Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jack Straw before the Iraq Inquiry appearance

A "SECRET and personal" letter from Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, to Tony Blair reveals damning doubts at the heart of government about Blair’s plans for Iraq a year before war started.
The letter, a copy of which is published for the first time today, warned the prime minister that the case for military action in Iraq was of dubious legality and would be no guarantee of a better future for Iraq even if Saddam Hussein were removed.
It was sent 10 days before Blair met George Bush, then the US president, in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002. The document clearly implies that Blair was already planning for military action even though he continued to insist to the British public for almost another year that no decision had been made.

The above is from Michael Smith's "Revealed: Jack Straw's secret warning to Tony Blair on Iraq" (Times of London) and Jack Straw is scheduled to appear before the Iraq Inquiry next week (Thursday). Friday, the Inquiry went behind closed doors at the request of a witness who apparently was allowed to dictate procedures. The BBC explains:

The Iraq Inquiry met behind closed doors to hear evidence from the general who ran the British operations in the conflict, it has emerged.
Gen Sir John Reith said he should be allowed to appear without the press and public present "for personal reasons".

Chris Ames (Guardian) focuses on another witness from this week, Alastair Campbell:

Last week, I wrote that "showing how, when and why [Alastair] Campbell said something that was false is very easy". It has become easier as Campbell has now taken to contradicting himself. It remains to be seen whether the Iraq inquiry noticed.
Although the inquiry members certainly upped their game on Tuesday and showed considerable scepticism over Campbell's evidence, they still didn't quite nail him down over the involvement of his fellow spin doctors in what former cabinet secretary Lord Turnbull described this week as the "granny's footsteps" process of strengthening the September 2002 Iraq dossier from one draft to the next.
Spin doctors such as John Williams, who produced the first full draft, Daniel Pruce of No 10 and Paul Hamill, who was responsible for the February 2003 (really) "dodgy dossier", were involved throughout the process, as this letter from intelligence chief John Scarlett to Tony Blair shows.
Campbell gave evidence to the Hutton Inquiry before the letter was handed over and published, so Tuesday's session was the first time he has been questioned publicly about it and other evidence of spin doctor involvement. This allows us to compare what Campbell told Hutton with what he said this week. The two versions of the story could not be more different.

Next week the Inquiry is scheduled to hear from: Jonathan Powell (Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, 2001 - 2007), Geoffrey Hoon (Secretary of State for Defence, 2001 - 2005), Mark Lyall-Grant (Director General Political, FCO, 2007 - 2009), David Omand (Permanent Secretary Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator, 2002 - 2005), Jack Straw (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 2001 - 2006), Suma Chakrabarti (Permanent Secretary, DFID, 2002 - 2007) and Nicholas Macpherson (Permanent Secretary, HMT, 2006 - 2009).

Meanwhile, in the US, the disgusting cadre that supported Barry O gets a little bit of exposure. This is from Daniel Tencer's "Obama staffer wants ‘cognitive infiltration’ of 9/11 conspiracy groups" (Raw Story):

In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated "cognitive infiltration" of groups that advocate "conspiracy theories" like the ones surrounding 9/11.
Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures," in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine" those groups.
As head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein is in charge of "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs," according to the White House Web site.
Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

Oh, look, it's little fat ass Cass. The ugly piece of s**t that a functioning society would have shunned along with his War Pushing wife Samantha Power.

Neither of them like democracy or the citizens of a democracy. That's the real key to who put Barack in power and at some point a large number of people self-presenting as 'independent' are going to have to answer for the pimping they did.

And you need to grasp that the slogans of the campaign were all about deceit and trickery. The country got punked. Took a lot of liars to ensure that and people need to start asking who's doing it? Is it by accident that lying sack of s**t goes on KPFA and starts boo-hooing about Samantha Power in June of 2008? Can't talk about Sammy Power telling BBC that Barack's not going to keep his Iraq 'promise' he's making on the campaign trail. But ___ can lie through his teeth about how wonderful and caring Sammy Power is? As if the Carr Center were a convent and Sammy the next Mother Teresa?

Those who treat citizens like people to be duped and lied to, people to be experimented on and tested do not deserve applause in an open society. They deserve scorn and condemnation. The inability, even at this late date, of so many on the left to call out Sammy Power and her ilk goes to a deep problem and the desire to promote Sammy Power goes to the fact that a number of 'independents' are actually on payrolls. By their pimping you will know them.

This is from Marc Estrin "Got Fascism? : Obama Advisor Promotes 'Cognitive Infiltration'" (The Rag Blog):

Put into English, what Sunstein is proposing is government infiltration of groups opposing prevailing policy. Palestinian Liberation? 9/11 Truth? Anti-nuclear power? Stop the wars? End the Fed? Support Nader? Eat the Rich?
It's easy to destroy groups with "cognitive diversity." You just take up meeting time with arguments to the point where people don't come back. You make protest signs which alienate 90% of colleagues. You demand revolutionary violence from pacifist groups.
We expect such tactics from undercover cops, or FBI. There the agents are called "provocateurs" -- even if only "cognitive." One learns to smell or deal with them in a group, or recognize trolling online. But even suspicion or partial exposure can "sow uncertainty and distrust within conspiratorial groups [now conflated with conspiracy theory discussion groups] and among their members," and "raise the costs of organization and communication" -- which Sunstein applauds as "desirable." "[N]ew recruits will be suspect and participants in the group's virtual networks will doubt each other's bona fides." (p.225).

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