Thursday, January 24, 2008

The truth will out in the end

An information tribunal in the U.K. has ordered the Foreign Office to publish an early draft of the dossier on Iraq's (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction. In September 2002 the final draft was issued by prime minister Tony Blair and has been at the center of a scandal followign allegations that the dossier had been 'sexed up' in order to sell the invasion of Iraq.

Critics of the process used to put together the dossier point to allegations, originally made by the BBC, that government spin doctors added in a claim that then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had the ability to launch WMDs within 45 minutes.

This was seen as one of the crux issues in the debate over whether military action was used against Hussein and Iraq in 2003.

The Hutton report into the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly's death criticised the actions of the BBC in producing a documentary in which he was named.

But many feel the full story behind the creation of the dossier is yet to be heard because secrecy still remains over the drafting process of the document.

In handing down its decision on the publication of what is known as 'the Williams draft', the information tribunal said there is "a strong public interest in disclosure".

"We do not accept that we should, in effect, treat the Hutton Report as the final word on the subject," the tribunal decision continues.

"Information has been placed before us, which was not before Lord Hutton, which may lead to questions as to whether the Williams' draft in fact played a greater part in influencing the drafting of the dossier than has previously been supposed."

The tribunal also suggested that the handwriting of two different individuals was found on the document, "suggesting that at least one person other than the author had reviewed and commented on it".
And I trust you all remember the late Dr. David Kelly? He was the weapons scientist who originally leveled the allegations that the charges made in the dossier released by Blair were embellished to sell the invasion and war. Shortly after he was named publicly in a BBC documentary, he was found dead, apparently by his own hand - but allegations that he was murdered still surface, and many people feel that even if it wasn't murder most foul, at the very least he was hounded to suicide.

One British MP went so far as to resign his seat in Parliament so he could devote his full and undivided attention to investigating the demise of Dr. Kelly. The rumors and speculations surrounding his death are sure to resume as the issue of the 'sexed up' dossier return to the fore.

The Foreign Office might appeal the ruling to the High Court in an effort to keep it under wraps - but the climate in Britain is not conducive to the secrecy, arrogance and hubris of the Blair era. I, for one, hope that this is the straw that breaks the camels back.

[H/T Cernig]