News Release

Is Petraeus Lying?

RICK ROWLEY
Just back from a month and a half in Iraq, Rowley is a journalist with Big Noise films. He said today: “When Gen. Petraeus says that he’s merely applauding the new Sunni militia allies from the sidelines, he’s lying. While embedded with the U.S. military, I filmed U.S. commanders handing wads of cash to tribal militias. And when he says that the U.S. military is facilitating their integration into Iraq’s security forces, what he means is that the U.S. military is pressuring Iraq’s government to incorporate these militias wholesale into the police forces. In fact, that’s one of the promises that these tribes are given — that after working with the Americans for a few months, they’ll become Iraqi police, be armed by the Iraqi state and be put on regular payroll.”

Rowley co-produced a special report “The Ghost of Anbar” with journalist David Enders which aired on Al-Jazeera English; also on YouTube.
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A.K. GUPTA
Gupta, who just wrote the piece “Meet Gen. David Petraeus: His Militia Strategy Plunged Iraq into a Civil War, and Now He’s Back for More,” said today: “Just as the U.S. government backed both sides in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, it has armed both sides — militant Sunnis and militant Shia — in Iraq today. …

“Gen. Petraeus told Congress that ‘the fundamental source of the conflict in Iraq is competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources. … Malign actions by Syria and, especially, by Iran fuel that violence.’

“Instead of taking him at face value, Congress needs to examine Petraeus’s record in fomenting the ‘ethno-sectarian’ violence that he decries. For if any one general is responsible for the disaster that is Iraq, it is Gen. Petraeus.

“Not only was his previous tenure organizing training for all Iraqi military and police forces in 2004-05 a complete failure, Petraeus helped organize, arm and train the Special Police Commandos that operate as anti-Sunni death squads to this day, and which plunged the nation into civil war. …

“Petraeus is compounding the sectarian chaos by funding and arming Sunni militias. While these militias’ stated purpose is to go after the Sunni-based Al Qaeda in Iraq, they are also attacking Shiite militias with the encouragement of U.S. commanders. It’s a strategy of arming every side against the other, which is both crippling an already dysfunctional Iraqi government and making ‘reconciliation’ virtually impossible.”

Gupta is editor of The Indypendent newspaper, a bimonthly based in New York. He is currently writing a book on the history of the Iraq war.
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RAY McGOVERN
Available for a limited number of interviews, McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the early sixties and then a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990.

McGovern wrote yesterday: “‘Swear him in.’ That’s all I said in the unusual silence this afternoon as first aid was being administered to Gen. David Petraeus’s microphone at the hearing before the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.

“It had dawned on me that when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, invited Gen. Petraeus to make his presentation, Skelton forgot to ask him to take the customary oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I had no idea that would be enough to get me thrown out of the hearing.

“I had a flashback to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in early 2006, when Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, reminded chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, that Specter had forgotten to swear in the witness, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; and how Specter insisted that that would not be necessary.”

McGovern also wrote the recent piece “Is Petraeus Today’s Westmoreland?
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.