The fact that the administration's disinformation campaign was overwhelmingly successful was evidenced by an October 2004, Harris Poll, taken three weeks before the last presidential election, that found 62% of all voters, and 84% of those planning to vote for Bush, still believed that Saddam had ''strong links" to Al Qaeda, and that 41% of all voters, and 52% of Bush backers, believed that Saddam had ''helped plan and support the hijackers" who had attacked the country on 9/11.
As we now know, the basis for these allegations was false, but the saddest part of the sordid tale is that many Americans are just now beginning to realize that Bush knew the stories were false for more than a year when he cited them as justification for taking the country to war.
Documents since declassified and made public show that the administration was warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency in February 2002, that the tale about a trip to Prague by the leader of the 9/11 highjackers, Mohamed Atta, had come from an unreliable drunk, and that the story about Iraqis training members of al Qaeda on the use of chemical and biological weapons was deliberately fabricated by an Iraqi defector.
The debate over who was most responsible for convincing the nation that there was a link between Saddam and 9/11 will probably continue for years but an important piece of the puzzle can be found by zeroing in on a woman by the name of Laurie Mylroie, a person most people have never heard of.
Mylroie had been pushing for an all-out war against Iraq for a decade and in the run-up to the first Gulf war, she, along with the since fired New York Times reporter, Judith Miller, wrote a book titled, "Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf."
Mylroie was enmeshed in the Iraq war obsession which originated at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank that served as a home base for the many neocons rendered powerless during the Clinton years, such as Richard Perle, who became chairman of the Defense Policy Board under Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, who moved into the number-2 position at the Pentagon when Bush took office, along with Newt Gingrich and John Bolton, to name a few others.
In the year 2000, at a time when Dick Cheney sat on AEI's board, the group's publishing arm published a book written by Mylroie, with the help of many neocons, titled, "A Study in Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America."
In the author's acknowledgement section of the book, Mylroie thanked a familiar cast of characters for their assistance and included John Bolton and the entire staff of AEI. She also noted a special thanks to Scooter Libby for his "generous and timely assistance."
In addition, Mylroie said of Paul Wolfowitz: "At critical times, he provided crucial support for a project that is inherently difficult." She said that Wolfowitz's wife (at the time), had "fundamentally shaped the book."
Top neocon-hawk, Richard Perle, described the book as "splendid and wholly convincing."
If Mylroie is to be believed, Saddam was involved in every anti-American attack that took place since the early 1990s all over the globe, from the bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which she states may have been "the work of both bin Laden and Iraq," to the federal building in Oklahoma City.
She accuses Saddam of being involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center even though the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, the US Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, the CIA, the National Security Council, and the State Department, have all determined that there was no evidence of the Iraq's involvement in the WTC attack.
Mylroie also claims that the TWA flight 800 which crashed into Long Island Sound was an Iraqi plot even after a lengthily investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that it was an accident.
She maintains that in 2000, Saddam provided the expertise for the bombing of the USS Cole, and was responsible for the deaths of 17 sailors, even though no law enforcement agency has ever made such a claim and even blames Saddam for the anthrax sent through the mail shortly after 9/11.
Once Bush became president, the neocons were brought back into power as either members of the administration or members of the Defense Policy Board, and a war against Iraq became the administration's obsession, with Mylroie and the hawks working hand and hand to promote the theory that the war was necessary because of Saddam's involvement in every terrorist act against the US over the past decade.
When the neocon's wish for another "Pearl Habor like attack" came true on 9/11, the race towards Iraq was on and the propaganda machine picked up speed. As a first step, they had Harper Collins reissue Mylroie's book under the new title, "The War Against America." The foreword for the second edition was written by DPB member James Woolsey, who described Mylroie's work as "brilliant and brave."
The book's cover displayed an endorsement from Paul Wolfowitz which stated: "Provocative and disturbing ... argues powerfully that the shadowy mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing ... was in fact an agent of Iraqi intelligence."
In the second book's acknowledgments, Mylroie thanked Wolfowitz for being "kind enough to listen to this work presented orally and later to read the manuscript. At critical times, he provided crucial support for a project that is inherently difficult." She also praised John Bolton for his assistance.
Now, a nutcase like Mylroie, if left to her own devices, would probably have been harmless. But when the neocons made her a consultant to the Bush Pentagon, the job added misplaced credibility to her hair-brained Saddam-bin Laden conspiracy theories.
There is no doubt that she was hired to convince the world that Saddam played a role in 9/11 and although I don't know how much she was paid, its pretty obvious that the Bush gang got a lot of bang for the buck.
The month before the war began, in February 2003, Mylroie was featured for an interview on Canadian television where she discussed why Bush was going to war against Iraq and at the same time, emphasized the certainty of a Saddam-9/11 link. Shortly after the interview got underway, she stated:
"Listen, we're going to war because President Bush believes Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Al Qaeda is a front for Iraqi intelligence...[the U.S.] bureaucracy made a tremendous blunder that refused to acknowledge these links ... the people responsible for gathering this information, say in the C.I.A., are also the same people who contributed to the blunder on 9/11 and the deaths of 3,000 Americans, and so whenever this information emerges they move to discredit it."
Contrary to what the Bush team says today, according to Mylroie back then, it doesn't sound like the CIA was claiming that there was a link between Saddam and bin Laden. It sounds like the CIA was saying the opposite and that Mylroie was blaming the CIA for the 9/11 attacks because the agency had not agreed with the neocon's assessment of Saddam's threat to the US and pushed for a war in Iraq sooner.
The next month, on March 12, 2003, Mylroie wrote an article for the New York Sun titled, "Blind to Saddam's 9-11 Role," and told readers that Bush believed Saddam was in on 9/11, and claimed that was why he was taking the country to war against Iraq:
"Iraq, along with Al Qaeda, was most probably involved in the September 11 attacks, and President Bush understands that. Already on September 17, six days later, Mr. Bush affirmed, "I believe Iraq was involved, but I'm not going to strike them now," as Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" discloses."
"Indeed, at Thursday's press conference, Mr. Bush said that Iraq has financed and trained Al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups," Mylroie added. "That is why Mr. Bush is willing to take the risk entailed in war against Iraq," she said.
At one point, Mylroie attempted to convince the 9/11 Commission that, "there is substantial reason to believe that these masterminds [of both the '93 and 9/11 Trade Center attacks] are Iraqi intelligence agents."
However, her testimony was apparently not persuasive, because in regard to the 9/11 attacks, the Commission's final report states that the "Intelligence Community has no credible information that Baghdad had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks or any other al-Qaida strike."
Some of Mylroie's more recent endeavors included writing a book titled, "Bush vs. the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department tried to Stop the War on Terror." This title is somewhat baffling in light of the speeches by Bush himself stating that everyone was in agreement with his assessment of the need to go to war, and that it was the evidence produced by the intelligence agencies, and not his White House, that led to the war against Iraq.
According to its title, this book claims that the CIA tried to "Stop" the war, and to be sure, Mylroie would not have chosen this title had it not won the approval of the Bush propaganda machine.
The fact is that in the run up to war, Mylroie wore a variety of hats. But her most important job by far came when she testified as an expert witness in a lawsuit filed against a group of defendants that included Saddam, bin Laden, the Taliban, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, and the Republic of Iraq.
The suit was filed by families on behalf of the estates of two 9/11 victims, George Eric Smith and Timothy Soulas.
The lawsuit represents the one and only time that the truth or falsity of the Saddam-9/11 connection has been put to the test. In the end, the Judge in the case delivered a verdict in favor of the families based on specific claims by Mylroie and other top Bush administration officials, that a definite link between Saddam and 9/11 did in fact exist.
US District Court Judge, Harold Baer, entered a default judgment for the plaintiffs in January 2003, because the time allowed for a response by the defendants had passed, and they had failed to file an answer to the plaintiffs' complaint.
In March 2003, Judge Baer held two days of hearings to determine the amount of damages that should be awarded and the lawyers for the plaintiffs presented evidence that they claimed established a "conclusive link" between Saddam and 9/11, and included declassified interviews with Iraqi defectors who appeared on a television news show and said that Saddam used a jet airplane in a remote area of Iraq to train the 9/11 hijackers.
However, by far, the most convincing evidence came from under oath testimony by former CIA Director, R James Woolsey, a member of the Bush administration's Defense Policy Board at the time, along with the statements made by Colin Powell and George Tenet.
On May 8, 2003, Judge Baer released his written findings in the case and awarded damages to the plaintiffs in the amount of $104 million, to be paid by Saddam, bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban, and the former Iraqi government.
In his decision, Judge Baer explained that he had based his findings on the statements of Woolsey, Powell, Tenet, and Mylroie, all of whom he considered experts on the Saddam-9/11 connection, he said: "The opinion testimony of the plaintiffs' experts is sufficient to meet plaintiffs' burden that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden/al Qaeda's terrorist acts of September 11. . ." he wrote.
"Their opinions, coupled with their qualifications as experts on this issue," Judge Baer wrote, "provide a sufficient basis for a reasonable jury to draw inferences which could lead to the conclusion that Iraq provided material support to al Qaeda and that it did so with knowledge and intent to further al Qaeda's criminal acts."
