Bush, Blair, Howard Will Use 7½ Miles of “Smoking Paper” as Rejoinder

US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard believe that deliverance is at hand from the beating they are taking to their domestic credibility from accusations that they heavily embellished Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction threat to justify going to war. The three embattled war allies have joined hands in a counter-offensive soon to be launched to fight off the underlying popular skepticism actively whipped up by the political opposition at home as well as anti-American, anti-war factions in politics and intelligence – particularly in some parts of Europe, such as Russia, Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark and even the UK. That counter-offensive to shore up their credibility will hinge on a new coalition intelligence research project launched a month ago to winkle out hard evidence of Saddam Hussein’s proscribed weapons programs. The research tem is headed by David Kay, a former UN weapons inspector. It is already producing impressive results.

(DEBKA-Net-Weekly revealed the David Kay mission on July 18 in issue No. no. 117.)

General elections are very much on all three minds and their parties. The Australian prime minister, for instance – DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Canberra have learned – is seriously thinking of calling a snap election for the end of this year to catch his Labor Party rivals off guard, confident that the proof of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction will come to light in time for him to pull off victory at the polls.

In the meantime, the American-British-Australian trio, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources, will set aside their semi-apologetic assurances to the growing number of doubters that given patience “time will tell”. Instead, they will avail themselves of data fed them by the Kay team.

In a little-reported interview with the American TV NBC’s Tom Brokaw, Kay reported: “The Iraqis seem to keep documents on even the most damning evidence. This a mother lode, an estimated seven and a half miles of documents, many of them collected by US military from (Iraq’s) official buildings, but many others handed over by Iraqi civilians.”

Kay: “I’ve already seen enough to convince me, but that’s not the standard. I’ve got to convince everyone of that.”


The need to be convincing as well as convinced


The Kay team spent the first month of its mission splitting those miles of documents into three batches which have already yielded solid data:

Batch One: Records of Saddam’s chemical, biological and nuclear programming with notes on budgets, manpower and procurement requirements. Detailed are the Saddam regime’s plans, productions processes and timetables for WMD development as well as special programs for concealing it all from UN inspectors for twelve years. Saddam’s officials hid these thousands of documents from the United Nations Blix-ElBarardei inspection team and left them out of the voluminous “full accounting” Baghdad was committed to submitting to the UN Security Council before the war. By failing to hand those documents over to the international body, Baghdad was guilty of a blatant breach of its commitments.

Batch Two: This group, which also consists of many thousands of pieces of paper, tracks the implementation of the WMD programs with time schedules and assessments of progress made in each category and inventories the stocks building up in the illegal arsenal. Scientists or engineers would often win bonuses for notable progress in their work.

Batch Three: This pile offers leads to locations where forbidden weapons may have been concealed when the records were drawn up and ways to access them.

The public remarks made by the three coalition leaders Bush, Blair and Howard will soon bear the imprint of these findings and their expert evaluation by CIA analysts, with particular stress on C. as well as on the progress made in turning up evidence of Saddam’s illegal weapons development – or the weapons themselves.

Documentary evidence, already in preparation, will be released to demonstrate how deeply Saddam was involved in the prohibited programs.

Informants who spoke to Kay this week are reported by DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s intelligence sources as asserting his 100 percent certainty that he has collected all the documentary evidence he needs to be convinced.

“If you want to call it smoking gun, you can. What I’ve got is smoking paper.”

He stressed that this evidence is not old hat from the 1990s but a catalogue of fresh implementation of projects in 2000, 2001 and 2002, leaving no doubt as to the intensity of the regime’s preoccupation with the manufacture of unconventional means of war, including missiles.. The search team head is also quoted as saying: “I don’t know if I will find a test tube, a shell or a missile, because Saddam’s concealment strategy to cheat inspections dictates manufacturing or assembly processes that leave components disassembled up to the point that one short step is needed to making them operational.

Kay told deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who was on a whirlwind tour of Iraq this week, that his biggest problem now is the acute shortage of bilingual translators and interpreters. On the one hand, he needs Arabic speakers conversant with scientific terms and, on the other, English speakers with scientific and legal expertise. Every word his team releases must stand up to the most rigorous tests of meaning and accuracy, because the slightest translation error will be seized on to cast doubt on the whole, which the administration cannot afford. The shortage of translators is the bottleneck holding up release.

Wolfowitz is following the research team’s operation closely to bring out materials for use by leaders in Washington, London and Canberra in credibility restoring strategies. After a first-hand examination of the team’s findings, the administration official was more than satisfied. The proof was there, he said and he can see the makings of a grand spectacle to silence the skeptics.


Graveyard evidence


In addition to sifting through and collating mountains of paper, Kay team scouts are also crisscrossing Iraq to examine sites and test tips received from local “human intelligence”. They are pinpointing unmarked mass graves scattered around Iraq from which more than 300,000 bodies of Saddam’s victims have thus far been disinterred.

One of the most closely held secrets in Washington is the first evidence emerging from one of these graveyards of the prisoner abuse as human guinea pigs. A special team went out to Baquba, northeast of Baghdad after a collection of videotapes was discovered in Iraqi central intelligence archives, on some of which Iraqi officers talked freely with dates and locations about the prisoners and detainees subjected to biological and chemical weapons experiments. Some involved toxic chemicals or gases; others were infected with germs in varying quantities, their symptoms recorded from stage to stage until their death. The burial site of victims most frequently referred to was Baquba. There, Kay’s scouts uncovered the remains of 3,000 men and women who had succumbed to mysterious causes of death. Autopsies and forensic examinations are in progress to establish these causes.

These tragic sites were featured in US newspapers this week with Wolfowitz shown on an inspection. Accompanying commentary reported that the US administration was striving to shift the public debate away from the questions surrounding Iraqi WMD as the justification of war and focus it on the horrors of the overthrown regime’s brutal reign of repression, terror and human rights crimes as committed by its top three figures, the deposed ruler and his two sons. Stress is laid increasingly on the ways in which a criminal regime applied forbidden weapons for clandestine experimentation on incarcerated victims – an attempt, say DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Washington, to point public attention to Saddam’s unmarked graveyards as the source of strong evidence that the ex-ruler had developed and used non-conventional weapons.

This new strategy was openly avowed for the first time by US secretary of state Colin Powell, when he talked to the editorial staff of the Washington Times on Tuesday, July 22. He said:

“As more graves are opened, as more mass killings are made known and as Mr. Kay completes his work in Iraq searching for the evidence needed to make clear to everybody that we knew what we were talking about with respect to weapons of mass destruction, I think this issue of what was in the State of the Union address will fade into insignificance.”


Sixteen words – both true and false!


DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources have also discovered that the Bush administration has got hold of a fresh piece of solid data that tilts the controversy over the sentence of the president’s State of the Union speech asserting Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from Niger. The White House initially admitted the sentence was based on false data. The buck was then passed round from the CIA to Britain’s MI5, then Italian intelligence and finally, Condoleezza’s deputy at the National Security Council, Stephen Hadley.

Now the wheel has spun again – though in secret. According to our Washington sources, Washington now has proof that Iraqi agents did after all visit Niger on the very dates listed in the intelligence inserted in the Bush speech. They were indeed on a purchasing mission for uranium which took them on to other African countries as well. This new piece of data reaches Washington from “very friendly” intelligence services operating in Africa. It states that the basic information about the Iraqi purchasing mission was accurate. But the documentary evidence to support it handed to Bush by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in confidence, as DNW now reveals, had been doctored by anti-American, anti-war factions in Italian intelligence in such a way that it would be discovered. Their plot was to bring the three war leaders into disrepute by manipulating them into committing an untruth while also souring the warm relations between the Italian prime minister and the White House.

The identities of the Italian intelligence plotters were at the center of the two days of private talks held by Bush and Berlusconi at the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas last Sunday and Monday, July 20 and 21. The Italian prime minister brought with him the results of a private investigation he conducted. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources reveal that the agents who falsified the intelligence documents were also involved in staging the mass anti-war demonstrations that swept across Europe ahead of the American invasion of Iraq and accompanied the UN Security Council war debate.

They worked with accomplices in Russian, British, French, Dutch and German intelligence and allies in Africa. What remains to be done, as Bush and Berlusconi realized in their discussion, was to identify the controlling hand behind the intelligence-instigated front ranged against the Iraq war coalition allies, the US president and British prime minister.


The Kelly-Kay Connection


British microbiologist Dr. David Kelly, whose suicide on Thursday, July 18, threw the Blair government into crisis, had been awarded a position on Kay’s team of WMD hunters as an expert on biological arms and a former arms inspector. He was to have left for Iraq in a few days time when he was caught up by the political maelstrom raging in Britain around the unconventional weapons dossier Blair presented before going to war in Iraq. Kelly, who shunned politics, found the storm too violent for him to handle.

Now that Bush, Blair and Howard are regrouping, with Berlusconi’s help, to restore their fortunes, their hidden foes are shifting ground. The war leaders are arming themselves with information of Saddam’s deceit over his weapons of mass destruction that is too solid to be shouted down as outright lies. The charge is now toned down to “issuing inaccurate statements just before the war’ – language cautious enough to cool the rhetoric in the debate between the champions and opponents of the Iraq war.

Bush and Blair have urgent need of new ammunition. The American president’s popularity rating is falling at an alarming rate. He could even find himself at the starting line of the November 2004 presidential campaign level with his Democratic challenger. For this reason, the assault on WMD skeptics – originally scheduled for September after Bush returned from his summer vacation – has been brought forward to next week.

Blair is in even direr straits. A majority of Britons want him to resign. His fate hangs on the judicial commission investigating the untimely death of Dr. Kelly finding that the BBC lied in the Kelly case, not 10 Downing Street. But, like Bush, he most desperately needs the Kay team to produce evidence to bear out his portrayal of Saddam Hussein as ruthless developer of illegal weapons. Combined, the two events might swing public sentiment back behind him.

The Australian prime minister has taken a sharp drop in popularity but no mass defection to the opposition Labor Party. Like Bush and Blair, Howard believes that once Australians are convinced the Iraqi WMD threat was genuine they will flock back to him, a reversal that would show up in a timely early election.

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