Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

COWARDICE -- the ONLY way to describe the US media coverage of George Galloway's hearing before Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

After Scotsman George Galloway was falsely accused by Republican Senator Norm Coleman he came to Washington to clear his name. He not only did that, but his testimony shined a light on criminal activities by the Bush Administration and his Republican supporters in Congress. Senator Coleman’s committee originally posted Galloway’s testimony, but after a single day removed it. They continue to show the testimony of his accusers. All other witnesses giving testimony before the committee have their testimony posted on our Tax-Payer Funded Senate.GOV website, except the man who turned the tables on his Republican accusers. They continue to refuse to post his testimony. You can read it here thanks to American Patriots who believe that Freedom of Speech is not only for those who parrot George W. Bush’s statements, but for us all. Now you would think that the news media would give you this information. But you would be wrong! The TV news refuse to air Galloway’s testimony, and newpapers report it in a very right-wing biased way as you will find from reading this article by Maria Tomchick.
Just What You'd Expect -- Galloway and the US Press

Cowardice is the only way to describe the recent coverage of George Galloway's hearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Not only did the nation's two major dailies get many of the facts wrong, they went out of their way to paint Galloway as guilty.

I'm going to pick on the Washington Post and the New York Times. Colum Lynch, the reporter assigned by the Washington Post to cover the Senate investigations of the UN's oil-for-food program, wrote an article on May 12 entitled "Panel Connects Oil Program to Europeans." The article repeated charges made by the Republican majority on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that several European politicians, including British MP George Galloway, had accepted bribes from Saddam Hussein in the form of oil-for-food program allotments. Galloway, by the way, is a long-time, vocal critic of the sanctions against Iraq and the ensuing US/UK war--as are all of the other European politicians named by the committee, a fact that should raise any self-respecting reporter's suspicions of a Republican witch hunt. Or a "mother of all smokescreens," as Galloway has called the investigation--one that takes our attention off the much more serious problems being unearthed by the UN special investigator in Iraq who's auditing how the Bush administration spent Iraqi oil-for-food program money after the invasion. Of course Lynch proves he has no instincts for the important story, and instead merely repeats the committee's accusations.

Lynch then wrote a follow-up article on May 18 about Galloway's hearing before the Senate committee, a story that was buried on page A11. Lynch goes out of his way to portray Galloway as a loose cannon, saying that he "unleashed a personal attack against panel Chairman Norm Coleman," "delivered a fiery attack on three decades of US policy toward Iraq," and that he "dispensed with the deference traditionally reserved for Senate leaders." Not content with that, Lynch goes on to say that "he described himself as a 'friend' of former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, and said that he met twice with Hussein."

What Galloway actually said was this: "On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false. I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to the sanction, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr. Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country--a rather better use of two meeting with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his."
While Lynch purposefully omits the Donald Rumsfeld reference from his article, he does include the following: "The Senate subcommittee has not presented any bank records or other documentation showing that Galloway traded in Iraqi oil or paid kickbacks to the government." But this is in paragraph 8, exactly halfway through the article, instead of paragraph 1 or 2, where it could have been used to establish an all-important context for the Republicans' oil-for-food circus act.

In paragraph 15 of his article (the next-to-last one), Lynch mentions in passing the most important finding of the whole oil-for-food investigation: that the Texas petroleum company Bayoil paid $37 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, an enormous and direct violation of the oil-for-food program rules by a US company that dwarfs anything Galloway is charged with. But Lynch somehow forgets to mention Bayoil by name, nor does he question why Senate Republicans are trying to crucify Galloway and other anti-war politicians, instead of siccing the US Treasury Department on Bayoil.

The New York Times report is equally bad, but in a different way. Written by Judith Miller, whose reports on Saddam's WMD capability amounted to uncritical stenography for right-wing neo-cons, the article is almost genteel in its careful phrasing. She uses flattering descriptive terms to describe Galloway, while framing her article in a way that give credence to the oil-for-food investigations. Miller variously describes Galloway as "a maverick," "a flamboyant orator and skilled debator," and says he "more than held his own before the committee." But Miller also mentions the two meetings with Saddam: "He said he met with former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz many times, but met Mr. Hussein only twice--as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had." Aha, Rumsfeld mentioned at last! But Miller makes no mention of what Rumsfeld did with his time versus what Galloway did with his.

According to Miller, "the committee has produced no documents that show that Mr. Galloway or his charity actually received money." You can almost hear the tea spoon clink gently against the saucer. Where does this little bon mot appear? It was the last sentence of paragraph 14 in an 18-paragraph article. Of course, Miller makes no mention at all of Bayoil. That would be impolite.

As usual, if the US public wants the truth, we have to go to the original sources, in this case the transcript of Galloway's statement. Interestingly, the British newspapers were quick to offer up the transcript, while US papers decided it wasn't newsworthy. Kudos belong to the alternative press in the US, which widely reprinted Galloway's statement. You can find it at here.
Articles cited in this analysis:

"Panel Connects Oil Program To Europeans," Colum Lynch, Washington Post, 5/12/05, A16

"Briton Denies Having Rights to Buy Iraqi Oil," Colum Lynch, Washington Post, 5/18/05, A11

"British Lawmaker Scolds Senators on Iraq," Judith Miller, New York Times, 5/18/05.

Maria Tomchick is a co-editor and contributing writer for Eat The State!, a biweekly anti-authoritarian newspaper of political opinion, research, and humor, based in Seattle, Washington. She can be reached at:
Once again the Corporate-Owned Media who are shills for the Bush Administration are deliberately misleading the American People. Galloway not only defended the baseless accusations against him, he indicted the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership in Congress for their own crimes! Remember that the US Senate’s own website Senate.GOV posted the testimony of EVERY SINGLE OTHER WITNESS EXCEPT GALLOWAY!!!!!! The Republican led Senate originally posted his testimony, then after a day they took it down, but kept the testimony of his accusers on the web site! OUR WEBSITE THAT WE PAY FOR WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS!!! They refuse to re-post his testimony because they hope the American people won't learn what he had to say! The Republicans in the Senate are COWARDS!!! When the Government wants to prevent its citizens from reading something they had better read it for their own freedom’s sake! Read it here.



Blogger deborah said...

Judith Miller! That she's still writing proves your point.

3:33 PM  
Blogger deborah said...

I went back and found notes I'd sent on Miller...

From: "Mattingly Conner"
To: "rich cowan"
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2003 11:07 AM
Subject: Cataloging the wretched reporting of Judith Miller.


Slate [online]
press box

The Times Scoops That Melted
Cataloging the wretched reporting of Judith Miller.
By Jack Shafer

Posted Friday, July 25, 2003, at 3:49 PM PT

If reporters who live by their sources were obliged to die by their
sources, New York Times reporter Judith Miller would be stinking up her
family tomb right now. In the 18-month run-up to the war on Iraq, Miller
grew incredibly close to numerous Iraqi sources, both named and
anonymous, who gave her detailed interviews about Saddam Hussein's
weapons of mass destruction. Yet 100 days after the fall of Baghdad,
none of the sensational allegations about chemical, biological, or
nuclear weapons given to Miller have panned out, despite the furious
crisscrossing of Iraq by U.S. weapons hunters.

In a Page One Times piece this week ("A Chronicle of Confusion in the
Hunt for Hussein's Weapons," July 20), Miller acknowledges that "whether
Saddam possessed such weapons when the war began remains unknown." But
from there, she serially blames the failure of U.S. forces to uncover
weapons of mass destruction on "chaos," "disorganization," "interagency
feuds," "flawed intelligence," "looting," and "shortages of everything
from gasoline to soap." Alternatively, she writes, maybe the wrong
people were in charge of the search; perhaps a greater emphasis should
have been placed on acquiring human sources rather than searching sites;
and it could be that the military botched the op by not investing the
WMD searchers with the power to reward cooperating Iraqi scientists
financially or grant them amnesty.

Judith Miller finds everybody associated with the failed search
theoretically culpable except Judith Miller. This rings peculiar because
Miller, more than any other reporter, showcased the WMD speculations and
intelligence findings by the Bush administration and the Iraqi
defector/dissidents. Our WMD expectations, such as they were, grew
largely out of Miller's stories.

