Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Draft 'Dodgy dossier' online

An early draft of the infamous 'Dodgy dossier' is now online (1). A quick skim shows it contains NO reference WHAT-SO-EVER to the infamous claim that Hussien had chemical weapons he could deploy in 45 minutes, which was foregrounded in the introduction of the final version - and which Tony Blair mentioned again in the House of Commons (2).

For the record, the original dossier is available here (3). The '45 minute' claim occurs three times.

In his introduction to the dossier, Blair wrote:

Saddam has used chemical weapons, not only against an enemy state, but against his own people. Intelligence reports make clear that he sees the building up of his WMD capability, and the belief overseas that he would use these weapons, as vital to his strategic interests, and in particular his goal of regional domination. And the document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them. (4)

Further on in the dossier proper, the claim was made as follows:

Iraq's military forces are able to use chemical and biological weapons, with command, control and logistical arrangements in place. The Iraqi military are able to deploy these weapons within forty five minutes of a decision to do so. (5)

That is from the summary at the start of the chapter. Further on, it is admitted that infact the claim relies on 'intelligence':

Saddam's willingness to use chemical and biological weapons: intelligence indicates that as part of Iraq's military planning, Saddam is willing to use chemical and biological weapons, including against an internal uprising by the Shia population. Intelligence indicates that the Iraqi military are able to deploy chemical or biological weapons within forty five minutes of an order to do so. (6)

I'm sure the Iraqi army could deploy chemical and biological WMD against the hapless people of Iraq within 45 minutes. They had enjoyed plenty of practise, after all. The tabloid campaign that followed created the impression that Britain itself wmight be menaced within 45 minutes. It was a false lie, tacitly supported by Blair, who never bestirred himslef to say, "Look, about that 45 minute thing, think people have rather the wrong idea. Just to clear it up ..."

But that would have undermined the whole purpose of including it in the first place. And the second place. And third. And the mention in parliament. Not sexed up? I'd laugh if it was so bloody sick-inducing.

1 - The draft is very rough indeed, with scribbeld comments and bracketed asides and a plaintive request for information about the Halbja massacre. Is it not a concern that the draft was prepared by someone wwho seemed to have n o familiarity with the regime he was describing? (http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/wmd_jul_2002.pdf)
2 - 'Prime Minister's Iraq Statement to Parliament,' by Tony Blair, 24th of September, 2002. (http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page1727.asp)
3 - 'Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction - The assessment of the British Government,' by various scurrilous liars and wonks. (http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page271.asp)
4 - 'Prime Minister's foreword to the Iraq dossier,' by Tony Blair, scurrilous-liar-in-chief. (
http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page284.asp)
5 - 'Chapter 3: the current position 1998-2002,' by various scurrilous liars and wonks. (
http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page275.asp)
6 - ibid.

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