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News titles, 6-13/8/03 These news mailings have not done much to follow the story of Dr Kelly and the Hutton Inquiry. I have been adopting a rather snobbish attitude towards all that. The central argument advanced publicly to justify the invasion was that Iraq posed a threat to the security of the United States (and Britain, as if that matters). This was such a ludicrous proposition that no-one could be taken in by it unless, for whatever reason, they wanted to be. So the fact that the details of the case have turned out to be so weak is really a very secondary matter. It is difficult to have any respect for the people who swallowed the cake and now start whining about the quality of the icing. However, the fact that the government - after winning such a mighty victory which has, as we all know, brought health and happiness to millions of ordinary Iraqis - is now looking and, we hope, feeling, sordid is of course a very important and remarkable thing. And the man responsible seems to be, not ourselves - not even Glen, though he got quite a lot of the distance - but David Kelly. Who ought, really, to have been on the other side. Dr Kelly was at the heart of UNSCOM. If UNSCOM has any credibility it is largely because of him. Most of us probably think, as I do, that UNSCOM was a bunch of US and British agents charged essentially with the job of providing excuses to prolong the sanctions regime. The basic fact about UNSCOM - which is not an obscure fact, it is clear public knowledge - is that they never found any evidence of any functioning, post 1991, Iraqi chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programme. The most they themselves claim is that they established the existence of pre-1991 programmes the Iraqis hadn't wanted to acknowledge. And that the Iraqis could have produced more at that time than they said they had produced; and that not all of what they said they produced was fully accounted for. That was the feeble justification for the six years (until Oil for Food) total blockade imposed on the Iraqi people which was responsible for, let us put it modestly, the deaths of many thousands of people from starvation and disease. This policy was largely justified on the authority of David Kelly. Terence Taylor, one of the most consistent advocates of sanctions and of war, admits to knowing nothing about the matter. He regarded David Kelly as his 'mentor' (Taylor is famous for being an inspector. We are now told his role was political. We used to be told that the inspectors were not political - they were all supposed to be impersonal scientific observers with no connection to their respective governments. Remember?). But what if - I advance it as the merest hypothesis - Dr Kelly was in fact 'a Walter Mitty character'? What if, for five years, between 1991 and 1996, he was living out a fantasy in which he took the role of, say, James Bond? We have our notions about what UNSCOM was and what it did. We also have our notions about what Porton Down, where Dr Kelly acquired his expertise, was and what it did. Dr Kelly was intimately involved in both institutions. He knew exactly what they were. And he has just killed himself. The Hutton Inquiry is investigating the possibility that he killed himself because his superior at the MoD spoke to him severely; because the man who reduced 'Dr Germ' to tears had been intimidated by a rather spectacularly incompetent parliamentary committee; because he was a creature of the shadows and his name was now known to the public; because he hadn't had a pay rise for three years. Its all quite possible but it seems very unlikely. On the other hand, David Kelly knew a lot about a couple of institutions which, if our instincts are right, were engaged in some pretty murky business. Which is why I suggested a while ago that fear might have had something to do with it. But a couple of nights ago I saw, not for the first time, the great Russian film, Solaris. The script included a line which, it struck me, might be relevant to our present situation: 'It wasn't fear which drove Dr Gabaryan to kill himself. It was shame.' And in case anyone thinks that is being unkind to a dead man, the next line was to the effect that 'shame is the only thing left that can help us restore our humanity.' News, 6-13/8/03 (1) THE NEW RULING CLASS * Khomeini's grandson moves to Al-Najaf [to rejoice in the freedom brought by the liberation of Iraq (and to meet famous people like Thomas Friedman)] * UNICEF won't work with clerics in Sadr City [Problems with the Dar Al-Rahma (House of Mercy) orphanage] * Iraq's Governing Council to Have 25 Ministries ['six more than under the previous regime of Saddam Hussein'. Of course it just happens that there are 25 members of the 'Governing Council'] * Shiite divisions give the US breathing room [by Juan Cole] * Dinner with the Sayyids [Thomas Friedman finds 'real spiritual leaders' in Iraq ready to lead their followers (if they have any) into the bright lights of the New American Century] THE OLD RULING CLASS * Daughter of deposed Iraqi leader says Hussein's confidants betrayed him [Good to see Raghad Hussein standing up for her father: '"The factor of deadly jealousy was the source of the [Al-Bayjat] tribe's tragedy," she said. "It is as if God distributed jealousy among humanity in two parts; he gave half to the world and the other half to the Al-Bayjat" tribe.'. She insists that President Hussein did NOT order the deaths of her husband and brother in law] * Two-month standoff at Chinese Embassy ends [Ambassador Muwaffaq al-Ani, against the wishes of other members of the staff, refuses to take orders from the invaders] UNSEXING OF THE PRETEXT * Has Blair Sexed Up Saddam's Atrocities, Too? [John Laughland responds to the Prime Minister's argument 'that the United Nations is claiming that some 300,000 bodies lie in mass graves in Iraq'. The claim doesn't come from the UN but from Human Rights Watch, who are not in a position to know] * Insider fires a broadside at Rumsfeld's office [Air Force Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski reveals that the Office of the Secretary of Defense is much what we all thought it was] * Career officer does eye-opening stint inside Pentagon [Kwiatkowski's original article. Though it does have a bit of a 'now I realise I was suckered by Saddam Hussein' feel to it] * How neo-cons influence the Pentagon ... [More details from Karen Kwiatkowski. A roll call of villains] * Is Iraqi Intel Still Being Manipulated? [Iraqi nuclear scientist Mahdi Obeidi hasn't delivered the goods so he won't get his reward] AND, IN NEWS, 6-13/8/03 (2) FREE ENTERPRISE * Looted and for sale in Iraq: the deadly core of nuclear weapons * Israeli firm wins public telephone contract in Iraq [Iridium Satellite Israel, if the story's true] * Kidnap Gangs Add to Iraqis' Insecurity [Extracts from article on rash of kidnappings mainly directed against Iraqi Christians] * Iraqi Central Bank head requests transfer of frozen funds [Is this theft? or is it theft?] * Gold bars turn out to be copper [remember the $100 milion dollar truckload of them? Seems it was a truckload of melted down shell casings] * President appoints Greenwich man to Iraq position [Old college chum and election fundraiser for Mr Bush 'will be in charge of 200 state-owned enterprises, including mining, chemical, cement and tobacco companies. Oil production and two state-owned banks are the only industries that will not be under his supervision, he said.'] * UK forces seize ship smuggling Iraqi oil THE PRICE OF FREEDOM * Kurdistan Islamic Movement threatens U.S. forces after leader arrested [The Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan, which, it seems, has its stronghold in Halabja. Which may help to explain why, though Halabja was milked for all its propaganda value, nothing was done for the actual victims of the chemical attacks. The article also refers to the arrest of Abu Jihad al-Nawawi, the deputy leader of the Higher Council for the Liberation of Iraq. Which presumably isn't the same thing as SCIRI? Is it?] * Tribal leader reportedly assassinated in Mosul [Shaykh Sha'lan Munif al-Faysal of the Shammar tribe] * Abu Ghurayb Prison gets face lift and new name [At present the facelift consists of 'razor wire pens'. The new name is Baghdad Central Penitentiary. The article refers to the website of globalsecurity.org which 'noted widespread reports of mass graves either within the perimeter or near the prison, "but this is not apparent from imagery alone."'] * 11 killed in Baghdad bomb blast [outside the Jordanian Embassy. The figure later rose to nineteen killed. And two US soldiers killed in a firefight in Baghdad, 6th August. Not the same incident as in 'One Iraqi killed ...' below] * New, improved and more lethal: son of napalm [It is a libel to say the US used napalm in Iraq. They used 'a similar sticky, inflammable substance known as 'fuel-gel mixture''] * One Iraqi killed, two US soldiers injured in Baghdad [Bomb blast, Thursday 7th August.] * US troops kill six Iraqis [in Tikrit, Friday, 8th August] * Ex-Gurkha killed in ambush as more riots flare in Basra [Weekend, 9-10 August] * US detains Shiite cleric in flashpoint Iraqi town [Ali Abdul Karim Al Madani, in Baquba] * 'Human shield' faces $10,000 fine * U.S. Soldier Dies in Bomb Attack West of Baghdad [In Ramadi, Tuesday 12th August. In part of the article I haven't given we learn that we are now in the middle of Operation Ivy Lightning] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk