- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2003

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 5 (UPI) — Below are quoted highlights of Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the U.N. Security Council, taken from his transcript presenting evidence of Iraq's violations of disarmament directives and and its links to terrorism.

Highlights are divided as follows: transcripts, evidence of concealment, photographic evidence, mobile weapons production, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, links to al Qaida, and human rights violations.

COLIN POWELL: Last November 8th, 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 material breach of its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years.

— CONCERNING TRANSCRIPTS OF INTERCEPTED CONVERSATIONS: (Powell) 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 26th of last year, on the day before United Nations teams resumed inspections in Iraq. The conversation involves two senior officers, a colonel and a brigadier general, from Iraq's elite military unit, the Republican Guard.

(Audiotape is played.)

Let me pause and review some of the key elements of this conversation that you've just heard between these two officers.

First, they acknowledge that our colleague Mohamed ElBaradei is coming, and they know what he's coming, 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-Kindi Company."


"From Al-Kindi."

"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 in to 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-Kindi Company. This is a company that is well-known to have been involved in prohibited weapons system activity.

Let me play another tape for you.

As you'll recall, the inspectors found 12 empty chemical warheads on January 16th. On January 20th, 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 30th.

(Audiotape is played.)

Let me pause again and review the elements of this message.

"They are inspecting the ammunition you have —"

"Yes, yes."

"For the possibility there are forbidden ammo."

"For the possibility there is by chance forbidden ammo."

"Yes. 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 there. Remember the first message — evacuate it."

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.

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."

"Okay. Okay."

Why? Why? 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.

— CONCERNING EVIDENCE OF CONCEALMENT: (Powell) 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 would connect you to the OMI.

We noted 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 Ba'ath 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 program.

Tell me, answer me. Are the inspectors to search the house of every government official, every Ba'ath 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?

— CONCERNING PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE: (Powell) Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji.

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 bunkers. 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 a 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 is 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 found nothing.

… 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 10th, we saw a cargo truck preparing to move ballistic missile components.

At this biological weapons-related facility, on November 25th, 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 a truck-mounted crane to move missiles.

We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites. Days after this activity, the vehicles and the equipment that I have just highlighted disappear, and the site returns to patterns of normalcy.

— CONCERNING IRAQ'S MOBILE WEAPONS PRODUCTION FACILITIES: (Powell) We have first-hand 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.

Confirmation came later in the year 2000. The source was an eyewitness, 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.

— CONCERNING IRAQ'S CHEMICAL CAPABILITIES: (Powell) For example, they can produce anthrax and botulinum toxin. In fact, they can produce enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. And dry agent of this type is the most lethal form for human beings.

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, tetnis, cholera, camel pox and hemorrhagic fever. And he also has the wherewithal to develop smallpox.

… In 1995, an Iraqi military officer, Mujaheed Salai Abdul Latif, 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.

… 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 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, have been fully bulldozed and graded.

The topsoil has been removed. The Iraqis literally removed the crust of the earth from large portions of this site, in order to conceal chemical weapons evidence that would be there from years of chemical weapons activity.

… Just a few weeks ago we intercepted communications between two commanders in Iraq's 2nd 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 — wants to make sure the other guy hears clearly, to the point of repeating it, so that it gets written down and completely understood.


(Audiotape is played.)

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."

"Got it. 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, 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." But we know that they do, and this kind of conversation confirms it.

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 five times the size of Manhattan.

— CONCERNING IRAQ'S NUCLEAR CAPABILITIES: (Powell) 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 inspections resumed. 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.

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."

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 the 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 outer and inner 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.

— CONCERNING IRAQ'S LINK WITH AL QAIDA: (Powell) Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaida lieutenants.

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 specialties and one of the specialties of this camp is poisons. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi 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 operative how to produce ricin and other poisons. Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch — imagine a pinch of salt — less than a pinch of ricin — (gestures) — 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 Qaida safe haven in the region. After we swept al Qaida from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain there today.

Zarqawi's activities are not confined to this small corner of northeast 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 another day. During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These al Qaida 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.

… A detained al Qaida member tells us that Saddam was more willing to assist al Qaida after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Saddam was also impressed by al Qaida's attacks on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000.

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 Qaida members on document forgery. From the late 1990s until 2001 the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan played the role of liaison to the al Qaida organization.

— HUSSEIN'S HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: (Powell) Saddam Hussein's use of mustard and nerve gas against the Kurds in 1988 was one of the 20th century's most horrible atrocities. Five thousand men, women and children died. His campaign against the Kurds from 1987 to '89 included mass summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary jailing, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of some 2,000 villages. He has also conducted ethnic cleansing against the Shi'a Iraqis and the Marsh Arabs, whose culture has flourished for more than a millennium.

Nothing points more clearly to Saddam Hussein's dangerous intentions and the threat he poses to all of us than his calculated cruelty to his own citizens and to his neighbors. Clearly, Saddam Hussein and his regime will stop at nothing until something stops him.

For more than 20 years, by word and by deed, Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate Iraq and the broader Middle East using the only means he knows — intimidation, coercion and annihilation of all those who might stand in his way. For Saddam Hussein, possession of the world's most deadly weapons is the ultimate trump card, the one he must hold to fulfill his ambition.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide