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The Butler Report – Intelligence Failure watch

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    (Original post by vienna95)
    Blair didnt intentionally mislead the public. Blair didnt lie. Campbell didnt sex it up. how more honest do u need to be?
    The problem is that if they were honest- and I think they probably were-, they were remarkably stupid, an even bigger defect, perhaps.
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    This is an endorsement of Blairs typical "puppet" role alongside Bush. It's not necessary, and not healthy.
    erm no. its called political security. Bush made similar efforts to consult the British.

    You still refuse to address the key point that there was/is no reason why any UK intelligence report should align itself to any US report.
    because im saying its not a point. alignment in presentational terms is something quite acceptable. sharing intelligence is acceptable. youre suggesting they doctored the dossiers to avoid a material conflict of interest. something totally unfounded based on the comments you have quoted.

    There's no need - if they don't draw the same conclusion, then that is healthy the public at large can better evaluate the case for war. Anyway, the structure and process for producing such reports in the USA is not comparable to the UK.
    indeed.

    Are we going to have a round of "yes" "no", are we?
    no. you are going to recognise that the ownership and content of the dossier rested firmly with the JIC.

    There is no argument here: the JIC is/should be totally impartial - its role is simply to assimilate and evaluate intelligence to present in an easily absorbable form to any given government.
    There isn't even a reason necessarly to make it public! Although it is better to do so in the interests of "open government".
    To use it for a cheap PR stunt is scandalous, and, as I see it, is a resigning offence.
    i believe that releasing intelligence is and will always be a mistake. the intent was honorable in my opinion.

    He's guilty of
    a) Having influence over policy despite being unelected
    which policy? and how do you know?

    b) Interefering in the presentation/
    his job.

    content of an intelligence evaluation by a theoretically impartial body for political reason -
    totally unsubstantiated. he was found innocent of any such matter.

    Even if the intelligence failings are left aside, his involvement at all merits suspicion.
    why? it was a dossier released by the British government for the public domain, he was the governments key player in such media affairs.

    No this need not damage either government, I have already said that the UK has no reason to try and mirror everthing the USA does. Remember - a candid relationship is needed. The justification for war needed healthy debate, if different evaluations of intelligence had been produced then perhaps the quality of the intelligence might have been more closely scrutinised and what we are finding out now would have been revealed at a time when it could have stopped the war.
    again, implying the intelligence content was intentionally doctored.

    Well even if it wasn't just Campbell, this "advice" should not have been given, for reasons already stated. If it wasn't Campbell et al. who removed the caveats, then the JIC removed them because of pressure they were put under. Either way it was a failing of the government, for which someone should bear responsibility.
    hang on, you were all for having Campbells head! Campbell primarily advised the JIC as to how intelligence should be presented. level of detail, wording, clarity etc. his memos and conversations reflect that entirely. the government of which Campbell is a part, determined the scope and direction of the dossier and then let the JIC provide intelligence to fit this aim. in an email to Powell, Campbell sees the dangers in broadening the content, "I think we risk complicating the issue if we get into links with Al-Qaeda. The dossier is explicitly about Iraq/WMD". Powell mails back "Im not suggesting that we make any changes to the dossier, just flagging up..areas where we are going to need briefing for the statement and press afterwards'. he is on record a number of times assuring to John Scarlett that the intelligence included in the dossier is a matter for the JIC and only if they are happy with it.

    It seems that you misunderstand the JIC's role.
    Yes, the JIC works "on behalf of the government".
    No, the JIC's report should not be released "on the government's terms" - the JIC presents its assessment/evaluation of intelligence to the government. The government does not have the right to influence that report simply because they plan to make it public.
    the dossier was released as an assessment by the British Government. whether you favour that or not, thats what it was. the British Government dictated what the objective of the dossier was, its scope and its intended audience. while this was predominantly the work of the JIC, it was released as representative of the government. again, you talk about intentional doctoring of intelligence.

    You need to read pages 153-155 of the Butler Report, to get the conclusions on this issue. I will however quote one paragraph that articulates the recommendation I mentioned:
    that is very distinct and different from your suggestion of two entirely seperate dossiers. Butler is showing that a future dossier would have to be specific as to the involvement of interest parties to its content and release.

    "One is for the government of the day to draft a document, to gain the JIC’s endorsement of the intelligence material inside it and then to publish it acknowledging that it draws on intelligence but without ascribing it to the JIC"

    Butler makes the obvious assumption that such a dossier will involve both the government and the JIC, but their roles should be explicit.


    Rubbish, I said someone lied to me; I know that I wasn't told the truth, and that was certainly through Blair's hand,
    so it was or was not Blair?!

    though it may have been unwitting. In which case someone else lied, or committed a resigning offence.
    but you claim someone lied. no evidence can suggest such a thing.
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    erm no. its called political security. Bush made similar efforts to consult the British.
    Ah, now I understand your stance...you think it's okay for politics to come before accurate intellegence assessments. You don't mind if we are taken to war simply because someone was more bothered about achieving their aims, than doing what was right and justified.
    That is what you are saying; you are saying that it's right for Blair to do as Bush does for his own political benefit, rather than because it's the right thing for his country to do.

