Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Smoking guns at the White House:

The WaPO reports that two days before W. said, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction," referring to two trailers that the administration was selling as mobile chemical laboratories:

"A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons...The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped 'secret' and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories."

I guess, in this case, the president didn't find this information significant enough to declassify in the "public interest." Scott McClellean says the Post story is another example of "reckless reporting." NPR reported today that he said such a preliminary report wouldn't have made its way to the president. Of course, that may be true, but if he didn't know whether they was evidence of chemical weapons before the report came in, why did he come out and shoot his mouth off?

The report goes on to say:

"The trailers -- along with aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq for what was claimed to be a nuclear weapons program -- were primary pieces of evidence offered by the Bush administration before the war to support its contention that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction."

Remember those aluminum tubes?

In August of 1995 Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law and chief of all weapons projects in Iraq, defected to Jordan and spilled the beans on Saddam's lack of WMD.

In regard to centrifuges he said:

"There were centrifuges. It was a department of the Ministry of Agriculture. It was situated at Al Salih...They manufacture their own centrifuges in two ways. One way was from maraging steel and the second Â? using carbon fibres. All centrifuges worked but they preferred the ones made of carbon fibre. With carbon fibre centrifuges, the speed of 60,000 rounds per minute was achieved and they were about to go to 100,000. This would be done in a different area but the activity was stopped by the war."

No mention of aluminum tubes I can see there.

He also told the inspectors, "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed." Some in the CIA and the administration discounted this and, in fact, Colin Powell used his defection as a further reason to go to war.

Powell said in his imfamous speech to the UN on Feb. 5 2003: "It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. The admission only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamal, Saddam Hussein's late son-in-law."

What he didn't mention, naturally, was that part about destroying all the WMD.

Barton Gellman wrote in an article in the WaPo in Jan. of 2004 that he has found proof that Kamal was telling the truth. Gellam writes:

"The new evidence appears to be a contemporary record, from inside the Iraqi government, of a pivotal moment in Baghdad's long struggle to shield arms programs from outside scrutiny. The document, written just after the defection of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law on Aug. 8, 1995, anticipates the collapse of cover stories for weapons that had yet to be disclosed. Read alongside subsequent discoveries made by U.N. inspectors, the document supports Iraq's claim that it destroyed all production stocks of lethal pathogens before inspectors knew they existed.

"Hossam Amin, then -- and until his April 27 arrest -- the head of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate," wrote a damage report to Saddam's son Qusay that, Gellam writes, "now suggests that Kamel left little or nothing out."

"Just before his 'sudden and regrettable flight and surrender to the bosom of the enemy,' Amin wrote, 'the traitor Hussein Kamel' received a detailed briefing on 'the points of weakness and the points of strength' in Iraq's concealment efforts."

This is the smoking gun if there ever was one. They knew from the guy who actually destroyed the WMD that Iraq had nothing. If they were sceptical about the veracity of what he was saying, all doubts should have evaporated when he went back to Iraq and Saddam had him killed.


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