INSIDE THE IRAQI NUCLEAR PROGRAM: A HIGH-RANKING NUCLEAR SCIENTIST TELLS ALL
Part 5: Weaponsgate
The debate over Iraq’s nuclear capabilities and whether or not they were a serious threat to the US, has polarized the world, and American politics. The central issue at stake is whether or not war on Iraq was justified and whether or not the American people were lied to. While biological and chemical weapons were also at issue, Bush administration officials presented the distinctly alarming specter of an imminent nuclear threat, which could arrive in the form of a “mushroom cloud” if America hesitated to take action.
Dr. Imad Khadduri was a top scientist involved in Iraq’s nuclear program from 1968 until the end of 1998, when he was able to escape. He now serves as a network administrator in Toronto, Canada. This is his life story, and the story of what really happened inside the Iraqi nuclear program as told by Khadduri and other officials in interviews, and in the advance release of Khadduri’s memoirs, which will be available in American bookstores in December.
“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John VIII-XXXII”
—-Inscription in main lobby of CIA headquarters
As former Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr. Imad Khadduri, a Canadian resident, continues to be ignored by the Bush administration officials and mainstream American media, David Kay, who is in Iraq reportedly working hard to uncover the truth about the alleged Iraqi nuclear program, repeatedly cited only a dead scientist in his recent report to media -Dr. Khalid Said.
As mentioned earlier in this series, Dr. Said cannot report on the nuclear issues raised by the Bush administration because was killed by American troops on April 8, 2003 when he failed to stop quickly enough at a Baghdad checkpoint.
Adding to the omission of ignoring the “live” scientist, Khadduri was very familiar with the work of Khalid Said’s Group 4 activities under the secret PC3 group (see previous installments of this series) and at one point carried and concealed the only magneto-optical disk of Said’s group work with him.
The omission is more ironic given that behind the scenes, an IAEA official (referred to here simply as “B”) is currently in the process of questioning Khadduri about Said.
“Many of us questioned Oeidi saying that Khalid was behind centrifuges because dead men can’t defend themselves,” writes “B.” “Frankly, we were not impressed with Khalid as a manager and as a technician. Would you be willing to share your candid opinion with me of Khalid as a leader and as a technical visionary?”
And referring to Jacques Baute, chief International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear inspector in Iraq, “B” writes, “I would share anything you say with Jacques, naturally, but I would not cite you in any public place.”
A “Faustian bargain?”
Dr. Gordon Prather, a physicist who was the army’s chief scientist during the Reagan years, notes the reports that Kay was fired from his position as deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Iraq Action Team in the early 1990s because of his contacts with the U.S. intelligence community.
David Kay… former
One Pentagon source indicated Kay was not seen or heard of at the Pentagon in the 1980’s when he was on staff. The source believes from as far back as the ‘80’s Kay may have been a CIA operative.
Khadduri told this reporter, “We were informed by our Security/Intelligence – since the day that David Kay was put in Baghdad in 1991 -that he was a CIA operative. When
he set-up his communication trailer in front of the Khairat building -where the inspectors were encircled for a week- in September 1991, he beamed the scanned reports gleaned from that building directly to the CIA in Langley, and then to the UN/IAEA.”
David Kay went on to later tell media, “I realize it was always a bargain with the Devil — spies spying. The longer it continued, the more the intelligence agencies would, often for very legitimate reasons, decide that they had to use the access they got through cooperation with UNSCOM to carry out their missions.”
David Kay is presently tasked with uncovering the actual objectives, scope, and dimensions of Iraq’s WMD activities at the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is an investigation that Kay and 1,500 agents from the Pentagon’s Iraq Survey Group have been conducting for three months now.
Kay gave media a short unclassified report on Oct. 2, the same day that he gave behind-closed-doors “interim report” to a panel of several congressional committees.
Kay’s report is notable for its subtle and sophisticated omissions which are characteristic of the language of political propaganda and persuasion and not merely a function of the unfinished nature of the work.
The report is peppered with linguistic vagaries expansive enough to drive a hypothetical biological weapons trailer through – including phrases and words like “may have,” “research,” ” plans,” “could be applied to,” “indications” of, “interest, “laboratory possibly used for,” “can be used to produce ” (vs. was used to produce) “searching for” and “capacity.”
It is a report impossible for journalists to corroborate because of the vagaries and the lack of names of scientists interviewed -except for the dead one.
There is said to be “no proof” the notorious two trailers President Bush said were “weapons of mass destruction,” were used for biological weapons production, but Kay instead uses a ‘reverse-logic’ stating, “nothing we have discovered rules out their potential use in BW production.”
The mere realm of possibility thus becomes sufficient cause for a hypothesis reaffirmed, and for the endless and impossible proving of a negative – a hallmark of the administration’s war arguments.
The case of the mysterious “mushroom cloud”
Unnamed Iraqi officials allegedly told Kay that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at “some future point” putting the nuke activity reiterated by the administration prior to the war, as well as an important pre-war rationale, in the realm of Steven Spielberg’s “Department of Pre-Crime.”
Others allegedly told Kay that Saddam “wanted” to restart the nuclear program, but no proof has been uncovered that there was capability or operation of even the most elemental activity of such.
Evidence of renewed nuclear weapons research has not been found, not even esoteric doodling on the back of a Tigris café napkin.
Kay reported that Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Said (the “dead scientist”) “began several small and relatively unsophisticated research initiatives that could be applied to nuclear weapons development.”
Could be applied in what way? Were they directly related to nuclear weapons research or were they research initiatives in another field with unavoidable “dual” applications common to the field of nuclear physics? Were these initiatives done for the government or his own enjoyment and exercise as a scientist?
These and other important basic questions are not answered in the vague language of the report.
The villainous vial
Among the “finds” of the report, was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. (from which a biological agent can be produced) hidden in the back of an Iraqi scientist’s refrigerator.
The tube was touted as a vindication of war, but it raises another question: was a bombing campaign and the deaths of over 10,000 people, and the dropping of napalm the only way the technologically superior and intelligence-equipped US could get to a vial of crunk hidden in the back of a lone scientist’s refrigerator?
Said Kay, “This discovery — hidden in the home of a BW scientist — illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons.”
However the report gives no evidence of any capability of biological weapons production.
Glen Rangwala of Cambridge University points out that botulinum type B can also be used for making an antidote for common botulism poisoning and for that reason many countries and military laboratories keep sample strains, including the UK who calls them “seed banks.”
“Throughout the report, Kay kicks up a sandstorm of suggestiveness, but no more,” wrote Fred Kaplan in MSNBC’s Slate.
Kaplan called Kay’s report, a “shockingly lame piece of work.”
The ‘compassionate war’
WMD and terrorist connections were not the only themes that were and continue to be exposited as pretext for the preemptive war.
In his address before Australian parliament, President Bush invoked a familiar theme of the inhumane brutality of Saddam Hussein, suggesting that it was a vindication of war.
“Who can possibly think that the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power?” Bush asked as he wrapped up a six-nation lobbying campaign addressing Asian and Pacific allies.
Administration officials have repeatedly referred to Saddam Hussein’s hideous atrocities including victim’s tongues being cut out, brutal rapes and persons being fed head-first into a shredding machine.
They were powerful emotional appeals to a compassionate America.
The references to brutality though beg a question related to the second presidential debate of the 2000 campaign, regarding the genocide in Rwanda.
In 1994, 600,000 people were hacked to death with machetes and otherwise brutally murdered in a frenzy of violence so horrific one African missionary said, “There are no more devils in Hell. They are all in Rwanda.”
Aerial photographs showed an apocalyptic scene of rivers running red with blood while clogged with the bloated corpses of tens of thousands of people.
Former President Clinton did not intervene, and later apologized for “missing” the genocide.
During the presidential debate, Bush was asked if he would’ve done anything differently.
Bush indicated he would not have acted differently, adding, “I thought they made the right decision not to send U.S. troops into Rwanda.”
The fact that the brutality in Rwanda was just as horrific as that of Hussein’s regime and that Bush would not have intervened to stop the genocide, raises questions about Bush’s rationale when invoking brutality suffered by a civilian population as genuine part of a strategic pretext for preemptive war in Iraq.
Calling for investigations
Meanwhile journalists, politicians and academics as well as two California cities and grassroots citizen groups , are calling for investigations, and even impeachment.
WorldNetDaily Washington bureau chief Paul Sperry commented, “Congress needs to call White House and CIA aides to testify in formal and open hearings – unless, of course, it intends to abdicate its oversight powers along with its power to declare war. ”
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman argued, “If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history – worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra.”
John Dean, former White House counsel to Richard Nixon said, “Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed. “Dean, in his previous legal analysis for Findlaw.com, was careful to add that there needed to be proof that President Bush knowingly lied.
Supporters of the President consider such suggestions outrageous, and even traitorous, citing the need for the nation to be unified in the face of the enemy of terrorism.
Administration officials have previously suggested that media if too critical in its coverage, could in effect be aiding the enemy –terrorists.
Calling for impeachment : “We told you so!”
Meanwhile, law professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, continues to spearhead calls for impeachment of Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld.Boyle leads the Impeach Bush Now campaign, which is largely run by “hard-working and idealistic students.”Responding to Khadduri’s revelations, Boyle said, “I and others in the American peace
movement were saying this months ago when a crisis was first developing – that there wereFrancis Boyleno weapons of mass destruction (WMD) over there, and it was all just propaganda to generate a war,” Boyle said.
“Now for the legal and constitutional aspect, if we take a look at the resolution passed in October authorizing the use of military force, the ‘whereas’ clauses are filled with statements that were wrong. They were propaganda at the time and drafted into legislation by Alberto Gonzalez – then sent to Congress.We are in a situation where the White House procured a de facto declaration of war on a basis of fraud and misrepresentation.The point is, if President Clinton can be impeached for lying about sex, what about President Bush for lying about war?”Bush “cooked” over “conspiracy?”Boyle agrees with John Dean who has said that the situation may fall under the “conspiracy to defraud” statue, which if applied to Nixon, is also applicable to Bush.“To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked,” Dean said, “Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be ‘a high crime’ under the Constitution’s impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony ‘to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.’Boyle observes, “We’ve seen Congressman Conyers say the administration absolutely lied about these WMD, now Sen. Kennedy has said the war was procured in the basis of fraud.”But is it credible that Democrats really were in the dark when it came to intelligence questions, including those Democrats who sat on intelligence committees? And if they were, why did they not speak out vigorously before the war?”I think they knew all along,” said Boyle, “knew it was propaganda concocted by the spin-cons at the Pentagon.”On a possible congressional reaction, Boyle speculated, “They will say they did vote for war, but were lied to. They might act to protect themselves, by sponsoring a bill of impeachment.”Another widow“I think it will become clearer as time goes on, about the assertions regarding WMD -WMD that aren’t there – regretfully for everyone involved, including those serving so bravely in our military, the killed, wounded and the 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed.””It’s a terrible mess.”He adds that impeachment comes down to citizen participation: “The Congress is empowered to impeach a sitting President, but will only do so in response to
overwhelming public pressure”“Iraq’s nuclear mirage”Meanwhile, as American anti-war demonstrators plan another march on the Capitol and San Francisco on October 25th, Imad Khadduri says he weeps over Iraq, which he says has served as fodder for the political ambitions of both Saddam Hussein and President Bush, with the Iraqi people a mere afterthought.Khadduri, like so many others, has suffered at the hands of Saddam, yet says he fears Iraq and the Iraqi people will be cast into a state of free fall, “dropping into a deeper abyss, with Turkey, Iran and Israel… all eyeing pieces of Iraqi flesh to bite off. The oil has already been marked.””Bush, Blair and their senior officials lied to their people, knowingly, and waged a criminal invasion …Is this the democracy model for a ‘liberated’ Iraq?” he asksThe scientist was motivated earlier this year to compile his notes on the Iraqi nuclear program, and review information with his former associates as well as release documents pertaining to covert operations of the pre-Gulf War program.The author generously shared much of that information with this writer over a period of months starting in February 2003, in the form of phone interviews, email interviews, emails sent to him from other Iraqi nuclear officials on the history of the program, -all information that would wind up forming critical parts of his new book, “Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage.” In addition, this writer received a rough draft of chapter four, the fascinating email trails between the IAEA’s “B,” and the scientist, and finally an advance electronic copy of the book prior to its release.The availability of the book, originally slated to be in American bookstores in December or January, has now been accelerated due to demand generated by the publication of this series. The Washington Post has expressed interest in Khadduri’s information, and investigative reporter Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker recently completed a one-hour interview with the scientist.The “Lion of Babylon”Meanwhile, Khadduri predicts that the Iraq war may have unintended consequences of steeling antagonism against the US:”The Lion of Babylon will rise again,” he predictsKhadduri’s comments were mirrored by statements made by US intelligence experts who previously warned administration officials that Saddam posed no imminent threat to the US and that attacking would likely galvanize a desperate Saddam into joining forces with al-Qaida as the only way to strike back at the US. Hussein also currently has billions of dollars at his disposal.Classic military strategy theory often counsels against backing an opponent who is not an imminent threat into a “corner” and allowing him no “way out,” warning that such a controversial move may create a greater danger than previously existed, thereby complicating military decision-making.That type of counsel also appeared in a still-secret report given to the President on Oct. 2 2002. The summary, or “key judgments” section, of the 90-page National Intelligence Estimate was recently declassified. WorldNetDaily obtained a copy from the National Security Council. (The report is different from the unclassified 25-page white paper the CIA made public on its website last October.) Page 4 of the report said Iraq would probably attempt clandestine attacks on the Homeland if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable or possibly for revenge.”Saddam if sufficiently desperate might decide that only an organization such as al-Qaeda –with worldwide reach and extensive terrorist infrastructure, and already engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the United States could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct.”A chemical or biological weapons attack against the United States, carried out by a terror-coalition was presented as one potential revenge scenario, as ” [Saddam’s] last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden sidekick Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued an ominous tape-recorded warning: “But we tell America one thing: What you have seen so far is nothing but the first skirmishes. The real battle hasn’t started yet.”“364 days of desecration”How prepared is the United States for a possible terrorist “revenge coalition” funded at an unprecedented level by Saddam’s hidden billions?
- During the war on Iraq, President Bush reminded a jittery US, that we could face a smallpox attack at any moment. Before going to war however, only 37,500 of over 2 million “first responders” had been vaccinated against the virus, to say nothing of the safety of the ‘rank and file’ citizens.
- Sen. Robert Byd, speaking on the $87 billion requested for the military and for the reconstruction of Iraq pointed out that the administration fought against a $200 million boost for America’s police officers, firefighters, and paramedics -but Iraqi first responders would get $290 million through this supplemental.
- In addition, an amendment asking for $125 million to hire 1,300 customs inspectors to help secure America’s still-porous borders was rejected as too expensive. Yet, on the exact same day, the President sent Congress an emergency request for $150 million for 5,350 border inspections personnel including 2,500 customs inspectors – in Iraq.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has still not made a decision on universal anti-hijacking training for flight attendants, the ‘back end’ of aviation is still for the most part ‘wide open,’ and former FAA Red Team member Steve Elson says the million-dollar scanning machines can’t tell a “bomb from a bowel movement.” (Their detection ability is classified.)
- Italian aeronautics engineer Carlo Viberti of the Turin Cosmo Association has discovered weapons, including guns, can be concealed from detectors if carried under Teflon or Nomex (both made by Dupont) fabric popular in winter jackets, vests and a number of other items. He joined with Italian police in alerting the US State Department, and other agencies but received no substantive response.
- In addition, a little-known loophole (Section 108) in the Aviation Transportation and Security Act, will allow the security screening process to revert back to private companies next November -this after hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent federalizing (and supposedly improving) the program. Aviation security expert Charles Slepian told Congressman Mica in a private meeting in Washington, “You put that [Section 108] in there to twilight this thing, didn’t you?” Mica responded, “That’s right. The President didn’t want it and I didn’t want it either,” referring to the federalization of workers. A spokesman for Mica’s office confirmed the conversation.
- The threat of shoulder-launched missiles (MANPADS) targeting American jets is held to be serious, and administration officials indicate they are moving to research equipping commercial jets with laser interceptors (DIRCMS.) Such a plan however, is likely to take ten years, and billions to implement and is called by many experts a “fantasy” because of its prohibitive cost. The technology would also require maintenance and increase the amount of fuel used on trips. One military expert told this reporter Congress is likely to fund a “stripped down version” of such an interceptor: a simple infrared (heat) sensor wired to a flare dispenser. “They have a notoriously high false alarm rate,” he said, adding, “So imagine how popular it’s going to be to have airliners randomly ejecting batches of hot flares over Iowa wheat fields and dry California forests. “
- A US Department of Homeland Security report on the MANPADS threat, dated May 22, (“Program plan for the development of an antimissile device for commercial aircraft”) obtained by this reporter, indicates preliminary cost and research activities are scheduled to extend well though 2005.
“The only thing that’s moving fast in Washington is politics,” quipped Paul Sperry, Washington bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.“Crude politics”Sperry, author of “Crude Politics: How Bush’s Oil Cronies Hijacked the War on Terrorism” has been highly critical of the Bush administration’s “diversion” from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein,stating, “It’s abundantly clear that Bush is playing politics with homeland security. Apparently his own political survival is more important than that of the people he swore to protect from al-Qaida after 9-11. That’s not leadership, that’s cowardice.”Michelle MalkinSyndicated columnist Michelle Malkin recently wrote a scathing indictment of government failures, saying American politicians were spitting on the graves of the victims of 9/11.Malkin warned that one day of remembrance and rhetoric by corrupt, callous and incompetent politicians, will be followed by “364 days of desecration in deed.”
Meanwhile David Kay continues his search for WMD in Iraq, and to find answers tothe nuclear ‘puzzle,’ focusing on the deceased Dr. Said just as studiously as he avoids the very live Dr. Khadduri.“It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions,” says Kay, “and, in some areas, we may never reach that goal.”The information provided in this report raises serious questions about the information and processes used to reach those conclusions.The fact that the US is having such difficulties reaching definitive conclusions about WMD after the launching of preemptive war -the philosophy of which is rooted in superlative and unerring priorintelligence – will continue to raise serious questions that demand substantive answers and action.Related Articles:
Part 1: Beginnings
Part 2: Hurtling Towards the Bomb
Part 3: The Gathering Storm
Part 4: “Coming out Fully”* * * * * *Note: The availability of the scientist’s just released book, “Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage: Memoirs and Delusions,” originally slated to be in American bookstores in December, has been accelerated by popular demand following the publishing of this series. As of today, copies are now available to American readers within 2-3 days via most major online booksellers.Signed copies can be obtained from the Yellow Times website.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : Republication in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without prior permission from the author or publisher.