A Harris poll released July 21, 2006, found that 50 percent of U.S. respondents said they believed Iraq had nuclear arms when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003.
By Scott Ritter
In the past two decades I have had the opportunity to participate in certain experiences pertaining to my work that fall into the category of “no one will ever believe this.” I usually file these away, calling on them only when events transpire that breathe new life into these extraordinary memories. Ron Suskind, a noted and accomplished journalist, has written a new book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” in which he claims that the “White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush [Tahir Jalil Habbush, the director of the Mukhabarat], to Saddam [Hussein], backdated to July 1, 2001.” According to Suskind, the letter 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.”
This is an extraordinary charge, which both the White House and the CIA vehemently deny. Suskind outlines a scenario which dates to the summer and fall of 2003, troubled times for the Bush administration as its case for invading Iraq was unraveling. I cannot independently confirm Suskind’s findings, but I, too, heard a similar story, from a source I trust implicitly. In my former line of work, intelligence, it was understood that establishing patterns of behavior was important. Past patterns of behavior tend to repeat themselves, and are thus of interest when assessing a set of seemingly separate circumstances around the same source. Of course, given the nature of the story line, it is better if I introduce this information within its proper context.
In the summer of 2003 I was approached by Harper’s Magazine to do a story on the work of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), a CIA-sponsored operation investigating Saddam’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs in the aftermath of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. David Kay, a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector who served briefly in Iraq in 1991 and 1992, was at that time the head of the ISG. By October 2003 the group had prepared a so-called interim report, which claimed to have eyewitness evidence of Iraqi WMD-related activities prior to the invasion in March. The key to the ISG’s interim report was the testimony of “cooperative sources,” Iraqis of unstated pedigree purportedly providing the ISG with unverifiable information. With one exception—an Iraqi nuclear scientist who had been killed by coalition forces—David Kay failed to provide the name or WMD association of any of the sources he used for his report, making any effort to verify their assertions impossible. Many of the senior Iraqis who had openly contradicted Kay’s report were, and still are to this day, muzzled behind the walls of an American prison in Baghdad. But there was another group of Iraqis, the former scientists and technicians involved in Iraq’s WMD programs who were known to have been interviewed by the ISG, and who were released back into Iraqi society. These scientists held the key to deciphering the vague pronouncements of the ISG interim report, and could help to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Many of these scientists remained intimidated by their ISG experience, which often involved lengthy imprisonment and harsh interrogation. Loath to run afoul of their American occupiers, and tethered financially to a monthly stipend designed to keep them from exporting their WMD know-how out of Iraq (and, it has been suggested, from talking too freely with the media), these Iraqi scientists possessed a wealth of data which was difficult to tap into. In my own effort to research the veracity of David Kay’s assertions, I made use of my connections within the community of former Iraqi WMD scientists to try to gain access to what they knew. One in particular, who, because of ongoing security concerns, will be identified only as Mohammed, worked to facilitate my visit, arranging for meetings with Iraqis who possessed firsthand knowledge about not only the past WMD programs but also the ongoing efforts of the ISG.
“You are welcome to Baghdad,” Mohammed wrote me in mid-October 2003, after I had informed him of my intent to travel there and what my purpose was. “You can have my full support.” After a back-and-forth exchange of e-mails with Mohammed on the subject of my visit, I finalized my agenda and reconfirmed the interviews I wanted arranged. I followed my e-mail to Mohammed on Nov. 5 with a detailed communication to the Coalition Provisional Authority, outlining both my proposed schedule in Iraq and requests for interviews with CPA and ISG officials and tours of related facilities.
My schedule had me departing the United States two days later. That morning, I did one final check of my e-mail and found a disturbing communication from Mohammed. In it, he reiterated how dangerous the situation had become in Baghdad. But he said more: “I understand that there are some people who wish to bury any new facts concerning the subject of WMD in Iraq. They are ready to liquidate any person or group who ventures into this subject.” Iraqi officials who had been involved with WMD, Mohammed said, “ ... are not ready to give interviews because that endangers their life. It would endanger your life as well. I am serious in my warning,” he wrote. “Nobody can guarantee your life. Nor the fate of the material you will be collecting in Baghdad.”
“I request that you adjourn your scheduled trip to Baghdad,” Mohammed pleaded. “If you decide to continue with your intention, then I am very sorry to tell you that taking the overall environment in my country I am not able to support your mission. The main reason would be to preserve my life during or after it is concluded.”
One does not view such a communication lightly. I immediately contacted Lewis Lapham at Harper’s Magazine, as well as some trusted colleagues with experience in journalism and intelligence affairs. All agreed that in this case, discretion was the better part of valor. My trip to Baghdad was called off, but not the pursuit of the fate of Iraq’s WMD. The journey of discovery had simply been re-routed, and instead of going to Mohammed, I brought Mohammed to me. Mohammed made his way to Amman, Jordan, where we met over a period of five days in December 2003 to discuss Iraq’s past proscribed weapons programs. Before we could move forward on that complex topic, however, I needed to clear up the canceled Baghdad trip and, in particular, Mohammed’s e-mail regarding a threat to his, and my, life.
“This was very real,” Mohammed said. “I had made several important contacts in regards to your trip.” I asked him to elaborate. “As you know, the situation inside Iraq is very dangerous and confused, and many people were hesitant to meet with you.” Who were they afraid of? “The Americans,” he said. “They were afraid of what the Americans might do if it was found out that they had met with you.”
One of the contacts Mohammed had arranged for me to meet with while in Baghdad was a former official in the Iraqi Mukhabarat, the intelligence arm of Saddam Hussein’s regime, who was intimately familiar with that organization’s surveillance of U.N. weapons inspectors, both in Iraq and in New York. “The Mukhabarat never went away,” Mohammed said. “They just disappeared into the shadows. They are still very much a presence in Baghdad and Iraq.”
Mohammed had passed on my proposed schedule to the Mukhabarat official, who told Mohammed he “would check with his sources” to see if my visit was feasible or not. On the evening of Dec. 5, 2003, the Mukhabarat agent appeared at Mohammed’s home. “You must cancel the visit,” he told Mohammed. “Mr. Ritter’s life is at risk if he comes here, as well as the life of any Iraqi he meets with.”
The Mukhabarat had been preparing for the American occupation of Iraq for months before the initiation of hostilities in March 2003. By January 2003, orders had been issued to the various Mukhabarat departments to begin preparations for an American occupation. Mukhabarat personnel were instructed that in the case of the occupation of Iraq by the United States, they were to return to their homes and await further instructions. Those agents who were able to do so were encouraged to join the ranks of the various opposition parties that were expected to follow the Americans into Iraq, and to actively cooperate with the American occupiers. In this manner, the Mukhabarat was able to establish a network of informers inside the very ranks of the organizations that were seeking its demise. According to Mohammed, the Mukhabarat had been very successful in this regard. And it was this success, he said, that led to the warning from the Mukhabarat about the threat to my life, and the lives of those who cooperated with me, if I were to go to Baghdad.
According to Mohammed, Baghdad in late 2003 crawled with assassination squads. In addition to simple criminal gangs interested in extortion and murder, there were squads of killers who worked on behalf of the various political forces vying for power inside occupied Baghdad, settling old scores and eliminating potential competitors. One of the major themes among those positioning themselves for a leading role in post-Saddam Iraq was de-Baathification, a policy of identifying and neutralizing the members of the former ruling party, which was associated with the most horrific abuses of the regime of Saddam Hussein. De-Baathification was a primary objective of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and major policy initiatives were passed to remove the Baathists from positions of power and influence. Opponents of the regime of Saddam Hussein were only too willing to aid and assist the CPA in its crusade against the Baathists, using their own networks of informants to locate Baathist members and sympathizers for the American occupiers. Given the abuses of power that occurred in Iraq under the Baathists, however, oftentimes the members of the newly empowered opposition took matters into their own hands, meting out street justice in the form of targeted assassination.
Among the more effective, and brutal, of these politically motivated assassination units were those run by SCIRI (the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq) and its armed militia, the Badr Brigade. Their efforts to exterminate Baath Party remnants still loyal to Saddam Hussein, or those who were accused of committing crimes against SCIRI or its sympathizers, attracted the attention of the “black” side of the CPA-run de-Baathification efforts —covert operations run by the CIA and elite Special Operations units of the United States military. An abortive effort to formally acknowledge the role played by the various anti-Saddam militias in confronting the Baath holdouts offered a glimpse into what is an unspoken element of the U.S. policy regarding de-Baathification —let the Iraqis do the dirty work. And the Badr militia stood out among those willing and able to take the fight to the Baathist holdouts. For that reason, the Badr militia not only attracted the attention of the CPA but also the Mukhabarat, which, according to Mohammed, had infiltrated the SCIRI-run militia.
Mohammed’s Mukhabarat connection had disturbing news. According to the source, the CPA had passed to the Badr militia my name, the dates of my planned trip to Baghdad, my proposed agenda and a list of Iraqis I had planned to meet with, including Mohammed. This information was in turn passed on to the unit in the Badr militia which specialized in targeted assassination in Baghdad. “Mr. Ritter cannot come to Iraq,” the Mukhabarat agent told Mohammed. “If he does, his life is at risk, your life is at risk, and everyone associated with his visit’s life will be at risk.” And so Mohammed sent his e-mailed warning to me.
On the surface, Mohammed’s story was too much to believe. I was willing to accept any account that held that specific Iraqi groups, such as Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, were opposed to my visit to the extent that they might issue threats in an effort to intimidate me from coming. But the concept of the United States government being involved boggled the mind.
The problem with disbelieving was there were too many pieces of this puzzle that seemed to fit together. The timing of the threat coincided too neatly with my communication with the CPA about my plans while in Baghdad. People in the CPA certainly had the information if they decided to pass it on—I had telephoned and sent faxes and e-mails providing my dates of travel, where I wanted to stay and how I wanted to interact with the CPA. The ability of the U.S. intelligence community to monitor my e-mail communications with Mohammed was a given. And then there was the disturbing fact that, since the time that I had notified the CPA of my intent to travel to Iraq to write this story for Harper’s Magazine, I had been red-flagged by the United States government. On both occasions that I left the United States on assignment for Harper’s Magazine (once to London and Prague, the other to Amman), I had been pulled aside by U.S. immigration and customs officials upon my return for special treatment.
