powell briefing - key points

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    The 2 items below come from The BBC News


    Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 15:23 GMT
    Powell briefing: Key points

    Powell's briefing is being seen as the US's case for war

    These are the key points of the US Secretary of State Colin Powell's briefing to the Security Council on Iraqi non-compliance with UN resolutions.

    * Inspections:

    Colin Powell said: "The burden is on Iraq to comply and disarm. Inspectors are inspectors, not detectives". The facts and Iraqi behaviour indicate that Iraq is making no effort to disarm.

    Powell presented a communication intercept of a conversation between an Iraqi colonel and a general. In the intercept, Mr Powell says, one of the officers says: "We evacuated everything. We don't have anything left."

    "This effort to hide things from the inspectors is not one or two isolated events, quite the contrary. This is part and parcel of a policy of evasion and deception that goes back 12 years, a policy set at the highest levels of the Iraqi regime."

    "Saddam Hussein and his regime are doing everything they can to make sure the inspectors find absolutely nothing."

    He said orders had been given by the Iraqi authorities to hide all communications with the government body in charge of its weapons programme.

    * Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons:

    Mr Powell presented an illustrated satellite image of a weapons munitions facility, which is known to have held chemical weapons. He also showed pictures of what he said was a ballistic missile facility two days before the inspectors arrived, with vehicles outside including a crane for moving missiles.

    * Powell on Iraq's chemical weapons

    Iraqi officials hid correspondence on military industrialisation, ordered the removal of banned weapons from key sites and hid prohibited items in their homes, Mr Powell said. Reconnaissance flights by American U-2 flights would have revealed changes around suspect sites and the refusal of Iraq to allow such flights was in direct violation of the Security Council's resolution.

    * "UN risks irrelevance":

    Iraq is in an "active and systematic" effort to defy the UN. "This body places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately. I believe that Iraq is now in further material breach of its obligations. I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable. Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences."

    * Colin Powell on the UN

    Iraqi scientists have been told by Saddam Hussein that they were not to agree to be interviewed outside Iraq - in contravention of the UN resolution. Anyone agreeing to be interviewed was told they would be treated as a spy. Saddam Hussein threatened Iraqi scientists with death if they divulged information to UN weapons inspectors, Mr Powell said.

    Mr Powell said the Iraqis had failed to account for any of the biological and chemical warfare materials they were known to possess as a result of earlier inspections which ended in 1995. Iraq has the ability to produce the smallpox virus for use in biological weapons.

    Iraq he said was in possession of mobile research laboratories. He showed diagrams of these alleged mobile factories. He said the facilities were sophisticated, and could produce items such as anthrax.

    Mr Powell played a communications intercept in which one officer appeared to tell another to remove the expression "nerve agents" from all wireless instructions.

    Powell also showed pictures of what he said was a chemical weapons facility, with arrows pointing to areas of disturbed earth. He said these were evidence that the Iraqis had removed the entire crust of earth in the area so there would be no evidence of the years of chemical weapons work there.

    Powell said the Iraqi authorities had conducted experiments on people, with one source reporting that 1,600 convicted prisoners had been transferred to special units where such experiments were carried out. Autopsies were later conducted to check the results, he said.

    * Powell on Iraq's nuclear weapons programme

    He said there is more than a decade of proof that "Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb". He said Iraq already possessed two of the three components needed to produce a nuclear bomb, and was now focussing on acquiring sufficient fissile material needed for an explosion.

    The United States estimates that Iraq has 100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons agents.

    Powell said Iraq has programmes to produce ballistic missiles which can fly more than 1,200 kilometres. He said such missiles were not intended for self-defence, but to deliver chemical, biological and - if we let him - nuclear warheads.

    * Iraq and terrorism:

    Iraq and terrorism go back decades, he said. It was no secret, he said, the Saddam's intelligence agents were involved in assassination attempts in the 1990s. Iraq today, he said harboured a terrorist group associated with al-Qaeda.

    * Powell on al-Qaeda and Iraq

    Mr Powell said Iraq "harbours" a terrorist network headed by al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab Zarqawi. This network helped establish another poison and explosives training camp in north-east Iraq. Powell showed a picture he said was of this camp.

    He said Zarqawi was teaching operatives how to produce Ricin and other poisons. He said Baghdad has an agent in the senior ranks of Ansar al-Islam, the group holding an enclave in north-east Iraq.

    Mr Powell said some al-Qaeda groups were operating in northern areas of Iraq. Although they were in Kurdish areas outside the direct control of Baghdad, he said Iraqi agents were working with the groups.

    He showed photographs of a number of al-Qaeda members linked to a network operating through North Africa, Europe, and in the former Soviet Union, including Georgia and Chechnya. He said close ties had been forged between al-Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence sources since the early 1990s.

    Iraqis visited Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and provided training to al-Qaeda members. "Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and al-Qaeda together," Mr Powell said. He said Iraq maintained active links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, using its embassy in Pakistan as a "liaison office".
    Material breach:

    Mr Powell said, for more than 30 years Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate by intimidation. The US cannot run the risk of leaving him in power for the American people.

    Leaving Saddam Hussein unopposed is "not an option" in a post-11 September world. Iraq still remains in material breach of UN resolutions and by not seizing its last chance to comply it has put itself in deeper material breach.

    "We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibilities. Clearly, Saddam will stop at nothing until something stops him."



    Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 10:05 GMT
    Leaked report rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda link

    Bin Laden 'does not agree with Saddam's regime'

    There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network, according to an official British intelligence report seen by BBC News.

    The classified document, written by defence intelligence staff three weeks ago, says there has been contact between the two in the past.

    His [Bin Laden's] aims are in ideological conflict with present day Iraq

    Leaked intelligence document

    But it assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideologies.

    That conclusion flatly contradicts one of the main charges laid against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein by the United States and Britain - that he has cultivated contacts with the group blamed for the 11 September attacks.



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