The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has successfully spun a story to, among other media outlets, The New York Times, that claims that in its highly-classified Operation AVARICE it bought from the black market in Iraq weapons of mass destruction components, including nerve-agent rockets. AVARICE is said to have started in 2005 and ended in 2006. The CIA claimed the U.S. destroyed 400 Borak rockets, procured in the 1980s, that were capable of carrying chemical weapons.
However, the CIA’s real interest in buying up WMD-related components was to mask its earlier role, along with that of then-President Ronald Reagan special envoy Donald Rumsfeld, in supplying Saddam Hussein with the WMDs used to commit genocide against Iraqi Kurds and Iranian troops fighting against an Iraqi border invasion. The sudden revelation about “Iraqi WMDs” is more about cleaning up George W. Bush’s record with WMDs in Iraq (“Bush Lied, People Died”) for his brother Jeb Bush’s anticipated 2016 presidential run. What the CIA purchased from Iraqi souks and junk yards were evidence of the CIA’s own role in providing Iraq with WMDs in the 1980s.
Information about AVARICE is nothing new and, in fact, the U.S. discovered poison gas canisters in Iraq long before 2005. On November 14, 2005, WMR reported: “U.S. military intelligence personnel discovered VX gas canisters at the Bilad weapons site. The Iraqi official who took U.S. military intelligence officers to Bilad even had the American bills of lading for the nerve gas shipments.” Our report continued: “The Clinton and Bush 2 administrations never paid much attention to the presence of VX nerve gas in Iraq, according to a Defense Department intelligence source. This was because the nerve gas was sent by the Reagan and Bush 1 administrations and nerve gas has a ‘shelf life,’ whereby the U.S. maintained it could not be counted as a weapon of mass destruction under United Nations and U.S. definitions.”
On November 20, 2005, WMR followed up our initial report: “The CIA, according to U.S. military intelligence agents, never considered the U.S.-supplied VX nerve gas to be a WMD after Desert Storm. Their reasoning was that because of its binary nature, it had a shelf life and oxidization rendered it harmless after the outbreak of Desert Storm. In reality, the U.S. military sources said the CIA’s admission that Iraq possessed harmless VX was a way for it to protect itself and its former deputy director [Frank] Carlucci while admitting to the fact that the Bush administration had, in fact, supplied the deadly agent to Saddam Hussein. The CIA’s main mission in the 1990s was regime change and Saddam’s alleged possession of WMDs was merely a causa sina qua non for continued hostilities, overt and covert. A British colonel who was the head of the special operations team that removed the VX weapons from Bilad said his detection kit registered a positive reading.”
To bolster the point that canisters and other nerve and mustard gas, as well as other chemical weapons supplied to Iraq by the U.S. and other countries, had long since deteriorated by the time the CIA “bought” the components, U.S. Representative John Hammerschmidt (R-AR) said that in a classified briefing in 1980, the U.S. Army admitted that it possessed 730,000 rounds of deteriorated and obsolete chemical weapons rounds.
However, with Jeb Bush planning his White House run it now becomes necessary for the CIA to reveal that it discovered WMD components.
If the CIA wanted to release something of interest in Iraqi WMDs, it might start with 1980s contract documents signed between then-Secretary of State George P. Schultz’s old firm Bechtel Corporation and Saddam Hussein that saw a number of precursor WMD production facilities built by the U.S. construction giant. Bechtel made most of its fortune building atomic plants under then-Atomic Energy Commission Chairman John McCone, the founder of Bechtel-McCone, Bechtel’s predecessor company. In 1961, after President John F. Kennedy fired CIA director Allen Dulles, McCone became CIA chief and he continued to take care of Bechtel both at Langley and in post-CIA employment. A March 4, 1977 confidential Bechtel memorandum, titled “International Job Strategy,” identifies Iraq’s petrochemical and other infrastructures as a top priority, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, and Nigeria, for Bechtel’s business.
McCone died on February 14, 1991, just two weeks before George H. W. Bush, also a former CIA director, launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq. The U.S. military assault attempted to destroy as much of Iraq’s chemical weapons infrastructure as possible to obliterate Bechtel’s, Rumsfeld’s, Carlucci’s, and the Bush family’s role in it.