Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scarlett accused of misleading inquiry.

Sir John Scarlett has been accused of lying to the Chilcot inquiry about the reliability of the evidence Britain relied upon before invading Iraq.

Sir John Scarlett, who was responsible for drafting the Government's controversial 2002 dossier outlining the case for invading Iraq, claimed last week that intelligence indicating Iraq possessed missiles that could be launched within 45 minutes was "reliable and authoritative". But Scarlett's evidence is contradicted by the most senior WMD analyst who saw the original intelligence. Brian Jones said that it was vague, inconclusive and unreliable.

Dr Jones, who was head of the nuclear, chemical and biological branch of the Defence Intelligence Staff in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, told The Independent that it was "absolutely clear" that the intelligence the Government relied upon was coming from untried sources. The 45-minute claim was one of the key assertions that convinced MPs to take Britain to war.

"Having said there was the intelligence to show Iraq had WMD, there was no indication in what [Scarlett] said about what is now very well known, that those additional pieces of new intelligence were all caveated," said Dr Jones. "Information was coming from untried sources – that is absolutely clear." He added that Scarlett crucially misled the inquiry about the source of the information. "The description Scarlett gave for the secondary source, who passed the information on, was 'reliable and authoritative'... If he is passing on information from someone who has never reported before then that is a nonsense."
It would appear that many people who were silenced in the run up to the Iraq war are now keen to have their moment in the sun.

First, the civil servants lined up to portray Blair as exaggerating what was known about Saddam's weaponry, and now the head of the nuclear, chemical and biological branch of the Defence Intelligence Staff in the run-up to the Iraq invasion is sticking in his two cents worth, reminding us that Scarlett is simply repeating things which we now know to be false.

I still have no faith that someone like Chilcot will do anything useful with this information, but it's interesting to watch how many people are using this inquiry as an opportunity to pull back the veil on what occurred before that disastrous invasion. And to make it very clear that, far from engaging "in good faith" as Blair always like to claim, these people were actively selling us a puppy. They had stopped asking whether or not Saddam was a danger, rather they had decided that he must go and were actively looking for "different arguments" which would enable them to remove him.

They will soon make the argument that the world is better off without Saddam. Which is really a way to circumnavigate their own illegality and argue that the ends justify the means.

Click here for full article.

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