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The Corruption of New Labour: Britain’s Watergate?


John Simkin
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6155652.stm

The policeman heading the cash for honours probe has told MPs he expects to pass a file to the CPS in January. Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner John Yates said the investigation had gained "significant and valuable material" after interviewing 90 people.

He wrote to the public administration select committee, saying "considerable progress continues to be made".

Police have been investigating whether donors received honours in return for cash. All involved deny wrongdoing.

Mr Yates said "the major developments" in the inquiry remained confidential - which he said showed that, contrary to press reports, security surrounding the investigation "remains very tight".

He had reviewed "operational security" after suggestions that the police were leaking information.

Describing the investigation as being in the "final stages", Mr Yates also said the timetable for reporting to the Crown Prosecution Service could change due to factors beyond his control.

"It is also subject to any additional lines of investigation that may result from the inquiries I am about to undertake," he said, but did not provide details.

He said his investigative team "have and continue to adopt a thorough, methodical and impartial approach to the investigation.

"This has resulted in the acquisition of significant and valuable material in relation to the development of the inquiry."

He said the inquiry team had interviewed 35 Labour Party members, 29 Conservatives, four Liberal Democrats and 22 non-party members.

In the letter to committee chairman Tony Wright, dated 13 November, Mr Yates apologised for not revealing further details, but said potential criminal proceedings prevented him doing so.

Mr Yates said there was "clearly a great public interest in resolving these matters as soon as possible" and he understood the committee's desire to be given a timetable.

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The Electoral Commission has just reported that the political parties have outstanding loans worth about £60m. As of the end of September the Conservatives owed £35.3m, Labour £23.4m and the Liberal Democrats £1.1m. The commission also described as "unacceptable" Labour's failure to report a "significant amount of donations... on time". In truth, Blair would never have come clean on this issue without it being leaked to the press.

What I would like to ask is: How does Labour plan to repay this money? Now they cannot sell peerages for donations, how are they going to get this money?

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I have thought sometime that the main corruption of Tony Blair involves the arms industry. This would help to partly explain the Iraq War and the recent decision to try and get Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system renewed before he is ousted from power. Some reports suggest the system will cost in the region of £79bn. Gordon Brown has already made a speech where he has argued he is in favour of renewing Trident, although it will clearly break the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Article VI of the NPT states that each of the parties to the treaty should undertake to pursue "negotiations in good faith on effective measures" relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. In 2005, Rabinder Singh QC and Professor Christine Chinkin stated their opinion that the replacement of Trident is likely to constitute a material breach of Article VI. "The linkage between the principles of non-proliferation and the obligation to negotiate towards disarmament ... indicate that Article VI is a provision 'essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the treaty'.

Last week the Ministry of Defence secured a £1.7bn increase in its budget. Currently we are spending £32bn a year on defence. This is in cash terms, the second biggest defence allocation in the world.

It is not made clear why we need the latest attack submarines or anti-tank weapons. Who are we pointing our nuclear weapons at? We used to be told it was the Soviet Union who wanted to invade us. Since the fall of communism they are only interested in killing its political opponents on the streets of London. What we do know is that our current enemy is extremely to reluctant to use conventional tactics on the battlefield. Nuclear missiles and the Eurofighter is not very good at dealing with terrorists.

The Ministry of Defence agrees with this assessment. In a white paper published in 2003 it stated: "there are currently no major conventional military threats to the UK or NATO ... it is now clear that we no longer need to retain a capability against the re-emergence of a direct conventional strategic threat".

A leaked NATO policy document concedes that "large-scale conventional aggression against the alliance will be highly unlikely". As George Monbiot pointed out in yesterday’s Guardian: “No country that is capable of attacking NATO countries is willing to do so. No country that is willing is capable. Submarines, destroyers, Eurofighters and anti-tank rounds are of precious little use against people who plant bombs on trains.”

Who is making money from this obscene arms trade? The main beneficiary is BAE Systems. In his book Blair’s Wars, John Kampfner records that “from his first day in office Blair was eager not to antagonise British arms companies, and BAE Systems in particular, which developed extremely close relationships with senior figures in Downing Street.” A Downing Street aide told Kampfner that whenever the head of BAE encountered a problem, “he’d be straight on the phone to No 10 and it would be sorted”.

BAE Systems latest problem concerns the Serious Fraud Office’s three year investigations into allegations that illegal commissions into allegations that illegal commissions may have been paid to Saudi royals by BAE Systems. The SOF is also looking at arms deals between BAE and General Augusto Pinochet.

Both these deals date back to Margaret Thatcher’s time in government (her son was also involved in these deals). This helps to explain why Thatcher was so keen on helping Pinochet stay in office and from being tried in court for crimes against humanity.

What has this to do with Tony Blair? Maybe he is keen for these arms dealers to pay off the Labour Party debts (£17 million needs to be paid back during the next 12 months).

BAE is apparently claiming that the Saudis are threatening to pull-out of a £6 billion contract to provide 72 Eurofighter Typhoons and give it to the French if Blair does not call off the SFO.

There is also another interesting point. Today the Guardian revealed that secret payments of millions of pounds from BEA has been found in Swiss accounts linked to Wafic Said, a billionaire arms broker for the Saudi Royal family. Apparently, Said is a close friend of Peter Mandleson. Now, there is a man that Blair finds difficult to refuse a favour.

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BAE Systems is likely to be the company given the Trident contract and are busy pressurizing Blair to make this decision before he leaves office. I wonder how they plan to pay Blair for this service? After the recent publicity given to Wafic Said, I suppose they will need another of Peter Mandleson’s friends to launder the money.

BAE Systems is not only a corrupt company, it is also very inefficient (these two things often go together). Last week the National Audit Office disclosed that the five major domestic weapons projects experiencing the greatest cost overruns and the six most delayed projects were all managed by BAE Systems. The overspend for these projects is nearly £3bn and the delay 25 years.

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Des Smith, the former paid consultant for city academies, who triggered the cash for honours inquiry, when his comments to an undercover Sunday Times reporter, has launched a bitter attack on Tony Blair, claiming that he should be arrested at dawn and thrown in a police cell like he was.

What is more, he now admits that Blair’s policy of city academies is a complete disaster: “Money has been wasted in the most appalling way. Many of them are the same schools with the same problems, just with new buildings.”

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[strange that so many members of the cabinet who were passionate opponents of nuclear weapons when they were necessary to the country's security should support their retention with equal fervour now that they are irrelevant to Britain's defence.

Thirty years ago - when, I will gladly gamble, Margaret Beckett and John Reid supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - the deterrent really deterred. Had there not been what was graphically called "the balance of terror", there would certainly have been war over Berlin, probably over Czechoslovakia and possibly over Hungary. The way the deterrent worked was always too subtle for CND to understand. Its members could not understand that the nuclear arsenal existed to prevent a war rather than to win one. Enthusiasts for the replacement of Trident make the same mistake. They seem to believe that we might actually need to use our nuclear capability against a new threat to which they often refer but never define.

The deterrent kept the world at peace because, during the cold war, the west faced a sophisticated enemy. The Kremlin, like the White House, had no desire to bring the world to an end. Signals were sent across the iron curtain, defining how far the protagonists were prepared to allow their opponent to go. Both sides stuck, more or less, to the demarcation line.

Playing the game required Nato to allow the Soviet Union to behave abominably within the boundaries of the Warsaw pact. That was the price that had to be paid to avoid nuclear annihilation. Even then it was easy to argue against what Harold Wilson called "the so-called independent, so-called British nuclear deterrent". America's firepower was enough to do the essential job. Soviet policy was unlikely to be changed by the knowledge that, after the US had blown several huge craters in and around Moscow, the United Kingdom would blow a small hole of its own. Going it alone was always inconceivable, and probably impossible. Providing bases for American forces was all that was required of a loyal ally.

Supposing that we are under threat from "rogue states" as well as "international terrorists", does anyone really imagine that either of those enemies will be deterred in the way that the Soviet Union once was? If Bin Laden or al-Qaida are the enemy, on whom are we to threaten to unleash the holocaust? If it is Iran and North Korea that concerns us, is it remotely possible that those countries will react to the balance of terror as the Soviet Union did in the 1950s and 1960s? Our complaint against them is that they do not behave as rational states behave. Why should they respond rationally to a nuclear threat?

The whole idea is clearly a fantasy. So why does the government propose to squander billions of pounds that could be used to fulfil the social purposes that ought to be Labour's overwhelming priority?

A clue is provided by reference to the decision for Britain to become an atomic power back in 1947. Initially, Clement Attlee had hoped for close nuclear cooperation with the US, but President Truman reneged on the Quebec accords, which had guaranteed the pooling of information on both the peaceful and military use of atomic energy. Nato was still only an idea. American isolationism remained a prospect. The Soviet Union's aggressive intentions were clear. Britain, the prime minister decided, had to be able to defend itself.

Looking back, he also revealed the other - and to him more compelling - reason for hanging the millstone round our necks. "For a power of our size and with our responsibilities to turn our back on the bomb did not make sense." In short, prestige and position required Britain to make its own nuclear device. It was necessary to make us a major "power". No doubt the present government feels the same. Admittedly, giving up the so-called deterrent is much more difficult than not acquiring it in the first place.

And there is Tony Blair's reputation as the hammer of Labour's left to be protected. But to posture about the importance of nuclear independence is to fight the battles of the past. A truly modernising government would accept the world as it is today. The error continues. New Labour is neither as new or as Labour as it ought to be.[/color]

Tony Blair is incapable of putting forward a rational argument for breaking the non-proliferation treaty.

There are only two possible reasons for this decision. The first one concerns status. The UK is a major player in world events because it has an independent nuclear deterrent. In fact, our nuclear weapons are not independent and like our foreign policy, we are completely under the control of the US. Both the manufacture and maintenance of the Trident missiles are under the control of a foreign power. It is countries without nuclear weapons, such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, etc. that have their own independent foreign policy as well as their own independent defence system. This is the reason why we are in Iraq and they are not.

Blair is offering a 20% cut in the number of nuclear warheads it will own. This means that we will be able, with the permission of the US, to kill 20% less civilians than before. In other words, killing 40 million in the first hour of a war, rather than 50 million. According to the logic of Blair, if a country has the misfortune to have a government who poses a military threat to us, we have to threaten the indiscriminate slaughter of millions of our fellow human beings as the best way of defending British “values”. If that is the case, maybe there is something wrong with our so-called British values.

This logic was always doubtful during the Cold War when we came fixated with the idea that the Soviet Union intended to fire nuclear weapons at us. Since the fall of communism we now longer fear they will attack us (they now seem to prefer to use nuclear technology to kill us one at a time). If communism was the fear, why don’t we now aim our nuclear weapons at China? The UK and US politicians keep on about how our aggressive foreign policy defeated communism. However, it did no such thing. China is still a communist state. In economic terms, it poses a far greater threat to the interests of the US than the Soviet Union ever did.

The first reason for nuclear weapons is complete nonsense. The real threat we face today concerns global warming. Spending £20 billion plus on Trident will do nothing for that problem. Nor for the other terrible problems that the world faces, including third-world poverty which kills thousands of children every day. Even in the UK people die every day because the national health service does not have enough money to provide adequate treatment. We are told we do not have enough money to keep local hospitals open, but the government has little difficulty finding the money to build nuclear weapons or to send our soldiers to fight in Iraq.

The second reason makes far more sense. It also explains the timing of this decision. All the experts say that this is an issue that really needs to be discussed in about ten years. Why does the deal need to be signed before Blair leaves office? Is it part of his retirement plan? Who will benefit from this contract? The same people who have benefited from the Iraq War. The same people who thought that the end of the Cold War would ruin its business. The same people who Eisenhower warned us about in his final speech in 1960. The Military Industrial Complex. There is no doubt that Blair will be highly rewarded for signing this contract. I am sure that BAE Systems has set Blair up with a very nice pension for the help he has given to the company. He will probably earn a few more million if he can persuade the attorney general to call off the current corruption investigations into BAE Systems defence contracts with Saudi Arabia.

