This Was The First Seal Of War (Revelation 6)

British Inquiry Finds Iraq War Lacked Legal Justification

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: A British inquiry into the Iraq war strongly criticized former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government on Wednesday for joining the U.S.-led invasion without a satisfactory legal basis or proper planning.

The long-awaited inquiry report stopped short of saying military action was illegal, a stance that is certain to disappoint Blair’s many critics.

JOHN CHILCOT: The party has not expressed a view on whether military action was legal. That could, of course, only be resolved by a properly constituted and internationally recognized court. We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory.

NOOR: The report said there was no imminent threat from Saddam in March 2003, and the chaos in Iraq and the region which followed should also have been foreseen.

CHILCOT: Mr Blair presented Iraq’s past current and future capabilities as evidence of the severity of the potential threat from Iraq’s WMD. He said that at some point in the future that threat would become a reality. The judgments about Iraq’s capabilities in that statement and in the dossier published the same day were presented with a certainty that was not justified.

NOOR: The invasion and subsequent instability in Iraq had, by 2009, according to the most conservative estimates resulted in the deaths of at least 150,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, and displaced more than a million.

CHILCOT: Blair told the inquiry that the difficulties encountered in Iraq after the invasion could not have been known in advance. We do not agree that hindsight is required.

NOOR: Outside, Stop the War Coalition campaigners read out the names of Iraqis and British soldiers who had died in the war.

In Iraq, many laid the blame for the rise of ISIS and Iraq’s instability on the British and U.S. invasion. The Islamic State controls a large area of the country. Just this past weekend, Iraq experienced one of its bloodiest attacks as hundreds of people were either killed or injured in a massive car bomb attack in Karrada, a busy commercial district of Baghdad.

SALEH MUTLAQ: [Translated] The decision to invade Iraq was a complete failure, and the evidence to its failure is the result that we’ve reached today. Today the world is threatened by terrorism because Iraq became weak. The weakness of Iraq has led to the weakness of other Arab countries, and the countries in the region were invaded by terrorism after it invaded Iraq.

NOOR: Back in Britain, British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who spoke out against the invasion of Iraq, described it as an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext and a “catastrophe.”

JEREMY CORBYN: Frankly, it was an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext, as the inquiry accepts, and has long been regarded as illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion. By any measure, the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been, for many, a catastrophe.
Mr. Speaker, the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, on the basis of what the Chilcot report calls, and I quote, “flawed intelligence” about the weapons of mass destruction has had a far-reaching impact on us all. It’s led to a fundamental breakdown in trust in politics and in our institutions of government. The tragedy is that while the governing class got it so horrifically wrong, many people, many of our people, actually got it right.

There are huge lessons for every single one of us here today. We make decisions that have consequences that don’t just go on for the immediate years, they go on for decades and decades afterwards.

NOOR: Many, including Peter Kuznick, a professor of history and the director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University argue that people must be held accountable for violating international law.

PETER KUZNICK: It’s perhaps the most serious war crime. Perhaps the second-most serious war crime. The most serious war crime would be the use of nuclear weapons and threatening the annihilation of everybody on the planet. But beneath that, the most serious war crime is, is going to war unprovoked, against a country that is not threatening you, without any kind of international authorization. So yes, this is a war crime, and people can be held accountable as war criminals, and should be.

NOOR: For all our coverage of the Iraq war and its aftermath, go to TheRealNews.com. This is Jaisal Noor.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Blair Admits He Got Bushwhacked (Revelation 13:10)

Britain’s Blair says 2003 Iraq invasion played role in Islamic State rise


LONDON (Reuters) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged the 2003 invasion of Iraq played a part in the rise of the Islamic State militant group, and apologized for some mistakes in planning the war, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

Blair’s decision to send troops to back the U.S.-led invasion is still a live political issue in Britain, where a six-year public inquiry into the conflict is yet to publish its findings. [ID:nL5N1113IL]
Asked whether the offensive was the principal cause of the rise of Islamic State, which now controls large areas of Iraq and neighboring Syria, Blair said there were “elements of truth” in that.

“Of course, you can’t say that those of us who removed (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam (Hussein) in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015,” Blair told U.S. network CNN.

Critics say the U.S. decision to disband Saddam Hussein’s army after the invasion created a huge security vacuum exploited by al Qaeda, which was eventually replaced by Islamic State.

Some former Iraqi army officers, members of the Sunni Muslim minority which says it has been marginalized by the Shi’ite-led government backed by Western powers, are senior strategists in Islamic State. The Iraqi government says it has not marginalized Sunnis.

Blair said the “Arab Spring” uprisings across the region also affected Iraq, and pointed out that Islamic State had risen out of a base in Syria, not Iraq.

Blair apologized for what he described as mistakes in planning and intelligence before the war and in preparations for would happen once Saddam was removed, but said it had been the right decision.
“We have tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq; we’ve tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya; and we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria. It’s not clear to me that, even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked better,” he said.

“I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he’s not there than that he is there.”

CHitler Embarasses Himself On Fox (Rev 13:10)


Fox News Embarrasses Dick Cheney On Iraq And Iran

The former vice president waved off numbers that showed Iran’s nuclear capacity grew rapidly under the Bush administration.
 
7 hours ago | Updated 7 hours ago

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday shrugged off the rapid growth of Iran’s nuclear capacity during the Bush years, insisting that the American invasion of Iraq had curbed Iranian nuclear ambitions.

“There was military action that had an impact on the Iranians when we took down Saddam Hussein,” Cheney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There was a period of time when they stopped their program because they were afraid what we did to Saddam we were going to do to them next.”

The invasion of Iraq in fact deeply strengthened Iran’s hand in the region, ousting a traditional enemy of Iran and installing a new government far more sympathetic to the Iranian regime. Much of Iraq has effectively functioned as a client state of Iran for years.

Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out to Cheney that Iran had no uranium enrichment centrifuges prior to the Iraq War, but had 5,000 of them by the time Bush and Cheney left office.

Cheney waved off the statistic. “I think we did a lot to deal with the arms control problem in the Middle East,” he said.

Cheney also claimed that the Iraq invasion forced Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi to dispose of his own weapons of mass destruction — a claim that was debunked several years ago. 

In 2006, Time magazine reported that Hussein’s ouster nearly derailed lengthy nuclear negotiations with Gaddafi. American and British leaders had been pressing since the Clinton years to cut a deal with Gaddafi that would require him to dispose of weapons of mass destruction. When Hussein was toppled, Time reported, Gaddafi nearly walked away from the talks, concerned that diplomacy with the United States would make him look weak in the face of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke about the shortcomings of the invasion of Iraq on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“The fact of the matter is, we did it right in the first Gulf War. We had to listen to arguments for years afterwards about, ‘Why didn’t you go to Baghdad?’ And the 2003 war came along and you saw why you didn’t want to go to Baghdad,” Powell said. “We had a clear mission, clearly defined and put resources against that mission and took out the Iraqi army in Kuwait, restored the government, what we set out to do.”

“Once you pull out the top of a government, unless there’s a structure under it to give security and structure to the society, you can expect a mess,” he added.

Cheney’s comments on Iraq came amid his criticism of President Barack Obama’s recent diplomatic deal that aims to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Cheney said the U.S. is a “loser” in the pact, while the Iranian regime is “the only winner.”

Supporters of the pact have noted that economic sanctions against Iran have not curbed its nuclear capacities, and that other nations will not be willing to enforce economic levies against Iran if the U.S. abandons the deal. They argue that rejecting Obama’s agreement would leave war as the only remaining tool to deal with a potential nuclear threat.

Dick CHITLER Says Iraq War Was Right! (Rev 13:10)


Dick Cheney: ‘We were right’ to invade Iraq

09/01/15 02:43 PM
By Zachary Roth

Dick Cheney just won’t let it go.

In a new book, the former vice president mounts a furious assault against President Obama’s foreign policy, which Cheney argues has damaged American security by retreating from a position of global leadership. And Cheney takes the obligatory shot at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. But Cheney often seems more concerned with defending the disastrous foreign policy decisions of the Bush administration—from invading Iraq to the use of torture—made more than a decade ago.

In “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America,” Cheney, writing with his daughter Liz Cheney, a former State Department official during the Bush administration, takes aim at the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, writing it will “guarantee an Iranian nuclear arsenal.” The Cheneys insist that invading Iraq was the right call, writing “things were in good shape” in the country when Obama took office. Oh, and they suggest that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was probably a Russian spy.

Almost the first half of the book is devoted to defending Dick Cheney’s tarnished legacy as perhaps the most important figure in the Bush administration’s push for war in Iraq and its handling of the war on terror.

At one stage, the Cheneys write that “history will be the ultimate judge of our decision to liberate Iraq.” But just two pages later, as if unable to resist re-engaging the issue, they describe the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as a “grave threat to the United States” before concluding: “We were right to invade and remove him from power.”

They even insist that U.S. troops “were in fact greeted as liberators,” just as Dick Cheney predicted before the invasion—a quote that Bush administration critics have frequently hung around his neck.
The Cheneys also offer a strained rationale for why, even though Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, the terror attacks still were a reason to invade Iraq. “[A]fter 9/11 … we had an obligation to do everything possible to prevent terrorists from gaining access to much worse weapons. Saddam’s Iraq was the most likely place for terrorists to gain access to and knowledge of such weapons.”

As for the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation program, “it worked,” the Cheneys write. “As we pieced together intelligence about al Qaeda in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the enhanced interrogation program was one of the most effective tools we had. It saved lives and prevented attacks.”

And, they claim, it’s a “falsehood” to say that the torture that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison “represented official policy,” or “had something to do with or was related to America’s enhanced interrogation program.”

The prison at Guantanamo Bay “was and remains safe, secure, humane and necessary,” according to the Cheneys. And people who oppose the Bush administration’s controversial warrantless wiretapping program “will be accountable for explaining to the American people why they fought to make it more difficult for the United States government to effectively track the communications—and therefore the plans—of terrorists inside the United States,” they write.
Still, the thrust of the book is an attack on Obama’s foreign policy, which, the Cheneys argue, has made the U.S. less safe by failing to wield American power around the globe.

“President Obama has departed from the bipartisan tradition going back 75 years of maintaining America’s global supremacy and leadership,” the Cheneys write, calling the idea that that “America is to blame and her power must be restrained” the “touchstone of [Obama’s] ideology.”
With the Iran nuclear deal, Obama “is gambling America’s security on the veracity of the Mullahs in Tehran,” they write, calling it a “falsehood” that the pact will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. “The truth is the opposite,” they write. “This agreement will guarantee an Iranian nuclear arsenal.”

Indeed, the Cheneys compare the deal to the Munich agreement of 1938, a frequently used example among conservatives of the dangers of appeasement.

Hitler got Czechoslovakia,” the Cheneys write (in fact, at Munich, Hitler got the Sudetenland, an area of western Czechoslovakia mostly inhabited by German speakers). “The Mullahs in Tehran get billions of dollars and a pathway to a nuclear arsenal.”

The Cheneys also take the chance to go after Clinton on Benghazi, in an effort to reinforce questions about her character as she runs for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. They accuse her of “adopting a false narrative because it serves political purposes,” adding, “It is the difference between lying to the American people and dealing with them truthfully.”

