The Guardian July 23, 2003


Liar! Liar! Your house is on fire

by Tom Pearson

Last week saw a further unravelling of the lies and deceptions used as a 
pretext for war by the governments of the US, Britain and Australia. The 
death of British scientist David Kelly, a weapons advisor to the Blair 
Government, has seen more calls for Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign. 
Those defending the criminal war on Iraq had hounded Kelly because he had 
the audacity to refute his government's claims that Iraq had weapons of 
mass destruction that threatened the world.

Kelly, found dead with a slashed wrist in woods near his home, was an 
Oxford-educated microbiologist and a member of the UN weapons inspection 
body UNSCOM since 1991. He had told the BBC the documents used by Blair to 
justify war had been "sexed up" i.e. falsified.

It is being taken as self-evident that his death was by his own hand: that 
he may have been driven to suicide for simply telling the truth is in 
itself enough for Blair and his warmongering government to resign. But it 
is also not beyond a government willing to slaughter thousands of innocent 
people in Iraq to have one of its own public servants murdered. Whatever 
the case may be, others have now been put on notice to keep their mouths 
shut.

The latest developments came as the US was forced to admit that there is 
organised resistance against the army of occupation in Iraq and more 
revelations about the concocted "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction 
were emerging. The head of US Central Command, General John Abizaid, 
contradicted his predecessor Tommy Franks and the US Defence Secretary 
Donald Rumsfeld by admitting US troops were facing "a classic guerrilla 
war" .

In Washington last week it was revealed that a committee led by Deputy 
Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told George W Bush to include a reference 
in his January State of the Union address that claimed Iraq had tried to 
purchase 500 tonnes of uranium from the African state of Niger.

Though the CIA had told Wolfowitz that this information was "unreliable" it 
was inserted in the statement anyhow because of Bush's desperate need to 
stampede the American people into accepting the necessity to go to war 
against Iraq.

Now, Bush is feeling the heat of public scrutiny and anger as the 
realisation grows that the war was based on lies.

According to a recent Newsweek poll, 45 per cent of Americans say 
the Bush administration misinterpreted intelligence reports about Iraq, and 
38 per cent think it deliberately miss-led the country.

Wolfowitz's rejection of their advice did not please the CIA advisers, a 
disquiet that was compounded by the CIA Director George Tenet last week 
becoming Bush's fall guy. Tenet took the blame for the false information 
about Niger in the Bush statement, a classic case of blaming the messenger.

Contradictions between the administration and the CIA began to fester 
before the attack on Iraq. In the months leading up to the war, Rumsfeld 
became increasingly frustrated that the CIA wasn't coming up with any 
evidence of Iraq's chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, evidence that 
the White House needed in order to spark the conflict. Instead, as the 
world is now seeing, Bush and his circle manufactured evidence.

Getting the "right" information

To ensure that Bush got the "right" information, Wolfowitz and Vice-
President Cheney set up their own coterie of intelligence agents called the 
Office of Special Plans.

According to the New Yorker magazine this committee started picking 
out things that "supported their thesis, stringing them into arguments". 
The Office of Special Plans also provided "information on Iraq's hostile 
intentions or links to terrorists".

Former CIA officials describe the agency as being "demoralised", saying 
that "George Tenet knows he's been beaten up".

The rift between spy agency and government grew as the administration 
dismissed all intelligence on Iraq from the CIA because it failed to find 
any evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Reactionary Republican Congressman, Pat Roberts, the chair of the Senate 
select committee on intelligence, is spitting chips: "What now concerns me 
most is what appears to be a campaign of press leaks by the CIA in an 
effort to discredit the president".

As the heat is turned up on Bush, Blair and Howard, the pro-war spin 
doctors are racketing up their ballyhoo. The foreign editor of the 
Australian newspaper, Greg Sheridan, leapt into the fray last week. In his 
column Sheridan, a committed flag waver for US global ambitions along with 
his boss Rupert Murdoch, stated, "The US has discovered what it believes is 
decisive proof of Iraq's weapons of mass destructions programs".

Cooking the evidence

Not actual weapons, but programs. There is according to Sheridan 
"evidence", from unnamed "well-informed sources", in the form of "material 
not in a pristine or readily identifiable state when it was discovered" so, 
"it was decided to take it back to the US for comprehensive laboratory 
testing".

There are no prizes for guessing what the results of those tests will be. 
Sheridan, and his mates, Howard, Blair and Bush, are now desperately 
grasping at straws. The fact is that no evidence has been found of Iraqi 
chemical or biological weapons capable of "causing death and destruction on 
a mammoth scale", as Howard claimed, because there was none to be found.

The trio lied on a mammoth scale so as to commit forces to a war that 
caused more than 10,000 innocent civilian deaths. They continue to heap one 
lie on another. To admit their deceit and their guilt would be fatal to 
their cause and to their government.

In Iraq, unrest is growing among the US soldiers who are facing increased 
resistance and have been told their deployment is now "indefinite". With 
some personnel openly criticising the Bush administration, General Abizaid 
has told them to shut up.

"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging 
about the secretary of defence or the president of the United States", he 
said, warning of disciplinary action.

Such developments are echoes of the dirty war on Vietnam. The US is calling 
up 10,000 US National Guard troops to reinforce the occupation and is 
attempting to find other countries willing to send troops to replace US 
forces as it prepares for new wars against other countries.

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