5 June 2003
The London Independent today (05/06/03) has the headline:
‘The Niger Connection: Tony Blair. Bogus documents and the case for war’
Below are extracts from the document I quoted from on the 27 March 2003 in a piece published here on ICH and indeed, the information in this document appeared in the national press at around the same time.
‘U.N. Official: Fake Iraq Nuke Papers Were Crude By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters
Wednesday 26 March 2003
A few hours and a simple internet search was all it took for U.N. inspectors to realize documents backing U.S. and British claims that Iraq had revived its nuclear program were crude fakes, a U.N. official said.
Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, a senior official from the U.N. nuclear agency who saw the documents offered as evidence that Iraq tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger, described one as so badly forged his ‘jaw dropped.’
The same piece goes on to say:
‘The IAEA asked the U.S. and Britain if they had any other evidence backing the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium. The answer was no.
IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei informed the U.N. Security Council in early March that the Niger proof was fake and that three months with 218 inspections at 141 sites had produced ‘no evidence or plausible indication’ Iraq had a nuclear program.
But last week Vice President Dick Cheney repeated the U.S. position and said that El Baradei was wrong about Iraq.
‘We know (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein) has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons,’ he said.’
And the Independent today, reports that the UN knew the documents in question were forgeries at least as early as the 7 March. Yet had the Independent read the Reuters report above, they would have known it back in March! Now the question is, not that the Independent didn’t report the information, but how did it report it? Did the Independent lead with the information? Did the BBC which also reported the existence of the forged documents question the relevant government ministers and pursue it with the kind tenacity they are pursuing the ‘rogue elements’ in the security services? No they didn’t. It’s all very well for the media to lead with this information now, but what about back then, before the invasion, when it counted? Why is this information so much more important after the fact than before?
The Independent attempts to cover itself by saying:
‘ The rest of the world did not realise until March that the basis of the allegation, letters purportedly exchanged between Iraqi agents and the government of Iraq, had been forged.’
But the Independent, the UK and US governments and the rest of the world knew, well before the invasion (at least as early as March 7), that two of the key pieces of ‘evidence’ upon which the rationale for invasion rested was either a fake like the ‘Niger’ documents or deliberately planted disinformation like the 45-minute fiasco.
Moreover, in the acres of print on the this entire sordid and disgusting affair, not once is there any mention aside from a statement by Clare Short, the former development minister, made today, that Blair had secretly agreed with Bush to invade Iraq well in advance of the invasion:
‘Three very, very senior figures in Whitehall said to me that the Prime Minister had agreed in the summer [last year] to the date of 15 February for military action and that was later extended to mid-March. At the time the Prime Minister was telling us he was committed to the second resolution.’
Yet at the time (though she doesn’t mention when she was told this, but we must assume it was last year), the craven Ms. Short preferred to believe her leader rather than admit he was a liar, and indeed, to this day, not a single public figure either in the government or the media can bring themselves to say the word, ‘liar’.
‘‘The truth is, nobody believes a word the PM says’’
This is the headline on page 5 of the Independent. Underneath are edited highlights of Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons yesterday (4 June) which includes comments by Ian Duncan Smith (Tory), Charles Kennedy (Liberal Democrat), Kenneth Clarke (Tory), Robin Cooke (Labour), and Clare Short (Labour) and Blair’s responses. But nowhere is there any mention of a reason for the lies, let alone the word. It’s as if the word has suddenly disappeared from the English language. What will it take for the media and the politicos to face the fact, that invading Iraq was always on the cards, regardless of ‘evidence’, resolutions, facts or fiction. It was a done deal and probably decided on years ago regardless of Saddam’s compliance with this or that demand or otherwise.
So when is a lie not a lie?
When it’s made by a politician and by a politician who has a (not so) hidden agenda that the corporate press and the political classes do not want to admit exists. They would rather play ‘follow their leaders’ in a game of catch-up which consists largely of scoring points and covering their own, tired arses, in case they too, get called to task for their complicity in the crime.