Date: 27 February 2006
Powerline Pushes WMD Conspiracy Theories
Yesterday, Powerline blog published a post called “Saddam Had WMD.” John Hinderaker — a frequent guest on CNN — said there is “recently discovered evidence” which shows Saddam’s WMD were moved to Syria before the invasion.
Investigators laid the possibility to rest last year. Charles Duelfer, the White House’s hand-picked W.M.D. investigator, found in a 92-page report that “no information gleaned from questioning Iraqis supported the possibility” that Saddam moved WMD to Syria.
There is no “evidence” that shows the Duelfer report was wrong. Rather, a couple of people are pushing conspiracy theories without any supporting evidence.
MYTH #1 - Saddam Flew WMD to Syria:
Fox News reporter Brit Hume reported last month, “The number two general in Saddam Hussein’s air force says Iraq moved its weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the U.S. invasion.”
Georges Sada, the former general referenced in Hume’s report, laid out the idea in his new book, “Saddam’s Secrets.” Sada claims Saddam used 747 jets “to smuggle his weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq and into Syria, following a natural disaster in northwestern Syria on June 4, 2002.”
But Sada admits he never saw it happen. Instead, Sada’s two pilot friends are the only witnesses, and Sada said he will not disclose the names of the pilots.
MYTH #2 - The Russians Hid the WMD in Syria:
Some on the right have taken the myth one step further. Pundits such as Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney are claiming Russian Special Forces moved the WMD to Syria. Former deputy undersecretary of defense John Shaw came up with this explanation nearly a year ago. He told the conservative NewsMax in March 2005, “I am absolutely sure that Russian Spetsnatz units moved WMD out of Iraq before the war.” NewsMax described the operation as “the most successful intelligence operation of the 21st century.” Like Sada, Shaw has absolutely no evidence to support his theory except for “unnamed sources” in Iraq.
Shaw is hardly a reliable source. The Los Angeles Times reported in April 2004 that the Pentagon inspector general investigated Shaw because he allegedly tried to “alter a contract proposal in Iraq to benefit a mobile phone consortium that includes friends and colleagues.” The resulting delays angered U.S. officials, who said the “deaths of many Americans and Iraqis might have been prevented with better communications.” The Pentagon pushed Shaw out in December 2004.
To Hinderaker this constitutes “evidence” that “the administration, along with the CIA and the intelligence services of all other countries who assessed the issue, likely was right after all.” He then chastizes the news media for failing to report the “big news.”