News Release

Some Analysis of Powell’s Speech

PHYLLIS BENNIS
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is author of the book Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis and the article “Powell’s Dubious Case for War.” Bennis said today: “Contrary to Powell’s pronouncements, Hans Blix said the UNMOVIC inspectors have seen ‘no evidence’ of mobile biological weapons labs, have ‘no persuasive indications’ of an Iraq link to al-Qaeda and no evidence of Iraq hiding and moving material used for weapons of mass destruction.”
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DAVID MacMICHAEL
A former CIA analyst, MacMichael wrote a recent piece entitled “Iraq: The Intelligence Evidence.”

AS’AD ABUKHALIL
Author of Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New “War on Terrorism” and the forthcoming The House of Bush and the House of Saud, AbuKhalil is a professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus. He said today: “The claims of terrorism links remain hollow: even the State Department report ‘Patterns of Global Terrorism’ states that Iraq has not been involved in terrorism since 1993. As for a Bin Laden link, that was not proved, but alleged without any substantiation…. Two groups mentioned by Powell have been largely defunct since 1985. Two others, the alleged ‘Zakawi network’ and Ansar al-Islam, operate in northern Iraq, outside Saddam Hussein’s control. The leader of Ansar al-Islam has denied having any links to either Hussein or Bin Laden. The Arab media is reporting that the Zakawi story was provided by Jordanian intelligence, which has a record of torture and inaccuracy. Prince Nayif, the minister of interior and chief of the Saudi effort in the ‘war on terrorism,’ denied ever hearing about the two al-Qaeda members sneaking from Iraq into Saudi Arabia.” AbuKhalil also took issue with some of the translations of tapes provided by Powell.

GLEN RANGWALA
Rangwala is a lecturer in politics at Cambridge University in Britain and is available to rebut many points in Powell’s speech. He noted that even on points in the public domain, Powell stretched the truth: “Powell claimed that UNMOVIC head ‘Dr. Blix pronounced the 12,200-page declaration rich in volume but poor in information and practically devoid of new evidence.’ … In fact, Blix has said that ‘In the fields of missiles and biotechnology, the declaration contains a good deal of new material and information covering the period from 1998 and onward. This is welcome.’”
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ROBERT JENSEN
Author of the book Writing Dissent and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Jensen said today: “Even if Powell’s claims were all true, nothing he said makes the case for war. Instead, Powell presented a good argument for continuing inspections — with serious cooperation on the part of U.S. officials with orders to share all relevant intelligence….”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167