by John Pilger
02/03/04 - Daily Mirror
IN THE wake of the Hutton fiasco, one truth remains unassailed: Tony
Blair ordered an unprovoked invasion of another country on a totally
false pretext, and that lies and deceptions manufactured in London
and Washington caused the deaths of up to 55,000 Iraqis, including
Consider for a moment those who have paid the price for Blair's and
Bush's actions, who are rarely mentioned in the current media
coverage. Deaths and injury of young children from unexploded
British and American cluster bombs are put at 1,000 a month. The
effect of uranium weapons used by Anglo-American forces - a weapon
of mass destruction - is such that readings taken from Iraqi tanks
destroyed by the British are so high that a British Army survey team
wore white, full-body radiation suits, face masks and gloves. Iraqi
children play on and around these tanks. British troops, says the
Ministry of Defence, "will have access to biological monitoring".
Iraqis have no such access and no expert medical help; and thousands
are now suffering from a related catalogue of miscarriages and hair
loss, horrific eye, skin and respiratory problems.
Neither Britain nor America counts its Iraqi victims, and the fact,
let alone the extent of the human carnage and material devastation
is not even acknowledged by a government that says it
is "vindicated" by Lord Hutton, whose report most British people
clearly regard as a parody worthy of the Prime Minister's
Blair has now announced an inquiry into the "failure of
intelligence" that has mysteriously denied him evidence of weapons
of mass destruction, which he repeatedly said were his "aim" in
attacking Iraq. Just as the brawl with the BBC and the Hutton
inquiry were quite deliberate distractions, so this latest inquiry
is another panic measure. It is clear that George W Bush, as one
American journalist put it, "is now hanging Tony Blair out to dry".
Blair has, as ever, followed Bush. In announcing at the weekend his
own inquiry into an "intelligence failure", Bush hopes to cast
himself as an innocent, aggrieved member of the public wanting to
know why America's numerous spy agencies did not alert the nation to
the fact, now confirmed by Bush's own weapons inspector, David Kay,
that there were no weapons of mass destruction and probably weren't
any since before the 1991 Gulf War, and that the premise for going
to war was "almost all wrong". "It was", Ray McGovern told me, "95
per cent charade". McGovern is a former high-ranking CIA analyst and
one of a group of ex-senior intelligence officers, several of whom
have described how the Bush administration demanded that
intelligence be shaped to comply with political objectives, and the
role of Britain in the charade.
"It was intelligence that was crap," a former intelligence officer
told the New Yorker, "...but the brits wanted to plant stories in
England and around the world". He described how "inactionable"
(unreliable) intelligence reports were passed on to British
intelligence, which then fed them to newspapers.
Former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter says this false
information was spread systematically by British intelligence. The
clue to this secret operation was given by the weapons expert David
Kelly the day before his suicide and which Hutton later ignored.
Kelly told the Prime Minister's intelligence and security
committee: "I liaise with the Rockingham cell."
As Ritter reveals, this referred to the top secret "Operation
Rockingham" set up within British intelligence to "cherry pick"
information that might be distorted as "proof" of the existence of a
weapons arsenal in Iraq. It was an entirely political operation,
whose misinformation, says Ritter, led him and his inspectors "to a
suspected ballistic missile site. We...found nothing. However, our
act of searching allowed the US and the UK to say that the missiles
RITTER says Operation Rockingham's bogus intelligence would have
been fed to the Joint Intelligence Committee. The committee was
behind the two "dossiers" in which Blair government claimed Saddam
Hussein was a threat. Ritter says that Rockingham officers were
acting on political orders "from the very highest levels".
How high? Right up to Blair himself? It was Blair, after all, who
made such a personal "mission" of finding weapons of mass
destruction. The question of how high needs urgently to be answered.
Will Scott Ritter be called to Blair's inquiry? And will Blair
explain to the inquiry why the February 2003 British "arms dossier",
which Hutton chose to ignore, was so bogus that it plagiarised an
American student's theses, lifting it word for word including the
The truth is that the Blair government has known, almost from the
day it came to office in 1997, that Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction were almost certainly destroyed following the 1991 Gulf
War - just as Bush's weapons expert, David Kay, has now confirmed.
What else did Blair know?
In February last year, a transcript of a leaked United Nations
debriefing of Iraqi general Hussein Kamel, revealed that both the US
and British governments must have known that Saddam Hussein no
longer had weapons of mass destruction. General Kamel was no
ordinary defector; he was Bush and Blair's star witness in their
governments' case against Saddam. A son-in-law of the dictator, he
had overall authority for Iraq's weapons' programmes, and defected
with crates of documents.
When Secretary of State Colin Powell made the Anglo-American case
for an attack on Iraq before the UN Security Council, he relied on
and paid tribute to the reliability of General Kamel's evidence.
What he did not reveal, as the transcript of the general's
debriefing reveals, was this categorical statement by Kamel: "I
ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons -
biological, chemical, missile, nuclear - were destroyed."
The CIA and Britain's MI6 of course knew about this; and it beggars
belief that Bush and Blair were not told. But neither of them let
on - just as Colin Powell suppressed his informant's most
sensational information, which would have contradicted all his
spurious claims. General Kamel (who was later murdered by Saddam
Hussein) corroborated Scott Ritter's statement that Iraq had been
disarmed "90 to 95 per cent".
Iraq was attacked so that the United States and Britain could claim
its oil and its assets. Only Mary Poppins would believe otherwise.
For the latest in a catalogue of evidence, turn to the Wall Street
journal, the paper of America's ruling elite, which has obtained
copies of the Bush administration's secret plan to privatise the
country by selling off its assets to western corporations while
establishing vast military bases.
The plan was drafted in February last year, just as Tony Blair was
assuring the British people that the only reason was Saddam
THE Bush/Blair attack on Iraq has brought death, destruction and
great bitterness to Iraq. Every indication is that most Iraqis now
regard their lives as immeasurably worse than during Saddam
Hussein's rule. More than 13,000 people are held in concentration
camps in their own country.
This is many more than were incarcerated in Saddam's political
prisons in recent years. None has been charged; most cannot see
their families; the allegations of torture and brutality by the
occupiers grow by the day. As the US-based Human Rights Watch
reported last week, the worst atrocities were in the 1980s - when he
was backed by America and Britain.
The uprising in Iraq has accelerated and almost certainly
strengthened since the capture of Saddam. Drawn from 12 different
groups, including those that were always anti-Saddam, the resistance
is well organised and will not stop until the "coalition" leaves.
The setting up of a puppet "democracy" will merely increase the
number of targets. As Blair's knowledge of imperial history will
tell him, this is precisely what happened in Britain's other
colonies before they threw out their occupiers, and in Vietnam.
One piece of intelligence which was true and which we know Blair
received is a report that warned him that an attack on Iraq would
only increase worldwide terrorism, especially against British
interests and citizens. He chose to ignore it.
Two weeks ago a panel of jurists called on the International
Criminal Court to investigate the British government for war crimes
in Iraq. Whether or not that succeeds, it is clear the Prime
Minister will need to find another Hutton, and quickly.
Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed
and growing. The intelligence picture is extensive, detailed and
SEPT 24 2002 Not only do we know that Saddam has weapons of mass
destruction, we also know he is capable of using them. Saddam must
disarm or face the consequences
NOV 30 2002 The biological agents we believe Iraq can produce
include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. All
eventually result in excruciatingly painful death.
FEB 25 2003 We are asked now to accept that in the last few years -
contrary to all intelligence -Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy
those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd
MAR 18, 2003 The UN weapons inspectors say vast amounts of chemical and biological poisons, such
as anthrax mustard gas and VX nerve agent remain unaccounted for in
MAR 20, 2003 Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest they wait a little
bit. I remain confident that they will be found
APRIL 28, 2003 There is no doubt about the chemical programme, the biological programme, indeed the
nuclear weapons programme. All that is well documented by the United
MAY 30, 2003 If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that
at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That
is something I am confident history will forgive
Copyright: Daily Mirror. UK
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