Saturday, June 4

WMDs Again

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 2,11:03 PM EDT US

UNITED NATIONS - U.N. satellite imagery experts have determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors said in a report obtained Thursday.

U.N. inspectors have been blocked from returning to Iraq since the U.S.-led war in 2003 so they have been using satellite photos to see what happened to the sites that were subject to U.N. monitoring because their equipment had both civilian and military uses.

In the report to the U.N. Security Council, acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said he's reached no conclusions about who removed the items or where they went. He said it could have been moved elsewhere in Iraq, sold as scrap, melted down or purchased.

[Try Syria for one. Have we forgotten about the reports of massive truck shipments going into Syria from Iraq during the war?]

He said the missing material can be used for legitimate purposes. "However, they can also be utilized for prohibited purposes if in a good state of repair."

He said imagery analysts have identified 109 sites that have been emptied of equipment to varying degrees, up from 90 reported in March.

[They, the UN, have been surveying this all along unknown to the U.S.?]

The report also provided much more detail about the percentage of items no longer at the places where U.N. inspectors monitored them.

From the imagery analysis, Perricos said analysts at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission which he heads have concluded that biological sites were less damaged than chemical and missile sites.

The commission, known as UNMOVIC, previously reported the discovery of some equipment and material from the sites in scrapyards in Jordan and the Dutch port of Rotterdam.

Perricos said analysts found, for example, that 53 of the 98 vessels that could be used for a wide range of chemical reactions had disappeared. "Due to its characteristics, this equipment can be used for the production of both commercial chemicals and chemical warfare agents," he said.

The report said 3,380 valves, 107 pumps, and more than 7.8 miles of pipes were known to have been located at the 39 chemical sites.

A third of the chemical items removed came from the Qaa Qaa industrial complex south of Baghdad which the report said "was among the sites possessing the highest number of dual-use production equipment," whose fate is now unknown." Significant quantities of missing material were also located at the Fallujah II and Fallujah III facilities north of the city, which was besieged last year.

Before the first Gulf War in 1991, those facilities played a major part in the production of precursors for Iraq's chemical warfare program.

The percentages of missing biological equipment from 12 sites were much smaller — no higher than 10 percent.

The report said 37 of 405 fermenters ranging in size from 2 gallons to 1,250 gallons had been removed. Those could be used to produce pharmaceuticals and vaccines as well as biological warfare agents such as anthrax.

The largest percentages of missing items were at the 58 missile facilities, which include some of the key production sites for both solid and liquid propellant missiles, the report said.

For example, 289 of the 340 pieces of equipment to produce missiles — about 85 percent — had been removed, it said.

At the Kadhimiyah and Al Samoud factory sites in suburban Baghdad, where the report said airframes and engines for liquid propellant missiles were manufactured and final assembly was carried out, "all equipment and missile components have been removed."

UNMOVIC is the outgrowth of a U.N. inspections process created after the 1991 Gulf War in which invading Iraqi forces were ousted from Kuwait. Its staff are considered the only multinational weapons experts specifically trained in biological weapons and missile disarmament. The report noted that the commissioners who advise UNMOVIC again raised questions about its future. Iraq has called for its Security Council
mandate to be terminated because UNMOVIC is funded from past Iraqi oil sales and it wants to be treated like other countries, but the council has not taken up the issue.
France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said Thursday the commission's expertise "should not be lost for the international community."


JNelson said...

This posting just confirms that fact that the US occupation made the mistake of not protecting these stockpiles (they weren't WMD) which allowed them to be looted and reused against your family members. I said it once in the previous post, but I'll say it again: this is a resource war and we don't give a shit about the people of Iraq. We're sending our young men to fight and kill and die for an unjust war that is only hurting America's place as a respected world leader. Our post war strategy did not include protecting these stockpiles or tangibly helping the Iraqis because that was not the goal of the invasion.

Sunnye T said...

You are obviously misinformed, J.

Some of the roadside bombs used in Iraq were re-made -- from WMDs that originally had two chambers, one for one kind of chemical, one from another so they when the chemicals were combined they produced lethal poisons. Hussein used them against the Kurds and the Kuwaitis.

Some may have been taken during our invasion, but most were cleared out shortly before we got there.

And, most important, we DO care about the Iraqi people. We made a terrible mistake in the '50s by allowing the Shah to be deposed; we owed them a chance at freedom.

What you and your ilk don't understand is that we have learned through vast experience since WWII that encouraging despots simply breeds hatred for the US. Doing what we are in Iraq is beginning to bring freedom to a terribly oppressed part of the world.


And by the way, if you can't communicate without resorting to foul language, please take your "debate" somewhere else.

JNelson said...

U.S. Lied About 'Napalm' Use in Iraq
Britain's Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram has admitted that the Bush administration lied to British officials about the use of napalm-type firebombs in Iraq. In a private letter obtained by The Independent newspaper of London, Ingram says the US originally told him they had not used so-called MK77s in Iraq at any time but then writes "I regret to say that I have since discovered that this is not the case and must now correct the position." The MK77 bombs are an evolution of the napalm used in Vietnam and Korea. They carry kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene so that the gel sticks to structures and to its victims. The bombs lack stabilizing fins, making them far from precise. Ingram said 30 MK77 firebombs were used by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the invasion of Iraq between March 31 and April 2, 2003. The Independent said that the revelation raises new questions about allegations that the napalm-like firebombs were used in the US assault on Fallujah last year, charges denied by the US.

UK Independent Media