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http://www.editorandpublisher.com/editorandpublisher/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1971092 SEPTEMBER 09, 2003 AP Staffer Fact-Checks Powell's UN Speech Key Claims Didn't Hold Up By E&P Staff Last month, Charles J. Hanley, special correspondent for the Associated Press and winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 2000, wrote a devastating 2,500-word critique of claims made by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his influential Feb. 5 speech to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In a column published this week, E&P Editor Greg Mitchell calls this speech the single most important moment in the march to war -- and charges that the media's unquestioning endorsement of Powell's assertions made invasion inevitable. Here are brief, edited excerpts from the Hanley article (available in its entirety at Philly.com). ALUMINUM TUBES: Powell said "most United States experts" believed aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were intended for use as centrifuge cylinders for enriching uranium for nuclear bombs. Energy Department experts and Powell's own State Department intelligence bureau had already dissented from this CIA view... No centrifuge program has been reported found. REVIVED NUCLEAR PROGRAM: "We have no indication that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program," Powell said. On July 24, Foreign Minister Ana Palacio of Spain, a U.S. ally on Iraq, said there was "no evidence, no proof" of a nuclear bomb program before the war. No such evidence has been reported found since the invasion. DECONTAMINATION VEHICLES: At two sites, Powell said trucks were "decontamination vehicles" associated with chemical weapons. Nothing has been reported found since... Norwegian inspector Jorn Siljeholm told AP on March 19 that "decontamination vehicles" U.N. teams were led to by U.S. information invariably turned out to be water or fire trucks. BIOWEAPONS TRAILERS: Powell said defectors had told of "biological weapons factories" on trucks and in train cars. He displayed artists' conceptions of such vehicles. After the invasion, U.S. authorities said they found two such truck trailers in Iraq, and the CIA said it concluded they were part of a bioweapons production line. But no trace of biological agents was found on them, Iraqis said the equipment made hydrogen for weather balloons, and State Department intelligence balked at the CIA's conclusion. DESERT WEAPONS: According to Powell, unidentified sources said the Iraqis dispersed rocket launchers and warheads holding biological weapons to the western desert, hiding them in palm groves and moving them every one to four weeks. Nothing has been reported found, after months of searching by U.S. and Australian troops in the nearly empty desert. ANTHRAX: Powell noted Iraq had declared it produced 8,500 liters of the biological agent anthrax before 1991. None has been "verifiably accounted for," he said. No anthrax has been reported found, post-invasion. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), in a confidential report last September (five months before the Powell speech) said that although it believed Iraq had biological weapons it didn't know their nature, amounts, or condition. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Powell showed video of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet spraying "simulated anthrax." He said four such spray tanks were unaccounted for, and Iraq was building small unmanned aircraft "well suited for dispensing chemical and biological weapons." According to U.N. inspectors' reports, the video predated the 1991 Gulf War, when the Mirage was said to have been destroyed, and three of the four spray tanks were destroyed in the 1990s. No small drones or other planes with chemical-biological capability have been reported found in Iraq since the invasion. FOUR TONS OF VX: Powell said Iraq produced four tons of the nerve agent VX. Powell didn't note that most of that was destroyed in the 1990s under U.N. supervision. No VX has been reported found since the invasion. Experts at Britain's International Institute of Strategic Studies said any pre-1991 VX most likely would have degraded anyway. 'EMBEDDED' CAPABILITY: "We know that Iraq has embedded key portions of its illicit chemical weapons infrastructure within its legitimate civilian industry," Powell said. No "chemical weapons infrastructure" has been reported found. The recently-disclosed DIA report of last September said there was "no reliable information" on where Iraq might have established chem-warfare facilities. CHEMICAL AGENTS: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent," Powell said. Powell gave no basis for the assertion, and no such agents have been reported found. That same DIA report had reported "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons." CHEMICAL WEAPONS: "Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons...And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorized his field commanders to use them," Powell said. No such weapons were used in the war and none was reported found. CHEMICAL WARHEADS: Powell said 122-mm "chemical" warheads found by U.N. inspectors in January might be the "tip of an iceberg." The warheads were empty, a fact Powell didn't note. No others have been reported found since the invasion. SCUDS, NEW MISSILES: Powell said "intelligence sources" indicate Iraq had a secret force of up to a few dozen prohibited Scud-type missiles. He said it also had a program to build newer, 600-mile-range missiles. No Scud-type missiles have been reported found. No program for long-range missiles has been reported. Source: Editor & Publisher Online __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ 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