Lost in all the media hand-wringing over the CNN “Operation Tailwind”
scandal is one fact that makes the press establishment very
uncomfortable — the network’s fraud was exposed by that new breed of
Internet journalism that is supposed to be so irresponsible.
That’s right. It was WorldNetDaily, the fastest-growing independent
Internet news service that first reported the problems with the Peter
Arnett/April Oliver story. We followed it through the forced resignation
of CNN military adviser Maj. Gen. Perry Smith, and we will continue to
hammer away the deceit and defamation until all of the cable network’s
dirty laundry has been aired.
But it’s not supposed to be this way, according to the corporate
media establishment. CNN and Time, et al, are supposed to be the
responsible news agencies. The Internet is supposed to be nothing more
than a rumor mill. And that’s why there has been precious little
reporting explaining how this story was exposed in the first place.
Thankfully, some talk radio programs have made the point — crediting
WorldNetDaily for the scoop. Plenty of military people have noticed,
too. We have received more than 600 e-mails from thankful veterans for
the coverage we provided that led to the retraction by CNN and the
firing of some of those responsible.
It just goes to show you how fast the truth — if properly
disseminated — can impact a nation woefully deprived of it. Much of the
credit for digging out that truth should go to Tom Marzullo, a concerned
vet who conducted his own parallel investigation as Arnett and Oliver
prepared their bogus story. Marzullo remains determined to get all the
facts on the table so that none of the guilty parties escape
condemnation and judgment.
Marzullo says there is much more to this story than the apology by
CNN has let on.
“I can demonstrate that CNN intentionally falsified the show and
intended to do so,” he says. “I can name people, places, dates and
methods. I believe I can draw a connection between Peter Arnett and the
regime of Saddam Hussein.”
Pretty strong accusation. But listen to what he has found. In 1991,
Arnett, as we all remember, covered Desert Storm for CNN in Baghdad. He
was granted access and information no other western journalist could
“Arnett produced shows that were decidedly pro-Saddam and at least
one well known, true propaganda piece, the ‘baby milk factory’ story,”
Marzullo recalls. That was the one in which Arnett helped bolster phony
claims by Hussein that U.S. planes had bombed a factory that produced
“baby milk.” We were supposed to believe this claim because the factory
was marked with the English words “baby milk.” Later, we learned that
the factory actually produced chemical weapons.
After the war, Arnett continued to be a constant visitor to Iraq. His
access to Iraqi officials remained unparalleled.
“Following the regional customs, Arnett had to have an Iraqi driver,
as it is an unforgivable breach of etiquette for a person of high status
to drive his own car anywhere,” Marzullo says. “Failure to abide by this
custom meant that he would lower his social status and make many of his
contacts inaccessible. Arnett’s driver had been working for him for some
two years, when the Iraqi secret police seized this driver and
questioned him for days using electro-shock and other methods of
torture, then threw him out into the street near death. The Iraqi story was
that the driver was suspected of being a spy for the CIA. The driver was
not assisted in any way by CNN and left to recover or not as chance may
have it. Sources within the anti-Saddam Iraqi organizations hold forth
that the person that turned in the driver was Arnett.”
Even if this accusation is not true, the question arises as to why
Arnett’s routine of visits in Iraq would be of such importance to the
Recall that in the introduction to CNN’s “Operation Tailwind”
special, Arnett drew the connection between his phony allegations about
the use of lethal nerve gas by the U.S. in Southeast Asia and similar
charges against Iraq. He actually questioned how the U.S. could condemn
Iraq for having chemical weapons when America used them in 1970.
“The international effects of the CNN/Time program are immediate and
predictable,” says Marzullo. “The international press picks up this
story and within hours the entire world knows of the allegations. The
efforts to remove the chemical weapons from Iraq’s Saddam Hussein come
to a sudden halt. France and Russia, eager for lucrative Iraqi contracts
to bolster their ailing economies take up the call to end U.S. hegemony
in the gulf region. Iraq now has and begins to employ a propaganda tool
of biblical proportions.”
Makes you wonder if there’s not a lot more to this story than just
incredibly bad journalism, doesn’t it?