The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 15-22/01/03 (2) INSPECTIONS PROCESS * Iraq objects to use of spy planes in U.N. search * Inspectors' find raises more questions than answers * Arms inspectors search scientists' homes, field * Discovery not surprising, former inspectors say * Discovery of Iraq's Chemical Warheads Not a 'Smoking Gun', Says Blix * No Violations at Iraqi Sites of Concern * 'Nuclear data' found in scientist's home * Blix Says Document Find in Iraq Worrying * Indian firm sold prohibited materials to Iraq * Iraq: The disputed evidence * Iraq and UN reach deal on cooperation * Physicist Is Key in U.N. Probe in Iraq OPPOSITION/COLLABORATION * Iraqi Exiles Start Reporting for Training * 3,000 Iraqi exiles to train at US base in Hungary for secret role in war INSPECTIONS PROCESS http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/4955269.htm * IRAQ OBJECTS TO USE OF SPY PLANES IN U.N. SEARCH by Jessica Guynn The State, from Knight Ridder Newspapers, 15th January WASHINGTON - U.N. weapons inspectors want to use U.S. spy planes to strengthen their hunt for Iraq's illicit weapons, but Iraq has objected, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the spy planes flown by American Air Force pilots would search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and missile programs, using sophisticated high-surveillance cameras that would feed satellite information directly to inspectors. U.N. inspectors used such planes during the 1990s inspections. The Iraqi regime objected to the reconnaissance missions in a letter to chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing. The U.N. weapons inspectors have not yet used any overhead surveillance as they have searched hundreds of sites since November for banned weapons of mass destruction. The United States offered the use of the U-2 and the CIA's unmanned Predator aircraft. Blix turned down the offer of the Predator. The weapons inspectors accepted the U-2, but it wasn't clear whether they would actually use it, because of Iraq's objections. The U-2 is a high-altitude surveillance plane with a variety of sensors and cameras that can provide day or night surveillance in all kinds of weather. The U.S. military has been using it since the 1950s. [.....] http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1740072 * INSPECTORS' FIND RAISES MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS by Robin Wright Houston Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 17th January WASHINGTON -- The surprise discovery of chemical warheads in Iraq on Thursday highlights the basic problem facing the United Nations: What constitutes a smoking gun? Initial reports indicated that the warheads had not been declared by Iraq in earlier inventories provided to the United Nations. If that's true, the find could give the Bush administration ammunition in its effort to convince the U.N. Security Council that Iraq should be forcibly disarmed. The initial response from the White House, however, was cautious. Officials indicated that - pending further investigation -- the warheads alone are not the telltale evidence of a forbidden arsenal that would justify military action. "It's an interesting development, and the discovery raises a lot of questions: Why weren't they declared? Why weren't they destroyed, especially if they are old? And why does Iraq still have them?" said a senior U.S. official who asked not to be identified. "At minimum, it would seem to be a technical violation. But it's also not exactly a smoking gun," the official said. The discovery at Iraq's Ukhaider weapons depot 75 miles south of Baghdadreflects the basic conundrum -- where to draw the line in weaponry and how much wiggle room should be tolerated -- in the effort to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Former weapons inspectors challenged Iraq's claim that the warheads had been declared to earlier inspection teams. Were that the case, inspectors said, the warheads would have been melted down. Between 1991 and 1998, when the last inspectors left, more than 10,000 warheads adapted for chemical or biological use were destroyed. Thousands more are still unaccounted for. Baghdad claimed it destroyed them but has never provided proof, U.S. officials say. Thursday's discovery would have been more incriminating if the warheads, all described to be in "excellent" condition, had been loaded with chemical agents. The new U.N. team said 11 of the 12 shells were empty but that one needed more study, apparently for traces of agent. "It would have been more interesting if the warheads were filled with chemicals or if there'd been a larger stockpile or if they'd been newer, which would show that they're making them now," the senior U.S. official said. Also, the depot is a well-known weapons site, not a hiding place just uncovered by the team that resumed inspections Nov. 27 under the mandate of a new U.N. resolution, U.S. officials said. Some former inspectors said they weren't surprised to hear of the warhead discovery -- nor to hear Baghdad's claim that the arms were obsolete, forgotten. Iraq, which once had the region's largest and best-equipped military, has an arsenal allowed by the United Nations that includes millions of rounds of artillery shells for conventional use. "If there are depots with millions of rounds of artillery shells for conventional use and one box of artillery shells for chemical use, it would be easy to miss. It could have fallen between the cracks," said Raymond Zilinskas, a former U.N. inspector and now director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Former weapons inspectors also predict that the empty warheads aren't likely to be the last discovery that is suspicious but not egregious enough to persuade the Security Council to sanction the use of force. "We can expect more of this, no question. They'll probably find several other omissions with only quasi-explanations," said Richard O. Spertzel, former head of U.N. biological weapons inspections. At the same time, former U.N. inspectors warn that their successors may never find fully loaded chemical munitions that would reveal an active Iraqi program. "I'm not sure what the blazes it is that UNMOVIC (inspectors) and the world's diplomats expect in terms of a smoking gun. If it's