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[casi] News, 30/7-6/8/03 (3)

News, 30/7-6/8/03 (3)


*  U.S. Official Says 'Solid Progress' on Iraq Weapons
*  Aide: Saddam Did Get Rid of Iraq WMD
*  Did David Kay Engineer WMD Evidence for Bush I -and Now Bush 2?
*  David Kelly: Model weapons inspector in Russia and then in Iraq
*  Speculation, fact hard to separate in story of Iraq's 'nuclear' tubes
*  Meet the Real WMD Fabricator A Swede Called Rolf Ekeus
*  US Tells Niger to Shut Up in Iraq Uranium Row
*  No 10 dismisses Kelly as a 'Walter Mitty'


by Tabassum Zakaria
Yahoo, 31st July

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. official who is leading the hunt for weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq on Thursday said the search was making "solid
progress" but it would take time to unwrap the hidden programs.

David Kay, a former U.N. weapons inspector, however, sidestepped questions
about whether actual banned weapons had been found.

"There is solid evidence being produced. We do not intend to expose this
evidence until we have full confidence that it is solid proof," he told
reporters after a closed-door Senate Armed Services Committee briefing.

"We are making solid progress. It is going to take time," said Kay, who
recently returned from Iraq where he was sent by the CIA as a special
adviser to develop a strategy for finding biological and chemical weapons
and evidence of a restarted nuclear weapons program.

Iraqi scientists and freshly unearthed documents have led the WMD hunting
team to new, previously unknown sites in Iraq, Kay said.

"We have Iraqi scientists who were involved in these programs who are
assisting us in taking them apart. They are collaborating and cooperating,"
he said.

The United States went to war in March saying Iraq posed an imminent threat
because it possessed weapons of mass destruction, but no such weapons have
been found since the government of Saddam Hussein was toppled in April.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, who heads the Iraq Survey Group of about
1,500 coalition experts that took over the search for banned weapons in
June, testified alongside Kay.

"Every week, it is phenomenal what we're finding, and I am much more
optimistic and confident every week that we're going to come to a very good
resolution of this in due time," Dayton told reporters afterward.

Senators emerged from the briefing with optimistic comments that evidence of
banned weapons would emerge down the road.

"I think in view of a lot of criticism, I would not be surprised if there is
a surprise that would end up changing a lot of people's minds," Sen. Pat
Roberts, a Kansas Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee,

Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services
Committee, urged patience.

"Good, solid progress is being made, but these two leaders of the team are
employing a methodology which I support entirely and that is to have each
case thoroughly documented by sound facts and information, whether it's
human information or document interpretation, before going public."

The Iraqi government had actively shielded its weapons programs and so it
was "not something that is easy to unwrap," Kay said.

"The active deception program is truly amazing once you get inside it. We
have people who participated in deceiving U.N. inspectors now telling us how
they did it," he added.

Kay and Dayton have not found actual weapons of mass destruction, or the
so-called "smoking gun," in Iraq but have uncovered documents pointing to a
program to develop such weapons, other U.S. officials said on condition of

In the Iraq Survey Group, the Australians are leading the document review,
while British military officer John Deverell serves as Dayton's deputy.

"Certainly the case is being built that, no doubt in anybody's mind, they
had a program," the defense official said. "We have good documents. We have
come across documentation of their program."


by Slobodan Lekic
Associated Press, 2nd August

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A close aide to Saddam Hussein says the Iraqi dictator did
in fact get rid of his weapons of mass destruction but deliberately kept the
world guessing about it in an effort to divide the international community
and stave off a U.S. invasion.

The strategy, which turned out to be a serious miscalculation, was designed
to make the Iraqi dictator look strong in the eyes of the Arab world, while
countries such as France and Russia were wary of joining an American-led
attack. At the same time, Saddam retained the technical know-how and brain
power to restart the programs at any time.

Both Pentagon officials and weapons experts are considering this
guessing-game theory as the search for chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons continues. If true, it would indicate there was no imminent
unconventional weapons threat from Iraq, an argument President Bush used to
go to war.

Saddam's alleged weapons bluff was detailed by an Iraqi official who
assisted Saddam for many years. The official was not part of the national
leadership but his job provided him daily contact with the dictator and
insight into the regime's decision-making process during the past decade and
in its critical final days.

