Once again, the Onion nails it. (Anybody see the similar spoof on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show a couple days back?)
Once again, the Onion nails it. (Anybody see the similar spoof on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show a couple days back?)
Here’s a sad/funny commentary on White House briefings. The press couldn’t contain themselves. Ari was visibly flushed.
Go to about 30:15 if
you just want to jump right to it:
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
BuzzFlash Note: Although we didn’t see this
occur, we have received
three separate reader accounts indicating that the
White House press
corps finally laughed at the absurdity of Ari Fleischer’s
lies, at least
The following is the account from one of our
BuzzFlash e-mail reporters
about the White House news briefing on Tuesday,
* * *
ON CSPAN — WH press conference with Ari ended
just now. It’s grim.
Not much new but a reiteration of the “Saddam must
some hints that Saddam and other top Iraqi leaders might be
if GW gives the executive decree.
Then one tidbit floated
up. A reporter asked about a French report that
says Bush is offering a
bundle of concessions (and I think she actually
said ‘buying votes’) to
Mexico and Colombia, granting worker amnesty
and so on. Ari tap-danced. Then
she (the reporter) started to press the
issue by saying “they (the French)
are quoting two US State Dept.
Diplomats that Bush intends to give work
permits to Colombia and Mexico.”
WOW. WOW…. Ari just drew himself up
with imperious indignation and said
something like “you’re implying that the
President is buying the votes of
other nations and that’s just not a
consideration” or words to that effect.
And guess what happened? The
whole press corps, normally sheep, broke
out in laughter… sweet, derisive
laughter. They kept on laughing as
Ari turned on his heels and strode out.
Go down to White House Press Briefing (02/25/2003) and click on
video. After it buffers, play from about 28 minutes forward for
30 minutes forward to watch Press laugh at Ari’s BIG FAT GOP
Addtional Reader Note:
Here is the excerpt from today’s WH
Press Briefing transcript posted
to the discussion about him being laughed out of the room.
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
John Perry Barlow is an American icon, a true patriot, and a believer in privacy and personal rights. I always enjoy his take on current affairs I think you will too. Here’s one of his newsletters.
———> B a R L o W F R i e N D Z —–>
<A continuing series of occasional outbursts to about 1172 of my
dearest friends. Please let me know if you’d rather not receive it.
But you’ll miss some great parties…
I do try to keep this list to actual friends – I mean folks who might
bail me out of jail. Some of what I report here is too personal to
be of general interest. Nevertheless, please feel free to post or
forward anything you think merits wider distribution.
Finally, if this broadcast feels impersonal, I hope you will remember
that individual responses generally elicit personal replies. And even
if I’m sometimes too swamped to write back, I delight in hearing from
——————————> ——————-> ——–>
1. Sputter, Mutter, Howl…
2. Could They Possibly Be Right?
4. Gilberto Gil and Brazil.
———————->> ——————–>>>> ——>
THE SILENCE OF THE SPAMS
Once again, I’m starting to get messages from you BarlowFriendz
inquiring into the state of my health or wondering if you’ve been
dropped from the list. It’s strangely heartening, your assumption
that if I’m not spamming at you, there must be something wrong.
Your concerns appear to have been sharpened by contemporary events.
I’ve read so far about ten different versions of the following: "Why
are you being so quiet? Surely you have something to say about what’s
going on at the moment..?"
Well, actually, no. Not exactly. I’ve been in outrage overload for
weeks. I’m finding it hard to express myself these days with anything
more articulate than gesticulations and sputterings. Lately I’ve been
mute as Congress.
(Actually, not everyone in Congress has lost his voice. Senator
Robert Byrd recently gave a speech too historic to earn notice in any
mass medium but which has been so widely circulated on the Internet
that I’ll spare you the receipt of yet another copy. If you haven’t
read it, you may find it at:
It contains this utterly true line: "I truly must question the
judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked
military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is ‘in the
highest moral traditions of our country’".)
Of course one wonders what purpose might be served by saying anything.
An estimated eleven million people marched all over the planet this
weekend. (Check them out http://www.hyperreal.org/~dana/.) While this
out-pouring, unprecedented in the history of civilization, managed
for the first time to draw acknowledgements from Bush and Blair, they
were dismissive at best. (Blair elevated non sequitur to surreal art
form when he said that the million plus protestors in London were
fewer in number than people killed over the years by Saddam Hussein.)
I have been dumb-struck by the Administration’s sublime arrogance,
their mythic hubris, their utterly un-entitled entitlement. What
could I say that might detail their brutal expedience more boldly
than their own actions? Mouth open, jawing thin air, eyes wide and
staring, I’ve kept quiet.
Meanwhile, under conditions of "Orange" Alert, our streets now
contain more machine gun-toting heavies per capita than I ever saw in
East Germany, the wildly arbitrary TSA is randomly searching cars
without probable cause as they enter airports, the Justice Department
is introducing an even more unconstitutional addendum to the USA
PATRIOT Act, and the predictions I made to you on the afternoon of
September 11, 2001 are being realized more dreadfully than even I
believed they could be.
Still. It is morally useful to remember that, no matter how certain,
one might be wrong. If I am to condemn the Emperor’s smug certitude,
I must be mindful of my own. Thus, I’ve been attempting, in the back
of my mind, to make a case for the Administration’s behavior.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
I remember a time years ago when I was as convinced that Dick Cheney
was obscenely wrong about something I am now. Subsequent events
raised the possibility that he might not have been so wrong after all.
With this in mind, I’ve given some thought lately to how all this
might look to the Vice President (who is, I remain convinced, as much
the real architect of American policy as he was while Gerald Ford’s
Chief of Staff or George the First’s Secretary of Defense).
As I’ve mentioned, I once knew Cheney pretty well. I helped him get
elected to his first public office as Wyoming’s lone congressman. I
conspired with him on the right side of environmental issues. Working
closely together, we were instrumental in closing down a copper
smelter in Douglas, Arizona the grandfathered effluents of which were
causing acid rain in Wyoming’s Wind River mountains. We were densely
interactive allies in creating the Wyoming Wilderness Act. He used to
go fishing on my ranch. We were friends.
With the possible exception of Bill Gates, Dick Cheney is the
smartest man I’ve ever met. If you get into a dispute with him, he
will take you on a devastatingly brief tour all the weak points in
your argument. But he is a careful listener and not at all the
ideologue he appears at this distance. I believe he is personally
indifferent to greed. In the final analysis, this may simply be about
oil, but I doubt that Dick sees it that way. I am relatively certain
that he is acting in the service of principles to which he has
devoted megawatts of a kind of thought that is unimpeded by sentiment
or other emotional overhead.
Here is the problem I think Dick Cheney is trying to address at the
moment: How does one assure global stability in a world where there
is only one strong power? This is a question that his opposition,
myself included, has not asked out loud. It’s not an easy question to
answer, but neither is it a question to ignore.
Historically, there have only been two methods by which nations have
prevented the catastrophic conflict which seems to be their deepest
The more common of these has been symmetrical balance of power. This
is what kept another world war from breaking out between 1945 and
1990. The Cold War was the ultimate Mexican stand-off, and though
many died around its hot edges – in Viet Nam, Korea, and countless
more obscure venues – it was a comparatively peaceful period.
Certainly, the global body count was much lower in the second half of
the Twentieth Century than it was in the first half. Unthinkable
calamity threatened throughout, but it did not occur.
The other means by which long terms of peace – or, more accurately,
non-war – have been achieved is the unequivocal domination by a
single ruthless power. The best example of this is, of course, the
Pax Romana, a "world" peace which lasted from about 27 BCE until 180
AD. I grant that the Romans were not the most benign of rulers. They
crucified dissidents for decoration, fed lesser humans to their pets,
and generally scared the bejesus out of everyone, including Jesus
Himself. But war, of the sort that racked the Greeks, Persians,
Babylonians, and indeed, just about everyone prior to Julius Caesar,
did not occur. The Romans had decided it was bad for business. They
were in a military position to make that opinion stick.
(There was a minority view of the Pax Romanum, well stated at its
height by Tacitus: "To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things
they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it
peace." It would be well to keep that admonition in mind now.)
There are other, more benign, examples of lengthily imposed peace.
One could argue that the near absence of major international wars in
the Western Hemisphere results from the overwhelming presence of the
United States which, while hardly a dream neighbor, has at least
stopped most of the New World wars that it didn’t start. The Ottoman
Empire had a pretty good run, about 700 years, after drawing its
borders in blood. The Pharoahs kept the peace, at least along the
Nile, for over 2800 years until Alexander the Great showed up.
If one takes the view that war is worse than tyranny and that the
latter doesn’t necessarily beget the former, there is a case to be
made for global despotism. That case is unfortunately stronger, in
the light of history, than the proposition that nations will coexist
peacefully if we all try really, really hard to be nice to each other.
It is certainly unlikely at the moment that geopolitical stability
can be achieved by the formation of some new detente like the one
that terrified us into peace during the Cold War. Europe, old and
new, is furious with the United States at the moment (if my
unscientific polls while there in January are at all accurate), but
they are a very long way from confronting us with any military threat
we’d find credible.
I’m pretty sure that, soon enough, hatred of our Great Satanic selves
will provide the Islamic World with a unity they have lacked since
the Prophet’s son-in-law twisted off and started Shi’ism. But beyond
their demonstrated capacity to turn us into a nation of chickenshits
and control freaks, I can’t imagine them erecting a pacifying balance
force against our appalling might.
I believe that Dick Cheney has thought all these considerations
through in vastly greater detail than I’m providing here and has
reached these following conclusions: first, that it is in the best
interests of humanity that the United States impose a fearful peace
upon the world and, second, that the best way to begin that epoch
would be to establish dominion over the Middle East through the
American Protectorate of Iraq. In other words, it’s not about oil,
it’s about power and peace.
Well, alright. It is about oil, I guess, but only in the sense that
the primary goal of the American Peace is to guarantee the Global
Corporations reliable access to *all* natural resources. wherever
they may lie. The multinationals are Cheney’s real constituents,
regardless of their stock in trade or their putative country of
origin. He knows, as the Romans did, that war is bad for business.
But what’s more important is that he also knows that business is bad
for war. He knows, for example, there there has never been a war
between two countries that harbored McDonald’s franchises.
I actually think it’s possible that, however counter-intuitive and
risky his methods for getting it, what Dick Cheney really wants is
peace. Though much has been made of his connection to Halliburton and
the rest of the Ol Bidness, he is not acting in the service of
personal greed. He is a man of principle. He is acting in the service
of intentions that are to him as noble as mine are to me – and not
How can this be? Return with me now to the last time I was convinced
he was insanely endangering life on earth. This was back in the early
1983 when Dick Cheney was, at least by appearances, a mere
congressman. He was also Congressional point man for the deployment
of the MX missile system in our mutual home state of Wyoming. (The MX
was also called the "Peacemaker," a moniker I took at the time to be
the darkest of ironies.)
The MX was, and indeed still is, a Very Scary Thing. A single MX
missile could hit each of 10 different targets, hundreds of miles
apart, with about 600 kilotons of explosive force. For purposes of
comparison, Hiroshima was flattened by a 17 kiloton nuclear blast.
Thus, each of the MX’s warheads could glaze over an area 35 times
larger than the original Ground Zero. Furthermore, 100 MX missiles
were to lie beneath the Wyoming plains, Doomsday on the Range.
Any one of the 6000 MX warheads would probably incinerate just about
every living thing in Moscow. But Cheney’s plan – cooked up with
Brent Scowcroft, Don Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, and other familiar
suspects – was not about targeting cities, as had been the accepted
practice of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). The MX was to be
aimed instead at the other side’s missile emplacements.
The problem with this "counter-force strategy, " as it was called,
was that it was essentially a first-strike policy. The MX was to be
placed in highly vulnerable Minuteman silos. In the event of a Soviet
first strike, all of the Peacemakers would have been easily wiped
out. Thus, they were either to be launched preemptively or they were
set to "launch on warning." The MX was to be either an offensive
weapon or the automated hair-trigger was to be pulled on all hundred
of them within a very few minutes after the first Soviet missile
broke our radar horizon .
In either case, the logic behind it appeared to call for fighting and
winning a nuclear war. Meanwhile, President Reagan was bellowing
about "the Evil Empire" and issuing many statements that seemed to
consider Armageddon a plausible option.
I spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill during the winter of ’81-’82. I
lobbied over a hundred Congressmen and Senators against a policy that
seemed to me the craziest thing that human beings had ever proposed.
The only member of Congress who knew more about it than I did was
Veteran Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory accompanied me on one
of my futile visits to his office, where she spent better than an
hour listening to us argue about "circular errors probable" and "MIRV
decoys" and the other niceties of nuclear nightmare. When we were
leaving, she, who had seen a lot of politicians in her long day,
turned to me and said, "I think your guy Cheney is the most dangerous
person I’ve ever seen up here." At that point, I agreed with her.
What I was not thinking about, however, was the technique I once used
to avoid being run off the road by Mexican bus drivers, back when
their roads were narrower and their bus drivers even more macho.
Whenever I saw a bus barrelling down the centerline at me, I would
start driving unpredictably, weaving from shoulder to shoulder as
though muy borracho. As soon as I started to radiate dangerously low
regard for my own preservation, the bus would slow down and move over.
As it turned out, this is more or less what Cheney and his phalanx of
Big Stategic Thinkers were doing, if one imagined the Soviet Union as
a speeding Mexican bus. They were determined to project such a vision
of implacable, irrational, lethality that the Soviet leaders would
decide to capitulate rather than risk universal annihilation.
It worked. While I think that rock ‘n’ roll and the systemic failures
of central planning had as much to do with the collapse of communism
as did Dick’s mad gamble, I have to confess that, by 1990, he didn’t
look quite so nuts to me after all. The MX, along with Star Wars and
Reagan’s terrifying rhetoric, had been all along a weapon for waging
psychological rather than nuclear warfare.
I’m starting to wonder if were aren’t watching something like the
same strategy again. In other words, it’s possible Cheney and company
are actually bluffing.This time, instead of trying to terrify the
Soviets into collapse, the objective is even grander. If I’m right
about this, they have two goals. Neither involves actual war, any
more than the MX missile did.
First, they seek to scare Saddam Hussein into voluntarily turning his
country over to the U.S. and choosing safe exile or, failing that,
they want to convince the Iraqi people that it’s safer to attempt his
overthrow or assassination than to endure an invasion by American
Second, they are trying to convince every other nation on the planet
that the United States is the Mother of All Rogue States, run by mad
thugs in possession of 15,000 nuclear warheads they are willing to
use and spending, as they already are, more on death-making capacity
than all the other countries on the planet combined. In other words,
they want the rest of the world to think that we are the ultimate
weaving driver. Not to be trusted, but certainly not to be messed
By these terrible means, they will create a world where war conducted
by any country but the United States will seem simply too risky and
the Great American Peace will begin. Unregulated Global Corporatism
will be the only permissible ideology, every human will have access
to McDonald’s and the Home Shopping Network, all "news" will come
through some variant of AOLTimeWarnerCNN, the Internet will be run by
Microsoft, and so it will remain for a long time. Peace. On Prozac.
If I were in charge, this is neither the flavor of peace I would
prefer nor the way I would achieve it. But if I’d been in charge back
in 1983, there might still be a Soviet Union and we might all still
be waiting for the world to end in fifteen nuclear minutes.
Of course, I could be completely wrong about this. Maybe they
actually are possessed of a madness to which there is no method.
Maybe they really do intend to invade Iraq and for no more noble
reason than giving American SUVs another 50 years of cheap gas.
We’ll probably know which it’s going to be sometime in the next
By then, I expect to be dancing in Brazil, far from this heart of
darkness and closer to the heart itself.
————————–>>>>>——————————- -> ->
MINISTER GIL AND SWEET BRAZIL
For the the last year or so, I’ve felt a growing intuition that
Brazil was beckoning me. Of course, in some senses, Brazil is always
calling to those who love music, dance, the sensual pleasures, and
open-heartedness. But this seemed more directed than that. With
increasing frequency, I found myself meeting Brazilians who became
immediately significant players in my life. It cropped up in my
By last fall, I had decided that it was about time for me to return
to Brazil, and I started looking for a pretext, since I rarely go
anywhere these days without what appears to be a reason and.
generally, an airline ticket that someone else has paid for. By New
Year’s, my inner voices were muttering so much soft Portuguese that I
had about concluded that that I would be forced to go there simply
because I wanted to, and on my own dime at that.
Then, in early January, I got a phone call from my old friend Julian
Dibbell who wanted to know if I would be willing to meet with the
newly appointed Brazilian Minister of Culture. I was headed to Cannes
the following week to speak at a music industry conference called
Midem. (This is truly the Trade Show of the Living Dead, but never
Apparently, the Minister, a musician and political hero named
Gilberto Gil, had read some of my writings on the economics of
expression, had seen that I was going to be at Midem, where he was
also appearing, and wanted to know if we could get together and talk.
I am now embarrassed to confess that, when Julian called me, I knew
next to nothing about this remarkable man or his remarkable work or
his remarkable life. Still, he was from Brazil, to which I’m
favorably disposed, and he was an official to the new Lula
government, to which I’m also favorably disposed. I told Julian I
would be happy to talk with him.
A few days later I found myself sitting in the bar of the Hotel
Majestic in Cannes, surrounded by a Fear-and-Loathing welter of music
biz bottom-feeders, looking for the arrival of an official entourage.
When Gil did appear, he was immediately obvious, but not because he
came in force. In fact, the most notable thing about him at first was
that he seemed like the least self-important person in the room.
That, and a kind of light…
A slight black man with short dreads, he arrived alone and dressed in
casual hip. I had not seen a picture of him, but I felt like I knew
him at once. Indeed, I felt like I had always known him. If Gilberto
Gil were a woman, I would say it was love at first sight.
We talked for about an hour and half, rarely losing eye contact. He
seemed to me a vastly improved version of myself, a sort of black,
Brazilian Barlow, more talented, wise, and accomplished, but saddled
with none of my vices.
We found that we agreed in great and simple completeness on a number
of important matters. We agree that music – indeed, all of human
creation – is an ecosystem that deserves more thoughtful stewardship
than it’s getting. We admire the works of Frank Zappa, Andre
Malreaux, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, and Teilhard de Chardin (among
many, more obscure, others). We believe there is One Love. We believe
that fear is the only problem. We think that the economics of
creativity may be very different from the economics of manufacturing.
We believe that there is a great conflict underway between large
institutions, most notably corporations, and human beings. We believe
that the moment has come round when the human beings must find ways
to influence the behavior of these global creatures so they serve
human rather than institutional objectives. We believe that, just as
the United States has become the capital of Leviathan, so might
Brazil become the capital of that which is simple and human.
We believe that there is more reason for optimism than ever. We
believe, along with Emerson, that, when it gets dark like this, it’s
easier to see the stars.
We believe in common many things, including a few I’m not sure I’ve
ever discussed with anyone. We were both interested in extending the
conversation. He wanted to know when I could come to Brazil and I
told him I’d work on clearing out my calendar in March.
Gil has led an astonishing life. I love his music, now that I’m
becoming familiar with it, and has formed it out of of a huge stew of
musical forms and traditions. In Brazil, I now learn, he is the Pele
of song. He has created music with a broad variety of folks, ranging
from Jimmy Cliff to the Incredible String Band.
He has also been a notable dissident and political activist. Along
with his best friend, Caetano Veloso (also a song-writing superstar),
he was imprisoned and exiled by the Generals during the late 60’s. He
has been tireless in his defense of the downtrodden but is not a
conventional leftist, any more than I am.
Gil is a deeply spiritual guy, though not apparently religious in the
usual sense. He is an intellectual without the post-Modern rhetorical
garbage that has has made the learned discourse of our generation so
wearisome. He is Marx without Lenin. (Or maybe with Lennon.) He is
Gandhi with a guitar. He is a very cool dude.
Given all this, I was delighted indeed when I got an invitation a
couple of weeks ago to come to Brazil and spend ten days around
Carnival traveling around the country with Gil and the former French
Minister of Culture Jack Lang, himself a pretty interesting fellow.
I can’t think of a better way to get myself out of this winter of our
discontent, and I’m now in New York trying to horse myself together
for what could be a fairly lengthy summer tour. My return ticket is
for March 13, but I don’t really have to be back in the United States
until the latter part of March.
I feel like I’m diving off into the next phase of my life. I’m
jazzed, I’m grateful, and I’m a little apprehensive.
I expect you’ll hear more from me as this adventure unfolds.
Light and Hope,
John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident
Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Berkman Fellow, Harvard Law School
Home(stead) Page: http://www.eff.org/~barlow
Call me anywhere, anytime: 800/654-4322
Fax me anywhere, anytime: 603/215-1529
Current Cell Phone: 917/863-2037 (AT&T)
Alternative (Inactive) Cell Phone: 646/286-8176 (GSM)
Barlow in Meatspace Now: New York City (Until 2/24) 212/965-1991
(Provisional) Trajectory from Here: Rio de Janeiro (2/24-26) ->
Salvador de Bahia (2/26-3/1) -> Recife (3/1-2) -> Salvador (3/2-3) ->
Rio de Janeiro (3/3-4) -> Salvador (3/4-7) -> Sao Paulo (3/7-8) ->
Salvador (3/8-?) -> Brazil… -> New York City (3/19-25) -> San
Francisco (3/25-26) -> San Jose (3/27-28) -> Orlando (3/29-31) …
Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of
state and corporate power.
— Benito Mussolini
BarlowFriendz mailing list
Not only are we not seeing any sort of hue and cry about the
administration’s connections to Enron, and letting those rapacious
fraudmongerers actually write our national energy policy…not only are we
seeing a total absence of any dogged special prosecutors, or serious
Congressional inquiries…but the one investigation that DID manage to get
under way just threw up its hands and gave up. See below.
Add one more knock against Congressional Democrats: they’ve got no guts.
Where is their Kenneth Starr?
After all the recent depressing news, I thought it was about time for some
humor. This isn’t fair, but it’s a howl all the same:
Fake State of the Union
Congress Watchdog Won’t Appeal Cheney Case
11 minutes ago Add Politics – Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a major victory for the White House, the
investigative arm of Congress said on Friday it was giving up its courtroom
battle to get records of Vice President Cheney’s energy task force.
The decision by the General Accounting Office (news – web sites) not to
appeal a federal judge’s earlier dismissal of its case ended a fierce fight
over congressional access to information held by the executive branch.
But the GAO climbdown does not necessarily protect the White House energy
papers forever. Private groups — including environmentalists who say they
were shut out of official energy policy deliberations — are still seeking
those documents in court.
Comptroller General David Walker, head of the GAO, sued the White House last
year to try to force the release of the names of energy industry executives
and lobbyists that Cheney and aides consulted in developing Bush
administration energy policy in 2001.
The lawsuit was dismissed on Dec. 9 by U.S. District Judge John Bates. While
Walker was still convinced of the merits of the case, he had decided that to
take the case to federal appeals court “would require investment of
significant time and resources over several years,” a GAO statement said on
Meanwhile groups ranging across the political spectrum from the Sierra Club
(news – web sites) to Judicial Watch are also suing and “this information
will be made available to GAO if they are successful in their cases,” the
GAO statement added.
White House officials, who had argued that the GAO had overstepped its
bounds, said the outcome vindicates their position. Spokeswoman Claire
Buchan said the result “ensures the important principle of the president and
the vice president being able to receive unvarnished advice.”
The Justice Department (news – web sites) also praised the result.
“Allowing the GAO to sue the Vice President would improperly interfere with
the President’s ability to formulate the best possible policies for the
American people,” spokeswoman Barbara Comstock said in a statement.
DEMOCRATS SEE ‘NEED FOR MORE SUNSHINE’
Democratic lawmakers, who had suspected energy industry influence on the
White House energy policy and urged the GAO to go to court, said the outcome
was a blow against accountability.
“This is a tremendous setback for open government,” said Rep. Henry Waxman
Rep. John Dingell of Michigan said that he would have preferred the GAO to
keep fighting. “Reasonable people cannot differ on the need for more
sunshine on this administration’s actions,” he said.
The Bush administration announced an energy policy in May 2001 that called
for more oil and gas drilling and a revival of nuclear power. The policy
later bogged down in Congress.
Environmentalists cried foul when the policy was announced, saying they had
not been consulted, while they believed that Bush campaign supporters from
the energy industry had been.
The White House last year acknowledged that Cheney and members of the energy
task force met several times with representatives of Enron, the former
energy trader that collapsed in an accounting scandal. Enron had been a
major contributor to Bush political campaigns.
The lawsuits filed by private groups have forced the release of task force
records from agencies such as the Energy Department, but not from the White
BATES SAID GAO LACKED STANDING
Judge Bates had said Walker lacked standing to bring the case because
neither house of Congress nor a congressional committee had authorized the
pleadings or issued a subpoena for the information.
The GAO statement argued that Bates erred on that point. It said two Senate
committee chairmen and two subcommittee chairmen had asked the congressional
agency to pursue the matter before Walker filed suit nearly a year ago.
Although Walker dropped his court battle, he said the result did not remove
the GAO’s right to sue again. The Bush administration should still “do the
right thing” and disclose the information, he said.
“We hope that GAO is never again put in the position of having to resort to
the courts to obtain information that Congress needs to perform its
constitutional duties, but we will be prepared to do so in the future if
necessary,” Walker said.
COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Mr.
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, distinguished
colleagues, I would like to begin by expressing my thanks for the special effort
that each of you made to be here today.
This is an important day for us all as we review the
situation with respect to Iraq and its disarmament obligations under U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1441.
