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Re: developing solid responses to frequent misleading claims

Hello Colin. Glenn here.

Saw your post:

>Anyone who has followed the public statements of US or British officials
>on Iraq will see that a small set of misleading statements are repeated...
>As these statements are likely to continue to recur it therefore seems
>sensible to assemble a response to them.

An idea... see if you think it might be useful/ workable...

Mil and I were discussing the problem of endless FCO repetition of things
which have already been pointed out to them are false (eg their North/South
line). We were thinking about the idea of keeping a detailed record of every
lie made by a government minister and responding. For example, re:
North/South Andrea quoted UNICEF to Hain on Radio 5; he just ignored the
point and repeated the standard deceit.

But in addition to this it seems that as well as coming up with a good
response, something else is needed. What may be good is if we can get
details about WHO has pointed out FCO rubbish to them, and WHEN, and use
this in letters to the editor, radio interviews etc.

What I mean is, if everyone on the Casi list, or elsewhere, who has a record
of letters they have sent to the FCO can give a date on when they told the
FCO that, for example, UNICEF say "the difference in mortality rates between
the North and South cannot be attributed to the different ways that OFF is
run" then we have a record of them being specifically informed, hopefully
many times, on a specific point, and can use this to highlight the
continuing deceit.

What I envisage is Casi, Vitw or whoever to be able to say in letters or
interviews something like:

"The minister has constantly repeated this line that he knows to be false.
Not only do the official documents refute it, but 500 people have written to
the FCO to point out the error. The letters are available on a website
[whatever address] and the fact that they have been ignored shows that the
FCO is being deliberately deceitful every time it repeats this line."

If we can come up with a database of letters sent on several areas (eg
north/south, 'stockpiling', diversion of goods etc etc) then I think this
could be a useful tool. Instead of just pointing out the facts, we can say,
with dates, names and numbers to back it up "the FCO has been told
repeatedly of its error but still tells the public lies about what is
killing Iraqi children."

Do you think this is worth while? It'll take some compiling and sorting, and
require lots of people to sort through their 'sent items' and copy their old
letters and send them somewhere central - but there must be plenty out
there - old / recent Voices standard letters for a start. If all the groups
in the NCM could try to get their members to contribute I think we could
have quite a large archive relatively quickly, and then use it as a
reference source in publicity material.

At the bottom of all this is a growing sense I have that we don't need
better arguments, just new ways of airing the old ones. Maybe this will
embarrass the FCO into abandoning some of its more ridiculous arguments,
maybe not.

Haven't thought this through completely. Be grateful for your comments.



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