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[casi] The "expulsion" and the bio weapons story revisited

Dear Raven and All,

> Not a good news. Is this a new smear campaign of
> scare-mongering?

> By NILES LATHEM (Dec 8, 2002)"

My apologies for changing the subject line. To me this
New York Post article sounds just like _ordinary_ war
propaganda - a last-ditch effort. Neither is it new: this
was tried in 1998 as a lead-up to "Desert Fox". So at the
risk of boring everyone, I am going to rehash some of that.

> U.S. intelligence officials say there is ample evidence
> developed in the four years since the expulsion of the
> weapons inspectors to support the conclusion...

The so-called "expulsion" adds a convincing touch to the
bio weapons story. It's not only a lie but a contradiction
of 1998 coverage. Even CNN once rose to a disclaimer. On
September 18, 2002 Richard Roth explained: "On our air,
Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense... said look,
it was Iraq, he said, that booted out, kicked out those
weapons inspectors. That's not exactly accurate...."

And Richard Butler, who himself perpetuated that lie, owns
up when the occasion demands it. For example, on BBC's Talking
Point, June 4, 2000, he explained that he withdrew his people
for "their safety" on the advice of a "representative of the
United States of America". In his book _Saddam Defiant_, he
identifies that "representative" as U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh.
Richard Butler, _Saddam Defiant_, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000,
page 224.

In an online interview with the CFR and the Washington
Post, June 15, 2000, Butler owns up again when he is asked:
"How do you respond to those who say that your team withdrew
from Iraq before the U.S. bombings to the detriment of
others who were in the country on humanitarian missions?"

> Before Saddam expelled them in 1998, U.N. weapons
> inspectors found evidence that Iraq was bulk-producing and
> weaponizing huge amounts of biological agents.

The "biological agents" are a repeat. And the 1998
story looks very much like war like war propaganda too. In
any case, no "evidence" was produced then either.

January 30, 1998:
US Ambassador Bill Richardson is on the first leg of a
"Presidential mission" to eight member countries of the
Security Council. He goal was to drum up support for an
attack on Iraq.

26 January, 1998:
In an interview with the New York Times, Unscom chief
Richard Butler claims that Iraq has enough biological
weapons to "blow away Tel Aviv."

This comment caused a considerable stir, not least because
it was news to the Security Council. The Chinese Ambassador
Qin Huasun felt it was "inappropriate" for Unscom officials
to disclose information not previously reported to the
Council. And the Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov asked if
Butler had in fact any proof that "that Iraq does have the
capability to 'blow away Tel Aviv'".

At a conference of American Jewish Organizations, Butler
elaborates further:

     "... it was reasonable for us to extrapolate from what
     we know" that Iraq could have that capability. "I was
     not saying that I could take you today to a place in
     Iraq and say, 'there's the missile that could do that thing."

["Security Council furious with Butler", South News Jan 28]

January 31, 1998:
Butler retracts that comment, sort of. And the NY Times
published his explanation. The NY Times had truncated his
quote - left out "or whatever". His full quote had been to
"blow away Tel Aviv, or whatever." - A crucial omission,
Butler felt:

     "This omission obscures the fact that I was not implying
     that Iraq had decided to fire a missile warhead loaded
     with a biological agent at Tel Aviv. I have no such

Butler, it appeared, was merely trying to illustrate that
the Unscom had "never been able to fully account for 'special
warheads" that were once filled with chemical and biological

["Butler not off the hook yet", South news Jan 31]

(In February 1998, Butler revealed to the press that Iraq
Iraq _might_ be hiding these bio weapons in Hussein's
"palaces" - an area "as large as Washington". Kofi Annan
then had the area measured, so that myth fell flat.)

As an aside, Iraq was said to be using "chemical warheads"
during the gulf war. That too was apparently PR. Susan Sachs,
writing for Newsday's, was a gulf war reporter who tried to
dodge the guided "pool". On March 1, 1991, she wrote
"No artillery equipped with chemical warheads could be
discovered." - Here is an excerpt from her account:

     "The eager allied troops who descended to the battlefield
     by helicopter, barrelled through sand in canon-toting
     tanks, and dropped bombs from sophisticated warplanes,
     fought, in the end, a phantom enemy.

     The bulk of the mighty Iraqi army, said to number more
     than 500,000 in Kuwait and southern Iraq, couldn't be
     found. Saddam Hussein's supposed chemical-warfare
     capacity didn't materialize. No artillery equipped with
     chemical warheads could be discovered.

     Iraq's defensive trenches and bunkers, described by
     military experts as heavily fortified, turned out to
     be reinforced by little more than crumbling bricks and
     were abandoned days, perhaps weeks, before the allied
     ground assault began.

     ... And one senior commander agreed that the information
     about Iraqi defenses, put out before the war, was highly
     exaggerated. 'There was a great campaign of disinformation
     surrounding the war,' he said with some satisfaction, this
     week." (Newsday's hid that article on page 21.)

John R. MacArthur, _Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in
the Gulf War_, Hill and Wang, 1992, pp 177-78.

> Earlier this year, the CIA also discovered that Iraq has
> tried to purchase one million doses of atropine from
> Turkey, a drug used to counter the effects of VX nerve gas

This too is a repeat: On June 16, 1998 Butler reported to
the Security Council that "warhead fragments" analyzed by a
US Army laboratory had revealed VX - "significant amounts"
reported the Washington Post.

"Iraq May Have Used Deadly Nerve Gas" was the Post's
headline. "U.N. weapons inspectors have found evidence
that Iraq armed missile warheads with VX nerve gas prior
the Persian Gulf War", continued the Post. (This article
was posted on CASI, June 23, 1998.)

But further analyses from French and Swiss laboratories,
apparently at Iraq's request, were inconclusive. The Swiss
laboratory, AC-Laboratorium Spiez, apparently did not find
any "chemical-warfare-related chemicals".

And according to the French Foreign Ministry, "The French
laboratory, the Bouchet Research Center, found nothing on
39 samples out of 40 that were analyzed. The last sample
showed a byproduct of a war agent, but it was impossible to
confirm whether it was a VX byproduct." The Foreign Ministry's
spokeswoman continued: "Given the wide range of results
obtained by each laboratory, and especially the relatively
small number of samples that exhibited traces of VX byproducts,
these results are not conclusive one way or another, even if
the results can be considered reliable and valid."

("France, US differ on conclusiveness of Iraq VX test results")

Nevertheless, on October 26, 1998 Richard Butler sent a
letter to the President of the Security Council stating that
some unnamed "international experts" had "judged the [US]
results as valid" in July 1998. That the later Swiss and French
findings did not validate the US results - that the three
analyses in fact differed, he fails to mention.

("UNSCOM Chairman Richard Butler's Letter to UNSC")

And a German paper reported that "Iraq might have enough
VX nerve gas to destroy the whole world" - a story that
circulated at the time. Citing Butler, the paper said
that Iraq might be in the position to produce 200 tons
of VX. And 200 tons, according to the experts, was enough
to destroy the entire world population. Ergo...
(The US _is_ in the position now. But what would be the point?)

Then, about eight months later, came the story of the
"left behind VX nerve gas". Apparently, Butler had fully
expected to lead his team back into Iraq after the attack.
So they had left behind their own specimens of VX in the
Unscom lab - located in a hotel in Baghdad.

"U.S. Blocks Questions About VX Gas" reported AP on
August 1, 1999. Security Council members China and France
wanted to put questions to the U.N. weapons inspectors
to determine "that VX nerve gas left in a Baghdad laboratory
wasn't used improperly to contaminate Iraqi missile warheads".

The US considered the questions "trivial" and "unfair" on
the weapons inspectors. And the inspectors insisted that
they had merely used their own specimens of VX to "calibrate
equipment used to test for the nerve agent". This VX "posed
posed no danger, and should be destroyed", they said.

("U.S. Blocks Questions About VX Gas", August 1, 1999)

The VX had been destroyed in July. After several days of
arguing, the Security Council sent a team of independent
experts to the Unscom lab in Baghdad. "VX gas destroyed in
Iraq", reported the BBC on July 28, 1999. Russia had wanted
the VX analyzed but the US and Britain opposed that - as an
effort to discredit Unscom.

End of long rehash - with apologies.

Back to December 8, 2002: "SADDAM GROWING $B!F(BSUPER SMALLPOX".
Perhaps they should hire new screen writers...?


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