Last November 8, this council passed Resolution 1441 by a
unanimous vote. The purpose of that resolution was to disarm Iraq of its weapons
of mass destruction. Iraq had already been found guilty of a material breach of
its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years.
Resolution 1441 was not dealing with an innocent party, but a
regime this council has repeatedly convicted over the years. Resolution 1441
gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance to come into compliance or to face
serious consequences. No council member present in voting on that day had any
illusions about the nature and intent of the resolution or what serious
consequences meant if Iraq did not comply.
And to assist in its disarmament, we called on Iraq to
cooperate with returning inspectors from UNMOVIC and IAEA.
We laid down tough standards for Iraq to meet to allow the
inspectors to do their job.
This council placed the burden on Iraq to comply and disarm
and not on the inspectors to find that which Iraq has gone out of its way to
conceal for so long. Inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives.
I asked for this session today for two purposes: First, to
support the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. As Dr. Blix
reported to this council on January 27th, quote, “Iraq appears not to have come
to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded
of it,” unquote.
And as Dr. ElBaradei reported, Iraq’s declaration of December
7, quote, “did not provide any new information relevant to certain questions
that have been outstanding since 1998.”
My second purpose today is to provide you with additional
information, to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq’s weapons
of mass destruction as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism, which is also
the subject of Resolution 1441 and other earlier resolutions.
I might add at this point that we are providing all relevant
information we can to the inspection teams for them to do their work.
The material I will present to you comes from a variety of
sources. Some are U.S. sources. And some are those of other countries. Some of
the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and
photos taken by satellites. Other sources are people who have risked their lives
to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.
I cannot tell you everything that we know. But what I can
share with you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years,
is deeply troubling.
What you will see is an accumulation of facts and disturbing
patterns of behavior. The facts on Iraqis’ behavior — Iraq’s behavior
demonstrates that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort — no effort
— to disarm as required by the international community. Indeed, the facts and
Iraq’s behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their
efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.
Let me begin by playing a tape for you. What you’re about to
hear is a conversation that my government monitored. It takes place on November
26 of last year, on the day before United Nations teams resumed inspections in
The conversation involves two senior officers, a colonel and
a brigadier general, from Iraq’s elite military unit, the Republican Guard.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
(Speaking in Arabic.)
(END AUDIO TAPE)
POWELL: Let me pause and review some of the key elements of
this conversation that you just heard between these two officers.
First, they acknowledge that our colleague, Mohamed
ElBaradei, is coming, and they know what he’s coming for, and they know he’s
coming the next day. He’s coming to look for things that are prohibited. He is
expecting these gentlemen to cooperate with him and not hide things.
But they’re worried. “We have this modified vehicle. What do
we say if one of them sees it?”
What is their concern? Their concern is that it’s something
they should not have, something that should not be seen.
The general is incredulous: “You didn’t get a modified. You
don’t have one of those, do you?”
“I have one.”
“Which, from where?”
“From the workshop, from the Al Kendi (ph) Company?”
“From Al Kendi (ph).”
“I’ll come to see you in the morning. I’m worried. You all
have something left.”
“We evacuated everything. We don’t have anything left.”
Note what he says: “We evacuated everything.”
We didn’t destroy it. We didn’t line it up for inspection. We
didn’t turn it into the inspectors. We evacuated it to make sure it was not
around when the inspectors showed up.
“I will come to you tomorrow.”
The Al Kendi (ph) Company: This is a company that is well
known to have been involved in prohibited weapons systems activity.
Let me play another tape for you. As you will recall, the
inspectors found 12 empty chemical warheads on January 16. On January 20, four
days later, Iraq promised the inspectors it would search for more. You will now
hear an officer from Republican Guard headquarters issuing an instruction to an
officer in the field. Their conversation took place just last week on January
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
(Speaking in Arabic.)
(END AUDIO TAPE)
POWELL: Let me pause again and review the elements of this
“They’re inspecting the ammunition you have, yes.”
“For the possibility there are forbidden ammo.”
“For the possibility there is by chance forbidden ammo?”
“And we sent you a message yesterday to clean out all of the
areas, the scrap areas, the abandoned areas. Make sure there is nothing
Remember the first message, evacuated.
This is all part of a system of hiding things and moving
things out of the way and making sure they have left nothing behind.
If you go a little further into this message, and you see the
specific instructions from headquarters: “After you have carried out what is
contained in this message, destroy the message because I don’t want anyone to
see this message.”
This message would have verified to the inspectors that they
have been trying to turn over things. They were looking for things. But they
don’t want that message seen, because they were trying to clean up the area to
leave no evidence behind of the presence of weapons of mass destruction. And
they can claim that nothing was there. And the inspectors can look all they
want, and they will find nothing.
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.
We know that Saddam Hussein has what is called quote, “a
higher committee for monitoring the inspections teams,” unquote. Think about
that. Iraq has a high-level committee to monitor the inspectors who were sent in
to monitor Iraq’s disarmament.
Not to cooperate with them, not to assist them, but to spy on
them and keep them from doing their jobs.
The committee reports directly to Saddam Hussein. It is
headed by Iraq’s vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan. Its members include Saddam
Hussein’s son, Qusay.
This committee also includes Lieutenant General Amir
al-Saadi, an adviser to Saddam. In case that name isn’t immediately familiar to
you, General Saadi has been the Iraqi regime’s primary point of contact for Dr.
Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. It was General Saadi who last fall publicly pledged to
operate as to deceive; not to disarm, but to underminethe inspectors; not to
support them, but to frustrate them and to make sure they learn nothing.
We have learned a lot about the work of this special
committee. We learned that just prior to the return of inspectors last November
the regime had decided to resume what we heard called, quote, “the old game of
cat and mouse,” unquote.
For example, let me focus on the now famous declaration that
Iraq submitted to this council on December 7. Iraq never had any intention of
complying with this council’s mandate.
Instead, Iraq planned to use the declaration, overwhelm us
and to overwhelm the inspectors with useless information about Iraq’s permitted
weapons so that we would not have time to pursue Iraq’s prohibited weapons.
Iraq’s goal was to give us on this council the false impression that the
inspection process was working.
You saw the result. Dr. Blix pronounced the 12,200-page
declaration, rich in volume, but poor in information and practically devoid of
Could any member of this council honestly rise in defense of
this false declaration?
Everything we have seen and heard indicates that, instead of
cooperating actively with the inspectors to ensure the success of their mission,
Saddam Hussein and his regime are busy doing all they possibly can to ensure
that inspectors succeed in finding absolutely nothing.
My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by
sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are
facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples,
and these are from human sources.
Orders were issued to Iraq’s security organizations, as well
as to Saddam Hussein’s own office, to hide all correspondence with the
Organization of Military Industrialization.
This is the organization that oversees Iraq’s weapons of mass
destruction activities. Make sure there are no documents left which could
connect you to the OMI.
We know that Saddam’s son, Qusay, ordered the removal of all
prohibited weapons from Saddam’s numerous palace complexes. We know that Iraqi
government officials, members of the ruling Baath Party and scientists have
hidden prohibited items in their homes. Other key files from military and
scientific establishments have been placed in cars that are being driven around
the countryside by Iraqi intelligence agents to avoid detection.
Thanks to intelligence they were provided, the inspectors
recently found dramatic confirmation of these reports. When they searched the
home of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, they uncovered roughly 2,000 pages of
documents. You see them here being brought out of the home and placed in U.N.
hands. Some of the material is classified and related to Iraq’s nuclear
Tell me, answer me, are the inspectors to search the house of
every government official, every Baath Party member and every scientist in the
country to find the truth, to get the information they need, to satisfy the
demands of our council?
Our sources tell us that, in some cases, the hard drives of
computers at Iraqi weapons facilities were replaced. Who took the hard drives?
Where did they go? What’s being hidden? Why? There’s only one answer to the why:
to deceive, to hide, to keep from the inspectors.
Numerous human sources tell us that the Iraqis are moving,
not just documents and hard drives, but weapons of mass destruction to keep them
from being found by inspectors.
While we were here in this council chamber debating
Resolution 1441 last fall, we know, we know from sources that a missile brigade
outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket launchers and warheads containing
biological warfare agents to various locations, distributing them to various
locations in western Iraq. Most of the launchers and warheads have been hidden
in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to
We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned
materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass
Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a
couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the
average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis
takes experts with years and years of experience, pouring for hours and hours
over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and
explain what they mean, what they indicate to our imagery specialists.
Let’s look at one. This one is about a weapons munition
facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji (ph). This is
one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed
chemical munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the
additional four chemical weapon shells.
Here, you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red
outlines. The four that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions
How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a
closer look. Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close-up of one of
the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs
that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions. The arrow at the top that says
security points to a facility — that is the signature item for this
kind of bunker. Inside that facility are special guards and special equipment to
monitor any leakage that might come out of the bunker.
The truck you also see is a signature item. It’s a
decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong.
This is characteristic of those four bunkers. The special
security facility and the decontamination vehicle will be in the area, if not at
any one of them or one of the other, it is moving around those four, and it
moves as it needed to move, as people are working in the different bunkers.
Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at
two of those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone, the tents are
gone, it’s been cleaned up, and it was done on the 22nd of December, as the U.N.
inspection team is arriving, and you can see the inspection vehicles arriving in
the lower portion of the picture on the right.
The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there. They
This sequence of events raises the worrisome suspicion that
Iraq had been tipped off to the forthcoming inspections at Taji (ph). As it did
throughout the 1990s, we know that Iraq today is actively using its considerable
intelligence capabilities to hide its illicit activities. From our sources, we
know that inspectors are under constant surveillance by an army of Iraqi
intelligence operatives. Iraq is relentlessly attempting to tap all of their
communications, both voice and electronics.
I would call my colleagues attention to the fine paper that
United Kingdom distributed yesterday, which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi
In this next example, you will see the type of concealment
activity Iraq has undertaken in response to the resumption of inspections.
Indeed, in November 2002, just when the inspections were about to resume, this
type of activity spiked. Here are three examples.
At this ballistic missile site, on November 10, we saw a
cargo truck preparing to move ballistic missile components. At this biological
weapons-related facility, on November 25, just two days before inspections
resumed, this truck caravan appeared, something we almost never see at this
facility, and we monitor it carefully and regularly.
At this ballistic missile facility, again, two days before
inspections began, five large cargo trucks appeared along with the truck-mounted
crane to move missiles. We saw this kind of house cleaning at close to 30
Days after this activity, the vehicles and the equipment that
I’ve just highlighted disappear and the site returns to patterns of normalcy. We
don’t know precisely what Iraq was moving, but the inspectors already knew about
these sites, so Iraq knew that they would be coming.
We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment
of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they
had or did not have?
Remember the first intercept in which two Iraqis talked about
the need to hide a modified vehicle from the inspectors? Where did Iraq take all
of this equipment? Why wasn’t it presented to the inspectors?
Iraq also has refused to permit any U-2 reconnaissance
flights that would give the inspectors a better sense of what’s being moved
before, during, and after inspections.
This refusal to allow this kind of reconnaissance is in
direct, specific violation of operative paragraph seven of our Resolution
Saddam Hussein and his regime are not just trying to conceal
weapons, they’re also trying to hide people. You know the basic facts. Iraq has
not complied with its obligation to allow immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and
private access to all officials and other persons as required by Resolution
The regime only allows interviews with inspectors in the
presence of an Iraqi official, a minder. The official Iraqi organization charged
with facilitating inspections announced, announced publicly and announced
ominously that, quote, “Nobody is ready to leave Iraq to be interviewed.”
Iraqi Vice President Ramadan accused the inspectors of
conducting espionage, a veiled threat that anyone cooperating with U.N.
inspectors was committing treason.
Iraq did not meet its obligations under 1441 to provide a
comprehensive list of scientists associated with its weapons of mass destruction
programs. Iraq’s list was out of date and contained only about 500 names,
despite the fact that UNSCOM had earlier put together a list of about 3,500
Let me just tell you what a number of human sources have told
Saddam Hussein has directly participated in the effort to
prevent interviews. In early December, Saddam Hussein had all Iraqi scientists
warned of the serious consequences that they and their families would face if
they revealed any sensitive information to the inspectors. They were forced to
sign documents acknowledging that divulging information is punishable by
Saddam Hussein also said that scientists should be told not
to agree to leave Iraq; anyone who agreed to be interviewed outside Iraq would
be treated as a spy. This violates 1441.
In mid-November, just before the inspectors returned, Iraqi
experts were ordered to report to the headquarters of the special security
organization to receive counterintelligence training. The training focused on
evasion methods, interrogation resistance techniques, and how to mislead
Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are
facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence
services of other countries.
For example, in mid-December, weapons experts at one facility
were replaced by Iraqi intelligence agents who were to deceive inspectors about
the work that was being done there.
On orders from Saddam Hussein, Iraqi officials issued a false
death certificate for one scientist, and he was sent into hiding.
In the middle of January, experts at one facility that was
related to weapons of mass destruction, those experts had been ordered to stay
home from work to avoid the inspectors. Workers from other Iraqi military
facilities not engaged in elicit weapons projects were to replace the workers
who’d been sent home. A dozen experts have been placed under house arrest, not
in their own houses, but as a group at one of Saddam Hussein’s guest houses. It
goes on and on and on.
As the examples I have just presented show, the information
and intelligence we have gathered point to an active and systematic effort on
the part of the Iraqi regime to keep key materials and people from the
inspectors in direct violation of Resolution 1441. The pattern is not just one
of reluctant cooperation, nor is it merely a lack of cooperation. What we see is
a deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful inspection work.
My colleagues, operative paragraph four of U.N. Resolution
1441, which we lingered over so long last fall, clearly states that false
statements and omissions in the declaration and a failure by Iraq at any time to
comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution shall
constitute — the facts speak for themselves — shall constitute a further
material breach of its obligation.
We wrote it this way to give Iraq an early test — to give
Iraq an early test. Would they give an honest declaration and would they early
on indicate a willingness to cooperate with the inspectors? It was designed to
be an early test.
They failed that test. By this standard, the standard of this
operative paragraph, 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 called for in U.N. Resolution 1441. And this body places itself in
danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without
responding effectively and immediately.
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.”
The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the
threat that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction pose to the world. Let me now
turn to those deadly weapons programs and describe why they are real and present
dangers to the region and to the world.
First, biological weapons. We have talked frequently here
about biological weapons. By way of introduction and history, I think there are
just three quick points I need to make.
First, you will recall that it took UNSCOM four long and
frustrating years to pry — to pry — an admission out of Iraq that it had
Second, when Iraq finally admitted having these weapons in
1995, the quantities were vast. Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little
bit about this amount — this is just about the amount of a teaspoon — less than
a teaspoon full of dry anthrax in an envelope shutdown the United States Senate
in the fall of 2001. This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency
medical treatment and killed two postal workers just from an amount just about
this quantity that was inside of an envelope.
Iraq declared 8,500 liters of anthrax, but UNSCOM estimates
that Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this
dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of
thousands of teaspoons. And Saddam Hussein has not verifiably accounted for even
one teaspoon-full of this deadly material.
And that is my third point. And it is key. The Iraqis have
never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we
know they had. They have never accounted for all the organic material used to
make them. And they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these
agents, such as there are 400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture. This is
true. This is all well-documented.
Dr. Blix told this council that Iraq has provided little
evidence to verify anthrax production and no convincing evidence of its
destruction. It should come as no shock then, that since Saddam Hussein forced
out the last inspectors in 1998, we have amassed much intelligence indicating
that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons.
One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick
intelligence file we have on Iraq’s biological weapons is the existence of
mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.
Let me take you inside that intelligence file and share with
you what we know from eye witness accounts. We have firsthand descriptions of
biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.
The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed
to evade detection by inspectors. In a matter of months, they can produce a
quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to
have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War.
Although Iraq’s mobile production program began in the
mid-1990s, [unintelligible] witness, an Iraqi chemical engineer who supervised
one of these facilities. He actually was present during biological agent
production runs. He was also at the site when an accident occurred in 1998.
Twelve technicians died from exposure to biological agents.
He reported that when UNSCOM was in country and inspecting,
the biological weapons agent production always began on Thursdays at midnight
because Iraq thought UNSCOM would not inspect on the Muslim Holy Day, Thursday
night through Friday. He added that this was important because the units could
not be broken down in the middle of a production run, which had to be completed
by Friday evening before the inspectors might arrive again.
This defector is currently hiding in another country with the
certain knowledge that Saddam Hussein will kill him if he finds him. His
eye-witness account of these mobile production facilities has been corroborated
by other sources.
A second source, an Iraqi civil engineer in a position to
know the details of the program, confirmed the existence of transportable
facilities moving on trailers.
A third source, also in a position to know, reported in
summer 2002 that Iraq had manufactured mobile production systems mounted on road
trailer units and on rail cars.
Finally, a fourth source, an Iraqi major, who defected,
confirmed that Iraq has mobile biological research laboratories, in addition to
the production facilities I mentioned earlier.
