Dark Actors Playing Games with Iraq WMD Propaganda

The National Security Archive has been doing great work going back and collecting the documents leading to the Iraq War, adding some it acquired through FOIA. Its first installment provided new evidence of how quickly the Bush Administration turned to targeting Iraq both before and after 9/11. Its second installment looked at whether anyone had ever even considered alternatives to war. Both are worth reading closely.

But I’m particularly interested in the third installment, which they posted a couple of weeks ago. It traces the collaboration between the US and UK as they developed the propaganda used to generate support for the war. Notably, its list of previously and newly released documents shows intense cooperation as the US intelligence community was working on the NIE and white paper and the UK was working on its own white paper (which the Bush Administration would use to justify the 16 words in the State of the Union). For example, this document includes passages from emails commenting on drafts which may show the UK offering suggestions to the US.

By the evening of Friday, September 13, British officials had a copy of “the latest US Doc. Summary + nuclear section.” An email sent at 7:54 p.m. (Document 17) forwarded that document. Internal evidence identifies this as the draft of a CIA white paper, one more recent than the July version, making it at least the third iteration of the paper. An email reply the following Monday makes what appears to be a wording suggestion for the U.S. paper. Although this is a technical point, it demonstrates that the transatlantic exchanges on the respective drafts were a two-way process.

Among other things, the collection of these documents in one place strongly supports earlier suggestions that the final intelligence that went into the Niger claim came from Italy’s Nicolo Pollari at a meeting he had with Stephen Hadley on September 9, 2002 (just after the Bush Administration had introduced the Iraq War as its new September product). In addition, the collection adds more evidence refuting the Blair government’s claims that the propagandists weren’t leading the effort in their sexed up dossier.

But as I was reading it, all I could think of was David Kelly’s last email to Judy Miller, warning of dark actors playing games, followed shortly by Tony Blair’s apparently unplanned trip to the US, just in time for him to be out of the country when Kelly was suicided (not to mention for him to be here in the aftermath of the Plame outing which Dick Cheney had ordered Judy to be included in). After all, its hard to look at the timeline the NSA lays out without also thinking of Judy Miller’s key pieces of propaganda–boosting claims about the aluminum tubes–on September 8 and 13, 2002 (indeed, those articles appeared at the same time as the Brits were strengthening these claims, which makes me wonder whether her work wasn’t a key part of pushing the UK to make its claims about the tubes stronger).

We knew the Brits and the US built their propaganda for war together. We knew that Judy Miller was an integral part to that. But when we see the emails going back and forth commenting on each others drafts, it raises once again the question of where the emails back and forth to the war effort’s chief propagandist got disappeared to.

  1. Frank33 says:

    So Stephen Hadley was part of the Niger Forgery Conspiracy and promoted false intelligence as a pretext for war. That would make him a War Criminal. Hadley may have also used false confessions from torture. President Obama is letting Hadley and Richard Armitage continue the Irak and Afghan wars and they plan further wars, indefinitely. Armitage after 9-11, pretended to threaten Pakistan with War and Pakistan pretended to give the US cooperation against Al Qaeda. Then Armitage, and other neo-cons revealed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent to punish the Wilsons, or anyone else.

    Patrick Fitzgerald won a conviction against “Scooter” which was commuted. The neo-cons kept the secrets. Fitzgerald covered up the Niger forgeries and the Bushie war, now the Obama war, against truth tellers.

  2. PeasantParty says:

    Hmmm! My guess is that H. Kissinger is one on the list of dark players. He seems to show up in every major massacre. Cambodia is still waiting for him for the hearings.

    • mattcarmody says:

      And Samantha Sunnstein (Power) serves in this administration fully cognizant of the war crimes that continue on a daily basis.

  3. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    As long as American wars and American imperial occupations are privatized so that corporations can make money in them, these criminal activities will go on and on, be it under the tyrant killer Bush or under the tyrant killer Obama…

  4. roknich says:

    I told you so 9 years ago, and was not alone.
    Did anyone bother to read Jane Mayer’s articles in the New Yorker, circa 2003-4 and take action? Seems that we got shouted down, and several trillion dollars later it is an increasingly uphill battle.

    Yes, the National Security Archive does great work – nonetheless, our hope for change has a place for Kissinger in the US government:

    Henry Kissinger, the pioneer of Cold War detente during the Nixon era, has made a return to frontline politics after President Barack Obama reportedly sent him to Moscow to win backing from Vladimir Putin’s government for a nuclear disarmament initiative. The Daily Telegraph 05 Feb 2009

    The Condor documents are an interesting read, but have we learned?

    Might as well send Hitler to woo Stalin – and indeed, Putin has been rehabilitating the image of Stalin, whose relationship with W.A. Harriman set up the current tensions in the world today.

  5. onitgoes says:

    Thanks for the work done highlighting this. With some sense of sorrow, I realize that most US citizens could give a rats patoot, even if every single one of them was shown incontravertable evidence of war criminal activity and other assorted skullduggery. They don’t really care; they are in denial that it has anything to do with them personally. Or if they realize it’s “true,” then they “justify” it by saying it’s to “protect our freedumbs ‘n stuff.”

    Sad, that.

    And yes, Henry the K. is no doubt a main playah in all of this nefarious sh*t… same as he ever was. When I saw those photos of him permitting the Snowbilly Grifter to kiss his, uh, ring during the 2008 campaign, I just wanted to puke and then say: takes one to know one. ick.

  6. TheOracle says:

    The blood-splattered war criminals in the Bush/Cheney administration covered their blood-soaked tracks as best as they could.