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Release of Kay report on Iraqi WMD.



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KEVIN RUDD M.P.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs 3 October 2003

RELEASE OF KAY REPORT ON IRAQI WMD

US report delivers fourth torpedo to John Howard’s credibility on the Iraq war and national security

The interim report of the Iraq Survey Group has delivered yet another torpedo to John Howard’s credibility on the Iraq war.

The Iraq Survey Group (comprising of 1200 weapons inspectors) has spent the last four months trying to confirm the claim that, as of March 2003, Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of completed chemical and biological weapons. The head of the Survey Group, Mr David Kay, informed the US Congress today in his interim report that no evidence of stockpiles of completed chemical and biological weapons have been found. This comes after:

• John Howard’s false claim that just prior to the war Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear capability by trying to import uranium from Africa; • John Howard’s false claim prior to the war that attacking Iraq was necessary to reduce the threat of terrorism (when in February this year he was already in

possession of British intelligence which said exactly the reverse); and • John Howard’s false claim prior to the war that attacking Iraq would reduce the risk of WMD finding its way into the hands of terrorists (when British intelligence again in February had warned the Howard Government of exactly the reverse).

Today’s Kay Report is the fourth torpedo amidships into John Howard’s credibility on Iraq.

And yet again, it appears John Howard has been loose with the truth on national security.

John Howard now says that the Iraq Survey Group needs more time. When Labor argued this for Hans Blix and the UN weapons inspectors in February, we were told this was a sign of weakness. How strange it is when the boot is now on the other foot.

After the war Labor also called on John Howard to recommission the UN weapons inspectors in order to accelerate the weapons inspection process given that there were already 300 trained UN weapons inspectors with Iraqi field experience. Howard declined.

In the absence of any formal retraction from John Howard, both the Australian Parliament and the Australian people can only expect that the Iraq Survey Group will in the future discover stockpiles of completed chemical and biological weapons, which would have presented a real and immediate threat to security. In the absence of Howard correcting the Parliamentary record, the Opposition has no alternative other than to continue to expect that that will be the case.

How long will it take for John Howard to front the Australian Parliament and people and admit that he had misled them entirely on the reasons for taking Australia to war with Iraq?

Ends.

Further information: Kevin Rudd, MP 0418 796 931 or Alister Jordan 0417 605 823