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Monday, February 18, 2008

Five Years On, and still the warmongers lie

You would have thought that the lies about the Iraq war might have stopped by now. But still they continue. The latest neocon attempt to rewrite history is to claim that the war was all Saddam Hussein's fault because he 'pretended' to have Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The latest person to peddle this brazen lie is John Williams, in today's Guardian. Williams, the civil servant whose claim to fame was drafting Blair's dodgy dossier, writes:

"I still find it hard to understand why a dictator who had possessed and used illegal weapons should have continued pretending he still had them, up to the point when his deception cost him his job and his life."

I wonder if Mr Williams can produce any evidence to back up his claim that Saddam (above) the dictator her refers to, pretended to possess illegal weapons? If so, I'd be happy to hear from him.

The fact is that Saddam and his officials repeatedly denied that Iraq possessed illegal weapons. CIF commenter 'Edward Rice' posts an interview Hussein gave with CBS anchor Dan Rather in February 2003:

CBS anchor Dan Rather's "exclusive interview with Hussein that aired on 60 Minutes II on February 26, 2003."
"Hussein told Rather that Iraq was permitted to have missiles of a limited range under existing United Nations resolutions. As for weapons of mass destruction, Hussein offered a clear response:
RATHER: Saddam also rejected Bush administration allegations that besides the missile delivery system, he still has weapons of mass destruction.
HUSSEIN: I think America and the world also knows that Iraq no longer has the weapons. And I believe the mobilization that's been done was, in fact, done partly to cover the huge lie that was being waged against Iraq about chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. That is why, when you talk about such missiles, these missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations in Iraq. They are no longer there."

"'Saddam's bluff' becomes conventional wisdom--with no evidence presented"

"...Iraqi officials practically pleaded with the world to believe their 12,000-page declaration of December 2002, which stated that Iraq had no WMD. The country's U.N. ambassador and chief U.N. liaison gave televised press conferences to stress this point (CNN, 12/6/02, 12/8/02)..."

In addition, I also have a video recording of Tony Benn's interview with the late Iraqi leader in which once again, he stated unequivocally that his country did not possess WMD.

It's astonishing how neocon lies can be accepted as truth without a single piece of evidence being presented. The Serbs committing 'genocide' in Kosovo. Milosevic being a 'dictator'. Hugo Chavez being a 'dictator'. Iran's 'nuclear weapons programme'. The lie about Saddam 'pretending' to have WMD is only the latest in a long line of deceptions.

UPDATE: CIF commenter Olching, who also occasionally comments here, is angered- justifiably- by Williams' article. He has left the following comment on the Guardian's website:


February 18, 2008 1:00 PM
A question for the Guardian (this will be deleted):

"How can you get an arsehole like John Williams to write for you? He deserves nothing, absolutely nothing but contempt. In a different place, a different time, he'd suffer the repercussions of leading a country into an illegal war. You're rewarding him with a column. Well done! There are several reasons why I don't buy your rag anymore. I'll add this wanker to the list.

Anyway, here it is pre-typed: [deleted by moderator] You can use it as a template for the ridiculous censorship that will come into force. How about if you delete that wanker's article, which is the biggest insult to your readers and more importantly to the 100,000s of dead Iraqis for which he is directly responsible! Laughable that you should give him a column. Laughable that this comment will be deleted unlike his justification for a war crime."

Sometimes, these things need to be said, and if the Guardian does delete Olching's comment, then at least we have a record of it here. If like me, you'd like William's lie about Saddam pretending to possess illegal weapons to be officially corrected, you can email the Guardian's Readers' Editor, Siobhain Butterworth at And if like me, you are concerned that The Guardian, since the replacement of Seumas Milne as Comment Editor, is turning into its pro-war sister-newspaper The Observer, by running a succession of deceitful, pro-war articles such as John Williams', you can email the newspaper's editor, Alan Rusbridger at

During his editorship of the comment pages Seumas Milne faced a barrage of attacks and complaints from the Eustonista/Henry Jackson crowd for the 'crime' of running articles from journalists (myself included) who did not meet with their 'official' approval. Now it seems they have got the compliant newspaper they want.


Nick said...

Neil, considering that both you and Seamas Milne are still regular contributors to CiF, surely this is a case of the lady doth protest too much? It hardly seems to me that there's any less of an antiwar, anti-globalisation agenda to CiF than before.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Nick,
I'm not talking about CIF, but the print side of the comment pages. It's getting more like The Observer every week that passes. Which is of course, what the Eustonista crowd always wanted. And which is why they campaigned relentlessly to have Seumas replaced as comment editor.

Neil Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
olching said...

Hi Neil,

Thanks for saving the comment. I am angry. Bizarrely, the comment is still on the Guardian website.

It's a tragedy how they are allowed to rewrite history and get away with it. All that's left to do is protest, really. I've also written to his company congratulating him on the most pathetic article to have made it into the Guardian. This is the website:

The email address for John Williams on the Guardian website doesn't work, so email

I've also now read the first draft dossier, and it's a disgrace, frankly (see comment on Guardian website, or olching blog)

All best.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Olching,
Yes, I think a lot of people are very angry about Williams' piece- and its deceitfulness.
I didn't know that you've got a blog- I've put a link up to it.
I'll certainly be a regular reader.
All the very best,

olching said...

Thanks Neil.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the Guardian... Was it ever any good really? I used to buy it once in a blue moon in the 80s and 90s. I found nauseating its 'slight reservations' about some aspects of Thatcherism, while pretending to be sort-of 'left'. People I knew swore by it - I told them that there was more left-wing comment in the London Evening Standard, which was true under previous editor, wossisname, military-historian guy. I found the Guardian insidious, like the 'Labour left' in the assessments of Lenin and Trotsky, providing cover for the right, dressing-up right-wing agendas with BS.

Then, in the aftermath of 9/11 and for a few years afterwards, it seemed to me to become 'really quite good'. Now people like Seamus Milne and Norton-Taylor are hardly ever in it. Instead we get Irwin Seltzer. That was the last straw for me - I haven't read it for 2 years now. But it may be a good thing that it's not even pretending to be left anymore.

For a while, actually, in the aftermath of 9/11, radio 5 live was astonishingly good in the mornings - programmes live from Bethlehem, interview with the mayor of Bethlehem, with Hizbullah and Hamas spokesmen - I couldn't believe it. Of course, that all changed after Hutton - now it's back to diets, celebrities and general innocuous inanities.

What's the point of this? Well, just another observation that the range of expression in the mainstream media has never been more narrow, I suppose.

olching said...

Good observation Jock McTrousers. And yes, Radio 5 did have a bizarre cutting edge feel to it for about 3 to 4 months after 9/11. It was just a blip though.

David Lindsay said...

But why would Saddam Hussein have wanted to attack the British bases on Cyprus? What on earth for? In the run-up to the Iraq War, I was repeatedly unable to secure publication in any newspaper for a very short letter asking that question.

And now we must prepare to ask why Iran would want to attack us, either. Again, what on earth for?

neil craig said...

Well Nick I am no longer a contibutor to CiF (as 9%Growth) having been permanently censored from that illiberal publication.

To be fair to them I have been published by the Guardian in letter form - once & not on the treatment of Serbia on which I have sent at least a dozen letter, including 1 yesterday.

I think I can say with some experience that the single most difficult subject to get printed in letters in the entire British press is anything supportive of the Yugoslavs. (The 2nd most difficult is anything supportive of nuclear radiation ie the hormesis theory)