Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 13, 2009


Nigel Morris, Independent, UK - Secret Whitehall emails released provide damning new evidence that the notorious dossier making the case for invading Iraq was "sexed up". They disclose that the intelligence services were skeptical over the "iffy drafting" of government claims that Saddam Hussein could mount a missile strike on his neighbors within 45 minutes of ordering an attack.

Officials privately mocked assertions that the Iraqi president was covertly trying to develop a nuclear capability and wisecracked that perhaps he had recruited "Dr Frankenstein" to his supposed crack team of nuclear scientists.

The release of a series of confidential memos and emails, following a protracted Freedom of Information battle, reignited the controversy over accusations that Tony Blair's government "spun" Britain into war. . .

Another memo, dated 16 September 2002, from an unnamed official, also suggests exaggerated claims were being included in the about-to-be-published report. It said: "I note that the paper suggests that Saddam's biotech efforts have gone much further than we ever feared. . . Dr Frankenstein I presume? Sorry. It's getting late."

A further email, arguing for amendments to the report, says: "We have suggested moderating the same language in much the same way on drafts from the dim and distant past without success. Feel free to try again!". . .

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "This confirms the widely-held suspicions that leading officials and political advisers close to Tony Blair were deliberately tweaking the presentation of the intelligence to bolster the case for war on Iraq. The jigsaw of how the public and some MPs were duped nears completion with this crucial revelation, and further strengthens the case for a full public inquiry."


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