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News, 27/8-3/9/03 (1) IN IRAQ (a) SECURITY AND WAR * Baghdad Deadlier Than Ever - A Coroner's Viewpoint * Maybe 8,000 US Wounded In Bush's Iraq War - Report US Troops - Wounded, Weary And Disappeared * Militants 'kill Kurd police chief' * Former Iraqi soldiers recall chaos, desertions * Four detained over Najaf massacre * U.S. forces reportedly arrest Iraqi General * Iraqi tribal sheikh arrested over oil blasts * Hussein denies role in cleric¹s death * US lays siege to suburb of Mosul after tip-off * US troops launch another raid in search of Iraqi fighters, but find none * Iraqis to get police training in Hungary * U.S. troops to control part of Polish stabilization zone in Iraq * Car bomb explodes outside Baghdad police headquarters wounding bystanders * US Œstrategy of chaos¹ is cause for concern * Iraq's Neighbors Work to Control Borders DEATH OF THE PRETEXT * Report: U.S suspects Iraqi WMD in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley * U.S. Suspects It Received False Iraq Arms Tips * Article reveals that Kelly thought invasion was only way to end Iraqi weapons threat IN IRAQ (a) SECURITY http://www.counterpunch.org/ali08262003.html * BAGHDAD DEADLIER THAN EVER - A CORONER'S VIEWPOINT by Sarmad S. Ali Counterpunch, 26th August Everyday, women mill about crying outside the courtyard of Baghdad's Institute of Forensic Medicine at Bab al Muadam Square, so overcome with grief that they are unable to stand. The men stand grim and silent, the sleepless nights showing on their faces. But behind the doors of, the day is just beginning as the daily toll of postwar Iraq's crime wave gets counted. Coroners have to work overtime these days to keep up with the stream of bodies that comes through the everyday. Five coroners distributed along the five benches of the morgue are barely able to keep up. More than ten corpses lay around in the room as if they were in an abattoir, with chairs for students to study the place and the events taking place there. About 10 autopsies a day are completed here as partially decomposed bodies pile up on autopsy tables and along the office floors awaiting final approval for burial. From the outside, the smell of the room is enough to make one retch; inside the stench is simply overwhelming. "Neither during the war nor during the previous two wars has this happened," said Dr. Qais Hassan Salman, a specialist in forensic medicine at the Institute. "The number of dead is absolutely unbelievable, and I'm just speaking of Baghdad alone. God knows what's happening elsewhere." Coalition officials have claimed that Baghdad's crime rates are comparable to any major US city. But in fact, judging by coroner's reports, the Iraqi capital's homicide rate exceeds that of even the most violent American cities several times over. Even before the war began, Baghdad was one of the most dangerous places to live in the world. This year's records mark more than a doubling in violent deaths. To draw an overall comparison between the morgue's records and homicide rates is difficult. Deaths that are apparently due to intoxication, stabbing, road accidents, shooting, burning, drowning, or other causes are all referred to in the morgue ledgers as potential murders. Of Iraq's cities, only Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, and Baquba have forensic medicine departments. So the Baghdad morgue must service large swathes of the center, south and west of the country. "There is no other place in Baghdad except this one and in the past it was enough to control the number of autopsy cases because the number in the past was more manageable than now," Salman noted. He added that more than eleven governorates still have no forensic departments and in most cases the corpses are brought to Baghdad to be autopsied. " In spite of the fact that three military doctors were sent here from al-Rasheed military hospital, there is a dearth of coroners that exceeds the institute's capacity. Previously coroners received no more than two or three carcasses whereas now each dissector at least works on ten carcasses per a day," Salman said. Dr. Faiq Ameen Bekir, director of the Institute, emphasized that the number of deaths has risen noticeably since the end of the war, especially cases of shooting deaths or explosions of unexploded cluster bombs. In the past, however, the number of gunshot death cases was far smaller compared with the large numbers now. In June of this year, 626 people died from bullet wounds; in July the number was 734. In contrast, there were only about 50 homicides per month in New York City in 2002. These numbers are a significant leap from the year before - but not an overwhelming one. Indeed, death by bullet represents only a doubling of shooting deaths last year during the days of the former. In all there were 368 and 471 gun deaths in June or July 2002, respectively. Bullet injuries come from three causes, said Dr. Salman. The most obvious are murders, many of them committed in carjacking and other violent robberies. But people caught in crossfire and people hit by celebratory fire are another important part of the statistical body. In fact, on special occasions such as the victories of the national football team, or more recently, the death of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay, celebratory fire causes a spike in gun deaths. Meanwhile, suicides have remained relatively rare, said Salman. "Most of the dead that come here are young males, but sometimes whole families are killed - such as in the al-Suleikh incident two weeks ago, when a generator blew up near an American patrol and the Americans opened fire at random," Salman says. A family of four was killed in the incident. Sarmad S. Ali writes for Iraq Today. http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/8736>http://www.tompaine.com/feature 2.cfm/ID/8736 * MAYBE 8,000 US WOUNDED IN BUSH'S IRAQ WAR - REPORT US TROOPS - WOUNDED, WEARY AND DISAPPEARED by Bill Berkowitz Tom Paine.com, 29th August The nation reached a sad milestone in late August. With the death of an American soldier in a roadside bombing on August 29, the number of soldiers killed in Iraq after the official end of the war reached 139, exceeding the "postwar" casualty count. Nightline aired a feature; the Associated Press posted a story on the war dead -- but most media outlets continue to ignore an equally dreary reality. In a summer dominated by the Bryant sex case, Arnold's debut in California's recall election and the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons, no hordes of television cameras await the planeloads of wounded soldiers being airlifted back to the states, unloaded at Andrews Air Force Base, and stuffed into wards at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other facilities. We see few photos of them undergoing painful and protracted physical rehabilitation, few visuals of worried families waiting for news of their sons or daughters. The men and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan have become the new disappeared. Liz Swasey of the conservative media watchdog Media Research Center (MRC) confirms this perception. "There have been no feature news stories on television focusing on the wounded," she says. "While there have been numerous reports of soldiers getting wounded, there have been no interviews from hospital bedsides." The numbers of soldiers wounded in action are hard to come by. Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon has put the figure at 827. But Lieutenant-Colonel Allen DeLane, the man in charge of airlifting the wounded into Andrews Air Force Base, recently mentioned much higher numbers in an interview with National Public Radio. "Since the war has started, I can't give you an exact number because that's classified information, but I can say to you over 4,000 have stayed here at Andrews," he said. "And that number doubles when you count the people that come here to Andrews, and then we send them to other places like Walter Reed and Bethesda..." Some journalists also dispute the Pentagon's official count. Julian Borger of The Guardian claims "unofficial figures are in the thousands." Central Command in Qatar talked of 926 wounded, but "that too is understated," Borger maintains. And in fact, a mid-August report in The Salt Lake City Tribune claims that Central Command has acknowledged 1,007 U.S. wounded. (The Pentagon did not respond to inquiries.) Whatever the actual numbers of wounded, military hospitals are being overwhelmed. "Staff are working 70- or 80-hour weeks," Borger reports. "[T]he Walter Reed army hospital in Washington is so full that it has taken over beds normally reserved for cancer patients to handle the influx, according to a report on CBS television." Some of the outpatient wounded are even being placed at nearby hotels because of the overflow, according to The Washington Times. Inside these hospitals, there's no shortage of compelling narratives for the interested TV reporter. For example, an accident in western Iraq threw Sgt. Robert Garrison of Ithaca, N.Y., from his Humvee, according to a June story by the Associated Press. He landed on his head, fractured his skull and slipped into unconsciousness. Garrison "can't speak at more than a faint whisper and breathes with the help of a tube jutting from his neck. A scar runs across the back of the head, and the left side of his face droops where he has lost some control over his muscles." Sgt. Kenneth Dixon, of Cheraw, S.C., was in a Bradley fighting vehicle when it plunged into a ravine. He "broke his back, leaving him unable to use his legs." These days he's at a veteran's hospital in Richmond, Va., "focusing on his four hours of daily physical therapy." Marine Sgt. Phillip Rugg, 26, recently had his left leg amputated below the knee, caused by a grenade "that penetrated his tank-recovery vehicle March 22 outside Umm Qasr, nearly shearing his foot off." The stories of these injured soldiers obviously straddle party lines and should sadden Americans from all walks. So what is it about the wounded that makes us uncomfortable? Why have they been left out of the coverage of the war by the broadcast media? The consensus seems to be that the wounded are too depressing a topic -- and also that they might threaten Bush's popularity. "The wounded are much too real; telling their stories would be too much of a bummer for television's news programmers," says Norman Solomon, media critic and co-author of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You . "Dead people don't linger like wounded people do. Dead people's names can be posted on a television honor role, but the networks and cable news channels won't clog up their air time with the names and pictures of hundreds and hundreds of wounded soldiers." Former L.A. Times television critic Howard Rosenberg reflects this sentiment, and adds that giving the wounded air time could be perceived as too controversial. "Since 9/11, there is a general feeling among many media outlets that they need to stay away from anything that could be interpreted as disloyal to the country," he says. John Stauber, author of the recently released book The Weapons of Mass Deception , says the war was sold on television as a sanitized war with minimal U.S. casualties -- which was exactly what the Bush administration tried to engineer. "Showing wounded soldiers and interviewing their families could be disastrous PR for Bush's war," he says. "I suspect the administration is doing all it can to prevent such stories unless they are stage managed feel good events like Saving Private [Jessica] Lynch." Tod Ensign directs Citizen Soldier, a GI rights advocacy organization. He thinks the failure to cover the wounded indicates an implicit loyalty to the White House, and a reluctance to address a failed Iraq policy. "The American media is by and large controlled and dominated by corporations that line up politically with the Bush administration," Ensign says. "They appear to be increasingly incapable of grappling with such a highly charged issue as the wounded." President Bush landed on the U.S.S. Lincoln on May 1 and declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq. Since that overhyped media event, the president has repeatedly visited with troops that have returned intact, and he has issued statements honoring the dead. But the president has not shown up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to shake hands with the recovering Robert Garrisons or Kenneth Dixons. Journalists should pay these visits for him, to tell us the stories of these men and women, whose problems will stretch into the coming years. And they should ask the president why he is so reluctant to see these troops he sent so confidently into battle. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3192721.stm * MILITANTS 'KILL KURD POLICE CHIEF' BBC, 29th August The PUK controls Sulaymaniyah and other parts of northern Iraq Kurdish officials in Iraq say their deputy chief of security in the north-eastern province of Sulaymaniyah has been shot dead by Islamic militant group Ansar al-Islam. A spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said Hama Hussein was killed by four members of the group. The group is accused by both the Kurds and the Americans of having links with international terrorism and the al-Qaeda movement. Correspondents say Ansar fighters are thought to be slipping back into Iraq from Iran five months after US forces crushed their bases along the border between the two countries. Coalition authorities are concerned that foreign fighters may have hooked up with remnants of Ansar al-Islam, they say. Earlier on Friday, US Attorney General John Ashcroft was in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, to discuss the case of Mullah Krekar, Ansar al-Islam's alleged leader who is currently facing extradition from Norway where he has enjoyed political asylum. Diplomats say Washington has been aghast that Oslo has not permanently locked up Mr Krekar, who says Ansar is not a threat. "Ansar al-Islam is a group in which we have a great interest, to the extent to which we reject the idea of terror as a means of shaping public policy," Mr Ashcroft said, without giving details of the discussion with his Norwegian counterpart, Odd Einar Doerum. Stand-off In Iraq, the Kurdish spokesman said the Sulaymaniyah incident happened after Kurdish forces surrounded a house in the city where Ansar members were involved in a stand-off. The militants had agreed to meet Mr Hussein to negotiate, but then opened fire on him. In Iraq, the spokesman said at least three Ansar members were killed in the ensuing clash and another arrested. A child was caught in the cross-fire and was also killed. The PUK controls Sulaymaniyah and other parts of northern Iraq and supported the US-led war against Saddam Hussein's government. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/2074981 * FORMER IRAQI SOLDIERS RECALL CHAOS, DESERTIONS by David Zucchino Houston Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 31st August BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Saddam Hussein and his son Qusay crippled the Iraqi military through a multitude of erratic orders and strategic miscalculations, while its fighting units barely communicated with one another and were paralyzed from lack of direction, according to detailed interviews with more than a dozen former Iraqi commanders and servicemen. These woes contributed to the Iraqi military's quick and stunning collapse against invading U.S. forces, the ex-fighters said. Typical of the erratic orders were those imposed by Qusay upon a Republican Guard unit outside Baghdad. As U.S. forces approached the city in late March, the unit received a new order every morning to reposition its tanks. Each order contradicted the one before, Col. Raaed Faik recalled. Every time the tanks were moved from their bunkers, Faik said, a few more were exposed and destroyed by coalition air power. Meanwhile, he said, another commander was ordered to disable all three dozen of his tanks for fear they would be captured and used by Kurdish militias hundreds of miles north. "These were the orders of an imbecile. Qusay was like a teenager playing a video war game," said Faik, 33. In the end, Saddam and Qusay were reduced to issuing commands from a convoy of civilian vehicles that retreated as U.S. tanks rolled into the capital, the former fighters said. Iraqi troops were largely without radios and maps. Field commanders dropped their weapons and fled. And soldiers waited in bunkers for orders that never arrived -- in many cases, unaware even that Baghdad had been invaded, the fighters said. Before the invasion, Saddam's forces had been expected to put up a fierce defense of Baghdad, and U.S. officials warned that the Iraqis might even use chemical or biological weapons. Instead, the former Iraqi fighters said, orders to use chemical or biological weapons were never given because no such weapons existed. Iraqi forces, who did not anticipate Americans would use tanks in urban combat inside Baghdad, were unprepared for the ensuing armored onslaught. An eventual guerrilla war -- now being waged by remnants of Iraqi forces and other Arab fighters -- wasn't planned because Saddam didn't think it would be necessary, the former Iraqi servicemen said. And tactics that could have slowed U.S. forces, such as the mining of roads to Baghdad, were not employed because Saddam was confident his forces would repel the Americans. "We should have mined the roads and bridges. We should have planned a guerrilla war," said retired Gen. Ahmed Rahal, 51. "We were crippled by a lack of imagination." The command structure was confused from the start. Saddam was wary of concentrating power in one military force in case it might launch a coup, so he had created a number of jealous rival fighting groups -- including the Republican Guard, Special Republican Guard and the Fedayeen Saddam militia -- that never spoke to one another. While the elite units were well armed and well paid, many regular army infantrymen were poorly paid and given just a single magazine of ammunition, former soldiers said. Regular army commanders schemed to undermine elite units, hoarding information and avoiding confrontations with U.S. forces. And many units were segregated by tribe or ethnic group, inhibiting coordination. "We were like 10 different armies fighting their own private wars," said Nabil Qaisy, 31, a Baath Party militiaman who said he spent the battle cowering in a north Baghdad bunker. The military's limited communications -- only special units received reliable phones or radios -- fell apart early on, the soldiers said. Cut off and confused, commanders resorted to sending out soldiers in vehicles to scavenge scraps of information -- usually from other hopelessly uninformed units. The entire military was plunged into chaos. Just before the U.S. assault, soldiers said, some officers ordered military vehicles spray-painted in civilian colors, intending to drive them home for personal use after deserting. A Republican Guard unit fleeing the city descended on a regular army camp and stole its vehicles, they said. And a Republican Guard unit armed only with automatic rifles was sent to confront U.S. tanks and "was absolutely slaughtered," Faik said. Desertions soared. As U.S. forces sped toward the capital, soldiers requested -- and were granted -- leaves to visit their families. Units listed on paper as full strength actually were less than half that, soldiers said, and many ceased to exist overnight. "I woke up on the morning of April 5 and an entire battalion was gone. They had become vapors," said Maj. Jaffer Sadiq, 38, a special forces commander. After being ordered on April 2 to rush to Baghdad from the northern city of Kirkuk, Sadiq said, he was told that he would be joining 4,000 Republican Guard troops defending a site in central Baghdad. But when he arrived, he counted fewer than 1,000, he said, and most had deserted by the time the first U.S. tanks cut through southwest Baghdad three days later. In several cases, soldiers said, they were ordered to desert. On April 4, they said, a Republican Guard tank brigade commander was told to abandon his tanks south of Baghdad and have his men change into civilian clothes. Minibuses took them to the northern city of Mosul, their home base, where the soldiers simply quit and went home. The only forces that stood and fought, soldiers said, were Fedayeen Saddam militiamen and 4,000 to 5,000 guerrillas recruited from other Arab countries, who were armed chiefly with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Some of these fighters detained -- and threatened to shoot -- deserting Republican Guards, soldiers said. These fighters, along with former Baath Party militiamen, are behind most of the ongoing attacks against U.S. forces, according to the former soldiers. They said the current guerrilla campaign was not planned but emerged as these fighters regrouped after Baghdad fell. At times in early April, these elite units went to great lengths to project a facade of invincibility. After U.S. tanks smashed through southwest Baghdad on April 5, killing nearly 1,000 Iraqi soldiers according to U.S. commanders, Fedayeen militiamen claimed victory and celebrated downtown. They displayed charred corpses they claimed were bodies of U.S. soldiers, Faik said. "I looked closer and saw they were Republican Guards, still in their uniforms with insignia," Faik said. "I spent 12 years in the Republican Guards. I know the difference between a Republican Guard soldier and an American soldier. I was appalled." A former Republican Guard general and division commander said he met with Saddam and Qusay in central Baghdad early on April 7. The two leaders were in separate gold, four wheel-drive Toyotas, said the general, who answered questions relayed by an aide on the condition that he not be identified. At that moment, the general said, the two leaders realized that most Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard soldiers assigned to defend the main palace complex had deserted. Told that U.S. tanks were advancing on the strategic Jumhuriya Bridge, the general said, Saddam ordered 12 pickup trucks of Fedayeen to the bridge to hold off the column. "Imagine -- a few pickup trucks against two battalions" of American tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, the general said. Most top officers knew nothing of Saddam's whereabouts, commanders said. And those who remained at their posts rarely received orders of any kind. "The only order I got was to dismantle my airplanes -- the most idiotic order I ever received," said Brig. Gen. Baha Ali Nasr, 42, an air force commander who said Iraq's entire fleet of MiG-23s, MiG-25s and Mirage fighters was taken apart and buried. Dirt and grime ensured they would never be airworthy, he said. The few commanders who realized how desperate the situation had become were afraid to relay honest battlefield assessments up the chain of command. "It was well known that President Hussein did not care to receive bad news," one former general said. Others were deluded by the regime's own propaganda. Many commanders said they actually believed Saddam's hapless minister of information, Mohammed Said Sahaf, who brazenly denied that U.S. forces had entered Baghdad on April 7 and described the slaughter of Americans. After the information minister claimed Iraqi forces had retaken the Baghdad airport from U.S. troops, two former commanders said, Republican Guard Gen. Mohammed Daash was dispatched to check out a rumor that four or five American tanks had survived the Iraqi counterattack. Daash returned to his headquarters in a panic. "Four or five tanks!" the commanders quoted Daash as telling his fellow generals. "Are you out of your minds? The whole damn American Army is at the airport!" Times staff writer Alissa J. Rubin contributed to this report. http://www.jordantimes.com/sun/news/news1.htm * FOUR DETAINED OVER NAJAF MASSACRE Jordan Times, 31st August NAJAF (AFP) ‹ Four men, two Iraqis and two Saudis, thought to have links with Saddam Hussein and the Al Qaeda terror network, were being held Saturday over the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir Al Hakim. The suspects were detained by police in Najaf soon after Friday's car bombing in the Shiite holy city that killed Hakim along with 82 other people and wounded 125 more. "Two are Iraqis from Basra, who belonged to the former regime, while the other two are Arab nationals," Najaf Governor Haidar Mehdi Matar told AFP. "They confessed to the bombing." A spokesman for Hakim's party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), later said the two Arabs were Saudis and described all four as Al Qaeda agents. If the story proves to be true, it would bear out what is seen in Washington as a nightmare scenario where Al Qaeda forged an alliance with Baathists to send US troops packing. [.....] RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC * U.S. FORCES REPORTEDLY ARREST IRAQI GENERAL RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 The U.S. military has arrested Al-Quds Army Brigades commander Major General Subhi Kamal al-Ruzayq, Al-Jazeera satellite television reported on 24 August. The arrest reportedly occurred in the Hit area west of Baghdad, where al-Ruzayq was hiding in a friend's house. Al-Ruzayq's arrest has not been confirmed by other sources. (Bill Samii) http://www.jordantimes.com/sun/news/news6.htm * IRAQI TRIBAL SHEIKH ARRESTED OVER OIL BLASTS Jordan