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The current edition of Lobster Magazine includes a quote from a MI5 officer that the publisher removed from Anne Machon and David Shayler's book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers:

"Blair was recruited early on his career, around the time he stood in the Beaconsfield by-election in 1982. He was just the sort of agent MI5 wanted at the time, a man who appeared to be committed to the Labour Party but who in fact was - to use Thatcher's phrase - "one of us" ... MI5 terminated Blair in the the late 1980s when it was downgrading its study of subversion and Blair was rising to the higher ranks of the Labour Party."

This helps to explain why Blair was originally a member of CND. Under Thatcher, CND was seen as a subversive organization and as a result a large number of MI5 agents joined the CND to spy on them. It also helps to explain why Blair is so keen to sign a new contract for Trident before he leaves office.

http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/

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Anyone interested in political conspiracies should read Lobster. It is available online from:

http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/

The current edition includes a quote from a MI5 officer that the publisher removed from Anne Machon and David Shayler's book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers:

"Blair was recruited early on his career, around the time he stood in the Beaconsfield by-election in 1982. He was just the sort of agent MI5 wanted at the time, a man who appeared to be committed to the Labour Party but who in fact was - to use Thatcher's phrase - "one of us" ... MI5 terminated Blair in the the late 1980s when it was downgrading its study of subversion and Blair was rising to the higher ranks of the Labour Party."

This helps to explain why Blair was originally a member of CND. Under Thatcher, CND was seen as a subversive organization and as a result a large number of MI5 agents joined the CND to spy on them. It also helps to explain why Blair is so keen to sign a new contract for Trident before he leaves office.

I always wondered about Tony....do his religious beliefs come into all this...? So now maybe we start to see what the 'new' in New Labour was.

I don't think so. His role as a former MI5 agent explains his policies since he became prime minister. I suspect he has been blackmailed since 1997 about the fact that he was originally recruited by MI5 to spy on the party he now leads.

It has been well-documentated that during the 1980s, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandleson and several other leaders of the New Labour Project took several free visits to the United States that were paid for by CIA fronted organizations.

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Tony Blair has been interviewed by police investigating cash for honours allegations. Mr Blair was not interviewed under caution. This means that there will be a whitewash. How is it possible that the only man who could instruct Lord Levy to offer loans for honours is not suspected of committing any crime?

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Tony Blair has been interviewed by police investigating cash for honours allegations. Mr Blair was not interviewed under caution. This means that there will be a whitewash. How is it possible that the only man who could instruct Lord Levy to offer loans for honours is not suspected of committing any crime?

It has been revealed that it was Tony Blair who decided that he should be interviewed by the police today. His officials claim that it was a pure coincidence that it was the same day that the Stephens Inquiry into Princess Diana’s death was published.

Two other important pieces of news were also released today.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said the Serious Fraud Office was "discontinuing" its investigation into Britain's biggest defence company, BAE Systems. its corruption inquiry into a £6bn fighter planes deal with Saudi Arabia. The reason given was one of "national security".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6180945.stm

About 2,500 post offices are expected to close by 2009 because of rising losses and fewer people using the network, the government has announced. Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling told MPs that the cuts were needed because of losses of £4m a week, twice as much as in the previous year. Of course, we cannot afford this loss because of the cost of the Iraq War.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6176929.stm

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Having seen the prime minister answer questions so often, I felt a little cheated when he gave his answers to the Metropolitan police behind closed doors. It was surely a bravura performance.

Like any good lawyer-turned-politician, Tony Blair approaches questions rather differently from the rest of us. Barristers know they should never ask a question in court to which they do not already know the answer. Top politicians rarely allow themselves to be asked questions for which they haven't formulated a response. And this interview has been anticipated for so long that he'll have had his answers word-perfect.

The allegation is that honours were awarded in return for large sums of money in Labour party coffers. The defence is that the peerages weren't really honours at all. That's to say they weren't designed as a recognition of any public service or charitable works. They were political appointments, in the same way that party leaders have put their own supporters in the upper house for decades now. Working peers, as they're known, play a valuable role in the functioning of the Lords. Indeed they are supposed to be there on a regular basis doing exactly that - working.

So would these new donors-turned-peers have been expected to turn up loyally for lots of votes to help push the government's programme through? Or make themselves available as whips or even ministers? Would they have sacrificed their business careers, which helped them earn all that money in the first place, for the good of the party? Or were they offered political peerages simply as a reward for their past generosity?

If it's the latter, the defence is no defence at all. There's no room in a modern democracy - if we can claim to be that - for any parliamentarian who owes his or her place only to financial support of a political party. Or is there, Mr Blair? Some questions are so straightforward that even prime ministers can't evade them forever.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/st...1972801,00.html

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Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said the Serious Fraud Office was "discontinuing" its investigation into Britain's biggest defence company, BAE Systems. its corruption inquiry into a £6bn fighter planes deal with Saudi Arabia. The reason given was one of "national security".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6180945.stm

Last week Lord Goldsmith said he had no intention of interfering with the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the BAE-Saudi Arabia contract. In has now become clear that the reason Goldsmith changed his mind was because he came under pressure from Tony Blair to drop the case. Blair admitted this today in a television interview. He justified the decision on the grounds of national security. Allegedly the Saudi government had threatened Blair that they would withdraw help on the war on terror if the investigation continued. (It is also claimed that the Saudis have threatened Bush that if he withdraws troops from Iraq they will provide help to the Sunni Muslims.)

In other words, the prime minister has broken an important aspect of the British Constitution. That is: “the rule of law requires that the executive does not intervene in the operation of the course of justice”.

The Tories of course have kept very quiet about this decision made by Blair. In fact, last night, on C4 news, the government would not supply anybody to defend this decision. Instead, the task was given to a backbench Tory MP. The reason for this is that he was a junior minister when the original deal was done. The Tories are therefore very keen to bring an end to the investigation.

SFO investigators have discovered that BAE Systems has a £1 billion slush fund. The issue is not about bribes being paid to members of the Saudi royal family. It is about this money finding its way back to politicians. We now know how New Labour is going to solve its problems of its £17m debt. It will be paid off by BAE Systems and the Saudis. Not directly of course but via someone like Lord Sainsbury.

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This article raises important issues about Blair's relationship with the intelligence services. It has received little publicity in the UK but hopefully the actual testimony will now be published in the world's media.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2076163.ece

Whistleblower that ministers tried to muzzle

By Anne Penketh and Andy McSmith

Published: 15 December 2006

Carne Ross wrestled with his conscience for three more months after he secretly submitted evidence to the Butler committee into the use of pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Beset by long-standing private doubts about the Government's Iraq policy which he had implemented for four years in New York, he had previously drafted "about six" resignation letters in the past which he never sent.

But after emailing his testimony to the Butler committee from Kosovo where he was on secondment, Mr Ross realised that he had probably jeopardised his 15-year career. After agonising for another three months, he sent another email in September 2004, this time terminating his employment with the Foreign Office. He was 38.

Until then, he had been on the fast track to diplomatic glory, during a Foreign Office career which began in Bonn. In New York, where he worked from December 1997 to June 2002 as first secretary at the UK mission to the United Nations, he was responsible for Iraq policy.

It was a turbulent period, yet he still found time to take a playwriting course, which gave rise to his first play The Fox, performed in New York, in which a young peacekeeping officer is changed for ever after watching a massacre in a country bearing a striking resemblance to Bosnia.

After leaving the Foreign Office, Mr Ross established Independent Diplomat, which assists small, democratic countries with no experience in diplomacy to punch above their weight.

Mr Ross was back in the spotlight last month, following his revelation to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that he had testified to Butler, and that he was prepared to share the information. But he said: "I was advised by the lawyers of my union that I might be liable for prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if it was to become public."

Labour's Andrew Mackinley - a long-standing member of the awkward squad - did not agree. He insisted that if Mr Ross handed his own evidence over to a Commons committee, he would be protected from prosecution by parliamentary privilege.

But the committee chairman, Mike Gapes, a government loyalist, needed to think carefully before taking such a step. He tried to close the meeting with the matter undecided, but as it was breaking up, Mr Ross spoke again. "I have given it years of thought," he said. "This has been on my conscience for a very long time, and I was waiting for an opportunity under privilege to share my evidence to the Butler inquiry. I would be happy to share it with the committee."

The committee met again in closed session on 6 December. There are rumours that there was a fierce argument, but the outcome was a letter from the committee clerk to Mr Ross, asking for a copy of his evidence.

The next meeting, on Wednesday, was also held in secret, but again there were rumours of a ferocious argument. Whatever was said, the outcome was that in the morning, the evidence that had been kept secret for two-and-a-half years was available on the internet, at last.

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So what did Carne Ross tell the Butler Inquiry that he is being threatened with the Official Secrets Act if he told anybody else?

Here is an article that appeared in the New Zealand Herald today:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cf...jectid=10415635

The British Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Prime Minister Tony Blair lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

An attack on Blair's justification by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the United Nations, has been under wraps because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Ross, 40, makes it clear Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no WMDs. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests".

He also reveals British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to chaos.

"I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)."

He claims "inertia" in the Foreign Office and the "inattention of key ministers" combined to stop Britain carrying out any sustained attempt to address sanction-busting by Iraq, an approach which could have provided an alternative to war.

The Foreign Office had attempted to prevent the evidence being made public, but it has been published by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs after MPs sought assurances it would not breach the Official Secrets Act.

Ross told the inquiry "there was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of CW [chemical warfare], BW [biological warfare] or nuclear material" held by the Iraqi dictator before the invasion.

"There was, moreover, no intelligence or assessment during my time in the job that Iraq had any intention to launch an attack against its neighbours or the UK or the US," he added.

Ross' evidence directly challenges assertions by Blair that the war was legally justified because Saddam possessed WMDs which could be "activated" within 45 minutes and posed a threat to British interests.

This is what Daily India had to say today:

http://www.dailyindia.com/show/93487.php/B...-possessed-WMDs

London, Dec 15 (ANI): Former UK negotiator at the UN, Carne Ross, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, has challenged the "legality" of the Iraq war, saying that before joining the US forces for waging the war, British Prime Minister Blair must have known that Saddam Hussein didn't possess any WMDs.

In the evidence delivered to the Lord Butler inquiry, which investigated intelligence blunders in the run-up to the conflict, Ross revealed that "Blair had lied" over Saddam Hussein's WMDs.

Ross' evidence directly challenged the assertions earlier made by Blair that the war was legally justified because Saddam possessed WMDs that could be "activated" within 45 minutes and posed a threat to British interests.

Ross, whose evidence had been kept under wraps for the reason that their publication they would breach the Official Secrets Act, revealed that UK officials had on several occasions warned their US counterparts that war on Iraq would lead to serious consequences.

In his deposition before the Butler inquiry, he reportedly said: "There was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of CW (chemical warfare), BW (biological warfare) or nuclear material held by the Iraqi dictator before the invasion. There was, moreover, no intelligence or assessment during my time in the job that Iraq had any intention to launch an attack against its neighbours or the UK or the US."

Ross (40) was considered a "highly rated diplomat", but he resigned because of his misgivings about the legality of the war. He still fears the threat of action under the Official Secrets Act, reported The Independent.

He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Ross revealed that it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been "effectively contained".

In the testimony revealed today, Ross also revealed that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed.

"I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed). At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos," the paper quoted him as saying.

According to it, the British Foreign Office had attempted to "prevent the evidence being made public", but it has now been published by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs after MPs sought assurances from the Foreign Office that it would not breach the Official Secrets Act. (ANI)

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