanger, New York Times, June 17, 2002

“The New Bush Doctrine” by Richard Falk, The Nation, June 27, 2002

“Why we don’t need this war” interview of Scott Ritter by Mark Seddon, Tribune, August 2, 2002

Dick Cheney, Speech to VFW National Convention, August 26, 2002

Dick Cheney, Vice President Bush Honors Veterans of Korean War, White House, August 29, 2002

“Bush wrong to use pretext as excuse to invade Iraq” by James Bamford, USA Today, August 29, 2002

“Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11” CBS, September 4, 2002

“U.S. officials worried by lack of Iraqi weapons evidence” by Jonathan S. Landay, Miami Herald, September 6, 2002

President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Discuss Keeping the Peace, September 7, 2002

“Bush, Blair Decry Hussein” by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, September 8, 2002

Condoleezza Rice, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, September 8, 2002

Dick Cheney’s appearance on Meet The Press, NBC, September 8, 2002

“American Morning with Paula Zahn: ‘Interview with Scott Ritter,'” CNN, September 9, 2002

“Marketing Iraq: Why now?” by William Schneider, CNN, September 12, 2002

“Blood Simple” by Chris Floyd, Moscow Times, September 13, 2002

“Iraq Agrees to Readmit Weapons Inspectors” PBS Hews Hour, September 16, 2002

“Bush Calls Iraqi Offer a ‘Ploy'” by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service, September 18, 2002

Donald Rumsfeld, Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, September 18, 2002

“Evidence on Iraq Challenged” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, September 19, 2002

“A Bush vision of Pax Americana” by Gail Russell Chaddock, The Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 2002

“Byrd Assails Bush Administration’s Iraq Resolution” by Steve LaRocque, State Dept. Washington File, September 24, 2002

“George Bush & the World” by Frances FitzGerald, The New York Review, Volume 49, Number 14, September 26, 2002

“The President’s Real Goal in Iraq” by Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Op-Ed, Sept. 29, 2002

“Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda Are Not Allies” by Daniel Benjamin, New York Times, September 30, 2002

“Dick Cheney’s Song of America: Drafting a Plan for Global Dominance” by David Armstong, Harper’s Magazine, October 2002

“The U.S. Case Against Iraq: Counting Up the Reasons” by Todd S. Purdum, New York Times, October 1, 2002

President Bush, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution, White House, October 2, 2002

Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, October 2, 2002

President Bush, Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House, October 7, 2002

“Manifesto” by Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker, Issue of 2002-10-14 and 21 Posted October 7, 2002

“Our Way” by Fareed Zakaria, The New Yorker, Issue of 2002-10-14 and 21, Posted October 7, 2002

“On to Baghdad – and beyond” by Patrick J. Buchanan, October 7, 2002

“Some in Bush administration have misgivings about Iraq policy” by Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott, Knight Ridder, October 8, 2002

“Hussein may strike U.S. if attacked” by Mary Jacoby, St. Petersburg Times, October 9, 2002

White House ‘exaggerating Iraqi threat'” by Julian Borger, The Guardian, October 9, 2002

Colin Powell, Interview on “Larry King Live,” CNN, October 9, 2002

“CIA Report Refutes Bush’s Rhetoric” by David Corn, The Nation, October 9, 2002

“Get Serious” by Michael Kinsley, MSN/Slate, October 10, 2002

Congress Authorizes Military Force, if Needed, to Disarm Iraq, October 11, 2002

“Intoxicated With Power” by Leon Fuerth, The Washington Post, October 16, 2002

“For Bush, Facts Are Malleable” by Dana Milbank, Washington Post, October 22, 2002

“Is Truth Bush’s #1 Enemy?” by Maureen Farrell, BuzzFlash, October 11, 2002

Pentagon Team Told to Seek Details of Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties – Effort Bypasses Regular Intelligence Channels; CIA Rift Disputed” by Bradley Graham and Dana Priest, Washington Post, October 25, 2002

“‘Committee for the Liberation of Iraq’ Sets Up Shop” by Jim Lobe, November 2002

“Making Bush tell the truth” by Brendan Nyhan, SpinSanity, November 5, 2002

Donald Rumsfeld, Live Interview with Infinity CBS Radio, Infinity-CBS Radio, November 14, 2002

“Timeline: Iraq weapons inspections,” BBC, November 18, 2002

“The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq: PR Spinning the Bush Doctrine” by Kurt Nimmo, Counterpunch, November 19, 2002

President Bush Speech to the Atlantic Youth Council, CNN, November 20, 2002

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer, December 2, 2002

“U.S. does not need U.N. approval for war” by Pamela Hess, UPI, December 3, 2002

IRAQI WEAPONS DECLARATION, December 7, 2002

John Pilger Commentary: December 12, 2002

Colin Powell, Press Conference on Iraq Declaration, State Dept., December 19, 2002

IAEA Says It Has No Evidence of Prohibited Iraqi Nuclear Activities, December 19, 2002

“Not everything is nailed down in the U.S. case against Iraq” by Calvin Woodward, Associated Press, December 22, 2002

“Iraq hits back with CIA offer – US agents invited to search for weapons” by Ewen MacAskill, Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, December 23, 2002

“An American Century” by Marty Jezer, Common Dreams, January 4, 2003

Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, January 9, 2003

“U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past,” by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, January 12, 2003

“Iraq weapons inspectors ‘need a few months'” The Guardian, January 13, 2003

“Pax America” by Joseph McDaniel Stewart, New War Times, January 14, 2003

Colin Powell, Remarks at the World Economic Forum, State Dept., January 26, 2003

IAEA UPDATE REPORT FOR THE SECURITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO RESOLUTION 1441 (2002), January 27, 2003

President Bush, “State of the Union,” White House, January 28, 2003

“Findings Of U.N. Group Undercut U.S. Assertion” by Michael R. Gordon and James Risen, New York Times, January 28, 2003

Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department Briefing, Defense Department, January 29, 2003

Donald Rumsfeld, Address to the the Conference of Army Reserve Operators, Defense Department, January 20, 2003

“This link between Islamist zealot and secular fascist just doesn’t add up” by Peter Bergen, The Guardian, January 30, 2003

“An Alternative to War” by Jimmy Carter, January 31, 2003

“US is misquoting my Iraq report, says Blix” by Judith Miller and Julia Preston, The New York Times, February 1, 2003

“US claim dismissed by Blix” by Dan Plesch, The Guardian, February 5, 2003

Colin Powell, Remarks to the United Nations Security Council, United Nations, February 5, 2003

“Despite Defectors’ Accounts, Evidence Remains Anecdotal” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, February 6, 2003

“UK war dossier a sham, say experts” by Michael White and Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, February 7, 2003

“Lying Us Into War:Exposing Bush and His “Techniques of Deceit” by Dennis Hans, Scoop, February 10, 2003

“US fury at European peace plan” by Ian Black, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 10, 2003

“A Material Breach of the Constitution” by Wayne Madsen, CounterPunch, February 11, 2003

“One Battlefield, Two Wars,” Justin Raimondo, February 12, 2003

“Osama Rallies Muslims, Condemns Hussein” by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout, February 12, 2003

“Two Special Forces units have been operating in Iraq for over a month,” Reuters, February 13, 2003

“IAEA Has Found No Proof of Iraqi Illegal Activity,” February 14, 2003

“CIA ‘Sabotaged Inspections and Hid Weapons Details'” by Andrew Buncombe, Independent, February 14, 2003

“The War Behind Closed Doors,” Frontline, PBS, February 20, 2003

“The War Behind Closed Doors – Chronology: The Evolution of the Bush Doctrine,” Frontline, PBS, February 20, 2003

“Inspectors Call U.S. Tips ‘Garbage'” CBS News, February 20, 2003

“Toward an Accounting” by Michael Ventura, Austin Chronicle, February 21, 2003

Donald Rumsfeld, Remarks to the Hoover Institute Meeting, State Dept., February 25, 2003

“U.S. Officials Say U.N. Future At Stake in Vote – Bush Message Is That a War Is Inevitable, Diplomats Say” by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, February 25, 2003

President George W. Bush Discusses the Future of Iraq, February 26, 2003

“Blood Money” by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout, February 27, 2003

“Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed” FAIR, February 27, 2003

Text of John Brady Kiesling’s letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, February 27, 2003

“Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war” by Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy, and Peter Beaumont,The Observer, March 2, 2003

“Allies bomb key Iraqi targets” by Nicholas Watt, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, March 3, 2003

“Blix: Iraq is carrying out disarmament on missiles and in other areas” by Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, March 5, 2003

Hans Blix report to the UN, March 7, 2003

Elbaradei’s Report the the UN, March 7, 2003

Transcript of Powell’s response to inspectors’ reports, March 7, 2003

“Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake — U.N. Nuclear Inspector Says Documents on Purchases Were Forged” by Joby Warrick, Washington Post, March 8, 2003

“Iraq Shows One of Its Drones, Recalling Wright Brothers” by John F. Burns, New York Times, March 12, 2003

Appeals court upholds presidential war powers” by Terry Frieden, CNN, March 13, 2003

“Fake Iraq documents ’embarrassing’ for U.S.” by David Ensor, CNN, March 14, 2003

“Selling a War” by Joseph McDaniel Stewart, New War Times, March 16, 2003

“Interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney,” NBC, Meet the Press, Transcript for March 16, 2003

President Bush, Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003

“France: Most on council oppose war” CNN, March 17, 2003

Waxman: Doubts about Administration’s Nuclear Evidence on Iraq | Letter to President Bush, March 17, 2003

“Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq” by Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, Washington Post, March 18, 2003

“Faked Nuke Papers Were Crude” Reuters

“Nuclear Inspectors Reportedly Angry” by Dan Stober, Mercury News, March 18, 2003

