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Saddam Hussein co-operated with the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq far more than President George Bush is prepared to do. Apparently Hussein had nothing to hide in the last round of inspections, but this raises the question: What does Bush have to hide? Could this be a case of the US planning to "plant" WMD’s in Iraq and calling in the UN inspectors latter. This article is an in depth exploration of this important issue.
On Wednesday, April 23, 2003, the New York Times reported that
"White House officials….indicated publicly today for the first time that they were adamantly opposed to the quick return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq.(1) In the months preceding the US invasion of Iraq Hans Blix, the top UN weapons inspector told the UN Security Council on January 28, 2003 that "Iraq has on the whole co-operated rather well so far with UNMOVIC (the UN weapons inspector team) in the field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect, and with one exception it has been prompt."(2)
A week latter US Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council and complained about the lack of authorized U-2 recognizance flights and the Iraqi failure to allow "immediate unimpeded, unrestricted and private access to all officials" and scientists.(3)
Now that the United States has total control and complete access to every scientist, and every suspected weapons of mass destruction site, absolutely no weapons of mass destruction have been found.
KEY IRAQI W.M.D. GENERALS & SCIENTISTS SURRENDER
Lt. General Hussam Muhammad Amin, the Iraq Chief Liaison to UN weapons inspectors is in US custody. According the New York Times, he helped "to direct intelligence operations designed to frustrate the inspections." So now he has turned himself in and is ready to co-operate. The New York Times says Lt. General Amin "was one of two top Iraqi weapons specialists." It seems the US has got the other one too…a General Aamir al-Saadi who also turned himself over to the Americans after the fall of Baghdad.(4) The Guardian Weekly reports that "Coalition hopes were…raised" when Emad Husayn Abdullah Al-Ani "a scientist believed by US officials to be deeply involved in Iraq’s development of chemical weapons" also surrendered to American forces.(5)
BUSH SAYS "WE WILL FIND" WMD’S IN IRAQ
President Bush says the search for WMD’s is on. The combined forces of the CIA, unrestricted U-2 flights, on-site inspections and the aid of former Iraqi Generals and scientists are working hard to get results. Bush claims "We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraq scientists and people within the Iraqi structure that perhaps he (Hussein) destroyed the some (WMD’s), perhaps he dispersed some. We also know there are hundreds and hundreds of sites available for hiding weapons…we’ve only looked at about 90 of those sites so far." That was on April 25, 2002, long after the fall of Baghdad. Still Bush is "pretty confident" weapons of mass destruction will be found. He says "we know he had weapons of mass destruction…we will find them."(6) Funny, how the first priority 90 sites listed by American intelligence found nothing. In hindsight, perhaps, the US should have been little less critical of the UN inspectors for going "so slow."
OIL AND THE SANCTIONS: THE REASONS FOR THE INSPECTIONS FORGOTTEN
Least we forget, the UN inspectors were seeking to destroy WMD’s so that UN sanctions against Iraq could be lifted. There is no disputing that the sanctions caused the death of many innocent Iraq citizens, especially children. The Food for Oil program placed the control and profits of Iraqi oil exports in the hands of the UN. Now, suddenly the US wants sanctions lifted even before the UN inspection team can verify the absence of WMD’s in Iraq. Why this sudden change? (A change totally ignored in the mass media)
The obvious answer is the US wants the control of oil removed from UN hands. Privatizing Iraqi oil and handing it over to US & British oil executives suddenly becomes more important than the completion of the UN inspections. As mentioned already, the UN inspectors are completely barred by the US. The real reason for the war----oil and US plans for world domination----become even more evident in the aftermath of the war. This could and should strengthen the anti-war movement, especially when non-Hussein resistance to the US occupation increases over the next year.
THE ULTIMATE HYPOCRISY
Being active in "left" politics most of my 60 years, I have to say I have never encountered a more blatant example of "hypocrisy" in American foreign policy. The cause of the war was repeatedly stated to be the "threat to America" posed by the WMD’s in Iraq. Yet the UN inspectors found none. Now the US has found none. During the Cold War, the argument could be made that the Soviet Union posed a threat to the US and it’s capitalist economic system. After all the Soviets had WMD’s, the bomb and the means of delivery. Iraq had neither. The US is the only world power that possesses WMD’s and the bomb and has actually used them on civilian targets i.e., the A-bombing of Japan. And the US goal of a Middle East completely free of weapons of mass destruction totally ignores Israel’s A-bomb arsenal. The utter and complete nature of his hypocrisy requires a brief current history review. Here goes.
Remember those Iraqi "20,000 chemical-capable artillery shells, 1.4 tons of nerve gas agents, 25,000 liters of anthrax and 20 Scud missiles that were deployable within 45 minutes."(7) Remember Colin Powell’s famous (in his own words) "missile brigade outside Baghdad (which) was dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agent to various locations, distributing them to various locations in
Western Iraq. Most of the launches and warheads have been hidden in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection."(8) That’s in Powell’s report to the UN. Chemicals in warheads ready to use, probably in less than 45 minutes. Colin claims he knew why the UN inspectors couldn’t find them. They were moved around.
THE FAMOUS "MOBIL WMD LABS"
In Colin Powell’s imagination, even the factories for making chemical and biological weapons were "moving around" on trucks and train cars. No actual spy plane or satellite pictures existed, so Powell was forced to deliver a graphic artist’s rendering of the mobile lab factories for the UN Security Council. According to Powell, "The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors. In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War."(9) So we’re talking lots of trucks and train cars here. And where are they today? The US has control of the highways, railways, air space and access to scientists. Where are they today?
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND THE IRAQI A-BOMB
Remember Dick Cheney’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last summer (2002). Cheney claimed "The Iraqi regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents. And they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago."(10)
The Bush administration Iraq nuclear story was blown out of the water even before the war started. On January 26, 2003, Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, argued before the UN Security Council that "no prohibited nuclear activities have been identified" in Iraq.(11) The US held documents claiming to prove Iraq’s attempt to buy uranium for nuclear warheads from Niger proved to be fakes. Mohamed El Baradei was again quoted as saying the documents were forgeries and "not authentic."(12)
FOOLING THE SENATORS
On September 24, 2002, CIA head George Tenet briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the attempted Iraqi purchase of five hundred tons of "yellow cake" uranium for making atomic bombs. Just five tons can produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a bomb. Two days latter Colin Powell also briefed the Senators on Iraqi
attempts to obtain uranium from Niger. The testimony from Tenet and Powell scared both Democratic and Republican Senators into passing a resolution overwhelmingly giving the President a Congressional mandate for a military assault on Iraq just two weeks latter. The only trouble was the Senators were fooled. The story was simply not true.
FOOLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND SEYMOUR HERSH
President Bush cited the uranium deal in his January, 2003 State of the Union Message to the American People. Bush claimed he got information from the British Government. When the UN inspectors declared the documents "not authentic," Seymour Hersh, one of America’s last investigative reporters, got on the case and wrote an article for the New Yorker Magazine concerning the false A-bomb reports, dated March 31, 2003. Hersh interviewed an International Atomic Energy Agency senior official who told him "These documents are so bad that I cannot imagine that they came from a serious intelligence agency. It depresses me, given the low quality of the documents, that it was not stopped. At the level it reached (Tenet, Bush, Cheney, US Senators) I would have expected more checking."(13)
Hersh speculates that the forged documents were manufactured by M16 (British Intelligence) and accepted by the CIA uncritically. Hersh interviews a former high-level intelligence official who suggested "somebody deliberately let something false get in there…It could not have gotten into the system without the agency (CIA) being involved. Therefore it was an internal intention. Someone set someone up."(14)
The Senators too were feeling that they may have been "set up." On March 14, 2003, Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Robert Mueller, the FBI Director to investigate the forged document. The Senator wrote to Mueller, "There is a possibility that the fabrication of these documents may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq." He also wants to know "why the intelligence community did not recognize the documents were fabricated."(15)
BRITISH PRO-WAR MPs PROTEST
The fall-out in England was worse. According to the Guardian weekly, Labour MPs
"are demanding an inquiry to establish whether M16 misled ministers about Iraq’s weapons programme."(16) Lindsay Hoyle, the Labour MP for Chorley, who voted in favour of war because of Mr. Blair’s chilling warnings about Iraq’s banned weapons, said: "We were led to believe that the Iraqis could fire them within 45 minutes. If that was the case where have they vanished to? We were told there was hard evidence."(17)
Former British Defense Minister Doug Henderson said, "If by the turn of the year there is no WMD then the basis of which this (war on Iraq) was executed was illegal."(18) Although why would we need to wait 8 months to declare the war illegal is unclear, given that Colin Powell and M16 said the WMD’s were battle field deployed. Right under palm trees and ready to use in 45 minutes.
EVEN THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS DOUBTS
No doubt reeling from the atomic weapons and other WMD deceptions, the New York Times was asking some uncomfortable questions on the editorial page. The April 9, 2003 Times states "…one of the great questions still to be answered is whether Saddam Hussein has the unconventional weapons that were cited as the prime reason for launching the invasion…In making the case for the invasion, the administration suggested that Iraq’s arsenal might be quite large: up to 500 tons of nerve and mustard agents and 30,000 munitions capable of delivering them; material to produce 25,000 liters of anthrax and 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin; and mobile or underground laboratories to make germ weapons. If so, it should be possible to find them…."(19)
This seemingly "great question" became very real when US troops captured the Iraqi missile brigade positions mentioned by Colin Powell at the UN Security Council. Remember Powell mentioned that this missile brigade was "dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agents" to various locations in Western Iraq. Yet, Canada’s pro-war National Post reports these same Iraqi "units have since been overrun by US troops. Intense searches of suspected weapons sites by US special forces in Western Iraq have failed to find any such rockets or warheads."(20)
Three weeks after the international and Canadian media raised the issue that Powell’s report to the UN was also "not authentic" and perhaps a complete forgery, the April 22, 2003 New York Times finally raises the question of whether the whole official explanation for the war was a hoax. In an editorial, Nicholas D. Kristof writes, "The most curious aspect of the was Iraq’s failure to use weapons of mass destruction…If Iraq never had any weaponized chemical or biological agents, then Mr. Bush as plenty of explaining to do to the children of the American and the Iraqis who died in the war." Then after listing all the supposed WMD’s again, Kristof says, "These weapons were supposedly deployed in the war and controlled by field commands that we have long since overrun…so where are they?"(21)
BUSH ADMINISTRATION DEMANDS "FIND ME SOME WMDs"
A week latter, the Bush administration was desperate. According to the April 28, 2003, Time Magazine, "The White House is screaming ‘Find me some WMD’ according to a State Department official."(22) Furthermore, "The Pentagon dispatched an entire brigade---3,000 troops---to search and offered $200,000 bounties for any weapons of mass destruction uncovered. Local officers were authorized to make payments of $2,500 on the spot."(23) Still nothing can be found.
According to Newsweek, discovered nerve gas turned out to be pesticide, weapons site tip offs turned out to be false and those dam mobile bio-chemical weapon labs are no where to be found. It has even gotten to the point where "some officials now question whether huge stockpiles will be found…"(24) One such official is none other than
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who claims, "Things (WMD’s) were mobile. Things were underground. Things were in tunnels. Things were hidden. Things were dispersed. Now are we going to find that? No, it’s a big country….The inspectors didn’t find anything and I doubt we will…What we will do is find people who will tell us."(25)
Now that they got Lt. General Hussam Muhammad Amin, General Amir al-Saad and Emad Husayn Abullah Al-Ani, they got the people. As of May 5, 2003, they also got Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, whom NBC claims is "among Iraq’s top weapons scientists." NBC internet news reports that "during negotiations on her surrender, Ammash offered her cooperation in revealing what she knows about Iraq’s program to produce weapons of mass destruction."(26) The Western media has dubbed Mrs. Ammash, "Mrs. Anthrax." As I mentioned earlier, all of the above scientists and military officials gave themselves up for arrest. Many are co-operating. Still no WMD’s.
