Whatever you say, Sir David

Chris Ames

I’m not sure a lot that was new came out of Sir John Chilcot’s appearance before the liaison committee today but what it did show was his very naive willingness to believe and repeat what people tell him, often in spite of contemporaneous documentary evidence.

Chilcot quoted Jack Straw’s explanation for the failure of the Cabinet (including himself) to challenge Blair, as if anyone should ever believe anything that a devious toad like Straw says.

Similarly, he repeated Sir David Manning’s claim that Manning had tried to persuade Blair not to say “I will be with you, whatever” in his July 2002 letter to George W Bush. Here’s what Manning told the Inquiry:

SIR DAVID MANNING: I tried to take the first sentence out.
SIR RODERIC LYNE:Why did you want to take the first sentence out?
SIR DAVID MANNING:I didn’t think we should say that.
SIR RODERIC LYNE: Because …?
SIR DAVID MANNING: It was too sweeping. It seemed to me to close off options, and I didn’t see that that was a sensible place to be.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about UK Washington ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer’s note to Manning, which preceded Blair’s note and in which Meyer recalled that he had told US Deputy Secretary of State Richard 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.”

Manning wrote on the note:

Christopher and I discussed the issues before he saw Armitage. I shall pick with Condi next week.

So Manning is happy for Meyer to tell the US that “if and when the US decided to move against Saddam Hussein, the UK would be with them” and will repeat the message to Condoleezza Rice.

But “I will be with you, whatever” is too sweeping and closes off options.

Yeah, whatever.


23 comments to this article

  1. Lee

    on November 3, 2016 at 12:59 am -

    The truth is that Blair and his entourage were sycophantic grovellers in love with American exceptionalism. They were intoxicated by the wild west atmosphere of a hugely corrupt Washington, where little, inadequate, crooked people could strut with power because of their nukes.

    Chilcot probably envies them and has relived their vicarious excitement through his ridiculous inquiry. So of course he was bound to reach the conclusion that wrong things were done (maybe even criminal ??), but nobody did them.

    All round, Chilcot is very pleased with himself. Dare I suggest, almost in love ?

  2. Lee

    on November 3, 2016 at 1:06 am -

    “Chilcot quoted Jack Straw’s explanation for the failure of the Cabinet (including himself) to challenge Blair, as if anyone should ever believe anything that a devious toad like Straw says.”

    Its all myth building. Reminds me of the magnetic hold Hitler was supposed to have had over his circle. We now know that myth was rubbish. I imagine the truth was that Blair’s closest associates were amazed and dumb-founded that the voters had ever taken seriously a second-rate spiv prepared to do everything to enrich and glorify himself. They were just his mob, or as its fashionable to say these days, “his bitches”.

  3. Peter Beswick

    on November 3, 2016 at 10:07 am -

    The problem that Chilcot faced is three fold but also explains why Chilcot should not have been chosen in the first place nor any of his committee. It should have been a jury.

    Firstly the committee members were all specifically privy club members, each took a oath or made a solemn allegiance that they would keep secret anything revealed to them under privy club rules. They have a duty to protect the crown which overrides any other duty they have.

    This apparent sacrament allows then to see and hear top secret stuff and be trusted to not blab about it. But it has one other great advantage, if a member is told by another that the monarch’s Prime Minister or member of government lied or committed a crime or broke some rule or other they must never reveal that secret.

    So basically you can get these twits to make up an inquiry, get them in a room and tell them the truth of the background of the the matter being inquired into and they are forbidden for ever to reveal what they have been told. Useful eh?

    Secondly another useful wrinkle is civil servants are not allowed to say a member of government or opposition has lied so they have adapted their language and say some thing like “he resisted the proven conclusion that he had not told the truth”.

    Thirdly, this is something that judges are keen on, if you don’t have evidence that someone intended to lie you cannot make the allegation in court that the person has lied. Counsel get around this hindrance by suggesting someone lied. Judges of course can make that determination and that is why Blair now needs to be examined in a court of law.

    So when Blair said he had not been told the likely catastrophic aftermath of the invasion without proper planning and security in place, before the invasion, and said instead he and everyone else could not have predicted what happened and we were all informed by hindsight…

    …When Chilcot discovered the hard evidence that Blair was told of these dangers before the invasion and personally communicated them to Bush; Chilcot could not say Blair is a bloody liar, he said instead he couldn’t see what was in Blair’s head and heart.

    The truth is Chilcot got as close to saying Blair is a bloody liar as he was able.

  4. Peter Beswick

    on November 3, 2016 at 10:41 am -

    High Court rules Parliament should get a vote on when Brexit Article 50 is triggered.

    Which is likely to trigger constitutional hand wringing.

    The greater dilemma and one that Parliament refuses to address is how is Parliament going to ensure that the vote (if it comes to that) is not swayed by lies.

    Parliament has to put its houses in order and its very simple

    MP’s have to stop lying and those that do have to be punished.

    A difficulty though remains being MP’s lie naturally and they have a pact of not calling each others liars. But when the country is run on lies we get stuff like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan etc etc.

    There is no point to Parliament having a vote if it is 100% a certainty that MP’s will lie, spin, mislead, scare and lie again.

  5. John Bone

    on November 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm -

    This is interesting.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/01/uk-no-impact-us-policy-in-iraq-says-top-british-ambassador-sir-jeremy-greenstock-book

    We’ve known for a long time that the UK had no impact on US policy in Iraq but it is interesting that Greenstock is saying it and was prevented from saying it for more than 10 years.

    It is often forgotten that Blair made a lot of noise about the special relationship back in 2002/3 and how he was influencing George Bush but, of course, it was all a dream.

  6. Lee

    on November 4, 2016 at 10:49 am -

    Yes, Bob, so many myths ! Chilcot’s report is replete with them. You cant readily challenge a myth by looking for inconsistencies and withheld evidence, because the myth-maker can simply respond

    “Of course, we took all of that into account, and we came up with the best interpretation possible. We are honourable men.”

    I agree Peter with your analysis of why the structure and membership of the Chilcot inquiry was certain to come up with the anodyne conclusions it did. I dont believe it was actually particularly important what advice the cabinet committee provided. The expectations were implicit in the way it was set up and the choice of Chilcot to manage it. It is inconceivable that Chilcot could have produced anything different. That is why it WAS legitimate to call it, AT THE TIME, a white-wash, and naive to say “Wait for the results.”

    Human involvement in public affairs would be impossible is we always “waited for the results” and in any case, even the advocates of that protocol do not live by it. Actuarial science has demonstrated quite clearly that certain outcomes are certain. Scientific method has as well. How many hypotheses are disproven. Of course, that doesnt mean that we are flawless in our judgement. As a species we have very limited grasp of reality and an inbuilt predisposition to collectively fool ourselves.

    Your supposition of a parliament that doesnt lie, is a self-evident absurdity, as I think you yourself suggest.

    I prefer to see the species as seduced by myths rather than lies… its part of our make-up. We are lazy, and myths are an easy, effortless way of explaining the world. Almost all popular beliefs are myths or one sort or another. Even the efficacy of scientific method is a self-confirmatory myth.

  7. Peter Beswick

    on November 4, 2016 at 11:53 am -

    There are subtle differences in perceived reality that a mendacious clever (intelligent) person can use for advantage over the bulk of society (of average intelligence in normal distribution).

    Sophistry was taught and exercised, and still is, to benefit from that human advantage / weakness.

    So it could be true to say that their was a probability that Saddam had WMD, it wasn’t known for certain if he had or not.

    And if there is a probability he has WMD then there is a probability he will use it to potentially kill millions of enemies including his own people.

    It was the use of words that Blair knew could portray false imaging in people who did not understand the words and the context they are used in.

    Probability used in a mathematical sense is used to denote chance, 0 = zero chance, 1 = certainty and in between the best guesses or factual chance of something being true or not, So .5 is the factual chance of a coin being tossed and landing on a head or a tail, or 50/50. (.5 + .5 = 1 or if the coin doesn’t land on its edge there is a certainty that it will land on a head or a tail)

    The Dossier and other documents and speeches were aimed at the public whom would understand probability as “likely to happen” vs possibility as “might happen”.

    The general public are not schooled in JIC Assessment wording, Blair was and the Ministers who needed to know were.

    So if we are given a document where we are not told the difference between may and might and a whole lot of other words with specific meanings in the intelligence community then we are not expected to know the conclusions but we didn’t know that.

    In that case we are being lied to.

    Dr Kelly, before the invasion, believed there was a 30% probability that Saddam retained CW (not bio) but that would be in battlefield tactical munition form and not strategic form if it existed at all. And any legacy CW may have degraded to a unusable condition.

    Or in other words our top weapon expert believed that there was a 70% chance that Saddam had no WMD whatsover.

    This was translated into a lie by Blair.

    It wasn’t being clever with words, it wasn’t taking advantage of the public by using words in contexts they didn’t understand, it wasn’t sophistry…

    It was lying, Chilcot didn’t need to say that we already knew.

  8. Peter Beswick

    on November 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm -

    Assange is poking at the Clinton wasp nest and has come up with an email showing Clinton believes US allies Saudis and Qataris were funding ISIL. Seems its not rogue princes but the States according to a chat that Assange had with Pilger. So that could add a bit of spice to the election.

    Some time ago I was nosying at the Clinton emails on wikileaks to see what correspondence there was with Blair (go to wiki site – go to Clinton emails – go to search assistant and put in “Blair”

    I was expecting Tony to feature and he may somewhere but it is Cherie asking for the phone number of the Crown Prince of Qartar for some hobby she was pursuing.

    No wonder the US wanted to get hold of Assange with the UK’s help.

    Get the popcorn and beer.

    https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/2375

  9. Peter Beswick

    on November 4, 2016 at 8:41 pm -

    Above should read Cherie asked Clinton for her number for the Crown Prince to call her on.

    Point being it was Cherie who hooked them up and the relationship flourished, well according to Assange – Clinton gets funded by the same people who fund ISIL.

  10. Lee

    on November 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm -

    “On the other hand, the heroes of the Iraq war are being punished. Several hundred British soldiers are shamefully subject to criminal investigation — at taxpayers’ expense no less — following allegations of abuse by Iraqi civilians.”

    There isnt much more to be said about Oborne.

  11. BobM

    on November 5, 2016 at 5:41 pm -

    Is it possible that the one and only occasion on which Blair really had a significant influence on Bush is one that he has refused to acknowledge, publicly?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1504132/Bush-plot-to-bomb-al-Jazeera-is-a-conspiracy-theory-says-Blair.html.

    Instead , in oder to conceal the truth, two people went to jail, on that occasion?

    Jimmy Carter had a broader comment:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Blair-was-subservient-to-Bush/articleshow/2061806.cms

    I recollect that Blair was suggesting before the invasion that his support for GWBush would help speed a settlement in Palestine.

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/how-dare-george-bush-preach-peace-to-israel-when-hes-meeting-blair-to-plan-war-on-iraq

    It would be interesting [sort of, for the record] to have Blair’s account of what he ever achieved for Palestinian people.

  12. Peter Beswick

    on November 5, 2016 at 9:16 pm -

    Lee what we saw during the Kelly campaign was the Mail experimenting with various sorts of hangouts, some were quite clever, some were shockingly arrogant.

    The story that the Mail told was; yes look they’ve been caught out again, they have been lying, there has been a cover up but what more can we do? These people are untouchables.

    It didn’t work then, for some but it did for most. And those are the strategy based tactics deployed time and time again to lead the public up a blind ally.

    You are obviously smart readers, you can see the deceptions from a mile and we have helped but against this lawless, powerful elite we have done our best but the Establishment can’t be beaten.

    And Oborne has been wheeled out to serve the same old same old, and it may very well work but I hope not.

    Just to give you a clue of quality of the mind fuck tosspots at the Mail,the following you did not read in the Mail.

    The police knew where Kelly’s body had been placed, they knew he was dead before the his body had been discovered by the volunteer search team, they knew how he had died and that painkillers had been involved before the search team had ‘phoned in their find.

    How do I know this? Well erstwhile contributer on the Digest Mike Smith phoned his mate Andrew Gilligan early in the morning before Kelly’s body was found and told him the police were looking for a body. Shocked Gilligan went to work and his boss Richard Sambrook took him into his office and told him that indeed the body had been found and that painkillers were involved.

    Which would have been OK but the painkillers were not found on the body by the forensic team until several hours later.

    The ambulance team that attended the scene told of a situation that in decades of experience they had never witnessed before, they were subjected to a “news blackout” after they had determined that the body they had attended was indeed dead as Gilligan and Smith had been informed.

    They were forbidden from radioing their HQ with a sitrep, they had not searched the body, they did not know that there were empty blister packs (bar one pill) of painkillers in Kelly’s pocket.

    But someone at the scene was able to evade the news blackout and find the painkiller packs and instead of contacting the police that person was able to communicate the find directly to the director of news at the BBC that painkiller packs were going to be found. Over four hours later the forensic team verified Sambrooks intel.

    It was by sheer chance (or was it?) that the volunteer search team stumbled over the body. A team of 3, a man, a female and her dog Brock. Chance I say because the police the previous evening had (by finding dead bodies science) determined 6 sites where they were likely to find Kelly (dead or alive).

    But instead of going and having a look themselves they employed the help of the local search and rescue people. The team had 24 or so volunteers and a few dogs. Instead of deploying the whole resource to search the six potential sites they opted to ask 2 people and a dog to search the second most likely spot and lucky for them they were sent to the precise location where they found what Smith and Gilligan already knew, a dead body.

    Don’t rely on the Mail for the truth.

  13. Lee

    on November 6, 2016 at 3:43 am -

    The Mail is a noxious obscenity; and even when it does occasionally expose something other papers choose to keep under wraps, its motive is usually sensationalism rather than public service.

    But there are a thousand shades of obscenity. The Mail is what it is. The Guardian pretends its something different from what it is. Like the New York Times it wears a thin liberal veneer. And like the New York Times it can be trusted to mislead its delusional readers into support for the most reactionary causes.

    The decline of the British media, including the BBC has been happening for decades under the Murdoch, fake liberal banners. It took the Corbyn assassination campaign to turn the spotlight onto the media’s sheer craven ugliness. Blair carries a huge responsibility: when he converted the Labour Party into Tory-lite, he destroyed the political spectrum, and the media simply followed the trend.

  14. Peter Beswick

    on November 6, 2016 at 11:36 am -

    An antidote to Oborne’s hero killers being let down

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3909604/SAS-Iraq-given-kill-list-200-British-jihadis-return-home-launch-terror-UK.html

    So if someone on the “Kill List” is actually someone that has defected from the Mi6 payroll because they discovered too late that Mi6 is complicit in creating false flag attacks, gets iced, that OK?

    Or there is incorrect targeting of someone and another innocent goes to their grave, that’s OK?

    The hired killers will get better pay working for the Saudis and not be sent to prison when their job is done. And at least know the real reason they are asked to kill someone.

    I remember last year Cameron authorising a drone hellfire missile attack in Syria and killed the occupants of a car and anybody that happened to be around at the time. The target was a Mi6 asset who was identifying bad guys in Syria and the UK. He was allegedly killed in the attack. Apart from him never standing trial, he had been reported killed 6 months earlier. He if he was killed and the others in the attack were murdered according to UK and international law on the orders of Cameron.

    The SAS were once our proudest military asset, now they are what our politicians have made of them.

  15. Peter Beswick

    on November 6, 2016 at 12:03 pm -

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/07/drone-british-citizens-syria-uk-david-cameron

    Khan had at least 2 mobile phones which GCHQ monitored and were able to identify potential terrorists in Syria and the UK

    Khan was undoubtedly an Mi6 asset (whether he knew it or not is another matter)

    Two possibilities arise, Khan had been rumbled and needed to “disappear” or our security services got bored of receiving extremely important intel from his.

    There is another possibility that Cameron had taken a bet that he couldn’t make a bigger twat of himself than he had already done.

  16. Lee

    on November 7, 2016 at 8:35 am -

    The consolation is that despite their criminal activities, both the CIA/NSA and MI5/6 are incompetent, bumbling agencies that constantly mess up. Their intelligence is crap, and their level of personal bias prevents them engaging in professional operations. Of course, the world could blow up as a result of incompetence.

  17. Lee

    on November 7, 2016 at 8:37 am -

    Get ready for an ugly ride. I believe we will survive unless Netanyahu nukes Iran

  18. Peter Beswick

    on November 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm -

    Chilcot was all about delaying justice, absolving sins and dismantling democracy.

    Which is strange but not for the obvious reasons.

    Justice had already fallen, the law used to protect individuals and societies it allowed them the right to life; murdering the wicked and the innocent in wars of aggression was unlawful but no longer. Assassinating suspected dissidents, enemies of the state, “terrorists” and those whom don’t agree was murder if they have not been charged and subjected to Rule of Law, but in Britain that no longer applies,

    If justice is not honoured and the Law not applied equally nor fairly, then the Law is not fit for purpose, it becomes a weapon of oppression not of freedom.

    Absolving sins is the job of Priests and God, Chilcot is neither (whatever he thinks), he is though a plaything of those whom display the antipathy of an absolving authority, they remove their definition of sin with bombs, fire and lies not through forgiveness and mercy.

    Democracy has long left these shores of Britain it was last seen disappearing over the horizon when the Blair’s took up residence in No.10, the people were told their voice would be heard and that is all it took. “We feel your pain” [sick], now keep quiet or else!.

    Nor was Chilcot about reasserting the authority of the Totalitarian state he was a bit of entertainment, a matinée attraction, a distraction both for the masses awaiting justice but also for the rulers who could get on with their real work of inflicting their demonocracy [recte] on others.

    Tomorrow the USA will elect the worst or least worse option of POTUS. That has more bearing on the outcome of Britain’s maladventure into Iraq than anything that Chilcot couldn’t or wouldn’t say. Lessons may have been on the à la carte menu, we were served the set lunch version.

    Chilcot is though an extremely important feature in our history his weakness may well be a deciding factor of when WW III will begin.