So Saddam Hussein authorises injecting Sarin and mustard gas into perfume bottles, and having them shipped to the West? Given the originator of the claim is from the neocon stable, one has to take the assertions with a pinch of salt. Let's hear more from Dick Spertzel about his sources. -- RT
IRAQIS KILLED KELLY TO KEEP GAS ATTACK SECRET
by James Murray
2 August 2009
Sensational evidence suggesting weapons inspector David Kelly was murdered by Iraqis planning to attack Britian is being offered to the Iraq war inquiry.
Retired American microbiologist Richard Spertzel says he is prepared to fly to London to give evidence to diplomat Sir John Chilcot's investigation.
Mr Spertzel, who led the United Nations biological inspection team in Iraq and worked closely with Dr Kelly, says evidence emerged that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack American and European cities with nerve agents contained in over-the-counter perfume bottles.
He says he read witness statements alleging that the deadly agents Sarin and mustard gas were to be used.
In another astonishing twist Mr Spertzel says he was told that he and Dr Kelly were on an Iraqi hit list. "I was number theree and David was number four", he said.
The Swedish executive chairman of the UN inpsection team was warned that he was top of the list and took the threats so seriously that he resigned.
Russian intelligence agencies in Baghdad passed over information about the list but did not disclose how they came across the information, known only among Saddam's inner circle.
When he learned of Dr Kelly's death in July 2003 in woods near his home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire, Mr Spertzel immediately suspected that he had been killed by Iraqi spies.
"It was a very strange death," he said. "We were wary that the Iraqi intelligence services may have been involved. My concern was whether the Iraqis were after David Kelly."
Although an inquiry led by Lord Hutton in 2003-04 decided that 59-year old Dr Kelly took his own life while under pressure over the information he supplied for the "sexed-up" dossier on Iraq, Mr Spertzel keeps an open mind.
"I can't say one way or the other," he said, adding that a murder investigation carried out at the time could have uncovered crucial evidence.
Asked whether he supported calls for an inquest, Mr Sperzel said: "It might be too little, too late. I knew Dr Kelly reasonably well and in my view he was not suicidal."
However, he believes that it would be "very useful" if the Chilcot inquiry looks into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly.
"If something turned up that the Iraqi intelligence services was involved in it would eliminate all sorts of arguments," said Mr Spertzel, who gave evidence to a US Senate committee on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability before the invasion in March 2003.
"There is no quesiton in my mind that we had to go in," he added, "Did they have the capability and an ongoing programme? Yes."
Intelligence services had discovered an agreement between Iraq and Syria dating back to 1994 outlining cooperation on the development of biological and chemical weapons.
Mr Spertzel said he established that there were laboratories in Iraq capable of producing biological weapons. He added: "One was making Sarin and mustard gas to be placed in perfume phials bound for the US and Europe."
"Apparently they were designed to mimic just about any manufacturer. That was pretty serious."
Sarin, which causes victims to die a choking death, has a short-shelf life but mustard gas can be stored for years.
It is thought by many people in the western intelligence community that Iraqi biological eapons were driven into Syria before the invasion so the stockpiles could not be found. Syria has always denied the claims.