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The Iraq War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed
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paul wright

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://prisonplanet.com/articles/october2005/151005British_terrorism.h tm
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:57 am    Post subject: The Iraq War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed Reply with quote

This is a rather long article from Vanity Fair, but it's worth the read.


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The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed

The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to
buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world
soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the
cornerstone of a highly successful "black propaganda" campaign with links
to the White House

By Craig Unger

06/07/06 "Vanity Fair" -- -- It's a crisp, clear winter morning in Rome. In
the neighborhood between the Vatican and the Olympic Stadium, a phalanx of
motor scooters is parked outside a graffiti-scarred 10-story apartment
building. No. 10 Via Antonio Baiamonte is home to scores of middle-class
families, and to the embassy for the Republic of Niger, the impoverished
West African nation that was once a French colony.

Though it may be unprepossessing, the Niger Embassy is the site of one of
the great mysteries of our times. On January 2, 2001, an embassy official
returned there after New Year's Day and discovered that the offices had
been robbed. Little of value was missing—a wristwatch, perfume, worthless
documents, embassy stationery, and some official stamps bearing the seal of
the Republic of Niger. Nevertheless, the consequences of the robbery were
so great that the Watergate break-in pales by comparison.

A few months after the robbery, Western intelligence analysts began hearing
that Saddam Hussein had sought yellowcake—a concentrated form of uranium
which, if enriched, can be used in nuclear weapons—from Niger. Next came a
dossier purporting to document the attempted purchase of hundreds of tons
of uranium by Iraq. Information from the dossier and, later, the papers
themselves made their way from Italian intelligence to, at various times,
the C.I.A., other Western intelligence agencies, the U.S. Embassy in Rome,
the State Department, and the White House, as well as several media
outlets. Finally, in his January 2003 State of the Union address, George W.
Bush told the world, "The British government has learned that Saddam
Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Two months later, the United States invaded Iraq, starting a conflict that
has killed tens of thousands of people, cost hundreds of billions of
dollars, and has irrevocably de-stabilized the strategically vital Middle
East. Since then, the world has learned not just that Bush's 16-word casus
belli was apparently based on the Niger documents but also that the
documents were forged.

In Italy, a source with intimate knowledge of the Niger affair has warned
me that powerful people are watching. Phones may be tapped. Jobs are in
jeopardy, and people are scared.

On the sixth floor at Via Baiamonte, a receptionist finally comes to the
door of the nondescript embassy office. She is of medium height, has
dark-brown hair, wears a handsome blue suit, and appears to be in her 50s.
She declines to give her full name. A look of concern and fear crosses her
face. "Don't believe what you read in the papers," she cautions in French.
"Ce n'est pas la vérité." It is not the truth.

But who was behind the forgeries? Italian intelligence? American
operatives? The woman tilts her head toward one of the closed doors to
indicate that there are people there who can hear. She can't talk. "C'est
interdit," she says. It is forbidden.

"A Classic Psy-Ops Campaign"

For more than two years it has been widely reported that the U.S. invaded
Iraq because of intelligence failures. But in fact it is far more likely
that the Iraq war started because of an extraordinary intelligence
success—specifically, an astoundingly effective campaign of disinformation,
or black propaganda, which led the White House, the Pentagon, Britain's
M.I.6 intelligence service, and thousands of outlets in the American media
to promote the falsehood that Saddam Hussein's nuclear-weapons program
posed a grave risk to the United States.

The Bush administration made other false charges about Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction (W.M.D.)—that Iraq had acquired aluminum tubes suitable
for centrifuges, that Saddam was in league with al-Qaeda, that he had
mobile weapons labs, and so forth. But the Niger claim, unlike other
allegations, can't be dismissed as an innocent error or blamed on ambiguous
data. "This wasn't an accident," says Milt Bearden, a 30-year C.I.A.
veteran who was a station chief in Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, and Germany,
and the head of the Soviet–East European division. "This wasn't 15 monkeys
in a room with typewriters."

In recent months, it has emerged that the forged Niger documents went
through the hands of the Italian military intelligence service, SISMI
(Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare), or operatives close
to it, and that neoconservative policymakers helped bring them to the
attention of the White House. Even after information in the Niger documents
was repeatedly rejected by the C.I.A. and the State Department, hawkish
neocons managed to circumvent seasoned intelligence analysts and insert the
Niger claims into Bush's State of the Union address.

By the time the U.S. invaded Iraq, in March 2003, this apparent
black-propaganda operation had helped convince more than 90 percent of the
American people that a brutal dictator was developing W.M.D.—and had led us
into war.

To trace the path of the documents from their fabrication to their
inclusion in Bush's infamous speech, Vanity Fair has interviewed a number
of former intelligence and military analysts who have served in the C.I.A.,
the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency (D.I.A.), and the
Pentagon. Some of them refer to the Niger documents as "a disinformation
operation," others as "black propaganda," "black ops," or "a classic
psy-ops [psychological-operations] campaign." But whatever term they use,
at least nine of these officials believe that the Niger documents were part
of a covert operation to deliberately mislead the American public.

The officials are Bearden; Colonel W. Patrick Lang, who served as the
D.I.A.'s defense intelligence officer for the Middle East, South Asia, and
terrorism; Colonel Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of
State Colin Powell; Melvin Goodman, a former division chief and senior
analyst at the C.I.A. and the State Department; Ray McGovern, a C.I.A.
analyst for 27 years; Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who served in
the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia division in 2002 and 2003; Larry C.
Johnson, a former C.I.A. officer who was deputy director of the State
Department Office of Counterterrorism from 1989 to 1993; former C.I.A.
official Philip Giraldi; and Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of
operations of the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorism Center.

In addition, Vanity Fair has found at least 14 instances prior to the 2003
State of the Union in which analysts at the C.I.A., the State Department,
or other government agencies who had examined the Niger documents or
reports about them raised serious doubts about their legitimacy—only to be
rebuffed by Bush-administration officials who wanted to use the material.
"They were just relentless," says Wilkerson, who later prepared Colin
Powell's presentation before the United Nations General Assembly. "You
would take it out and they would stick it back in. That was their favorite
bureaucratic technique—ruthless relentlessness."

All of which flies in the face of a campaign by senior Republicans
including Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence, to blame the C.I.A. for the faulty pre-war intelligence on
W.M.D. Indeed, the accounts put forth by Wilkerson and his colleagues
strongly suggest that the C.I.A. is under siege not because it was wrong
but because it was right. Agency analysts were not serving the White
House's agenda.

What followed was not just the catastrophic foreign-policy blunder in Iraq
but also an ongoing battle for the future of U.S. intelligence. Top
officials have been leaving the C.I.A. in droves—including Porter Goss, who
mysteriously resigned in May, just 18 months after he had been handpicked
by Bush to be the director of Central Intelligence. Whatever the reason for
his sudden departure, anyone at the top of the C.I.A., Goss's replacement
included, ultimately must worry about serving two masters: a White House
that desperately wants intelligence it can use to remake the Middle East
and a spy agency that is acutely sensitive to having its intelligence

Cui Bono?

Unraveling a disinformation campaign is no easy task. It means entering a
kingdom of shadows peopled by would-be Machiavellis who are practiced in
the art of deception. "In the world of fabrication, you don't just drop
something and let someone pick it up," says Bearden. "Your first goal is to
make sure it doesn't find its way back to you, so you do several things.
You may start out with a document that is a forgery, that is a photocopy of
a photocopy of a photocopy, which makes it hard to track down. You go
through cutouts so that the person who puts it out doesn't know where it
came from. And you build in subtle, nuanced errors so you can say, 'We
would never misspell that.' If it's very cleverly done, it's a chess game,
not checkers."

Reporters who have entered this labyrinth often emerge so perplexed that
they choose not to write about it. "The chances of being manipulated are
very high," says Claudio Gatti, a New York–based investigative reporter at
Il Sole, the Italian business daily. "That's why I decided to stay out of it."

Despite such obstacles, a handful of independent journalists and bloggers
on both sides of the Atlantic have been pursuing the story. "Most of the
people you are dealing with are professional liars, which really leaves you
with your work cut out for you as a reporter," says Joshua Micah Marshall,
who has written about the documents on his blog, Talking Points Memo.

So far, no one has figured out all the answers. There is even disagreement
about why the documents were fabricated. In a story by Seymour Hersh in The
New Yorker, a source suggested that retired and embittered C.I.A.
operatives had intentionally put together a lousy forgery in hopes of
embarrassing Cheney's hawkish followers. But no evidence has emerged to
support this theory, and many intelligence officers embrace a simpler
explanation. "They needed this for the case to go to war," says Melvin
Goodman, who is now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.
"It serves no other purpose."

By and large, knowledgeable government officials in the U.S., Italy,
France, and Great Britain are mum. Official government investigations in
Italy, the U.K., and the U.S.—including a two-year probe into pre-war
intelligence failures by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence—have
been so highly politicized as to be completely unsatisfying.

Only the ongoing investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald
into the Plamegate scandal bears promise. However, it is focused not on the
forgeries but on the leaks that were apparently designed to discredit
former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson and that outed his wife, former C.I.A.
agent Valerie Plame, after Wilson revealed that the Niger story was false.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick
Cheney, has already been charged in the case, and President Bush's senior
adviser, Karl Rove, has been Fitzgerald's other principal target. But, with
the dubious exception of an ongoing F.B.I. inquiry, there is no official
probe into who forged the Niger documents, who disseminated them, and why,
after they had been repeatedly discredited, they kept resurfacing.

Meanwhile, from Rome to Washington, and countless points in between,
journalists, bloggers, politicians, and intelligence agents are pondering
the same question: Cui bono? Who benefits? Who wanted to start the war?

The Stuff of Conspiracy Fantasies

If Italy seems like an unlikely setting for a black-propaganda plot to
start the Iraq war, it is worth remembering that Et tu, Brute is part of
the local idiom, and Machiavelli was a native son. Accordingly, one can't
probe Nigergate without examining the rich tapestry of intrigue that is
Italian intelligence.

Because Italy emerged from World War II with a strong Communist Party,
domestic politics had elements of a civil war, explains Guido Moltedo,
editor of Europa, a center-left daily in Italy. That meant
ultra-conservative Cold Warriors battled the Communists not just
electorally but through undercover operations in the intelligence world.
"In addition to the secret service, SISMI, there was another, informal,
parallel secret service," Moltedo says. "It was known as Propaganda Due."

Led by a neo-Fascist named Licio Gelli, Propaganda Due, with its penchant
for exotic covert operations, was the stuff of conspiracy fantasies—except
that it was real. According to The Sunday Times of London, until 1986
members agreed to have their throats slit and tongues cut out if they broke
their oaths. Subversive, authoritarian, and right-wing, the group was
sometimes referred to as the P-2 Masonic Lodge because of its ties to the
secret society of Masons, and it served as the covert intelligence agency
for militant anti-Communists. It was also linked to Operation Gladio, a
secret paramilitary wing in NATO that supported far-right military coups in
Greece and Turkey during the Cold War.

In 1981 the Italian Parliament banned Propaganda Due, and all secret
organizations in Italy, after an investigation concluded that it had
infiltrated the highest levels of Italy's judiciary, parliament, military,
and press, and was tied to assassinations, kidnappings, and arms deals
around the world. But before it was banned, P-2 members and their allies
participated in two ideologically driven international black-propaganda
schemes that foreshadowed the Niger Embassy job 20 years later. The first
took place in 1980, when Francesco Pazienza, a charming and sophisticated
Propaganda Due operative at the highest levels of SISMI, allegedly teamed
up with an American named Michael Ledeen, a Rome correspondent for The New
Republic. According to The Wall Street Journal, Pazienza said he first met
Ledeen that summer, through a SISMI agent in New York who was working under
the cover of a U.N. job.

The end result of their collaboration was a widely publicized story that
helped Ronald Reagan unseat President Jimmy Carter, whom they considered
too timid in his approach to winning the Cold War. The target was Carter's
younger brother, Billy, a hard-drinking "good ol' boy" from Georgia who
repeatedly embarrassed his sibling in the White House.

It began after Billy mortified the president in 1979 by going to Tripoli at
a time when Libya's leader, Muammar Qaddafi, was reviled as a radical Arab
dictator who supported terrorism. Coupled with Billy's later admission that
he had received a $220,000 loan from Qaddafi's regime, the ensuing
"Billygate" scandal made headlines across America and led to a Senate
investigation. But it had died down as the November 1980 elections approached.

Then, in the last week of October 1980, just two weeks before the election,
The New Republic in Washington and Now magazine in Great Britain published
a story co-authored by Michael Ledeen and Arnaud de Borchgrave, now an
editor-at-large at The Washington Times and United Press International.
According to the story, headlined "Qaddafi, Arafat and Billy Carter," the
president's brother had been given an additional $50,000 by Qaddafi, on top
of the loan, and had met secretly with Palestine Liberation Organization
leader Yasser Arafat. The story had come dramatically back to life. The new
charges were disputed by Billy Carter and many others, and were never

A 1985 investigation by Jonathan Kwitny in The Wall Street Journal reported
that the New Republic article was part of a larger disinformation scam run
by Ledeen and SISMI to tilt the election, and that "Billy Carter wasn't the
only one allegedly getting money from a foreign government." According to
Pazienza, Kwitny reported, Michael Ledeen had received at least $120,000
from SISMI in 1980 or 1981 for his work on Billygate and other projects.
Ledeen even had a coded identity, Z-3, and had money sent to him in a
Bermuda bank account, Pazienza said.

Ledeen told the Journal that a consulting firm he owned, I.S.I., worked for
SISMI and may have received the money. He said he did not recall whether he
had a coded identity.

Pazienza was subsequently convicted in absentia on multiple charges,
including having used extortion and fraud to obtain embarrassing facts
about Billy Carter. Ledeen was never charged with any crime, but he was
cited in Pazienza's indictment, which read, "With the illicit support of
the SISMI and in collaboration with the well-known American 'Italianist'
Michael Ledeen, Pazienza succeeded in extorting, also using fraudulent
means, information … on the Libyan business of Billy Carter, the brother of
the then President of the United States."

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Ledeen denied having worked with Pazienza
or Propaganda Due as part of a disinformation scheme. "I knew Pazienza," he
explained. "I didn't think P-2 existed. I thought it was all
nonsense—typical Italian fantasy."

He added, "I'm not aware that anything in [the Billygate] story turned out
to be false."

Asked if he had worked with SISMI, Ledeen told Vanity Fair, "No," then
added, "I had a project with SISMI—one project." He described it as a
simple "desktop" exercise in 1979 or 1980, in which he taught Italian
intelligence how to deal with U.S. officials on extradition matters. His
fee, he said, was about $10,000.

The Bulgarian Connection

In 1981, Ledeen played a role in what has been widely characterized as
another disinformation operation. Once again his alleged ties to SISMI were
front and center. The episode began after Mehmet Ali Agca, the right-wing
terrorist who shot Pope John Paul II that May, told authorities that he had
been taking orders from the Soviet Union's K.G.B. and Bulgaria's secret
service. With Ronald Reagan newly installed in the White House, the
so-called Bulgarian Connection made perfect Cold War propaganda. Michael
Ledeen was one of its most vocal proponents, promoting it on TV and in
newspapers all over the world. In light of the ascendancy of the Solidarity
Movement in Poland, the Pope's homeland, the Bulgarian Connection played a
role in the demise of Communism in 1989.

There was just one problem—it probably wasn't true. "It just doesn't pass
the giggle test," says Frank Brodhead, co-author of The Rise and Fall of
the Bulgarian Connection. "Agca, the shooter, had been deeply embedded in a
Turkish youth group of the Fascist National Action Party known as the Gray
Wolves. It seemed illogical that a Turkish Fascist would work with
Bulgarian Communists."

The only real source for the Bulgarian Connection theory was Agca himself,
a pathological liar given to delusional proclamations such as his
insistence that he was Jesus Christ. When eight men were later tried in
Italian courts as part of the Bulgarian Connection case, all were acquitted
for lack of evidence. One reason was that Agca had changed his story
repeatedly. On the witness stand, he said he had put forth the Bulgarian
Connection theory after Francesco Pazienza offered him freedom in exchange
for the testimony. He subsequently changed that story as well.

Years later, Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs, who had initially
believed the theory, wrote that "I became convinced … that the Bulgarian
connection was invented by Agca with the hope of winning his release from
prison. … He was aided and abetted in this scheme by right-wing conspiracy
theorists in the United States and William Casey's Central Intelligence
Agency, which became a victim of its own disinformation campaign."

Exactly which Americans might have been behind such a campaign? According
to a 1987 article in The Nation, Francesco Pazienza said Ledeen "was the
person responsible for dreaming up the 'Bulgarian connection' behind the
plot to kill the Pope." Similarly, according to The Rise and Fall of the
Bulgarian Connection, Pazienza claimed that Ledeen had worked closely with
the SISMI team that coached Agca on his testimony.

But Ledeen angrily denies the charges. "It's all a lie," he says. He adds
that he protested to The Wall Street Journal when it first reported on his
alleged relationship with Pazienza: "If one-tenth of it were true, I would
not have security clearances, but I do."

Not long before his death, in 2005, Pope John Paul II announced that he did
not believe the Bulgarian Connection theory. But that wasn't the end of it.
In March 2006 an Italian commission run by Paolo Guzzanti, a senator in the
right-wing Forza Italia Party, reopened the case and concluded that the
Bulgarian Connection was real. According to Frank Brodhead, however, the
new conclusions are based on the same old information, which is "bogus at
best and at worst deliberately misleading."

In the wake of Billygate and the Bulgarian Connection, Ledeen allegedly
began to play a role as a behind-the-scenes operative with the ascendant
Reagan-Bush team. According to Mission Italy, by former ambassador to Italy
Richard Gardner, after Reagan's victory, but while Jimmy Carter was still
president, "Ledeen and Pazienza set themselves up as the preferred channel
between Italian political leaders and members of the new administration."
Ledeen responds, "Gardner was wrong. And, by the way, he had every
opportunity to raise it with me and never did."

When Reagan took office, Ledeen was made special assistant to Alexander
Haig, Reagan's secretary of state. Ledeen later took a staff position on
Reagan's National Security Council and played a key role in initiating the
illegal arms-for-hostages deal with Iran that became known as the
Iran-contra scandal.

The Italian Job

In 1981, P-2 was outlawed and police raided the home of its leader, Licio
Gelli. Authorities found a list of nearly a thousand prominent public
figures in Italy who were believed to be members. Among them was a
billionaire media mogul who had not yet entered politics—Silvio Berlusconi.

In 1994, Berlusconi was elected prime minister. Rather than distancing
himself from the criminal organization, he told a reporter that "P-2 had
brought together the best men in the country," and he began to execute
policies very much aligned with it.

Among those Berlusconi appointed to powerful national-security positions
were two men known to Ledeen. A founding member of Forza Italia, Minister
of Defense Antonio Martino was a well-known figure in Washington neocon
circles and had been close friends with Michael Ledeen since the 1970s.
Ledeen also occasionally played bridge with the head of SISMI under
Berlusconi, Nicolò Pollari. "Michael Ledeen is connected to all the
players," says Philip Giraldi, who was stationed in Italy with the C.I.A.
in the 1980s and has been a keen observer of Ledeen over the years.

Enter Rocco Martino. An elegantly attired man in his 60s with white hair
and a neatly trimmed mustache, Martino (no relation to Antonio Martino) had
served in SISMI until 1999 and had a long history of peddling information
to other intelligence services in Europe, including France's Direction
Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (D.G.S.E.).

By 2000, however, Martino had fallen on hard times financially. It was then
that a longtime colleague named Antonio Nucera offered him a lucrative
proposition. A SISMI colonel specializing in counter-proliferation and
W.M.D., Nucera told Martino that Italian intelligence had long had an
"asset" in the Niger Embassy in Rome: a woman who was about 60 years old,
had a low-level job, and occasionally sold off embassy documents to SISMI.
But now SISMI had no more use for the woman—who is known in the Italian
press as "La Signora" and has recently been identified as the ambassador's
assistant, Laura Montini. Perhaps, Nucera suggested, Martino could use La
Signora as Italian intelligence had, paying her to pass on documents she
copied or stole from the embassy.

Shortly after New Year's 2001, the break-in took place at the Niger
Embassy. Martino denies any participation. There are many conflicting
accounts of the episode. According to La Repubblica, a left-of-center daily
which has published an investigative series on Nigergate, documents stolen
from the embassy ultimately were combined with other papers that were
already in SISMI archives. In addition, the embassy stationery was
apparently used to forge records about a phony uranium deal between Niger
and Iraq. The Sunday Times of London recently reported that the papers had
been forged for profit by two embassy employees: Adam Maiga Zakariaou, the
consul, and Montini. But many believe that they, wittingly or not, were
merely pawns in a larger game.

According to Martino, the documents were not given to him all at once.
First, he explained, SISMI had La Signora give him documents that had come
from the robbery: "I was told that a woman in the Niger Embassy in Rome had
a gift for me. I met her and she gave me documents." Later, he said, SISMI
dug into its archives and added new papers. There was a codebook, then a
dossier with a mixture of fake and genuine documents. Among them was an
authentic telex dated February 1, 1999, in which Adamou Chékou, the
ambassador from Niger, wrote another official about a forthcoming visit
from Wissam al-Zahawie, Iraq's ambassador to the Vatican.

The last one Martino says he received, and the most important one, was not
genuine, however. Dated July 27, 2000, it was a two-page memo purportedly
sent to the president of Niger concerning the sale of 500 tons of pure
uranium per year by Niger to Iraq.

The forged documents were full of errors. A letter dated October 10, 2000,
was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Allele Elhadj Habibou—even though
he had been out of office for more than a decade. Its September 28 postmark
indicated that somehow the letter had been received nearly two weeks before
it was sent. In another letter, President Tandja Mamadou's signature
appeared to be phony. The accord signed by him referred to the Niger
constitution of May 12, 1965, when a new constitution had been enacted in
1999. One of the letters was dated July 30, 1999, but referred to
agreements that were not made until a year later. Finally, the agreement
called for the 500 tons of uranium to be transferred from one ship to
another in international waters—a spectacularly difficult feat.

Martino, however, says he was unaware that they were forgeries. He was
merely interested in a payday. "He was not looking for great amounts of
money—$10,000, $20,000, maybe $40,000," says Carlo Bonini, who co-authored
the Nigergate stories for La Repubblica.

SISMI director Nicolò Pollari acknowledges that Martino has worked for
Italian intelligence. But, beyond that, he claims that Italian intelligence
played no role in the Niger operation. "[Nucera] offered [Martino] the use
of an intelligence asset [La Signora]—no big deal, you understand—one who
was still on the books but inactive—to give a hand to Martino," Pollari
told a reporter.

Rocco Martino, however, said SISMI had another agenda: "SISMI wanted me to
pass on the documents, but they didn't want anyone to know they had been

The Cutout

Whom should we believe? Characterized by La Repubblica as "a failed
carabiniere and dishonest spy," a "double-dealer" who "plays every side of
the fence," Martino has reportedly been arrested for extortion and for
possession of stolen checks, and was fired by SISMI in 1999 for "conduct
unbecoming." Elsewhere he has been described as "a trickster" and "a
rogue." He is a man who traffics in deception.

On the other hand, operatives like Martino are highly valued precisely
because they can be discredited so easily. "If there were a deep-cover unit
of SISMI, it would make sense to use someone like Rocco," says Patrick
Lang. "His flakiness gives SISMI plausible deniability. It's their cover
story. That's standard tradecraft with the agencies."

In other words, Rocco Martino may well have been the cutout for SISMI, a
postman who, if he dared to go public, could be disavowed.

Martino, who is the subject of a recently reopened investigation by the
public prosecutor in Rome, has declined to talk to the press in recent
months. But before going silent, he gave interviews to Italian, British,
and American journalists characterizing himself as a pawn who distributed
the documents on behalf of SISMI and believed that they were authentic. "I
sell information, I admit," Martino told The Sunday Times of London, using
his pseudonym, Giacomo. "But I sell only good information."

Over the next two years, the Niger documents and reports based on them made
at least three journeys to the C.I.A. They also found their way to the U.S.
Embassy in Rome, to the White House, to British intelligence, to French
intelligence, and to Elisabetta Burba, a journalist at Panorama, the
Milan-based newsmagazine. Each of these recipients in turn shared the
documents or their contents with others, in effect creating an echo chamber
that gave the illusion that several independent sources had corroborated an
Iraq-Niger uranium deal.

"It was the Italians and Americans together who were behind it. It was all
a disinformation operation," Martino told a reporter at England's Guardian
newspaper. He called himself "a tool used by someone for games much bigger
than me."

What exactly might those games have been? Berlusconi defined his role on
the world stage largely in terms of his relationship with the U.S., and he
jumped at the chance to forge closer ties with the White House when Bush
took office, in 2001. In its three-part series on Nigergate, La Repubblica
charges that Berlusconi was so eager to win Bush's favor that he
"instructed Italian Military Intelligence to plant the evidence implicating
Saddam in a bogus uranium deal with Niger." (The Berlusconi government,
which lost power in April, denied the charge.)

Because the Niger break-in happened before Bush took office, La Repubblica
and many others assume that the robbery was initiated as a small-time job.
"When the story began, they were not thinking about Iraq," says La
Repubblica's Bonini. "They were just trying to gather something that could
be sold on the black market to the intelligence community."

But it is also possible that from its very inception the Niger operation
was aimed at starting an invasion of Iraq. As early as 1992,
neoconservative hawks in the administration of George H. W. Bush, under the
aegis of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, unsuccessfully lobbied for
regime change in Iraq as part of a grandiose vision for American supremacy
in the next century.

During the Clinton era, the neocons persisted with their policy goals, and
in early 1998 they twice lobbied President Clinton to bring down Saddam.
The second attempt came in the form of "An Open Letter to the President" by
leading neoconservatives, many of whom later played key roles in the Bush
administration, where they became known as the Vulcans. Among those who
signed were Michael Ledeen, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle,
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Wurmser.

According to Patrick Lang, the initial Niger Embassy robbery could have
been aimed at starting the war even though Bush had yet to be inaugurated.
The scenario, he cautions, is merely speculation on his part. But he says
that the neocons wouldn't have hesitated to reach out to SISMI even before
Bush took office. "There's no doubt in my mind that the neocons had their
eye on Iraq," he says. "This is something they intended to do, and they
would have communicated that to SISMI or anybody else to get the help they

In Lang's view, SISMI would also have wanted to ingratiate itself with the
incoming administration. "These foreign intelligence agencies are so
dependent on us that the urge to acquire I.O.U.'s is a powerful incentive
by itself," he says. "It would have been very easy to have someone go to
Rome and talk to them, or have one of the SISMI guys here [in Washington],
perhaps the SISMI officer in the Italian Embassy, talk to them."

Lang's scenario rings true to Frank Brodhead. "When I read that the Niger
break-in took place before Bush took office, I immediately thought back to
the Bulgarian Connection," he says. "That job was done during the
transition as well. [Michael] Ledeen … saw himself as making a serious
contribution to the Cold War through the Bulgarian Connection. Now, it was
possible, 20 years later, that he was doing the same to start the war in Iraq."

Brodhead is not alone. Several press outlets, including the San Francisco
Chronicle, United Press International, and The American Conservative, as
well as a chorus of bloggers—Daily Kos, the Left Coaster, and Raw Story
among them—have raised the question of whether Ledeen was involved with the
Niger documents. But none have found any hard evidence.

An Absurd Idea

Early in the summer of 2001, about six months after the break-in,
information from the forged documents was given to U.S. intelligence for
the first time. Details about the transfer are extremely sketchy, but it is
highly probable that the reports were summaries of the documents. It is
standard practice for intelligence services, in the interests of protecting
sources, to share reports, rather than original documents, with allies.

To many W.M.D. analysts in the C.I.A. and the military, the initial reports
sounded ridiculous. "The idea that you could get that much yellowcake out
of Niger without the French knowing, that you could have a train big enough
to carry it, much less a ship, is absurd," says Larry Wilkerson, Colin
Powell's former chief of staff.

"The reports made no sense on the face of it," says Ray McGovern, the
former C.I.A. analyst, who challenged Rumsfeld about the war at a public
event this spring. "Most of us knew the Iraqis already had yellowcake. It
is a sophisticated process to change it into a very refined state and they
didn't have the technology."

"Yellowcake is unprocessed bulk ore," explains Karen Kwiatkowski, who has
written extensively about the intelligence fiasco that led to the war. "If
Saddam wanted to make nuclear bombs, why would he want unprocessed ore when
the best thing to do would be to get processed stuff in the Congo?"

"When it comes to raw reports, all manner of nonsense comes out of the field,"
McGovern adds. "The C.I.A. traditionally has had experienced officers….
They are qualified to see if these reports make sense. For some reason,
perhaps out of cowardice, these reports were judged to be of such potential
significance that no one wanted to sit on it."

Since Niger was a former French colony, French intelligence was the logical
choice to vet the allegations. "The French were managing partners of the
international consortium in Niger," explains Joseph Wilson, who eventually
traveled to Niger to investigate the uranium claim. "The French did the
actual mining and shipping of it."

So Alain Chouet, then head of security intelligence for France's D.G.S.E.,
was tasked with checking out the first Niger report for the C.I.A. He
recalls that much of the information he received from Langley was vague,
with the exception of one striking detail. The agency had heard that in
1999 the Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican, Wissam al-Zahawie, had made an
unusual visit to four African countries, including Niger. Analysts feared
that the trip may have been a prelude to a uranium deal.

Chouet soon found that the al-Zahawie visit was no secret. It had been
covered by the local press in Niger at the time, and reports had surfaced
in French, British, and American intelligence. Chouet had a 700-man unit at
his command, and he ordered an extensive on-the-ground investigation in Niger.

"In France, we've always been very careful about both problems of uranium
production in Niger and Iraqi attempts to get uranium," Chouet told the Los
Angeles Times last December. Having concluded that nothing had come of
al-Zahawie's visit and that there was no evidence of a uranium deal, French
intelligence forwarded its assessment to the C.I.A. But the Niger affair
had just begun.

Into Overdrive

A few weeks later, on September 11, 2001, terrorists struck the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon. The neocons had long said that they needed another
Pearl Harbor in order to realize their dreams of regime change in Iraq. Now
it had taken place. According to Bob Woodward's Bush at War, C.I.A.
director George Tenet reported to the White House within hours that Osama
bin Laden was behind the attack. But by midday Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld had already raised the question of attacking Saddam. Likewise,
four days later, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz advised
President Bush not to bother going after Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan but
to train American guns on Iraq instead.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Bush's approval ratings soared to 90
percent, the all-time high for any U.S. president. This was the perfect
opportunity to go after Saddam, except for one thing: the available
intelligence did not support the action. Ten days after the attacks, Bush
was told in a classified briefing that there was no credible evidence
linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.

Now the Niger operation went into overdrive. The details of how this
happened are murky. Accounts from usually reputable newspapers, the United
States Senate Intelligence Committee, and other sources are wildly at
variance with one another. In October 2001, SISMI, which had already sent
reports about the alleged Niger deal to French intelligence, finally had
them forwarded to British and U.S. intelligence. The exact dates of the
distribution are unclear, but, according to the British daily The
Independent, SISMI sent the dossier to the Vauxhall Cross headquarters of
M.I.6, in South London. The delivery might have been made, Italian reports
say, by Rocco Martino. At roughly the same time, in early October,
according to La Repubblica, SISMI also gave a report about the Niger deal
to Jeff Castelli, the C.I.A. station chief in Rome. According to a recent
broadcast by CBS's 60 Minutes, C.I.A. analysts who saw the material were

In addition, on October 15, 2001, Nicolò Pollari, the newly appointed chief
of SISMI, made his first visit to his counterparts at the C.I.A. Under
pressure from Berlusconi to turn over information that would be useful for
America's Iraq-war policy, Pollari met "with top C.I.A. officials to
provide a SISMI dossier indicating that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in
Niger," according to an article by Philip Giraldi in The American Conservative.

According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the analysts saw Pollari's
report as "very limited and lacking needed detail." Nevertheless, the State
Department had the U.S. Embassy in Niger check out the alleged uranium
deal. On November 20, 2001, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, the capital of
Niger, sent a cable reporting that the director general of Niger's
French-led consortium had told the American ambassador that "there was no
possibility" that the African nation had diverted any yellowcake to Iraq.

In December 2001, Greg Thielmann, director for strategic proliferation and
military affairs at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and
Research (INR), reviewed Iraq's W.M.D. program for Colin Powell. As for the
Niger report, Thielmann said, "A whole lot of things told us that the
report was bogus. This wasn't highly contested. There weren't strong
advocates on the other side. It was done, shot down."

"Faster, Please"

Michael Ledeen waves an unlit cigar as he welcomes me into his 11th-floor
office at the American Enterprise Institute, in Washington. Home to Irving
Kristol, Lynne Cheney, Richard Perle, and countless other stars in the
neocon firmament, the A.E.I. is one of the most powerful think tanks in the
country. It has sent more than two dozen of its alumni to the Bush

After 17 years at the A.E.I., Ledeen is the institute's Freedom Scholar and
rates a corner office decorated with prints of the Colosseum in Rome, the
Duomo in Florence, and other mementos of his days in Italy. Having served
as a consultant at the Pentagon and the State Department and on the
National Security Council, Ledeen relishes playing the role of the
intriguer. In the Iran-contra scandal, Ledeen won notoriety for introducing
Oliver North to his friend the Iranian arms dealer and con man Manucher
Ghorbanifar, who was labeled "an intelligence fabricator" by the C.I.A.
Ledeen has made his share of enemies along the way, especially at the
C.I.A. According to Larry Johnson, "The C.I.A. viewed Ledeen as a
meddlesome troublemaker who usually got it wrong and was allied with people
who were dangerous to the U.S., such as Ghorbanifar."

Apprised of such views, Ledeen, no fan of the C.I.A., responds, "Oh, that's
a shock. Ghorbanifar over the years has been one of the most accurate
sources of understanding what is going on in Iran. … I have always thought
the C.I.A. made a big mistake."

Bearded and balding, the 65-year-old Ledeen makes for an unlikely 007. On
the one hand, he can be self-deprecating, describing himself as "powerless
… and, well, schlumpy." On the other, one of his bios grandiosely proclaims
that he has executed "the most sensitive and dangerous missions in recent
American history."

Ledeen props his feet up on his desk next to an icon of villainy—a mask of
Darth Vader. "I'm tired of being described as someone who likes Fascism and
is a warmonger," he says. "I've said it over and over again. I'm not the
person you think you are looking for. … I think it's obvious I have no
clout in the administration. I haven't had a role. I don't have a role." He
barely knows Karl Rove, he says. He has "very occasionally" had discussions
with Cheney's office. And he denies reports that he was a consultant for
Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans, the division of the Pentagon that
was famous for cherry-picking and "stovepiping" intelligence that suited
its policy of invading Iraq. "I have had no professional relationship with
any agency of the federal government during the Bush Administration,"
Ledeen later clarifies via e-mail. "That includes the Pentagon."

However, there is considerable evidence that Ledeen has had far more access
than he lets on to the highest levels of the Bush administration. Even
before Bush took office, Rove asked Ledeen to funnel ideas to the White
House. According to The Washington Post, some of Ledeen's ideas became
"official policy or rhetoric." As for Ledeen's role in the Office of
Special Plans, Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the Pentagon during the
run-up to the Iraq war, has described Ledeen as Feith's collaborator and
said in an e-mail that he "was in and out of there (OSP) all the time."

Through his ties to Rove and Deputy National-Security Adviser Stephen
Hadley, Michael Ledeen was also wired into the White House Iraq Group,
which was charged with marketing an invasion of Iraq.

Ledeen claims, as he told the Web site Raw Story, that he had strongly
advised against the plan, saying that the invasion of Iraq was the "wrong
war, wrong time, wrong way, wrong place." But the truth is somewhat more
complicated. Ledeen had urged regime change in Iraq since 1998, and just
four hours after the 9/11 attacks he posted an article on the National
Review Web site urging Bush to take "the fight directly to Saddam on his
own territory."

But to Ledeen, Iraq was just one part of a larger war. As he later told a
seminar, "All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we
will do Iraq … that is entirely the wrong way to go about it." He urged
Americans not to try to "piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this
thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants."

In January 2003, two months before the war started, he wrote, "If we were
serious about waging this war, we would, at an absolute minimum, support
the Iranian people's brave campaign against their tyrants … and recognize
an Iraqi government in exile in the 'no fly' zones we control. … If we
don't, we may well find ourselves facing a far bigger problem than Saddam

Ledeen repeatedly urged war or destabilization not just in Iraq but also in
Iran, Syria, Lebanon, even Saudi Arabia. "One can only hope that we turn
the region into a cauldron, and faster, please," he wrote. "Faster, please"
became his mantra, repeated incessantly in his National Review columns.

Rhapsodizing about war week after week, Ledeen became chief rhetorician for
neoconservative visionaries who wanted to remake the Middle East. "Creative
destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad," he
wrote after the attacks. "We must destroy [our enemies] to advance our
historic mission."

The U.S. must be "imperious, ruthless, and relentless," he argued, until
there has been "total surrender" by the Muslim world. "We must keep our
fangs bared," he wrote, "we must remind them daily that we Americans are in
a rage, and we will not rest until we have avenged our dead, we will not be
sated until we have had the blood of every miserable little tyrant in the
Middle East, until every leader of every cell of the terror network is dead
or locked securely away, and every last drooling anti-Semitic and
anti-American mullah, imam, sheikh, and ayatollah is either singing the
praises of the United States of America, or pumping gasoline, for a dime a
gallon, on an American military base near the Arctic Circle."

"An Old Friend of Italy"

As 2001 drew to a close, such positions seemed decidedly outside the
mainstream. Career military and intelligence professionals saw the
relatively moderate Colin Powell and George Tenet, a Clinton appointee,
reassuringly ensconced as secretary of state and director of central
intelligence, respectively. "George Tenet had been there for a number of
years," says Larry Wilkerson. "He knew what he was doing. He was a
professional. What did he have to do with Douglas Feith? It didn't seem
possible that someone like Douglas Feith could exercise such influence."
But a schism was growing between the cautious realism of analysts in the
C.I.A. and the State Department, on one side, and the hawkish ambitions of
Dick Cheney and the Pentagon, on the other.

As for Ledeen, how much clout he carried with the administration is a
matter of debate. But one measure of his influence may be a series of
secret meetings he set up—with Hadley's approval, he claims—in Rome in the
second week of December 2001. During these meetings, Ghorbanifar introduced
American officials to other Iranians who passed on information about their
government's plans to target U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Among those in
attendance were Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin of the Office of Special
Plans. (In a separate matter, Franklin has since pleaded guilty to passing
secrets to Israel and been sentenced to 12 years in prison.) "That
information saved American lives in Afghanistan," Ledeen asserts.

But other accounts suggest that Ledeen may have used his time in Italy to
reactivate old friendships that played a role in the Niger affair.

According to La Repubblica, Nicolò Pollari had become frustrated by the
C.I.A.'s refusal to let SISMI deliver a smoking gun that would justify an
invasion of Iraq. At an unspecified date, he discussed the issue with
Ledeen's longtime friend Minister of Defense Antonio Martino. Martino, the
paper reported, told Pollari to expect a visit from "an old friend of
Italy," namely Ledeen. Soon afterward, according to La Repubblica, Pollari
allegedly took up the Niger matter with Ledeen when he was in Rome. Ledeen
denies having had any such conversations. Pollari declined to be
interviewed by Vanity Fair, and has denied playing any role in the Niger
affair. Martino has declined to comment.

By early 2002, career military and intelligence professionals had seen the
Niger reports repeatedly discredited, and assumed that the issue was dead.
But that was not the case.

"These guys in the Office of Special Plans delighted in telling people,
'You don't understand your own data,'" says Patrick Lang. "'We know that
Saddam is evil and deceptive, and if you see this piece of data, to say
just because it is not well supported it's not true is to be politically

Not everybody in the C.I.A. was of one mind with regard to the alleged
Niger deal. As the Senate Intelligence Committee report points out, some
analysts at the C.I.A. and other agencies considered the Niger deal to be
"possible." In the fall of 2002, the C.I.A. approved language referring to
the Niger deal in one speech by the president but vetoed it in another. And
in December 2002, analysts at WINPAC, the C.I.A.'s center for Weapons
Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control, produced a paper that
chided Iraq for not acknowledging its "efforts to procure uranium from Niger."

Nevertheless, the C.I.A. had enough doubts about the Niger claims to
initially leave them out of the President's Daily Brief (P.D.B.), the
intelligence updates given each morning to President Bush. On February 5,
2002, however, for reasons that remain unclear, the C.I.A. issued a new
report on the alleged Niger deal, one that provided significantly more
detail, including what was said to be "verbatim text" of the accord between
Niger and Iraq. In the State Department, analysts were still suspicious of
the reports. But in the Pentagon, the Vulcans pounced on the new material.
On February 12, the D.I.A. issued "a finished intelligence product," titled
"Niamey Signed an Agreement to Sell 500 Tons of Uranium a Year to Baghdad,"
and passed it to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney gave the Niger claims new life. "The [C.I.A.] briefer came in.
Cheney said, 'What about this?,' and the briefer hadn't heard one word,
because no one in the agency thought it was of any significance," says Ray
McGovern, whose job at the C.I.A. included preparing and delivering the
P.D.B. in the Reagan era. "But when a briefer gets a request from the vice
president of the United States, he goes back and leaves no stone unturned."

The C.I.A.'s Directorate of Operations, the branch responsible for the
clandestine collection of foreign intelligence, immediately tasked its
Counterproliferation Division (CPD) with getting more information.
According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report, just hours
after Dick Cheney had gotten the Niger report, Valerie Plame, who worked in
the CPD, wrote a memo to the division's deputy chief that read, "My husband
has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former
Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom
could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

Her husband, as the world now knows, was Joseph Wilson, who had served as
deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and as ambassador to
Gabon under George H. W. Bush. Wilson approached the task with a healthy
skepticism. "The office of the vice president had asked me to check this
out," Wilson told Vanity Fair. "My skepticism was the same as it would have
been with any unverified intelligence report, because there is a lot of
stuff that comes over the transom every day."

He arrived in Niger on February 26, 2002. "Niger has a simplistic
government structure," he says. "Both the minister of mines and the prime
minister had gone through the mines. The French were managing partners of
the international consortium. The French mining company actually had its
hands on the product. Nobody else in the consortium had operators on the

In addition, Wilson personally knew Wissam al-Zahawie, the Iraqi ambassador
to the Vatican, whose visit to Niger had raised suspicions. "Wissam
al-Zahawie was a world-class opera singer, and he went to the Vatican as
his last post so he could be near the great European opera houses in Rome,"
says Wilson. "He was not in the Ba'thist inner circle. He was not in
Saddam's tribe. The idea that he would be entrusted with this super-secret
mission to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger is out of the question."

On March 1, the State Department weighed in with another cable, headed
"Sale of Niger Uranium to Iraq Unlikely." Citing "unequivocal" control of
the mines, the cable asserted that President Tandja of Niger would not want
to risk good relations with the U.S. by trading with Iraq, and cited the
prohibitive logistical problems in such a transaction.

A few days later, Wilson returned from Niger and told C.I.A. officials that
he had found no evidence to support the uranium charges. By now the Niger
reports had been discredited more than half a dozen times—by the French in
2001, by the C.I.A. in Rome and in Langley, by the State Department's INR,
by some analysts in the Pentagon, by the ambassador to Niger, by Wilson,
and yet again by State.

But the top brass at the C.I.A. knew what Cheney wanted. They went back to
French intelligence again—twice. According to the Los Angeles Times, the
second request that year, in mid-2002, "was more urgent and more specific."
The C.I.A. sought confirmation of the alleged agreement by Niger to sell
500 tons of yellowcake to Iraq. Alain Chouet reportedly sent five or six
men to Niger and again found the charges to be false. Then his staff
noticed that the allegations matched those brought to him by Rocco Martino.
"We told the Americans, 'bs. It doesn't make any sense.'"

The Marketing Campaign

Until this point, the American people had been largely oblivious to the
Bush administration's emerging policy toward Iraq. But in August 2002, just
as Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans formally set up shop in the
Pentagon, White House chief of staff Andrew Card launched the White House
Iraq Group to sell the war through the media. The plan was to open a
full-fledged marketing campaign after Labor Day, featuring images of
nuclear devastation and threats of biological and chemical weapons. A key
piece of the evidence was the Niger dossier.

Test-marketing began in August, with Cheney and his surrogates asserting
repeatedly that "many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear
weapons fairly soon." Making Cheney seem moderate by comparison, a piece by
Ledeen appeared in The Wall Street Journal on September 4, suggesting that,
in addition to Iraq, the governments of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia
should be overthrown.

But the real push was delayed until the second week of September. As Card
famously put it, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new
products in August." The first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was perfect.

The opening salvo was fired on Sunday, September 8, 2002, when
National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN, "There will always be
some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons.
But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

The smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud catchphrase was such a hit that Bush,
Cheney, and Rumsfeld all picked it up in one form or another, sending it
out repeatedly to the entire country.

Meanwhile, the C.I.A. had finally penetrated Saddam's inner sanctum by
"turning" Foreign Minister Naji Sabri. Tenet delivered the news personally
to Bush, Cheney, and other top officials in September 2002. Initially, the
White House was ecstatic about this coup.

But, according to Tyler Drumheller, the C.I.A.'s chief of operations in
Europe until he retired last year, that reaction changed dramatically when
they heard what Sabri had to say. "He told us that they had no active
weapons-of-mass-destruction program," Drumheller told 60 Minutes. "The
[White House] group that was dealing with the preparation for the Iraq war
came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said, 'Well, what
about the intel?' And they said, 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore.
This is about regime change.'"

At roughly the same time, highly placed White House sources such as Scooter
Libby leaked exclusive "scoops" to credulous reporters as part of the
campaign to make Saddam's nuclear threat seem real. On the same day the
"mushroom cloud" slogan made its debut, The New York Times printed a
front-page story by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller citing administration
officials who said that Saddam had "embarked on a worldwide hunt for
materials to make an atomic bomb." Specifically, the article contended that
Iraq "has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes,
which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges
to enrich uranium."

The next day, September 9, the White House received a visitor who should
have known exactly what the tubes were for—Nicolò Pollari. As it happens,
the Italians used the same tubes Iraq was seeking in their Medusa
air-to-ground missile systems, so Pollari presumably knew that Iraq was not
trying to enrich uranium but merely attempting to reproduce weaponry dating
back to an era of military trade between Rome and Baghdad. As La Repubblica
pointed out, however, he did not set the record straight.

Pollari met with Stephen Hadley, an understated but resolute hawk who has
since replaced Condoleezza Rice as national-security adviser. Hadley has
confirmed that he met Pollari, but declined to say what was discussed. "It
was a courtesy call," Hadley told reporters. "Nobody participating in that
meeting or asked about that meeting has any recollection of a discussion of
natural uranium, or any recollection of any documents being passed."

But there was no need to pass documents. It was significant enough for
Pollari to have met with Hadley, a White House official allied with
Cheney's hard-liners, rather than with Pollari's American counterpart,
George Tenet. "It is completely out of protocol for the head of a foreign
intelligence service to circumvent the C.I.A.," says former C.I.A. officer
Philip Giraldi. "It is uniquely unusual. In spite of lots of people having
seen these documents, and having said they were not right, they went around

"To me there is no benign interpretation of this," says Melvin Goodman, the
former C.I.A. and State Department analyst. "At the highest level it was
known the documents were forgeries. Stephen Hadley knew it. Condi Rice knew
it. Everyone at the highest level knew." Both Rice and Hadley have declined
to comment.

Michael Ledeen, who had access to both Pollari and Hadley, categorically
denies setting up the meeting: "I had nothing to do with it." A former
senior intelligence official close to Tenet says that the former C.I.A.
chief had no information suggesting that Pollari or elements of SISMI may
have been trying to circumvent the C.I.A. and go directly to the White House.

But the Niger documents had been resurrected once again. Two days later, on
September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks,
Hadley's office asked the C.I.A. to clear language so that President Bush
could issue a statement saying, "Within the past few years, Iraq has
resumed efforts to purchase large quantities of a type of uranium oxide
known as yellowcake. … The regime was caught trying to purchase 500 metric
tons of this material. It takes about 10 tons to produce enough enriched
uranium for a single nuclear weapon."

In addition, in a new paper that month, the D.I.A. issued an assessment
claiming that "Iraq has been vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and

Later that month, the British published a 50-page, 14-point report on
Iraq's pursuit of weapons that said, "There is intelligence that Iraq has
sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

"When you are playing a disinformation operation," says Milt Bearden,
"you're like a conductor who can single out one note in the symphony and
say, 'Let the Brits have that.'"

On September 24, Prime Minister Tony Blair cited that "dossier of death"
and asserted again that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Africa. "The
reports in [the Niger file] were going around the world, and Bush and Blair
were talking about the documents without actually mentioning them," Rocco
Martino told Milan's Il Giornale. "I turned the television on and I did not
believe my ears."

Now it was time for the international media to chime in with independent
corroboration. In early October 2002, Martino approached Elisabetta Burba,
a journalist at Panorama, the Milan-based newsmagazine. Burba and Martino
had worked together in the past, but there may have been other reasons he
went to her again. Owned by Silvio Berlusconi, Panorama was edited by Carlo
Rossella, a close ally of the prime minister's. It also counted among its
contributors Michael Ledeen.

Martino told Burba he had something truly explosive—documents that proved
Saddam was buying yellowcake from Niger. Burba was intrigued, but
skeptical. She agreed to pay just over 10,000 euros—a

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing - Edmund Burke.
Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem Americanam appellant - Tacitus Redactus.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:04 pm    Post subject: Further "dodgey dossier" lies surface Reply with quote

Alastair Campbell placed the September 2002 WMD dossier in the hands of the propaganda unit that later produced the plagiarised "dodgy dossier", the New Statesman can reveal.

New evidence shows how the government misled both the Hutton Inquiry and the Butler Review about the genesis of the dossier. There was an even earlier version of the document than Foreign Office press secretary John Williams's "missing" draft, whose existence was revealed in the NS last November/

The revelations have prompted fresh calls for the government to come clean about the document that took Britain to war in Iraq.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:22 pm    Post subject: Iraqi archivist demands US return seized documents Reply with quote

Iraqi archivist demands US return seized documents Sad

go to original http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/nov2007/libr-n17.shtml
By Sandy English

Millions of historical documents seized by US occupation forces from Iraqi archives remain held in the United States by the CIA and the Pentagon and must, under international law, be returned to Iraq, Dr. Saad Eskander, the director of the Iraqi National Library and Archive in Baghdad, told an audience at Columbia University in New York City on November 12.

Eskander stressed that the taking of these documents threatened the Iraqi people with the loss of their historical memory.

The Iraqi National Library and Archive (INLA) functions as one of the major cultural institutions in the Middle East. It is a repository for government and historical documents from many periods and is the central location for research into and the history of the Iraqi people.

Arsonists destroyed much of the library and archive on April 14, 2003 shortly after the occupation of Baghdad by American-led forces. The entire Old Library wing was almost completely burnt. The fire also desolated the microfilm collection of periodicals and other documents.

A portion of documents removed for safekeeping by Islamic clerics faced another disaster. These were stored in the basement of the Board of Tourism, which was deliberately flooded by looters. By the autumn of 2003, the documents had been moved to a space above ground, according to a 2005 report, where the Library of Congress mission saw them in November exhibiting extensive and active mold growth.

Since then, the INLAs compound has been bombed and shot at, and its staff have been threatened and beaten. Five of them have been killed in the last year and a half. For their safety, employees are discouraged from leaving premises during working hours.

The Iraqi government routinely ignores the INLAs importance as a cultural center. In August Iraqi security forces positioned themselves on the roof of the library and dismantled the buildings main gate and smashed doors and windows inside the main building, according to a CBS News report based on a communication from Eskander.

Stanley Cohen, president of the Scone Foundation, which co-sponsored Eskanders lecture at Columbia, introduced him by noting that the Bush administration had played a critical role in extinguishing historical memory in the Untied States as well.

Cohen was referring to the notorious 2001 Executive Order 13233 that gutted the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which allowed for the public access to presidential documents, and to the 2003 Executive Order 13291 that delayed the declassification of millions of government documents.

Cohen worried that the history of the last six years is incomplete, that documents that have been withheld will ultimately be destroyed. These Executive Orders, he noted, reversed the presumption of disclosure of public documents. While archivists have vigorously protested them, Cohen observed that they were Perhaps the first casualty in the decline of a free and open society.

Eskander began by giving a brief history of the difficulty in preserving historical documents in Iraq under British colonialism, the monarchical regime, and then under the republican and Baathist nationalist regimes.

Eskander then reviewed the disaster of April 2003: the National Archive lost 60 percent of its documents, the National Library lost 25 percent of its books, and over 95 percent of its rare books. The groups that had attacked the institution had been, on the one hand, professional thieves looking for valuable books, and on the other hand, ordinary Iraqis who wanted to know the fate of their relatives under the Baathist regime.

The arsonists, who burned the INLA and destroyed many documents from the Republican period, have widely been acknowledged to be Baathist operatives who were protecting the perpetrators of crimes against the Iraqi people.

Extremely significant was Eskanders observation that British and American troops had seized millions of documents from the secret police archives. The Baathist Ministry of the Interior, for example, had more documents in basements than existed in the entire National Archive collection.

He said that it was well known that many of these documents were used by the Americans to blackmail the secret police operatives of the former regime into working for the occupation.

These documents are now in the United States, presumably held by the CIA and the Pentagon. Eskander highlighted their importance for understanding Iraqi history and to the Iraqi people. We need to compensate the victims of the Hussein regime, he said.

Eskander outlined the way in which government documents that do remain in Iraq have been misused or ignored. De-Baathification, for example, was not supported by documentary evidence, and was subject to the whims of the partisan groups and individuals.

He also noted the many published documents violated the privacy of victims, and that the manner in which the names of perpetrators have been revealed has led to an escalation of violence and revenge killings. He spoke of the uneven government compensation for crimes of the former regime, based ..ed release of documents.

Without archives, democracy cannot be established, Eskander said. There is only oral testimony.

Some individuals, such as the American intelligence asset Ahmed Chalabi, took Baathist records and have printed them to sell at a profit.

Eskander told the audience that for four years he has tried to persuade the new government of the importance of archives, but with little result. The situation is very bad, he said. Rather than attending to the preservation of historical memory, Politicians are raising their salaries and holding parties in the Green Zone.

He ended by saying that he hoped that educated Americans would pressure the American government to return seized Iraqi documents. According to international law, they belong to the Iraqi people and represent an important part of Iraqs cultural heritage.

In a question and answer period, Eskander was asked if documents were used in the trial of former regime leaders, such as Saddam Hussein. He said very few were used in the Dujail trial (for reprisals against the village of Dujail after a failed assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein in July, 1982). Eskander called the execution of Hussein morally wrong. Better documentary evidence, he said, was used in the trial over the Anfal campaigns in which the Baathists, between 1986 and 1989, gassed thousands of Kurds to death.

In response to another question, Eskander noted the hypocrisy of the Arab regimes, which condemned the destruction of Iraqi cultural heritage, but have done little to stop it themselves. He noted that rare books looted from Iraqi collections are sold openly on the black market in Amman, Jordan.

He also observed that over the last period many pledges of aid and equipment for the reconstruction of the Iraqi National Library and Archive, particularly from the American military, had gone unfulfilled.

'Come and see the violence inherent in the system.
Help, help, I'm being repressed!'

The more you tighten your grip, the more Star Systems will slip through your fingers.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: John Pilger: The forgotten fallen (it's ok it's about Iraq) Reply with quote

I posted this article in the Remembrance Sunday thread for obvious reasons.

The article is too important to be buried somewhere where the Remembrance averse will not click, so I thought I'd post it as a new topic here too.

Hope you don't mind.

The forgotten fallen

John Pilger
The New Statesman

Published 15 November 2007

Remembrance Day was marred by the unacknowledged deaths in Iraq - a genocide that threatens to outstrip the horrors of Rwanda in the numbers killed and displaced

On Remembrance Day 2007, the great and the good bowed their heads at the Cenotaph. Generals, politicians, newsreaders, football managers and stock-market traders wore their poppies. Hypocrisy was a presence. No one mentioned Iraq. No one uttered the slightest remorse for the fallen of that country. No one read the forbidden list.

The forbidden list documents, without favour, the part the British state and its court have played in the destruction of Iraq. Here it is:

1 Holocaust denial

On 25 October, Dai Davies MP asked Gordon Brown about civilian deaths in Iraq. Brown passed the question to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who passed it to his junior minister, Kim Howells, who replied: "We continue to believe that there are no comprehensive or reliable figures for deaths since March 2003." This was a deception. In October 2006, the Lancet published research by Johns Hopkins University in the US and al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad which calculated that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the Anglo-American invasion. A Freedom of Information search revealed that the government, while publicly dismissing the study, secretly backed it as comprehensive and reliable. The chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Sir Roy Anderson, called its methods "robust" and "close to best practice". Other senior governments officials secretly acknowledged the survey's "tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones". Since then, the British research polling agency, Opinion Research Business, has extrapolated a figure of 1.2 million deaths in Iraq. Thus, the scale of death caused by the British and US governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.

2 Looting

The undeclared reason for the invasion of Iraq was the convergent ambitions of the neocons, or neo-fascists, in Washington and the far-right regimes of Israel. Both groups had long wanted Iraq crushed and the Middle East colonised to US and Israeli designs. The initial blueprint for this was the 1992 "Defence Planning Guidance", which outlined America's post-Cold War plans to dominate the Middle East and beyond. Its authors included Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell, architects of the 2003 invasion. Following the invasion, Paul Bremer, a neocon fanatic, was given absolute civil authority in Baghdad and in a series of decrees turned the entire future Iraqi economy over to US corporations. As this was lawless, the corporate plunderers were given immunity from all forms of prosecution. The Blair government was fully complicit and even objected when it looked as if UK companies might be excluded from the most profitable looting. British officials were awarded functionary colonial posts. A petroleum "law" will allow, in effect, foreign oil companies to approve their own contracts over Iraq's vast energy resources. This will complete the greatest theft since Hitler stripped his European conquests.

3 Destroying a nation's health

In 1999, I interviewed Dr Jawad Al-Ali, a cancer specialist at Basra city hospital. "Before the Gulf War," he said, "we had only three or four deaths in a month from cancer. Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the population in this area will get cancer." Iraq was then in the grip of an economic and humanitarian siege, initiated and driven by the US and Britain. The result, wrote Hans von Sponeck, the then chief UN humanitarian official in Baghdad, was "genocidal . . . practically an entire nation was subjected to poverty, death and destruction of its physical and mental foundations". Most of southern Iraq remains polluted with the toxic debris of British and American explosives, including uranium- 238 shells. Iraqi doctors pleaded in vain for help, citing the levels of leukaemia among children as the highest seen since Hiroshima. Professor Karol Sikora, chief of the World Health Organisation's cancer programme, wrote in the BMJ: "Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemo-therapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked by United States and British advisers [to the Sanctions Committee]." In 1999, Kim Howells, then trade minister, effectively banned the export to Iraq of vaccines that would protect mostly children from diphtheria, tetanus and yellow fever, which, he said, "are capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction".

Since 2003, apart from PR exercises for the embedded media, the British occupiers have made no attempt to re-equip and resupply hospitals that, prior to 1991, were regarded as the best in the Middle East. In July, Oxfam reported that 43 per cent of Iraqis were living in "absolute poverty". Under the occupation, malnutrition rates among children have spiralled to 28 per cent. A secret Defence Intelligence Agency document, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities", reveals that the civilian water supply was deliberately targeted. As a result, the great majority of the population has neither access to running water nor sanitation - in a country where such basic services were once as universal as in Britain. "The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30 per cent compared to the Saddam Hussein era," said Dr Haydar Salah, a paediatrician at Basra children's hospital. "Children are dying daily and no one is doing anything to help them." In January this year, nearly 100 leading British doctors wrote to Hilary Benn, then international development secretary, describing how children were dying because Britain had not fulfilled its obligations as an occupying power under UN Security Council Resolution 1483. Benn refused to see them.

4 Destroying a society

The UN estimates that 100,000 Iraqis are fleeing the country every month. The refugee crisis has now overtaken that of Darfur as the most catastrophic on earth. Half of Iraq's doctors have gone, along with engineers and teachers. The most literate society in the Middle East is being dismantled, piece by piece. Out of more than four million displaced people, Britain last year refused the majority of more than 1,000 Iraqis who applied to come here, while removing more "illegal" Iraqi refugees than any other European country. Thanks to tabloid-inspired legislation, Iraqis in Britain are often destitute, with no right to work and no support. They sleep and scavenge in parks. The government, says Amnesty, "is trying to starve them out of the country".

5 Propaganda

"See in my line of work," said George W Bush, "you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

Standing outside 10 Downing Street on 9 April 2003, the BBC's then political editor, Andrew Marr, reported the fall of Baghdad as a victory speech. Tony Blair, he told viewers, "said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right. And it would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result." In the United States, similar travesties passed as journalism. The difference was that leading American journalists began to consider the consequences of the role they had played in the build-up to the invasion. Several told me they believed that had the media challenged and investigated Bush's and Blair's lies, instead of echoing and amplifying them, the invasion might not have happened. A European study found that, of the major western television networks, the BBC permitted less coverage of dissent than all of them. A second study found that the BBC consistently gave credence to government propaganda that weapons of mass destruction existed. Unlike the Sun, the BBC has credibility - as does, or did, the Observer.

On 14 October 2001, the Observer's front page said: "US hawks accuse Iraq over anthrax". This was entirely false. Supplied by US intelligence, it was part of the Observer's staunchly pro-war coverage, which included claiming a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, for which there was no credible evidence and which betrayed the paper's honourable past. One report over two pages was headlined: "The Iraqi connection". It, too, came from "intelligence sources" and was rubbish. The reporter, David Rose, concluded his barren inquiry with a heartfelt plea for an invasion. "There are occasions in history," he wrote, "when the use of force is both right and sensible." Rose has since written his mea culpa, including in these pages, confessing how he was used. Other journalists have still to admit how they were manipulated by their own credulous relationship with established power.

These days, Iraq is reported as if it is exclusively a civil war, with a US military "surge" aimed at bringing peace to the scrapping natives. The perversity of this is breathtaking. That sectarian violence is the product of a vicious divide-and-conquer policy is beyond doubt. As for the largely media myth of al-Qaeda, "most of the [American] pros will tell you", wrote Seymour Hersh, "that the foreign fighters are a couple per cent, and then they're sort of leaderless". That a poorly armed, audacious resistance has not only pinned down the world's most powerful army but has agreed an anti-sectarian, anti al-Qaeda agenda, which opposes attacks on civilians and calls for free elections, is not news.

6 The next blood letting

In the 1960s and 1970s, British governments secretly expelled the population of Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean whose people have British nationality. Women and children were loaded on to vessels resembling slave ships and dumped in the slums of Mauritius, after their homeland was given to the Americans for a military base. Three times, the High Court has found this atrocity illegal, calling it a defiance of the Magna Carta and the Blair government's refusal to allow the people to go home "outrageous" and "repugnant". The government continues to use endless recourse to appeal, at the taxpayers' expense, to prevent upsetting Bush. The cruelty of this matches the fact that not only has the US repeatedly bombed Iraq from Diego Garcia, but at "Camp Justice", on the island, "al-Qaeda suspects" are "rendered" and "tortured", according to the Washington Post. Now the US Air Force is rushing to upgrade hangar facilities on the island so that stealth bombers can carry 14-tonne "bunker busting" bombs in an attack on Iran. Orchestrated propaganda in the media is critical to the success of this act of international piracy.

On 22 May, the front page of the Guardian carried the banner headline: "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq". This was a tract of unalloyed propaganda based entirely on anonymous US official sources. Through-out the media, other drums have taken up the beat. "Iran's nuclear ambitions" slips effortlessly from newsreaders' lips, no matter that the International Atomic Energy Agency refuted Washington's lies, no matter the echo of "Saddam's weapons of mass destruction", no matter that another bloodbath beckons.

Lest we forget.


The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:00 pm    Post subject: Suffer the Children.! Reply with quote

Number of children dying higher than when the country was under sanctions

Suffer the Children: Number of children dying higher than when the country was under sanctions.

By Hind al-Safar in Baghdad

Child mortality in Iraq has spiraled because of the tense security situation, deteriorating health services and lack of medical supplies, say experts.

According to a report released in May 2007 by aid agency Save the Children, Iraqs child mortality rate has increased by a staggering 150 per cent since 1990, more than any other country.

The report, entitled State of the Worlds Mothers 2007, said that some 122,000 Iraqi children - the equivalent of one in eight - died in 2005, before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of the deaths were among newborn babies in their first month of life.

Even before the latest war, Iraqi mothers and children were facing a grave humanitarian crisis caused by years of repression, conflict and external sanctions, said the report.

Since 2003, electricity shortages, insufficient clean water, deteriorating health services and soaring inflation have worsened already difficult living conditions.

The study listed pneumonia and diarrhoea as major killers of children in Iraq, together accounting for over 30 per cent of child deaths.

Conservative estimates place increases in infant mortality following the 2003 invasion of Iraq at 37 per cent, it said.

In the capital of Baghdad, there are four paediatric hospitals and three gynaecological hospitals, as well as individual childrens wards in other medical institutions.

The citys central paediatric hospital is in the capitals Islam neighbourhood - a volatile area which is hard for families and medical staff to reach.

The hospitals fall short in providing quality care because they do not have enough medical supplies or staff - who, in many cases, have fled to other countries.

Experts draw parallels between the dire state of Iraqs health care system today and the way it was when the country was under sanctions during the 1990s, when there was a similar limited supply of drugs and other medical resources.

The UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions against Iraq in 1990, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and these continued until 2003.

In 2000, the UN childrens agency UNICEF published a survey which showed the mortality rate among Iraqi children under five had more than doubled in the government-controlled south and centre of Iraq during the sanctions.

At the time, Anupama Rao Singh, a senior UNICEF official, said in an interview with Reuters that around half a million children under the age of five had died in Iraq since the international embargo was imposed.

In absolute terms, we estimate that perhaps about half a million children under five years of age have died, who ordinarily would not have died had the decline in mortality that was prevalent over the 70s and the 80s continued through the 90s, she said.

Mohammed Zahraw, a paediatrician with the ministry of healths inspector-generals office, said that similar threats to childrens health exist today and that these are compounded by the lack of security which now prevails in Iraq.

"In the past [infant deaths] were caused by the economic sanctions and the lack of medicine and medical supplies. The same problem exists now, in addition to the deteriorating security situation. This is particularly true in Baghdad, where its difficult to access hospitals," he said.

Fahima Salman, the head of the inspector-generals monitoring force, said the primary reason for high infant mortality in Iraq is a lack of drugs and medical supplies.

The inspector-generals office at the health ministry is tasked with inspecting hospitals and reports back to the ministry on the sanitation, performances and needs of health facilities.

Salman said that poor security and a lack of transport meant that it was hard to transfer drugs and supplies to hospitals and clinics. This means that families of patients usually buy basic medicine, such as antibiotics and hydrocortisone, on the black market and bring the medicine to the hospital or clinic.

"We, as the inspector general's office, visit health facilities to determine the level of shortages and note the difficulties, said Salman. We try to provide what we canbut we still face major challenges."

Sometimes, drug deliveries fail to reach the ministry of healths warehouses, and go missing en route.

Amal Abdul-Amir, a paediatrician at the Yarmook Teaching Hospital in Baghdads Karkh area, said that infants were also dying because paediatricians and gynaecologists had fled the country in droves, resulting in a lack of skilled staff.

People are turning to midwives who do not necessarily have experience with births or emergency cases, she explained. This is causing the number of infant mortalities to rise."

In hospitals throughout the country, it is not uncommon to hear the wails of grieving mothers, such as 30-year-old Zaineb Mohammed, whose two-month-old baby died after she failed to get him to hospital in time.

She told IWPR that en route to the hospital in the impoverished Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, her family was repeatedly stopped at roadblocks and checkpoints erected to combat security problems there.

The delays caused the childs condition to worsen and when they finally arrived there werent paediatric specialists to treat her.

Mohammed has vowed not to have another child. "I dont think that I can bear to lose another baby to the poor health and public services in Iraq," she said.

http://www.iwpr.net/index.php?apc_state=hen&s=o&o=l=EN&p=icr&s=f&o=340 692
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Remember when a lousy $ 5 million couldn't be found to repair the levees protecting New Orleans?

That's because the US government has PRIORITIES:

War costs may total $2.4 trillion

By Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion through the next decade, or nearly $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate scheduled for release Wednesday.

A previous CBO estimate put the wars' costs at more than $1.6 trillion. This one adds $705 billion in interest, taking into account that the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money. ...



Wow, more children dying under Dubya than in all of Clinton's murdering of Iraqi children?(thru 8 years of carpet bombing/horrific sanctions)

I wish more people would realize what a setup Iraq was.

CIA puts Saddam into the power position, with funding, weapons, support.
Urges them to fight Iran

secretly funds Iran, and excuses Saddam's attrocities

THEN Bush Sr's James Baker III envoy April Glaspie tells Saddam he can invade Kuwait.

And now the "war on terror": homeland security, Afghanistan and Iraq is soaring to near 2 trillion?

Thats ONE expensive boxcutter eh?
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Belgium outlawed uranium weapons earlier this year. If the rest of the world does not follow, what will happen is what Richard Bramhill calls a DU-locaust -- of the children of the countries where these weapons have been used, of soldiers, of the uranium miners, and of the munitions workers, as the living, dead, and deformed prove.

Depleted uranium -- a way out?

It was in 1993, when a group of twenty-four affected soldiers approached Professor Asaf Durakovic, one of the worlds leading experts on the effects of radiation, that a cause came to light.

They had many times the safe level of chemically toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU) in their bodies. Durakovic, although a senior officer in the U.S. Army during the first Persian Gulf War, had been unaware that the weapons used had contained depleted uranium.

I was horrified, he said. I was a soldier, but above all I am a doctor. By 1997, it was estimated that ninety thousand U.S. veterans were suffering from Persian Gulf War Syndrome.

Durakovic, who is also medical consultant for the Children of Chernobyl project at Hadassah University , Jerusalem , lost his job as Chief of Nuclear Medicine at the Veterans Administration Medical Facility at Wilmington , Delaware as a direct result of his work with Persian Gulf War veterans contaminated with radiation, he states.

Two other physicians, Dr. Burroughs and Dr. Slingerland of the Boston VA , also lost their jobs when they asked for more sensitive equipment to better diagnose the soldiers referred to them by Professor Durakovic.

Oddly, all the records pertaining to the sick soldiers at the Delaware VA went missing, a syndrome of another kind which has become familiar on both sides of the Atlantic .

Two years before Durakovics discovery, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) self initiated a report warning the government that if fifty tons of the residual dust from the explosions of the weapons on impact was left in the region, they estimated it would generate half a million extra cancer deaths by the end of the century (2000.)

Iraq s cancers and birth deformities have become an anomaly, compared to those in the Pacific Islands and amongst British troops after the nuclear testing in the 1950s.

Further, depleted is a misnomer. These weapons are made from waste from the nuclear fuel cycle and thus contain the whole lethal nuclear cocktail. DU weapons (sold to seventeen countries that are known and possibly others -- why let poisoning the planet and its population get in the way of numerous millions of quick bucks) are equivalent to spreading the contents of a nuclear reactor around the globe.

And far from fifty tons and that chilling warning, in Iraq several thousand tons now cover this ancient Biblical land, and with the bombs raining daily, the audit rises nearly hour by hour. The U.S. is currently by far the largest user of DU weapons. Over the past decade, they have bought more than sixteen million DU shells and bullets from Alliant Tech Systems alone. (Source: Janes.)

Strangely, this time, there have been few reports of soldiers with the terrible effects of 1991, where they were only in the region for a few weeks. Although troops now remain for months or a year, Persian Gulf War Syndrome mark 2 seems not an issue. Perhaps it is because, reportedly, doctors treating returning troops have been threatened with jail and or hefty fines if they say anything regarding DU-related symptoms.

The implication regarding compensation to countries affected by this poisoned legacy (DUs lethality lasts for four and a half billion years) and troops is financially stratospheric. Since the 2003 invasion, U.S. troops have denied entry to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and all other radiation experts seeking to test ground and air levels.

In Bosnia and the other parts of the former Yugoslavia where DU weapons were used (with missiles also dropped accidentally in neighboring countries, by the U.S., to whom all the worlds lives are seemingly cheap) the Iraq Syndrome quickly became apparent.

Even European peacekeepers on relatively short tours of duty became ill and developed leukemia and other cancers, and a number died. A five man film crew from BBC Scotland all tested DU positive after filming for less than a week there.

Afghanistan too was liberated in 2001, by uranium weapons, which continue to be routinely used, condemning generations yet to be born to deformities and the living -- the newborn and under fives the most susceptible -- to cancers and other horrific DU-related conditions.

Durakovic also found high levels of uranium in hospital patients there, as there will undoubtedly be in the occupying forces. He also found identical conditions to Iraq amongst the young: Children born with no limbs, no eyes, or with tumors protruding from their mouths and eyes.

The latest country to fall victim to uranium weapons is Lebanon -- but with a difference; it transpires. Dr. Chris Busby*, founder of the Low Level Radiation Campaign and Green Audit, is Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk and also sits on the (UK) Ministry of Defence Uranium Oversight Board.

Israel is one of the countries that possess uranium weapons. The first evidence that the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) were using them (in the July-August 2006 Israeli bombardment) was a Getty Picture Library image of an Israeli soldier carrying a DU anti-tank shell, says Busby.

He then noted a report in Lebanons Daily Star saying that Dr. Khobeisi, a scientist, had measured gamma radiation in a bomb crater at Khiam in the south of the country, at ten to twenty times higher (samples taken from different locations in the crater) than naturally occurring background radiation.

The following month, independent researcher Dai Williams** went to Lebanon on behalf of Green Audit to investigate and bring back samples to the UK for testing. He also brought back an air filter from an ambulance. Tested at the Harwell UKAEA laboratory: The results were astonishing.

Both soil and filter contained enriched uranium with the soil sample containing uranium about nine times higher than the natural background. (Remember how threatening the West has become towards Iran s efforts to enrich uranium?)

The soil sample was also sent to the School of Ocean Sciences in North Wales for a second test by a different method for certainty. The results were the same.

Busby asks, Why use enriched uranium? It is a bit like shooting your enemy with diamonds. He contends it is possible that it is a smoke screen for the wider use of depleted uranium, as the final contamination when all gets mixed up after the war has a natural isotopic signature (i.e.: can be read as uranium which occurs naturally in nature).

There are two other chilling possibilities says Busby: a fusion bomb or a thermobaric bomb, both of which would need enriched uranium. Certainly, doctors were reporting bodies in conditions they could find in no medical manuals, as in the attack on Falluja , Iraq .

Lebanese authorities denied the presence of enriched uranium; Israel denied using it. The bombardment had ended on the agreement that UN peacekeepers went in. Given their debilitation and mortality rate in the Balkans, this lethal presence might well have deterred them. To be certain, the incident was not isolated. Williams returned to Lebanon and brought back soil and water samples from Khiam and other sites. Enriched uranium was found in water samples from two separate craters in Khiam and in one of the soil samples. Then the money ran out.

The samples tested had already cost 2,000. Donations from an Arab friend and Swiss supporters totaled 850 -- and Dai Williams had paid the rest out of his own money. More work is needed, but it is now known that the IDF used enriched uranium in Lebanon .

Since it is in the ambulance air filter, it is also in the lungs of the inhabitants the Lebanese people have been sacrificed to cancers, leukemia, birth defects, like the people of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, says Busby, adding, and it may be worse: since we still do not know what the weapon was.

And have these weapons been used on the people of Gaza and the West Bank ? Furthermore, Israel is not only decimating those she perceives as her enemies, but her own people, neighboring countries, and even those further afield.

In context, Green Audit studied airborne uranium at sites in the UK between 1998 and 2004. There was only one period in which uranium in the air significantly exceeded the naturally occurring background presence: during the bombing of Iraq , in March and April 2003.

As with the radionuclides from Chernobyl , which affected Europe and the globe and still contaminate agricultural land, the potentially deadly wave of invisible particles traveled on the wind from Iraq . We are all (Persian) Gulf War victims now, commented Busbys colleague Richard Bramhill.

Can anything be done to halt the use of these genocidal weapons? Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, thinks so. He has launched a campaign for a global pact against uranium weapons.

Boyle points out that the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices. Clearly, he says, DU is analogous to poison gas.

The government of France is the official depository for the 1925 Geneva Protocol. Boyle contends that rather than aiming for an international treaty prohibiting the use of DU, which would probably take years, pressure should be put on every state to submit a letter to the French government to enforce a ban.

All that needs to be done is for anti-DU citizens, activists and NGOs in every country to pressure their foreign minister to write to their French counterpart, drawing attention to the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare of 17th June 1925 , prohibiting uses as above.

The letter should add that this Protocol is believed to already prohibit the use in war of depleted uranium ammunition, uranium armor plate and all other uranium weapons. A request should be made that the letter be circulated to all other High Contracting Parties to the 1925 Protocol and addressed to:

His Excellency,

The Foreign Minister,

Republic of France ,

37, Quai dOrsay ,

75351 Paris , France .

Or Fax: 33-1-43-17-4275.

Professor Boyle points out, As the Land Mines Treaty demonstrates, it is possible for a coalition of determined activists and NGOs, acting in concert with at least one sympathetic state, to bring into being an international treaty to address humanitarian concerns.

Such a sympathetic state exists. Belgium outlawed uranium weapons earlier this year. If the rest of the world does not follow, what will happen is what Richard Bramhill calls a DU-locaust -- of the children of the countries where these weapons have been used, of soldiers, of the uranium miners, and of the munitions workers, as the living, dead, and deformed prove.

* Author of Wings of Death and of Wolves of Water (2007) essential reading on radiations horrors, published by Green Audit (admin@greenaudit.org). Busby is also involved in Radioactive Times, the journal of the Low Level Radiation Campaign, a detailed quarterly update on nuclear industry shenanigans (http://www.llrc.org).

** See http://www.eoslifework.co.uk for a wealth of DU related material.

(Nov. 20 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Felicity Arbuthnot)

The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 10:52 am    Post subject: Holocaust Denial or Holocaust Now In Iraq? Reply with quote

Holocaust denial is taking place with little outcry: the holocaust in Iraq.

The average American believes that 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the US invasion in March 2003. The most commonly cited figure in the media is 70,000. But the actual number of people who have been killed is most likely more than one million.

This is five times more than the estimates of killings in Darfur and even more than the genocide in Rwanda 13 years ago.

The estimate of more than one million violent deaths in Iraq was confirmed again two months ago in a poll by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business, which estimated 1,220,580 violent deaths since the US invasion. This is consistent with the study conducted by doctors and scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health more than a year ago. Their study was published in the Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal. It estimated 601,000 people killed due to violence as of July 2006; but if updated on the basis of deaths since the study, this estimate would also be more than a million. These estimates do not include those who have died because of public health problems created by the war, including breakdowns in sewerage systems and electricity, shortages of medicines, etc.

Amazingly, some journalists and editors - and of course some politicians - dismiss such measurements because they are based on random sampling of the population rather than a complete count of the dead. While it would be wrong to blame anyone for their lack of education, this disregard for scientific methods and results is inexcusable. As one observer succinctly put it: if you don't believe in random sampling, the next time your doctor orders a blood test, tell him that he needs to take all of it.

The methods used in the estimates of Iraqi deaths are the same as those used to estimate the deaths in Darfur, which are widely accepted in the media. They are also consistent with the large numbers of refugees from the violence (estimated at more than four million). There is no reason to disbelieve them, or to accept tallies such as that the Iraq Body Count (73,305 - 84,222), which include only a small proportion of those killed, as an estimate of the overall death toll.

Of course, acknowledging the holocaust in Iraq might change the debate over the war. While Iraqi lives do not count for much in US politics, recognizing that a mass slaughter of this magnitude is taking place could lead to more questions about how this horrible situation came to be. Right now a convenient myth dominates the discussion: the fall of Saddam Hussein simply unleashed a civil war that was waiting to happen, and the violence is all due to Iraqis' inherent hatred of each other.

In fact, there is considerable evidence that the occupation itself - including the strategy of the occupying forces - has played a large role in escalating the violence to holocaust proportions. It is in the nature of such an occupation, where the vast majority of the people are opposed to the occupation and according to polls believe it is right to try and kill the occupiers, to pit one ethnic group against another. This was clear when Shiite troops were sent into Sunni Fallujah in 2004; it is obvious in the nature of the death-squad government, where officials from the highest levels of the Interior Ministry to the lowest ranking police officers - all trained and supported by the US military - have carried out a violent, sectarian mission of "ethnic cleansing." (The largest proportion of the killings in Iraq are from gunfire and executions, not from car bombs). It has become even more obvious in recent months as the United States is now arming both sides of the civil war, including Sunni militias in Anbar province as well as the Shiite government militias.

Washington is responsible for the holocaust in Iraq. That is the fact that almost everyone here wants to avoid. So the holocaust is denied
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Middle East May Claim More Lives Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by Sherwood Ross


By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan.

AlicetheKurious.....Iraq War...

For Israel.


That's why, no matter what it costs the Iraqi people, or the American people, this war must go on, until "victory", as defined by teflon-coated zionist think-tank "experts".

Why in the World, we invaded a sovereign country that is 6500 miles away


1992 Paul Wolfowitz Published Defense Planning Guidance within DoD suggesting removal of Saddam by force

1996 IASPS Published Clean Break paper as part of the A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000: (http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm) report prepared and signed by Perle, Fairbanks, Feith, Wurmser and 5 other members of IASPS; and was delivered to Israeli Prime Minister by Perle on July 8, 1996.

