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Profile: Colin Powell

 
  

Positions that Colin Powell has held:

  • US Secretary of State during the administration of George W. Bush


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, January 10, 2001

   “Saddam Hussein's forces are in a state where he cannot pose a threat to his neighbors at this point. We have been successful, through the sanctions regime, to really shut off most of the revenue that will be going to build his—rebuild his military.” [US Department of Defense, 1/10/01]

Associated Events

Quote, February 24, 2001

   “He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” [The Mirror, 9/22/03, US Department of State, 2/24/03, Associated Press, 9/25/03]

Associated Events

Quote, May 15, 2001

   Saddam Hussein has not been able to “build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction” for “the last 10 years.” The sanctions policy has successfully kept him “in a box.” [The Mirror, 9/22/03]

Associated Events

Quote, October 25, 2001

   “We cannot let Osama bin Laden pretend that he is doing it in the name of helping the Iraqi people or the Palestinian people. He doesn't care one whit about them. He has never given a dollar toward them. He has never spoken out for them.” [Slate MSNBC, 2/11/03, US Department of State]

Associated Events

Quote, January 19, 2002

   “What we have to make a judgment on now is whether or not Saddam Hussein is serious about disarming, and is he cooperating with the inspectors in that disarmament process. If he is not, if he is continuing to try to hide things, if we have to keep discovering rockets that were undeclared that were supposed to carry chemical warheads, if we continue to find that documents having to do with nuclear weapons have been hidden in the homes of scientists, then it doesn't make any difference how long the inspection goes on because they're not going to get to the truth because Saddam Hussein does not want them to get to the truth.” [New York Times, 1/19/03, International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03, US Department of State, 1/19/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 12, 2002

   “With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.” [CNN, 2/13/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, May 5, 2002

   “The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... US policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad.” [BBC, 12/19/02, US Department of State, 5/5/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 8, 2002

   “The rhetoric of fear that is disseminated by my government and others has not to date been backed up by hard facts to substantiate any allegations that Iraq is today in possession of weapons of mass destruction or has links to terror groups responsible for attacking the United States. Void of such facts, all we have is speculation.” [Newsmax 9/8/02, Associated Press 9/8/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 1, 2002

   “Before we declare that everything is OK today, not one inspector has set foot in Iraq and not one thing has changed since 1998.” [Times, 10/02/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 10, 2002

   “We will ask the UN to give authorization for all necessary means, and if the UN is not willing to do that, the United States with like-minded nations will go and disarm him forcefully.” [Guardian, 11/11/02, CNN, 11/10/02, US Department of State, 11/12/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 18, 2003

   “[W]e have always made clear that the US will act without a second resolution if we are of the firm opinion that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction or wants to produce new ones.” [Sun Herald, 1/19/03]

Associated Events

Quote, January 27, 2003

   “Time is running out. We've made it very clear from the very beginning that we would not allow the process of inspections to string out forever.” [United States Mission to the UN, New York Times, 1/27/03b]

Associated Events

Quote, late January 2003

   “Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?” [Washington Post, 8/8/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 5, 2003

   “We ... have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities, There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.... We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” [CNN, 2/5/03, US Department of State, 2/5/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 14, 2003

   “We have not seen the kind of cooperation that was anticipated, expected and demanded of this body. And we must continue to demand it. We must continue to put pressure on Iraq, put force upon Iraq, to make sure that the threat of force is not removed, because 1441 was all about compliance, not inspections. The inspections were put in as a way, of course, to assist Iraq in coming forward and complying, in order to verify, in order to monitor, as the Chief Inspector noted. But we've still got an incomplete answer from Iraq. We are facing a difficult situation. More inspectors? Sorry, not the answer. What we need is immediate cooperation.” [US Department of State, 2/14/02]

Associated Events

Quote, March 6, 2003

   “It would seem to me that the people of Iraq, now having been liberated, might glance around and see who helped in that liberation and participated in that liberation and who did not.” [Reuters, 3/6/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, March 26, 2003

   “But as soon as possible, we want to have working alongside the commander an interim Iraqi authority, people representing the people of Iraq. And, as that authority grows and gets greater credibility from the people of Iraq, we want to turn over more and more responsibilities to them.” [US Department of State, 3/26/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 2, 2003

   “I can assure you that we all want to end this as soon as possible, so we can get on with the task of allowing the Iraqi people to form a new government.” [US Department of State, 4/2/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, After June 2003

   “I have not seen smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.” [Independent, 1/11/04, Associated Press, 1/8/04]

Associated Events

Quote, (Spring 2004)

   “Everyone felt uncomfortable to see a man saying these lies. Everyone knew it was bullshit.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 290]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Colin Powell actively participated in the following events:

 
  

(January 30, 2001)      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush White House holds its first National Security Council meeting. The lead discussion of the meeting centers on the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power. US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, recalling the meeting, will tell CBS News two years later: “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go ... From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.” O'Neill will say officials never questioned the logic behind this policy. No one ever asked, “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” Instead, the issue that needed to be resolved was how this could be accomplished. “It was all about finding a way to do it,” O'Neill will explain. “That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ ” [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04; Guardian, 1/12/04; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 234 Sources: Paul O?Neill] After information of this meeting is revealed by Paul O'Neill, the White House will attempt to downplay its significance. “... The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear,” Bush will tell reporters during a visit to Mexico In January 2004. “Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. ... And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with desert badger or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.” [New York Times, 1/12/04] But another official, who is also present at the meeting, will later say that the tone of the meeting implies a policy much more aggressive than that of the previous administration. “The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,” the official will tell ABC News. “That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.” [ABC News, 1/13/04 Sources: Unnamed senior official of the Bush administration] Other people, in addition to O'Neill and Bush, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Paul O?Neill, Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

February 1, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Again, the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. One of the memos discussed during the meeting is titled, “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq.” It reportedly discusses the need for troops in a post-Saddam occupation, war crimes tribunals, and how to divvy up Iraq's oil wealth. [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] In attendance is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who speaks in favor of removing Saddam Hussein. It would “demonstrate what US policy is all about,” he says, and help transform the Middle East. According to Paul O'Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country's economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’ ” [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] Other people, in addition to O'Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O?Neill, George W. Bush, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld
          

February 24, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of State Colin Powell travels to Cairo and meets with his counterpart Amre Moussa. During a press conference, Powell says: “He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” [US Department of State, 2/24/03; The Mirror, 9/22/03; Associated Press, 9/25/03] Some nineteen months later, when Powell is asked to explain why his assessment of Iraq had so drastically changed over such a short span of time, Powell says, “... I did not say he (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein) didn't have weapons of mass destruction.... He was a threat then. The extent of his holdings were yet to be determined. It was early in the administration and the fact of the matter is it was long before 9/11 (the date of the 2001 attacks on the United States).... A lot changed between February 2001 (and the invasion), but I don't find anything inconsistent between what I said then and what I've said all along.” [US Department of State, 9/25/03; Washington Post, 9/26/03; Associated Press, 9/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Amre Moussa, Colin Powell
          

May 15, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Powell says that Saddam Hussein has not been able to “build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction” for “the last 10 years,” adding that the sanctions policy had successfully kept him “in a box.” [The Mirror, 9/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

September 12, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke meets with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. During the briefing Rumsfeld suggests that the US should bomb Iraq in retaliation for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq,” Clarke will later recall in his book, Against All Enemies. “... We all said, ‘but no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan’ and Rumsfeld said, ‘There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.’ ” [Clarke, 2004.; Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04; Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard Clarke] Secretary of State Powell agrees with Clarke that the immediate focus should be on al-Qaeda. However, Powell also says, “Public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible.” Clarke complains to him, “Having been attacked by al-Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.” President Bush notes the goal should be replacing the Iraqi government, not just bombing it, but the military warns an invasion would need a large force and many months to assemble. [Clarke, 2004.] Rumsfeld's view is said to be closely aligned with that of his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, who believes Saddam, not Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, should be the principal target of the “war on terrorism.” [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 49] Commenting on his feelings after the meeting, Clarke will later write: “At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al-Qaeda. I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq. Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq. My friends in the Pentagon had been telling me that the word was we would be invading Iraq sometime in 2002.” [Washington Post, 3/22/2004] Bush administration officials will contest the accusations Clarke—who was a registered Republican in 2000—makes in his book, dismissing them as politically motivated comments made during an election year. [Associated Press, 3/22/04] But another source had provided a similar account a year earlier. In his book, Bush at War, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward stated that during a White House meeting, Rumsfeld had suggested that the US should attack Iraq. (Note: It is not clear whether or not this meeting is the same one referred to by Clarke.) [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 49] Clarke also says in his book, referring to unspecified administration officials, “They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12.” [Clarke, Richard. Against All Enemies. Free Press, 2004.; Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04 Sources: Richard Clarke]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush, Richard Clarke, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

September 15, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       George W. Bush, CIA Director George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, and perhaps other officials as well, meet at Camp David to discuss war plans in Afghanistan. The meeting reportedly begins at 9:30 AM with a prayer. [Washington Post, 1/31/02; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232] There is discission on a paper submitted by the Defense Department depicting Iraq, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda as priority targets. Paul Wolfowitz pushes for regime change in Iraq, claiming that there is a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq was involved in the attacks. [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 83; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232; Washington Post, 7/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul O?Neill, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

September 20, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. During dinner that night, also attended by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and British ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair tells Bush that he wants to concentrate on ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bush replies, “I agree with you Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.” Blair says nothing to disagree. [BBC, 4/3/03; Observer, 4/4/04; Independent, 4/4/04; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 238 Sources: Christopher Meyers]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, Christopher Meyers
          

