[email@example.com: Fw: Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation]
- ================= Begin forwarded message =================
From: jvbronke@... ("Jim Bronke")
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.
----- 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
: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
: Media analysis, critiques and activism
: (**Special NYC event this week: details below)
: ACTION ALERT:
: 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.
: New York Times
: Howell Raines, Executive Editor
: Boston Globe
: Helen Donovan, Executive Editor
: Washington Post
: Phil Bennett, Assistant managing editor, foreign news
: As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if
: you maintain a polite tone. Please cc fair@... with your
: NYC MEDIA TALK:
: 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
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