July 14, 2012
This series originally ran in The New Media Journal in April of 2006. In light of the fact that Syria is now on the move with its chemical weapons arsenal, we found it to be relevant to revisit this excellently researched work by Mr. Malensek.
Have you ever noticed that it’s always politicians, media types, and either washed up or disgruntled anonymous intelligence sources who claim that there never was any WMD in Iraq? On the other hand, nearly every single commander and deputy commander of CENTCOM says that Saddam did have WMD. So too do the inspectors with the closest knowledge of before and after inspections: Dr Butler, Dr Kay, Dr Duelfer, and most of the former UN inspectors (only Dr Blix and Scott Ritter differ in this opinion). Is this subject one where the word of a former governor of Vermont is better than that of highly decorated generals and weapons inspectors who have served their country all over the world for decades?
While Gov Dean’s hands were sticky with maple syrup, people like Dr. Kay and Dr. Duelfer were in 130 degree desert heat wearing plastic suits in toxic environments and being shot at. While Rep. Pelosi works to blame President Bush for things as controllable as the weather, people like General DeLong, General Franks, and so many others had their hands covered in the dirt and sands of the Middle East. Perhaps it’s wiser to believe the professionals who serve with honor and for whom lying is a disgrace rather than believing politicians for whom pandering to constituents and the party base isn’t lying. It’s just “spin.”
If one is to raise an eyebrow and for a moment believe the Generals, then the obvious question is, “What happened to Saddam’s WMD?” The former dictator declared he had them, and he declared they were destroyed, but he offered no evidence of their destruction; no wreckage, no contaminated sand, no documents, and not even witnesses. One must wonder how the most poisonous chemicals and biological agents ever made by man just disappear without leaving a trace, without anyone logging their destruction, and without anyone having done the destruction themselves. Moreover, if the WMD once did exist (as Saddam, the UN, the Clinton and Bush Administrations as well as the world at large acknowledge)….then where are they? There are basically three claims as to what happened to Saddam’s WMD: they were flown to Syria, they were driven to Syria, and they were shipped out on Russian ships.
One of Saddam’s generals, General Georges Sada, has come forward with claims that Saddam moved his “special weapons” out of Iraq, to Syria in late summer 2002. He allegedly did this under the guise of Iraqi humanitarian aid flights to Syria after a Syrian dam burst in July. The shipments were supposedly made on modified civilian planes flown by pilots Sada knows personally.
On June 17, 2002, the Times of London reported that Iraqi nuclear centrifuge parts were being smuggled out of Syria-originally stored at the port of Tartus, they had been moved to Damascus International Airport and moved to points unknown from there-effectively corroborating Sada’s story. The Time’s report even cites the dam break reported by Sada as the Iraqi cover story.
Wwe know from the Saddam tapes, from multiple mainstream media interviews with former Iraqi generals, from the newly released documents captured from Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence Service HW, and from the ISG reports that Saddam stunned his general staff in the late summer of 2002 by announcing to them that he was letting the UN inspectors back in because there were no longer any “special weapons” in the country. The flights to Syria had ended.
Other clandestine shipments went by truck and storage payment was made to Syria through an arms smuggling front company run by Syrian Intelligence: SES International. That SES did exist, was Syrian Intel front company and was corrupt is not at all in dispute. SES Intl was one of those blatant Oil-For-Food cover companies used by Saddam to buy conventional weapons in exchange for UN oil vouchers. The Duelfer Report is ridden with information about SES International’s illegal sales-sales that Saddam was using to break his conventional arms containment. SES was cited by the Treasury Department as being a front for Syrian Intelligence, a sanction-breaking company, and was being used by Syria’s family to launder money. Assad’s family has also been caught by the UN using the collapsed bank of Al Madina as a similar front company involved in the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister.
Aside from the fact that his story is corroborated by media reports of the time, why believe General Sada? As a pilot himself and an investigator respected by even Saddam himself, Sada was the general in charge of interrogating and guarding downed Coalition pilots during Desert Storm. Retired USAF Col. David Eberly (the ranking Coalition POW pilot during Desert Storm) writes the introduction to Sada’s book and vouches for his credibility. Two British airmen vouched for his credibility in a book they co-wrote about their experience as POW’s at his hands. In fact, Sada dared to argue with Saddam’s insane son, Uday-who wanted the pilots executed, and Sada was jailed as a result.
Opponents to the war should respect his opinion as he was given multiple awards for his peaceful efforts to prevent a war by anti-war groups prior to the invasion. Ali Ibrahim, another of Saddam's former commanders, affirms Sada's story. (“Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti was a southern regional commander for Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen militia in the late 1980s and a personal friend of the dictator. Units under his command dealt with chemical and biological weapons”). So too do other former commanders of Saddam’s regime.
Perhaps most importantly, the details of his story – as well as all the stories in his book – are well-corroborated by mainstream media reports. Except for the contents of the planes and trucks that went to Syria his stories are backed up by fully accepted historical events and settings. Sada says he knows what was in them those trucks and planes, but the ISG, and mainstream media don’t. For whatever reason, they’ve chosen to report on the politics of the war rather than investigate the historical facts. It’s sad and should be unforgivable that they don’t have one of Sada’s pilots doing the cable news talk show circuit.
The Russian Connection
In December 2002, Russia’s Middle East envoy, Yevgeny Primakov (former Russian Intelligence Chief), flew to Baghdad under the front of making one last chance for peace with the dictator. As soon as his plane landed, it was allegedly loaded with “sensitive materials” and flown directly to Belarus. People speculate as to whether or not it was WMD, WMD equipment, documents, people, or things the Russians didn’t want the US to get their hands on, but in any event…the plane was loaded with things the US wanted. There is no doubt that the Russians did send GPS jammers to confuse American satellite-guided bombs, night vision goggles, special anti-tank missiles, and Russian advisors.
American forces found the jammers, and that’s no secret since the Air Force was happy to boast that the jammers were ineffective (USAF just boosted the signal from their satellites so that it was “louder” than those from the jammers).
Syria and Russia both sent night-vision sights and goggles to Iraq, and they were recovered by American forces.
The anti-tank missiles did stop an Abrams tank and kill its crew. Others reportedly were ineffective, but evidence of their use is indisputable given the unique signature that their shaped charge left on the tanks that were hit.
Renown reporter Joe Galloway reported that two Russian Generals, Gen. Vladimir Achalov, a former commander of airborne and rapid-reaction forces, and Gen. Igor Maltsev, a leading expert in air defense systems were in Baghdad up until 6 days before the war. During their “visit” they were photographed being given medals by Iraqi Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Akhmed. Other smiley photographs include the two Russian Generals standing with head of the General Staff of the Iraqi Army Izzat Ibragim between them. Upon their return to Russia, the generals were asked why they went on a “last-chance” diplomatic mission. They replied, “We didn't fly to Baghdad to drink coffee.” One wonders if all the elements of the story were proven true, could the claim of “special weapons” being moved out be less true than the other elements?
Immediately after the arrival of the Russians in Baghdad, retired USAF Lt Gen. James R Clapper Jr-then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency-monitored an increasing flow of traffic and communication from Iraq to Syria. Former head of the UN’s WMD inspection group, UNSCOM, Richard Butler, was asked to review the imagery. He agreed that Iraq appeared to be moving weapons out of Iraq, but did not think that “the Iraqis wanted to give them to Syria, but…just wanted to get them out of the territory, out of range of our inspections.” Syria was prepared to be the custodian of them. The entire idea was nearly identical to when Saddam sent his entire air force to Iran for safe-keeping during Desert Storm.
Israeli intelligence (flush with human intelligence sources in the region-particularly in Syria, and Lebanon) reported that the increased traffic was Saddam’s repositioning of WMD to Syria. On December 23, 2002, Ariel Sharon stated on Israeli channel 2 television, "Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.” About three weeks later, Israel's foreign minister repeated the accusation. The U.S., British, and Australian governments issued similar statements.
Opponents to the war like to point to the 1000+ pages of the Duelfer Report and summarize it as “NO WMD,” but there’s a lot more to Moby Dick than 5 letters. Not even an elementary school student would dare turn in a 5-letter book report on Melville’s epic. Similarly the ISG’s report contains a lot more than just “NO WMD.” It is a resounding verification that, yes, there was a great deal of ‘something’ secreted out of Saddam’s Iraq into Syria. While the ISG doesn’t claim that it was in fact WMD in those trucks, it specifically says that the investigations should remain open on the issue because the clandestine nature and the assembly areas for the convoys that left Iraq for Syria would be consistent with WMD, WMD equipment, documentation, and even personnel.
Given that there is so much evidence that Saddam’s illegal weapons, programs, documents, and equipment existed and were moved rather than did not exist and were destroyed, it seems that logic has turned. There’s simply more evidence it was moved than there is any evidence of WMD destruction. Yet, the debate from those who oppose prefers to ignore evidence and pretend that fictional evidence of destruction exists. That door to reality is creaking open for the opposition, and as such it’s no wonder that the anti-war movement is shattering, the Democratic Party is spinning, and opponents to the war are confused.
Russian Intelligence, Belarus & Highway 11
The 1990-2003 War Against Saddam has millions of untold stories. Perhaps one of the most important happened at the onset of the invasion. On the evening of March 22 there are several reports that Russians were witness to an American airborne assault near the Syrian/Jordanian/Iraq border, on or near Highway 11, and in the vicinity of Akashat. Allegedly American airborne troops and/or Special Forces were trying to seize some of Saddam’s WMD on its way into Syria. They were detected by Iraqi forces, surrounded, and as many as 30 were killed or captured. Forces from Jordan were sent to provide air support and rescue for the survivors.
There are no reports of this incident in the mainstream media, but Russian intelligence reports that were remarkably published on the internet during the invasion were generally close to the mark in accuracy (albeit embellished with a distinct political slant), and the Department of Defense has affirmed that the reports do seem credible and accurate-particularly the ones that reference radio intercepts. This report of the border incident stems from such radio intercepts. It's also echoed in Yossef Bodansky's book, The Secret History of the Iraq War, and he cites several Russian eyewitnesses as well.
That the casualties are not listed in the DoD's casualty list is not unusual since the words "Ranger" and "Green Beret" are missing from that list entirely. It seems Special Forces casualties are not generally reported in the same manner as conventional forces. If true, the presence of American forces captured and taken into Syria perhaps might be one of the reasons why more pressure hasn't been exerted on the Assad Regime.
In any event, on March 24th President Bush called Russian President Vladamir Putin and there can be no doubt that the issue of Russian support for Saddam's regime was discussed. That the phone call (widely reported by the press at the time) came immediately in the wake of the border incident is interesting and poignant.
On March 29 and 30, Saddam contacted Belarus. The former Soviet Republic had been one of many that offered Saddam exile in the days just prior to the war. Instead of accepting the offer, Saddam had a Belarusian IL-76 transport plane flown to Baghdad, allegedly loaded with "sensitive cargo" and immediately flown back to Belarus. In December, Yevgeny Primakov's plane had been reloaded with "sensitive cargo" (ie cargo the Americans would want-like WMD, WMD equipment, documents, and people), and flown to Belarus. All flights in and out of Saddam International were monitored closely by the USAF, British Intelligence, and a list of other foreign intelligence services.
Many of the Russian-made weapons procured through Syria's front companies-like SES International-had come from Belarus. After the fall of Saddam's regime, it was found that many of the senior leaders who had fled went to Syria and Belarus (sometimes in that order). If one asks, "What happened to all that WMD?" Then a finger can be pointed towards the former Soviet Republic at the very least for enabling the former leaders of Saddam's regime to escape and orchestrate an insurgency, clearly for removal of "sensitive items" from Saddam's regime, and very likely for accepting Saddam's WMD, WMD equipment, documents, and people.
On April 5th, CENTCOM reported spotting a large column of Iraqi vehicles, and braced for a possible counterattack. Rather than race south to certain defeat and death, the column slipped into Syria. Russian intelligence reports reiterate this event as do Lebanese sources. Mainstream media reports only confirm the convoy's sighting, but they do not follow up the report, and they do not report on what happened to it. Allegedly the convoy included Russian-made mobile rocket launchers some with chemical weapons.
The exodus from Iraq to Syria by Saddam's allies and the highest ranking members of Saddam's regime didn't end on April 9th, but it was fully brought to the attention of the world when American Special Forces intercepted a Russian convoy headed into Syria. The Russians said that the convoy was on a diplomatic mission following a convoy that carried Primakov himself. To this day no one knows for sure. Some reports claim that Primakov's convoy carried Russian WMD people, documents, and equipment that could not be left to fall into the hands of the Coalition. That Russian convoys as well as convoys from Saddam’s regime were assembled and rushing out of Iraq/into Syria during those last few days has been well-reported by the mainstream media, and summarily ignored then forgotten.
The contents of the convoy that American commandos attacked remain classified, but former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology and security, John A Shaw, reports that American intelligence has documents confirming that Saddam's Regime paid Russia to provide security forces for Iraq's Russian-made arms and paid Russia to conduct counterintelligence activities that would prevent the Coalition from discovering the illegal arms supply line from Russia through Syria. This is consistent with the other aid Russia is known to have provided Saddam’s regime in its last days.
"An Arabic-language report obtained by U.S. intelligence disclosed the extent of Russian armaments. The 26-page report was written by Abdul Tawab Mullah al Huwaysh, Saddam's minister of military industrialization, who was captured by U.S. forces May 2, 2003." Other intelligence officials confirm the possession of these documents and more. "The materials outlined in the documents included [illegal] missile components, MiG jet parts, tank parts and chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the official said."
Recently declassified documents from Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence Services headquartes as well as the Iraqi Perspectives Project report released two weeks ago both serve as new sources detailing how Russian intelligence was working hand in hand with the IIS-even going so far as to provide the Iraqis with the American invasion plans for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sec State Rice has even brought up the matter of Russian aid to Saddam’s dying regime as recently as last week.
One wonders how differently the war in Iraq would look if American commandos had been able to seize elusive WMD in those first few hours of the war, and what it would have been like if they could have presented it to the world? As more and more captured documents are being released every day, why not present the documents detailing the list of illegal Russian armaments provided to Saddam, or the other evidence of illegal Russian support as well?
That answer will come later.
Saddam's "Special Weapons"
Saddam's "Special Weapons" went by air to Syria, Belarus, and possibly Russia and Libya as well. They went by ground to Syria, and they went by sea to points unreported. The plan was called "Sarindar" ("Emergency Exit"), and it wasn't much different in general strategic terms from the American flight from South Vietnam. Just as U.S. embassy officials shredded and burned documents when Saigon fell, and again in Tehran, Kabul, and a dozen other fallen nations, the Russians and others did what they could to move, hide, and/or destroy their sensitive documents, equipment that they'd provided to Saddam's Regime, as well as (allegedly) his WMD and WMD equipment as well. "By air, by land, and by sea" That is the claim made by Gen. Sada, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Shaw, Gen. Ibrahim, Ariel Sharon, Israeli intelligence, and many more.
Clandestine movements by air and land have been discussed. The story of "Sarindar" by sea follows. Allegedly two Russian ships left the Umm Qasr port in the months before the war and went to the Indian Ocean. On board were supposedly some of Saddam's WMD chemical precursors. According to the "Sarindar" plan, they were to be taken to a deep part of the ocean and dumped.
It is completely impossible to fathom that Russian ships could enter the Persian Gulf, dock in Iraq, load up and pass through the Persian Gulf again, then into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean all within 100 miles of 1 to3 entire American aircraft carrier battlegroups as well as two Marine Amphibious Assault task forces. There is no way that those two ships were not monitored by dozens-perhaps even hundreds-of American and Coalition warships.
What is known for certain is that just before the war, mainstream media reported that two Russian warships and a tanker were positioned off the Persian Gulf allegedly to monitor the situation. More likely they were there to ensure that none of the Coalition naval forces threatened to board the Russian ships. In fact, from March 20 onward the Coalition stopped and seized all ships bound for Iraq (often under the disguise of being part of the Oil-For-Food program). Those that were in fact found to be carrying humanitarian supplies had their cargos delivered by the US military instead. Others were seized, and their contents never revealed. Russian ships were apparently permitted to dock, load up with clandestine materials, and pass right through the U.S. Navy.
Now, opponents of the war often like to parse words and rhetorically argue that the war was about WMD and not WMD precursor chemicals. Compare Saddam to the late Timothy McVeigh. Both committed mass murder, both belonged in prison. Had Timothy McVeigh worked in the prison autoshop and been caught with a gallon of gasoline in his locker as well as a few pounds of fertilizer, would that have been a threat? Absolutely! He used those chemicals to make the bomb that used to commit mass murder, and similarly Saddam used different combinations of different chemicals to commit mass murder.
The Duelfer Report, after action reports from US Forces, and even mainstream media have all shown photos and video of the thousands and thousands of empty artillery shells positioned at chlorine plants, pesticide plants, and "former" chemical weapons manufacturing plants. While empty artillery shells are not an imminent threat, they could be filled in hours and turned into WMD. Most of Saddam's program had been redesigned to make fresh, potent chemical and biological weapons in hours in some cases, and so the issue becomes his intent.
Did he intend to make fresh WMD with chemical precursors-like those allegedly dumped by Russian ships? The Duelfer Report says absolutely yes, and it makes that claim based on interviews with regime leaders as well as Saddam and his history of doing so. Having said all that, some chemicals-like chlorine and concentrated pesticides-are dual use and do have non-military uses, but other chemicals do not. The ISG shows pictures of a large can of rare New Zealand opossum pesticide that is as almost as toxic as anthrax (true, no New Zealand opossums have been seen in Iraq so either the pesticide worked, or it was to be used as a weapon as the ISG report claims). Another example: SCUD missile fuel is unique to SCUD missiles. Even Hans Blix' UNMOVIC couldn't explain why Saddam's regime making SCUD missile fuel. When the war started, this chemical was gone. Perhaps deep-sixed in the Indian Ocean? Or was it poured into the Euphrates River like the massive amounts of cyanide and other toxins that US Marines discovered and CNN reported?
Missing also are the binary chemical agents that Saddam could only have used to combine and make fresh nerve agent before loading into empty artillery shells and rockets. Where are the large, illegal missiles Saddam was found to have by post-war investigations (at least 22 of these illegal missiles were fired at Coalition forces. None had chemical warheads, but post-war investigations did find that the missiles had been widened to fit SCUD warheads of which there remain several missing chemical warheads, and some had been illegally modified to carry cluster munitions as seen in the Duelfer Report).
By air, by land, and by sea, Saddam paid the Russians and Syrians to get rid of his illegal WMD, WMD equipment, documents, and people. That Saddam once had horrific weapons is not in debate. Many were destroyed or decayed, and the Duelfer Report lists them in great detail, but it also lists many Remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues. For someone to claim that all of Saddam's weapons were destroyed and not moved out of Iraq in the 15-month "rush-to-war", then that someone must be able to present greater evidence of the destruction of those remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues-evidence greater than the mounting pile that suggests they were removed from Iraq.
When someone claims that Saddam destroyed all his anthrax and other chemical and biological agents, and the war was one big "Bush lie" about WMD, they need only be asked to provide some evidence of its destruction: contaminated sand, witnesses, documentation, photos, any evidence. Fact is, for thousands of liters, there is no evidence of destruction by Saddam, but there is evidence it was moved. These terrible weapons do not simply vanish, and given that a tablespoon of some can kill hundreds of thousands. It seems to many that they should be accounted for rather than dismissed as magically destroyed to fit a political agenda. Can we really believe that no one in Iraq witnessed their destruction, or do these Remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues demand resolution; proof of destruction?
The Documents Tell the Story
What exactly was moved out of Iraq? Two weeks before the war started, Hans Blix presented a report called, Unresolved Disarmament Issues. For those who don't trust or believe the Bush Administration's claims about WMD, this report is a much better description of the alleged threat that Saddam's Regime posed.
After the war, the Iraq Survey Group scoured the country looking to answer the Unresolved Disarmament Issues and to assess the threat of WMD posed by Saddam's regime. Combined, the before and after reports are a little under 1200 pages. The difference between the two-that is to say the Remaining Unresolved Disarmament Issues listed in the Duelfer Report-seems the most likely description of what was removed from Saddam's Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. This list can be found in Volume III of the Duelfer Report starting on page 56.
Before examining this likely list of removed items, it's helpful to understand and discuss the benefits of the three different modes of transport used to remove "special weapons" and "sensitive materials" from Saddam's Regime.
The summer 2002 airlift was unique in that it provided a very good cover story (humanitarian aid for the dam break in Syria). This uniquely strong cover story would have been most beneficial in moving the most secret items-those most sensitive to UN inspection, but the weight and size restrictions of cargo that could be placed on planes is also a restriction. Weight and size restrictions would not have been a problem for the late 2002 airlift which used military transport planes capable of lifting even heavy tanks or large missiles.
The early 2003 truckloads were more vulnerable to American intelligence (as is clearly shown by the across-the-board detection of their movement by multiple sources-even the Iraq Survey Group and UNMOVIC), and so the most important and sensitive items would have been moved by a different method given the opportunity. However, movement by truck also allowed for rapid loading, unloading, and movement of items larger than those that would typically be moved by modified commercial aircraft.
There are unique benefits to the movement-by-ship method: first and foremost, large, heavy, and voluminous items could be moved, and secondly they were moved under the absolute guarantee of secrecy because no one was going to stop Russian ships with Russian warships in shooting range.
The post-invasion airlift from Saddam International was done on military transports (not civilian aircraft), and while they lacked a benign cover story, they did provide the opportunity to move items that would otherwise have to be moved by truck or ship due to size (though not weight) restrictions. The post-invasion truckloads and convoys of early April were even easier to detect and more likely to be intercepted (as was apparently attempted on at least one occasion), and so it would have been preferred to move cargo that was the least "smoking gun" in nature.
As was mentioned earlier, the Department of Defense reportedly has several documents detailing the contents of at least some of the shipments. General Sada and others have described the contents of the summer 2002 airlift to have been drums-some yellow-with labels on them suggesting that they were filled with chemical weapon pre-cursors, and this is consistent with the binary nerve agents that Saddam had developed where two chemicals would be combined to make a WMD just prior to its use (sometimes even combined in the warhead immediately prior to employment). These drums were supposedly loaded into ambulances upon arrival in Damascus, Syria and then driven north to be stored in the basement of a hospital in Beruit.
One of the few things that UNMOVIC did find before the invasion was that Iraq had modified some missiles to be wider so as to fit SCUD missile warheads (something that had been explicitly forbidden but carried out anyway sometime between 2000 and 2002). Iraq had also been caught by the UN illegally making castings that would make rocket engines for illegal missiles. Iraq was also caught making parts for SCUD missiles, and fuel that could only be used for SCUD missiles. While no SCUD missiles were found, it seems very likely that these large weapons might have actually been made and either moved by ship or military transport. At the very least, over 20 SCUD missiles were never accounted for between Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
The Duelfer Report goes to great lengths to describe the equipment for biological WMD, and has incredible pictures showing illegal equipment that had been hidden by Saddam rather than turned over in cooperation to the UN. Some of this equipment was capable of turning liquid anthrax growth media into weaponized anthrax in days or even hours.
Estimates vary, but on average it seems that Saddam never accounted for roughly 15,000 liters of this deadly liquid. This would be incredibly easy to destroy without a trace if dumped over side of a Russian ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and if there was weaponized anthrax, it would have been small enough to fit in a few suitcases and flown out on a normal civilian airliner identical to those used in the summer 2002 airlift. The same is true for the 3,000 - 11,000 litres of botulinum toxin that was never accounted for to the UN, or the 5,600 litres of Clostridium perfringens that Dr Blix could not verify as having been destroyed.
The Duelfer Report's biological Unresolved Disarmament Issues focus on seed stocks rather than thousands of liters of liquid growth media. Seed stocks are test-tubes filled with biological agents that are preserved usually by freezing. Some were recovered by the ISG, but many more remain lost. That something as small as a fistful of pencils in a large can of ice cream could have been moved out during the 15-month "rush-to-war" seems very plausible, and most plausible in the summer 2002 airlift because of the size and importance of their nature.
These seed stocks, if still viable, could be used to make massive-almost unlimited amounts of biological weapons if the proper equipment was available, and the Duelfer Report lists dozens of reactors and similar equipment as still missing. Now, as the seed stocks are small, light, and incredibly easy to move secretly, the equipment needed to weaponize them is not. It's large, bulky, and heavy; the kind of thing that trucks would be perfect for moving-especially since (if intercepted) they're of little value.
"…much of the same equipment used in making weapons of mass destruction is potentially dual-use; the same fermentor used to make anthrax could be rinse out to make beer, and the same equipment used to make the nerve agents sarin and tabun could be used to make aspirin tablets." -- Australian Ambassador Richard Butler, fmr head of UNSCOM, The Greatest Threat, Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Growing Crisis of Global Security (2000 edition)
More sensitive to being captured, but still heavy and bulky, Dr Blix' pre-war report listed, "....up to 450 mustard filled aerial bombs unaccounted for since 1998 (The mustard filled shells account for a couple of tonnes of agent while the aerial bombs account for approximately 70 tonnes)" These could have been moved in aircraft during the summer 2002 airlift or the post-invasion 2003 airlift, or by ship, but not likely by truck given their value as "smoking gun evidence" and the vulnerability of trucks to capture.
Recently, some of the 35,000 boxes of captured documents taken from Saddam's Intelligence Service HQ have started to be released. Next month, the Sen. Select Committee on Intelligence is supposed to release its Phase II investigation into pre-war intelligence on Iraq. More and more information is making its way from the shadows to the public eye, and a pattern is emerging. When released, new open source intelligence seems to support the reports that WMD was removed from Iraq in the "rush-to-war" months, and this open source intelligence is confirming and strengthening the reports of Saddam's Ties to Al Queda. Combined, the case for war in Iraq is getting stronger, not weaker.
Given this pattern, it's no wonder that the Democratic Party's due date for draft 2008 part platforms was missed last November (remember when the party split 5 ways on Iraq and even Rep Pelosi had to publicly acknowledge the disarray?). That due date was pushed to January, then March, now April. How can the party leaders appease the base's unified position that the war was a Bush Lie about WMD, and troops should cut and run, while at the same time, the pattern of open source intelligence is showing that the WMD and Saddam's Ties to Al Queda claims were true?
The gap between the Democratic Party's leadership and its base widens with every piece of released intelligence that is consistent with the pattern which affirms the Bush Administration's policy and engagement of the Iraq War.
Scott Malensek wrote for The New Media Journal previously under the pen-name, Sam Pender in an effort to protect his identity and location from those who threatened his life for his investigative journalism. He has written five published works on the Global War on terror. Today he runs an establishment that means to help those affected by the Obama economy. Visit him at TheStewPotKitchen.com.
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The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...
The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a tax deductible donation today.