Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Ольга Савка

American capillary vision and inventions of democracy - Part IV

Analysis of historical facts and the history of the development of Iraq's capabilities in WMD, shows who in fact should be held responsible for allowing the danger to escalate without hindrance

"The United States provided the government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs...[Including] chemical warfare-agent precursors; chemical warfare-agent production-facility plans and technical drawings; chemical-warfare filling equipment; biological-warfare-related materials; missile-fabrication equipment and missile-system guidance equipment.”US soldiers in Iraq

Fact 14.
The micro-organisms exported by the United States, were recovered later by the United Nations inspectors from the Iraqi biological warfare program.

U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd in his speech delivered in the Senate on 26th September 2002 confirmed his intimate knowledge of the U.S. shipments of pathogens to Iraq as follows:

"We also know where some of the toxin [botulinum toxin] came from: The United States, which approved shipments of botulinum toxin from a non-profit scientific repository to the government of Iraq in 1986 and 1988. I have letters from the CDC and the American Type Culture Collection laying out the dates of shipments, who they were sent to, and what they included. This list is extensive and scary- anthrax, botulinum toxin, and gas gangrene to name just a few. There were dozens and dozens of these pathogens shipped to various ministries within the government of Iraq."

Fact 15.
Another U.S. Senator Donald W Riegle Jr. in his article published on 13th December 2002 in the Sunday Herald (Scotland) noted:

"U.N. inspectors identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the U.S. to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery development programs.[Between January 1985 and August 1990], the executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq."

Fact 16.
Prior to writing the above article the same U.S. Senator, Donald. W. Reigle Jr. gave testimony, before the U.S. Senate Committee for Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, on 25th May 1994 and he stated then:

"Back in 1992, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, which is the Committee which has Senate oversight for the Export Administration Act, held an inquiry into the United States export policy to Iraq prior to the Persian Gulf War. During that hearing it was learned that U.N. inspectors had identified many United States-manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and missile delivery system development programs."

Analysis of historical facts and the history of the development of Iraq's capabilities in weapons of mass destruction, shows who in fact should be held responsible for allowing the danger to escalate without hindrance. The TV broadcasted staging of the court hearing against Saddam and 12 of his team members, in these circumstances appear as nothing but a "soap opera" to be continued. Facts and record surrounding this case is so overwhelming and weighed very much against the puppeteer than the puppets themselves. It would come as quite a surprise if this “sick joke” was continued as a “fair trial.”

Between 1985 and 1989, U.S. department of Commerce issued 70 licences to facilitate Biological Exports to Iraq. These licences allowed exports 21 batches of lethal strains of Anthrax. In 1998 the French newspaper Le Figaro reported that the researchers at the Rockville, Maryland Lab of the American type Culture Collection confirmed sending anthrax samples to Iraq by mail order. Apart from the Chemical Agents, Iraq also received various pathogens from U.S. In 1985 U.S. Centre of Disease Control sent a sample of West Nile virus to a microbiologist at the Basra University in Iraq. Among other “material” that Iraq received from U.S. were various toxins, bacteria such as botulins and E.Coli.

American Corporations such as Philip Petroleum, Unilever, Alcolac, Allied Signal, the American Type Culture collection and Teledyne sold dual purpose chemical agents and biological samples to Iraq. Teledyne was charged by the U.S. courts for its criminal offence, conspiracy and breach of Export Administration Act and the Arms Export Act. However Teledyne's export shipment of 130 tons of zirconium was carried out under the approval of the CIA. The zirconium was intended for use in cluster bombs.

Alcolac was convicted for illegal sale of thiodglycol an ingredient used for the production of mustard gas, to Iraq, to be used in Saddam's Chemical Warfare program.

In the backdrop of all the above evidence and circumstances Saddam's on going court hearing for his crimes against gassing of Kurds in 1987-89 seems to be an orchestrated drama, just another cover up, justification for U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Fact 17.
The CIA's involvement in running various affairs in Iraq has a long history. A former Iraqi government official, Said Aburish, appearing on the PBS' Frontline program titled “the Survival of Saddam,” broadcasted on 25th January 2000 said:

"The U.S. involvement in the coup against Kassem [General Abdel Karim Kassem] in Iraq in 1963 was substantial. There is evidence that CIA agents were in touch with army officials who were involved in the coup."

"There is evidence that they [CIA] supplied the conspirators with lists of people who had to be eliminated immediately in order to ensure success. The relationship between the Americans and the Ba'ath Party at that moment in time was very close indeed. And that continued for some time after the coup."

"I have documented over 700 people who were eliminated, mostly on an individual basis, after the 1963 coup. And they were eliminated based on lists supplied by the CIA to the Ba'ath Party. So the CIA and the Ba'ath were in the business of eliminating communists and leftists who were dangerous to the Ba'ath's takeover."

"And what gave the whole program of acquiring unconventional weapons an impetus was in the 1970s. The main aim of the West was to pry Saddam away from Russia. And in order to do that, they were bribing him. They were giving him everything he wanted. In the 1980s, the reasons changed [for helping Saddam]. ...Khomeini appeared on the scene and the West decided that Saddam was the lesser of two evils. And they continued to support him and give him what he wanted. In this case, including credit."

Before turning into a tyrant of the region, Saddam Hussein had won the hearts and minds of his people by implementing social change in Iraq. As the Vice president of Iraq from 1969 to 1979 Saddam Hussein made a good impression on his own people and the international community. He nationalised the Oil industry and enforced a nation-wide compulsory literacy project. He imposed three year jail sentence for anybody who fail to attend the literacy program. These measures improved Iraq's literacy levels. He launched many number of infrastructure projects to build rods, highways, schools, hospitals, public housing and universities. Iraq created one of the best public Health Systems in the Middle East. As a recognition of his contribution UNESCO gave him an award.

Basking in the glory of his own rapid success and public support for his good deeds, Saddam used the miscalculations of the successive U.S. administrations in his favour. He enjoyed the God sent help extended to him from White House, to consolidate his power base in Iraq. He built his empire, surrounded by corrupt family members and followers with the full knowledge of the White House and the CIA. While U.S. was failing in their tactics, trying to use Saddam to secure American dominance in the region, Saddam himself became gradually victim of his own insatiable ego for power and dominance.

Having fail to justify the main purpose of going to war in Iraq, the U.S. administration is now trying to come up with some justification through the on going trial of Saddam, which they finance, manipulate and influence from behind the scenes.

Fact 18.
The accusations that Saddam and his team authorised gassing of their own Kurdish people in Halabja, in March 1988 at the end of the Iran-Iraq war emerge as a “good reason” for the war and capture of Saddam Hussein. But this accusation lack credibility and disputed by prominent CIA king pins who had the first hand knowledge of all the "classified" details.

The following extract from an article by Dr. Stephen C. Pelletiere the author of "Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Persian Gulf." reveals a complete different picture altogether.

Dr. Pelletiere is retired and living in central Pennsylvania. He holds a Ph.D. in political science. He was the chief of the CIA Iraq desk at Langley in the 1980s. He left the CIA in 1987 to become a lecturer at the Army War College in Carlisle, and was sent to Iraq in 1988 to investigate Halabja.

Dr. Pelletiere writes:
“I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.”

“But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.”

“And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent - that is, a cyanide-based gas - which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.

These facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned. A much-discussed article in The New Yorker last March did not make reference to the Defense Intelligence Agency report or consider that Iranian gas might have killed the Kurds. On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran.

I am not trying to rehabilitate the character of Saddam Hussein. He has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war. There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them.

In fact, those who really feel that the disaster at Halabja has bearing on today might want to consider a different question: Why was Iran so keen on taking the town? A closer look may shed light on America's impetus to invade Iraq.

We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world's largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century A.D., and was a granary for the region.

Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990's there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change.

Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades - not solely by controlling Iraq's oil, but by controlling its water. Even if America didn't occupy the country, once Mr. Hussein's Ba'ath Party is driven from power, many lucrative opportunities would open up for American companies.

All that is needed to get us into war is one clear reason for acting, one that would be generally persuasive. But efforts to link the Iraqis directly to Osama bin Laden have proved inconclusive. Assertions that Iraq threatens its neighbors have also failed to create much resolve; in its present debilitated condition - thanks to United Nations sanctions - Iraq's conventional forces threaten no one.

Perhaps the strongest argument left for taking us to war quickly is that Saddam Hussein has committed human rights atrocities against his people. And the most dramatic case are the accusations about Halabja.

Before we go to war over Halabja, the administration owes the American people the full facts. And if it has other examples of Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds, it must show that they were not pro-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas who died fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein's supposed atrocities, why are we picking on Iraq on human rights grounds, particularly when there are so many other repressive regimes Washington supports?

So as the details emerge, it seems there are several layers to U.S. story of deception. After all the U.S, administration cannot continue to keep the real agenda of the war in Iraq, hidden from the public eye any more, as it is not the investigative journalists but the “knowledgeable” CIA kingpins who are coming out loudly to reveal the truth.

The deceptions of the Bush clan - the father, the son and the holy ghosts seems to be recoiling back to haunt them for many years to come.

As the employer of the U.S. President and his administration, the American Taxpayer has the constitutional right to demand the truth, accountability, transparency and honesty from their employees. After all it is the American Taxpayer who pay the President to serve their interests not the other way round.

End

Gamini Mithra
Sydney

See links below to read the previous parts of the article

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Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.

Capitalism reduced Indonesian cities to infested carcases

Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.

Capitalism reduced Indonesian cities to infested carcases
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