|News and opinions on situation in Iraq|
|18/10/03||Hamza's War By Gordon Prather|
You remember Khidir Hamza, don't you? The “defector” who authored – on the eve of the 2000 presidential election – “Saddam's Bombmaker”?
David A. Kay – yes, that David Kay – was quoted on the book's cover thusly: “I would urge that this book be required reading for the next American president, because as Dr. Hamza makes clear, as long as Saddam remains in power, he will seek weapons of mass destruction to dominate the Middle East.”
This time last year, Richard Perle – then chairman of the Defense Policy Board – was vouching for Hamza's authenticity to congressional and administration pooh-bahs.
Courtesy Perle, Hamza also gave interviews and speeches, appeared on TV talk shows and testified before congressional committees, frequently in company with David Kay.
According to Hamza, the Iraqis were secretly reconstituting a nuke program and would have several nukes in a matter of months, not years. The International Atomic Energy Agency had been – and would always be – ineffective. The only way to keep Saddam from nuking us in our jammies would be to invade and occupy Iraq.
Hamza was wrong on all counts.
The IAEA has been effective. The CIA didn't discover Saddam's secret nuke program in the aftermath of the Gulf War. The IAEA did.
The IAEA destroyed all those facilities and materials that had survived the war and by 1998 was able to make the following assessment.
There were no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons. There were no indications to suggest that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapons-grade nuclear material through its indigenous processes.
There were no indications that Iraq otherwise clandestinely acquired weapons-usable material. There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.
Then, early this year – on the eve of Hamza's War – the truth came out about Saddam's “bombmaker.”
You see, Gen. Hussein Kamal – Saddam's son-in-law – had defected to Jordan in 1995, carrying with him thousands of documents on Iraq's “weapons of mass destruction” program. Kamal was extensively interrogated by the CIA, and by Rolf Ekeus of the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq and Maurizio Zifferero of the IAEA Action Team. The “intelligence” the CIA derived from the interrogations is still highly classified, but Zifferero's interview notes were made public for the first time early this year.
Basically, Kamal claimed all Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and the makings thereof had been destroyed, either during the Gulf War or under his orders in the years immediately thereafter.
“Nothing remained,” Kamal said.
As we now know, Kamal told the truth.
Ziffereo asked Kamal about Hamza, who had “fled” Iraq shortly before Kamal and was representing himself to the IAEA and to the CIA as having been in charge of Iraq's nuke program. Quoth Kamal:
“He is a professional liar. He worked with us, but he was useless and was always looking for promotions. He consulted with me but could not deliver anything. Yes, his original name is Khidir, but we called him Hazem. He went to Baghdad University then left Iraq. He is very bad.
So, the CIA has known all along that Hamza was a fraud. Nevertheless, they allowed Hamza – and David Kay – to mislead Congress right up until the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Even when a genuine Iraqi nuke scientist – Imad Khadduri – “outed” Hamza last November, the media elite paid little attention.
Khadduri has a M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in nuclear reactor technology from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Khadduri worked in the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 until 1998, when he immigrated to Canada.
According to Khadduri, in all those years, Hamza “did not, even remotely, get involved in any scientific research – except for journalistic articles – dealing with the fission bomb, its components or its effects.”
Hamza was in Iraq's nuke program for a few months, but was “kicked out of the program at the end of 1987 for stealing a few air conditioning units from the building assigned to his project.” Hamza “retired from the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission in 1989 and became a college lecturer, a stock market swindler and a shady business middle-man.”
Khadduri has just written his own book about Iraq's nuke program. It is called “Iraq's Nuclear Mirage: Memoirs and Delusions.”
Where is Hamza, now? In Iraq with David Kay, apparently still under “contract” with the CIA.
Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. — ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.