What We Knew in January, 2004

 

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Report: WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications

 

Full report (pdf)

 

Key Findings (pdf, also reproduced below.)

GUIDE TO KEY FINDINGS

Iraq’s WMD programs represented a long-term threat that could not be ignored. They did not, however, pose an immediate threat to the United States, to the region, or to global security.(p.47)

With respect to nuclear and chemical weapons, the extent of the threat was largely knowable at the time.(p.47)

Iraq’s nuclear program had been dismantled and there was no convincing evidence of its reconstitution.(p.47)

Regarding chemical weapons, UNSCOM discovered that Iraqi nerve agents had lost most of their lethality as early as 1991. Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, and UN inspections and sanctions effectively destroyed Iraq’s large-scale chemical weapon production capabilities. For both reasons, it appears that thereafter Iraq focused on preserving a latent, dual-use capability, rather than on weapons production.(p.47–48)

The uncertainties were much greater with regard to biological weapons. However, the real threat lay in what could be achieved in the future rather than in what had been produced in the past or existed in the present.(p.48)

The biological weapons program may also have been converted to dual-use facilities designed to quickly start weapons production in time of war, rather than making and storing these weapons in advance.(p.48)

The missile program appears to have been the one program in active development in 2002.(p.48)

Iraq was expanding its capability to build missiles whose ranges exceeded UN limits. It is unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden, or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons, dozens of Scud missiles and facilities engaged in the ongoing production of chemical and biological weapons that officials claimed were present without the United States detecting some sign of this activity before, during, or after the major combat period of the war.(p.55)

How much radioactive and biological material have been lost and whether they have fallen into the wrong hands remain crucial unknowns.(p.58–59)

Prior to 2002, the intelligence community appears to have overestimated the chemical and biological weapons in Iraq but had a generally accurate picture of the nuclear and missile programs.(p.50)

The dramatic shift between prior intelligence assessments and the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), together with the creation of an independent intelligence entity at the Pentagon and other steps, suggest that the intelligence community began to be unduly influenced by policymakers’ views sometime in 2002.(p.50)

There was and is no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam’s government and Al Qaeda.(p.48)

There was no evidence to support the claim that Iraq would have transferred WMD to Al Qaeda and much evidence to counter it.(p.48)

The notion that any government would give its principal security assets to people it could not control in order to achieve its own political aims is highly dubious.(p.49)

Today,the most likely source of a nuclear terrorist threat would be from theft or purchase of fissile material or tactical nuclear weapons from poorly guarded stockpiles in Russia and other former Soviet states, including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. The security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, including technology and know how, is also a major concern.(p.50)

Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programs, beyond the intelligence failures noted above, by:

 

While worst case planning is valid and vital, acting on worst case assumptions is neither safe nor wise.(p.54)

The assertion that the threat that became visible on 9/11 invalidated deterrence against states does not stand up to close scrutiny.(p.57)

Saddam ’s responses to international pressure and international weakness from the 1991 war onward show that while unpredictable he was not undeterrable.(p.57)

The UN inspection process appears to have been much more successful than recognized before the war. Nine months of exhaustive searches by the U.S. and coalition forces suggest that inspectors were actually in the process of finding what was there. Thus, the choice was never between war and doing nothing about Iraq’s WMD.(p.55)

In addition to inspections, a combination of international constraints — sanctions, procurement investigations, and the export/import control mechanism — also appears to have been considerably more effective than was thought.(p.56)

The knowledge, prior experience in Iraq, relationships with Iraqi scientists and officials, and credibility of UNMOVIC experts represent a vital resource that has been ignored when it should be being fully exploited.(p.51)

To reconstruct an accurate history of Iraq’s WMD programs, the data from the seven years of UNSCOM/IAEA inspections are absolutely essential. The involvement of the inspectors and scientists who compiled the more-than-30-million-page record is needed to effectively mine it.(p.56)

Considering all the costs and benefits, there were at least two options clearly preferable to a war undertaken without international support: allowing the UNMOVIC/IAEA inspections to continue until obstructed or completed, or imposing a tougher program of “coercive inspections ”backed by a specially designed international force.(p.59)


Even a war successful on other counts could leave behind three significant WMD threats: lost material, “loose ” scientists, and the message that only nuclear weapons could protect a state from foreign invasion.(p.58)


The National Security Strategy’s new doctrine of preemptive military action is actually a loose standard for preventive war under the cloak of legitimate preemption.(p.60)


In the Iraqi case, the world ’s three best intelligence services proved unable to provide the accurate information necessary for acting in the absence of imminent threat.(p.61)

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

U.S.POLICY

Create a nonpartisan independent commission, including at least one member with first-hand knowledge of the extensive UNMOVIC, UNSCOM, and IAEA archive to establish a clear picture of what the intelligence community knew and believed it knew about Iraq’s weapons program throughout 1991 –2002.The commission should consider the role of foreign intelligence as well as the question of political pressure on analysts and the adequacy of agencies ’ responses to it..(p.51)

No changes in the structure or practices of the intelligence community are worth acting on until the record described above is firmly established. If it reveals that the content and clarity of the intelligence product were significantly affected by the desire to serve political masters, Congress should seriously consider professionalizing the post of Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).(p.52)

Make the security of poorly protected nuclear weapons and stockpiles of plutonium and highly enriched uranium a much higher priority of national security policy.(p.50)

Deter any nation contemplating WMD terrorism against the United States by communicating clearly the national resolve to use overwhelming force against any state that transfers nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons to a terrorist group.(p.49)

The National Security Strategy’s dismissal of the utility of deterrence against “rogue” and other potential enemy states merits a focused national debate that has not taken place.(p.57)

The National Security Strategy should be revised to eliminate a U.S.doctrine of unilateral, preemptive war in the absence of imminent threat (that is, preventive war).(p.61)

INTERNATIONAL ACTION

The United States and the United Nations should collaborate to produce a complete history and inventory of Iraq’s WMD and missile programs. UNMOVIC, the IAEA Iraq Action Team, and the enormous UNSCOM technical archive should all be brought into the present effort by the U.S. Iraq Survey Group. Both the United States and the United Nations should be seriously faulted for the failure to do so to date.(p.56)

This work should include sending UNMOVIC and IAEA teams back to Iraq.(p.51)

In this joint effort, particular attention should be paid to discovering which of the several international constraints on Iraq were effective and to what degree.(p.56)

The UN Secretary General should charter a related effort to understand the inspections process itself —an after-action report. The relative value of site visits and analysis needs to be clarified. Also, the various strengths and weaknesses of this pioneering international effort need to be fully understood, including its human resources, access to technology, access to nationally held intelligence, vulnerability to penetration, and contributions to national intelligence agencies.(p.57)

If the findings in Iraq and of these studies warrant, the UN Security Council should consider creating a permanent, international, nonproliferation inspection capability.(p.60)

By treaty or Security Council resolution, make the transfer of weapons of mass destruction capabilities by any government to any other entity a violation of international law and a threat to international peace and security.(p.49)

Pursue initiatives suggested by Presidents Bush and Chirac to strengthen the UN Security Council ’s resolve and capacity to prevent proliferation and ensure compliance with nonproliferation norms and rules.(p.59)

Convene international negotiations to define agreed principles for preemptive and/or preventive action to remove acute proliferation threats.(p.61)

ASSESSING THREATS

Recognize distinctions in the degree of threat posed by the different forms of “weapons of mass destruction.” Otherwise, the security risks of actions taken may outweigh the risks of the targeted threat.(p.53)

Congress and the public must learn to recognize red flags indicating that sound intelligence practices are not being followed.(p.52)

Examine and debate the assertion that the combined threat of evil states and terrorism calls for acting on the basis of worst case reasoning.(p.54)

Examine and debate the unexamined assumption that “evil” or “rogue” states are likely to turn over WMD to terrorists.(p.49)

 

Jan. 8: Powell: No 'smoking gun,' but Iraq war justified

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged today that he had seen no "smoking gun, concrete evidence" of ties between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaida terror network, but insisted that Iraq had had dangerous weapons and needed to be disarmed by force.

At a State Department news conference, Powell disagreed with a private think tank report that maintained Iraq had not been an imminent threat to the United States. And the secretary defended the case he had made last February before the United Nations for a U.S.-led war to force Saddam from power.

"My presentation ... made it clear that we had seen some links and connections to terrorist organizations over time," Powell said. "I have not seen smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did."

Three experts at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a report today that the Bush administration systematically misrepresented a weapons threat from Iraq, and U.S. strategy should be revised to eliminate the policy of unilateral preventive war.

"It is unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons, dozens of Scud missiles and facilities engaged in the ongoing production of chemical and biological weapons that officials claimed were present without the United States detecting some sign of this activity," said the report by Jessica T. Mathews, Joseph Cirincione and George Perkovich.

Powell noted that Saddam obviously had, and used, destructive weapons in the late 1980s, then refused for a decade to assure the world he'd gotten rid of them.

"In terms of intention, he always had it," Powell said. Of Carnegie's finding that Iraq posed no imminent threat, Powell said: "They did not say it wasn't there."

Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled and there was no convincing evidence it was being revived, the report said.

And the U.S.-led war on Iraq in 1991 combined with U.N. sanctions and inspections effectively destroyed Iraq's ability to produce chemical weapons on a large scale, it said.

The real threat was posed by what Iraq might have been able to do in the future, such as starting production of biological weapons quickly in the event of war, Carnegie said.

Also, Iraq apparently was expanding its capability to build missiles beyond the range permitted by the U.N. Security Council, the report said. "The missile program appears to have been the one program in active development in 2002," it said.

Years of U.N. inspections to determine whether Saddam was harboring weapons of mass destruction were working well, and the United States should set up jointly with the United Nations a permanent system to guard against the spread of dangerous technology, the report said.

It recommended that consideration be given to making the job of CIA director a career post instead of a political appointment.

Mathews is president, Cirincione is director of the proliferation project, and Perkovich is vice president for studies at Carnegie, an independent research group.

Citing the CIA and other U.S. intelligence offices, the Bush administration contended that Iraq had caches of weapons of mass destruction and plans to produce more.

The Carnegie report said the U.S. intelligence process failed on Iraq and that Bush administration officials dropped qualifications and expressions of uncertainty presented by U.S. intelligence analysts.

In the weeks before the war, the administration also intensified its allegations of links between Saddam and the al-Qaida terror network headed by Osama bin Laden.

Since May, when Bush declared an end to major combat, 357 U.S. service personnel have died in attacks on them and in accidents.
 

January 9: Rice: No Evidence Iraq Moved WMD to Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States has no credible evidence that Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria early last year before the U.S.-led war that drove Saddam Hussein from power, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

Rice said, ``Any indication that something like that happened would be a very serious matter.

``But I want to be very clear: we don't, at this point, have any indications that I would consider credible and firm that that has taken place, but we will tie down every lead,'' she said at a White House briefing about Bush's trip Monday to a hemispheric summit in Mexico.

In nine months, arms control experts in Iraq have failed to find a single item from a long list of weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration cited an alleged weapons stockpile in Iraq as a primary reason for launching the war against Saddam's government.

``We're going to follow every lead on what may have happened here,'' Rice said. ``I don't think we are at the point that we can make a judgment on this issue. There hasn't been any hard evidence that such a thing happened.

``But obviously we're going to follow up every lead,'' she said, ``and it would be a serious problem if that, in fact, did happen.''

Rice said the United States talks with Syria about a number of issues, ``including the borders with Iraq and what may have happened in the past there and what may be continuing to happen there.'' Mainly, she said, the United States opposes Syria's support for terrorism, particularly its support for anti-Palestinian groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

 

Jan. 10: Saddam's Ouster Planned In 2001?


The Bush Administration began laying plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks as has been previously reported.

That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. O'Neill talks to Correspondent Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," he tells Stahl. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do is a really huge leap."

O'Neill, fired by the White House for his disagreement on tax cuts, is the main source for an upcoming book, "The Price of Loyalty," authored by Ron Suskind.

Suskind says O'Neill and other White House insiders he interviewed gave him documents that show that in the first three months of 2001, the administration was looking at military options for removing Saddam Hussein from power and planning for the aftermath of Saddam's downfall -- including post-war contingencies like peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals and the future of Iraq's oil.

"There are memos," Suskind tells Stahl, "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.'"

A Pentagon document, says Suskind, titled "Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts," outlines areas of oil exploration. "It talks about contractors around the world from...30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq," Suskind says.

According to CBS News Reporter Lisa Barron in Baghdad, "The Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella group of former exiles, says it's not surprised by O'Neill's remarks. Spokesman Entifadh Qanbar tells CBS News that the Bush administration opened official channels to the Iraqi opposition soon after coming to power, and discussed how to remove saddam. The group opened an office in Washington shotly afterwards."

In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,'" says O'Neill in the book.

Suskind also writes about a White House meeting in which he says the president seems to be wavering about going forward with his second round of tax cuts. "Haven't we already given money to rich people ... Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle," Suskind says the president uttered, according to a nearly verbatim transcript of an Economic Team meeting he says he obtained from someone at the meeting.

O'Neill, who was asked to resign because of his opposition to the tax cut, says he doesn't think his tell-all account in this book will be attacked by his former employers as sour grapes. "I will be really disappointed if [the White House] reacts that way," he tells Stahl. "I can't imagine that I am going to be attacked for telling the truth."

O'Neill also is quoted saying in the book that President Bush was so disengaged in cabinet meetings that he "was like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people."

"It's revealing," said Stahl on The Early Show Friday. "I would say it's an unflattering portrait of the White House and of the president -- and specifically, about how they make decisions."

A lack of dialogue, according to O'Neill, was the norm in cabinet meetings he attended. And it was similar in one-on-one meetings, says O'Neill. Of his first such meeting with the president, O'Neill says, "I went in with a long list of things to talk about and, I thought, to engage [him] on...I was surprised it turned out me talking and the president just listening...It was mostly a monologue."

On Friday, a White House official tried to brush off O'Neill's assessment of President Bush's decision-making policies. "It's well known the way the president approaches governing and setting priorities," says Spokeman Scott McClellan. "The president is someone that leads and acts decisively on our biggest priorities, and that is exactly what he'll continue to do."

 

January 25: Our Man in Baku

ILHAM ALIYEV was inaugurated as president of the oil-rich Muslim country of Azerbaijan three months ago after an election condemned by international observers as blatantly fraudulent. When members of the opposition tried to protest, they were brutally beaten by police. There followed a massive, nationwide crackdown in which more than 1,000 people were arrested, including opposition leaders, activists from nongovernmental organizations, journalists and election officials who objected to the fraud. More than 100 remain in prison, including most of the senior opposition activists. A new report by Human Rights Watch documents numerous cases of torture, including severe beatings, electric shock, and threats of rape against the opposition leaders. Mr. Aliyev, who succeeded his strongman father, meanwhile has been consolidating dictatorial powers: Most recently he was named director of Azerbaijani radio and television.

