What Meyer told Armitage

by Chris Ames

A letter in July 2002 from the UK’s then ambassdor to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, to Tony Blair’s chief foreign affairs adviser, Sir David Manning, is perhaps as revealing as any of the previously leaked Downing Street documents, including an earlier very candid note from Meyer to Manning. But, although the Inquiry both published the letter and included it in its narrative, it did not allow itself to be deflected from its false narrative, that Blair was seeking to use ‘the UN route’ as a peaceful means to disarmament, rather than regime change.

The letter describes a meeting between Meyer and Richard Armitage, US Deputy Secretary of State, on 24 July 2002. This was a day after the Downing Street meeting on Iraq and four days before Blair’s “I will be with you, whatever” letter to Bush.

A handwritten annotation, which appears to be from Manning, says: “Christopher and I discussed the issues before he saw Armitage.” This provides evidence that Meyer was passing on Manning’s line, and therefore Blair’s.

As the Inquiry report notes, Meyer told Armitage that the US could

“rest assured that if and when the US decided to move against Saddam Hussein, the UK would be with them.”

That’s about as blank a cheque as you can get and perhaps even more explicit and specific than Blair’s note. As the Inquiry also notes, Meyer told Armitage that it was

“very important to be able to build a public case for attacking Saddam;
exhausting UN processes on inspections; and unwinding violence between the Israelis and Palestinians were part of this strategy”.
Again, pretty clear evidence that the “UN route” was part of a stategy for regime change, not a way for
the UK to reconcile its objective of disarming Iraq, if possible by peaceful means, with the US goal of regime change.
That was just the spin that an inquiry by the British establishment used to play down wrongdoing by the British establishment.

3 comments to this article

  1. Peter Beswick

    on October 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm -

    Grieve for Justice

    When the Liaison Committee (Commons) get together on Wednesday there will be an Elephant in the room, an elephant called Dominic. This is entirely normal for committee inquiries where the conclusions inform the investigation.

    It has also been leaked that the legality of Britain’s involvement in the conflict will be raised at the Liaison Committee get together. Chris A rightly points out that the Manning / Meyer correspondence is further evidence , if it were needed that criminal acts were being planned at an early stage.

    The Liaison Committee have an opportunity to order an investigation into said evidence. They won’t.

    Dominic Grieve was Attorney General to Cameron’s government in 2011 when he became involved in the long rolling Dr David Kelly Cover Up. Grieve blocked a request for a new inquest to Kelly’s death to be sent to High Court for them to consider.

    There are several reasons why this was wrong;

    1 New evidence had emerged since the 2003 original inquest / Hutton inquiry that overwhelmingly suggested that Hutton had got it wrong; police officers had lied to the inquiry, the eyewitness, medical, pathology, forensic and toxicology evidence was not consistent with Hutton’s conclusions.

    2 Hutton had no legal authority to rule on the Cause of Death only a Coroner had that power or a jury if one sits. Hutton had no Coronial experience no medical training. The inquest had not been formally closed as the law requires and no Coroner’s final death certificate has been registered. No burden of proof was applied to Hutton’s conclusions, no standard of proof was set, no evidence under oath, no cross examination, no second opinions were heard; All of these are required at an inquest to the most rigorous standard of proof for a suicide to be concluded, that of beyond reasonable doubt. Also intent was not proven and until it is it is not possible to reach a verdict of suicide.

    3 Grieve misled Parliament on the 9th of June 2011,


    “Having given the most careful consideration to all the material that has been sent to me, I have concluded that the evidence that Dr Kelly took his own life is overwhelmingly strong. Further, nothing that I have seen supports any allegation that Dr Kelly was murdered or that his death was the subject of any kind of conspiracy or cover-up. In my view, no purpose would be served by my making an application to the High Court for an inquest, and indeed I have no reasonable basis for doing so. There is no possibility that, at an inquest, a verdict other than suicide would be returned.”

    The first part of this statement is false, so much so that the AG’s office wrote to the police and ask them to investigate the new evidence that suggested the first police officer on the scene where Kelly’s body was discovered had lied to the inquiry. The police did not follow up on this request and the AGO did not pursue the matter. And mockingly Grieve showed his contempt of parliament by asking the rhetorical question, “If the body had been moved, then why, by whom and for what purpose?”. There was no point in asking Parliament this but he should have added that he had asked the police the same question but they had ignored him.

    The final point in the statement demonstrates the most shocking part of Grieve’s part in the cover up, “There is no possibility that, at an inquest, a verdict other than suicide would be returned.” The fact that Grieve knew this demonstrates Grieve’s unsuitability to be an MP, an AG and Chairman of the Liaison Committee because of his contempt of the law.

    The Law had been changed in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009

    Territorial Extent / The Act / Chapter 1: Investigation into deaths / Section 11 / Paragraph 9

    http (:) //www (.) legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/25/notes/division/5/1/1/1/11/8
    remove brackets and spaces

    “119.Paragraph 9(11) prevents the resumed senior coroner’s investigation from reaching a conclusion which is inconsistent with the outcome of the inquiry which triggered the suspension or any criminal proceedings that had to be concluded before it could be resumed. For example, if the outcome of an inquiry was a finding that a particular individual had committed suicide, a senior coroner’s investigation cannot conclude that the particular individual was unlawfully killed.”

    Which means before this Act came into force a Coroner could rule at a new inquest, if new evidence came to light, a different verdict from that found by a court or inquiry and a different verdict could be registered. Now the Coroner regardless of new evidence which proves beyond reasonable doubt that someone was murdered must record a verdict of suicide if that is what the inquiry found..

    Never before has a suicide been concluded by public inquiry and it probably will never happen again but if it does Grieve is right, the law makes it impossible for a Coroner who has new evidence from correcting the conclusion of an inquiry despite (s)he knowing the original conclusion was incorrect.

    For Kelly to now have a fair and reasonable inquest and make it possible for new evidence to be considered and conclude a different conclusion than Hutton’s, the law must now be changed again.

    Grieve was obstructing Justice, he became part of a cover up. And now as Chairman of the Liaison Committee he has that opportunity again. He should resign or be sacked.

  2. Lee

    on October 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm -

    I agree that the letter clearly defines the intentions.

    “decided to move against Saddam Hussein”

    cannot be conflated with the next UN/Diplomatic steps, because the next para makes it clear that “build a public case for attacking Saddam” is distinct from “exhausting UN processes on inspections”. And “when the US decided to move against Saddam Hussein, the UK would be with them ” includes “attacking Saddam”.

    Of course, it doesnt mention, one way or another the issue of a security council mandate, so its not quite a smoking gun.

    I think I am correct in assuming that “smoking gun” usually implies a single piece of highly persuasive evidence (such as Hillary Clinton’s initials and crest on the knife used to sodomise Gaddafi). Sadly, the smoking gun in Blair’s case will have to be a compilation.

    Now that he has returned to his celebrity status on the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph (and only the Mail seems to find him abhorrent), its unclear who (in the west) would be interested in the smoking gun outside the tiny community of which we are members.

    Tony Gauci, the Maltese shop-keeper that the FBI bribed to falsely identify Megrahi as the Lockerbie bomber, died today. As the SNP appeared to have given up on another US atrocity, its a sort of sad milestone.


  3. Peter Beswick

    on November 2, 2016 at 4:15 pm -


    Dominic Grieve not part of the Liaison Committee I thought as chair of the ISC he would be there.

    But I stand by the rest