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[casi] News, 20-27/8/03 (2)

News, 20-27/8/03 (2)


*  Reuters Cameraman Killed For Filming U.S. Graves, Brother Says
*  Reuters cameraman, killed in Iraq, buried in Hebron
*  Iraq was not a terrorist threat, but America has turned it into one
*  US serviceman killed in Iraq    
*  Who Are The Extremists?
*  3 British Troops Killed in Iraq Attack
*  'Over 400 Iraqi women kidnapped, raped in postwar chaos'
*  U.S. Troops Arrest Gang Members in Iraq


*  UK officials wanted to gag expert on Iraq dossier    
*  Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'
*  Australian case for Iraq war was 'fabricated'
*  How weak '45 minutes' claim became rock-solid case for war
*  Experts Doubt U.S. Claim on Iraqi Drones
*  A Weapons Cache We'll Never See



by Awad al-Ragoub, IOL Correspondent, 19th August

AL-KHALIL, West Bank, August 19  - The brother of Reuters cameraman Mazen
Dana said he was deliberately murdered for discovering mass graves of U.S.
troops killed in Iraqi resistance attacks.

"The U.S. troops killed my brother in cold blood," Nazmi Dana told in exclusive statements.

"The U.S. occupation troops shot dead my brother on purpose, although he was
wearing his press badge, which was also emblazoned on the car he was
driving," he said.

He also recalled that his brother had obtained a prior permit from the U.S.
occupation authorities in Iraq to film in the site.

On Sunday, August 17, U.S. troops shot dead the award- winning Reuters
cameraman while he was filming near the U.S.-run Abu Gharib prison in

His last pictures show a U.S. tank driving toward him outside the prison
walls, several shots ring out from the tank and the camera falls to the

Mass Grave

"Mazen told me by phone few days before his death that he discovered a mass
grave dug by U.S. troops to conceal the bodies of their fellow comrades
killed in Iraqi resistance attacks," Nazmi said.

"He also told me that he found U.S. troops covered in plastic bags in remote
desert areas and he filmed them for a TV program. We are pretty sure that
the American forces had killed Mazen knowingly to prevent him from airing
his finding."

Nazmi said that the U.S. occupation troops were slowing down the transfer of
his brother's body to his hometown city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) in the West

"At the very beginning, the Americans refused to transfer his body outside
Iraq. After Reuters intervened they offered to allow us to take the body to
Jordan by road but we refused because of the state of insecurity in Iraq,"
he said.

"Thanks to Reuters international and diplomatic contacts, the U.S. troops
reluctantly agreed to transfer the body on an army plane to Kuwait. From
there, the body will be flown to Jordan and finally Palestine to be laid to
rest," added the grieved brother.

Last Mission

Mazen's wife, Umm Hamza, did not rule out that the U.S. troops targeted her
husband personally, noting they had agreed to give him a permit to film Abu
Gharib prison and then he was directly shot dead by two U.S. tanks.

Resolved as she was, Umm Hamza said the death of her husband came as a
bombshell, especially that she expected him to be killed while covering the
developments in Palestine for his bravery and rare heroism.

"Filming Abu Gharib was his last mission; he was scheduled to leave Baghdad
after getting the job done.

"I lost the dearest man to my heart, he was caring and was loved by all his
friends and relatives," she lamented.

Settlers' Enemy

Palestinian journalists hold a mock funeral for Mazen

Mazen's camera was the Israeli settlers' archenemy, given that he exposed
to the entire world their terrorism against the Palestinians and their
wildcat outposts sprawling in four Al-Khalil posts.

His death cast a pall of sadness over the Palestinian territories and
reporters, who mourned him as "a matchless colleague."

All international and local news agencies sent cables of condolences to his
family, lauding his patriotism and determination to uncover the truth
wherever it was.

The Palestinian information ministry and press syndicate issued two separate
statements, condemning the attack on Mazen and the continued targeting of

The two statements demanded the U.S. to show some respect for human beings,
particularly reporters, pointing out that Mazen was a distinguished
journalist who did his best to serve his country and cause.

The ministry further urged all Arab and international press unions "to open
a probe into this crime and expose to the entire world the murderers who
have blood on their hands and put them on trial."

Colleagues Mourn

Furthermore, dozens of Palestinian journalists protested on Tuesday morning
in Al-Khalil at the killing of Mazen.

The marchers put on a peaceful demonstration from the House of the
Palestinian Press established by the deceased and other journalists.

In Bethlehem, journalists also held a mock funeral for Mazen, denouncing the
U.S. occupation of Iraq and displaying placards condemning his

A U.S. military inquiry has recently exonerated an American tank crew for
firing on a Baghdad hotel housing journalists, killing two foreign reporters
and wounded three others.

Jordan Times, 21st August
HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters)  Mazen Dana, the Reuters cameraman killed by US
troops in Iraq, was buried on Wednesday in the West Bank city where he
braved bullets to chronicle the tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

About 3,000 mourners, some chanting "Americans are dogs," accompanied Dana's
body through his hometown of Hebron in a procession reminiscent of final
honours accorded to Palestinians killed by Israel in an uprising for

Dana, a 41-year-old Palestinian, was best known for award-winning reporting
from Hebron, a main flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where he
had been wounded and beaten numerous times by Israeli soldiers.

On Sunday, while on assignment in Iraq, he was shot dead by a US soldier on
a tank while filming near a Baghdad prison.

Reuters has called on the US army to investigate how, by the official US
account, a soldier mistook Dana's television camera for a grenade launcher.
A US spokesman in Baghdad called the killing a "terrible tragedy."

Dana was the second Reuters journalist to be killed in Baghdad in four
months. A US tank fired a shell at the Palestine Hotel, base for many
foreign media, killing Taras Protsyuk, a 35-year-old Ukrainian cameraman who
wasfilming the arrival of US troops in the city centre. Dana's death brought
to 18 the number of journalists or their assistants to die in Iraq since the
war began.

He leaves a wife, Suzanne, and four young children.

Colleagues from Europe, Israel, Africa and the West Bank attended his
funeral in Hebron, which was tense after a Palestinian suicide bomber from
the city killed 18 people in an attack on a Jerusalem bus on Tuesday night.

Israeli forces reimposed a total military blockade on Hebron and other West
Bank cities, which prevented some of Dana's Palestinian colleagues from
paying their last respects.

Dana was remembered as a physically towering figure who never shrank from
covering a dangerous story. Hebron, where 500 hardline Jewish settlers live
in enclaves among the city's 150,000 Palestinians, has been a scene of
frequent violence.

"Mazen was simply the best combat cameraman of his generation," said Stephen
Jukes, Reuters' global head of news, who travelled to Hebron with a
delegation of senior editors. "His bravery was legendary, his commitment

by Jessica Stern
The Scotsman, 21st August (I think the article was originally in the NYTimes
and IHT)

THE bombing on Tuesday of the UN headquarters in Baghdad was the latest
evidence that America has taken a country that was not a terrorist threat
and turned it into one.

Of course, we should be glad that the Iraq war was swifter than even its
proponents had expected, and that a vicious tyrant was removed from power.
But the aftermath has been another story. America has created - not through
malevolence but through negligence - precisely the situation the Bush
administration has described as a breeding ground for terrorists: a state
unable to control its borders or provide for its citizens' rudimentary

As the administration made clear in its national security strategy released
last September, weak states are as threatening to American security as
strong ones. Yet its inability to get basic services and legitimate
governments up and running in post-war Afghanistan and Iraq - and its
pursuant reluctance to see a connection between those failures and
escalating anti American violence - leave one wondering if it read its own

For example, the US commander in Iraq, General John Abizaid, has described
the almost daily attacks on his troops as guerrilla campaigns carried out by
Baathist remnants with little public support. Yet an increasing number of
Iraqis disagree: they believe that the attacks are being carried out by
organised forces - motivated by nationalism, Islam and revenge - that feed
off public unhappiness.

According to a survey this month by the Iraq Centre for Research and
Strategic Studies, nearly half of the Iraqis polled attribute the violence
to provocation by US forces or resistance to the occupation (even more
worrisome, the Arabic word for "resistance" used in the poll implies a
certain amount of sympathy for the perpetrators). In the towns of Ramadi and
Falluja, where many of the recent attacks have taken place, nearly 90 per
cent of respondents attributed the attacks to these causes.

Why would ordinary Iraqis not rush to condemn violence against the soldiers
who liberated them from Saddam Hussein? Mustapha Alani, an Iraqi scholar
with the Royal United Services Institute in London, gave me a possible
explanation. Even in the darkest days of the Iran-Iraq war, most Iraqis
(other than Kurds and Marsh Arabs) did not have to worry about personal
security. They could not speak their minds, but they could count on
electricity, water and telephone service for at least part of the day.

Today, they fear being attacked in their bedrooms; power, water and
telephones are routinely unavailable. As Alani put it, Iraqis today are not
so much concerned about democracy - they just want assurance that their
daughters won't be raped or their sons kidnapped en route to the grocery

As bad as the situation inside Iraq may be, the effect that the war has had
on terrorist recruitment around the globe may be even more worrisome. Even
before the coalition troops invaded, a senior US counter-terrorism official
told reporters that "an American invasion of Iraq is already being used as a
recruitment tool by al-Qaeda and other groups". Intelligence officials in
the United States, Europe and Africa say that the recruits they are seeing
now are younger than in the past. The occupation has given disparate groups
from various countries a common battlefield on which to fight a common
enemy. Hamid Mir, a biographer of Osama bin Laden, has been travelling in
Iraq and told me that Hezbollah has greatly stepped up its activities not
only in Shiite regions but also in Baghdad.

While there is no single root cause of terrorism, my interviews with
terrorists over the past five years suggest that alienation, perceived
humiliation and lack of political and economic opportunities make young men
susceptible to extremism. After some time on the job, it is hard for them to
imagine another life. Several described jihad to me as being "addictive".

Thus the best way to fight them is to ensure that they are rejected by the
broader population. America's task will be to restore public safety in Iraq
and put in place effective governing institutions that are run by Iraqis. It
would also help if we involved more troops from other countries, to make
clear that the war wasn't an American plot to steal Iraq's oil and denigrate
Islam, as the extremists argue.

The goal of creating a better Iraq is a noble one, but a first step will be
making sure that ordinary Iraqis find America's ideals and assistance more
appealing than al-Qaeda's.

Jessica Stern is the author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious
Militants Kill.

By Andrew Gray
Financial Times, 22nd August

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. serviceman on duty with a Marine unit has been
shot dead south of Baghdad, the U.S. military says, as the U.N. prepared to
fly out more staff in the wake of this week's truck bombing attack.

A gunman shot the serviceman on Thursday after approaching his vehicle,
which had been caught up in traffic in the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles)
south of Baghdad, the military said in a statement. The attacker escaped
into a crowded market.


The death of the serviceman in Hilla -- whose name and unit were not
released by officials -- brings to 64 the number of U.S. military personnel
killed by hostile action since President George W. Bush declared major
combat over on May 1.

The military said another U.S. soldier was killed and six were wounded in a
fire at a small arms range in Baghdad on Thursday. There was no information
on the cause of the blaze.

Six U.S. soldiers were wounded on Friday morning when their vehicle ran over
a homemade landmine near Baiji, north of Baghdad, the U.S. 4th Infantry
Division said. "One of them is still in a critical condition," Major Josslyn
Aberle said.

Residents in Ramadi, a hotbed of anti-American violence some 100 km (60
miles) west of Baghdad, said a rocket-propelled grenade struck a U.S.
military vehicle on Friday. There was no immediate word from the military on
any casualties.

The United States blames Saddam loyalists for much of the violence against
its troops and is hunting the ousted president and his henchmen. It
announced the capture of Saddam's feared cousin and aide "Chemical Ali"
Hassan al-Majid on Thursday.

Majid was number five on a U.S. list of 55 most-wanted Iraqi fugitives. He
got his nickname for using poison gas against Iraq's Kurdish population in
the late 1980s.

Jordan Times, 22nd August
BASRA (AFP)  Up to 100 British police officers could be working alongside
and helping train Iraq's new police force by the end of the year if the
situation in the south stabilises, a coalition official said Thursday.

"The only thing that would stop it is if there are more British casualties,"
said Stephen White, who arrived this week in the city of Basra to advise the
US-led coalition that now runs Iraq on policing in the southern region.

"It's no worse (in southern Iraq) than the situation I have in my patch in
Northern Ireland," said White, who has spent most of his career as a police
officer in the British province.

White's beat there covered the South Armagh area, where he said security
forces faced frequent mortar bomb attacks, booby traps and improvised
explosive device attacks carried out by groups seeking an end to British
rule and a united Ireland.

Such attacks are frequently carried out against coalition forces in
post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, particularly in Baghdad and areas just north of
the capital.

The British forces that control Basra and the south do get attacked, and
have lost seven officers since the war was declared effectively over on May
1. But they face much less hostility than their US counterparts further

"I'm now arranging for these officers (who will come to Iraq) to have
training in small arms," White told AFP.

The British police, with the exception of officers in Northern Ireland, are

The dreaded and massively corrupt Iraqi police force was disbanded after
Saddam was ousted, and a new force is being set up.

The coalition is keen to hand over some security matters to the Iraqis, but
the new force lacks proper training and equipment and many of its members
have little or no concept of the role of the police in society.

White, who said he was also keen to set up a new police academy in southern
Iraq, said the current situation in Iraq was similar in some ways to
Northern Ireland.

There, he noted, policing matters are also handled by both police and the

White has advised police forces and lectured on policing issues across the
world, from South Africa to Mongolia to Indonesia.

His counterpart in the US-run section of occupied Iraq is Bernard Kerik, a
former New York police chief who came to prominence during the Sept. 11,
2001 attacks on the city.;

by John Pilger
Daily Mirror, 22nd August

The "liberation" of Iraq is a cruel joke on a stricken people. The Americans
and British, partners in a great recognized crime, have brought down on the
Middle East, and much of the rest of the world, the prospect of terrorism
and suffering on a scale that al-Qaeda could only imagine.

That is what this week's bloody bombing of the United Nations headquarters
in Baghdad tells us.

It is a "wake-up call", according to Mary Robinson, the former UN
Humanitarian Commissioner.

She is right, of course, but it is a call that millions of people sounded on
the streets of London and all over the world more than seven months ago -
before the killing began.

And yet the Anglo-American spin machine, whose minor cogs are currently
being exposed by the Hutton Inquiry, is still in production.

According to the Bush and Blair governments, those responsible for the UN
outrage are "extremists from outside": Al-Qaeda terrorists or Iranian
militants, or both.

Whether or not outsiders are involved, the aim of this propaganda is to
distract from the truth that America and Britain are now immersed in a
classic guerrilla war, a war of resistance and self-determination of the
kind waged against foreign aggressors and colonial masters since history

For America, it is another Vietnam. For Britain it is another Kenya, or
indeed another Iraq.

In 1921, Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Maude said in Baghdad: "Our armies
do not come as conquerors, but as liberators."

Within three years 10,000 had died in an uprising against the British, who
gassed and bombed the "terrorists".

Nothing has changed, only the names and the fine print of the lies.

As for the "extremists from outside", simply turn the meaning around and you
have a succinct description of the current occupiers who, unprovoked,
attacked a defenseless sovereign country, defying the United Nations and the
opposition of most of humanity.

 Using weapons designed to cause the maximum human suffering - cluster
bombs, uranium tipped shells and firebombs (napalm) - these extremists from
outside caused the deaths of at least 8,000 civilians and as many as 30,000
troops, most conscripted teenagers. Consider the waves of grief in any
society from that carnage.

AT their moment of "victory", these extremists from outside - having already
destroyed Iraq's infrastructure with a 12-year bombing campaign and embargo
- murdered journalists, toppled statues and encouraged wholesale looting
while refusing to make the most basic humanitarian repairs to the damage
they had caused to the supply of power and clean water.

This means that today sick children are dying from thirst and
gastro-enteritis, that hospitals frequently run out of oxygen and that those
who might be saved can not be saved.

How many have died like this?

"We count every screwdriver," said an American colonel during the first Gulf
war, "but counting civilians who die along the way is just not our policy."

The biggest military machine on earth, said to be spending up to $5
billion-a-month on its occupation of Iraq, apparently can not find the
resources and manpower to bring generators to a people enduring temperatures
of well over the century - almost half of them children, of whom eight per
cent, says UNICEF, are suffering extreme malnutrition.

When Iraqis have protested about this, the extremists from outside have shot
them dead.

They have shot them in crowds, or individually, and they boast about it.

The other day, Task Force 20, an "elite" American unit murdered at least
five people as they drove down a street.

The next day they murdered a woman and her three children as they drove down
a street.

They are no different from the death squads the Americans trained in Latin

These extremists from outside have been allowed to get away with much of
this - partly because of the web of deceptions in London and Washington, and
partly because of those who voluntarily echo and amplify their lies.

In the current brawl between the Blair government and the BBC a new myth has
emerged: It is that the BBC was and is "anti-war".

This is what George Orwell called an "official truth". Again, just turn it
around and you have the real truth; that the BBC supported Blair's war, that
day after day it broadcast and "debated" and legitimised the charade of
weapons of mass destruction, as well as nonsense such as that which cast
Blair as a "moderating influence" on Bush - when, as we now know, they are
almost identical warmongers.

Who can forget the BBC's exultant Chief Political Correspondent Andrew Marr,
at the moment of "coalition" triumph. Tony Blair, he declared, "said that
they would take Baghdad without a blood bath, and that in the end the Iraqis
would be celebrating. And on both those points he has been conclusively
proved right."

If you replace "right" with "wrong", you have the truth. To the BBC's man in
Downing Street, up to 40,000 deaths apparently does not constitute a "blood

According to the independent American survey organisation Media Tenor, the
BBC allowed less dissent against the war than all the leading international
broadcasters surveyed, including the American networks.

Andrew Gilligan, the BBC reporter who revealed Dr David Kelly's concerns
about the government's "dodgy dossier" on Iraq, is one of the very few
mavericks, an inconvenient breed who challenge official truth.

One of the most important lies was linking the regime of Saddam Hussein with

As we now know, both Bush and Blair ignored the advice of their intelligence
agencies and made the connection public.

It worked. When the attack on Iraq began, polls showed that most Americans
believed Saddam Hussein was behind September 11.

The opposite was true. Monstrous though it was, Saddam Hussein's regime was
a veritable bastion against al-Qaeda and its Islamic fanaticism. Saddam was
the West's man, who was armed to the teeth by America and Britain in the
1980s because he had oil and a lot of money and because he was an enemy of
anti-Western mullahs in Iran and elsewhere in the region. Saddam and Osama
bin Laden loathed each other. His grave mistake was invading Kuwait in 1990;
Kuwait is an Anglo-American protectorate, part of the Western oil empire in
the Middle East.

The killings in the UN compound in Baghdad this week, like the killing of
thousands of others in Iraq, form a trail of blood that leads to Bush and
Blair and their courtiers.

It was obvious to millions of people all over the world that if the
Americans and British attacked Iraq, then the fictional link between Iraq
and Islamic terrorism could well become fact.

The brutality of the occupation of Iraq - in which children are shot or
arrested by the Americans, and countless people have "disappeared" in
concentration camps - is an open invitation to those who now see Iraq as
part of a holy jihad.

When I traveled the length of Iraq several years ago, I felt completely
safe. I was received everywhere with generosity and grace, even though I was
from a country whose government was bombing and besieging my hosts.

Bush's and Blair's court suppressed the truth that most Iraqis both opposed
Saddam Hussein and the invasion of their country.

The thousands of exiles, from Jordan to Britain, said this repeatedly.

But who listened to them? When did the BBC interrupt its anti-Christ
drumbeat about Saddam Hussein and report this vital news?

Nor are the United Nations merely the "peacemakers" and "nationbuilders"
that this week's headlines say they are.

There were dedicated humanitarians among the dead in Baghdad but for more
than 12 years, the UN Security Council allowed itself to be manipulated so
that Washington and London could impose on the people of Iraq, under a UN
flag, an embargo that resembled a mediaeval siege.

It was this that crippled Iraq and, ironically, concentrated all domestic
power in the hands of the regime, thus ending all hope of a successful

The other day I sat with Dennis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General
of the United Nations, and the UN in New York. Halliday was the senior UN
official in Iraq in the mid 1990s, who resigned rather than administer the

"These sanctions," he said, "represented ongoing warfare against the people
of Iraq. They became, in my view, genocidal in their impact over the years,
and the Security Council maintained them, despite its full knowledge of
their impact, particularly on the children of Iraq.

"We disregarded our own charter, international law, and we probably killed
over a million people.

"It's a tragedy that will not be forgotten... I'm confident that the Iraqis
will throw out the occupying forces. I don't know how long it will take, but
they'll throw them out based on a nationalistic drive.

"They will not tolerate any foreign troops' presence in their country,
dictating their lifestyle, their culture, their future, their politics.

"This is a very proud people, very conscious of a great history.

"It's grossly unacceptable. Every country that is now threatened by Mr Bush,
which is his habit, presents an outrage to all of us.

"Should we stand by and merely watch while a man so dangerous he is willing
to sacrifice Americans lives and, worse, the lives of others."

John Pilger's documentary on Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror will be
shown on ITV on September 22.

by Steven R. Hurst
Las Vegas Sun, 23rd August

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP): The death toll among coalition forces rose Saturday when
three British soldiers were killed in a guerrilla attack in southern Iraq.
Also, U.S. troops killed two Iraqi Turkomen who opened fire when soldiers
arrived to quell a bloody ethnic clash in the north.


In Basra, the British military said a two-vehicle convoy was attacked by
gunmen in a pickup truck as the soldiers traveled through the city center on
a patrol about 8:30 a.m.

As of Saturday, the British government has reported 48 deaths since the war
began. The American military says 273 U.S. soldiers have died since the
beginning of military operations. Denmark's military has reported one death.

On or since May 1, when President Bush declared major combat operations
over, 135 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, according to the latest military
figures. Counting only combat deaths, 65 Americans and 11 Britons have died
since the Bush declaration.


Jordan Times, 25th August    
BAGHDAD (AFP)  More than 400 Iraqi women have been kidnapped and raped amid
the lawlessness gripping the country since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the
Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq said Sunday.

The group's director Yanar Mohammed said the four months since the US-led
coalition took control had seen an "unprecedented" explosion of violence
against women.

"More than 400 women have endured the pain and suffering of being kidnapped,
raped and sometimes sold," she told reporters at a demonstration in
Baghdad's Fardous Square.

"This violence is still a daily occurrence, especially on the streets of
Baghdad, without attracting the least attention of the (US) soldiers."

Mohammed said the attacks had created a climate of fear among women which
meant few dared venture out of their homes.

"The moment a woman steps out on to the street, she is an immediate target
for humiliation, sexual assault and abduction.

"The assaults against women, whether organised by professional gangs or
individual crimes supported by male chauvinism, and unleashed and unobserved
by coalition authorities, consequently turned the streets into a no-woman

Saihan Ali, a 35-year-old health ministry employee who joined the protest,

"Before, I would take a walk after work, but now I quickly return home, and
I'm always on the alert because anything can happen," she said.

The Organisation of Women's Freedom has accused US forces of not doing
enough to secure the streets.

It said it had appealed, in vain, for help from Iraq's US-appointed interim
Governing Council as well as US civil administrator, Paul Bremer.

"One of the justifications announced by the US administration as a pretext
for the military attack was introducing a new area of freedom for women and
men in Iraq," it said.

"We demand the setting up of security guards and patrols in every main
street and a community centre on a 24-hour, seven-day basis. We also demand
heavy sentences against sex offenders."

by Andrew England
Las Vegas Sun, 26th August

KHALIS, Iraq (AP): Hundreds of U.S. soldiers raided a northern Iraqi town on
Tuesday in a bid to smash a crime ring wanted for murder, gunrunning and a
terrorist attack on a police station that killed an American soldier earlier
this month.

Backed by tanks, helicopters and Bradley fighting vehicles, the soldiers
stormed Khalis, 42 miles north of Baghdad, hunting for the gang's notorious
leader, Lateef Hamed al Kubaishat - known as Lateef by U.S. forces, said
Col. David Hogg, commander of the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade.

The raid, codenamed "Operation Jimmy Hoffa," netted at least 24 members of
the "terrorist organization" but Lateef appeared to have eluded capture,
Hogg said.

"Their primary focus is probably criminal activity, but they have attacked
coalition forces through direct and indirect means," Hogg told The
Associated Press. "As long as he (Lateef) is in place we will not be able to
establish the conditions for the Iraqi police to establish law and order in
the area."

Iraqi informants dressed in U.S. Army camouflage uniforms, their faces
covered in black balaclavas and their eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses,
sat in the back of Humvees helping soldiers identify members of Lateef's

U.S. soldiers with plastic zip-ties - used to handcuff detainees - hanging
from their flak jackets combed scores of flat-roofed houses while curious
residents watched from the dusty streets. Men and women were ordered to sit
against walls as soldiers filtered through their homes looking for weapons
and gang members.

Lateef's gang had claimed responsibility for a bomb that exploded outside
the police headquarters in nearby Baqouba on Aug. 10, killing one U.S.
military policeman, U.S. forces said. Lateef is also accused of selling
weapons, burning down the Baqouba courthouse to destroy criminal records and
murdering a prostitute whom he accused of providing services to U.S. troops
in the area.

Lateef was imprisoned and serving multiple life sentences for murder until
Saddam Hussein granted amnesty to all prisoners in October as the United
States ratcheted up its case for invading Iraq, according to U.S.
intelligence officers.

U.S. Army officers in the area have said they are being attacked by Baath
Party loyalists, Fedayeen Saddam militia fighters and criminal gangs who
simply want the region to remain unstable so they can carryout their
activities unhindered.

"This operation will go a long way to show the Iraqi population that we are
doing this for them. It's part of our mission to provide a safe and secure
environment so they can continue to build government structures and security
structures," Hogg said.



Jordan Times, 21st August
LONDON (Reuters)  Government documents released on Wednesday show top
British officials tried to stop a scientist airing doubts on an Iraqi
weapons dossier on which Prime Minister Tony Blair based the case for war.

The documents emerged in an inquiry into the suicide of weapons expert David
Kelly, sucked into the heart of a furious row between Blair's government and
the BBC over whether intelligence was "sexed up" for political ends.

Kelly was outed as the source for a BBC journalist's report accusing Blair's
inner circle of hyping evidence about Iraq's weapons capability to win over
a sceptical public.

An official note, written on July 14, the day before Kelly was due to
testify to a parliamentary committee, made clear that Kelly would be told to
keep his views to himself.

It said the respected scientist was due to be briefed later that day by the
deputy chief of defence intelligence (DCDI) about his appearances in front
of the foreign affairs committee and intelligence and security committee on
July 15 and 16.

"DCDI is to brief Dr Kelly this afternoon for his appearance tomorrow before
the FAC and ISC and will strongly recommend that Kelly is not drawn on his
assessment of the dossier," read the note, which was shown to the inquiry.

Separate documents revealed that the top civil servant at Britain's ministry
of defence had said at a meeting in Blair's office one week earlier that
some of Kelly's views would be awkward for the government.

"If he was summoned to give evidence, some of it might be uncomfortable on
specifics such as the likelihood of there being weapons systems ready for
use within 45 minutes," the defence civil servant said at the meeting.

Nuclear trigger

The inquiry heard how Blair's official spokesmen proposed ways to tighten
the draft dossier's evidence on Saddam Hussein's intent to use banned

"The weakness obviously is our inability to say that he (Saddam) could pull
the nuclear trigger any time soon," Tom Kelly said in one of many e-mails
written by Downing Street staff and shown to the inquiry.

"We need that to counter the argument that Saddam is bad, not mad."

The spokesmen said they advised Blair's communications chief Alastair
Campbell against leaking the fact that Dr Kelly had spoken to the BBC to one
newspaper in July.

"I thought the government was within its rights to make an announcement of
this sort and to do that in the way it chose," said Blair's spokesman Godric

Blair's claim that Iraq could deploy chemical or biological weapons at 45
minutes' notice was the most dramatic part of his September 2002 dossier
aimed at winning support for a war most Britons opposed.

But four months after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, no weapons of mass
destruction have been found in Iraq.

The absence of weapons  along with Kelly's suicide  has undermined trust
in Blair's government and created the worst crisis of his six-year tenure.

An ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday showed 52 per cent of the
public trust neither the government nor the BBC to tell the truth and that
only 6 per cent trust Blair's administration more than the public

by Ewen MacAskill, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, 22nd August

The weapons specialist, Dr David Kelly, said six months ago that he would
"probably be found dead in the woods" if the American and British invasion
of Iraq went ahead, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told yesterday.

His chilling prediction of his own death during a conversation with the
British diplomat David Broucher in Geneva in February, throws new light on
his state of mind about the row over Britain's role in the Iraq war.

In a startling string of revelations yesterday, Lord Hutton's inquiry was
told that Dr Kelly:

 confirmed there had been a "robust" debate between Downing Street and the
intelligence services about the September dossier on weapons of mass

 expressed scepticism about British claims that Iraq's weapons capability
could be deployed quickly

 had been in direct contact with senior Iraqi scientists and officials he
knew, promising them the war could be avoided

 feared he had "betrayed" these contacts and that the invasion had left him
in a "morally ambiguous" position.

The latest twists came as Lord Hutton announced that Tony Blair would give
evidence on Thursday and the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, on Wednesday.
Both will be pressed about the September dossier and about the way the
government helped put Dr Kelly's name into the public domain.

The disclosure of Dr Kelly's unease about the Iraq war even before the
invasion on March 20 undermines assumptions that his apparent suicide was
tied to recent events, principally the pressure he came under last month
over his conversations with the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan.

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his home last month.

Towards the end of Lord Hutton's inquiry yesterday, Mr Broucher, British
ambassador to the disarmament conference in Geneva, made a surprise

He said he had sent an email to Patrick Lamb, his boss at the Foreign
Office, on August 5, recalling a chance conversation with Dr Kelly at
disarmament talks in February, in which he set out his concerns.

Elaborating on the email yesterday, Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly had told
him the government had pressured the intelligence community to make the
September dossier as "robust as possible, that every judgment [in the
dossier] had been robustly fought over".

Contrary to a claim in the dossier that biological and chemical weapons
could be deployed within 45 minutes, Dr Kelly said he thought the weapons
and the material to be placed inside them "would be kept separately from the
munitions and that this meant that the weapons could not be used quickly".

It emerged this week that the MoD knew that Dr Kelly's views on Iraq could
make uncomfortable reading for the government, and the conver sation with Mr
Broucher bears out why the MoD - in particular, Mr Hoon - was so keen to
prevent any disclosures.

A government memo published yesterday showed that Mr Hoon tried to stop Dr
Kelly talking about weapons of mass destruction when he appeared before the
Commons foreign affairs select committee.

Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly thought that the UN weapons inspectors could
gain a good idea of the state of the Iraqi arsenal because the Iraqis had
learned during the British colonial days to keep full written records. That
assessment runs counter to the US, which insisted inspectors were wasting
their efforts.

A crucial point in the conversation with Mr Broucher was Dr Kelly's
revelation about continued links with Iraqis after working in Iraq in the
90s as a UN weapons inspector. He had retained contacts with Iraqi
scientists and officials, and told Mr Broucher he had tried to persuade them
to comply with the inspectors in order to avoid invasion.

In his email, Mr Broucher said Dr Kelly's concern was that "if an invasion
now went ahead, that would make him a liar and he would have betrayed his
contacts, some of whom might be killed as a direct result of his actions".

Mr Broucher added: "I asked what would happen then, and he replied, in a
throwaway line, that he would 'probably be found dead in the woods'."

His interpretation of this was Dr Kelly feared a personal attack by the
Iraqis: "I did not think much of this at the time, taking it to be a hint
that the Iraqis might try to take revenge against him, something that did
not seem at all fanciful then. I now see that he may have been thinking on
rather different lines."

Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual assembly of Britain, who
knew Dr Kelly and will testify before the Hutton inquiry about the impact of
the Baha'i faith had on him, said he could not know whether the scientist
might have taken his own life because of guilt. But he added: "The teachings
of the Baha'i faith strongly emphasise the importance of ... keeping one's

by Kathy Marks in Sydney
The Independent, 23rd August

The Australian government "skewed, misrepresented, used selectively and
fabricated" the intelligence used to justify its decision to send troops to
Iraq, a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra was told yesterday.

The Australian inquiry opened yesterday and took evidence from Andrew
Wilkie, a former senior intelligence analyst who resigned in March in
protest at the case Australia made for going to war.

Australia contributed 2,000 special forces troops to the US-led invasion. Mr
Wilkie accused the government of lying about the threat posed by Iraq's
alleged weapons of mass destruction. "Sometimes the exaggeration was so
great it was clear dishonesty," he said, and added that words and phrases
qualifying intelligence assessments, such as "probably", "could" and
"uncorroborated evidence suggests" were frequently dropped from reports.
"Words like 'massive' and 'mammoth' were included [instead]."

Mr Wilkie has become one of the chief critics of Australia's involvement in
the Iraq war since quitting his post in the Office of National Assessments
(ONA). Asked by the inquiry to describe the government's handling of
Australian intelligence on Iraq, he replied - mirroring the phrase used by
the BBC about the British intelligence dossier - that it was "sexed up".

His claims were swiftly denied yesterday by the Prime Minister, John Howard,
who was one of the first leaders to sign up to the invasion of Iraq. Mr
Howard said his assessment of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime
had been justified "at the time".

Asked about Mr Wilkie's allegation of exaggeration, Mr Howard replied: "I
deny that absolutely. I don't know on what he bases those claims. If he has
got evidence of that, let him produce it. Other-wise, stop slandering decent
people." Mr Howard added that the ONA had indicated that Mr Wilkie had had
"virtually no access" to the relevant intelligence on Iraq.

The Australian government has made a determined effort to discredit Mr
Wilkie. An opinion poll last month found that 36 per cent of Australians
believed that the government knowingly misled them over Iraq.

The ONA is an elite agency that advises the prime minister. Mr Wilkie said:
"I will go so far as to say ... the exaggeration was occurring in there [Mr
Howard's office]." He said the government had been "prepared to deliberately
exaggerate the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and terrorism threat so as
to stay in step" with the US.

The inquiry also heard evidence from the former UN chief weapons inspector
Richard Butler, who cast doubt on Australia's claim that Iraq could have
supplied terrorists with chemical or biological weapons.

by Raymond Whitaker, Jo Dillon and Glen Rangwala
The Independent, 24th August

Alastair Campbell is adamant he was not responsible for "sexing up" the
dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and in a way he is right. The
evidence emerging at the Hutton inquiry over the last fortnight - including
emails and documents never made public before - shows that the production of
the dossier and the hardening of its language was a protracted affair, under
the influence of many more minds than just Mr Campbell's. Any sexing up was
done by a crowd.

"Was this dossier really building the case for going to war?" asked Peter
Knox, junior counsel to the inquiry, on Wednesday. Examining an email from
Daniel Pruce, a member of the Downing Street communications team, he asked:
"Is there not some force in the suggestion that the way Mr Pruce appears to
be looking at this job is to build a case, a bit like building a prosecution

The inquiry was set up to examine the circumstances surrounding the apparent
suicide of Dr David Kelly, the government scientist who found himself at the
centre of a war between Downing St and the BBC. It has exposed a wealth of
detail about the infinitely more important conflict in Iraq, and the way the
Government went about persuading the British public it was justified in
joining an unprovoked invasion to oust Saddam.

The dossier was crucial in that campaign and provided the foundation for
Britain's efforts to raise international support for the invasion. For all
Saddam's undoubted brutality, the only legal basis for war was that he had
an arsenal of unconventional weapons ready for use on his neighbours and as
far afield as Cyprus, where British forces are stationed. It was decided
that the Government would have to make public its secret intelligence on
Iraq, and that the document should be written by John Scarlett, head of the
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). Last week's evidence to the Hutton
inquiry made clear that his efforts were being commented upon by a Downing
Street chorus that included Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff,
and Alastair Campbell, his director of communications.

The most controversial claim, mentioned four times in the dossier, was that
Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes of the
order being given. In June Mr Campbell said in a letter to the parliamentary
Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), which was examining the decision to go to
war in Iraq, that he asked Mr Scarlett to make 11 changes in the dossier.
None of them concerned the 45-minute allegation, but the Hutton inquiry has
disclosed his original letter to the JIC chief, which asks for 15 changes -
one of which is on precisely this point. Mr Scarlett's draft says: "The
Iraqi military may be able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within
45 minutes of an order to do so." Mr Campbell comments that "'may' is weaker
than the document's summary", which says "could deploy". "The language you
queried ... has been tightened," Mr Scarlett replies, and the dossier made
public on 24 September says: "Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military
are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an
order to do so." Mr Campbell also told the FAC that the 45-minute claim was
in the first draft of the dossier he saw. When it was pointed out last week
that there was no mention of it in a document considered by a meeting he
chaired on 5 September, he answered that as far as he was concerned, the
process only began when Mr Scarlett was brought in. That was not how he put
it in a note after the meeting, however, which said: "Regarding the dossier,
substantial rewrite."

This set off a process in which junior officials sent lengthy emails on the
various drafts of the dossier, most of which Mr Campbell said he had not
answered. "Much of the evidence we have is largely circumstantial,"
confesses one. "It's getting there, but it needs more work," says Mr Pruce
on 11 September. Mr Campbell told the inquiry: "Pruce is a very good press
officer, but this is him making contributions effectively above his pay

Higher-paid figures had their own concerns, however. The same day Philip
Bassett, a senior adviser to Mr Blair, writes: "Very long way to go ...
Think we're in a lot of trouble with this as it stands." And Tom Kelly, one
of the Prime Minister's two official spokesmen, comments: "There is one
central weakness ... We know that he [Saddam] is a bad man... We know he is
trying to get WMD - and this shows that attempts are intensifying. But can
we show why we think he intends to use them aggressively, rather than in

Most telling of all, however, are Mr Powell's remarks on the next draft, a
week before the dossier was published. Echoing Mr Kelly's point, he says:
"The document does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent
threat, from Saddam. In other words it shows that he has the means but it
does not demonstrate he has the motive to attack his neighbours, let alone
the West. We will need to make it clear in launching the document that we do
not claim that we have evidence that he is an imminent threat." When it is
launched, however, Mr Blair's foreword describes Iraq's WMD as a "current
and serious" threat.

As late as 19 September, five days before publication, Mr Powell is asking:
"Alastair - what will be the headline in the [Evening] Standard? What do we
want it to be?" The answer, brought up on the screens of the Hutton inquiry
to laughter, was: "45 MINUTES FROM ATTACK".

The dossier served to cement the idea that the existence of Iraq's
prohibited weapons programmes was undisputed. Now any statement by the Iraqi
regime that it did not have chemical or biological weapons was automatically
cast as a lie, a sign the regime had still not faced up to its international

The firmness of the dossier's conclusions meant that no other country could
publicly question the existence of Iraq's weapons programmes without being
seen as implicitly questioning Tony Blair's own credibility. Few were
willing to risk offending Britain or supporting such an unpopular regime as
the one in Baghdad. The argument became one over how to disarm Iraq, not
whether further disarmament was necessary.

This gave the Government the upper hand in the deliberations in the Security
Council. The claim in the September dossier that Iraq was continuing to
produce prohibited weapons allowed Britain to justify delaying the entry of
UN weapons inspectors until a new, tougher Security Council resolution was
passed on 8 November, threatening "serious consequences" if its demands were
not met.

One of those demands was that Iraq gave "a currently accurate, full and
complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical,
biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery
systems" within 30 days. Iraq declared that it had some missiles that
exceeded the UN-imposed 150km limit, but that it had no biological or
chemical weapons. On the basis of the understanding that had been built up
through the dossier, Mr Straw was able to tell the Security Council on 5
February of this declaration that "its central premise - that Iraq possesses
no weapons of mass destruction - is a lie", and that this constituted a
"material breach" of the Security Council's resolutions.

But when the inspectors returned to Iraq, the claims in the dossier were
soon being called into question. Within weeks, all eight of the sites
mentioned in the dossier had been visited by inspectors, who found no traces
of prohibited materials or equipment at them. Many of the facilities seemed
to have been disused for years.

On 7 March, Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief nuclear inspector, reported that
"After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no
evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons
programme in Iraq." The dossier's claims about ongoing chemical and
biological weapons programmes fared little better. The chief inspector, Hans
Blix, said that after 731 inspections at 411 different sites, his staff "has
not at any time ... found evidence of the continuation or resumption of
programmes of weapons of mass destruction or significant quantities of
proscribed items".

On 29 May this year, when American and British forces had been in Iraq for
nearly two months without evidence of WMD having been found, whispered
dissent in Whitehall was given a public voice when the BBC reporter Andrew
Gilligan made his now infamous Today programme report.

Mr Blair and his entourage were in Kuwait preparing for the Prime Minister's
high-profile visit to meet British troops. Mr Campbell said he was "torn",
unable to believe that anyone could take seriously the suggestion that
Downing Street had "sexed up" the Iraq dossier. But it soon became a
"firestorm" that had to be contained. The story had the potential to do
enormous damage to the Prime Minister. "It was grim," wrote Mr Campbell in
his diary, "it was grim for me, grim for TB and there is this huge stuff
about trust."

As the febrile mood inside Downing Street began to infect the rest of
Whitehall, Mr Gilligan refused to name his source. The trail went cold until
Dr Kelly told the MoD he had talked to the journalist. One of the first
concerns of the Government, as documents released to the Hutton inquiry
show, was the credibility of its case on Iraqi WMD.

Mr Blair urged a gathering of key advisers to tell him about Dr Kelly's
views. Mr Powell said the PM wanted to know "what he [Dr Kelly] would say"
if he appeared before either of the committees looking into the run-up to
the war. Sir Kevin Tebbit, permanent secretary at the MoD, "warned" that Dr
Kelly was an expert on Iraqi WMD. "If he was summoned to give evidence, some
of it might be uncomfortable on specifics such as the likelihood of there
being weapons systems being ready for use within 45 minutes."

The clues to Dr Kelly's identity were out there. But the MoD was also
devising a bolder "naming strategy" under which the scientist's name would
not be volunteered but confirmed if suggested. Mr Campbell, clearly
frustrated by this, wanted Dr Kelly's name to be released to a chosen
journalist, but accepted it was a "bad idea" when his deputy Godric Smith
confronted him about the plan.

Dr Kelly was named in the press and the rest is all too well known. But even
after his death, Downing Street could not resist its desire for control over
the case for war. As the Hutton inquiry into his death approached - and just
two days before Dr Kelly's funeral - Tom Kelly, the Prime Minister's
official spokesman branded the late weapons expert who had been so sceptical
about the Government's claims a "Walter Mitty-style fantasist".


by Dafna Linzer and John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press Writers
Yahoo, 24th August

Huddled over a fleet of abandoned Iraqi drones, U.S. weapons experts in
Baghdad came to one conclusion: Despite the Bush administration's public
assertions, these unmanned aerial vehicles weren't designed to dispense
biological or chemical weapons.

The evidence gathered this summer matched the dissenting views of Air Force
intelligence analysts who argued in a national intelligence assessment of
Iraq before the war (1) that the remotely piloted planes were unarmed
reconnaissance drones.

In building its case for war, senior Bush administration officials had said
Iraq's drones were intended to deliver unconventional weapons. Secretary of
State Colin Powell (2) even raised the alarming prospect that the pilotless
aircraft could sneak into the United States to carry out poisonous attacks
on American cities.

The administration based its view on a Central Intelligence Agency (3)
finding that Iraq had renewed development of sophisticated unmanned aerial
vehicles - UAVs - capable of such attacks. The Pentagon's Defense
Intelligence Agency also supported this conclusion. (4)

While the hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction - and the means to
deliver them - continues, intelligence and defense officials said the CIA
and DIA stand by their prewar assertions about Iraqi drone capabilities,
some of which Powell highlighted in his Feb. 5 presentation to the U.N.
Security Council. (5)

But the Air Force, which controls most of the American military's UAV fleet,
didn't agree with that assessment from the beginning. And analysts at the
Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said the Air Force view was widely
accepted within their ranks as well.

Instead, these analysts believed the drones posed no threat to Iraq's
neighbors or the United States, officials in Washington and scientists
involved in the weapons hunt in Iraq told The Associated Press.

The official Air Force intelligence dissent is noted in the October 2002
National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons programs, parts of which
were declassified last month as the Bush administration tried to defend its
case for war.

"We didn't see there was a very large chance they (UAVs) would be used to
attack the continental United States," Bob Boyd, director of the Air Force
Intelligence Analysis Agency, said in an AP interview. "We didn't see them
as a big threat to the homeland."

Boyd also said there was little evidence to associate Iraq's UAVs with the
country's suspected biological weapons program. Facilities weren't in the
same location and the programs didn't use the same people.

Instead, the Air Force believed Iraq's UAV programs were for reconnaissance,
as are most American UAVs. Intelligence on the drones suggested they were
not large enough to carry much more than a camera and a video recorder, Boyd

Postwar evidence uncovered in July in Iraq supports those assessments,
according to two U.S. government scientists assigned to the weapons hunt.

"We just looked at the UAVs and said, 'There's nothing here. There's no room
to put anything in here,"' one of the scientists said.

The wingspan on drones that Iraqis showed journalists in March measured 24.5
feet and the aircraft were built like large, white model airplanes.

The U.S. scientists, weapons experts who spoke on condition of anonymity,
reached their conclusions after studying the small aircraft and interviewing
Iraqi missile experts, system designers and Gen. Ibrahim Hussein Ismail, the
Iraqi head of the military facility where the UAVs were designed. None of
the Iraqis questioned are in U.S. custody.

While the weapons hunters can't be sure they've recovered all of Iraq's
UAVs, the evidence amassed so far, coupled with the interviews, has led them
to believe that none of the drones are designed for unconventional weapons.
Iraqis involved in the program have insisted the drones were for
reconnaissance and electronic jamming.

Some UAVs were kept north of Baghdad. Weapons hunters found some drones in
better shape than others with the most important finds located at a facility
in the capital, the U.S. scientists said. Weapons hunters hauled them back
to their base on the outskirts of the Baghdad International Airport where
the parts were analyzed.

The unproven U.S. assertion regarding Iraq's UAV programs is one among many.

 American weapons hunters, like their U.N. counterparts, haven't reported
finding any chemical, biological weapons or nuclear weapons in Iraq so far.

The lack of success in uncovering unconventional weapons, after warnings
that Iraq posed an immediate danger, has led critics and some former
government analysts to suggest the administration exaggerated the threat
posed by Saddam.

Boyd said the Air Force's dissent was handled fairly, and that his analysts
did not feel pressured to alter their position. "Our view was fully aired in
the process," he said.

The Bush administration has made public some of what led it to believe the
UAVs were for biological or chemical weapons attacks.

Before the war, U.S. intelligence agencies learned that officials with
Iraq's UAV program tried to buy commercially available route-planning
software that was packaged with electronic maps of the United States,
according to the declassified portion of the National Intelligence Estimate.

 This discovery was interpreted by some analysts as a sign Iraq was trying
to plan UAV bombing runs over the United States. But Boyd said Air Force
analysts were unconvinced because maps are frequently bundled with such

At the United Nations in February, Powell told the world Iraq had test-flown
a UAV well beyond a 93-mile limit allowed under U.N. rules (6). But both
reconnaissance and offensive aircraft would need to travel long distances,
Boyd said.

Compared to other agencies, Boyd said the Air Force relied more on
information from reconnaissance satellites and less on defectors, in
accessing Iraq's UAVs.

Saddam's regime had experimented with remotely controlled jet aircraft
modified for biological and chemical attacks before the 1991 Persian Gulf
War (7), but U.N. inspectors found no evidence that program had been

Boyd said attempts in the mid-1990s by Saddam's regime to convert an L-29
jet trainer into a dispersal system were abandoned. U.S. weapons hunters
also studied jet trainers found in northern Iraq but found no evidence they
had been converted into biological or chemical weapons carriers, they said.

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by Scott Ritter
New York Times, 25th August

ELMAR, N.Y.  Some 1,500 American investigators are scouring the Iraqi
countryside for evidence of weapons of mass destruction that has so far
eluded them. Known as the Iraq Survey Group and operating under the
supervision of a former United Nations weapons inspector, David Kay, they
are searching mostly for documents that will help them assemble a clear, if
somewhat circumstantial, case that Iraq had or intended to have programs to
produce prohibited weapons.

It is a daunting task. And according to many Iraqi scientists and officials
I have spoken to, it is not being done very well.

A logical starting place for such a mission is in the Jadariya district of
downtown Baghdad, adjacent to the campus of Baghdad University: the complex
that housed the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate. The directorate was
the government agency responsible for coordinating all aspects of the United
Nations inspection teams' missions. It was also supposed to monitor Iraq's
industrial infrastructure and ensure compliance with the Security Council
resolutions regarding disarmament, verification and export-import controls.

As such, the directorate was the repository for every Iraqi government
record relating to its weapons programs, as well as to the activities at
dozens of industrial sites in Iraq that were "dual-use"  used to
manufacture permitted items but capable of being modified to manufacture
proscribed material.

For 12 years the Iraqis collected and collated this data. If we inspectors
had a question about a contract signed between country A and Iraqi factory
B, the directorate could produce it at short notice. The 12,500 page "full,
final and complete declaration" provided by Iraq to the United Nations in
the fall of 2002 was compiled using this archive. And the directorate's
holdings went well beyond paperwork: every interview conducted by the United
Nations inspectors with Iraqi scientists throughout the 1990's was
videotaped and available for review.

Of course, all this material was put together by officials and scientists
who were obedient, either out of loyalty or fear, to the former regime, and
it was done in a way intended to prove that Iraq was complying with the
United Nations resolutions (something that has not been proved false in the
five months since the American-led invasion). Still, even if one was to
discount the entire archive as simply a collection of Iraqi falsifications,
it would still be a sound foundation on which the Iraq Survey Group could
have started investigations. After all, some of my most fruitful efforts as
a United Nations inspector were initiated using false claims by the Iraqi
government as the starting point.

And it seems that after the coalition troops moved into Baghdad, the records
were all there for the taking. According to several senior directorate
officials I have spoken to since the war  one a brigadier general who had
been a high-ranking administrator at the complex  the entire archive had
been consolidated into metal containers before the war and stored at the
directorate's Jadariyah headquarters for protection.

Yet these eyewitnesses have provided me with a troubling tale. On April 8,
they say, the buildings were occupied by soldiers from the Army's Third
Infantry Division. For two weeks, the Iraqi scientists and administrators
showed up for work but, according to several I have spoken to, no one from
the coalition interviewed them or tried to take control of the archive.

Rather, these staff members have told me, after occupying the facility for
two weeks, the American soldiers simply withdrew. Soon after, looters
entered the facility and ransacked it. Overnight, every computer was stolen,
disks and video records were destroyed, and the carefully organized
documents were ripped from their binders and either burned or scattered
about. According to the former brigadier general, who went back to the
building after the mob had gone, some Iraqi scientists did their best to
recover and reconstitute what they could, but for the vast majority of the
archive the damage was irreversible.

Obviously, I am relying on the word of former directorate officials, but
these are people I knew well in my days as an inspector, and none would seem
to have anything to gain by lying today. In any case, the looting of the
building, if not the previous presence of American troops, has been well
documented by Western news reports.

Why was this allowed to happen? I am as puzzled as the Iraqis. Given the
high priority the Bush administration placed on discovering evidence of
weapons of mass destruction, it seems only logical that seizing the
directorate archive would have been a top priority for the coalition forces
 at least as important as the Iraqi Oil Ministry or the National Museum.
And it seems highly unlikely that coalition leaders didn't know what the
archive contained. I was one of many international inspectors who led
investigations of the facility  and the data we produced was used by the
American government as part of its case that Saddam Hussein was hiding
prohibited programs.

Today, with the tremendous controversy over the administration's pre-war
assertions, it is impossible to overstate the importance of the archive that
produced Iraq's 12,500 pages of claims  none of which have yet been shown
to be false  that comprise the most detailed record of Iraq's weapons

Next month the Iraq Survey Group will give a formal briefing to American and
British officials on the status of its investigations. President Bush has
already hinted that the group will make a case that it has found evidence of
prohibited weapons programs and of efforts to hide them from international
inspectors. Such a case may have merit, but without being able to compare
and contrast it to the Iraqi version of events, I'm not sure how convincing
it will be to the American public, or to the rest of the world.

Scott Ritter is a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq and author
of "Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of

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