Tuesday, August 05, 2008


This, obviously, is the story of the day:

A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.

Suskind writes in "The Way of the World," to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery -- adamantly denied by the White House -- was designed to portray a false link between Hussein's regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war....

How did this story reach the public? Courtesy of Con Coughlin, Defence ansd Security Editor of England's Telegraph -- and, as I'll note below, he has a long history of carrying the War Party's water.

The letter's existence has been reported before, and it had been written about as if it were genuine. It was passed in Baghdad to a reporter for The (London) Sunday Telegraph [Coughlin] who wrote about it on the front page of Dec. 14, 2003, under the headline, "Terrorist behind September 11 strike 'was trained by Saddam.'"

..."The White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam, backdated to July 1, 2001," Suskind writes. "It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq -- thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice President's Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq. There is no link."

The Coughlin article is no longer online at the Telegraph's site, but Free Republic has preserved it. That wasn't the only lie in the document it cites -- there was also this:

The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment -- believed to be uranium -- that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.

Yup, the Bushies packed this memo with lies.

This is how Coughlin works. He reported a story in the 1990s alleging ties between currency forgers and Moammar Qaddafi's son; the son successfully sued for libel and it was revealed that the story was an MI6 fabrication. He pushed the Iraq "45 minutes"story. And now he's moved on to retailing scary, often unbelievable stories about Iran -- a lot about nukes, as well as gems such as "Iran Plotting to Groom Bin Laden's Successor," from November 2006. But my personal favorite, which I blogged about in March 2006, was this one:

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have taken the extraordinary step of cutting down thousands of trees in Teheran to prevent United Nations inspectors from finding traces of enriched uranium from a top-secret nuclear plant.

...According to western intelligence sources, more than 7,000 trees which may have contained incriminating nuclear traces have been lost in a popular parkland area in the city near the Lavizan atomic research centre....

Yeah, right, that'll work -- because no nuclear traces will remain in, y'know, the soil.

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