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Colin Powell is frequently held up, by those who know nothing about him, as some sort of paragon of virtue--the one guy who would give the straight story. Even many political opponents of the administration regard him as the leper with the most fingers. In reality, of course, Powell is just as great a fraud and bunko artist as the other maggots in the present administration. A few items to help set the record straight:

In his infamous UN presentation (a mountain of mendacity that makes the Tower of Babel look like a childrens' sandpile), Powell played tapes of Iraqis allegedly discussing removing banned material from sites before UN inspectors got there. The potentially damning comments were the ones about "clean[ing] out" a site. He followed this alleged remark by quoting thusly: "Make sure there is nothing there."

The problem?

Both of these "quotes" were fabricated by Powell, probably on the spot. At no point in the actual tapes is there any talk about "clean[ing] out" a site, and the last part, about making sure there's nothing there, is wholly fabricated. None of any of this actually occurs in the tape anywhere, nor was it even included in the official State Department translation, and without it, the tape in question is innocuous.

This was exposed within days by Gilbert Cranberg, formerly of the Des Moines Register, but the press was so busy fawning over Powell's "performance," it went essentially unreported.

In another example, the administration, shortly before the invasion, acquired a new bin Laden tape. Powell went to the Senate and claimed that bin Laden, on the tape, says "he is in partnership with Iraq. This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored." The State Department's resident neocon slimeball Richard Boucher said the tape proved the two were "bound by a common hatred," and that bin Laden, on the tape, "says it doesn't matter if people are socialist--we're going to fight together with them to destroy everything that we can." A senior Bush administration official told CNN: "At best it is a terrorist making common cause with a brutal dictator and at worst it demonstrates a burgeoning alliance of terror."

The truth?

Bin Laden, on the tape, calls on his followers to fight the "infidel" Americans if they invade Iraq, but he also denounces Hussein as an "infidel" and a "socialist" whose "jurisdiction... has fallen a long time ago."

Most importantly, he explicitly forbids his followers from fighting for the Baghdad regime.

Not once, but twice:

"...we would like to stress a number of important values: First, showing good intentions. This means fighting should be for the sake of the one God. It should not be for championing ethnic groups,or for championing the non-Islamic regimes in all Arab countries, including Iraq."

And later, even more strongly:

"Fighting in support of the non-Islamic banners is forbidden."

IOW, Powell and the others weren't just lying--they were coordinating their lies so they'd tell the same lie. S.O.P. in this administration.

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