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Re: [casi] "Bastards": Blix said was smeared by the Pentagon

Dear list members,
                             Today's Guardian has another Iraq story and comment,,2763,975141,00.html,3604,974742,00.html
>>> "AS-ILAS" <> 06/11 4:12 pm >>>,2763,974998,00.html

Blix: I was smeared by the Pentagon

Helena Smith in New York
Wednesday June 11, 2003
The Guardian

Hans Blix, the UN chief weapons inspector, lashed out last night at the
"bastards" who have tried to undermine him throughout the three years he has
held his high-profile post.
In an extraordinary departure from the diplomatic language with which he has
come to be associated, Mr Blix assailed his critics in both Washington and

Speaking exclusively to the Guardian from his 31st floor office at the UN in
New York, Mr Blix said: "I have my detractors in Washington. There are
bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in
the media. Not that I cared very much.

"It was like a mosquito bite in the evening that is there in the morning, an

In a wide-ranging interview Mr Blix, who retires in three weeks' time,

+The Bush administration of leaning on his inspectors to produce more
damning language in their reports;

+"Some elements" of the Pentagon of being behind a smear campaign against
him; and

+Washington of regarding the UN as an "alien power" which they hoped would
sink into the East river.

Asked if he believed he had been the target of a deliberate smear campaign
he said: "Yes, I probably was at a lower level."

Before he had even flown to Iraq to relaunch the sensitive weapons
inspections after a four-year hiatus last November, senior US defence
department officials were excoriating the septuagenarian as the worst
possible choice for the post.

It was just the beginning. By autumn, the happily married father of two was
being branded in Baghdad as a "homosexual who went to Washington every two
weeks to pick up [his] instructions".

"The Iraqis were spreading that rumour about me early in the autumn and then
I heard the counter-rumour that I had told my wife, Eva, about this rumour
and that she said she had never noticed it. My alleged comment to her," he
said, breaking into laughter, "was that nor had I." But the criticism
clearly hurt.

A lot of the sniping "surely came" from the Pentagon, said Mr Blix, who has
since won plaudits for his handling of the unenviable brief of divining
whether Iraq had disarmed.

Staff attached to the UN monitoring and inspection commission, headed by the
Swede for the past three years, openly say there is no love lost between
hawks in the Bush administration and their mission.

Mr Blix, a former foreign minister, prefers to remain sanguine. "By and
large my relations with the US were good," he said, reiterating his belief
that the Iraqi regime would likely never have complied with any of the UN
resolutions around disarmament had it not been for the presence of 200,000
US troops in the region.

"But towards the end the [Bush] administration leaned on us," he conceded,
hoping the inspectors would employ more damning language in their reports to
swing votes on the UN security council.

Washington, he claimed, was particularly upset that the UN team did not
"make more" of the discovery of cluster bombs and drones in March.

He said Washington's disappointment at not getting UN backing for an attack
was "one reason why you find scepticism towards inspectors".

The life-long civil servant -who is looking forward to returning to a shared
life with his wife in Stockholm as he turns 75 - said he was convinced that
"there are people in this administration who say they don't care if the UN
sinks under the East river, and other crude things".

Instead of seeing the UN as a collective body of decision-making states,
Washington now viewed it as an "alien power, even if it does hold
considerable influence within it. Such [negative] feelings don't exist in
Europe where people say that the UN is a lot of talk at dinners and fluffy

That was especially worrying given President Bush's openly proclaimed belief
in the doctrine of pre-emptive strikes. "It would be more desirable and more
reasonable to ask for security council authority, especially at a time when
communism no longer exists and you don't have automatic vetoes from Russia
and China," he said.

Similarly it would be much more "credible" if a team of international
inspectors were sent into Iraq instead of the 1,300-strong US-appointed
group now conducting the search for weapons of mass destruction, he said.

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