Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Saddam's WMDs: The issue that will not die

Christopher S. Carson discusses the Duelfer report on the fabled Iraqi WMDs at FrontpageMag.com

Carson points out some lil' biddy parts of the report and the aspects surround it's compilation that weren't widely reported and that Duelfer himself didn't highlight.

For instance, Duelfer wrote his report after concluding his investigation early. He said Zarqawi “tried to get me and my follow car. Two of my guards were killed and one was badly wounded. My hearing's not been right since." After that, Duelfer decided he had gathered plenty of information regarding the possible transfer of weapons to Syria to write his report.

Carson says:

"These aren’t exactly ideal working conditions. Duelfer and Kay had other problems as well: Zarqawi and the ex-Baathist terrorists were also killing off as many Iraqi scientists as they could. According to Congressman Steve Buyer last year, at least nine Iraqi scientists questioned by ISG were assassinated within the year after Operation Iraqi Freedom and another fifty scientists simply fled the country. Mr. Duelfer told Congress that he was struck by the "extreme reluctance of Iraqi managers, scientists and engineers to speak freely."
"struck" indeed. Ho ho ho.

"Duelfer’s Report suffers from curious lapses. In the months and years immediately before Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Saddam was not nearly as WMD-free as Duelfer surmises. The Report is valuable for what it does reveal, but it certainly does not serve as any basis for the media’s and administration critics’ angry claims of a harmless Iraq."
So why does Duelfer surmise Saddam acted so guilty if he was in full compliance with the U.N. ceasefire demands? According to Carson, the Duelfer report says
"Saddam wanted to have WMD capabilities as long as he could, because WMD had saved him from Iranian human-wave attacks in the 1980’s and from the Shi’ite rebellion in the south after the Gulf War. Chemical weapons were good for gassing the Kurds into intimidated slavery as well

"... By the turn of the millennium, Duelfer writes, things were going well for Saddam. A few years of bribing foreign governments and businesses through Oil-For-Food had managed to erode the sanctions regime entirely. The U.S. was quickly becoming the last holdout in favor of continuation. The Baghdad International Fair in November 2001 was attended by hundreds of companies, and 'the Oil Minister was treated like a rock star.' The end of UN sanctions was finally in sight. Duelfer believes that Saddam, who had already been heavily bombed in 1998 for not complying with UNSCOM’s inspections, thought he could keep his WMD human expertise (but not his visible stockpiles) preserved but inactive, and wait out the sanctions.
So much, so good. This is pretty much what I have supposed for the last year and a half. But Carson says that "a great deal of information in Duelfer’s own Report contradicts his tidy model of a disarmed-but-coyly-pretending dictator." Hmmmmm. And there is Dr. David Kay's report and discoveries after the liberation of Iraq further undermine it. The conclusion Carson draws is one of a Saddam with much more to hide than a naked spider hole.

For example:

  1. Secret biological laboratories hidden throughout Baghdad that were never found by UNSCOM, Blix, or UNMOVIC. They were "all in egregious violation of the UN resolutions on disclosure and disarmament" and were only discovered by invading Iraq.

  2. "Dr. David Kay reported to Congress in October 2003 that one scientist was ordered to conceal reference strains of [bioweapon] organisms like anthrax, ricin and Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever in his own refrigerator. The scientist knew of other seed stocks but these were missing when ISG investigators showed up to collect them. "

  3. A special IIS unit that was was conducting “secret experiments on human beings, resulting in their deaths" the aim of which Duelfer posited “was probably the development of poisons, including ricin and aflatoxin..."

  4. “According to Dr. Mahmud Farraj Bilal Al Sammarai, a senior official involved in the weaponization and testing of CBW agents, the aim of the viral [bioweapons] program was intended for the weaponization of smallpox." They used camelpox for testing purposes with the intention of ultimately arming them with smallpox. "Dr. Bilal claimed that he “did not know for a fact that samples of smallpox existed within Iraq.”

Oh, well, thanks Dr. Bilal. I feel better now. Here's something that will keep you up tonight:

"Could Saddam have kept smallpox stores and concealed them from the inspectors Duelfer’s technical advisors believe the answer is yes, particularly in liquid nitrogen freezers. And “several institutes” in Iraq had such freezers. One “institute” had an interesting story attached, according to Duelfer:
'ISG learned of a television news report that was broadcasted on Western television in mid-April 2003 that reported the CPHL had been [recently] looted of highly infectious virus such as smallpox, polio and influenza. ISG visited the latter and interviewed senior researchers who described the incident….ISG did identify a “secret lab” that was operated there, which had been vacated in December 2002. The nature of the research in that laboratory was not determined [by ISG]. '"

For those who don't remember. December 2002 is three months before the invasion of Iraq while we played Parcheesi with the French and Germans.

5. "American soldiers literally found some of Saddam’s purchase orders [from 2000] for mustard gas and 'malignant pustule,' a known code-phrase for anthrax (according to UNSCOM) in a government building. What is interesting are the amounts of the WMD and the dates: five kilograms of mustard gas on August 21, 2000, and three ampules of anthrax on September 6th, 2000. The orders came with protective equipment."

6. When it became clear that the US was coming Saddam began dumping his "mustard gas barrels and cyanide in the Euphrates, never minding that the local people use this river for their drinking water. The US Marines found “significant quantities” of the poisons in the river near Nasiriyah in June of 2003."

7. Since the invasion, Carson notes "the Polish Army actually purchased cyclosarin (five times deadlier than sarin) rockets from the black market in Iraq to keep them out of the hands of Zarqawi's terrorists."

Before the unrealists poo-poo all this as pale ghosts of the stockpiles that the US, British, and French intelligence agencies thought were there, remember that after 9-11 our concern was not that Saddam would get in a boat and invade the US with these weapons. It was that he would give them to one of the terrorist groups he was hob-nobbing with and/or shielding.

Carson currectly notes this as the major concern reminding us that:

[Saddam's] men trained foreign al-Qaeda and other terrorists at Salman Pak in aircraft hijacking...kept Zarqawi, Abu Nidal, and Abu Abbas as house pets, tried to kill former President Bush, tried to blow up Radio Free Europe, and apparently sent an active colonel in the Fedayeen Saddam to baby-sit the 9-11 hijackers in the 2000 Malaysia planning summit, for starters.

Carson concludes:

"It’s really too bad about Duelfer’s work being “cut short” because of Zarqawi. The trail of WMD isn’t cold. It leads to Syria and the Bekka Valley of formerly Syrian-occupied Lebanon, according to a Syrian defector to US intelligence. Gen. Tommy Franks himself leans this way...Duelfer’s next stop should have been Damascus. With Syrian President Bashar Assad now admitting that he has stockpiles of WMD, perhaps it should be ours."

There's plenty more there to wallpaper your most horrific nightmares. It's cheaper than a Wes Craven DVD. The Jarrar's ex-customer, Dr. Germ, and The Angry Arab get mentions as well. Check it out.




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