Dateline: 2003

This is the weekly electronic information service of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility

Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail: 
WNII is archived at: http://inesglobal.org/archive.htm    
INES homepages: http://inesglobal.org       http://www.inesglobal.com/
INES International Office   
INES Chair: Prof. Armin Tenner    [Please note that the first "1" in q18 is the number one, while the last "l" is an "L"]

CONTENTS of WNII No. 28/2003


New initiative: Iraq Revenue Watch http://www.iraqrevenuewatch.org/ 

The Open Society Institute (OSI) "has launched a new initiative called Iraq Revenue Watch. Iraq Revenue Watch will monitor Iraq's oil industry to ensure that it is managed with the highest standards of transparency and that the benefits of national oil wealth flow to the people of Iraq."

Iraq Revenue Watch's website (as indicated above) includes:

To contact Iraq Revenue Watch, write to: <> 

UNMOVIC head says U.S., U.K WMD claims unfounded (Sources: RFE/RL Iraq Report, Vol. 6, No. 37, 5 Sept 03; Reuters, 16 Sept 03)

The acting head of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Demetrius Perricos, told Athens weekly "Kiriakatiki Elevtherotipia" in an interview published on 31 August that claims made by the U.S. and U.K. regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs prior to the outbreak of the war were unfounded.

Asked about claims made by the Blair administration that Iraq could launch biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of receiving the order, Perricos said: "There is no doubt that the phrase 'within 45 minutes' included in the British report was incorrect. The picture of a country fully ready to use weapons of mass destruction, which it supposedly had, was presented. However, how reliable was the information used by the British and American governments to achieve the political decisions they sought?  The claim on the Iraqi capability to stage overwhelming attacks within 45 minutes is being reversed, there has been no uranium, and the aluminum piping that was supposedly used to enrich the uranium might be simply intended for shells. Some of the most important elements presented are falling apart."

Perricos later noted that UNMOVIC carried out inspections for nearly four months, and the Iraq Survey group has been searching for WMD in Iraq since June, saying, "It is now approximately nine months that inspections have been carried out and nothing has been found."

Former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix now believes Iraq destroyed its weapons of mass destruction 10 years ago and that intelligence agencies were wrong in their weapons assessment that led to war.

In an interview with Australian radio from Sweden, Blix said the search for evidence of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons would probably only uncover documents at best.

"I'm certainly more and more to the conclusion that Iraq has, as they maintained, destroyed almost all of what they had in the summer of 1991," Blix said.

In 1991, the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found what it called a secret nuclear weapons program in Iraq. It spent the next seven years dismantling Baghdad's nuclear capability, until its inspectors were thrown out of Iraq. Blix himself spent three years searching for Iraqi chemical, biological and ballistic missiles as head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

One Billion dollars ... for "weapons search" (Source: New York Times, 2 Oct 03)

The Bush administration is seeking more than US$600 million from Congress to continue the hunt for conclusive evidence that Saddam Hussein's government had an illegal weapons program. The money, part of the White House's request for $87 billion in supplemental spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, comes on top of at least $300 million that has already been spent on the weapons search, officials said.

The budget figures for the weapons search are included in the classified part of the administration's supplemental appropriations request, and have not been made public. The size of the request suggests the White House is determined to keep searching for unconventional weapons or evidence that they were being developed under Mr. Hussein. The search so far has turned up no solid evidence that Iraq had chemical, biological or nuclear weapons when the American invasion began in March, according to administration officials.

But Syria "is continuing to develop an offensive biological weapons capability " (Source. New York Times, 16 September 03)

Despite the fact that so far, no proof for the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has been found, the US is still working with similar claims, now accusing Syria. In early September, a copy of a public testimony to the International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, was provided to The New York Times by individuals who feel that the accusations against Syria have received insufficient attention. In this testimony, John R. Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control, says the administration is concerned about what it sees as Syria's continuing support for terrorist groups like Hamas, and he reiterated accusations that Syria has an ambitious program to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

The testimony also alleges that Syria has "a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin that can be delivered by aircraft or ballistic missiles, and has engaged in the research and development of more toxic and persistent nerve agents such as VX." Syria is not a party to the international treaty banning chemical weapons.

Syria, the statement asserts, "is continuing to develop an offensive biological weapons capability" and has not signed the treaty banning those weapons. The testimony also expresses concern about Syria's nuclear activities, noting that Russia and Syria "have approved a draft program on cooperation on civil nuclear power," expertise that could be applied to a weapons program.

Syria has denied that it has unconventional weapons.

U.S. Forces Detain Dozens Of Iraqi Scientists (Sources: IslamOnline.net & News Agencies, 16 August 03)

Baghdad University rector Dr. Samy Ahmed Al-Mozaffer declared that the U.S. Occupation forces detained tens of Iraqi scientists, including a number of senior university professors from Baghdad, Mustansiriya and the Technological universities. "There is something fishy behind such detentions, as interviews are held with university professors in secret and we don't know what is happening during them," Al-Mozaffer said in statements he made to reporters on August 15.

"We drew the professors' attention to the necessity of avoiding any dialogue with foreign bodies that have intentions and targets to the detriment of the interests of the country," he added.

Al-Mozaffer pointed out that the U.S. occupation forces detained Dr. Alice Krikour, professor of Bacteriology, then released her in 10 days. They have also detained Dr. Hazem Mohamed Ali of the faculty of medicine, without releasing him so far.

"We asked them [the scientists who have been detained then released] about the investigations but got no accurate information. Some said: The questions were about the past armament program," Mozaffer said.

Replying a question posed by IslamOnline.net about the measures taken by the university president in this regard, Dr. Mozaffer said, "I've talked with all parties concerned, I sent a list of the names of those detained professors to the head of the civil administration. Yet, the problem persists."

Immigration To The States

Commenting on this news, Mohammed Majid, a holder of an MD in life sciences, said, "I think the Americans try to persuade those scientists to immigrate to the U.S.. They aim to allure those scientists to travel to the states in return for some privileges. They also try to rob Iraq out of its scientific minds to make it a consumer country only."

Majid pointed out that the U.S. "has tried through investigation committees to persuade several scientists to work abroad following the previous deposed regime."

On his part, Hamid Hashim Al-Amery, a lecturer in the Technological University, said, "Education sector suffered a lot during the pre-war era and was exposed to huge pressures under the deposed President's regime. This has led to the immigration of Iraqi scientists."

"My father is a scientist who is specialized in the chemical field. He was summoned by the investigation committees before the war. Four days ago, a friend of his called and suggested to immigrate to the states to live a better life and obtain the U.S. nationality but my father categorically refused," Soad Abdel Karim, an Iraqi citizen, said.

[Editor's note: Up to now, I could not find any further news/information on this item which includes that also, I could not get hold of any confirmation.]

Iraqis Remain Food Insecure - Unemployed Poor (Source: Nathaniel Hurd, Consultant on Iraq policy, 23 Sep 03)

Despite a better cereal harvest and the lifting of economic sanctions, according to a report published on 23 September by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), nearly half of the 26.3 million Iraqis are estimated to be poor and in need of assistance.

The effects of war, economic sanctions and three years of severe drought (1999-2001) have seriously eroded the livelihoods base of Iraqis, FAO/WFP said in the food supply and nutrition assessment mission report.

Currently about 60 percent of the Iraqi population are unemployed and depend largely on public food rations.

While starvation has been averted, chronic malnutrition persists among several million vulnerable people, including some 100 000 refugees and around 200 000 internally displaced people.

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