Azerbaijan, in short, might look like a good place for President Bush to start implementing his frequently declared policy of "spreading freedom" to the world -- and in particular the greater Middle East. Instead he is doing the opposite. The president and his top aides have embraced Mr. Aliyev, excused his fraud and ignored his human rights violations -- not to mention reliable reports of his personal corruption. The administration waived congressional restrictions to grant Azerbaijan $3 million in military aid and is winding up to give still more. The Pentagon is talking with Azeri officials about the possible use of bases for U.S. operations. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Baku last month to confer with Mr. Aliyev. When asked about the electoral fraud, he replied: "The United States has a relationship with this country. We value it." Said Mr. Aliyev proudly: "The United States is a strategic partner."

Pentagon officials argue that Azerbaijan is vital to the war on terrorism. Among other things, they contend Azerbaijani help is needed to stop terrorists from traveling across the Caspian Sea. But a more obvious source of President Bush's policy is oil. Over the last decade Mr. Aliyev and his father granted billions in contracts to such companies as BP-Amoco, ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil. He also has supported a $3 billion pipeline that is to carry oil from the Caspian to a port in Turkey. According to Mr. Aliyev, Mr. Bush once pronounced him an honorary citizen of Texas in appreciation of his support for American oil companies. When he was installed by his dying father as prime minister last August, the president quickly sent him a congratulatory letter.

American diplomats and oil executives portray Mr. Aliyev as an urbane pro-Westerner and a secret moderate who plans to liberalize the police state he inherited from his dad. This account strikes Azerbaijanis as ludicrous. Only 42 years old, Mr. Aliyev is renowned in Baku as a playboy with a bad gambling habit. During his tenure at the state oil company, Azerbaijan was rated the sixth most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International. An indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York charges that millions of dollars in bribes were channeled to top Azeri officials in 1997 as part of a scheme to privatize the oil company, of which Mr. Aliyev was then vice president. Since his "election," Mr. Aliyev has reappointed his father's key ministers and promised to pursue the same policies -- including, apparently, ruthless suppression of the peaceful and pro-democracy opposition.

It's clearly expedient for Mr. Bush to back Mr. Aliyev, just as for decades U.S. governments found their interest in propping up dictators in the Persian Gulf. But Mr. Bush himself has said -- in one of his several major speeches about democracy -- that such policies were mistaken. "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe," the president said two months ago. "In the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty." It may take the United States decades to overcome the legacy of embracing corrupt dictators in the Arab world. The least Mr. Bush can do is avoid repeating the mistake in the new oil states of the Caucuses and Central Asia -- beginning in Azerbaijan.

January 25: The 50 lies, exaggerations, distortions and half truths that took this country to war

Whatever the outcome of the Hutton inquiry and the vote on top-up fees, the central charge this paper has consistently made against Tony Blair is that he took this country to war in Iraq on a false pretext. Raymond Whitaker and Glen Rangwala list 50 statements on which history will judge him and his US partners.

1 Tonight, British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea. Their mission: to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair, televised address to the nation, 20 March 2003

2 I have always said to people throughout that ... our aim has been the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair, press conference, 25 March 2003

Within days, Mr Blair contradicts himself about the aims of the war.

3 But for this military action, Saddam Hussein and his sons would still be in absolute control ... free to continue the repression and butchery of their people which ... we now know was on such a savage scale that victims number hundreds of thousands.

Tony Blair, article in 'News of the World', 16 November 2003

"Regime change" again becomes a central justification of the conflict.

4 You know how passionately I believed in this cause and in the wisdom of the conflict as the only way to establish long-time peace and stability.

Tony Blair to British troops in Iraq, 4 January 2004

No mention of WMD was made on this trip. But with Saddam now in custody and the insurgency in Iraq showing no sign of abating, the PM finds a new reason for the war.

5 As for the existence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, there can be no doubt ... that those weapons existed. It is the job of the Iraq Survey Group to find out what has happened, which it will do.

Tony Blair, House of Commons, 21 January 2004

Mr Blair uses lawyer's language, ignoring Iraq's claim that the weapons existed, but were destroyed more than a decade ago. His next sentence implicitly acknowledges WMD may never be found.

6 For reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction...

Paul Wolfowitz, US deputy defence secretary, 'Vanity Fair', June 2003

The Bush administration made no secret of its desire for "regime change". Some were ready to admit that WMD was a red herring.

7 We know that he has stockpiles of major amounts of chemical and biological weapons.

Tony Blair, NBC TV, 3 April 2002

From early 2002, the PM began to stress claims that Iraq had WMD left over from before the 1991 war, without saying that most agents would have deteriorated to the point of uselessness.

8 Iraq poses a threat to the world because of its manufacture and development of weapons of mass destruction.

Jack Straw, interview with David Frost, 24 March 2002

Claims that Iraq was still producing chemical and biological weapons were prominent, though UN inspectors hadn't found any production of banned weapons after 1991.

