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View Full Version : The Iraq Inquiry - Chilcott's Circus Clowns Come to Town



David Guyatt
11-13-2009, 10:19 AM
Chilcott describes his terms of reference as being "very broad" (see: http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/)/). Which arguably is true, when the public actually want an Inquiry where the terms of reference are strict, tight and under legal jurisdiction. But the pubic rarely get what they want.

So get ready to sit down, light that roll-up hanging from your bottom lip, suck on a Stout, put on your comfy armchair slippers and prepare to be dazzled by the new Circus due in town next year. They'll be paper Tigers, several trapeze artists, a bearded lady and lots and lots of painted Clowns who will pantomime us to sleep via our nightly news.

Naughty men will be scolded, yes.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8357963.stm


Blair faces Iraq probe next year

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46721000/jpg/_46721123_008207986-1.jpg

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to be called to give evidence to the Iraq War inquiry early next year.

He will be among senior Labour figures to be publicly grilled just months ahead of an expected general election.

Mr Blair and the others may be quizzed again in more detail, but that will not happen until after the election, which must take place by June.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot has said his report will be published at the end of next year, or even 2011.

In a statement, Sir John said the first five weeks of public evidence sessions, which will begin on 24 November, will hear from senior officials and military officers.

"We will ask them to explain the main decisions and tasks, and their involvement," he said.

"That will give us a clear understanding of how policy developed and was implemented, and what consideration was given to alternative approaches."

'Face-to-face'

Ministers, including Mr Blair, will be called in January and early February.

It is not for us to make findings of guilt or innocence - only a court can do that
Sir John Chilcot
The parents of soldiers killed in Iraq have already warned that they intend to confront Mr Blair at the hearings.

At a pre-hearing last month, Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was among the soldiers killed in the war, said the families wanted to be "face-to-face" with the former prime minister.

The first round of public hearings will be followed by private meetings and analysis before a further round of public sessions in mid-2010.

"In some cases, those hearings will be used to invite witnesses to discuss issues in more detail than in earlier evidence, or to pursue further lines of inquiry," Sir John said.

He added that the inquiry would seek first-hand accounts on the "thematic issues" that need addressing during its initial phase.

These issues would include equipment, personnel, the "key decisions taken and their rationale", the legal basis for military action, policy and communication, said Sir John.

'Open as possible'

He said the committee would be "thorough, rigorous, fair and frank", but added that "no-one is on trial".

"It is not for us to make findings of guilt or innocence - only a court can do that," he said.

"I have, however, made clear that we will not shy away in our report from making criticisms - of individuals or systems - where that is warranted."

When he launched the inquiry he said it would be "as open as possible" with hearings televised and streamed online.

But he said some hearings would be held in private for national security reasons or to allow "more candour".

He has said he does not expect anyone to refuse a request to give evidence.

The inquiry will cover the entire eight-year period from the build-up to the war to the withdrawal of British troops - from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009.

Danny Jarman
11-13-2009, 11:57 AM
If anything happens I will be more than surprised. :stupid:

Jan Klimkowski
11-29-2009, 09:23 PM
Hmm - the official version is rapidly falling apart. :hmmmm2:





Lord Goldsmith told Tony Blair war to topple Saddam would be illegal

Then attorney general's hitherto unpublished letter, written eight months before invasion, given to Chilcot inquiry into Iraq war

Tony Blair was told by his government's most senior legal adviser that an invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein would be a serious breach of international law and the UN charter.

Lord Goldsmith, then attorney general, issued the warning in an uncompromising letter in July 2002, eight months before the invasion. It was becoming clear in government circles that Blair had had secret meetings with George Bush at which the US president was pressing Britain hard to join him in a war to change the regime in Baghdad.

The hitherto unpublished letter has been given to the Chilcot inquiry on the Iraq war. Goldsmith is due to be questioned about it early in the new year with other senior government lawyers who questioned the legality of an invasion at the time. Goldsmith warned Blair that "as things stand you obviously cannot do it [invade Iraq]", a source familiar with the dispute told the Guardian.

Increasingly concerned that Blair was ignoring his earlier advice that regime change was "not a legal basis for military action", on 29 July 2002 Goldsmith wrote to Blair on what the Mail on Sunday described as "a single side of A4 headed notepaper".

The typed letter was addressed by hand, "Dear Tony", and signed by hand, "Yours, Peter". In the letter, whose existence was confirmed by other sources, Goldsmith warned that the UN charter permitted "military intervention on the basis of self-defence", but it did not apply here because Britain was not under threat from Iraq; that the UN allowed "humanitarian intervention" in some circumstances, but such was not the case in Iraq; and that it would be very difficult to rely on earlier UN resolutions approving the use of force against Saddam.

Goldsmith is reported to have ended his letter saying "the situation might change".

Blair not only ignored Goldsmith's letter, he banned the attorney from attending cabinet meetings. Goldsmith was so angry that he threatened to resign and lost three stone in weight as Blair and his closest advisers gagged him, according to the Mail on Sunday. A spokesman for Goldsmith told the paper: "His focus is on the legality of the war, its morality is for others."

Goldsmith issued his private warning to Blair before a new UN security council resolution number 1441, in November 2002 held Iraq in "material breach" of its disarmament obligations and gave Saddam "a final opportunity" to comply with them. He subsequently allowed UN weapons inspectors into the country. The inspectors were withdrawn once Bush made it clear he was about to bomb Iraq and invade the country.

On 7 March 2003, Goldsmith warned the government that although Saddam could be said to be in breach of his international obligations, British forces could still face legal action if they participated in an invasion. Ten days later, he issued a brief statement saying invasion would be lawful. The Butler inquiry into the use of intelligence to justify war revealed that Goldsmith changed his advice after a meeting with two of Blair's close advisers, Lady (Sally) Morgan and Lord Falconer.

It also revealed that a worried Lord Boyce, then chief of the defence staff, needed "unequivocal" advice that the invasion was lawful. He got it after Goldsmith's office contacted 10 Downing Street. Downing Street advised the attorney to say that an invasion would, indeed, be lawful, and unequivocally so. Boyce is due to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry this week.

Lord Falconer told the Mail on Sunday that the version of events it described was "totally false".



http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/29/iraq-war-lord-goldsmith-letter

David Guyatt
11-30-2009, 10:11 AM
It always was clear that the real reason was to grab Iraqi oil and, later, Iranian oil.

The inquiry by Chilcott very much reminds me of the Iraq weapons inquiry by Lord Justice Scott that took place shortly after Margaret Thatcher was tossed out of power. Despite all the excited trailing in the media, by Richard Norton-Taylor and others, building great expectations of justice that was soon to be visited on us long suffering Brits for the wrongs done to us by Her Nibs, the report - as was to be expected by anyone with even a dim insight on how government works - a complete load of bollocks.

But it achieved what it was intended to --- it earthed the boiling anger and discontent.

Tone has nothing to fear.

Jan Klimkowski
11-30-2009, 01:06 PM
The inquiry by Chilcott very much reminds me of the Iraq weapons inquiry by Lord Justice Scott that took place shortly after Margaret Thatcher was tossed out of power. Despite all the excited trailing in the media, by Richard Norton-Taylor and others, building great expectations of justice that was soon to be visited on us long suffering Brits for the wrongs done to us by Her Nibs, the report - as was to be expected by anyone with even a dim insight on how government works - a complete load of bollocks.

But it achieved what it was intended to --- it earthed the boiling anger and discontent.

Tone has nothing to fear.

Yes, I agree in general.

However, in their weasly, highly calculated, mandarin testimony, both Meyer & Greenstock said, essentially, "It was all legal if distateful, but if it's proven that there was a secret high-level deal between the Americans and the Brits to get Saddam regardless, then we knew nothing, guv. Such a deal, if indeed it did exist, was agreed between Blair and Bush personally, and we were out of the loop."

Goldsmith didn't show any courage at the time, but is now allowing his private correspondence to be leaked to cover his own sorry ass similarly.

It is of course almost impossible to imagine that Chilcott would grow a pair and state that the British and Americans agreed on regime change in Iraq and then tried to cook up legal cover. But if Chilcott even suggested this, the British establishment apparitchiks are already cackling mad mandarin laughter at how they've stitched up Blair, attempting to render him solely responsible for the pre-meditated regime change option.

A plague on all their houses.

David Guyatt
12-07-2009, 11:45 AM
I have some reason to doubt the veracity of the below claim that we Brits knew nothing about US plans for the invasion of Iraq until June 2002.

Without going into details I know someone who I believe worked in military intelligence (military as opposed to MI6/SIS) who had retired but had been called back to temporary service in the Winter of 2001. It didn't occur to me at the time the significance of this but later it made sense as Iraq was the only thing of any military significance that going on.


Moment US revealed Iraq war plans (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8394683.stm)

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46854000/jpg/_46854026_iraqchilcotpa226.jpg

A senior British military figure has described the moment that the US "drew back the curtain" on its plans for possible military action in Iraq.

Maj Gen David Wilson, who was UK adviser to US Central Army Command, disclosed the UK was made "privy" to US plans in Florida in June 2002.

The UK later said it could not offer "even basic support" if political and legal hurdles were not cleared.

The Chilcot inquiry is examining UK policy on Iraq between 2001 and 2009.

'Defining moment'

It is scrutinising the military build-up to the 2003 invasion, looking into when military preparations began in the UK and US and whether they made a diplomatic solution less likely.

Maj Gen Wilson said there was no talk about Iraq by senior US commanders when he first took up his role as the link between UK and US military headquarters in spring 2002.

But he said this "suddenly changed" in June following a meeting between senior UK and US commanders.

This is when not just the British, but the Australians, were made privy to planning that had gone to that point by the US
Maj Gen David Wilson
In what was a "defining moment", he said the UK was presented with what he described as "options without any commitment" regarding possible military action in Iraq and how the UK might contribute.

"This is when, not just the British but the Australians, were made privy to planning that had gone to that point by the US," he said.

This development raised all kinds of questions in the UK, he said, since British commanders did not know how the US had got to this stage.

"The secure wires went hot," he said of reaction in the UK.

Maj Gen Wilson said he "assumed" the decision to sanction disclosure of the plans was made by then US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

'Observations'

In early August, UK and Australian commanders attended a meeting in Florida and were asked to provide what Maj Gen Wilson said were "early observations" on the plans.

He said he advised that "unless political and legal issues are resolved it would be difficult for the UK to deliver even basic support".

He also suggested that other US allies be given insight into the plans and stressed "no decision" was taken on Iraq at that stage.

Earlier, another senior commander said he set up a small "scoping" group in Whitehall to look at potential military options for Iraq in May 2002, not long after a key meeting between Tony Blair and President Bush.

"My job was to bring options," Sir Anthony Piggot, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff in 2002 said. "There was no talk about plans at that stage. We were talking about options".

INQUIRY TIMELINE
November-December: Former top civil servants, spy chiefs, diplomats and military commanders to give evidence
January-February 2010: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and other politicians expected to appear before the panel
March 2010: Inquiry expected to adjourn ahead of the general election campaign
July-August 2010: Inquiry expected to resume
Report set to be published in late 2010 or early 2011
He said this exercise was driven by an "evolving political intent".

Asked what this intent was, he said he believed it was focused on dealing with the weapons of mass destruction Iraq was believed to possess not regime change.

'UK ideas'

From an early stage, he believed the minuses of the UK not contributing anything to a potential action "outweighed" the pluses.

Recalling the June 2002 meeting with US commanders which he attended, he said he was told the US had "enough combat power" to go it alone in Iraq but wanted UK support for military and political reasons.

"What we want from the Brits is ideas," he said he was told. "You are the thinkers."

Sir Anthony told the Iraq inquiry that it was never "a stitched-up deal" the UK would be involved in any invasion.

"It was a remarkable logistic achievement to get that force structure in that timeframe into there to play a leading role," he said.

Asked what the UK got out of the mission, he said it showed the UK was a "serious player" and "enhanced no end" its military relationship with the US in terms of future operations and sharing intelligence.

In the first few weeks, the inquiry is hearing from senior diplomats and policy advisers who shaped policy in the run-up to the war.

The crucial question of the legality of the war will not be addressed until early next year, when Tony Blair is expected to give evidence.

Magda Hassan
12-07-2009, 12:05 PM
"What we want from the Brits is ideas," he said he was told. "You are the thinkers.":hahaha::hahaha::hahaha:
That's priceless! If they'd given it more than 3 seconds thought they'd never have gone.


Asked what the UK got out of the mission, he said it showed the UK was a "serious player" and "enhanced no end" its military relationship with the US in terms of future operations and sharing intelligence. :sheep: The UK is allowed to play with the big boys. Wow. I am underwhelmed. Oh, and be the recipient of dodgy US intelligence no better than toilet paper. Like the Nigerian yellow cake, mobile chemical weapons vans in the Iraqi desert and those missing WMD that were sold to Saddam by the west. Ending up with all that shit doesn't seem much of a privilege. :bike:

Helen Reyes
12-07-2009, 12:31 PM
Asked what the UK got out of the mission, he said it showed the UK was a "serious player" and "enhanced no end" its military relationship with the US in terms of future operations and sharing intelligence.

Not to mention multiple instances where the US threatened to end intelligence sharing with the UK over Guantanamo, the murdered Blair advisor etc.

Magda Hassan
12-14-2009, 12:16 AM
Just like Cheney and Bush giving their un-sworn testimony in secret. Can't say I am surprised at all. Odious little man.


Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret

Former PM was happy to discuss invasion with Fern Britton on TV show but the Chilcot inquiry will hear his crucial testimony behind closed doors
By Jane Merrick and Brian Brady

Sunday, 13 December 2009

http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00274/blairalt1_274893t.jpg (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/untouchable-blair-to-give-iraq-war-evidence-in-secret-1839289.html?action=Popup)
AFP
It will be seen as supremely ironic that Mr Blair made the confession in the cosy surroundings of a documentary about his religious beliefs, in Fern Britton Meets...to be broadcast on BBC1 today, yet the public will be denied the chance to see any difficult questioning


Key parts of Tony Blair's evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War will be held in secret, sources close to the hearings revealed last night.
His conversations with President George Bush when he was prime minister, and crucial details of the decision-making process that led Britain into war, will fall under the scope of national security and the protection of Britain's relations with the US.
But there are also suggestions by well-placed sources that anything "interesting" will also be shrouded in secrecy, leaving his public appearance containing little more than is already known.
Related articles


The revelation will dash hopes that Mr Blair will finally detail in public why he committed British troops to the disastrous military invasion on the basis of flimsy intelligence.
The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg last night condemned the move, saying if a significant proportion of Mr Blair's evidence were held in private then the public would "rightly conclude that the inquiry is simply too weak to give us the truth".
It followed Mr Blair's extraordinary admission to the TV presenter Fern Britton this weekend that he would have gone to war even if he had known Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.
He would have deployed "different arguments" to remove Saddam, Mr Blair said undermining his long-held case that Saddam needed to be toppled because of the threat of WMD.
It will be seen as supremely ironic that Mr Blair made the confession in the cosy surroundings of a documentary about his religious beliefs, in Fern Britton Meets... to be broadcast on BBC1 today, yet the public will be denied the chance to see any difficult questioning of how he has changed his justification for war over the past seven years.
All of the evidence held behind closed doors is expected to be redacted from the Chilcot panel's final report on the war.
There are already concerns that Sir John Chilcot and his four fellow panellists have given the 27 witnesses who have so far appeared mainly senior Foreign Office mandarins an easy ride over their role in the war.
The former MI6 chief Sir John Scarlett, in evidence last week, distanced himself from the "overtly political" foreword to the September 2002 Downing Street dossier. Yet the panel failed to ask why it was that Mr Blair and Alastair Campbell were able to amend the document he was in charge of. Sir John will also give evidence in private.
The inquiry adjourns for the Christmas break this week. Mr Blair will appear in public in the new year, followed by a private session.
The IoS revealed earlier this year that Mr Blair lobbied Gordon Brown, through the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, for the inquiry to be held in private to prevent it turning into a "show trial".
After widespread uproar, the move was blocked and it was announced that all evidence would be public and televised. Yet a source close to the inquiry said yesterday that the "interesting" aspects of Mr Blair's evidence will still be heard behind closed doors.
The source said: "Anyone who thinks the public will have their day in court with Blair is wrong."
It is thought the move arose from a mutual agreement. Whitehall frequently uses national security as a reason to withhold documents from the public. The Freedom of Information Act also blocks the release of details where the effects of disclosure could damage the UK's relations with any other state or international organisation.
A spokesman for the inquiry said: Mr Blair would be appearing "very much in public". He added: "We have said right from the start that he will be a key figure in the inquiry. Mr Blair has said that he is ready and willing to give evidence in public."
Mr Clegg said last night: "It would be wholly unacceptable for any of Blair's testimony to be held in private, except that which could directly compromise national security. Tony Blair's breathtaking cynicism in stating that he would have found any old excuse to go to war simply underlines how vital it is that we hear his testimony in public.
"It is highly ironic that he is willing to speak publicly to Fern Britton but not to the inquiry set up to investigate the Iraq War."
Another source with knowledge of the inquiry said it was clear the "heavy stuff" was being saved for behind closed doors.
Hans Blix, head of the UN weapons inspectorate in 2003, said that Mr Blair's confession to Fern Britton had left a "strong impression of a lack of sincerity", adding that the WMD argument was a "figleaf".

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/untouchable-blair-to-give-iraq-war-evidence-in-secret-1839289.html

David Guyatt
12-14-2009, 11:39 AM
THis is how the secret state protects itself. The odious little man Magda, is Opus Dei and, therefore, a deep member of that Anglo-American-Vatican power complex that (imo anyway) is the guiding mind and hand behind much of the crucial deep events of the last century and those of this century.

Let us pray:

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today,
To ensure that God's Will be done,
As we wish it to be done
So that your humble servants, Lord,
Can benefit from your munificence.

Amen.

Now bring on the hookers and little boys and lets celebrate in Your name....

Jan Klimkowski
12-14-2009, 07:10 PM
For the public record.


'Sycophant' Tony Blair used deceit to justify Iraq war, says former DPP

Sir Ken Macdonald, director of public prosecutions between 2003 and 2008, says Blair misled and cajoled the British people into a war they didn't want


Tony Blair used "deceit" to persuade parliament and the British people to support war in Iraq, Sir Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, said today.

In an article in the Times, Macdonald attacked Blair for engaging in "alarming subterfuge", for displaying "sycophancy" towards George Bush and for refusing to accept that his decisions were wrong.


Macdonald's comments about Blair's decision to go to war are more critical than anything that has been said so far by any of the senior civil servants who worked in Whitehall when Blair was prime minister.

Macdonald was DPP from 2003 until 2008 and he now practises law from Matrix Chambers, where Blair's barrister wife, Cherie, is also based.

In his article Macdonald highlighted a remark Blair made in an interview broadcast yesterday about supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein regardless of whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to explain why he thought the former prime minister was guilty of deceit.

But Macdonald also expressed concerns about the Iraq inquiry, suggesting that some of its questioning so far had been "unchallenging" and that Sir John Chilcot and his team would be held in "contempt" if they failed to uncover the truth about the war.

Macdonald wrote: "The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer. This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions, and playing footsie on Sunday morning television does nothing to repair the damage.

"It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner, George Bush, and went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war they had made perfectly clear they didn't want, and on a basis that it's increasingly hard to believe even he found truly credible."

Macdonald said that Blair's fundamental flaw was his "sycophancy towards power" and that he could not resist the "glamour" he attracted in Washington.

"In this sense he was weak and, as we can see, he remains so," Macdonald went on.

"Since those sorry days we have frequently heard him repeating the self-regarding mantra that 'hand on heart, I only did what I thought was right'. But this is a narcissist's defence, and self-belief is no answer to misjudgment: it is certainly no answer to death."

Macdonald said that, with the exceptions of some of the interventions from Sir Roderic Lyne, the questions asked when the Chilcot inquiry has been taking evidence from witnesses have been tame.

"If this is born of a belief that it creates an atmosphere more conducive to truth, it seems naive. The truth doesn't always glide out so compliantly; sometimes it struggles to be heard," Macdonald said.

Many commentators have criticised the fact that all members of the Chilcot team are establishment figures Chilcot himself is a former permanent secretary and Macdonald said the inquiry needed to prove its independence.

"In British public life, loyalty and service to power can sometimes count for more to insiders than any tricky questions of wider reputation. It's the regard you are held in by your peers that really counts, so that steadfastness in the face of attack and threatened exposure brings its own rich hierarchy of honour and reward.

"Disloyalty, on the other hand, means a terrible casting out, a rocky and barren Roman exile that few have the courage to endure."

Macdonald said Chilcot and his team needed to tell the truth without fear of offending the Whitehall establishment.

"If Chilcot fails to reveal the truth without fear in this Middle Eastern story of violence and destruction, the inquiry will be held in deserved and withering contempt," Macdonald said.

Yesterday, in an interview with Fern Britton broadcast on BBC1, Blair said he would have backed an attack on Iraq even if he had known that Saddam had no WMD.

"If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?" Blair was asked.

He replied: "I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]".

Blair added: "I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/dec/14/tony-blair-ken-macdonald-deceit

David Guyatt
12-14-2009, 09:45 PM
Bravo MacDonald!

Jan Klimkowski
12-14-2009, 11:25 PM
Blair sold Iraq on WMD, but only regime change adds up

The PM seems to have deployed arguments as they suited him. Our weapons inspections were telling another story

By Hans Blix

Before the Iraq war was launched in March 2003 the world was given the impression by the US and Britain that the goal was to eradicate weapons of mass destruction. Recent comments by Tony Blair suggest, however, that regime change was the essential aim. He would have thought it right to remove Saddam Hussein even if he had known that there were no WMD, he said, but he would obviously have had to "deploy" different arguments. Must we not conclude that the WMD arguments were "deployed" mainly as the best way of selling the war? Blair's comments do not exclude a strong but mistaken belief in the existence of WMD even when the invasion was launched. However, given that hundreds of inspections had found no WMD and important evidence had fallen apart, such a belief would have been based on a lack of critical thinking.

How could the issue of non-existent WMD mislead the world for more than 10 years? At the end of the Gulf war in 1991 the UN security council ordered Iraq to declare all WMD and destroy them under international supervision. However, Iraq chose to destroy much material without any inspection, giving rise to suspicions that weapons had been squirrelled away. These were nurtured by the frequent Iraqi refusals throughout the 90s to let UN inspectors enter sites and by evasive and erroneous responses to inspectors' inquiries.

What other reason could there have been than to prevent inspectors getting evidence of existing weapons? It is possible that Saddam wanted to create the false impression that he still had WMD. What seems more likely to me, however, was a sense of hurt pride, a wish to defy and the knowledge that some of the inspectors worked directly for western intelligence perhaps even passed information about suitable military targets.

Only in September 2002, when the US had already moved troops to Kuwait, did Iraq say it was to accept the inspection that the UN demanded. By that time a new US national security strategy declared that it could take armed (pre-emptive or preventive) action without UN authorisation; many in the Bush administration saw UN involvement as a potential impediment.

Many are convinced that the American and UK military plans moved on autopilot, and the inspections were a charade. I am sure that many in the Bush team felt that way. It seems likely that British and American leaders expected that UN inspections would again be obstructed or that Iraqi violation of the draconian new resolution 1441 would persuade the security council to authorise military action to remove the regime. For my part, I tended to think of the war preparations rather as a train moving slowly to the front and helping to make Iraq co-operative. If something removed or reduced the weapons issue, the train, I thought, might stop.

For the UK to join the US on an unpredictable UN line was a gamble and in the end it failed. Inspections did not turn up any "smoking guns" and gradually undermined some of the evidence that had been invoked. Iraq became more co-operative and showed no defiance that could prompt the authorising of armed force. Thus, while the train of war moved on, the UN path pointed less and less to an authorisation of war.

What could the UK have done to avoid this development? It could have made a condition of its participation in the enterprise that the movement of the military train be synchronised with the movement on the UN path. With inspections just starting in the autumn of 2002 the military train should have moved very slowly. We have heard that Karl Rove had said that the autumn of 2003 was the latest time for invasion. Why so fast then in 2002? As the then German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, said: what was the sense of demanding UN inspections for two and a half years and then let them work only for a few months? Of course, if regime change and not WMD was the main aim, the steady speed becomes logical.

The responsibility for launching the war must be judged against the knowledge that the allies had when they actually started it. The UK should have recognised that no smoking gun had been found at any time, and that in the months before the invasion evidence of WMD was beginning to unravel. As we have heard recently: out of 19 Iraqi sites suspected by the UK and suggested to the UN monitoring, verification and inspection commission for inspection (Unmovic) 10 were actually inspected, and while "interesting", none turned up any WMD. This warning that sources were not reliable seems to have been ignored. Intelligence organisations seem to have been 100% convinced of the existence of WMD but to have had 0% knowledge where they were. Worse still: the uranium contract between Iraq and Niger that George Bush had given prominence in his 2002 state of the union message was found by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be a forgery.

The absence of convincing evidence of WMD did not stop the train to war. It arrived at the front before the weather got too hot and the soldiers got impatient waiting for action. The factual reports of the IAEA and Unmovic did, however, have the result that a majority on the security council wanted more inspections and were unconvinced about the existence of WMD.

At the end the UK tried desperately to get some kind of authorisation from the security council as a legal basis for armed action but failed. Confirming the fears of Dick Cheney, President Bush's vice-president, the UN and inspections became an impediment not to armed action, but to legitimacy.

Unlike the US, the UK and perhaps other members of the alliance were not ready to claim a right to preventive war against Iraq regardless of security council authorisation. In these circumstances they developed and advanced the argument that the war was authorised by the council under a series of earlier resolutions. As Condoleezza Rice put it, the alliance action "upheld the authority of the council". It was irrelevant to this argument that China, France, Germany and Russia explicitly opposed the action and that a majority on the council declined to give the requested green light for the armed action. If hypocrisy is the compliment that virtue pays to vice then strained legal arguments are the compliments that violators of UN rules pay to the UN charter.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/dec/14/blair-iraq-regime-change-inspections

Jan Klimkowski
12-15-2009, 06:46 PM
Chilcot censors Iraq inquiry's live broadcast

Sir Jeremy Greenstock's evidence on political mistakes after invasion is interrupted


Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the Iraq inquiry, cut the live video of today's hearings, raising fears that he is suppressing evidence on grounds of embarrassment rather that any damage to national security.

"I interrupted the broadcast because of a mention of sensitive information," he said after hearing evidence from Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's UN ambassador before the invasion and special envoy in Baghdad afterwards.

(snip)......

People aware of the piece of intelligence now deleted from the record dismissed it as insignificant. They made it clear that in their view the information was not at all sensitive from the point of view of national security.

Greenstock earlier himself said that relations between the US and UK, including what the US told British officials about conditions in Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison where US soldiers abused Iraqi detainees, was "a matter for private discussion". The incidents suggest evidence is being suppressed to avoid political or diplomatic embarrassment rather than genuine issues affecting national security.

After cutting off the live feed, Chilcot referred to "sensitive information as defined in our published protocols". Under protocols agreed by the inquiry, information in official documents can be referred to only after consulting the Whitehall department or government agency concerned.

Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, has written to Chilcot asking him to explain how he is interpreting the protocols. "Chilcot needs to confirm that he pulled the plug on grounds of national security, not political embarrassment," he said. "Any suggestion that the inquiry would be party to suppressing political mistakes whether by Americans or Brits would be highly damaging to its credibility."

Inquiry panel members have sometimes referred to documents but not their content even though they are already in the public domain.





http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/15/chilcot-inquiry-video-cut-off

Peter Lemkin
12-15-2009, 07:22 PM
Few know that the first British invasion of Iraq was in 1914. I guess they hoped by tagging along with the Americans they could try once again...having failed the first time. Now it is two out of two...or is that three out of three or four out of four or more?!.....:captain:

http://www.amazon.com/Mesopotamia-Mess-British-Invasion-Iraq/dp/1602990174
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/51/215.html

Helen Reyes
12-15-2009, 07:50 PM
My reading came up with a meeting between Bush Sr and Thatcher in 1989 or 1990 (forget) to agree to how to attack Iraq. Before Kuwait was invaded. Before Saddam Hussein went on to TV to tell the British, na-na-na-na, I got the krytons anyway. Bush, Reagan, Thatcher and I think Queen Elizabeth were all party to the pre-planning for 1991.

btw Peter, there's some marginal talk of British rule in Iraq in Lady Ethel Stefania Drower's The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran: their cults, customs, magic, legends, and folklore (1937):
http://www.archive.org/details/MN41560ucmf_1

Magda Hassan
12-24-2009, 01:07 PM
The former foreign secretary Jack Straw (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/jackstraw) is to face potentially explosive questioning at the Iraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iraq) inquiry next month over a private letter he sent to Tony Blair (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/tonyblair) on the eve of the invasion, urging the prime minister to look at options apart from pressing ahead with British military (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/military) involvement in the attack.
It is understood that the inquiry is to receive a copy of the personal letter sent by Straw, written after discussions with Sir Michael (now Lord) Jay, the Foreign Office permanent secretary, on 16 March 2003, two days before the Commons voted to back the war.
Straw was yesterday named by the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war as one of its star witnesses next month. Ten serving or former cabinet ministers have been called, including Tony Blair, the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith and the former defence secretary Geoff Hoon (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/geoffhoon).
But the inquiry has controversially decided not to cross-examine Gordon Brown before the general election, on the basis that it would be wrong to interrogate any serving minister still holding ministerial responsibility for Iraq. Straw is not exempted on this basis because he is now lord chancellor, with responsibility for the justice system.
It has been claimed that in the letter Straw suggested the UK should offer the Americans "political and moral support" in their campaign against Saddam Hussein, but not military backing.
He reportedly urged Blair to tell George Bush (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/george-bush) that British troops would help clear up the mess and keep the peace once the war was over, but could play no part in Saddam's overthrow.
The US president had offered Blair the chance to pull out, and the then chief of the defence staff, Lord Boyce, has told the Chilcot inquiry that the US invasion would not have been delayed by more than a week if British military forces had been held back at the last minute.
Downing Street has never denied the existence of Straw's letter, but claims he did not oppose British involvement in the war, and instead merely set out the options for how the UK could remain involved in Iraq's reconstruction in the event of MPs voting to oppose British military involvement.
The dispute over the letter's precise contents and motives is one of the great mysteries of the high politics of the British invasion. If Straw did urge restraint at the last minute, it will place an extra onus of responsibility on Blair himself for the decision to go to war. It will also raise questions as to why Straw decided to defend the war so strongly subsequently.
In public Straw has always argued that the invasion was lawful and that Iraq is a better place for the downfall of Saddam. He has also maintained that the whole of the western intelligence community genuinely believed Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.
But it is known that in common with the then US secretary of state, Colin Powell, he challenged the way in which the neo-con Bush administration viewed regime change in Iraq and its optimism that the fall of Saddam would not lead to a civil war between Sunnis and Shias.
Chilcot's treatment of the Straw letter will also be a major test for the legitimacy of the inquiry itself, which has been criticised for repeatedly failing during examination of witnesses to refer to written documentation made available by Whitehall. Since July, the inquiry team has received more than 40,000 government documents, including 12,000 from 10 Downing Street.
In his closing remarks before the end of the pre-Christmas hearings, Chilcot said: "The inquiry will increasingly wish to draw on government records which are currently classified in some cases highly classified in its questioning. Where we do, we will seek the necessary declassification of records in advance of the relevant public hearings, with a view to making the written records publicly available."
As well as the prime minister, David Miliband, the foreign secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the development secretary, have all been excused for the moment and will not give evidence until after the general election, because the inquiry wants to remain "firmly outside party politics".
When Brown is questioned, he will have to answer claims that British confusion over whether to take responsibility for southern Iraq stemmed from Treasury resistance to funding the reconstruction.
The inquiry has broken new ground by revealing the lack of serious postwar planning in the UK, Whitehall's late awareness of the implications of the US defence department taking responsibility for reconstruction, and the collective failure of Whitehall in the days before the war to consider whether delay was necessary. Civil servants under cross-examination have repeatedly admitted that they struggled to influence US thinking, and sometimes revealed deep disdain for American methods.
Others to appear in January or February include the former defence secretaries John Reid and Des Browne, and a former legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Elizabeth Wilmshurst who resigned after Goldsmith's final advice to the government reversed her legal opinion. Lord Jay, the former Cabinet secretary Lord Turnbull, Alistair Campbell and Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, have also been summoned to appear.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/23/jack-straw-letter-iraq-inquiry

Jan Klimkowski
01-13-2010, 07:12 PM
Matthew Norman: It will take more than Chilcot to nail Campbell

As the warm-up man for Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell was perfect

"He did not impress me as a witness in whom I could feel 100 per cent confidence, he was not wholly convincing or satisfactory, and he was less than completely open and frank."


These are not my words about Alastair Campbell's appearance before Sir John Chilcot's inquiry yesterday, but those of judge Sir Maurice Drake in the 1996 malicious falsehood case brought against him by Tory MP Rupert Allason. They seem doubly apt today. For one thing Mr Allason's lively joint career as both politician and spy writer offered, with the hindsight to which Mr Campbell yearningly referred yesterday, a tantalising hint of the dangers in store when politics and spookery go to bed together. And for another, Mr Campbell remains anything but a wholly convinc... well, whatever the above judicialese for downright bloody liar was.

Nothing original in that analysis, you may think, and you would of course be right. Pontificating ponces like me have been calling Mr Campbell a liar for even longer than he has been blaming us as he often did yesterday: it was the media wot screwed it all up; us and the French for poisoning the well of purist political debate he strove mightily to protect.

Then again there was nothing thrillingly original in anything he had to say as by and large he trotted out his lines with the practised ease of one who has done so before, and boned up hard for this latest viva. On the surface he did it pretty well, holding his temper, smiling when possible, and treating his interrogators to the contemptuous patience of the prissy boarding school headmistress whom a pair of sporadically donned and curiously effete spectacles made him resemble.

As warm-up man for Mr Tony Blair, in fact, he was perfect. Admittedly he was fairly dull for the first segment of the cross-examination (a guy in the front row of the audience snoozed), but so was the subject matter (regime change vs WMD). Both sprung to life in the second half, however, when he provided enough entertainment to keep the crowd amused, but not so much as to risk the headline act disappointing us later this month. For all that, the poor soul was rattled once or twice. And he is a pitiable creature, this gaunt and haunted dry drunk, this self-destructed alpha timebomb.

Sympathy for the psychotic propagandist who did such incalculable damage to national life denuding the Civil Service of its independence, making outright falsehoods the currency of Downing Street where half-truths and omissions had been the coinage before, and unwittingly taking the Samson Option to bring the temple roof down on himself as well as the BBC doesn't come easy. It's unforgivably petty, but I exult in every Burnley defeat knowing it will ruin his weekend. He's a right little monster, and no mistake. But he's a sad and vulnerable little monster, and, however nerveless he appeared, he was suffering yesterday. A couple of times he even gave himself away.

Now I don't know if any of Sir John, the admirably dogged Sir Lawrence Freedman, the not so dogged Sir Martin Gilbert, the reticent Sir Roderick Lyne or the sensationally useless Baroness Ushar Prashar moonlights as a professional poker player. On balance, I'd guess not.

But if so, they'd be aware that the most obvious tell of all is someone touching their nose for no apparent reason. If there's no scratching, wiping or other practical purpose to the nostril-work, invariably it's a bluff.

Mr Campbell needlessly touched that aquiline hooter a couple of times, most notably when Sir Lawrence moved to those legendary 45 Minutes. He'd been spouting a fair amount of gibberish from the start, to be frank. He had, for example, made the false claim that the policy of containing Saddam was failing by the time of the pivotal Camp David meeting between Messrs Bush and Blair in 2002, and told the whopp... excuse me, been less than wholly convincing in denying that this was when Mr Blair promised the President his undying martial fealty. But he'd said it all with the effortless assurance that leads people to trust in, or at least give the benefit of the doubt to, spoken words that would strike them as preposterous on the page.

Once Sir Lawrence started with the dodgy dossier, however, and particularly the "overtly political" foreword shorn of caveats and signed by the PM himself of which Mr Campbell's BF Sir John Scarlett wisely washed his hands until they bled, he started to struggle. The declarations of his own rectitude became more strident, the attacks on a venal media more deranged. If only hacks had been timelocked in the deferential age when questioning a PM's vague but forceful assertions about intelligence material was unimaginable, ran what passed for his argument, none of this mess would have happened.

The non-existence of the WMDs and the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the phoney war that ensued seemed irrelevant. Such banalities have no place in the mind of this perverted Marshall McLuhan. To him the media is always the message, and the real war the one still rumbling between his own monstrous ego and those, led by the Andrew Gilligan, who dared to doubt him and his master in the first place.

And yet, and yet ... where we graciously extend to Mr Blair the catch-all sociopath defence that for him the act of intoning a thought transforms that thought into the truth, Mr Campbell knows a lie when he speaks it. And we know he knows, and he knows we know he knows. Put another way, to adapt the late Hylda Baker, it's nose you know.

The publishing of the dossier (and this you have to love) was an exercise in "openness". If the cretins of the press chose to fixate on its juiciest claims, and write "Saddam can attack British nationals in 45 minutes" and "He could nuke us all in a year" headlines, well, headlines were never of the faintest concern to this important strategic thinker. The fact that Scarlett emailed him to ask what headlines he wanted the dossier to generate was so irrelevant that he couldn't even recall what, if anything, he replied.

It was at this stage that I succumbed to the obvious fantasy, in which a team of SAS stormtroopers burst through a hole in the wall, Iranian Embassy style, and pumped him full of a truth serum, or waterboarded him, or put him on a Gulfstream to Syria in pursuit of a confession.

"I don't know what more I can say?" he said, insisting that the insertion of the phrase "beyond doubt" regarding Saddam's fearsome weapons capability was "a perfectly fair philosophical point" because and you'd need to be quite the scholar of logic to spot the flaw here no one ever said for sure that Saddam didn't have WMD.

What more Mr Campbell could say, you felt, was "it's a fair cop, guv'nor, you've got me bang to rights". But that isn't how this weird and unending danse macabre is danced. So all he could say, as if no more need ever be said, is that when Mr Blair told the Commons and the country that beyond doubt Saddam was a serious, credible and current threat, the PM believed it with all his heart. And then he touched his nose.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/matthew-norman/matthew-norman-it-will-take-more-than-chilcot-to-nail-campbell-1865987.html

Alastair Campbell had the grand title of Director of Communications and Strategy under Blair. In reality, he was a spinmeister, a propagandist, and a more accurate job title would have been Director of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda - Volksaufklrung und Propaganda.

In his early years, Joseph Goebbels penned "romantic" fiction. Campbell wrote pornography. Fundamentally though, both men were driven by the desire to control, to influence, to bend others to their will, and their evolution into state propagandists had a definite inevitability.

The Daily Mail's front page headline today was "Shameless, swaggering and STILL lying". Whilst I loathe the Daily Mail as much as anyone, the broader point is that newspapers are highly reluctant to call a person a liar in print.

Britain has the most onerous libel laws in the world, and newspapers lawyers would not have allowed such a charge to be printed if they had no evidence.

My own judgement is that the Mail decided to call Campbell a liar on their front page because they are daring him to sue. If Campbell sued, the case would go to a court of law where the Mail would have rights of discovery and so get to see many of the documents that the Chilcott Inquiry has now stated will remain classified (after earlier spinning that they would be declassified). In addition, cross-examination of Campbell would be far more rigorous, robust and relentless. He would not be allowed to get away with his spinmeister tricks and empty banalities.

I hope Campbell does sue. Because a court of law would do a far better job of interrogating him and getting to the truth of this matter than Chilcott's circus is doing.

Jan Klimkowski
01-13-2010, 08:05 PM
Campbell finds solace in psalms:



Now Campbell quotes scripture at us: Blair's spin-doctor blogs on Psalm about 'people who try to twist your words'
By Niall Firth

Last updated at 3:45 PM on 13th January 2010

He once famously said that 'we don't do God'.

But Alastair Campbell today admitted that he had found comfort in a Psalm that had been emailed to him ahead of yesterday's appearance at the Iraq inquiry.

Writing on his own blog today, the former No 10 communications chief claimed that he had been inundated by emails and messages by well-wishers.
And the former spin doctor said that one email in particular had given him comfort as he listened to what he described as 'overblown and agenda-driven commentary'.

Alastair Campbell speaking at the Iraq Inquiry yesterday. He said he had been given some comfort by a Psalm sent to him yesterday before he appeared
He wrote: 'I am amazed too how many people, though they know I don't do God, sent me passages from the Bible.

'As I walked through the media scrum on the way in, and on the way out, and listened to some of the overblown and agenda driven commentary, I was glad to have read in the morning an email with Psalm 56 attached ...

'"'What can mortal man do to me?" it asks "All day long they twist my words, they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life..."

'I never detected a death plot among the British media, but the rest of it sums up the Westminster lobby to a tee.'

More...Shameless, swaggering and STILL lying: Alastair Campbell 'stands by every word' of 45-minute dodgy dossier that took us to war with Iraq
Gordon Brown: I have nothing to hide from Iraq inquiry

Mr Campbell wrote that he while he was 'still not doing God' he agreed with Neil Kinnock who he quoted as saying that 'it's a shame we're atheists, because some of the best lines are in the good book.'
And he added: 'I will give the papers a miss today, knowing that most will follow their own agenda pretty much regardless of anything said yesterday'.

Mr Campbell also revealed that he would like Keira Knightley to play the lead role in any film version of his new novel.

He said he had 'loved' her performance in the new film The Misanthrope where she stars alongside Damian Lewis.

And he wrote: 'I could not help thinking that she would be good as Maya, the heroine of my novel out in a few weeks.

'A couple of film-makers have already expressed an interest and I would ask them to note this match made in heaven. Kate W would be good too, mind.'

Mr Campbell famously said 'We dont do God' when he stopped Mr Blair from talking about his faith in an interview with Vanity Fair to mark his 50th birthday.

No 10s anxiety to avoid religious rhetoric during the Iraq war was underlined when Mr Blair prepared a TV address on the invasions eve.

He told staff: I want to end with God bless you. But this sparked a revolt by advisers and he dropped the line.

Mr Campbell also once told Mr Blair not to mention God in a TV broadcast because it would sound too American.

During yesterday's appearance at the inquiry, Mr Campbell denied doing anything to 'beef up' the case for going to war.

And he dismissed the overwhelming evidence of government papers and his own diaries that he pressured spy chiefs to harden Tony Blair's 'dodgy' dossier on Iraqi weapons.

During six hours of questioning he insisted that 'not a single one' of his team 'sought to question, override, rewrite, let alone the ghastly "sex up" phrase, intelligence assessments in any way, at any time, on any level.'

The former No 10 communications chief then defied critics of the war by insisting he was 'very, very proud' of his role - and made clear that Tony Blair will do the same when he testifies later this month.

He added: 'I defend every single word of the dossier, I defend every single part of the process.

Psalm 56 (New International version)

Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me;
all day long they press their attack.
My slanderers pursue me all day long;
many are attacking me in their pride.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
All day long they twist my words;
they are always plotting to harm me.
They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps, eager to take my life.
On no account let them escape;
in your anger, O God, bring down the nations.
Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll
are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back
when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
I am under vows to you, O God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.
for you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God in the light of life


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1242887/Alastair-Campbell-finds-comfort-Psalm-people-try-twist-words-ahead-Iraq-inquiry-appearance.html##ixzz0cWa2Jmum

I humbly suggest a more appropriate biblical passage:


Let us pray.

God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that this servant of yours, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who once and for all consigned that fallen and apostate tyrant to the flames of hell, who sent your only-begotten Son into the world to crush that roaring lion; hasten to our call for help and snatch from ruination and from the clutches of the noonday devil this human being made in your image and likeness. Strike terror, Lord, into the beast now laying waste your vineyard. Fill your servants with courage to fight manfully against that reprobate dragon, lest he despise those who put their trust in you, and say with Pharaoh of old: "I know not God, nor will I set Israel free." Let your mighty hand cast him out of your servant, Alastair Campbell, so he may no longer hold captive this person whom it pleased you to make in your image, and to redeem through your Son; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Then he commands the demon as follows:

I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the coming of our Lord for judgment, that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure. I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter, I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness; nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions.

The priest lays his hand on the head of the sick person, saying:

They shall lay their hands upon the sick and all will be well with them. May Jesus, Son of Mary, Lord and Savior of the world, through the merits and intercession of His holy apostles Peter and Paul and all His saints, show you favor and mercy.

All: Amen.

Next he reads over the possessed person these selections
from the Gospel, or at least one of them.

P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Yes, indeed.

The rite of exorcism.

Magda Hassan
01-14-2010, 01:22 AM
Alastair Campbell had the grand title of Director of Communications and Strategy under Blair. In reality, he was a spinmeister, a propagandist, and a more accurate job title would have been Director of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda - Volksaufklrung und Propaganda.

In his early years, Joseph Goebbels penned "romantic" fiction. Campbell wrote pornography. Fundamentally though, both men were driven by the desire to control, to influence, to bend others to their will, and their evolution into state propagandists had a definite inevitability.

The Daily Mail's front page headline today was "Shameless, swaggering and STILL lying". Whilst I loathe the Daily Mail as much as anyone, the broader point is that newspapers are highly reluctant to call a person a liar in print.

Britain has the most onerous libel laws in the world, and newspapers lawyers would not have allowed such a charge to be printed if they had no evidence.

My own judgement is that the Mail decided to call Campbell a liar on their front page because they are daring him to sue. If Campbell sued, the case would go to a court of law where the Mail would have rights of discovery and so get to see many of the documents that the Chilcott Inquiry has now stated will remain classified (after earlier spinning that they would be declassified). In addition, cross-examination of Campbell would be far more rigorous, robust and relentless. He would not be allowed to get away with his spinmeister tricks and empty banalities.

I hope Campbell does sue. Because a court of law would do a far better job of interrogating him and getting to the truth of this matter than Chilcott's circus is doing.
This is a welcome turn of events. It can only be hoped that the Daily Mail is sued and that this can lead to more documents being freed and the end of this odious man's career. It really does seem that at least one faction has decided to hang Tony Bliar out to dry. I'm surprised it got this far. And he lost the EU presidency.:musicus:

Jan Klimkowski
01-26-2010, 07:14 PM
This is devastating for New Labour ministers.

The historical record, including newly released documents, strongly suggests that senior New Labour ministers and advisors decided to delay or even simply not to ask the FO legal department for their advice on international law because they knew they would be told that the war was illegal.

It's a tragedy Wood and Goldsmith didn't show the same integrity and courage as Elizabeth Wilmshurst and resign on principle once it was clear that Blair and his cronies were determined to launch what their lawyers were clearly telling them was an illegal war.

The question put to FO lawyers by Straw's private secretary - "Could HMG or individual service personnel be vulnerable in the UK or other courts to charges relating to unlawful use of force and would the issue of legality of our actions therefore be determined in our domestic courts?" - strongly suggests that Straw at least knew he was in danger of being hauled in front of the C21st equivalent of the Nuremberg trials, an International Criminal Court, for launching an illegal war.




Jack Straw's evidence to Iraq inquiry challenged by former legal adviser

Sir Michael Wood says former foreign secretary rejected his advice out of hand

Jack Straw's chief legal adviser at the time of the Iraq invasion today told the Chilcot inquiry that the then foreign secretary overruled his advice against military action.

The revelation by Sir Michael Wood, the top Foreign Office lawyer at the time, challenges the evidence Straw, now justice secretary, gave to the inquiry last week in which he insisted that he had "very reluctantly" supported the conflict.

Declassified documents released by the inquiry show that Wood warned ministers three months before the invasion that it was not certain if military action would be legal.

Separate evidence given to the inquiry by David Brummell, then a senior aide to the attorney general, has revealed that Lord Goldsmith warned both No 10 and Straw in November 2002 he was "pessimistic" that UN security council resolution 1441 could be used to justify military action without a second resolution.

In a collection of evidence that intensifies the pressure on Tony Blair, who is due to give evidence to the Iraq inquiry on Friday, the panel also released a memo written by Wood that refers to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cable detailing a meeting between Straw and Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, in which the foreign secretary reassured his American counterpart a year before the invasion that he was "entirely comfortable" making the case for war.

The meeting took place before Blair visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, where the then prime minister was accused of "signing in blood" an agreement to join the US in an invasion.

Wood this morning told the inquiry panel, which is looking at the legality of the war, that he had rejected the government's argument that resolution 1441 passed in November 2002 requiring Saddam Hussein to disarm was a sufficient basis for military action.

"I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law," he said.

"In my opinion, that use of force had not been authorised by the security council, and had no other basis in international law."

However, when he presented his view to Straw in January 2003, he said it was dismissed out of hand.

"He took the view that I was being very dogmatic and that international law was pretty vague and that he wasn't used to people taking such a firm position," said Wood.

"When he had been at the Home Office, he had often been advised things were unlawful but he had gone ahead anyway and won in the courts."

He said this was "probably the first and only occasion" that a minister rejected his legal advice in this way.

"Obviously there are some areas of international law that can be quite uncertain. This however turned exclusively on the interpretation of a specific text and it is one on which I think that international law was pretty clear," he said.

"Because there is no court, the legal adviser and those taking decisions based on the legal advice have to be more scrupulous in adhering to the law."

In a newly declassified letter to the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, released by the inquiry, Straw complained at the attitude taken by government lawyers.

"I have been very forcefully struck by the paradox in the culture of government lawyers, which is the less certain the law is, the more certain in their views they become," he said.

Wood said there had been a reluctance by ministers to seek the attorney general's views until very late in the day.

"They really needed advice, even if they didn't want it at that stage, in order to develop their policy in the weeks leading up to the failure to get a second resolution," he said.

In his evidence to the inquiry, Brummell recalled that Goldsmith was worried his views on the legality of the looming conflict were not being sought around this time. On 11 November 2002 Goldsmith telephoned Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, to express concerns that his view on the legality of invasion had been wrongly described as "optimistic".

He offered to give formal advice at that stage but Powell said No 10 had "no illusions" about his views and suggested the matter could be discussed later, the hearing was told.

Goldsmith called Straw the next day and repeated his worries about "Chinese whispers" suggesting he did not believe a second Security Council resolution was needed.

Straw said it was "pretty clear" that with resolution 1441 the UN Security Council was telling Iraq "comply or else", the document shows.

Lord Goldsmith replied, saying the question was "who was to decide the 'or else'".

Brummell told the panel : "I remember a conversation he had with the foreign secretary in October, and in the course of that he made it clear that he did have concerns with the way in which things were going, the way in which things were developing, and he was concerned that he should advise to make the position clear."

Brummell said Goldsmith expressed "provisional views" about the legality of the Iraq war after resolution 1441 was passed, but came to a firm decision when he gave Blair detailed advice on 7 March 2003.

Wood's comments on Straw's rejection of his lawyers' advice were backed up by his former deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who quit just days before the first attacks on Iraq after telling her superiors that an invasion without UN sanction would be a "crime of aggression".

As deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office between 2001 and 2003, Wilmshurst worked with Wood and other lawyers advising the government on all major legal issues in the run-up to the war.

She told the inquiry this afternoon that it was "rather uncomfortable" to have Straw reject hers and Wood's advice, and that she saw it as a challenge to her role.

In a statement to the inquiry, released ahead of her appearance this afternoon, the former civil servant said the invasion was not only illegal but would damage the reputation of the UK as a law-abiding nation.

"Collective security, as opposed to unilateral military action, is a central purpose of the charter of the United Nations. Acting contrary to the charter, as I perceived the government to be doing, would have the consequence of damaging the United Kingdom's reputation as a state committed to the rule of law in international relations and to the United Nations."

Another declassified memo showed Straw asking government lawyers for "an urgent note about the practical consequences of the UK's acting without international legal authority in using force against Iraq".

The note, from Simon McDonald Straw's private secretary at the time asked whether an invasion would open government officials up to legal action in courts at home or abroad.

He asked: "Could HMG or individual service personnel be vulnerable in the UK or other courts to charges relating to unlawful use of force and would the issue of legality of our actions therefore be determined in our domestic courts?"



http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/26/iraq-war-illegal-chilcot-inquiry

Jan Klimkowski
01-26-2010, 07:19 PM
These politicians have acted in a clearly unconstitutional and improper fashion.

All of those involved in this disgraceful subversion of process, including Attorney General Goldsmith, are revealed as unfit to hold public office.

Britain is supposedly a representative democracy, where the people we elect are meant to represent our interests fairly, honestly, without fear or favour, bathed in the bright shining light of truth.

What a crock. :eviltongue:




Chilcot inquiry: all the legal advice that was fit to print

No wonder Jack Straw suppressed the record: it was he who ensured the cabinet was misadvised on legality of the Iraq war

No wonder Jack Straw wants to forget all about the cabinet discussion of the legality of the Iraq war that took place three days before it started.

Documents disclosed by the Iraq inquiry today show that the attorney general thought he might tell the cabinet that "the legal issues were finely balanced". Straw talked him out of it. Straw then tried to cover up the lack of discussion at that cabinet meeting.

I'm not sure that Straw could have come out of today's evidence much worse. Despite his evidence last week, he seems to have been gung-ho on the war from the outset and the Foreign Office's chief legal adviser, Sir Michael Wood, kept having to pull him back. Straw eventually got fed up with this and rejected Wood's advice outright.

Both Wood and his deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, have today strongly disagreed with the view that the then attorney general Lord Goldsmith eventually came to, after being parked for months at a time for fear that he would come up with the wrong answer. On 7 March 2003, Goldsmith gave advice that was still too equivocal for the chief of the defence staff to commit British troops to war, but by 13 March had come up with a "better view" that the war would be legal. Four days later, the cabinet was given an unequivocal statement of Goldsmith's view that persuaded them to back the war. That statement was drawn up to be as strong as possible, for public consumption.

Last year, the information tribunal ordered the government to release the minutes of the cabinet meetings of 13 and 17 March but Straw for the first time ever used the veto that he had himself put in the freedom of act to block publication. It had emerged during the tribunal hearing that there was considered to be insufficient discussion of the legal issues at the second meeting. It has since been admitted during the inquiry that all that happened at that meeting was that Goldsmith's very short legal advice was tabled and that a request by Clare Short for a discussion was rejected by the majority of the cabinet.

This lack of discussion is one of the key political and constitutional issues around the war. Should the cabinet have discussed the legality of a decision for which they were constitutionally collectively responsible?

Former defence secretary Geoff Hoon doesn't think so, as he told the inquiry last week. For him, a view from the attorney general one way or another was all that the cabinet needed. Former cabinet secretary Lord Turnbull took a similar line. It is now clear that Goldsmith thought the cabinet should perhaps be fully informed but he was talked out of it.

We know this because the inquiry has for once published actual documents that back up what the witnesses are saying. There is a letter from Wood to Straw's private office in March 2002, a year before the invasion, warning Straw not to be so sure that a war would be legal.

There is correspondence from before and after the passage of UN security council resolution 1441 and as most papers are reporting correspondence between Straw and Wood in which the former explicitly rejects his legal adviser's legal advice. There is also documentary evidence that supports the government's claim that Goldsmith changed his mind on 13 March before a meeting with Blair allies Sally Morgan and Charles Falconer, in spite of what the Cabinet Office told me.

Wilmshurst today described as "lamentable" the process by which Goldsmith had moved from an initial view that a second UN resolution would be needed, to a different but still equivocal view on 7 March, and then to a definite view ten days later. She made clear her view that Goldsmith should have been asked earlier to give a formal view and that by the time he was asked, he had little choice but to back the war because the alternative was to give Saddam Hussein a massive propaganda victory.

But what happened after Goldsmith finally made up his mind to back the war on 13 March is also crucial. The events of that day can be deduced from Goldsmith's diary, and a note by his legal secretary David Brummell, published by the inquiry. Goldsmith appears to have told Brummell in the morning that he would back the war long before a meeting that evening. Indeed, at 6pm that afternoon, Goldsmith held a meeting with Straw where he told Straw that he would back the war; and as Brummell told the inquiry today, Straw was "duly grateful".

According to the Foreign Office's note of that meeting, Goldsmith told Straw that "in public he needed to explain his case as strongly and unambiguously as possible", but that "he thought he might need to tell the cabinet when it met on 17 March that the legal issues were finely balanced."

Straw warned him of the danger of leaks and advised him that it would be better to present the cabinet with a draft letter to the Commons foreign affairs committee as the basic standard text of his position, and then make a few comments. "The attorney general agreed."

It is noticeable that Straw did not try to persuade Goldsmith of the line that the government has used since that the Cabinet should only ever get an unequivocal view of the attorney general's view. He merely argued that they could not be trusted with the truth.

As it happened, the cabinet got an even shorter statement of Goldsmith's view the written parliamentary answer that was clearly designed to be as strong and unambiguous as possible, and Goldsmith said virtually nothing at the meeting. Short has said that she wanted to ask him both why he had taken so long to come to a decision which we now know and whether he had any doubts.

