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Hot on the heels of his success uncovering world's quietest A-Bomb explosion under Iraq's Lake Rezzaza, intrepid journalist Gwynne Roberts interviews another defector in another darkened hotel room and the resulting expose of Saddam's 14 year-old dirty laundry in Halabja (which, yes, still smells incredibly foul) airs tonight on PBS (U.S.) in a newsprogram hosted by former U.S. State Department spokesboy (and von Sponeck slanderer) Jamie Rubin, who also acts as foil for Richard Perle, thus shielding producers from the charge of unbalanced coverage. Who said irony was dead? Who said hackneyed New Yorker articles couldn't be re-packaged for video? Is that Pulitzer I smell? Or is it merely the Rendon Group? Following is a New York Times recap of tonight's show (to which we were previously alerted by Roger Stroope); the program's website is located here http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/ Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA  http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/audiovideo/programmes/correspondent/newsid_1191000/1191203.stm  Glen Rangwala's post is the most authoritative: http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2002/msg00034.html  http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/2002/msg00838.html === http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/11/arts/television/11JAME.html?pagewanted=print&position=top July 11, 2002 Seeking to Link Iraq to Poison Gas and bin Laden By CARYN JAMES Many people were collapsing around us and dying," says a Kurdish man who survived a poison gas attack. "The gas smelled of garlic and rotten apples." As he recalls that day, we see videotape shot immediately after the attack. The gas — a combination including the nerve gas sarin and cyanide — caused paralysis and death so fast that the stonelike corpses littering the ground look flash-frozen, fists clenched, one child's arm still lifted in the air. The attack, launched by Saddam Hussein in 1988 in his own country, hit the town of Halabja and was meant to punish the Kurds for their resistance to his control. That story is only one part of tonight's extraordinary documentary "Saddam's Ultimate Solution," the timeliest possible beginning to "Wide Angle," a 10-week PBS series on varied international issues. Only last week Iraq once again refused to let United Nations weapons inspectors into the country, and much front-page news has focused on the Bush administration's possible plans to topple Mr. Hussein and on the role the Kurds might play in such a move. In this hourlong film, its reporter and producer, Gwynne Roberts, travels to Iraqi Kurdistan searching for links between Mr. Hussein and Osama bin Laden. He is accompanied by a doctor studying the long-term effects of poison gas on the towns and villages (more than 200 of them) attacked by Mr. Hussein in the late 1980's. The Hussein-Bin Laden connection is the more explosive subject. The claims are chilling if true, but while the evidence is convincing it remains unproved here. The effects of the poison gas, however, are viscerally, undeniably horrifying. On both counts the narrative and the images in "Saddam's Ultimate Solution" are as gripping as any drama. The documentary includes black-and-white videotape taken immediately after Mr. Hussein's first known chemical attack in April 1987 on a village called Scheich Wassan. Taken by a Kurdish mercenary working with the Iraqis, the tape shows a huge cloud hanging in the air, people helplessly throwing buckets of water on the smoking ground, villagers wailing. Color video from 1991 shows skulls and remnants of clothing being unearthed from a mass grave for victims of that attack. Today the film shows shells from the missiles lying in a school playground, a residue of poison gas still on them. In Halabja the film captures an old woman's wizened face and body. Mr. Roberts then tells us she is 16 years old; she was 3 when the poison gas hit. A man who was a healthy 9-year-old at the time now has curvature of the spine. There is an increase in babies born with cleft palates, Down syndrome and other disorders. A sign over a large burial ground reads, in imperfect English, "The Graveyard for Halabja Chemical Martyr." While in Kurdistan, Mr. Roberts's investigation of the Hussein-Bin Laden tie focuses on Al Ansar al Islam, a militant Islamic group (the Iraqi counterpart to the Taliban in Afghanistan) with widely reported links to Mr. bin Laden's Queda. Only one source faces the camera: Barham Salih, the prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government, who survived an assassination attempt. One of the captured suspects claims to be a member of al Ansar and says he was recruited by Al Queda agents in Jordan. Two other men are filmed with their backs to the camera or lurking in shadows. A man who is now a prisoner of the Kurds claims he was an Iraqi intelligence agent and says that Aymar al Zawahiri, Mr. bin Laden's second in command, met with Mr. Hussein in Iraq in 1992. Even more alarming claims come from an Iraqi whom Mr. Roberts tracks down in Turkey, his identity disguised by a jittery camera in a hotel room that shows his hands, his feet, never his face. He says he worked in a chemical weapons factory near Baghdad and that he actually saw Mr. bin Laden visit a terrorist training camp in Iraq in 1998, when Al Queda members were about to "graduate" from its program. "Saddam's Ultimate Solution" carefully couches all this information in phrases like "if these claims are true," but it has a cumulative credibility when added to similar stories from many other sources. The trappings of the series are less successful. After each film either James Rubin, a former spokesman for former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, or Daljit Dhaliwal, the former anchor of "World News for Public Television," will interview an expert on the documentary's subject. Mr. Rubin's guest on tonight's program is Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. Mr. Perle offers an argument rather than analysis when he says an American operation in Iraq will be "quicker and easier than many people think," a matter of weeks not months. Mr. Rubin questions what he calls this "optimistic scenario," but because it's not his role to take a position, the Perle interview is the lopsided half of a debate. Still, in a television landscape where network news is dominated by tiny sound bites and cable by shouting heads, "Wide Angle" has a distinct and valuable place. WIDE ANGLE Saddam's Ultimate Solution On most PBS stations tonight (check local listings) Gwynne Roberts, producer and reporter; Andy Halper, senior producer; Stephen Segaller, executive producer; Pamela Hogan, series producer; James P. Rubin, host. Produced by 13/WNET New York. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk