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[casi] More on Gwynne Roberts and Lake Rezazza

Fellow CASI Listers,

It's been called to my attention (thanks, Colin) that it would have been helpful
to include follow-ups to the Gwynne Roberts* story on the supposed Iraqi A-Bomb
test under Lake Rezazza, a story was almost immediately debunked and forgotten.

Following is a Reuters re-cap citing seismic data and Hans Blix's comment to the
Security Council.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA


Text from Peter Brooke's cached version follows

See also:

by Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters, 11th June) - The chief U.N. arms inspector and experts
at a London think tank have concluded there was no evidence Iraq had carried out
a successful nuclear test in 1989, as alleged in news reports earlier this year.

Hans Blix, the executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission, said he reported to the U.N. Security Council last week
``the information is totally wrong'' that Iraq conducted a nuclear test beneath
Lake Rezazza, southwest of Baghdad on Sept. 19, 1989, before the Gulf War.

He told reporters his department and the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) had evidence in its files, from overhead flights and previous ground
inspections ``there had been no nuclear tests'' nor a tunnel under the lake.

Purported evidence of a test, from two defecting former scientists in Iraq and
an interpretation of satellite photographs of the test area, was reported in
London's Sunday Times newspaper in February and received fairly wide coverage.

Terry Wallace, a professor of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, says
that while it is far easier to prove something did happen than to prove it did
not there was no reason to believe the story is ``anything but a hoax.''

An examination of global earthquake catalogs, produced by the International
Seismic Center and U.S. Geological Survey, revealed no significant seismic
activity in Iraq the day the test was alleged to have taken place, Wallace said.

Such an explosion he said, in an article for the London-based think tank, the
Verification, Training and Information Center, would have been easily detectable
by international or by regional monitoring in Iran, Israel or Jordan, which keep
records of earthquakes.

None of them reported any seismic events of the magnitude necessary for a
nuclear test in the region around Lake Rezazza, Wallace said.

U.N. arms inspectors have not been permitted to track down Baghdad's weapons of
mass destruction since mid-December 1998, when they were withdrawn shortly
before the United States and Britain launched a four-day bombing campaign
prompted by Iraq's failure to cooperate with the arms teams.

Blix's agency has now signed a contract with a private, satellite firm and is
restarting overhead flights this month.

Earlier this year, Western intelligence agencies alleged that Iraq had
reconstituted parts of its banned arms programs. The German Federal Intelligence
Agency (BND) in February told selected reporters Iraq could produce a nuclear
device in three years and fire a missile as far as Europe by 2005.

U.S. and British officials alleged in January that Iraq had rebuilt three
factories capable of producing chemical and biological weapons.

The IAEA, meanwhile, carried out its annual inspection of the Iraq's Tuwaitha
nuclear power center in January and reported that low-grade nuclear material
held there had not been moved since its last visit.

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