Apparently taking their cues from computer instructions, the customs officials involved were very interested in where I had traveled, whom I had met with, and any documents I might be carrying. When I asked a senior customs official in Washington’s Dulles Airport what the problem was, he simply shrugged. “I guess it’s just because you are who you are,” he said. A customs officer in New York’s JFK Airport, after looking at instructions sent to him on his computer, looked up to me. “You used to work for the U.S. government?” he asked. Prompted again by the computer, he called over a supervisor, who was very interested in documents I had in my possession concerning Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. In both cases, the only thing that seemed to save me from an even greater intrusion into my personal belongings was a letter from Lewis Lapham identifying me with Harper’s Magazine. The letter was carefully examined by customs officers and photocopied, and became the apparent subject of intense exchanges between the customs officers and whoever was on the other end of the computer. In both cases, my First Amendment rights prevailed over the concerns of the U.S. government, and I was allowed to proceed with my notes intact.
Mohammed’s dire warning aside, it seemed clear that my new assignment for Harper’s Magazine had caught the attention of someone in the U.S. government. What about my probing into the weapons-of-mass-destruction issue could prompt such extreme measures? What would make the U.S. government so afraid as to justify its attempt to intimidate a journalist—even an activist journalist such as myself—from carrying out his work? As a former weapons inspector with the United Nations, I was intimately familiar with the fraudulent case made by the Bush administration before the 2003 invasion, and had quite publicly challenged the president’s allegations. I do not believe the Bush administration would undertake any activity, directly or indirectly, beyond simply harassing me, because of my stance on pre-war WMD claims. However, knowing that I was going to Baghdad to meet with Iraqis who had firsthand knowledge of what had transpired since the invasion was another matter. What could I have learned that troubled them so? I will relay the story as I received it from Mohammed.
On a bright morning one day in late June 2003 Mohammed waited patiently on the side of a street in the Jadariyah district of Baghdad. As a former official in the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein, he had knowledge of programs and activities of interest to the Americans who now occupied the palaces of the former Iraqi president; these programs and activities included but were not limited to weapons of mass destruction. Mohammed had been summoned to a meeting with a special intelligence cell that reported not to David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group, but instead directly to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Shortly before 9 in the morning, a small convoy consisting of three unmarked Toyota Land Cruisers pulled up alongside Mohammed. Seated in the front passenger seat of the lead vehicle was a short, stocky blond woman named Stacey. One might not have guessed from her plain khaki cargo pants and simple white T-shirt that she was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. Stacey motioned for Mohammed to enter the vehicle, and the small convoy sped off.
Crossing the 14th of July Bridge, the convoy turned right, into the grounds of the Republican Palace. Through gates once manned by the most elite forces of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Special Republican Guard, the small convoy now negotiated checkpoints manned by the soldiers of Iraq’s new master, the United States. The Land Cruisers snaked past the main palace building itself, where four large bronze heads of Saddam sporting a Moghul helmet stared impassively above them (these statues were later removed under the orders of the then-head of the CPA, Paul Bremer). The SUVs moved north toward the far end of the former palace complex, now known as the Green Zone. In front of the former offices of the Iraqi National Security Committee, the convoy turned right, cutting through some administrative buildings before emerging on an embankment road running alongside the Tigris River. Heading south, the three vehicles came upon a villa complex surrounded by small decorative ponds, each pond connected with a small footbridge. On each island was an open barbecue pit, complete with accompanying stack of firewood, of the type favored by the former Iraqi president. Disembarking from the Land Cruiser, Stacey led Mohammed to the main villa, where they were ushered in by security personnel wearing similar nondescript clothing.
Seated on a couch in the middle of the elaborately furnished villa was a small, thin woman in her late 30s with short blond hair who introduced herself as Carol. On the table before the couch were plates full of sweets and fruit slices, imported from Kuwait, which Carol invited Mohammed to taste. Stacey joined them, and soon she and Carol began questioning Mohammed. About five minutes into the session, the two women were joined by a third person, an Army lieutenant colonel who introduced himself as Dave. Dave was dressed in the same khaki trousers as Stacey and Carol, but sported a gray T-shirt emblazoned with the seal of the United States and the words “U.S. Embassy Kuwait.” A short, athletic-looking man with gray hair, Dave quickly took over the proceedings, with Carol and Stacey taking notes. For four hours Dave questioned Mohammed about various matters dealing with the Iraqi’s former work.
The final line of questioning focused on weapons of mass destruction. Dave was on his feet, pacing before Mohammed, before turning to him and asking straight out, “Where are the weapons of mass destruction?” Mohammed, who had intimate knowledge of certain aspects of the Iraqi WMD effort, replied straight back: “There are no WMD in Iraq.”
Dave continued pacing back and forth in front of Mohammed. “My president,” he said, “is in trouble. Can you help him?”
Mohammed was taken aback by the question. “Excuse me?” he asked. “Could you repeat yourself?”
Dave sat down next to the Iraqi. “George Bush is in trouble. Our people did not find any WMD in Iraq. Can you help us?”
Mohammed looked back at Dave. “How?”
“Can we prepare something for that? We could bring in some nuclear material from the former Soviet Union, and pretend they are Iraqi.”
Mohammed, stunned by the unexpected nature of the request, indicated that such a ploy could be easily uncovered by forensic examination of the evidence by outside experts, such as UNSCOM (the United Nations Special Commission) or the IAEA, who would undoubtedly be called in to verify such a finding. Dave sat in silence for a few moments, before springing to his feet. “I have to leave for a meeting,” he said. “Stacey will show you out.”
