Saturday, June 07, 2003

Seven experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency are finally being allowed into Iraq by the Americans and will spend two weeks at the Tuwaitha complex. They will try to determine what is missing and secure the site, but are being blocked by the Americans from investigating the reports of contamination and sickness because the Americans argue that as the occupying power they are responsible for the health of the Iraqi people. I never thought I'd see that! What do you think the chances are that the Americans will properly investigate the contamination and sickness? The very tight restrictions on the investigation are to avoid setting a precedent that the world community might use to argue for international weapons inspectors or an international investigation of the depleted uranium problem in Iraq. U. S. military commanders acknowledged that they are still unequipped to handle the nuclear site (notice how they fudge this at the very end of the Defense Department briefing). General David McKiernan, commander of U . S. ground forces in Iraq, said:

"I know that the Tuwaitha facility is larger than the assets we have now in country to deal with it."

One scientist who used to work at the complex told the BBC that the site had had nuclear waste and four sources of highly radioactive material, all of which have now gone missing.