Skip to comments.Iraq has poison bombs
Posted on 02/22/2003 4:37:44 PM PST by MadIvan
Saddam Hussein's air force has developed a more sophisticated delivery and detonation system for chemical weapons than previously known to United Nations inspectors, a former senior air force officer has told The Telegraph.
In an interview at a house in Amman in Jordan, where he has been hiding since he fled Baghdad last year, the former officer said that Baghdad was still pursuing the chemical armaments programme when he left Iraq - despite its insistence that it had abandoned its weapons of mass destruction project after the Gulf war.
"Ali" - The Telegraph knows his real name and former rank but promised not to disclose it in case his relatives still in Iraq are identified and punished - said that he was trained to handle binary-system bombs which mix lethal chemicals moments before detonation for maximum effect.
"Saddam will never surrender these weapons," said Ali. "They are as much a part of his life as eating and drinking."
His alarming claims, which indicate a clear breach of UN resolutions, will fuel fears that Saddam may use chemical weapons against American and British forces in the event of war.
United Nations weapons inspectors based in New York said yesterday that they would like to debrief the former officer urgently. "We would be interested in talking to this man," said a spokesman for Unmovic, the weapons inspection agency.
Ali described in detail how the chemical bombs and sprays were fitted and operated, backing up his testimony with drawings and graphics, during clandestine meetings lasting several hours in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
"What he describes is a logical development of the techniques we know the Iraqis were working on," said one former senior weapons inspector contacted by The Telegraph.
Another said: "If what he says can be confirmed then this is a very big discovery. It would be proof that Iraq has continued with the development of a new type of weapon."
The chemical weapons previously known to inspectors were less advanced; their lethal contents mixed on the ground before the bombs were loaded on to planes.
At the time that Ali was trained, he was working at military bases at Habbaniya 50 miles west of Baghdad, and al-Qa'qa, 20 miles south of the capital.
He last witnessed the new bomb mechanism being tested - with water and oil rather than chemicals - at Habbaniya in 2000, after which the tests were switched to a different location. However, he said former colleagues with whom he remains in contact confirm that the programme is still running.
He said that the bombs were divided in two by an internal partition. When loaded with chemicals, there was a black liquid in one compartment and a yellowish one in the other.
The pilots were trained to hit a switch to open the partition when they approached their targets, allowing the two substances to combine and reach their greatest potency. A few seconds later, outer doors on the bottom of the weapon would open automatically, releasing the mixture.
Ali then drew a detailed diagram of another binary-system bomb, also divided by a partition that was designed to explode after its release in mid-air, again allowing the two substances to mix at the last moment. These weapons were intended for the Iraqi air force's more modern jets, but an alternative delivery method was developed for slower planes such as Sukhoi-25s and for helicopters, he explained.
Note to Saddam: you drop one of these bombs on our troops, and it will be the last thing you ever do.
Yah, well, I guess that's why we're invading Iraq, is it not?
Be Seeing You,
It will never fly.
I hope this man and those in charge of protecting him are smart enough to never let this happen. I don't trust the UN Gang to protect his and his family's identity for one moment. Plus, it's not like they would do anything useful with the information if they had it. Have meetings. Form a few committees. Talk it out some more. Pass a few resolutions. Why would they need the info? Good grief, these people are something.
I couldn't agree with you more,upchuck!
Yes indeed! And we should start by dropping Martin Sheen over Baghdad. Surely the gas would be enough to wipe out an entire regiment.
Novichok, which is Russian for newcomer, is considered one of the more lethal and hard-to-monitor agents, according to experts.
This deadly agent is at least as toxic as VX nerve gas. Novichok is comprised of two benign chemicals that become lethal only when mixed together. This type of chemical is called a binary substance. It is said to be relatively easy to manufacture and can be readily made from standard ingredients found in most pesticide factories. Since Novichok can be produced from standard industrial and agricultural chemicals, the need for producing and stockpiling a large amount of hazardous substances is avoided.
The Russian military, sources said, developed Novichok in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a way to circumvent the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) because the substance is made from chemicals that are not covered by CWC restrictions.
This gas is five times as deadly as conventional nerve gases. It is purported that 40,000 tons of Novichok is enough to kill all human life on earth.
It's my underdtanding, but I may be wrong, that current military NBC maks & gear are ineffective against Novachok but I haven't been able to confirm that for certain. Are you afraid yet??????
Go ahead, Saddam, make our day:
By Nicholas Kralev
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A classified document signed by President Bush specifically allows for the use of nuclear weapons in response to biological or chemical attacks, apparently changing a decades-old U.S. policy of deliberate ambiguity, it was learned by The Washington Times.
"The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force including potentially nuclear weapons to the use of [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies," the document, National Security Presidential Directive 17, set out on Sept. 14 last year.
A similar statement is included in the public version of the directive, which was released Dec. 11 as the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction and closely parallels the classified document. However, instead of the phrase "including potentially nuclear weapons," the public text says, "including through resort to all of our options."
A White House spokesman declined to comment when asked about the document last night and neither confirmed nor denied its existence.
A senior administration official said, however, that using the words "nuclear weapons" in the classified text gives the military and other officials, who are the document's intended audience, "a little more of an instruction to prepare all sorts of options for the president," if need be.
The official, nonetheless, insisted that ambiguity remains "the heart and soul of our nuclear policy."
In the classified version, nuclear forces are designated as the main part of any U.S. deterrent, and conventional capabilities "complement" the nuclear weapons.
"Nuclear forces alone ... cannot ensure deterrence against [weapons of mass destruction] and missiles," the original paragraph says. "Complementing nuclear force with an appropriate mix of conventional response and defense capabilities, coupled with effective intelligence, surveillance, interdiction and domestic law-enforcement capabilities, reinforces our overall deterrent posture against [weapons of mass destruction] threats."
Before it released the text publicly, the White House changed that same paragraph to: "In addition to our conventional and nuclear response and defense capabilities, our overall deterrent posture against [weapons of mass destruction] threats is reinforced by effective intelligence, surveillance, interdiction and domestic law-enforcement capabilities."
The classified document, a copy of which was shown to The Washington Times, is known better by its abbreviation NSPD 17, as well as Homeland Security Presidential Directive 4.
The disclosure of the classified text follows newspaper reports that the planning for a war with Iraq focuses on using nuclear arms not only to defend U.S. forces but also to "pre-empt" deeply buried Iraqi facilities that could withstand conventional explosives.
For decades, the U.S. government has maintained a deliberately vague nuclear policy, expressed in such language as "all options open" and "not ruling anything in or out." As recently as last weekend, Bush administration officials used similar statements in public, consciously avoiding the word "nuclear."
"I'm not going to put anything on the table or off the table," White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. said on NBC's "Meet the Press," adding that the United States will use "whatever means necessary" to protect its citizens and the world from a "holocaust."
But in the paragraphs marked "S" for "secret," the Sept. 14 directive clearly states that nuclear weapons are part of the "overwhelming force" that Washington might use in response to a chemical or biological attack.
Former U.S. officials and arms control experts with knowledge of policies of the previous administrations declined to say whether such specific language had been used before, for fear of divulging classified information. But they conceded that differences exist.
"This shows that there is a somewhat greater willingness in this administration to use a nuclear response to other [non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction] attacks, although that's not a wholesale departure from previous administrations," one former senior official said.
Even a slight change can make a big difference. Because it is now "official policy, it means that the United States will actively consider the nuclear option" in a military conflict, said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
"This document is far more explicit about the use of nuclear weapons to deter and possibly defeat biological and chemical attacks," he said. "If someone dismisses it, that would question the entire logic of the administration's national security strategy against [weapons of mass destruction]."
Mr. Kimball said U.S. nuclear weapons "should only be used to deter nuclear attacks by others."
A senior official who served in the Clinton administration said there would still have to be a new evaluation before any decision was made on the use of nuclear weapons.
"What this document means is that they have thought through the consequences, including in the abstract, but it doesn't necessarily prejudge any specific case."
Baker Spring, a national security fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said the classified language "does not undermine the basic posture of the deterrent and does not commit the United States to a nuclear response in hypothetical circumstances. In a classified document, you are willing to be more specific what the policy is, because people in the administration have to understand it for planning purposes."
Both former officials and arms control analysts say that making the classified text public might raise concerns among Washington's allies but has little military significance. On the other hand, they note, the nuclear deterrent has little value if a potential adversary does not know what it can expect.
They agree that there must have been "good reasons" for the White House to have "cleaned up" the document before releasing it. They speculated on at least three:
Although responding to a non-nuclear attack by nuclear weapons is not banned by international law, existing arms-control treaties call for a "proportionate response" to biological and chemical attacks. The question is, one former official said, whether any nuclear response is proportionate to any non-nuclear attack.
Second, naming nuclear weapons specifically flies in the face of the "negative security assurances" that U.S. administrations have given for 25 years. Those statements, while somewhat modified under different presidents, essentially have said the United States will not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state unless that state attacks it together with a nuclear ally.
Finally, publicly and explicitly articulating a policy of nuclear response can hurt the international nonproliferation regime, which the United States firmly supports. That sets a bad example for countries such as India and Pakistan and gives rogue states an incentive to develop their own nuclear capabilities.
William M. Arkin, a military analyst, wrote in the Los Angeles Times earlier this week that the Bush administration's war planning "moves nuclear weapons out of their long-established special category and lumps them in with all the other military options."
Mr. Arkin quoted "multiple sources" close to the preparations for a war in Iraq as saying that the focus is on "two possible roles for nuclear weapons: attacking Iraqi facilities located so deep underground that they might be impervious to conventional explosives; and thwarting Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction."
He cited a Dec. 11 memorandum from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to Mr. Bush, asking for authority to place Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, in charge of the full range of "strategic" warfare options.
NSPD 17 appears to have upgraded nuclear weapons beyond the traditional function as a nuclear deterrent.
"This is an interesting distinction," Mr. Spring said. "There is an acknowledgment up front that under the post-Cold War circumstances, deterrence in the sense we applied it during the Cold War is not as reliable. I think it's accurate."
Go hide with Qadafy, Saddam--then we can get more bums for the buck.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.