    Fine, well now we've cleared that up I can let it drop. I'm sure you'll find a great deal of support for that view...

    because im saying its not a point. alignment in presentational terms is something quite acceptable. sharing intelligence is acceptable. youre suggesting they doctored the dossiers to avoid a material conflict of interest. something totally unfounded based on the comments you have quoted.
    Well, actually you've revealed the underlying assumption you're making there, so it's now clear what principles many of your "interesting" opinions are based on.

    "alignment in presentational terms is something quite acceptable."
    Oh, really? Do, please, expand on quite why our intelligence reports should be similarly presented to those of the USA.

    indeed.
    Well, if you agree that different conclusions are healthy, then surely you can see that alignment of "presentation" is likely to affect whether the public at large perceive the intelligence agencies to be drawing the same conclusion or not. Presentation, can and did obscure the nature of, and qualifications on, the conclusions that the JIC drew from available intelligence.


    no. you are going to recognise that the ownership and content of the dossier rested firmly with the JIC.
    Well, that's not true, and you know that damn well.
    "Content" includes caveats, and the JIC had certainly originally wanted caveats, that were later either removed, or the JIC removed due to pressure of some kind. Pressure that had never before manifested itself, because their reports of this nature had never been published before.
    So, it either wasn't just the JIC who "owned" the report, or it was, but a report went out that they had authored, but weren't "happy" with.

    The JIC themselves didn't politicise the report; the pressure which they did not know how to deal with, and the type of "presentation" that was imposed upon the report (by Campbell) "politicised" it.

    Not being poliitcal, and having never been in the political fray, or having authored political "dynamite" the JIC cannot of their own accord, without outside intervention, have suddenly "politicised" their work, to the detriment of its quality.

    Remember, Butler (who you support) talks about what a great man John Scarlett is, and says that he should lead MI6. Scarlett was in charge of the JIC. I don't see Butler eulogising Campbell!


    i believe that releasing intelligence is and will always be a mistake. the intent was honorable in my opinion.
    I am glad you think it's wrong to have pushed an impartial committee to the fore of the political limelight like this. Perhaps you would like to justify your opinion that the intention was "honourable"?

    which policy? and how do you know?
    That is a strong suspicion that I have. Campbell is umpleasant mendacious and slimy. He comes accross that way, and was simultaneously an advisor to the PM, his PR man and his "friend". He seems to have had far to much access to and influence over the PM, for someone who is unelected.


    his job.
    Not when the interference affects the conclusions drawn from the report, as it seems it did.

    totally unsubstantiated. he was found innocent of any such matter.
    Something happened to make the report so terribly wrong. There was either direct or indirect political influence, and Campbell seems a prime candidate, since he was a spin doctor, and was certainly involved with the report.

    why? it was a dossier released by the British government for the public domain, he was the governments key player in such media affairs.
    Yes, and the government should not have been releasing this report, as you have agreed. If it was, then it is even more wrong that the nature of the report was changed in any way. That's just logic.


    again, implying the intelligence content was intentionally doctored.
    You're welcome to infer whatever you like. The point's validity remains...


    hang on, you were all for having Campbells head! Campbell primarily advised the JIC as to how intelligence should be presented. level of detail, wording, clarity etc. his memos and conversations reflect that entirely. the government of which Campbell is a part, determined the scope and direction of the dossier and then let the JIC provide intelligence to fit this aim. in an email to Powell, Campbell sees the dangers in broadening the content, "I think we risk complicating the issue if we get into links with Al-Qaeda. The dossier is explicitly about Iraq/WMD". Powell mails back "Im not suggesting that we make any changes to the dossier, just flagging up..areas where we are going to need briefing for the statement and press afterwards'. he is on record a number of times assuring to John Scarlett that the intelligence included in the dossier is a matter for the JIC and only if they are happy with it.
    Yes, and this use of JIC as a political tool is something for which someone should take responsibility and resign!


    the dossier was released as an assessment by the British Government. whether you favour that or not, thats what it was. the British Government dictated what the objective of the dossier was, its scope and its intended audience. while this was predominantly the work of the JIC, it was released as representative of the government. again, you talk about intentional doctoring of intelligence.
    Ignoring your inferences, read my response to the previous para, and I say the same to this.


    that is very distinct and different from your suggestion of two entirely seperate dossiers. Butler is showing that a future dossier would have to be specific as to the involvement of interest parties to its content and release.
    Butler makes the obvious assumption that such a dossier will involve both the government and the JIC, but their roles should be explicit.
    Quite, and because they weren't "explicit" or "specific", there was shocking inaccuracy, and "more weight was placed on the intelliegence than it could bear". Someone should resign for this happening "on their watch", or for them allowing it to happen.

    so it was or was not Blair?!
    No idea, never claimed to know. Could have been him. The lie to me and 60m others came through Blair, maybe not wittingly though.

    All I know is what I keep repeating; someone either lied or made an error, and the consequences are so serious that they at least should have stood up and resigned. Otherwise, the report wouldn't have been as shoddy as it was.

    but you claim someone lied. no evidence can suggest such a thing.
    See above; it's certainly likely that someone lied.
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    Well, I have to say I was taken in; I assumed that anything about not-compliance was deliberate. I certainly didn't hear much in the media of Hans Blix or Mohammed al Baradi saying that the stuff wasn't there!
    I thought it was quite okay to assume that if they couldn't find them, that meant they were hidden, not that they didn't exist!

    Why did I assume this?:
    a) It didn't occur to me to look at the detail of what Resolution 1441 said, or to find out the details of the inspection reports, this was partly because...
    b) There was so much talk about WMD, that I assumed that whether there 100% truth in it all or not (naturally, I didn't have absolute faith) there would be adequate truth in it to justfy action...I have been dramatically proved wrong.

    It also bothers me that Bliar feels entitled to claim that Iraq is now a better place. I may think like a right-winger, but Robert Fisk's reports in the Independent are interesting reading.

    With all the criminals having been turned loose, power and water infrastructure being worse than before the war etc., if I was an Iraqi who wasn't too bothered about civil liberties, and wasn't a Kurd, I would rather Saddam was still there! You can find many Iraqis who will say as much,
    This might help jog your memory - there are plenty of other links out there as well.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story...162952,00.html
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    Ah, now I understand your stance...you think it's okay for politics to come before accurate intellegence assessments. You don't mind if we are taken to war simply because someone was more bothered about achieving their aims, than doing what was right and justified.
    That is what you are saying; you are saying that it's right for Blair to do as Bush does for his own political benefit, rather than because it's the right thing for his country to do.
    bears no relevance to my comment.

    "alignment in presentational terms is something quite acceptable."
    Oh, really? Do, please, expand on quite why our intelligence reports should be similarly presented to those of the USA.
    ive already suggested that the US/UK wanted to be seen to be acting as a coalition, to be applying equal weight to their claims. for the political credibility of either government, the presentation of such intelligence and the scope of the document had to be complimentary to this effect.

    Well, if you agree that different conclusions are healthy, then surely you can see that alignment of "presentation" is likely to affect whether the public at large perceive the intelligence agencies to be drawing the same conclusion or not. Presentation, can and did obscure the nature of, and qualifications on, the conclusions that the JIC drew from available intelligence.
    Alastair Campbell stressed on numerous occasions that intelligence be presented in clear terms with as little room for misinterpretation as possible. the decision as to whether intelligence could adequately meet this criteria was left to the JIC.

    Well, that's not true, and you know that damn well.
    Lord Hutton found that,
    "I am satisfied that Mr Scarlett did not accept drafting suggestions emanating from 10 Downing Street unless they were in keeping with the intelligence available to the JIC and he rejected any suggestions which he considered were not supported by such intelligence. This is demonstrated by his minute to Mr Campbell dated 18 September 2002 in reply to Mr Campbell's minute of 17 September.

    It is clear from Mr Scarlett's minute that whilst he accepted some of Mr Campbell's suggestions he rejected others where the intelligence did not support a strengthening of the language"

    Blair, "I think the important thing I would say is that once the decision had been taken that, as it were, John Scarlett and the JIC should actually own this document, it should be their document, then I think everything that was done was subject to that"

    Throughout all evidence given, Scarlett accepted he had ownership of the dossier. This was to change days before the dossier was published, when No.10 took responsibility for its ultimate release into the public domain.

    Hutton official, "I have spoken to John Scarlett about the reference to ownership of the dossier. He has confirmed that he had ownership of the dossier until the approved text was handed to No 10 on September 20. Thereafter, arrangements for publication and presentation to parliament were the responsibility of No 10. John Scarlett also confirmed that he retained responsibility for the proofreading stage and for signing off the proofs themselves. In our view, these minutes do not take matters any further forward or conflict with the evidence the inquiry has heard from government witnesses."


    "Content" includes caveats, and the JIC had certainly originally wanted caveats, that were later either removed, or the JIC removed due to pressure of some kind. Pressure that had never before manifested itself, because their reports of this nature had never been published before.
    So, it either wasn't just the JIC who "owned" the report, or it was, but a report went out that they had authored, but weren't "happy" with.
    "When we looked at it again, we also realised two things: first of all, that there was no standing JIC assessment which made it clear whether we were defining Saddam's threat, if you like, as defensive or [chemical weapons] posture as defensive or offensive.

    More to the point, there was recent reporting, in addition, which was not reflected here, but which was quite clear reporting, which placed his attachment to [chemical and biological weapons] and the importance that he placed on it very much in the context of his perception of his regional position, his plans to acquire and maintain regional influence and, as one report, and maybe more, put it: dominate his neighbours.

    In other words, the recent intelligence was more complex than that phrase implied. Bearing those points in mind, we concluded that this was not right, the way this was phrased; and therefore we took that out. That is what I did"

    The JIC themselves didn't politicise the report; the pressure which they did not know how to deal with, and the type of "presentation" that was imposed upon the report (by Campbell) "politicised" it.
    are you serious? it was a dossier to be released into the public domain on a sensitive issue and you expect any credible government or intelligence authority to not want to clarify and present their knowledge in a manner suitable for the target audience? read John Scarletts evidence, he accepted and appreciated Campbells input. he also chose between Campbells suggestions. Scarlett was even the one who changed the title of the dossier.

    Not being poliitcal, and having never been in the political fray, or having authored political "dynamite" the JIC cannot of their own accord, without outside intervention, have suddenly "politicised" their work, to the detriment of its quality.
    by politicised you mean collate complex and heavy intelligence material into a short dossier suitable for the man on the street with the intention of presenting a case for war? its clear why the JIC welcomed Campbells suggestions.

