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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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Teflon Tony just a bit too greedy on Hutton nullification?

Blair to Hutton: You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

(Extensive comments on Hutton Inquiry evidence in the August to October archives.)

Rounding up some initial impressions:
  1. Par for the course would have been a fudge: some blame (nothing fatal) spread generously around. Instead, except in minor detail, HMG comes away Persil-white, while the BBC is cast into the well of slurry.

    Problem is, that's not what the evidence says that the good Lord Hutton took for all those weeks. The ins and outs of the nullification clearly need to be looked at.

  2. The report runs to barely more than 300 pages, instead of the 800-1000 promised. And most of the content is quotes from materials already on the website. So what was taking him all that time? And why did the publication date slip from November to almost February, if it was the amount of writing he had to do?

  3. An initial skim through the 45 minute question part of the report finds, without the least digging, the following oddity (para 164 - emphasis mine):
    The JIC, which meets once a week in the Cabinet Office, is responsible for the presentation of assessed intelligence to the Prime Minister and theGovernment. Since September 2001 the Chairman of the JIC has been Mr John Scarlett and the other members of that Committee are the heads of the three intelligence agencies...together with the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), the Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI), and senior officials from the major policy departments of the Government, the FCO, the MoD, the Home Office, the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry. Sir David Omand is also a member of the JIC. The JIC is therefore composed of very senior and experienced persons in the field of intelligence ...
    The point is not the evident crass misunderstanding of the meaning of the word consist, but the evidently brazen disregard for the fact, noted in the same sentence, that a good number of the JIC are not intelligence people.

Meanwhile, one may take note of two other developments:

  1. According to the Guardian (January 27) the conduit for the orginal intelligence on the 45 minute point, Nick Theros, the Washington representative of Iyad Allawi, who headed the Iraqi National Accord in exile, has said he passed the 45, along with a large amount of information to MI6:
    We were passing it on in good faith. It was for the intelligence services to verify it.
    Apparently, talking to the BBC Today programme (yes, that one),
    Mr Theros said the information now seemed to be a "crock of shit".
    The supposed purveyor of said crock,
    The former INA spy, who calls himself Lieutenant Colonel al-Dabbagh, although this is not his full name, is now said to be "in hiding".
    Dabbagh was, of course, the source for the absurd Con Coughlin of the Telegraph.

  2. Heading towards the Grassy Knoll end of town, some experts are questioning whether David Kelly's death was, in fact suicide (letter to Guardian yesterday, also this). Obviously, the name of Vince Foster flashes up in neon lights right there: any claim like this starts with zero credibility. I have no idea whether the technical queries they raise have any validity. They need evidence to call into question the competence and integrity of those who concluded it was suicide.


One mystery solved: the report as published in PDF form (which several UK news sites were offering) did not include the Appendices (as the offical page makes clear). The Appendices are documents already available on the site. The total is within the expected 800-1,000 range, or just below.

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