Saturday, December 31, 2011

#IRAQ : David Halpin - Blairs Journey - Questions Before Charge

Monday, 13 September 2010
Your 'Journey' has been long on miles but absent of humanity, reason and law. 'It can only get better'. Could it have got any worse? Your vapour trails have left millions weeping. One million of those are widows in Iraq, at least 1.2 million humans are with their Allah, five million orphans and four million refugees. We will leave out the blood and the mayhem you have left in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Yemen. You sprang from each jet with strange eyes ablaze with more lies and plans for yet more Muslim decimation. You had been re-fuelled at high altitude by your fellow psychopath Campbell and other 'advisers' like Manning.

You joined the dummy Bush over blood-oozing steaks in April 2002. The false flag of 9/11 had been repeated by the media megaphones of the UK/US/Israel axis and the absence of a judicial inquiry ensured the 'big lie, oft repeated' sank into irrational, Mammon possessed populations. All that was modelled in the 'think' tanks with the aim of breaking Iraq, the Arab bastion, for ever. You, and another three of the mafiosi, Aznar, Barroso and Dubya met for an hour in the Azores 16 March. Two of these mafiosi have fascist connections. The capo, Dick Cheney, was home pushing buttons and pulling strings for shocking and awing and burning and blasting. In your 'book' you wrote that Cheney wanted a wholesale reorganization of the political map of the Middle East after 9/11. The vice president "would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it -- Hezbollah, Hamas, etc,". [1]

In your speech on those Azores, which insulated you so well from world wide protest against your coming crimes, you pretended that the door was still open for Saddam Hussein to disarm. Your lust for Arabic and Islamic blood gave only 24 hours for the UK/US resolution for WMD disarmament to remain on the 'Security Council' table. You pretended peace whilst you ravened for genocidal war. You said there were '10,000 litres of anthrax that the inspectors just a week ago said was unaccounted for'. [1] Your complete absence of any scientific training or of logic allowed you to speak of litres of bacillus anthracis. You certainly did not know that this strain was isolated from an Oxfordshire cow in 1936, cultured by a professor in the spires and transferred to the US post WW2. Your trans-Atlantic buddies passed it and all the works to Saddam's regime in the Iran-Iraq war. [2] This quote reveals the treachery and the incest of the British press with the more


Dr.David Kelly :Video - The Cover- Up Continues

The Mysterious Death Of Dr.David Kelly - By Dr. Stephen Frost

Due process of the law has not been followed by the British state in the investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly. Of this there is now no doubt. The original inquest was derailed by Lord Falconer, in his dual capacity as Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor.

Dr. Kelly remains the only British citizen not to have had his suspicious death examined properly at a coroner's inquest. This to some may seem trivial. It is not. It is a matter of the highest importance and should be of great concern to all British citizens, especially given the highly political context in which the death took place, inextricably linked as the death was to the United Kingdom's waging of illegal war (according to both the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter) on the sovereign state of Iraq. Disregarding the political context of the death, all doctors are taught, or should be, that none of us is safe without inquests and that the Coroner speaks for the dead to protect the more

Monday, December 26, 2011

When Murdoch Met With Blair And Richard Desmond -Unexpected Information Released - July 2007

Publication date: 18 July 2007

The Cabinet Office has unexpectedly agreed to release information about meetings and calls between Rupert Murdoch, Richard Desmond and Tony Blair while Prime Minister.

In 2004, the Liberal Peer Lord Avebury requested information about the dates of contacts between Tony Blair and media moguls.  The majority of this information was not released, even when the request was repeated under the Government’s own Freedom of Information legislation, the Cabinet Office claiming that the meetings were private or that the information was exempt as its release would “prejudice effective conduct” of public affairs.  The Information Commissioner’s office accepted this argument, leading to an appeal to the Information Tribunal in order to test the Government’s argument.

With this appeal pending, the day before evidence was due to be served on the parties in the Information Tribunal case and the day after Gordon Brown took office, Cabinet Office made the surprise announcement that the information requested was to be released.  The information shows regular contacts between the then Prime Minister and media moguls.

Tamsin Allen of Bindman & Partners, Lord Avebury’s solicitors,  said:
“The Cabinet Office argued that meetings between Murdoch and Blair were not ‘official’ meetings because they were not minuted and the information was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.  That argument was always tenuous and it was therefore not unexpected that this information would eventually reach the public domain. What is surprising is the timing of the announcement (the day after Tony Blair’s resignation) and the fact that the Government sought to suppress the information for so long. ”

Lord Avebury said:

“This is a welcome blow for the cause of freedom of information, but it shouldn’t have taken so much time and effort to extract information that was so clearly of great public interest. Rupert Murdoch has exerted his influence behind the scenes on a range of policies on which he is known to have strong views including the regulation of broadcasting and the Iraq war. The public can now scrutinize the timing of his contacts with the former Prime Minister, to see whether they can be linked to events in the outside world.  One hopes that the timing of the Government’s decision to capitulate indicates that under Gordon Brown’s leadership, freedom of information will be made a reality.

For more information about this press release, please contact:
amsin Allen by email on:

or Lord Avebury on tel: 020 7274 4617 or by email:

Notes for Editors

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dr. David Kelly : Controversial Death Examined

#DavidKelly : Audio With Dr.David Halpin

In this exclusive interview, Dr. David Halpin, a retired orthopedic surgeon and one of a group of doctors who has been campaigning for a coroner’s inquest into the mysterious death of Dr. David Kelly joins The Corbett Report to discuss his appeal for a judicial review of UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve’s decision earlier this year to deny such an inquest. We discuss the medical anomalies that lead Dr. Halpin and other doctors to conclude that Dr. Kelly did not commit suicide, the history of the government cover-up about the case, and The Dr. David Kelly Inquest Fund through which people can help to cover the legal cost of the upcoming review.

#DavidKelly : Dr.David Halpin Reports

#DavidKelly: TODAY High Court Hearing

High Court Hearing 19 December 2011


This is to remind you that on Monday 19 December 2011 a special hearing will take place at the High Court in London as part of the legal challenge which David Halpin is attempting to bring against the government's recent decision not to hold a coroner's inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.

Everyone connected with this case on David's side very much hopes that as many of you as possible who have given so generously to enable matters to reach this stage will be able to attend the hearing. It is vital that the significant level of public interest regarding this issue which we all know exists is reflected and the best way to achieve this is by numbers being at the scene on the day.

At present the court has not formally decided at what time the hearing will begin or how many judges will preside over it - it could be up to three - but I will update the website again as soon as this information is known. It has been suggested, but not confirmed, that 10.30 am will be the likely start time

What can be stated as fact at this stage is that, as is standard practice, the hearing will last for two hours. David's barrister, John Cooper QC, will spend approximately 45 minutes putting an argument across explaining why his client believes there should be an inquest. The government's barrister will spend the same amount of time giving an opposite view. The judge(s) will probably not reach a decision immediately but should do so within a few weeks. Should they find in David's favour, as it were, permission would be granted for a judicial review of the government's refusal to back an inquest to go ahead.  The judicial review could then proceed subject to David being happy to take it forward. This would depend on his securing a 'protective costs order' and with continued financial support. As has been stated previously, it is highly regrettable that it should require members of the public to donate money to ensure that the law is followed correctly, but in the face of such opposition from successive governments, this is the last route available to securing an inquest. The wheels turn slowly. We must be patient and first wait to see if this initial hurdle can be cleared.

I shall update the website again as soon there is more definite news regarding times and judges' identities. In the meantime please think seriously about attending. It is irritating that the hearing has been arranged for the same week that Christmas falls - unless you like Christmas shopping! On the other hand, and I say this advisedly, this is generally considered in legal circles to be a potentially fascinating situation and certainly the first time that matters relating to the death of Dr Kelly and the Iraq war will have been heard in open court.

Dr. David Kelly Inquest Refused

#David Kelly - The Conclusion Thursday 10th February, 2011


As human beings we are fascinated by mysteries. They fuel our imaginations and allow us to play detective, and for a while we become Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes.

Where Dr. David Kelly is concerned the majority of us have already decided it was murder or suicide through opinion only. Once these viewpoints are established the positions become entrenched. Few are those who put ego and pre-conceptions aside in pursuit of the truth, and this particularly applies to the serious sleuths at work on the case of Dr. Kelly.

The murder ‘camp’, and the suicide ‘camp’, both excluded facts that would challenge their beliefs, and in so doing failed to probe the areas that were vital to solving the mystery. That said, there are so few real facts around, and misinformation abounds, creating a difficult environment from which to draw a logical conclusion.

At Southend Leaks we’ve been fortunate to receive factual information and eyewitness testimonies which have allowed us to better understand the events surrounding the death of Dr. Kelly. We are in no way ‘Kelly’ aficionados and do not want to become such. In fact we wish to move on as quickly as possible from Dr. Kelly and start releasing data received regarding Southend Borough Council as soon as possible. However please note, we’ve received further material in the last fortnight pertaining to Dr. Kelly and we are currently assessing the content, and may well prepare and release this next month.

Norman Baker became the main depository for Dr. David Kelly information, but the people who went to him failed to realise that Baker's main reason for looking into Dr. Kelly's death was to keep attention firmly focused on Tony Blair and the Labour Government - 'blood on your hands sir'.

Norman Baker is a political animal and stayed true to his nature through his enquiries, his book, his tv appearances, his radio interviews and his newspaper articles. He was not the neutral investigator that many thought he was. This is borne out by Baker's conclusion in his book - that Dr. Kelly's death was probably down to anti-Saddam supporters. This is a convenient way out for Baker. He makes no enemies this way. During his endeavours Baker keeps the idea fresh in the public's mind that Tony Blair was somehow in on the murder, and this helped damage the Labour Party even more. Baker eventually parked his investigation down an unprovable cul-de-sac with the Iraqis conclusion. Clever. However it transpired Baker was not the only information hub in town.

Southend Leaks and its friends had been quietly gathering their own information about the death of Dr. David Kelly through various techniques, and we can assure our readers anti-Saddam Iraqis were not involved.

Dr. David Kelly was not murdered.

As much as some would like to think it so, foul play was not involved.

There is no evidence of murder. There is only evidence pointing to the moving of Dr. Kelly's body at some point, highlighted by inconsistencies in the medical statements. The real crime that took place in sleepy Longworth was the transplanting of Dr. Kelly and this led to an old school type cover up. For this reason the inquest must be reopened and a transparent police investigation has to follow. We demand nothing less.

Dr. Kelly was a proud and honourable man and his work was at the centre of his existence. Only publicly recognised after his death for his contribution to a safer world for all, he always had the respect of his peers. Sadly his world came crashing down around him when his name was released to the press, and the anonymity he'd enjoyed before July 2003 had gone forever. He was trapped in the brilliance of the media spotlight and it was the very worst type of media attention. With his 'outing' the Kellys needed a quiet backwater to stay at away from the reporters, and this was Higher Tresmorn Farmhouse in North Cornwall, run by the de Haans.

By now Dr. Kelly's mind was in turmoil and the events of the 15th, when he appeared before the televised foreign affairs select committee, pushed him closer to the edge.

The following day brought no let up as Dr. Kelly gave evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee. By then he must have known his old life was no more. It was gone and never coming back. The events of the last seven days had made Dr. Kelly consider if life was worth living, and sadly he decided it was not. However to carry out the suicide Dr. Kelly had one major problem. For a while he’d known he was being watched by local Special Branch, resulting in the monitoring of his communications and the following of his movements.

On the day of his death Dr. Kelly made sure he was seen to be as upbeat as possible, which can't have been easy for the poor man. Emails carried some positivity, but less easy to control was his visual demeanour. Whether, as he left his house for the last time that afternoon, he was fully intent on taking his own life or not we can never know, but he took with him that which would not arouse suspicion.

Dr. Kelly was followed on his final walk by a Special Branch officer, albeit at a respectful distance and for this reason did not head directly for Harrowdown Hill. He took his 'tail' on a roundabout route across the fields to the east of the hill before entering the woods of Harrowdown from the footpath just over the crown, where the path starts to drop down towards the Thames. In the thicket he gave his 'tail' the slip and escaped down the western side of the hill. He disappeared into the surrounding countryside and was later discovered in an outbuilding belonging to one of the many farms in the area.

We are not privy to which one.

The decision was made to move Dr. Kelly to another location because of the sensitivity surrounding the outbuilding. And so he was moved to Harrowdown Hill. A cover up was initiated to protect certain individuals in the Longworth area. Special Branch went along with the cover up because they knew it would be humiliating if the truth about their bungling surveillance came out, and at the time there was pressure to scale back on Special Branch activity at local level. There was little the establishment could do in the days after the initial cover up other than go along with it. After all no one had been killed, only a handful of people were privy to events, Mrs Kelly was on board as she was able to protect the de Haans, and Special Branch were untainted. It therefore comes as no surprise that many connected to the sad event went on to be rewarded in their professional careers.

Norman Baker did get one thing right though - it was most certainly a strange death.
To Mrs. Kelly and her family we extend our genuine sympathies. Your husband was a fine man who was treated abominably by dishonourable 'men' in the Government.

#DavidKelly's Murder By Craig Murray

The Iraq Inquiry has taken us back again to that period where the government had engaged in a massive military build up ready to invade Iraq, and was desperately looking for evidence on WMD to trigger the invasion – an invasion on which the Washington neo-cons had pinned their entire hopes for the future of the Bush presidency.

Just at that crucial time, one of the UK’s foremost experts on Iraqi WMD had let slip to the BBC that the government’s claims did not stand up. As a result, he was found dead in a wood, while the BBC journalist, Andrew Gilligan, who correctly reported that there were no WMD, was fired for telling the truth.

The punishment of the BBC for failing to unquestioningly echo Blair lies went much further. The Chairman and Director General were forced out. All because the BBC said there may have been no WMD, when there were not.

It is almost incredible even now to state what New Labour have done. God know what future historians will make of it.

The BBC was traumatised, and went through an acceleration of cultural change that prized “managers” over journalists, and stopped criticising government. A foundation stone of democracy had been blasted away by Tony more

Thursday, October 6, 2011

#Blair: The Toppling Of Tony Bliar ! Venom must be spat when you have no fangs

Searching for what exactly Tom Watson has against Murdoch, it may be nothing, his target could well be Rebekah Brooks AND nothing like a Watson who has been scorned ! Excellent article from Bloggerheads.
This entry was posted on Thursday, September 7th, 2006 at 10:08 am and is filed under Tony 'King Blair.

Guardian – The day Blair accused his chancellor of blackmail: In probably the most astonishing day in the annals of New Labour, the use of the word blackmail to describe Mr Brown’s actions over the past few days by Downing Street staff was authorised by Mr Blair, and reflected his view that Mr Brown is orchestrating a coup against him.

Note: Authorised by Mr Blair. Not publicly spoken by Mr Blair.

The only official statement from Tony Blair yesterday was the playground taunt that he was going to sack Tom Watson anyway. Meanwhile we’re assured that it’s Gordon Brown’s silence that speaks volumes. And with that, we go directly to a charming article and the editorial space in today’s Sun (which – for the second time in two days – is 100% dedicated to the leadership question ensuring there are no questions regarding the leadership). Please note especially the oft-repeated attempt to climb over dead bodies in order to claim the moral high ground:

The Downing Street Echo – Plotting gang of weasels: The weaselly gang behind the plot to topple Tony Blair were last night exposed as undercover Brownites. They are part of a network of the Chancellor’s supporters “planted” in key Government posts and their mass revolt was a carefully-orchestrated move to hasten the PM’s demise. Defence minister Tom Watson, whose resignation sparked yesterday’s chain of events, was the ringleader. Mr Watson, 39, was on the fast track to the Cabinet after holding down two Government posts in just five years as an MP. He was given the defence job at the Chancellor’s insistence and leading Blairites now say this was part of a Brownite masterplan. Last night they were furious at Mr Watson for playing grubby politics at a time when soldiers are dying in Afghanistan.

The Downing Street Echo – The silent man: The silence is deafening. And the cracks Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have papered over for years are now cruelly exposed. It would be easy to dismiss the resignations of seven political pipsqueaks as an irrelevance. But they are far more grave than that. This was a mass protest orchestrated by supporters of the Chancellor to unseat the sitting Prime Minister. And Mr Brown’s public silence on it gets more damaging by the hour. He could have stopped the plotters concocting the puerile protest letter which began the crisis.

He could have halted the resignations, including that of the pathetic Tom Watson, who shamefully walked out on his defence job in a week when 19 British soldiers died in Afghanistan, three of them yesterday. [Ed: But... but... but... Tony was going to sack him anyway!] Watson is a crude politician at best, more concerned with personal ambition than his party or his country.

But Gordon did nothing.

He is desperate to inherit Blair’s mantle quickly, without being exposed to challenges from his rivals. But the PM won’t go until next May. And he calls the shots. In his enthusiasm to see off Blair, Brown risks destroying himself and the party, plunging it back into the nightmare of the 1980s: fatally divided, permanently unelectable. If civil war erupts, Labour might decide the only way to end it is for Blair to go. How would Britain then view his assassin?

Would Gordon really be fit to be our PM if he were to blame for Blair being bundled out after making New Labour so successful?

 Or would his tactics, and those of his acolytes, backfire by effectively handing David Cameron power?

 John Hutton, Work and Pensions Secretary, said last weekend that Labour’s infighting was a “damaging soap opera” that it would be “ludicrous to continue”. These were wise words indeed. But no one seems to have listened. Instead the ages-old Blair/Brown feud has now brought to the brink of catastrophe the New Labour miracle the two men masterminded. They transformed a shambolic rabble into a slick political machine capable of winning three elections and holding power for nine years. And Gordon must realise that Labour’s future now rests on it re-establishing its stability. At present he cannot bring himself to back Blair publicly. But he MUST say, through gritted teeth if need be, that if the boss wants to go on May 31, 2007, that’s OK by him.

The Chancellor needs to keep a lid on his anger – and his supporters – one last time now, or he’ll throw everything away. Including his own dream of being PM.

1. For being the target of a petty snipe from Rebekah Wade, the ‘pathetic’ Tom Watson earns an extra brownie point in my book. (Well done, Tom! Too bad she pulled up short of calling you a traitor… that would have earned you *two* brownie points.)

2. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have pre-booked speaking engagements today, but only Tony Blair has changed his arrangements; instead of speaking at the same time (at different venues) now it appears that Tony Blair is going to have the opportunity put in his two cents first… and we’re all looking forward to that.

3. Everything else I have to say (for now) is contained in the following open letter to Tony more

#Vancouver : Dick Cheney - Hundreds Gather to tell War Monger Cheney ..Go Home !

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#Vancouver :#IRAQ : Dick Cheney ARREST HIM !

Cheney greeted by protesters in Vancouver

Cheney to spur Vancouver protest

Canadians protest ‘murderer’ Cheney’s visit

Why it’s important to protest Cheney’s visit to Vancouver

Rights group sees Cheney Vancouver visit arrest opportunity

Barr Cheney from Canada

NDP wants to bar Cheney

Bar Dick Cheney

Group calls for Cheney arrest

Rights group wants Cheney charged

Rowdy crowd protests Cheney’s Vancouver visit

Canadian MP calls for rejection of visa

Dick Cheney comes-vancouver groups call for his arrest

Dick Cheney’s visit to Vancouver draws protest

Canadian MP calls for barring Cheney

Dick Cheney reviled

Why its important to protest Cheney’s visit

MP wants former US VP banned

Crowd of protesters greet dick cheney

Rowdy crowd protests Dick Cheney

Barring Cheney from Canada

Protests greet Cheney

Dick Cheney always right

Hundreds protest VP Dick Cheney

Antiwar protesters outside Vancouver Club

Protesters rally for Dick Cheney’s arrest

Protesters shout, shove chant and boo

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#IRAQ: Donald #Rumsfeld Stripped Of Immunity In Torture Case

Source: Neon Tommy - Alternet
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was stripped of immunity in a case involving the torture of two United States citizens.

Two FBI informants, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, were detained and tortured by United States military personnel in Iraq in 2006. They filed suit against Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for violations of their constitutional rights. The Judicial View states:
“Plaintiffs seek damages from Secretary Rumsfeld and others for their roles in creating and carrying out policies that caused plaintiffs’ alleged torture. Plaintiffs also bring a claim against the United States under the Administrative Procedure Act to recover personal property that was seized when they were detained.”
Rumsfeld and the United States government moved to dismiss the charges, and were denied. The plaintiffs relayed “in sufficient detail facts supporting Secretary Rumsfeld’s personal responsibility for the alleged torture.”
Read Full Article Here...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Open letter to Tony Blair.

Dear Tony,
I read with interest your interview with Progress yesterday, celebrating 15 years of the organisation.
My mind drifted into reverie…
No Labour supporter will forget the joy of May 1997. The dark age of Conservativism was over. As the sun rose over Festival Hall we felt anything was possible.

Of course, in those days you brought your new financial friends to the party. Nice people really. Want to spend? No problem, here’s some money, and don’t worry about how it will be paid back. Why get a 90% mortgage when you can have a 100% mortgage. Have you tried 110%? They were all smiles and pats on the back.

The record investment in Education and Health was fantastic, and thank you for that.
Did you hear about the financial crisis Tony?

 It turns out the system that fuelled this spending was run by a bunch of spivs. The financial schemes in reality turned out to be no better than pyramid schemes, and were dodgy investments and smoke and mirrors. Those chaps who handed the easy money out left the scene sharpish, to be replaced by their heavies, the Austerity Brothers. Not nice people at all…you should see what they are doing to the folks of Greece and Ireland. Thugs, 100%.
You cannot be oblivious to the fact the your Labour family did not like your choice of friends. That George bloke in the US…you know the one, he wore cowboy hat and had a missionary zeal to upset the whole world. You changed Tony. You spent too many nights away from home. We’d stay up, wondering where you were, and we’d just get a brief message that you are staying out with George in some foreign country again. Your home life slipped. You choice of friends meant that you ignored your nearest and dearest.
Your Labour family suffered too because you and Gordon just wouldn’t get on. You were blood brothers early on, yet while domestically things were falling around your ears at home, all you two did is fight. Together you could have invincible. Where did it go wrong?
When you did hang your boots up, Gordon was then head of the family. Sadly the damage was done, and in 2010 the chickens came home to roost. Yet it seems that you think that if Gordon had been more like you, everything would have been rosy.
Sorry Tony, but from 2005 Labour was devoid of ideas, lost touch with the Electorate and had rotten foundations. It’s primary preoccupation was hanging on to power, but without a reason for having the power.
I would like to thank you for all the good stuff – public service investment, sure start, the minimum wage and so on.
You need to move on. Gordon has managed it. It is now for a new generation to take Labour forward. Please, no more comments or books. Retire gracefully. I understand you have just purchased a modest house. Enjoy it.
Don’t forget, the best know when to leave the stage, and it’s your turn now.
All the best,Garry

Monday, September 5, 2011

#Israel warn of regional war and use of WMD...

#IRAQ:#Blair and Alastair Campbell TRAITORS.

The exhausted secret intelligence officer was heading home after a heavy session analysing reports from Iraq. As he stepped out through the high-security air-lock exit from MI6’s grand headquarters beside the Thames in London, a newspaper-seller’s placard caught his eye — ‘45 minutes from attack,’ it proclaimed.


Alarm bells rang in his head. It was September 2002, and Prime Minister Tony Blair had that day unveiled with great fanfare the government’s dossier detailing Saddam Hussein’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, as a justification for going to war.


He knew, in a way the public did not, the precise background to that headline. His first thought was that this was not what the original intelligence report had said. ‘If this goes wrong, we’re all screwed,’ he muttered to himself.
Mopping up: British soldier prepares to jump from a burning tank which was set ablaze in Basra
Mopping up: British soldier prepares to jump from a burning tank which was set ablaze in Basra

It did go wrong, spectacularly so, as a new history of MI6 by the BBC’s well-informed security correspondent Gordon Corera recounts. It’s a disturbing story of how tiny sparks of dubious information picked up in the backstreets of Baghdad and elsewhere were fanned into giant flames.


