06/06/03 Newsclips on Judith Miller – Neo-Con Propagandist

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peacey (1769 posts) Jun-06-03, 10:20 AM (ET)
Judith Miller – Neo-Con Propagandist


“The paper should be going after writer Judith Miller, who in an effort to promote her neoconservative view of the world, has been relying on questionable sources to convince the NYT and the world at large that Iraq was a haven for weapons of mass destruction. This is serious stuff. Rather than checking a broad range of sources, Miller relied on the purely partisan intelligence provided by one Ahmed Chalabi – the long discredited head of the Iraqi National Congress and Wolfowitz poster-child for a Saddam-free Iraq. Had Miller bothered to talk to anyone at the State Department, they'd have long ago told her Chalabi “commands little respect or legitimacy.” But Judith Miller didn't do that. Instead, Judith Miller used the “intelligence” offered up by Chalabi to fill article after article after damning NYT article – each one that went a long way toward supporting the Pentagon's wacky world view of Iraqi nuclear and biological madness – a world view that is today treated by most as fiction.”


“If the government must re-examine whether data may have been “manipulated” to support the war, surely the New York Times should conduct a similar postwar inventory of its primary WMD reporter, Judith Miller. In the months running up to the war, Miller painted as grave a picture of Iraq's WMD potential as any U.S. intelligence agency, a take that often directly mirrored the Bush administration's view.“


… Miller provides no independent confirmation for any of her blockbuster findings, though she described her news as “the most important discovery to date in the hunt for illegal weapons.” Furthermore, the deal she made with her sources prevented her from interviewing the scientist or even visiting his home. Her military handlers asked that she not identify the scientist or name the uncovered chemicals, that she hold her story for three days, and that she let the military check it prior to publication.

Miller's passive wording-”the copy was then submitted for a check by military officials”-obscures whether the military required her to submit it or if she volunteered. But according to New York Observer reporter Sridhar Pappu, the Times' decision to accept military censorship has caused an internal uproar at the paper. Pappu writes, “One source inside the Times called it a 'wacky-assed piece,' adding that there were 'real questions about it and why it was on page 1.'“


Miller and her editors not only admit that the military vetted her story, they virtually boast of it. They have no compunction in reporting that the Times reporter functioned not as an independent observer or eyewitness, but as a mouthpiece for Pentagon propaganda.

If Miller's article had carried the headline, “We Believe Because Bush and Rumsfeld Say So,” it would have conveyed its precise factual content.

Miller was not in a position to confirm the technical credentials or even the nationality of the alleged scientist, let alone judge his credibility as a witness. Nonetheless, she reported and the Times gave great prominence to the claim that he led MET Alpha to “precursors for a toxic agent that is banned by chemical weapons treaties,” something that US military officials “described as the most important discovery to date in the hunt for illegal weapons.”

Miller repeatedly cited statements made by the scientist to MET Alpha-none of which she actually heard or witnessed-including sweeping claims about the Iraqi weapons program which just happen to dovetail with Bush administration propaganda. She wrote that the scientist described the manufacture of banned weapons and the sharing of chemical and biological weapons technology with Syria, adding that “more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda.”


Miller has been a reporter for some two decades, specializing in the Middle East and “weapons of mass destruction.” Her sources have consisted largely of US and Israeli intelligence agencies with which she has cemented close relations. One indication of this relationship was a 1993 story that was based on her being invited to witness the interrogation of a Palestinian-American who was unlawfully detained for weeks by Israeli security forces on suspicion of links to terrorism.

Publishing a series of books dealing with both Islam and weapons of mass destruction, Miller established her reputation within an interlocking group of right-wing think tanks that have long promoted US war against Iraq and the defense of Israel. The leading figures in these organizations now dominate the civilian leadership of the Pentagon. She co-authored a book on Iraq with Laurie Mylroie, a Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute, who is identified with the thoroughly discredited theories that the Saddam Hussein regime was behind not only the September 11, 2001 attacks, but subsequent anthrax attacks on the US Capitol as well as the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Both Mylroie and Miller are connected to the Middle East Forum, a right-wing pro-Israeli lobbying group that describes its mission as “promoting American interests in the Middle East.” The key figure in this organization is Daniel Pipes, who argues in a recent article that the US has no “moral obligation” to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people and that the war in Iraq must be judged less by “the welfare of the defeated than by the gains of the victors.” The organization lists as its key goals “strong ties to Israel” and a “stable supply and cheap price of oil.”

The Middle East Forum not only advocated a war against Iraq, but has promoted the use of US military force to expel Syrian forces from Lebanon as well.

Miller is listed on the organization's panel of “experts” available for speaking engagements on “militant Islam” and “biological warfare.” Other “experts” include William Kristol, the editor of the right-wing Weekly Standard, and Martin Kramer, the Zionist academic who, together with Pipes, founded Campus Watch, an organization dedicated to creating a blacklist and dossiers on professors deemed hostile to the U.S. and Israel.

According to the Times' ethics guidelines, its reporters are barred from participation in groups that “seek to shape public policy,” in order to avoid damaging the newspaper's “reputation for strict neutrality in reporting on politics and government.” By any objective standard, Miller is in violation of this rule. Politically aligned with the very forces that promoted a war against Iraq on the false pretext of eliminating a threat of weapons of mass destruction, she has been assigned by the Times to the beat of digging up evidence to substantiate that pretext.

Those in charge at the Times are indifferent to this gross conflict of interest and are perfectly content to publish what amounts to politically motivated stories based on unsubstantiated and in all likelihood false allegations.

This form of lying, which has immense consequences in term of promoting government disinformation to justify an illegal war, is routine at the Times. Alongside it, the alleged sins of Jayson Blair are small potatoes indeed.

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