August 19, 2003

No. 10 knew: Iraq no threat

Another US soldier died in Iraq overnight (for what?), and yes,
just now, at least 15 UN workers (including the UN
envoy) were killed in a car bombing in Iraq. Couple the carnage in Iraq escalating daily with the escalating violence and chaos in Afghanistan and the ruin of the Israel/Palestine peace process once shepherded by duly elected US Presidents, as opposed to malignly neglected by an illegitimate _resident...But what will the "US mainstream news media" do with this
story? Will it connect the HUGE dots that lead to the
painful and irrefutable fact that this military
adventure was foolish and unnessecary? Here is the
latest from America's best newspaper, the U.K.
Guardian on the investigation into the circumstances
surrounding the death of Dr.
has an awful lot to answer for, so does the
_resident...The British press will do it part in
responsible for his role (it already has ripped the
facade of the lies), but will the US press to the same
with the _resident? Please read this story and share
it with others so that the hundred of our own precious
US GIs killed so far and these noble UN workers killed
today have not died completely in vain...There must be
a day of political reckoning for the Bush cabal....,13747,1021534,00.html

No 10 knew: Iraq no threat

Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Watt
Tuesday August 19, 2003
The Guardian

One of the prime minister's closest advisers issued a
private warning that it would be wrong for Tony Blair
to claim Iraq's banned weapons programme showed Saddam
Hussein presented an "imminent threat" to the west or
even his Arab neighbours.

In a message that goes to the heart of the
government's case for war, the Downing Street chief of
staff, Jonathan Powell, raised serious doubts about
the nature of September's Downing Street dossier on
Iraq's banned weapons.

"We will need to make it clear in launching the
document that we do not claim that we have evidence
that he is an imminent threat," Mr Powell wrote a week
before the document was finally published on September

His remarks urging caution contrasted with the
chilling language used by Mr Blair in a passionate
speech in the Commons as he launched the dossier a
week later.

He described Iraq's prog-ramme for weapons of mass
destruction as "active, detailed, and growing... It is
up and running now."

Mr Powell's private concerns came in the form of an
email which was copied to Alastair Campbell, Downing
Street's director of communications, and Sir David
Manning, Tony Blair's foreign policy adviser.

The fact the three closest men to the prime minister
knew of this information strongly suggests Mr Blair
would have been aware.

Downing Street also faced severe embarrassment
yesterday when the Hutton inquiry was told the prime
minister's official spokesman in an email had
described the government's battles with the BBC as a
"game of chicken".

The email revealed how senior Downing Street officials
- and on occasion Mr Blair himself - became intimately
involved in the events which led to the death of the
government scientist David Kelly.

Mr Powell was the first Downing Street official to
appear before the inquiry. Within minutes of taking
the witness stand, he was asked about his explosive
email to John Scarlett, chairman of the joint
intelligence committee. Writing on September 17, he
said he believed the arms dossier "does nothing to
demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat
from Saddam".

He added: "In other words, it shows he has the means
but it does not demonstrate he has the motive to
attack his neighbours, let alone the west."

The case the government was making, said Mr Powell,
was that "he has continued to develop WMD since 1998,
and is in breach of UN resolutions".

The Hutton inquiry heard last week that the final
version contained claims that a senior defence
intelligence official agreed were "noticeably"
hardened up.

They included a claim in the dossier's foreword,
signed by Mr Blair, that Iraqi chemical and biological
weapons would be "ready" within 45 minutes of an order
to deploy them.

Mr Blair also described Iraq as posing a "serious and
current threat".

Documents disclosed by the inquiry yesterday reveal
the close interest Mr Blair and Mr Campbell showed in
the dossier as it was being prepared.

On September 5, Mr Campbell's office emailed Mr Powell
with the message: "Re dossier, substantial rewrite.
Structure as per TB [Tony Blair] discussion." The
email refers to the need for "real intelligence
material". Mr Powell responds by asking, "will 'TB'
have something he can read" on the plane on his way to
meet President George Bush.

The Hutton inquiry yesterday revealed that top
officials in the Ministry of Defence and Downing
Street - and Mr Blair himself - made it clear they
wanted Dr Kelly to give evidence both in private to
the parliamentary intelligence and security committee
(ISC) and in public to the Commons foreign affairs
committee (FAC) despite the intense personal pressure
he was under.

The government was worried about what Dr Kelly, who
had criticised the language in the dossier, would tell

In an email to Clare Sumner, one of the prime
minister's private secretaries, Mr Powell wrote: "We
tried the prime minister out on Kelly before FAC and
ISC next Tuesday. He thought he probably had to do
both but need to be properly prepared beforehand."

Three days earlier, on July 7, Mr Blair asked his
closest advisers what they "knew of Dr Kelly's views
on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, what would he
say if he appeared before the ISC or the FAC".

Sir Kevin Tebbit, the top civil servant at the
Ministry of Defence, warned that Dr Kelly might say
some "uncomfortable" things.

The inquiry heard that the Downing Street press office
was kept closely in touch with the MoD's strategy
which led to Dr Kelly's name being made public. On the
day he was named, July 10, one of those officials, Tom
Kelly, wrote his devastating email to Mr Powell.

"This is now a game of chicken with the Beeb - the
only way they will shift is they see the screw
tightening," he wrote.

He was referring to plans to make the scientist appear
before the committees in the hope of forcing the BBC
to confirm that Dr Kelly was its source.

Posted by richard at August 19, 2003 01:53 PM