Bush sends Iraq war letter to Congress, March 19, 2003

“Top White House anti-terror boss resigns” by P. Mitchell Prothero, UPI, March 19, 2003

“President Bush Addresses the Nation,” The White House, March 19, 2003

“Origins of Regime Change in Iraq,” Carnegie Issue Brief by Joseph Cirincione, March 19, 2003

Bush Announces Military Campaign, March 19, 2003

“Global Eye — Memory Lane” by Chris Floyd, The Moscow Times, March 21, 2003

Donald Rumsfeld, Face The Nation, CBS, March 23, 2003

“C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure In Preparing Iraqi Reports” by James Risen, New York Times, March 23, 2003

“Why We Are in Iraq,” Speech by Carnegie Senior Associate Joseph Cirincione at American University Teach-In, March 23, 2003 (pdf)

“CRUDE VISION: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus On Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein” Investigative report by Jim Vallettewith Steve Kretzmann and Daphne Wysham, The Institute For Political Studies, March 24, 2003 (pdf)

“Who Lied To Whom?” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, March 24, 2003

“Why US getting a wary welcome” by Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, March 27, 2003

“Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks on ABC ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’,” March 30, 2003

“First Stop, Iraq” by Michael Elliott and James Carney, Time Magazine, March 31, 2003

NPR: Fresh Air interview with Joseph Cirincione, Senior Associate and Director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 1, 2003 (Reference Audio Link)

“Just the Beginning – Is Iraq the opening salvo in a war to remake the world?” by Robert Dreyfuss, The American Prospect, April 1, 2003

“Traffic Jam On The Road To Pax America” by Bill Berkowitz, Working For Change, April 2, 2003

“Beyond Baghdad” by Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, April 2, 2003

“Myths and misconceptions about the war in Iraq” by Brendan Nyhan and Bryan Keefer, Spinsanity, April 4, 2003

“Turf War Rages in Washington Over Who Will Rule Iraq” by Rupert Cornwell, lndependent/UK, April 5, 2003

“Disarmament in tatters – U.S. undermined arms control system that was already deadlocked” by James Sterngold, San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 2003

“The fight yet to come” by Ed Vulliamy and Kamal Ahmed, The Observer, April 6, 2003

“OFFENSE AND DEFENSE The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, April 7, 2003

“The Strategist and the Philosopher” by Alain Frachon and Daniel Vernet, Le Monde, April 15, 2003

“How American Power Girds the Globe with a Ring of Steel” by Ian Traynor, The Guardian, April 21, 2003

“Something Smells About This War – Was There a Deal Between Saddam and Bush?” by Sam Hamod, Counterpunch, April 22, 2003

“Reason for War?” by John Cochran, ABC News, April 25, 2003

“Revealed: How the road to war was paved with lies” by Raymond Whitaker, Independent, April 27, 2003

“As war ends, hunt for WMDs in Iraq goes on” by Nic Robertson, CNN, May 2, 2003

“Impatient Justice – Congratulations. We’ve just won the wrong war” by William Saletan, Slate, May 2, 2003

“Reports Of Weapons ‘Greatly Exaggerated’,” Foreign Editor’s Briefing, Times of London, May 3, 2003

“Leo-Cons; A Classicist’s Legacy: New Empire Builders” by James Atlas, New York Times, May 4, 2003

“Selective Intelligence” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 5, 2003

“Missing In Action: Truth” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, May 6, 2003

“Strong Must Rule the Weak, said Neo-Cons’ Muse” by Jim Lobe, Inter Press News Agency, May 7, 2003

“Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons” by Barton Gellman, Washington Post, May 11, 2003

“US rivals turn on each other as weapons search draws a blank” by Paul Harris and Martin Bright, The Guardian, May 11, 2003

“WMDs for the Taking?” by Rod Nordland, Newsweek, May 19, 2003 issue

“Prewar Views of Iraq Threat Are Under Review by C.I.A. ” by James Risen, New York Times, May 22, 2003

“U.S. Hedges on Finding Iraqi Weapons” by Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, Washington Post, May 29, 2003

President Bush on Polish television, May 30, 2003

“Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims” by Dan Plesch and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, May 31, 2003

“Bush: ‘We Found’ Banned Weapons – President Cites Trailers in Iraq as Proof” by Mike Allen, Washington Post, May 31, 2003

“Bush falsely claims “we found the weapons of mass destruction” by Ben Fritz, Spinsanity, June 1, 2003

“Blair: I have secret proof of weapons” by Gaby Hinsliff, Nick Paton Walsh and Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, June 1, 2003

“The lies that led us into war…” by Glen Rangwala, Independent News, June 1, 2003

“America’s Matrix” by Robert Parry, Consortium News, June 2, 2003

“US Senate opens Iraq weapons probe,” BBC, June 3, 2003

“Iraq Arms Report Now the Subject of a C.I.A. Review” by James Risen, New York Times, June 3, 2003

“Some Iraq Analysts Felt Pressure From Cheney Visits” by Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, Washington Post, June 5, 2003

“Truth and Consequences – New questions about U.S. intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass terror” by Bruce B. Auster, Mark Mazzetti and Edward T. Pound, US News & World Report, June 6, 2003

“Lies are no longer damned lies – Americans reduced to expecting deceit” by Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle, June 8, 2003

“Blow to Blair over ‘mobile labs'” by Peter Beaumont and Antony Barnett, The Guardian, June 8, 2003

“Transcript: Colin Powell Talks WMD” Fox News, June 9, 2003

“On Both Sides of the Atlantic Criticism Mounts Over Bush and Blair’s Claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction” Democracy Now, June 10, 2003

“CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data” by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, June 12, 2003

“Covert Unit Hunted for Iraqi Arms – Amid Raids and Rescue, Task Force 20 Failed To Pinpoint Weapons” by Barton Gellman, Washington Post, June 13, 2003

“CIA Says It Cabled Key Data to White House” by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, June 13, 2003

“White House In Denial” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, June 13, 2003

“White House was warned of dubious intelligence, official says” by Jonathan S. Landry, Knight Ridder, June 13, 2003

“Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare, report finds” by Peter Beaumont, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff, The Observer, June 15, 2003

“What was Known” PBS News Hour, June 16, 2003

President Bush Meets with Small Business Owners in New Jersey, June 16, 2003

“Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror” by Laura Blumenfeld, Washington Post, June 16, 2003

“Ex-CIA director says administration stretched facts on Iraq” by John Diamond, USA Today, June 17, 2003

“Blair misled us all, say ex-ministers” by Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph, June 18, 2003

“Bush backtracks on Iraq’s banned weapons” by Michelle Goldberg, Telegraph, June 19, 2003

“The selling of the Iraqi War – The First Casualty”, by John B. Judis & Spencer Ackerman, The New Republic, June 19, 2003

“Media Silent on Clark’s 9/11 Comments – Gen. says White House pushed Saddam link without evidence” FAIR Media Advisory, June 20, 2003

“Report Cast Doubt on Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection” by David Rennie, The Washington Post, June 23, 2003

“Agency Disputes C.I.A. View On Trailers as Weapons Labs” by Douglas Jehl, New York Times, June 26, 2003

“Democratic Moves to Widen Intelligence Probe Defeated” by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, June 27, 2003

“Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq” by Christopher Scheer, AlterNet, June 27, 2003

“Contaiment Was Working – CIA: Seven Months Before 9/11, the Agency Said Iraq Posed No Threat to the US”, by Jason Leopold, Counterpunch, June 27, 2003

“Nearly Two Years After 9/11, the United States is Still Dangerously Unprepared and Underfunded for a Catastrophic Terrorist Attack, Warns New Council Task Force” Council on Foreign Relations, June 29, 2003

“The Selling of the Iraq War – The First Casualty” by John B. Judis & Spencer Ackerman, The New Republic, Issue date: June 30, 2003

“Neocon Men” by Brian Giles, Boston Weekly Dig, July, 2003

“What I Didn’t Find in Africa” by Joseph C. Wilson 4th, New York Times, July 6, 2003

“Bush: ‘Bring on’ attackers of U.S. troops,” USA Today, July 7, 2003

“More Evidence Bush Misled Nation” by David Corn, The Nation, July 7, 2003

“White House Backs Off Claim on Iraqi Buy” by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, July 8, 2003

“White House ‘warned over Iraq claim'” BBC, July 9, 2003

“President Bush Finally Admits He Misled the Nation During State of the Union Address,” Press Release from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, July 8, 2003

“Bush Knew Iraq Info Was False” CBS News, July 10, 2003 (ORIGINAL CBS STORY)

“Bush Knew Iraq Info Was Dubious” CBS News, July 10, 2003 (REVISED VERSION)

President Bush Reaffirms Strong Position on Liberia, July 14, 2003

“The White Man Unburdened” by Norman Mailer, The New York Review of Books, July 17, 2003

“U.S. Had Uranium Papers Earlier: Officials Say Forgeries on Iraqi Efforts Reached State Dept. Before Speech” by Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, Washington Post, July 18, 2003

“Why A Special Prosecutor’s Investigation Is Needed To Sort Out the Niger Uranium And Related WMDs Mess” by John Dean, FindLaw, July 18, 2003

“U.S. Air Raids in ’02 Prepared for War in Iraq” by Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, July 20, 2003

“Follow the Yellowcake Road” by Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas, Newsweek, July 21, 2003

“Bush Aides Disclose Warnings From CIA” by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, Washington Post, July 23, 2003

“Faith-Based Intelligence – The Office of Special Plans, the Niger Uranium Fraud and Neocon Arrogance” by Gary Leupp, CounterPunch, July 26, 2003

“Cheney Chicanery” by Ray McGovern, Common Dreams, July 29, 2003

“Iraq Nuke Claim Was Echoed” CBS News, August 8, 2003

“Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence” by Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus, Washington Post, August 10, 2003

