Shaped in Fitzrvoia

Iraq Inquiry

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Of course one person who might be able to tell use the truth of the situation is the late Robin Cook who has unfortunately since died of a heart attack at the top of a mountain. But here's what he said when he resigned.   It is, or course, illegal in the UK to use footage from Parliament for satirical purposes so we asked the late Sir Winston Churchill to repeat the text of the speech for us:

As Robin Cook died on top of a mountain it's pretty hard to imagine that this was the result of an MI6 conspiracy or foul play but that hasn't stopped Norman Baker MP from suggesting it obliquely
in an article for The Argus.

photo c/o:

... pointing out the summit of Ben Stack is technically MOD land.

Of course Norman Baker's favourite subject is the far less plausible and even more politically convenient death of weapons expert and whistleblower Doctor David "I'll probably be found dead in the woods" Kelly that resulted in the Hutton Inquiry.  Not to be confused with the other "Inquiry" into the war the Butler Review on the total lack of any WMD.

Never-the-less although it may seem completely implausible to be able to engineer a heart attack inducing substance that only acts at 2365 ft above sea level ...where there's a media cow to be milked there's a conspiracy theory. Usually involving Robin Cook's interest in investigating the MI6 botched conspiracy to murder Colonel Gaddafi involving whistelblowers Annie Machon and David/Delores Shayler. According to Shayler MI5 (or 6) paid the Lybian Islamic Fighting Group £100,000 to plant a bomb under Gaddafi's motorcade in Sitre in 1996 but they selected the wrong car and as a result killed the wrong people. From this point on the story is as hard to follow as Orson Welles "Touch of Evil".

Of course it's not that shocking that MI6 might have tried to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi.  We now know that SOE spent a lot of time machinating but failing to come up with a workable plan to assassinate Hitler in the 1940s.  One doesn't have to do all one's killing personally either.  One can subcontract as above.  We know that MI6 officers do have licence to kill as in James Bond novels (although they have denied this for years just as the existence of MI6 was denied for years) as a result of he Intelligence Services Act.  Under Section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act, the Secretary of State can authorize persons to commit acts abroad for which they may not be held liable under British law.  By implication, that includes all criminal law relating to the use of lethal force… Despite its protections, the act does not and cannot immunize agents from the law of the foreign lands in which they operate.  This law became more widely known as a result of the inquest into the Death of Princess Diana... intended to kill off conspiracy theories that she was murdered like those in Victor Lewis-Smith's latest movie financed by Mohammed Al Fayed. 

There have also been claims that there was an MI6 plot to assassinate Slobodan Milosovic and Colonel Nasser.  Of course direct assassination can be rather politically messy.  There are other ways to dispose of people.  For example given what we now know about Lord Mountbatten's role in the plot against Harold Wilson is it possible that even if MI5 and MI6 were not directly responsible for the bomb that killed him they could have ...erm... relaxed security to enable the IRA to reach their target in a way they wouldn't for a Royal who wasn't obsessed with military coups.  Similarly, one could speculate that perhaps security around Princess Diana was left weak as the establishment was not that bothered  if she died and that it is interesting that Robin Cook's wife needed the help of a passer by to contact air rescue services via mobile phone when Mr Cook had his phone on him.... and had clearly used it from the summit to txt his son.  Although it is entirely plausible that she simply did not know he  had his phone on  him... or his battery was flat?  ...or he had a rubbish network.  That would explain it.  You know I should have thought of that...

One wild theory that is no longer in doubt is that there was something going on at MI5 (or 6 or both?) that might have been a dirty tricks campaign against Harold Wilson as even Stella Rimington (the first "public" MI5 head) was forced to admit that:

One  of the reasons that the reporters investigating the plots against Wilson didn't publish their evidence for so long is that by a bizarre series of accidents they became embroiled in the Jeremy Thorpe affair.  According to Barbara Castle Wilson requested Norman Scott's security file - although this is believed to be because Wilson believed there may be an MI5 dirty tricks campaign against Thorpe.   The original BBC investigation into the Wilson plots then had to be dropped for fear of prejudicing Thorpe's trial.  Or something.  Interestingly the attempted murder of Norman Scott was also in a remote location. When the tape recordings of Harold Wilson discussing possible MI5 plots against him resurfaced in 2002 among them was a comment by Wilson that:

Of course Wilson wasn't the only Labour Leader to have problems with the security services ...A contributing factor to the downfall of Ramsay McDonald's original 1924 administration was the so called Zinoviev letter ...purportedly from Grigori Zinoviev of the USSR to "sympathetic" socialists within the Labour party.  This letter was leaked to the Daily Mail 4 days before the 1924 general election and severely damaged the party's polling.  It is now believed to be a forgery but the debate as to who exactly did write it if it wasn't Zinoviev is never ending...

Then again when anyone of high political profile dies suddenly there are always conspiracy theories - for example many people in the CIA were said to be convinced that Harold Wilson was a KGB agent as a result of soviet defector Anatoliy Golitsyn spreading rumours  that the death of previous Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell was not an accident.  These theories were fuelled by the fact that Wilson had made several trips to the USSR to negotitate supply contracts as Secretary for Overseas Trade  for Clement Attlee's post-war administration. Of course to make things even more complicated many such rumours are actually machinated  and fed by intelligence agencies and governments as a method of undermining states and political alliances themselves and it's a constant amazement to me that there are so many people stupid enough to buy into them who should know better. 
In the spirit of this I though that I would start my own rumour that Tony Blair murdered John Smith but someone's already beaten me to it

Whatever the truth once we've put this article up neither I nor Mr Damage are going on any walking holidays or driving through any underpasses and I am now worried about having an inexplicable fatal heart attack... anyway back to the inquiry...

Carne Ross First Secretary, United Kingdom Mission to New York, 1998 to 2002 who resigned in 2004, after giving secret evidence to the Butler Inquiry on about how, in his view, the British government had exaggerated the case for invading Iraq and ignored available alternatives to war repeated (in public) his often repeated claims that more could have been done to make sanctions work like closing down Saddam's bank accounts in Cyprus.

Lt Gen Sir James Dutton KCB CBE General Officer Commanding Multi National Division (South East), 2005 and Deputy Chief of Joint Operations (Operations), 2007 to 2009 was cross questioned about resourcing helicopters and UAVs between Iraq and Afghanistan....

....and pointed out that part of the problem is that Tesco don't sell helicopters...

When Baroness Usha Prashar pushed him to say yes or no to the question of whether or not resourcing both Iraq and Afghanistan meant that he was or was not getting the necessary equipment or the resources that he needed he replied that ...well, it depends what you mean my "needed".

Stephen White OBE Director of Law and Order and Senior Police Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003 to 2004 was very unhappy about what sounds like a near catastrophic lack of back up. A situation that turned into a PR disaster for the government when they allowed him to collaborate in a documentary for the BBC called "Basra Beat".

Baroness Elizabeth Manningham-Buller Deputy Director General, Security Service until 2002
distanced herself from the dossier on WMD stating that the MI5 input was minimal and suggesting they would do better to ask MI6. 

She also said that she was not convinced of Saddam being an immediate threat.  As can be seen from this declassified document:

Sir Peter Spencer KCB Chief of Defence Procurement, 2003 to 2007 made a valiant attempt to explain what had happend to those UAVs

Next UN weapons expert and inspector Dr Hans Blix talked about what WMD he didn't find, the Iraqi obstruction his team suffered and said explicitly that in his personal view the war was illegal

Ex-Deputy PM Lord Prescott made some interesting comments. 

Stating that what you do in
intelligence is a bit of tittle tattle here and a bit more information there and a judgment made, isn't it, to be fair....?

And went on to talk at length about Tony Blair's "blame the French" policy...

...when confronted by the fact that Lord Goldsmith's definition of "A reasonable case" does not mean that "if the matter ever came before a court I would be confident that the court would agree with this view."... Lord Prescott replied simply "Cor Blimey" and noted that during the process....

....you didn't have to be too perceptive to notice that "Peter [Goldsmith] was not a happy bunny".

And when asked if he would have liked to have known this at the time of making the decision to go to war seemed to be of the view that really all he required from Lord Goldsmith was a binary Yes or No answer.  This seems to have been the general policy of most of the cabinet: see no evil, hear no evil and ideally brief no evil.  Of course its worth noting that Lord Goldsmith was Attorney General for England and Wales - aren't there ones for Scotland and Northern Ireland too... so much for devolution.

Then finally it was time for Tony Blair to avoid telling us what he actually said to George W Bush exactly ...again...

...and for Jack Straw to point out that he and Tony Blair were ..

...different people and that the cabinet was actually full of people who sought to think for themselves.


Well, we could do the SIS evidence as well but frankly it's redacted beyond comprehension and I've run out of Xtranormal points now (not to mention man hours and patience ...so the Inquiry worked).

As to our conclusions well, I've one or two things to tidy up for our report

back to start

Forward to...

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.
The DIS goes Pear Shaped in Iraq - Martin Howard of the Defense Intelligence Service gives his views on how well it all went
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 in Iraq - More from the DIS