Skip to comments.Powell Makes Iraq Case With Photos, Tapes
Posted on 02/05/2003 9:28:24 AM PST by Indy Pendance
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell, methodically making his case that Iraq had defied all demands that it disarm, presented tape recordings, satellite photos and informant statements Wednesday that he said constituted "irrefutable and undeniable" evidence that Saddam Hussein is concealing weapons of mass destruction.
"Clearly, Saddam will stop at nothing until something stops him," Powell told a skeptical U.N. Security Council, saying Baghdad's denials constitute a "web of lies."
Three months after Iraq pledged that it would disarm, Powell presented his evidence in an appearance that was televised live around the world. The Council members - joined by Iraq's U.N. ambassador - sat around a large circular table with Powell and listened attentively.
Of the 15 Council members, only the United States and Britain have voiced support for forcibly disarming Saddam.
Tang Jiaxuan, China's foreign minister, said immediately after Powell's presentation that the work of the weapons inspectors should continue. "As long as there is still the slightest hope for political settlement, we should exert our utmost effort to achieve that," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov agreed. While saying he had listened closely to Powell's presentation, he said he believed more study and analysis was needed of the new evidence presented by the United States. Meanwhile, inspections "must be continued," he said.
Coming to Powell's defense, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said the secretary made a "most powerful" case. Saddam is "gambling that we will lose our nerve rather than enforce our will," Straw said. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
In a more than hour-long presentation, Powell also detailed the U.S. claims that Baghdad and al-Qaida operatives are working together and that some followers of a senior lieutenant of Osama bin Laden are currently in the Iraqi capital, with the approval of Saddam.
Saddam, in an interview broadcast Tuesday in London, denied his government has a relationship with the al-Qaida or has weapons of mass destruction. He said it would be impossible to hide such arms.
In his presentation, Powell:
-Asserted that Iraq "bulldozed and graded to conceal chemical weapons evidence" at the Al Musayyib chemical complex in 2002, and had a series of cargo vehicles and a decontamination vehicle moving around at the site. Powell said that was corroborated by a human source.
-Played an audio tape between Iraqi military officers purportedly discussing hiding prohibited vehicles form weapons inspectors. He said the tape was an intercepted conversation between officers in Saddam's Republican Guard.
The voices were discussing a modified vehicle one of them had that was made by an Iraqi company, which Powell said was a weapons manufacturer.
"We have this modified vehicle," one of them said as the two discussed a pending visit by a U.N. weapons inspector.
"I'm worried you all have something left," the second voice says.
"We evacuated everything. We don't have anything left," the other replies.
-Cited informants as saying that Iraqis are dispersing rockets armed with biological weapons in western Iraq.
-Presented declassified satellite pictures that he said were 15 munitions bunkers. Powell said four of them had active chemical munitions inside.
-Said Iraqi informants claim that Iraq has 18 trucks that it uses as mobile biological weapons labs.
-Played a tape recording of an intercepted conversation between two commanders in the Republican Guard. Powell said they discussed removing a reference to nerve agents from written instructions.
Powell presented his case in a rapid-fire delivery, moving from tape recordings to photos and other evidence without pause.
He said his case was persuasive that Iraq is hiding its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and missile activity and was deliberately misleading inspectors. "I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable," he said.
"The issue before us is not how much time we are willing to give the inspectors to be frustrated by Iraqi obstruction, but how much longer are we willing to put up with Iraq's noncompliance before we as a Council, we as the United Nations say: `Enough. Enough.' "
Most U.S. allies, including France and Germany, want more time for U.N. weapons inspectors to do their work in Iraq. But Bush and his top national security aides have said repeatedly that the United States - with or without its allies - will forcibly disarm Iraq if it does not immediately comply with U.N. resolutions requiring it to rid itself of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
Five members of the council hold veto power: the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
As he opened his presentation, Powell reminded the Council that it had voted unanimously last Nov. 8 for a resolution - U.N. Resolution 1441 - that "gave Iraq one last chance to come into compliance or to face serious consequences."
"No Council member present...had any illusion...what serious consequences meant," he said.
Following a White House breakfast that Bush had with congressional leaders in advance of Powell's presentation, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said: "If I had this evidence before a jury that was an unbiased jury, I could get a conviction."
But Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said "we're talking about a different stage. (Powell) has a tougher jury and there is a lot of skepticism that exists in the international community."
They, also, did a great job downplaying this speech. There were "smoking guns" throughout!
I don't know about anyone else but, after viewing the fastest 90 minutes of my life, I'm worn out!
there is a lot of
skepticism brainlessness that exists in the international community.
"you know of course that there are going to be many who still can't see the smoking gun. They are going to say, how do we know those photos, ......."
Take a trip over to DU. That's exactly what they are saying.
North Korea has never used WMD on any other country, and has never used them on their own people. Iraq has used chemical weapons on both the Iranians during Iran-Iraq war, and has used them on the Iraqi Kurds. If I remember correctly from a post here on FR, there was one incident when Iraqs use of a chemical weapon killed many thousands instantly. There were pictures of the dead in the street following the attack.
These facts alone make Iraq a higher priority target.
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