After the United States and Britain were shown to be providing bogus and plagiarized “intelligence” documents to the UN Security Council that supposedly “proved” Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction program, the world’s media is now being fed a steady stream of captured Iraqi “intelligence” documents from the rubble of Iraq’s Mukhabarat intelligence headquarters.
The problem with these documents is that they are being provided by the U.S. military to a few reporters working for a very suspect newspaper, London’s Daily Telegraph (affectionately known as the Daily Torygraph” by those who understand the paper’s right-wing slant). The Telegraph’s April 27 Sunday edition reported that its correspondent in Baghdad, Inigo Gilmore, had been invited into the intelligence headquarters by U.S. troops and miraculously “found” amid the rubble a document indicating that Iraq invited Osama bin Laden to visit Iraq in March 1998. Gilmore also reported that the CIA been through the building several times before he found the document. Gilmore added that the CIA must have “missed” the document in their prior searches, an astounding claim since the CIA must have been intimately familiar with the building from their previous intelligence links with the Mukhabarat dating from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Moreover, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, including Britain’s MI-6, have refuted claims of a link between Bin Laden and Iraq.
Gilmore also made it a point to declare he was not providing propaganda for the United States, a strange statement by someone who claims to be a seasoned Middle East correspondent. However, it is highly possible he was providing the propaganda for the benefit of a non-government actor, the neo-conservative movement, which uses the Pentagon as a base of operations, and employs deception and perception management tactics to push its sinister agenda.
The U.S. has been quite active in inviting Telegraph reporters into the Iraqi intelligence headquarters. Other documents “found” by the paper’s reporters “revealed” Russian intelligence had passed intercepts of Tony Blair’s phone conversations to Iraqi intelligence, that German intelligence offered to assist Iraqi intelligence in the lead up to the war, that France provided Iraq with the contents of US-French diplomatic exchanges, and that anti-war and anti-Bush Labor Party Member of Parliament George Galloway had solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from Iraq, which were skimmed from the country’s oil-for-food program.
Galloway immediately smelled the rat of a disinformation campaign when he responded to the Telegraph about the “found” document. “Maybe it’s the product of the same forgers who forged so many other things in this whole Iraq picture â¤| It would not be the Iraqi regime that was forging it. It would be people like you [Telegraph journalists] and the Government whose policies you have supported,” Galloway said.
It is amazing that the U.S. military would be so open about letting favored journalists walk freely about the Mukhabarat building when the Pentagon has clamped tight security on the Iraqi Oil Ministry. The reason for this is obvious. While the Mukhabarat building can be salted with phony intelligence documents, the Oil Ministry is likely rife with documents showing the links between Saddam Hussein and Dick Cheney’s old firm, Halliburton. The company signed more than $73 million in contracts with Saddam’s government when Cheney was its Chief Executive Officer. The contracts, negotiated with two Halliburton subsidiaries — Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co. — were part of the UN oil-for-food program, ironically the same program which figures prominently in the charges against Galloway. But unlike the charges against Galloway, the reports about Cheney’s links to Saddam Hussein’s oil industry originated with relatively more main stream media sources, including ABC News, The Washington Post, and The Texas Observer.
Gilmore told the BBC that he noticed that on the Mukhabarat documents he discovered, some information that was “erased.” The erasures were apparently made with a combination of black marker ink and correction fluid. He said he scraped away at the paper with a razor and miraculously found the name Bin Laden in three places. The standard procedure for redacting a classified document is to only use a black indelible marker to mask classified information. However, the proper procedure for trying to read through such markings is not to scrape away the ink as if the document were a instant lottery ticket. Toner print often bleeds through the indelible marker ink. If one holds up such a sheet of paper at a 45 degree angle and under a bright phosphorescent light, the lettering under the ink can be “read” because the lettering almost appears to be “raised.” If a razor blade were used to scrape away the markings, the indelible ink and the toner ink would be obliterated. Gilmore’s claims appear to be spurious.
It was not long before the Iraqi-Al Qaeda “smoking gun” document was reported around the world. America’s right-wing propaganda channel, Fox News, featured the “found” document on its lead story on its Fox Sunday News program. Fox anchorman Tony Snow asked the ethically-tainted Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi about the document. Chalabi responded, saying the document provided enough information that Saddam Hussein was knowledgeable about the September 11 attacks on the United States, a canard that has been rejected by intelligence agencies around the world. However, for those who forged or doctored the document it was mission accomplished.
To understand the process in disseminating such propaganda masked as news, it is important to understand the relationship between The Daily Telegraph and its parent company, the Hollinger Corporation, which is owned by British citizen and former Canadian, Conrad Black. Hollinger, like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, is a mega-media company that spins right-wing propaganda around the world through 379 newspapers, including the Jerusalem Post. Tom Rose, the publisher of the Jerusalem Post, is a major supporter of Ariel Sharon’s Likud Party and is a favorite guest on the right-wing talk shows on Clear Channel radio stations, including that of G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate infamy. Clear Channel, headquartered in Dallas, is owned by close Bush supporters and one-time business partners. To add to the spider’s web, one of Rose’s Jerusalem Post directors is Richard Perle, a member of Donald Rumsfeld’s advisory board.
The “smoking gun” document on Galloway was further played up on Fox News Sunday. William Kristol, an ally of Perle and a dean of the neo-conservatives, and Fox’s Brit Hume, a right-wing ideologue who masquerades as a reporter, said the documents implicating Galloway in accepting money from Saddam Hussein was the “tip of the iceberg.” They then suggested that French President Jacques Chirac, other Western politicians, and Arab journalists working for such networks as Al Jazeera, would soon be “outed” by further Iraqi intelligence documents. For good mesaure, Fox also announced that Galloway may have given classified satellite imagery to Al Qaeda. As is so often the case, the Fox News panelists provided no evidence for their slanderous claims.
Welcome to the new digital and satellite age McCarthyism. Phony documents are “dropped” into the hands of a right-wing London newspaper owned by Conrad Black. They are amplified by Black’s other holdings, including the Jerusalem Post and Chicago Sun-Times. The story is then picked up by the worldwide television outlets of News Corporation, Time Warner, Disney, and General Electric and echoed on the right-wing radio talk shows of Clear Channel and Viacom. Political careers are damaged or destroyed. There is no right of rebuttal for the accused. They are guilty as charged by a whipped up public that gets its information from the Orwellian telescreens of the corporate media.
The media operating in concert with political vermin to whip up popular opinion to stamp out criticism is nothing new. It was practiced by Joseph Goebbels quite effectively in Nazi Germany. It was a British-born actor named Peter Finch who so eloquently and prophetically warned us about the sorry state of today’s media. In Paddy Chayefsky’s excellent movie, “Network,” Finch plays UBS TV news anchormen Howard Beale. When UBS’s entertainment division decides to fire Beale because of low ratings, he begins to rant and rave on the air. He is then given his own television entertainment show, “The Mad Prophet of the Airwaves.” The most famous scene in the movie is when Beale exhorts his viewers to go their windows and yell, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” We should all be mad as hell about the propaganda in the newspapers and on the airwaves; George Bush and Tony Blair; Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black; Clear Channel and Viacom; the neo-conservative think tank bottom feeders; Rumsfeld and his circle of Pentagon ghouls such as Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Newt Gingrich; and the religious fundamentalists who give aid and succor to America’s war machine. To paraphrase Howard Beale, “We should not take them anymore!”
WAYNE MADSEN is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.
Madsen can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com