The judge cited a few specific statements that had been made by Tenet and Powell, that he had relied upon in formulating a believe that there was a link between Saddam and 9/11:
"Both Director Tenet and Secretary Powell mentioned 'senior level contacts' between Iraq and al Qaeda going back to the early 1990s [although both acknowledged that part of the interactions in the early to mid-1990s pertained to achieving a mutual non-aggression understanding];" Baer noted, "both mentioned that al Qaeda sought to acquire poison gas and training in its use from Iraq; both mentioned that al Qaeda members have been in Iraq, including Baghdad, after September 2001. . . ."
"Director Tenet's carefully worded letter included in substance the same allegations," the judge wrote, "but with less detail, than Secretary of State Colin Powell made before the U.N. Security Counsel on Feb. 5, 2003, in his remarks about 'the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network. . . .' "
He also outlined the testimony he relied upon provided by Woolsey. "[Former CIA] Director [James] Woolsey," the Judge wrote, "reviewed several facts that tended in his view to show Iraq's involvement in acts of terrorism against the United States in general and likely in the events of September 11 specifically."
The Judge discussed specific portions of Woolsey's testimony that led to his ruling against the defendants, and stated in part: "First, Director Woolsey described the existence of a highly secure military facility in Iraq where non-Iraqi fundamentalists [e.g., Egyptians and Saudis] are trained in airplane hijacking and other forms of terrorism."
"Through satellite imagery and the testimony of three Iraqi defectors, [he] demonstrated the existence of this facility, called Salman Pak, which has an airplane but no runway," the decision noted. "The defectors also stated that these fundamentalists were taught methods of hijacking using utensils or short knives," Judge Baer wrote.
"Second," he continued, "Director Woolsey mentioned a meeting that allegedly occurred in Prague in April 2001 between Mohammad Atta, the apparent leader of the hijackings, and a high-level Iraqi intelligence agent."
"According to James Woolsey," the Judge wrote, "the evidence indicates that this was an 'operational meeting' because Atta flew to the Czech Republic and then returned to the United States shortly afterwards."
"Third," Judge Baer explained, "Woolsey noted that his conclusion was also based on 'contacts,' which refer to interactions between Hussein/Iraq and bin Laden/al Qaeda that are described in a letter from George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, to Senator Bob Graham on October 7, 2002."
In his findings, the judge next focused on the testimony of Mylroie, and it is apparent that he believed her claims that Saddam was involved in all of the terrorist attacks against the US dating back to the early 1990s.
"Dr. Mylroie described Iraq's covert involvement in acts of terrorism against the United States in the past, including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993," Baer stated in his opinion.
"Dr. Mylroie testified to at least four events that served as the basis for her conclusion that Iraq played a role in the September 11 tragedy," he wrote.
"First," he said, "she claimed that Iraq provided and continues to provide support to two of the main perpetrators of the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993."
"Second," he wrote, "she noted bin Laden's fatwah against the United States, which was motivated by the presence of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia to fight the Gulf War against Iraq."
"Third," the judge stated, "she noted that threats by bin Laden in late 1997 and early 1998 which led up to the bombing of the U.S. embassies [on August 7, 1998] were 'in lockstep' with Hussein's threats about ousting the U.N. weapons inspectors, which he eventually did on August 5, 1998."
Judge Baer also quoted other portions of her testimony and said, "Dr. Mylroie concluded that 'Iraq, I believe, did provide support and resources for the September 11 attacks. I agree with [Iraqi defector] Captain [Sabah] Khodada when he said that ... it took a state like Iraq to carry out an attack as really sophisticated, massive and deadly as what happened on September 11'."
After hearing the assertions of these top administration officials, Judge Baer concluded that: "Plaintiffs have shown, albeit barely, 'by evidence satisfactory to the court' that Iraq provided material support to bin Laden and al Qaeda."
The judge's decision is proof of the fact that the White House is home to the guilty parties who deliberately misled Americans about a bogus link between Saddam and 9/11, months before the war began. His written findings document the fraud perpetrated on the country by top Bush administration officials.
For those Americans still wondering about a motive for Bush taking the country to war in Iraq, the first and foremost goal of the neocons was to gain control of the world's oil supply and the number two goal, was to set up a war profiteering scheme to funnel billions of tax dollars into their own bank accounts for many years to come.
Its really that simple.
My advice to any disbeliever, is to go on the internet and do a google search on Iraq and war profiteering and find out who in the administration and the Bush family stood to benefit the most off a war in Iraq and read the names of those who have benefited the most so far.
A quick 15-minute search will prove that the roots of the scheme were planted firmly in the back yard of the White House and the fruits have not fallen far from the tree.