To be sure, Miller never asserted that Iraq had an illegal WMD program
or a stockpile of banned weapons. Far from it: Every time she writes
about WMDs, she always constructs a semantic trapdoor allowing her to
pop out the other side and proclaim, It's the sources talking, not me!
But thanks to the reporting of the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, we
now know Miller was a true believer who grew fat on WMD tips from her
sources inside Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress organization, and
that once in-country she threw a bit and saddle on the WMD detectives
and rode them like Julie Krone from one end of Iraq to the other to
investigate those tips.

That none of the official tips or the ones provided by Miller revealed
WMDs indicates that 1) the Iraqis perfectly expunged every site Miller
ever mentioned in her reporting prior to the U.S. invasion; or 2) her
sources were full of bunk. Either way, if Miller got taken by her
coveted sources, so did the reading public, and the Times owes its
readers a review of Miller's many credulous pieces. Thanks to the power
of the Nexis Wayback Machine, we can give the Times a few tips on which
Miller stories need revision, redaction, or retraction.

The Renovator, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri

The Back Story: Climbing aboard the Wayback Machine, we first touch down
on the Dec. 20, 2001, piece by Miller, "Iraqi Tells of Renovations at
Sites For Chemical and Nuclear Arms." The Iraqi National Congress
arranges for Miller to meet defector Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, a
civil engineer whose information seems reliable and significant to the
U.S. government, Miller writes.

Saeed claims "to have done repair or construction work in facilities
that were connected with all three classes of unconventional
weapons-nuclear, chemical, and biological programs" and "personally
visited at least 20 different sites that he believed to have been
associated with Iraq's chemical or biological weapons programs, based on
the characteristics of the rooms or storage areas and what he had been
told about them during his work. Among them were what he described as
the 'clean room' of a biological facility in 1998 in a residential area
known as Al Qrayat."

Many redundant sites were also built, Saeed told Miller, including
"duplicate nuclear facilities." Lead-lined storage containers exist
under farms around Baghdad, and he tells Miller he worked on 20 such

Miller Caveats: "There was no means to independently verify Mr. Saeed's
allegations," and the government is always suspicious of defectors'

Suggested Remedial Action: Saeed tells Miller he would return to Iraq
"tomorrow" if Saddam were gone. As soon as we snuff Saddam, the Times
should send Saeed to Iraq, where he can lead them on a tour of the 20
sites and 20 installations.

The Pseudonymous Ahmed al-Shemri

The Back Story: In "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest For A-Bomb
Parts," Sept. 8, 2002, Miller and Michael R. Gordon publish the
allegations of the pseudonymous Ahmed al-Shemri, who claims he was
"involved" in chemical weapons production in Iraq before his defection
two years prior. He claims that Saddam continued to develop, produce,
and store chemical agents in secret mobile and fixed sites, many of them
underground, in violation of weapons sanctions.

" 'All of Iraq is one large storage facility,' said Mr. Shemri, who
claimed to have worked for many years at the Muthanna State Enterprise,
once Iraq's chemical weapons plant."

Shemri speaks of secret labs in Mosul, of the production of 5 tons of
liquid VX between 1994 and 1998, and says that it could make at least 50
additional tons of liquid nerve agent. Also, Shemri discloses that Iraq
has invented a new solid form of VX that makes decontamination
difficult. Both Russian and North Korean scientists are assisting Iraq.
Shemri has also heard tell that Iraq stockpiles "12,500 gallons of
anthrax, 2,500 gallons of gas gangrene, 1,250 gallons of aflotoxin and
2,000 gallons of botulinum throughout the country."

Miller Caveats: "An [sic] former Unscom inspector called at least some
of Mr. Shemri's information 'plausible.' While he said it was impossible
to determine the accuracy of all his claims, he believed that Mr. Shemri
'is who he claims to be, and worked where he claimed to work.' "

Suggested Remedial Action: Shemri should drop his pseudonym to make his
background more transparent and lead the Times to the Mosul lab. He
should also introduce his former colleagues to WMD inspectors.

