Monday, August 23, 2004

PM was told war would spur terrorism: "The Federal Government was warned repeatedly by intelligence analysts before the Iraq war that the conflict would harm the war on terrorism by fanning Islamic extremism and spurring terrorist recruiting. An investigation by the Herald, which has included interviews with several serving and retired intelligence figures, has uncovered that John Howard and his senior colleagues were briefed on the dangers, verbally and in written reports.

"Yet the Prime Minister told Australians on the eve of the conflict that the war would lessen the terrorist threat, contradicting his intelligence advice. The revelation raises serious questions about the inquiry into the intelligence services commissioned by the Government and conducted by Philip Flood. The inquiry never mentioned the warnings about an increased terrorist threat.

"'They were very, very aware of our views,' one former intelligence analyst said. 'We believed it would inflame extremism and increase terrorist recruitment.' The source said these views were relayed in written reports and in verbal briefings to Mr Howard and his ministers in the months and weeks leading up to the conflict. The sources said senior Government members were constantly being briefed on al-Qaeda and terrorism, including the impact of the Iraq war on the jihad being carried out by al-Qaeda."

The only realistic conclusion one can draw is that the Howard Government, along with the Bush and Blair governments, attacked Iraq knowing it would increase the risk of terrorist retaliation, which of course also gives the lie to the government position that terrorists attack because they 'hate our freedoms'. And yet at the same time, all these governments pose as fighting a 'war on terror' and still have significant elements of the population deceived to this extent.

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