It's 2002 Again - New York Times Makes Bogus WMD Claims

By Moon Of Alabama

March 01, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - New York Times, September 8 2002 - U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest For A-Bomb Parts

Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.

In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.

The infamous aluminum tubes Iraq sought to buy from Italy were for short range rockets, not for uranium enrichment centrifuges as the Bush administration claimed. That was a fact well known to several U.S. agencies like the Energy and State Departments. But the claim, first propagandized by the NY Times, was repeated by then President Bush in a speech to the UN and became a main basis for the war on Iraq. The Knight-Ridder (now McClatchy) Washington Bureau, but not the NY Times, reported about the many doubts experts had about such  Weapon of Mass Destruction claims.

New York Times, February 27 2018
U.N. Links North Korea to Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program

North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, United Nations experts contend.
The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators.
The possible chemical weapons components were part of at least 40 previously unreported shipments by North Korea to Syria between 2012 and 2017 of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, according to the report, which has not been publicly released but which was reviewed by The New York Times.

The valves, thermometers and acid resistance tiles Syria may have sought to acquire could be used for medical facilities, the production of candy or for dozens of other civilian purposes. They could be used to produce something for the military with chemical weapons probably being the most unlikely.

But like the discredited aluminum tube story, the current NYT piece, written by its UN reporter Michael Schwirtz, obfuscates the doubts about WMD connections of the issue. It makes false claims and is full of war-mongering assertions by hawkish figures. It is a scare story constructed to vilify various opponents to U.S. hegemony on meager factual grounds.

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The reporter does not understand the issue he writes about. The "possible chemical weapons components" are not such. Chemical weapons obviously do not contain valves, thermometers or acid resistance tiles. To increase the "be afraid" effect of his piece the author mentions an alleged 2007 accident "in which several Syrian technicians, along with North Korean and Iranian advisers, were killed in the explosion of a warhead filled with sarin gas and the extremely toxic nerve agent VX." No weapon designer ever thought of "a warhead" that was filled with both - Sarin and VX. That would be lunacy and reports thereof are obviously bogus.

The "United Nations investigators" are a bunch of spooks selected by individual Security Council members who collect claims of North Korean breaches of sanctions. The group was set up in 2006 under the UN Security Council resolution 1718 as a "Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council". The Committee is not part of the UN bureaucracy and they are not "UN experts" or "UN investigators". The reports of the committee list various claims made by single UN member countries without judging their veracity.

The Associated Press report on the issue makes this clear:

[The report] said, a visit by a technical delegation from North Korea in August 2016 “involved the transfer to Syria of special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons programmes”.

That information came from another member state, which also reported that North Korean technicians “continue to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzeh, Adra and Hama”, the report said.

The valve and thermometer point in the Committee report are based on the claims of one country alone. But the NY Times lists those claims as "the [UN] report says" giving them a false aura of neutrality. That one country also claims that Syria still has chemical weapons facility. In 2013 the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) verified (pdf) that all Syrian production facilities for chemical weapons and under control of the government were rendered unusable or destroyed. The OPCW can request to inspect additional facilities it deems suspicious. It has not done so. The AP, but not the New York Times, notes that the Syrian government officially denied that any North Korean technicians are working there.

The New York Times discredited itself over its support for the false Bush administration claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It later issued a lame mea culpa and fired one reporter while the responsible editors and managers stayed on.

The paper has obviously not changed. It is again creating false pretexts for wars by publishing unobjective, one sided and intended-to-scare pieces about alleged weapons of mass destruction.

- See Also -

Reality Check: No Sarin Gas Used by Assad in Syria?: Watch

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