Knowing that much of the Bush administration's key evidence for the existence of WMDs in Iraq was forged, distorted, or grossly misinterpreted, the world is understandably suspicious about the US insistence that UN inspectors stay out of Iraq while American inspectors conduct their own search for the elusive "smoking gun."
In a report published April 25 by CommonDreams.org, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)--a group of former members of the US intelligence community, mostly ex-CIA analysts--says that it's unlikely. However, they say, if the US were to plant evidence after the fact, it wouldn't be the first time.
From the CIA's planting of Soviet weapons in Nicaragua in 1954 to the staged participation in drug trafficking by a US operative disguised as a Sandanista in 1986, the report counts off deceptions practiced by the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Reagan administrations. But the most striking similarity to George W's war comes from Daddy's dealings in 1990 and 1991.
First there was "Nariyah," the 15-year-old Kuwaiti refugee whose testimony before a Congressional committee included a harrowing tale of Iraqi soldiers tossing babies out of incubators and leaving them to die. It turned out the story was a hoax, and the "refugee" was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador who had been coached by a PR firm with close ties to Bushdaddy's administration. Then...
On September 11, 1990, President George H. W. Bush, addressing a joint session of Congress, claimed "120,000 Iraqi troops with 850 tanks have poured into Kuwait and moved south to threaten Saudi Arabia." But an enterprising journalist, Jean Heller, reported in the St. Petersburg Times on January 6, 1991 (a bare ten days before the Gulf War began) that commercial satellite photos taken on September 11, the day the president spoke, showed no sign of a massive buildup of Iraqi forces in Kuwait. When the Pentagon was asked to provide evidence to support the president's claim, it refused to do so--and continues to refuse to this day.
Interestingly, the national media in the US chose to ignore Heller's story. Heller's explanation:
"I think part of the reason the story was ignored was that it was published too close to the start of the war. Second, and more importantly, I do not think that people wanted to hear that we might have been deceived. A lot of the reporters who have seen the story think it is dynamite, but the editors seem to have the attitude, 'At this point, who cares?'"