The Bizarre History of WMDs: Part 3

June 10th, 2006 - by admin

Harper’s Magazine – 2006-06-10 00:01:43

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Instances of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Part 3

Events Related To Weapons of Mass Destruction 2000

Jan 8 — The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace issued a report concluding that Iraq did not in fact possess any weapons of mass destruction. The report, which drew on intelligence material and documents discovered by weapons inspectors after the war, criticized the United States government for its deliberate exaggerations of Iraq’s military capabilities. [New Scientist]

The Bush Administration withdrew a 400-member weapons-inspection team from Iraq because they are no longer needed. [New York Times]

Jan 24 — David Kay, the outgoing head of the Iraq Survey Group, said that Iraq got rid of its illegal weapons programs years before the United States invaded. [New York Times]

Jan 26 — President Pervez Musharraf admitted that some of Pakistan’s top nuclear scientists had sold nuclear technology to other countries but denied that the government was involved; Musharraf was accused of scapegoating the scientists to appease the United States. [Christian Science Monitor]

Feb 2 — It was reported that David Kay, the former American arms inspector, was shocked at the huge controversy created when he simply spoke the truth about the nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. [New York Times]

Feb 6 — The Bush Administration praised Pakistan after General Pervez Musharraf pardoned Abdul Qadeer Khan, the nuclear scientist who took the blame for selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea; Khan claimed that no one in the government or in the military was aware of his activities. [MSNBC]

Feb 8 — President George W. Bush, apparently worried that John Kerry was beating him in recent opinion polls, appeared on a Sunday morning talk show. Bush defended his decision to conquer Iraq, and although he admitted that his stated reason for invading was false, he also suggested that weapons of mass destruction might still be found.

The president said that he had total confidence in the CIA but suggested that he had been misled by incorrect intelligence. “Saddam Hussein was dangerous with weapons. Saddam Hussein was dangerous with the ability to make weapons,” Bush said. “I believe it is essential that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It’s too late if they become imminent.” [Reuters]

Feb 10 — Bill O’Reilly of Fox News apologized on national television for his uncritical support of the Bush Administration’s claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “I was wrong,” he said. “I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this.” [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Feb 11 — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that he did not recall British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s prewar claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. “I don’t remember the statement being made, to be perfectly honest.” The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, didn’t remember it either. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Feb 13 — A new poll found that most Americans believe that President Bush lied or knowingly exaggerated evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The poll also showed Senator John Kerry beating the president by nine percentage points. [Washington Post]

Feb 21 — Colin Powell said that the conquest of Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein would have used weapons of mass destruction if only he had had some. [Associated Press]

Feb 27 — Richard Butler said that when he was chief U.N. weapons inspector he had to meet contacts in Central Park because he knew that his telephone conversations were routinely intercepted. [CNN]

The United States government was working to build safer land mines. [New York Times]

Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which released sarin gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995, was sentenced to death, eight years after his trial began. [BBC]

Feb 28 — Powerful Republicans were said to be urging President Bush to get rid of Dick Cheney, who continued to insist, contrary to all evidence, that stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq, and that Saddam Hussein was allied with Al Qaeda. “Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?” Cheney asked an interviewer. “It’s a nice way to operate, actually.” [Asia Times]

Mar 4 — The inspector general of the USDA opened a criminal investigation into whether the Washington State mad cow was falsely listed as a downer; the man who killed the cow, the man who took the cow to slaughter, and the owner of the slaughterhouse have all said that the cow was able to walk.

A spokeswoman for the agency said that she could not “fathom” the notion that a high-ranking USDA official could have ordered the falsification, though she did not deny the charge but simply repeated that she could not “fathom” it. [New York Times]

Mar 10 — Pakistan tested a new long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. [New York Times]

Mar 11 — The House of Representatives passed the so-called cheeseburger bill, which if made law would grant immunity from lawsuits to restaurants, especially fast-food chains, that serve unhealthy food. [New York Times]

Mar 18 — The US Army and DuPont were hoping to dispose of 1,200 tons of VX nerve gas by mixing it with sodium hydroxide and hot water and then dumping it into the Delaware River. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Mar 19 — The president of Poland acknowledged publicly that the United States “deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. “We were taken for a ride,” he said. [Agence France-Presse]

It was revealed that the United States has resumed a program designed to predict the effects of nuclear fallout. [New York Times]

Mar 28 — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, speaking of Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons trafficking, said, “I do not believe that there’s any evidence or any suggestion that President Musharraf was involved.”

Musharraf, for his part, denied that he had made a deal with the Americans to crack down on Al Qaeda in return for lenient treatment for selling nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya, Iran, and others; he also denied that his country’s proliferation had done much harm. “If I hand over a missile or a bomb to any extremist, believe me, he can do nothing about it,” Musharraf said. “He cannot explode it.” [Reuters]

People all over the world were astonished when President Bush, during a speech, showed a slide of himself looking under his desk and then joked: “Those weapons of mass destruction got to be here somewhere.” [Herald Sun]

Apr 4 — Colin Powell admitted that the Iraqi National Congress, the U.S.-funded Iraqi exile group, was the source of “the most dramatic” bits in his notorious United Nations presentation on Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction. [Miami Herald]

Apr 22 — Mordecai Vanunu, the scientist who exposed Israel’s nuclear-weapons program, was released from prison after 18 years, 11 of which were in solitary confinement. Israel has maintained an official policy of “nuclear ambiguity” even though Vanunu confirmed that the country possesses weapons of mass destruction. [New York Times]

Apr 28 — “Brother Guide” Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya arrived in Brussels, along with his white stretch Mercedes limo and four female bodyguards wearing tight uniforms, to meet with European officials. He called on the United States and China to rid themselves of nuclear and chemical weapons. “Hopefully,” he said, “nothing will force us to go back to the days when we used our cars and explosive belts.” [New York Times]

Apr 29 — The United Nations Security Council voted to ban “non-state actors” from possessing nuclear weapons. [New York Times]

May 21 — British intelligence agents in World War II at one point planned to train pigeons to carry bombs or biological weapons. “Pigeon research,” said one memo, “will not stand still; if we do not experiment, other powers will.” [BBC]

May 26 — The New York Times published an extraordinary editors’ note admitting that the newspaper had been manipulated by members of the Bush Administration and by Iraqi exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi into running false stories (especially on the subject of Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction) that advanced the administration’s war agenda and had failed to follow up aggressively on many of those stories, and had failed, in those instances when it did follow up, to make prominent note of the fact that the stories were false. The retraction was published on page A10, where many readers would fail to notice it. [New York Times]

May 28 — A British journalist who was arrested in Israel for talking to Mordechai Vanunu, the scientist who exposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program, was released from custody and complained that he had been stuck in a dungeon with excrement-covered walls; Vanunu was released last month after 18 years in prison and has been ordered not to talk with foreigners. [Guardian]

Jun 4 — The Department of Energy announced that it will cut the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons “almost in half.” [New York Times]

Jun 16 — The Senate agreed to expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include those committed because of “sexual orientation, gender or disability” but defeated a measure that would have eliminated funding for research into “bunker busting” mini-nukes. [New York Times]

Jul 7 — Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain admitted that weapons of mass destruction might never be found in Iraq but continued to maintain that “we know” Saddam had such weapons: “I do not believe there was not a threat in relation to weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times]

Aug 6 — The United States announced that it will insist that the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would ban countries from making enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear bombs, be stripped of any mechanism for enforcement, such as inspections. This position, which would render the treaty useless, apparently was reached because the Bush Administration does not wish to submit to inspections. [New York Times]

Aug 11 — Iran tested a new long-range ballistic missile. [Associated Press]

Sep 3 — The United States was planning to develop portable nuclear power plants, and a [New Scientist]

Sep 17 — American weapons inspectors in Iraq once again concluded that Saddam Hussein would have liked to have developed unconventional weapons but did not in fact have such programs. [New York Times]

Oct 2 — The Pope beatified Karl I, the last emperor of Austria, an alcoholic adulterer who performed a miracle and used poison gas during World War I; the miracle allegedly occured in 1960, when a Polish nun prayed to Karl and was cured of sores and varicose veins. [Telegraph]

Oct 7 — The Iraq Survey Group issued its final report and concluded that Saddam Hussein dismantled his nuclear weapons program in 1991 and did not attempt to revive it. The inspectors said that there was no evidence that Iraq continued to possess chemical or biological weapons, and they concluded that Hussein refused to admit he had disarmed because he wanted to maintain a deterrent against Iran. [New York Times]

Three hundred pounds of weapons-grade plutonium from the United States arrived in France. [New York Times]

Oct 11 — Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was concerned that entire buildings from Iraq’s former nuclear facilities have been dismantled and removed and no one knows where they were taken. [BBC]

Oct 24 — The interim Iraqi government officially notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that 380 tons of extremely powerful HMX and RDX explosives that American forces simply failed to secure have disappeared from a former military facility called Al Qaqaa. The explosives can be used to destroy buildings, arm missile warheads, and detonate nuclear devices, and it was generally conceded that the Al Qaqaa cache, which was under seal by the IAEA prior to the US invasion, is the most likely source of the explosives used in the extremely effective roadside and suicide bombs that have been the primary weapon of the Iraqi insurgency. The Department of Defense has known about the loss of the explosives for more than a year. [The Nelson Report]

Nov 30 — The International Atomic Energy Agency voted to accept Iran’s promises that it was halting its nuclear weapons program. [New York Times]

Dec 6 — ElBaradei said he believed that North Korea has converted thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods into enough weapons-grade plutonium for four to six bombs. [New York Times]

Jan 13 — The Bush administration announced that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction had been a total failure. [AP]

Jan 21 — George W. Bush was sworn in again as president, and threatened to bring “the untamed fire of freedom” to the world. In his 20-minute speech the president used the words “free,” “freedom,” and “liberty” 49 times, but never said “war” or “Iraq.” [Washington Post]

Feb 15 — Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that U.S. policies on Iran and North Korea are inconsistent, and that no evidence exists to implicate Iran in the development of nuclear weapons. [Washington Post]

Feb 17 — In England, a nuclear power plant was unable to account for nearly thirty kilograms of plutonium, enough to make seven nuclear bombs; the discrepancy was said to exist only on paper.[BBC News]

Feb 25 — Canada declared that the U.S. must get permission before launching missiles over Canadian airspace.[Canada. com]

Mar 16 — The Department of Homeland Security was preparing for: the detonation of a ten-kiloton nuclear device; a biological attack with aerosolized anthrax; an outbreak of pneumonic plague; a flu pandemic starting in south China; the spraying of a chemical blister agent over a football stadium; an attack on an oil refinery; the explosion of a tank of chlorine; a 7.2-magnitude earthquake; a major hurricane in a metropolitan area; three Cesium-137 dirty bombs going off in three different cities, each contaminating thirty-six city blocks; the detonation of improvised bombs in sports stadiums and emergency rooms; liquid anthrax in ground beef; a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak; and a cyber attack on the nation’s financial infrastructure.[The New York Times]

Mar 31 — Pakistan successfully test-fired the Hatf II, a short-range nuclear-capable missile.[]

Apr 28 — George W. Bush gave his fourth prime-time news conference and took a firm stance against North Korea. “Perhaps Kim Jong Il has got the capacity to launch a weapon,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to shoot it down?” North Korea then fired a missile into the Sea of Japan.[New York Times]

Nov 9 — A former U.S. soldier named Jeff Englehart said that he witnessed “burned bodies, burned children, and burned women” after a white phosphorus attack on Fallujah in 2004. The U.S. Army denied that it had used white phosphorus in the attack.[The New Zealand Herald]

Nov 15 — Two Iraqi businessmen accused U.S. troops of caging them with lions in 2003. The men were also severely beaten after they were not able to tell Army interrogators where to find Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction. “I thought he was joking, so I laughed,” said one of the businessmen. “He just hit me.”[The Washington Post]

Nov 16 — After repeated denials, the Pentagon finally admitted to using white phosphorus during the 2004 attack on Fallujah. “It is an incendiary weapon,” explained a spokesman.[Common Dreams]

Nov 23 — After three years in prison, U.S. citizen Jose Padilla was indicted on charges that he conspired to murder individuals overseas and provide support for terrorists; no mention was made of prior accusations that Padilla intended to use a “dirty bomb” or claims that he conspired with Al Qaeda to blow up US apartment buildings.

“The indictment,” explained a former Justice Department official, “is doubtless a strategy by the Bush Administration to avoid a Supreme Court ruling that would likely hold that US citizens cannot be detained incommunicado as enemy combatants if they are detained on US soil.” [The Washington Post]

Jan 31 — Former Marine Platoon Sergeant Jim Massey said that the United States was funneling depleted uranium to Iraq through Ireland. [UTV]

Feb 3 — Professor Philippe Sands of University College, London, said he had seen a secret memo that details a January 2003 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush. According to Sands’ account of the memo, Blair offered Bush full British support for an invasion of Iraq regardless of whether UN inspectors found evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Bush also told Blair that he was thinking of having U-2 reconnaissance planes painted with UN colors and then flown over Iraq in order to provoke Saddam Hussein into firing upon the planes.[The Guardian]

Feb 12 — Iran, said security analysts, will be ready to retaliate with commando squads, global terrorist attacks, and long-range Shahab 3 missiles if its nuclear facilities are attacked.[The Boston Globe]

Mar 21 — It was revealed that prior to the US invasion, Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri had, for a fee, provided the United States with detailed assessments of Iraq’s military capabilities. Sabri’s assessments of Iraq’s nuclear and biological weapons capabilities proved, in hindsight, to be far more reliable than the CIA estimates used to justify the invasion; the CIA had no comment on why the data was ignored.[MSNBC via Commondreams]

Facts Related To Weapons of Mass Destruction

Aug — Amount British N/uclear Fuels paid the British Scouts last year to add its logo to their scientist badge:
[British Nuclear Fuels (Warrington, U.K.)]

Jul — Number of NATO bombs that have fallen on Bulgaria since the war in Kosovo began:
[NATO (Brussels)]

Aug — Tons of uranium from Russia’s nuclear arsenal that the country will sell to a U.S. company over the next twenty years:
500 [US Department of Energy]

Days after President Roosevelt’s death in April 1945 that Vice President Truman was told the atomic bomb existed:
[“Truman,” The American Experience, WGBH (Boston)]

Dec — Pounds of ordnance that can be delivered by Boeing’s new X-45A, the world’s first unmanned fighter jet:
[The Boeing Company (Seattle)]

Jan — Number of land mines per square mile left behind in southern Lebanon by Israeli forces when they withdrew last May:
[International Campaign to Ban Landmines (Washington)]

Oct — Number of “weapons of mass destruction” allowed in space, according to a 1967 treaty ratified by the United States:
[UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Vienna)]

Jan — Ratio of kilotonnage of US bombs dropped during the Gulf War to that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima:
[US Department of Defense]

Mar — Estimated number of applications that the U.N. received last year for its 302 weapons-inspector positions:

Jul — Year in which Washington, DC, neighbors of a WWI-era chemical-weapons test site were told it was cleaned up:
[US Army Corps of Engineers (Baltimore)]

Mar — Minimum number of nuclear weapons in the oceans as a result of U.S. and Soviet accidents :
[Nuclear Policy Research Institute (Washington)]

Estimated cost to replace Lawrence Livermore weapons laboratory’s locks after master keys were lost last year:
[US Department of Energy]

Jun — Amount that next year’s Defense Department budget proposal requests for researching low-yield nuclear weapons:
[Arms Control Association (Washington)]

Number of years that such research was illegal before Congress repealed the ban last November :
10 [Arms Control Association (Washington)]

Minimum amount, per kilogram, that the US charges “high income” countries to return spent nuclear fuel :
$3,500 [US Department of Energy]

Sep — Secret access code to the computer controls of the US nuclear-tipped missile arsenal between 1968 and 1976 :
00000000 [Center for Defense Information (Washington)]

Oct — Chance that a new light vehicle bought in the United States last year was a truck or SUV :
1 in 2
[Environmental Protection Agency (Washington)]

Dec — Ratio of US arms dealers’ campaign contributions made since January 2001 to Democrats to those made to Republicans :
[PoliticalMoneyLine (Washington)]

Minimum number of countries with a greater capacity to produce nuclear weapons than Iraq at the time of the US invasion :
35 [International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna)]

Jul — Price, from a Florida company, for an RV that protects riders from biological and chemical attack:
[Parliament Coach Corp. (Clearwater, Fla.)]

Oct — Number of sites in Iraq from which materials usable to make biological or chemical weapons are now “missing”:
[UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (NYC)]

Portion of all US foreign aid that goes to helping the recipients buy US-produced weapons, equipment, or services:
[US Department of State]

Mar — Number of farm implements that a rocket launcher yields:
[APT Enterprise Development (Moreton-in-Marsh, England)]

This is Weapons of Mass Destruction, a kind of subject and a war tactic. It is part of War Tactics, which is part of War, which is part of Human Endeavor, which is part of Connections, which is part of

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