U.S. is tapping the phones of U.N. Security Council members and reading their e-mail: the story makes headlines around the world but is not reported here; Top Iraqi defector says Iraq destroyed its WMDs, but Bush and Blair continue to cite him to drum up support for war, and the US media buries the story: an interview with former UNSCOM chair Rolf Ekeus and weapons inspector Scott Ritter; The Thirty Year Itch: For Three Decades, Washington Hawks Have Pushed For The Us To Seize Control Of The Persian Gulf. Their Time Is Now. Interview with Mother Jones Magazine contributing editor Robert Dreyfuss
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:20 Headlines: The British newspaper The Observer is reporting the US is conducting a secret, aggressive surveillance operation directed at United Nations Security Council members ahead of the upcoming vote on Iraq. The newspaper obtained a memorandum written by Frank Koza, who is the chief of staff in the 'Regional Targets' section of the National Security Agency. The top-secret NSA intercepts communications around the world. The Observer reports the surveillance operation involves intercepting home and office telephone calls and emails of UN delegates in New York. The memo reads QUOTE the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council members (minus US and Great Britain of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. The Observer reports the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations who could swing a new Security Council vote on Iraq. Sources in Washington told The Observer last week Bush administration officials were divided over whether to pursue such a high-intensity surveillance campaign. Some warned of the serious consequences of discovery. The operation is understood to have been requested by President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice. Tape: Martin Bright, journalist with the London Observer. He is co-author of the article US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war which appeared in Sunday s paper. Links: http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,905936,00.html for a transcript of the leaked document, see: http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,905954,00.html 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:44: Today we bring you a complicated story about President Bush, Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, top-level Iraqi defector Hussein Kamel, and the US media. It is a story that reveals how the Bush and Blair administrations are manipulating evidence in every way possible to drum up support for a war on Iraq. And it is a story that reveals how the US media is failing to do its job. Last week, Newsweek reported that the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein s government told the CIA, British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in 1995 that Iraq destroyed its chemical and biological weapons after the Gulf War. Hussein Kamel was Saddam Hussein s son-in-law. For ten years, he ran Iraq s nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs. He is one of the Bush and Blair administration s top sources on Iraq s weapons programs in the early 1990s. In debriefings with UN and intelligence officials, Kamel laid out the personnel, sites and progress of each WMD program. Most recently, British Prime Minister Tony Blair cited Kamel in his statement to the House of Commons one day before the largest backbench rebellion in over a century. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell used information obtained from Kamel to try to drum up Security Council support for war in his presentation on Feb. 5th. Tape: Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, addressing the U.N. Security Council on February 5th, 2003 And, President Bush dragged out Hussein Kamel s name in his first primetime television address on Iraq on October 7th. It was the week Congress was poised to vote on a resolution authorizing war, and it appeared at that time that the U.N. Security Council was nearing the end of its struggle on the issue. And, the public wanted an explanation for why the US should invade. Tape: President Bush, addressing the nation on October 7th, 2002 in Cincinnati. But then, Newsweek reporter John Barry obtained a transcript of the debriefing of Kamel by U.N. officials in 1995. According to the transcript, Hussein Kamel claimed Iraq destroyed all its biological and chemical weapons after the Gulf War. He said they had been destroyed in order to hide the programs from U.N. inspectors, but Iraq had retained the engineering details on the weapons. Newsweek also reported U.N. inspectors hushed up Kamel s revelations to bluff Saddam Hussein into disclosing more. The CIA immediately denied Newsweek s report. Last Monday, the day the report appeared, CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow told Reuters: "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." For the most part, the US media has ignored the story. Well, we thought we d go right to the source. We re joined right now on the telephone by Rolf Ekeus. He was the executive chair of UNSCOM from 1991-1997. He was one of the three U.N. inspectors who debriefed Kamel, and is named in the transcript. Guest: Rolf Ekeus, former executive chair of UNSCOM and current chairman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Contact: www.sipri.se Guest: Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector Guest: Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of the nationally syndicated column "Media Beat. Contact: http://www.fair.org/media-beat/030227.html http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kamel.html More Links: Newsweek story: http://www.msnbc.com/news/876128.asp transcript of Hussein Kamel s interview with U.N. inspectors: http://www.middleeastreference.org.uk/kamel.html 9:44-9:45 One-Minute Music Break 9:45-9:58: If you were to spin the globe and look for real estate critical to building an American empire, your first stop would have to be the Persian Gulf. The desert sands of this region hold two of every three barrels of oil in the world Iraq s reserves alone are equal, by some estimates, to those of Russia, the United States, China and Mexico combined. For the past 30 years, the Gulf has been in the crosshairs of an influential group of Washington foreign-policy strategists who believe that in order to ensure its global dominance the United States must seize control of it. So begins an article just published in this month s Mother Jones magazine. The article is called The Thirty Year Itch and the sub-heading reads: For three decades, Washington Hawks have pushed for the US to seize control of the Persian Gulf. Their time is now. The article goes on to outline five key steps that the U.S. has taken since the 1970s to establish firm control of the Middle East. First there was the establishment of a rapid deployment forcer in the region. Then the U.S. created a Central Command military outpost to oversee the region. Then there was the Gulf War which gave the U.S. an opportunity to begin permanently stationing troops across the region and to full tens of billions to arm allies including Saudi Arabia. Step four was the war in Afghanistan and the so-called war on terror. And there is one final step: war in Iraq. Well, today we are joined by the author of that article. He is Robert Dreyfuss, investigative reporter and contributing editor to Mother Jones, The Nation and American Prospect. Guest: Robert Dreyfuss, investigative reporter and contributing editor at Mother Jones, the Nation and American Prospect . His article The Thirty Year Itch was just published in this month s Mother Jones magazine. Guest: Anne Joyce, vice president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think-tank. She is also the editor of the Council s Middle East Journal. 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogiera and Alex Wolfe. Mike Di Filippo is our engineer and webmaster.