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Today a British think-tank released a report on Iraq's "Weapons of Mass Destruction". The group (IISS) noted their report summarized existing material, and the BBC rightly concluded the report contained "little new". However, throughout the day MSNBC has led with the story, distorting it beyond recognition with the headline, "Iraq Could Arm Weapons Within Months, Report Claims". What IISS actually said was this: "[Iraq] could assemble nuclear weapons within months IF FISSILE MATERIAL FROM FOREIGN SOURCES WERE OBTAINED" (emphasis added). MSNBC's headline is not news; it's a tautology ('Iraq could arm a weapon if they had a weapon') employed as propaganda during a period of national mourning and debate. Fissile material remains the barrier to atomic weaponry -- not the engineering of the bomb mechanism. Provided with fissile material, "even a high school student could make a bomb in short order" as Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez has warned. The process to enrich uranium remains extremely difficult. IISS concludes: "Iraq does not possess facilities to produce fissile material in sufficient amounts for nuclear weapons. It would require several years and extensive foreign assistance to build such fissile material production facilities." There remains no indication of 'extensive foreign assistance' and no evidence that Iraq's enrichment facilities are being rebuilt. Late Friday, shortly after Bush and Blair mentioned reports of an IAEA photo purportedly showing reconstruction, the IAEA issued a press release to "make it clear there is nothing new." Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA  The report from British think-tank IISS: http://www.iiss.org/news-more.php?itemID=88  The BBC's analysis: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2246441.stm  Manhattan Project member Alvarez's comment: http://www.nci.org/heu.htm  IAEA photo clarification: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51871-2002Sep7.html _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk