Bush dint lah; he jist ...

Chris Brady cdbrady at attglobal.net
Mon Sep 9 18:15:09 MDT 2002


{always remember Izzy Stone's warning: "Governments lie." --c.}

White House: Bush Misstated Report on Iraq

MSNBC.com
Saturday, 7 September, 2002
http://www.msnbc.com/news/802167.asp

Seeking to build a case Saturday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was
developing weapons of mass destruction, President Bush cited a satellite
photograph and a report by the U.N. atomic energy agency as evidence of
Iraq's impending rearmament. But in response to a report by NBC News, a
senior administration official acknowledged Saturday night that the U.N.
report drew no such conclusion, and a spokesman for the U.N. agency said
the photograph had been misinterpreted.

Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair talked to reporters before
opening about three hours of talks at Camp David, Bush's presidential
retreat in Maryland.

Blair cited a newly released satellite photo of Iraq identifying new
construction at several sites linked in the past to Baghdad's
development of nuclear weapons. And both leaders mentioned a 1998 report
by the U.N.-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, that
said Saddam could be six months away from developing nuclear weapons.

"I don't know what more evidence we need," Bush said as he greeted Blair
for a brainstorming session on Iraq. "We owe it to future generations to
deal with this problem."

In a joint appearance before the summit, the two leaders repeated their
shared view that Saddam's ouster was the only way to stop Iraq's pursuit
- and potential use - of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

"The policy of inaction is not a policy we can responsibly subscribe
to," Blair said as he joined Bush in trying to rally reluctant allies to
deal with Saddam, perhaps by military force.

IAEA: NUCLEAR ABILITY DESTROYED

Contrary to Bush's claim, however, the 1998 IAEA report did not say that
Iraq was six months away from developing nuclear capability, NBC News'
Robert Windrem reported Saturday.

Instead, Windrem reported, the Vienna, Austria-based agency said in 1998
that Iraq had been six to 24 months away from such capability before the
1991 Persian Gulf War and the U.N.-monitored weapons inspections that
followed.

The war and the inspections destroyed much of Iraq's nuclear
infrastructure and required Iraq to turn over its highly enriched
uranium and plutonium, Windrem reported. In a summary of its 1998
report, the IAEA said that "based on all credible information available
to date ... the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its
programme goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a
physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear
material or having clandestinely obtained such material."

WHITE HOUSE ADMITS ERROR

A senior White House official acknowledged Saturday night that the 1998
report did not say what Bush claimed. "What happened was, we formed our
own conclusions based on the report," the official told NBC News' Norah
O'Donnell.

Meanwhile, Mark Gwozdecky, a spokesman for the U.N. agency, disputed
Bush's and Blair's assessment of the satellite photograph, which was
first publicized Friday. Contrary to news service reports, there was no
specific photo or building that aroused suspicions, he told Windrem.

The photograph in question was not U.N. intelligence imaging but simply
a picture from a commercial satellite imaging company, Gwozdecky said.
He said that the IAEA reviewed commercial satellite imagery regularly
and that, from time to time, it noticed construction at sites it had
previously examined.

Gwozdecky said the new construction indicated in the photograph was no
surprise and that no conclusions were drawn from it. "There is not a
single building we see," he said.

IRAQIS MET WITH U.N. OFFICIALS

Windrem reported that of all the international inspection regimes -
chemical, biological, missile and nuclear - it is the U.N. inspectors
who are most comfortable with Iraq's cooperation on nuclear matters. In
fact, the United Nations said last week that Iraq had been in contact
with U.N. representatives about a possible new round of talks on weapons
inspections.

A Security Council report Tuesday on the work of UNMOVIC - the U.N.
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission - found that
personnel from UNMOVIC and the atomic energy agency met in Vienna in
July with Iraqi officials and Dr. Jaffar Jaffar, a high-level Iraqi
contact on nuclear weapons issues.

The head of UNMOVIC also took part in what the report called a
"dialogue" between Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraqi Foreign
Minister Naji Sabri.

Tuesday's report stated that Sabri wrote Annan expressing "the desire of
the Government of Iraq to conduct a round of technical talks" between
Iraqi officials and UNMOVIC representatives to review work on
inspections between May 1991 and December 1998 and to discuss other
matters to be resolved "when the inspection regime returns to Iraq."

Sabri extended "the offer of Iraq to take part in a further series of
technical discussions" in a letter last month, the U.N. report said.

U.S. officials insisted Saturday night that there was plenty of evidence
nonetheless that Iraq was intent on developing weapons of mass
destruction.

A senior administration official told NBC News that Iraq had also tried
to acquire thousands of aluminum tubes over the past 14 months that
would specifically be used in developing nuclear weapons. The shipments
were blocked, said the official, who would not say where they
originated.

"There continues to be ample evidence that Saddam Hussein has
relentlessly tried to acquire and develop weapons of mass destruction,
including nuclear weapons," the official said.

The tubing is needed to build gas centrifuges, which can be used to
enrich uranium to weapons grade.

EX-INSPECTOR DEFENDS IRAQ

In another development, a former U.N. arms inspector who does not
believe that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction, arrived in
Baghdad declaring that his mission was to try to stop any war on Iraq.

Scott Ritter, who arrived in Baghdad late Saturday, was expected to
address the Iraqi parliament on Sunday. He was also due to meet senior
Iraqi officials.

[Ex-Marine] Ritter said the trip was at his own initiative "As an
American citizen concerned about the direction that my country is
taking, I think that's the reason why I'm here."

"I'm here to help set in motion a sequence of events that hopefully
could prevent a war that doesn't need to be fought," he told CNN.





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