Iraq Inquiry Elides Key Evidence 49

The most revealing moment of the Iraq Inquiry so far – probably the most revealing moment we will ever get – occurred yesterday in the evidence of Jonathan Powell, Blair’s chief of staff. A stark sun ray of truth burst through for just a few seconds before the Committee allowed it to be closed over by the fog of chummy complicity that has characterised these evidence sessions.

Asked whether he agreed with Sir Jeremy Greenstock that more time for diplomacy would have been helpful before the invasion started. Powell bluntly disagreed. As there were in fact no Iraqi WMD, more time would have weakened, not strengthened the case for war. That would have been unhelpful.


Powell had just sliced clean through the mound of lies constructed by himself, Alistair Campbell and Sir David Manning (you can tell when Manning lies – his lips move). After a huge pile of verbiage claimimg that the War was only about WMD, Powell had just admitted that they were absolutely bent on war whether there were WMD or not – indeed WMD were a problem, as the lack of them weakened the case for war.

This is where any person of average intelligence on the committee would have siezed on what Powell had just said. He had just admitted they wanted war irrespective of whether Saddam might have any WMDs. But the committee failed completely to pick up on the point. They moved swiftly on. They allowed the clouds of obfuscation to roll swiftly back in.

That is because the entire committee at abse agree with Powell. They accept the premiss that the war was a good thing. The composition of the committee, entirely from known pro-war advocates, is a national disgrace.

That nobody should even put to Powell the thought that perhaps, as Iraq had no WMD, the war was not neceassary, is as revealing of the Committee’s guilt as it is of Powell’s. Similarly, Powell was permitted several times to refer to 9/11 as leading to the war in Iraq, without anybody on the Committee ever putting to him the lack of connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

No matter how stubborn the truth may be, it is not beyond the committee and the media to ignore it.

Which helps account for the quite astonishing fact that 32% of the electorate apparently think that Tony Blair genuinely believed in Iraqi WMD. It is a great pity that we don’t have any breakdown on the other social and political attitudes of these extraordinary people.

I am going to spend the next few weeks sitting on the tube wondering which third of the passengers is dull enough to buy that.

Powell, meantime, appears to have taken lessons from that other war criminal, Radzvan Karadzic, on image makeover.

49 thoughts on “Iraq Inquiry Elides Key Evidence

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  • writerman

    Exactly, Craig. I’d like to see you, or someone with you obvious intelligence and ability to analyse language, asking the obvious questions that stare one in the face; yet there’s no one capable of doing it on the committee, and that isn’t a mistake, it’s deliberate.

    The committee gives these creeps time and space to defend themselves in public at great length, whilst there is no one critically examining their answers. The premiss of the entire farce is that the invasion was a mistake, and not a crime.

    So men like Powell, Blair, Hoon, Campbell et al, have most of the advantages of a defendent, but are subjected to none of the risks of qualified cross-examination, which obviously is why a proper trial situation would be far better at getting at the truth than this pantomime of diversion and obsfucation.

    It’s very difficult to prove that somebody is lying and has committed a crime when they are not being examined, which I suppose is why we have trials in the first place. A trial is meant to be a form of “ordeal”, a way of revealing the truth when people are intent on concealing it and profitting from their crimes, or intent on getting away with it.

    Blair has literally gotten away with murder on a mass scale, yet our supposedly democratically controlled legal system seems paralysed and unable to examine his actions and motivations in a court of law. Our system has failed to prosecute a brazen war criminal for collosal crimes costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and massive material destruction. Arguably our own democratic system and the rule of law, was also one of the victims of the war too.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Annual NOTABLE awards for Blair and Bush ( 2010) ?” Iraq.

    In 2003, the “NOTABLE” AWARD was presented to Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom. This year the NOTABLE COMMITTEE having reviewed our short-list for mendacity, again recognises Blair’s sterling contribution. President Bush remained a contender, but the committee determined that Bush does not have either the brains or the capacity for articulate deception.

    Bush, however, has this year been recognised as the President most worthy of the H.L. Mencken prize. In light of Mencken’s words, the committee commends President Bush for his undeniable suitability for the award, and congratulates Blair on his victory.



    16th December 2003

    Prime Minister Anthony Blair

    10 Downing Street

    London SW1 A 2AA


    Dear Prime Minister Blair,

    It is a distinct pleasure to inform you that the ‘NOTABLE COMMITTEE for liar of the year’ has by unanimous decision declared you ‘ NOTABLE liar of the year for 2003′. Normally, the committee makes its decision in January of the New Year. On this occasion, your mendacity so impressed us that for the first time in the committee’s history exemption was made in acknowledgement of your achievements.

    There can be no doubt that in your capacity as Prime Minister, you lied brilliantly in support of the war in Iraq. No less a person than Saddam Hussein, is reputed to have said of one of your falsehoods, that you had just uttered, “The mother of all lies”. We crave your indulgence while we recall some of your finer moments.

    We noted the unflinching servility with which you dedicated yourself to lying for President Bush as his poodle, in advancing the case for war against Iraq. The claim that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) was a high point. It showed exceptional commitment to fabrication when months after Saddam’s statue was toppled in Baghdad, and it was clear no WMDs existed, you resolutely lied on.

    One cannot forget, when you were caught out on the fib about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger how you held fast to the lie. It showed strength of character when you shared the fib with your friend George Bush, and led him to repeat the lie in the State of the Union address. It did not go unnoticed that the CIA had dropped the Niger assertion, but you ducked in to another lie, embraced the original lie, and reasserted that the information shared with the CIA had been based on separate intelligence. That was clearly no simple cock-and-bull story, but a really imaginative and monstrous lie that greatly impressed the committee.

    It was astoundingly brilliant when you faked the ’45 minutes’ Iraqi capacity for deployment of WMDs. Hans Blix’s exposure of that lie, in his diplomatic turn of phrase as you having made a “fundamental mistake” never detracted you from further barefaced lying. Your performance in the House of Commons, and your twisted-tongue statements have all helped to get you to the top. The use of the dodgy dossier before the Security Council has to be a source of much pride for you.

    We recalled President Clinton’s famous words, which had nearly earned him the prize, when he said, “I have never had sex with that woman”. The committee realised then that Monica had blown it, but Bill ended up blowing it too when he relented and said that he had made a mistake. By contrast Tony, under pressure you resolutely lied on, and that commanded our admiration and has made you, ‘El numero uno fibber and fabricator’.

    It is a distinct privilege to acknowledge that you are not an ordinary liar, but a liar of the first magnitude. Tony Blair, on behalf of the committee, I bestow upon you the honour ‘NOTABLE LIAR FOR THE YEAR 2003’.






    P.S. We again bestow the honour in 2010 on Tony Blair, with nothing further to say as the war and current devastation in Iraq have already spoken.

  • tony_opmoc

    To be perfectly honest, I think this a highly encouraging result. The numbers demanding Blair stand trial for war crimes are continuing to increase dramatically.


    “Almost one in four Britons back Blair war crimes trial: poll

    LONDON ?” Nearly one quarter of Britons want former prime minister Tony Blair to be tried as a war criminal over the Iraq war, according to a poll published on Sunday.

    A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times newspaper found that 23 percent of those surveyed think that Blair should face war crimes charges.

    The weekly newspaper added that 52 percent believe that Blair deliberately misled the country in the run-up to the 2003 war.”

  • Tony Blair

    “Tony Blair will give evidence to the Iraq inquiry on Friday 29 January, it was announced today.”

    I’m counting on your support, folks!

  • The Fabulous Tony Blair

    “Tony – the “NOTABLE COMMITTEE” shall anxiously be awaiting your testimony with great expectations of further mendacity.”

    I think Mr Opmoc’s mendacity is already pretty notable.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    “IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE” – Craig Murray predicted a ‘WHITEWASH’ and now we have it!

    An slimy,inexorable push towards a conclusion that the Iraq war was legal.

    In March 2002, Blair received legal advice from the Foreign Office that an attack on Iraq was illegal under international law.

    I await the testimony of Lord Goldsmith!!!!!!


  • MJ

    Ruth: I agree. Dismantle all the state institutions and start again. I have a theory that democracies are only really deomocracies in their early years. After a generation or two corruption, cronyism and nepotism infests the system and it becomes the preserve of elites and special interest groups. As one of the oldest ‘democracies’ Britain is long overdue an overhaul. Ditto the USA.

  • Nomad

    I grew up and lived in former Soviet Union. I moved to Britain seeking a place of justice, democracy and freedom. The political change that has happened for the last 7-8 years is making me to believe that here, in Britain, we are dangerously close to the soviet style of regime.

  • lwtc247

    @ Craig.

    I prety much agree with MediaLens’ support of Michael Smith’s analysis (read document above) but I’d go as far as to say Blair really thought the planA/planB UN trap would actually work, “enabling” them to hold BuSh’s hand and start the wholesame massacre of Iraqi people.

    I can imagine bLiar’s horror when as each hour passed his dastardly plan was being scuppered by people who, quite unlike himself, didn’t get a kick from playing commander and trampling on the blood letting bodies of civilians.

    I bet the little lying shit bit his lip real hard when his unquestioning suits relayed the very upbeat oral report by Hans Blix’s (Feb 7) to the UNSC.

    He never thought his traps would fail… but fail it did. He would now help the United States in it’s latest death romp without the fig-leaf.

    But he was afforded one atom of that fig-leaf via Lard Goldsmiths change of mind on 17th March, in which an undocumented and unexplained OPINION (he admitted it was his opinion) magically (and wrongly) said it was legal.

    It’s my contention that this is why bLiar then switched to what he knew was bullshit about the WMD. He never expected he’d have to do this, like I said having really believed the NN plan A / plan B trap wold be strung.

    Remember the reluctance to send in weapons inspectors after? I suspect the inner psyche of Donkey Kong himself (BuSh) was taking the piss out of Blair when he disgustingly joked about not finding WMD’s at taht dinner a few years back.

    Amazingly, Jack Straws pre-Crawford letter (dated 25th March 2002) only released a few days ago is getting virtually NO analysis. Uut of 939 words, including headers and signature, the term ‘military action’ appears 14 times. It is abundantly clear what Straw is saying is that ‘regine change’ via military action and trying to manipulate the UN into authorising the war is what they want to do.

    The letter supports Smiths, June 12 2005 analysis and now Powells slip (amongst other statements from other people) support the charage.

    Hang war criminal Blair.


    Panorams’s Iraq: Tony and the truth is a reasoanble job…


  • lwtc247

    I may be guilty of projection here, but look at this photo (or any other photo’s of Bliar in the joint press conferences or even ANY photo of Bliar in the run up to his pet war):

    Even on the ones where bLiar ‘smiles’, he has the look of a man who is deeply worried {read my earlier comment about what exactly is troubling him… certainly not the deaths of millions of people}

    Then look at pics of Bush and other photo’s of him. Do you feel as I that he appears totally untroubled by it all. That his (preformed)decision to kill is as strenuous as to whether he should drink a cup of tea or coffee?

    Warning: If you have a soul the photo’s may make you feel sick. Take necessary precautions.

  • Craig


    I agree, but just to note that Goldsmieth’s “Opinion” in this circumstance has the special meaning of formal and considered advice, not “just” an opinion as given in everyday use.

  • lwtc247

    @ Craig.

    Until Goldsmith documents the change in stance against that of the documented considered legal opinion, then what he did on 17th mars is I would say exactly “just” his opinion.

  • Ruth

    I have to say that Tony Blair does look haggard. I would’ve thought that the confessional might’ve given him some relief

  • Anonymous


    Blair would have to be a true believer for that. How can such a liar truly believe in anything?

  • writerman

    I seem to remember that Goldsmith, (who was/is? a personal friend of Blair, they even shared a flat together when they were starting out) apparently changed his mind, and his official, legal, opinion, after he’d written to Blair and asked him what *his* opinion was in relation to the legality of possible military action against Iraq!

    Goldsmith did this because his first opinion was still worrying members of the military leadership who were concerned that an attack on Iraq without an unequivocal statement to the fact that it was all legal, might get them into serious trouble down the line. They were obviously concerned after seeing what had happened to military leaders in Yugoslavia.

    Blair, from memory, wrote back to Goldsmith stating that an attack on Iraq would be legal as they’ed gone down the UN route and done everything possible to disarm Iraq, but they were now in material breach of the latest UN resolution because they weren’t able to prove that they didn’t have WMDs.

    After this strange and rather circular correspondance with the PM, Goldsmith produced a new opinion supporting Downing Street’s view that military action was legal.

    Goldsmith’s considered legal opinion was surprisingly short, given the gravity and complexity of the issues involved.

    What needs to be established is whether Goldsmith’s opinion about the legality of the war was also the considered opinion of the legal staff in Goldsmith’s Office as well? After all Goldsmith isn’t an expert in the complexities of international law so he must have sought some adivce, surely?

    And what of the Foreign Office? What was their opinion about the legality of launching an attack on Iraq without backing from the security council?

    What’s needed is access to this material as well so one could begin to confront these people and drive a wedge in between them and break open the shield wall they’re hiding behind.

    What’s also surprising about this enquiry is why haven’t they called anyone who believes the war was illegal and the entire government were involved in criminal conspiracy? It’s not as if this is a minority, or crackpot view.

    There’s also the question of why the UK government was so sure that Iraq had WMDs and was a clear and present danger, when the majority of the nations on the security council, not to mention the vast majority of nations represented in the United Nations; were not convinced of the US/UK arguments, which was why they were so wary of passing any kind of second resolution that could be twisted to provide “cover” for an invasion of Iraq.

    Somehow I doubt the Chilcot enquiry will address any of these questions.

  • Clark


    I’ve glanced over this post, not in detail – was it you that linked to that extremely racist site the other day? The post had your name on it.

  • Stein

    I’ve noticed that there have been a number of tv progs coming out recently that are critical of Israeli racist policies.

    There was even one which challenged the Israeli right wing abuse of the term “antisemitism”.

    Even on the BBC…

    The BBC were of course still respectful to the Israeli racists and whacko religious settlers, but still it’s a start.

    There’ll come a time when even the BBC may be seen as reasonably righteous again, as they could claim before the Thatcher idiot destroyed them.

    The times they may be a changing

  • tony_opmoc


    I’m not sure if it is available to be read on the internet uncensored but my memory hasn’t completely failed yet…


    Foreign Office official’s resignation letter reveals that Attorney General did change his mind on legality of Iraq war

    By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor

    24 March 2005

    Documentary evidence has emerged showing that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, changed his mind about the legality of the Iraq war just before the conflict began. The damning revelation is contained in the resignation letter of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a legal adviser at the Foreign Office, in which she said the war would be a “crime of aggression”. She quit the day after Lord Goldsmith’s ruling was made public, three days before the war began in March 2003.

    The critical paragraph of her letter, published yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act, was blanked out by the Government on the grounds that it was in the public interest to protect the privacy of the advice given by the Attorney General. But last night the contents of the paragraph were leaked, and Tony Blair was facing fresh allegations of a cover-up. There has long been speculation that Lord Goldsmith was leant on to switch his view, and to sanction the war – and confirmation of that would be devastating for the Prime Minister. The Wilmhurst letter stops short of explaining what caused Lord Goldsmith to change his mind.

    The revelations come two weeks after it emerged that there had never been a detailed dossier from the Attorney General setting out the case for military action before troops were committed, and that Britain went to war on the basis of nine paragraphs on a single sheet of A4 paper.

    Last night’s revelations – broadcast on Channel 4 News – showed that Ms Wilmshurst said the Attorney General had initially agreed with the Foreign Office legal team that a war on Iraq would be illegal without a second UN resolution.


  • tony_opmoc

    And on the BBC website it is.

    “Wilmshurst resignation letter

    Elizabeth Wilmshurst, deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office, resigned in March 2003 because she did not believe the war with Iraq was legal. Her letter was released by the Foreign Office to the BBC News website under the Freedom of Information Act.

    A minute dated 18 March 2003 from Elizabeth Wilmshurst (Deputy Legal Adviser) to Michael Wood (The Legal Adviser), copied to the Private Secretary, the Private Secretary to the Permanent Under-Secretary, Alan Charlton (Director Personnel) and Andrew Patrick (Press Office):

    1. I regret that I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution to revive the authorisation given in SCR 678. I do not need to set out my reasoning; you are aware of it.

    [The following italicised section was removed by the Foreign Office but later obtained by Channel 4 News]

    My views accord with the advice that has been given consistently in this office before and after the adoption of UN security council resolution 1441 and with what the attorney general gave us to understand was his view prior to his letter of 7 March. (The view expressed in that letter has of course changed again into what is now the official line.)

    I cannot in conscience go along with advice – within the Office or to the public or Parliament – which asserts the legitimacy of military action without such a resolution, particularly since an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression; nor can I agree with such action in circumstances which are so detrimental to the international order and the rule of law.

    2. I therefore need to leave the Office: my views on the legitimacy of the action in Iraq would not make it possible for me to continue my role as a Deputy Legal Adviser or my work more generally.

    For example in the context of the International Criminal Court, negotiations on the crime of aggression begin again this year.

    I am therefore discussing with Alan Charlton whether I may take approved early retirement. In case that is not possible this letter should be taken as constituting notice of my resignation.

    3. I joined the Office in 1974. It has been a privilege to work here. I leave with very great sadness.”

    Good to know that someone had the courage to do the right thing.


  • Chris Dooley


    As to Tony’s confessional… I wonder how many hail Mary’s you have to say for the death of 1.3million innocent people

  • glenn

    I always wondered if the hated war criminal Blair became a Catholic in order to obtain absolution.

  • angrysoba



    I’ve glanced over this post, not in detail – was it you that linked to that extremely racist site the other day? The post had your name on it.”

    Steelback’s last comment on “Greek Orthodox Church…” was:

    “”Larry the Lamb” is supposed to be gaming the blog until everyone critical of the state of Israel packs up and goes home.

    “angribollockbrain” is hoping no-one will get enough information to expose the Holohoax scam they pulled on us.

    Whoops-This is Auschwitz For Dummies!

    I reckon it’s pitched at just their level!”

    So, there can’t be much confusion about where Steelback is coming from.

  • lwtc247

    @ writerman.

    with respect, I think you are overlooking the point about the UN. Blair wasn’t using it to ensure Saddam was in line with it. No!, Blair was using the UN to ensure Saddam fell foul of it. This is what the leaked documents strongly suggest. Blair and the US wanted regime change. The only issue now became how.

    90-95% of Iraq’s WMD’s had been dismantled by 1991 Blix and the weapons inspectors said this. The chem and bio agents had perished. There was no rebuilding program. There were no WMD’s. The UNMOVIC team reported this. It was known in govt circles. Blair knew this! Hence he was operating on the basis of manipulating the UN to declare war on Saddam in ways which didn’t actaully need the actual existence of WMD. But the shitheads plan was failing. The US was going to war and Saddam hadn’t fallen foul of the traps. Blair ended up having to reforge his plans to WMD. As this was unforeseen and because of the unplanned focus/scrutiny on actual existence of WMD, bLiars reluctantly had to send in the weapons inspectors but he knew there were none. Of course the WMD case collapsed that’s why the claims that they were bringing democracy to the ME became more prominent after.

    It explains well the lies about the Niger Uranium, Iraq and 911, Iraq/Al Qaeda in Prague, Saddam detonating a nuke (a BBC invention it strongly propagandized) were, like bLiar, so full of shit. They thought these “background” issues would get so much focus.

    Read the scribd document or buy MediaLen’s book and read the chapter on the Downing Street memo.

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