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					Come clean on inspections, Tony
The British government, like the US, is lying about the "expulsion" of
weapons inspectors from Iraq in order to drum up public support for an
unjust war

Green Party media statement

11 November 2002

Spencer Fitz-Gibbon
External Communications Coordinator, Green Party Executive

Contact Green Party press office, 020 7561 0282, press@greenparty.org.uk


Tony Blair has said that Saddam Hussein "kicked out the UN weapons inspectors three years
ago" (Express, 6.3.2002). He reiterated this last week: "The absolutely critical issue for us is that
we get an inspection regime in there that doesn't have the problems the last one had."
(Independent, 5.11.02.)

The problems the last inspection regime had were as follows:

            a. That by the subsequent admission of the US authorities [1], the inspectors included CIA
spies.

            b. That the spies were sending targeting information preparatory to a USAF strike against
Iraq [2].

            c. That they were withdrawn because the USAF was about to resume bombing. [3]

Tony Blair should have the moral courage to acknowledge, once and for all, that the weapons
inspectors were not "expelled" as the current myth would have it, [4] but that their role was
compromised by the US government and their withdrawal brought about on the advice of their
own superiors for their own safety because Iraq was about to be bombed again, when the
inspectors had all but completed their mission. [5]

The Green Party urges the public to look through the dishonest propaganda and reject the
shameless attempt to woo support for an unjustifiable resumption of all-out war against Iraq.


Notes

1. "International disarray over Iraq deepened last night after United States officials acknowledged
that American spies participated in the work of United Nations weapons inspectors tracking down
Baghdad's weapons of mass
destruction... [T]he admission that US intelligence agencies provided information and technology
to the UN Special Commission, Unscom, confirmed long-standing suspicions in Baghdad and
appeared to knock another nail into Unscom's coffin." (Mark Tran and Ian Black, 'UN spies
scandal grows, American officials admit Iraqi data aided air strikes', The Guardian, January 8,
1999)
2. This has been common knowledge for years. The Guardian reported in 1999: "United Nations
arms inspectors in Iraq had secret intelligence-sharing deals not only with the United States but
with four other countries, a former inspector said yesterday. Britain is likely to have been one of
the four.

"Scott Ritter, a former American member of the Unscom weapons inspection team, said the UN
body agreed to provide the five countries with information it collected in return for intelligence from
their sources. His claims will
fuel the controversy surrounding Unscom's activities, with US officials admitting it was infiltrated
by American spies." (Richard Norton-Taylor, 'Arms inspectors "shared Iraq data with five states"',
The Guardian, January
8, 1999.)

And then again: "American espionage in Iraq, under cover of United Nations weapons inspections,
went far beyond the search for banned arms and was carried out without the knowledge of the UN
leadership, it was reported yesterday. An investigation by the Washington Post found that CIA
engineers working as UN technicians installed antennae in equipment belonging to the UN
Special Commission (Unscom) to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military." (Julian Borger, 'UN "kept in
dark" about US spying in Iraq', The Guardian, March 3,
1999.)


3. Former chief UN arms inspector Scott Ritter has said that Unscom arms inspectors were used
to deliberately provoke Iraq in order to facilitate an attack intended to divert US attention from
President Clinton's potential
impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair. Clinton launched a 4-day series of strikes,
Operation Desert Fox, the day before his impeachment referendum was scheduled, and called
them off two hours after the vote. Ritter notes that just prior to the strikes, "Inspectors were sent in
to carry out sensitive inspections that had nothing to do with disarmament but had everything to
do with provoking the Iraqis." (P.52 of his recent book, War On Iraq: Scott Ritter and William
Rivers Pitt, Profile Books, 2002.)

On the second day of that bombing, Ritter was quoted in the New York Post as saying: "What
[head of Unscom] Richard Butler did last week with the inspections was a set-up. This was
designed to generate a conflict that
would justify a bombing." Ritter said US government sources had told him three weeks earlier that
"the two considerations on the horizon were Ramadan and impeachment". Ritter continued: "If
you dig around, you'll find out why Richard Butler yesterday ran to the phone four times. He was
talking to his [US] National Security adviser. They were telling him to sharpen the language in his
report to justify the bombing." (New York Post, 17 December, 1998.)

4. Tony Blair said: "Before he [Saddam Hussein] kicked out the UN weapons inspectors three
years ago, they had discovered and destroyed thousands of chemical and biological weapons....
As they got closer, they were told to get out of Iraq." (Blair, leader, 'The West's Tough Strategy On
Iraq Is In Everyone's Interests,' The
Express, March 6, 2002.) He was following the line set by President Bush, who said: "This is a
regime that agreed to international inspections - then kicked out the inspectors." (George W.
Bush, State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002).

5. Former chief UN arms inspector Scott Ritter writes in his recent book: "When I left Iraq in
1998... the infrastructure and facilities had been 100% eliminated. There's no doubt about that. All
of their instruments and
facilities had been destroyed. The weapons design facility had been destroyed. The production
equipment had been hunted down and destroyed. And we had in place means to monitor - both
from vehicles and from the air - the gamma rays that accompany attempts to enrich uranium or
plutonium. We never found anything." (p.26)..... "We blanketed Iraq - every research and
development facility, every university, every school, every hospital, every beer factory..." (p.38).

On the reconstruction of Iraq's chemical weapons capability, Ritter says: "If no one were watching,
Iraq could do this. But just as with the nuclear weapons programme, they'd have to start from
scratch, having been deprived
of all equipment, facilities and research. They'd have to procure the complicated tools and
technology required through front companies. This would be detected. The manufacture of
chemical weapons emits vented gases
that would have been detected by now if they existed. We've been watching, via satellite and other
means, and have seen none of this. If Iraq was producing weapons today, we'd have definitive
proof, plain and simple."
(Ibid p.32-3.)

The Green Party acknowledges the valuable research carried out by MediaLens in
assisting public understanding of this issue.

ENDS

				
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