Sunday, 17 February 2008

The spin begins

The Observer appears to have been tipped off that the government will tomorrow cave in and release the secrect John Williams draft of the Iraq Dossier. Williams is getting his defence in first, while the government's spin is in the punchline:
The government will hope that the publication finally draws a line under the sorry saga of the dossier, which led indirectly to the suicide of scientist David Kelly after he was identified as the apparent source of BBC reports that the dossier had been 'overspun' by Campbell.
Meanwhile, the Independent quotes Williams as saying that
publication of his document would expose how members of Tony Blair's team were locked in a mindset that made military action inevitable.

1 comment:

smb1971 said...

"...the tribunal has ordered that one of the handwritten notes should be redacted from the draft when it is published. It is clear that the Foreign Office has claimed that disclosure of this comment would be damaging to international relations, a claim that it did not make at the time of its initial refusal." (New Statesman, 23 January 2008)

Do you have any further information on this handwritten note?

It would be helpful to identify the senior people who reviewed this particular draft document. If Jack Straw is one of them, then he may find himself in hot water (r.e. the uranium claim). Straw told Sir John Stanley in June 2003 that he "had absolutely no knowledge of any documents relating to this area being forged until the IAEA said that in one of their reports in February or March 2003". Something I find impossible to believe. But an obvious question arises: If the documentary uranium intelligence was to be considered authentic, why did they not stand by the original wording as per the Williams daft, which was much stronger? Jack Straw cannot seriously claim he was out of the loop.

I think Paul Waugh hit the nail squarely on the head when he wrote:

"The revelation that the claim was originally much stronger will fuel suspicions that Britain was forced to amend its dossier after warnings from the CIA that the Niger link was unproven. It also suggests that the UK was so anxious to portray Saddam as a nuclear threat that it decided to keep even a weakened version of the allegation in its dossier." (The Independent, 26 August 2003)