Popular culture as a Weapon of Mass Distortion/Weapon of Mass Destruction

Global Research, May 06, 2017
Fort Russ 4 May 2017

Attempting to further spread its tentacles, the global multinationalist octopus often has to resort to baiting the masses in order to attract them, so that it can gain confidence in an approval of its actions. Globalisation is a complex and difficult process and demands a lot of effort while normalizing its deeds.

As such, measures that would instantly appeal to the masses are needed. Hollywood, video games, bestsellers, popular music, cultural and even religious trends are just some of the many ways how the ruling world order is trying to penetrate people’s lives and keep them under control, making sure they will not “slip” to the other side.

When making millions by selling the things that please and appeal to the masses, the establishment of course does not forget to exploit every single opportunity to push its agenda and convince the people of what is “right”, while also carefully spinning its propaganda driving wheel. Although the term “propaganda” is often associated with the so-called “undemocratic totalitarian systems”, which often accused of attempting to take complete mind control of the people that are said to be serving them, the extent of propaganda in the so-called “civilized and free democratic world”, has actually reached an exponent, much higher than in any other system.

Image result for rambo movie

Indeed, if we only take a look at Hollywood’s movie industry, known for having very close ties to the military-industrial complex, we can see what instrumental role did it have in shaping social- histo-geopolitical viewpoints and orientation of masses of people ever since the time of the Great War. Those unfamiliar with history and geopolitics might not notice anything in particular, however the people familiar with these things and the way the world is functioning, will eventually recognize several references to the historical and geopolitical reality, made in these movies and television series.

The biggest danger here lies within complete manipulation and brainwashing of the people who, over a certain period, become accustomed to the things they are seeing and are being surrounded with, and start taking them as normal. For instance, in the movie Rambo a US super-soldier is literally crushing waves of evil, greedy and savage Vietnamese Communists who are the biggest threat to the world peace.

While this, of course, is all the work of fiction, this “fiction” eventually started to become reality for millions of average people, especially after many similar movies were also made. In addition, this all got paired with the fact that daily news reports and documentaries were not that much different when peddling the globalist narrative, hence the high level of manipulation, distortion and general lack of knowledge among the average people, shall not come as a surprise.

Crushed by the defeat in Vietnam and ashamed of the atrocities, the US establishment wanted to launch a mass campaign that would brainwash the people to a degree that it was in fact the US side which was the brave, winning and righteous one, but eventually made a tactical retreat so that the “evil Vietnamese” would no longer be able to shed the blood of the innocent people. A similar concept was also introduced towards other “negatives” around the time of the cold war, namely the Soviets, the Chinese, the Germans, North Koreans and Arab socialist states.

What is also interesting about Hollywood propaganda is that it often degrades the “negative opponent” down to the bottom. Not only are the people on the “wrong” side portrayed as the worst kind of evil, they also happen to be ugly, dirty, stupid, clumsy, lazy, irrational, ignorant, heavily miscalculative, naive, weak and badly mannered. All that at once. Given their extremely unusual and unrealistic characteristics of the weakest kind, one is absolutely amazed upon seeing how much effort does the opposite side in fact need to make in order to bring them down.

This alone shows how quickly people are actually buying into these lies, manipulations and distortions, without having to use their brain at least once. Although everyone understands that this is all just the work of fiction, all intelligent beings would nonetheless issue a protest in their mind when coming in contact with such utter nonsense.

Image result for macgyverSome of the propaganda material is even so poorly prepared that it contains basic historic and geographical errors, made by the people in charge of the script and scenario. For example, in one of the episodes of MacGyver, a US television series that aired during the 1990s, the protagonist (a well-built, intelligent and good looking American male, working for one of the government agencies) is after the “bloodthirsty” Serbs who are terrorizing the innocent people of Chechnya. Yes, Chechnya and nothing else.

Although the TV series might not deal with the strict geopolitical reality, this nonetheless is highly ridiculous, given that it was made in the early 1990s when anti-Serbian campaign in the Western media was at its peak, meaning the creators of the series would be able to throw in anything that came in their way, only to lash out against the Serbs, even if for a price of a grave geographic and political error.

A similar situation to that in Hollywood also exists in the world of video games that has since become the milking cow for the multinational corporation and a loud beating drum for the governments and their oversea escapades. Video games are attractive, especially for the young people because they are interactive and often bring technological innovations that fascinate the youths.

Perhaps the most notorious video game as regards lies, manipulations and distortions would be Soldier of Fortune, released in 2000. In this game player assumes the role of John Mullins, a bearded middle-aged American Hercules, who, in a fashion similar to that of John Rambo, is eradicating the waves of Neonazi skinheads, Serbs, Iraqis and Russians by merely touching the trigger. Yes, all of them are evil and very much connected to one another. Not only was the game notorious for its exceptional amount of graphic violence and gore, the game even allow the player to kill as many Iraqi civilians as possible.

Although the game indeed tolerates the deaths of up to 3 civilians, killed by player in a “friendly fire”, this is not the case with Iraqi civilians that can be killed in hundreds, with no negative effect on the player. On top of that, whenever the player approaches Iraqi civilians, the crosshair never turns green as is the case with all other civilians, but rather remains red, just like when player is involved fighting armed and violent opponents. This is a rather disturbing thing and highly unlikely a technical bug. By implementing this, the developer basically wanted to tell the player that the Iraqi people are a such “utter scum” that they can be mercilessly killed as all terrorists in the game.

Every day the people watch news reports on TV, in addition to being surrounded with them while surfing the web. However, the range of influence in shaping the picture of events and occurrences of the popular culture is much greater than that of the daily news, since not all people are interested in following politics or local events. Many simply don’t care, while at the same time, hardly anyone of the average people is not caring movies, video games and TV series.

On top of that, the age range of consumers of the popular culture is a lot wider since children and teenagers, who are some of the largest consumers of the popular culture, are usually not interested in following daily news. Given their age and level of experience, the adolescents are particularly vulnerable to succumb to the lies, manipulations and distortions, carefully wrapped up in their favourite comic books, movies and video games.

Indeed, movie and video game stories of superheroes, fighting in the ranks of the US Army who fight against evil forces, coming from the desert on the other side of the world and literally crush everything evil that comes their way, have actually inspired lots of older teenagers to start actively thinking of joining the US Army and going to Iraq.

For many, the Iraqi experience turned out to be a complete disaster as instead of a much loved, congratulated and loaded superheroes with a bunch of attractive women by their side, they came back in complete psychological ruins, thanks to the shock that started to devastate them the very first moment when they engaged in violent confrontations with their opponent. Their 18 years of dreaming the American dream was followed by a crude reality.

On the other hand, their peers, growing up in the so-called non-free totalitarian world never had that kind of a problem. At least not if we are to compare the fate of the youths who survived the siege of Stalingrad to those who went on a little adventure in Iraq.

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.

Declassified memo proves the Pentagon had ZERO evidence of WMDs in Iraq

From Activist Post
By Justin Gardner
January 26, 2016

Thirteen years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it is common knowledge that this war of choice was based on fabrications and slick propaganda. There were no weapons of mass destruction, the country posed no real threat to the U.S., and it was not a hotbed of terrorism until after Saddam was deposed.

Now, a bombshell has dropped in the form of a leaked classified report—a “smoking gun” if you will—that confirms the utter deception carried out on the American people to support the invasion. It demonstrates just how far the cabal under George W. Bush, making up a group known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), would go to prey upon fear in pursuit of global hegemony.

While Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others were proclaiming their certainty about the imminent threats posed to the U.S. by Saddam’s Iraq, the leaked documents reveal that they knew almost nothing about any actual weapons or capabilities.

On August 16, 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen Shaffer, head of the Joint Staff’s intelligence directorate, for a report on “what we don’t know (in a percentage) about the Iraqi WMD program.”

The findings, titled Iraq: Status of WMD Programs, were underscored by this statement:

Our assessments rely heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence. The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi nuclear programs.

Regarding the actual programs, it says:

We’ve struggled to estimate the unknowns. … We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program…

Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence.

When forwarding the report, Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen Shaffer answered Rumsfeld’s original question by noting, “We don’t know with any precision how much we don’t know.

Rumsfeld apparently believed the report had some significance when he sent it to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying, “Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD. It is big.

Considering that this was a summary of all that the U.S. intelligence apparatus knew about Iraq’s WMD capabilities (or lack thereof), how could any responsible leader try and sell the invasion to the American people?

Yet that is what happened, perhaps no more fervently than Vice President Dick Cheney. There are countless examples of Cheney stating in no uncertain terms the nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile threats that Saddam’s Iraq posed to the U.S.

Cheney asserted that Iraq was secretly reconstituting its biological and chemical weapons programs, but the report stated:

We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi facilities that produce, test, fill, or store biological weapons.

We do not know if all the processes required to produce a weapon are in place. [The Iraqis] lack the precursors for sustained nerve agent production…we cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi sites that produce final chemical agent.

While Cheney and the gang issued repeated fear-mongering about “mushroom clouds,” the report stated:

We do not know the status of enrichment capabilities. We do not know with confidence the location of any nuclear-weapon-related facilities.

Days before Bush claimed that Iraq was developing ballistic missiles that could hit Israel with WMD, the report had found:

We doubt all processes are in place to produce longer range missiles.

The secret report was kept from the view of key players in the propaganda campaign, including Colin Powell who was made to look the fool [Ed: other evidence has shown that Colin Powell knowingly lied]. Just before the invasion, Powell said before the U.N. General Assembly:

My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

With this lack of factual evidence for their yearning to invade Iraq—a goal of PNAC since 1998—the war-mongering officials with deep ties to the defense industry proceeded to fabricate their own tales to justify the propaganda campaign.

They turned to a parallel intelligence apparatus that they created, which relied on a network of Iraqi defectors and exiles, most notably the late Ahmed Chalabi who admitted he provided wrong information.

Back home, Cheney and Rumsfeld had set up something called the Office of Special Plans, run by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. This Pentagon office sent raw intelligence from Chalabi and other nefarious sources directly to the president, unvetted by intelligence analysts and uncorroborated.

If there was ever a smoking gun, this is it. If there was ever enough reason to bring charges of war crimes and other abuses of power against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, this report provides it.

Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Copyright Justin Gardner 2016

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/01/declassified-memo-proves-the-pentagon-had-zero-evidence-of-wmds-in-iraq.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?

This article (Top Bush Era CIA Official Just Confirmed the Iraq War Was Based On Lies) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TheAntiMedia.org. Tune in! The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Help us fix our typos: edits@theantimedia.org .

Copyright Claire Bernish, The Anti-Media 2015

 

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

Ray McGovern: College of William & Mary honors a war criminal

By Ray McGovern
Posted on War is a Crime, May 18, 2015

Exclusive: Condoleezza Rice has crossed the threshold into esteemed celebrity – a welcomed speaker at this year’s College of William and Mary commencement – despite her record as the liar who sold the illegal war in Iraq and choreographed the torture techniques for use at CIA “black sites.”

By Ray McGovern

Nothing better illustrates the extent to which the United States has turned its back on the rule of law than when the likes of Condoleezza Rice are asked to address graduates and receive doctoral degrees honoris causa at university commencements. Ms. Rice – in my view a war criminal – was accorded those honors Saturday by the College of William and Mary, the second-oldest college in the U.S.

Unlike Rice’s other university appearances in recent years, there was not the slightest sign of unhappiness, let alone protest. Most of the graduating seniors were not yet ten years old in 2003 when Rice played a key role helping President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney launch a war of aggression against Iraq. So, the graduates’ ignorance may perhaps be understandable, but it does not speak well for their grasp of recent history.

It is far less excusable for the patrician leadership of William and Mary to have bestowed this honor on Rice. Did the news not penetrate their ivory tower that last year Ms. Rice was prevented from being accorded similar honors by irate students at Rutgers University, who were sickened at the thought that their commencement would be sullied by Rice’s presence?

One of the leaders of the “No Rice” campaign at Rutgers last year (a senior at the time), Carmelo Cintrón Vivas, told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! that the “students felt that war criminals shouldn’t be honored. … Someone who has such a tainted record as a public servant in this country should not … get an honorary law degree for trying to circumvent the law. … That’s not fair to any student graduating or not graduating at Rutgers University.”

He found “ludicrous” the familiar argument that Rice’s academic achievements outweigh her political positions: “If we look into a lot of international criminals and just bad people in history, a lot of them had great academic careers or great medical careers. … Your career is one thing, and the way you act as a person, as a human being, is another one. And that’s why we make this an issue about human rights.”

How to explain the contrast between the apathy prevailing at William and Mary and the awareness and activism at Rutgers? Perhaps one clue is the marked difference between the costs of attending. Tuition and fees are significantly higher at William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Another clue might be seen in the remarkable “tradition” of asking predominantly conservative Republican speakers to do the honors, and to get the honors, at commencement.

In contrast to the scene at William and Mary, this year’s commencement at Rutgers awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters to Frances Fox Piven, a highly respected scholar and advocate for poor working people. Piven’s recent books include The War at Home: The Domestic Costs of Bush’s Militarism. Piven also won the Shirley Chisholm Award for “leadership toward social and economic justice.”

Looking at the assembled graduates at William and Mary, I could not help but mourn the fact that they were being sent off into life by Rice instead of Piven. I would expect Piven to address the pressing challenges facing the “99 percent” – and the injustices behind the growing unrest in Baltimore, St. Louis and other troubled cities. Rice did not mention any of that on Saturday. It was all about her – a reflection, perhaps, of the fact that, although black in Birmingham, Alabama, she nonetheless grew up relatively privileged.

Worse Still: War Crimes

Rather than some profile in courage or a person of steadfast principles, Condoleezza Rice represents malleability in the face of criminality and evil. She is a profile in cowardice and expediency, the opposite sort of lesson in how to live one’s life than Piven or many other worthy commencement speakers would be expected to present.

When President George W. Bush told Ms. Rice to scarf up any and all “evidence,” no matter how sketchy or deceptive, to prove that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD), she led the fraudulent campaign to present the “intelligence” needed to deceive Congress into supporting a war that fits the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal’s definition of a “war of aggression as the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes only in that it contains the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Rice played her role as drum majorette for war with exceptional enthusiasm – conjuring up the danger of “mushroom clouds” from Iraq’s (nonexistent) nukes; “yellowcake” uranium from darkest Africa (based on crudely forged documents); and aluminum tubes (that turned out to be standard Iraqi artillery tubes) but she said were for refining uranium.

Rice led the parade, with Dick Cheney’s indispensable help, promoting the various manufactured “evidence” against Iraq. The fraudulent nature of those spurious claims was laid bare in a July, 23, 2002 British document, The Downing Street Memorandum, published by The London Times on May 1, 2005. Established as authentic, the memo exposed the unconscionable attempt to “fix” the intelligence to justify a U.S./U.K. attack for “regime change” in Iraq.

For the rest of the article:
http://warisacrime.org/content/tis-season-fete-war-criminals

Comments: McGovern states later in the article: 

“The William and Mary experience on Saturday is hardly the first time a university has succumbed to the “prestige virus” and given some powerful celebrity high honors at a commencement despite the person’s deplorable actions. There are, sad to say, numerous examples, including an earlier one involving Ms. Rice.

 …’Thus compromised,’ warned [Daniel] Berrigan, ‘the Christian tradition of nonviolence, as well as the secular boast of disinterested pursuit of truth — these are reduced to bombast, hauled out for formal occasions, believed by no one, practiced by no one.’”

It is not just Catholic colleges that have invited Rice. In 2011, she was invited to speak at Westmont College, a Protestant Christian college in California, at the annual President’s Breakfast and later to students.
http://blogs.westmont.edu/magazine/2011/04/26/an-extraordinary-ordinary-woman/
An Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman

Westmont followed this by hosting Robert Gates in 2012, Colin Powell in March 2013, and stunningly, Henry Kissinger in a special event on October 2013. The Kissinger event took place one month after the release of declassified documents detailing Kissinger’s role in the US-backed Pinochet coup in Chile, which overthrew Salvador Allende.
http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/resurgence/2013/276-277/world3.htm

Clearly, this brand of Christianity and these institutions have difficulty with the values of peace, justice, truth, love, wisdom, or that over-used word though under-used value, righteousness.

 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 30 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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