By Eric Margolis
October 18, 2014
Back in the 1990’s, journalists used to joke, “Of course we know Iraq has chemical weapons. We have the delivery receipts to prove it!”
The joke turned out to be the exact truth.
While covering Iraq in 1990 – just before the first massive US bombing campaign – I discovered the US and Britain had secretly built a germ weapons arsenal for Iraq to use against Iran in the eight year-Iran-Iraq War.
This while both the US and Britain were fulminating with breathtaking hypocrisy against the alleged dangers of Iraq’s supposed WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction) that never existed. Some years later, the two leading apostles of attacking Iraq, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, delivered Philippics against Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs while never mentioning that high level of western support for Iraq’s late leader.
Last week the widely read “New York Times” ran a multi-page exposé entitled “Abandoned Chemical Weapons and Secret Casualties in Iraq.”
The NY Times played a key role in driving the US into two wars against Iraq. America’s leading newspaper is finally facing part of the ugly truth over Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the pretext used by the US to bomb, then invade Iraq. Perhaps it’s trying to atone, or clear its besmirched name.
Iraq had no nuclear weapons, as the US falsely claimed. But it did have an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons – delivered by the western powers. All were battlefield arms, not strategic, weapons. None could be delivered more than 100 kms.
According to the “New York Times,” after the second war against Iraq in 2003, 17 US servicemen and seven Iraqis were injured by mustard and nerve gas after they dug up buried caches of Iraq’s 1980’s chemical weapons. Shamefully, their plight was kept secret by the Pentagon; the soldiers were refused adequate medical care in order to cover up this sordid story.
But what I uncovered in Baghdad was far worse.
I found two British scientists who had been employed at Iraq’s top secret Salman Pak chemical and biowarfare laboratory near Baghdad. The Brits confided to me they were part of a large technical team secretly organized and “seconded” to Iraq in the mid-1980’s by the British government and the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service. Their goal was to develop and “weaponize” anthrax, plague, botulism and other pathogens for use as tactical germ weapons.