BASRA, April 12 (MNA) -– Fifty days after the first reports that the U.S. forces were unloading weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in southern Iraq, new reports about the movement of these weapons have been disclosed.
Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious shipments of WMD into the country.
An Iraqi source close to the Basra Governor’s Office told the MNA that new information shows that a large part of the WMD, which was secretly brought to southern and western Iraq over the past month, are in containers falsely labeled as containers of the Maeresk shipping company and some consignments bearing the labels of organizations such as the Red Cross or the USAID in order to disguise them as relief shipments.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that Iraqi officials including forces loyal to the Iraqi Governing Council stationed in southern Iraq have been forbidden from inspecting or supervising the transportation of these consignments. He went on to say that the occupation forces have ordered Iraqi officials to forward any questions on the issue to the coalition forces. Even the officials of the international relief organizations have informed the Iraqi officials that they would only accept responsibility for relief shipments which have been registered and managed by their organizations.
The Iraqi source also confirmed the report about suspicious trucks with fake Saudi and Jordanian license plates entering Iraq at night last week, stressing that the Saudi and Jordanian border guards did not attempt to inspect the trucks but simply delivered them to the U.S. and British forces stationed on Iraq’s borders.
However, the source expressed ignorance whether the governments of Saudi Arabia and Jordan were aware of such movements.
A professor of physics at Baghdad University also told the MNA correspondent that a group of his colleagues who are highly specialized in military, chemical and biological fields have been either bribed or threatened during the last weeks to provide written information on what they know about various programs and research centers and the possible storage of WMD equipment.
The professor also said these people have been openly asked to confirm or deny the existence of research or related WMD equipment. A large number of these scientists, who are believed to be under the surveillance of U.S. intelligence operatives, have claimed that if they refuse to comply with this request, they may be killed or arrested on charges of concealing the truth if these weapons are found by the Bush administration in the future.
He said that the Iraqi scientists believe their lives would be in danger if they decline to cooperate with the occupation forces, especially when they recall that senior U.S. officer Michael Peterson once said, “Iraqi scientists are at any case a threat to the U.S. administration, whether they talk or not.”
A source close to the Iraqi Governing Council said, “In the meantime, many suspect containers disguised as fuel supplies have been moved about by some units of the U.S. special forces. The move has been carried out under heavy security measures. Also, there are unofficial reports that the containers held biological and bacteriological toxins in liquid form. It is possible that the news about the discovery of the WMDs would be announced later.”
He also said that such mixtures had been used by the Saddam regime in the 1990s.
The source added that some provocative actions such as the closure of Al-Hawza periodical by U.S. administrator Paul Bremer, the secret meetings between his envoys with some extremist groups who have no relations with the Iraqi Governing Council, the sudden upsurge in violence in central and southern Iraq, a number of activities which have stoked up the wrath of the prominent Shia clerics, and finally, the spate of kidnappings and the baseless charges against the Iranian charge d’affaires in Baghdad are providing the necessary smokescreen for the transportation of the WMD to their intended locations.
He said they are quite aware that the White House in cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has directly tasked the Defense Department to hide these weapons. Given the recent scandals to the effect that the U.S. president was privy to the 9/11 plot, they might try to immediately announce the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to overshadow the scandals and prevent a further decline of Bush’s public opinion rating as the election approaches.