“U.S. military analysts who examined Iraqi drones discount Bush administration view the unmanned aircraft can spread” by Dafna Linzer and John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press, August 25, 2003

“Chronology of Bush Claim that Iraq Attempted to Obtain Uranium from Niger” by Peter Kerr, Arms Control Today, September 2003

“Air Force Doubts Drone Threat. Report Says Bush Exaggerated Perils of Unmanned Iraqi Aircraft” by David Rogers, The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2003

“Cheney Reasserts Already Debunked Atta-Iraq Connection” Democracy Now, September 16, 2003

Iraq war has swollen ranks of al-Qaida” by Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, October 16, 2003

“The Stovepipe” by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, October 27, 2003

Cheney’s hawks’ hijacking policy'” by Ritt Goldstein, Sydney Morning Herald, October 30, 2003

“Saddam’s desperate offers to stave off war” by Julian Borger, Brian Whitaker and Vikram Dodd, The Guardian, November 7, 2003

“Case For War Confected, Say Top U.S. Officials” by Andrew Gumbel, Independent UK, November 9, 2003

CARNEGIE REPORT: WMD IN IRAQ – EVIDENCE AND IMPLICATIONS, January 2004

“Iraq’s Arsenal Was Only on Paper – Since Gulf War, Nonconventional Weapons Never Got Past the Planning Stage” by Barton Gellman, Washington Post, January 7, 2004

“Bush Sought ‘Way’ To Invade Iraq?” 60 Minutes, CBS News, January 11, 2004

“Former Pentagon Insider:’Neoconservative propaganda campaign led to Iraq War'” by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, The American Conservative, January 11, 2004

“War College Study Calls Iraq a ‘Detour'” by Chuck Neubauer and Ken Silverstein, The Los Angeles Times, January 12, 2004

President Bush Welcomes President Kwasniewski to White House, January 27, 2004

Former U.S. Weapons Inspector Testifies on Iraq Weapons Program – Congressional Report, January 28: David Kay Testifies, January 28, 2004

Quiz: Answers to the Hawk/Dove Quiz, Polycomics, January 28, 2003

Iraq timeline: July 16 1979 to January 31 2004, Guardian

“Bush, Aides Ignored CIA Caveats on Iraq” by Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, Washington Post, February 7, 2004

“Doubts, dissent stripped from public version of Iraq assessment” by Jonathan S. Landay, Knight Ridder, February 9, 2004

“Soldier for the Truth – Exposing Bush’s talking-points war” by Marc Cooper, LA Weekly, February 20, 2004

“No End to War – The Frum-Perle prescription would ensnare America in endless conflict” by Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative, March 1, 2004

“The New Pentagon Papers” by Karen Kwiatkowski, Salon, March 10, 2004

“Iraqi exile group fed false information to news media” by Jonathan S. Landay and Tish Wells, Knight Ridder, March 15, 2004

“Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war · Decision came nine days after 9/11” by David Rose, Guardian, April 4, 2004

“Woodward Shares War Secrets” 60 Minutes, CBS, April 18, 2004

“About ‘Plan of Attack'” Washington Post, April 18, 2004

“Bush’s Legal Obligation to Tell Congress About $700M for Iraq” Center for American Progress, April 21, 2004

“The Path To War” by Bryan Burrough, Evgenia Peretz, David Rose, and David Wise, Vanity Fair, May 2004

“White House Released Claims of Defector Deemed Unreliable by CIA” by Jonathan S. Landay, Knight Ridder, May 18, 2004

“Bush Says He’ll Defer to New Iraqi Leaders” by By Dana Milbank, Washington Post, June 16, 2004

“CIA Whites Out Controversial Estimate on Iraq Weapons,” (includes links to other war-related reports) The National Security Archive, July 9, 2004

“Former CIA director used Pentagon ties to introduce Iraqi defector” by Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, Knight Ridder, July 15, 2004

“High Qaeda Aide Retracted Claim of Link With Iraq” by Douglas Jehl, New York Times, July 30, 2004

“US standing with Arabs hits a low” by Dan Murphy, The Christian Science Monitor, September 02, 2004

“Fighting Rages in Iraq, US Death Toll Reaches 1,000” by Patricia Nunan, Voice of America, September 7, 2004

“THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ: THE RECONSTRUCTION; U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism On Iraq’s Future” by Douglas Jehl, New York Times, September 16, 2004

“Far graver than Vietnam – Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale” by Sidney Blumenthal, The Guardian, September 16, 2004

“Far graver than Vietnam – Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale” by Sidney Blumenthal, The Guardian, September 16, 2004

“Iraq losing its best and brightest” by Howard LaFranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2004

“Secret papers show Blair was warned of Iraq chaos” by Michael Smith, Telegraph, September 18, 2004

“Failure is not an option, but it doesn’t mean they will avoid it” by Michael Smith, Telegraph, September 18, 2004

“Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict” by Julian Borger, The Guardian, September 18, 2004

Report of Iraq Survey Group – The Duelfer Report, September 23, 2004

“Report Discounts Iraqi Arms Threat – U.S. Inspector Says Hussein Lacked Means by Mike Allen and Dana Priest, Washington Post, October 6, 2004

“Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer” by Russ Baker, Guerrilla New Network, October 28, 2004

“Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds,” CNN, January 31, 2005

“US death toll in Iraq reaches 1,500” by Philippe Naughton, Times Online, March 03, 2005

“The Intelligence Made Me Do It” by Ray McGovern, March 18, 2005

Report by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, March 31, 2005

“The Downing Street Memo, minutes of an official high-level meeting between British and American officials, July 23, 2002, leaked to The Sunday Times” The Sunday Times – Britain, May 1, 2005

“The lies that lead to war” by Juan Cole, Salon.com, May, 19, 2005

“Prewar Findings Worried Analysts” by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, May 22, 2005

“RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war” by Michael Smith, The Sunday Times – Britain, May 29, 2005

“The war before the war” by Michael Smith, New Statesman, May 30, 2005

“The Other Bomb Drops” by Jeremy Scahill, The Nation, June 1, 2005

“Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action” The Sunday Times – World, June 12, 2005

“Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’” by Michael Smith, The Sunday Times – Britain, June 12, 2005

“Bolton said to orchestrate unlawful firing” The Associated Press, July 4, 2005

“The Dots Never Existed” by Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, July 19, 2005

“Bush to Blair: First Iraq, then Saudi” by Marie Woolf, The Independent, October 16, 2005

“CIA leak illustrates selective use of intelligence on Iraq” by Jonathan S. Landay, Knight Ridder, October 25, 2005

“Death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq reaches 2,000,” MSNBC, October 26, 2005

“Al-Libi’s Tall Tales” by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, Newsweek, November 10, 2005

President Bush, Veterans Day speech in Pennsylvania, November 11, 2005

“‘We Do Not Torture’ and Other Funny Stories” by Frank Rich, New York Times, November 13, 2005

“The White House Criminal Conspiracy” by Elizabeth de la Vega, The Nation, November 14, 2005

“Washington’s Wars and Occupations” by Max Elbaum, The War Times/Tiempo de Guerras, November 30, 2005

“Senate Intelligence Committee stalling pre-war intelligence report,” Raw Story, December 2, 2005

“FBI Is Taking Another Look at Forged Prewar Intelligence” by Peter Wallsten, Tom Hamburger and Josh Meyer, The Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2005

“9/11 Panel Gives Government an “F” on Homeland Security” by Hope Yen, The Associated Press, December 5, 2005


COMMENTARY

These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed

“The Jack Welch War Plan” by Frank Rich, New York Times, September 28, 2002

“Is America’s day in the sun over?” by Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle, January 6, 2003

“So, Now Bigger Is Better?” by David S. Broder, Washington Post, January 12, 2003

“The Madness of Empire” by Scott McConnell, The American Conservative, February 24, 2003

“Dreaming Of Democracy” by George Packer, New York Times, March 2, 2003

“Lies, Damned Lies, and Ultimatums” by Mike Duncan, The Weekly Lowdown, March 17, 2003

“Naming conflicts a fine art” by Lisa Hoffman, Scripps Howard News Service, March 20, 2003

“Practice to Deceive” by Joshua Micah Marshall, Washington Monthly, April, 2003

“Emperor George” by Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, April 2, 2003

“I Miss America” by Alan Bisbort, The Hartford Advocate, April 3, 2003

“Dances With Wolfowitz” by Maureen Dowd, New York Times, April 9, 2003

“From Republic To Empire” by Roger Morris, The Globe and Mail, April 14, 2003

“A Nation at War: Parallels; Europe Seems To Hear Echoes Of Empires Past” by Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, April 14, 2003

“Searching for a mission, not just missiles” by Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, April 15, 2003

“Postmodern Imperialism” by Daniel Vernet, Le Monde, April 24, 2003

“Rolling Back The 20th Century” by William Greider, The Nation, April 24, 2003

“Democracy holds little allure in the Muslim world” by Jonathan Raban, Seattle Times, April 27, 2003

“Matters of Emphasis” by Paul Krugman, New York Times, April 29, 2003

“Vilified weapons inspectors may have got it right” Sydney Morning Herald, May 1, 2003

“All the President’s Lies” by Drake Bennett and Heidi Pauken, The American Prospect, May 1, 2003

“Missing In Action: Truth” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, May 6, 2003

“Bush’s WMD Search: No Full Speed Ahead” by David Corn, The Nation, May 7, 2003

“Rummy the genius forgot about nukes” by Joe Conason, The New York Observer, May 7, 2003

“Is there anything left that matters?” by Joan Chittister OSB, National Catholic Reporter, May 27, 2003

“Wild weapons chase” by Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, May 20, 2003

“Character Witness” by Peter Beinart, The New Republic, May 22, 2003

“Angry Allies” by Jake Tapper, Salon, May 30, 2003

“Save Our Spooks” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, May 30, 2003

“Waggy Dog Stories” by Paul Krugman, New York Times, May 30, 2003

“Standard Operating Procedure” by Paul Krugman, New York Times, June 3, 2003

“The truth, the whole truth and nothing but…” by Jim Lobe, Asia Times, June 4, 2003

“Cloaks and Daggers” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, June 6, 2003

“Worse than Watergate? Nixon’s Chief Counsel on why Bush Could be Impeached Over Iraq,” Democracy Now, June 10, 2003

“Who’s Accountable?” by Paul Krugman, New York Times, June 10, 2003

“WeaponsGate: The Coming Downfall of Lying Regimes?” by Wayne Madsen, Counterpunch, June 10, 2003

“Outrage at Administration Lying Misses a Crucial Point” by Dr. Ira Chernus, University of Colorado, June 10, 2003

“Why truth matters” by Nicholas D. Kristof, CNN, June 11, 2003

“The strategically ambiguous George W. Bush” by By Bryan Keefer, Spinsanity, June 12, 2003

“White House In Denial” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, June 13, 2003

“The Dog Ate My WMDs” by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout, June 13, 2003

“Is the Neoconservative Moment Over?” by Pat Buchanan, The American Conservative, June 16, 2003

“Reason to Deceive – WMD Lies Could Be the New Watergate” by Cynthia Cotts, Village Voice, June 18, 2003

“Why don’t we care about the WMD?” by Michelle Goldberg, Salon, June 19, 2003

“Neocons on the Line” by Michael Hirsh, Newsweek, June 23, 2003 issue

“What’s at stake in the WMD debate” by Ben Fritz, Spinsanity, June 24, 2003

“Denial and Deception” by Paul Krugman, New York Times, June 24, 2003

“Weapons of Misdirection” Daily Howler, June 24, 2003

“Bush credibility gap – a slow, quiet crumble” by Dante Chinni, Christian Science Moniter, June 24, 2003

Billmon: “Doctor of Revisionism,” June 26, 2003

“Who Lost the WMD?” by Massimo Calabresi and Timothy J. Burger, Time, June 29, 2003

“Where Are the WMD? The Winners Are . . . ” by Al Kamen, Washington Post, June 30, 2003

“The Attack Has Been Spectacular” by Maureen Farrell, Buzzflash, July 1, 2003

“The Insiders Are Coming Out” by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout, July 8, 2003

“White House ‘lied about Saddam threat'” by Julian Borger, The Guardian, July 10, 2003

“Mr. Bush, You Are a Liar, William River’s Pitt, Truthout, July 11, 2003

Profiting from War

Written: 03/16/2003

During the nineties, current vice-president Dick Cheney was chairman and chief executive of the petroleum corporation Halliburton. While working face-to-face with Saddam Hussein, Cheney and Halliburton did $73 million dollars of business with Iraq.

While making money through its dealings with Iraq on one hand, they were busy making deals that would put them first in line to take control of oil well fires in a postwar Iraq on the other.

Cheney stepped down as CEO for Halliburton before becoming Vice-President, but he continues to receive a deferred (and guaranteed) income of as much as $1 million from them annually.

In February, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) requested proposals to bid on a contract to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure in the aftermath of war. The request was sent to at least five U.S. firms – the Bechtel Group, Fluor Corporation, Parsons Corporation, the Louis Berger Group, and a subsidiary of Halliburton; Kellogg Brown & Root.

Despite Halliburton being under investigation for its accounting practices while Cheney was in charge, Brown & Root have already made $300 million from a contract with the Department of Defense to build cells for detainees in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and will win its fair share of contracts to rebuild postwar Iraq.

In March of this year, the Pentagon announced it would use the plan developed by Brown & Root to put out oil well fires in postwar Iraq, and they have awarded Brown & Root the contract to do it.

The Pentagon has classified how the contract was rewarded.

The contract sets no limits on how much Brown & Root may spend, or quantity of services rendered to meet requests, and their fees will be based on their expenditures with a guaranteed percentage profit, so the costs will be impossible to estimate — the more they spend the more they will profit. They will also get a bonus amount, if the military is satisfied. This is incentive to spend as much as possible, and the military will probably be more satisfied as a result.

Also poised to make a “killing” on this war is the global investment firm, the Carlyle Group, which employs former Secretary of State James Baker III and former President George H. W. Bush as advisers and also includes former members of both the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Carlyle is heavily invested with defense contractors and owns the weapons manufacturer United Defense.

Overall, oil and oil-service industries, along with various military contractors, will make fortunes on a war with Iraq and the benefits of processing oil reserves, which are second in the world only to Saudi Arabia.

The losers may be countries like France and Russia, who already have oil contracts with Iraq today. This may explain part of the reason they are opposed to a U.S. war in Iraq even though the U.S. attempted to win them over by offering them a cut in post-war Iraqi oil deals.

Others in the Bush administration are tied to various oil or oil service businesses (Condoleezza Rice even has an oil tanker named after her, for example), but I will take a pass getting into every last one of them at the moment to tell the story of Enron.

Enron was one of Bush’s biggest contributors. It is interesting to note that Enron desperately needed a pipeline deal through Afghanistan to make the Dabhol power plant (its biggest project at the time) profitable and to avoid bankruptcy. Enron was involved in the Energy Task Force meetings, which occurred several months prior to 9-11 and which Cheney refuses to divulge any information about. It would be very interesting to find out what was discussed at these meetings (the GAO was threatened by the administration with a cut in funding, if it didn’t drop its suit seeking information about the task force meetings, and the suit was promptly dropped). There now will be a pipeline built through Afghanistan, Enron has reformed into a pipeline building business, and it looks like they may be able to complete their project in Dabhol.

It actually may be possible to guess what was discussed and suggested by the oil company representatives which attended at the secret Energy Task Force meetings by looking at a report that was submitted to Cheney in April, 2001. The report, called “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” was commissioned by the Council on Foreign Relations and James Baker, former Secretary of State under President Reagan and was linked to a “veritable who’s who of U.S. hawks, oilmen, and corporate bigwigs,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The report made the argument that there is a need of U.S. “military intervention” in Iraq to “secure control of its oil” and thereby address the coming energy crisis and it possibly infers a pipeline through Afghanistan where it said that the U.S. should “investigate whether any changes to U.S. policy would quickly facilitate higher exports of oil from the Caspian Basin region…the exports from some oil discoveries could be hastened if a secure, economical export route could be identified swiftly.” [Emphasis mine]

Later, when the results of the Task Force meetings were announced in Cheney’s national energy plan, it contained the suggestion that the U.S. could no longer depend on traditional sources and would have to obtain supplies from the Caspian regions and that the U.S. would have to overcome foreign resistance to the current limitations of American energy companies.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many countries in the Caspian Basin region came open to big oil businesses for the first time and they promptly acquired interests in these countries. The problem was getting the oil out. Until a pipeline could be built through Afghanistan, Iran, or some other willing country in the area, oil companies had to pay fees to Russia to use their pipeline, making the oil more expensive and the companies less profitable.

Once George W. Bush came into office, his administration began negotiations with the Taliban for a pipeline deal through Afghanistan. Their desire to obtain a deal led them to back off investigating Osama bin Laden or other Saudi royals financing al Qaeda and to make other policy decisions that caused them to take their eye off the ball with regard to the threat from al Qaeda.

It appears that sometime in the summer of 2001, the pipeline deal fell through.

But there is more to this than just oil….

Back in 1997, Cheney joined a group called “Project For A New American Century” (PNAC), a group of neoconservative imperialists–many of whom are now in high positions of power in the Bush administration–who have previously referred to U.S. bases in other countries as “outposts in the new American frontier” and have long advocated a regime change in Iraq as the first stage towards an imperial “Pax Americana.”

In September 2000, they released a report entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” which laid-out the blueprints for American empire, some of the details of which I have reviewed in a previous article. The recent activities of the PNAC include the creation of another group named “The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq” designed to “educate” the public through the cable news channels about the need to go to war with Iraq.

The reasons for this war are multi-leveled, but there is a powerful group, heavily involved in the decision making process of this administration, which are intent on using Iraq as a staging area for further American imperialism. Here we have a group in power that are acting out a previous agenda using 9-11 as an excuse. Iraq is only the strategic launching point for their goal of a world “Pax Americana,” and their actions, as they pursue this goal, can only financially benefit both them and their corporate associates.

What will be the result of imperialism as government becomes increasingly entangled with large national and multi-national corporations with interests around the world?

Mussolini had this to say about it:

“Fascism, should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

The Bush Economy

Written: 02/17/2003
Published in The People’s Civic Record, a monthly, Wilmington, NC based progressive magazine.

“To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation,” Bush touted in his State of the Union Address. It was certainly the largest tax relief to the wealthiest Americans in a generation and did not turn the economy around as promised. The U.S. now has some of the greatest deficits ever and it looks like deficits as far as the eye can see into the future.

Becoming the only president ever to suggest cutting taxes going into a war, Bush proposed that “all the income tax reductions set for 2004 and 2006 be made permanent and effective this year,” and claimed that “Ninety-two million Americans will keep – this year – an average of almost 1,100 dollars more of their own money.”

With so much of the tax breaks going to the richest Americans, this skews the “average” and misrepresents the truth.

The tax cuts will add over $90,000 to the income of millionaires, $400 to those making $30,000 to $50,000, and only about $58 to those making $10,000 to $20,000.

As someone recently said, “If Bill Gates were to walk into a roomful of bums, the ‘average’ income of everyone in the room would skyrocket — but you would still have Bill Gates and a roomful of bums.” Gates, by the way, would receive a $38 million tax cut under Bush’s proposal, while almost half of all tax filers would receive less than $100.

Bush’s first tax cuts will cost more than $1.3 trillion in revenue over 10 years. This new proposal pushes the costs to $2 trillion.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, called Bush’s tax cut plan “exorbitant.”

Bush’s budget runs up deficits over $300 billion a year, even without a war on Iraq, estimated at $50 to $60 billion, or the supplemental request of $15 billion to fight terrorism.

With tax collections going down and federal expenditures going up, Bush has become a spend but don’t tax Republican.

According to the Associated Press, “The annual spending blueprint, covering the budget year that begins next Oct. 1, appeared carefully tailored to provide maximum political lift for the president as he seeks re-election. It offers the biggest bang for the buck over the next year while delaying until after the November 2004 elections the heaviest costs.”

Bush has called for a defense budget of $380 billion, up 4.2 percent from this year. But that doesn’t include possible war with Iraq, which Budget Director Mitch Daniels has said could cost an additional $50 – $100 billion. It also doesn’t include an expected supplemental administration request for $15 billion to fight terrorism.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee remarked, “The Bush administration does not have a budget. It has a 308-page press release … pure P.R. with color pictures of little children and brave soldiers designed to distract the American public from the truth.”

Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a tax-cut advocacy group, commented, “This budget, which I find a lot to like in, is excessive in terms of how much money it’s willing to spend and how many new government programs it would create to solve every problem, up to and including AIDS in Africa. Bush philosophically believes you can do good things with government money. That’s very different from the Reagan theme that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.”

To pay for tax cuts, increased homeland security, and the increased spending on defense – which now has risen to levels greater than all other countries combined – Bush has proposed cutting spending in hundreds of other programs that help those that stand to benefit the least from the tax cuts, including cuts in Medicaid benefits to the poor and disabled, school lunch programs, vocational education, literacy programs, rural development programs, and veteran’s benefits.

Norman Ornstein, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute said, “There’s no doubt that the president’s budget is affected by the election-year cycle. It’s also a budget that has gone through yeoman’s efforts to manipulate it so that it minimizes the real costs and maximizes the benefits.”

David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s DRI, warned, “We’re looking at deficits forever.”

Under Bush stocks have lost almost $5 trillion of value, unemployment is up more than 40 percent (to 6 percent, from 4.2), huge projected federal-budget surpluses have turned into huge deficits, and the dollar has fallen 13% against the euro.

Bush says he wants to “strengthen the economy by treating investors equally in our tax laws. It is fair to tax a company’s profits. It is not fair to again tax the shareholder on the same profits. To boost investor confidence, and to help the nearly 10 million seniors who receive dividend income, I ask you to end the unfair double taxation of dividends.”

Doug Henwood, editor of the Left Business Observer, commented, “Bush is saying that he wanted to end the double-taxation of corporate profits, first as corporate income, second as dividends. However, corporations are legally distinct entities. If he wants to get rid of that then we should be able to confiscate the personal assets of any individual who owns stock in a bankrupt company. Also, he is not ending ‘double taxation’ for the vast majority of Americans who own stock. Most stockholders hold stock through retirement accounts. Under the Bush plan, the dividends earned in these accounts will be subject to taxation as normal income at the point when it is withdrawn.”

Henwood also asks, “Is it fair that New York State taxes me on my gross income, which the federal government has already taken a piece of? Is it fair that it taxes my income, then taxes the income of the grocer I buy my food from, and then the income of the farmer that grows the food? All income is double taxed — but it is only taxes on the income of the very rich people that move Bush to action.”

Bush believes that “lower taxes” will bring “greater investment” and “help this economy expand” bringing “more jobs” and “higher revenues to our government.” Since the “lower taxes” will benefit the wealthiest Americans, he is counting on the rich to invest in America. This is essentially the discredited “trickle down” theory of the Reagan era, which left the country with huge deficits. The fallacy in his logic is that the rich don’t have to invest in America – they can invest outside the country, where labor is usually cheaper.

According to Ray Boshara at The Atlantic Monthly, the top 20% of American households earn 56% of the nation’s income and have 83% of the nation’s wealth, while the top 1% earn 17% of national income and control 38% of national wealth. He contrasts this with the bottom 40% of Americans earning 10% of the nation’s income and owning less than 1% of wealth, or even the bottom 60% earning 23% of income and less than 5% of wealth.

He says that:

“There is also the fact that wealth, like debt, is self-replicating. Compound interest turns wealth into more wealth and debt into more debt. Other things being equal, those with interest-bearing savings accounts will end up richer after a year, and those who must pay interest on credit-card or consumer household debt will end up poorer. Thus even a neutral government policy toward wealth and asset building will end up exacerbating the wealth gap. But over the past several decades policy has hardly been neutral. The federal government currently has two distinct policies: asset-building incentives for better-off Americans (in the form of more than $300 billion in tax benefits each year for such things as home ownership, business development, college education, and retirement saving)—and income support for the rest.”Tax breaks that encourage asset building are smart policy—except that more than 90 percent of the benefits of the two largest programs (which support home ownership and retirement saving) go to the wealthiest 55 percent of taxpayers. This enormously regressive policy thus excludes people who don’t earn enough to enjoy the benefits built into the tax code. In addition, many poorer Americans face limits on the assets they can own if they want to continue receiving necessary food, health, and other income-support assistance.”

Some of problems that make the United States “more unequal than at any other time since the dawn of the New Deal” and “the most unequal society in the advanced democratic world” are the “downward pressure[s] that globalization has exerted on wages; and changes that have made the tax code less progressive and more friendly to the better-off,” he says. So, is Bush’s assault on progressive taxation likely to help or hurt the nation’s trend toward plutocracy? Will massive tax cuts for the richest among us, while spending goes through the roof, change the country’s slide into bankruptcy?

Bush thinks so, if the wealthy will just invest in America, trusting in the integrity of American business.

I wouldn’t bet on it.

Bush claimed that, “To insist on integrity in American business, we passed tough reforms, and we are holding corporate criminals to account.”

With the Securities and Exchange Commission retreating from even the mildest reforms and the economy looking bleak, it doesn’t look like a smart time to invest.

The Worst President Ever

 Written: 03/16/2007

It is abundantly clear that George W. Bush and his administration have violated the Constitution of the United States of America with extreme hubris in a myriad of ways and continue to do so, that his administration has been distinguished by its corruption, incompetence, and its callous disregard for the law, and that this administration has been, and continues to be, a threat to the general welfare and safety of the public, the laws of the land, and the ideals of America.

There is no area that has been left untouched by the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration, whether it be in education, health, science, the environment, the national debt, civil liberties, or the waging of illegal war.

The worst collection of crooks, cronies, and lobbyists have been assembled to manage things for their own benefit, and the benefit of their corporate relations, at the expense of the people, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been mismanaged, poorly spent, wasted, or lost.

The most delusional and incompetent ideologues have been given reign over our national policy, and they have mislead us into an illegal war and mismanaged its aftermath. Their actions have made us less safe and more despised, while undermining our liberties and ideals and accomplishing the opposite of what they intended.

Their pattern of incompetence is consistent, from 9-11 to Katrina, with their lack of planning for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in-between.

From lying us into war to violating FISA laws, from the erosion of the separation of church and state to illegal use of funds, from a war on science to a war on our troops, and from the power-grab of the so-called “unitary” executive to redefining torture, this has been the worst administration ever.

There has never been an administration that has violated the Constitution to such an extent with such arrogance, and if these actions do not warrant impeachment, then nothing does. There has never been an administration that was so dangerously incompetent, and if these actions do not call for a removal from office, then nothing will.

This is a matter of the rule of law, which must not be put aside for political expediency. Justice must be done regardless of the consequences. Those responsible must be held accountable for the good of the people and the protection of the Republic.

We the People must give this notice to any elected official who claims to be our representative or hopes to gain or maintain our support:

Any Congressperson who doesn’t at least attempt to protect the Constitution by holding this administration accountable for their actions by supporting impeachment proceedings isn’t worthy of our trust, respect, or vote in 2008, since they will have demonstrated they are more concerned about politics than their sworn duty to the country and the people.

Communitas Veritas

Written: 01/14/2005

In October 2004, Ron Suskind wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine examining how President Bush’s faith influences his policy. He quotes former treasury official and advisor to Reagan Bruce Bartlett speaking about Bush:

“He truly believes he’s on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.”

Later in the article a Bush aide draws the line in the sand:

“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'”

George Orwell couldn’t have said it better himself.

Bush lives in a faith-based world. In this world, truth is relative and appearance is reality.

In Bush’s world, anyone not a true believer in his policies doesn’t have a seat at the table and any strong dissent is corralled into “free speech zones” out of sight and out of mind (like the flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq). Within this bubble, not only does Bush isolate himself from any dissent, he isolates himself from the media (in both his personal consumption and his exposure to questions from the Press).

In Bush’s world, you are either with him or you are with the “terrorists” thus formulating the dangerous equation: Bush policy = patriotism. This has allowed his supporters to brand any opposition as “un-American” and “treasonous” which they have done with a McCarthy-like fervor.

In Bush’s world, Clear Skies means more pollution, Healthy Forests means clear cutting, and No Child Left Behind means destroying the public school system. Bush doesn’t see any contradiction in giving up our freedoms to fight those who supposedly hate us for them, claiming himself a Christian who feels it is better to do unto others (with violence) BEFORE they MIGHT do unto us, or believing that “when you are talking about war, you are really talking about peace.”

In Bush’s world, tax cuts are justified either because there is a surplus or because there is a deficit, just like the invasion of Iraq is justified whether there were WMD’s and a connection to al Qaeda or there wasn’t. Since he feels neither he nor his team has ever made any mistakes, then whatever actions he takes must be right. The justification can always be remade to fit the circumstance as needed. Or as Joshua Micah Marshall has said, “the policy is the parent of the rationale.” After you understand that, everything else makes sense.

In Bush’s world, the rule of law is just as malleable as justifications for war (from the Patriot Act to Gitmo to Abu Ghraib). Saddam was threatening world peace but we were liberators. Torture is what evil-doers engage in, but when we do it its merely isolated “abuse” by a “few bad apples.” And it is important to keep a tally on the deaths of Iraqis caused by Saddam but not those caused by Bush.

In Bush’s world, it makes sense to wage the vague “war on terror” because it gives a blanket excuse for any action associated with it, it makes it difficult to measure success or failure, and it cows much of the public with fears of unknown, faceless boogiemen.

The “war on terror” is an endless ticket to ride….

Shortly after the Suskind article, a number of people who rejected Bush’s Orwellian world picked up on the label given them from the Bush aide and began to proudly declare their membership in the “reality-based community” on websites and blogs (web logs) across the Internet. It has served as a unifying slogan for those patriots who still believe in Truth, Justice and American Ideals.

This is fine, as far as it goes, but until this loose-knit community of dissent can organize its message and direct its power into a force for action, its effect will be insignificant.

The reality-based community must come together like a virtual think tank with a consistent message and a developing agenda. It must become a community of mutual support and action. It must evolve into a force to be reckoned with.

It must claim a seat at the table.

The Bush Administration’s On-Going War on Our Troops and Veterans

Written: 08/12/2006
Remarks delivered at a protest in Charlotte, NC

In early January 2003, a little over two months before the US invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush spoke to troops at Fort Hood Texas. He assured them, “I want to make sure that our soldiers have the best possible pay,” and, “I want to make sure the housing is the best possible for our military families.”

Two weeks later, Bush met with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center and told them, “We should and must provide the best care for anybody who is willing to put their life in harm’s way.”

These expressions of support, and others like them over the past 3 1/2 years since then, receive a lot of play on the cable news channels and make for good sound bites on the evening news. Anyone paying only superficial attention, or anyone who puts any faith in what Bush has to say, might come away with the impression that he sincerely means what he says, and that his words would translate into actions to benefit our servicemen and women.

Unfortunately, it has become all too clear that this Administration has a serious credibility gap, and has a long history of misleading the American people. A brief overview of what the Bush Administration has actually done, or attempted to do, over the past 3 1/2 years demonstrates that, despite their rhetoric of support, they have been waging an on-going war on our troops and veterans on every front where it matters.

After Bush declared “major combat operations” over in Iraq under the banner of “Mission Accomplished,” the Bush Administration tried to reduce proposals for modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay and the family-separation allowance, they opposed an increase in the $6,000 one-time payment to families of those killed in action, and acted to block a federal judge’s award of damages to Desert Storm veterans who had sued the Iraqi government for torture during the 1991 Gulf War.

They closed Small Business Administration offices that provided aid to veterans starting new businesses, closed several commissaries and military-run schools, and proposed increasing prescription co-payments and charging a $250 user fee for some veterans.

Before there was public outcry, the Bush Administration outrageously charged injured GIs $8 a day for food when transferred back to the US for medical treatment from injuries sustained in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Their budget proposals have included billions of dollars in cuts for VA medical and prosthetic research, military family housing, and VA hospitals.

The inadequate funding of healthcare and medical facilities has had its consequences. Various surveys and reports in the past couple of years have found that long-term care services are severely underfunded, that clinics have been withholding non-institutional long-term care services, that the VA was poorly prepared to serve the mental health needs of veterans, that over 310,000 veterans were waiting up to six months for medical appointments, that veterans receiving disability compensation had to wait from six months to two years, that there is a backlog of hundreds of thousands of benefits claims, and that the VA was only able to tend to 20% of homeless veterans.

Earlier this year, a Government Accountability Office audit of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs found that political pressure from the Bush Administration had caused VA officials to lower their budget requests to match the lowered funding targets from the White House, every year from 2003 to 2006.

Concerning this finding, Larry Scott of VAwatchdog.org wrote, “The VA’s healthcare budget didn’t make sense because VA officials, for at least the last four years, have been cooking the books.”

Back in July 2003, while withholding funding that military commanders said they needed for armor and body protection and while troops were scrounging for make-shift armor and buying their own if they could afford it, Bush’s answer to the growing insurgency was a taunting, “Bring ’em on.”

Later, in January 2006, the New York Times reported:

A secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

Over the past several years, reports continued to surface about how over-extended and over-taxed our military had become, the significant recruiting short-falls, and the various attempts the Administration had made to address these problems without calling for a draft. These attempts included extending service via a stop-loss program, twice raising the eligibility age for enlistment, offering thousands of dollars to troops to reenlist, the recall of retired and discharged troops, and sending our National Guard overseas for extended deployment in Iraq.

At the same time, the Administration was also putting pressure on recruiters, leading to reports of highly questionable and illegal tactics to meet quotas, including misrepresentation of benefits, false assurances about non-deployment to Iraq, and the compromising of minimum IQ requirements. As the situation worsened, monetary incentives to sign up were increased and induction standards were lowered.

All these efforts have not done much to relieve the situation; suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder are at an all-time high, and morale continues to decline.

And after all of that, sadly, there is more….

In the Spring of this year, it was revealed that this war was being fought by sending troops with post-traumatic stress disorder back into combat, and that the military was relying increasingly on the use of antidepressants in the war zone.

In this all too brief and limited review of the Bush Administration and their efforts on behalf of our troops, it becomes very clear that their “support” for our troops doesn’t go much beyond whatever meaningless, deceptive, and superficial rhetoric will suffice to create the illusion of support, and to inspire our armed forces to act as cannon-fodder for their delusional policy objectives.

There are many other examples that I have passed over here, including: their reluctance to support health hazard research regarding Depleted Uranium exposure, their lack of support for tax breaks for service members while giving tax breaks to the rich, their poor planning for the post-war situation, their lack of bright and clear guidelines on handling prisoners or how to interrogate them, and, finally, having them wage an unnecessary and illegal war without an exit strategy, but it appears that this Administration has no interest in doing what it really takes to “support our troops” beyond what amounts to the policy equivalent of slapping a bumper sticker on the back of their SUV’s.

This callous disregard and disrespect for our military and its veterans is driven by this President and his chickenhawk cronies, who have managed to avoid service or combat themselves. This Administration has grown accustomed to using force to get their way while sacrificing others. In this case, tens of thousands of our troops have, and are continuing to, pay the price, while this President vacations in Crawford, Texas.

Republicans in Congress have not acted much better, to cite just a couple of examples: in September 2005, House Republicans proposed closing elementary and secondary schools for military family members and voted that the VA must cut $798 million over the next five years. And just this week, USA Today reported that:

Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war. House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center – half of what the center received last fiscal year.

Last year, the Disabled American Veterans released a report on individual members of Congress, indicating the degree (from 0 to 100) that each elected official supported the interests of the organization in that year. The report gave a score of “0” to two-hundred congressional representatives, all of them Republicans. Only two Republicans received a score over 50. On the other hand, 154 Democrats received a score of “100” and only one Democrat scored under 60.

While Afghanistan deteriorates back into warlord fiefdoms and the Taliban reemerges within, while Iraq devolves into an undeclared civil war and has become a training ground for future terrorists, while the entire Middle East lurches towards total chaos and more people hate us than ever before, while the monetary costs threaten our economy and result in cuts in essential benefits and services, and while we are less free at home and the death toll on both sides is measured in the ten’s of thousands–all because of the policies of this Administration,–the only war this Administration of chickenhawks seems to be winning is the war on our troops and our veterans

The Bush Administration’s on-going war on our troops and veterans is not honorable or sustainable, and we must do all we can to put a stop to it.

Unheeded Warnings

Written: 06/19/2003
Published in The People’s Civic Record, a monthly, Wilmington, NC based progressive magazine.

“There were no warning signs that I’m aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country.”

– FBI Director Robert Mueller, September 17, 2001

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center … All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking.”

– National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, May, 2002

Were there no warning signs that FBI Director Robert Mueller was aware of? Could National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice not have known that crashing an airplane into a building was a possibility?

In June 1994, a report commissioned by the Pentagon concluded that religious terrorists could hijack commercial airliners and crash them into the Pentagon or the White House. A September 1999 Library of Congress report concluded that “suicide bombers” could “crash-land an aircraft…into the Pentagon, the CIA or the White House.”

Should a FBI Director or a National Security Adviser be aware of these reports?

In December 1994, Algerian terrorists hijacked an Air France jetliner, planning to crash it into the Eiffel Tower, a French SWAT team stormed the plane on the ground and foiled the plot. In January 1995, police in the Philippines discovered a bomb factory run by Islamist terrorists. One suspect confessed that he learned to fly at U.S. flight schools and revealed plans to crash a plane into the CIA headquarters. “Murad’s idea is that he will board an American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger, then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters,” the report stated, “there will be no bomb or any explosive that he will use in its execution. It is a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute.” In 1998, at the conspirators’ trial for the African-embassies bombing, al-Qaeda witnesses testified that bin Laden was sending agents for flight school training.

Should a FBI Director or a National Security Adviser be aware of these trials?

In the previous article in this series, I looked at some of the roadblocks and stonewalling by the Bush administration regarding the investigations into the events leading up to the attack on 9-11. Much of the information about what was known beforehand has been classified as secret by our government for legitimate security reasons or to protect sources. Whether every single document that is classified as such represents some security for us, or a cover up for failures, is up for debate, depending on the level of trust each individual places on this administration.

