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[Opinion] Mrs. Anthrax

Posted May. 07, 2003 21:56,   


U.N. weapons inspectors were seeking to find certain Iraqi scientists late last year. It was important to find weapons of mass destruction and production facilities, but they thought a surefire way to prevent any attempt to build WMDs was to deal directly with brains. The inspection team was particularly looking for female scientist Rihab Taha, believed to be a key figure in Iraq`s biochemical weapons development program. Facing growing pressure from the Bush government, Iraq allowed interviews with some scientists, but refused to bring Taha, the country`s most renowned scientist specializing in germs, to the interview. At that time, Brits called Taha as `Dr. Death` or `Poisonous Taha.`

The U.S. occupation forces recently captured one of female scientists on the suspect list, Huda Salih Ammashi known as `Mrs. Anthrax.` One inspector said that Ammashi must be `the evil genius` although Taha has stolen the spotlight so far. Acknowledging that they have taken Ammash into custody, the U.S. troops said that she is the one who knows every schedule concerning development of WMDs. Ammash was earlier investigated by U.N. inspectors in 1997 when she was found at a lab in Baghdad University with suspicious equipment and substance. It may have something to do with sophistication of women. Still, we cannot but wonder that two key figures in Iraq`s weapons program were all women.

In fact, there was a man dubbed `Chemical Ali` who ordered the use of a biological weapon against the Kurds. Ali Hassan Al Majid was the man who masterminded the attack on the Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988 that killed some 5,000 Kurds. Ali, having committed a serious crime enough for a war criminal case, had long stayed in power being a cuisine of Hussein. Ammash, serving as president of Science College of Baghdad University, was the first women appointed to Baath Party regional command. WMDs must have been key to ascension to power in Iraq, then.

Dr. Gyung Won-ha, known as godfather of North Korea`s nuclear weapons program, has allegedly defected to the U.S., according to some western presses. North Korea has often been compared to Iraq due to its attempt to build nuclear weapons. Russia recently built a statue of renowned physicist and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Saharov in Saint Peterbrug. He was a key figure in former Soviet Union`s development of hydrogen bombs. Later, however, he devoted his life to promoting world peace and human rights. The stories about Saharov and the Iraqi scientists remind me of the saying, `Science is like the two sides of knife`s edge.`

Bang Hyung-nam, Editorial Writer, hnbhang@donga.com