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[casi] News, 15-22/01/03 (2)

News, 15-22/01/03 (2)


*  Iraq objects to use of spy planes in U.N. search
*  Inspectors' find raises more questions than answers
*  Arms inspectors search scientists' homes, field
*  Discovery not surprising, former inspectors say
*  Discovery of Iraq's Chemical Warheads Not a 'Smoking Gun', Says Blix
*  No Violations at Iraqi Sites of Concern
*  'Nuclear data' found in scientist's home
*  Blix Says Document Find in Iraq Worrying
*  Indian firm sold prohibited materials to Iraq
*  Iraq: The disputed evidence
*  Iraq and UN reach deal on cooperation
*  Physicist Is Key in U.N. Probe in Iraq


*  Iraqi Exiles Start Reporting for Training
*  3,000 Iraqi exiles to train at US base in Hungary for secret role in war


by Jessica Guynn
The State, from Knight Ridder Newspapers, 15th January

WASHINGTON - U.N. weapons inspectors want to use U.S. spy planes to
strengthen their hunt for Iraq's illicit weapons, but Iraq has objected, a
top Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Under the auspices of the United Nations, the spy planes flown by American
Air Force pilots would search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons
and missile programs, using sophisticated high-surveillance cameras that
would feed satellite information directly to inspectors. U.N. inspectors
used such planes during the 1990s inspections.

The Iraqi regime objected to the reconnaissance missions in a letter to
chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing.

The U.N. weapons inspectors have not yet used any overhead surveillance as
they have searched hundreds of sites since November for banned weapons of
mass destruction.

The United States offered the use of the U-2 and the CIA's unmanned Predator
aircraft. Blix turned down the offer of the Predator. The weapons inspectors
accepted the U-2, but it wasn't clear whether they would actually use it,
because of Iraq's objections.

The U-2 is a high-altitude surveillance plane with a variety of sensors and
cameras that can provide day or night surveillance in all kinds of weather.
The U.S. military has been using it since the 1950s.


by Robin Wright
Houston Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 17th January

WASHINGTON -- The surprise discovery of chemical warheads in Iraq on
Thursday highlights the basic problem facing the United Nations: What
constitutes a smoking gun?

Initial reports indicated that the warheads had not been declared by Iraq in
earlier inventories provided to the United Nations. If that's true, the find
could give the Bush administration ammunition in its effort to convince the
U.N. Security Council that Iraq should be forcibly disarmed.

The initial response from the White House, however, was cautious. Officials
indicated that  - pending further investigation -- the warheads alone are
not the telltale evidence of a forbidden arsenal that would justify military

"It's an interesting development, and the discovery raises a lot of
questions: Why weren't they declared? Why weren't they destroyed, especially
if they are old? And why does Iraq still have them?" said a senior U.S.
official who asked not to be identified.

"At minimum, it would seem to be a technical violation. But it's also not
exactly a smoking gun," the official said.

The discovery at Iraq's Ukhaider weapons depot 75 miles south of
Baghdadreflects the basic conundrum -- where to draw the line in weaponry
and how much wiggle room should be tolerated -- in the effort to disarm
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Former weapons inspectors challenged Iraq's claim that the warheads had been
declared to earlier inspection teams. Were that the case, inspectors said,
the warheads would have been melted down.

Between 1991 and 1998, when the last inspectors left, more than 10,000
warheads adapted for chemical or biological use were destroyed. Thousands
more are still unaccounted for. Baghdad claimed it destroyed them but has
never provided proof, U.S. officials say.

Thursday's discovery would have been more incriminating if the warheads, all
described to be in "excellent" condition, had been loaded with chemical
agents. The new U.N. team said 11 of the 12 shells were empty but that one
needed more study, apparently for traces of agent.

"It would have been more interesting if the warheads were filled with
chemicals or if there'd been a larger stockpile or if they'd been newer,
which would show that they're making them now," the senior U.S. official

Also, the depot is a well-known weapons site, not a hiding place just
uncovered by the team that resumed inspections Nov. 27 under the mandate of
a new U.N. resolution, U.S. officials said.

Some former inspectors said they weren't surprised to hear of the warhead
discovery -- nor to hear Baghdad's claim that the arms were obsolete,

Iraq, which once had the region's largest and best-equipped military, has an
arsenal allowed by the United Nations that includes millions of rounds of
artillery shells for conventional use.

"If there are depots with millions of rounds of artillery shells for
conventional use and one box of artillery shells for chemical use, it would
be easy to miss. It could have fallen between the cracks," said Raymond
Zilinskas, a former U.N. inspector and now director of the Chemical and
Biological Weapons Nonproliferation program at the Monterey Institute of
International Studies.

Former weapons inspectors also predict that the empty warheads aren't likely
to be the last discovery that is suspicious but not egregious enough to
persuade the Security Council to sanction the use of force.

"We can expect more of this, no question. They'll probably find several
other omissions with only quasi-explanations," said Richard O. Spertzel,
former head of U.N. biological weapons inspections.

