Sunday, February 19, 2006

Does the gun still have smoke?

Saddam said West faced WMD attack

Saddam Hussein told his aides that terrorists would attack the West using weapons of mass destruction - but said Iraq would not be involved.

According to hours of tape recordings made about 10 years ago and aired by ABC News, the Iraqi dictator was also briefed on how his country was defying United Nations resolutions by hiding its own WMD.

Saddam is heard saying: "Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before August 2 [a probable reference to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait] and told the British as well... that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction."

These would be hard to prevent, he said. "In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?"

"This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq."

Tariq Aziz, a senior henchman, then chipped in with some supportive thoughts of his own.

"Sir, the biological is very easy to make. It's so simple that any biologist can make a bottle of germs and drop it into a water tower and kill 100,000. This is not done by a state. No need to accuse a state. An individual can do it."

The recordings were captured by the Americans and handed to the FBI for translation.

They were made public by one of the interpreters. American officials confirmed that the leaked material was genuine.

There are also details on the well-established campaign to mislead the UN over Saddam's WMD programmes.

In a tape dating from April or May 1995, Saddam is briefed on Iraq's biological weapons programme. The regime had always denied that any such scheme existed.

Charles Duelfer, who led the post-invasion weapons hunt, said the tapes backed his findings that Saddam was preparing to resume WMD production once international pressure dissipated.



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