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News, 27/12/02-2/1/03 (4) IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * UN Adjusts Goods Review List for Iraq under 'Oil-for-food' Program * Annan says no justification for Iraq war * UN Security Council Takes on Five New Members WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION * UN Experts Talk to Iraq Scientist on Aluminum Tubes * Iraq's germ weaponry upgraded * Bush is pressed not to use land mines in any invasion of Iraq * UN experts accused of 'fabrication' * Iraq opposition says it is ignored * Iraq reveals names of weapons scientists * Short-circuit causes fire in UN inspection HQ in Iraq * Tips to Kurds about Iraqi weapons seem too good to be true * Repeat inspections get sour reception * Ex-Iraqi tells of fooling inspectors IRAQI/UN RELATIONS http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200212/31/eng20021231_109346.shtml * UN ADJUSTS GOODS REVIEW LIST FOR IRAQ UNDER 'OIL-FOR-FOOD' PROGRAM Peoples Daily, 31st December The UN Security Council on Monday approved changes to a list of goods that are subject to review and approval under the world body's humanitarian aid program for Iraq. The UN Security Council on Monday approved changes to a list of goods that are subject to review and approval under the world body's humanitarian aid program for Iraq. By a vote of 13 in favor, with the Russian Federation and Syriaabstaining, the 15-member council adopted a resolution making adjustments to the so-called Goods Review List, which is central to a system now being used to expedite the delivery of humanitarian goods to Iraq. Under that system, import contracts on all goods not directly subject to the sanctions can be approved more quickly. Instead of being reviewed by a council committee set up to monitor the sanctions against Baghdad, these contracts are processed directly through the UN Office of the Iraq Program. The resolution called for the council to conduct a thorough review of the list and the procedures for its implementation 90 days after its start and prior to the end of the current 180-day phase of the oil-for-food program. It also decided to conduct regular, thorough reviews of the list by the committee overseeing the sanctions against Iraq. The council appealed to all countries to continue to cooperate in timely submission of technically complete applications and expeditious issuing of export licenses. Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe told reporters after the vote that he abstained for fear that the resolution could harm ordinaryIraqis. He also complained that Syria had not had time to properly study the proposed additions to the 300-page list which itemizes restricted goods that Iraq is barred from importing without first obtaining council approval on a case-by-case basis. An annex to the resolution added about 60 items to the list, falling into four categories: conventional weapons, missiles, chemical weapons and biological weapons. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3049546&thesection=news&t hesubsection=world * ANNAN SAYS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR IRAQ WAR by David Usborne and Marie Woolf New Zealand Herald, 2nd January NEW YORK - The United Nations Secretary-General said yesterday that he saw no justification for attacking Iraq - at least until UN inspections chief Hans Blix submits a first full report to the Security Council at the end of this month. Kofi Annan's remarks were a blunt warning to Britain and the United States that they will need clear evidence of clandestine weapons programmes in Iraq to win wider support from other nations for a military campaign against President Saddam Hussein. Annan also stated that weapons inspectors in Iraq were working without interference. His remarks stood in stark contrast to a far more bellicose end-of-year statement from the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, serving notice that Britain should be ready for possible conflict in the Gulf. He said he was ready to take "tough decisions" on dealing with Saddam, "regardless of short-term popularity". Blix has until January 27 to give the Security Council a first comprehensive report on the progress of inspections in Iraq. In the next four weeks inspections in Iraq are likely to intensify, with additional manpower as well as eight newly delivered helicopters to ferry inspectors. But alarm is growing in London and Washington as it becomes clear that the work already done by inspectors has failed to pick up a scent of any prohibited weapons activity. Unless that picture changes, the political task of justifying an armed invasion to the UN will be immeasurably harder. The absence of incriminating evidence was highlighted yesterday by an inspector speaking anonymously to the Los Angeles Times: "We haven't found one iota of concealed material yet." The inspector agreed that the failure to find anything may signify only the Iraqis' concealment skills. But if Blix returns to the Security Council with nothing to show from the inspections, London and Washington will face a quandary. Convincing others to support a war will be all the harder if Iraq has given the impression of fully co-operating. Annan emphasised that nothing has so far emerged to justify any decision to launch a war before the January 27 report. Speaking to Israel's Army Radio, he said: "I really do not see any basis for an action until then, particularly as [the