by Imad Khadduri
March 11, 2003
On March 7, 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), submitted, in accordance with U.N. Resolution 1441, his third report to the Security Council on Iraq's nuclear non-capability.
ElBaradei's report unequivocally disproved most of Colin Powell's alleged "evidence" of Iraq's continued nuclear weapons program after the end of the 1991 war that Powell so brazenly offered in a theatrical presentation to the same Security Council just a month earlier on February 5, 2003. Powell's pathetic response to ElBaradei's report would be laughable were it not for the moral crime the Bush administration is about to commit in Iraq.
ElBaradei's report confirmed the following:
The alleged Iraqi attempt of procuring Niger's uranium in the late nineties was based on unauthentic documents supplied by American and British intelligence. This brings to mind the "scientific report" hurriedly brought by UNSCOM inspectors to Baghdad in 1994 demanding an explanation of the report's claims of a continued effort by Iraq to develop its nuclear bomb design in the years following the 1991 war. As part of my responsibility in the issuance and archiving of all scientific reports emanating from the nuclear weapons development program before the 1991 war (except for the centrifugal enrichment process), it was not difficult to discern the intimate knowledge and accuracy of the authors' competence in preparing that fake report with regards to the intricacies of our own documentation procedures. However, the tell-tale use of Iranian synonyms for key words employed in that fake report, such as the reference to the two part core of the atomic bomb as a "dome" in Iranian parlance instead of the "hemisphere" as used by Iraqi scientists, quickly laid to rest the authenticity of that fake report. With the aid of an Iranian-Arabic dictionary that we provided to the UNSCOM inspectors, they left without further ado.
The aluminum tube fiasco, so widely publicized on America's CNN and FOX networks, has been proven to be a reverse-engineering attempt by Iraqi military engineers to manufacture locally the combustion chamber for a solid propellant rocket. That attempt extends back to the mid-eighties. The extra tolerances, to which Powell so despairingly clung in his unabashed retort, were no more than extra precautionary steps on the part of the engineers to ensure the success of their attempts. One may assume that these engineers would have indeed been surprised to learn from the American "experts" that such tolerances, if further pursued, would be suited for equipment in a uranium centrifuge process.
Having forbidden, under the economic sanctions, the import of pencils to Iraq for fear that the graphite inserts might be used for the purpose of developing nuclear weapons, the attempt to produce locally small magnets for all sorts of civilian use was interpreted in the fertile imagination of the American "experts" as proof of a possible rejuvenation of a uranium centrifugal enrichment process. ElBaradei's team of scientific experts in the field of uranium centrifugal enrichment, which probably has cost millions of dollars paid by Iraqi funds from the Oil for Food program, confirmed the simple and evident truth: the unfettered civilian use of such magnets.
Only the fourth and final fictitious piece of "evidence" presented by Powell in his February 5, 2003 report to the Security Council was unfortunately missing from ElBaradei's exposition. Powell deliberately lied, either knowingly or deceived by Iraqi defectors' lies, when he claimed that the declarations we, as Iraqi scientists, had signed several times upon the penalty of death prevented the Iraqi scientists from exposing sensitive information to the inspectors. The truth of the matter is that these declarations ordered us not to hide any sensitive reports and documents in our homes. The Iraqi government did not want to be held responsible for hidden documents when the U.N. began to inspect Iraq. We signed four or five such declarations starting in 1992. The last such pledge was conducted in the middle of 1997. The head of the Military Industrialization Corporation, the agency in charge of all chemical, biological and nuclear weapons development, assembled and chaired a meeting of about six hundred senior Iraqi scientists and engineers from all walks of activities in the above fields. He pointed to the fact that we had already signed a few of these declarations. He was willing to forgo all of the previous declarations if we would sign one final such declaration. In order to save us any further embarrassment or unintended folly, he urged us to go back to our homes, farmhouses and family lodgings and do one final thorough search for these documents. In the event that we did find some documents that we had inadvertently missed during our initial searches, we were to put them in a nameless envelope, and deposit them on a table in an empty assigned room, without any questions asked, with full reprieve from the previously signed declarations. He gave us three days to carry out that final search. We signed the final declaration as we left that meeting in 1997. Is the information provided by American intelligence services that systematically distorted?
During my recent FOX TV Heartland show interview with John Kasich about a week ago, I was one dimensionally bombarded with flimsy arguments by the anchor on the abundance of "Iraqi defectors have told of nuclear weapon sites" and who am I to refute Khidhir Hamza, the infamous "bombmaker" who has been claiming the existence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program for a year now on CNN, along with speaking to American congressional committees and right wing "think tanks." What is stopping these defectors from informing ElBaradei and the UNMOVIC inspectors on the ground in Iraq of the locations of these phantom establishments for the production of these weapons or their components?
Two weeks ago, CBS declined to interview me for the "60 Minutes" show after they were "counseled" by a well paid consultant from Washington D.C., who claimed to be a former UNSCOM inspector. The consultant warned CBS that the CIA had a wealth of information, unknown to me, on the existence of a continuing nuclear weapons development program in Iraq throughout the nineties. If this were true, why wouldn't the CIA save Colin Powell's face and provide this information to the IAEA and UNMOVIC? The American and British intelligence services did in fact provide, upon Blix's challenge to them in mid-December of 2002, a list of about 25 suspected sites, one of them marked red for extra "hush hush" care in case the Iraqis got wind of the information and would try to hide the evidence. The inspectors duly visited and inspected each one of these sites and they found nothing incriminating. In fact, they even stated that U.S. intelligence was providing them with nothing but "garbage after garbage after garbage." Is the American media that systematically manipulating the American people?
Unabashedly, Bush gave a speech on March 07, 2003, portraying the gathering dark clouds of a criminal war against Iraq, in the terms of a poker game. He challenged other countries opposed to the criminal war to "show their cards" while the U.S. and the U.K. would conveniently keep their cards hidden.
Lest he misses the point, he is playing a game of Russian roulette, and his fig leaf has fallen.
Imad Khadduri has an MSc in Physics from the University of Michigan (United States) and a PhD in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Khadduri worked with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 till 1998. He was able to leave Iraq in late 1998 with his family. He now teaches and works as a network administrator in Toronto, Canada. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared at Yellow Times.org