Former UN Inspector: Don't Blame Iraq for Anthrax
Pinning the blame on Iraq for the anthrax attacks in the United States is irresponsible and flying in the face of the facts, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter said in an article in the London-based Guardian on Friday.
Cited by AFP, he said the accusations "merely fan the flames of fear and panic" but had no supporting evidence whatsoever.
Ritter, a UN inspector in Iraq from 1991-98, singled out Richard Butler, a former chairman of the UN inspection effort, as one of the scare-mongerers.
He said that, although Iraq had not fully complied with its UN obligations on disarmament, that did not mean it had a biological weapons capability.
"Far from it," he wrote.
"Under the most stringent on-site inspection regime in the history of arms control, Iraq's biological weapons programs were dismantled, destroyed or rendered harmless."
The major bio-weapons production facility at Hakum, responsible for producing anthrax, was blown up and its equipment destroyed.
"Other biological facilities met the same fate if it was found that they had, at any time, been used for research and development of biological weapons."
Moreover, Ritter went on, the wider UN inspections of any site capable of being used for bio-weapons research and production, such as breweries or drug manufacturing plants, were rigorously tested.
"No evidence of anthrax or any other biological agent was discovered.
"While it was impossible to verify that all of Iraq's biological capability had been destroyed, the UN never once found evidence that Iraq had either retained biological weapons or associated production equipment, or was continuing work in the field."
On the political front, Ritter said that it made absolutely no sense for Iraq to be involved in a bio-weapons attack when its campaign to get economic sanctions lifted was finally beginning to bear fruit.
Despite what the expert has said, the Western media is still suspicious of Iraq.
According to ABCNEWS.com in January, “[Bioweapons] are cheap, easy to make, and simple to conceal under farming or medical research and development programs.”
“The United Nations says Iraq isn't making material for biological weapons any more, but their very nature makes that a hard assertion to back up.
“Research and development of biological weapons can be carried out virtually anywhere-in hospitals, farms, even in the home. UN data indicates the types of biological "warheads" Iraq was developing for weapons are easily obtained from grain production or cultivated from livestock,” added the report.
Washington, Ritter charged, "finds itself groping for something upon which to hand its anti-Saddam policies, and the current anthrax scare has provided a convenient cause." – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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