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|Letter after the death of Dr. David Kelly: Iraq||On this website I don't seek to represent the opinions of others or take their conversations with me out of context, so these paragraphs are some of what I have said in the context of discussion but with the discussion removed. These show a letter to my MP Shona McIsaac, who can be easily described as a government loyalist, and emails to news broadcasting organisations.|
|Email after the Hutton Report|
|Second email after the Hutton Report|
I do not normally write to you about national issues but wish to do so now regarding the September 2002 and February 2003 dossiers regarding arguments for going to war with Iraq. I think it is important to say that such issues matter and matter a great deal, especially now it seems a scientist who appeared in front of the Foreign Affairs committee of the House of Commons has taken his own life.
As regards the February dossier Alistair Campbell called this a "mistake". This was not a mistake on his and his staff's part, but surely a clear attempt at deception, to take a Ph.D thesis and pass it off as intelligence, including, apparently, to his own boss. Alistair Campbell was also involved in the presentational side of presenting intelligence (how far does that change the words?). At the same time Alistair Campbell said now he has apologised so should a BBC journalist for quoting a single source when other officials (a long list) said the 45 minutes was not sexed up.
To me, a whole longer line of people in official places could have been saying this - we have here a journalist doing his job. Whether Dr Kelly was the main source or not, to the committee he said that 45 minutes to Saddam Hussein giving an order to fire weapons and them being despatched was not credible. Somewhere somebody said it was, or in "1984" speech, used a form of words that referred to something else - it depends what you mean, Dr Kelly had said.
This 1984 speech means something like Tony Blair talking about a "final push for peace" when what he meant was the run up to a war. I think George Bush had decided to go to war to Iraq, which in other circumstances might have been Libya, because of the American reaction to the 11th September 2001. Iraq was their pain in their side. Tony Blair, I believe, decided he would go along with this, and began to call in the intelligence to support the case. When I talk to my friends, none of us believe any different. We think the government is misleading everyone, we think the Prime Minister is misleading everyone. They settled on the weapons of mass destruction argument as the one most likely to go through the United Nations, if only just, but in the end now justify it by Iraq's non co-operation and resolution 1441 and others before. There is that unpublished legal opinion about this too.
At the heart of this, and why we have the Andrew Gilligans and the Dr Kellys informing journalists of his work, is because of the secret state. It hides behind secrecy, and digs itself into an ever deeper hole of not coming clean to the public after the event.
The reason that the detainees in Guantanamo Bay matter is because it shows that Tony Blair only takes orders and has little influence. His speech to the Congress made my toes curl in embarassment: we call it crawling and rolling over. The British were being blamed at that point for bad intelligence over Niger, intelligence not sent to the IAEA if it exists. Of course it does not exist, because again it is another aspect of our secret State.
The death of Dr Kelly should mean a full and wide independent enquiry into the run up to the war, not just a narrow one regarding whether Dr Kelly went to the committee on his own or was forced. He probably decided the issues were so big he would go to the committee. The MOD/ government can see the advantage in that -whereas they were spinning that he was the mole some weeks back.
As my MP I would like to say to you that Alistair Campell should be kicked out of his job, or go fast, and that there should be a wide enquiry into the basis of weapons intelligence. I do not think Tony Blair can be re-elected now as a prime minister because there is a stink at the heart of government due to the secret state, and about motives and reasons for going to war. Why is it that we are such a poodle, and we can yet still be friendly, of the United States? My view is that it is because their defence systems are in our country, intermeshed with ours, that intelligence is shared, and in this sense we are their off shore island. I think a British Prime Minister has a high hurdle to climb indeed to say no to an American President intent on war. The French and Germans had such guts when weighing up the poor intelligence and lack of threat, but we did not.
To: Channel 4 News
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 20:27:48
Subject: Hutton Enquiry
We know that words presented by the Joint Intelligence Committee to the Number 10 machine thought to be too weak in making the case for war were sent back to it for strengthening, and sentences were changed to remove doubt. For example, it was said if Saddam was attacked he might resort to chemical and biological weapons. This was changed to remove the if Saddam was attacked. The fact that the JIC accepted these changes means that they were part of the presentation-publicity in the case for war as well as the Number 10 machine. Now Gilligan got a good basis of a story sensationalised and wrong, which newspapers do all the time, and the BBC never checked it and got into a trench of defence (like the government was in one of attack). Susan Watts' own story was itself powerful. But this does not alter the fact that intelligence, even the spectacularly bad intelligence, was changed by the government as a whole. I do not think words like "subconscious" (imprecise for a judge) come into it. Also, I cannot understand what the judge means by Dr Kelly being a difficult man to help. Clarity of processes are quite enough. This reference in his summing up, almost a slur, is a subjective statement and threw doubts in my mind about the basis of reasoning towards other conclusions in his report. And it is a report, he is a judge, and is not holy grail. He does give the government the benefit of the doubt everywhere, and there is clear recorded doubt alright, and the BBC was already aware of the errors made in how it failed to check its reporter's story.
What reporters need to do is return to the evidence as a whole: do the conclusions match the evidence?
Is it the case, entirely, that the naming of Dr Kelly by a means not giving his name but also giving his name, was because his name would be revealed by appearance at the Foreign Affairs Committee who needed to know that a person had come forward and would probably want to interview him. Why was that committee then told not to touch on certain subjects because Kelly, in his knowledge, would not support entirely government opinion on the report the JIC had changed? That is not whiter than white, is it?
To: Feedback BBC Radio 4; Channel 4 News
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 14:10:29
When I listened to, watched about and read the Hutton report I took the view that the judge would be trapped by the openness of the evidence. That the conclusions give all the benefit of the doubt to the government in the concerns of weapons experts and the exchanges between Alistair Campbell and JIC, but none to the BBC and the journalistic process, Journalists must now return to the evidence and examine the relationships that Hutton clearly thinks are beyond reproach: an intelligence approach, with ifs and buts and if Saddam Hussain is attacked he may do this, turned into a publicity document that said he will do these things with imminent threats to our security. The government did this alteration to carry through its policy intentioin of going to war. This dossier was government machine produced, and the JIC was in on it in combination with Number 10.