October 13, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan briefs Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington about the alleged trip 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta took to the Czech Republic in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). Kavan tells Powell that the BIS, the Czech intelligence service, has reason to believe that Mohamed Atta may have met near Prague with Iraqi Counsel Al-Ani. [New York Times, 10/20/01 Sources: Jan Kavan]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Jan Kavan, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohammed Atta
          

October 25, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Powell, speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, dismisses bin Laden's claims that al-Qaeda's fight is in solidarity with Iraqis and Palestinians. Powell argues: “We cannot let Osama bin Laden pretend that he is doing it in the name of helping the Iraqi people or the Palestinian people. He doesn't care one whit about them. He has never given a dollar toward them. He has never spoken out for them.” [US Department of State; Slate MSNBC, 2/11/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

November 9, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman tells Colin Powell and CNN that during the alleged April 2001 meeting in Prague between 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, the two men discussed plans to bomb the Radio Free Europe building in Prague, which also housed Radio Free Iraq. The claim is reportedly based on footage from surveillance cameras at the Radio Free Europe building which had shown al-Ani surveying the building in April 2001 (see 1999). The Prime Minister will later back away from the claim, explaining it was just a hypothesis raised by Czech intelligence. [CNN, 11/09/01; Associated Press, 12/16/01; Washington Post 5/1/02; Newsweek, 4/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Mohammed Atta, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Milos Zeman
          

Mid-January 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Referring to the weapons inspectors upcoming January 27 report (see January 27, 2003), Colin Powell says in an interview with Saturday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, “We believe that at the end of the month it will be convincingly proven that Iraq is not cooperating.” [BBC, 1/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 25, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       White House lawyer Alberto Gonzales completes a draft memorandum to the President advising George Bush to declare Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters ineligible for prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions (see January 15, 2002) (see January 9, 2002). He explains that the Office of Legal Counsel has determined that the President has the authority to make this declaration on the premise that “the war against terrorism is a new kind of war” and “not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war that formed the backdrop for GPW [Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war].” Gonzales thus states: “In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.” Gonzales also says that by declaring the war in Afghanistan exempt from the Geneva Conventions, the President would “[s]ubstantially [reduce] the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act [of 1996](see November 5, 2001).” The President and other officials in the administration would then be protected from any future “prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges....” [Newsweek, 5/24/2004; New York Times, 5/21/2004 Sources: Draft memo to the President from Alberto Gonzales, January 25, 2004] When Powell reads the memo, he reportedly “hit[s] the roof” and immediately arranges for a meeting with the President. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Alberto Gonzales, Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

January 26, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell responds to Alberto Gonzales' January 25 draft memo to the President (see January 25, 2002). He argues that it does not provide the President with a balanced view on the issue of whether or not to apply the Geneva Conventions to the conflict in Afghanistan. Powell lists several problems that could potentially result from exempting the conflict from the Conventions as Gonzales recommends. For example, he notes that it would “reverse over a century of US policy and practice in supporting the Geneva conventions and undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops, both in this specific conflict and in general.” He also warns that it “may provoke some individual foreign prosecutors to investigate and prosecute our officials and troops.” Powell's note then summarizes the advantages of applying the Conventions to Afghanistan. The end of the memo consists of several rebuttals to points that Gonzales made in his memo. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004; New York Times, 5/21/2004 Sources: Memo to Condoleezza Rice from Colin Powell, January 26, 2004]
People and organizations involved: Alberto Gonzales, Colin Powell
          

February 12, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Colin Powell tells the Senate Budget Committee: “With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.” [CNN, 2/13/2002]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

March 1, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) sends a memo directly to Secretary of State Colin Powell disputing an Italian intelligence report (see Late 2001) that suggested Iraq is attemptiong to purchase uranium from Niger. “A whole lot of things told us that the report was bogus,” Greg Thielmann, a high-ranking INR official, later explains to Time Magazine. “This wasn't highly contested. There weren't strong advocates on the other side. It was done, shot down.” [Time Magazine, 7/21/2003 Sources: Greg Thielmann]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

May 5, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Appearing on ABC's “This Week,” Colin Powell says, “The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... US policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad.” [US Department of State, 5/5/02; BBC, 12/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

June 2002      Plans to use force against Iran

       In Paris, Defense Department officials (including either Harold Rhode or Larry Franklin) meet with Iranian officials and Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms trader who had been a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair. The meeting reportedly resulted from “an unplanned, unscheduled encounter,” that took place without White House approval. An earlier meeting involving the several of the same figures had taken place seven months earlier (See December 2001). [Washington Post, 8/9/03; New York Times, 12/7/2003] When Secretary of State Colin Powell learns of the meeting several weeks later, he complains directly to Condoleezza Rice and the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying that Feith's missions are against US policy. [Newsday, 8/9/03; Washington Post, 8/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Manucher Ghorbanifar, Michael Ledeen, Harold Rhode, Larry Franklin, Colin Powell
          

(8:00 p.m.) August 5, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       After dinner at the White House, Colin Powell speaks privately with George Bush and convinces him that international backing would be crucial for an invasion of Iraq and the inevitable occupation that would follow. Powell cites polls which indicate that a majority of Americans favor seeking a UN resolution. Bush reluctantly agrees. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 284]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

August 13, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joins Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his advisors for a meeting. Describing the meeting, the New York Times reports three days later that they “have decided that they should focus international discussion on how Iraq would be governed after Mr. Hussein—not only in an effort to assure a democracy but as a way to outflank administration hawks and slow the rush to war, which many in the department oppose.” [New York Times, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, Colin Powell
          

August 26, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       In a speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice President Richard Cheney says Saddam Hussein will “seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.” He also states unequivocally that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” he says. “There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us ... What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons.” Therefore he argues, the answer is not weapons inspections. “Against that background, a person would be right to question any suggestion that we should just get inspectors back into Iraq, and then our worries will be over. Saddam has perfected the game of shoot and retreat, and is very skilled in the art of denial and deception. A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with UN resolutions.” [New York Times, 8/26/02] Cheney's speech marks the first major statement from the White House regarding the Bush administration's Iraq policy following a flood of criticisms from former officials. Significantly, the speech was not cleared by the CIA or the State Department. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Unnamed sources interviewed by Newsweek] Furthermore, Cheney's comments dismissing the need for the return of inspectors, were not cleared by President Bush. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Andrew Card] Three days after the speech, a State Department source tells CNN that Powell's view clashes with that which was presented in Cheney's speech, explaining that the Secretary of State is opposed to any military action in which the US would “go it alone ... as if it doesn't give a damn” what other nations think. The source also says that Powell and “others in the State Department were ‘blindsided’ by Cheney's ‘time is running out’ speech ... and were just as surprised as everyone else,” CNN reports. [CNN, 8/30/02 Sources: Unnamed source interviewed by CNN]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Dick Cheney  Additional Info 
          

September 1, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       In an interview with the BBC, Powell states that he favors the return of UN inspectors as a necessary “first step” in dealing with Iraq. He says: “Iraq has been in violation of these many UN resolutions for most of the last 11 or so years. So as a first step, let's see what the inspectors find, send them back in, why are they being kept out.” Regarding the decision of whether or not the use of military action would be required, he says: “The world has to be presented with the information, with the intelligence that is available. A debate is needed within the international community so that everybody can make a judgment about this.” [Independent, 9/2/03] His comments directly contradict statements made by Vice President Dick Cheney in a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on August 7 (see August 7, 2002), and another speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 26 (see August 26, 2002). Interestingly, it also comes one day after Scott McClellan, the White House deputy press secretary, told reporters, “The view of the administration is united and one in the same. We are singing from the same songbook.” [CNN, 8/30/02] But commentators are concluding otherwise, which spurs another statement from Washington, this one from White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who the next day tells reporters as they accompany him on Air Force One: “There is no difference in position between Cheney, Powell, and President Bush. It's much ado about no difference.” [CNN, 9/03/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan
          

September 8, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of State Colin Powell responds to a speech former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter made to Iraq's parliament and a cadre of foreign reporters, in which the former weapons inspector had stated: “The truth is Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders. Military action against Iraq cannot be justified.” [Associated Press 9/8/02] Ritter had also stated: “The rhetoric of fear that is disseminated by my government and others has not to date been backed up by hard facts to substantiate any allegations that Iraq is today in possession of weapons of mass destruction or has links to terror groups responsible for attacking the United States. Void of such facts, all we have is speculation.” [Newsmax 9/8/02] In response, Powell says on “Fox News Sunday” : “We have facts, not speculation. Scott is certainly entitled to his opinion but I'm afraid that I would not place the security of my nation and the security of our friends in the region on that kind of an assertion by somebody who's not in the intelligence chain any longer... If Scott is right, then why are they keeping the inspectors out? If Scott is right, why don't they say, ‘Anytime, any place, anywhere, bring'em in, everybody come in—we are clean?’ The reason is they are not clean. And we have to find out what they have and what we're going to do about it. And that's why it's been the policy of this government to insist that Iraq be disarmed in accordance with the terms of the relevant UN resolutions.” [Newsmax 9/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

September 16, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa and gives them a letter expressing Baghdad's willingness to readmit the UN weapons inspectors without conditions. The offer is made after Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting in Baghdad with his cabinet and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). [Associated Press, 9/16/02a; Independent, 9/17/02; New York Times, 9/17/02 Sources: Iraq's September 16, 2002 letter accepting the unconditional return of weapons inspectors] Iraq's letter is effectively an agreement to December 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1284. [New York Times, 9/18/02] Kofi Annan tells reporters after the meeting, “I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of the inspectors without conditions to continue their work and has also agreed that they are ready to start immediate discussions on the practical arrangements for the return of the inspectors to resume their work.” Annan credits the Arab League, which he says “played a key role” in influencing Saddam Hussein's decision to accept the inspectors, and suggests that Bush's speech also played a critical part in influencing Baghdad's decision. [UN, 9/16/02] UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix also meets with Iraqi officials and it is reportedly agreed that weapons inspectors will return to Iraq on October 19. UNMOVIC spokesman Ewen Buchanan tells the BBC, “We are ready to discuss practical measures, such as helicopters, hotels, the installation of monitoring equipment and so on, which need to be put in place.” [BBC, 9/17/02] The Bush administration immediately rejects the offer, calling it “a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong UN Security Council action,” in a statement released by the deputy press secretary. [Associated Press, 9/16/02; White House, 9/16/2002] And Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, tells reporters: “We've made it very clear that we are not in the business of negotiating with Saddam Hussein. We are working with the UN Security Council to determine the most effective way to reach our goal.” He then claims Iraq's offer is a tactic to give “false hope to the international community that [President Saddam] means business this time,” adding, “Unfortunately, his more than decade of experience shows you can put very little into his words or deeds.” Two days later Bush will tell reporters that Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations,” adding: “He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before. . . . We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Independent, 9/17/02; Agence France Presse, 9/19/02] Later that night, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice reportedly hold a conference call with Kofi Annan and accuse him of taking matters into his own hands. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 285] Britain supports the US position and calls for a UN resolution backed with the threat of force. [BBC, 9/17/03] Other nations react differently to the offer. For example, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, says: “It's important that, through our joint efforts, we have managed to put aside the threat of a war scenario around Iraq and return the process to a political channel ... It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors' return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed.” [Independent, 9/17/02; BBC, 9/17/03]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Amir Moussa, Condoleezza Rice, Hans Blix, Dan Bartlett, Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, Naji Sabri, Scott McClellan  Additional Info 
          

September 20, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush administration makes it clear that it will prevent the UN inspectors from going to Iraq under the terms of the current UN resolution. Powell tells the House International Relations Committee, “If somebody tried to move the team in now [before a UN resolution authorizing the use of force is passed], we would find ways to thwart that.” [BBC, 9/20/02; Telegraph, 9/21/02; CNN, 9/29/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

September 26, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Powell tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “The world had to recognize that the potential connection between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction moved terrorism to a new level of threat. In fact, that nexus became the overriding security concern of our nation. It still is and it will continue to be our overriding concern for some years to come.” [US Department of State, 9/26/02] But Paul Anderson, spokesman for Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells reporters that Graham, who has access to highly classified reports, has seen no evidence that Iraq has ties to al-Qaeda. [USA Today, 9/26/02 Sources: Paul Anderson]
People and organizations involved: Paul Anderson, Bob Graham, Colin Powell
          

November 8, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The UN Security Council unanimously votes 15-0 in favor of UN Resolution 1441, which stipulates that Iraq is required to readmit UN weapons inspectors under tougher terms than required by previous UN resolutions. The resolution does not give the US authority to use force against Iraq. The resolution makes it very clear that only the UN Security Council has the right to take punitive action against Iraq in the event of noncompliance. [United Nations, 11/8/02; Zunes, 11/14/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] After the resolution is passed, top Bush administration officials make public statements threatening to use military force against Iraq if Saddam's regime does not comply with the resolution. George Bush, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, Andrew Card, and Ari Fleischer make statements asserting that the resolution does not prevent the US from using force.
A provision that would have authorized UN member states to use “all necessary means” to disarm Iraq is relocated to the preamble of the resolution where it presumably has no practical significance. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
A provision requiring that security guards accompany the inspectors is removed. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
The resolution requires Iraq to provide the UN with the names of all its weapons experts. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution states that weapons inspectors will be authorized to remove Iraqi scientists, as well as their families, from Iraq in order to interview them. An official later tells The Washington Post that the power to interview Iraqi scientists was “the most significant authority contained in the resolution” and “the one thing that is most likely to produce overt Iraqi opposition.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; The Washington Post, 12/12/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution overturns provisions of the previous Resolution 1154 that required UN inspectors to notify Baghdad before inspecting Saddam Hussein's presidential sites. Resolution 1154 had also required that inspections of those sensitive sites occur in the presence of diplomats. The new resolution demands that Iraq allow the inspectors “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to any sites chosen by the inspectors. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; CNN, 11/8/02] Unnamed diplomats and US officials tell USA Today that the US may attempt to claim that Iraq is engaged in a pattern of defiance and deceit if it hinders the inspectors in any way. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
The resolution include a provision calling for “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones in the areas surrounding suspected weapons sites to prevent the Iraqis from removing evidence prior to or during inspections. [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The final resolution includes statements stipulating that an Iraqi failure to comply with the terms of the resolution, including “false statements or omissions” in the weapons declaration it is required to submit, will “constitute a further material breach” of its obligations. Additional wording included in the same provision explains that any breach of the resolution will “be reported to the Council for assessment.” Also, towards the end of the resolution, it states that the chief weapons inspector should “report immediately to the Council any interference” by Iraq so that the Council can “convene immediately to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all the relevant council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; CNN, 11/8/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
Paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 states that Iraq “shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” The US contends that this applies to the US- and British- patrolling of the “no-fly” zones that the two countries imposed shortly after the Gulf War. The “patrolling,” which has never been officially sanctioned by the UN and which is not recognized by Iraq, often includes aerial attacks on Iraqi sovereign territory. Iraq consistently fires on the attacking jets in self-defense. Other UN Security Council members explicitly oppose this interpretation of the resolution before its passage. [Associated Press, 11/12/02; Associated Press, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; United Press International; Washington Post, 11/16/02; Reuters, 11/15/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution gives Iraq seven days to announce whether or not it will comply with the resolution, and 30 days (December 8) to declare its chemical, biological, and nuclear-related capabilities—even those that are unrelated to weapons programs. 10 days after Iraq's acceptance of the terms, inspectors will send an advanced team to Baghdad, but will have a total of 45 days to begin the actual work. The inspection team will be required to provide the UN Security Council with a report 60 days (January 27) after the commencement of its work. [Associated Press, 11/16/02; Associated Press, 11/8/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] Diplomats and US officials speaking off the record tell USA Today that the declaration due on December 8 represents a hidden trigger, explaining that any omissions will be considered a material breach and sufficient justification for war. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
Syria requested that the resolution include a provision stating that Iraq's compliance with the terms would result in the lifting of sanctions. This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
Syria requested that the resolution declare the entire Middle East a “nuclear-free and weapons of mass destruction-free zone.” This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
France did not want the resolution to include any wording that might authorize the use of force. Instead it argued that the resolution should include only terms for tougher inspections. In the event of Iraqi noncompliance with the terms, France argued, a separate resolution should be agreed upon to decide what further action would be necessary. France lost its argument, and the new resolution includes a warning to Iraq “that it will face serious consequences” in the event of its failure to comply with the terms of the resolution. [Guardian, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Card, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer  Additional Info 
          

November 14, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Colin Powell hints that the US might view Iraqi attempts to shoot down coalition aircraft in the so-called “no-fly” zone as a breach of UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). “If they [Iraqis] were to take hostile acts against the United States or United Kingdom aircraft patrolling in the northern and (southern) no-fly zone, then I think we would have to look at that with great seriousness if they continue to do that,” he says after a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham in Ottawa. [Associated Press, 11/14/02; The Washington Post, 11/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

November 21-22,2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       A NATO summit is convened in Prague to welcome the Eastern European states of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, who will become members of the alliance in 2004. These seven countries, along with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, release a statement, which says, “NATO allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UN [Resolution] 1441.” The statement also says, “[W]e are prepared to contribute to an international coalition to enforce its provisions and the disarmament of Iraq.” Bruce Jackson, a former US Defense Department official who heads a Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, helps draft the statement. France also releases a statement, which is a bit less confrontational. A French official explains to the London Telegraph that the Eastern states' statement was “his [Bush's] own interpretation [of UN Resolution 1441] and we do not share it. On December 8, we will take note of what Iraq says it has ... and we will see if its behavior is consistent with its statement.” Germany remains opposed to the use of military force. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer tells reporters, “We are against military action. We don't support military action. We want the possibility not to become the reality.” [Agence France Press, 11/20/02; New York Times, 11/22/2002; Telegraph, 11/22/2002] On the night of November 21, in an interview with Dan Rather of CBS news, Powell also makes the US position clear. He says, “If the [December 8] declaration is patently false and everybody can see it. If he does not let the inspectors do their job, then the President is fully ready to take the necessary step, which is military force.” [US Department of State, 11/21/02] Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is also in town for the summit. Before he leaves Prague to meet with Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda in Slovakia, he says he will not believe Iraq if its declaration claims Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. [Associated Press, 11/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Bruce Jackson, Joschka Fischer
          

December 8, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell successfully pressures the UN Security Council's president, Colombian ambassador to the United Nations Alfonso Valdivieso, to override the Council's December 6 decision (see December 6, 2002) that no country be permitted access to an unabridged copy of Iraq's declaration. “The United States had initially accepted the argument Friday but then changed its mind over the weekend, holding consultations between capitals,” reports the Associated Press. “Eventually US officials instructed Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the current Security Council president, to hand over the complete copy of the declaration, which to the astonishment of many in the UN halls, he did.” [Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; New York Times 12/21/02] The Council president normally makes decisions only when there is a consensus of all 15 members. Notably, the US had promised Colombia a substantial increase in military aid less than a week beforehand. [New York Times, 12/10/02] Under the new “decision,” only those countries with “the expertise to assess the risk of proliferation and other sensitive information” will be permitted to access the documents. The only countries that are considered qualified according to this criteria are the five permanent members. The other 10 council members, including Syria, will only be allowed to view the declaration after translation, analysis and censorship of “sensitive material.” Syria and Norway are infuriated by the move. [Associated Press, 12/9/02; Associated Press, 12/9/02b; New York Times, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02] The photocopying of the documents will be done exclusively by the US. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will later acknowledge that the job should have been delegated to a less partial party. [Times of London, 12/10/02; Washington Times, 12/12/02]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Colin Powell, Alfonso Valdivieso  Additional Info 
          

December 19, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of State Colin Powell and US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte say that the Bush administration considers Iraq to be in “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441, citing deliberate omissions and falsehoods in Iraq's 12,000 page December 7 declaration (see December 7, 2002). Powell calls the declaration “a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions,” adding that it “totally fails to meet the resolution's requirements.” He says the omissions “constitute another material breach.” [Associated Press, 12/19/02; Associated Press, 12/19/02b; Ireland Online, 12/19/02; Washington Post, 12/19/02] But the administration's conclusion is made before the Arabic sections of the declaration have even been translated. Blix says that there are 500 or 600 pages that still need to be translated and that it is too early to provide a complete assessment. He adds that the Bush administration's statements about a “material breach” are baseless allegations. [CNN, 12/19/02; The Strait Times, 12/20/02]
People and organizations involved: John Negroponte, Hans Blix, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

January 9, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       UNMOVIC inspectors say they have yet to uncover evidence indicating that Iraq has resumed its production of weapons of mass destruction. After providing the UN Security Council with a summary of the inspectors' findings, Hans Blix tells reporters in New York, “We have now been there for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] But Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, insists that the absence of evidence is of little concern, asserting, “The problem with guns that are hidden is you can't see their smoke. We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” And John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN, accuses Iraq of “legalistic” cooperation, claiming that it needs to act proactively. He also says, “There is still no evidence that Iraq has fundamentally changed its approach from one of deceit to a genuine attempt to be forthcoming.” [Guardian, 1/10/03] Colin Powell also seems undaunted by Blix's remarks. “The lack of a smoking gun does not mean that there's not one there,” he says, “If the international community sees that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating in a way that would not allow you to determine the truth of the matter, then he is in violation of the UN resolution [1441]...You don't really have to have a smoking gun.” [News24, 1/10/03] Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN, echoes views from Washington, asserting that the “passive cooperation of Iraq has been good in terms of access and other procedural issues,” and adds, “But proactive cooperation has not been forthcoming—the kind of cooperation needed to clear up the remaining questions in the inspectors' minds.” [Guardian, 1/10/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Jeremy Greenstock, Ari Fleischer, John Negroponte, Hans Blix
          

January 13, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet alone in the Oval Office for twelve minutes. According to Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush says, “The inspections are not getting us there.... I really think I'm going to have to do this,” adding that he was firm in his decision. Powell responds, “You're sure? ... You understand the consequences.... You know that you're going to be owning this place?” Bush indicates that he understands the implications and asks, “Are you with me on this? ... I think I have to do this. I want you with me.” Powell responds: “I'll do the best I can. ... Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President.” Woodward will also say in his book that Bush had never—ever—asked his Secretary of State for his advice on the matter of Iraq. “In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, in Powell's grueling duels with Rumsfeld and Defense, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this? What's your overall advice? The bottom line?” Woodward will write. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/18/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

January 19, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Top Bush administration officials appear to suggest that war can be avoided if Saddam Hussein steps down. Donald Rumsfeld, speaking on ABC's “This Week” says, “I ... personally would recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country, and I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war.” He also says that if Saddam goes into exile he might be granted immunity from prosecution for war crimes. Similarly, Colin Powell says on CNN, “I think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off, and this whole situation would be resolved, if Saddam Hussein ... his sons and the top leadership of the regime would leave.” [ABC, 1/19/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03b; CNN, 1/19/03; CNN, 1/20/03; Agence France Presse, 1/19/03] It is not clear, however, if Rumsfeld and Powell's comments are sincere, or if they are just trying to appear as though they are providing Saddam Hussein with an alternative to military confrontation. Their comments are seemingly contradicted by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice who says on NBC's “Meet the Press” , “I ... think that it is unlikely that this man is going to come down in any other way than to be forced.” [International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03b; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75993,00.html]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell
          

January 28, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Powell tells reporters after the UN inspectors' January 27 interim report: “The inspectors have also told us that they have evidence that Iraq has moved or hidden items at sites just prior to inspection visits. That's what the inspectors say, not what Americans say, not what American intelligence says; but we certainly corroborate all of that. But this is information from the inspectors.” [US Secretary of State 1/28/03] But Hans Blix, the chief UNMOVIC weapons inspector, tells the New York Times a few days later that UN weapons inspectors had experienced no such incidents. [New York Times 1/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 29, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell gives his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, a 48-page report from the White House on Iraq's arsenal of banned weapons. The dossier—written in the office of Dick Cheney under the guidance of his two hawkish aids, Lewis “Scooter” Libby and John Hannah—is meant to serve as the basis for Powell's upcoming speech to the UN (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). Powell, skeptical of the report's data, instructs Wilkerson to have it looked over by the CIA. The analysts at the agency will quickly determine that the documents are based on unreliable sources (see January 30, 2003-January 31, 2003). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Lewis Libby, Colin Powell, John Hannah, Larry Wilkerson
          

January 30, 2003-January 31, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Colin Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, meets with other State staffers and CIA analysts at the agency's Langley headquarters in a conference room down the hall from George Tenet's office to review two White House reports on Iraq's alleged illegal activities. The two dossiers are meant to serve as the basis for Powell's upcoming speech at the UN (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). One of the reports—a 48-page dossier that had been provided to Powell's office a few days earlier (see January 29, 2003) —deals with Iraq's supposed arsenal of weapons of mass destruction while the other, slightly more recent report totaling some 45 pages, addresses the issue of Iraq's history of human rights violations and its alleged ties to terrorism. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Shortly after the CIA analysts begin their review of the documents, the decision is made to scrap them and start from scratch. “They suspect much of it originated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its chief, Ahmed Chalabi,” Vanity Fair magazine will later report. Powell's staff was also “convinced that much of it had been funneled directly to Cheney by a tiny separate intelligence unit set up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] A senior source later tells US News and World Report that the documents had included “unsubstantiated assertions.” According to several administration officials, Powell's team “tried to follow ... [the] 45-page White House script,” but “there were too many problems—some assertions, for instance, were not supported by solid or adequate sourcing—Indeed, some of the damning information simply could not be proved.” [US News and World Report, 6/9/03 Sources: Unnamed senior source] One item in the White House's original draft alleged that Iraq had obtained software from an Australian company that would provide Iraqis with sensitive information about US topography. The hawks' argument was that Iraqis, using that knowledge, could one day attack the US with biological or chemical weapons deployed from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). But when Powell's intelligence team investigated the issue, it became “clear that the information was not ironclad.” (see October 1, 2002) [US News and World Report, 6/9/03 Sources: Unnamed senior source] Summing it up, one official will later explain, “We were so appalled at what had arrived from the White House.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230.]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Larry Wilkerson, Ahmed Chalabi
          

February 1, 2003-February 4, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       On February 1, Secretary of State Colin Powell begins rehearsing for his February 5 presentation to the UN Security Council (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) in which he will argue that Iraq represents a serious and imminent threat to the US. Powell is assisted by members of his staff, including his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. [Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004; US News and World Report, 6/9/2003] Several other officials drop in during the pre-speech sessions, including George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Lewis Libby, and CIA deputy director John McLaughlin. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Cheney's staff continues to pressure Powell to include several unsubstantiated and dubious allegations. For example, the group insists that Powell “link Iraq directly to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington” and include the widely discredited allegation (see October 21, 2002) that Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer (see April 8, 2001). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230.; US News and World Report, 6/9/2003] But Powell and his staff reject a good portion of the hawks' material. At one point, during one of the rehearsals, Powell says, “I'm not reading this. This is bullshit.” [US News and World Report, 6/9/03; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] “[W]e fought tooth and nail with other members of the administration to scrub it and get the crap out,” Larry Wilkerson, Powell's Chief of Staff later tells GQ. [Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004]
People and organizations involved: Larry Wilkerson, Richard Armitage, Condoleezza Rice, John McLaughlin, Lewis Libby, George Tenet, Colin Powell
          

February 3-4, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In advance of Colin Powell's February 5 presentation to the UN, the Independent reports on February 3 that according to security sources in London, Powell will attempt to link Iraq to al-Qaeda. But the sources say that intelligence analysts in both Washington and London do not believe such links exist. [Independent, 2/3/03 Sources: Unnamed British intelligence sources] This is followed by a report the next day in the London Telegraph, reporting that the Bush administration's insistence of a link between al-Zarqawi, Ansar al-Islam and Saddam Hussein “has infuriated many within the United States intelligence community.” The report cites one unnamed US intelligence source who says, “The intelligence is practically non-existent,” and explains that the claim is largely based on information provided by Kurdish groups which are enemies of Ansar al-Islam. “It is impossible to support the bald conclusions being made by the White House and the Pentagon given the poor quantity and quality of the intelligence available. There is uproar within the intelligence community on all of these points, but the Bush White House has quashed dissent.” [Telegraph, 2/4/03 Sources: Unnamed US and British intelligence sources] The Telegraph predicts that “if Mr. Powell tries to prove the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, the whole thing could fall apart,” explaining that the veto-wielding Security Council members, “France, Russia and China ... all have powerful intelligence services and their own material on al-Qaeda and they will know better than to accept the flimsy evidence of a spurious link with Baghdad.” [Telegraph, 2/4/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Saddam Hussein, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi
          

10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents the Bush administration's case against Saddam to the UN Security Council, in advance of an expected vote on a second resolution that the US and Britain hope will provide the justification to use military force against Iraq. [The White House, 2/6/03] At the insistence of Powell, CIA Director George Tenet is seated directly behind him to the right. “It was theater, a device to signal to the world that Powell was relying on the CIA to make his case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” Vanity Fair magazine will later explain. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232] In his speech before the Council, Powell makes the case that Iraq is in further material breach of past UN resolutions, specifically the most recent one, UN Resolution 1441. Sources cited in Powell's presentation include defectors, informants, communication intercepts, procurement records, photographs, and detainees. [The White House, 2/6/03] Most of the allegations made by Powell are later demonstrated to be false. “The defectors and other sources went unidentified,” the Associated Press will later report. “The audiotapes were uncorroborated, as were the photo interpretations. No other supporting documents were presented. Little was independently verifiable.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq's December 7 declaration was inaccurate - Powell contends that Iraq's December 7 declaration was not complete. According to UN Resolution 1441 the document was supposed to be a “currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects” of its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam has not done this, says Powell, who explains that Iraq has yet to provide sufficient evidence that it destroyed its previously declared stock of 8,500 liters of anthrax, as it claimed in the declaration. Furthermore, notes the Secretary of State, UNSCOM inspectors had previously estimated that Iraq possessed the raw materials to produce as much as 25,000 liters of the virus. [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03d]
Iraq has ties to al Qaeda - Powell repeats earlier claims that Saddam Hussein's government has ties to al-Qaeda. Powell focuses on the cases of the militant Islamic group Ansar-al-Islam and Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, who had received medical treatment in Baghdad during the summer of 2002 (see Late 2001-May 2002). [The White House, 2/6/03] However, just days before Powell's speech, US and British intelligence officials—speaking on condition of anonymity—told the press that the administration's allegations of Iraqi-al-Qaeda ties were based on information provided by Kurdish groups, who, as enemies of Ansar-al-Islam, should not be considered reliable. Furthermore, these sources unequivocally stated that intelligence analysts on both sides of the Atlantic remained unconvinced of the purported links between Iraq and al-Qaeda (see February 3-4, 2003). [Independent, 2/3/03; Telegraph, 2/4/03] Powell also claims that Iraq provided “chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000.” The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim was not substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2003). [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/2004; The New York Times, 7/31/2004 Sources: Unnamed administration official] Senior US officials will admit to the New York Times and Washington Post after the presentation that the administration was not claiming that Saddam Hussein is “exercising operational control” of al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 2/6/03b; Washington Post, 2/7/03 Sources: Unnamed senior US officials, Unnamed senior US State Department officials]
Iraq has missiles capable of flying up to 1,200 kilometers - Describing a photo of the al-Rafah weapons site, Powell says: “As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence, Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust vent on the right test stand is five times longer than the one on the left. The one of the left is used for short-range missiles. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers. This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to see what's going on underneath the test stand.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03] But according to the Associated Press, “... UN missile experts have reported inspecting al-Rafah at least five times since inspections resumed Nov. 27, have studied the specifications of the new test stand, regularly monitor tests at the installation, and thus far have reported no concerns.” [Associated Press, 2/7/03] Similarly, Reuters quotes Ali Jassem, an Iraqi official, who explains that the large stand referred to in Powell's speech is not yet in operation and that its larger size is due to the fact that it will be testing engines horizontally. [Reuters, 2/7/03; Guardian, 2/15/03] Several days later, Blix will report to the UN that “so far, the test stand has not been associated with a proscribed activity.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b]
Iraqis attempted to hide evidence from inspectors - Powell shows the UN Security Council satellite shots depicting what he claims are chemical weapons bunkers and convoys of Iraqi cargo trucks preparing to transport ballistic missile components from a weapons site just two days before the arrival of inspectors. “We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites,” Powell explains. “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?” [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03] But the photos are interpreted differently by others. An unnamed UN official and German UN Inspector Peter Franck say the trucks in the photos are actually fire engines. [Mercury News, 3/18/03; Agence France Presse, 6/6/03] Another series of photos—taken during the spring and summer of 2002—show that Iraqis have removed a layer of topsoil from the al-Musayyib chemical complex. This piece of evidence, combined with information provided by an unnamed source, leads Powell to draw the following conclusion: “The Iraqis literally removed the crust of the earth from large portions of this site in order to conceal chemical weapons evidence that would be there from years of chemical weapons activity.” [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03h] Showing another series of pictures—one taken on November 10 (before inspections) and one taken on December 22—Powell says that a guard station and decontamination truck were removed prior to the arrival of inspectors. Powell does not explain how he knows that the truck in the photograph was a decontamination truck. [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03h; Washington Post, 2/6/03]
Communication intercepts demonstrate Iraqi attempts to conceal information from inspectors - Powell plays recordings of three conversations intercepted by US Intelligence—one on November 26, another on January 30, and a third, a “few weeks” before. The conversations suggest that the Iraqis were attempting to hide evidence from inspectors. [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03; Times, 2/6/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03] Senior administration officials concede to The Washington Post that it was not known “what military items were discussed in the intercepts.” [Washington Post, 2/13/03] Some critics argue that the intercepts were presented out of context and open to interpretation. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 2/9/03] Others note that the conversations were translated from Arabic by US translators and were not analyzed or verified by an independent specialist. [Newsday, 2/6/03]
Biological weapons factories - Colin Powell says that US intelligence has “firsthand descriptions” that Iraq has 18 mobile biological weapons factories mounted on trucks and railroad cars. Information about the mobile weapons labs are based on the testimonies of four sources—a defected Iraqi chemical engineer who claims to have supervised one of these facilities, an Iraqi civil engineer (see December 2001), a source in “a position to know,” and a defected Iraqi major (see February 11, 2002). Powell says that the mobile units are capable of producing enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill several thousand people. He shows computer-generated diagrams and pictures based on the sources' descriptions of the facilities. Colin Powell says that according to the chemical engineer, during the late 1990s, Iraq's biological weapons scientists would often begin the production of pathogens on Thursday nights and complete the process on Fridays in order to evade UNSCOM inspectors whom Iraq believed would not conduct inspections on the Muslim holy day. [New York Times, 2/5/03; The White House, 2/6/03; Reuters, 2/8/02; Washington Post 2/5/03d] Responding to the allegation, Iraqi officials will concede that they do in fact have mobile labs, but insist that they are not used for the development of weapons. According to the Iraqis, the mobile labs are used for food analysis for disease outbreaks, mobile field hospitals, a military field bakery, food and medicine refrigeration trucks, a mobile military morgue and mobile ice making trucks. [ABC News, 5/21/03; Guardian, 2/5/03] Iraq's explanation is consistent with earlier assessments of the UN weapons inspectors. Before Powell's presentation, Hans Blix had dismissed suggestions that the Iraqis were using mobile biological weapons labs, reporting that inspections of two alleged mobile labs had turned up nothing. “Two food-testing trucks have been inspected and nothing has been found,” Blix said. And Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, said, “The outline and characteristics of these trucks that we inspected were all consistent with the declared purposes.” [The Guardian, 2/5/03; ABC News, 5/21/03] Powell's case is further damaged when it is later learned that one of the sources Powell cited, the Iraqi major, had been earlier judged unreliable by intelligence agents at the Defense Intelligence Agency (see February 11, 2002). In May 2002, the analysts had issued a “fabricator notice” on the informant, noting that he had been “coached by Iraqi National Congress” (see May 2002). But the main source for the claim had been an Iraqi defector known as “Curve Ball,” who turned out to be the brother of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi. The source claimed to be a chemical engineer who had helped design and build the mobile labs. His information was passed to Washington through Germany's intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), which had been introduced to the source by the Iraqi National Congress (INC). In passing along the information, the BND noted that there were “various problems with the source.” And only one member of the US intelligence community had actually met with the person—an unnamed Pentagon analyst who determined the man was an alcoholic and of dubious reliability. Yet both the DIA and the CIA validated the information. [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 08/22/03; Newsweek, 4/19/2004; Knight Ridder, 4/4/2004; Knight Ridder, 3/28/2004; Newsweek, 7/19/2004 Sources: Unnamed Pentagon analyst, Unnamed senior German security official, Unnamed current and former US intelligence officials, Unnamed senior US officials] In addition to the inspectors' assessments and the dubious nature of the sources Powell cited, there are numerous other problems with the mobile factories claim. Raymond Zilinskas, a microbiologist and former UN weapons inspector, argues that significant amounts of pathogens such as anthrax, could not be produced in the short span of time suggested in Powell's speech. “You normally would require 36 to 48 hours just to do the fermentation .... The short processing time seems suspicious to me.” He also says: “The only reason you would have mobile labs is to avoid inspectors, because everything about them is difficult. We know it is possible to build them—the United States developed mobile production plants, including one designed for an airplane—but it's a big hassle. That's why this strikes me as a bit far-fetched.” [Washington Post, 2/5/03d] After the Powell's speech, Blix will say in his March 7 report to the UN that his inspectors found no evidence of mobile weapons labs (see March 7, 2003). [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Blix, 3/7/03]
Iraq is developing unmanned drones capable of deliverying weapons of mass destruction - Powell asserts that Iraq has flight-tested an unmanned drone capable of flying up to 310 miles and is working on a liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a range of 745 miles. He plays a video of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet dispersing “simulated anthrax.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03f] But the Associated Press will later report that the video was made prior to the 1991 Gulf War. Apparently, three of the four spray tanks shown in the film had been destroyed during the 1991 military intervention. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Imported Aluminum tubes were meant for centrifuge - Powell argues that the aluminum tubes which Iraq had attempted to import in July 2001 (see July 2001) were meant to be used in a nuclear weapons program and not for artillery rockets as experts from the US Energy Department, the INR, and the IAEA have been arguing (see February 3, 2003) (see January 11, 2003) (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see January 27, 2003). To support the administration's case, he cites unusually precise specifications and high tolerances for heat and stress. “It strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds US requirements for comparable rockets,” he says. “Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.” Powell also suggests that because the tubes were “anodized,” it was unlikely that they had been designed for conventional use. [The White House, 2/6/03; Washington Post, 2/5/03; Washington Post, 3/8/03] Powell does not mention that numerous US nuclear scientists have dismissed this claim (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) (see September 23, 2002) (see December 2002). [Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03] Powell also fails to say that Iraq has rockets identical to the Italian Medusa 81 mm rockets, which are of the same dimensions and made of the same alloy as the 3,000 tubes that were intercepted in July 2001 (see Around January 22, 2003). [Washington Post, 8/10/03] This had been reported just two weeks earlier by the Washington Post. [Washington Post, 1/24/03] Moreover, just two days before, Powell was explicitly warned by the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research not to cite the aluminum tubes as evidence that Iraq is pursuing nuclear weapons (see February 3, 2003). [Financial Times, 7/29/03]
Iraq attempted to acquire magnets for use in a gas centrifuge program - Powell says: “We ... have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines. Both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium. In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated with firms in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of a magnet production plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing 20 to 30 grams. That's the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq's gas centrifuge program before the Gulf War.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b] Investigation by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] will demonstrate that the magnets have a dual use. IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said a little more than a week before, on January 27, in his report to the Security Council: “Iraq presented detailed information on a project to construct a facility to produce magnets for the Iraqi missile program, as well as for industrial applications, and that Iraq had prepared a solicitation of offers, but that the project had been delayed due to ‘financial credit arrangements’ . Preliminary investigations indicate that the specifications contained in the offer solicitation are consistent with those required for the declared intended uses. However, the IAEA will continue to investigate the matter ....” (see January 27, 2003) [Sources: Letter dated January, 27 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council] On March 7, ElBaradei will provide an additional update: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” (see March 7, 2003) [CNN, 3/7/03]
Iraq attempted to purchase machines to balance centrifuge rotors - Powell states: “Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq.” [The White House, 2/6/03; New York Times, 2/5/03; New York Times, 2/6/03b]
Powell cites the documents removed from the home of Iraqi scientist Faleh Hassan - Powell cites the documents that had been found on January 16, 2003 by inspectors with the help of US intelligence at the Baghdad home of Faleh Hassan, a nuclear scientist. Powell asserts that the papers are a “dramatic confirmation” that Saddam Hussein is concealing evidence and not cooperating with the inspections. The 3,000 documents contained information relating to the laser enrichment of uranium (see January 16, 2003). [The White House, 2/6/03; Hassan, 1/19/03; Telegraph, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 1/18/03] A little more than a week later, in the inspectors' February 14 update to the UN Security Council (see February 14, 2003), ElBaradei will say, “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program.” [Guardian, 2/15/03b; BBC, 2/17/03; Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq is hiding missiles in the desert - Powell says that according to unidentified sources, the Iraqis have hidden rocket launchers and warheads containing biological weapons in the western desert. He further contends that these caches of weapons are hidden in palm groves and moved to different locations on a weekly basis. [The White House, 2/6/03] It will later be suggested that this claim was “lifted whole from an Iraqi general's written account of hiding missiles in the 1991 war.” [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq a few dozen scud missiles - Powell also says that according to unnamed “intelligence sources,” Iraq has a few dozen Scud-type missiles. [Associated Press, 8/9/03]
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction - Secretary of State Colin Powell states unequivocally: “We ... have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.” Elsewhere in his speech he says: “We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.” [US Department of State, 2/5/03; CNN, 2/5/03]
Reaction - The speech does little to change minds on the Security Council. France, Russia, and China remain opposed to the idea of a new resolution that would pave the way for the US to invade Iraq. These countries say that Powell's speech demonstrates that inspections are working and must be allowed to continue. “Immediately after Powell spoke, the foreign ministers of France, Russia and China—all of which hold veto power—rejected the need for imminent military action and instead said the solution was more inspections,” reports The Washington Post. But governments who have been supportive of the United States' aggressive stance remain firmly behind Washington. [Washington Post, 2/7/03; Washington Post, 2/6/03] The press' response to Powell's evidence is also mixed. The Times of London, a relatively conservative daily newspaper, describes Powell's presentation as a “few smudgy satellite photographs, a teaspoon of talcum powder, some Lego-style drawings of sinister trucks and trains, a picture of an American U2 spy plane, several mugshots of Arabic men and a script that required a suspension of mistrust by the world's doves.” [Times, 2/6/03] The Washington Post opinion pages, however, are filled with praises for the speech. [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04] The editorial proclaims that after the presentation, it is “hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.” [The Washington Post, 2/6/04]
People and organizations involved: Iraqi National Congress (INC), Saddam Hussein, Raymond Zilinskas, Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, Hans Blix, Colin Powell, Faleh Hassan, Mohamed ElBaradei  Additional Info 
          

February 11, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Arab satellite TV channel Al Jazeera broadcasts a tape of a voice alleged to be that of Osama Bin Laden. The 16-minute long tape is in Arabic and calls on the Iraqi people to resist US aggression. It also encourages suicide attacks. [BBC, 2/12/03; Associated Press, 2/12/03; New York Times, 2/12/03; Reuters, 2/11/03; CNN, 2/11/03; AP, 2/11/03; Washington Post, 11/12/03; AP, 2/11/03b] Bush administration officials attempt to capitalize on the tape's discovery claiming that it represents solid evidence of ties between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. US Secretary of State Colin Powell refers to the purported link as a “partnership.” And Powell's spokesperson, Richard Boucher says that the recording proves “that bin Laden and Saddam Hussein seem to find common ground.” [New York Times, 2/12/03; Reuters, 2/11/03; Washington Post, 11/12/03] But a senior editor for Al-Jazeera says the tape offers no evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. “When you hear it, it doesn't prove any relation between bin Laden or Al Qaeda group and the Iraqi regime,” he argues. [ABC News, 2/12/03] Several news reports also challenge Powell and Boucher's interpretation. For example, CNN reveals that the voice had criticized Saddam's regime, declaring that “the socialists and the rulers [had] lost their legitimacy a long time ago, and the socialists are infidels regardless of where they are, whether in Baghdad or in Aden.” [CNN, 2/11/03; New York Times, 11/12/03b] Similarly, a report published by Reuters notes that the voice “did not express support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein—it said Muslims should support the Iraqi people rather than the country's government.” [Reuters, 2/11/03] And in a story posted—but later pulled—by MSNBC, it is actually reported that the voice “called on Iraqis to rise up and oust Iraq President Saddam Hussein.” [MSNBC, 2/11/03] MSNBC later says it pulled the story because the statement was presumably based on an unconfirmed translation. An editor for anti-war.com challenged these claims. [Anti-war.com, 2/11/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Boucher, Colin Powell, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden
          

February 14, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       UNMOVIC Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei present an update to the UN Security Council on the progress of weapons inspections in Iraq. The content of their presentation includes no evidence to substantiate US and British claims that Iraq poses a serious threat to the US or Europe. After the report is presented, the majority of the UN Security Council members feel that the use of military force will not be needed to effectively disarm Iraq. [United Nations, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -
After conducting some 400 inspections at over 300 Iraqi sites since December 2002, the inspection teams still have not found any evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that Iraq has programs to develop such weapons. [Associated Press, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; AP, 2/14/03]
The inspectors are unaware of any reliable evidence that the Iraqis have had advanced knowledge of the timing and locations of weapons inspections. “In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming,” Blix says. [Guardian, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Reuters, 2/14/03b; Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03]
The Iraqi government agreed to reduce the number of “minders” present in interviews with Iraqi scientists. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The UNMOVIC weapons inspection teams have begun destroying Iraq's declared arsenal of mustard gas. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
South Africa has made an agreement with Iraq to assist it in its disarmament efforts. [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
Several proscribed weapons and other items remain unaccounted for, including more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents. Blix explains that if they do not exist, Iraq needs to provide him with credible evidence that they have been destroyed. “Another matter and one of great significance is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b]
Based on the data contained in Iraq's declaration of arms, experts have concluded that two varieties of Iraq's Al Samoud II missile systems are capable of exceeding the 150km range limit that was imposed on Iraq in 1991 after the First Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). But contrary to what Powell recently stated in his February 5 presentation to the UN, test stands located at the Al Rafah facility have not been associated with the testing of missiles with the ranges Powell suggested (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b]
More interviews with Iraqi scientists, especially ones involved in its former biological weapons programs, are needed. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Recent private interviews with Iraqi scientists have been helpful to weapons inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The amount of intelligence being supplied by foreign agencies have recently increased and the new information is helping inspectors. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Blix challenges the conclusions made by Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN with regard to US satellite pictures showing the movement of trucks and supplies at suspected weapons sites prior to inspections. He says, “The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection.” [Financial Times, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/14/03b; Guardian, 2/15/03b; Reuters, 2/14/03b; Associated Press, 2/14/03]
Iraq produced a list of 83 people who it says participated in the destruction of large quantities of anthrax and VX precursors in 1991. [Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Inspections are increasing inspectors' knowledge of Iraqi arms. [Guardian, 2/14/03b]
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report by Mohamed ElBaradei -
ElBaradei's team has found no evidence of an illegal nuclear weapons program. “We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.” [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Iraqi officials have provided IAEA inspectors with immediate access to all sites it has sought to examine. [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
The IAEA is still investigating why Iraq attempted to import aluminum tubes during the summer of 2002. The agency is awaiting an explanation from Iraq as to why the tubes—alleged by Iraq to have been destined for a conventional weapons artillery program—were fabricated according to such high quality specifications. [IAEI, 2/14/03; Financial Times, 2/14/03]
Referring to the documents that had been discovered in the home of Faleh Hassan (see January 16, 2003), Mohamed ElBaradei states: “While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment program” . [IAEI, 2/14/03; Guardian, 2/15/03b; BBC, 2/17/03]
Reaction - After the two reports, most UN Security Council members say they believe inspections are working and that the use of military force is unnecessary. Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, says: “There is an alternative to war: disarming Iraq through inspections. [War] would be so fraught with risk for the people, the region and international stability that it should be envisaged only as a last resort. ... We must give priority to disarmament by peaceful means.” His comments are followed by a huge applause. “French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's impassioned speech seeking more time for inspections elicited rare applause from diplomats in the chamber,” reports the Associated Press. By contrast, the more hawkish remarks of US Secretary of State Colin Powell—who was said to have appeared “annoyed” during parts of Blix's report— “did not receive any applause.” Powell, in his response to the report, had stated: “We cannot wait for one of these terrible weapons to turn up in our cities.... More inspections—I am sorry—are not the answer.... The threat of force must remain.” After the reports, Germany, Syria, Chile, Mexico, Russia, France and Pakistan, favor continuing the inspections while Spain and Bulgaria back the US and British position. [Interpress News Service, 2/15/03; US Department of State, 2/14/03; Associated Press, 2/14/03; Fox News, 2/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei, Colin Powell, Hans Blix, Dominique de Villepin  Additional Info 
          

February 27, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Iraq agrees to destroy all the equipment associated with its Al Samoud missile program, including warheads, SA-2 missile engines, machinery to produce missile motors, fuel, launchers, testing equipment, components as well as all software and documentation. The UN had earlier concluded that the missile program was in violation of UN resolutions because the range of the missiles exceeds the 150km limit imposed in 1991 after the Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). Responding to news of Iraq's decision, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer dismisses any suggestion that it is an example of Iraqi cooperation. Instead he describes it as “deception.” He says, “This is the deception the president predicted. We do expect that they will destroy at least some of their missiles.” He also says that Iraq's actions is “propaganda, wrapped in a lie, inside a falsehood.” And Donald Rumsfeld offers a similar interpretation of Iraq's actions. He says: “I don't see a change in the pattern at all. You know, this is exactly what's been going to for years.... They refuse to cooperate, don't cooperate, drag it out, wait until someone finally nails them with one little piece of the whole puzzle and refuse to do anything about it and then finally when they see the pressure building, they say well, maybe we'll do some of that.” Bush similarly states: “The discussion about these rockets is part of [Saddam's] campaign of deception. See, he'll say, ‘I'm not going to destroy the rockets,’ and then he'll have a change of mind this weekend and destroy the rockets and say, ‘I've disarmed.’ ” And Powell says: “I think it's just more indication of the reality that we have been trying to convey to the world, that Saddam Hussein is trying to string it out, trying to divert attention, trying to pretend he is cooperating when he is not cooperating, try[ing] to use process as an excuse for not cooperating and not complying with the will of the international community.” [ABC News, 2/28/03; New York Times, 3/1/03; BBC, 1/28/03; Fox News, 2/28/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Demetrius Perricos, Richard Perle, Colin Powell
          

March 7, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       UNMOVIC chief arms inspector Hans Blix provides a quarterly report to the UN Security Council on the progress of inspections in Iraq, as required by UN Security Resolution 1284 (1999). It is the twelfth such report since UNMOVIC's inception. Blix's report to the Council does not contain any evidence to support US and British claims that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the programs to develop such weapons. IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei also reports to the Council and says there are no signs that Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03]
UNMOVIC report by Hans Blix -
There is no evidence that Iraq has mobile biological weapons factories, as was recently alleged by Colin Powell in his February 5 presentation (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) to the UN. “Several inspections have taken place ... in relation to mobile production facilities,” Blix says. “No evidence of proscribed activities has so far been found.” He further explained that his inspectors had examined numerous mobile facilities and large containers with seed processing equipment. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Agence France Presse, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Blix, 3/7/03]
The Iraqi government has increased its cooperation with inspectors since the end of January. It is attempting to quantify the biological and chemical weapons that it says were destroyed in 1991. [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]
Iraq's destruction of several Al Samoud II missiles represents a real step towards disarmament. “The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament,” he says. “We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03]
Blix says that the UN inspectors needed a few more months to finish their work. “Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure, it will still take some time to verify sites and items, analyze documents, interview relevant persons and draw conclusions,” he says, concluding, “It will not take years, nor weeks, but months.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03]
Iraqi scientists have recently accepted inspectors' requests to be interviewed without “minders.” “Since we started requesting interviews, 38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms, seven during the past week,” Blix explains. [CNN, 3/7/03; UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
Some Iraqi scientists have agreed to interviews without “minders” —but more cooperation is needed. He says, “While the Iraqi side seems to have encouraged interviewees not to request the presence of Iraqi officials or the taping of the interviews, conditions ensuring the absence of undue influences are difficult to attain inside Iraq.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] Iraq needs to turn over more documents. “Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03] There is no evidence of underground weapons facilities. Blix says: “There have been reports, denied by Iraq, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on underground structures suitable for the production or storage of weapons of mass destruction. During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspectors examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground-penetrating radar was used in several locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found.” [UNMOVIC, 3/7/03]
IAEA report by Mohamed ElBaradei -
There is no evidence that the aluminum tubes imported by Iraq in July 2001 were meant for a nuclear weapons program. ElBaradei says: “Extensive field investigation and document analysis have failed to uncover any evidence that Iraq intended to use these 81mm tubes for any project other than the reverse engineering of rockets. ... Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminum tubes in question.” [IAEA, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; Reuters, 3/7/03]
There is no evidence that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Niger. Documents provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the US were determined to be forgeries. The documents were a collection of letters between an Iraqi diplomat and senior Niger officials discussing Iraq's interest in procuring a large amount of uranium oxide (see Early October 2002). “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that documents which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic,” ElBaradei explains. “We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.” (see June 12, 2003) [IAEA, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; CNN, 3/7/03; New York Times, 3/8/03; Reuters, 3/7/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Guardian, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03]
The IAEA has yet to come across evidence of a nuclear weapons program. “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq,” ElBaradei states. “[T]here is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.” [IAEA, 3/7/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/7/03; Associated Press, 3/7/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Associated Press, 3/8/03; The Washington Post, 3/8/03]
In a direct response to allegations made by Colin Powell on February 5 (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) related to the attempted procurement of magnets that could be used in a gas centrifuge, ElBaradei, says: “The IAEA has verified that previously acquired magnets have been used for missile guidance systems, industrial machinery, electricity meters and field telephones. Through visits to research and production sites, reviews of engineering drawings and analyses of sample magnets, IAEA experts familiar with the use of such magnets in centrifuge enrichment have verified that none of the magnets that Iraq has declared could be used directly for a centrifuge magnetic bearing.” [IAEA, 3/7/03]
Iraq's industrial capacity “has deteriorated” at the inspected sites because of lack of maintenance and funds. [IAEA, 3/7/03]
Reaction - Both sides claim that the reports give further support to each of their respective stances on the issue of Iraqi disarmament. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin tells the Council that the reports “testify to the progress” of the inspections. He states that France will not support another resolution because “we cannot accept any ultimatum, any automatic use of force.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says that the reports demonstrate that inspections have been “fruitful.” The Bush administration does not alter its position, despite statements by the two inspectors that Iraq is cooperating with inspections and complying with demands to disarm. Colin Powell, responding to the inspectors' reports, reiterates the administration's position that the inspections are not working and that Saddam is not cooperating. “We must not walk away,” Powell says. “We must not find ourselves here this coming November with the pressure removed and with Iraq once again marching down the merry path to weapons of mass destruction, threatening the region, threatening the world.” He claims that Iraq's behavior is a “a catalog still of noncooperation” and repeats the administration's allegation that the “Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Back at the White House, Ari Fleischer tells reporters, “As the president has said, if the United Nations will not disarm Saddam Hussein, it will be another international organization, a coalition of the willing that will be made up of numerous nations that will disarm Saddam Hussein.” [CNN, 3/6/03; CNN, 3/7/02; US Department of State, 3/7/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Mohamed ElBaradei, Ari Fleischer, Igor Ivanov, Dominique de Villepin, Hans Blix  Additional Info 
          

March 26, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell tells India's Doordarshan TV: “But as soon as possible, we want to have working alongside the commander an interim Iraqi authority, people representing the people of Iraq. And, as that authority grows and gets greater credibility from the people of Iraq, we want to turn over more and more responsibilities to them.” [US Department of State, 3/26/2003]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

April 2, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a joint conference with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic, US Secretary of State Colin Powell says, “I can assure you that we all want to end this as soon as possible, so we can get on with the task of allowing the Iraqi people to form a new government.” [US Department of State, 4/2/2003]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Zoran Zivkovic
          

May 1, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity writes an open letter to President George W. Bush, warning him that the intelligence being used to make policy decisions was being manipulated. The group writes: “While there have been occasions in the past when intelligence has been deliberately warped for political purposes, never before has such warping been used in such a systematic way to mislead our elected representatives into voting to authorize launching a war. You may not realize the extent of the current ferment within the intelligence community and particularly the CIA. In intelligence, there is one unpardonable sin—cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy. There is ample indication that this has been done in Iraq.” They call the skewing of intelligence “a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions.” [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 5/1/03; Reuters, 5/30/03; Times, 5/31/03]
People and organizations involved: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Colin Powell
          

After June 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Several Bush administration officials back off earlier claims of an alliance between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. [Associated Press, 1/8/04; Independent, 1/11/04; Associated Press, 9/16/03; US Department of Defense, 8/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

June 2, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research authors a classified memo addressed to Colin Powell, informing him that current intelligence did not support the conclusion of the joint CIA-DIA May 28 white paper (see May 28, 2003) which concluded that the two trailers found in Iraq were mobile biological weapon factories. The memo also says that the CIA and DIA were wrong in asserting that there were no other plausible uses for the trailer, suggesting that the two pieces of equipment may have been designed for refueling Iraqi missiles. [New York Times, 6/26/03; CBS News, 6/27/03; Fox News, 6/26/03 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

August 15, 2003      Plans to use force against Iran

       On order of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control freezes the financial assets of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which the State Department says is an alias of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK). Powell's order also calls for the closure of the organization's two offices in Washington. NCRI has hitherto enjoyed the support of several US legislators. [Associated Press, 8/15/2003; Voice of America, 8/15/2003] Powell's order ammends Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing [US State Department, 8/15/2003] , issued on September 23, 2001, which blocked the assets of organizations and individuals that US authorities believe are linked to terrorism. [US State Department, 12/20/2002]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK)
          

November 6, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) complains in writing to Coalition Forces about the treatment of prisoners being held at Abu Ghraib prison (see October 2003). [New York Times, 5/11/2004; Associated Press, 5/16/2004; New York Times, 5/19/2004 Sources: US Army Report on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse] The ICRC's complaints are then discussed at high levels inside the Bush administration. “We knew that the ICRC had concerns, and in accordance with the matter in which the ICRC does its work, it presented those concerns directly to the command in Baghdad,” Powell will later recall on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I know that some corrective action was taken with respect to those concerns,” he adds. [Associated Press, 5/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 8, 2004      Complete Iraq timeline

       In response to a question at a news conference, Colin Powell says, “I have not seen a smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.” [Associated Press, 1/8/04; Independent, 1/11/04]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

January 15, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), meets with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and says that the ICRC has “serious concerns about detainees in Iraq.” though according to a senior State Department official, he does not detail them. During his visit, Kellenberger also meets with Condoleezza Rice and, reportedly, with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, though it is unclear what precisely is discussed. A White House spokesman, Sean McCormack, will later say that “Iraq was not mentioned” during the meeting with Rice. Rather the main topic of discussion was Guantanamo, he says. [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Sean McCormack, Jakob Kellenberger, Condoleezza Rice
          

February 11, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) writes in a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell: “Our failure to support the democratic process and help restore order looks like a covert effort to overthrow a government. There is a violent coup d'etat in the making, and it appears that the United States is aiding and abetting the attempt to violently topple the Aristide Government. With all due respect, this looks like ‘regime change.’ How can we call for democracy in Iraq and not say very clearly that we support democratic elections as the only option in Haiti?” [Lee, 2/11/2004; Alternet, 3/1/2004 Sources: February 11, 2004 Letter from US Rep. Barbara Lee to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Barbara Lee
          

February 13, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) writes a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell accusing the State of intentionally subverting democracy in Haiti. “It has been clear to me for some time that the state department has been trying to undermine President Aristide... I am convinced that this effort to force President Aristide out of office by any means is a power-grab by the same forces that staged a coup d'etat and forced him out of office in 1991. The opposition that claims to be peaceful is not peaceful and they are responsible for the violence in Gonaives and other parts of Haiti. Should these actions by Andre Apaid and his Committee of 184, thugs and violent protestors receive support or encouragement from the United States, thereby increasing the risk of a coup d'etat, there may well be a bloodbath on the streets of Haiti.” [Lee, 2/11/2004; Alternet, 3/1/2004 Sources: February 14, 2004 Letter from US Rep. Barbara Lee to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Barbara Lee
          

February 18, 2004      Haiti Coup

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell states the US has “no enthusiasm” for sending troops to protect Haiti's government from the approaching rebel forces. [BBC, 2/18/04]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004      Haiti, Haiti Coup

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is escorted on a US-charted jet to the Central African Republic. The details of this event are disputed.
US' version of events - Aristide contacts US ambassador James Foley on the night of January 28 and asks him three questions: “What did he think would be best for Haiti? Would the United States guarantee his protection? And could he choose his destination for exile?” At 11pm, Ambassador Foley informs Aristide that the United States can ensure his safe departure if he decides to resign and adds that this is what the Bush administration feels he should do. [Independent, 3/2/2004; Associated Press 3/2/2004; Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Aristide and his American wife decide that they will accept the American offer. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Later in the night, Foley attempts to email the president but Aristide's computer has already been packed. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Some time after midnight, Ambassador Foley telephones the US Embassy's second-ranking officer in Port-au-Prince, Luis Moreno, and asks that he escort Aristide and his wife to the airport. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Shortly after 4 am, US Diplomat Luis Moreno arrives at the gates of Aristide's residence in the suburb of Tabarre with a fellow US diplomat and six State Department security officers. Inside Aristide's house the lights are on. Aristide meets Moreno at the door with his suitcases packed. “You know why I'm here,” Moreno says in Spanish. “Yes, of course,” Aristide is quoted as saying in response. Moreno asks Aristide for a resignation letter and Aristide promises to give one to him before he leaves the island. “You have my word and you know my word is good,” Aristide is quoted as saying. They then travel to the airport in separate vehicles, without any further conversation. They arrive at the airport and about 20 minutes before the plane arrives, Moreno again asks for the letter. Aristide provides the letter and then the two converse for the next few minutes. “I expressed sadness that I was here to watch him leave,” Moreno later tells The Washington Post. “Sometimes life is like that,” Aristide responds. “Then I shook his hand and he went away.” [Washington Post, 3/3/2004; Reuters, 3/1/2004 Sources: Aristide's alleged letter of resignation] A US-charted commercial plane arrives in Port-au-Prince at approximately 4:30am. [Associated Press 3/2/2004 Sources: Aristide's alleged letter of resignation] US authorities do not force Aristide onto the leased plane. He goes willingly. [BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004] At 6:15am, the plane departs. [Miami Herald, 2/29/2004] “He was not kidnapped. We did not force him on to the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly, and that's the truth,” Secretary of State Colin Powell claims. [BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004] “The allegations that somehow we kidnapped former President Aristide are absolutely baseless, absurd.” [Reuters, 3/2/2004]
Aristide's version of events - US soldiers arrive at Aristide's residence and order the president not to use any phones and to come with them immediately. Aristide, his wife Mildred and his brother-in-law are taken at gunpoint to the airport. Aristide is warned by US diplomat Luis Moreno that if he does not leave Haiti, thousands of Haitians would likely die and rebel leader Guy Philippe would probably attack the palace and kill him. Moreover, the US warns Aristide that they are withdrawing his US-provided security. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004; BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004] Aristide composes and signs a letter explaining his departure. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004] The president, his wife and his brother-in-law board a commercial jet charted by the US government. His own security forces are also taken and directed to a separate section of the plane. During the flight, Aristide and his wife remain in the company of soldiers. The shades on the windows of the plane are kept down. Soldiers tell him they are under orders not to tell him where he is going. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] The plane stops first in Antigua, where it stays on the ground for two hours, and then flies for six hours across the Atlantic to the Central African Republic. Aristide is unable to communicate with anyone on the ground during the entire 20-hour period he is on the plane because it is presumably not equipped with a telephone. Shortly before touchdown, Aristide is informed that the destination is the Central African Republic. Upon arrival, Aristide is escorted to the “Palace of the Renaissance,” where he makes one phone call to his mother in Florida and her brother. He is provided a room with a balcony, but is not permitted to move around, and he remains in the company of soldiers. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004; Associated Press 3/2/2004] His phone is taken away by African authorities and [Miami Herald, 3/3/2004] he is not provided a replacement or a landline. On the morning of March 1, he contacts US Congresswomen Maxine Waters and family friend Randall Robinson with a cell phone that is smuggled to him.(see March 1, 2004) [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] In an interview with CNN, he says he considers the events a “coup d'etat” and a “modern” version of kidnapping. [Interpress Service, 3/2/2004]
Joseph Pierre's version of events - According to Joseph Pierre, a concierge at Aristide's residence, whose account is reported in the French newspaper Lib?ration, Aristide is taken away early Sunday morning by US soldiers. “White Americans came by helicopter to get him. They also took his bodyguards. It was around two o'clock in the morning. He didn't want to leave. The American soldiers forced him to. Because they were pointing guns at him, he had to follow them. The Americans are second only to God in terms of strength.” [Independent, 3/2/2004]
People and organizations involved: Roger Francisco Noriega, Colin Powell, Joseph Pierre, Luis Moreno, Maxine Waters, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Randal Robinson, Mildred Aristide, James Foley  Additional Info 
          

March 25-26, 2004      Haiti Coup

       CARICOM members meet in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis and call for a UN investigation into the February 29 ouster (see February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004) of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's. “In the light of contradictory reports still in circulation concerning the departure of President Aristide from office, heads of government (of CARICOM) believed that it is in the compelling interest of the international community that the preceding events and all the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power from a constitutionally elected head of state, be fully investigated,” the statement reads. [Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004; CARICOM, 3/26/2004] US Secretary of State Colin Powell will dismiss CARICOM's call for a probe on April 5. “I don't think any purpose would be served by an inquiry. We were on the verge of a bloodbath and President Aristide found himself in great danger.” [US Department of State, 4/5/2004; Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004; Agence-France Presse, 4/5/2004; Washington Times, 4/6/2004] And according to diplomatic sources interviewed by Inter Press Service, the US and France intimidate CARICOM into delaying its official request for a UN inquiry. Both countries warn that they will veto any resolution calling for a probe. [Inter Press Service, 4/13/2004 Sources: Unnamed sources]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)
          

May 11, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell says, “We kept the president informed of the concerns that were raised by the ICRC and other international organizations as part of my regular briefings of the president, and advised him that we had to follow these issues, and when we got notes sent to us or reports sent to us ... we had to respond to them, and the president certainly made it clear that that's what he expected us to do.” (see (May 2003-May 2004)) [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

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