inspectors] are able to carry out their work in an unimpeded manner." Making matters worse for Blair and President George W. Bush is the changing membership of the Security Council. Germany is among five countries that have just taken non-permanent seats on the council for a two-year term. Under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Germany has made clear its misgivings about military action. The prospect of an empty report from Blix is certain to increase the pressure on Britain and the US to supply him with any intelligence they have about hidden weapons. For his part, Blix will be further pressed to seek out Iraqi scientists who may help lift the veil from any concealed weapons. http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=1/2/03&Cat=2&Num=7 * UN Security Council Takes on Five New Members Tehran Times, 2nd January UNITED NATIONS -- With the start of 2003, the powerful and prestigious UN Security Council takes on five new members on Wednesday and bids adieu to another five who are wrapping up two-year terms on the 15-nation body. With disarmament of Iraq at the top of the council's agenda, Germany, Spain, Pakistan, Chile and Angola take rotating two-year seats on the council just after midnight on Tuesday. They join the council's five permanent members -- the United States, France, Russia, Britain and China -- and five other nations with one year remaining of their two-year terms -- Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Syria. The five newest members were elected by a vote of the 191-nation UN General Assembly in September. They fill seats vacated at midnight by Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore. Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Its resolutions can be binding under international law, and it has the power to decide war and peace issues and impose sanctions such as arms embargoes and economic restraints. Representatives of each of the council's 15 member-nations are required to be constantly on standby at UN headquarters in New York in case of a crisis somewhere in the world. The five new members elected each year are initially nominated by regional groups. The General Assembly rarely challenges the slate if there are no rival candidates, as was the case this year. France takes presidency in January. The council is run from day to day by a presidency which rotates monthly. France assumes the post for January, to be followed by Germany in February and Guinea in March. [.....] The council decided earlier this month to name Germany to chair its sanctions panel on Iraq in 2003-04 after the White House dropped its opposition to the move. The United States had initially opposed Germany's bid to chair the panel because it feared Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government, which campaigned against an attack on Iraq, might challenge U.S. policy. The committee monitors enforcement and compliance of sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait. Chile, Washington's original choice for the Iraq panel, will take over the Afghanistan sanctions committee that compiles lists of people and organizations suspected of association with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network and remnants of the country's former Taleban rulers. Spain was given the chairmanship of the council's counter-terrorism committee, also a high profile post, when British UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock retires in mid-2003. This panel, set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States, monitors reports from all UN members on what they are doing to combat terrorism. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021227/ts_nm/iraq_inspec tors_dc_11 * UN EXPERTS TALK TO IRAQ SCIENTIST ON ALUMINUM TUBES by Nadim Ladki Yahoo, 27th December BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.N. arms experts interviewed a key scientist with expertise in using aluminum tubes and inspected three sites in Iraq on Friday in the hunt for any banned weapons programs. U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Iraq interviewed a metallurgist from a high-profile state company. "He provided technical details of a military program," Ueki said in a statement in Baghdad. "This program has attracted considerable attention as a possible prelude to a clandestine nuclear program." Ueki did not identify the scientist, his company or where the interview took place but said his answers "will be of great use in completing the IAEA assessment" of Iraq's nuclear program. An Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement identified the scientist as Dr Kathim Jamil and described him as a specialist in the use of aluminum tubes deployed in the production of 81 mm missiles with a range of six miles. It said the interview, conducted at Baghdad's al-Rasheed Hotel, was attended by an Iraqi monitoring official and lasted one hour. The United States and Britain have raised the alarm in recent months over alleged attempts by Iraq to buy aluminum tubes that could be used to process uranium. Iraq denied the charges and said it had had the tubes since the 1980s. Iraq admits it did have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs in the past but says it has abandoned all banned programs and now has no doomsday weapons. The inspectors began this week interviewing scientists who could shed light on Iraq's previous and any current programs. Friday's interview was the second