While the Western media highlights the death and "kidnapping" of paid mercenaries, on contract to Western security firms, there is a deafening silence on the massacre of more than 700 civilians in Fallujah by coalition forces.
The operation in Fallujah is casually described by the Bush administration as "a crackdown" against extremists:
"This violence we've seen is a part of a few people trying to stop the progress toward democracy. Fallujah, south of Baghdad, these incidents were basically thrust upon the innocent Iraqi people by gangs, violent gangs." (President Bush, 11 April 2004)
According to CNN, an unduly high death toll was the unfortunate result of the "rules of engagement", which required leading a military operation against insurgents in a densely populated urban area. The civilians were said to have been caught in the cross-fire.
The US military claims that most of the deaths were insurgents, an assertion which is refuted by statements emanating from the hospitals and by several eye-witness reports:
"We’ve been seeing it with our own eyes. People were told to leave Fallujah and now there are thousands trapped in the desert. There is a 13 km long convoy of people trying to reach Baghdad. The Americans are firing bombs, everything, everything they have on them. They are firing on families! They are all children, old men and women in the desert. Other Iraqi people are trying to help them. In Falluja the US military have been bombing hospitals. Children are being evacuated to Baghdad. There is a child now, a baby, he had 25 members of his family killed, he’s in the hospital and someone needs to be with him ... The Americans are dropping cluster bombs. They are bombing from the air. There are people lying dead in the streets. They said there’d be a ceasefire and then they flew in, I saw them, and they began to bomb. They are fighting back and they are fighting well in Falluja. But we are expecting the big attack in 24-48 hours. It will be the main attack. They will be taking the town street by street and searching and attacking. They did this already in a village near-by. Please get help, get people to protest, get them to go to the Embassies, get them out, get them to do something. There is a massacre" (Eyewitness Report from Fallujah, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/JAS404A.html )
"During the course of the roughly four hours we were at that small clinic, we saw perhaps a dozen wounded brought in. Among them was a young woman, 18 years old, shot in the head.... Doctors did not expect her to survive the night. Another likely terminal case was a young boy with massive internal bleeding. I also saw a man with extensive burns on his upper body and shredded thighs, with wounds that could have been from a cluster bomb" (See http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MAH404A.html )
Coalition forces, using their own snipers equipped with precision rifles on rooftops, are targeting women and children. Ambulances carrying the wounded are being targeted by the US Marines:
"The most horrible brutality was the targeting of ambulances which carried pregnant women who were about to give birth. There were tens of bodies which are still under debris and we could not arrive at the places as US snipers prevented people from getting them out." (quoted in Al Jazeera, press conference of Dr Abd al-Salam al-Kubaisi, 16 April 2004, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6B0698D9-3C9D-4CB8-9275-10ECD0D46565.htm )
The killings were ordered by the US military. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled the city. The various member states of the occupying forces including Italy and Japan, are responsible alongside the US-UK coalition, for these massacres, in accordance with international law and the Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal. (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NUR203A.html ).
The Security firms are also involved in the killing of civilians. Western and Iraqi sources confirm the presence of some 1500 private mercenaries working alongside and/or collaborating with the coalition forces.
The "War on Terrorism"
At this critical juncture, the Bush administration desperately needs the "war on terrorism" as a justification for the killings of civilians in Iraq, which it describes as "collateral damage".
In recent weeks, a barrage of media reports have surfaced on Al Qaeda links to the Iraqi resistance movement. The insurgents are described as Islamic extremists and fundamentalists: "hard-line Sunnis, foreign extremists, and, now, Sadr and his disenfranchised Shiite followers" (US News and World Report, 19 April 2004).
The secular character of the resistance movement is denied. In an utterly twisted logic, Al Qaeda is said to constitute a significant force behind the Iraqi insurgents. According to official statements, Al Qaeda mastermind Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi is in Fallujah, which has become a so-called "hotbed for foreign fighters". In the words of Newsweek, "Saddam may not have had direct ties to Al Qaeda, but the jihadists are eager to fill his shoes." (Newsweek, 19 April 2004)
Meanwhile, perfect timing, the 9/11 Commission has declassified the controversial presidential PDB memo of August 6 2001 pertaining to Al Qaeda's pre-9/11 plan "to attack the American homeland."
The disinformation campaign ultimately consists in convincing the US public that the "defense of the Homeland" and the occupation of Iraq are part of same process, involving the same enemy. In the words of former CIA Director James Woolsey in a CNN interview:
"the Iraqi intelligence, trained al Qaeda in "poison gases and conventional explosives." And had senior-level contacts going back a decade. And the Islamists from the Sunni side, from the al Qaeda, work with people like Hezbollah. They're perfectly happy to work together against us. It's sort of like three Mafia families, but they insult each other, but can still cooperate... I think it's Islamists totalitarian masquerading as part of a religion. Certainly if anybody in the intelligence community is surprised by this, the really surprising thing would be that they are really surprised. Some of them have had a idea fix for a long time, that al Qaeda would never work with the Ba'athist and the Shiite Islamist would never work with the Sunni. It's just nuts. They work together on important things. It's not that one necessarily controls the other. It's not sort of like state sponsorship, but cooperation, support here and there against us, sure, they've been doing it for years and years and years.(CNNFN, Lou Dobbs, Tonight, 15 April 2004)
The Osama Tape
Meanwhile, another mysterious Osama tape has emerged (See http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ALJ404A.html ).
In the tape, Osama acknowledges responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the 3/11 (2004) train bombing in Madrid:
"I [Osama] am offering a truce to European countries, and its core is our commitment to cease operations against any country which does not carry out an onslaught against Muslims or interfere in their affairs as part of the big American conspiracy against the Islamic world.... The truce will begin when the last soldier leaves our countries. [Iraq]... Whoever wants reconciliation and the right (way), then we are the ones who initiated it, so stop spilling our blood so we can stop spilling your blood.... What happened on September 11 and March 11 was your goods delivered back to you." (Ibid)
In other words, Osama bin Laden offers "a truce" if the various European countries involved in Iraq accept to withdraw their troops. In return, Al Qaeda will declare a moratorium on terrorist attacks in Europe.
Without further investigation, the Western media have described the tape as an attempt by "Enemy Number One" to create a rift between America and its European allies.
The tape in all likelihood is a hoax of US intelligence. The propaganda ploy consists not only in upholding the US led-occupation of Iraq as part of the broader "war on terrorism", it also provides a pretext to Western governments, pressured by citizens movements across Europe, to remain in Iraq. In the words of president Jacques Chirac, "nothing can justify terrorism and, on that basis, nothing can allow any discussion with terrorists."
Underlying the Osama tape is the presumption that the "extremists" in Iraq are the same people responsible for the 9/11 and 3/11 terrorist attacks. It follows, that the "anti-war zealots", by opposing the US led occupation, are in fact providing ammunition to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda:
"bin Laden's deranged fantasies are frighteningly similar to those many anti-war zealots harbor both here and abroad... He also apparently tries to justify the attacks of 9/11 as retaliation for U.S. support for Jews in Palestine, and U.S. invasions in the Gulf War and Somalia. "Our actions are reactions to your actions," he said.
This is gibberish, but it is typical of a megalomaniacal mind. Even Hitler, after all, insisted his attack on Poland was in self-defense. Evil often comes cloaked in the counterfeit robes of virtue.
But it's also easy to see how such arguments can gain traction among impoverished Arabs who long have been repressed by their own governments and are searching for answers.
The United States should be grateful for this latest tape. It puts a lot of things in perspective. Europe and the United States are at war together, and the enemy is someone of flesh and blood who can be frightened -- enough so that he feels it necessary to propose a truce. (Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake city, 15 April 2004)
Amply documented, Al Qaeda is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus. This is a known fact to the governments and intelligence services of America's European allies. It is corroborated by US Congressional documents. Al Qaeda is a US sponsored intelligence asset. (See http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html ).
And more than ever, in the face of mounting resentment, the Bush Administration and its European allies desperately "need Osama" to justify their military presence in Iraq.
The Iraq war is presented as a "Just War". The latter is predicated on the existence of an "outside enemy" (Al Qaeda).
Under this criterion and with the full support of Western public opinion, the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, whose Taliban rulers had "provided a safe haven for Osama bin-Laden".
Before the war, Osama was said to be supporting Saddam. In the wake of the war, the propaganda ploy now consists in presenting Osama as a spokesman for the Iraqi resistance.
Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and author of War and Globalization the Truth behind September 11 , http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html .