Putting the classified information aside, the volume of information available to the public is fairly enormous and includes many conflicting and convoluted stories and relationships, along with many strange coincidences and unheeded warnings. Many of these stories and relationships are interrelated and fall into more than one category. A full review of every story and relationship would take up several large volumes. Coincidences may mean something or they may just be coincidences. Warnings may, or may not have, risen to a level to have foreseen these specific attacks or to have prevented them from occurring. Additionally, how much of this available information is relevant or meaningful is also up for debate, but it should not be dismissed out-of-hand without some consideration. Even a very superficial review of the known information is highly intriguing and raises many questions. Unless these questions are addressed in a straightforward, nonpartisan manner, they may leave us at risk for another 9-11. If we are genuinely concerned about preventing a future occurrence of this event, we should not fear an investigation into its causes and we should be eager to discover all of them – no matter where they lead or who might be to blame.

WHAT IS KNOWN

After Bush was sworn in as President of the United States, Bush’s national-security aides were warned of an al-Qaeda presence in the U.S.. In national security adviser Condoleezza Rice’s handover briefing, the bin Laden threat was covered in detail and she was warned, “You will be spending more time on this issue than on any other.” [Washington Post, 1-20-02, Time, 8-4-02, Newsweek, 8-4-02] Shortly afterwards, CIA Director George Tenet warned Congress in open testimony that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were “the most immediate and serious threat” to the U.S. and its citizens. [AP, 2-7-01, Sunday Herald, 9-23-01] A few days later, Vice President Cheney was informed in a briefing that bin Laden’s involvement in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole had been conclusively proven. [Washington Post, 1-20-02]

So by mid-February, the Bush administration had been put on notice that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization was a serious threat to the U.S. and that their involvement in the USS Cole bombing had been proven. By this time they had also received a final report by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, a bipartisan congressional commission. The report took 2 1/2 years to complete and made 50 recommendations on combating terrorism in the United States.[Salon, 9-12-01]

The Bush administration ignored all the recommendations in the report, decided not to retaliate for the Cole bombing, told the U.S. intelligence agencies to “back off” investigating the bin Laden family and Saudi royals [BBC, 11-6-01] and discontinued the deployment of cruise missile submarines and gunships near Afghanistan’s borders that had begun under President Clinton [Washington Post, 1-20-02].

The Bush administration had twice threatened the Taliban that they would be held responsible for any al-Qaeda attack and it appears that one reason they did not respond to the Cole bombing was because they were in the midst of negotiations with the Taliban for a pipeline through Afghanistan at this time. [Washington Post, 1-20-02] As far as “backing off” the bin Laden family and Saudi royals, it should be noted that the Saudis have been handled with kid gloves by this administration all along. For instance, even though the majority of the hijackers on 9-11 were from Saudi Arabia, since 9-11, new immigration restrictions have been placed on many Middle Eastern countries, but not Saudi Arabia.

In the Spring, a report which provided “a listing of all bin Laden’s bases, his government contacts and foreign advisers,” his whereabouts and details of his al-Qaeda network was presented to the UN security council by the Russian Permanent Mission. [Jane’s Intelligence Review, 10-5-01]

In May, Bush made Vice President Cheney head of the new Office of National Preparedness. The purpose of this office was to oversee a coordination of federal programs to respond to domestic attacks. Cheney said at the time that “one of our biggest threats” could include “a terrorist organization overseas.” [New York Times, 7-8-02]

In early June, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) conducted a planning exercise involving the hypothetical scenario of a cruise missile attack from a barge off the East Coast. Bin Laden was pictured on the cover of the exercise proposal. [American Forces Press Service, 6-4-02] Also, at this time, the CIA was warned by German intelligence that terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack “American and Israeli symbols that stand out.” [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9-11-01, Washington Post, 9-14-01, Fox News, 5-17-02]

On June 3, Bush’s national security leadership met – one of only two times they met before 9-11 to discuss terrorism. [Time 8-4-02] (This should be contrasted with the fact that Clinton’s Counter Terrorism Security Group met 2-3 times a week between 1998 and 2000.) [New York Times, 12-30-01]

On June 23, Reuters reported that “Followers of exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden are planning a major attack on U.S. and Israeli interests in the next two weeks.” The reporter had interviewed bin Laden two days earlier and had come to the conclusion that “There is a major state of mobilization among the Osama bin Laden forces. It seems that there is a race of who will strike first. Will it be the United States or Osama bin Laden?” [Reuters, 6-23-01, Pravda, 6-26-01] On June 28, in a written briefing, CIA Director George Tenet warned Condoleezza Rice that “it is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks.” [Washington Post, 5-17-02] Also, around this time, Richard Clarke, White House National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, gave a warning to the FAA to implement increased security measures because of an impending attack. [New Yorker, 1-14-02]

Between January and September the FAA issued at least 15 memos to the aviation industry warning of possibly imminent hijackings or bomb attacks on airliners or airport terminals inside the United States. Two of the warnings named Osama bin Laden as a suspect. [CNN, 3-02, CNN, 5-17-02]

Between February and July, in the trial of four men charged with the 1998 embassy bombings, testimony was given that bin Laden operatives had received pilot training in Texas and Oklahoma. Detailed information about a pilot training scheme was revealed, but no action was taken. [Washington Post, 9-20-01]

Between March and September, in over 20 meetings between envoys of the Taliban and middle-ranking State Department officials, the handing over of bin Laden was discussed. The Taliban offered to hand him over to a third country, but the officials refused to accept that option and insisted that he be turned over to the U.S.. [Washington Post, 10-29-01]

By the summer, “the chatter level went way off the charts” regarding intelligence monitoring of terrorist groups around this time and remained high until 9-11. Some officials later described the summer alerts as “the most urgent in decades.” [Los Angeles Times, 5-18-02, Senate Intelligence Committee, 9-18-02]

In early July, a briefing to senior U.S. government officials said, “Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that [bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.” [ Senate Intelligence Committee, 9-18-02, Washington Post, 9-19-02] At this time, Diane Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said to CNN, “Intelligence staff tell me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months.” She argued that both the White House and Congress needed to put more money and resources into intelligence and counterterrorism measures. [CNN 3-02]

On July 5, in a White House meeting, counterterrorism officials warned the FBI, FAA, INS and others that a major attack on the United States was coming soon and informed Bush that attacks during the summer were possible. [Time, 8-4-02] The National Security Council group met the next day to discuss intelligence and potential attacks overseas. Nonessential travel by counterterror staff was suspended. [CNN,3-02, Washington Post, 5-17-02] Later, after receiving an unspecified “threat assessment” from the FBI, John Ashcroft stopped taking commercial flights. [CBS News, 7-26-01]

On July 10, The FBI’s Phoenix office warned that an unusual number of Middle Eastern men were enrolling in U.S. flight schools and speculated they may be part of an Osama bin Laden plot. The report was sent to FBI headquarters, but officials put off taking action. [New York Times, 5-20-02, Fortune, 5-22-02] Later, Vice President Cheney said that the memo should have never been made public. [CNN, 5-20-02]

In mid-July, Bush was warned about a possible al-Qaeda attack at the G-8 summit. One threat that was relayed by the Egyptian government to U.S. Intelligence was that Muslim terrorists could crash a plane into a building. [New York Times, 9-26-01, BBC 7-18-01, Los Angeles Times, 9-27-01]

Also in mid-July, FBI counterterrorism expert, John O’Neill complained privately that the White House was obstructing his bin Laden investigation. He said that the main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were US oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia. He said that, “All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.” He believed that one reason for the obstruction was that the White House was still hoping for a pipeline deal with the Taliban. [CNN, 1-8-02, CNN, 1-9-02, Irish Times, 11-19-01, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, released 11-11-01]

On July 21, A meeting was held in a Berlin hotel between American, Pakistani, and Russian officials. It was the third meeting of its kind called “brainstorming in Afghanistan.” Taliban representatives boycotted this meeting but had sat in on previous ones, nevertheless, Pakistani intelligence relayed information from the meeting to them. During the meeting, former U.S. State Department official Lee Coldren passed on a message from Bush administration officials. Commenting about the meeting later, he said, “I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action.” There are differing accounts of what happened, but Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik said he was told by American officials that military action to overthrow the Taliban was scheduled to “take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the Middle of October at the latest.” One reported threat was that the Taliban could choose between “carpets of bombs (a war) or carpets of gold (a pipeline).” Americans officials who attended denied that there was any talk about a pipeline during this meeting. [Salon, 8-16-02, Guardian, 9-22-01, Guardian, 9-26-01, BBC, 9-18-01, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, released 11-11-01]

Late in July, Wakil Ahmed Muttawkil, the Taliban Foreign Minister, learned of an imminent attack by bin Laden on targets inside the U.S. that will be “huge” and kill thousands. He sent an emissary to the U.S. consul general and another U.S. official to warn them. He also sent the message to the political wing of the UN. [Independent, 9-7-02, Reuters, 9-7-02]

Early in August, a plot to attack the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, either by bomb from a plane or by crashing a plane into it was discovered by U.S. intelligence. The people discussing this plot were reportedly acting on instructions from bin Laden. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9-18-02] It was also about this time that the CIA warned the White House, Pentagon, and Department of State that bin Laden was intent on launching a terrorist attack soon, possibly inside the U.S.. [Sunday Herald, 9-23-01] On August 4, Bush left for a month’s vacation on his ranch in Crawford, Texas [ABC, 8-3-01, Washington Post, 8-7-01, Salon, 8-29-01] at which point, he had spent 42% of his first eight months in office vacationing either on the ranch, at the family compound in Maine, or at Camp David [Washington Post, 8-7-01].

On August 6, at his Crawford ranch, the president was told about possible attacks, including that bin Laden may hijack airplanes.

The CIA gave Bush an analytic report on al-Qaeda during his daily briefing, focusing on terrorist attacks inside the U.S.. The report was titled: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” [Newsweek, 5-27-02, New York Times, 5-15-02, Die Zeit, 10-1-02] and included a warning from Britain that specifically indicated al-Qaeda might attempt multiple airplane hijackings [Sunday Herald, 5-19-02]. After receiving the report, Bush left work early and spent the rest of the day fishing. [New York Times, 5-25-02]

On August 17, French-born Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in Minnesota after suspicious flight-school trainers tipped off the FBI. [Time, 5-27-02] One of the agents wrote a warning that Moussaoui may be planning to “fly something into the World Trade Center.” [Newsweek, 5-20-02] On August 27, French authorities notified the U.S. that Moussaoui was a suspected Islamic extremist. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 10-17-02, Time, 5-27-02, Time, 8-4-02, ABC News, 9-5-02] Repeated efforts to obtain a search warrant for his laptop and personal effects failed because FBI headquarters “almost inexplicably, [threw] up roadblocks,” according to Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley. [Time 5-21-02, Time, 5-27-02] The Minneapolis agents became so desperate that they tried to get help from the CIA, but were reprimanded for their efforts. The supervisor for the FBI’s Minnesota office was accused of trying to get people “spun up” about Moussaoui by a RFU (Radical Fundamentalist Unit) agent at FBI headquarters. The supervisor responded that he was trying to get people “spun up” to make sure Moussaoui “does not take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center.” The RFU agent edited the request from the Minnesota office before passing it along, removing implications Moussaoui was connected to al Qaeda, and the request was denied. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 10-17-02] Rowley said that some agents in the office were openly joking that there had to be spies or moles…working for Osama bin Laden blocking their requests. Those agents who blocked their requests were later promoted. [Sydney Morning Herald, 5-28-02, Time, 5-21-02]

In late August, counterterrorism expert John O’Neill quit the FBI because of repeated obstruction of his investigations into al Qaeda and recent power plays against him. [New Yorker, 1-14-02] Two days later, when he began his new job as head of security at the World Trade Center, a friend commented, “Well, that will be an easy job. They’re not going to bomb that place again.” O’Neill responded, “Well actually they’ve always wanted to finish that job. I think they’re going to try again.” On September 10th he moved into his new office on the 34th floor of the North Tower. That evening, he confided to his colleague Jerry Hauer, “We’re due for something big. I don’t like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan.” O’Neill was killed in the attack the next day. [New Yorker, 1-14-02, PBS Frontline, 10-3-02]

On September 4, Bush’s Cabinet advisers held their second meeting to discuss terrorism. [Washington Post, 5-17-02]

On September 9, Donald Rumsfeld threatened the Senate that he would encourage a veto if they proceed with a plan to move $600 million from defense to counterterrorism. [Time 8-4-02]

All during the final days leading up to 9-11, there had been a sharp increase in the short selling of stocks of American and United airlines in the New York Stock Exchange. [Reuters, 9-20-01, San Francisco Chronicle, 9-22-01] These put options were not reflected in trades of stocks in other airlines and they increased in the days approaching 9-11. One analyst said, “I saw put-call numbers higher than I’ve ever seen in 10 years following the markets, particularly the options markets.” [AP, 9-18-01, San Francisco Chronicle, 9-19-01] By September 10, “Alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock market” all during the afternoon, as reported by CBS News. For intelligence gathering, the CIA and other intelligence agencies monitor stock trading in real time using programs such as Promis. [CBS, 9-19-01]. Evidently, the heavy trading of American and United stocks did not set off enough alarm bells for the CIA to act. Also, two NSA intercepted messages in Arabic, one saying “The match is about to begin,” and the other saying “Tomorrow is the zero hour” were claimed not to have been translated in time. [Reuters, 9-9-02, ABC News, 6-7-02, Reuters, 6-17-02]

On September 10th several “ironic” and “coincidental” events occurred….

Senator Feinstein asked for a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney about draft legislation on counterterrorism and national defense that she had sent to him on July 20, his chief of staff told her they needed six months to prepare for it. She said she worried that they didn’t have six months. [Newsweek, 5-27-02]

Attorney General John Ashcroft rejected a proposed $58 million increase in financing for programs relating to counterterrorism, he sent a request for budget increase to the White House which didn’t include any new money requests for counterterrorism, and he sent a memo to his department heads listing his seven priorities – none of which related to counterterrorism, yet Ashcroft had stopped taking commercial flights in July because of terrorist threats, and he had told a Senate committee in May that counterterrorism was his “highest priority.” [New York Times, 6-1-02, Guardian, 5-21-02]

NORAD was supposedly at its highest state of readiness, as it was conducting its semi-annual exercises known as “Vigilant Guardian.” [Newhouse News, 1-25-02, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6-3-02, ABC News, 9-11-02, ABC News 9-14-02, Ottawa Citizen, 9-11-02, Code One Magazine, 1-02]

Pentagon brass suddenly cancelled a trip for the next day because of security concerns. [Newsweek, 9-13-01, Newsweek, 9-17-01]

The CIA were planning a simulation drill to test emergency response. The drill was to start the next morning at 9:00 am. In an advertisement for the “homeland security” event was this sentence, “On the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. [John] Fulton and his team at the CIA will run a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building.” [National Law Enforcement Security Institute, 8-02, AP, 8-21-02]

A CIA plan to attack al-Qaeda in Afghanistan – with support for the Northern Alliance, including a U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan – was put on Bush’s desk, awaiting his approval and signature when he returned from Florida. [Time, Newsweek, MSNBC, 5-16-02, Los Angeles Times, 5-18-02]

On September 11, terrorists attacked.

WHAT IS UNKNOWN

Is it conceivable that Rice and Mueller had no idea that such an attack was possible? Why were the initial 50 recommendations by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century ignored and would any of them have stopped the attacks had they not been? Apparently, the Taliban were interested in getting rid of bin Laden, but were concerned about how it would look to turn him over to us. Was it so unreasonable to suggest turning him over to a third party? They also evidently tried to warn us about an attack. Why wasn’t this warning taken seriously? Was there sufficient evidence to connect the dots with all these warnings and take preventable action? What information caused the suspension of nonessential travel by National Security Council counterterror staff, John Ashcroft to stop taking commercial flights, and Pentagon brass to suddenly cancel a trip, but which didn’t reach the level of a public warning? What was contained in the CIA report, given to Bush at his ranch, titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”? What did Bush know and when did he know it? Did the administration act competently to the threat or did a desire to get a pipeline through Afghanistan cause them to take their eye off the ball? Who was obstructing O’Neill’s investigation and why? Is our oil dependence preventing us from dealing with the Saudis as we should? Did we threaten the Taliban over a pipeline deal? How was Bush expecting to get approval for a plan to launch a military invasion of Afghanistan without the attack against us? What reasons would he have given? These questions and many others need to be openly addressed.

It is interesting to note that Enron, one of Bush’s biggest contributors, desperately needed a pipeline deal through Afghanistan to make its biggest project, the Dabhol power plant, profitable and to avoid bankruptcy. Enron sat in on the Energy Task Force meetings, which occurred several months prior to 9-11 and which Cheney refuses to divulge any information about. It would be very interesting to find out what was discussed at these meetings. There now will be a pipeline built through Afghanistan, Enron has reformed into a pipeline building business, and it looks like they may be able to complete their project in Dabhol.

It actually may be possible to guess what was discussed and suggested by the oil company representatives which attended at the secret Energy Task Force meetings by looking at a report that was submitted to Cheney in April, 2001. The report, called “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century” was commissioned by the Council on Foreign Relations and James Baker, former Secretary of State under President Reagan and was linked to a “veritable who’s who of U.S. hawks, oilmen, and corporate bigwigs,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The report made the argument that there is a need of U.S. “military intervention” in Iraq to secure its oil supply and possibly infers a pipeline through Afghanistan where it said that the U.S. should “Investigate whether any changes to U.S. policy would quickly facilitate higher exports of oil from the Caspian Basin region…the exports from some oil discoveries could be hastened if a secure, economical export route could be identified swiftly.” [Emphasis mine] Later, when the results of the Task Force meetings were announced in Cheney’s national energy plan, it contained the suggestion that the U.S. could no longer depend on traditional sources and would have to obtain supplies from the Caspian regions and that the U.S. would have to overcome foreign resistance to the current limitations of American energy companies.

It is also interesting to note that many of the main players involved in the Bush administration either have connections to the oil business and/or the Project for a New American Century, who released a report a year before the attack on 9-11 called “Rebuilding Americas Defenses,” which became the basis of our National Security Strategy and proposed everything we are currently engaged in, including the removal of Saddam Hussein because; “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.” It also lamented that the climate in America was such that there was no hope of obtaining their objectives without “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

The odds of all these events being a coincidence would be impossible to calculate.

Some have suggested that investigating what happened will somehow weaken our resolve to adequately respond to future threats. This seems to be how the Bush administration sees it. Despite public pronouncements, there is a seeming lack of interest in aiding an investigation and general reluctance to fully cooperate. Some have suggested that that investigating might undermine our need or desire to play the role of the totally innocent victim, which may have resulted from a strong identification with the actual victims from overexposure to the event by the media directly after 9-11. Still others have suggested that there are those with something to hide, either because the evidence will prove incompetence or complicity. It is exceedingly important that these suggestions especially are adequately addressed as they will undermine faith in this administration and this country, at home and abroad, and likely fuel conspiracy theorists forever.

Note: While I have acquired much of this information over time, I wish to thank the people at the Center for Cooperative Research for allowing me to paraphrase some material from their extensive database for this article.