Gen. Wesley Clark 2007 interview: U.S. planned to take out 7 countries in 5 years, finishing with Iran

From Democracy Now

Interview with retired Gen. Wesley Clark
March 2, 2007

Excerpt:

About 10 days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon, and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military, and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the secretary of defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

For the full interview:
https://www.democracynow.org/2007/3/2/gen_wesley_clark_weighs_presidential_bid

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Historic civil law suit against alleged war criminal George W. Bush in California: Chilcot Report submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court

Global Research, July 25, 2016
Witness Iraq 23 July 2016

We are pleased to announce that excerpts from the Chilcot Report by the British Iraq Inquiry Committee have been submitted to the Ninth Circuit in support of the plaintiff’s case in Saleh v. Bush, et al.

What is the current status of the case?

Currently, Saleh v. Bush is on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.  Ms. Saleh’s lawsuit in federal court against US government leaders named as Defendants — George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz — was dismissed in December 2014 after the district court immunized the Defendants, ruling they were acting within the lawful scope of their employment when they planned and executed the Iraq War.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair shaking hands with Defendant-Appellee George W. Bush.

Ms. Saleh is arguing on appeal that the Defendants should not be immunized. She alleges that the Defendants  were acting from personally held convictions that the US should invade Iraq, regardless of any legitimate policy reasons. Specifically, she is pointing to a record of statements made by some of the Defendants in leading neoconservative outlets in which they called for the military overthrow of the Hussein regime as early as 1997.

She is also arguing that Bush administration officials knowingly lied to the public by fraudulently tying Hussein to Al Qaida and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Such misrepresentations would also make them personally liable for their conduct under relevant law.

The Ninth Circuit has not indicated when it will issue a ruling on the appeal.

What is the Chilcot Report?

The Chilcot Report is the final report issued by the Iraq Inquiry, a committee established by the British Government in 2009 to investigate what happened during the run up to the Iraq War. Composed of British “privy counsellors,” the report was released on July 6, 2016 after more than 6 years of investigation, research, and drafting.

Why is the Chilcot Report important to the Saleh v. Bush lawsuit?

The Chilcot Report contains (i) factual conclusions by the privy counsellors about what happened during the run up to the Iraq War, (ii) actual documentation (including written notes between Blair and Bush) that show a plan to go to war in Iraq as early as October 2001, and (iii) statements of international law by distinguished experts who have concluded that the Iraq War was illegal and constituted aggression against Iraq.

What are some of the pieces of evidence submitted to the Ninth Circuit?

These are some of the excerpts that we highlighted for the Ninth Circuit as evidence that the Iraq War was illegal, and that government leaders were not acting within the lawful scope of their employment authority when they planned and executed the Iraq War:

Conclusions of the Iraq Inquiry Committee:

  1. President Bush decided at the end of 2001 to pursue a policy of regime change in Iraq.
  1. On 26 February 2002, Sir Richard Dearlove, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, advised that the US Administration had concluded that containment would not work, was drawing up plans for a military campaign later in the year, and was considering presenting Saddam Hussein with an ultimatum for the return of inspectors while setting the bar “so high that Saddam Hussein would be unable to comply.”
  1. Mr Straw’s advice of 25 March proposed that the US and UK should seek an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to re-admit weapons inspectors. That would provide a route for the UK to align itself with the US without adopting the US objective of regime change. This reflected advice that regime change would be unlawful.
  1. Sir Richard Dearlove reported that he had been told that the US had already taken a decision on action – “the question was only how and when;” and that he had been told it intended to set the threshold on weapons inspections so high that Iraq would not be able to hold up US policy.

Conclusions of the Iraq Inquiry Committee related to the legal analysis of the British government leading up to the war:

  1. Despite being told that advice was not needed for Mr Blair’s meeting with President Bush on 31 January, Lord Goldsmith wrote on 30 January to emphasise that his view remained that resolution 1441 did not authorise the use of military force without a further determination by the Security Council.
  1. Mr Wood had warned Mr Straw on 24 January that “without a further decision by the Council, and absent extraordinary circumstances”, the UK would not be able lawfully to use force against Iraq.
  1. Mr Wood wrote that Kosovo was “no precedent”: the legal basis was the need to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe; no draft resolution had been put to the Security Council; and no draft had been vetoed. He hoped there was: “… no doubt in anyone’s mind that without a further decision of the Council, and absent extraordinary circumstances (of which at present there is no sign), the United Kingdom cannot lawfully use force against Iraq to ensure compliance with its SCR WMD obligations. To use force without Security Council authority would amount to the crime of aggression.”
  1. Lord Goldsmith recognised that there was a possibility of a legal challenge

Underlying statements and facts relied on by the Iraq Inquiry Committee

15 January 2010 Statement by Foreign & Commonwealth Office legal advisor Sir Michael Wood to the Iraq Inquiry Committee

I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law. In my opinion, that use of force had not been authorized by the Security Council, and had no other legal basis in international law.

18 January 2010 Statement by Foreign & Commonwealth Office legal advisor Elizabeth Wilmshurst to the Iraq Inquiry Committee

I regarded the invasion of Iraq as illegal, and I therefore did not feel able to continue in my post. I would have been required to support and maintain the Government’s position in international fora. The rules of international law on the use of force by States are at the heart of international law. Collective security, as opposed to unilateral military action, is a central purpose of the Charter of the United Nations. Acting contrary to the Charter, as I perceived the Government to be doing, would have the consequence of damaging the United Kingdom’s reputation as a State committed to the rule of law in international relations and to the United Nations.

12 July 2010 Statement by Carne Ross, First Secretary of the U.K. Permanent Mission to the U.N. to the Iraq Inquiry Committee

This process of exaggeration was gradual, and proceeded by accretion and editing from document to document, in a way that allowed those participating to convince themselves that they were not engaged in blatant dishonesty. But this process led to highly misleading statements about the UK assessment of the Iraqi threat that were, in their totality, lies.

October 11, 2001 message from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to George W. Bush

I have no doubt we need to deal with Saddam. But if we hit Iraq now, we would lose the Arab world, Russia, probably half of the EU …

However, I am sure we can devise a strategy for Saddam deliverable at a later date. My suggestion is, in order to give ourselves space that we say: phase 1 is the military action focused on Afghanistan because it’s there that perpetrators of 11 September hide. Phase 2 is the medium and longer term campaign against terrorism in all its forms. …

(Mr. Blair was apparently discussing with Defendant-Appellee Bush regime change in Iraq just one month after the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. Mr. Blair’s suggestion for “phase 1” of the U.S.-U.K. strategy on the war on terrorism to first direct military action toward “Afghanistan because it’s there that perpetrators of 11 September hide,” further supports allegations that U.S. officials used an unrelated terrorist attack to execute a pre-existing plan of regime change in Iraq.  Mr. Blair then went on to discuss a “phase 2” that would include invading Iraq).

December 4, 2001 message from  former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to George W. Bush

Iraq is a threat because it has WMD capability … But any link to 11 September and AQ [Al Qaeda] is at best very tenuous; and at present international opinion would be reluctant, outside the US/UK, to support immediate military action … So we need a strategy for regime change that builds over time. …

(This note supports allegations that U.S. government leaders were aware that Iraq had no link to the 9/11 attacks or Al Qaeda and support allegations that U.S. government leaders made false statements to the public about the threat Iraq posed, or its connection to Al Qaeda, in order to support a war and satisfy personally-held objectives of regime change that had no legitimate policy underpinning)

July 28, 2002 message from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to George W. Bush:

I will be with you, whatever …

The Evidence. Again, I have been told the US thinks this unnecessary. But we still need to make the case. If we recapitulate all the WMD evidence; add his attempts to secure nuclear capability; and, as seems possible, add on Al Qaida link, it will be hugely persuasive over here.

