From a June 20, 2003 commentary by Charles Jenks
Senator John Kerry Speaks Out – He Was ‘Misled’
Senator John Kerry says he – in fact “every one of us” – was misled by President Bush concerning Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. And he says the deception is one reason he is running for President
Here are links to the Globe and BBC reports on Kerry’s realization that he had been lied to and his determination that he will not let President Bush “off the hook.”
If John Kerry had been interested in the truth, why did he refuse to meet with his Western Mass constituents before voting for the war resolution? Why did he close his Springfield office on October 11 – shutting out his constituents – in the aftermath of his vote in favor of war? https://traprockpeace.org/KerryOffice101102/
Before his vote, on September 30, a group of his constituents, including this writer, met with his foreign policy aide, as part of a national effort organized by the Education for Peace in Iraq Center with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Peace Action, Sisters of St. Joseph, and others. This joint effort worked to bring important resources and constituent concerns about the war directly to their Members of Congress. 140 citizens from 23 states fanned out and had meetings in 102 Congressional Offices, primarily meetings with Senate foreign policy aides.
The intellectual core of the resources presented were from the UK.
1) The ‘Counter-Dossier’ – https://traprockpeace.org/counter-dossier.html – written by Glen Rangwala, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Cambridge and Alan Simpson, Labour MP) was written to counter the notorious Blair dossier released on September 24, 2002 to Parliament and
2) ‘Counter-Dossier II’ – https://traprockpeace.org/archivecounter-dossierII.html a more technical treatment of the weapons of mass destruction claims.
(Traprock had published these papers in the US on the internet and in booklet form with the cooperation of Glen Rangwala. Mr. Rangwala updated and replaced Counter-Dossier II as the lead-up to war progressed – see https://traprockpeace.org/iraqweapons.html )
(As a prelude to the citizens’ lobbying, Traprock Peace Center visited 31 Senate offices on September 24, distributing the Counter-Dossier and meeting with some Senate aides, and WILPF followed up by bringing it to House members the next day.
In October, 2002, 23 Senators and 133 Representatives voted against the Bush Administration’s war resolution. John Kerry voted for it. What did 156 Members of Congress know that Kerry did not know? Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of his constituents had called him, urging him to vote against war. After he voted for war, over 20,000 constituents wrote in the name of Randall Forsberg, who ran against him in a last minute write-in anti-war campaign in November.
The afternoon after his vote on October 11, 2002, he locked his office in Springfield, MA. Western Mass. neighbors and Traprock members were denied entry. Nine of us had gathered outside the building to vigil after individuals had been shut out earlier. We then went to the office. A nice albeit uncomfortable staff person came to talk wtih us at the door but would let no one in. Another 5 others joined us while we were up there. Some had been told there was no room in the office (note one of the empty chairs) and that people would pose a fire hazard. See the PHOTOSTORY of this visit! A certificate of achievement will be given to whoever identifies the peacemaker in the picture!
During the lead up to war, much came to light in terms of US and UK deceptions concerning the weapons of mass destruction allegations. Surely, Senator Kerry took note of these developments.
A few examples:
1) Colin Powell made a case for war to the UN Security Council on February 5th. (See Glen Rangwala’s analysis at the time – https://traprockpeace.org/firstresponse.html ) Powell referred to a British intelligence report, at the UN and as a follow-up before Congress. Glen Rangwala broke the story to the British press that the British ‘Intelligence’ report was largely a plagiarized and out-dated paper by a postgraduate student. https://traprockpeace.org/britishdossier.html Per the Observer (UK) “the finished document appeared to have been cobbled together not by Middle East experts, but by the secretary of Alastair Campbell, the Government’s chief spin doctor, and some gofers.” https://www.observer.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,891940,00.html
2) Newsweek reported that the UN Inspectors had hidden the full interview Gen. Hussein Kamel, who had been in charge of Iraq’s weapons programme before Gulf War I. He defected in 1995 and provided details of Iraq’s programme, but said Iraq destroyed its WMD’s. The US Administration heavily replied in its public statements on the parts of the Kamel interview that it liked, while neglecting the sticky parts – such as his assertions that the WMD’s had been destroyed. Conveniently, the UNSCOM kept the interview under wraps. The CIA re-buffed Newsweek’s story, saying “It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue.” (see https://traprockpeace.org/kamelcoverage.html for a chronology of media coverage). Then, Glen Rangwala showed the CIA was ‘misinformed’ when he published the original transcript of the interview. See his briefing (with a link to the full transcript) at https://traprockpeace.org/kamel.html
3) The so-called evidence that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger – a major reason that Kerry says he supported the war – were widely reported by March 8 to be fraudulent (Chicago Tribune – “Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the UN inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence.” https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/abstract/303432721.html?did=303432721&FMT=ABS&FMTS=FT&PMID=7684&desc=U.S.+evidence+called+forged
Further, on March 16 the Tribune reported that the US had relied on the faked evidence. “At one point, the Niger letters were seen as key evidence in the U.S. case against Iraq. In December, the State Department said Iraq’s declaration to the United Nations regarding its weapons program omitted numerous items. Among them, the State Department said, were “efforts to procure uranium from Niger.'” https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/abstract/306231861.html?did=306231861&FMT=ABS&FMTS=FT&PMID=7684&desc=Fake+document+tied+to+Niger+Embassy
See also “The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq: An Update” by IAEA Director General Dr. Monhamed ElBaradei, March 7, 2003: https://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n006.shtml
The report states: “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents – which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger – are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded. However, we will continue to follow up any additional evidence, if it emerges, relevant to efforts by Iraq to illicitly import nuclear materials.”
John Kerry had ample opportunities to discern the truth, before he voted for the war resolution in October, 2002 and during the build up to the invasion. He says that the Bush administration misled everyone. 156 of his colleagues in Congress would disagree; they voted against war. And, thousands of his constituents would disagree – they called his office or voted for his write-in opponent in November. After the deaths of between 5567 and 7240 civilians in Iraq as of this date (per the Iraq Body Count Project – https://www.iraqbodycount.net/ ) with almost daily shooting deaths of both US soldiers and Iraqi during the occupation (not to mention the thousands of Iraqis who will die due to destructions of infrastructure and health care systems, continuing violence and exposure to the hundreds of tons of depleted uranium residue left in Iraq from US and UK munitions), Senator Kerry speaks out.
He says was misled. Perhaps he did not understand what 156 colleagues and thousands of his constituents understood. Or, could a politican in his position have realized the truth and for political reasons went along, knowing that one could claim later – after things had started to go badly – that one had been misled, along with “every one of us.”
Editor’s Note: This is a slightly revised version of an email that the author published via email on June 19, 2003.
Constituents Locked Out of Kerry’s Office the day he voted for the war resolution in October, 2002.