On Campus

Australia refused entry for Saddam scientist

American government wanted WMD biologist to work at Victoria University, Wikileaks

The Australian government resisted pressure from the United States to relocate Ali al-Za’ag, a professor of microbiology and former Iraqi biological weapons expert under Saddam Hussein. The U.S. government wanted Za’ag to take a position at Victoria University in Melbourne as part of a program to find employment for Iraqi scientists to prevent them from offering their expertise to countries like Syria, Iran or North Korea. According to 2008 diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks to Australian newspaper, The Age, the government refused Za’ag’s entry because of a ”range of compelling security, immigration and legal reasons.” Za’ag applied independently for entrance into the country as a “visiting academic” a year later, but it is not known whether that application was successful.

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