John Pilger and no WMD

Journalist claims proof of WMD lies
By Paul Mulvey in London

September 23, 2003,4057,7350504%5E2,00.html

AUSTRALIAN investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the
war against Iraq was based on a lie that could cost George W. Bush and Tony
Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.

A television report by Pilger aired on British screens overnight said US
Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza
Rice confirmed in early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been
disarmed and was no threat.

But after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11
that year, Pilger claimed Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of
these new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of its oil.

Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001
saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability
with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project
conventional power against his neighbours."

Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from
him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."

Powell boasted this was because America's policy of containment and its
sanctions had effectively disarmed Saddam.

Pilger claims this confirms that the decision of US President George W Bush
- with the full support of British Prime Minister Blair and Howard - to
wage war on Saddam because he had weapons of mass destruction was a huge

Pilger interviewed several leading US government figures in Washington but
said he did not ask Powell or Rice to respond to his claims.

"I think it's very serious for Howard. Howard has followed the Americans
and to a lesser degree Blair almost word for word," Pilger told AAP before
his program was screened on ITV tonight.

"All Howard does is say `well it's not true' and never explains himself.

"I just don't believe you can be seen to be party to such a big lie, such a
big deception and endure that politically.

"It simply can't be shrugged off and that's Howard's response.

"Blair has shrugged it off but Blair is deeply damaged. It's far from over
here, there's a lot that is going to happen and much of it could wash onto

"And it's unravelling in America and Bush could lose the election next year.

"I've not seen political leaders survive when they've been complicit in
such an open deception for so long."

Howard last week dismissed an accusation from Opposition Leader Simon Crean
that he hid a warning from British intelligence that war against Iraq would
heighten the terrorist threat to Australia.

In his report, Pilger interviews Ray McGovern, a former senior CIA officer
and friend of Bush's father and ex-president, George Bush senior.

McGovern told Pilger that going to war because of weapons of mass
destruction "was 95 per cent charade."

Pilger also claims that six hours after the September 11 attacks on the
World Trade Centre, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he wanted to
"hit" Iraq and allegedly said "Go Massive ... Sweep it all up. Things
related and not."

He was allegedly talked down by Powell who said the American people would
not accept an attack on Iraq without any evidence, so they opted to invade
Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden had bases.

Pilger claimed war was set in train on September 17, 2001 when Bush signed
a paper directing the Pentagon to explore the military options for an
attack on Iraq.


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