The result was a firecracker of a dossier which was pivotal in the run-up to the deeply divisive British and American invasion of Iraq. For many people, the scary information it disclosed — that Saddam was so advanced with his chemical and biological weapons that he could fire them with a mere 45 minutes notice — was a tipping point.

Millions who had been sceptical about the reality of the Iraq threat were brought up short by the Prime Minister’s assurance that the evidence of Saddam’s evil intentions was ‘extensive, detailed and authoritative’. The case for confronting him was cut and dried.
Only later would it emerge how dodgy that dossier actually was.
Victim: David Kelly, 59, after giving evidence in a Commons Select committee
Victim: David Kelly, 59, after giving evidence in a Commons Select committee
Yet disastrous consequences flowed from its false and exaggerated claims. They were cited as a pretext for the conquest of Iraq, which led to tens of thousands of deaths.


They also caused a damaging clash between the government and the BBC over suggestions that the dossier had been ‘sexed-up’ and the mysterious death of a respected weapons inspector, Dr David Kelly.


For MI6, the dossier brought the biggest crisis of confidence since the infamous Cambridge spy ring and the defection of one of its top men, Kim Philby, to the Soviet Union in 1963.


What happened was a lesson in the distortion that can arise when the painstaking craft of intelligence-gathering — MI6’s pride and joy since its inception in 1909 — was over-ridden by the wishful thinking and unrelenting ambition of politicians.


From the start, Blair had put his weight and his reputation behind U.S. plans to topple Saddam, believing in his heart that the world would be a better place without the Iraqi dictator. But selling a war to a sceptical public would be very difficult. Regime change on its own was not accepted in Britain in the way it was in post-9/11 America.


So the decision was taken to base the case for war entirely on Iraq’s possession of chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. This meant leaning heavily on intelligence. From his spymasters Blair sought material to make a public case for armed intervention.


OBLIGING: MI6 at Vauxhall Bridge, were supposed to be the nation's eyes and ears, but failed to smell something fishy
OBLIGING: MI6 at Vauxhall Bridge, were supposed to be the nation's eyes and ears, but failed to smell something fishy

They, in turn, were eager to oblige. MI6 was still in shock from having missed signs of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and Washington and was determined never to be caught out again.


There was a more deep-seated reason too. ‘One of the cultural weaknesses of MI6 is that it is too eager to please,’ one former senior official told Corera. For all the secret service’s James Bond-ish bravado, it has always been beset by a fear that one day it will no longer be needed.
Trauma: After the events of September 11, 2001, MI6 was concerned not to be caught out
Trauma: After the events of September 11, 2001, MI6 was concerned not to be caught out

The ending of the Cold War and MI6’s legendary cat-and-mouse tussles with the KGB seemed to herald that redundancy. Then the post-9/11 era offered a new mission.

Out to prove it still had a vital use in the modern world, MI6 set to work.
Early drafts were begun of a dossier on Saddam’s weapons programmes.


Some MI6 officers were unhappy with the idea of working to so precise an agenda. ‘All our training, all our culture, bias, is against such a thing,’ one complained.


But there was no stopping what quickly became a juggernaut as Britain’s two most senior spies — Richard Dearlove, head of MI6, and John Scarlett, chairman of the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee, whose job was to sift and assess MI6’s information — became central to the build-up to war.


Dearlove in particular became one of the Prime Minister’s closest advisers and, according to officials, enjoyed a ‘privileged relationship’. Blair was open about his reliance on him to provide the central plank of the argument for intervening in Iraq. At one point he turned to his spy chief and said: ‘Richard, my fate is in your hands.’


Meanwhile, Scarlett was working closely with Downing Street, to the extent that Alastair Campbell, Blair’s all-powerful media director, would talk of him as a ‘mate’ and ‘a very good bloke’.


The JIC’s brief was to make its dossier suitable for publication to the public, in itself an unprecedented step in the publicity-shy world of spies. Campbell called for it to be ‘revelatory’. As the drafting process continued, Scarlett attended meetings chaired by Campbell to look at the presentation.


Target: Saddam Hussein's Iraq was viewed with suspicion by the West after the invasion of Kuwait and the First Gulf War
Target: Saddam Hussein's Iraq was viewed with suspicion by the West after the invasion of Kuwait and the First Gulf War

Intelligence was being sucked closer to policy than it had ever been before in MI6’s history.


Scarlett disputes this, maintaining that he was just putting information in the public domain not taking sides. Subordinates disagree.


‘We knew the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war,’ one senior military intelligence officer later complained. ‘Every fact was managed to make it as strong as possible.’


Direction and pressure were being applied on the JIC and its drafters, he maintained. A line had been crossed. Intelligence was being used as a tool for political persuasion.


But what intelligence was there to gather? Not a lot, in reality.


Going to war: British airmen from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment shelter from the dust thrown up from a helicopter in 2009 in Basra, Iraq, after an invasion in 2003 that was supposed to bring peace and stability
Going to war: British airmen from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment shelter from the dust thrown up from a helicopter in 2009 in Basra, Iraq, after an invasion in 2003 that was supposed to bring peace and stability

Iraq had long been a backwater for MI6, with information about it, on the spy masters’ own admission, ‘sporadic and patchy’.

Then, suddenly, in the wake of 9/11, it was rocketed into top priority. All the dirt on Saddam’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was required as a matter of urgency.


The problem was that it takes years to build up reliable intelligence sources. Potential agents have to be spotted, researched, cultivated, approached and their veracity and good faith validated.


But that was not the time-frame on offer. Though MI6 had a small stable of agents reporting from within Iraq, one or two long-standing and reliable, none of them had any first-hand knowledge of the WMD programme.


Terror: A resident runs from the site of a bomb attack as fire engulfs vehicles in central Baghdad in 2009
Terror: A resident runs from the site of a bomb attack as fire engulfs vehicles in central Baghdad in 2009

But, knowing exactly what MI6 was looking for — and with cash bonuses on offer — they managed to find it by recruiting (or claiming to recruit) sub-sources with what was little more than gossip to spill and the product of their own imaginations.


What the handful of agents didn’t report on — because they knew it was not wanted — was the large number of people they met in Iraq who knew nothing about special weapons and doubted their existence.


Herein lay another problem. Saddam was clever and cunning, a master of deception. So MI6 decided they would have to deal with him in the same double-bluff and double-cross way they had treated the Soviet Union during the great espionage and counter-espionage days of the Cold War.


This has an inherent difficulty. If you are convinced that your enemy is practising deception, and you can’t find what you are looking for, the logic — which, of course, is utterly flawed — is that your opponent is simply very good at deceiving you.


Absence of evidence, as U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it, was not evidence of absence. It was a doctrine that was about to implode over Saddam’s non-existent WMDs.


Any claims he now made that he had destroyed his chemical and biological weapons and halted his nuclear programme were simply dismissed in Washington and London as disinformation. Because Saddam had lied and cheated in the past, the overwhelming view was that he was doing the same now.


As things stood, though, the dossier proving that he still had WMDs was still looking thin.


Horror: The site of a car bomb explosion in Baghdad's al-Sadriyah district,in April 2007 in which 21 people were killed and 71 others wounded
Horror: The site of a car bomb explosion in Baghdad's al-Sadriyah district,in April 2007 in which 21 people were killed and 71 others wounded
Much of the ‘crucial’ material came from Iraqi defectors who pimped stories to the Western intelligence agencies, making wild assertions in return for asylum. One such ‘fabricator’, codenamed Curveball, was set up with a new life in Germany after making up information about biological weapons being manufactured on mobile trailers.

But in the climate of the times no one wanted to have a major source knocked out from under them. Curveball’s reports became the main evidence for Britain’s case that Saddam was still producing biological weapons.
War crime: US Army Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr. posing next to a detainee who died during interrogation in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq
War crime: US Army Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr. posing next to a detainee who died during interrogation in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq

Even so, as time marched on and deadlines approached, the JIC and Downing Street were increasingly desperate for something more concrete to still the nation’s doubts about war. Emails whizzed back and forth, pleading for more information to put into the dossier. ‘Has anybody got anything more they can put in it?’ was the constant cry.


Then, with a flourish, the magicians at MI6 pulled a rabbit or three out of their hat. They produced new intelligence, in the nick of time, that seemed to save the day.


From Baghdad, a long-serving agent had sent an encrypted message over a tiny transmitter. One of his sources had produced a rather vague and ambiguous report saying that biological and chemical munitions could be with military units and ready to fire within 20 to 45 minutes. Quite what the weapons were he could not say.


The source was untested but his identity was known, and he seemed to be in a position to know the information. The will for him to be right outweighed caution.


Not everyone was convinced. Some at the JIC thought MI6’s description of its new sub-source too vague. It was also unclear what sort of weapons he was referring to.


If the 45 minutes related to battlefield shells, as the JIC assessment staff believed, then it was not particularly surprising. In fact it was pretty pathetic rather than scary if it took the Iraqi army 45 minutes to fire a shell. But if it was referring to a ballistic missile, it was unrealistic to the point that it should be ignored.


Prisoners: Iraqi detainees mill about and others pray at the Camp Cropper detention centre in Baghdad, Iraq. In 2007 US forces held a total of some 25,000 detainees
Prisoners: Iraqi detainees mill about and others pray at the Camp Cropper detention centre in Baghdad, Iraq. In 2007 US forces held a total of some 25,000 detainees

Basically, what the source had provided was what Corera describes as ‘just a lonely piece of intelligence floating in a sea of uncertainty, to which those who wanted to could cling’. It was more local colour than hard intelligence, but the spooks grabbed at it gratefully.


Then, out of the blue, another piece of intelligence dropped. MI6 had apparently bagged an important new agent, who claimed that Iraq’s production of biological and chemical weapons was being accelerated and new facilities built.


The source was untested but Dearlove and senior officers around him were bullish. This was crucial in hardening up judgments and overcoming doubts. The reports were passed straight to Downing Street, bypassing assessors who could judge its technical credibility.


Convinced: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking at an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War
Convinced: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking at an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War

Some inside MI6 believed this was emblematic of what had gone wrong. Too much unproven intelligence, hot off the printer, was rushed into the welcoming arms of No 10.


‘Everything was supposed to go through the assessment staff,’ one officer recalled, talking about intelligence reports in general, ‘but often we got it half an hour after it had gone to Downing Street, with it post-dated to cover their backs.’


But confidence was high. The new source promised another consignment of crucial intelligence soon, including details of WMD sites. This, it was hoped, might be Blair’s eagerly sought ‘silver bullet’.


The dossier, now stiffened by the new sources, was ready for the outside world. In a foreword, Blair wrote that Saddam’s continuing production of WMDs was ‘established beyond doubt’.


Any hint that there were limits to the intelligence and even major gaps had been lost, along with many other caveats.


Armed with MI6’s dossier, weapons inspectors for the United Nations — which still hoped to forestall war — now went back to Iraq to hunt once again for WMD. They inspected 300 sites and found nothing. ‘We went to a lot of chicken farms,’ one said,’ but there were just chickens’.


The response in London was that this proved only how devious and duplicitous Saddam was and how incompetent and naive the inspectors were. In any case, proof of WMDs was largely irrelevant now. Nothing was going to stop the momentum.


Murdered: British hostage Kenneth Bigley on a video tape in which he made a plea to Prime Minister Tony Blair to work for his release from captivity by Iraqi militants
Murdered: British hostage Kenneth Bigley on a video tape in which he made a plea to Prime Minister Tony Blair to work for his release from captivity by Iraqi militants

When hard intelligence of Saddam’s preparedness or otherwise for war suggested Iraq did not have usable weapons able to attack at all, let alone in 45 minutes, this was never revealed to the British public.


‘The books had been cooked, the bets placed,’ as an American intelligence officer put it. The conquest of Iraq began.


In no time, Saddam’s forces were caving in, and it seemed odd that with Coalition troops approaching Baghdad, he did not use any of his ‘special weapons’. When it was all over, the issue resurfaced.

Site after site was searched for evidence of WMDs. None was found.
Linchpin: Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell played a major part in preparing the argument to involve Britain in Iraq
Linchpin: Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell played a major part in preparing the argument to involve Britain in Iraq

One by one MI6’s prized sources melted away like mirages in the desert heat. Three months after the fall of Baghdad, MI6 interviewed in person the cherished new source in whom so much had been invested and who had dispelled so many doubts.


He denied ever having said anything about accelerated production of biological and chemical weapons.


The military officer who had passed on the 45-minute claim also denied having ever said such a thing, and it became clear that he had made it all up. So too had ‘Curveball’.

The impact on MI6’s reputation was calamitous. The use of intelligence to sell a war to the public might not have mattered much if it turned out to be true.
But once it was proved to be wrong, it left the public, and especially those who had been persuaded by the intelligence, feeling bitter.


The recriminations began. Who was to blame for this fiasco, which had justified a war on a false premise? Who was responsible for launching Britain’s very own WMD, a weapon of mass deception?


MI6 over-promised and under-delivered, was the verdict of one JIC member. This is disputed by some at MI6, who maintain that they
always made clear the intelligence was scant.


Others argue that they had been left exposed by the politicians. The decision to go to war was a political choice by a prime minister who settled on intelligence as the best means by which to sell it to Parliament and the public. When it didn’t materialise: ‘We got dumped on.’


Many inside MI6 believed their organisation should take it squarely on the chin. Their sources had been wrong, and that was an end of it.


The politicians may have pushed and pressed and spun the intelligence, but ultimately, the problem was that MI6’s reporting was dud.


But others thought it was their own leadership who had let them down and left them exposed by getting too close to power.


Scarlett and his committee were accused of making a dreadful error in entering Blair’s ‘magic circle’. They had allowed themselves to be engulfed by the heady atmosphere and failed to keep their distance and objectivity.


The same criticism was made of Dearlove, who was said to have relished being at the epicentre of power, having informal meetings with Blair and even briefing Bush in the Oval Office. The truth — as we can now see nearly a decade later — is that politicians and spies became far too close in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Corera is clear that, if the spooks and politicos must sup with each other, then it is better for all of us that in future they do so with a very long spoon.
  • THE ART OF BETRAYAL by Gordon Corera is published this week by Weidenfeld & Nicolson @ £20. To order a copy for £17.99 (incl p&p) call 0843 382 0000.