The text of the speech in the Security Council of the United Nations by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, distinguished colleagues, I would like to begin by expressing my thanks for the special effort that each of you made to be here today.
This is important day for us all as we review the situation with respect to Iraq and its disarmament obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.
Last November 8, this council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote. The purpose of that resolution was to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had already been found guilty of material breach of its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years.
Resolution 1441 was not dealing with an innocent party, but a regime this council has repeatedly convicted over the years. Resolution 1441 gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance to come into compliance or to face serious consequences. No council member present in voting on that day had any illusions about the nature and intent of the resolution or what serious consequences meant if Iraq did not comply.
And to assist in its disarmament, we called on Iraq to cooperate with returning inspectors from UNMOVIC and IAEA.
We laid down tough standards for Iraq to meet to allow the inspectors to do their job.
This council placed the burden on Iraq to comply and disarm and not on the inspectors to find that which Iraq has gone out of its way to conceal for so long. Inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives.
I asked for this session today for two purposes: First, to support the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. As Dr. Blix reported to this council on January 27th, "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it."
And as Dr. ElBaradei reported, Iraq's declaration of December 7, "did not provide any new information relevant to certain questions that have been outstanding since 1998."
My second purpose today is to provide you with additional information, to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq's involvement in terrorism, which is also the subject of Resolution 1441 and other earlier resolutions.
I might add at this point that we are providing all relevant information we can to the inspection teams for them to do their work.
The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources. Some are U.S. sources. And some are those of other countries. Some of the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and photos taken by satellites. Other sources are people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.
I cannot tell you everything that we know. But what I can share with you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years, is deeply troubling.
What you will see is an accumulation of facts and disturbing patterns of behavior. The facts on Iraq's behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort -- no effort -- to disarm as required by the international community.
Indeed, the facts and Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.
Let me begin by playing a tape for you. What you're about to hear is a conversation that my government monitored. It takes place on November 26 of last year, on the day before United Nations teams resumed inspections in Iraq.
The conversation involves two senior officers, a colonel and a brigadier general, from Iraq's elite military unit, the Republican Guard.
[Following is a U.S. translation of that taped conversation.]
COL: About this committee that is coming...
GEN: Yeah, yeah.
COL: ...with Mohamed ElBaradei [Director, International Atomic Energy Agency]
GEN: Yeah, yeah.
COL: We have this modified vehicle.
COL: What do we say if one of them sees it?
GEN: You didn't get a modified... You don't have a modified...
COL: By God, I have one.
GEN: Which? From the workshop...?
COL: From the al-Kindi Company
COL: From al-Kindi.
GEN: Yeah, yeah. I'll come to you in the morning. I have some comments. I'm worried you all have something left.
COL: We evacuated everything. We don't have anything left.
GEN: I will come to you tomorrow.
GEN: I have a conference at Headquarters, before I attend the conference I will come to you.
Let me pause and review some of the key elements of this conversation that you just heard between these two officers.
First, they acknowledge that our colleague, Mohamed ElBaradei, is coming, and they know what he's coming for, and they know he's coming the next day. He's coming to look for things that are prohibited. He is expecting these gentlemen to cooperate with him and not hide things.
But they're worried. "We have this modified vehicle. What do we say if one of them sees it?"
What is their concern? Their concern is that it's something they should not have, something that should not be seen.
The general is incredulous: "You didn't get a modified. You don't have one of those, do you?"
"I have one."
"Which, from where?"
"From the workshop, from the al-Kindi Company?"
"I'll come to see you in the morning. I'm worried. You all have something left."
"We evacuated everything. We don't have anything left."
Note what he says: "We evacuated everything."
We didn't destroy it. We didn't line it up for inspection. We didn't turn it into the inspectors. We evacuated it to make sure it was not around when the inspectors showed up.
"I will come to you tomorrow."
The al-Kindi Company: This is a company that is well known to have been involved in prohibited weapons systems activity.
Let me play another tape for you. As you will recall, the inspectors found 12 empty chemical warheads on January 16. On January 20, four days later, Iraq promised the inspectors it would search for more. You will now hear an officer from Republican Guard headquarters issuing an instruction to an officer in the field. Their conversation took place just last week on January 30.
Let me pause again and review the elements of this message.
"They're inspecting the ammunition you have, yes."
"For the possibility there are forbidden ammo."
"For the possibility there is by chance forbidden ammo?"
"And we sent you a message yesterday to clean out all of the areas, the scrap areas, the abandoned areas. Make sure there is nothing there."
Remember the first message, evacuated.
This is all part of a system of hiding things and moving things out of the way and making sure they have left nothing behind.
If you go a little further into this message, and you see the specific instructions from headquarters: "After you have carried out what is contained in this message, destroy the message because I don't want anyone to see this message."
This message would have verified to the inspectors that they have been trying to turn over things. They were looking for things. But they don't want that message seen, because they were trying to clean up the area to leave no evidence behind of the presence of weapons of mass destruction. And they can claim that nothing was there. And the inspectors can look all they want, and they will find nothing.
This effort to hide things from the inspectors is not one or two isolated events, quite the contrary. This is part and parcel of a policy of evasion and deception that goes back 12 years, a policy set at the highest levels of the Iraqi regime.
We know that Saddam Hussein has what is called "a higher committee for monitoring the inspections teams." Think about that. Iraq has a high-level committee to monitor the inspectors who were sent in to monitor Iraq's disarmament.
Not to cooperate with them, not to assist them, but to spy on them and keep them from doing their jobs.
The committee reports directly to Saddam Hussein. It is headed by Iraq's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan. Its members include Saddam Hussein's son Qusay.
This committee also includes Lt. Gen. Amir al-Saadi, an adviser to Saddam. In case that name isn't immediately familiar to you, Gen. Saadi has been the Iraqi regime's primary point of contact for Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. It was Gen. Saadi who last fall publicly pledged that Iraq was prepared to cooperate unconditionally with inspectors. Quite the contrary, Saadi's job is not to cooperate, it is to deceive; not to disarm, but to undermine the inspectors; not to support them, but to frustrate them and to make sure they learn nothing.
We have learned a lot about the work of this special committee. We learned that just prior to the return of inspectors last November the regime had decided to resume what we heard called, "the old game of cat and mouse."
For example, let me focus on the now famous declaration that Iraq submitted to this council on December 7. Iraq never had any intention of complying with this council's mandate.
Instead, Iraq planned to use the declaration, overwhelm us and to overwhelm the inspectors with useless information about Iraq's permitted weapons so that we would not have time to pursue Iraq's prohibited weapons. Iraq's goal was to give us, in this room, to give those of us on this council the false impression that the inspection process was working.
You saw the result. Dr. Blix pronounced the 12,200-page declaration, rich in volume, but poor in information and practically devoid of new evidence.
Could any member of this council honestly rise in defense of this false declaration?
Everything we have seen and heard indicates that, instead of cooperating actively with the inspectors to ensure the success of their mission, Saddam Hussein and his regime are busy doing all they possibly can to ensure that inspectors succeed in finding absolutely nothing.
My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources.
Orders were issued to Iraq's security organizations, as well as to Saddam Hussein's own office, to hide all correspondence with the Organization of Military Industrialization.
This is the organization that oversees Iraq's weapons of mass destruction activities. Make sure there are no documents left which could connect you to the OMI.
We know that Saddam's son, Qusay, ordered the removal of all prohibited weapons from Saddam's numerous palace complexes. We know that Iraqi government officials, members of the ruling Baath Party and scientists have hidden prohibited items in their homes. Other key files from military and scientific establishments have been placed in cars that are being driven around the countryside by Iraqi intelligence agents to avoid detection.
Thanks to intelligence they were provided, the inspectors recently found dramatic confirmation of these reports. When they searched the home of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, they uncovered roughly 2,000 pages of documents. You see them here being brought out of the home and placed in U.N. hands. Some of the material is
classified and related to Iraq's nuclear program.
Tell me, answer me, are the inspectors to search the house of every government official, every Baath Party member and every scientist in the country to find the truth, to get the information they need, to satisfy the demands of our council?
Our sources tell us that, in some cases, the hard drives of computers at Iraqi weapons facilities were replaced. Who took the hard drives. Where did they go? What's being hidden? Why? There's only one answer to the why: to deceive, to hide, to keep from the inspectors.
Numerous human sources tell us that the Iraqis are moving, not just documents and hard drives, but weapons of mass destruction to keep them from being found by inspectors.
While we were here in this council chamber debating Resolution 1441 last fall, we know, we know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agents to various locations, distributing them to various locations in western Iraq. Most of the launchers and warheads have been hidden in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection.
We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities.
Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis takes experts with years and years of experience, pouring for hours and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate to our imagery specialists.
Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji (ph). This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the additional four chemical weapon shells.
Here, you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines. The four that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions bunkers.
How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a closer look. Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close-up of one of the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions. The arrow at the top that says security points to a facility that is the signature item for this kind of bunker. Inside that facility are special guards and special equipment to monitor any leakage that might come out of the bunker.
The truck you also see is a signature item. It's a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong.
This is characteristic of those four bunkers. The special security facility and the decontamination vehicle will be in the area, if not at any one of them or one of the other, it is moving around those four, and it moves as it needed to move, as people are working in the different bunkers.
Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at two of those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone, the tents are gone, it's been cleaned up, and it was done on the 22nd of December, as the U.N. inspection team is arriving, and you can see the inspection vehicles arriving in the lower portion of the picture on the right.
The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there. They found nothing.
This sequence of events raises the worrisome suspicion that Iraq had been tipped off to the forthcoming inspections at Taji (ph). As it did throughout the 1990s, we know that Iraq today is actively using its considerable intelligence capabilities to hide its illicit activities. From our sources, we know that inspectors are under constant surveillance by an army of Iraqi intelligence operatives.
Iraq is relentlessly attempting to tap all of their communications, both voice and electronics.
I would call my colleagues attention to the fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday, which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.
In this next example, you will see the type of concealment activity Iraq has undertaken in response to the resumption of inspections. Indeed, in November 2002, just when the inspections were about to resume this type of activity spiked. Here are three examples.
At this ballistic missile site, on November 10, we saw a cargo truck preparing to move ballistic missile components. At this biological weapons related facility, on November 25, just two days before inspections resumed, this truck caravan appeared, something we almost never see at this facility, and we monitor it carefully and regularly.
At this ballistic missile facility, again, two days before inspections began, five large cargo trucks appeared along with the truck-mounted crane to move missiles. We saw this kind of house cleaning at close to 30 sites.
Days after this activity, the vehicles and the equipment that I've just highlighted disappear and the site returns to patterns of normalcy. We don't know precisely what Iraq was moving, but the inspectors already knew about these sites, so Iraq knew that they would be coming.
We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?
Remember the first intercept in which two Iraqis talked about the need to hide a modified vehicle from the inspectors. Where did Iraq take all of this equipment? Why wasn't it presented to the inspectors?
Iraq also has refused to permit any U-2 reconnaissance flights that would give the inspectors a better sense of what's being moved before, during and after inspectors.
This refusal to allow this kind of reconnaissance is in direct, specific violation of operative paragraph seven of our Resolution 1441.