July 15, 2003

20 Lies About the War

When you are told it is about "sixteen words" whip out
this checklist and run it down...

Published on Sunday, July 13, 2003 by the
20 Lies About the War
Falsehoods Ranging from Exaggeration to Plain Untruth
Were Used to Make the Case for War. More Lies are
Being Used in the Aftermath

by Glen Rangwala and Raymond Whitaker

1. Iraq was responsible for the 11 September attacks

A supposed meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta,
leader of the 11 September hijackers, and an Iraqi
intelligence official was the main basis for this
claim, but Czech intelligence later conceded that the
Iraqi's contact could not have been Atta. This did not
stop the constant stream of assertions that Iraq was
involved in 9/11, which was so successful that at one
stage opinion polls showed that two-thirds of
Americans believed the hand of Saddam Hussein was
behind the attacks. Almost as many believed Iraqi
hijackers were aboard the crashed airliners; in fact
there were none.

2. Iraq and al-Qa'ida were working together

Persistent claims by US and British leaders that
Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in league with each
other were contradicted by a leaked British Defense
Intelligence Staff report, which said there were no
current links between them. Mr Bin Laden's "aims are
in ideological conflict with present-day Iraq", it

Another strand to the claims was that al-Qa'ida
members were being sheltered in Iraq, and had set up a
poisons training camp. When US troops reached the
camp, they found no chemical or biological traces.

3. Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa for a
"reconstituted" nuclear weapons program

The head of the CIA has now admitted that documents
purporting to show that Iraq tried to import uranium
from Niger in west Africa were forged, and that the
claim should never have been in President Bush's State
of the Union address. Britain sticks by the claim,
insisting it has "separate intelligence". The Foreign
Office conceded last week that this information is now
"under review".

4. Iraq was trying to import aluminum tubes to develop
nuclear weapons

The US persistently alleged that Baghdad tried to buy
high-strength aluminum tubes whose only use could be
in gas centrifuges, needed to enrich uranium for
nuclear weapons. Equally persistently, the
International Atomic Energy Agency said the tubes were
being used for artillery rockets. The head of the
IAEA, Mohamed El Baradei, told the UN Security Council
in January that the tubes were not even suitable for

5. Iraq still had vast stocks of chemical and
biological weapons from the first Gulf War

Iraq possessed enough dangerous substances to kill the
whole world, it was alleged more than once. It had
pilotless aircraft which could be smuggled into the US
and used to spray chemical and biological toxins.
Experts pointed out that apart from mustard gas, Iraq
never had the technology to produce materials with a
shelf-life of 12 years, the time between the two wars.
All such agents would have deteriorated to the point
of uselessness years ago.

6. Iraq retained up to 20 missiles which could carry
chemical or biological warheads, with a range which
would threaten British forces in Cyprus

Apart from the fact that there has been no sign of
these missiles since the invasion, Britain downplayed
the risk of there being any such weapons in Iraq once
the fighting began. It was also revealed that chemical
protection equipment was removed from British bases in
Cyprus last year, indicating that the Government did
not take its own claims seriously.

7. Saddam Hussein had the wherewithal to develop

This allegation was made by the Secretary of State,
Colin Powell, in his address to the UN Security
Council in February. The following month the UN said
there was nothing to support it.

8. US and British claims were supported by the

According to Jack Straw, chief UN weapons inspector
Hans Blix "pointed out" that Iraq had 10,000 liters of
anthrax. Tony Blair said Iraq's chemical, biological
and "indeed the nuclear weapons program" had been well
documented by the UN. Mr Blix's reply? "This is not
the same as saying there are weapons of mass
destruction," he said last September. "If I had solid
evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass
destruction or were constructing such weapons, I would
take it to the Security Council." In May this year he
added: "I am obviously very interested in the question
of whether or not there were weapons of mass
destruction, and I am beginning to suspect there
possibly were not."

9. Previous weapons inspections had failed

Tony Blair told this newspaper in March that the UN
had "tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam
to disarm peacefully". But in 1999 a Security Council
panel concluded: "Although important elements still
have to be resolved, the bulk of Iraq's proscribed
weapons programs has been eliminated." Mr Blair also
claimed UN inspectors "found no trace at all of
Saddam's offensive biological weapons program" until
his son-in-law defected. In fact the UN got the regime
to admit to its biological weapons program more than a
month before the defection.

10. Iraq was obstructing the inspectors

Britain's February "dodgy dossier" claimed inspectors'
escorts were "trained to start long arguments" with
other Iraqi officials while evidence was being hidden,
and inspectors' journeys were monitored and notified
ahead to remove surprise. Dr Blix said in February
that the UN had conducted more than 400 inspections,
all without notice, covering more than 300 sites. "We
note that access to sites has so far been without
problems," he said. : "In no case have we seen
convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew that the
inspectors were coming."

11. Iraq could deploy its weapons of mass destruction
in 45 minutes

This now-notorious claim was based on a single source,
said to be a serving Iraqi military officer. This
individual has not been produced since the war, but in
any case Tony Blair contradicted the claim in April.
He said Iraq had begun to conceal its weapons in May
2002, which meant that they could not have been used
within 45 minutes.

12. The "dodgy dossier"

Mr Blair told the Commons in February, when the
dossier was issued: "We issued further intelligence
over the weekend about the infrastructure of
concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish
intelligence reports." It soon emerged that most of it
was cribbed without attribution from three articles on
the internet. Last month Alastair Campbell took
responsibility for the plagiarism committed by his
staff, but stood by the dossier's accuracy, even
though it confused two Iraqi intelligence
organizations, and said one moved to new headquarters
in 1990, two years before it was created.

13. War would be easy

Public fears of war in the US and Britain were
assuaged by assurances that oppressed Iraqis would
welcome the invading forces; that "demolishing Saddam
Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be
a cakewalk", in the words of Kenneth Adelman, a senior
Pentagon official in two previous Republican
administrations. Resistance was patchy, but stiffer
than expected, mainly from irregular forces fighting
in civilian clothes. "This wasn't the enemy we
war-gamed against," one general complained.

14. Umm Qasr

The fall of Iraq's southernmost city and only port was
announced several times before Anglo-American forces
gained full control - by Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, among others, and by Admiral Michael Boyce,
chief of Britain's Defense staff. "Umm Qasr has been
overwhelmed by the US Marines and is now in coalition
hands," the Admiral announced, somewhat prematurely.

15. Basra rebellion

Claims that the Shia Muslim population of Basra,
Iraq's second city, had risen against their oppressors
were repeated for days, long after it became clear to
those there that this was little more than wishful
thinking. The defeat of a supposed breakout by Iraqi
armour was also announced by military spokesman in no
position to know the truth.

16. The "rescue" of Private Jessica Lynch

Private Jessica Lynch's "rescue" from a hospital in
Nasiriya by American special forces was presented as
the major "feel-good" story of the war. She was said
to have fired back at Iraqi troops until her
ammunition ran out, and was taken to hospital
suffering bullet and stab wounds. It has since emerged
that all her injuries were sustained in a vehicle
crash, which left her incapable of firing any shot.
Local medical staff had tried to return her to the
Americans after Iraqi forces pulled out of the
hospital, but the doctors had to turn back when US
troops opened fire on them. The special forces
encountered no resistance, but made sure the whole
episode was filmed.

17. Troops would face chemical and biological weapons

As US forces approached Baghdad, there was a rash of
reports that they would cross a "red line", within
which Republican Guard units were authorized to use
chemical weapons. But Lieutenant General James Conway,
the leading US marine general in Iraq, conceded
afterwards that intelligence reports that chemical
weapons had been deployed around Baghdad before the
war were wrong.

"It was a surprise to me ... that we have not
uncovered weapons ... in some of the forward dispersal
sites," he said. "We've been to virtually every
ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and
Baghdad, but they're simply not there. We were simply
wrong. Whether or not we're wrong at the national
level, I think still very much remains to be seen."

18. Interrogation of scientists would yield the
location of WMD

"I have got absolutely no doubt that those weapons are
there ... once we have the co-operation of the
scientists and the experts, I have got no doubt that
we will find them," Tony Blair said in April. Numerous
similar assurances were issued by other leading
figures, who said interrogations would provide the WMD
discoveries that searches had failed to supply. But
almost all Iraq's leading scientists are in custody,
and claims that lingering fears of Saddam Hussein are
stilling their tongues are beginning to wear thin.

19. Iraq's oil money would go to Iraqis

Tony Blair complained in Parliament that "people
falsely claim that we want to seize" Iraq's oil
revenues, adding that they should be put in a trust
fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN.
Britain should seek a Security Council resolution that
would affirm "the use of all oil revenues for the
benefit of the Iraqi people".

Instead Britain co-sponsored a Security Council
resolution that gave the US and UK control over Iraq's
oil revenues. There is no UN-administered trust fund.

Far from "all oil revenues" being used for the Iraqi
people, the resolution continues to make deductions
from Iraq's oil earnings to pay in compensation for
the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

20. WMD were found

After repeated false sightings, both Tony Blair and
George Bush proclaimed on 30 May that two trailers
found in Iraq were mobile biological laboratories. "We
have already found two trailers, both of which we
believe were used for the production of biological
weapons," said Mr Blair. Mr Bush went further: "Those
who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing
devices or banned weapons - they're wrong. We found
them." It is now almost certain that the vehicles were
for the production of hydrogen for weather balloons,
just as the Iraqis claimed - and that they were
exported by Britain.

2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


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Posted by richard at July 15, 2003 08:36 AM