INSIDE THE IRAQI NUCLEAR PROGRAM
A HIGH-RANKING NUCLEAR SCIENTIST TELLS ALL
By: Sherrie Gossett*
Part 1: Beginnings
Dr. Imad Khadduri was a top scientist involved in Iraq's
nuclear program from 1968 until the end of 1998, when he was able to escape. He
now serves as a network administrator in
was on a mild autumn evening in 1968 that Imad Khadduri first received the
invitation that would change his life. Sitting in an open-air café near the
Khadduri was intrigued: "I was not aware that the Russians had built a two Mega Watt research reactor at Tuwaitha, twenty kilometers east of
After taking a look at the research projects underway, Khadduri joined his former high school colleagues who were working with several International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sponsored scientists in the group.
Ghazi Darwish, a prominent chemist, directed the meetings of the Nuclear Research Center (NRC), whose membership numbered around 120.
Khadduri recalls the meetings, which included scientific lectures and managerial planning, as having an atmosphere "fragrant with enthusiasm, drive and high hopes."
Early in the summer of 1969, after spending several months doing research, Khadduri decided it was time to complete his PhD.
then planned to return to the
turn of events would mean that Khadduri would resume his studies in
Young scholar in Britain
Mikdashi had followed his PhD supervisor’s
transfer to the
don’t you stay here at the
next day, Khadduri met with Dr. T. Derek Beynon,
lecturer in the Reactor Physics Group in the (then) Department of Physics and
Astronomy at the
Dr. Beynon was particularly impressed with a letter of recommendation from Jafar Dhia Jafar that Khadduri was carrying in his coat pocket.
Beynon explained that Jafar had finished his PhD at the same Physics and Astronomy Department four years ago, and had made a lasting impression with his completion of a PhD thesis in minimum time. The subject? Strong nuclear interactions.
A year later, Jafar, who was at that time was the head of the Physics Department at the Nuclear Research Institute and a member of the top level Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, was offered a job at the Physics Department at the University of Birmingham, by Professor Burcham, the Head of the Physics and Astronomy Department.
instead returned to
was quickly accepted into the
Four Iraqi students were enrolled for the Reactor Technology Masters course in 1969: Tariq al-Hamami, Abdallah Kendoush, Riyadh Yahya Zaki and Khadduri, all on Iraqi government scholarships.
Khadduri wound up the sole choice of the university to continue on to a PhD, which he earned in December 1973.
Peaceful nuclear research
then rejoined the
On the same day, Khalid Said, a PhD physicist who had studied in the England, had also started his work there and was immediately assigned to be the head of the Nuclear Research Center, reportedly due to his prominent Ba’athist status.
Khadduri had severed his own party connection in 1962.
Eager to focus on research rather than administration, Khadduri joined Mansoor Ammar and Muqdam Ali in the Reactor Department.
was at a scientific conference later that year (1974) that Khadduri would
discover the detectors he worked on in
immediately proposed a project to search for uranium in
Khalid Said approved, and provided Omran Mousa -a "faithful and devoted" driver, a vehicle, communication equipment, official papers, soldiers and finance.
A Bedouin guide later joined the entourage, as it ventured into more remote terrain.
Searching for uranium in the mountains
Khadduri began his search in the northeast mountains near the Iranian border, close to a Kurdish village called Hero.
"I would have 50 soldiers spread around in a circular formation, with me at the center, fanning along with me as I planted the [detectors]," he recalls. "The yellow uranium ore was even visible on the surface."
group then headed south and spent several months in the barren desert of Jil, on the Iraqi-Saudi border Siroor
Mirza, the head of the geology department at the Nuclear Research Institute,
accompanied Khadduri’s entourage and provided
detailed maps indicating possible uranium deposits in the middle of the desert.
Later, near the city of al-Qaim near the Syrian border Khadduri and company "struck it rich."
The results of preliminary tests indicated heavy uranium concentrations near an area called Akashat.
A city then arose around a phosphate production plant that was built there.
One of the plant’s buildings was for the extraction of uranium ore in the form of yellowcake.
extracted by-product would later be transported by rail north to the al-Jazeera nuclear site, near
There, a processing plant was located, which required yellowcake as feed material in order to produce pure nuclear grade uranium dioxide, which in turn was chlorinated to produce uranium tetrachloride.
was the "feed material" for the "Baghdatrons"
-a name derived from Calutron (which in turn derives from the contraction of
"Baghdatrons" were central parts of a
machine process used primarily for production of
months later, Khadduri returned to the
the urging of Khalid Said, Khadduri wrote a letter to Jafar Dhia Jafar, urging
him to return to
was still working in
agreed to quit his post at CERN, return to
first Iraqi International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy was
Khadduri, who was in charge of the reactor technology sector, oversaw the evaluation of the submitted papers and allotted the time for them.
His attention was immediately drawn to Yehya al-Meshad, Egyptian nuclear reactor scientist, whose expertise in nuclear reactor technology and gift for expressing complex principles with clarity was evidenced in ten papers submitted for the conference.
Al-Meshad was on sabbatical leave from
He subsequently won a 2-year contract, which ended in1977 -at which point he was hired by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission and became a prime mover in the program.
Malcolm Scott suggested that the Iraqis start a one-year Reactor Technology
Master of Science course based on the material that he had developed for his
said that he would be willing to accept any graduate student of the course, for
a PhD program at
students were completely under our guidance at the Nuclear Research Institute,
but their degrees would be conferred by the Physics Department at the
Dabbling with critical mass
"I also engaged [al-Meshad] in developing a computer program, or code, to calculate the burn-up of the reactor’s nuclear fuel instead of depending on the simplified hand calculated formulas that were left to us by the Russians," Khadduri said.
"Our code and calculations opened up the possibility of calculating critical mass, the correct density at which a highly enriched uranium 235 sphere would undergo a self-sustaining chain reaction; this could become a reactor, if controlled, and an atomic bomb, if uncontrolled."
The duo’s work on code yielded yet another co-authored report: CORELOAD: A Computer Code for Calculating the Evolution of the Operation History of the IRT-2000 Reactor.
Khalid Said and Jafar Dhia Jafar were supportive of the efforts.
Khadduri and Yehya al-Meshad also started dabbling with different "implosion scenarios" that would start with a smaller spherical sphere of uranium but would increase its density to a critical value.
"This fissioning process is rapidly repeated, in a very short time, in a self-sustained chain reaction. The bomb explodes, releasing intense amounts of energy and radioactive fission products, "said Khadduri.
Khadduri’s and al-Meshad’s calculations matched the experimental results carried out in the forties for the Manhattan Project, and were then written up in report No. NR-14: The Use of Multigroup Transport Method for Criticality Calculations of Some Fast Spherical Assemblies.
Having mastered the tools for calculating the burn-up rate of the nuclear fuel in the reactor Jafar and Khadduri then jointly carry out a detailed calculation on the possible production of weapons grade fissionable plutonium 239 from the operation of the Russian reactor’s fuel –"a long shot" according to Khadduri.
Plutonium 239 constitutes the core of another type of atomic bomb.
"With our low power research reactor, it would have taken decades to obtain the required amount of nuclear weapon grade plutonium," states Khadduri, "The relevance of the work, however, was the knowledge of the required calculations."
Those calculations would form yet another Khadduri nuclear report: The Possible Production of Pu239 from the IRT-5000 Reactor, co-authored with Jafar.
Power generating plant
Iraqi team visited several nuclear power plants in
Khadduri was part of the team that met with and negotiated with the suppliers’ delegations.
with Mitsubishi at their headquarters in
"We were nearing the end of it, when…Mr. Ito, the head of the Japanese delegation, excused himself after [someone whispered] in his ear. He went out for five minutes, and returned to declare the end of the negotiations," said Khadduri.
American supplier for nuclear fuel for most Western and Japanese nuclear power
stations, had just called to refuse supply of nuclear fuel to
scientists would soon head to
Photos copyrighted and supplied by Dr. Imad Khadduri
up - Part 2: Assasination in
* * * * * *
Note: Dr. Khadduri's new book, titled Iraq's Nuclear Mirage: Memoirs and Delusions should be available in American bookstores at the end of December.
The author has agreed to ship copies out himself to Etherzone readers who want to obtain a copy of the book now. Signed copies are also available and inquiries should be directed to Dr. Khadduri via his website: Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage.
Part 2: Hurtling towards the bomb
Imad Khadduri was a top scientist involved in Iraq's nuclear program from 1968
until the end of 1998, when he was able to escape. He now serves as a network
1974, a top level Iraqi government delegation, lead by Saddam Hussein, arrived
The delegation was headed by Abdul Razzak al-Sashimi (known as Chouqi) and consisted of Jafar Dhia Jafar, Hussain al-Sharastani and Humam Abdul Khaliq
Al-Sharastani, a prominent chemist, was later tortured,
jailed, and pressured to help build an Iraqi nuclear bomb. He managed to escape
Abdul Razzak al-Hashimi was nicknamed Chouqi, because of his propensity for generating sheer chaos. The term is a derivative of the slang Chouqqa, which refers to a large ’breaker’ marble used to ‘shoot’ and scatter smaller marbles in every direction.
entourage of Iraqi chefs and special firewood were flown to
The visit became known as the "Masgoof Visit."
1976, a $300 million deal had been completed for two reactors—one a 40 Megawatt
(MW) reactor that the French dubbed OSIRIS and a smaller reactor called
was a relatively large research reactor and
designs for the reactors were to be prepared at Saclay
Nuclear Research Institute near
The French later referred to the entire project as OSIRAK.
training for the operation of the two reactors (and on the six experimental
rigs that were the prime reason for buying them), was to be held at
Mahdi Shukur Ghali Obeidi, a solid state materials scientist, was in charge of putting together the scientific and engineering team. In early 1980, about 60 scientists, engineers and technicians were sent to the research center at Saclay to take an accelerated French language course followed by a year of training on the operation of the two reactors and the six experimental rigs.
Mahdi was later assigned to head the centrifugal enrichment process team in the eighties. This is the same Mahdi Obeidi, who at the end of June 2003, led Americans troops to some hidden documents and centrifugal parts buried under a rosebush in his back yard. Little media play was given in the US to Obeidi’s accompanying statement indicating Iraq had not rebuilt its nuclear weapons program after 1991.
The French had suddenly switched the type of the nuclear fuel that would be used in the two reactors. Instead of the 80% enriched cylindrical elements, specified three years earlier in the purchase contract, the Iraqis were stunned to hear they would instead be getting an 18% "caramel" type fuel.
In fact as soon as the initial contract had been signed, the French immediately started to design the 18% ‘caramel’ fuel.
low enriched "caramel" fuel was designed solely for the
Mossad, smashed Yehya’s
head with a copper rod as he entered his hotel room in
"The only witness, a French woman, was ‘mysteriously’ run over by a car and killed a few days later. "
The date was June 13, 1980.
Adding to the mounting difficulties, Khadduri had criticized some of the Ba’ath party team members for their incompetence.
criticism soon reached
was ordered to return to
was the first of several clashes between Khadduri and Saddam’s
political-military -intelligence network, which would eventually make Khadduri’s escape from
Basil al-Saati along with a few loyal party members escorted Khadduri, his wife, and their three-month old daughter Y to the airport, following at close range in order to prevent any defection.
returned to the
Not one to waste time, he started translating it into Arabic.
Khadduri continued this self-imposed intellectual regimen until what he calls the "genuine start" of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, which he dates to September 3, 1981.
Towards the Nuclear bomb
In early 1981, unknown to Khadduri at the time, events were already in motion behind the scenes concerning the "fumbling goal" of obtaining a nuclear bomb, even as the Iraqi government began harassing some of the country’s top scientists.
al-Shahrastani, the brilliant chemist who went to
After Hussain’s arrest, Jafar appealed to Chouqi in his defense.
True to his nickname, Chouqi then rushed to Saddam and made false accusations against Jafar.
Saddam ordered the house arrest of Jafar in January 1980
In 1981, after hearing of Jafar’s arrest, Khadduri began to visit and comfort Jafar’s distraught mother. She had been confiding in Khadduri’s father, who was her medical doctor.
Humam Abdul Khaliq, head of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, called Khadduri to his office: "If you do not stop visiting Jafar’s mother, they will fry onions on your ass", he warned.
Khadduri disregarded the warning.
of Iraqi scientific endeavor came to an end on the evening of June 7, 1981 when
"We heard the blasts and ran to the rooftops. We could see the cloud plumes even tens of kilometers away," Khadduri recalls, calling the act "belligerent."
Hurtling towards the bomb
Saddam took the political decision to initiate a full-fledged weapons program immediately afterwards, according to Khadduri.
This meant the dispersed team had to be resurrected and reunited.
Jafar had to be released from jail. Chafing and humiliated from the experience, Jafar was slow to agree to the plan.
"I believe that he wrote, while still interned, several technical reports on the matter to Saddam to that effect," Khadduri said.
was then released and arrived at the
Khadduri was soon called for, leaving his library sanctuary behind.
Basil al-Qaisy , (Khadduri’s childhood friend who had initially invited him into the atomic program,) Munqith al-Qaisy, Munqith al-Bakir, Zuhair al-Chalabi, Nabil Karnik, Imad Ilyia and a few others were called into a meeting with Jafar.
At first, the secret organization that Jafar set up for the nuclear weapons program was called "Department 3000, Research and Development."
All the departments were still carrying on with peaceful nuclear research under the watchful eyes of the IAEA -except for Department 3000.
Covert purchases, overt gleaning
Advancement was fueled by an abundance of publicly available American research materials and the ease with which covert procurements were made.
He also cut a deal on the west coast to obtain two lasers needed for experiments in uranium enrichment.
lasers were picked up at the
Khadduri soon moved to a small planning group that was working directly with Jafar on the nuclear weapons program
Part of the planning was the assignment of scientists and engineers to attend relevant and worthwhile conferences and symposiums abroad in order obtain needed information.
At the end of 1983, he was transferred to the nuclear electric power plant project, which was put on a higher priority level, under the direction of Khalid Said.
In the winter of 1987, Khadduri attended a high-level meeting chaired by Humam Abdul Khaliq, the Head of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, in which the top priorities were outlined.
Khadduri left the meeting with the realization that the nuclear electric power plant project was no longer a priority and was instead to become a façade for the IAEA to focus on and follow, while the real nuclear weapons program would remain undetected, advancing rapidly.
"What had actually transpired at the time was a crucial turning point in the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. I was not aware then of a shake up that happened behind the scenes," Khadduri recalls.
The secret PC3
The shake up was instigated by a letter by Khidir Hamza sent early in 1987 to Saddam Hussein.
Khadduri notes that Khidir Hamza, referred to in the west by his self-given title, "Saddam’s Bomb Maker," had either failed in his assignment to make progress with the gaseous diffusion enrichment process or had coveted Jafar’s position as head of the program. Khadduri leans towards the former theory, noting Hamza’a alleged lack of leadership skills.
"He was a loner, only adept at working on his theoretical ‘three-body’ problem for more than two decades. He did not have the charisma or the courage to lead a team. His distaste of any experimental scientific work provided a focal point for many humorous puns."
Hamza had written an inflammatory report to Saddam Hussein accusing Jafar of procrastination and wasting resources.
Saddam was furious and demanded an explanation.
Jafar’s administrative load was soon lightened with the arrival of Dhafir Selbi, the previous head of the administration department at the Nuclear Research center, and an old high school friend of Khadduri’s.
Selbi had been asked to join the top management team of the nuclear weapons program, and he soon transformed the program by a thorough restructuring.
who refers to himself now simply as "Haj, visitor
breakthrough his "brainchild" and "Perestroika."
Selbi used zumras, an Arabic metaphor for "teams" that would be comprised of engineers and scientists, delegated by their various scientific and engineering departments, to tackle specific design proposals.
Khadduri and Selbi explained that the zumra would work through and materialize the designs through collective interactive thought encompassing all related scientific and engineering activities.
This was in radical contrast to the previous mode of work where the design was put forth by one department, then shuffled back and forth between the various groups who would just attach their notes individually, with no significant interaction.
The nuclear weapons project in its entirety came to be known as the Petrochemical 3 (PC3) project and in the summer of 1987, replacing "Department 3000."
The resulting restructuring resulted in the following organization of the nuclear program:
Group 1: The centrifugal enrichment process, which was assigned to Mahdi Shukur Ghali Obeidi. Several months later, Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, took direct responsibility for that group.
Group 2: The PIG and TIG enrichment processes was assigned to Jafar Dhia Jafar. [PIG and TIG would soon to be dropped and replaced by the Electromagnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) enrichment process per Dhafir Selbi.
Group 3: The "administrative support" group that would lighten Jafar’s administrative chores was assigned to Dhafir Selbi. This group was responsible for covert purchasing, the provision of scientific and engineering information, the documentation of the scientific reports, the mechanical and electrical manufacturing activities and in a later stage the supervision of their design activities. Khadduri was incorporated into that group in September of that year, 1987.
Group 4: Khidir Hamza was asked to drop the diffusion process and was assigned to gather a team for the design of the nuclear bomb. However, Khadduri reports that Hamza was soon kicked out after a few months and the nuclear weapon design group was assigned instead to Khalid Said.
Said Kamal, "He worked with us, but he was useless and was always looking for promotions. He consulted with me but could not deliver anything."
The same document indicates the UN concluded a document produced by Hamza was a fake.
said, "There is not a single documented scientific report of any work by Khidir Hamza relating to critical mass or a nuclear bomb in
the archive of the
Hamza’s testimony to Congress on
Hussein Kamel takes charge
In October 1987,Saddam appointed Hussein Kamel, who was already the Head of the Military Industrialization Corporation (MIC) to be in charge of Groups 2, 3, and 4.
In addition, Kamel took a direct and separate leadership of Group 1 that was distanced from Groups 2, 3 and 4. Group 1 was to work on the centrifuge enrichment process under the continued direction of Mahdi Shukur Ghali Obeidi.
The activities of these four groups would be made completely invisible from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In January 1989, PC3 was established within the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI) under Hussein Kamel and included the whole of the Iraqi national nuclear program (enrichment and weapons). Petrochemical 1 and Petrochemical 2 were established large-scale refinery projects undertaken by MIMI during the eighties.
"In contrast to Khidir Hamza’s false claims, Jafar Dhia Jafar, Humam Abdul Khaliq and Dhafir Selbi, were, in my opinion, the true dynamic prime movers of the nuclear weapons program," Khadduri said.
In 1987, with Khidir Hamza kicked out of the role of the head of the weapon design team, Khalid Said took over the role.
Said won't be giving any testimony now about the nuclear program though. He
died in a hail of bullets after he failed to stop fast enough at an American
Dr. Hamza is currently working for the
Dhafir Selbi cancelled the work on PIG and TIG enrichment research, deciding that the Electromagnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) method that employed huge magnets, referred to as Calutrons (or Baghdatrons) was the best approach.
EMIS method was implemented during the World War II in the Manhattan Project to
produce the first American atomic bombs that were dropped on
The decision was made to go forward with the enrichment process as fast as possible.
Dhafir called for Khadduri the following day. "Jafar’s scientists are not doing their abc’s of scientific research," he complained. "They are tiring a bit after six years and are not properly researching published articles on their new assignment. I want you to flood them with proper scientific and engineering information. I also want you to take hold again of the documentation procedure. The scientific quality of some of our reports that I have seen should have been thoroughly reviewed and reworked before being approved and distributed." He assigned Khaddar one employee, Khawla. Khadduri then added Salam Toma, a close friend, to his team. Khadduri now headed Dhafir’s Activity 3W, in Group 3, labeled Information and Documentation.
Khadduri immediately headed to the large research library of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission.
soon found the complete set of the
Khadduri quickly set about pouring over the yearly indexes of the NSA trove, searching for certain keywords: critical mass, Manhattan Project, Calutron, critical assemblies.
Salam Toma and Khawla went to work digging through the volumes.
Two weeks later, they brought had compiled more than fifty pages of relevant citations.
How many of the cited works were already present in the library?
Almost all -ninety six percent.
In one dusty box that had not opened since the sixties Khadduri found the Manhattan Project books and reports.
160 patents related to the Manhattan Project, were then obtained from the World
Intellectual Property Organization in
"It probably cost us no more than $100," he remarked.
Next came the hunt for a microcard reader.
Some of the key documents were on microcard, a predecessor of the microfiche and the microfilm.
One crucial and important report, TID 5232 in Division 1,Volume 12 on the "Chemical Processing Equipment: Electromagnetic Separation Process" was on one of these microcards.
"Dhafir instructed me to find, hell or heaven, a microcard reader that can print the images, thirty years after the demise of that technology," said Khadduri.
Due to Khadduri‘s efforts, four months later, by the end of 1987 the scientists and engineers had their hands full of critical scientific information on the Calutron process.
They quickly set to work on the "Baghdatron."
It was just the beginning of the information avalanche though.
the mid-seventies, Khadduri had been in charge of accessing Dialog -the world’s
first online information retrieval system - from the
used a special small isolated room on the outskirts of the
obstacles still stood in the way. First, it was expensive to have an open line
station was set up in
order to secure the supply of special books, reports and hard-to-get articles,
Khadduri saw to it that several accounts were opened with various information
suppliers. These included the British Lending Library, the
A positive report was submitted by Jafar in the summer of 1990 to Hussein Kamel on the remarkable progress Khadduri’s team made in securing, organizing and disseminating large amounts of critical nuclear information .
Jafar proposed to make the benefits of Khadduri’s research and archiving activities widely available.
Hussein Kamal approved of the idea and ordered Khadduri’s department to go public, and serve all Iraqi ministries, research centers and universities, free of charge.
It was the first department from PC3 to become public. The new name of Khadduri’s enterprise was the "Center for Specialized Information," part of the Ministry of Industry.
Notra Trulock III, knows all too well the pivotal role dissemination of
American scientific data played in the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Trulock is the former director of intelligence for the
Department of Energy (DOE) in the
According to Trulock the best reports on the Iraqi’s exploitation of US nuclear weapons secrets were done within the DOE, but were suppressed by the department’s arms controllers and have never seen the light of day.
"I had a bootleg copy of one such report on the Iraqis’ acquisition of nuclear information from the national labs, but I was never able to get it widely distributed to the intelligence community," said Trulock. An Energy Department intelligence officer told Trulock that all existing copies of the report were destroyed after he left the department.
Khadduri had also been set to work on proper documentation of the activities of PC3.
This included insuring the scientific quality of research reports, and documenting reports submitted by scientists and engineers after returning from abroad to attend scientific conferences.
It also included documenting covert purchases.
The originals were kept in Building 61 at the Nuclear Research Center, which was the Electronics Department under Basil al-Qaisi, Khadduri‘s childhood friend who had invited him into the nuclear program in 1968.
The second set was at the Trade Union building in front of al-Rasheed Hotel, the location that was targeted by David Kay in September 1991.
The third location was al-Hayat building, an intelligence adjunct near the presidential palace. Hamid and a staff of ten worked in the basement of building 61, to maintain the records, making microfilm copies of the engineering drawings and producing the required number of copies of the reports to be distributed to scientists and engineers.
Soon, the storm clouds of war were gathering, and Khadduri’s team rushed to copy the nuclear program reports onto optical disks and find an appropriate place to hide the originals.
Next Up - Part III: War, reconstruction and escape.
Part 3: The gathering storm
Imad Khadduri was a top scientist involved in Iraq's nuclear program from 1968
until the end of 1998, when he was able to escape. He now serves as a network
As the threat of Gulf War I approached, Khadduri and his staff hurriedly set about storing and hiding the documents of the nuclear program.
In early 1990, Khadduri chose Canon’s new CanoFile 150 as the means of duplication - a scanning machine that could capture and store the image of both sides of a scanned document on a high-capacity magneto-optical disc.
Khadduri ordered two along with five empty disks. Canon’s representative offered the sixth disk, which Khadduri kept for backup and which later play a critical part in hiding documents from UN inspectors after Gulf War I.
first CanoFile was shipped out of
With both devices ready, and with war approaching, the whole documentation staff set to work scanning and saving the 1600 reports that represented ten years of work and development.
Khadduri saw to it that the scanned documents were properly indexed.
Hiding nuclear documents
Salam and Khadduri then went to the bazaar near al-Mustansiryah Street and bought three large aluminum trunks to place the records in. A nearby German-built secondary technical school was chosen as the hiding place.
Inside the school they found the ideal hiding location: a windowless room that could only be accessed by going through two other rooms.
This became the place where the reports of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program were hidden.
Not trusting intelligence and security staff, Khadduri recommended Selbi not let them know the location of the trunks. Selbi agreed.
Salam and Khadduri then carried out the delivery of the trunks alone.
Heavy locks were installed in all three rooms.
Dhafir got a set of keys, and Salam and Khadduri kept the only other two sets.
Khadduri also kept the magneto-optical disks that stored the 1600 reports of the secret PC3 program.
A week later, an enraged Khadduri found a cardboard carton belatedly dumped on his desk with reports from Khalid Said’s Group 4. Said had stubbornly refused to adhere to Khadduri’s strict documentation and indexing procedures, and had been allowed to make his own arrangements, but had apparently failed to do so.
It was too late to properly index the papers with those already locked away in the aluminum trunks. Beside himself with anger, Khadduri sent Salam to take the carton to the technical school. An upset Salam, just left the cardboard box atop the trunks.
One year later, David Kay would find the cardboard box, which would result on the destruction of the al-Athir site by UNSCOM inspectors.
In the autumn of 1990, the research gurus of Khadduri’s Center for Specialized Information set up shop at on the mezzanine floor of the Ministry of Industry.
His deputy at department 3W, Mashkoor Haidar, took over the documentation responsibility for PC3. Mashkoor and the staff of the documentation group in turn answered to Adil Fiadh.
Khadduri handed Mashkoor the keys to the three rooms where the aluminum trunks were stored, but kept the magneto-optical disks.
Jafar demanded that Khadduri also hand over the disks to Abdul Halim al-Hajjaj, Khalid Said’s associate.
Khadduri strongly objected, not trusting anyone else to keep the data secure, but Jafar insisted.
"With a broken heart, and spirit, I handed over the three full magneto optical disks to Halim," he said.
Jafar was still looking for them seven years later.
The gathering storm
With Gulf War I hovering on the horizon, Khadduri, along with other select scientists and executive members of the management team were assigned alternate living quarters in the event of attack.
took his family to the city of
Khadduri heard that not a single foreigner was employed in the construction due to its secrecy.
"Most of the portable trays of microfiche and catalogues were taken to our homes. We dispersed the racks of microfilms in different locations so as not to suffer from a single hit," Khadduri said, "At home, personal suitcases were prepared, official personal
papers gathered and dozens of batteries were purchased," he recalls.
At dawn, with electricity and telephone systems down the Khadduri family packed the two cars; Niran’s and Imad’s government assigned one, and then drove off to Sharqat with his mother and Lisa, their dog.
Khadduri recalls worrying about whether American "smart bombs" might accidentally target and breach the Russian reactor at Tuwaitha, releasing devastating radioactivity.
Bombs did fall on Tuwaitha while the reactor was still operational, Khadduri says.
"The operators first fled the building when the bombs first fell close to them but then returned, shut down the reactor and put a steel cover over the open pool as the bombs exploded tens of meters from the building. Fortunately, that steel cover was not breached neither was the concrete containment of the reactor holding the water that cooled the reactor."
The Iraqi nuclear weapons program stopped dead in its tracks that morning, and was never rejuvenated, Khadduri said.
total, we were, in my estimate, about 10-20 percent of where we should have
Through the war
The Khadduri’s temporary home shook from shock waves that they attributed to ammunition depots exploding miles away.
His family made frequent use of a crude underground shelter that they dug in front of the house.
with the hard times the scientist recalls fond memories:
Dhafir and his two brothers cooking fish, Masgoof style, in front of their house as war planes flew overhead and bombs exploded in the distance; Niran and Imad spending evenings playing cards with the families of Sabah Abdul Noor and Mahir Sarsam, two senior scientists from Group 4 of the PC3 nuclear project.
Late at night, Khadduri recalls, they would walk home with a lantern, shooing away stray dogs.
Khadduri’s family also received news of war
casualties. A housing complex belonging to al-Badir
electrical establishment, south of Sharqat near Samara, was bombed by with a
reported 50 women and children killed. Similar news reached them of more
civilian casualties in an attack on the Ishtar housing complex near the
Rebellion against Saddam
the war, Khadduri ventured into
Khadduri, fearing a violent reaction of the Iraqi people to "our abject defeat," whispered to Sarsam, "Allah Yustir (God protect us)!"
had I known of the
"Only a year or two later did I learn of the extent of the brutal repression inflicted by the Ba’athist stalwarts on the revolting people, the heroic popular extent of the uprising, the extensive damage to the holy Moslem shrines in Karbala and al-Najjaf and the horrendous mass grave yards. "
Khadduri and his friends also heard of anger at the Americans who had allowed the helicopters of the Republican Guards to fly freely and participate in the repression.
"The Kurds in the North, like the Arabs in the South, had naively believed Bush senior’s call for an uprising, only to be let down, left unaided and be slaughtered," Khadduri recalls.
"Coming down from Sharqat, we saw some of the Republican Army’s modern tanks heading north, unhindered, to quell the Kurdish uprising."
Seeing the failure of the uprisings, and fearing a strengthened Saddam, Khadduri moved swiftly to obtain up-to-date passports for his wife and children.
Khadduri himself was forbidden to obtain a passport, since he was part of the nuclear team. The only exceptions were for official business as approved by the Intelligence Agency.
was the first step in a long and arduous ordeal of secretly escaping from
In the meantime, numerous attempts to retire from government service were rejected by the Iraqi government.
Extensive damage to the Iraqi infrastructure and subsequent rebuilding would occupy the nuclear scientists and engineers for years.
the war, Khadduri learned
A week after the war ended, Jafar gave Khadduri his first post-war assignment.
was to convene an Electricity Rehabilitation Symposium in
Passing along a highway south of Sharqat during the war, Khadduri remembers seeing miles-high walls of fire from spilled oil engulfing the Baiji oil refinery plant.
Khadduri along with other nuclear scientists and engineers later supervised the rebuilding of oil refineries, which were up and running again within a few months as well.
the summer of 1991, as the telecommunications infrastructure was being
repaired, Khadduri undertook an enterprise of his own initiative: networking
all of the research centers and universities throughout
Over a period of two years, Khadduri and Ayad Muhaimid used external Hayes modems, to network about sixty research centers and universities with a telephone dial-up service allowing them access to the many databases on CD-ROMs that were located at the Center for Specialized Information in the Ministry of Industry in Baghdad.
Khadduri’s research center back in business
At the same time the electrical symposium was held, one week after the war ended, work had resumed at the Center for Specialized Information.
Khadduri’s center had accumulated about twenty
scientific and engineering databases, including all five million
Additional holdings included PhD theses abstracts extending back to 1864, and the microfilm ‘treasure" of industrial and US military standards and industrial catalogues.
"Within a few months after the war, we would normally open our offices at eight in the morning to a waiting line of twenty to thirty government engineers, students and university researchers eager to get information, for free, for the rehabilitation of their sectors or for writing their theses," Khadduri said.
The center’s staff also wrote their own computer program to distribute their monthly salaries: "The department responsible for that in the now slowly disintegrating PC3 was incapable of running their own program on the relocated and dismembered mainframe computer," Khadduri explains.
Prison and interrogation
As the UN inspectors were beginning to arrive, a memo was written in April/May 1991 by Jafar Dhia Jafar and Naman al-Niami, a top level chemist in the nuclear weapons program, to Hussain Kamal, outlining all of the nuclear sites.
The list was submitted before the adoption of Resolution 687 (1991) by the United Nations Security Council. Kamal ordered the disclosure of selected activities and sites and the concealment of the others from the list – notably the al-Athir weapon design center and its activities.
Nuclear scientists and engineers went to Jafar to ask for access to their reports to aid in the UN interviewing process.
Jafar, at that time, was appointed Head of the MIC, under Hussain Kamal’s authority, in return for having led the successful rebuilding of the electricity sector.
Jafar decided to hand over the contents of one documentation center to the UN inspectors. These encompassed the reports of the declared activities only.
In late summer of 1991, Jafar then gave a "fatal order" to Adil Fiadh to retrieve the hidden documents and reports.
All of the documents that had been hidden in the technical school, had been placed in a train wagon -its doors then welded shut- that kept shuttling between Basra in the south and Mosul in the north.
After Jafar’s order went out to return the documents, the train car was halted and the welded doors pried open. The aluminum trunks, boxes of microfiche of design drawings and the cardboard box containing the reports of the undeclared activities of Group 4 (that were dumped on Khadduri‘s desk at the last minute) were all returned to the documentation center at the Labor Union building, next to the MIC building.
"Within a few days later, the UN inspector David Kay and his colleagues unexpectedly raided the Labor Union building and retrieved the documents, including the cardboard box, leading to heated verbal exchanges and face-to- face confrontation between David Kay and Jafar, which was videotaped and broadcast," Khadduri recounts.
week later, the inspectors raided the
Hussain Kamel suspected a security leak, and immediately ordered the arrest of about twelve people connected with documentation, including Adil Fiadh, Mashkoor Haidar, and Khadduri.
They were individually interrogated by a committee headed by the Deputy Head of MIC, Amer al-Ubaidi -who later became the Oil Minister in 1996 and was captured by US forces in May 2003.
group was incarcerated incommunicado for eighteen days at the Fao Establishment building on
"Some of the interned suffered psychologically, broke down and cried heavily, realizing that our lives were at the whim of Hussain Kamel’s mood," Khadduri recalls.
After concluding that no security breach had occurred, the interned were released after being demoted, Khalid Said included.
Jafar was removed as director of MIC with Amer al-Ubaidi taking over the past. Jafar then became "scientific advisor" to the palace court of Saddam (an insignificant post) and took on full responsibility for the continued rehabilitation of the electricity sector.
also dabbled in fanciful irrigation projects to divert water from the Tigris
back at Khadduri’s research center, he was made aware
of the activities of PC3 and some military activities of the MIC, since the
researchers had to go past him in order to access databases of the
Khadduri was in that post until 1994 when he left for the Foreign Ministry.
Ever since his imprisonment, Khadduri was kept under innervating, close surveillance by Saddam‘s intelligence agencies. Some friends risked their own safety by telling Khadduri they had been approached to give information on the scientist. The constant watching and the pressure put on his friends would soon send Khadduri spiraling into anxiety and depression.
The 6th disk: scientific innuendo
Meanwhile, Jafar contacted Khadduri, asking for his help in storing highly sensitive documents he kept at his home. David Kay’s searches were worrying Jafar.
Khadduri had stored one of the CanoFiles at his home, and had kept the complimentary sixth disk which had been given by Canon has part of the initial purchase deal. He set to work storing and archiving Jafar’s highly sensitive documents.
"I glimpsed the monitor, whenever I had the chance, to see what was being archived," Khadduri recalls, "I was not that pleased with some of it. It was plainly a blatant exaggeration, or promising extrapolation, of what we were achieving using the Baghdatrons in 1990, signed by Jafar and presented by Hussain Kamal to Saddem. It would have been misleading as to the true progress of the work, if you do not grasp scientific innuendo. "
After 5 hours, Jafar’s trusted driver Omran, (the same driver who accompanied Khadduri on his uranium searches) left with a filled magneto-optical disk and the box of documents.
Meanwhile the IAEA was singly concerned with Group 4’s activities that entailed the design of the bomb, and did not ask for or show interest in the uranium enrichment activities of PC3.
The copied magneto-optical disc of Group 4’s activities was handed over to them.
Says Khadduri, " I am not sure whether they knew of, or even now have, the other two discs."
Those two disks contained the images of the rest of PC3’s reports, that Khadduri had kept separate from the cache that was found by David Kay in September 1991. It was these disks that Khadduri had objected to handing over to Abdul Halim al-Hajjaj, Khalid Said’s associate.
Following the prior imprisonment and interrogation, Khadduri soon found intelligence services had sent a plant to work at his research center.
False accusations followed and Khadduri found himself increasingly harassed.
Enter Mohammad al-Sahhaf, the Foreign Minister at the time, and the famed Information Minister ("Baghdad Bob") during the 2003 war.
Al-Sahhaf wanted Khadduri to bring his expertise to the Foreign Ministry with the goal of networking its departments, and creating an efficient electronic management of the ministry’s daily communications, as well as archiving its historical files.
Within a period of three years, the project was completed, and the new computer center was staffed by five people.
Khadduri’s staff trained about 250 diplomats on the use of word processing.
Butting heads with a "rabid" intelligence officer
ever more eager to get his family out of
The controversy began when "Baghdad Bob" appoved Khadduri’s idea to assign 80 diplomats, including 5 intelligence officers, a mundane typing assignment: compiling electoral lists for a 1995 parliament election.
The 80 had just graduated from a word processing class, and there was little time to compile the task.
When Khadduri told al-Sahhaf about 5 intelligence officers who had not accepted their assignments, he was angry.
"The Intelligence bastards" al-Sahhaf shouted, picking up the phone.
Intelligence officer Salah Abdul Rahman al-Hadithi was indignant over receiving the pedestrian typing assignment. "I retorted with a quote from Saddam that curtly shut him up," Khadduri said.
Three years later, Khadduri found out the intelligence officer had immediately filed a report to Saddam, detailing how Khadduri’s name was mentioned in a New York Times article, as having a possible connection to the Israeli Mossad. Ever since the officer filed the vengeful report, Khadduri had been under additional secret investigation.
report also referred to al-Sahhaf’s attempt to secure
a diplomatic post for Khadduri abroad. Al-Sahhaf had
been sensitive to Khadduri’s desire to get his family
In the intelligence file however, Saddam had scribbled in red ink that Khadduri "shall not see the Iraqi border" in his lifetime.
Within a few years after the end of the 1991 war, Niran, Khadduri’s wife, noticed that colleagues at the private al-Mansoor University College, where she was teaching computer languages, were disappearing - escaping Iraq, legally or illegally, including Khidir Hamza who lectured there.
It was after the sudden and unexpected 1994 disappearance of Niran Khadduri' close friend, Samira Katoola and her husband Tawfiq, both former Atomic Energy Commission PhDs, along with their children, that the Khadduri family decided it was time to find a way to escape, despite the risk involved.
there was no air travel due to sanctions throughout the nineties, the escape
routes were limited through the risky north to
Difficulties abounded, including the fact that Niran’s and the children’s names were
linked to Khadduri’s name in government intelligence and security databases, especially at the passport offices.
Trying to obtain an exit visa for them would set off alarms.
Khadduri’s wife Niran,
was the first to escape to
On the eve of one planned escape, Saddam’s personal assistant and trusted secretary, Abid al- Hamid Mahmood Himood, (Abid Himood) issued a hand-written order signed by himself and delivered by a messenger, ordering the confiscation of the passports of Khadduri’s daughters Y and Nofa, and his son Tammam
Two years later, after many heartbreaking attempts and trials, and betrayal by either a Ba’athist neighbor or a university colleague, the Khadduri’s met their helpmeet for espape in a Christian named Bassim Ysho’ Putrus, referred to in Khadduri’s book by his traditional name, Abu Diyar.
"Abu Diyar would only help Christians to escape, due to an unsavory religiously discriminating experience he had endured in the early nineties," Khadduri explains, "he could only trust Christians to not expose him."
Abu Diyar obtained passports and exit visas for the children.
In the meantime, Khadduri was called into yet another meeting with Jafar. This time they were in the midst of preparing the final declaration for the United Nations on the scope of the nuclear weapons program, before and after the 1991 war.
"We were about to submit the total gamut of our activities in that report to the IAEA," Khadduri explains, "Many meetings were held with all of our colleagues in the now defunct PC3, some of whom I had not seen for several years. We would spend countless hours in the secret house in Jadiriyah district going over reports, papers and faint memories. One sticking point was the fate of the magneto-optical discs that Jafar had made me hand over to Abdul Halim al-Hajjaj before the start of the 1991 war. The disappearance of the two discs that contained Groups 1, 2 and 3 reports angered Jafar."
Three hours later the group still had not gotten to the bottom of who had or what happened to the magneto optical discs.
the meantime, Khadduri completed the single page form to apply for a Landed
Immigrant application to
filled form was secretly sent in 1995 to the Canadian Consulate in
More than a year of tense waiting followed.
The sinister machinations of Abid Himood haunted Khadduri. The scientist knew his phones were tapped, and was cautious about what he said. Friends felt threatened by aggressive intelligence grilling. No matter what Khadduri did, Himood seemed to find out about it, thwarting every plan.
Khadduri began to slide into chronic depression.
Abu Diyar and Khadduri suspected that there was a "super Intelligence Agency," higher than the known eighteen intelligence agencies, controlled by Abid Himood and whose personnel were unknown to the rest of the intelligence and security services.
Al-Sahhaf tried to help by contacting Mohammad al-Douri (Abu Omar) at the Intelligence headquarters to
intercede on Khadduri’s behalf. Abu Omar invited
Khadduri to meet with him at their headquarters, next to the Mansoor restaurant that was bombed in the
Khadduri explains: "It is told that Saddam did enter that meeting place with his sons, leaving his personal guard at the front of the building. They then proceeded
to leave the building immediately through the back door minutes before the exploding bunker busters. He apparently had purposely arranged to hold that meeting as a bait. He intended to confirm to himself the information that was reaching him indicating that the head of his guard entourage was in fact informing the Americans on his movements and location. It is rumored that Saddam summarily executed him after the failed attack. "
During Khadduri’s escape planning, Abid Himood, the shadowy head of the "super intelligence" agency, fed up with al-Sahhaf’s (Baghdad Bob) continued nagging about Khadduri’s case, upped the ante by ordering Khadduri to be arrested if he set foot in the Foreign Ministry again.
Diyar finally successfully got Khadduri a passport
with another name on it. "By doing that, he would be able to get all of us
Khadduri and his children would make a successful escape after midnight, at 3 in the morning, with Abu Diyar and a trusted Jordanian driver: they were headed for Traibil, a city at the Jordanian border.
Twenty-four hours later, a suspicious Abid Himood dispatched five senior presidential palace staff members to Traibil, but it was too late to stop the family.
Khadduris had made it across the border into
Exhiliration and catharsis
Khadduri recalls the "exhilarating reunion" with his wife Niran on Sunday August 2.
"An impromptu feast was thrown by the neighbors in the building where she had rented an apartment," he recalls.
were summoned the next morning to the Canadian Embassy in
"During that first week in Amman, I experienced several nightmares of volcanic suppressed fears," Khadduri recalls, "I would wake up drenched in sweat and trembling as I dreamt that I was somehow back in Iraq and being asked to report to Intelligence. I was beginning to unwind."
Selbi, Khadduri’s life long
friend and previous boss at PC3, had managed, after seven years of waiting
after his retirement, to obtain his passport. He met up with the family in
months later, a senior Canadian diplomat traveled to
in a snowstorm, twelve years old Nofa broke out in tears, "I don’t have
any friends here," she said. "I don’t know how to speak English. I
want to go back to
"She persevered and flourished," her father reports. Nofa later wrote an account of her childhood experience during Gulf War I that has been posted in the Internet.
Khadduri went on to land a job as a network administrator at a small college in Toronto, living quietly until hearing the Bush administration claims of an active Iraqi nuclear program jolted him into action.
in August 2002, after hearing President Bush utter what Khadduri described as
"an ominous deliberate misinformation campaign" he turned to his wife
Niran and announced the end of his "low profile slumber."
Khadduri would soon take leave from his network administrator job to complete
his memoirs, and write for an independent news site, while ‘big’ media and
Next up Part IV: "Coming out fully"
Part 4: "Coming out Fully"
presenting its case for war, the Bush administration insisted the
President stated that the regime posed a "direct and growing threat"
An imminent nuclear threat was repeatedly mentioned by administration officials in the media and in speeches.
Secretary of State Colin Powell stated, "We have no indication that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program" and Vice-President Dick Cheney told media that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program.
Khidir Hamza, a former physics professor from
"One thing is clear: These weapons must be must be dislodged from Saddam, or Saddam must be dislodged from power," said Sen Joe Biden, D-Delaware.
The hearings, he added, were "not designed to prejudge any particular course of action."
October 6, 2002 President Bush addressed the nation, warning that the Iraqi
dictator must not be permitted to threaten
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told media, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
Both Bush and Cheney warned of the threat of "nuclear blackmail."
Disturbed by what he called a deliberate misinformation campaign, Khadduri turned to his wife Niran in August 2002, and announced that he was going to "come out fully:" a reference to leaving his quiet life behind and telling what he knew about the nuclear program.
Two hours later, his first article, Iraq’s nuclear non-capability, was finished. In it, Khadduri raised serious doubts about the credibility of British and American intelligence, upon which, the White House said its claims of a nuclear threat were founded.
"Bush and Blair are pulling their public by the nose," Khadduri wrote, "covering their hollow patriotic egging on with once again shoddy intelligence. But the two parading emperors have no clothes".
recounted the dismal condition of
Scientist ignored by ‘big media’
Khadduri’s article was sent to several major newspapers, including the New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Independent and The Times.
No one was interested.
A UN official later emailed Khadduri, "A lot of people are doing their homework. Not the press."
Soon the Toronto Star was calling and Canadian TV was battling for a first interview with Khadduri. Other interviews followed, including one with Reuters, but Khadduri was largely ignored by the American newspapers and television, and remained relegated to the less-trafficked independent pages of Yellow Times.
A plan for CBS‘ "60 Minutes" to carry the first American interview of Khadduri was reportedly scrapped at the last minute, because an American consultant to CBS believed (but had no proof) that the American government probably had secret data proving a nuclear program.
came a call from CNN. Khadduri reports an Arabic-named
CNN representative, called from CNN headquarters in
CNN senior foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour later made general statements suggesting her own network kowtowed to the Bush administration in its war reporting.
statement was an interesting bookend to CNN’s Eason
"Swallowed up by the politicians"
prior to the war, Khadduri was contacted by and corresponded with a member of
the Iraqi Action Team at the IAEA (referred to here, as "B") who was scouring
"B" had concurred with the articles written by Khadduri and published on Yellow Times.
established an immediate rapport," Khadduri said, "He wondered
whether I would be willing to have an interview with the IAEA and ultimately by
UNSCOM, in accordance with the Security Council recommendations. I agreed on
the condition that the interview would be carried out in
A fascinating email trail between the scientist and the WMD hunter ensued.
"It would appear this is all a game and that no one is really serious about preventing a war. I have tried to be technically rigorous. I guess we will be swallowed up by the politicians."
also referred to the strong
"A professional liar?"
continued: "Hamza left the
country in 1995 with government permission. He was interviewed and
allowed to leave. He knew nothing and they knew it. He lies all the time…If
Hamza can influence Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld with access to the office of
the secretary of defense, then the
We need to do something."
The email was dated February 8, 2003.
In the UN interview, Kamel stated that all weapons had been destroyed, and no nuclear program was underway. He also characterized Hamza as a "professional liar" who could not deliver, and was let go. The debriefing also indicates that the UN assessed a document given to them by Hamza as a fake.
Khadduri said, "Kamel’s testimony was suppressed for eight years until it’s ferreting out in February 2003."
It was in fact, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who was popping up across the globe like a vexing jack-in-the-box, offering sensitive UN documents to interested reporters, of which there were few.
Ritter offered Fox and Friends the documents live on the air, but the hosts ignored the offer.
This reporter, Newsweek and later Glen Rangwala, the Cambridge University analyst who in early February revealed that Tony Blair's "intelligence dossier" was plagiarized from a student thesis, obtained the sensitive UN documents.
watchdog Fair.org called the revelation of the documents, "biggest story
Kamel’s name had been repeatedly invoked by
administration officials as they sought to convince the public
Powell, who said there was no indication that
Meanwhile, an exception to the aforementioned American media blackout of Dr. Khadduri, was Fox News Channel.
In February of this year Khadduri appeared on John Kasich’s show, the very week that the story revealing Hussein Kamel’s debriefing documents broke.
An ignorant Kasich, apparently unaware of the stories, talked over the top of Khadduri, and insisted there definitely was a post-Gulf War nuclear program because Kamel had said so.
He also asked Khadduri if he was a Saddam sympathizer.
‘In all fairness," Khadduri notes, "Kasich did hold another interview and he courageously did correctly quote a few damning lines from my articles."
Aluminum tubes, uranium discounted
On February 16, B wrote on the notorious aluminum tubes that the Bush administration insisted were proof of a reconstituted nuclear program: "Fact. The aluminum tubes have been used to build tens of thousands of rockets. Hypothesis. The tubes might be diverted for centrifuges. Can’t people understand the difference between fact and hypothesis?"
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that the aluminum tubes were not intended for nuclear weapons development but for the reverse engineering of 81- millimeter rockets
other "B" emails, he advised, "I cannot approach the press or
write articles," adding "I thought the Powell speech was the bottom
of the barrel. They have no useful evidence. The aluminum tubes are a joke.
They are parts for rockets that
Faleh’s house, Blix blunders
One issue that Khadduri found especially provoking was the UN search of Faleh Hamza’s house.
Falih (or Faleh)
Hamza, is a laser physicist who Khadduri says had no part in
claimed that the documents they had found in his home indicated that
A friend of Khadduri’s in the Iraqi Action Team in Vienna then informed him of a "revealing fact" just one day before Blix’s report to the Security Council on January 27, 2003.
"Upon Blix’s insistence, the teams had obtained from the American and British Intelligence a list of about twenty five sites, one of which was ultra hush-hush," Khadduri said, "The inspectors duly visited and inspected each one of these sites in December 2002 and had found absolutely no evidence of any rejuvenated nuclear weapons program. In fact, some of them even came out stating that US Intelligence was providing them with nothing but "garbage after garbage after garbage.‘"
Khadduri complains that in his report to the Security Council on January 27, 2003 Blix failed to mention the lack of findings of the secret Intelligence information provided by the American and British Intelligence.
B wrote Khadduri: "Yes, a finding of ‘no finding,’ especially in a place where something was specifically alleged is a major finding."
faults Blix on another point, accusing him of
intentionally spreading misinformation: "[Blix]
also promoted the case of Falih Hamza as being
another belated uranium enrichment attempt by
On the Faleh issue, B wrote to Khadduri, "Notice how Powell softened his talk on Faleh’s house? A big softening. I hope you still feel it’s worth talking to me. Someone made that softening happen."
March 8, Jacques Baute, head of the Iraqi Action Team
of IAEA inspectors, flew to
(Note: Baute is not the identity of "B")
knew each other from
Signing your own "death warrant"
Khadduri was particularly irked by Powell’s claim that Iraqi scientists were asked to sign confessional declarations, with a death penalty clause.
They were allegedly used to force the scientists to promise not to reveal their secrets to the IAEA inspection teams.
"Exactly the opposite was true," says Khadduri, "The four or five, as I recall, such declarations, the last of which was in 1997, held us to the penalty of death in the event that we did not hand in all of the sensitive documents and reports that may still be in our possession!"
"One would have thought that had Powell’s Intelligence services provided him with a copy of these declarations," he added, " and not depended on ‘defectors’ testimonies who are solely motivated by their self-promotion …and availed himself to a good Arabic translation of what these declarations actually said,…"
this issue, B wrote: "What did you think of the Powell talk? Is it really
that desperate?….For example, everyone with a security
clearance in the
added, "I was, personally, very influenced by the terrorism part, because
the nuclear part was a joke. If Saddam is harboring [al-]Qaida,
then there is plenty of reason to act. If it is aluminum tubes, then the
How key officials steered the course toward war
Key facts regarding Bush administration claims about a reconstituted Iraqi nuclear program have been uncovered by investigative reporter Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily, and are as follows:
The buried centrifuge parts
Bush administration, it’s case for a revived nuclear
program crumbling, latched onto
administration failed to mention, that Obeidi, the
previous head of the centrifuge enrichment process, himself stated that
Baute, chief U.N. nuclear inspector for
A source who declined to be named said Obeidi and his family are beingheld incommunicado in
Paul Sperry commented, "That the CIA would invite CNN over to
Sperry also stated, "Congress needs to call White House and CIA aides to testify in formal and open hearings – unless, of course, it intends to abdicate its oversight powers along with its power to declare war."
Dead scientists don’t talk
Kay, head of the 1200-member Iraqi Survey Group charged with searching for WMD
Kay’s statement indicates there was no evidence of a nuclear program, although he repeatedly mentioned suspicious and uncharacterized "projects" by Dr. Khalid Said, the leader of the secret PC3’s Group 4.
Said won’t be giving testimony about
According to Khadduri and others, Said had taken over as leader after Dr. Khidir Hamza ("Saddam’s Bombmaker") was kicked out in 1987 for inferior performance, after only six months in the position.
Kay referred to scientists being afraid to testify, and difficulties in investigating the area of nuclear issues because Dr. Said is now deceased.
Said died in a hail of bullets when he failed to stop quickly enough at a
as previously reported in this series, the
choice of Hamza is troubling given his credibility problems which have received
almost no press in
documents claimed reconstitution of
Last year, David Albright told Australia's Lateline, "I must apologize that we no longer can in any way recommend Dr. Hamza. I unfortunately now believe he is deliberately distorting both his past credentials and his statements about Iraqi nuclear capabilities then and now."
is a physicist, and President of the Institute for
Science and International Security (ISIS) in
cooperated actively with the IAEA Action Team from 1992 until 1997 and
questioned members of
Albright said, "I believe that his statements are often inaccurate, they're inconsistent," adding, "I think he's distorted his title dramatically."
Hamza is quoted as an authoritative source on a White House web
This reporter asked Dr. Imad Khadduri if his testimony had ever been sought by US government officials, or if he had ever been asked to testify before Congress.
"Never, " he replied.
lack of interest in questioning Khadduri, who has been available for
questioning for five years, and whose experience in the program was according
to interviewed officials, far more extensive and recent than "Saddam’s Bombmaker," raises serious questions about the
motivation, competency and thoroughness of "intelligence" presented
to the American public on
In addition to the lack of evidence of a nuclear program, Sperry's investigations for WorldNetDaily led to the following reports:
Other administration officials have backpedaled also, and language appears to have softened to include adjectives like Iraqi "aspirations" or "desires" for WMD, and "programs" of WMD, which could arguably include intent and paperwork, rather than actual weapons.
Imad Khadduri contends that Bush, Blair and their senior officials waged a criminal invasion based on misinformation.
this the democracy model for a "liberated"
well-known law professor Francis Boyle, politicians, journalists and even some
Part 5: Weaponsgate
ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John VIII-XXXII"
---Inscription in main lobby of CIA headquarters
As former Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr. Imad Khadduri, a Canadian resident, continues to be ignored by the Bush administration officials and mainstream American media, David Kay, who is in Iraq reportedly working hard to uncover the truth about the alleged Iraqi nuclear program, repeatedly cited only a dead scientist in his recent report to media -Dr. Khalid Said.
mentioned earlier in this series, Dr. Said cannot report on the nuclear issues
raised by the Bush administration because was killed by American troops on
April 8, 2003 when he failed to stop quickly enough at a
Adding to the omission of ignoring the "live" scientist, Khadduri was very familiar with the work of Khalid Said’s Group 4 activities under the secret PC3 group (see previous installments of this series) and at one point carried and concealed the only magneto-optical disk of Said’s group work with him.
The omission is more ironic given that behind the scenes, an IAEA official (referred to here simply as "B") is currently in the process of questioning Khadduri about Said.
"Many of us questioned Oeidi saying that Khalid was behind centrifuges because dead men can't defend themselves," writes "B." "Frankly, we were not impressed with Khalid as a manager and as a technician. Would you be willing to share your candid opinion with me of Khalid as a leader and as a technical visionary?"
Jacques Baute, chief International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear inspector in
A "Faustian bargain?"
Dr. Gordon Prather, a physicist
who was the army's chief scientist during the Reagan years, notes the reports
that Kay was fired from his position as deputy director of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Iraq Action Team in the early 1990s because of his
contacts with the
One Pentagon source indicated Kay was not seen or heard of at the Pentagon in the 1980’s when he was on staff. The source believes from as far back as the ‘80’s Kay may have been a CIA operative.
told this reporter, "We were informed by our Security/Intelligence - since
the day that David Kay was put in
he set-up his communication trailer in front of the Khairat building -where the inspectors were encircled for a week- in September 1991, he beamed the scanned reports gleaned from that building directly to the CIA in Langley, and then to the UN/IAEA."
David Kay went on to later tell media, "I realize it was always a bargain with the Devil -- spies spying. The longer it continued, the more the intelligence agencies would, often for very legitimate reasons, decide that they had to use the access they got through cooperation with UNSCOM to carry out their missions."
"Both Hamza and Kay are snakes, and I don’t mind going on record saying that," Prather commented.
Kay is presently tasked with uncovering the actual objectives, scope, and
Kay gave media a short unclassified report on Oct. 2, the same day that he gave behind-closed-doors "interim report" to a panel of several congressional committees.
Kay’s report is notable for its subtle and sophisticated omissions which are characteristic of the language of political propaganda and persuasion and not merely a function of the unfinished nature of the work.
The report is peppered with linguistic vagaries expansive enough to drive a hypothetical biological weapons trailer through - including phrases and words like "may have," "research," " plans," "could be applied to," "indications" of, "interest, "laboratory possibly used for," "can be used to produce " (vs. was used to produce) "searching for" and "capacity."
It is a report impossible for journalists to corroborate because of the vagaries and the lack of names of scientists interviewed -except for the dead one.
There is said to be "no proof" the notorious two trailers President Bush said were "weapons of mass destruction," were used for biological weapons production, but Kay instead uses a ‘reverse-logic’ stating, "nothing we have discovered rules out their potential use in BW production."
The mere realm of possibility thus becomes sufficient cause for a hypothesis reaffirmed, and for the endless and impossible proving of a negative - a hallmark of the administration’s war arguments.
The case of the mysterious "mushroom cloud"
Unnamed Iraqi officials allegedly told Kay that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at "some future point" putting the nuke activity reiterated by the administration prior to the war, as well as an important pre-war rationale, in the realm of Steven Spielberg’s "Department of Pre-Crime."
Others allegedly told Kay that Saddam "wanted" to restart the nuclear program, but no proof has been uncovered that there was capability or operation of even the most elemental activity of such.
of renewed nuclear weapons research has not been found, not even esoteric
doodling on the back of a
Kay reported that Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Said (the "dead scientist") "began several small and relatively unsophisticated research initiatives that could be applied to nuclear weapons development."
Could be applied in what way? Were they directly related to nuclear weapons research or were they research initiatives in another field with unavoidable "dual" applications common to the field of nuclear physics? Were these initiatives done for the government or his own enjoyment and exercise as a scientist?
These and other important basic questions are not answered in the vague language of the report.
The villainous vial
the "finds" of the report, was a vial of live C. botulinum
Okra B. (from which a biological agent can be produced) hidden in the back of
an Iraqi scientist’s refrigerator.
The tube was touted as a vindication of war, but it raises another question: was a bombing campaign and the deaths of over 10,000 people, and the dropping of napalm the only way the technologically superior and intelligence-equipped US could get to a vial of crunk hidden in the back of a lone scientist’s refrigerator?
Said Kay, "This discovery -- hidden in the home of a BW scientist -- illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons."
However the report gives no evidence of any capability of biological weapons production.
Rangwala of Cambridge University points out that botulinum type B can also be used for making an antidote
for common botulism poisoning and for that reason many countries and military
laboratories keep sample strains, including the
"Throughout the report, Kay kicks up a sandstorm of suggestiveness, but no more," wrote Fred Kaplan in MSNBC’s Slate.
Kaplan called Kay’s report, a "shockingly lame piece of work."
The ‘compassionate war’
WMD and terrorist connections were not the only themes that were and continue to be exposited as pretext for the preemptive war.
In his address before Australian parliament, President Bush invoked a familiar theme of the inhumane brutality of Saddam Hussein, suggesting that it was a vindication of war.
"Who can possibly think that the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power?" Bush asked as he wrapped up a six-nation lobbying campaign addressing Asian and Pacific allies.
Administration officials have repeatedly referred to Saddam Hussein’s hideous atrocities including victim’s tongues being cut out, brutal rapes and persons being fed head-first into a shredding machine.
were powerful emotional appeals to a compassionate
references to brutality though beg a question related to the second
presidential debate of the 2000 campaign, regarding the genocide in
1994, 600,000 people were hacked to death with machetes and otherwise brutally
murdered in a frenzy of violence so horrific one African missionary said,
"There are no more devils in Hell. They are all in
Aerial photographs showed an apocalyptic scene of rivers running red with blood while clogged with the bloated corpses of tens of thousands of people.
Former President Clinton did not intervene, and later apologized for "missing" the genocide.
During the presidential debate, Bush was asked if he would've done anything differently.
indicated he would not have
acted differently, adding, "I thought they made the right decision not to
fact that the brutality in
Calling for investigations
Meanwhile journalists, politicians and academics as well as two California cities and grassroots citizen groups , are calling for investigations, and even impeachment.
WorldNetDaily Washington bureau chief Paul Sperry commented, "Congress needs to call White House and CIA aides to testify in formal and open hearings – unless, of course, it intends to abdicate its oversight powers along with its power to declare war. "
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman argued, "If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history - worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra."
Dean, former White House counsel to Richard Nixon said, "Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to
Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential
scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush
Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get
Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take
Dean, in his previous legal analysis for Findlaw.com, was careful to add that there needed to be proof that President Bush knowingly lied.
Supporters of the President consider such suggestions outrageous, and even traitorous, citing the need for the nation to be unified in the face of the enemy of terrorism.
Administration officials have previously suggested that media if too critical in its coverage, could in effect be aiding the enemy –terrorists.
Calling for impeachment : "We told you so!"
to Khadduri’s revelations, Boyle said, "I and
others in the American peace
movement were saying this months ago when a crisis was first developing - that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) over there, and it was all just propaganda to generate a war," Boyle said.
"Now for the legal and constitutional aspect, if we take a look at the resolution passed in October authorizing the use of military force, the ‘whereas’ clauses are filled with statements that were wrong. They were propaganda at the time and drafted into legislation by Alberto Gonzalez - then sent to Congress.
We are in a situation where the White House procured a de facto declaration of war on a basis of fraud and misrepresentation.
The point is, if President Clinton can be impeached for lying about sex, what about President Bush for lying about war?"
Bush "cooked" over "conspiracy?"
Boyle agrees with John Dean who has said that the situation may fall under the "conspiracy to defraud" statue, which if applied to Nixon, is also applicable to Bush.
"To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked," Dean said, "Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be ‘a high crime’ under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony ‘to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.’
Boyle observes, "We’ve seen Congressman Conyers say the administration absolutely lied about these WMD, now Sen. Kennedy has said the war was procured in the basis of fraud."
But is it credible that Democrats really were in the dark when it came to intelligence questions, including those Democrats who sat on intelligence committees? And if they were, why did they not speak out vigorously before the war?
"I think they knew all along," said Boyle, "knew it was propaganda concocted by the spin-cons at the Pentagon."
On a possible congressional reaction, Boyle speculated, "They will say they did vote for war, but were lied to. They might act to protect themselves, by sponsoring a bill of impeachment."
"I think it will become clearer as time goes on, about the assertions regarding WMD -WMD that aren’t there - regretfully for everyone involved, including those serving so bravely in our military, the killed, wounded and the 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed."
"It’s a terrible mess."
adds that impeachment comes down to citizen participation: "The Congress
is empowered to impeach a sitting President, but will only do so in response to
overwhelming public pressure"
Meanwhile, as American anti-war demonstrators plan another march on the Capitol and San Francisco on October 25th, Imad Khadduri says he weeps over Iraq, which he says has served as fodder for the political ambitions of both Saddam Hussein and President Bush, with the Iraqi people a mere afterthought.
like so many others, has suffered at the hands of Saddam, yet says he fears
Blair and their senior officials lied to their people, knowingly, and waged a
criminal invasion …Is this the democracy model for a ‘liberated’
The scientist was motivated earlier this year to compile his notes on the Iraqi nuclear program, and review information with his former associates as well as release documents pertaining to covert operations of the pre-Gulf War program.
The author generously shared much of that information with this writer over a period of months starting in February 2003, in the form of phone interviews, email interviews, emails sent to him from other Iraqi nuclear officials on the history of the program, -all information that would wind up forming critical parts of his new book, "Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage." In addition, this writer received a rough draft of chapter four, the fascinating email trails between the IAEA’s "B," and the scientist, and finally an advance electronic copy of the book prior to its release.
The availability of the book, originally slated to be in American bookstores in December or January, has now been accelerated due to demand generated by the publication of this series. The Washington Post has expressed interest in Khadduri’s information, and investigative reporter Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker recently completed a one-hour interview with the scientist.
Khadduri predicts that the
"The Lion of Babylon will rise again," he predicts
Khadduri’s comments were mirrored by statements
made by US intelligence experts who previously warned administration officials
that Saddam posed no imminent threat to the
Classic military strategy theory often counsels against backing an opponent who is not an imminent threat into a "corner" and allowing him no "way out," warning that such a controversial move may create a greater danger than previously existed, thereby complicating military decision-making.
type of counsel also appeared in a still-secret report given to the President
on Oct. 2 2002. The summary, or "key judgments" section, of the
90-page National Intelligence Estimate was recently declassified. WorldNetDaily obtained a copy from the National Security
Council. (The report is different from the unclassified 25-page white
paper the CIA made public on its website last October.) Page 4 of the report said
"Saddam if sufficiently desperate might decide that only an organization such as al-Qaeda –with worldwide reach and extensive terrorist infrastructure, and already engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the United States could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct."
chemical or biological weapons attack against the
Osama bin Laden sidekick Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued
an ominous tape-recorded warning: "But we tell
"364 days of desecration"
prepared is the
only thing that's moving fast in
Sperry, author of "Crude Politics: How Bush's Oil Cronies Hijacked the War on Terrorism" has been highly critical of the Bush administration’s "diversion" from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, stating, "It's abundantly clear that Bush is playing politics with homeland security. Apparently his own political survival is more important than that of the people he swore to protect from al-Qaida after 9-11. That's not leadership, that's cowardice."
Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin recently wrote a scathing indictment of government failures, saying American politicians were spitting on the graves of the victims of 9/11.
Malkin warned that one day of remembrance
and rhetoric by corrupt, callous and incompetent politicians, will be followed
by "364 days of desecration in deed."
Meanwhile David Kay continues his search for WMD in
"It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions," says Kay, "and, in some areas, we may never reach that goal."
The information provided in this report raises serious questions about the information and processes used to reach those conclusions.
The fact that the US is having such difficulties reaching definitive conclusions about WMD after the launching of preemptive war -the philosophy of which is rooted in superlative and unerring prior intelligence – will continue to raise serious questions that demand substantive answers and action.
* * * * * *
The author has agreed to ship copies out himself to Etherzone readers who want to obtain a copy of the book now. Signed copies are also available and inquiries should be directed to Dr. Khadduri via his website: Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage www.iraqsnuclearmirage.com
* Sherrie Gossett is a Florida-based freelance writer, and formerly a researcher with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Her website, Digital Dope, will be online shortly, and will feature research, documents, photographs, and the behind-the-scenes stories of her articles, including details of her meetings with organized crime figures, government officials, undercover agents and other interesting characters. Sherrie is a regular investigative columnist for Ether Zone.
Sherrie Gossett can be reached at: email@example.com
Published in the October 24,
2003 issue of Ether Zone.
Copyright © 1997 - 2003 Ether Zone.
Published originally at EtherZone.com Republication in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without prior permission from the author or publisher.