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Re: [casi] The Defector’s Secrets

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Allies hushed up weapons' destruction


THE highest-ranking defector ever to turn informant on Saddam Hussein’s government told United 
Nations weapons inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons 
stocks after the Gulf war.

But UN inspectors hushed up that part of Hussein Kamel’s story - which he also told to debriefers 
from British and United States intelligence - because they wanted to keep the pressure on Iraq to 
tell more.

The revelation, reported in the US magazine Newsweek, raises new questions over claims by the US 
and Britain that Iraq has failed to account for vast stores of chemical and biological weapons.

Of the thousands of chemical bombs and thousands of litres of deadly anthrax said to have gone 
mysteriously missing inside Iraq, most date back to before 1991.

Iraq has long claimed to have destroyed the weapons "unilaterally", but a regime hardly famous for 
its honesty and openness is accused of failing to provide hard evidence.

However "the defector’s tale raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] 
stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist" Newsweek reported.

Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, defected to Jordan with his wife and family in 1995. His sensational 
departure, in a convoy of black Mercedes, was received as evidence that Saddam’s regime was soon to 

He was shot to death after he returned to Iraq six months later in the hope of leniency from 
Saddam, along with his brother, also married to one of Saddam’s daughters. If nothing else, the 
report sheds new light on one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the regime and its 

Kamel’s value as an informant, however, was huge; for ten years he had run Iraq’s nuclear, 
chemical, biological and missile weapons programmes, as well as Iraqi efforts to keep the weapons 

Kamel talked to both the then UN chief inspector, Rolf Ekeus, and agents from the CIA and MI6 in 
Jordan. Among other revelations, he provided the first report that Iraq was developing mobile 
biological weapons factories - a subject on which Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, dwelt 
long and hard in his recent damning presentation to the UN Security Council.

But Kamel’s story that Iraq had indeed - as it has long claimed - destroyed chemical and biological 
stocks back in 1991 was never reported.

While UN inspection teams have been trying to investigate what weapons Iraq may have built since 
the Gulf war, the mystery of what happened to older munitions remains vital.

Iraq’s chief liaison officer to the UN inspection teams, General Hossam Amin, said yesterday that 
Iraq had begun to dig trenches in the areas it claims the weapons were destroyed.

A UN team was due in Baghdad on 2 March to examine the sites and carry out soil tests, he said. Gen 
Amin also said Iraq had made no decision on a UN order that it destroy its Al Samoud 2 missile 
programme. But "we are serious about solving this", he said.

In his 27 January report to the UN Security Council, Hans Blix, the chief UN arms inspector, 
bolstered the case for war when he accused Iraq of co-operating on process, but not substance.

Early in his report, Mr Blix noted that "one of three important questions before us today is how 
much might remain undeclared and intact from before 1991; and, possibly, thereafter".

The second question, he said, was what if anything was illegally produced or procured after 1998, 
when inspectors left the country, and the third was how the production of weapons of mass 
destruction could be prevented in the future. Mr Blix singled out the issue of 6,500 chemical bombs 
that were unaccounted for, containing in total up to 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents.

The missing bombs date back to before 1991, with Iraq claiming they were used in the Iran-Iraq war, 
which ended in 1988.

Mr Blix also raised questions over about 8,500 litres of anthrax, which Iraq "states it 
unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. Iraq has provided little evidence for this production 
and no convincing evidence for its destruction," he said.

Iraq also has claimed that a small quantity of the deadly poison VX, which it produced, was 
unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

When Mr Blix returned to the UN with his much more favourable report on 14 February, he noted that 
Iraq had provided a list of 83 people involved in the unilateral destruction of chemicals, which 
"appears useful". Newsweek said it had obtained the notes of Kamel’s debriefing by the UN team, and 
that he told the same story to MI6 and the CIA.

But his revelations were hushed up for two reasons, the magazine said. Saddam did not know how much 
Kamel had revealed, and inspectors hoped to call his bluff; in addition, there was no corroborating 
evidence that the weapons were destroyed.

Kamel did not give Iraq a clean bill of health. He said the stocks were destroyed to hide the 
programmes, rather than end them, with Iraq secretly holding on to blueprints, computer disks, and 
other engineering details, in order to resume productions after inspections ended.

Kamel’s defection in August 1995 was an international sensation. He drove out of Iraq in a convoy 
of black Mercedes with his wife, Raghad, his brother, Saddam, sister-in-law, Rina, and several of 
Saddam Hussein’s grandchildren. A family feud with Uday Hussein, Saddam’s son, was blamed.

The Iraqi government, badly rattled, immediately admitted for the first time to having a biological 
weapons programme - though it stuck to the story that the weapons were destroyed.

Kamel told the inspectors about Iraq’s attempt to develop a home-grown missile, Project 1728, and 
of the secret committee, set up by Saddam himself, expressly to keep secrets from the inspectors.

Spurned by the Iraqi opposition, and complaining that the Western officials sent to talk to him 
were too junior, he made the bizarre decision to return to Iraq. The two brothers were forced to 
divorce their wives and were killed in a gun battle with the presidential guard soon after.

The UN ceasefire resolution that ended the Gulf war on 3 April, 1991, laid down the ground rules 
for the work now continuing today.

It called for the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all chemical and biological 
weapons, and all stocks of agents and components. The same rules applied for ballistic missiles 
with a range greater than 93 miles.

The UN inspection teams’ strategy in Iraq, said one expert, is "all about accounting. It has always 
been to try and force the Iraqis to account, and documentarily prove, all their claims and 

Gen Amin yesterday told journalists that Iraq was studying a letter from Mr Blix ordering 
destruction of all Al Samoud 2 missiles, warheads, fuel, engines and other components. Iraq has 
declared 76 Al Samouds, but the UN estimates it has up to 120.

 Hassan Zeini <> wrote:

Exclusive: The Defector’s Secrets

Before his death, a high-ranking defector said Iraq
had not abandoned its WMD ambitions

By John Barry

March 3 issue — Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking
Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein’s
inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence
officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995
that after the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its
chemical and biological weapons stocks and the
missiles to deliver them.

KAMEL WAS SADDAM Hussein’s son-in-law and had direct
knowledge of what he claimed: for 10 years he had run
Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, biological and missile
programs. Kamel told his Western interrogators that he
hoped his revelations would trigger Saddam’s
overthrow. But after six months in exile in Jordan,
Kamel realized the United States would not support his
dream of becoming Iraq’s ruler after Saddam’s demise.
He chose to return to Iraq—where he was promptly

Kamel’s revelations about the destruction of Iraq’s
WMD stocks were hushed up by the U.N. inspectors,
sources say, for two reasons. Saddam did not know how
much Kamel had revealed, and the inspectors hoped to
bluff Saddam into disclosing still more. And Iraq has
never shown the documentation to support Kamel’s
story. Still, the defector’s tale raises questions
about whether the WMD stockpiles attributed to Iraq
still exist.

Kamel said Iraq had not abandoned its WMD ambitions.
The stocks had been destroyed to hide the programs
from the U.N. inspectors, but Iraq had retained the
design and engineering details of these weapons. Kamel
talked of hidden blueprints, computer disks,
microfiches and even missile-warhead molds. “People
who work in MIC [Iraq’s Military Industrial
Commission, which oversaw the country’s WMD programs]
were asked to take documents to their houses,” he
said. Why preserve this technical material? Said
Kamel: “It is the first step to return to production”
after U.N. inspections wind down.

Kamel was interrogated in separate sessions by the
CIA, Britain’s M.I.6 and a trio from the United
Nations, led by the inspection team’s head, Rolf
Ekeus. NEWSWEEK has obtained the notes of Kamel’s U.N.
debrief, and verified that the document is authentic.
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Kamel told the same
story to the CIA and M.I.6. (The CIA did not respond
to a request for comment.)

The notes of the U.N. interrogation—a three-hour
stretch one August evening in 1995— show that Kamel
was a gold mine of information. He had a good memory
and, piece by piece, he laid out the main personnel,
sites and progress of each WMD program. Kamel was a
manager—not a scientist or engineer—and, sources say,
some of his technical assertions were later found to
be faulty. (A military aide who defected with Kamel
was apparently a more reliable source of technical
data. This aide backed Kamel’s assertions about the
destruction of WMD stocks.) But, overall, Kamel’s
information was “almost embarrassing, it was so
extensive,” Ekeus recalled—including the fact that
Ekeus’s own Arabic translator, a Syrian, was,
according to Kamel, an Iraqi agent who had been
reporting to Kamel himself all along.

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