Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yahoo News Leaves Out Pelletiere Dispute In Article On Chemical Ali Sentence

In a Yahoo news article describing the sentencing of Ali Hassan al-Majid (better known by his nickname, "Chemical Ali") to death by hanging, facts that challenged the exaggerations of Saddam Hussein's crimes of war during Iraq's conflict with Iran in the 1980s were left out. Below are to relevant screen captures.

The news article left out information that had been chronicled by Stephen C. Pelletiere that originally appeared in a New York Times column in January 2003, right after George W. Bush's deception-riddled State of the Union speech (reproduced by Pelletiere, who was the senior CIA analyst on the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s and who later taught at the Army War College, challenged key assertions made by supporters of invading Iraq that the late Saddam Hussein has gassed Kurds at the town of Halabja in 1988. In 1990, Pelletiere had written in defense of his book, Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East, expanding on what the U.S. knew of events in 1988 concerning the alleged gassing of Kurds. Evidence showed that Iranian-used blood agents had killed Kurds in the northern Iraqi town, during a battle in which both sides used chemical weapons.

Furthermore, according to an entry currently up at, "A preliminary Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) study at the time concluded, apparently by determining the chemicals used by looking at images of the victims, that it was in fact Iran that was responsible for the attack, an assessment which was used subsequently by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for much of the early 1990s. The CIA's senior political analyst for the Iran-Iraq war, Stephen C. Pelletiere, co-authored an unclassified analysis of the war [2] which contained a brief summary of the DIA study's key points. The CIA altered its position radically in the late 1990s and cited Halabja frequently in its evidence of WMD before the 2003 invasion. [3]"

Finally, the U.S. Army War College's report on alleged gassing of Kurds in 1988 contradicted claims that Iraq had deliberately gassed Kurdish civilians. The report is reproduced at It is wrong to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons under any circumstances, against any target, because of their potential for affecting civilians en masse. And Saddam Hussein bore responsibility for using his country's stores of chemical agents during the war with Iran. But the full truth of what happened in Kurdish territory in Iraq 1988 indicates that the culprit was Iran, in an act of war, and that Kurds (most of whom were probably guerrillas fighting for the Iranians) were simply caught in the crossfire; and that an alleged attack later that year had no bodies with which to prove conclusively that it had even occurred.

Had this dissenting view been presented louder and more thoroughly by the mainstream media before the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a key lie for its justification would have been weakened--perhaps to the point where public support would have been significantly less than it ultimately was. That the exclusion of credible evidence by our own intelligence agencies and military contradicting the allegations of gas attacks by Iraq against the Kurds continues to this day, is reprehensible.

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