Iraq: January 28, 2003

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Iraq is conducting an orchestrated campaign to hide weapons and related activities and materials from the UN inspectors. Highly-trained "clean up squads" have been assigned to sanitize areas evacuated by weapons makers after their sites are targeted by inspectors. Key equipment and documents are being hidden in many areas, including mosques and hospitals. The concealment operation is being run by Brigadier General Walid al-Nasri, who (like virtually all of the Iraqi leadership) comes from the town of Tikrit (Saddam's home town). He reports directly to Qusay Hussein, who runs the State Security Organization. Adnan al-Haideri, an Iraqi civil engineer who defected in 2001, told US intelligence about the construction of underground vaults and weapons production facilities. US spy planes, using devices that measure the gravitation field, were able to detect underground void spaces in areas identified by al-Haideri. These have now been targeted for penetrating bombs. Iraq is trying to keep its key scientists out of the reach of UN inspectors. Some have been sent overseas (to Yemen, Romania, Malaysia, Syria, and Singapore) while others have been declared legally dead.--Stephen V Cole

 

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