Pulling corpses out of the hat By William Bowles

9 June 2006

“The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date.” — Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military’s chief spokesman

There can be no doubt that the ‘death’ of ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’ is part of a carefully planned disinformation campaign designed to divert attention away from the slaughter of Haditha (and elsewhere), a campaign that the corporate and state media have gleefully participated in. Indeed, ‘al-Zarqawi’ is itself a psy-ops programme in its own right, replete with faked letters of authenticity, fed to the press by the US military, which calls into question the source of the Internet videos of beheadings, and who is behind the wave of kidnappings and murders currently sweeping Iraq.

The BBC in particular have had a field day with ‘al-Zarqawi’ calling him amongst other choice phrases, a “psychopath” and predictably, describing those who question the role (let alone the existence) of ‘al-Zarqawi’ as “conspiracists” (BBC Radio 4, AM News 9/6/06).

So too with Channel 4 ‘News’. Jon Snow’s email ‘news’-letter (8/6/06) had this to say:

The bombing and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the point man for al-Qaeda in Iraq, is a dramatic and important moment.

Important? For whom exactly? In what way can the death of the alleged ‘al-Zarqawi’ be an important moment for the illegal occupation of Iraq? The implication is that with ‘al-Zarqawi’ out of the way, the resistance to the occupation will, by some process known only to Jon Snow, melt away. Point man? This kind of nonsense is not even worthy of comment.

He’s been responsible for the beheading and slaughter of untold numbers of people. He was certainly a Godfather of the Sunni insurgency and specifically of targeted sectarian killings.

Alleged beheading? Godfather? Please Mr. Snow, who writes your abyssmal, infantile copy? The only assertion of ‘al-Zarqawi’s involvement in beheadings were the deaths of David Berg and Ken Bigley about which there are more questions than answers. Neither beheadings have been proved to be the work of ‘al-Zarqawi’. If they have Mr Snow, where is your proof? A video tape of masked individuals? Pu-leese!

Back in May 2004, I wrote a piece on the Berg assassination (’Psy-Ops?’, www.williambowles.info/ini/ini-0237.html). Included were the following references:

A CNN story tells us that:

“The voice on the tape could not be verified as that of al-Zarqawi. CNN staffers familiar with al-Zarqawi’s voice said the voice on the tape did not sound like him.”

And according to MSNBC:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in the Sulaimaniyah mountains of northern Iraq “during the American bombing there,” according to a statement circulated in Fallujah this week and signed by the “Leadership of the Allahu Akbar Mujahedeen.” www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4446084/

In the piece I also referred to the fact that the Website that the Berg video appeared on had a London address. An address I found in a couple of minutes using WHOIS:

Site: Al-Ansar
Domains: al-ansar.net, al-ansar.biz, ansar.ws_
Address: 202.157.176.119
Host: Jazzira Net
Hail St.47, Umloj, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
Whois summary for al-ansar.net/ansar.ws:
R., rachid alansar_net@hotmail.com
Al-ansar Net
184 High Holborn
London, London WC1V 7AP
United Kingdom
2078312310 (this a fax/data line, I phoned it)

To my knowledge this information, freely available on the Internet was never pursued by anybody, neither the press nor the intelligence agencies pointing to the fact that neither the government nor the press were at all interested in establishing the facts surrounding the death of Berg nor where the video really came from.

Snow’s email continued:

Zarqawi was not only the architect of the violent insurgency against the Americans and the murderous assault on other foreign troops, but from an early stage he has run a parallel bloody sectarian conflict which is now disfiguring the ‘new Iraq’, with the attacks on Shias and their holy sites.

It just gets more outrageous with every paragraph. So now ‘al-Zarqawi’ is the architect of the resistance? Snow, get a life man. But worst is Snow’s assertion that ‘al-Zarqawi’ “disfigur[ed] the ‘new Iraq’”! Blasting the country back into the Stone Age doesn’t qualify as disfigurement according to Snow.

And make no mistake, al-Zarqawi’s death provides more than breathing space for the Americans.

From what, criticism? The resistance continues unabated with or without the ‘help’ of ‘al-Zarqawi’.

Amazing, totally unsubstantiated and unmitigated garbage but this is typical of the kind of stuff the corporate media is shovelling out to an uninformed public. There is not a shred of real, hard evidence to support anything Snow has to say about ‘al-Zarqawi’. You might call it a ‘Snow job’.

The Independent too went OTT over ‘al-Zarqawi’ with a front-page spread that would do credit to the red-tops with its hysterical coverage of the death of the alleged ‘al-Zarqawi’ describing his life as “drenched in blood”. The story bylined to Patrick Cockburn perpetuates the mythology with its talk of a:

“macabre innovation, [whereby] he staged beheadings of Western hostages such as Ken Bigley which were then uploaded to the Internet to ensure the maximum publicity.”

Once again, there is not a single shred of evidence to support the claim that ‘al-Zarqawi’ was the ‘mastermind’ behind the beheadings. Cockburn’s assertion is also factually untrue as the actual beheadings were never shown on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter. All is smoke and mirrors. Moreover, it was coverage by the Independent and others that assured the maximum publicity for ‘al-Zarqawi’.

And indeed, on page 2 just to confuse the reader, we read that:

“Zarqawi is believed to have beheaded two US hostages”

Note the use of the word “believed” as opposed to the front page definitive statement. In fact, the only references to the link between the beheadings and ‘al-Zarqawi’ are those sown by the US government, which as we will see are part of a carefully engineered psy-ops operation extending back as far as 2002. There are in fact no independent sources to verify a single allegation by the US concerning the role of ‘al-Zarqawi’ in anything at all, aside from the original involvement of al-Zarqawi in Ansar al-Ansam in northern Iraq, but even this has been called into question by other members of the defunct Ansar al-Ansam.

Let’s take a closer look at ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’. He made his first public appearance in Colin Powell’s infamous disinformation presentation to the United Nations in early 2003, although his name had already cropped up (dead) in a CIA briefing paper as the alleged leader of a splinter group based in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. Dead because according to the CIA, the base was flattened by a US bombing raid in April 2003.

There is also the appearance al-Zarqawi himself, if indeed it is the ‘real’ Zarqawi. First he is alleged to have lost a leg in Afghanistan, then some pretty sophisticated surgery apparently restored it. Then even more remarkably, he rose from the dead as according to a story dated 4 March 2004, Zarqawi was killed when the US bombed the HQ of the Ansar al-Ansam where Zarqawi was allegedly hiding out, in the north of Iraq in April 2003. But even this is questionable:

“None of the former Ansar members remembers ever seeing or even hearing that Jordan-born Abu Musab Zarqawi was in Sargat, or anywhere else in the small Ansar enclave. Washington accused Mr. Zarqawi – whose leg was amputated in a Baghdad clinic in 2002 – of being Iraq’s prewar link with terrorism.” Christian Science Monitor October 16, 2003, www.csmonitor.com/2003/1016/p12s01-woiq.html

I wrote following up in a story dated 24 October, 2004 (’Psycho-Wars’, www.williambowles.info/ini/ini-0279.html).

“Last winter Zarqawi was supposedly working with explosives and deadly toxins at a terror camp in northeast Iraq. US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned the United Nations Security Council of the dangers he posed in a presentation in February last year. Powell claimed that Zarqawi and Ansar al-Islam were Saddam’s link to al-Qaeda. The “evidence” behind Powell’s assertions proved as empty as that on WMDs.” Asia Times, February 18, 2004 www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FB18Ak04.html

But most damning of all is a story that was published on the Editor & Publisher Website detailing the role of ‘al-Zarqawi’ as part of a sophisticated US psy-ops disinformation campaign. The piece titled ‘A U.S. ‘Propaganda’ Program, al-Zarqawi, and ‘The New York Times’ By Greg Mitchell reveals the following:

Midway through Thomas Ricks’ Washington Post scoop on Monday detailing a U.S. military “propaganda program” aimed at convincing Iraqis that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has a very prominent role in directing violence in that country, there is one specific tip on how the plan may have also targeted American reporters and audiences.

Ricks found that one “selective leak”—about a recently discovered letter written by Zarqawi—was handed by the military to Dexter Filkins, the longtime New York Times reporter in Baghdad. Filkins’s resulting article, about the Zarqawi letter boasting of foreigners’ role in suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the front page of the Times on Feb. 9, 2004.

“Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare,” Ricks observed. He quoted Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military’s chief spokesman when the propaganda campaign began in 2004: “We trusted Dexter to write an accurate story, and we gave him a good scoop … [but Filkins] told Ricks he was skeptical about the document’s authenticity then, and remains so now.

The story continues:

Rod Nordland, [Newsweek’s] Baghdad bureau chief, on March 6 wrote: “The letter so neatly and comprehensively lays out a blueprint for fomenting strife with the Shia, and later the Kurds, that it’s a little hard to believe in it unreservedly. It came originally from Kurdish sources who have a long history of disinformation and dissimulation. It was an electronic document on a CD-ROM, so there’s no way to authenticate signature or handwriting, aside from the testimony of those captured with it, about which the authorities have not released much information.” www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/
article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002314713

The kicker however is the final sentence, where Ricks reveals an internal briefing, authored by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, which revealed that Kimmitt had concluded that, “The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date.” [my emph. WB]

Of course you’ll search high and low for any references to any of this information either in the Independent, the BBC or on Channel 4. The hype surrounding the ‘death of al-Zarqawi’ reveals more than anything else, the desperate failure of the USUK occupation to stem the rising tide of resistance to the barbarism being carried out on the people of Iraq.

Here are some other background sources on the mythological al-Zarqawi:

The Timely Death of al-Zarqawi Hubub in Hibhib By CHRIS FLOYD http://counterpunch.org/floyd06082006.html

A U.S. ‘Propaganda’ Program, al-Zarqawi, and ‘The New York Times’ By Greg Mitchell www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/
article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002314713

Beyond Niger: Are All Terrorism Files Forgeries?
By Cyte cytations.blogspot.com/2005/
11/to-work-closely-with-jordan-to.html

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: An Arab Villain Right Out Bushcon Central Casting Kurt Nimmo Another Day in the Empire July 6, 2005
http://www.williambowles.info/iraq/zarqawi/zarqawi_central_casting.html

Big, Bad Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – The creation of a myth
Is it time to ‘dispose’ of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Has he ‘outlived’ his usefulness?
by William Bowles • 1 June 2005
http://www.williambowles.info/ini/ini-0335.html

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the Silver Bullet by Kurt Nimmo May 26, 2005 http://www.williambowles.info/iraq/zarqawi/silver_bullet.html

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Laptop by Kurt Nimmo http://www.williambowles.info/iraq/zarqawi/zarqawi_laptop.html

Rumours of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s survival were greatly exaggerated By Gavin Gatenby
So who really killed Nick Berg? Possum News Network 11 April 2006
http://www.williambowles.info/iraq/zarqawi/zarqawi_rumours.html

Whatever happened to what’s-his-name? by William Bowles • Friday, 3 February, 2006 http://www.williambowles.info/ini/2006/0206/ini-0391.html

The Myth of Zarqawi by Loretta Napoleoni November 11, 2005 www.antiwar.com/orig/napoleoni.php?articleid=7988

al-Zarqawi or al-Invention? William Bowles 6 July 2004
http://www.williambowles.info/ini/ini-0253.html

The more things change the more they stay the same William Bowles 17 November 2004
http://www.williambowles.info/ini/ini-0288.html

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