1996 Wurmser publishes report Coping with Crumbling States: A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant (http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat2.htm) [same web server as www.iasps.org]

1996 Series of editorials and articles in the Media (by Perle, Wurmser) about the entire region should be under military control in order to make Israel safer and why starting with Saddam is a good idea.

1997 PNAC was founded by Kristol and Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Abrams.

1997 -1998 PNAC started authoring reports and studies suggesting that removing Saddam is good start for America and helps U.S. to secure the Oil in the Middle East and thus dominate the World, etc.

1998 PNAC (Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, Rumsfeld, Bolton) started pressuring Clinton government for removal of Saddam.

1999 David Wurmser publishes Book: Why Removing Saddam Matters to U.S./Israel

2000 Quiet period due to presidential campaign and elections

2001 (before 9/11) Nearly all of the Regime Change crowd are on the White House payroll under Cheney, within the first 2-3 months of after Bush settles in the White House.

In the above mentioned documents/reports of 8 years, Number of References regarding why Israel or America should invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam because of Middle East OIL : 0 (zero/none/null/zilch)

Organizations with Missions

JINSA The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, (Headquarters: Washington DC)

1996 Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, Richard Perle, David E. Jeremiah, Michael Ladeen,

IASPS Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies, (Headquarters: Jerrusalem)

1996 David Wurmser, Douglas Feith (Likud member?), Richard Perle, Charles Fairbanks

PNAC Project for New American Century, Washington DC

1997 Founded by William Kristol & Robert Kagan (wife Victoria Nuland)

Members: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, Scooter Libby, Elliot Abrams, David Wurmser, Richard Perle

AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Washington DC
I.L. Kenen, Martin Indyk (founder), David Wurmser

AEI American Enterprise Institute, founded 1943 (Headquarters: Washington DC; same building as PNAC) Michael Ledeen, Frederick Kagan.

CPSG Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf
Stephen Solarz, Richard Perle, (funded by Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation)

Hudson Institute / Brookings Institution / RAND Corporation / CSP - Center for Security Policy

Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee (DPBAC or DPB) Richard Perle

Hoover Institution Robert Kagan, .

Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

Funds PNAC, AEI, CPSG, Heritige, Brookins, Institute for Justice, Cato, + many Middle East based think tanks.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, Jack Kemp, William Bennett, David Brock, Antonio Scalia

The Truth Tellers

Senator Ernest Hollings / Paul ONeal / Pat Buchanan / Anthony Zinni / Cindy Sheehan /


http://www.forward.com/articles/ex-mideast-envoy-zinni-charges-neocons -pushed-iraq/









The Lying Dynasty + Loyalists to another country other than USA

Stephen Hadley, David Satterfield

Victoria Nuland (Cheneys Deputy National Security Advisor)

Norman Podhoretz & Midge Decter (Normans wife) worked together on Present Danger (Nicaragua) in 1980

John Podhoretz (Norman & Midges Sun)

Charles Krauthammer

David and Meyrav Wurmser (David is in Cheneys staff)

Douglas Feith (Feith and Zell Associaties) (Undersec DoD and later Cheneys staff)

Dalck Feith (Douglas Feiths father, strong Zionist from Poland)

Irving Kristol (William Kristols father) married to Gertrude Himmelfarb

Gary Bauer and William Bennett (Christian Neocons members of many institutions above)

Michael Ladeen (married to Barbara Ladeen)

Perles Wifes Father is Alfred Wohlstetter (Univeristy of Chicago)

Alfred Wohlstetter opened doors for Wolfowitz

Donald Kagan (Roberts father) is Yale Historian

Donald & Frederick Kagan (Roberts Brother) published While America Sleeps

Marc Rich (Russian Mafia) (Libbys client) (Pardoned by Clinton per Sharons requests)

Pincus Green (Richs partner, oil-arms trader)

Pincus Green (Richs partner, arms dealer)

Rabbi Ronald Greenwald (Richs operator, based in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)

Viktor Bout (Richs arms trading partner)

Sam Domb (Sharon supporter in NYC

Jonathan Pollard (spy)

Stephen Bryen (spy)

Bryens connections (Perle, Abrams, Frank Gaffney, Steven Emerson)

Leonard Garment (Nixons Lawyer Libbys partner)

Dickstein Shapiro (Libbys Law Firm)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject: Basra security officially now Iraqi responsibility Reply with quote


So, what did we achieve? After four years and 174 dead, Britain's lead role in Basra is over

As responsibility for security is formally passed to the Iraqis today, Raymond Whitaker examines what, if anything,our armed forces have accomplished there since 2003

Published: 16 December 2007

The symbolism will be overwhelming. Today, at the last British military base in Iraq, Britain will formally hand over security in Basra, the last of the four Iraqi provinces for which it took responsibility after the invasion in 2003, to the local authorities. Bands will play; there will be a reading from the Koran; and speeches will declare this to be a historic moment.

In reality, however, nothing will change today. British forces stopped patrolling the rural areas of Basra province well before early September, when they finally quit Basra Palace, their last foothold inside Iraq's second largest city.

At that point, more than three months ago, the Iraqi army and police effectively took over security in the area which contains more than 70 per cent of the country's proven oil reserves and supplies 90 per cent of government revenue. Nor, after the ceremony, will hundreds of British soldiers be relieved of their duties in time to fly home for Christmas.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already outlined the timetable: the 4,500 troops remaining at the contingency operating base, known as the COB, at Basra airport will gradually be reduced by 2,000 over the first three months of 2008. Those left will continue training Iraqi forces and maintaining an "overwatch" role, ready to intervene in an emergency if asked to by the Iraqis.

Despite their retreat from the streets of Basra, British forces are not completely out of danger. Last week Guardsman Stephen Ferguson of the 1st Battalion, the Scots Guards, was killed when his Warrior armoured vehicle slid into a canal. He was the 174th British soldier to die in Iraq since the invasion. And, though the British force has not suffered a death from "hostile activity" since September, rocket and mortar attacks on the COB continue. Many of the troops still sleep in tents, with blast walls made of breeze-blocks or sandbags surrounding each bed, so that, while a direct hit would be fatal, the rest of the tent's occupants might escape without serious injury.

All this is out of sight and out of mind as far as Basra's inhabitants are concerned. "We do not see them [British troops], and we do not know what they are doing," said Abdullah Haji, a 52-year-old electrician. "We do not know how many are left in Basra, or how much longer they will be staying here. Now we have our police and army, and we also have the militias. But I do not want to talk about the militias."

Mr Haji's nervous comments go to the heart of the dispute over what, if anything, Britain has achieved in Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, of course, but four and a half years after Tony Blair proclaimed "Iraq will be a significantly better place as a result of the action that we have taken", can we claim any success? Or have we allowed politicians and military commanders to redefine the mission in such a way that they can deny it has been a complete failure?

"Whatever mistakes have been made," Mr Blair was saying in mid-2004, "... let us be pleased that Iraq is liberated." But only two years after the invasion, British officials in Basra were emphasising, off the record, that it was unrealistic to expect that south-east Iraq would ever be like south-east England. It had always been a lawless, violent place, where tribal rivalries, smuggling and bloody vendettas were a way of life.

The next stage in this lowering of expectations came in October last year, when the head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said that the presence of British troops in the area was "exacerbating" the situation, and that they should leave "soon". In the wake of General Dannatt's outburst, and especially after British combat deaths rose this year to their highest total since 2003, the military authorities began stressing that 90 per cent of the armed attacks in Basra were directed against British troops. Those who predicted that a British withdrawal to barracks would see an upsurge in violence would be proved wrong, they said.

Comments last week by the British military spokesman in Basra, Major Mike Shearer, followed this script faithfully. He said British troops had pulled out of Basra city because their presence was felt to be "provocative", adding that attacks had dropped dramatically since September. He accepted that the province was not "fixed", but went on: "We never pretended that we were going to hand over a province that had a white picket fence around it like a scene from The Stepford Wives."

Others, however, see an alternative reality. One Basra resident, Ahmed Hussein, welcomed the British withdrawal from Basra Palace purely because it had deprived the militias of a target. As they exchanged fire, he said, "they both used to miss, and a lot of innocent people got killed". But Peter Harling, Iraq project director of the International Crisis Group, which earlier this year published a damning report on Britain's occupation of Basra, said the British would have been unaware of these casualties.

"The only violence the British forces know about is that directed against them," said Mr Harling. "They have never monitored violence against Iraqi civilians, who have been left exposed. They have no protection whatsoever in their daily dealings with the militias and criminal gangs who dominate Basra."

Claims that General Jalil Khalaf, a new police commander sent in from Baghdad, had had some success in bringing order were sceptically treated by Mr Harling. "It would take a major showdown, of the kind the British never sought, to achieve any sort of order," he said. "The militias haven't confronted the Iraqi authorities, because they don't consider them a major threat. At the moment, despite regular clashes, there is a precarious working relationship among the militias, but it is a balance of terror."

Extreme Islamists have brutally enforced their vision of proper behaviour, banning activities which used to be normal in what was once a sophisticated city, such as music and dancing. In the past three months, 42 women have been reported killed for wearing make-up, or failing to don the hijab headscarf. Sama, a 24-year-old student, said ,"All my family, my friends, go out now with their heads covered. We know of girls who were killed because they did not listen to warnings. There was one woman who was accused of having an affair, and they took her away. No one has seen her since. Before the war we could all go out without our heads covered. We even went out in mixed groups, but that is no longer possible."

A poll of Iraqis in Basra, commissioned for BBC2's Newsnight last week, showed that a huge majority 86 per cent believed that the presence of British troops had had a negative effect on the province. More than half, 56 per cent, thought it had increased the level of militia violence, and nearly two-thirds wanted the British to depart the region altogether.

Was any other outcome ever possible? Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at London University and the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), doubts whether foreign forces could ever have achieved the Washington neocons' vision of spreading peace and democracy in the Middle East through regime change in Iraq. But he is particularly scathing about British policy in Basra, saying: "It was doomed from the beginning, because we never had anything like enough troops or resources on the ground. Since we were never able to help the ordinary people of Basra, we simply set the policy to fit the resources."

Even within the narrow definition of success for British forces, however the absence of mass violence - the triple bombing that took place last week in Amara was an ominous sign. One of the worst attacks in months, it killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 150 in an area where security responsibilities were handed over to the Iraqis earlier this year. Most analysts blamed militia rivalries, and Christopher Langton, senior fellow at the IISS, warned: "This could be replicated in Basra."

But even if there were to be a similar upheaval as powerful forces struggle for the spoils in a city which is the hub of Iraq's oil industry, Britain would insist that it was a problem for the Iraqis themselves to solve. With only 2,500 troops remaining, there are questions whether they would be able to do much more than defend themselves, and the hope is to have most of them home by the end of 2008.

At American urging, enough forces will be kept in place for the time being to secure Basra airport and the supply lines from Kuwait to Baghdad and the surrounding provinces. This may mean that some British troops remain in Iraq for several years to come. But the plain truth is that the British mission there came to an end for all practical purposes several months ago, when Operation Sinbad, a last attempt to seize back the initiative in Basra from the militias, was called off. It is a long way from the crusading zeal of 2003.

Voices from on and off the battlefield

Even among the many who believe we should never have gone into Iraq, there is the uneasy feeling that the manner of our leaving is less than honourable:

'We are very glad the British got rid of Saddam, but things are really bad here'

Abdullah Haji, 52, Basra technician

'I have much less freedom since the British came than before'

Sama, 24, Basra student

'This [withdrawal] is long overdue, for all the good the Iraqi adventure has done'

Peter Kilfoyle, former defence minister

'It is the start of a very difficult period of confrontation with Iran'

Patrick Mercer, Tory MP and former army officer

'If we had left earlier, we would have left it in a much better state'

Rose Gentle, Whose son, Gordon, died in Iraq

'Was it worth all the bloodshed? I don't think it was'

Field Marshal Lord Bramall, former chief of defence staff

The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3333 days since the signing of the Iraq Liberation Act
The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Federal Reserve stealing Iraqi oil revenues Reply with quote

Who's surprised any more? The biggest criminals are right at the top.

Kurt Nimmo
Truth News
February 1, 2008

Remember, the neocons told us the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent murder of over a million Iraqis was all about deposing the evil Saddam Hussein and gifting the Iraqi people with democracy.

Sure, and I have a pony for sale.

Of course, back in 2002 and 2003, when the criminal neocons made these absurd claims, only half wits with GWB bumper stickers on their pickup trucks believed them. Sadly, a large percentage of the American public is comprised of half wits, while an even large percentage, apathetic and decadent, didnt give a wit about the invasion, so long as they or their children were not required to serve, that is to say, having survived IEDs and suicide bombers, come down with a case of Gulf War Syndrome.

At the time, some of us said the invasion was divided into two roughly equal parts first, the cynical neocon desire to split Iraq in three parts with a heaping dose of clash of civilizations chaos and murder injected for good measure, and second the neolib plot to steal Iraqs oil.

In regard to the first, the neocons provided plenty of evidence in their writings and white papers. Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters formerly of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defense Department even provided us with a map of this proposed carving up, not that the corporate media took notice.

As to the second, we now have confirmation that the banker and Wall Street neolibs more interested in good old fashioned looting than engaging in the process of balkanization indeed accomplished their scheme to rob the Iraqis blind.

Increased Iraqi oil revenues stemming from high prices and improved security are piling up in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rather than being spent on needed reconstruction projects, reports the Washington Times.

Out of $10 billion budgeted for capital projects in 2007, only 4.4 percent had been spent by August, according to official Iraqi figures reported this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report cited unofficial figures saying about 24 percent had been spent.

Meanwhile, some $6 billion to $7 billion from last years budget is being rolled over and invested in U.S. treasuries, said Yahia Said, director of Iraq Revenue Watch, part of the private watchdog group Revenue Watch Institute.

So-called de-Baathification the systematic removal and liquidation of Saddams functionaries and others facilitated the process of robbery. The countrys midlevel bureaucracy has either fled the country or been purged in de-Baathification, [and] a lot of ministers are politically appointed and not professional, Yahia Said, director of Iraq Revenue Watch, told the Moonie controlled newspaper. The result is that orders go out from the ministers in Baghdad, but there is no structure or staff at the middle level to carry out the instructions.

As should be expected, the Bush administration tried to blame the victim. The Bush administration, citing unofficial Iraqi data, reported in September that Iraqs central government ministries had spent 24 percent of their 2007 capital projects budget as of July 15, even though this report is not consistent with Iraqs official expenditure reports, which show that the central ministries had spent only 4.4 percent of their investment budget as of August 2007, according to Said. U.S. and foreign officials, in other words neocons and their partners in crime, the financial sector neolibs, told the GAO that weaknesses in Iraqi procurement, budgeting, and accounting procedures had stymied the completion of projects.

Provincial governments, which had little or no control of their finances under Saddam Hussein, are struggling to spend the money they have under new budget systems, said Joseph Saloom, an adviser to David Satterfield, the senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and coordinator for Iraq.

As the corporate media has told us for years now, the Iraqis are to blame, as they are unable to get a central government up and running, never mind their country is a depleted uranium poisoned wasteland, the civilian infrastructure is decimated, crime is rampant, and various death squads run in the streets. Most of the people had never been ministers before, they had never managed large budgets, explained Mr. Said. Its all the fault of those silly Arabs, dont you know.

Meanwhile, the money is piling up over at the Federal Reserve, same as Federal Express, that is to say there is nothing federal about it. No doubt it will disappear soon enough, same as trillions disappeared from the coffers over at the Pentagon.

It is hardly an exaggeration to say the Iraqis indeed, the American people are being played, same as a clueless bystander falls victim to a confidence game. But for the latter this is hardly a concern, mostly because the average person, distracted by plasma televisions and play stations, does not read the Washington Times and is thus none the wiser.

Dare I say it is a near perfect situation for the crooks at the Federal Reserve?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:38 am    Post subject: This is the war that started with lies, and continues... Reply with quote

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-thi s-is-the-war-that-started-with-lies-and-continues-with-lie-after-lie-a fter-lie-797788.html

This is the war that started with lies, and continues with lie after lie after lie

Patrick Cockburn, Wednesday, 19 March 2008

It has been a war of lies from the start. All governments lie in wartime but American and British propaganda in Iraq over the past five years has been more untruthful than in any conflict since the First World War.

The outcome has been an official picture of Iraq akin to fantasy and an inability to learn from mistakes because of a refusal to admit that any occurred. Yet the war began with just such a mistake. Five years ago, on the evening of 19 March 2003, President George Bush appeared on American television to say that military action had started against Iraq.

This was a veiled reference to an attempt to kill Saddam Hussein by dropping four 2,000lb bombs and firing 40 cruise missiles at a place called al-Dura farm in south Baghdad, where the Iraqi leader was supposedly hiding in a bunker. There was no bunker. The only casualties were one civilian killed and 14 wounded, including nine women and a child.

On 7 April, the US Ai r Force dropped four more massive bombs on a house where Saddam was said to have been sighted in Baghdad. "I think we did get Saddam Hussein," said the US Vice President, Dick Cheney. "He was seen being dug out of the rubble and wasn't able to breathe."

Saddam was unharmed, probably because he had never been there, but 18 Iraqi civilians were dead. One US military leader defended the attacks, claiming they showed "US resolve and capabilities".

Mr Cheney was back in Baghdad this week, five years later almost to the day, to announce that there has been "phenomenal" improvements in Iraqi security. Within hours, a woman suicide bomber blew herself up in the Shia holy city of Kerbala, killing at least 40 and wounding 50 people. Often it is difficult to know where the self-deception ends and the deliberate mendacity begins.

The most notorious lie of all was that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. But critics of the war may have focused too much on WMD and not enough on later distortions.

The event which has done most to shape the present Iraqi political landscape was the savage civil war between Sunni and Shia in Baghdad and central Iraq in 2006-07 when 3,000 civilians a month were being butchered and which was won by the Shia.

The White House and Downing Street blithely denied a civil war was happening and forced Iraq politicians who said so to recant to pretend the crisis was less serious than it was.

More often, the lies have been small, designed to make a propaganda point for a day even if they are exposed as untrue a few weeks later. One example of this to shows in detail how propaganda distorts day-to-day reporting in Iraq, but, if the propagandist knows his job, is very difficult to disprove.

On 1 February this year, two suicide bombers, said to be female, blew themselves up in two pet markets in predominantly Shia areas of Baghdad, al Ghazil and al-Jadida, and killed 99 people. Iraqi government officials immediately said the bombers had the chromosonal disorder Down's syndrome, which they could tell this from looking at the severed heads of the bombers. Sadly, horrific bombings in Iraq are so common that they no longer generate much media interest abroad. It was the Down's syndrome angle which made the story front-page news. It showed al-Qa'ida in Iraq was even more inhumanly evil than one had supposed (if that were possible) and it meant, so Iraqi officials said, that al-Qa'ida was running out of volunteers.

The Times splashed on it under the headline, "Down's syndrome bombers kill 91". The story stated firmly that "explosives strapped to two women with Down's syndrome were detonated by remote control in crowded pet markets". Other papers, including The Independent, felt the story had a highly suspicious smell to it. How much could really be told about the mental condition of a woman from a human head shattered by a powerful bomb? Reliable eyewitnesses in suicide bombings are difficult to find because anybody standing close to the bomber is likely to be dead or in hospital.

The US military later supported the Iraqi claim that the bombers had Down's syndrome. On 10 February, they arrested Dr Sahi Aboub, the acting director of the al Rashad mental hospital in east Baghdad, alleging that he had provided mental patients for use by al-Qa'ida. The Iraqi Interior Ministry started rounding up beggars and mentally disturbed people on the grounds that they might be potential bombers.

But on 21 February, an American military spokes-man said there was no evidence the bombers had Down's. Adel Mohsin, a senior official at the Health Ministry in Baghdad, poured scorn on the idea that Dr Aboub could have done business with the Sunni fanatics of al-Qa'ida because he was a Shia and had only been in the job a few weeks.

A second doctor, who did not want to give his name, pointed out that al Rashad hospital is run by the fundamentalist Shia Mehdi Army and asked: "How would it be possible for al-Qa'ida to get in there?"

Few people in Baghdad now care about the exact circumstances of the bird market bombings apart from Dr Aboub, who is still in jail, and the mentally disturbed beggars who were incarcerated. Unfortunately, it is all too clear that al-Qa'ida is not running out of suicide bombers. But it is pieces of propaganda such as this small example, often swallowed whole by the media and a thousand times repeated, which cumulatively mask the terrible reality of Iraq.

"The conflict between corporations and activists is that of narcolepsy versus remembrance. The corporations have money, power and influence. Our sole influence is public outrage. Extract from "Cloud Atlas (page 125) by David Mitchell.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Times splashed on it under the headline, "Down's syndrome bombers kill 91". The story stated firmly that "explosives strapped to two women with Down's syndrome were detonated by remote control in crowded pet markets". Other papers, including The Independent, felt the story had a highly suspicious smell to it. How much could really be told about the mental condition of a woman from a human head shattered by a powerful bomb? Reliable eyewitnesses in suicide bombings are difficult to find because anybody standing close to the bomber is likely to be dead or in hospital.

The US military later supported the Iraqi claim that the bombers had Down's syndrome. On 10 February, they arrested Dr Sahi Aboub, the acting director of the al Rashad mental hospital in east Baghdad, alleging that he had provided mental patients for use by al-Qa'ida. The Iraqi Interior Ministry started rounding up beggars and mentally disturbed people on the grounds that they might be potential bombers.

But on 21 February, an American military spokes-man said there was no evidence the bombers had Down's. Adel Mohsin, a senior official at the Health Ministry in Baghdad, poured scorn on the idea that Dr Aboub could have done business with the Sunni fanatics of al-Qa'ida because he was a Shia and had only been in the job a few weeks.

A second doctor, who did not want to give his name, pointed out that al Rashad hospital is run by the fundamentalist Shia Mehdi Army and asked: "How would it be possible for al-Qa'ida to get in there?"

Few people in Baghdad now care about the exact circumstances of the bird market bombings apart from Dr Aboub, who is still in jail, and the mentally disturbed beggars who were incarcerated. Unfortunately, it is all too clear that al-Qa'ida is not running out of suicide bombers. But it is pieces of propaganda such as this small example, often swallowed whole by the media and a thousand times repeated, which cumulatively mask the terrible reality of Iraq.

This is F*cktarded: all for the sake of providing cover for a throw away headline

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Iraq 'surge' will end in US defeat... Reply with quote

First they told us the Maliki government would fight on their own to defeat the Mahdi army, then they told us the British were involved to help, then they told us they were handing over their weapons and now we are told the Green Zone in Baghdad is under sustained attack from ...Iran.

Middle East
Mar 28, 2008

Muqtada cuts free
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - The escalation of fighting between Mahdi Army militiamen and their Shi'ite rivals, which could mark the end of Muqtada al-Sadr's self-imposed ceasefire, also exposes General David Petraeus' strategy for controlling Muqtada's forces as a failure.

Petraeus reacted immediately to Sunday's rocket attacks on the Green Zone by blaming them on Iran. He told the BBC the rockets were "Iranian provided, Iranian-made rockets", and that they were launched by groups that were funded and trained by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Petraeus said this was "in complete violation of promises made by President [Mahmud] Ahmadinejad and other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts".

Petraeus statement was clearly intended to divert attention from a
development that threatens one of the two main pillars of the administration's claim of progress in Iraq - the willingness of Muqtada to restrain the Mahdi Army, even in the face of systematic raids on its leadership by the US military and its Iraqi allies.

The rocket attacks appear to have been one of several actions by the Mahdi Army to warn the United States and the Iraqi government to halt their systematic raids aimed at driving the Sadrists out of key Shi'ite centers in the south. They were followed almost immediately by Mahdi Army clashes with rival Shi'ite militiamen in Basra, Sadr City and Kut and a call for a nationwide general strike to demand the release of Sadrist detainees.

Even more pointed was a strong warning from Muqtada aide Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammedawi to the United States as well as to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), whose Badr Organization militiamen, in the uniforms of Iraqi security forces, have targeted the Madhi Army throughout the south. "They don't seem to realize that the Sadrist trend is like a volcano," he told worshippers Friday in Kufa. "If it explodes, it will crush their rotten heads."

The signs that the Madhi Army will no longer remain passive mark a major defeat for the US military command's strategy aimed at weakening the Mahdi Army.

When he took command in Iraq in early 2007, Petraeus recognized that the US occupation forces could not afford to wage a full-fledged campaign against the Mahdi Army as a whole. Instead it adopted a strategy of dividing the Sadrist movement.

Petraeus and the ground commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, hoped that there were leaders in the Sadrist movement who would be willing to give up further military resistance and accept the US occupation and the existing government.

For months, the command tried to generate a "dialogue" with "moderates" in the Sadrist camp. It issued a series of statements hailing Muqtada's willingness to change the purpose of his movement. Most recently, on January 17, Odierno said, "I believe he is trying to move forward with more of a religious organization and get away from a militia type-supported organization." But he admitted, "That could change."

Meanwhile, Petraeus targeted selected elements of the Mahdi Army in raids in Sadr City and the Shi'ite south, portraying its targets as "criminals" and "rogue elements" which had broken away from Muqtada and were armed, trained and financed by Iran. Odierno suggested in his January 17 press briefing that such renegade groups were causing "the majority of the violence".

But the "moderate" Sadrists who would be willing to make a deal with the US never materialized. Last July, a US commander in Baghdad claimed that Sadrist representatives had initiated "indirect" talks with the US military. But in January, Odierno would say only that they had been meeting with "local leaders" in Sadr City, not with representatives of the Sadrist movement.

The Mahdi Army's blunt warnings of military countermeasures followed months of raids against Muqtada's political-military organization by both US forces and the Badr Organization. According to a senior Sadrist parliamentarian, between 2,000 and 2,500 Mahdi Army militiamen had been detained since Muqtada declared a ceasefire last August.

The raids have been aimed at weakening the Madhi Army's political hold on Shi'ite cities in anticipation of eventual provincial elections.

During 2007 there were signs of strong support for Muqtada in Najaf, Basra and Karbala, as Sudarsan Raghavan reported in the Washington Post last December. In Najaf, portraits of Muqtada and his father, grand ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Sadr, who was assassinated by Saddam Hussein's security forces in 1999, had "mushroomed defiantly in the streets".

Muqtada's image had also been "pervasive" in Karbala, according to Raghavan, until security forces loyal to the ISCI arrested more than 400 of Muqtada's followers in an obvious effort to destroy its organization in the city.

For months Muqtada had refrained from authorizing a full-fledged response to such attacks on his forces. But on Tuesday an officer at Muqtada's headquarters in Najaf said the Mahdi Army should be prepared to "strike the occupiers" as well as the Badr Organization.

Revealing the contradictions built into the US position in Iraq, even as it was blaming Iran for the alleged renegade units of the Mahdi Army, the US was using the Badr Organization, the military arm of the ISCI, to carry out raids against the Mahdi Army. The Badr Organization and the ISCI had always been and remained the most pro-Iranian political-military forces in Iraq, having been established, trained and funded by the IRGC from Shi'ite exiles in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war.

It was the ISCI leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim who had invited two IRGC officers to be his guests in December 2006, apparently to discuss military assistance to the Badr Organization. The Iranian officials were seized in the home of Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of the Badr Organization and detained by the US military. The George W Bush administration continued throughout 2007 to cite those Iranian visitors as evidence of the IRGC's illicit intervention in Iraq.

But the Badr Organization had become the indispensable element of the Iraqi government's security forces, who could be counted on to oppose the Mahdi Army in the south. And in a further ironic twist, it was the leaders of the ISCI and of the Nuri al-Maliki government, which depended on Iranian support, who insisted last summer and autumn that the US should credit Iran with having prevailed on Muqtada to agree to a ceasefire. The close collaboration of the US command with these pro-Iranian groups against Muqtada appears to be the main reason for the State Department's endorsement of that argument last December.

The Petraeus assertion that the rocket attacks on the Green Zone were Iranian-inspired strongly implied that Iran is still providing arms to Shi'ite militias. However, Odierno told a press briefing in mid-January, "We are not sure if they're still importing [sic] weapons into Iraq."

That admission came only after many months in which US officers in the border provinces were unable to find any evidence of arms coming across the border from Iran.

Those officers also found no trace of the alleged presence of the IRGC personnel in Iraq. Last November, the French weekly news magazine Le Point quoted Major Scott A Pettigrew, the military intelligence chief in Diyala province on the Iranian border, as saying, "I have never seen any activity or presence of the Quds Force. I see nothing here that resembles a proxy war with Iran."

Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brown just announced troops are staying.
He obviously knows something we dont...

Sadr Calls for Anti-US March

BAGHDAD, April 3--Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for millions of Iraqis to turn out next week in massive anti-US protests, his office announced on Thursday.

The march would take place in major centers across the country on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iraq is tense after more than a week of clashes between security forces, backed by US troops, and Sadr's Mahdi Army.

A statement from Sadr's office in the central holy city of Najaf said all Iraqis, "Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Arabs, must express their rejection and raise their voice against the tyrant occupier" in protests on April 9.

It urged the participation of "millions" of Iraqis.

"The time has come to express your rejections and raise your voices loud against the unjust occupier and enemy of nations and humanity, and against the horrible massacres committed by the occupier against our honorable people," the statement said.

The government said it would not attempt to block the demonstration, provided it was not violent.

"The right to hold a peaceful demonstration and express opinions is guaranteed by the constitution, and we don't mind as long as the demonstration is peaceful," Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf told Reuters.

Sadr also called for a "peaceful sit-in" in Baghdad on Friday to protest against bombings, arrests and vehicle bans that continue to seal off parts of the capital.

Iraq's worst fighting since at least the first half of last year mainly ended on Sunday after Sadr called his followers off the streets. But Sadr supporters say government forces are still rounding them up and besieging Sadr strongholds in Baghdad.

Sadr has millions of followers and was able to summon tens of thousands of people onto the streets in Baghdad for demonstrations during last week's fighting, but a march to Najaf would potentially mobilize entire swathes of Shi'ite Iraq.

In 2004, Sadr launched two fierce rebellions from Najaf against the American military before entering the political process.

The Mahdi Army fought fierce battles with Iraqi security forces in the southern city of Basra and in Baghdad last week after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched a crackdown on it.

The firefights ended after Sadr on Sunday told his fighters to withdraw.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Too soon to tell who won, lost in Basra: US military chief

Wed Apr 2, 5:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The chief of the US military said Wednesday it was too soon to tell who won or lost the Iraqi government's fight against Shiite militiamen in Basra.

Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's effort to crack down on the Shiite fighters in the southern city.

"I applaud the strategic intent here by the prime minister," Mullen told a news conference.

"We've been looking forward to ... a time when the Iraqi security forces would, in fact, take the lead and be aggressive in terms of providing for their own security," he said.

"And so from that standpoint, that strategic intent I think was very positive," he said.

But Mullen said no one could be declared a winner yet.

"I think it's too early to tell what the, sort of, the strategic outcome is and was it a win or a loss or a victory or a defeat," he said.

The fighting has significantly come down in the last couple of days, but the operation "is still ongoing," Mullen said.

He also said the US military would continue its pullout of five battalions despite the uptick in violence, bringing the number of US troops in Iraq back to their pre-surge level of about 130,000 soldiers.

"Right now we're still on track for the fifth brigade to come out -- the last of the surge brigades to come out by the end of July," he said.

The military will then halt withdrawals to review the situation on the ground before deciding on the next steps, he said.

"This was a particularly violent week time frame, as we know. And it is the kind of violence and lack of security that would certainly drive an assessment of what we would do after that," Mullen said.

The commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and the US ambassador, Ryan Crocker, will give the US Congress a progress report on the war next week expected to shape debate about the US engagement there.

Maliki hailed the crackdown on Tuesday as a success which "achieved the aim of imposing law in the city and restoring normalcy."

A top Iraqi military commander, General Abdul Karim Khalaf, asserted that Iraqi forces were in full control of Basra after intense battles since March 25 that killed hundreds of people.

The offensive against the militias in Basra, mostly from the Mahdi Army of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, quickly set off a wave of clashes in other Shiite areas of Iraq in which at least 461 people were killed and more than 1,100 wounded.

The clashes began subsiding on Sunday after Sadr pulled his fighters off the streets following a deal with Maliki, who had personally directed the crackdown.

The deal left the militiamen with their weapons intact, and with some analysts saying the assaults had strengthened Sadr's hand and left Maliki politically battered.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surge or Siege of Green Zone?

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------

As General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker testify before Congress this week about the security situation in Iraq, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the surge is working and progress is under way, U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad have been ordered to take heightened security precautions in light of stepped-up attacks on the Green Zone, including one on Sunday that killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded 17 others.

Under this new security boost, says a U.S. Embassy official who asked not to be identified, embassy personnel have been told to remain under "hardened cover." Instructed to avoid their trailers, some embassy staffers are now sleeping in their offices and on cots in the new embassy building, currently under construction, according to a source who has spoken with embassy officials in Baghdad. Embassy personnel have also been cautioned to limit their trips outdoors and, when they must leave the protection of reinforced structures, to wear flak jackets, protective eyewear, and helmets.

"This is the security posture as of right now," the official says. "Due to the situation they've advised us to stay inside. At this time, the U.S. Embassy is taking precautions and taking hard cover."

This is the second time in less than two weeks that insurgent rocket and mortar attacks on the Green Zone have forced the State Department to instruct its Baghdad personnel to adopt these measures. In late March, the embassy issued a "warden message" notifying U.S. citizens in Iraq that "until further notice, all personnel under the authority of the Chief of Mission are required to wear body armor, helmet and protective eyewear anytime they are outside of building structures in the International Zone" and were "advised to remain inside of hardened structures at all times, except for mission essential movements." A separate memo sent by the State Department to embassy staff noted that these precautions were "due to the continuing threat of indirect fire in the International Zone."

The warden message was issued as the Green Zone increasingly came under attack by insurgents, whose mortar and rocket fire killed two Americans, one a solider and the other a contractor, in late March. While the Green Zone has been a frequent target of insurgent assaults, attacks have escalated recently as Iraqi and U.S. forces launched a crackdown on Shiite militiamen loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr. "It's like a light switch," one Green Zone contractor told the Washington Post recently. "When Sadr gets pissed off, rockets rain in."

During his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Petraeus said U.S. military forces in Iraq had taken control of a base in Sadr City, the Baghdad neighborhood where some of the mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone originated.

The embassy official says that security restrictions in the Green Zone had been eased since the March 27 warden message was issued, but were ramped up again on Tuesday. She declined to say how frequent heightened-security restrictions had become in the Green Zone, but similar precautions have been imposed in the past, including during a spike in violence last May. In September, after Blackwater contractors fired on civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square, the embassy issued a notice suspending "official U.S. government civilian ground movements outside the International Zone (IZ) and throughout Iraq."

The heightened violence has clearly caused embassy personnel, no strangers to the sound of gunfire or nearby explosions, to take security steps that aren't the norm in the Green Zone. "We don't walk around in flak jackets every day," the embassy official says.

http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2008/04/us-iraq-petraeu s-embassy-under-fire.html
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More than 200 dead as battle rages in Baghdad
Marie Colvin and Ali Rifat

THE toll from fierce fighting in Baghdads Sadr City has risen to at least 200 dead and more than 1,000 injured, according to doctors in the besieged suburb.

US and Iraqi troops killed at least 13 gunmen in heavy fighting there yesterday against the Mahdi Army loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The reports from Sadr City hospitals suggest far higher casualty figures than previously reported, although they cannot be independently verified. Dr Qassem Mudalal, the director of the Imam Ali hospital, said: There are 230 killed, I can confirm, in the hospitals of Sadr City. Ive been living in the hospital for two weeks.

I cant leave because of the siege and its too dangerous to be on the streets because of snipers and bombs.

He said most had died from shrapnel wounds. Other doctors claimed only a minority of the dead appeared to be militants.

The Iraqi government yesterday briefly lifted a blockade of the suburb, and allowed about 20 lorries loaded with food, blankets and medical supplies to enter the area.

An American convoy was struck by at least 10 roadside bombs while moving in to support Iraqi soldiers setting up a checkpoint in the west of the city, the US military reported.

There was no sign of a cessation of hostilities between al-Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. Children, women and old men have been injured and killed and there are no ambulances, said Um Ali, a housewife, by telephone from her home in Sadr City. The hospitals have no first-aid supplies and there are so few doctors.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The surge in Iraq is just a new media policy to keep the deaths from papers and in the media. As long as they are dying in droves life goes on...

US GIs in Iraq suffer worst week of '08

Bloodiest Week of 2008 for US Troops in Iraq Ends With Roadside Bomb Death, Pushing Toll to 19

AP News

Apr 12, 2008 13:48 EST

A roadside bomb killed an American soldier in Baghdad on Saturday, capping the bloodiest week for U.S. troops in Iraq this year. Clashes persisted in Shiite areas, even as the biggest Shiite militia sought to rein in its fighters.

At least 13 Shiite militants were killed in the latest clashes in Baghdad's militia stronghold of Sadr City, the U.S. military said. Iraqi police said seven civilians also died in fighting, which erupted Friday night and tapered off Saturday.

The U.S. military said the American soldier was killed in a blast Saturday morning in northwestern Baghdad but did not say whether Shiite militiamen were responsible.

The death raised to at least 19 the number of American troopers killed in Iraq since last Sunday.

American casualties have risen with an outbreak of fighting in Baghdad between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the largest Shiite militia the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr, who is believed to be in Iran, repeated on Saturday his demand for American soldiers to leave the country and urged his fighters not to target fellow Iraqis "unless they are helping the (U.S.) occupation."

Al-Sadr also blamed the Americans and their Iraqi allies for the assassination Friday of one of his top aides, Riyadh al-Nouri, director of his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

Gunmen ambushed al-Nouri as he was returning home from Friday prayers, and al-Sadr followers shouted anti-American slogans at his funeral in Najaf.

Despite the strident rhetoric, however, there were signs that al-Sadr was trying to calm his militia to avoid all-out war with the Americans. Al-Sadr is also under pressure from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also a Shiite, to disband the Mahdi Army or face a ban from politics.

Sadrist officials told The Associated Press they had received orders from their headquarters in Najaf to avoid confrontations with Iraqi and U.S. forces unless the Americans try to move deep into Sadr City, which has been under siege for two weeks.

The officials said the Sadrist leadership was concerned that the ongoing clashes were turning into a war of attrition that was weakening the movement and undermining support within its Shiite power base.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to discuss policy with outsiders.

In a move to bolster its image among Sadr City residents, the government Saturday lifted a ban on entering and leaving the district, home to some 2.5 million people. Police announced that one of the entrances had been opened to motor traffic.

Army patrols warned residents through loudspeakers to keep off the streets, saying the rebels had planted roadside bombs which needed to be cleared by the security forces.

Elsewhere, Iraqi soldiers acting on tips from detained Shiite militiamen found 14 bodies that had been buried in a field south of Baghdad, officials said Saturday. It was the second discovery this week of mass graves in the area, raising to 45 the number of bodies located there.

The victims are believed to have been killed more than a year ago as part of a cycle of retaliatory violence between Shiites and Sunnis that has since ebbed.

Recent clashes in the Baghdad area have severely strained a unilateral truce which al-Sadr imposed on the Mahdi Army last August. He ordered the standdown to allow time to reorganize the force and purge criminal factions that had tarnished the image of his movement.

U.S. officials have acknowledged that al-Sadr's truce, along with the Sunni Arab revolt against al-Qaida, had played a major role in reducing American and Iraqi deaths, especially in the Baghdad area.

With renewed Shiite militia fighting, Baghdad is now accounting for a growing number of American casualties.

Last month, 61 percent of the U.S. military deaths occurred in Baghdad, compared with 28 percent in February and 47 percent in April, 2007, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

Fighting in Baghdad broke out following last month's ill-prepared Iraqi government offensive against Shiite militias and criminal gangs in the southern city of Basra.

The offensive stalled in the face of fierce resistance by the militias, whose allies in the capital showered rockets and mortars on the U.S.-controlled Green Zone.

Although fighting has eased in Basra, U.S. and Iraqi troops have been pressing militias in Baghdad's Sadr City to drive them beyond rocket range to the Green Zone.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: NWO - The End Of The World As You Know It Reply with quote

The End Of The World As You Know It
By Michael T. Klare
16 April, 2008


Oil at $110 a barrel. Gasoline at $3.35 (or more) per gallon. Diesel fuel at $4 per gallon. Independent truckers forced off the road. Home heating oil rising to unconscionable price levels. Jet fuel so expensive that three low-cost airlines stopped flying in the past few weeks. This is just a taste of the latest energy news, signaling a profound change in how all of us, in this country and around the world, are going to live trends that, so far as anyone can predict, will only become more pronounced as energy supplies dwindle and the global struggle over their allocation intensifies.

Energy of all sorts was once hugely abundant, making possible the worldwide economic expansion of the past six decades. This expansion benefited the United States above all along with its First World allies in Europe and the Pacific. Recently, however, a select group of former Third World countries China and India in particular have sought to participate in this energy bonanza by industrializing their economies and selling a wide range of goods to international markets. This, in turn, has led to an unprecedented spurt in global energy consumption a 47% rise in the past 20 years alone, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

An increase of this sort would not be a matter of deep anxiety if the worlds primary energy suppliers were capable of producing the needed additional fuels. Instead, we face a frightening reality: a marked slowdown in the expansion of global energy supplies just as demand rises precipitously. These supplies are not exactly disappearing though that will occur sooner or later but they are not growing fast enough to satisfy soaring global demand.

The combination of rising demand, the emergence of powerful new energy consumers, and the contraction of the global energy supply is demolishing the energy-abundant world we are familiar with and creating in its place a new world order. Think of it as: rising powers/shrinking planet.

This new world order will be characterized by fierce international competition for dwindling stocks of oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium, as well as by a tidal shift in power and wealth from energy-deficit states like China, Japan, and the United States to energy-surplus states like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. In the process, the lives of everyone will be affected in one way or another with poor and middle-class consumers in the energy-deficit states experiencing the harshest effects. Thats most of us and our children, in case you hadnt quite taken it in.

Here, in a nutshell, are five key forces in this new world order which will change our planet:

1. Intense competition between older and newer economic powers for available supplies of energy: Until very recently, the mature industrial powers of Europe, Asia, and North America consumed the lions share of energy and left the dregs for the developing world. As recently as 1990, the members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the club of the worlds richest nations, consumed approximately 57% of world energy; the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact bloc, 14% percent; and only 29% was left to the developing world. But that ratio is changing: With strong economic growth in the developing countries, a greater proportion of the worlds energy is being consumed by them. By 2010, the developing worlds share of energy use is expected to reach 40% and, if current trends persist, 47% by 2030.

China plays a critical role in all this. The Chinese alone are projected to consume 17% of world energy by 2015, and 20% by 2025 by which time, if trend lines continue, it will have overtaken the United States as the worlds leading energy consumer. India, which, in 2004, accounted for 3.4% of world energy use, is projected to reach 4.4% percent by 2025, while consumption in other rapidly industrializing nations like Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Turkey is expected to grow as well.

These rising economic dynamos will have to compete with the mature economic powers for access to remaining untapped reserves of exportable energy in many cases, bought up long ago by the private energy firms of the mature powers like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Total of France, and Royal Dutch Shell. Of necessity, the new contenders have developed a potent strategy for competing with the Western majors: theyve created state-owned companies of their own and fashioned strategic alliances with the national oil companies that now control oil and gas reserves in many of the major energy-producing nations.

Chinas Sinopec, for example, has established a strategic alliance with Saudi Aramco, the nationalized giant once owned by Chevron and Exxon Mobil, to explore for natural gas in Saudi Arabia and market Saudi crude oil in China. Likewise, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) will collaborate with Gazprom, the massive state-controlled Russian natural gas monopoly, to build pipelines and deliver Russian gas to China. Several of these state-owned firms, including CNPC and Indias Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, are now set to collaborate with Petrleos de Venezuela S.A. in developing the extra-heavy crude of the Orinoco belt once controlled by Chevron. In this new stage of energy competition, the advantages long enjoyed by Western energy majors has been eroded by vigorous, state-backed upstarts from the developing world.

2. The insufficiency of primary energy supplies: The capacity of the global energy industry to satisfy demand is shrinking. By all accounts, the global supply of oil will expand for perhaps another half-decade before reaching a peak and beginning to decline, while supplies of natural gas, coal, and uranium will probably grow for another decade or two before peaking and commencing their own inevitable declines. In the meantime, global supplies of these existing fuels will prove incapable of reaching the elevated levels demanded.

Take oil. The U.S. Department of Energy claims that world oil demand, expected to reach 117.6 million barrels per day in 2030, will be matched by a supply that miracle of miracles will hit exactly 117.7 million barrels (including petroleum liquids derived from allied substances like natural gas and Canadian tar sands) at the same time. Most energy professionals, however, consider this estimate highly unrealistic. One hundred million barrels is now in my view an optimistic case, the CEO of Total, Christophe de Margerie, typically told a London oil conference in October 2007. It is not my view; it is the industry view, or the view of those who like to speak clearly, honestly, and [are] not just trying to please people.

Similarly, the authors of the Medium-Term Oil Market Report, published in July 2007 by the International Energy Agency, an affiliate of the OECD, concluded that world oil output might hit 96 million barrels per day by 2012, but was unlikely to go much beyond that as a dearth of new discoveries made future growth impossible.

Daily business-page headlines point to a vortex of clashing trends: worldwide demand will continue to grow as hundred of millions of newly-affluent Chinese and Indian consumers line up to purchase their first automobile (some selling for as little as $2,500); key older elephant oil fields like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia and Canterell in Mexico are already in decline or expected to be so soon; and the rate of new oil-field discoveries plunges year after year. So expect global energy shortages and high prices to be a constant source of hardship.

3. The painfully slow development of energy alternatives: It has long been evident to policymakers that new sources of energy are desperately needed to compensate for the eventual disappearance of existing fuels as well as to slow the buildup of climate-changing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In fact, wind and solar power have gained significant footholds in some parts of the world. A number of other innovative energy solutions have already been developed and even tested out in university and corporate laboratories. But these alternatives, which now contribute only a tiny percentage of the worlds net fuel supply, are simply not being developed fast enough to avert the multifaceted global energy catastrophe that lies ahead.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, renewable fuels, including wind, solar, and hydropower (along with traditional fuels like firewood and dung), supplied but 7.4% of global energy in 2004; biofuels added another 0.3%. Meanwhile, fossil fuels oil, coal, and natural gas supplied 86% percent of world energy, nuclear power another 6%. Based on current rates of development and investment, the DoE offers the following dismal projection: In 2030, fossil fuels will still account for exactly the same share of world energy as in 2004. The expected increase in renewables and biofuels is so slight a mere 8.1% as to be virtually meaningless.

In global warming terms, the implications are nothing short of catastrophic: Rising reliance on coal (especially in China, India, and the United States) means that global emissions of carbon dioxide are projected to rise by 59% over the next quarter-century, from 26.9 billion metric tons to 42.9 billion tons. The meaning of this is simple. If these figures hold, there is no hope of averting the worst effects of climate change.

When it comes to global energy supplies, the implications are nearly as dire. To meet soaring energy demand, we would need a massive influx of alternative fuels, which would mean equally massive investment in the trillions of dollars to ensure that the newest possibilities move rapidly from laboratory to full-scale commercial production; but that, sad to say, is not in the cards. Instead, the major energy firms (backed by lavish U.S. government subsidies and tax breaks) are putting their mega-windfall profits from rising energy prices into vastly expensive (and environmentally questionable) schemes to extract oil and gas from Alaska and the Arctic, or to drill in the deep and difficult waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The result? A few more barrels of oil or cubic feet of natural gas at exorbitant prices (with accompanying ecological damage), while non-petroleum alternatives limp along pitifully.

4. A steady migration of power and wealth from energy-deficit to energy-surplus nations: There are few countries perhaps a dozen altogether with enough oil, gas, coal, and uranium (or some combination thereof) to meet their own energy needs and provide significant surpluses for export. Not surprisingly, such states will be able to extract increasingly beneficial terms from the much wider pool of energy-deficit nations dependent on them for vital supplies of energy. These terms, primarily of a financial nature, will result in growing mountains of petrodollars being accumulated by the leading oil producers, but will also include political and military concessions.

In the case of oil and natural gas, the major energy-surplus states can be counted on two hands. Ten oil-rich states possess 82.2% of the worlds proven reserves. In order of importance, they are: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Russia, Libya, Kazakhstan, and Nigeria. The possession of natural gas is even more concentrated. Three countries Russia, Iran, and Qatar harbor an astonishing 55.8% of the world supply. All of these countries are in an enviable position to cash in on the dramatic rise in global energy prices and to extract from potential customers whatever political concessions they deem important.

The transfer of wealth alone is already mind-boggling. The oil-exporting countries collected an estimated $970 billion from the importing countries in 2006, and the take for 2007, when finally calculated, is expected to be far higher. A substantial fraction of these dollars, yen, and euros have been deposited in sovereign-wealth funds (SWFs), giant investment accounts owned by the oil states and deployed for the acquisition of valuable assets around the world. In recent months, the Persian Gulf SWFs have been taking advantage of the financial crisis in the United States to purchase large stakes in strategic sectors of its economy. In November 2007, for example, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) acquired a $7.5 billion stake in Citigroup, Americas largest bank holding company; in January, Citigroup sold an even larger share, worth $12.5 billion, to the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and several other Middle Eastern investors, including Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. The managers of ADIA and KIA insist that they do not intend to use their newly-acquired stakes in Citigroup and other U.S. banks and corporations to influence U.S. economic or foreign policy, but it is hard to imagine that a financial shift of this magnitude, which can only gain momentum in the decades ahead, will not translate into some form of political leverage.

In the case of Russia, which has risen from the ashes of the Soviet Union as the worlds first energy superpower, it already has. Russia is now the worlds leading supplier of natural gas, the second largest supplier of oil, and a major producer of coal and uranium. Though many of these assets were briefly privatized during the reign of Boris Yeltsin, President Vladimir Putin has brought most of them back under state control in some cases, by exceedingly questionable legal means. He then used these assets in campaigns to bribe or coerce former Soviet republics on Russias periphery reliant on it for the bulk of their oil and gas supplies. European Union countries have sometimes expressed dismay at Putins tactics, but they, too, are dependent on Russian energy supplies, and so have learned to mute their protests to accommodate growing Russian power in Eurasia. Consider Russia a model for the new energy world order.

5. A Growing Risk of Conflict: Throughout history, major shifts in power have normally been accompanied by violence in some cases, protracted violent upheavals. Either states at the pinnacle of power have struggled to prevent the loss of their privileged status, or challengers have fought to topple those at the top of the heap. Will that happen now? Will energy-deficit states launch campaigns to wrest the oil and gas reserves of surplus states from their control the Bush administrations war in Iraq might already be thought of as one such attempt or to eliminate competitors among their deficit-state rivals?

The high costs and risks of modern warfare are well known and there is a widespread perception that energy problems can best be solved through economic means, not military ones. Nevertheless, the major powers are employing military means in their efforts to gain advantage in the global struggle for energy, and no one should be deluded on the subject. These endeavors could easily enough lead to unintended escalation and conflict.

One conspicuous use of military means in the pursuit of energy is obviously the regular transfer of arms and military-support services by the major energy-importing states to their principal suppliers. Both the United States and China, for example, have stepped up their deliveries of arms and equipment to oil-producing states like Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan in Africa and, in the Caspian Sea basin, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The United States has placed particular emphasis on suppressing the armed insurgency in the vital Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where most of the countrys oil is produced; Beijing has emphasized arms aid to Sudan, where Chinese-led oil operations are threatened by insurgencies in both the South and Darfur.

Russia is also using arms transfers as an instrument in its efforts to gain influence in the major oil- and gas-producing regions of the Caspian Sea basin and the Persian Gulf. Its urge is not to procure energy for its own use, but to dominate the flow of energy to others. In particular, Moscow seeks a monopoly on the transportation of Central Asian gas to Europe via Gazproms vast pipeline network; it also wants to tap into Irans mammoth gas fields, further cementing Russias control over the trade in natural gas.

The danger, of course, is that such endeavors, multiplied over time, will provoke regional arms races, exacerbate regional tensions, and increase the danger of great-power involvement in any local conflicts that erupt. History has all too many examples of such miscalculations leading to wars that spiral out of control. Think of the years leading up to World War I. In fact, Central Asia and the Caspian today, with their multiple ethnic disorders and great-power rivalries, bear more than a glancing resemblance to the Balkans in the years leading up to 1914.

What this adds up to is simple and sobering: the end of the world as youve known it. In the new, energy-centric world we have all now entered, the price of oil will dominate our lives and power will reside in the hands of those who control its global distribution.

In this new world order, energy will govern our lives in new ways and on a daily basis. It will determine when, and for what purposes, we use our cars; how high (or low) we turn our thermostats; when, where, or even if, we travel; increasingly, what foods we eat (given that the price of producing and distributing many meats and vegetables is profoundly affected by the cost of oil or the allure of growing corn for ethanol); for some of us, where to live; for others, what businesses we engage in; for all of us, when and under what circumstances we go to war or avoid foreign entanglements that could end in war.

This leads to a final observation: The most pressing decision facing the next president and Congress may be how best to accelerate the transition from a fossil-fuel-based energy system to a system based on climate-friendly energy alternatives.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author of Resource Wars and Blood and Oil. Consider this essay a preview of his newest book, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, which has just been published by Metropolitan Books. A brief video of Klare discussing key subjects in his new book can be viewed by clicking here.

Copyright 2008 Michael T. Klare

One Planet - One People - One Destiny
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: How Iraq Will End Reply with quote

Financial Collapse will End the Occupation:

And it won't be "A time of our choosing"

By Mike Whitney

Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us...
You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you...
Come and search for them in the rubble of your "surgical" air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head...pleading for your attention.
Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food...
Come and see, come..." "Flying Kites
Layla Anwar

14/04/08 "ICH " -- - The US Military has won every battle it has fought in Iraq, but it has lost the war. Wars are won politically, not militarily. Bush doesn't understand this. He still clings to the belief that a political settlement can be imposed through force. But he is mistaken. The use of overwhelming force has only spread the violence and added to the political instability. Now Iraq is ungovernable. Was that the objective? Miles of concrete blast-walls snake through Baghdad to separate the warring parties; the country is fragmented into a hundred smaller pieces each ruled by local militia commanders. These are the signs of failure not success. That's why the American people no longer support the occupation. They're just being practical; they know Bush's plan won't work. As Nir Rosen says, Iraq has become Somalia.

The administration still supports Iraqi President Nouri al Maliki, but al-Maliki is a meaningless figurehead who will have no effect on the country's future. He has no popular base of support and controls nothing beyond the walls of the Green Zone. The al-Maliki government is merely an Arab facade designed to convince the American people that political progress is being made, but there is no progress. Its a sham. The future is in the hands of the men with guns; they're the ones who have divided Iraq into locally-controlled fiefdoms and they are the one's who will ultimately decide who will rule the state. At present, the fighting between the factions is being described as sectarian warfare, but the term is intentionally misleading. The fighting is political in nature; the various militias are competing with each other to see who will fill the vacuum left by the removal of Saddam. It's a power struggle. The media likes to portray the conflict as a clash between half-crazed Arabs--"dead-enders and terrorists"---who relish the idea killing their countrymen, but that's just a way of demonizing the enemy. In truth, the violence is entirely rational; it is the inevitable reaction to the dissolution of the state and the occupation by foreign troops. Many military experts predicted that there would be outbreaks of fighting after the initial invasion, but their warnings were shrugged off by clueless politicians and the cheerleading media. Now the violence has flared up again in Basra and Baghdad, and there is no end in sight. Only one thing seems certain, Iraq's future will not be decided at the ballot box. Bush has made sure of that.

The US military does not rule Iraq nor does it have the power to control events on the ground. It's just one of many militias vieing for power in a state that is ruled by warlords. After the army conducts combat operations, it is forced to retreat to its camps and bases. This point needs to be emphasized in order to understand that there is no real future for the occupation. The US simply does not have the manpower to hold territory or to establish security. In fact, the presence of American troops incites violence because they are seen as forces of occupation, not liberators. Survey's show that the vast majority of the Iraqi people want US troops to leave. The military has destroyed too much of the country and slaughtered too many people to expect that these attitudes will change anytime soon. Iraqi poet and blogger Layla Anwar sums up the feelings of many of the war's victims in a recent post on her web site "An Arab Women's Blues":

"At the gates of Babylon the Great, you are still struggling, fighting away, chasing this or the other, detaining, bombing from above, filling up morgues, hospitals, graveyards and embassies and borders with quesesfor exit-visas.

Not one Iraqi wishes your presence. Not one Iraqi accepts your occupation.

Got news for you *, you will never control Iraq, not in six years, not in ten years, not in 20 years....You have brought upon yourself the hate and the curse of all Iraqis, Arabs and the rest of the world...now face your agony." (Layla Anwar; "An Arab Women's Blues: Reflections in a sealed bottle"

Is Bush hoping to change the mind of Layla or the millions of other Iraqis who have lost loved ones or been forced into exile or seen their country and culture crushed beneath the bootheel of foreign occupation? The hearts and minds campaign is lost. The US will never be welcome in Iraq.

According to a survey in the British Medical Journal "Lancet" more than a million Iraqis have been killed in the war. Another four million have been either internally-displaced or have fled the country. But the figures tell us nothing about the magnitude of the disaster that Bush has caused by attacking Iraq. The invasion is the greatest human catastrophe in the Middle East since the Nakba in 1948. Living standards have declined precipitously in every area---infant mortality, clean water, food-security, medical supplies, education, electrical power, employment etc. Even oil production is still below pre-war levels. The invasion is the most comprehensive policy failure since Vietnam; everything has gone wrong. The heart of the Arab world has descended into chaos. The suffering is incalculable.

The main problem is the occupation; it is the primary catalyst for violence and an obstacle to political settlement. As long as the occupation persists, so will the fighting. The claims that the so-called surge has changed the political landscape are greatly exaggerated. Retired Lt. General William Odom commented on this point in an interview on the Jim Lerher News Hour:

"The surge has sustained military instability and achieved nothing in political consolidation....Things are much worse now. And I don't see them getting any better. This was foreseeable a year and a half ago. And to continue to put the cozy veneer of comfortable half-truths on this is to deceive the American public and to make them think it is not the charade it is.....When you say that the Lebanization of Iraq is taking place, yes, but not because of Iran, but because the U.S. went in and made this kind of fragmentation possible. And it has occurred over the last five years....The al-Maliki government is worse off now...The notion that there;'s some kind of progress is absurd. The al-Maliki government uses its Ministry of Interior like a death squad militia. So to call Sadr an extremist and Maliki a good guy just overlooks the reality that there are no good guys." (Jim Lerher News Hour)

The war in Iraq was lost before the first shot was fired. The conflict never had the support of the American people and Iraq never posed a threat to US national security. The whole pretext for the war was based on lies; it was a coup orchestrated by elites and the media to carry out a far-right agenda. Now the mission has failed, but no one wants to admit their mistakes by withdrawing; so the butchery continues without pause.

How Will It End?

The Bush administration has decided to pursue a strategy that is unprecedented in US history. It has decided to continue to prosecute a war that has already been lost morally, strategically, and militarily. But fighting a losing war has its costs. America is much weaker now than it was when Bush first took office in 2000; politically, economically and militarily. US power and prestige around the world will continue to deteriorate until the troops are withdrawn from Iraq. But that's unlikely to happen until all other options have been exhausted. Deteriorating economic conditions in the financial markets are putting enormous downward pressure on the dollar. The corporate bond and equities markets are in disarray; the banking system is collapsing, consumer spending is down, tax revenues are falling, and the country is headed into a painful and protracted recession. The US will leave Iraq sooner than many pundits believe, but it will not be at a time of our choosing. Rather, the conflict will end when the United States no longer has the capacity to wage war. That time is not far off.

The Iraq War signals the end of US interventionism for at least a generation; maybe longer. The ideological foundation for the war (preemption/regime change) has been exposed as a baseless justification for unprovoked aggression. Someone will have to be held accountable. There will have to be international tribunals to determine who is responsible in the deaths of over one million Iraqis.
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 5:00 am    Post subject: America has behaved worse than Nazis (shocking pictures) Reply with quote


Iraq War Pictures

These photos show the tip of the iceberg of the suffering of both Americans and Iraqis in the Iraq war. This is considered collateral damage in a $20 trillion oil heist of the #2 oil reserves on the planet, callously masquerading as a compassionate regime change. The occupation and slaughter carries on without an official reason now that Saddam is captured. That the Iraqis resist occupation now seems justification enough for Bush. It may sound strange, but to Bush, the following images are erotically stimulating. Note I am not saying who in particular caused any of these injuries, just that this is the sort of suffering happening to both sides as the result of the war.

Most Americans are in deep denial that their country would butcher children and civilians, routinely torture, or bomb homes. Yet nearly every American saw this live on CNN with his own eyes on 2003-03-20 when America did its Shock & Awe bombing of the residential sections of Baghdad on the opening day of the war. Granted, they did not see the blood spurting, but they saw apartments full of families being turned to rubble. Everyone knows perfectly well what happens when a bomb hits an apartment. Americans pretend the $2 trillion they borrowed for the war went for reconstruction. If that were so, every Iraqi would be living in a mansion. That money clearly went for mayhem and destruction. Soldiers are trained and paid to kill, not build schools or hand out candy. America has behaved worse than Nazi Germany. Americans plug their ears and say lah lah lah as if that would erase their responsibility. How dare they claim to be a Christian nation!

Many Americans have written me convinced none of the casualties in the photos below could not possibly have been done by Americans. They seem to think American soldiers are in Iraq to act as police rather than killers. Consider. Iraqis have only IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to fight with. Whereas only American have helicopters to drop people out of, white phosphorus to mummify them, napalm to cook them to a crisp, cluster bombs to shread them, DU etc. So if you see a white phosphorus victim, nobody but Americans could have done it.


The pentagon has been shutting down websites that show pictures and assassinating the newspeople that create them. I would advise collecting them and passing them around by email, since that is harder for the Pentagon to stop. The Daily Mirror in Britain bravely left one of their stories in place all XXed out instead of just removing it in to Orwellian oblivioun when censored.

There are suprisingly few pictures of the damage or the casualties of Gulf War I or the sanction bombings. Bush Sr. exercised strict censorship. Please pass on URLs of any photos that speak to the heart.

My opponents argue that I cant prove precisely who was responsible for the carnage in any individual photo. My intent is not a criminal investigation of each incident but to show you just how horrible war in general is. It is no secret the USA has spent $300 billion on waging its war in Iraq, that it attacked unprovoked under false pretences and that it used weapons banned by the U.N., including napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium and white phosphorus. It also uses torture, rape, and attack dogs on children. The pictures on and linked to by my website dont come even close to depicting the true hell president Bush has created in his bid to takeover Iraqs oil.

You might wonder why there are not more pictures of American casualties. There are four reason for this:

1. The US military heavily censors photos of US casualties.
2. There are far fewer US casualties than Iraqi.
3. US soldiers like to photograph dead Iraqis much as they photograph hunting trophies. Iraqis are not as well supplied with cameras.
4. I dont really give a fig personally about US soldiers who die. Those US soldiers voluntarily chose the profession of hired killers. They kill for thrills and money, not because they are defending their country. I care about civilians, especially children, of any nationality or religion. I realise, however, that most Americans are infected with racism and nationalism and care only about American deaths and then only white ones, so I will gladly post any photos you can find of US casualties to pound home the cost of this war in suffering to Americans too.


Americans are as deeply in denial to their wrongdoing as Nazis were. They kid themselves they spend two trillion dollars ($80,000 per Iraqi man, woman and child in a country with an average monthly wage of $5) to create grief for Iraqis without killing non-combatants. Sgt. Frank Wuterich (accused of murdering 24 civilians) explained in a 60 Minutes interview that the policy is to kill anyone who shows hostile intent That would include a child throwing rocks or old women screaming obscenities. That would include anyone who did not lie on the ground in submission something the non-English speaking Iraqis are supposed to automatically understand. He said that he and his men threw grenades into houses, without doing any checks first to see if there was anynone there who was a combatant. Their belief is the only good Iraqis is a dead Iraqi, that Iraqi civilians are worthless scum, so it is perfectly acceptable to kill children on the off chance they might kill a resistance fighter in the process. The American soliders have lower morality than the Nazis in this regard.

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish." - Euripides
"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." - Albert Einstein
"To find yourself, think for yourself" - Socrates
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 7:03 am    Post subject: The Quotes That Sent Us To War Reply with quote

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/20/iraq-retrospective-read-_n_92 575.html

As the war in Iraq enters its sixth year, Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky have published a "definitive, footnoted, hilarious but depressing compilation of experts who were in error" about the war from the beginning. You can read more about the book -- "Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won The War In Iraq" -- here.

Below, an excerpt from the chapter titled "Their Finest Hour: America Readies Itself To Free The Iraqi People."

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2008/04/20/p24 878#more24878

The Quotes That Sent Us To War

Victor Navasky, 04/20/08

Below, an excerpt from the chapter titled "Their Finest Hour: America Readies Itself To Free The Iraqi People."


"I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."
- Kenneth Adelman, member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, 2/13/02

"Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse after the first whiff of gunpowder."
- Richard Perle, Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, 7/11/02

"Desert Storm II would be in a walk in the park... The case for 'regime change' boils down to the huge benefits and modest costs of liberating Iraq."
- Kenneth Adelman, member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, 8/29/02

"Having defeated and then occupied Iraq, democratizing the country should not be too tall an order for the world's sole superpower."
- William Kristol, Weekly Standard editor, and Lawrence F. Kaplan, New Republic senior editor, 2/24/03


"I would be surprised if we need anything like the 200,000 figure that is sometimes discussed in the press. A much smaller force, principally special operations forces, but backed up by some regular units, should be sufficient."
- Richard Perle, Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, 7/11/02

"I don't believe that anything like a long-term commitment of 150,000 Americans would be necessary."
- Richard Perle, speaking at a conference on "Post-Saddam Iraq" sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, 10/3/02

"I would say that what's been mobilized to this point -- something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required."
- Gen. Eric Shinseki, testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 2/25/03

"The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces, I think, is far from the mark."
- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2/27/03

"I am reasonably certain that they will greet us as liberators, and that will help us keep [troop] requirements down. ... We can say with reasonable confidence that the notion of hundreds of thousands of American troops is way off the mark...wildly off the mark."
- Paul Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, testifying before the House Budget Committee, 2/27/03

"It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to image."
- Paul Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, testifying before the House Budget Committee, 2/27/03

"If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave."
- President George W. Bush, 6/28/05

"The debate over troop levels will rage for years; it is...beside the point."
- Rich Lowry, conservative syndicated columnist, 4/19/06


"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."
- President George W. Bush, response attributed to him by the Reverend Pat Robertson, when Robertson warned the president to prepare the nation for "heavy casualties" in the event of an Iraq war, 3/2003

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
- Barbara Bush, former First Lady (and the current president's mother), on Good Morning America, 3/18/03

"I think the level of casualties is secondary... [A]ll the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war... What we hate is not casualties but losing."
- Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute, 3/25/03


"Iraq is a very wealthy country. Enormous oil reserves. They can finance, largely finance the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will."
- Richard Perle, Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, 7/11/02

"The likely economic effects [of the war in Iraq] would be relatively small... Under every plausible scenario, the negative effect will be quite small relative to the economic benefits."
- Lawrence Lindsey, White House Economic Advisor, 9/16/02

"It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars."
- Kenneth M. Pollack, former Director for Persian Gulf Affairs, U.S. National Security Council, 9/02

"The costs of any intervention would be very small."
- Glenn Hubbard, White House Economic Advisor, 10/4/02

"When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community."
- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 3/27/03

"There is a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people. We are talking about a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."
- Paul Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, testifying before the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, 3/27/03

"The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid."
- Mitchell Daniels, Director, White House Office of Management and Budget, 4/21/03

"Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for ther own reconstruction."
- Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary, 2/18/03


"Now, it isn't gong to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either."
- Richard Perle, Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, 7/11/02

"The idea that it's going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind I think is belied by the fact of what happened in 1990. Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."
- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 11/15/02

"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?"
- Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03

"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could be six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2/7/03

"It won't take weeks... Our military machine will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there's no question that it will."
- Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03

"There is zero question that this military campaign...will be reasonably short. ... Like World War II for about five days."
- General Barry R. McCaffrey, national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News, 2/18/03

"The Iraq fight itself is probably going to go very, very fast. The shooting should be over within just a very few days from when it starts."
- David Frum, former Bush White House speechwriter, 2/24/03

"Our military superiority is so great -- it's far greater than it was in the Gulf War, and the Gulf War was over in 100 hours after we bombed for 43 days... Now they can bomb for a couple of days and then just roll into Baghdad... The odds are there's going to be a war and it's going to be not for very long."
- Former President Bill Clinton, 3/6/03

"I think it will go relatively quickly...weeks rather than months."
- Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/16/03

"The conflict between corporations and activists is that of narcolepsy versus remembrance. The corporations have money, power and influence. Our sole influence is public outrage. Extract from "Cloud Atlas (page 125) by David Mitchell.
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject: US civilian goes to Iraq to see for himself Reply with quote


'I wanted to report on where the silence was'

The Guardian, Stephen Moss, Thursday May 8 2008

Texas-born Dahr Jamail was outraged that the US media were swallowing the Bush administration's line on Iraq and so, with just $2,000 and no previous journalistic experience, he set off to find out what was really happening in the country. He talks to Stephen Moss

In the spring of 2003 Dahr Jamail, a fourth-generation Lebanese-American with a taste for adventure, was up a mountain in Alaska, climbing and earning a living by working as a guide. He was, though, following news of the invasion of Iraq, and what he read and heard made him so furious that he decided to leave the mountains - "my church", as he calls them - and head for that newly subjugated land, armed only with a laptop and a digital recorder.

In a world of gung-ho, embedded, flak-jacketed US reporters telling the tale from the military angle, he had decided to try to find out what was happening to the Iraqis, who seemed absent from the story, which was odd considering there were 29 million of them in the country, dodging the bombs and the bullets. Or not.

"I wanted to report on where the silence was," he says. "There's this huge story going on and nobody's talking about it. How are Iraqis getting by, what's their daily life like?"

Jamail, a spruce 39-year-old who is the author of a new book, Beyond the Green Zone, says the supine nature of the US media encouraged him to act. "With a few exceptions, most of the US mainstream was just stenography for the state," he says. "It wasn't journalism; it was writing down what the Bush administration was telling them. I was amazed and outraged. I felt that the lack of clear information was the biggest problem I could see in the US, so I decided I should go over and write about it."

It took him until November 2003 to get the money together - $2,000, everything he had - and make some contacts, via the internet, in Iraq. He flew to Amman in Jordan, found a driver and an interpreter - he spoke no Arabic - and took a car to Baghdad, accompanied by a young couple from the UK who intended to spend a few days there "for the experience". The border was unguarded, US troops notable by their absence. The war had been fought at long range; now there was a vacuum.

Jamail visited hospitals and went to the town of Samarra, 50km north of Baghdad, to check out a "firefight" in which the US military said they had been attacked and had killed 54 Iraqi fighters. Jamail found the locals telling a different story: two Iraqi fighters had attacked a detachment of US troops guarding a delivery to a bank, and the soldiers had responded by firing indiscriminately, killing and wounding many civilians.

At first he had no intention of trying to compete with the mainstream media. "For the first two weeks [of a nine-week stay] I was just sending emails back home," he says. "I had a list of a little over a hundred friends, mostly in Alaska. I would go out in the day with an interpreter - I found someone to work with me who was really cheap because I didn't have much money - and interview people, take amateur photos, and then go back to the hotel and write it up. It was essentially blogging, but I didn't know what blogging was and I didn't have a blog, of course. I was just sending out two, three, four, five pages a night with a few photos attached to friends.

"After about two weeks someone suggested, 'Hey, you should post on this website electroniciraq.net.' They wanted posts from people on the ground. I did that for about a month and then towards the end of my trip, with about two weeks to go, I was contacted by the BBC to do a little bit of work with them. A start-up website in New York also contacted me to start doing some stories. I actually got paid to do some work, and that's when it became clear I could actually come back and work as a journalist."

I try to probe why Jamail should have made this extraordinary gesture: was there something in his make-up that led him to take this stand? Born and raised in Texas, the son of a grocery store owner, he says that there is a streak of unpredictability in his family. He is the youngest of three: his sister is a pilot, his brother is a police officer. "My parents have always had their hands full and were broken in a bit, so I guess they weren't completely shocked when I started to do my thing," he says. He means climbing, but what about Iraq? How did they and others close to him react? "Most people thought I was crazy. My closer friends supported it. They felt, 'If this is what you think, and you really want to do it, then all power to you.' I decided, wrong or right, not to worry my parents about it until I got in there, so I waited and wrote [to] them after I reached Baghdad. Fortunately they were open to it; they were shocked, but they were open to it."

Before he headed for Alaska in 1996, Jamail had worked as a chemical technician on Johnston Island, an atoll in the Pacific where the US military had dumped parts of its obsolete stockpile of chemical weapons - no problem here finding weapons of mass destruction. Jamail was there to check air quality in a pilot plant designed for decommissioning the weapons, but became disillusioned when he thought results were being rigged and leaks covered up.

It is tempting to see that disillusionment as the key to his later engagement, but he insists that it wasn't. He just packed in the job and went climbing - in Central America, South America and Pakistan, as well as Alaska. His journey to Iraq, he says, was born of anger and frustration; it was not a calculatedly political act. "I did it for more personal reasons," he explains. "I felt if I went and did this, I'd be able to come home and sleep a little bit better at night." He was wrong about that.

He had seen that first trip in the winter of 2003 as a one-off, but when he realised he could probably earn enough to live through his journalism he decided to go back. The fact that the security situation was deteriorating and that other journalists were pulling out increased the marketability of his on-the-spot reports, but also underlined the personal risks. Did he worry about the dangers? "By then I felt like I really wanted to stay in there and cover as much of the story as I could. You get into the story and you want to stay on it. It had its limits, though, and I didn't feel like I'd be able to stay in indefinitely."

He entered Iraq for the second time in April 2004, on the very day that Falluja, the town 70km west of Baghdad that became the focal point of the battle between US forces and Iraqi fighters, was being sealed off. "We immediately started hearing these horrible stories of what was happening there," he says. "I had a chance to go in and was really on the fence on whether I should do it or not, because I knew it was pretty crazy. But it seemed like we had a reasonable chance of going in safely, so I decided to take it. I ended up reporting for a couple of days from this makeshift clinic, and saw women, kids and some men being brought in who were all saying the same thing: the US pushed in [to Falluja] as far as they could and then just lined up snipers and started shooting into the city. There was no water, no electricity, medical workers were being targeted. It was a turning point for me."

By now, Jamail was filing his reports predominantly for the Inter Press Service, an agency based in Rome that sets out to "give a voice to the voiceless" and promote a new global order based on equality, democracy and justice. It is reporting, but reporting with a purpose, a clear agenda. So is it objective? Can someone who goes to Iraq convinced that the war is wrong and being fought for control of oil and strategic power offer unbiased reporting?

"Objective journalism is a myth," says Jamail. "Going into Iraq, I felt it was really important to read up on the history, find out what is the US security strategy, what is US foreign policy. Only then can you understand the facts and the nature of the US's historical involvement in Iraq. If I'm guilty of something, I was guilty of going into it looking at it through that lens, as opposed to those who were looking at it through the lens of anonymous briefings from Bush administration officials. Any journalist going into a war zone is going to be looking through a certain type of lens. It's a myth that you go in without opinions on the situation, or that you won't feel emotions and that nothing that happens is going to affect how you report on it. I don't buy that. I just don't think it's humanly possible."

He immediately qualifies that, however, by saying that he was not so blinkered that he made every fact and opinion he encountered fit his preconceived view. "When I came across Iraqis who were happy that Saddam was gone - and there were plenty, especially seven months into the occupation, before things had really started to degrade rapidly - I said so. I did run into things that challenged my preconceptions. I would from time to time run into a soldier who really believed in the mission. Early on, I met plenty of Iraqis who were glad the Americans were here, were still hopeful and wanted to give them some time, and I wrote about that."

In the introduction to his book, he quotes the story of an indigenous Canadian hunter who was called to give evidence at an inquiry into a planned dam that would flood his homeland and destroy his traditional way of life. The hunter was asked to swear on the Bible that he would tell the truth, but he had never seen a Bible and wondered how this miraculous truth-telling instrument worked. "He spoke with the translator at length," writes Jamail, "and finally the translator looked up at the judge. 'He does not know whether he can tell the truth. He says he can tell only what he knows.'"

I take it that is how Jamail sees his own role: to give his view, to write down what he sees, to filter what he discovers at first hand through the knowledge he has gained from reading official documents; to tell what he knows rather than claim to be relaying some almost metaphysical "truth", arrived at by
being perfectly objective. He sees the war in Iraq as the direct consequence of the stated national security strategy of building a worldwide network of US military bases and "projecting power". Talk of withdrawal from Iraq, he says, is a case of "putting the cart before the horse"; the whole strategy has to be rethought first. Iraq, in his view, is just a symptom of an endemic illness.

What this role as an avowedly anti-war journalist means, however, is that Jamail's political opponents can write him off as a propagandist. American TV networks have largely ignored him and his book. Even as the public mood has turned against the war, the mainstream media have not been able to disengage themselves from their view that, in time of war, the commander-in-chief and the boys in the field should be supported.

"I certainly get accused of being an activist, but I don't consider myself an activist," he says. "I've never done any kind of activism or organising. My response to my critics is to say, 'Tell me which of my facts you dispute and I'll give you my sources.' I ask people, 'Be specific.' If you want to attack my personality that's fine, but if you want to attack my work and my information, then tell me which of my stories you have a problem with and I'll happily give you my sources. I give talks in the US and people accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist, but I say, 'No, it's very rational, read these documents.'"

Jamail's Lebanese name doesn't help when he tries to argue that, while trying to fill the silence on the Iraqi side, he remains committed to reporting what he sees and telling what he knows. "One time I was on this rightwing radio programme, and the guy started out trying to describe me: 'Dahr Jamail, you're a Muslim, aren't you?' 'No. Would it matter if I was? But no, I'm not.' 'Where are you from, Dahr?' 'Anchorage, Alaska.' It didn't go real well for him. I didn't even have a Middle-Eastern accent."

Jamail made two further trips to Iraq, but hasn't been back since early 2005. The danger was now too great, and he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. "Having never reported in a war zone before, I was ignorant about PTSD," he says. "I assumed that journalists didn't get it. I thought you had to be a combat soldier to get it. When I got home after my fourth trip, I started having trouble sleeping. I was constantly thinking about Iraq, getting random visions of the times when I would go into morgues, and feeling guilty that I could leave the country but the friends I had made there couldn't. I just felt numb a lot of the time. All of that put together made me realise that this was not the same guy that went over there, and that I needed some help. I took counselling, and still do it off and on when necessary."

When he returned to the US after his fourth visit to Iraq, he decided it was time to digest his experiences. He attended a session of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Rome and, rather like the Canadian hunter, reported what he had seen in the eight months he had spent in the country. He told of Iraqis who had given him accounts of being tortured, of towns collectively punished by being deprived of electricity, water and essential medical supplies, and of ambulances being shot at by US soldiers. "With 70% unemployment, a growing resistance and an infrastructure in shambles," he concluded, "the future for Iraq remains bleak as long as the failed occupation persists."

Jamail also embarked on his book - part reportage, part catharsis - and this summer plans to write another, this time on resistance to the war within the US military, based on the stories of soldiers he has met who engaged in sabotage and fake patrols (called "search and avoid" missions) to hamper the war effort. Then he plans to return to the Middle East and maybe even to Iraq, if the security situation allows him at least some degree of freedom to report. The return to the mountains will have to wait; his heart now is in the desert.

Beyond the Green Zone is published by Haymarket Books (11.99).

"The conflict between corporations and activists is that of narcolepsy versus remembrance. The corporations have money, power and influence. Our sole influence is public outrage. Extract from "Cloud Atlas (page 125) by David Mitchell.
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bit of a geezer - and this is what he looks like

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dead ringer for Tom Hanks?
"for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places " Eph.6 v 12
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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recommend everyone copy and pastes these quotes to their pc for posting in comments all over the net e.g. youtube etc.
"for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places " Eph.6 v 12
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are five citations of George H.W. Bush reviving Hitler's New World Order at or around the time of the First Gulf War.........

The "New World Order"
President Bush reacted to the Iraqi attack by immediately sending U.S. military forces to the Middle East. He furiously gathered support for a coalition-backed effort to confront Saddam Hussein. He went to the United Nations where he supported economic sanctions against Iraq, even as he was stepping up his own anti-Hussein rhetoric and sending increasing numbers of U.S. troops into the region. He turned to the United Nations, not the U.S. Constitution to which he'd sworn a solemn oath, for authorization for his military moves. He then began to state his goals over and over again.

* September 11, 1990 televised address: "Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective a new world order can emerge.... We are now in sight of a United Nations that performs as envisioned by its founders."
* January 7, 1991 interview in U.S. News & World Report: "I think that what's at stake here is the new world order. What's at stake here is whether we can have disputes peacefully resolved in the future by a reinvigorated United Nations."
* January 9, 1991 Press Conference: "[The Gulf crisis] has to do with a new world order. And that new world order is only going to be enhanced if this newly activated peacekeeping function of the United Nations proves to be effective."
* January 16, 1991 televised address: "When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the UN's founders."
* August 1991 National Security Strategy of the United States issued by the White House and personally signed by George Bush: "In the Gulf, we saw the United Nations playing the role dreamed of by it's founders.... I hope history will record that the Gulf crisis was the crucible of the new world order."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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