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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Iraq, WMD and Colin Powell

WMD – Does it matter ? [No]

by StFerdIII

The most trenchant claim made by the anti-war activists, centers on WMD. It is rather unsettling that every foreign intelligence agency, including those of Canada, Britain, the US and Russia were certain that Iraq possessed WMD before Gulf War II. The fact that none has been found does not invalidate the war, which is an integral part of the war on terror and in the reconstruction of a region destroyed by medieval ideology and fascist politics. But what then happened to the WMD and what are the political consequences of this now invalidated claim ? It appears that Colin Powell and his State Department did their boss no favors by trying to appease the UNO through the claims that WMD constituted an ‘imminent threat’.

Poignantly the
US’s formal declaration of War had little to do with WMD. The formal declaration of war against Iraq never mentioned weapons stockpiles, or an ‘imminent threat.’ Bush in the 2003 State of the Union Address before the invasion began, was clear that waiting until a threat was ‘imminent’ made no strategic sense. Instead the declaration of war highlighted what subsequent reports made clear – the 17 breaches of the UNO’s resolutions by an unrepentant Iraq, which desired WMD, and distribution capability and which had various contacts with terrorist networks. The US had more than enough reasons to go to war with Iraq so why then did the Americans talk about WMD?

It was in total – a PR and diplomatic disaster. The main reason why the
US focused on WMD was to appease their ‘allies’ in Europe and get them to support the war. In particular France, Russia and the UN wanted a clear and present threat to Western interests [even as they made billions in illegal trade with Iraq], to justify a UN authorized war. This forced the US public declaration that Iraqi WMD necessitated an invasion. WMD was the only issue that could unite the UN Security Council in authorizing an invasion. In hindsight it was a foolhardy and ham-fisted attempt at appeasing France, Russia and the UNO. The evidence seemed incontrovertible at the time, but none of the evidence was ever backed up trustworthy on-the-ground human intelligence. As well neither France nor Russia had any intention to invade Iraq alongside the US regardless of WMD claims. It would have been far better to list all of the reasons to go to war with Iraq including; 17 broken UN resolutions; ties to terrorist networks [see the 9-11 Commission report]; funding of Palestinian terror; complicity in the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa; support of terrorist training camps in Iraq; Al-Ansar an Al Qaeda affiliate based in Iraq specialized in chemical weapons; the total breakdown, scam, illegal sales and money laundering in the ‘Oil for Food’ program, and the threat that Iraqi chemical production skills and material could be sold to terrorist networks or regimes.

WMD: The Kay Report 2003
David Kay, [former UN Chief Weapons Inspector], managed the US Inspection Group [ISG] in
Iraq during 2003 until he was succeeded by Charles Duelfer. Kay and his team released a report in October 2003 that was clear in its message. No large stores of WMD seemed to exist in post Gulf War II Iraq yet, “They [ISG] uncovered new research on biological agents; a previously unknown complex of laboratories with equipment for research into chemical and biological weapons; evidence that Iraq was making fuel for banned Scud missiles and advanced design work for long-range missiles..”[Economist, p. 31 October 11/03]. The intentions of the Iraqi regime were quite clear.

Iraq’s WMD programmes, according to Kay, spanned 2 decades and involved billions of dollars, thousands of men, with elaborate deception and security operations. According to Kay, “We have discovered dozens of WMD-related programme activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.” The inspectors and foreign intelligence agencies had to piece together what they thought Iraq possessed in WMD from inadequate, conflicting and often missing information. The Iraqi regime never complied with UN resolutions to present a full disclosure of its WMD and associated programmes.

Kay’s report lays out the plans and even the small manufacture of biological, chemical and biological [anthrax and ricin] material. As well he states that
Iraq had 130 munitions storage areas of which well over a hundred had not been examined. However post Operation Desert Fox [the 1998 US and British air raids], there is little evidence that stockpiles of WMD existed in Iraq. Kay suggests that the lack of WMD maybe due to:

- Deliberate dispersal and destruction of material and documentation related to WMD
- Post War looting which Kay suggests was largely systematic and deliberate
- WMD personnel that crossed borders perhaps taking WMD material with them
- Iraqi’s in 2003 [and even 2004] were not willing to tell the coalition where such stores were hidden

So perhaps the WMD never existed and all the foreign security agencies were incorrect. Most probably some was destroyed, some sold, some hidden and some shipped trans-border. The Iraqi’s knew how to make chemical weapons. Their problem was distribution. The ISG discovered 2 cruise missile programmes in operation with one completed. Foreign experts were employed to help develop
Iraq’s liquid propellant ballistic missile. Iraq also had meetings with North Korea in October 2000 on the transfer of technology for surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 1300 km and land to sea missiles with a range of 300 km.

Kay concluded, “Second, we have found people, technical information and illicit procurement networks that if allowed to flow to other countries and regions could accelerate global proliferation. Even in the area of actual weapons there is no doubt that
Iraq had at one time chemical and biological weapons.” Kay’s report provides ample evidence of breaches of every UN resolution and hints that as late as 2002 Hussein was still trying to reconstitute programmes to develop new weapons systems.

In effect the containment of the 1990s, as evidence by the Oil-for-Food Scam had failed to contain the ambitions and the money laundering of the Iraqi regime. Kay’s report was based only on a handful of the 500 sites that were to be investigated. As well widespread looting after the war was and is a major concern of coalition forces. Nearly one month after the end of formal conflict only 153 of the top 372 weapons sites had been secured.[MSNBC
5-11-03]. Forces on the ground maintain that they saw looters stripping the site targets before US forces could secure the area.

Duelfer Report
Kay’s successor Duelfer in his October 2004 report also highlighted the dangerous programmes that the Iraqi’s had in progress. Duelfer’s report is just as clear as Kay’s in highlighting the danger that
Iraq posed to Western interests in the Middle East. Duelfer states, "Saddam's primary goal from 1991 to 2003 was to have UN sanctions lifted, while maintaining the security of the Regime. He sought to balance the need to cooperate with the UN inspections — to gain support for lifting the sanctions — with his intention to preserve Iraq's intellectual capital for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face."

International pressure to lift the sanctions led to the establishment of the Oil for Food program, which Saddam immediately saw "could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development."[Duelfer in quotes] Hussein focused his attention on three members of the Security Council —
France, China and Russia — by bribing government officials and business executives with billions of dollars skimmed from Oil for Food. "At a minimum," the report says, "Saddam wanted to divide the five permanent members [of the Security Council] and foment international public support of Iraq at the UN and throughout the world by a savvy public relations campaign and an extensive diplomatic effort." Indeed, Saddam's ploy almost worked" By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support," the report said. [Washington Times, Oct 7 2004].

Duelfer also reported that its experts on chemical weapons and counter-terrorism: "uncovered and tracked down an active insurgent group that had been using former regime CW experts to attempt to create and use CW for use against the coalition." In another case, a group of Iraqi scientists without weapons expertise had been trying to produce the poison ricin to use in mortar shells, as well as deadly tabun and mustard chemical agents. Coalition forces broke up this band of scientists, dubbed the Al Abud network, before it could succeed.
With the network's destruction, Duelfer assured Congress that he was "convinced we successfully contained a problem before it matured into a major threat." But other groups are also reported to be trying to acquire chemical and biological weapons. Duelfer’s warning about Iraqi WMD material and equipment falling into terrorist hands was echoed by the International Atomic Energy Agency which announced on
Oct. 1 2004 that sophisticated equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons was missing in Iraq. A week later the CIA's special adviser on Iraq's WMD reported that Iraqi weapons scientists were working with insurgents to develop chemical weapons. (source; David E. Mosher and John V. Parachini are policy analysts at the RAND Corporation.)

As these 2 ISG reports make clear the main problem in the US’ media blitz to stir up a ‘war footing’ amongst its civilians was not the threat posed by Iraq [which was real], nor by the need to create a democratic and free Middle East [without which terrorism will continue to spawn]. Both issues make the case for war quite compelling. However, by appeasing the UNO and looking for a ‘smoking gun’ rationale to invade Iraq, the US depreciated its own strong case for war, gave ample fuel to its many and sundry critics, and tarnished its claim for veracity in dealing with international terror. This might be the most damaging legacy of Powell’s State Department tenure.

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