Weapons of Mass Deception
By Stan G. Kain
29 September 2003
The Bush Administration and the rest of the world are waiting to hear what Central Intelligence Agency official and former United Nations weapons inspector, David Kay, will have to say in his report about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.. So far, indications from Washington don't hold much promise for great revelations from Mr. Kay. While President Junior and Secretary of State, Colin Powell keep assuring the American public and their allies that such weapons exist, more and more people doubt the Iraq weapons program. The Iraq program is looking more like “weapons of mass deception,” than weapons of mass destruction.
Junior Bush and his resurrected staff of Reagan advisors managed to sell the voters and Congress on the eminent threat of Saddam Hussein. The team didn't do quite the sales job to our allies, with the exception of the United Kingdom.. Now, with no weapons to show, both Mr. Bush and Tony Blair are trying to explain why. Was our intelligence flawed? Was there deception, and if so, who attempted to deceive whom? Perhaps there was deception in the U.S. and in Iraq.
One Iraq trader, in charge of purchasing material for the Iraqi chemical and biological weapons program during the 1980's, offers a partial explanation. According to the unnamed trader, U.N. weapons inspectors, following Gulf War I, repeatedly approached him. The trader said that following the war, his superiors directed that some weapons program documents be handed over to U.N. inspectors, while the rest be destroyed. When the weapons inspectors demanded to see a paper trail of the weapons program, there was nothing to show. Desperate, his superiors even offered to buy hidden documents from traders, to appease the inspectors. They had not expected the U.N. inspectors to insist on a detailed explanation of the program and destruction of weapons.
In one U.N. presentation, U.S. Secretary of State Powell insisted that the Tariq State Establishment on Fallujah had been designated to develop chemical weapons. The site was visited six times, from December 2002 to January 2003, by U.N. inspectors. Inspectors declared the chlorine plant was “inoperative.” Another site, the Amiriyah Serum and Vaccine Institute, was suspected by British and American intelligence, to be part of a biological-warfare program. Again, nothing was found.
TIME magazine visited the site in July 2003. They observed two warehouses, both named by joint intelligence. They found one warehouse bombed, with the doors hanging open and a pile of rubble. The other warehouse was stacked with boxes of unused glassware and beakers. Most of the boxes had several inches of pigeon droppings and feathers on them, indicating they had not been touched in a long time.
Pentagon officials were convinced the chemical and biological weapons were present in Iraq. They outfitted soldiers with heavy chemical weapons gear, just in case. Nothing happened. A captain in Iraq's Special Security Organization agency, responsible for the security of weapons sites, said there were no such arms available. Adding credibility to his statement, the captain said, “Trust me. If we had them (chemical or biological weapons), we would have used them, especially in the battle for the airport. We wanted them but didn't have any.”
Why can't we find evidence that the Iraqi's destroyed the known weapons of mass destruction, if they did so? One former Iraqi official points out that in Iraq, not everything is written. The Iraqi Intelligence captain cites one example. He witnessed an exercise in July 1991, which may offer some explanation. He traveled with a truck caravan, carrying 25 missiles loaded with biological agents. Reaching the Nibai desert, the missiles were buried by bulldozers. The area was evacuated and the missiles were exploded. “We just did it,” he said. There was no kind of documentation for the incident. This way, he said, when weapons inspectors came, demanding verification, there would be no proof as to how many weapons were destroyed.
Specific incidents such as the ones above, may account for much of the missing weapons program in Iraq. One is left wondering if some of the weapons of mass destruction, or components, were sold to terrorist groups or other nations. That could account for part of the missing inventory. There may be yet another explanation, not mentioned by the Bush Administration.
What about Saddam Hussein and his love of weapons? Iraqi officials claim that Saddam was crazy for weapons, fascinated by every new invention. As such, he was also vulnerable to the approach of con men and questionable salesmen. As an example, Saddam had high hopes for a bogus product called, “red mercury.” He was told the material was an ingredient for a handheld nuclear device. He bought the false story. Large quantities of the gelatinous red liquid were looted from Iraqi stores after the war and are not being offered on the black market.
An Iraqi Intelligence office says Saddam's underlings may have invented weapons programs and fabricated experiments. He says the scamming went all the way to the top in the Iraqi scientific community. Officials would appease Saddam with every report, never telling him the truth about failures or production levels, while they took money from the projects. Saddam would be told that a new missile had been developed to strike Stealth bombers. Of course, there was no such device. Saddam would order 20 of the missiles to be built. One non-working device would be made to show Saddam, while the rest of the money went into the pockets of crooked government officials.
It is highly possible that Saddam didn't know the true nature of his own arsenal. Western intelligence was merely picking up reports about a fantastic weapons program that didn't really exist. The false reports were not made to fool U.S. Intelligence, but rather to fool Saddam Hussein. Not unlike Saddam, we took the bait, as well.
The Iraqi's have a long history of deception in the weapons game. This adds credibility to Saddam's misleading reports. In 1991, during an uprising by Iraqi Kurds in Kirkuk, helicopters dropped a harmless white powder onto the rebels. The Kurds were terrified, believing it was a chemical attack. As Hans Blix, head of the U.N. inspection team said, “you can put up a sign on your door, beware of dog, without having a dog.”
Iraqi officials, when questioned by western intelligence, tell the same basic story. The weapons of mass destruction program was abandoned and redirected into other projects. Most of the scientists were directed to develop radar and antiaircraft systems, while others went into teaching, water and power projects and even producing a generic Viagra. Saddam Hussein may have been playing the shell game with the U.N. inspectors and the Bush Administration because he was intent on protecting a weapons system that didn't exist. Saddam not unlike President Junior, may have believed the weapons did exist. U.S. Intelligence may have also been deceived, believing the intercepted false reports of Saddam's scientific community.
All of us, including the Iraqi's may be the victims of a ruse. A very expensive ruse, to say the very least. Expensive for the American taxpayer, for the American and British soldier and expensive for the political careers of Saddam Hussein, George Bush and Tony Blair. Unless the weapons of mass destruction are shown in the upcoming U.S. Intelligence report, we're left with being the victims of weapons of mass deception. If this is true, may Congress and the American people use the lesson in the future. May we demand proof, before going off to war with nothing more than circumstantial evidence.
If you have questions, you may email Stan.
© 2003 by Stan G. Kain