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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Scott Ritter's war (Mark Parkinson) 2. (no subject) (CharlieChimp1@aol.com) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: email@example.com Date: Mon, 31 May 2004 13:56:27 +0100 Subject: Scott Ritter's war By: Stephen Marshall, Manhattan Of all the people who owed Scott Ritter an apology, the most eloquent and, perhaps, meaningful, came from David H. Hackworth, the retired U.S. Army Colonel and self-described Most Decorated Soldier in America. Hackworth can walk the walk. He was shot eight times in Vietnam, and went on to write the so-called "Vietnam Primer," referred to as the military's bible on counter-insurgency warfare. May 26, 2004 Over the course of the last year, news organizations have had to eat large portions of humble pie. While the alternative press raised red flag after red flag about the Bush administration's Weapons of Mass Destruction claims, almost every mainstream U.S. news organization simply parroted the official fictions. The New York Times, a paper commonly referred to as "liberal" by the right, went even further, running numerous high-profile stories that featured anonymous sources who claimed Iraq had a viable and dangerous WMD program. Many of the Times' sources were Iraqis tied to Ahmed Chalabi, a man the U.S. now accuses of being a spy for Iran. Today, The New York Times issued a mea culpa, headlined "Correction: The New York Times on Iraq coverage." The Times editors write, "Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged =97 or failed to emerge." Nowhere in the Times explanation is a reference to Scott Ritter, the former U.N. weapons inspector whose warnings were all but ignored by the paper, and pretty much every other big media outlet. While many news organizations are undergoing similar soul-searching, none have bothered to give Ritter his proper due. In this extensive media analysis, GNN's Stephen Marshall looks back at Ritter's WMD battles, the media and the politics of being right: Character Assassination In the late summer and fall of 2002, six months before the invasion, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter hit the major networks, claiming that the Bush administration was "deliberately distorting the record in regards to weapons of mass destruction." Despite his radical position, Ritter's credentials as a U.S. Marine and fearless weapons inspector made him impossible to ignore. So he became the most visible opponent of the administration's assertion that Saddam was a threat to the United States. And, in response, the corporate media did everything in their power to assassinate his character. We decided to trace the media coverage that Ritter received during September, 2002. It was a busy month. One of the most common tactics was to spin his criticism of Bush into a sympathy for Saddam Hussein. Within the first minute of his interview, Fox News Channel's David Asman asked Ritter how it was that "people have gotten the impression that=85 you're now being somewhat apologetic for what Saddam Hussein is doing?" Less sophisticated, but no less effective was the subtle references to his mental state. During an appearance on CNN with Paula Zahn, Ritter was quizzed about his anti-war documentary 'In Shifting Sands,' which was funded by an Iraqi-American with ties to Saddam Hussein. Ignoring the fact that Ritter had developed a network of allies within the regime, which ultimately gave him access to high- level Baath officials and allowed him to film in Iraq, Zahn ridiculed him: "People are accusing you of drinking Saddam Hussein's Kool-Aid." Michael Crowley, associate editor of the New Republic used his influential real estate at Slate.com to do his own psychological assessment of Scott Ritter: "Perhaps a better possibility is that during his thousands of hours in Iraq, Ritter developed something like Stockholm syndrome. He may feel a genuine concern for Iraq that makes him want to see it restored to economic and political health. In interviews Ritter has spoken of the 'warmth' of the Iraqi people, the beauty of the country's mosques and ziggurats, and the suffering of children who he says are victims of economic sanctions." Hmm=85 sympathy. Pretty crazy stuff, especially during wartime. But it gets worse. Using his documentary as 'evidence', some of Ritter's more dedicated assailants tried to make the case that he had been bought. The worst of these was Stephen Hayes, the nasty, wimpish neocon puppet from The Weekly Standard. Writing in the Wall Street Journal editorial page under a headline reading: "Ritter of Arabia: How did a tough Marine become an apologist for Saddam Hussein?," Hayes weighed in: "Today, as a second President Bush prepares the country for war in the same land, Scott Ritter is seemingly doing PR for Saddam Hussein, appearing anywhere he can get an audience to dispute the contention that Saddam is a threat to the world. Mr. Ritter shows up on National Public Radio, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CBS, ABC, NBC and each of the all-news cable networks. Prominent newspapers--the Boston Globe, Newsday, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times--have published his rants. He is quoted approvingly by members of Congress and world leaders. Indeed, Scott Ritter has probably become the leading opponent of intervention in Iraq. But he wasn't always a dove. =85What explains Scott Ritter's change of heart? Only he knows, of course. But as his views have changed, he's taken money from a source who has led many to question his objectivity. Over the past two years, Mr. Ritter has taken $400,000 from Shakir Al- Khafaji, an Iraqi-American businessman with ties to Saddam, to produce a documentary called, In Shifting Sands." When Hayes showed up on Fox's No Spin Zone, he let O'Reilly hoist the flag: O'REILLY: All right. You believe that Ritter's bought? HAYES: It's a good question. I stopped short of that deliberately in my article. I just wanted to lay out the facts and let people decide for themselves whether they thought he was bought. I would say $400,000 from somebody who Ritter, when I interviewed him, admitted was, quote unquote, "openly sympathetic" with the regime in Baghdad... And so it went. Looking at news reports from the period, there were few instances where Ritter's calm warnings about the administration's deceptive tactics were not treated with contempt or derision. But it obviously wasn't enough. In January, 2003, just two months before the invasion would begin, Scott Ritter was effectively taken out of the game by leaked documents alleging that, in 2001, he had been charged with pursuing a 16-year old girl over the internet. As the controversy broke, Ritter was immediately judged a pervert, despite the fact that the case had been dismissed and sealed at the state level. Despite the obvious nature of the leak, the damage had been done. In a heated exchange with CNN's Aaron Brown, Ritter could do little to revive his credibility: Scott Ritter: I stood before a judge, and law =97 you know, the due process of law was carried forth. And now we have a situation where the media has turned this into a feeding frenzy. This is not an extra judicial proceeding, Aaron. I do not stand before you, where I have to testify to anything. The case was dismissed. Aaron Brown: Scott ... Ritter: The file was sealed. Brown: Scott, I'm trying to give you an opportunity, if you want to take it, to explain what happened. And here's the point of that. And you know this is true. You are radioactive until this is cleared up, until people understand what this is about. No one is going to talk to you about the things that you feel passionately about. With Ritter effectively off-limits to the mainstream press and the Bush administration mounting a full-court press in their drive to take out Saddam, his defense was left to the increasingly relevant muckrakers of the digital underground. Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com: "So the police just happened to conduct a "sex sting" operation against the one man who had exposed the lies of our war-mad rulers from the inside. On the eve of war, as hundreds of thousands protest in the streets, this staunch Republican and solid family man who has become one of the War Party's most formidable enemies is suddenly "exposed" as a child molester. Since the court records have been sealed, and the case was merely "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal," the authorities will say nothing, at least in public. The entrapment was apparently so transparent, so obviously the clumsiest sort of COINTELPRO-style operation badly bungled by our newly-empowered political police, that the charges were dropped to the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket. Could it be that the records were sealed not to protect Ritter, but to protect whomever tried to set him up? Anybody who doesn't believe that Ritter was specifically targeted on account of his political activities needs to seek help: that sort of naivete can be terminal, and the patient probably shouldn't be trusted to cross the street unattended." There's nothing at all fishy about a "sealed" court record leaked to reporters, complete with an alleged "mug shot" of Ritter broadcast on television and republished by MSNBC. It's all a coincidence that this comes out just as the war crisis reaches its climax - or anti-climax - and the administration is desperate to come up with a half-way convincing rationale for war. What are you - a conspiracy theorist?" One week later, CounterPunch's Alexander Cockburn boiled it down to one pithy sentence: "Once you're defined as a dirty beast in a raincoat, it's hard to fight back." And before anyone could say Pee-Wee Herman, the nation was at war. An Orwellian Moment One year later, chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay ended the moratorium on journalistic misanthropy, at least where administration officials are concerned, with his damning report to Congress. In his report, Kay revealed what most of us already knew - that there was no evidence of a WMD program. With the word now made official, mainstream media began to earnestly question the administration's honesty in prosecuting the case for war. By then, of course, it was too late. Over five hundred U.S. soldiers had been killed and America had stuck its boot in the Middle Eastern doorway as it moved to establish a stable base of operations for its expansion into the Arab world. Scott Ritter was nowhere to be seen. Shamelessly, some pro-war pundits used Kay's watershed revelations to admit their poor judgment and broaden the reach of their audience, showing a humbler face to the incredulous American public. Most notable of the mea culpas was Fox's ratings heavyweight Bill O'Reilly, who had publicly pledged to appear on rival network ABC and apologize if the WMD claims turned out to be false. True to his word, after the Kay bombshell, O'Reilly dropped in on ABC's Good Morning America to relinquish his faith in the Bush administration. "I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this." However, things are not always what they seem. In this case, O'Reilly was doing double duty and using ABC's top-rated morning show to drive the administrations' spin of the Kay report directly into the waking minds of mainstream America. Because, while he admitted he was now "more skeptical of the Bush administration," he placed the blame firmly on the intelligence community, and the beleaguered CIA chief, George Tenet. "I don't know why Tenet still has his job." This deliberate shifting of blame, from the administration who had badgered and ridiculed the CIA until they produced intelligence that effectively made the case for war, to the CIA who had simply complied with their political bosses, was a masterful trick. Not only did it fool the majority of Americans, who apparently couldn't remember the administration's position on CIA intel before the war, but it disabled the mainstream media, who were forced to cover the spin itself. The key author of the spin was Kay himself. A longtime intelligence insider, he had clearly made a deal with the administration to betray the hardworking analysts who had stood up to the administration. On January 26, 2004, two days before he would testify before a Senate Committee about his findings, Kay used an interview with Tom Brokaw to float the administration's spin on the WMD debacle. Tom Brokaw: David, as you know, a lot of the president's political critics are going to say, "This is clear evidence that he lied to the American people." David Kay: Well, Tom, if we do that, I think we're really hurting ourselves. Clearly, the intelligence that we went to war on was inaccurate, wrong. We need to understand why that was. I think if anyone was abused by the intelligence it was the president of the United States rather than the other way around. Abused by the intelligence? The president of the United States? Those of us watching the interview surely gave a collective yelp of anticipation. Here was a rare opportunity to speak truth to power and unveil its lies, right on live television. And who better than America's icon of journalistic integrity Tom Brokaw to get the job done! But Brokaw's follow-up question, wasn't a follow-up question. He simply moved on to the next point. Like a pitcher taking a signal for his next throw, the platinum-haired veteran looked in and delivered. There was no conscious reaction to the lie. No connection for the audience to make between what Kay had said and the reality we had all lived through for the past year. It's hard to fathom how one of America's top news anchors and most respected journalists could just let that kind revisionism slide. That someone sitting atop one of the world's most powerful news gathering systems could have failed to see the manipulation at work. There really isn't a viable explanation for it. We know he is not stupid. And we have to believe that, at least consciously, he's not in on the game. But, then, what does that leave us with? Without evidence of collusion, complicity or incompetence, we're left to find something deeper. An instinctual need to see power in a positive frame. To agree with it. And to bury all the cumbersome inconsistencies under a veneer of professionalism and objectivity. Whatever it was, it worked. The needle was threaded with a new lie to keep the media's integrity from busting through the weathered fabric of their collective denial. But Brokaw was not the only journalist to abandon the historical record. Just the first. Like a row of heavy dominoes falling one after the another, once Kay hit NBC, Big Media fell into formation and parroted them on cue. And while it is easy to blame the corporate press for being so uncritically malleable to the government's charade, their job was made slightly more difficult by the fact that the spooks seemed to be playing along. When Winston Wiley, former deputy director of CIA, appeared on Fox News, he defended the agency against charges of pressure saying that "intelligence analysis is a contact sport." And that visits from policy-makers like Cheney "put pressure, but it's welcome pressure." So, it was left to Paul Krugman, one of the few major national columnists who still resides far enough outside of the warm of embrace of power, to give the nation a dose of reality. As the New York Times' sane counter-balance to Thomas Friedman's neo- conservative ranting, Krugman did not miss his chance to characterize America's "Orwellian moment": "Do you remember when the C.I.A. was reviled by hawks because its analysts were reluctant to present a sufficiently alarming picture of the Iraqi threat? Your memories are no longer operative. On or about last Saturday, history was revised: see, it's the C.I.A.'s fault that the threat was overstated. Given its warnings, the administration had no choice but to invade. A tip from Josh Marshall, of www.talkingpointsmemo.com, led me to a stark reminder of how different the story line used to be. Last year Laurie Mylroie published a book titled "Bush vs. the Beltway: How the C.I.A. and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror." Ms. Mylroie's book came with an encomium from Richard Perle; she's known to be close to Paul Wolfowitz and to Dick Cheney's chief of staff. According to the jacket copy, "Mylroie describes how the C.I.A. and the State Department have systematically discredited critical intelligence about Saddam's regime, including indisputable evidence of its possession of weapons of mass destruction." In the final paragraph of his column, Krugman showed an uncharacteristic flash of manic idealism. It was more the stuff we are used to seeing as posts on by the 4000 + kids on GNN's Forum than anything published in The New York Times. But refreshing, nonetheless, was Krugman's parting plea: "I'd like to think that the administration's crass efforts to rewrite history will backfire, that the media and the informed public won't let officials get away with this. Have we finally had enough?" Apparently not. Looking back on the winter of 2004, it will be remembered that the media did begin to sniff the blood of a wounded incumbent. And, like a pack of hungry lemmings, they began to circle. But the focus of their attention was not the double deception that the administration had orchestrated around the cover-up of their falsified WMD intel. Instead, they chose a much less controversial target, and one that did not strike at the heart of the government's contempt for the democratic process. George W. Bush's record of military service. It was a textbook case of what Daniel Goleman calls "the quintessential self-deception." Where the psychological defenses of the group are raised and attention is focused away from painful truths that can cause anxiety. Instead of dealing with the collective miscarriage of their civic responsibility - one that, at the least demands they question the government about its political and economic motives before they take the nation to war - Big Media shifted its gaze toward the most innocuous of Bush's lies. And began a witchhunt to uncover the hard journalistic facts about how much time he spent in the Texas air national guard. Meanwhile, nearly one year after his disgrace and censor from the corporate media, America's uncelebrated truth-teller made one solitary appearance on cable television. It was with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who allowed Ritter to humbly accept vindication. Instead of railing against the forces that had marginalized and discredited him, the former Marine used his time to make the case for executive accountability : "We have to go back to Harry Truman's old adage. The buck stops at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I agree, there has to be a full investigation but not just of the intelligence community=85 but of the policymakers who made the decision to go to war based upon faulty intelligence." Of all the people who owed Scott Ritter an apology, the most eloquent and, perhaps, meaningful, came from David H. Hackworth, the retired U.S. Army Colonel and self-described Most Decorated Soldier in America. Hackworth can walk the walk. He was shot eight times in Vietnam, and went on to write the so-called "Vietnam Primer," referred to as the military's bible on counter-insurgency warfare. Writing on his military-cult website, Hackworth.com, the Colonel praised Scott Ritter for taking "us all on - virtually alone, against incredible odds." When asked if he felt "totally exonerated," Ritter replied: "I would feel a lot better if there were a way to reverse the hands of time, so that people would have paid more attention to what I said in the past, and we didn't find ourselves caught up in this ongoing tragedy." Reading Ritter's words in Hackworth's column reminded us of a quote we had found from his 2002 address to the Iraqi people. At that time, he warned that if the United States launched an invasion against Iraq, it would "forever change the political dynamic which has governed the world since the end of the Second World War, namely the foundation of international law as set forth in the United Nations charter, which calls for the peaceful resolution of problems between nations." And maybe that was exactly the point. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 2 From: CharlieChimp1@DELETETHISaol.com Date: Mon, 31 May 2004 16:27:35 EDT Subject: (no subject) To: firstname.lastname@example.org [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Al Arab, Commentary, Dr. Haifa Al-Azawi, Feb 12, 2004 When I returned to the United States after a visit to Baghdad, I read an article from the Associated Press titled 'Exile Works to Win Influence in D= C,'? by Ken Guggenheim. It described how Iyad Allawi, now a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi governing Council, was emerging as a prominent leader. Guggenheim reported Allawi has paid prominent Washington lobbyists and New York publicists more than $300,000 to help him make contacts with policy ma= kers in Washington. Any physician who graduated from Baghdad Medical School between the years l962 and l970 will remember this big, husky man. The Baath party union lead= er, who carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it terrorizing the medical students, was a poor student and chose to spend his time standing i= n the school courtyard or chasing female students to their homes. When I entered medical school, Iyad Allawi was a student there and when I graduated he was still a student there. He tried to form a political party = and, according to some friends of his, he faked names to make the party seem lar= ger than it really was. His medical degree is bogus and was conferred upon him = by the Baath party, soon after a WHO (World Health Organization) grant was orchestrated for him to go to England and study public health accompanied b= y his Christian wife, whom he dumped later to marry a Muslim woman. In England he was a poor student, visiting the Iraqi embassy at the end of each month to collect his salary as the Baath party representative. Accordi= ng to his first wife and her family members, he spent his time dealing with assassins doing the dirty work for the Iraqi government, until his time was= up and he became their target. He went into hiding and came back as a double agent for the British and the CIA. Now, analysts have suggested that Allawi=C3=A2=E2=82=AC=E2=84=A2s camp= aign might have been encouraged to counterbalance the influence of the much better known opposit= ion figure Ahmed Chalabi. By the way, they are cousins. These kinds of people can put our U.S. government and our troops in bad positions and in danger. Laura Myroie, author of "Bush vs. the Beltway," an= d critical of the CIA handling of Iraq, blamed Allawi for what she said was f= aulty intelligence that endangered the U.S. troops at the end of the Gulf War. Th= e United States plans to turn over power to Iraqis by July 1. We are all hopi= ng to see reasonable, honest people in power; we do not want to see another poten= tial Saddam. 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