Thursday, November 03, 2005

Time Mag 1997: "A DISASTER IS JUST WAITING TO HAPPEN IF IRAQ UNLEASHES ITS POISONS AND GERMS"

Worldwide Standard links a Nov 1997 Time story on Iraq and Chemical weapons. It was stories like this that convinced me NOT to vote for Bush in 2000. I feared a guy who made jokes about his intelligence and past drinking habits with folks like Saddam out there. I feared how that foolishness would translate into Arabic for him.
Nov. 24, 1997. Saddam Hussein's unwatched arsenal of poisons and germs can redouble the threat to America, and the terrorists are already among us. That message fairly screamed at Americans last week. In the shadow of the World Trade Center, the target of a bombing in 1993, New York City began the week with a drill involving 600 police, fire fighters and FBI agents responding to a mock attack by terrorists supposedly using deadly VX nerve gas, which Iraq has produced in vast quantities.
[***]
officials in Washington are deeply worried about what some of them call "strategic crime." By that they mean the merging of the output from a government’s arsenals, like Saddam’s biological weapons, with a group of semi-independent terrorists, like radical Islamist groups, who might slip such bioweapons into the U.S. and use them.
WeeklyStandard asks,
Who were these officials?
Intelligence community officials?
Clinton White House officials?
What intelligence did these officials base their "deep worry" on?


You have to wonder if one of the Intelligence community officials was Valerie Plame.

I hope the Senators ask these questions because the stuff is still out there. I think its just part of Syria's stockpile now.
The one common characteristic Syria shares with Iraq in regard to its chemical weapons program is the help it received from the West in establishing it. Former CIA director William Webster told a Congressional panel in 1989 that the CIA had determined foreign assistance was of "critical importance in allowing Syria to develop its chemical warfare capability. West European firms were instrumental in supplying the required precursor chemicals and equipment. Without the provision of these key elements, Damascus would not have been able to produce chemical weapons."

Syria's principle suppliers of chemical and biological weapons production technology were large chemical brokerage houses in Holland, Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany, including many of the same companies that were supplying Iraq.

At least one German company, Schott Glasswerke, has been subjected to an official inquiry for its delivery of glass-lined reactor vessels, sarin precursors and production equipment to a suspected Syrian poison gas plant.
Sen Reid ought to invite the folks from Schott Glasswerke to the Senate's next closed session too.

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