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Chris Ames And The Dodgy Dossier

Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:03 pm

So it was dodgy and more dodgy than Hutton knew/admitted according to Chris Ames.
"The first thing the Williams draft does is to show that the government lied to the Hutton and Butler inquiries and to parliament when it claimed that the Williams draft did not influence subsequent versions and was put aside when JIC chairman John Scarlett made a "fresh start" the next day.

Here's what the Williams draft said in its bullet-point summary:

"Our judgement is that iraq is covertly attempting to acquire technology and materials for use in nuclear weapons."

And here's what Scarlett's draft said:

"Our judgement is that iraq is covertly attempting to acquire technology and materials for use in nuclear weapons.""

A discussion of the significance by Bea Campbell is available as a podcast at

Also significant is the section of Williams that was redacted after a latter day Sir Humphrey saw it. The redacted part drew attention to the issue of attacking Iraq that might gain nuclear weapons while ignoring other states that definitely have them.

It appears from
that Hutton should have been able to work out what Ames had concluded.
"The tribunal has ordered the Foreign Office to release the document - with one small comment blacked out - on public interest grounds, stating that:

"information has been placed before us, which was not before Lord Hutton, which may lead to questions as to whether the Williams draft in fact played a greater part in influencing the drafting of the Dossier than has previously been supposed."

I'm not sure yet what that information was. There is quite a lot of information that was available to Lord Hutton that suggests Williams played a part in sexing up the dossier.

It is gratifying that the tribunal has rejected the government's suggestion that: "We should, in effect, treat the Hutton report as the final word on the subject; that we should proceed on the basis that, if Lord Hutton did not think that the Williams draft formed a part of the process, we should not order disclosure."

This is particularly sensible, as Lord Hutton did not actually see the document when it was disclosed (late), and it was not made available to the other parties to his inquiry, as it should have been.

The tribunal repeatedly expresses its disappointment that the Foreign Office's main witness, Stephen Pattison, did not actually know what he was talking about, having not been involved in drafting the dossier, and was unable to produce any evidence for his "assertion" that the Williams draft was irrelevant. It accepts that his evidence was "honest and careful", while highlighting the huge holes in it:"

Blair has gone, but what of Scarlett? Perhaps as well he has not had to appear in court lately!!

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