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Sunday, June 01, 2003
The wodges of mass deception

The absence so far of any weapons of mass destruction does not mean unequivocally that 'forty-five minutes to readiness' was a form of porkie. However, the likelihood of finding them now seems much reduced. If weapons are going to be useable at short notice, they have to be readily available - hiding them thoroughly makes very little sense.

As I have blogged before, in particular on 4th September, the whole Iraq exercise began with a lie:
The old lie (mistake)

On BBC's 'Today' programme, today, their correspondent, Mr X, repeated the assertion that the UNSCOM weapons inspectors had been kicked out of Iraq. We expect greater things from the BBC - the weapons inspectors were withdrawn.

It is interesting that such an important fact should have been twisted in just a few years. Is this oft-repeated lie (mistake) part of the propaganda campaign in favour of military intervention?
That lie, easily disproved, was frequently repeated. Tony Blair and Jack Straw, when challenged about this have suggested that there wasn't much difference.

Now, when a position begins with a lie and is then justified with questionable (i.e. forged) intelligence, (Iraqi arrangements to import uranium ore), one has to scrutinise the rest of the case more critically; one always doubts the words of proven liars. Tony Blair is quite rightly being taken to task for having misled the country. It is worth remembering that Bill Clinton was harried simply for having lied about a personal relationship. Who amongst us would not do the same to keep something similar from their spouse?

Lying to the country is a different matter, especially when it leads to war. However much one believes in a cause, it should stand or fall on its own merits - it becomes polluted if the lily is over-egged or the pudding gilded. The BBC's
Defence reporter Andrew Gilligan was claiming that key elements of the dossier on Iraq published last September - specifically the suggestion that Saddam had chemical weapons ready to use within 45 minutes - were thrown in to 'sex up' painfully thin material - against the wishes of intelligence officers.

Gilligan was right in the broad brush, if not in the detail. The material had been 'sexed up' - as the spooks alleged - but by more subtle and more pernicious means
according to this article in today's Observer. I do hope that Andrew Gilligan continues to rubbish Blair's dossier and his excuses for the war. People who have been misled are entitled to turn on those that have duped them.

Andrew has a particular grievance: he was one of the first people I heard stating that UNSCOM weapons inspectors had been expelled from Iraq - he is the 'Mr X' in the paragraphs from my September 4th blog. [He was properly identified in my original piece.] Doubtless, he was influenced by Downing Street porkies but the scales are off his eyes now. That Andrew was hoodwinked once should make him very tenacious in digging into the lie machine. Go to it, Andrew.

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