loaded munitions, this is a waste of their time. How many filled munitions did we find in more than seven years? None," Spertzel said. "So that makes the warheads an important finding." Although the White House's official reaction amounted to wait-and-see, President Bush repeated his warning that his patience is running thin. "It's up to Saddam Hussein to do what the entire world has asked him to do," the president said during a speech Thursday in Scranton, Pa. "So far the evidence hasn't been very good that he is disarming. And time is running out. At some point in time, the United States' patience will run out." http://www.washtimes.com/world/20030117-90202212.htm * ARMS INSPECTORS SEARCH SCIENTISTS' HOMES, FIELD Washington Times, 17th January BAGHDAD (AP) ‹ An Iraqi scientist yesterday accompanied U.N. experts to a field outside Baghdad where together they inspected what appeared to be a man-made mound of earth. The incident ‹ unprecedented since inspectors in Iraq resumed their search for banned nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in November ‹ came after the U.N. experts went through documents outside the scientist's house and had a heated discussion with Iraqi liaison officials. "I'm not happy about all of this," Dimitri Perricos, a team leader among the U.N. experts, could be heard telling the Iraqis as he got into a vehicle with the scientist ‹ physicist Faleh Hassan, who carried a box stuffed with documents ‹ and an Iraqi official. The inspections at the Baghdad homes of Mr. Hassan and his next-door neighbor, nuclear scientist Shaker el-Jibouri, were the first at private houses. At 9 a.m., inspectors cordoned off their street in Baghdad's al-Ghazalia neighborhood, then entered the homes. The experts were later seen going through documents at a table set up near Mr. Hassan's front door and having an animated discussion with Iraqi liaison officials. At the end of the six-hour visit, the silver-haired Mr. Hassan ‹ a physicist and director of a military installation that specializes in laser development ‹ got into a U.N. car with Mr. Perricos and an Iraqi official. They drove in a convoy about 10 miles west of Baghdad and stopped at an agricultural area known as al-Salamiyat. There, Mr. Hassan, two inspectors and a liaison officer crossed a footbridge over a canal to a bare field that contained what appeared to be a man-made mound. The group spent about five minutes looking at the mound before returning to the vehicles and heading back to Baghdad. There, Mr. Hassan along with several Iraqi liaison officers were seen entering a hotel where some inspectors are living, carrying the box the size of a small television set visibly stuffed with documents. The inspectors, as is usual, did not speak with reporters and it was not clear why they were interested in the mound. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1740697 * DISCOVERY NOT SURPRISING, FORMER INSPECTORS SAY Houston Chronicle, 17th January UNITED NATIONS (AP): Iraq had tens of thousands of 122 mm rockets, and thousands are unaccounted for, so the discovery by U.N. inspectors of 12 warheads for the rockets isn't surprising, former U.N. inspectors say. U.N. weapons inspectors in Baghdad said Thursday they were empty chemical warheads for 122 mm rockets that Iraq did not list in its December declaration to the Security Council. But Iraq said they were not for biological or chemical use and had been declared in their 12,000-page report. The former inspectors said this raised the issue of whether the warheads were intended to be used for chemical warfare or conventional fighting. Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, who is in charge of chemical inspections, said today in Paris that "clearly they were designed to carry chemical weapons" and should be destroyed. He said he wasn't sure whether Iraq had mentioned them in the declaration. Under U.N. resolutions, Iraq is required to declare all its chemical munitions and destroy them under supervision of U.N. inspectors. But Iraq is allowed to have conventional 122 mm rockets containing explosives, said Terry Taylor, a former U.N. inspector who heads the Washington office of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. He said Iraq had tens of thousands of these rockets, which have a range of over 6 miles. Thousands were filled with chemical agents and about 26,500 of these 122 mm rockets that Iraq claims it destroyed have not been accounted for. Raymond Zilinskas, a former inspector who now directs the chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, said there were three possibilities. The warheads may never have been filled with a chemical agent, they might have been filled but were emptied before inspectors left in 1998, or the warheads were filled and emptied recently, he said in an interview. If they were emptied recently, "that would be a very serious issue because the Iraqis have declared that they don't have any of the stuff, and that could lead to 'material breach' being declared under Resolution 1441," he said. The resolution gave Iraq a last chance to disarm and threatened serious consequences if it didn't. If the 12 warheads were chemical warheads but had never been filled, however, Zilinskas said it would be "a very, very small story" because it would only show that a very small number had escaped destruction. "They're going to have to test to see if there are any traces of chemical weapons in the warheads and in the bunkers where they were found," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. "And they will have to talk to the Iraqis." Taylor said that between 1992 and 1994, former U.N. inspectors destroyed 11,500 unfilled 122 mm rockets designed for chemical use. Another 6,454 of these rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin were accounted for and destroyed by inspectors between 1992 and 1993. Remnants of about 4,000 additional rockets with chemical agents were accounted for between 1991 and 1998, he said. http://palestinechronicle.com/article.php?story=20030117233357962 * DISCOVERY OF IRAQ'S CHEMICAL WARHEADS NOT A 'SMOKING GUN', SAYS BLIX by Michael Drudge Palestine Chronicle, from Voice of America, 17th January LONDON - The chief U.N. weapons inspector, Hans Blix, says the discovery of chemical weapons warheads in Iraq is not the so-called "smoking gun" that would constitute a material breach of U.N. disarmament resolutions. Blix commented on the discovery as he arrived in Britain for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Upon landing at London's Heathrow airport, Blix praised the U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq for their diligence in finding the empty chemical weapons shells. He said he will be checking an Iraqi claim that the shells were listed in a 12,000-page declaration Iraq gave to the U.N. in December on its weapons programs. And Blix said, "it is not a smoking gun." That was an apparent reference to whether the discovery put Iraq in material breach of U.N. disarmament resolutions, thus increasing the likelihood of a U.S.-led war. Blix then departed to the countryside retreat of Prime Minister Tony Blair for private talks on the Iraq crisis. The British government is reacting cautiously to the news that warheads have been found in Iraq. The junior foreign minister, Mike O'Brien, told British radio it is too early to declare Iraq in material breach. "Our response at this stage is cautious. We'll look at the detail of the evidence when Hans Blix, the senior inspector, provides it. There's no rush to judgment," he said. "The inspectors need time to look at this particular finding, and also to make a general assessment of how the inspections are going." Blair's spokesman repeated those sentiments, telling reporters the discovery is interesting, but patience is required as the inspectors reach their own conclusions regarding what they have found. http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-iraq-facilities-of concern0119jan18,0,4990921.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dworld%2Dheadlines * NO VIOLATIONS AT IRAQI SITES OF CONCERN by Charles J. Hanley Newsday, 18th January BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In almost two months of surprise visits across Iraq, U.N. arms monitors have inspected 13 sites identified by U.S. and British intelligence agencies as major "facilities of concern," and reported no signs of revived weapons building, an Associated Press analysis shows. The review of intelligence reports and U.N. records underlines chief inspector Hans Blix's statement that the international experts have uncovered no "smoking guns" in Iraq in almost 400 inspections since late November. Blix flies to Baghdad on Sunday to seek more information from Iraqi officials to resolve discrepancies in accounts of old weapons of mass destruction -- including, for example, of a dozen empty chemical warheads found last week. But his U.N. teams' work, keying on locations spotlighted by Washington and London, seems thus far to support Iraq's contention that its old weapons establishment is not making new forbidden arms. Since those U.S.-British assessments were issued last September and October, Washington officials have said repeatedly they have additional, undisclosed information - "solid" evidence -- that Baghdad is violating the U.N. ban on Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear arms. But they have made no such information public. Blix's deputy, Demetrius Perricos, told reporters Wednesday that some intelligence tips received have been useful, but "some of them are speculations." Another U.N. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on the eve of the visit by Blix and chief nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei that no new "actionable" intelligence has been forthcoming. Many of the suspicions raised in the headline-making U.S.-British reports were based on satellite imagery of Iraqi installations, remote photos taken during the inspectors' four-year absence from Iraq. Now that more than 100 U.N. specialists can again "see under the roofs," as Perricos put it, the alarms look less warranted. American intelligence analysts, for example, wrote that new structures photographed at Tuwaitha, a former nuclear weapons complex south of Baghdad, might indicate a revival of weapons work. Since Dec. 4, however, inspectors from ElBaradei's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have scrutinized that vast complex almost a dozen times, and reported no violations. In the same way, the CIA raised alarm in October about the al-Mutasim missile factory south of Baghdad, where the Iraqis are building their Ababil-100 short-range missile under a U.N. edict prohibiting such weapons with ranges longer than 90 miles. "The size of certain facilities there," the CIA alleged, "suggests that Baghdad is preparing to develop systems that are prohibited by the U.N." -- that is, longer-range weapons. After five unannounced visits to al-Mutasim in the past month, however, the U.N. missile experts have reported no clear evidence of such intentions. The specialists will maintain a close watch on the Mutasim plant, however, as part of a long-term disarmament program keeping the eyes of the world on the Iraqi military-industrial establishment. The long-term monitors will focus, too, on the Fallujah chemical complex west of Baghdad, where the Iraqis have rebuilt a chlorine production operation wrecked by U.S. bombing in the 1991 Gulf War. Chlorine, a chemical with many civilian uses, can also be a component of chemical weapons. The CIA report said the "dual-use" operation could be diverted quickly to such banned production, and Iraq "is trying to hide the activities of the Fallujah plant." But the inspection teams -- with U.N. authorization to drop in anywhere, anytime unannounced -- have surveyed the Fallujah site three times since December, most recently on Jan. 8. The next day, Blix told the U.N. Security Council, "If we had found any 'smoking gun' (in Iraq) we would have reported it to the Council." Blix noted previously that inspectors have discovered dual-use equipment at Fallujah that was disabled by other U.N. inspectors in the 1990s but was repaired and put back into service by the Iraqis. His agency will monitor that equipment, he said. Three other examples of what last September's British intelligence report described as "facilities of concern," and the U.N. follow-up: AL-QAIM URANIUM REFINERY In addition to being on the British list, U.S. analysts last October said new stuctures at this site in the western desert might signal renewed work on nuclear weapons. In the 1980s, the Iraqis had refined uranium at the phosphates complex in the early stages of an effort to build a nuclear bomb, a program dismantled by the IAEA in the 1990s. But after a thorough two-day survey in December, and another surprise visit by helicopter on Jan. 7, the U.N. inspectors did not report finding such violations. AL-DAWRAH PLANT This animal vaccine plant west of Baghdad produced botulin toxin in the 1980s as part of the Iraqi biological weapons program later uncovered by the United Nations. The recent CIA report contended Iraq's announcement two years ago that it was renovating the facility might mask new weapons plans. But inspectors and journalists who scoured the small site on Nov. 28 found it abandoned and full of trash. The United Nations will monitor it. AL-RAFAH TEST SITE On their first day of renewed inspections, Nov. 27, the U.N. experts sped to this installation, west of Baghdad, where missile engines are tested. The CIA report had said "the only plausible explanation" for a new, larger test stand sighted at Al-Rafah was that the Iraqis were developing prohibited longer-range missiles. The inspectors reported no such conclusion, however, and last week observed the test firing of a U.N.-authorized engine at the site. The seven other "facilities of concern" scrutinized by U.N. inspectors were the nuclear facilities at Al-Furat, Al-Sharqat and Al-Taji; the Ibn Sina and Qa Qa chemical plants; the Amariyah vaccine institute; and the Al-Mamoun missile fuel plant. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=370720 * 'NUCLEAR DATA' FOUND IN SCIENTIST'S HOME by George Jahn in Larnaca The Independent, 19th January Documents found at the home of an Iraqi scientist appear to outline hi-tech attempts to enrich uranium in the 1980s, the head of the UN nuclear control agency said yesterday. But other senior agency experts say the method, which could be used to make nuclear weapons, was too sophisticated for the Iraqis to exploit at the time. A western diplomat close to the inspectors claimed that the documents were not old. "They are new and they relate to ongoing work taking place in Iraq to develop nuclear weapons," he said. However, others involved with the investigation disagreed. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the research in the 3,000 documents had "something to do with laser enrichment". UN officials have said Iraq's attempt at "laser isotope separation", begun during the 1970s, was a failure and was largely abandoned by 1987 in favour of more promising approaches to enriching uranium for nuclear bombs. But Mr ElBaradei said the issue appeared to be more whether or not the Iraqis had included this information in the 12,000-page declaration they submitted to the UN last month. "If it's something we did not know about, it obviously does not show the transparency we've been preaching," Mr ElBaradei said, alluding to UN demands that Baghdad be more forthcoming with UN inspectors. The documents were found on Thursday by UN inspectors in the home of Faleh Hassan, a 55-year-old physicist, as they paid their first unannounced calls on private homes in Iraq. Dr Hassan said last night that Iraq cancelled its laser enrichment research programme in 1988, and that he never worked on the project. "I worked for the Nuclear Energy Agency, which was separate from the [enrichment] programme," he said. The physicist said earlier that when an accompanying Iraqi official briefly left his side, a female UN inspector offered to arrange for him to leave Iraq as an "escort" for his wife who needed medical treatment.Dr Hassan said he refused the offer, calling it "Mafia-like behaviour". The scientist, who is the director of the Al-Razi military industrial site, said the documents were from his own private research work and the graduate theses of students he had advised. But Mr ElBaradei said the documents were official, and defended the inspectors' conduct. Under the tough UN sanctions regime, inspectors are allowed to speak to Iraqi scientists in private and even take them outside the country for interviews a move that Washington hopes will prompt them to reveal hidden arms programmes. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030119/wl_nm/iraq_blix_w orry_dc_1 * BLIX SAYS DOCUMENT FIND IN IRAQ WORRYING Yahoo, 19th January LARNACA, Cyprus (Reuters) - Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Sunday discovery of documents at the home of an Iraqi scientist in Baghdad was worrying and questioned if more documents were being hidden. Blix, who leaves with U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei later Sunday for Baghdad on a last-ditch bid to get full cooperation from Iraq, said Iraq must declare and give access to all its documents. "Iraq has an obligation to give a full declaration so they (documents) should have been given. Why are they still there? Are there more?," Blix told reporters. "These are not weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Documents are not WMD. Shells are not. But they are a sign that not everything has been declared and that is worrying." "The things that have happened in the last few days are a bit troubling," he added. ElBaradei voiced fresh frustration with Iraq Saturday after inspectors raided the scientist's house and found 3,000 pages of material apparently related to enrichment of uranium that could be used for nuclear weapons. "Iraq should be pro-active. We shouldn't have to find these on our own," ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN. Blix and ElBaradei will hold two days of talks in Baghdad which could be key to a major report they are due to present to the United Nations (news - web sites) Security Council on January 27. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2003/01/19/MN244410 .DTL * INDIAN FIRM SOLD PROHIBITED MATERIALS TO IRAQ by Bob Drogin San Francisco Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 19th January New Delhi -- An obscure Indian trading company has provided the first clear evidence that Iraq obtained materials over the past four years to produce or deliver weapons of mass destruction. The company, NEC Engineering Private Ltd., used phony customs declarations and other false documents, as well as front companies in three countries, to export 10 consignments of raw materials and equipment that Saddam Hussein's regime could use to produce chemical weapons and propellants for long-range missiles, according to Indian court records. The shipments, valued at nearly $800,000, took place between September 1998 and February 2001. The exports -- highly specialized supplies, such as atomized aluminum powder and titanium centrifugal pumps -- ostensibly went to Jordan and Dubai. But they subsequently were traced to Iraq's Fallujah II chlorine plant and a rocket fuel production facility at Al Mamoun, according to U.S. and British intelligence. The NEC case marks the first illicit Iraqi procurement scheme traced to a specific company since December 1998, when U.N. inspectors were forced to leave Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. The case may not provide the sort of definitive evidence the international community has said is needed to justify military action against Iraq, but it bolsters White House claims that Hussein has covertly continued attempts to build illegal weapons. U.S. officials have not publicized the NEC case, in part to avoid embarrassing the Indian government about the lapse in its export controls. Washington has imposed sanctions against the former head of NEC, who allegedly led a technical team to Fallujah II in April 1999 to help install equipment that can be used to produce chemical agents. India has suspended NEC's export license, revoked passports of senior company officials and raided company offices and homes. NEC's general manager, who was jailed for four months last fall, has detailed the elaborate scheme to investigators. Further criminal charges are expected. United Nations weapons inspectors have confirmed that Iraq used at least some of the supplies. Earlier this month, U.N. missile teams made their fourth visit to Al Mamoun, about 36 miles south of Baghdad. They identified solid propellant rocket motors "which Iraq had manufactured between 1998 and 2002," according to a U.N. report, and witnessed "propellant production activities" for the second time in two weeks. U.N. chemical weapons teams have visited Fallujah II three times so far. The site, which was bombed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, had produced chlorine and phenol for Iraqi weapons in the 1980s. Both chemicals have civilian uses, but they also can be used to synthesize precursors for blister and nerve agents. It is unclear whether Iraq used the materials to make chemical weapons, but simply acquiring them put Baghdad in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Although the CIA warned in October that Iraq's recent chlorine production at Fallujah II and three other sites was "far higher" than any civilian needs for water treatment -- and thus reason to fear Iraq was diverting it to produce chemical weapons -- the U.N. teams reported on Dec. 9 that the chlorine plant was "currently inoperable." The report did not explain why, or what had happened to the equipment. The Bush administration's go-softly approach to the NEC case was evident on July 9 last year, when the State Department imposed sanctions against the company's founder, Hans Raj Shiv, making him the first and only person ever cited under the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act of 1992. The routine notice in the Federal Register drew virtually no attention at the time. Shiv was cited for "knowingly and materially contributing through the transfer of goods or technology" to Iraq's efforts to "acquire chemical weapons or destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons." Officials say he has fled India and is believed to be hiding in the United Arab Emirates. So are two of Shiv's aides. His son, Siddhartha Hans, was based in Dubai and in charge of obtaining NEC export orders from the region. NEC's technical director, R.C.P. Choudhary, allegedly helped ensure that the correct equipment was sent to Fallujah II. All three have been charged with violating Indian customs laws. "This is the real thing," a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. "These are bad guys." The official said the case shows the immense difficulties in detecting and unraveling Iraq's suspected weapons smuggling and procurement networks. "It's a Hydra," he said. "They do lawyering one place. Banking somewhere else. Fronts handle shipping and trucking. Consignments go to Dubai and Jordan. Then they disappear. They use dead drops, subsidiaries, cutouts. It's a real challenge." NEC lawyers deny the locally owned company has violated Indian law or U.N. sanctions. The case began with a tip to India from British intelligence in early 2001. On March 26, 2001, Indian authorities raided NEC offices and company directors' homes in New Delhi, Bombay and Chennai, seizing dog-eared bundles of purchase contracts, bills of lading, shipping records, customs declarations and other documents. Six weeks later, the Directorate of Revenue Enhancement issued an alert to customs offices in every Indian airport and harbor to stop NEC exports. Last June, Indian authorities formally suspended NEC's export license and again raided company offices and homes. They also arrested NEC's 46-year-old general manager, Shri Rajiv Dhir, and imprisoned him for four months. Authorities said Dhir "admitted his active role" during interrogation. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2677315.stm * IRAQ: THE DISPUTED EVIDENCE by Paul Reynolds BBC, 20th January Before going into the detail, the general point has to be made that the case against Iraq does not depend on weapons of mass destruction, or a "smoking gun", being found. What is required under Security Council Resolution 1441 is simply a finding that Iraq has not "fully co-operated" with the weapons inspectors. This may not be regarded as adequate by opponents of any war but it is the line strongly pursued by the United States and Britain. The case that Iraq is not fully "co-operating" was laid out by the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, to the Security Council on 9 January. News Online has seen copies of their written statements. They followed this up with a visit to Baghdad to raise the specific points of complaint and will report back to the Council on 27 January. As they left Baghdad they reported that Iraq had agreed to be more helpful. Mr Blix said that "a number of practical issues" had been resolved but "not all". The first area in dispute concerns Iraq's explanation about what happened to unaccounted for material: ‹ Anthrax: Mr Blix told the Security Council that Iraq's declaration did not account for missing amounts (some 26,000 litres) of anthrax and that "Iraq's account of its production and unilateral destruction of anthrax... may not be accurate." After the talks in Baghdad, Mr Blix said this issue remained unaddressed. ‹ VX nerve agent: Mr Blix said to the Council that "we have found no additional information in the declaration that would help resolve this issue". The UN says that 1.5 tonnes are missing. This is also unresolved after the Baghdad talks. ‹ Biological growth media: Iraq imported more than it declared. Mr Blix told the Council no explanation had been given. Iraq has argued that it destroyed the VX, and that the anthrax and growth media were either destroyed or are no longer of any use. Mr Blix says that documents, witnesses and other evidence should be produced to support that. ‹ Ballistic missiles: Mr Blix said after the talks in Baghdad that a question about unaccounted-for Scud missiles (believed to number about 12) had not been resolved. Other issues in dispute relate to unlisted materials actually found, such as missile engines and empty warheads, as well as the question of access to Iraqi scientists: ‹ Missiles: the Council was told that Iraq had admitted that its new al-Samoud rocket had reached 183 kilometres in a test firing - beyond the 150km limit imposed by the UN. Mr Blix also said that "inspections have confirmed the presence of a relatively large number of missile engines, some imported as late as 2002". These were "illegal imports". Their significance was being examined. ‹ 16 chemical warfare warheads: Twelve were found by the inspectors, Iraq volunteered four more. Had they been forgotten or was it evidence of deception? ‹ Nuclear papers: Inspectors found some technical papers in the house of a leading nuclear scientist. He says they were notes for a previously declared programme for enriching uranium. The inspectors' verdict is awaited. ‹ On interviews with Iraqi scientists, which are regarded as potentially the only way to get a clear picture of Iraqi operations, Mr Blix told the Security Council: "We do not feel that the Iraqi side has made a serious effort to respond to the request [for names] we made." This issue came up again in the Baghdad talks and Iraq promised to be more forthcoming. This will be a key test. Mr ElBaradei of the IAEA reported to the Council that while Iraq had produced two nuclear scientists asked for, they had both "requested the presence of an Iraqi Government inspector" which was not "optimum". There was better news for Iraq on the mystery of its attempted import of thousands of aluminium tubes. The suspicion was that it wanted these for centrifuges to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb but Mr ElBaradei's report to the Council said that the IAEA analysis "indicated that the... tubes sought by Iraq... appear to be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets" as Iraq had asserted. However, Mr ElBaradei added that the importing of such tubes was banned anyway. It can be seen that the United States and Britain could make much of the missing material. They could argue that Iraq has shown a pattern of limited co-operation which is designed to deceive. Iraq, on the other hand, complains that it is being asked to prove a negative and that in the circumstances, this is an impossible task. The assessment of the UN teams will be given to the Security Council on 27 January. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,879056,00.html * IRAQ AND UN REACH DEAL ON COOPERATION by Julian Borger in Washington and Helena Smith in Athens The Guardian, 21st January Iraq and the UN struck an agreement yesterday aimed at better cooperation on weapons inspections but there were few signs that the deal will satisfy the US or Britain and slow the momentum towards conflict. Under the 10-point agreement, Iraq will allow its scientists and officials to be questioned by UN inspectors without a government minder present, although a senior government official said that the people interviewed might demand a chaperone. However, there was no discussion of arrangements for the interviews to be performed outside the country, as the US is demanding, and there was no agreement for American U2 spy planes to fly reconnaissance missions for the inspectors. Baghdad said it could not guarantee the planes would not be shot down. Although the agreement was welcomed by Hans Blix, the head of the UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic), the gaps in the deal are likely to provide further ammunition for US and British allegations of Iraqi non-compliance, when the inspectors present their report on January 27. The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, yesterday tried to persuade members of the security council to make a definitive judgment on Iraqi compliance soon after that report. On the issue of private interviews with Iraqi scientists, a British official said: "This was already agreed in a UN resolution. It's not up to Iraq to agree to it." Under another clause of the deal, the Iraqis agreed to send out their own teams to look for armaments that might have been omitted from an inventory sent to the UN in December. Iraq has already declared the existence of four more unfilled chemical munitions after inspectors came across 12 in a weapons dump last week. However, two days of talks failed to reach an agreement on the use of U2 spy planes. Amir al-Saadi, a presidential adviser who led the Iraqi delegation at the talks, said: "It's one of the sticking points. We have reservations about having a spy plane. We are told it will be flying with UN colours ... But it's still a spy plane. "To enter Iraq and to move around the country and loiter for up to six hours presents us with difficulty as regards our air-defence capabilities. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the safety of the UN plane and its crew." In Athens last night on his way back to the US, Mr Blix said he thought Iraq would stick to the terms of the agreement but said it left many disarmament issues unresolved. "Of course we did not really discuss the open issues from the past, the weapons of mass destruction that are supposed to be included in the 12,000-page declaration which we don't think were," Mr Blix said. "We said to the Iraqis that maybe they should provide further information or at least tell people where they feel there is relevant information." The key to the deal was Iraq's agreement for the first time that scientists and other officials could be subjected to private interviews by UN inspectors without a government official in the room. However, Mr Saadi said scientists might demand a government chaperone. He said the talks did not touch on the possibility that those interviews could take place outside Iraq, as allowed for by UN resolution 1441, and as advocated strongly by the Bush administration. Mr Blix told the Guardian: "We have not approached any of the Iraqi scientists yet to know when they will be going there [to Cyprus]." Mr Powell met his British counterpart, Jack Straw, and a dozen other foreign ministers from security council nations, to persuade them to treat a report on January 27 by Mr Blix and Mohammed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency as the key test of Iraqi compliance and not wait for a subsequent report on March 27. Mr Powell said: "We must not shrink from our duties and our responsibilities when the material comes before us next week and as we consider Iraq's response to 1441, and we cannot fail to take the action that might be necessary because we are afraid of what others might do." But Mr Baradei told reporters in Athens last night: "We still have work to do, we're going to report to the security council that inspection is in mid-course and that we have not completed the tasks that lie ahead of us." Mr Blix added: "Iraq has not produced enough evidence to create confidence that it does not have any weapons of mass destruction, and for us to report to the council that it can close the dossier." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/jan/21/012109518.html * PHYSICIST IS KEY IN U.N. PROBE IN IRAQ by Hamza Hendawi Las Vegas Sun, 21st January BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - When the top U.N. arms experts were in town, Demetrius Perricos put on a suit and a tie and slipped into anonymity, lurking quietly in the background as his bosses took center stage. But appearances can be deceiving. Chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, who were in Baghdad Sunday and Monday, may often have their pictures splashed across newspapers the world over. But it's Perricos, a Greek citizen, who is the key figure in the painstaking search for Iraq's alleged banned weapons, a complex undertaking that could spell the difference between war and peace. A physicist who worked for years for the International Atomic Energy Agency, Perricos set the tone for the current inspections, which resumed in November after a four-year interruption. On one of the first inspections, Perricos led a convoy of U.N. vehicles in a high-speed drive through twisting and narrow country roads to disguise his ultimate destination - an abandoned biological weapons plant. Last week, Perricos infuriated the Iraqis again, leading a team of inspectors into two office complexes inside the compound of Iraq's main presidential palace in Baghdad. The next day, he led a search of the Baghdad homes of two Iraqi scientists in the first such inspections. "Whenever something happens that they don't like very much, they start to complain," he told reporters last week. "But we don't give much attention to their complaints." A physicist in his mid-60s, Perricos is the director of planning and operations at the U.N. Monitoring and Verification Commission, which handles inspections for chemical and biological weapons. He is often at pains to dismiss any suggestion that his job has anything to do with the politics of the latest U.S.-Iraqi standoff. "We think of our immediate bosses as political people doing a political job," he said on Nov. 28. "It is not us who are providing an input for war and peace. The judgments are all coming up at the political level, and therefore I sleep very well," he added with a smile. According to the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, Perricos is the son of a Greek Air Force officer executed by Nazi troops during Germany's occupation of Greece during World War II. He was 8 when his father, Costas Perricos, died. "Work so that all wars are stopped, people prosper, the countries of Europe unite, and the world is in peace and happiness," Costas Perricos wrote to his family in his last letter from prison, according to Eleftherotypia. His father's peace message to the message seems to have survived the passage of time. "We all hope no one goes to war," Perricos told Greece's private Antenna television on Sunday. "As long as the inspections can continue, then we can all hope things will get better. "You are talking to a man who believes in the inspection process ... world politics do not depend on the inspectors," he told the Greek daily Ta Nea earlier this month. Perricos, who declined to be interviewed for The Associated Press, told an Antenna reporter before he left Baghdad for Athens Monday that he intended to briefly see his grandchildren at home before continuing to Vienna. Silver-haired and mustachioed, Perricos is hardly a typical grandfather. In a sweater, a fleece, a backpack and a pair of rose color shades, he led U.N. teams on at least four inspections last week: the presidential palace compound, the two scientists' homes, a private farm and mobile food labs at the Trade Ministry. Some of these inspections lasted for up to seven hours and on one, the visit to the scientists' homes, he was seen by reporters in heated exchanges with the liaison officers appointed by the government to escort the inspectors. Perricos first came to Iraq in 1991 as part of the former inspections regime, which folded in 1998 when Iraq decided to stop cooperation with the inspectors, who left the country just before four days of U.S. and British attacks. He left Iraq in 1993 to join the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection team in North Korea. "I have said many times before - the most important item in an inspection is the