News Release

Weapons of Mass Deception?

SHELDON RAMPTON, JOHN STAUBER
Rampton and Stauber are the authors of the just-released Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq. They said today: “In our book we report that the Bush administration’s phony claims about Iraq go well beyond those mere 16 words in the State of the Union address…. With respect to weapons of mass destruction alone, those falsehoods included the following:

* “On September 7, 2002, Bush cited a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency which he said proved that the Iraqis were on the brink of developing nuclear weapons…. Actually, no such report existed….

* “In his September 12, 2002 address to the U.N., Bush spoke ominously of Iraq’s ‘continued appetite’ for nuclear bombs, pointing to the regime’s purchase of thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes, which he said were ‘used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.’ In fact, the IAEA said in a January 2003 assessment, the size of the tubes made them ill-suited for uranium enrichment, but they were identical to tubes that Iraq had used previously to make conventional artillery rockets. Nevertheless, Colin Powell repeated the aluminum-tubes charge in his speech to the U.N. on February 5, 2003.

* “In an October 7, 2002 speech to the nation, Bush warned that Iraq had a growing fleet of unmanned aircraft that could be used ‘for missions targeting the U.S.’ Actually, the aircraft lacked the range to reach the United States…. Rather than taking responsibility for his words, Bush and his advisors have done everything to avoid taking responsibility.”

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NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon wrote in an op-ed piece about news media and the Bush administration that appears in Newsday today: “Contradictions have become more glaring at a time when the war’s rising death toll already includes thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans. Many U.S. news organizations are beginning to piece together a grim picture of deceit in Washington and lethal consequences in Iraq. The combination foreshadows a difficult media gauntlet for Bush.” Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-author of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You.
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism, Zunes said today: “In his July 30 news conference the president said that ‘it’s important to remind everybody that there was [sic] 12 resolutions that came out of the U.N. because others recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein.’ First of all, nothing in those 12 resolutions implied that the Iraqi government had to be overthrown…. Secondly, the U.N. was already acting on these resolutions by maintaining the most rigorous international military and economic sanctions and the most invasive inspections regime in world history. Thirdly, Resolution 1441, while warning Iraq of ‘serious consequences’ of noncompliance, declares that only the weapons inspectors — not U.N. member states — have the authority to report Iraqi violations. Furthermore, it states that the Security Council ‘remains seized of the matter,’ meaning that it alone has the authority to approve the use of force…. Fourthly, the centerpiece of U.S. accusations was the claim that Iraq still had WMD, delivery systems and development programs that were in material breach of these resolutions. So far, the U.S. has failed to show any evidence that Iraq actually had any of the proscribed materials since the mid-1990s…. Finally, there are over 90 Security Council resolutions being violated by countries other than Iraq, most of which are U.S. allies….”
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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