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Here We WMD Again: Iraq and the Mythical Pakistani Package

Posted on Mar 30, 2010
AP / Hadi Mizban

By Scott Ritter

(Page 3)

About the same time that the IAEA coordinated with Israeli intelligence on the seizure of centrifuge parts in Jordan, UNSCOM was engaged in a similar activity, only this time involving ballistic missile components acquired in Russia and shipped via Jordan into Iraq. In July 1995, I had begun a sensitive intelligence-based cooperation, on behalf of UNSCOM, with Israel. One of the principal issues being investigated was that of Iraqi concealment of weapons of mass destruction from UNSCOM and the IAEA. While the original focus was on material in the possession of Iraq prior to 1991, in November 1995 Israel provided UNSCOM with timely information about an ongoing Iraqi effort to procure ballistic missile parts. Using this information, UNSCOM was able to coordinate with the Jordanian government and seize these missile parts 24 hours before they were scheduled to be shipped on to Iraq. As the lead investigator for UNSCOM on this matter, I was given the additional task of looking into ongoing covert procurement activity by Iraq.

By the spring of 1996, this investigation had uncovered a wealth of information, in the form of documents and through interviews with involved personnel. This information pointed to a clear link between the needs of Iraqi industry (in this case, that which was associated with missile production) and the Mukhabarat, which oversaw the various mechanisms associated with procurement, including the creation and vetting of front companies, the placement of Iraqi and non-Iraqi personnel as commercial representatives, and the use of commercial attachés assigned to overseas embassies as couriers for money and information. Because this procurement activity was believed to be relevant to all involved proscribed weapons activities, and not simply ballistic missiles, the decision was made to approach the IAEA for the purpose of engaging in a coordinated effort to tackle the issue of covert procurement. I was tasked with heading this effort.

In November 1996, I flew to Vienna and met with Maurizio Zifferero at the IAEA headquarters. Zifferero agreed that this was a matter of importance for both the IAEA and UNSCOM, and that a joint investigation would be a prudent action. As a first step, we agreed to an exchange of information. In that exchange I provided a briefing, accompanied by a detailed point paper, on the work and findings of UNSCOM to date, and Zifferero did the same, turning over documents and allowing me to meet with his lead investigators on the issue of covert procurement by Iraq in support of a nuclear bomb, including the matter of the unsolicited Pakistani offer.

Our cooperation began in earnest immediately thereafter. In December 1996, I served as the co-chief inspector for an interview-based inspection. We grilled the senior Iraqi nuclear leadership, including Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar, the erstwhile “father” of the Iraqi nuclear bomb, and his major department heads. The Iraqis were taken aback by the intrusion of UNSCOM, especially by a non-nuclear “specialist” such as me, into what they viewed as sacred territory. But the IAEA stood firm on its commitment to carry out a joint investigation, and the Iraqi objections were brushed aside. In the spring of 1997, there were more joint interview missions, as well as individual efforts by both UNSCOM and the IAEA, the results of which were closely coordinated.


Square, Site wide

The unity of effort between UNSCOM and the IAEA on this investigation was perhaps best exemplified by our decision to inform one another of our separate “special arrangements” with Israel. With the Israelis supporting the investigations of both the IAEA and UNSCOM into Iraqi covert procurement activities, the matter of overlapping information and duplication of effort was all too real. To resolve this, I flew to Vienna in the summer of 1997 and met there with Gary Dillon, the new team leader for the IAEA on Iraq. Together we met with the Israeli ambassador in Vienna, who had been serving as the primary liaison with the IAEA. Also joining us was a special analytical team from Israeli intelligence, who were well known to Dillon and me. For the first time, they provided a joint briefing for UNSCOM and the IAEA on their findings regarding Iraqi covert procurement, and it was agreed that in the future any information that the Israelis deemed useful could be shared with UNSCOM and the IAEA without prior coordination.

In the end, UNSCOM and the IAEA were able to get to the bottom of the issue of covert procurement carried out by the Iraqi Mukhabarat on behalf of military industry and Iraq’s nuclear program. After initially denying that there had been any link between the Mukhabarat and procurement efforts for either military industry or the Iraqi nuclear program, the Iraqis finally came clean. At the heart of this effort was an entity known as the Technical Consultation Co., or TCC. TCC was located on the second floor of a posh seven-story building in the heart of the upscale Mansur district of Baghdad, a few blocks from the main Mukhabarat headquarters complex. TCC was inspected by a joint UNSCOM/IAEA team (I served as the chief inspector for UNSCOM) on Oct. 2, 1997.

TCC was subordinated to Mukhabarat Directorate M-19, which was responsible for covert procurement activity, including the establishment of commercial fronts for developing human intelligence sources, as well as placing Iraqi agents under commercial cover. TCC served as a procurement front for M-19, which serviced the procurement needs of not only the Mukhabarat but the Iraqi government as a whole, including PC-3. M-19 was itself subordinated to Directorate M-4, the Iraqi clandestine service. UNSCOM inspected M-19 in June of 1997.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, April 2, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

How long has it taken NAZI/CIA/NSA/ types to scrape up alleged “impropriety” by Mr. Scott Ritter?  To me, this is very refreshing, since “they” are attempting to assassinate his reputation, not his body.  For persons with five or more grains of brain, his reporting accuracy is in no way tarnished, rather it is enlarged.  Obviously, the “kill the messenger types” are after him. 

What did the same vermin do to Mrs. Plame because her husband delivered the truth - against the desires of the Bush family-vermin in power?  Was Mrs. S. Palin verbally tortured for her daughter´s pregnancy?  As though she were expected to be “perfect,” and without any sort of guile?  What happened to former CIA assassin Chip Tatum? Fortunately, after he published the truth about the CIA, Bush Sr. and the misuse of US military aircraft to import cocaine for the “upper crust” of US politicians.  Anyone is free to read, “The Franklin Cover-Up Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska” by Viet Nam hero, former senator John W. DeCamp, to acquire an insider view of top-level US Gov leadership.  The sexual-type escapades of Reagan-Bush printed on the front page of the Washington Post in the 1980s reveal the sinister mind of GHWBushSr.  Honest police might re-open the can of worms that GHWBushSr “closed” when the investigation of GHWBUSH Jr and the inhuman murders of the “Brownsville hippie family” hit the fan: “George W. Bush investigated for six months for mass murder of 17 people who were skinned in the cult—until VP Poppy Bush told then to drop the case.”  The obvious conclusion is that investigators were getting close to the facts - thus were hushed-up.

It is a poor reflection on parentage and the values of “our time.” Nevertheless, 14-yr-old female children who appear similar to 20-yr-olds of the 1950s, are going increasingly “on the prowl.”  If Mr. Scott Ritter has fallen prey to their solicitous behavior, I find it refreshing, in view of all the surrounding, NAZI-type, political drivel.  To me, this means that Mr. Ritter continues to support nature, knows that the feminine vagina is “where its at,” and that nature assigns to the anus the role of defecation, regardless of gender.  The anus is designed by nature to facilitate the expulsion of excrement.  Not the insertion of anything.

Although, warm-water enemas continue to cleanse the colon, and pre-empt numerous illnesses, just as well as they did seventy years ago.  Without the charge of a visit to the family physician.  Without confusing the body with an expensive, artificial medication that profits only the pharma industry.  Without an injection that throws the blood and immune system into chaos, sometimes resulting in damage to brain neurology.

Three cheers for nature, and for Mr. Scott Ritter, HURRAH !  HURRAH !  HURRAH !

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By Not Naive No Way, April 1, 2010 at 3:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First let me say that in no way would I ever defend middle-aged men who seduce, or try to, teenaged girls.  But the nature of the charges has nothing to do with the presumption of innocence.  In this particular case, regardless of what any major newspaper says, I refuse to treat this arrest as a conviction.  Ritter is, for me, innocent until proven guilty.  In fact, come to think of it, so is every accused person.  What makes this case stand out is that the accusation could be false—and it could be politically motivated.  Oh, I know, you don’t believe that.  But why not?  I didn’t believe so many the death row inmates in my state (and all the other murder convicts) were innocent, either.  And these, after all, were convicts.  Yet they were innocent.  I even have a close friend who sat on a jury that convicted an innocent man.  Some very nice-seeming police officers testified at the trial.  This sort of thing is ubiquitous.

Our political life is rather poisoned at the moment, don’t you agree?  And the points made about all the wars we’ve engaged in on the basis of outright lies—and how completely unacceptable that is for any modern democracy—are absolutely on target.  What I think is important at this juncture is not to be credulous with respect to anyone’s story.  That does include Ritter’s—and it most certainly includes that of his accusers, too.  I don’t know who they are.  I have no information on their credibility.  Ritter hasn’t had his day in court.  I have no problem saying so, and sticking to it.

I also think that anyone who can do his job while awaiting trial should be allowed to do it.  Does this job put Ritter in contact with teenaged girls?  Exactly how do you think his credibility is compromised on the issues he talks about based on this accusation?  And if you do think so, haven’t you just invented a great formula for shutting anyone up?  (Remember:  Sex.  Underage girls.  Now be outraged.  Lose your reasoning ability.)  Ritter may turn out to be guilty this time.  The next person who challenges American war policy may not.

BTW, one last point—did someone actually cite Wikipedia for something on Ritter?  You think that’s reliable?  You have NO idea who wrote it, but you believe it.  Bravo, I’m really impressed with your sober impartiality.

Man is it easy to destroy a person these days.  And once a reputation is destroyed, there is no getting it back.  Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

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By xox, March 31, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

That A.Q. Khan was suddenly touted and treated as a reliable source and witness
that Iran tried to buy yellow cake ............... oops, Freudian slip.

COME ON !!!!!

Thank you, Scott,again.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 31, 2010 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment


Yes it seems I love to hear platitudes rather than something different, damn well know I never have liked to hear something I do not agree with, that’s why I watch Fox News 24/7! 

Let’s see, if I was a professional bigot raciest, I would complain about the Robinson articles on TD.

Addressing the problems presented in the article (except in Hedges case) seems much more prudent, instead of attacking the author because I do not like something about him or her, well Fox news is the place for me 24/7!

An other idea, don’t read the articles by said author?
Hedges annoys me but I would never ever (an absolutism here) whine to TD about it, but instead tell the author he has his head where the sun dost shine!

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By Marina Ritter, March 31, 2010 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article, Scott. Keep up the good work.

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By George, March 31, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I didn’t think that I would have to state the obvious but, apparently, it is necessary.

The government, through these arrests, has leverage on Ritter. They can(and perhaps already have,they let him off the hook for the 2001 arrest) encourage him to slant his reporting in return for less harsh punishment for behavior that we would be crucifying a conservative Republican for engaging in.

It is no surprise to me, a longtime lefty, that there
are some on the left just as blind as those on the right when it comes to hero worship.

Just think folks: what if it was Sarah Palin who had been caught twice in a sex sting? Would you still be calling me a troll for citing that behavior in questioning her credibility?

I’m a longtime admirer of Robert Sheer,Chris Hedges, and Eugene Robinson who are published here, but since I noticed that Truthdig continues to publish the writing of the torture and war crimes apologist Ruth Marcus my respect for this website has steadily declined.

Publishing Ritter (who I once admired) does nothing for the credibility of Truthdig as a news source that digs up the truth. Ritter is likely not the only expert on nuclear weapons available for expert opinion.

Here’s a link to the Marcus WAPO column I refer to:

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 31, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

My brother used to regularly make obscene phone calls to the time lady, well it turned out the time lady was actaully a christian fundamentalist cop who couldn’t tell the time of day; so they put this cop on a sting operation also because he sounded like a women, so according to the self righteous crowd, my bother shouldn’t go back to doing his job shining shoes?

Come on folks; get your heads out of where the sun dost not shine!

Good to see Scott Ritter back, my only complaint is I do not have time to read the article in-depth!

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By tomack, March 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Here we go again: disinformation and diversion drive bys. Look, when the guy is brought to trial and convicted THEN it will be okay to even come close to adding his personal live experiences into a conversation about premeditated Empire Building based on CRAP intelligence. And by coming close I mean not at all. 

Jaysus, what does one have to do with the other. And by the way, when did we forget who one of the world’s largest small and large arms manufacturers/sellers is: the USA. 

This guy has always tried to stick to one thing in my opinion: keep us out of BAD wars by bringing his personal knowledge set to light—for the public’s benefit. No war is good. Some are inevitable, like WW2, but none are good. And since WW2, all have been avoidable (some could argue ww2 was avoidable. I don’t think so but the historian Howard Zinn made a “rhetorical” argument to that effect during one of his lectures) But no, we are always IN baby, IN, IN, IN. Up to our asses we are IN. Name a conflict and we are there. Money to made, man, money to be made. And elections to be won, man, elections to be won.

Ritter is just doing his part to keep us out of another avoidable war. So why bring up the personal shit. The as yet PROVEN persoanl shit.

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By samosamo, March 31, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

By tedmurphy41, March 31 at 11:26 am
““Why let the facts get in the way of a good story!”“
Guess it discounts anything that Ritter knows and is trying to
enlighten others about so that maybe another nation won’t
needlessly be invaded and bombed because you know how close
of a tie-in are nukes proliferation is with being set up.

And as a total airing out of sorts and for all those sordid details
for those who hang on ‘dirty laundry’ as the best judge of
someone’s persona and having decided his guilt:


Think what you want but I still look at Ritter as someone to trust
for his ‘weapons inspection and knowledge’ even though there
will now be so many that think he must be sexually abusing his
twin 16 year old daughters, which I say, nothing could be further
from the truth, but he was very stupid to do what he did.

No doubt the trolls will have a field day with this now, but it will
also be easier to identify the trolls.

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By George, March 31, 2010 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ Gerard

” It is easy to see why entrapping Ritter would be an achievement for the Bush administration.”

It is also easy to see how two legitimate arrests would benefit the Bush and Obama administrations. And if the first arrest was entrapment what was the second arrest?

Here’s a link to a NYT report about Mr. Ritter’s arrests:

Here are the good parts:

“This person, whom the authorities identified as Mr. Ritter, told “Emily” that he was a 44-year-old man from Albany. Mr. Ritter asked the girl for a photograph of herself, and an image of a girl was provided, according to the affidavit. Mr. Ritter then sent the girl a link to his Web camera and masturbated on camera, the affidavit said. In the online exchanges, “Emily” twice wrote that she was 15.”

“In 2001, he was caught in a similar Internet sex-sting operation when he was accused of trying to lure a 16-year-old girl to a Burger King in Menands, N.Y. The girl was actually an undercover investigator posing online as a minor.

Prosecutors later agreed to drop the charges in that case if Mr. Ritter stayed out of trouble for a period of time. The case was later sealed, so the terms of the deal have not been made public.”

You, of course, will believe what you choose to believe.

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By Tim Kelly, March 31, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Ritter’s sexual deviancy.  I have also brought this to Truthdig’s attention, in both posts and emails.  Regardless of the first indictment being dismissed, the old adage comes to mind - “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”  Ritter can claim the first time was entrapment, and we could believe him.  However, a man not smart enough to avoid web forums after having been entrapped in one once already is not a man smart enough to have credibility for much else.

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By tedmurphy41, March 31, 2010 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Why let the facts get in the way of a good story!

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By oleeb, March 31, 2010 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritter’s legal problems are certainly troubling.  Nonetheless, I do not see how they have any bearing on whether or not the subject of his columns is accurate or not.  The fact is, in the face of massive government propaganda whipping up war fever 10 years ago, Ritter was one of the few voices of sanity.  It probably makes sense to listen to what he has to say on the same subject now regardless of his questionable activities.

