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Re: [casi] "A Swede Called Rolf Ekeus"

It is good to see that gradually there is greater reflection about
what we have done to Iraq and its people.

On 4 Aug 2003 at 8:44, ppg wrote:

> Meet the Real WMD Fabricator
> A Swede Called Rolf Ekeus
> August 2, 2003
> Week after week Bush and his people have been getting pounded by newly
> emboldened Democrats and liberal pundits for having exaggerated the
> threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his still-elusive weapons of mass
> destruction. One day CIA director George Tenet, is hung out to dry;
> the next it's the turn of Paul Wolfowitz's platoon of mad Straussians.
> The other side of the Atlantic, the same sort of thing has been
> happening to Tony Blair.
> They deserve the pounding, but if we're to be fair there's an even
> more deserving target, a man of impeccable liberal credentials, well
> respected in the sort of confabs attended by New Labor and espousers
> of the Third Way. I give you Rolf Ekeus, former Swedish ambassador to
> the United States and, before that, the executive chairman of the
> United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraq from 1991 to 1997.
> These days he's chairman of the Stockholm International Peace Research
> Institute, a noted dovecote of the olive branch set.
> In the wake of the first Iraq war it was UNSCOM chief Ekeus, exuding
> disinterested integrity as only a Swede can, who insisted that Saddam
> Hussein was surely pressing forward with the manufacture of weapons of
> mass destruction. It was Ekeus who played a pivotal role in justifying
> the continued imposition of sanctions, on the grounds that these
> sanctions were essential as a means of applying pressure to the tyrant
> in Baghdad.
> In 1996 Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General, and a leading critic
> of the indiscriminate cruelty of these sanctions, wrote an open letter
> to Ekeus beginning thus: "Dear Mr. Ekeus, How many children are you
> willing to let die while you search for 'items' you 'are convinced
> still exist in' Iraq? Every two months for the past half year, and on
> earlier occasions, you or your office have made some statement several
> weeks before the Security Council considers sanctions against Iraq
> which you know will be used to cause their continuation This cruel and
> endless hoax of new disclosures every two months must stop. The direct
> consequence of your statements which are used to justify continuation
> of the sanctions against Iraq is the deaths of hundreds of thousands
> of innocent and helpless infants, children and elderly and chronically
> ill human beings."
> Despite many such furious denunciations, till the day he handed over
> his job as UNSCOM chief to the more obviously suspect and disheveled
> Australian, Richard Butler, Ekeus continued in the manner stigmatized
> by Clark and others. US ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright
> notoriously said to Lesley Stahl of CBS, of the lethal sanctions which
> killed over half a million Iraqi children, "we think the price is
> worth it", but Ekeus was the one who furnished the UN's diplomatic
> cover for that repulsive calculus.
> It's fortunate for Ekeus's reputation among the genteel liberal crowd
> that public awareness of what he really knew about Saddam's chemical,
> biological and nuclear weapons is still slight. In fact Ekeus was
> perfectly well aware from the mid-l990s on that Saddam Ussein had no
> such weapons of mass destruction. They had all been destroyed years
> earlier, after the first Gulf war.
> Ekeus learned this on the night of August 22, l995, in Amman, from the
> lips of General Hussein Kamel, who had just defected from Iraq, along
> with some of his senior military aides. Kamel was Saddam's son-in-law
> and had been in overall charge of all programs for chemical,
> biological and nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
> That night, in three hours of detailed questioning from Ekeus and two
> technical experts, Kamel was categorical. The UN inspection teams had
> done a good job. When Saddam was finally persuaded that failure to
> dispose of the relevant weapons systems would have very serious
> consequences, he issued the order and Kamel carried it out. As he told
> Ekeus that night, "All weapons, biological, chemical, missile,
> nuclear, were destroyed." (The UNSCOM record of the session can be
> viewed at In similar
> debriefings that August Kamel said the same thing to teams from the
> CIA and MI6. His military aides provided a wealth of corroborative
> details. Then, the following year, Kamel was lured back to Iraq and at
> once executed.
> Did Ekeus immediately proclaim victory, and suggest that sanctions
> could be abated? As we have seen, he did not. In fact he urged that
> they be intensified. The years rolled by and Iraqi children by the
> thousand wasted and died. The war party thumped the drum over Saddam's
> WMDs, and Kamel's debriefings stayed under lock and key. Finally, John
> Barry of Newsweek unearthed details of those sessions in Amman and in
> February on this year Newsweek ran his story, though not with the play
> it deserved. I gather that when Barry confronted Ekeus with details of
> the suppressed briefing, Ekeus was stricken. Barry's sensational
> disclosure was mostly ignored.
> And Ekeus's rationale for suppressing the disclosures of Kamel and his
> aides? He claims that the plan was to bluff Saddam and his scientists
> into further disclosures. Try to figure that out.
> For playing the game, the way the US desired it to be played, Ekeus
> got his rewards: a pleasing welcome in Washington when he arrived
> there as Swedish ambassador, respectful audiences along the world's
> diplomatic circuits. To this day he zealously burnishes his
> "credibility" with long, tendentious articles arguing that Bush and
> Blair had it right. He betrays no sign of being troubled by his
> horrible role. He will never be forced to squirm in hearings by
> Democratic senators suddenly as brave as lions. He won't have to wade
> through raw sewage to enter the main hospital in Baghdad and watch
> children die or ride in a Humvee and wait for someone to drop a hand
> grenade off a bridge and blow his head off.
> Today he grazes peacefully in the tranquil pastures of the Stockholm
> Peace Research Institute. But if we're going to heap recriminations on
> Bush and Blair and the propagandists who fashioned their lies, don't
> forget Ekeus. He played a worse role than most of them, under the blue
> flag of the UN.
> Alexander Cockburn
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Mark Parkinson

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