- On Friday evening in Olympia, former UNSCOM weapons inspector
Scott Ritter appeared with journalist Dahr Jamail. -- Ritter made two shocking
claims: George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran
in June 2005, and the U.S. manipulated the results of the Jan. 30 elections
- Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail yesterday
in Washington State, dropped two shocking bombshells in a talk delivered
to a packed house in Olympia's Capitol Theater. The ex-Marine turned UNSCOM
weapons inspector said that George W. Bush has "signed off" on
plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and claimed the U.S. manipulated the results
of the recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.
- Olympians like to call the Capitol Theater "historic,"
but it's doubtful whether the eighty-year-old edifice has ever been the
scene of more portentous revelations.
- The principal theme of Scott Ritter's talk was Americans'
duty to protect the U.S. Constitution by taking action to bring an end
to the illegal war in Iraq. But in passing, the former UNSCOM weapons inspector
stunned his listeners with two pronouncements. Ritter said plans for a
June attack on Iran have been submitted to President George W. Bush, and
that the president has approved them. He also asserted that knowledgeable
sources say U.S. officials "cooked" the results of the Jan. 30
elections in Iraq.
- On Iran, Ritter said that President George W. Bush has
received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned
for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran's alleged
program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in
the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a
chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million
-- a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.
- The former Marine also said that the Jan. 30 elections,
which George W. Bush has called "a turning point in the history of
Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom," were not so free after
all. Ritter said that U.S. authorities in Iraq had manipulated the results
in order to reduce the percentage of the vote received by the United Iraqi
Alliance from 56% to 48%.
- Asked by UFPPC's Ted Nation about this shocker, Ritter
said an official involved in the manipulation was the source, and that
this would soon be reported by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in a
major metropolitan magazine -- an obvious allusion to New Yorker reporter
Seymour M. Hersh.
- On Jan. 17, the New Yorker posted an article by Hersh
entitled The Coming Wars (New Yorker, January 24-31, 2005). In it, the
well-known investigative journalist claimed that for the Bush administration,
"The next strategic target [is] Iran." Hersh also reported that
"The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions
inside Iran at least since last summer." According to Hersh, "Defense
Department civilians, under the leadership of Douglas Feith, have been
working with Israeli planners and consultants to develop and refine potential
nuclear, chemical-weapons, and missile targets inside Iran. . . . Strategists
at the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command, in Tampa, Florida, have
been asked to revise the military's war plan, providing for a maximum ground
and air invasion of Iran. . . . The hawks in the Administration believe
that it will soon become clear that the Europeans' negotiated approach
[to Iran] cannot succeed, and that at that time the Administration will
- Scott Ritter said that although the peace movement failed
to stop the war in Iraq, it had a chance to stop the expansion of the war
to other nations like Iran and Syria. He held up the specter of a day when
the Iraq war might be remembered as a relatively minor event that preceded
an even greater conflagration.
- Scott Ritter's talk was the culmination of a long evening
devoted to discussion of Iraq and U.S. foreign policy. Before Ritter spoke,
Dahr Jamail narrated a slide show on Iraq focusing on Fallujah. He showed
more than a hundred vivid photographs taken in Iraq, mostly by himself.
Many of them showed the horrific slaughter of civilians.
- Dahr Jamail argued that U.S. mainstream media sources
are complicit in the war and help sustain support for it by deliberately
downplaying the truth about the devastation and death it is causing.
- Jamail was, until recently, one of the few unembedded
journalists in Iraq and one of the only independent ones. His reports have
gained a substantial following and are available online at dahrjamailiraq.com.
- Friday evening's event in Olympia was sponsored by South
Puget Sound Community College's Student Activities Board, Veterans for
Peace, 100 Thousand and Counting, Olympia Movement for Justice & Peace,
and United for Peace of Pierce County.
- NOTE: Dahr Jamail will make three more appearances in
the Puget Sound area this weekend: (1) SATURDAY, FEB. 19, 7:00 p.m., at
the Kirkland Congregational Church, 106 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA. Admission
$5 -- Sponsored by Evergreen Peace & Justice; (2) SUNDAY, FEB. 20,
1:00 p.m. at the Vashon Land Trust. Vashon Islanders for Peace will be
hosting Dahr Jamail and Bert Sacks on the subject of Exit Strategies from
Iraq. For more information, contact: Kate Hunter, 206-463-5117; (3) SUNDAY,
FEB. 20, 7:30 p.m. at UW Kane Hall, Room 120. Hosted by the Interfaith
Network Of Concern for the people of Iraq (INOC), the University of Washington
-- Department of Communication, the Iraqi Community Center of Seattle (ICCS),
and the United Nations Association, Seattle. For more information contact
the Rev. Richard Gamble at Keystone United Church of Christ 206 632-6021.
- --Mark Jensen is a member of United for Peace of Pierce
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