More WikiLeak cables say that in March 2008, the U.S. pressured Australia to place one of Saddam Hussein's former top biological weapons scientists at a Victorian University. The State Department devised a plan to find employment for Iraqi experts in weapons of mass destructiion but Australia rejected the request. Professor Ali al-Za-ag is a microbiologist and genetic engineering expert.
You have to hand it to the Americans. They have given elite scientists with sensitive expertise employment. Why? To reduce the possibility that they may take their knowledge to other countries, like Syria, Iran and North Korea. Since 2006, Professor Za-ag has been working in the US government's Iraq Scientist Engagement Program which promotes the safe and responsible use of biological materials. He has also established a new forensic DNA training centre in Iraq.
The embassy cables which are classified secret and not to be disclosed outside the US government, show that despite Australia's refusal to accept Professor Za-ag in 2008, he reapplied last year for a visiting academic visa to work at Victoria University. People are wondering if the US was behind the move because the result of the application is unknown and the Department of Foreign Affairs refuses to tell. But they did release this statement.
"In mid-2007 Australia was invited by the US to participate in a program relocating former WMD scientists from Iraq. The Australian government was sympathetic to the intent of the program but for a range of compelling, immigration and legal reasons, the Australian government concluded that it was unable to participate in the program".
The cable shows that Professor Za-ag applied separately for a refugee visa with the help of his son, an Australian resident.