A US Media Mystery:
The Case of the Missing Information about Iraqs Weapons
The plot? The missing 8,000 pages the United States edited out of Iraqs 11,800-page dossier on weapons before it passed on a sanitized version to the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, according to a December 22, 2002 story in the Glasgow, Scotland Sunday Herald.
The five permanent members of the Security Council—the US, the UK, France, China and Russia—were given access to the complete top secret version of the dossier.
Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan called it unfortunate that the UN had allowed the US to take the only complete dossier and edit it. Norway, a fellow (non-permanent) member of the Security Council, was miffed; its UN spokesperson said Norway felt like it was being treated like a second-class country because it wasnt made privy to the complete dossier.
Without all the information, the authors point out, the non-permanent members of the Security Council will have no way of testing the US claims for themselves if the US and the UK go back to the Security Council seeking authorization to wage war on Iraq due to alleged breaches of resolution 1441. The UN weapons inspectors report is expected to be made to the UN this month.
Hans von Sponeck, former Assistant General Secretary of the UN and the UNs humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq until 2000, told the Scottish authors, This is an outrageous attempt by the US to mislead.
So now we know about the missing pages. But the Scottish journalists dont offer a clue as to what was in them. Yet surely we need to know that information in order to understand why those pages were removed.
We watched and waited for more details, thinking our major media would certainly be on the case, giving front-page coverage to this monumental mystery. But no—it was holiday time; the front pages were filled with stories about shoppers in malls and ruminations about North Korea.
Turns out the needed information had already been revealed in the US on December 18—by way of a Geneva-based reporter, Andreas Zumach. He broke the story on the national listener-sponsored radio and television show "Democracy Now!, reporting that he had found that the missing pages provided the names of US corporations, government agencies and even nuclear labs that over the years have helped arm Iraq, and train Iraqi personnel in the use of these arms—illegally.
"We have 24 major U.S. companies listed in the report who gave very substantial support, especially to the biological weapons program but also to the missile and nuclear weapons program," Zumach said. "Pretty much everything was illegal in the case of nuclear and biological weapons. Every form of cooperation and supplies was outlawed in the 1970s."
US corporations listed in the missing pages of the report include Hewlett Packard, DuPont, Honeywell, Rockwell, Tectronics, Bechtel, International Computer Systems, Unisys, Sperry and TI Coating. Further, the missing information shows that US governmental agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Agriculture, as well as the U.S. government nuclear weapons laboratories Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia, all illegally helped Iraq to build its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs by providing supplies and/or training.
Zumach's Berlin-based paper Die Tageszeitung was set to publish a full list of companies and nations who have aided Iraq. Most prominent among them is Germany, which had more business ties to Iraq than the US, with about 80 companies listed in Iraq's report. Some German companies continued to do business with Iraq until last year, according to the report.
Iraq provided two copies of its full 12,000-page report, one to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Geneva, and one to the UN in New York. Zumach claims the US broke an agreement of the Security Council and pressured Colombia, which at the time was presiding over the Council, to take possession of the UN's only copy. The US then made copies of the report only for the four other permanent Security Council nations. Several days later, when the other members of the Security Council received their copies, all references to foreign companies had been removed.
So, readers—do you recall reading anything about all this in The Sun or your own hometown paper? Do you realize that Democracy Now—though available through the National Public Radio system—is not one of the programs Baltimores local NPR affiliate station, WYPR, chooses to air?
Are you aware that what you are reading here just might be the only Baltimore-based news report on this subject up until now? And doesnt it mystify you that youre finding it here, in a community newspaper, when it ought to be on the front pages all across the US, and widely reported on the TV and radio news shows?
The real mystery, then, isnt so much the missing pages—its the case of the missing news. And what possible motive could there be for this news to be omitted?
Now well leave you on your own. Here are two references to get you started, as you become your own best investigative reporter:
TheMemoryHole.Org site has published The Corporations That Supplied Iraq's Weapons Program, based on a translation of an article by Andreas Zumach appearing in the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung.
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This story was published on January 8, 2003.