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Friday, 23 July 2010

WMDs - Where the truth lies.

WMDs, Tony Blair and Eliza Manningham Buller

24 September 2002 – Tony Blair to the House of Commons:

“It (intelligence services information) 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 within45 minutes: and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.”

25 February 2003 – Tony Blair to the House of Commons:

“The intelligence is clear. He (Saddam) continues to believe his WMD programme is essential both for internal repression and for external aggression. The biological agents we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. All eventually result in excruciatingly painful death.”

20 July 2010 – Eliza, Baronness Manningham-Buller, Director General of MI5 2002 – 07 to the Chilcot Inquiry:

“The nature of intelligence – it is a source of information, it is rarely complete, it needs to be assessed, it is fragmentary… We were asked to put in some low grade, small intelligence to it (2002 dossier) and we refused because we didn’t think it was reliable.”

After the first Gulf War I tried to write an article about ‘Gulf War Syndrome.’ Super fit airmen and soldiers who had left for Kuwait and Iraq had returned unable to climb the stairs. The MoD was denying culpability. I interviewed some servicemen. One particular story I heard may shed some light on Saddam’s WMD capability.

I was told that a warehouse facility had been discovered in Komashia. The warehouse was filled with WMDs. Anthrax, plague, ricin (see Tony Blair’s statement to the House of Commons February 2003).

The airman who told me of this facility then said that it was decided to blow the warehouse to smithereens. Sortie after sortie left from forty miles away to bomb the warehouse in Komashia. Airmen, wearing little more than shorts and shoes, serviced the returning aircraft to send them back to carpet bomb the warehouse. He felt the blow back on the surface of the returning aircraft may have affected the airmen. The MoD weren’t interested in solving the real problem of ‘Gulf War Syndrome.’

I was then told that no inventory had been taken of what was in the warehouse in Komashia (the airman couldn’t spell it either).


‘Well work it out,’ he said. All the labels on the barrels were British, French and American labels – most of them in English. 'We gave those WMDs to Saddam when we wanted him to fight the Ayatollah Khomeini.' It would be too embarrassing to have a paper trail leading right back to the West in supplying Saddam with the very weapons he was using on the Kurds.

By not taking an inventory we didn’t know how many of the barrels we had given Saddam had been destroyed. We didn’t have the intelligence available to work out whether Saddam still had many or any of the WMDs we had originally supplied him with. We were groping in the dark. We had to assume had some WMDs stashed elsewhere, we just didn’t know. Because we decided the political fall out would be too difficult to explain when it became clear where those WMDs emanated.

That I feel is probably the plain truth. However it wouldn’t do to admit this to the Chilcot Inquiry, so we hear half truths from the players in the arena.

A little intelligence gathering of which airmen served in or near Komashia to bomb a warehouse, might reveal an unpalatable truth if those airmen were interviewed. One wonders whose truth the Chilcot Inquiry is seeking to uncover?

Are expensive Inquiries worth paying for?

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