(This note confirms that U.S. government official’s intent to invade Iraq was well-formed by July 2002. Mr. Blair’s July 2002 note to George W. Bush observed that U.S. officials thought evidence supporting regime change was “unnecessary” and that an “Al Qaida link” could be simply be tacked onto government messaging in order to sell the war).

Statements by legal experts who have concluded that the Iraq War was illegal

10 September 2010 Submission by Philippe Sands QC to the Iraq Inquiry Committee

Distinguished members of the legal community in the United Kingdom have also concluded without ambiguity that the war was unlawful.

9 September 2010 Statement by Professor Nicholas Grief to the Iraq Inquiry Committee (emphasis added).

A second Security Council resolution specifically and unambiguously authorising military action was required. The vague warning of ‘serious consequences’ in resolution 1441 did not suffice, and to interpret resolution 678 as granting the necessary authority was not ‘good faith’ interpretation as required by international law. Without such a resolution, the invasion of Iraq constituted an act of aggression, contrary to Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

What happens next?

The Department of Justice has indicated that it will oppose the filing of these portions from the Chilcot Report with the Ninth Circuit. We will circulate the DOJ opposition once it has been filed.

The First Iraq War was also sold to the public based on a pack of lies

From Moyers and Co.

Continue reading

Michael Parenti: What the US did to Iraq prior to 9-11 and why the US did it

Defying the Sanctions: A Flight to Iraq
January 2001
[written 8 months before 9-11]

Upon disembarking from the Olympic Airways plane that brought me to Iraq in November 2000, I could see some of the effects of the Western-imposed sanctions. What was once a busy international airport is now a desolate strip. Two lonely planes sit as if abandoned on the vast tarmac. There are no airport personnel to speak of, no baggage carts or utility vehicles, not even any visible security. On a wall inside the empty terminal is a handmade sign in Arabic and imperfect English; it reads: “Down USA.” A large portrait of Saddam Hussein gazes down upon us. His image can be found along the road to the city, in the hotel, and on various public buildings.

 I am part of an international delegation of Greeks, Britons, Canadians, and Americans. Included are journalists, peace advocates, and members of the Greek parliament. Margarita Papandreou, former first lady of Greece and devoted political activist, leads the group. It is an especially moving moment for her. It has been her dream for ten years to be able to fly directly to Baghdad. And ours is the first flight to Iraq by a state-owned commercial airline from the West in defiance of US/UN sanctions. The Iraqi officials who greet us do not try to hide how pleased they are about our arrival. “Your presence is a statement against the inhuman means used against us. Iraq is a prosperous country capable of fulfilling the basic needs of the people but we are being prevented from doing so by the UN sanctions,” one of them says. “Feel free to go anywhere and speak to anyone.”

Killing Iraq

Most Americans do not know that Saddam Hussein was put into power by a CIA-engineered coup to stop the Iraqi revolution—which he did by massacring the communists and the left-wing of his own Baath party. But in time Saddam proved to be a disappointment to his mentors in Washington. Instead of becoming the comprador ruler who opened his country to free-market capital penetration on terms that were thoroughly favorable to Western investors, he devoted a substantial portion of Iraq’s export earnings to human services and economic development. In 1972, Iraq nationalized its oil industry, and was immediately denounced by US leaders as a “terrorist” nation.

Before the six weeks of air attacks known as the Gulf War (which ended in February 1991), Iraq’s standard of living was the highest in the Middle East. Iraqis enjoyed free medical care and free education. Literacy had reached about 80 percent. Most Iraqi youth were educated up through secondary school. University students of both genders received scholarships to study at home and abroad. In the eyes of Western leaders, Saddam was that penultimate evil, an economic nationalist, little better than a communist. He would have to be taught a lesson. His country needed to be bombed back into the Third World from which it was emerging.

The high explosive tonnage delivered upon Iraq during the Gulf War was more than twice the combined Allied air offensive of World War II. Within the first few days of bombing, there was no running water in the country. More than 90 percent of Iraq’s electrical capacity was destroyed. Its telecommunication systems, including television and radio stations, were demolished, as were its flood control, irrigation, sewage treatment, water purification, and hydroelectic systems. Farm herds and poultry farms suffered heavy losses. US planes burned wheat and grain fields with incendiary bombs, and hit hundreds of schools, hospitals, rail stations, bus stations, air-raid shelters, mosques, and historic sites. Factories that produced textiles, cement, chlorine, petrochemicals, and phosphate were hit repeatedly. So were the refineries, pipelines, and storage tanks of Iraq’s oil industry. Iraqi civilians and soldiers fleeing Kuwait were slaughtered by the thousands on what became known as the “Highway of Death.” Also massacred were Iraqi soldiers who tried to surrender to US forces on a number of occasions. In all, some 200,000 Iraqis were killed in those six weeks. Nearly all US planes, Ramsey Clark notes, “employed laser-guided depleted-uranium missiles, leaving 900 tons of radioactive waste spread over much of Iraq with no concern for the consequences to future life.”

Our delegation got a grim glimpse of the war’s aftermath. We visited the Al-Amerya bomb shelter where over four hundred civilians, mostly women and children were incinerated by two US missiles. Blackened ossified body parts, including a child’s hand can still be seen melded into the ceiling. Along one wall is the irradiated shadow of a woman holding a baby in her arms, a ghoulish fresco created by the heat blast of the missiles. The shadow of another figure can be seen on the cement floor. The shelter has been made into a shrine, with candles, plastic flowers, and pictures of the victims. The guide notes that US reconnaissance saw civilians using the shelter on a nightly basis during the early days of the bombing, yet it was still chosen as a target.

In the ten years of “peace” since February 1991, an additional 400 tons of explosives have been dropped on Iraq, three hundred people have been killed and many hundreds wounded. The United States and United Kingdom, with the participation of France, imposed a no-fly zone over the northern region of the country, ostensibly to protect the Kurds. This newly found humanitarian concern did not extend to the Kurds residing on the Turkish side of the border. The next year, another no-fly zone was imposed in the south, reputedly to protect Shiite settlements, effectively dividing the country into three parts. By 1998, the French had withdrawn from both zones, but US and British air attacks on military and civilian targets have continued almost on a daily basis, including strafing raids against Iraqi agricultural developments. Baghdad’s repeated protests to the United Nations have gone unheeded. Since 1998, three members of the Security Council—Russia, China, and France; and various nonpermanent members have condemned the raids as illegal and unauthorized by the Security Council.

To drive the point home to us, on the second day of our visit, US warplanes fired four missiles at the village of Hmaidi in the southern province of Basra, one of which struck the Ali Al-Hayaini school, wounding four children and three teachers. Several homes were also hit.

Picking Up the Pieces

Despite the years of bombings and the even greater toll on human life taken by the sanctions, visitors to Baghdad do not see a city in ruins. Much of the wreckage has been cleared away, much has been repaired. In our hotel there is running water throughout the day, hot water in the morning. Various streets in Baghdad are lined with little stores, surprisingly well-stocked with household appliances, hardware goods, furniture, and clothes (much of which has a second-hand look).

We see no derelicts or homeless people on the streets of Baghdad, no prostitutes or ragged bands of abandoned children, though there are occasional youngsters eager to shine shoes or solicit spare change. But even they seem to be well-fed and decently clothed. Obviously, despite all the destruction wrought by the sanctions, Iraq still has not undergone sufficient free-market “structural adjustment.”

A British member of our delegation who has made more than a dozen trips to Iraq over the past decade sees some changes for the better. A few years ago, the cars all looked like “death traps”; tires were patched beyond recognition, windows were cracked, and doors were falling off the hinges, she tells me. Now the Iraqis seem to have procured vehicles that are in better repair. In addition, large swaths of the city used to be shrouded in complete darkness; now there are lights just about everywhere, though mostly on the dim side. There are more shops with more goods, “although 70 percent of the people can’t buy anything.” Still, “people used to feel hopelessly isolated and now there seems to be more hope and better morale,”[and the worst was to come in two years — Shock and Awe] she concludes.

The Silent Cries of Children

 Not everyone shows better morale. It is said that the most depressed officials in Iraq can be found in the Ministry of Health, not surprisingly given the tragedies they confront. Aside from the 200,000 Iraqis slaughtered during the Gulf War, an additional 1.5 million civilians have died since 1991 as a result of the sanctions, according to UNICEF reports and the Red Cross, many from what normally would be treatable and curable illnesses. Of these victims, 600,000 are children under 5 years of age. Maternal mortality rates have more than doubled, and 70 percent of Iraqi women suffer from anemia. Given the tons of depleted uranium used during the Allied attacks, cancer rates have skyrocketed: the childhood leukemia rate is now the highest in the world. Most of the leukemia increase is in southern Iraq where the bombing was heaviest.

We visit a children’s hospital in Baghdad. The familiar sight of skeletal-looking infants, racked with diseases that make it impossible for them to retain or digest nutrients are no longer evident. Such dying children still can be found in parts of Iraq but not at this hospital. Instead we encounter something equally ominous: children suffering from acute forms of multiple malignancies. Shrouded mothers stand by the beds like mournful sentinels, their eyes filled with unspoken grief. The journalists, photographers, and TV crews in our delegation descend upon these sad people, clicking and flashing away with that intrusive irreverence that is the press’s modus operandi. A mother weeps quietly against the wall. One of the doomed children smiles up at us—which almost causes me to start weeping.

Things are getting worse, a doctor tells us; more and more children are turning up with leukemia. The medical staff is overwhelmed. One doctor says he sees three hundred patients in three hours: “We cannot treat them properly.” Some of the hospital rooms are lined with incubators that contain what look like premature births. These turn out to be infants who are the products of depleted uranium, born with serious deformities and malfunctions, urgently in need of surgical intervention. The hospital lacks the special instruments needed to operate on infants, not to mention ordinary medications, anesthetics, antibiotics, bandages, intravenous sets, and diagnostic equipment. Iraq’s excellent national health care system, with its universal coverage, is now in shambles because of the embargo.

Things were supposed to get better when the sanctions were eased in 1996, allowing Iraq to make “oil for food” sales. Since then, $32 billion in oil was sold abroad but only $8 billion worth of materials has reached Iraq, less than $5 or $6 a month per person. Another $10 billion has been allocated for “war compensation,” in effect forcing the Iraqis to pay the costs incurred by the UN aggressors when destroying Iraq. Another $11 billion in cash sits in Western banks. Worse still, many essential things needed to rebuild the infrastructure—including the technological, medical, educational, communicational, and industrial systems of the nation—are still not available. Under the deleterious “dual use” doctrine, many vital commodities and materials needed for humanitarian and civilian purposes are banned because they conceivably could also be used by the military: computers, components for electrical transmitters and water pumps, even glycerin tablets needed for heart ailments. (It would take millions of glycerin tablets mixed with nitrogen to make one small explosive.)

The Foreign Minister Speaks

 Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tariq Aziz, a calm congenial man, meets with our delegation. [Tariq Aziz died June 5, 2015, in prison, convicted on trumped up charges. His abusive treatment in prison included being denied visitation, adequate food, and access to medication. His imprisonment and death at the hands of the U.S. and “interim” Iraq vassal government are chronicled here] In clear and precise English, he makes the following points: Before 1990, the United Nations had placed sanctions upon only a few nations, such as Rhodesia and South Africa, on a voluntary basis. “It was left to the countries themselves and the world to implement those sanctions or not implement them.” Hence the effects were mild. But since 1990,US leaders with their so-called New World Order have imposed the severest embargo, “encircling Iraq with warships and airplanes that prevent even ordinary trips and ordinary cargoes.” As with the sanctions against Yugoslavia, the minister notes, this policy has created a lot of suffering. “Therefore, when we say that this embargo is an international issue, it’s not just anti-American propaganda. It’s the truth. And it is quit horrid.” The collapse of the Soviet Union has created a different international scene, he adds. With the end of the Cold War, “a new hot war and warm war” has been imposed on many nations, with Iraq as a prime target.

 In spite of all the reports made by United Nations agencies themselves “informing the Security Council about the sufferings of the Iraqi people, and the deaths of so many children, and the deterioration of the Iraqi economy,” Aziz reminds us, there is no likelihood of any change in UN policy on sanctions because of the Security Council veto wielded by the United States and Britain. Still the people of Iraq have not been merely passive victims. They have “refused to yield to American pressure and American blackmail.” In addition, there is “the will of other peoples, the free women and men in this world” who refuse to support injustice and imperialism. After ten years, US propaganda “is wearing thin,” and “a lot of facts have become known to the peoples of the world” bringing a dramatic increase in support for Iraq—as measured by the growing number of air flights from various nations in defiance of the sanctions. Not only Iraq but its trading partners have sustained substantial commercial losses because of the ten-year embargo. In 2000, more than 1,500 international companies from forty-five countries participated in the Iraqi trade fair. So, for both moral and legitimate commercial reasons, “the embargo is beginning to crack.”

Ten years ago, concludes Aziz, we were told: history is over; from now on we will live according to the diktat of US leaders in a Pax Americana. And those who do not accept this are “rogue nations.” But US leaders are beginning to realize “that this new imperialism is not working. . . . Despite all its power, the United States is not God. It’s not the Almighty. It’s an imperialist force.” And “when a nation succeeds in refusing the dictate of imperialists, [and] succeeds in preserving its sovereignty, and its independence and dignity, that is an achievement.” Aziz’s closing plea was that we not rely on “the manipulated media” of the United States, Britain and Canada. “One of the basic human rights is that you have the right to make your own judgment, not to buy judgments made by others that might not be honest and true. So I hope that you will use this short visit to know what is going on in this country and what the realities are.”

The “Realities”

On the closing day of our trip, members of our delegation lay plans to carry on the battle against sanctions. These include: lobbying the UN Compensation Committee, which refuses to release the $11 billion in Iraqi oil-for-food earnings; joining with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and other NGOs to lobby the UN Security Council; lobbying the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the parliament of the European Union; lobbying elected representatives and religious leaders in various countries; and sending messages through the Internet.

The sanctions wall is not about to crumble but it is showing cracks. In 1998 Scott Ritter, chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq since 1991, resigned and accused the US government of undercutting UN weapons inspectors. Meanwhile US leaders and the press continued to portray Iraq as bent on nuclear aggression, despite the fact that Baghdad cooperated fully with UN inspectors who scoured the country in a vain search for weapons of mass destruction or the capacity to build them.

Also in 1998, Denis Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, resigned in protest of what the sanctions were doing to that country. In early 2000, Hans von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and Jutta Burghart, head of UN World Food Program in Baghdad, resigned in protest of the sanctions.

Still, the State Department and the US media continue to blame Saddam, not the sanctions, for the misery endured by the Iraqi people. The claim that sanctions hurt ordinary Iraqis “is outweighed by the sad truth that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep portions of his population in poverty,” intones a Washington Post editorial reprinted in the International Herald Tribune (November 14, 2000). The Iraqi leader, the Post assures us, is a “warmongering dictator” who needs to be contained by a still more severe application of sanctions. Upon being selected as the new US Secretary of State in December 2000, General Colin Powell echoed this position, announcing that he would strive to “reenergize” the sanctions against Iraq.

 The Iraqi leadership could turn US policy completely around by uttering just two magic words: “free market.” All they would have to do is invite the IMF and World Bank into Iraq, eliminate free education and free medical care, abolish the minimal food ration that goes to every Iraqi, abolish the housing subsidies and transportation subsidies, and hand over the country’s oil industry to the corporate cartels. To lift the sanctions, Iraq must surrender to the tender mercies of the free-market paradise as Yugoslavia has recently done under the newly minted, Western-sponsored president, Kostunica, and as so many other nations have done. Until then, Iraq will continue to be designated a “rogue nation” by those policymakers in Washington who themselves are the meanest profit-driven, power-mongering rogues on earth.

*     *     * Michael Parenti’s most recent books are To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia (Verso) and History as Mystery (City Lights).


http://www.michaelparenti.org/DefyingSanctions.html

Iraq War was based on lies: top Bush-era CIA official

Global Research, May 27, 2015
The Anti-Media
by Claire Bernish

Twelve years after George W Bush initiated the illegal invasion of Iraq, ostensibly under the premise of preemptive self-defense, a stark majority — as many as 75% in 2014 — feel the so-called war was a mistake. As evidence rapidly accumulates that Bush’s yearning to launch an aggressive attack was likelier due to a personal grudge than anything else, that number will surely swell. This past Tuesday, the former president’s intelligence briefer lent yet more plausibility to that theory in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, making an admission that the Bush White House misrepresented intelligence reports to the public on key issues.

Michael Morell’s stint with the CIA included deputy and acting director, but during the time preceding the US invasion of Iraq, he helped prepare daily intelligence briefings for Bush. One of those briefings, from October 2002, is an infamous example in intelligence history as how not to compile a report. This National Intelligence Estimate, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction”, was the ostensibly flawed intelligence cited continuously by Bush supporters as justification to pursue a war of aggression against Iraq. However, this claim is dubious at best, and serves more as a smokescreen to lend credence to a president who was otherwise hellbent on revenge against Saddam Hussein, as evidenced in his statement a month before the report, “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”

In the Hardball interview, host Chris Matthews asked Morell about Cheney’s notorious statement in 2003:

“We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” 

The following is the conversation that ensued:

MATTHEWS: Was that true?

MORELL: We were saying—

MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?

MORELL: That’s not true.

MATTHEWS: Well, why’d you let them get away with it?

MORELL: Look, my job Chris—

MATTHEWS: You’re the briefer for the president on intelligence, you’re the top person to go in and tell him what’s going on. You see Cheney make this charge he’s got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, “No that’s not what we told him.”

MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what’s my job, right? My job—

MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.

MORELL: My job—no, as the briefer? As the briefer?

MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.

MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA’s best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they’re saying on TV.

Discussion continued:

MATTHEWS: So you’re briefing the president on the reasons for war, they’re selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn’t. So they’re using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted.

MORELL: Look, I’m just telling you—

MATTHEWS: You just admitted it.

MORELL: I’m just telling you what we said—

MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.

MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.

And the host pushed just a little further:

MATTHEWS: That’s a big deal! Do you agree? If they claimed they had a [nuclear] weapon, when you know they didn’t.

MORELL: It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.

He’s absolutely right, of course, and even further to that point, Morell made another admission of a direct misrepresentation: “What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community” had found. “I think they were trying to make a stronger case for the war.” Which the administration had to do, considering no such case existed. As a matter of fact, Cheney’s statement directly conflicts with what the NIE actually stated, which is that the intelligence community only found a “[lack of] persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.” Which is in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency report that came to the same conclusion: “[W]e have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons program.”

All of this solidifies what former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan resolutely stated about the US invasion of Iraq in 2004: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.”

The question most deserving an answer, and increasingly posed by the populace at large: If George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and others in the administration, deliberately misled the public on false pretenses, directly contradicted intelligence information through misrepresentation, and ultimately initiated a wholly illegal invasion of Iraq that led to the deaths of well over 1 million civilian, non-combatants; WHY have they not been charged with war crimes?

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Copyright Claire Bernish, The Anti-Media 2015

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-iraq-war-was-based-on-lies-top-bush-era-cia-official/5451817