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    War and Terror: A Teaspoonful of Anthrax, and A Mountain of Misinformation
    Posted on Saturday, February 08 @ 10:44:53 UTC
    Topic: Colin Powell
    Colin Powellby Ben Roberts

    Americans and the world community are in danger. Not as much of Saddam Hussein or North Korea as they are of the Bush Administration. This week we had the spectacle of Secretary of State Colin Powell presenting what was supposed to be damning evidence confirming that Iraq was in breach of UN resolutions, and that military action was necessary. The event was supposed to be convincing, much like it was years ago with the Cuban missile crisis, when former Secretary of State Adlai Stevenson presented irrefutable photos of missile sites, showing beyond the shadow of a doubt that, despite assertions to the contrary, the Soviet Union was arming Cuba with missiles. The photos did just that. In this scenario Colin Powell did not come close to that historic event. Here he looked more like a quack in the Middle Ages selling bogus cures. For ninety minutes he did a 'Rambling Rose' impersonation as he rattled on, extracting from his bag of tricks vials, photos, tapes, photo simulation, alleged confessions, and 'irrefutable' statements from faceless 'credible' sources.

    If this were not enough, Powell threw in innuendo, misinformation, and scare tactics in his attempt to sell his story to America and the world. Holding up a vial Powell said it represented a teaspoonful of anthrax, roughly the amount that was unleashed in Washington during the anthrax crisis, resulting in loss in life. He warned that Iraq had not accounted for thousands of gallons of such material, and in such hands Americans were in danger of the anthrax crisis magnified thousands of times over. What a ridiculous hot air balloon of misinformation, saturated with an ample dose of fear and horror of Scooby Doo size proportions. Without saying so, Powell planted the seed in the mind of anyone listening, but most especially American citizens, that Iraq's biological weapons were somehow responsible for the anthrax crisis. How disingenuous. Every expert has confirmed without question that Iraq does not possess the milling capability to make such finely ground anthrax powder, and that the samples were most likely homegrown in the US. If Americans need to be terrified by a thousandfold anthrax scare then it needs not be directed at Iraq but rather at Powell and his Administration for their nonchalance and inability after all this time to have apprehended anyone for the anthrax outbreak. Powell's insinuation shows just how much contempt he and his Administration have for their citizens by deceiving them so blatantly.

    Continuing with his circus show, Powell sprang the bogeyman mastermind, Al Zarqawi on the audience in his attempt to connect Iraq to Al Qaeda. You see, Bush and Co. are fighting for the hearts and minds of Americans in garnering their support for a war on Iraq. If they can float the idea that an Al Quaeda connected individual has been in or near Iraq, then Americans will experience a gut wrenching moment as they quickly link this to September 11, and hence their safety. This would be a homerun, as it would mean American support for war. So Powell, Bush, and anyone in the Administration who can string enough words together to make a sentence, have gone on an all out blitz trying to lead America to this conclusion. Al Zarqawi, by Powell's account is a vile terrorist with an operation in northeastern Iraq. Funny that they use the term 'northeastern Iraq,' when referring to Al Zarqawi and his operation. This is a change. Why? Northeastern Iraq is Kurdish territory. Al Zarqawi is operating in Kurdish territory. The Administration is unwilling to say Kurdish territory. In the past few months, Team Bush has been making a big deal of training, assisting, and financing Kurds to overthrow Saddam. Chalabi and others have been on TV often, in relation to this venture. Now, it must be very embarrassing for Bush and his intelligence people to come out and admit that their ambitious plans of prepping the Kurds for overthrow of Saddam has been preempted by Al Zarqawi and his network already on the ground spreading its influence among the same people who are touted as their ace in the hole. To get around this they confuse Americans with a bit of geography in the term 'northeastern Iraq,' hoping no one will look at a map. A case of deception 'by any means necessary.'

