Alastair Campbell

With the Chilcot Inquiry still in procrastination and having done Mr Blair and Mr Bush's autobiographies I thought while we wait for the never emerging report it might be interesting  and informative to pursue Alastair Campbell's diaries... well, that's to say I thought we should read it anyway even if it isn't interesting  and informative.  If literary success is to be measured in sheer quantity of output Alastair Campbell is one of the greatest diarists of our times… for simply in terms of volume of words put down on paper or into an Ascii file his output is almost without rival.  Even the endless waffle that comprises this very website is – when placed next to Mr Campbell’s diaries – the soul of brevity.

So I’ll be honest I haven’t actually read the whole of “Alastair Campbell Diaries – the Downing Street Years”.  This is no comment on the worthiness of the content I just don’t have the time.  No not even me.  A short to medium sized novel is usually in the region of 50,000 to 60,000 words.   A long novel might stretch to 120,000 words.  Mr Campbell’s Downing Street saga stretches (according to my conservative (with a small c) estimation) to well in excess of 250,000 if not 300,000 words.  Campbell puts it in his forward at 350,000 (“selected from more than 2,000,000) …I haven’t counted them all individually but this is one hefty tome.  It certainly works well at preventing the blinds in the front room flapping in the breeze when I’m watching television with the window open. 

That all said one has to take one’s hat off to all diarists.  When I was a child I kept a diary once.  For about a week.  On reading it back I made the following discoveries.

1)      I am not a nice person
2)      I didn’t like myself because of (1)
3)      My life was boring and I was the most boring thing in my life
4)      My mum would read it uninvited
5)      There was nowhere I could effectively hide it from my mother
6)      There are many things I wish not to record for posterity
7)      After redacting everything I was ashamed of (6) there was very little else left
8)      What there was left (7) made little sense and had no narrative ark
9)      (8) was because of (7)
10)   I'm really not a nice person

So respect due to anybody who keeps a diary.  From Anne Frank to Samuel Pepys diarists are the great literary purists.  They write purely for their own improvement and not for that of society as a whole.  They write for love not for money.  They are the nearest thing literature has to stand up.  To be a diarist requires the self-knowledge of Charles Pooter, the self-effacement of Peter Ustinov and the self discipline of a marathon runner (which Mr Campbell is also).  While the rest of us fictionalise, attempt to avoid libel and edit out the boring bits out of life to turn it into entertainment the diarist reveals to his hidden tome the pure unvarnished horror of actual life in its rawest state.

Only after death – or after having built a large enough platform or following for his boring life to be commercialised – does he reveal any of this to the masses… if a literary editor tells him money might be sculpted this raw stone of bitter experience.  Of course these days diaries like Tony Benn’s are written with a view to later publication but … let’s not try and analyse a man who by his death had turned his life into a stage show.  Sometimes I think there are more politicians in arts centres these days than comedians and actors…

That all said being a diarist is still in my view the mental equivalent of voluntary corporal mortification and frankly it is little wonder that the man suffers from depression if he goes this far into his own psyche every day. Fortunately while you or I might feel too embarrassed to admit to many of our past thoughts politicians and their apparatchiks have not such inhibitions and while you or I may feel we have to tell all they can use a good editor to expunge excessively honest thoughts from the text.  Thus while this book is in the most literal sense Alastair Campbell’s diary there are strange and peculiar time jumps in the narrative as yet unexplained …it’s as interesting for what it doesn’t say as what it does.  Sometimes he writes a thousand or two thousand words a day …other times we skip almost whole months.

Keep in mind too that this is only one volume of his Diaries.

Also available are Diaries Volume One: Prelude to Power 1994–1997 (2010), Diaries Volume Two: Power and the People 1997–1999 (2011)
Diaries Volume Three: Power and Responsibility 1999–2001 (2012)….
Diaries volumes Four:  The Burden of Power ...
volume 5 is yet to come I sound like his publicist. 

Everytime he publishes another one he puts in a bit more information ... thereby maximising the turnover of his on-the-job-notes... while minimising the volume of really useful information about the here and now he imparts that might shame those still in the shadow Cabinet.   As to what he thinks about the Iraq War these days... well al gets a bit emotional...

Campbell tries to assert that it wasn't just about the dossier but also about the history of the regime and seems to think that people are angry becaues they "disagree with the judgement Tony Blair made".  However, this is wrong. 

We can argue endless about how many people died in the war vs how many people Saddam might have otherwise killed ... but ultimately it is all about the dossier.  Because ultimately under international law if Tony Blair didn't have convincing evidence that Iraq was a real external threat to other countries then he violated the soverignty of another country without a good reason and this is clearly illegal under international law.  It is a "crime against peace" as Putin explains in no undercertain terms below ...putting his cards flat on the table he tells Blair and Campbell that if they and the US are going to just ignore international law will he ...or words to that effect.  And ...well, he has.  I wont bore you with an overly detailed analysis of Lord Goldsmith's legal advice I'll just restrict myself to:

"It appears to be accepted that only serious cases of non-compliance would constitute a material breach on the basis that it would be difficult to justify the use of force in relation to a very minor infringement of the terms of the resolution (678)"


"In conclusion therefore, my opinion is that resolution 1441 does not revive the authorisation to use of force contained in resolution 678 in the absence of a further decision of the Security Council". 

Therefore under international law the government must prove a credible external threat to make the war legal.  The burden of proof is on the government and on him and Tony Blair.  Lord Goldsmith also pointed out that even if you could make an argument for military intervention "any force used pursant to the authorisation in resolution 678 ... must be proportionate to that objective, i.e. securing compliance with Iraq's disarmament obligations.  That is not say that action may not be taken to remove Saddam Hussein from power if it can be shown that such action is necessary to secutre the disarmament of Iraq and that is a proportionate response to that objective.  But regime change cannot be the objective of military action.  This should be borne in mind in making public statements about any campaign."

In short regime change is unequivocally illegal under international law except in two circumstances.  Threat of overwhelming immediate humanitarian disaster (Kosovo) or express Secuirty Council permission.  In the case of Iraq there was neither... 

The minor inconvenience however arose that George W Bush and his neoconservative coterie clearly just don't believe in either international law or national self-determination.  Fortunately at the time this story starts no one in the UK governemnt (including Mr Campbell) seems to have any idea what neoconservativism is or means.  Indeed in his diaries Mr Campbell even says he doesn't know?  Why not?  The PNAC site detailing Wolfowitz's interesting views on war and the USA had been on the internet since before the start of the war.  Neoconservatism and its desire to undermine the cornerstone of international law errected by Wilson in 1919 "National Self Determination" had been hiding in plain sight for years... the British Government however just didn't read the internet.

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power." - Paul Wolfowitz

"Before this classified document was fully vetted by the White House, it was leaked to The New York Times, which made it front-page news. The draft DPG announced that it had become the “first objective” of U.S. policy “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival.” With an eye toward “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role,” the United States would maintain unquestioned military superiority and, if necessary, employ force unilaterally. As window dressing, allies might be nice, but the United States no longer considered them necessary" - Andrew Bacevich

Anyway we have been wading through The Blair Years (2008) in particular the years 2001 to 2003 as that is our area of interest.  Alastair’s life being today available in ever more microscopic detail than yesterday The Blair Years is now within our budget …of 1p on Amazon. 

One other reason I have restricted myself to the 2008 version of the diaries is that they are largely undisputed as a record of events by Tony Blair.  In the 2012 version of the diaries there is more detail including a controversial assertion by Mr Campbell that Mr Blair deliberately concealed Lord Goldsmith's full legal advice from the Cabinet.  This interesting interpretation of the doctrine that the Prime Minister is merely "first among equals" is missing from the 2008 version of the diaries.  Mind you I haven't actually read the 2012 version so this is only hearsay...

There are also  minor but interesting differences too between the versions of the text published by Campbell and those published by the Hutton Inquiry.  There may be many reasons for this.  Although requesting Campbell's full dairies Lord Hutton never actually recieved them.  The version he worked from was edited by Campbell's barrister and transcribed in a great hurry from the originals which are presumably in longhand.  There's no clear evidence of an attempt to mislead Hutton in this - much of the information either not supplied to or not published by Hutton was not relevant to his terms of reference - but below we have taken at least one passage to show the differences between what Hutton published and what Mr Campbell published.  These show minor chronological differences which may simply be due to an attempt to make the original text more readable but it goes to show that what is published in Campbell's published diaries may not be exactly what he wrote.  Then again if these are real diaries one would expect them to require some editing to get them into a form suitable for commerical publication.  Then again...

Anyway here as Mr Monk would say here’s what happened (according to Mr Campbell):

September 2001

Things start to kick off war wise after September 11th 2001 so that’s where I’ll start.  Tony worries about George W Bush “turning inwards”.  Clare Short “does her usual bit” at Cabinet.

The MEPP gets mentioned a lot.  After about two weeks I finally figured out that the MEPP is the Middle East Peace Process.

Mr Campbell loves acronyms and initials and there’s no shortage of them available – there’s even some lists of them – they create more space in the volume for his opinions.

It is the conviction of Tony and therefore almost everybody else that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are linked to the MEPP.  How exactly I’m not sure but everyone believes it so it must be so.

When Hilary Armstrong and Robert Hill warn Blair there may be a few issues about going to war in Afghanistan and the Parliamentary Labour Party Mr Blair responds

“Are they mad?  Do we just let these people get away with killing thousands of people”.

For a while it remains unclear just who is responsible and to what extent they are responsible but OBL – Osama Bin Laden – gets mentioned a lot.  The G8 gets pulled or postponed and Tony starts to worry that George won’t have a “face to face” with him any time soon.  TB – Tony Blair – decides that it is his job to steer the USA towards a “sensible path”.  The security services start to say there’s ever more evidence pointing at Osama.  Soon the Taliban get the hump and lots of refugees pour into Afghanistan.  Chirac, Campbell tells us, “was pretty clear that they could hit Afghanistan but no further” which is an interesting turn of phrase.  Where does “no further” mean?  “Jospin was all over the shop”.  And everyone decides they ought to offer their “support” to Musharraf – the then dictator of Pakistan who had seized power via a military coup in 1999.  My enemy’s enemy is another dictator.

Clare Short says something bad in public again - this is a recurring theme.  Charles Clarke voices ‘other people’s concerns’ [my quotes] to Blair about Bush.  All this is very hectic and Alastair is now turning over often in excess of a thousand words a day.

Alastair starts to worry that Ariel Sharon will exploit the war to equate Arafat to Osama bin Laden and that Blair will look like a poodle and about George W Bush’s colourful turns of phrase.  Eventually Bush finds a window and Blair goes over to visit.  By this time everyone’s very sure it was Osama and that the Taliban were hand in glove with him.   George W Bush decides to issue an ultimatum – hand over Osama bin Laden or else.   There’s the difficult problem of which country to invade from and Lieutenant General Tim Piggott starts on about winning hearts and mind.

October 2001

It is decided by Tony and George W that Tony should go and see Putin to try and “secure bases” and then go to Pakistan and start being very nice to Musharraf.  There’s a problem with a woman called Jo Moore who has sent a silly email saying that September 11 was a good time to “bury bad news”.  This has been leaked to the press and many knickers are got in a twist.  Mr Campbell gets very cross about the BBC’s coverage of Tony Blair’s Oman visit – for reasons that are not explained.   There are problems with Tony going to Pakistan but not India so he does both.  Cherie gets quite upset that Tony is going to Pakistan which is not stable at the time and has a row with Mr Campbell.  The relationship between Mr Campbell and Mrs Blair is acrimonious in general and as time goes on a number of long term grudges and disputes seem to surface.  Mostly concerning Tony’s choice of attire... 

Tony goes to see Musharraf who tries to bug his room at the hotel.  The war in Afghanistan starts but Mr Campbell doesn’t comment on this till two days later.  On October 9th Mr Campbell writes that “The War Cabinet was OK”.  It’s time to start being nice to Sheikh Zayed of United Arab Emirates?  Alastair tries to rescue the career of Jo “good time to bury bad news” Moore but only ends up digging the hole deeper and deeper and deeper. 

The Sultan of Oman has a nice swimming pool but isn’t too much of a show off.  Mr Campbell discusses Burnley FC with the troops.  The Sultan of Oman has a nice private beach and makes his staff don kilts.  There are lots of bombs but no ground forces.  Geoff Hoon says it’s a bit of muddle and everyone else agrees with him.  By the 16th of October “There was a growing sense that things were not going brilliantly”.  Finally Jo “bury bad news” Moore makes a public statement composed by Alastair and it’s a disaster.  This is almost as important as the war.  “Rumsfeld was felt to be erratic”.  Tony Blair says they should either get behind the Northern Alliance or not” and George W says yes but they have to be able to share power.  The Taliban’s moral is crumbling and so is the career of Jo Moore.  Lord Goldsmith says the word “Belgrano” and Mr Campbell says that that was “A failure of spin over a discredited Tory regime”.  How everybody laughed.

Mr Campbell suggests George W visit a few mosques.  Condoleezza Rice says the PR has been dreadful.  Jack Straw tells Dick Cheney that “Sharon was doing things which were dangerous and could not be part of our strategy”.  Cheney doesn’t say much to them.  “He had a cold slightly menacing body language”.  Tony says they must take Mazar before Ramadan.   Rumsfeld puts his foot in it by saying they might not catch Osama.  The MEPP carries on being a muddle.

November 2001

Anji Hunter goes.  Mr Campbell protests it’s not fair people think he and Tony Blair are as truthful as dictatorships and terrorists.  Tony Blair wants to centralise more power at Number 10.  Rumsfeld gets a lot of press and “has been more impressive than Colin Powell who “comes over as a bit weak and dithery”". 

Recently retired Mo Mowlam calls Tony “Presidential” and accuses him of killing Cabinet government and John Prescott helpfully explains to the reporters that “she’s daft”.  In his autobiography Tony tells that she asked for a better job after the Good Friday Agreement and as  John Rentoul would say this is a question to which the answer was “no”.  So at the 2001 general election she’d wandered off. 

There were other big changes in the government after the 2001 general election.  Notably Robin Cook was moved from the position of Foreign Secretary to that of Leader of the House of Commons.  Could it be that already their differences over policy were becoming harder to reconcile even before the war in Iraq?   Tony and Gordon Brown’s rows carry on.  They seek him here.  They seek him there.  That damned elusive Osama Bin Laden.

December 2001

Tony and Alastair ponder on the mysteries of home policy for a change.  Bill Clinton pops over and calls Blair “Prime Minister Brown” by mistake.  Tony tells Gordon Brown he’s a better Prime Minister than he would be.  Peter Mandelson gets upset about being “defenestrated”.  There is much about Peter, Tony and Gordon and how they fall in …and out …and in again.  In a masterly outbreak of self-effacement Peter tells Alastair that “We weren’t exactly blessed with A grade Ministers” and Alastair agrees with this sentiment. Mandelson and Clinton are amusing bit part players in this saga.  At times Clinton pops up randomly to disgorge his wisdom and Mandelson makes similar odd materialisations to distribute his sage advice to Alastair - particularly when he's jobless.  They have an odd spikey relationship ...for some reason the words "bitchy Queen" spring to him ... but it's probably no more than homopobia ... and then I feel guilty and bury them in the compost heap of my mind again.

January 2002

Alastair and Tony go to Bangladesh and Tony has on the wrong trousers so Mr Campbell sends his minor to try and scrounge a better looking one off a black man.  Tony puts on a Nehru suit and it goes down badly.  “He was putting enormous effort into trying to get progress on various fronts at home and abroad and all the time we had this media shit to swim through.” 

Prime Minister Vajpayee of India is holding his cards to his chest.  Gordon Brown’s newly born daughter becomes ill.  Tony want Musharraf to get tougher with terrorists.  Tony goes to see Hamid Karzai in Baghram.   Gordon Brown’s ill newly born daughter becomes dies.  Karzai moans a lot.  Tony and Alastair go for a pootle around Afghanistan.  There are a few digs at the BBC’s John Simpson.  “I met the SIS guy who had actually been the first person into Kabul, even if John Simpson had never met him.”  Quite a few digs at John Simpson. 

Interestingly if irrelevantly I came across a copy of Simpson's "Not Quite World's End : A Traveller's Tales" remaindered for a pound in Poundland (big print copy - good doorstop) and he accuses Blair of flirting with his wife or something...

"In the late 1990s Dec and I had come here [Bagdad] to cover a visit by Tony Blair to the Middle East, and we had gone to his suite late at night to interview him.  It seemed to me, as he patted his hand on the bed for her to sit beside him with the microphone, and addressed most of his answers to her rather than me, that he wasn't entirely immune to the attractions of a good-looking female producer.  But maybe that is what a jealous husband always feels..."

On Hutton, Campbell and the BBC he writes...

"Not taking advertising isn't merely some strange quirk, like not eating tomatoes.  The idea behind it is that if you aren't beholden to anyone for the money you spend, you won't be in anyone's pocket.  For more than eighty years it has worked well.  But I now believe that the fury of the Blair government over an accusation which proved to be largely true will one day lead to the destruction of the BBC in the form we have always known it."

I stand with awe at the amazing lack of knowledge of and delusion about the history and genesis of the BBC and its relationship to the establishment this statement contains.   All senior and even junior staff in the BBC were vetted by the government and the security services right into the 1980s and the entire purpose of the Nationalisation of the British Broadcasting Company by Conservative Mr Baldwin was driven by a government desire for control over the media during the general strike.  So what is "worked well"?  Never-the-less is it a good example of genuine fear/paranoia created by Mr Campbell down the BBC. 

Everyone goes back to London.  “My first morning meeting of the year, as we went through the media brief, was like swimming through shit”.  Alastair informs us that there were too many journalists at Gordon’s daughter’s funeral – including Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail. Campbell's loathing of Dacre gets progressively more intense through the book...

John Prescott worries that the Parlimentary Party won’t buy Tony’s deals with the private sector over healthcare.  Mr Murdoch drops by for tea and has an argument about the MEPP in which Murdoch Jr tells Murdoch Sr he is talking “fucking nonsense”.  Things go a bit quiet for a while.  Karzai and his clothes remain toast of the world town.  Alastair throws a wobbly about Tony having Rupert Murdoch round to tea.  “I said that I hated having to pander to these people, and that they took it as weakness not strength,” he says before losing his rag completely. 

“I said it is no good just being fed up.  I’m fed up too, fed up with the fact we are in power and doing nothing to change the poisonous media culture which is actually damaging the country now.  I said I couldn’t stand the Mail, most of the Telegraph, a fair few of the broadcasters, most of the Sundays, and now Piers Morgan was on my list of barely worth talking to”. 

It reminded me of an old routine I used to do about a builder who did lots of work for celebrity clients and would slag each one off as a “cunt”.  At first you thought “yeah celebrity X is a cunt” or “celebrity Y is a cunt” but after a while you work out that either all celebrities are cunts or actually he must be a shit builder.  That said it’s probably difficult to quantify just how powerful or more importantly perceived to be powerful these people actually were in the era before the internet and the Leveson Inquiry.

February 2002

After a rest for some rows with his wife Fiona … Alastair moves into action again on February 9th when Princess Margaret dies.   A man called Lakshmi Mittal gives £125,000 to the Labour Party a few weeks after Tony Blair has written to the Prime Minister of Romania offering some kind of deal with the Mittal company and the press find this very interesting.  Tony and Alastair start to now take turns in deciding that they want to go but ought to stay but want to go.  Says Tony “If I die tomorrow, they would say he was the guy who modernised the Labour Party, made it electable, won two landslides, sorted the economy, improved public services, Bank of England, Kosovo, Northern Ireland.  They would barely mention the frenzies we have survived” …which sounds quite good till I realise that I am remembering those things.  And then it sounds a bit like hubris. 

Jack Straw says Tony should do something symbolic to show respect to Parliament and Alastair moans that he spends all his time clearing up shit but “I don’t always feel I get support in return” and they have a philosophical talk about how powerful Number 10 actually is or isn’t.  Things simmer down for a while and there are less diary entries.  Rumsfeld continues to worry everybody particularly when Tony starts talking to ABC TV in the USA.  Have I caught acronyms?

March 2002

An independent inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hammond decides that actually Peter Mandelson had done nothing wrong.  A quick flashback : there was an argument about him contacting Mike O’Brien at the Home Office over Srichand Hinduja’s passport application and it turned out Mr Hinduja’s family were sponsors of the “Faith Zone” in the Millennium Dome.  To be fair to Mr Campbell even if there had been a bad intention behind the question to Mike O’Brien it’s funny how in hindsight all these things do sound like very small beer… the molehills from which political mountains are made … if we disregard the fact that this was Peter’s second resignation.  Whatever … it’s clear Alastair and Tony can’t give Peter Mandelson a new job yet so Mr Campbell spends his time commiserating. 

The Cabinet continues to discuss Iraq.  Geoff Hoon said on 7th of March that “support for Kosovo and Afghanistan had been pretty overwhelming.  He felt a military assault on Iraq would carry less weight.  It would depend on the role of the UN”.  Robin Cook says that on military action there was “a fine balance to strike” and the best way to isolate Saddam was to get progress in the MEPP.  Charles Clake felt that “people understood Tony Blair’s position of support in exchange for influence”.  David Blunkett recently described this policy this way. 

The mistake was believing we could influence the US in the aftermath. He [Tony Blair] deluded himself and I was deluded that being close to the US could influence the way they went about it. And we couldn’t.   If I had the same information I would have voted the same way, but we let Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney run the aftermath and that was a disaster. The shadow of Iraq affects people profoundly.

Tony assures everyone he has not gone mad.  Dick Cheney talks to John Prescott which I would like to have seen… and then to Tony Blair.  More rubbish about the MEPP.  Alastair talks to Peter Mandelson again and says Jo “bury bad news” Moore staying had been a mistake and that there were mistakes over the Mittal letter.  Then I began to wonder what wasn’t a mistake.

There’s a big time jump from 11th March to 21st March… where there’s a brief note about Gerald Kaufman and the hunting votes.  Then there’s no more under March till the 30th when the Queen Mother falls off her perch.  “Unlike with Diana’s death, there were well-laid plans which swung into action pretty quickly.”  Apparently an old woman snuffing it requires the recall of Parliament.  What for exactly I am unsure.  Tony Blair talks to camera.  “It was not a Diana moment”.

April 2002

The important matter of Tony and Gordon’s clothing choices is addressed and then we move on to Iraq at Chequers on April 2nd where the big brains all got together to consider the pros and cons of invading Iraq.  Apparently Sir Charles Guthrie, Chief of the Defence staff says something along the lines of ...

 “Rumsfeld and few others know what was being planned, Tony Blair may speak to Bush or Condi but did they really know what was going on?”  Who’s the President again? 

Sir Charles Guthrie continues by commenting that “apart from Rumsfeld there were only four or five people who were really on the inside track”.  I think... 

Annoyingly Campbell never quite makes it clear when he’s directly quoting Sir Charles, paraphrasing Sir Charles or giving a general overview of the mood at the meeting but he accuses him of trying to steer the meeting towards “inaction”.  “I recalled his dire warnings about the Taliban skinning people alive.  Now he was saying this would not be as easy as the Taliban”.  Tony Piggott says a full scale invasion would be bloody and take a long time but could be done.   Alastair tells us what a man working for us (I presume officially) inside CENTCOM thinks and I started to wonder what sort of declassification process this book has been through …official or otherwise and then…

We discussed whether the central aim was WMD or regime change. 

Piggott’s view was that it was WMD. 

Tony Blair felt it was regime change in part because of WMD but more broadly because of the threat to the region and the world.  On WMD, people will say we have known about WMD for a long time …

We had known about WMD for a long time.

… He said what was sure was that this would not be a popular war and in the States, fighting an unpopular war and losing is not an option”.

So there we have it from the horse’s mouth as it were.  The war was not about WMD but Regime Change.  However Tony Blair asserts that the two causes are somehow one.  However, in law there can only be one primary motivation for an action that forms the actus reus.  International Law is clear “Regime Change” is an illegal motivation.  However, Tony’s wars are, it seems Intersectional or they are nothing. 

Tony seems to be purporting that the issue of WMD and the issue of Regime Change can’t be separated out.  Or that it is appropriate to use the WMD issue to pursue a larger long term goal of regime change.  At the best …it’s a little dodgy.  After all there can only ever be one central motivation.  But if you’re Tony Blair there can be two “regime change in part because of WMD”.  Of course confronted with the fact that there are or were no WMD found after the war Mr Blair stated that he would still have invaded anyway.  So ... we know - in his own words - that Blair is a war criminal who feels himself above such old fashioned ideas as the concept of National Self Determination.  However, it's revealing that he clearly expressed this idea at the time.  Or at least half expressed half of the idea.  To invent an analogy… If I drive dangerously because I want to get somewhere very quickly and run over Tony that’s manslaughter.  However, if I knew Tony might be on the road and thought “who can I kill driving dangerously? …  only Tony and that’d be a bonus?” that’s Murder.  The fact that I also wanted to get somewhere quickly or that the attempt to kill him is half hearted doesn’t stop it being murder.  If you follow that… okay that's maybe a bit wonky ... invent your own analogy.  Anwyay...

Peter Mandelson pops up again to tell Mr Campbell he could stop being depressed and wanting to quit all the time if only he were to

1)      Be nicer to Tony Blair

2)      Get “new blood” around him

3)      Manage his time better

More nonsense about the MEPP.  More nonsense about Gordon and Blair’s suits.  More nonsense about the Queen Mum’s lying in state and funeral.  More Austin Powers jokes about Tony Blair’s underpants.  These may seem like trivia but careful readers might speculate that actually what is going on here is part of a long term war over Tony’s “inappropriate” wardrobe choices what comes to a head when Cherie’s style advisor is given the boot for turning out to have a boyfriend who’s a crook.  On April 6th Tony goes to see George W Bush in Crawford again.

Bush’s posture and delivery were a lot better, more confident.  We talked about it at the ranch before dinner.  In the early days he got really knocked by the way he mangled words, and it made him hesitant, life when he said infitada instead of intifada and got mauled for it.  Now he had given up caring what they think it had made him more confident.  He said the truth is I have a limited vocabulary, I’m not great with words, I have to think about what I say carefully.”

Yes, the book really does say that.  It turns out that Mr Bush doesn’t like Trevor McDonald because it “just maddens him when they all ask the same questions”.  Quite.  Just who are these people who keep asking questions you don't want to answer?

SIR TREVOR : Mr President, if I can move on to the question of Iraq, when we last spoke before the Iraq war, I asked you about Saddam Hussein and you said this, and I quote: "He harbours and develops weapons of mass destruction, make no mistake about it."  Well, today, no WMD, the war has cost 1,700 American lives, many more Iraqi civilians killed, hundreds of billions of dollars in cost to your country. Can you understand why some people in your country are now beginning to wonder whether it was really worth it?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Absolutely. I mean, when you turn on your TV set every day and see this incredible violence and the havoc that is wreaked as a result of these killers, I'm sure why people are getting discouraged. And that's why I spoke to the nation last night and reminded people that this is a - Iraq is a part of this global war on terror. And the reason why foreign fighters are flocking into Iraq is because they want to drive us out of the region.  See, these folks represent an ideology that is based upon hate and kind of a narrow vision of mankind - women don't have rights. And I believe this is an ideological movement. And I know that they want to use suicide bombers and assassinations and attacks on the World Trade Centre, and the attacks in Madrid, to try to shake our will and to achieve an objective, which is to topple governments. And the best way to defeat an ideology is with a better ideology. And I believe democracy is a better ideology, to provide hope for people and - but yes, it's tough. But we've done tough things before in America. And we've got a great ally in Great Britain. But it's not only Great Britain. As Gerhard Schröder said in the Oval Office, a democratic Iraq is important not only to Germany, but to Europe, and he's right.

Mr Bush and Mr Campbell discuss their boozing and going on the wagon and after dinner Mr Campbell notes…

They were always extremely respectful in front of him.  I couldn’t see any of them suggesting he had a touch of the Austin Powers about him.  Tony Blair thought that was why he seemed to enjoy the banter with us, because he didn’t seem to have anyone there who just had a laugh”.

…perhaps that’s because he’s the head of state – the nearest thing they have to the Queen – as well as head of the executive … whereas Blair was just a Prime Minister.  Or perhaps it’s because they take going to war seriously and Blair and Campbell didn’t.  Or perhaps it is because he is the most powerful man in the world.  Blair seems to take this jovial “intimacy” as something special.  I suspect he was just being “boyed”.

We then move onto some comments about Jonathan Powell “Jonathan wasn’t a traditional Chief of Staff, in that he didn’t manage a lot that went on, and I wasn’t a traditional communications director.  What we did was largely driven by what Tony Blair wanted us to do and what our personalities allowed us to do.”  It’s worth pointing out that before Powell there wasn’t a traditional chief of staff in Downing Street.  It was a controversial political/civil-service job that Blair created.

On the 23rd of April “I had a meeting on Iraq with John Scarlett [SIS], Tom McKane [Cabinet Office] and Martin Howard [MoD] to go through what we needed to do communications-wise to set the scene for Iraq, e.g. a WMD paper and other papers about Saddam.  Scarlett a very good bloke”.

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.  Digs at republican hacks who went.  Thatcher and Heath visit Number 10 and are rude to each other.

May 2002

Bill Clinton rings to offer Blair PR help.  JP gets the hump with Mandelson not putting “third way” stuff through Cabinet and bypassing him.  There’s a row involving Black Rod over the Queen Mum’s funeral.  Mr Campbell complains to the PCC about the press an argument that remains unresolved to this day…and which is too boring to go over again.  This saga carries on till June 17th and you do start to wonder if these wars over points of principle are actually worth it or if they create more bad press than the original story would have even if it was untrue.  But maybe that isn’t the point and Campbell’s philosophy is “give ‘em a foot and they’ll take a yard”.  But given the story still seems to rumble on a decade later … what was the point?

Anyway most of June seems to have been taken up with the Black Rod affair and if anything war related did happen it isn’t noted or has been edited out of the diary until June 25th.  Bush gives a speech on the MEPP and there are some vague notes about Colin Powell vs Cheney Rumsfeld.  Bush pops up again at the G8. “Listening to him later, I felt sometimes he imagined he could just say thing away, just as he had said to us he thought bin Laden was dead but he daren’t say it in case bin Laden popped up again”.  Oh dear.  There’s an insinuation that Condoleezza Rice doesn’t like him because she’s a snob.  “Condi was a bit put out that I was there as well as David Manning.  She was pretty status concious”.   Wikipedia says “from 2001, he [Manning] was a foreign policy adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. During this time he developed a close relationship with his counterpart, then US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice” …which could mean a number of things.  Manning and Rice had already been in negotiations over the UK’s role in the war…… this resulted in an infamous memo in which Manning wrote “I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. And you would not budge either in your insistence that, if we pursued regime change, it must be very carefully done and produce the right result. Failure was not an option.”  One wonders reading Campbell’s diaries how aware he is or not of these negotiations. Of course it may be that Ms Rice’s problem with Campbell was that she wasn’t sure if he was in the Government or not or just a political advisor and whether he had proper security clearance.   After all constitutionally no one in the UK was quite sure what Campbell’s role was either but I suppose … Or perhaps she was worried about stuff leaking… or maybe she knew he was keeping a diary.

More bollocks on the MEPP.

July 2002

July is rather quiet but on the 23rd there’s a big Iraq meeting with John Scarlett, Geoff Hoon, the Chief of Defence Staff and C from SIS in which the question of how happy the Iraqis will be invaded is raised.  In the interests of transparency and collective responsibility:  “Tony Blair said he did want any discussions with any other departments at this stage and did not want any of this “swimming round the system””.

Jack Straw says outright the Iraq “does not have nukes and “The tough question is whether this is just regime change or is the issue WMD?  Tony Blair said it was pretty clear that we had to be with the Americans.  He said at one point “It’s worse than you think, I actually believe in doing this.  He doesn’t actually answer the question Jack’s asked it seems but when Jack Straw raises the prospect of not going in with the US “Tony Blair said that would be the biggest shift in foreign policy for 50 years and I’m not sure it’s very wise”.  Of course this is slightly delusionary.  The US did not get involved in Suez and the UK did not get involved in Vietnam.  However, maybe historical facts aren’t a big issue for Tony here … it’s an excuse to get involved.   “On the tactical level, he felt maximum closeness publicly was the way to maximise influence privately.”  Sounds like appeasement.  Geoff Hoon points out that the Americans already think they’ve got legal justification.  “TB saw remine change as the route to dealing with WMD”.  Reverse logic?

July 25th Tony raises his “grand project” with Mr Campell – announcing his resignation in advance.

August 2002

Tony Blair and Mr Campbell go on holiday (not together) and Cherie Blair is a bit depressed.  Robin Cook has the hump.  Bush is uming and ahing about the “UN route”.  Tony is cross with some Bishops who “appeared to be defending Saddam as if he was some great liberal”.  These days it seems Tony does “what he thought was right, on foreign and domestic regardless of what the focus groups or anyone else thought”… in other words acts like an elected dictator because he knows he’s going anyway.  Clare Short exists.  Some digs at Chirac.

September 2002

Everyone starts to worry that this war thing could be bad PR.  “We went through some of the hard questions on Iraq.  The hardest was “Why now?  What was it that we knew now that we didn’t before that made us believe we had to do it now?””.  Tony Blair, Tom Kelly and Alastair Campbell decided that “the debate had got ahead of us, so we were going to do the dossier earlier, in the next few weeks.”  Perhaps this rushing of things was not a good idea given what happened with the September dossier…  I suppose this is as good a point as any to put in the obligatory dossiergram...

Robin Cook says he’ll try to stay on message but “I hope Tony and you don’t want a shooting war”.  He says Tony should not be held responsible for Bush and Co “screwing it up”.  Whatever that means?  Tony isn’t keen on recalling parliament but of course he has, unfortunately, made Robin Cook Leader of the House of Commons.

On September 7th John Scarlett, Tom McKane, Des Bowen [General Operational Policy Director, MoD], Edward Chaplin, Julian Miller [Cabinet Office] meet with Alastair to go over “the dossier”.  “It had to be revelatory and we needed to show that it was new and informative and part of a bigger case.  John Williams [FCO Director of Public and Press Affairs] was offering to write it full time”.  Soon John Scarlett objects to Williams's involvement insisting that he must have "ownership" of the dossier.

The John Williams version of the dossier
was eventually released as the result of an FOI request

Tony Piggott explains the ‘too hot to fight in the hot season’ problem.  Tony goes to Camp David yet again.  “Tony Blair felt that his job was to sell the case for the UN route to Cheney.  I told the Bush advisers there was a lot of scepticism about the motive including people feeling it was about avenging dad”.  Surely not?  Mr Campbell has a lot of trouble explaining “the anti-Americanism”.  Cheney gets the hump.  Bush tells Campbell that Tony “has balls”.

On September 9th there are more problems with the dossier.  “We agreed a process for writing the report.  Scarlett agreed with me that the FCO was trying to take it over and I said I will chair a group looking at it from the presentational point of view.  Jack Straw called me about it and I said John Williams should be part of the team, not the writer.  John Scarlett felt there was an ownership issue.  He said he must feel he will have ownership of it.  He and the SIS guys were really helpful.  Good meeting and felt they were basically OK to deal with.  Then did a note to John Scarlett, copied very widely, setting out the process.  John Scarlett to own.  Alastair Campbell to help.”

How all this fits with David Milliband's claim in 2008 that Mr Williams' paper "was not commissioned as part of the formal drafting process and was not used as the basis for the dossier which the Government subsequently published" is a question into which we will not delve too deeply.

Very independent.   More Panic about dossier.

September 10th.  “Got Iraq dossier draft.  Read it at home.”  Which version ...?

This is the crucial period in the construction of the dossier when the 45 minutes claim was included.  Who included it and why we don't know and probably never will as at the end of the day the dossier was written by committee but the shrinking of the timewindow for the deployment of WMD down to 45 minutes happened somewhere between the 9th and the 11th of September 2002

We can be fairly certain of these dates because Sir John Scarlett explained the process in mind numbing detail during his private transcript - see here

THE CHAIRMAN: That source was not, as it were, discredited after the event in terms of the reporting that came in before?

SIR JOHN SCARLETT: Well, I should add, of course, because the timing is slightly complicated here, they are referring to the 9 September assessment. But of course the compartmented intelligence, which was influential, which came in on 11 September, did famously influence what was said in the dossier. Then a further report came in in late September, and then actually a composite version of that reporting was issued in early April 2003. So that was still considered to be sound reporting as of that date.

September 11th.  Robin Cook insists on recalling parliament.  Fears serving under Gordon Brown.  Mentions Suez.  Robin Cook says the US doesn’t understand the middle east peace process.  “They were doing Iraq for the wrong reasons and they were hugely unpopular”.  Robin Cook warns it might be the end of the government.

September 12 Bush tells the UN he wants a new Security Council Resolution.  Alan Milburn assures Mr Campbell he can rely on the support of him, Jon Reid and possibly Blunkett and Maraget Beckett.  Although he doesn’t seem to ask what they’re supporting.

September 13 “Meeting with Julian Miller on the dossier to go through the new structure.  I was worried that is was going to have to rely too much on assertion”.  Scarlett has been told the US are going to publish their own pack of untruths dossier.  I presume this is Colin Powell’s powerpoint to the UN which has now been shown to be a pile of nonsense and half truth.

September 16 “Chat with Scarlett re dossier.  He was still worried the US were going to do their own version first".

September 17 Kofi Anan announces a letter from Iraq saying they’ll let the inspectors back in

September 19 “Most of my work was on the dossier.  Nuclear timelines just about sorted.  Some people reasonably convinced, others not.  We’d end up convincing those who wanted to be and not those who didn’t… I signed off on the dossier before Sohn Scarlett’s final meeting on it”.  What there is to write on nuclear timelines when in July Jack Straw decided that Iraq had "no nukes" ... your guess is as good as mine.  However we do know that the draft dossiers contained the phrase "at least two years" in reference to the time period in which Iraq could possibly make a bomb from weapons grade material and Scarlett altered this to within a year when Campbell pointed out that if they made it two years this would contradict George W Bush's speech to the UN on the 12th of September (see above) and here.

Clare Short goes on GMTV to tell everyone there won’t be another war …

September 23 Geoff Hoon goes through all the military options with Tony Blair.  More drivel about the MEPP.  John Prescott has the hump with Clare Short and Robin Cook.  Clare Short has a rant at Cabinet about collective responsibility and Israel and MEPP.  “Tony Blair said he believed it would be folly for Britain to go against the US on a fundamental policy, and he really believed in getting rid of bad people like Saddam.”  Which is so close to saying “this is about regime change and not upsetting the US” it is probably actually the same.  “The clearer we are that we would use force, the likelier it imay be that we don’t have to.  On the question ‘why not’ he said his record, his use of them, and his continued development…. Funnily enough, I think Tony Blair won the Cabinet over more easily than the public”.

September 24 Dossier day.  “[Andrew] Gilligan [BBC Today] and Tim Marshall [Sky] and the so-called experts went on about nothing new, but a combination of Tony Blair’s Commons Statement and the gradual serious build-up re the dossier got us into a better position.”  So no long running grudge against Gilligan then.  Here’s Blair’s Speech to the House in full (although I've put some of it in smaller font where it's just going over the past again)...

Mr. Speaker, thank you for recalling Parliament to debate the best way to deal with the issue of the present leadership of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.   Today we published a 50-page dossier, detailing the history of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme, its breach of United Nations resolutions, and its attempts to rebuild that illegal programme. I have placed a copy in the Library.  At the end of the Gulf war, the full extent of Saddam's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes became clear.  As a result, the United Nations passed a series of resolutions, demanding that Iraq disarm itself of such weapons and establishing a regime of weapons inspections and monitoring to do the task. The inspectors were to be given unconditional and unrestricted access to all and any Iraqi sites.   All this is accepted fact. In addition, it is fact, documented by UN inspectors, that Iraq almost immediately began to obstruct the inspections. Visits were delayed; on occasions, inspectors threatened; material was moved; special sites, shut to the inspectors, were unilaterally designated by Iraq. The work of the inspectors continued, but against a background of increasing obstruction and non-compliance.  Indeed, Iraq denied that its biological weapons programme existed until forced to acknowledge it after high-ranking defectors disclosed its existence in 1995.

Eventually, in 1997, the UN inspectors declared that they were unable to fulfil their task. A year of negotiation and further obstruction occurred until finally, in late 1998, the UN team was forced to withdraw.  

As the dossier sets out, we estimate on the basis of the UN's work that there were up to 360 tonnes of bulk chemical warfare agents, including 1.5 tonnes of VX nerve agent; up to 3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals; growth media sufficient to produce 26,000 litres of anthrax spores; and over 30,000 special munitions for delivery of chemical and biological agents. All of this was missing and unaccounted for.

Military action by the United States and United Kingdom followed and a certain amount of infrastructure for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and missile capability was destroyed, setting the Iraqi programme back, but not ending it.  From late 1998 onwards, therefore, the sole inhibition on Saddam's WMD programme was the sanctions regime. Iraq was forbidden to use the revenue from its oil except for certain specified non-military purposes. The sanctions regime, however, was also subject to illegal trading and abuse. Because of concerns about its inadequacy—and the impact on the Iraqi people—we made several attempts to refine it, culminating in a new UN resolution in May of this year. But it was only partially effective. Around $3 billion of money is illegally taken by Saddam every year now, double the figure for the year 2000. Self-evidently, there is no proper accounting for this money.
Because of concerns that a containment policy based on sanctions alone could not sufficiently inhibit Saddam's weapons programme, negotiations continued, even after 1998, to gain readmission for the UN inspectors. In 1999, a new UN resolution demanding their re-entry was passed and ignored. Further negotiations continued. Finally, after several months of discussion with Saddam's regime, in July this year, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, concluded that Saddam was not serious about readmitting the inspectors and ended the negotiations.

All this is established fact. I set out the history in some detail because occasionally debate on this issue seems to treat it almost as if it had suddenly arisen, coming out of nowhere on a whim in the last few months of 2002. It is actually an 11-year history: a history of UN will flouted, of lies told by Saddam about the existence of his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes, and of obstruction, defiance and denial.

>  Tony sets out the history of Saddam’s continual frustration of the weapons inspectors and talks for a very long time to try and explain the “why now” question.  It doesn’t make things that much clearer …just a bit.

There is one common, consistent theme, however: the total determination of Saddam to maintain that programme; to risk war, international ostracism, sanctions and the isolation of the Iraqi economy to keep it. At any time, he could have let the inspectors back in and put the world to proof. At any time, he could have co-operated with the United Nations. Ten days ago, he made the offer unconditionally under threat of war. He could have done it at any time in the last 11 years, but he did not. Why?

The dossier that we publish gives the answer. The reason is that his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programme is not an historic left-over from 1998. The inspectors are not needed to clean up the old remains. His weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down; it is up and running now.

The dossier is based on the work of the British Joint Intelligence Committee. For over 60 years, beginning just before world war two, the JIC has provided intelligence assessments to British Prime Ministers. Normally, its work is obviously secret. Unusually, because it is important that we explain our concerns about Saddam to the British people, we have decided to disclose its assessments.

>  Blair chooses his words carefully. 

The dossier is based on the work of the British Joint Intelligence Committee” is not quite the same as
The dossier is the work of the British Joint Intelligence Committee”.

I am aware, of course, that people will have to take elements of this on the good faith of our intelligence services, but this is what they are telling me, the British Prime Minister, and my senior colleagues. The intelligence picture that they paint is one accumulated over the last four years. It is extensive, detailed and authoritative. It concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population, and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

>  Note that Tony says

which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population
and not

which could be activated within 45 minutes

Thus it can be argued retroactively that he is not talking about long range ballistic missile threats.  Only the use of his own weapons in his own country on his own people.

On chemical weapons, the dossier shows that Iraq continues to produce chemical agents for chemical weapons; has rebuilt previously destroyed production plants across Iraq; has bought dual-use chemical facilities; has retained the key personnel formerly engaged in the chemical weapons programme; and has a serious ongoing research programme into weapons production, all of it well funded.

> Note that Tony says

Iraq continues to produce chemical agents for chemical weapons”
and not
Iraq continues to produce chemical weapons

The other accusations include “has bought dual-use chemical facilities” which means there are facilities that may or may not be producing chemicals for weapons or may be adaptable not that there actually are chemical facilities.  Similarly “has retained the key personnel formerly engaged in the chemical weapons” simply means the regime still contains all the old people.  The last statement “and has a serious ongoing research programme into weapons production, all of it well funded” is more serious but it a statement about Saddam’s plans not about what Saddam actually owns.  So if you add it all up he hasn’t actually told us Saddam has any weapons at all… it just sounds like it if you don’t listen too carefully.

In respect of biological weapons, again, production of biological agents has continued; facilities formerly used for biological weapons have been rebuilt; equipment has been purchased for such a programme; and again, Saddam has retained the personnel who worked on it prior to 1991. In particular, the UN inspection regime discovered that Iraq was trying to acquire mobile biological weapons facilities, which of course are easier to conceal. Present intelligence confirms that it has now got such facilities. The biological agents that we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin—all eventually result in excruciatingly painful death.

>  In this section Tony tells us that

production of biological agents has continued
which is not quite
production of biological weapons has continued

but let’s not split hairs. 

Tony accuses Saddam of buying equipment for a programme and re-opening old facilities but he has previously caveated this with the phrase “duel use”.  So actually this paragraph is a repetition of the previous paragraph but with different words.  There is a reference to “mobile biological weapons facilities” if these are the ones in Colin Powell’s UN presentation they were later shown to be nonsense. 

The discovery by U.S. forces in Iraq of two mobile 'biological weapons laboratories' was touted by President Bush as clear evidence that Iraq possessed illegal weapons capabilities. However, it now is clear that these so-called labs were nothing more than hydrogen generation units based upon British technology acquired by Iraq in the 1980s, used to fill weather balloons in support of conventional artillery operations, and have absolutely no application for the production of biological agents.” - Scott Ritter

 It is possible however that Blair does know this and is not intentionally misleading Parliament here.  SIS have simply not asked enough questions of the CIA.  Again Blair says “The biological agents that we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin”.  He is not complaining that they are producing them – only that they have the capability to produce them.

As for nuclear weapons, Saddam's previous nuclear weapons programme was shut down by the inspectors, following disclosure by defectors of the full, but hidden, nature of it. That programme was based on gas centrifuge uranium enrichment. The known remaining stocks of uranium are now held under supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

>  Saddam has no nuclear materials.  Well, not enough to make a bomb.  As Jack Straw says "no nukes".

But we now know the following: since the departure of the inspectors in 1998, Saddam has bought or attempted to buy specialised vacuum pumps of the design needed for the gas centrifuge cascade to enrich uranium; an entire magnet production line of the specification for use in the motors and top bearings of gas centrifuges; dual-use products, such as anhydrous hydrogen fluoride and fluoride gas, which can be used both in petrochemicals but also in gas centrifuge cascades; a filament winding machine, which can be used to manufacture carbon fibre gas centrifuge rotors; and he has attempted, covertly, to acquire 60,000 or more specialised aluminium tubes, which are subject to strict controls owing to their potential use in the construction of gas centrifuges.

>  Again Tony caveats things with the words “dual use” and “which can be used to manufacture“ but clearly there is a cause for concern here.

In addition, we know that Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa, although we do not know whether he has been successful. Again, key personnel who used to work on the nuclear weapons programme are back in harness. Iraq may claim that that is for a civil nuclear power programme, but I would point out that it has no nuclear power plants.

>  Tony continues to claim that Saddam has not sacked his civil servants and “key personnel” and claims that he has been trying to buy Uranium.  However, he does not state that it is weapons grade Uranium.  He implies the motivation is for enrichment to weapons grade Uranium.  Also it is possible to enrich Uranium using centrifuges to different levels.  Iran has been enriching Uranium by centrifuge for years.  The Foreign Affairs Select Committee later judged that the British government had been wrong to state in an unqualified manner something that had not been established beyond doubt after the IAEA replied to Lynne Jones MP around the 25th of May 2004 that "I can confirm to you that we have received information from a number of member states regarding the allegation that Iraq sought to acquire uranium from Niger. However, we have learned nothing which would cause us to change the conclusion we reported to the United Nations Security Council on March 7, 2003 with regards to the documents assessed to be forgeries and have not received any information that would appear to be based on anything other than those documents".  The Butler Review into the lack of WMD concluded that although the documents on which this statement was based were indeed forged the government didn't know this at the time of the dossier so that's okay.  However, it is a fact that Iraqi officials did visit Niger in 2003.

So that is the position in respect of the weapons—but of course, the weapons require ballistic missile capability. That, again, is subject to UN resolutions. Iraq is supposed only to have missile capability up to 150 km for conventional weaponry. Pages 27 to 31 of the dossier detail the evidence on that issue. It is clear that a significant number of longer-range missiles were effectively concealed from the previous inspectors and remain, including up to 20 extended-range Scud missiles; that in mid-2001 there was a step change in the programme and, by this year, Iraq's development of weapons with a range of more than 1,000 km was well under way; and that hundreds of people are employed in that programme, facilities are being built and equipment procured—usually clandestinely. Sanctions and import controls have hindered the programme, but only slowed its progress. The capability being developed, incidentally, is for multi-purpose use, including with WMD warheads.

> The answers as to the question of what Scuds Iraq had when remains unresolved  ... Due possibly to Saddam having launched 42 such missiles at Israel during the first Gulf War it was felt by the United Nations that he should no longer be allowed big missiles like these and he was restricted to missiles with a range no longer than 150 km under UN resolution 687.  At the end of the 1st Gulf war Iraq had claimed it had 61 Al-Hussein missiles left unfired and these were destroyed by UNSCOM in July 1991.  As he was not allowed to play with Al-Husseins any more Saddam decided to develop "short range" missiles instead...  Inventing the Ababil-100 and the Al-Samoud.  The Al-Samoud was also a scud... ..but this time smaller rather than larger than a regular scud in order to get round UN resolution 687's 150km limit.  On Feb 13 2003 the UN complained that two such scuds had a range of 180km - 30 km too far ...and Saddam agreed to destroy them

That is the assessment, given to me, of the Joint Intelligence Committee. In addition, we have well founded intelligence to tell us that Saddam sees his WMD programme as vital to his survival and as a demonstration of his power and influence in the region.  There will be some who will dismiss all this. Intelligence is not always right. For some of the material, there might be innocent explanations.

> Again Blair caveats his remarks by saying that most of this may be bollocks.

There will be others who say rightly that, for example, on present going, it could be several years before Saddam acquires a usable nuclear weapon—though if he were able to purchase fissile material illegally, it would be only a year or two.

>  So actually SIS does NOT think that Iraq has any enriched Uranium at the moment

But let me put it at its simplest: on this 11-year history; with this man Saddam; with this accumulated, detailed intelligence available; with what we know and what we can reasonably speculate, would the world be wise to leave the present situation undisturbed—to say that, despite 14 separate UN demands on the issue, all of which Saddam is in breach of, we should do nothing, and to conclude that we should trust, not to the good faith of the UN weapons inspectors, but to the good faith of the current Iraqi regime? I do not believe that that would be a responsible course to follow.

> Blair has a point that the UN Inspectors should be let back in

Our case is simply this: not that we take military action come what may, but that the case for ensuring Iraqi disarmament, as the UN itself has stipulated, is overwhelming. I defy anyone, on the basis of this evidence, to say that that is an unreasonable demand for the international community to make when, after all, it is only the same demand that we have made for 11 years and that Saddam has rejected.  People say, "But why Saddam?" I do not in the least dispute that there are other causes of concern on weapons of mass destruction. I said as much in this House on 14 September last year. However, two things about Saddam stand out. He has used these weapons in Iraq itself—thousands dying in those chemical weapons attacks—and in the Iran-Iraq war, started by him, in which 1 million people died; and his is a regime with no moderate elements to appeal to.  Read the chapter on Saddam and human rights in this dossier. Read not just about the 1 million dead in the war with Iran, not just about the 100,000 Kurds brutally murdered in northern Iraq, not just about the 200,000 Shia Muslims driven from the marshlands in southern Iraq, and not just about the attempt to subjugate and brutalise the Kuwaitis in 1990 that led to the Gulf war. I say, "Read also about the routine butchering of political opponents, the prison 'cleansing' regimes in which thousands die, the torture chambers and the hideous penalties supervised by him and his family and detailed by Amnesty International." Read it all and, again, I defy anyone to say that this cruel and sadistic dictator should be allowed any possibility of getting his hands on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

> Yes, it's the shrinking the timeline of problems as if they all happened recently and not over 30 years trick ... None of which explains why now

"Why now?", people ask. I agree that I cannot say that this month or next, even this year or next, Saddam will use his weapons. But I can say that if the international community, having made the call for disarmament, now, at this moment, at the point of decision, shrugs its shoulders and walks away, he will draw the conclusion that dictators faced with a weakening will always draw: that the international community will talk but not act, will use diplomacy but not force. We know, again from our history, that diplomacy not backed by the threat of force has never worked with dictators and never will.  If we take this course and if we refuse to implement the will of the international community, Saddam will carry on, his efforts will intensify, his confidence will grow and, at some point in a future not too distant, the threat will turn into reality. The threat therefore is not imagined. The history of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction is not American or British propaganda. The history and the present threat are real.  If people say, "Why should Britain care?", I answer, "Because there is no way this man, in this region above all regions, could begin a conflict using such weapons and the consequences not engulf the whole world, including this country."

> This is a bit illogical.  The Iran Iraq War rumbled on for over 7 years without involving us particulary.... also it's a bit "war to end war", isn't it?

That, after all, is the reason the UN passed its resolutions. That is why it is right that the UN Security Council again makes its will and its unity clear and lays down a strong new UN resolution and mandate. Then Saddam will have the choice: comply willingly or be forced to comply. That is why, alongside the diplomacy, there must be genuine preparedness and planning to take action if diplomacy fails.

Let me be plain about our purpose. Of course there is no doubt that Iraq, the region and the whole world would be better off without Saddam. Iraq deserves to be led by someone who can abide by international law, not a murderous dictator; by someone who can bring Iraq back into the international community where it belongs, not leave it languishing as a pariah; by someone who can make the country rich and successful, not impoverished by Saddam's personal greed; and by someone who can lead a Government more representative of the country as a whole while maintaining absolutely Iraq's territorial integrity.

We have no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Indeed, liberated from Saddam, they could make Iraq prosperous and a force for good in the middle east. So the ending of this regime would be the cause of regret for no one other than Saddam. But our purpose is disarmament. No one wants military conflict. The whole purpose of putting this before the UN is to demonstrate the united determination of the international community to resolve this in the way it should have been resolved years ago: through a proper process of disarmament under the UN. Disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction is the demand. One way or another, it must be acceded to.

There are two other issues with a bearing on this question which I will deal with. First, Afghanistan is a country now freed from the Taliban but still suffering. This is a regime we changed, rightly. I want to make it clear, once again, that we are entirely committed to its reconstruction. We will not desert the Afghan people. We will stick with them until the job of reconstruction is done.

> Notice the use of the words “regime” and “changed”.  Blair is trying to sell regime change as a legitimate policy. Again and again Blair tells us his real motivation – regime change.  Yet it seems no one can listen.

Secondly, I have no doubt that the Arab world knows that it would be better off without Saddam. Equally, I know that there is genuine resentment at the state of the middle east peace process, which people want to see the international community pursue with the same vigour. Israel will defend its people against these savage acts of terrorism, but the very purpose of this terrorism is to prevent any chance for peace. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are suffering in the most appalling and unacceptable way.

>  So why wont the Turks or Saudi Arabia let him use their countries as bases?

We need therefore urgent action to build a security infrastructure that gives both Israelis and Palestinians confidence and stops the next suicide bomb closing down the prospects of progress. We need political reform for the Palestinian Authority, and we need a new conference on the middle east peace process, based on the twin principles of a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian state. We can condemn the terrorism and the reaction to it. As I have said many times in the House, frankly, that gets us nowhere. What we need is a firm commitment to action and a massive mobilisation of energy to get the peace process moving again, and we in Britain will play our part in that in any way we can.

Finally, there are many acts of this drama still to be played out. I have always said that Parliament should be kept in touch with all developments, in particular those that would lead us to military action. That remains the case, and to those who doubt it I say: look at Kosovo and Afghanistan. We proceeded with care, with full debate in this House, and when we took military action, we did so as a last resort. We shall act in the same way now, but I hope we can do so secure in the knowledge that should Saddam continue to defy the will of the international community, this House, as it has in our history so many times before, will not shrink from doing what is necessary and what is right.

>  Note that

“I have always said that Parliament should be kept in touch with all developments”
is somewhat different than
I have always said that Parliament should make the decision”.

Anyway back to Campbell’s Diaries…

“He came back from the NEC laughing because Mark Seldon said he had been to see Tariq Aziz, that he was a nice man and it was easier to get to see him than Tony Blair”.

Edwin Currie’s affair with John Major comes out and Prince Charles moans about some letters.   Clinton pops up again and the Labour Party Conference comes round…

October 2002

Clinton goes to McDonalds in Blackpool.  Lots of general worries about Iraq.  Discussions about EU Monetary Union with Gordon Brown.  Tony goes to see Putin and Alastair and Cherie have a row about Tony’s coat in which she calls him a “total fascist”.  Smart woman.  Alastair decides to run a Marathon for Leukaemia Research.  Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Geoff Hoon and the Chief of Defence Staff discuss how much a war will cost.  The costs of the “boots on the ground” option are in the region of £2billion.  It’s interesting that so few of the Cabinet are invited to these logistical planning meetings.  Do they even know they’re happening?  Another Cabinet another row with Clare Short.  MEPP.  Estelle Morris resigns because she thinks she is shit at her job.

November 2002

There’s a huge time jump between October 23rd 2002 on page 646 and November 21st 2002 on page 647 of nearly a month.  No reason.  Nato Summit.  George W dons cowboy boots and says “if Blix gets dicked around, while a US or UK plane is shot down, we go for him”.  Bush clearly has little time for Blix.

It transpires that Carole Caplin, Cherie’s friend has a boyfriend called Peter Foster who is some kind of minor conman with hilarious consequences.  It turns out Cherie has bought two flats on the recommendation of Foster …one of which Tony doesn’t even know about.  This story rumbles on and on and on … and is, of course, almost as important as the war.

December 2002

More on the Caplin, Foster and “Cheriegate”.  “The Mail had an exchange of emails between Foster and Cherie which totally debunked the idea that he was not an advisor”.  Later “Tony Blair kept trying to persuade me that Carole was a decent person and would do nothing wrong, e.g. on clothes.  I said this had to be copper-bottomed and I’m not sure I believed it.  He got very defensive…” 

On December 14th he writes “For the sixteenth day running, most of my time was taken up with Foster and Caplin.  Peter Mandelson called, very Peterish, pretending nothing much was going on, asked how I was.  Spitting tacks, I said.

“Do you like anyone?” he asked. 

I said Rory, Calum and Grace, and Fiona [his wife] when she’s not disagreeing with me.  The rest can fuck off”"

Eventually Campbell puts it on the line to Tony “You’re married to a woman who is determined to protect and keep a woman who is in love with a conman so you are linked to a conman”.  Eventually Tony absorbs this and after Cherie has said sorry to the press Caplin is dumped.  Everything returns to normal-ish.


January 2003

Roy Jenkins a founder member of the SDP dies and Alastair tells Tony it’s probably not best to be too nice publically about traitors.  Clare Short continues to be a problem in Cabinet.   

The MoD briefs Tony about “shock and awe” and exactly how the invasion is going to work.  A total of 42,000 UK forces possibly, 300,000 plus from the US.   “Tony Blair pressed on whether Saddam would “use chemical or biological weapons.  They said they were buried so he might not be able to active them quickly, but that was the reason Franks had gone for the doctrine of overwhelming force.”” 

One wonders why if the weapons are not available to activate quickly the dossier says they “could be activated within 45 minutes”. 

More meetings at the MoD on the 15th “It was pretty clear as we got into the cars and headed back to Number 10 that the Americans were going for this and Tony Blair had looked more nervous, particularly about the idea of UK military casualties and possibility of large numbers of civilian casualties”.  Cabinet – Robin Cook says they are in a good position thanks to Tony.  John Prescott says there was no real division “so let’s stop pretending there is”.  People start talking about the aftermath ....

Student finance. 

Mr Campbell tries to get more sponsorship for his run.  Tony, Alastair and Bush and Bush’s minions spend a lot of time worrying about the level of Iraq support in the country and in Cabinet.  Chief of Defence Staff, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw and John Prescott have another meeting and Colin Powell gives his speech to the UN showing them his dodgy powerpoint.

                                                          goes Pear

February 2003

Stuff about the Olympics.  Some stuff about Mirror readers seeming to not want war.  Bush says he is up for a second resolution.  Anglo-French summit.  Chirac tells Blair “I’m not going to convince you, you won’t convince me”. 

Then Blix says they “had not found WMF but there was no real cooperation.  He didn’t want to name scientists for interview for fear they would be killed”.  See Tony Blair goes Pear Shaped for the saga of Tony’s insistence on interviews with weapons experts.

Channel  4 ran a story that the CIC paper on the infrastructure of concealment, which I’d commissioned, had included passages plagiarised from a California document, and claiming we had made it look like intelligence.  It gave them another spin story and was a real pain".  This is the second dossier falling apart due to the plagerism row - see the dossiergram above.

February 7

Definitely no more dossiers for a while”. 

February 10.  “The Franco-German plan, which presumably Chirac knew all about when we met at LeTouqet, had wrongfooted us”.    I’ve no idea why … he told them to their face that “I’m not going to convince you, you won’t convince me”… what were they expecting?  No means no boys...

Some Northern Ireland stuff.  Cobra meeting about terror threats to Heathrow.

February 14 “I watched Blix on TV.  He leaned this way one minute, that way the next…”.

There’s a big protest march comes to London and Mr Campbell is not pleased with the coverage.  “Meanwhile wall-to-wall uncritical coverage of the march and the usual over the top claims about its size”.  A footnote claims the police said there were 750,000 marchers and the organisers 2 million.  Actually conservative estimates put it at about 1 million.  The fact that even if it’s only 750,000 it’s still the largest UK protest march in history seems to go over Alastair’s head.  And this doesn’t count the people who turned up to similar marches in other countries.  When 600,000 protested in Australia John Howard demonstrated himself one of the smuggest gits of all time by remarking simply ...

Tony goes to see Berlusconi to encourage him to ignore Italian public opinion.

Campbell says on the 24th of February that “we needed to add some substance to the ‘last push for peace’” suggesting there wasn’t much substance extant to begin with.   Cheriegate rumbles on.  February 25th “the Bush poodle problem would get bigger.” 


Talk of a Commons rebellion.  February 27th “There was an instinctive understanding that no Prime Minister would do anything as difficult and unpopular as this just for the hell of it.” 

A remarkable piece of "logic" a bit like the Whoops Apocalypse film where Prime Minister Sir Mortimer Chris (Peter Cook) says that all the UK's problems are down to pixies, sprouts and elven folk and encourages people to sort it all out by jumping off a cliff.  Of course the Prime Minister couldn't have just gone mad so people do.  So one with the stamp out evil pixies campaign! The public have to be educated on this one. They're about two foot tall, and the worst onesare the invisible ones!

Tony Blair, John Prescott and Jack Straw start to worry there will be no 2nd Resolution.  Another Cabinet and Robin and Clare are not happy.  Anznar in Spain boasts only 4 per cent of his population want war but he’s going to do it anyway.   Tony has some travel problems and Jack Straw actually says He is effectively vice president of the free world, and has to travel around like a cost-cutting tourist”.  Deluded.....

March 2003

Alastair starts to worry that without a second resolution Blair will lose the vote in parliament and be “toppled”.  France, Germany and Russia are not happy and say so.  Jack Straw advises “If you go next Wednesday with Bush, and without a second resolution, the only regime change that will be taking place is in this room”.  It’s all going pear shaped. 

Turkey is not happy.  Robin and Clare moan in Cabinet.  Clare says a lot of horse trading is not good for the UN.  Tony says he’s being bullied by the French.  Putin says he will veto the resolution.  Andrew Turnbull looks into a John Prescott caretaker premiership. 

Clare Short says on Radio 4 she will resign if the government goes to war without a second resolution then rings up Campbell saying “I thought I would call you because I knew you would be angry and I thought I’d rather get the anger direct than through the media”. 

Mr Campbell is angry.  “As if Tony Blair was going to be doing fucking cartwheels.  I thought the deal was that if you were a Cabinet minister, you spoke up in Cabinet if you had concerns, that was the place to do it, and then a policy or a line was agreed and everyone stuck to it.”  Well, I thought you weren't supposed to reveal what happened in Cabinet meetings at all ...isn't this one of the Cabinet meetings which the Government continually refuse FOI requests to releast the minutes for?  What's the big secret if Campbell is telling us what happened anyway as soon as 2008.  Mr Campbell seems not to notice any dichotomy between this and the number of times he slags her off in his diary for speaking too much in cabinet. 

Ms Short then claims she doesn’t speak in Cabinet in case she is briefed against and Mr Campbell says she should talk to Tony Blair and she says he can ring her if he likes but she is going shopping with her mum.  Now that’s a put down.  The problem perhaps is that to Campbell and Blair this is “just another policy” not the most important decision a government can make?

Later bulimia adulterer John Prescott says Ms Short can’t cope with the stress and calls her a coward and Tony complains that not only is it disloyal it will undercut his efforts to build UN support.  In the end they decide not to sack her but call her bluff.  The doomed mission to secure UN votes continues.  Tony tells Jeremy Greenwood to “work on Blix” and his deputy to get them signed up to it …whatever that means.  Robin Cook calls to say he will resign if there isn’t a second resolution.  Rumsfeld puts his foot in it again by saying the UK may not be in the first wave of attacks.  It becomes clear by 12 March that the second resolution isn’t happening.  Clare insanely believe that the roadmap to the MEPP will sort it all out.  Robin Cook rings to sort out his resignation and is scared that Gordon Brown might become Prime Minister “on the back of this” if things go wrong.  Interestingly Robin Cook doesn’t seem to think the war is illegal as such just a really bad idea.  Mind you no one’s seen the full legal advice yet…?  And according to Campbell Mr Blair witheld this from the Cabinet ... or something'll have to read the 2012 version of the diaries to get to the top of the bottom of that.

March 15 Lord Goldsmith is clear the war is legal.  Alastair asks Bush for sponsorship for his run.  Robin Cook resigns but Clare Short is still there.  She says “Im going to have my little agonising overnight.  I owe-it to you”.   Campbell notes “John Reid and John Prescott and one or two others looked physically sick”.  Probably John Prescott had been.

March 18 Debate in the House of Commons.

March 19 It’s all going very well for Tony Blair and Mr Campbell decides to write some letters of complaint to the BBC about John Humphrys, Andrew Gilligan, Rageh Omar and the “nature of their coverage”.  Not being able to fit all his complaints in a single letter Mr Campbell then writes another one “from Tony Blair” to Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke at the BBC “attaching articles from David Aaronovitch and [John?] Simpson".  Campbell’s wife Fiona Millar (advisor to Cherie Blair) is not happy about the war or about Cheriegate.  Ms Millar decides to resign – shame … but doesn't and is later sacked by Cherie.

Tony considers his own eventual resignation again.  Mr Campbell argues with his wife who wants him to resign.  They decide it’s time to be nice to Chirac again.   Problems in Cabinet with Clare short.  It’s not going very well in Cabinet.  Clare Short keeps talking.  Difficulties with the US and the UN.  Blair goes to see Bush again.  Mr Campbell continually admires Bush’s dress sense.   Nonsense about the MEPP.

April 2003

Neil Kinnock writes to Campbell to say a favourite game of his at the moment was imagining how the BBC would have covered World War 2.  “Hilter would have lived to 1978”.  Actually I believe the BBC did give World War 2 some coverage at the time but it’s so much more difficult when you don’t have an SIS man in Room 105.

On April 7 Campbell writes “Ahmed Chalabi [exiled opponent of Saddam], a friend of Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz [US Deputy Secretary of Defence and chief hawk], was putting himself around the whole time as a key player, possible future leader, when the reality was he would be unacceptable”.  Yes, what are the chances of that happening?

Mr Campbell’s wife insists stronger than ever that he goes.

Tuesday April 8.  “Tony Blair said “this neocon stuff” was crazy.  I had asked Dan Bartlett last night what ‘neocon’ meant and he said it was the belief that government had a moral purpose.  I said does that mean moral purpose can only be right wing?”  Well, I suppose it shows how up to speed the British Government were with US politics that they only discovered what the word Neoconservatism means a week or so after the invasion.

Rumsfeld's memo on how to start a war.

A lot of talking with Bush about the MEPP and Iraq and Bush writes Alastair a cheque for his Marathon because his sister died aged 7 when he was 4.  There’s quite a touching bit in his book about this but it isn’t covered here.

April 9th.  War Cabinet.  There are signs of regime collapse and not just in Iraq while Tony’s been busy with the war Gordon Brown’s slipped in some kind of budget review of Alan Milburn’s department.  This is eventually sorted out after a row or two.  “Clare was rabbiting on more than ever.  I slipped Tony Blair a note about the time Saddam shot his health minister at a meeting because he was annoying him and did he want me to get a gun?  Yes, he scribbled”.

April 11th Looting.  “Gilligan was saying there was more fear there now than there had been before”.  Tony records a voiceover for the Simpsons because “there aren’t many” other “perks to the job worth having”.  As Clinton says later ...isn't like the job its self enough...?

April 12th Marathon.  As he nears the end of the race some helpful soul shouts out “I forgive you everything Tony Blair has done”.

April 14th “Good coverage of the Marathon”.  “A little boy named Ali was getting a huge amount of media attention”.

Bit of a gap between April 15th and April 28th when “We were being warned of the possibility Saddam had got rid of WMD and certainly most of the documentation, before the conflict”. 

Putin has the hump.  “What would you say if we took out Georgia of sent in the B-52 bombers to wipe out the terror camps?”  He asks what the US are planning next.  “I bet they haven’t told you.”  The US had asked to run reconnaissance flights along the border during the Iraq crisis “as a counterterrorism measure – what nonsense.  It was to intimidate us.  We told them it was an unfriendly act.  They did it.”  Asked why they did this Putin replies “because they think they can what they want.  Others have to operate by the rules but not them.  China might feel it should be able to sort out Taiwan.  But it feels constrained by the UN, by international opinion.”  Is Putin right here? 

Well, Paul Wolfowitz’s seminal essay “Defence Planning Guidance” states …

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."

…draw your own conclusions.  Putin’s rant covers two and a half pages. “Fascinating, absolutely fascinating,” remarks David Manning which makes him sound a bit like the 1st Doctor Who observing the Dalek city from a distance or some other rubbernecker.

May 2003

Trouble down parliament.  Row about foundation hospitals.  Alan Milburn threatens to resign if his legislation isn’t passed.  Cheriegate rublies on.  Fiona Millar (Mr Campbell’s wife) is still resigning.  Seems to take forever for anyone to resign.  Few entries this month.  Clare Short resigns.  “Her letter of resignation was pretty bitter”.

Under the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague regulations of 1907 the coalition has clear responsibilities and clear limits to its authority.  It is obliged to attend to the humanitarian needs of the population, to keep order and keep civil administration operating.  The coalition is legally entitled to modify the operation of the administration as much as is necessary to fulfil these obligations but is not entitled to make major political, economic and constitutional changes....”.  It’s too long to quote in full but you can read the rest here:

Rumsfeld says publically they may never find WMD.  “What a clot”.  Tony goes to Iraq.

May 29th “We then heard, though we couldn’t get it substantiated, that Wolfowitz had said that WMD had been a bureaucratic convenience to get us into the war.” 

Tony talks to the troops. 

I hung round talking to the press about a ghastly Gilligan story [first aired on the Today program] claiming that the spooks were not happy with the dossier, which was clearly a repeat of the stories at the time”. 

May 30th “WMD firestorm was getting worse”.

June 2003

Like Marvin the Paranoid Android Mr Campbell is very depressed.  Cherie and Tony have a row.  “The Sunday Times had a story about an email showing I’d discussed the dossier with John Scarlett and there was suggestion that I had tried to get him to write a conclusion.  In fact John had drafted one and I’d said I didn’t think it worked.  There was an account in the Observer of meetings with Tony Blair, John Scarlett, C, Jack Straw and complained it wasn’t right… Gilligan had a big piece in the Mail on Sunday having a go at me from the alleged source that he had, with descriptions of meetings there had never been and things I was said to have done that I never did”.

A Hutton Timeline is available here

And so the blame game for the lack of WMD begins.  Of course standing back from all this it seems obvious that if WMD were not found then there would be an argument.  Clearly there has been a major leak. 

The main source of the leak is of course Dr David Kelly who worked on a consultant basis for the Defence Intelligence Service (DIS) as an expert on chemical weapons.  Having thought about this for a long time I find it less and less surprising that the DIS was the service to leak first.  As we can see above Alastair Campbell foresaw that there might be problems with the dossier later down the line and his solution to this was to get John Scarlett to take “ownership” of the September dossier.  The main intelligence service are divided thusly....

MI5 deals with HUMINT (human intelligence) at home. 
MI6 (SIS) deals with HUMINT (human intelligence) at home. 
GCHQ deals with SIGNIT (signals intelligence – phone tapping and the stuff Bletchley Park used to do).  

All of these are pretty much complete and distinct departments who’s staff answers to their chief who answers directly to the Prime Minister and senior Ministers with the Joint Intelligence Committee coordinating all this – at this time it was chaired by John Scarlett of MI6.  MI5 wouldn’t be very involved in the dossier as it focuses on home affairs.  GCHQ would be marginally involved as it mainly concerns its self with signal intelligence and most of the intelligence from Iraq was Human Intelligence.  So Mr Campbell probably thought that if he had the agreement of John Scarlett as head of MI6 everyone would be on board.  However, there is of course, also the Defence Intelligence Service... no one's quite sure how all these organisations mesh together but here's an old graphic to try and explain it...


The DIS is not a department on its own – it operates as part of the Ministry of Defence – and it’s job is to collect information that the army may need to analyse in order to fight any war.  It serves a different and more immediate set of needs to the other services.  The DIS’s brief comprises both signal and human intelligence and it and the other services share and swap information sources.  Now … I’m not saying that MI6 are callous but of course they don’t have the same investment in the dossier that the staff at the Ministry of Defence do.  SIS simply collects intelligence.  The DIS collects intelligence for war and the people who are going to have to fight that war first hand are in the same building as Doctor David Kelly who, while not an author of the dossier, was a proof reader for it. There was disquiet amongst Kelly and his colleagues about some of the claims in the dossier and this was passed up the chain of command but their superiors decided not to act on this and John Scarlett if he was aware of these concerns did not act on it.  Whereas if there was dissent in MI6 Scarlett could probably control it as he was head of that service the dissent in the Ministry of Defence and the DIS was something he had less control over because, of course, people like David Kelly had no direct loyalty to him.

We also have to cogitate on the question why did David Kelly talk to the media.  Was it simply because he personally was unhappy with the dossier?  Or was it because the DIS as a whole were unhappy and wanted to get their version of their story and objections out to protect their service?  There were other dissenters within the DIS.   Most notably the late Brian Jones

Concern clearly went deep but in the rush to get the report out inside a month to fit the timetable lots of things went pear shaped ....

We do of course now know a lot more about Dr David Kelly than we did in 2003.  We know that he had worked at different times for UNSCOM, The Ministry of Defence’s Porton Down research centre as head of the Defence Microbiology Division and as an “ad hoc” advisor to the Foreign Office which probably means MI6.  So just about everybody...  Perhaps the problem was that although Kelly had a “line manager” he didn’t see himself as working for any particular department.  Also as far as has been speculated Dr Kelly’s job involved talking to the press often on an unattributable basis.  He had contacts in the media.  He did not just ring up the News desk of the BBC or the Daily Mail and ask to talk to someone.  He and Gilligan obviously had an ongoing professional relationship. 

On the 5-11th of June 2003 Dr Kelly had been to Iraq as part of the weapons Inspection team and photographed Colin Powell’s “mobile weapons laboratories”.  He gave an off the record comment to the Observer: “They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were – facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons”. 

Kelly’s conversation with Gilligan in which he allegedly told Gilligan that Alastair Campbell was responsible for the “45 minute claim” happened on the 22nd of May.  Gilligan’s broadcast in which he stated the 45-minute claim had been placed in the dossier “by the government” happened on 29th of May. 

Was it true?  Well, technically that depends on what you define as “the government”.  It’s clear Campbell worked on the wording of the dossier.  It’s clear also that he insisted that John Scarlett and the JIC took “ownership” of the contents of the dossier.  But you could argue that Campbell, the JIC, Number 10, Tony Blair and indeed the entire Cabinet and all of the civil service comprise “the government”.  It’s possible of course that Dr Kelly did make this claim – he claimed later that he didn’t – but it was in fairly broad terms… something like “oh that’s probably Campbell”.  Since the government knew the source was not a member of the JIC they then contacted the BBC to ask the source. 

Gilligan of course refused to name his source.  Eventually Dr David Kelly wrote to his line managed at the Ministry of Defence owning up having an unsanctioned meeting with Gillian but stating that "I am convinced that I am not his primary source of information." 

Of course it’s possible that Dr Kelly often had meetings and gave off the record comments to journalists and didn’t inform his line manager absolutely every time and that this was vaguely tolerated by his superiors because most of the information he could disseminate was usually not that important.  Lord Hutton concluded that he was "satisfied that Dr Kelly did not say to Mr Gilligan" any of the interesting statements about the 45 minute claim.  However, in the final analysis the fact is no one knows what passed between the two men in private.  It is one person’s word against another’s.


On the simpler question of “was the 45 minute claim true or false?” the answer is it is meaningless unless you ask the question is what does it mean?  Blair told the House of Commons Saddam “has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population”.  It is clear that all the statement actually means is that Saddam might have chemical weapons, might be able to get them in a warhead or shell use them domestically and might be able to get them inside a ballistic missile or shell and fire them locally in less than an hour or so.

Although it sounds like a solid and immediate threat “45 minutes till doom” the statement its self really couldn’t be more woolly.  The real problem with the 45 minute claim is not that it’s wrong it’s simply open to a such a huge myriad of interpretations as to be virtually useless.

It also amazes me somewhat the surprise Mr Campbell has that the dossiers would come under so much and such sustained scrutiny.  A million people marched on London.  There was clearly going to be a huge market for any newspaper article that could point out even the tiniest flaws in either of the dossiers.  In a sense you can’t really blame Gilligan for searching round for an official silly enough to put that foot in it.  However Campbell seems to regard Iraq as just another issue/policy.  For instance he remarks “So here we go again, Black Rod, Cheriegate, all over again”.  I’m not saying Campbell only took the war as seriously as Cherie’s fashion designer mate’s bloke … but to put it in its most flattering light he seems to seriously underestimate the size of the problem.  It was almost certain that if no WMD were found industrial quantities of political manure would rain down on Number 10.  Campbell seems to realise that there will be manure but in my jaundiced view he fails to realise the volume of shit he is in.

Also implausible is Geoff Hoon’s claim that he government didn’t know how the 45 minute claim was reported (Hoon’s claim is he didn’t read the papers because he was in Kiev) given the huge time and effort that Mr Campbell spends both reading and complaining to the papers and the volume of time they spend together in meetings.  It’s half of Mr Campbell’s job.  The other half is writing statements and letters and commenting on Mr Blair’s suits and Y fronts.

Anyway … back to Campbell’s thoughts…

John Reid has a rant in the papers about rogue elements in the security services out to get the government and upsets the security services.  Bush says the MEPP is going jolly well.  Part of the problem is that an earlier copy of the 2002 dossier is being demanded over at the Sunday Times.    Presumably the John Williams draft dossier.  Of course creating one dossier that’s possibly misleading is possibly bad luck.  Producing two seems like carelessness.  Alastair has now “apologised” to SIS over the plagiarism in the 2003 dossier and this as been “conflated into a sense that it was an apology over the main WMD dossier rather than – the reality – that it was about the so-called dodgy dossier about which I’d accepted mistakes were made, sent a letter to systems about it and on which Omand suggested new procedures.  Anyone listening to their bulletins would think I’d apologised – all I had done was give assurances…”.  Lots of people phone up to give him support. 

Don’t trust spies, they’re treacherous,” advises Dennis Skinner who has been going round the Parliamentary Party saying “Who do you trust AC or a spy?  He is one of ours”.  How quaintly tribal. 

There’s a reshuffle.

19th of June “The Foreign Affairs Committee, because some Labour MPs were missing, voted to summon me because Gilligan said he’d seen documents showing that I’d asked for changes, and also re the second dossier”. 

22nd of June “I said to Tony Blair I feared none of the questions and that we had to get to a point where they accepted we did nothing wrong regarding the first dossier, made mistakes re the second”.

24th June Signs of a bit of a rift in position between Jack Straw and Mr Campbell.  “Jack Straw was keen that I apologise upfront.  I agreed, but later came to the view that I should not and said it was because I was worried it would leak.  My strategy was to apologise to Dr al-Marashi for the mistake, and then demand an apology from the BBC not just for me but for the Prime Minister… Jack’s evidence didn’t go brilliantly.  He said I had commissioned the paper, and the BBC said that undermined me before my appearance.  But I felt confident”.

25th June “Jack had set me up badly by saying I had commissioned the dodgy dossier and it was “a complete Horlicks””.  Alastair talks to the committee.

26th June “I put together a letter [about Sambrook’s interview with the press]”.  Gillian wrote to the Foreign Affairs Committee suggesting questions they should pose to Dr Kelly.

I put together a letter and go Clive Soley to do a letter saying that the source should speak to Donald Anderson and if not Gilligan should be recalled. “ 

I lost the plot a bit here but basically Gilligan’s letters to the Committee effectively leaked the source (Kelly’s) name or something....  “I was going to nail Gilligan completely, and then the Mail”.

Mr Campbell is cross with Jack Straw.  “I lost my rag in the morning watching Jack’s live evidence, where he was umming and aahing and when asked whether the 45-minute claim was in the first dossier, looked shifty.  He did not just say yes.  I had even talked to him about that point in the morning when I spoke to him to let him know that I HAD probably made a point to John Scarlett re 45 minutes but it was not a request.  So what the fuck was going on?”.  Et tu, Jack?

Sambrook replies to Campbell’s letter.  “Their new line now was that it was OK to report a source even if you didn’t know what he said was true.  He said I had a vendetta against Gilligan and that I was intimidating the BBC”. 

Campbell goes on Channel 4 News.  “The office was OK, but Tony Blair said he felt I was too angry and Fiona was livid I’d done it at all”.

June 28th An odd entry.  Nicholas Soames rings up to say “Do you think my grandfather [Chruchill] had a spin doctor.  Course he fucking did”.    The question is why?  Firstly he’s a Tory. Second he’s in the arms industry.  As Dame Edna might say “Spooky?”  Probably he’s on the Intelligence and Security Committee for not asking probing questions.

June 30th On and on the argument with the BBC goes.  Peter Mandelson says Greg Dyke “was personally masterminding it and had written parts of Sambrook’s letter himself”.

July 2003

Campbell’s still fuming.  This time about Gilligan’s claims he checked his story with the Ministry of Defence Press Office.  Talk of libel.  Nicholas Soames said “he would defend me and attack the Tories for undermining the intelligence agencies".

July 3rd.  “Soames had called me late last night to say he had run into C and asked him straight out if the story against me was true.  C said no, and Soames said can I say so?  Yes, said C.  He was a bit pissed when he phoned and basically said he would do anything to help me, adding “especially if you stop Tony Blair using the Parliament Act on hunting”.  Why do we bother with all these inquires and committees?  Surely a gentleman’s word is enough.  Soames does and interview with Today.  “Marr did the interview and was now redefining the allegations as us having given “undue prominence” to the 45-minute point.  Total bollocks”.

Of course we are kind of assuming Campbell's version of events is true... one wonders what all the people quoted have to say about it?

July 4th A man “David Kelly” has come forward at the Ministry of Defence and “these was a case for trying to get some kind of a plea bargain – say that’d come forward and he was saying yes to speaking to Gilligan, Yes he said intelligence went in late, but he never said the other stuff.  It was double-edged but Geoff Hoon and I agreed it would fuck Gilligan if that was his source.  He said he was an expert rather than a spy or full-time MoD official”.

Another letter to the BBC denying an attack on its independence and saying it’s about specific allegations.  Hoon and Campbell discuss Dr Kelly “He was not a spy, not involved in the WMD dossier and was a WMD expert who advised departments”.  The BBC board are meeting.  “Tony Blair said we had to get it onto the issue of the UK media culture.  “It is a disgrace the BBC are behaving like this, it really is”.

Of course I’m editing these entries for space.  It’s interesting when we come to the Hutton Inquiry because Campbell’s diary becomes evidence.  Along with the report Hutton publishes the diary extracts he deems relevant.  Campbell admitted that he didn’t submit everything to Hutton but transcribed extracts.  I’m not accusing him of deceiving Hutton in anyway but it’s interesting to see what was released by Hutton next to the newer fuller versions in the public diaries.  For example here is the Diary entry for July 8th in full with the pieces released by Hutton in underlined.

July 8th The papers were disgraceful.  Up to see Tony Blair in the flat, who was preparing for the Liaison Committee He said the papers were unbelievable. “It is truly Orwellian the world that we live in, I just don’t know what do with this constant rewriting of history and moving of goalposts”.  It was still not clear how we were going to handle the case of the MoD official.  I called Hoon.  He was not remotely on top of the case.  He said he had not checked out where we were on it.  Said he [GH] should get going on the source issue, Tony Blair clear that we should leave the bureaucracy to deal with it.  He met Scarlett and Omand and agreed to try to resolve it through a letter to Ann Taylor.  Word then came back she didn’t want a letter on it.  That meant do it as a press release.  Jonathan, AC, Tom and Godric and John S and Kevin Tebbit went to Godric’s room and wrote the press release.  Tebbit drafted a letter from GH to Gavyn Davies offering to give him the name of the source.  Martin Howard had interviewed David Kelly [government scientist and weapons expert], and was pretty convinced that he was the source, though of course we could not be sure.  Tebbit took the draft away to the MoD and had to clear it with David Kelly, who was on a motorway.  I told Tony Blair I still wanted to leave and why not now?  Said he was really against it, it was the last thing he needed, and at the moment there would be meltdown in Parliament and that we should wait until Commons was not sitting.

In the Hutton version the text is rearranged perhaps to remove the Prime Minister’s comments about the Orwellian rewriting of history.  Hutton’s version goes...

Note it says: “Meeting with Scarlett and Omand” whereas Campbell’s published Diary reads “He met Scarlett and Omand”.  So it was Tony Blair who met Scarlett and Omand but Campbell may not have been at this meeting?  Quibbles – it makes very little material difference.  In the Hutton very “TB …came back [from Liaison Committee] and continued to try and sort the source issue” whereas in the published version Tony Blair is “preparing to go to the Liaison Committee”.  Again these are quibbles.  This might be Hutton’s editing or Campbell’s Barrister’s editing. 

