Index on Censorship – Craig Murray interviewed:Craig Murray, Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, has been portrayed in the media as a colourful and dotty rogue with a penchant for bars, girls, Range-Rovers and outrageous breaches of diplomatic protocol. In August 2003, he was confronted with a series of disciplinary charges by the Foreign Office, which he was not permitted to discuss with anyone, and instructed to resign. He refused. The allegations were dropped within a few weeks but not before Murray had had a breakdown and a pulmonary embolism that nearly killed him. He was finally removed from his post in October 2004.
Sunday Times– Blair hit by new leak of secret war plan: A SECRET document from the heart of government reveals today that Tony Blair privately committed Britain to war with Iraq and then set out to lure Saddam Hussein into providing the legal justification… The document reveals Blair backed ‘regime change’ by force from the outset, despite warnings from Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, that such action could be illegal… It records a meeting in July 2002, attended by military and intelligence chiefs, at which Blair discussed military options having already committed himself to supporting President George Bush’s plans for ousting Saddam.
‘If the political context were right, people would support regime change,’ said Blair. He added that the key issues were ‘whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan space to work’.
The political strategy proved to be arguing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed such a threat that military action had to be taken. However, at the July meeting Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said the case for war was ‘thin’ as ‘Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran’. Straw suggested they should ‘work up’ an ultimatum about weapons inspectors that would ‘help with the legal justification’. Blair is recorded as saying that ‘it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors’. A separate secret briefing for the meeting said Britain and America had to ‘create’ conditions to justify a war.
Sunday’s leaked document proves what many suspected all along. Tony Blair and Jack Straw had already decided to go to war with Iraq in July 2002, even while they were publicly insisting that “no decision has yet been taken”. Knowing that the case for war was “thin” they then set about concocting a phoney justification, based around nonexistent WMD.
National Public Radio(US)– Britain’s Straw Faces a Challenge over Iraq: Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray is running against Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for Parliament. Murray was removed from his post in October after criticizing U.K. security services’ use of data obtained by torture by Uzbek forces. Murray is running on an anti-Iraq war platform, a subject both major parties have tried to ignore.
NB – The NPR report incorrectly states the circumstances of Craig Murray’s sacking; click here for a clear outline of those circumstances.