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Saddam hides arsenal in people's homes

Saddam hides arsenal in people's homes
by Michael Evans
Intelligence reports show extent of deception by Saddam
Saddam hides arsenal in people's homes
by Michael Evans
Intelligence reports show extent of deception by Saddam

SADDAM HUSSEIN has ordered hundreds of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors.
According to a stream of intelligence now emerging from inside Iraq, the full extent of the Iraqi leader's deception operation is now becoming apparent. As the UN inspectors knock on the doors of the major military sites in Iraq, suspected of housing chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, the bulk of the evidence is being secreted away in people's homes.

The evidence of this latest concealment ploy is judged to be so damning that President Bush and Tony Blair are considering making a personal appeal to the Iraqi officials involved to let the inspectors know what is going on.

Intelligence picked up from within Iraq and from electronic intercepts of Iraqi communications has revealed that scientists, civil servants and Baath Party officials have all been ordered to store key components of Saddam's secret weapons of mass destruction programme in their homes.

Iraqi farmers have also been ordered to play their part, according to intelligence sources. One source said that farmers were being told to hide drums of chemicals among stocks of pesticides.

In each case, the scientists, officials and farmers are being warned that they and their families will face severe penalties if they fail to hide these stocks of chemicals and biological materials from prying UN inspectors. Computers and laptops containing vital information about the weapons of mass destruction programme are also being hidden in people's homes.

The intelligence sources said that UN inspectors were aware of what American and other Western agencies were uncovering. However, it made their job almost impossible because they would have no idea where to start if they had to search individual homes.

The inspectors, however, do have the power under the Security Council resolution to seek interviews with individual officials and scientists suspected of having information about the weapons of mass destruction programme.

A senior Whitehall official said Mr Blair was considering reminding people in Iraq that they all had the same obligations as their leader to be open with the UN inspectors. It is hoped that at least some of those ordered to hide evidence in their homes might have the courage to come forward.

Apart from the evidence of deception, the latest intelligence has also uncovered a totally different mood in Iraq from the lead-up to the 1991 Gulf War. Then, there was little or no evidence that the people of Iraq were opposed to Saddam. Now, however, there are signs of a growing disaffection. One intelligence source said that at this stage the mood of discontent was only "simmering" because the Iraqi people knew that if "they put their heads above the parapet they and their families would face the consequences".

However, the intelligence material emerging in recent weeks has uncovered a number of startling facts.

First, Saddam has been sufficiently worried about potential internal opposition to his regime to take the extraordinary step of canvassing opinion in all the key cities. Intelligence sources say that Kurds have been used to carry out the survey.

The answers coming back from the quasi-opinion poll, had given strong indications that people were looking towards a post-Saddam era and wondering whether it would improve their standard of living. To counter this, Saddam's regime has begun circulating rumours in Iraq that even if he were to fall from power, there would be no lifting of sanctions.

One intelligence source said the very fact that Saddam had felt it necessary to check the opinions of Iraqi people was one of the most surprising pieces of information to come out of Baghdad in recent weeks. One piece of feedback from the survey was that people were worried that if Saddam were toppled, Iraq would split up as a country. The first sign of possible internal dissent came during the referendum in Iraq last month when Saddam was supposedly given a 100 per cent "yes" vote for continuing in office. Baghdad claimed it was also a 100 per cent turnout. However, intelligence emerging since then has revealed that only one in three people actually voted.

Second, as a sign of Saddam's unease over the loyalty of his officials in Baghdad, he has begun handing out cars to everyone to keep them happy. The intelligence sources said senior officials were being given Toyota Avalons and junior officials South Korean-made Kias.

Third, Iraqi troops are now being required to go through the equivalent of the British system of positive vetting every three months to test their loyalties to Saddam. Security officials have been ordered to investigate each individual and his family.

Loyalties are thought to be near breaking-point in some of the more far-flung towns and cities, where there is evidence that troops and police are either not being paid or are receiving subsistence salaries.

