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[casi] News, 6-13/12/02 (1)

News, 6-13/12/02 (1)


*  U.N. Has Long List of Iraq Questions
*  Saddam: What a fiasco
*  Blix not convinced by US claims on Iraq
*  New Group of Weapons Inspectors Arrives
*  Ex-Inspector Reviews Iraqi Declaration
*  U.N. Inspectors Back at Iraqi Nuke Site
*  US and UK admit lack of 'killer' proof
*  Inspectors tackle uranium mine
*  UN Arms Experts Probe Missile and Tank Parts Factory Outside Baghdad
*  U.N. still awaits list of scientists
*  Arms suppliers to Iraq will be kept secret
*  Other comment: Pull scientists out of Iraq
*  UN inspectors at work as US secures base for attack
*  US Rejects Criticism of Handling of Iraq Documents
*  Former U.S. Diplomat Talks Iraq Strategy


*  U.S. Circulates New List of Iraq Imports
*  U.S. Approved Sale of Atropine
*  U.N. Approves Payment of More Gulf War Damage

g questions1207dec06,0,3336320.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dworld%2Dheadlines

by Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press, 7th December

UNITED NATIONS -- How much anthrax did Iraq actually produce and was it all
destroyed as Baghdad claims? Where are 550 artillery shells that it filled
with mustard gas? Why were no remnants found of warheads for 50 long-range
missiles that Iraq said it destroyed?

As Iraq prepared the declaration of its nuclear, chemical, biological and
missile programs that it will hand to U.N. inspectors on Saturday, it had a
roadmap of unanswered questions from the former U.N. inspection agency and
an international panel of experts.

"These questions have been on the table for some time, and we hope that
Iraq's new declaration might address them," said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman
for the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. The
commission is in charge of eliminating Iraq's chemical, biological and
missile programs.

Soon after U.N. inspectors left Baghdad in December 1998 ahead of U.S. and
British airstrikes to punish the Iraqi government for its lack of
cooperation, former chief weapons inspector Richard Butler produced a
280-page report on the state of Iraq's disarmament.

Butler said inspectors remained strongly convinced that Baghdad had
documents that would reveal "the full picture" of its weapons programs --
but had refused to hand them over.

The report said Iraq must submit a full accounting of its biological warfare
program, which Butler once called "a black hole."

U.N. inspectors had destroyed a substantial portion of Iraq's chemical
weapons and made a pretty good account of illegal missiles, though questions
still remained, Butler said. For example, it was never established what
happened to all the deadly VX nerve agent that Iraq produced.

But the same could not be said of biological weapons. Iraq first denied
having them and later tried to downplay the number and quality of its stock,
Butler said.

The report lists biological agents Iraq produced including deadly botullinum
toxin, anthrax and ricin; gas gangrene, which rots flesh; and aflatoxin,
which causes liver cancer. Baghdad also said it did research on rotavirus,
which causes diarrhea; and hemorrhagic conjunctivitis virus, which affects
the eyes.

The report cites Iraq's failures to account for all stocks of biological
agents and the material used to grow the agents. Inspectors said, for
example, that they believe Iraq produced three times the amount of anthrax
and 16 times more gas gangrene than Baghdad declared.

An international panel that made recommendations to the Security Council on
Iraq's disarmament in March 1999 said "critical gaps" in Iraq's biological
program "need to be filled to arrive at a reasonably complete picture."

It noted that biological warfare agents can be produced using simple
equipment and Iraq possesses the capability and knowledge to produce them
"quickly and in volume."

The panel said Iraq needed to account for 500 R-400 aerial bombs equipped
for chemical and biological agents, for 550 artillery shells filled with
mustard gas that it claimed to have lost shortly after the 1991 Persian Gulf
War, and for its military plans to use VX, the deadly nerve agent.

As for its long-range missiles, it said Baghdad must explain why no remnants
of warheads for 50 missiles that the government says it unilaterally
destroyed were recovered. Iraq must also account for seven locally produced
missiles and missile fuel it claims to have destroyed on its own, the panel

Nuclear inspectors discovered that Iraq had imported thousands of pounds of
uranium, some of which was already refined for weapons use, and had
considered two types of nuclear delivery systems. Inspectors seized the
uranium, destroyed facilities, and confiscated thousands of documents.

But "questions remain with regard to the lack of certain technical
documentation, external assistance to Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons
program, and Iraq's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program," the panel

by William Shawcross
The Sun, 7th December

[William Shawcross is an expert on international affairs and author of
Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon And The Destruction Of Cambodia.]

ARE the UN inspections in Iraq useless? They have been there for ten days
and have found no traces of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

But both the US and Britain KNOW that Saddam has chemical, biological and
nuclear programmes.