9 It [the dossier] concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes ... and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 24 September 2002

No such weapons were found in place once the invasion began.

10 I have absolutely no doubt whatever that he was trying to reconstitute weapons of mass destruction programmes. ... [Saddam Hussein] has always been intending to develop these weapons.

Tony Blair to the Commons Liaison Committee, 8 July 2003

Mr Blair switched to claims about weapons "programmes" and Saddam's intentions. No further mention of weapons "existing".

11 Saddam was a danger and the world is better off because we got rid of him.

Q: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still --

A: So what's the difference?

Q: Well --

A: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you.

President Bush, television interview, 16 December 2003

For Bush, the "possibility" of Iraq obtaining weapons in future was enough to have justified the war.

12 Already the Kay report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related programme activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.

George Bush, State of the Union address, 20 January 2004

Weapons programmes are now WMD-related programme activities.

13 Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminium tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

George Bush, 7 October 2002

The White House ignored persistent evidence from US scientists and the UN nuclear agency that the tubes were useless for centrifuges.

14 The British government has learnt that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

George Bush, 28 January 2003

The CIA knew the claim was based on crudely forged documents.

15 We believe he [Saddam] has reconstituted nuclear weapons.

Vice President Dick Cheney, NBC's 'Meet the Press', 16 March, 2003

16 Q: Reconstituted nuclear weapons. You misspoke.

A: Yeah. I did misspeak ... We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon.

Mr Cheney on 'Meet the Press', 14 September 2003

The VP took six months to correct his eve-of-war assertion.

17 The dossier shows that Iraq continues to produce chemical agent for chemical weapons; has rebuilt previously destroyed production plants across Iraq; has bought dual-use chemical facilities; has retained the key personnel formerly engaged in the chemical weapons programme; and has a serious ongoing research programme into weapons production.

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 24 September 2002

All the sites in Britain's WMD dossier were visited by UN inspectors, and found to be clean.

18 What we are talking about is chemical weapons, biological weapons, viruses, bacilli and anthrax - 10,000 litres of anthrax - that he [Saddam] has.

Jack Straw, House of Commons, 17 March 2003

If the UN said it couldn't prove that Iraq had destroyed agents, Britain said this proved Iraq still had them.

19 Saddam has ... the wherewithal to develop smallpox.

Colin Powell to the Security Council, 5 February 2003

UN inspectors said there was no evidence Iraq had any seed stock from which to produce smallpox.

20 Those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them.

George Bush, Polish TV interview, 29 May 2003

This claim about mobile biological laboratories, echoed by Tony Blair, was rubbished by David Kelly, who saw the vehicles and believed they were for producing hydrogen. They were built to a British design.

21 The Iraq Survey Group has already found massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories, workings by scientists, plans to develop long-range ballistic missiles.

Tony Blair, on British Forces Broadcasting Service, 16 December 2003

The Iraq Survey Group had never talked of a "massive" system, and didn't link the laboratories with weapons production or research.

22 Is it not reasonable that Saddam provides evidence of destruction of the biological and chemical agents and weapons the UN proved he had in 1999?

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 25 February 2003

In 1999 the inspectors emphasised they didn't have proof that Iraq had prohibited weapons. They had suspicions that needed to be checked.

23 The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 litres of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure."

President Bush, State of the Union address, 28 January 2003

Unmovic said in March 2003: "It seems unlikely that significant undeclared quantities of botulinum toxin could have been produced, based on the quantity of media unaccounted for."

24 By 1998, UN experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological weapons programmes.

Colin Powell to the Security Council, 5 February 2003

Unmovic said it "has no evidence that drying of anthrax or any other agent in bulk was conducted".

25 If Saddam Hussein does ... readmit the weapons inspectors and allow them to do their job... then the case for military action recedes to the point almost of invisibility and that is obvious.

Jack Straw, interview with David Frost, 15 September 2002

When the inspectors returned to Iraq, Britain and the US said they were ineffective and were being obstructed, leaving force as the only option.

26 Journeys are monitored by security officers stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence. Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that arrival is anticipated. The welcoming party is a give away.

The PM's dossier of 3 February 2003

"In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming," chief inspector Hans Blix told the Security Council.

27 I have every confidence - and I have expressed that confidence - in the weapons inspectors ... As long as this regime is in place, and as long as it is refusing to co-operate, the inspection process becomes well-nigh impossible.

Jack Straw to the House of Commons, 17 March 2003

28 The reason why the inspectors couldn't do their job ... was that Saddam wouldn't co-operate.

Tony Blair, interview, 4 April 2003

The inspectors reported they were making progress. Iraq was destroying missiles they had declared illegal when the US ordered the inspectors out on the brink of war.

29 Never once did I come to this House and say that I believed that we should not give the weapons inspectors more time because I did not think that they were going to get any more co-operation than they had had in the past.

