An extraordinary story appeared once this morning on BBC News 24, and then was buried.
The BBC World Service has obtained a document. It is an official appraisal by British government scientists across government departments, commissioned by 10 Downing Street, of the study published by the Lancet that estimated 655,000 dead in Iraq. The appraisal says that the methodology is correct and that the study “follows best practice”.
Astonishingly, the official DFID verdict was that 655,000 dead is “If anything, an underestimate”.
Yet the Government poured scorn on the Lancet study, despite having commissioned a report from their own scientists that said it was good. Who can doubt that if the government scientists had rubbished the study, the number ten spin machine would have publicised that like crazy?
Doubtless the Official Secrets Act will be wheeled out to try and sit on the government scientists’ report, which the BBC already seems to have reburied, showing its typical craven attitude towards the Blair government.
Personally, I did not know how much credence to give the study published in the Lancet, not being technically equipped to evaluate it. We can now be confident that the death toll in Iraq was over 600,000 a year ago, and probably over 700,000 now.
There is much talk of Blair’s legacy. In fact he has two major legacies. 700,000 rotting corpses, and the culture of lies that sought to suppress the truth about it.