WMD - Have we been deceived?
There's an interesting editorial at Iraq News that makes some claims that I have been bothered by for some time. Here's part of the editorial:
At the same time, the CIA and other intelligence bodies accused of flawed performance do not look particularly dismayed by the prospect of facing these probes. They point to the cause of the political flap, Dr Kay, as contradicting himself more than once in the numerous interviews he has given since he quit as head of the Iraq Survey Group.If this is true, what are we to think? This isn't the first time these allegations have been raised, but this is certainly the most precise and detailed accounting that I've seen.
We revisted its most reliable intelligence sources in the US and the Middle East, some of whom were actively involved in the subject before and during the Iraq war. They all stuck to their guns. Saddam Hussein’s unconventional weapons programs were present on the eve of the American-led invasion and quantities of forbidden materials were spirited out to Syria. Whatever Dr. Kay may choose to say now, at least one of these sources knows at first hand that the former ISG director received dates, types of vehicles and destinations covering the transfers of Iraqi WMD to Syria.
Indeed the US administration and its intelligence agencies, as well as Dr Kay, were all provided with Syrian maps marked with the coordinates of the secret weapons storage sites. The largest one is located at Qaratshuk at the heart of a desolate and unfrequented region edged with marshes, south of the Syrian town of Al Qamishli near the place where the Iraqi, Syrian and Turkish frontiers converge; smaller quantities are hidden in the vast plain between Al Qamishli and Az Zawr, and a third is under the ground of the Lebanese Beqaa Valley on the Syrian border.
These transfers were first revealed a month before the war. It was also discovered that a Syrian engineering corps unit was detailed to dig their hiding places in northern Syria and the Lebanese Beqaa.
A senior intelligence source confirmed this again, stressing: “Dr. Kay knows exactly what was contained in the tanker trucks crossing from Iraq into Syria in January 2003. His job gave him access to satellite photos of the convoys; the instruments used by spy planes would have identified dangerous substances and tracked them to their underground nests. There exists a precise record of the movement of chemical and biological substances from Iraq to Syria.”
If true, why would the CIA sit back and take the fierce criticism of the SICR? Why would the Bush administration remain silent, if this is true? One has to wonder what in the heck is going on.
In a related issue, ABC carried the news yesterday that the IAEA is going to return to Iraq, at the invitation of the Iraqis:
"The return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq is an urgent necessity; not to search for weapons of mass destruction but to write the final report about the nonexistence of (such) weapons ... in Iraq, which will enable the lifting of sanctions," ElBaradei said in Cairo.Well isn't that special? The UN already knows the results of their inquiry before they make it!
Yet just two years ago, Hans Blix stated that "significant questions remain" about Iraq's weapons programs:
Hans Blix, the head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), told the Security Council that significant questions remain on Iraqi's chemical, biological and ballistic weapons programs. Baghdad should be more forthcoming with information and allow greater access to scientists and other key personnel with knowledge of the country's weapons programs, he said.Yes, this is the same Hans Blix who has been running around saying there were no weapons and the US was wrong to invade a sovereign nation. The statement about documents explaining how to enrich uranium using lasers is particularly troubling in light of today's story in Al Sabaah. If the Iraqis were further along than we thought, they may well have managed to produce three nuclear warheads, or more......
So far, Blix said, UNMOVIC feels that "Iraq has decided in principle" to cooperate on process, particularly in granting access to sites and providing support services for UNMOVIC, but has not made a similar decision on providing substance on its banned weapons programs.
The 12,000-page final declaration submitted in December 2002 leaves many unanswered questions, he said. "The reports do not contend that weapons of mass destruction remain in Iraq, but nor do they exclude that possibility. They point to lack of evidence and inconsistencies which raise question marks, which must be straightened out, if weapons dossiers are to be closed and confidence is to arise."
The discovery of 3,000 pages of documents relating to the laser enrichment of uranium in the private home of a scientist "support a concern that has long existed that documents might be distributed to the homes of private individuals," Blix said.
"We cannot help but think that the case might not be isolated and that such placement of documents is deliberate to make discovery difficult and to seek to shield documents by placing them in private homes," the UNMOVIC chief said.
But there's more......
Blix outlined several UNMOVIC concerns and called on Iraq to extend its newly announced search for undeclared chemical warheads, such as those found by UNMOVIC, to other weapons programs. Then, he said, any weapons found can be destroyed under UNMOVIC supervision.So, did Iraq have WMD or not? Any reasonable opinion based upon the evidence must conclude that they did. Prudence, then, would dictate that we make aggressive efforts to find those weapons.
"Information provided by member states tells us about the movement and concealment of missiles and chemical weapons and mobile units for biological weapons production," Blix said. "We shall certainly follow up any credible leads given to us and report what we might find, as well as any denial of access."
Blix said that Iraq has placed unacceptable conditions on UNMOVIC's use of a U-2 reconnaissance plane for aerial imagery and surveillance during inspections.
He also reported disturbing protests and harassment of inspectors, which are "unlikely to occur ... without initiative or encouragement from authorities."
Blix said that "for some time farfetched allegations have been made publicly that questions posed by inspectors were of intelligence character. While I might not defend every question that inspectors might have asked, Iraq knows that they do not serve intelligence purposes and Iraq should not say so."
UNMOVIC has information that conflicts with Iraq's account of its production of the deadly nerve agent VX; Iraq's records fail to account for 6,500 chemical bombs Iraq had prior to 1990 and about 1,000 tons of chemical agent for them; and UNMOVIC has strong indications that Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared, Blix said.
"There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization (of VX) and that more had been achieved than has been declared," he said. "Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicated that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared. There are also indications that the agent was weaponized."
"In addition, there are questions to be answered concerning the fate of the VX precursor chemicals, which Iraq states were lost during bombing in the Gulf War or were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq," Blix said.
Inspectors have found a laboratory quantity of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor, at another site, the UNMOVIC chief reported.
The fact that the press isn't even pursuing this line of inquiry points out how completely corrupted "jouralism" is. There isn't one single major media outlet that has even attempted to verify or refute any of Blix's statements. The accepted wisdom is that there were no weapons and all the intelligence services in the world were fooled. The fact that this flies in the face of logic seems to bother no one.