Wednesday 5 February 2003

The Powell Show

by Michael Rivero

Powell's evidence against Iraq
My evidence against Iraq
The point is that the photos Powell is showing are damning evidence ONLY if you believe that Powell's descriptions of the items in the photos are accurate. Frankly, there is nothing explicit in the photos to prove that those are banned weapons or that the photo in question was even taken inside Iraq. 
For the record, Saddam Hussein did not eat illegal hot dogs during the Superbowl. I just made that up.
Today, General My Lai is expected to try to build a case that Iraq retains banned weapons of mass destruction based on some radio intercepts and photos. Here are three good reasons why radio intercepts will not convince anyone.

1. The US has used faked taped before Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, er, ah, ummm...

2. Israel has used fake radio messages to trick the US into attacking Israel's enemies before. And we already know that Israeli special forces have been operating in western Iraq for months, in the perfect place from which to send fake radio messages.

3. Computers can mimic any desired voice. "No kidding, this is really me, Saddam Hussein, saying, 'we have nukes and those other things Powell is telling you about, so come and get us!'"

As for the photos...

1. This time I'm scared "in the final days before the war started on January 9, the Pentagon insisted that not only was Saddam Hussein not withdrawing from Kuwait - he was - but that he had 265,000 troops poised in the desert to pounce on Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon claimed to have satellite photographs to prove it. Thus, the waverers and anti-war protesters were silenced. "We now know from declassified documents and satellite photographs taken by a Russian commercial satellite that there were no Iraqi troops poised to attack Saudi. At the time, no one bothered to ask for proof. "No one except Jean Heller, a five-times nominated Pulitzer prize-winning journalist from the St Petersburg Times in Florida, who persuaded her bosses to buy two photos at $1,600 each from the Russian commercial satellite, the Soyuz Karta. Guess what? No massing troops. "You could see the planes sitting wing tip to wing tip in Riyadh airport," Ms Heller says, "but there wasn't was any sign of a quarter of a million Iraqi troops sitting in the middle of the desert."

2. In war, some facts less factual

3. Bush Iraq Evidence Lies

The US Government used fake photos before, and because they have used fake photos before, the burden of proof remains on the US Government to prove that those photos show what the labels claim they show, and more to the point, prove that the photos are actually of Iraq and not of some stretch of desert out in Arizona.

The bottom line is that I do not believe anything the US Government, so clearly desperate to start a war, says any more.

No sane person could.

Powell has not convinced me, and to judge by the reader letters, anyone else. And for a simple reason. The photos being shown are not in any way superior to those seen during the Cuban Missile crisis. There is no great national security secret that was going to be compromised by the release of these photos, and yet only now, long after the UN inspectors found nothing in Iraq, have these photos appeared to save the US case for war from final collapse. That these photos were NOT made available to the UN inspectors at a time when the inspectors could have made use of them is the strongest argument that these photos are as phony as the ones the US claimed showed 265,000 Iraqi troops poised to attack Saudi Arabia.
"All war is based on deception." -- Sun Tzu, the Art of War