Saddam tapes: cover story - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Saddam tapes: cover story

More from, the Tierney translation of Saddam Hussein’s tapes recordings of meetings with his staff with regard WMD.

Following is a section that features Saddam and an unidentified male briefer.  They are discussing deceiving the UN inspections process by creating a cover story.


Tierney believes this is generally a discussion of “eliminating the technical mines’ to end the inspection process.  Tierney also believes the briefer is joking when he says he “wouldn’t know about the presence (of WMD).”  Tierney believes Saddam’s order is to let UNSCOM confirm erroneous pre-war assessments.

I puzzle if this is a general discussion of WMD or if it is specific to one of the four sensitive areas: chemical, biological, missiles, nuclear?.

There is no date to the discussion.  The references seem to suggest a time before UNSCOM was kicked out by Iraq in the summer, 1998.

SH:   The teams that are now searching for them are not doing so to verify the facts as they are.  They are doing so to create cover through any means possible, technically, I mean, even though umawiyat, but they write it up technically.

SH:  The umawiyat are many, but they write it technically, politically, on how to be dignified…this is correct…I mean they are now more angry at us than before the hostility.

SH:  Before the hostility, they had information and deductions that we were working in the direction we described, a dangerous direction.  Now, we can confirm for them this false direction.  I mean, according to the explanation.

SH:  That is, there was a group of these guys and those guys, but all ended, and with that, the thing they will confirm is our cover story.  Good, this is the way it goes…they are present.

SH:  there isn’t anybody that is going to give away a card…well…this is- (indistinct) attempt in any sea’a.

Unidentified male: We must study how we can package this cover story so that we can have a program that won’t cause anxiety in the future, and not work in a program that will cause anxiety again.

SH: Let them wadfu us.

Unidentified Male:  Let them wadfu us (laughs) really, I mean, this issue, there is no end to it, definitely

SH: They would refuse, but they would not be able to pay (indistinct) the return is very high…not standard (laughs)…

The clue I seize upon for deeper analysis is when Saddam Hussein speaks of a time “before the hostility.”  We know these tapes were made of many hundred, thousands of hours from originals: this is a best of the best of, from recordings between 1988 and at least after 2000.  Therefore “before the hostility” suggests he means before the Gulf War, 1990-1991.

Saddam Hussein says “they had information and deductions that we were working in the direction we described….”

What could he be referring to?  WMD in general?  Unlikely, since before the Gulf War, he had used missiles and chemical weapons.  There was no reason to deduce from the outside of the country: Iraq’s chemical weapons arsenal and missile arsenal was well known.

This leaves the other two areas of inspection, the two most dangerous WMD: biological and nuclear.  Saddam Hussein says, “…a dangerous direction.”  This means that before the war, outsiders had knowledge, and could deduce, that Iraq was working in biological or nuclear in a criminal way.  Did the US have good knowledge of Iraq’s biological or nuclear before the war?  Both?  Which?

Saddam Hussein adds in a sinister fashion, “Now we can confirm for them this false direction.  I mean, according to the explanation…”

I interpret this to mean that Iraq was about to confirm to the UNSCOM, sometime in the mid 90s (UNSCOM was kicked out in Summer, 1998) that the deductions from before the Gulf War were correct.  This does not mean that Iraq was going to tell the truth.  It was going to make UNSCOM think it had discovered something in WMD that up to this point Iraq had been concealing.

Again, is this biological or nuclear?     Both fit the pattern.  At this writing, I am leaning toward nuclear, because the Iraq nuclear program was a surprise to the UN after the Gulf War (how far along it was, how it had recovered from the Israeli bombing in 1981) and because confirming to the UN something it already knew did not cost Iraq anything.

The questions then center on what was Iraq concealing about its nuclear program?  If it is feeding UNSCOM a cover story, what is underneath?

All questions to ask and ask again.  There are no answers here, just gigantic puzzles.  There is also very loud indication that we have not learned enough of the Iraqi WMD programs that UNSCOM never found, and that no one has accounted for to this day.

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