By Glen Rangwala, Lecturer in Politics at University of Cambridge, UK - See also Links to the more polemic articles written by Glen Rangwala.
Misleading references to the findings of inspections
(a) Tony Blair, 30 May 2003: "There is no doubt about the chemical programme, the biological programme, indeed the nuclear weapons programme. All that is well documented by the United Nations."
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, statement to the Security Council, 7 March 2003: "After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq."
UNMOVIC Executive-Chairman Hans Blix, interview with the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel, 23 May 2003: "I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction and I am beginning to suspect there possibly were not."
Hans Blix, statement to the Security Council, 7 March 2003: "the numerous initiatives, which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues, can be seen as 'active', or even 'proactive'".
Hans Blix, Briefing to the Security Council, 15 February 2003: "To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist."
and Jack Straw, 17 March 2003, House of Commons (introducing the motion for the following day's debate):
"We know that this man has got weapons of mass destruction. That sounds like a slightly abstract phrase, but what we are talking about is chemical weapons, biological weapons, viruses, bacilli and anthrax—10,000 litres of anthrax—that he has. We know that he has it, Dr. Blix points that out and he has failed to account for that."
Hans Blix, statement of 10 September 2002: "this is not the same as saying there are weapons of mass destruction. If I had solid evidence that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction or were constructing such weapons I would take it to the Security Council."
(e) Tony Blair in the Independent on Sunday, 2 March 2003:
"[..] the UN has tried unsuccessfully for 12 years to get Saddam to disarm peacefully. And if he doesn't co-operate then no number of inspectors and no amount of time is going to ensure it happens in a country almost twice as big as the UK. The UN inspectors found no trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological weapons programme – which he claimed didn't exist – until his lies were revealed by his son-in-law. Only then did the inspectors find over 8,000 litres of concentrated anthrax and other biological weapons, and a factory to make more."
("My Christian conscience is clear over war", 2 March 2003)
i) Blair: "The UN inspectors found no trace at all of Saddam's offensive biological weapons programme – which he claimed didn't exist – until his lies were revealed by his son-in-law." Jack Straw repeated the same falsehood in an interview on 1 June 2003: "[...] they denied that they had a nuclear or biological weapon programme - and carried on denying it [...] and only finally did the truth about this weapons programme come out when an individual defected."
Really: Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, defected on the night of 7th August 1995. Inspectors had already reported six weeks earlier (on 20 June) that:
"the only conclusion that can be drawn is that there is a high risk that Iraq purchased [items and materials required to produce biological warfare agents] and used them at least in part for proscribed purposes - the production of agents for biological weapons".
Report of 20 June 1995, para.17, at:
This report prompted the Iraqi government to acknowledge its offensive biological weapons programme. UNSCOM later reported:
"Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said that his Government ... would now address the issue of its biological weapons programme. The following day, on 1 July 1995, Iraq made a brief oral presentation in the course of which it acknowledged an offensive biological weapons programme, including the production of a number of biological agents" ... "Because of the acknowledgement that Iraq's programme was offensive in nature, it was considered a breakthrough in the stalemate that had existed between the Commission and Iraq."
Report of 11 October 1995, para.11 and 27, at:
ii) Blair: Only then did the inspectors find over 8,000 litres of concentrated anthrax and other biological weapons, and a factory to make more."
Really: inspectors never found any anthrax stocks, which Iraq declared were destroyed in 1991. The factory at which the anthrax was made, al-Hakam, had been under investigation since 1991:
"The first UNSCOM biological team arrived in Iraq, in early August 1991, and inspected the facility at Al Salman that had been destroyed by bombing in the Gulf War. Inspections of Al Hakam, Al Fudhaliyah, Al Daura and other sites followed in September and October 1991. By the time of its first inspection, Al Hakam had been stripped of any obvious signs of its former role, and had been converted into a civilian facility."
UNMOVIC working document, "Unresolved Disarmament Issues" (6 March 2003), p.160, at: