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Guardian: Bush, Blair & Wolfowitz have secret "oil bribery" Swiss bank accounts!

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Oh wait -- maybe they DON'T have Swiss bank accounts.

In the spirit of fair play, I'm going to blast the Guardian for back-to-back examples of irresponsible reporting.

In an adjacent thread, it has been shown that the Guardian deliberately distorted a Wolfowitz comment that Iraq "swims on a sea of oil" -- implying that Wolfowitz was admitting that the war was about seizing Iraq's oil fields. That still might be a major reason for the war, but Wolfowitz clearly was not admitting this: he was saying that Iraq could not be worn down economically (unlike North Korea) because of its oil revenue.

That story has now "disappeared" from the Guardian web site.

In trying to find what happened to the story, I've now discovered that another "explosive" Guardian revelation from the last week has already been discredited.

On May 31, the lead Guardian headline ran:

Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims

Secret transcript revealed

Jack Straw and his US counterpart, Colin Powell, privately expressed serious doubts about the quality of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programme at the very time they were publicly trumpeting it to get UN support for a war on Iraq, the Guardian has learned.

Their deep concerns about the intelligence - and about claims being made by their political bosses, Tony Blair and George Bush - emerged at a private meeting between the two men shortly before a crucial UN security council session on February 5.

The meeting took place at the Waldorf hotel in New York, where they discussed the growing diplomatic crisis. The exchange about the validity of their respective governments' intelligence reports on Iraq lasted less than 10 minutes, according to a diplomatic source who has read a transcript of the conversation.

The foreign secretary reportedly expressed concern that claims being made by Mr Blair and President Bush could not be proved. The problem, explained Mr Straw, was the lack of corroborative evidence to back up the claims.

Much of the intelligence were assumptions and assessments not supported by hard facts or other sources.

Mr Powell shared the concern about intelligence assessments, especially those being presented by the Pentagon's office of special plans set up by the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz.

Mr Powell said he had all but "moved in" with US intelligence to prepare his briefings for the UN security council, according to the transcripts.

But he told Mr Straw he had come away from the meetings "apprehensive" about what he called, at best, circumstantial evidence highly tilted in favour of assessments drawn from them, rather than any actual raw intelligence.

Mr Powell told the foreign secretary he hoped the facts, when they came out, would not "explode in their faces".

What are called the "Waldorf transcripts" are being circulated in Nato diplomatic circles. It is not being revealed how the transcripts came to be made; however, they appear to have been leaked by diplomats who supported the war against Iraq even when the evidence about Saddam Hussein's programme of weapons of mass destruction was fuzzy, and who now believe they were lied to.

People circulating the transcripts call themselves "allied sources supportive of US war aims in Iraq at the time".

The transcripts will fuel the controversy in Britain and the US over claims that London and Washington distorted and exaggerated the intelligence assessments about Saddam's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programme.

An unnamed intelligence official told the BBC on Thursday that a key claim in the dossier on Iraq's weapons released by the British government last September - that Iraq could launch a chemical or biological attack within 45 minutes of an order - was inserted on the instructions of officials in 10 Downing Street.

Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, admitted the claim was made by "a single source; it wasn't corroborated".

Speaking yesterday in Warsaw, the Polish capital, Mr Blair said the evidence of weapons of mass destruction in the dossier was "evidence the truth of which I have absolutely no doubt about at all".

He said he had consulted the heads of the security and intelligence services before emphatically denying that Downing Street had leaned on them to strengthen their assessment of the WMD threat in Iraq. He insisted he had "absolutely no doubt" that proof of banned weapons would eventually be found in Iraq. Whitehall sources make it clear they do not share the prime minister's optimism.

The Waldorf transcripts are all the more damaging given Mr Powell's dramatic 75-minute speech to the UN security council on February 5, when he presented declassified satellite images, and communications intercepts of what were purported to be conversations between Iraqi commanders, and held up a vial that, he said, could contain anthrax.

Evidence, he said, had come from "people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam is really up to".

Some of the intelligence used by Mr Powell was provided by Britain.

The US secretary of state, who was praised by Mr Straw as having made a "most powerful and authoritative case", also drew links between al-Qaida and Iraq - a connection dismissed by British intelligence agencies. His speech did not persuade France, Germany and Russia, who stuck to their previous insistence that the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq should be given more time to do their job.

The Waldorf meeting took place a few days after Downing Street presented Mr Powell with a separate dossier on Iraq's banned weapons which he used to try to strengthen the impact of his UN speech.

A few days later, Downing Street admitted that much of its dossier was lifted from academic sources and included a plagiarised section written by an American PhD student.

Mr Wolfowitz set up the Pentagon's office of special plans to counter what he and his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, considered inadequate - and unwelcome - intelligence from the CIA.

He angered critics of the war this week in a Vanity Fair magazine interview in which he cited "bureaucratic reasons" for the White House focusing on Iraq's alleged arsenal as the reason for the war. In reality, a "huge" reason for the conflict was to enable the US to withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia, he said.

Earlier in the week, Mr Rumsfeld suggested that Saddam might have destroyed such weapons before the war.

Now today (June 5), the Guardian has retracted the entire basis for this story:


The following apology was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and Clarifications column, Thursday June 5 2003

In our front page lead on May 31 headlined "Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims," we said that the foreign secretary Jack Straw and his US counterpart Colin Powell had met at the Waldorf Hotel in New York shortly before Mr Powell addressed the United Nations on February 5. Mr Straw has now made it clear that no such meeting took place. The Guardian accepts that and apologises for suggesting it did.

This is two strikes, you're out, Guardian.

The Guardian can still put together some pretty good (and accurate) stories. But these two examples of discredited "explosive exclusives" destroy any presumption that the Guardian has sufficient editorial controls to ensure accuracy in its reporting.

The best U.K. paper for investigative reporting and editorial integrity, in my view, remains The Independent. Apparently I'm not alone in this view, as I've noted that numerous UK MPs write their policy opinion pieces as "arguments" published in the Independent -- which is something of an endorsement.

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What a disgrace. This is why I hate bad journalism. They write some vitrolic lie as the cover story, undoubtedly stirring up the readers, only to print a small, unassuming paragraph saying that it was, in fact, untrue. The apology likely appeared in section Z 29, where no one will see it anyway.

In my opinion, printing such blatantly dishonest articles should come with some sort of consequence. To me, the Guardian is no more compelling than the Rush Limbaugh website.


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For those who missed it, here was the Guardian's story that appeared yesterday and is now "missing" from their web site:


Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to the US-led war.

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.

The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German newspapers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.

Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."

This is how one commentator corrects the Guardian's distorted coverage:

But this quote is inaccurate on its face as well as taken completely out of context. Wolfowitz was answering a query regarding why the U.S. thought using economic pressure would work with respect to North Korea and not with regard to Iraq:

"The United States hopes to end the nuclear standoff with North Korea by putting economic pressure on the impoverished nation, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Saturday. North Korea would respond to economic pressure, unlike Iraq, where military action was necessary because the country's oil money was propping up the regime, Wolfowitz told delegates at the second annual Asia Security Conference in Singapore."

"The country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse," Wolfowitz said. "That I believe is a major point of leverage." "The primary difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options in Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil," he said. Wolfowitz did not elaborate on how Washington intends to put economic pressure on North Korea, but said other countries in the region helping it should send a message that "they're not going to continue doing that if North Korea continues down the road it's on."

The Guardian has twice now (in one week) been blatantly irresponsible in its reporting.

This is particularly irritating to people like me who think the Iraq War was based on misleading distortions by Bush and Blair about how threatening Iraq actually was. By engaging in irresponsible journalism, the Guardian destroys its own credibility and by extension fuels the ability of supporters of Bush and Blair to discredit their opposition.

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You see this is a stragegy used by newspeople all the time. Now ist's being reported by another site and will in all probability be repeated over & over by those who blindly follow what the Guardian & othet "leftist" reporting organizations report.

It happens on the right too.

Follow the links it interesting to see how stories are diseminated through the press world.


Information Clearinghouse...........(who??)

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Per a South African News Source. Geeze at least they want to correct a wrong. Look for a retraction tomorrow. :rolleyes: :puke:

News24.com-"Although The Guardian earlier reported that US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz had said that the Iraq war was all about oil, the newspaper has now removed the article from its web site, and will print a full correction in Friday's edition. According to the Guardian's ombudsman, the quote, "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil," was taken out of context, and misconstrued."


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Originally posted by aREDSKIN

Follow the links it interesting to see how stories are diseminated through the press world.


The Utne Reader is a left-wing Reader's Digest.

What's hilarious (or rather, disturbing) is that their pickup of the Guardian coverage extends the "error" further, by stating flatly that Wolfowitz has been publicly alluding to "government deception" -- which is a line that didn't even appear in the Guardian's article.

Here's Utne's spin:

Leading White House Hawk Admits U.S. Invaded Iraq for its Oil

—By Craig Cox-, Utne.com

June 2003 Issue

One of the Bush administration’s leading foreign policy architects has admitted that the U.S. invaded Iraq for its oil.

Speaking to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore last weekend, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the United States chose military action over diplomacy in Iraq because the country was “swimming” in oil, reports George Wright in the Guardian.

The comment came in response to a question about why the Bush administration has treated North Korea, a known nuclear power, so much differently than Iraq, which has no proven nuclear capability. “Let’s look at it simply,” Wolfowitz said. “The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.”

Wolfowitz’s admission comes at a time when the White House and the British government are both under extreme pressure to justify their invasion of Iraq. Committees in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress are pressing for inquiries about alleged manipulation of intelligence surrounding Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.

It isn’t the first time Wolfowitz has alluded to government deception around the Iraq invasion. Last month in a Vanity Fair interview, he described how the Bush administration had decided to use Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as a public motive for the invasion.

Now, before the right-wingers jump in triumphantly, be aware that this kind of media crap occurs all the time favoring the Bush administration as well. You see it most commonly (whatever the spin) when the media uses anonymous sources, who can get away with any insinuation and the media will print it.

The mass media basically sucks in general. The only sources I've come to trust are the Independent, the BBC, and -- believe it or not -- the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

In related news, the top two editors of The New York Times resigned today as part of the Jayson Blair scandal. That's a pretty good start.

June 5, 2003

Executive Editor of The Times and Top Deputy Step Down


NEW YORK (AP) -- New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd resigned on Thursday in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal.

"This is a day that breaks my heart," Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger told staffers at a morning newsroom meeting.

The Times announced that Joseph Lelyveld, the paper's former executive editor, has been named interim executive editor, assuming the responsibilities held by Raines.

Sulzberger thanked Raines and Boyd for putting the interests of the newspaper first. The Blair scandal was not mentioned at Thursday morning's staff meeting, but the case had begun a weeks-long period of turbulence at the Times.

The two top editors had been the focus of much of the criticism following the Blair scandal, especially for allowing Blair to cover the Washington-area sniper case when the metropolitan editor had previously raised concerns about the reporter's mistakes.

Raines, 60, had been criticized for what some saw as his autocratic management style.

"You view me as inaccessible and arrogant," Raines told staffers at a May 14 meeting. "You believe the newsroom is too hierarchical, that my ideas get acted on and others get ignored. I heard that you were convinced there's a star system that singles out my favorites for elevation."

No one will be named interim managing editor to replace the 52-year-old Boyd, the Times said.

Raines became executive editor just days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The following April, the Times received a record seven Pulitzer Prizes -- five for its coverage of the terrorist attacks and another for the war in Afghanistan.

"They have made enormous contributions during their tenure," Sulzberger said, "including an extraordinary seven Pulitzer Prizes in 2002 and another this year. I appreciate all of their efforts in continuing the legacy of our great newspaper."

Raines had been editor of the editorial page for eight years and previously headed the newspaper's bureaus in Washington and London when he was named executive editor to replace the retiring Lelyveld.

He won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1992 for a memoir he wrote for The New York Times Magazine about his childhood friendship in Alabama with his family's black housekeeper.

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The Guardian has now formally retracted the Wolfowitz story:

Corrections and clarifications

Thursday June 5, 2003

A report which was posted on our website on June 4 under the heading "Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil" misconstrued remarks made by the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, making it appear that he had said that oil was the main reason for going to war in Iraq. He did not say that. He said, according to the Department of Defence website, "The ... difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil. In the case of North Korea, the country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and that I believe is a major point of leverage whereas the military picture with North Korea is very different from that with Iraq." The sense was clearly that the US had no economic options by means of which to achieve its objectives, not that the economic value of the oil motivated the war. The report appeared only on the website and has now been removed.

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Originally posted by escholz

I looked at the title of this thread before looking at who had started it and I thought to myself, this sounds like something ASF would have written. Lo and behold, I was right...

OK, smarty, but did you know in the secret ASF decoder manual, it says on p.63 that my posts with exclamation points are sarcastic? ;)

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