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Iraq: Powell's Comments Filled with 'Lies;' Creates Pretext for War - 2003-02-05

Iraqi officials say Secretary of State Colin Powell's evidence presented to the Security Council was filled with lies intended to give the United States a reason for war against Baghdad.

The Iraqi liaison to the United Nations weapons inspectors, Amer al-Saadi, responded to Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. Security Council calling it a show of special effects.

"This was a typical American show complete with stunts and special effects," said Mr. al-Saadi. "What we heard today was for the general public and mainly the uninformed, in order to influence their opinion and to commit the aggression on Iraq."

Mr. Powell presented audio tapes which he said contained the voices of Iraqi military officials discussing the hiding of evidence. Mr. al-Saadi dismissed the tapes as being manufactured.

"From what we have heard, any third-rate intelligence outfit could produce such a recording," Mr. Al-Saadi continued. "It is nothing beyond their capability. It is simply untrue and not genuine. The reason is simple: we have nothing to hide. Therefore we don't talk about hiding anything or congratulate ourselves for hiding anything. This is simply manufactured evidence."

Mr. al-Saadi denied Mr. Powell's allegations including denying that Iraqi scientists are hiding documents or that illegal weapons had been hidden in Iraq or in neighboring countries. He said satellite photographs presented by Mr. Powell "proved nothing" and that the Iraqi defectors Mr. Powell said had supplied information were "without value" who he said were after personal gain.

Mr. al-Saadi concluded by saying it was "below the level of a country," referring to the United States, "to come up with such allegations and ideas."

The head of Iraq's Arab and foreign relations committee, Salem al-Kubaisi, said Mr. Powell's comments are intended to create a pretext for military action against Iraq.

Iraq has steadfastly maintained it possesses no weapons of mass destruction. Secretary Powell told the Security Council Iraq was engaged in what he called a "long-standing policy of evasion and deception" with U.N. weapons inspectors.