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Thursday, April 27, 2006


Remember the Rendon Group? They have long been a CIA and Defense Department contractor, helping to sell wars that America favors for one reason or another.

Rendon essentially created the Iraqi National Congress and then worked with INC-produced "defectors" to help create the myth that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Under the Iraq Liberation Act, Congress created a nice pot of money to make all this possible.

Journalist Jack Fairweather reveals more detail about the INC's and Rendon's shady operations in the March/April 2006 Mother Jones. Fairweather interviewed a former INC official he pseudonymously calls "Haider," who more than debunks the story of General Jamal al-Ghurairy.

Ghurairy had granted an anonymous interview to PBS's "Frontline" on November 6, 2001, describing the infamous "Salman Pak" training facility, where Iraqis and various foreign nationals allegedly practiced airline hijackings. A New York Times reporter, Chris Hedges, was also present and he too bought the general's story:
"These Islamic radicals were a scruffy lot. They needed a lot of training, especially physical training. But from speaking with them it was clear they came from a variety of countries, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States. The gulf war never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war with the United States. We were repeatedly told this."
The tale was also in the White House's "A Decade of Deception and Denial," September 12, 2002, which was used to launch the pro-war PR campaign.

Though the Salman Pak tale has previously been debunked, Fairweather details the extent of the ruse:
Unfortunately, the story was an elaborate scam. The purported general had indeed met with American intelligence agents in Turkey, but unbeknownst to Hedges the agents had dismissed his claims out of hand. What the reporters also didn’t know, and what has never before been reported, is that it now appears that the man himself was a fake. According to an ex-INC official, the Ghurairy who met with the Times and PBS was actually a former Iraqi sergeant, then living in Turkey and known by the code name Abu Zainab. The real Lt. General Ghurairy, it seems, had never left Iraq.
Fairweather interviewed the real general recently and identifies the imposter who portrayed him for the INC. Haider admits that "defectors" were often coached as to what "bullshit" (his word) to say.

Let's keep this kind of stuff in mind as the Iran debate proceeds.

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