At the same time, former U.N. inspectors warn that their successors may
never find fully loaded chemical munitions that would reveal an active Iraqi

"I'm not sure what the blazes it is that UNMOVIC (inspectors) and the
world's diplomats expect in terms of a smoking gun. If it's loaded
munitions, this is a waste of their time. How many filled munitions did we
find in more than seven years? None," Spertzel said.

"So that makes the warheads an important finding."

Although the White House's official reaction amounted to wait-and-see,
President Bush repeated his warning that his patience is running thin.

"It's up to Saddam Hussein to do what the entire world has asked him to do,"
the president said during a speech Thursday in Scranton, Pa. "So far the
evidence hasn't been very good that he is disarming. And time is running
out. At some point in time, the United States' patience will run out."

Washington Times, 17th January

BAGHDAD (AP)  An Iraqi scientist yesterday accompanied U.N. experts to a
field outside Baghdad where together they inspected what appeared to be a
man-made mound of earth.

The incident  unprecedented since inspectors in Iraq resumed their search
for banned nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in November  came after
the U.N. experts went through documents outside the scientist's house and
had a heated discussion with Iraqi liaison officials.

"I'm not happy about all of this," Dimitri Perricos, a team leader among the
U.N. experts, could be heard telling the Iraqis as he got into a vehicle
with the scientist  physicist Faleh Hassan, who carried a box stuffed with
documents  and an Iraqi official.

The inspections at the Baghdad homes of Mr. Hassan and his next-door
neighbor, nuclear scientist Shaker el-Jibouri, were the first at private
houses. At 9 a.m., inspectors cordoned off their street in Baghdad's
al-Ghazalia neighborhood, then entered the homes.

The experts were later seen going through documents at a table set up near
Mr. Hassan's front door and having an animated discussion with Iraqi liaison

At the end of the six-hour visit, the silver-haired Mr. Hassan  a physicist
and director of a military installation that specializes in laser
development  got into a U.N. car with Mr. Perricos and an Iraqi official.

They drove in a convoy about 10 miles west of Baghdad and stopped at an
agricultural area known as al-Salamiyat. There, Mr. Hassan, two inspectors
and a liaison officer crossed a footbridge over a canal to a bare field that
contained what appeared to be a man-made mound.

The group spent about five minutes looking at the mound before returning to
the vehicles and heading back to Baghdad. There, Mr. Hassan along with
several Iraqi liaison officers were seen entering a hotel where some
inspectors are living, carrying the box the size of a small television set
visibly stuffed with documents.

The inspectors, as is usual, did not speak with reporters and it was not
clear why they were interested in the mound.

Houston Chronicle, 17th January

UNITED NATIONS (AP): Iraq had tens of thousands of 122 mm rockets, and
thousands are unaccounted for, so the discovery by U.N. inspectors of 12
warheads for the rockets isn't surprising, former U.N. inspectors say.

U.N. weapons inspectors in Baghdad said Thursday they were empty chemical
warheads for 122 mm rockets that Iraq did not list in its December
declaration to the Security Council. But Iraq said they were not for
biological or chemical use and had been declared in their 12,000-page

The former inspectors said this raised the issue of whether the warheads
were intended to be used for chemical warfare or conventional fighting.

Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, who is in charge of chemical inspections,
said today in Paris that "clearly they were designed to carry chemical
weapons" and should be destroyed. He said he wasn't sure whether Iraq had
mentioned them in the declaration.

Under U.N. resolutions, Iraq is required to declare all its chemical
munitions and destroy them under supervision of U.N. inspectors. But Iraq is
allowed to have conventional 122 mm rockets containing explosives, said
Terry Taylor, a former U.N. inspector who heads the Washington office of the
London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He said Iraq had tens of thousands of these rockets, which have a range of
over 6 miles. Thousands were filled with chemical agents and about 26,500 of
these 122 mm rockets that Iraq claims it destroyed have not been accounted

Raymond Zilinskas, a former inspector who now directs the chemical and
biological weapons nonproliferation program at the Monterey Institute of
International Studies in California, said there were three possibilities.

The warheads may never have been filled with a chemical agent, they might
have been filled but were emptied before inspectors left in 1998, or the
warheads were filled and emptied recently, he said in an interview.

If they were emptied recently, "that would be a very serious issue because
the Iraqis have declared that they don't have any of the stuff, and that
could lead to 'material breach' being declared under Resolution 1441," he
said. The resolution gave Iraq a last chance to disarm and threatened
serious consequences if it didn't.

If the 12 warheads were chemical warheads but had never been filled,
however, Zilinskas said it would be "a very, very small story" because it
would only show that a very small number had escaped destruction.

"They're going to have to test to see if there are any traces of chemical
weapons in the warheads and in the bunkers where they were found," said
David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International
Security. "And they will have to talk to the Iraqis."

Taylor said that between 1992 and 1994, former U.N. inspectors destroyed
11,500 unfilled 122 mm rockets designed for chemical use.

