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The 45-minute claim was made later, and subsequently withdrawn.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.