When Straw blocked the release of the cabinet minutes, I wrote here of the problem of using arguments about cabinet confidentiality and collective cabinet responsibility to obscure an apparent failure of cabinet collective decision-making. It now appears that Straw himself engineered that failure. The cabinet backed the war unaware that the legal issues were finely balanced. That is a scandal that can be firmly laid at Straw's door.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/26/chilcot-iraq-inquiry-jack-straw

Magda Hassan
01-27-2010, 12:54 AM
Government Ban Protest Outside Blair Iraq Hearing

Not content with spending 250,000 on "security" for the war criminal Tony Blair's appearance on the Iraq Inquiry, the government have banned protestors from areas where Blair will see them. This from Stop The War:
Negotiations between the police and Stop the War broke down
today when it became clear that the government is trying to
hide our legitimate peaceful protest from Tony Blair when he
gives evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry on Friday.
After days in which we were told by the police that they would
try to facilitate our protest, Stop the War has been told we
will not be allowed to protest on the grass outside the QEII
Conference Centre.
This is a denial of our democratic rights and Stop the War
will now call for the widest possible mobilisation, not just
to express the majority view in this country that Tony Blair
should be held to account for war crimes, but in defence of
the right to protest.
Why should the public be denied the right to peaceful protest,
particularly when the latest evidence given to the Chilcot
Committee shows beyond doubt that Tony Blair knew he was
taking Britain into an illegal war, and that he doctored legal
advice to deceive his Cabinet, Parliament and the British
public.
Stop the War is calling on all its supporters, local groups
and affiliated organisations to mobilise the widest possible
support for the Blair protest on Friday.
We urge everyone who can to join the demonstration at the QEII
Conference Centre from 8am. Full details for the planned
events are here: http://bit.ly/8mKM0T (http:///)
Spread the word as widely as you can among your family,
friends, work colleagues, fellow students etc, etc
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

Peter Lemkin
01-27-2010, 06:36 AM
I say, good show old chaps! This is just getting a tad interesting! :hello: The National Security State is always there to protect the criminal class from the righteously angry People and the Truth. Ever was thus, sadly. :cheers: And this they call Democracy and due process. What a farce. :flute: Personally, I think he'd make a great addition to the tourist attractions at the Tower of London, where he belongs....where so many in British and American government belong. What a shameful goon show!

Jan Klimkowski
01-27-2010, 07:52 PM
The British Foreign Officer lawyers all agreed that the second Iraq war would be illegal in the absence of a fresh UN resolution.

To get a gaggle of lawyers all to agree on something is pretty astonishing.

UK Attorney General Goldsmith also agreed with this legal judgement. Until, almost on the eve of war, he took a trip to the US, "spoke with" Bush's inner circle, and.....

and.....

"Changed his mind."

Goldsmith has not articulated his reasons for changing his mind, nor did the so-called Iraq Inquiry ask him for the reasons for his new legal judgement.

Here's what should have happened (NB none of these words below in italics were actually uttered, but it is, imo, the essence of what should have happened):


Attorney General: Then I decided the Foreign Office lawyers were all wrong. I changed my mind."

Iraq Inquiry: "Why did you change your mind, Mr Attorney General?"

Yup. The so-called Iraq Inquiry didn't ask the question an eight-year-old would have asked.

Why not? This silence and refusal to ask meaningful and necessary questions is disgraceful.

The senior British government law officer, the Attorney General, can't simply chat to some American politicians and change his mind without providing any legal justification.

Then, when the AG finally went to cabinet, there was no discussion of the AG's new legal advice.

A democracy? Where our elected representatives seriously and carefully ponder matters of the gravest moral import?

Nah.

AG Goldsmith "changes his mind" for unknown reasons.

Blair ticks the boxes by trotting the AG out in front of Cabinet.

And, wahaay, Tony can join in Dubya's illegal war.




Iraq inquiry: Second UN resolution was not necessary, says Lord Goldsmith

Former attorney general admitted to changing his mind over necessity of further justification for military action

Lord Goldsmith the government's attorney general at the time of the Iraq war, has told the Chilcot inquiry that he believed in 2002 there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein's regime that would have justified the use of force against him.

While he told the inquiry this morning that he believed a second UN resolution would have been "safer" to justify military action, he admitted he eventually concluded that a further reinforcement to the earlier resolution 1441 was not necessary.

Goldsmith has told the inquiry he changed his mind "for good reasons" but has not spelled them out, nor yet been asked by the inquiry what they were.

The change appears to have happened in late February 2003, just before the war, when he told the prime minister's advisers that there was "a reasonable case" that a second UN resolution was not needed. This was sufficient to constitute a "green light," he said. His previous advice had been preliminary.

The former attorney general spoke of the government as his "client". He said the prime minister had told him at a meeting shortly before the war: "'I do understand that your advice is your advice.' He accepted it was for me to reach a judgment and he had to accept that."

Goldsmith told the inquiry that he subsequently learned, over lunch with the French ambassador to London, that the French government did not believe it was necessary either. In the run-up to the war, the French president, Jacques Chirac, had made clear that France would not support a new resolution.

Goldsmith has also told the inquiry that in his judgment regime change was not a legitimate basis for the invasion.

He told the inquiry he had not attended cabinet meetings or cabinet committees discussing the possibility of war during 2002 and that he gleaned information about possible allied military plans from the press. He said "it would have been better" if he had attended cabinet; his judgement would have been important once the government's course of action had been agreed.

Goldsmith said: "My judgment was that there was not an imminence of threat that would justify us resorting to the use of force."

He said that he did not think his advice was welcome to the prime minister. Smiling, he told the inquiry: "I don't know, you'd have to ask Mr Blair that." The former prime minister is to appear before the inquiry on Friday.

He told the inquiry that he had told the then defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, that he was wrong to say that there was a clear basis for military action.

Goldsmith told the inquiry that the three justifications for the use of force against Iraq would have been self-defence, to avert a humanitarian catastrophe or authorisation by the UN.

He said he did not agree with the US policy of pre-emption. "The self-defence argument did not apply. There was no immediate threat," he said.

Goldsmith added that he was frustrated by the government's decision not to declassify some documents a frustration clearly shared by Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the inquiry.

The former attorney general told the panel: "What I was anxious to do was to reach correct legal advice. I also had some concerns about public statements being made about what our position would be."





http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/27/lord-goldsmith-iraq-inquiry

David Guyatt
01-28-2010, 11:05 AM
I like Chilcot. He has a nice weak chin and an affable, political manner (imo!). He's wonderful and I want to have his babies. If I do (have his babies - which I can't of course) one will very, very good and the other one will be very, very bad.

because Chilcot wants to be good, but is bad. Or perhaps he is bad but, deep down, wants to be good.

The contrast and flaw in his character is why he was chosen, methinks and is reflected in the two Fleet Street rags-cum-comics that represent polar opposites in their opinions and readership.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/15/chilcot-inquiry-video-cut-off


Chilcot censors Iraq inquiry's live broadcast
Sir Jeremy Greenstock's evidence on political mistakes after invasion is interrupted

Tuesday 15 December 2009 17.13 GMT

Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the Iraq inquiry, cut the live video of today's hearings, raising fears that he is suppressing evidence on grounds of embarrassment rather that any damage to national security.

"I interrupted the broadcast because of a mention of sensitive information," he said after hearing evidence from Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's UN ambassador before the invasion and special envoy in Baghdad afterwards.

snip....

Then we have the spooks favourite comic, the Daily Bellylaugh (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7073627/Iraq-inquiry-is-being-gagged-after-secret-documents-withheld.html)


Iraq inquiry is being gagged after secret documents withheld
Crucial evidence about the reasons Britain went to war against Saddam Hussein is being kept secret it has emerged leading to accusations that the Iraq inquiry has been gagged.

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
Published: 6:00AM GMT 28 Jan 2010

In an apparent breach of the Inquiry terms, Sir John Chilcot, head of the probe, expressed his frustration that he was unable to refer to key documents while questioning Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, about why he gave the green light for war.
Lord Goldsmith also said that he was unhappy at being denied the opportunity to discuss documents including a letter from Jack Straw, then-former foreign secretary, about United Nations negotiations.

Yes folks, roll up to the Big Top, crane your necks and go "Aah" to the dizzying antics of the High Wire artists, and clap your belly and laugh out loud to the antics of the painted faced clowns.

The Circus is in town and it's role is to awe and amuse you.

But beware of the inactive hand of the resident Magician. As he pulls pound coin out of your ear with one hand he is stealing your critical mind with the other....

Peter Presland
01-28-2010, 07:28 PM
Further to my post #6 on the terrorist threat alert thread ( http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15699&postcount=6 ) (http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15699&postcount=6)

Here is the latest from the 'Stop the War Coalition' on the demo planned for Blairs appearance tomorrow. Not sure how the attempted police ban on assembly within sight of Blair (if he enters through the main entrance) is going but there does seem to be a head of steam building on this. Stay tuned for tomorrows fireworks - they might just be worth witnessing.

STOP THE WAR COALITION
NEWSLETTER No. 1139
28 January 2010
Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Tel: 020 7801 2768
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

UPDATE: BLAIR INQUIRY PROTEST
People are coming from across Britain for the protest outside
the Iraq inquiry when Blair gives evidence on 29 January.

Colin Redpath, whose son Kirk died in Iraq in 2007, sums up
why we'll be there: "If you are found to be lying and have
misled the British public, and we were taken into an illegal
war, what I want to know is, will he be tried for this crime?
If not, why have this inquiry?"

Stop the War has had wide media coverage this week (see video
here: http://bit.ly/bqjeHN ), and is urging everyone who can
to join the all-day protest, which begins at 8.00am and
culminates around 4.00pm as Blair leaves the building, when we
aim to ensure that he knows there can be no hiding place for
war criminals.

The full timetable is as follows:

TIMETABLE OF PROTEST

8.00: PROTEST STARTS AS BLAIR ARRIVES
Press Conference with military families.
A delegation including Iraqi citizens and grieving military
families will deliver a statement and the People's Dossier of
questions for Tony Blair to Sir John Chilcot.

9.00-10.00: NAMING OF THE DEAD CEREMONY
When Blair's testimony begins, names of Iraqis killed in the
war will be read by novelist A.L Kennedy, Musician Brian Eno,
actor and director Sam West, actor and director Simon
McBurney, playwright David Edgar, Lancet editor Richard
Horton, former UK ambassador Craig Murray, Iraqi author Haifa
Zangana, comedian and author Alexei Sayle, actor Miriam
Margolyes, and more.

10.00-11.00: SPEECHES, READINGS AND PERFORMANCES
Including by many of those participating in the Naming the
Dead ceremony.

12.00-13.00: PERFORMANCES
Lowkey, King Blues and other Musicians.

13.00-14.00: MILITARY FAMILIES NAMING OF THE DEAD
Members of military families who lost loved ones in the Iraq
war will read the names of all 179 British soldiers who died.

16.00: PROTEST AS TONY BLAIR LEAVES THE INQUIRY
Let Blair know that there must be no hiding place for
mass-murderers.

Peter Presland
01-29-2010, 02:47 PM
So far I have seen no reference to the demonstration outside the Chilcott Inquiry venue in the UK MSM. Wide coverage of his questioning so far with the consensus being they haven't laid a glove on him yet.

It's left to Middle East On Line (http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=36900) to come up with this:


First Published 2010-01-29
http://www.middle-east-online.com/pictures/big/_36900_Blair_protest.jpg
http://www.middle-east-online.com/furniture/blank.gif
'He does not have the integrity to come and face the people'
Demonstrators' anger as Blair slips into Iraq inquiry

Protesters slam 'coward' Blair as former PM avoids public, main entrance of conference centre.

LONDON - Former British prime minister Tony Blair took his seat before the public inquiry into the Iraq war on Friday, at the start of a long-awaited day of questioning into his account of the conflict.
The chairman of the public inquiry, retired civil servant John Chilcot, said the point of the questioning was to establish "Why did we invade Iraq?".
Relatives of soldiers killed in the conflict are among the audience watching the evidence in a central London conference venue.
Anti-war protesters accused Blair of being a "coward" Friday after reports that he was driven into the building hosting the Iraq war inquiry through a side entrance.
Blair did not enter the central London conference centre through the front exit, reporters said.
A motorcade swept into a side entrance of the building at 0730 GMT, two hours before Blair was due to give evidence, although there was no immediate confirmation that Blair was in one of the vehicles.
Hundreds of demonstrators outside the Queen Elizabeth II centre chanted "Tony Blair, War Criminal" as police lines held them behind crash barriers.
Activists said they were convinced Blair had given them the slip.
Lindsey German, convener of the Stop The War Coalition, said: "He doesn't have the decency or honesty to face up to the public, military families, and Iraqis who will be here today in huge numbers to show their opposition to the war.
"He does not have the integrity to come and face the people.
"Sliding in by a back door entrance is typical of his lies, deceit and evasion."
Kate Hudson, chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said Blair should be arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity.
"He should face a court. The way he arrived today was just sneaky. He just does not want to face up to his crimes -- it is an outrage," she said.
Reg Keys, whose son Thomas died in Iraq in 2003, said he wanted to hear why Blair approved a dossier used to justify the case for war by claiming Saddam Hussein could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.
"It's a day we've waited a long time for and I want to hear what he's got to say," Keys said.
"He needs to explain why he misled parliament, why information was changed in the dossier... and why we found our loved ones in a conflict that was very questionable."
Reports said Blair is likely to admit to some mistakes in the execution of the war, but will maintain that he remains satisfied that he committed British troops to the US-led invasion.
Blair left office in June 2007.

David Guyatt
01-29-2010, 03:09 PM
Exactly Peter. The questioning of Herr Bliar is timothy-tim-stupid-and-dim.

One reason why a Government funded inquiry - especially one without legal clout - I have elected to call a Circus.

But Gordo will pleased as will be the powers behind the scenes. As you know, the only purpose of a Government inquiry is to earth discontent - like a lightening rod, put on a merry TV show (with a 1 minute delay in transmission just in case anything juicy pops out by accident), and to generally keep most of the people off balance and in the dark about the realite.

And we can, of course, count upon the MSM to perform their role as Circus Seals, balancing spinning balls on their nose and clapping their flippers together at pre-determined times.

Helen Reyes
01-29-2010, 03:13 PM
The only slightly not simple question I saw posed to Blair today was when Chilicot said "You went to war based on Iraq's non-compliance with weapons insepctions while at the same time Hans Blix was not saying they were uncompliant."

The audio died at the beginning of the feed via BBC World for about 30 seconds. It seemed intentional. The coverage had the message "One-minute delay" rather than "Live." The general impression was that the whole dialogue was rehearsed beforehand.

David Guyatt
01-29-2010, 03:22 PM
Circus performers always rehearse their act in front of mirrors Helen. :

How else would they know if their light-reflecting costumes bunched into their lower orifice? dontknow:

Jan Klimkowski
01-29-2010, 06:21 PM
The only slightly not simple question I saw posed to Blair today was when Chilicot said "You went to war based on Iraq's non-compliance with weapons insepctions while at the same time Hans Blix was not saying they were uncompliant."

The audio died at the beginning of the feed via BBC World for about 30 seconds. It seemed intentional. The coverage had the message "One-minute delay" rather than "Live." The general impression was that the whole dialogue was rehearsed beforehand.

I have not seen a full transcript yet. With that caveat, the bits I heard on the radio as I was driving today appeared to be a complete farce, a travesty.

Much of the "questioning" seemed to consist of "Inquiry" members summarizing a chronology and then asking Blair whether he agreed with their summary. What a joke.

Here are some initial observations:



Tony Blair told the inquiry he believed Saddam Hussein was a "monster" before 9/11 but accepted that he would have to make the best of the situation.

At his first meeting with George Bush, in February 2001, Blair discussed Iraq. But it was in the context of trying to get a better sanctions regime. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, this view changed dramatically.

"I would fairly describe our policy up to September 11 as doing our best ... but with a different calculus of risk assessment ... The crucial thing after September 11 was that the calculus of risk changed."

Blair said that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, he firmly believed that he could not run the risk that Saddam would reconstitute his banned weapons programmes. "The decision I took and frankly would take again was if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction [WMD] we should stop him. That was my view then and that is my view now."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/jan/29/tony-blair-iraq-inquiry-key-points

Did the so-called Iraq Inquiry ask Blair what Saddam had to do with 9/11?

Did they ask him whether there was any link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda prior to 9/11?

Did they ask him whether WMD were used during 9/11?

I don't believe so. (NB again I haven't seen a full transcript yet.)



He accepted that the September 2002 dossier should have made clear that the now-notorious claim that Iraq had WMD that could be launched in 45 minutes referred to battlefield weapons and not long-range missiles. "It would have been better to have corrected it in the light of the significance it later took on," he said.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/jan/29/tony-blair-iraq-inquiry-key-points

Did the so-called Iraq Inquiry push him on why he didn't correct the false 45-minute claim at the time?

Did they ask him whether this WMD claim referred to chemical weapons rather than nuclear and biological weapons?

Did they ask him who provided Saddam with the precursors needed for chemical weapons?

Did they ask him whether chemical weapons constituted WMD as commonly understood?

I don't believe so. (NB again I haven't seen a full transcript yet.)

Politicians, especially government ministers, will routinely insist on corrections of what they consider to be factual misinterpretations by the media. Blair and Campbell's refusal to ask for a correction of the 45-minute claim reveals their true, insidious, corrupt, intention.

David Guyatt
01-30-2010, 03:25 PM
...

David Guyatt
01-31-2010, 09:43 AM
Fingers crossed....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1247407/Chilcot-War-Inquiry-Professor-launch-Nuremberg-war-crimes-prosecution-Blair.html

[quote]Chilcot War Inquiry: Professor to launch 'Nuremberg' war crimes prosecution against Blair

By Glen Owen
Last updated at 11:14 PM on 30th January 2010

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/01/30/article-1247407-081786E7000005DC-345_224x423.jpg

Plans to bring a war crimes prosecution against Tony Blair based on last weeks bombshell evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry have been launched by a leading law professor.

The move could see Mr Blair follow former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic into a dock in The Hague.

Professor Bill Bowring says the revelation that the Government rejected Foreign Office warnings not to invade Iraq means there is a good chance Mr Blair can be investigated, at the very least for war crimes.

We now know that the Government was explicitly warned beforehand that the UK risked being prosecuted for going to war, said Prof Bowring.

Professor Bowring has launched plans to bring a war crimes prosecution against Tony Blair
He says that he will deploy the same law used to convict the killers of Garry Newlove, the Cheshire father of three kicked to death in front of his family in 2007, and Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-46.

He is drafting a submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) arguing that Mr Blair is guilty under the law of joint enterprise, which holds people responsible for the actions of a wider group if they know they are involved in criminal enterprises.

It means the former Prime Minister would be liable for any crimes committed by US forces, such as disproportionate bombing.

On Tuesday, Sir Michael Wood, the chief legal adviser to the Foreign Office from 2001 to 2006, said he warned the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that invading Iraq without UN backing would amount to the crime of aggression and could lead

to the prosecution of British soldiers and politicians. Mr Straw rejected the warning.

Prof Bowring said the April 2002 meeting between Mr Blair and George Bush at the Presidents Texas ranch, described as the moment the agreement to invade was signed in blood, would be critical in the case.

Joint enterprise was used to convict the killers of Mr Newlove in 2008. Though one kick killed Mr Newlove, three men were convicted of his murder because they were aware they were engaged in joint criminality.

The ICCs chief prosecutor has said that he could envisage a situation in which Mr Blair found himself in the dock.

An ICC spokeswoman said that the mandate of the chief prosecutors office covered the conduct of Allied forces in the war, but would not comment on Prof Bowrings specific legal argument.

Peter Presland
01-31-2010, 10:13 AM
Fingers crossed....

Yep - I'll go along with that.

OTOH - this from Alan Hart: (http://www.alanhart.net/blair-as-monster/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlanHart+%28AlanHart+%28Recen t+Posts%29%29&utm_content=Google+Reader)

Putting Tony Blair on trial would be much too cruel. The man is ill, delusional, quite possibly to the point of madness. What he needs most of all is psychiatric help. Any doubts I might have had about that diagnosis were removed by his six-hour presentation to the Chilcot Inquiry of his reasons for joining the neo-conned Dubya Bush in the war on Iraq.

Without understanding why, I never thought Blair was Bushs puppet. Now, thanks to the access Blair gave us to the workings of his mind for six hours, I do understand. He was ahead of Bush in the war on terrorism game because he is a neo-con, the real thing, whereas Bush had to be won over, conned, by Americas mad men. Blair didnt. He was always with them in spirit. After 9/11, immediately after it, probably while the towers were still collapsing, their agenda was his agenda.
Though the Chilcot Inquiry is concerned only with Iraq how Blairs government made the decision to go to war and what lessons should be learned Blair could not resist beating the drum for war on Iran. He did that four times. One might have been listening to John Bolton or any of Americas or Israels lunatics.
When he was going on about terrorism being a threat to all, he threw in: Its a constant problem for Israel. They get attacked. That there is a cause-and-effect relationship between Israeli occupation and Israels frequent demonstrations of state terrorism and a degree of violence directed at the Zionist state from time to time is not something Blair the neo-con can, or ever will, get his deluded minded around.
At one point during his display of insufferable, Zionist-like self-righteousness, Blair denied he had said in an interview with the BBCs Fern Britton that he favoured regime change in Iraq. I didnt use the words regime change in that interview, he said to the Chilcot Inquiry. He was telling the truth in that he did not use those actual words. What then did he say on camera to Fern Britton on 13 December 2009? She asked him if knowing what we all know today (that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction) would he still have gone to war. Blair replied, I would still have thought it right to remove him. If that is not regime change, what is?!
Blair still insists that the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein has made the world a safer place. The reality is that Blair and Bush together were the best recruiting sergeants for violent Islamic fundamentalism in many manifestations, not only the Al-Qaeda franchise.
Most amazing of all was that Blair declined an invitation to express any regret. He couldnt even bring himself to say he regretted the loss of the lives of British soldiers and a great number of Iraqis (somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000), mainly civilians. To my way of thinking that makes him less than fully human.
Blair described Saddam Hussein as a monster who threatened the world. Theres an old English saying, It takes one to know one.
Also a couple more pics which lightened the gloom a little:

Magda Hassan
01-31-2010, 10:18 AM
This is excellent news. I do have my fingers crodssed. There is another professor of law in the US who has taken out international arrest warrants for Bush, Chaney, Rice et al. It will be a great day to see their no longer smirking faces in the dock. More of a chance with Blair because I don't think the US signed up for the ICC though they forced every one else to sign up. I wonder if he will meet the same end as Milosevic in his cell?

Magda Hassan
01-31-2010, 10:41 AM
Tony Blair Iraq inquiry evidence ludicrous, says Short


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47215000/jpg/_47215561_000214569-1.jpg Clare Short said Gordon Brown was marginalised by Tony Blair

The argument put forward by Tony Blair in his evidence to the Iraq inquiry was "ludicrous", former cabinet minister Clare Short has said.
It was wrong to suggest, after the 11 September attacks, that al-Qaeda would team up with "rogue states".
Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, was "marginalised" when the decision to go to war was made, Ms Short said.
Ms Short resigned as International Development Secretary shortly after the invasion of Iraq in early 2003.
Former Prime Minister Mr Blair spent six hours giving evidence to the Iraq inquiry in Friday.
'No such threat'
He said Saddam had been a "monster and I believe he threatened not just the region but the world."
Mr Blair also stressed the British and American attitude towards the threat posed by Saddam Hussein "changed dramatically" after the terror attacks on 11 September 2001, saying: "I never regarded 11 September as an attack on America, I regarded it as an attack on us."
Speaking on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, Ms Short described Mr Blair as "preachy", adding: "There was no link at the time between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. So there was no such threat."
Asked about Mr Brown's role in the decision to go to war, she said: "Gordon was marginalised and not in the inner group."
She added that "they [Mr Blair and his supporters] wanted him out of the Treasury... and they were going to offer him the Foreign Office and that he wouldn't accept it."
Ms Short is to give evidence to the Iraq inquiry on Tuesday. Mr Brown has said he will do the same before the general election, which is expected to take place on 6 May.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8489797.stm

David Guyatt
02-01-2010, 01:22 PM
Bliar caught telling porkies again?

Regime change was always the plan - before 911.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/plan-to-oust-saddam-drawn-up-two-years-before-the-invasion-1885155.html


Plan to oust Saddam drawn up two years before the invasion
Secret document signalled support for Iraqi dissidents and promised aid, oil and trade deals in return for regime change

By Michael Savage, Political Correspondent
Monday, 1 February

Regime change ? by force: a US tank passes a portrait of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, 2003

A secret plan to foster an internal coup against Saddam Hussein was drawn up by the Government two years before the invasion of Iraq, The Independent can reveal.

Whitehall officials drafted the "contract with the Iraqi people" as a way of signalling to dissenters in Iraq that an overthrow of Saddam would be supported by Britain. It promised aid, oil contracts, debt cancellations and trade deals once the dictator had been removed. Tony Blair's team saw it as a way of creating regime change in Iraq even before the 9/11 attack on New York.

The document, headed "confidential UK/US eyes", was finalised on 11 June 2001 and approved by ministers. It has not been published by the Iraq inquiry but a copy has been obtained by The Independent and can be revealed for the first time today. It states: "We want to work with an Iraq which respects the rights of its people, lives at peace with its neighbours and which observes international law.

"The Iraqi people have the right to live in a society based on the rule of law, free from repression, torture and arbitrary arrest; to enjoy respect for human rights, economic freedom and prosperity," the contract reads. "The record of the current regime in Iraq suggests that its priorities remain elsewhere.

"Those who wish to promote change in Iraq deserve our support," it concludes. "We look forward to the day when Iraq rejoins the international community." A new regime was to be offered "debt rescheduling" through the Paris Club, an informal group of the richest 19 economies, given help from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and handed an EU aid and trade deal. Companies were to be invited to invest in its oil fields. A "comprehensive retraining programme" was to be offered to Iraqi professionals.

During his evidence to the inquiry last week, Mr Blair said it was only after 9/11 that serious attention was given to removing Saddam as the attack changed the "calculus of risk". However, another classified document released by the Iraq inquiry on Friday night showed that No 10 explicitly saw the Contract with the Iraqi People as an early tool to remove the former Iraqi dictator. A memo issued in March 2001 by Sir John Sawers, then Mr Blair's foreign policy adviser, cited the document under the heading "regime change".

"Regime change. The US and UK would re-make the case against Saddam Hussein. We would issue a Contract with the Iraqi People, setting out our goal of a peaceful, law-abiding Iraq," the memo states. "The Contract would make clear that the Iraqi regime's record and behaviour made it impossible for Iraq to meet the criteria for rejoining the international community without fundamental change."

Officials planned to release the contract alongside tougher sanctions against Saddam's regime being negotiated in 2001. When no agreement was reached and the US began to seek more active measures to remove the Baghdad administration after 9/11, the contract was dropped.

The document was not released by the Iraq inquiry, despite being cited as significant by Foreign Office officials. Sir William Patey, the Government's head of Middle East policy at the time it was drafted, said it was "our way in the Foreign Office of trying to signal that we didn't think Saddam was a good thing and it would be great if he went". He said it was used in place of an "explicit policy of trying to get rid of him".

"It was a way of signalling to the Iraqi people that because we don't have a policy of regime change, it doesn't mean to say we're happy with Saddam Hussein, and there is life after Saddam with Iraq being reintegrated into the international community," he said.

Ed Davey, the Foreign Affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said the document called into question Mr Blair's evidence and should have been made public before his hearing on Friday. "A plan to back Iraqis seeking to oust Saddam may have been far less damaging and certainly more legal than what happened. Yet it shows that Blair's intent was always for regime change from an early stage and before 9/11," he said. "Yet again, it seems that critical documents have not been declassified, hampering the questioning of Blair and others."

* Tony Blair is to be recalled by the Chilcot Inquiry to give further evidence, according to The Guardian. It claims that Mr Blair will be questioned in both public and in private after the panel raised concerns that his evidence relating to the legality of the invasion conflicted with that given by the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith.

Magda Hassan
02-04-2010, 02:41 AM
From Wikipedia. From the memory hole. Have they ever released the cabinet discussion documents and the legal advice documents?


Katharine Teresa Gun (born Katharine Teresa Harwood in 1974) is a former translator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translator) for Government Communications Headquarters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Communications_Headquarters) (GCHQ), a British (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom) intelligence agency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_agency). In 2003, she became publicly known for leaking top-secret information (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top-secret_information) to the press concerning illegal activities by the United States of America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_of_America) in their push for the 2003 invasion of Iraq (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq).

Gun, who was raised in Taiwan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan), worked as a Mandarin Chinese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_Chinese)-to-English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language) translator for GCHQ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCHQ). On 31 January 2003, she received an e-mail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail) from a USA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA) National Security Agency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency) official named Frank Koza (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frank_Koza&action=edit&redlink=1). This email requested aid in a secret and illegal operation to bug (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_listening_device) the United Nations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations) offices of six nations: Angola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angola), Bulgaria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria), Cameroon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameroon), Chile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chile), Guinea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea), and Pakistan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan). These were the six "swing nations" on the UN Security Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_Security_Council) that could determine whether the UN approved the invasion of Iraq (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq). The plan allegedly violated the Vienna Conventions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Convention_on_Diplomatic_Relations), which regulate global diplomacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomacy).
Gun admitted leaking the email to The Observer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Observer) but said she did it "with a clear conscience", hoping to prevent the war. "I have no regrets and I would do it again", she said. In a BBC interview with Jeremy Paxman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Paxman), she admitted that she had not raised the matter with staff counsellors as she "honestly didn't think that would have had any practical effect."[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Gun#cite_note-0) After her revelation, GCHQ terminated her employment.

On 13 November 2003, Gun was charged with an offence under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_Secrets_Act_%28United_Kingdom%29) 1989. Her case became a cause clbre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_c%C3%A9l%C3%A8bre) among activists, and many people stepped forward to urge the government to drop the case. Among them were the Reverend Jesse Jackson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Jackson), Daniel Ellsberg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ellsberg) (the US government official who leaked the Pentagon Papers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers)), and actor Sean Penn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Penn), who described her as "a hero of the human spirit". Gun planned to plead "not guilty", saying in her defence that she acted to prevent imminent loss of life in a war she considered illegal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_war).
The case came to court on 25 February 2004. Within half an hour, the case was dropped because the prosecution declined to offer evidence. The reasons for the prosecution dropping the case are unclear. The day before the trial, Gun's defence team had asked the government for any records of advice about the legality of the war that it had received during the run-up to the war. A full trial might have exposed any such documents to public scrutiny as the defence were expected to argue that trying to stop an illegal act (that of an illegal war of aggression (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_aggression)) trumped Gun's obligations under the Official Secrets Act. Speculation was rife in the media that the prosecution service had bowed to political pressure to drop the case so that any such documents would remain secret. However, a Government spokesman said that the decision to drop the case had been made before the defence's demands had been submitted.

Peter Lemkin
02-04-2010, 06:57 AM
Wow! I do love the Circus!....especially the clowns! I do hope Professor Bowring doesn't have an 'accident' or suddenly commit 'suicide' or die of 'natural' causes. There are very powerful forces protecting Tony the Phony! Bring on the trapeze artists! And, can we please have a 'Professor Bowring' stand up in the USA!..but most are cowards there now...due to the unPatriot Act and our Gestapo.

Magda Hassan
02-04-2010, 07:44 AM
And, can we please have a 'Professor Bowring' stand up in the USA!..but most are cowards there now...due to the unPatriot Act and our Gestapo.
There is at least one Peter:
http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2969

David Guyatt
02-08-2010, 09:51 AM
More porkies on the horizon at Chilcot's Three Ring Circus:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8503398.stm


Straw to face Iraq inquiry again

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47259000/jpg/_47259541_008586080-1.jpg

Justice Secretary Jack Straw is due to give evidence before the inquiry into the Iraq war for a second time.

Questioning is likely to focus on legal issues in the run-up to the conflict when Mr Straw was Foreign Secretary.

Mr Straw was a key figure consulted by Lord Goldsmith before the then attorney general changed his advice about the invasion's legality.

Previously, Mr Straw told the inquiry supporting the invasion had been the "most difficult decision" of his life.

'Indelible impression'

By his own account, Mr Straw played a pivotal role in the war - if he had objected, the UK would not have invaded Iraq.

When Mr Straw's own legal adviser told him an invasion without a second UN resolution would amount to a crime of aggression, he rejected the advice.

Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has told the BBC's Hardtalk programme that he was "puzzled" by Mr Straw's earlier evidence to the inquiry.

Mr Straw had told the panel that a report drawn up by Mr Blix on the eve of the war had "made an indelible impression" on him and that it "convinced me that Iraq's non-compliance with Security Council requirements going back to 1991 was profound".

But Mr Blix said he found such a reaction "amazing" as "there was nothing sensationally new in that document".

Three days before the conflict, Lord Goldsmith had wanted to tell ministers that the legal issues "were finely balanced".

Mr Straw persuaded him not too, because of the problem of leaks from the cabinet.

Lord Goldsmith has admitted to the inquiry that he changed his legal view of the Iraq war but said it was "complete nonsense" to claim he did so because of political pressure.

Until a month before the 2003 invasion, the ex-attorney general had believed it was "safer" to get a fresh UN resolution.

But he gave the "green light" after deciding force was justified by UN accords on Iraq dating back to 1991.

The full interview on Hardtalk can be seen on the BBC News Channel at 2330 GMT and on BBC World at 0430, 0930, 1530 and 2130 GMT on 8 February 2010.

David Guyatt
02-08-2010, 09:55 AM
Well, knock me down with a snail's nose hair...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8503454.stm


Straw 'wrong on Iraq', says Blix

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47259000/jpg/_47259980_008669530-1.jpg

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw gave some incorrect answers to the UK's Iraq war inquiry, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has said.

Mr Blix told the BBC he was "puzzled" by some of the evidence that Mr Straw gave to the panel.

He said that Mr Straw had been incorrect to suggest, in 2002, that UN weapons inspectors were not being allowed access to certain sites.

Mr Straw is due to be interviewed by the inquiry again later on Monday.

"I'm puzzled by some of the things Jack Straw said," Mr Blix told BBC World's Hardtalk programme.

'Not true'

He said that Mr Straw had stated that in 2002, according to one of their own reports, UN inspectors were not being allowed access to potential weapons sites in Iraq as required under a UN resolution.

"He did not focus at all on what I had said about the increased Iraqi co-operation," he said, explaining: "he focused upon - say - that the Iraqis are not allowing you to interview people and they are stopping you from getting to sites. That was not true," he said.

INQUIRY TIMELINE
January-February: Jack Straw, Tony Blair and other senior Labour figures to appear before the panel
February: Inquiry to adjourn ahead of the general election campaign
June-July: Inquiry to resume and hear from Gordon Brown among others
Report set to be published in late 2010 or early 2011
Mr Blix added that he was perplexed by Mr Straw's interpretation of the 2002 report, which he said was merely a collection of issues which needed resolving with the Iraqis.

"I think it was an amazing statement that the report, that we sent around at that time, the so-called 'cluster report', that this would have convinced him," he said.

"That report was an analysis of what Unscom [United Nations Special Commission] before us had found, and what we in our analysis had found.

"It put the cases of unresolved issues in clusters, and lined out what Iraqis could do to help us to solve them. There was nothing sensationally new in this document."

'Last resort'

During his January appearance before the inquiry - which is examining the background to UK involvement in the March 2003 war and its aftermath - Mr Straw said he had acted "on the basis of the best evidence available at the time" about the threat posed by Iraq.

Mr Straw said the UK insisted on a series of conditions for its backing for military action, including approval by the UN, that it must be a last resort and must be lawful.

He helped negotiate a UN resolution in November 2002 giving Saddam Hussein a "final opportunity" to meet its disarmament obligations but failed to get a second resolution which, critics say, was needed to explicitly authorise military action.

Nevertheless, Mr Straw said Saddam Hussein had clearly failed to comply with the initial resolution in terms of co-operating with inspectors and providing full disclosure of his weapons capability.

Peter Lemkin
02-08-2010, 11:09 AM
...Is it possible some of these men of 'distinction and position' have lied to the Nation and the World?!?!!?! :hmpf:

David Guyatt
02-08-2010, 01:25 PM
Never! They are all honourable men after all...

Magda Hassan
02-09-2010, 10:33 AM
Tony Blair says the quest for a 'conspiracy' is behind Iraq Inquiry

Nico Hines

Tony Blair has dismissed the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war as part of Britains obsession with conspiracy and scandal.
Speaking for the first time since his controversial appearance as a witness, the former Prime Minister said people should accept that it is possible to have different opinions on the legitimacy of the invasion without any underlying deceit.
Mr Blair said in an interview on American television: Theres always got to be a scandal. . . theres got to be some conspiracy behind it.
The interview, broadcast last night, came as Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary, prepared to give a second round of evidence before the inquiry this afternoon.
Related Links




Jack Straw returns to Iraq Inquiry (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7018548.ece)



To be deceived, first you must deceive yourself (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/ben_macintyre/article7014065.ece)



Short: 'Blair lied in build-up to Iraq invasion' (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article7012032.ece)



Multimedia



POLL: Campbell on Marr - crocodile tears? (http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2010/02/campbells-crocodile-tears.html)




Mr Straw is expected to come under fire from the panel because some of the evidence he gave during an earlier appearance has been apparently contradicted by subsequent witnesses.
The Justice Minister told the panel that he had repeatedly warned Mr Blair about the legality of the conflict and agonised over whether to support it.
Other witnesses have since suggested that he had disregarded unanimous legal opinion within the Foreign Office and told Cabinet and the House of Commons that there was a clear legal case for war.
The Liberal Democrats have accused Mr Straw of hoodwinking the British public and misleading Parliament.
Mr Blair called for an end to this kind of speculation over ulterior motives during an interview on Fox with Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas who ran against John McCain to be the Republican nominee for President in 2008.
Mr Huckabee asked: I dont pretend for a moment to understand American politics very well and I certainly dont understand British politics but why so many of these [Iraq] inquiries? Theres been four and theyve all been relentless they havent really mined any new ground.
Mr Blair laughed and smiled. Erm. . . he began. I think its partly because we have this curious habit, I dont think its confined to Britain actually, where people find it hard to come to the point where they say we disagree youre a reasonable person, Im a reasonable person but we disagree.
Theres always got to be a scandal as to why you hold your view. Theres got to be some conspiracy behind it. Some great, you know, deceit thats gone on, and people just find it hard to understand that its possible for people to have different points of view and hold them reasonably for genuine reasons.
So I think theres continual desire to sort of uncover some great conspiracy when actually theres a decision at the heart of it but there it is.
Mr Blair could be asked to reappear before the panel in the coming months.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article7019088.ece

Peter Presland
02-09-2010, 11:27 AM
Tony Blair says the quest for a 'conspiracy' is behind Iraq Inquiry

Wow!

Reduced to repeated resorts to the dreaded "C" word eh? He must be rattled.

'Conspiracy' and its derivatives is rapidly taking on the insulting, debate-clinching characteristics of those other hardy perennials of the feeble minded like 'NAZI', Anti-Semite', 'Holocaust Denier', 'Paedophile', 'Fascist', 'Communist' etc.

When anyone feels it necessary to have gratuitous resort to them, it is a sure sign they really are rattled and devoid of evidence or rational argument.

I look forward to the men in white coats being required to attend on Anthony Charles Lynton Blair because for sure, IF the man is NOT a pure calculating psychopath - and it's a BIG IF - then he really is mentally ill.

Magda Hassan
02-09-2010, 11:50 AM
:hahaha::hahaha::hahaha:
Like that's ever going to happen! Nice try though. Hope springs eternal.

UK: Iraq inquiry to question US officials
Tue, 09 Feb 2010 07:08:57 GMT


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http://www.presstv.ir/photo/20100209/fazaeli-fatemeh20100209095021265.jpg
A spokesman for the ex-president has declined to comment on whether any request has been made to George W. Bush, or if he would co-operate.




In Britain, the head of the Iraq war inquiry is to seek meetings with members of the administration of former US President George W. Bush, over the 2003 war.

John Chilcot confirmed on Monday he hopes to obtain evidence from American officials, but did not say which specific individuals he wants to question.

"We cannot take formal evidence as such from foreign nationals, but we can of course have discussions with them," Chilcot stressed.

The long-awaited public hearings of Britain's involvement in the 2003 Iraq war began in November last year.

The inquiry has so far seen former Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, current MI6 intelligence agency Chief John Sawers, Head of Britain's military Jock Stirrup and a host of ministers and government officials offer testimony on the conflict's origins.

Chilcot said his panel will question British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and a number of other British officials in a second round of hearings before summer.

He added that he also plans to gather evidence from US officials and military veterans.

A spokesman for Bush has declined to comment on whether any request has been made to the former president or if he would cooperate.

The inquiry has so far gathered much information about the lead-up to the war, with former Foreign Policy Adviser Sir David Manning testifying that Blair had assured Bush of backing "regime change" in Iraq, 11 months prior to the 2003 invasion, during a meeting at the ex-president's Texas ranch.

Recalling the meeting at the Crawford ranch in April 2002, Britain's former Ambassador to the United States' Christopher Meyer, also said that Bush and Blair had "signed in blood" an agreement to take military action in Iraq.

Meanwhile, military historian Lawrence Freedman indicated in questioning that Bush had advised Blair he planned to topple Saddam Hussein even if the despot cooperated with the United Nations weapons inspectors.

Details of private correspondence between the two former heads of Britain and the United States have been provided to the panel, but have not been released publicly.

Some lawmakers have demanded that the letters be made public, but the government has declined.

According to data compiled by the London-based Opinion Research Business and its research partner in Iraq, the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies, the Iraq war has left more than one million Iraqis dead.

Moreover, a fifth of Iraqi households have lost at least one family member due to the conflict.

The United Nations estimates that the number of displaced persons in Iraq stands at more than four million.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118234&sectionid=351020601

Peter Presland
02-09-2010, 12:07 PM
:hahaha::hahaha::hahaha:
UK: Iraq inquiry to question US officials

Thanks Magda.

I didn't quite splutter coffee over my keyboard this time but it is giving me an extended chuckle.

Peter Lemkin
02-09-2010, 12:14 PM
Poodles and their groomers do not question the Poodle-Master!

David Guyatt
02-09-2010, 02:13 PM
Tony Blair says the quest for a 'conspiracy' is behind Iraq Inquiry

Wow!

Reduced to repeated resorts to the dreaded "C" word eh? He must be rattled.


I notice he was interviewed by the US media - his natural constituency and the only ones left, I think, who remotely buys into his messianic bullshit.

Peter Lemkin
02-09-2010, 04:04 PM
I predict a Palin / Blair Administration next.....his British citizenship will be dealt with with stealth.....he's as tricky as was Dicky. :girl:

David Guyatt
02-09-2010, 04:34 PM
A sort of contemporary twist on "Dumb & Dumber" you mean?

But I suppose it would have to be called Dumb & Cunning...

Peter Lemkin
02-09-2010, 05:49 PM
A sort of contemporary twist on "Dumb & Dumber" you mean?

But I suppose it would have to be called Dumb & Cunning...

Tony will provide the articulate and received English declarations of State, Sara will entertain the American proletarian masses [especially of the XY variety] with something to focus their eyes and medullan minds upon...as NOTHING she has to say can be focused upon by an educated human or simian......:stupid:

Jan Klimkowski
02-09-2010, 10:04 PM
Tony "I'm a pretty straight sort of guy" Blair has always tried to categorize those who oppose his "honest" judgements as "conspiracy theorists".

Here's a prime example from the run-up to "Shock and Awe":




Blair: Iraq oil claim is 'conspiracy theory'

Matthew Tempest, political correspondent guardian.co.uk,
Wednesday 15 January 2003


Tony Blair today derided as "conspiracy theories" accusations that a war on Iraq would be in pursuit of oil, as he faced down growing discontent in parliament at a meeting of Labour backbenchers and at PMQs.
The prime minister's double defence of Britain's backing of president Bush came as one of Tony Blair's oldest political allies, Peter Mandelson, insisted that the US and British governments did not need a second UN resolution to justify an attack on Iraq.

The MP for Hartlepool, traditionally used as a back channel for No 10's thinking, insisted that only his questioners on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme were asking for a new UN resolution - not France, Russia or China, the other members of the security council.

Instead Mr Mandelson insisted that a breach of the existing 1441 resolution could justify an attack on Saddam Hussein.

His intervention in the ongoing political debate on Iraq comes as Church of England bishops issued their strongest criticism yet of plans for military actions.

The drumbeat of war sounded louder today after Downing Street also announced that Mr Blair would fly to Washington for talks with president Bush at the end of January. Most military experts are currently predicting an attack in February.

At a private meeting of the parliamentary Labour party at Westminster this morning the PM underlined his uncompromising message that Saddam Hussein's regime had to be disarmed one way or another.

Afterwards, one anti-war MP, Glenda Jackson, said the meeting was split 70-30 in Mr Blair's favour.

Another who did not wish to be named said it had been more like 50-50, with the meeting evenly split on support or opposition to the government's position.

A Labour Party spokesman said after Mr Blair's hour-long grilling: "The Prime Minister got a very warm reception for what he had to say.

Mr Mandelson told Today that there could be circumstances in which securing a second resolution would be impracticable.

He said: "Now if that is the case, there is no question at all of America or Britain or anyone else acting outside the UN. They would be acting firmly and directly and explicitly on the basis of the UN's authority as expressed in resolution 1441."

Meanwhile, Church of England bishops issued a statement saying a conclusive case has yet to be made in favour of military action against President Saddam and without compelling new evidence a war could not be "morally justified".

A statement from the house of bishops said: "We do not believe that the evidence presented to date suggests a clear link exists between Iraq and al-Qaida or that Iraq poses an immediate threat to international security."

"Without compelling new evidence to the contrary, we contend that military action could not be morally justified."

The bishops said that it was crucial that the work of the UN weapons inspectors should be allowed to run its course.

To launch military action while there remained the potential to secure a peaceful resolution would be "ill-judged and premature", they said.

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, warned the prime minister that any military action against Iraq could only be justified if there was a fresh UN resolution.

He told the BBC: "I do think that Iraq is a threat ... but the point is that we have contained this threat over the last 10 years by a policy of deterrence and containment, and there is absolutely nothing new now which would justify us going over the awesome threshold of war with all the unpredictable consequences in the Middle East and the almost certain rise of terrorism around the world and in this country."

Last month the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, attacked the government over its apparent readiness to launch military action against Iraq.

In his Christmas message, Dr Williams recalled the biblical story of the three wise men as he mocked strategists who end up creating "yet more havoc and suffering", despite their intimate knowledge of politics.

However, General Wesley Clark, a former Nato supreme allied commander, said he believed military action would be forthcoming.

Asked when he expected any action, he told Today: "Mid to late February, it looks like."

Asked for his assessment of the likelihood of action, he added: "I would say it is high. It is not 100%, because there is the possibility that Saddam Hussein will back down and flee the country before then."

The prime minister was today accused of being too scared of Labour back-bench opposition to his policy on Iraq to have a full-scale Commons debate on the crisis.

The accusation came from the Scottish National party whose Westminster leader, Alex Salmond, contrasted "meaningless" discussion of Iraq policy in the Commons with tomorrow's debate on the issue in the Scottish parliament on a motion tabled by the SNP.

"The Scots parliament is pursuing proper democracy, not the hypocrisy of Westminster," Mr Salmond said.

The SNP motion says that the UN security council resolution providing a mandate for weapons inspection in Iraq does not authorise military action.

Any such use of force would breach international law, it says.

It continues: "No commitment of UK forces should be made without a specific mandate for military action in Iraq in the form of a further security council resolution based on clear, published and compelling evidence provided by the UN inspectorate of a material breach of the resolution."

The motion also expresses "deep and serious concern" that the government is pursuing an inevitable path to war.

Mr Salmond said: "While Westminster is to have another meaningless and inconclusive adjournment debate on the Iraq crisis, the Scottish parliament is having a real debate based on a real motion from the SNP.

"That is a powerful contrast.

"Tony Blair is frightened of a substantive debate in the Commons because he is scared of the extent of support on the Labour benches for the fundamental point that military action in the name of the UN must be specifically authorised by the UN."

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow and father of the House of Commons, said: "It is ironic that the Scottish parliament can find the means of having a meaningful debate on Iraq, while the Commons is refused."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/jan/15/foreignpolicy.uk

By trotting out the "conspiracy theory" meme and attaching it to claims that the second Iraq War was motivated by western and multinational geopolitical interests, such as Iraq's oil, Blair was attempting to render discussion of such claims as beyond the pale.

Outside the permitted space for MSM consensus discussion.

His tactic largely succeeded, and MSM took his and Campbell's lies at face value.

Magda Hassan
02-10-2010, 11:03 AM
Email to Iraq Inquiry Posted by The Editorshttp://images.boardhost.com/invisible.gifhttp://images.boardhost.com/user_silhouette.png (http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/info/user=The+Editors) on February 8, 2010, 3:21 pm
Sent to: secretariat@iraqinquiry.org.uk

Dear Iraq Inquiry

Former chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has been making headline news commenting on your inquiry: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8503454.stm

Has Blix been invited to appear before your inquiry? If not, why not, please?

Best wishes

David Edwards


Dear Mr Edwards

Thank you for your suggestion that the Iraq Inquiry should hear from the former head of UNMOVIC, Dr Hans Blix. The Iraq Inquiry Committee have not yet announced the full list of people they will wish to speak to during the course of their work. Your suggestion has been noted.

Amy Harland

For the Inquiry

Email number 2:
Re: Email to Iraq Inquiry Posted by The Editorshttp://images.boardhost.com/invisible.gifhttp://images.boardhost.com/user_silhouette.png (http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/info/user=The+Editors) on February 8, 2010, 7:23 pm, in reply to "Email to Iraq Inquiry (http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1265642462.html)"
Dear Amy Harland

Many thanks. You should also call former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter. And also former senior UN diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck.

Best wishes

David Edwards

http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1265657000.html

David Guyatt
02-10-2010, 11:17 AM
Dear Mr. Edwards,

Thank you for your follow up email message. In the event that there was a misunderstanding, allow me to repeat that "the Iraq Inquiry Committee have not yet announced the full list of people they will wish to speak to during the course of their work".

When we do announce the full list you'll be the first to see that your suggestions have been ignored.

Sincerely,

For the Inquiry.

Magda Hassan
03-02-2010, 05:40 AM
Blair warned in 2000 Iraq war was illegal

Secret papers withheld by Chilcot inquiry reveal Foreign Office fears over invasion
By Michael Savage, Political Correspondent

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00331/06ukpoli_331664t.jpg (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/blair-warned-in-2000-iraq-war-was-illegal-1914293.html?action=Popup)
REUTERS
Tony Blair gives evidence to the Iraq Inquiry in Westminster on 29 January

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An invasion of Iraq was discussed within the Government more than two years before military action was taken with Foreign Office mandarins warning that an invasion would be illegal, that it would claim "considerable casualties" and could lead to the breakdown of Iraq, The Independent can reveal.
The extent of Whitehall opposition to the policy eventually backed by Tony Blair emerges just three days before Gordon Brown will appear at the Iraq Inquiry, where he will be asked to explain his role in the Government's decision to invade.
Secret Foreign Office strategy papers drawn up by senior civil servants at the end of 2000 have been obtained by this newspaper and are published for the first time today. The Iraq: future strategy document considers options for dealing with the belligerent Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. It is one of the key documents that Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry has declined to release.
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A policy of "regime overthrow" is proposed, but roundly condemned. In an eerily portentous assessment of the consequences of taking military action, it states: "Such a policy would command no useful international support. An overt attempt to be successful would require a massive military effort, probably including a land invasion: this would risk considerable casualties and, possibly, extreme last-ditch acts of deterrence or defiance by Saddam."
The mandarins add: "It would also be illegal. Covert attempts, on the other hand, seem very unlikely to succeed and run the risk of fragmenting Iraq, which runs clearly contrary to our wider interests in the region." Iraq descended into violence in the wake of the March 2003 invasion. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed in the aftermath, as well as more than 100 British troops.
The document also calls into question Mr Blair's claim that using troops to bring down Saddam Hussein was only discussed after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and will increase pressure on the inquiry to call Mr Blair back to give further public evidence this summer.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats' leader, said it was "yet more damning evidence" against Mr Blair's decision to take Britain to war in Iraq. He also warned that the fact that the document had not been published by the Chilcot inquiry raised "serious questions" about its powers to reveal sensitive material. The Government has retained the power to veto publication of classified documents. Protocols agreed between the Chilcot team and Whitehall hand the final say on publication of disputed documents to the head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O'Donnell.
Requests to secure the document using the Freedom of Information Act were initially refused. However, the Foreign Office eventually agreed to release a redacted version with the views of the United States and other countries blacked out after The Independent demanded an internal review. "Releasing the paper would make Government more accountable and increase trust," the Foreign Office conceded. "There is public interest in being able to assess the quality of advice being given to ministers and subsequent decision-making."
Critics of the decision to go to war pounced on the document. "Days before Gordon Brown will try to defend his role at the heart of the Government that took us to war, this is yet more damning evidence against the attempt to justify the invasion of Iraq," Mr Clegg said. "The Foreign Office was clearly advising against regime change as illegal and counter to our national interest."
The strategy paper was commissioned by Sir William Patey, then head of Middle East policy at the Foreign Office, ahead of the November 2000 presidential election which brought George Bush to the White House.
It states that a 1999 United Nations resolution, demanding that weapons inspectors be given access to Iraq, was "beginning to fray at the edges", and would soon "lose credibility" should Saddam fail to co-operate with inspectors. However, it recommends that the policy of "containing" Saddam, and perhaps loosening the sanctions imposed on the Baghdad regime, remained "the best option for achieving our policy objectives towards Iraq". It concludes: "Other alternatives remain unattractive at this stage."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/blair-warned-in-2000-iraq-war-was-illegal-1914293.html

David Guyatt
03-02-2010, 09:38 AM
The document also calls into question Mr Blair's claim that using troops to bring down Saddam Hussein was only discussed after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and will increase pressure on the inquiry to call Mr Blair back to give further public evidence this summer.

Thus:



The strategy paper was commissioned by Sir William Patey, then head of Middle East policy at the Foreign Office, ahead of the November 2000 presidential election which brought George Bush to the White House.


Smoking gun anyone?

Magda Hassan
03-08-2010, 03:19 AM
Gordon Brown tells Iraq inquiry: I fully backed the war

Gordon Brown has said that he was "fully in line" with the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.



By James Kirkup (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/james-kirkup/), Political Correspondent
Published: 11:53AM GMT 05 Mar 2010







Speaking at Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into the war, Mr Brown gave his most explicit endorsement yet for the conflict.
He also insisted that he had fully funded the Armed Forces as they prepared for war.

Related Articles


Brown has rarely spoken about his role in the events leading up to the war, which cost 179 British lives.
Some Labour supporters believe Mr Brown either harboured private doubts about the war, or was shut out of the decision-making process by Tony Blair, then the prime minister.
But in his evidence, Mr Brown rejected both those ideas, insisted he had actively backed Mr Blair in his decision to invade.
Mr Brown was adamant that he had been "in the loop" of Mr Blair's decisions. He said he had five private briefings from the intelligence agencies, which persuade him that Iraq was an "aggressor state."
He said: "I had full information. There is no sense in which I had inadequate information. I was fully engaged in the discussions which had taken place. I was involved in the financial discussions in relation to the military options.
He added: "In terms of my relationship with the Prime Minister, I was fully in line with what was being done."
Mr Brown said he asked for briefings about Iraq's military programmes before the war.
"I had five meetings with the intelligence chiefs. These were very full briefings," he said. "The information I was given was about the weaponry that the Iraqi government held."
The failure to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq showed that ministers should not rely too much on intelligence, Mr Brown said.
"I think we have learned that intelligence can give us insights into what is happening, but we have got to be more sure, as people have recognised, about the nature of the intelligence we were receiving from certain people."
Mr Brown, who was Chancellor at the time of the invasion, will face questions later about his funding of the Armed Forces.
The early questioning focused on the build-up to the war. Mr Brown insisted that he had told the Ministry of Defence that he would fund whatever commanders believed was needed for military action.
"At every point, I made it clear we would support whichever option the military decided on," he said.
Mr Brown also said that his Treasury had been involved in planning for post-war Iraq. He suggested that the US government was mainly to blame for the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003.
He said: "Its one of my regrets that I wasnt able to more successful on pushing the Americans further on this issue.
"I cannot take personal responsibility for everything that went wrong. I did a paper for the Americans saying that this needed to be done."

Magda Hassan
03-10-2010, 06:18 AM
Perhaps on planet Miliband, population 1, this may be reality.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has claimed that UK's involvement in the Iraq war has earned it respect in the Middle East.

Giving evidence to the public inquiry into Britain's role in the war on Monday, Miliband insisted that many Arab countries now respected Britain more for following through on threats of military force in Iraq.

"Even those who disagree with it (the war) would say to me, 'you've sent a message that when you say something you actually mean it. And if you say something's a last chance it really is a last chance'."

Miliband also claimed that the UK is now in a "stronger position," believing that UK decisions on Iraq have not "undermined our relationships or our ability to do business" in the region.