Another 6,454 of these rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin were
accounted for and destroyed by inspectors between 1992 and 1993. Remnants of
about 4,000 additional rockets with chemical agents were accounted for
between 1991 and 1998, he said.

by Michael Drudge
Palestine  Chronicle, from Voice of America, 17th January

LONDON - The chief U.N. weapons inspector, Hans Blix, says the discovery of
chemical weapons warheads in Iraq is not the so-called "smoking gun" that
would constitute a material breach of U.N. disarmament resolutions.

Blix commented on the discovery as he arrived in Britain for talks with
Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Upon landing at London's Heathrow airport, Blix praised the U.N. weapons
inspectors in Iraq for their diligence in finding the empty chemical weapons

He said he will be checking an Iraqi claim that the shells were listed in a
12,000-page declaration Iraq gave to the U.N. in December on its weapons

And Blix said, "it is not a smoking gun." That was an apparent reference to
whether the discovery put Iraq in material breach of U.N. disarmament
resolutions, thus increasing the likelihood of a U.S.-led war.

Blix then departed to the countryside retreat of Prime Minister Tony Blair
for private talks on the Iraq crisis.

The British government is reacting cautiously to the news that warheads have
been found in Iraq. The junior foreign minister, Mike O'Brien, told British
radio it is too early to declare Iraq in material breach.

"Our response at this stage is cautious. We'll look at the detail of the
evidence when Hans Blix, the senior inspector, provides it. There's no rush
to judgment," he said. "The inspectors need time to look at this particular
finding, and also to make a general assessment of how the inspections are

Blair's spokesman repeated those sentiments, telling reporters the discovery
is interesting, but patience is required as the inspectors reach their own
conclusions regarding what they have found.

by Charles J. Hanley
Newsday, 18th January

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In almost two months of surprise visits across Iraq, U.N.
arms monitors have inspected 13 sites identified by U.S. and British
intelligence agencies as major "facilities of concern," and reported no
signs of revived weapons building, an Associated Press analysis shows.

The review of intelligence reports and U.N. records underlines chief
inspector Hans Blix's statement that the international experts have
uncovered no "smoking guns" in Iraq in almost 400 inspections since late

Blix flies to Baghdad on Sunday to seek more information from Iraqi
officials to resolve discrepancies in accounts of old weapons of mass
destruction -- including, for example, of a dozen empty chemical warheads
found last week. But his U.N. teams' work, keying on locations spotlighted
by Washington and London, seems thus far to support Iraq's contention that
its old weapons establishment is not making new forbidden arms.

Since those U.S.-British assessments were issued last September and October,
Washington officials have said repeatedly they have additional, undisclosed
information - "solid" evidence -- that Baghdad is violating the U.N. ban on
Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear arms. But they have made no such
information public.

Blix's deputy, Demetrius Perricos, told reporters Wednesday that some
intelligence tips received have been useful, but "some of them are
speculations." Another U.N. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
on the eve of the visit by Blix and chief nuclear inspector Mohamed
ElBaradei that no new "actionable" intelligence has been forthcoming.

Many of the suspicions raised in the headline-making U.S.-British reports
were based on satellite imagery of Iraqi installations, remote photos taken
during the inspectors' four-year absence from Iraq. Now that more than 100
U.N. specialists can again "see under the roofs," as Perricos put it, the
alarms look less warranted.

American intelligence analysts, for example, wrote that new structures
photographed at Tuwaitha, a former nuclear weapons complex south of Baghdad,
might indicate a revival of weapons work. Since Dec. 4, however, inspectors
from ElBaradei's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have scrutinized
that vast complex almost a dozen times, and reported no violations.

In the same way, the CIA raised alarm in October about the al-Mutasim
missile factory south of Baghdad, where the Iraqis are building their
Ababil-100 short-range missile under a U.N. edict prohibiting such weapons
with ranges longer than 90 miles.

"The size of certain facilities there," the CIA alleged, "suggests that
Baghdad is preparing to develop systems that are prohibited by the U.N." --
that is, longer-range weapons.

After five unannounced visits to al-Mutasim in the past month, however, the
U.N. missile experts have reported no clear evidence of such intentions. The
specialists will maintain a close watch on the Mutasim plant, however, as
part of a long-term disarmament program keeping the eyes of the world on the
Iraqi military-industrial establishment.

The long-term monitors will focus, too, on the Fallujah chemical complex
west of Baghdad, where the Iraqis have rebuilt a chlorine production
operation wrecked by U.S. bombing in the 1991 Gulf War. Chlorine, a chemical
with many civilian uses, can also be a component of chemical weapons.

The CIA report said the "dual-use" operation could be diverted quickly to
such banned production, and Iraq "is trying to hide the activities of the
Fallujah plant."

But the inspection teams -- with U.N. authorization to drop in anywhere,
anytime unannounced -- have surveyed the Fallujah site three times since
December, most recently on Jan. 8. The next day, Blix told the U.N. Security
Council, "If we had found any 'smoking gun' (in Iraq) we would have reported
it to the Council."

Blix noted previously that inspectors have discovered dual-use equipment at
Fallujah that was disabled by other U.N. inspectors in the 1990s but was
repaired and put back into service by the Iraqis. His agency will monitor
that equipment, he said.

Three other examples of what last September's British intelligence report
described as "facilities of concern," and the U.N. follow-up:


In addition to being on the British list, U.S. analysts last October said
new stuctures at this site in the western desert might signal renewed work
on nuclear weapons. In the 1980s, the Iraqis had refined uranium at the
phosphates complex in the early stages of an effort to build a nuclear bomb,
a program dismantled by the IAEA in the 1990s. But after a thorough two-day
survey in December, and another surprise visit by helicopter on Jan. 7, the
U.N. inspectors did not report finding such violations.


This animal vaccine plant west of Baghdad produced botulin toxin in the
1980s as part of the Iraqi biological weapons program later uncovered by the
United Nations. The recent CIA report contended Iraq's announcement two
years ago that it was renovating the facility might mask new weapons plans.
But inspectors and journalists who scoured the small site on Nov. 28 found
it abandoned and full of trash. The United Nations will monitor it.


On their first day of renewed inspections, Nov. 27, the U.N. experts sped to
this installation, west of Baghdad, where missile engines are tested. The
CIA report had said "the only plausible explanation" for a new, larger test
stand sighted at Al-Rafah was that the Iraqis were developing prohibited
longer-range missiles. The inspectors reported no such conclusion, however,
and last week observed the test firing of a U.N.-authorized engine at the

The seven other "facilities of concern" scrutinized by U.N. inspectors were
the nuclear facilities at Al-Furat, Al-Sharqat and Al-Taji; the Ibn Sina and
Qa Qa chemical plants; the Amariyah vaccine institute; and the Al-Mamoun
missile fuel plant.

by George Jahn in Larnaca
The Independent, 19th January

Documents found at the home of an Iraqi scientist appear to outline hi-tech
attempts to enrich uranium in the 1980s, the head of the UN nuclear control
agency said yesterday.

But other senior agency experts say the method, which could be used to make
nuclear weapons, was too sophisticated for the Iraqis to exploit at the

A western diplomat close to the inspectors claimed that the documents were
not old. "They are new and they relate to ongoing work taking place in Iraq
to develop nuclear weapons," he said. However, others involved with the
investigation disagreed.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said
the research in the 3,000 documents had "something to do with laser

UN officials have said Iraq's attempt at "laser isotope separation", begun
during the 1970s, was a failure and was largely abandoned by 1987 in favour
of more promising approaches to enriching uranium for nuclear bombs.

But Mr ElBaradei said the issue appeared to be more whether or not the
Iraqis had included this information in the 12,000-page declaration they
submitted to the UN last month. "If it's something we did not know about, it
obviously does not show the transparency we've been preaching," Mr ElBaradei
said, alluding to UN demands that Baghdad be more forthcoming with UN

The documents were found on Thursday by UN inspectors in the home of Faleh
Hassan, a 55-year-old physicist, as they paid their first unannounced calls
on private homes in Iraq.

Dr Hassan said last night that Iraq cancelled its laser enrichment research
programme in 1988, and that he never worked on the project. "I worked for
the Nuclear Energy Agency, which was separate from the [enrichment]
programme," he said.

The physicist said earlier that when an accompanying Iraqi official briefly
left his side, a female UN inspector offered to arrange for him to leave
Iraq as an "escort" for his wife who needed medical treatment.Dr Hassan said
he refused the offer, calling it "Mafia-like behaviour".

The scientist, who is the director of the Al-Razi military industrial site,
said the documents were from his own private research work and the graduate
theses of students he had advised. But Mr ElBaradei said the documents were
official, and defended the inspectors' conduct.

Under the tough UN sanctions regime, inspectors are allowed to speak to
Iraqi scientists in private and even take them outside the country for
interviews  a move that Washington hopes will prompt them to reveal hidden
arms programmes.

Yahoo, 19th January

LARNACA, Cyprus (Reuters) - Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said
Sunday discovery of documents at the home of an Iraqi scientist in Baghdad
was worrying and questioned if more documents were being hidden.

Blix, who leaves with U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei later
Sunday for Baghdad on a last-ditch bid to get full cooperation from Iraq,
said Iraq must declare and give access to all its documents.

"Iraq has an obligation to give a full declaration so they (documents)
should have been given. Why are they still there? Are there more?," Blix
told reporters.

"These are not weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Documents are not WMD.
Shells are not. But they are a sign that not everything has been declared
and that is worrying."

"The things that have happened in the last few days are a bit troubling," he

ElBaradei voiced fresh frustration with Iraq Saturday after inspectors
raided the scientist's house and found 3,000 pages of material apparently
related to enrichment of uranium that could be used for nuclear weapons.

"Iraq should be pro-active. We shouldn't have to find these on our own,"
ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN.

Blix and ElBaradei will hold two days of talks in Baghdad which could be key
to a major report they are due to present to the United Nations (news - web
sites) Security Council on January 27.

by Bob Drogin
San Francisco Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 19th January

New Delhi -- An obscure Indian trading company has provided the first clear
evidence that Iraq obtained materials over the past four years to produce or
deliver weapons of mass destruction.

The company, NEC Engineering Private Ltd., used phony customs declarations
and other false documents, as well as front companies in three countries, to
export 10 consignments of raw materials and equipment that Saddam Hussein's
regime could use to produce chemical weapons and propellants for long-range
missiles, according to Indian court records.

The shipments, valued at nearly $800,000, took place between September 1998
and February 2001. The exports -- highly specialized supplies, such as
atomized aluminum powder and titanium centrifugal pumps -- ostensibly went
to Jordan and Dubai. But they subsequently were traced to Iraq's Fallujah II
chlorine plant and a rocket fuel production facility at Al Mamoun, according
to U.S. and British intelligence.

The NEC case marks the first illicit Iraqi procurement scheme traced to a
specific company since December 1998, when U.N. inspectors were forced to
leave Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. The case may not provide the sort of
definitive evidence the international community has said is needed to
justify military action against Iraq, but it bolsters White House claims
that Hussein has covertly continued attempts to build illegal weapons.

U.S. officials have not publicized the NEC case, in part to avoid
embarrassing the Indian government about the lapse in its export controls.

Washington has imposed sanctions against the former head of NEC, who
allegedly led a technical team to Fallujah II in April 1999 to help install
equipment that can be used to produce chemical agents. India has suspended
NEC's export license, revoked passports of senior company officials and
raided company offices and homes.

NEC's general manager, who was jailed for four months last fall, has
detailed the elaborate scheme to investigators. Further criminal charges are

United Nations weapons inspectors have confirmed that Iraq used at least
some of the supplies. Earlier this month, U.N. missile teams made their
fourth visit to Al Mamoun, about 36 miles south of Baghdad. They identified
solid propellant rocket motors "which Iraq had manufactured between 1998 and
2002," according to a U.N. report, and witnessed "propellant production
activities" for the second time in two weeks.

U.N. chemical weapons teams have visited Fallujah II three times so far. The
site, which was bombed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, had produced
chlorine and phenol for Iraqi weapons in the 1980s. Both chemicals have
civilian uses, but they also can be used to synthesize precursors for
blister and nerve agents.

It is unclear whether Iraq used the materials to make chemical weapons, but
simply acquiring them put Baghdad in violation of U.N. Security Council

Although the CIA warned in October that Iraq's recent chlorine production at
Fallujah II and three other sites was "far higher" than any civilian needs
for water treatment -- and thus reason to fear Iraq was diverting it to
produce chemical weapons -- the U.N. teams reported on Dec. 9 that the
chlorine plant was "currently inoperable." The report did not explain why,
or what had happened to the equipment.

The Bush administration's go-softly approach to the NEC case was evident on
July 9 last year, when the State Department imposed sanctions against the
company's founder, Hans Raj Shiv, making him the first and only person ever
cited under the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act of 1992. The routine
notice in the Federal Register drew virtually no attention at the time.

Shiv was cited for "knowingly and materially contributing through the
transfer of goods or technology" to Iraq's efforts to "acquire chemical
weapons or destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional
weapons." Officials say he has fled India and is believed to be hiding in
the United Arab Emirates.

So are two of Shiv's aides. His son, Siddhartha Hans, was based in Dubai and
in charge of obtaining NEC export orders from the region. NEC's technical
director, R.C.P. Choudhary, allegedly helped ensure that the correct
equipment was sent to Fallujah II. All three have been charged with
violating Indian customs laws.

"This is the real thing," a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
"These are bad guys." The official said the case shows the immense
difficulties in detecting and unraveling Iraq's suspected weapons smuggling
and procurement networks.

"It's a Hydra," he said. "They do lawyering one place. Banking somewhere
else. Fronts handle shipping and trucking. Consignments go to Dubai and

Then they disappear. They use dead drops, subsidiaries, cutouts. It's a real

NEC lawyers deny the locally owned company has violated Indian law or U.N.

The case began with a tip to India from British intelligence in early 2001.

On March 26, 2001, Indian authorities raided NEC offices and company
directors' homes in New Delhi, Bombay and Chennai, seizing dog-eared bundles
of purchase contracts, bills of lading, shipping records, customs
declarations and other documents.

Six weeks later, the Directorate of Revenue Enhancement issued an alert to
customs offices in every Indian airport and harbor to stop NEC exports.

Last June, Indian authorities formally suspended NEC's export license and
again raided company offices and homes. They also arrested NEC's 46-year-old
general manager, Shri Rajiv Dhir, and imprisoned him for four months.
Authorities said Dhir "admitted his active role" during interrogation.

by Paul Reynolds
BBC, 20th January

Before going into the detail, the general point has to be made that the case
against Iraq does not depend on weapons of mass destruction, or a "smoking
gun", being found.

What is required under Security Council Resolution 1441 is simply a finding
that Iraq has not "fully co-operated" with the weapons inspectors.

This may not be regarded as adequate by opponents of any war but it is the
line strongly pursued by the United States and Britain.

The case that Iraq is not fully "co-operating" was laid out by the chief UN
weapons inspector, Hans Blix, and the head of the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, to the Security Council on 9

News Online has seen copies of their written statements.

They followed this up with a visit to Baghdad to raise the specific points
of complaint and will report back to the Council on 27 January.

As they left Baghdad they reported that Iraq had agreed to be more helpful.
Mr Blix said that "a number of practical issues" had been resolved but "not

The first area in dispute concerns Iraq's explanation about what happened to
unaccounted for material:

 Anthrax: Mr Blix told the Security Council that Iraq's declaration did not
account for missing amounts (some 26,000 litres) of anthrax and that "Iraq's
account of its production and unilateral destruction of anthrax... may not
be accurate." After the talks in Baghdad, Mr Blix said this issue remained

 VX nerve agent: Mr Blix said to the Council that "we have found no
additional information in the declaration that would help resolve this
issue". The UN says that 1.5 tonnes are missing. This is also unresolved
after the Baghdad talks.

 Biological growth media: Iraq imported more than it declared. Mr Blix told
the Council no explanation had been given.

Iraq has argued that it destroyed the VX, and that the anthrax and growth
media were either destroyed or are no longer of any use. Mr Blix says that
documents, witnesses and other evidence should be produced to support that.

 Ballistic missiles: Mr Blix said after the talks in Baghdad that a
question about unaccounted-for Scud missiles (believed to number about 12)
had not been resolved.

Other issues in dispute relate to unlisted materials actually found, such as
missile engines and empty warheads, as well as the question of access to
Iraqi scientists:

 Missiles: the Council was told that Iraq had admitted that its new
al-Samoud rocket had reached 183 kilometres in a test firing - beyond the
150km limit imposed by the UN.

Mr Blix also said that "inspections have confirmed the presence of a
relatively large number of missile engines, some imported as late as 2002".
These were "illegal imports". Their significance was being examined.

 16 chemical warfare warheads: Twelve were found by the inspectors, Iraq
volunteered four more. Had they been forgotten or was it evidence of

 Nuclear papers: Inspectors found some technical papers in the house of a
leading nuclear scientist. He says they were notes for a previously declared
programme for enriching uranium. The inspectors' verdict is awaited.

 On interviews with Iraqi scientists, which are regarded as potentially the
only way to get a clear picture of Iraqi operations, Mr Blix told the
Security Council:

"We do not feel that the Iraqi side has made a serious effort to respond to
the request [for names] we made."

This issue came up again in the Baghdad talks and Iraq promised to be more
forthcoming. This will be a key test.

Mr ElBaradei of the IAEA reported to the Council that while Iraq had
produced two nuclear scientists asked for, they had both "requested the
presence of an Iraqi Government inspector" which was not "optimum".

There was better news for Iraq on the mystery of its attempted import of
thousands of aluminium tubes.

The suspicion was that it wanted these for centrifuges to enrich uranium for
a nuclear bomb but Mr ElBaradei's report to the Council said that the IAEA
analysis "indicated that the... tubes sought by Iraq... appear to be
consistent with reverse engineering of rockets" as Iraq had asserted.

However, Mr ElBaradei added that the importing of such tubes was banned

It can be seen that the United States and Britain could make much of the
missing material.

They could argue that Iraq has shown a pattern of limited co-operation which
is designed to deceive.

Iraq, on the other hand, complains that it is being asked to prove a
negative and that in the circumstances, this is an impossible task.

The assessment of the UN teams will be given to the Security Council on 27

by Julian Borger in Washington and Helena Smith in Athens
The Guardian, 21st January

Iraq and the UN struck an agreement yesterday aimed at better cooperation on
weapons inspections but there were few signs that the deal will satisfy the
US or Britain and slow the momentum towards conflict.

Under the 10-point agreement, Iraq will allow its scientists and officials
to be questioned by UN inspectors without a government minder present,
although a senior government official said that the people interviewed might
demand a chaperone.

However, there was no discussion of arrangements for the interviews to be
performed outside the country, as the US is demanding, and there was no
agreement for American U2 spy planes to fly reconnaissance missions for the
inspectors. Baghdad said it could not guarantee the planes would not be shot

Although the agreement was welcomed by Hans Blix, the head of the UN
Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic), the gaps in the
deal are likely to provide further ammunition for US and British allegations
of Iraqi non-compliance, when the inspectors present their report on January

The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, yesterday tried to persuade members
of the security council to make a definitive judgment on Iraqi compliance
soon after that report.

On the issue of private interviews with Iraqi scientists, a British official
said: "This was already agreed in a UN resolution. It's not up to Iraq to
agree to it."

Under another clause of the deal, the Iraqis agreed to send out their own
teams to look for armaments that might have been omitted from an inventory
sent to the UN in December. Iraq has already declared the existence of four
more unfilled chemical munitions after inspectors came across 12 in a
weapons dump last week.

However, two days of talks failed to reach an agreement on the use of U2 spy

Amir al-Saadi, a presidential adviser who led the Iraqi delegation at the
talks, said: "It's one of the sticking points. We have reservations about
having a spy plane. We are told it will be flying with UN colours ... But
it's still a spy plane.

"To enter Iraq and to move around the country and loiter for up to six hours
presents us with difficulty as regards our air-defence capabilities.
Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the safety of the UN plane and its

In Athens last night on his way back to the US, Mr Blix said he thought Iraq
would stick to the terms of the agreement but said it left many disarmament
issues unresolved.

"Of course we did not really discuss the open issues from the past, the
weapons of mass destruction that are supposed to be included in the
12,000-page declaration which we don't think were," Mr Blix said.

"We said to the Iraqis that maybe they should provide further information or
at least tell people where they feel there is relevant information."

The key to the deal was Iraq's agreement for the first time that scientists
and other officials could be subjected to private interviews by UN
inspectors without a government official in the room. However, Mr Saadi said
scientists might demand a government chaperone.

He said the talks did not touch on the possibility that those interviews
could take place outside Iraq, as allowed for by UN resolution 1441, and as
advocated strongly by the Bush administration.

Mr Blix told the Guardian: "We have not approached any of the Iraqi
scientists yet to know when they will be going there [to Cyprus]."

Mr Powell met his British counterpart, Jack Straw, and a dozen other foreign
ministers from security council nations, to persuade them to treat a report
on January 27 by Mr Blix and Mohammed El Baradei of the International Atomic
Energy Agency as the key test of Iraqi compliance and not wait for a
subsequent report on March 27.

Mr Powell said: "We must not shrink from our duties and our responsibilities
when the material comes before us next week and as we consider Iraq's
response to 1441, and we cannot fail to take the action that might be
necessary because we are afraid of what others might do."

But Mr Baradei told reporters in Athens last night: "We still have work to
do, we're going to report to the security council that inspection is in
mid-course and that we have not completed the tasks that lie ahead of us."

Mr Blix added: "Iraq has not produced enough evidence to create confidence
that it does not have any weapons of mass destruction, and for us to report
to the council that it can close the dossier."

by Hamza Hendawi
Las Vegas Sun, 21st January

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - When the top U.N. arms experts were in town, Demetrius
Perricos put on a suit and a tie and slipped into anonymity, lurking quietly
in the background as his bosses took center stage. But appearances can be

Chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, who were in
Baghdad Sunday and Monday, may often have their pictures splashed across
newspapers the world over.

But it's Perricos, a Greek citizen, who is the key figure in the painstaking
search for Iraq's alleged banned weapons, a complex undertaking that could
spell the difference between war and peace.

A physicist who worked for years for the International Atomic Energy Agency,
Perricos set the tone for the current inspections, which resumed in November
after a four-year interruption.

On one of the first inspections, Perricos led a convoy of U.N. vehicles in a
high-speed drive through twisting and narrow country roads to disguise his
ultimate destination - an abandoned biological weapons plant.

Last week, Perricos infuriated the Iraqis again, leading a team of
inspectors into two office complexes inside the compound of Iraq's main
presidential palace in Baghdad. The next day, he led a search of the Baghdad
homes of two Iraqi scientists in the first such inspections.

"Whenever something happens that they don't like very much, they start to
complain," he told reporters last week. "But we don't give much attention to
their complaints."

A physicist in his mid-60s, Perricos is the director of planning and
operations at the U.N. Monitoring and Verification Commission, which handles
inspections for chemical and biological weapons. He is often at pains to
dismiss any suggestion that his job has anything to do with the politics of
the latest U.S.-Iraqi standoff.

"We think of our immediate bosses as political people doing a political
job," he said on Nov. 28. "It is not us who are providing an input for war
and peace. The judgments are all coming up at the political level, and
therefore I sleep very well," he added with a smile.

According to the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, Perricos is the son of a Greek
Air Force officer executed by Nazi troops during Germany's occupation of
Greece during World War II. He was 8 when his father, Costas Perricos, died.

"Work so that all wars are stopped, people prosper, the countries of Europe
unite, and the world is in peace and happiness," Costas Perricos wrote to
his family in his last letter from prison, according to Eleftherotypia.

His father's peace message to the message seems to have survived the passage
of time.

"We all hope no one goes to war," Perricos told Greece's private Antenna
television on Sunday. "As long as the inspections can continue, then we can
all hope things will get better.

"You are talking to a man who believes in the inspection process ... world
politics do not depend on the inspectors," he told the Greek daily Ta Nea
earlier this month.

Perricos, who declined to be interviewed for The Associated Press, told an
Antenna reporter before he left Baghdad for Athens Monday that he intended
to briefly see his grandchildren at home before continuing to Vienna.

Silver-haired and mustachioed, Perricos is hardly a typical grandfather.

In a sweater, a fleece, a backpack and a pair of rose color shades, he led
U.N. teams on at least four inspections last week: the presidential palace
compound, the two scientists' homes, a private farm and mobile food labs at
the Trade Ministry. Some of these inspections lasted for up to seven hours
and on one, the visit to the scientists' homes, he was seen by reporters in
heated exchanges with the liaison officers appointed by the government to
escort the inspectors.

Perricos first came to Iraq in 1991 as part of the former inspections
regime, which folded in 1998 when Iraq decided to stop cooperation with the
inspectors, who left the country just before four days of U.S. and British
attacks. He left Iraq in 1993 to join the International Atomic Energy Agency
inspection team in North Korea.

"I have said many times before - the most important item in an inspection is
the inspectors' own sight," he said last week, explaining his professional
philosophy. "They have to go in, see and verify then they start to use
instruments and everything else to amplify their verification."

Example: a bird may appear to behave and move like a duck, he said, "but at
the end it may not be a duck, it may be a swan."


by Pauline Jelinek
Las Vegas Sun, 15th January

WASHINGTON (AP): Iraqi exiles who want to help the American military in a
campaign against President Saddam Hussein are beginning to report for
training. The Pentagon said Wednesday that the first batch of opposition
members who've volunteered to serve with U.S. forces have been told to
assemble at several gathering points in the next several days.

"The training is going to be ... real basic training so they could
potentially fit in with some U.S. units and provide assistance with language
skills, perhaps, or local knowledge and so forth," said Air Force Gen.
Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The call-up of recruits kicks off the largest known U.S. effort to train
Saddam's enemies since passage of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which called
for his overthrow and authorized $97 million to train and equip his

Officials declined to say how many are in the first class of trainees or
where they are gathering for the monthlong training. But up to 3,000 Iraqis
could eventually be used as translators, guides, military police, and
liaisons between coalition combat forces and the Iraqi population, three
officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Two officials also [sic-PB] the Pentagon had ruled out early suggestions by
some in the administration that the men be used in combat positions. But
Myers said the exact number of men and exact jobs they'll do are still to be

"We're going to have to see how many finally show up, how much time we
have," Myers told a Pentagon news conference, adding that more complex
training would take longer. Much also would depend on how much prior
military experience the recruits have.


by Nick Thorpe at Taszar air base, Hungary
The Guardian, 17th January

Up to 3,000 Iraqi exiles will begin arriving in Hungary within days for the
beginning of an extraordinary US-led operation to train them for war in
their homeland.

The exiles, from across the world, will converge on Taszar air base, an
American supply post nestled in the countryside 200 miles from Budapest.

Dozens of khaki tents have already been erected in ground covered with
midwinter snow, in preparation for the arrival of the force.

The exact nature of their training in Hungary, and the role they will be
given in any US-led invasion of Iraq, is a closely guarded secret.

But yesterday, for the first time, journalists were given limited access.

American and Hungarian officials were keen to stress that the exiles were
not an "army" preparing to invade Iraq.

The Hungarian defence minister, Ferenc Juhasz, said: "You can see clearly
that it is not a question of military training .. we will be preparing
people to take care of the relations between the civilians and the

But Iraqi opposition sources described the force as a "magnet", or the
nucleus of a Free Iraqi Army to which soldiers in the regular army would be
encouraged to defect, rather than endure the ignominy of surrendering to the

The same sources said the force was the brainchild of Ahmad Chalabi, the
leader of the Iraqi National Congress, one of several opposition groups
based outside Iraq.

The INC supplied many of the names from which the Americans are choosing the
3,000 trainees.

That has led rival Iraqi opposition figures to suggest that this force will
be Mr Chalabi's, giving him a potentially bigger role in a post-Saddam
Hussein Iraq.

Iraqis close to the INC say that the main criterion used by the US for
selection is past military training - the exiles should have served as
officers in the Iraqi armed forces - and a tough security screening.

"The primary criterion is that they are all volunteers," Major-General David
Barno, the US officer in charge of the base, said yesterday. "We anticipate
that some will have a military background, but many will not."

He said the men would wear what he called a "distinctive uniform which makes
evident who they are" but declined to give further details.

"Their role in any potential operations will be in the area of support to US
and coalition military operations," he said.

They would also receive some firearms training, but for security reasons he
could not provide details of what types or calibre of weapons.

One possible military role could be as rear area security forces, such as

"They are not being trained as combat forces," he added.

Hungary is home to at least 500 Iraqis who have settled permanently in the
country, or have arrived recently as asylum-seekers.

"For years, we have been dreaming that Iraqis could share in the war against
Saddam Hussein," said Hussein Daood, the head of the Budapest branch of the
Iraqi human rights association. "All war is hateful, but it seems there is
no other way to remove him from power."

His hope is that an uprising of the Iraqi people will begin the moment the
first invasion forces land.

That scenario would give the Iraqis trained at Taszar a crucial role, as a
link between a popular uprising and US led troops.

But he said that Iraqis living in Hungary had no links with the force being
assembled at Taszar, and would not know who to contact, even if they wanted
to join it.

At a refugee camp at Bicske, near Budapest, a young man who spoke on
condition that his name would not be used said he had fled Iraq several
months ago, to avoid being called up again as a reservist. He said Iraqis
had heard reports of Taszar with amazement. "Are you sure that such a camp
exists?" he asked.

Taszar was an important supply post for US forces serving in Bosnia, with
7,000 based here at the peak of that operation.

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