Wednesday, August 27, 2003

A key point has come out in the Hutton inquiry regarding the lies told by Tony Blair and his government in the 'dodgy dossier'. John Scarlett, chairman of the joint intelligence committee which created the dossier, in response to a question from Lord Hutton, the judge in charge of the inquiry, said (you can find this from the 'Hearing Transcripts' tab at the top of this page, then go to date 'Tuesday, 26 August 2003', click on 'Afternoon', and scroll down to section 144, line 15; 'A' refers to the answers being given by John Scarlett to Lord Hutton's questions):

" . . . certainly Andrew Gilligan, when quoting his source, said that the source believed that the report was relating to warheads for missiles.


A. Which, in fact, it was not; it related to munitions, which we had interpreted to mean battlefield mortar shells or small calibre weaponry, quite different from missiles.


A. So it is possible that Dr Kelly, who, as I still understand it, never did see or probably did not see the original report, was in a state of genuine confusion about what the report actually said."

What Scarlett is saying here is that Kelly was confused because he thought the claim in the dossier that Saddam could deploy weapons against Britain in 45 minutes referred to missiles, when in fact it referred to mortar shells or small calibre weaponry. But mortar shells or small calibre weaponry could not possibly have hit Britain, or even Cyprus. The whole point of the dossier was to create the illusion that Britain, or at least British interests in Cyprus, were under a 45 minute danger of attack from Saddam, thus justifying the otherwise illegal and immoral attack on Iraq to ensure that these weapons could not be deployed. What Scarlett is admitting is not only that the 45 minute claim was 'dodgy', but that the nature of the weapons referred to in the dossier were short range weapons intended for targets inside Iraq. No wonder Kelly was confused: he naturally assumed that the 45-minute claim would not be made unless the weapons were missiles, for how else could they be a threat to Britain. We've all apparently been making the same mistake that Kelly made: by focusing on the 45 minutes we have missed the fact that the weapons involved could not possibly have threatened Britain in 45 years. Scarlett's admission ends the debate. Blair's dossier contained no evidence of any threat to Britain, and thus the attack on Iraq was made with no justification whatsoever.