The full extent of how Tony Blair misled the public about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction before and after the Iraq War was laid bare yesterday.
The Chilcot Inquiry heard that just ten days before the invasion of Iraq Mr Blair was told Saddam had no way of using weapons of mass destruction.
And weapons experts revealed that the former Prime Minister took Britain to war based on intelligence that his own spies rated just ‘four out of ten’ for accuracy.
On the eve of the conflict, intelligence chiefs told Mr Blair that the Iraqi dictator had no warheads capable of delivering chemical weapons, dramatically undermining the Prime Minister’s case for war.
Yet Mr Blair gave the go-ahead for the invasion despite strong evidence that Iraq was no threat to Britain. Then, after the war, officials had to tell Mr Blair not to ‘declare success too rapidly’ in the quest to find WMD in Iraq as he continued to make misleading statements claiming that ‘massive evidence’ had been found.
The revelations reinforce the case that intelligence evidence that Saddam was no threat was ignored by Mr Blair to take Britain to war on a false prospectus. Sir William Ehrman, former Director General of Defence and Intelligence at the Foreign Office, said that on March 10, 2003 – ten days before the start of the war – British spies reported that Iraq had ‘disassembled’ what chemical weapons it had.
He said: ‘On March 10 we got a report saying that the chemical weapons might have remained disassembled and that Saddam hadn’t yet ordered their re-assembly and he might lack warheads capable of effective dispersal of agents.’ The evidence was summarised in a Joint Intelligence Committee report circulated in Whitehall on March 19.
Sir William blamed ‘contradictory intelligence’ for the failure to put the brakes on. But Tim Dowse, Foreign Office head of counter-proliferation between 2000 and 2002, also revealed that a month earlier, in February 2003, UN weapons inspector Hans Blix had made clear that he did not believe the mythical weapons existed.
‘He raised it at a meeting with ministers,’ Mr Dowse said. The most damning testimony concerned Downing Street’s decision to write the now infamous dossier in September 2002 to make the case for war. Both WMD experts made clear that ‘huge gaps’ in intelligence on Iraq were flagged up to ministers, leaving them with no excuse when the caveats were removed from the final dossier.
Sir William said experts concluded that there never was ‘an imminent threat’ from Iraq, describing it only as a ‘clear and present threat’. …
Asked about suggestions that the 45-minute claim referred to WMDs which could be used by Iraq to strike another nation, Mr Dowse said: ‘I don’t think we ever said that it was for use in a ballistic missile in that way.’ Inquiry panel member Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman pointed out: ‘But you didn’t say it wasn’t.’ But Mr Dowse admitted that he had pushed for the inclusion of a paragraph on how some Iraqi missiles could hit British bases in Cyprus.
That became conflated with the 45 minute claim at the time, leaving many members of the public with the impression that weapons of mass destruction could be deployed on longrange missiles to hit British targets. The dossier eventually read that Saddam’s ‘military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them. I am quite clear that Saddam will go to extreme lengths, indeed has already done so, to hide these weapons and avoid giving them up’.
In his foreword, Mr Blair wrote: ‘What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and that he has been able to extend the range of his ballistic missile programme.’via Iraq was only fourth on WMD risk list, inquiry hears | Mail Online.
Shouldn’t lies that get people killed be some kind of crime or something? Well, remember that all of this was after Dick Cheney’s secret energy meeting, which resulted in a final report on May 16, 2001. I guess if US and UK leaders knew about a coming disaster, they were trying to save their citizens from death and starvation which would result from a lack of Iraq’s oil when demand outstrips supply. … and see this … and now this:
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation’s latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.
“Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources,” he added.
A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was “imperative not to anger the Americans” but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. “We have [already] entered the ‘peak oil’ zone. I think that the situation is really bad,” he added.
The IEA acknowledges the importance of its own figures, boasting on its website: “The IEA governments and industry from all across the globe have come to rely on the World Energy Outlook to provide a consistent basis on which they can formulate policies and design business plans.”
The British government, among others, always uses the IEA statistics rather than any of its own to argue that there is little threat to long-term oil supplies.
The IEA said tonight that peak oil critics had often wrongly questioned the accuracy of its figures. A spokesman said it was unable to comment ahead of the 2009 report being released tomorrow.
John Hemming, the MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil and gas, said the revelations confirmed his suspicions that the IEA underplayed how quickly the world was running out and this had profound implications for British government energy policy.
He said he had also been contacted by some IEA officials unhappy with its lack of independent scepticism over predictions. “Reliance on IEA reports has been used to justify claims that oil and gas supplies will not peak before 2030. It is clear now that this will not be the case and the IEA figures cannot be relied on,” said Hemming. – guarduk
The responsible thing to do would be to tell the world the truth and have everyone cut back on energy use NOW. We should be using our last oil to find alternatives. The path we are on, blindly using oil like it is unlimited, means we will hit a brick wall and face some serious problems in the next few years. Chaos, collapse of economies, starvation, dogs and cats sleeping together….