[R-G] IRAQ: UK - first dossier also dodgy
info at cinox.demon.co.uk
Fri Jul 11 20:52:39 MDT 2003
12 July 2003
Revealed: first dossier also dodgy
Tony Blair's first Iraq weapons dossier used material culled from the
internet to buttress the Government's case for war - exactly as the
now-discredited second, so-called dodgy dossier did.
The document, released last September, shows at least six separate items on
Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction were lifted from
reports up to 21 months old. The revelation will be acutely embarrassing to
the Prime Minister who, only this week, defended the first dossier robustly,
and insisted it supported the need for action.
The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has already criticised the second
dossier, produced in February, in which intelligence was mixed with other
material, including a student's PhD thesis.
The plagiarised documents in the first dossier included mention of ballistic
missiles, unmanned drones, nuclear programmes, "dual use" of civil material,
maps showing how British bases in Cyprus were within range of Iraqi missiles
and Saddam's supposed plan for regional domination.
In his foreword to the first dossier - Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction -
Mr Blair wrote: "This document is based, in large part, on the work of the
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) ... Its work, like the material it
analyses, is largely secret. It is unprecedented for the Government to
publish this kind of document."
Although the action may be unprecedented, much of the information was freely
available on the internet.
The dossier appears to have drawn heavily from three sources in the public
domain. They are a briefing paper by William Cohen, US Defence Secretary in
the Clinton administration, from January 2001; the appearance before the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by George Tenet, the CIA director,
the following month; an unclassified CIA report to Congress covering the
period 1 July to 31 December 2000; and a report on Iraq by the International
Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) published in London in September.
Under the heading "Recent Intelligence", the first Downing Street dossier
"reveals" Iraq was developing "al-Samoud-Ababil-100 ballistic missiles", and
Saddam Hussein's regime had the "technical expertise" to fit them with
"chemical and biological warheads". Nineteen months earlier, the
unclassified report to Congress noted parts of the supposedly secret project
had been in a public parade in Baghdad.
The Iraqis could have used such ballistic missiles, armed with chemical and
biological weapons, against their neighbours. Among those under such threat
would have been British and American personnel in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The "threat" posed by "current and planned/potential ballistic missiles" is
shown in a map in the first Blair dossier, with British bases and tourists
on Cyprus within range.
The map is, to all purposes, identical to one in Mr Cohen's report, and also
to one in the IISS report published two weeks before the Blair dossier.
The dossier highlights the chemical and biological threat, claiming Iraq
"has attempted to modify the L-29 jet trainer to be used as an unmanned
aerial vehicle(UAV) potentially capable of delivering chemical and
That fact had already been mentioned by Mr Cohen and by the CIA in previous
The dossier repeatedly stresses Iraq's nuclear ambitions: "... Iraq
retained, and retains, many of its experienced nuclear scientists and
technicians who are specialised in the production of fissile material and
weapons design. Intelligence indicates Iraq also retains the accompanying
programme documentation and data."
The dossier also claims Iraq was trying to acquire "significant quantities
of uranium from Africa", the implication being that, with the expertise
already there, the prospect of a nuclear arsenal for Saddam was not far
The African uranium claim, since rejected by the UN International Atomic
Energy Agency, is not in the other documents. Mr Cohen's report says:
"Although Iraq claims it destroyed all the specific equipment and facilities
for developing nuclear weapons, it retains sufficient skilled and
experienced scientists as well as weapons design information that could
allow it to restart a weapons programme."
The dossier maintains Saddam was benefiting from items with both civil and
military use. But the report to Congress had already reported the
possibility. Another claim in the dossier was: "Saddam continues to attach
great importance to the possession of weapons of mass destruction and
ballistic missiles which he regards as being the basis for Iraq's regional
power. He is determined to retain these capabilities" - again, something Mr
Tenet had already outlined.
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