Hope you watched Hans Blix on TV this week, either being interviewed by Charlie Rose or on C-SPAN. You need to hear what Blix says with your own ears. The media elite frequently – perhaps deliberately – incorrectly reports what he says.
Some had it that Blix – retiring this month as chairman of the U.N. Monitoring and Verification Commission on Iraq – had blasted the Bush-Cheney administration in those interviews.
Blix didn’t blast Bush-Cheney, even though he justifiably could have.
“High level officials” – in both the Bush-Cheney and Clinton-Gore administrations – and their media sycophants have been waging a jihad against Blix for years, mostly for his stewardship from 1981 until 1997 as director general of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency.
Because those officials wanted above all else to depose Saddam Hussein, and they knew that most of us wouldn’t support a pre-emptive strike against Saddam unless we believed he was about to nuke us in our jammies.
But, before leaving the IAEA, Blix had reported that Saddam had never come close to producing enough fissile material to make even one nuke and that his multi-billion-dollar nuke-development program had been utterly destroyed, either in the Gulf War or by the IAEA in the years thereafter.
So, the warhawks had to discredit Blix. Incompetent. Hadn’t discovered that Saddam Hussein had an illicit nuke program before the Gulf War. Hadn’t discovered, much less destroyed, all the elements of it after the war.
Of course, ferreting out illicit nuke programs is not the IAEA’s job. That’s a job for our “intelligence community,” and their nuke assessments were as wrong on the eve of Bush-Quayle’s Operation Desert Storm as they are turning out to be for Bush-Cheney’s Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Which brings us to attempts by David Kay to discredit his former boss, Hans Blix.
David Kay was a U.N. bureaucrat – an IAEA section chief – from 1983 until 1991. Then he served briefly, from April 1991 until January 1992, as deputy director of the IAEA Iraq Action Team.
Remember the televised Iraqi-IAEA standoff in the parking lot?
There were reports that Kay was “fired” soon after “because of his connections with the U.S. intelligence community.”
In subsequent interviews, Kay admitted that he made what he called a “Faustian bargain” with the intelligence community:
Once you were dealing in a clandestine, competitive environment, you needed access to satellite photography, access to signals intercept, access to measurements of [radioactivity] leakage and contamination from the programs, so you could identify where it is.
Access to defectors – who, after all, were not defecting to the U.N.; they were defecting to national governments – to use them.
So, from the very beginning, you needed that expertise; but I can say for myself personally – and I’m really only comfortable talking about myself – although a number of us discussed this in the early days – I realize it was always a bargain with the Devil – spies spying.
Although Blix publicly denied that Kay was “fired,” it’s very clear that Blix would never have countenanced such “Faustian” bargains by one of his underlings.
How did Kay repay Blix for defending him? Well, he repeatedly testified before congressional committees in the months preceding Operation Iraqi Freedom as to the ineptness of Blix and the U.N. inspection regimes. Kay argued that Saddam certainly had “weapons of mass destruction” that the UN inspectors would never find and that it would ultimately be necessary to invade and occupy Iraq to find them.
Wait a minute. Isn’t that the same David Kay that CIA Director Tenet has just put in charge of finding those WMDs that even the U.S. occupation force has been searching for and can’t find?
Yes, it is.
And didn’t Kay just claim to have found an important cache of nuke stuff that Blix and ElBaradei missed? Engineering drawings for a “sub-critical” gas centrifuge, buried in 1991 before the IAEA got to Iraq?
Yes, but Blix knew the Iraqis hadn’t given him all the drawings, and noted in his 1997 report:
However, since the IAEA has assessed as credible Iraq’s claim to have successfully developed and tested a single cylinder sub-critical centrifuge machine which could have been exploited to produced highly enriched uranium in weapon-significant amounts, the recovery of the drawings would do little to change the assessment of Iraq’s capabilities in this area.
And what was that assessment?
That Saddam had never come close to producing enough fissile material to make even one nuke.