Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Vindicated Blair Hits Back

Lord Hutton finds the following:

1. Contrary to the claim by the BBC that intelligence was put in the dossier against the wishes of the intelligence services; the dossier of 24 September was published with the full approval of the JIC, including the intelligence about Saddam's readiness to use some WMD within 45 minutes of an order to do so.

2. That the allegation by the BBC that the Government deliberately inserted this 45 minute claim probably knowing it was wrong was "unfounded".

3. That the allegation by the BBC that the reason for it not being in the original draft of the dossier was because the intelligence agencies didn't believe it to be true, was also "unfounded".

4. That no-one, either in the JIC or Downing Street acted improperly in relation to the dossier.

5. That the BBC claim that it was "sexed up" in the sense of being embellished with intelligence known or believed to be false was also "unfounded".

6. That Mr Gilligan's key allegations repeated by the BBC were never in fact said even by Dr Kelly himself.

7. That there was "no dishonourable or underhand or duplicitous strategy by the Government covertly to leak Dr Kelly's name to the media".

8. That on the contrary it was reasonable for the Government to conclude that there was no practical possibility of keeping his name secret and that the Government behaved properly in relation to naming him.

9. That the suggestion that either I or Sir Kevin Tebbit in our evidence were in conflict with each other or that one of us was lying was "incorrect and not supported by the evidence".

10. And for good measure, he also dismisses the allegations surrounding what I said on a plane to journalists in these terms...

In conclusion I repeat what Lord Hutton said in his Summary, at page 322.

"The communication by the media of information (including information obtained by investigative reporters) on matters of public interest and importance is a vital part of life in a democratic society. However the right to communicate such information is subject to the qualification (which itself exists for the benefit of a democratic society) that false accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others, including politicians, should not be made by the media."

That is how this began: with an accusation that was false then and is false now.

We can have the debate about the war; about WMD; about intelligence. But we do not need to conduct it by accusations of lies and deceit. We can respect each other's motives and integrity even when in disagreement.

Let me repeat the words of Lord Hutton:

"False accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others ... should not be made".

Let those that made them now withdraw them.

Hehehehehehehehehehehe....ehhhhhhehehehehehehehehe......How sweet it is. Privatize the bastards. Every last one of 'em.


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