1 February 2004
“US officials knew in May Iraq possessed no WMD”.
So goes the headline in the Observer (01/02/04) but the reality is that the US government knew in 1991 that Iraq possessed no WMD as did the UK government. So what’s the argument all about? Why is it so important that a ‘battle royale’ is being conducted around the existence or otherwise of WMD? For what the headline reveals is the ‘wheels within wheels’ approach to selling a war nobody but the warmongers wanted.
Lost in all the pre-coital thrashing around last March as the imperial war machines got ready to mount their chargers was the fundamental question of why the rush to war? For the real issue is that the WMD are part of a massive diversion, a necessary component of a propaganda campaign to hide the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq.
And it’s not difficult to show that the WMD is a giant red herring, not only on the basis of the rank hypocrisy of the USUK imperium – after all, it was Western governments who supplied Saddam with the wherewithal in the 1980s to manufacture chemical weapons in the first place – but also because the evidence quite clearly shows that Saddam destroyed whatever capacity he had after Gulf War II – around 1991 in fact, as his deposition to the UN stated. And these are not new facts previously hidden from view.
In fact, a detailed catalogue of the entire Iraqi arsenal of chemical and biological weapons exists – aside perhaps from the Soviet-supplied weapons – and of all the military-related materiél supplied by the West to Iraq over the past forty-odd years. Even ‘searching’ for it, is part of the smokescreen needed to justify the invasion. As the Observer piece says,
“Intelligence sources, policy makers and weapons inspectors familiar with the details of the hunt for WMD told the Observer it was widely known that Iraq had no WMD within three weeks of Baghdad falling, despite assertions of senior Bush administration figures and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. [my emph.]”
Well what do you make of that Tony Blair? And in the light of the overwhelming evidence available to anybody who cares to look, what does it do to the Hutton (Lord) ‘inquiry’ findings? And the Hutton ‘inquiry’ is itself another lie that covers the Big Lie, for on the one hand, it claims not be investigating the ‘truth’ of the September dossier but events surrounding the death and the ‘outing’ of Dr Kelly, yet at the same time clears the Blair clique of all its dissembling over the reason for going to war. It did this by being highly selective in what ‘evidence’ it chose to look at and the conclusions Hutton arrived at.
Later, in the same piece in the Observer we read of another ‘small lie’ that hides the big one, by a “senior US intelligence official” who tells us,
“”We had enough evidence at the beginning of May to start asking, “where did we go wrong?””
So what we have is the creation of a ‘small lie’ (“where did we go wrong”) hiding the Big Lie, namely, the imperium didn’t ‘go wrong’, what went wrong was that the wheels came off the Big Lie, so it was necessary to invent a ‘small one’ in an attempt to cover their tracks. The end-product of all this dissembling is that one needs to be a Sherlock Holmes to separate out truth from fiction. But I’m on your case Bush/Blair.
And when one looks back at the past ten months of media coverage of the invasion and especially of government statements, we find that at the heart of the entire enterprise have been a few key words: “sexed up”, “exaggeration” and finally “wrong” but never the word that sums it all up, lie, or to be more accurate lies.
To a great degree the media has been responsible for the smokescreen laid down by the imperium, for the press has never attempted to assemble all the relevant facts in a coherent manner. Instead, we get bits and pieces that without the relevant historical and contextual connections, come across as ‘newsbytes’, digested, expelled and then forgotten. Is it any wonder that the public has no faith in the press when from day to day, a different view of events is presented to them?
Those who apologise for the invasion (too numerous to mention by name), point to the ‘fact’ that Saddam was ‘reluctant’ to show that he had indeed destroyed his CBW capacity back in 1991. But all this reveals is Saddam’s reluctance to show his cards, not surprising under the circumstances (imminent invasion). Even the most perfunctory reading of Hans Blix’ final report to the UN shows that all that was missing to ‘prove’ their destruction was the paperwork, not surprising given that twelve years had passed. And all the statements made by Blix after the fact of invasion, support this view.
And what of the pile of documents that Iraq submitted to the UN that was immediately purloined by the US, never to see the light of day again in its entirety? Why did the US feel it necessary to steal documents intended for the UN Security Council? What did they contain that presented such a threat and why, when finally returned to the UN were big chunks of the submission missing? Yet another question the press has avoided asking to this day.
