Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1842

THE most scaremongering excuse for war has turned out to be the biggest lie the US and British governments have yet cooked up. They claimed Iraq was on the brink of developing nuclear weapons. That accusation was a central part of the 'dossier' Tony Blair published on 24 September last year.

Now Mohamed El Baradei, who is in charge of nuclear inspections, says the entire story is based on fake documents. Blair's dossier has already been shown to be mostly lifted from an old student thesis. This latest expos... concerns the dossier's claim that Iraq had between 1999 and 2001 been buying uranium for use in nuclear weapons from 'an African state'. Two months after the dossier was published the US state department named Niger as the state responsible. Mohamed El Baradei reported to the United Nations Security Council last week that 'documents that formed the bases for the report of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic. These specific allegations are unfounded.'

The inspectors discovered this by simply comparing the documents with genuine letters from the Niger government. Signatures and letterheads did not match. El Baradei also repeated his view that it was 'highly unlikely' that aluminium tubes Iraq had tried to purchase could be used in a nuclear programme. The US first made that claim on 12 September last year. Later that month the British government embellished it.

The atomic arms inspectors have also rubbished the US/British story that Iraq was trying to obtain special magnets for use in turning uranium into the basis for an atomic bomb. Nothing is now left of the 'evidence' Bush and Blair have presented of Iraq's nuclear arms.

That's why they are shifting the goalposts to broaden the definition of 'weapons of mass destruction'. They do not, of course, include their own weapons on the list-including cluster bombs, the planned use of CS gas on the battlefield, fuel air explosives and other arms. Instead, they were trying to create a panic this week over the discovery of an unmanned souped-up glider in Iraq. They said it 'could' carry chemical weapons. But so could a hot air balloon.

Anything the Iraqi army possesses is as nothing next to the enormous destructive power of the US military. The talk of 'disarming Iraq' is not about avoiding war. It is about removing any obstacle to US and British forces so their invasion becomes a one sided slaughter.

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Sat 15 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1842
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