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'US knew Iraq was WMD free'

Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr Imad Khadduri has told Aljazeera.net he does not believe any ''errors'' were made regarding WMD intelligence.

Last Modified: 15 Feb 2004 17:45 GMT
A bulldozer crushes casings of chemical weapons in Iraq, 1991

Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr Imad Khadduri has told Aljazeera.net he does not believe any ''errors'' were made regarding WMD intelligence.

Dr Khadduri, a former senior Iraqi nuclear scientist who worked for the Iraqi nuclear programme from 1968 to 1998, said there was a deliberate media blackout of evidence proving Iraq did not possess WMD, and that to redress the balance he had written a book in English to have his witness testimony made available to the world.

In 1997 Iraq delivered a report to UN weapons inspectors stating that Iraq's civil and military nuclear programme was brought to a halt. When UN inspectors left Iraq in 1998 there was sufficient evidence that Iraq was free from non-conventional weapons, according to Dr Khadduri.

"I was one of the people involved in writing a detailed report in 1997 about Iraq's civil and military nuclear programme.

"We included in the report every detail needed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that Iraq's nuclear programme was suspended," Khadduri said.

US personnel carefully watching
UN nuclear inspectors

He said Iraq's chemical and biological weapons capability and its nuclear weapons programme were destroyed in the 1991 Gulf war.
 
"Following the defection of Hussein Kamil, the godfather of Iraq's non-conventional weapons programme, to Jordan in 1995, he made it clear to Ralph Ekeus, head of the UN inspection team UNSCOM and US officials, that stockpiles of Iraq's biological and chemical weapons were destroyed on his orders," Khadduri said.

"They never revealed such information, because it did not serve their war agenda."

Khadduri said even the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) dismissed evidence that clearly indicated Iraq was free from WMD.

"The Iraqi government allowed Iraqi officials and army officials, who were in charge of destroying stockpiles of WMD after the Gulf war in 1991, to give their testimonies to Unmovic, but the UN inspectors simply dismissed their evidence," he said.

Dr Khadduri said Iraq was free from WMD, but that Western and Israeli intelligence communities were not prepared to accept Iraq would have actually taken such a step.

Intelligence errors

Dr Khadduri believes that the US was very particular in who it listened to regardless of whether or not they enjoyed any credibility.

"Iraq was clean from WMD, but Western and Israeli intelligence communities are not prepared to accept that Iraq had actually taken such a step"

Dr Imad Khadduri, former Iraqi senior nuclear scientist

"The US administration was keen to promote Khidhr Hamza's allegations, nicknamed as the father of Saddam's bomb by Western media... the truth is he was fired from the nuclear programme in 1987, just months after he was assigned to head an Iraqi team devoted to planning a nuclear bomb.

"Hamza retired from the Iraqi Atomic Commission in 1989 and left Iraq for Libya in 1994. He simply knows nothing."

Khadduri said he tried to get his voice heard before the war, to correct many misleading claims alleged by the US administration and its Iraqi backers.

"I worked in the Iraqi nuclear programme for 30 years until I left Iraq in 1998, and there are many honest Iraqi scientists who lived outside Iraq years before the war. They were not approached; no one listened to them," he said.

"It was a deliberate marginalising of reliable sources, of the people involved directly in Iraq's WMD programme."

He said Iraqi ex-opposition figures have been silent about information they provided before the war.

"Where are those Iraqis who bragged of delivering valuable information about Iraq's WMD? Why don't they just lead the US army in Iraq to the place where the alleged WMD are hidden?"

Source:
Aljazeera
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