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[casi] Survey Group head's link to arms industry

It seems to me to be a political mistake by Bush to have taken over
the hunt for WMD in Iraq. Whatever they claim to find will be seen as
suspect so Bush is on to a loser. Not really his own fault but that
of his advisers. There again, it could be argued that they knew that
there was nothing to be found ... Alternatively, they didn't want
information about suppliers getting out (mostly the US and other
Western states). Remember that Iraq's WMD declaration was 'handled'
by the US.

To be fair to David Kay, on being given this job he said that he was
surprised that nothing had been found by the invading troops and that
his own reputation was at stake.

Assuming he was a believer then where did the WMD 'intelligence' come
from? A foreign government? There were plenty of signals that the
Iraqis had got rid of their WMD over a decade ago and that they were
desperate to get the sanctions lifted.

I can't see the answers coming out here in the UK where information
is so closely controlled and the government can't be held to account.
Also, Blair is so much more slippery than Bush. The truth is more
likely to come out of the US.

Perhaps the ISG is mainly to buy time for Bush just as the Hutton
inquiry has bought time for Blair?

05 October 2003

For at least 10 years David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, has
staked his professional and business reputation on the case that Iraq
was a serious threat.

He was a frequent pundit on US television shows, making the case for
regime change in blunt language. He called the attempt by Kofi Annan,
the UN Secretary General, to broker an effective inspections process
in 1998 "worse than useless"; claimed in 2002 that Iraq was pursuing
its weapons of mass destruction in order to bring about the
elimination of the state of Israel; and said before entering Iraq
that the Coalition would find not just a "smoking gun", but a
"smoking arsenal".

Until October last year, Mr Kay was the vice-president of a major San
Diego-based defence contractor, Science Applications International
Corporation (SAIC), co-ordinating its homeland security and counter-
terrorism initiatives. It was while he held this role that he claimed
that Iraq could launch terrorist attacks on the US mainland.

SAIC was in the headlines earlier this year when it was revealed that
the US government had given it a contract three years ago to produce
mobile biological vans for training purposes. Until February SAIC's
corporate vice-president was Christopher Ryan Henry, now a senior
policy official at the Pentagon.

SAIC's spokesman acknowledged earlier this year that the company is
deeply involved in the current war in Iraq, including its role in
leading a $650m contract for services and support for the US army.
Among other activities, the company runs the US-funded radio station
in Umm Qasr, "Voice of the New Iraq", and helps to provide senior
advisers to the US occupation authorities in Baghdad. It is not known
if Mr Kay retains financial interests in SAIC.

Glen Rangwala The Independent

Mark Parkinson

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