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[casi] News, 16-23/7/03 (2)

News, 16-23/7/03 (2)


*  What was their guilt, Kurds ask of women and children killed by Saddam
*  Saddam tested deadly weapons on humans, accounts say
*  U.S. Attacked Iraqi Defenses Starting in 2002
*  Iraq's most wanted


*   The spies who pushed for war
*  Body 'matches' Iraq expert
*  White House Didn't Gain CIA Nod for Claim On Iraqi Strikes
*  BBC confirms dead scientist was source for disputed Iraq story
*  Evidence 'useless'
*  Bush Aide Takes Blame for Iraq Uranium Uproar


by Ed O'Loughlin
Sydney Morning Herald, 16th July

The young woman's identity card showed she came from the green hills of
eastern Iraqi Kurdistan, far from the scorched western desert where she lies

Was the next bundle of bones her own child, or another mother's, or perhaps
several babies thrown together in the ground?

Mass graves do not discriminate, and the machines that open them are not

On Tuesday morning a mechanical digger belonging to the US 101st Airborne
Division trundled a short distance into the desert from the ruins of the
2000-year-old city of Hatra, 110 kilometres south-west of Mosul, and clawed
a two-metre by six-metre trench into the bank of a dried-up stream.

The results were placed in neat rows in the sun - ragged little bundles of
bones, hair and teeth, many held together by the vivid embroidered gowns of
Kurdish women and girls. Some of the clothes were still as brightly coloured
as when they last saw daylight, 15 years before.

Lieutenant-Colonel Randal Campbell of the 101st Airborne Division said this
remote mass grave was first tentatively identified by officials from the
Kurdish autonomous zone, 200 kilometres to the north-east, acting on
information from records and from local Sunni Arab villagers.

The test trench dug on Tuesday was thought to contain the remains of more
than 20 people, mostly women and children, he said. It was likely that many
more people were buried in the surrounding ground.

Doug Knittel, a US Navy forensic pathologist, said the remains were so mixed
up that as a scientist he would not venture to guess the number of
individuals involved.

"The really cogent thing here is the ages, right down to newborn infants.
We've got remains ranging from young females in their twenties or a little
older, down to babies. Many appear to have been shot in the head."

An official of the Kurdish Democratic Party, Faisal Amin, said he believed
that the remote desert site was one of many used to murder and dump victims
of Saddam Hussein's massacres of Kurds in the late 1980s. As many as 180,000
are thought to have died.

With the fall of Saddam's regime, Kurdish security officials were able for
the first time to visit this Sunni Arab area, he said, and local villagers
were no longer frightened to help them.

"Among them here are children of ages less than three - what was their guilt
that they should be murdered? Just because they were Kurds? Among them are
old women with no teeth. What harm did they do? Saddam Hussein was nothing
but a dictator and a killer."

Ali Ibrahim, a local Sunni Arab villager, said his friend Khalil Eid, then a
14-year-old shepherd, was one of the few locals with first-hand knowledge of
the massacre.

"One day he came to this place with his sheep and some army vehicles came,
and they told him to go far away because there would be shooting practice
here," Mr Ibrahim said.

"He went far off into the desert but later he sneaked back and heard the
sound of firing and people screaming. After the forces had driven away he
came and saw they had levelled the ground . . . It's a disaster. It's a
crime that cannot be described."

Leading Tuesday's operation was William Rodriguez, an internationally known
forensic anthropologist working for the Pentagon. He also led the exhumation
of mass graves in Kosovo.

"Many of the skulls we are seeing indicate gunshot wounds to the back of the
head . . . as if they were kneeling," he said.

When Dr Rodriguez had completed his service US soldiers carefully placed the
bundles into plastic bags, which were then reburied in the trench.

The dead of Hatra will be exhumed again only when scientists are ready for a
proper forensic study - unless, as has happened elsewhere in Iraq - swarms
of desperate people move in to dig up the site themselves, in the faint hope
of finding missing loved ones.

by Paul Salopek
Arizona Republic, from the Chicago Tribune, 16th July

BA'QUBAH, Iraq - What haunts the former Iraqi intelligence officer most
about the men he helped kill in 1987 wasn't their numbed silence or their
defeated gazes. It was the strange cloud that seemed to come from nowhere,
the cloud that killed them.

It was misty white, he said, and it blossomed above the gulch near the
Iranian border where he and his security men had deposited 10 truckloads of
political prisoners. Hours later, waiting at a nearby roadblock, he watched
the trucks return. They were piled with dead bodies. Civilian technicians
accompanying the grim convoy angrily ordered him to keep his distance.

"That's when I realized this was no ordinary execution," said the officer, a
retired colonel with the Iraqi Second Army Corps who spoke on condition of
anonymity. "The government was using prisoners to test its chemical

U.S. forces have failed to find chemical or biological weapons in Iraq,
frustrating a Bush administration that had argued war was necessary to
eliminate Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass

But there is no doubt that Saddam had used such weapons in the past,
including the gassing of Kurdish villages in the 1980s.

Now reports are surfacing that Saddam used human subjects to test the
weapons. Senior intelligence officers, weapons engineers and the families of
alleged testing victims are stepping forward to describe one of the darkest
crimes the old regime inflicted on its people.

The U.S. civil administration in Iraq takes such reports seriously enough to
include them in its overall war crimes investigations of Saddam's rule.

A mass grave filled with hundreds of remains from the alleged 1987 nerve gas
test, recently discovered near the central Iraqi town of Ba'qubah, was
examined two weeks ago by American forensic experts. So far, the results
have proved negative for chemical weapons.

"We know that certain chemical agents will linger in buried clothing for
four years, but maybe not much longer," said Sandy Hodgkinson, the director
of the coalition's Human Rights Office in Baghdad.

"We also know that there are as many as 300,000 victims of Hussein's
repression buried in mass graves all over Iraq," Hodgkinson said. "So
sorting through them all for evidence of chemical or biological weapons use
is going to be an enormous task."

