The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, September 06, 2003

Operation Rockingham still in single source hell

I'm no stock market expert. But I do know that there are a bunch of guys called chartists who claim to be able to predict the future performance of a particular stock by reading patterns in a plot of its price.

One can, I suspect, do something similar for news stories, based on search results. The Operation Rockingham story is a classic copied singleton - appearing once in the original (Glasgow Sunday Herald June 8) and copied by dozens of indymedia sites, blogs and the like. Apparently, no other grown-up media site has taken it up - not even the wires.

For the moment, I've filed it under too good to be true:
Operation Rockingham, established by the Defence Intelligence Staff within the Ministry of Defence in 1991, was set up to 'cherry-pick' intelligence proving an active Iraqi WMD programme and to ignore and quash intelligence which indicated that Saddam's stockpiles had been destroyed or wound down.

Which is not to suggest that there hasn't been manipulation of intelligence on Iraqi WMD: but the codename sounds too Bond and the date feels early.

Strangely, I am underwhelmed to learn that
The existence of Operation Rockingham has been confirmed by Scott Ritter, the former UN chief weapons inspector, and a US military intelligence officer.
Even when he says
He knew members of the Operation Rockingham team and described the unit as 'dangerous'...

I would like to believe that
Operation Rockingham and MI6 [are] supplying skewed information to the [JIC]
and in the validity of Ritter's comparison of the JIC with the Pentagon's suspect Office of Special Plans (OSP) [1]. (After all, the JIC in general, and its Chairman John Scarlett in particular, are Tony Blair's main defence against the charge of having sexed up the September dossier.)

But not on the present evidence.

Not without interest, perhaps, that, despite the fact that, according to the piece,
The rebel Labour MP and Father of the House, Tam Dalyell, said he would raise the Sunday Herald's investigation into Operation Rockingham in the Commons on Thursday and demand an explanation from the government about selective intelligence...
I can find no trace that he did so.

Caveat maxime lector, as ever.

  1. Salon article (July 16) behind the ad wall.

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