The reason I'm focusing on the uranium argument here with 60 Minutes is that the 500 tons of uranium found, and removed from Iraq, is a slam dunk as it is the most reported story of Saddam having banned substances before the invasion. If you don't know the story of the 500 tons of uranium you should ...
- Recuse yourself from any wmd discussion because you don't know what the hell you're talking about ... and
- You should read on because I will give you more info, and provide you with links to the story.
Now back to 60 Minutes' lying ways.
Before we start in on 60 Minutes it is important to know the highly liberal stance they take. For instance, they did a whole segment on the Appeal for Redress (an anti-war petition from military personnel) a while back, but they refused to provide the same airtime to the Appeal for Courage (a pro-war petition from military personnel) even though the Appeal for Courage has more signatures. I've received the runaround from 60 Minutes about the issue, and I've spoken with LT. Nichols about the matter. For a giggle, you should look at both appeals media page to see the huge distortion in media coverage. LT. Nichols, by the way, is in Iraq.
Last week, 60 Minutes ran this story ...
Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction? No, he did not. We've known that for some time now. So where did the intelligence come from that he was building up his arsenal? Fantastically, the most compelling part came from one obscure Iraqi defector who came in and out of history like a comet. His code name, ironically, was "Curve Ball" and his information became the pillar of the case Colin Powell made to the United Nations before the war. Who is Curve Ball and how did he fool the world's elite intelligence agencies?
60 Minutes spent two years, and traveled to nine countries, trying to solve the mystery. We talked to intelligence sources, to people who knew Curve Ball and to people who worked with him. As correspondent Bob Simon reports, Curve Ball's real name has never been made public, nor has any video of him, until now.
A very "unbiased" and "honest" introductory isn't it. Too bad the wmd statements are completely false, but I digress.
We do know that we were fed some bad intel on Iraq's wmd programs ... that is not in dispute. Charles Duelfer said as such in his report, and congressional testimony. He essentially said that Saddam did have the weapons programs, but they were not as advanced as we thought. More on that later.
60 Minutes then went on to out "Curve Ball" as Rafid Ahmed Alwan, and break down how he became an informant. It is important that you know he refused to see any Americans and was interrogated by Germany for a year and a half. Transcripts of what he said were sent to the CIA by Germany. The CIA was actually denied requests to debrief "Curve Ball" before making their case against Iraq to President Bush. 60 Minutes never blames Germany for misleading the US.
60 Minutes also completely ignores that the wmds found before the invasion by the UN. Here's an example, but you have to do the rest of the legwork.
They also ignore that every UN weapons inspector said Saddam was hiding weapons programs before the invasion. Yes I know some of them changed their mind suddenly after years of their own saber rattling. In response to that I would say to check out ex-inspector Richard Butler, and ask yourself why Ritter suddenly went from saying Saddam was hiding weapons to Saddam is a great guy. The answer to that is that Ritter started receiving money funneled out of the oil-for-food scandal, and was essentially paid by Saddam to make an anti-war film. It makes me wonder why other inspectors changed their tune so quickly.
So what did Duelfer really have to say about Saddam's weapons programs? Not what you've heard from your teenage friends on the left-wing blogs ... I guarantee it. Again, the programs were not as advanced as we thought, but he did have them. You can read his congressional testimony here. Listen to this little tidbit that 60 Minutes and others always leave out:
There were also efforts to retain the intellectual capital of nuclear scientists by
forbidding their departure from Iraq and keeping them employed in government areas. However, over time there was decay in the team.
Despite this decay, Saddam did not abandon his nuclear ambitions. He made
clear his view that nuclear weapons were the right of any country that could build them.
He was very attentive to the growing Iranian threat—especially its potential nuclear
component, and stated that he would do whatever it took to offset the Iranian threat,
clearly implying matching Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.
What? You've never heard Duelfer say that before? Curious.
Here's what Duelfer said about the chemical and biological chapters of his report:
Once inspections began in 1991, Iraq chose to yield most of its weapons and bulk
agent as well as the large facilities that were widely known to exist. As in the other WMD areas, Saddam sought to sustain the requisite knowledge base to restart the program eventually and, to the extent it did not threaten the Iraqi efforts to get out from sanctions, to sustain the inherent capability to produce such weapons as circumstances permitted in the future.
Let's recap so far. At a bare minimum Saddam did not declare and destroy all of his wmds, he committed hundreds of violations with respect to conventional weapons (most notably developing long range missiles), and he retained the infrastructure, knowledge and desire to restart his wmd programs once sanctions ended. All things listed as concerns for the future, and reasons for war.
Wait til you hear what Duelfer had to say about Saddam using the oil-for-food program to increase his wmd capability.
Over time, and with the infusion of funding and resources following acceptance
of the Oil for Food program, Iraq effectively shortened the time that would be required to reestablish CW production capacity.
By 2003, Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agent in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two.
Uh huh ... so with the oil-for-food program Saddam was able to buy off at least one UN inspector, and increase his wmd capability. Nice.
Iraq decided to retain the main BW production facility, but under guise of using it to produce singlecell protein for animal feed. These decisions were taken with Saddam’s explicit approval.
Preservation of Iraq’s biological weapons capabilities was simpler than any other
WMD area because of the nature of the material.
What is clear is that Saddam retained his notions of the use of force and had
experience that demonstrated the utility of WMD. He was making progress in eroding sanctions and, had it not been for the events of 9-11-2001, things would have taken a different course for the Regime. Most senior members of the Regime and scientists assumed that the programs would begin in earnest when sanctions ended---and sanctions were eroding.
Duelfer also highlighted the threat of such knowledge being given to terrorists, which Saddam openly supported.
A risk that has emerged since my previous status report to Congress is the
connection of former regime CW experts with anti-coalition forces. ISG uncovered
evidence of such links and undertook a sizeable effort to track down and prevent any
lash-up between foreign terrorists or anti-coalition forces and either existing CW stocks or experts able to produce such weapons indigenously. I believe we got ahead of this problem through a series of raids throughout the spring and summer. I am convinced we successfully contained a problem before it matured into a major threat. Nevertheless, it points to the problem that the dangerous expertise developed by the previous regime could be transferred to other hands. Certainly there are anti-coalition and terrorist elements seeking such capabilities.
Take the statements above with his previous statements to Congress 7 months earlier, and you start to see the picture that 60 Minutes ignored in their latest report.
Iraq did have facilities suitable for the production of biological and chemical agents needed for weapons. It had plans to improve and expand and even build new facilities.
Then there is the dual use chemicals.
With respect to chemical production, Iraq was working up to March 2003 to construct new facilities for the production of chemicals. There were plans under the direction of a leading nuclear scientist/WMD program manager to construct plants capable of making a variety of chemicals and producing a year’s supply of any chemical in a month. This was a crash program.
Most of the chemicals specified in this program were conventional commercial chemicals, but a few are considered “dual use.” One we are examining, commonly called DCC (N,N-Dicyclohexyl carbodiimide), was used by Iraq before 1991 as a stabilizing agent for the nerve agent VX.
Since many of you out there don't believe chemical and biological weapons are "really" wmds ... here's info on Saddam's nuclear weapons program.
Likewise, in the nuclear arena, the ISG has developed information that suggests Iraqi interest in preserving and expanding the knowledge needed to design and develop nuclear weapons.
One significant effort illustrating this was a high-speed rail gun program under the direction of two senior scientists associated with Iraq’s pre-1991 nuclear weapons program. Documents from this project show that the scientists were developing a rail gun designed to achieve speeds of 2-10 kilometers per second. The ostensible purpose for this research was development of an air defense gun, but these speeds are what are necessary to conduct experiments of metals compressing together at high speed as they do in a nuclear detonation. Scientists refer to these experiments as “equation of state” measurements.
Not only were these scientists developing a rail gun, but their laboratory also contained documents describing diagnostic techniques that are important for nuclear weapons experiments, such as flash x-ray radiography, laser velocimetry, and high-speed photography. Other documents found outside the laboratory described a high-voltage switch that can be used to detonate a nuclear weapon, laser detonation, nuclear fusion, radiation measurement, and radiation safety. These fields are certainly not related to air defense.
It is this combination of topics that makes us suspect this lab was intentionally focused on research applicable for nuclear weapons development.
No - he - did - not - just - say - that! Oh yes he did. Charles Duelfer, author of the famously misquoted Duelfer Report did just say that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program.
Duelfer and Kay also stated that they found:
"Uranium-enrichment centrifuges" whose only plausible use was as part of a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. In all these cases, "Iraqi scientists had been told before the war not to declare their activities to the U.N. inspectors," the official said.
Duelfer also went on to talk about the secret missile program that the UN failed to uncover even though Iraq test fired these missiles right under the UN's nose. Duelfer also stated that foreign assistance was utilized in assisting Iraq in these missile programs in violation of UN sanctions.
What were the three countries that were caught violating UN sanctions by assisting Saddam's weapons programs again? Ah yes, I remember, Russia, France and GERMANY! The same Germany that 60 Minutes fails to criticize for feeding us incorrect information from "Curve Ball."
Since we all now know that Saddam did have a nuclear weapons program ... that brings me to the 500 tons of uranium we found in Iraq that so many news agencies choose to ignore these days. Of course, they didn't ignore it when it happened because it was a huge story. How soon we forget eh?
Here's a couple of links for the 500 tons of uranium. Full urls left in place so you know they are separate articles.
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/3/13/101911.shtml -- this quotes a NY Times article
Yep ... Saddam had 500 tons of uranium (1.8 tons partially enriched), and a clandestine nuclear weapons program. So how many nuclear bombs could this 500 tons of uranium have produced as a result of this clandestine nuclear weapons program? The answer is 142 nuclear bombs.
Too bad 60 Minutes didn't do any show prep before they ran this story. Especially since they said they spent two years on said story.
Just to add salt to the wound ... a friend of mine stationed in al Asad, Iraq sent me several pictures of chemical warheads. I figured I would share one with you today.
Al Asad is where Saddam's air force was found buried under the sand. Coincidently that's where they found this bad boy. When they removed the protective coverings they discovered that it was loaded with sarin bomblets. Notice that this is not an old, harmless weapon. It is modern, and in very good condition.
Below is a reference image of a US sarin warhead with its bomblets. Again, the bottom photo is older, and from an American warhead. It was not found in Iraq. It is only demonstrating what a sarin bomblet is.
Too bad 60 Minutes hasn't paid attention to what is really coming out of Iraq, and no the pictures are not classified.