Missing from the Published version after the sentence
Tebbit took the draft away to the MoD and had to clear it with David Kelly, who was on a motorwayis the lineThen out by 6 and briefing mainly on fact BBC put out a non-denial within two hours”.  Again not a very interesting piece of missing information but funny that it isn’t there.  The lines about Campbell wanting to leave and meltdown in Parliament have of course been removed.  Fair enough they weren’t factual evidence relevant to the Hutton Inquiry. The Inquiry or Sumpton (see below) seems to have redacted opinions and information they regard as not relevant to the issue.

Tony Blair says it is Orwellian.  Martin Howard interviews David Kelly and is “pretty sure” he is the source.  You do wonder though if Hutton wanted the diary why they couldn't just give him the diary rather than retranscribe it.  Did Hutton not own a typewriter?

Jule 9th “There was a big conspiracy at work really.  The biggest thing needed was the source out.  We agreed that we should not do it ourselves, so didn’t but later in the day the FT, Guardian and after a while Mike Evans [Times] got the name.  It was going to be difficult to keep it going and of course the politicians really wanted out of it.”  No this is not Kelly again but Jack Straw leaking to the press that they may never find WMD.  I think...

July 10 the Foreign Affairs Committee agree to call Dr Kelly.  Another Cabinet meeting to boring to relate again...

July 11th Lunch with Clinton.  He plays Mandelson and Campbell like violins and explains political life to them and plies them with his wisdom.  He doesn’t say he is against the war but he implies on this and other occasions that Blair is being used and if Bush finds someone more useful he may be discarded.  Trying to give his overview of Cheriegate he seems to say something along the lines of he let Monica Lewinsky blow him because of HALT “I’m Hungry, I’m Angry, Lonely and Tired”.  It’s a kind of sweet little entry in some ways but at the same time sickly.

July 15th “We were looking forward to Kelly giving evidence to the FAC, but Godric, Catherine Rimmer and I all predicted it would be a disaster and so it proved”.

July 17th “In for a meeting with Clare Summer and John Scarlett before my FAC appearance.  Clare discovered that I’d said to the FAC that I did see JIC assessments so we have to agree a line on that.  I had to make clear that I was not chairing intelligence meetings.”  So it seems even Downing Street Private Secretaries aren’t sure what’s going on re the dossier

At the Foreign Affairs Committee “I got them laughing telling them the story about how John Sergeant didn’t want the PM to come down the plane to see the press because he was watching a film.” 

Fortunately Conservative MP Michael Mates was very sure Mr Campbell had not put the 45 minutes claim in the dossier and thought the committee should say so.  “Mates put to me that C had said that no intelligence should be used with other material but I was not aware of that sand said so as it didn’t accord with my memory.”

Mark Bennett is sent to covertly spy on a meeting in a bar between Ian Monk and Paul Dacre about Cheriegate.  Off to the USA where Bush tells Campbell he was “great”.

July 18th Back from USA Dr David Kelly has topped himself.  Tony announced a judicial inquiry straight away.  Lots of panic and should I stay or go stuff.  Rebekah Wade from the Sun “sent me a nice message.  Piers Morgan was “not totally unsympathetic but felt there was no escape for me or Tony”.  Mail runs a “Proud of Yourselves?” headline.  “later that cunt Jonathan Oliver [Mail on Sunday] asked Tony Blair if he had blood on his hands”.   A lot of …well you can guess.  Kelly family says everyone should think deeply about “the fact his life had been made intolerable”.  Lots of Campbell analysing the BBC’s position.

As to whether there was foul play ...let's not go there I don't want to be accused of going all conspiracy theory.  I'm sure there's a good reason a Coroner was never called in ...lets leave Miles Goslett and John Rentoul to slug it out over at the Independent.

The BBC were trying to maintain that the Susan Watts [BBC journalist] story was the same as the Gilligan story.  It wasn’t.  It was a softer version.  Ditto Gavin Hewitt”.

How different were they.  Well… here’s the transcript of the Susan Watts interview with the late Dr David Kelly.

SW: Ok just back momentarily on the 45 minute issue I'm feeling like I ought to just explore that a little bit more with you the um, er, so would it be accurate then, as you did in that earlier conversation, to say that it was Alastair Campbell himself who...

DK: No I can't. All I can say is the Number 10 press office. I've never met Alastair Campbell so I can't (SW interrupts: They seized on that?) But I think Alastair Campbell is synonymous with that press office because he's responsible for it.

SW: Yeah hmm, right ok, and now that we know that the IAEA inspectors are going back in do you feel any more optimistic that the replacement for Blix will lead a team back in?

DK: Well the IAEA inspectors are going to do one thing, not going back in to do...

Well, you can read the rest if you follow the link… the point is I suppose Campbell and Kelly never met.  What  Campbell was saying was that the Number 10 press office had been involved in the dossier and “Alastair Campbell is synonymous with that press office because he's responsible for it”.  Which is different from what Gilligan said which was the Campbell put the 45 minutes claim in.  However, it seems that Dr Kelly was involved in the dossier at a slightly more involved level than just “proofreading it”.  At least he might have been proofreading but he wasn’t just there to correct spelling and punctuation, was he?

July 22nd

Tony Blair talks to the press alone and Mr Campbell has the hump.  Mr Campbell tells his mum he is not losing sleep or weight which is probably half true.

July 23rd

Susan Watts tape (transcript above) turns up.  Much wailing and gnashing of various teeth but it gets a bit boring after a while like this page.  Campbell prevaricates on whether to stay or go again.

“Skinner called to tell me that the NEC had turned on Tony Robinson who had said we should be nice to the BBC”.  Yup it’s all Baldrick’s fault.

Cherie Blair fires Fiona Millar (Campbell’s wife) for “briefing against her”.  I thought she’d resigned ages ago but everyone seems to keep saying they’re resigning every other page so it’s difficult to keep up…  Blair and Campbell have a row about this.

Peter Mandelson does his Greek Chorus bit.  “I can’t see the way to rebuilding trust unless we find WMD.  And at the moment I don’t see how we regain momentum.”  Campbell goes to a dinner party and cheers everyone up by calling Paul Dacre evil.  “I said your friend Wadley works for the most poisonous influence in British life.  He and his papers are evil.  They add nothing to the good of the world whatever.  I was confident of being cleared by Hutton but wish he’d had the Mail on Sunday in there too.  They hid behind the BBC”.

More Cheriegate nonsense.  Campbell considers a career in TV.

July and August

Preparations for Hutton on August 21st.

Gilligan’s Transcript pops up in the Guardian

Tony Kelly calls Dr Kelly “a Walter Mitty character”.

Hutton requests copies of Mr Campbell’s diaries.

Jonathan Sumpton is selected as Mr Campbell’s QC to the Hutton Inquiry and demands they hand over the diaries even though the government doesn’t want to because the government promised to “cooperate fully”.  The books are shipped out to Campbell on holiday.  How did Hutton know Campbell had a diary?  Why isn’t everyone asked to supply their diary? asks Campbell.  A very good point.  Weren't there huge security implications in Campbell keeping all this sensitive data at home not at the office? ask the spooks.  On the one hand yes, on the other it is his life and fortunately no one has burgled his house.  Eventually the diaries are “transcribed” for Lord Hutton by Sumpton does some kind of deal with Hutton that he will not reveal Campbell’s every thought and statement …or something.  The diaries are transcribed for the Hutton Inquiry.  This may explain the minor inconsistencies between the Hutton versions and the published versions.  It is Sumpton who has the final word on what words go in and what is redacted although Hutton only seems to have printed what was absolutely necessary to follow the plot.  “I read through page after page, putting pencil marks through the bits he felt were irrelevant, but also making notes in the margins of the vague subject matter so show he had been through it.  Occasionally he would have a doubt but would usually say “No harm in including it””.  Tony Blair tries to get more redacted but Sumpton resists him.   Then we get to the Hutton Inquiry – Well, you can read the website…

…if you want to do all that again.  Campbell resigns and moans about the coverage and the coverage of the coverage.  How can they write so much asks the man who wrote a book with 350,000 words in… He has won the battle… but has he lost the war?


Pear Shaped Iraq_Enquiry_Enquiry Page 1 Covers public evidence from Christopher Meyer, Jeremy Greenstock, Tim Dowse, Edward Chaplin, Sir David Manning, Sir William Patey, Vice Admiral Charles Style, General Sir John Reith, Alistair Campbell, Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff and Geoff Hoon
Pear Shaped Iraq_Enquiry_Enquiry Page 2 Covers public evidence from Jonathan Powell, Lord Goldsmith, Margaret Beckett, John Hutton, Sir Kevin Tebbit, General the Lord Walker of Aldringham, Clare Short, Ann Clwyd, Gordon Brown and endless analysis of what Jaques Chirac meant without asking him.
Pear Shaped Iraq_Enquiry_Enquiry Page 3 Covers public evidence from Douglas Alexander, David Miliband, Cathy Adams,  Sir John Holmes, Sir Jonathan Cunliffe, Mark Etherington CBE and Lord Boateng.
Pear Shaped Iraq_Enquiry_Enquiry Page 4 Covers public evidence from Carne Ross, Lt Gen Sir James Dutton KCB CBE, Stephen White, Baroness Elizabeth Manningham-Buller, Sir Peter Spencer KCB, Lord Prescott, Tony Blair (again) and Jack Straw.  It also covers some ludicrous conspiracy theories.
Most of the first 4 pages are brief commentary with the transcripts re-edited in Xtranormal format (the videos are on Youtube).  For the next article we tried a different approach with a mixture of commentary, transcripts and Xtranormal animation...
MI6 goes Pear Shaped Iraq Covers SIS private evidence from MI6 officers SIS1, SIS2, SIS3,SIS4, SIS5 and SIS6 and C (Sir Richard Dearlove).  The Iraq Inquiry have so far interviewed (as far as I can figure out) at least 12 members of MI6. SIS1, SIS2, SIS3,SIS4, SIS5 and SIS6 have all had their transcripts published in some form whereas statements have been made that SIS8, SIS9 and SIS11’s transcripts will never be published due to the fact that “The Committee has concluded, in line with its Protocols, that it would not be possible to redact and publish the transcript without rendering it unintelligible”. Which leaves open the question of what’s happened to SIS7, SIS10 and SIS12’s testimony and will we ever see a transcript because the inquiry has not made a statement that we wont…?
Reconstruction goes Pear Shaped in Iraq Covers the reconstruction effort after the invasion and the private evidence of Edward Chaplin CMG OBE, The Hon Dominic Asquith CMG and Christopher Prentice CMG, HM Ambassadors to Iraq (2004 – 2009 collectively) and DFID and FCO functionaries JOHN TUCKNOTT, JONNY BAXTER, RICHARD JONES, ROB TINLINE, KATHLEEN REID, LINDY CAMERON, SIMON COLLIS, JAMES TANSLEY and TIM FOY
Kurdistan Goes Pear Shaped With Emma Sky - Emma Sky was sent to the US controlled region of Kirkuk in Kurdistan by the USA who secured her services from the British Council.  She maintains she was acting as effectively as a private citizen (not an employee of the British Government) at the time which is why she has a page entirely to herself.
The JIC goes Pear Shaped in Iraq - Sir John Scarlett and Julian Miller (heads of the JIC during the run up to the invasion) and Sir William Erhman and Tim Dowse (heads of of the JIC after the invasion of Iraq in 2003) discuss the actual evidence or lack of it for the claims within the two dossiers and illuminate us as the JIC intelligence QC processes in what is widely regarded as one of the most boring pages on the internet.
Defence Intelligence goes Pear Shaped - Martin Howard the head of the DIS is interviewed by the inquiry both in public and in private. This page is extremely tedious.
GCHQ goes Pear Shaped - Sir David Pepper tells us what went on at GCHQ after the war and no one tells us what went on at GCHQ in the run-up to the war
Major General Michael Laurie goes Pear Shaped - More fun from the DIS
Major General Tim Tyler goes Pear Shaped - A view of the Major General's view as Deputy Commander Iraq Survey Group and a review of Decision Points insofar as it relates to the Tony Blair/George W relationship
Disaster Points - George W Bush's Autobiography
Tony Blair's Autobiography
Chilcot Stasis - Where we're not by the 2015 election


Photo Credits
Either photographed by me or stolen
or taken by the US military or US or UK government or
Pervez Musharraf by Agência Brasil
Clare Short by Fazian Bhat
Vladimir Russian
Peter Mandelson by World Economic Forum
John Scarlett and John Simpson by Chatham House
Piers Morgan by iDominick
Princess Margaret by David S. Paton
Tony Blair by Marc Muller
Jack Straw by Ministry of Justice
Cherie and Ewan Blair by Aiden Pedreschi
Andrew Gilligan by Willo4
Neil Kinnock by dushenka
John Reid by Steve Punter
Dennis Skinner by Duncan Harris
Greg Dyke by