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Evidence 'Fabricated,' Iraqi Says

February 03, 2003|From Times Wire Services

BAGHDAD — A senior Iraqi official said Sunday that he expects Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to present the U.N. Security Council with fabricated evidence this week alleging that Saddam Hussein's regime possesses banned weapons of mass destruction.

Gen. Hussam Mohammed Amin, Iraq's chief liaison with U.N. weapons inspectors, said Washington will show the council "planted photos" to make its case that Iraq still has banned arms.

"I think they will be fabricated," Amin said. "They will be space photos, aerial photos, of some vehicles that could be interpreted in different ways just to create suspicion around the Iraqi declaration. They will not be real evidence because we have nothing. We have no weapons of mass destruction."

Iraq could refute the material if given a chance to study it, Amin said. "It is a political game," he said.

On Wednesday, Powell will present the Security Council with what U.S. officials say is strong evidence that Iraq is working to impede the inspectors and conceal prohibited weapons. The officials have said Powell probably will present satellite images and electronic intercepts of Iraqi communications.

Hussein is expected to have more to say about the U.S.-Iraqi confrontation in a rare interview, conducted Sunday with retired British lawmaker Tony Benn. Benn said the taped interview will be televised within a day or two.

In Sunday's daily U.N. weapons inspections, monitors made surprise visits to, among other sites, a missile factory west of Baghdad and a chemicals complex to the south, both inspected before, and the Abu Ghraib Dairy Co., 12 miles west of the capital, the Information Ministry reported.

The dairy inspection presumably was linked to the hunt for signs of biological weapons work.

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