The top official meanwhile alleged that "many Iraqis" view Britain as having been instrumental in "freeing the country from a tyranny that is bitterly remembered."

This is while according to polls conducted by The Arab American Institute and the Pew Global Attitudes Project in 2007 and 2006, the majority of people in the Middle East and Europe viewed the war negatively and believed that the world was safer before the Iraq War and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Miliband, who was a junior education minister in Tony Blair's government at the time of the 2003 invasion, was not directly involved in the events leading up to the occupation.

But the foreign secretary seen as a potential successor to Gordon Brown as leader of the Labor party has repeatedly backed Britain's decision to invade Iraq.

He claims that the war was necessary because the United Nations' efforts had been "feeble" in trying to disarm Saddam.

He also urged the government to not be afraid of similar actions in the future stressing that Britain must remain a major player in international affairs.

Miliband was the last senior politician to appear at Sir John Chilcot's inquiry before the election, which is expected on May 6.

The five-person panel, which was set up to learn the lessons of the conflict, has so far heard testimonies from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former prime minister Tony Blair, former foreign secretary Jack Straw, current MI6 intelligence agency chief John Sawers, head of Britain's military Jock Stirrup and a host of ministers and government officials.

According to data compiled by the London-based Opinion Research Business and its research partner in Iraq, the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies, the Iraq war has left more than one million Iraqis dead.

Moreover, a fifth of Iraqi households have lost at least one family member due to the conflict.

The United Nations estimates that the number of displaced persons in Iraq stands at more than four million.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120413&sectionid=351020201

David Guyatt
03-10-2010, 10:59 AM
Famous saying in history:

* I admire and respect people of all races, creeds and religions.

Adolf Hitler

* Even in my dreams I believe I did what was right for the country.

Tony Bair

* If I'd known about them WMD's I'd votefied to stop those Ay-rabs tryifying to invade us. Eeyah!

George W Bush

* The UK's involvement in the Iraq war has earned it respect in the Middle East.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband

Jan Klimkowski
03-17-2010, 09:00 PM
Tony "I'm a pretty straight sort of guy" Blair has always tried to categorize those who oppose his "honest" judgements as "conspiracy theorists".

Here's a prime example from the run-up to "Shock and Awe":




Blair: Iraq oil claim is 'conspiracy theory'

Wednesday 15 January 2003

Tony Blair today derided as "conspiracy theories" accusations that a war on Iraq would be in pursuit of oil, as he faced down growing discontent in parliament at a meeting of Labour backbenchers and at PMQs.

snip.....


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/jan/15/foreignpolicy.uk

By trotting out the "conspiracy theory" meme and attaching it to claims that the second Iraq War was motivated by western and multinational geopolitical interests, such as Iraq's oil, Blair was attempting to render discussion of such claims as beyond the pale.

Outside the permitted space for MSM consensus discussion.

His tactic largely succeeded, and MSM took his and Campbell's lies at face value.



Tony Blair got cash for deal with South Korean oil firm

Watchdog orders publication of former prime minister's payment by oil firm that was kept secret for 20 months

Wednesday 17 March, 2010

Tony Blair has received cash from a South Korean oil firm in a deal kept secret until the business appointments watchdog intervened, the Guardian has learned.

After 20 months of secrecy, the former prime minister has now been overruled by the chairman of the advisory committee on business appointments, the former Tory cabinet minister Ian Lang.

Lang this week ordered publication of Blair's deal with UI Energy Corporation, which has extensive oil interests in the US and in Iraq.

Blair repeatedly claimed to the committee, which assesses jobs taken up by former ministers, that the existence of the deal had to be kept secret at the request of the South Koreans, because of "market sensitivities".

According to a committee spokesman, Blair's claims of the need for secrecy were first made in July 2008, when the committee agreed to break its normal rules, and postpone publication for three months.

Blair's office went back to the committee in October of that year and asked for a further six months. They promised to let the committee know as soon as the "market sensitivity" had passed.

Committee sources said they heard nothing further and had to "chase" Blair. This culminated in a formal letter from the committee last November. Blair's office responded last month, claiming the deal was still too sensitive to reveal.

Lang, who is understood to have reviewed the files, told Blair he saw no reason to keep the deal secret any longer.

The committee website now publishes a statement identifying Blair's job as "advice to a consortium of investors led by the UI Energy Corporation (Publication delayed due to market sensitivities)".

The committee also detailed on its website a similarly unpublished Blair deal with the ruling family in Kuwait. He has been in their pay since December 2007, with the task of producing a general report on the oil state's future over the next 30 years, at a reported 1m fee.

Asked about the Korean deal, his spokesman said: "Mr Blair gave a one-off piece of advice in respect of a project for UI Energy in August 2008. He sought, and received, approval from the advisory committee on business appointments before undertaking this project."

He added: "UI Energy requested of the committee that they delay public announcement for reasons of market sensitivity, which the committee agreed to do."

He would not say what the advice was about, or how much Blair was paid.

The Korean firm is normally frank to the point of boastfulness about its hiring of former top politicians. It says on its website: "This is a strong competitive edge that UI Energy Corporation has over other companies."

The former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke has been one of its paid advisers. It also lists US politicians on its payroll, saying: "Congressman Stephen J Solarz, the former secretary of defence Frank C Carlucci, the former ambassador to Egypt Nicholas A Veliotes, and US commander for the Middle East General John P Abizaid exercise their network and political influence to promote UI Energy on the development of oil fields in Iraq where the USA governs."

Blair's office denies that the help given to UI Energy was linked to Iraq, where the Korean firm's consortium at the time had just struck oil in a controversial deal with autonomous Kurdistan, to the displeasure of the central Iraqi regime.

It said: "The project had nothing to do with Iraq".

Blair, who set up a commercial consultancy firm, Tony Blair Associates, following the Korea and Kuwait deals, has been secretive in the past about his money-making schemes.

A Guardian investigation last year found that he had put his multimillion-pound income through an obscure partnership structure called Windrush Ventures, which enabled him to avoid publishing normal company accounts.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/17/tony-blair-cash-south-korea-oil

David Guyatt
03-17-2010, 11:03 PM
Explains a lot eh.

Jan Klimkowski
03-18-2010, 06:37 PM
Explains a lot eh.

The question is: what specialist knowledge or advice can Tony Blair legitimately offer to a South Korean oil company with interests in the Middle East and the Russian "Stans"?

Answers in a coffin, please. :evil:

David Guyatt
03-18-2010, 06:52 PM
Perhaps they just warmed to his open sincere style and smile?

No, that won't do. That's not "market sensitive" is it....

Is political corruption market sensitive?

Magda Hassan
03-23-2010, 02:08 AM
:sheep: I doubt it will reveal anything. They are not subject to any UK laws any evidence will be given because they have chosen to not because they are compelled to and they are going to say either nothing, fuck off, or we sincerely believed that liberating Iraq of WMD was the right thing to do. Maybe the investigators want to go visit Disneyland. It has been a long cold English winter after all. Time for a holiday.

Iraq Inquiry asks to question George Bush's senior officials

The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War could take an explosive new twist after it emerged that leading figures in George Bush's administration have been asked to give evidence to it.



By Patrick Hennessy (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/patrick-hennessy/), Political Editor
Published: 9:00PM GMT 20 Mar 2010

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01396/rice_1396480c.jpg Requests are understood to have been made to Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Stephen Hadley Photo: EPA


Sources in Washington said the inquiry sent out emails "about three weeks ago" to senior officials in Mr Bush's government including, it is believed, the former president himself.
Other requests are understood to have been made to Dick Cheney, Mr Bush's vice-president, Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defence secretary, and Stephen Hadley, an ex-national security adviser as well as to their deputies and senior assistants.

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Members of Sir John Chilcot's panel (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/7374140/Gordon-Brown-gives-evidence-to-Iraq-Inquiry-Chilcot-Inquiry-QandA.html) are believed to be willing to travel to the US to take evidence almost certainly in private on the administration's policies between the 2003 invasion of Iraq and 2009.
While the most senior figures are reluctant to give evidence, Washington sources claim about 10 former officials, most involved in the post-invasion period, have agreed to do so.
The surprise development adds to the chances of Sir John's inquiry producing a "smoking gun" on the key questions of whether Britain and the US adequately prepared for the conflict and whether it was justified under international law.
Interviews with US officials even held in secret could play a major part in Sir John's final report, expected by the end of this year.
Although it has no legal power to compel witnesses to appear before it, the Chilcot Inquiry has succeeded in obtaining testimony from virtually every single British politician, official and senior military figure who played a key role in the war.
Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have been subjected to six-hour televised grillings.
The Prime Minister may even have to return to the inquiry to "clarify" his previous evidence after admitting providing wrong information (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/gordon-brown/7464554/Gordon-Brown-admits-I-was-wrong-on-defence-spending.html) in his earlier appearance.
Last week, Mr Brown told MPs he had been wrong to tell the Iraq Inquiry that defence spending under Labour was 'rising in real terms every year'.
A research paper produced by the House of Commons library shows defence spending fell in real terms in four years when Mr Brown was Chancellor, including two when Britain was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Brown has come under fire from a battery of former senior military figures who claim defence was underfunded during his years at the Treasury.
Other notable witnesses who have already given evidence to Chilcot include Alastair Campbell, the former communications director at 10 Downing Street, who told the inquiry that Mr Brown was a key member of Mr Blair's "private circle".
However, others said Mr Brown was a rallying point for dissent about the war. Clare Short, the former international development secretary, described frequently sharing her concerns with a "very unhappy and marginalised" Mr Brown.
Mr Blair mounted a vigorous defence of the invasion and insisted he had no regrets over removing Saddam Hussein. The former prime minister denied he took Britain to war on the basis of a 'lie' over the dictator's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7488615/Iraq-Inquiry-asks-to-question-George-Bushs-senior-officials.html

David Guyatt
03-23-2010, 04:50 PM
Yeah, I can see Cheney, Rice, Rummy and others first classing over to London to give evidence to a bunch of boring old wankers who already have the verdict to hand, to wit:

Tut tut, a few minor mistakes were made, but the Prime Minister was acting in good faith to rid the world of a terrible bullying corrupt and murderous tyrant.

Unfortunately George Bush served another full term.

Hey ho...

Jan Klimkowski
03-23-2010, 07:33 PM
The Daily Torygraph opines, truly hilariously:


The surprise development adds to the chances of Sir John's inquiry producing a "smoking gun" on the key questions of whether Britain and the US adequately prepared for the conflict and whether it was justified under international law.
Interviews with US officials even held in secret could play a major part in Sir John's final report, expected by the end of this year.

Maybe Lil' Dick Cheney will take the upstanding members of the Chilcott Inquiry duck shooting.....

:burnout::stupido2:

Peter Presland
06-08-2010, 04:56 PM
Here's a turn up for the book. Not sure how I missed it 'til now but:

2 June 2010 press releas from the Inquiry secretariat: (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/background/100602-submissions-from-international-lawyers.aspx)

The legal basis for the military intervention in Iraq has been the subject of much comment. The Inquiry has heard evidence on this point from a number of witnesses, including Lord Goldsmith the former Attorney General and Sir Michael Wood the former Foreign Office Legal Adviser. Transcripts of such evidence can be found at: http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/. In addition, a number of government documents relating to the formulation of the legal advice have been declassified and published on the Inquirys website.
The Inquiry is being advised on public international law by Dame Rosalyn Higgins QC. In order further to inform the Committees considerations, the Inquiry would be pleased to receive from public international lawyers any legal analysis they may wish to offer of the legal arguments relied upon by the UK government as set out in: the Attorney Generals advice of 7 March 2003; his written answer to a question in the House of Lords on 17 March 2003; and the FCO Memorandum Iraq: Legal Basis for the Use of Force of the same date.
The inquiry does not wish to focus on grounds relied on by other states. Respondents are, therefore, invited to comment on the issues of law arising from the grounds on which the government relied for the legal basis for military action, as set out in the substantive elements of the evidence given to the Inquiry and published documents. That might include:


the legal effect of Operative Paragraphs 1, 4, 11 and 12 of UNSCR 1441;
the significance of the phrase consider in Operative Paragraph 12 of SCR 1441;
whether by virtue of UN Security Council Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441, the elements were in place for a properly authorised use of force;
the interpretation and effect of the statements made by the Permanent Members of the Security Council following the unanimous vote on UNSCR 1441;
the correct approach to the interpretation of Security Council Resolutions;
Lord Goldsmiths evidence that the precedent was that a reasonable case was a sufficient lawful basis for taking military action.

Submissions should be confined to issues as described in the preceding paragraphs and should not exceed 3000 words. They should be sent by email to: submissions@iraqinquiry.org.uk entitled International Law Submission; or by post to: Iraq Inquiry, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BG. Submissions should reach the Inquiry by 14 July 2010. The Iraq Inquiry reserves the right to publish submissions.


Could open a can of worms eh?

Magda Hassan
07-02-2010, 12:59 AM
Revealed: Tony Blair's battle with law chief after warning Iraq war would be illegal


By Tim Shipman (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Tim+Shipman)
Last updated at 12:27 PM on 1st July 2010


Tony Blairs fury at being told the Iraq War was illegal was laid bare yesterday after secret memos from his Attorney General were finally published.
In an unprecedented move, the Chilcot Inquiry into the conflict published Lord Goldsmiths warnings to the then Prime Minister, the first time a government has ever declassified legal advice to ministers.
They detail how time and again the Attorney General told Mr Blair he risked taking the UK into an unlawful war and the Prime Ministers irritation and refusal to accept that fact.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/06/30/article-1290915-068130EB0000044D-785_468x616.jpg Assurances: Jonathan Powell, pictured with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, told a meeting at No.10 that the UK would not support a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq without U.N. support

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/07/01/article-1290915-0A469DF1000005DC-241_233x761.jpg
In one damning letter to Mr Blair dated January 30, 2003 less than two months before the invasion Lord Goldsmith told him that UN resolution 1441, on which the government came to rely, does not authorise the use of military force.



Mr Blair scrawled in the margin of the letter: I just dont understand this.
The same document exposes the huge irritation in Downing Street at the Attorney Generals reluctance to give the green light for an invasion.

No 10 aide Matthew Rycroft made clear that Lord Goldsmiths missive was unwelcome.

[We] specifically said we did not need further advice [on] this matter, he wrote.
The word not was underlined.

A series of documents, minutes and memos make clear that Lord Goldsmith came under huge pressure to change his views and was unceremoniously excluded from Cabinet discussions in the build-up to the conflict.
Lord Goldsmith warned Mr Blair as early as July 2002 that war would not be legal without the express approval of the United Nations Security Council.
In a memo to the Prime Minister, who had already asked the military to prepare war plans, he warned that Britain would not be able to justify war by claiming self defence or a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq.
Even after resolution 1441 was passed in November 2002, declaring Saddam Hussein in breach of previous UN demands that he disarm, the Attorney General maintained that a second resolution explicitly authorising war was necessary.
In October that year, as the wording of 1441 was being prepared, the Attorney General gave a stark warning to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that Mr Blair had gone too far in pledging support to President George W. Bush.

A record of their telephone call says: The Attorney explained that he was concerned by reports he had received that the Prime Minister had indicated to President Bush that he would join them in acting without a second Security Council decision.

He also told Mr Straw the government must not promise the U.S. government that it can do things which the Attorney considers to be unlawful.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/06/30/article-1290915-065B48860000044D-13_233x306.jpg Change of heart: Lord Goldsmith changed his mind about proceeding without UN support after a trip to the U.S. just a month before hostilities commenced

In a sign of the pressure he was coming under, the Foreign Secretary suggested the Attorney might not wish to commit himself on paper until he had seen the Prime Minister.
This resulted in an arm-twisting meeting that was then arranged by Mr Blairs chief of staff Jonathan Powell.
The Attorney General also complained that he ought to be present when the war was being discussed.
But in the final days before the conflict, he changed his tune and declared that a case could be made that Resolution 1441 reactivated the earlier resolutions authorising force during the first Gulf War.
His final legal advice, couched with caveats, was never shown in full to the Cabinet, who only saw the same brief summary declaring the war to be legal.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1290915/IRAQ-INQUIRY-Tony-Blairs-battle-law-chief-warning-war-illegal.html

Magda Hassan
07-02-2010, 01:02 AM
How Goldsmith changed advice on legality of war

For seven years, Britain has wanted to see how the legal case for invading Iraq was made. Yesterday, at a public inquiry that is going on unnoticed, official documents were released for the first time that showed the grave reservations of the Attorney General, his remarkable U-turn, and how the basis for the Iraq war was built on sand
By Kim Sengupta, Defence Correspondent

Thursday, 1 July 2010

(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/how-goldsmith-changed-advice-on-legality-of-war-2015252.html?action=Popup)

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Documents about how the legal case for the Iraq war was formulated by the Blair government seven years ago were made public yesterday, revealing the grave doubts of the Attorney General over impending military action.
The drafts of legal advice and letters sent to the Prime Minister by Lord Goldsmith had been kept secret despite repeated calls for them to be published. Yesterday they were released by the Chilcot Inquiry into the war, after the head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O'Donnell, stated that the "long-standing convention" for such documents to be kept confidential had to be waived because the issue of the legality of the Iraq war had a "unique status".
It had been known that Lord Goldsmith had initially advised the government that an attack on Iraq would not be legal without a fresh United Nations resolution. However, just before the US-led invasion he presented a new set of opinions saying that a new resolution was not needed after all.


Tony Blair appeared to show his irritation with the warnings over military actions, saying in a handwritten note: "I just do not understand this." In another note, a Downing Street aide said: "We do not need further advice on this matter."
In the documents released yesterday, Lord Goldsmith repeatedly stated that an invasion without a fresh UN resolution would be illegal, and warned against using Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD (weapons of mass destruction) as a reason for attack. Two months later, in autumn 2002, Downing Street published a dossier that stressed the alleged WMD threat in an attempt to boost public support for war.
In a letter to Mr Blair on 30 July 2002, marked "Secret and Strictly personal UK Eyes only", Lord Goldsmith stated: "In the absence of a fresh resolution by the Security Council which would at least involve a new determination of a material and flagrant breach military action would be unlawful. Even if there were such a resolution, but one which did not explicitly authorise the use of force, it would remain highly debatable whether it legitimised military action but without it the position is, in my view, clear."
In his letter, copied to the then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, the Attorney General warned that any form of military assistance offered to the US, however limited, such as "the use of UK bases, the provision of logistical or other support ... would all engage the UK's responsibility under international law. We would therefore need to be satisfied in all cases as to the legality of the use of force."
Lord Goldsmith continued: "The development of WMD is not in itself sufficient to indicate such imminence. On the basis of the material which I have been shown ... there would not be any grounds for regarding an Iraqi use of WMD as imminent."
Successive inquiries into the Iraq war, by Lord Hutton, Lord Butler and now Sir John Chilcot, have heard repeated claims that Lord Goldsmith was subsequently persuaded to change his advice into the legality of military action by Mr Blair and members of his government.
In January 2003 Mr Blair met President Bush at the White House. The Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, wrote a memo paraphrasing Mr Bush's comments at the meeting as: "The start date for the military campaign was now pencilled for 10th March. This was when the bombing would begin."
In a letter to Mr Blair dated 30 January 2003, after the UN had passed another resolution on Iraq, 1441, Lord Goldsmith wrote: "In view of your meeting with President Bush on Friday, I thought you might wish to know whether a further decision of the Security Council is legally required in order to authorise the use of force against Iraq." The letter marked "secret" continued: "I remain of the view that the correct legal interpretation of Resolution 1441 is that it does not authorise the use of military force without a further determination by the Security Council." Lord Goldsmith concluded: "I have not copied this minute further."
The Attorney General sent a draft advice to Mr Blair dated 12 February 2003 after he had consulted US officials. He said: "It is clear that Resolution 1441 does not expressly authorise the use of force. It follows that resolution may only be relied on as providing the legal basis for military action if it has the effect of reviving the authorisation to use force contained in Resolution 678 (1990)" when Iraq was adjudged by the UN to have flouted previous resolutions.
But the Attorney General stressed "it is clear that the [Security] Council did not intend the authorisation in Resolution 678 should revive immediately following the adoption of Resolution 1441." He continued: "The language of 1441 is not clear and the statements made on adoption of the resolution suggests there were differences of views within the Council. The safest legal course would be to secure the adoption of the further Council decision." Lord Goldsmith continued: "If action were to be taken without a further Security Council decision, particularly if the UK had tried to and failed to secure the adoption of a second resolution, I would expect the Government to be accused of acting unlawfully."
The Attorney General was told to provide clarification of his advice by the Government and the final version was delivered to Cabinet on 7 March 2003, days before the invasion. Lord Goldsmith had decided a new resolution was not needed, after all, to justify war.
* Tony Blair was named winner of the prestigious Liberty Medal last night by America's National Constitution Centre for "his steadfast commitment to conflict resolution" in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.
[B]Legal advice: What Attorney General said before the Blair-Bush summit...
30.07.02: Goldsmith's advice to the Prime Minister
"The key issue here is whether an attack is imminent. The development of WMD is not in itself sufficient to indicate such imminence. On the basis of the material which I have been shown and I appreciate that there may be other documentation which I have not seen there would not be any grounds for regarding an Iraqi use of WMD as imminent.
"My view therefore is that in the absence of a fresh resolution by the Security Council which would at least involve a new determination of a material and flagrant breach, military action would be unlawful. Even if there were such a resolution, but one which did not explicitly authorise the use of force, it would remain highly debatable whether it legitimised military action but without it the position is, in my view, clear."
14.01.03: Attorney General's advice to the PM, after Resolution 1441 is passed by the UN
"It is clear that Resolution 1441 contains no express authorisation by the Security Council for the use of force.
"However, the authorisation to use force contained in Resolution 678 (1990) may revive where the Security Council has stated that there has been a breach of the ceasefire conditions imposed on Iraq by Resolution 687 (1991).
"But the revival argument will not be defensible if the Council has made it clear either that action short of the use of force should be taken to ensure compliance with the terms of the ceasefire. In conclusion therefore, my opinion is that Resolution 1441 does not revive the authorisation to use of force contained in Resolution 678 in the absence of a further decision of the Security Council."
18.10.02: Record of Attorney General's telephone conversation with the Foreign Secretary
"The Attorney explained that he was concerned by reports he had received that the Prime Minister had indicated to President Bush that he would join them in acting without a second Security Council decision if Iraq did not comply with the terms of a resolution in the terms of the latest US draft. In the Attorney's view, OP10 of the current draft would not be sufficient to authorise the use of force without a second resolution.
"The Foreign Secretary explained the political dimension. He was convinced that the strategy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the US was right politically. It was also important to obtain a decent Security Council resolution.
"The Attorney understood and endorsed the politics behind the Government's approach. It was obviously important to get Bush on side behind a second UN resolution. He was not concerned about what Ministers said externally, up to a point. The Government must, however, not fall into the trap of believing that it was in a position to take action which it could not take. Nor must HMG promise the US government that it can do things which the Attorney considers to be unlawful."
Letter to the Prime Minister 30.01.2003 (Day before meeting with Bush in White House.)
"In view of your meeting with President Bush on Friday, I thought you might wish to know where I stand on the question of whether a further decision of the Security Council is legally required in order to authorise the use of force against Iraq.
"You should be aware that, notwithstanding the additional arguments put to me since our last discussion, I remain of the view that the correct legal interpretation of Resolution 1441 is that it does not authorise the use of military force without a
further determination by the Security Council."
NB: later handwritten on top of note: "Specifically said we did not need further advice this week Matthew 31/1." (No 10 aide, Matthew Rycroft)
... and afterwards
12.02.03: Goldsmith draft legal advice, after Blair meeting with Bush, and after Goldsmith's meetings with Jeremy Greenstock (UK ambassador to the United Nations)
"Since our meeting on 14 January I have had the benefit of discussions with the Foreign Secretary and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who have given me valuable background information on the negotiating history of Resolution 1441. In addition, I have also had the opportunity to hear the views of the US Administration from their perspective as co-sponsors of the resolution.
"Having regard to the arguments of our co-sponsors which I heard in Washington, I am prepared to accept that a reasonable case can be made that Resolution 1441 revives the authorisation to use force in Resolution 678.
"However, if action were to be taken without a further Security Council decision, particularly if the UK had tried and failed to secure the adoption of a second resolution, I would expect the Government to be accused of acting unlawfully. Therefore, if these circumstances arise, it will be important to ensure that the Government is in a position to put up a robust defence.
"I must stress that the lawfulness of military action depends not only on the existence of a legal basis, but also on the question of proportionality.
"This is not to say that action may not be taken to remove Saddam Hussein from power if it can be demonstrated that such action is a necessary and proportionate measure to secure the disarmament of Iraq. But regime change cannot be the objective of military action."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/how-goldsmith-changed-advice-on-legality-of-war-2015252.html

Jan Klimkowski
07-02-2010, 04:27 PM
In establishment inquiry terms, even with a deck stacked to protect the powerful, this is a smoking gun. We shall see shortly whether the Chilcott Inquiry chooses to categorize it as such or not.

No more is needed.


In one damning letter to Mr Blair dated January 30, 2003 less than two months before the invasion Lord Goldsmith told him that UN resolution 1441, on which the government came to rely, does not authorise the use of military force.

Mr Blair scrawled in the margin of the letter: I just dont understand this.
The same document exposes the huge irritation in Downing Street at the Attorney Generals reluctance to give the green light for an invasion.

No 10 aide Matthew Rycroft made clear that Lord Goldsmiths missive was unwelcome.

[We] specifically said we did not need further advice [on] this matter, he wrote.
The word not was underlined.

Blair was repeatedly told the war was illegal. He and his aides told Attorney General Goldsmith that they did not need to hear his advice.

Eventually, Goldsmith capitulated and changed his advice.

British soldiers and Iraqi men, women and children, are still dying every day as a result of moral cowardice and political ambition.

Jan Klimkowski
07-12-2010, 07:28 PM
Iraq war inquiry: Blair government 'massaged' Saddam Hussein WMD threat

Former diplomat Carne Ross says exaggeration, accretion and editing of intelligence documents led to lies in threat assessment

Carne Ross said the government intentionally and substantially exaggerated the threat from Saddam. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Tony Blair's government "intentionally and substantially" exaggerated assessments of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction culminating in highly misleading statements about the threat that amounted to lies, the inquiry into the war in Iraq was told today

Carne Ross, a British diplomat to the UN who was responsible for Iraq in the runup to the invasion, said intelligence was "massaged" into "more robust and terrifying" statements about Saddam's supposed WMD.

In evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, which heard that the Foreign Office had objected to the release of documents that he wanted to disclose, Ross said: "This process of exaggeration was gradual and proceeded by accretion and editing from document to document, in a way that allowed those participating to convince themselves that they were not engaged in blatant dishonesty."

He added: "But this process led to highly misleading statements about the UK assessment of the Iraqi threat that were, in their totality, lies."

In an example of what he called a process of "deliberate public exaggeration", Ross said the government in March 2002 sent the parliamentary Labour party a paper that included the claim that "if Iraq's weapons programmes remained unchecked, Iraq could develop a crude nuclear device in about five years".

He said the government's real assessment was more or less the opposite: that sanctions were effectively preventing Iraq from developing a nuclear capability.

The statement to the PLP was "purely hypothetical", said Ross, "and was true in 1991 as it was in 2002; there was no evidence at either point that Iraq was close to obtaining the necessary material". A senior Foreign Office official sent a minute to an adviser to Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, warning about the discrepancy in the memo to the PLP. But, Ross told the inquiry, the official was ignored.

Ross, who resigned from the Foreign Office in 2002, said co-ordinated action to prevent exports from Iraq and target Saddam's illegal revenues could have been an alternative to military action. It was a "disgrace" that Britain did not exhaust all peaceful options before going to war, he said.

"There was no deliberate discussion of available alternatives to military action in advance of the 2003 invasion," he said. "There is no record of that discussion, no official has referred to it, no minister has talked about it, and that seems to me to be a very egregious absence in this history that at some point a government before going to war should stop and ask itself, 'are there available alternatives?'"

The Foreign Office had also asked him to redact information relating to a proposal to seize illegal bank accounts held by Saddam in Jordan, Ross told the inquiry.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/12/iraq-war-inquiry-saddam-carne-ross

For a full transcript of his testimony, see here:

http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/47534/carne-ross-statement.pdf

Jan Klimkowski
07-20-2010, 06:33 PM
Iraq inquiry: Ex-MI5 boss says war raised terror threat

The invasion of Iraq "substantially" increased the terrorist threat to the UK, the former head of MI5 has said.

Giving evidence to the Iraq inquiry, Baroness Manningham-Buller said the action had radicalised "a few among a generation".

As a result, she said she was not "surprised" that UK nationals were involved in the 7/7 bombings in London.

She said she believed the intelligence on Iraq's threat was not "substantial enough" to justify the action.

Baroness Manningham-Buller said she had advised officials a year before the war that the threat posed by Iraq to the UK was "very limited", and she believed that assessment had "turned out to be the right judgement".

Describing the intelligence on Iraq's weapons threat as "fragmentary", she said: "If you are going to go to war, you need to have a pretty high threshold to decide on that."

The Chilcot inquiry is continuing to hear evidence about decisions taken in the build-up to the invasion and its aftermath.

Baroness Manningham-Buller, head of the domestic intelligence service between 2002 and 2007, said the terrorist threat to the UK from al-Qaeda and other groups "pre-dated" the Iraq invasion and also the 9/11 attacks in the US.

'Terrorist impetus'

However, she said the UK's participation in the March 2003 military action "undoubtedly increased" the level of terrorist threat.

A year after the invasion, she said MI5 was "swamped" by leads about terrorist threats to the UK.

"Our involvement in Iraq, for want of a better word, radicalised a whole generation of young people, some of them British citizens who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as being an attack on Islam," she said, before immediately correcting herself by adding "not a whole generation, a few among a generation".

The ex-MI5 chief said she shared her concerns that the Iraq invasion would increase the UK's exposure to terrorism with the then home secretary David Blunkett, but did not "recall" discussing the matter with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

MI5 did not "foresee the degree to which British citizens would become involved" in terrorist activity after 2004, she admitted.

"What Iraq did was produce fresh impetus on people prepared to engage in terrorism," she said, adding that she could produce evidence to back this up.

"The Iraq war heightened the extremist view that the West was trying to bring down Islam. We gave Bin Laden his jihad."

Budget increase

Lady Manningham-Buller said MI5 was given a budget increase after 9/11 and again in 2002 but the agency still needed far greater resources as a result of the Iraq invasion.

"By 2003 I found it necessary to ask the prime minister for a doubling of our budget," she said. "This is unheard of, certainly unheard of today, but he and the Treasury and the chancellor accepted that, because I was able to demonstrate the scale of the problem that we were confronted by."

Baroness Manningham-Buller was part of the government's Joint Intelligence Committee before the war, which drew up the controversial dossier on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction in September 2002. The dossier stated the weapons could be activated with 45 minutes of an order to do so.

Asked about the dossier, she said she had very limited involvement in its compilation but it was clear, with hindsight, that there was an "over-reliance" on certain intelligence.

She added: "We were asked to put in some low-grade, small intelligence into it and we refused because we did not think that it was reliable."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10693001

What did PM Blair say? Oh yeah:




"The intelligence is clear: [Saddam Hussein] continues to believe that his weapons of mass destruction programme is essential both for internal repression and for external aggression. It is essential to his regional power. Prior to the inspectors coming back in, he was engaged in a systematic exercise in concealment of those weapons."

Hansard, House of Commons, 6th series, vol. 400, col. 123.
House of Commons statement on Iraq, 25 February 2003.

"If we don't act now, we can't keep those people down there forever. We can't wait forever. If we don't act now, then we will go back to what has happened before and then of course the whole thing begins again and he carries on developing these weapons and these are dangerous weapons, particularly if they fall into the hands of terrorists who we know want to use these weapons if they can get them."

Prime Minister's website
Appearing in "MTV Forum - Is War the Answer?", recorded on 6 March 2003, transmitted on 11 March 2003.

"The document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them."

In Tony Blair's foreword to the "dodgy dossier".


The Head of MI5 knew Blair was lying.

And did nothing. Apart from asking for a budget increase. :call:

A plague on both their houses.

Jan Klimkowski
07-28-2010, 06:15 PM
Chilcot inquiry: Iraq expert Carne Ross claims civil servants are withholding vital documents

Britain's 'deep state' of secretive bureaucrats is denying witnesses to the Chilcot inquiry crucial files

I testified last week to the Chilcot inquiry. My experience demonstrates an emerging and dangerous problem with the process. This is not so much a problem with Sir John Chilcot and his panel, but rather with the government bureaucracy Britain's own "deep state" that is covering up its mistakes and denying access to critical documents.

There is only one solution to this problem, and it requires decisive action.

After I was invited to testify, I was contacted by the Foreign Office, from which I had resigned after giving testimony to the Butler inquiry in 2004, to offer its support for my appearance. I asked for access to all the documents I had worked on as Britain's Iraq "expert" at the UN Security Council, including intelligence assessments, records of discussions with the US, and the long paper trail on the WMD dossier.

Large files were sent to me to peruse at the UK mission to the UN. However, long hours spent reviewing the files revealed that most of the key documents I had asked for were not there.

In my testimony I had planned to detail how the UK government failed to consider, let alone implement, available alternatives to military action. To support this I had asked for specific records relating to the UK's failure to deal with the so-called Syrian pipeline, through which Iraq illegally exported oil, thereby sustaining the Saddam regime. I was told that specific documents, such as the records of prime minister Tony Blair's visit to Syria, could not be found. This is simply not plausible.

I had also asked for all the Joint Intelligence Committee assessments on Iraq, some of which I helped prepare. Of dozens of these documents, only three were provided to me 40 minutes before I was due to appear before the Chilcot panel.

Playing by the rules, I had submitted my written testimony to Chilcot before my appearance. In the hours before my appearance, invited to visit the Foreign Office to see further documents (mostly irrelevant), an official repeatedly sought to persuade me to delete references to certain documents in my testimony.

He told me that the Cabinet Office wanted the removal of a critical reference in my evidence to a memo from a senior Foreign Office official to the foreign secretary's special adviser, in which the official pointed out, with mandarin understatement, that the paper sent that week to the Parliamentary Labour Party dramatically and inaccurately altered the UK's assessment of Iraq's nuclear threat.

In a clear example of the exaggeration of Iraq's military capabilities, that paper claimed that if Iraq's programmes remained unchecked, it could develop a nuclear device within five years.

The official's memo pointed out that this was not, in fact, the UK assessment: the UK believed that Iraq's nuclear programme had been checked by sanctions.

The paper to the PLP was instead sent by the foreign secretary to "brief" the wider cabinet. This paper was pure overstated propaganda, filled with ludicrous statements like "one teaspoon of anthrax can kill a million people". The paper was soon made public, as part of the campaign to create public hysteria.

The official's memo about the PLP paper contained nothing secret. It relates to a public document, the PLP paper. Yet, of all the references in my testimony, this was the one that the Cabinet Office most wanted removed. I refused. Strikingly, this memo has never been mentioned to the inquiry, including by its author, who testified earlier this year. Neither has the author of the PLP paper been questioned, or the paper itself discussed.

I was repeatedly warned by inquiry staff not to mention any classified material during my testimony. The only problem is that almost every document I ever wrote or read in my work was classified. It was made clear to me, and to journalists attending the hearing, that if I mentioned specific documents the broadcast of my testimony would be cut off. Other forms of retribution (Official Secrets Act prosecution?) hung in the air. It was a form of subtle intimidation.

Meanwhile, my requests to see documents about the infamous Number 10 WMD dossier were ignored, including requests for letters I had written.

This experience and the inquiry's record so far is cause for concern. It is clear from testimonies so far that most witnesses, most of whom went along with the war at the time, are offering a very one-sided account to the panel. A story is being peddled that sanctions on Iraq were collapsing and the allied policy of containment was failing. Thus, the military alternative to deal with the Iraqi threat was more or less unavoidable.

Though there is some truth to this argument, it was not what the Foreign Office, or the government as a whole, believed at the time. The true story is there to be seen in the documents. In memos, submissions to ministers and telegrams, the official view is very clear: while there was concern at the erosion of sanctions, containment had prevented Iraq from rearmament.

When invasion was promoted by Washington, the available alternative to squeeze Saddam financially by stopping oil exports or seizing the regime's assets, which I and some colleagues had repeatedlyadvocated, was ignored. Here the documents tell a different but equally clear and appalling story: there is not a single mention of any formal discussion, by ministers or officials, of alternatives to military action. It is hard to pinpoint a graver indictment of the government's failure.

The oral testimonies delivered to the inquiry have not given an accurate picture of what the government really thought. Unfortunately, the panel is neither equipped, nor apparently inclined, to challenge witnesses on the contradictions of their testimonies with this documentary record. This may not be the panel's fault: how can they know which pertinent documents exist?

In these circumstances, it is very worrying that the government machine is still trying to withhold key documents, and silence those of us with detailed knowledge of the policy history and documents. I have been told too, from secondary sources, that members of the panel have been refused documents they have specifically requested.

There is a clear solution to these problems: break down the continued obstruction by the bureaucracy by releasing the documents all of them. Only the most secret documents deserve continued protection, and there are very few of these. The vast majority of relevant documents relate to policy discussion inside the government before the war. Though profoundly embarrassing, there is little here that damages national security, except in the hysterical assessment of officials protecting their own reputation. Nick Clegg said a few weeks ago that almost all documents must now be released. He is right.


Carne Ross was the UK's Iraq expert at the UN from 1997 to 2002. He now heads Independent Diplomat, a non-profit diplomatic advisory group

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/25/chilcot-iraq-carne-ross

Magda Hassan
07-30-2010, 10:50 AM
Iraq intelligence not 'very substantial' says Prescott

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48542000/jpg/_48542168_jex_766376_de33-1.jpg Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.



Lord Prescott: "I felt a little bit nervous about the conclusions...of pretty limited intelligence"

The intelligence on Iraqis weapons threat was not "very substantial", former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has said.
He told the Iraq inquiry he was "nervous" about the intelligence being presented in 2002 - some of which he said was based on "tittle-tattle".
However, he said he did not have the knowledge to challenge the assessments.
Lord Prescott said the US regarded UK attempts to get a UN solution to the crisis as a "diversion".
Lord Prescott, deputy prime minister between 1997 and 2007, is the last senior former Labour minister to be giving evidence to the Chico inquiry into the war.
'Sympathies' The inquiry is looking at the UK's role in the build-up to the war and the handling of its aftermath, and is expected to publish its report around the end of the year.
In an interview in December, Lord Prescott expressed some doubts about the war.
Continue reading the main story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10813352#skip_feature_02) Start Quote


I got the feeling that it was not very substantial
End Quote Lord Prescott Former Deputy Prime Minister
However, he told the inquiry that MPs had backed the action and that "democratic accountability had been satisfied".
While former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith had a "difficult decision" to make before deciding the war was legal, he said he accepted the judgement that military action was justified on basis of existing UN disarmament resolutions.
In his opening statement, he expressed his "deepest sympathies" to the relatives of the 179 British service personnel killed in Iraq.
Lord Prescott, the final witness in the current round of public hearings, said he attended 23 out of 28 Cabinet meetings which discussed UK policy towards Iraq as well as holding a number of private meetings with Mr Blair.
Intelligence doubts Asked about the intelligence shown to ministers about Iraq in 2002, Mr Prescott said he had no reason to believe that it was not "robust".
While he had "no evidence" to suggest Joint Intelligence Committee assessments were wrong, he said he was a "little bit nervous about the conclusions based on what was pretty limited intelligence".
"When I kept reading them, I kept thinking to myself, 'is this intelligence?", he said.
Describing this intelligence as "basically what you have heard somewhere and what somebody else has told somebody", he suggested the conclusions drawn on the back of it "were a little ahead" of the evidence.
"So I got the feeling it wasn't very substantial," he said.
"I think, in 2004, by JIC to look at the recommendations they made to us were frankly wrong and built too much on a little information.
"That was my impression at the time but, you know, I just thought 'well this is the intelligence document, this is what you have'.
"It seems robust but not enough to justify to that. Certainly what they do in intelligence is a bit of tittle tattle here and a bit more information there."
However, he said he was certain that Saddam Hussein presented a real threat to regional security as he had attacked both Kuwait and Iran in recent years.
UN discussions He said the UK's "priority" was to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and suggested it was a "real achievement" for Tony Blair to persuade the US to try and get UN support for action against Iraq.
But he said US policy towards Iraq had been one of regime change since the Clinton presidency and that the Bush administration did not want to be "diverted" from this course by diplomatic negotiations.
From conversations with former US Vice President Dick Cheney - who he described as a "hard-liner" - he said he got the impression that Iraq was "unfinished business" for the US.
He described UK-led efforts to get a second UN resolution in early 2003 specifically authorising military action as "absolutely critical".
"We did really need it," he said.
He said he had learnt an "awful lot" from the inquiry to date about government decision-making in respect to Iraq and acknowledged criticism that Mr Blair made decisions via a close-knit circle of aides as part of a "sofa government".
He also said that he was asked by Mr Blair to try and persuade former foreign secretary Robin Cook not to resign from the Cabinet over the issue.
There may be extra hearings in the autumn, when previous witnesses - including Mr Blair and his successor Gordon Brown - could be recalled to give further evidence.
Mr Brown commissioned the inquiry in June 2009.

Malcolm Pryce
07-30-2010, 08:15 PM
Watching him smirk and joke about a war that killed hundreds of thousands was stomach-turning. As for describing the attorney general as "not a happy bunny", well, what can you say? Is it possible to imagine a more inappropriate use of language? Clearly a man who has no conception of what he unleashed, or the depth of our anger.

Magda Hassan
07-30-2010, 10:29 PM
Yes Malcolm, stomach churning it is. However such behavior as Blairs' is pretty par for the course for a sociopath, which he is. The same can be said about the moral cowards who permitted him to get away with such outrageous criminal behaviour.

Danny Jarman
07-31-2010, 02:17 AM
UK diplomat: Deep state bureaucracy blocking Iraq inquiry

Britain's public inquiry into the country's instrumental role in the Iraq invasion is being thwarted by "deep state" bureaucrats who are intimidating witnesses and withholding documents, says a former Iraq expert for the UK government.

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0725/deep-state-bureaucrats-blocking-iraq-inquiry/

Malcolm Pryce
07-31-2010, 06:22 AM
Hi Magda, yes, I agree and I am aware that there is a very respectable school of thought in psychiatry that believes the sociopathic personality is disproportionately represented in politics because they are such accomplished liars. (Or at least, thats the theory - personally I thought the lies were pretty transparent.) All the same I was still shocked to see John...er...sorry Lord Prescott seemingly so oblivious to the gravity of the subject; he may not have been the brightest firework in the box, and was always a bit of a buffoon, but he did always strike me as slightly more human-shaped than people like Blair and Straw. This was the most shocking aspect of the whole sordid enterprise for me, the ease and glib facility with which people - both in Parliament and cheerleading in the press - were able to put another nation to the sword without any great qualms about the innocent blood spilled. Even as I write this I hear Prescott on the radio ludicrously claiming that Tony Blair personally agonised over every single death. What preposterous and delusional nonsense! I dont think he agonised over a single death. The terrible truth is, most people were content to allow our military to slaughter people abroad so long as they didnt have to see it, or be affected by it in any meaningful way apart from the odd traffic jam at Wootton Bassett. Sorry to bang on.

Magda Hassan
10-05-2010, 08:49 AM
Britain held secret war talks with U.S. general 11 months before Iraq invasion



By Jason Lewis (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Jason+Lewis)
Last updated at 2:20 PM on 3rd October 2010

America's most senior general flew into Britain for top secret talks on the invasion of Iraq 11 months before the attack on Saddam Husseins regime.
Details of the classified meeting, held at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, suggest Tony Blairs Government was involved in detailed discussions about toppling the Iraqi dictator earlier than previously disclosed.
American General Tommy Franks flew in to the base in April 2002 to attend a summit meeting called by the then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/02/article-0-09FB369E000005DC-455_224x389.jpg
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/02/article-0-0063A6A000000258-216_224x389.jpg


Meeting: Former Defence Secretary had talks with General Tommy Franks in 2002


It followed similar meetings Gen Franks had in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Secret Pentagon documents reveal Mr Hoon asked about US plans for Iraq.

Exactly what was said has been censored, but declassified sections of the documents show Gen Franks had a separate meeting with Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, then Britains chief of defence staff, and senior officers.

At that meeting, regional issues including Iraq were discussed, and Gen Franks was told the Ministry of Defence had put together a small cell for thinking strategically about Iraq and what courses of action are available to handle the regime.
Mr Hoon did not mention the meeting when he gave evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq earlier this year. And Admiral Boyce, now Lord Boyce, told the Chilcot panel he had set up an Iraq planning group, but only in May 2002.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/02/article-0-00246A3400000258-30_468x312.jpg Site: Talks took place at RAF Brize Norton, where Iraq dead were later flown to

Last night Mr Hoon said: I do recall meeting [Gen Franks] at Brize Norton but I am pretty confident that the primary purpose was to discuss Afghanistan.

'Whether in the course of that meeting there were discussions about Iraq wouldnt entirely surprise me, but I am confident that there wasnt anything more specific other than questions like, Whats going on???
He added that he did not hide or disguise meetings from Chilcot, saying he volunteered as much information as he could recall.
Researcher Chris Ames, who helped secure the documents release under Freedom of Information laws, said: The memo contradicts the evidence of other Chilcot witnesses, who said British collaboration with US war plans did not begin until the early summer of 2002.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1317264/Britain-held-war-talks-US-general-Tommy-Franks-Iraq-invasion.html

Magda Hassan
10-27-2010, 07:36 AM
Tony Blair 'to be called back' to Iraq war inquiry to answer questions about 'gaps' in his evidence



By Daily Mail Reporter (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Daily+Mail+Reporter)
Last updated at 8:47 PM on 26th October 2010

Tony Blair is to be recalled by the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War to answer new questions about 'gaps' in the evidence he gave earlier this year.
The former Prime Minister is likely to be asked to clarify the political build-up to the 2003 American-led invasion.
He is also expected to further explain the legality of Britain's participation in the controversial war.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/26/article-1323798-08138056000005DC-818_468x361.jpg Giving evidence: Tony Blair at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War in January. He is expected to be recalled to make a second appearance early in the new year

Sir John Chilcot will write to Mr Blair next month to ask him to attend a public hearing in early 2011, reported The Times.
During his six-hour testimony earlier this year, Mr Blair mounted a vigorous defence of the invasion and insisted he had no regrets over removing Saddam Hussein.


More...



War protester hurls shoe at ex-Australian prime minister John Howard on live television (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1323824/Peter-Gray-war-protester-hurls-shoes-John-Howard-live-television.html)


He denied he took the country to war on the basis of a 'lie' over the dictator's supposed weapons of mass destruction.
At the end of his session one member of the audience shouted: 'What, no regrets? Come on' while others heckled 'You are a liar', 'And a murderer'.
Sir John has previously explained that as his team pores through thousands of secret government documents relating to the Iraq invasion, should they find 'conflicts or gaps within the evidence' then they will recall witnesses.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/26/article-1323798-08121031000005DC-316_468x315.jpg Flashpoint: Demonstrators protest the former PM's appearance at the inquiry outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in London

Liam Fox, the current Defence Secretary, asked Sir John to recall Gordon Brown to the inquiry earlier this year after he was forced into an humiliating admission that he had slashed defence spending while British troops were at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The then-PM told MPs he had been wrong to tell the inquiry that defence spending under Labour was 'rising in real terms every year'.
In January, an unrepentant Mr Blair was heckled and jeered by families of Britain's war dead as he declared he had 'not a regret' about invading Iraq.
He made it clear he would do the same again and warned world leaders they may soon have to take similar decisions over Iran.


Despite the deaths of up to 700,000 Iraqis and 179 British troops, Mr Blair said he felt 'responsibility but not a regret' at the end of his six hours of evidence. There was no hint of remorse.

Saddam had been a 'monster' and it had been right to remove him even to prevent the 'possibility' that he could acquire weapons of mass destruction, Mr Blair said.
He warned that Iran's nuclear weapons programme now poses an even greater threat.

Magda Hassan
11-14-2010, 01:27 PM
http://chilcotscheatingus.blogspot.com/
Dr Andrew Watt's blog on the state (MI6) assassination of Dr David Kelly

From Paul Rigby :girl:

David Guyatt
11-14-2010, 05:30 PM
Oddly enough I am now more inclined to accept sole UK responsibility for Dr. Kelly's death than before. Previously I had also thought it possible that US intelligence may have been involved too.

Having recently read Gerald James statement to the Information Tribunal (http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4920&highlight=Gerald+James) I am far more open to accept that the UK were probably responsible - and I would think that pointing the finger at Group 13, or a later manifestation of that assassination squad, were the ones who "dun" it.

It was a kill right up the proverbial "Gerald Bull" street.

David Guyatt
12-01-2010, 01:39 PM
Blimey! (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2010/12/01/government-muzzled-chilcot-inquiry-to-protect-interests-of-united-states-wikileaks-document-show-86908-22754242/)


Government muzzled Chilcot inquiry 'to protect interests of United States', Wikileaks document show

Dec 1 2010 By Ben Spencer

THE government secretly promised to limit the scope of the Chilcot inquiry to protect US interests, according to Wikileaks.

And documents on the whistle-blowing website say British officials warned the US that the inquiry into the Iraq war would attract a "feeding frenzy" of interest in the UK.

The dispatch was sent before the inquiry began in November 2009.
That month, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg accused the Labour government of "suffocating" the inquiry with guidance on what could go into chairman Sir John Chilcot's report.

PM Gordon Brown said Chilcot had been "given the freedom to conduct the inquiry the way he wants".

But the leaked cable says that at a meeting with then Foreign Secretary David Miliband, MoD security director Jon Day told US officials "the UK had put measures in place to protect US interests".

Last night, a Chilcot spokesman admitted: "The protocol agreed allows for material to be withheld if publication would damage international relations".
Other documents leaked last night reveal that Britain and the US fear for the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme. US officials cited the dangers of "fissile material" finding its way into terrorist hands.

Wikileaks also said the US rejected a plea by Gordon Brown plea to keep Asperger's sufferer Gary McKinnon in the UK if he pled guilty to hacking into US military computers.

Using an old Zen meditation technique I only just managed to suppress the words "told you so" from peeling off my lips.

Ah so...

Malcolm Pryce
12-01-2010, 01:47 PM
They really are a revelation these leaks aren't they? First we discover Prince Andrew is a boor (who knew!), now we find out the Chilcott Inquiry was a put-up job. Whatever next! Dr David Kelly is still alive a la Harry Lime?

Peter Lemkin
12-01-2010, 02:32 PM
Blimey! (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2010/12/01/government-muzzled-chilcot-inquiry-to-protect-interests-of-united-states-wikileaks-document-show-86908-22754242/)


Government muzzled Chilcot inquiry 'to protect interests of United States', Wikileaks document show

Dec 1 2010 By Ben Spencer

THE government secretly promised to limit the scope of the Chilcot inquiry to protect US interests, according to Wikileaks.

And documents on the whistle-blowing website say British officials warned the US that the inquiry into the Iraq war would attract a "feeding frenzy" of interest in the UK.

The dispatch was sent before the inquiry began in November 2009.
That month, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg accused the Labour government of "suffocating" the inquiry with guidance on what could go into chairman Sir John Chilcot's report.

PM Gordon Brown said Chilcot had been "given the freedom to conduct the inquiry the way he wants".

But the leaked cable says that at a meeting with then Foreign Secretary David Miliband, MoD security director Jon Day told US officials "the UK had put measures in place to protect US interests".

Last night, a Chilcot spokesman admitted: "The protocol agreed allows for material to be withheld if publication would damage international relations".
Other documents leaked last night reveal that Britain and the US fear for the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme. US officials cited the dangers of "fissile material" finding its way into terrorist hands.

Wikileaks also said the US rejected a plea by Gordon Brown plea to keep Asperger's sufferer Gary McKinnon in the UK if he pled guilty to hacking into US military computers.

Using an old Zen meditation technique I only just managed to suppress the words "told you so" from peeling off my lips.

Ah so...

:adore: David told us so..... Disgusting, if not surprising revelation. I do think, taken as a whole, many have underestimated the SUM TOTAL effect of the Wiki Cable Leaks~

Jan Klimkowski
01-15-2011, 11:49 AM
Blair has been "summonsed" to further "questioning" at the Iraq Inquiry.

On the eve of this event, spinmeister Alastair Campbell strives to show us Blair's compassionate Christian side in The Guardian.

And Campbell, who famously told Blair "we don't do God", (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1429109/Campbell-interrupted-Blair-as-he-spoke-of-his-faith-We-dont-do-God.html) is living proof of the maxim that faced with exposure of their crimes, these guys just can't stop spinning.



Alastair Campbell diaries: How Blair's Bible reading prompted Iraq 'wobble'Tony Blair's former press secretary reveals in his diaries that ex-PM often read the Bible before he took 'really big decisions'

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent guardian.co.uk, Friday 14 January 2011 22.03 GMT

Tony Blair had a "wobble" on the eve of his first bombing mission against Saddam Hussein after a late-night reading of the Bible, Alastair Campbell writes in his diaries serialised in today's Guardian.

In a powerful illustration of the impact of Blair's faith on his actions, Campbell writes that a New Testament story about Herod and John the Baptist prompted prime ministerial jitters hours before the launch of an Anglo-American bombing mission against Iraq in December 1998.

Campbell, who famously dismissed questions about Blair's faith by saying "we don't do God", admits in his diaries that the former prime minister often read the Bible before he took "really big decisions".

"TB was clearly having a bit of a wobble," Campbell writes in Power and the People on 16 December 1998, hours before the launch of bombing raids to punish Saddam for failing to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors. "He [Blair] said he had been reading the Bible last night, as he often did when the really big decisions were on, and he had read something about John the Baptist and Herod which had caused him to rethink, albeit not change his mind."

The disclosure of Blair's nerves ahead of his first military assault against Saddam comes a week before the former PM makes his second appearance before the Chilcot inquiry, which is examining the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Campbell writes in today's extracts that Blair gave an undertaking to Saudi Arabia in April 1998 that Britain "would not threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq".

The latest instalment of Campbell's diaries, serialised in today's Guardian, covers the first two years of the last Labour government. The extracts focus on the two major foreign policy changes of Blair's first term: the bombing of Iraq in late 1998, and the successful removal of Serb forces from Kosovo in the spring of 1999.

Campbell also reveals that:

• Margaret Thatcher told Blair during the Nato bombing mission against Serbia in 1999 that she was "appalled" that the civilian side of Nato – ambassadors based in Brussels – discussed bombing targets.

• Downing Street became so alarmed by the criticism of the Kosovo action by the right that Campbell successfully lobbied two key Thatcher allies – her former foreign affairs adviser Charles Powell and David Hart, her adviser during the miners' strike – for help.

• General Wesley Clark, Nato's supreme allied commander, said the alliance was on the "brink of a disaster" when Campbell was dispatched to Brussels to advise Nato on its communications strategy.

• Excited by the international praise which greeted his landslide victory in 1997, Blair joked with Campbell that it was a pity he was prime minister of such a small country. "It's just a shame Britain is so small, physically," Campbell quotes Blair as saying.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jan/14/tony-blair-alastair-campbell-diaries

Magda Hassan
01-19-2011, 04:42 AM
Bliar offered up for sacrifice.
MI6 planning invasion since at least December 2001.

Blair 'misled MPs on legality of war' law chief who advised ex-PM tells Iraq inquiry



By Tim Shipman (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Tim+Shipman) and Ian Drury (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Ian+Drury)
Last updated at 6:54 PM on 18th January 2011

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/17/article-1348083-0CCE5436000005DC-257_306x423.jpg Uncomfortable: Lord Goldsmith was concerned that Mr Blair ignored his advice over the legality of the Iraq War

Tony Blair misled Parliament and the public about the legality of the Iraq War, according to explosive documents released last night.
Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said the then prime minister’s claims that Britain did not need a UN *resolution explicitly authorising force were not compatible with his legal advice.
In testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry, made public for the first time yesterday, Lord Goldsmith said Mr Blair based his case for invasion on grounds that ‘did not have any application in international law’.
He said he felt ‘uncomfortable’ about the way Mr Blair ignored his legal rulings when making the case to Parliament.
Asked whether ‘the Prime Minister’s words were compatible with the advice you had given him’, he replied: ‘No.’
The shattering testimony is a watershed moment for the Iraq Inquiry, as it is the first time that Lord Goldsmith has directly contradicted Mr Blair. The claims will form the centrepiece of Mr Blair’s *second grilling by the inquiry on Friday.
The written questions and answers from Lord Goldsmith’s second testimony to the inquiry, released yesterday, detail how the Attorney General was frozen out of government decision-*making over the drafting of Resolution 1441, which he eventually used to justify the war after months of pressure from Mr Blair and his closest aides.
The UK and U.S. tried to get a second UN resolution explicitly justifying an invasion but abandoned the effort when France threatened to veto their plans in the UN Security Council.


