Memos Outline Chemical Plans

Memos Outline Chemical Plans
December 19th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Memos Outline Chemical Plans

Memos Outline Chemical Plans
Los Angeles Times
December 19, 2006
Potentially damning evidence is presented at Hussein's genocide trial.
By Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writer
BAGHDAD Prosecutors charging former President Saddam Hussein with genocide presented potentially damning documents Monday that show his government used banned chemical weapons in a late-1980s counterinsurgency operation against Iraqi Kurds.
The documents, if authentic, give a chilling account of the decision-making process behind a chemical weapons attack on Kurdish villagers in northern Iraq. They suggest that Hussein's office was kept regularly informed on the effects and characteristics of chemical weapons and approved their use.
Hussein already faces the death penalty after being convicted of mass murder against Shiite Muslim villagers from Dujayl. While the appellate court reviews that sentence, prosecutors continue to press the case against Hussein for his alleged role in the Anfal campaign, an operation in which tens of thousands of Kurds died, some in chemical weapons attacks.
In cold, bureaucratic language, the documents presented Monday describe a regime determined to use chemical weapons for maximum lethality.
The targets "lie in lowlands," says a March 25, 1987, letter by former military intelligence director Sabir Abdul Aziz Douri, and would thus be suited to the use of mustard gas and the chemical sarin because the poisons would spread out and remain awhile. Douri is one of the seven defendants in the case.
The letter, addressed to Hussein's office, recommends using one-third of the stock for the attack and saving the rest "due to the limited number of special weapons," later identified as sarin and mustard agents. Both weapons are outlawed under international conventions.
Hussein, all but justifying the use of the weapons, said in court that the targets were not his fellow citizens but agents of Iran, which battled Iraq in an eight-year war that ended in 1988.
"Any strike against Iran, be it with special ammunition, such as a chemical one, as it was alleged, or with ordinary ammunition, I will take the responsibility with honor," he said.
An earlier letter indicates that Hussein's government delayed a chemical attack until the snows thawed so the weapons would be more effective.
"Natural conditions do not permit the use of sarin because the area is covered with snow," which would reduce the poison's toxicity, says a March 18, 1987, letter from Douri addressed to the president's office.
"We have good quantities of mustard agent," it says, but snow could also reduce its effect. The letter also warns of the possibility that Turkish troops stationed just across the border might be harmed if the attack was carried out in March.
Douri suggested delaying the strike until June. "Your suggestions have been approved," Hussein's office replied the next day.
A June 11, 1987, memo says a chemical strike six days earlier in Dahuk province had killed 31 people and wounded 100.
In court, Douri said his job was merely to gather intelligence and that his office had no expertise in the use of chemical weapons. But he also implicitly justified the attacks as necessary to expel Iranian military forces.

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