He has had years to hide them. The problem is there are too few inspectors,
they are poorly led and they are not looking in the right places.

Unless the inspection process is toughened up, it risks descending into

Meanwhile, Saddam is trying to bury the truth even deeper under thousands of
pages of documents.

With tomorrow's deadline for declaring all his weapons of mass destruction,
Saddam is trying to run rings around the UN and the inspection process the
US reluctantly endorsed.

There is a real danger he could succeed. Unless the inspection process is
dramatically toughened up, it does not appear capable of achieving anything
more than a fiasco.

While the inspectors search without success, the US is just giving Saddam
enough rope to hang himself with his deceitful report before they tell the
UN team exactly where they should be looking and what for.

Under last month's UN Security Council Resolution, Saddam was given a "final
opportunity" to confess to all his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons

The unanimous Security Council demanded he allow back the UN inspectors and
produce a full declaration by tomorrow.

The Iraqis have now said they will deliver sackloads of documents  13,000
pages  to the UN today.

Is Saddam finally going to reveal the truth? Never. He constantly produced
"full and final declarations" in the 1990s  all lies. These 13,000 pages
will be in Arabic and you can bet almost all will be irrelevant.

One problem is that many things have peaceful and military uses. The
inspectors have to decide whether chemicals and cauldrons are being used to
make fertilisers or bombs.

You can expect a lot about baby food and paint in the documents, far less
about anthrax spores and sarin gas.

Few of these pages will help the UN find the weapons. And they will take a
long time to translate and analyse. Saddam knows time is on his side. He
divided the west in the 1990s and he is trying to do so again.

There is also concern about the inspectors. Hans Blix, their leader, is a
former Swedish foreign minister.

In the 1980s, as head of the Atomic Energy Agency he declared Iraq had no
nuclear weapons programme. This was rubbish.

After the Gulf War we discovered the Iraqi dictator was only months away
from producing a bomb.

With such a record, Blix was not the UN's first choice for this job. But
Iraq wanted him and their friends on the Security Council, France and
Russia, rejected a chief inspector with a proven track record.

Blix started the process with far too few people. Only 17 inspectors have so
far been on the road in Iraq.

He is apparently set on being the hero who avoids war. But a weak inspection
process WILL lead to war.

Until now, Blix's inspections have been easy. The UN teams have been to a
grotesquely self indulgent palace which Saddam built for himself as his
people starved.

In 1998 he put such huge complexes out of bounds to the UN so there is a
symbolism in being allowed in this time.

But no one expected Saddam to have anything serious hidden there.

The inspectors also visited the Nasr State Establishment and Al-Daura Foot
And Mouth Vaccine Facility  both part of the biological weapons programme.
But that does not mean weapons were actually made there.

For example, the Nasr State establishment made aerial bombs that were later
filled with chemical and biological agents elsewhere.

Many weapons are believed to be on trucks, constantly moving.

There are reports that Saddam ordered Iraqi scientists to take incriminating
material home  so there are families with barrels of anthrax in the back
yard, suitcases of radioactive isotopes under the bed.

US reaction to the inspection process is mixed. Colin Powell, the Secretary
of State, has said the inspectors had made "a good start".

But George Bush has said the inspections are "not encouraging".

Asked if war was coming, Bush replied: "That's a question you should ask
Saddam Hussein." Now the real action begins.

Once Washington has looked through Saddam's 13,000 pages, it can tell the
inspectors where to search for the "smoking guns"  nuclear triggers, vats
of poison, missile warheads  all the parts of weapons the documents do not

If Blix is to be seen to be serious he must order much more aggressive
inspections. Then the Iraqis will suddenly become much less co-operative.
And that will trigger and justify Anglo-American action.

The latest UN resolution says that false statements and a lack of
co-operation together would constitute a "material breach" of the resolution
 which would authorise military intervention by the US and Britain.

We are not there yet. But the UN process, very necessary for diplomatic
reasons, cannot compel Saddam to surrender his deadly weapons. Only US and
British pressure can do that.

Success could have many forms. US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said:
"A nice outcome would be for Saddam to leave the country."

Many of Iraq's Arab neighbours are secretly prepared to help the US get rid
of Saddam. But they have to know that this time it is for real and the US
will not falter.

The timetable is not yet certain. But finding and destroying Saddam's
biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programmes is essential.

And as the Foreign Office's chilling report on Saddam's human rights abuses
this week made clear, there can be no stable, decent Iraq until Saddam is
removed forever.

Times of India (from AFP), 8th December

STOCKHOLM: Chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix, who is to examine Iraq's arms
declaration in the coming days, said on Sunday he had yet to see convincing
evidence presented from the United States that Iraq possessed banned

"We are not claiming that (Iraq) still has weapons of mass destruction but
the British and the Americans are. They feel that they have secret material
that proves it but we have been given no such material," Blix told Swedish
Radio in an interview.

