DECEPTION AND DEFIANCE FROM U.S. ADMINISTRATION, NOT SADDAM HUSSEIN
by Malcolm Lagauche
On Sunday, May 16, 2004, Colin Powell, in an interview for NBC’s "Meet the Press," actually came clean about the deceit used to prime the U.S. public for a war against Iraq. He acknowledged that information fed to him and the CIA by Iraqi defectors about Iraqi mobile biological weapons facilities was untrue.
It turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading. And for that I am disappointed and I regret it.
Powell seemed to apologize to the American people and to the media. However, no apology from him or any U.S. official has ever been made to the Iraqis, whether to the former government or to the people, for lying that led to the destruction of the country and the deaths of more than a million.
The same defectors gave false information about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs and they assured the U.S. government that Iraqis would welcome U.S. troops as liberators and that the Iraqi military would surrender en masse. In other words, everything they said was untrue.
One defector, Saeed al Haideri, said he worked at illegal chemical, biological and nuclear weapons facilities in Iraq. His information was widely spread among the U.S. administration. However, what was not mentioned is the scrutiny he underwent with the CIA and the results. Shortly after giving his information, Saeed was given a lie detector test that he failed conclusively. He was rejected as unreliable by U.S. intelligence agencies. Earlier that year, he was taken to Iraq to show U.S. officials the location of the illegal facilities. He could only show them factories that were known to be associated with the conventional Iraqi military. He did not identify any site with illegal weapons. In other words, he was a fraud.
Nine months after the CIA discredited Saeed’s input, the White House came out with a report called "A Decade of Deception and Defiance … Saddam Hussein’s Defiance of the United Nations." Unbelievably, the document used Saeed’s testimony as proof for its case about going to war against Iraq.
Even the New York Times was suckered in. In a front page article of December 20, 2001, the daily paper used information that was based on an interview with Saeed in Bankok, Thailand. It stated:
Mr. Saeed’s account gives new clues about the types and possible locations of illegal laboratories, facilities and storage sites that American officials and international inspectors have long suspected Iraq of trying to hide.
The article was re-printed or cited by various news media worldwide. Again, we have the age-old tale of a falsehood being read by everybody, while the retraction, if published at all, appears buried in the newspaper in 8-point type some time later.
The report itself is preposterous. Anyone reading it today will construe it as false propaganda. Even when it was published, there should have been enough signs to point to devious intentions that any good journalist could identify.
It would take an entire book to show the deception in this 21-page document, so I will only refer to a few items. Under the subtitle "Biological Weapons," the report stated:
In 2001, an Iraqi defector, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, said he had visited twenty secret facilities for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Mr. Saeed, a civil engineer, supported his claims with stacks of Iraqi government contracts, complete with technical specifications.
We know today that this was a lie, but not one person contacted the Iraqi government to ask about Mr. Saeed. It is incredible to think that the U.S. government took the word of someone who just showed up with information without checking the background of the person. He told the administration what it wanted to hear.
Here’s another gem:
The al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine facility is one of the two known biocontainment level-three facilities in Iraq that have an extensive air handling and filtering system. In 2001, Iraq announced that it would begin renovating the plant without UN approval, ostensibly to produce vaccines that it could more easily and more quickly import through the U.N.
Sounds like a legitimate gripe, but if one knows the background, it appears to be a legitimate action on the part of the Iraqis.
For decades, there was no foot-and-mouth disease in Iraq because the country produced an excellent vaccine that it used with its own cattle as well as supplied for export to many nations.
In 1993, because of the U.N. resolutions, the Iraqis had to cease making the vaccine.
Within a few years, hoof-and-mouth disease became rampant in Iraq, destroying most of its cattle and denying the people a food source. Iraq, through the U.N., tried to import vaccine. Eventually, Iraq was able to order 100,000 liters of the vaccine, from a plant in Sudan. Guess what? Just before the order was ready for shipment, the facility was blown up by U.S. cruise missiles. Clinton ordered the plant’s destruction on the allegation that it was making chemical weapons. The incident was widely reported, but the actual reason for the destruction received scant publicity. Since the incident, the U.S. government has quietly compensated the factory owner. The real target was the vaccine, not chemical weapons.
In a further attempt to halt the spread of hoof-and-mouth disease, Iraq attempted to import live bulls to further the reproduction of cattle. Hoof-and-mouth disease is particularly deadly with male cattle.
On November 29, 1999, the U.S. stopped the order (contract No. 600787) for 15 live bulls from France. The reason given was that the bulls fell under the "dual-use" category of imports — items that could be used for either civilian or illegal military use by Iraq. It takes a vivid imagination to consider how live bulls could be used as a weapon of mass destruction.
Few people know or care to know of the entire scenario behind statements made by the U.S. administration. In this instance, it appeared that Iraq, by renovating the vaccine facility, was trying to bring its defunct biological weapons program back. However, the facts surrounding that statement show that the U.S. was attempting to continue to starve the Iraqi people, both from without and within.
Here’s another statement from the White House report that we all know today to be farcical, if the results of the war were not so devastating:
Saddam Hussein continues its attempts to procure mobile biological weapons laboratories that could be used for further research and development.
Notice that when talking about Saddam, the report used the word "its" instead of "his." Quotes from U.S. soldiers have shown that some use the word "it" or "its" instead of "him" or "his" in discussing the abuse of Iraqi POWs at the hands of Americans at Iraqi prisons. The de-humanizing of Iraqis continues.
Under the subtitle "Nuclear Weapons" comes this brilliant statement:
Saddam Hussein could build a nuclear bomb within months if he were able to obtain fissile material.
Any country on Earth could do the same. The wording made no reference to intent or desire; it said "could."
This report is laden with outright lies and many ambiguous statements. References given to the information are mostly from U.S. government sources, not independent agencies. And the words "supposedly," "allegedly" and "reported" are used liberally without documentation.
There is one underlying fact that makes this report even morevile: it is published in its entirety for anyone to read. Not one change has been made concerning the lies of Mr. Saeed and the truth that has emerged since its September 2002 publishing. Today, anyone can go to the White House website and read it or download it in a PDF file. The address is: www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/iraqdecade.pdf
This obscene pack of lies is still being used by the U.S. administration to justify its destruction of Iraq. The re-writing of Iraq’s history by Washington, D.C. is comprehensive and abhorrent.