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CANNABIS PROHIBITION ENDING SOON

NoWar

Dr. Michael Bradburn-Ruster

ARSENAL OF PROPAGANDA

—26 Oct. ‘02

You probably recall that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld recently offered what he claimed was a “quote” from Winston Churchill, that went: “Sometimes the truth is so precious it must be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies.”
In fact, what Churchill actually said was “Once you tell a lie, you need to create a whole bodyguard of lies to protect it.”
In other words, Rumsfeld’s “creative” quote perverts Churchill’s words, turning a warning against lying into a justification of it. The warning has gone unheeded by the Bush administration, and with wanton abandon.
In the speech that Bush gave on Oct. 7, he spoke of Iraq’s “history of aggression and its drive toward an arsenal of terror.” I urge you to study the analysis of his speech by a panel of a dozen international experts at http://www.accuracy.org/bush/. You will be able to see very plainly that the administration, just as it promised, has indeed confronted this threat, this arsenal of terror. And it has done so with an arsenal of propaganda, a treasury of deceptions.
We here join with a global community of millions of people gathering today in the US, in Paris, in Rome, Berlin and London, in Mexico City, Japan and India, to oppose a war whose justifications are fabricated by an administration which continues to make war on truth and justice. Pope John Paul II on Peace Day in 1980, made an urgent plea: “I now repeat, violence is a lie for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity. Do not believe in violence. Do not support violence.”
We are here both to celebrate truth and peace, and to challenge that lie of violence, and the bodyguard designed to protect it.
To be fair, the lies did not begin with this administration. Bush Sr. lied about Iraqi troops massed at the border of Saudi Arabia before the Gulf War, as he had about his role in selling arms to Iran, even as he and Reagan had also armed Saddam Hussein, with chemical weapons supplied by US companies.
And President Clinton claimed that he was forced to bomb Iraq in 1998’s Operation Desert Fox because Iraq was blocking weapons inspections. Yet behind the rhetoric of disarmament, the US has in fact been blocking that process for many years. UN Security Council resolution 687 promised (in para. 22) that economic sanctions would be lifted once Iraq no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction. But Secretary of State Warren Christopher withdrew that promise in April, 1994, and in 1997 Madeleine Albright announced that sanctions would not be lifted as long as Saddam Hussein was in power. This was of course a flagrant violation of the resolution. The following year, on October 30, 1998, there was a new UN proposal to lift sanctions, if Iraq disarmed. The US rejected this proposal, and as a result, Iraq refused to cooperate; nonetheless it allowed inspections to continue for another 6 weeks. [1] Of over 400 inspections were carried out by UNSCOM, the UN weapons inspection team, 5 were blocked by Iraq; two of these were attempted on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, which was in violation of the agreement.[2]
On December 12 of that year UNSCOM inspector Richard Butler withdrew his team—indeed, he did so without UN Security Council permission. They were not “thrown out” by Saddam Hussein. News media reported this accurately at the time. Current claims to the contrary simply defy history.[3] Between December 16-19, the US and Britain dropped 1000 missiles and bombs on Iraq.
Two weeks after Operation Desert Fox, as reported in the NY Times in January of 1999, U.S. officials publicly admitted that “American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors.” They not only engaged in bugging, but provided Pentagon bombing planners with bombing coordinates for the attack that followed. [4] Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has affirmed that Richard Butler, the head of the UN weapons inspection team, “allowed the United States to use my inspections to spy on Iraq, which is why they don't trust the inspection process.”[5] Not only the CIA, but British MI6 and Israel’s Mossad had used the UN team as a shield for covert operations. Now, the current chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has said the UN’s credibility was badly damaged by this deception. Mr. Blix has been struggling to get a new resolution which would allow the team to retain its independence, rather than yield to the US demand for arbitrary control over the people and equipment to be used.[6] The pattern is clear: Washington can violate or renege on any resolution at any time, but Iraq must follow it to the letter.
Meanwhile the sanctions have continued, barring medicine, water purification systems and ambulances from Iraq. Two years ago, UNICEF officials estimated that 5-6,000 Iraqi children were dying each month as a result of our sanctions; many of them from radiation and leukemia. That is more people every month for over a decade than were killed in the 9/11 tragedy. By now some 1.5 million Iraqis have perished as a result of sanctions, from disease and malnutrition. Caritas, the confederation of over 150 Catholic relief and social service organizations, wrote this August that several articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child “are being systematically violated on a daily basis as a result of more than twelve years of economic sanctions against the Iraqi people.”[7]
Is Saddam Hussein worth this much suffering?
Well, in June 2001 (16 months ago): J. Robinson West, chairman of a consulting firm called Petroleum Finance Co., said, “The American oil industry is very interested in trying to enter Iraq... they are quite respectful of U.S. policy towards Saddam Hussein. There is a very strong feeling that in fact he is the greatest threat to oil production in the Middle East.” [8]
Through the lens of oil it is clear that not everyone has suffered from the sanctions, however—some have benefited. In July of 2000, Dick Cheney claimed that when he was head of Halliburton, the oil-field supply corporation, he established a “firm policy” of not doing business with Iraq. “We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990,” he said. But two former senior executives of Halliburton have stated there was no such policy. Moreover, in 1998, Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries, which along with Ingersoll-Rand, sold $73 million of oil production equipment to Iraq. Cheney later said he had no idea there was trading with Iraq, although the company went on for an entire year before divestment took place. Ingersoll-Rand’s chairman, James Perrella, has said, “...definitely, he was aware of the business."[9]
Is this same level of awareness that Cheney has brought to Washington?
Are we to believe him now? Recently Mr. Cheney has warned about Iraq’s “aluminum tubing,” claiming it can be used for the production of uranium, and Bush has repeated the claim. US experts on nuclear weapons, however, suggest the tubes were more likely to be used in conventional weapons. David Albright, a physicist and former UN weapons inspector, said that technicians at Lawrence Livermore lab had been ordered to keep remain silent about their views so the administration “can say what it wants.”[10] And they have been.
On September 7, Bush claimed that a 1998 report from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that Iraq was “six months away” from developing nuclear weapons. Three weeks later, Mark Gwozdecky, the chief spokesman for the Agency (IAEA) stated “There’s never been a report like that issued from this agency.”[11]
This is what the 1998 report actually said: “the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.”[12]
The White House later announced that the actual source was two articles in the New York Times and the London Times. But neither article cited an IAEA report, because it never existed. When Bush cited this phantom report, however, he said, “I don’t know what more evidence we need.” What more evidence, indeed?
Perhaps proof that Iraq has connections with al-Qaeda? Former CIA agent Bob Baer has said “there is no evidence” of this. However, both CIA and FBI officials have said the administration is pressuring them to produce reports. Former head of CIA counter-intelligence Vincent Cannistraro has referred to this as “cooked information.”
However, the Council on Foreign Relations released a report on Oct 16, saying that for years the key funding for al Qaeda has come from Saudi Arabia, whose dissidents supply the majority of al-Qaeda members. The report also asserts that the US government has “systematically refused to acknowledge the ties of Saudi charities and individuals with Al Qaeda.” [13] It is also important to note that the Bush administration allowed 11 members of Osama bin Laden’s family to fly out of the US, which was arranged by Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. And so we attack Afghanistan and then Iraq.
Was the attack on Afghanistan necessary, even inevitable?
In 1998, the Taliban agreed to extradite Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia, to stand trial. But the deal fell through when Clinton launched a cruise missile against Afghanistan in retaliation for Osama’s bombings of East African embassies. Violence trumped diplomacy.[14]
On the night of the September 11th attack, George W Bush said, “I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”[15] More colorfully, he said the aim of the war on Afghanistan was to “get Osama, dead or alive.” But the Taliban had again offered to put bin Laden on trial in Saudi Arabia or another Muslim country, in February 2001, more than six months before September 11.[16] Bush’s State Department responded by saying it was not a serious offer.[17] By October 1, a week before bombing began, the Taliban offered to negotiate the extradition of bin Laden to Pakistan to stand trial. But the White House remained true to its intransigent vow: “no negotiations, no discussions” with the Taliban.[18] One week after bombing commenced, the Taliban repeated the offer, which Bush again rejected.[19]
One year later, not a single leading member of al-Qaeda had been apprehended. Nonetheless, Senator Trent Lott has declared that the “war on terrorism” will be a success even if we don’t find the leaders of the Taliban. In other words, if the war’s entire objective fails, it will still succeed. Translation: “failure is success,” just as “war is peace.” Readers of Orwell take note: the double-speak of 1984 is alive and well in 2002.
This Oct. 7, Bush claimed “The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban.” What he failed to mention was that the Taliban were accused of mass murders in Northern and Central Afghanistan while we continued to support them: the US gave the Taliban $125 million in 2001, in the months before the September 11 attack.
What has war brought to Afghanistan—“Enduring Freedom,” as the Operation is called? Not only have hundreds, thousands of Afghan civilians been killed. Middle East expert Chris Toensing has affirmed that the US is backing warlord politics under such leaders as General Dostum, who first supported the Soviets, then the Mujahideen, crushed his enemies under tank treads, and along with other members of the Northern Alliance, has misdirected US forces in order to eliminate rivals.[20]
According to delegates to the current “Grand Council,” a small group of Northern Alliance chieftains decided everything behind closed doors. The Watan Party, consisting of 1.5 million people, has been excluded from the ruling council. The former monarch Zahir Shah, the most popular candidate for interim president, was forced out of any serious role in the government. [21] The US special envoy, Mr. Khalilzad, is a former employee of Unocal, who was involved in talks between that company and the Taliban in 1997, to set up a $2 billion pipeline project to carry natural gas between Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean, and who defended the Taliban in the Washington Post.[22] This is what Mr. Bush means by “dramatic improvement” in Afghanistan.
The tragedy of September 11 has been exploited for political ends, in an obscene perversion of “justice.” It has been estimated by a University of New Hampshire study that at least 5,000 citizens have been bombed in Afghanistan. Targets have included hospitals, mosques and villages. 4,000 men who surrendered were murdered in cold blood by Northern Alliance forces under Dostum, now deputy foreign minister. There is no question that American special forces were aware of this massacre at Mazar; representatives from the United Nations and Physicians for Human Rights have seen the mass graves, and Newsweek reported these war crimes in a recent cover story, but the Pentagon has denied the allegations.
Mr. Bush seems concerned about the Kurds of Iraq, and he should be. The Kurds have suffered 30 years of war. Why has it taken so long for us to respond to their plight? After Saddam used gas against them in 1988, a Senate resolution to impose sanctions on Iraq was blocked by the Reagan administration,[23] and the US actually increased its support of Saddam. The Kurds themselves do not support the effort to topple Saddam, however, for their fear is that the US will not install a government that will protect their rights.[24] They are wary of US support of war against Saddam, because in the past, we have encouraged them to fight, and then abandoned, a pattern that began with Nixon in 1975, when they were on the verge of making peace with Saddam.
The Bush administration has constantly repeated that Iraq is threatening its neighbors. Yet Iraq’s neighbors, excepting Kuwait, are against a US invasion, and the Arab League has been busily normalizing relations with Iraq.
The administration has claimed it is enforcing UN resolutions by patrolling the no-fly zones. This is an unmitigated lie: there is no UN resolution regarding no-fly zones. Moreover, the no-fly zones are not approved by International Law.
Back in August, Iraq announced to the UN that it was willing to discuss the return of weapons inspectors. Iraq also invited a delegation of US congressmen to inspect sites in Iraq for themselves. Instead of pursuing these offers to determine whether or not they were sincere, Bush simply dismissed them. Why?
John Bolton, under-secretary for arms control said on August 4, “Our policy ... insists on regime change in Baghdad and that policy will not be altered, whether inspectors go in or not.” In other words, there is absolutely nothing Iraq can do at this point to avoid invasion, short of toppling Saddam Hussein. And yet, notice that in Bush’s speeches to the UN and many announcements since, the pretense is that we are concerned about weapons inspections. The weapons inspectors were ready to leave for Iraq by Saturday, October 19. But the US does not want UN weapons inspectors in Iraq: if the inspectors find that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction, the entire invasion plan to topple Saddam Hussein will lack justification.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made the hypocrisy crystal clear last week:
“We are completely committed to the UN route if that is successful...” he claims, but “If... we end up being vetoed... of course we are in a different situation."[25]
As long as the UN does the bidding of the US and UK, everything is OK—but if UN members disagree, the body will be ignored, and it will be accused of “failing to live up to its responsibilities.” The democratic process in the UN is only valid if it obeys the will of the Anglo-American giants. This brand of “democracy” is nothing but new and improved Imperialism.
Don’t be fooled for a moment: establishment of democracy in Iraq would mean majority rule, in other words, Shi’ite rule, since they constitute 60% of the population. This would of course foster close relations with Iran, which the US would never tolerate. The US will put the Sunni camp in charge, even though they only represent 16% of the population. Democracy for the few is not democracy, but that is merely a continuation of our history in the Middle East: to support dictators loyal to Western interests. And let’s not be simplistic: war on the Middle East is not only about oil. The oil is only a piece of the geostrategic policy laid out in a document prepared for the Bush administration by the Project for a New American Century two years ago, which reiterates aims set out by Dick Cheney in 1992: US hegemony over Eurasia: complete and unilateral control. This was also clearly expressed in a book published in 1998 by Zbigniew Brzezinsky, Pres. Carter’s National Security Advisor, entitled: The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. If he were truthful, Mr. Bush would be quoting Henry Cabot Lodge, the leading ideologue of Imperialism, who in 1895 wrote of the US: “We have a record of conquest, colonisation and expansion unequalled by any people in the 19th century. We are not about to be curbed now.”[26]
But Mr. Bush prefers to remain ignorant of history. He claims he wants to “bring democracy to Iran”? Perhaps he means something like the brutal police state of the Shah, who was placed in power by the CIA coup in 1953 that overthrew a democratically elected head of state? It is clear that he feels we should remove any head of state we deem a threat, if not by a coup, then by “preemptive strike.”
Bush’s doctrine of “preemptive strike”is actually a first strike doctrine, declaring that we can make war whenever we feel threatened; this not only violates international law but the US constitution.
Bush has desperately attempted to justify a strike against Iraq by citing the Cuban Missile Crisis. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., one of Kennedy’s advisors, responded by saying he would flunk Bush in history. He emphatically stated that Kennedy never endorsed a first-strike policy during the crisis and was “determined to exhaust all peaceful remedies” before resorting to military action.[27] In fact, the first-strike option was precisely what was used at Pearl Harbor: “the Bush doctrine is perpetuating that infamy.” We should recall that first strike in the name of self-defense was used at Nuremberg by the Nazis to justify their attacks; but the Nuremberg trials rejected this malignant defense. The Nuremberg Charter defines a crime against peace, as the “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.”[28]
As former Marine Scott Ritter has said: [29] “The UN charter prohibits regime removal. The US constitution states that international agreements entered into by the United States carry the force of law. The US has signed the UN charter. Regime removal is not only a violation of international law, it is unconstitutional... This new Bush doctrine of American unilateralism reeks of imperial power, the very power against which Americans fought a revolution more than 200 years ago.”
Another Marine, currently stationed in the Middle East, Sgt. Colin Dorrity, wrote on 15 Oct., “The lesson that Americans have failed to learn is this: Simply stamping our flag upon the face of a cause does not give it intrinsic value or righteousness ...why do we wish to bomb these people into further submission for the crimes of their president?”[30] The Sergeant does not mention that another president, George Bush, who is now so eager to go to war, failed to attend drills during his last 18 months in the National Guard Reserve, for which lesser men would be court-martialed; or that his permission to fly F-102 jets was revoked by the military in September, 1972 for failing to obey an order; or that he failed to report to his punishment detail, and later falsified his military records, which he refuses to release.[31] But perhaps dereliction and falsification are not real crimes?
Yet what the Bush administration now proposes is by international definition a crime against peace. And that crime begins with a rape of truth.
Last Tuesday, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote that Mr. Bush's “rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy.”[32] This is putting it mildly indeed. Meanwhile we learn that the Information Awareness Office will be headed by retired Adm. John Poindexter.[33] Remember him? It was he who schemed and lied his way through the Iran/Contra affair, when the Reagan-Bush team violated both the Constitution and federal laws prohibiting arms sales to Iran and to the Contra terrorists who were murdering peasants in Nicaragua. Poindexter was in charge of keeping the whole operation secret, even from the National Security Council, and stressed that he told Oliver North to put nothing in writing. The man Bush wants to entrust with “Information Awareness” is a past master of secrecy and deceit. How can one fail to recall another office, whose full name was “Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment,” under Joseph Goebbels, whose motto was “truth; death to lies and fraud,”[34] and who devoted himself to convincing Germans that war was the only road to peace.
Misquotations, deceptions, distortions of history, promises betrayed, fear-mongering and unvarnished lies. These are the weapons in Bush’s arsenal of propaganda, the “bodyguard of lies” against which Churchill warned: and this arsenal is directed at your mind, in an attempt to instill fear, hatred, and aggression, and hence contempt for compassion and constraint. If we fall victim to that, we not only betray ourselves but imperil our innocent brothers and sisters of Iraq, who have been tormented by eleven years of murderous sanctions and continued bombing, which has only strengthened Saddam Hussein, as earlier, Bush Sr. strengthened him with $5 billion in aid.
Anyone familiar with the London subway, the Underground, fondly remembers the phrase “Mind the gap,” warning passengers about the gap between platform and train. In the subterranean world of US politics, we have to “mind the gap” between propaganda and reality, which is not a mere crack but a gulf.
I urge you to join with peace groups the world over, with churches and religious leaders of every major denomination, Christian, Muslim and Jew, who oppose this war and call for the lifting of genocidal sanctions: in the name of God, in the name of all you hold sacred: Do not be blinded by the lies. Do not be seduced into sleep. Stay awake. Mind the gap. It is only in that space that peace has a chance to flourish.

Michael Bradburn-Ruster
dr_michael@bakody.net




[1]
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14261
[2]
http://www.internationalanswer.org/news/update/081802iraqpropaganda.html
[3]
http://www.fair.org/extra/0210/inspectors.html
[4]
http://www.internationalanswer.org/news/update/081802iraqpropaganda.html
http://www.fair.org/activism/unscom-history.html
[5]
http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0209/09/ltm.14.html
[6]
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/23/1034561546457.html
[7]http://www.caritas.org/jumpNews.asp?idLang=ENG&idUser=0&idChannel=109&id News=336
[8]
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/sanction/iraq1/oilforfood/2001/0627chen.htm
[9]
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/sanction/iraq1/oilforfood/2001/0627chen.htm
[10]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4518953,00.html
[11]
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/10.01B.no.report.p.htm
[12]
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/10.24A.bush.not.candid.htm
[13]
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/290/nation/Saudis_seen_funding_AL_Qaeda+.sht ml
[14]
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/1637197.stm
[15]
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=2322
[16]
http://www.dawn.com/2001/02/19/top5.htm
[17]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,441174,00.html
[18]
http://www.wluml.org/english/new-archives/wtc/post-military-action/uk-arrow.htm
[19]
http://www.islamonline.net/english/news/2001-10/15/article13.shtml
[20]
http://www.merip.org/mer/mer222/mer222_editorial.html
[21]
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14247
[22]
http://www.corpwatch.org/news/PND.jsp?articleid=1149
[23]
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=2285
[24]
http://www.merip.org/pins/pin104.html
[25]
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,814536,00.html
[26] Quoted by William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, Dell, New York, 1962.
[27]
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/11/1034222594881.html
[28]
http://www.internationalanswer.org/news/update/081802iraqpropaganda.html
[29]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,805900,00.html
[30]
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14304
[31]http://www.boston.com/news/politics/campaign2000/news/One_year_gap_in_Bus h_s_Guard_duty+.shtml
http://www.talion.com/georgebush.html
[32]
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/25/opinion/25KRUG.html
[33]
http://www.merip.org/mer/mer222/mer222_editorial.html
[34] Ralf Georg Reuth, Goebbels, p. 45

 

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