- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 3 (UPI) — The United States is planning to present fabricated evidence of weapons programs in Iraq, an Iraqi official said.

Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin told the British Broadcasting Corp., that Wednesday's appearance before the U.N. Security Council by Secretary of State Colin Powell will involve "fabricated space photos or aerial photos." However a magazine reported this week that Powell's evidence will involve transcripts of conversations of Iraqi officials plotting to mislead U.N. weapons inspectors.

The United States has said that Powell will present the Security Council with evidence regarding Iraq and its supposed weapons of mass destruction programs. Newsweek magazine, in its Feb. 10 issue, said Powell will offer transcripts of taped conversations in which Iraqi officials plot to fool U.N. inspectors and later brag about it.

U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Iraq some nine weeks ago following the unanimous Security Council acceptance of U.N. Resolution 1441, a tough-worded document that stated that Iraq was in material breech of previous resolutions, called for Iraq to report on any weapons programs, and allow and support unfettered international inspections or face "serious consequences."

Last Monday, U.N. lead weapons inspector Hans Blix reported to the Security Council that Iraq has not been as fully cooperative as he would like. His counterpart in the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei, said his group needed additional time to look into possible resolution violations.

Amin, Iraq's liaison with the weapons inspectors, described Powell's visit to the Security Council as a "political game." He said his country was ready to cooperate with weapons inspectors and said Iraqi leaders would "do our best" to make sure visits by ElBaradei and Blix to Baghdad on Saturday were successful.

But before that, Powell will appear before the Security Council. Bush administration officials said the weekend's Columbia shuttle tragedy will not slow President Bush's push against Iraq's disarmament.

Newsweek said in addition to the transcripts of tapes made by the National Security Agency, Powell is to allege that Iraq has mobile bioweapons labs, charge that some 6,500 gallons of anthrax remains unaccounted for since the Gulf War.

Support in the Security Council has been limited for the United States. Even Britain, considered the United States' strongest ally in the Iraq crisis, last week suggested that another resolution may be called for. And France and Germany, the latter the current Security Council president, have been vocally against military action against Iraq. Russia and China, which both hold Security Council vetoes, have also been against action on Iraq and may be dismissive of Powell's presentation no matter how compelling.

An unnamed Bush administration official told Newsweek that, "While they don't want the public to expect an Adlai Stevenson moment, they would be very happy if it turns out to be one."

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Stevenson was able to show the United Nations reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile deployment on Cuba. That evidence was considered a turning point in the crisis in which the United States and the Soviet Union were considered to have been on the verge of nuclear war.




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