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[casi] on the crisis in Iraq

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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

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.


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”).[1][1] 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.”[2][2] 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’.”[3][3]
(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”[4][4] (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”[5][5] and provides a list of civilian use items that the
Government believes could also be used to develop nuclear weapons.[6][6]

As will be shown, all of the Government’s allegations with respect to these
facilities have proven to be misguided.


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.[7][7]
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.”[8][8]

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,[9][9] 17 December,[10][10] 8
January,[11][11] and 17 January.[12][12] 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.[13][13] 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,[14][14] 12 December,[15][15] 4
January,[16][16] 6 January,[17][17] and 11 January.[18][18] 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.[19][19] 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,[20][20]
9 December,[21][21] 14 December,[22][22] 16 December,[23][23] 21 December,[24][24]
and 18 January.[25][25] 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.[26][26] The Government’s allegations in relation the al-Qa’qa’ complex
are therefore in direct contradiction with information that is publicly

(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.[27][27] 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

(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.[28][28]
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.[29][29] The inspectors reported no anomalies during the
course of their visit, nor afterwards in relation to this site.[30][30] 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,[31][31] 16
December,[32][32] and 22 December.[33][33] 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.[34][34] 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

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,[36][36] Iraqi scientists previously
involved in Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme and now living in the West,[37][37]
and British academics involved in nuclear science.[38][38] 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,”[39][39] 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.”[40][40] 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.


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.[41][41] 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.[42][42] 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.[43][43] 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.[44][44]

(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.[45][45]

(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.[46][46]
Some of the inspectors have even admitted themselves that they were spies for
their Governments.[47][47] 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.[48][48] He
has even provided testimony to Congress on several occasions,[49][49] during
which he sought to foster the belief that there are links between Saddam
Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.[50][50] 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.”[51][51] 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


[1][52] Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at

[2][53] See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at, page 19.

[3][54] See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at, page 19-20.

[4][55] See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at, page 22.

[5][56] See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at, page 25.

[6][57] See Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at, page 26.

[7][58] 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

[8][59] “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,; “[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

[9][60] “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

[10][61] See UNMOVIC Declaration, 17 December 2002 at

[11][62] See UNMOVIC Declaration, 8 January 2002, at

[12][63] See UNMOVIC Declaration, 17 January 2002 at

[13][64] See footnote 8.

[14][65] “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

[15][66] UNMOVIC Declaration, 12 December 2002, at

[16][67] UNMOVIC Declaration, 4 January 2002, at

[17][68] UNMOVIC Declaration, 6 January 2002, at

[18][69] “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

[19][70] See footnote 8.

[20][71] UNMOVIC Declaration, 30 November 2002, at

[21][72] “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

[22][73] “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

[23][74] UNMOVIC Declaration, 16 December 2002, at

[24][75] UNMOVIC Declaration, 21 December 2002, at

[25][76] UNMOVIC Declaration, 18 January 2003, at

[26][77] See footnote 8.

[27][78] “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,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

[28][79] “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,3604,759446,00.html.

[29][80] “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

[30][81] See footnote 8.

[31][82] “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

[32][83] “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

[33][84] UNMOVIC Declaration, 22 December 2002, at

[34][85] See footnote 8.

[35][86] See footnote 8.

[36][87] “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,3604,794759,00.html.

[37][88] “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

[38][89] “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

[39][90] ‘Time running out’ for Iraq, BBC News, 14 January 2002, at

[40][91] “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,

[41][92] “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; “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

[42][93] “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; “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,3604,788336,00.html.

[43][94] “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,3604,562996,00.html.

[44][95] “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,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,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; “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

[45][96] “[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,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; “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; “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

[46][97] “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,; “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,; “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,,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,

[47][98] “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,[99].

[48][100] “[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; “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

[49][101] 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,
for Khidhir Hamza’s testimony before the Senate, see The Iraqi threat, Khidhir
Hamza, Testimony, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 31 July 2002, at

[50][102] “[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

[51][103] “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,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,, 27
November 2002, at “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 “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,, 27 November 2002, at; “[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

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