US Will Not Release Vital Evidence Against Iraq
The U.S. Will Not Release Vital Evidence Against Iraq
By Firas Al-Atraqchi
On December 19, UNMOVIC head Hans Blix declared that Iraq's final, all-inclusive weapons report had "obvious and serious omissions". A mere few minutes later, the Bush administration declared that Iraq was in "material breach due to material omissions", but stopped short of calling for war. Many 'experts' claimed that the U.S. was giving Iraq one, last chance. Some even accused the White House of soft-pedaling.
In the past few weeks, the U.S. public, the Iraqi government, and world public opinion at large has called on the U.S. to release the evidence it claims to have implicating Iraqi duplicity.
That call was further buoyed on December 20 (and again on January 10, 2003) by Blix and IAEA head Baradei who implored the U.S. to share its so-called evidence with UNMOVIC to empower the U.N. inspectors in their weapons hunt in Iraq.
The media has even begun to question whether the Bush administration has any such evidence, and is looking for a Cuban Missile Crisis smoking gun to make the case to the American people.
By mid-January 2003, the U.S., and the U.K. for that matter, had not released vital information. Although technical information was passed on to UNMOVIC, more substantial data has not been forthcoming. Several suspect sites both the U.S. and U.K. has indicated were areas of illicit weapons activity turned up empty when UNMOVIC investigated them.
Phil Donahue, Chris Matthews, and Michael Coren, have joined the chorus of U.S. military personnel (MSNBC and TIME Magazine report that one in three top U.S. generals do not favor current moves towards military conflict citing lack of visible evidence) in asking for evidence first, military action later.
They will likely have a long wait; should the U.S. possess such evidence, it is likely never to release it. An examination of current U.S. moves in the U.N. Security Council and the relationship between Iraq and the U.S. during the 1980s will provide telling reasons.
By now, most of the viewing public, thanks in no part to western media, is well aware that it was general U.S. government policy to support and arm Iraq during the 1980s. Iraqi scientists were given free rein in major research and development facilities throughout the U.S. and were often privy to classified chemical weapons research. U.S. firms, with the blessing of the Reagan administration, supplied Iraq with anthrax spores, as well as the capacity to further develop its bio-chemical capabilities.
Why was the U.S. so supportive of an Iraq it now claims is, and was, run by a "brutal regime that gasses its own people and torture thousands"? One word: Revenge. The U.S. wanted to teach the new Islamic Republic of Iran a lesson it would never forget for daring to overthrow the Shah and take hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. As a result, the U.S. played deep distrust between Iraq and Iran and the obvious Shatt-el-Arab waterway dispute to propel the two nations into a war.
So blind was the call for revenge that the U.S. provided intelligence, logistical, and other support to Iraq in hopes of punishing the upstart Islamists in Iran.
In 1982, however, the tide began to turn against Iraq, when Iraqi forces made a classical military blunder: they were content with occupying all of western Iran rather than pursue what was left of the ramshackle Iranian army and militias and destroy them. The latter regrouped, rearmed, revitalized and tossed the Iraqis out of Iran bringing the war to Iraqi territory.
This was a worrisome time for the Reagan administration; instead of bearing the brunt of an 'Iraqi punishment', it now began to look as if Iran would occupy all of Iraq, stretch into Alawite Syria, unite with Shiite Hezbollah, and create a new Shiite Perso-Arab Empire that would wreak havoc on U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.
The decision was made to support Iraq as much as possible, without appearing to support Iraq.
When Iraq began a massive military campaign and used arms provided by the U.S. to curb Kurdish dissent, the voices of reason and morality we hear today were ominously silent.
When Iraq gassed the overwhelming Iranian human tidal wave of soldiers (a tactic gleaned from the Korean War - some Iranian soldiers were barely armed), the voices of reason and morality we hear today were ominously silent.
When Iran gassed Iraqi soldiers and both countries tortured each other's POWs, the voices of reason and morality we hear today were ominously silent.
So strong was support for Iraq in the late 1980s that the U.S. renewed full diplomatic relations with Iraq in 1986, and helped temper the storm after an Iraqi fighter plane nearly sunk the U.S.S. Stark with an Exocet missile in 1987, killing 37 U.S. naval personnel.
The voices of reason and morality we hear today were ominously silent.
Iraq's Knight Takes Queen
When Iraq handed UNMOVIC its 12,200-page report on weapons research and procurement, it knew fully well that the U.S. would seize the document from the U.N. and proceed to censor it. Why the censorship? Weapons proliferation, we are told. While that is partially true, Iraq hinted early on that its massive document would list each and every government, private, as well as public, firm and/or institution that helped Iraq in its 30-year weapons program.
The U.S. had to remove the document from the hands of the international community because it contained vital information that could undermine the current administration. The other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council did not object much to this U.S. move because they knew that their names and their firms also helped arm Iraq.
This was Iraq's last, desperate strategy to ward off war, or at least delay it as long as possible. It listed names of individuals and organizations that would come under intensive public scrutiny and embarrassment should the contents of the document be made public.
Several prominent U.S. firms and universities are complicit, and, in particular, several high-ranking U.S. officials who were members of the Reagan administration and went on to become national leaders themselves. The point man? George Bush Sr., former head of the CIA, Vice-President under Ronald Reagan, and President of the U.S. during the Gulf War.
How does the current Bush administration know Iraq may or may not be lying? They have in their possession documents detailing all sales and support given to the Iraqis in the bio-chemical weapons domain. They have invoices and spreadsheets of everything that was shipped from various U.S. departments and federal institutions to Iraq directly, and indirectly (through U.S. allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia). However, these documents also have the final approval of the CIA, who, under George Bush Sr., encouraged ties with Iraq. Does it not seem the least bit ironic that the U.S. was funneling bio-chemical information to Iraq up until 1990, the year Iraq invaded Kuwait?
The German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung has claimed that it has obtained a copy of the Iraq document and will soon publish a list of these suppliers. The list purportedly includes Hewlett Packard, DuPont, Honeywell, Rockwell, Tectronics, Bechtel, International Computer Systems, Unisys, Sperry and TI Coating, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, and Agriculture. According to Democracynow.org ( http://www.democracynow.org/Zumach.htm or Scoop: The Companies That Armed Iraq With WMDs) "U.S. government nuclear weapons laboratories Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia trained traveling Iraqi nuclear scientists and gave non-fissile material for construction of a nuclear bomb."
If this list of arms suppliers (and supporters) to Iraq were released to the public, scandal would rock the White House. In a timeframe that has seen the Enron scandal, and may yet see Vice-President Dick Cheney questioned by the SEC over Halliburton, George Dubya would likely see his re-election hopes buried.
As a result, the non-permanent members of the Security Council received a meager 3,000-page abridged version of the original 12,200 pages. The list of legal and illegal support afforded to Iraq in the past 30 years was not included in the abridged version.