Fake Photos Helped Lead US to Invade Iraq

Add faked photos to the list of lies told by the Bush–Cheney Administration before its invasion of Iraq.

In a town hall meeting in Bloomsburg, Pa. this week, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 12-term congressman, said that shortly before Congress was scheduled to vote on authorizing military force against Iraq, top officials of the CIA showed select members of Congress three photographs it alleged were Iraqi Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones. Kanjorski said he was told that the drones were capable of carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical agents, and could strike 1,000 miles inland of east coast or west coast cities.

Kanjorski said he and four or five other congressmen in the room were told UAVs could be on freighters headed to the US. Both secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and President Bush wandered into and out of the briefing room, Kanjorski said.

Kanjorski said it was the second time he was called to the White House for a briefing. He had opposed giving the President the powers to go to war, and said that he hadn’t changed his mind after a first meeting. Until he saw the pictures, Kanjorski said, “I hadn’t thought that Iraq was a threat.” That second meeting changed everything. After he left that meeting, said Kanjorski, he was willing to give the President the authorization he wanted since the drones “represented an imminent danger.”

Kanjorski said he went to see Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel. Murtha, said Kanjorski, “turned white” when told about the drones; Murtha, a former intelligence officer, believed that such information was classified.

Several years later, Kanjorski said he learned that the pictures were “a god-damned lie,” apparently taken by CIA photographers in the desert in the southwest of the US. The drone story itself had already been disproved, although not many major media carried that story.

In October 2002, President Bush said in Cincinnati that, “Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.” He said that he was concerned “that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States.” In that same speech, he claimed, “Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles — far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations — in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work.” Bush further claimed, “Surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” Those claims were later proven false.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said that at the time the President made his speech, intelligence analysts had already discounted that threat. Nelson had told Florida Today in December 2003 that no analysts had “found anything that resembles an UAV that has that capability.” Any drones that Iraq did have, John Pike, director of Global Security, a major military and intelligence “think tank,” told Florida Today, had limited range, and would not be able to target Tel Aviv, let alone the U.S.

Nelson, on the floor of the Senate in January 2004, said that the information presented by the Administration was crucial in getting him and others to authorize a pre-emptive strike.

* Assisting on this story were Bill Frost, and John and Sandie Walker. In a four-day period after that meeting in northeast Pennsylvania, Rep. Kanjorski did not return phone calls to follow up on his statements. The Department of Defense and the CIA did not comment. Certain representatives who could confirm the meeting were unavailable.

Walter Brasch, during a 40-year work career in mass communications, has been a member of several unions, in both the private and public sectors. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the author of 16 books, including With Just Cause: Unionization of the American Journalist, Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, and his latest Fracking Pennsylvania. He can be contacted at: walterbrasch@gmail.com. Read other articles by Walter, or visit Walter's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. hp said on September 4th, 2007 at 12:03pm #

    As usual, no mention of any Israeli supplied intelligence.
    When the USA attacks Iran, also due to “intelligence” photos and “other classified” sources, you can bet your bottom dollar these “other” sources will be supplied by our “special friend,” Israel.

  2. On the Impeachment Front ... Help Needed - Page 2 - Marijuana Growing said on January 18th, 2008 at 3:03pm #

    […] Lead U.S. to Invade Iraq | AfterDowningStreet.org Colin Powell told Bush not to invade Iraq Dissident Voice : Fake Photos Helped Lead US to Invade Iraq A Chart of Bush Lies about Iraq – A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary Remind Us: Why Did The United […]

  3. On the Impeachment Front ... Help Needed - Page 3 - Marijuana Growing said on January 18th, 2008 at 4:20pm #

    […] Lead U.S. to Invade Iraq | AfterDowningStreet.org Colin Powell told Bush not to invade Iraq Dissident Voice : Fake Photos Helped Lead US to Invade Iraq A Chart of Bush Lies about Iraq – A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary Remind Us: Why Did The United […]

  4. Milton Barrelomonkeys said on April 11th, 2008 at 7:58am #

    Americans will never do anything about the messy political situation in their country because they are too damned “proud” to admit they were fooled – not just once or twice – but over and over.

    Generations of having everything far too easy has led Americans to be some of the most complacent people on the planet. No longer do they fight for anything. They only want to be served because they cannot and will not serve themselves.

  5. George Warmonger said on April 11th, 2008 at 8:30am #

    REVOLUTION is the Solution!!!

  6. John Williams said on April 11th, 2008 at 2:56pm #

    Even America’s Christians have accepted deception and lies by it’s holy government for fear of appearing unpatriotic. America decided the ways of evil are easier to live with. So be it.

  7. Andrew Milner said on April 11th, 2008 at 6:34pm #

    Impeach Bush and he will attack Iran, declare a state of emergency, impose martial law and postpone the 2008 elections. And the Democrats in Congress are too gutless to call his bluff. So unless or until the generals make their move, “…all enemies, domestic and foreign” you guys are screwed. Nice, neutral Buddhist country anyone?

  8. dews said on April 11th, 2008 at 11:54pm #

    This article somewhat misses the point. Even if these photos were true, the American assault on Iraq still would not be justified.

    America invaded Iraq to control Iraqi oil, buttress Israeli dominance in the region, and further its broader ambitions to impose a “New American Century” on the world.

    WMDs was just the official pretext. I think Paul Kanjorski is being disingenous if he asserts that he sincerely believed that WMDs–and not oil–was the real reason to begin with. This guy probably wants to cover his own–and others–political ass now that the US aggression against Iraq has blown up in their faces.

    Remember, high profile people like Scott Ritter and Dennis Kucinich were questioning the WMD pretext as a pretext–and notably mentioned the oil motivation.

    As for the American people. They are a nation of moral supremacists who believe in the Godly righteousess of the USA to attack whom it wants, when it wants.

    The pretext or lie doesn’t really make a difference for them. For them, if WMDs were a lie, so what?

  9. B. Divine said on January 26th, 2009 at 4:03pm #

    lOVE THE ARTICLE. Maybe you should include the facts that India, UK, Russia, and even France all had the same inteligence. Lets not forget that later on, Saddam also admitted that he lied purposly to fool Iran so that it wouldnt invade. Oh, lets NOT forget that America does NOT get most of its oil from Iraq. BUT the UN was stealing oil durring the Oil for Food program.