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From inti, in the US Dear List, [The piece by the Guardian below is positively one of the more botched spins I have come across. It is rather surprising to find it in a publication that often provides useful information. Whether the Guardian is a willing or an unwitting tool of spin remains to be seen.] [My introductory comments: General Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq's weapons program, defected in 1995. He gave many critical documents to UNSCOM that became the turning point for the inspections. The defection forced Iraq into admitting to a failed nuclear arms program. Kamel is referenced in Bush, Blair, and Powell claims that Iraq has not disarmed. These claims are usually made in the context of declaring inspections as a waste of time that allows Saddam to play his favorite game of hide and seek. For over seven years General Kamel's actual statements were not known outside UNSCOM, CIA, MI6, and high government levels. On February 24th, 2003 this all changed. That is the day on which Newsweek reported that Kamel told UN inspectors of the destruction of Iraq's stockpile of chemical, biological and proscribed missile weapons. He said that it was done secretly to keep UN inspectors from finding out about them. Saddam apparently hoped to recreate the weapons after inspectors gave Iraq a clean bill of health. Kamel's letting the cat out of the bag destroyed these hopes. UNSCOM was now able to effectively disarm Iraq, just as Scott Richter said it had done. UNSCOM hushed up the revelations in order to trick Saddam into more disclosures. CIA and MI6 subsequently made Kamel's statements disappear permanently. This is why Bush, Blair, and Powell were able to use Kamel's defection to prove their case, when in fact it does the opposite. The CIA immediately accused Newsweek of fabrication. Iraq analyst Glen Rangwala, who had exposed Blair's "intelligence dossier," has an internal UNSCOM/IAEA document containing the original transcript of the Kamel interview in Jordan. Below is the link to the scanned document, along with the one to Rangwala's briefing. http://www.casi.org.uk/info/unscom950822.pdf (The Transcript) http://middleeastreference.org.uk/kamel.html (Glen's Briefing) Once again the warmongers have been caught redhanded. What will become now of the mantra "weapons of mass destruction?" Kamel's 1995 statements confirm Iraq's persistent claims that it destroyed the items cited in the January Blix report as being in question. Will Bush now say that Kamel means nothing, after repeatedly pronouncing him a reliable source of critical importance?] [Now to the Guardian piece. My comments are indented and bracketet. Note: Space breaks in th piece are mine, interpolated for easier reading.] http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,905290,00.html The Guardian: Iraqi defector's testimony confuses case against Iraq Julian Borger in Washington Saturday March 1, 2003 The Guardian The Guardian: Hussein Kamel, the former head of Iraq's weapons programmes whose 1995 defection has been portrayed by the US and Britain as evidence of Iraqi deceit and the futility of inspections, was a "consummate liar", according to the last weapons inspector to interrogate him. The transcript of the interrogation, leaked this week to Newsweek magazine and seen by the Guardian, makes it clear that the defector's testimony on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was inconclusive and often misleading. [My comment: It would be helpful if "Mr. Julian Borger in Washington" could provide sources for his information. I would also appreciate learning just what parts of Kamel's testimony "makes it clear" that it "was inconclusive and often misleading?"] The Guardian: The emergence of the classified statements weakens the case the US and Britain has tried to build against Saddam Hussein, in which Kamel's defection has been used to bolster claims that Iraq still has thousands of tonnes of chemical and biological weapons for which it has not accounted. [My comment: Again, I have to ask "Mr. Julian Borger in Washington" just how exactly things are made "clear" that Kamel's testimony "was inconclusive and often misleading? Isn't it customary in good journalism to demonstrate at least in a rudimentary way the process by which a sweeping conclusion is crafted?" In this particular case the critique is quite strange in light of the simultaneous assertions that: They are "classified statements." They "weaken the case" of the US and Britain. That "Kamel's defection has been used to bolster claims" by US/UK. Claims that "Iraq still has thousands of tonnes of chemical and biological weapons." As those of us who have seen the transcript can tell, nothing in Kamel's statements supports these "claims by the US and Britain." Is that why now, after seven and a half years of presenting him as a credible bolsterer of US claims while keeping his actual testimony under wraps, General Kamel gets to be unmasked as a "comsummate liar." And by whom? A past chief weapons inspector. By the way, in who's present employ is Mr. Ekeus, "the last weapons inspector to interrogate him?" I should also like to point out that the interview in Jordan was not an interrogation but a voluntary disclosure made to Mr. Ekeus as well as several others present.] The Guardian: They reveal that Kamel, who