Monday, August 27, 2007

Alastair Campbell Is A Big Fat Liar*

Interesting news from the latest edition of the New Statesman, news that barely seems to get a mention elsewhere. According to the New Statesman:

Alastair Campbell placed the September 2002 WMD dossier in the hands of the propaganda unit that later produced the plagiarised "dodgy dossier", the New Statesman can reveal.

According to the periodical, Conservative MP John Baron obtained the full text of a letter sent by the Cabinet office to the Hutton inquiry after it had been asked to hand over an early secret draft of the dossier. A previously censored four and a half lines of the letter reveals that Campbell placed the intelligence dossier in the hands of the Coalition Information Committee (CIC). The CIC is a propaganda unit set up by Campbell to promote UK involvement in US-led wars. Campbell has denied that the dossier existed on 9th September 2002.

The New Statesman concludes that:

The revelation that the dossier was from the outset in the ownership of Campbell’s propaganda unit is the final nail in the coffin of the government’s claims that it was produced by the JIC.

It is clear that the government misled both the Hutton inquiry and the Butler Review about the background of the dossier that formed the basis of Andrew Gilligan's accusations. Furthermore, it would appear that the early first draft of the dossier drawn up by John Williams, communications director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, does not contain any reference to the infamous 45 minute claim that made the case for war. It would appear that, as Gilligan stated at the time, that the claim was inserted to 'sex-up' the dossier. Gilligan's report was, therefore, wholly accurate in its central assertion. An assertion that led to the government asserting its authority over the BBC in an unprecedented manner. An unprecedented event that was, nonetheless, supported by the very people who claim to be opposed to the ideology of the all-powerful state machine. Where were they when the state machine went into overdrive? Behind the lines of the government, where their natural loyalties lie. But, I digress.

After successfully utilising the FoI Act, Baron told the New Statesman:

“Britain went to war on a false premise, and this latest revelation underlines the fact that spin doctors were involved from the outset in the production of the dossier and the presentation of the case for war in Iraq – a war which, in its aftermath, is still costing British and Iraqi lives. I shall be asking further questions when parliament returns as to why the involvement of the CIC in the production of the dossier has been concealed.”

Perhaps it is time for the government to make an apology to the BBC, the British and Iraqi people and to finally admit that the premise on which our involvement was based, was nothing more than the invention of a vicious propagandist with blood on his hands. It comes to something when a Tory MP exposes this sordid truth.