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[casi] Blix Challenges US Allegations Regarding Iraq

Very interesting... Sounds like the US is playing its old trick of misquoting
reports and making up baseless accusations against another country to stir up
public opinion.
Sydney Morning Herald and NYT. 1 February and 31 January 2002. US is
misquoting my Iraq report, says Blix.

UNITED NATIONS -- Days after delivering a broadly negative report on Iraq's
cooperation with international inspectors, Hans Blix challenged several of
the Bush Administration's assertions about Iraqi cheating and the notion that
time was running out for disarming Iraq through peaceful means.

In an interview on Wednesday, Blix, the United Nations chief weapons
inspector, seemed determined to dispel any impression that his report was
intended to support the United States' campaign to build world support for a
war to disarm Saddam Hussein.

"Whatever we say will be used by some," Blix said, adding that he had strived
to be "as factual and conscientious" as possible.

"I did not tailor my report to the political wishes or hopes in Baghdad or
Washington or any other place."

Blix took issue with what he said were US Secretary of State Colin Powell's
claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and
moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their
discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents.

He had not seen convincing evidence that Iraq was sending weapons scientists
to Syria, Jordan or any other country to prevent them from being interviewed.

Nor had he any reason to believe, as President Bush charged in his State of
the Union speech, that Iraqi agents were posing as scientists.

He further disputed the Bush administration's allegations that his inspection
agency might have been penetrated by Iraqi agents, and that sensitive
information might have been leaked to Baghdad, compromising the inspections.

Finally, he said, he had seen no persuasive indications of Iraqi ties to Al
Qaeda, which Mr. Bush also mentioned in his speech.

"There are other states where there appear to be stronger links," such as
Afghanistan, Blix said, noting that he had no intelligence reports on this

More broadly, he challenged President Bush's argument that military action is
needed to avoid the risk of a Sept. 11-style attack by terrorists wielding
nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The world is far less dangerous today than it was during the cold war, he
said, when the Soviet Union and the United States threatened each other with
thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles.

On balance, "nuclear non-proliferation has been a success story," he said.
"The world has made great progress."

Blix said he continued to endorse disarmament through peaceful means. "I
think it would be terrible if this comes to an end by armed force, and I wish
for this process of disarmament through the peaceful avenue of inspections,"
he said.

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