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The Butler did it

I do apologise for sending such a frivolous and irreverent message to the
discussion list, but this is the text of a letter I've just sent off to Mr
Richard Butler, former big honcho of UNSCOM. I do hope I'm not going to be
thrown off the discussion list, Ali?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 15:35:53 +0100 (BST)
From: Glen Rangwala <>
Subject: Warning: you have been libelled in the British press

To: Mr Richard Butler, Diplomat-in-Residence, Council on Foreign
Relations, The Harold Pratt House, 58 East 68th Street, New York,
NY 10021, USA. Tel: 212.434.9682.

Dear Mr Butler
I do hope that you will excuse my impertinence in contacting you in this
fashion. However, I may have some significant information that may prove
valuable to you. On Sunday 28th May 2000, you were seriously libelled in a
UK newspaper. The Sunday Times (London) published a quote, without
disclaimer, as follows:

"They threw us out of Iraq because I wanted their remaining chemical and
biological weapons and they wouldn't give them to me..."

The story was entitled "Saddam and the Prophet of International Doom,
Sunday Times", from 28 May 2000. It can be found on the Sunday Times

Of course, as is well known, far from being thrown out of Iraq, you
withdrew UNSCOM personnel from Iraq in the early hours of 16 December
1998, so that the US and UK could bomb Iraq. It has been widely claimed
that you took orders to do this directly from the US government, and since
the US paid your wages, your decision is of course understandable. As a
result of your decision, UNSCOM - who had been granted access to the vast
majority of Iraqi installations - has never been allowed back into Iraq
and has sadly now been disbanded. Therefore, as I'm sure you'll agree, the
quote in the Sunday Times is a gross misrepresentation of a historical
event, touching upon your past decision-making in a serious and profound

The novelty in such a case stems from the fact that it was actually you
who said the words quoted in the Sunday Times. Now memory is of course a
troublesome thing, as countless psychologists and oral historians have
substantiated in recent years, and eighteen months is a very long time to
be expected to remember key decisions one makes in life. However, do not
be put off: the Sunday Times has still issued a defamatory allegation by
not checking that your stories of your past are in any respect
accurate. In English law, all that is required is that words which are
not substantially true are put into publication that would make a reader
think worse of a plaintiff or expose him or her to ridicule. This is
surely the case here: everytime I read a quote from you, I think the worse
of you, and quotes from you are, indeed, ridiculous. Alternatively, a case
for malicious falsehood could be made, as the Sunday Times may have
interviewed you in knowledge that you would make aforementioned ridiculous
comments, and thus held malice. As a lawyer, I would be more than happy to
represent you in court. I recommend that you opt for trial by judge, as
would be within your rights, as a jury may be unable to control their

Yours sincerely

Glen Rangwala.

Trinity College
Cambridge CB2 2AL

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