Say it ain’t so:
WASHINGTON (March 27) – Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.
Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official, who was charged Wednesday with setting up the junket at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.
The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators “have no information whatsoever” any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.
That’s bullshit. How could they not have known? If it wasn’t tax-payer funded (like junkets normally are) or came out of their own pockets, there’s no way these three traitors can claim ignorance. What kind of a “charity” did they think Al-Hanooti ran?
“Obviously, we didn’t know it at the time,” McDermott spokesman Michael DeCesare said Wednesday. “The trip was to see the plight of the Iraqi children. That’s the only reason we went.”
Oh yeah, guess where else Al-Hanooti was employed:
Al-Hanooti was active in other local groups. He was former head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the president of Focus on American and Arab Interests and Relations.
The ‘no WMDs’ fallacy gets perpetuated in stories like this:
During the trip, the lawmakers expressed skepticism about the Bush administration’s claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Though such weapons ultimately were never found, the lawmakers drew criticism for their trip at the time.
Oh, yes they were:
All of those weapons were previously unknown to U.N. inspectors.
Here’s just some of the comments by the Baghdad Dems and the subsequent Arab news reports during their trip:
EVEN BEFORE the Baghdad boys left Iraq, media outlets throughout the Middle East gleefully highlighted divisions in the U.S. government and the travels by the “antiwar” congressmen. The Iraq Daily, for example, published by Saddam’s Ministry of Information, printed daily updates of the trip and posted them in English on their website.
For example, a September 30 report says, “the members of the U.S. Congress delegation has underlined that this visit aims to get acquainted with the truth of Iraq’s people sufferings due to ongoing embargo which caused shortage in food and medicine for all Iraqi people.” (That article appeared next to a report on Saddam’s continuing financial support for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers or, to use the paper’s formulation, “intrepid Palestinian uprising martyrs.”
Also in that issue is an article by American white supremacist Matthew Hale, “Truth About 9-11: How Jewish Manipulation Killed Thousands.”) Two days earlier, on September 28, the Iraq Daily carried this report: The “U.S. Congress delegation saw a woman supplicating to Almighty God to revenge from criminal Bush and U.S. administration for the criminal crimes he and his administration perpetrated against Iraqi children through preventing them from the simplest life necessities due to the continuation of the unjust sanctions on Iraq.”
On September 27, viewers of Iraqi Satellite Channel Television learned the following (this translation comes from U.S. government sources): “Three U.S. Congressmen arrived in Baghdad this morning on a visit lasting several days. The delegation will hold several meetings with Iraqi officials and members of the Foreign Relations Committee at the National Assembly. They will also visit hospitals to see the suffering caused by the unjust embargo and the shortage of medicines and medical supplies.
Congressman Jim McDermott told reporters upon arrival at Saddam International Airport that the delegation members reject the policy of aggression dominating the U.S. administration.” The video then showed McDermott talking, with a voiceover translation in Arabic. Here is what Arabic-speaking audiences heard from McDermott: “We are three veterans of the Vietnam War who came over here because we don’t want war. We assert from here that we do not want the United States to wage war on any peace-loving countries.
As members of Congress, we would like diplomatic efforts to continue so as not to launch any aggression. We will visit children’s hospitals to see the negative impact of the sanctions imposed on Iraq. We hope that peace will prevail throughout the world.”
So how does it feel to be used as a propaganda tool against your own country? McDermott, who was asked that question by CNN’s Jane Arraf when he was still in Baghdad, said it feels fine. “If being used means that we’re highlighting the suffering of Iraqi children, or any children, then, yes, we don’t mind being used.”
The suffering of Iraqi children? You mean like the ones who were gassed in Halabj along with their parents by Hussein’s “non-existent” WMDs, or the ones who ended up in mass graves?
The Dembats know they’re tools and “they don’t mind”. They went right to Saddam’s home turf and gave aid and comfort to the enemy. That violates Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution as well as the Logan Act.
They can’t help it. Anti-American hatred is part of the their DNA.