The Bush Administration Case

The Back Story: Miller and Gordon report the Bush administration's
findings in "White House Lists Iraq Steps To Build Banned Weapons,"
Sept. 13, 2002. According to the government, Iraq is attempting to
purchase aluminum pipes to assist its nuclear weapons program as well as
trying to develop mobile biological weapons laboratories. It also wants
to obtain poison gas precursors. And it is trying to hide activities at
plants in Fallujah and three other places where poisonous chlorine is
made. The report alleges the plants have excess capacity and the Iraqis
are diverting chlorine to the military.

Iraq continues to develop missiles banned under the 1991 cease-fire,
according to the administration, and is doing prohibited research at its
Al Rafah North complex. At the demolished Al Mamoun facility, where the
Iraqis intended to make engines for long-range missiles, the Iraqis are

Miller Caveats: Some experts wonder if the aluminum tubes might be for
rocket systems, not nuclear weapons work.

Suggested Remedial Action: A Times visit to Fallujah, Al Rafah North, Al
Mamoun, and other sites alluded to is called for. Maybe the Times can
find evidence that supports or discredits the administration's claim.

Khidhir Hamza, Nuclear Mastermind

The Back Story: Miller gives credence to the views of Khidhir Hamza, a
leader of Iraq's nuclear bomb project until his 1994 defection in
"Verification Is Difficult at Best, Say the Experts, and Maybe
Impossible," Sept. 18, 2002.

He estimates that Iraq is within two to three years of mass-producing
centrifuges for the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium, a more alarming
estimate than that offered by former inspectors. Hamza's book Saddam's
Bombmaker details Iraq's proficiency in concealing its nuclear program,
Miller writes.

Miller Caveat: None. The piece is mostly about the difficulties of
weapon inspections verification.

Suggested Remedial Action: If Hamza really knows the nuclear score, he
should take the Times on an Iraqi atomic tour.

The Defectors Complain

The Back Story: Defectors Hamza and Saeed return to complain about U.S.
intelligence's lack of interest in their allegations in Miller's "U.S.
Faulted Over Its Efforts To Unite Iraqi Dissidents," Oct. 2, 2002.

Pentagon adviser Richard N. Perle and Ahmad Chalabi enthusiastically
slam the CIA for ignoring the Iraqi National Congress. "The I.N.C. has
been without question the single most important source of intelligence
about Saddam Hussein. . What the agency has learned in recent months has
come largely through the I.N.C.'s efforts despite indifference of the

Miller's Caveat: The government tends not to trust defectors.

Suggested Remedial Action: Either the INC was wrong or the CIA was
wrong. If the INC was wrong, the Times should feed Perle's words back to
him with a fork and spoon.

The Atropine Auto-Injectors

The Back Story: Citing administration officials, Miller reports Iraq's
order of "large quantities" of atropine auto-injectors in "Iraq Said To
Try To Buy Antidote Against Nerve Gas," Nov. 12, 2002. Atropine is an
antidote to sarin and VX.

Miller Caveat: Atropine is also used to treat heart attacks, although
the auto-injectors contain five times the normal dose.

Suggested Remedial Action: The Times should track the atropine order to
the source, if possible, to see if the request was in preparation for a
chemical weapons attack.

Madame Smallpox

The Back Story: In her Dec. 3, 2002, exclusive, "C.I.A. Hunts Iraq Tie
to Soviet Smallpox," Miller reported an unnamed informant's allegations
that a Russian scientist had given Iraq a "particularly virulent strain
of smallpox." The scientist might have been the now deceased Nelja N.
Maltseva, a Russian virologist. (See this "Press Box" for the complete
take.) According to Miller, the CIA was brought in to investigate and
the president was "briefed about its implications." Miller surmises that
this was one reason the administration was so determined to inoculate
health workers for smallpox.

Miller Caveat: "The attempt to verify the information is continuing."

Suggested Remedial Action: It's clear from Miller's wording that she
didn't know the identity of the informant. Now that Iraq is beaten into
the ground, surely no intelligence sources and methods would be
compromised by the government revealing its informant. At the very
least, a Times reporter should reinvestigate both the Russian and Iraqi
ends of this story.

The Defectors, Again

The Back Story: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz publicly
credits the Iraqi defectors who have told the United States about Iraq's
secret chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the efforts to
conceal them in Miller's "Defectors Bolster U.S. Case Against Iraq,
Officials Say," Jan. 24, 2003.

Miller Caveat: Only a dozen defectors are thought to be reliable, and of
them only three or four have been offered asylum.

Suggested Remedial Action: The Times should review the credibility of
all the Iraqis who defected to Miller. Who are the defectors? What did
they tell the United States? How much of it was true? How much was

The Mobile Exploitation Team Scoop

Miller files her biggest scoop ever: "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War,
An Iraqi Scientist Is Said To Assert," April 21, 2003. Traversing Iraq
with a Mobile Exploitation Team in search of WMD, they tell her of the
extraordinary claims by an Iraqi scientist in their custody. They say he
claims Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment
just before the war started and that he has led them to buried precursor
materials from which illegal weapons can be made.

And more! He says Iraq secretly sent its unconventional weapons and
technology to Syria in the mid-1990s; it had recently been cooperating
with al-Qaida and turning its focus to weapons R & D and concealment.
These are described to Miller by officials as the most important
discoveries in the WMD hunt so far.

The precursor elements unearthed can be used to create a toxic agent
banned under chemical weapons treaties, Miller alleges, although she is
barred from naming the precursor, speaking to the scientist, or visiting
his home. Miller reports that she also submitted her story to the
military for review and agreed not to publish her findings for three
days. The military allows her to view the baseball cap-clad scientist
from a distance as he points at spots in the sand where he says
precursor compounds are buried.

Miller Caveats: Close to none. Speaking on The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer
the next day, she says the scientist is more than a "smoking gun."
Investigators regard him the "silver bullet" in the WMD search.

Suggested Remedial Action: See below.

The Scoop Melts

Just two days later, Miller's incendiary scoop begin to fade. In "Focus
Shifts From Weapons to the People Behind Them," April 23, 2003, Miller
announces a "paradigm shift" by investigators. A new emphasis on
uncovering the Iraqi WMD infrastructure now takes precedence over
finding the weapons because of what they've learned from the scientist,
a theme she revisits on April 24 in "U.S.-Led Forces Occupy Baghdad
Complex Filled With Chemical Agents." Iraq, the scientist tells
investigators, has reduced its stockpiles while increasing its ability
to develop new weapons.

The Mobile Exploitation Team and Miller continue to putter around Iraq,
searching for intelligence documents and a missing Talmud, investigating
tips about mobile germ labs to no avail, and finding a suspicious store
of radioactive cobalt-80, which is used in X-ray machines. But neither
Miller nor any of the Mobile Exploitation Teams canvassing Iraq find
anything in the way of WMDs.

On July 20, 2003, Miller published the extended apologia cited at the
top of this piece. Without asking herself if the U.S. government or the
defectors whom she so devotedly courted and quoted over the last 18
months might have been shoveling her bull, Miller speculates that the
WMD search failed not so much because WMD were not there, but because
the military relied on the wrong methods.

What's more, the "scientist" who was supposed to be the "silver bullet"
in April turns out to be a "military intelligence officer," Miller
writes in her July 20 piece, without offering one word of explanation
about his title change. Might we learn in a subsequent Miller dispatch
that's he's really a scuba-diving instructor? And yet Miller does not
give up on her ultra mysterious source, writing that what he's told
authorities is corroborated by other debriefed Iraqis-that is, Iraq
destroyed its stockpiles starting in 1995 but continued its WMD R & D.

Miller Caveats: At this point, every paragraph contains some sort of

Suggested Remedial Action: Miller should persuade the military to let
her identify the "precursor" to a banned toxic compound mentioned in her
April 21 piece. Likewise, where were the precursors buried? Why did the
military intelligence officer lie and introduce himself as a scientist
to U.S. forces? When did the military learn otherwise? Does this mean he
lies all the time, or just selectively? Why hasn't Miller explained the
meaning of his deception?

Do the military intelligence officer's other allegations listed in
Miller's April 21 piece still stand? Did Iraq ship unconventional
weapons and technology to Syria in the mid-1990s? Did Iraq cooperate
with al-Qaida as he asserted?

The most important question to unravel about Judith Miller's reporting
is this: Has she grown too close to her sources to be trusted to get it
right or to recant her findings when it's proved that she got it wrong?
Because the Times sets the news agenda for the press and the nation,
Miller's reporting had a great impact on the national debate over the
wisdom of the Iraq invasion. If she was reliably wrong about Iraq's WMD,
she might have played a major role in encouraging the United States to
attack a nation that posed it little threat.

At the very least, Miller's editors should review her dodgy reporting
from the last 18 months, explain her astonishing credulity and lack of
accountability, and parse the false from the fact in her WMD reporting.
In fact, the Times' incoming executive editor, Bill Keller, could do no
better than to launch such an investigation.


The Miller corpus is so huge I only cited a couple dozen of her stories
here. If I missed something good, drop me a line at

Jack Shafer is Slate's editor at large.


I wrote him:

Dear Jack Shafer,

I'm so glad you wrote the magnificent
The Times Scoops That Melted
Cataloging the wretched reporting of Judith Miller.
(Posted Friday, July 25, 2003, at 3:49 PM PT)

Recently I'd written on the WMD and the smallpox question:
The below is another angle on the distortions that were used
to sell the war. First, a recent NY Times letter:

To the Editor:
Reassessment of the smallpox vaccination goal is needed
(editorial, May 12), and it will require a frank examination
of the origins of the goal and of the resistance in the
medical community.
Some of us urged our colleagues to resist vaccination
because of the potential harm and the heavy burden the
program imposes on public health resources. Also, the need
for the program was based largely on intelligence estimates
that were presumably of the same quality as the
"intelligence" about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Some of us suspected that one goal of the vaccine program
was to generate support for the war. There should be an
independent investigation into whether such intelligence
existed and whether there was manipulation to justify a
political agenda. If there was, officials should be held
responsible for the deaths and illnesses attributed to
Bronx, May 12, 2003
The writers are, respectively, an assistant professor of
epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a
nurse practitioner at Cabrini Medical Center.


The allegation used to sell the war was that Iraq possesses
the smallpox virus, obtaining it from the Russian stock.
This was a myth, assumed widely. There was never any proof
for it, just speculation--and that speculation began with
Judith Miller (see below; and Judith Miller is a story in
herself), followed up by stories that intelligence sources
were "investigating", all of which worked to give the
speculation credibility with no further development of fact.

Closest statement is this from discussion by former
. 1) To the best of my knowledge, there is no proof of any
link between the experiments at Vector and either Al Qaeda
or Saddam Hussein, but concern is understandable. If any
proof of linkage arises, I might change my mind.
Lawrence B. Brilliant, M.D.
Interim CEO of Cometa Networks, Inc.
Medical officer for the United Nations World Health
Organization(1970s) helping lead the successful effort to
eradicate smallpox.
Author of nearly 100 scientific articles and two books and
is an expert on smallpox.

and then there was the threat of lawsuit:

US paper to face Russian smallpox lawsuit
27 ??????? 04:29

?????: Yelena Vrantseva

The daughter of a prominent Russian virologist is
considering filing a suit against the New York Times. On
December 3 the newspaper reported, citing CIA sources, that
Iraq had allegedly obtained a particularly virulent strain
of smallpox from Russian scientist Nelli Maltseva.

''I am shocked by that publication,'' her daughter Natalia
Maltseva told Interfax news agency. ''Only at her funeral I
learned that she was a world renowned scientist. And now,
such notoriety! I intend to file a lawsuit against the paper
for defiling her memory,'' she added.

Svetlana Marennikova, an expert for dangerous infections
with the World Health Organization (WHO), who used to work
together with Dr. Maltseva at the Moscow research lab for
viral preparations, also refuted the allegations published
by the New York Times.

''Those accusations are absurd. We knew Nelli Nikolayevna
[Maltseva] as a very honest, hard-working and decent person,
who loved her job and her country,'' she said.

''I met with the author of the article not long ago in
Geneva, where I was taking part in a session of the expert
committee for smallpox. I answered several questions, but
when I sensed their provocative nature, I stopped the
interview. Control over the access to strains of
particularly virulent infections is so strict that no one
could have taken anything from the lab or even entered it
without my knowledge,'' Marennikova emphasized.

The head of the Moscow Research Institute for Viral
Preparations Vitaly Zverev, too, has said that Maltseva did
not have access to the deadly strains because she was
involved in the diagnostics of herpes, measles and German
measles. Zverev denied the allegations that Maltseva could
have supplied strains of smallpox to Iraq. He confirmed that
in 1971-1972 Maltseva visited Iraq twice as part of the
global campaign to eradicate smallpox.

Gazeta.Ru has learnt that the New York Times report, in
which the paper cited CIA sources and alleged that Iraq
could have obtained a particularly virulent strain of
smallpox from a Russian scientist, contained several errors.
The author of the report wrote that the late director of the
Moscow Research Institute for Viral Preparations Nelli
Maltseva visited Iraq in 1990 where she could have sold a
strain of smallpox.

However, Gazeta.Ru has learnt that in 1990 Nelli Nikolayevna
Maltseva did not work as the head of the viral preparations
institute, and did not have access to any smallpox strains.
The head of the institute Vitaly Zverev confirmed to
Gazeta.Ru that Nelli Maltseva had worked on smallpox strains
until the late 1970s. After the smallpox virus was
completely eradicated in the USSR in 1974, the smallpox lab
was closed.

In the late 70s Malseva was appointed head of the lab for
diagnosing dangerous diseases such as herpes, measles and
German measles and no longer had any access to strains of

''One need only to have known her,'' Zverev told Gazeta.Ru.
''She could not have sold a virus she fought against
throughout the best part of her life. Nelli Maltseva was
saving patients suffering from smallpox in Iran, Syria and
Egypt. In the early 70s she went to Iraq. The last time she
went abroad was in 1988, to Finland.''

According to Zverev, Maltseva was the best expert the World
Health Organization had. She travelled widely on WHO
missions to eradicate smallpox epidemics.

''I think that now the Americans are alleging that Nelli
Nikolayevna sold smallpox to Iraq because she is the only
smallpox expert no longer alive and is therefore unable to
say anything in her defence. She died two years ago. And,
undoubtedly, those allegations are politically motivated.''

The Moscow Research Institute for Viral Preparations once
housed the entire collection of 120 strains of smallpox. The
strains were stored in a heavily guarded building. WHO
experts regularly inspected the stock, and the conditions of
storage. In 1994 all strains were moved to the village of
Koltsovo in the Novosibirsk Region, to the Vector State
Scientific Centre for Virology and Biotechnology.

The main smallpox keeper in Vector is the head of the museum
of virus strains Alexader Guskov. He told Gazeta.Ru that
smallpox strains had never disappeared from their centre, as
it was ''impossible''.

Director general of Vector Lev Sandakhchiyev told Gazeta.Ru
that storing smallpox is fairly straightforward - a
test-tube kept in a fridge. According to Sandakhchiyev,
nobody had ever caught the disease in lab conditions. He
added that the scientists had discovered that smallpox can
remain active for up to 200 years.

Sandakhchiyev also told Gazeta.Ru that each year WHO experts
visit Vector and inspect the storage conditions. The last
inspection was held in September this year. A delegation
comprised of biological security experts from Great Britain,
the US, Sweden and Switzerland acknowledged the high level
of safety standards observed in the lab.

The scientists believe that the political motives behind the
New York Times report are obvious. So far the UN inspectors
in Iraq have found nothing that could justify America's
aggressive plans against that country. Hence, the
speculation about the transfer of smallpox strains to Iraq.

Incidentally, this is not the first time that the US has
tried to scare the world with the threat from smallpox. The
Americans have continuously campaigned for the
re-introduction of mass vaccination programmes and
production of the vaccine. WHO, however, rejected those

As the head of the department for microbiology, virology and
immunology of the Moscow Sechenov Medical Academy,
Academician of the Russian Academy of Medical Science
Anatoly Vorobyov told Gazeta.Ru, the allegations that Russia
could have sold smallpox to Iraq are absurd and untrue.
Smallpox strains, according to Vorobyov, could once be found
in any ''self-respecting lab in the majority of nations that
performed smallpox vaccinations''.

In Vorobyov's opinion, smallpox could have endured in some
countries, other than the US and Russia (officially, only
two labs still maintain smallpox stocks - the Center for
Disease Control in Atlanta and the Ivanovsky Institute in
Moscow) since not all nations signed the convention on the
prohibition of the development of smallpox strains and on
their destruction.

However, Vorobyov believes it is unlikely that Iraq is one
of those states. To all appearances, says Vorobyov, Iraq has
no biological weapons because such labs are very difficult
to conceal. A test-tube containing a strain, in the
scientist's opinion, is no biological weapon, anyway.
05 ??????? 15:33

All else like this along line of Judith Miller's original
circumstantial accusation.

From December 3, 2002 issue.

Iraq: Russian Scientist Might Have Delivered Potent
Smallpox Strain
A Russian virologist might have brought an especially lethal
strain of the smallpox virus to Iraq in 1990, according to a
CIA informant, the New York Times reported today (see GSN,
Nov. 30).
Officials from the CIA are attempting to verify that Nelja
Maltseva - who died two years ago - visited Iraq in 1990 and
brought with her a strain of virus developed in the Soviet
Union. Malseva worked at Moscow's Research Institute for
Viral Preparations for more than 30 years.
Soviet scientists tested a strain of the smallpox virus on
Vozrozhdeniye Island in the Aral Sea and caused an outbreak
of smallpox in what is now Kazakhstan, according to a report
from the U.S.-based Monterey Institute of International
Studies (see GSN, June 17). The link between the open air
test and the epidemic could point to a more contagious and
vaccine-resistant strain of smallpox, according to Alan
Zelicoff, a scientist at Sandia National Laboratory and a
co-author of the Monterey report.
It is this strain that Malseva might have brought to Iraq,
an informant has told the CIA. Malseva visited Iraq in 1972
and 1973 as part of the worldwide effort to eradicate
Svetlana Sergeyevna Marennikova - Maltseva's deputy at the
viral institute - said that she did not know of her boss
taking any trips to Iraq.
"She worked, and then when she got sick, she took a sick
leave when she was no longer able to work," Marennikova
said. "I don't know about Iraq. I didn't know about a trip
there. I don't think she was there. I would know," she
Maltseva's daughter, a Moscow doctor, said she does not know
of her mother taking any trips to Iraq.
Russian officials have confidentially admitted that Maltseva
brought strains of the Vozrozhdeniye Island smallpox back to
Moscow, but said that those strains were destroyed when
Russian smallpox stockpiles were moved to their current,
internationally sanctioned Moscow laboratory, according to
the U.S. officials.
Many in the U.S. government and scientific community,
however, believe Russia probably did not destroy those
strains. The military took control of the particularly
virulent strains when the move was made, according to former
Soviet germ warfare scientists.
Lack of Cooperation
The possible existence of a strain of smallpox virus that is
resistant to current vaccines has renewed U.S. interest in
obtaining information from Russia. That information is not
forthcoming, despite an agreement last year between Russian
President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush
to cooperate in fighting biological terrorism, according to
the Times.
"There is information we would like the Russians to share as
a partner of ours," said William Winkenwerder Jr., U.S.
assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "Because
if there are strains that present a unique problem with
respect to vaccines and treatment, it is in the interests of
all freedom-loving people to have as much information as
possible," he added.
Officials have speculated that Russia has not been
forthcoming with information because of military secrecy or
Putin's own aversion to sharing state secrets.
"The record so far suggests he is either unable or unwilling
to push the military on this front," an administration
official said. "We think it may be a little of both, but we
're not really sure at this point or what to do about it,"
he added (Judith Miller, New York Times, Dec. 3).

Excellent time to hit this story hard.

Best regards,
Deborah Mattingly Conner
"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

Wonder what happened to the lawsuit?

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