Over the last two weeks, American officials have outdone themselves telling blatant lies in public. The attempted justifications for US missile strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan have revealed the depth to which they can sink. Senior American officials, especially national security adviser Sandy Berger and secretary of State Madeleine Albright, have lied in front of television cameras in the hope that the gullible American public would buy into them.
The most outrageous lie has been about Al-Shifa Pharmeceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, which the Americans allege was producing compounds for the V series nerve gas. Westerners with intimate knowledge of the factory have categorically denied such allegations. American officials, however, persist in their lies. The latest series, unfortunately are not the only ones. Here is a short list.
1: August 19, 1998: US president Bill Clinton admitted that he had had a sexual relation with Monica Lewinsky, the Jewish woman who was a white house intern. Last January, Clinton had publicly denied having any liaison with her. He told a press conference then, ‘I have had no sexual relation with that woman, Lewinsky.’
2: October 1990: US president George Bush went on television to denounce Iraqi soldiers for throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals, letting them die on the pavement. This story was narrated by a young Kuwaiti girl, Nayyira, at a US senate committee hearing into Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait.
Known to US officials as well as many senators, Nayyira, who had never witnessed the alleged Iraqi atrocities, was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington. Further, the incubator story was a complete fabrication, concocted by Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm, hired by the Kuwaiti government.
This scandalous lie was revealed in March 1991 by a professor from a university in British Columbia, Canada, who visited Kuwait to investige the allegations.
3: July 3, 1988: The American frigate, Vincennes shot down an Iran-Air plane flying between Bandar Abbas and Dubai over the Persian Gulf. All 290 people on board were killed. Immediately after the missile attack on the Iranian civilian plane which was on its regular daily flight and in its correct flight corridor, senior US officials - defence secretary Caspar Weinberger, national security adviser admiral William Crowe and numerous others - brought out maps to try to show that the USS Vincennes was not in Iranian territorial waters but in international waters.
Further, that the plane was shot down because the captain of the ship, commander Will Rogers, said his radar showed an Iranian fighter plane, perhaps an F-14 Tomcat, descending on the ship for an attack.
Both these statements were blatant lies. The Iranian plane was an Airbus, far too large to be confused with a tiny F-14. The plane was not descending but was actually climbing towards its regular altitude.
Senior American officials showed maps from which several Iranian islands were conveniently omitted so that Iran’s territorial waters appeared much further inland than they actually were. This was done to ‘prove’ that the Vincennes was not in Iranian waters.
4: March 1987: When president Ronald Reagan’s plan to supply weapons to the Nicaragua Contra terrorists with money obtained from illegal sale of weapons to Iran was revealed, he was forced to admit that he had lied earlier. But what he said in his admission was quite revealing. ‘My heart and mind tell me that I was telling the truth then as I am now. But the facts and evidence clearly say otherwise.’ However, he felt sure that the American people would forgive him.
Reagan had in fact violated a congressional ban on the supply of weapons to the Contra rebels who were involved in terrorist activities against the legitimate government of Nicaragua. He had also violated the US government’s ban on the sale of weapons to Iran.
5: August 1964: The US government alleged that Russian U-2 boats had attacked American ships in the Gulf of Tonkins off the coast of Vietnam. In retaliation, the Americans launched air strikes against North Vietnam which was on the verge of over-running South Vietnam. Thus began America’s direct involvement in the Vietnam War.
That war cost 58,000 Americans lives and led to the deaths of some 2,000,000 Vietnamese. Virtually the entire countryside of Vietnam was poisoned with Agent Orange, a defoliant, destroying forests, vegetation and marine life. The Americans were finally defeated and driven out of Vietnam.
Many years later, it was revealed that the Gulf of Tonkins incident had never taken place. It was a blatant lie told by the US government and eagerly splashed by American newspapers and magazines. In fact, Both Time magazine and Newsweek ran colourful pictures of Russian U-2 boats attacking American ships and gave lurid details of how the brave American sailors struggled to fight the intruders, an event that had never occurred.
American officials and media are so used to telling lies that they begin to believe their own propaganda. The recent missile attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan also fall under this category.
Muslimedia: September 1-15, 1998