In part, some of the blame must be assumed by the UN itself, especially the actions of Hans Blix, whose woolly and vague language left the door open for the US and the UK to make whatever they wanted of the ‘evidence’. To what degree was Blix pressured by the imperium? Judging by Blix’ statements after the invasion, it would appear that heavy pressure was applied to him that paralleled the arm-twisting, bribery and blackmailing of the other recalcitrant members of the UNSC by the US. In particular, his condemnation in no uncertain terms of the ‘evidence’ he was given about the alleged locations of WMD, that when visited revealed nothing more than empty desert. But why wait until after the invasion to tell us Hans?
Finally, not so amazing is the way the media is swallowing wholesale the claims by the intelligence community (as it is euphemistically called) that in the words of a senior US intelligence official “the intelligence community has forgotten how to do its job”.
But by focusing on the role of the intelligence ‘community’, the central issue of politics and policy is neatly sidestepped. After all, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle et al, are driving the imperium’s policy (not the intelligence ‘community’) and are unlikely to take onboard anything that gets in the way of their objectives, including any intelligence that screws up the propaganda war.
Much as been made of the fact that key elements for the imperium’s case for war originated with the Iraqi opposition, most notably the Iraqi National Congress, headed by convicted felon (and on the lam from the Jordanian authorities) Ahmed Chalabi. The intelligence ‘community’ would have us believe that they warned the US government that the intelligence coming from the INC was not to be trusted, but the facts contradict this view. The INC was a wholy owned subsidiary of the CIA and with close connections to Israel’s Mossad, through which much of the disinformation was laundered in order to achieve ‘deniability’. Now the shit has hit the fan, all those involved are (understandably) trying to distance themselves from what has turned into a total propaganda disaster.
So once again, as the rationale for war gets demolished by the current ‘revelations’, we find the media selling us yet another ‘small lie’ namely the sideshow of who is to blame for getting it all ‘wrong’. This is how the Observer presents it to us. It devotes an entire page (19) to the issue with the heading:
“WMD: How it all went wrong”
The page is headed by a litany of lies about Saddam’s alleged WMD told by Bush, Blair and Powell, all proved to be false either before and/or after the fact, but the best the Observer can come up with is to say “not found”.
To take just one of the lies as an example, the one about the ‘Niger’ Yellowcake, this is what the Observer has to say:
Iraq was trying to procure uranium from Niger to to produce fissionable material for a nuclear weapon
President George W. Bush State of the Union Address, 28 January 2003
Senior officials have admitted the intelligence was unsound [sic]
It has subsequently emerged that US officials knew the claim was based on forged documents a year earlier. Although British intelligence made the same claim on the basis of ‘independent’ intelligence to the fake documents, it has never explained what that was.”
But what’s wrong with this? Firstly, the heading “Not found” is incorrect, it was in fact a lie. Moreover, it plays fast and loose with the facts when it says “It has subsequently emerged” when it fact it ‘emerged’ (that the documents were forgeries) when Reuters reported that the documents were forgeries on 26 March 2003. So why doesn’t the Observer tell us when ‘it’ emerged? And why does the Observer use the word ‘unsound’ to describe a forgery? Why doesn’t the Observer explain to the reader why documents which by its own admission were known to be forgeries at least as early as January 2002 by the US and UK governments come to be used by both Bush and Blair as part of their justification for war? The obvious contradiction here is that if the intelligence agencies knew them to be forgeries at least a year earlier than the time they became part of the imperium’s propaganda arsenal, either they neglected to tell their masters or their masters simply ignored the facts.
So the Observer’s reportage colludes in every significant way with the view of the governments of both the US and the UK, that the issue is all down to ‘mistakes’ on the part of the intelligence agencies who got it all ‘wrong’ because they had “forgotten how to do [their] job”. The closest it comes to actually blaming the government is when it says:
“…what emerges from the accounts collected by the Observer is that the culpability is on both sides: from cherry-picking politicians to intelligence practitioners unwilling to ask difficult questions that might undermine official policy.”
But what the Observer fails to ask is the nature of the “official policy” for in doing so, it would have to ask the most difficult question of all, that in order to justify invading Iraq, it was necessary to invent the reasons.