POWELL: We have diagrammed what our sources reported about
these mobile facilities. Here you see both truck and rail car-mounted mobile
factories. The description our sources gave us of the technical features
required by such facilities are highly detailed and extremely accurate. As these
drawings based on their description show, we know what the fermenters look like,
we know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like. We know
how they fit together. We know how they work. And we know a great deal about the
platforms on which they are mounted.
As shown in this diagram, these factories agent factories.
The truck-mounted ones have at least two or three trucks each. That means that
the mobile production facilities are very few, perhaps 18 trucks that we know of
— there may be more — but perhaps 18 that we know of. Just imagine trying to
find 18 trucks among the thousands and thousands of trucks that travel the roads
of Iraq every single day.
It took the inspectors four years to find out that Iraq was
making biological agents. How long do you think it will take the inspectors to
find even one of these 18 trucks without Iraq coming forward, as they are
supposed to, with the information about these kinds of capabilities?
Ladies and gentlemen, these are sophisticated facilities. For
example, they can produce anthrax and botulinum toxin, in fact, they can produce
enough dry biological agents in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands
of people. And dry agents of this type are the most lethal form for human
By 1998, U.N. experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected
drying techniques for their biological weapons programs. Now, Iraq has
incorporated this drying expertise into these mobile production facilities.
We know from Iraq’s past admissions that it has successfully
weaponized not only anthrax, but also other biological agents, including
botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin.
But Iraq’s research efforts did not stop there. Saddam
Hussein has investigated dozens of biological agents causing diseases such as
gas gangrene, plague, typhus (ph), tetanus, cholera, camelpox and hemorrhagic
fever, and he also has the wherewithal to develop smallpox.
The Iraqi regime has also developed ways to disburse lethal
biological agents, widely and discriminately into the water supply, into the
air. For example, Iraq had a program to modify aerial fuel tanks for Mirage
jets. This video of an Iraqi test flight obtained by UNSCOM some years ago shows
an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet aircraft. Note the spray coming from beneath the Mirage;
that is 2,000 liters of simulated anthrax that a jet is spraying.
In 1995, an Iraqi military officer, Mujahid Sali Abdul Latif
(ph), told inspectors that Iraq intended the spray tanks to be mounted onto a
MiG-21 that had been converted into an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a UAV. UAVs
outfitted with spray tanks constitute an ideal method for launching a terrorist
attack using biological weapons.
Iraq admitted to producing four spray tanks. But to this day,
it has provided no credible evidence that they were destroyed, evidence that was
required by the international community.
There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological
weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the
ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause
massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to
contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling.
UNMOVIC already laid out much of this, and it is documented
for all of us to read in UNSCOM’s 1999 report on the subject.
Let me set the stage with three key points that all of us
need to keep in mind: First, Saddam Hussein has used these horrific weapons on
another country and on his own people. In fact, in the history of chemical
warfare, no country has had more battlefield experience with chemical weapons
since World War I than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Second, as with biological weapons, Saddam Hussein has never
accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry: 550 artillery shells with
mustard, 30,000 empty munitions and enough precursors to increase his stockpile
to as much as 500 tons of chemical agents. If we consider just one category of
missing weaponry — 6,500 bombs from the Iran-Iraq war — UNMOVIC says the amount
of chemical agent in them would be in the order of 1,000 tons. These quantities
of chemical weapons are now unaccounted for.
COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Dr. Blix has quipped
that, quote, “Mustard gas is not (inaudible) You are supposed to know what you
did with it.”
We believe Saddam Hussein knows what he did with it, and he
has not come clean with the international community. We have evidence these
weapons existed. What we don’t have is evidence from Iraq that they have been
destroyed or where they are. That is what we are still waiting for.
Third point, Iraq’s record on chemical weapons is replete
with lies. It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four
tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in
minutes. Four tons.
The admission only came out after inspectors collected
documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamal, Saddam Hussein’s
late son-in-law. UNSCOM also gained forensic evidence that Iraq had produced VX
and put it into weapons for delivery.
Yet, to this day, Iraq denies it had ever weaponized VX. And
on January 27, UNMOVIC told this council that it has information that conflicts
with the Iraqi account of its VX program.
We know that Iraq has embedded key portions of its illicit
chemical weapons infrastructure within its legitimate civilian industry. To all
outward appearances, even to experts, the infrastructure looks like an ordinary
civilian operation. Illicit and legitimate production can go on simultaneously;
or, on a dime, this dual-use infrastructure can turn from clandestine to
commercial and then back again.
These would be unlikely to turn up anything prohibited,
especially if there is any warning that the inspections are coming. Call it
ingenuous or evil genius, but the Iraqis deliberately designed their chemical
weapons programs to be inspected. It is infrastructure with a built-in ally.
Under the guise of dual-use infrastructure, Iraq has
undertaken an effort to reconstitute facilities that were closely associated
with its past program to develop and produce chemical weapons.
For example, Iraq has rebuilt key portions of the Tariq (ph)
state establishment. Tariq (ph) includes facilities designed specifically for
Iraq’s chemical weapons program and employs key figures from past programs.
That’s the production end of Saddam’s chemical weapons
business. What about the delivery end?
I’m going to show you a small part of a chemical complex
called al-Moussaid (ph), a site that Iraq has used for at least three years to
transship chemical weapons from production facilities out to the field.
In May 2002, our satellites photographed the unusual activity
in this picture. Here we see cargo vehicles are again at this transshipment
point, and we can see that they are accompanied by a decontamination vehicle
associated with biological or chemical weapons activity.
What makes this picture significant is that we have a human
source who has corroborated that movement of chemical weapons occurred at this
site at that time. So it’s not just the photo, and it’s not an individual seeing
the photo. It’s the photo and then the knowledge of an individual being brought
together to make the case.
This photograph of the site taken two months later in July
shows not only the previous site, which is the figure in the middle at the top
with the bulldozer sign near it, it shows that this previous site, as well as
all of the other sites around the site, [unintelligible] weapons
To support its deadly biological and chemical weapons
programs, Iraq procures needed items from around the world, using an extensive
clandestine network. What we know comes largely from intercepted communications
and human sources who are in a position to know the facts.
Iraq’s procurement efforts include equipment that can filter
and separate micro-organisms and toxins involved in biological weapons,
equipment that can be used to concentrate the agent, growth media that can be
used to continue producing anthrax and botulinum toxin, sterilization equipment
for laboratories, glass-lined reactors and specialty pumps that can handle
corrosive chemical weapons agents and precursors, large amounts of vinyl
chloride, a precursor for nerve and blister agents, and other chemicals such as
sodium sulfide, an important mustard agent precursor.
Now, of course, Iraq will argue that these items can also be
used for legitimate purposes. But if that is true, why do we have to learn about
them by intercepting communications and risking the lives of human agents? With
Iraq’s well documented history on biological and chemical weapons, why should
any of us give Iraq the benefit of the doubt? I don’t, and I don’t think you
will either after you hear this next intercept.
Just a few weeks ago, we intercepted communications between
two commanders in Iraq’s Second Republican Guard Corps. One commander is going
to be giving an instruction to the other. You will hear as this unfolds that
what he wants to communicate to the other guy, he wants to make sure the other
guy hears clearly, to the point of repeating it so that it gets written down and
completely understood. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
(Speaking in Foreign Language.)
(END AUDIO TAPE)
POWELL: Let’s review a few selected items of this
conversation. Two officers talking to each other on the radio want to make sure
that nothing is misunderstood:
The expression, the expression, “I got it.”
“Nerve agents. Nerve agents. Wherever it comes up.”
“Wherever it comes up.”
“In the wireless instructions, in the instructions.”
“Correction. No. In the wireless instructions.”
“Wireless. I got it.”
Why does he repeat it that way? Why is he so forceful in
making sure this is understood? And why did he focus on wireless instructions?
Because the senior officer is concerned that somebody might be listening.
Well, somebody was.
“Nerve agents. Stop talking about it. They are listening to
us. Don’t give any evidence that we have these horrible agents.”
Well, we know that they do. And this kind of conversation
Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile
of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to
fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.
Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam
Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 square miles of territory,
an area nearly 5 times the size of Manhattan.
Let me remind you that, of the 122 millimeter chemical
warheads, that the U.N. inspectors found recently, this discovery could very
well be, as has been noted, the tip of the submerged iceberg. The question
before us, all my friends, is when will we see the rest of the submerged
Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein has used
such weapons. And Saddam Hussein has no compunction about using them again,
against his neighbors and against his own people.
And we have sources who tell us that he recently has
authorized his field commanders to use them. He wouldn’t be passing out the
orders if he didn’t have the weapons or the intent to use them.
We also have sources who tell us that, since the 1980s,
Saddam’s regime has been experimenting on human beings to perfect its biological
or chemical weapons.
A source said that 1,600 death row prisoners were transferred
in 1995 to a special unit for such experiments. An eye witness saw prisoners
tied down to beds, experiments conducted on them, blood oozing around the
victim’s mouths and autopsies performed to confirm the effects on the prisoners.
Saddam Hussein’s humanity — inhumanity has no limits.
Let me turn now to nuclear weapons. We have no indication
that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program.
On the contrary, we have more than a decade of proof that he
remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons.
To fully appreciate the challenge that we face today,
remember that, in 1991, the inspectors searched Iraq’s primary nuclear weapons
facilities for the first time. And they found nothing to conclude that Iraq had
a nuclear weapons program.
But based on defector information in May of 1991, Saddam
Hussein’s lie was exposed. In truth, Saddam Hussein had a massive clandestine
nuclear weapons program that covered several different techniques to enrich
uranium, including electromagnetic isotope separation, gas centrifuge, and gas
diffusion. We estimate that this elicit program cost the Iraqis several billion
Nonetheless, Iraq continued to tell the IAEA that it had no
nuclear weapons program. If Saddam had not been stopped, Iraq could have
produced a nuclear bomb by 1993, years earlier than most worse-case assessments
that had been made before the war.
In 1995, as a result of another defector, we find out that,
after his invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein had initiated a crash program to
build a crude nuclear weapon in violation of Iraq’s U.N. obligations.
Saddam Hussein already possesses two out of the three key
components needed to build a nuclear bomb. He has a cadre of nuclear scientists
with the expertise, and he has a bomb design.
Since 1998, his efforts to reconstitute his nuclear program
have been focused on acquiring the third and last component, sufficient fissile
material to produce a nuclear explosion. To make the fissile material, he needs
to develop an ability to enrich uranium.
Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear
bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire
high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after
These tubes are controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group
precisely because they can be used as centrifuges for enriching uranium. By now,
just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know that there are
differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for.
Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors
in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves,
argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional
weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.
Let me tell you what is not controversial about these tubes.
First, all the experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possession agree that
they can be adapted for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq had no business buying them
for any purpose. They are banned for Iraq.
I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but just as an old Army
trooper, I can tell you a couple of things: First, it strikes me as quite odd
that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S.
requirements for comparable rockets.
Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a
higher standard than we do, but I don’t think so.
Second, we actually have examined tubes from several
different batches that were seized clandestinely before they reached Baghdad.
What we notice in these different batches is a progression to higher and higher
levels of specification, including, in the latest batch, an anodized coating on
extremely smooth inner and outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the
specifications, go to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket,
would soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?
The high tolerance aluminum tubes are only part of the story.
We also have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to
acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines; both items can be used in a
gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium.
In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated with firms in
Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of a magnet production
plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing 20 to 30 grams. That’s
the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq’s gas centrifuge program before the
Gulf War. This incident linked with the tubes is another indicator of Iraq’s
attempt to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.
Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer
show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to
balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in
a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq.
People will continue to debate this issue, but there is no
doubt in my mind, these elicit procurement efforts show that Saddam Hussein is
very much focused on putting in place the key missing piece from his nuclear
weapons program, the ability to produce fissile material. He also has been busy
trying to maintain the other key parts of his nuclear program, particularly his
cadre of key nuclear scientists.
It is noteworthy that, over the last 18 months, Saddam
Hussein has paid increasing personal attention to Iraqi’s top nuclear
scientists, a group that the governmental-controlled press calls openly, his
nuclear mujahedeen. He regularly exhorts them and praises their progress.
Progress toward what end?
Long ago, the Security Council, this council, required Iraq
to halt all nuclear activities of any kind.
Let me talk now about the systems Iraq is developing to
deliver weapons of mass destruction, in particular Iraq’s ballistic missiles and
unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.
First, missiles. We all remember that before the Gulf War
Saddam Hussein’s goal was missiles that flew not just hundreds, but thousands of
kilometers. He wanted to strike not only his neighbors, but also nations far
beyond his borders.
While inspectors destroyed most of the prohibited ballistic
missiles, numerous intelligence reports over the past decade, from sources
inside Iraq, indicate that Saddam Hussein retains a covert force of up to a few
dozen Scud variant ballistic missiles. These are missiles with a range of 650 to
We know from intelligence and Iraq’s own admissions that
Iraq’s alleged permitted ballistic missiles, the al-Samud II (ph) and the
al-Fatah (ph), violate the 150-kilometer limit established by this council in
Resolution 687. These are prohibited systems.
UNMOVIC has also reported that Iraq has illegally important
380 SA-2 (ph) rocket engines. These are likely for use in the al-Samud II (ph).
Their import was illegal on three counts. Resolution 687 prohibited all military
shipments into Iraq. UNSCOM specifically prohibited use of these engines in
surface-to-surface missiles. And finally, as we have just noted, they are for a
system that exceeds the 150-kilometer range limit.
Worst of all, some of these engines were acquired as late as
December — after this council passed Resolution 1441.
What I want you to know today is that Iraq has programs that
are intended to produce ballistic missiles that fly of 1,000 kilometers. One
program is pursuing a liquid fuel missile that would be able to fly more than
1,200 kilometers. And you can see from this map, as well as I can, who will be
in danger of these missiles.
As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence,
Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever
had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left,
the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is
where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust on the right test stand
is five times longer than the one on the left. The one on the left was used for
short-range missile. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range
missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers.
This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the
test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be
harder for satellites to see what’s going on underneath the test stand.
Saddam Hussein’s intentions have never changed. He is not
developing the missiles for self-defense. These are missiles that Iraq wants in
order to project power, to threaten, and to deliver chemical, biological and, if
we let him, nuclear warheads.
Now, unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.
Iraq has been working on a variety of UAVs for more than a
decade. This is just illustrative of what a UAV would look like. This effort has
included attempts to modify for unmanned flight the MiG-21 (ph) and with greater
success an aircraft called the L-29 (ph). However, Iraq is now concentrating not
on these airplanes, but on developing and testing smaller UAVs, such as
UAVs are well suited for dispensing chemical and biological
There is ample evidence that Iraq has dedicated much effort
to developing and testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs. And of
the little that Saddam Hussein told us about UAVs, he has not told the truth.
One of these lies is graphically and indisputably demonstrated by intelligence
we collected on June 27, last year.
According to Iraq’s December 7 declaration, its UAVs have a
range of only 80 kilometers. But we detected one of Iraq’s newest UAVs in a test
flight that went 500 kilometers nonstop on autopilot in the race track pattern
Not only is this test well in excess of the 150 kilometers
that the United Nations permits, the test was left out of Iraq’s December 7th
declaration. The UAV was flown around and around and around in a circle. And so,
that its 80 kilometer limit really was 500 kilometers unrefueled and on
autopilot, violative of all of its obligations under 1441.
The linkages over the past 10 years between Iraq’s UAV
program and biological and chemical warfare agents are of deep concern to us.
Iraq could use these small UAVs which have a wingspan of only a few meters to
deliver biological agents to its neighbors or if transported, to other
countries, including the United States.
My friends, the information I have presented to you about
these terrible weapons and about Iraq’s continued flaunting of its obligations
under Security Council Resolution 1441 links to a subject I now want to spend a
little bit of time on. And that has to do with terrorism.
Our concern is not just about these elicit weapons. It’s the
way that these elicit weapons can be connected to terrorists and terrorist
organizations that have no compunction about using such devices against innocent
people around the world.
Iraq and terrorism go back decades. Baghdad trains Palestine
Liberation Front members in small arms and explosives. Saddam uses the Arab
Liberation Front to funnel money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers
in order to prolong the Intifada. And it’s no secret that Saddam’s own
intelligence service was involved in dozens of attacks or attempted
assassinations in the 1990s.
But what I want to bring to your attention today is the
potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist
network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern
methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu
Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated in collaborator of Usama bin Laden and his Al
Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan
war more than a decade ago. Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a
terrorist training camp. One of his specialities and one of the specialties of
this camp is poisons. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqaqi network
helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp. And this
camp is located in northeastern Iraq.
You see a picture of this camp.
The network is teaching its operatives how to produce ricin
and other poisons. Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch — image
a pinch of salt — less than a pinch of ricin, eating just this amount in your
food, would cause shock followed by circulatory failure. Death comes within 72
hours and there is no antidote, there is no cure. It is fatal.
Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants
operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein’s controlled Iraq.
But Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization,
Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000 this agent offered Al
Qaeda safe haven in the region. After we swept Al Qaeda from Afghanistan, some
of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain their today.
Zarqawi’s activities are not confined to this small corner of
north east Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment,
staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight
During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on
Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These Al Qaeda affiliates,
based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into
and throughout Iraq for his network, and they’ve now been operating freely in
the capital for more than eight months.
Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with Al Qaeda. These
denials are simply not credible. Last year an Al Qaeda associate bragged that
the situation in Iraq was, quote, “good,” that Baghdad could be transited
We know these affiliates are connected to Zarqawi because
they remain even today in regular contact with his direct subordinates,
including the poison cell plotters, and they are involved in moving more than
money and materiale.
Last year, two suspected Al Qaeda operatives were arrested
crossing from Iraq into Saudi Arabia. They were linked to associates of the
Baghdad cell, and one of them received training in Afghanistan on how to use
cyanide. From his terrorist network in Iraq, Zarqawi can direct his network in
the Middle East and beyond.
We, in the United States, all of us at the State Department,
and the Agency for International Development — we all lost a dear friend with
the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Lawrence Foley in Amman, Jordan last October, a
despicable act was committed that day. The assassination of an individual whose
sole mission was to assist the people of Jordan. The captured assassin says his
cell received money and weapons from Zarqawi for that murder.
After the attack, an associate of the assassin left Jordan to
go to Iraq to obtain weapons and explosives for further operations. Iraqi
officials protest that they are not aware of the whereabouts of Zarqawi or of
any of his associates. Again, these protests are not credible. We know of
Zarqawi’s activities in Baghdad. I described them earlier.
And now let me add one other fact. We asked a friendly
security service to approach Baghdad about extraditing Zarqawi and providing
information about him and his close associates. This service contacted Iraqi
officials twice, and we passed details that should have made it easy to find
Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Zarqawi still remains at large to come
As my colleagues around this table and as the citizens they
represent in Europe know, Zarqawi’s terrorism is not confined to the Middle
East. Zarqawi and his network have plotted terrorist actions against countries,
including France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia.
According to detainee Abuwatia (ph), who graduated from
Zarqawi’s terrorist camp in Afghanistan, tasks at least nine North African
extremists from 2001 to travel to Europe to conduct poison and explosive
Since last year, members of this network have been
apprehended in France, Britain, Spain and Italy. By our last count, 116
operatives connected to this global web have been arrested.
The chart you are seeing shows the network in Europe. We know
about this European network, and we know about its links to Zarqawi, because the
detainee who provided the information about the targets also provided the names
of members of the network.
Three of those he identified by name were arrested in France
last December. In the apartments of the terrorists, authorities found circuits
for explosive devices and a list of ingredients to make toxins.
The detainee who helped piece this together says the plot
also targeted Britain. Later evidence, again, proved him right. When the British
unearthed a cell there just last month, one British police officer was murdered
during the disruption of the cell.
We also know that Zarqawi’s colleagues have been active in
the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia and in Chechnya, Russia. The plotting to which they
are linked is not mere chatter. Members of Zarqawi’s network say their goal was
to kill Russians with toxins.
We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his
subordinates. This understanding builds on decades long experience with respect
to ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
Going back to the early and mid-1990s, when bin Laden was
based in Sudan, an Al Qaeda source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an
understanding that Al Qaeda would no longer support activities against Baghdad.
Early Al Qaeda ties were forged by secret, high-level intelligence service
contacts with Al Qaeda, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level contacts with Al
We know members of both organizations met repeatedly and have
met at least eight times at very senior levels since the early 1990s. In 1996, a
foreign security service tells us, that bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi
intelligence official in Khartoum, and later met the director of the Iraqi
Saddam became more interested as he saw Al Qaeda’s appalling
attacks. A detained Al Qaeda member tells us that Saddam was more willing to
assist Al Qaeda after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Saddam was also impressed by Al Qaeda’s attacks on the USS Cole in Yemen in
Iraqis continued to visit bin Laden in his new home in
Afghanistan. A senior defector, one of Saddam’s former intelligence chiefs in
Europe, says Saddam sent his agents to Afghanistan sometime in the mid-1990s to
provide training to Al Qaeda members on document forgery.
From the late 1990s until 2001, the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan
played the role of liaison to the Al Qaeda organization.
Some believe, some claim these contacts do not amount to
much. They say Saddam Hussein’s secular tyranny and Al Qaeda’s religious tyranny
do not mix. I am not comforted by this thought. Ambition and hatred are enough
to bring Iraq and Al Qaeda together, enough so Al Qaeda could learn how to build
more sophisticated bombs and learn how to forge documents, and enough so that Al
Qaeda could turn to Iraq for help in acquiring expertise on weapons of mass
And the record of Saddam Hussein’s cooperation with other
Islamist terrorist organizations is clear. Hamas, for example, opened an office
in Baghdad in 1999, and Iraq has hosted conferences attended by Palestine
Islamic Jihad. These groups are at the forefront of sponsoring suicide attacks
Al Qaeda continues to have a deep interest in acquiring
weapons of mass destruction. As with the story of Zarqawi and his network, I can
trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided
training in these weapons to Al Qaeda.
Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told
his story. I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it.
This senior Al Qaeda terrorist was responsible for one of Al
Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan.
His information comes first-hand from his personal
involvement at senior levels of Al Qaeda. He says bin Laden and his top deputy
in Afghanistan, deceased Al Qaeda leader Muhammad Atif (ph), did not believe
that Al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these
chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to
look outside of Afghanistan for help. Where did they go? Where did they look?
They went to Iraq.
The support that (inaudible) describes included Iraq offering
chemical or biological weapons training for two Al Qaeda associates beginning in
December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) had
been sent to Iraq several times between 1997 and 2000 for help in acquiring
poisons and gases. Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) characterized the relationship he forged
with Iraqi officials as successful.
As I said at the outset, none of this should come as a
surprise to any of us. Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades.
Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a
name. And this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new. The
nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal.
With this track record, Iraqi denials of supporting terrorism
take the place alongside the other Iraqi denials of weapons of mass destruction.
This is so well said, I won’t say anything
I thought this was
very interesting. There are some great quotes in here, including many
from military men who think that attacking Iraq is going to be another Vietnam
boondoggle (let’s not forget, we now know that the incident that legitimized our
going into Vietnam in the first place was one manufactured by the US govt in
order to create a pretext!).
Marines and Michiganders – Notable quotes from military and the press against the war.
And we already know that the intelligence reports
on Iraq from the CIA have become politicized. The administration simply doesn’t
want to hear it if it doesn’t fit their agenda, not even from the CIA. The one
that stuck out for me was this:
“…analysts at the Central Intelligence
Agency have complianed that senior administration officials have exaggerated the
significance of some intelligence reports about Iraq, particularly about its
possible links to terrorism, in order to strengthen their political argument for
war…At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, some investigators said they were
baffled by the Bush adminstration’s insistence on a solid link between Iraq and
Osama bin Laden’s network. “We’ve been looking at this hard for more than a year
and you know what, we just don’t think it’s there,” a government official
The New York Times, Feb. 2, 2003
And, I guess I might as well say it: every time
I’ve seen these guys, from Bush to Rumsfeld to Powell to Fleischer to Tony
Blair, making their allusions to connections between bin Laden and Hussein, my
gut feeling has been that they’re floating balloons to see if anything will
work. The words are always couched in ambiguous, speculative terms, designed to
suggest substance without really having any. They’ve been saying they have hard
evidence for at least six months now, yet we’ve seen only the barest of threads.
For perspective, one might wonder why, if we’re going to such lengths to find a
connection between Hussein and bin Laden, we are apparently ignoring the
multitude of public facts that show that bin Laden and most of Al Quaeda came
from, and were supported by, the Saudis! And then one might wonder: well, is
this really about terrorism then?
We’ll see what the weapons inspectors
say. But mark my words: if the Bush administration doesn’t get their pretext
then, they will not hesitate to manufacture one, or say to hell with it, we’ve
got his violations of UN resolutions on record, and we’re going in. I don’t
think there’s any serious question left that we’re going into Iraq. The only
real question left is about saving face. Will they be able to round up
sufficient participation from other countries to call their actions just,
or will our hegemony be exposed for what it truly is?
Oh, isn’t this nice. (Maybe
you have seen this story already, as it’s from mid-December, but it was new
BuzzFlash Note: Appearances by then-Governor George
* * *
Feds Want To See Enron Videotape
President Bush Also Takes Part In
HOUSTON — Skits and jokes by a few former Enron
A videotape of a January 1997 going-away party for
The collection is all meant in good fun, but some of
President George W. Bush, who then was governor of
At the party, the younger Bush pleaded with Kinder:
The governor’s father also offered a send-off to
“You have been fantastic to the Bush family,” the
Enron’s video skits show ironic twists (with
Report: ’97 Enron Tape Parallels Scandal
GEORGE BUSH – ENRON PARTY ANIMAL
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