Lie, damned lies and terror warnings

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Posted by andreas from ( on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 4:59AM :

Lie, damned lies and terror warnings

John Pilger on the evil art of black propaganda

03 Dec 2002

ON November 7, the day before the United Nations Security Council
voted on a resolution that made an American and British attack on
Iraq more than likely, Downing Street began issuing warnings of
imminent terrorist threats against the United Kingdom.

Cross-Channel ferries, the London Underground and major public events
were all said to be "targeted".

The anonymous Government sources described "emergency security
measures" that included a "rapid reaction force of army reservists"
and a squadron of fighter jets "on constant standby". Plans were
being drawn up to "evacuate major cities and deal with large numbers
of contaminated corpses". Police snipers were being trained "to kill
suicide bombers" and anti-radiation pills were being distributed to
hospitals. By November 11, Tony Blair himself was telling the British
public to be "on guard" against an attack that could lead to "maximum

Curiously, the national state of alert for a likely attack, colour-
coded amber, which such a grave warning would require, was never
activated. It remains on "black special", which is just above normal.

That was more than two weeks ago, and urgent questions remain
unanswered. Now health service teams are to have smallpox
vaccinations to "meet the threat of a germ warfare attack"; and the
Foreign Office has produced a remarkable video suggesting that
Britain is about to attack Iraq because of its concern for that
country's human rights record. (This must mean Britain will soon
attack other countries because of their human rights records, such as
China, Russia and the United States).

The absurdity of all this is becoming grotesque, and the British
public needs to ask urgent questions of its Government.

Where is the evidence, any evidence, for a national "alert" that
borders on such orchestrated hysteria? And what explains its uncanny
timing with the latest American and British machinations at the UN on

Lying as government strategy is known as black propaganda. The
British invented its modern form. Josef Goebbels, the Nazis'
propaganda chief, was full of admiration for the British model. Since
September 11, 2001, every attempt by black propagandists in Whitehall
and Washington to justify an unprovoked attack on Iraq by linking the
regime in Baghdad with al-Qaeda terrorism has failed.

FIRST, there was the charge that Iraq was responsible for last year's
anthrax scare in the United States, then it was claimed that Mohamed
Atta, one of the alleged September 11 hijackers, had made contact
with Iraqi intelligence in Prague. Both claims have been proven
false, along with stories planted in newspapers by American
intelligence that Iraq has been training al-Qaeda terrorists at a
secret base.

Surmounting the truth that the secular Iraqi regime actually fears
and loathes Osama bin Laden and his Islamic militants has always been
difficult for American and British propagandists - even though George
W Bush currently babbles nonsense about "exporting this evil al-Qaeda
threat to the world".

Blair is more careful; but his implied message is the same: that
the "scourge" of world-wide terrorism is linked to Saddam Hussein,
whose demonology must now rival that of the "baby-eating Boche"
during the First World War, an early triumph of black propaganda.

These deceptions and outright lies are aimed at the great majority of
the British people who, as the polls show, are opposed to attacking
Iraq, a country that offers them no threat. However, if you frighten
the public with apocalyptic warnings about evacuating cities and
incessantly link Iraq, September 11 and the Bali bombing, then people
may change their minds and be ready for war - or so the propagandists
bargain. "It's a softening up process," says a former intelligence
officer familiar with the black art, "a lying game on a huge scale".

It is also an indication of the Blair government's desperation. Blair
knows that, however successful his enfeeblement of parliamentary
democracy, public opinion matters and, at times, has unforeseen power.

So as an antidote to the "softening up" of public opinion, I offer
this pocket guide to the current lying game:

What Bush and Blair want us to forget...


THE present Iraqi regime is a product of the Ba'athist Party, which
the CIA helped bring to power. The CIA officer in charge of the
operation described it as "my favourite coup". During the 1980s,
America and Britain supplied Saddam Hussein with every weapon he
wanted, often secretly and illegally. The relationship was known
cynically in Washington as "the love affair".

When Blair and Bush incessantly refer to Saddam "using chemical
weapons against his own people", specifically the Kurdish village of
Halabja in 1988, they never explain that Britain and America were

Not only did both governments secretly and illegally approve the sale
of chemical weapons' agents, officials in Washington and Whitehall
tried to cover up the Halabja atrocity, with the Americans even
faking a story that Iran was responsible.

And while the gassing was going on, Saddam Hussein was being
congratulated on his wise leadership by David Mellor, a Foreign
Office minister, whose turn it was to sit at the feet of the
dictator. Almost as a reward, the Thatcher governments gave Saddam
340million of British taxpayers' money in export credits. When Bush
and Blair call Saddam "a threat to his neighbours", they never
mention that George Bush Senior, as head of the CIA and later
President, pushed Iraq to attack Iran and supplied crucial
intelligence to the Iraqi military that ensured the war went on for
eight years. The result was millions of dollars in profits for
American and British arms firms, and a million young men dead on both
sides. A congressional investigation, long forgotten, described this
as a "great crime".


ON September 12, George W Bush appeared before the UN General
Assembly and asked dramatically: "Are Security Council resolutions to
be honoured or cast aside?"

The answer came a few weeks later when the Security Council passed
Resolution 1435, which demanded that "Israel immediately cease
measures in and around Ramallah including the destruction of
Palestinian civilian and security infrastructure" and withdraw
its "occupying forces from Palestinian cities towards the positions
held prior to September 2000".

The resolution was passed 14-0 with one abstention, the United
States. Israel dismissed it; and nothing happened. This was no
surprise. The Israelis have defied at least 40 Security Council
resolutions and scores of General Assembly resolutions: a record of
dishonouring and "casting aside" the law (to quote Bush) unequalled
by any nation since the UN was founded.

Like Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 1980s, Israel's defiance is
rewarded with all the weapons and fighter aircraft it wants. Just as
Britain used to supply Saddam with the means of making chemical
bombs, so the Blair government currently supplies the Israeli regime
of Ariel Sharon with chemical warfare technology. This
includes "PCPs" which can easily be turned into lethal sarin nerve
gas which, next to nuclear weapons, is the most feared weapon of mass


AMERICA burns a quarter of all the oil consumed by humanity. A study
sponsored by the US Council on Foreign Relations says that "the
American people continue to demand plentiful and cheap energy without
sacrifice or inconvenience". Transport in the United States alone
burns 66 per cent of America's petroleum.

One estimate is that the world's oil reserves will begin to decline
within five to 10 years at the rate of about two million barrels a
day. In the Middle East, the only country capable of significantly
increasing its production is Iraq, once described by Vice President
Cheney as "the great prize".

At present, America depends on Iraq's neighbour Saudi Arabia, not
just for oil but for keeping the price of oil down. However, Saudi
Arabia is the home of al-Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden and 15 of the
alleged September 11 hijackers.

THE grievance against the Americans for their imperial interventions
in the Middle East is said to be deepest in the country that was
invented by British imperialism and has since been maintained by the
US as an oil colony.

If America installs a colonial regime in Baghdad, certainly its
dependence on Saudi Arabia will be dramatically eased, and its grip
on the world's greatest oil market will be tightened. The price, for
the people of the region, for Americans and the rest of us, will be
an enduring turmoil similar to that of Palestine, exemplified by last
week's terror bombing of an Israeli hotel in Kenya.

This is the hidden agenda of the "war on terrorism" - a term that is
no more than a euphemism for the Bush administration's exploitation
of the September 11 attacks and America's accelerating imperial
ambitions. In the past 14 months, on the pretext of "fighting
terror", US military bases have been established at the gateways to
the greatest oil and gas fields on earth, especially in Central Asia,
which is also coveted as a "great prize".

In Afghanistan, the president, Hamid Karzai, guarded by 46 American
special forces troops, was employed by a subsidiary of Unocal, the
American oil company. The post-Taliban US ambassador is a senior
executive of Unocal, and a pipeline to carry lucrative oil and gas
across the country from the Caspian Sea will be built by Unocal.

The majority of Bush's cabinet are from the oil industry, which has
made them extremely rich. Bush's father is still a consultant for the
huge oil services company, the Carlyle Group, and his personal
clients include the family of Osama bin Laden. One of the reasons the
Americans attacked Afghanistan was not to liberate women but to
liberate the pipeline deal. As the BBC reported on September 18,
2001: "Niaz Niak, a former Pakistani foreign minister, was told by
senior American officials in mid-July (2001) that military action
against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. It was
Naik's view that Washington would not drop its war against
Afghanistan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by
the Taliban. Remember, he said this before the attacks of September
11 had happened.

Only a pittance of the millions of dollars pledged to rebuild
Afghanistan has arrived. As many as 20,000 people, estimates the
Guardian, if you count those bombed to death and who starved during
the bombing, died so that the West could reconquer Afghanistan. Osama
bin Laden was no where to be seen.


WHILE Saddam Hussein's crimes against his own people are well known,
those of the West in Iraq are generally suppressed. The suffering of
ordinary Iraqi people is never mentioned by Bush and Blair, and only
rarely by the media. This is not surprising. Under a United Nations
blockade that resembles a medieval siege, devised and controlled by
the United States and Britain, Iraq is allowed to spend little more
than 100 per person on sustaining the life of each of its citizens
for one year. This is less than half the annual per capita income of
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It is less than
the amount the UN spends on food for dogs used in Iraqi de-mining

A recent comprehensive investigation by an American academic,
Professor Joy Gordon, has revealed that the United States has
placed "on hold" more than $5billion worth of humanitarian goods that
should have gone to Iraq. All the goods were approved by the UN and
financed from the sale of Iraqi oil. They include flour, medicines,
medical equipment, milk production equipment, fire-fighting
equipment, water tankers.

"Over the last three years," wrote Professor Gordon, "I have acquired
many of the key confidential UN documents concerning the
administration of Iraqi sanctions. What they show is that the United
States has fought aggressively throughout the last decade to
purposefully minimise the humanitarian goods that enter the country.
And it has done so in the face of enormous human suffering, including
massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics."

These are the people, more than half of them children, whom Bush and
Blair are planning to attack once the UN's weapons inspectors have
outlived their usefulness. (In the last three years, the Blair
Government alone has spent 1billion illegally bombing Iraq - with
America. Shepherds, fishermen, truck drivers are blown to bits with
rarely a word in the media. Neither country has a UN mandate to do
this; under international law, it is simply an act of piracy.

THE one connection between international terrorism and Iraq will be
the undoubted consequence of an Anglo-American attack. Nothing will
do more to convert al-Qaeda from a relatively small gang to a
fanatical international jihad, or network. Nothing will do more to
create a generation of anti-Western bitterness and recruits for

When Blair warns about the threat of terrorist "carnage" in Britain,
the terrible irony of his predictions is that they are likely to be
self-fulfilling if he involves the British people in a criminal
foreign adventure.

For this irresponsible act, he will place at risk every British
citizen at home and abroad. It will spread fear and foster ethnic
division. Such is the true measure of his fawning devotion to great
power. The people of Britain should not allow it.

-- andreas
-- signature .

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