Monday, February 18, 2008

Yes indeed, the intel most certainly was "sexed up" to sell the war

Last month, an information tribunal in the U.K. ordered the Foreign Office to release an early draft of the dossier on Iraq's (non existent) weapons of mass destruction. That was the only way, the tribunal argued, to be assured that the intel used was solid, and to put to rest the charges that the intelligence had been 'sexed up' to help Tony Blair help George Bush sell the invasion of Iraq.

Today, the foreign office complied. And what do you know? The intel Blair touted was as cooked as a Christmas goose.
The 2002 document insisted Saddam Hussein's regime had acquired uranium and had equipment necessary for chemical weapons, but does not contain a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes — an allegation crucial to Blair's push to back the 2004 U.S.-led invasion that later was discredited.

Campaigners allege that the 45-minute claim was inserted into later drafts of the document on the orders of Blair's press advisers, who were seeking to strengthen the case for invasion — a claim the government has strongly denied.

Mondays document release prompted Liberal Democrat parliamentarian Edward Davey to state that he believed the Williams Document was evidence that government press officers played a decisive role in drafting intelligence reports in the pre-war period. "A press official should never have been drafting a document that ended up being used as the justification for going to war. There has to be a clear distinction between those that offer impartial intelligence advice and the government's spin machine," Davey said.

A second document was published in February 2003, the month before the invasion. That second document was found to have repeated verbatim sections from an academic research study on Iraq's supposed WMD's and the concealment and destruction thereof.

Hans Blix, former UN chief weapons inspector, was quoted last year as saying he believed that Tony Blair had gone through the intelligence dossiers and replaced "question marks with exclamation marks" to sell the war.

The Brits have their own version of "sixteen words" and that is what all the fuss is about.

On September 24, 2002, Tony Blair presented a final draft of the first dossier, which contained the claim that Iraq not only had weapons but that they could be deployed in 45 minutes. This was a blatant lie, inserted by press officers, with the specific intent of whipping up support for the invasion of Iraq.
Lord Butler's 2004 official inquiry into intelligence on Iraq did not fault Blair's government, but criticized intelligence officials for relying in part on seriously flawed or unreliable sources.

Butler said the dossiers had pushed the government's case to the limits of available intelligence and left out vital caveats.

Government weapons scientist David Kelly killed himself in 2003 after he was exposed as the source of a British Broadcasting Corp. report that accused Blair's Downing Street office of "sexing up" intelligence to make a stronger case for war.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Williams acknowledged Monday that many within the government had failed to spot problems with Blair's case for joining the invasion of Iraq.

"Others were more perceptive, including one of the ministers I advised for a time, (ex-Foreign Secretary) Robin Cook," Williams wrote. Cook, who died in 2005, resigned from Blair's Cabinet in opposition to the war, claiming he could not support military action without international approval.

Now Blair is gone and Bush is going. They both blatantly lied, and they got their unjustified, illegal war that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and led to the premature deaths of perhaps a million more. Every one of those souls cries out from the grave for justice, that the feckless men, masquerading as leaders, who told the lies and sold the war be held accountable.

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