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Have you seen the Emperor's Clothes movie 'JUDGMENT!' ? It proves the Western media lied about Bosnia!

Learn more about 'JUDGMENT!' here.


Jared Israel on 'How the Lies
of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic
Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War'
 - A Series

by Jared Israel

Parts:  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9

 2.  The source of the claim that Iraq had nuclear weapons was... Scott Ritter

by Jared Israel
[Posted 13 May 2004]

Other articles in this series are listed at the end.  [1]  =======================================================

[For other articles in this series, see footnote [1] at the end]


We've gotten lots of letters, pro and con, about the first article in my series on Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who continues to play a key role in building opposition to the war in Iraq. [1] 

On the con side, a political activist named Josh (he didn't give his last name) wrote:

[Excerpt from letter starts here]

Many people have worked for the U.S. government with the belief they were helping an honorable cause only to find through experiences that it is not true, so they have to do an about face from previous stands.

You say Ritter has been thoroughly covered in the mainstream Media but from what I saw much of it contained slander about his 'sex Crime'. Your article doesn't mention the attack-press he got.

[Excerpt from letter ends here] 

Actually I did mention Ritter's sex arrest, stating that I will devote an article to how the media responded - or did *not* respond. The notable point about the 'attack press' is that there was almost no 'attack press'!

The arrest story leaked in January 2003, two years after the arrest. Searching in Lexis-Nexis, I found that the media reported on Ritter about 950 times during 2003.  But aside from the Albany Times-Union, which is Ritter's local paper, and the New York Post, Lexis-Nexis could find only 25 examples of US newspapers or TV stations  even mentioning the arrest. Moreover, it appears that the Ashcroft Justice department has prevented the US Attorney's office in Albany from indicting Ritter on Federal sex offense charges. More on that later.

Regarding Josh's point that Ritter flipped from hawk to dove because his experiences showed him that he was not "helping an honorable cause," this explanation doesn't wash. To understand why, let's see how Ritter answered a key question about Iraq's weapons in 1998 and then how he answered this question in 2000.


Did Iraq have nuclear weapons? 

In 1998 Ritter said that based on facts the answer was 'Yes!'


On September 3rd and 16th, 1998, Ritter appeared before the US Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. He testified that Iraq had several nuclear weapons which needed only the fissile cores to be operational. This created an international storm. Here's CNN:  [2]

[Excerpt from 30 September 1998 CNN broadcast starts here]

Richard Ross, Cnn Senior U.N. Correspondent: Lou, the United Nations, the U.N. weapons inspectors, are not commenting at all on the "Washington Post" report, which says that the U.S. government was aware of reports from Scott Ritter, the former U.N. arms inspector, that Iraq had key devices which could be used to make nuclear bombs, provided Baghdad got the enriched uranium first.

The world was already informed of this by Scott Ritter, who resigned recently from his post.

In his opinion, in Ritter's opinion, Iraq had a much more developed nuclear program than the International Atomic Agency is reporting to the U.N.

Ritter said this a few weeks ago to a congressional committee in Washington:

(Begin video clip)

Scott Ritter, Former U.N. Weapons Inspector:  The Special Commission [i.e., UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors - EC] had received sensitive information of some credibility, which indicated that Iraq had the components to assemble three implosion type devices, minus the fissile  material and that if Iraq were able to achieve -- or to obtain [through smuggling] fissile material of the quality and of the physical -- proper physical properties conducive to such a weapon, then they could assemble three nuclear devices in a very short period of time.

(End video clip)

Ross: Ritter later said it would be just a matter of days, in his opinion.

[Excerpt from 30 September 1998 CNN broadcast ends here]

In the above excerpt, CNN rebroadcasts a clip from Ritter's testimony September 16th before the US House of Representatives.  In earlier testimony September 3rd before the US Senate, Ritter had the following exchange with Sen. McCain: [2A]

[Excerpt from Ritter's Senate testimony starts here]

McCain: I'd like to get back just for a second to the gravity of this situation.  Do you believe that Saddam Hussein today has three nuclear weapons assembled, only lacking only the fissile material?

Ritter: The special commission [[i.e., UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors - EC] has intelligence information which indicates that components necessary for nuclear -- three nuclear weapons exist lacking the fissile material, yes, sir.

[Excerpt from Ritter's Senate testimony ends here]

Ritter expanded on his Congressional testimony in later comments including an article that appeared in the New Republic in December 1998: [3]

[Excerpt from New Republic article starts here]

"Meanwhile, Iraq has kept its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure intact through dual-use companies that allow the nuclear-design teams to conduct vital research and practical work on related technologies and materials. Iraq still has components (high explosive lenses, initiators, and neutron generators) for up to four nuclear devices minus the fissile core (highly enriched uranium or plutonium), as well as the means to produce these."

[Excerpt from New Republic article ends here]

Notice that although CNN's Richard Roth referred to Ritter's "opinion", Ritter did not say he was expressing a personal opinion. He spoke as someone reporting facts.

And in the New Republic he wrote that "Iraq still has components … for up to four nuclear devices."  More reporting of supposed facts. Nothing speculative about it.

