Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Iraq Inquiry

Previously classified documents released into the public domain reveal that Britain’s MI6 planned a coup against then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, just months after 9/11. This was despite official acknowledgement that there was no connection between the Hussein regime and Al Qaeda. The documents also confirm that the quest to secure stable oil supplies was central to plans for the invasion of Iraq.
The material was made public by the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War, which is set to report by the end of this year.
Three documents written by a senior MI6 officer, “SIS4”, in December 2001 expose that plans for a coup, to be backed up by air bombardment, were under consideration at the highest levels of government.
An attached letter reveals that SIS4’s documents were read by then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Straw described them as “very perceptive” and recommended that Prime Minister Tony Blair also read the files.

The above is from Robert Stevens' "Britain plotted regime change in Iraq as early as 2011" (WSWS). In two snapshots, we noted the evidence the Iraq Inquiry released. But, judging by e-mails, a number feel more attention needs to be paid. With the exception of a column Chris Ames wrote for the Guardian this week, I disagree. Cindy Sheehan, for example, had a strong piece on Sunday that there was never time to note. There was a column of Justin Raimondo's I wanted to work in. There are numerous things in the public account that people would like worked in. There wasn't time for any of that.

With the Iraq Inquiry, we covered it. We covered all the testimonies of the witnesses. When they were done taking public testimony, a eek or two after, I offered my guesses on what it all added up to. And that was that Tony Blair made a decision to go to war with Iraq long before 2002, that was that Tony Blair was the force leading on it (not the idiot Bush), etc. If something had popped up that contradicted my guesses, I would have noted them and explored them (if they seemed valid or plausible). But the document that Robert Stevens is reporting on -- which we did not and did excerpt from in two snapshots already -- fits in with the hypothesis already offered. And that, along with having many other things to cover, is why we haven't devoted more time to the Iraq Inquiry. From Chris Ames' Friday piece for the Guardian:

The new documents support these claims and longstanding allegations that the dossier was hardened up against the wishes of the intelligence community. The disclosure consists of more than 150 pages of communications from the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) during the process of drafting the dossier.
In addition, the Cabinet Office, which produced the dossier, has disclosed a further batch of documents from the DIS and others offering comments during the final stages of drafting.
The documents include an email from John Williams, the Foreign Office press secretary at the time, describing a revised draft dossier as persuasive and convincing but suggesting that it should "carry the argument" more vigorously.
The papers also reveal an ongoing battle over Iraq's supposed nuclear programme, with analysts' doubts and qualifications ignored during the drafting process. In one draft, an analyst added the qualification "probably" to a claim that the programme, on which there was little intelligence, was based on gas centrifuge uranium enrichment. But that qualification was not used in the published dossier.

If just because of the time Ames has devoted to this issue (immense time), I would have liked to have worked that into a snapshot but there wasn't time. Alastair Campbell, aka the UK's Public Toilet, has now issued a lie and that means we'll note the topic in a snapshot next week. The Belfast Telegraph notes, "In a letter to the inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot, Mr Campbell said that he had never met Maj Gen Laurie and was unaware of any involvement he might have had in drawing up the dossier." BBC News quotes Campbell's letter, "Neither I, nor - so far as I am aware - anyone else in Downing Street was made aware of his views at the time, or at any time in the subsequent nine years, until he felt moved to write to you and his letter was published." When we go into that in a snapshot next week, we'll talk about how Campbell's misdirecting.

The following community sites -- plus War News Radio, Cindy Sheehan, Socialist Worker and Jane Fonda -- updated last night and this morning:

I noted Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan's speech earlier. In her latest post, she provides video links to it:

Me on the Media

Me on the War Machine

Me on Matriotism

And click here and here for text version.

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends