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AVAILABILITY OF HIGH-STRENGTH ALUMINUM TUBING
During the week of September 16, 2002, the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control conducted a study of the availability of high-strength aluminum tubing in the United States. The Wisconsin Project identified numerous suppliers of 7000 series tubing, in particular series 7075, which is one of the kinds needed for centrifuges and meets the criteria for dual-use export controls administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. An export license is needed if the tubes fit two criteria: an outside diameter of at least 75 mm (three inches) and a tensile strength capable of 460 Mpa or more at 293K (20 degrees C).
The Wisconsin Project identified the following suppliers, who offered to supply thousands of tubes meeting the control criteria within a period of roughly two months:
1. Alcoa Aluminum Company (Lafayette, Indiana; 800-443–4912 ext. 3007)
2. TW Metals (various locations throughout the United States; 800-545-5000)
In addition to the above firms, which the Wisconsin Project contacted individually, a number of others advertise high-strength aluminum alloys on the web. Some of these firms specifically offer alloys that meet the control criteria in their product descriptions. The Wisconsin Project will supply the names of these firms upon the Committee’s request.
Armed Services Committee,
Dr. Khidhir Hamza
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members,
I will comment briefly on two points. 1) The status, goals, and extent of Iraq’s WMD programs specifically the nuclear. And 2) How Iraq acquired the technology necessary to sustain these programs.
The Status, Goals, and extent of Iraq’s nuclear weapon program. I believe that the testimony of Richard Spertzel and David Kay covers well the biological weapons and the nuclear weapons angles. However I wish to add some observations relevant to the nuclear weapons program and the Iraqi system in dealing with weapons in general.
The nuclear weapons program is now almost complete waiting for the enrichment sector, which makes 90% of the program to finish its job and put together a working production facility. The bottlenecks in the enrichment are already resolved. German sources provided Iraq with classified reports and a working unit in the centrifuge enrichment technology. This can reduce the time needed for research and development for a country like Iraq by at least ten years. The whole centrifuge technology was acquired for a little over a million dollars. This included state of the art carbon fiber cylinders. The recent announcement of interception of large orders for aluminum cylinders indicate that the process of putting together large enough units for full production is not complete yet. At the same time it also indicates that Iraq has already bypassed the initial testing and possibly pilot plant stage. Also Iraq always use duplicate sourcing of materials and supplies which may mean that it is already in possession of enough materials for a small
scale production facility. My estimate is that Iraq may be in actual production in two years with enough accumulated product for two to three nuclear weapons in three years. The problem however remains that we are dealing with a series of indicators but no first hand witness. This I will deal with later in this statement.
Iraq never seriously attempted to acquire nuclear fissile materials from outside sources by smuggling or other means. Though this may have changed since I left in 1994 but my belief is that this is a serious program, and is designed to turn Iraq into a nuclear power with credible nuclear force and as such systematic build-up of its capability was embarked on for over twenty years with no change of goals or purpose. This make it one of the most intensive single-minded objectives of the Iraqi regime. It dwarfs many times over both the BW and CW programs combined. By the time I left hiring was intensive especially among college graduates in engineering and science. A program declared publicly by Saddam created a series of graduate groups trained in nuclear and other weapon technologies dedicated to working in the program after graduation. This step among others turns the university system which is forced to award degrees based on classified research unseen by its faculties into an integral part of the Iraqi WMD industry. On the other hand Atomic Energy Establishment (AEE) teams were turned into civilian contracting entities that actually engage in contract work for the civilian sector. They helped rebuild Iraq’s civilian infrastructure including power stations, oil refineries and telephone exchanges. This achieved two purposes. On the one hand Iraq can, and did claim that these are now civilian sector entities unrelated to the WMD program. On the other hand by working with other government establishments they can incorporate the best of these establishments into their work. There were complaints from the various sectors that AEE took away so many of their engineers that they had a hard time getting their work done. Even important sectors such as oil and power generation were not immune. One result of this is the unavailability of scientists and engineers that the Iraqi government can claim to be transferred from the military industry and as such not available to the inspectors. Also it means that Iraq has integrated its WMD into its civilian sector turning Iraq into one giant WMD factory.
I wish to point here that Dr. Spertzel’s hunch about the role of Iraq's intelligence agency the Mukhabarat in the WMD program is right.
Iraq’s BW program was started under an organization created by Mukhabarat called alHazen. In 1985 as an advisor to AEE I was asked to visit al-Hazen to check on their computer work and see if they need help in setting up their computer network. I was familiar with the early phase of al-Hazen and its late director Merwan al-Sateda. A Palestinian with Yasser Arafat connections he was a fellow physicist. The center started as a military research and development organization that have extensive cooperation with the U. of Arizona. It was run by the Iraqi Mukhabarat and as such was independent of any oversight by other government organs such as the Ministry of Finance. Later after being accused of pilfering 20 million dollars Merwan was jailed and later killed by Saddam and the center dissolved to be opened later with a new mission: development of Iraq’s BW program.
Iraq’s Mukhabarat is the creation of Saddam Hussein. It was founded on the premise that Iraq’s security starts abroad. As such it had units for assassination, terror, use of poisons and biological agents against Iraqi dissidents and an extensive experimental program in all means of terror and intelligence tools. Even Atomic Energy was not immune from their power. They infiltrated AE and took under their wings many of its staff at will. As such we were aware of some of the developments going inside this terrible organization. Later I acted as a liaison with this agency regarding their acquisition of proscribed nuclear materials and presumably classified reports. I found it to be corrupt, deceitful and totally without human values.
Thus the BW program replaced the research in physics as priority for Mukhabarat because of its potential for terrorism. An angle rarely reported and I found extensive incidents regarding it when I left Iraq and worked in Libya from Iraqi expatriates was the use of humans as disease carriers. Dissidents living abroad with families in Iraq will suddenly get the news that their families are allowed to join them. Before they can obtain their passports they are usually “inoculated” against some of the standard infections. There were many incidents of whole families infected this way with HIV and other diseases. It should be noted that any Iraqi infected with HIV was transferred to a remote region in Western desert called Salman Hole presumably for treatment. However nobody ever came back and most were reported dead within a year of going there. Since HIV is rarely a cause of death this fast it was assumed that they were subject to many kinds of experiments. If smallpox is to be sent abroad from Iraq one should expect unwitting carriers being sent to the destination targets possibly not even Iraqis to achieve deniability.
When I was transferred to the military industry some of my workers were questioned about the effects of radiation and how to cause disease and death by what kind of radiation sources. Later I heard of many incidents of people with radiation burns treated in Iraqi hospitals. Work on the Iraqi dirty bomb which was tested in 1988 in Muhammediyat had an Iraqi Mukhabarat angle.
How Iraq acquired the technology necessary to sustain these programs.
Iraq understood that the first step in acquiring technology is the human element. Thus a large scale program of government scholarships was launched that covered all areas of WMD in addition to other needs. The program was of such a scale that though most of scholarship holders never returned those who did were of large enough number to form the nucleus of its WMD. This is critical to understand if any use is to be made of the inspectors to uncover the Iraqi WMD. Comparison with Iran may explain this point. Iran acquired calutron technology for uranium enrichment from China. Iraq developed its own much larger program for calutrons from scratch. Iran attempted acquiring heavy water technologies from many countries including Argentina. Iraq did research and development for more than twenty years to develop its own heavy water technology. Thus the scientists are Iraq's main asset not equipment nor facilities. At the same time Iraq allowed weapons inspectors to destroy many pieces of equipments and facilities it refused to give them full unmonitored access to its scientists. Inspections became a
serious problem when inspectors in later years began to demand more access to the scientists. After several incidents some of which were described in earlier testimony Iraq began to get more and more difficult in providing access. Thus the demand for access to the scientists was the cause of the demise of the inspection process in Iraq.
This points out a critical factor for inspections to be of any meaning. With little or no human intelligence about Iraq’s WMD inspectors have little to direct them to the whereabouts of the Iraqi programs. However if a condition is made that the scientists are to be made available outside Iraq together with their families the story could see an immediate turnaround. All Iraq’s pretexts of no WMD will collapse. Iraq will expose its hand immediately through flat refusal to cooperate. The names of all the relevant scientists are known to the US authorities. Unmovic already possesses huge financial resources from its share of Iraq’s oil revenues at its disposal to take care of all the important Iraqi scientists and engineers permanently. Iraq’s scientists if they chose to and my guess is that they will can go under the equivalent of the US witness protection program paid for by income already under Unmovic disposal if they agree to cooperate. This is the test. If Iraq has really no illegal WMD program it should agree. My bet would be that it will not. This is the smoking gun everybody is looking for.
Iraq was reorganizing its concealment mechanism even before the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son in law. The resulting system took effect in 1995 by the creation of the Concealment Organization headed by Saddam's younger son Qussey within the Special Security Organization (SSO). The NY Times interview of the Iraqi civil engineer charged with building backup sites tell only part of the story. The defector who brought
with him official Iraqi contracts reports duplicate sites built mostly underground with specifications that included lead impregnated concrete and resin covers that mean radioactive work. A back-up system of support do the rest. Any inspection process is monitored carefully as to its intentions. Once a possible target is identified a special team with its transport vehicles and technicians will descend on the target of inspection, dismantle all equipment and any possible incriminating evidence and carry it to the backup site. This is the more sophisticated version of what inspectors already experienced through denial of access and standoffs. Good luck for any future inspection team that wants to beat this system.
Thank you Mr. Chairman