Former Australian intelligence analyst and weapons inspector Rod Barton says even once the lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were proven false on the ground the US and allied governments in Britain and Australia kept up the drumbeat of lies.
A year after Bush administration claims about Iraqi "bioweapons trailers" were discredited by American experts, U.S. officials were still suppressing the findings, says a senior member of the CIA-led Iraq inspection team.
At one point, former U.N. arms inspector Rod Barton says, a CIA officer told him it was "politically not possible" to report that the White House claims were untrue. In the end, Barton says, he felt "complicit in deceit."
Last month Joby Warrick of the Washington Post revealed that for almost a year after the famous trailers were found not to be bioweapons labs the Bush Administration continued to lie about them. (and would you expect anything better from the Bushies?)
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
KERRY O'BRIEN: You say of John Howard's role - quote - this is from the book -, "I was reliably told that when Howard saw the intelligence assessment in late 2002 he exclaimed along the lines of 'Is that all there is.' Subsequently he applied almost as much spin," you say, "to the intelligence given him as Shane Warne to a wrong'un." Is that really an objective assessment from you of what John Howard did and said?
ROD BARTON: I saw one of the assessments that was produced by the Australian intelligence community shortly before the war. I looked through that and I agreed with the assessment. More or less I quibbled about some of the language, but I agreed more or less with that assessment which again had all the caveats in. It said there were possibilities of these things but there was no firm evidence, for example. So, what John Howard had actually seen from the Australian intelligence community was a very fair and reasonable assessment. You couldn't say that there were no weapons of mass destruction or that there were, but there was a possibility. Iraq certainly had the capability but there was no firm evidence that they'd restarted their programs. That's what was said by the intelligence community, but that's not what John Howard told Parliament. John Howard told Parliament in certain terms that Iraq - he said, "The Government knows that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons." The intelligence community never said that to him.
I hear Peggy Lee singing:
Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is
Based on really shoddy thinking our leaders inflict all sorts of damage on the nation.
America has reached a point where the lies are causing too much damage. Liberal lies about race and human nature. Neoconseratives lies about Iraq, WMD, and democracy. The costs of these lies are getting bigger and bigger and are going to cause the decline of the United States as a world power. Worse, we'll have to live with lots of domestic deterioriation with greater corruption in politics, a dumber citizenry, massive debts, and other afflictions.
In February last year, Barton went public on ABC television. Now he has written a devastating book about it, The Weapons Detective (Black Inc. Agenda, $29.95). His security clearances withdrawn, Barton knows he will not be getting any more contracts from his old employer, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, which he had joined as a young microbiologist in 1972.
Old colleagues at the intelligence organisation have been warned not to have contact with him, not even social meetings. In one act of spectacular pettiness, at the insistence of the Prime Minister's staff, Barton and Gee were dropped from the guest list for last year's 20th anniversary meeting in Sydney of the Australia Group, a forum of intelligence specialists from 38 countries on chemical and biological weapons, which the two had helped set up in 1985.
The liars and spin doctors have prospered, the whistleblowers have been shafted. Barton's former UN colleague and friend, the British defence scientist David Kelly, killed himself in July 2003 after being outed for telling a BBC journalist how Scarlett had "sexed up" the Iraq intelligence. Scarlett was still "sexing up" the post-invasion intelligence, Barton shows, but has been made chief of Britain's famous spy service, MI6. Barton shakes his head: "John Scarlett should not head any intelligence organisation." In the CIA, the medals, cash bonuses and promotions go to agents who tell their chiefs about new weapons threats, not the ones who caution the evidence is weak.
In Australia, Barton sees a general culture of compliance in the public service spreading to the intelligence agencies. "You know you're not going to get promoted if you tell the Government something that's unpopular," he says.
Thanks to Greg Cochran for the tip.
Even before I left graduate school I had come to the conclusion that virtually all people live by what I think of as a "fiction-absolute." Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world--so ordained by some almighty force--would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles. Politicians, the rich, the celebrated, become mere types. Does this apply to "the intellectuals" also? Oh, yes. . . perfectly, all too perfectly.
The fictions our elites live by have become too damaging to America and other Western nations.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 May 14 10:01 AM US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control|