British Gov’t Lied About WMDs
At a time when nearly everyone is wondering just how the hell we’re going to get out of Iraq, new evidence comes to light that proves, once again, that we never should have gone there.
While American administration officials were using British intelligence claims to back up their war drums, the British knew – and had told the Americans – Saddam had no WMDs.
What a surprise.
From the Independent: [all emphasis mine]
The Government’s case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
A devastating attack on Mr Blair’s justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain’s key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.
In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, “at no time did HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] assess that Iraq’s WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests.”
Mr Ross revealed it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been “effectively contained”.
He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. “I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed),” he said.
“At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that ‘regime change’ was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos.”
Mr Ross says he questioned colleagues at the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence working on Iraq and none said that any new evidence had emerged to change their assessment.
“What had changed was the Government’s determination to present available evidence in a different light,” he added.
Read the full article here.
Read more at the Independent:
Full transcript of the evidence given by Carne Ross to the Butler inquiry.
I read the available UK and US intelligence on Iraq every working day for the four and a half years of my posting. This daily briefing would often comprise a thick folder of material, both humint and sigint. I also talked often and at length about Iraq’s WMD to the international experts who comprised the inspectors of UNSCOM/UNMOVIC, whose views I would report to London. In addition, I was on many occasions asked to offer views in contribution to Cabinet Office assessments, including the famous WMD dossier (whose preparation began some time before my departure in June 2002).
During my posting, at no time did HMG assess that Iraq’s WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests. On the contrary, it was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained. I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed). (At the same time, we would frequently argue, when the US raised the subject, that “r¿gime change” was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos.) […]
Carne Ross wrestled with his conscience for three more months after he secretly submitted evidence to the Butler committee into the use of pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Beset by long-standing private doubts about the Government’s Iraq policy which he had implemented for four years in New York, he had previously drafted “about six” resignation letters in the past which he never sent.
But after emailing his testimony to the Butler committee from Kosovo where he was on secondment, Mr Ross realised that he had probably jeopardised his 15-year career. After agonising for another three months, he sent another email in September 2004, this time terminating his employment with the Foreign Office. He was 38. […]
Commentary in the Independent by Anne Penketh: Saddam seen as no threat – then politicians got to work.
We have had the gossipy version on the run-up to the Iraq war from Tony Blair’s ambassador to Washington, Christopher Meyer, aka the “red-socked fop”. We have not, sadly, been able to read the account of Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former UN ambassador whose memoirs have been blocked by the Foreign Office.
But with the publication of Carne Ross’s statement to the Butler committee we have an insider’s view as to the state of Britain’s Iraq policy before the politicians seized it by the scruff of the neck in 2002.
Mr Ross suggests that the Bush administration was not the only government which changed the intelligence and the facts to fit the policy before the Iraq invasion. Even though he left Britain’s UN mission in mid-2002 he confirms that the prevailing wisdom throughout his four years as first secretary in New York was that Iraq’s WMD did not represent a direct threat, and had been contained by sanctions.
But as we now know, thanks to a secret Downing Street memo dated 23 July 2002, military action was already seen as “inevitable” by Washington which wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein. “The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” the memo said. […]
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