Mohammed was to meet again with Dave, Stacey and Carol in the weeks that followed. The subject of WMD, Iraqi or otherwise, was never again broached by Dave or anyone else in his team.
In my extensive dealings with him, Mohammed has never lied to me or exaggerated about events he was personally involved in. His story establishes a pattern of behavior which shows how the Bush administration, especially when operating in the form of small, ideologically motivated teams functioning outside the norms and conventions of the mainstream, was able to consider (in Mohammed’s case) manufacturing data and circumstances to bolster its false case for invading Iraq, and (per author Ron Suskind) actually manufacture such data and circumstances. I trust Mohammed. And so I am willing to believe Suskind and his sources about similar cases of fraud, this time in the form of the CIA’s manufactured Mukhabarat document.
The question is, what is Congress doing about this? At what point in time will it become clear that a crime against America has been committed, not by any foreign terrorist group, but rather the highest officials in the land, those entrusted with safeguarding the Constitution? If the rule of law is to have any meaning today, Congress has no choice but to institute proceedings mandated by the Constitution against those high officials who have committed high crimes and misdemeanors against the American people. Far from stating that impeachment is off the table, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rightfully has no option but to instruct the House of Representatives to initiate investigations into the crime of fraud and other related obstructions of government undertaken by the administration of President George W. Bush. And if these investigations confirm that such crimes have indeed occurred, she must, as a servant of the Constitution, undertake impeachment proceedings. That Bush is a lame-duck president, and his time in office is short, is no excuse for failure to defend the rule of law to its fullest.
Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence specialist and was a chief weapons inspector for the United Nations in Iraq. He is the author of many books, including “Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein” and “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change.”
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By SamSnedegar, August 13 at 4:29 am #
are you making fun of his making fun of someone else who got a doctorate from some university currying favor for some reason?
by the way, I think Ritter was a spy for the CIA the whole time he worked for the UN as a supposed inspector, and I’m not criticizing his doing that, just his keeping it secret. I’d suppose that Saddam KNEW that half of the Americans on the UNSCOM staff were spies, and like I, suspected that ALL of them were, and if they were not, would criticize them for not being.
But then I have a LOT of credibility problems with Ritter, who makes beaucoup bucks out of being a scold while he hides the truth with all the rest of the big buck writers---except for Palast.
By cyrena, August 13 at 1:31 am #
I get your point, (and others) about the ‘weapons’ that were supposedly noted on entrance to Iraq, and how they were left unguarded and all. And of course Rus7355 is still trying desperately to apologize for GWB, by endlessly going back to what was –maybe/possibly/probably/we don’t know for sure, going on in Iraq in 1998, or the 12 of 15 years prior. In other words, he’ll do ANYTHING to make a WMD connection to Iraq in 2003, to save Dick Bush’s hiney.
And, I run into this daily, when I hear the standard excuse that…Saddam wouldn’t let the inspectors in. (of course he gave them a hard time back and forth, and didn’t appear to be entirely forthcoming, even when he did allow them in).
But, here’s the thing…Beginning as early as September, 2002, Saddam was appropriately bullied enough to stop all of the crap, and allow those inspectors FULL ACCESS to everything in Iraq, and he coughed up all of the documents as well. And, we have to remember that the inspectors were still there, and that Hans Blix, (as well as El Baradei) were about to sign off on Iraq, to the effect that there were NO WMD there, when GW told them to GET OUT…for their own safety. (KBR was already there, and the troops were enroute). Now I’ll try to dig up the references for that, because they should still be accessible on line, even though my own research on this was wiped out in the crash.
My only point here though, is that while there may indeed have been some ‘weapons’ in Iraq, my conclusion (after going through the stuff from the IAEA) was that none of that stuff was WMD. That’s not to say that Saddam never had some of these things, and I don’t know what he did with the stuff, or when. But if the inspectors and the IAEA can be believed, they did NOT find anything of the kind, in the 6 months leading up to the invasion, and Dick Bush well knew it, just as they well know that Iran isn’t making any nuclear weapons either.
So, he didn’t have any at the time, and it had probably been a really long time since he had. The wars with Iran, the wars with the US and Kuwait, and all of the sanctions, had left a broken military in Iraq. So broken that they didn’t even attempt to repel us or fight back, and we know that they knew we were coming.
Still, that’s not to say that those weapons, (which I suspect are/were conventional weapons) should NOT have been secured. Obviously they should have. But the US troops and contractors weren’t guarding or securing anything other than the OIL, and the OIL MINISTRY, and anything connected to OIL. We know that the museums and the extensive culture centers were looted immediately, and Paul Bremer and his gang of thieves didn’t give a rats ass about securing anything else.
Would they have paid more attention if they actually thought all of those weapons were WMD? Humm, since that’s the ‘reason’ we went over there, one would think so. (or hope so). That tells me they weren’t looking for any WMD. Guess they believed the UN inspectors as well.
By misdt, August 13 at 1:29 am #
A neocon I am not; it is maybe because I have an “un-American” view and at that coming from across the Atlantic that triggered your putting me into that box. Mr Ritter’s story has the big disadvantage of total deniability. Using it as a basis for impeachment seems silly. That is all I meant to say.
Now of course you may ask what I mean by “un-American"… well, maybe it’s that I don’t like that red-blue trench warfare that you guys seem to be engaged in.
By cyrena, August 13 at 1:06 am #
By leveymg, August 12 at 3:02 pm
• “Not saying that Ritter is making this up, or that Dave didn’t say such a thing to Mohamed, but frankly, I just can’t believe that this was an organized effort to plant nuclear materials in Iraq.”
You can’t believe it, eh leveymg? You guys are exactly the type that scare me. Guess you don’t believe the Downing Street Memo either, where the shrub suggested painting an airplane in the UN colors with the hope that Saddam would shoot at it, thereby giving HIM a reason to attack Iraq. So then, you probably don’t believe Sy Hersh either, about the suggestion from Cheney to put some US guys in boats and have us shoot at our own from other speedboats painted up like the ones the Iranians use, so we could blame it on them to start a full out bombing exercise. And you’re probably not even curious about those B52 bombs that traveled from Minot to Barksdale, and just happened to be nuclearized, (mistake?) and that the people involved in that transfer mostly happened to turn up mysteriously dead after that incident, or that one of the bombs is still unaccounted for. And you probably believe the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 too.
And you obviously don’t know how totally crazy Dick Bush is.
I understand not necessarily believing these ‘stories’ or other incidents in isolation, or even if it was say 5 years ago, (another reason for Scott to wait). But unless you’ve been in a coma the past 7 years, there isn’t much excuse for your disbelief.
By yellowbird2525, August 13 at 12:42 am #
The Gov has a pattern of “back"dating things ie the “Colombia Trade Agreement” after Bill C. brought $800,000 for Hillary’s campaign; “suddenly” they claimed bipartisan agreement signed in 2006; all fraud; fed means fraud; congress means cesspool of corruption & the Pentagon are parasites deceiving at every conceivable level & were behind the assassination of JFK when he said he was going to clean up corruption on Capital Hill, esp the Pentagon stealing so much taxpayers $; the FBI was told to claim the forensic evidence of the bullet came from Oswald’s box of bullets; THAT was false & came to light in 2006 when FBI told them the forensic was faulty & to release or retry prisoners; Schwartzenegger then presented a bill that was made into law claiming that the forensic was possible. It is ALL LIES; as is the “we are broke” crap; Gov’s meet with Bush & others to handle each state; all the media is made up or monitered to avoid people learning the truth; it is TIME the walrus said to speak of many things; every single person who objects to what is going on with the media, with the lies, deception & deceit & treachery, with the wars & the lies behind it, need to simply quit paying taxes; you have the legal right to do so; in fact, taxes on the people are illegal; then the PEOPLE need to REJECT the Gov which is also LEGAL to do so; I have; I told them they are lawless therefore we are without leaders because we are a nation of law & they have been operating outside of it for a number of years; to prevent chaos, however, we do “pretend” that our calling, emailing, etc will effect the outcome in the same PRETENSE that THEY pretend they are a “democracy”;
By cyrena, August 13 at 12:36 am #
By cann4ing, August 12 at 7:46 pm
• “But then I have a question that you should answer for all who read your posts at TD. Why did you wait some five years--that is until after Suskin came out with his devastating revelation that the White House forged a document trying to link Iraq to al Qaeda--before telling this story?”
First, you know that I’m NOT being a smart ass when I say this, nor am I presumptuous enough to answer for Dr. Ritter, though beaks did pretty much explain it diplomatically enough.
Still, I have to answer this from my own perspective, knowing that you won’t take offense.
Did ya read the part about how they were gonna kill him? And all of those other Iraqis that were initially willing to meet with him?
I mean, I know that’s easy enough to sort of set aside, especially with guys. I swear I’m finally convinced that it HAS to do with gender genetics in the American culture. Even Scott comes off as a little naïve when he admits to be outspokenly critical of the regime’s made up cause for war, and yet doesn’t believe that the US admin would care enough to hassle him to such an extent, just being a journalist and all.
What do you guys THINK about? He’s walking around with all of this information that these thugs would do ANYTHING to prevent exposure to, and they KNOW HE’S FIGURED IT OUT, and all he needs are the documents to PROVE it.
So meantime, they not only prevent him from getting to the sources, (which he was smart enough to get around, but it was still risky) but they manage to black list him all over the place, to the degree and extent that he’s likely NOT to be believed, without some further and INDEPENDENT corroboration. (Beak already said that MSM wouldn’t touch it, but that was after you posed the question).
So, I really do ‘get it’, why he would have waited on this. I’m in the same boat, but I have enough sense to be appropriately paranoid. That deal with him at customs and immigrations? Hell, I wouldn’t even think about trying that. Been there, done it…and they would rendition my ass quicker than you could bat an eye. I’m even scared to use my new passport, because of that stupid chip they put ‘em now. A colleague suggested that I could put it in the microwave to de-activate it. Yeah right, that’s ALL I need. If I ever *am* forced to use the thing, it would be the same thing as turning myself into a gigantic ‘X”. They probably wouldn’t even bother with the ‘Oh gee, you used to work for blah, blah, blah. And, you had this XYZ security clearance, and on and on. Yep. And, I don’t anymore. And, they could disappear me a whole lot easier than they could disappear him.
Still, they were perfectly willing to hook it up. THAT would be enough to keep anybody on the ‘silent side’ for an extended period of time. Hell, I don’t know why he hasn’t had a couple of nervous breakdowns by now. (Glad you haven’t though Scott – your work is much appreciated).
Thanks and stay safe.
You too cann4ing. wink
By beaks, August 12 at 9:32 pm #
can4ings, you asked Scott Ritter to send the story to Keith Olberman.
We can do that. My guess is that Scott has sent his story to all the major media, but they won’t touch it. The mainstream media is complicit in all that the Bush/Cheney administration does. They lie in their reporting or lie by ommission of stories completely. They’ve killed the anthrax story when there is evidence each day making the suicide sound more like a lie and also making the whole story a lie. New evidence shows that over 100 people had the same access to the anthrax that Ivins did and genetic evidence shows that at least 15 other labs had identical anthrax. The Bushies needed to end the story, they needed a guilty one, and he can never testify because he’s dead. Case closed. Not quite. It’s alive and well, but you’ll never read about it or hear about it on tv or cable news. The same with Ritter’s story. If enough people write letters to the editor or Keith, perhaps it’ll be a story. Remember, they were going to kill Ritter. People are afraid to talk or they get paid sooo much to lie in the media. Greed and fear control our media. Most of you know this. Those who say no way, well, it doesn’t matter because it’s still true and you, too, live in a country that has been stolen, as
Samosamo said earlier. Stolen by treasonous war criminals and murderers who have robbed our tax dollars for themselves. They have bamboozled you to keep them in power. The rest of us are working for the truth to reach all of us, including you Bush fans. Someday, when the truth is painfully clear, you might wish you’d read more and learned the truth. McCain is lying to you. Do you know that the oil and gas in little Georgia that Russia attacked because the U.S. pushed Saakashvili to attack first, is oil owned partially by Hess Oil Corp that gave McCain $300,000 in campaign donations?
If anyone is interested in what is really happening with Russia, PLEASE read this. Dan Froomkin is one writer at the New York Times you can trust.
Send it to Keith along with the Ritter story, it’s a good idea.
By Tony Wicher, August 12 at 9:12 pm #
Where are your views of the 2001 anthrax attack? Do you think it was Ivins acting alone or do you think there was a plot to justify invading Iraq run out of Cheney’s “shop”? Does the FBI story have credibility with you?
By cann4ing, August 12 at 7:46 pm #
It’s odd, Captain Ritter, but I always thought of you as a former marine turned UNSCOM weapons inspector--never as a journalist. But I guess this piece demonstrates that you are indeed a journalist. (I previously concluded from reading Iraq Confidential that you are a very good writer).
But then I have a question that you should answer for all who read your posts at TD. Why did you wait some five years--that is until after Suskin came out with his devastating revelation that the White House forged a document trying to link Iraq to al Qaeda--before telling this story?
Why don’t you pass it on to Keith Olbermann at MSNBC so that it can be conveyed to a larger audience?
By beaks, August 12 at 6:41 pm #
samosamo, i agree with every word. I wrote something similar, but my comment didn’t show up. Glad you wrote this most important comment.
By samosamo, August 12 at 4:52 pm #
You are right about the hearsay and on the impeachment. Every member of the current administration and including ms pelosi, would have to be impeached just to insure that w would not ‘pardon’ their’s and his blantantly treasonous and criminal actions of which there are plenty enough to even get them all sent to the Hague for proper treatment. I would guess that let them out of office IF they allow a tranfer of power on January 20, 2009 and then go after them. I don’t believe impeachment would work but there should be no statute of limitations for accountability for these people.
And as for the ‘author’ being ‘just another over-eager Bush hater.’ you can carry your neocon ass back to cato or heritage institutes to come up with some more of your great and glorious plans that have done this country and the world so much good in the last 8 years and I will even add clinton’s terms and poppy’s one term even back to the nixon days when all these think tanks came into being with the express purpose of subverting this country and gaining control of it for the criminal plans plotted and hatched out just for a very few people to pull off the biggest grand theft in history with a hole heap of murder, perjury, treason and international crimes all over just to enrich a few worthless people at everyone else’s expense. Or even go back to the probable creation of them all the bilderberger group.
Scott Ritter is trying to undo what damage the conservative corporate media has done to the people of this country for many decades by turning them into apathetic, ignorant, selfish vegetables that as they are ever so slowly beginning to wake up and see the ruin wrought by the people they were tricked into believing would help and do the most good for them,(these ‘officals’ are still trying to convinence them of those lies) they are confronted with ‘What can we do?’. And people like Scott Ritter, Chalmers Johnson, Naomi Klein, Gore Vidal and others are trying to inform these veggies of the whys and hows of what to do because the biggest evil for this republic’s democracy, the 5 or 6 conservative corporate media owners, ain’t gonna tell them, or you or me, they are just going to give us the usual disinformation, no information or the fluff and foo foo news they want to the have. The next issue would be for them to find this information because it is mostly on the internet and in books which lord above, they would have to indulge themselves by actually reading a book in a lot of cases.
By it's time, August 12 at 4:44 pm #
When I read some of these comments, I feel so hopeless.
Can’t you see we live in a country with leaders that are some of the most dangerous to ever walk the earth. They would kill Scott Ritter, one of our finest Americans ever. If you don’t get it, you have to wake up and start to get it.
We need to call, write and go to a senator or congressman’s office daily and MAKE them read these stories. They are either being threatened to keep quiet, just as Ritter was, or are complicit. We need to at least start the impeachment proceedings or DEMAND that a special prosecuter is appointed (and not a crook) to begin taking witness accounts so that Bush can’t pardon all the murderers. You can’t just write comments in these blogs, especially the ones that simply call people names. This is real.
Whether or not you believe this story doesn’t change the fact that it is true and YOU are going to suffer when these evil people continue to be killers to hide the evil they’ve committed. NOTHING is funny at all about this article.
By leveymg, August 12 at 3:02 pm #
Why would Dave explain his motives?
Why not just give Mohamed $10 million in $100 bills and a plane ticket to Tashkent, and send him shopping for a lose nuke? Even better, bribe some Iraqi General to play the role of the cut-out. The General, playing the head of Ba’ath Dead-Ender Legion, sends Mohamed on a secret mission to buy Soviet plutonium. Then, after Mohamed has come back into Iraq, shoot the General, and arrest Mohamed. Case solved - hero’s welcome home.
Not saying that Ritter is making this up, or that Dave didn’t say such a thing to Mohamed, but frankly, I just can’t believe that this was an organized effort to plant nuclear materials in Iraq.
There’s a character in Apocalypse Now who is “wound just a little bit too tight”. There are a number of them. Paul sounds like one of them.
By Chick Dante, August 12 at 1:45 pm #
Assume that we have a government that committed great war crimes and tried, unsuccessfully, to cover it up by planting false evidence after the fact of Saddam’s connections to al Qaeda and to Niger (Suskind’s book) or eliciting false testimony from scared Iraqi scientists, like Mohammad (Ritter’s report) plus others we have yet to learn about (because the principals are dead, most likely), how is it that the Congress does nothing despite the President’s low approval ratings for the last four years? Is it reasonable to assume that failing to plant evidence, the Bush administration has planted something else that has deterred the Congress from doing its job and reaping the political benefits of saving the nation from the monster in the White House?
Where are the whistleblowers who will tell us what that “something else” is? Are there congressional staffers willing to come forward to tell us of NSA wiretaps and threats associated with them?
This story is not yet half told.
By jobart, August 12 at 1:06 pm #
By felicity, August 12 at 10:35 am #
“In March ‘03 American troops marching north to Baghdad passed huge arsenals packed with weapons of all kinds. They were told to leave the arsenals alone because nuclear materials were stored along with the conventional weapons and the nuclear stuff might go off if disturbed. Our military also left the arsenals unguarded”.
Don’t forget, because I never will, the “discovery” early on, (when we first started the “search” for WMDs) of a VERY large amount of C4 plastique explosives in a VERY large storage facility. Our “guys” kept on looking and left the explosives unprotected as they proceeded to “march on” in the “search”. When someone told them to go bsck to the storage facility..."voila!" it was all gone. EIDs made in Iran, indeed !!! Just more evidence that there was, and is, a plan to do what we did and continue to do. Make a war and keep it going while we/USofA rapes the resources of the Iraqi people and destroys the its infrastructure. And, oh yeah, the U.S treasury and its taxpayers. Almost forgot that little diddy.
By SamSnedegar, August 12 at 12:12 pm #
the Bushitters plan to take over the whole mideast with all its oil; why keep talking about the lies when the truth is far more important?
By rowman, August 12 at 12:08 pm #
How long are you going to milk this tired story?
We know that this government screwed us all. What else is new.
Obama is about to take office and screw us Democrat style and the cycle will continue.
There are plenty of current events to write on. This one is like the old moldy cheese and you’re asking me to cut off the mold and recycle it. Ill pass.
Its old Scott and if you want your 15min to continue, you need to find something more relevant.
By Rus7355, August 12 at 11:16 am #
I have written here in the past my great respect for you and your work. I would, however, be eager to have you address an issue.
Why, in 1998, did you tell the world—“Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents?
You went on to explain that “Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production”?
I think it would help TruthDig readers gain a fuller understanding of these events if you would address your apparent change of mind. And what was it exactly that lead you too to believe Iraq had banned weapons and programs only two short years before Bush took office?
By Big B, August 12 at 10:41 am #
Did you ever see something so funny like this weekend when king George went on TV to decry the russian invasion of Georgia as a “disproportionate response” to the Georgians attempt to re-capture their disputed territory? Do you suppose he even remembers invading two nations that had little(Afghanistan) or nothing(Iraq) to do with 911? Laying waste to their cities and infrastructure?
Killing hundreds of thousands? No, wait! the best part is yet to come. Barack and the rest of the Dimmo leadership didn’t call him on it! The same gutless wonders that refuse to investigate this sleazy little man won’t even say an unkind word about his hippocritical remarks concerning Russia’s treatment of Georgia. If Barack and the Dimmos want to win this election, they need to call for a full independent investigation of ALL the dealings of the shrub administration. Fire accusations indescriminatly at all the bushies between now and November. The guilty need to be flogged right out on the capitol steps, the bastinado needs applied “liberally”. We need to cleanse ourselves from our 20 years of wallowing in this neocon cesspool. However the irony of this situation is that it would never have happened had the Dimmos shown some balls, the same kind of balls it’s going to take them to fix this mess.
Does anybody think that the likes of Pelosi, Reed, Clinton and Obama have the tools and the talent to deal with the upcoming shitstorm that the bushies will leave behind? They should have spent the last two years proving they had the meddle to lead. Instead they spent that time copitulating to the most disasterous president in US history.
Kinda makes you beem with confidence, doesn’t it?
By felicity, August 12 at 10:35 am #
In March ‘03 American troops marching north to Baghdad passed huge arsenals packed with weapons of all kinds. They were told to leave the arsenals alone because nuclear materials were stored along with the conventional weapons and the nuclear stuff might go off if disturbed. Our military also left the arsenals unguarded.
Through ensuing months and maybe until today, Iraqis have used the weapons against each other and against our military and other American personnel.
Couldn’t a case be made that leaving those arsenals unguarded we indirectly have armed and are arming those who would kill us? Did the military brass know there were no hidden nuclear materials? Or did the Bush Administration lie to its own military by telling them that there were?
There is so much about the entire Iraq operation that only an impeachment hearing could uncover, that a Congress that does not hold one is itself guilty of committing a crime.
By srelf, August 12 at 10:31 am #
We all know that the state has the power to get rid of anyone that is a serious threat. There is still enough of a constitution left to make those state functionaries worry about getting away with it. Nevertheless, I can imagine that people like Mr. Ritter have to have great courage to keep working against those who would use their power to their own ends. We, the people, have to be ready at all times to back them up.
Impeachment is certainly justified as Elizabeth Holtzman and John Dean have said. Vincent Bugliosi, the LA prosecuter, has written a well-regarded book on trying Bush for murder once he leaves office.
By David Model, August 12 at 10:11 am #
It is quite apparent that George Bush and his cronies have no compunctions about saving their a**es. They have engaged in cover-ups, threats, punishments and lies to promote their agenda which was established long before 9/11. Valarie Plame is a salient example of how far this administration is willing to go to cover up their lies. Exposing a CIA agent is a capital offence and Libby took the hit for those above him in the adminstration and was rewarded with a pardon. It is clear that the Bush Administration is not only guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” but also that they operate in an immoral universe.
By Blackspeare, August 12 at 8:19 am #
There was a film titled, “Minority Report” in which in a future time people can be arrested for just thinking about a crime. The action taken against Saddam Hussein was not that far away from the theme of this film----Hussein had evil thoughts as recountered numerous times by Bush and Rice. Nations who start wars always have their own rationale whether it be true or not. In international politics the important thing is not how you play the game, but whether you win or lose!!!
By SVANDUSEN, August 12 at 7:23 am #
I am not familiar enough with the Constitution and the statutory and procedural descendants thereof to know whether or not impeachment proceedings can be implemented or continued against officials whose terms have expired. I certainly hope they can. At the very least, it is imperative that the new Congress (hopefully controlled by progressively thinking Democrats) be relentless in investigating the staggering body of deception and criminality perpetrated by the Bush administrations.
The public desperately needs to be informed about the truth in these matters and to see that those who practice this sort of arrogant abuse of power be held accountable.
By nrobi, August 12 at 6:48 am #
All of the events surrounding the WMD inspection and reportage have at least been a farce and at most have been the basis for criminal investigations to start taking place. How in the world, did a drunkard and a cocaine abuser get to be president? He went along with a group of men and women, for whom power was the overriding factor. Men and women for whom the ultimate aphrodisiac was the control of the free world in its current state.
One should not that this president was not elected the first time by a majority of the electorate, it was 5 people who got to vote twice in that election.
Namely those on the Supreme Court, who voted to stop the recount of votes in Florida and declare the shrub the winner on of the most contested election in the history of the United States. One look at the historical record, will tell you or any thinking person that there is no doubt that the Supreme Court decided the outcome of that election.
This put into place a group of men and women, now known as the neo-cons, in the halls of power that have debased the oaths they took to uphold and protect the very Constitution and Bill of Rights that they deemed the most perfect and complete system of governance in the world.
Shredding the Constitution has been the watchword of this administration, there is nothing that is written in the Constitution and Bill of Rights that has not been completely disregarded and held in contempt by those of the neo-conservative brand.
In the meantime, these men and women, went about securing the “democratic ideal,” at the end of a weapon. And should they remeain in office, even these last 5 months, will take us into another war, this time, fabricated evidence of which will show the empirical leanings of a country that wishes to be left alone, Iran.
Mr. Ritter, has shown time and again that this administration is completely and utterly opposed to the Constitution and is lawless to the nth degree.
There is nothing they will not do to enhance their chances of returning to power, along with the hegemonic ideals that are the bedrock of their founding documents.
I, truly believe that should Mr. Ritter, have gone ahead with the planned trip to Iraq for the purpose of verifying the stories of those sources that are named in this article, he would have been assassinated and his reputation tarnished by false accusations that would have included giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war.
There is nothing in this article that does not surprise me in that this administration, has lied and cheated its way into power with the commensurate lack of morals and understanding of our form of government.
In the meantime, I for one, am glad that Mr. Ritter has exposed the failings of this administration in regards to the “weapons of mass destruction,” ruse that was used to take this country to war. Rock on Mr. Ritter.
By misdt, August 12 at 5:18 am #
Maybe...but asking for impeachment? On the basis of what is more or less hearsay?
Sorry, those conclusions diminish the possible veracity of the gist of the article and leads one to believe that the author is just another over-eager Bush hater. Pity though…
By hippy pam, August 12 at 4:26 am #
What Else Did We Expect From A cheerleader turned president named “bullsh*t”??????????