The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear Colleagues, Since Dr. Herring was kind enough to share his findings with the entire CASI listserv, I am replying to him and CASI. I am genuinely happy that he has access to a senior USAF contact who in turn has access to a principle associated with the drafting of "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities", hereafter IWTV. It would help certainly be helpful if they would provide explanations for anomalies in their communication with Dr. Herring, the IWTV document and its release. I would be especially keen to meet with the principle (likely a short drive or subway ride from my university). Regarding section 1 of the Sunday, 9/24/00 posting which summarizes the senior USAF contact, I am confused about the distinction between degrading the water purification of an entire country by direct bombing as opposed to obtaining the same result by using the sanctions (officially imposed by the UN, but is there serious doubt that the 10 years of continued sanctions is dominantly a US-UK policy operating through the UN?). The public relations value of identifying, then blocking the machinery and chemicals needed to "undegrade" the water systems as opposed to simply waging an open and continuous bombing of the water system is clear. However, in terms of the incidence, prevalence and mortality rate of diseases caused by the continuously "degraded" water supply, there is little distinction that I can see, but perhaps the DOD can enlighten me. Section 2 of the posting, prompted me to return to the DOD's site which contains IWTV. The following paragraphs are the DOD's own description of the content of the Gulflink documents which include "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities". I'm providing the first paragraphs follow the urls where they are found, so folks can verify the quotations. I relied on these paragraphs and common sense to form the judgment that IWTV was a declassified document. Perhaps I was careless in concluding that IWTV had been classified. One might argue the descriptions below do not prove that IWTV was previously classified, but it would seem odd that the U.S. military would want to lie or mislead regarding the earlier secrecy vs. openness status of these documents particularly given the extraordinary context of the documents' release. There are many possibilities, benign and less benign. www.gulflink.osd.mil/cgi-bin/texis/search/browse Browse Recently Declassified Documents GulfLINK, the collection of recently declassified military and intelligence documents concerning Gulf War Illnesses, was created primarily as a database to be searched by users to retrieve desired information. However, as a supplementary service, GulfLINK also provides the following browsable indices of the documents in its collection. Before browsing these lists, we strongly recommend that you review the following: A Guide To Intelligence Documents A Guide to Operational Documents Database Description: what types of documents are currently included. Exemption codes used to denote portions of documents which have been deleted. Direct copy of lst part of Gulflink Database Description (www.gulflink.osd.mil/description.html) GulfLINK Database Description Readers are now able to find the latest declassified operational traffic such as directives, plans, status reports, daily mission reports, logistics, intelligence, personnel, and operational summaries on GulfLINK As of 30 June 1997, GulfLINK contains over 40,000 pages of recently-declassified intelligence, medical, and operational documents with potential relevance to the possible sources of Gulf War illness. In the future, GulfLINK will also contain additional declassified documents from the medical and operational communities within the Department of Defense (DoD). Please see the descriptions below for more information about the intelligence declassified document collection. Intelligence Documents in GulfLINK By the authority of, and in accordance with the direction provided by, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Department of Defense has searched for, identified, and reviewed its intelligence records for declassification and public release using the following guidelines: Intelligence related to possible causes of Persian Gulf Veterans' illnesses is defined as that information acquired by the United States intelligence agencies which may report on the storage, deployment, or use of chemical, biological, or radiological weapons during the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations. Additionally, this information will include, but is not limited to, any reports relating to outbreaks of disease, epidemics, or other widespread illnesses, that may have resulted from infection or environmental causes (oil well fires, toxic waste, flora, fauna, etc.), among the military forces or civilian population during the two cited operations. A moment ago, I tried another search of the Gulflink site which responded as follows: Searching GulfLINK declassified documents with Texis search engine 000 Sep 24 12:50:04 /search/gulfsearch:219: Unable to obtain semaphore 000 Sep 24 12:50:04 /search/gulfsearch:219: Could not open locking mechanism in the function ddopen 000 Sep 24 12:50:04 /search/gulfsearch:219: Could not connect to /texis/gwdeclassdocs in the function openntexis 000 Sep 24 12:50:14 /search/gulfsearch:219: Unix will not allow more process to access semaphore 000 Sep 24 12:50:14 Seems to me that the words "Searching GulfLINK declassified documents..." might reasonably be taken at face value. I hope that the rest of the message can be taken at face value indicating that a lot of folks are searching Gulflink. Regarding 3. I am am astonished. Point 3 reads: " I spoke with a principle associated with the drafting of the original message [IWTV]...just as I suspected...it was an estimate/assement of the impact of sanctions beyond what was originally intended (double-effect/unintended consequences" My only change is the insertion of "[IWTV]" for the purpose of clarity. If the true intent of IWTV was to detect "unintended consequences of the sanctions and if , as claimed above, the document was not classified, i.e., open, not liable to severe criminal penalties for disclosure, then why didn't the principle simply take (or leak this document) to the world press? If IWTV authors as well as those who know it's contents did not make IWTV know to the press and the public, then do they not act, then don't they have major moral if not legal problems? Note, that if words can be taken at face value, IWTV does not appear to have been made available untill 1995, long after concerns about the sanctions had been soothed. No worries for us Yanks, we refused to sign on to the new international war crimes tribunal, lest our troops become the object of trivial and malicious prosecution. If memory serves, we are off the hook also, because despite signing the convention against genocide in 1988 (only 40 years late), we signed only on the condition that we must agree to be prosecuted for any charge of genocide, if memory serves. Wonder how many kids' lives would have been spared from death by cholera induced by "degrading" the water purification systems of Iraq had the world known in 1991 what it knows today. I seize on cholera partly because it is listed under the heading of "Biological Warfare, BW" [www.gulflink.osd.mil/cross_ref.html]. I hope these observations are consistent with the CASI's standards. I would appreciate any additional assistance, since I am still preparing the question and supporting material for Rep. McKinney's office. All of the inputs, including Dr. Herring's have been most valuable. I hope I can digest them adequately in such short time. One large problem is figuring out to the extent to which the equipment and chemicals identified by IWTV as indispensable for import have been banned by the 661 Committee. So far it's been largely a matter of inference from the UN's documents. Does anyone have the minutes of the meetings of the 661 Committee? I also would appreciate additional guidance on judging "duel-use" and also workable ways of allowing the importing of genuinely "duel-use" but indispensable items. It would appear to me that if, for example, chlorine is "duel use" and indispensable, but if it is put directly in to the water system by the UN, then even the Pentagon's would have a tough time retrieving enough chlorine from the purified water supply to make a BW warhead. Finally, a thought experiment: suppose your country's relations with country XYZ are tense. Suppose you found IWTV [substitute your own country for Iraq] and you discovered that it was an authentic product of the intelligence service of the XYZ's military. Would you interpret IWTV as showing the high moral standards of XYZ and sleep better in the confidence that XYZ would not harm your children? My own guess, is that the U.S. would launch it's bombers under our policy of "preemptive" self defense had the document been from Iraqi intelligence and had it been entitled "U.S. Water Treatment Vulnerabilities". If you can, please reply to me and this CASI discussion group, since GWU's mail system has been erratic of late. Thanks in advance to all, Tom -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk