"Perhaps no list of reporters has commanded such attention in Washington since Richard Nixon compiled his enemies list more than thirty years ago," writes Douglas McCollam, discussing the reporters whose names and phone numbers appear in a confidential July 2002 memorandum from the Iraqi National Congress (INC). The memo lists 108 news stories that were influenced by INC-supplied defectors.
"A private British firm that won a $293 million contract from the Pentagon for coordinating security in Iraq is headed by a retired British commando with a reputation for illicit arms deals in Africa and for commanding a murderous military unit in Northern Ireland," reports Charles M. Sennott. The firm is owned by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer, a former British military officer.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated." Will Bush administration officials and other Republican politicians now stop saying there's a connection?
"In dawn raids today, American troops surrounded Ahmed Chalabi's headquarters and home in Baghdad, put a gun to his head, arrested two of his aides, and seized documents," Andrew Cockburn writes. "Only five months ago, Chalabi was a guest of honor sitting right behind Laura Bush at the State of the Union.
"The United States government has decided to halt monthly $335,000 payments to the Iraqi National Congress, the group headed by Ahmad Chalabi," reports Richard A. Oppel, Jr. The INC, which has received at least $27 million in U.S. financing during the past four years, played a crucial role in the Bush administration's campaign to sell the war in Iraq.
Matthew Stannard reports that the "nightmare video of an American civilian captured in Iraq being decapitated by his captors was anything but a random act of terrorism, experts say -- it was a press release, carefully designed for a global audience." Its purpose was recruit new terrorists and to frighten Americans, especially nongovernmental groups and civilian contractors working in Iraq who provide a sizable armed "auxiliary" to the U.S. military and the Coalition Provisional Authority.
The photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib are bad enough, considering that possibly 25 prisoners have died while in American custody. However, some faked photos are also circulating, including pictures of an alleged rape by soldiers that were actually taken from a porno site. Independent journalist Chris Albritton debunks the fakes and criticizes a cavalier attitude toward the truth that "seems to have taken hold in anti-war journalism as well.
"Ahmed Chalabi is a treacherous, spineless turncoat. He had one set of friends before he was in power, and now he's got another," says L. Marc Zell, a former law partner of Douglas Feith, now the undersecretary of defense for policy, and a former friend and supporter of Chalabi and his aspirations to lead Iraq.
"The Bush administration, despite the savvy of its spinmeisters and Hollywood-trained publicists, has lost the war of images abroad," writes Juan Cole. "Although it has had more success in managing war images at home, cracks have increasingly opened up on the domestic front as well." Recent examples have included the publication of photos of flag-draped coffins bearing U.S.
The controversial Iraqi National Congress will be the subject of a probe by Congress' General Accounting Office for using U.S. taxpayer money to convince U.S. citizens to support an Iraq invasion, according to Knight Ridder reporters Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay.