The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page

So far, we have reported on the recent find of a small number of empty

122-millimetre warheads for chemical weapons. Iraq declared that it appointed a commission of inquiry to look for more. Fine. Why not extend the search to other items' Declare what may be found and destroy it under our supervision. When we have urged our Iraqi counterparts to present more evidence, we have all too often met with the response that there are no more documents. All existing relevant documents have been presented, we are told. All documents relating to the biological weapons programme were destroyed together with the weapons.

However, Iraq has all the archives of the government and its various departments, institutions and mechanisms. It should have budgetary documents, requests for funds and reports and how they have been used. They should also have letters of credit and bills of lading, reports and production and losses of material. In response to a recent United Nations monitoring, inspection and verification commission request for a number of specific documents, the only new documents Iraq provided was a ledger of 1,093 pages which Iraq stated included all imports from 1983 to 1990 by the technical and scientific importation division, the importing authority for the biological weapons programmes.

Potentially, it might help to clear some open issues. The recent inspection find in the private home of a scientist of a box of some 3,000 pages of documents, much of it relating to the lacing enrichment of uranium, support a concern that has long existed that documents might be distributed to the homes of private individuals. This interpretation is refuted by the Iraqi side which claims that research staff sometimes may bring papers from their work places...We...think that ...such placements of documents is deliberate, to make discovery difficult and to seek to shield documents by placing them in private homes.

Any further sign of the concealment of documents will be serious. The Iraqi side committed itself at our recent talks, to encourage persons to accept access also to private sites...A denial of prompt access to any site will be very serious matter. When Iraq claims that tangible evidence in the form of documents is not available, it ought, at least, to find individuals, engineers, scientists and managers to testify about their experience.

Large weapons programmes are moved and managed by people. Interviews with individuals who may have worked in them in the past may fill blank spots in our knowledge and understanding. It could also be useful to learn that they are now employed in peaceful sectors. These are the reasons why UNMOVIC asks for a list of such persons in accordance with Resolution 1441. Some 400 names for all biological and chemical weapons programmes, as well as their missile programmes, were provided by the Iraqi side. This can be compared to over 3,500 names of people associated with those past weapons programmes that the UN special commission either interviewed in the Nineties or knew from documents and other sources.

At my recent meeting in Baghdad, the Iraqis have committed themselves to supplementing the list, and some 80 additional names have been provided. In the past, much valuable information came from interviews. There are also cases in which the interviewee was clearly intimidated by the presence of an interruption by Iraq officials.

Email This Page