6 October 2003

Selective reading and choice friends

The key document - shown to Asia Times Online by a Jordanian intelligence source - is in the form of an internal UNSCOM/IAEA report classified as 'sensitive'. On page 13 of what is the transcript of the UNSCOM/IAEA interview with Hussein Kamel, he categorically says, 'I ordered the destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed.' He also says that 'not a single missile was left, but they had blueprints and molds for production. All missiles were destroyed.'

Kamel discloses that anthrax was 'the main focus' of the Iraqi biological program (pages 7-8). He confirms all weapons and agents were destroyed: 'Nothing remained after visits of inspection teams.' Kamel also says, 'They put VX [nerve gas] in bombs during the last days of the Iran-Iraq war [of the 1980s]. They were not used and the program was terminated.' On page 13, Rolf Ekeus asks Kamel if Iraq had restarted VX production after the Iran-Iraq war. Kamel says, 'We changed the factory into pesticide production. Part of the establishment started to produce medicine [...] we gave instructions not to produce chemical weapons.' On page 8, Kamel insists that 'I made the decision to disclose everything so that Iraq could return to normal.'

In August 1995, both the Bill Clinton administration in the US and the John Major government in the UK took Kamel's assertion that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles - as Saddam's regime claimed - very seriously. But this 'sensitive' interview was kept secret for more than seven years. It was only leaked in early 2003. Kamel's interview was then endlessly spun by Bush and Blair. But the key point remains undisputable: Saddam's regime destroyed all its WMD after the 1991 Gulf War.

This was not the soundbite that the Pentagon neo-conservatives wanted. So they listened instead to their lone 'humint' (human intelligence) on Iraq - which entirely consists in the person of Ahmad Chalabi, founder of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) - an organization basically created by the US - a convicted fraudster in Jordan, and rotating chairman during the month of September of the 25-member, American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel, Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law briefly defected in 1995, then returned to Baghdad on Saddam's promises of safety. They were then shot. UNSCOM and IAEA interviewed Kamel in Amman. The Kay report might be persuasive if it contained anything new, or anything that disproved the Kamel interview, but it does not. One vial of precursor does not a WMD program make. That the Bush administration has represented Botulinum B, a much less toxic substance, as if it was Botulinum A suggests their addiction to spin is not approaching cure.

If any concrete evidence contradicted the Kamel interview we might take it less seriously. If the content of the Kamel interview had been published in 1995 when it first became available we might not wonder why its contents had to suppressed. If the Kamel interview did not make a joke of the Bush/Blair argument on Iraq's CBW capacity it might have seen the light of day earlier.

The Bush administration has had months to disprove the Kamel interview by producing such evidence and all we have is one little vial that's been misrepresented.

DailyKOS today blogged on the Bush mediaeval presidency, citing an article from the Los Angeles Times:

His self-confidence is certainly admirable at a time when most politicians mistake opinion polls for empiricism. It is also scary. As writer Leon Wieseltier recently observed, this is a presidency without doubt, one entirely comfortable with its own certainties, which is what makes it medieval. But as Wieseltier also observed, it is doubt that deepens one's vision of life and often provides a better basis for acting within it. It is doubt that helps one understand the world and enables one to avoid hubris. A presidency without doubt and resistant to disconcerting facts is a presidency not on the road to Damascus but on the road to disaster. By regarding facts as political tools, it compromises information and makes reality itself suspect, not to mention that it compromises the agencies that provide the information and makes them unreliable in the future. And by ignoring anything that contradicts its faith, it can vaingloriously plow ahead � right into the abyss. The president and his crew may well live within a pre-Enlightenment lead bubble where they are unwilling and unable to see beyond themselves, but their fellow Americans must live in the real world where even the most powerful nation cannot simply posit its own reality. If you need proof, just read the newspapers.

A presidency, or a premiership, without a reverse gear does not need facts, just a foot on the accelerator. If either Bush or Blair were operating within the empirical reality where the rest of us have to live we might expect them to agree on a few issues. They do not. Britain, according to Jack Straw's evidence (QQ1186) before their foreign affairs committee, does not accept any Iraq/al-Qa'eda link or any Iraq/11 September link. The US no longer accepts the Nigerien yellowcake allegation.

So we have a war where the two leaders of the military coalition did not agree on the factual reasons for the war. Why?

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