Dick Cheney also recounts that a Pentagon official told him in a phone call that the administration’s “pivot to Asia” was “all about budgets.” From this Cheney writes: “President Obama was pretending the war on terror was over so that he wouldn’t have to continue to allocate significant military resources to the Middle East.”

“We’ll decline comment on second-hand anonymous quotes, but the President has been clear about the re-balance and its place in our national security. The re-balance to the Asia-Pacific region is based on a comprehensive assessment of long-term U.S. interests,” Defense Department spokesman William Urban told msnbc. “The security and prosperity of the United States depends on continued stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and therefore, the United States will stay fully engaged in the region to ensure that we continue to promote those interests.”

Perhaps the strangest charge in the book is the one about Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked a trove of classified documents before fleeing to Hong Kong, and, ultimately, Russia.
“Whether Snowden was a Russian operative at the time he stole the U.S. secrets is a subject of debate, although it is hard to conceive of his landing in Moscow as a coincidence,” the Cheneys write. Snowden has denied being a Russian spy.

Hey Dick: Your Iraq War Will Lead To First Use Of Nuclear Weapon Since Hiroshima And Nagasaki

 

Dick Cheney: Iran Deal Will Lead To First Use Of Nuclear Weapon Since Hiroshima And Nagasaki

“Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false.”

1 hour ago | Updated 1 hour ago

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney launched a broad attack against President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in an excerpt of a forthcoming book that was published in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Both Cheneys accused Obama of lying about the Iran nuclear deal and said that the agreement would lead to the first use of a nuclear weapon since 1945.

“Nearly everything the president has told us about his Iranian agreement is false. He has said it will prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons, but it will actually facilitate and legitimize an Iranian nuclear arsenal,” they wrote. “The Obama agreement will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East and, more than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Obama administration has aggressively defended the deal, saying that it cuts off all pathways to a nuclear bomb. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that a better deal simply does not exist.
The Cheneys also blamed the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS on the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in 2011 –– a talking point that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has also used.
“He has abandoned Iraq, leaving a vacuum that is being tragically and ominously filled by our enemies. He is on course to forsake Afghanistan as well,” the Cheneys wrote.

But former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who was one of the architects of the 2007 surge and a top official in Iraq, has disputed that the decision to leave Iraq was Obama’s.
I remind everybody that us leaving at the end of 2011 was negotiated in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was always the plan, we had promised them that we would respect their sovereignty,” Odierno said at a press conference earlier this month.

The Cheneys’ book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America, will be available Sept. 1.

Typical Bush Lies (Revelation 13:10)

 

Jeb Bush offered inaccurate version of Iraq war history


BY JONATHAN S. LANDAY AND LESLEY CLARK
McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, in his Tuesday speech that was billed as a major foreign policy address, provided a distorted version of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq and an incorrect account of the origins of the Islamic State.

Bush vowed that if elected he would expand U.S. military intervention in the Middle East significantly. His version of events, however, seemed intended to absolve his brother, President George W. Bush, of blame in destabilizing the region while trying to pin the region’s current bloodshed on President Barack Obama and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic presidential frontrunner.

The former Florida governor asserted that the Islamic State’s takeover of large swaths of Iraq in 2014 was a direct consequence of the “fatal error” of Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the country in 2011 after the eight-year U.S. military occupation. He claimed the withdrawal squandered the “success, brilliant, heroic and costly,” of the 2007 U.S. troop surge. He said Clinton “stood by as the hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.”

Bush’s account of the withdrawal as a “case of blind haste” omitted the fact that it was his brother who’d set the withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011, in an agreement that he signed with the Iraqi government in 2008.

He also neglected to note that the Iraqi government strongly opposed the continued presence of U.S. forces.

“The last American soldier will leave Iraq” as agreed, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki said in a Dec. 2010 interview with the Wall Street Journal. “This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alternation. It is sealed.”

Critics fault Obama for not pressing Maliki harder to permit a U.S. contingent to remain to train Iraqi security forces. But the Obama administration was forced to fulfill the departure timetable when the Iraqi government refused to exempt American troops from Iraqi law.

Bush’s version of the success of the surge, launched to contain attacks on U.S. forces and minority Sunni Muslims by Iranian-backed Shiite militias, also was incomplete.

U.S. military operations did help contain Shiite militias known as special groups that had targeted American forces. But another major factor was Iran, which had gained enormous influence in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion replaced Sunni rule with a Shiite-dominated government. Iran ordered Shiite militia leaders like Muqtada al Sadr, the head of the so-called Mahdi Army that controlled Baghdad’s sprawling Sadr City slum, to stand down in order to hasten the U.S. troop withdrawal.
Bush’s version of the role the U.S. troop withdrawal played in “creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill” also was incomplete, omitting that fact that the Islamic State is the successor organization to al Qaida in Iraq, or AQI, the al Qaida affiliate formed after the U.S. invasion.

The Bush administration sought to crush AQI by recruiting local Sunni tribesmen into a militia movement known as the Sons of Iraq that worked closely with U.S. forces. While the strategy dealt serious blows to AQI, it failed to eradicate the group, which went underground and continued to pursue a campaign of bombings, assassinations and attacks that targeted Shiites and government officials.

The group, many of whose leaders met while prisoners at the U.S. military’s Camp Bucca detention center in Iraq, re-emerged in 2013, co-opting support from a protest movement by Sunnis in Iraq’s Anbar province enraged by what they denounced as broken promises and persecution by the Shiite-dominated central government.

The group also sent fighters into neighboring Syria, which was enmeshed in devastating civil war that erupted in 2011, seizing territory that it used as springboard for the 2014 offensive that overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and stormed to the outskirts of Baghdad.

“There is blame to go around,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution. “But if you are trying to weigh the blame, there is more on the Bush administration, that’s when these forces really developed.

O’Hanlon, who supported the Bush decision to invade Iraq, said he believes Obama could have tried harder to persuade Maliki to keep a residual force in Iraq, but credits Obama with slowing down the withdrawal until late 2011, beyond his original timeline.

“Blind haste is not a fair characterization,’ he said.

Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said he sees little value in arguments about who bears responsibility for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.

“Nothing could be more damaging or pointless in serving American interests at this point than a partisan debate that focuses on whether President Bush or President Obama ‘lost Iraq,’ ” he said, adding that the “record will show . . . Iraq’s problems have been shaped far more by Iraqis and Iran” than the actions of the United States.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a rival for the Republican nomination, said he thought Jeb Bush had made a mistake trying to “re-litigate” the Iraq war.

“It makes no sense for us as a party. he said. “We know what the answer to that question is, we should just move on to the other issues that are of real concern.”

Hitler Torches Iran Deal (Revelation 13:10)

 

Dick Cheney torches Iran deal: ‘What the hell is the president thinking?’

COLIN CAMPBELL Jul. 15, 2015, 8:25 AM

Former Vice President Dick Cheney passionately denounced the Iran nuclear deal in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night.

After Hannity asked Cheney why President Barack Obama wants the agreement, the former vice president bluntly said that he didn’t know.

“You asked the key question, Sean. And that is: What the hell is the president thinking of when he thinks this is a great deal? And I frankly simply do not understand. I haven’t met anyone who can explain it to me,” he said.

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday morning that the US and other powers had struck a deal with Iran to curb its ability to produce a nuclear weapon. In exchange, Iran earned a number of concessions, including the rollback of economic sanctions.

But Cheney, like many Republican foreign-policy hawks, has a litany of concerns about the agreement, which he said would only lead to Iran getting a nuclear bomb if implemented. Cheney predicted that other countries would then arm themselves with nuclear weapons in response.

“I can’t help but just shake my head,” Cheney said of Obama. “The one thing that really disturbed me was when he said we have quote ‘stopped the proliferation of nuclear weapons.’ That’s a lie. The fact of the matter is the situation we’ve got, when Iran ends up with a nuclear weapon, that is bound to lead to others in the region to protect themselves.”

Cheney had a dire warning about what would happen after other countries build up their nuclear arsenals.

That will in fact I think put us closer to the actual use of nuclear weapons than we’ve been at any time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II,” he said.

How the Beast of the Sea Led Us to War (Revelation 13:10)

9/11 & Iraq Revisited: Remembering How We Were Lied Into War

Will Porter, September 19, 2014

iraq-bush

Since the cataclysmic events that took place on the morning of September 11th 2001, an extended series of consequences have unfolded with an alarming rapidity. Between vast escalations of military activity abroad, the passing of draconian laws, like the Patriot Act and the NDAA, the instituting of the Department of Homeland Security, and the ramping up of domestic spy programs through the NSA, 9/11 has served as a catalyst for a radical change in how America conducts itself both at home and around the world. In the weeks and months following the incident, the American people were bombarded with a veritable hurricane of bald-faced lies and assertions based on dubious “intelligence”. Before they could begin to wrap their heads around the significance of the events taking place around them, their government had already set plans into motion to wage a decades-long military conflict in the Middle East, a conflict which rages at full force to this day. In fact, recent developments in Iraq regarding the Islamic State militant group, or ISIS, elevate the issue of the 2003 Iraq War to the highest importance.

Among the general populace, a widely-accepted narrative has developed which attempts to make sense of all that has happened since September 11th. Very broadly, the narrative contends that Islamic extremists have declared war on the United States, and this alone serves to explain and justify the long string of wars that have been waged in the name of the global “War on Terrorism” ever since. What’s most surprising about the public narrative is that it offers almost no explanation at all of how or why Iraq was, directly or indirectly, implicated in the 2001 terror attacks on New York and DC. At best, the public storyline suggests only a vague connection between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Any substantial explanation of this tie, however, has seemingly fallen away into the ethereal memory hole of American historical conscience.

Of the many oft-repeated talking points which comprise the terror war narrative, the question of the highest importance almost always goes unasked: why exactly did the United States wage war against Iraq in the first place? It is extremely peculiar that the largest-scale, most significant conflict to date in the war on terrorism has no widely-understood explanation. Those who have paid the highest price to initiate this war, the American people, seem to be the least informed on the matter. It is because of this lack of understanding regarding Iraq in particular that the terror war was ever able to get underway, and, indeed, build up a seemingly unstoppable momentum.

On this 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, which initiated the drive for war, it is vital to return to these basic questions. How did this happen? Who was involved? What justifications were given to go into Iraq in the first place? After more than a decade, the American people still cannot provide firm answers to such questions. To understand the broader war on terror, and how it came to dominate American foreign policy, it is necessary to fill in the blanks of the official narrative, as well as overturn some of the prevailing falsehoods about Iraq, WMDs, and its connection to al-Qaeda.

In basic terms, the official US government justification for the Iraq War goes something like this: Saddam Hussein was a material supporter of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda – particularly the Islamic militant Abu Musab Zarqawi – offering safe harbor and/or training facilities for them in Iraq. On top of this is the related claim that Hussein was actively pursuing “weapons of mass destruction,” using “mobile bio-weapons labs,” as well as “aluminum tubes” for centrifuges in a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. In his alleged link to militant Islam – and his ties to Palestine in the case of Zarqawi, a Jordan-born Palestinian – Saddam was said to have planned to provide Iraq’s weapons to terrorists, who would act as his proxies. For these reasons, Iraq was said to be a threat to its neighbors, and a threat to the United States. These claims are officially stated in a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), but also informally circulated in TV and print news media in the run up to the war.

While the Bush Administration explicitly refrained from directly accusing Saddam of complicity in the 9/11 attacks, they were certainly happy to let the American people believe there was a direct connection between the two. After all, many thought, why would the US ever wage a war against Iraq, seemingly as a result of 9/11, if Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? Due to the disjointed and incoherent Administration narrative, and the mainstream media’s willingness to freely speculate on all matters pertaining to 9/11, Iraq, and terror, the American people were left to rationalize and put two-and-two together on their own, often concluding that Saddam and September 11th were related.

The only explicit attempt to tie 9/11 to Iraq was in the claim that lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammad Atta, made contact with Iraqi intelligence at a meeting in Prague. Later, additional allegations derived from “Israeli security sources” assert that an Iraqi agent furnished Atta with an “anthrax flask” at the same meeting. Some suggested also that Iraq was involved in the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks that took place shortly after 9/11, targeting media outlets as well as Senators Patrick Leahy and Thomas Daschle (who both, coincidentally, happened to oppose the invasion of Iraq). All the talk of anthrax, no matter how baseless, ultimately helped to terrorize the American people and warm them up to the idea of war with Iraq. Finally, but no less important, we have the documents, curiously supplied by an Italian intelligence agency (SISMI), which were claimed to prove Saddam’s attempt to procure 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger. Sprinkle in a little Wilsonian talk of “spreading democracy,” and you’ve got yourself a war.

As we shall see, absolutely none of the casus belli presented to the American people had any resemblance to reality. Through a complex network of government officials – primarily connected to the Pentagon and the office of the Vice President – media pundits and journalists – such as Judith Miller, others at the New York Times, and the PNAC crowd at the Weekly Standard – as well as foreign sources – Iraqi ex-pats as well as Italian and Israeli intelligence – the Iraq War was set off without a hitch; built upon, in the words of Colin Powell, a “web of lies.”

An essential link in the chain was the Pentagon-created Office of Special Plans (OSP). Established in 2002, this agency lies at the very heart of the War Party push to invade Iraq. Through this Office, headed by Abram Shulsky under the authority of Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, “intelligence” was funneled into important or influential places, such as the office of Vice President Cheney via his Chief of Staff, Louis “Scooter” Libby. In one case, information was even directly leaked by Douglas Feith to Bill Kristol’s neocon rag, the Weekly Standard, demonstrating, in part, the state-media complicity in misleading the American people. Additional players linked to the OSP, to name only a few, include NESA bureau head William Luti, Defense Policy Board members Richard Perle and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, as well as neocon Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, whose prior informal intelligence activity with Feith was officially codified in the creation of the OSP. Its primary task was to dig through raw intelligence agency information, unaccompanied by the judgment of a professional analyst, in order to ham-fistedly piece together official justifications for war.

According to retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and former Pentagon desk officer Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked closely with senior Pentagon staff such as William Luti, higher-up officials in the OSP were “willing to exclude or marginalize intelligence products that did not fit the agenda.” To that end, information disseminated from this office was carefully cherry-picked and highly exaggerated, with much of it gleaned from the Iraqi expat group the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Presiding over the INC was Ahmed Chalabi, essentially a double agent for the Ayatollah, who temporarily served a vital purpose for his neo-conservative dupes.

Chalabi dazzled neocons with talk of a future “Hashemite Kingdom” in Iraq (referring to Jordan; diplomatically and economically friendly with Israel). He was selected by administration war hawks as early as the Gulf War to lead the Iraqi political march to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Exiled from Iraq, and a convicted bank fraudster, Chalabi weaseled his way into high position in the post-Saddam Iraqi state after helping the Bush Administration successfully bamboozle their way in. Later on, to the horror of his former US colleagues, his true loyalties were discovered, revealing an epic betrayal of the War Party in favor of his long-held Iranian connections. As an influential figure among pro-war ideologues, Chalabi was able to carefully sway events to Iran’s benefit in ways which his neocon handlers were oblivious of. Despite this double-cross, it was Chalabi and his INC “heroes in error” who provided many of the intelligence sources that were vital in the push for invasion. For example, in a New York Times piece by Judith Miller, she cites a meeting, arranged by the INC, with an “Iraqi defector,” claiming there to be “renovations at sites for chemical and nuclear arms” in Saddam’s Iraq. With the popular news media parroting the government’s claims, it helped to quickly move along the pro-war policy.

In the end, nothing regarding the claims of “aluminum tubes,” initially insisted on by the CIA’s WINPAC center, was true. The same goes for the “arms sites” and “mobile weapons labs,” both of which were sourced from Iraqi defectors. All of these talking points were, as well, used in Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations in February of 2003, a speech which was crucial in the green-lighting of the American-led coalition to invade Iraq. The lies in that speech, as well as the ones told in the 2002 NIE cited above, are officially debunked by a 2004 Senate Report (download PDF in link) which cites intelligence community conclusions on the various fraudulent claims. None of the information used to bolster the WMD story held any weight, and a large portion of the US intelligence community had said so all along. This was not just a big mistake, it was intelligence deliberately concocted, or presented wildly out of context, in order to send the nation (back) to war, to finish the job started in the 1991 Iraq conflict.

Official skepticism toward Bush Administration claims of Saddam’s weapons, as well as his ties to terror is illustrated the leaked UK intelligence documents, known as the “Downing Street Memos”. These memos depict high-ranking UK officials expressing concern over whether the Administration was “fixing” intelligence around a pro-war policy, rather than a policy around intelligence. Before, during, and after the war, there were a multitude of intelligence sources, as well as a fairly large body of journalism, which conveyed deep skepticism toward the dubious pro-war talking points. There certainly were dissenting voices in the lead up to the war; these voices simply went unheeded and unheard, at least until after the invasion. The mainstream media chose, instead, to create an echo chamber for the flurry of false claims emanating from the Bush Administration and the tightly-knit group of neo-conservatives in high office or positions of public influence.

Also proven false in the 2004 Senate Report are the allegations of Saddam attempting to purchase yellowcake uranium from the Nigerian government in 1999-2000. The documents passed along from Italian intelligence, in fact, turned out to be the crudest of forgeries! From October of 2002 to March of 2003, the CIA, as well as the IAEA, expressed doubts about the information contained in the documents, yet this didn’t stop President Bush from invoking it in his State of the Union address of January 2003. Indeed, the CIA’s skepticism was either discounted or completely circumnavigated in order to push this particular piece of intelligence.

Of much interest here is the 2005 La Republicaexposé (translation) which explores the antics of one Rocco Martino, an Italian peddler of information who worked with Italian, and at times French, intelligence. Martino and a number of associates, looking for a quick way to make money, were able to use various intelligence assets to attain access to outdated Nigerian documents. Using official stamps and letterhead stolen from the Nigerian Embassy in Rome, this group of rapacious rogues crudely pieced together the stale documents to create the forgery, which they hoped to sell. They were initially handed off to SISMI and to the French, who quickly saw them for what they were. But much changed after 9/11 and the Bush Administration’s mad scramble for Saddam-WMD intelligence. At this point, SISMI finds new willingness to share the documents with the CIA station in Rome, while Martino gives them over to British MI6. The information makes its way to the Bush Administration, where it is eventually used in the 2003 SOTU address in the form of sixteen ambiguous words. Following the rest of this story, with its possible ties to a police sting, Iran, Israel, and Michael Ledeen, will lead us down quite a deep rabbit-hole, which due to space limitations simply cannot be elaborated on here.

Finally it should also be briefly noted that the more recent scandal involving the outing of undercover agent Valerie Plame is heavily related to her husband’s investigation of the forged Niger documents. The Wilson-Plame Niger investigation clearly probed too close to the truth, leading to an attempted career assassination at the behest of powerful people.

Another key example of botched intelligence is the claim of the meeting in Prague between Mohammad Atta and Iraqi intelligence, as well as the later attempt to link this meeting with anthrax. The Prague meeting was initially reported by Czech officials, although there were various conflicting accounts, where different Czech officials deny the meeting ever happened. An interesting parenthetical note, when Dick Cheney cited these reports in a TV interview to confirm the 9/11-Iraq tie, he refers to “Czechoslovakia,” a country which had not existed since Czech-Slovak split in 1993. This certainly could have been a simple slip of the tongue, but it seems that, assuming Cheney himself had seen the Czech report, it’d be fresh enough in his mind to at least get the country’s name right!

Mark Rossini, a former FBI counter-terrorism agent given the task of analyzing the Czech report on the Prague meeting, recalls his reaction to the Cheney interview: “I remember looking at the TV screen and saying, ‘What did I just hear?’ And I–first time in my life, I actually threw something at the television because I couldn’t believe what I just heard.” A 2006 Select Committee on Intelligence report repeats this conclusion, held among US intelligence circles, that the Prague meeting was dubious at best, definitely not solid enough base a military invasion on. Since this meeting likely never occurred, there is no need to provide further evidence to disprove the claim, sourced from “Israeli security,” that a flask full of anthrax was given to Atta during the meeting.

Aside from the Prague-anthrax connection, further attempts were made to link the anthrax-letter attacks to both the 9/11 hijackers and, again, to Iraq. The letters themselves contained messages that were so deliberately suggestive of hijacker involvement that it strikes one as suspicious, proclaiming “09-11-01, this is next,” and “Death to America, death to Israel.” Bryan Ross at ABC repeatedly said, with increasing degrees of certainty, that it was very likely from Saddam Hussein’s anthrax program. He sourced three or four unnamed “well placed people,” which if true might suggest that Ross was purposely mislead by government agents who wished to anonymously disseminate false information.

Despite the massive FBI probe into the case, no definitive answers were ever provided as to who was responsible. The total incompetency of the FBI, however, didn’t stop independent journalists from delving into the case themselves. From these investigations came a series of very strange discoveries, not the least of which was the likelihood that the specific anthrax strains used in the letter-attacks originated in US Army labs! Although two different people were selected as “fall-men,” the baseless accusations against neither of them stuck. The second of the two, one Dr. Ayaad Assaad, an Egyptian-American scientist, worked at the Fort Detrick facility from which samples of anthrax, among other dangerous biological compounds, went missing years before the letter-attacks. In later, seemingly unrelated, events at Fort Detrick, Dr. Assaad’s colleagues, primarily a group led by a man named Phillip Zack, engaged in bizarre and juvenile harassments against him. This same Phillip Zack was a suspect in a 1992 internal Army inquiry, thought to be making unauthorized access, by cover of night, to a biological compounds lab, where pathogens like anthrax, Ebola, and the Hanta virus had gone missing.

Moreover, in late September 2001, an anonymous letter sent to the FBI in Quantico, Virginia alleging that Dr. Assaad was behind a terrorist plot to use biological agents in the United States. This accusatory letter was sent after the anthrax-letters were mailed, but before they were discovered to contain anthrax. This suggests that some third-party, somebody other than Dr. Assaad, had foreknowledge of the attacks. Tying things together, in the missive accusing Assaad it is also stated that the author had formerly worked with him, demonstrating fairly extensive knowledge of Assaad’s career at USAMRIID.

Although the true culprits of the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks remain a mystery, this highly peculiar series of events seems to suggest there is much more to the story than simply another act of terrorism perpetrated by the same group responsible for the 9/11 attacks (or Iraq, as Bryan Ross asserted). One might speculate that this Phillip Zack, or somebody closely related, had a hand in the anthrax-letters, based on his suspected past unauthorized access to pathogens labs, his proven hatred for Dr. Assaad, and the strange letter sent by an alleged former colleague of Assaad’s, ascribing the guilt to him. There is more to be said about this long story, however what matters here is not the identity of the culprit, but the fact that despite almost zero solid evidence pointing to Iraq, nor to the 9/11 hijackers, influential people in the government and media were more than willing to accept such an event as a pretext for war; behind closed doors with the former, out in the open with the latter.

In the end, most of the high-ranking US officials involved in kicking off the Iraq invasion have subsequently come out to admit there were no WMDs, and no ties between Hussein and al-Qaeda. While they admit they made mistakes, most of them, unbelievably, deny they ever made claims about nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. They also deny ever asserting there were ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Needless to say, there are mountains of direct evidence proving without a shadow of a doubt that these people are complete liars, guilty of the highest crimes against humanity imaginable.

The Iraq War has often been blamed on faulty intelligence alone, and for some of the people involved this may well be true.

However, what’s clear is that within the intelligence community itself, there was all along a basic consensus of the doubts regarding Bush Administration claims. The intelligence is not to be blamed, but those who wielded it in dishonest and outright corrupt ways.

What’s more are the absolutely damning ties between the neocon cabal largely responsible for the war, and the Israeli foreign policy apparatus. There is a long and extensive history of neo-conservative groups’ – especially the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) – involvement in the crafting of both Israeli and Americanpolicy, as well as garnering immense tax-dollar support for the Israeli state. Perhaps this is best illustrated in a 1996 Israeli policy paper entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” authored by neocon figurehead David Wurmser, with signers-on Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, among others.

Here they outline a plan regarding how Israel should deal with its neighboring Arab states. Working with allies Jordan and Turkey, they hope to “contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of [Israel’s] most dangerous threats.” This includes countries like Syria, Lebanon, and Iran – most of whom the US has taken an increasingly aggressive posture toward. Iraq also is said to a valuable prize, with the removal of Saddam Hussein from power a priority. Indeed, for many years, long before 9/11, this very same group of hardline Israel-firsters sought to influence American policy toward war with Iraq as well, in large part to serve Israeli interests, alongside military-industrial ones. The 9/11 attacks were obviously used as justification to execute this plan, to get a regime change in Iraq. To these neocons, American and Israeli state-security interests are one in the same, certainly regarding Iraq, as well as the aggressive Zionism (illustrated in the “Yinon Plan”) which characterizes Israeli policy, both domestic and foreign.

This incestuous neocon-Israeli involvement in the crafting of state-policy should, of course, come as no surprise. This is a well-known phenomenon, not any sort of speculative conspiracy fringe. Israel not only has long-standing ties with influential conservative movers-and-shakers in the foreign policy field, but also a history of deceptive and outright murderous behavior all around. From the decades of military occupation of the Palestinian people, the Israeli spying on American institutions, the multiple cases of Israeli (or Israel-related, through AIPAC) theft of sensitive US intelligence-related secrets, the theft of uranium in the 1950s to build nuclear bombs with, to their deliberate attempt to sink the USS Liberty in June of 1967, Israel has quite a deranged history indeed.

As with most matters of policy, the Iraq War was certainly not pushed by only one single set of interests. Things aren’t so simple. The Israel-first neocon crowd had a very important role to play, but in the end this was a confluence of many inter-locking interest groups. Political campaigning, military-industrial interests, oil, and, especially in the case of Bush Jr., personal ambition; these also were part of the incentive-structure for a pro-war policy. All of the people responsible for this war did not necessarily have to be unified in a grand conspiracy in order to push for the same policy-objective. Indeed, it just goes to show the way in which disparate and varying interest groups can come together in agreement where their individual motivations and values meet. It is sometimes easy to ascribe a collective agency to government actors, but these are still human beings we’re speaking of here. Each individual, in reality, acts according to the values placed on his own given ends in the situation he finds himself in.

I have hardly even begun to broach the voluminous content of the Iraq War chronicles, but this short review should alone serve to prove the case. The United States government, or rather a militant clique within its most powerful and influential agencies, sent this nation to war, based on fraudulent pretexts, with a largely disarmed and impoverished adversary. Between the 1990s sanctions, which lead to the deaths of 500,000 children, the one million people killed in the war of 2003, and many more millions displaced – their homes in ruin and their lives destroyed – the toll taken on the Iraqi people has been devastating. From 1990-2012, it is estimated 2-3 million Iraqis were killed or died, due to the economic sanctions, the two wars waged by the US government, and the Civil War which broke out during the second occupation.

Let us never forget how easily this happened, as we are faced with yet another attempt to send troops to Iraq. For almost a half-century now, the United States has constantly intervened in Iraq, and to what avail? Of all the trillions of dollars, the millions of lives, the rivers of blood poured into the country, it has only given rise to the most brutal, out of control problem to date: the Islamic State. ISIS is currently rampaging across Iraq and Syria, taking entire swaths of territory and proclaiming the establishment of a long-sought Islamic Caliphate.

As the United States, with its Mid-East allies the Turks and Saudis, continues to funnel material support to the “moderate” anti-Assad rebels in Syria, they fund and back precisely the same people they claim to oppose in Iraq. The anti-Assad rebels and the pro-caliphate jihadists are, in many cases, the very same militant groups. Considering these issues, it is long, long, overdue that the American people and, less likely, the politicians who make US policy, reexamine the issue of the Middle East, and the long-standing practice of US foreign intervention in general. If 50 years of failed policy, the colossal waste of money and resources, as well as the resulting blowback can’t teach us this lesson, I do not know what ever would.

At least encouraging was the strong majority stance of the American people to absolutely reject the notion of US military involvement in Syria around September of last year. But for any hope to avoid future bloodshed and destruction, it is vital that we internalize the lessons of the past. We must abandon the idea that history began last week, and always return to the past in order to inform our knowledge of the present and the future. For that reason, after the anniversary of the most horrific example of blow back this country has ever seen, let us never forget Iraq.

A special thank you is reserved for independent researcher, author, and filmmaker Ryan Dawson. Both his film “War by Deception” and his personal correspondence were invaluable. Another big thanks to radio show host Scott Horton, who took the time to go over this essay and offer many needed resources and corrections.

Antichrist Warns Obama (Revelation 13:11)

Iraq voices anger as US air force defends Irbil – but not Baghdad
 
Resentment grows in capital over perceived American preference to fight for Kurds rather than ousted Maliki
 
Launch From USS George W Bush

Launch From USS George W Bush
 
An American fighter launching from the USS George HW Bush to strike Isis targets in Iraq. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters
Iraq’s political class has watched with fear and envy in the last fortnight as American jets have slowed the Islamic State extremist group’s advance towards the Kurdish stronghold of Irbil.

At the same time, the group, formerly known as Isis, has been trying to encircle Baghdad – untroubled by air strikes. Its manoeuvres near the national capital in recent days have consolidated gains it has made in the last two tumultuous months and made the very existence of Iraq in its current borders ever more precarious.

With a new central government only three weeks from being sworn in, Iraqi leaders are imploring the US to honour what they perceived to be an implicit deal to protect Baghdad once an inclusive leadership was installed.

Officials say that support for only one side will guarantee the end of Iraq, allowing the Isis insurgents menacing the capital to whittle away what is left of state control and terrorise large numbers of people into fleeing.

The officials, led at first by ousted leader Nouri al-Maliki, had said that only US air power could put a halt to Isis’s momentum. Iraq’s military had refused to fight the jihadists, surrendering large parts of the country as they advanced into Mosul and Tikrit, and towards Kirkuk.

Ever since, they have been unable to reclaim lost ground and are struggling to defend oil and energy sites that are essential to Iraq’s viability. What remains of the Iraqi military is operating without US air cover. Kurdish forces, on the other hand, have taken comfort from air strikes that beat back Isis less than 30 miles to the south-west of Irbil.

On Thursday, the jihadists staged a series of attacks in an area 40 miles south of Baghdad labelled nine years ago by the US military as the “triangle of death”. Iraqi military officials say that area is next to impossible to defend without strategic weapons, or US air support.

Iraq’s small, American-trained air force has been busy in the skies over the country, but is unable to turn the tide against Isis. “We are hitting them 24 hours a day in Tel Keyf, Khazir, Shalalat and in Mosul,” said pilot Raad Faqe, a Kurd.

“I have bombed Mosul myself. We do a lot of bombing but our weapons are not good. Our best weapon is the Hellfire [missile]. The problem with Hellfire, it does not cause major damage, but it is good in terms of hitting the target. I fly a Cessna Caravan 202 which is designed for transport purposes but we have converted it into a bomber.”

Faqe confirmed that Iranian air force pilots were active above the skies of Iraq. “I have seen with my own eyes that the Iranians have brought Sukhoi planes,” he said. “Everything in that unit is Iranian including the pilot and the mechanics. They are in Rasheed base, a huge base in south of Baghdad … the Iranians make barrel bombs and then use Antonov and Huey planes to drop them in Sunni areas. Some Iranian pilots have been shot down.

“When we go to bomb a place, the ground troops don’t accompany us. We bomb a place and kill a few, then Isis disperses, but they regroup later.”

The pilot said that five helicopters had been brought down by the militants, while another seven planes were put to the torch on an airfield in Tikrit.

As the war of attrition with Isis steadily tips in the militants’ favour, resentment is growing among influential Iraqis. “The American policy is shameful,” said Hassan al-Fayath, the dean of al-Nahrain University in Baghdad. “The Americans always say they are the leaders in fighting terrorism but they didn’t lift a finger when Isis was taking parts of Iraq. The only time the Americans got involved was when they found it started threatening their interests by getting closer to the oil fields and to Irbil.

“Isis succeeded in securing Iraqi oil and now they have the resources to recruit more fighters and buy weapons. Why did everyone let them go that far and not intervene earlier?”

Asked whether US jets will return to the skies over Baghdad, he said: “Obama will launch more strikes to save the oil and his Kurdish friends.”

Issan al-Shimary, a political analyst, said: “America said it won’t intervene unless the Iraqis manage to find a new prime minister and now this has happened. This will put more international pressure on Obama to be more involved in Iraq.

“I believe the American air strikes didn’t happen because they already knew … that Maliki was leaving. Now we hear about more American involvement through logistical help, weapon supplies and even sending troops to the western deserts. This has all happened as a result of the Iraqi policy changing.

“American intervention is a must. It’s the most powerful country and they have the power to defeat Isis. I’m optimistic. I believe that Iraq will be a bridge to build communication between the US and Iran. It’s something both parties want to do.”

Not all are convinced of the merits of more US jets, though. Saleh al-Obeidi, a spokesman for influential Shia cleric Moqtadr al-Sadr, said: “Moqtadr approves [of] the US involvement in Iraq only if it is within the framework of an international rescue. But he doesn’t want a new American footprint in Iraq.”