Ritter's assertion that Iraq could be just days from having operational nuclear weapons made a huge splash, creating pressure for the US to take military action to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Why did Ritter have such an impact?  Because he had strong views? No, that wasn't why.

People took Scott Ritter seriously because as the former head of the UNSCOM concealment team, he knew as much about Iraq's deadly weapons as anyone except top officials in Iraq. Of course, his special source of information ended the day he resigned from UNSCOM.  So for Ritter to supposedly change his mind he would have had to explain:

a) Why he was drawing opposite conclusions from the same facts or

b) How it was that facts he learned before he quit UNSCOM had changed half a year later or

c) Why he had lied.

Ritter did none of the above.  He simply about-faced. 


Did Iraq have nuclear weapons? 

In 2000 Ritter said that based on facts the answer was 'No!'


In a June 2000 article entitled, "The Case for Iraq's Qualitative Disarmament," Ritter wrote: [4]

"It is conceivable that Iraq could have retained certain components of a nuclear device. However, there is no credible evidence of this, and even if such material were retained, it would be of no use to Iraq, given the extent to which Iraq's nuclear program was dismantled by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]."

Did you notice that Ritter reversed himself on two points?

In 1998 he said UNSCOM had "intelligence information which indicates that components necessary for nuclear -- three nuclear weapons exist lacking the fissile material..." But now he about-faced and said there was no credible evidence for the existence of even one nuclear device.

And whereas in 1998 he wrote in the New Republic that Iraq had maintained "its entire nuclear weapons infrastructure" through dual-use facilities, now he said the infrastructure had been destroyed with the result that any remaining components would be useless.  

In both cases - when he stated that Iraq did have nuclear devices, and later when he said they did not  - he was speaking with the authority of expert knowledge acquired as a weapons inspector.  But he stopped being an inspector at the end of August 1998.

So Scott Ritter is not a case of a public servant undergoing a romantic conversion in the cause of peace. Scott Ritter is a case of an expert expounding opposite conclusions based on knowledge of the same facts.

Either Ritter was lying in 1998 when he said Iraq had nuclear weapons or he was lying in 2000 when he said they did not. 

But in either case, he was lying in 2003, in his book "Frontier Justice."  There he scornfully accused so-called ‘neoconservatives' of stirring up war hysteria in the fall of 1998 by leading "rampant speculation" concerning: [5]

 "…what mischief Saddam Hussein and his scientists might be up to in the absence of the ‘serious'American inspectors…[R]umors flew about stockpiles of deadly chemical and biological agents, a resurrected nuclear weapons programs, and secret missile factories."
[emphasis added]

Yes, Mr. Ritter, a lot of people were frightened in the fall of 1998. But the claims about weapons of mass destruction in general and nuclear weapons in particular were not presented to us as speculation. They were presented by an expert who testified before both Houses of Congress and then blitzed the media 24/7 from September through January.

That expert witness was not one of the so-called 'neoconservatives',   Mr. Ritter.  

That witness was you.

[More on Ritter's 'Frontier Justice' coming soon.]

Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor's Clothes

[Footnotes and Further Reading follows the fundraising appeal]


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Footnotes and Further Reading

[1] Other articles so far in Jared Israel's series, 'How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War'

* "Part 1: Hawk-to-Dove Scott Ritter challenges Emperor's
Clothes to Prove he's a Liar. EC accepts." At 

* "Part 2" is this article.

* "Part 3: Reader Says Emperor's Clothes all wrong on Ritter's Nuke Statements; Jared Israel Responds."

* Part 4: "Readers ask: 'Why this focus on Scott Ritter?" Jared Israel Respond" 

* "Part 5: "The Neocons made me do it!"

[2] Show: CNN Today 13:00 Pm Et; September 30, 1998; Wednesday; 1:24 Pm Eastern Time; Transcript # 98093005v13; Type: Live Report/Interview; Section: News; International;  Length: 1222 Words; Headline:  U.N. Receives Conflicting Reports On Iraqi Nuclear Weapons 

[2A]  FDCH Political Transcripts; September 3, 1998, Thursday; Type: Committee Hearing; Length: 23791 Words; Committee: Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Headline:  Holds Hearing With The Senate Armed Services Committee On U.S. Policy Regarding Un Weapons Inspections Of Iraq; Location: Washington, D.C.; Senate Committees On Armed Services And Foreign Affairs Hold Joint Hearing On U.S. Policy Regarding Un Inspections Of Suspected Iraqi Chemical Weapons Sites September 3, 1998
The full transcript of Ritter's Sept. 3rd Senate testimony is now posted; the text referred to above is highlighted and can be accessed at   -- JI

[3] The New Republic; December 21, 1998; Section: Pg. 21; Length: 4490 Words; Headline: Saddam's Trap; Byline: Scott Ritter; Highlight: Why We're Doing Exactly What He Wants.

[4] "The Case for Iraq's Qualitative Disarmament," by Scott Ritter, Arms Control Association

[5] Ritter, Scott. 2003. Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America. New York: Content Books. (p.97)

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