[Marxism] Jared Israel: "Scott Ritter was the Source of the Claim that Iraq had Nuclear Weapons!"...

David Quarter davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Fri May 14 16:16:46 MDT 2004

 [Jared Israel finds a new target to pick off. I imagine Ritter said 
something nasty about Israel that pissed Jared off...-- DOQ]

From:           	Miroslav Antic <miroslav at antic.org>

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Jared Israel on 'How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of
the Bizarre Iraq War'  - A Series

Part 2: The Source of the Claim that Iraq had Nuclear Weapons was... Scott

by Jared Israel
[Posted 13 May 2004]


[ www.tenc.net ]

We've gotten lots of letters, pro and con, about the first article in my
series on Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who continues to
play a key role in building opposition to the war in Iraq. [1] 

On the con side, a political activist named Josh (he didn't give his last
name) wrote:

    [Excerpt from letter starts here]

    Many people have worked for the U.S. government with the belief they
were helping an honorable cause only to find through experiences that it is
not true, so they have to do an about face from previous stands.

    You say Ritter has been thoroughly covered in the mainstream Media but
from what I saw much of it contained slander about his 'sex Crime'. Your
article doesn't mention the attack-press he got.

    [Excerpt from letter ends here] 

Actually I did mention Ritter's sex arrest, stating that I will devote an
article to how the media responded - or did *not* respond. The notable point
about the 'attack press' is that there was almost no 'attack press'!

The arrest story leaked in January 2003, two years after the arrest.
Searching in Lexis-Nexis, I found that the media reported on Ritter about
950 times during 2003.  But aside from the Albany Times-Union, which is
Ritter's local paper, and the New York Post, Lexis-Nexis could find only 25
examples of US newspapers or TV stations  even mentioning the arrest.
Moreover, it appears that the Ashcroft Justice department has prevented the
US Attorney's office in Albany from indicting Ritter on Federal sex offense
charges. More on that later.

Regarding Josh's point that Ritter flipped from hawk to dove because his
experiences showed him that he was not "helping an honorable cause," this
explanation doesn't wash. To understand why, let's see how Ritter answered a
key question about Iraq's weapons in 1998 and then how he answered this
question in 2000.


Did Iraq have nuclear weapons? 

In 1998 Ritter said that based on facts the answer was 'Yes!'


On September 3rd and 16th, 1998, Ritter appeared before the US Senate and
House of Representatives, respectively. He testified that Iraq had several
nuclear weapons which needed only the fissile cores to be operational. This
created an international storm. Here's CNN:  [2]

    [Excerpt from 30 September 1998 CNN broadcast starts here]

    Richard Ross, Cnn Senior U.N. Correspondent: Lou, the United Nations,
the U.N. weapons inspectors, are not commenting at all on the "Washington
Post" report, which says that the U.S. government was aware of reports from
Scott Ritter, the former U.N. arms inspector, that Iraq had key devices
which could be used to make nuclear bombs, provided Baghdad got the enriched
uranium first.

    The world was already informed of this by Scott Ritter, who resigned
recently from his post.

    In his opinion, in Ritter's opinion, Iraq had a much more developed
nuclear program than the International Atomic Agency is reporting to the

    Ritter said this a few weeks ago to a congressional committee in

    (Begin video clip)

    Scott Ritter, Former U.N. Weapons Inspector:  The Special Commission
[i.e., UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors - EC] had received sensitive
information of some credibility, which indicated that Iraq had the
components to assemble three implosion type devices, minus the fissile
material and that if Iraq were able to achieve -- or to obtain [through
smuggling] fissile material of the quality and of the physical -- proper
physical properties conducive to such a weapon, then they could assemble
three nuclear devices in a very short period of time.

    (End video clip)

    Ross: Ritter later said it would be just a matter of days, in his

    [Excerpt from 30 September 1998 CNN broadcast ends here]

In the above excerpt, CNN rebroadcasts a clip from Ritter's testimony
September 16th before the US House of Representatives.  In earlier testimony
September 3rd before the US Senate, Ritter had the following exchange with
Sen. McCain: [2A]

    [Excerpt from Ritter's Senate testimony starts here]

    McCain: I'd like to get back just for a second to the gravity of this
situation.  Do you believe that Saddam Hussein today has three nuclear
weapons assembled, only lacking only the fissile material?

    Ritter: The special commission [[i.e., UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors -
EC] has intelligence information which indicates that components necessary
for nuclear -- three nuclear weapons exist lacking the fissile material,
yes, sir.

    [Excerpt from Ritter's Senate testimony ends here]

Ritter expanded on his Congressional testimony in later comments including
an article that appeared in the New Republic in December 1998: [3]

    [Excerpt from New Republic article starts here]

    "Meanwhile, Iraq has kept its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure
intact through dual-use companies that allow the nuclear-design teams to
conduct vital research and practical work on related technologies and
materials. Iraq still has components (high explosive lenses, initiators, and
neutron generators) for up to four nuclear devices minus the fissile core
(highly enriched uranium or plutonium), as well as the means to produce

    [Excerpt from New Republic article ends here]

Notice that although CNN's Richard Roth referred to Ritter's "opinion",
Ritter did not say he was expressing a personal opinion. He spoke as someone
reporting facts.

And in the New Republic he wrote that "Iraq still has components 
 for up to
four nuclear devices."  More reporting of supposed facts. Nothing
speculative about it.

Ritter's assertion that Iraq could be just days from having operational
nuclear weapons made a huge splash, creating pressure for the US to take
military action to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Why did Ritter have such an impact?  Because he had strong views? No, that
wasn't why.

People took Scott Ritter seriously because as the former head of the UNSCOM
concealment team, he knew as much about Iraq's deadly weapons as anyone
except top officials in Iraq. Of course, his special source of information
ended the day he resigned from UNSCOM.  So for Ritter to supposedly change
his mind he would have had to explain:

a) Why he was drawing opposite conclusions from the same facts or

b) How it was that facts he learned before he quit UNSCOM had changed half a
year later or

c) Why he had lied.

Ritter did none of the above.  He simply about-faced. 


Did Iraq have nuclear weapons? 

In 2000 Ritter said that based on facts the answer was 'No!'


In a June 2000 article entitled, "The Case for Iraq's Qualitative
Disarmament," Ritter wrote: [4]

    "It is conceivable that Iraq could have retained certain components of a
nuclear device. However, there is no credible evidence of this, and even if
such material were retained, it would be of no use to Iraq, given the extent
to which Iraq's nuclear program was dismantled by the IAEA [International
Atomic Energy Agency]."

Did you notice that Ritter reversed himself on two points?

In 1998 he said UNSCOM had "intelligence information which indicates that
components necessary for nuclear -- three nuclear weapons exist lacking the
fissile material..." But now he about-faced and said there was no credible
evidence for the existence of even one nuclear device.

And whereas in 1998 he wrote in the New Republic that Iraq had maintained
"its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure" through dual-use facilities, now
he said the infrastructure had been destroyed with the result that any
remaining components would be useless.  

In both cases - when he stated that Iraq did have nuclear devices, and later
when he said they did not  - he was speaking with the authority of expert
knowledge acquired as a weapons inspector.  But he stopped being an
inspector at the end of August 1998.

So Scott Ritter is not a case of a public servant undergoing a romantic
conversion in the cause of peace. Scott Ritter is a case of an expert
expounding opposite conclusions based on knowledge of the same facts.

Either Ritter was lying in 1998 when he said Iraq had nuclear weapons or he
was lying in 2000 when he said they did not. 

But in either case, he was lying in 2003, in his book "Frontier Justice."
There he scornfully accused so-called ‘neoconservatives' of stirring up war
hysteria in the fall of 1998 by leading "rampant speculation" concerning:

what mischief Saddam Hussein and his scientists might be up to in the
absence of the ‘serious'American inspectors
[R]umors flew about stockpiles
of deadly chemical and biological agents, a resurrected nuclear weapons
programs, and secret missile factories."
    [emphasis added]

Yes, Mr. Ritter, a lot of people were frightened in the fall of 1998. But
the claims about weapons of mass destruction in general and nuclear weapons
in particular were not presented to us as speculation. They were presented
by an expert who testified before both Houses of Congress and then blitzed
the media 24/7 from September through January.

That expert witness was not one of the so-called 'neoconservatives',   Mr.

That witness was you.

[More on Ritter's 'Frontier Justice' coming soon.]

Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor's Clothes

[Footnotes and Further Reading follows the fundraising appeal]

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