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Web of Deceit, by Barry Lando

Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity Iraq from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush


Reviews of WEB OF DECEIT by Barry Lando

“Fascinating. A stunning case of victor’s justice. Barry Lando’s WEB OF DECEIT is a compelling must-read that goes far beyond the current crop of books on Iraq. Lando uses his investigative skills to dig into the sordid history of western relations with Iraq, not just since 9/11, but over the past 85 years. The book follows an appalling trail of western cynicism, betrayal, and deceit since the country was founded. It is an indictment of western leaders from Winston Churchill to Jacques Chirac, to every American president from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. If you want to understand Iraq, this is the book.”
Mike Wallace, Correspondent, “60 Minutes”

“The definitive history of how the West sustained the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. The chaos, violence and ethnic strife in Iraq today are a legacy of this deceit.”
Vince Cannistraro, Former CIA Chief of Counterterrorism Operations and Analysis

“A book of genuine, enduring distinction. Deeply researched and entirely engrossing… a masterpiece of narration and exposition. Barry Lando has delivered up a masterful account.”
Richard Sale, Intelligence Correspondent for United Press International

“Barry Lando’s WEB OF DECEIT is a splendid, gripping, documented, dispassionate, and badly-needed investigative account of western relations with Iraq , leading up to Saddam Hussein and the two American wars with Iraq, describing the blunders, deceits, betrayals and bad faith on all sides that contributed to bringing those wars on, creating the catastrophe that now has happened and is certain to haunt the United States for years to come. Lando does an immense
public service with this book.”
William Pfaff, Veteran Columnist on Foreign Affairs, International Herald Tribune

“In unraveling the threads of the Iraq fiasco, going back to the fall of the Ottomans, Barry Lando creates a tapestry that makes sense of today’s events. It’s not a pretty tapestry; there’s no way the history of Iraq over the last century can be prettified, much less ennobled. But it clarifies the
precedents– nay, the warnings– that were available to the U.S. government in 2003, and that were consistently ignored in the stumble into war.”
Milton Viorst, author, Storm from the East: The Conflict between the Arab World and the Christian West

“Barry Lando’s WEB OF DECEIT is a superb demonstration of ‘Investigative History”. Why are we in Iraq? Because we have been on a path paved with lies for more than fifty years. Essential reading.”
Richard Reeves, syndicated columnist and author of President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination

“How the U.S. came to invade Iraq and how that invasion became the great debacle of U.S. foreign policy has been told again and again. Lando tells a different story--how the U.S. helped make Saddam the tyrant he was and how the U.S. helped him win the war he started against Iran and how the U.S. helped keep him in power. You will be convinced that the U.S. was complicit in Saddam’s crimes.”
Marvin Zonis, Professor, Graduate School of Business, The University of Chicago and author, Majestic Failure, The Fall of the Shah

“A superb review of decades of institutionalized dishonesty, ignorance and arrogance paid for by innocent people in Iraq and the United States.”
H.C. von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq 1998-2000


Click here for book reviews of Web of Deceit
by Barry Lando


Dust Jacket Text for WEB OF DECEIT: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
Reprinted by permission of Other Press

This unique investigative history of Western complicity in Saddam Hussein’s crimes reveals the story his trial never could: George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq is just the latest in a series of cynical and duplicitous acts by foreign leaders, beginning after WWI, when the country was cobbled together by foreign interests. WEB OF DECEIT draws on a wide range of journalism and scholarship to present the catastrophic impact of foreign intervention in Iraq during the reign of Saddam--and the years leading to his rise to power..

The book ranges from the CIA backed coups that enabled the Baath Party to seize power to the U.S.’s secret encouragement to Saddam to invade Iran, to America’s willful ignoring of the Saddam’s use of chemical weapons, first against Iranian troops and then his own people. Lando chronicles how Ronald Reagan and George W.H. Bush continued to arm Saddam despite warnings from their own intelligence agencies that he was intent on producing WMD, and details how Washington’s feckless policies helped provoke Saddam to invade Kuwait.

Lando lays out the shameful history of George W.H. Bush’s 1991 inciting Iraqis to rise against Saddam--only to turn his back when they heeded the call. Indeed the American President actually aided Saddam to repress the revolt, even as Saddam’s men slaughtered tens perhaps hundreds of thousands of Shiites. The author also describes the murderous impact of the U.N. trade sanctions that the U.S. and Britain maintained on Iraq--long after they were proven ineffectual--despite evidence that huge numbers of Iraqi civilians, mainly children, were dying as a result.

