Monday, January 28, 2008

CBS Falsifies Iraq War History

By Robert Parry
January 28, 2008

There’s a cynical old saying that the victors write the history. CBS’s “60 Minutes” demonstrated how that process works on Jan. 27 in airing Scott Pelley’s interview with the FBI agent who de-briefed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

In a world of objective reality, a reporter might say that the United States launched an unprovoked invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, under the false pretense that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, even after Iraq had repeatedly – and accurately – announced that its WMD had been destroyed in the 1990s.

Read on.


Robert1014 said...

I watched Scott Pelley's report, and I was startled when he made the jarringly false comment about Hussein "choosing" to let Iraq be invaded. I wonder if Pelley is aware that the very program that presented his report--60 MINUTES (or perhaps it was the no longer extant 60 MINUTES II)--presented a story before the invasion wherein Dan Rather visited Hussein in his official palace. Rather asked Hussein directly about the WMD, and Hussein announced on camerathat there were no WMD, that he had destroyed them. I'm sure those tapes still exist in the CBS archives.

Frankly, it's appalling that "the House Murrow Built" is now acting merely to promulgate this administration's lies and propaganda. I wondered as I was watching the piece whether the impetus to present this story now, in the way it was presented, was the recently released study that shows the nearly 1000 lies the Bush administration told prepatory to our illegal invasion of Iraq. To whatever limited degree news of that study gets out into the mainstream, this story by 60 MINUTES will successfully erase it, leaving most Americans who watched it assuming, wrongly, that Hussein intentionally bluffed the U.S. into attacking Iraq when "if only we had known otherwise, we would have happily canceled our invasion"(sic).

Anonymous said...

What is also telling is that when he asked him point blank, "was Saddam tortured?", he did not show the FBI agent's face.

He merely repeated his answer instead of showing the FBI agents face when the question was asked and showing his face when he responded. Suddenly they show Scott Pelley's face as the FBI agent was talking.

After he asked that question you could really see that the FBI agent was unnerved. You could hear it in his voice and his face AND EYES indicated deception.

Bob Locke said...

Thanks to Bob Parry for this scary expose of lies becoming truth, and for the various iterations by Bush, all of which I watched disbelieving how the press could simply allow him to lie outright without correcting him. I would have called him an outright liar to his face (had I only been there, but alas).

I am wondering how Amy Goodman responded to Koppel. It's not like her to allow such an underhanded comment to go unchallenged.

Whatever happened in the wake of the Time Magazine article in Feb. 0f 2003 that exposed Kamel Hussein's UN testimony--as defector--that he had personally overseen the destruction of the WMD in order for the first UN inspectors NOT to find them?

Was I alone in reading that? I never saw anyone in the media spreading it around.

Bob Locke
Sacramento CA

Fix said...

Back from the memory hole.

Anonymous said...

Well said - watching 60 Minutes last night was a very, very disappointing experience. The Pelley interview was so politicized that we wondered if the FBI had made taking the official line a condition of airing the interview.

Glad to see others spotted it.

Anonymous said...

I listened to Thom Hartman today on Air America and he laid out interesting stuff . He pointed out
that the Weapons Inspectors had been allowed in and had even destroyed some missiles that they found . As he pointed the inspectors were forced to leave ny Bush's imminent invasion .
He also said that the bill the Senate passed required Bush to provide a connection between Saddam and 911 within 60 days of commiting troops . He actually did sub,its such a letter as requested even though he later admitted there was NO connection

Robert B. Livingston said...

Not only are Pelley and 60 Minutes trying to rewrite history, they have been active in trying to influence the future with highly slanted stories.

Our corporate media is so propagandized that I pay scant attention to it anymore.

In September 2007, Pelley and 60 Minutes interviewed Ahmadenijad prior to the Iranian president's U.S. visit.

Comparing 60 Minutes interview transcripts and the actual video segment convinced me that the program had a hidden agenda. Ahmadenijad was widely demonized as evil incarnate on his visit-- and the influential CBS program no doubt contributed to keeping viewers ignorant about the complexities of Iranian politics.

At the time, many intelligent analysts, including Ray McGovern who publishes frequently here at Consortium News, were alert to a high potential that the U.S. might involve itself on an attack on Iran. A potential still exists to this day.

Here are my notes about the September 20, 2007 interview:

Here are the CBS transcripts of the complete interview-- much of it cut from the broadcast which the public saw. The actual broadcast included inflamatory and tendentious video clips (a tank being blown up, for example):

Doug said...

Just what is it that can be done in order to bring "truth" to the American public? How can misrepresentations, innuendos and outright lies be disproved to the mass of citizens who seem to show little interest in questioning the statements of anyone "in authority"?

Granted, this may seem a rhetorical question but I am sure many people with much more savvy than I have struggled with it. So, what are some of the recommendations?

Anonymous said...

I agree that the we should not have started this mess, but once this act has occurred do we as a country not have a responsibility?

My Father is in his 70's and yet took a job to work for his beliefs by helping Iraq set up medical clinics.

So since we can't change the past, maybe we can make a better future.

Pat Newberry

jbpeebles said...

Pelley was the interviewer for Ahmadinejad during his visit to New York. I said this on my blog:
"The media makes its job to villify Muslims, particular those who may have expressed anger or resentment towards Israel. In major media companies run by Republican moguls like Jack Welch of NBC, the emphasis is on war, not peace, because the conglomerate's interests are served best by war. NBC's parent GE, the world's largest military contractor, had nothing to gain by peace in the lead-up to Iraq...
...the antiwar view was repressed and the neo-conservative viewpoint reigned supreme. Dissent was packaged as anti-American and disloyal. All the media conglomerates moved together to pound the war drums."

Media consolidation has a direct role on media coverage. Here's how I described it:
"Newspaper owners are largely Republican--the larger the conglomerate, the more likely the owners are to be either ardent Zionists or avid greed-is-good Republicans. So when the media consolidation train began rolling, a pro-Republican bias was almost certain to spread to the editorial ranks and into the content of the various media. No big surprise, therefore, that criticism of the war was suppressed, figures like Donahue fired, and the unverified assertions of Scooter Libby's friend Miller about Iraqi WMD made into front page material."

Anonymous said...

The only explanation I can think of that the collective political establishment (right and left) as well as most media outlets simply does not address this glaring falsehood, is that the vast majority of the news consumers were in agreement with the falsehoods while they being foisted and the lies looking back on them are now exposed as so flagrant, ingnoring them and accepting a different history is much less embarassing and doesn't allow the guilt for all the bloodshed that occured when they supported a lie is completely avoided.

erich said...

Thanks Perry.

I was so disgusted in hearing the "wouldn't let the inspectors in" I turned the TV off. It won't be on CBS again. EVER.

I felt the same disgust as I did towards Bush then.

CBS and Bush are two of a kind. I am also thankful for Dan Rather for pursuing his lawsuit against CBS.

You might be interested in the following quote, from 1942, three years BEFORE the end of wwII.

“Do not forget that every people deserve the regime they are willing to endure… Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure - reach the light of day?”

–First leaflet of the White Rose, student resistance group at the University of Munich 1942

What honest American is not ashamed of his government today?

Do Americans understand how this will impact their children?

Anonymous said...

"This strategy of repeating a “big lie” often enough to make it sound true was famously described in the writings of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels during World War II."

Unfortunately, this too is a lie. In fact "the big lie technique" comes from Hitler's book, *Mein Kampf*, wherein Hitler warns against the Jewish technique of the big lie, saying that the German people in their innocence were accustomed to the little white lies that occur in daily life, but were unprepared for the Jewish Big Lie technique. Well, now the Big Liars have turned it around to say that Hitler - or Goebbels - whatever name pops into their mouths - "advocated" the big lie.

The rest of the piece is very good indeed, and all too true. The same Big Liars are still doing their thing.

oceanic said...

I have read that Saddam did all he could, understandably, to forestall military invasion, including inviting Bush to bring in the US Army peacefully and offering to leave Iraq with a billion in Iraqi funds.
However the evidence indicates a Bush vendetta against Saddam for "..trying to kill my dad.."
In a democracy, a vendetta, pursued by US troops with the added benefit of controlling Iraq's natural resources.
Now, neither CBS nor the NY Times appears to support the "accountability and consequences" Bush promised voters in 2000.
No amount of obfuscation by mainstream media will ever conceal the masses of dead men, women, and children.
Not merely the hands of the Bush family but the hands of corporate media are covered in blood, innocent blood, and the world will never forget or believe either of them again.

erich said...

Fist, Pat, Kudos to your father!! Thanks for sharing.

Second, let’s not kid ourselves. CBS is a war crimes accomplice, and they know full well what they do with repeating the big lie, as Goebbels did in Germany. Readers here may be interested in some German quotes from the time. CBS is not allowed in my house!

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” - Joseph Goebbels

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
--Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials as recorded by Gilbert, G.M. Nuremberg Diary.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Company, 1947 (pp. 278-279).

erich said...

The Goering quote, for those wishing corroboration without resorting to a REAL book ;-), :

left off the "p" sorry, as in .asp