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By gerard, March 31, 2010 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

From the London Guardian, 1/24/03:

“Details of the arrest emerged in a local New York state newspaper last week. Reports said Mr Ritter, 44, had been charged with attempted child endangerment after arranging, in an online chatroom, to meet what he thought was a 16-year-old girlat a Burger King restaurant. The girl turned out to be an undercover policewoman. The case was later dismissed.”

  It is easy to see why entrapping Ritter would be an achievement for the Bush administration.

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By TFoss, March 31, 2010 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t know anything about Scott Ritter’s recent criminal history, but his historical knowledge is an imperative to an accurate history of the run up to our invasion. Of course, when he says that their inquiries were totally fact driven and aimed at getting to the real truth, that is where he goes wrong. The facts and the truth did not matter to the mythology of an American response to threats and the liberation of the country from the despot who threatended us with his WMDs.

The contrived stories about yellow cake uranium, missile tubes, and the prescribed leaks by Cheney to set up those stories tells us all we need to know- that “we” had to make shit up because there was no truth to the allegations being made, but facts were not going to get in the way of the invasion.

So stability and maybe peace was going to come to the middle eastbecause of this invasion. How is that working out for us? And for Israel?

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By balkas, March 31, 2010 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

Nuclearly-armed nation deny other nation the right to obtain wmd on one ground: by tacitly-posited but ancient dichotomy that some countries, its people, and leadership is too crazy to possess these weapons while the lands with wmd are sane.

Mind u, for russians, dichotomy of evil and sainthood had been used by asocialists. Once again with great success.

Tacitly, human behavior is paired as apsolutely insane or apsolutely sane. And no country gets away with this ruse better than US!
Of course, not all people are fooled all the time.tnx

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By SoTexGuy, March 31, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

“Scott Ritter was recently arrested in an online sex sting for masturbating before his web cam in the belief that a 15 year old girl named Emily was watching. This was the second time this decade that he has been arrested in a sex sting involving what he believed to be a teenage girl.

Doesn’t truthdig maybe think that Ritter has a credibility problem?”


I’ll say it’s a problem. And unless I’m totally wrong (has happened once or twice).. TruthDig pays their contributors?

Some explanation at least is in order.

Thanks to ‘George’ for the heads-up.

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By One Little Victory, March 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

I’m with George on this. I have enjoyed Ritter’s commentary over the years, but this most recent arrest (there have been previous arrests for similar behavior) makes this guy a serious liability. Truthdig would do well to stop carrying his writings.

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By George, March 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott Ritter was recently arrested in an online sex sting for masturbating before his web cam in the belief that a 15 year old girl named Emily was watching. This was the second time this decade that he has been arrested in a sex sting involving what he believed to be a teenage girl.

Doesn’t truthdig maybe think that Ritter has a credibility problem? But perhaps Truthdig is not bothered by this. After all it publishes Ruth Marcus who has argued forcefully that the Bush war criminals involved in torture should not be held accountable and prosecuted under the law.

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By samosamo, March 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Amen, not just what you said already but Scott Ritters obvious
and unrelenting drive to keep track of what nuclear rigamarole is
bandied about just to stir up the confusion and ignorance that
allows such things as this recent WP publication to become
standard truth.

Ritter didn’t mention izrael’s current thinking on bombing Iran
which has me wondering how or why they would if it is evident
the Iran is not trying to build a weapon, but just a nuclear energy
program to be able to sell its oil under their own name and not
some ‘foreign corporate’ name. May mean they don’t, won’t or
have no intention to paying attention to what Ritter has to say.

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By gerard, March 30, 2010 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Thank God for Scott Ritter and his careful prescience, not only to report the truth from the inside, but to recognize the vital importance of his continuing to do so.

Unfortunately, people and agencies of less integrity will continue to try to slant the super-charged problems of nuclear control in favor of special interests—national and military/industrial.

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