Many of those facts might have been divulged during a no-holds-barred trial of Saddam, but those in control made sure that would never happen. The rules of the game mean that foreigners cannot be prosecuted, a stunning case of victor’s justice--and a point that most of the media has completely ignored.

Barry M. Lando, a graduate of Harvard and Columbia University, spent over 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with 60 Minutes. The author of numerous articles about Iraq, he produced a documentary about Saddam Hussein that has been shown around the world. He lives in Paris.


Talking Points -WEB OF DECEIT by Barry Lando
Reprinted with permission by Other Press

“The current debacle in Iraq is just the latest example of eighty years of disastrous foreign intervention in Iraq that has resulted in not hundreds of thousands but millions of deaths.”

That is the provocative subject of the new book by Barry Lando, a 25-year veteran of CBS’s “60 Minutes”, WEB OF DECEIT: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, From Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush (Other Press, January 23, 2007, $24.95).

WEB OF DECEIT details a shameful history--including years of complicity with Saddam Hussein--that, says Lando, “many of the world’s great leaders, past and present, would prefer to bury and forget.”

  • Those complicit in the deaths of at least two million people in Iraq and Iran during the reign of Saddam include Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush pere and fils, Margaret Thatcher, Jacques Chirac, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Prince Fahd, and many of the officials who guided their foreign policy, and ran their militaries and intelligence agencies.
  • Blood is also on the hands of American and foreign businessmen, leaders of agro-business, oil tycoons, and arms merchants who profited handsomely from doing business with Saddam Hussein.
  • The chemical weapons Saddam used against the Kurds—and earlier against Iranians— were supplied primarily by French, Belgian, and German firms, often with their governments’ knowledge.
  • The U.S. blocked moves in the U.N. and the U.S. Congress to condemn Saddam for his use of mustard and nerve gasses. One American official involved in that policy was General Colin Powell.

Much of this sordid information might have come out during the trial of Saddam Hussein, still on-going. Instead, says Lando “the Special Iraqi Tribunal “has been transformed into a shameful case of ‘victors’ justice.’ “

  • As established by the U.S. and its Iraqi allies, the Special Tribunal is immune to international input, and only Iraqi citizens can be charged or subpoenaed.
  • Moreover it is being financed and advised by the United States, the very power that once armed Saddam, encouraged him, and stymied attempts of others to reign him in.
  • The Tribunal is not considering Saddam’s 1979 illegal invasion of Iran, which led to the longest war of the Twentieth Century. “The issue of illegal invasions is treacherous ground for the United States after its unauthorized attack on Iraq,” comments Lando.
  • More to the point, it was Jimmy Carter’s United States, via the Saudis, who gave Saddam the green light to invade Khomeini’s Iran in the first place.
  • Over the following years, the U.S. and its allies not only provided billions of dollars in weapons to Iraq--and occasionally Iran--but also intelligence information that enabled Saddam to target Iranian troops with chemical weapons.
  • Saddam Hussein would have disappeared from the scene long ago if George H.W. Bush had supported the Shiites and Kurds when they rose against Saddam in 1991, answering a call for revolt by the American President. Instead, Bush turned his back on the rebels, and actually aided the Iraqi tyrant to crush the uprising; then ordered American troops to stand by as Saddam slaughtered tens of thousands of Shiites in revenge.
  • Bush’s decision--which was contested by some of his own advisors--was based on faulty intelligence and an exaggerated fear of provoking instability throughout the region.
  • The bleak options confronting the U.S. and the region today are far more threatening than they were fifteen years ago.

Other points made by Lando:

The 1963 coup that brought Saddam’s Baath party to power was supported by John F. Kennedy’s CIA, which provided lists of hundreds of supposed Iraqi Communists, who were duly arrested, tortured, and executed. (Saddam, at the time, was one of the torturers)

Iran, Israel, and the United States under Richard Nixon made use of the Kurds to undermine the central government in Iraq by arming and training the tribesmen--then left them to be massacred by Saddam in 1975. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pointed out, “One should not confuse undercover action with social work.”

The first to use machine guns and bombs to put down unruly Iraqis were the British, in 1921, when Winston Churchill was Home Secretary. He also suggested the RAF use mustard gas for the job.

The Iraqi Tribunal will continue for several more months at least--while the U.S. will be struggling with the Iraqi quagmire for years--meaning the barbed points made above will long be relevant.

Lando has also commented on current developments in Iraq in recent OpEd pieces in the Los Angeles Times and the Toronto Globe & Mail, as well as in his blog,


In His Own Words
Return to Barry Lando Main Page
OpEd Pieces by Barry Lando

Barry Lando is available for speeches, seminars and extended residencies exclusively through the MasterMedia Speakers Bureau.


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