....LMB: "The Sexing-Up Inquiry"....

September 07, 2003

Although most Americans have not paid it too much attention, the British government has faced a tremendous crisis with regards to the Iraq war, mostly in public claims that they had lied about, or at least exaggerated, the threat posed by Iraq to the world. When one of the sources of Britain's intelligence, Dr. David Kelly, committed suicide after alleging that the British intelligence dossier had indeed been "sexed up," an formal investigation was launched, led by the highly respected Lord James Hutton.

Phase One of the investigation is over, and the Guardian summarizes the findings.

It looks like Tony Blair may have dodged a bullet. One of the claims within the report was that Iraq could have WMD ready to deploy within 45 minutes. That claim is made within the foreward of the dossier, by Tony Blair himself. That claim is now thought to be complete bullshit, and the Blair government is accused of putting that line into the report knowing full well that it was bullshit. During the Hutton inquiry, Blair actually said "You already have this extraordinarily serious allegation which, if it were true, would mean we had behaved in the most disgraceful way and I would have to resign as prime minister." Meaning that if the inquiry came to that conclusion, Blair might be forced to resign by his own words.

But there's the bullet dodge. At present, no one can prove that the Blair government "knew" that the 45 minute claim was false. I think that they can even get away with it if they "knew" that the claim came from a dubious source and used it anyway. Did Blair make that bold vow above knowing that there was no such evidence? I couldn't say.

But still, Blair's approval rating is through the floor (37% approval, 54% disapproval, by the latest poll I could find), and I don't see how he could survive another election.

Read the whole Hutton Inquiry report here

Posted by Jake at 08:28 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I think "highly respected" is a stretch unless you count the British ruling class.

Hutton let us not forget is **so** commited to the due process of justice, that he was more than willing to serve as a "Diplock" judge [ie acted as judge and jury] in the 1970s in Northern Ireland. He also acted for the UK government in Strasbourg when the European Court was investigating the state's mistreatment of detainees in NI.

The man was born into Ulster's protestant ruling class and has defended his class interest consistently through his life. You don't end up being a Law Lord by being fair and equitable. I wouldn't trust him to be impartial as far as I could chuck a bus.

If he digs up stuff on how Blair and his cronies lied to the UK people/Parliament/the UN/the media et al to prop up his immoral war---all well and good.

Posted by: pault at September 7, 2003 12:17 PM

I stand corrected. I was given to understand that Hutton was seen as an honest figure who would conduct this inquiry properly, which is one of the only reasons I put any trust in the thing. Maybe that was not justified.

Posted by: Jake at September 7, 2003 12:52 PM

the u.k. needs a whipping boy solely for the status of their unemployment rate right now and the candidate, the richard the 3rd of the 21st centry , tony blair. blair has not only auctioned off his own country for his own aspirations but also his colleagues within the labour party, i.e. the woman whose name i can't remember offhand, but got portioned off to some international low radar site but rocked the office and is now openly critical of him,(many more are driving up in their mini metros in hopes of mowing him down on the m1 of parliament) but... he teamed up with idiot bush of all people, who can't burp without an inaccurate briefing being given to him (for eric's entertainment). blair is on the way out....( i have no sympathy for those ruled by international conglomerates) and he wishes he had had an illict tryst in his office with full detail of his male member on the local rags, he'd at least leave office with nod from my grandad...haha ----

Posted by: paula at September 7, 2003 03:53 PM

I think you can say Blair has dodged the bullet only by adopting an extremely narrow definition of what the bullet is. Here's the money quote from the Guardian story:

Andrew Gilligan's story that No 10 wanted to "sex up" the Iraq dossier has largely been vindicated, but his claim that Downing Street inserted the 45 minute claim knowing it to be wrong has not been substantiated

I think the BEST you can say about Blair and No. 10 is that they didn't give tinker's damn whether it was true or not. It was hot, it was sexy, it made the Americans pant for more -- and that was good enough for them.

But these people aren't completely stupid -- I think they had to at least suspect that the information was bogus.

the richard the 3rd of the 21st centry , tony blair

I would have said Charles I -- who also tried to betray his country to a foreign power to shore up his autocratic status.

Barebones Parliament, anyone?

Posted by: Billmon at September 8, 2003 07:43 PM

I think you can say Blair has dodged the bullet only by adopting an extremely narrow definition of what the bullet is. Here's the money quote from the Guardian story:

Andrew Gilligan's story that No 10 wanted to "sex up" the Iraq dossier has largely been vindicated, but his claim that Downing Street inserted the 45 minute claim knowing it to be wrong has not been substantiated

I think the BEST you can say about Blair and No. 10 is that they didn't give tinker's damn whether it was true or not. It was hot, it was sexy, it made the Americans pant for more -- and that was good enough for them.

But these people aren't completely stupid -- I think they had to at least suspect that the information was bogus.

the richard the 3rd of the 21st centry , tony blair

I would have said Charles I -- who also tried to betray his country to a foreign power to shore up his autocratic status.

Barebones Parliament, anyone?

Posted by: Billmon at September 8, 2003 07:44 PM

well said billmon, i do indeed see the sharp connection to that branch of the stuarts -- main emphasis lie though within the comparison of tony blair to richard the 3rd because of his unwillingness to admit to the killing of the modern day young princes: 1) u.k.'s economy and 2)soldiers (proletariat class) with the committment to the war on iraq, terrorism, whatever the hell they're deeming it today.

Posted by: paula at September 9, 2003 05:00 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

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