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[casi] 20 Lies About the War




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Published on Sunday, July 13, 2003 by the <A HREF="http://www.independent.co.uk/">lndependent/UK</A>

20 Lies About the War
Falsehoods Ranging from Exaggeration to Plain Untruth Were Used to Make the
Case for War. More Lies are Being Used in the Aftermath


by Glen Rangwala and Raymond Whitaker


1. Iraq was responsible for the 11 September attacksA supposed meeting in
Prague between Mohammed Atta, leader of the 11 September hijackers, and an Iraqi
intelligence official was the main basis for this claim, but Czech
intelligence later conceded that the Iraqi's contact could not have been Atta. This did
not stop the constant stream of assertions that Iraq was involved in 9/11,
which was so successful that at one stage opinion polls showed that two-thirds of
Americans believed the hand of Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks. Almost
as many believed Iraqi hijackers were aboard the crashed airliners; in fact
there were none.

2. Iraq and al-Qa'ida were working togetherPersistent claims by US and
British leaders that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in league with each other were
contradicted by a leaked British Defense Intelligence Staff report, which said
there were no current links between them. Mr Bin Laden's "aims are in
ideological conflict with present-day Iraq", it added.Another strand to the claims
was that al-Qa'ida members were being sheltered in Iraq, and had set up a
poisons training camp. When US troops reached the camp, they found no chemical or
biological traces.

3. Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa for a "reconstituted" nuclear weapons
programThe head of the CIA has now admitted that documents purporting to show
that Iraq tried to import uranium from Niger in west Africa were forged, and
that the claim should never have been in President Bush's State of the Union
address. Britain sticks by the claim, insisting it has "separate intelligence".
The Foreign Office conceded last week that this information is now "under
review".

4. Iraq was trying to import aluminum tubes to develop nuclear weaponsThe US
persistently alleged that Baghdad tried to buy high-strength aluminum tubes
whose only use could be in gas centrifuges, needed to enrich uranium for nuclear
weapons. Equally persistently, the International Atomic Energy Agency said
the tubes were being used for artillery rockets. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed
El Baradei, told the UN Security Council in January that the tubes were not
even suitable for centrifuges.

5. Iraq still had vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons from the
first Gulf WarIraq possessed enough dangerous substances to kill the whole world,
it was alleged more than once. It had pilotless aircraft which could be
smuggled into the US and used to spray chemical and biological toxins. Experts
pointed out that apart from mustard gas, Iraq never had the technology to produce
materials with a shelf-life of 12 years, the time between the two wars. All
such agents would have deteriorated to the point of uselessness years ago.

6. Iraq retained up to 20 missiles which could carry chemical or biological
warheads, with a range which would threaten British forces in CyprusApart from
the fact that there has been no sign of these missiles since the invasion,
Britain downplayed the risk of there being any such weapons in Iraq once the
fighting began. It was also revealed that chemical protection equipment was
removed from British bases in Cyprus last year, indicating that the Government did
not take its own claims seriously.

7. Saddam Hussein had the wherewithal to develop smallpoxThis allegation was
made by the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his address to the UN
Security Council in February. The following month the UN said there was nothing to
support it.

8. US and British claims were supported by the inspectorsAccording to Jack
Straw, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix "pointed out" that Iraq had 10,000
liters of anthrax. Tony Blair said Iraq's chemical, biological and "indeed the
nuclear weapons program" had been well documented by the UN. Mr Blix's reply?
"This is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction," he
said last September. "If I had solid evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass
destruction or were constructing such weapons, I would take it to the Security
Council." In May this year he added: "I am obviously very interested in the
question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction, and I am
beginning to suspect there possibly were not."

9. Previous weapons inspections had failedTony Blair told this newspaper in
March that the UN had "tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam to
disarm peacefully". But in 1999 a Security Council panel concluded: "Although
important elements still have to be resolved, the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons
programs has been eliminated." Mr Blair also claimed UN inspectors "found no
trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological weapons program" until his
son-in-law defected. In fact the UN got the regime to admit to its biological
weapons program more than a month before the defection.

10. Iraq was obstructing the inspectorsBritain's February "dodgy dossier"
claimed inspectors' escorts were "trained to start long arguments" with other
Iraqi officials while evidence was being hidden, and inspectors' journeys were
monitored and notified ahead to remove surprise. Dr Blix said in February that
the UN had conducted more than 400 inspections, all without notice, covering
more than 300 sites. "We note that access to sites has so far been without
problems," he said. : "In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi
side knew that the inspectors were coming."

11. Iraq could deploy its weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutesThis
now-notorious claim was based on a single source, said to be a serving Iraqi
military officer. This individual has not been produced since the war, but in any
case Tony Blair contradicted the claim in April. He said Iraq had begun to
conceal its weapons in May 2002, which meant that they could not have been used
within 45 minutes.

12. The "dodgy dossier"Mr Blair told the Commons in February, when the
dossier was issued: "We issued further intelligence over the weekend about the
infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish
intelligence reports." It soon emerged that most of it was cribbed without attribution
from three articles on the internet. Last month Alastair Campbell took
responsibility for the plagiarism committed by his staff, but stood by the dossier's
accuracy, even though it confused two Iraqi intelligence organizations, and
said one moved to new headquarters in 1990, two years before it was created.

13. War would be easyPublic fears of war in the US and Britain were assuaged
by assurances that oppressed Iraqis would welcome the invading forces; that
"demolishing Saddam Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a
cakewalk", in the words of Kenneth Adelman, a senior Pentagon official in two
previous Republican administrations. Resistance was patchy, but stiffer than
expected, mainly from irregular forces fighting in civilian clothes. "This wasn't
the enemy we war-gamed against," one general complained.

14. Umm QasrThe fall of Iraq's southernmost city and only port was announced
several times before Anglo-American forces gained full control - by Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, among others, and by Admiral Michael Boyce, chief of
Britain's Defense staff. "Umm Qasr has been overwhelmed by the US Marines and
is now in coalition hands," the Admiral announced, somewhat prematurely.

15. Basra rebellionClaims that the Shia Muslim population of Basra, Iraq's
second city, had risen against their oppressors were repeated for days, long
after it became clear to those there that this was little more than wishful
thinking. The defeat of a supposed breakout by Iraqi armour was also announced by
military spokesman in no position to know the truth.

16. The "rescue" of Private Jessica LynchPrivate Jessica Lynch's "rescue"
from a hospital in Nasiriya by American special forces was presented as the major
"feel-good" story of the war. She was said to have fired back at Iraqi troops
until her ammunition ran out, and was taken to hospital suffering bullet and
stab wounds. It has since emerged that all her injuries were sustained in a
vehicle crash, which left her incapable of firing any shot. Local medical staff
had tried to return her to the Americans after Iraqi forces pulled out of the
hospital, but the doctors had to turn back when US troops opened fire on them.
The special forces encountered no resistance, but made sure the whole episode
was filmed.

17. Troops would face chemical and biological weaponsAs US forces approached
Baghdad, there was a rash of reports that they would cross a "red line",
within which Republican Guard units were authorized to use chemical weapons. But
Lieutenant General James Conway, the leading US marine general in Iraq, conceded
afterwards that intelligence reports that chemical weapons had been deployed
around Baghdad before the war were wrong."It was a surprise to me ... that we
have not uncovered weapons ... in some of the forward dispersal sites," he
said. "We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti
border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there. We were simply wrong.
Whether or not we're wrong at the national level, I think still very much remains to
be seen."

18. Interrogation of scientists would yield the location of WMD"I have got
absolutely no doubt that those weapons are there ... once we have the
co-operation of the scientists and the experts, I have got no doubt that we will find
them," Tony Blair said in April. Numerous similar assurances were issued by
other leading figures, who said interrogations would provide the WMD discoveries
that searches had failed to supply. But almost all Iraq's leading scientists
are in custody, and claims that lingering fears of Saddam Hussein are stilling
their tongues are beginning to wear thin.

19. Iraq's oil money would go to IraqisTony Blair complained in Parliament
that "people falsely claim that we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues, adding
that they should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered
through the UN. Britain should seek a Security Council resolution that would affirm
"the use of all oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people".Instead
Britain co-sponsored a Security Council resolution that gave the US and UK control
over Iraq's oil revenues. There is no UN-administered trust fund.Far from
"all oil revenues" being used for the Iraqi people, the resolution continues to
make deductions from Iraq's oil earnings to pay in compensation for the
invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

20. WMD were foundAfter repeated false sightings, both Tony Blair and George
Bush proclaimed on 30 May that two trailers found in Iraq were mobile
biological laboratories. "We have already found two trailers, both of which we believe
were used for the production of biological weapons," said Mr Blair. Mr Bush
went further: "Those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices
or banned weapons - they're wrong. We found them." It is now almost certain
that the vehicles were for the production of hydrogen for weather balloons, just
as the Iraqis claimed - and that they were exported by Britain. 2003
Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


Roger Stroope
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff USA

During the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, psychologist Gustave Gilbert
visited Nazi Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering in his prison cell. "We got around to
the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not
think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war
and destruction," Gilbert wrote in his journal, Nuremberg Diary.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would
some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can
get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? ... That is
understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy
and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a
democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship
... That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and
denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to
danger. It works the same way in any country."



















































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