By E&P Staff
Published: March 23, 2008 11:10 AM ET
NEW YORK Five years ago today, as the U.S invasion of Iraq continued in its early stages, E&P published an article by Ari Berman, then an intern here, that examined the public attitudes on the eve of the war. He probed polls that found, on the most basic point, that roughly 2 out of 3 Americans backed an assault on Iraq.
But the attitudes driving those numbers raised serious issues about a misinformed public and the media’s role. He found that a startlingly high percentage falsely believed that Saddam helped plan the 9/11 attacks or Iraqi hijackers were involved that day, and that Iraqi WMD had already been found.
When the war dies down, editors and media analysts should catch their breath and ask themselves: How much did press coverage (or lack of coverage) contribute to the public backing for a pre-emptive invasion without the support of the United Nations?
Fresh evidence that a senior government press officer was closely involved in drawing up the government’s discredited Iraq weapons dossier, despite official denials, was revealed yesterday.
A document the Foreign Office tried to suppress shows that John Williams, its director of communications at the time, had access to secret intelligence as he prepared an early draft in 2002.
The document suggests that Williams, a former Sunday Mirror political editor, used the same sources as the Joint Intelligence Committee, chaired by Sir John Scarlett, which produced the government’s final dossier. Though there are striking similarities, Williams’s draft does not contain the claim that Iraq could launch a chemical warfare weapon in 45 minutes – a claim central to the prime minister’s case for war.
The 45-minute claim was made later, and subsequently withdrawn.
The FO fought to suppress the Williams draft. The information tribunal ordered its release, observing that it may have played a bigger role in influencing the dossier than previously supposed.
Yesterday I found an in debt feature on news.com.au which struck me as odd. Jihadi Sites taunting Australians about their withdrawal from Iraq. Newly elected prime minister Rudd promised the withdrawal of Australian troops if elected. The fact that he was elected clearly showed that Australia wanted out of the illegal war with Iraq.
Iraqis clearly want the occupation to end and want all the foreign troops to leave. The only people to gain from these taunts are the fascist leaders of the USA. Are we looking at a full swing psyop false flag operation?
by Aaron Glantz
When young American men and women sign up to serve in US military, our government makes a basic promise to them: that if they are wounded in the line of duty they will get the care they need. Unfortunately, for tens of thousands of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s a promise that only exists on paper.On Feb. 18, 2007, the headline “Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration at Army’s Top Medical Facility” splashed across the front page of one of the nation’s premier newspapers, the Washington Post. The article, which described unsafe conditions and substandard care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, began with the story of Army Specialist Jeremy Duncan, who was airlifted out of Iraq in February 2006 with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, “nearly dead from blood loss.”
“Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold,” the article read. “When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.”
The Associated Press reports the study, published on the website of the Centre for Public Integrity, concluded the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanised public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretences”.
According to the study, 935 false statements were issued by the White House in the two years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In speeches, briefings and interviews, President Bush and other officials stated “unequivocally” on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had links to al-Qaeda, or had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to get them.
Posted on Jan 21, 2008
|AP photo / Khalil Hamra
|Palestinians mourn over the body of Hussam Zahar, 24, son of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, during his funeral in Gaza City. Hussam Zahar was killed Jan. 15 in an Israeli strike on Gaza.
By Chris Hedges
The Gaza Strip is rapidly becoming one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. Israel has cordoned off the entire area, home to some 1.4 million Palestinians, blocking commercial goods, food, fuel and even humanitarian aid. At least 36 people have been killed in Israeli strikes since Tuesday and many more wounded. Hamas, which took control of Gaza in June, has launched about 200 rockets into southern Israel in the same period in retaliation, injuring more than 10 people. Israel announced the draconian closure and collective punishment Thursday in order to halt the rocket attacks, begun on Tuesday, when 18 Palestinians, including the son of a Hamas leader, were killed by Israeli forces.
This is not another typical spat between Israelis and Palestinians. This is the final, collective strangulation of the Palestinians in Gaza. The decision to block shipments of food by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency means that two-thirds of the Palestinians who rely on relief aid will no longer be able to eat when U.N. stockpiles in Gaza run out. Reports from inside Gaza speak of gasoline stations out of fuel, hospitals that lack basic medicine and a shortage of clean water. Whole neighborhoods were plunged into darkness when Israel cut off its supply of fuel to Gaza’s only power plant. The level of malnutrition in Gaza is now equal to that in the poorest sub-Saharan nations.
Benazir Bhutto the former Pakistani prime minister named her assassins almost two months ago during her interview on November 02, 2007 with the world famous interviewer and British establishment pundit David Frost on his show “Frost over the world” (interview available on youtube titled “Benazir Bhutto: Bin Laden murdered”).
The late Bhutto discussed with Frost the initial failed assassination attempt on her life that killed 158 Pakistanis two weeks after her return to Pakistan.
