The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

delighted with Dr. Herring's access re IWTV, but, the anomalies grow larger...

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
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

                          Direct copy of lst part of Gulflink Database
Description (

GulfLINK Database Description

Readers are now able to find the latest declassified operational traffic
such as directives, plans, status reports, daily mission reports,
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
potential relevance to the possible sources of Gulf War illness. In the
future, GulfLINK will also contain additional declassified documents
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
epidemics, or other widespread illnesses, that may have resulted from
infection or environmental causes (oil well fires, toxic waste, flora,
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
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 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"

        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,


This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]