June 11, 1995 front page of Baghdad Observer with articles stating Iraq was free of WMD.
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by Malcom Lagauche
November 29, 2009
In Britain, hearings are being held about the lies leading up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. At first, the commission members attempted to whitewash all the incidents. But, parents of those killed in Iraq have put enough pressure on the commission to get at least some truth out. In the past week or so, they have changed their tune and have admitted to much of what we already knew, but it’s the first time public figures of the government of Britain are telling a portion of the truth. There is so much pressure being put on them, that they have opened up subjects, albeit mostly to save their own careers. The publicity being given these hearings is loud enough that if the commission members kept on lying, their falsities would be published in every newspaper in the country.
However, there is still one issue they evade: the fact that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) since 1992. Their statements say that they ignored information that Iraqi WMD may be degraded by 2002 and they would be of no use. Another swerve is that they say that Iraq lacked the delivery systems for WMD and could not use them. They still will not admit there were no WMD in Iraq and it was irrelevant whether the Iraqis had proper delivery systems. If there is nothing to deliver, the question of delivery is null and void.
The front page of the Baghdad Observer of June 11, 1995 is just one of the items that proves Iraq had no WMD. It shows a picture of Saddam Hussein in the middle, flanked by two articles ("Iraq’s Cooperation with UN Must Be Rewarded" and "Iraq Pins Hope on Next SC Report to UN Council") in which it is clearly stated the Iraq said all its WMD were destroyed. However, even this message has been tweaked by current journalists, historians, and politicians. After the embarrassment of not finding even one gram of WMD, the new story line was that Saddam hoodwinked the world by keeping them thinking Iraq had WMD when it didn’t. If this was the case, I doubt the two articles of the front page of the Baghdad Observer would display Saddam with two articles discussing the destruction of the country’s WMD in 1991 and 1992.
When one looks back at statements and articles by Iraqis during the period of 1991 to 2003, it is uncanny how accurate they were. On the other hand, much of what the U.S. put forward has been shown to be outright lies.
For instance, in October 2002, the U.S. issued a document called "Key Judgements: National Intelligence Estimate." It concluded that Iraq was constantly developing its stockpile of WMD and, at times, maintained that the 2002 inventory of Iraqi WMD may be larger than that of the country prior to 1991. The report included many doomsday scenarios.
This document was publicised world-wide. Virtually every daily newspaper in the U.S. carried it, or excerpts from it. Many foreign countries saw it as well and it helped convince some leaders who were on the fence about whether to support a war or not to come aboard the U.S. ship. In looking at the document today, one would have a hard time finding even one bit of truth. Even U.S. administration officials admitted it was way off; after the illegal invasion, of course.
On the other hand, in November 2002, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, sent a letter to the Unite Nations refuting the report. Then, he gave in detail the standing of Iraq in regards to its WMD. He mentioned when they were destroyed and how programs were never re-started. The U.S. called the letter a big lie and condemned the Iraqis for again trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the world. In looking at the letter today, it is extremely accurate in every detail.
Sabri's letter received little attention, other than the obligatory denouncement by the U.S. Few people read it.
When Iraq and the U.S. shared diplomatic ties in the 1980s, Nizar Hamdoon was the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. In Washington, he was well-regarded and built many friendships. In the 1990s, with no diplomatic ties between the two countries, Hamdoon was called back to action and served as the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.N. In 2000, he was replaced and called back to Baghdad to serve in the Foreign Service.
Hamdoon was very visible in the U.S. and many people remember him from television appearances, although he was usually lambasted by interviewers. His was a lonely job. On July 4, 2003, a few months after the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, Hamdoon died of cancer.
Let's to back to the latter part of 1998. The U.S. was accusing Iraq of concealing the most deadly chemicals on Earth and in December, Clinton ordered the bombing of Iraq and called the procedure Operation Desert Fox. Most people remember this as the "Iraq/U.N. standoff." Even the method of removing the inspectors from Iraq was a lie. The U.N. ordered the inspectors from Iraq a few days before the bombing, yet the U.S. always stated that Saddam Hussein kicked them out.
During this time, Nizar Hamdoon wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times called "A Black Cat in a Dark Room." The paper carried it, yet few people took it seriously. Go back to the time and refresh your memory and you will see how exact and precise Hamdoon was in his assessment. He did not lie, yet few listened. He clearly stated that Iraq was free of WMD.
"A BLACK CAT IN A DARK ROOM"
by Nizar Hamdoon
Much has been said and published about recent standoffs between Iraq and the United Nations arms inspectors. But those criticizing Iraq for suspending its cooperation with the United Nations special commission on arms inspection, better known as Unscom, give no recognition whatsoever to the underlying reason that led Iraq to adopt this position. It is time to set the record straight.
First, the whole world knows by now that Iraq has lost well over a million of its people as a direct result of the sanctions that have been in place for eight years. A former president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, was chillingly correct when he called sanctions a "peaceful, silent and deadly remedy." U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright herself characterized them as "the toughest multilateral sanctions in history." Many critics seem to think the government of Iraq is supposed to stand idle while watching a whole generation of its people melt away like snowflakes.
Second, Iraq has complied with all the fundamental requirements of disarmament in Security Council Resolution 687. Unscom itself admitted this reality in its April 11, 1997 report to the Security Council when it said, "The accumulated effect of the work that has been accomplished over six years since the cease fire went into effect between Iraq and the coalition is such that not much is unknown about Iraq's proscribed weapons capabilities." But the United States and Britain refuse to recognize this fact. Their role in preventing the Security Council from closing the clearly done nuclear file a few months ago is a case in point.
The disagreement between Iraq and the inspectors is not on existing weapons. No weapons or sites have been discovered by the Unscom inspectors on their own since 1991. Those that have been found have been produced by the Iraqi government itself. Rather, the recent disputes involve paper documentation that precedes the gulf war. Those issues can be pursued in the context of the already established ongoing monitoring regime.
There are two main questions that need to be asked when assessing Iraq's compliance with disarmament requirements: does Iraq still possess proscribed weapons or the means to produce them, and is the monitoring process working? The answer is no to the first, yes to the second. Unscom's allegations about documentation are nothing but excuses to manufacture a crisis whenever one is needed to prolong the sanctions.
Iraq has said all along that there must be a creative way to reconcile the two goals: the need for more documentation and the easing of the suffering of the Iraqi people. Unscom, unfortunately, is insisting on everything or nothing.
Iraq will never be able to satisfy Unscom because it is being asked to prove the negative: that it does not have any more weapons. There is, of course, no way Iraq can prove that it has nothing if it has nothing. How many more Iraqis will have to die because Richard Butler's team has not yet found another document, which cannot be located because there is no such document in the first place? The inspectors are searching for a black cat in a dark room where the cat does not exist.
Third, many American officials have stated that even if Iraq complies with the Security Council's resolutions, the United States will not approve the lifting of sanctions. The declared goal of Washington is to remove the current government of Iraq. We wonder of this goal is in line with the letter and spirit of international law and the United Nations resolutions. Iraq continues to believe that the resolutions are used by the United States as a cover for an illegal political agenda. The allocation of money to the Central Intelligence Agency for subversion in Iraq is just a unit in this series. One might wonder why Iraq should continue being part of this futile and endless game.
Fourth, Ms. Albright claims that every Iraqi receives a daily ration basket equivalent to the recommended caloric intake of the average American. Perhaps she needs to review the latest reports by the United Nations and other organizations which state that millions of Iraqi children and women are still suffering and that the oil-for-food program is not adequate. For instance, the 1998 World Disaster Report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies described Iraq as a country under siege and said 16 to 27 percent of the population is malnourished.
Finally, many high-ranking American officials keep speaking about Iraq as being a threat to American interests and the region. We would like to assure these officials, and through them the American people, that Iraqi is eager to live in peace with its neighbors and the world. But Iraq will not submit to intimidation, bullying and coercion. Peace will come only through dialogue based on mutual respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and the observance of international law.