New evidence reveals the extent to which those drafting the Iraqi arms dossier colluded with the US on Alastair Campbell's instructions. Fresh evidence has emerged that Tony Blair's (pictured left) discredited Iraqi arms dossier was "sexed up" on the instructions of, his communications chief, to fit with claims from the US administration that were known to be false. The pre-invasion dossier's worst-case estimate of how long it would take to acquire a nuclear weapon was shortened in response to a George Bush speech. As Campbell prepares to appear before the Iraq inquiry on Tuesday, new evidence reveals the extent to which – on his instructions – those drafting the notorious dossier colluded with the US administration to make exaggerated claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. In a keynote speech to the UN on 12 September 2002, Bush claimed: "Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year." This contradicted the first draft of the British dossier, drawn up two days earlier, which stated that it would take "at least two years" for Iraq to get the bomb. The Cabinet Office has disclosed under the Act that those who drafted the dossier were immediately asked to compare British claims against the US president's speech. The next day the dossier's timescale was halved to claim Iraq could get the bomb in a year. – UK Guardian
Dominant Social Theme: How a special relationship was tended.
Free-Market Analysis: We are trying to cover what's going on in Britain regarding the war on terror since we have noticed that it's not getting a great deal of coverage on the other side of the pond. Wonder why that is? Some pretty troubling info is being revealed, but what is surprising to us is that it is going on at all. In America, it would be the equivalent of hauling FBI and CIA agents into Congress and grilling them about the apparent lies over the 9/11, etc. But still it is happening in Britain.
It could be that public indignation is so high in Britain – much higher still than in the United States – that the powers that be felt they had to do something, and so this inquest. But what is emerging is rank manipulation of threat assessment and other information in order to align the British position with the American one, thus preserving the "special relationship" and ultimately a war effort. Here's some more from the article:
The commissioner also accidentally released a secret list of documents that he allowed the government to withhold on national security grounds. These included an email dated 13 September 2002 "covering a copy of a Bush speech to compare with UK dossier claims". The Cabinet Office has confirmed the speech was the one Bush gave to the UN the day before.
A new draft of the British weapons dossier virtually eliminated the difference between the US and UK positions. When Blair presented the dossier to parliament 11 days later, he said that Iraq might get the bomb in "a year or two".
The JIC, which prepares formal intelligence assessments, considered the scenario so unlikely that it did not estimate how long it might take.
New evidence has also emerged of Scarlett's extensive US consultation on the dossier. On the same day as the Bush speech, Scarlett met political and intelligence officials in Washington to discuss the dossier, according to a previously classified US state department memo.
The government has sought to conceal evidence of Scarlett's consultations with the US over the dossier. One email sent to Campbell was disclosed to the Hutton inquiry with a sentence blacked out. It was later disclosed that the sentence was: "Clearly John will be speaking to US."
The Iraq inquiry has already floated the concept that the Iraq war was arranged at a top secret meeting between then Prime Minister Tony Blair and George Bush at the Bush Texas ranch, early on in Bush's administration. If so, the effort of British bureaucratic underlings to keep Britain's posture in line with Bush's ratcheting accusations about Iraq is not surprising.
Was there a threat? Perhaps so. But it was a spark tended to with grim determination. It was aerated and fueled until it was big enough to burn on its own. And the manipulation, unlike most, is being uncovered while resultant conflagrations still blaze. Perhaps we can thank the Internet for that – and the constant pressure that certain Western reporters and concerned citizens have brought on both the American and British governments. We anticipate this pressure will grow.
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