The official refused to be identified, citing fear of assassination by
Saddam's paramilitaries who, he said, remain active throughout Iraq. But in
several interviews, the former aide detailed what he said were the reasons
behind Saddam's disinformation campaign - which ultimately backfired by
spurring, rather than deterring a U.S. invasion.

According to the aide, by the mid-1990s "it was common knowledge among the
leadership" that Iraq had destroyed its chemical stocks and discontinued
development of biological and nuclear weapons.

But Saddam remained convinced that an ambiguous stance about the status of
Iraq's weapons programs would deter an American attack.

"He repeatedly told me: 'These foreigners, they only respect strength, they
must be made to believe we are strong,'" the aide said.

Publicly Saddam denied having unconventional weapons. But from 1998 until
2002, he prevented U.N. inspectors from working in the country and when they
finally returned in November, 2002, they often complained that Iraq wasn't
fully cooperating.

Iraqi scientists, including those currently held by the U.S. military, have
maintained that no new unconventional weapons programs were started in
recent years and that all the materials from previous programs were

Both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have come under fire in
recent weeks as weapons hunters come up empty and prewar intelligence is

The White House acknowledged recently that it included discredited
information in Bush's State of the Union speech about alleged Iraqi attempts
to purchase uranium - a key ingredient for nuclear weapons.

More importantly, no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons have been

Before the invasion, the British government claimed Saddam could deploy
unconventional weapons within 45 minutes. The Bush administration insisted
the threat was so immediate that the world couldn't afford to wait for U.N.
inspectors to wind up their searches. Despite the warnings, Iraqi troops
never used such weapons during the war.

Intelligence officials at the Pentagon, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity, said some experts had raised the theory that Iraq put out false
information to persuade its enemies that it retained prohibited chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons programs.

"That explanation has plausibility," said Robert Einhorn a former assistant
secretary of State for nonproliferation. "But the disposition of those
missing weapons and materials still has to be explained somehow."

Iraq's claims that it destroyed stockpiles of chemical and biological
weapons materials could never be verified by U.N. inspectors who repeatedly
requested proof.

However, U.N. inspectors, who scoured Iraq for three and a half months
before the war, never find any evidence of renewed weapons programs.

"The longer that one does not find any weapons in spite of people coming
forward and being rewarded for giving information, etc., the more I think it
is important that we begin to ask ourselves if there were no weapons, why
was it that Iraq conducted itself as it did for so many years?" Hans Blix,
the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, told The Associated Press in June.

Saddam's aide suggested the brinkmanship ultimately backfired because U.S.
policy switched in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, from containing the
Iraqi leader, to going after those who could supply terrorists with deadly

He described Saddam as almost "totally ignorant" of how Western democracies
functioned and attributed his failure to grasp the impact of Sept. 11 to the
fact that he increasingly surrounded himself with yes-men and loyalists who
were not qualified to give him expert advice on economic, military or
foreign policy matters.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Associated Press reporter John Lumpkin in Washington D.C.,
contributed to this report.

by Cheryl Seal
Baltimore Indymedia, 17th July


1983-1988: Kay worked under Ronald Reagan as a chief scientist in the

1983-1992: Kay was on the staff of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), under the direction of Hans Blix. Both Reagan and Bush I sought an
excuse to invade oil-rich Iraq, and viewed 'evidence' of nukes the best
motivator for the American public. Blix, however, was a man of integrity who
could not be bought, and refused to be pressured, marking him forever as an
'enemy' of the Neocon hawks. European experts, both before and during Gulf
War I, support Blix's conclusions that Iraq does not have nuclear weaponry,
and that WMD programs, if they exist, are limited in scope.


1990-1992: His popularity in the wake of the war and the economy he has
trashed, Bush seeks to gain stature in the run up to election 1992 by
magnifying, retroactively, the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. David Kay is
named to head UNSCOM's nuke search. One of the other inspectors on UNSCOM's
teams was biological weapons expert David Kelly. Kay's job: go into Kuwait
and Iraq and produce evidence of WMDs . Kay now claims Saddam had a
'horrifyingly' huge WMD program, including nukes in the making - that he had
been, in fact, just MONTHS away from being able to launch a nuclear weapon.
The message, of course: "Reelect Bush - just think what an awful fate he
saved us all from!". Much of Kay's case relied on cutting tenuous deals with
Iraqi "scientists" of dubious credentials and CIA operatives and with
producing astoundingly (insanely, in fact) detailed documents on the alleged
weapons program that had just been left laying conveniently around (sound
familiar?). Although Kay produces a report that includes the allegations on
Saddam's nuke program, he is removed from his position with the UN for his
unethical behavior.

1995:the IAEA reveals that documents supplied to them earlier by Khirid
Hamza, who claimed to be a key scientist on Sadam's nuclear program, were
faked. It is also revealed that Hamza's claims about his own background were
grossly exaggerated.

1992-2002: Kay begins to make the lecture circuit, whipping up the case
against Saddam Hussein, keeping the "threat" alive through the Clinton years
while the GOP sets its NeoCon machinery (driven by Newt Gingrich in its
first stage) in motion.

1993-2002: Kay becomes the VP of Science Applications International
Corporation (SAIC), the same company that Stephen Hatfill, a WMD expert,
worked for until March 2002.

Fall 2001:SAIC is commissioned by the Pentagon to create a replica of a
mobile WMD "laboratory", alleged to have been used by Saddam (was there ever
such a thing - or was the "replica" created to fix an image in the mind of
the military and later the public?) . The Pentagon claims the trailer is to
be used as a training aide for teams seeking weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq....even though Afghanistan had not yet been invaded. The primary
designer/advisor of the replica? Stephen Hatfill.

Early 2002: As soon as the replica is completed, Stephen Hatfill becomes a
"person of interest" to the FBI in the anthrax case. They begin to hound his
every step -without ever bringing any charges or even declaring him a
suspect. With suspicion for such a horrendous crime thrown on him, Hatfill
is put in a position of never being able to creditably reveal any
potentially damning information on the activities of SAIC or the Pentagon to

March 4 2002:SAIC fires Hatfill as a 'liability.'

March 2002: the Bush administration awards SAIC a massive defense contract,
potentially worth at least $1 billion.

October 2002: Kay leaves SAIC and becomes a 'senior fellow' at the Potomac
Institute for Policy Research, where he is thus positioned to become an
'objective expert' for nuclear weapons for the Bush administration in its
run up to the war. In all of Kay's citations in the news and before
interviews, he is invariably referred to as "David Kay, former chief UN
weapons inspector and senior fellow at the Potomac Instsitute for Policy
Research. The SAIC connection is neatly omitted.

Sept. 2002: Khidir Hamza is brought in by the Bush administration to testify
before Congress to whom he makes a long list of allegations, including
Saddam's closeness to weapons production, his ties to Al Queda, etc. Despite
Hamza's earlier exposure as a liar, his testimony was still taken seriously
by Congress and the media, and trumpeted as some of the most compelling
cause for war.

February 2003: The Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council is created.
A disproportionate number of the "Iraqi nationals" on this council are
employees of SAIC,. including Khidir Hamza.

May 2003:Khidir Hamza is sent by the Pentagon to Iraq to head the nuclear
industry there - a nice big fat reward for 'services rendered.'

June and early July 2003: pressure on Bush to find WMD 'evidence' grows. A
statement made by Bush in his state of the Union address in October 2002
about Saddam's attempts to buy uranium from Africa is revealed as false.
George Tenet takes the blame. Meanwhile, he has hired David Kay to lead a
team of inspectors in Iraq to produce evidence of WMDs...including nukes.

And so we come full circle....back to 1992. Same game. Same players. Same


July 18: David Kelly, former member of UNSCOM who has been to Iraq 37 times
on weapons inspections and was believed to be in the process of presenting
evidence that showed that Blair doctored his "Iraq dossier," is found dead.
Anyone who seriously believes this was a "suicide" probably still believes
in the tooth fairy, too.


Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity - article details Bush I's
fabrication of evidence

Ex-CIA Officers Reveal Bush I Fabrication of Evidence

Worldnet Interview with James Gordon Prather on David Kay

David Kay Comments at Middle East Institute in 1997 when still VP of SAIC

"Kill them Before they can Kill Us" : Comments by David Kay and Paul Bremer
in Israel Forum, Dec. 2002

A Detailed, Highly researched "dossier" on David Kay

Pentagon rewards Khidir Hamza, accused author of forged nuke documents, with
position as head of post-war Iraqi nuclear industry

Example of David Kay anti-Iraq/nuke scare lecture circuit spiel
See also:

Obituary by Terence Taylor
Independent, 31st July

David Christopher Kelly, microbiologist and weapons inspector: born
Llwynypia, Glamorgan 17 May 1944; CMG 1996; married 1967 Janice Vawdrey
(three daughters); died near Longworth, Oxfordshire 18 July 2003.

David Kelly was a scientific civil servant of the highest calibre who became
the UK's leading authority in the effort to prevent the development and
proliferation of biological weapons around the world.

He had been my friend and professional colleague for over 16 years up to his
untimely death. As someone who was involved in the policy aspects of the
scientific and technological issues related to biological weapons
programmes, I looked to him as my mentor. His lucid and objective
explanations of complex matters in relation to this subject were invaluable.

Born in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales in the penultimate year of the
Second World War, the son of a schoolteacher, Kelly was educated at the
County Grammar School for Boys, Pontypridd, and had degrees in bacteriology
(BSc, Leeds) and virology (MSc, Birmingham) and iridoviruses (DPhil,
Oxford). He carried out research work at Warwick and Oxford universities -
taking his doctorate at Linacre College in 1973 with the thesis "The
Replication of Some Iridescent Viruses in Cell Cultures" - and was for a
spell a Chief Scientific Officer at the Natural Environment Research Council
working in the agricultural sphere, principally on insect viruses.

He came to defence and international security issues in mid- career when, in
1984, at the age of 40, he joined the Chemical and Biological Defence
Establishment at Porton Down in Wiltshire. There he was appointed Director
of the Microbiology Division, working on research into defensive measures
against biological weapons. This is where I met him for the first time and
found someone who was clearly enjoying his work in an environment where his
inquisitive and meticulous approach was much needed and appreciated.

One of his early tasks was to oversee his department's work in the
successful decontamination of Gruinard Island in Scotland, where the UK had
conducted tests with anthrax as a possible weapon during the Second World
War. The contaminated island, just off the coast of Wester Ross not far from
Ullapool, was a legacy of a weapons programme abandoned soon after the end
of the war.

The biological defence work at Porton Down was expanded and energised by
Kelly's leadership, scientific competence and dedicated enthusiasm. As a
result of his work, according to Graham Pearson, Director-General of the
Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment during most of Kelly's tenure,
"the UK was able to deploy a limited biological defence capability at the
time of the 1991 Gulf War" and there was a longer-term legacy in that,
thanks to his efforts, "Porton Down today has world-class facilities" for
work on defence against biological attack.

Two near-simultaneous developments were to bring to even greater prominence
Kelly's scientific and analytical talents. These were, first, the startling
revelations about the existence of a clandestine biological weapons
programme in the former Soviet Union and, second, the search for Iraq's
nuclear, biological, chemical and missile programmes in the aftermath of the
1991 Gulf War.

With regard to the former, Kelly made an immense contribution in the
scientific understanding of information passed to the UK and US governments
by defectors. This required a great deal of UK and US co-operation and
delicate negotiations on very sensitive matters between senior officials
from the policy and intelligence worlds. Here, as a Ministry of Defence
official involved in the policy aspects of this issue, I was able to witness
and benefit from David Kelly's astute understanding of international and
inter-departmental interactions at the interface between science, technology
and high-level policy matters.

The former Soviet Union, with the UK and the US, subscribed to the 1972
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (a ban on the research, development
and possession of these weapons), which made the revelations of this hidden
programme of one of the three "guardians" of the treaty all the more
egregious. It was more than two years later before the, by then, Russian
government admitted to the existence of the illegal programme and in April
1992 declared it to have ended. Given the enormous scale and scope of the
programme, involving thousands of scientists, many civilian and military
facilities and a wide range of biological agents (including anthrax and
smallpox) and delivery means ranging from field artillery to
intercontinental ballistic missiles, the UK and US governments demanded more
information and clarifications to be confident that the massive programme
had truly been dismantled.

Interventions by the then US President George Bush and the British prime
minister Margaret Thatcher, first with Mikhail Gorbachev and later with his
successor Boris Yeltsin, resulted in a trilateral agreement between Russia,
the US and UK being signed in September 1992 under which visits were to be
made to civilian and military biotechnological facilities suspected of being
involved in a biological weapons programme. David Kelly played a leading
role in the Anglo-American teams that visited a range of civilian facilities
in Russia.

This was a challenging task that demanded the absorption and understanding
of massive amounts of information and investigations of equipment and
questioning of Russian personnel, none of whom admitted to working on
biological weapons. As a fellow participant, I recall Kelly's patient and
persistent questioning that wrong-footed the other side. This effort, along
with his subsequent analytical work of the information gained, made a major
contribution to confirming the veracity of the information gleaned from the
defectors. Unfortunately, this work remains incomplete, since in 1994 the
Russian side balked at allowing visits to military facilities.

Playing a leading role in the investigation of the biological weapons
programme in Russia was a forbidding enough task for anyone but by 1991
Kelly was the natural choice for the UK to play a leading role in the UN
inspections in Iraq arising from the ceasefire arrangements under UN
Security Council Resolution 687. In the first of their obligatory "Full,
Final and Complete Declarations" of the prohibited programmes in 1991, the
Iraqis said that they had no biological weapons programme.

In the face of continuing denials and an elaborate concealment plan, Kelly
was the key person to keep the investigative effort going during the first
three years when the UN Special Commission (Unscom) was unable to uncover
convincing evidence of a biological weapons programme. When I was appointed
one of the Commissioners in 1993, I found among my colleagues serious doubts
that such a programme existed at all or, if it did, perhaps it was simply a
limited research effort.

However, encouraged by Kelly's dogged determination and analysis, the
Executive Chairman of Unscom, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, reinforced the
biological team. The intensified work finally brought results, and hard
evidence of an offensive biological weapons programme was brought to light,
forcing the Iraqis on 1 July 1995 to admit to its existence.

As a fellow Chief Inspector with David Kelly I, like others, benefited
enormously from his scientific and technical skills that he willingly
shared. He was no prima donna - he was above all a team player with a fine
sense of loyalty to his colleagues and to the mission. For me he was a model
of a Chief Inspector, on top of the technical aspects of the task, incisive
in his interrogation technique and, above all, cool under pressure.

Sadly, as in Russia, Kelly's work on the Iraqi programme was to remain
incomplete. Despite the forced admissions and some additional information as
a result of the defection of the Iraqi General Hussein Kamal Hassan in
August 1995, the Iraqis continued to conceal substantial information on the
biological and other prohibited weapons programmes. By 1998 the Iraqis had
ceased any effective co-operation with Unscom and that resulted in the
withdrawal of the inspectors by the end of that year.

Kelly was now employed as the adviser on biological defence matters to the
Ministry of Defence's Proliferation and Arms Control Secretariat; the
demands of his work on the Iraqi and former Soviet weapons programmes were
too great for him to retain his position at Porton Down. His expertise was
also drawn upon for other work in international arms control negotiations.
In recognition of his important contribution in the international sphere, in
1996, when deputy chief scientific adviser to the MoD, he was accorded the
unusual distinction for a scientific civil servant of appointment as CMG.
While he was not the kind of person to seek out such honours, he was
immensely and justly proud of this recognition of his work.

In November 2002, when the new UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission (Unmovic) was sent to Iraq, Kelly, in common with other former
Unscom Chief Inspectors, was not included in this new mission. However, he
played an important role in the training of the new inspection teams and in
advising the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as
the events unfolded leading to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. In my
discussions with him, it was clear that he believed that the Iraqis
continued to conceal important elements of a biological weapons programme
and that the Unmovic inspection process was unlikely to uncover much new
information within a few months or even longer.

On 18 July Kelly apparently committed suicide after being named as a source
for BBC reports over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,
and appearing, three days before he died, before the House of Commons
Foreign Affairs Select Committee investigating whether the Government gave
accurate information to Parliament and the public in the run up to the 2003
Gulf War.

No doubt the inquiries in progress will reveal more about his final days. To
someone who has known him for many years, seen him in a number of stressful
situations and witnessed his capacity for a high volume of work, the tragic
circumstances of his death are beyond comprehension. It is most important
that the extraordinary public attention and political fallout arising from
the events of the past month do not mask the extraordinary achievements of a
scientist who loyally served not only his government but also the
international community at large.

But David Kelly never sought the limelight and I salute his professionalism,
his humility and his warm loyalty as a true friend. For his wife and three
daughters the loss of a husband and father in such circumstances is

by Bill Nichols and John Diamond
USA Today, 2nd August

WASHINGTON: President Bush has been under heavy criticism for 16 disputed
words in his State of the Union address about Iraq's attempts to buy uranium
in Africa. Far less attention has been paid to the next 20 words he said
that night - the administration's other prime piece of evidence alleging
that Saddam Hussein was trying to build a nuclear bomb.

"Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase
high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production," Bush
told the nation.

Bush's assertion sounded straightforward. In fact, though, it glossed over
serious internal disagreements about what the tubes were for and may have
been as shaky as the uranium from-Africa charge. Interviews with
administration officials, weapons experts, critics of the administration and
members of Congress reveal deep doubts about the claims and emphasize the
ambiguity of even the best intelligence information.

Behind the scenes, U.S. intelligence professionals disagreed strongly about
why Iraq wanted the tubes. It's not unusual for intelligence experts to
argue about complicated topics. But in the case of Iraq, where the evidence
was ambiguous and experts were divided, the White House consistently
downplayed the uncertainty and backed the interpretation most likely to
support the case for war. And at crucial moments, such as the president's
nationally televised speech to Congress on Jan. 28, the White House
presented hotly disputed assertions as if they were indisputable fact.

Since the fall of Saddam's regime, no new evidence has emerged to support
the conclusion that the aluminum tubes were destined for the manufacture of
nuclear weapons. If the allegation about the tubes falls through, two key
pillars of the administration's claim that Iraq was aggressively pursuing
nuclear weapons will have been undercut.

"In speech after speech, TV appearance after TV appearance, the most senior
administration officials left the impression with the American people that
Iraq was on the verge of reconstituting nuclear weapons," Sen. Joseph Biden,
D-Del., said Thursday at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "The truth
is that there was an ongoing debate within our intelligence community about
each of these allegations."


Administration officials point out that a week after Bush's speech, in a
presentation to the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State
Colin Powell acknowledged "controversy" and "differences of opinion" about
the tubes. The administration continues to support its tubes claim, and even
critics acknowledge that there is no definitive evidence on the issue. White
House Communications Director Dan Bartlett told reporters last week that
"there was a very open discussion about that. It is an assessment which (CIA
Director George Tenet) and the CIA stand by to this day."

The tubes in question were intercepted in Jordan in 2001 on their way to
Iraq. The shipment, which originated in China and contained about 60,000
tubes, was intercepted by a means that U.S. intelligence officials have
declined to identify. Iraq kept trying to get tubes; at least one more
shipment was blocked in 2002.

The CIA argued, in an October 2002 intelligence paper on Iraq, that the
tubes were destined to become part of a uranium-enrichment plant, a key tool
for making high-grade material for nuclear bombs.

But British intelligence questioned whether the tubes were intended for a
nuclear use. And experts at the Department of Energy, which oversees uranium
enrichment and nuclear bomb production in the United States, said the tubes
were too long and too thick for such use. State Department intelligence
officials backed up that analysis and concluded the tubes were the right
size and shape for conventional battlefield rockets.

Iraqi officials, in public statements and interviews with U.N. weapons
inspectors, insisted the tubes were meant for use in rockets. Iraq had
imported similar tubes earlier to make rockets, and some of the new tubes
even bore an inscription that included the word "rocket."

Those concerns were delivered to the White House by the CIA in classified
reports four months before the State of the Union address. Yet Bush made no
mention of the concerns or of the doubts that British intelligence had about
the tubes. In the case of the uranium charge, Bush directly cited British
intelligence as the source.

For the most part, the divisions within the Bush administration about the
intelligence on Iraq's weapons remained secret until after the war.
Confronted with differences of opinion, as in the case of the tubes, the
administration repeatedly adopted the interpretation that advanced the case
for war. Other examples:

 British intelligence said Iraq sought uranium in Africa. The CIA
repeatedly raised doubts about that charge. Bush sided with the British,
though the White House later said that was a mistake.

 The CIA concluded that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles
primarily for use in delivering chemical and biological weapons. But
recently declassified CIA documents show that the Air Force's intelligence
chief, Maj. Gen. Ronald Sams, disagreed. He said the small size of Iraq's
fleet of such aircraft "strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance."
The White House sided with the CIA position.


Iraq's efforts to buy aluminum tubes came to light on Sept. 8, 2002, four
days before Bush delivered a much-anticipated speech on Iraq to the U.N.
General Assembly. A front-page story in The New York Times disclosed the
administration's suspicion that shipments of aluminum tubes intercepted
earlier that year and in 2001 were intended for use in uranium enrichment.

Enrichment is a large-scale industrial process that involves the
introduction of a gaseous form of uranium into a fast-spinning metal drum.
The idea is to separate bomb-grade uranium, known as U-235, from a far more
abundant kind, U-238.

The newspaper article appeared the same day Vice President Cheney and
national security adviser Condoleezza Rice spoke on Sunday talk shows.

"We do know with absolute certainty that (Saddam) is using his procurement
system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build
a nuclear weapon," Cheney said on NBC's Meet The Press.

The tubes "are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge
programs," Rice said on CNN's Late Edition. Rice sticks to that claim today.
She says the key judgment that the tubes were for uranium enrichment was
made not at the White House but at the CIA.

In Powell's presentation to the Security Council on Feb. 5, he acknowledged
disagreements about the intended use of the tubes but said "most U.S.
experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to
enrich uranium."

A former U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
says Powell made that statement after having been warned on two occasions by
the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research that the tubes were
more likely to be used in rockets. The former official helped prepare the
briefings for Powell.

The doubts Powell mentioned to the U.N. had actually coalesced months
earlier in a CIA coordinated intelligence overview, which was given in
classified form to high-level administration officials in October. The
public, however, got only a partial window into the document's findings.

A summary of the overview released in October said: "All intelligence
experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes
could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence
specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these
tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs."

A classified version of the intelligence estimate released to the public
last month offers a fuller account. The main text says the Energy Department
"agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses
that the tubes probably are not part of the program." A lengthy footnote
notes that Energy Department technical experts concluded "that the tubes
Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for use in gas centrifuges to be
used for uranium enrichment."

State Department intelligence specialists concurred and added reasons of
their own: The large numbers of tubes that Iraq tried to buy, the way Iraq
planned to test them, and an "atypical lack of attention to operational
security" in the way Iraq went about trying to buy them all indicated an
intended use far less sensitive than nuclear arms production.


The tubes confiscated in Jordan were about 1 meter long and 81 millimeters
in diameter (about 39 inches by 3 inches). They closely match the
specifications for a conventional rocket on the international market for
more than two decades. Iraq imported the same type of tube in the 1980s.

The CIA's opinion was heavily influenced by an investigation conducted by
the U.S. Army National Ground Intelligence Center. This organization
concluded that the engineering tolerances on the tubes in the 2001 shipment
were so tight as to rule out any use other than centrifuges. The tolerances
demanded by the Iraqis on these tubes exceeded the Pentagon's strict
requirements for Army multiple-launch rocket systems.

The Energy and State departments argued a different case, an opinion
supported by many private experts. In a March 10 paper on the topic, former
U.N. nuclear inspector David Albright said that although the tubes could be
modified for use in a centrifuge, their thickness and diameter would make
that very difficult.

Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security in
Washington, wrote that "the vast majority of gas centrifuge experts in this
country and abroad who are knowledgeable reject the CIA's case and do not
believe the tubes are specifically designed for gas centrifuges."

On March 8  11 days before the war in Iraq started  Mohamed ElBaradei,
director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Security
Council that investigators had found no evidence that Iraq intended to use
the tubes for any project other than rockets.

To this day, the impasse over the tubes continues. "We know the
administration's best technical experts concluded that the tubes were
'poorly suited' for nuclear weapons production," says Rep. Henry Waxman,
D-Calif., a leading administration critic. "I don't understand why the
president ignored their expertise and objections."

by Alexander Cockburn
Counterpunch, 2nd August

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

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.

Arab News (Saudi Arabia), 4th August

LONDON/WASHINGTON, 4 August 2003  The United States has warned Niger to
keep out of a row over disputed claims that Iraq sought to buy uranium from
the west African state, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Quoting senior Niger government officials, the British newspaper said Herman
Cohen, a former US assistant secretary of state for Africa, called on
Mamadou Tandja, Niger's president, in the capital Niamey last week to relay
the message from Washington.

One official told the Telegraph: "Let's say Mr. Cohen put a friendly arm
around the president... but then squeezed his shoulder hard enough to convey
the message, 'Let's hear no more about this affair from your government'.
Basically he was telling Niger to shut up."

The American intervention reflects growing concern about the continuing row
over claims that the US and Britain distorted evidence to justify the war
against Iraq launched in March, according to the right-wing British weekly.

The Telegraph recalled that Hama Hamadou, Niger's prime minister, last week
told it that the Niger government had never had discussions with Iraq about
uranium, and called on British Prime Minister Tony Blair to produce the
"evidence" he claims to have to confirm that Iraq sought uranium from Niger.

US officials denied that there had been any attempt to "gag" the Niger
government, the Telegraph said. But the Niger official said that
Washington's warning was likely to be heeded.

"Mr. Cohen did not spell it out but everybody in Niger knows what the
consequences of upsetting America or Britain would be. We are the world's
second-poorest country and we depend on international aid to survive."

On a visit to Washington last month, Blair maintained the accuracy of
British intelligence on Iraq's alleged purchase of nuclear material from
Niger, saying "we know for sure" that it bought 270 tons of the material
from the African country in the 1980s.

Iraq's attempt to procure nuclear material from Niger has become the focus
of a political furor in both the US and Britain after the Central
Intelligence Agency publicly acknowledged the allegation should never have
been in US President George W. Bush's State of the Union address in January.

That link was cited as one justification for the US-British invasion of

Cohen's intervention in Niger suggested that Washington was keen to draw a
line under the "uranium from Africa" affair, the Telegraph said, but added
it had also learned that senior US soldiers were in Iraq last week to
investigate movements of Niger's uranium.


by Paul Waugh, Deputy Political Editor
The Independent, 4th August

Downing Street will seek to defend itself over the death of David Kelly by
portraying the scientist as a Walter Mitty character who exaggerated his
role in the Government's intelligence case against Iraq.

Coming shortly before Dr Kelly's funeral on Wednesday, the description of
one of Britain's most respected weapons experts as a fantasist is certain to
spark fury among friends and former colleagues.

But, in what appears to be a change of tactics by the Government, a senior
Whitehall source told The Independent that Dr Kelly had misled the Ministry
of Defence and the BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan over claims that a dossier
used to justify war against Saddam Hussein had been "sexed up".

According to the insider, Dr Kelly told Mr Gilligan more than he knew and
then failed to tell his employers the whole truth of his contacts with
journalists. "This guy was a Walter Mitty," he said.

Once his name became public and he was questioned by MPs over the affair, Dr
Kelly became worried about his statements to the BBC, the insider said.

A reason for his suicide was the decision by the Foreign Affairs Select
Committee to recall Mr Gilligan to comment on his own evidence, the source
added. Dr Kelly went missing at about the time the journalist gave evidence.
His body was found a day later near his Oxfordshire home.

The Downing Street version of events is sure to be seized on by the BBC as
an admission that Dr Kelly had indeed given Mr Gilligan good reason to make
his claims about "sexing up" intelligence.

But the scientist's family and friends are sure to be appalled at the Walter
Mitty description of a man who was nominated for the Nobel prize and who was
about to join the US-led Iraq survey group's hunt for weapons in Baghdad.

MoD sources have also revealed that Dr Kelly was being investigated for his
contacts with journalists long before the dispute over Mr Gilligan's
broadcast began. Downing Street will also seek to persuade the Hutton
inquiry, which begins its formal hearings next week, that it and the MoD had
been forced to publicise Dr Kelly's name by a parliamentary committee.

With Tony Blair, Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, and Alastair Campbell,
Downing Street's director of communications, all due to give evidence, the
stakes could not be higher for the Government. But a main plank of its
defence will be that the Intelligence and Security Cabinet Committee (ISC),
which is holding its own inquiry into the intelligence case on Iraq, left it
with no option but to confirm Dr Kelly's identity.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary at the MoD, and Sir David Omand,
No 10's head of intelligence and security, approached the committee's
chairwoman, Ann Taylor, on 8 July to suggest she might want to call Dr Kelly
as a witness.

But Ms Taylor is understood to have told them that while the committee would
be willing to question the scientist, it could not act "blind". The MoD
would first have to issue a public statement that an unnamed official had
approached his line manager and was claiming to be the potential source for
Mr Gilligan's report. The committee was worried that it might be accused of
a cover-up if Dr Kelly's approach was to be made public late.

After the ISC's response, Mr Hoon and Sir Kevin decided on the infamous
"confirmation strategy", in which the MoD would issue a statement saying
that an employee had come forward and given clues to Dr Kelly's identity. By
the next day, it had confirmed his name to journalists.

Since Downing Street also issued its own clues about the identity of the
official, a crucial part of Lord Hutton's inquiry will be to discover
exactly who authorised such statements.

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