Times, 31st August KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) ‹ Tribal Sheikh Hatem Al Assy Al Obeidi, who presides over a million-strong clan, was arrested Saturday by US troops west of the northern Iraqi oil capital of Kirkuk on suspicion of abetting sabotage of fuel pipelines, tribal sources told AFP. "US forces broke into Sheikh Hatem Al Obeidi's house in Al Ramal village and his nephew's house in Al Asar village where they found several weapons and four million Iraqi dinars (around $2,700) with some gold and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher," one source said. "They charged Sheikh Obeidi with supporting terrorism and breaking the agreement with American forces to protect the oil lines and the electrical power lines and to protect the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit." An oil pipeline linking Kirkuk oil fields with the Baiji refinery to the south was on fire Saturday afternoon after a possible sabotage attack, the US military said. On Aug. 18, Obeidi, a man with a penchant for gold watches and expensive loafers, told AFP it was possible some of his own clan members were carrying out attacks on oil pipelines. "Some of my tribe are without work. Maybe they're the ones attacking the lines," said the sheikh in his family diwan (salon), where he regularly holds court with some of the 300,000 clan members in the area around Kirkuk. "When I get answers from them (the Americans) to solve my relatives' problems, then I'll talk to my tribe," Obeidi said about wayward elements who may be involved in outlaw activities. Obeidi had signed an agreement with the Americans in late July to guard a 90-kilometre stretch of eight oil pipelines and three power cables between Kirkuk and Baiji, site of Iraq's largest fuel refinery. Obeidi's three-month contract with the Americans was reached as the military, coping with a spate of attacks on oil facilities and the electricity grid, decided it was better to turn to the tribes for protection than go it alone. The Americans had previously rejected an offer from his tribe in April to guard the pipelines before coming back to him after a rash of sabotage, Obeidi claimed. Under Saddam, Obeidi said the state hired 700 of his tribesmen to guard the fuel lines, each paid a salary of $200 a month. On top of that, the state would reward Obeidi himself with a bonus of between $1,000 and $2,500 on the holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. In contrast, the Americans are only paying him enough to hire 100 of his relatives to watch the pipelines and power cables, at a monthly salary of $100. That leaves 600 of his tribesmen without their old jobs. "I don't think these attacks will stop until we find my relatives jobs guarding pipelines," he speculated. Asked about Obeidi last Tuesday, Colonel R.W. Nicholson, head of the Combat Engineers of the Fourth Infantry Division, expressed frustration with the sheikh. http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/ArabWorld/Hussein+denies+links+to +clerics+death.htm * HUSSEIN DENIES ROLE IN CLERIC¹S DEATH Aljazeera, 1st September Ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has denied being behind last week¹s bomb attacks that killed Shia cleric Ayat Allah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim. In an exclusive audiotape aired on Aljazeera on Monday Hussein rejected any involvment in the Najaf attacks last Friday that left at least 82 others killed and more than 100 people hurt. Reciting a verse from the Holy Quran urging people to ignore news reported by vicious people, Hussein said he was not a leader of a minority or a single Iraqi group. ³(Saddam Hussein) is the leader of all people of Iraq: Muslims, non-Muslims, Shia, Sunnis, Kurds and all other groups,² he said. ³The infidel invaders are accusing, without proof, the followers of Saddam Hussein after the killing of Shia leader Hakim," said Hussein. "This is not what Saddam attributes to himself. Marines in Najaf US military sources said that Marines are to deploy in Najaf for an undertermined period of time. Occupation authorities said that plans for a 3 September handover to a contingent of 9000 Polish-led forces in the south-central region of Iraq from the Marines would still take place. This means security in Najaf will become the responsibility of Spanish troops. Meanwhile, discontent towards the US occupation is on the rise among Iraq's Shias as the country continues to slide into chaos. Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani said American and British troops were "responsible for the insecurity" that reined in the occupied country. "It is obvious that those behind this heinous crime and the crimes perpetrated in Najaf and other Iraqi cities...try to sow discord among the children of Iraq," said al-Sistani in a statement released late on Sunday. Tensions In related developments, Iraqi officials said they arrested two men on Monday after finding vehicles packed with bombs outside al-Kufa mosque in the city of Kufa, about 180km south of Baghdad. During routine searches, policemen noticed the seats of the vehicles were not well designed and had new covers, arousing their suspicions. They found the seats filled with explosives. The two detained men were from the mainly Shia southern city of Basra. Kufah is also mainly Shia city. The remains of al-Hakim are due to pass through it during a funeral procession before he is buried in Najaf on Tuesday. Inside Kufah's mosque, clerics were urging people to stay on alert because "Hussein's followers and al-Qaida will try today or tomorrow to make large explosions" in the city. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=439025 * US LAYS SIEGE TO SUBURB OF MOSUL AFTER TIP-OFF by Katherine Butler The Independent, 1st September American forces backed by helicopters besieged a district in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday after receiving a tip-off that Saddam Hussein was hiding there. Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite channel, reported that soldiers backed by air support moved into the al-Arabi district after receiving intelligence that Saddam was in the neighbourhood. Witnesses said that soldiers in 15 armoured vehicles checked a batch of farms in the Hawwi outskirts of Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, as helicopters flew overhead. "There is a heavy presence of US troops, acting on information that Saddam may be hiding in the al-Arabi neighbourhood," one resident said. "The word in town is that Saddam is there," said another. The BBC reported that one of its reporters saw three helicopters hovering over the property of Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tal, who once served as Saddam's Defence Minister. In recent weeks the ousted dictator has reportedly been sighted dressed in an Arab robe, bearded and in sunglasses, moving from hide-out to hide-out using three cars. He has been seen eating a meal in a Bedouin home, and may even have visited a doctor's surgery in Mosul. "This guy's Elvis," General David Patraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, said. A hot-line set up by the US Army for tips on Saddam's whereabouts has been inundated since Washington put a $25m bounty on his head. Mosul is where Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a shootout with US troops in July. It was also in Mosul that Kurdish fighters captured the former Iraqi vice- president Taha Yassin Ramadan on 18 August. Saddam has evaded capture since he was toppled in April. Audiotapes purporting to come from him have been deemed authentic by US intelligence, suggesting that he survived the air strikes intended to kill him during the war. http://www.jordantimes.com/mon/news/news7.htm * US TROOPS LAUNCH ANOTHER RAID IN SEARCH OF IRAQI FIGHTERS, BUT FIND NONE Jordan Times, 1st September HAMREEN, Iraq (AP) ‹ Like many other raids, Operation Arrow Sky began with an impressive display of American fire power. A 67-vehicle convoy of Humvees and Bradleys, backed by Apache helicopter gunships, set out before dawn Sunday for a remote eastern hamlet where US troops suspected five guerrillas were hiding. Searching house-to-house, more than 100 soldiers of the Fort Hood, Texas-based 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery, broke down doors, woke up Iraqi families and separated out the men, ordering them to lie face down at gunpoint. About 13 had their hands tied with plastic zip cuffs, some were blindfolded and taken to a gas station, where they were made to sit, surrounded by barbed wire, while each was questioned. At the end of the operation, the five "primary targets" were not found. Soldiers seized several old, battered Russian-made rifles, a bag-full of electrical wires and used batteries and a homemade light switch, which Maj. Eric Schwegler, the raid commander, said could be used in an explosive device. Immediately after the US-led coalition seized Iraq in April, similar robust raids were catching big fish and depriving the Fedayeen Saddam militia of key guerrilla fighters, organisers and paymasters. But months later, the raids are paying poor returns and have decreased in frequency. Army officials at the 4th Infantry Division, which controls three provinces in the Sunni heartland, where support for Saddam is strongest, said they had launched division-wide Operation Ivy Needle earlier this month in a bid to trap former regime loyalists, Baath Party members and Fedayeen guerrillas in remote areas where the US military has no permanent presence. Maj. Josslyn Aberle, spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry, said midlevel operators, financiers and planners of attacks on coalition forces might have moved from urban centres like Tikrit, Balad and Baqouba into the countryside, hoping to avoid arrest. Sunday's raid came after "human intelligence sources" ‹ the military term usually meaning Iraqi informants ‹ tipped off the army to the presence of suspects in Hamreen, about 20 kilometres east of Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, said Schwegler, 37, from Ozark, Alabama. "We have received information that ex-regime loyalists are operating in the area. They are not necessarily Fedayeen. But the targets were not there," he said. "We have seized 20 secondary objectives" ‹ Iraqis who were detained because they may have information about the original suspects ‹ "but identifying them is a long process because many of them have no proper documentation." "We try to explain to the people that in order to catch a big fish, you have to cast a big net," he said. "In our experience, they understand that." Among those handcuffed was Mnawer Mehsin Ali, who couldn't remember his exact age ‹ 90 or 100. Half deaf, making small steps with the help of a stick, he said he had never seen or heard of any Fedayeen. "This is a clean area," he told reporters, referring to the guerrillas who are suspected of planting a homemade bomb that killed one US soldier from the 4th Battalion earlier this month. Ali's three sons were also detained, along with a 15-year-old. "Our families are scared," said Thani Mushlah, 33, Ali's neighbour who was also rounded up. "This is humiliating. This is an insult. I was sleeping on my roof when the helicopter closed in on my house. They broke down the door, they made me lie face down in front of my children." "We thought the Americans came as liberators. We hoped they came to seek our cooperation, not to insult us," he said. Schwegler, the raid commander, acknowledged that "what we're doing today may seem harsh, but it is to see that everyone is protected." He said suspected Saddam loyalists were increasingly burying caches of weapons and ammunition outside their houses, knowing that US troops search their homes. Soldiers were sweeping across fields with metal detectors in the hunt for arms, he said. Those detained will be interrogated and released if innocent, he added. Sgt. John Gibbs, the interrogating officer, said all those detained were from "targeted houses." As he went about his job, bringing the men one by one behind a wall where he questioned them through an interpreter, the 27-year-old from Redding, California, wondered aloud, "I mean, how many more Fedayeen can you catch?" RESTORING LAW AND ORDER * IRAQIS TO GET POLICE TRAINING IN HUNGARY RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 Washington is planning to send up to 28,000 Iraqis to Eastern Europe for a police-training course, according to "The New York Times" on 25 August. Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner who is now in charge of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said Budapest has given permission for the use of an old Soviet military base for the police academy. "The New York Times" reported that this is the same facility in Taszar at which Iraqi volunteers were trained earlier in the year (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 2 February 2003). Kerik said that the eight-week training course for the first group of 1,500 Iraqis will start in about four months, and they will undergo additional training when they return to Iraq. (Bill Samii) * U.S. TROOPS TO CONTROL PART OF POLISH STABILIZATION ZONE IN IRAQ RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 36, 29 August 2003 Washington has decided to retain military control over the northern area of Iraq's Babil Province, a part of the Polish stabilization zone, PAP reported on 19 August, quoting unidentified Polish commanders in Iraq. PAP's source stressed that the boundaries of the Polish stabilization zone will remain unchanged. Earlier the same day, Polish Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak and Deputy Defense Minister Janusz Zemke told Polish media that part of Babil Province, south of Baghdad, will be transferred out of the Polish stabilization zone, since U.S. forces are reportedly interested in keeping it under their direct control. "This is part of one of the five provinces where Americans have their large logistical base, and this is also where, according to their reconnaissance, some terrorist groups operating in Baghdad get particularly strong support," Zemke told Polish Radio. (Jan Maksymiuk) http://www.canada.com/halifax/aroundtown/story.asp?id=E369B4A8-6302-442D B1C0-320815091352 * CAR BOMB EXPLODES OUTSIDE BAGHDAD POLICE HEADQUARTERS WOUNDING BYSTANDERS by Steven R. Hurst Canadian Press, 2nd September BAGHDAD (AP) - A car bomb exploded near the police headquarters in Baghdad Tuesday, wounding many bystanders, a day after roadside bomb killed two U.S. soldiers. In the holy city of Najaf, the son of a slain religious leader warned Iraq was entering a dangerous new period. Witnesses said many people were wounded in the Baghdad blast, one seriously, but Iraqi police Maj. Bassal al-Ani told The Associated Press there were no fatalities. There was little damage to the police building. Huge plumes of black smoke rose above the scene and U.S. military police and Iraqi police cordoned off the area. One man, who had a shrapnel wound in his left arm, said he saw a hand laying in the road. "There was debris blown everywhere," said Raad Majid, 27, whose arm was bandaged. He said he was about 30 metres away when the blast occurred. Acting Baghdad police chief Hassan al-Obeidi has offices in the headquarters building and is closely associated with the U.S.-led occupation authority, especially former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who put al-Obeidi in his position. Kerik has been in Iraq to rebuild the country's police force. Al-Obeidi was shot in the leg at the end of July during a weapons raid in downtown Baghdad. The day after the raid, he moved a bed into his office so he could continue to command the police force. The police headquarters is not far from the Iraqi Interior Ministry building. On Monday, two soldiers from the U.S. army's 2nd Battalion of the 20th Military Police Brigade were killed when a bomb went off beside their convoy in southern Iraq. Another soldier was wounded. The U.S. military provided no other details. In all, 282 U.S. soldiers have died in the Iraq war, 147 of that number since the end of heavy fighting. [.....] http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/02_09_03_i.asp * US ŒSTRATEGY OF CHAOS¹ IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN A daily selection of views from the Middle East and North Africa, compiled and translated by The Daily Star Lebanon Daily Star, 2nd September [.....] Al-Rai al-Aam (Khartoum) Writing for the government-operated daily, Salah al-Aghbash, a retired lieutenant in Sudan, accused the United States and Israel of implementing a ³a strategy of chaos² in the Middle East and North Africa region. ³As one western expert pointed out, the United States is using the strategy of chaos which promotes instability and the absence of security with an objective to weaken Arab governments leading them into a some sort of a civil war,² he added. The writer said that this is exactly what has been happening in ³Palestine where the aim was to create a division between