The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Thursday, July 08, 2004

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST?

He gassed his own people! Uhh, someone gassed his own people without his prior knowledge or consent! (link via holden)
Evidence offered by a top CIA man could confirm the testimony given by Saddam Hussein at the opening of his trial in Baghdad Thursday that he knew of the Halabja massacre only from the newspapers.

Thousands were reported killed in the gassing of Iraqi Kurds in Halabja in the north of Iraq in March 1988 towards the end of Iraq's eight-year war with Iran. The gassing of the Kurds has long been held to be the work of Ali Hassan al-Majid, named in the West because of that association as 'Chemical Ali'. Saddam Hussein is widely alleged to have ordered Ali to carry out the chemical attack.

The Halabja massacre is now prominent among the charges read out against Saddam in the Baghdad court. When that charge was read out, Saddam replied that he had read about the massacre in a newspaper. Saddam has denied these allegations ever since they were made. But now with a trial on, he could summon a witness in his defence with the potential to blow apart the charge and create one of the greatest diplomatic disasters the United States has ever known.

A report prepared by the top CIA official handling the matter says Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the massacre, and indicates that it was the work of Iranians. Further, the Scott inquiry on the role of the British government has gathered evidence that following the massacre the United States in fact armed Saddam Hussein to counter the Iranians chemicals for chemicals.
The rest of the article provides more context for this claim, so check it out and see what you think. Basically one of the sticking points is that the type of gas used in the Halabja massacre was one the Iraqis were believed not to have, yet the Iranians had in abundance.

One thing the CIA official, Stephen C. Pelletiere, said was this:
Pelletiere says the United States Defence Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report following the Halabja gassing, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. "That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas," he wrote in The New York Times.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja, he said. "The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent -- that is, a cyanide-based gas -- which Iran was known to use. "The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time."

Pelletiere write that these facts have "long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned."
(emphasis mine) Rarely mentioned, eh? No shit! I try to keep on top of things, yet this was the first time I heard about this. Big ups to our jingoistic media. Guys, telling the truth is patriotic, think about it.

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