THE OLD SHELL GAME
Oh that Rumsfeld is a smart guy. Now, it seems no physical evidence of WMD’s is required. Just some "reliable" people who will bear witness to the fact that WMD’s exist, even though they can’t be found. This, of course, is not what Rumsfeld demanded of Han Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector. Not long ago, Rumsfeld’s complaint was that Blix was taking too long to find the WMD’s. He was taking so long, the US had to start a $60 billion dollar war and kill nearly 10,000 people to find them real quick.
BLIX STRIKES BACK
Given the fake information involved in Powell’s speech to the UN, it is no surprise that Blix, in a recent interview in Der Spiegel characterized the WMD information given him by the US before the war as "pathetic."(27) A true seeker of truth, Blix is still prepared to have UN inspectors enter Iraq and work closely with US inspection teams. Blix claims UN teams may be better able to satisfy world public opinion. Blix argues "international inspectors operate under UN rules. They are under statutory obligation not to take instruction from any Government, and governments are also under obligation not to instruct them. Therefore, testimony by international inspectors, provided that that has been prepared professionally, carries I think greater credibility with the international community."(28)
US REFUSES BLIX’S OFFER OF HELP
Of course, the US has refused Blix’s offer. According to one Bush administration official, "We’re not at the point where inspectors (UN) can go in." The weapons need to be found first, then counted and put on display in a "secure environment." Then and only then can "we can start talking about whether there is a need for outside inspectors."(29) This kind of official talk has led the international and even some US press to suggest the US may attempt to plant WMD’s inside Iraq and then call in the UN to confirm after the fact. That is probably why the New York Times wrote a lead editorial on "Banishing Hans Blix." They don’t like the idea. The Times says "Banishing Hans Blix" is "too bad." Furthermore "The hunt for these weapons (WMD’s) wou ld be aided by the presence of independent experts, and the credibility of any discoveries would be much enhanced if they were confirmed by the UN."(30) Perhaps, the Times was thinking of the M16-CIA-Cheney-Powell-Bush Iraq nuclear weapons hoax. Or perhaps the New York Times just wants to cover Mr. Bush’s ass from an even more hostile world opinion.
THE TIME FOR DISCOVERING REAL IRAQI WMD’S HAS ALREADY PASSED
The fact is that at this late date (May 6, 2003), if the US haven’t found any missiles tipped with bio-chemical weapons, mobile labs, underground WMD factories or atomic bombs, they won’t ever find any battle ready, weaponized, ready-to-use in 45 minutes WMD’s. Maybe a couple of liters of old liquid anthrax which has lost all potency in storage or traces of other chemicals in the soil where they were dumped and destroyed before the war will be found. Much will be made of these insignificant discoveries which will be far, far short of what we were led to believe by the Bush administration before the war. There will be lots of discovered "talking heads" but very little, if any physical evidence of WMD,s which could have posed a "direct threat" to America.