    That is a strong suspicion that I have. Campbell is umpleasant mendacious and slimy. He comes accross that way, and was simultaneously an advisor to the PM, his PR man and his "friend". He seems to have had far to much access to and influence over the PM, for someone who is unelected.
    well that sheds some light on your motivation.

    Not when the interference affects the conclusions drawn from the report, as it seems it did.
    but actually didnt, as the JIC confirmed.

    Something happened to make the report so terribly wrong. There was either direct or indirect political influence, and Campbell seems a prime candidate, since he was a spin doctor, and was certainly involved with the report.
    an admittal that your comments are based on a 'hunch' and as we've seen, an extreme dislike for Campbell. there is simply no evidence he had inappropriate influence over the report. in fact, the opposite is implied.

    You're welcome to infer whatever you like. The point's validity remains...
    contrary to all available evidence and to quote Blair, "the fourth exhaustive inquiry that has dealt with this issue. This report, like the Hutton inquiry, like the report of the ISC before it and of the FAC before that, has found the same thing."

    Yes, and this use of JIC as a political tool is something for which someone should take responsibility and resign!
    the dossier was released to make the case for war, based on what we knew.
    what would you be demanding if the intelligence had been kept confidential and the public asked to trust the judgement of the government and intelligence services?

    Ignoring your inferences, read my response to the previous para, and I say the same to this.
    *says the same*

    No idea, never claimed to know. Could have been him. The lie to me and 60m others came through Blair, maybe not wittingly though.

    All I know is what I keep repeating; someone either lied or made an error, and the consequences are so serious that they at least should have stood up and resigned. Otherwise, the report wouldn't have been as shoddy as it was.

    See above; it's certainly likely that someone lied.
    there seems to be some movement here.

    "Rubbish, I said someone lied to me"
    vienna - "lying? sorry?"
    you- "YES! Since the Butler report claims not blame any individual..perhaps you could tell me how it can "vindicate" an individual?!."
    "I know that I wasn't told the truth, and that was certainly through Blair's hand,"
    - "I feel cheated that no one has the honour to take responsibility for lying to me and 60 million others"
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    Blair didnt intentionally mislead the public. Blair didnt lie. Campbell didnt sex it up. how more honest do u need to be?
    I disagree Vienna. What the JIC reported to Blair was not the same as what Blair told Parliament. Period.

    The "patchy and limited intelligence" that the JIC reported to Blair was metamorphasized nicely into "clear evidence that Sadaam had WMDs deployable in 45 minutes"

    Call it what you like but Blair IMO deliberately mislead Partliament on the strength (or rather weakness) of the available evidence.

    To now lean on the podium and grin like a Cheshire Cat while exclaiming word's to the effect that "Well, the world's a better place without Saddam anyway" is not good enough.

    The Butler report is damning in all regards save its gutless failure to name and shame.

    You, like me, Vienna, well recall the cries of "sleaze" that went up in an expression of common disgust as the Tory party last term disintegrated. A complete breakdown in trust in our Tory masters and the vaporization of their credibility was what led to their defeat.

    Blair promised us transparency; he's not delivered. He's lied, (and I don't care how Hutton or Butler have danced like fairies around that fact) and has not IMO the necessary credibility to continue with his PM'ship.
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    (Original post by Howard)
    I disagree Vienna. What the JIC reported to Blair was not the same as what Blair told Parliament. Period.
    the JIC made approved and recognised changes to the document. including wording that strengthened the use of the 45-minute claim. Blair reiterated that claim once.

    The "patchy and limited intelligence" that the JIC reported to Blair was metamorphasized nicely into "clear evidence that Sadaam had WMDs deployable in 45 minutes"
    which was approved by the JIC.

    Call it what you like but Blair IMO deliberately mislead Partliament on the strength (or rather weakness) of the available evidence.
    Blair only found out about the strength of some evidence, as we all did, when the Butler report was published. The public had access to the same evidence, from which Blair drew these conclusions.

    To now lean on the podium and grin like a Cheshire Cat while exclaiming word's to the effect that "Well, the world's a better place without Saddam anyway" is not good enough.
    why not? the legality or basis for war has not been altered by a single piece of failed intelligence. Blair has also agreed that he takes responsibility for a failure in presentation. this dossier was also a presentation of evidence to the wider public, not binding grounds for the legitimacy of war.

    Blair promised us transparency; he's not delivered. He's lied, (and I don't care how Hutton or Butler have danced like fairies around that fact) and has not IMO the necessary credibility to continue with his PM'ship.
    ill ask the same question, "what would you be demanding if the intelligence had been kept confidential, and the public asked to trust the judgement of the government and intelligence services?"

    ill reiterate, "the fourth exhaustive inquiry that has dealt with this issue. This report, like the Hutton inquiry, like the report of the ISC before it and of the FAC before that, has found the same thing."

    surely, if this is the mistrust you show then Blair is not the only one who must go.
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    [QUOTE=vienna95]the JIC made approved and recognised changes to the document. including wording that strengthened the use of the 45-minute claim. Blair reiterated that claim once. QUOTE]

    The JIC indeed made approved and recognized changes to the document. Approved by Blair that is. The chairman of that commitee has now been rewarded by becoming head of the SIS and a very likely appearence in the forthecoming Honours list.

    This stinks Vienna and you know it.
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    bears no relevance to my comment.
    Yes it does.

    - You're saying that Blair's desire to be seen alongside (as a puppet to) Bush for a political reason justifies aligning our intelligence assessments. I am astounded that you really think a political motive should be allowed to affect even the presentation of intelligence.

    ive already suggested that the US/UK wanted to be seen to be acting as a coalition, to be applying equal weight to their claims. for the political credibility of either government, the presentation of such intelligence and the scope of the document had to be complimentary to this effect.
    Damn the "political credibility of either government"!
    What about making the right assessments, and allowing the public to see for themselves whether we agree and should follow the USA into a messy and rather unsuccessful war.
    I think you've got your priorities wrong.

    Alastair Campbell stressed on numerous occasions that intelligence be presented in clear terms with as little room for misinterpretation as possible. the decision as to whether intelligence could adequately meet this criteria was left to the JIC.
    Well, as I see it, the JIC choose their words for a reason, and if someone starts suggesting new ones, they might agree that they are an acceptable subsitute, not being PR people who will consider the overall effect on a case for war of tweaks to the wording.
    Also, when it concerns intelligence that justifies a war or otherwise, "as little room for misinterpretation as possible" means the conclusions in the exact form that the experts conceive them. Not the twisted words of a spin-doctor with political aims that the JIC does not have.

    Lord Hutton found that,
    "I am satisfied that Mr Scarlett did not accept drafting suggestions emanating from 10 Downing Street unless they were in keeping with the intelligence available to the JIC and he rejected any suggestions which he considered were not supported by such intelligence. This is demonstrated by his minute to Mr Campbell dated 18 September 2002 in reply to Mr Campbell's minute of 17 September.

    It is clear from Mr Scarlett's minute that whilst he accepted some of Mr Campbell's suggestions he rejected others where the intelligence did not support a strengthening of the language"

    Blair, "I think the important thing I would say is that once the decision had been taken that, as it were, John Scarlett and the JIC should actually own this document, it should be their document, then I think everything that was done was subject to that"

    Throughout all evidence given, Scarlett accepted he had ownership of the dossier. This was to change days before the dossier was published, when No.10 took responsibility for its ultimate release into the public domain.

    Hutton official, "I have spoken to John Scarlett about the reference to ownership of the dossier. He has confirmed that he had ownership of the dossier until the approved text was handed to No 10 on September 20. Thereafter, arrangements for publication and presentation to parliament were the responsibility of No 10. John Scarlett also confirmed that he retained responsibility for the proofreading stage and for signing off the proofs themselves. In our view, these minutes do not take matters any further forward or conflict with the evidence the inquiry has heard from government witnesses."
    All very interesting quotes in their own right. Not at all relevant to what I am saying. My point was not using "own" in the way that Hutton does. As soon as Campbell suggests a phrase, the dossier is no longer 100% "the JIC's".

    "When we looked at it again, we also realised two things: first of all, that there was no standing JIC assessment which made it clear whether we were defining Saddam's threat, if you like, as defensive or [chemical weapons] posture as defensive or offensive.

    More to the point, there was recent reporting, in addition, which was not reflected here, but which was quite clear reporting, which placed his attachment to [chemical and biological weapons] and the importance that he placed on it very much in the context of his perception of his regional position, his plans to acquire and maintain regional influence and, as one report, and maybe more, put it: dominate his neighbours.

    In other words, the recent intelligence was more complex than that phrase implied. Bearing those points in mind, we concluded that this was not right, the way this was phrased; and therefore we took that out. That is what I did"
    This is equally interesting. I must apologise if you think me stupid, but perhaps you could explain just how this information about Saddam's aims not affecting assessments of the threat he posed, has anything to do with the known unreliability of the sources of some of the key claims?

    are you serious? it was a dossier to be released into the public domain on a sensitive issue and you expect any credible government or intelligence authority to not want to clarify and present their knowledge in a manner suitable for the target audience? read John Scarletts evidence, he accepted and appreciated Campbells input. he also chose between Campbells suggestions. Scarlett was even the one who changed the title of the dossier.
    As you've agreed, a JIC report should never have been directly released with JIC attributation as it was anyway! The rendering of it "presentable" just worsens the offence. Wording is chosen by intelligence committees for a reason you know!

    by politicised you mean collate complex and heavy intelligence material into a short dossier suitable for the man on the street with the intention of presenting a case for war? its clear why the JIC welcomed Campbells suggestions.
    You really haven't even got what the "dodgy dossier" was about have you?
    THE JIC SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO SUPPORT OR CREATE A CASE FOR WAR!
    The dossier was there to report on Saddam's WMD capabilities, it got them wrong, and was too strongly worded. It was wrong because the sources were poor, and too strongly worded because a spin-doctor was consulted on the wording, and at some stage certain caveats were removed by someone.

    This all occured because the government wanted to create a case for war with it. The JIC is not there to provide the government with politically "handy" dossiers, so when people read a report attributed to the JIC, they took it rather verbatim, as might be expected.

    Someone should be resigning just for having completely misused the JIC, and destroyed its impartiality.

    well that sheds some light on your motivation.
    I'm not hiding that I dislike Campbell, why, do you like him?
    Anyway, I am interested in presenting a decent argument however, so I'm not going to allow irrational emotions to come into play.

    but actually didnt, as the JIC confirmed.
    I'm talking about the conclusions the media and the man on the street draw.

    an admittal that your comments are based on a 'hunch' and as we've seen, an extreme dislike for Campbell. there is simply no evidence he had inappropriate influence over the report. in fact, the opposite is implied.
    a) Everyone's comments are based on "hunches" when we are dealing with who exactly is responsible, because, oddly enough, the government refused to launch an inquiry to find out!
    b) I never assserted that it was Campbell who was to blame, I just opined that it seemed "likely" to me.
    c) The "opposite" is only implied by Campbell's and Scarlett's evidence. Scarlett has a career to consider - this is why Butler thinks chairman of the JIC should be a "last post".
    Campbell wants to be blameless to keep the Blair government safe, and to clear his name.
    Scarlett will never be able to "take on" Campbell, therefore, he would never have admitted whether Campbell had undue influence or not.

    contrary to all available evidence and two judicial inquiries.
    That is not a response to what I am saying! :confused:
    You can infer that I am saying something contrary to those inquiries if you like, though that is not necessarily true, but you're intentionally avoiding the real issue:
    (Original post by -mb-)
    No this need not damage either government, I have already said that the UK has no reason to try and mirror everthing the USA does. Remember - a candid relationship is needed. The justification for war needed healthy debate, if different evaluations of intelligence had been produced then perhaps the quality of the intelligence might have been more closely scrutinised and what we are finding out now would have been revealed at a time when it could have stopped the war.
    I'll put it another way, to be absolutely clear:
    If the government had let the JIC get on with it, and published whatever they had produced without touching it, and the case for war had been weakened as a result (as is likely) then "perhaps the quality of the intelligence might have been more closely scrutinised and what we are finding out now would have been revealed at a time when it could have stopped the war."
    That needn't have damaged the government, and if it had, wouldn't that have been a more honourable thing to do than got to war for no reason?

    the dossier was released to make the case for war, based on what we knew.
    what would you be demanding if the intelligence had been kept confidential and the public asked to trust the judgement of the government and intelligence services?
    Obviously it would be scandalous if the government had not shown the public the basis for such an important decision.
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    What I and 59,999,998 others take issue with is the inaccuracy in the "dodgy dossier" which led to the wrong conclusions being drawn, and that there was no attempt to correct these conclusions. The inaccuracy in the dossier stemmed in part from the way in which it was made "presentable". These are Butler's findings. Whether there was an intention to mislead or not is clearly debatable (you know my opinion!).

    What is not debatable, as I see it, is the someone is responsible either way, (either directly or indirectly). They certainly know who they are, and should resign, it's certainly clear that no inquiry will tell us who they are now.
    They should resign because they either caused the problems, or are responsible for the systems/people who did.

    there seems to be some movement here.
    For those of us with a normal understanding of the English language, there is total consistency there...I suppose on quote 4 I should have said "the lie" rather than "lying", but that is very marginal.

    As for quote 3; that, as you know, is out of context.
    I intentionally made a wild accusation (which was clearly provocative, rather than an expression of my logical suspicion - see below) of an individual lying to see if you would use Butler as the defence, which, to my amusement, you duly did. I did this to gain the opportunity to clearly remove Butler from the equation as a defence for an individual.

    If my position isn't clear enough yet, I'll just quote myself..
    "Someone either lied or made an error, and the consequences are so serious that they at least should have stood up and resigned. [If there had not been a lie or an error]... the report wouldn't have been as shoddy as it was."
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    [QUOTE=Howard]
    (Original post by vienna95)
    the JIC made approved and recognised changes to the document. including wording that strengthened the use of the 45-minute claim. Blair reiterated that claim once. QUOTE]

    The JIC indeed made approved and recognized changes to the document. Approved by Blair that is. The chairman of that commitee has now been rewarded by becoming head of the SIS and a very likely appearence in the forthecoming Honours list.
    more conspiracy theories when all the fact and evidence points in entirely the other direction. not only is the entire government corrupt, but so is Whitehall and the Intelligence services, Westminster and the British judiciary.
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    more conspiracy theories when all the fact and evidence points in entirely the other direction. not only is the entire government corrupt, but so is Whitehall and the Intelligence services, Westminster and the British judiciary.
    British judiciary? The Butler report was carried out by Lord Butler, Britain's most senior civil servant. It wasn't a report carried out under judicial review.

    The Butler report was commissioned under instruction by Blair and probably stopped short of apportioning culpability, not because of any corruption in the civil service, but because to do so fell outside of the scope and remit of the report, that scope and remit being set by..........erm.........Blair.
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    Yes it does.

    - You're saying that Blair's desire to be seen alongside (as a puppet to)
    no.

    Well, as I see it, the JIC choose their words for a reason, and if someone starts suggesting new ones, they might agree that they are an acceptable subsitute, not being PR people who will consider the overall effect on a case for war of tweaks to the wording.
    Also, when it concerns intelligence that justifies a war or otherwise, "as little room for misinterpretation as possible" means the conclusions in the exact form that the experts conceive them. Not the twisted words of a spin-doctor with political aims that the JIC does not have.
    theres that 'motivation' again. the exact form that the experts agree to.

    All very interesting quotes in their own right. Not at all relevant to what I am saying. My point was not using "own" in the way that Hutton does. As soon as Campbell suggests a phrase, the dossier is no longer 100% "the JIC's".
    but your laying blame at the door of No.10

    This is equally interesting. I must apologise if you think me stupid, but perhaps you could explain just how this information about Saddam's aims not affecting assessments of the threat he posed, has anything to do with the known unreliability of the sources of some of the key claims?
    can you repeat that?

    As you've agreed, a JIC report should never have been directly released with JIC attributation as it was anyway! The rendering of it "presentable" just worsens the offence. Wording is chosen by intelligence committees for a reason you know!
    the point is whether they are responsible for that, which they are. not No.10.

    You really haven't even got what the "dodgy dossier" was about have you?
    THE JIC SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO SUPPORT OR CREATE A CASE FOR WAR!
    The dossier was there to report on Saddam's WMD capabilities, it got them wrong, and was too strongly worded. It was wrong because the sources were poor, and too strongly worded because a spin-doctor was consulted on the wording, and at some stage certain caveats were removed by someone.
    there is little point in reiterating points if you are unwilling to consider the evidence.

    This all occured because the government wanted to create a case for war with it. The JIC is not there to provide the government with politically "handy" dossiers, so when people read a report attributed to the JIC, they took it rather verbatim, as might be expected.
    the dossier was provided as material to backup the case for war. that is perfectly acceptable, to make available the intelligence from which the government took decisions.

    Someone should be resigning just for having completely misused the JIC, and destroyed its impartiality.
    its almost laughable, you cite all the mistakes as being those of the JIC yet its the government or evil Campbell who are the ones to blame.

    I'm not hiding that I dislike Campbell, why, do you like him?
    funnily enough, i treat my feelings toward him personally as irrelevant.

    Anyway, I am interested in presenting a decent argument however, so I'm not going to allow irrational emotions to come into play.
    oh.


    a) Everyone's comments are based on "hunches" when we are dealing with who exactly is responsible, because, oddly enough, the government refused to launch an inquiry to find out!
    b) I never assserted that it was Campbell who was to blame, I just opined that it seemed "likely" to me.
    c) The "opposite" is only implied by Campbell's and Scarlett's evidence. Scarlett has a career to consider - this is why Butler thinks chairman of the JIC should be a "last post".
    Campbell wants to be blameless to keep the Blair government safe, and to clear his name.
    Scarlett will never be able to "take on" Campbell, therefore, he would never have admitted whether Campbell had undue influence or not.
    more guesswork?


    I'll put it another way, to be absolutely clear:
    If the government had let the JIC get on with it, and published whatever they had produced without touching it, and the case for war had been weakened as a result (as is likely) then "perhaps the quality of the intelligence might have been more closely scrutinised and what we are finding out now would have been revealed at a time when it could have stopped the war."
    i) the JIC made final decisions as to presentation
    ii) the dossier was released as the opinion of the British Government and its Intelligence services
    iii) the legality and basis for war has not been effected by discredited information in the dossier.

    Obviously it would be scandalous if the government had not shown the public the basis for such an important decision.
    so why is Howard banging on about no 'transparency' and youre making suggestions that releasing a political document into public should not be a 'political tool' to convince the public that decisions were taken on sound evidence and advice.
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    vienna95:

    I am not letting this drop, but I am not doing another round of line-by-line responses yet.

    I gamely respond to every point you throw my way, while you simply ignore some of the most pertinent points I raise, if they don't suit your line of argument.

    (I honestly don't see how you can sustain such a view supporting Blair's government, even if you are a center-lefter, or just a pro-Blair.
    (I am right winger, but I don't always agree with Conservative party policy.) )

    Anyway, the upshot of this is that I am going to back through what has been posted, and create a list of direct questions precipated from all the key points that you have simply ignored. I think replies, or reasons for not replying would be worthwhile, as currently the debate (which was initially about the nature of Butler's conclusions) is getting narrower and narrower in scope. It's losing the fun factor...

    Questions:
    1) What is your opinion of Alastair Campbell - do you "like" him or not? (This IS relevant/of interest)

    2) Do you believe individuals need to singled out for blame for the failings, and if not, why not?

    3) How has the basis for war "not been affected by discredited information in the dossier"? You admit the dossier was to make a case for war - if the dossier's claims aren't justified, surely the war isn't justifed?

    4) What makes you believe the intention in releasing the dossier was "honourable"?

    5) What good justification is there for aligning even intelligence "presentation" simply to save political face when the consequence could influence a war?

    6) Do you believe John Scarlett is to blame, and, if yes, to what extent?

    7) Do you believe John Scarlett should become chief of MI6?

    It's no good, I can't resist a few quotes...
    there is little point in reiterating points if you are unwilling to consider the evidence.
    What evidence. Evidence is not required, I am reiterating established fact...only the italics are opinion:
    "The dossier was there to report on Saddam's WMD capabilities, it got them wrong, and was too strongly worded. It was wrong because the sources were poor, and too strongly worded because a spin-doctor was consulted on the wording, and at some stage certain caveats were removed by someone."

    more guesswork?
    Inevitably, as your beloved Blair won't hold an inquiry that is able to target individuals, and their failings, and therefore their motives.

    its almost laughable, you cite all the mistakes as being those of the JIC yet its the government or evil Campbell who are the ones to blame
    Which mistakes do you see as those of the JIC, that I apparently blame on Blair/Compbell?

    Do you not acknowledge that if the JIC did make such mistakes, it was a failing of the government to "exploit" their unfamiliarity with the effects of wording/presentation/spin, whatever you want to call it?
    i.e. That the government misused the JIC, by "tweaking" (aka "sexing up") their report that suposedly underpined the decision to go to war, but then releasing it as if it was purely the JIC's independent conclusions, and presenting some intelligence as more certain than it was.

    It was all a PR game...you think you can counter every claim of impropriety on the part of the government by banging on about JIC approval of proposed changes and the final text, yet you do not acknowledge that the JIC were unfamiliar with the world of PR and spin. You also approve of Butler, so if you accept that John Scarlett did no wrong, then who did?

    Are you going to end up telling me that the reply to Q2 is going to be that group blame and no acceptance of direct or ultimate responsibility is "okay" when you're in government and authorising wars?
    Or are you going to say that overall no one did wrong, and the failings are no ones fault, which is not what Lord Butler thinks?
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    (Original post by -mb-)
    vienna95:

    I am not letting this drop, but I am not doing another round of line-by-line responses yet.

    I gamely respond to every point you throw my way, while you simply ignore some of the most pertinent points I raise, if they don't suit your line of argument.

    (I honestly don't see how you can sustain such a view supporting Blair's government, even if you are a center-lefter, or just a pro-Blair.
    (I am right winger, but I don't always agree with Conservative party policy.) )
    because your pertinent points happen to be of this nature. observations and considerations on my political orientation and what i should and should not believe. i dont honest see how you can sustain an accusation of doctored intelligence, Campbell guilt etc void of any evidence to back it up but hey each to their own.

    Anyway, the upshot of this is that I am going to back through what has been posted, and create a list of direct questions precipated from all the key points that you have simply ignored.
    oh ok.

    I think replies, or reasons for not replying would be worthwhile, as currently the debate (which was initially about the nature of Butler's conclusions) is getting narrower and narrower in scope. It's losing the fun factor...
    fine.

    Questions:
    1) What is your opinion of Alastair Campbell - do you "like" him or not? (This IS relevant/of interest)
    Alastair Campbell was given a specific role in regard to the preparation of the dossier for which he acted appropriately. I think he is a very capable man in his field. i dont believe a personal opinion of him is necessary if im making judgement based on the merits of his actions alone. on the other hand, im concerned that you should obtain a "strong suspicion", based on your feeling that "Campbell is umpleasant mendacious and slimy. He comes accross that way, and was simultaneously an advisor to the PM, his PR man and his "friend"."

    2) Do you believe individuals need to singled out for blame for the failings, and if not, why not?
    i believe where blame and error can be sufficiently attributed to an individual such that a resignation is appropriate, then that should be the required action. this has to be in the context of intent and erroneous judgement.

    3) How has the basis for war "not been affected by discredited information in the dossier"? You admit the dossier was to make a case for war - if the dossier's claims aren't justified, surely the war isn't justifed?
    the dossier was prepared by the government as a presentation of the intelligence that was available to them at the time. it was in some way, to show to the British public that Saddams intent and capability was real. it was never released as a document to which opinion should be sought with a view wholly on making a decision in regards to Iraq. the basis of war was to prevent any remnant, possible information or future development of WMD material into the hands of terrorist organisations that had actively communicated and colluded with Saddam and were known to be trying to obtain 'dirty bomb' resource. this was the primary basis for war. others include enforcing the will of the UN to prevent similar states and dictators from taking the same path, a humanitarian issue, a long term plan for democracy in the middle east and the possibility of a threat from Saddam to his neighbours and US/UK interests. the legality of the war was validated by existing resolutions and reiterated with Saddams material breach of 1441.

    4) What makes you believe the intention in releasing the dossier was "honourable"?
    if anything it stood to create more division, anxiety and argument over the war. if Blair knew that this would be the political situation he would find himself in, I doubt he would have taken the same decision.

    5) What good justification is there for aligning even intelligence "presentation" simply to save political face when the consequence could influence a war?
    presentation was never intentionally promoted at the expense of accuracy. evidence provided by the JIC and Campbell show that re-wording was done in order to make more accurate the claims of, and with the blessing of, the JIC.

    6) Do you believe John Scarlett is to blame, and, if yes, to what extent?

    7) Do you believe John Scarlett should become chief of MI6?
    John Scarlett appears to have authorised changes to the dossier that one could now label as erroneous.

    It's no good, I can't resist a few quotes...
    finally.

    What evidence. Evidence is not required, I am reiterating established fact...only the italics are opinion:
    "The dossier was there to report on Saddam's WMD capabilities, it got them wrong, and was too strongly worded. It was wrong because the sources were poor, and too strongly worded because a spin-doctor was consulted on the wording, and at some stage certain caveats were removed by someone."
    that is your distortion of events. all of those errors, in hindsight, were authorised by, and the responsibility of, the JIC.

    Inevitably, as your beloved Blair won't hold an inquiry that is able to target individuals, and their failings, and therefore their motives.
    my beloved Blair?

    the remainder of your post relates to opinions which i dont intend to disclose.
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    (Original post by Howard)
    British judiciary? The Butler report was carried out by Lord Butler, Britain's most senior civil servant. It wasn't a report carried out under judicial review.
    i referred to the Hutton report, which to my knowledge, was the result of a British judicial inquiry.
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    Personally I think it is disgusting that Blair got to see the report and then ask for items to be amended! And they say we live in a democracy.......
 
 
 
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