inspectors' own sight," he said last week, explaining his professional philosophy. "They have to go in, see and verify then they start to use instruments and everything else to amplify their verification." Example: a bird may appear to behave and move like a duck, he said, "but at the end it may not be a duck, it may be a swan." OPPOSITION/COLLABORATION http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/jan/15/011505791.html * IRAQI EXILES START REPORTING FOR TRAINING by Pauline Jelinek Las Vegas Sun, 15th January WASHINGTON (AP): Iraqi exiles who want to help the American military in a campaign against President Saddam Hussein are beginning to report for training. The Pentagon said Wednesday that the first batch of opposition members who've volunteered to serve with U.S. forces have been told to assemble at several gathering points in the next several days. "The training is going to be ... real basic training so they could potentially fit in with some U.S. units and provide assistance with language skills, perhaps, or local knowledge and so forth," said Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The call-up of recruits kicks off the largest known U.S. effort to train Saddam's enemies since passage of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which called for his overthrow and authorized $97 million to train and equip his opponents. Officials declined to say how many are in the first class of trainees or where they are gathering for the monthlong training. But up to 3,000 Iraqis could eventually be used as translators, guides, military police, and liaisons between coalition combat forces and the Iraqi population, three officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Two officials also [sic-PB] the Pentagon had ruled out early suggestions by some in the administration that the men be used in combat positions. But Myers said the exact number of men and exact jobs they'll do are still to be determined. "We're going to have to see how many finally show up, how much time we have," Myers told a Pentagon news conference, adding that more complex training would take longer. Much also would depend on how much prior military experience the recruits have. [.....] http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,876396,00.html * 3,000 IRAQI EXILES TO TRAIN AT US BASE IN HUNGARY FOR SECRET ROLE IN WAR by Nick Thorpe at Taszar air base, Hungary The Guardian, 17th January Up to 3,000 Iraqi exiles will begin arriving in Hungary within days for the beginning of an extraordinary US-led operation to train them for war in their homeland. The exiles, from across the world, will converge on Taszar air base, an American supply post nestled in the countryside 200 miles from Budapest. Dozens of khaki tents have already been erected in ground covered with midwinter snow, in preparation for the arrival of the force. The exact nature of their training in Hungary, and the role they will be given in any US-led invasion of Iraq, is a closely guarded secret. But yesterday, for the first time, journalists were given limited access. American and Hungarian officials were keen to stress that the exiles were not an "army" preparing to invade Iraq. The Hungarian defence minister, Ferenc Juhasz, said: "You can see clearly that it is not a question of military training .. we will be preparing people to take care of the relations between the civilians and the military." But Iraqi opposition sources described the force as a "magnet", or the nucleus of a Free Iraqi Army to which soldiers in the regular army would be encouraged to defect, rather than endure the ignominy of surrendering to the Americans. The same sources said the force was the brainchild of Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, one of several opposition groups based outside Iraq. The INC supplied many of the names from which the Americans are choosing the 3,000 trainees. That has led rival Iraqi opposition figures to suggest that this force will be Mr Chalabi's, giving him a potentially bigger role in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Iraqis close to the INC say that the main criterion used by the US for selection is past military training - the exiles should have served as officers in the Iraqi armed forces - and a tough security screening. "The primary criterion is that they are all volunteers," Major-General David Barno, the US officer in charge of the base, said yesterday. "We anticipate that some will have a military background, but many will not." He said the men would wear what he called a "distinctive uniform which makes evident who they are" but declined to give further details. "Their role in any potential operations will be in the area of support to US and coalition military operations," he said. They would also receive some firearms training, but for security reasons he could not provide details of what types or calibre of weapons. One possible military role could be as rear area security forces, such as guards. "They are not being trained as combat forces," he added. Hungary is home to at least 500 Iraqis who have settled permanently in the country, or have arrived recently as asylum-seekers. "For years, we have been dreaming that Iraqis could share in the war against Saddam Hussein," said Hussein Daood, the head of the Budapest branch of the Iraqi human rights association. "All war is hateful, but it seems there is no other way to remove him from power." His hope is that an uprising of the Iraqi people will begin the moment the first invasion forces land. That scenario would give the Iraqis trained at Taszar a crucial role, as a link between a popular uprising and US led troops. But he said that Iraqis living in Hungary had no links with the force being assembled at Taszar, and would not know who to contact, even if they wanted to join it. At a refugee camp at Bicske, near Budapest, a young man who spoke on condition that his name would not be used said he had fled Iraq several months ago, to avoid being called up again as a reservist. He said Iraqis had heard reports of Taszar with amazement. "Are you sure that such a camp exists?" he asked. Taszar was an important supply post for US forces serving in Bosnia, with 7,000 based here at the peak of that operation. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk