Skip to comments.Scott Ritter in Pro-Iraq Movie Deal
Posted on 09/01/2002 9:57:54 AM PDT by Jean S
As many of his media colleagues have done in recent days, NBC's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert invoked the name of former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter on Sunday to bolster claims that the White House is overstating the threat posed by Iraq.
"Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has said that Saddam is not a threat; that while he was an inspector about 95 percent of his (WMD) capability was destroyed," Russert announced.
But while the former Marine who was booted out by Iraq in 1998 continues to be cited reverentially by Russert and others, they never seem to get around to mentioning Ritter's reported involvement in a pro-Iraq movie deal that depends on financing from an Iraqi-American supporter of Saddam Hussein.
"The U.S. will definitely not like this film," Ritter himself admitted to the Weekly Standard last November, as he described a return trip to Baghdad in July 2000 that was accomplished with Saddam's blessing.
He was visiting the terrorist state to work on his documentary film, "In Shifting Sands," the goal of which was to chronicle the weapons-inspection process and, according to Ritter, "de-demonize" Iraq.
Though the former weapons inspector claims his 90-minute documentary is objective, he told the Standard it was produced with the approval of the Iraqi government and features interviews with numerous high-level Iraqi officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
Saddam's one-time nemesis managed to secure the unprecedented access through the help of Shakir al-Khafaji, an Iraqi-American real estate developer who ponied up $400,000 for Ritter's movie.
Ritter confessed that al-Khafaji, who accompanied him to Iraq, is "openly sympathetic with the regime in Baghdad." The well-connected businessman was apparently instrumental in getting him interviews with top Iraqi officials.
Though the former UNSCOM troubleshooter denies that al-Khafaji had any editorial input on the film, Ritter confessed that his documentary could have never been made without the pro-Saddam businessman's help.
"I tried to get independent sources to fund the movie," Ritter told the Standard before turning defensive. "People can talk about the funding all they want. If I'd been able to be bought -- from '95 to '98 the CIA paid me. Did I do their bidding?"
But the real question has nothing to do with whether or not Ritter has been unduly influenced by his recent cozy relationship with a regime the U.S. is set to attack.
The real problem is that the U.S. media continues to cite Ritter as an unbiased authority on the Iraqi threat without breathing a word about his nifty little pro-Iraq movie deal bankrolled by Saddam's wealthy booster.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
Your puffery is ridiculous. The statements made about you by Doug were 'facts'. YOUR DIRECT WORDS. If you don't want to be called on YOUR WORDS then you should think twice before posting them.
I like these quotes and think perhaps they apply to you.
I made a few simple observations using your own words, and you unfortunately went ballistic. I just found out that you've been here since 1998. It is clear to me why we have never had a dialogue.
We can certainly agree about communism being one of the two great evils of the 20th Century. Beyond that, I really don't think I want to talk to you. I will do my best to refrain from calling you a mental patient.
. . .a traitorous bump. . .
Scott Ritter Points to Fear The American arms inspector for the United Nations who recently quit in protest over US policy toward Iraq is back in the news again. Scott Ritter has more to say, now claiming that the United States lacks the will to use force against Saddam Hussein and that the Iraqi leader successfully called our bluff. "It has to be credible force in order for Saddam to flinch, and I think the Iraqis just called the bluff," he said. "There is an illusion of arms control taking place. Right now we are not doing meaningful inspections in Iraq, and if people do not change course the end result will be that Iraq will be able to retain these capabilities." Scott Ritter, of course, is a man who would know what he is talking about. If his assessment is correct, we should certainly give this matter our urgent attention.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And it your contention that without a significant and realistic threat of military actionaq will not allow the investigations to begin again, beyond just the monitoring that's already going on?
WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Well, in this I would only echo the words made by the Secretary-General and other personnel back in February, who said that you couldn't have had the February MOU without the real and credible threat of military force. That's an obvious statement. can't expect to enforce the law unless you have the means to carry out the enforcement.
That's the point. People like Russert -- and most other mainstreamers who cite Ritter -- don't want to. Why not?
Black on Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca": "A bullet through your brain doesn't take away your pain, IT KILLS YOU!"
Black on Spielberg's P.C. E.T.: "You know what they're saying in those walkie-talkies? 'WHAT THE H*LL HAPPENED TO OUR GUNS?!!!'"