Jack Straw to the House of Commons, 27 November 2003

The Foreign Secretary tortuously acknowledges that the weapons inspectors were getting somewhere at the time of the invasion.

30 There is no evidence linking Iraq to the events of 11th September; there is no evidence either so far that links Iraq to the anthrax attacks in the United States."

Geoff Hoon, 29 October 2001

This was before the war in Afghanistan to oust al-Qa'ida.

31 Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or individual terrorist ...

Dick Cheney, 10 January 2003

The White House concentrated instead on questionable connections between Iraq and terrorism.

32 There are things that haven't been explained ... like the meeting of Mohammed Atta [leader of 9/11 hijackers] with Iraqi officials in Prague.

Q: Which now is alleged, right? There is some doubt to that?

A: Now this gets you into classified areas again.

Paul Wolfowitz, to 'San Francisco Chronicle', 23 February 2002

US intelligence had established Atta was in the US at the time of the alleged meeting.

33 Mohammed Atta met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad prior to September 11. We have proof of that ... The meeting is one of the motives of an American attack on Iraq.

Richard Perle, Pentagon adviser, September 2002

If there was any proof, it would surely have been produced by now.

34 Iraq has trained al-Qa'ida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases

George Bush, 7 October 2002

This claim, four days before Congress authorised war, omitted classified caveats and warnings that the information might be unreliable.

35 There is some intelligence evidence about linkages between members of al-Qa'ida and people in Iraq.

Tony Blair to the House of Commons Liaison Committee, 21 January 2003

Blair had just seen an intelligence report, later leaked, which said al-Qa'ida was "in ideological conflict" with the "apostate" Iraqi regime, and there were no current links.

36 In the event of Saddam refusing to co-operate or being in breach, there will be a further UN discussion.

Tony Blair on Security Council Resolution 1441, 8 November 2002

When Britain later claimed that Iraq had violated the resolution, it said another Security Council meeting was unnecessary.

37 Resolution 1441 gives the legal basis for this [war].

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 12 March 2003

The opposite of his earlier pledge.

38 France said it would veto a second resolution whatever the circumstances.

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003

President Chirac said France would vote against any resolution that authorised force whilst inspections were still working.

39 The oil revenues... should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN.

Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003

Britain co-sponsored a Security Council resolution that gave the US and UK control of the oil revenues.

40 The United Kingdom should seek a new Security Council Resolution that would affirm... the use of all oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

Commons motion for war, proposed by Tony Blair, 18 March 2003

Iraq's oil revenues have been used to pay US firms, often at vastly inflated prices.

41 Over some period of months, the Iraqis will have their government selected by Iraqi people.

Donald Rumsfeld, press conference, 13 April 2003

Direct elections are not expected until the end of 2005.

42 This is about building a new civil society in Iraq after 35 years when we know women were suppressed, and ensuring women have a voice in Iraq.

Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, 16 October 2003

The US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council has removed all the rights Iraqi women have acquired since the 1950s on divorce, marriage, inheritance and child custody, reverting them to the "traditional" form.

43 Iraq's ... got tunnels, caves, all kinds of complexes. We'll find them.

George Bush, press conference, 3 May 2003

This combination of vagueness and certainty was common during and immediately after the fighting.

44 There will certainly not be the quantity and proximity [of WMD] that we thought of before. [Saddam might even have launched] a massive disinformation campaign to make the world think he was violating international norms, and he may not have been.

Kenneth Adelman, member of US Defence Policy Board, 17 May 2003

The excuses begin.

45 It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them [WMD] prior to a conflict.

Donald Rumsfeld to the Council on Foreign Relations, 27 May 2003

Hans Blix is now convinced they were destroyed before the conflict - at least seven years before.

46 It is not the most urgent priority now for us since Saddam has gone ...

Tony Blair 30 May 2003

Finding WMD slides down the scale of importance.

47 In a land mass twice the size of the UK it may well not be surprising you don't find where this stuff is hidden.

Tony Blair, interview with David Frost, 11 January 2004

This excuse variously describes Iraq as "the size of California" or "twice the size of France".

48 We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

Donald Rumsfeld, 30 March 2003

49 I should have said, 'I believe we're in that area. Our intelligence tells us they're in that area,' and that was our best judgement.

Mr Rumsfeld, 10 September 2003

WMD excuse which is now most prevalent: we believed it at the time.

50 Q: But it is absolutely clear now that the 45 minute thing and so on, that the weapons of mass destruction idea and you've moved on to talking about programmes now rather than weapons of mass destruction. But that was wrong wasn't it?

A: Well you can't say that at this point in time. What you can say is that we received that intelligence about Saddam's programmes and about his weapons that we acted on that, it's the case throughout the whole of the conflict.

Tony Blair, interview with David Frost, 11 January 2004

The PM blames the intelligence.

 

January 26: Blair, Cheney face no-show-WMD fallout

Blair insists Iraqi WMD will still be found, but White House backs off.

By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

Following the weekend revelation by David Kay that Iraq did not have any stockpiles of weapons of destruction before the war began, and US Secretary of State Colin Powell's admission that the Saddam Hussein regime may not have had any WMD, two men in particular appear to be taking the brunt of the no-WMD fallout: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Vice President Dick Cheney.

Mr. Kay, who resigned Saturday as the head of the Iraq Survey Group, the US-led organization that has been looking for WMD in Iraq, said in numerous interviews over the weekend that the stockpile of WMD in Iraq that US President George Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Powell, and Mr. Blair had talked about in many speeches, didn't exist. Kay, who had also predicted that WMD would be found when he took the job last June, did say that Iraq did have WMD-related programs, but that none of them were in the active stage. The Boston Globe reports that Kay concluded that years of earlier UN inspections had "got rid of" WMD in Iraq.

A story in the Britain's Daily Telegraph suggested Kay had said Iraq had shipped some WMD to Syria, but in a later interview with National Public Radio, Kay clarified the remark. He said there was evidence that Iraq was moving a steady stream of goods shipments to Syria before the war, but it was difficult to determine whether the cargoes included weapons, in part because Syria has refused to cooperate with the weapons investigation. He also blamed US intelligence agencies for not picking up the fact Iraq had no WMD.

On Saturday, during a trip to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Reuters reports that Powell said it was "an open question" whether stocks of WMD will be found in Iraq and conceded it was possible Saddam Hussein had none. Powell, however, continued to defend the war in Iraq, telling First Channel Russia that "military action was justified by Iraq's violation of 12 years of UN resolutions." A news analysis piece New York Times reports that Kay's and Powell's statements confirm what intelligence experts have concluded in the past few months: Bush moved first, and most decisively, against a country that posed a smaller proliferation risk than North Korea, Libya and Iran, or than even one of America's allies in the war on terrorism, Pakistan.

But the new information also shows that the National Intelligence Estimate, produced in 2002 by the CIA and other agencies, significantly overestimated Iraq's abilities. The document provided the rationale for going to war quickly, without waiting for the United Nations Security Council to become convinced of the threat. ... America's allies and competitors are likely to interpret Kay's findings very differently: that America's word – or at least its intelligence findings – cannot be fully trusted.

In Britain, the statements by Kay and Powell could not have come at a worse time for Tony Blair. Time magazine reports that Blair faces "the perfect storm" this week. He faces a vote Tuesday in the British Commons on raising university tuition that his own backbenchers have sworn to defeat him on, and the release Wednesday of the Hutton Inquiry's report on the death of British WMD scientist David Kelly. If Lord Hutton, who lead the inquiry, says Blair lied about his role in the leadup to Kelly's suicide, it could cost him his job, says Time. In an interview with the Guardian, Blair admitted that his "job is on the line."

While Blair and his Foreign Secretary Jack Straw continue to defend their pre war statements about WMD, and the intelligence they were based on, critics demanded that Blair finally "tell them the truth" about WMD. The Sunday Herald of Scotland reports that it has heard from dozens of senior members of the intelligence community in Britain who, afraid that politicians will try to blame them, said "they are not prepared to be the whipping boy for the failure to prove the case for war, the death of David Kelly and the quagmire that the government is now in over the lack of WMD in Iraq."

The Herald said the intelligence experts cited four key points in their defense:

• There was a systematic failure, the experts believe, in the way intelligence was interpreted. This was because they were under pressure to provide the government with what it wanted, namely that Iraq possessed WMD and that it posed a clear and present danger.
• Intelligence was "cherry-picked" about Iraq: that damning intelligence against Iraq was selectively chosen, whilst intelligence assessments, which might have worked against the build-up to war, were sidelined.
• A political agenda had crept into the work of the intelligence community and they found themselves in the position of taking orders from politicians.
• The intelligence community got into the habit of making worst-case scenarios and these were used to make factual claims by politicians.
 

A new book by Financial Times journalist Philip Stephens won't help Blair's case. The Guardian reports Mr. Stephens says that Mr. Straw was opposed going to war in Iraq without the prior support of the UN. The Financial Times reports that this was made virtually impossible by US Vice President Cheney, who "waged a guerrilla war" against attempts by Blair to secure UN backing for the invasion of Iraq.


Stephens' book reveals a string of acid interventions by Cheney during critical talks between the president and prime minister at Camp David in September 2002. Once, he directly rebuked Alastair Campbell, Blair's communications director. In occasional contacts with British officials, [Lewis] 'Scooter' Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, made little secret of his boss's scorn for multilateralism. He once jibed: "Oh dear, we'd better not do that or we might upset the prime minister."


Cheney is also facing criticism in the US over recent statements he has made about the existence of WMD. In an interview Tuesday with NPR, he reiterated the "long-discredited claim" that military trailers found in Iraq were Saddam Hussein's so-called mobile bio-weapons labs. Kay's statements over the weekend confirmed that the trailers were not related to WMD activities.


Scripps Howard News Service reports Cheney is also being questioned about comments made in an interview with Colorado's Rocky Mountain News. In the interview, Cheney said the "best source of information" about alleged connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda was a magazine article, "Case closed," in the conservative publication The Weekly Standard. But the Rocky Mountain News reports that the Pentagon itself discredit the Standard's piece, saying its contents were "not accurate" and that it was "not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda ..."

AP reports that Monday the Bush administration said search for WMD would continue but for the first time, White House press secretary Scott McClellan did not repeat past administration statements that forbidden weapons would be found. But most Democratic presidential candidates seized on Kay's comments to criticize the Bush administration. While frontrunner Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said he would not accuse Bush of intentionally misleading the public without more evidence, he said the record shows that Cheney repeatedly "exaggerated, clearly."

"When they talked about weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed in 45 minutes, there were none. When they talked about aerial devices that could deliver, there were none. When they talked about the linkage to Al Qaeda. ... I think there's been an enormous amount of exaggeration, stretching, deception," said Kerry.
Meanwhile, Cheney gave a speech Friday to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he called on the world to have a renewed focus on terrorism. But Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek reports that the speech fell flat.


"It's not that we don't worry about terrorism," a head of government (of a pro-American country) said to me. But for him, as for other leaders, it's not how he sees the world: "I have to grapple with a different set of issues. And I have the feeling that the United States has gone off into its own universe and cannot hear or say anything to me about my problems." There is a disconnect between America and the world.


A few days before the Cheney speech, UN secretary General Kofi Annan, in a direct slap at the US, warned against following the "laws of the jungle" in the quest for global security.

 

January 26: Pressure mounts for Iraq elections

By Andrew Marshall

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush is under pressure on two fronts as calls grow in Iraq for early elections while at home his pre-war assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction faces mounting criticism.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was expected to announce imminently whether he will send a team to Iraq to explore the feasibility of early elections to replace an unpopular U.S. plan to choose a government through regional caucuses. U.N. security experts are already in Iraq assessing the situation.

Violence continued unabated in Iraq where guerrillas fired a rocket at the Baghdad compound on Monday where the U.S.-led administration is based, but there were no casualties.

The White House pledged to review the intelligence that was used to justify the war that toppled Saddam Hussein last April after the top U.S. weapons hunter concluded Iraq had no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.

In an embarrassment for Bush, former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay concluded Iraq did not have stockpiles of banned weapons as Bush had said in declaring that the country was a grave and gathering danger.

Democrats have accused Bush of using faulty intelligence -- if not twisting the intelligence -- on the extent of Iraq's weapons programme as a pretext for war.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the CIA was doing some work on reviewing the intelligence already but the first step was for the team of experts looking for evidence inside Iraq, the Iraq Survey Group, to complete its work.

Regardless of what weapons searchers discover or not in Iraq, the Bush administration stands by its decision to go to war against Iraq, McClellan told reporters.

"The decision that we made was the right decision and what we know today only reconfirms that it was the right decision."

In Rome, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney also defended the decision to go to war.

"Today the former dictator sits in captivity; he can no longer harbour and support terrorists, and his long efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction are at an end," Cheney told Italian political and business leaders.

In a speech in the Italian Senate, he made no mention of earlier U.S. charges Iraq had banned weapons and later, did not answer when a reporter asked if U.S. intelligence problems were behind the administration's argument that Iraq had unconventional weapons stockpiles.

The row comes at a difficult time for Bush's close ally Tony Blair, also under pressure over his decision to go to war. On Wednesday he will hear the conclusions of an inquiry into the suicide of a British expert on Iraq's weapons that may also shed light on the intelligence used to justify the war.

SAFE ENOUGH FOR ELECTIONS?

After a weekend of violence that left six U.S. soldiers dead, Iraq's interior minister said on Monday security in the country may be too precarious to hold early elections.

Loud explosions echoed across central Baghdad on Monday evening when guerrillas fired a rocket at the compound housing the U.S.-led administration, though there were no casualties.

The compound on the west bank of the Tigris river has come under rocket and mortar attack several times in recent months.

Annan is due to announce within days whether he will send a team to Iraq to explore the feasibility of early elections.

Under the current U.S.-backed plan to hand over sovereignty, regional caucuses would select a transitional Iraqi assembly by May, and the assembly would choose an interim government to take over on June 30. Elections would follow in 2005.

But many Iraqis have backed a demand by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's most revered Shi'ite cleric, for direct elections to be held before sovereignty is transferred.

Some Iraqi officials, however, say the country is not yet ready to hold elections given the security situation.

"We ask for this matter to be postponed, even if it is for a short time, until all the political and security preparations can ensure that elections can run in a free and stable manner," Interior Minister Nouri Badran, a secular Shi'ite, told a news conference when asked whether Iraq could hold early elections.

Bush said on Monday a top al Qaeda operative who helped step up attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq was captured last week.

"There's one less enemy we need to worry about with the capture of Hassan Ghul," Bush said in a speech in Arkansas.

Weekend bomb attacks killed six U.S. soldiers and four Iraqis and gunmen attacked Iraqi police in Ramadi on Sunday, killing three officers. A fourth died of his wounds on Monday and another Iraqi was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.