formal one-on-one, but no Iraqi scientists have yet been interviewed outside the country. A missile team from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspected al-Nassir al-Atheem State Company, formerly known as the Heavy Engineering State Company, in al Doura area. A chemical team inspected another factory run by the same company in the same area. Ueki said it carried out a wide range of metalworking for both civilian and military purposes. A biological team spent one hour in the Za'faraniya area at the Modern Chemical Industries Company, which produces arak, gin and whisky. It had been monitored by previous inspection teams because of the presence of dual-use equipment. Jinan Roger Laso, marketing director at the company, told reporters the inspectors asked questions and checked and photographed tagged equipment at the site. "They asked us about empty tankers and we told them it is because of the Christmas holidays as the company stops production at the end of the year," Laso said. Iraqi officials said an administrative group left for Mosul, nearly 400 km (250 miles) north of Baghdad, to set up a headquarters for arms inspectors there. More than 100 inspectors are now in Iraq trying to uncover any evidence of weapons developed since their predecessors left before U.S.-British air raids in 1998. A U.N. Security Council resolution adopted last month gave Iraq a last chance to come clean on its weapons programs or face possible war. Hussam Mohammad Amin, chief of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate in charge of working with the U.N. experts, said on Thursday the experts had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction during a month of inspections across the country. He said Iraq would submit a list of hundreds of scientists who had worked on its previous weapons programs in the next two or three days. The inspectors' next report to the Security Council is due on January 9. Their final report is due by January 27, two months to the day after they resumed their search. http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021228-22052970.htm * IRAQ'S GERM WEAPONRY UPGRADED Washington Times, from AP, 28th December Biological weapons are among the few capabilities Iraq has improved since being defeated by a U.S.-led coalition in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, government officials say. Working under the noses of U.N. inspectors from 1991 to 1998, President Saddam Hussein's government probably developed mobile germ-warfare labs and processes to create dried bacteria for deadlier and longer-lasting weapons, U.S. officials and former weapons inspectors say. Pentagon officials say Iraq's biological arsenal could do the most damage, physical and psychological, if it were used to retaliate immediately against a U.S. invasion rather than in later stages of battle. Although U.S. troops are being vaccinated against anthrax and smallpox and have protective gear, a biological attack cannot be detected until after exposure. Even if a biological attack did not kill U.S. troops, it could kill many civilians and create a logistical mess that would slow an American advance and strain the military's medical capabilities. "The most frightening thing is Iraq's biological program," said David Kay, a former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations. "Even in my inspection days, it was the program we knew the least about." What inspectors eventually learned was disturbing. After the 1995 defection of Saddam's son-in-law, who ran the germ-weapons program, Iraq acknowledged brewing thousands of gallons of deadly germs and toxins and loading some of them in bombs, missile warheads and rockets. The weapons included anthrax, the germ that killed seven persons in last year's U.S. mail attacks; botulinum toxin, nature's most deadly poison; Clostridium perfringens, a flesh eating bacterium that causes gas gangrene; and aflatoxin, a fungal poison that causes liver cancer. In late 1998, frustrated by Iraq's refusal to cooperate, the inspectors withdrew shortly before the United States and Britain began "Operation Desert Fox," a bombing campaign to compel compliance by Iraq. Saddam refused to let the inspectors return. Iraq claimed it destroyed all its biological weapons. U.N. inspectors concluded in 1999 that probably was a lie, because Saddam's scientists could have made thousands of gallons of biological weapons without declaring them. U.S. officials say Iraq's latest weapons declaration does not clear up discrepancies. "Before the inspectors were forced to leave Iraq, they concluded that Iraq could have produced 26,000 liters of anthrax. That is three times the amount Iraq had declared," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said recently. "Yet the Iraqi declaration is silent on this stockpile, which alone would be enough to kill several million people." The omissions, U.S. officials and former inspectors say, are strong evidence that Iraq has retained at least some of its biological arsenal. Iraq's development of anthrax-drying technology makes that arsenal even more dangerous than it was during the Gulf war. Its earlier biological-weapons efforts relied on a liquid slurry of anthrax, which let the spores clump together and made it difficult to get the fine aerosol needed to get the germs into people's lungs. U.N. inspectors in the late 1990s found Iraq had drying machines that could be used to make a powdered form of anthrax. The Iraqis claimed they were making a biological pesticide from a worm-killing bacteria known as BT, said former inspector Jonathan Tucker. But they were making particles so small they would float through the air, not settle onto crops like a biopesticide should, Mr. Tucker said. http://www.iht.com/articles/81654.html * BUSH IS PRESSED NOT TO USE LAND MINES IN ANY INVASION OF IRAQ by Peter Slevin and Vernon Loeb International Herald Tribune, from Washington Post, 28th December WASHINGTON: Humanitarian organizations are petitioning President George W. Bush not to use anti-personnel land mines or deadly cluster bombs in a military campaign against Iraq, arguing that the danger to civilians and allied soldiers during and after a war outweighs the benefits. The use of land mines designed to kill individuals - in contrast to mines intended to destroy vehicles - could endanger U.S. personnel and Iraqi citizens, as well as slow the rehabilitation of Iraq, wrote Kenneth Bacon, president of Refugees International, in a letter to Bush. "Unexploded land mines are hidden killers that inflict damage long after the fighting stops," wrote Bacon and the organization's chairman, James Kimsey, a Virginia businessman. They said U.S. attempts to eliminate dangerous Iraqi weapons would be undermined "by the use of weapons of indiscriminate destruction." Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch said organizations had been lobbying U.S. allies, both in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and outside the alliance, to urge the Bush administration not to use anti-personnel mines if it attacks Iraq. "The United States is isolated on this," Goose said. The Bush administration's policy on the military's use of land mines is under review, Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said Thursday. Pentagon officials offered no comment, but military planners have not publicly forsworn their use. They considered them effective in limiting enemy movements in the 1991 Gulf War. Pentagon officials point out that modern land mines are equipped with timing devices designed to defuse them at varied intervals from a few hours to 15 days. A separate hazard is posed by cluster bombs, which scatter about 200 bomblets designed to explode on impact. Typically, 5 percent of the bomblets fail to detonate as intended. In that case, they effectively become anti-personnel mines. Attempts to pressure the United States into avoiding the use of anti-personnel mines in Iraq are part of a wider effort to limit the destructiveness of a war if it occurs. Humanitarian groups have been meeting with the Pentagon and the United Nations to plan relief efforts, while the U.S. military has been urging Iraqi officers not to fight back if Iraq is attacked. In its letter to Bush, Refugees International noted a warning by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, that the self-destruction mechanism on land mines had failed to work in an unexpectedly large number of cases. The mines "often explode after the battle is over," the letter said. "In Iraq, this could pose risks to U.S. troops, Iraqi civilians - including returning refugees - and humanitarian workers," wrote Bacon, who was the chief Pentagon spokesman during the administration of President Bill Clinton. "Malfunctioning land mines could also endanger road-building and reconstruction crews working to rehabilitate the country after a war," Bacon wrote. The U.S. military has not used anti-personnel mines since the Gulf War, when U.S. forces deployed about 118,000 self-destructing land mines in Iraq and Kuwait, according to the General Accounting Office. They were typically scattered across battlefields by aircraft and artillery shells. Exploding land mines wounded 81 members of the U.S. military during the 1991 conflict, the congressional office said, although none of the casualties was caused by U.S. mines. The Pentagon maintains a stockpile of about 18 million land mines, including 15 million of the newer, self-destructing mines designed to kill individuals or destroy vehicles. The U.S. government has not endorsed a 1997 treaty signed by 146 countries that bans the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines. The United States believes that the convention "does not adequately address U.S. security requirements and international responsibilities," a State Department spokeswoman said. http://www.news24.com/News24/World/0,1113,2-10_1302070,00.html * UN EXPERTS ACCUSED OF 'FABRICATION' News 24 (South Africa), 28th December An Iraqi scientist said on Saturday UN arms experts had exaggerated the outcome of an interview with him as part of a hunt for alleged banned weapons. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors interviewed on Friday Kathim Mijbil, a metallurgist from the al-Rayah Company which is an arm of Iraq's Military Industrialisation Commission. The Iraqi foreign ministry had given his name as Kathim Jamil, but he gave his family name as Mijbil. Mijbil told a news conference in Baghdad that he had been involved in restoring aluminium tubes for possible use in short-range missiles but denied he had any links to past banned weapons programmes or any current such activity. He said Iraq had imported the tubes in 1987 for use in the production of 81-mm missiles with a range of 10km. He said the tubes had corroded because of poor storage. A UN spokesperson said on Friday the scientist had provided technical details of a military programme. "This programme has attracted considerable attention as a possible prelude to a clandestine nuclear programme," he said. The spokesperson said the interview "will be of great use in completing the IAEA assessment" of Iraq's nuclear programme. "I strongly deny this," Mijbil said. "Frankly I'm very disturbed...over these statements because they don't relate to reality. Does cleaning an aluminium tube from corrosion with basic chemicals...lead to a secret programme?" He said the UN statement bordered on fabrication and was grossly exaggerated. "There may be some political agenda or to escalate the situation," Mijbil said. He said he turned down the inspectors' request to hold the interview at their headquarters and later agreed to meet them at al-Rasheed Hotel with an Iraqi monitoring official present. Asked why he refused to go to the headquarters, he said: "I look at this place Guantanamo Bay and I am not a prisoner, I am a free Iraqi man." The United States holds scores of mainly Arab prisoners in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in its "war against terrorism". Mijbil, the second scientist to be formally interviewed by the inspectors who resumed on November 27 a hunt for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq after a four-year break, urged other scientists to turn down any offer to take them abroad for interviews. "My interview was in my country with the presence of the (Iraqi) representative...and you saw what happened in the press so what will the situation be when anybody...is interviewed abroad?" the British-educated scientist said. "There will be lots of misunderstandings, fabrications and lies." The United States and Britain have raised the alarm in recent months over alleged attempts by Iraq to buy aluminium tubes that could be used to process uranium. Iraq denied the charges and said it had had the tubes since the 1980s. Iraq admits it did have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes in the past, but says it has abandoned all banned programmes and has no weapons of mass destruction. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2611595.stm * IRAQ OPPOSITION SAYS IT IS IGNORED by Jim Muir BBC, 28th December A leading Iraqi opposition group says it has been unsuccessful in trying to pass information on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations. The Tehran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) says it is regrettable the UN is only dealing with the Baghdad government and ignoring the opposition. The military leader of the Supreme Council - which claims to represent the bulk of Iraq's majority Shia population - said his movement has information that Saddam Hussein is still trying to develop chemical and biological weapons. Abdulaziz al-Hakim said it has specific details on some of the sites involved and the government's plans to hide the weapons. Mr Hakim said his movement wants to share this information with the UN, but was unable to do so since it was dealing only with the Baghdad government and does not recognise or talk to the opposition. The SCIRI commander, who attended the recent opposition meeting in London, said there was a big chance the Iraqi government would resort to weapons of mass destruction in the event of a US attack. He feared there would be heavy casualties among civilians if they were caught between the two, being used as a human shield by the regime. Mr Hakim said the Iraqi opposition wanted regime change to be brought about by the Iraqi people with international support. It rejected both the entry of US troops and their remaining on Iraqi soil, though he admitted there was nothing they could do to prevent it. Mr Hakim made it clear that Iraqi opposition forces would not simply be used as ground troops for an American operation. They had their own plans, he said, and he doubted that the Americans would be able to succeed on their own. A dialogue was currently underway with the Americans though, but nothing had yet been agreed in terms of cooperation or joint action. http://news.scotsman.com/headlines.cfm?id=1442422002 * IRAQ REVEALS NAMES OF WEAPONS SCIENTISTS by Christopher Claire The Scotsman, 29th December IRAQ last night named 500 scientists who had worked on its banned weapons programmes, identifying personnel who the United States says could pinpoint any illicit arsenal Baghdad may possess. One Iraqi scientist already interviewed spoke out publicly, however, to reject UN inspectors' suggestions his work may have been related to secret efforts to develop nuclear missiles. A United Nations spokesman announced Iraq's handover of the list of names to the arms inspectors as US President George Bush said Iraq could avoid war by destroying illegal arms. Baghdad warned it would fight any invaders through the streets and teach them a lesson they would never forget. UN spokesman Hiro Ueki said the list of Iraqi scientists, demanded by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on December 12, included experts in chemical, biological and nuclear programmes and in the development of long-range missiles. "Today we have received from the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate a list of names of personnel associated with Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic programmes," Ueki told a news briefing in Baghdad. [.....] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2002-12/29/content_673868.htm * SHORT-CIRCUIT CAUSES FIRE IN UN INSPECTION HQ IN IRAQ BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- An electrical short circuit caused a fire Sunday morning at the headquarters of the UN weapons inspectors in Baghdad. Three Iraqi fire engines and a police car raced to the UN weapons inspectors' headquarters at the Canal Hotel to put out the blaze apparently sparked by a short-circuit, an Iraqi civil defense official said. The fire started in a ground floor room and damaged an Internet server used by UN employees, UN officials said, adding no one was reported hurt. The inspectors left for their daily inspections as usual after the fire trucks arrived, it was reported. The three-story Canal Hotel in the eastern sector of Baghdad also houses other UN organizations. http://www.iht.com/articles/81746.html * TIPS TO KURDS ABOUT IRAQI WEAPONS SEEM TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by C.J. Chivers International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 30th December SULAIMANIYA, IraqThe Kurdish security official sat at his desk, handling letters from his informants. Each contained a tip that might change the future of Iraq. Or maybe he was being played for a dope. He held a sheet of paper aloft. "This one says the Iraqis built a mosque in Tuz Khormatu, but under the ground is a hollow place," he said. "The mosque has no guards, people go there and pray, but underneath them chemical weapons are stored." He picked up another. "This one is about a shoe and plastics factory in Baghdad where all of the workers were removed before the weapons inspectors returned, and new workers replaced them," he said. "It is in a neighborhood called Hay Jameela. It is very strange." While UN inspectors search Iraq for prohibited weapons, a parallel operation is taking place in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. Kurdish officials here are evaluating a stream of tips about where Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons and illegal missiles are said to be hidden, and pondering how to handle them. Throughout the region there is a lively internal debate about whether the tips are authentic or part of a deliberate counterintelligence campaign by Saddam's security services. Kurds wonder: Have we uncovered definitive evidence against the Iraqi government, or are we ensnared in a circular game of spy versus spy? "One way that Saddam has always worked is that he has sent information into an area through his agents, and it is the wrong information," said a security official in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. "Believe me, the information we have received about all of the places he has hidden weapons is enough for the whole world to be busy searching. He leaks this information." Back in Sulaimaniya, the official with the hand-scrawled tips said he believed them, because they had been delivered by informants who had been reliable in the past. "I am not new at this business," he said. "I know whom I work with." Barham Salih, the prime minister of the eastern zone of northern Iraq, leaves open the possibility that both views are right. "We know that the Iraqi government has chemical weapons and is involved in a very elaborate concealment effort," he said. "And we know that Saddam Hussein is capable of such decoy operations and misinformation campaigns." Whether true or false, the tips have found the perfect audience. Fear of chemical attack is part of the Kurdish collective psyche. These are people whom Saddam's forces attacked in the 1980s with nerve and mustard gas. Kurds are certain that the Iraqi leader retains prohibited weapons, and that he intends to use them again. The leaks carry great emotional power. But emotional power and intelligence value are not the same thing, and officials say they worry about the damage that planted information might cause, including damage to their own credibility, since some of the tips that Kurdish officials deem reliable have been shared with U.S. intelligence teams working in northern Iraq. "Saddam wants us to leak his misinformation to the UN, so the UN will go there once, twice, three times, and waste their time, and lose respect for the credibility of the Kurds," the official in Erbil said. Kurds also worry that the meager intelligence at their disposal - they have no satellites and their ability to exchange information with other nations is limited - means they cannot fully evaluate or corroborate the material at hand. They claim to have networks of informants but acknowledge that this "human intelligence," as it is called, has limits. "Kurdish intelligence is not that clever or smart to determine if these are lies or true things," said Faraidoon Abdulkader, interior minister in the Kurdish eastern zone. All the while, leaks keep surfacing, coming through informants, circulating in villages along the militarized border between northern and southern Iraq, and being passed to journalists from here and abroad. Karim Agha, chief of the Hammond tribe, whose people straddle the border region at nearby Chamchamal, said that earlier this fall a smuggler who often passes through the lines saw Iraqi soldiers with heavy equipment digging holes at night in remote gullies, and burying metal containers. Abdulkader, the interior minister, said that two weeks ago he received two separate tips about people burying materials at night under a military guard, and has been given descriptions of four trucks that are thought to be mobile biological labs. The official with the reports on his desk said that the sheer volume of the tips, and the debate about what to do with them, meant that information was allowed to go stale. He said his informant on the supposed storage site at Tuz Khormatu complained. "He asked me: 'Why are you not coming to this mosque? We give you this information, why are you not coming here?'" The tension and frustration are high enough in the region that at least one tipster has approached outsiders, although he seemed motivated more by opportunism than by public service. An unshaven man in a suit visited an ABC News producer in his hotel room here in late November, seeking $50,000 to arrange the smuggling of what he called suspicious bottles out of a weapons factory in Baghdad. The man said that the region was overrun with spies and that he did not want to notify the Kurdish government, because he might be interrogated. He also hinted at fears that he might be killed by the Iraqis. The producer, Kevin McKiernan, declined the offer and notified his office. He wrote in his journal that the visitor "seemed angry when I told him that news reporters don't buy materials." http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1719829 * REPEAT INSPECTIONS GET SOUR RECEPTION by Sergei L. Loiko and Maggie Farley Houston Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 30th December BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In their search for hidden Iraqi arms, U.N. inspectors so far have faced little conflict, have found little evidence and have received little outside intelligence to guide them, said one inspector. The teams have discovered two technical violations but have yet to find a smoking gun, a trace of radiation or a single germ spore. "If our goal is to catch them with their pants down, we are definitely losing," the inspector said, on condition he would not be named. "We haven't found an iota of concealed material yet." In one of the first glimpses of the inspection process from inside Iraq, the inspector described a team of experts who have been thwarted by Iraqi authorities who have better preparation, equipment and intelligence than the inspectors. The list of Iraq's violations is short. During the four years that inspectors have not been allowed in the country, the Iraqis tried to procure missile parts and altered others without notifying the United Nations, the inspector said -- two incidents that could be considered a breach of U.N. resolutions but perhaps not enough to justify military action. But their roster of frustrations is long. There are currently 110 weapons experts in Iraq, 100 searching for chemical and biological weapons and 10 looking for evidence of a nuclear program. Their mission is nearly impossible -- trying to locate suspected caches of material or documents in a country the size of California. Their work is relentless -- sometimes the teams conduct seven inspections a day. Monday was that kind of day, as inspectors made seven visits, including one to a water purification plant and a revisit of a missile factory. In order to keep their plans secret from wiretaps, moles or eavesdropping devices, inspectors operate like spies, passing notes about the day's plans rather than speaking aloud, and driving their U.N. jeeps in circles to confound those trying to guess their destination. But often, inspectors say, by the time the U.N. convoys arrive at a site, the factory gates are open, and the workers are waiting. The Iraqis have been obliging, even eager to please, allowing the inspectors to wander through the bedrooms of a once off-limits Presidential Palace "like idle museum-goers," he said. "Even private facilities which are not part of their state-run military industrial complex open up for us -- like magic," the inspector said. "But even if they open all the doors in Iraq for us and keep them open 24 hours a day, we won't be able to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it is not there. We need help. We need information. We need intelligence reports if they exist." The inspector said that he and his colleagues feel acute pressure from the Bush administration to uncover something soon -- but if the United States has provided its long promised intelligence, they haven't seen it yet. "We can't look for something which we don't know about. If the United States wants us to find something, they should open their intelligence file and share it with us so that we know where to go for it." A senior Bush administration official said Monday that the United States has passed on "high quality" information regarding suspected chemical or biological sites but that the inspectors hadn't acted on it yet. "They have gotten some intelligence, and they will get more," the official said. "But what the U.S. intelligence community is concerned about is whether they can use the intelligence fruitfully and not have it compromised to the Iraqis in a way it loses its value." The demands for secrecy are intense. "We are not allowed to say a word about what we are doing," said the inspector."By being silent, we may create the false illusion that we did uncover something. But I must say that if we were to publish a report now, we would have zilch to put in it." http://www.detnews.com/2002/nation/0212/31/a05-48827.htm * EX-IRAQI TELLS OF FOOLING INSPECTORS by Daniel Williams Detroit News, from Washington Post, 31st December LONDON -- Ahmed found it odd that he was constructing a giant vat for production of specialized proteins in an unmarked complex of buildings far off the main road south of Baghdad. But he knew enough not to ask too many questions. In long years of service to the military-industrial ministries of President Saddam Hussein's government, Ahmed had learned not to inquire about the ultimate uses of the projects he worked on, first as a nuclear construction engineer during the 1980s and then on this seemingly innocuous pot. "This was a regime that got used to hiding things. We didn't need to know, until it became obvious what it was about," he said. In the case of the vat, Ahmed had his suspicions. He thought it was meant to create biological weapons material. He was apparently right. U.N. inspectors dismantled the equipment in the late 1990s, after a high-level defector tipped them off to its uses. "That's what the inspectors looking around Iraq now will need," he said, "a defector." The Bush administration is pressing the current U.N. inspection team to ferry scientists out of Iraq for interrogation. Only then, administration officials say, will they get useful information on suspected Iraqi nuclear, chemical and biological arms programs. Failure of Saddam to permit scientists and their families to leave would, in the administration's view, constitute a breach of the latest U.N. resolution demanding open access to weapons sites. Ahmed left Iraq in 1999 and lives in an Arab country. On a visit to London, he discussed his experiences in fooling earlier weapons inspectors, but asked to keep his real name out of print, because of fears for relatives still living in the country. "Even if you take out their wives and kids, they have other relatives in Iraq -- brothers, cousins, mothers, fathers. Saddam can have them all killed," he said. "You would have to be able to provide the scientist and everyone else full security. They would have to believe that Saddam could not get his hands on them. "Also, the scientists may not have anything to say. There is no new science in Iraq. The programs, if any, are in the hands of security people. Take me. I could say what I worked on, but I could not tell you the state of any program that went on after I stopped working. Only a few people have that kind of information, and they are well hidden." Ahmed believes that the Iraqi government is continuing to develop biological and chemical weapons and has become more adept at hiding the programs. "They have had lots of practice," he said. Ahmed is no repentant defector. He proudly recounted his career in building nuclear facilities for Iraq's efforts to produce an atom bomb. "I felt that as an Arab, it was right that an Arab country have the bomb," he said. "Israel has one. So should we." He felt this way even though he said two of his cousins were executed by Saddam's security forces during the early 1980s for anti-government activities. For all his pride, Ahmed wasn't fully trusted by his Iraqi overseers. No one was, he said. At first, he was told that his work was leading the way for nuclear-generated electric power. But eventually his bosses revealed the real goal. In any case, after the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the nuclear arms project stopped, he said. U.N. inspectors came. Hiding the large infrastructure necessary to produce weapons-grade material was impossible. Nonetheless, his supervisors warned Ahmed and his colleagues to "say little and answer only as narrowly as possible -- the specifics of our particular job, not what we knew about the whole program," he said. "We also had to sign a paper swearing that we had no documents in our private possession. If someone found out otherwise, they said we would be killed." Ahmed said that he and other nuclear workers were given other jobs throughout Iraq, and eventually he landed at the Military Industrial Commission, which is responsible for constructing weapons factories and military installations. In 1995, he said he was ordered to help construct laboratories and vats at a place called Al Hakam, southwest of Baghdad. U.N. inspectors were still looking for weapons programs, and they interviewed Ahmed three times, he said. "Each worker simply gave a narrow account of his job. In my case, I was just building a vat." Colleagues at other places told him they were ordered to bury equipment or to move it around on large trucks, sometimes for days at a time. "It was a giant chess game in which sometimes the pieces went underground," he said. At Al Hakam, Ahmed said he asked his supervisor what the vats would be used for. Fermentation, he was told. When he asked what ingredient would be converted into what product, he was met with "aggressive silence." The Al Hakam facility was discovered only because of information provided by Hussein Kamel Hassan Majeed, a son-in-law of Saddam who defected to Jordan in the mid-1990s and conveyed information about the Iraqi biological weapons program. He left in 1997 and applied to emigrate. The government, fearful of defectors, forced him to stay in Iraq for two more years. In that time, officials surmised, he would lose contact with the programs he worked on and have nothing to offer investigators abroad. "I was very careful to cut off all ties with my former work," he said. "I wanted to leave. I stayed completely isolated. I didn't want to know anything." _______________________________________________ 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