Monday, January 24, 2005

More Lies, exposed after the fact

Bush Administration, right-wing pattern. Make up a lie, drumbeat it repeatedly into our heads, so that it becomes a mantra, take action based upon the lie, make sure that by the time the lie is exposed it hardly gets any coverage.

In short:


Here's another one:

Wolfowitz story falsified

UNRAVELLING: A woman lied about being tortured during Saddam Hussein's reign and a US newspaper is having to backtrack on a story it wrote about her

Testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July 2003 about the rebuilding of Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the story of Jumana Michael Hanna, an Iraqi woman who had recently come to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad with a tale of her horrific torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Hanna's tale -- more than two years of imprisonment that included being subjected to electric shocks, repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted -- was unusual in that she was willing to name the Iraqi police officials who participated in her torture, "information that is helping us to root out Baathist policemen who routinely tortured and killed prisoners," Wolfowitz said.

But Hanna's story, which 10 days before Wolfowitz's testimony had been the subject of a front-page article in the Washington Post, appears to have unraveled. Esquire magazine, in this month's issue, published a lengthy article, by a writer who was hired to help Hanna produce a memoir, saying that her account had all but fallen apart.

And on Thursday, the Post itself published a follow-up article saying that Hanna, who was granted refugee status by US officials on the basis of her claims of imprisonment, torture and sexual abuse, "appears to have made false claims about her past, according to a fresh examination of her statements."

The articles in Esquire and the Post concluded that none of Hanna's allegations about torture could be verified. Sara Solovitch, the author of the Esquire article, wrote that the law under which Hanna was supposedly imprisoned in Iraq never existed.

And the Post article, by Peter Finn, the correspondent who wrote the original article in 2003, quoted several of Hanna's in-laws as saying that Hanna's husband, who she previously said had been executed in the same prison where she was tortured, was still alive.

Yesterday, the Washington Post did its own mea culpa on the story on Inauguration day and essentially buried it:

Ultimately, The Post did the right thing in re-reporting this story and laying out all the flaws. Headlined "Threads Unravel in Iraqi's Tale," it appeared Thursday on Page A18, and there was a small reference to it on the front page. That it was well inside the paper on Inauguration Day annoyed those who were initially critical. They have a point. This was a big and powerful front-page story, with pictures, 18 months ago, and correcting the record deserved more prominence.

Let me know when you guys ACTUALLY do the right thing and print retractions to your constant drumbeat of Administration and War Whoring of the Spring of 2003!

Good thing no one will be held accountable, what with the freedom marching and the torture chambers and rape rooms under new management. Nothing at all will happen to Wolfowitz, who apparently can fuck up in any number of ways without it EVER being a problem.

Wolfowitz, Feith, et al. New motto: Not as evil as Heydrich, Not as competent as Heydrich, but just as banal.

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