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These are various messages about the allegations (which appeared on BBC TV news yesterday) that Iraq loaded VX nerve gas into warheads... ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 07:59:32 -0500 (CDT) From: Ali Abunimah <email@example.com> ________________________________________________________________________ The usual pattern is repeating itself. Whenever Iraq appear to take a step closer to having the genocidal sanctions on its civilian population lifted, salacious stories about evil Iraqi misdeeds suddenly appear in the Washington press, throwing cold water on hopes that the true biological warfare of sanctions might end. Recall that just a week ago the hardline Richard Butler even suggested that the whole inspection regime could be wrapped up within two months. At the beginning of the year, the U.S. produced unsubstantiated stories that Iraq was experimenting on prisoners. The previous November they issued the scare stories about VX, even though Iraq clearly had no such capability. This story (below) calls those earlier reports "long-standing suspicions," while the U.S. always claims it has secret evidence that it of course cannot show to anyone. Perhaps the most absurd such case was the alleged bomb plot against former U.S. President George Bush, which resulted in June 1993 in a massive U.S. cruise missile attack on Baghdad which killed eight civilians and wounded dozens of others. As the extreme and eccentric U.S. position in support of indefinitely keeping the entirely Iraqi population in a giant death camp, becomes more and more isolated, the U.S. uses ever more desperate tactics to try to keep the world on its side. It offers some small comfort that the civilised world is increasingly fed up with these sanctions, while the U.S.'s whole set of policies in the middle east, especially its indulgence and support of Israeli terrorism, are making it more and more isolated, like a wounded but heavily armed desperado of the (fictional) Far West. Ali Abunimah firstname.lastname@example.org **************** Iraq May Have Used Deadly Nerve Gas WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.N. weapons inspectors have found evidence that Iraq armed missile warheads with VX nerve gas prior the Persian Gulf War, The Washington Post reported. The information is included in a confidential U.S. Army laboratory analysis of warhead fragments taken from a pit at Taji, Iraq, in March, the Post said in today's editions. The paper said it obtained a copy of the report from the Iraqi National Congress, the principal Iraqi exile group, and confirmed the findings with diplomatic sources. Analyzed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the samples from the warhead fragments revealed ``significant amounts'' of VX disulfide and stabilizer, the Post reported. A few drops of the nerve gas can kill a human in minutes. The new report could reignite concerns about Iraq's hiding of weapons of mass destruction. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler, in a June 16 report to the U.N. Security Council, said the Iraqi side rejected the initial findings. The Post said Butler also reported: ``Iraq refused to undertake additional steps to clarify the extent of its attempts to produce the chemical warfare agent VX. Iraq stated that this matter was closed and that it was only ready to discuss the evidence available to the commission of incorrect declarations on VX.'' Butler is to report his completed findings to the Security Council on Wednesday. The lab report would corroborate long-standing suspicions that Iraq had made weapons with the VX gas, despite its denials. In February of this year, Butler, in a draft report on the weapons situation in Iraq, criticized the lack of progress made in getting information on Iraq's past and current ability to produce VX. According to the Post, Republican congressional leaders have sent a letter to President Clinton, demanding to know whether the president would stand behind Butler in a confrontation with Iraq. Y-06-23-98 0524EDT ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Iraqi comments on the results of the analysis of the remnant warheads [precise source unknown - SW] Iraq rejects these results categorically. The results cannot be accurate since Vx was not used in any kind of munitions in Iraq due to continuous production failure. The Government of Iraq would like to clarify the following: 1- During the high level meeting with UNSCOM , we were informed that the results of analyzing 7 samples of 23 completely analyzed samples, part of 44 samples submitted, showed variable traces of Vx and a trace of a stabilizer in one sample only and not in the other 6 samples. No other results or explanations were submitted by UNSCOM. 2- Iraq requested detailed analytical results for all samples and explanations of the methods of testing so that Iraq can study those results scientifically because there is certainly an error since Iraq is confident that no Vx was produced and filled in any kind of munitions. UNSCOM promised it will send the details pertaining to the analysis of samples on June 23, 1998 but this has not yet been received. 3- The following points inclines the Iraqi side to be reserved on the issue of analyzing samples for the following reasons: A- Those samples were taken individually without giving Iraq equivalent samples as was agreed upon in order to refer to them for comparisons and discussions. B- Some of the samples were taken in 1995 to the Baghdad Center for Verification and Monitoring and remained there until taken for analysis in 1998. C- No soil samples were taken from the destruction sites for comparison purposes. D- Finding a trace of a stabilizer in one sample out of 7 analyzed is not evidence because if Vx was used, a stabilizer would have been found in every sample. E- Scientifically, since all sample were taken from destruction sites then the results ought to match in some way in all samples. 4- Iraq had previously insisted that the analysis of anything of importance be done in a neutral country or for the samples to evenly divided among laboratories of other countries and that these samples should be obtained in accordance with procedures that will insure safe delivery to the laboratories. This has been done with the remnants of the long-range missile engines that were tested in laboratories in France, Russia and the United States. 5- We are astonished that UNSCOM wants to review the matter before the Security Council while an agreement was reached with Mr. Butler, Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, during the high level meeting in Baghdad, that re-examining the samples with the participating of various international laboratories would be necessary and to discuss the results in a scientific conference in Baghdad next July. 6- We were also astonished to see the leak to the press before the matter was even reported to the Security Council and for the so-called Iraqi opposition to be involved in such a leak which challenges the professional and scientific nature of UNSCOMís work. ---- -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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