"We just have questions," he added.

"They have talked about aluminium pipes that can be used as centrifuges to
enrich uranium. Others believe that they can be used for other purposes," he
said, adding that he hoped Baghdad had clarified such matters in its arms

The 11,807-page dossier, which Baghdad says confirms it has no weapons of
mass destruction, will be transmitted to the United Nations in New York and
Vienna on Monday.

Washington is threatening to attack Iraq if the declaration is not deemed

Blix said that if Baghdad was found to have lied about weapons of mass
destruction then it "would naturally be in trouble".

"The (UN) Security Council has clearly said that this is a last chance that
they are being given and we hope they understand that to be literally," he

by Bassem Mroue
Newsday, from Associated Press, 8th December

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The U.N. weapons inspections team more than doubled in size
Sunday with the arrival of reinforcements to speed up the probe into Iraq's
possible nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.

As the 25 new inspectors arrived, U.N. monitors who have been on the ground
for two weeks went about their daily rounds -- including a surprise visit to
the State Company for Geological Survey and Mining here in the capital,

A nuclear team spent about two hours in the two-building complex, which in
the past was involved in uranium processes that could help prepare fuel for
nuclear bombs.

Earlier Sunday at the Baghdad airport, the first of eight helicopters
destined for the U.N. operation was being assembled after being flown in as
cargo a day earlier. With the helicopters, arms monitors can range farther
afield on their surprise inspections.


The new inspectors are 21 nuclear experts from the atomic agency, and four
specialists from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC), U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki said.

Ueki, who arrived with the inspectors from a U.N. base in Cyprus, said 20 to
30 more inspectors, most of them from UNMOVIC, were to arrive Tuesday.

By the end of December, 80 to 100 U.N. experts will be making daily
inspections in Iraq, U.N. officials say.

Monitors on Sunday refused to comment about their duties, as usual, to
journalists waiting outside inspection sites. But Iraqi officials at the
State Company for Geological Survey and Mining invited in reporters after
the inspectors left.

The company's chief geologist, Moussa Jaafar al-Attiyah, called it "an
ordinary visit," similar to 10 U.N. inspections of the site in the 1990s.
Asked whether he found the inspection humiliating, as some Iraqis have
suggested, al-Attiyah said: "You are right. This is not a welcome visit."

Al-Attiyah, who has worked at the site for 35 years, said the inspectors
asked to check offices and laboratories. He said they looked for equipment
inventoried and tagged by their predecessors in the 1990s, to ensure they
were not moved.

Another inspection team, including chemical specialists, visited a pesticide
plant outside Falluja, 30 miles west of Baghdad. Pesticide-making equipment
and components can be used to produce chemical weapons.

So far, the U.N. teams have largely revisited sites inspected by their
predecessors in the 1990s to ensure that equipment is where it should be and
that no banned items were being produced.
by Dafna Linzer
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 9th December


The deal for the distribution, reached late Sunday, outraged Syria because
it reversed an agreement among council members Friday that would have let
inspectors remove sensitive material - including possible recipes for
bomb-making material - from the 12,000 page document before showing the
report to anyone.

The United States had initially accepted that deal but changed its mind over
the weekend and began consultations for a new arrangement.

Eventually, U.S. officials instructed Colombian Ambassador Alfonso
Valdivieso, the current Security Council president, to hand over the
complete copy of the declaration, which to the astonishment of many in the
U.N. halls, he did.


by Bassem Mroue
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 9th December

BAGHDAD, Iraq- U.N. weapons inspectors visited a rebuilt Iraqi chlorine
plant Monday that intelligence analysts fear could mask chemical
weapons-making and a sprawling nuclear complex at the heart of Baghdad's
failed bid in the 1980s to build a nuclear bomb.

It was the inspectors' first visit to the Falluja II chlorine plant, 30
miles west of Baghdad, since they resumed their work two weeks ago after a
four-year break.

The plant produces chlorine for civilian uses, such as water treatment, as
well as caustic soda solution and hydrochloric acid, the plant's director
Thair Hazem said. Chlorine can be used in making chemical weapons.

At the al-Tuwaitha nuclear plant, the U.N. teams sought to ensure Iraqi
scientists did not resume nuclear weapons research during the four years
there were no inspectors in the country. Recent satellite photos show new
construction at al-Tuwaitha.

Faiz al-Bayrakdar, the complex adviser, told reporters 16 inspectors visited
the site Monday.

A day earlier, a top science adviser to President Saddam Hussein said the
massive report Baghdad submitted to the United Nations outlined Iraq's
effort to build a nuclear bomb until the 1991 Gulf War. The adviser, Lt.
Gen. Amer al-Saadi, said Iraq no longer has such a program.

Last Wednesday, in their first visit to al-Tuwaitha, specialists of the
International Atomic Energy Agency - the U.N. nuclear watchdog - spent five
hours going "room to room," team leader Jacques Baute reported afterward.
But they needed more time to complete their inspection of the complex of
more than 100 buildings, he said.

Many buildings at al-Tuwaitha, 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, were destroyed
in heavy U.S. bombing in the Gulf War. Through the 1990s, it was scrutinized
by U.N. nuclear agency inspectors under a postwar U.N. monitoring regime to
ensure Iraq did not develop weapons of mass destruction.

Those inspections stopped in 1998 amid U.N.-Iraqi disputes. The current
round began Nov. 27 under a new, tougher U.N. Security Council resolution.

The weapons inspectors spent four hours at Falluja II, which was destroyed
in 1991 and rebuilt three years later. The team arrived in six U.N.
vehicles, then split into two groups, Hazem said, one meeting with officials
and another searching the compound. Some of the inspectors were seen wearing
special protection uniforms during their work.

"It's all very civil production," Hazem said.

Asked whether he would go abroad to be interviewed by inspectors, as the
U.N. resolution says, Hazem said: "If they want to speak with us, they can
speak with us here. We are Iraqis and we don't leave Iraq."

The U.N. operation received reinforcements on Sunday. About 25 new
inspectors arrived, doubling the staff and allowing for a rapid expansion of
field missions. Over the weekend, the U.N. teams also got the first of an
expected eight helicopters that will enable them to range farther afield on
their unannounced inspections.,3604,857063,00.html

by Julian Borger in Washington, Nick Paton-Walsh in Moscow, Ewen MacAskill
and Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, 10th December


In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that much of
the 2,400-page nuclear annexe appeared to be a copy of a declaration Iraq
had made four years ago, repeating its account of how the country's nuclear
weapons had been dismantled after the 1991 Gulf war.

An additional Arabic language section, 300 pages long, gave details of more
recent activity, according to an IAEA spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming.

The Arabic text was titled, Activities that could be interpreted as
nuclear-related 1991 2002, suggesting that it dealt with "dual-use" items,
such as radioactive material used in hospital scanners. Ms Fleming said the
IAEA's three Arabic-speaking experts had begun analysing the document on
Sunday night as soon as it arrived in Vienna, but added that it would take
several days to finish the work.

Meanwhile, another group of IAEA specialists is working on the other 2,100
pages in English. Ms Fleming said the IAEA would not give a full assessment
of the document until its head, Mohammed el-Baradei, addressed the UN
security council on December 19.

She said the nuclear agency was hoping to cross-check the document against
information supplied by the world's intelligence agencies, as envisaged in
last month's security council resolution on disarmament.

"We've been told the intelligence would be forthcoming after the declaration
has been delivered," Ms Fleming said.

US officials said that the CIA and national laboratories specialising in
chemical, biological and nuclear warfare had begun an analysis of the entire
Iraqi declaration, and had been told to focus on a handful of Iraqi claims
that could be proved false with available intelligence.

They also said that American analysts would look for Iraqi explanations of
what had happened to thousands of tonnes of chemical and biological agents,
and equipment used in the construction of nuclear weapons that were not
accounted for in Iraq's 1998 declaration.

Russia indicated yesterday that it was ready to support military action
against Baghdad if Iraq breaks any UN resolution, while the Kremlin's
foreign ministry welcomed the Iraqi declaration as a "basis for [settling]
the problem within political and diplomatic channels".

Globe & Mail, from Associated Press, 10th December


On Tuesday, reporters followed several cars of UN nuclear experts to mining
operations at Akashat, in the desert near the Syrian border 400 kilometres
west of Baghdad. The enormous complex surrounded by antenna posts, some
broken, sat in an otherwise empty quarter of the desert. Reporters were
unable to follow the inspectors inside.

The UN team presumably wanted to assess current Akashat operations
considering what was found there by UN nuclear inspectors in the 1990s.

In the 1980s, the phosphate deposits at Akashat had been exploited for their
uranium content as well as for fertilizer, producing 100 tonnes of uranium
over six years.

Also Tuesday, other nuclear inspectors headed again for al-Tuwaitha, Iraq's
major nuclear research center, 25 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, Iraqi
Information Ministry officials reported. It was their third recent visit to
the sprawling complex, where Iraqi scientists in the 1980s worked on
developing technology for enriching uranium to levels usable in bombs.

A third UN team was reported to have visited a veterinary medicine
establishment at Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad  presumably the Amariyah
Serum and Vaccine Institute, site of biological weapons-related research in
the 1980s.

That institute is reported to have expanded its storage capacity to an
extent the U.S. government says exceeds Iraq's needs. Iraq contends the
facility only makes and stores human vaccines.

Other inspectors were reported to have gone Tuesday to a military training
centre in Baghdad and to an industrial facility at al-Furat, just south of
the capital. The purposes of those visits were not immediately known.

In an interview published Tuesday in the weekly al-Rafidayn,
Lieutenant-General Hossam Mohammed Amin, chief Iraqi liaison, said of the
inspectors' "behaviour" that "we're satisfied with it so far because it is
calm and professional."

Asked how long he expects the new UN inspections to take, Gen. Amin said
that if the inspection agencies are "sincere," he thinks they should take
eight months.

"Then the Security Council should suspend the sanctions imposed on Iraq and
the monitoring process would continue," he said.

He was referring to international economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after
it invaded Kuwait in 1990, and to UN plans to establish a long-term system
of monitoring Iraq's military-industrial complex  via surveillance gear,
required reports and periodic visits.

Palestine  Chronicle, 11th December

BAGHDAD - United Nations weapons inspectors today visited a site on the
outskirts of Baghdad, a factory that mainly produces mechanical parts for
the guidance and control system of missiles as well as certain aspects of
T-72 tanks.

A team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC) went to the Al Fatah factory of the Al Karama State Company, which
began operations in 1999 and was included in the Iraqi declaration of 1
October. Today was the first time the site had been visited.

"All key buildings at the site were inspected and the objectives of the
visit were successfully achieved," said Hiro Ueki, a spokesman for UNMOVIC
and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, another UNMOVIC team visited the Al Razi Medical Research Center,
located some 25 kilometres west of Baghdad. According to Ueki, the site - a
previously declared and monitored one - produces small amounts of diagnostic
reagents for a limited number of human and animal diseases.

"The site has a few new buildings that were constructed in 1999," the
spokesman said. "A full detailed inspection of all buildings was carried out
to verify the declaration contents, material, equipment and activities [and]
the team completed the objectives of the inspection."

IAEA teams continued simultaneous inspections in several parts of Iraq
today. In Tuwaitha, the Agency completed an inventory of nuclear materials
left over from Iraq's previous nuclear programme, Ueki reported.

Another unit on the western border of Iraq has finished inspections of the
country's capability to extract uranium from phosphates at Al Qaim. The
plant was destroyed in 1991 and has been under IAEA monitoring ever since.

A third IAEA team went to the Ibn Sina Company, formerly known as Tarmiya
and the site of a uranium enrichment plant that was destroyed in 1991.

-United Nations News Center. Redistributed via Press International News
Agency (PINA).

Yahoo, 11th December

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi officials have yet to hand over a list of the
country's weapons scientists to U.N. monitors, even though the United
Nations asked them to do so two weeks ago.

''We are still waiting for the list of names,'' said Hiro Ueki, spokesman
for the U.N. weapons inspectors.

Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix asked Iraqi officials last month to name
scientists who could be interviewed by his staff. Experts say the scientists
will ultimately prove to be one of the richest sources of information about
Iraq's suspected mass-destruction weapons.

The United Nations is downplaying the significance of the delay.
''Cooperation has to be judged over time,'' Ueki said. ''It is only the
beginning of the process.''

When weapons inspectors were last in Baghdad, they did not ask to talk to
Iraqi scientists or other officials. But they received critical information
from two scientists who had defected after the Gulf War in 1991.

Under a U.N. Security Council resolution passed unanimously last month, Iraq
is obliged to name its weapons scientists and allow U.N. inspectors to
interview them. But the resolution has no deadline for providing the list.
No U.N. staff member has been dispatched to Baghdad to interview scientists,
according to Ueki. He said even known Iraqi weapons officials had not yet
been interviewed.


by Joe Lauria
The Ottawa Citizen, 11th December

During Iraq's eight-year war with Iran during the 1980s, more than 50
countries supplied weapons to both sides.

According to the U.S. Senate committee on banking, housing, and urban
affairs report, written by principal investigator, James Tuite: "On Oct. 27,
1992, the committee on banking, housing and urban affairs held hearings that
revealed that the U.S. had exported chemical, biological, nuclear, and
missile-system equipment to Iraq that was converted to military use in
Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons program. Many of these
weapons -- weapons that the U.S. and other countries provided critical
materials for -- were used against us during" the Persian Gulf War.

Financial Times journalist Alan Friedman, in his 1993 book, The Spider's
Web: How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq, claimed former U.S. president
George Bush, future Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and current FBI head
Robert Mueller were involved in arming Iraq through the Department of
Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation.

The acknowledgment by Mr. Blix that the list of suppliers would remain
secret goes beyond his initial statements that only sensitive information on
constructing unconventional weapons would be censored.


by James Woolsey, as quoted by Global Viewpoint (Tribune Media Services
International Herald Tribune, 11th December 11, 2002

This is all a charade. Everybody knows that Saddam has chemical and
bacteriological weapons. We don't need to prove material breach. The burden
of proof is on Saddam to disarm. And he hasn't done it.

If that means that some of the countries who said they would be in support
of disarming Iraq break away because there is no "smoking gun," then so
what? The only countries that are important are Britain, Turkey, Kuwait,
Bahrain and Qatar.

The only prayer of inspectors finding anything is to bring out the
scientists. You now have 80 to 100 inspectors - the size of a small town
police force - working in a totalitarian country the size of California,
looking for weapons that can easily be put on trucks or in vans and moved
around at will. Probably 90 percent of what we learned in the 1990s about
Saddam's weapons we learned from defecting scientists. There is no way to
talk honestly with those who have been recently hiding weapons without
getting them and their families out of the country beyond the reach of
Saddam's torture machine.

The preeminent test of Hans Blix's good faith as chief inspector is whether
or not he is willing to pull people out of the country to talk to them. If
he doesn't do this, he has very little chance of being taken seriously by
the U.S. government.

Times of India (from AFP), 12th December

BAGHDAD: UN weapons inspectors, bolstered by new arrivals, rushed to inspect
sensitive sites in Iraq for banned arms as the United States and Qatar
formalised the US presence at a massive base from which a possible attack
could come if Baghdad fails to meet UN disarmament demands.

The 70 inspectors -- including 28 reinforcements who arrived on Tuesday --
fanned out across Iraq on Wednesday, visiting eight sites in the search for
evidence of ballistic missiles, nuclear, biological or chemical arms.

Inspectors probed for the first time a chemical factory suspected by Britain
of having been secretly refitted to produce deadly weapons, belonging to the
Ibn Sina Company, in Tarmiyah, 25 km north of Baghdad.

"The Amil liquid nitrogen plant... was inspected," UN spokesman Hiro Ueki
said, giving no further details.

Three declared and previously visited nuclear sites were re-inspected: in
Tarmiyah, Tuwaitha, 20 km south of Baghdad, and in Al-Qaim, 400 km to the
west of the capital, close to the Syrian border.

In Tarmiyah, inspectors "verified that no nuclear activities remained or
have been initiated" in the Ibn Sina Company, which was the site of a
uranium enrichment plant destroyed in 1991, said Ueki.

In Tuwaitha, inspectors "completed inventorying nuclear materials left over
from Iraq's previous nuclear program," while the team visiting Al-Qaim
finished their probe of Iraq's capability to extract uranium from
phosphates, he said.

Inspectors also checked buildings at the Al-Fatah factory, "and the
objectives of the visit were successfully achieved."

by Irwin Arieff
Yahoo, 12th December

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday rejected criticism
that it had hijacked the U.N. Security Council by spiriting away the
council's sole copy of Iraq's weapons declaration within hours of its
arrival at U.N. headquarters from Baghdad.

John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the decision to
let the United States speed the document to Washington by helicopter was
taken at the last minute because it was better equipped to copy the massive

"Well, somebody had to make copies," Negroponte said.

"It was 12,000 pages long. It was a very large mechanical task. I think we
were probably, in our capacity as the host country to the United Nations, in
the best position to do it on the most expeditious basis," he told the
British Broadcasting Corporation.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said council members generally agreed with
the decision to entrust the first copy to Washington, for duplication and
distribution to permanent council members Britain, France, Russia and China.

"But the approach, and the style and the form was wrong because the council
had decided last Friday that nobody would get it," Annan told the BBC on
Tuesday. "It was unfortunate and I hope it is not going to be repeated."

The council had initially decided that no member would get the 12,000-page
declaration ahead of any other, and then only after the document was
translated, analyzed and edited to remove any secrets that might help
someone make a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon.

But late on Sunday, after an intense U.S. lobbying campaign, Colombian
Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, council president for December, entrusted the
council's lone copy of the declaration to the United States.

A second copy of the report had been delivered earlier to U.N. weapons
experts in Vienna and New York.

The United States then immediately choppered the copy to Washington for
duplication and distribution to its four fellow permanent council members,
which Washington argued could be trusted with the full document because they
were already nuclear powers.

That irritated some of the council's 10 elected members, including Syria,
Norway and Mexico, who are to be given only excised versions of the
declaration and will not get them until next week under the procedure
quietly adopted on Sunday.

Syria and Norway said on Wednesday they planned further protests in the near
future, Syria through a letter to Valdivieso and Norway during a future
council meeting.

Valdivieso said he agreed to the change at the request of Negroponte, who
called him on Saturday morning. Valdivieso said he consulted the 14 other
council members and chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix by telephone
before acting.

Secretary of State Colin Powell helped grease the deal with phone calls to
key players, diplomats said.

Other council members questioned whether, by getting only edited versions of
the report, they might have to make judgments on Iraq's compliance based on
incomplete data.

Negroponte sought to reassure the 10 council members they would be given
full access to any information that would be used in trying to make a case
against Iraq that it was in "material breach" of a key Nov. 8 Security
Council resolution.

He also said it was his understanding that Washington would withhold any
analysis of the document until after Blix, who heads the U.N. Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq, had delivered his

"I think basically you can think of us as having performed a technical
service on behalf of the council, and it was in no way intended to cause
some invidious comparison between the treatment accorded to the United
States and the treatment accorded other members," Negroponte said.

The document arrived in Washington by 2 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday morning
after arriving at the U.N. compound at about 8:40 p.m. (0140 GMT) on Sunday,
he said.

"It was taken there by helicopter and ... translators and analysts were
setting about doing the necessary work so that that document could be turned
around immediately," he said.

By Monday afternoon, other permanent council members were getting their
copies, and by Tuesday morning, "the original set of documents was back here
in New York, the Security Council copy," Negroponte said.

Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 12th December

WASHINGTON: An alternative to invasion and ousting Iraq's Saddam Hussein is
disarmament achieved without high costs to U.S. troops and America's
standing in the region and the world, a former U.S. diplomat in Iraq said

Joe Wilson, a former charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said
such a strategy could include air strikes at Iraqi bases if the Iraqi
president denies U.N. weapons inspectors access to a particular site.

"Muscular disarmament is a viable alternative which might actually yield the
desired national security result - as much disarmament as we can possibly
achieve without the cost both to our international prestige, our troops and
to our standing in the region," he told reporters.

Wilson is a former foreign service officer and member of the National
Security Council. He succeeded in obtaining the release of hundreds of
Americans and other hostages from the Iraqi regime after the invasion of
Kuwait before he was evacuated from Baghdad in 1991. He is believed to be
the last American to have met with Saddam.

He said President Bush was following the path of this kind of disarmament
strategy by providing the military muscle behind the weapons inspections by
massing troops in the region and adopting a policy of zero tolerance with
regard to any Iraqi resistance to the inspections.

"Should Saddam Hussein decide he doesn't want inspectors at a particular
site it will be imperative to respond decisively that site," he said. "To
ensure we have his full attention we should hit a high-value target
associated with the site."

He suggested a Republican Guard headquarters associated with the site so
that it would make it difficult for the generals and colonels to ignore what
is going on.

"This would force them to think about whether they want to continue to be on
the receiving end of American Cruise missiles and might not have a better
chance of survival and success if they storm the palace," Wilson said.


by Priscilla Cheung
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 10th December


The U.S. list, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, could
be expanded to cover 50 to 75 items. It includes activated charcoal, a
widely used industrial substance that could be used for chemical weapons,
fast boats, specific tires, hydraulic lift systems, flight simulators and
training systems and equipment that could be used to jam communications

The United States is seeking to ban some of the items on the new list
outright, while allowing some other items to be imported only after
extensive scrutiny by a U.N. sanctions review team.

Beside adding new items to the list, the United States also wants to allow
the U.N. review committee greater power to scrutinize each order and
possibly single out suppliers deemed dishonest or uncooperative. Washington
also wants the Security Council to have the power to review the list of
items whenever necessary.

Currently, the sanctions committee and the oil-for-food program review
Iraq's purchase orders.

by Colum Lynch
Washington Post, 11th December

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 11 -- With U.S. approval, Iraq imported more than 3.5
million vials of the drug atropine over the past five years, despite
concerns that it could be used to inoculate Iraqi soldiers participating in
chemical warfare, according to U.N. sources and confidential U.N. documents.

Between late 1997 and November 2001, French, Russian and Italian companies
signed at least five contracts through the U.N. oil-for-food program to sell
Iraq more than 3.5 million ampuls of the nerve agent antidote, which is also
used to treat heart attacks. More than 2 million units of the drug have
already been delivered to Baghdad, U.N. sources said. The rest is awaiting

The disclosure comes as the United States is struggling to convince the U.N.
Security Council to place new restrictions on the sale of the drug because
of Pentagon concerns that the Iraqi army may use the drug to protect its
soldiers if it mounts a chemical attack against U.S. troops.

On Tuesday, John R. Bolton, undersecretary of State for arms control and
international security, listed atropine and the antibiotic ciprofloxacin
(also known as Cipro), among 36 categories of items that should be subject
to U.N. Security Council scrutiny before they can be shipped to Iraq. In
1999, a Jordanian firm, Arab Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Co. Ltd., sold
Iraq an unknown quantity of Cipro, a broad spectrum antibiotic that is used
to treat exposure to anthrax and a host of other infections, according to
U.N. documents.

Until May, the United States had the right to prohibit or monitor sales of
atropine to Iraq but rarely exercised it. The United States relinquished its
authority as part of a council agreement to ease restrictions on the import
of civilian goods into Iraq.

The Pentagon became alarmed about the potential military uses of atropine
after discovering that Turkey had been approached by Iraq to supply it with
massive quantities of atropine and auto-injectors, which are designed to
treat victims of pesticide or nerve agent poisoning. A senior Turkish
official said that Ankara is investigating the report, which was first
disclosed in the New York Times. Until now, however, it was not known that
Iraq had succeeded in buying supplies of atropine or that they were obtained
through the U.N. sanctioned oil-for-food program.

U.N. officials said the quantities of atropine purchased by Iraq were
consistent with dosages used for medical purposes. More than 3.4 million
vials, the vast majority, contained 0.6-milligram doses of atropine sulfate,
an amount typically used to speed up the heart rate of heart attack victims.

Chemical warfare experts said a dose of 2 milligrams is typically
administered to victims of nerve agents or pesticide poisoning. On the
battlefield, they said, the drug would probably be administered with
auto-injectors. U.N. officials said Iraq has never imported auto injectors
through the oil-for-food program, which permits Iraq to sell oil in exchange
for food, medicine and humanitarian goods.

"The advantage of an auto-injector is that somebody can give one to himself,
he can give it to his buddy right there. It doesn't require medical care,"
said Frederick R. Sidell, a retired U.S. Army expert on chemical warfare.
But Sidell said that the lower doses used for heart treatment could be
easily converted to military uses if administered with a common needle and
syringe. "You just give three times as much. For any casualty who is mildly
exposed it might be enough."

The United States has cited the Turkey case to underscore the importance of
preventing Iraq from obtaining a host of items that could be used to develop
long-range missiles and chemical, biological and conventional weapons. Those
items, which are listed in the document Bolton presented council members,
include global positioning systems, radio intercept devices, night vision
technology and communications jamming equipment.

Asked why the United States had not previously added atropine or
auto-injectors to the list of items requiring Security Council review, John
D. Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said, "I honestly
don't know the answer." But he said that the United States has received a
commitment from the other council members to consider placing new
restrictions on them before the end of the month.

Russia and France have signaled that they are willing to add atropine and
some other items to the United Nations' 302-page list of dual-use products
that require Security Council scrutiny. But they have made it clear that
they want other items taken off the list. Russia, for instance, has proposed
easing restrictions on trucks that it sells to Iraq.

A spokeswoman at the U.N. Office of the Iraq Program, which overseas all
sales to Iraq through the oil-for-food program, declined to name the
companies that sold the medicines to Iraq. But confidential U.N. documents
and U.N. sources revealed that the Italian company Alfa Intes Industria
Terapeutica Splendore signed a contract to sell about 3,000 ampuls of
atropine sulfate to Iraq in late 1997.

The French pharmaceutical company Laboratoires Renaudin sold nearly one
million ampuls of atropine to Iraq in July 2000. A more recent shipment of
1.5 million ampuls of atropine from French and Russian sources was placed on
hold by the United States, but it was then approved under the recent
procedures without any plans for monitoring its use. It was approved in
October and is awaiting delivery to Iraq.

"If a particular item is not on the goods review list, the contract gets
approved," said Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the U.N. Monitoring
Verification and Inspection Commission, which is responsible for reviewing

Yahoo, 12th December

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Gulf War reparations body approved
payment Thursday of $181.5 million to individuals, companies and governments
who proved damages caused by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, a statement said.

The bulk of the latest awards, $129 million, went to people in 13 countries
who proved property losses. Kuwaitis accounted for $100 million.

The amount includes $36.3 million to 11 oil companies in five states --
Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia -- which lost
profits, assets or revenues due to the 1990 invasion and seven-month
occupation, officials told a briefing.

With the latest awards, the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC) has approved
compensation of more than $43.7 billion, of which it has paid out $16
billion, a statement said.

Its governing body, which ended a three-day meeting on Thursday, has the
same 15 members as the U.N. Security Council.

The UNCC, which has received claims valued at $300 billion, currently
receives 25 percent of the proceeds from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program,
which allows Iraq to sell oil.

Monthly income was about $200 million in November and the fund expects to
pay out $550 million in mid-January, Sills said.

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