[FoRK] All The Rope II: Noose of Words
Gregory Alan Bolcer
gbolcer at endeavors.com
Thu Mar 18 07:03:59 PST 2004
I think we've browbeat this subject to death on FoRK, so
here goes. Both the existence of exact satellite data
combined with the interpretation and Clinton's decision to
unilaterally go to war in Iraq (before exacting last minute
concessions out of Saddam in 1998) are both a matter of public
record in the congressional archives and in the news archives
on the Web. Clinton didn't just call for regime change, his administration
was ramping up for a war far larger than the orginal gulf war.
What I've always argued is that Powell's speech to the
UN was the best cumulation of intelligence at the time and the
strongest case for war in Iraq. You either believed it or you
didn't. I think I've been very clear on my stance on this
issue. I feel like I can't get anyone to debate the specifics
that are inconvenient to the "he lied" theory which seems to
me has shifted focus over time.
In Powell's speech he gave an exact map
and satellite photo on several slides in the UN security council briefing
with explanations why they made the degree of interpretation they
did about WMDs versus just a regular military installation. The
intel was made by the IAEA and UNSCOM which is not
the office of special projects (whose charter was to sell
the war to the military and not interpret intelligence and
who had a successful 5% influence on the total policy). I'm
making the argument that the photographic evidence as
stated is pretty clear. Even further, this is the site that when
cornered, the Iraqi military gave up 4 chemical weapons
shells as recently as 2002. I'm guessing that this site was
their strongest of the 65 suspected sites.
Taken in conjunction with the suspect intelligence,
its a fairly certain story. Taji is exactly around the area of
Tikrit and Baghdad.
Look at it this way, Clinton didn't get all the concessions he
wanted after 1998. From that point on, intelligence that was
on the fence or suspect was taken as likely or worst case. That
went on for 2-3 years until 9-11 when it was soley taken as worst
case. That's the intelligence failure and that's why we are
where we are.
I don't feel blinded so much as a desire to avoid all the
personality and political debate and find out really why
the intelligence was so off. Blaming it on some neo-Bourbon
is a cop out. 
Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis takes experts with years and years of experience, poring for hours and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate, to our imagery specialists.
slide 12 aerial photo of chemical munitions storage sites at Taji <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/events/secretary/2003/17287.htm>
Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji. This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the additional four chemical weapons shells.
Here you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines. The four that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions bunkers.
slide 13 aerial photos of decontamination vehicle at chemical munitions bunker, sanitized bunkers and UN vehicles <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/events/secretary/2003/17289.htm>
How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a closer look. Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close-up of one of the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions. The arrow at the top that says "security" points to a facility that is a signature item for this kind of bunker. Inside that facility are special guards and special equipment to monitor any leakage that might come out of the bunker. The truck you also see is a signature item. It's a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong. This is characteristic of those four bunkers. The special security facility and the decontamination vehicle will be in the area, if not at any one of them or one of the other, it is moving around those four and it moves as needed to move as people are working in the different bunkers.
Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at two of those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone, the tents are gone. It's been cleaned up. And it was done on the 22nd of December as the UN inspection team is arriving, and you can see the inspection vehicles arriving in the lower portion of the picture on the right.
The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there. They found nothing.
This sequence of events raises the worrisome suspicion that Iraq had been tipped off to the forthcoming inspections at Taji. As it did throughout the 1990s, we know that Iraq today is actively using its considerable intelligence capabilities to hide its illicit activities. From our sources, we know that inspectors are under constant surveillance by an army of Iraqi intelligence operatives. Iraq is relentlessly attempting to tap all of their communications, both voice and electronics. I would call my colleagues' attention to the fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed yesterday which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.
slide 14 aerial photo of pre-inspection al fatah missile removal at al-musayyib rocket test facility <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/events/secretary/2003/17294.htm>
In this next example, you will see the type of concealment activity Iraq has undertaken in response to the resumption of inspections. Indeed, in November of 2002, just when the inspections were about to resume, this type of activity spiked. Here are three examples.
slide 15 aerial photo of pre-inspection material removal, amiriyah serum and vaccine institute <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/events/secretary/2003/17295.htm>
At this ballistic missile site on November 10th, we saw a cargo truck preparing to move ballistic missile components.
At this biological weapons-related facility on November 25th, just two days before inspections resumed, this truck caravan appeared -- something we almost never see at this facility and we monitor it carefully and regularly.
slide 16 aerial photo of pre-inspection materiel removal, ibn al haytham <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/events/secretary/2003/17296.htm>
At this ballistic missile facility, again, two days before inspections began, five large cargo trucks appeared, along with a truck-mounted crane, to move missiles.
We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites. Days after this activity, the vehicles and the equipment that I've just highlighted disappear and the site returns to patterns of normalcy. We don't know precisely what Iraq was moving, but the inspectors already knew about these sites so Iraq knew that they would be coming.
We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?
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