the government and the different resistance groups. In addition to this, Israel is cracking down on Palestinians by a systematic destruction of their homes and farms. ³As a result economic conditions deteriorates and unemployment increases and Israel¹s strategy to dominate the Palestinians would have prevailed,² the writer said. Aghbash affirmed that people in Sudan have been living in a similar political and military climate, which has become the focus for Americans and Israeli hawks. ³Consequently the US strategy of chaos is not far from our borders,² he warned. The writer concluded that this ³strategy of chaos² has paralyzed the financial, economic and security institutions in Sudan. It also diminished the morale of people after they lost their livelihood and their country¹s stability. [.....] Jomhuri-ye Eslami (Tehran) ³The plot to assassinate Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim Š was undoubtedly planned by the US and implemented by local mercenaries under US control,² the government-owned daily charged. ³As far as local US mercenaries are concerned, one should not forget the role of the Monafeqin (hypocrites, a pejorative reference to the Mujahideen Khalq) Š As they are Shiite Iranians, the Monafeqin can easily infiltrate Iraqi Shiite circles,² the paper suggested. [.....] http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&ncid=736&e=2&u=/ap/20030 902/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_s_borders * IRAQ'S NEIGHBORS WORK TO CONTROL BORDERS by Jamal Halaby, Associated Press Writer Yahoo, 2nd September AMMAN, Jordan - Iraq (news - web sites) has six neighbors and over 1,900 miles of rugged desert terrain along a porous frontier. As reports emerge that foreign extremists are slipping in to fight Americans, those neighbors claim they are not to blame and are in fact working to prevent any terrorist influx. No one can guarantee their efforts are terrorist-proof. But none of Iraq's six neighbors want to be seen as abetting anti-U.S. guerrillas ‹ whether they are U.S. allies like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, or reluctant bedfellows like Syria and Iran, whose relations with Washington are strained. Following Friday's bombing in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf that killed a senior cleric and 124 other people, Iraqi police said they detained 19 suspects including Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Palestinians with Jordanian passports who had entered from Kuwait, Syria and Jordan. They said all were believed to have links to Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al-Qaida terror network. U.S. officials, meanwhile, say their troops in Iraq have detained fighters with papers indicating they came from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. U.S. investigators were still trying to confirm the fighters' identities and determine their travel routes. Two weeks ago, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Arabic-language al Jazeera TV that foreign fighters were coming in from Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. He said he could not say if those governments were responsible "but as a minimum I can state that ... these fighters are not being stopped at the borders." A Syrian Foreign Ministry official said last week that President Bashar Assad had told Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) during Powell's May visit that America was now responsible for ensuring that no fighters slip through the borders since it was occupying Iraq. Diplomats in Syria say the busloads of volunteer fighters that went into Iraq from Syria before and during the war have ebbed, but unknown numbers are crossing the 310-mile Syrian-Iraqi border. The diplomats say they see no evidence of Syrian government involvement, which insists it stands with America in the war against terror despite differences on Israel and other issues. Syrians say the open desert frontier is hard to control. Like Syria, Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally under pressure to show it can be tough on Islamic militancy, holds America responsible for securing at least one side of the Iraq border. "They are the occupying force," Saudi foreign policy adviser Adel al-Jubeir told The Associated Press last week. Shepherds move freely between Saudi Arabia and Iraq along a 500-mile desert border, and volunteer fighters appear to be doing likewise. Those following Saudi extremists have noted Internet memorials to Saudis said to have died fighting the Americans and heard of Saudis in Iraq calling friends back home to tell them about successful operations in an effort to recruit more fighters. Iran also has found its border hard to close. More than 100 Iranians have died of thirst, in land mine explosions or at the hands of armed robbers while crossing into Iraq during the past four months to visit Shiite Muslim holy sites, according to Iranian media reports. Dozens of pilgrims are believed to take mountain tracks into Iraq daily despite repeated government warnings that the journey is dangerous. When America was preparing to invade Iraq, Iran declared it was preventing militants from crossing its 800-mile border to fight U.S. forces. Iran was no friend of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites). On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iranian forces were trying to stop illegal crossings but gave no further details. Little has been heard about militants crossing from Turkey into Iraq. The 150-mile border is heavily guarded because of Turkey's concerns about Kurdish militants crossing into Turkey from Iraq. Kuwait is restricting cross-border traffic along its 120-mile border, the emirate's acting Interior Ministry undersecretary, Maj. Gen. Abdullah al-Faris, was quoted as saying this weekend. Asked if some terrorists may have entered Iraq from Kuwait as businessmen or merchants, he said: "I cannot confirm nor deny this, because our security bodies have not registered any case of infiltration and no terrorist was arrested in Iraq who mentioned Kuwait as his crossing point." In Jordan, Prime Minister Ali Abul-Ragheb told parliament Sunday that Jordan had tightened border controls with Iraq to "protect our national security." He provided few details. Security officials, speaking said on condition of anonymity, said that intelligence officers have been questioning Jordanians and foreigners seeking to exit the kingdom at Iraqi border points. Jordan has deployed soldiers at short intervals along 62-mile border with Iraq. It also dug 10-foot-deep ditches and built sand walls 20 feet high at points along the border to block smugglers ‹ mostly roaming Bedouins who traffic in sheep, weapons, and drugs. While the Jordanian government is friendly to Washington, many of its people were angered when the U.S. invaded to topple Saddam, and now accuse the coalition of doing too little to restore order. Walid Abu Yehya, 22, was among 40 people who attended a meeting Sunday in Amman to gather support for the "Iraqi resistance." He said he tried to enter Iraq to fight in March, but Jordanian border police turned him back. The clean-shaven, jean-clad computer science student said he yearned to be a "soldier in Iraq." "When I see the Americans there, I feel humiliated and angry," he said. DEATH OF THE PRETEXT http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_1.html * REPORT: U.S SUSPECTS IRAQI WMD IN LEBANON'S BEKAA VALLEY worldtribune.com, 26th August U.S. intelligence suspects Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have finally been located. Unfortunately, getting to them will be nearly impossible for the United States and its allies, because the containers with the strategic materials are not in Iraq. Instead they are located in Lebanon's heavily-fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents, Geostrategy-Direct.com will report in Wednesday's new weekly edition. U.S. intelligence first identified a stream of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebaon in January 2003. The significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time. U.S. intelligence sources believe the area contains extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads. Mutually-lucrative Iraqi-Syrian arms transactions are nothing new. Firas Tlas, son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas, has been the key to Syria's rogue alliance with Iraq. He and Assad made hundreds of millions of dollars selling weapons, oil and drugs to and from Iraq, according to the May 13, 2003 edition of Geostrategy-Direct.com. The CIA now believes a multi-million dollar deal between Iraq and Syria provided for the hiding and safekeeping of Saddam's strategic weapons. Not surprisingly, U.S. inquiries in Beirut and Syria are being met with little substantive response, U.S. officials said. NO URL * U.S. SUSPECTS IT RECEIVED FALSE IRAQ ARMS TIPS by Bob Drogin Los Angeles Times, 28th August WASHINGTON ‹ Frustrated at the failure to find Saddam Hussein's suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have launched a major effort to determine if they were victims of bogus Iraqi defectors who planted disinformation to mislead the West before the war. The goal, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, "is to see if false information was put out there and got into legitimate channels and we were totally duped on it." He added, "We're reinterviewing all our sources of information on this. This is the entire intelligence community, not just the U.S." The far-reaching review was started after a political firestorm erupted this summer over revelations that President Bush's claim in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had sought to import uranium from Niger was based on forged documents. Although senior CIA officials insist that defectors were only partly responsible for the intelligence that triggered the decision to invade Iraq in March, other intelligence officials now fear that key portions of the prewar information may have been flawed. The issue raises fresh doubts as to whether illicit weapons will be found in Iraq. As evidence, officials say former Iraqi operatives have confirmed since the war that Hussein's regime sent "double agents" disguised as defectors to the West to plant fabricated intelligence. In other cases, Baghdad apparently tricked legitimate defectors into funneling phony tips about weapons production and storage sites. "They were shown bits of information and led to believe there was an active weapons program, only to be turned loose to make their way to Western intelligence sources," said the senior intelligence official. "Then, because they believe it, they pass polygraph tests ... and the planted information becomes true to the West, even if it was all made up to deceive us." Critics had charged that the Bush administration exaggerated intelligence on Iraq to bolster support for the war. The broader question now is whether some of the actual intelligence was fabricated and U.S. officials failed to detect it. One U.S. intelligence official said analysts may have been too eager to find evidence to support the White House's claims. As a result, he said, defectors "were just telling us what we wanted to hear." Hussein's motives for such a deliberate disinformation scheme may have been to bluff his enemies abroad, from Washington to Tehran, by sending false signals of his military might. Experts also say the dictator's defiance of the West, and its fear of his purported weapons of mass destruction, boosted his prestige at home and was a critical part of his power base in the Arab world. Hussein also may have gambled that the failure of United Nations weapons inspectors to find specific evidence identified by bogus defectors ultimately would force the Security Council to lift sanctions imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. U.S. officials now believe Hussein hoped to then covertly reconstitute his weapons programs. "We're looking at that and every other possibility," the first intelligence official said. "You can't rule anything out.... People are really second-guessing themselves now." The current focus on Iraqi defectors reflects a new skepticism within the Iraq Survey Group, the 1,400-member team responsible for finding any illicit arms. In interviews, several current and former members expressed growing disappointment over the inconclusive results of the search so far. "We were prisoners of our own beliefs," said a senior U.S. weapons expert who recently returned from a stint with the survey group. "We said Saddam Hussein was a master of denial and deception. Then when we couldn't find anything, we said that proved it, instead of questioning our own assumptions." The survey group is jointly led by David Kay, a former U.N. nuclear inspector who was named a CIA special advisor in June, and Army Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, who headed the "human intelligence" service at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Kay has said he will issue a preliminary report next month. Evidence collected over the last two months suggests that Hussein's regime abandoned large scale weapons development and production programs in favor of a much smaller "just in time" operation that could churn out poison gases or germ agents if they were suddenly needed, survey group members say. The transition supposedly took place between 1996 and 2000. But survey group mobile collection teams are still unable to prove that any nerve gases or microbe weapons were produced during or after that period, the officials said. Indeed, the weapons hunters have yet to find proof that any chemical or bio-warfare agents were produced after 1991. The veracity of defectors is a key part of the puzzle, but only one aspect of it. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell quoted several defector accounts in February, when he presented U.S. findings to the United Nations Security Council in an unsuccessful bid to win broad backing for military action in Iraq. But Powell also cited spy satellites, electronic intercepts of telephone and other communications, reports from U.N. inspectors and other intelligence sources. Some defectors have come under fire previously. U.S. experts have long questioned the value of informants provided by pro-invasion Iraqi opposition groups in exile, saying they routinely padded their resumes or exaggerated their knowledge in exchange for asylum, visas or money. The CIA and the State Department, in particular, distanced themselves from Iraqi defectors handed over by the Iraqi National Congress, a London-based umbrella group headed by Ahmad Chalabi. CIA and State Department officials repeatedly warned that the group's intelligence network had proved unreliable in the past. Senior Pentagon officials, however, supported the former Iraqi banker's bid as a possible successor to Hussein. Chalabi, who now sits on the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad, has said his group provided the Defense Intelligence Agency with three defectors who had personal knowledge of Hussein's illicit weapons programs. One, an Iraqi engineer, told the DIA in 2001 that he knew the location of biological weapons. However, no bioweapons have been found at the sites he named. A second defector from Chalabi's group described what he said were mobile labs that could produce several hundred tons of biowarfare agents per year. The CIA has concluded that two trucks found in northern Iraq after the war were probably designed for biowarfare, but outside experts have sharply disputed those claims. U.S. intelligence authorities dismissed the third defector, who claimed to be an expert in nuclear isotope separation, as a fraud. The CIA launched its own internal review of intelligence in February before the war but did not re-interview defectors. The four-member panel, headed by Richard Kerr, former CIA deputy director, has only reviewed "finished" intelligence, not the "raw" reports that form their basis. The panel is awaiting the Iraq Survey Group report before judging whether CIA assessments were on target. "So far, all they did was look at documents and see if they were well founded, and if the conclusions were justified based on the underlying intelligence," said a CIA spokesman. "Now they're waiting to see the outcome of what we find [in Iraq] so they can compare the two. It's in limbo." With the Iraq Survey Group still at work, CIA and Pentagon officials declined to make Kay or Dayton, its leaders, available for interviews. But other survey group members, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security clearances they are required to sign, said the evidence reviewed so far ‹ including more than 30 million pages of documents ‹ still doesn't support charges that Hussein secretly built chemical and biological weapons after U.N. inspectors were forced out of Iraq in 1998, as the Bush administration repeatedly warned. "I haven't heard anyone run into the SOG [Survey Operations Center] saying, 'Eureka! We found the smoking gun,' " said a senior survey group member. "It's all still murky as hell." The issue of timing is critical because a formal U.S. intelligence estimate sent to the White House and Congress in October starkly warned that Iraq had "begun renewed production" of mustard, sarin, cyclosarin and VX nerve gases and had 100 to 500 tons of chemical agents, "much of it added in the last year." The report also said that "most of the key aspects" of Iraq's bioweapons program "were more advanced" than before the 1991 war. Evidence recently found by survey teams in Iraq includes detailed schedules, outlines and instruction sheets, among other documents, indicating covert plans to purchase and install "dual use" equipment in civilian laboratories and factories that could be quickly converted to military use if an order were suddenly issued. "We've got a whole lot of documents that would substantiate a 'just in time' capability," said one of the recently returned survey team members. "They set up dual-use facilities so they could cook up what they needed, when they needed it. But otherwise they would be making whiter-than-white washing detergent or something." In addition, some Iraqi scientists and technicians have claimed during interrogation that chemical and biological agents were produced under the "just in time" system as recently as 2002. But other Iraqis have said the system was never used or only produced small "test batches" in the mid- to late 1990s. "We have some people who say, 'Yes, we were doing it,' or who say they exercised the production periodically," said the former survey official. "But you try to pursue it and it's not a clear picture. What they did with the material is unclear. If they did produce, what did they do with the results? If you just have a textbook or something on paper, that doesn't mean you can actually make this stuff. It's all still very fuzzy." Another former survey team member said the evidence of a "just in time" program justifies the prewar concerns, even if the program was never activated. "To me, there's no difference between finding a warehouse full of aerial bombs with nerve gas and a pencil-and-paper plan that will allow them to use their existing production capabilities to produce those same weapons in one week's time," he said. U.N. weapons inspectors who scoured Iraq from 1991 to 1998 also theorized that Hussein sought to hide new weapons programs in civilian factories, hospitals and laboratories. Hussein had hidden much of his chemical and biological weapons production in pesticide plants, water-treatment facilities and other civilian infrastructure in the 1980s, but the U.N. teams found no newly built production operations in the 1990s. Kay and Dayton briefed the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees behind closed doors in late July. They later told reporters that the survey group was making "solid progress" in unraveling Hussein's illicit programs. That led to sharp criticism from some Democrats. "I remain cautious about whether we're going to find actual WMD," said Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Not just a program, but the very extensive weapons ‹ ready for attack ‹ that we all were told existed." Rockefeller said he was "concerned" that the weapons hunters had not found "the 25,000 liters of anthrax, the 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin and the 500 tons of mustard, sarin and VX nerve gas" that Bush cited in his State of the Union speech in January. Administration officials say they are still confident that weapons of mass destruction will be found. They note a sharp increase in the number of Iraqis providing useful information over the last month. One such tip last week led to a cache of shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles in northern Iraq, officials said. In a television interview on Sunday, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited the discovery this month of about 30 Soviet-era high-speed fighters and reconnaissance aircraft that had been buried in desert sands near the Taqqadum airfield west of Baghdad. U.S. troops had been operating in the area for more than three months before a sandstorm exposed a tail fin. "They went to extraordinary lengths to bury an aircraft," Myers said. "A 55-gallon drum with anthrax in it would be a lot more difficult to find and dig up. So it will work ... and we'll find what we're after." http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=439053 * ARTICLE REVEALS THAT KELLY THOUGHT INVASION WAS ONLY WAY TO END IRAQI WEAPONS THREAT by Andrew Grice The Independent, 1st September Dr David Kelly supported military action against Iraq even though he believed the threat posed by its weapons of mass destruction was "modest", he wrote in a report that came to light yesterday. As Dr Kelly's widow and one of his daughters prepared to give evidence to the Hutton inquiry via a video link today, an article written by the government scientist became known. It said military action was the only way of "conclusively disarming" Saddam Hussein. The article, written anonymously for a report on Iraq shortly before the war but never published, has been sent to Lord Hutton's inquiry into Dr Kelly's death. His views, those of an expert on Iraq's WMD, could give Tony Blair some unexpected relief amid growing doubts the war was justified. Dr Kelly wrote: "Iraq has spent the past 30 years building up an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Although the current threat presented by Iraq militarily is modest, both in terms of conventional and unconventional weapons, it has never given up its intent to develop and stockpile such weapons for both military and terrorist use." The scientist dismissed the apparent co-operation by Iraq with UN inspectors before the war, saying that Saddam's regime "continues to mislead the international community. It is difficult to imagine co- operation being properly established unless credible Iraqi officials are put into place by a changed Saddam." Dr Kelly argued: "After 12 unsuccessful years of UN supervision of disarmament, military force regrettably appears to be the only way of finally and conclusively disarming Iraq. "War may now be inevitable. The proportionality and intensity of the conflict will depend on whether regime change or disarmament is the true objective. The US, and whoever willingly assists it, should ensure that the force, strength and strategy used is appropriate to the modest threat that Iraq now poses. "The long-term threat, however, remains Iraq's development to military maturity of WMD - something that only regime change will avert." Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, insisted the decision by the House of Commons to approve military action was still justified. He told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost programme: "I believed that military action had been necessary in the light of Saddam's past record of defiance of the United Nations and the unanswered questions about his weapons programmes." He refused to predict that the Iraq Survey Group now hunting for WMD would find any. "I can't say precisely what will be discovered. No one can say that," he said. 'ONLY REGIME CHANGE WILL AVERT THREAT' This is an edited extract from Dr Kelly's article on Iraqi weapons: "Some of the chemical and biological weapons deployed in 1991 are still available, albeit on a reduced scale. Aerial bombs and rockets are readily available to be filled with sarin, VX and mustard or botulinum toxin, anthrax spores and smallpox. More sophisticated weaponry, such as spray devices associated with drones or missiles with separating warheads, may be limited in numbers, but would be far more devastating if used. "The threat from Iraq's chemical and biological weapons is, however, unlikely to substantially affect the operational capabilities of US and British troops. Nor is it likely to create massive casualties in adjacent countries. Perhaps the real threat from Iraq today comes from covert use of such weapons against troops or by terrorists against civilian targets worldwide. The link with al-Qa'ida is disputed, but is, in any case, not the principal terrorist link of concern. Iraq has long trained and supported terrorist activities and is quite capable of initiating such activity using its security services. "The long-term threat, however, remains Iraq's development to military maturity of weapons of mass destruction - something that only regime change will avert." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk