Betreff: [New World Disorder] The Plain Truth -- Disgraceful !
Von: "Laurel"
Datum: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 10:26:33 -0600
An: "New_World_Disorder"
The Plain Truth
    New York Times | Editorial

    Thursday 17 June 2004

    It's hard to imagine how the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks could have put it more clearly yesterday: there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11.

    Now President Bush should apologize to the American people, who were led to believe something different.

    Of all the ways Mr. Bush persuaded Americans to back the invasion of Iraq last year, the most plainly dishonest was his effort to link his war of choice with the battle against terrorists worldwide. While it's possible that Mr. Bush and his top advisers really believed that there were chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq, they should have known all along that there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. No serious intelligence analyst believed the connection existed; Richard Clarke, the former antiterrorism chief, wrote in his book that Mr. Bush had been told just that.

    Nevertheless, the Bush administration convinced a substantial majority of Americans before the war that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to 9/11. And since the invasion, administration officials, especially Vice President Dick Cheney, have continued to declare such a connection. Last September, Mr. Bush had to grudgingly correct Mr. Cheney for going too far in spinning a Hussein - bin Laden conspiracy. But the claim has crept back into view as the president has made the war on terror a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

    On Monday, Mr. Cheney said Mr. Hussein "had long-established ties with Al Qaeda." Mr. Bush later backed up Mr. Cheney, claiming that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist who may be operating in Baghdad, is "the best evidence" of a Qaeda link. This was particularly astonishing because the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, told the Senate earlier this year that Mr. Zarqawi did not work with the Hussein regime.

    The staff report issued by the 9/11 panel says that Sudan's government, which sheltered Osama bin Laden in the early 1990's, tried to hook him up with Mr. Hussein, but that nothing came of it.

    This is not just a matter of the president's diminishing credibility, although that's disturbing enough. The war on terror has actually suffered as the conflict in Iraq has diverted military and intelligence resources from places like Afghanistan, where there could really be Qaeda forces, including Mr. bin Laden.

    Mr. Bush is right when he says he cannot be blamed for everything that happened on or before Sept. 11, 2001. But he is responsible for the administration's actions since then. That includes, inexcusably, selling the false Iraq-Qaeda claim to Americans. There are two unpleasant alternatives: either Mr. Bush knew he was not telling the truth, or he has a capacity for politically motivated self-deception that is terrifying in the post-9/11 world.

    Go to Original

    Official verdict:
    White House Misled World Over Saddam September Attacks

    By Andrew Buncombe
    The Independent U.K.

    Thursday 17 June 2004

    President George Bush,
    1 May 2003

The liberation of Iraq removed... an ally of al-Qa'ida.

    Vice-President Cheney,
    22 January 2004

There's overwhelming evidence... of a connection between al-Qa'ida and Iraq.

    Donald Rumsfeld,
    14 November 2002

Within a week, or a month, Saddam could give his WMD to al-Qa'ida.

    Condoleezza Rice,
    17 September 2003

Saddam was a danger in the region where the 9/11 threat emerged.

    The Bush administration's credibility was dealt a devastating blow yesterday when the commission investigating the attacks of 11 September said there was no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had assisted al-Qa'ida - something repeatedly suggested by the President and his senior officials and held up as a reason for the invasion of Iraq.

    A report by the independent commission said while there were contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida operatives in the 1990s, it appeared Osama bin Laden's requests for a partnership were rebuffed. "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qa'ida co-operated on attacks against the United States," the commission said. It also discounted widespread claims that Mohamed Atta, the hijackers' ringleader, met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague.

    The report forced the Bush administration on to the defensive, as it appeared to undermine one of its key justifications for the invasion of Iraq.

    While Mr Bush has been forced to admit there was no specific evidence to link Saddam to 11 September, his deputy, Dick Cheney, claimed on Monday that the former Iraqi leader was "a patron of terrorism [with] long-established ties with al-Qa'ida".

    Last autumn Mr Cheney referred to the disputed meeting between Atta and an Iraqi official in the Czech Republic.

    Critics of the White House say there was a deliberate policy to manipulate public opinion and create an association between Saddam and the attacks on New York and Washington. If true, such a plan has certainly been successful: a poll taken last September by the Washington Post newspaper found 69 per cent of Americans believed that Saddam was involved in the 11 September attacks.

    The Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry seized on the commission's report last night. "The administration misled America and the administration reached too far," he told Michigan National Public Radio.

    The commission's report - issued at the start of its final two days of public hearings into the circumstances surrounding the attacks - confirmed that in the early Nineties al-Qa'ida and Saddam's regime had made overtures to each other.

    In 1994, for instance, Saddam had dispatched a senior intelligence official to Sudan to meet Bin Laden, making three visits before he finally met the al-Qa'ida leader.

    Bin Laden requested help to procure weapons and establish training camps but Iraq did not respond, the report said. There were also reports of contact with Bin Laden once he moved to Afghanistan in 1996 but these "do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship". It added: "Two senior Bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al-Qa'ida and Iraq." The commission's report also revealed that the initial plan for the attack on the US - drawn up by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a senior al-Qa'ida operative who is now in US custody - envisioned a much broader assault, simultaneously targeting 10 different US cities on both the east and west coasts.

    That expanded target list included the FBI headquarters in the plot was to have been the 10th plane - on which he which personally have flown. Rather than attacking a building, Mohammed would have killed all of the male passengers on board, before contacting media and landing at an airport where he would have released women and children. He then was to make a speech denouncing the US. That ambitious plan was rejected by Bin Laden, who gave his approval to a scaled-back mission involving four planes and costing as little as between $4 - 500,000. Mohammed had wanted to use more hijackers for those planes - 25 or 26, instead of 19. It said at least 10 other al-Qa'ida operatives who were initially due to participate in the attacks had been identified. They did not take part in the mission for a variety of reasons including visa problems and suspicions by airport officials in the US.

    The report also revealed that the plot was riven by internal dissent, including over whether to target the White House or the Capitol building that were apparently not resolved prior to the attacks. Bin Laden also had to overcome opposition to attacking the US from Mullah Omar, leader of the former Taliban regime, who was under pressure from Pakistan to keep al-Qa'ida confined.

    The commission confirmed that al-Qa'ida, though drastically changed and decentralised since 9-11, retained regional networks that were seeking to attack the US.

    "Al-Qa'ida remains extremely interested in conducting chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks," said the report. It said that its ability to conduct an anthrax attack is one of the most immediate threats. The network may also try to attack a chemical plant or shipment of hazardous materials, or to use industrial chemicals as a weapon.

    The report said the CIA estimated the network spent $30m a year before September 11 on training camps and terrorist operations. The money was also used to support the Taliban.

    Go to Original

    With 9/11 Report, Bush's Political Thorn Grows More Stubborn
    By Richard W. Stevenson
    The New York Times

    Wednesday 16 June 2004

    Washington - The bipartisan commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks further called into question on Wednesday one of President Bush's rationales for the war with Iraq, and again put him on the defensive over an issue the White House was once confident would be a political plus.

    In questioning the extent of any ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the commission weakened the already spotty scorecard on Mr. Bush's justifications for sending the military to topple Saddam Hussein.

    Banned biological and chemical weapons: none yet found. Percentage of Iraqis who view American-led forces as liberators: 2, according to a poll commissioned last month by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Number of possible Al Qaeda associates known to have been in Iraq in recent years: one, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose links to the terrorist group and Mr. Hussein's government remain sketchy.

    That is the difficult reality Mr. Bush faces 15 months after ordering the invasion of Iraq, and less than five months before he faces the voters at home. The commission's latest findings fueled fresh partisan attacks on his credibility and handling of the war, attacks that now seem unlikely to be silenced even if the return of sovereignty to the Iraqis comes off successfully in two weeks.

    Senator John Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, was quick to seize on the commission's report to reprise his contention that Mr. Bush "misled" the American people about the need for the war. Even some independent-minded members of Mr. Bush's own party said they sensed danger.

    "The problem the administration has is that the predicates it laid down for the war have not played out," said Warren B. Rudman, the former Republican senator from New Hampshire, who has extensive experience in assessing intelligence about terrorism. "That could spell political trouble for the president, there's no question."

    Mr. Bush has said that he knows of no direct involvement by Mr. Hussein and his government in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But the president has repeatedly asserted that there were ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, a position he stuck to on Tuesday when he was asked about Vice President Dick Cheney's statement a day earlier that Mr. Hussein had "long-established ties with Al Qaeda."

    Mr. Bush pointed specifically on Tuesday to the presence in Iraq of Mr. Zarqawi, a Jordanian jihadist who sought help from Al Qaeda in waging the anti-American insurgency after the fall of Mr. Hussein, and who has been implicated by American intelligence officials in the killing of Nicholas Berg, the 26-year-old American who was beheaded by militants in Iraq in March.

    The White House said Wednesday that there was a distinction between Mr. Bush's position and the commission's determination that Iraq did not cooperate with Al Qaeda on attacks on the United States.

    The commission's report did not specifically address that distinction or Mr. Zarqawi's role. It found that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan in 1994, but that Iraq never responded to Mr. bin Laden's subsequent request for space to set up training camps and help in buying weapons. It said there were reports of later contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but "they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."

    It quoted two senior associates of Mr. bin Laden denying adamantly "that any ties existed between Al Qaeda and Iraq." It concluded that there never was a meeting in Prague between an Iraqi intelligence officer and Mohammed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers; in an interview with National Public Radio in January, Mr. Cheney cited intelligence reports about the possibility of such a meeting in asserting that there was not confirmation "one way or another" about links between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Democratic strategists said there was now no question that Mr. Bush would be dogged through the rest of the campaign by questions about whether the war was necessary, justified and sufficiently well planned. But Mr. Bush's supporters said that in political terms, the amazing thing was how well he had weathered the problems thrown at him by Iraq.

    "If you look at the last eight months at the White House and in particular the last 90 days, I've never seen more negative stories come out in a concentrated period," said Sig Rogich, a veteran Republican advertising consultant and fund-raiser. "Yet despite all that, the president is still even with John Kerry or, if you count the Electoral College votes in the battleground states, ahead. Then there's a creeping plus for George Bush, which is that the economy is taking off."

    James M. Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations, who studies the interplay between foreign policy and domestic politics, said the issue now was less whether Mr. Bush was wrong in asserting a tie between Iraq and Al Qaeda than whether he could stabilize Iraq and show progress in bringing American forces home.

    "Does the commission's finding make it easier for the Democrats to say, Look, the administration got it wrong?" Mr. Lindsay said. "The answer is yes. But the bigger question for the administration is whether it can succeed in getting Iraq to be stable. If it does that it will largely neutralize the threat the Iraq issue poses to the president's re-election."

    The commission's findings were the latest in a string of Iraq-related developments this year that have kept Mr. Bush's campaign on the defensive, helping Mr. Kerry during a period when the White House's political strategy had hoped he would be especially vulnerable.

    The official White House strategy for Wednesday may have been to deny any real differences with the commission. But on this day as on many others recently, its real goal appeared to be to stick a bandage on whatever wound it might have suffered, keep moving toward June 30, when the United States will return sovereignty to the Iraqis, and then bank on its ability to redefine the election on terms more favorable to Mr. Bush.

    In one indication of the White House's doggedness, Mr. Bush's campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, held a conference call with reporters about the same time the commission was delivering its description of the Sept. 11 plot. His topic: the economy.


And I listened a bit to Bush's speech to some troops today, and he seemed to repeat the Iraqi terrorist theme! Terrifying self denial and control of the poor troops -- fodder for their racist, hegemony!

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