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Re: [casi] SCUDs at Damaniyah? Other evidence elusive.

This may or may not be helpful, but it appears that there is now a
'Hoover' factor in relation to Iraqi missiles - ie. reporters and
commentators are beginning to refer to 'Scud missiles' when talking
about Iraqi missiles, whether or not they are actually Scuds.

In message <>, writes
>If anyone has further information regarding the British press pool report
>(below) concerning possible SCUDs south of Basra, would they please forward to
>me ASAP (working on a newspaper correction).
>Other than this pool report, my understanding is that no prohibited SCUDs, and
>no prohibited nuclear/chem/bio weapon indicants have been found in Iraq to date.
>Drew Hamre
>Golden Valley, MN USA
>Evidence of Iraq Weapons Remains Elusive
>The Associated Press
>Tuesday, March 25, 2003; 5:02 AM
>In months of allegation and investigation on the way to war, no firm evidence
>emerged that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction. Now it is up to the U.S.
>invasion force to find such weapons - if they exist.
>Coalition commander Gen. Tommy Franks said Monday nothing conclusive has been
>uncovered thus far, but the U.S. military said it was investigating a chemical
>plant seized in southern Iraq's Najaf area as a "site of interest."
>"It could be difficult to find ... this stuff," Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria
>Clarke said a day earlier.
>The U.S. and British accusations that Baghdad was hiding chemical, biological or
>nuclear weapons programs were the reason most commonly cited by Washington for
>attacking Iraq. The credibility of those claims was undercut, however, by
>disclosures of forgery and misrepresentation underlying some of them, and by the
>failure of U.S. intelligence reports to lead U.N. inspectors to any important
>If U.S. units now quickly report uncovering concealed arms programs, critics may
>question the authenticity of the reports or suggest that intelligence had been
>kept from the U.N. inspectors - and ask why.
>If few such weapons are found, the war's very premise will come under question.
>"I think that we probably have received several . . . bits of information over
>the last three or four days about potential WMD (weapons of mass destruction)
>locations," Franks said Monday.
>British troops have found what was described as "suspected" Scud missiles and
>warheads in a chemical factory at Damaniyah, south of Basra, according to a
>British press pool report. Experts have been called in to determine what is in
>the warheads.
>Skepticism about U.S.-British claims could be heard in last week's resignation
>of House of Commons leader Robin Cook from the British Cabinet to protest
>London's support of U.S. war plans.
>"Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood
>sense of the term, namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a
>strategic city target," said Cook, who had access to high-level British
>In the U.S. Congress, meanwhile, the disclosure that another U.S. allegation in
>the nuclear area was based on a forged document led Sen. Jay Rockefeller,
>D.-W.Va., to ask the FBI to investigate whether a "larger deception campaign" on
>Iraq was under way.
>For months, officials of the U.S. administration have asserted Iraq maintains
>stocks of such prohibited arms. In his television address two days before
>launching the invasion, Bush said U.S. troops would enter Iraq "to eliminate
>weapons of mass destruction."
>A day earlier, Vice President Dick Cheney claimed on a TV talk show the Iraqis
>have "reconstituted nuclear weapons" - an assertion no specialist has supported.
>Chief nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei told the U.N. Security Council on
>March 7: "We have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the
>revival of a nuclear weapons program."
>Those inspections have now halted. But the on-again, off-again U.N. disarmament
>effort accomplished much after Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War.
>The bulk of Baghdad's old chemical and biological weapons was certified by U.N.
>inspectors to have been destroyed in the 1990s, and the teams that returned to
>Iraq last November were pressing the Iraqis for documents and witnesses to clear
>up discrepancies and certify destruction of the remainder.
>Iraq's uranium-based nuclear program of the 1980s, which never produced a
>weapon, was dismantled by the U.N. nuclear agency in the early 1990s.
>ElBaradei's inspectors were in Iraq to guard against any resurrection of the
>nuclear work.
>Gaps and discrepancies in the record - combined with known Iraqi efforts a
>decade ago to conceal weapons programs - were the basis for U.S. allegations
>that, for example, the Iraqis today might retain as much as 500 tons of chemical
>agents or 25,000 liters of anthrax. The Iraqis claim to have destroyed it all.
>On the nuclear side, meanwhile, a U.S. State Department report in December
>alleged that Iraq had secretly tried to import uranium from the African nation
>of Niger, an assertion repeated in Bush's State of the Union address.
>Earlier this month, however, ElBaradei reported that the basis for the
>allegation - said to be a Niger government document - was a forgery.
>Another element in the U.S. nuclear allegations also came under questioning.
>Last September, the Bush administration leaked information about Iraqi purchase
>orders for aluminum tubes, which they said appeared intended for gas centrifuges
>that enrich uranium for bombs.
>In his Security Council report on March 7, ElBaradei said his experts had
>determined it "highly unlikely" the tubes were for nuclear weapons work. Powell
>persisted, saying two days later that new information "indicated the tubes were
>meant for centrifuges." But in an Associated Press interview on March 13,
>ElBaradei said, "We have this information and it doesn't change our assessment."
>Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, the British government issued a dossier Feb. 3
>on Iraq's "infrastructure of concealment," a paper praised by Powell in his own
>indictment of Iraq before the Security Council two days later. But the British
>dossier was subsequently determined to have been lifted in large part from
>published articles and a researcher's paper - not from fresh intelligence.
>Powell's UN presentation was densely detailed, speculating on the meaning of
>satellite photos, audio intercepts and other, unattributed information. But his
>claims drew a rebuff from Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector. Among other
>things, Blix said that a satellite photo the American secretary contended showed
>movement of proscribed munitions "could just as easily have been a routine
>By the time of his next report, March 7, Blix was referring to such U.S.
>statements as "contentions" and "claims."
>Two months after U.S. officials said they had begun providing "significant"
>intelligence to the inspectors, Blix told the council he was still awaiting
>"high-quality information." He said no evidence had emerged to support U.S.
>contentions Iraq was producing chemical or biological weapons underground or in
>mobile laboratories.
>The inspectors, privately, disparaged the "leads" they were receiving from the
>U.S. government.
>After more than 700 surprise inspections at hundreds of sites since November,
>the U.N. teams had compiled a short list of proscribed items found: fewer than
>20 old, empty chemical warheads for battlefield rockets, and a dozen artillery
>shells filled with mustard gas - shells tagged by U.N. inspectors in the 1990s
>but somehow not destroyed by them.
>Now, with the inspectors gone, it will fall to U.S. military forces to locate
>any secret weapons programs and to convince the world they're the real thing.
>EDITOR'S NOTE - Charles J. Hanley covered the U.N. arms inspections in Iraq.
>Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Cathy Aitchison

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