The return of the late Ms. Bhutto to Pakistan was encouraged by the Anglo-American establishment under the guise of re-establishing democracy to this artificial country that was originally created by the colonial powers as a toxic thorn in the heart of India , and as a prospective tool for the destabilization of the region.
In her interview with Frost, the late Ms. Bhutto also discussed her knowledge of three people in the Pakistani government who are in collusion with the Islamists, and who might have been behind this failed assassination attempt. She also specifically stated that she wanted the Musharraf government to trace the finances of the terrorists instead of just naming them.
She also added that one of these three men whom she suspected of orchestrating the assassination was a former military officer man who is also well connected to the Pakistani security agency, and who had dealings with another man named “Omar Sheikh” “who murdered Osama Bin Laden.” Ms. Bhutto did not make any attempt to correct herself about the murder of OBL, and the shrewd David Frost did not inquire either about this extraordinary statement, considering that the Anglo-American establishment’s war on terror has been totally choreographed around OBL. The late Ms.Bhutto also emphasized again in her interview the importance of pinning down the financiers of these extremists groups with their known connection to the ISI the Pakistani intelligence services. It is well known that the ISI was originally created and subsidized by western intelligence agencies to do their dirty work in the central Asian region. It has been the main mover and shaker of drug trafficking as well as the financing and training of Islamic militants since the Soviet-Afghani war in the late 70s and 80s. The ISI was also reportedly connected to 9/11.
The federal official helming a probe into potentially illegal partisan political activities conducted by Karl Rove and other White House officials is himself the focus of a federal investigation.
Scott Bloch, the Bush-appointed head of the US Office of Special Counsel, is under investigation for the alleged improper deletion of emails on office computers, The Wall Street Journal‘s John R. Wilke reports.
“Recently, investigators learned that Mr. Bloch erased all the files on his office personal computer late last year,” writes Wilke. “They are now trying to determine whether the deletions were improper or part of a cover-up, lawyers close to the case said.” The inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management is examining the case at the urging of the White House.
Five years into the US-UK illegal invasion of Iraq and its consequent catastrophe for Iraqi people, peace loving people throughout the world are appalled by the current Iran-US standoff and its resemblance to the run-up to the invasion of Iraq . The hawks, headed by Dick Cheney in Washington , are now shamelessly calling for a military attack on Iran . The same Israeli lobby which pushed for the invasion of Iraq is now pushing for a military attack on Iran . The same distortions which were attempted to dupe the western public opinion for the invasion of Iraq , are now used to pave the way for another illegal pre-emptive war of aggression against Iran . As in the case of Iraq , the UN Security Council Resolutions against Iran , extricated through massive US pressure, are meant to provide a veneer of legitimacy for such an attack.
Contrary to the myth created by the western media, it is the US and its European allies which are defying the international community, in that they have rejected negotiations without pre-conditions. They show their lack of good faith by demanding that Iran concede the main point of negotiations, namely, suspension of enrichment of uranium which is Iran ‘s legitimate right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, before the negotiations actually start.
The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) calls for immediate and direct negotiations between the US and Iran without any pre-conditions.
Here, we debunk the main unfounded accusations, lies and distortions by the US and Israel and their allies while highlighting the main reasons to oppose sanctions and military intervention against Iran .
The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street’s favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.
Mrs Clinton’s wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.
Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. “The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed,” said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.
Imperial Playground in The Post Cold War Era
After Iran-Contra, and the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted until 1988, new developments began to occur in the region of and around Iran, which have a great deal to do with the current situation we are facing today. In 1989, George H.W. Bush became President, and, after pardoning all the former Contra criminals who kept his part in the Affair secret, had his eyes set on the Middle East as well. This was also an extremely pivotal point in history, as in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, which was the great symbol of the division between the West and the Soviet Union. Before the world, the Soviet Union began to collapse, just as Brzezinski had hoped, as the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan ended in 1989, with the Soviets defeated.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE CALDWELL, Iraq (CNN) — Although America’s top general in Iraq called al Qaeda “the wolf closest to the sled,” he said sectarian fighting among militias fueled by Iran could be the biggest long-term challenge for Iraq.
Petraeus says Iran must prove it is no longer supplying weapons to Iraq militias.
He said he is in a “show-me mode,” waiting to see if Iran honors a pledge to stop the flow of arms, money and training from Iran into Iraq that has helped both Shiite and Sunni militants.
“Al Qaeda remains the wolf closest to the sled, if you will. The enemy that is always bent on reigniting sectarian violence, causing the most horrific casualties, damaging the infrastructure in the most difficult way. So you cannot lose focus on al Qaeda.”
But, Petraeus added, there was “no question” that Iranian arms were ending up in the hands of the Iraqi militias and there was “no debate” that six Iranians detained by the U.S. military in northern Iraq are Iranian Quds force members, the Iranian unit accused by the United States of training and arming insurgents.
Blackwater still under fire despite dramatic air rescue
It would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that this once again prooves that Blackwater’s Erik Prince can count on some very powerfull friends. What is it that makes Erik Prince so valuable in Iraq? Blackwater alledgedly only has a 1000 men in the country. One of the smallest footprints of any of the Mercenary groups currently employed in Iraq. Why is the US Government prepared to antagonise the congress and the American population over this corporation. There must be a 1000 men with equal skills to replace the Blackwater protection unit. Also, why was video material from an AP reporter convisgated by American Military personel on the scene? Would it proove the official story as portrayed by CBS evening news fraudulent or worse, engineered? Wake up and smell the putrid pit that is the Blackwater/Administration connection.(traqvellerev)
Like a scene from from an action film, Blackwater USA, the private security contractor under fire for numerous abuses in Iraq, was dispatched to rescue Poland’s ambassador after an assassination attempt on a busy Baghdad street today.
Despite being the subject of numerous investigations by Iraqi and American authorities, Blackwater is still indispensable, according to CBS News, which called it “essential to the American and international presence” occupying Iraq. CBS reports that the Blackwater air rescue unit was dispatched by the American embassy because it was the only such unit available.
BY ROB HOTAKAINEN
McClatchy News Service
As the national debt heads toward the $10-trillion mark, generous Americans are sending checks to the federal government.Donations to the Bureau of the Public Debt have topped $2.5 million so far this year. That’s the highest amount since at least 1996.
It’s not making much of a dent, though.
For the fifth time since 2001, Congress is raising the debt limit, increasing it by $850 billion to $9.815 trillion. The Senate approved the plan on a 53-42 vote Thursday. That’s $9,815,000,000,000.00.
The House of Representatives has already signed off on the plan, without a direct vote.
According to the folks who follow this stuff closely, the national debt has been rising by an average of $1.36 billion per day since September of last year.
And each citizen now has a share of nearly $30,000.
But Congress has an easy solution to deal with the rising tide of red ink. Instead of fretting over it, members simply allow the government to borrow more money, much to the consternation of some critics.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The State Department’s initial report of last month’s incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.
In this September 24 photo, an Iraqi looks at a car that was destroyed during the September 16 incident.
A source involved in diplomatic security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said a Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page “spot report” on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy’s Tactical Operations Center.
That office — which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions — has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.
A highly placed industry source said that Hanner, who was listed on the report as the TOC watch officer, was working for Blackwater at the time the report was written, just after the September 16 incident occurred. He was to rotate out of Iraq this past week, the source said.
Sunday September 30, 2007
John Bolton: ‘I think we have to look at a limited strike against their nuclear facilities.’ Photograph Win McNamee/Getty Images.
John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, told Tory delegates today that efforts by the UK and the EU to negotiate with Iran had failed and that he saw no alternative to a pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities in the country.Mr Bolton, who was addressing a fringe meeting organised by Lord (Michael) Ancram, said that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was “pushing out” and “is not receiving adequate push-back” from the west.
Why Clinton is Culpable
By ANDREW COCKBURN
A former senior UN diplomat has revealed to me details of how, just over 10 years ago, the Clinton administration deliberately sabotaged UN weapons inspections in Iraq.
American officials were fearful that Iraq would be officially certified as weapons-free, a development that was seen as a political liability for Bill Clinton. Thus the stage was set for the manufacture of the Iraqi WMD myth as the excuse for George Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq.
It was March 1997. For six years the UN inspectors had been probing the secrets of Saddam’s weapons programs, in the process destroying huge quantities of chemical munitions and other production facilities. To enforce Saddam’s cooperation, Iraq was subject to crushing sanctions.
by Charles E. Carlson
Global Research, September 29, 2007
Eight years of Biofuels (ethanol) policy and legislation has cemented in place the first world wide food cabal, which promises a humanitarian disaster, a famine more serious than those caused by any tsunami, earthquake or drought. This crisis is not in the dim future, it is here.
Congress has, in a series of acts passed in this millennium, handed the perfect monopoly to what appears to be few giant agribusiness companies that already have enormous economic power, but which may be a much broader cabal.
If you can afford $6.00 a gallon for milk, $4.00 for a loaf of bread and still have money left over for a $50.00 steak at Outback, you may be prepared for 2008, but what about the future? Even if you and I may think we are prepared financially to buy food, whatever the cost, we must have concern for the billion souls who are not and who are condemned to starvation by the corn-to-alcohol conversion scheme.
Subsidies do not make the giant agribusiness firms criminals, only opportunists. Their Public Relations distortion about the value of grain alcohol as fuel is criminal. Congressmen are the real cheats, for they could acknowledge this if they wanted to, but they do not, so they share in the crimes-grand theft and murder by starvation. This being a “Christian” society, it falls to those who heed Jesus Christ’s repeated admonitions to feed the needy and protect those who cannot protect themselves to stop corn-to-alcohol conversion. Make no mistake this is a moral issue.