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Friday, May 16, 2003

Tipping point:

The recent disclosure - all in one day - of three fraudulent stories* involving Iraq have caused us to conclude the U.S. and British governments are completely untrustworthy in matters of foreign policy. They have been peddling outright falsehoods, often supported by documents that just "happen to show up". This has the look and feel of a Special Operation conducted by intelligence agencies. We consider this to be a very serious development.

* - bogus accusations against France; Labor MP George Galloway framed; the "rescue" of Jessica Lynch that wasn't.

Here is a table of the more notable instances. UPDATE: The status of a few of these is provisional. In particular, the Galloway case is fluid at the moment and a final resolution is pending. Even so, we feel the weight of the evidence favors a judgement that the administration cannot be trusted at all in matters of war and peace.

         
Outright frauds
when where source story reference
Sep 2002 New York Times   France and Germany had supplied Iraq with high-precision switches used in detonating nuclear weapons. WashPost
5 Nov 2002 Washington Post "American intelligence source" France possessed prohibited strains of the human smallpox virus. WashPost
17 Dec 2002 U.S. State Department paper

British Intelligence

"Nigerian state documents" Contact between Nigeria and Iraq with the aim of exporting uranium. BBC
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. British dossier,
"
the fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday"
"Describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities." Newsday
Spring 2003   U.S. officials Hans Blix withheld information about an Iraqi drone aircraft from the Security Council. MSNBC
7 Mar 2003 Washington Times
Bill Gertz
"U.S. intelligence source" Two French companies had sold Iraq spare parts for airplanes and helicopters. WashPost
13 Mar 2003 New York Times
William Safire
  France had permitted the delivery of sensitive equipment to Iraq. A French intermediary had facilitated Iraq's acquisition, through Syria, of chemical components for long-range surface-to-surface missiles. Safire "had been told" that the Société Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs had signed a contract in April 2002 to provide Iraq with 5 tons of dimethyl hydrazine, a chemical that can be used for missile propulsion. CNN
2 Apr 2002   Pentagon Jessica Lynch had stab and bullet wounds, and she had been slapped about on her hospital bed and interrogated. Army Rangers and Navy Seals stormed the Nassiriya hospital. They were said to have come under fire, but they made it to Lynch and whisked her away by helicopter. Guardian
2 Apr 2003 MSNBC
Joe Scarborough
  France was selling Iraq "planes, missiles, armored vehicles, radar equipment and spare parts for Iraqi fighter planes," and offering to sell nuclear reactors. CNN
21 Apr 2003 Newsweek   "possible" discovery of French Roland 2 missiles by coalition forces in Iraq and implied that they had been manufactured in 2002. A charred Roland 3 missile launcher was also allegedly found. CNN
6 May 2003 Washington Times "American intelligence source" France had helped Iraqi leaders by providing them with French passports. WashPost
May 2003 Washington Times "intelligence sources" France and Russia seeking to sign oil contracts with Iraq just before the start of the war. CNN
Apr 2003 Daily Telegraph
David Blair
"found documents" "Papers" showed that Labour MP George Galloway took millions of pounds for supporting the Iraqi dictator. Daily Mirror
         
Peddling dubious information
when where source story reference
Sep 2002 Il Sole 24 Ore Richard Perle The U.S. has proof that Mohammad Atta met with--not just Iraqi agents--but Saddam Hussein himself TMWorld
Oct/Nov 2002 11 times on campaign trail George Bush Saddam has got connections with al Qaeda White House
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. an Iraqi chemical engineer,
an Iraqi civil engineer,
[someone] in a position to know,
an Iraqi major who defected
"[We claim] the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents" speech
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. not cited,
gave example of what UAV would look like
drones / Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:
"Iraq has been working on a variety of UAVs for more than a decade."
"... we detected one of Iraq's newest UAVs in a test flight that went 500 kilometers nonstop on autopilot ..."
"should be of concern to everybody"
CSMonitor,
Daily Telegraph (Au)
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N.   Aluminum tubes: "Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium." speech
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. satellite photo "[There is a] biological weapons related facility." where a truck caravan appeared. speech
22 Apr 2003 New York Times
Judith Miller
U.S. Mobile Exploitation Team (MET) Alpha,
"an Iraqi scientist",
later revealed to be Chalabi/INC
"... those stockpiles [of chemical and biological agents] that we've heard about ... have either been destroyed by Saddam Hussein ... or they have been shipped to Syria for safekeeping.." News Hour
WashPost
         
A matter of emphasis
when where source story reference
Oct/Nov 2002 14 times on campaign trail George Bush Saddam has weapons of mass destruction White House
25 Apr 2003 ABC News Officials inside government and advisers outside. The administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's WMD's to gain the legal justification for war. ABC
         
Suspect stories
when where source story reference
27 Apr 2003 Sunday Telegraph
Inigo Gilmore
found documents after being allowed into the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad by US troops guarding the site. A link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. BBC
28 Apr 2003 Daily Telegraph files from the looted Iraqi foreign ministry France colluded with the Iraqi secret service to undermine a Paris conference held by the human rights group Indict. Daily Telegraph
         
Table updated and expanded 17 May 2003.
Revised 26 May 2003 (Judith Miller/NYT)


UPDATE: Refference has penned some thoughts about the Bush administration's veracity - or lack thereof. Excerpts: (link via Yglesias)
... the one place these sort of under-the-carpet revelations seem to have a degree of success is foreign policy (it's less open to scrutiny for one thing, and less accessible to democratic oversight). And it seems there has been a lot of misinformation regarding our foreign policy lately disseminated by those in power.

... the preponderance of forgeries (especially relating to WMD), the willing disregard for the actualities of the post-war situation in Iraq, the inattention to the material record - stems not from this administration's misapplication of emphasis in the face of legitimate belief in a mistaken reading of the world (as in Bush's faith in his absurd economics), but from some other less ingenuous place.

... I'm confused as to why this administration doesn't seem content to stand on the available evidence ...

... I don't want to ascribe malevolent motives to Bush and his advisors - I don't really believe in cabals. But I am getting frightened at the level of misinformation from the White House ...


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