was President Saddam's son-in-law, told UN inspectors that Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons and abandoned its nuclear programme after the Gulf war. But he said blueprints, documents, computer files and moulds for missile parts had been hidden. [My comment: Which parts of this does "Mr. Julian Borger in Washington" find particularly "inconclusive and often misleading?" And then, one would think that a revelation "that Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons and abandoned its nuclear programme after the Gulf war" merits just a tad more than a passing remark.] The Guardian: Rolf Ekeus, the former chief UN weapons inspector who oversaw the interrogation in August 1995, said much of the chemical arsenal had been destroyed by the inspectors, not Baghdad. [My comment: That's a bit of a nonsequitur, isn't it? First, it has been repeated over and over by officials from UNSCOM to Bush, Blair and Powell, that the inspectors and the world didn't even Iraq had a nuclear program, nor the extent or nature of its chemical and biological weapons program. All of the named credited General Kamel with bringing this knowledge out into the open. Now one of the former chief UN weapon inspectors, Rolf Ekeus, is made to say, well, but it was the inspectors who destroyed "much of the chemical arsenal." First of all, how much is "much" in proportion to the amounts Kamel mentions? Quite little, it would seem. Second, Mr. Ekeus seems unable to credit the inspectors with also destroying "much of" Iraq's biological and nuclear arsenal. Again, who is Mr. Ekeus working for these days? Any juicy contracts on the table, one wonders? Oh, but then Ari Fleischer, much to the amusement of the assembled press, recently asserted that the Bush Administration would never think of bribing any government. So, we can presumably stop suspecting that it might stoop to bribing or blackmailing an individual] The Guardian: Mr. Ekeus agreed that the Iraqi government had probably eliminated its biological arsenal but said he remained convinced that "seed stocks" of bacteria had been retained as well as growth media and fermenters so it could quickly reconstitute its arsenal. [My comment: Well, it is certainly very good of Mr. Ekeus to share this with us. Bush, Blair, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, et al have not come to the Mr. Ekeus' healthy agreement that "the Iraqi government had probably eliminated its biological arsenal." But Mr. Ekeus' agreement with General Kamel's testimony then doesn't really contradict it, does it? Nor does it deny the fact that it was Kamel who told the inspectors about the stockpiles and that they had been secretly destroyed to keep the inspectors from finding out about them. Kamel also acknowledged Iraq's hope of resurrecting the weapons programs after the inspectors were satisfied that Iraq didn't have any. It isn't far-fetched to guess that perhaps some "seed stocks" of bacteria and some cultivation equipment were being kept hidden toward that end. But, apart from the fact that Mr. Ekeus doesn't give us any specifics for why "he remained convinced," this opinion of his makes absolutely no contribution to the real issue. Remember, the fuel for the past months' weapons of mass destruction hysteria came from Hans Blix' report to the UN in January, that substantial numbers of pre-1991 weapons are unaccounted for in Iraq's comprehensive weapons declaration. It is these weapons that Kamel said were destroyed. It is these weapons that Iraq claims it no longer has. It is these weapons whose remains are currently being dug up in the presence of UN inspectors. At no time have "seed stocks" of bacteria been an issue, whether or not Mr. Ekeus "remains convinced" of them. Did I ask this already, who does Mr. Ekeus work for currently? And while we're at it, who set up the contact with Mr. Borger?] The Guardian: Kamel, who had been the director of Iraq's military industrial establishment, was assassinated soon after his mysterious decision to return to Iraq just weeks after his high-profile defection. [My comment: Perhaps Kamel's return isn't all that mysterious, although his assassination is. The General said that he made the revelations to UNSCOM out of a desire to serve his country. He wanted Iraq to be able to move on. It is not inconceivable that the "defection" had actually been sanctioned by Saddam who perhaps shared Kamel's desire for Iraq to be able to move on. It is possible that this was meant to be a face- saving device for Saddam so that nobody would be able to say he had buckled under to US demands and gave away Iraq's weapons programs. Perhaps it was hoped that learning about the destruction of the stockpiles from a high-ranking defector would be proof to the US that Iraq really no longer had the bilogical and chemical weapons they received previously from their erstwhile friends in England and America. Admitting to Iraq's failed crash program for a nuclear bomb might also have been too embarrassing for Saddam, soiling his Arab sense of honor. A theory as good as any other is that Kamel thought he had done his duty, and that the sacrifice of making himself a defector would be honored back home. Who knows.] The Guardian: The US and British governments have pointed to the defection to emphasise the extent of Iraq's weapons programmes and the inherent weakness of inspections. [My comment: Ah, Mr. "Julian Borger in Washington," when will your "story" begin to tell us anything new? Could you at least have pretended to reconcile Kamel's statements with the attempt by "the US and British governments" to make them "emphasize" "the inherent weakness of inspections?" It is the precise opposite of what the General said, and what rudimentary intelligence concludes from his revelations. In this connection I need to express my astonishment at the Guardian's apparent being asleep at the wheel. Not only does it print a non-story by someone "in Washington" bereft of any mark of having done his homework, but it impotently admits to having seen the transcript of the Kamel interview. This makes the printing of Borger's vacant text even worse. Why does the Guardian cheat it's readers by not printing the transcript or at least pertinent portions from it? Does it consider the Borger typing exercise a suitable substitute for real news? Has the Guardian now joined the bulk of the media that spouts idiocies filtered down from above while condemning vital information to shrivelling unattended in the harsh sun of politics?] The Guardian: But Mr Ekeus pointed out that Unscom, the UN special commission on Iraq, had already discovered a lot about the Iraqi pre-war biological programme earlier that year, forcing Baghdad's admission in July, a month before Kamel's defection, that it had pursued germ warfare. [My comment: I keep getting the impression that Mr. Ekeus' main objective is to counter some imagined threat to the inspectors' record of having done hard work. Is this a game of who gets to take credit for what? Baghdad's admission to having pursued germ warfare goes back to years earlier. The US had, after all, the invoices and shipping records for all the germs and equipment it supplied to Saddam during the Reagan Administration. I hate to bring this up again, but what do Borger and the Guardian think of their readership. Judging from the piece at hand it can't be a lot.] The Guardian: The transcript of Kamel's interrogation reveals a far more ambiguous picture than the one portrayed in Washington and London. "Kamel was a consummate liar," Mr Ekeus said. While the transcript of the interrogation makes it clear that the defection was less than a breakthrough, it had a psychological impact on Baghdad. The Iraqi government, unsure what he was going to tell the inspectors, became much more forthcoming. [My comment: These three paragraphs should be nominated for inclusion into a hall of shame for sloppy journalism. The key elements strung together in a pathetically inept way are: transcript reveals*** more ambiguous than Washington and London portray*** Kamel a consummate liar*** transcript makes clear*** defection less than breakthrough*** psychological impact*** Iraq unsure what was told *** became more forthcoming*** Let's see if any intended meaning can be extracted from this mess: Kamel, a consummate liar, exaggerated Iraq's weapons program. His information was no breakthrough, but the defection made Iraq unsure and caused it to be more truthful? If Kamel's exaggeration makes him a consummate liar, then what are we to think of UNSCOM and government officials who have been overheard speaking of "three to four times" greater magnitude? And if Kamel's defection made Iraq unsure about what he told the inspectors, then Iraq, at least, must have thought of Kamel as a potent source of information the inspectors could not get without his passing it on to them. Right? Dear Guardian, don't you think it is time to quit displaying Borger's clumsy stepdance through Elkeus' infantile utterances as journalism?] The Guardian: Before Mr Ekeus arrived in Amman to interrogate Kamel, the Iraqis invited him to Baghdad to hand over documents and then took him to Kamel's chicken farm where several metal containers full of documents had been buried. "They wanted to blame it all on Kamel," Mr Ekeus said. "But Kamel was just carrying out the government's policy." [A fitting climax to the story. General Hussein Kamel, son in law of Saddam Hussein, and head of Iraq's weapons program, was really a chicken farmer who engaged in a pastime of burying metal containers with documents behind the farm. The law abiding Iraqis promptly turned these metal containers over to chief weapons inspector Ekeus, who, undeterred by this windfall of information, still took the arduous journey to Amman to "interrogate" the defected General. As expected, he learned nothing of value from Kamel. Strangely though, Mr. Ekeus still thought that the General's defection put psychological pressure on Iraq to reveal more information because Iraq didn't know what Kamel told the inspector. Looking at it from the Iraqi point of view one would have to assume that General Kamel had much more critical information to give than what was handed to Mr. Ekeus in the metal containers from the chicken farm. From Mr. Ekeus' more enlightened point of view any departure by General Kamel from the container information was to be looked at as an exaggeration attributable to Kamel's being a consummate liar. You know, I do enjoy a good spin on occasion, but this one elicits only one response from me: Puhleeeeeze!] Keep well all, inti. _________________ it seems we've met before _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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