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[casi] Dissing the Dossier

I took Zaid al-Ali's letter to Clive Solely MP, cut it down somewhat, and
delivered it to my MP (Jim Marshall) last week. My version of it is below in
case anyone wants to use it themselves.

As for the 'no war no solution' argument, it seems odd to me. I think that
we can all agree that a combination of US/UK sanctions and the government of
the Ba'athists have caused massive harm to the Iraqi people since 1991. If
we say that the only solution lies in war, we are saying that the US/UK
sanctions policy is a given, and we can do nothing to change it. In my
opinion, even at this stage, the lifting of non-military sanctions would
have a positive effect on the Iraqi people and it would make them better
placed to topple the regime.

When I look at Afghanistan, and see the frighteningly short memory of the
US/UK, I worry for the Iraqis. Milton Obote was *worse* than Idi Amin.


The Iraq Dossier in the light of the findings of UNMOVIC

The most important fact that we have learned from the inspections is that
all the allegations contained in the UK Government's "dossier" of evidence
published in September last year are baseless. Here is a summary of the
Government's allegations followed by an analysis of these allegations in
light of what has been discovered since the publication of the "dossier" of

The specific allegations of the UK government.
On 24 September 2002, the British Government published a document entitled
Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government
(hereafter the "Dossier").[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] 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
(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]
(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] and provides a list of civilian use items that the
Government believes could also be used to develop nuclear weapons.[6]

Evidence concerning the specific allegations
Much of the information relating to the activities of UNMOVIC 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, Hans Blix, director of UNMOVIC,
and Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the IAEA, stated unequivocally on 9
January 2003 that their inspections had revealed no "smoking gun."[8]
Th following information regarding the facilities that concern the
Government has been compiled from the daily declarations issued by the UN,
as well as from other public sources.
(1)   The Fallujah 2 Facility near Habbaniyah: The weapons inspectors
visited this site on the following days: 9 December,[9] 17 December,[10] 8
January,[11] and 17 January.[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]
(2)   The Ibn Sina Company at Tarmiyah: This site was visited by the weapons
inspectors on the following dates: 11 December,[14] 12 December,[15] 4
January,[16] 6 January,[17] and 11 January.[18] 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, no suspicious activity was
(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] 9 December,[21] 14 December,[22] 16 December,[23] 21
December,[24] and 18 January.[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]
(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]
(5)   The al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Institute was 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] The inspectors
reported no anomalies during the course of their visit, nor afterwards in
relation to this site.[30]
(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] 16
December,[32] and 22 December.[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]
(7)   In relation to Nuclear Weapons. The UK Government does not make any
specific allegations in its Dossier in relation to nuclear activity within
Iraq. Nevertheless, since the resumption of inspections, the IAEA has been
conducting tests in relation to this type of activity on a daily basis. Thus
far, the Agency has not found any evidence that would support the
Government's allegation that Iraq has been active in its pursuit of nuclear
weapons.[35] 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] Iraqi scientists
previously involved in Iraq's nuclear weapons programme and now living in
the West,[37] and British academics involved in nuclear science.[38]

[1] Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, at
[2] Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, p. 19.
[3] Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, pp. 19-20.
[4] Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, p. 22.
[5] Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, p. 25.
[6] Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British
Government, p.  26.
[7] UNMOVIC Statement, 27 November 2002, at
[8] "Evidently if we had found any 'smoking gun' we would have reported it
to the Council.  Similarly, if we had met a denial of access or other
impediment to our inspections we would have reported it to the Council. We
have not submitted any such reports." 'Notes For Briefing The Security
Council', Dr. Hans Blix, 9 January 2003,; "[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] "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] UNMOVIC Declaration, 17 December 2002 at
[11] UNMOVIC Declaration, 8 January 2002, at
[12] UNMOVIC Declaration, 17 January 2002 at
[13] See footnote 8.
[14]"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] UNMOVIC Declaration, 12 December 2002, at
[16] UNMOVIC Declaration, 4 January 2002, at
[17] UNMOVIC Declaration, 6 January 2002, at
[18] "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] See footnote 8.
[20] UNMOVIC Declaration, 30 November 2002, at
[21] "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] "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] UNMOVIC Declaration, 16 December 2002, at
[24] UNMOVIC Declaration, 21 December 2002, at
[25] UNMOVIC Declaration, 18 January 2003, at
[26] See footnote 8.
[27] "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
[29] "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
declared 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] See footnote 8.
[31] "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] "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] UNMOVIC Declaration, 22 December 2002, at
[34] See footnote 8.
[35] See footnote 8.
[36] "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."
'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] "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." 'Iraq's nuclear
non-capability', Imad Khadduri, Yellow Times, 21 November 2002, at
[38] "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

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