Lie Buster

Believing in lies is what keeps us all in slavery. Trouble is, most don't even know they are being lied to. My wont is to bust those lies wide-open for any who care about these things. Some do... some don't. Some are just happy living in never-never land!

June 23, 2005

Lies on both sides of the Atlantic

From Signs of the Times:

Yes, they did lie to us

In the US the latest leaked memos are seen as a smoking gun on Iraq, but in Britain we are struggling to keep up
Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian
Wednesday June 22, 2005

Now try to work this one out. Before the war on Iraq, Britain witnessed a ferocious debate over whether the case for conflict was legal and honest. It culminated in the largest demonstration in the country's history, as a million or more took to the streets to stop the war. At the same time, the US sleepwalked into battle. Its press subjected George Bush to a fraction of the scrutiny endured by Tony Blair: the president's claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida were barely challenged. While Blair had to cajole and persuade his MPs to back him, Bush counted on the easy loyalty of his fellow Republicans - and of most leading Democrats.

Yet now the picture has reversed. In Washington Iraq remains close to the centre of politics while in Britain it has all but vanished. So the big news on Capitol Hill is the Democrats' refusal to confirm John Bolton, the man Bush wants to serve as US ambassador to the UN, in part because of suspicions arising from the lead-up to war.

Meanwhile, RAF planes were involved last weekend in bombing raids in north-west Iraq - a marked escalation of their role - and British politics barely stirs. America has woken up; we are aslumber.

The best illustration of this strange reversal is the curious fate of the Downing Street memo. Leaked to the Sunday Times just before the election, it contained a slew of striking revelations. It minuted a meeting of Blair, Jack Straw, Geoff Hoon and a clutch of top officials back on July 23 2002 - when both Bush and Blair were adamant that no decision had been taken - and confirms that, on the contrary, Washington had resolved to go to war. Despite Straw's insistence that the case against Saddam was "thin", the course was set. According to the memo, Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, explained that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As if that were not devastating enough - vindicating one of the anti-war camp's key charges, that the decision for war came first and the evidence was "fixed" to fit - the leaks have kept coming. In the past fortnight, six more documents have surfaced, their authenticity not challenged. One shows that Britain and the US heavily increased bombing raids on Iraq in the summer of 2002 - when London and Washington were still insisting that war was a last resort - even though the Foreign Office's own lawyers had advised that such action was illegal. These "spikes of activity" were aimed at provoking Saddam into action that might justify war. Other documents confirm that Blair had agreed to back regime change in the spring of 2002, that he was warned it was illegal and that ministers were told to "create the conditions" that would make it legal. Other gems include the admission that the threat from Saddam and WMD had not increased and that US attempts to link Baghdad to al-Qaida were "frankly unconvincing".

Taken together, these papers amount to an indictment of the way the British and American peoples were led to war. In Britain they have scarcely made a dent, but in America they have developed an unexpected momentum. Initially circulated on left-leaning websites, they have now broken out of the blogosphere and into the mainstream. The big newspapers have editorialised on the topic; last week Democratic congressmen held unofficial hearings into the memos; whole campaigns have formed solely to publicise their existence. (Now is there as an alternative to, where Americans are invited to signal their gratitude to their staunchest ally.) The memos have earned the two definitive accolades of a hot political issue: their own abbreviation - the DSM - and a customised line of T-shirts. ("Read the memo or die" is available in extra-large.)

The administration has been put on the defensive, lamely insisting that the decision for war was only taken in February 2003. Some Democrats believe the distance between that claim and these memos supplies the vital element of any scandal: proof that the president lied. They argue that if a fib about a dalliance with an intern was enough to see Bill Clinton impeached, lies that led to the deaths of 1,600 US troops and hundreds of thousands of uncounted and unnamed Iraqi civilians deserve at least the same treatment.

That's not going to happen - at least not while Republicans control both the House and Senate, chairing the committees that are meant to investigate such matters. It's also true that, while the mainstream US press has given space to the DSM issue, much of the coverage has sought to play down the documents' importance. (Having failed to expose the holes in the administration's case before the war, the American media is perhaps embarrassed to show how gaping those holes were.) One senior Democrat I spoke to yesterday suggested that the lead-up to war will never become a pivotal question because "it's not in Americans' nature to look backward". The focus now, he says, even among opponents of the war, is on "how to get out of this mess - not how we got into it".

Comment: And yet, as the author pointed out, most Democrats were complicit in the invasion of Iraq - so why should we bother listening to "one senior Democrat's" claim that opponents of the war aren't focusing on how we got into this mess? The truth about how Bush and the Neocons pulled a fast one on the American public regarding both 9/11 and Iraq is the key issue. The Democrat's statement is like saying, "Well, Bush murdered my son, but I don't care why or how it happened - I just want to figure out some way that we can convict him so I can get on with my life." Obviously, the motive involved and especially the evidence of the crime are essential to any prosecution. Otherwise, the murderer walks free.

For all that, the awkward questions linger. Last week Harry Reid, the Democrats' leader in the Senate, explained his opposition to Bolton's nomination partly in terms of the Downing Street memo: that document had established that "hyping intelligence" happened and he wanted to know if Bolton had ever been involved in similar exercises.

Even when the past is put to one side, Iraq continues to have a salience in the US that it lacks here. Coverage of the daily cost of the occupation remains intense, with a constant gaze on the insurgency that refuses to fade away.

What explains this contrast? Part of it is bad timing. The first memo was leaked in the dog days of a British election campaign after a week dominated by the publication of the attorney general's famed advice. Journalists decided that voters were Iraq-ed out and so gave the memo much less coverage than it deserved. The election itself has played a role too. The assumption is that Britons delivered their verdict on Iraq by cutting Labour's majority and therefore the reckoning has, at least partially, happened. That is certainly how the government likes to play it: privately, ministers will hint that the whole Iraq business was a bit of a nightmare but it's behind us now and we can all move on.

The trouble is, it is not behind us. The occupation continues and people are still dying, daily, in substantial numbers. In the US the realisation seems to be dawning that this episode represents, at the very least, a case of maladministration, of desperately poor governance. That failure should be investigated, by Commons committees as much as by congressional ones, not because some of us cannot let go of the past - but because there is no other way to ensure such folly never happens again.

June 19, 2005

"We're Trying Diplomacy"... Yeah Sure!

What is really something is the way that Lies eventually catch up to the Liars!

Here is a good example:

From Signs of the Times

Bush and Blair Committed to War in April, 2002
Leaked Cabinet Briefing Shows British Knew War was Illega

Juan Cole
Informed Comment

The London Times has dropped another bombshell document concerning the planning of the Iraq war in Washington and London.

The leaked Cabinet office briefing paper for the July 23, 2002, meeting of principals in London, the minutes of which have become notorious as the Downing Street Memo, contains key context for that memo. The briefing paper warns the British cabinet in essence that they are facing jail time because Blair promised Bush at Crawford in April, 2002, that he would go to war against Iraq with the Americans.

As Michael Smith reports for the London Times, "regime change" is illegal in international law without a United Nations Security Council resolution or other recognized sanction (national self-defense, or rescuing a population from genocide, e.g.). Since the United Kingdom is signatory to the International Criminal Court, British officials could be brought up on charges for crimes like "Aggression."

Smith quotes the briefing and then remarks on how it shows Bush and Blair to be lying when they invoke their approach to the UN as proof that they sought a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis:

' “It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be “most unlikely” to obtain the legal justification they needed.

The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003. '

The Cabinet briefing makes crystal clear that Blair had cast his lot in with Bush on an elective war against Iraq already in April, 2002:

"2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted."

This passage is unambiguous and refutes the weird suggestion by Michael Kinsley that the Downing Street Memo did not establish that the Bush administration had committed to war by July, 2002.

British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith is quoted in the Downing Street Memo:

"The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change."

The briefing paper discusses this issue further:

"11. US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council."

It makes me deeply ashamed as an American in the tradition of Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, and King, that in their private communications our international allies openly admit that the United States of America routinely disregards international law. The Geneva Conventions were enacted by the United Nations and adopted into national law in order to assure that Nazi-style violations of basic human rights never again occurred without the threat of punishment after the war. We have an administration that views the Geneva Conventions as "quaint." The US has vigorously opposed the International Criminal Court.

The cabinet briefing, like Lord Goldsmith, is skeptical that any of the three legal grounds for war existed with regard to Iraq. Iraq was not an imminent threat to the US or the UK. Saddam's regime was brutal, but its major killing sprees were in the past in 2002. And, the UNSC had not authorized a war against Iraq.

"The legal position would depend on the precise circumstances at the time. Legal bases for an invasion of Iraq are in principle conceivable in both the first two instances but would be difficult to establish because of, for example, the tests of immediacy and proportionality. Further legal advice would be needed on this point."

The tactic of presenting Saddam with an ultimatum that he should allow back in weapons inspectors, in hopes he would refuse, is again highlighted in this document:

"14. It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003. "

In his report about the Cabinet briefing, Walter Pincus focuses on the passages that worry about the apparent lack of planning by Bush for the day after the war ended.

The briefing says:

"19. Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks. . . A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor. We must also consider in greater detail the impact of military action on other UK interests in the region."

The British were clearly afraid that the US would get them into Iraq without a plan, and then Bush might just prove fickle and decamp, leaving the poor British holding the bag.

The briefing is also prescient that the Middle East region would be hostile or at most neutral with regard to an Iraq war, and that less international participation would lessen the chances of success.

I found the passage on the information campaign chilling:

"20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action. "

The polite diplomatic language hides the implications that there would be a global black psy-ops campaign in favor of the war, conducted from London. Since the rest of the briefing already admits that there was no legal justification for action, the proposal of an information campaign that would maintain that such a justification existed must be seen as deeply dishonest.

One press report said that the British military had planted stories in the American press aimed at getting up the Iraq war. A shadowy group called the Rockingham cell was apparently behind it. Similar disinformation campaigns have been waged by Israeli military intelligence, aiming at influencing US public opinion. (Israeli intelligence has have even planted false stories about its enemies in Arabic newspapers, in hopes that Israeli newspapers would translate them into Hebrew and English, and they would be picked up as credible from there in the West.

The International Criminal Court home page is here. We find in its authorizing legislation, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Section on Jurisdiction, which reads as follows:

"Article 5
Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court

1. The jurisdiction of the Court shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute with respect to the following crimes:

(a) The crime of genocide;

(b) Crimes against humanity;

(c) War crimes;

(d) The crime of aggression."

It is not clear to me that the court is yet able to take up the crime of aggression, because legal work remained to be done in defining the crime precisely and in having that language adopted by the UNSC.

If it were able to do so, some groups in Europe may now feel that there is a basis for proceeding against the Blair government for knowingly committing an act of aggression. They might argue that when, in March, 2003, it became clear that the United Nations Security Council would not authorize a war against Iraq; and when it was clear from the reports of the UN weapons inspectors that they were finding no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs; and when it was murky as to whether Saddam was actively killing any significant numbers of Iraqis in 2001-2003--that Blair should have pulled out and refused to cooperate in an Iraq invasion. The cabinet brief and the memo of the July 23 meeting demonstrate conclusively that members of the Blair government knew that they were involved in plans that were as of that moment illegal, and that no legal basis for them might be forthcoming. Ignorance is no excuse under the law, but here even ignorance could not be pleaded.

The US has not ratified the ICC--and in fact has been attempting to undermine it. The Bush administration became especially alarmed about its implications in 2002. It has attempted to put US officials beyond its reach by concluding a series of bilateral treaties with other nations such that they would hold US personnel harmless despite their being signatories to the ICC. It may therefore be difficult for anti-war groups to use it against Bush. [Thanks to the diarists at for this link and clarifications.]

(From Signs of the Times staff)
Comment: It was apparent to anyone who wasn't blinded by preconceived ideas about the nature of the presidency that Bush and his cronies were lying through their teeth from day one about Iraq. And yet they pulled it off. By carrying out the 9/11 attacks on their own country, they were able to put the American people, and a goodly number of others around the world, into such a state of shock that Bush himself, the fearless Commander-in-Chief, had an approval rating of 90%! They had the press eating out of their hands and successfully created an environment where to question the President was to cross the line to treason.

Luke, don't underestimate the dark side.

They don't think like you or me. Their wiring is different.

Their weakness is their wishful thinking, summed up by the White House insider who told a journalist that the problem with critics of Bush was that they were "reality-based" while the Bushies were creating reality on the ground. Well, we've seen how that is going in Iraq where the discrepancy between what Bush, Rummy, and the others say is happening is diverging more and more from the facts. One would think that it is bound to have a boomerang effect, that eventually reality will claim back its rightful position of superiority over the demented ravings of the White House. The question is how long will it take and what is going to happen in the meantime? How bad will it have to get?

In another issue where wishful thinking is meeting up with reality, in this case the reality of new technology, the Bushistas are being forced to scale back, at least a bit, their programme of biometric passports. Seems the technology isn't as reliable as they had hoped.:

June 16, 2005

Why don't journalists report this?

Looks to me like there are still a few reporters who actually report 'news' in Canada! What has transpired in the US to keep this from the citizens? Why do not the people of the States get any real news?

From: The Toronto Sun - online:

Web of cold-blooded lies

PARIS -- In July 2002, the head of MI-6, Britain's secret intelligence service, briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet on U.S. plans to attack Iraq.

Sir Richard Dearlove ("M" to James Bond fans) reported that U.S. President George Bush had decided to invade oil-rich Iraq in March 2003, in a war "to be justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

Translation: The U.S. and British governments would concoct charges against Iraq to justify war.

After Britain's attorney general warned that unprovoked invasion of Iraq would violate international law, Dearlove opined with oily cynicism, "If the political context were right, people would support regime change." Translation: Use propaganda and scare tactics to whip up war fever.

British and U.S. intelligence agencies were ordered to produce "evidence" to justify a war. In the U.S., faked "evidence" and grotesque lies were fed to the frightened public by pro-war neo-conservatives and frenzied national media. The U.S. Congress clapped for war like trained seals.

In October 2002, Bush actually claimed in a national speech that Iraqi "drone" aircraft were poised to shower germs and poison gas on America. Vice-President Dick Cheney insisted this absurd allegation was the "smoking gun" that justified invading Iraq. Blair ordered his cabinet to support the invasion.

Bush, in his subsequent State of the Union speech, warned that Iraq was importing uranium from Niger to build nuclear weapons aimed at the U.S. This ludicrous claim was based on a forged document. The forgery was back-channelled to the Pentagon through neo-fascists in Italian military intelligence.

And so it went. Lie after lie. Scare upon scare. Fakery after fakery, trumpeted by the tame media that came to resemble the lickspittle press of the old Soviet Union. Ironically, in the end, horrid Saddam Hussein turned out to be telling the truth all along, while Bush and Blair were not.

MI-6's smoking-gun memo, revealed for the first time last month in London by the Sunday Times, would have forced any of Europe's democratic governments to resign in disgrace. But not Bush and Blair. Far from it. Though hounded over his Iraq lies by Britain's media, Blair squeaked through a tight election thanks only to the pathetically inept opposition Conservatives, who also backed the Iraq war.

By contrast, U.S. mass media amply confirmed charges of bias and politicization levelled against them by first ignoring the MI-6 memo story, then grudgingly devoting a few low-key stories to the dramatic revelation. Front pages, meanwhile, featured outing of the Nixon era's "Deep Throat," who, it turned out, was part of a cabal of Nixon-haters rather than a selfless patriot.

In retrospect, former president Richard Nixon's misdeeds appear trivial compared to Bush's illegal, unnecessary and catastrophic war against Iraq, which has so far killed some 100,000 Iraqis and Americans, cost $275 billion US, and made America's name mud around the globe.

But as Nazi bigwig Herman Goering observed correctly, a government can get away with anything provided it scares its citizens enough.

France and Germany both knew from their own intelligence services that the Anglo-U.S. accusations against Iraq were nonsense and Saddam was no threat to anyone save his own miserable people.

That is why they refused to join the war in spite of U.S. threats and tempting offers of oil concessions in postwar Iraq. Britain readily accepted.

The U.S. ordered its intelligence services to shut their eyes, toe the White House party line and accept as genuine patently false reports about the Mideast from known disinformers and self-serving sources that wanted to see Iraq destroyed.

But don't just blame Bush and Blair. VP Cheney, CIA boss George Tenet (aka "Dr. Yes"), Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and other senior administration officials who promoted falsehoods over Iraq and war fever were just as guilty of deceiving and misleading the American people and Congress.

Kudos go to Blair's former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, who refused to be party to the lies and resigned. No senior U.S. official had the guts or ethics to follow Cook's admirable example.

June 08, 2005

Bush and Blair DENY Downing Street Memo

Nothing recent has touched of such a firestorm of controversy as the revelation of a memo of a meeting in Britain of it's intelligence chief and Tony Blair who was being briefed regarding the plans of the US to invade Iraq.

This memo has apparently caused more than a slight problem for the current administrations of both countries, as it is the first documented evidence that Bush was lying about nearly everything he said during the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Recently Bush and Blair publicly denied that any of it was true on national TV.

Do you think we should believe what they are saying?

Every time I put '2 and 2 together', it comes out '4'.

How good is your 'addition'?