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The New Iraq

U.S.A. - Babylon

From Radio Free Europe: May 6, 2003
Iraq: Bush Names Career Diplomat As Civilian Administrator By Frank Csongos
Washington, 6 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush announced today he has appointed a former ambassador and head of the State Department's counterterrorism office to become the top civilian administrator in Iraq. Bush said Paul Bremer will head the transition team entrusted to steer Iraq toward democracy. The team includes retired Army General Jay Garner, currently the senior U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq. The 61-year-old Bremer was an assistant to Secretaries of State William Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He was ambassador-at-large for counterrorism from 1986 to 1989 and also served as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. ... Bremer will serve as the senior coalition official in Iraq. As presidential envoy, Bremer will oversee coalition reconstruction efforts. General Tommy Franks will maintain command over coalition military personnel. Bremer will report to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Bremer was recently the chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting and was previously managing director of the Kissinger Group, which he joined after 23 years of diplomatic service.

From Radio Free Europe: May 7, 2003
Iraq: U.S. Has Prizes, Punishment For Supporters, Critics Of War By Jeffrey Donovan
Washington looks set to award prizes and punishments to countries that supported or opposed the Iraq war. Poland looks set to take the grand prize -- its own stability force in Iraq paid for by Washington -- while new reports suggest that relations between France and America could go from bad to worse.
Washington, 7 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Rather than let bygones be bygones, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush appears set to reward backers of the war in Iraq and punish others, such as France, for obstructing its efforts to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The biggest payoff for support in Iraq appears to be going to Poland, which is set to take command of a multinational stabilization force in one of three military zones the United States intends to establish in Iraq. The other two areas will be led by the United States and its closest ally, Britain. Officials in Warsaw say the high-profile role would represent a historic step for Poland, and provide a testing ground for its leadership potential. Poland has also asked Germany and Denmark to join the stability force. Warsaw has also put up former Finance Minister Marek Belka, a U.S.-trained economist, to become deputy head of the U.S. administrative body for Iraq, the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs. Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell thanked Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz for support during the tough prewar debate and the war itself, to which Warsaw contributed some 200 troops, a ship, and an antichemical weapons unit. ...
But as Poland basks in the limelight as a key partner of the world's sole superpower, other U.S. allies aren't faring as well in Washington. Yesterday, a respected reporter for "The Washington Times" quoted unidentified U.S. intelligence officials as saying that France enabled members of the former Iraqi regime to escape to Europe by providing them with visas in Syria. ... The French Embassy in Washington vehemently denied the visa story. ... State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a briefing yesterday: "I think each of the nations will have to account for their past behavior, what they may or may not have done." According to Nile Gardiner, a British-born analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, Boucher was clearly talking about France, Germany, and Russia -- the nations that led world opposition to the war in Iraq. ... What steps, if any, Washington may take against France is unclear, Gardiner says. Recently, Powell and other officials said Paris would have to suffer some consequences for its actions, however. ...

From Reuters: Wed May 7, 2003 04:39 PM ET
Halliburton's Role in Iraq Is Expanded By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Halliburton (HAL.N), the oil giant once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, will now be involved in operation and distribution of oil products in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Wednesday, indicating a more direct role in Iraq's energy business than originally believed. New orders given to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root a few days ago included the operation of oil facilities and the distribution of products, said a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Scott Saunders. ...

From UPI: 5/7/2003 6:19 PM
9/11 victims awarded damages against Iraq By Shaun Waterman
From the Washington Politics & Policy Desk
WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New York Wednesday awarded damages against the government of Iraq after ruling that the families of two victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings had shown "albeit barely" that Iraq had provided material support to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. Judge Harold Baer ruled that the two families were entitled to $104 million compensation from Iraq, bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban movement and their government of Afghanistan. He had entered a default judgment against these defendants on Dec. 23, 2002, after they failed to show up to contest the case. ... Lawyers for the two families said they would attempt to recover the money from the $1.7 billion in Iraqi assets frozen in the United States, and victims' relatives involved in a separate lawsuit against the Saudi government said it was an important precedent. ... He (Baer) said his decision was based only on the opinion testimony of the families' two expert witnesses, former CIA Director James Woolsey Jr., and author Laurie Mylroie. ...

From Reuters: Fri May 9, 2003 08:55 AM ET
Iraqis Want U.N. to Control Oil Cash, Not U.S. By Nadim Ladki
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis on Friday welcomed U.S. and British moves to lift U.N. economic sanctions but called for the United Nations or an Iraqi interim government to take charge of the nation's oil wealth, not Washington. The United States and Britain are pushing a proposal to lift nearly 13 years of sanctions and give them control of the Iraq's oil revenues for at least a year. ... The U.S.-British proposal would relegate the United Nations and other international institutions to an advisory role and phase out over four months the existing U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program. The United States and Britain, who sponsored the proposal along with Spain, want a vote at the U.N. Security Council by June 3, when that program, which gives the United Nations control over the oil revenues, needs to be renewed. ... According to the proposed resolution, decisions on where to spend the money would be made mainly by the United States and Britain. They would make those decisions in consultation with an Iraqi interim authority Washington is now setting up until a new elected Iraqi government is formed, which could take years. ...

From AP: May 9, 2003
U.S. Asks U.N. to Lift Iraq Sanctions By EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS - The United States took its postwar plans for Iraq to the United Nations on Friday, trying to persuade the Security Council to lift sanctions against the battered nation and give U.S. and British administrators control over its oil revenues. ... The long-awaited U.S. plan for postwar Iraq envisions the United States and Britain running the country as "occupying powers" for at least a year and probably much longer. It also would take control over Iraq's vast oil revenues away from the United Nations and give it to the U.S.-led coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein's regime. ...
The U.S. draft resolution, however, makes no mention of U.N. weapons inspectors. Negroponte reiterated Thursday that the United States is conducting its own searches and sees no role for U.N. inspectors "for the foreseeable future." ... The resolution also would endorse the authority of the United States and Britain to govern Iraq — and it foresees a lengthy stay. It notes that Washington and London sent a letter to the council president Thursday recognizing their responsibilities and obligations under international law "as occupying powers." The letter marks the first time the United States has referred to its role in Iraq as an "occupying power," a status governed by the Geneva Conventions that would entail wide-ranging responsibilities to look after the Iraqi people. Until now, Washington has avoided the term, calling itself a "liberating force." Under the proposal, the 12-month initial authorization for the U.S. and British "authority" in Iraq would be renewed automatically unless the Security Council decided otherwise. Since the United States and Britain have veto powers, they could block any attempt to get them to leave Iraq — which is likely to be deemed unacceptable by other council members. ...

From AP: May 9, 2003
Rumsfeld Says No Timetable on Iraq Stay By PAULINE JELINEK
WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday it is not possible to know how long U.S. forces will have to remain in Iraq and suggested that stabilizing the newly liberated country could take longer than a year. During a news conference with Gen. Tommy Franks, Rumsfeld said a one-year timeline attached to the presence of U.S. and British forces in Iraq was probably "just a review period" in the overall postwar plan..

From CBS News: May 9, 2003
U.S. Ready For Long Haul In Iraq

From The Washington Post: Sunday, May 11, 2003; Page A01
Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons
By Barton Gellman, Washington Post Staff Writer
BAGHDAD -- The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants. The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group's departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war. Leaders of Task Force 75's diverse staff -- biologists, chemists, arms treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document experts, and special forces troops -- arrived with high hopes of early success. They said they expected to find what Secretary of State Colin L. Powell described at the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 -- hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing program to build a nuclear bomb. Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force members said in interviews. Army Col. Richard McPhee, who will close down the task force next month, said he took seriously U.S. intelligence warnings on the eve of war that Hussein had given "release authority" to subordinates in command of chemical weapons. "We didn't have all these people in [protective] suits" for nothing, he said. But if Iraq thought of using such weapons, "there had to have been something to use. And we haven't found it. . . . Books will be written on that in the intelligence community for a long time." ...
Motivated and accomplished in their fields, task force members found themselves lacking vital tools. They consistently found targets identified by Washington to be inaccurate, looted and burned, or both. ... U.S. Central Command began the war with a list of 19 top weapons sites. Only two remain to be searched. ... Task Force 75's experience, and its impending dissolution after seven weeks in action, square poorly with assertions in Washington that the search has barely begun. ... The hunt will continue under a new Iraq Survey Group, which the Bush administration has said is a larger team. But the organizers are drawing down their weapons staffs for lack of work, and adding expertise for other missions. ... "I don't think we'll find anything," said Army Capt. Tom Baird, one of two deputy operations officers under McPhee. "What I see is a lot of stuff destroyed." The Defense Intelligence Agency officer, describing a "sort of a lull period" in the search, said that whatever may have been at the target sites is now "dispersed to the wind." ...

Published on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 by
Kick Their Ass and Take Their Gas: Democracy Comes to Iraq by Jacob Levich

From Al-Jazeerah: 05/15/03: (TFF)
Do you want to know who the Americans running Iraq really are? By Jan Oberg

From AP: Fri May 16, 9:03 AM ET
Coalition Troops Are Accused of Torture By ED JOHNSON
LONDON - Amnesty International is investigating claims that British and American troops tortured prisoners of war in Iraq with night-long beatings and, in at least one case, electric shocks, the group said Friday. ...

From Reuters: Fri May 16, 2003 04:40 PM ET
Iraq Baathists Face Ban, U.S. Seeks End of Sanctions By Mona Megalli
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's U.S.-run administration said on Friday it would ban loyalists of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party from public office as Washington battled to win backing for a U.N. resolution scrapping sanctions. ...
The United States submitted a new draft of its resolution to lift sanctions against Iraq but changed few basic demands that still disturbed Russia, China, France and Germany. It gives the United States and Britain wide-ranging powers to run Iraq and decide how to spend its oil wealth for reconstruction until a permanent government is formed. ...
In an effort to restore order in Iraq, the United States and Britain have reinstated much of the police force and asked government workers to restore public services. But top ministry officials have been ordered to sign a document denouncing the Baath Party that ruled Iraq from 1968. ... (.. up to 700,000 of the 26 million Iraqis held membership of the former ruling party.) ...

From The NYT: May 17, 2003
In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off By PATRICK E. TYLER
BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 16 — In an abrupt reversal, the United States and Britain have indefinitely put off their plan to allow Iraqi opposition forces to form a national assembly and an interim government by the end of the month. Instead, top American and British diplomats leading reconstruction efforts here told exile leaders in a meeting tonight that allied officials would remain in charge of Iraq for an indefinite period, said Iraqis who attended the meeting. It was conducted by L. Paul Bremer, the new civilian administrator here. Mr. Bremer, who was accompanied by John Sawers, a British diplomat representing Prime Minister Tony Blair, told the Iraqi political figures that the allies preferred to revert to the concept of creating an "interim authority" — not a provisional government — so that Iraqis could assist them by creating a constitution for Iraq, revamping the educational system and devising a plan for future democratic elections. ...
In a step calculated to combat any resurgence of Baath Party influence here, Mr. Bremer today issued an order banning up to 30,000 top-ranking members "from future employment in the public sector." ...
Today's decision to extend allied control indefinitely over the governing of Iraq was conveyed to Iraqi political figures as the United States and Britain worked assiduously at the United Nations to win broad international consensus for a resolution to lift economic sanctions on Iraq, in order to begin selling oil to finance reconstruction. ...

From The Washington Post: Saturday, May 17, 2003; Page E01
U.S. Adviser Says Iraq May Break With OPEC By Peter S. Goodman
Carroll Hints Nation Could Void Contracts
BAGHDAD, May 16 -- The U.S. executive selected by the Pentagon to advise Iraq's Ministry of Oil suggested today that the country might best be served by exporting as much oil as it can and disregarding quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. His comments offered the strongest indication to date that the future Iraqi government may break ranks with the international petroleum cartel. "Historically, Iraq has had, let's say, an irregular participation in OPEC quota systems," said Philip J. Carroll, who formerly headed Royal Dutch Shell in the United States and now chairs a commission advising Iraq's oil ministry. ... Carroll also signaled that oil contracts signed under the old regime are now potentially void or subject to renegotiation. ... He confirmed a report in the Los Angeles Times that he continues to own substantial stock in Fluor, which has already announced intentions to bid on contracts to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry. He said he also has large holdings in Shell. ...

From AP at The Globe and Mail: 6:17 PM EDT Saturday, May. 17, 2003
Iraq has until 2005 to begin paying off debt
Deauville, France — The United States on Saturday secured a commitment from the world's wealthiest nations and Russia not to demand that Iraq begin paying off its huge debts before 2005, easing the country's path to recovery. U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said he obtained the pledge from finance ministers of the Group of Eight during their two days of talks in this seaside Normandy resort. But Germany, a staunch opponent of the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein, ruled out forgiving Iraqi debts - a move Washington is thought to favor. ... France, Germany and Russia, which led the anti-war camp, were some of Mr. Hussein's biggest creditors. They have balked at U.S. proposals for debt forgiveness but have said they would be open to relief in the form of delayed and extended payments. ...

From The Washington Post: Sunday, May 18, 2003; Page A22
More Troops Deployed As New Iraqi Government Postponed By Scott Wilson
BAGHDAD, May 17 -- Alarmed by rampant crime and remnants of Iraq's vanquished leadership, the United States has signaled its intention in recent days to use a firmer hand in directing this country's political future and filling a worrisome security vacuum that has undermined U.S. credibility here in the weeks since the end of the war. The security measures, including new troop deployments, stepped-up military patrols and targeted raids, reflect a growing concern among U.S. officials and everyday Iraqis over disorder in a capital still without electricity or telephone service. ...

From Reuters: Mon May 19,11:21 AM ET
ElBaradei Warns of Iraq Nuclear Emergency By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA (Reuters) - The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency warned on Monday that a nuclear contamination emergency may be developing in Iraq and appealed to the United States to let his experts back into the country. "I am deeply concerned by the almost daily reports of looting and destruction at nuclear sites," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement. He said he was especially worried "about the potential radiological safety and security implications of nuclear and radiological materials that may no longer be under control." ...

From Reuters: Mon May 19, 1:05 PM ET
Iraq Nuclear, Oilfield Chaos Confront U.S. Rulers By Nadim Ladki
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Lawlessness in oilfields and a warning of a possible nuclear emergency reared up to confront Iraq's U.S. administration as thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad Monday to demand their own government. ...

From Alternet: May 23, 2003
The Truth Will Emerge By Sen. Robert Byrd
Senate Floor Remarks - May 21, 2003 [[some excerpts here]]
"Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually. But the danger is that at some point it may no longer matter. The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized. ...
"Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing International law, under false premises. ... We were treated to a heavy dose of overstatement concerning Saddam Hussein's direct threat to our freedoms. ... No weapons of mass destruction have yet turned up, but we are told that they will in time. ... But the Bush team's extensive hype of WMD in Iraq as justification for a preemptive invasion has become more than embarrassing. It has raised serious questions about prevarication and the reckless use of power. Were our troops needlessly put at risk? Were countless Iraqi civilians killed and maimed when war was not really necessary? Was the American public deliberately misled? Was the world?
"What makes me cringe even more is the continued claim that we are "liberators." ... Meanwhile, lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and refurbish its oil industry are awarded to Administration cronies, without benefit of competitive bidding, and the U.S. steadfastly resists offers of U.N. assistance to participate. Is there any wonder that the real motives of the U.S. government are the subject of worldwide speculation and mistrust? ... And in what may be the most damaging development, the U.S. appears to be pushing off Iraq's clamor for self-government. ... "Regime change" in Iraq has so far meant anarchy, curbed only by an occupying military force and a U.S. administrative presence that is evasive about if and when it intends to depart. ...
"As so many warned this Administration before it launched its misguided war on Iraq, there is evidence that our crack down in Iraq is likely to convince 1,000 new Bin Ladens to plan other horrors of the type we have seen in the past several days. ... We have returned to orange alert in the U.S., and we may well have destabilized the Mideast region, a region we have never fully understood. We have alienated friends around the globe with our dissembling and our haughty insistence on punishing former friends who may not see things quite our way.
"The path of diplomacy and reason have gone out the window to be replaced by force, unilateralism, and punishment for transgressions. ... Indeed, we may have sparked a new international arms race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last ditch attempt to ward off a possible preemptive strike from a newly belligerent U.S. which claims the right to hit where it wants. In fact, there is little to constrain this President. Congress, in what will go down in history as its most unfortunate act, handed away its power to declare war for the foreseeable future and empowered this President to wage war at will. ...
"When it comes to shedding American blood – when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling is not acceptable. Nothing is worth that kind of lie – not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory. And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, as it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall."

From AP: May 24, 6:00 PM (ET)
Iraqis Ordered to Disarm by Mid-June By TED ANTHONY
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S.-led coalition officially ordered Iraqis on Saturday to disarm by mid-June, part of a high-profile effort to get weapons off the streets and return public security to cities under American occupation. Anyone found with unauthorized weapons after June 14 will be detained and face criminal charges, U.S. Central Command in Florida said, quoting a "national order" from the top civilian administrator, L. Paul Bremer of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. ... Small arms - including small automatic rifles semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols - are allowed in homes and businesses. Public use is prohibited. ... Only coalition forces, police officers and other uniformed officials under coalition authority are allowed to possess most automatic or heavy weaponry. ...

From The Guardian (UK): Sunday May 25, 2003
Gun gangs rule streets as US loses control
Ed Vulliamy in Baghdad reports on aid agencies' struggle to save Iraq from looters, disease and poverty
" ... Iraq is now a society of either predators or prey, fully armed with weaponry looted from military stores the Americans failed to secure after the war. ... Baghdad is being carved up by armed gangs. Towns in the south - apart from the port city of Basra, under British control - are even more dangerous. In the city of Hilla, near Babylon, the poor quarter of Nada, where scores of civilians were killed by cluster bombs during the war, is out of bounds to strangers and US troops alike. ... In the grim wards of the hospital at Hilla, Dr Satar Jabel says victims of war are now outnumbered by those of gang warfare - wounded, if not with guns, with swords. ..."

From The Observer (UK): Sunday May 25, 2003
Red Cross denied access to PoWs by Ed Vulliamy in Baghdad
Up to 3,000 Iraqis - some of them civilians - believed to be gagged, bound, hooded
and beaten at US camps close to Baghdad airport
The United States is illegally holding thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war and other captives without access to human rights officials at compounds close to Baghdad airport ... The International Committee of the Red Cross so far has been denied access to what the organisation believes could be as many as 3,000 prisoners held in searing heat. All other requests to inspect conditions under which prisoners are being held have been met with silence or been turned down. ... said the ICRC's spokeswoman in Baghdad, Nada Doumani. ... The ICRC has gained access to prisoners held in camps at Umm Qasr in the south. But with regard to the larger numbers reportedly held in Baghdad, said Doumani, 'we are still waiting for the green light, more than a month after the end of the conflict. This is in breach of the third Geneva Convention.' ...

From MSNBC: May 29, 2003
Iraq war ‘not over,’ general warns
BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 29 — The commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq said Thursday that continuing attacks on U.S. forces were orchestrated by Baath Party groups loyal to ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and warned, “The war has not ended.” Army Lt. Gen. David McKiernan’s comments came after a U.S. soldier was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade while traveling in supply convoy north of Baghdad — the ninth American service member killed this week in Iraq.
MCKIERNAN, BRIEFING reporters in the Iraqi capital, described the sporadic attacks as a new phase of the military conflict. “Decisive combat operations against military formations has ended, but these contacts we’re having right now are in a combat zone, and it is war, and they are members of (Saddam’s) regime that must be removed.” Recent days have seen a sharp escalation in attacks against American forces in Iraq. McKiernan said the attacks are “being perpetrated by enemies whose future is gone. ... The rest of the population knows that they were thugs under his regime, and they know — and the Iraqi population knows — that they have no future in this country.” ... In response to the recent violence, McKiernan said he may soon send more troops into combat operations. ...
In another indication of growing security concerns, U.S. troops raided the Palestinian Authority’s mission in Baghdad and arrested 11 people after ransacking the building, a Palestinian official said Thursday. ... U.S. troops have conducted numerous sweeps against suspected criminals and loyalists of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Wednesday’s raid was believed to be the first such action against a foreign diplomatic mission. ...

From The LA Times: May 29, 2003
Riot Chases Troops Out of Iraqi Town By Tyler Marshall, Times Staff Writer
'They were terrifying the women and children,'
one protester says after U.S. soldiers search homes for weapons.
HIT, Iraq — In the third straight day of Iraqi violence against the U.S. military occupation of the country, residents enraged over house-to-house searches in this western town ransacked the police station, stoned U.S. armored military vehicles and set police cars on fire Wednesday. ...

From Reuters: Mon Jun 2,12:44 PM ET
Iraqi Troops, Tribes to U.S.: Leave or Face War By Andrew Marshall
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thousands of sacked Iraqi soldiers swarmed angrily around U.S. headquarters in Baghdad on Monday, as squabbling tribal leaders told the Americans they could face war if they did not leave soon. ...

From Truthout: Editorial Tuesday 03 June 2003
We Used To Impeach Liars By William Rivers Pitt

From The Guardian (UK): Wednesday June 4, 2003
Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil by George Wright

From Senator Robert C. Byrd: June 05, 2003
Senate Remarks: "The Perception of Deception: Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction"

From Findlaw at CNN: Friday, June 6, 2003 Posted: 5:17 PM EDT (2117 GMT)
Is lying about the reason for a war an impeachable offense? By John W. Dean
(FindLaw) -- President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking Congress for a joint resolution authorizing the use of U.S. military forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake -- acts of war against another nation. Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past, Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this under the carpet, and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) go away -- unless, perhaps, they start another war. ...
To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose." ...

From VOA News: 06 Jun 2003, 20:31 UTC
US Defense Intelligence: Never Any Doubt About Iraq's WMD Program
Deborah Tate, Capitol Hill
A top U.S. defense intelligence official says his agency never had doubts that Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction program, despite news media reports to the contrary. The official met with members of Congress Friday as some lawmakers question whether the Bush administration manipulated U.S. intelligence to justify the war against Iraq. Top defense intelligence officials sought to clarify news accounts that the Pentagon's intelligence agency last September reported it had 'no reliable information' that Iraq had a chemical weapons program. ...
From VOA News: 07 Jun 2003, 05:11 UTC
US Had No 'Reliable Information' About Iraqi Chemical Weapons

From AP: Jun 7, 6:18 AM (ET)
Ex-Official: Evidence Distorted for War By JOHN J. LUMPKIN
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration distorted intelligence and presented conjecture as evidence to justify a U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a retired intelligence official who served during the months before the war. "What disturbs me deeply is what I think are the disingenuous statements made from the very top about what the intelligence did say," said Greg Thielmann, who retired last September. "The area of distortion was greatest in the nuclear field." ...

From Reuters: Mon Jun 9, 6:29 AM ET
Cash Crisis Forces U.S. to Print Saddam Banknotes By Andrew Marshall
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - They have torn down his statues and peppered his portraits with bullet holes, but Iraq's interim U.S. rulers have been forced to print millions of new banknotes bearing the face of Saddam Hussein. Officials sitting at makeshift desks in the plundered and fire-ravaged central bank building say printing presses began cranking out vast quantities of Saddam dinars last week to ease a cash crisis that has enraged Iraqis...

From AP: June 9, 2003 7:05 PM ET
U.S. Hunt for Iraqi Banned Weapons Slows By DAFNA LINZER
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. military units assigned to track down Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have run out of places to look and are getting time off or being assigned to other duties, even as pressure mounts on President Bush to explain why no banned arms have been found. ...

From AP: June 9, 2003 7:47 PM ET
Bush Insists Iraq Had Weapons Program By SCOTT LINDLAW
WASHINGTON - President Bush insisted Monday that Iraq had a weapons program, and the White House asked for patience during a search for evidence to prove it. ...

From AP: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:35 PM ET
GOP Rejects Formal Probe of Iraq Intel By KEN GUGGENHEIM
WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans on Wednesday rejected Democratic calls for a formal investigation into intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs, contending that such a probe could harm intelligence agencies' work. ...

From Scotland on Sunday: Sun 15 Jun 2003
Terror alliance targets US force in Iraq By Ian Mather
" ... The arrival of the Wahhabis, members of a fundamentalist Islamic sect, represents an ominous new element in Iraq because they are highly organised, highly motivated and well funded. ... According to US intelligence, Wahhabis were among an armed group that took over an abandoned village 30 miles east of Iraq (sic)(Syria) and used its buildings for training. One officer said: "All of a sudden these Wahhabi guys have been appearing. We’re hearing that word a lot more."
The inspiration and funding for the Wahhabis comes from Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is the ultra-strict, separatist form of Islam that is the official sect of Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden was a follower.
In a disturbing development for the American-led regime in Iraq, Saudi-backed religious fanatics have crossed the border to join forces with remnants of the Ba’ath party in waging war against the Americans. Superficially, the Wahhabis seem strange bedfellows for the Ba’athists, since Ba’athism is a secular organisation. But the Wahhabis are Sunnis, and the Ba’athists, who dominated Saddam’s regime, are drawn exclusively from the Sunnis in Iraq. The Wahhabis and the Ba’athists have a common enemy in the Shia Muslims, who form a majority in Iraq and a minority in Saudi Arabia that the Wahhabis consider a threat. The US military presence in Iraq has given the Shia an opportunity to grab more power, giving the virulently anti-American Wahhabis a double motive for joining the Ba’athists’ struggle.
Dr Mai Yamani, a Middle East specialist at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, said: "There is incredible animosity from the Wahhabis towards the Shia, whom they consider heretics. The Shia form a majority in the eastern province where the oil is, and there is even talk of their joining with the Shia in Iran to form a sort of ‘Petrolistan’. The war in Iraq has brought a resurgence of Shi’ism in Iraq and emboldened the Shia in Saudi Arabia."
... senior Wahhabi clergy form an integral part of the Saudi government. Yamani said: "Now we have the so-called ‘new Wahhabis’, thousands and thousands of angry graduates of Saudi religious schools, many of whom are embarking on jihad or want to fight the Shias. It is entirely understandable that they should be trying to influence what is going on in Iraq." ...
The modern Saudi state is founded on an alliance between the Wahhabi religious movement and the House of Saud, the family that has ruled the Kingdom since its creation in the 1930s. ... "

From AP at Ananova: Story filed: 08:59 Monday 16th June 2003
Australian expert to expose Iraqi weapons 'exaggeration'
A former Australian defence analyst who resigned in March claiming the government was exaggerating the Iraqi threat is to appear before British MPs investigating intelligence on Baghdad's weapons programmes. Andrew Wilkie is a former army officer who worked at Australia's Office of National Assessments, which provides intelligence evaluations for the government in Canberra. He quit in protest over the case Prime Minister John Howard made to the public for going to war in Iraq without a United Nations mandate. ... After resigning, Mr Wilkie argued that intelligence available to Australia suggested Iraq did not pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. He also claimed the war would only fuel terrorist fervour for more attacks on the West. Wilkie told The Sydney Morning Herald he would expose the government's "exaggeration" of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and "concoction" of links between former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and terrorists in his appearance at the inquiry. ...

At The NYT By REUTERS: June 16, 2003 Filed at 4:39 p.m. ET
Bush Blasts 'Revisionist Historians' on Iraq
ELIZABETH, N.J. (Reuters) - President Bush countered those questioning his justification for the invasion of Iraq on Monday, dismissing ``revisionist historians'' and saying Washington acted to counter a persistent threat. ``Now there are some who would like to rewrite history; revisionist historians is what I like to call them,'' Bush said in a speech to New Jersey business leaders. Referring to the ousted Iraqi president, Bush said, ``Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003. He continually ignored the demands of the free world, so the United States and friends and allies acted.''
The president did not mention Iraqi unconventional weapons in his remarks, although accusations Iraq had chemical and biological weapons were central to his prewar campaign to build support for an attack. No such weapons have yet been found. Many critics have said the administration exaggerated intelligence on the threat posed by Iraq to justify the invasion that topped Saddam. Bush has denied the accusations. ...

From Ananova: Story filed: 06:57 Tuesday 17th June 2003
Cook and Short giving evidence to Iraq weapons inquiry
... The committee, chaired by Labour's Donald Anderson and entitled The Decision to go to War in Iraq, will hear evidence in public before publishing its reports. The Prime Minister and his director of communications, Alastair Campbell, have refused to take part in the committee.
Story filed: 13:16 Tuesday 17th June 2003
MI6 'told ministers Iraq was no threat'
Robin Cook and Clare Short have said MI6 told them Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction did not pose an immediate threat. The former Cabinet ministers, who both resigned over the conflict, said they had been briefed by MI6 in the days before the war. ...

From NBC News:
Iraqi resistance gets reinforcements By Jim Miklaszewski NBC NEWS
NBC: Foreign fighters pouring into country
WASHINGTON, June 17 — Islamic militants and foreign fighters, including suicide bombers, are streaming into Iraq to bolster the resistance to the U.S.-led occupation and to threaten Iraqis who cooperate with U.S. troops, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News. ... “There is an element of society here that doesn’t want change, and they see the coalition forces as bringing change in the form of freedom and democracy,” said Army Col. David Perkins, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade. Senior military officials and analysts told NBC News that the Pentagon seriously underestimated the threat of a potential guerrilla war in Iraq. They suggested that Central Command may not have the right mix of troops on the ground to fight it. ... Moreover, anger at the U.S. raids has grown among the population, creating a groundswell of sympathy for forces resisting the U.S.-led occupation. ...

From The BBC: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Pressure mounts over WMD claims

From The Independent (UK): 18 June 2003
CIA deliberately misled UN arms inspectors, says senator By Rupert Cornwell

From The Sydney Morning Herald: June 21 2003
The garbage intelligence that helped to unleash a war by Marian Wilkinson

From Reuters: Sat June 21, 2003 10:09 AM ET
Bush Says Iraqi Weapons Sites Were Looted By Randall Mikkelsen

Remarks by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd: June 24, 2003
"The Road to Coverup Is the Road to Ruin"

From The Washington Post: Saturday, June 28, 2003; Page A20
Occupation Forces Halt Elections Throughout Iraq
By William Booth and Rajiv Chandrasekaran
SAMARRA, Iraq -- U.S. military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq, choosing instead to install their own handpicked mayors and administrators, many of whom are former Iraqi military leaders. ...

Bush challenge to Iraq attackers: ‘Bring them on’
President says U.S. forces can deal with ambushers
WASHINGTON, July 2 — Saying U.S. troops were capable of responding to ambush attacks in Iraq, President Bush maintained Wednesday such violence would not undercut his resolve to keep Americans there until stability was restored. “My answer is: Bring them on,” he said of the hit-and-run attackers. “We have the force necessary to deal with the situation.” ...
“Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice,” he said. “There are some who feel like if they attack us, we may decide to leave prematurely. They don’t understand what they’re talking about if that’s the case.” ...
On Tuesday, he blamed terrorists and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s government for the daily drumbeat of attacks on U.S. forces and promised that there would be “no return to tyranny” in Iraq. As he has before, Bush characterized the war as a military victory, saying in a speech to veterans in Washington that U.S. forces had “liberated Iraq as promised.” ...
Bush reiterated Tuesday that “from the beginning, we have known the effort would be long and difficult.” He blamed “remnants of the former regime, as well as members of terrorist groups,” who he said “believe they have found an opportunity to harm America, to shake our resolve in the war on terror and to cause us to leave Iraq before freedom is fully established.” “They are wrong, and they will not succeed,” he said. ... Bush made a point of asserting that the U.S. commitment in Iraq was total, saying troops would not come home until freedom was “fully established.” ... “There will be no return to tyranny in Iraq,” he said Tuesday. “And those who threaten the order and stability of that country will face ruin just as surely as the regime they once served.” ...

From Reuters at MSNBC:
US judge says Saddam, Iraq liable for $959 million By James Vicini
WASHINGTON, July 8 — Iraq, Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Intelligence Service are liable for more than $959 million in damages to 17 Americans held as prisoners of war during the 1991 Gulf War and their close family members, a federal judge has ruled. ...

From ABC Online, Australia: AM - Wednesday, 9 July , 2003 08:04:08
White House admits uranium claim was flawed Reporter: Leigh Sales
LINDA MOTTRAM: The White House has admitted that a key piece of evidence it relied on to justify the war in Iraq was flawed. Bush administration officials have released a statement, conceding that it was inappropriate for President George W. Bush to say in his State of the Union address this year that Iraq had recently sought to buy uranium from Africa. ...

From the BBC: Saturday, 12 July, 2003, 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK
Iraq uranium claim sows confusion
The UK Government has defended its claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa, despite the White House saying it was unfounded.
In a letter to a senior MP, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the UK had additional information to support the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger, but this intelligence had not been passed on to the US administration. ...

Bush says uranium controversy closed
CIA director in cross hairs over statement helping justify war against Iraq
July 12 — President George W. Bush considers closed the controversy over false claims that Iraq had sought to buy African uranium and has reaffirmed his confidence in the CIA director, Bush said on Saturday.
“I’VE GOT CONFIDENCE in George Tenet. I’ve got confidence in the men and women who work at the CIA and I...look forward to working with them,” Bush said in Abuja during a visit to Nigeria. Asked whether he considered the controversy over, he said: “I do.”
On Friday, Tenet said that he was responsible for President Bush’s false allegation in his State of the Union address, a key part of Bush’s argument for military action in Iraq. The White House has mounted a spirited defense of Bush’s accusation that Baghdad sought uranium from an African country later identified as Niger, even though it subsequently acknowledged this week that making the claim was a mistake. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other officials asserted this week that the president’s statement was justified at the time because the CIA cleared the address in its entirety, including the uranium claim. They said the CIA never told the White House that the claim was suspicious. But U.S. officials told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that Tenet himself advised Rice’s top deputy, Steven Hadley, to remove a reference to the uranium report from a speech Bush delivered Oct. 7 in Cincinnati, establishing that the nation’s top intelligence officials suspected that the allegation was false more than three months before they approved Bush’s repeating it in his nationally televised address on Jan. 28. The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA also told British officials about its doubts and passed word along to several U.S. agencies before the State of the Union address.
As charges of deception swirled around the White House and Democratic and Republican senators alike called for an investigation, the CIA issued a statement early Friday evening in which Tenet said he was to blame. Tenet acknowledged that the CIA approved the State of the Union address, including the uranium claim. “The President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound,” Tenet said. “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.” ...
Asked whether Tenet would consider resigning, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said Friday night, “I’ve heard no discussion along those lines.” Likewise, when asked whether Bush had confidence in the CIA, Rice replied, “Absolutely.” Speaking to reporters Friday aboard Air Force One as Bush flew from South Africa to Uganda on his tour of Africa, Rice insisted that if Tenet had any misgivings about the uranium claim, “he did not make them known” to Bush or his staff. ...

From Dean For America:(7/13/03)
Dean's 16 Questions for Bush

From AP at The NYT: July 22, 2003 Filed at 3:12 a.m. ET
Wolfowitz: Iraq Weapons Not a Priority
OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN (AP) -- Finding the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that President Bush cited as his main justification for going to war is now a secondary issue, says Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. ... ``I'm not concerned about weapons of mass destruction,'' Wolfowitz told a group of reporters traveling with him. ``I'm concerned about getting Iraq on its feet. I didn't come (to Iraq) on a search for weapons of mass destruction.'' ... ``I'm not saying that getting to the bottom of this WMD issue isn't important. It is important. But it is not of immediate consequence.'' ...

From The Washington Post: Friday, July 25, 2003; Page A01
Cheney Says Failing to Attack Iraq Would Have Been 'Irresponsible' By Mike Allen
Also, at The NYT: July 25, 2003
Cheney Asserts No Responsible Leader Could Have Ignored Danger From Iraq
WASHINGTON, July 24 — Vice President Dick Cheney offered the White House's most forceful rebuttal to a growing tide of skepticism about justifications for the Iraq war today, arguing that it would have been "irresponsible in the extreme" to ignore the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons program. ...
"We will not permit outlaw states and terror groups to join forces in a deadly alliance that could threaten the lives of millions of Americans," he said. "We will act and act decisively, before gathering threats can inflict catastrophic harm on the American people." He warned that "loose and decentralized networks of terrorism are still finding recruits" to plot attacks against Americans. But he cautioned: "No one should doubt the intentions of our nation. One by one, in every corner of the world, we will hunt the terrorists down and destroy them."

From The Independent: 10 August 2003
The Niger timebomb By Raymond Whitaker
We have spoken to the Iraqi diplomat Britain accuses of trying to buy uranium for Saddam. If what he has told us is true, his evidence will blow apart one of Mr Blair's main justifications for war

From The Independent: 10 August 2003
US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq By Andrew Buncombe in Washington

At Information Clearing House: 08/11/03
Preventive War 'The Supreme Crime' Iraq: invasion that will live in infamy

From The NYT: August 13, 2003
Rising Tide of Islamic Militants See Iraq as Ultimate Battlefield By Neil MacFarquhar
SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, Aug. 11 — In much the same way as the Russian invasion of Afghanistan stirred an earlier generation of young Muslims determined to fight the infidel, the American presence in Iraq is prompting a rising tide of Muslim militants to slip into the country to fight the foreign occupier, Iraqi officials and others say. ...

From The NYT: August 14, 2003
U.S. Abandons Idea of Bigger U.N. Role in Iraq Occupation
WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 — The Bush administration has abandoned the idea of giving the United Nations more of a role in the occupation of Iraq as sought by France, India and other countries as a condition for their participation in peacekeeping there, administration officials said today. Instead, the officials said, the United States would widen its effort to enlist other countries to assist the occupation forces in Iraq, which are dominated by the 139,000 United States troops there. In addition to American forces in Iraq, there are 21,000 troops representing 18 countries. At present, 11,000 of that number are from Britain. The United States plans to seek larger numbers to help, especially with relief supplies that are coming from another dozen countries. ...

From American Free Press, at Centre for Research on Globalisation: 21 August 2003
CIA Accused Of Bank Heist by Gordon Thomas
Shortly before U.S. forces began streaming across the Iraqi border, commencing Persian Gulf War II, the CIA and the Department of Defense, with a little help from Israel and some Europeans, pulled off a massive bank heist in Iraq to the tune of several billion dollars. The CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) are accused by International Currency Review, the London-based journal, of mounting a joint ultra-secret operation to electronically remove an estimated $10 billion out of the Iraqi Central Bank hours before the start of Persian Gulf War II. The whereabouts of the money is not known. ...

From The NYT: August 25, 2003 OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
A Weapons Cache We'll Never See By SCOTT RITTER

From The NYT: August 27, 2003
Bush Declares Violence in Iraq Tests U.S. Will By RICHARD W. STEVENSON
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 26 — President Bush characterized the continuing fighting in Iraq today as "a point of testing in the war on terror," and vowed that the United States would not back down there or anywhere it confronts violent Islamic extremism. In a broad defense of his foreign policy, Mr. Bush suggested that pacifying Iraq, hunting down Al Qaeda and bringing peace to the Middle East were all part of a larger struggle against terrorists fearful of democracy and civilized values. ... He made the case that failing to take the fight to terrorists wherever they are would expose the United States to attacks at home. "Our military is confronting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York or St. Louis or Los Angeles," he said. Facing pressure from both parties to do more to protect American troops and bring Iraq under control, he said he would "work with the Congress to make sure we provide the resources to do the work of freedom and security," a reference to the likelihood that peacekeeping will require more money. "Retreat in the face of terror would only invite further and bolder attacks," he said. "There will be no retreat." ... "The remnants of Saddam's regime are still dangerous, and terrorists are gathering in Iraq to undermine the advance of freedom," Mr. Bush said. "Al Qaeda and the other global terror networks recognize that the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime is a defeat for them. They know that a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would be a further defeat for their ideology of terror. They know that the spread of peace and hope in the Middle East would undermine the appeal of bitterness, resentment and violence. And the more progress we make in Iraq, the more desperate the terrorists will become. Freedom is a threat to their way of life." ... "No act of terrorists will weaken our resolve or alter their fate," he said. "Our only goal, our only option, is total victory in the war on terror, and this nation will press on to victory." ...

From The Washington Post: Wednesday, August 27, 2003; Page A01
Bremer: Iraq Effort to Cost Tens of Billions By Peter Slevin and Vernon Loeb
Iraq will need "several tens of billions" of dollars from abroad in the next year to rebuild its rickety infrastructure and revive its moribund economy, and American taxpayers and foreign governments will be asked to contribute substantial sums, U.S. occupation coordinator L. Paul Bremer said yesterday. Bremer said Iraqi revenue will not nearly cover the bill for economic needs "almost impossible to exaggerate." ...
The figures, which must be added to the $4 billion the Pentagon spends each month on military operations in Iraq, offer the latest evidence that the price of the Iraqi occupation is growing substantially. A State Department official said the Bush administration is preparing to seek a "huge" supplemental spending bill from Congress. ...
Bremer's comments, in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, came on a day when the Congressional Budget Office said the federal government will post a record deficit next year of $480 billion. ... Covering a range of topics, Bremer described a "massive undertaking" to get Iraq functioning again. He said the project will take years and countless billions of dollars ...

From The Washington Post: Thursday, August 28, 2003; Page A01
Halliburton's Deals Greater Than Thought By Michael Dobbs
Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion under Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents. The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors. ...

From USA Today: Posted 8/29/2003 12:14 AM
Records show Iraq was buying forbidden U.S. high-tech goods
By Donna Leinwand and Jim Michaels
BAGHDAD - U.S. investigators examining bank and government records here say they have unearthed evidence that high-tech hardware manufactured by at least 30 U.S. companies was sold to Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions and U.S. Customs regulations. ...

From The Washington Post: Tuesday, September 2, 2003; Page A10
New Ministry To Recruit Paramilitary Force in Iraq By Daniel Williams
Interior Chief Envisions Using Former Special Forces Troops
BAGHDAD, Sept. 1 -- Iraq's newly appointed interior minister will recruit a paramilitary force composed of former Iraqi army special forces troops to pursue guerrillas, terrorists and saboteurs who are undermining the country's stability, officials said today. The so-called Civil Defense Battalions are to come under the command of the Interior Ministry, which will operate under the tutelage of U.S. occupation authorities. Iraq's advisory Governing Council named Nouri Badran, a former diplomat with intelligence experience, as interior minister ... "The plan for the Interior Ministry envisages a total force of 70,000, including the Civil Defense forces, police, traffic police and border guards," said Ali Abdul Amir, a spokesman for the Iraqi National Accord, one of the many political parties with a presence on the Governing Council. The INA, which has been long supported by the CIA, has taken the lead in drawing up security plans for Iraq. ... Iraqi and U.S. occupation officials have already begun to recruit former intelligence officers from Saddam Hussein's government, as well as exiled veterans of his security services, to monitor suspected subversives. In effect, the Interior Ministry is in line to become the most important security apparatus in post-Hussein Iraq. ... Because intelligence officials under Hussein largely were committed members of his Baath Party, Abdul Amir said, he expected recruiting them for a new intelligence agency to provoke controversy. Many Iraqis considered Hussein's intelligence apparatus one of his most effective and vicious tools of repression. U.S. officials have blamed Baath Party loyalists and former secret policemen for much of the violence directed at U.S.-led occupation troops. ...

From AP: Sep 3, 12:13 AM EDT
About 400,000 Iraqis Mourn Slain Cleric By TAREK AL-ISSAWI
NAJAF, Iraq (AP) -- About 400,000 mourners took to the streets Tuesday, flailing their backs and pounding their chests in anguish at the funeral of a leading Shiite cleric assassinated in a car bomb attack. In Baghdad, another car bomb exploded outside police headquarters, killing one and wounding 13. In an angry funeral oration, the cleric's brother blamed the U.S. occupation forces for the lax security that led to the attack at Iraq's most sacred Shiite mosque. He raged against the American troops and demanded they leave Iraq. Men clad in white robes and dark uniforms brandishing Kalashnikov rifles stood guard along the roof of the gold-domed Imam Ali mosque, where Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim was killed Friday in the bloodiest attack since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Accounts of the death toll ranged from more than 80 to more than 120. "The occupation force is primarily responsible for the pure blood that was spilled in holy Najaf, the blood of al-Hakim and the faithful group that was present near the mosque," said Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, the ayatollah's brother and a member of the U.S.-picked Governing Council. ... "Iraq must not remain occupied and the occupation must leave so that we can build Iraq as God wants us to do," he said. ...

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