One piece of intelligence revealed that in the town of Dahuk in northern Iraq, close to the Turkish border, the police had not been paid since September. Iraqi soldiers based at two barracks in Dahuk were also being paid far less than the average wage in Iraq. Fourth, Saddam who is not known to be a very religious person, has ordered his officials to spread rumours that the Americans want to invade Iraq in order to convert everyone to Christianity. He has also written a prayer.

The assessment of all the latest intelligence is that although cracks are now beginning to appear in the support for Saddam, it will have little impact on the Iraqi leader himself. It is believed he will never given up his weapons of mass destruction because they represent the means by which he can keep his people cowed.

homepage: homepage: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-496333,00.html

that's all fine and dandy, but... 29.Nov.2002 20:09

dig dug

Why would hiding the stuff in people's homes be so much tougher for the inspectors? If there are weapons, do you think they will not be found? And in the mean time, I present you with some comic relief...


do the math. 29.Nov.2002 20:53


you can't be this dumb.

Plan A: Giant Nuke Lab 5 square miles, able to be seen by the space shuttle.

Plan B: hundreds of micro labs in the basements, schools, mosques, of Iraq. Anybody who knows they are there runs the risk of having his family murdered in front of him if he even discusses it with anybody.

So, If you pick plan A, then you are quailifyed to be a UN weapons inspector too.

dumb? 29.Nov.2002 21:58

dig dug

We can see very small things from space. I can assure you that a bio-weapons lab does not consist of just a couple of test tubes--it has larger objects. Further, do you think there would be no informants out of hundreds of people? Not one of them would hate Saddam and think he/she could get away with exposing him? You think America wouldn't grant political immunity in a heartbeat?

Let's talk about this. Having many micro labs increases the need for communication, which increases the chance of an intercepted communication. Do you really believe that, out of all the intercepted conversations, we wouldn't have a clue where to look? For crying out loud, phone calls can be pinpointed pretty well. You really are a gullible, fear-mongering sort, aren't you?

by the way 29.Nov.2002 22:14

dig dug

The point of my first posting was not to question that Saddam may have micro labs--it was to question his ability to keep them hidden.

by the way 29.Nov.2002 22:15

dig dug

The point of my first posting was not to question that Saddam may have micro labs--it was to question his ability to keep them hidden.

not functioning , just hidden 30.Nov.2002 16:21


I never said it had to be operational, just hidden, until all of this UN inspection non-sense passes.

operational or not... 30.Nov.2002 20:43

dig dug

If intercepted communications have given them this much info already then we're in good shape. Let's assume there are no more intercepted communications from this point.

1. How many Baath Party officials are there? Not so many, I would imagine, that a team the size of the current inspections team couldn't inspect all of their homes in a few months. Could be wrong here but...

2. People have leaky lips. Do you think that greed could not be turned against Saddam? Example. You're scientist Bob--one among dozens. Your big-mouthed coworked Sam has shot off his mouth about hiding weapons. The inspectors stop by your house and do what they do at every house--if you tell us where the weapons are, we'll see to it that you get one million dollars and diplomatic immunity in the country of your choice. Welllll, Bob, you'll have a lot of convincing to do if you tell me that not one of your co-workers would turn someone in to escape Saddam--especially when it could be done discretely as described here.

3. Doesn't it seem odd to you that this "one source [who] said that farmers were being told to hide drums of chemicals among stocks of pesticides" wasn't able to offer any clue as to which farmers might be told to hide these chemicals? How many farms could there be in that person's town/city?

It just doesn't seem to me that we're dealing with a real showstopper here. There seems to be plenty to go on, and if there's not, then I have to question the validity of these "sources". Also, I don't buy into the assertion that spreading the components out to hundreds of locations (and involving hundreds of additional people) is any more effective than hiding those awful weapons in just a few locations (without involving any additional people).

I want to see Saddam go, but come on people, let's not fall all over ourselves to buy into information we're being fed through American and British intelligence reports. They're the ones who have the most to gain from getting the ok to kid Saddam's little ass, remember?