A reader calls our attention to another of the audio tape recordings from Saddam Hussein’s office. This one is ISGQ-2003-M0004667, and appears to have been recorded around 1996. Like most of the audiotapes, it is rambling, confusing and often incoherent. The ambiguity of most of what Saddam and his henchmen say is maddening. However, there are some interesting nuggets. This one suggests that the Russians have been paid off:
We have succeeded in a few of the U.N. paragraphs, we have won Russia, ahhh … we have convinced Russia by way of generous accounts [payoffs], in which, you remember how and why it happened…
Iraq’s lies to the U.N. inspectors are again acknowledged, although the actual state of Iraq’s weapons programs at the time can’t be deduced from the tape:
They have a bigger problem with the Chemical progam than the Biological program, a lot bigger… It is not the weapons, the size of the imported material, the size of [UNINTELLIGIBLE] that we presented to them or the size of the stockpile. They knew that not all of this was true. We have not told them about the size or kind of Chemical weapons that we produced, and we have not told them the truth about the imported material. Therefore, sir, if they want to raise an issue, I mean, they will see that our argument is the issue of the Biological program.
It is clearly stated that nuclear materials were moved out of Iraq, and it seems, although less clearly, that Iraqi “teams” were still working on nuclear weapons:
Sir, where was the Nuclear material transported to? A number of them were transported outside of Iraq.
Sir, about the Nuclear program, we say that we have uncovered everything. In addition, we have an unannounced problem with the Nuclear program, and I think they know about it. I mean, there is working teams that are working and some of these teams are not known to anyone.
As we’ve said before, each of these documents is a very small piece of a very large mosaic, and it would be a mistake to try to draw conclusions prematurely. But some of these comments are certainly suggestive.