Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wikileaks revelation: WMD found in Iraq

Well, that's what you'd think from this headline in

Wikileaks: WMD program existed in Iraq prior to US invasion

The article, though, over-promises and completely fails to deliver. No Ernst Stavro Blofeld-style facilities for producing super-weapons that could hold the world to ransom. Just 'containers of liquid sulfur mustard which have been used since World War I' a 'house with a chemical lab' and '155mm rounds filled with an unknown liquid ... several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance ... the rounds tested positive for mustard [gas]'.

It's horrible stuff, as Wilfred Owen and the survivors of the Halabja massacre have testified, but these aren't the sort of weapons that would have been dangerous to the West, or even to Israel (which identified a far more credible potential WMD threat back in the early 1980s and eliminated it by destroying Iraq's Osirak Nuclear Reactor).

The article isn't interesting for drawing attention to any actual buried treasure in the Wikileaks material, but it is moderately interesting to see a new and creative type of spin being put on this stuff. Like Alex Salmond's 'diplomatic tittle tattle' remark and the calls from Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin to have the leaker killed and Assange 'hunted down', the article says rather more about the messanger than it does about the material that's been released.

It's probably just an unhappy coincidence that the author, Jim Kouri, is styled a "Public Safety Examiner", a rather sinister job title that puts me in mind of  the Committee of Public Safety, responsible for centralising denunciations, trials, and executions during the Reign of Terror. I'm guessing, though, that his core competencies are more to do with scaring the public witless about a relatively small terrorist threat, given that the Huckabees and Palins of the world can be relied upon to do the denunciations, along with calls for trials and executions.