Moreover, she added, a clear picture of Iraq's human testing program will
likely be muddied by Saddam's use of weapons of mass destruction in wars
against his own citizens. At least 40 Kurdish villages were gassed during
ethnic uprisings in the 1980s, she said.

By contrast, the numbers of Iraqis killed as guinea pigs in sinister
experiments to perfect such weaponry is likely to be far smaller.

Still, interviews with former intelligence officials and U.N. documents
obtained by the Chicago Tribune suggest that scores of hapless prisoners may
have been sacrificed to such secret testing in Iraq. And the evidence
stretches back decades, to the earliest days of rule by Iraq's Baath Party.

"Everyone knows it started back in 1972, even before Hussein took power,"
said a senior chemical weapons engineer who worked for seven years at the
Al-Muthanna State Establishment, a notorious weapons lab that U.S. planes
bombed to rubble in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

According to the engineer, who like many of those closely involved in Iraq's
weapons programs refused to be identified by name, prisoners jailed at the
Al-Sha'emiya Prison southeast of Baghdad were selected by the Internal
Security Directorate - the forerunner of Saddam's dreaded secret police -
for crude experiments with home-brewed mustard gas.

"My colleagues were trying out dosages and recording the prisoners'
reactions," he said, hastening to add that he only used rabbits in his
experiments. "The facilities were crude - just some brick laboratories
inside the prison."

Today, the Al-Sha'emiya Prison is occupied by hundreds of impoverished
Shiite squatters. If any tangible evidence of human testing labs existed, it
is long gone. Looters even have ripped out the steel bars from jail cells to
sell as scrap.

But the report of the early mustard gas experiments on prisoners matches a
chronology the Iraqis have given to United Nations.

"In late 1972, Iraq decided to acquire the capability to obtain WMDs -
chemical, biological, and nuclear," said Richard Spertzel, one of hundreds
of U.N. weapons inspectors who scoured Iraq for Saddam's banned weapons in
the 1990s. "That is according to Iraq's own statements and fits data we

Throughout their frustrating years of cat-and-mouse searches, the U.N.
inspection teams stumbled across several chilling clues that hinted at human
testing projects in Iraq.

According to Spertzel, inspectors found two "aerosol test chambers"
discarded in rubbish heaps outside Al-Muthanna and Salman Pak, Saddam's two
main WMD laboratories. The chambers were human-sized, and were designed to
test chemical and biological agents, Spertzel said. The Iraqis said they
were used on donkeys.

In an unrelated case, inspectors went to Salman Pak in 1994 to investigate a
series of mysterious trenches that had been dug at night and hastily
refilled by the Iraqis during the gulf war. Officials told Spertzel the
holes contained bodies.

"I rather suspected these might have been Kuwaiti POWs," he said. "But they
might have been test subjects."

The Iraqis blocked access to the site, claiming it was "holy," Spertzel
said. The government later flooded the area with water from the Tigris

The most compelling case involved alleged biological weapons tests carried
out on Shiite political prisoners by a mysterious Unit 2100, a U.N.
inspection team document shows.

According to the document, at least 50 prisoners from Abu Gharib prison west
of Baghdad were rounded up in 1995 and sent to a secret testing facility in
Al-Haditha, a remote community in Iraq's western desert.

"Unit 2100 was subordinate directly to the Ministry for Military Industry
... which was headed by Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamil," states the
document, which is based on intelligence supplied by a senior Iraqi

"The unit conducted experiments on human subjects using chemical and
biological warfare agents," the document goes on. "Prisoners who were sent
to Unit 2100 did not return."

U.N. experts who tried to inspect the prison's records in 1998 were delayed
by guards. When they finally were allowed to enter, a U.N. source familiar
with the incident said, all the key records were missing. The entire U.N.
monitoring operation was shut down by the Iraqis shortly thereafter.

"There were rumors of these things all the time, but it was very dangerous
to discuss them," said Ziad Abed Al-Hamid, a retired Iraqi air force colonel
who believes his father-in-law was among the prisoners at Abu Gharib used as
a guinea pig.

Al-Hamid said his relative, an army colonel named Adnan Abbas, was
officially condemned to death anyway for criticizing Saddam. But when the
family pulled strings with the military for the body to be returned, it
arrived without the usual bullet hole in the head.

"He didn't have a mark on him, nothing," Al-Hamid recalled bitterly. "We
were told not to touch him. We were told to bury him as fast as possible."

As for the Iraqi army intelligence officer who claims to have witnessed the
test gassing of hundreds of prisoners at an open-air site in the desert near
Jalula, on the Iranian border, he asserted that the bodies he saw also were

"It was like they were asleep," he said with lingering awe.

Informed that the Americans had probed the mass grave of the alleged
chemical test victims and turned up nothing, the officer seemed unfazed.
Instead, he produced a colleague, a lieutenant in the Iraqi Second Army
Corps that purportedly oversaw the operation, who confirmed the broad
outlines of his story.

"The Americans," the officer insisted, "have a lot more digging to do."

Hodgkinson, the U.S. human rights official, said her teams would be looking

The pace of forensic exhumations would pick up in the fall, she said, after
cooler weather made for the safer handling of chemical residues in the soil.

Tribune correspondent Stephen J. Hedges in Washington contributed to this

New York Times, 20th July

LAS VEGAS, July 19  American air war commanders carried out a comprehensive
plan to disrupt Iraq's military command and control system before the Iraq
war, according to an internal briefing on the conflict by the senior allied
air war commander.

Known as Southern Focus, the plan called for attacks on the network of
fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein's government used to transmit military
communications, as well as airstrikes on key command centers, radars and
other important military assets.

The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of
2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations
of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in
southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war
commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military
campaign against the Baghdad government.

Indeed, one reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground
campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array
of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected
targets under the plan, General Moseley said.

"It provided a set of opportunities and options for General Franks," General
Moseley said in an interview, referring to Gen. Tommy R. Franks, then head
of the United States Central Command. While there were indications at the
time that the United States was trying to weaken Iraqi air defenses in
anticipation of a possible war, the scope and detailed planning that lay
behind the effort were not generally known.

The disclosure of the plan is part of an assessment prepared by General
Moseley on the lessons of the war with Iraq. General Moseley and a senior
aide presented their assessments at an internal briefing for American and
allied military officers at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada on Thursday.

Among the disclosures provided in the internal briefings and in a later
interview the General Moseley:

 New information has shown that there was not a bunker in the Dora Farms
area near Baghdad, where American intelligence initially believed Mr.
Hussein was meeting with his aides. The site was attacked by F-117 stealth
fighters and cruise missiles as the Bush administration sought to kill Mr.
Hussein at the very onset of the war. Still, Iraqi leaders were believed to
be in the Dora Farm area, General Moseley said.

 Air war commanders were required to obtain the approval of Defense
Secretary Donald L. Rumsfeld if any planned airstrike was thought likely to
result in deaths of more than 30 civilians. More than 50 such strikes were
proposed, and all of them were approved.

 During the war, about 1,800 allied aircraft conducted about 20,000
strikes. Of those, 15,800 were directed against Iraqi ground forces while
some 1,400 struck the Iraqi Air Force, air bases or air defenses. About
1,800 airstrikes were directed against the Iraqi government and 800 at
suspected hiding places and installations for illicit weapons, including
surface to-surface missiles.

 Allied commanders say precision-guided weapons made up a greater
percentage of the strikes than in any previous conflict. But the military
experienced great difficulty in obtaining reliable battle damage assessment
about attacks against Iraqi ground forces. There were also differences
between Army and Air Force commanders about the best procedures for carrying
out the strikes. As a result, airstrikes against Iraqi forces that fought
the Army were not as effective as commanders would have liked.

The air campaign began as a response to the Iraqis, who deployed additional
surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery south of Baghdad
beginning in the late 1990's. Their maneuvers thickened the defense of the
Iraqi capital. The air defense systems had the range to hit allied planes
that were patrolling some portions of the southern no-flight zone.

Gen. Charles Wald, General Moseley's predecessor as the top American air
commander in the Middle East, proposed a major attack to disable the
beefed-up Iraqi defenses in early 2001. But the newly inaugurated Bush
administration was not looking for a confrontation with Iraq at that time,
and General Wald's recommendation was not approved.

After General Moseley assumed command toward the end of 2001, however, the
American strategy began to change. General Moseley and General Franks
believed that the American military needed a plan to weaken the Iraqi air
defenses, initially because of the threat to the allied patrols and later to
facilitate an offensive.

The first step was to use spy satellites, U-2 planes and reconnaissance
drones to identify potential targets.

One major target was the network of fiber-optic cable that transmitted
military communications between Baghdad and Basra and Baghdad and Nasiriya.
The cables themselves were buried underground and impossible to locate. So
the air war commanders focused on the "cable repeater stations," which
relayed the signals. From June 2002 until the beginning of the Iraq war, the
allies flew 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq and attacked 349 targets,
including the cable stations.

"We were able to figure out that we were getting ahead of this guy and we
were breaking them up faster than he could fix them," General Moseley said
of the fiber-optic cables. "So then we were able to push it up a little bit
and effectively break up the fiber-optic backbone from Baghdad to the

During that period before the war, American officials said the strikes were
necessary because the Iraqis were shooting more often at allied air patrols.
In total, the Iraqis fired on allied aircraft 651 times during the
operation. But General Moseley said it was possible that the Iraqi attacks
increased because allied planes had stepped up their patrols over Iraq. "We
became a little more aggressive based on them shooting more at us, which
allowed us to respond more," he said. "Then the question is whether they
were shooting at us because we were up there more. So there is a chicken and
egg thing here."

The air campaign also provided an opportunity for American war commanders to
try new military technologies and tactics.

One experiment involved arming Predator reconnaissance drones with Stinger
antiaircraft missiles so they could engage in dogfights with Iraqi planes. A
few months before the war, an Iraqi MIG-25 jet fighter fired two missiles at
a Predator in one engagement and managed to shoot it down.

The remotely controlled Predator also fired two missiles before it was
destroyed. It also transmitted video of the engagement. American officers
were impressed that the Iraqi pilot was able to attack such a small target
and did not turn away after he was fired upon.

As full-scale war approached, the air war commanders had five goals. They
wanted to neutralize the ability of the Iraqi government to command its
forces; to establish control of the airspace over Iraq; to provide air
support for Special Operations forces, as well as for the Army and Marine
forces that would advance toward Baghdad; and to neutralize Iraq's force of
surface-to-surface missiles and suspected caches of biological and chemical

Once the war began, air war commanders adopted an aggressive posture to keep
up the pace of the attack. Unarmed refueling tankers and radar planes flew
into Iraqi airspace early on, and combat search and rescue teams set up
bases inside the country. For the first three weeks of the air war, there
were never fewer than 200 aircraft aloft.

According to the internal briefing, 73 personnel were rescued who would have
died if they had not been extracted.

Problems in obtaining reliable bomb damage assessment, the fast pace of the
Army advance and differences between the Army and the air war commanders
about the best way to provide air support limited the effectiveness of the
strikes carried out on behalf of the Army's V Corps, according to internal

Improving bomb damage assessment, coming to a common understanding with Army
commanders about the best procedures for providing air support and
increasing the capacity to provide digital information to aircraft on
targets would improve the performance of air power in future conflicts, air
war commanders say.

The American air campaign had a vulnerability that the Iraqis failed to
exploit: a four-mile long line of fuel trucks outside one Persian Gulf base.
They were in a region in which Al Qaeda was believed to operate but they
were never attacked.

Sydney Morning Herald, from AP, 23rd July

The 55 most-wanted Iraqis and their status, according to US Central Command.

Of the total, 34 are reported in US custody:

No.1: Saddam Hussein, president.

No.2: Qusay Hussein, Saddam's son. Killed July 22.

No.3: Uday Hussein, Saddam's son. Killed July 22.

No.4: Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, presidential secretary, Saddam's cousin.
Taken into custody June 17.

No.5: Ali Hassan al-Majid, presidential adviser, Revolutionary Command
Council member. Also known as "Chemical Ali." Possibly killed.

No.6: Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, RCC vice chairman, longtime Saddam confidant.

No.7: Hani Abd al-Latif Tilfah al-Tikriti, director, Special Security

No.8: Aziz Saleh al-Numan, Baath Party Baghdad region command chairman.
Taken into custody May 22.

No.9: Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaydi, retired RCC member, a leader of 1991
suppression of Shi'ite rebellion. Taken into custody April 20.

No.10: Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, secretary of the Republican
Guard, Saddam's son-in-law. Surrendered May 17.

No.11: Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti, Special Republican
Guard commander, Saddam's cousin.

No.12: Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, who headed Iraq's air defences under
Saddam. Taken into custody April 23.

No.13 Ibrahim Ahmad Abd al Sattar Muhammad, armed forces chief of staff.
Taken into custody May 15.

No.14: Sayf al-Din Fulayyih Hasan Taha al-Rawi, Republican Guard chief of

No.15: Rafi Abd al-Latif Tilfah al-Tikriti, director of general security.

No.16: Tahir Jalil Haboush, chief of Iraqi intelligence service.

No.17: Hamid Raja Shalah al-Tikriti, air force commander. Central Command
says he's in coalition custody. No date was given for his apprehension.

No.18: Latif Nusayyif al-Jasim al-Dulaymi, Baath Party military bureau
deputy chairman. Taken into custody June 9.

No.19: Abdel Tawab Mullah Huweish, deputy prime minister. Taken into custody
May 2.

No.20: Taha Yassin Ramadan, vice president, RCC member.

No.21: Rukan Razuki Abd al-Ghafar Sulayman al-Majid al-Tikriti, head of
tribal affairs office.

No.22: Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, deputy head of tribal
affairs, Saddam's son-in-law. Taken into custody April 20.

No.23: Mizban Khadr Hadi, RCC member. Taken into custody July 8.

No.24: Taha Muhie-eldin Marouf, vice president, RCC member, only Kurd in
Saddam's hierarchy. Taken into custody May 2.

No.25: Tariq Aziz, deputy prime minister. Taken into custody April 25.

No.26: Walid Hamid Tawfiq, governor of Basra. Surrendered April 29.

No.27: General Sultan Hashim Ahmad, defence minister.

No.28: Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi, deputy prime minister, finance
minister. Taken into custody April 18.

No.29: Mahmoud Diab al-Ahmed, interior minister. Taken into custody July 8.

No.30: Ayad Futayyih Khalifa, Quds forces chief of staff. Taken into custody
June 4.

No.31: General Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, director of military
intelligence. Taken into custody April 23.

No.32: Lieutenant General Amir Hamudi Hasan al-Saadi, presidential
scientific adviser. Surrendered April 12.

No.33: Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi, presidential adviser, oil minister.
Taken into custody April 28.

No.34: General Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of monitoring directorate, chief
liaison with UN weapons inspectors. Taken into custody April 27.

No.35: Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, trade minister. Taken into custody April 23.

No.36: Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan, presidential adviser, Saddam's half brother.

No.37: Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, presidential adviser, Saddam's half
brother. Taken into custody April 13.

No.38: Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, presidential adviser, Saddam's half
brother. Taken into custody April 16.

No.39: Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, reputedly scientist in biological weapons
program, first woman elected to Baath Party's national command council.
Taken into custody May 9.

No.40: Abdel Baqi Abdel Karim Abdallah al-Sadun, Baath Party regional
command chairman.

No.41: Mohammed Zimam Abdul Razaq, Baath Party regional command chairman.

No.42: Samir Abd al-Aziz al-Najim, Baath Party regional command chairman.
Taken into custody April 17.

No.43: Humam Abdul-Khaliq Abdul-Ghafoor, minister of higher education and
scientific research. Taken into custody April 19.

No.44: Yahya Abdellah al-Aboudi, Baath Party regional command chairman.

No.45: Nayef Shedakh, Baath Party regional chairman, Najaf governorate,
reported by Iraqi television to have been killed in battle for Najaf.

No.46: Sayf al-Din al-Mashadani, Baath Party regional command chairman.
Taken into custody May 24.

No.47: Fadil Mahmud Gharib, Baath Party regional command chairman. Taken
into custody May 15.

No.48: Muhsin Khadr al-Khafaji, Baath Party regional command chairman.

No.49: Rashid Taan Kazim, Baath Party regional chairman.

No.50: Ugla Abid Saqr, Baath Party regional chairman. Taken into custody May

No.51: Ghazi Hammud, Baath Party regional command chairman. Taken into
custody May 7.

No.52: Adilabdillah Mahdi al-Duri al-Tikriti, Baath Party regional command
chairman. Taken into custody May 15.

No.53: Brigadier General Husayn al-Awadi, Baath Party Regional command
chairman, senior officer in Iraqi military's chemical weapons corps. Taken
into custody June 9.

No.54: Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad, Baath Party Regional command chairman,
militia commander.

No.55: Sad Abd al-Majid al-Faysal, Baath Party Regional command chairman.
Taken into custody May 24.


by Julian Borger
The Guardian , 17th July

As the CIA director, George Tenet, arrived at the Senate yesterday to give
secret testimony on the Niger uranium affair, it was becoming increasingly
clear in Washington that the scandal was only a small, well-documented
symptom of a complete breakdown in US intelligence that helped steer America
into war.

It represents the Bush administration's second catastrophic intelligence
failure. But the CIA and FBI's inability to prevent the September 11 attacks
was largely due to internal institutional weaknesses.

This time the implications are far more damaging for the White House, which
stands accused of politicising and contaminating its own source of

According to former Bush officials, all defence and intelligence sources,
senior administration figures created a shadow agency of Pentagon analysts
staffed mainly by ideological amateurs to compete with the CIA and its
military counterpart, the Defence Intelligence Agency.

The agency, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was set up by the
defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and
operated under the patronage of hardline conservatives in the top rungs of
the administration, the Pentagon and at the White House, including
Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The ideologically driven network functioned like a shadow government, much
of it off the official payroll and beyond congressional oversight. But it
proved powerful enough to prevail in a struggle with the State Department
and the CIA by establishing a justification for war.

Mr Tenet has officially taken responsibility for the president's
unsubstantiated claim in January that Saddam Hussein's regime had been
trying to buy uranium in Africa, but he also said his agency was under
pressure to justify a war that the administration had already decided on.

How much Mr Tenet reveals of where that pressure was coming from could have
lasting political fallout for Mr Bush and his re-election prospects, which
only a few weeks ago seemed impregnable. As more Americans die in Iraq and
the reasons for the war are revealed, his victory in 2004 no longer looks
like a foregone conclusion.

The White House counter-attacked yesterday when new chief spokesman, Scott
McClellan, accused critics of "politicising the war" and trying to "rewrite
history". But the Democratic leadership kept up its questions over the White
House role.

The president's most trusted adviser, Mr Cheney, was at the shadow network's
sharp end. He made several trips to the CIA in Langley, Virginia, to demand
a more "forward-leaning" interpretation of the threat posed by Saddam. When
he was not there to make his influence felt, his chief of staff, Lewis
"Scooter" Libby, was. Such hands-on involvement in the processing of
intelligence data was unprecedented for a vice-president in recent times,
and it put pressure on CIA officials to come up with the appropriate

Another frequent visitor was Newt Gingrich, the former Republican party
leader who resurfaced after September 11 as a Pentagon "consultant" and a
member of its unpaid defence advisory board, with influence far beyond his
official title.

An intelligence official confirmed Mr Gingrich made "a couple of visits" but
said there was nothing unusual about that.

Rick Tyler, Mr Gingrich's spokesman, said: "If he was at the CIA he was
there to listen and learn, not to persuade or influence."

Mr Gingrich visited Langley three times before the war, and according to
accounts, the political veteran sought to browbeat analysts into toughening
up their assessments of Saddam's menace.

Mr Gingrich gained access to the CIA headquarters and was listened to
because he was seen as a personal emissary of the Pentagon and, in
particular, of the OSP.

In the days after September 11, Mr Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz,
mounted an attempt to include Iraq in the war against terror. When the
established agencies came up with nothing concrete to link Iraq and
al-Qaida, the OSP was given the task of looking more carefully.

William Luti, a former navy officer and ex-aide to Mr Cheney, runs the
day-to-day operations, answering to Douglas Feith, a defence undersecretary
and a former Reagan official.

The OSP had access to a huge amount of raw intelligence. It came in part
from "report officers" in the CIA's directorate of operations whose job is
to sift through reports from agents around the world, filtering out the
unsubstantiated and the incredible. Under pressure from the hawks such as Mr
Cheney and Mr Gingrich, those officers became reluctant to discard anything,
no matter how far-fetched. The OSP also sucked in countless tips from the
Iraqi National Congress and other opposition groups, which were viewed with
far more scepticism by the CIA and the state department.

There was a mountain of documentation to look through and not much time. The
administration wanted to use the momentum gained in Afghanistan to deal with
Iraq once and for all. The OSP itself had less than 10 full-time staff, so
to help deal with the load, the office hired scores of temporary
"consultants". They included lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy
wonks from the numerous rightwing thinktanks in Washington. Few had
experience in intelligence.

"Most of the people they had in that office were off the books, on personal
services contracts. At one time, there were over 100 of them," said an
intelligence source. The contracts allow a department to hire individuals,
without specifying a job description.

As John Pike, a defence analyst at the thinktank, put it,
the contracts "are basically a way they could pack the room with their
little friends".

"They surveyed data and picked out what they liked," said Gregory Thielmann,
a senior official in the state department's intelligence bureau until his
retirement in September. "The whole thing was bizarre. The secretary of
defence had this huge defence intelligence agency, and he went around it."

In fact, the OSP's activities were a com plete mystery to the DIA and the

"The iceberg analogy is a good one," said a senior officer who left the
Pentagon during the planning of the Iraq war. "No one from the military
staff heard, saw or discussed anything with them."

The civilian agencies had the same impression of the OSP sleuths. "They were
a pretty shadowy presence," Mr Thielmann said. "Normally when you compile an
intelligence document, all the agencies get together to discuss it. The OSP
was never present at any of the meetings I attended."

Democratic congressman David Obey, who is investigating the OSP, said: "That
office was charged with collecting, vetting and disseminating intelligence
completely outside of the normal intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears
that information collected by this office was in some instances not even
shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was
passed on to the national security council and the president without having
been vetted with anyone other than political appointees."

The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not
only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad
hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon's office in Israel
specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more
alarmist reports on Saddam's Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise.

"None of the Israelis who came were cleared into the Pentagon through normal
channels," said one source familiar with the visits. Instead, they were
waved in on Mr Feith's authority without having to fill in the usual forms.

The exchange of information continued a long-standing relationship Mr Feith
and other Washington neo-conservatives had with Israel's Likud party.

In 1996, he and Richard Perle - now an influential Pentagon figure - served
as advisers to the then Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu. In a policy paper
they wrote, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,
the two advisers said that Saddam would have to be destroyed, and Syria,
Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran would have to be overthrown or destabilised,
for Israel to be truly safe.

The Israeli influence was revealed most clearly by a story floated by
unnamed senior US officials in the American press, suggesting the reason
that no banned weapons had been found in Iraq was that they had been
smuggled into Syria. Intelligence sources say that the story came from the
office of the Israeli prime minister.

The OSP absorbed this heady brew of raw intelligence, rumour and plain
disinformation and made it a "product", a prodigious stream of reports with
a guaranteed readership in the White House. The primary customers were Mr
Cheney, Mr Libby and their closest ideological ally on the national security
council, Stephen Hadley, Condoleezza Rice's deputy.

In turn, they leaked some of the claims to the press, and used others as a
stick with which to beat the CIA and the state department analysts,
demanding they investigate the OSP leads.

The big question looming over Congress as Mr Tenet walked into his
closed-door session yesterday was whether this shadow intelligence operation
would survive national scrutiny and who would pay the price for allowing it
to help steer the country into war.

A former senior CIA official insisted yesterday that Mr Feith, at least, was
"finished" - but that may be wishful thinking by a rival organisation.

As he prepares for re-election, Mr Bush may opt to tough it out, rather than
acknowledge the severity of the problem by firing loyalists. But in that
case, it will inevitably be harder to re establish confidence in the
intelligence on which the White House is basing its decisions, and the
world's sole superpower risks stumbling onwards half-blind, unable to
distinguish real threats from phantoms. 18th June

BBC, 18th July

Police searching for the weapons expert suggested as the possible source for
a BBC story on Iraq say the body they have found matches Dr David Kelly's
appearance. The government says an independent judicial inquiry will be held
into the circumstances of his death if the body is confirmed to be that of
Dr Kelly.

The body was found at 0920 BST by a member of the police team searching for
Dr Kelly in a wooded area at Harrowdown Hill, near Faringdon, Oxfordshire.

Government adviser Dr Kelly, 59, went missing from his home in Southmoor,
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at about 1500 BST on Thursday.

The body was found lying on the ground, around five miles from Dr Kelly's
home, a police spokeswoman said.

Acting superintendent Dave Purnell confirmed that the body matched Dr
Kelly's description in a brief news conference at 1430 BST.

Formal identification would take place on Saturday, said Supt Purnell, and
the case was being treated as an "unexplained death".

"We will be awaiting the results of the post mortem and also waiting while
the forensic examination continues at the scene at Harrowdown Hill," he

The government announcement of an inquiry if the body is Dr Kelly's came
from the prime minister's plane as he flew for a visit to Tokyo.

Earlier this week, Dr Kelly denied being the BBC's main source for a story
claiming Downing Street had "sexed up" a dossier about Iraqi weapons of mass

He appeared before the Commons foreign affairs committee on Tuesday.

MPs on the committee reacted with shock and disbelief at news of Dr Kelly's

His family had contacted the police when he failed to return home by 2345
BST on Thursday. Tony Blair, who is heading to Japan after his speech to
Congress in Washington, has been informed about the discovery of the body.

Huge media attention has been on Dr Kelly since the Ministry of Defence said
he had admitted meeting Andrew Gilligan, the BBC correspondent behind the
controversial Iraq story.

Mr Gilligan said a source had told him that the dossier on Iraq had been
"sexed up" by Downing Street.

The BBC correspondent has refused to name his source, but the MoD said Dr
Kelly had come forward to say it may have been him.

Government ministers have said they believe he was the source for Mr
Gilligan's story.

Superintendent Purnell said the official's family were aware that a body had
been found. A police family liaison officer is with them.

Harrowdown Hill, where the body is found, is an area popular with walkers
but "quite off the beaten track", he added.

Ann Lewis, a neighbour of Dr Kelly, told BBC News Online she was
"devastated" for his family, especially his children.

She said: "He was a quiet man. He was a man who showed great care and
concern for others." Craig Foster, 36, landlord of the Blue Boar public
house in nearby Longworth, said Dr Kelly was "a very well liked gentleman".

Police say Dr Kelly is an avid walker and has good local knowledge of the
many footpaths surrounding his home.

Initial searches of the house, outbuildings and grounds of the property were
completed in the early hours of Friday.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "We are aware that Dr David Kelly
has gone missing and we are obviously concerned."

The ministry said Dr Kelly had at no point been threatened with suspension
or dismissal for speaking to Mr Gilligan.

It was made clear to him that he had broken civil service rules by having
unauthorised contact with a journalist, but "that was the end of it", said a

Downing Street says it is "very concerned about news that David Kelly has
gone missing". A spokesman said thoughts were with Dr Kelly's family.

Number 10 says "normal personnel procedures" were followed after Dr Kelly
volunteered that he might have been the source of Mr Gilligan's report. It
was made clear to Dr Kelly that his name was likely to become public
knowledge because he was one of only a small number of people it could have
been about, the spokesman said.

After questioning Dr Kelly earlier this week, the Commons foreign affairs
select committee said it was "most unlikely" he was the main source for the
BBC story.

And they said Dr Kelly, who has worked as a weapons inspector in Iraq, had
been "poorly treated" by the government - a charge strongly rejected by the

Committee chairman Donald Anderson told the BBC his "heart went out" to Dr
Kelly's family as the search for the official went on. Another member of the
committee, Tory John Maples said he was "speechless" after hearing of the
discovery of a body.

"If it is (Dr Kelly), it is just awful. What can you say? Nothing," he said.

"There must be more to this than we had thought. I do not know what that
means, I just think there is."

Tory MP Richard Ottaway, another committee member, said: "He is not used to
the media glare, he is not used to the intense spotlight he has been put

The BBC has rejected Mr Anderson's claim that Mr Gilligan was an "unreliable
witness" who had changed his story about the Iraq dossier claims when he met
the committee in private on Thursday.

by Dana Milbank, Washington Post Staff Writer
Yahoo, 19th July

The White House, in the run-up to war in Iraq, did not seek CIA approval
before charging that Saddam Hussein could launch a biological or chemical
attack within 45 minutes, administration officials now say.

The claim, which has since been discredited, was made twice by President
Bush, in a September Rose Garden appearance after meeting with lawmakers and
in a Saturday radio address the same week. Bush attributed the claim to the
British government, but in a "Global Message" issued Sept. 26 and still on
the White House Web site, the White House claimed, without attribution, that
Iraq "could launch a biological or chemical attack 45 minutes after the
order is given."

The 45-minute claim is at the center of a scandal in Britain that led to the
apparent suicide on Friday of a British weapons scientist who had questioned
the government's use of the allegation. The scientist, David Kelly, was
being investigated by the British parliament as the suspected source of a
BBC report that the 45-minute claim was added to Britain's public "dossier"
on Iraq in September at the insistence of an aide to Prime Minister Tony
Blair -- and against the wishes of British intelligence, which said the
charge was from a single source and was considered unreliable.

The White House embraced the claim, from a British dossier on Iraq, at the
same time it began to promote the dossier's disputed claim that Iraq sought
uranium in Africa.

Bush administration officials last week said the CIA was not consulted about
the claim. A senior White House official did not dispute that account,
saying presidential remarks such as radio addresses are typically
"circulated at the staff level" within the White House only.

Virtually all of the focus on whether Bush exaggerated intelligence about
Iraq's weapons ambitions has been on the credibility of a claim he made in
the Jan. 28 State of the Union address about efforts to buy uranium in
Africa. But an examination of other presidential remarks, which received
little if any scrutiny by intelligence agencies, indicates Bush made more
broad accusations on other intelligence matters related to Iraq.

For example, the same Rose Garden speech and Sept. 28 radio address that
mentioned the 45-minute accusation also included blunt assertions by Bush
that "there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq." This claim was highly
disputed among intelligence experts; a group called Ansar al-Islam in
Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, who could
have been in Iraq, were both believed to have al Qaeda contacts but were not
themselves part of al Qaeda.

Bush was more qualified in his major Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati, mentioning
al Qaeda members who got training and medical treatment from Iraq. The State
of the Union address was also more hedged about whether al Qaeda members
were in Iraq, saying "Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including
members of al Qaeda."

Bush did not mention Iraq in his radio address yesterday. Sen. Carl M. Levin
(Mich.), delivering the Democratic radio address, suggested that the dispute
over the uranium claim in the State of the Union "is about whether
administration officials made a conscious and very troubling decision to
create a false impression about the gravity and imminence of the threat that
Iraq posed to America." Levin said there is evidence the uranium claim "was
just one of many questionable statements and exaggerations by the
intelligence community and administration officials in the buildup to the

The 45-minute accusation is particularly noteworthy because of the furor it
has caused in Britain, where the charge originated. A parliamentary inquiry
determined earlier this month that the claim "did not warrant the prominence
given to it in the dossier, because it was based on intelligence from a
single, uncorroborated source." The inquiry also concluded that "allegations
of politically inspired meddling cannot credibly be established."

As it turns out, the 45-minute charge was not true; though forbidden weapons
may yet be found in Iraq, an adviser to the Bush administration on arms
issues said last week that such weapons were not ready to be used on short

The 45-minute allegation did not appear in the major speeches Bush made
about Iraq in Cincinnati in October or in his State of the Union address,
both of which were made after consultation with the CIA. But the White House
considered the 45-minute claim significant and drew attention to it the day
the British dossier was released. Asked if there was a "smoking gun" in the
British report, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer on Sept. 24
highlighted that charge and the charge that Iraq sought uranium in Africa.

"I think there was new information in there, particularly about the
45-minute threshold by which Saddam Hussein has got his biological and
chemical weapons triggered to be launched," Fleischer said. "There was new
information in there about Saddam Hussein's efforts to obtain uranium from
African nations. That was new information."

The White House use of the 45-minute charge is another indication of its
determination to build a case against Hussein even without the participation
of U.S. intelligence services. The controversy over the administration's use
of intelligence has largely focused on claims made about the Iraqi nuclear
program, particularly attempts to buy uranium in Africa. But the accusation
that Iraq could launch a chemical or biological attack on a moment's notice
was significant because it added urgency to the administration's argument
that Hussein had to be dealt with quickly.

Using the single-source British accusation appears to have violated the
administration's own standard. In a briefing for reporters on Friday, a
senior administration official, discussing the decision to remove from the
Cincinnati speech an allegation that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger,
said CIA Director George J. Tenet told the White House that "for a
presidential speech, the standard ought to be higher than just relying upon
one source. Oftentimes, a lot of these things that are embodied in this
document are based on multiple sources. And in this case, that was a single
source being cited, and he felt that that was not appropriate."

The British parliamentary inquiry reported this month that the claim came
from one source, and "it appears that no evidence was found which
corroborated the information supplied by the source, although it was
consistent with a pattern of evidence of Iraq's military capability over
time. Neither are we aware that there was any corroborating evidence from
allies through the intelligence-sharing machinery. It is also significant
that the US did not refer to the claim publicly." The report said the
investigators "have not seen a satisfactory answer" to why the government
gave the claim such visibility.

Staff writer Walter Pincus contributed to this report.

*  BBC confirms dead scientist was source for disputed Iraq story
Jordan Times, 20th July    
LONDON (AP)  Prime Minister Tony Blair said he would take full
responsibility if an inquiry finds the government contributed in any way to
the suicide of scientist David Kelly, whom the British Broadcasting Corp.
identified Sunday as the main source of a bitterly disputed report accusing
the government of inflating evidence about Iraq's weapons.

Blair, who has been dogged on his trip through east Asia by angry charges
about the ministry of defence weapons adviser's death, said he has no
intention of resigning over the dispute, as some critics at home have

He welcomed the BBC's announcement, which at least temporarily shifted the
angriest public recriminations from his administration to the broadcaster,
whose credibility now is under attack.

"In the end, the government is my responsibility and I can assure you the
judge (heading the inquiry) will be able to get to what facts, what people,
what papers he wants," Blair told Sky News.

The prime minister also said at a joint news conference with South Korean
President Roh Moo-hyun in Seoul that he would testify in the investigation.

The government and the state-funded BBC have been embroiled in a bitter,
drawn-out battle over a May 29 radio report by journalist Andrew Gilligan.

He quoted an anonymous source as saying officials had "sexed up" evidence
about Iraqi weapons to justify war and that they had insisted publishing a
claim that Saddam Hussein could deploy some chemical and biological weapons
within 45 minutes, despite intelligence experts' doubts.

After Kelly, a quiet, bearded microbiologist with a sterling international
reputation, told his ministry of defence bosses he'd spoken to Gilligan, the
ministry identified him as a possible source for the report and he was
questioned by a parliamentary committee.

Days later, on Friday, police found his body in the woods near his
Oxfordshire home and said he bled to death from a slashed wrist.

"We can confirm that Dr Kelly was the principal source" for Gilligan's
story, the BBC said in a statement Sunday.

"The BBC believes we accurately interpreted and reported the factual
information obtained by us during interviews with Dr Kelly." The statement
said Kelly had also been the source for a piece by reporter Susan Watts on
its "Newsnight" analysis programme.

Politicians across the ideological spectrum accused the BBC of inaccurately
reporting Kelly's comments, citing his parliamentary testimony that while he
spoke privately to Gilligan, he did not recognise the journalist's most
damaging claims as his own.

"I believe I am not the main source," Kelly told the committee. "From the
conversation I had, I don't see how (Gilligan) could make the authoritative
statement he was making." Assuming the BBC had no secondary source who made
the report's central claims, the critics accused Gilligan of twisting
Kelly's words.

Gilligan denied that Sunday evening.

"I want to make it clear that I did not misquote or misrepresent Dr David
Kelly," Gilligan said in a statement pointing out that Kelly had been a
source for the "Newsnight" report.

"Entirely separately from my meeting with him, Dr Kelly expressed very
similar concerns about Downing Street interpretation of intelligence in the
dossier and the unreliability of the 45-minute point to "Newsnight," his
statement said.

Conservative Party lawmaker Robert Jackson, who represents Kelly's home
district, told the BBC earlier in the day that he believed Gilligan "dressed
up what was said to him by Dr Kelly." "I believe that the BBC has knowingly,
for some weeks, been standing by a story that it knew was wrong," he said.

Tory legislator Michael Fabricant defended the broadcaster, saying it had
been right not to reveal Kelly's name until now. He said there was no
evidence to suggest the BBC had misrepresented the scientist's comments.

Throughout the nasty dispute, the BBC had refused to say whether Kelly, who
was a top United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq in the 1990s, had been
the source of its story.

"Over the past few weeks we have been at pains to protect Dr Kelly being
identified as the source of these reports," the BBC statement said. "We
clearly owed him a duty of confidentiality. Following his death, we now
believe, in order to end the continuing speculation, it is important to
release this information as swiftly as possible." The statement said the BBC
had waited until Sunday to make the announcement at the Kelly family's

The BBC, one of the world's most respected news organisations, would not
comment on its reason for making a rare exception to journalists' normal
practice of refusing to name anonymous sources.

The network's statement said it would cooperate fully with the judicial
inquiry into the events leading to Kelly's suicide. It said it would provide
full details of its two reporters' contacts with the scientist, including
their notes.

"We continue to believe we were right to place Dr.Kelly's views in the
public domain," the BBC statement said. "However, the BBC is profoundly
sorry that his involvement as our source has ended so tragically."
Gilligan's report helped prompt two parliamentary probes into the
government's weapons claims, and Blair aides for weeks been demanding a
retraction and an apology.,6903,1002061,00.html

The Observer, 20th July

Documents used to bolster the United States' claims that Iraq presented a
nuclear threat were handed to the US by an Italian journalist after her
magazine decided they were too unreliable to publish, Italian newspaper
Corriere della Sera reported yesterday.

The report piled further pressure on the US authorities to explain how
crudely-forged documents relating to Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from
Niger might have been used to argue for a war.

Elisabetta Burba, a journalist at the current affairs magazine Panorama,
said she received the documents in October 2002 but concluded they did not
stand scrutiny and passed them to US diplomats in Rome.

by Randall Mikkelsen
Yahoo, 23rd July

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's number two national security aide on
Tuesday took blame for a controversy over charges Iraq tried to buy African
uranium, saying the CIA had warned him earlier that intelligence cited by
Bush was suspect.     

Stephen Hadley, deputy national security adviser, said he should have
deleted a reference to Iraqi attempts to buy African uranium from Bush's
State of the Union speech in January, because the CIA had asked him to
remove similar language from an October speech by the president.

Hadley's disclosure came amid an internal White House inquiry launched by
Chief of Staff Andy Card in an attempt to quell a controversy that has
dogged Bush for two weeks.

"I should have recalled at the time of the State of the Union speech that
there was controversy associated with the uranium issue," Hadley said in a
meeting with reporters that ran nearly 90 minutes.

"I should have either asked that the 16 words dealing with that subject be
stricken or I should have alerted DCI (Director of Central Intelligence)
Tenet. And had I done so this would have avoided the whole current

"It is now clear to me that I failed in that responsibility," Hadley said.

He said he had failed to recall the CIA objections, which were included in
two memos and a telephone conversation with Tenet in the days before Bush
outlined his case against Iraq in an Oct. 7, 2002 speech in Cincinnati.

Hadley said the CIA memos which had been sent to him were found over the
weekend. White House officials had previously said they had not been
informed of CIA doubts over the claim. Tenet last week acknowledged that his
agency had cleared the State of the Union speech and should have removed the

The White House has acknowledged that the 16-word accusation, attributed to
Britain, turned out to be have been based on forged documents and should not
have been in the State of the Union.

White House communications director Dan Bartlett said Bush retained
confidence in Hadley and the rest of his national security team.

"He (Bush) is obviously not pleased when the high standards that he expects
to be met have not, but he has the highest level of confidence in the
national security team, as well as the director of intelligence (George
Tenet)," Bartlett said.

Hadley declined to say whether he had offered Bush his resignation.

Asked whether Bush should not take personal responsibility for the speech,
Bartlett said, "He is responsible for his decisions -- the decision of going
to war. He takes responsibility for those decisions and the case that he
outlined to the public for that rationale to go to war."

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