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[jvbronke@frazmtn.com: Fw: Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation]

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    ================= Begin forwarded message ================= From: jvbronke@frazmtn.com ( Jim Bronke ) To: Undisclosed-Recipient:@pine.frazmtn.com; Subject: Fw:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2002
      ================= Begin forwarded message =================

      From: jvbronke@... ("Jim Bronke")
      To: Undisclosed-Recipient:@...;
      Subject: Fw: Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation
      Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 18:48:20 -0700

      Thought this is a good summation of this issue, bringing in some history.

      Jim Bronke

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "FAIR" <fair@...>
      To: "FAIR-L" <fair-l@...>
      Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2002 3:42 PM
      Subject: Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation

      : FAIR-L
      : Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
      : Media analysis, critiques and activism
      : (**Special NYC event this week: details below)
      : Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation
      : September 24, 2002
      : Nothing makes a newspaper prouder than a juicy foreign-policy scoop.
      : Except, it seems, when the scoop ends up raising awkward questions about a
      : U.S. administration's drive for war.
      : Back in 1999, major papers ran front-page investigative stories revealing
      : that the CIA had covertly used U.N. weapons inspectors to spy on Iraq for
      : the U.S.'s own intelligence purposes. "United States officials said today
      : that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms
      : inspectors," the New York Times reported (1/7/99). According to the
      : Washington Post (3/2/99), the U.S. "infiltrated agents and espionage
      : equipment for three years into United Nations arms control teams in Iraq
      : to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military without the knowledge of the U.N.
      : agency." Undercover U.S. agents "carried out an ambitious spying
      : operation designed to penetrate Iraq's intelligence apparatus and track
      : the movement of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to U.S. and U.N.
      : sources," wrote the Boston Globe (1/6/99).
      : Each of the three news stories ran on the papers' front pages. At first,
      : U.S. officials tried to deny them, but as more details emerged, "spokesmen
      : for the CIA, Pentagon, White House and State Department declined to repeat
      : any categorical denials" (Washington Post, 3/2/99). By the spring of 1999,
      : the UNSCOM spying reported by the papers was accepted as fact by other
      : outlets, and even defended; "Experts say it is naive to believe that the
      : United States and other governments would not have used the opportunity
      : presented by the U.N. commission to spy on a country that provoked the
      : Persian Gulf War in 1991 and that has continued to tangle with U.S. and
      : British forces," USA Today reported (3/3/99).
      : But now that the Bush administration has placed the inspectors at the
      : center of its rationale for going to war, these same papers have become
      : noticeably queasy about recalling UNSCOM's past spying. The spy scandal
      : badly damaged the credibility of the inspections process, especially after
      : reports that data collected through UNSCOM were later used to pick targets
      : in the December 1998 bombing of Iraq: "National security insiders, blessed
      : with their unprecedented intelligence bonanza from UNSCOM, convinced
      : themselves that bombing Saddam Hussein's internal apparatus would drive
      : the Iraqi leader around the bend," wrote Washington Post analyst William
      : Arkin (1/17/99).
      : Suddenly, facts that their own correspondents confirmed three years ago in
      : interviews with top U.S. officials are being recycled as mere allegations
      : coming from Saddam Hussein's regime.
      : The UNSCOM team, explained the New York Times' Barbara Crossette in an
      : August 3 story, was replaced "after Mr. Hussein accused the old commission
      : of being an American spy operation and refused to deal with it." She gave
      : no hint that Saddam's "accusation" was reported as fact by her Times
      : colleague, Tim Weiner, in a front-page story three years earlier.
      : "As recently as Sunday, Iraqi officials called the inspectors spies and
      : accused them of deliberately prolonging their work," the Washington Post's
      : Baghdad correspondent wrote recently in a story casting doubt on the Iraqi
      : regime's intentions of cooperating (9/8/02). Readers would have no way of
      : knowing that the Post's Barton Gellman exhaustively detailed the facts of
      : the spying in a series of 1999 articles.
      : "Iraq accused some of the inspectors of being spies, because they remained
      : on their host countries' payrolls while reviewing Iraq's weapons," the
      : Boston Globe's Elizabeth Neuffer wrote recently, in an oddly garbled
      : rendition of the charges (9/14/02). She could have boasted that her
      : paper's own Colum Lynch (now with the Washington Post) was widely credited
      : with first breaking the story of UNSCOM's spying in a January 6, 1999
      : front-page expose. But she chose not to.
      : It's hard to avoid the impression that certain media outlets would rather
      : that UNSCOM's covert espionage had never been exposed in the first place.
      : The day after Barton Gellman of the Washington Post first reported the
      : spying charges, in a story sourced to Kofi Annan's office, his own paper
      : ran a thundering editorial denouncing Annan's "gutless ploy"
      : ("Back-Stabbing at the U.N.," 1/7/99) and instructing the U.N. leader that
      : instead of providing the information to a Washington Post reporter, he and
      : his aides should have "raised their concerns in private."
      : ACTION: Please remind these leading newspapers that espionage by U.N.
      : weapons inspectors, now being treated as an allegation made by Saddam
      : Hussein, was previously reported by these papers as a fact.
      : CONTACT:
      : New York Times
      : Howell Raines, Executive Editor
      : mailto:executive-editor@...
      : Boston Globe
      : Helen Donovan, Executive Editor
      : mailto:hdonovan@...
      : Washington Post
      : Phil Bennett, Assistant managing editor, foreign news
      : mailto:bennettp@...
      : As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if
      : you maintain a polite tone. Please cc fair@... with your
      : correspondence.
      : ********************
      : Robert McChesney and John Nichols-- two outstanding media critics and
      : authors-- will be speaking at NYU this Friday. McChesney and Nichols are
      : co-authors of "Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against
      : Corporate Media" (forthcoming from Seven Stories Press). For more
      : information, about their work, see:
      : http://www.robertmcchesney.com/ .
      : Friday, September 27, 7:30 PM
      : New York University, Kimball Lounge
      : 246 Greene St. (btw Waverly Pl. & Washington Pl.), New York City
      : Free and open to the public
      : Co-sponsored by FAIR, the Project on Media Ownership (PROMO) and Seven
      : Stories Press, the talk is part of PROMO's series on "Critical
      : Perspectives on the Media Cartel."
      : ********************
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