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[casi] I Know When Bush Is Lying: His Lips Move

I Know When Bush Is Lying: His Lips Move

by John Pilger
New Statesman
November 21, 2003

Shortly before the disastrous Bush visit to Britain,
Tony Blair was at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.
It was an unusual glimpse of a state killer whose
effete respectability has gone. His perfunctory nod to
"the glorious dead" came from a face bleak with guilt.
As William Howard Russell of the Times wrote of
another prime minister responsible for the carnage in
the Crimea, "He carries himself like one with blood on
his hands." Having shown his studied respect to the
Queen, whose prerogative allowed him to commit his
crime in Iraq, Blair hurried away. "Sneak home and
pray you'll never know," wrote Siegfried Sassoon in
1917, "The hell where youth and laughter go."

Blair must know his game is over. Bush's reception in
Britain demonstrated that; and the CIA has now
announced that the Iraqi resistance is "broad, strong
and getting stronger", with numbers estimated at
50,000. "We could lose this situation," says a report
to the White House. The goal now is to "plan the

Their lying has finally become satire. Bush told David
Frost that the world really had to change its attitude
about Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons because they
were "very advanced". My personal favourite is Donald
Rumsfeld's assessment. "The message," he said, "is
that there are known knowns - there are things that we
know that we know. There are known unknowns - that is
to say, there are things that we now know we don't
know. But there are also unknown unknowns . . . things
we do not know we don't know. And each year we
discover a few more of those unknown unknowns."

An unprecedented gathering of senior American
intelligence officers, diplomats and former Pentagon
officials met in Washington the other day to say, in
the words of Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and
friend of Bush's father: "Now we know that no other
president of the United States has ever lied so baldly
and so often and so demonstrably . . . The presumption
now has to be that he's lying any time that he's
saying anything."

And Blair and his foreign secretary dare to suggest
that the millions who have rumbled the Bush gang are
"fashionably anti-American". An instructive example of
their own mendacity was demonstrated recently by Jack
Straw. On BBC Radio 4, defending Bush and Washington's
doctrine of "preventive war", Straw told the
interviewer: "Article 51 [of the United Nations
Charter], to which you referred earlier - you said it
only allows for self-defence. It actually goes more
widely than that because it talks about the right of
states to take what is called 'preventive action'."

Straw's every word was false, an invention. Article 51
does not refer to "the right of states to take
preventive action" or anything similar. Nowhere in the
UN Charter is there any such reference. Article 51
refers only to "the inherent right of individual or
collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs" (my
emphasis) and goes on to constrain that right further.
Moreover, the UN Charter was so framed as to outlaw
any state's claimed right to preventive war.

In other words, the Foreign Secretary fabricated a
provision of the UN Charter which does not exist, then
broadcast it as fact. When Straw does speak the truth,
it causes panic. The other day, he admitted that Bush
had shut him out of critical talks in Washington with
Paul Bremer, the US viceroy in Iraq. Straw said he was
"not party to the talks, not a party to his [Bremer's]
return visit". The Foreign Office transcript of this
leaves out that Straw had complained that "the UK and
US [are] literally the occupying powers, and we have
to meet those responsibilities". The US disregard for
its principal vassal has never been clearer.

Both are now desperate. The Bush regime's panic is
reflected in its adoption of Israeli revenge tactics,
using F-16 aircraft to drop 500lb bombs on residential
areas called "suspect zones". They are also burning
crops: another Israeli tactic. The parallels are now
Palestine and Vietnam; more Americans have died in
Iraq than in the first three years of the Vietnam war.

For Bush and Blair, no recourse to the "bravery" of
"our wonderful troops" will work its populist magic
now. "My husband died in vain," read the headline in
the Independent on Sunday. Lianne Seymour, widow of
the commando Ian Seymour, said: "They misled the guys
going out there. You can't just do something wrong and
hope you find a good reason for it later." The moral
logic of her words is shared by the majority of the
British people, if not by Blair's diminishing court.
How decrepit the Independent's warmongering rival the
Observer now appears, with its pages of titillation
and hand-wringing, having seen off a proud liberal

"Out there", the Iraqi dead and suffering are still
unpeople, their latest death toll not worthy of the
front page. Neither is the Amnesty report that former
Iraqi prisoners of war have accused American and
British troops of torturing them in custody,
blindfolding them and kicking and beating them with
weapons for long periods. Investigators from Amnesty
have taken statements from 20 former prisoners. "In
one case we are talking about electric shocks being
used against a man . . . If you keep beating somebody
for the whole night and somebody is bleeding and you
are breaking teeth, it is more than beating," said
Amnesty's researcher, "I think that's torture." The
Americans hold more than 4,000 prisoners - a higher
figure, it is estimated, than those incarcerated at
any time by Saddam Hussein.

With Bush in London, Baroness Symons, a Foreign Office
minister, postponed a long-planned meeting with
families of British citizens held in the American
concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She has
made a habit of this. The families and their lawyers
want to ask questions about the alleged use of
torture, the deteriorating mental health of prisoners
and the criminalising of the Muslim community in
Britain. Held for two years without any due process,
these British citizens have had their rights relegated
to the convenience of the American warlord.

Blair's troubles are only beginning. There are signs
that the Shia storm is gathering in southern Iraq, an
area for which the British are responsible. A Shia
underground army is said to be forming, quietly and
patiently, as it did under the shah of Iran. If or
when they rise, there will be a great deal more
British blood on the Prime Minister's hands.

For 11 November, Remembrance Day, Hywel Williams wrote
movingly in the Guardian about the exploitation of
"the usable past - something that can be packaged into
propaganda . . . [by those] with careers to build and
their own causes to advance . . . We are now a country
draped in the weeds of war . . . The remembrance we
endure now is no longer a seasonal affair. It is a
continuous festival of death as individual souls are
press-ganged into the justification of all
British-American wars. To this sorrow there seems no

Yes, but only if we allow it.

With thanks to Jim Brann

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