Saturday, December 16, 2006

breaching the Official Secrets Act

"The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests.""

* Guardian:
"A major criminal investigation into alleged corruption by the arms company BAE Systems and its executives was stopped in its tracks yesterday when the prime minister claimed it would endanger Britain's security if the inquiry was allowed to continue.

The remarkable intervention was announced by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, who took the decision to end the Serious Fraud Office inquiry into alleged bribes paid by the company to Saudi officials, after consulting cabinet colleagues.

In recent weeks, BAE and the Saudi embassy had frantically lobbied the government for the long-running investigation to be discontinued, with the company insisting it was poised to lose another lucrative Saudi contract if it was allowed to go on. This came at a time when the SFO appeared to have made a significant breakthrough, with investigators on the brink of accessing key Swiss bank accounts.

However, Lord Goldsmith consulted the prime minister, the defence secretary, foreign secretary, and the intelligence services, and they decided that "the wider public interest" "outweighed the need to maintain the rule of law". Mr Blair said it would be bad for Britain's security if the SFO was allowed to go ahead, according to the statement made in the Lords by Lord Goldsmith. The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the threat.

BAE claimed that it was about to lose out on a third phase of the Al-Yamamah deal, in which the Saudis would buy 72 Typhoon aircraft in a deal worth £6bn. The Saudis had also hinted that they would do a deal with the French instead if the inquiry pushed ahead. A 10-day ultimatum was reportedly issued by the Saudis earlier this month."


Don said...

Even in the reserved Brit fashion, that's about 200-300 times more outrage than you'd see in a North American publication, assumung such a blatantly craven political cave-in were even given any media play whatsoever... points to the Brits for getting it out, and rotsa ruck to Labour in the next election.

(side note: I'd throw in a rhetorically smart-assed question as whether Blair finds it easier to be a butt monkey for Bush or the Saudis, but in the final analysis, it's the same damn thing and either way he's still someone else's bitch...)

lukery said...

the indy & the guardian are MUCH better than anything in the US.

oldschool said...

the indy and the guardian are MUCH better than anything in the US.

well, that's faint praise.

I'm still waiting for Canada to annex part of the Yucatan Peninsula so I can emigrate there. (I hate being cold and Australias's a bit tough to get into, no?)

lukery said...

Australias's a bit tough to get into, no?
they let me back in...