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[ Converted text/html to text/plain ] This is a letter that I sent to Clive Solely, my local member of Parliament, earlier today. ___________________________ Mr Solely: You will not be surprised to learn that I have been following the activities of the weapons inspectors in Iraq very closely. This letter should serve the purpose of sharing with you my analysis of what we have learned from the inspections thus far, in the context of the current rush to war that we are experiencing. In conclusion, it is clear to me that nothing has emerged from the inspections thus far that justifies a war of any kind against Iraq. In reality, the most important fact that we have learned from the inspections is that all the allegations contained in the Labour Government’s “dossier” of evidence published in September last year are baseless. In order to make this clear to you, I have set out a summary of the Government’s allegations (A) followed by an analysis of these allegations in light of what has been discovered since the publication of the “dossier” of evidence (B). I conclude with a summary of the ways in which public opinion has been deceived in recent times, particularly in relation to Iraq (C). This should serve the purpose of reminding you to be wary of any allegations emanating from the Government or any other source in the coming weeks which are not immediately supported by hard evidence. A. SPECIFIC ALLEGATIONS OF THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT On 24 September 2002, the British Government published a document entitled Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government (hereafter the “Dossier”). The Dossier is full of conjecture and assumptions, but there are some, albeit few, specific allegations that are made. These are as follows: (1) Chemical Weapons: The Dossier states that “[i]ntelligence shows that Iraq has continued to produce chemical agent.” This is supported by the assertion that “plants formerly associated with the chemical warfare programme have been rebuilt. These include the chlorine and phenol plant at Fallujah 2 near Habbaniyah […] New chemical facilities have been built, some with illegal foreign assistance, and are probably fully operational or ready for production. These include the Ibn Sina Company at Tarmiyah […] Of particular concern are elements of the phosgene production pant at al-Qa’qa’.” (emphasis added) (2) Biological Weapons: The Dossier mentions three facilities which are of concern to the Government. These are “the Castor Oil Production Plant at Fallujah […] the al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Institute […] the Amariyah Sera and Vaccine Plant at Abu Ghraib” (emphasis added). (3) Nuclear Weapons: The Dossier does not mention a single site in relation to the development of nuclear weapons. It merely states that “there has been accumulation of intelligence indicating that Iraq is making concerted covert efforts to acquire dual-use technology and materials with nuclear applications” and provides a list of civilian use items that the Government believes could also be used to develop nuclear weapons. As will be shown, all of the Government’s allegations with respect to these facilities have proven to be misguided. B. ANALYSIS OF THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT’S ALLEGATIONS You will recall that the weapons inspectors returned to Iraq at the end of November 2002 and conducted their first inspection on 27 November 2002. Much of the information relating to their activities has been published on the United Nations’ website. From this, we learn that the inspectors have visited all the sites that the Government highlights in its Dossier, as well as many others. However, as you know already, Hans Blix, director of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (hereafter “UNMOVIC”), and Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (hereafter the “IAEA”), stated unequivocally on 9 January 2003 that their inspections had revealed no “smoking gun.” I have managed to compile the following information regarding the facilities that concern the Government from the daily declarations issued by the UN, as well as from other public sources. One can only conclude from this information that the Government’s allegations relating to the facilities that it mentions are baseless: (1) The Fallujah 2 Facility near Habbaniyah: The weapons inspectors visited this site on the following days: 9 December, 17 December, 8 January, and 17 January. As can be seen from the UN’s own declarations, the inspections sought to uncover any recent activity at the site relating to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Samples were taken and tested. However, nothing suspicious was found at the site. The Government’s allegation in relation to the Fallujah 2 Facility is therefore in direct contradiction information that is publicly available. (2) The Ibn Sina Company at Tarmiyah: This site was visited by the weapons inspectors on the following dates: 11 December, 12 December, 4 January, 6 January, and 11 January. As can be seen from the referenced declarations, the inspectors concentrated on a number of different aspects of the site. Chemical, biological and nuclear inspectors were present at the various visits in order to ensure that no prohibited activity was taking place or had taken place in recent times. Samples were taken and studied. However, as can be seen from the United Nations’ own declarations, no suspicious activity was found. The Government’s allegation in relation to the Ibn Sina Company is therefore in direct contradiction with information that is publicly available. (3) The phosgene production pant at al-Qa’qa’: The weapons inspectors visited various facilities at al-Qa’qa on the following days: 30 November, 9 December, 14 December, 16 December, 21 December, and 18 January. The inspectors carried out different types of tests during their visits, including procedures designed to detect any recent activity involving the development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Samples were taken and studied. However, no suspicious activity was found. The Government’s allegations in relation the al-Qa’qa’ complex are therefore in direct contradiction with information that is publicly available. (4) The Castor Oil Production Plant at Fallujah: In July 2002, two months before the Dossier was published, this site was visited by a German television crew headed by Hans von Sponeck, one of the former UN directors of the Oil-for-Food Programme. At that time, before the Government was to say of the Fallujah facility that it is has “been rebuilt,” Mr von Sponeck found that it was in the same state that he had last seen it in 1999, which is to say totally inoperable. In the event you wish to contact Mr von Sponeck in order to ask him about his findings, he can be reached at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. (5) The al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Institute: This site was also visited by Hans von Sponeck in July 2002. Once again, Mr von Sponeck found that there was no evidence of construction having taken place at the site since it had been destroyed by weapons inspectors in 1996. Despite this, the Government cited the al-Dawrah Institute as a facility of concern in its Dossier. The al-Dawrah Institute was also visited by the UN weapons inspectors on 28 November. The inspectors visited the site for the purpose of determining whether there had been recent activity relating to the development of biological weapons. The inspectors reported no anomalies during the course of their visit, nor afterwards in relation to this site. The Government’s allegations in relation the al-Dawrah Institute are therefore in direct contradiction with publicly available information. (6) The Amariyah Sera and Vaccine Plant at Abu Ghraib: This site was visited by the weapons inspectors on the following days: 15 December, 16 December, and 22 December. The inspectors conducted tests at the plant in order to determine whether any recent activities in relation to the development of biological weapons had taken place. Many facilities at the site were inspected, and samples were taken and tested. However, the inspectors have reported no anomalies in relation to this site. The Government’s allegations in relation the plant at Abu Ghraid are therefore in direct contradiction with publicly available information. (7) In relation to Nuclear Weapons: As mentioned above, the Government does not make any specific allegations in its Dossier in relation to nuclear activity within Iraq. Nevertheless, since the resumption of inspections, the IAEA has been conducting tests in relation to this type of activity on a daily basis. Thus far, the Agency has not found any evidence that would support the Government’s allegation that Iraq has been active in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. A number of separate and independent authorities agree that it is impossible for Iraq to develop nuclear technology and successfully conceal it. This includes former weapons inspectors, Iraqi scientists previously involved in Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme and now living in the West, and British academics involved in nuclear science. The Government’s allegations in relation to Iraq’s alleged nuclear weapons programme appears spurious at best. I cannot but conclude from all of the above that the Labour Government’s specific allegations contained in its Dossier of evidence are incorrect. My conclusion is based not on my own analysis, but on the findings of the UN weapons inspectors. If you wish to contact the officials at UNMOVIC in order to verify any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact them at + 1 212 963 3017 (New York), + 1 917 592 2364 (New York – for urgent matters) or + 964 1 774 5705 (Baghdad). Despite all of this however, and despite the fact that all members of the Security Council are privy to the same information, there appears to be a huge discrepancy between the conclusions of its various members. Indeed, whereas the United States President recently declared that "[s]o far I haven't seen any evidence that [Saddam Hussein] has disarmed […] I'm sick and tired of games and deception,” the French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, concluded from the findings of the weapons inspections that “as of today [21 January 2002], nothing justifies the preparation of military action […] the work of the inspectors is satisfactory.” The contrast between these declarations raises the question of whether public opinion is being manipulated by those that may be in a position to do so. C. PREVIOUS CASES OF MANIPULATION OF PUBLIC OPINION IN RELATION TO IRAQ As indicated above, it is very important in the present context not to be satisfied with vague and unsupported assertions by the Government, not only because of the gravity of the prospect of waging war on another nation, but also because past experience has taught us the need to be vigilant in situations such as the one we find ourselves in now. In relation to Iraq in particular, previous cases of manipulation of public opinion include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) After their meeting in Camp David on 9 September 2002, Tony Blair and George W Bush declared that the Iraqi Government was “6 months” away from building a nuclear weapon. They cited a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna which supported this view. However, it emerged shortly afterwards that the Agency had never issued such a report, and that it did not support the allegation that the Iraqi Government was anywhere near developing a nuclear weapon. If you wish to confirm this with the Agency, I invite you to contact them and ask them directly. They can be reached at the following telephone numbers: + 43 (1) 2600-21273 or + 43 (1) 2600-21276. The declaration by the Prime Minister and the President can therefore at best be described as totally mistaken. (2) In the lead up to the Gulf War in 1991, one of the factors that most marked public opinion was a story according to which Iraqi soldiers, upon completing their invasion of Kuwait, burst into hospitals in Kuwait City in order to steal incubators. The babies that slept inside those same incubators were then allegedly left to die on the hospital floor. George Bush Sr. mentioned this story several times in the lead up to the vote in Congress, and several Senators cited this factor as one of the reasons why they voted in favour of war. It later emerged that the story was untrue. The only witness to the crimes allegedly committed by the Iraqi soldiers was – we were later to discover – the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, who was not even in Kuwait during the invasion and subsequent occupation by the Iraqi army. (3) Another factor which was decisive in the lead up to the Gulf War in 1991 was evidence that the British and American Governments presented to the Saudi Government at the time according to which, after its invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi Army was preparing to invade Saudi Arabia. The American Government claimed to have satellite images which showed the Iraqi army massing on the Saudi border. This too proved to be untrue. An American journalist, unconvinced by her Government’s version of events, decided to purchase images from a Russian commercial satellite. The images that she received showed that there were no soldiers at the Saudi border. This has been confirmed many times subsequently. The story was thus pure fiction. (4) During the previous weapons inspections regime which ended in 1998, the Iraqi Government often accused the inspectors of spying on behalf of their national governments. The British and American Governments routinely denied this. It has since emerged that this accusation was in fact correct. Some of the inspectors have even admitted themselves that they were spies for their Governments. Hence, incredible as it may seem, it was the Iraqi authorities that were telling the truth, and the American and British Governments that were the ones spreading falsehoods, thereby causing detriment to the credibility of the United Nations in general, and to the inspections regime in particular. This of course is never mentioned by Tony Blair or by his ministers when they speak of the history of weapons inspections in Iraq. (5) In the context of the present crisis, one of the American Government’s main sources of information is an Iraqi defector named Khidhir Hamza. Mr Hamza was allegedly involved in Iraq’s nuclear programme and has been cited by public sources on a huge number of occasions as a major – indeed sometimes the only – source of information regarding Iraq’s nuclear programme. He has even provided testimony to Congress on several occasions, during which he sought to foster the belief that there are links between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. All this is very surprising considering there are very serious questions regarding Mr Hamza’s credentials and credibility, to the extent that former weapons inspectors have even described him as a “fraud.” It is therefore troubling to say the least that Mr Hamza is being touted as a major source of information by government authorities and that the public will be relying in part on information provided by him in deciding whether or not to support a future war in Iraq. It is for all these reasons that I urge you to be extremely cautious in the coming weeks when considering the Government’s decision whether or not to go to war. I urge you to be among those Members of Parliament that demand evidence from the Prime Minister when he speaks of his conviction that it is right to go to war. I would also urge you not to be satisfied by unsupported declarations and to demand that the Prime Minister substantiate any allegations that he may make. And, I would urge you to oppose any war against Iraq where no hard evidence is discovered. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions. Best regards, Zaid Al-Ali London, United Kingdom email@example.com ------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, at www.official-Documents.co.uk/document/reps/iraq/iraqdossier.pdf.  See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, at www.official-Documents.co.uk/document/reps/iraq/iraqdossier.pdf, page 19.  See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, at www.official-Documents.co.uk/document/reps/iraq/iraqdossier.pdf, page 19-20.  See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, at www.official-Documents.co.uk/document/reps/iraq/iraqdossier.pdf, page 22.  See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, at www.official-Documents.co.uk/document/reps/iraq/iraqdossier.pdf, page 25.  See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, at www.official-Documents.co.uk/document/reps/iraq/iraqdossier.pdf, page 26.  Statement of Hiro Ueki, Information Officer/Spokesman for UNMOVIC and the IAEA in Baghdad, Activities of UNMOVIC and the IAEA in Iraq (hereafter “UNMOVIC Statement”), 27 November 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=277&sID=8.  “Evidently if we had found any ‘smoking gun’ we would have reported it to the Council. Similarly, if we had met a denial of access or other impediment to our inspections we would have reported it to the Council. We have not submitted any such reports.” Notes For Briefing The Security Council, Dr. Hans Blix, 9 January 2003, www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/bx9jan.htm; “[A]s [Mr Blix] went into a United Nations Security Council briefing, he indicated there was so far no evidence to provoke the ‘serious consequences’ threatened by the Security Council's November resolution. ‘We have now been there for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns,’ he said.” 'No smoking guns' in Iraq arms search, BBC News, 9 January 2003, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2641973.stm.  “An UNMOVIC team carried out an inspection at the Falluja II site of the Al-Tariq Company. This site is located in the Falluja district about 100 km west of Baghdad and is nearby to the Falluja III site, which was visited yesterday by the same inspection team. The Fallujah II site comprises the headquarters of the Al-Tariq Company and a factory area. Only the factory area was inspected. Two separate chemical plants are in the factory area and their major activity is the production of phenol and chlorine. The chlorine plant is currently inoperative. The site contains a number of tagged dual-use items of equipment, which were all accounted for. All key buildings were inspected in addition to the chlorine and phenol plants. The objectives of the visit were successfully achieved.” UNMOVIC declaration, 9 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=284&sID=8.  See UNMOVIC Declaration, 17 December 2002 at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=298&sID=8.  See UNMOVIC Declaration, 8 January 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=324&sID=8.  See UNMOVIC Declaration, 17 January 2002 at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=338&sID=8  See footnote 8.  “Another team went to the Ibn Sina Company some 40 km north of Baghdad. This site was formerly known as Tarmiya and was the site of a uranium enrichment plant that was destroyed in 1991. The team inspected the new activities at the site and verified that no nuclear activities remain or have been initiated. Dual-use industrial activities at the site were inspected to verify that they could not contribute directly to a nuclear programme. The Amil liquid nitrogen plant, subordinate to Ibn Sina and about 10 km away, was inspected during this activity.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 11 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=286&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 12 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=287&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 4 January 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=320&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 6 January 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=322&sID=8.  “An UNMOVIC team of missile inspectors traveled 68 km north of Baghdad to inspect the Ibn Sina Centre. In this large centre, which is also known as Tarmiyah, the team inspected several buildings to verify the equipment and raw materials used in chemical processes liked to missile activities, such as the production of ammonium perchlorate for solid propellants and the regeneration of oxidizer and fuel used in liquid propulsion.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 11 January 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=331&sID=8.  See footnote 8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 30 November 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=270&sID=8.  “An IAEA team at Al Qa Qaa began inventorying known explosive materials from the past nuclear programme that were previously under the control of the IAEA. Other tasks involved inspecting a number of key buildings and outdoor sites within the huge Al Qa Qaa complex.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 9 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=284&sID=8.  “One UNMOVIC chemical team inspected two facilities within the Al Qa Qaa complex: a high concentrated (oleum) sulpheric acid plant and all storages in the main storage area. Equipment and chemicals present at both sites were verified. The Director General of the complex informed the team about the changes that had occurred since 1998. The inspection went smoothly.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 14 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=292&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 16 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=295&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 21 December 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=304&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 18 January 2003, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=339&sID=8.  See footnote 8.  “Al-Fallujah was partially destroyed in 1991 during the Gulf war and again in December 1998, during operation desert fox. In between a UN disarmament team disabled all facilities in any way related to weapons of mass destruction there, including the castor oil production unit. My visit this month disclosed beyond any doubt that the castor oil unit was inoperable.” Go on, call Bush’s bluff, Hans von Sponeck, The Guardian, 22 July 2002, at www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,759446,00.html; “In mid-July, von Sponeck visited two sites cited in an Iraq dossier released by British Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this week: a veterinary vaccine institute at al-Dawrah, and a castor oil production plant at Fallujah. Suspected of producing biological agents, they were targeted in 1998 US and British air attacks. Mr. Blair's dossier says that the castor oil plant ‘has been rebuilt.’ But von Sponeck says that, while Iraq may have been rebuilding other facilities he didn't visit, in these two cases, "these facilities are simply gone.” Hardened US approach on Iraq: big stick, little carrot, Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor, 27 September 2002, at www.csmonitor.com/2002/0927/p07s01-wogn.html.  “The UN concluded [that al-Dora] had been involved in biological agent research and development and the latter in the production of materials for chemical warfare. UN disarmament personnel permanently disabled al-Dora in 1996. During a visit with a German TV crew to al-Dora in mid-July - a site chosen by me and not the Iraqi authorities - I found it in the same destroyed condition in which I had last seen it in 1999.” Go on, call Bush’s bluff, Hans von Sponeck, The Guardian, 22 July 2002, at www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,759446,00.html.  “The UNMOVIC team inspected the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Plant in Al Dawrah, which is situated about 15 km south of Baghdad. The site was decleared by Iraq as being used for production of biological weapons (BW) agent starting in 1990. Equipment declared to have been in the BW programme was destroyed under inspectors’ supervision in 1996. However significant dual use production equipment remains. The UNMOVIC team comprised 14 weapons inspectors and support staff. The team was able to complete the inspections tasks that it had planned to carry out. A number of samples were taken. During the inspection, the team learned that some equipment had been transferred to another facility. This was immediately followed by activities at a small veterinary medicine facility about 20 km north of Baghdad. Both teams left the Canal Hotel at 8:30 a.m. and returned in the course of the afternoon. They had no difficulty gaining immediate access to the sites as well as any locations within the sites.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 28 November 2002, at www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=268&sID=8.  See footnote 8.  “The UNMOVIC biological team inspected the Al Amiryah Serum and Vaccine Institute on the western outskirts of Baghdad. All buildings, including new constructions, were inspected.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 15 December 2002, at http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=293&sID=8.  “The team then revisited the Al Amiryah Serum and Vaccine Institute in Baghdad to seek clarifications from the former Director of the Institute. The team took physical inventory of the Institute and took some samples.” UNMOVIC Declaration, 16 December 2002, at http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=295&sID=8.  UNMOVIC Declaration, 22 December 2002, at http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=305&sID=8.  See footnote 8.  See footnote 8.  “When I left Iraq in 1998, when the UN inspection programme ended, the infrastructure and facilities had been 100% eliminated. There's no debate about that. All of their instruments and facilities had been destroyed. The weapons design facility had been destroyed. The production equipment had been hunted down and destroyed. And we had in place means to monitor - both from vehicles and from the air - the gamma rays that accompany attempts to enrich uranium or plutonium. We never found anything. We can say unequivocally that the industrial infrastructure needed by Iraq to produce nuclear weapons had been eliminated […] Centrifuge facilities [necessary for the development of nuclear weapons] emit gamma radiation, as well as many other frequencies. It is detectable. Iraq could not get around this.” [emphasis added] 'Even if Iraq managed to hide these weapons, what they are now hiding is harmless goo,’ Scott Ritter, The Guardian, 19 September 2002, at www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,794759,00.html.  “I worked with the Iraqi nuclear program from 1968 until my departure from Iraq in late 1998. Having been closely involved in most of the major nuclear activities of that program, from the Russian research reactor in the late sixties to the French research reactors in the late seventies, the Russian nuclear power program in the early eighties, the nuclear weapons program during the eighties and finally the confrontations with U.N. inspection teams in the nineties, it behooves me to admit that I find present allegations about Iraq's nuclear capability, as continuously advanced by the Americans and the British, to be ridiculous […] Immediately after the cessation of hostilities [in 1991], the entire organization that was responsible for the nuclear weapons project turned its attention to the reconstruction of the heavily damaged oil refineries, electric power stations, and telephone exchange buildings. The combined expertise of the several thousand scientific, engineering, and technical cadres manifested itself in the restoration of the oil, electric and communication infrastructure in a matter of months -- an impressive accomplishment, by any measure. […] In the following few years, the nuclear weapons project organization was slowly disbanded. By 1994, its various departments were either elevated to independent civilian industrial enterprises, or absorbed within the Military Industrial Authority under Hussain Kamil, who later escaped to Jordan in 1996 and then returned to Baghdad where he was murdered […] In the meantime, and this is the gist of my discourse, the economic standing of the Iraqi nuclear scientists and engineers (along with the rest of the civil servants and the professional middle class) has been pathetically reduced to poverty level. […] Needless to say, their spirits are very low and their cynicism is high. Relatively few have managed to leave Iraq. […] Pathetic shadows of their former selves, the overwhelming fear that haunts them is the fear of retirement, with a whopping pension that equates to about $2 a month.” [emphasis added] Iraq's nuclear non-capability, Imad Khadduri, Yellow Times, 21 November 2002, at www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=874.  “Charles Duelfer, Ritter's superior officer at Unscom, generally agrees with him. Testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee on 27 February, Duelfer said that 'the IAEA accounted for most of the [nuclear] programme and key facilities were destroyed.' […] The [International Institute for Strategic Studies] conclusion, unpopular in Washington, is that 'of the three WMD types, nuclear weapons seem the furthest from Iraq's grasp.' 'We have greater confidence,' the report continues, 'that Iraq's prewar nuclear infrastructure and material assets were effectively accounted for and disarmed by 1998, compared to its prewar CBW capability.' […] The [Joint Intelligence Committee] and the [International Institute for Strategic Studies] agree that Iraq does not pose a nuclear threat at present. […] The nuclear threat from Iraq is, in conclusion, significantly less now than it was in 1991 […].” What has he got? Norman Dombey, London Review of Books, 17 October 2002, at www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n20/domb01_.html.  ‘Time running out’ for Iraq, BBC News, 14 January 2002, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2655629.stm.  “Aujourd'hui, rien ne justifie d'envisager l'action militaire. […] Le travail des inspecteurs est satisfaisant.” Irak : la France menace d'utiliser son veto contre une guerre américaine, Le Monde, 21 January 2002, at www.lemonde.fr/article/0,5987,3218--306231-,00.html.  “Bush said U.N. weapons inspectors, before they were denied access to Iraq in 1998, concluded that Saddam was ‘six months away from developing a weapon.’ He also cited satellite photos released by a U.N. agency Friday that show unexplained construction at Iraq sites that weapons inspectors once visited to search for evidence Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms. ‘I don't know what more evidence we need,’ Bush said.” Bush, Blair: Saddam Has To Go, CBS News, 7 September 2002, at www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/08/attack/main521177.shtml; “President Bush said that satellite photographs released by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency showed clear evidence that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. The pictures show new construction work at several locations which, in the past, have been linked to Iraqi nuclear weapons' projects. ‘I don't know what more evidence we need,’ said Mr Bush.” Bair and Bush talk tough on Iraq, BBC News, 8 September 2002, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2243684.stm.  “The International Atomic Energy Agency says that a report cited by President Bush as evidence that Iraq in 1998 was "six months away" from developing a nuclear weapon does not exist.” Agency disavows report on Iraq arms, Joseph Curl, The Washington Times, 27 September 2002, at www.washtimes.com/national/20020927-500715.htm; “The International Atomic Energy Agency has no evidence that Iraq is developing nuclear weapons at a former site previously destroyed by UN inspectors, despite claims made over the weekend by Tony Blair, western diplomatic sources told the Guardian yesterday.” Doubt cast on PM’s ‘nuclear threat’ claim, Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 9 September 2002, at www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,788336,00.html.  “The Human Rights Caucus of the US Congress was meeting in October and Hill & Knowlton [a PR company hired by the Kuwaiti Government] arranged for a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl to tell the babies' story before the congressmen. The congressional committee knew her only as "Nayirah" and the television segment of her testimony showed anger and resolution on the faces of the congressmen listening to her. President Bush referred to the story six times in the next five weeks as an example of the evil of Saddam's regime. In the Senate debate whether to approve military action to force Saddam out of Kuwait, seven senators specifically mentioned the incubator babies atrocity and the final margin in favour of war was just five votes. John R Macarthur's study of propaganda in the war says that the babies atrocity was a definitive moment in the campaign to prepare the American public for the need to go to war.” The disinformation campaign, Phillip Knightley, The Guardian, 4 October 2001, at www.guardian.co.uk/analysis/story/0,3604,562996,00.html.  “It was not until nearly two years later that the truth emerged. The story was a fabrication and a myth, and Nayirah, the teenage Kuwaiti girl, coached and rehearsed by Hill & Knowlton [a PR company hired by the Kuwaiti Government] for her appearance before the Congressional Committee, was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. By the time [John R Macarthur, Editor of Harper’s Magazine] revealed this, the war was won and over and it did not matter any more.” The disinformation campaign, Phillip Knightley, The Guardian, 4 October 2001, at www.guardian.co.uk/analysis/story/0,3604,562996,00.html; “[T]he daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, Nijirah al-Sabah, tearfully described how, as a volunteer in the Al Adnan hospital in Kuwait City, she had watched Iraqi soldiers looting incubators to take back to Baghdad, pitching the Kuwaiti babies on to "the cold floor to die." Except it never happened. The Filipina nurses, Frieda Construe-Nag and Myra Ancog Cooke, who worked in the maternity ward of the Al Adnan hospital, had never seen Ms al-Sabah in their lives. Amnesty admitted they had been duped. Middle East Watch confirmed the fabrication, but it was too late: a marginal US congress had been swung to vote for war. George Bush senior mentioned the "incubator babies" seven times in pre-war rallying speeches. It was months before the truth came out. By then, the war was over.” This time I’m scared, Maggie O’Kane, The Guardian, 5 December 2002, at www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,853885,00.html; “It is interesting that no one – not the congressmen in the hearing, or any journalist present – bothered to find out the identity of the young woman. She was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, and actually hadn't seen the "atrocities" she described take place. (When later confronted with the lack of evidence for her claims, the young woman said that she hadn't been in the hospital herself, but that a friend who had been there had told her about it.) […] The story was later discredited by organizations like Middle East Watch, Amnesty International, and various other groups and media organizations.” When contemplating war, beware of babies in incubators, Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor, 6 September 2002, at www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p25s02-cogn.html; “Then they went to the United Nations and they did the same thing at the Security Council. There was a certain Dr. Behbehani, who you may remember testified that he was a surgeon who had personally seen the burial of 40 babies pulled from incubators. It turns out that Dr. Behbehani was a dentist, not a surgeon; and he admitted after the war that he had lied, he made the whole thing up!” Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War: How Government Can Mold Public Opinion, John R. MacArthur, The Independent Policy Forum, October 7, 1993, at www.independent.org/tii/content/events/f_macarth.html.  “[I]n the final days before the war started on January 9, the Pentagon insisted that not only was Saddam Hussein not withdrawing from Kuwait - he was - but that he had 265,000 troops poised in the desert to pounce on Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon claimed to have satellite photographs to prove it. Thus, the waverers and anti-war protesters were silenced. We now know from declassified documents and satellite photographs taken by a Russian commercial satellite that there were no Iraqi troops poised to attack Saudi. At the time, no one bothered to ask for proof. No one except Jean Heller, a five-times nominated Pulitzer prize-winning journalist from the St Petersburg Times in Florida, who persuaded her bosses to buy two photos at $1,600 each from the Russian commercial satellite, the Soyuz Karta. Guess what? No massing troops. ‘You could see the planes sitting wing tip to wing tip in Riyadh airport,’ Ms Heller says, ‘but there wasn't was any sign of a quarter of a million Iraqi troops sitting in the middle of the desert.’” This time I’m scared, Magie O’Kane, The Guardian, 5 December 2002, at www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,854148,00.html; “Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid–September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier. But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border – just empty desert.” In war, some facts less factual, Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 September 2002, at www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p01s02-wosc.html; “Sometimes the crisis is palpable; undeniable, as we experienced on September 11th. Sometimes it needs a little, shall we say, punching up. Take the crisis that spurred America's entry into the Gulf War 10 years ago. Iraq's otherwise unstoppable invasion of Saudi Arabia from Kuwait. But there were pictures courtesy of a Russian satellite that showed there were no Iraqi troops gathering along the border. […] Of course the pretext for sending American troops to Saudi Arabia in the first place without congressional authorization was to defend against an invasion - an imminent invasion of Saudi Arabia from Kuwait by the Iraqi Army.” The History of Propaganda, Brooke Gladstone and Rick MacArthur, National Public Radio, 24 November 2001, at www.wnyc.org/onthemedia/transcripts_112401_propaganda.html; “In August, 1990, before any votes had been taken, the White House asserted the existence of military satellite photographs that showed Iraqi troops massed on the Saudi Arabian border -- preparing, said the White House, to invade that kingdom and extend Mr. Hussein's conquest. (The purpose for sending U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia in the first place, according to Bush I, was defensive, not to evict Mr. Hussein from Kuwait.) These photos have never been made public, probably because they don't exist. Genuine commercial-satellite photographs of the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border from that time, published in the St. Petersburg Times, showed no Iraqi troops along the frontier.” Sounds Fishy, Mr President, John MacArthur, Toronto Globe and Mail, 28 October 2002, at www.commondreams.org/views02/1028-09.htm.  “The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is reported to have obtained evidence that UN weapons inspectors in Iraq helped the US to collect information to undermine President Saddam Hussein. The reports in the Washington Post and Boston Globe speak of a systematic operation in which American agents were able to listen in to secret communications between Iraqi security bodies responsible for protecting President Saddam Hussein. […] One unidentified source was quoted by the Post as saying: ‘The Secretary-General has become aware of the fact that Unscom (the UN Special Commission charged with disarming Iraq) directly facilitated the creation of an intelligence collection system for the United States in violation of its mandate.’” US Inspectors ‘spied’ for US, BBC News, 6 January 1999, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/events/crisis_in_the_gulf/latest_news/249490.stm; “Unscom, the now-defunct UN weapons inspection programme in Iraq, was "infiltrated and fatally compromised" by the American and British intelligence agencies - according to a report by the BBC's Panorama programme. […] According to Mr Ritter - who resigned from Unscom last year - the US took over the whole ‘Stephanie’ operation [a sophisticated listening device]. And, he says, the most sensitive information from ‘Stephanie’ went to US intelligence, not to Unscom.” UNSCOM ‘infiltrated by spies,’ BBC News, 23 March 1999, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/301168.stm; “American espionage in Iraq, under cover of United Nations weapons inspections, went far beyond the search for banned arms and was carried out without the knowledge of the UN leadership, it was reported yesterday. An investigation by the Washington Post found that CIA engineers working as UN technicians installed antennae in equipment belonging to the UN Special Commission (Unscom) to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military.” UN ‘kept in dark’ about US spying in Iraq, Julian Borger, The Guardian, 3 March 1999, www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,208440,00.html; “Kofi Annan, has said there is some justification for allegations that UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were involved in spying for Washington. In a BBC interview, Mr Annan said it was worrying that the Americans had never denied the allegations, which he admitted had not only undermined the UN inspection agency, Unscom, but also future disarmament regimes. He added that it was an uncomfortable situation for the UN, and one that had done it considerable harm.” UNSCOM may have been spied on – Annan, BBC News, 28 June 1999, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/379458.stm  “A former weapons inspector has told the BBC that he did provide specific information on Iraqi targets. Bill Tiener was a weapons inspector who visited some of the most sensitive sites between 1996 and 1998, but before becoming an inspector, Tiener was himself a member of the defense intelligence staff, the Pentagon spy agency, a role that he didn't relinquish when he started his job as a weapons inspector. […] ‘I was put in the targeting shot, so I used my UNSCOM experience. […] [A targeting shot] builds target lists for when the President decides to start military action. And what I did was identify those people that had sold their soul to keep Saddam in power. You find them and you kill them. That is the best way to do it, and I made it my goal to find every place where they were. Everywhere.’” UN weapons inspector admits spying for US, [transcript] BBC World, 22 October 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/audio/38369000/rm/_38369513_inspectors07_corera.ram.  “[W]e know from Khidhir Hamza, the head of the Nuclear Programme for Saddam […] that there were and are hundreds of sites where weapons of mass destruction are worked on in Iraq. Many of them are buried. Many of them are quite small. Saddam […] is using centrifuges and other facilities that can be relatively small. His biological weapons laborities can be quite small […] We know through Khidhir Hamza, who headed the program and came out of Iraq in 1994, how well developed the program was in terms of design, in terms of expertise, in terms of the components of the weapon other than the fissionable material.” US policy toward Iraq, Hearing before the Committee on International Relations House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, 19 September 2002, Serial No. 107-115, at www.house.gov/international_relations/81813.pdf; “On December 10, there was a remarkable op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The author of the op-ed is a scientist by the name of Khidhir Hamza, who spent 20 years of his life working on Iraq’s nuclear program and defected to the United States in 1994. This is what he says in part and I am quoting him: ‘There is no time to waste. Saddam’s express goal is to continue building up his chemical and biological stockpiles and to ultimately wield a nuclear weapon. Each day we wait we allow him to go further to that goal.’” The monitoring of weapons development in Iraq, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991); and reaffirming the special relationship between the US and the Republic of the Philippines, Markup before the Committee on International Relations House of Representatives, One Hundred and Seventh Congress, First Session on H.J. Res. 75 and H. Con. Res. 273, December 12, 2001, Serial No. 107-60, page 26, at www.house.gov/international_relations/76667.pdf.  For Khidhir Hamza’s testimony before the House of Representatives, see Introductory Remarks for the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, And International Relations of the Committee On Government Reform, House of Representatives, by Dr. Khidhir Hamza, Tuesday, September 24th, 2002, at http://reform.house.gov/ns/schedule_107th_2nd_session/hamza_sept_24.htm; for Khidhir Hamza’s testimony before the Senate, see The Iraqi threat, Khidhir Hamza, Testimony, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 31 July 2002, at http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/HamzaTestimony073102.doc.  “[Saddam Hussein] is the only head of state who has the means and motive to help Osama bin Laden attack the United States.” All Nuclear and Biological Roads Lead to Iraq's Hussein, Khidhir Hamza, 9 December 2001, at www.house.gov/markey/iss_nuclear_taskforce_ed011212.htm.  “What troubles his former supporters - now his fiercest critics - is not the valuable information he was able to give. Rather, it is about claims he has subsequently made about programmes and technical issues of which, they believe, he has no direct knowledge. These, they say, are claims driven by a desire to persuade the US that military intervention is the best course. Among his most questionable allegations, they say, are those which have been taken up most forcefully by the US hawks. It is Hamza who insists how close Iraq was to assembling a viable nuclear bomb. It is Hamza who has claimed Iraq was near to building a viable 'radiation weapon'. It is Hamza who was prominent on US television speculating that Iraq had assisted Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in their attacks on 11 September and the later anthrax attacks on the US. One of Hamza's sternest critics is Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector and US Marine intelligence officer, who recently switched from being an anti-Saddam hawk to joining the anti-invasion voices after he visited Iraq to make a film. Ritter describes Hamza simply as a 'fraud' who has consistently lied about his importance in Iraq's nuclear programme and his own knowledge of it. Then there is David Albright, Hamza's former mentor in the US and himself a former nuclear inspector involved in assessing the scope of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. […] One of the problems, says Albright, was that Hamza was given access in the US to Iraq's own declaration of what its nuclear programme comprised. This was provided in the mid-Nineties after another high-level defector disclosed the scope of the Iraqi programme. Hamza, says Albright, was recycling this as his own first-hand knowledge. 'His book is full of technical inaccuracies and there is no doubt he exaggerated his importance. For instance he has a section about the biological weapons programme which he had no knowledge of or access to,' says Albright.” Should we go to war against Saddam? Peter Beaumont, Kamal Ahmed and Edward Helmore, The Guardian, 17 March 2002, at www.observer.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,668867,00.html. “Hamza exaggerated to a great extent his own role in the nuclear weapon program. As I personally know [Hamza] and have worked with him during these two decades, I wish to clarify the following untruths and misinformation that has been postulated by him in his book […] [T]he "bombmaker" was kicked out of the [weapons] program at the end of 1987 for stealing a few air conditioning units from the building assigned to his project. This he conveniently omitted to mention in his book, but cited frequent travels abroad to garner assistance and equipment, while in fact he was an outcast to the project and did not attend any seminar or brainstorming sessions during that intense period.” Saddam's bombmaker' is full of lies, Imad Khadduri, YellowTimes.org, 27 November 2002, at www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=889. “DAVID ALBRIGHT: I think, as people are asked to support war against Iraq, I think we need to look at the available information much more carefully and I think it saddens me to have to send that letter to you about Dr Hamza, who I personally liked. But unfortunately I believe that his statements are often inaccurate, they're inconsistent. For example, just a couple of weeks ago he told the London Sunday Times that Iraq was building nuclear weapons and could have them in a couple of months. He sculpts his message to get the message across to his audience and certainly I don't know his agenda - you mentioned one aspect of what is suspected to be his agenda, he wants regime change and what interferes with that is just ignored. TONY JONES: Do you believe he really was the kingpin of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, as is claimed almost every time he appears before congressional hearings? DAVID ALBRIGHT: No, he definitely wasn't. […] He never headed the program to make the highly enriched uranium, which is where most of the money was. Also after six months he told me he wanted out of that program. […] He then retired at the end of 1990 […] And so his information after 1990 was really second hand and gained from talking to colleagues. So I think he's distorted his title dramatically.” Nuclear weapons expert warns of Hamza evidence, Tony Jones, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 September 2002, at www.abc.net.au/lateline/s686055.htm. “Despite the discrepancy in his CV, the fact that the IAEA never recognized him as head of the nuclear program, and quite amazingly, his own admission that he was the head for a brief period ending in 1988, Hamza is brandished as Iraq's chief bombmaker. In interviews on major news outlets, Hamza is referred to as Iraq's most senior nuclear scientist who miraculously is still alive today to tell the tale.” Who is Khidhir Hamza? Firas Al-Atraqchi, YellowTimes.org, 27 November 2002, at www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=888; “[After testifying before the Senate Committee on 31 July 2002], [i]n his interview with the Times in September, Hamza claimed [for the first time] that the three nuclear bombs could be made within the next few months. This 'new estimation . . . is centred on the number of pirated centrifuges that Baghdad has been able to produce and the rapidity with which the reprocessing programme is being undertaken'. I don't know what reprocessing has to do with it - reprocessing is used in the production of plutonium, not [highly enriched uranium] - but how does he know about the pirated centrifuges? In the Sunday Mirror he even claimed that 'Saddam now probably has hundreds of small centrifuges hidden around Iraq.' Why didn't he mention the pirated centrifuges to the Senate Committee? He hasn't been in Iraq for eight years, so this information can't be first-hand. Nor was he involved with the centrifuge programme, which only gets a few mentions in his book […] The reason Hamza's opinion changed so markedly between 31 July and 16 September is revealed in the Times interview. The [International Institute for Strategic Studies] dossier was published on 9 September, and was, in the view of Hamza's new masters in the United States, unhelpful. Hamza was required to add some urgency to the debate.” What has he got? Norman Dombey, London Review of Books, 17 October 2002, at www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n20/domb01_.html. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Overloaded with spam? 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