    Powell alluded to the arrest of a group of men in Britain in a 'ricin' plot that was discovered. This supposed new biochemical scourge to humanity, ricin, was intended to instill fear. But if you know what ricin is you will see through the scare tactic hoopla. Ricin is a natural biochemical, extracted from the castor bean. Yes, the same bean that castor oil is made from. Animals in the field eating excess castor beans die sometimes. Children get ill, and can die from ingesting too much castor oil medicine. In concentrated form ricin is both very toxic and very deadly. But it is a natural product. With a few household wares, anyone could possibly make concentrated ricin. Powell left the impression that ricin was a new and unheard of scourge. As biochemical threats go, ricin is the equivalent of hydrogen peroxide in our medicine cabinet. It can help with infection and cleansing wounds, but if ingested it can cause serious illness and fatality. Many nations probably have ricin in their biochemical arsenals, since it is so easy to come by. Powell would have us believe it is the newest, unheard of, most diabolical agent of death, possessed exclusively by Iraq. What a joke.

    It was somewhat amusing how Powell displayed what he explained was an audiotape of officers speaking in the field, or before and after photos of weapons of mass destruction sites that he claimed were suddenly sanitized as inspection teams were closing in. After, displaying these items Powell barked, 'Why? To deceive.' Powell is a soldier. He must have endured countless inspections in his military career. In his young life as a soldier many must have been the days when he feverishly polished his boots to mirrorlike cleanliness, starched his army outfit to knife sharpness, and cleaned his weapon spotlessly, in anticipation of an inspection by an army bigwig. Should we assume from this that Powell was trying to deceive the visiting inspector? Or was he simply making sure that nothing was left for critique and the possibility of punitive action. Why in the case of Iraqi behavior was Powell attempting to lead Americans, and the world, down the path of believing that such action by Iraq was blatant deception, and cause for war?

    In the area of human intelligence Powell gave a litany of contacts. These were faceless people whose real existence cannot be verified. In no way can such 'stunning' information gotten from these characters by Powell, and American intelligence, be regarded as 'irrefutable' facts, as Powell regularly insisted. We might as well be relating to someone how 'the cow jumped over the moon.' Moreover, Powell alluded to the fact many times that the information was gotten by confession, and that the individual was an Iraqi defector. Both situations seriously compromise the validity of credible information. The primary objective of a defector is to leave behind a bad situation. His second priority is to convince you he is your most valuable asset. His currency is information. The information can be easily altered to increase his stock, hence making it of questionable validity. Information gotten by interrogation suffer the same drawbacks.

    Powell charged that the Iraqi regime was deceptive because they did not give a true declaration of their weapons. What? Talk about 'the pot calling the kettle black.' How do we know whether or not the Iraqis gave a true declaration? The Colombian ambassador to the UN intercepted the single copy document and handed it to Powell and his posse, before any of the other members got to see it. They promptly removed 8,000 pages so Americans could not see which US companies had illegally assisted Saddam in weapons acquisition. In removal of the pages the word 'redact' was used by the Administration. There is a better word that can be used to describe Team Bush page ripping. Powell knows that word. It was used constantly by him in his presentation. It is, 'sanitized.'

    Have no doubt about this. An attack on Iraq will make the world a more dangerous place, especially for Americans. North Korea, after observing an attack on Iraq will begin producing nuclear weapons in assembly line fashion. They would be foolish not to. It would guarantee them security against attack by an unfettered, irrational, nuclear Goliath. Every other nation on the brink of nuclear weapons production will arrive at this same conclusion. This cannot be good for Americans. It cannot be good for the world. Instead of hearing the banner word 'sanitized,' as used repeatedly by Colin Powell in his presentation geared to promoting war, death, destruction, and long lived hatred, we should be hearing the phrase, 'Let sanity reign.' Our children will definitely thank us for it.

    Ben Roberts is a newsletter editor, freelance writer and published author. His book, Jackals of Samarra, was published in January 2001. Ben can be contacted by email at: grandt730@aol.com

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