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Raw read of most of British newspapers this morning. Hope this is useful. Milan Rai ARROW/Voices C Powell 5 Feb. Inspectors Allin and Simon note that 'the weapons inspectors are back, and the threat can be contained not with 100 per cent confidence but with reasonable confidence that the Iraqi leader can be denied nuclear capabilities in particular.' (FT, 6 Feb., p. 17) 'Let us double, let us triple the number of inspectors. Could we not... set up a specialised body to keep under surveillance the sites and areas that have already been inspected?' Dominique de Villepin, France's Foreign Minister. (Independent, 6 Feb., p. 1) He also urged the Security Council to 'very significantly reinforce the capacity for monitoring and collecting information in Iraq'. (Independent, 6 Feb., p. 16) De Villepin said, 'For now, the inspections regime must be strengthened, since it has not been explored to the end... Why go to war if there still exists an unused space in Resolution 1441?' (Times, 6 Feb., p. 1) Colin Powell showed satellite photographs and played recordings of intercepted radio conversations which purported to show that a ballistic missile factory had been cleared out on 25 Nov., a deontamination truck had been used at the taji chemical munitions factory, and so on. Robert Fisk asked, as did many others, 'Why wasn't this intelligence information given to the inspectors months ago? Didn't General Powell's beloved UN resolution 1441 demand that all such intelligence information should be given to Hans Blix and his lads immediately? Were the Americans, perhaps, not being "pro-active" enough?' (Independent, 6 Feb., p. 3) Powell said, 'The issue before us is not how much time we are willing to give the inspectors to be frustrated by Iraqi obstruction but how much longer are we willing to upt up with Iraq's non-compliance before we, as a council, we, as the United Nations, say, "Enough. Enough".' (Telegraph, 6 Feb., p. 1) 'Because Powell's slideshow showed Iraq giving the UN inspectors the runaround, it also weakened Blix's argument that more time would bring success. Talking of the 18 lorries that are believed to be mobile biological weapons factories, Powell asked rhetorically how long it would take to find even a single one among the "thousands and thousands of trucks" on Iraq's roads.' 'Blix's report to the UN last week put the US on the back foot, in arguing that the inspectors deserved more time. Powell's performance yesterday won back a lot of that ground.' (Bronwen Maddox, Foreign Editor, Times, 6 Feb., p. 15) Colin Powell 5 Feb. editorials The FT described Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council as 'an effective performance', though mostly concerned with 'old information'. Powell's approach involved 'evidence requiring a high degree of trust', suggested the FT. It is a 'moot point' whether other members of the Security Council will be 'more persuaded' after Powell's presentation: 'Many of them know Iraq retains a residual armoury of rogue weapons; their scepticism is about whether war is the best way of dealing with it.' (FT, 6 Feb., p. 17) Overall, the FT seemed against war: only if chief weapons inspector Blix 'states unequivocally that the inspections course has run its course' could there be a consensus in favour of using force, and 'a consensus is what the UN and the world desperately need.' (FT, 6 Feb., p. 17) The Independent also found the Colin Powell presentation 'impressive' - a 'bravura performance'. (6 Feb., p. 16) However, the Independent was also unconvinced: 'Such an act of aggression by the US threatens to destabilise the whole region, would be a huge encouragement to fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and would virtually guarantee an upsurge in global terrorism. The policy of containment and sanctions, pursued for 12 years, has been frustrating and messy; but it has constrained Saddam. General Powell did not tell us why we must abandon it.' (6 Feb., p. 16) The Daily Telegraph editorial was a plain retelling of the story. The only opinion expressed was that 'the thrust' of Powell's 'lengthy, detailed and impressive presentation was to remind the United Nations that failure to confront Iraqi defiance of its resolutions would condemn it to irrelevance.' (6 Feb., p. 25) The Times described Powell's presentation as 'a withering riposte to Iraq's taunt that the US has no evidence that it has hidden, and continues to hide, illicit weapons of enormous destructive power'. (6 Feb., p. 21) There were 'three pillars' to Powell's argument for war: 'evidence' that Iraq's nuclear programme remains live; 'evidence' that Iraq is seeking to develop and extend the range of ballistic missiles, sprayer planes and unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver chemical and biological weapons; and 'evidence' of Iraq's high-level contacts with al Qa'eda. 'In Iraq, the world is not up against a diminished threat lingering from the past, but confronting a dangerous serial offender, a dictator as contemptuous of human life as he is of international law. Containment has failed to prevent him building and hiding weapons that, he must be assumed to believe, would make him ultimately impossible to restrain. Even if it ultimately takes a war, he must be stopped.' (Times, 6 Feb., p. 21) C Powell 5 Feb. reactions Rupert Cornwell of the Independent was very impressed: 'General Powell surely sealed the legal case' by demonstrating that 'Iraq was technically in breach of resolution 1441' by playing 'hide-and-seek with the inspectors'. However, Cornwell asked, 'is Iraq a threat so immediate that it must be tackled by force now, at the risk of further destabilisation of the region?', and, 'even given the changed rules of the terrorist era, do democracies have the moral right to launch an unprovoked war?' (Independent, 6 Feb., p. 2) Robert Fisk, also in the Independent, was less impressed: 'It was a bit like heating up old soup.' (6 Feb., p. 3) The Diplomatic Editor of the Daily Telegraph, Anton La Guardia sounded a cautious note, observing that Powell's case 'relied heavily on circumstantial evidence that Saddam was trying to hide the truth, and on his track record of deception'. Much of the 'information' presented was from 'intelligence sources' and unnamed 'defectors' - sources 'that cannot be independently verified', La Guardia conceded. 'There were also assertions that could oly be described as hearsay.' (Telegraph, 6 Feb., p. 2) The weight and variety of 'evidence' would lead a jury to condemn Baghdad for consistently lying tgo the court, 'rather than assume that the US prosecution was fixing the evidence'. (Telegraph, 6 Feb., p. 2) Richard Beeston of the Times observed that, 'most of what General Powell said was open to interpretation. There was no named high-ranking defector prepared to substantiate the allegations. There was no visual evidence of soldiers or scientists handling weapons such as chemical or biological weapons, nor even attempting to conceal huge items such as Scud missiles.' (Times, 6 Feb., p. 14) Michael Evans noted that there were 'no pictures of the inside of any of these' alleged mobile biological weapons laboratories, nor 'photographic evidence' of a chemical weapons programme. (Times, 6 Feb., p. 14) Of the tape recordings and satellite photographs, 'America's critics can say that such things are easily forged or misinterpreted' and 'They are right, and few are equipped to judge,' conceded Times Foreign Editor Bronwen Maddox. (Times, 6 Feb., p. 15) She was convinced, however, that a 'convincing case' had been made that Iraq was engaged in deception. Dana Allin (of the International Institute for Strategic Studies) and Steven Simon (formerly of the US National Security Council from 1994 to 1999) pointed out in the FT that Colin Powell had a harder task than Adlai Stevenson, President John F Kennedy's ambassador to the UN, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962: 'the war contemplated by the US is preventive, not pre-emptive. The US and Britain are preparing for war to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing the same kind of threat as the Cuban missiles of 1962.' (6 Feb., p. 17) Arthur Schlesinger, a former adviser to President Kennedy, who watched Adlai Stevenson's dramatic revelations to the Security Council in 1962, pointed out that there was a bigger problem: 'Everyone accepted what an American President said in 1962 without question. Nobody could make head or tail of the Stevenson photographs, but they all believed what he told them.' (Times, 6 Feb., p. 16) Now, trust has eroded. C Powell 5 Feb Material Breach Dr John Chipman, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, gave a strange reply to the question, 'Does this "evidence" justify going to war?' Chipman said, 'An objective assessment is that it's a material breach of UN Resolution 1441.' But as Chipman knows, Resolution 1441 did not authorise the use of force against Iraq. C Powell 5 Feb. anthrax 'The worst moment came when General Powell started talking about anthrax and the 2001 anthrax attacks in Washington and New york, pathetically holdin gup a teaspoon of the imaginary spores and - while not precisely saying so - fraudulently suggesting a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 2001 anthrax scare.' Robert Fisk (Independent, 6 Feb., p. 3) _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk