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December 15, 2006

UK Whistleblower Testimony Released After 2 1/2 Years

A big story from England:

The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Carne Ross:

I was First Secretary in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York from December 1997 until June 2002. I was responsible for Iraq policy in the mission, including policy on sanctions, weapons inspections and liaison with UNSCOM and later UNMOVIC...

I read the available UK and US intelligence on Iraq every working day for the four and a half years of my posting...

During my posting, at no time did HMG assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests. On the contrary, it was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained. I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed). (At the same time, we would frequently argue, when the US raised the subject, that "regime change" was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos.)

Any assessment of threat has to include both capabilities and intent. Iraq's capabilities in WMD were moot: many of the UN's weapons inspectors (who, contrary to popular depiction, were impressive and professional) would tell me that they believed Iraq had no significant materiel. With the exception of some unaccounted-for Scud missiles, there was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of CW, BW or nuclear material.

(via via)

Posted at December 15, 2006 09:10 AM | TrackBack

Shocked. Simply shocked. Who could have imagined they would lie about something as important as the reason for going to war?

The real crime here, of course, is the exposure of state secrets. The terrorists have won.

Posted by: JeffC at December 15, 2006 09:20 AM

I've quit pining for a parliamentary system, since it doesn't seem that Blair's paying any penalty for egregious lying.

Is the Carne Ross revelation going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back, or have Brits just given up on everything except getting their troops out?

Posted by: Nell at December 15, 2006 05:34 PM

How is this news? And yet, it is.

Posted by: DK Johnson at December 15, 2006 05:47 PM

If Carne Ross' wife works for MI-6, she's about to get her cover blown.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at December 15, 2006 06:32 PM

Just taking basic, common sense analysis, it was clear they were lying back in 2002-2003.

First, they claimed that a country had WMDs and it was also clear that said country had not invaded or attacked anyone for 12 years.... therefore, everything and anything should be tried prior to starting a war - unless what you wanted was war.

Second, the Cheney administration claimed they knew where the WMDs were - and we had UN weapons inspectors in the country - so, why didn't the Cheney administration tell the UN inspectors where the WMDs were?

These two common sense items should have let anyone know they were lying, yet the American public mostly believed the stupid lies. Some still do!!

And the most amazing lie was in July 2003 when Bush told the press that Saddam did not allow UN inspectors back into Iraq - and they did not challenge him!

I do think some Americans get up every day and look in the mirror and swear to stay stupid all day long.

Posted by: Susan at December 15, 2006 09:07 PM

you know that bit about 'you can't fool all of the people all of the time'? i bet the chumps at the white house have never heard of such a thing

Posted by: almostinfamous at December 16, 2006 01:16 AM

This isn't really anything new. The Butler report tells us that UK policy towards Iraq was changed due to a change in American policy. Basically, everything Tony Blair has said about Iraq since then has been misleading at best

Posted by: jojo at December 16, 2006 01:55 AM

Much like the troop hike, this final slow motion exposure of the scandal and lie we all knew about two years ago is designed to do one thing- run out the clock. Bush has two years left and there is no way he can make it if people start investigating him. So if we can make theater of the investigations themselves in England ala Iran Contra, and we can up the troop slightly to position for retreat in the US ala the Johnson years all over, we can effectively run out the clock on the bush administration.

The alternative is that Bush pays the piper now and leaves office. Tony of course goes first, because as soon as he is no longer blackmailable the English will be more than willing to release the hounds to the willing opposition in American to take down Bush. So therefore to keep bush we must keep blair and so that means empty of meaning Iran Contra hearing on naughty Tony until Bush leaves office. The should have forced Blair out pre November elections so we could have gotten Tennesee and the iron clad majority needed to get Bush out.

Costly mistake on both sides of the pond.

Posted by: patience at December 16, 2006 03:05 AM

patience, who are these hounds that the brits are storing in their kennels, waiting to unleash into washington?

Posted by: hedgehog at December 16, 2006 04:31 AM