It’s the spies wot gets the blame By William Bowles

2 February 2004

“I saw evidence that was categoric on Saddam possessing chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Now I saw the evidence, so did the Prime Minister, so did other cabinet ministers. That informed our decision to go topple him. I think we were right in doing so, but let’s wait and see what the jury finds out in the end.”

So says Peter Hain, Leader of the Commons and former anti-apartheid activist and if you believe this statement, you’ll believe anything.

But what is this statement based upon? The September 2002 dossier? The ‘dodgy’ February 2003 dossier or the stuff that nobody else has ever seen? Perhaps it’s Hans Blix’s final report to the UN? Perhaps it was the fairies at the bottom of the garden?

Perhaps it’s:

  • The WMD ready for launching in 45 minutes? Lie
  • The Niger yellowcake that Iraq was trying to buy? Lie
  • The hidden factories for manufacturing nuclear weapons? Lie
  • The 100-500 tonnes of chemical weapons agents? Lie
  • The warheads containing biological warfare agents hidden in large groves of palm trees? Lie
  • The seven mobile laboratories for producing biological warfare agents? Lie
  • The massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories? Lie
  • The unmanned drones capable of spraying biological or chemical weapons? Lie

No? Am I missing something here? Perhaps the intelligence ‘community’ were mislead by a massive disinformation campaign orchestrated by Saddam Hussein to deter a USUK attack? And I kid you not as this was one of the arguments briefly advanced and then dropped by the imperium last year.

Perhaps the intelligence ‘community’ is in fact a fifth column set up by Saddam Hussein? So wot went ‘wrong’? The Independent (02/0204) has the answer in its editorial:

“When should he [Blair] admit that the intelligence services got the threat from Saddam Hussein badly wrong?”

Amazing stuff from a newspaper that claimed to be opposed to the invasion, though in the light of this statement, what was the Independent’s opposition based upon? That the government got it badly ‘right’ last year? Wot happened to the position of ‘principle’ of opposing an invasion based upon the idea of ‘pre-emption’? Indeed, what’s happened to the entire argument? Vanished it appears, just like Saddam’s WMD.

It goes on to make the most outrageous statement, that even a supposedly ‘liberal’ ‘paper like the Independent should be ashamed of:

“A properly truthful politician would simply say: That’s a bit of a surprise. We honestly thought he had chemical and biological weapons. Couldn’t take the risk of continuing the policy of containment. Never mind, we got rid of a terrible dictator and the Iraqi people will be grateful in time, even if they are inexplicably sullen now.”

To make a joke out of the deaths of thousands of innocents is indicative of the thinking of the deeply racist white men who run the Independent, who when push comes to shove, reveal that their basic allegiance is to the British state and in maintaining the status quo. For what this debacle reveals is the bankrupt policies of a bankrupt system that no amount of joking, ‘explaining away’ or ‘scapegoating’ will alter.

Get out of this one Bliar
Wot I can’t wait to see is how the ‘intelligence community’ is going to explain away years of ‘intelligence’ that ‘proved’ that Saddam had WMD. Already the heads of British intelligence are saying that they will not be the scapegoat for the failure of the politicians to justify the unjustifiable.

And it’s not just British intelligence that will have to be scapegoated, what of the vast intelligence network of the US (The CIA, the NSA, the DIA and so forth). Did they all get it ‘wrong’ too? Can the argument of ‘shared’ intelligence do the trick? For example, when the Niger fake was exposed, Blair made much of “another” source, a source that has never been revealed nor apparently, shared with the US, yet Blair went on about it ad infinitum without ever revealing where it came from. Will this lie also be ‘forgotten’ by the corporate press along with all the other lies conveniently omitted from the press’s ‘post mortem‘?

No doubt if Blair (reluctantly) agrees to yet another ‘inquiry’, it will be behind closed doors and perhaps some heads will roll (sacrificed on the alter of imperialism) but the lies told are just so enormous, it’s difficult see how the governments of the USUK can wriggle out of this one even with the collusion of the mass media and even the ritual sacrifice of the heads of intelligence. Perhaps a few ‘suicides’ aka Dr Kelly will do the trick.

Hutton was intended to produce an alibi for a government that has run out of reasons, but will it work? Judging by the public’s response (and this was one of its major objectives) it has been a dismal failure, because it is such a blatant whitewash. To attempt another Hutton would be political suicide for Blair (do I hear cheering?), any attempt at a whitewash on the scale of Hutton will be rejected. Anything less will not do the job. So what’s a congenital Bliar to do?

The real objective of the Hutton ‘inquiry’ becomes apparent as it attempted to absolve the government of lying to and misleading the public but left unresolved the fundamental contradictions engendered by the inquiry’s attempt at walking a tightrope between letting the government off the hook and not delving too deeply into the underlying reasons for war.

It has left even more questions unanswered now than before by its attempt to reconcile the contradictions. For the sake of Warhol’s ’15 minutes of fame’ Blair now faces a future of infamy. Can Blair and his cronies be so stupid or is it that they think we’re stupid? Ah the arrogance of power that confuses slick PR statements with reality. Did Blair really think that disinterring some old fart of a ‘Law Lord’ would make everything okay? Was he relying on our ancient (and clearly decrepit) system of bowing down to the ‘superiority’ of our ‘betters’ would do the trick?

It all comes down to ‘trust’ or rather lack of trust that our lying government is now faced with trying to restore. As one politico put it in trying to justify the entire farce, “Was it a failure of the system or a temporary aberration?” (Sir Roderick Braithwaite, BBC Radio 4, 02/02/04). Failure of the system? So what ‘system’ is it that failed exactly? The relationship between the civil service and the government? A carefully crafted fiction that would have us believe that the civil service is neutral – ‘just the facts Ma’am, just the facts’ – when its run by entrenched members of the Establishment, dedicated to maintaining the status quo at any cost. People who went to the same private schools and the same universities, who are members of the same exclusive clubs, who marry into each others families. Any reading of history reveals that the role of the civil service is to maintain the capitalist state, even to the point of undermining the government they supposedly serve.

Aberration? What is the nature of the aberration? That the entire intelligence system went temporarily insane and forgot to check its facts before ‘advising’ the government?

The reality is that Blair has created a genuine crisis of confidence in the state that has no contemporary parallel. It’s difficult to see how it can be resolved without Blair’s removal as prime minister or perhaps a coup d’etat brought about by the sudden appearance of some kind of ’emergency’ that translates into a ‘threat’ to the state that requires the use of ‘extraordinary’ powers, precisely the kind of powers that by pure ‘coincidence’ Thug Blunkett called for today. Watch this space for developments (if it’s still here).

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