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[casi] From today's papers: 07-03-02

A. US 'proof' over Iraqi trucks, Guardian, 7th March
B. Countdown to war on Saddam, Daily Telegraph, 7th March
C. U.S. Plans Presentation on Iraq, AP, 6th March
D. Iraq faces Hobson's choice over UN arms inspections, FT, 7th March
E. Jack Straw and the sanctions on Iraq, The Times, 7th March [letters]
F. Hansard Excerpt from the debate on Iraq, 6th March 2002

Daily Telegraph:
Financial Times:
The Times:

The US has now presented its 'proof' that the Iraqi government had been
diverting trucks from the oil-for-food programme to military uses. This is
reported on in today's Guardian (A) and Telegraph (B) and there's some more
information in the AP report (C). The satellite photos which are the basis
for the allegations do not yet appear to have been made public. The Guardian
piece quotes an anonymous 'British UN official' as stating that it was "not
altogether clear" that the vehicles in question were bought through
oil-for-food. According to AP the sanctions committee has asked the U.N.
Office of the Iraq Programme 'to verify the U.S. information against its own
records of truck imports into Iraq and report back.'

D. is an interesting piece from today's Financial Times. It asserts that the
head of UNMOVIC, Hans Blix, 'does not accept as fact the US and UK's
repeated assertions that Baghdad has used the time to rebuild its weapons of
mass destruction' quoting Mr Blix as stating  that "It would be
inappropriate for me to accept and adopt this position, but it would also be
naive of me to conclude that there may be no veracity - of course it is
possible, I won't go as far as saying probable."

E. contains three letters in today's Times. Well done Fay (again!) and Glenn
... There are also a couple of (very short) letters about Iraq in today's

The rest of today's coverage is dominated by the spat between Ben Bradshaw
and George Galloway in yesterday's Commons debate (see F). Unfortunately
this altercation cut off Bradshaw's contribution just as he was getting
started, depriving us of what might have been a rich vein of Government
propaganda statements.
In the Times Bradshaw is quoted as saying that he was 'simply expressing an
opinion which is widely held' though it is difficult to see the relevance of
this comment.

Finally, Blair apparently has a piece about Iraq in yesterday's Daily
Express. If anyone has a copy it'd be great if it could be posted to the

Best wishes,

voices uk


A. US 'proof' over Iraqi trucks

UN sees images of missile carriers

Oliver Burkeman in New York
Thursday March 7, 2002
The Guardian

Satellite surveillance shows that Iraq has converted 1,000 trucks received
under the oil-for-food programme into missile launchers and other military
vehicles, the US government claimed last night.
In a provocatively timed move, the US presented the evidence to members of
the United Nations security council just hours before today's crucial
meeting between the Iraqi foreign minister, Naji Sabri, and Kofi Annan, the
UN secretary general.

"Specifically, these are dump trucks that we have seen that were stripped
and diverted for possible usage in air defence and missile systems - they
could be used for launching missiles," a US official told the Guardian on
condition of anonymity. "We saw a large number of them in military bases and
barracks and garrisons, in clear violation of sanctions."

The timing of yesterday's revelations also comes six days before
Vice-President Dick Cheney meets Tony Blair in London - prompting
suggestions that the US was seeking to provoke a confrontation with Baghdad
just as the Bush administration attempts to shore up support for a possible
military strike against Iraq.

The Americans showed members of the security council's sanctions monitoring
committee satellite shots which, they said, showed cargo trucks being
offloaded at the Iraqi port of Um Qasr from last July onwards. Subsequent
pictures appeared to show the same trucks, modified for military use,
relocated to bases around the country. Some had been converted to carry
155mm howitzers; some were shown parked outside a missile development
centre; others showed up as combat vehicles in the Army Day parade through
Baghdad in December.

The official said the trucks had been received under the oil-for-food
scheme, rather than being smuggled into the country. He said the committee
was shown a videotape of Iraqi TV which showed the trucks as the ones
purchased through the programme, which allows Iraq to sell oil as long as
the proceeds are spent on humanitarian goods or used to pay reparations.

"Either way it's a violation of sanctions," a British UN official said,
conceding that it was "not altogether clear" that the vehicles were bought
through the programme.

But critics accused the United States of seeking to force the secretary
general's hand on Iraq, eliminating Mr Annan's room for manoeuvre.

"The US wants to undermine [the Iraqi meeting with the UN], pure and
simple," Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, said

"I'm not challenging the US evidence, but when members of the Bush
administration say that time is running out for Iraq to comply with
sanctions, they show a level of arrogance that detracts from their
legitimate concerns."

The US official put the timing down to a coincidence of scheduling. "We'd
been trying to arrange this for some time, and we really weren't trying to
do it the day before," he said, adding it would be up to the security
council to decide how it chose to deal with the evidence.

B. Countdown to war on Saddam
By Toby Harnden and George Jones

Daily Telegraph
(Filed: 07/03/2002)

THE countdown to war against Iraq began yesterday when America presented
satellite evidence to the United Nations showing that Saddam Hussein had
misused humanitarian aid to bolster his army.

Although the immediate aim was to persuade the UN Security Council to block
the import of lorries, the move marked the start of a process the Bush
administration believes will end in Saddam's overthrow.

The photographs, produced at the Security Council's Iraq sanctions
committee, were before and after pictures of lorries entering military bases
near Baghdad and emerging as rocket launchers.

For the Americans, they provided confirmation of Saddam's willingness to
abuse the good intentions of international organisations and underlined the
need for "regime change" in Iraq - the new Washington buzz phrase.

America's fear is that Saddam will use weapons of mass destruction he has
been developing since UN inspectors were ejected from Iraq in 1998 to attack
America or its allies.

Officials argue that he could also form an "unholy alliance" with the
remnants of al-Qa'eda.

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, is due to hold talks today with Naji
Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister, about the possible return of the

Washington wants the UN to issue a new demand for inspectors to be admitted,
but hopes that Saddam rejects this and so provide the casus belli.

Britain's central role in the coming campaign was emphasised when Sir Jeremy
Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN, joined his American
counterpart, John Negroponte, in meeting Mr Annan on Tuesday to "stiffen his
resolve" before the Iraqi meeting, a diplomatic source said.

A Bush administration source told The Telegraph that it had never been
doubted that Britain would join the Iraqi campaign.

Acknowledging opposition elsewhere in the world, he said: "When we say we
might have to go it alone, 'we' really means 'you and us'."

Although British officials in Washington, like their counterparts in the
State Department and Pentagon, refuse to be drawn publicly on the issue,
they concede that Tony Blair has little choice.

A British diplomat said: "Blair has associated himself so closely with the
war on terrorism that it is too late to get cold feet now."

The Prime Minister will fly to Washington early next month to meet President
Bush for what is being seen as a war summit.

Although he told MPs yesterday that "no decisions" had been taken on
possible military action against Iraq, he gave a clear hint that
preparations were in hand for another Gulf war.

"Iraq is plainly in breach of the United Nations Security Council
resolutions in relation to the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction
and we have to deal with it," he said.

Labour MPs have warned Mr Blair that he could face a major back bench revolt
if action is taken without clear and convincing evidence that Iraq has
weapons of mass destruction and is involved in sponsoring global terrorism.

The Government is understood to be preparing a dossier on Iraq's terrorist
links and attempts to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. This
is likely to be published before any military action.

Mr Blair's attempts to persuade Labour MPs that Britain should back American
action against Iraq have been damaged by Mr Bush's decision to impose
tariffs on imported steel, which could cost British steel jobs.

Since Mr Bush's depiction of Iraq in his State of the Union speech in
January as part of an "axis of evil", discussion in Washington has shifted
decisively from whether Saddam should be removed to how and when this should
be done.

Publicly and privately, senior officials are virtually silent on the debate
raging between agencies of government. Even Donald Rumsfeld, the normally
talkative defence secretary, appears to have taken a Trappist vow on the

"The focus on Iraq is something that I find not helpful, from my
standpoint," he told The Telegraph last month. "And I am not in a position
to really discuss a lot of it. So I think I'll pass."

Although no timetable has been drawn up, Mr Bush possesses powerful
political momentum for striking against Iraq. Public opinion is behind him
and the opposition from Democrats is negligible.

These conditions might not last beyond this year and some Republicans
believe that the action could begin as early as the spring.

A central element of the debate is the strength of Saddam's regime. Pentagon
leaders argue that Iraq is much weaker than a decade ago and that a
full-scale invasion would be unnecessary.

An American official said that Mr Rumsfeld's silence spoke volumes.

"There are some very, very serious discussions going on around town," he
said. "The President has called for options to be laid out, but this is all
being confined to the absolutely highest levels of the administration."

The Pentagon appears to hold the upper hand in the debate, partly because of
the success of the war in Afghanistan but also because of the psychological
change in America since September 11.

Before the Afghan offensive began, there were warnings of a Vietnam-style
quagmire and a Muslim backlash.

Neither has materialised and this has weakened calls for restraint against
Iraq. Gen Colin Powell, the secretary of state and a former opponent of
tackling Iraq, is losing his influence on the issue.

Congress has backed the Iraqi National Congress, the London-based umbrella
opposition group. It believes that its charismatic leader, Ahmad Chalabi,
could head a democratic Iraq.

But the CIA sees Chalabi, a Sunni Muslim who left Iraq in the 1950s to read
mathematics at the University of Chicago, as a divisive and autocratic
figure. Its says he could not muster enough support.

Many senior military officers also remain to be convinced. Gen Anthony
Zinni, Gen Tommy Franks's predecessor as the army's head of central command,
has said that relying on the INC could result in a "Bay of Goats" disaster,
a wry reference to the Bay of Pigs invasion fiasco in Cuba in the early


C. U.S. Plans Presentation on Iraq
Wed Mar 6, 9:26 PM ET
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS - On the eve of the high-level talks between Iraq and the
United Nations, the United States showed slides and video footage Wednesday
purportedly showing that Iraq has converted trucks for military use in
violation of U.N. sanctions.

 Six senior U.S. State Department officials made the presentation to the
Security Council committee monitoring sanctions imposed on Iraq after its
1990 invasion of Kuwait late Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the same group
made the presentation to the U.N. weapons inspection agency for Iraq,
diplomats said.

The committee met behind closed doors less than 24 hours before Iraq's
Foreign Minister Naji Sabri was scheduled to open the first high-level talks
in a year with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the implementation of
resolutions dealing with sanctions, including the return of U.N. weapons

The U.S. officials told the sanctions committee Washington believes Iraq has
diverted about 1,000 trucks imported from Russia and Germany under the U.N.
oil-for-food humanitarian program since last July for a variety of military
uses including towing artillery, carrying heavy weapons and launching
missiles and rockets, a U.S. official said.

The committee was shown about half a dozen slides taken by U.S. satellites
of heavy trucks arriving at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, at the northern end
of the Gulf, and the same type of vehicles at different military bases, said
the official who briefed reporters after the presentation on condition of

According to the Americans, some trucks had been painted in camouflage. Some
had been stripped for use as flatbed trucks to haul heavy artillery, with
their hydraulic systems removed for possible use in rockets or missiles.
Some had their beds removed and hydraulic systems intact for possible use in
raising or lowering missiles.

While the sanctions committee was not shown photos of any missiles mounted
on trucks, Western diplomats said U.S. officials have shown such photos to
some U.N. officials and diplomats.

Under U.N. sanctions, Iraq is barred from importing any equipment for
military use.

"Though this may not be the highest technology equipment, it is equipment
that allows them to project power more effectively," a British diplomat

After a 2 1/2-hour meeting, the sanctions committee decided to ask the U.N.
office that implements the oil-for-food program to verify the U.S.
information against its own records of truck imports into Iraq and report

"It is a matter of great concern to all of us and the committee if these
truck are indeed being diverted to military use," said Mauritius' U.N.
Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul. "So we will wait to get more information from
the oil-for-food division before we take action."

Syria's deputy U.N. ambassador Fayssal Mekdad said members questioned
whether the trucks may have arrived in Iraq before the oil-for-food program
started in 1996, or been smuggled into the country.

Mekdad said the United States and Britain "firmly believe" that the trucks
were converted to military use but "all others do not share that

The oil-for-food program is an exemption to sanctions and aims at helping
ordinary Iraqis cope with the embargoes. It allows Iraq to sell unlimited
amounts of oil provided the revenue goes to buy food, medicine and other
humanitarian goods, pay war reparations, and improve public services such as
water and education.

While the sanctions committee has approved over $32 billion in contracts for
humanitarian supplies, it has held up contracts worth $5.3 billion. The vast
majority of those "holds" have been placed by the United States because of
concerns that the goods have a potential dual military use.

Several diplomats questioned the timing of the U.S. slide presentation,
suggesting it was being done Wednesday to provoke a last-minute
confrontation with the Iraqis just before the meeting with Annan.

The Iraq-U.N. meeting, the first since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the
United States, is taking place at a time of heightened tensions between
Washington and Baghdad.

Iraq has been singled out as a likely future target in the U.S. war on
terrorism, now focused on Afghanistan. President Bush has called Iraq part
of an "axis of evil" supporting terrorism, along with Iran and North Korea.

Asked about the U.S. timing, the American official retorted: "How about the
timing of the Iraqis who have been years in their delay in complying with
U.N. resolutions? We're running out of time."

Under Security Council resolutions, sanctions cannot be lifted until U.N.
inspectors certify that Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have
been eliminated along with the long-range missiles to deliver them.
Inspectors left Baghdad in December 1998 ahead of U.S. and British
airstrikes and Iraq has barred them from returning.


D. Iraq faces Hobson's choice over UN arms
inspections: The Security Council is finally getting tough with Baghdad,
says Carola Hoyos:
Financial Times; Mar 7, 2002

Naji Sabri al-Hadithi, Iraq's new foreign minister, will be given little
choice when he meets Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, today. Allow the
unconditional return of UN weapons inspectors or face the consequences.

After months of US threats of military action, the Security Council, so
often paralysed by divisions over Iraq, is backing the return of inspectors.
Russia, Iraq's closest friend on the Council, has been unusually quiet in
its opposition to Washington's tough line.

Meanwhile, the UK, the US's staunchest ally, has in recent weeks inched
closer and closer towards reversing its position and backing Washington's
threat to bomb Iraq if it does not comply.

All this has not been lost on Baghdad. Mr al-Hadithi will be joined by some
top officials, including a senior weapons expert, when he returns to the
negotiating table today.

The talks will mark a crucial test of Iraq's willingness to heed growing
international calls for the return of UN inspectors and avert a US military
campaign likely to target the Saddam Hussein regime.

A breakdown in the discussions would raise the pressure on President George
W. Bush to resort to military force following recent warnings that Iraq must
take the inspectors back or face the consequences.

"The fact that they are coming with a senior delegation is a good sign that
they want to have discussions with the secretary-general about, as they
would see it, the options open to them," said Sir Jeremy Greenstock,
Britain's ambassador to the UN.

"As the Security Council, and I'm sure the secretary-general, see it, the
options open to them are compliance."

Diplomats see today's talks as the beginning of a dialogue that for the
first time will include Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector.

Mr Annan chose Mr Blix, a Swedish disarmament expert and the long-time
director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to lead the
inspections initiative outlined in a 1999 resolution that the Security
Council hoped would persuade Iraq to let inspectors return.

But Iraq has refused and Mr Blix has not set foot in Iraq in the past two

Although Mr Blix may be closer than he has ever been to getting his
inspectors into Iraq - with Iraqi officials hinting at a willingness to
compromise - most believe that even if Iraq agrees, it will be months before
he can send a team to Baghdad to evict the pigeons that took over the office
UN inspectors left in 1998.

Many of Iraq's critics believe the regime blocked the return of inspectors
after they came too close to discovering the true extent of Iraq's arsenal
of chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles. In their eight
years in Iraq between 1991 and 1998, weap ons inspectors found evidence of
anthrax and the deadly VX nerve gas. Mr Blix, like his predecessor, believes
the most serious threat remains Iraq's arsenal of biological weapons.

Though cautious, Mr Blix sees a new flexibility in the Iraqi position,
remaining more optimistic than most diplomats that Baghdad - keen to see
sanctions suspended - may co-operate with inspectors, rather than repeat the
cat-and-mouse game it played last time.

Though he acknowledges that his 230 inspectors would have their work cut out
were they able to return to Iraq following a three-year interruption of
investigations, he does not accept as fact the US and UK's repeated
assertions that Baghdad has used the time to rebuild its weapons of mass

"It would be inappropriate for me to accept and adopt this position, but it
would also be naive of me to conclude that there may be no veracity - of
course it is possible, I won't go as far as saying probable," Mr Blix said.

The US has focused on the threat of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons
after September 11, and has become far less willing to allow Iraq time to
play Security Council members off against each other.

Nevertheless, most diplomats expect Baghdad to extend the talks for as long
as possible, basing its tactics on a perception of the changing tide of
support for the US and the likelihood of bombing.

Many believe Iraq will not begin negotiations in earnest until after the
Arab summit in Beirut at the end of the month, where it hopes to garner
support from its neighbours.

Some close to the discussions say Iraq is hoping that the longer and messier
the conflict in Afghanistan becomes, the less appetite and support the US wi
ll have for a new front.

And Iraq is counting on the five permanent members of the security council -
the US, UK, Russia, China and France - to return to their old habit of
squabbling over details to avert a US attack.

E. Jack Straw and the sanctions on Iraq

Letters, The Times
7th March 2002

>From Mr Glenn Bassett

Sir, Jack Straw (Comment, March 5) would have every right to be angry if
“well-meaning people” were taken in by the “Iraqi propaganda machine”.
However, those who have been calling for the lifting of economic sanctions
on that country because of their deleterious effects have not used the Iraqi
Ministry of Information as their source, but respected UN bodies and NGOs.

Even if Mr Straw is right to insist that the UN allows Iraq to access “all
the humanitarian goods” it needs (through legitimate trade), that alone does
not solve the problem. The Red Cross reported in March 2000 that

. . . aid can be no substitute for a country’s entire economy. It can never
meet all the basic needs of 22 million people nor ensure the maintenance of
a whole country’s collapsing infrastructure.

In 1999 a UN humanitarian panel made the same conclusion, as did the UN Food
and Agriculture Organisation (1995) and the last two UN co-ordinators of the
oil-for-food programme itself. Unicef reported that the sanctions had
contributed to the excess deaths of some half-a-million Iraqi infants.

Yours faithfully,
29 John Street,
Enfield, Middlesex EN1 1LG.
March 5.

>From Dr Fay Dowker

Sir, The “anger” of Jack Straw at those who oppose economic sanctions on
Iraq should be compared to the anguish of those Iraqi parents whose children
have died due to a lack of clean water, caused by the destruction of
sanitation systems by US and British bombs and the sanctions regime.

Whose emotion should count more with people of conscience?

Yours sincerely,
40 Walford Road, N16 8ED.
March 5.

>From Mrs Roslyn Pine

Sir, In 1981 Israel took unilateral action based on intelligence that Iraq’s
nuclear capability was about to go “critical” and bombed the reactors at
Osirak (report, June 9, 1981). The predictable obloquy was heaped upon that
plucky little country.

What we require from our leaders is not waffle or explanations but rather
decisive action to neutralise a deadly threat that has been present for too

Yours sincerely,
80 Upper Park Road,
Salford M7 4JA.
March 5.

F. Hansard Excerpt from the debate on Iraq, 6th March 2002

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs (Mr. Ben Bradshaw) : I congratulate the Father of the House, the
hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), on securing the debate.

I apologise in advance as I do not intend to take any interventions. I have
barely 10 minutes to respond to hon. Members' questions and to put
Government policy on the record, especially in the light of the 16 minutes
taken up by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvin (Mr. Galloway).

First, I shall take head-on the points raised in the debate. The hon. Member
for Linlithgow began by making a point that, strangely, is often made when a

6 Mar 2002 : Column 87WH

debate has been secured on an issue: he complained that we never have enough
time to debate these things. That view was echoed by the hon. Member for
Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner), who spent all his time addressing that matter
rather than the subject.

I do not need to remind hon. Members that the Prime Minister has spent more
time in the House answering questions and making statements than either of
his two predecessors. I shall bring the matters raised by my hon. Friend and
the hon. Gentleman to the attention of my right hon. Friends the Prime
Minister and the Foreign Secretary.

The Father of the House talked about proposals; there are no proposals, only
speculation. The hon. Gentleman said that everything possible should be done
to avoid military action; I agree with him. He urged the Government and the
international community to talk to the Iraqis. As I am sure he knows, Kofi
Annan is tomorrow holding a meeting with an Iraqi delegation in New York and
we await the outcome with interest. Our doors are always open to the Iraqis
with whom we have contacts in this country and at the United Nations.
However, we have nothing to say to them in private that we do not say in
public. We wait to see whether they are serious; Saddam Hussein has embarked
on charm offensives before and they have come to nothing.

I was grateful to the Father of the House who, in contrast to my hon. Friend
the Member for Glasgow, Kelvin, at least quoted Kofi Annan accurately. He
included the phrase "at the present time" in the Secretary General's views
on military action.

My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Simpson) made the point
that this has nothing to do with the war on terrorism. We do not quite
agree; Iraq is a state sponsor of terrorism. But, we make no secret of the
fact that our main concern about that country is its determination to build
weapons of mass destruction capability and the threat that it poses, not
just to its neighbours, but to the rest of the world.

My hon. Friend urged the Prime Minister to speak to Kofi Annan. The Prime
Minister speaks to him on a regular basis. He called for an outbreak of
diplomacy; I am not sure where he has been for the past 12 years. Britain
has been in the lead as the architect of the oil-for-food programme and in
trying to get a new sanctions regime instituted at the United Nations, which
we are confident will be done in May, having won support from the Russians.
It is wrong to suggest that Britain has been inactive on the diplomatic

My hon. Friend questioned whether there would be any legal base in the
hypothetical circumstances that there is military action. The legal view,
with which I have some sympathy, is that Iraq is in flagrant breach, not
just of United Nations resolutions, but of the ceasefire agreement that it
entered into at the end of the Gulf war, which makes that ceasefire no
longer valid. My hon. Friend went on to say that other countries possess
weapons of mass destruction. That is stating the obvious, but he must accept
that Iraq is unique in the history of the world in that it has used chemical
weapons against its neighbours and its own people, killing tens of thousands
in both cases. He went on to suggest that any

6 Mar 2002 : Column 88WH

action against Iraq would break up the international coalition against
terrorism and would go down extremely badly in the Arab world.
It is worth making the point that all Labour Members who have spoken in the
debate in opposition to the Government's policy opposed our policy in
Afghanistan and opposed our policy in Kosovo. They were wrong then, and they
are wrong now. They also raised the spectre of a disaster in the Arab world
over Afghanistan—and look what has happened. I know from my contacts with
leaders in the Arab world as recently as last week at the Gulf Cooporation
Council and the EU summit at Grenada in Spain that, as the right hon. and
learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) said, there is no love
lost between the Arab countries and Saddam Hussein. If anything does happen,
their main concern is that it works.

I am grateful for the sympathy of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland
(Mr. Carmichael), but I do not need it. He suggested that the layout in
Westminster Hall meant that the Government were isolated. That was a rather
bizarre statement, coming immediately after a supportive speech from my hon.
Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth) and a
supportive intervention from my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South
(Mike Gapes). The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland said some wise things
about the middle east, but he suggested that, before there was talk about
taking military action against Iraq, we needed to solve every other problem
in the world. That is a strange argument.

My hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) spoke about the Labour
party being the party of conflict resolution. Yes, we are the party of
conflict resolution and peaceful solutions. But she and her hon. Friends
have to ask themselves—as they failed to do in the instances of Kosovo and
Afghanistan—what do they do, faced with a brutal, dictatorial regime that is
building a weapons of mass destruction programme and threatening its
neighbours and us? It has used those weapons on its neighbours and on its
own people.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Baillieston (Mr. Wray) spoilt his
argument about United States isolationism because he said that he had no
confidence in the United Nations either. I do not know where that leaves us.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvin made his familiar views known
in his inimitable way. Some of the good points that he made on the middle
east peace process would, I believe, carry more credibility if he had not
made a career of being not just an apologist, but a mouthpiece, for the
Iraqi regime over many years.

Mr. Galloway : Why do you not give way on that slander?

Mr. Bradshaw : We are not discussing—

Mr. Galloway : The Minister is a liar.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. John McWilliam): Order. The hon. Gentleman must
withdraw that statement.

Mr. Galloway : The Minister told a lie about me.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. The hon. Gentleman must withdraw that statement.

6 Mar 2002 : Column 89WH

Mr. Galloway : Why? The Minister told a blatant lie about me. What else
could I do. What else can I call it? I demand that he withdraws the
allegation against me.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. The hon. Gentleman must withdraw immediately.

Mr. Galloway : An allegation of dishonourable conduct has been made against
me by the Minister. It is an assumption in the House that Members are
honourable gentlemen and ladies. His imputation that I am a mouthpiece for a
dictator is a clear imputation of dishonour. He is the one who should be
withdrawing, not me.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. I have no alternative, but to report this matter
to the House. I must immediately suspend the sitting for 10 minutes.

10.59 am

Sitting suspended.

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