"This is the first book that really unravels the myths about Iraq's nuclear program. It is an honest account, written by an extremely honest person. It also provides a glimpse of the suffocating machinations of the security services in Iraq. A compulsory reading for whoever worked in that place, as I did."
PETER KOUWENBERG, FORMER UN OFFICIAL WHO SERVED IN IRAQ FOR 4 YEARS.
"'No country without an atomic bomb could properly consider itself independent'. This is what Charles de Gaulle said and what could explain the tragedy of Iraq. The second richest oil country in the world has been invaded not because it has the bomb but because it hasn't. "Iraq's Nuclear Mirage" tells the story of how this tragedy turned Imad Khadduri into a walking hell: an Iraqi Christian Arab from the sixties generation, nurtured by Che Guevara, Regis Debray and Third World liberation's ideologies, with Master degrees in Physics from the University of Michigan, and PhD in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the University of Birmingham, devoted 30 years of his professional life to build a nuclear program for his country only to dismantle it later and suffered with his nation from the most tormenting and humiliating sanctions in the modern history of mankind that was preceded by "weapons of mass disinformation". The smooth chattering narrative of "Memoirs and Delusions" is misleading; this is what the readers will discover when they reach the last two lines of the book: "The neoconservatives have indeed succeeded in manipulating the "American Way of Life" to devour my beloved Iraq. We shall, however, resurrect, to their detriment. "
- Mohammed Aref, science writer, based in Surrey, U.K.
Former Iraqi scientist speaks out
Little was known about Dr. Imad Khadduri until a few months ago when he decided to speak out. The former Iraqi nuclear scientist - who left Baghdad for Canada in 1998 - is now trying to counter the "misinformation campaign mounted by the United States and Britain" which he said was intentional to fan the drive to war and had relied on sources with little credibility.
"Iraq has no nuclear weapons and no means to deliver
them," Khadduri, who worked for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission
from 1968 to 1998 said. "American and British claims that Iraq could
be as close as months away from building a nuclear weapon are ridiculous."
In an interview with Jazeera.net, Khadduri challenged Hamza's claims as well as allegations made by Washington:
You have accused Hamza of working for the CIA with the purpose of supporting the American agenda, why?
In October, Hamza testified before a US Senate panel investigating Iraq's nuclear armaments. Hamza said Iraq was three years away from creating up to three atomic bombs. How can he say that when he has not been in Iraq for the last eight years, who are his sources? UNSCOM acknowledges that their absence from Iraq for four years have made them blind to Iraqi activities, yet have found nothing after three months of intense inspections. Also, Hamza contradicted himself. In 1999, he addressed the Seventh Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference in Washington, D.C. He said: "The plans were made and designed for an eventual production of 100 kilogram bomb -- six bombs. That would be a reasonable arsenal in something like five to 10 years. So in a decade or so, Iraq would become a real nuclear power like Israel." Hamza spoke as a representative of the Institute for Science and International Security. In 1999, Hamza spoke of six bombs in no more than 10 years. He told the Senate it was three bombs in no more than three years. Fine. Let's give the man the benefit of the doubt. It has been three years since his Carnegie speech. If Iraq was able to build only one bomb in 1990, before allied bombings and intensive UNSCOM inspections and monitoring, how could they possibly build three, let alone six bombs now?
Hamza was also involved in theoretical work at the nuclear research center during the 1970s and 1980s and he had an 'aversion' to scientific experimentation and shunned any responsibilities which would have made him, in any sense, a bombmaker. This is probably because of his fear of an electric jolt that he experienced as a child, as his book mentions. At the end of the 1970s, he completely refused to take any responsibility in the Iraqi-purchased French research reactor, and left that task to the great Egyptian scientist, Dr Yehya El-Meshad, who was assassinated by the Israeli secret service Mossad in Paris in 1980. At the most intense period of the nuclear weapon program's activities, 1988-1989, he was a non-entity at the Physics Department the Nuclear Research Instituteand not part of the nuclear weapon program team, presiding over a total staff of a sole one physics graduate of 1987, compiling a report from published articles. He was completely out of the loop from the bomb project.
How involved were you in Iraq's nuclear weapons procurement program?
I worked with the Iraqi nuclear program from 1968 until my departure in 1998. I was closely involved in most of the major nuclear activities of that program, from the Russian research reactor in the late 60s to the French research reactors in the 70s, the Russian nuclear electric power plant program in the early eighties, the nuclear weapons program during the 80s and finally the confrontations with UN inspection teams in the 90s.
During those thirty years, I prospected for uranium ore in Iraq, helped develop its nuclear facilities, served as procurement officer for the program and maintained its scientific and technical records.
Do you think Iraq has nuclear weapons or is actively trying to develop them?
The progress of Iraq's nuclear weapons program ceased
to exist in 1991 following the allied forces bombing. The program was
in shambles immediately after the end of the hostilities. The whole organizational
structure was dispersed three years later. At the time, we only had grams
of fissionable material. We had no delivery system. That was years away.
On February 5, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said
the following during a speech to the UN Security Council:
Powell did not provide any credible evidence. If work
was really going on, don't you think there would be traces - even in minute
amounts of certain half-life isotopes that would surely be detected by
the latest highly-touted, ultra sensitive instruments used by IAEA inspectors?
Have you come under pressure since you countered statements made by Hamza and the US Administration?
No. But I have had difficulties in finding news organizations that would publish my story. My statements have been ignored by the mainstream media in Britain and the US. My letters and articles have been rejected without explanation. And after Yellowtimes.org generously published my third article on February 7, 2003 in which I refuted Powell's allegations made at the UN Security Council, the site was shut down by its hosting company for "technical reasons".
Are you in contact with any Iraqi scientist back home?
Why and how did you leave Iraq?
I had made a promise to myself, since I was a student
in the US in the sixties, that I would not marry but an Iraqi lady and
that my children would be raised in the warmth and strength of the Iraqi
and Arabic culture and tradition, but that their educt\ation would be
the best I can afford to give them. It is in the tradition of my family.
Were you ever approached by any intelligence agency since you left Baghdad?
A few months after we arrived in Canada, agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service came to my house. They were polite. They suggested I keep a low profile - which I did until I discerned Bush's intent last August on using a sustained misinformation campaign about the Iraqi Nuclear weapons program to launch a criminal attack on the Iraqi people. I decided to speak out and to do my part to counter the criminal agenda of the neo-conservatives - the likes of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Kenneth Pollack and others in the State Department and think-tanks which support US policy.
What have you been doing in Canada since your arrival
Zina at Aljazeera.net