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Watershed moment: Lord Goldsmith's has admitted that when he heard Mr Blair's statements to Parliament he turned to the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for advice


In the months before the 2003 war Mr Blair repeatedly claimed that he did not need a second resolution if another country decided to issue an ‘unreasonable veto’.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/17/article-1348083-081226A5000005DC-322_306x377.jpg Campaigner: Reg Keys says Blair's lying to Parliament was 'criminal' and he should now be 'called to account'

But in his evidence Lord Goldsmith reveals that he had explicitly told Mr Blair that such claims were nonsense when they met to discuss the legality of war on October 22, 2002.
Lord Goldsmith says his advice ‘must have been understood by the Prime Minister’. Yet on January 15, 2003, Mr Blair told the Commons ‘there are circumstances in which a UN resolution is not necessary’.
On February 6 he repeated the claim on the BBC’s Newsnight programme.
Lord Goldsmith admitted that when he heard Mr Blair’s statements: ‘I was uncomfortable about them and I discussed my concerns with [then Foreign Secretary] Jack Straw.’
Reg Keys, whose military policeman son Tom was killed in Iraq, said of Mr Blair: ‘This was not lying to Parliament to push through a minor bill, it was to start a war. That’s tantamount to criminal and it’s high time this man was called to account.’
Mr Blair’s spokesman said: ‘Tony Blair will deal with all these issues in his evidence on Friday. The issue of the so-called unreasonable veto was not the basis on which Britain took part in the military action.
‘What Peter Goldsmith’s statement does is make it categorically clear that there was a proper legal basis for the military action taken.’


Enlarge http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/17/article-0-0CCEE424000005DC-647_634x250.jpg (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/17/article-0-0CCEE424000005DC-647_634x250_popup.jpg)


MI6 was plotting the toppling of Saddam Hussein nearly 18 months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, secret papers revealed last night.
Sir Richard Dearlove, the then head of the spy service, sent three documents to Mr Blair’s top foreign policy adviser Sir David Manning on the issue in December 2001, one of which set out ‘a route map for regime change very openly’.
The Iraq Inquiry’s release of Sir David’s evidence, given behind closed doors last May, sheds light on the earliest-known discussions on the matter among Mr Blair’s inner circle.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348083/Iraq-inquiry-Tony-Blair-misled-MPs-legailty-war-says-law-chief.html

David Guyatt
01-19-2011, 11:15 AM
That's going to put Chilcott in a difficult spot isn't it.

I feel sure there is an unwritten, but accepted Parliamentary practice that former Prime Minister's will not be subjected to a botty spanking.

I suppose that Goldsmith sensed the Guillotine being oiled and thought, "ooops, time to make a bolt for it".

Off with their heads...

Figuratively speaking of course.

Jan Klimkowski
01-19-2011, 06:09 PM
That's going to put Chilcott in a difficult spot isn't it.

I feel sure there is an unwritten, but accepted Parliamentary practice that former Prime Minister's will not be subjected to a botty spanking.

I suppose that Goldsmith sensed the Guillotine being oiled and thought, "ooops, time to make a bolt for it".

Off with their heads...

Figuratively speaking of course.

Most apparatchiks accept their lot in life and live according to the principle of BOHICA!

Bend Over Here It Comes Again!

It appears that Goldsmith has had enough of bending over, and is seeking to protect his reputation.

I doubt this will go down well. As the game plays out, I suspect Goldsmith was a designated patsy - expendable and potential collateral damage.

I'm also sure that this apparatchik was not meant to make it crystal clear that the British PM, Blair, was lying.

No wonder spinmeister Campbell is suddenly doing God, and promoting the pompous and puerile notion of Blair the leader with a Christian conscience.

A plague on all their houses.

Peter Presland
01-20-2011, 07:28 AM
Here's another sign of flutterings in the Dovecotes of State. Tomorrows appearance ought to be interesting, though I've no doubt there are furious behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings to ensure that any damage is channeled in carefully charted directions. Does SEEM to have potential to get messy though.

From Tuesday's Guardian: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/18/iraq-war-inquiry-tonyblair)


Britain's top civil servant, Sir Gus O'Donnell, is preventing the official inquiry into the Iraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iraq) invasion from publishing notes sent by Tony Blair (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/tonyblair) to George W Bush - evidence described by the inquiry as of "central importance" in establishing the circumstances that led to war.
O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, consulted Blair before suppressing the documents, it emerged tonight. The Cabinet Office said: "There is an established convention covering papers of a previous administration whereby former ministers would normally be consulted before release of papers from their time in government." The prime minister's spokesman said David Cameron (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/davidcameron) had not been consulted.
Raising the stakes ahead of Blair's recall on Friday, Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry's chairman, released a sharp exchange of letters with O'Donnell in which he repeated requests for the notes to be declassified. Chilcot said: "The material requested provides important, and often unique, insights into Mr Blair's thinking and the commitments he made to President Bush, which are not reflected in other papers."
In a letter dated 6 January, his third to O'Donnell in less than a month, Chilcot wrote: "The question when and how the prime minister made commitments to the US about the UK's involvement in military action in Iraq and subsequent decisions on the UK's continuing involvement, is central to its considerations".
He refers to passages in memoirs, including Blair's autobiography, A Journey, and disclosures by Jonathan Powell (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/jonathan-powell), Blair's chief of staff, and Alastair Campbell (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/alastaircampbell), his former head of communications. Those publications, and the refusal to disclose Blair's notes, Chilcot said, "leads to the position that individuals may disclose privileged information (without sanction) whilst a committee of privy counsellors established by a former prime minister to review the issues, cannot".
Chilcot, who, with his four-member panel, has privately seen Blair's notes, said the documents "illuminate prime minister Blair's positions at critical points".
O'Donnell replied to Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US. and would not be in the public interest. "We have attached particular importance to protecting the privacy of the channel between the prime minister and president," he told Chilcot.
The Cabinet Office said the refusal to allow Blair's notes to be disclosed conformed to the inquiry's protocols. Chilcot said recently the protocols were "put in place to protect national security, international relations and the personal security of individuals. They are not there to prevent embarrassment."
In evidence to the inquiry last year, Campbell described the tenor of Blair's notes to Bush as: "We share the analysis, we share the concern, we are going to be with you in making sure that Saddam Hussein is faced up to his obligations and that Iraq is disarmed."
Campbell added: "If that cannot be done diplomatically and it is to be done militarily, Britain will be there. That would be the tenor of the communication to the president."
The inquiry has also heard from senior British diplomats that regime change was being discussed by Blair in meetings with Bush in 2002 even though, according to leaked documents, Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, warned that military action aimed at regime change, as opposed to disarmament, would be unlawful.
One document, previously leaked, notes that Blair told Bush at a meeting in Washington on 31 January 2003, less than two months before the invasion, that "he was solidly with the president". That was his response after Bush said military action would be taken with or without a new UN resolution and the day after Goldsmith warned Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be unlawful without a fresh UN resolution. Goldsmith subsquently changed his mind.
An inquiry official said: "It not about what President Bush told prime minister Blair. It is about what Mr Blair said to President Bush."
The inquiry has summoned back the former prime minister, to press him about what he promised Bush in private, and why he repeatedly questioned, then shut out, his government's chief law officer, Lord Goldsmith, after receiving unwelcome advice about the legality of an invasion.

Magda Hassan
01-20-2011, 08:16 AM
:popcorn::cheer::moon2:
I am enjoying this immensely.

David Guyatt
01-20-2011, 09:16 AM
O'Donnell replied to Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US. and would not be in the public interest.

And there's lies revealed the bollocks of Mandarin double-speak.

Obviously not being "in the pubic interest" doesn't actually mean that. The public would be extremely interested to know what's being said in their name.

What it means is that it's in the "interest" of a handful of senior public officials and even fewer senior politicians and their dribble-wipers - to protect their powdered arses from receiving the sudden discourteous arrival of swiftly moving public boots towards them, should they, the pubic, learn what really transpired.

Magda Hassan
01-20-2011, 09:25 AM
The International Community = the US
The national Interest = the interest of the US and global capital

Peter Presland
01-20-2011, 09:36 AM
O'Donnell replied to Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US. and would not be in the public interest.

And there's lies revealed the bollocks of Mandarin double-speak.

Obviously not being "in the pubic interest" doesn't actually mean that. The public would be extremely interested to know what's being said in their name.

What it means is that it's in the "interest" of a handful of senior public officials and even fewer senior politicians and their dribble-wipers - to protect their powdered arses from receiving the sudden discourteous arrival of swiftly moving public boots towards them, should they, the pubic, learn what really transpired.
Shades of the gross abuse of 'Public Interest Immunity Certificates' throughout the 'Arms to Iraq Affair' eh?

It's part of a carefully refined Orwellian use of language where things actually mean their opposites but, to the mass of the general public, have a certain comforting, reassuring feel to them.

'The Public Interest' actually means the interests of a tight knit cabal of Mandarins in pursuit of their hidden agendas.

It really does puzzle me how they continue to get clean away with it.

Jan Klimkowski
01-20-2011, 06:00 PM
Let's deconstruct this pile of civil service "Yes, Fomer Prime Minister" tosh:




Whitehall chief blocks release of Blair's notes to Bush on Iraq

Sir Gus O'Donnell stops publication of documents Chilcot inquiry says are crucial to understanding how invasion happene

Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 18 January 2011 19.36 GMT

Britain's top civil servant, Sir Gus O'Donnell, is preventing the official inquiry into the Iraq invasion from publishing notes sent by Tony Blair to George W Bush - evidence described by the inquiry as of "central importance" in establishing the circumstances that led to war.

O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, consulted Blair before suppressing the documents, it emerged tonight. The Cabinet Office said: "There is an established convention covering papers of a previous administration whereby former ministers would normally be consulted before release of papers from their time in government." The prime minister's spokesman said David Cameron had not been consulted.



So, this was a decision taken by a civil servant, who is preventing both the British public and the sitting Prime Minister from seeing Tony Blair's letters and notes.

Let's be clear: these are letters and notes sent by Prime Minister Tony Blair to the American President George W Bush, which Chilcot describes below:



Raising the stakes ahead of Blair's recall on Friday, Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry's chairman, released a sharp exchange of letters with O'Donnell in which he repeated requests for the notes to be declassified. Chilcot said: "The material requested provides important, and often unique, insights into Mr Blair's thinking and the commitments he made to President Bush, which are not reflected in other papers."



So, even the carefully selected Inquiry Chair, Sir John Chilcot, is adamant that Blair's missives to Bush "provides important, and often unique, insights into Mr Blair's thinking and the commitments he made to President Bush, which are not reflected in other papers", and he believes they must be placed in the public domain.



In a letter dated 6 January, his third to O'Donnell in less than a month, Chilcot wrote: "The question when and how the prime minister made commitments to the US about the UK's involvement in military action in Iraq and subsequent decisions on the UK's continuing involvement, is central to its considerations".

He refers to passages in memoirs, including Blair's autobiography, A Journey, and disclosures by Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, and Alastair Campbell, his former head of communications. Those publications, and the refusal to disclose Blair's notes, Chilcot said, "leads to the position that individuals may disclose privileged information (without sanction) whilst a committee of privy counsellors established by a former prime minister to review the issues, cannot".

Chilcot, who, with his four-member panel, has privately seen Blair's notes, said the documents "illuminate prime minister Blair's positions at critical points".


In short, Chilcot is furious that Blair Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell, can make selective public disclosures - presumably revealing those parts that place his former master, Blair, in the best possible light - but civil servant O'Donnell is refusing to allow the public to see the documents in their entirety.

Chilcot is clear that the British public should be allowed to see this material.



O'Donnell replied to Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US. and would not be in the public interest.

"We have attached particular importance to protecting the privacy of the channel between the prime minister and president," he told Chilcot.

The Cabinet Office said the refusal to allow Blair's notes to be disclosed conformed to the inquiry's protocols. Chilcot said recently the protocols were "put in place to protect national security, international relations and the personal security of individuals. They are not there to prevent embarrassment."



If releasing any part of the information created a genuine national security threat, then the relevant passage could be redacted.

Instead, mandarin O'Donnell has ordered that publication is prevented in its entirety.

This is CENSORSHIP pure and simple.

Chilcot is entirely clear. The inquiry rules are "not there to prevent embarrassment."

I will go further.

The inquiry rules are not there to prevent Tony Blair being publicly exposed as a man who said one thing to the British people and another to the American President.

Indeed, the rules are not there to prevent Tony Blair being exposed as a liar - if that is what the letters and notes establish.


In evidence to the inquiry last year, Campbell described the tenor of Blair's notes to Bush as: "We share the analysis, we share the concern, we are going to be with you in making sure that Saddam Hussein is faced up to his obligations and that Iraq is disarmed."

Campbell added: "If that cannot be done diplomatically and it is to be done militarily, Britain will be there. That would be the tenor of the communication to the president."



Even allowing for spinmeister Campbell's attempts to put the best possible construction on his boss' missives, that's pretty clear and damning.



The inquiry has also heard from senior British diplomats that regime change was being discussed by Blair in meetings with Bush in 2002 even though, according to leaked documents, Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, warned that military action aimed at regime change, as opposed to disarmament, would be unlawful.

One document, previously leaked, notes that Blair told Bush at a meeting in Washington on 31 January 2003, less than two months before the invasion, that "he was solidly with the president". That was his response after Bush said military action would be taken with or without a new UN resolution and the day after Goldsmith warned Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be unlawful without a fresh UN resolution. Goldsmith subsquently changed his mind.

An inquiry official said: "It not about what President Bush told prime minister Blair. It is about what Mr Blair said to President Bush."

The inquiry has summoned back the former prime minister, to press him about what he promised Bush in private, and why he repeatedly questioned, then shut out, his government's chief law officer, Lord Goldsmith, after receiving unwelcome advice about the legality of an invasion.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/18/iraq-war-inquiry-tonyblair

Mandarin O'Donnell and Blair's onetime apparatchiks are doing their best to prevent crucial evidence being made available to the British people.

I sincerely hope they fail.

David Guyatt
01-20-2011, 06:54 PM
O'Donnell replied to Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US. and would not be in the public interest.

And there's lies revealed the bollocks of Mandarin double-speak.

Obviously not being "in the pubic interest" doesn't actually mean that. The public would be extremely interested to know what's being said in their name.

What it means is that it's in the "interest" of a handful of senior public officials and even fewer senior politicians and their dribble-wipers - to protect their powdered arses from receiving the sudden discourteous arrival of swiftly moving public boots towards them, should they, the pubic, learn what really transpired.
Shades of the gross abuse of 'Public Interest Immunity Certificates' throughout the 'Arms to Iraq Affair' eh?

It's part of a carefully refined Orwellian use of language where things actually mean their opposites but, to the mass of the general public, have a certain comforting, reassuring feel to them.

'The Public Interest' actually means the interests of a tight knit cabal of Mandarins in pursuit of their hidden agendas.

It really does puzzle me how they continue to get clean away with it.

Did you ever read the Scott Inquiry reports Peter? I actually plughed through the whole lot. It was mind opening in regard to Mandarin and pol speak. The double meaning of various words commonly used in that sphere was really quite brilliant in its deceptiveness. The inner content of the report was also enlightening for its réalité, whereas the polished summary was just BS spin. And, of course, the MSM simply took the report handed out and published the polished spin.

That's why I think they know they can get away with it. A free press doing its job would've ripped them apart, but couldn't be arsed to do so.

David Guyatt
01-21-2011, 10:52 AM
Blair is live in the chair at Chilcott's televised Circus and his interview is subject to a “one minute delay”.

His questioner listens to an answer then says,

“It’s just be pointed out to me that you have to quote from the actual paper, not from the one that is in the public domain”.

Taadaa.

****

Later....

During the critical discussion over Peter Goldsmith, the Attorney General’s recent comments re Blair’s military action, the “one minute delay” button has just been pressed and words issuing from Bliar’s mouth were scrambled.

The Circus has recessed for tea and crumpets.

Magda Hassan
01-21-2011, 12:23 PM
1751

Jan Klimkowski
01-21-2011, 09:14 PM
Unelected, unaccountable, civil service mandarin O'Donnell ruled the key evidence of Blair's perfidy inadmissible, and the Chilcot Inquiry simply provided a stage for an unrepentant Blair to call anyone who doubted him naive, and argue for war on Iran.

Here, for those with strong stomachs, is Blair's mea innocentia.

Or more accurately, I'd have dunnit again, guv, and you should be giving me medals and Nobel Peace Prizes.... :fullofit:




Tony Blair 'regrets' Iraq deaths but says Britain must stop apologising for invasion

Chilcot inquiry: murmurs of 'too late' from public seats after former prime minister expresses sorrow over loss of allied and civilian lives

Stephen Bates guardian.co.uk, Friday 21 January 2011 11.59 GMT

Tony Blair insisted today that Britain had to give up the "wretched policy of apology" for the allies' action in Iraq.

But he offered the Chilcot inquiry his regrets for the loss of life in Iraq. At his appearance before the inquiry last year he was heavily criticised for not answering a question about whether he regretted the invasion.

At the end of his evidence this afternoon he said it had never been his meaning. "Of course I regret deeply and profoundly the loss of life," he said. As he extended his regrets to British and allied troops and Iraqis, there were murmurs of "too late" from the public seating behind him.

In his second appearance before the Chilcot inquiry the former prime minister repeated the warning he gave in evidence a year ago that Iran was a "looming, coming challenge" to the peace and stability of the whole region and must be tackled.

He accused the Tehran regime of fomenting terrorism and destabilising the Middle East, deliberately impeding chances of peace.

"The Iranians are doing this because they fundamentally disagree with our way of life," he said. "At some point we have got to get our head out of the sand and understand Iraq is one part of a far bigger picture right across the region. People are going to have to face that struggle."

Blair told the inquiry today that he regarded the advice of his government's attorney general that the invasion of Iraq would be illegal as only "provisional" during the run-up to the war in early 2003.

In a written statement to the inquiry and in oral evidence, he said he was entitled to ignore the advice of Lord Goldsmith and was not obliged to inform the US president, George Bush, of internal discussions taking place among legal officials in London.

But he admitted it would have been better if Goldsmith had been involved in discussions with the Bush administration's legal advisers at an earlier stage.

The former prime minister "held to the position" that another UN security council resolution explicitly supporting military action before an invasion took place was unnecessary, despite being told the opposite by Goldsmith.

Blair said he believed the attorney general would come round to his interpretation of the legal position once he knew the full history of the negotiations behind UN security council resolution 1441, which declared Iraq in "material breach" of its obligations to disarm.

In a statement to the inquiry, he said: "I had not yet got to the stage of a formal request for advice, and neither had he got to the point of formally giving it.

"So I was continuing to hold to the position that another resolution was not necessary."

Blair said he was aware of Goldsmith's concerns about the legality of attacking Iraq, but added: "I believed that he would, once he was abreast of the British, but most of all the US negotiating history, conclude that 1441 meant what it said – Saddam had a final opportunity to comply, failure to do so was a material breach, and that revived the earlier resolutions authorising force."

Blair told the inquiry team that Goldsmith was a lawyer "through and through" and his advice was taken seriously.

But he said his focus in the run-up to the invasion was in dealing with political pressures and keeping the maximum pressure on Saddam Hussein, adding: "I was having to carry on while an internal legal debate was continuing."

Asked if the legal doubts of the attorney general constrained him from making a commitment to the US, Blair said "No".

He told the inquiry: "I was going to take the view, and I did right throughout that period, that there might come a point when I had to say to the president of the United States and to other allies 'I cannot be with you'.

"I might have said that on legal grounds if Peter's [Goldsmith's] advice had not - having seen what the Americans had told him about the negotiations - come down on the other side.

"I might have had to do that politically - I was in a very, very difficult position politically."

He continued: "I was going to continue giving absolute and firm commitment [to the US] until the point at which definitively I couldn't."

Airing legal doubts to the US at that time would have damaged the coalition and encouraged Saddam, Blair suggested.

The former PM told the inquiry: "I believe if I started to articulate this, in a sense saying 'I cannot be sure', the effect of that on the Americans, the coalition and most importantly on Saddam would have been dramatic."

He added: "I was not going to be in a position where I was going to start putting that problem before the president of the United States before I was in a position where definitely I knew I had to."

In his second appearance before the Chilcot inquiry in London, Blair insisted he did not bypass his cabinet colleagues in deciding that Britain should help the US in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He repeated the evidence he gave to the inquiry when he appeared before it in open session exactly a year ago, when he said the international situation changed fundamentally after the al-Qaida attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.

He told the inquiry he had offered Bush Britain's support in tackling the terrorist threat. He supported the containment of the Iraq regime and then the presentation of an ultimatum to Saddam.

Blair said cabinet ministers had been kept fully informed and had taken part in full discussions about British plans.

"The cabinet discussions were immensely detailed," he said. "The notion that people were not discussing it [is wrong]. People were talking about this the whole time. This was a perpetual conversation going on in depth. All of this was being discussed pretty broadly and pretty deeply."

The content of briefing papers was "very, very adequately discussed", he said, adding: "I cannot believe a single cabinet minister did not know what the position was. It was being articulated by me weekly, occasionally daily."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/21/chilcot-inquiry-tony-blair-iraq

Magda Hassan
01-22-2011, 04:38 AM
In yet another blow to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's credibility, the Chilcot Inquiry into the war on Iraq has released several declassified documents which open the door to quite serious evidence about the build-up to the US-led invasion of the country.


The Iraq War Inquiry has found out that the private secretary at No 10 routinely deleted any mention of Blair's correspondence with the US President Bush from the government minutes at the time.

Meanwhile, it was reported that after talks with Blair, Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has refused to declassify the letters, written in the run-up to the 2003 invasion between Bush and Blair.

One of the declassified documents and the most important one, maybe, was the transcript of the minutes of a private hearing attended by former chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir John Scarlett, and former chief of the assessment staff, Julian Miller.

Scarlet has admitted his team were 'bulldozed' into drawing conclusions about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction 'by the military time-table' which created a rush to war.

This document was immediately deleted from the list of the released declassified documents, but to our readers' fortune we managed to download a copy of the transcript which is attached to this article. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/161252.html

Page 1 of 89
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
SIR JOHN SCARLETT and MR JULIAN MILLER
THE CHAIRMAN: I'll open this private evidence session with a welcome and thanks to our two witnesses, Sir John Scarlett, who was chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee from September 2001 until July 2004, and Mr Julian Miller who was chief of the assessment staff from September 2001 to November 2003.
I would like to remind our witnesses, and indeed the Committee, although this is a private evidence session, it is being transcribed. The transcript will be available for checking here in these offices pretty much at the end of the day. We would be grateful if the witnesses could, so far as is reasonably practicable, arrange to review the transcript and make any necessary corrections as soon as reasonably possible. We will also, of course, ask that you certify that the evidence you have given is truthful, fair and accurate.
You, I think, both are witnesses that are aware of the protocols applying to these private sessions. Can I just check that you are content with those as a basis?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: We are.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. In that event, can I move straight to Sir Lawrence Freedman to open the questions.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Thanks very much.
In Sir John's public session we've been through all the contextual materials. So if you don't mind, I think we would just like to go straight into the more detailed stuff.
Really what I would like to do is just to go through the March 2001 to September 2002 assessments on the WMD programmes of
Page 2 of 89
Iraq, and in each area just ask what sort of intelligence was being used: signals, human, documentary, imagery. Was it UK? If not UK, where was it from, and how reliable was it deemed at the time, and perhaps later?
So if we just perhaps start with the nuclear position in March 2001, but the assessment is dated -- there was heightened concern about possible nuclear related procurement and longer term plans to enrich uranium. Just go with us through these basic areas: category of intelligence; was it the UK; if not the UK, where from; reliability.
JULIAN MILLER: I think perhaps it's worth saying that the assessment in March built very much on the assessment from May the previous year. So in that --
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Sorry, I meant May 2001.
JULIAN MILLER: So if I'm looking at May 2001 for the view on the nuclear programme there, there was a limited intelligence base in terms of new intelligence. There was reporting that scientists had been recalled to the Iraqi programme in 1998, and there was evidence -- there were reports on procurement of tubes and magnets.
The reporting on the scientists having been recalled to the programme in 1998 was a [SIS] report. It was a UK human intelligence report, I think, ***************************** ************************************************** ************* **************
The reports on the procurement which were, I think, most significant at that point were on attempts to procure aluminium tubes ************************************************** **** ************************************************** ************************************************** *************************** ***************************. So in terms of the key inputs into
Page 3 of 89
the May paper, those were the ones which I think were particularly influential.
By the time of the March paper, there was some additional evidence on attempts to procure aluminium tubes, which I think was documentary in terms of indications of attempts to order and procure these tubes from different potential suppliers. ******** ************************************************** ************************************************** *********************.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Perhaps if we could move forward into September.
JULIAN MILLER: Into September -- by September we weren't really looking at the nuclear picture particularly because we were looking at scenarios, the use of WMD, and the judgment of course was that there was no usable nuclear weapon. So the focus in the September programme was on how he might use chemical and biological, and there was a considerable body of new intelligence in forming those judgments.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So there was no new nuclear material there?
JULIAN MILLER: It wasn't played into the assessment. My recollection -- and I'm sorry it's only a recollection -- is that in the interim there was some additional *************** intelligence on procurement attempts.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: On the aluminium tubes issue, this was clearly a very large issue in terms of their meaning. How was the British position on this different from the Americans? Did our debate follow the American debate? How did it interact? JULIAN MILLER: The initial reporting ************ was saying that attempts had been made to procure these tubes. They were a controlled material, controlled because of the potential use of
Page 4 of 89
aluminium in centrifuge production, and it looks as though the specification would be suitable for the production of centrifuges. *********************************************** ***************************.
In subsequent consideration there was recognition, I think by our own people ************************************ that the specification of the tubes or the materials suitable for centrifuges, the length and the machining finish wasn't ideal for centrifuges, but it could be used in production of multiple launch rocket systems. So there was a debate, an unresolved debate, as to what these controlled materials were being procured for.
The judgment was very much at a technical level. There was, I think, a view from IAEA, or URENCO on their behalf, which made some observations about the need for further work to be done if this material was to be given a centrifuge function, and that was clearly taken into account. ************************************************** ************************************************** ***************. By September 2002, my understanding would be that this was seen, certainly by us, and I think by other nations, as being indicative of a possible intent, but not conclusively suitable or procured for the purposes of centrifuge production. ************************************************** ************************************************** ********************** ************************************************** ************** ********************* but by the time we were preparing our views in September 2002, it was very much an in the balance judgment.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: You mentioned 2003 before.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes, just for completion, to say that later on --
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So even after the war had begun, they
Page 5 of 89
were still holding strongly that this was --
JULIAN MILLER: Am I right? Am I getting my years confused? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: **************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ******. By the time we went into 2003, the view that this was more likely to be for rocket manufacture, of course, grew stronger, but as of September 2002, and Julian was describing the state of the debate at that point, maybe different experts had different views.
As I said in my testimony back in December, my clear recollection at that time was that the possibility or more than possibility that this was for centrifuge production was a very serious one. It was. Of course, subsequently a different view was reached, but at the time, a very serious view was taken that this was likely to -- this was very possibly to be for centrifuge production because there were reasons why it wasn't the right specification for rocket manufacture as well. It wasn't a clear-cut situation. Is that fair enough?
JULIAN MILLER: Absolutely.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: In this particular case we had the evidence. So the question was the assessment of the evidence, rather than the evidence itself.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes. I think there was unequivocal evidence that they had been seeking to procure the aluminium tubes. It was an interpretation of their intent in that procurement which was in doubt.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: We need to spend more time on the chemical and biological. Can we just deal with the missiles then, where the intelligence seems generally to have been more reliable. Is that fair?
Page 6 of 89
JULIAN MILLER: I think the intelligence on missiles was fuller and, in retrospect, proved to be more reliable.
Going back to May 2001, there was reporting on missile production at one of the sites, ******************************* ************************************************** ************************************************** *******. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: ************? JULIAN MILLER: ****************************1 There was a separate reporting, which was characterised as regular and reliable, about the Al Hussein force, the view that there were some longer range rockets retained, and there was ************ ************************************************** ***.
THE CHAIRMAN: A couple of questions, if I may, apropos this. One is that it was the MOD who asked for this report in May 2001. I wonder what led them, in your understanding, to ask for it at that time.
JULIAN MILLER: I'm afraid, not having been engaged in that area, I don't know.
THE CHAIRMAN: The other was just a general question, which is some intelligence, and therefore reporting, on missiles is derived from imagery and so on because there is physical evidence. Does that, as it were, give a higher degree of reliability to the generality of intelligence coming in on the missile subject topic area?
JULIAN MILLER: It did in some cases. There was the particular issue of the test stand, where there was clear imagery evidence which indicated an object larger than necessary for the permitted range of missiles was being constructed. In other cases I think it was less influential. So the bulk of the reporting that we
1 The witness’ answer indicated that the reporting was considered to be reliable.
Page 7 of 89
relied on on missiles was human intelligence.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: There was no particular evidence other than a report that the Al Hussein missiles had been retained?
JULIAN MILLER: There was a report from a year or two previously that they had been retained, and there was, I think, a rather longer standing view that their disposal hadn't been properly accounted for. So there was an underlying concern that missiles might have been retained or sufficient parts had been retained to reconstruct missiles.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Now if we go to chemical and biological areas.
Let's start with the chemical, again looking at questions, first, about the position from May 2001, about the extent to which they were working on chemical weapons still, and then the question of stocks as well.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes. The May 2001 report reached an overall view that there had been retention of chemical capacity. In terms of the underlying reporting, there was a new source at that time -- again, I think, a UK human source -- giving an account of weaponisation of the nerve agent VX in the mid to late 1990s.
There was another new source, with older reporting, about production in the earlier 1990s, but still, I think, after the First Gulf War, and then there was of course an aspect of the reporting which we received through liaison on mobile laboratories, which had been principally about biological, but also mentioned possible chemical production. The view at the time by the technical experts was that if there were mobile facilities of that sort, they were more likely to have a role in filling chemical munitions than the production of chemical
Page 8 of 89
agents.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Can we just look at the VX reports? How were these judged? Were they seen to be from people who might know, who would know? JULIAN MILLER: *********************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** **************.2 So they seemed to be reports to which we should pay serious attention, given the indications that they were from people who would have been in a position to know. But one of them, at least, was a new source. I think there was inevitably a question over whether that that was established sufficiently for us to be fully reliant on it.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I think UNMOVIC did find some evidence on VX activity. Were these sources related to the evidence that UNMOVIC --
JULIAN MILLER: I'm afraid I don't know.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No, they found traces of VX in warheads, as I recall, but I can't, I'm afraid, immediately date that. It would be late 1990s, I think.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So if we just move forward with chemical to March 2002 to September, there's more information coming through during the course of 2002.
JULIAN MILLER: There was a certain amount underlying the March paper, not very much new intelligence underlying the March paper, but one of the reports on ballistic missiles had carried at least the implication that the person reporting believed that there was filling of missile warheads with chemical agents.
2 The witness outlined briefly the information that had been available to the Assessments staff about the access of the sources.
Page 9 of 89
************************************************** ************************************************** ********************. Again, it wasn't particularly influential on the assessments, but it carried an implication that there was knowledge of these programmes proceeding. But for the March report, there wasn't a great deal of new concrete intelligence to build on the picture from the previous year.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: How much through all of this are you still essentially relying on the materials that had been gathered by the inspectors up to 1998 and unanswered questions left over from then?
JULIAN MILLER: I think that was still a very significant part of the overall assessment, that the view had been that there were significant unanswered questions about disposal of agents and precursors, which led people to be suspicious and concerned that there had been potential, and then there was the limited intelligence indications that added some weight to those concerns.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Could I just come in on that? The May 2001 paper had a slightly firmer judgment on continued retention of agents and weapons indeed, and that was further back. That was clearly -- it certainly was more reliant on previous discoveries and inspections and standing judgments, if you like, based on previous experience of their possession and use and interest in the capability.
But, of course, back in May quite a lot of attention had been paid to reconstruction of chemical production facilities, which had in the past been used for agent production. So that was quite an important feature which underpinned the judgment in May 2001, which was actually slightly stronger than the one that was in March 2002, on the particular issue of chemical
Page 10 of 89
agents.
JULIAN MILLER: As an example, the reconstruction of facilities is an example of where image intelligence did play a significant role because it was possible to see from that that plants which had been destroyed may have now been recreated, and in some cases recreated with apparently surprising levels of security attached to them.
THE CHAIRMAN: Albeit with a view of dual use.
JULIAN MILLER: Absolutely, and that caused a problem, of course.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Just so I understand that, basically you have got the material left over from UNSCOM. You then have new imagery of production facilities, which may or may not be for chemical weapons. This is reflected in May, but as you move on into 2002, you are a bit less sure that this is what they are likely to be for, or may be being used for at that time.
JULIAN MILLER: Certainly the assessment was less firm in March 2002 than it had been in May 2001. The reasons for that are no longer completely clear, but my view is that it reflected the judgment of the particular group of experts who had been convened on each occasion to look at the evidence. They reached slightly different conclusions on the weight to attach to it.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So, in addition to that, there wasn't much else that was new. There were just bits and pieces of reports from individuals.
JULIAN MILLER: By and large, yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So it was largely working on inference from what wasn't known after 1998, [inaudible] after 1998, then anything desperately new as being --
JULIAN MILLER: And the one or two reports we have touched on,
Page 11 of 89
which appear to add some substance.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Then on the biological weapons --
JULIAN MILLER: Would it be just worth carrying forward a little on chemical?
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Yes, sure.
JULIAN MILLER: Because after March, then there was some additional reporting which was influential.
There was an assessment in August which picked up a report from an established and reliable source which referred to the intention to use weapons. I think it didn't distinguish between chemical and biological. It implied both were intended to be used. ************************************************** ********* ************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** **********.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I was going to come on to that in a moment, but as we're there --
JULIAN MILLER: Sorry.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: That's fine. Let's just talk about that.
JULIAN MILLER: The fuller reporting then came in to influence the September report. That was from one established and reliable source, which was quoting senior Iraqi officers, ************* ********************************************, about the use of CBW, and there was a report from another source, another one of the very well-established sources, ******** about the determination of the Iraqi regime to have CBW capable missiles, and the reliance on these weapons as being a contributor or an important part of the ability to project power in the region, to
Page 12 of 89
establish Iraq as a regional power.
There was another report about the use of CBW against the Shia population internally. Again it was from a reliable source.
So there was a body of reporting by September that was talking not about technical details of production, but about an understanding that these weapons were available, and that there was a clear place for them in Iraq's thinking about how to conduct itself and how to maintain its regional influence.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Can you tell us a bit more about the source and how reliable the source was supposed to be? Was this somebody who had given intelligence in the past and was reliable in that sense? Did that include would definitely know about these issues, or were they providing with hearsay that was taken seriously because of the person that was providing it?
JULIAN MILLER: There were different sources. In the assessment staff we didn't seek to have expertise in the sourcing of the intelligence. So we relied on rather summary accounts of the sourcing given in the reports, which tended to characterise it as new or established, reliable or not yet proven, and we give some indication of whether the reporting was direct or indirect.
The reporting that we saw from ******** we did understand was reliable and established, and reflecting direct knowledge of what senior people in the regime were saying.
The other streams were reporting, I think, slightly further removed. The stream which reported ********3 (John, correct me) was coming through an intermediary.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Was this the intelligence upon which the Prime Minister's claim in the foreword that the threat was growing and current, is that the basis for that assertion?
3 Reporting from this source was withdrawn by SIS in autumn 2004
Page 13 of 89
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: If I can just, before I answer that directly, as Julian said, at the time the separation of the different streams of reporting wasn't always clear to assessment staff. But all the reports that he was referring to were established and reliable. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: *******************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: *******************. I think, with slight benefit of hindsight, I can now say that essentially we are talking about three different streams of reporting at that time which were coming through in a two-week period at the time the 9 September assessment was being prepared and discussed. In the case of ********4 and of course that was the one which was the 45-minute report as well, and was an established and reliable reporting, but reporting from a line of subsources, but of course they were named subsources. That was that point.
On the question of the reporting that Julian referred to as coming from the codename source ******** this was established and reliable with direct access.
It said in the report that he was quoting what he knew from his colleagues, but this was a very well placed source and he was speaking with confidence, when one reads the report. So that was taken as an influential and authoritative view of what was being thought and said inside the regime, and indeed, looking back on it afterwards, and bearing in mind what the ISG found and all that stuff, it probably was what he was hearing, and this is not a source who has subsequently come into question in terms of his reliability.
So what we are getting, of course, is one of the best examples of the problem of picking up what was thought or misthought inside the senior levels of the regime. Then there
4 Reporting from this source was withdrawn by SIS in autumn 2004
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was the third source we were talking about.
But of course, in addition, there was additional, the compartmented report which came on 11 September, which was not reflected in the 9 September assessment because the dates were slightly wrong. That was a new source with direct access.
THE CHAIRMAN: Sorry to interrupt, Sir John. It was not the date was wrong; it simply arrived after the closing date --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. What I mean is that the dates didn't fit. It couldn't have been because we didn't know about it until 11 September. But of course I'm mentioning it because Sir Lawrence talked about what the Prime Minister said, and that report -- and then there was a subsequent report a little later in the month, but after he'd spoken in the House of Commons. But that report, he was aware of it. I think he said in his own testimony that he was aware of it, and he had received a briefing on it and, as he said, I think in his own testimony, Mr Blair, that was influential with him. I can't remember the exact words that he used in his testimony.
So in terms of what was in his mind when it comes to the word "growing", I think it's important to state that that was the reporting that he was seeing, and he was receiving a judgment from the JIC which said that production of agent is continuing and it's happening now.
So it is possible -- I'm just saying it's possible to conclude that if you are being told that the production is continuing, it's possible to conclude that therefore the issue is growing, if I can put it like that.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: It was accumulating?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So this last source was again a British
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source, a UK source?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: And how did that look in retrospect, that particular source?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, that source was not substantiated and it was the first of the reporting to be withdrawn. It was withdrawn in late July 2003.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Where did that source come from?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, it was a source -- well, I think you have to ask SIS that question. It was presented to us in the terms that I have just described.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Thank you very much for that. So the reports about taxi drivers and so on picking this stuff up has no credibility?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, we can only speak for what we knew at the time. What we knew at the time was that that, for example, 45-minute point was ascribed to a named official ************ ************************************************** ***. So it was a named -- it was a subsource, but it was a named individual, and we had every reason to believe that he knew what he was talking about.
JULIAN MILLER: In terms of the assessment we wrote in September, there were six of these new reports from apparently solid sources which contributed to the judgment set out in that assessment.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: How many of those were subsequently withdrawn?
THE CHAIRMAN: We are going to come on to that, I think.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Just finally on this, on the biological weapons.
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JULIAN MILLER: Yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: The mobile production laboratories. They were first introduced, I think, in May 2001. Again, can you tell us a bit more about the sourcing of this information and how it was viewed?
JULIAN MILLER: The initial view in May was that, as I understood it, not having arrived myself until afterwards, was that the material had probably come to us through liaison channels, I think slightly indirectly. This was clearly reporting from liaison channels. It wasn't reporting which we had direct control, but it appeared to tie in with some understandings that the British experts had of previous interest in use of mobile facilities. So it wasn't seen as being inherently implausible.
By March there was some further view taken on this by the experts who were looking at the indications of the reporting, but I don't think that by March there was any very substantial change in the view that this was an interesting and plausible indication.
But there was also other reporting from a new source on a possible laboratory, and there had been previous reporting in May, also from a [SIS] source, of anthrax production in the early 1990s. So there was a slight accumulation of evidence, and that, taken together with the more thorough review of the reporting on the mobile laboratories, which I believe had continued to come in from the liaison source over that period, led to a slight strengthening in March of the judgment that BW production was likely to be continuing. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: *****************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ***************. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: ***************************************.
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JULIAN MILLER: By August, as I have said, there was other reporting, if you like contextual reporting, on the intention to use and the importance attached to possession of biological as well as chemical. That also played a role in the assessments of August and September. But the view on the mobile reporting continued to be that this was quite a detailed stream of reporting by this stage, from a liaison source, judged to be plausible by the UK experts, and so indicative but not conclusive.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Was there a debate amongst the experts, or was it generally accepted?
JULIAN MILLER: There was discussion amongst the experts, I think, as to what the technical details of the reporting showed and whether there was any other interpretation to be put on it, but at this stage it was judged to be plausible and likely to be used for production of biological agent.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: If I can just come in on that, as I understand it, although this goes back before our time, the first reporting on the mobile laboratories had come through from liaison in early 2000. So the first assessment which reflected it, if only briefly, was, I think, April 2000. Then, if you like, its sort of influence on assessments built up, and between May 2001 and March 2002 there was a change, as Julian said. There was more reporting coming in from this debriefing.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Was this the same source all the way through?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: The same source, but more reporting coming in, more detail, more debriefing and so on, and then also having expert review and consideration. What was said, I think, in the assessment itself in March 2002, but I haven't got it in front of
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me, was that although there was no corroboration at that stage for the reporting, it was judged by the experts to be technically credible and indicated significant production in 1998 and 1999, and of course that was also at the same time set against separate reporting, not from the same source, on procurement of large amounts of growth media, which at that stage was influential in the assessment. JULIAN MILLER: Yes, I think that's right, ********************* **********************.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: And that growth really was far in excess, according to expert judgment, of what was needed for any other legitimate purpose. There was another indication of activity.
As a result of that, in March 2002 there was a change in the judgment of the production capacity of Iraq for biological agent, which up until that stage had been stated as they could begin production, more production, within weeks, and then that changed to within days, and the reason for that was what I have just said.
In early September 2002 there was a separate report from an established and reliable source which referred to a system that was called a fermentation system, which wasn't stated in the report as being the same as the mobiles, and there was no reason why it should have been, but was judged to be very likely to be a reference to the same general capability and the same focus on mobile production capabilities, and that was referred to in assessments after that as corroboration for the mobile reporting. So a lot of weight was placed upon the reporting ********* ************************************************** ************************************************** ********** from that source.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So just to conclude before I hand over to Sir John, you had a view about the way that the Iraqis would go
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about their biological weapons production, and that was reinforced by this other evidence coming through, first about the purchase of materials, both materials, and then this particular source that kept on producing more information.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, that was definitely their main basis for the judgment. I know we will get on to withdrawal later, but once that was withdrawn, as the Butler Report said, really the judgment about mobiles had no basis, and one has to say, was substantially not correct.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Okay.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Just before we get on to withdrawal and all of that, Roderic, do you want to ask a question?
SIR RODERIC LYNE: No, I'll wait.
THE CHAIRMAN: We are going to come on to the dossier and how all this impacted on it.
So may we turn to the post-conflict re-assessment and the withdrawal of intelligence which had been embodied in JIC's assessment up until March 2003. Can we just run through it fairly categorically?
First of all, intelligence withdrawn after the conflict was intelligence to support current possession, it was thought. This was the accelerated production. Did that continue to stand after March 2003?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: March 2003? Well, the judgment on current possession was based on a number of things. Of course there was a standing judgment which was that very probably they possessed stocks and, depending on whether we are talking about May 2001 or March 2002, weapons. But it was not a firm judgment, and that was the change between March and September, because what September did was make a firm judgment about possession.
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THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: And that change was based on the reporting from the established and reliable source from the subsources, including the intention of the use, and that was also where the 45-minute one was. It was based on -- and it was based on the established and reliable source who was quoting his knowledge, but was speaking in very definite terms about their continued possession.
THE CHAIRMAN: So it’s the interpretation or assessment that changes, rather than the underlying reliability of the source and the reporting from that source. Does that make sense?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No, not really.
THE CHAIRMAN: That source was not, as it were, discredited after the event in terms of the reporting that came in before?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I should add, of course, because the timing is slightly complicated here, they are referring to the 9 September assessment. But of course the compartmented intelligence, which was influential, which came in on 11 September, did famously influence what was said in the dossier. Then a further report came in in late September, and then actually a composite version of that reporting was issued in early April 2003. So that was still considered to be sound reporting as of that date.
THE CHAIRMAN: Right.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: That was withdrawn, the compartmented reporting, in July.
THE CHAIRMAN: July 2003?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: 2003. Yes, 29 July. That was the first line of reporting to be withdrawn.
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The one quoting the subsources on the intention to use was not actually withdrawn until 28 September 2004, but it had been known several months beforehand that that had a big question mark over it, and was referred to in those terms in the Butler Report.
I think the first I heard about that question mark was in about May 2004. Am I missing something out there?
THE CHAIRMAN: Let's go on --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Sorry. The mobiles also was relevant to a judgment about possession, and that was withdrawn on 29 September 2004.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Can you say something about the underlying reasoning which led to withdrawal? Was it discrediting of an agent? Was it simply the unreliability of the reporting in itself? Was it knowledge deriving from ISG findings or failure to find?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, it is, of course, directly a question for SIS, which I can't speak to from my subsequent capacity. But based on, for example, what was said in the Butler Review already, as was stated there, post-conflict debriefing of the ******** source on mobiles had revealed that there had been some misreporting, and if it had been clear that he was talking about the production of slurry and not the production of a dried agent, then there were obvious implications as regards storage and long-term use from that, and that's spelled out in the Butler Report. So already by that stage, on the public record, the line of reporting had been very seriously weakened, as Lord Butler said.
THE CHAIRMAN: There was also, although this is perhaps not for either of you, ********************************************* ***************** so that he couldn’t be tested.
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SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. We were not aware of that.
THE CHAIRMAN: No.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Of course here we are dealing with a period of time a year after the conflict. A lot of effort had been put into finding these sources and finding their subsources. If that exercise didn't produce a result, then obviously it called into question the sourcing. There had been an invasion. The ground was occupied. It was an unusual situation when it came to source verification.
THE CHAIRMAN: Just a couple of other specific issues before we come on to the processes involved. The 45 minutes that we all know about.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
THE CHAIRMAN: From the standpoint of JIC and the assessment staff, you were getting reports in plain speaking language, rather than technically assessed reporting; is that fair? The meaning of 45 minutes; was it a matter for strategic, was it 45 minutes from established forward position depots made available to front line troops or what?
JULIAN MILLER: The reporting on that wasn't expressed, as I recall, in particularly technical language. It talked about an average of 20 minutes, and a range to 45 minutes for weapons to be deployed.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
JULIAN MILLER: I'm sorry I don't have the precise wording in front of me, but it's familiar. So it was then considered by the technical experts in London, and of course was judged to be credible and consistent with the sort of approach that would be taken to the bringing forward of weapons for that use.
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THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. I suppose a reasonable question with a lot of hindsight is that the Saddam regime had used in battlefield conditions CW weapons, and so there was probably quite a lot of knowledge about how long it took to get from A to B to C, the original place of manufacture to the holding place or a depot, into somewhere closer to a front line, and then to the actual delivery. Did any of this come out of the 45-minute reporting?
JULIAN MILLER: My recollection is that the DIS looked at the reporting and judged that it was the sort of timeframe that they would expect to see being planned by the Iraqi military for bringing weapons from a forward storage area to the point of use.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
JULIAN MILLER: But, of course, that wasn't spelled out in the reporting.
THE CHAIRMAN: Precisely so.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: But that was recorded as the expert judgment at the time.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: And of course, as has been discussed subsequently, it wasn't included either in the assessment or in the dossier because it hadn't actually been in the report.
JULIAN MILLER: And there was an exchange with the DIS which led to that conclusion.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. One is not talking, is one, about withdrawal in the 45-minute report? As it stood in its narrow context, it stood.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Except the --
THE CHAIRMAN: The difficulty all arises out of the reporting of
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it and the description.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No, the reporting was withdrawn.
THE CHAIRMAN: It was?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Because they weren't able to substantiate the subsourcing.
THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Not because it was discredited, but it simply couldn't be substantiated?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. Well, yes, because if they had had this weaponry, and of course they had extensively had it and used it in the past, which underpinned the standing judgment, expert judgment about CW capability from the Iraqis, then the report was entirely consistent with that judgment, which was why it was accepted, why it was given weight, and of course famously why it was included in a judgment in the dossier. It wasn't just the single report. It was the standing assessment of the Iraqi capability.
So in that sense the judgment was valid. It was just that (a) the reporting was withdrawn because the sourcing couldn't be substantiated, and of course if we had known that, then obviously it wouldn't have been referred to either in the assessment or the dossier; and secondly, we haven't found any. So --
THE CHAIRMAN: We may come yet again to the use of the dossier description, but let's stay with withdrawal for the moment.
The last one I want to raise as a specific case is the Niger uranium reporting. We have got two separate streams of reporting ***************** on Niger, ********************************** *************************************. But there is then a separate stream coming into us; am I right? One is accepted as discredited.
JULIAN MILLER: In terms of --
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THE CHAIRMAN: Ours is distinguished. I'm thinking back to the Butler Report.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, this is -- a slight caveat on this. I might be getting some of the details wrong here, but the lines of reporting were ****************************. THE CHAIRMAN: ********************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ****************************************** ******? THE CHAIRMAN: ************************************************ ************************************************** ************************************* SIR JOHN SCARLETT: **************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ****************************** ************************************************** *************** *******************************.5
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: And there was a substantial amount of documentation which subsequently became subject to much discussion, and very complicated discussion, as to what was established to be forgeries and what was not established to be forgeries, which has not been progressed beyond more or less what I have just said. Some is and some wasn't. ************************************************** ************************************************** *************************
5 In the section that has been redacted, the witness set out his understanding of the different sources: Signals intelligence concerning a visit made by an Iraqi official to Niger, and further intelligence in 2002 that came from two independent sources that suggested Iraq had expressed an interest in buying uranium from Niger. One of the sources was based on documentary evidence about contract negotiations. The witness explained that some of this material, including the signals intelligence, stood. The witness then went on to refer to the separate documentary material that others states had received from a journalistic source which had been discussed in the Butler report.
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************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************************************************** ********. THE CHAIRMAN: ****************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************. SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ************** - THE CHAIRMAN: ************** - JULIAN MILLER: ***********. SIR JOHN SCARLETT: **************************.
THE CHAIRMAN: That's fine. Thank you. I can't resist a reference to the fact that somebody described Niger as having only two exports.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I think 75 per cent of their exports were, at that point, uranium.
THE CHAIRMAN: And the rest were chickens. SIR JOHN SCARLETT: It's not got many exports. ***************.
THE CHAIRMAN: Let's come on to the validation process. Again, this has been in the purview of the Butler Committee, but it's worth just revisiting, I think.
First of all, the body of intelligence about Iraq's WMDs before the invasion. Were there well-founded doubts expressed about this body of intelligence pre-conflict by anyone?
JULIAN MILLER: No, I don't recall any doubts being expressed about the body of the intelligence reporting. Clearly some streams were very well-established and reliable. Others were less established. But the overall body of material was accepted, certainly in the JIC community, as being a sound basis for the
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conclusions that we reached.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. To put it plainly, there was no reason to report concerns to the Prime Minister about this whole body of intelligence pre-conflict because concerns were not, as it were, coming forward. He was entitled to accept what he was being given, what he was reading, what assessments --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Nobody was telling him, to my knowledge, that there was a contrary flow of reporting, there were contrary indications, there was contrary advice coming through. There was no contrary advice coming through, and there was no challenge of that kind taking place.
When I say "challenge", I mean authoritative people from within the system coming forward and saying no, this is fundamentally wrong. That was not happening within the intelligence community, to our knowledge.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: Was that something that could happen on quite other issues, that there would be this questioning of intelligence?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, it certainly -- I mean, as far as I was aware, there was a culture of free speech. I don't remember trying to suppress anything on any issue during my time there. So if people had -- if anybody in a position to make a judgment or give a view had wanted to challenge this, or indeed anything else that was happening at that time, then I'm sure they would have done so.
JULIAN MILLER: Perhaps I could give an example, just from the assessment staff perspective. I can think of, I think, two cases where there were significant streams of reporting, not to do with Iraq in either case, but where the team on the assessment staff felt that the intelligence picture coming from these reports
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raised questions of consistency with other information, or even internal consistency, and where that reporting was challenged as a result of this, and in one case at least was withdrawn.
So there was certainly -- as John says, there was an atmosphere of free speech, but also, I hope, an atmosphere of intelligent reading of the material, and we didn't see it as our job to sort of second-guess the agencies on the reliability of their sources, but we did see it as our job to act intelligently, if the material coming through to us raised other questions.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: So it's significant that there was no challenge?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I think, given what happened, yes, it is significant. Of course, I know that clearly a great deal of subsequent debate about expert opinion on particular points, for example -- well, most particularly within DIS. They were on important but all the same points of detail. In terms of the overall thrust of the judgment about possession there was no challenge at the JIC level at that time at all, and indeed, nor subsequently in the months following, nor subsequently in the immediate few weeks after the conflict began.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Just following this through though, because one of the issues that has been raised is the regular references to patchy intelligence and so on. Part of it is an awareness that though the community may have come to a shared view, possibly strongly held, it was still based on quite limited amounts of actual material, much of it still left over from the 1990s from the UNSCOM period.
JULIAN MILLER: As the assessment said, the intelligence was patchy. It was sporadic. It didn't flow through in great volumes routinely, particularly prior to the summer of 2002. But I think the sense of the community was that yes, we are not
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getting a full picture, but we are getting here a pretty consistent picture, even if it is a rather patchy one, sufficient to inform these judgments, but certainly as additional intelligence came through in the course of 2002, the sense was that that did then begin to provide a weightier basis for reaching the conclusions which were set out in September.
THE CHAIRMAN: I would like to try some counter factuals in a bit, in the light of hindsight from 2004 and 2003.
Just before we get to that though, looking at withdrawal of intelligence reporting, how is that done as a process, as a system? Is it the collection agency that is responsible?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. Yes, it was wholly the collection agency. They would take their decision. I'm trying to recall how it happened. Of course, it did happen formally rather late in the day here, and it had been flagged up publicly in Lord Butler's review that it was likely to happen. So there was an awareness within the assessment and customer community that it was likely to happen, and obviously by that stage, mid-2004, in all the circumstances, there was a great deal of questioning of the reliability of the reporting. But the responsibility for the withdrawal was absolutely, and it could only be, with the collection agency.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. I think it's important to establish the doctrine that prevails here, and has prevailed, which is that it's not for the assessment staff or the JIC to try to reassess or rather revalidate intelligence that's being supplied. Is that --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Except, of course, clearly, if we had good reason to conclude there was something wrong with it, or it wasn't fitting in with other intelligence coming through, or indeed it wasn't being substantiated on the ground, then clearly
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an awful lot of other people would be asking questions, and that did eventually happen, although I don't think assessment staff especially led on the questioning.
JULIAN MILLER: The way you described the doctrine certainly accords with my understanding that we were recipients of the intelligence on the basis described and we gave weight to those descriptions, but we didn't try to get underneath the surface of what had led to a conclusion particularly about the reliability of any particular stream.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Just while we are on this point, to be absolutely clear, how much in the JIC, therefore, did you know about the sources of the intelligence that were coming to you?
JULIAN MILLER: Generally, not a great deal. From time to time, when there were particular sources that the agencies attached great weight to, there was some briefing given on why they were attaching particular weight to a source. But it was all at a fairly high level of generality, and there was, for the bulk of the reporting, nothing more than the descriptors on the individual reports.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: So the three or four sentences that one gets on a [SIS] report describing the source, saying whether it's deemed not reliable or established, is essentially what you knew?
JULIAN MILLER: And sometimes whether it is direct or indirect.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Obviously I have thought about this a lot subsequently, and in any case the key Butler recommendation which subsequently has had a lot of work done on it, but there was no -- at that time none of us in assessment staff, including me, knew the details of this sourcing. Nor were we clear how many lines of reporting there were, and I know that because just
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before the conflict I was asking those questions: how many lines of reporting are we actually talking about? So I know that --
SIR RODERIC LYNE: You referred earlier to three streams of reporting.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, three streams of reporting which were influential on the question of possession in early September 2002. But taken overall, I think as of mid-March 2003, looking at the sort of overall contribution from Humint reporting which was coming from SIS, I think we said five lines by that stage. But, I mean, that was a general statement which we were given by the agency. It wasn't something that reflected research and real knowledge on our part.
Now, in terms of the compartmented intelligence which came through in mid-September, 11 September and subsequently, 2002, we were told that this was important, potentially important reporting, but a new source, with a little bit more about the nature of the access and the access of the subsource, but a very limited amount, not really possible to make -- much of it.
Now, of course, one of the conclusions, correct conclusions of the Butler Review was that this was not an adequate system, and the assessors and the analysts needed to be in a better position to understand the nature of reporting flows, and therefore to question them when really important issues and assessment judgments were coming up. There has been a major change in that area subsequently.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: But at that time, as consumers of Humint from SIS, you basically had to rely on the assumption that the traditional rigorous process of internal validation of a report within SIS, before it is even put out as a [SIS report], was still robust and operative, and any further questions about that are ones we should direct to the person who would see it at the
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time, rather than to you. But from where you sat, you were confident that anything coming to you from SIS had already been through a robust process of internal validation.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, exactly. At the end of the day, it had to be, and has to be now.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: It wasn't for you to question that.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, we didn't question it, and as far as we were concerned, just to be blunt about it, we were seeing a lot of established and reliable intelligence reporting coming through on this subject in this period of time.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: And was any of this coming from emigre sources?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Not to my knowledge. JULIAN MILLER: No, I don't think so. ********************* ************************************************** **.
THE CHAIRMAN: C gave evidence to the Butler Committee that they were extremely sceptical of --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, that's right, and we were aware of that risk. Anything we had which came near it, we definitely didn't take any notice of. So that idea that we were reliant on emigre reporting is not true. Not that I think that anybody authoritatively ever said it, but it's out there.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: It's out there, so it's important to establish this clearly. Even if not reliant upon it, could these streams of emigre reporting ****************************** have had some influence on us, or do you think they were pretty well shut out by -- SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ******************************************** *******************************.
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SIR RODERIC LYNE: But they weren't creeping into the margins of your assessments?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No. I don't know, you may have a good -- I'd like to go back on it, but this question of sporadic and patchy was raised. Do you want me to come back to it?
THE CHAIRMAN: I think I would rather leave that to the dossier in a few minutes. What I'm going to try and do is finish this round of questioning in five or so minutes, and then have a bit of a break and then come back to it.
What I would like to do is to try a couple of counter factuals. We are in a position now where the intelligence withdrawn after the conflict has been withdrawn. Then go back to September 2002. What would it have been possible to say by way of judgments about Saddam having active programmes, based on such intelligence as has not been subsequently withdrawn? I know it's counter factual, but it's --
JULIAN MILLER: It's a point which, of course, we have thought a little about. The position in May 2001 didn't, I think, draw on the withdrawn intelligence. So the view then, based on the historical context and some limited additional intelligence, would, I think, have rolled forward into 2002. There would have been some supplementary intelligence which had not been withdrawn, including from ********, which would have added to a view on continuing production and a view on existence of these weapons and intent to use them and reliance.
So by September I think we would have been in a position which was less firm than in the published assessment, the existing assessment, but which was somewhat firmer on possession and production than the position we had reached in 2001.
THE CHAIRMAN: Right. So it's a reasonable inference to say that
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there is relevant and still valid post UNSCOM, post 1998 reporting, which contributed to assessments in 2001?
JULIAN MILLER: Well, there's intelligence which hasn't been withdrawn, which if we --
THE CHAIRMAN: And which had come in after UNSCOM leaves in 1998?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Here I think we are talking about 2002.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I'm not completely sure Julian will agree with me on this, but disagree of course because it's free speech.
If all that reporting hadn't been in play, if there had been no mobile reporting taken seriously, if there had been nothing from, if I can call it that, the 45-minute source on intent to use, and of course that reporting continued to come through during the autumn -- there was further reporting in November, for example -- and if there hadn't been the compartmented source, there might have been a slight firming up of the March 2002 judgment on possession. But already the March 2002 judgment on certainly Iraq's pursuit of its nuclear programme -- of its WMD programme was already pretty strong actually. That would have only slightly firmed up, but it would definitely not have been as firm on either possession, and we wouldn't have talked about production in the way that we did.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes. I pretty much agree with that. I think that some of the ********6 reporting would have been influential still on both points, but -- SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ***************************************** ************************************************** ***************
6 A well established source.
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************************************************** ************************************************** ***************************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ***********************.7
SIR RODERIC LYNE: So it's a question of access, not of the honesty of the source?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: It's more than access, because it's the nature of the regime and the kinds of things that people thought at the very top of the regime. In a normal regime it would have been regarded as well placed and authoritative.
THE CHAIRMAN: The real question for those doing the validation is: is this more than a report of a prevailing perception? Is it actually a report of a factual situation? It was actually the former. SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, ************************************ *****************************. So weight was placed on his reporting.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: If you withdraw the withdrawn material, you could still create a dossier.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. Well, we would have done, because the decision on the dossier wasn't related to that report.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: It would still have been a dossier of substance.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, but it would not have said some important things which it did say.
THE CHAIRMAN: I have just got one last thing on this, which is
7 In the redacted section, the witness explained why the material in question had not been withdrawn and went on to explain that it was reflecting something that he viewed as actually quite important: what was believed in the source’s circle of high level contacts.
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really a cross-check. This is very much for you, Sir John, as JIC chairman at the time.
Sir David Omand told us in evidence that intelligence was extremely hard to find in 2001, 2002, 2003:
"SIS overpromised and underdelivered because when it became clear that intelligence was hard to find, they really had to bust a gut to generate it."
That's what David said --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well --
THE CHAIRMAN: -- from the standpoint of JIC.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. Well, I have been clear about the weight that we placed on the lines of reporting that were coming through and how they appeared to us at the time.
I think what David was referring to there was the situation in January and February 2003, when UNMOVIC were not finding things, and so the reaction might have been: well, why is that? But the reaction was: well it's there. This just goes to show that UNMOVIC aren't much use and we will find it. I think that's what he was referring to.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: And I understand why he says that.
THE CHAIRMAN: I would just like to ask one small set of questions about the declarations of the weapons programme, the inspection process between the return of the inspectors, and then we will break for tea.
So in the light of what by July 2004 we know, is it possible to reassess Saddam's December 2002 declaration? It was assessed at the time -- this might be 9,000 pages long, 11,000. This is really quite important because it's about the degree of completeness, accuracy, therefore compliance with the provisions
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of SCR1441. The assessment at the time is one thing, but if we had reassessed the intelligence, say a year or a year and a half later, would we have made a different assessment of that declaration?
JULIAN MILLER: It's not an issue that I have thought about or looked into. I think my immediate reaction is that we would have to have reached a somewhat different conclusion because some of our concerns about Saddam's declaration were rooted in the intelligence view about the extent of his possession and continuing programme.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, because the material balance, or rather imbalance, was not being explained in the declaration.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes, and the declaration, I think, was deficient in other respects, in that it didn't address some of the particular concerns that had been raised about past declarations by the Iraqi authorities. So -- I'm sorry, this is a rather unstructured response, but I think there would still have been some serious reservations about it, but that they would have been less pronounced than they were at the time.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I think this needs careful answering, this question, because of the nature of the requirements which were placed on the Iraqi side in this particular declaration. Even allowing for what we now know, or don't know, there was a lot -- a detailed study of the declaration, which I'm afraid I'm not offering, I suspect would show that there were a whole series of deficiencies and ways in which one -- for example, it was subsequently established by the ISG that they had unilaterally destroyed their agent stockpile in 1991, they hadn't told anybody, and of course they didn't say anything about that in the declaration. Ditto they didn't say anything about the destruction of Al Hussein in 1992, which of course they should
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have done in the declaration.
There was a lot of concealment which was going on. They said nothing about the further design work on missiles and so on. So there would have been a whole series of points where the declaration would still have been found to be, as it were, not conforming with 1441. Now, of course how much weight would have then been placed on those conclusions would have been a political judgment, but in technical terms, I think you would find a lot of those boxes would have been ticked now, I suspect.
THE CHAIRMAN: We have got the inspectors in between November 2002 until they were withdrawn in mid-March, and they are both getting -- their work is the subject of intelligence reporting over that period.
Are there any doubts, deficiencies, or indeed achievements and successes, that one ought to draw attention to in that period? There have been, on the one hand, from UNMOVIC complaints from Blix that they were not getting enough intelligence reporting to help with the finds, et cetera, et cetera. On the other hand there doesn't seem to be an outstanding gap or failing.
I just wonder whether you would like to comment from the standpoint of JIC and the assessment staff. This was a major objective, wasn't it?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: At the time -- of course there's been a lot of discussion now, and not least with the Committee, as to, as it were, what impact was being made on policy makers, and also on intelligence assessment, by the failure to find things.
I can only say that at that time -- this is a very short period of time. Progress and events are measured in days and in a small number of weeks. Events move very fast. At the time the stated view was that they had found things, and that there were
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items in the intelligence --
THE CHAIRMAN: Agent cases.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: -- and documents(?) and so on, which were bearing out the intelligence, and I definitely said that at the time and believed it. So my own mindset, I quite clearly recall, up until early March at least, was that intelligence to a significant extent was being borne out by what was being found by UNMOVIC. My state of mind wasn't: oh gosh, UNMOVIC aren't finding things, therefore there's something big which is wrong.
Now, if we had continued and had had more time, and this hadn't all just come to an end in the middle of March, of course that would have changed. But it's important to remember that the discoveries were in late January and the conflict started in the middle of March.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. I was going to ask Mr Miller to comment.
JULIAN MILLER: Only to add -- and I think this has also been covered previously -- that there was a flow of intelligence to the inspectors which in some cases, as John has said, led to discoveries, and in cases where it didn't, it simply wasn't possible for us to reach a firm view on whether the deficiency was in the intelligence or in the ability to move fast enough in Iraq to uncover what was said to have been concealed.
THE CHAIRMAN: So it's not in any sense on all fours with withdrawing or discrediting lines of intelligence reporting over a period. You may or may not get a result in this very short-term high urgency reporting about there may be something worth finding at this particular grid reference. That's not the same kind of thing. So you wouldn't be talking about discrediting.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: At this stage, no. That was not the
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conclusion that we drew. I can't say that. Nothing happened at that time to make us say there was something wrong with this reporting. Some things happened which made us say there's something right with it.
Of course we should also mention the fact that the whole set of reports, and there's a lot of reporting about concealment activity at this time, and also detailed attempts to bamboozle the inspectors, some of which was detailed and convincing, and was believed, not just by the JIC and the assessment staff, but throughout the policy making community.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: From what you have just said, did you advise Ministers that because of the difficulty of actually reaching a really confident view through the inspection process, the intelligence-fed inspection process, that it would be advisable to have more time before really coming to judgments about the inspection?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I did not advise that. As far as I know, Julian didn't either. I think I probably would have known if he had. But we were very conscious -- certainly speaking for myself, I was very conscious of the military timetable factor here. I know that David Omand, for example, referred to that, and that's completely correct. I knew that we were being bulldozed, if you like, by the military timetable which pointed very strongly to early or mid-March.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Were you being asked to give judgments or assessments -- and I don't know if this really fell within the scope of the JIC or not -- on the effectiveness of the inspection process and whether we should have confidence in it? You just commented on it, in a sense. But was that part of your duty, or did it fall to somebody else to advise on this?
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JULIAN MILLER: I don't recall advising on that. I recall us having some interest in, if you like, the makeup of the inspectors and how their business was done. But I don't recall us having a role in advising on the overall outcome of the process or the timeframe that should be allowed.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I don't think there's any record of us having done it.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: An awful lot hung on our judgment and that of other governments about whether or not the inspectors were being completely hoodwinked or getting somewhere, or giving them more time would allow them to get somewhere. I'm just trying to work out who in the British Government -- it's not necessarily the JIC -- should be the people to form a view on that.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I have to say, I see that definitely as a policy issue, and I can't -- although, of course, in the circumstances maybe I might subsequently regret that I didn't say something, I can't honestly say I thought that at the time --
SIR RODERIC LYNE: No, I'm asking an open question.
THE CHAIRMAN: I think we can leave it there. It's not a JIC matter. Okay.
I think we ought to break for tea for ten minutes. If you would like to ... then we will come back to the dossier.
(A short break)
THE CHAIRMAN: Let's resume. I'll ask Sir Lawrence Freedman to open you some further questions.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I now want to look at the dossier.
Sir John, earlier you just mentioned -- when we had been talking about patchy and sporadic, the Chairman suggested that we talk about it at this point. So over to you.
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SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, of course there has been a lot of focus on those references in the assessments that were done up until, say, August, I think, 2002 and, to a limited extent, the 9 September assessment. That was the language used, and in my own testimony back in December, there were specific statements from me as to how, at each stage of the assessment process, the intelligence was described.
I would just like to make one or two additional points. The first is that it's not at all unusual for an intelligence base behind judgments to be limited or described as sporadic and patchy. Obviously there's a risk here that that acquires a sort of prominence as a point which belies another aspect, which is the fact that by the time we got to September in particular, and I, we had talked about the importance of the change in judgments that took place then and the nature of the intelligence that was coming through, and of course that intelligence was judged against a set of standing judgments from the past which I'd been at pains to point out were already quite strong, and this is alongside the references to sporadic and patchy. But if you look at what was said in the underlying conclusions, for example, in March 2002, there was a clear statement about -- I have got it in front of me somewhere – “It is clear that Iraq is pursuing its programmes” and pushing wherever it can.
So already there was quite a firm judgment that in a sense we had inherited, and then we continued to have, and then that became a firm view of the JIC in September 2002, explicitly so, and that was what was presented to Ministers, as we have already described. There wasn't a disagreement with it. It was something which reflected undoubtedly the view of the British intelligence community. That was what was presented to Ministers and the Prime Minister, and in the assessments and updates and other documents which were issued after September, I don't think
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there's any reference to caveating, if you like, or references to the intelligence as limited, the intelligence is sporadic and patchy, and that's because we didn't think it was. We thought there was a sound intelligence base, and we had a firm judgment. That's the point I want to make.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Do you want to add anything to that?
JULIAN MILLER: Perhaps just to reinforce it. In my role in the assessment staff we put papers to the JIC. We would then get direction, sometimes to adjust them. The paper we put to the JIC at the beginning of September was one which reflected the view up until that point. We didn't pick up all the new intelligence that was just coming in. The discussion on 4 September at the JIC really was one that gelled with the very firm view amongst the community about both the possession and the readiness to use, on Saddam's part, these weapons.
We went away, in the light of that discussion, and wrote the paper which is the final assessment and expressed those views really quite specifically and as very firm judgments which did, I think, pin down the view of the JIC community at that point. It was the moment which sticks with me as being quite an important one in terms of the arrival of new intelligence, and the precipitation of a discussion in the JIC which led to a very firm expression of the judgments it had reached on both possession and intent.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: We are now into the sort of dossier period. We have obviously discussed it with you before, Sir John, and now, since then, had evidence from, amongst others, Alistair Campbell and Sir David Omand, who added to our knowledge on the issue.
A broad question first on the impact of the political context. You knew what was going on. Leaving aside the very
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particular questions of the direction of the dossier, how do you find it in terms of separating yourself from what has now been said by prime ministers and presidents about the material with which you are dealing daily? Is it difficult to keep the separation of intelligence and policy as a general matter in these times?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Was it difficult?
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I cannot recall worrying about this at the time in a deep way. Obviously I, we worried about it because we understood that it was necessary to ensure that the public assessment was consistent with what was being said in the classified assessments, and so that discipline was very strong within us, and in ways that have been discussed many times, we sought to protect ourselves against --
THE CHAIRMAN: Could I just interject? Because of our very strict protocols, this is not an issue that needs to be confined to a public hearing. So we may need to publish a transcript of this particular exchange if it continues.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: It was leading to the next -- carry on.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: So I do not recall worrying about it in a deep way or in the sense that it was something which I or we couldn't control. It was something to which we had to pay very close attention, both through the procedures and processes we followed, and by the way we reached our judgments. But I never felt that I was not in control of the process, and I have said that on quite a number of occasions.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I raised it because Sir David Omand had raised with us this question of a nervousness within the intelligence community about the use of their intelligence in
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a dossier of this sort. So was that your sense, that the intelligence professionals that you were dealing with were nervous about their material being used in this way?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I saw myself as an intelligence professional as well, and so --
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I'm talking about SIS and so on.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, the issue that I think David Omand was referring to was the worry that individual items of intelligence and sensitive reporting would get into the public domain. He was worried about that, and therefore there was an instinctive reaction on the part of intelligence professionals in particular that that risk might exist in a public process, and it was something which, for obvious reasons, I shared completely, and therefore we had processes in place to make sure that it didn't happen. That's how I interpreted his comments.
JULIAN MILLER: Could I reinforce that? It was certainly my interpretation of his comments, and it was the experience at the time that the agencies were understandably concerned that it would be easy for material to be put into the public domain by people not conversant with the details of their processes which might actually inadvertently damage their position. It had come up as an issue a little earlier than this, when we were putting into the public domain in 2001 the reasons for reaching a conclusion on UBL's involvement in the 9/11 attacks. I recall at that point having discussions with colleagues in the intelligence agencies about much the same issue, and the concern that we needed to be very, very scrupulous about not saying anything which would call into -- or put any risk any of their source of intelligence. That flavour came through again when we came to talk about the dossier.
But overall, certainly from my contacts at that time with
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the agencies, I would say that there was a support for the process and a strong acceptance, a wide acceptance, that there was a good case for making public the basis of some of these important judgments that were informing Ministers.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: It was not -- I do not recall the drafting process as a contested process.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So when you have uranium from Niger, mobile biological weapons and 45 minutes, all of these things came up through the agencies and there was no controversy about, as intelligence, whether they should be included in the dossier?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: In terms of whether it was safe for source protection reasons?
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Yes.
JULIAN MILLER: No, there was no controversy over including them in the dossier for that or, as far as I recall, any other reason. But it was absolutely essential to retaining the confidence of the agencies that their people were intimately involved in the process of drafting and had every opportunity to review the language and make sure that we weren't, through ignorance or carelessness, letting anything slip which they would find damaging.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: What about material that had come from foreign liaison? Were there any issues there?
JULIAN MILLER: My recollection is that we relied on the agencies who had been the source of the liaison, to check back with their liaison partners where necessary, as to whether we could use it, and if so, in what terms.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: What about concerns about particular assessments? You have already mentioned the DIS concerns about
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some of the language used in the final draft. How well aware were you of these concerns and how did you respond?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: In my case I wasn't aware of them at all, with one exception. I was aware that there had been questioning from within the DIS about the fact that they hadn't seen the compartmented report. So that was discussed between Julian and myself in whenever it was, about 17 September, and we agreed that it would be necessary, of course, for them to be shown the compartmented report, and as far as I was concerned, that happened. There was no further awareness on my part.
JULIAN MILLER: The only other area where I recall any sort of discussion with the DIS over this sort of point was where there were views expressed in the dossier as judgments. I think on one occasion someone in the DIS suggested that the language was stronger in the judgment than in the account of the intelligence, and our view was that it was a judgment. It was expressed as a judgment, reflected a broader appraisal of the position, and it was consistent with the JIC's views to express it in those terms. So there was some discussion, but I don't recall that as being a major issue.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Can I just ask you about a couple of issues that were raised with Alastair Campbell? One of these is the email note that came to you that said:
"Number 10 through the Chairman wants the document to be as strong as possible within the bounds of available intelligence".
So what you understood that to mean and how did you respond to it?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I think that's a reference to an email which went from assessment staff to the DIS.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Yes. Well, it's --
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SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Or maybe to other departments.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I think it was all the people involved.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I didn't know that it had gone. So it wasn't one that I saw at the time. It was within the machine that that went out, and there has been subsequent discussion about it.
If I had seen it at the time, I would have taken it to be what I would have meant it to be, which was there was a question as to how much detail could go into the dossier, taking account of the worries about source protection and so on, and I was concerned to ensure that there was as much detail in there as could safely be in there, taking account of source protection. That was absolutely what I would have taken that to mean, and what I think it did mean.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Can I just ask you about a particular question, which is the nuclear timeline?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Now, there's this question about what would happen if the Iraqis got hold of fissile material.
The first thing that I'm interested in is whether anybody thought there was a realistic chance of the Iraqis getting hold of fissile material, and if so, how.
JULIAN MILLER: This was a thought which had been in assessments for a while. There had been a distinction drawn between the position if sanctions remained in place, or if sanctions were lifted, or if Iraq somehow got other assistance, fissile material or external expertise or help.
The source of fissile material was never spelled out, but my recollection of the thinking at the time was that there was considerable concern about the availability of fissile material in the former Soviet Union, and concern that such material was
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not universally well protected there and was subject to the risk of diversion, either by criminal or other state means. So I think there was a -- there was no specific reason to think that Iraq was in the process of obtaining fissile material from the former Soviet Union, but there was a concern that such material was available and not fully safeguarded.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: But there was no specific intelligence to suggest that Iraq was trying to get fissile material from this or other sources?
JULIAN MILLER: There was no such intelligence.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Can I just add there that the concern about the availability, especially from the former Soviet Union, of fissile material was a serious concern at that particular time, and again, of course, this is looking back many years.
As an example of an expression of that concern, in the autumn of 2001, which was a year or nine months before, in the early aftermath after 9/11, and this of course was in the context of worries about the issue generally and leaks to terrorists, ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************ *******.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So there was intelligence about potential supply?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: But not necessarily to Iraq?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Not specifically to Iraq.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So your assessment with sanctions is
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that, short of getting fissile material, they couldn't get a nuclear weapon. Without sanctions, it would take five years. That is what was said.
Now, the argument was made by President Bush, during the course of all these discussions going on, in his speech to the United Nations, that they would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year if they got fissile material, and that then -- something similar got put into the dossier, and that then became highlighted.
So I'm just intrigued as to the process by which that happened because, as you are aware, this is an issue upon which Alastair Campbell appeared to take quite a bit of interest. He talks about nuclear timelines in his diary and so on. So I would just be interested if you could take me through the process by which that particular assessment got included, and whether or not it did reflect concern about fitting in with what the President had said.
JULIAN MILLER: I think it got included because it was part of the general backdrop of the assessments which underpinned the dossier. It had been an issue in the assessment for some time, and the judgment had been that if Saddam got fissile material, then it would be possible for him to produce a weapon in a significantly shorter time.
The underlying analysis was that work had been done in Iraq on design of weapons much earlier. The five years was a judgment, I think, principally around the time that would be needed to produce a centrifuge or other enrichment programme to generate fissile material to put into a weapon. So that if that process was short-circuited and the fissile material were obtained, the question then was how much extra time and work was needed to turn that into a weapon, and the judgment was therefore
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informed by a view on how far advanced the earlier work had been, how capable they were in design terms, and how much more basic work was needed to produce the weapon. That was very much a technical judgment, and it was one on which there were inevitable uncertainties about how much progress had been made prior to 1991 and how much, if any, progress had been made subsequently.
There were discussions, I believe, between the technical experts in the DIS and their American counterparts, and the views were similar but not identical. The UK view was that the production of a weapon with the fissile material made available was likely to take perhaps between one and two years, and the Americans, I think, put it at a rather shorter time than that.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: And IISS, of course, famously put it at nine months, which of course was in the public domain by this stage.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Yes. But your previous assessment had just said it would shorten. So it became much more specific at this stage.
JULIAN MILLER: It did, and we were very much in dialogue with the technical experts about what the best judgment was. I don't recall it being driven by a need to fit in with the American judgment, and indeed it didn't fit in with it. So it was a more refined assessment, but not one which was fundamentally different.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: But it does seem to be one that was strengthened during the course of the different drafts of the dossier.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: It was in the dossier on the 16 September draft. So the one to two years was already in the 16 September draft, and then it was put in again in the 19 September draft and
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then the final one. So most of the drafts it was already in, and of course what was said in the March, I think it is, 2002 assessment was: this timescale would shorten. So five years. This timescale would shorten if fissile material was acquired from abroad.
I'm not quite sure what the theme of the assessment was, but a month before, in February 2002, the wording was "would be significantly shortened". So I have to say that I don't see it as significantly out of step with the wording which had already been used in the classified assessments, and there was no sense at the time, in my judgment, and this is what I said in September, that we were responding to an American push.
So if you say, Sir Lawrence, that something similar was said to what was said by President Bush, that was absolutely not what we were feeling at the time.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: So just in your recollection, what was the main issue that Alastair Campbell was pressing you on in this period?
JULIAN MILLER: Well, my recollection is that it was a drafting point, and not one that I recall fully understanding at the time, but it was to do, I think, with the potential confusion in the way we had expressed the timelines initially, about the time needed when sanctions were in place as against time needed if sanctions were lifted, and then the confusing third element of access to external material or assistance.
I think it may be that it was possible to read an early draft as implying the timelines would be shorter with sanctions in place because there was a cross-reference to the external assistance. So my recollection is simply one of tidying up the language, but not one of changing the substance.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I have still not entirely understood what
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this issue was about, to be honest.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: That's really helpful. Just quickly, a couple more questions to wrap up on the dossier.
Again quoting David Omand, he suggested it was a big mistake to combine analysis with the making of a case by the Government. I'm interested in your views about how you would respond to that in terms of the lessons for the future as to how one should do this sort of thing.
JULIAN MILLER: Well, we saw the dossier as not the making of a case, as you know, but of putting into the public domain the judgments which had been reached on the available intelligence evidence and assessment.
The making of the case, I suppose, perhaps comes in the foreword and the juxtaposition of the foreword and the document. Clearly, with hindsight, one can see that there's a case for keeping the presentation of the evidence more distinctly separate from the exposition of the evidence.
At the time I don't recall being particularly struck by this, but at the time, of course, we were very firmly of the view that the evidence was strong and pretty conclusive on the key points which were being set out by the policy makers, as well as in the explanatory dossier.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: In general terms you asked me this question in December, and I think I said at the time that I couldn't honestly say that I was conscious or worried about this at the time, and that has to remain the position. Like Julian, I don't think anybody was -- this issue wasn't raised by David Omand, it wasn't raised by anybody, and nobody has claimed that they were raising it at the time.
Clearly, with hindsight, and in view of everything that has happened, it's a very good point.
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SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I'm conscious of the time. ************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** *************************. JULIAN MILLER: *********************************************** ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************** ****** *********************************************. ************************************************** ********* ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ***********************************************. ************************************************** ********* ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** **************. ************************************************** ********* ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: ************************************
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************************************************** **********? JULIAN MILLER: *********************************************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************* ********************. ************************************************** ********** ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************** *****************. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: ************************************* ************************************************** *************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ********************************************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************ ******************. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: *************************************** ************************************************** **************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: *************************** ************************************************** ********** ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************** ******************************************** ************************************************** **********
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************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************** ***********. SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: *************************************** ************************************************** ************** ***********************************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: *************************************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************. ************************************************** ********** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************ *********.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Let me then move on to the post-conflict search for WMD. Just one question left over from the inspections period. I don't know if you were aware of the statement made by Hans Blix to the Prime Minister when they discussed the position before, I think, the 14 February presentation, when he gave a reasonably clear indication that he was questioning or starting to question how much was actually there.
Were you aware of that view that was starting to be held by Blix?
JULIAN MILLER: I'm afraid I'm not sure at this remove whether I was aware of that exchange or not. I think that I was aware that the inspectors were uncertain as to what there was for them
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to find.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: If I can just add two points there, my recollection of that time is that what I was more aware of from Hans Blix was that he wanted more time, and that that was the biggest theme that came through to me; and secondly, of course there was a lot of focus on that time on the issue of interviews with scientists. That was seen as a test point.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: We flagged that up to whoever we were speaking to, that Blix was reluctant to insist on interviews, I mean, for a whole range of perfectly understandable reasons. But it did mean that there appeared to be a sort of lack of rigour in his follow-through, and that was an issue of concern.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Did that affect your sympathy with his request for more time?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I'm not sure. I remember at the time understanding why he was saying what he was saying, but then thinking the trouble is that this8 is obviously a key point, and I don't think I can take my thoughts further than that.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Let's then move on to the inspections with the ISG. Just how much contact did you have with the process with the British and American representatives of the ISG? Is this something that you were involved in?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, a lot, is the answer. The actual day-to-day conduct of business with the ISG was conducted by something called the Executive Group, which was overseen by the Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence. So it was, if you like, more on the DIS/MOD side, and that was where the direction of the
8 I.E. interviews with scientists.
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British contribution to the ISG and personnel was directed from.
But the JIC sort of overall, I as Chairman as the JIC, and I, in particular, as chairman of the JIC sub-group on Iraq WMD which was set up at the beginning of June 2003, had that as part of our specific remit, that we needed to oversee the relationship with the ISG. So I was either in direct contact myself with David Kay, for the rest of 2003, and then Charles Duelfer into 2004, when they came to London, or through VTCs in Baghdad, or I went to visit the ISG in December 2003, when I was in Baghdad, or I was obviously hearing about them because I was receiving reports from DCDI, who either himself went to Baghdad or was conducting the contacts. So there was very regular contact.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: And what was the expectation during the early months about what they were likely to find and when they would find it?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, by this stage, I think, speaking for myself, and probably most of my colleagues, one was not in the expectation business. There was a process in place. There was a very heavily resourced process in place, which had taken a bit of time to get going. The ISG didn't really get going until mid to late June, maybe a bit later. Then there was a question of them getting on with it in conditions which were clearly becoming more difficult, and waiting to see what would come through. So the important point, when one looks back at the documentation, one can see this ongoing process being monitored.
As a starting point, there was an assessment on 27 June 2003, which was called the "Emerging picture Iraq WMD". That sort of logged the picture at that moment, which was more or less when the ISG was seriously getting going.
There was one in the middle of July, 16 July, on prohibited missile designs, which looked at more detail of that particular
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issue. Then there wasn't a further formal JIC assessment until the end of the following year, 23 December 2004, when there was a formal review of JIC judgments in 2002, which took account of the ISG final report which had been issued in October 2004.
But in case anybody thinks that therefore the JIC wasn't looking at it at that time, it certainly was, but it was doing it through the process of reporting from, contact with, monitoring of, participation in, through British representatives, the work of the ISG on the ground. There were regular reports coming in and then being disseminated to Number 10 and to JIC members, and that is how the work of the ISG was tracked.
So the starting point was 27 June, and I can go through the key points, if you want, as to what that said.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I think it might be useful if we could see it. Whether we've got it --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, I think you have.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I'm sure we have. So that we can do.
I'm just interested in the way that the discussions went, as presumably it became evident that things were not being found that might have been expected to be found.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Perhaps you could concentrate on that aspect of it.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, that was there and it was clearly stated. So in the end of June assessment it was just stated that no munitions of stocks or agent had been found for CW, ******** ************************************************** ***********************************. That was set against the fact that even during the conflict there had been continuing intelligence about tactical deployment of CW. This was early on, after the end of
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the conflict, and it was still seen as very early days.
For BW it was slightly different at that point because it's important to say that in late April, early May, trailers were found in Iraq. For the first two or three months after that discovery, those trailers were taken seriously. I certainly took them seriously, and I think the community and the expert community took them seriously. And they were seriously considered to be relevant or possibly relevant to production of micro-organisms which would have been used with biological agent, although it was understood straight away that they weren't perfect for that. But initially no other explanation was found. It was only in mid-June that the alternative explanation of hydrogen production was brought up. They weren't regarded as optimal for that.
So in the BW context, it wasn't a case that nothing had been found, because it was thought that possibly something pretty serious had been found, and of course it played into a major line of reporting which was still being taken seriously at that time. I could go on.
So initially, when I look back at what was stated, it was said in bold terms, straight away, up front to customers what was not being found and what might be being found, and at that stage, emphasis was placed on it was too early to review judgments or change judgments because it was very early days in the search.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: When did that change? When did you start to think: actually we are probably not going to find, and we had better start thinking about how we are going to talk about that?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I can see from the documentation that in September we were still saying that nothing has been found, but it is too early to say that means that nothing will be found.
It's quite difficult to tell from the reporting notes going
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backwards and forwards at what point, if you like, the psychological mood changed, because clearly almost from the beginning when nothing was found, the possibility that nothing would be found was there. It was obviously within -- it would have been impossible not to have felt that.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: General Fry told us their shock and surprise, as it were, that they had sent off their troops to go to places where they expected to find stocks and there was nothing there.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes. Well, of course everybody felt that. So that surprise was so great in the initial stages that of course it made an impact. I think I would only say that I recall being very conscious of the point that just keeping one's eye on the detail, not making prejudgments one way or the other, just concentrating on trying to find out what actually had happened and the explanation for this surprise.
That sort of steady state, middle-of-the-road attempt to be as, if you like, balanced as possible, is evident from the notes and the other messages which were put forward at that time.
If I can just finish there, going quite a long way into the future, I think I'm right in saying, again from the documentation, that well into the future, in the spring of 2004, by that stage the work of the ISG had progressed a long way down the road, and by that stage it was becoming clearer that material wouldn't be found. But you may recall that even in the Butler Report there was a caveat put on that in the report, that we couldn't be absolutely certain that it wouldn't turn up.
Another reason maybe for some delay here was that the work of the ISG was not smooth. There was a lot of turbulence around the leadership of the ISG which confused the issue quite a lot, and we weren't sure until Charles Duelfer arrived how much
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reliance to place on the objectivity of what they were doing.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Because of David Kay's rather strong statements?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, you know, he was a rollercoaster ride.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: This is my final question. How did you deal with this issue with the Prime Minister himself? You have mentioned that Number 10 would have been sent all these reports. But the question of the lack of evidence of WMDs was becoming an issue during the second half of 2003 into 2004. He was still making quite strong statements -- I'm not going to quote him, but I'm sure you are aware of him -- in December 2003/January 2004. How you would address this issue with him --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Of course it was a huge issue almost straight away, before the second half of 2003. The advice from the Cabinet Office and from the assessment staff and the JIC was straight down the middle. He was told what was being found and what was not being found, and he was given the best advice about the significance of what was being found and not being found. He was told what I have just said about reluctance to draw negative conclusions too early, but there was nothing in the advice that went from me or from the JIC, when I look back on it now, [to indicate] that anyone was raising expectations that weren't justified.
THE CHAIRMAN: Would that advice have included the fact that certain key intelligence was being withdrawn over that period, up until the end of 2004?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, there was the one line of reporting, the compartmented line in July 2003. But after that, it wasn't, and it didn't begin to be questioned in that sense until the summer of 2004.
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THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: I think that's it.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Lawrence. Usha?
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: Thank you very much. I want to move on to the question of information on Iraq, and my first set of questions are for you, Julian, and then a couple of questions for you, Sir John.
I think a lot of time has been devoted to evaluating Saddam's options and possible reactions and to the possibility that he might be deposed. But that's not really what I want to cover. What I really want to ask is: were there other aspects of Iraq that you believe this intelligence could have illuminated? For example, things like the civilian infrastructure, the state of institutions?
JULIAN MILLER: I think at the time the intelligence that was coming to us gave some peripheral indications on other areas, but it wasn't really focused on those other areas, and I think that in retrospect, if we had wished to find out more through intelligence channels about those aspects, it might have been possible for us to ask the agencies to make an effort in that direction. I don't recall us doing so.
THE CHAIRMAN: You weren't, for example, being asked by the FCO?
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: That was my next question.
JULIAN MILLER: No. We were -- by and large, we were responding to questions from the policy departments, both Defence and the FCO, and the interest about Iraq was particularly, of course, about its weapons of mass destruction, but also there was interest in its other military capabilities. There was a concern at the time about the no fly zones and the ability of the Air Force to maintain those to operate safely, et cetera. So
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that was more the area of interest for the departments at the time.
There was -- and we reflected this in assessments -- some consideration of the internal politics of Iraq. We were aware that there was interest in the relationship between the Shia and the Kurds and the views that they might take, but particularly, I think, that was looking forward to the possibility that after Saddam there would be tensions between the communities. But there was very limited intelligence, as I recall, on those aspects.
There was reference in a certain amount of the reporting to views taken by members of the regime and the fact that there were indications that they were under pressure, and that there was concern for safety of families. Dissent was not welcomed in the Saddam regime.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: So you were focusing on that side because that's where the information was being asked for, but you were not being asked for information about institutions and the state of the civilian infrastructure?
JULIAN MILLER: I don't recall a particular focus on that.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: If I could just add there, looking back at the assessments against that question, of course the emphasis was on Saddam's power structures, and it was on the Ba'ath Party, if you like. So the civilian institution which was flagged up in those assessments was the Ba'ath Party and the role that it played.
Of course, the implication of that, and actually a more explicit implication when it came to looking at the conditions in the south, was that in a regime like Saddam's, civilian institutions were suppressed, and the Ba'ath Party was overwhelmingly dominant, and it therefore had that effect, as
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normally happens in very autocratic regimes.
The second -- we were not asked to look at the particular question, and if we had been, I think almost certainly my response would be: that's not for us. Why should that be an intelligence issue? I wouldn't quite be able to understand how intelligence would help. I would see it as fundamentally something which in the first instance advice would need to come from the Foreign Office.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: So that's what you told us when you told us, when you appeared before us, that that was not a natural intelligence target?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, that's exactly what I meant, and I still think it. Of course, if we had been asked, we would have said can you identify or can we between us work out what would be particularly susceptible to an intelligence view or consideration? And I think it would have been quite narrow. I don't quite see how secret intelligence would have particularly helped.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: But in a regime that you say was rather oppressive, and there was a question of the aftermath, obviously you are getting to see what the political structure is going to be like, but wasn't there any interest in whet the state of the institutions was, what that would mean for the aftermath?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, perhaps there should have been, but I'm very hesitant to accept that that is a role for the JIC. There were plenty of other countries which were living or working in Iraq. There were the Russians, there were the French, there were all sorts of Europeans. The institutions of the British Government could have in many ways gone round and sought advice from allies and partners and other people. That would have been outside the intelligence-gathering process, which is an expensive
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and difficult process, and you tend to concentrate on things which are susceptible to intelligence work, and if you cannot do it some other way.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: But you did two assessments which addressed the reaction in southern Iraq and the one in northern Iraq. What lay behind those assessments?
JULIAN MILLER: They were trying, I think, to gauge the position at a time when conflict in Iraq was starting to look as though it was a serious possibility, to understand what preparations were being made, and to get a sense of what the position would be in the regions if there was conflict.
So they were focusing on the position of the communities. They were concerned about military consequentials, I think, more than anything else. So again, it wasn't, to revert to your earlier question, really looking at the civilian infrastructure or the nature of Iraqi civil life in those areas. It was looking more at what would happen if there was conflict and what the military dispositions might be. But intelligence was -- there was some intelligence in those areas.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: Why wasn't central Iraq covered? You covered north and south, but why not central Iraq?
JULIAN MILLER: We did look at Baghdad, I think.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: We looked at Baghdad in terms of the protective and defensive measures which would be taken there. The reason why we looked at the south, of course, was because by that stage, in the middle of February -- I think that was 19 February, that assessment -- that was where we expected British forces to be in the lead, and I think it was in that assessment or one of those assessments that we actually say that we knew very little about the bureaucratic structures of the
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Iraqi regime, and indeed we knew very little about the political structures and leaderships and so on in the south, beyond making the judgment, which was a correct one, that these had been so suppressed over so many years that they were not really functioning properly, and that that would be a problem for incoming coalition forces, as indeed it was.
JULIAN MILLER: There was also an interest in trying to assess what might cause problems to the coalition forces, what the coalition forces might do wrong which would alienate the population. So there were assessments about the importance of observing religious sites and not being seen to trample over tribal structures.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: So are you suggesting that the knowledge base was not as adequate as you would have liked?
JULIAN MILLER: I'm suggesting that there was limited intelligence or some intelligence, but these assessments were drawing on diplomatic knowledge as well as on intelligence.
THE CHAIRMAN: Sir John, you used the phrase "secret intelligence". We are talking here about something that may be all source, may it not, in which there may or may not be a substantial component of secret intelligence. Is that part of the problem?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I don't think so. I understand the point you are making, Chairman. But then on a subject like this, I would see the lead, if you like, information collection and analysis as lying outside the realms of the intelligence community.
If I may remind everybody, we had very limited resources. There were 28 people in the assessment staff covering the whole world and a lot of other issues, because other things hadn't stopped at the same time, and with the number of people we had
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deployed on all these very immediate issues, why we, rather than another large department, should have taken this on, I don't quite see.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: So did that inhibit you from exploring other potential sources of knowledge or opinion, lack of resources?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well -- yes, of course I made the point about lack of resources -- it's a small resource -- which I have made before, when I gave testimony before. I reminded people of the limited resource that the assessment staff had, and actually continues to have. So it's important to keep its role in perspective.
But my deeper point is that this is not something in the first instance that I would see as a natural lead for the intelligence community per se. But clearly there was a lack of knowledge about conditions inside Iraq. That has been well-established by much of the testimony that you have been given in other sessions.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: I'm now moving on. I was really asking not just about the infrastructure, but about the political situation. Should you have explored other sources of knowledge or opinion? Did you exploit all the sources that you had?
JULIAN MILLER: Well, the process we operated in the assessment staff was one which worked with the current intelligence groups, bringing together people from across the Whitehall community. So they brought in the owners of the secret intelligence, but they also brought in diplomatic and policy experts with other knowledge, who would themselves have been able to draw on other sources of information and analysis: the Foreign Office with its research analysts, for example, other policy makers who have contacts with the external academic community, and people with
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that broader background would have an opportunity, through the CIG process, to engage in producing the sort of all source appreciation that has been mentioned.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: My other question, Sir John, is that after the invasion, ********************************** ************************************************** ****** Were you satisfied with the way intelligence efforts in Iraq were being co-ordinated after the invasion?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, this, of course, was a very complex and again fast-moving situation once the invasion had taken place, and forces and intelligence capabilities and so on suddenly appeared on the ground. So it was a dramatic change, and there was a dramatic change in the nature of the information coming through, and of course the situation itself was continually evolving, more or less before our eyes.
So I think the question of whether we were satisfied or not satisfied is perhaps not quite right, because we took it for granted that it was very difficult, and it was very difficult to keep up and try and get ahead of the game.
But my recollection, borne out as far as I can now bear it out by studying the documents, is that information began coming in very quickly from the obvious sources once we were on the ground. That was particularly true, of course, for the south, where the British were in the lead. And that our view of the co-ordination that was taking place between British forces and elements on the ground in Basra, and indeed in Baghdad, and then back in London, departments and agencies in London, was that that was working quite well. ************************************************** ********** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ***************
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************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************ ****************************. ************************************************** ********* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *********** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** **************
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: Was it a reason for your visit? Did you go to look at this?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I wanted to go anyway, and there were lots of things to do, but it was a main focus of the visit, the intelligence architecture in Baghdad in particular.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: What steps were taken to improve the situation?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, as I recall it at the time, the focus was on the creation of a much more co-ordinated joint fusion cell for analysis. That was recognised as being a necessary requirement, ************************************************** ******************. It was happening against a backdrop of very rapid events on the ground. *********************************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ***********
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************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** **************.
I think what I said at the time was that I wasn't promising a dramatic change or improvement, but the problem was being recognised and efforts were being made to address it, and that was a continuing story, really, in Iraq over many months, and indeed years to come.
BARONESS USHA PRASHAR: Did you draw any lessons from that, in terms of something that could have been done better?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No, I just thought it was a very difficult situation, and we just had to do our very best to get on top of it.
THE CHAIRMAN: I would like to turn to Sir Martin Gilbert now. I know he wants to ask some questions about the insurgencies, but, Martin, you had a question, I think, in your mind about the dossier. You might like to take that up first.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: Yes, perhaps I could.
In your Joint Intelligence Committee meeting on 4 September you discussed the JIC assessment of 9 September. In the course of that the point is made, which you as chairman accept and say it should be an integral part of the 9 September paper:
"We need to make clearer where the major gaps in the UK's knowledge and understanding of Iraq's capabilities remained."
I wondered if this was then something that you felt could be an integral part of the published dossier?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, certainly that was one of the points that was discussed on 4 September, and of course that happened in the assessment on the 9th. The reference was made at the
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beginning to the limited nature of intelligence, although it then went on to make a series of firm judgments, which goes back to the point I was making earlier on.
We both might want to comment on this because, of course, there's been a lot of debate around it.
I would make two points, and then I'm sure Julian would want to come in. One is that the reason why -- well, first of all, there was no sort of discussion or conscious decision made to leave out references to limited intelligence. There was no deliberate intention to do that.
The reason it happened may be because of the way the dossier was structured, and the fact that it began with an executive summary, which was explicitly a collection of judgments, as opposed to a sort of listing of intelligence.
The place where it could have happened would have been in the introduction, where we were talking about the nature of intelligence, and various witnesses and other people involved have said that in retrospect they wish it had been stated there.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: The phrase "major gaps" is rather strong.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, we always made it clear that we didn't know what the scale of the stocks were, and where exactly they were, which is what we were referring to when we talked about gaps.
But I do repeat, Sir Martin, that the view -- and it's clear from the minutes as well -- the view was that the judgments and confidence in the judgments was high, in spite of the areas where we didn't have knowledge. So it was gaps in detailed knowledge, rather than in confidence about basic judgments.
JULIAN MILLER: Yes. I think I haven't really very much to add. The intelligence was not all encompassing by any means. What we tried to do in the assessment and in the dossier was to describe
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the intelligence as directly as we could, and then set out clearly and distinctly the judgments which had been reached.
The discussion on 4 September did lead the JIC to a very firm set of judgments, firmer than expressed previously, and that was reflected in the 9 September version of the assessment, and it was also reflected in the published material. We felt it was right that the firmness of the judgments that had been expressed in the classified assessment should be echoed in the published --
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: So the gaps in no way impacted on the judgment?
JULIAN MILLER: No, exactly.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: Could I turn now to the security situation in Iraq after the invasion? I see that from 2 July 2003, on your assessment then, that this becomes a major concern of the JIC.
I've got two questions really, one on the Sunni aspect and one on the Shia.
In the assessment on 3 September it states quite emphatically:
"Sunni Islamic extremist terrorists see Iraq as the new focus for jihad." ************************************************** ******** ************************************************** ************ ************************************* ************************************************** ********* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *********.
So my question is: was there a tipping point at which we had to conclude that we faced a Sunni insurgency as such? When did that come, and what were the critical events that led to that?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, there are two themes there in what you are picking up. One is the former regime, the FREs, and
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therefore there's a pure Sunni insurgency, and then the Islamic extremists coming from outside, but not all of it, and the extent to which of course they interplay with each other. But I think it's fair to say that they were seen, correctly probably, all the same as two sort of separate streams that had to be considered with different motivations.
From the beginning, 2 July, you're completely correct to say that this, certainly more or less from that moment on, became the major preoccupation of the JIC and of the assessments and the updates and so on that went in.
From the beginning, although we did not anticipate the eventual scale of the violence and the insurgency, we did anticipate what would fuel it and the Sunni officer corps’ wider disaffection and fear of Shia dominance and so on. So that theme was registered straight away, and then we tracked it as it grew.
Looking at the assessments now, I think what stands out for me is probably the mid-October assessment, because it was at that point that it was clear to anybody reading these assessments that we were facing a sort of never-ending or apparently never-ending rise in violence, which we could understand, but which we only knew a limited amount about in terms of who individually was responsible for which attacks.
So there were lots of statements, I think probably correct statements, about where the attacks were coming from and the kinds of elements that were involved, but of course we didn't always know precisely which group or which individuals were fomenting them. But if we note that whereas in May there were five attacks a day against coalition forces, and by October that rose to 30 a day, and that was registered at the time, we were clearly saying this is a really big problem. It was affecting not just the coalition forces, but it was also affecting the NGOs, which I think was brought out in the 15 October assessment.
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NGOs, the media, the UN and so on. So of course it was undermining deliberately the wider political objectives of the coalition.
So that was seen as the tipping point. In retrospect, I think you can probably say that was the tipping point, and then the trend was it got worse. In December it lowered, and then it got worse again after February on the FRE side.
On the extremist side, what strikes me now is that although we registered very early on that angle of things, and of course we had flagged it up before the conflict as a worry, and more presciently than we had realised at the time, we flagged up Al-Zarqawi's dispositions inside Iraq in the middle of 2002 and in 2003.
In the autumn, we were rather focused on AI, Ansar Al Islam, operating out of the Kurdish autonomous zone, and moving into the centre, and we weren't so focused on Zarqawi and Al Qaeda, if you like, inspired by UBL and so on from outside. It was mentioned, but in a fairly low-key way. There was more emphasis on the FREs and I'm not sure that we were, in retrospect, judging AI's role quite correctly.
It was in that context, I would say, the 7 January assessment was very important because that's the first time when we registered in a headline way that Zarqawi was becoming more central, and then of course that became a big theme of the assessment through the first part and beyond of 2004, and indeed there was an explicit assessment on the jihad on 10 March. SIR MARTIN GILBERT: ******************************************* ************************************************** ************************************************** **************************? SIR JOHN SCARLETT: ***************************************** ************************************************** ***************
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************************************************** ************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** ****************************. ************************************************** ********** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** *************** ************************************************** ************ ************************************************** ************** **********************************************. ************************************************** ********** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************** ************************************************** ************* ************************************************** ************ ****************************************.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: My last question really, which I suppose will have the same or similar answer, is with regard to the Shia MND south east. The last JIC paper under your chairmanship -- I think it's 30 June 2004 -- gives a mixed picture. I'm not a person who knows how really to interpret these things, but if I could just read, I would like your judgment on how far this did in fact constitute flagging this up:
"The situation in MND south east remains relatively stable. The Shia population is largely compliant. The polling suggests that support for the British at present is waning. Amarah is more volatile, with a mixture of violent Shia tribal and criminal
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elements. The almost daily attacks have reduced recently, but the situation remains fragile. Hardline Shia are likely to continue to conduct attacks in future."
So what does that mean in terms of do we have a problem emerging here and what scale might it be?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I think it's not bad, given the complexities of the situation at the time. Of course, already by that stage there had been the major uprising of the Mahdi Army in southern or central south in April, which hadn't really spilled over into MND south east but clearly had potential to do so, and so it was known that the Sadrists very obviously were a big issue, although judging Sadr's particular behaviour and particular power authority was quite a difficult thing to do, and was always a difficult thing to do, and remained a difficult thing to do.
What you haven't mentioned, Sir Martin, and I'm not quite sure whether it was clearly flagged up on 30 June, but it was certainly there in some of the earlier ones, that there are continual references to the dangers presented by the militias. So the militias, of course, on the one hand represented a sort of collaborator for British forces and could help you if they were fully on side, and some advice we were receiving from the authorities on the ground was that they were rather useful on side. But the risk clearly was that they would become a major problem if it looked as if the coalition forces weren't effective, and I think that was actually stated in one of the assessments, that that risk was there. So that was also flagged up at that time.
The point about polling shows that support is eroding. I remember at the time people said: what do we expect? In March and April 2003, at the time it was said probably we had consent for six to nine months. This was a year later, and we sort of
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still had it. But everybody had known that it would run out eventually.
SIR MARTIN GILBERT: Thank you.
THE CHAIRMAN: I was in these closing minutes going to ask some questions about Iran, but I think we can leave that to a future evidence session from C in the 2004/2005/2006 period. So I'll turn straight to Sir Roderic Lyne for a final round of questions.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: I want to talk about the way that Ministers were briefed, but with apologies, I too have a couple of quick questions about the dossier, because things have been raised in evidence before today, as well as today, that we need to be very clear about.
You said earlier on today that you were asked about the Prime Minister's use, not in the dossier but in the House of Commons, of the phrase or the word "growing" to describe the WMD. I think he said the programme was "active, detailed and growing", and you said -- I haven't got your exact words -- that he was being told that there was, for example, continuing production of chemical weapons in the September report.
Clearly what the Prime Minister had to do in his foreword to the dossier was to try to put in clear layman's language for a public document, key messages, the gist of what was in the document, and you have told us in your earlier evidence that it was drafted in Number 10, it wasn't your document, it was his foreword.
Just trying to take hindsight out of the equation, I would just like to ask you whether, if you had been writing the foreword, to what extent you would have used the language that he used, based on the intelligence that you were putting forward from the JIC.
For example, where he said that the picture presented by the
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JIC in recent months has become more, not less, worrying, and that he was increasingly alarmed by the evidence. He said that the assessed intelligence had established beyond doubt -- this is a phrase that has come up in earlier evidence sessions -- that Saddam had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, and that he continued in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Then it goes on to refer to ballistic programmes.
Are those words that you would have used?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, this was a different sort of document from anything that I would have written or would have been asked to write. So the situation wouldn't have arisen. I can't quite imagine a document which the Chairman of the JIC, or indeed the chief of SIS, would have been asked to write which would have required, if you like, language like this or to express an opinion in these terms.
So I can't quite answer the question directly. I would only say that there is nothing that I either wrote or oversaw the drafting of that did say any of those things in those terms. This was, as I said before, a document drafted in Number 10, which I did not look at line by line in the way I did the document for which I was responsible.
I said in my evidence that it was overtly a political document. That has been generally translated as it was an overtly political document, and there of course is a difference between the two things. I've doublechecked this a couple of times, and I certainly said it was overtly a political document. I'm happy with that. I'm not happy with the other way of expressing it, because it sounds like a loaded comment and it wasn't meant to be a loaded comment.
So my answer is that that kind of language, you wouldn't expect -- there just wouldn't be a document being compiled by the
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head of intelligence assessment, or indeed the head of the intelligence agency, which would express things in those terms because you wouldn't be required to, or asked to, or expected to express things in those terms.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: But it was the foreword to your dossier and you saw it in draft. Did you ask for any amendments to the Prime Minister's text when you saw it in draft, such as taking out "beyond doubt"?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No, I didn't, and I didn't react to that phrase at all, and of course, as has been said by others, nor did anybody else.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Thanks. I just wanted to be clear about that.
On the briefing of Ministers, we have heard from several Ministers that they received private intelligence briefings.
Sorry, I should in parenthesis say that the last exchange we have just had about the dossier may well fall into the category of public rather than private, because we weren't discussing use of intelligence. We will have to look at that, I think.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we will.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Now, this is clearly an intelligence area, my final set of questions. A number of Ministers from mid-2002 up to the start of hostilities were offered private intelligence briefings. Can you remember which Ministers were offered intelligence briefings by you or the JIC, and whether any Ministers declined to receive such briefings?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I can remember -- it's clearly recorded who was briefed and when from February 2002. There's a list. I think actually the list is mainly published in the ISC report. I think there was a list of Ministers.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Was it a long list or a short list? For the
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record, do you want to just run through it?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I'll run through it quickly here. 2003 -- well, Ministers. 10 February, John Reid. 11 February, the Attorney General, which Julian did, and I think he, the Attorney General, referred to it in his testimony. 12 February, there was a group, Charles Clarke, Tessa Jowell, Lord Grocott. Lord Irvine, who accepted the invitation, didn't appear. Clare Short, Lord Williams. That was Ministers.
On the 13th, Margaret Beckett, Peter Hain, Patricia Hewitt, Helen Liddell, Paul Murphy, Andrew Smith. They all came together.
Then on the 14th, Hilary Armstrong, Paul Boateng, who accepted but wasn't there. Then on the 19 February, David Blunkett as Home Secretary had an individual briefing. On the 20th, Robin Cook as leader of the House had an individual briefing. On the 24th, Baroness Symons. Yes, that was it.
There were also briefings to opposition leaders, Iain Duncan Smith and Charles Kennedy, and to the chairmen of the defence and foreign affairs committees.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: I'm probably listening too quickly. Was Clare Short on the list?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, she was. She was in a group on 12 February.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Did anybody ever seek briefing from you and you were told not to give them an intelligence briefing?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No. I'm just -- not that I can recall.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Can you recall broadly what area the briefing covered?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes, I can. Well, I was working off a set of briefing notes, but what I covered was the current assessment of
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CBW capabilities and delivery systems; the reaction on the regime's part to the prospect of military action, and their behaviour and reaction to the presence of inspectors; the response to 1441 and the assessment we made of the declaration in December; the activity on the concealment side; the problem with interviews of scientists and so on; Saddam's military options, including for use of CBW; the aspects relating to international terrorism; the impact on the terrorist threat internationally, but also there was mention of what the assessments were saying about the presence of extremists inside Iraq at that time.
Yes, there may be one or two other points, but generally speaking, that's what it was designed to cover.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: So the sort of situation facing up in the run-up to and at the beginning of the conflict?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: But it didn't really go into your assessment of the likely aftermath, the situation that would arise in Iraq after the conflict?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Not that I recall, and not on the basis of the briefing notes that I have seen.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Okay. From what you have said, did any of the briefings cover material that wasn't included in current JIC assessments? Or were you very much --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No, I was sticking to the regular briefing that was being given.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Not all of these Ministers in the normal course of their jobs were necessarily in the intelligence flow, and for some of them it even may have been the first time they had such a briefing.
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SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Yes.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Did you feel that they fully understood the limitations of the intelligence and of analysis derived from the intelligence?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I had no uneasy feeling about that at the time or subsequently. I don't recall, and I haven't got a note of a specific discussion where it's recorded that I took them through that point.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: We probably need to ask them, because the first time one receives an intelligence briefing, there's a terrific aura to secret intelligence in terms of the JIC, and there would be a natural inclination to take this as sort of a holy writ, whereas you are always in your reports very careful with your caveats, and I wonder if there's a risk that the caveat gets lost in the translation.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I have no recollection of feeling that that was a risk. There were quite a number of Ministers that I have listed there who were experienced intelligence readers. By this time, after all, this was an experienced Government.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Now, one of those experienced Ministers was Robin Cook, and he publicly disputed the view that the Government had formed, based on the intelligence. He did that in the House of Commons.
Did he do that when being briefed by you? Did he challenge this?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, he questioned me very closely on the assessment and asked for detail. He asked for more detail than other Ministers did. Of course I was doing it individually. Most were in groups. But of course he was an especially experienced minister when it came to the use of intelligence. He
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didn't dispute what I was saying, as it were. Nor did he dispute it subsequently afterwards in public. Where he of course took a different view was on how he interpreted it.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Yes. So he was sceptical about the interpretation, about the weight that the policy makers placed on the intelligence evidence that you were putting forward?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: As I recall, he was sceptical about the conclusion they drew.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: About what the problem was, and how best to tackle it, which was, I think, a slightly different way of putting it.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: The seriousness and imminence of the threat, effectively.
Do you recall any others questioning you in a similarly close way or from whom you got a sense that they might share his scepticism?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: If I go to the reports that went to the Ministers who received JIC reports, in the summaries on your reports -- and busy Ministers often focus very hard on a summary and don't always go into the detail -- there is a tendency for the caveats to disappear.
If I just take as examples the reports of 15 March 2002 and 9 September 2002, both of which we have discussed today, the summaries are written in very categorical terms. 15 March:
"Iraq retains up to 20 Al Hussein ballistic missiles. Iraq has begun development of medium range ballistic missiles. Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons progress”. Full stop.
"Iraq currently has available a number of biological agents.
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Iraq can deliver CBW weapons."
That's all just from one summary. That's pretty striking stuff if you are reading it quickly and you are a lay person, and similarly, 9 September, first sentence:
"Iraq has a chemical and biological weapons capability and Saddam is prepared to use it."
And so on. You can look at points 4 and 6. I won't read them all out.
When you actually turn to the detail of the report, the very first paragraph of the one I have just quoted from, the September one, it says:
"Recent intelligence casts light on Iraq's holdings ..."
But it then goes on to say, very correctly:
"Intelligence remains limited. Saddam's own unpredictability complicates judgments. Much of this paper is necessarily based on judgment and assessment."
But that caveat, that warning, is not remotely reflected in the summary. I don't know if this has been picked up by other inquiries, Butler or the ISC or others. Is there a problem here?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I'm sure Julian will want to come in on this, but actually I have already alluded to this when I was responding to a question from Sir Martin.
These of course are not summaries. They are key judgments, and therefore they are written as judgments. They are not written as summarising what is in the paper.
That's why they are stated as they are, and indeed we have always been at pains to try and make it clear that that is the case. That's why I have said that in March there's reference to sporadic and patchy intelligence, but there were actually quite firm judgments that the JIC was making at that stage, and then those judgments got firmer, as you have just reminded us,
Page 86 of 89
in September. Of course that is what Ministers were reading, and that's what they were meant to read. That's why the structure had been like that for really quite some time.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: I apologise for calling them summaries. You are quite right saying they are labelled "key judgments", but it actually makes it worse because if that's the bit that Ministers retain in their head, it is absolutely categorical statements that they are being given, and wouldn't it be wiser, actually, in key judgments, against the risk that a busy minister looks at that, retains that, as I would, flipping through a mass of papers in a red box, and have the caveats up on that page?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Can I say two points? First of all, this of course is the issue that effectively arose around the drafting of the dossier and the explanation that I offered as to why the caveats weren't there. It wasn't because they had been deliberately left out. It was because of the use of the executive summary as the equivalent of the key judgments, and exactly the same thing happens in the papers themselves.
Secondly, dare I say that this has actually been brought about because after this period, and I think probably after -- certainly after the summer of 2004, all front pages of the assessments have contained a box on the intelligence base. The intelligence base spells out the strengths and the weaknesses of the intelligence, which allows the key judgment to be made, but also flags up the point you are concerned about.
JULIAN MILLER: Just on the September case, my recollection of the discussion of 4 September is that the base document that was in front of the JIC was a draft. It wasn't a full JIC assessment, and it was full of the sort of caveated language because that was the sort of document it was.
In the discussion, the point was made by one of the JIC
Page 87 of 89
members that at this stage we should, as a committee, be very clear on what we were telling Ministers, and there was a view expressed in terms that, despite the caveats in the document prepared by the assessment staff, the view was that Saddam did possess the weapons and would be ready to use them, and that was the view that was shared around the JIC table, and which the JIC specifically wanted set out in those unambiguous terms as the advice that Ministers should read from their intelligence committee.
So you are absolutely right to distinguish between the body of the paper and the judgments, but it is a distinction which was made consciously and with deliberation.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Okay. The key point that John has made is that there is now more caveating on the front page to reduce the risk that judgments get too hard in people's minds.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: But that flows from the Butler recommendation.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Yes. That was my question. I thought it might very well have done and I didn't know the answer, and you have given it to me. So thank you very much.
Just a couple more questions, if I may, because we are up against the clock.
Were you aware as JIC chairman that Ministers were receiving intelligence briefings from people other than yourself within the British Government?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I was aware that there were briefings being given to the Chancellor, but I didn't know the detail, how many, when or where9. I became aware subsequently that there were -- well, there was one meeting at least where there was
9 In checking the transcript, the witness added as amplification: or what they were about, Iraq or other subjects.
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an intelligence discussion in Number 10 which I hadn't been present at, and I hadn't known about in advance, or actually on that particular day I was in the United States.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: An intelligence discussion in Number 10; you mean with the Prime Minister?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: With the Prime Minister.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: And a wider group? You would normally have been at any such discussion, but you were away on this occasion?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I'm not sure about that actually, but I didn't know that it would actually happen.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Were you aware that Clare Short, as she subsequently said in her book indeed, was receiving briefings from time to time from your predecessor as C at SIS?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: I don't think I was aware of that.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Well, she has told the world that, so we all know.
Okay. I'll leave out the last two --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: If I can just qualify that slightly, so I'm sure I've got the detail correct, I do recall Clare Short referring to the fact that she knew about the intelligence and was familiar with this subject, but I don't remember being very clear as to why that was.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Okay. Let's call it a day.
THE CHAIRMAN: I'm afraid we have overrun a bit, but thank you.
On Iran, we would like to come back to that in a future session to the C at the time, but we might want to look backwards into the JIC chair on that topic.
Can I thank you both very much, and remind that the transcript will be available here in 35 Great Smith Street as
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soon as reasonably practicable, not to take an overnight stay to do that. With that --
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Can I just ask on that, we have to come in and look at it here, do we?
THE CHAIRMAN: It has to be done here, I'm afraid, when practicable.
Thank you very much indeed.
(The hearing adjourned)

Jan Klimkowski
01-22-2011, 10:59 AM
Magda - great find.

The exchange below is highly revealing about the way in which the spooks manipulated ministers by overstating the evidence, whilst leaving mandarin-style "ambiguity" to protect themselves if they were ever summonsed to explain this overstatement.

It seems that Robin Cook was essentially the only minister with both the experience and the integrity to tell British intelligence that they had overinterpreted the available evidence to paint Saddam as more of a threat than he was.

Of course Cook continued complaining about the manipulation of "evidence" in the runup to the war on Iraq, and ended up dead on a Scottish mountain in August 2005.


SIR RODERIC LYNE: Now, one of those experienced Ministers was Robin Cook, and he publicly disputed the view that the Government had formed, based on the intelligence. He did that in the House of Commons.
Did he do that when being briefed by you? Did he challenge this?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, he questioned me very closely on the assessment and asked for detail. He asked for more detail than other Ministers did. Of course I was doing it individually. Most were in groups. But of course he was an especially experienced minister when it came to the use of intelligence. He
Page 84 of 89
didn't dispute what I was saying, as it were. Nor did he dispute it subsequently afterwards in public. Where he of course took a different view was on how he interpreted it.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Yes. So he was sceptical about the interpretation, about the weight that the policy makers placed on the intelligence evidence that you were putting forward?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: As I recall, he was sceptical about the conclusion they drew.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Yes.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: About what the problem was, and how best to tackle it, which was, I think, a slightly different way of putting it.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: The seriousness and imminence of the threat, effectively.
Do you recall any others questioning you in a similarly close way or from whom you got a sense that they might share his scepticism?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: No.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: If I go to the reports that went to the Ministers who received JIC reports, in the summaries on your reports -- and busy Ministers often focus very hard on a summary and don't always go into the detail -- there is a tendency for the caveats to disappear.
If I just take as examples the reports of 15 March 2002 and 9 September 2002, both of which we have discussed today, the summaries are written in very categorical terms. 15 March:
"Iraq retains up to 20 Al Hussein ballistic missiles. Iraq has begun development of medium range ballistic missiles. Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons progress”. Full stop.
"Iraq currently has available a number of biological agents.
Page 85 of 89
Iraq can deliver CBW weapons."
That's all just from one summary. That's pretty striking stuff if you are reading it quickly and you are a lay person, and similarly, 9 September, first sentence:
"Iraq has a chemical and biological weapons capability and Saddam is prepared to use it."
And so on. You can look at points 4 and 6. I won't read them all out.
When you actually turn to the detail of the report, the very first paragraph of the one I have just quoted from, the September one, it says:
"Recent intelligence casts light on Iraq's holdings ..."
But it then goes on to say, very correctly:
"Intelligence remains limited. Saddam's own unpredictability complicates judgments. Much of this paper is necessarily based on judgment and assessment."
But that caveat, that warning, is not remotely reflected in the summary. I don't know if this has been picked up by other inquiries, Butler or the ISC or others. Is there a problem here?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I'm sure Julian will want to come in on this, but actually I have already alluded to this when I was responding to a question from Sir Martin.
These of course are not summaries. They are key judgments, and therefore they are written as judgments. They are not written as summarising what is in the paper.
That's why they are stated as they are, and indeed we have always been at pains to try and make it clear that that is the case. That's why I have said that in March there's reference to sporadic and patchy intelligence, but there were actually quite firm judgments that the JIC was making at that stage, and then those judgments got firmer, as you have just reminded us,
Page 86 of 89
in September. Of course that is what Ministers were reading, and that's what they were meant to read. That's why the structure had been like that for really quite some time.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: I apologise for calling them summaries. You are quite right saying they are labelled "key judgments", but it actually makes it worse because if that's the bit that Ministers retain in their head, it is absolutely categorical statements that they are being given, and wouldn't it be wiser, actually, in key judgments, against the risk that a busy minister looks at that, retains that, as I would, flipping through a mass of papers in a red box, and have the caveats up on that page?
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Can I say two points? First of all, this of course is the issue that effectively arose around the drafting of the dossier and the explanation that I offered as to why the caveats weren't there. It wasn't because they had been deliberately left out. It was because of the use of the executive summary as the equivalent of the key judgments, and exactly the same thing happens in the papers themselves.
Secondly, dare I say that this has actually been brought about because after this period, and I think probably after -- certainly after the summer of 2004, all front pages of the assessments have contained a box on the intelligence base. The intelligence base spells out the strengths and the weaknesses of the intelligence, which allows the key judgment to be made, but also flags up the point you are concerned about.
JULIAN MILLER: Just on the September case, my recollection of the discussion of 4 September is that the base document that was in front of the JIC was a draft. It wasn't a full JIC assessment, and it was full of the sort of caveated language because that was the sort of document it was.
In the discussion, the point was made by one of the JIC
Page 87 of 89
members that at this stage we should, as a committee, be very clear on what we were telling Ministers, and there was a view expressed in terms that, despite the caveats in the document prepared by the assessment staff, the view was that Saddam did possess the weapons and would be ready to use them, and that was the view that was shared around the JIC table, and which the JIC specifically wanted set out in those unambiguous terms as the advice that Ministers should read from their intelligence committee.
So you are absolutely right to distinguish between the body of the paper and the judgments, but it is a distinction which was made consciously and with deliberation.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Okay. The key point that John has made is that there is now more caveating on the front page to reduce the risk that judgments get too hard in people's minds.
SIR JOHN SCARLETT: But that flows from the Butler recommendation.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Yes. That was my question. I thought it might very well have done and I didn't know the answer, and you have given it to me. So thank you very much.

David Guyatt
01-22-2011, 06:37 PM
It seems that Robin Cook was essentially the only minister with both the experience and the integrity to tell British intelligence that they had overinterpreted the available evidence to paint Saddam as more of a threat than he was.

Of course Cook continued complaining about the manipulation of "evidence" in the runup to the war on Iraq, and ended up dead on a Scottish mountain in August 2005.


Cook died of a sudden heart attack.

Curiously enough, so did Labour leader John Smith prior to the 1997 election that swept Bliar to power. Had Smith lived, Bliar would not have become Prime Minister in a million years.

Suspicious minds merely note these things.

Malcolm Pryce
01-22-2011, 10:34 PM
The striking thing about Robin Cook's death IMHO is how little attention it attracted and how quickly it was passed over.

Intriguingly, therefore, I just did a Google search for 'Robin Cook death' and the top hit is 'lingering questions about Robin Cook's death' - this from one of the few blogs to ask the question that dare not be asked. Given its high page ranking one would assume it's not just us deep political anoraks who harbour doubts.

Magda Hassan
01-23-2011, 06:35 AM
Downing Street ordered a 'cover up' over Straw's bid to talk Blair out of Iraq invasion, explosive new evidence reveals



By Tim Shipman (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Tim+Shipman)
Last updated at 1:55 AM on 21st January 2011

Enlarge http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/20/article-1349084-0CD148F7000005DC-441_233x423.jpg (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/20/article-1349084-0CD148F7000005DC-441_233x423_popup.jpg) Final opportunity: Blair allegedly insisted he wanted to go to war despite an 11th-hour attempt to stop him by his foreign secretary Jack Straw

Downing Street ordered a cover-up after Jack Straw made an 11th-hour attempt to stop Tony Blair going to war in Iraq, it was claimed last night.
Explosive anonymous evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry said Mr Blair responded to his Foreign Secretary by insisting that he wanted to go to war.
Officials at Number 10 then allegedly ordered that no record was kept of the confrontation.
The revelation will pile pressure on the former Prime Minister when he returns to give evidence to the inquiry today.
Mr Blair will be concerned about the aggressive way Sir John Chilcot’s team have published damaging evidence against him in the week before his appearance, which is expected to attract anti-war protesters and security costs of more than £250,000.
Sir John gave anonymity to the witness – who may be a civil servant or a member of Mr Blair’s inner circle – so he could reveal details of the alleged controversial showdown with Mr Straw.
At the meeting on March 12, 2003, the source claimed Mr Straw made the point that ‘this was the final opportunity to decide on a different track – advising the prime minister that he still had a chance to avoid it if he wanted to’. The source said Mr Straw told Mr Blair: ‘If you want to avoid your own resignation, Prime Minister, you still have an opportunity and here it is.’


More...



Chilcott's anger as Blair's Iraq memos to Bush stay secret (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348331/Iraq-inquiry-chairman-Chilcotts-anger-Blairs-memos-Bush-stay-secret.html)


The witness said he was ‘absolutely struck’ by the speed of Mr Blair’s response as well as ‘the absolute insistence of it, and the fact that he had got his arguments all marshalled and all laid out’.
He added: ‘Number 10 officials decided, after careful consideration, that the meeting should not be recorded because it didn’t change anything’ and because it was a ‘very personal meeting’.
Mr Blair is likely to be questioned about the claims today.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349084/Downing-Street-ordered-Cover-Straws-bid-talk-Blair-Iraq-invasion-explosive-new-evidence-reveals.html

David Guyatt
01-23-2011, 10:26 AM
More...



Chilcott's anger as Blair's Iraq memos to Bush stay secret (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348331/Iraq-inquiry-chairman-Chilcotts-anger-Blairs-memos-Bush-stay-secret.html)




A spokesman said there was an ‘established convention... whereby former ministers would normally be consulted before release of papers from their time in government’.


There it is in black and white. Once in government ministers and prime ministers are a protected species. This is de facto immunity from prosecution.

David Guyatt
01-25-2011, 06:44 PM
Sir Gus O'Donnell.

I note only in passing that he was educated at Salesian College, Battersea, a Roman Catholic school for boys between the ages of 11-16 years and which has the motto "Servite Domino in Laetitia", (Serve the Lord with Gladness).

The college was found by Don Bosco's Silesians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salesians_of_Don_Bosco) and their logo is designed with the central theme DON BOSCO AND THE SALESIANS WALKING WITH THE YOUNG THROUGH THE WORLD.

Nice image that conjurs up, which is why I thought it worth Googling the college name with the search term "paedophilia at" and came up with THIS (http://www.grahamwilmer.org.uk/page10.html).

And THIS (http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=8798180154&topic=19130&start=0&hash=516e9c6f4192485092fb8b9f3c2d2348) (scroll down to the post by "Diego").

And THIS (http://www.opusdei.org.uk/art.php?p=14472).

Which when added to THIS (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=78075.0), might just join the dots of why Blair gets away with wholesale murder.

And join a lot of other dots too - including the recent Seymour Hersh article on senior Pentagon officers who are members of SMOM and Opus Dei.

David Guyatt
01-27-2011, 03:57 PM
A curiosity extracted from today's testimony at the Circus where Lord Boyce, Chief of the Defence Staff is giving evidence:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/jan/27/lord-boyce-iraq-inquiry-live
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/jan/27/lord-boyce-iraq-inquiry-live)


2.25pm: Lady Prashar asks about a revelation in one of the documents declassified this afternoon, a note from Geoff Hoon's office written in May 2002. Hoon said that he had found out that "a UK officer at Tampa" had told the US government that "the UK would provide an armoured division for action against Iraq". Hoon was "surprised" by this because it had not been agreed by minister.

Boyce says he does not know who made this promise to the Americans. No one was in a position to do so at that point.

But the 1st Armoured Division (UK) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Armoured_Division_(United_Kingdom)#Post_Second _World_War) was deployed to the Gulf.

David Guyatt
01-27-2011, 04:03 PM
Additiona extract:


3.33pm: Boyce says that he does not think the Americans would have been able to invade on 19 March 2003 without the British.

David Guyatt
02-05-2011, 10:12 AM
Additiona extract:


3.33pm: Boyce says that he does not think the Americans would have been able to invade on 19 March 2003 without the British.

See the Question Time footage linked below for further insight into this very important aspect of the Iraq war.

The US couldn't have invaded Iraq without British military involvement.

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?6317-George-Galloway-accuses-Alastair-Campbell-of-murdering-Dr.-David-Kelly-on-the-BBC-(still-unsued)&p=34548&posted=1#post34548

Carsten Wiethoff
04-19-2011, 11:25 AM
From http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/secret-memos-expose-link-between-oil-firms-and-invasion-of-iraq-2269610.html



Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/graphic-iraq-oil-2269811.html)
The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain's involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.


The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.
The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as "highly inaccurate". BP denied that it had any "strategic interest" in Iraq, while Tony Blair described "the oil conspiracy theory" as "the most absurd".

Yeah, absurd is the right word. :smileymad:

Peter Lemkin
04-19-2011, 12:08 PM
From http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/secret-memos-expose-link-between-oil-firms-and-invasion-of-iraq-2269610.html



Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/graphic-iraq-oil-2269811.html)
The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain's involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.


The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.
The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as "highly inaccurate". BP denied that it had any "strategic interest" in Iraq, while Tony Blair described "the oil conspiracy theory" as "the most absurd".

Yeah, absurd is the right word. :smileymad:

Any child could figure out that because they have oil - and don't grow cotton or broccoli in Iraq it is on 'target' for being taken over by ANY means necessary - with any lies and deceits being done/said to accomplish this fact. Further, since the oil/Carbon-lobby is about the strongest in holding the puppet strings of politicians and in control of the Secret Government, This would rank near or at the 'top' of resources the ultra-rich will steal [not buy or rent or lease or share]. :mexican:

Jan Klimkowski
04-19-2011, 07:56 PM
Quotes are from the Independent article linked by Carsten.

This bears further deconstruction.


The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war.

Indeed. Will Chilcot now demand that they are entered as evidence?

I'm not holding my breath.



In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as "highly inaccurate". BP denied that it had any "strategic interest" in Iraq, while Tony Blair described "the oil conspiracy theory" as "the most absurd".

I wrote about this extensively at the time.

The nub of it is that by declaring war for oil as a "conspiracy theory", PM Blair shut down meaningful debate about one of the primary motivations for the Iraq invasion.

From then on, every time an MSM journalist raised oil as a rationale for the invasion , the hack would preface his words, or - to use the journalistic phrase, weasel them - by saying the conspiracy theorists claim this is a war for oil, Mr Minister....., and thus undermine the point and make the politician's inevitable rebuttal easy. Hack and politician would then chuckle at the ludicrousness of such an idea.

Phrases such as "conspiracy theory" or "truther" are psyop creations, emanating from intelligence shrinks and propagandists.

The fundamental purpose of such phrases is to narrow the boundaries of "reasonable" debate and to ridicule anyone whose opinion is outsde the spooks' carefully constructed safe, and fictional, Zone.

Jan Klimkowski
05-12-2011, 05:08 PM
Devastating evidence (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/12/iraq-dossier-case-for-war) from Major General Michael Laurie confirming what anyone who followed this, from duplicitious beginning to tragic end, already knows.

But at least one man in uniform had the cojones to stand up and tell it how it is.


Iraq dossier drawn up to make case for war – intelligence officer

Newly released evidence to Chilcot inquiry directly contradicts Blair government's claims about dossier

Richard Norton-Taylor guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011 15.41 BST

A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq's weapons programme was drawn up "to make the case for war", flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister's chief spin doctor.

In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said: "We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care."

His evidence is devastating, as it is the first time such a senior intelligence officer has directly contradicted the then government's claims about the dossier – and, perhaps more significantly, what Tony Blair and Campbell said when it was released seven months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Laurie, who was director general in the Defence Intelligence Staff, responsible for commanding and delivering raw and analysed intelligence, said: "I am writing to comment on the position taken by Alastair Campbell during his evidence to you … when he stated that the purpose of the dossier was not to make a case for war; I and those involved in its production saw it exactly as that, and that was the direction we were given."

He continued: "Alastair Campbell said to the inquiry that the purpose of the dossier was not 'to make a case for war'. I had no doubt at that time this was exactly its purpose and these very words were used."

Laurie said he recalled that the chief of defence intelligence, Air Marshal Sir Joe French, was "frequently inquiring whether we were missing something" and was under pressure. "We could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to WMD [weapons of mass destruction], generally concluding that they must have been dismantled, buried or taken abroad. There has probably never been a greater detailed scrutiny of every piece of ground in any country."

The document is one of a number released by the Chilcot inquiry. They include top secret MI6 reports warning of the damage to British interests and the likelihood of terrorist attacks in the UK if it joined the US-led invasion of Iraq.

However, a newly declassified document reveals that Sir Kevin Tebbit, then a top official at the Ministry of Defence, warned the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, in January 2003 that the US would "feel betrayed by their partner of choice" if Britain did not go along with the invasion.

Despite its concerns, MI6 told ministers before the invasion that toppling Saddam Hussein "remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies".

Laurie's memo raises questions about the role of Sir John Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who later became head of MI6.

Peter Lemkin
05-12-2011, 07:35 PM
Devastating evidence (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/12/iraq-dossier-case-for-war) from Major General Michael Laurie confirming what anyone who followed this, from duplicitious beginning to tragic end, already knows.

But at least one man in uniform had the cojones to stand up and tell it how it is.


[SIZE="3"][B]
However, a newly declassified document reveals that Sir Kevin Tebbit, then a top official at the Ministry of Defence, warned the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, in January 2003 that the US would "feel betrayed by their partner of choice" if Britain did not go along with the invasion.

Despite its concerns, MI6 told ministers before the invasion that toppling Saddam Hussein "remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies".

Laurie's memo raises questions about the role of Sir John Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who later became head of MI6.

Really says it all......sad how the world is 'run' by criminals and liars - only interested in money; and caring nothing of the democracy and rule of law that they mouth to calm the Sheeple.

Jan Klimkowski
07-31-2011, 12:49 PM
Hmmmm - is the British establishment about to unroll a limited hangout, blaming it all on Tony "I'm a pretty straight sort of guy" Blair?



Chilcot to 'heavily criticise' Tony Blair over Iraq war

Official inquiry into Iraq war expected to focus on former prime minister's failure to consult the cabinet fully in run-up to invasion

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/31/chilcot-criticise-tony-blair-iraq?INTCMP=SRCH), Sunday 31 July 2011 12.12 BST

Tony Blair is likely to be criticised heavily by the official inquiry into the Iraq war, which is expected to focus on his failure to consult the cabinet fully in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.

The Mail on Sunday reports today that Sir John Chilcot, the former permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office who is chairing the inquiry, has identified a series of concerns. These include:

• failing to keep cabinet ministers fully informed of Blair's plans in the run-up to the invasion in March 2003. The committee is understood to have been impressed by the criticism voiced by Lord Butler of Brockwell, the former cabinet secretary, that Blair ran a sofa government.

• failing to make proper preparations for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.

• failing to present intelligence in a proper way. In his inquiry into the use of intelligence, published in July 2004, Butler said the usual MI6 caveats were stripped out of the famous Downing Street arms dossier of September 2002.

• failing to be open with ministers about understandings Blair reached with George Bush in the year running up to the invasion.

Blair today hit out at the Mail on Sunday. A source close to the former prime minister said: "This is a deliberate attempt to pre-judge a report that hasn't even been written yet."

Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader at Westminster, said: "The tapestry of deceit woven by Tony Blair over the past decade has finally unravelled. Despite his best attempts to fudge the issue when he was called to give evidence, the Chilcot inquiry have recognised the former prime minister's central role in leading the UK into worst foreign policy disaster in recent history.

"While no inquiry will ever bring back those lost in Iraq, this comprehensive review by Sir John Chilcot will at least provide some explanation of the decisions which led to the disastrous invasion."

There has been speculation at senior levels of Whitehall that Chilcot and the members of his inquiry are planning to criticise Blair when they publish their report in the autumn. Some members of the inquiry, including the former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Rod Lyne, put Blair under pressure in his two appearances before them.

Members of the inquiry have said in private to former colleagues in Whitehall that the best way to gauge the inquiry's findings is to identify areas that have been raised repeatedly by Chilcot and his team. Three key areas which fall into this category are the lack of proper cabinet consultation, the use of intelligence, and the failure to make preparations for the post-war reconstruction.

It is expected that the inquiry will take a dim view of the Downing Street dossier on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, published on 24 September 2002. This included the notorious claim that Iraq could launch a WMD attack in 45 minutes.

In launching the report, Blair told an emergency session of the Commons: "His [Saddam Hussein's] weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down; it is up and running now."

Blair later stated he was wrong to have been so categorical about Iraq's WMD programme.

The inquiry is likely to criticise Alastair Campbell, Blair's former director of communications, who was instrumental in drawing up the dossier.

Campbell has always maintained that Sir John Scarlett, then chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was in charge of the dossier.

But Major General Michael Laurie told the inquiry in a letter in May that the dossier was designed to "make the case for war".

Campbell wrote back to the inquiry to say: "Witnesses who were directly involved in the drafting of the dossier have made clear to several inquiries that at no time did I put anyone in the intelligence community under pressure, or say to them or anyone else that the then prime minister's purpose in publishing the dossier was to make the case for war."

The inquiry is also expected to focus on Blair's assurances to Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war. Blair rejects criticism that he told the former president in a meeting at his Texas ranch in April 2002 that he would support an invasion as long as the US agreed to try to secure agreement from the United Nations.

In addition, the inquiry will address the failure to make adequate preparations for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. Major General Tim Cross, who was attached to the US post-war Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, told the inquiry of a meeting he had with Blair on 18 March 2003, two days before the invasion.

In written evidence, he said: "I told him that there was no clarity on what was going to be needed after the military phase of the operation, nor who would provide it. Although I was confident that we would secure a military victory, I offered my view that we should not begin that campaign until we had a much more coherent postwar plan."

Cross told the inquiry in person in December 2009: "He nodded and didn't say anything particular. I didn't expect him to look me in the eye and say, 'This is terrible, we are going to pull the whole thing off.' I was just one of a number of people briefing him."

Magda Hassan
07-17-2012, 12:23 PM
Chilcot report into Iraq delayed by Whitehall refusal to release evidence

Sir John Chilcot reveals frustration at inability to see key papers, including records of talks between Tony Blair and George Bush

Richard Norton-Taylor (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/richardnortontaylor)
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/), Monday 16 July 2012 15.56 BST
Tony Blair (left) and George Bush enter Downing Street. Refusal to release records of talks between the two on Iraq has delayed the Chilcot inquiry report for more than a year. Photograph: Dan Chung for the Guardian

Fierce opposition in Whitehall to the disclosure of key documents relating to the invasion of Iraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iraq), notably records of discussions between Tony Blair (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/tonyblair)and George Bush, has meant the Chilcot inquiry will not now be able to publish its report for well over a year.
Sir John Chilcot has made it clear in a letter to David Cameron that he and his fellow panel members are deeply frustrated by Whitehall's refusal to release papers, including those that reveal which ministers, legal advisers and officials were excluded from discussions on military action. The papers still kept secret include those relating to MI6 and the government's electronic eavesdropping centre, GCHQ.
The inquiry panel has seen the classified documents in dispute but is being prevented from publishing them.
In a letter to the prime minister released on Monday, Chilcot says there are unresolved disputes over "a number of particularly important categories of evidence" relating to "the discussions between the prime minister and heads of state or government of other nations" and "the treatment of discussions in the cabinet and cabinet committees".
Chilcot says Martin Gilbert, a historian and member of the inquiry panel, has been seriously ill since April, and has not been able to contribute to its work.
Chilcot refers to sharp exchanges he has had with the former cabinet secretary Lord O'Donnell over the refusal to disclose details of correspondence and conversations between Blair and Bush in the period leading up to the invasion. Their disclosure would serve to "illuminate Mr Blair's position at critical points" in the runup to war, Chilcot told O'Donnell last year.
He referred to passages in memoirs, including Blair's autobiography, A Journey; disclosures by Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff; and the diaries of Alastair Campbell, his former head of communications. Those publications, and the refusal to disclose Blair's notes, Chilcot told O'Donnell last year, "leads to the position that individuals may disclose privileged information (without sanction) whilst a committee of privy counsellors established by a former prime minister to review the issues, cannot".
Campbell revealed his version of Blair's discussions with Bush in the latest volume of his diaries published last month.
O'Donnell told Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US and would not be in the public interest. "We have attached particular importance to protecting the privacy of the channel between the prime minister and president," he said.
Chilcot has emphasised that the protocols were "put in place to protect national security, international relations and the personal security of individuals. They are not there to prevent embarrassment."
O'Donnell, who consulted Blair about the documents, retired at the end of last year when he became a peer. He was succeeded by Sir Jeremy Heywood, who clearly shares O'Donnell's approach to the release of the documents.
Chilcot says in his letter that it is essential for the inquiry to establish "as accurately and reliably" as possible what happened and that some of the significant lessons to learn apply not only to Iraq. "Most have more general application to the conduct of government."
The final report, he adds, is likely to be more than 1m words. But the Chilcot panel will not be in a position to even complete the draft for a year. It will be in a position to "begin the 'Maxwellisation' process by the middle of next year", Chilcot told Cameron. Under this process, those whom the inquiry intends to criticise are given a copy of passages of the draft report to enable them to respond. The process derives from Companies Act investigations.
The inquiry initially suggested it would be completed in May 2011. It then said it could finish by autumn last year. It subsequently said it would not be published until this summer "at the earliest".
The inquiry held 18 months of public hearings between the end of 2009 and early 2011. A succession of witnesses, ranging from former cabinet secretaries to military commanders, sharply criticised the way Blair and his close advisers took key decisions without consulting senior ministers and the then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.
Chilcot has said Blair's claim that MI6 established "beyond doubt" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was "not possible to make on the basis of intelligence".
Sir Michael Wood, the former senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, said he considered resigning in protest against the war. Goldsmith said Blair's suggestion in January 2003 that Britain could attack Iraq without further UN backing had not been compatible with his legal advice.
Despite his refusal to release the Blair-Bush paper, O'Donnell said in evidence to the inquiry that the cabinet should have been told of Goldsmith's doubts about the legality of invading Iraq before Blair went to war.
"The ministerial code is very clear about the need, when the attorney general gives written advice, the full text of that advice should be attached [to cabinet papers]," O'Donnell said.
He said Blair did not believe cabinet was "a safe space" in which to debate going to war. That was one of the reasons why the then prime minister preferred informal meetings with no record taken.

Magda Hassan
07-17-2012, 12:46 PM
Iraq Inquiry ~ Chilcot ~ Report delayed perhaps 2 years (http://watchingthelaw.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/iraq-inquiry-chilcot-report-delayed.html)
Posted by ObiterJ | 17 July, 2012


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-169vN6qofOU/UAU9lS8t-ZI/AAAAAAAACg0/VT4VtGvAHaA/s200/A+Steve+Bell+Cartoon+Blair+Bush.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-169vN6qofOU/UAU9lS8t-ZI/AAAAAAAACg0/VT4VtGvAHaA/s1600/A+Steve+Bell+Cartoon+Blair+Bush.jpg)

The Iraq Inquiry (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/) - under the chairmanship of Sir John Chilcot - was expected to report during 2012 but publication of a report is to be delayed and may not appear until 2014. What has brought about this state of affairs?

The delay seems to arise for three reasons - (a) the amount of material to be analysed; (b) the process known as "Maxwellisation" and (c) problems in getting government to agree to certain material being published either in the eventual report or alongside that report.

Statement on the Inquiry website:

The Inquiry website states that the Inquiry has concluded its public hearings and is currently analysing the written and oral evidence it has received and drafting its report.

Pulling together and analysing the evidence and identifying the lessons, for a report that covers so wide and complex a range of issues and a time period of some nine years, is a significant task. Very considerable progress has already been made, but there is still much to be done.


As well as drafting the report, the Inquiry is negotiating with the Government the declassification of a significant volume of currently classified material, in order that it may be quoted in, or published alongside, the Inquiry’s report. Work on this substantial task, which involves the detailed scrutiny of many thousands of documents, is already under way. Significant progress has been made, but there will continue to be a series of further requests as drafting progresses.

The Inquiry has previously indicated that it intends to undertake a process of Maxwellisation whereby individuals who may be criticised in the report will be informed of the proposed criticism (and provided with relevant parts of the draft report in which the criticism is made) in order that they may make representations to the Inquiry Committee before the report is finalised.

The Inquiry has advised the Prime Minister that it will be in a position to begin the process of writing to any individuals that may be criticised by the middle of 2013.

The Inquiry’s report will be submitted to the Prime Minister as soon as possible after that process is complete. The Inquiry understands that it will then be published in Parliament. A copy will also be available on [the Inquiry] website.

Sir John Chilcot, the Inquiry Chairman, wrote to the Prime Minister on Friday 13 July 2012 (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/54266/2012-07-13%20chilcot%20cameron.pdf) to provide an update on the Inquiry’s progress and an outline of the scope of the Inquiry’s report. The Inquiry published this letter on Monday 16 July.

Sir John’s earlier letter to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the then Cabinet Secretary, sent on 21 October 2011 (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/53099/2011-10-21%20Chilcot%20ODonnell%20Iraq%20Inquiry.pdf) and Sir Gus’s reply on 2 December (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/53096/2011-12-02%20ODonnell%20Chilcot%20Iraq%20Inquiry%20progres s.pdf) were published on 14 December 2011.

Maxwellisation:

this process is described well in this link (http://www.ffw.com/publications/all/articles/investigations-and-inquiries.aspx#11).

Publication of material:

Just what is this material which the inquiry says it requires and which the government is reluctant to allow to be published?

The letter of 13 July 2012 (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/54266/2012-07-13%20chilcot%20cameron.pdf) from Sir John Chilcot to Prime Minister David Cameron offers an indication.

"There are, however, a number of particularly important categories of evidence, including the treatment of discussions in Cabinet and Cabinet committees and the UK position in discussions between the Prime Minister and the heads of State or Government of other nations, to be addressed....."


The Guardian 16th July 2012 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/16/chilcot-report-iraq-delayed-evidence) reports:

"Fierce opposition in Whitehall to the disclosure of key documents relating to the invasion ofIraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iraq), notably records of discussions between Tony Blair (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/tonyblair) and George Bush, has meant the Chilcot inquiry will not now be able to publish its report for well over a year.

Sir John Chilcot has made it clear in a letter to David Cameron that he and his fellow panel members are deeply frustrated by Whitehall's refusal to release papers, including those that reveal which ministers, legal advisers and officials were excluded from discussions on military action. The papers still kept secret include those relating to MI6 and the government's electronic eavesdropping centre, GCHQ.

The inquiry panel has seen the classified documents in dispute but is being prevented from publishing them."

Comment:

Little of this is actually surprising even though it does nothing to allay public concerns such as those expressed by World Socialist Web Site on 16th March 2010 (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/mar2010/pers-m16.shtml).

It seems highly unlikely that government will ever sanction publication of some of this material. Furthermore, there will be some Blair-Bush discussions for which no record was ever maintained. The end result will be that the report will contain certain crucial gaps. This will be a very unsatisfactory state of affairs.


Freedom of Information:

A Freedom of Information Act request for disclosure of the record a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Blair and President G W Bush on 12th March 2003 was the subject of a ruling in May 2012 by the First-Tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber which "largely upheld" a decision of the Information Commissioner of 13th September 2011 - read the decision (http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DBFiles/Decision/i762/20120521%20Decision%20EA20110225%20&%200228.pdf)- to the effect that certain parts of the record were to be disclosed to the applicant - a Mr Plowden.

See Telegraph 21st May 2012 - "Blair-Bush Iraq conversation must be released (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9280329/Blair-Bush-Iraq-conversation-must-be-released.html)"

http://watchingthelaw.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/iraq-inquiry-chilcot-report-delayed.html

Magda Hassan
07-17-2012, 12:48 PM
Blair did not believe cabinet was "a safe space" in which to debate going to war. That was one of the reasons why the then prime minister preferred informal meetings with no record taken.

Only if it is a hostile place to push for an illegal war. Cabinet is the perfect place to debate going to war. Not to do so is dictatorial.

Jan Klimkowski
07-17-2012, 07:13 PM
Blair did not believe cabinet was "a safe space" in which to debate going to war. That was one of the reasons why the then prime minister preferred informal meetings with no record taken.

Only if it is a hostile place to push for an illegal war. Cabinet is the perfect place to debate going to war. Not to do so is dictatorial.

Fixed the quote:


Blair believed George Bush's nuclear bunker was a "safe space" in which to offer the blood of British troops for an illegal war of aggression.

Jan Klimkowski
03-18-2013, 07:46 PM
So, Bush and Blair and Rumsfeld and Cheney and all the rest of the war criminals lied.

Or to use the ridiculous, cop-out, phraseology of today's MSM reports, they "misled themselves".



West 'ignored evidence from senior Iraqis' that WMDs did not exist


Andy McSmith The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/west-ignored-evidence-from-senior-iraqis-that-wmds-did-not-exist-8538286.html)

Monday 18 March 2013


Two senior Iraqi politicians told Western intelligence that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the 2003 invasion – but their warnings were ignored and then not reported to the subsequent Butler inquiry, according to a major new investigation.

Vital intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq 10 years ago was based on "fabrication" and "wishful thinking", the BBC Panorama documentary claims. While information from highly placed Iraqis was dismissed as unimportant if it indicated that Hussein did not have WMD, tip offs from low-ranking Iraqis were eagerly lapped up if they reinforced what George W Bush and Tony Blair wanted to hear, it is claimed.

Lord Butler, who conducted the 2004 inquiry into the intelligence used to justify the war, told the programme-makers that he later discovered a previously overlooked report which revealed that an MI6 officer had a meeting in Jordan with one of Iraq's most senior intelligence officers, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti. Habbush told MI6 that there were no WMD left in Iraq.

"We discovered that it was part of the paperwork we got – after the event," Lord Butler told Panorama's Peter Taylor. "This was something which I think our review did miss. But when we asked about it, we were told that it wasn't a very significant fact, because SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) discounted it as something designed by Saddam to mislead."

Several months before the war, the CIA's Paris station made contact through an intermediary with Iraq's Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri. Bill Murray, head of the CIA in Paris, reported to CIA headquarters that Iraq held "virtually nothing" in the way of WMD. That information was also passed to British intelligence.

"They were not happy," Murray told Panorama. "They just didn't believe it. There was a consistent effort to find intelligence that supported pre-conceived positions."

Lord Butler's inquiry was not told that the CIA had been in indirect contact with the Foreign Minister. "If SIS was aware of it, we should have been informed," Lord Butler said.

Yet the CIA and MI6 were prepared to believe sources like the informant Curveball, whose real name was Rafed al Janabi, a chemical engineer who fled from Iraq to Germany in 1999, and claimed that the seed factory in which he had worked was producing chemical and biological agents for mobile laboratories. By the start of 2001, German intelligence officers had realised that at least part of his story was made up and stopped relying on him. MI6 also assessed that he was a "fabricator".

But his claims were repeated as fact when the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, addressed the United Nations on the eve of war. Interviewed by Panorama, Rafed al Janabi admitted that he had made the story up.

The programme also traced the origin of Mr Blair's notorious claim that Iraq had "chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes". The warning was originally conveyed in the mid-1990s to Iraqi exiles in Jordan, who were planning a coup, but were warned that if it came to a firefight between supporters and opponents of Hussein, the government was ready to attack any defecting unit with chemical weapons within 45 minutes. This report reached MI6, third hand.

The head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, knew that the 45-minute warning applied only to weapons that could be used on a battlefield, but that caveat was not included in the MI6 dossier, and he reportedly did not tell Mr Blair. Lord Butler told Panorama: "It was interpreted as referring to missiles you could fire at Cyprus, and that did make it sensational. That misunderstanding was due to a sloppy bit of use of intelligence."





MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD

BBC's Panorama reveals fresh evidence that agencies dismissed intelligence from Iraqi foreign minister and spy chief


Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/18/panorama-iraq-fresh-wmd-claims), Monday 18 March 2013 06.00 GMT
Jump to comments (715)

Tony Blair's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are challenged again in Monday's Panorama. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Fresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running".

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.

It describes how Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, told the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had "virtually nothing" in terms of WMD.

Sabri said in a statement that the Panorama story was "totally fabricated".

However, Panorama confirms that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq's head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMD. The meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, took place days before the British government published its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002.

Lord Butler, the former cabinet secretary who led an inquiry into the use of intelligence in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, tells the programme that he was not told about Sabri's comments, and that he should have been.

Butler says of the use of intelligence: "There were ways in which people were misled or misled themselves at all stages."

When it was suggested to him that the body that probably felt most misled of all was the British public, Butler replied: "Yes, I think they're, they're, they got every reason think that."

The programme shows how the then chief of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, responded to information from Iraqi sources later acknowledged to be unreliable.

One unidentified MI6 officer has told the Chilcot inquiry that at one stage information was "being torn off the teleprinter and rushed across to Number 10".

Another said it was "wishful thinking… [that] promised the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow".

The programme says that MI6 stood by claims that Iraq was buying uranium from Niger, though these were dismissed by other intelligence agencies, including the French.

It also shows how claims by Iraqis were treated seriously by elements in MI6 and the CIA even after they were exposed as fabricated including claims, notably about alleged mobile biological warfare containers, made by Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, a German source codenamed Curveball. He admitted to the Guardian in 2011 that all the information he gave to the west was fabricated.

Panorama says it asked for an interview with Blair but he said he was "too busy".

• The Spies Who Fooled the World, BBC Panorama Special, BBC1, Monday, 18 March, 10.35pm

Malcolm Pryce
03-18-2013, 08:18 PM
'Misled themselves' indeed. What nonsense. Imagine how far you would get with an excuse like that before an income tax inspector. Note, too, how the title of the Panorama programme 'The Spies who fooled the world' perpetuates the myth that Blair and Co. were well-intentioned victims of some cruel hoax. Even now they can't tell it straight.

Jan Klimkowski
03-18-2013, 08:28 PM
'Misled themselves' indeed. What nonsense. Imagine how far you would get with an excuse like that before an income tax inspector. Note, too, how the title of the Panorama programme 'The Spies who fooled the world' perpetuates the myth that Blair and Co. were well-intentioned victims of some cruel hoax. Even now they can't tell it straight.

Yup - found the precise quote (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21786506) I heard on t' wireless this morning...



Lord Butler, who after the war, conducted the first government inquiry into WMD intelligence, says Mr Blair and the intelligence community "misled themselves".

Lord Butler and Sir Mike agree Mr Blair did not lie, because they say he genuinely believed Saddam Hussein had WMD.

Any one fancy trying that in court?

And they wonder why the public have absolutely no faith or confidence in the political system.

Magda Hassan
05-21-2013, 07:54 AM
I don't seem to remember any of this at the Iraq Inquiry. Now that it is safely over with comes the limited hangout. War Crimes by any other name. And a pathetic piece of gushing 'Boy's Own' war porn passing as journalism. Should be in Michael Palin's 'Ripping Yarns'.


Revealed:The SAS secret mission to kill in Iraq BEFORE MPs voted to invade

The SAS were already fighting in Iraq on the eve of the Commons vote
Soldiers were there to prevent a chemical weapons attack on Israel

By MARK NICOL (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Mark+Nicol)
PUBLISHED: 22:05 GMT, 23 February 2013 | UPDATED: 23:59 GMT, 23 February 2013




http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-183A2733000005DC-148_306x581.jpg
The SAS were involved in fierce fighting inside Iraq the day before the crucial Commons vote in 2003 that approved military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime, The Mail on Sunday can reveal today.
As the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War approaches, we have uncovered a trove of documents about the secret mission, including accounts of senior Special Forces personnel.
Told here for the first time, this is the story of Operation Row, one of the most controversial missions in SAS history.
To preserve the anonymity of surviving SAS soldiers, their names have been changed.

At a classified location in the Arabian Gulf, a thunder of rotor blades shatters the silence of the desert night.

Squads of heavily armed Special Air Service soldiers, their faces shrouded by scarves, sprint through a sandstorm whipped up by the waiting fleet of helicopters.
Their boots clatter against the metal tailgates as the hand-picked men from the SAS’s D Squadron scramble inside the six Chinook CH-47 transporters and strap themselves into seats that fold down from the helicopters’ walls.
Seconds remain before the launch of their top-secret mission. Late on the night of March 17, 2003, and 24 hours before MPs are due to vote on the Iraq War, these soldiers are under orders to infiltrate the country and deliver a stunning blow to Saddam Hussein’s most elite troops.
The SAS’s destination is Al Qa’im, a town where, according to intelligence reports, Saddam Hussein’s forces are poised to fire chemical weapons towards Israel.

The SAS’s mission is to prevent an attack on the Jewish state.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-183A232E000005DC-730_634x477.jpgBritish special forces in Baghdad after the mission

An SAS officer describes the plans for Op Row: ‘D Squadron would be flying in 6x CH-47s in 3x waves, 120kms over the border. We were then to head from the LZ [Landing Zone] to Al Qa’im, a township of 100,000 people, 2x Regts of the fearsomely proud Republican Guards and a Marine battalion.


‘It was a location where missiles had been fired at Israel in the past and a site of strategic importance for WMD material. D Sqn comprised 60 men.’

Inside one of the Chinooks, radio specialist Captain Jim Watkins breathes in air thick with aviation fuel fumes. He can still taste the port he downed moments before running aboard.

More...

I could have stopped us going to war in Iraq. This is why I didn't: Jack Straw tells how he wrestled with the most agonising decision of his life - and STILL believes he got it right (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208155/Jack-Straw-I-stopped-going-war-Iraq-This-I-didnt.html)
Fury of the families as Blair admits his Iraq War 'regrets' (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349300/Iraq-Chilcot-Inquiry-Fury-families-Tony-Blair-admits-war-regrets.html)

In spite of this toast, the officer remains anxious. He is missing his girlfriend, whom he hasn’t seen or spoken to since Christmas. Watkins and his SAS colleagues have spent the previous three months confined in secret bases in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Parliament might not have approved the mission but Watkins and his comrades have written their ‘death letters’ – to be read by their loved ones in case the operation goes tragically wrong. Watkins later wrote in his diary: ‘The reality of what we were about to do suddenly struck home and a number of emotions began to run through my mind.
‘Fear, anxiety and also nervousness on how I would perform but most of all I was consumed with excitement. While realising what lay ahead, it was incredibly difficult to write my last words.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-183A215F000005DC-873_634x347.jpgThe war officially begins: President Bush announced the war had begun in March 2003 as Baghdad is bombed

I tried to write a message that both consoled my girlfriend and family, while adding a bit of humour and character to try to lighten the mood.’
Deafened by the roar of turbo-shaft engines, Watkins checks his Diemaco rifle and personal equipment, tightening straps for the thousandth time. Then he feels a terrific thrust as the Chinook climbs powerfully into the night sky.
Below, the steel-fenced confines of Al Jafr airbase in southern Jordan disappear into the darkness. Relieved the mission is finally under way, Watkins sends a radio message back to the SAS’s HQ. Instantly he feels a smack around his head.
‘Shut the **** up!’ screams Sergeant Joe Smith.

Confronted by this battle-hardened veteran, Watkins’s seniority counts for little. Chastened, the captain lowers the volume on his headphones.
Back at Al Jafr, a second wave of six Chinooks takes off. On board are more soldiers from the SAS’s D Squadron and their Land Rovers, nicknamed ‘Pinkies’. These open-top vehicles are armed with machine guns, rocket launchers and Stinger missiles.

Shortly afterwards, the third wave of Chinooks follow the same flightpath. On the night of March 17 to 18, the passage into enemy airspace is smoothed by raids conducted by US Little Bird helicopters – lightweight, single-seater aircraft with a distinctive spherical cockpit.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-183A227D000005DC-664_634x389.jpgSecret documents: Accounts of SAS soldiers now reveal they were in Iraq fighting before the war had begun

As an SAS officer wrote: ‘It got darker and the Little Birds came back to refuel and rearm with [gun] barrels glowing white-hot. I knew that there was no turning back, Allied forces were now committed.’
The Chinooks land in Iraq’s western desert and Watkins disembarks. Shivering with cold, Watkins and his colleagues dig themselves into defensive positions. To his horror, Watkins sees a set of headlights approaching the SAS’s positions.
Urgently, the officer cocks his rifle and dives into the dust, his heart pounding. Fortunately, the cars pass without slowing down. Afterwards, while his more seasoned colleagues allowed themselves some shut-eye, Watkins remains too nervous to sleep.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-183A21DF000005DC-3_306x423.jpgAttorney General at the time: Lord Goldsmith agreed that Resolution 1441 gave the legal authority for the conflict

He spends March 18 waiting for another batch of 60 soldiers, men selected from the SAS’s B Squadron, to arrive at the same location having driven from Al Jafr in Land Rovers. Back in Britain, Cabinet Ministers are now digesting Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s judgment that military action against Iraq is legal – on the basis of Saddam Hussein’s non-compliance with United Nations resolutions.
On the evening of March 18, Tony Blair tells MPs that British troops can either ‘turn back or hold firm to the course we have set’. That evening the House of Commons passes a Government motion endorsing military action by 412 votes to 149.
That night, the soldiers of B Squadron complete their journey. In the early hours of March 19, Watkins and his colleagues approach Al Qa’im and probe the defences of the town’s water-treatment plant – a likely base for chemical weapons.

But the soldiers are spotted and the night sky lights up with Iraqi firepower. The SAS have driven into a hornet’s nest of enemy activity. In the ensuing battle, enemy rounds shatter the barrel of an SAS sniper’s Barrett .50 calibre rifle, sending shrapnel through his legs. Showing remarkable bravery, the sniper fights on.
The resistance from the Republican Guards is so intense that a Pinkie crew are forced to abandon their vehicle. Enemy rounds pepper the sand at their feet as they run for cover. With highly sensitive communications equipment and heavy weapons aboard the Pinkie, the Officer Commanding (OC) B Squadron decides to ‘deny’ (destroy) the Land Rover by rocket fire.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-036AC7E70000044D-463_634x334.jpgThe town of Al Qa-im where the battle took place: US marines conduct a house-to-house search looking for insurgents in the town near the Iraqi-Syrian border in 2005

A direct hit is achieved but Watkins fears not all the radio kit has been damaged so he suggests that the OC withdraw his soldiers from the water treatment plant to a safe lying-up position where he can reprogramme the squadron’s radios.
With his soldiers winning the firefight against the Repub-lican Guards, the OC is understandably reluctant to retreat. Eventually he agrees.
Joint operations by B and D Squadrons resume the following day, March 19, which is known as ‘Air Day’ because it is when the Allied aerial bombardment of Iraq begins.
At 9.34pm on March 19, the US-led coalition launches its assault on Baghdad. At 10.16pm (US Eastern Standard Time), President Bush outlines the purpose of invading Iraq: ‘To free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.’

The documents now obtained by The Mail on Sunday establish that the SAS launched Op Row ‘two days before Air Day’.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-0065C34B00000258-767_634x331.jpgToppling Saddam Hussein: Tony Blair addressing British troops in Basra in 2003

On their second night in Iraq, SAS personnel witnessed the ‘shock and awe’ of the air strikes. An officer wrote: ‘The next night the air raids started and we sat in the desert watching what was a pretty impressive fireworks display.
‘16 Troop [part of D Sqn] had been up to the Syrian border to assess a barracks area and had performed a stand-off attack. 17 and 19 Troops [also part of D Sqn] had been to the MSR [Main Supply Route] to set up an ambush.

The day after the air raids we moved to the MSR west of the built-up area and set up a road block. In fact, we did this three days running. This seemed to aggravate the local militia.
‘We then ascertained through interpreters that a convoy consisting of about 20x Technicals [4x4s converted into weapons platforms] had been sent out to search for us.’
During a skirmish, SAS officer Captain James Stenner and Sergeant Smith find themselves outnumbered and outgunned. Yet they continue their assault, putting to good use the rocket launchers bolted aboard their Pinkies.
So high are the regiment’s expectations when it comes to bravery that it is widely accepted that it is harder for SAS personnel to win medals than it is for soldiers in regular units. But such is Stenner and Smith’s gallantry, they both receive the Military Cross. Tragically, Stenner, 30, the son of a celebrated former SAS soldier, is later killed in a road accident in Baghdad.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-003FAADE1000044C-816_634x378.jpgAt the Hutton Inquiry: Downing Street's former communications chief Alastair Campbell faced claims he 'sexed up' a report making the case for war in Iraq

SAS attempts to reach the water treatment plant continue from March 20 but they meet stiff Iraqi resistance.
An officer wrote: ‘It was a very cold and windy night and the squadron was held up outside a Bedouin village while the lead element tried to find a path through.
‘Suddenly a huge missile flew 300ft above us and disappeared into the distance before exploding. As first light broke, a considerable enemy position was seen on top of a hill. The OC called in air support and an aircraft dropped its payload (2,500lb in total).’
After six weeks in the western desert, D Squadron redeployed to Baghdad.
From May 2003 to May 2009 – when the SAS finally left Iraq – the regiment fought a much-praised counter-insurgency operation against enemies such as Qaeda-Iraq (AQ-I).
US Commander General David Petraeus said of the SAS: ‘They have exceptional initiative, exceptional skill, exceptional courage and, I think, exceptional savvy.
‘I can’t say enough about how impressive they are in thinking on their feet.’
'THIS SHOWS BLAIR WAS DETERMINED TO INVADE', SAYS TOP LIB DEMhttp://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/23/article-2283450-183A2351000005DC-24_306x383.jpg
Veteran MP Sir Menzies Campbell last night condemned Tony Blair over the early deployment of British Special Forces into Iraq.

Sir Menzies said the launch of the SAS mission before the parliamentary vote was proof Blair had already decided to back President Bush’s invasion plan.

Sir Menzies, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman in March 2003, said: ‘The public perception was that the debate and the vote on the 18th was necessary to give legitimacy to the Labour Government’s policy, led by Blair, to support military action against Saddam Hussein.

‘But if Special Forces were already deployed then that simply underlines the fact that Tony Blair was determined to go with President Bush in all and every circumstances.

‘It was generally thought that Blair had made one of the best speeches heard in the House of Commons for many years, but had MPs been aware of the use of the SAS there might have been many more Labour rebels.’

Sir Menzies was among 149 MPs, including all 53 Liberal Democrat members, who voted against military action. But his opposition to the SAS entering Iraq before the Commons had voted was dismissed last night by a former commander of British troops.

Colonel Richard Kemp of the Royal Anglian Regiment, who worked in Iraq as an observer for the Cabinet Office from 2003 to 2005, said it was often necessary for Special Forces to deploy without parliamentary authority.

He said: ‘By March 17 the Attorney General had decided that military action was legal, so the SAS weren’t doing anything wrong. The deployment of such Special Forces units has to be looked at differently to the regular Army.
'It would have been irresponsible of the Government to have pushed forward the big brigades of the British Army without the SAS having gone ahead and conducted preliminary missions such as Operation Row.’




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David Guyatt
05-21-2013, 10:13 AM
No mention in the foregoing I see, that it was the US and Europe (i.e., NATO) that sold Saddam all the components to build his CBW arsenal in the first place.

Likewise, no mention that he unleashed some of these via Scud attacks on Coalition troops on the ground in Saudi prior to the invasion of Iraq. No mention either, that he almost certainly did fire Scuds containing bio-weapons on Tel Aviv, but that these were sufficiently backward in their technology that they proved not to be a danger.

It remains a Limited Hangout all the way as far as I can see.

Magda Hassan
06-13-2013, 11:46 AM
One of the indefatigable doctors pushing for a real coroner's inquest in to the death of Dr Kelly.
The Chilcot Inquiry. The British Government’s Role in the War on Iraq. Margaret Aldred and the Judicial Coverup By Dr. C. Stephen Frost (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001pKlej9maMS0Nx9129gxeH8rWt33AZ1DulSESSD B18jCuxjRh2Tcrzzr1iU7NMdVOv5aW1yqxmoUEYY0ZRJiEqAuw r6cig-X2-pBzetOJ09eKzotKWKBAq2B1ZmxSyfSZipjoPRd4xcI1E_iPGoE REDS-I3Ax8JFW)
Global Research, June 09, 2013
Url of this article:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-chilcot-inquiry-margaret-aldred-and-the-judicial-coverup/5338291 (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001pKlej9maMS35TyqEiiX9XuZvQoLYF27D26B-r4BvVNkZiHJDKMfKbWg5Mbvimv-D4vgEgvT8xDRy-EwxxFwU1tJBOppKZDsyCurZ-jaJaAwAV87lZhqmn-d0z9VVTl-mq1yJhu-agMq0Irl9FQyK87p8PiTNNyxqc5Ww977OMmRoUdvLz3xZ4Y_yl sp49-iVmFDx6UrekP0IIUNmNbbONcy8et7y7Wxe)


Introductory Note
The Chilcot Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot was launched in 2009 by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with the mandate to inquire into role of British government in the Iraq War.
There have been five inquiries in the United Kingdom into the Iraq War: the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), the Hutton Inquiry, the Butler Inquiry and the Chilcot Inquiry (the Iraq Inquiry). Not a single word of evidence at any of those inquiries has been heard under oath. Sir John Chilcot, presently chairing the Chilcot Inquiry, has the unique distinction of sitting on two of those inquiries: the Butler Inquiry and the Chilcot Inquiry. Does this not constitute a conflict of interests?
The person running the Chilcot Inquiry on behalf of Chilcot is one Margaret Aldred, an unelected civil servant, who, in my opinion and in the opinion of others, is not fit to be running any inquiry (she infamously ordered Carne Ross before he gave evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry not to mention Dr David Kelly and outlined the consequences if he did so), and certainly not the Chilcot Inquiry (because of an overwhelming conflict of interests, and other reasons, as carefully outlined below).
Margaret Aldred is fatally tainted by a huge conflict of interests
Stephen Frost
Elfyn Llwyd MP outlines in a Westminster Hall debate why Margaret Aldred should not be running the Chilcot Inquiry:http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?gid=2011-01-25b.52.1 (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001pKlej9maMS0Sl0UzzEE8-9r39W_KoKnvwG4M8VRskIZCQQPqJntGfnc3K9RKK-205PO1KetOPXuNA7_kV_ogS4L464lue3OMkkxPNS5jzIBhWCCi RM8ODJCtAeEpIFJXnCfV9vHO6istpJcHnsoZpFaGbrzZBQnczH qiGhbtYo0=)
Elfyn Llwyd (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001pKlej9maMS2d8_EnYF0vYTu3dSUv4oS-JZUYb7CT8wdNkvfbw3qCjofRAroXyOCw-f2I_4BuPDpcrAA2Ag5rBgVOWcZWB69dhGDJ26M_nCJsLlwY9vi CwhN4JTp4m8V7E6z69Dk4PbjDKlclAg1sDA==) (Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru)
It is a great pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Williams, ably chairing this debate as always.
One of the vital prerequisites of a Government-initiated inquiry is that it should be utterly independent and devoid of any conflicts of interest that might undermine its credibility and the veracity of its conclusions and findings. I shall detail why I have grave misgivings about the independence of the Chilcot inquiry, and why I believe that the inquiry process may be flawed and even compromised from the beginning. I realise that those are grave allegations, but I do not make them lightly.
Before I detail the problems as I see them, I should mention that about three years ago, some documents were dispatched to my office from an unknown source, bearing a note saying that they were top secret. Some were British in origin; others may well have been from other intelligence sources. They showed that in 2001-02, active discussions were taking place on how to move in against Saddam Hussein using overwhelming military force. The term “regime change” appeared. The documents proved beyond doubt that the UK Government were on course for war even then.
The documents must have been copies of authentic documents, as two senior officers from the Metropolitan police visited me and questioned me and my colleague Adam Price about them. At the time of that visit, the documents were not physically in our possession. I decided to leave them where they were and not disclose them to anyone. I could not tell the police officers who had leaked them, as I simply did not know, and neither did Adam Price.
When the Chilcot inquiry was set up, I decided that I should surrender the documents to the inquiry. I took them to the inquiry’s office in Victoria street and handed them to Mrs Margaret Aldred, the secretary of the inquiry. I said that I had evidence that might be of assistance to the inquiry and asked Mrs Aldred if the inquiry would write to confirm whether I would be called to give evidence. I told her that I had no intention of politicking if I were called. The response was an icy stare and the words “I should jolly well hope not.”
Months went by. I wrote on two or three occasions asking for a response, but no response was forthcoming until last autumn, some nine months later. I concluded that either the secretariat was not very orderly and professional or my letters had not been passed on to the chair of the inquiry, who eventually responded. I had been discreet. As a Member of Parliament for 19 years, I thought that I should have had the courtesy of a reply one way or the other within weeks rather than months.
I began to think that something might be amiss in the secretariat, and I made various inquiries about the process of appointing the secretary. I knew that the appointment fell under the civil service code, whose key values are openness, honesty, integrity and accuracy. Recent legislation has placed those values on a statutory basis. I then tabled some parliamentary questions, and I shall refer to two of them.
On 1 December , I asked

“(1) what skills and experience were identified as being required for the role of Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry; how many candidates were identified as having such skills and experience; and on what basis the successful candidate was selected;
(2) what steps were taken in the process of appointment of the Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry (a) to identify potential conflicts of interest and (b) to ensure that any such conflicts did not affect the independence of the inquiry.”
The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Hurd)'" href="http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/?m=40511" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Mr. Hurd, responded:

“The Cabinet Secretary decided to nominate the Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry and agreed the appointment with the Chairman of the Inquiry. Both the Cabinet Secretary and the Chairman of the Inquiry agreed that the Secretary to the Inquiry should be a senior individual in the civil service ideally with previous involvement in Iraq issues.”
The Chairman of the Inquiry has told the Cabinet Secretary that, in agreeing to the appointment, he was aware of the candidate’s role in the Foreign and Defence Policy (formerly the Defence and Overseas Policy) Secretariat in the Cabinet Office from November 2004, and, given the professional standards of the senior civil service, saw no potential conflict of interest with her appointment as Secretary to the Inquiry that would, in his view, affect the independence of the Inquiry.”-[Hansard, 1 December 2010; Vol. 519, c. 882W (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001pKlej9maMS3b6EoaIyuias3Tm5GlQYGj8Wp8Qr nAgncPh0QQF4P24v-6g_CJQUen47t8YEj41iSRuik0me0vPpDs06taZEEbDm4RCrp76 FgiIW9N_4aWLZw4qoVSGLXML1MrITgLSgt7sgrRep_A3lLZFX3 bqK_y9kRqIMz2bnYsp3Ow5EJK8AlW0tt8ldjKcp3sYmXgcXBxp EwGqDewNvKodWce7NFX).]
It was, therefore, the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, who put Mrs Margaret Aldred’s name forward for appointment as the secretary to the inquiry, and it was accepted, nem. con., by its chair, Sir John Chilcot.
On 3 September 2009 , Dr Chris Lamb, who has been very concerned about this issue, wrote a freedom of information request to the Cabinet Office asking for the precise details of the manner of the appointment. On 2 September 2010 -one whole year later-a letter, signed off by Sue Gray of the propriety and ethics team of the Cabinet Office, was sent in response. It stated:

“The Cabinet Secretary himself decided to nominate Margaret Aldred, and agreed the appointment with Sir John Chilcot, shortly after Sir John himself had accepted his role as Inquiry Chair. Both the Cabinet Secretary and the Inquiry Chair felt that the Secretary needed to be a senior individual with the right experience and skills for the task. Her previous involvement in Iraq issues was balanced against that criteria, and the view taken was that it would be possible to manage any potential conflicts of interest. Margaret Aldred was assured of that position by the Cabinet Secretary from the outset. She took up the appointment full time on 1 September last year.”
The appointment did not follow the procedures outlined in the civil service code-it appears that no other candidate was considered by Sir Gus O’Donnell, and the process could not be described in any way as open and transparent. I will repeat what I believe to be the letter’s key phrase:

“Her previous involvement in Iraq issues was balanced against other criteria, and the view was taken that it would be possible to manage any potential conflicts of interest.”
Unsurprisingly, Dr Lamb was totally unsatisfied with the answer. He made a complaint to the Information Commissioner, and it was dealt with by Jonathan Slee, a senior case officer, who concluded in a letter dated 26 October 2010 that there were two possible scenarios. The first was that the Cabinet Office had no recorded information

“concerning the discussions in question. That is to say, such discussions took place orally (as opposed to in writing) and no written record of them was ever created. If this was the case presumably the narrative description of these discussions/deliberations which is included in the internal review was based purely on individuals’ recollection of them.”
On the second scenario, he wrote:

“Alternatively, the Cabinet Office did hold recorded information evidencing the nature of these discussions. The most obvious format for such recorded information would presumably be letters/emails exchanged between the Cabinet Secretary and Inquiry Chairman regarding Margaret Aldred, although such recorded information could obviously extend to meeting notes/memos/records of telephone conversations.”
The letter goes on to discuss another individual before noting:

“If this is the case, I suggested to the Cabinet Office that such recorded information was presumably used as the basis to provide the narrative description of the discussions which was included in the internal review. However, for the reasons set out above I suggested that Cabinet Office would not have not fulfilled your request simply by describing the content of these recorded discussions. Rather the request would only be fulfilled by provision of the recorded information about the discussions themselves.”
The pre-penultimate paragraph of the letter concludes:

“However, I appreciate that the manner in which the Cabinet Office has handled this request will no doubt have proved frustrating. I therefore intend to formally write to the Cabinet Office in order to highlight its errors in terms of handling this request, notably the failure to correctly determine whether it held information falling within the scope of the request when issuing its refusal notice; the very significant delay in conducting an internal review; and the fact that the content of the internal review was somewhat ambiguous in inferring that Cabinet Office did hold some recorded information.”
Despite the best efforts of a very experienced researcher using the Freedom of Information Act 2000, it appears that there is no paper trail relating to the appointment or that, if there is, the Cabinet Office resolutely refuses to disclose it, for whatever reason.
We are left with the appointment of the deputy head of the Cabinet Office’s foreign and defence policy secretariat, Margaret Aldred, as secretary to the inquiry that is inquiring into actions taken by her department during her tenure as its deputy head. So integral was she in policy development that she gave evidence to the Select Committee on Defence in June 1994 about whether weaponised biological agents were present. She was part and parcel of all the planning for Gulf war I. She regularly chaired the Iraq senior officials group, which co-ordinated Iraq policy across the Government.
The appointment process was unusual and unacceptable, and the irony will not be lost on the public. The process resurrected one of the worst features of sofa government, which was so criticised by the Butler inquiry, of which Sir John Chilcot was, sadly, a member. The inquiry secretary, who has a key role, is a Cabinet Office insider and was appointed because of her extensive previous involvement in Iraq policy. There is therefore a glaring conflict of interest. Some might say her position is untenable because the inquiry is looking into the period when she was active in Iraq policy, as I said.
The very same Cabinet Office has most to answer for over Iraq. The Cabinet Office, and Mrs Aldred’s section in particular, drew up plans for regime change-an unlawful concept in international law. The Cabinet Office-the Joint Intelligence Committee and its staff-produced the discredited Iraq dossier, one of the least persuasive documents in recent political history, which is of dubious provenance and even more dubious veracity. Can the inquiry be independent, or is it a Cabinet Office subsidiary? Mrs Aldred’s involvement and that of her section makes it difficult to know where the Cabinet Office ends and the inquiry begins.
Sir John Chilcot is leading an inquiry that is tasked with examining allegations that the previous Government was duplicitous towards Parliament and the public. Surely, when Sir Gus O’Donnell suggested his close colleague, so enmeshed as she was in the whole Iraq debacle, Sir John should have seen the obvious conflict of interest? Has Mrs Aldred played a part in the protocol that has limited the inquiry’s scope? What steps have been taken to manage the conflict of interest? What steps could be taken to manage her glaring, obvious and painful conflict of interest?
During the period covered by the inquiry, the section of the Cabinet Office where Mrs Aldred worked was pivotal in the Government’s policy towards Iraq. Margaret Aldred was deputy head of that section for four and a half of those eight years. The inquiry has not published a single document originated by the Cabinet Office. In July 2002, a briefing paper by the same part of the Cabinet Office expressed the hope

“that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject”.
In September 2002, Mrs Aldred’s predecessor at the Cabinet Office wrote to Sir John Scarlett, then chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, suggesting that the Iraq dossier and qualifications in the original assessment were to be removed. That document was not disclosed to the Hutton inquiry and the Cabinet Office spent years trying to prevent its disclosure. In passing, I remind the House that it was Sir Gus O’Donnell who recently denied the Chilcot inquiry permission to publish the correspondence between President Bush and Mr Blair, despite the fact that both men were happy to refer to the correspondence in their respective autobiographies.
To conclude, Mrs Aldred routinely chaired the Iraq senior officials group; she met US officials in October 2008 to discuss Iraq; she was implicated in or knew of the rendition policy; she had the leaked document showing that she was copied in with respect to the rendition policy; and she flew to Washington for discussions with counterparts three weeks before the inquiry was announced. The following questions must in my view be answered. It may be difficult for the Minister to do so today, but clearly if he can write to me in due course that will suffice. I do not want to put him on the spot.
Is Mrs Margaret Aldred’s role at the inquiry as central as her role in Iraq policy at the Cabinet Office? Did Sir Gus O’Donnell detail Mrs Aldred’s involvement in Iraq policy precisely to Sir John Chilcot, and when she was appointed and the appointment was announced why was there no mention of her previous experience with Iraq policy? She is the gatekeeper to the inquiry. Does she advise on lines of inquiry? Does she liaise with the Government about evidence? We know that she liaises with the Government about the publication of information. Was she involved in the drawing up of the protocol that has stymied the process? It was published a month after she took up her role. Is she likely to draft the report?



Obviously, justice must be seen to be done. Transparency and openness are paramount. They are concepts that are signally absent from the inquiry process. I regret that one conclusion that can easily be drawn is that the inquiry process is flawed and compromised from the very beginning.

David Guyatt
06-13-2013, 01:04 PM
Most inquiries launched by the British government are flawed, simply because they are authorised to quieten public concern and, therefore, are cover-ups of the réalité.

I sincerely hope there will be a breakthrough in the Dr. David Kelly assassination, but since it is almost certain that this was organized with the knowledge (and quite likely complicity) of HMG, the US and Israel, I don't hold out much hope. In fact, none.

Magda Hassan
07-22-2013, 01:25 AM
Some how I can't see Dearlove getting the Assange or Snowden treatment with his leaks.

The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, said he’s going to reveal new details behind the ‘dodgy dossier’ if he disagrees with the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into UK’s role in the Iraq War.Dearlove provided intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that was allegedly exaggerated and “sexed-up” by Tony Blair's government.
The 68-year-old intelligence veteran has spent the last year writing a detailed account of events leading up to the Iraq War, which started in 2003. Initially, he intended to make his work available to historians after his death but Sir Richard told the Daily Mail that he could well change.
“What I have written (am writing) is a record of events surrounding the invasion of Iraq from my then professional perspective,” he wrote in an e-mail addressed to the paper. “My intention is that this should be a resource available to scholars, but after my decease (may be sooner depending on what Chilcot publishes). I have no intention, however, of violating my vows of official secrecy by publishing any memoir.”
Dearlove is expected to face criticism from the inquiry’s chairman, Sir John Chilcot, over the accuracy of intelligence provided by the MI6 agents inside Iraq, which was used in the so-called “dodgy dossier.”
Sources close to the ex-MI6 chief told the paper that he insists that Chilcot should recognize the role that Tony Blair and his Director of Communications, Alastair Campbell, played in inspiring media reports, suggesting that Saddam could use chemical weapons to target British troops based in Cyprus.
Dearlove is said to still be extremely aggrieved that the intelligence, which his agents stressed only referred to shorter-range battlefield munitions, were turned into a claim that put Britain on a path to war in Iraq.
Sir Richard Dearlove (Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)

He still accepts that some of MI6's information on the matter was inaccurate, unlike Blair and Campbell, who have repeatedly denied making misleading statements about WMD.
“This is Sir Richard’s time-bomb. He wants to set the record straight and defend the integrity of MI6,” a security source told Daily Mail.
The source stressed that Dearlove is ready to do what no other MI6 chief has ever done because “the events in question were unprecedented” and he’s tired of being blamed for having “too-cozy”relationship with Blair.
“If Chilcot doesn’t put the record straight, Sir Richard will strike back,” he added.
Last week, Chilcot informed the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron of his intention to write personally to those individuals he intends to criticize as a result of the inquiry, with reports suggesting Tony Blair is among those on Sir John’s list.
The 2003 governmental briefing document “Iraq – Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation” was called the ‘dodgy dossier’ by the media after it was revealed that much of its content was plagiarized from various unattributed sources.
The Chilcot inquiry into the details of Britain’s engagement in Iraq war was set up in 2009. Having already cost British taxpayers over £7 million, the inquiry's findings as to the government’s refusal to release some of the official documents are still unpublished.
The war in Iraq remains a very sensitive issue for many Britons, the majority of whom according to the polls believe they were deceived by the government and the UK’s involvement was not justified and damaged the country’s reputation abroad. Public support has only falled over the last decade, driven by incessant reports of ongoing violence in post-war Iraq and scandals surrounding British military personnel’s actions during the war.
http://rt.com/news/mi6-iraq-uk-blair-391/

Jan Klimkowski
07-22-2013, 05:36 PM
“This is Sir Richard’s time-bomb. He wants to set the record straight and defend the integrity of MI6,” a security source told Daily Mail.
The source stressed that Dearlove is ready to do what no other MI6 chief has ever done because “the events in question were unprecedented” and he’s tired of being blamed for having “too-cozy”relationship with Blair.
“If Chilcot doesn’t put the record straight, Sir Richard will strike back,” he added.

:rofl::rofl::rofl:

Petulant self-centred asscovering nonsense worthy of an afternoon matinee...

We don't need Chilcot to "reveal the truth" to us plebs.

We know the truth.

Blair promised Bush he would ensure British soldiers spilt blood in the neocon War on Iraq, and everything after that was a psyop: spinning half-baked intelligence into an overblown justification for war and ensuring there was no credible opposition.

What happened to Dr David Kelly again?

Magda Hassan
11-07-2013, 12:30 PM
6 November 2013 Last updated at 21:54 GMT

Iraq Inquiry: Hold-up over access to key documents


The Iraq Inquiry says it cannot proceed with the next phase of its work because key information, including correspondence between Tony Blair and George W Bush, has yet to be released. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24844656#story_continues_1)


The inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot had hoped to begin contacting those likely to be criticised in its report this autumn, to allow them to respond.
But it said it had not yet agreed with the government over the publication of the most "difficult documents".
The inquiry began its work in 2009.
In a statement on the inquiry's website, Sir John said the next phase of its work was "dependent on the satisfactory completion of discussions between the inquiry and the government on disclosure of material that the inquiry wishes to include in its report or publish alongside it".
He added: "Since June this year the inquiry has submitted 10 requests covering some 200 cabinet-level discussions, 25 notes from Mr Blair to President Bush and more than 130 records of conversations between either Mr Blair or Mr [Gordon] Brown and President Bush.
"The inquiry secretariat has responded to a number of Cabinet Office questions on those requests, but the government and the inquiry have not reached a final position on the disclosure of these more difficult categories of document."
'Scale of task'Sir John has written to Prime Minister David Cameron to express his regret that no agreement has yet been reached.
In his reply, the prime minister acknowledged the progress that had been made and said he was "aware of the scale of the task declassification has presented to a number of government departments".
He added: "I appreciate consideration of the disclosure requests for the remaining sensitive categories of information must be handled sensitively and carefully but I hope that consideration of the final sets of papers can be concluded as soon as possible."
A spokeswoman for No 10 said she had nothing to add to the prime minister's letter. The Cabinet Office has released a statement saying "discussions are continuing between the government and the inquiry about the disclosure of records".
BBC political correspondent Carole Walker said this was the latest in a series of delays to the long-running inquiry.
The inquiry, which is examining the background to the UK's involvement in the 2003 invasion and its aftermath, has never set a firm deadline for publishing its final report - set to be about a million words long.
However, it was initially expected to be published in 2012.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24844656

David Guyatt
11-07-2013, 01:12 PM
"Difficult categories of documents".

A masterly civil servant phrase.

A more honest description would be "revealing categories of documents".

We can't have that can we.

As Jan said in 131 above, we don't need an inquiry to tell us what happened - we know.

Blair is covering his ass, saving it for the expensive leather seats of that jet on permanent loan to him by his business buddy.

Magda Hassan
11-14-2013, 12:05 AM
Exclusive: US blocks publication of Chilcot’s report on how Britain went to war with Iraq

Department of State’s objection to release of key evidence may prevent inquiry’s conclusions from ever being published, except in heavily redacted form

JAMES CUSICK (http://www.independent.co.uk/biography/james-cusick)http://www.independent.co.uk/skins/ind/images/plus.png

POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Washington is playing the lead role in delaying the publication of the long-awaited report into how Britain went to war with Iraq, The Independent has learnt.
Although the Cabinet Office has been under fire for stalling the progress of the four-year Iraq Inquiry by Sir John Chilcot, senior diplomatic sources in the US and Whitehall indicated that it is officials in the White House and the US Department of State who have refused to sanction any declassification of critical pre- and post-war communications between George W Bush and Tony Blair.
Without permission from the US government, David Cameron faces the politically embarrassing situation of having to block evidence, on Washington’s orders, from being included in the report of an expensive and lengthy British inquiry.
Earlier this year, The Independent revealed that early drafts of the reportchallenged (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-chilcot-inquiry-to-challenge-official-line-on-iraq-8521715.html) the official version of events leading up to the Iraq war, which saw Mr Blair send in 45,000 troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime.
The protected documents relating to the Bush-Blair exchanges are said to provide crucial evidence for already-written passages that are highly critical of the covert way in which Mr Blair committed British troops to the US-led invasion.
One high-placed diplomatic source said: “The US are highly possessive when documents relate to the presence of the President or anyone close to him. Tony Blair is involved in a dialogue in many of these documents, and naturally someone else is at the other end – the President. Therefore this is not Tony Blair’s or the UK Government’s property to disclose.”
The source was adamant that “Chilcot, or anyone in London, does not decide what documents relating to a US President are published”.
Last week, Chilcot sent Downing Street an update on his inquiry’s progress which explained his continuing inability to set a publication date. He described difficult discussions with the Government on the disclosure of material he wanted to include in his report, or publish alongside it.
He said that over the past six months, he had submitted requests that covered 200 cabinet-level discussions, a cache of notes from Mr Blair to Mr Bush, and more than 130 records of conversations between any two of Mr Blair, Gordon Brown and the White House. Mr Cameron was informed that the inquiry and the Cabinet Office had “not yet reached a final position” on the documents.
Although the Prime Minister told Chilcot in a letter last week that some documents needed to be “handled sensitively”, the Cabinet Office decoded the Prime Minister’s phrases yesterday, telling The Independent: “It is in the public’s interests that exchanges between the UK Prime Minister and the US President are privileged. The whole premise about withholding them [from publication] is to ensure that we do not prejudice our relations with the United States.”
The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has been widely criticised as the senior civil servant responsible for blocking the delivery of material to the inquiry. Sir Menzies Campbell, who as the Liberal Democrats’ foreign-affairs spokesman was a high-profile opponent of the war, has described the delays as “intolerable”, adding: “The full story need[s] to be told.”
The former Foreign Secretary Lord Owen has called for Sir Jeremy to be stripped of his role in deciding which documents are released to the inquiry. However, the Cabinet Office said yesterday that Sir Jeremy was merely upholding a previous decision taken by his predecessor, Lord O’Donnell, which emphasised the importance of privacy in communications between Downing Street and the White House.
Chilcot, a former diplomat who previously investigated intelligence on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction as part of the Butler Review, heads an inquiry team that comprises Sir Roderic Lyne, the former UK ambassador to Russia; Sir Lawrence Freedman, the professor of war studies at King’s College London; and Baroness Prashar, a former member of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Another member of the inquiry team, the historian Sir Martin Gilbert, has been ill and has had limited input into its recent deliberations.
The authors are facing difficult choices forced on them by Washington and the Cabinet Office’s desire not to upset the so-called “special relationship” between Britain and the US. They may deliver a neutered report in spring next year which would effectively absolve Mr Blair of any serious policy failures – because there would be no clear evidence contained in the report to back up such direct criticism. Another possibility is that the report will be so heavily redacted as to be rendered meaningless and hence a waste of almost £8m of British taxpayers’ money.
Since the Iraq Inquiry was launched in 2009 by the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, covert back-channel communications between the Cabinet Office and its counterparts in Washington have focused on the diplomatic convention that the disclosure of “privileged channels of communication” should remain at all times protected.
The final report is supposed to examine how the Blair government took decisions and what lessons can be learnt to “help ensure that if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond”.
Dr James Strong, a foreign-policy analyst at the London School of Economics, said: “All governments like to keep their secrets secret. The US is no exception. As its response to WikiLeaks suggested, the US defines a secret in terms of the type of document rather than the contents. So regardless of what these particular documents say, the US probably wouldn’t want them published, because governments normally keep private exchanges between leaders private.”
The US State Department declined to comment. Tonight, the Cabinet Office denied that the US had a veto on the issue, adding: “These issues are being worked through in good faith and with a view to reaching a position as rapidly as possible.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-us-blocks-publication-of-chilcots-report-on-how-britain-went-to-war-with-iraq-8937772.html

Malcolm Pryce
11-14-2013, 09:04 AM
Hmmm it looks like the Government is in trouble on this one. The language coming out of the US is uncompromising and it’s difficult to imagine any government of Airstrip 1 defying the US. But that leaves them in a potentially disastrous situation. What can they do? How come they never foresaw this?


We really need someone to leak this.


And, of course, there's a wonderful post-PRISMatic irony that the US objects to the President’s confidentiality being breached.

Peter Presland
11-14-2013, 09:29 AM
Hmmm it looks like the Government is in trouble on this one. The language coming out of the US is uncompromising and it’s difficult to imagine any government of Airstrip 1 defying the US. But that leaves them in a potentially disastrous situation. What can they do? How come they never foresaw this?


We really need someone to leak this.


And, of course, there's a wonderful post-PRISMatic irony that the US objects to the President’s confidentiality being breached.

I agree with all that Malcolm and the 'post-PRISmatic irony' is delicious.

I found myself chuckling a bit over it too; but rueful chuckling - very rueful.

It will interesting to watch the ducking and diving of the UK Establishment as this develops. But I have little doubt that a course acceptable to both will be found and, as always, they'll get clean(ish) away with it.

David Guyatt
11-14-2013, 10:35 AM
Ever get the sick sense that the book and film "The Ghost Writer" may have a basis in fact?

Magda Hassan
11-14-2013, 10:57 AM
But I have little doubt that a course acceptable to both will be found and, as always, they'll get clean(ish) away with it.
But we all know. And especially the Iraqis. But all of us too. The Emperor has no clothes. And I wont be surprised at all if one day some bereaved Iraqi takes one or more of them out with them. What would they have to lose with no justice under the sun and nothing left to live for?

David Guyatt
12-30-2013, 10:59 AM
"Career changing", my arse.

Did you hear the joke about the priest and a nun?

Q: what fun does a priest have?
A: Nun.

The punchline is the same as the below soon to be published report. Even the Guardian states it's gonna be a "compromise". What fun.

But my guess is that it won't be the truth, or the whole truth. I bet anyway.




Chilcot inquiry into Iraq war set to publish findings in new year

Tony Blair prepares for career-defining moment as Sir John Chilcot agrees compromise over George Bush letters



Nicholas Watt (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/nicholaswatt), chief political correspondent
theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/), Sunday 29 December 2013 22.30 GMT

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2013/12/29/1388351139111/Tony-Blair-and-George-Bus-009.jpgGeorge Bush and Tony Blair: the latter told the Chilcot inquiry it is important to protect the confidentiality of correspondence between a prime minister and president. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

Tony Blair (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/tonyblair) is preparing himself for the defining moment of his post-prime ministerial career as Whitehall sources confirmed that Sir John Chilcot will publish his report into the handling of the Iraq (http://www.theguardian.com/world/iraq) war in the new year.
A compromise agreement between Chilcot and the cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/sir-jeremy-heywood), who had been resisting calls for the publication of correspondence between Blair and George Bush (http://www.theguardian.com/world/george-bush), is understood to mean that the final stages of the inquiry can be started in the new year.
Chilcot, a former permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office who had demanded the publication of the correspondence, is expected to press ahead with the "Maxwellisation process" in which people criticised in the report are contacted for their comments.
The inquiry sent out what were described as "boilerplate" letters in the initial stages of the "Maxwellisation process" in the autumn. But this process, named after rules introduced after the late Sir Robert Maxwell was deemed in an official 1969 report to be unfit to run a public company, was put on hold by Chilcot in November after he reached an impasse with Heywood on publishing the highly sensitive correspondence. Extracts of the correspondence are now expected to be published in the report in redacted form.
A senior Whitehall source told the Guardian: "In the new year it seems the Chilcot inquiry is going to be published. Everyone will be assuming: bad hair day for Tony Blair and Jack Straw (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/jackstraw). The Conservatives can't say or do very much given that Iain Duncan Smith was further ahead than Blair. But the Conservatives are irrelevant to it."
Lord Mandelson, the former business secretary who remains close to Blair, indicated recently that the former prime minister's inner circle expect the report to be published within months. Mandelson told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 just before Christmas: "Ed Miliband (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/edmiliband) … has to navigate his way through what could be a very difficult minefield, and that is the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, which remains a very sensitive issue for many in the Labour (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/labour) party, but also many in the public."
Asked when he expected the report to be published, the former cabinet minister said: "I think we expect it somewhere in mid-year. It's certainly taken its time."
Blair's office and the Iraq inquiry declined last night to comment on the timing of the publication of the report. But it is understood that the former prime minister is relaxed about the publication of his correspondence with Bush. Some friends of Blair say that the report would lack credibility unless the correspondence is published.
In his evidence to the inquiry Blair said it was important to protect the confidentiality of correspondence between a prime minister and a president. But friends point out that Blair went out of his way to explain the correspondence without breaking confidences.
A crucial communication between Blair and Bush was a note in July 2002 which gave the impression than the then prime minister had indicated that Britain would back the US in a military campaign to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Sir David Manning, his chief foreign affairs adviser, had told Blair that his original draft was "too sweeping" and "went further than we should have gone".
Blair told the inquiry that he had offered strong support for Bush but insisted that he still wanted the US to try for further UN security resolutions – something Bush announced two months later in a speech to the UN general assembly. He told Chilcot: "In a sense what I was saying to America was: 'Look' – and by the way I am absolutely sure this is how George Bush took it – 'whatever the political heat, if I think this is the right thing to do I am going to be with you. I am not going to back out because the going gets tough. On the other hand, here are the difficulties and this is why I think the UN route is the right way to go".
Whitehall is assuming that the report will criticise Blair, his foreign secretary Jack Straw, the former prime minister Gordon Brown and Sir Richard Dearlove who was head of MI6 at the time of the Iraq war. Chilcot was a member of the commission chaired by the former cabinet secretary Lord Butler of Brockwell which was highly critical of the use of intelligence in the runup to the war.
But one Whitehall source said that the report will also have implications for politics today. "The report will reinforce MPs who are demanding an even greater say of the legislature over the executive. They will want to have this set in concrete. They will be saying among other things – and it will be more difficult for the government to defend – confirmation hearings for chief of the defence staff, for senior ambassadors, the ability to summon the national security council here."

Magda Hassan
12-30-2013, 11:24 PM
Disgusting. Bliar and Straw have a 'bad hair day' and hundreds of thousands of others are dead and millions of others lives destroyed for their lies.

David Guyatt
05-18-2014, 08:14 AM
Imagine that. Bliar's letter to Georgie-porgie backing his Iraq war goes missing.

But I love this statement from Cameron on the inquiry by Privy Councillors which shows just how much of a joke it really is.


But Mr Cameron has now effectively told Sir Jeremy to reach a compromise under which a ‘sensible’ proportion of the correspondence is released.

Someone quickly define "sensible" please!

"I'm with you whatever" you decide the definition is... ::laughingdog::





Now America loses Blair's 'I'll back Iraq war' letter to Bush: Mystery of missing note that told US President, 'whatever you do, I'm with you'

Tony Blair has so far refused to release letters written to George W Bush
The archive contains 25 personal letters and 130 official records concerning Iraq
The refusal has led to a delay in Sir John Chilcot's report on the decision to go to war


By GLEN OWEN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Glen+Owen,+Political+Correspondent)
PUBLISHED: 23:26, 17 May 2014 | UPDATED: 02:29, 18 May 2014








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+2

Tony Blair, pictured, has refused to release 25 personal letters written to former US President George W Bush

A personal letter written by Tony Blair to George Bush backing his plan to wage war on Iraq has reportedly ‘gone missing’ from the official Presidential library – as pressure grows on the former Prime Minister to sanction the release of the private notes he wrote to Mr Bush.

The letter, which is said to begin with the words: ‘You know, George, whatever you decide to do, I’m with you’, was last night described by a senior figure involved in the diplomatic negotiations at the time as ‘absolutely critical’ to the public’s understanding of the war – because it reveals the extent to which Mr Blair gave Mr Bush a ‘blank cheque’.

Mr Blair’s refusal to authorise the publication of 25 personal letters and 130 official records of conversations with Mr Bush has led to a long delay in the publication of Sir John Chilcot’s official report into the war. Sir John held his last public hearings in 2011.

On Friday, David Cameron made public his frustration, saying the report should be published by the end of the year.

Mr Blair, backed by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood – a key member of his inner circle during the build-up to the 2003 conflict – has argued that the sensitive documents should remain classified.

But Mr Cameron has now effectively told Sir Jeremy to reach a compromise under which a ‘sensible’ proportion of the correspondence is released.

The development comes as lawyers for the American government are deciding whether to release any of the documentation under US freedom of information laws. Since January – nine years after the conclusion of Bush’s first term in office – the letters have technically been available to researchers who ask for them, if they are cleared by a vetting committee of lawyers.

More...

David Cameron wades into Chilcot row: I want to see the report by the end of the year (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2630963/David-Cameron-wades-Chilcot-row-I-want-report-end-year.html)
NORMAN LAMONT: If anyone should be in the dock over Iraq, it's not British soldiers but Tony Blair (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2628747/NORMAN-LAMONT-If-dock-Iraq-not-British-soldiers-Tony-Blair.html)
Blair-Bush letters ARE delaying Iraq report, says Chilcot: Head of inquiry admits records of conversations is an issue (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2627608/Blair-Bush-letters-ARE-delaying-Iraq-report-says-Chilcot-Head-inquiry-admits-records-conversations-issue.html)
Britain has tried to block release of US 'torture files' that could prove Blair Government was complicit in ill-treatment of terror suspects, it is claimed (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2631607/Britain-tried-block-release-US-torture-files-prove-Blair-Government-complicit-ill-treatment-terror-suspects-claimed.html)


But the lawyers have indicated to researchers based in the UK that the only correspondence they have not been able to find is the ‘I’m with you’ letter, sent by Mr Blair in July 2002, nine months before the outbreak of war.

The letter, which was hand-delivered by Mr Blair’s foreign policy adviser Sir David Manning to US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, has been referred to indirectly in political memoirs covering the period.

When Mr Blair was questioned by the Chilcot Inquiry in 2011, he denied the specific wording of ‘I’m with you whatever’ – but admitted he thought it would have been ‘profoundly wrong’ not to honour commitments he had previously given to the US President.

Mr Blair’s critics suspect he has been hoping to delay the Chilcot report – which is likely to prove personally damning as well as awkward for the Labour Party – until after next year’s General Election.

Sources say the letters were ‘pretty much one way’ with Bush ‘failing to respond in a similarly personal manner’.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/05/17/article-0-0068D39600000258-83_634x465.jpg

+2

A letter written by Tony Blair, left, to George W Bush, right, has gone missing from the Library of Congress

Last night, a British-based source involved in the effort to obtain the release of the letters told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The lawyers are taking months to evaluate the letters and decide whether to release them.

‘However, they claim not to have been able to locate the ‘‘with you whatever’’ letter.’

One senior figure involved in the 2002 negotiations between London and Washington told this newspaper: ‘There is absolutely no point in having this inquiry if the letters are kept secret. They are completely pivotal to our understanding.

‘And the ‘‘I’ll be with you’’ letter is the most critical of all – it gave the green light.’

Mr Blair’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Magda Hassan
05-18-2014, 09:33 AM
If only they took care of their criminal leaders and ex leaders as well as they take care of their correspondence....

Peter Presland
05-18-2014, 10:41 AM
Imagine that. Bliar's letter to Georgie-porgie backing his Iraq war goes missing.

But I love this statement from Cameron on the inquiry by Privy Councillors which shows just how much of a joke it really is.


But Mr Cameron has now effectively told Sir Jeremy to reach a compromise under which a ‘sensible’ proportion of the correspondence is released.
Someone quickly define "sensible" please!
"I'm with you whatever" you decide the definition is... ::laughingdog::


Together with the trivial proportion of the population who vest these things with critical importance, I confess to a certain schadenfreude at the squirmings of those charged with publicly protecting Bush-Blair and thus the cabal(s) that own(s) them - clownish acolytes on well-worn Faustian paths to hell via 'successful political careers' eh? - and oblivious to the contempt in which they are held by those with their eyes open. Cameron really is an exemplar too - sickeningly absurd in his faux-earnest moralizing , with Haig, Clegg, Osborne, Gove and a few others tripping merrily in his wake.

The truly depressing thing for me though, is that most haven't the time or attention-span to give a toss.

I therefore propose a new anthem - a variation on that old Queen Classic - "We are the Sheeple - my friend; and we'll wear our blindfolds to the end" - or something like that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04854XqcfCY&feature=kp

Magda Hassan
06-09-2014, 01:56 AM
The Chilcot row highlights Blair’s Iraq legacy: accusations of manipulation, secrets and lies


































It may not be remembered, amid the latest charges of whitewash levelled at Chilcot, that the original plan was to hold the inquiry into the Iraq war in secret. That, it was claimed at the time, was the deal that Gordon Brown, then Prime Minister, had done with Tony Blair.

It was the military who fired the first major salvo against this: speaking to The Independent, General Sir Mike Jackson, who was the head of the British Army at the time of the Iraq invasion, stressed that any evidence, apart from the most security sensitive, should not be given in private. He himself would have no problem giving his testimony in public and indeed, he added, there was no reason why witnesses should not be under oath.
Sir Mike was backed in his call by Major General Julian Thompson, the Commandant General Royal Marines and Air Marshal Sir John Walker, the former head of Defence Intelligence and deputy chairman of the Join Intelligence Committee and senior officers who had served in Iraq, such as Major General Tim Cross.
Sir John recalled the advice which has been sought from him by members of the Defence Intelligence service unhappy at the “sexing up” of intelligence carried out by Downing Street in the “dodgy dossier” on Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
Gordon Brown caved in as criticism mounted at the attempt at secrecy, to the chagrin, we were told, of Mr Blair. The opposition had made repeated calls for transparency, with William Hague and Nick Clegg among the most vocal.
However, now that Sir John Chilcot appears to have capitulated to demands from the Cabinet Office over the correspondence between Mr Blair and George W Bush, we have yet to hear much from the Foreign Secretary or Deputy Prime Minister, part of whose job is to oversee the Cabinet Office. Mr Clegg has called for the report to be published soon, with its shabby compromise of publishing just the “gist” of the letters, rather than the full content.
Tony Blair has been busy saying that this is nothing to do with him, but entirely a matter between Chilcot and the Cabinet Office. He is as keen as the next man, he says, to have the report published. This is disingenuous, as Sir John Major has pointed out, Mr Blair can at any time give the Cabinet Office permission for his correspondence to be released.
http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9475124.ece/alternates/w460/26-GeneralJackson-JustinSutcliffe.jpg General Jackson was the head of the British Army at the time of the Iraq invasion (Justin Sutcliffe)

The Americans, it has been said, would object to the publication of presidential communications. It is in the interest of Mr Blair and his supporters to promote this, but it is not up to Washington to decide on what this British inquiry should or should not reveal.
There is also the inference that the correspondence shows how Mr Bush had dragged a hesitant Mr Blair into the venture. In reality, the British were anything but bashful over this affair – they were more than ready to propagate bogus “intelligence” on WMDs. A lot of it came from Ahmed Chalabi, a conman and exiled Iraqi politician, who was based in London at the time. The “dodgy dossier”, let us not forget, was the project of Downing Street, not the White House.
Once the dossier was produced, any questioning of it was met with fierce “rapid rebuttal”. When it appeared, in September 2002, I was among a small group of British journalists in Baghdad who arranged with the Iraqi regime to visit some of the sites named as production centres for chemical and biological weapons.
We chose the sites ourselves, picking those that, according to the dossier, were the most prolific for producing WMD agents; we gave the Iraqi authorities notice of two hours before the trip began.
We reported that we had seen nothing suspicious, but stressing the caveat that we were not scientists or weapons experts, and ours was, thus, a superficial impression. But that was enough for Downing Street officials to declare we were “naive dupes” and our newspapers were irresponsible for printing Saddam’s propaganda. We now know of course, through the work of UN inspectors and the Iraq Survey Group, that those sites were not being used for chemical or biological weapons production.
Later, I sat through every day of the inquiry by Lord Hutton. His report was disappointing possibly because he was constrained by the terms of reference, which restricted his inquiry into the death of the scientist Dr David Kelly.
In spite of this, the inquiry’s brilliant counsel, James Dingemans QC, laid bare how the dossier was manufactured at the behest of No 10.
The review of the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction by Lord Butler of Brockwell, with Sir John Chilcot one of his team, took place in camera.
It shed some more light without having the dramatic impact of what unfolded during Hutton. We were told later, by a senior politician, that had we asked the former Cabinet Secretary at the press conference following the publication of his report whether Mr Blair should resign as Prime Minister, he would have responded “yes”. But, we did not know and no one asked.
Will the Chilcot report, when it does eventually come out, have any truly explosive revelations?
We wait to find out if that is the case, although that is probably unlikely; most of the subterfuge behind the invasion has been exposed on both sides of the Atlantic.
What the latest controversy does do, however, is yet again highlight the recurring theme which is Mr Blair’s Iraq legacy – accusations of manipulation, secrets and lies.
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-chilcot-row-highlights-blairs-iraq-legacy-accusations-of-manipulation-secrets-and-lies-9475091.html

David Guyatt
06-09-2014, 08:32 AM
Shortly after Blair eft office, the BBC aired a drama that centred on behind the scenes moves to makes Blair stand trial for war crimes at the Hague. Pity it hasn't happened.

Meanwhile, it is interesting that it was all the military men who stepped forward to make Chilcott public. Mmmm.

Magda Hassan
06-09-2014, 09:49 AM
Shortly after Blair eft office, the BBC aired a drama that centred on behind the scenes moves to makes Blair stand trial for war crimes at the Hague. Pity it hasn't happened.


I think I saw that when it screened on TV here a few years ago. I haven't seen it since and I didn't get to see all of it but it did look riveting. I remember a scene of the Bliar character talking to himself in the mirror justifying it all to himself.



Meanwhile, it is interesting that it was all the military men who stepped forward to make Chilcott public. Mmmm.
Yes, indeed. Not everyone appreciates being used as a political pawn in a game of life and death.

David Guyatt
06-27-2014, 06:58 AM
The cynic might argue that delaying the report until the run up to the election is not gong to hurt Cameron and the Conservative Party, but it might well hurt the inconsequential Ed Milliband and the Labour Tory Party.

Whatever happens, Blair won't come out of it at all well, but he will still remain one of the protected ones. He could've ended up in front of a war crimes trial at the Hague (in my dreams anyway).

As I suggested in the thread caption, it was always going to be a circus performance and it has turned out to be just that.




Chilcot report into 2003 Iraq conflict delayed further

Due to have been published three years ago, the Chilcot report now threatens to haunt UK politics ahead of the 2015 election



Richard Norton-Taylor (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/richardnortontaylor)



The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Thursday 26 June 2014 19.11 BST
Jump to comments (259) (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/26/chilcot-report-delayed-iraq-war-tony-blair#start-of-comments)

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/6/26/1403806251368/iraq-war-011.jpg
The Chilcot inquiry was set up in 2009 and has cost over £9m so far – and it will unlikely be published until next year. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

The Chilcot inquiry, which is expected to contain damning criticism of the way Tony Blair (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/tonyblair) and his close advisers led Britain into war against Iraq (http://www.theguardian.com/world/iraq), is unlikely to be published until next year, the Guardian has learned.
A further delay in the report on the 2003 invasion, due to have been published three years ago, could mean the issue will continue to haunt British politics in the runup to next year's general election.
That is likely to be even more the case if there is no end in sight to the present crisis in Iraq which threatens to perpetuate deep divisions and violence in the oil-rich country.
Whitehall sources suggest the latest delay in the long-awaited report is the result of continuing disputes over criticisms the Chilcot panel plan to make of Blair and other ministers and advisers involved in the decision to invade Iraq.
Chilcot announced last month that after years of heated disputes with successive cabinet secretaries, and discussions with Washington, he had agreed to a settlement whereby summaries, and "the gist", of more than a hundred records of conversations between Blair and George Bush (http://www.theguardian.com/world/george-bush) in the runup to the invasion, and of records of 200 cabinet discussions, would be published, but not the documents themselves.
Chilcot has described the content of the documents as "vital to the public understanding of the inquiry's conclusions".
In a letter to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, last month, Chilcot said "detailed consideration" of the information he has requested had begun, adding "it is not yet clear how long that will take".
In a reference to the procedure taken from the inquiry into Robert Maxwell's business dealings, whereby those the inquiry intends to criticise will be shown drafts of the relevant passages, Chilcot told Heywood that "once agreement has been reached, the next phase of the Maxwellisation process can begin".
Philippe Sands QC, professor of law at University College London, said: "How painfully ironic that Britain used force in 2003 when it was manifestly illegal, but will likely and rightly not do so now in response to a request from the government of Iraq, when it would rather more arguably be lawful."
Sands, a close follower of Chilcot and earlier inquiries into the invasion of Iraq, added: "The situation in Iraq today is terrible and tragic, but it's a futile exercise to speculate as to the exact connection with decisions taken in 2003 … It would be more sensible to reflect on what might be learnt from the mistakes of the past."
He continued: "Who exactly is responsible for the delay [in the Chilcot report] is unclear, but it is hard to avoid the suspicion that political considerations might have come into play."
Sands described the delay as "rather disgraceful", and said publication of the report should now be delayed until after the election, to avoid it being used as a political tool.
David Cameron (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/davidcameron) said last month he wanted the report by the end of the year. The Scottish National party has said it should be published before September's referendum on Scottish independence.
The Chilcot inquiry was set up in 2009 and has cost over £9m so far.

David Guyatt
07-20-2014, 08:27 AM
He (Chilcott) "wants the inquiry to publish the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US" --- nudge, nudge, wink, wink...




Chilcot inquiry: Blair and Straw to get warning letters ahead of publication of report into 2003 invasion of Iraq

http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9616949.ece/alternates/w620/8brussels-epa.jpg

Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them


MARK LEFTLY (http://www.independent.co.uk/biography/mark-leftly)http://www.independent.co.uk/skins/ind/images/plus.png


Sunday 20 July 2014

Sir John Chilcot, chair of the public inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is poised to send formal letters to those whose conduct he criticises in his final report.

The then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, are among those expected to be sent what are known as "Salmon" or "Maxwellisation" letters in the coming weeks. Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them before publication. The letters are named after Lord Salmon, who held a public ethics inquiry in the 1970s, and the late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, who challenged the way criticisms of his dealings were handled in a public report.
The long-running inquiry is examining the period from summer 2001 to the end of July 2009, taking in the run-up to the Iraq war, the conflict and its aftermath. The final report has been delayed, latterly as Sir John negotiated with Sir Jeremy Heywood, the country's most senior civil servant, as to what he could publish.
The limits on what can be published led to criticism that the inquiry could end up being a "whitewash" of a war that divided the nation and tarnished Mr Blair's 10-year premiership. However, Sir John and the Cabinet Office now appear to be close to agreement, as the Salmon letters could not be sent out until the "quotes and gists" have been finalised.
In a select committee hearing last week, Sir Jeremy said that he wanted the inquiry to publish "the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US [and] without revealing secrets that don't need to be revealed".

Magda Hassan
07-20-2014, 08:44 AM
He (Chilcott) "wants the inquiry to publish the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US" --- nudge, nudge, wink, wink...



He wants to publish just enough to make not seem like a complete whitewash. Whoops too late for that!

Peter Lemkin
12-20-2014, 06:39 PM
Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq War Sends Shockwaves through Whitehall By FRANCIS ELLIOTT AND MICHAEL SAVAGE (http://www.constantinereport.com/uk-chilcot-inquiry-iraq-war-sends-shockwaves-whitehall/#) / The Times (http://www.constantinereport.com/uk-chilcot-inquiry-iraq-war-sends-shockwaves-whitehall/#) December 19th, 2014








http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/article-2208155-00BFD8971000044C-855_634x489.jpg?w=307&h=200&crop=1





FRANCIS ELLIOTT AND MICHAEL SAVAGE
THE TIMES, DECEMBER 18, 2014DRAFTS of the official inquiry into the Iraq war have sent shockwaves through the British bureaucracy, with key players fighting to tone down or even delete the criticism.Extracts from the much-*delayed report by John Chilcot, which in some cases run to hundreds of pages, have been sent in recent weeks to those criticised for their conduct, to give them a chance to respond before the *report is published.
“The lawyers are getting called in all over the shop,” one source said. “It’s much more punchy than people thought it was going to be.”
There is said to be particular consternation among former military personnel who were involved in the planning and operation of the Iraq invasion in March 2003.
A minister admitted that lawyers had become heavily involved in the final stages of the official inquiry, set up in 2009.
“The inquiry does have to consult those whom it will criticise and allow them to provide a defence,” Lord Wallace of Saltaire, a government whip, said.
He acknowledged that the wrangling could delay final publication until after the general election in May. “We are all *anxious that if it is not published by the end of February, it would be inappropriate to publish it during the campaign,” he said.
Lord Wallace said the final timing was dependent on those criticised in the report and “I am afraid to say … on their lawyers”.
http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/images-13.jpg (http://www.constantinereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/images-13.jpg)One of those who is expected to be criticised said that it was Sir John who was to blame for the delay. In a progress report on its findings two years ago, the inquiry head said one of the academics on the panel, Martin Gilbert, had suffered a serious illness. The historian, who had a stroke, did not return to the inquiry subsequently.
A lengthy dispute with the US over the publication of communications between Tony Blair and George W. Bush was finally resolved only after an agreement brokered by Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary.
It is not yet clear how much material will be made public, but Lord Wallace said the Chilcot report would publish “notes from more than 200 cabinet meetings … including some extracts from cabinet minutes”.
David Cameron said in May he hoped the report would be published this year.
The Times
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/british-inquiry-into-iraq-war-sends-shockwaves-through-whitehall/story-fnb64oi6-1227159888110

Magda Hassan
12-20-2014, 11:55 PM
I think it will come out with a whimper by the time the lawyers have picked over it.

David Guyatt
01-07-2015, 09:23 AM
Oh dear, is Tony in trouble?



Tony Blair 'could face war crimes charges' over Iraq WarLord Dykes asked: 'Is my noble friend aware that more and more people think it is some kind of attempt to prolong the agony of Mr Blair facing possible war crimes charges?'






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http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03119/blair_3119109b.jpgTony Blair led the British invasion of Iraq in 2003 Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images








http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01805/ChristopherHope_60_1805027j.jpg (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/christopher-hope/)
By Christopher Hope (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/christopher-hope/), Senior Political Correspondent

3:56PM GMT 06 Jan 2015

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/template/ver1-0/i/share/comments.gif1450 Comments (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/11328177/Tony-Blair-could-face-war-crimes-charges-over-Iraq-War.html#disqus_thread)


Tony Blair could face war crimes charges as a result of the Iraq war inquiry report, the House of Lords has been told.

Lord Dykes of Harrow Weald, a Liberal Democrat peer, claimed that the publication of the inquiry by Sir John Chilcot was being delayed “to prolong the agony” of the former Labour Prime Minister.

Lord Hurd – who as Douglas Hurd was Conservative foreign secretary from 1989 to 1995 – said the delay was now "becoming a scandal".

Lord Wallace of Saltaire, a Government minister, disclosed for the first time that talks over the publication of the gist of conversations between Mr Blair and George W Bush, the former US president, were now completed.

These talks have held up the publication of the report. But he said that if the report is not published by the end of February, it will be delayed until after the general election.

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Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Dykes – who as Hugh Dykes was a Tory MP from 1979 to 1997 - asked: “Is not this continuing delay an utter and total disgrace and so much time has elapsed?
“Is my noble friend aware that more and more people think it is some kind of attempt to prolong the agony of Mr Blair facing possible war crimes charges?”
Lord Hurd added: “This has dragged on beyond the questions of mere negligence and forgiveable delay – it is becoming a scandal.
“This is not something which is of trivial importance, it is something which a large number of people in this country look anxiously for truth.”
Lord Wallace of Saltaire, a Government minister, replied that the Chilcot inquiry was not delayed compared to other recent comparable reports.
He said that the £24million Al Sweady report into alleged maltreatment of Iraqis by British troops took five years report “on two battles in one afternoon”.
The £13.5million Baha Mousa “inquiry looking into the death in UK custody of one Iraqi civilian in September 2003 took three years”.
He added: “This [Chilcot] inquiry has been looking at nine years of british policy and operations within Iraq, it has not entirely unexpected that it has turned out to take a long time.”
Lord Wallace said the timing of the report's publication was in the hands of the Government but he hoped "we are very close to the finishing line".
He added: "It would be inappropriate for it to be published if it is submitted within the next few weeks after the end of February unitl after the election because part of the previous government's commitment was there woul dbe time allowed for substantial consultation and debate of this enormous report when it is published."
Lord Wallace added that the one million word report will contain details of discussions of more than 200 Cabinet meetings.
The delay so far was caused in part because the inquiry did not have enough staff to leaf through the huge pile of documents required.






I do wonder if he knowingly personally profited from the war and that this is the problem being kept out of public view?

But I still don't think anything will really flow from the report.

David Guyatt
01-07-2015, 12:05 PM
Of course, there are other or perhaps additional reasons why the publication of the Chilcott report is being pushed back until after the next general election in May 2015. See my post no. 647 HERE (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?273-The-Power-of-the-Paedos-another-high-profile-case-hits-the-never-happened-wall&p=96142#post96142).

The fact that the Westminster/VIP paedophile inquiry announced by Home DSecretary, Theresa May, is now almost certainly backtracked until after the May general election - and very likely forever after - may be add a persuasive dimension to this angle?

Magda Hassan
01-07-2015, 01:35 PM
Oh dear, is Tony in trouble?



Tony Blair 'could face war crimes charges' over Iraq War






I do wonder if he knowingly personally profited from the war and that this is the problem being kept out of public view?

But I still don't think anything will really flow from the report.
Well he has certainly benefited from the war after the fact. Nice little earner.

Some one showed me this link the other day which is also intriguing: http://asiancorrespondent.com/91064/tony-blair-adds-burma-to-se-asia-good-governance-tour/ I particularly liked this bit:

Mark Farmaner at Burma Campaign UK wrote in an email however that the visit was lacking in many respects. “Blair doesn’t seem to have bothered to meet any grassroots or human rights groups before meeting Thein Sein and government representatives.” He said also that the group hoped Blair would be there “on behalf of his Faith Foundation, perhaps in response to the recent anti-Muslim and anti Rohingya nationalism from some Burmese Buddhists. However, he hasn’t met with any Rohingya representatives before meeting the government or others, which seems strange.”

David Guyatt
01-21-2015, 09:10 AM
Chilcot has announced that his report will now not be published until after the next general election in May. The fear is that Blair, and others ("key establishment figures), are thought to be working behind the scenes to water-down the report and lessen the criticism.

Such have been the delays in publishing this report that it is hard not conclude that a very nasty level of self-enrichment took place over the Iraq war -- as indeed appears to have been the case over the Arms to Iraq version 1, back in the 1980's, and the corresponding less than hard hitting Scott report.

The latter clearly demonstrated that the Thatcher government armed Saddam even as the air war phase of the 1st Iraq (Gulf) war was happening. And then sent in British tanks to face British made anti-tank shells (train loads of 155 millimetre sabot discarding). Who got rich from this and the earlier Iran-Iraq war of the mid 1980's, I wonder?

Corruption in politics is a very nasty thing. Massive party-wide and establishment-wide corruption completely undermines democracy. I fear that this is the reason for these continuing delays. And based on the comments of both the Lib-Dems and Conservatives, those who have most to lose are Tony Blair and, as a consequence, the Labour Party. Both are fairly silent over the delay in Chilcot's report and the assumption must be that both are bringing pressure to bear on diluting the report and delaying its publication until after the May election. This pressure could, realistically, impact on hitherto unknown aspects of prior arms scandals that could still damage the Conservatives, so frankly, I don't buy into the Conservatives crocodile tears over this delay announced today. The Conservative party - the original "Self-Enrichment party" started the illegal arms game back in the 1980's with the Iraq-Iran war. Blair, it seems, carried it on? And who knows what is happening in the current Conservative Party when it comes to arms exports?

From bbc.co.uk/news:



Newspaper headlines: Chilcot Inquiry delay and page three debate rumbles onBy Andy McFarlaneBBC NewsContinue reading the main story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-30909809#story_continues_1)http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/80406000/jpg/_80406826_ind21.jpgAs it emerges the Chilcot inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War will not report until after May's election, some newspapers record the outrage of those who have been demanding its conclusions. The Independent quotes former Lib Dem minister Norman Baker calling it a "betrayal of the British public".
Continue reading the main story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-30909809#story_continues_1)

1/12

Sir John Chilcot's decision to delay publication of the report into the UK's involvement in the 2003 Iraq War until after May's general election provokes strong front-page reaction.
The Independent points out Sir John (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/chilcot-inquiry-into-iraq-war-will-not-report-before-election-9991412.html) chaired the inquiry's last session in February 2011, closing with a promise to report back in "some months". Given the hearings began in 2009, former shadow home secretary David Davis tells the paper: "Frankly this isn't good enough. It is incomprehensible as to why this is being delayed. We need to know why."
"Much of the most recent delay was understood to be down to protracted disagreements between Whitehall and the US State Department over declassifying communications between George W Bush and Tony Blair before, during and after the Iraq war," the paper says.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/80407000/jpg/_80407678_blair.jpg
According to the Guardian, some argue (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/20/chilcot-report-iraq-war-delayed-general-election)that their publication "would represent an unprecedented breach of confidence concerning one of the most sensitive episodes in British foreign relations". It adds: "Chilcot is understood to have sent 'Salmon letters' to those who were to be criticised to give them an opportunity to respond before the report's publication, which will have led to further delays following objections from those criticised."
Former Prime Minister Mr Blair has insisted he is not behind the delay and is "determined to rebut the argument that he lied to parliament" over intelligence he used to present the case for war to parliament, the paper says. The Daily Mail pictures Mr Blair (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2918937/Chicot-report-NOT-published-election.html) smiling among British troops in the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr during the conflict in May 2003.
Senior Whitehall figures had warned the report would be too politically contentious to publish close to polling day, says the Mail. "Labour strategists are said to have been concerned at the prospect of the spectre of Iraq being raised in the months before the election, since the conflict was blamed for driving many of its voters in of the arms of the Liberal Democrats in 2005 and 2010," it adds.

David Guyatt
01-22-2015, 09:14 AM
In answer to the question asking has he delayed the publication of the Chilcot report until after the General Election, Blair's office puts out a statement that says (in part):


While we do not intend to provide a running commentary on the process involved in the publication of the report, it is important to state the following for the sake of clarity. We have repeatedly said that it is not true to say that Tony Blair has caused the delay in the report’s publication."[quote]

What's wrong with this statement? Well, for one thing he isn't saying it - his un-breathing 'office" is - and Blair can't, therefore, be accused of lying. Secondly, for the sake of clarity, having his "office" state that it, the "office", has repeatedly said that it is not true that Tony Blair has caused the delay in the reports publication" is just more misdirection and also meaningless.

It seems evident that Blair is the one delaying the report and that the media know it. But what are they not telling us, I wonder?

[quote]
Watch Tony Blair get increasingly irritated when asked about Iraq war report

http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9993296.ece/alternates/w620/461485792.jpg

The former PM told reporters at Davos to read his statement

KIRAN MOODLEY (http://www.independent.co.uk/biography/kiran-moodley-9881820.html)http://www.independent.co.uk/skins/ind/images/plus.png

Wednesday 21 January 2015

With David Cameron blaming the Labour party for the controversial decision to delay publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War until after the May general election, it was only wise to question the man who took the country to war.

Tony Blair was asked by reporters about the delay to the inquiry as he left a building at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"I’ve put out a statement, go and see it," Blair responds as he heads towards his car. Several reporters continue to follow him and ask questions such as "Did you cause the delay?" and "Do voters have a right to know the contents of the report before the general election?"
Eventually, as he nears his car, he turns around and repeats, in a somewhat irritated tone, "I've just told you. I've put out a statement so you can go and read the statement."
The statement released by Blair's office read, "While we do not intend to provide a running commentary on the process involved in the publication of the report, it is important to state the following for the sake of clarity. We have repeatedly said that it is not true to say that Tony Blair has caused the delay in the report’s publication."

MPs expressed anger over the latest delay, with the Prime Minister pointing the finger of blame at the Labour Government headed by Gordon Brown. Cameron told the inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot: “Had the previous Government established this inquiry when I first called for it, we would not be in this position today. But that cannot now be undone.”
At Prime Minister's Questions, Hackney MP Dianne Abbott and others questioned the time Sir John had taken to deliver his report, calling it a “scandal” that was threatening public confidence in the inquiry system.
Mr Cameron said that it was not up to him to decide the timing of an independent report, but added: “My feeling is there is no mystery as to why it is taking so long, it is a very thorough report and you have to follow the proper processes.
“I don't believe anyone is trying to dodge this report or put off this report.”
The debate in the Commons came after Sir John confirmed thathis investigation would not be completed before the election (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/chilcot-inquiry-into-iraq-war-will-not-report-before-election-9991412.html).


I'm unable to embed the associated film clip so those who want to watch Bliar should visit The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/watch-tony-blair-dodge-questions-about-chilcot-inquiry-9993203.html).

David Guyatt
01-24-2015, 08:49 AM
The Indy has a long series of article that it claims will be the only equivalent Chilcot Report this side of the general election. I'm not going to post it because it is so full of the usual western propaganda on 9/11 -- packaged as established fact in the normal way our media consistently lie to us -- that I just can't bring myself to assist in its distribution. But for those who wish to have a peed the articles are HERE (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-chilcot-inquiry-september-11-and-the-road-to-the-iraq-war-9999788.html).

From this it seems evident that we can forget the brouhaha about Chilcot's report. When it is eventually published, it's just going to be another expensive version of old cobblers paid for by the tax-payers (without their consent obviously).

No one, including a high court judge will step off message? No now. Not ever.

David Guyatt
02-09-2015, 09:02 AM
I've been here before - in the first Iraq Inquiry on the Thatcher years arms trading with Iran & Iraq. The Scott report was hailed - in advance - as being devastating to the pols of the day, and come out like a limp sail in the doldrums. So I'm not holding my breath this will be any different.



'More than 30 politicians and officials' to be criticised in Iraq inquiry reportNumber 10 sources expect the report to be a 'devastating' indictment of the Blair Government and large sections of the Whitehall establishment






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http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03171/John_Chilcot_Iraq__3171454b.jpgSir John Chilcot, who led the Iraq Inquiry Photo: PA/David Cheskin








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By Christopher Hope (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/christopher-hope/), Chief Political Correspondent

5:14PM GMT 08 Feb 2015
Follow (https://twitter.com/christopherhope)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/template/ver1-0/i/share/comments.gif188 Comments (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11398925/More-than-30-politicians-and-officials-to-be-criticised-in-Iraq-inquiry-report.html#disqus_thread)


More than 30 senior politicians and officials including former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair are set to be heavily criticised in a “devastating” official report into the Iraq War.

Last week, Sir John Chilcot, the panel’s chairman, said that no more than 150 politicians and officials would be criticised in the final report but he declined to give an exact number.

However, one Sunday newspaper said “approximately 30” people have been sent letters by the inquiry’s panel chaired, warning them they are likely to be criticised.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the number could also include Jack Straw, who was the foreign secretary between 2001 and 2006, before, during and after the war in 2003.

Other figures from the Labour Government who could face criticism were Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair’s communications director, Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff , and Geoff Hoon, a former defence secretary.

Related Articles


http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02575/chilcot_2575959g.jpg (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11399265/Iraq-War-inquiry-The-politicians-and-officials-who-could-be-criticised.html)

Iraq War inquiry: The politicians and officials who could be criticised (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11399265/Iraq-War-inquiry-The-politicians-and-officials-who-could-be-criticised.html)
08 Feb 2015
Timeline: How the Chilcot Inquiry has gone on and on and on (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11390661/Timeline-How-the-Chilcot-Inquiry-has-gone-on-and-on-and-on.html)
04 Feb 2015
Chilcot panel member Sir Martin Gilbert dies (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11391123/Chilcot-panel-member-Sir-Martin-Gilbert-dies.html)
04 Feb 2015
Sketch: Chilcot, Blair, Iraq, and the report that will definitely be published – any year now... (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11390450/Sketch-Chilcot-Blair-Iraq-and-the-report-that-will-definitely-be-published-any-year-now....html)
04 Feb 2015


Number 10 sources said they expected the report to be a “devastating” indictment of the Blair Government and large sections of the Whitehall establishment.
Some 7,000 will be published including 200 minutes from Cabinet meetings and 30 Blair/Bush notes. The inquiry was still working through a “tail of declassification”.
One source said that Mr Blair’s words “will be published word for word”.
The source said: “There will be redactions where appropriate but it will be quite clear to see what he said and what he meant.
“Bush’s comments will be less detailed but that is necessary as it is not up to Britain to publish details of what a US President says.”
Last month Mr Straw suggested that criticism of the delays to the Chilcot inquiry could lead to the panel producing conclusions that were “more starkly drawn than the evidence”.
Mr Straw was also branded a “liar” in the House of Commons as he justified Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War.
Mr Straw was met with a volley of abuse from Respect MP George Galloway when he was discussing talks with the UN Security Council.
He intervened during a speech by Labour MP Paul Flynn to made clear “for the avoidance of doubt” that in November 2002 the “whole of the United Nations Security Council” judged “that there was a threat to international peace and security from Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction”.
As Mr Straw sat down Mr Galloway shouted at Mr Straw “You are lying”. Mr Flynn added that it was “because they were fooled”, adding that Mr Straw’s intervention was “contemptible”.
A spokesman for Mr Blair has said: “We have repeatedly said that it is not true Tony Blair has caused a delay in report's publication. It is an independent inquiry and it should be allowed to proceed with its work.”

David Guyatt
08-25-2015, 07:27 AM
We're well past the General Election and yet the Chilcott Report remains unpublished and in limbo. The party responsible is, apparently, Washington who have classified documents related to Blair's decision to go to war with the US against Iraq.

Me, I wonder if this is being done as a favour to Blair to give his wiggle room?



John Prescott suggests Iraq Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcott should face MPsBy PRESS ASSOCIATION (http://www.thecourier.co.uk/author?author=Press+Association), 23 August 2015 9.05am.












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http://www.thecourier.co.uk/polopoly_fs/1.896072.1440317083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_620/image.jpgLord Prescott.
Getty Images


The chairman of the Iraq inquiry must be hauled before Parliament if he refuses to swiftly publish the findings, John Prescott has said.
Sir John Chilcot has faced intense criticism over the delayed publication of the report into the invasion but has so far refused to speed up its release.
Lord Prescott, who served as deputy prime minister under Tony Blair, said the length of time the investigation was taking was a "disgrace".
He called on Sir John to put the report out now, even if some of the witnesses object.
In his Sunday Mirror column, the Labour peer said: "I was one of the last people to give evidence in 2010 to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.
"Five years later we're still waiting for the report. And it's a disgrace."
He added: "I have been involved in a number of inquiries where those who gave evidence were given the right of consultation before the publication of the report, which is only fair. But five years and waiting is an unacceptably long period. It's an insult to the families of men and women who gave their lives for their country."
The delay in publication has been a growing source of frustration for Prime Minister David Cameron who has demanded a timetable for publication be set out "pretty soon".
Sir John insisted last month that his inquiry - launched in 2009 - was making "significant progress", although he could not set a date for the publication of his findings.
Much of the anger over the delay is focused on the so-called "Maxwellisation" process, which gives the opportunity to individuals facing possible criticism in the report to respond.
Lord Prescott wrote: "I believe as a participant in the inquiry that Sir John Chilcot should now publish his report even if there are objections from some of the witnesses. They have every right to put their case after publication.
"It is right that such independent inquiries should not be directly interfered with by Government or party leaders. However, since parliament endorsed the use of British troops in the Iraq invasion, costing the lives of many people, it should be possible for parliament to order its publication.
"If Sir John refuses, parliament should demand he appear to explain his reasons and put forward the statements of those who dispute the conclusions. These could then be put into the report and the public allowed to judge for themselves.
"I say publish and be damned. I want it, the families want it and so does the rest of the country."





Source (http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/uk/john-prescott-suggests-iraq-inquiry-chairman-sir-john-chilcott-should-face-mps-1.896073)

Peter Lemkin
08-25-2015, 09:29 AM
Delay seems to be their main m.o., and I suspect it will be delayed over and over again..until it would be of the same historical interest as the man in the iron mask in the London Tower.

...after all, who now thinks much about the death of David Kelly, or for that matter Gareth Williams,...and so many others..

David Guyatt
08-26-2015, 02:54 PM
Bravo the families!



Chilcot Inquiry: Lawyers give Sir John 5pm deadline to announce report publication date or warn he'll face legal action


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Lawyers are acting on behalf of 29 families of British military personnel who died in Iraq

MICHAEL SEGALOV (http://www.independent.co.uk/biography/michael-segalov)http://www.independent.co.uk/skins/ind/images/plus.png


Wednesday 26 August 2015








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Lawyers acting for relatives of British soldiers killed in Iraq have given Sir John Chilcot a 5pm deadline to announce when he will publish his report.

Matthew Jury, of McCue and Partners, which is representing 29 families, said they would proceed with legal action if the deadline is missed, but in a statement Sir John simply said that the "Maxwellisation process", which allows those criticised to respond anonymously to issues raised, should be over "shortly".
The delay in publication has been a growing source of frustration for the families as well as David Cameron, who has demanded a timetable for publication be set out "pretty soon".
Sir John has insisted his inquiry, launched under Gordon Brown in 2009, was making "significant progress", but has not set a date for the publication of his findings.
Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon was killed in Iraq in 2005, said he was "disappointed" Sir John Chilcot has not revealed when he will publish the Iraq report, adding: "I'm not sure he is able to understand our anguish."
"If he was in our shoes, he might well take a different view on what is going on. This process of Maxwellisation is just too much. It seems to go on and on and on. The fact he is still waiting for responses means there will be further delays."
It emerged this morning (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/iraq-war-blame-is-bigger-than-blair-chilcot-inquiry-to-point-fingers-at-ministers-and-intelligence-chiefs-10472101.html) that the long-awaited report looks set to share the blame for Britain's role in the Iraq war among a wider circle of senior figures than expected, according to sources close to the investigation.
http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article10000770.ece/alternates/w460/22-Chilcot-Get.jpgSir John Chilcot and his fellow committee members have shared more than £1.5m in fees since the inquiry began in 2009 (Getty)
Among those who could be facing criticism are Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary at the time of the invasion; Sir John Scarlett, then Chairman of Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Committee; Sir Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6; Clare Short, then International Development Secretary and Geoff Hoon, who was Defence Secretary at the time.

Sir John, the chairman of the Iraq Inquiry, today said he understood "the anguish of the families of those who lost their lives in the conflict", but added "it is critically important that the report should be fair".
He spoke out in the wake of sustained criticism in recent weeks over delays to his report with families of soldiers killed in Iraq threatening legal action and Prime Minister David Cameron expressing his frustration.
In his statement, Sir John said: "I should like firstly to reiterate that my colleagues and I understand the anguish of the families of those who lost their lives in the conflict.
"We take the responsibility we were given as an independent inquiry extremely seriously, and understand the need for Government, Parliament and the public to see our report as soon as possible."
But he added: "It is critically important that the report should be fair to all who participated in the conflict and to those who bore the responsibility of taking decisions."
But Sir Stanley Burton, Lord Justice of Appeal between 2008 and 2012, said the risk of a judicial challenge was "exaggerated", as there was no appeal process by which the courts could rule on specific findings.
READ MORE: IRAQ WAR BLAME IS BIGGER THAN BLAIR (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/iraq-war-blame-is-bigger-than-blair-chilcot-inquiry-to-point-fingers-at-ministers-and-intelligence-chiefs-10472101.html)Sir John confirmed he had received a letter from lawyers acting for a group of families, stating that "after careful thought, we have responded to the points they raised."
"I don't intend to comment on the substance of that response and such letters are not normally published."
The Independent has approached McCue & Partners, acting on behalf of the families, for a comment.






The Indepedent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/chilcot-inquiry-lawyers-give-sir-john-5pm-deadline-to-announce-report-publication-date-or-warn-hell-face-legal-action-10472926.html)

David Guyatt
08-26-2015, 03:01 PM
So, does this mean the Blair fix is in?

It sounds like it to me. Blame the many, diffuse the focus, leave Bliar to simper accordingly.

If Norton-Taylor has this right, then it is, as I predicted earlier, going to be a re-run of the Scott Enquiry - that promised so much and delivered so little.

From The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/25/chilcot-inquiry-to-spread-blame-beyond-tony-blairs-inner-team-sources-say)



Chilcot inquiry: blame will be spread beyond Blair's inner team, sources say


While former PM will bear brunt of criticism over Iraq war, report is expected to target wider number of people than had been thought





http://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/d035d2b6baa175e26666e1636ed510d8530f7969/0_88_3008_1806/master/3008.jpg?w=620&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&

(http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/25/chilcot-inquiry-to-spread-blame-beyond-tony-blairs-inner-team-sources-say#img-1) A British soldier in Iraq in 2003. A source said while there would be criticism of military decisions taken after the invasion, more of the criticism would be directed at others involved. Photograph: Giles Penfound/EPARichard Norton-Taylor (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/richardnortontaylor) and Ewen MacAskill (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/ewenmacaskill)
Wednesday 26 August 2015 07.18 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 26 August 201514.07 BST


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Sir John Chilcot is to apportion blame for Britain’s role in the Iraq war much more widely than had been expected, going well beyond Tony Blair (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/tonyblair) and his inner team, according to sources involved with his six-year inquiry.
While Blair will bear the brunt of the report’s criticism, one source said it would suit the former prime minister to see a wide range of targets blamed when it is published.
It has been assumed that Chilcot would concentrate on Blair and his closest advisers in Downing Street. However, the Guardian understands the inquiry intends to criticise a much bigger circle of ministers and officials, including Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time of the Iraq (http://www.theguardian.com/world/iraq) invasion in 2003.
http://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/e6bf98c955dafe4eedc6aefd80d4320ff325a9a3/0_92_3072_1843/500.jpg?w=460&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&
David Cameron pushes Chilcot for Iraq report: 'We want this inquiry finished'


Read more



Others in focus are Sir Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, Sir John Scarlett, chairman of the joint intelligence committee, Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, Clare Short, the international development secretary, and senior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office. The inquiry took evidence from about 150 people.

The Chilcot inquiry has come under increased pressure over the last few weeks to publish the report. The inquiry began in 2009, with hearings completed in 2011, but has been beset by repeated delays.
The inquiry team is dismayed about sustained media attacks in the last few weeks over the delay. The media coverage has increased pressure on Chilcot to agree a date for publication. David Cameron also expressed frustration last week (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/21/david-cameron-pushes-chilcot-iraq-report-we-want-this-inquiry-finished) over failure to complete the report.
The wide circle of people facing criticism is cited as one of the reasons for the delay. As part of the process, every individual to be criticised is sent draft passages giving them an opportunity to comment. Some of those who have received drafts have expressed surprise, having regarded themselves as peripheral to the events leading up to the invasion.
Chilcot wants to ensure that those criticised are given every opportunity to rebut the criticism. He does not want to give them an excuse to take legal action or attack the inquiry after the final report has been published.
The final report will not include the number of people who have been sent drafts containing criticism. The public may not know to what extent Chilcot has toned down his criticism in response to objections.
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Tony Blair and George W Bush in 2003. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PAThe Daily Telegraph reported earlier this month that in response to a freedom of information request, the inquiry said it “does not intend to make public the specific details of timing, content or recipients” of the Maxwellisation process, even after the final report is published.
The Times reported last week that Sir Nicholas Houghton is among those facing criticism for his actions during the Iraq war. But a source close to the inquiry agreed that while there would be criticism of military decisions taken after the invasion, the bulk of the criticism would be directed less towards the military than others involved.
The main focus of the inquiry is on the events leading up to the 2003 invasion, in particular questions of about the legality of military action, faulty intelligence and whether Blair gave an early undertaking to the then US president, George W Bush, to support the US-led invasion.
The British handling of Iraq after the invasion, including its attempts to subdue Basra, is regarded as important but secondary.
Senior military figures told the inquiry they were given insufficient time to prepare for the war for political reasons, mainly because the government did not want to admit that the invasion was almost certain to go ahead.
Military (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/military) commanders were among the sharpest witnesses to the inquiry, strongly criticising the failures of Whitehall decision makers. They have been prevented by the MoD from publishing their criticisms of the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.
Admiral Lord Boyce, chief of the defence staff at the time of the invasion, told the inquiry: “I suspect if I asked half the cabinet were we at war, they would not have known what I was talking about. There was a lack of political cohesion at the top.”
The Guardian understands the inquiry will avoid judging on this. Although Lord Goldsmith, the then attorney general, described how Blair shut him out of discussions, his critics say the attorney passed the buck to Blair.
The inquiry has already heard that Straw roundly dismissed the unanimous view of the top lawyers in the Foreign Office that an invasion of Iraq would be illegal.
Houghton, chief of the defence staff of the British armed forces, was not directly involved in the events leading up to the invasion. He only became involved in Iraq from 2005 through to 2009.
The inquiry was angry over delays by the Cabinet Office in reaching agreement on publication of some of the Blair-Bush correspondence, which Chilcot has described as key evidence that is “vital to the public understanding of the inquiry’s conclusions”.
The frontrunner in the race to become the next Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, last week partially pre-empted Chilcot’s findings, issuing a statement saying he would apologise for the Labour government’s decision to go to war (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/20/jeremy-corbyn-apologise-iraq-war-behalf-labour-leader).
One of his rivals, Andy Burnham, said he would be open to such an apology but only after the Chilcot report was published and if “apologies need to be made”.

David Guyatt
08-26-2015, 03:06 PM
Former Cabinet Minister who criticised Blair over the Iraq war heaps shame on Chilcott and predicts the Inquiry to be a whitewash (her words about the report are: "it's as big as War and Peace" and will find that "everyone's to blame [and] no one's to blame".

From The Telegraph:



Clare Short mounts furious attack on Chilcot InquirySir John Chilcot's inquiry into the Iraq War is as big as 'War and Peace' and will not offer any lessons about what went wrong in Iraq, Clare Short says






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http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03305/clare-short-andrew_3305988b.jpgClare Short at BBC Studios for the Andrew Marr Show in London in March 2014 Photo: Rex Features








By Steven Swinford (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/steven-swinford/), Deputy Political Editor

2:44PM BST 26 Aug 2015
Follow (https://twitter.com/steven_swinford)


Clare Short, the former Labour minister, has condemned the Chilcot inquiry as a "very, very poor" piece of work which will fail to uncover what went wrong during the Iraq War.

Ms Short, who has been subject to criticism by the inquiry, said that the report is "as big as War and Peace" and will find that "everyone's to blame [and] no one's to blame".

She accused Sir John's inquiry of "New Labour-type spin" after it emerged that he report will cast blame for Britain's role in the Iraq War far more widely than Tony Blair and his inner team.

It came as Sir John broke his silence and issued a public statement saying that he understands the "anguish" of the families of soldiers killed in Iraq.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03418/_Iraq_War_inquiry_3418954b.jpgTony Blair during his appearance before the Iraq inquiry Photo: Rex (File)

However, he refused to meet their demands to set a timetable for the publication which means that they are likely to lodge a legal challengewithin weeks.
Ms Short's comments represent the first ime that someone who has been criticised by the review has spoken out.
She told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I think what might be true is the draft is very poor. It's as big as War and Peace I understand. Lots of people have made serious responses and they are having to redraft. The hope of it being a good piece of work that Britain learns what went wrong and we don't do it again looks very, very poor to me.
"It's not just politicians. The criticisms go right across Whitehall - senior permanent secretaries, everybody. I fear and think this means everyone's to blame, no one's to blame, we won't get a proper diagnosis and it won't be helpful in finding out what went wrong."
The disclosure comes as it emerged on Tuesday night that the report will criticise a far broader range of individuals than previously thought.
Former intelligence chiefs, secretaries of state and senior civil servants will all be singled out for censure when the document is finally released. It had been assumed that Tony Blair and his closest associates would bear the brunt of criticism.
Former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove, defence secretary Geoff Hoon and senior Foreign Office officials are thought to be among a larger group who will be blamed for failings in the UK’s prosecution of the Iraq war.

The delay has prompted fury among families, who have mounted a legal challenge and gave Sir John until Wednesday to set out a timetable.
Sir John says in his statement that the Maxwellisation process, under which those criticised will be given a chance to respond, will be completed 'shortly'.
The process has been heavily criticised for giving those criticised too much time to reply while families are left waiting for the final report.
Sir John said that the process is an "essential part" of the inquiry and will help ensure that any conclusions are "soundly based, fair and reasonable".
He also appeared to criticise the government for failing to provide access to "all relevent documents". He said that some "have been received only this year", while others are still being declassified.
Reg Keys, whose son Lance Corporal Tom Keys was killed in Iraq in 2003, said: "If he is not forthcoming today then legal action will follow. The Maxwellisation process needs to be brought to an end, that's final.
"He doesn't grasp the range of emotions and feelings he is dealing with here from bereaved families. The families want to knock on his door and demand an explanation from him directly. He hasn't communicated with me at any stage of this. The least the man can do is speak to the families."
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03418/Father_of_Lance_Co_3418948b.jpgReg Keys, the father of Lance Corporal Tom Keys who was killed in Iraq Photo: Chris Radburn/PA
Sir John has also written to the lawyers of bereaved soldiers to express his sympathy and to say he understands their frustrations.

Michael Barwell
08-26-2015, 03:38 PM
Below is the speech made by Colonel Tim Collins to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq in 2003 on the eve of battle in Iraq. I gather he made it so that they- (and because they didn't-) know what they were there for. A fine piece of off the cuff oratory from a really fine fella, who was subsequently very badly briefed against by the MoD in an extraordinary and obscure exercise in dishonourable conduct. His book's a damn good read too.

"We go to liberate, not to conquer.
We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own.
Show respect for them.
There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly.
Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.
As for the others, I expect you to rock their world.
Wipe them out if that is what they choose.
But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history.
It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham.
Tread lightly there.
You will see things that no man could pay to see
- and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.
You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.
Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country.
Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.
Allow them dignity in death.
Bury them properly and mark their graves.
It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive.
But there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign.
We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back.
There will be no time for sorrow.
The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction.
There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam.
He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done.
As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.
It is a big step to take another human life.
It is not to be done lightly.
I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts.
I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them.
If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.
If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer.
You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest - for your deeds will follow you down through history.
We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.
It is not a question of if, it's a question of when.
We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself.
If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.
As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.
Our business now is North."

Magda Hassan
08-26-2015, 04:24 PM
What a bunch of unmitigated crap. Does he really believe a single word of that? I find the vast majority of military 'men' complete cowards. The really brave are the ones who refuse to fight the rich man's wars. But most military men are mindless drones and spineless cowards. For god sake they have guns. They should turn them on their COs who throw them into this monstrous bloodbath. All the way to the top. If Tony Bliar had to wear the full consequences of his lying orders he would think far more carefully before asking others to die.

Albert Doyle
08-26-2015, 04:44 PM
Don't forget Dr David Kelly was most likely covertly assassinated because he bore proof of the fraud...

Michael Barwell
08-28-2015, 03:33 PM
What a bunch of unmitigated crap. Does he really believe a single word of that? I find the vast majority of military 'men' complete cowards. The really brave are the ones who refuse to fight the rich man's wars. But most military men are mindless drones and spineless cowards. For god sake they have guns. They should turn them on their COs who throw them into this monstrous bloodbath. All the way to the top. If Tony Bliar had to wear the full consequences of his lying orders he would think far more carefully before asking others to die.

(don't mention the 'Bliar', don't mention the 'Bliar', don't mention the 'Bliar',...)
Ooooh. Cynic.
Spike Milligan was a soldier.
Imagine this fella Tim Collins believed every word of it. Loads of ppl thought Saddam was about to hit 'our boys in Akrotiri' in 45minutes for some reason, and everyone thought it highly likely he had loads of bio-chem weaps and was a bit of a sod, even if it was a bit of a Neocon Spring. There was genuine optimism around. No-one outside of the gang thought for 1 moment that there was nothing behind the invasion plans - except securing the Oil Ministry, that is.
And Bear Grylls is nice too.

Magda Hassan
08-29-2015, 12:04 AM
What a bunch of unmitigated crap. Does he really believe a single word of that? I find the vast majority of military 'men' complete cowards. The really brave are the ones who refuse to fight the rich man's wars. But most military men are mindless drones and spineless cowards. For god sake they have guns. They should turn them on their COs who throw them into this monstrous bloodbath. All the way to the top. If Tony Bliar had to wear the full consequences of his lying orders he would think far more carefully before asking others to die.

(don't mention the 'Bliar', don't mention the 'Bliar', don't mention the 'Bliar',...)
Ooooh. Cynic.
Spike Milligan was a soldier.
Imagine this fella Tim Collins believed every word of it. Loads of ppl thought Saddam was about to hit 'our boys in Akrotiri' in 45minutes for some reason, and everyone thought it highly likely he had loads of bio-chem weaps and was a bit of a sod, even if it was a bit of a Neocon Spring. There was genuine optimism around. No-one outside of the gang thought for 1 moment that there was nothing behind the invasion plans - except securing the Oil Ministry, that is.
And Bear Grylls is nice too.

I can't imagine that for one minute. How dumb does he have to be? Just propaganda for the boys before they are sent to slaughter. Of course Saddam had bio chem weapons. It was the west who sold them to him. And they also know that they had been removed and decommissioned by the UN weapons inspectors. Pure blood thirsty cynicism for profit.

Malcolm Pryce
08-29-2015, 06:05 AM
I have no doubt he believed what he was saying at the time. Throughout history men and women have shown a remarkable ability to believe what is convenient for them to believe. The parable of the Emperor’s New Robes perfectly explains the Iraq War. People are hardwired by evolution to believe what the rest of the tribe believes, irrespective of whether it makes sense. And they are perfectly capable of disbelieving the evidence of their senses to do this.


I remember a friend of mine around the time saying out of the blue, ‘We’ve got to do something about Saddam Hussein, we can’t let this go on any longer.’ I looked at him aghast. Since when had he been thinking thoughts like that? The answer I knew was since everybody else started thinking them, i.e. in the past three months. In the rest of his previous existence he had never spared Saddam Hussein a second’s thought.


It takes a communal epiphany for the tribe to change the belief—and then they all do like a shoal of fish changing direction. Such an epiphany took place with respect to Jimmy Savile after the Newsnight programme. Prior to that you would have been roundly scorned for suggesting we were ruled by a paedophile elite who tortured and murdered children. As everyone here knows, you would have been dismissed as a crazy moonbat conspiracy theorist. Now the tabloids and plodding cops routinely discuss such notions.


Add to this the fact that this was the moment the soldier had been waiting for all his life. Everything had been preparation for this, all those essays at Prep school on Caesar’s Punic Wars, all that training in the officer’s cadet force at public school, all those lectures on military ethics at Sandhurst… This was the one time in his life when he got to put it all into practice, to kill some bad guys in order to save the wider commonwealth and go down in history as a heroic liberator. After all, as Solzhenitsyn wisely observed, in order to do evil men must first believe they are doing good. You can’t possibly send men into battle if you think they are doing it to safeguard the oil supplies on behalf of the world’s ghastly paedophile elite. You can only do it if you are able to convince yourself that you are carrying the torch of truth and justice into the night and rescuing the poor common folk of Iraq from their tyrannical oppressor. No doubt he expected his men to be showered with flowers when the battle was over. Oh dear. I guess he should have read his military history with a more circumspect eye.

Jan van den Baard
08-29-2015, 07:43 AM
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/08/beware-of-chilcot/

David Guyatt
09-01-2015, 09:18 AM
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/08/beware-of-chilcot/

Hence the title of this thread: "Chilcott's Circus Clowns Come to Town".

This is simply a Whitehall re-run of the Scott Iraq weapons Inquiry that was hyped by the media, fizzled to nothing in the Scott report, and was completely dropped by the media the day following the publication of the report.

The British political establishment has hundreds of years experience in creating the illusion of a dedicated investigation/inquiry into highly smelly affairs that are slowly washed in palmolive soap and churned out smelling pleasant.

Move along folks. Nothing there to see...

Michael Barwell
09-01-2015, 04:50 PM
Hence the title of this thread: "Chilcott's Circus Clowns Come to Town".

This is simply a Whitehall re-run of the Scott Iraq weapons Inquiry that was hyped by the media, fizzled to nothing in the Scott report, and was completely dropped by the media the day following the publication of the report.

The British political establishment has hundreds of years experience in creating the illusion of a dedicated investigation/inquiry into highly smelly affairs that are slowly washed in palmolive soap and churned out smelling pleasant.

Move along folks. Nothing there to see...

Yeah; enquiry called, loads of chatterati queueing-up to say "Oh, he's terribly good" and the like, then it gets dropped PDQ after a murmer or two of "That was a bit of a disapointment". But I have a sneeky, that the Maxwellisation thing may well stop the report being kicked into the long grass a few days after publication. In that case, it'd be worth the wait.

Magda Hassan
10-19-2015, 10:50 AM
Not that I think Chillicot has even bothered to ask for any US emails with regards to Iraq and Blair. I'm sure he has been assiduously avoiding that thought at all costs. Which is what he is there for. Never the less some one unearthed this shiny sparkling gem in their quest to nail Hilary for Benghazi. How will Teflon Tony talk his way out of this?


Leaked Memo Reveals Blair's 'Deal In Blood' With Bush Over Iraq War

Leaked White House memo shows former Prime Minister's support for war at summit with U.S. President in 2002
Bombshell document shows Blair preparing to act as spin doctor for Bush, who was told 'the UK will follow our lead'
Publicly, Blair still claimed to be looking for diplomatic solution - in direct contrast to email revelations
New light was shed on Bush-Blair relations by material disclosed by Hillary Clinton at the order of the U.S. courts By William Lowther In Washington and Glen Owen for The Mail on Sunday
October 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/)" - "Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3277402/Smoking-gun-emails-reveal-Blair-s-deal-blood-George-Bush-Iraq-war-forged-YEAR-invasion-started.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490)" - A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.

The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.

It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.

Scroll down to read the documents in full

The classified document also discloses that Blair agreed to act as a glorified spin doctor for the President by presenting ‘public affairs lines’ to convince a sceptical public that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction – when none existed.

In return, the President would flatter Blair’s ego and give the impression that Britain was not America’s poodle but an equal partner in the ‘special relationship’.

The damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas.

In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’.

The disclosure is certain to lead for calls for Sir John Chilcot to reopen his inquiry into the Iraq War if, as is believed, he has not seen the Powell memo.

A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush used ‘spies’ in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British public opinion in favour of the war.

The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U,S. courts have forced her to reveal.

Former Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: ‘The memos prove in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a frontman for American foreign policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.

‘He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without having the remotest ability to have any real influence over it. And in return for what?

'For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves’.

Davis was backed by a senior diplomat with close knowledge of Blair-Bush relations who said: ‘This memo shows beyond doubt for the first time Blair was committed to the Iraq War before he even set foot in Crawford.

'And it shows how the Americans planned to make Blair look an equal partner in the special relationship to bolster his position in the UK.’

Blair’s spokesman insisted last night that Powell’s memo was ‘consistent with what he was saying publicly at the time’.

The former Prime Minister has always hotly denied the claim that the two men signed a deal ‘in blood’ at Crawford to embark on the war, which started on March 20, 2003.

The Powell document, headed ‘Secret... Memorandum for the President’, lifts the lid on how Blair and Bush secretly plotted the war behind closed doors at Crawford.

Powell says to Bush: ‘He will present to you the strategic, tactical and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global support for our common cause,’ adding that Blair has the presentational skills to ‘make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace’.

Five months after the summit, Downing Street produced the notorious ‘45 minutes from doom’ dossier on Saddam Hussein’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction. After Saddam was toppled, the dossier’s claims were exposed as bogus.

Nowhere in the memo is a diplomatic route suggested as the preferred option.

Instead, Powell says that Blair will also advise on how to ‘handle calls’ for the ‘blessing’ of the United Nations Security Council, and to ‘demonstrate that we have thought through “the day after” ’ – in other words, made adequate provision for a post-Saddam Iraq.

Critics of the war say that the lack of post-conflict planning has contributed to the loss of more than 100,000 lives since the invasion – and a power vacuum which has contributed to the rise of Islamic State terrorism.

Significantly, Powell warns Bush that Blair has hit ‘domestic turbulence’ for being ‘too pro-U.S. in foreign and security policy, too arrogant and “presidential” ’, which Powell points out is ‘not a compliment in the British context’.

Powell also reveals that the splits in Blair’s Cabinet were deeper than was realised: he says that apart from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, ‘Blair’s Cabinet shows signs of division, and the British public are unconvinced that military action is warranted now’.

Powell says that although Blair will ‘stick with us on the big issues’, he wants to minimise the ‘political price’ he would have to pay: ‘His voters will look for signs that Britain and America are truly equity partners in the special relationship.’

The President certainly did his best to flatter Blair’s ego during the Crawford summit, where he was the first world leader to be invited into Bush’s sanctuary for two nights.

Tony and Cherie Blair stayed in the guesthouse close to the main residence with their daughter Kathryn and Cherie’s mother, Gale Booth. Bush took the highly unusual step of inviting Blair to sit in on his daily CIA briefing, and drove the Prime Minister around in a pick-up truck.

Mystery has long surrounded what was discussed at Crawford as advisers were kept out of a key meeting between the two men.

Sir Christopher Meyer, who was present in Crawford as Britain’s Ambassador to the U.S., told Chilcot that his exclusion meant he was ‘not entirely clear to this day... what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch’.

But in public comments during his time at Crawford, Blair denied that Britain was on an unstoppable path to war.

‘This is a matter for considering all the options’, he said. ‘We’re not proposing military action at this point in time’.

During his appearance before the Chilcot inquiry in January 2010, Blair denied that he had struck a secret deal with Bush at Crawford to overthrow Saddam. Blair said the two men had agreed on the need to confront the Iraqi dictator, but insisted they did not get into ‘specifics’.

‘The one thing I was not doing was dissembling in that position,’ he told Chilcot.

‘The position was not a covert position, it was an open position. This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. It’s a decision. What I was saying... was “We are going to be with you in confronting and dealing with this threat.” ’

Pressed on what he thought Mr Bush took from their meeting, he said the President had realised Britain would support military action if the diplomatic route had been exhausted.

In his memoirs, Blair again said it was ‘a myth’ he had signed a promise ‘in blood’ to go to war, insisting: ‘I made no such commitment’.

Critics who claimed that Mr Blair acted as the ‘poodle’ of the US will point to a reference in Mr Powell’s memo to the fact Mr Blair ‘readily committed to deploy 1,700 commandos’ to Afghanistan ‘even though his experts warn that British forces are overstretched’.

The decision made the previous October in the wake of the September 11 attacks led to widespread concern that the UK was entering an open-ended commitment to a bloody conflict in Afghanistan – a concern many critics now say was well-founded.

Mr Powell’s memo goes on to say that a recent move by the U.S. to protect its steel industry with tariffs, which had damaged UK exports, was a ‘bitter blow’ for Blair, but he was prepared to ‘insulate our broader relationship from this and other trade disputes’.

The memo was included in a batch of 30,000 emails which were received by Mrs Clinton on her private server when she was US Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013.

Another document included in the email batch is a confidential briefing for Powell prepared by the U.S. Embassy in London, shortly before the Crawford summit.

The memo, dated ‘April 02’, includes a detailed assessment of the effect on Blair’s domestic position if he backs US military action.

The document says: ‘A sizeable number of his MPs remain at present opposed to military action against Iraq... some would favor shifting from a policy of containment of Iraq if they had recent (and publicly usable) proof that Iraq is developing WMD/missiles... most seem to want some sort of UN endorsement for military action.

‘Blair’s challenge now is to judge the timing and evolution of America’s Iraq policy and to bring his party and the British people on board.

'There have been a few speculative pieces in the more feverish press about Labor [sic] unease re Iraq policy… which have gone on to identify the beginnings of a challenge to Blair’s leadership of the party.

'Former Cabinet member Peter Mandelson, still an insider, called it all "froth". Nonetheless, this is the first time since the 1997 election that such a story is even being printed’.

The paper draws on information given to it by Labour ‘spies’, whose identities have been hidden.

It states: ‘[name redacted] told us the intention of those feeding the story is not to bring down Blair but to influence him on the Iraq issue’.

‘Some MPs would endorse action if they had proof that Iraq has continued to develop WMD since UN inspectors left.

‘More would follow if convinced that Iraq has succeeded in developing significant WMD capability and the missiles to deliver it.

'Many more would follow if they see compelling evidence that Iraq intends and plans to use such weapons. A clear majority would support military action if Saddam is implicated in the 9/11 attacks or other egregious acts of terrorism’.

‘Blair has proved an excellent judge of political timing, and he will need to be especially careful about when to launch a ramped-up campaign to build support for action against Iraq.

'He will want neither to be too far in front or behind US policy... if he waits too long, then the keystone of any coalition we wish to build may not be firmly in place. No doubt these are the calculations that Blair hopes to firm up when he meets the President’.

A spokesperson for Tony Blair said: ‘This is consistent with what Blair was saying publicly at the time and with Blair’s evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry’.

Neither Mrs Clinton nor Mr Powell replied to requests for comment.

[B]SENSATIONAL BLAIR EXPOSÉ - YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED Why have these memos come out now?
The U.S. courts have ruled that 30,000 emails received by Hillary Clinton when she was U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 should be released.
She may have asked for these documents to grasp the background to the Iraq War.
What was the Crawford summit?
The meeting between Blair and Bush at the President’s Texan ranch in April 2002, 11 months before the outbreak of war. The pair spent long periods discussing Iraq without their advisers, leading to suspicion that they privately cut a deal for the conflict.
UK Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer said it was impossible to know whether a deal was ‘signed in blood’.
What did Blair say at Crawford?
At the start of the summit, Mr Blair said: ‘We’re not proposing military action at this point in time.’
For the whole of 2002, Blair claimed no decision had been taken and in the run-up to war. He said that Saddam Hussein could avoid conflict by co-operating with UN weapons inspectors.
What happened after Crawford?
In September 2002, in an attempt to prove Saddam was a threat, No 10 falsely claimed Saddam could deploy biological weapons ‘within 45 minutes’, and Mr Blair went around the world trying to drum up UN backing for action against Iraq.
Despite mass anti-war protests, Britain and America invaded Iraq in March 2003 without the backing of the UN.
Had the allies prepared for ‘the day after’?
The invasion was declared complete on April 15, 2003. But the reason for war proved spurious, and Saddam’s removal left a power vacuum filled by warring factions which some say helped Islamic State rise.
Have the memos been seen by the Chilcot Inquiry?
It is not thought the £10million, six-year inquiry has asked to see American Government material.



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Stunning memo proves Blair signed up for Iraq even before Americans - comment by former shadow home secretary David Davis
This is one of the most astonishing documents I have ever read.
It proves in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a front man for American foreign policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.
He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without having the remotest ability to have any real influence over it.
And in return for what? For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves.
Blair was content to cynically use Britain’s international reputation for honest dealing in diplomacy, built up over many years, as a shield against worldwide opprobrium for Bush’s ill-considered policy.
Judging from this memorandum, Blair signed up for the Iraq War even before the Americans themselves did. It beggars belief.
Blair was telling MPs and voters back home that he was still pursuing a diplomatic solution while Colin Powell was telling President Bush: ‘Don’t worry, George, Tony is signed up for the war come what may – he’ll handle the PR for you, just make him look big in return.’
It should never be forgotten that a minimum of 120,000 people died as a direct result of the Iraq War.
What is truly shocking is the casualness of it all, such as the reference in the memo to ‘the day after’ – meaning the day after Saddam would be toppled.
The offhand tone gives the game away: it is patently obvious nobody thought about ‘the day after’ when Bush and Blair met in Crawford.
And they gave it no more thought right through to the moment ‘the day after’ came about a year later when Saddam’s statue fell to the ground.
We saw the catastrophic so-called ‘de-Baathification’ of Iraq, with the country’s entire civil and military structure dismantled, leading to years of bloodshed and chaos. It has infected surrounding countries to this day and created the vacuum into which Islamic State has stepped.
This may well be the Iraq ‘smoking gun’ we have all been looking for.
In full: The Blair/Bush White House documents


Pictured below is the memo from Secretary of State Colin Powell to George W Bush


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Part two: This second, explosive memo, drafted by the U.S. Embassy in London, reveals how Bush used Labour 'spies' to manipulate British public opinion


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David Guyatt
10-20-2015, 07:06 AM
I bet the worse thing that happens is a slap on the wrist for him. If that.

Magda Hassan
10-25-2015, 10:21 AM
I am taking Bliar's unsolicited mealy mouthed non apology for the war means this inquiry report may be coming soon. Getting his defences ready as part of the inevitable white washing to come.

Malcolm Pryce
10-25-2015, 10:26 AM
I know, what a crock! The way the media are going on you would think he had actually apologised for something. What he has effectively said is, 'I am sorry that they lied to me.'

Magda Hassan
10-25-2015, 10:37 AM
Exactly. Nothing about signing up for the war a year in advance of its actual beginning and that it was a done deal before it every got to parliament and his conspiring with Bush to make the war happen regardless of public not wanting war with Iraq. Every one, every one knew the whole pretext was absolute lies.

Lauren Johnson
10-25-2015, 04:02 PM
Exactly. Nothing about signing up for the war a year in advance of its actual beginning and that it was a done deal before it every got to parliament and his conspiring with Bush to make the war happen regardless of public not wanting war with Iraq. Every one, every one knew the whole pretext was absolute lies.

Don't forget the murder of David Kelly. "Will no one rid of this bothersome [weapons inspector]?

This is a carefully choreographed , lawyered, media trained, performance -- another version of the modified, limited hangout strategy. Mistakes were made. ::vomit::

David Guyatt
10-26-2015, 07:31 AM
I think you're all being very unfair to Tony Bliar - and my heart goes out to him. He was elected to lie and do as he pleases. We all know that, and besides this is the correct way of proceeding ---- firstly you get elected, and then do as you damn well please, and then you ignore all and any promises you made to get elected.

We call it democracy.

God bless America.

Peter Lemkin
10-26-2015, 07:57 AM
Ah, ....isn't six or seven years a rather long time to do such an 'inquiry'.....certainly weren't in any rush now were they!::zzzzz::

Michael Barwell
05-23-2016, 03:58 PM
Sunday Times yesterday - 22May2016. Poor Jack Straw, no international rescue or middle east peace envoy for what looks increasingly like the pissboy.

https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=8394&stc=1

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David Guyatt
05-24-2016, 06:54 AM
So, if that article is correct, Blair sails away with a hard slap on the hand and is not guilty of lying to the public. In his place Jack the Strawman gets his botty smacked as does Scarlett for faking the intelligence ---- even though we already know that Blair knew about and needed and wanted the intelligence faked so he could use it accordingly.

And they will have their "reputations ruined"? Is that it? Is that their collective punishment for agreeing to aid in an unnecessary and illegal war that the Neocons planned years earlier to save the Petrodollar and gain overall control of iraq's oil fields? Will Chilcot discuss the Wolfowitz Doctrine to reveal how it all came about and why? Because without going deeply into Wolfowit'z paper the real causes of the war will remain eclipsed and without it the real reasons Tony jumped on board ---- and lied to the public. A lie that Chilcot seems certain to maintain.

David Guyatt
06-11-2016, 12:17 PM
Oborne says it like it is.

Please sir, can we put America's moles, Tony and Scarlett, in prison now?



PETER OBORNE: Torture, war and how MI6 keeps on betraying Britain

By PETER OBORNE FOR THE DAILY MAIL (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Peter+Oborne+For+The+Daily+Mail)
PUBLISHED: 02:21, 11 June 2016 | UPDATED: 11:06, 11 June 2016

Most of what the British intelligence services does is secret. The world rarely learns about the bomb that does not go off. The plot that is foiled. Or the lives that are saved.
By the same token, it is normally mistakes that are made public. The traitor who defects. The terrorist who gets through. The lapse in security.
I do not question for a moment that the vast majority of intelligence officers are honourable men and women with many unsung achievements to their credit. But here I will argue that something has gone badly wrong with MI6, the service which spies for Britain overseas.
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Here I will argue that something has gone badly wrong with MI6, the service which spies for Britain overseas

The first problem concerns the Iraq war. There is a massive body of evidence - all of which has been seen by the Chilcot Inquiry, whose report will be published on July 6 - that MI6 lost its bearings as the invasion of Iraq approached in the early spring of 2003.
We can see in retrospect that MI6 did not have a clue what was going on.
The quality of its intelligence was so poor that one of its key claims - namely that Saddam Hussein was ready to attack British bases with his supposed weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes - was such complete rubbish it subsequently needed to be officially withdrawn.
To be fair, MI6 did not fabricate evidence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, as some have claimed.
However, it allowed Tony Blair to get away with making a series of confident statements about their existence, which bore little or no relation to the underlying intelligence.

MI6, therefore, allowed itself to become part of the propaganda arm of the Blair war machine. This was and remains deeply shocking, all the more so since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was Britain’s greatest foreign policy mistake at least since the infamous Munich agreement that was struck with Hitler in 1938.
It has turned out to be a global calamity and - as President Obama recently noted - helped spawn Islamic State, today the most notorious terror group in the world. MI6 ought to have warned about the dangers, not acted as a cheerleader for war.
Which brings us to the Syrian civil war, where our intelligence service has been almost as incompetent as over Iraq. The calibre of advice they have given to the Government has been wretched from the start.
They misjudged the strength of the Assad regime and suggested the Syrian dictator would soon be toppled. In doing so, they underestimated the endurance of his army.
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Mr Belhadj (above) and his wife Fatima were abducted by Americans in Thailand, from where they were planning to come to Britain and seek political asylum

Most culpably of all, they failed to anticipate how quickly the moderate Syrian opposition would be taken over by the aggressive forces of the Al-Qaeda fighting machine.
So, in Syria and earlier in Iraq, the incompetence of MI6 can hardly be exaggerated.
With a long record of entanglement in the Middle East, Britain traditionally held a special knowledge and understanding of the region. That hard-won expertise has clearly been lost.
The third recent failure of MI6, which forced its way onto the news agenda once more this week, concerns British complicity in torture during the early years of the War on Terror. There is now a mountain of evidence (invariably extracted after a series of furious official denials) that MI6 was routinely involved in what is euphemistically called ‘extraordinary rendition’ — the kidnap of terror suspects and their forcible transportation to foreign jails to be abused and tortured.
Dozens of these cases have come to light, but the best documented concerns Abdul Belhadj, for years a member of the Libyan opposition to Colonel Gaddafi.
Mr Belhadj and his wife Fatima were abducted by Americans in Thailand, from where they were planning to come to Britain and seek political asylum.
They were then flown, most likely via the British base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, to the Libyan capital of Tripoli. There, as Mr Belhadj described in a harrowing interview in yesterday’s Mail, he was held and tortured for more than six years.
So what was Britain’s role? Discovered in the bombed-out offices of Gaddafi’s intelligence chief after the 2011 revolution was a letter from a senior MI6 official called Mark Allan. This letter congratulated the Libyan government on the ‘safe arrival’ of the ‘air cargo’ — in others words, Mr Belhadj — adding that ‘it was the least we could do for you and for Libya’.
Sir Mark Allan (he has since received a knighthood) has not challenged the authenticity of the letter.
There is no question that the abduction of Mr Belhadj and his wife was against the law. The 1988 Criminal Justice Act states that carrying out or abetting torture, whether in Britain or abroad, is punishable by jail, and the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
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Tony Blair meets Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte south of Tripoli - CPS said British politicians were aware of the ‘rendition’ flights that were being carried out by America’s CIA

This meant that the Metropolitan police were obliged to mount an investigation. They have taken their duties seriously, but I have heard they have found it very hard to get co-operation from witnesses. This week, Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, announced that charges would not be pressed.
What the Crown Prosecution Service did say, however, was that British politicians were aware of the ‘rendition’ flights that were being carried out by America’s CIA.
This is the latest of a series of investigations into British involvement in torture, and each has gone nowhere. The first was carried out by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), the parliamentary body which monitors the intelligence services.
Back in 2007, the ISC concluded that claims Britain had been involved in torture were entirely false. In due course, however, it very shockingly emerged that the intelligence services had misled the committee, and that 42 key documents had been withheld from the MPs.
David Cameron promised an investigation into torture when he became prime minister in 2010, setting up an inquiry under senior judge Sir Peter Gibson. This made little progress, however, and was soon kicked into the long grass.
The contrast with the U.S. is shaming. There, the Feinstein Committee carried out an investigation into CIA involvement in torture, and did not hold back from publishing many of the most gruesome details. In Britain, we are clearly in such thrall to our intelligence services that we are incapable of holding them to account — however grave their failings.
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Sir Mark Allan (he has since received a knighthood) has not challenged the authenticity of the letter congratulated the Libyan government on the ‘safe arrival’ of the ‘air cargo’ - in others words, Mr Belhadj - adding that ‘it was the least we could do for you and for Libya’

This means we are sending out a terrible message across the world. It cannot be reiterated too often that Britain stands for a set of values — above all, decency, tolerance and humanity — which used to make us different and, I have always believed, better than many other countries.
Ultimately, it is these values that give us the right to have a voice in world affairs and to intervene across the globe.
By failing to act on the very serious evidence of British involvement in the disgusting crime of torture, we risk giving a propaganda gift of incalculable value to our opponents in terror organisations like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. They now have the ammunition to claim that Britain is as brutal and barbaric as any other regime.
The great spy writer John le Carre once wrote that ‘the only real measure of a nation’s political health is the state of its intelligence services’. If he is right, and I suspect he is, something has gone wrong with 21st-century Britain.
It is less than a month now until the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq invasion. It is essential that Sir John Chilcot holds MI6 — let off the hook over torture — to account over Iraq.
If he does not do so, we can only conclude that the British state has lost the ability to sit in judgment on its own failings — and the moral basis on which Britain has been governed for the past hundred years will be shattered once and for all.




The Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3636280/PETER-OBORNE-Torture-war-MI6-keeps-betraying-Britain.html)

Peter Lemkin
07-06-2016, 05:12 AM
drum roll.........get ready for nothing meaningful. So glad they rushed through this investigation...hope they did have enough time ::clown::

Magda Hassan
07-06-2016, 09:30 AM
drum roll.........get ready for nothing meaningful. So glad they rushed through this investigation...hope they did have enough time ::clown::

Yeah, 2009 till now. The speed of a sloth on Valium. Hoping it would all just go away. Evidence disappear. Witnesses die. Boredom to set in.

Drew Phipps
07-06-2016, 03:47 PM
12 volumes long and around 2.6 million words in length. The Warren Report for our times?

Peter Lemkin
07-07-2016, 03:11 AM
Too little and too late...but none the less damning. Blair spoke with crocodile tears afterwards, apologized, but said he'd do it all over again...but meanwhile NO ONE mentioned the 'New Pearl Harbor' events of September 11, 2001 used to false-flag trigger the Iraq [and other] war[s]. I haven't heard anyone on the MSM making this connection. They just do NOT get it......::face.palm::

The inquiry, as late and flawed as it is, is still good enough to bring criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic...but I'd not hold my breath on that! ::sad::

The lesson the elites have learned.....better propaganda, and better hidden lies next time.::drwho::

David Guyatt
07-07-2016, 06:46 AM
Too little and too late...but none the less damning. Blair spoke with crocodile tears afterwards, apologized, but said he'd do it all over again...but meanwhile NO ONE mentioned the 'New Pearl Harbor' events of September 11, 2001 used to false-flag trigger the Iraq [and other] war[s]. I haven't heard anyone on the MSM making this connection. They just do NOT get it......::face.palm::

The inquiry, as late and flawed as it is, is still good enough to bring criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic...but I'd not hold my breath on that! ::sad::

The lesson the elites have learned.....better propaganda, and better hidden lies next time.::drwho::

I think the MSM get it, Pete, they just won't say it.

The report was a little bit more damning than I thought there would be. Chilcot showed that the decision to go to war was not legal and was, therefore, a war of aggression. It's now over to the families to see if they can bring a private prosecution of Blair. They want to. But they need the evidence that will make a strong case.