The Saddam Tapes
AP photo from the March 13, 1006 Washington Times
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
From the March 13, 2006 article, "Tapes reveal WMD plans by Saddam," which appeared in the Washington Times:
"Audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his aides underscore the Bush administration's argument that Baghdad was determined to rebuild its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction once the international community had tired of inspections and left the Iraqi dictator alone.Bill Tierney, who is fluent in Arabic, has so far has been working on the translation of twelve hours of audiotapes and contends that Saddam was determined to rebuild his weapons program:
"In addition to the captured tapes, U.S. officials are analyzing thousands of pages of newly translated Iraqi documents that tell of Saddam seeking uranium from Africa in the mid-1990s.
"The documents also speak of burying prohibited missiles, according to a government official familiar with the declassification process.
"But it is not clear whether Baghdad did what the documents indicate, said the U.S. official...
"'Terrorism is coming ... with the Americans,' Saddam said. 'With the Americans, two years ago, not a long while ago, with the English I believe, there was a campaign ... with one of them, that in the future there would be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction....'
"There also exists a quote from the dictator himself, who ordered the tapings to keep a record of his inner-sanctum discussions, that Mr. Tierney thinks shows Saddam planned to use a proxy to attack the United States...."
"'The tapes show that Saddam rebuilt his program and successfully prevented the U.N. from finding out about it,' he said.But a lot more material needs to be sorted through:
"House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, told The Washington Times that about 500 hours of additional Saddam tapings are still being translated and analyzed by the U.S. In addition, in Qatar, U.S. Central Command's forward headquarters in the Persian Gulf, sit 48,000 boxes of Iraqi documents, of which the military has delivered 68 pages to the committee...."Five hundred hours? Tens of thousands of boxes? Why do heads of state accumulate such vast amounts of incriminating material?
In the 2004 book The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind, Mahdi Obeidi, head of Saddam's nuclear-development program, tells the story of what he buried in his backyard, on Saddam's orders.
In March 2005, I attended one of Dr. Obeidi's presentations here in the D.C. area. When asked about how he managed to hide forbidden materials from U.N. inspectors, he emphasized how easy it was to fool the inspectors. In his lecture and the question-and-answer period which followed, he also made these unforgettable points:
(1) Dr. Obeidi had three choices as to what to do with the materials in his backyard—abandon the materials for someone to dig up, sell the materials to those in the market for them, or turn them over to the Coalition Forces. He did the last.
(2) Approximately 100 centrifuges and the brain trust of nuclear scientists are on the loose, likely having fled to Syria and Iran.
(3) At the snap of Saddam's fingers, Iraqi scientists would have recommenced the program of WMD's. The immorality of doing so would not have entered into the scientists' consideration because of Saddam's power and the economic realities of making a living.
(4) While developing nuclear weapons, Saddam's public statement was that such development was for peaceful purposes. Dr. Obeidi further cautioned that such a public statement is not to be trusted.
Does that last point sound familiar today as we read the news about Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities? Recently discovered preparations by Iran seem to belie peaceful pursuits.