MEDIA MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
What will happen is front page US press reports of WMD’s being found. Then days latter, after careful inspection, a denial will be buried on page 10. Judith Miller, a reporter for the New York Times, has already written several Pentagon inspired front page stories on possible "discovered" chemical weapons. Let me quote her day after report on page ten in the April 28, 2003, New York Times. Judith Miller reports, "A military team has tentatively concluded that there are no chemical weapons at a site where American troops said they had found chemical agents and mobile labs. Earlier today, Lt. Col. Ted Martin of the 10th Cavalry said that one of a dozen 55 gallon drums in an open field had tested positive for cyco-sarin, a nerve agent, and a blister agent that could have been mustard gas. He said his soldiers had also found two mobile labs containing equipment for mixing chemicals…But in an interview tonight, Capt. Ryan Cutchin, the leader of mobile Exploitation Team Bravo, or MET Bravo, said that after surveying the site, near the Northern Iraqi town of Bayji, his team believed that earlier reports were wrong. ‘Our tests showed no positive hits at all. The mobile labs were definitely ‘not labs.’"(31)
The pattern is clear. A front page story on a WMD "find" in Iraq. Latter, a retraction similar to the one above buried in the paper. The overall effect on the American public has not yet been measured. But if 42% of the American people thought Iraq was involved in September l1th, then the current repeated front page WMD news stories will probably convince a majority of US citizens that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, even if they didn’t.
Even Judith Miller seems to be getting tired of her role as a stooge for the Pentagon. She, too, notices this page one/page ten pattern of reportage and comments: "This was the latest example of a recurring pattern in efforts to track down unconventional weapons in Iraq. Repeatly, early reports of discoveries of chemical and biological weapons come to naught after the mobile exploitation teams conduct test and evaluate earlier reports.(32)
Even though the New York Times has played a leading role in promoting front page WMD "discoveries," an editorial by Paul Krugman (also in the NYT’s) blames the "misinformation" on TV. Mr. Krugman argues, "One wonders whether most of the public will ever learn that the original case for war has turned out to be false. In fact, my guess is that most Americans believe that we have found WMD’s. Each potential find gets blaring coverage on TV; how many people catch the later announcement ---if it is ever announced----that it was a false alarm? It’s a pattern of misinformation…."(33)
Certainly this is not a new technique. An unknown German army colonel, named Adolf Hitler, developed the idea that if you repeat a lie hundreds of times on the mass media, the people will believe it. The Bush administration’s "pattern of misinformation" clearly operates in the same way.
A COMMENT BY HUSSEIN
As much as I hate to quote old dictators, let me quote the comments of Saddam Hussein recorded in the Vancouver Sun on March 17, 2003: "Are weapons of mass destruction a needle you can conceal in a head cover or in the scarf of an old woman that inspectors cannot find?" Saddam then states, "There are no weapons of mass destruction."(35) I should mention that the title of the Vancouver Sun article just quoted is "US WARY OF PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE BY IRAQ." Could it be that the "evil" dictator told the truth about WMD’s and the "good" Christian Bush lied?
Clearly, the pressure is on to find WMD’s in Iraq. Bush is "pretty confident" but the guys in the field are not so sure. General Tommy Franks, the commander of US forces in the Gulf "attempted to lower expectations when he warned that it may take a year to uncover details of Iraq’s arsenal."(36)
SOME WISDOM FROM WEST VIRGINIA
Sgt. Sprague, from White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia, may be the source of ultimate wisdom on this issue of WMD’s. Sgt. Sprague said: "I’ve been all the way through this desert from Basra to here (outside Nassiriya) and I ain’t seen one shopping mall or fast food restaurant…These people got nothing."(37)
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE PEACE MOVEMENT?
One hopes that America and Britain's next pre-emptive war (Iran in 2004?) will lack the support of the pro-war Labour MPs and American Senators who are only now protesting that they were manipulated by false government information on Iraq’s WMDs. If that is the case, the world-wide peace movement will gain more allies than ever before. Clearly, now is the time for the Peace Movement to launch an educational offensive (forums, panel discussions, teach-ins, films) exposing the US/British false propaganda which led to the war.
If the "official" reasons for war are untrue, a further discussion of America’s unannounced goal of world domination and control of the world’s oil becomes even more important. The only announcement so far comes from Ahmed Chalabi, the man Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense and Richard Perle (a Rumsfeld aide) and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz are promoting as the next leader of Iraq. Ahmed Chalabi told the Washington Post "American companies will have a big shot at Iraq oil."(38) Now is the time to extend our outreach to our fellow pro-war citizens, who were misled by M-16/CIA/Bush/Blair propaganda on WMD’s. My hope is this article will be of assistance in that endeavor.
- Felicity Barringer "France Urging UN to suspend Iraq Penalties" New York Times, April 23, 2003, p. 1.
- Hans Blix, "Statement to the UN Security Council" New York Times, January 28, 2003, p. A10
- Colin Powell, "Address to Security Council of the UN" New York Times February 6, 2003, p. A14
- Graig Smith "Americans Arrest Would-be Leader of Iraq’s Capital, New York Times, April 28, 2003, p. 1.
- Guardian Reporters, "PM at Odds Over Lack of Weapons but His Standing Among Voters Remains Intact" Guardian weekly, April 24-30, 2003 p. 10
- George Bush, "Interview with Tom Brokaw, "Bush: We Will Find Banned Weapons" NBC News, April 25, 2003. http://www.msnbc.com/news/905108.asp
- Jonathan Manthorpe "War Questions are Sliding into Oblivion" Times Colonist, April 27, 2003, p. D2
- Op. Cit., Colin Powell, p. A14
- Op. Cit., Colin Powell, p. A15
- Andrew Gumbel, "Anthrax, Chemicals and Nerve Gas: Who is Lying?" Independent.co.uk April 20, 2003, p. 2. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=398705
- Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, "Address to UN Security Council" New York Times, January 28, p. A11
- Jeff Sallot, "Documents Linking Iraq to Uranium were Forged" Globe and Mail, March 8, 2003 p. A10
- Seymour Hersh, "Who Lied to Whom" The New Yorker, March 31, 2003, p. 42
- Ibid., Seymour Hersh, p. 43.
- Ibid., Seymour Hersh, p. 43
- Op. Cit., Guardian Reporters, p. 10
- Op. Cit., Guardian Reporters, p. 10
- Op. Cit., Guardian Reporters, p. 10
- Editorial, "In Search of Horror Weapons" New York Times, April 9, 2003 p. A20
- Peter Goodspeed, "Unconventional Weapons Elusive" National Post, April 7, 2003, p. A6
- Nicholas D. Kristof, "I Said That" Editorial New York Times April 22, 2003, p. A29
- Nancy Gibbs, "Unfinished Business" Time, April 28, 2003 p. 20
- Ibid., Nancy Gibbs, p. 20
- Ibid., Nancy Gibbs, p. 21
- Ibid., Nancy Gibbs, p. 21
- NBC News, "US Captures Top Iraqi Biologist, May 5, 2003, p. 1. http://www.msnbc.com/m/pt/printthis_main.asp?ID=897268
- Op. Cit., Nancy Gibbs, p. 21
- Op. Cit., Felicity Barringer, p. A14
- Op. Cit., Felicity Barringer, p. A14
- Lead Editorial, "Banishing Hans Blix" New York Times, April 23, 2003, p. A30
- Judith Miller "Suspicious Discovery Apparently Wasn’t Chemical Weapons" New York Times, April 28, 2003 p. 10
- Ibid., Judith Miller, p. 10
- Paul Krugman, "Matters of Emphasis" New York Times, April 29, 2003, p. A 31
- Jeff Sallot, "Iraqi Nuclear Plant Searched, Public may be at Risk, UN Says" Globe and Mail, April 10, 2003, p. A4
- "US Wary of Pre-emptive Strike by Iraq" Vancouver Sun, March 17, 2003, p. A6.
- Op. Cit. Guardian Reporters, p. 10
- James Meek, "Marines Losing the Battle for Iraqi Hearts" Guardian Weekly, March 27-April 2, 2003, p. 2
- Hon Spayde, "Our Man in Baghdad" Utne, March-April 2003 p. 29
Steve Moore is a researcher and retired American History Teacher living in British Columbia. Comments or criticisms of the article can be received at [email protected] Copyright Steve Moore 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .