FBI Blog - British Government Suppressed Israel Nuclear Capabilities
Reference to Israel in Britain’s Iraq weapons dossier hushed up
February 22, 2008
London, Feb 22 (IANS) A handwritten comment in a secret British dossier on Iraq’s weapons prepared before the 2003 US invasion of the country had expressed concerns over Israel’s nuclear capability, but the reference was suppressed by the then Tony Blair government, according to a daily here. The Guardian newspaper said Thursday Tony Blair’s Labour government convinced the Information Tribunal to keep secret the handwritten mention of Israel on the margin of the dossier, which was drawn up to justify going to war in Iraq, the WAM news agency reported Friday.
The government de-classified the document Monday after freedom of information campaigners fought for three years for its publication.
The reference, suggesting Israel, like Iraq, had disregarded the will of the United Nations in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, was removed as directed by the government to avoid tension in British-Israel relations, the paper said.
“I interpret this note to indicate that the person who wrote it believes that Israel has flouted the United Nations’ authority in a manner similar to that of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein,” the official told the tribunal, according to the Guardian.
He argued that the reference scribbled on the draft dossier would only confirm a perception of Jerusalem that there were elements in the Foreign Office critical of Israel possessing a nuclear arsenal and would damage relations with that country.
The 32-page document, written by a former director of communications at the Foreign Office, cites intelligence sources to state that Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and could easily use them since it had done so before.
The document, amended in the margins, makes no mention of Saddam Hussein being capable of launching weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a claim that was later used in another government dossier to make the case for going to war, the daily said.
A zionist is not a jew.
Secret, British-government memo surfaces: Don't anger Israel
February 22, 2008
The New Statesman's political editor, Martin Bright, on his personal news blog on the magazine's Web site, and the British daily the Guardian, in a series of related articles published yesterday, reported that the British government had attempted to cover up some remarks that someone in its high ranks in the pre-Iraq-war period had written in a memo, comments that government bureaucrats later felt could or would anger Israel.
In the run-up to the war, some of Blair's aides prepared what has become known as the "Iraq dossier" for the prime minister. That was the collection of information and arguments Blair would go on to use to make his case for joining the U.S. in attacking Iraq. Because some of the most publicized elements of the dossier were later found to have been inaccurate or exaggerated, it became a rather discredited document. Now, the Guardian and the New Statesman have learned, onto a draft version of that dossier that was prepared in September 2002 - it had been written by a former tabloid reporter - an unidentified government official had hand-written various notes calling for its text to be revised. Referring to Iraq, the draft stated: "No other country has flouted the United Nations' authority so brazenly in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction." But the person who marked up the draft version of the Iraq dossier questioned that assertion.
Now that the draft version has come to light, thanks to the dogged efforts of an independent researcher who was associated with the New Statesman and who sought the document under Britain's Freedom of Information Act, it has become known that the U.K. government tried hard not to release it. "When [the] researcher first applied to the Foreign Office for the release of the draft dossier, it turned the request down. The ministry then failed to conduct the required internal appeal against its decision. Its next move was to try to persuade the information commissioner, Richard Thomas, that the document," which referred to Israel, "was exempt" from being released to the public under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. The Foreign Office kept fighting the researcher's efforts to get his hands on the September 2002 document, even appealing to a special government tribunal that decides on which classified documents or which portions thereof may be released to the public. Ultimately, any reference to Israel was deleted from the version of the draft text that was released (Guardian)
The unknown note-writer's comments on the draft text would have been embarrassing to the government, had they been made known earlier, because "if officials in the Foreign Office believed there was another country as guilty as Saddam's Iraq of breaching U.N. resolutions, then this would seriously [have] undermine[d] the argument that [Iraq's WMD-possessing status] presented a unique case" that justified going to war. (Martin Bright's New Statesman news blog)
The Guardian reported: "The Information Tribunal, which adjudicates on disputes involving the Freedom of Information Act, agreed to remove [a] single reference to Israel when it ordered the release of the draft of the Iraqi weapons dossier....Along with unfavorable references to the U.S. and Japan, the reference to Israel was written in the margin by someone commenting on the opening paragraph of the...draft. It was written against the claim that 'no other country [apart from Iraq] has flouted the United Nations' authority so brazenly in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.'" In a statement to the tribunal, the head of the Foreign Office's division that oversees matters related to the Middle East and North Africa regions "said he did not know who had referred to Israel in the margin. He went on: 'I interpret this note to indicate that the person who wrote it believes that Israel has flouted the United Nations' authority in a manner similar to that of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.'" The Guardian noted that the Foreign Office official admitted that a disclosure like that one would "seriously damage the U.K.'s relations with Israel," adding that any comparison of Israel's government policies with those of Saddam Hussein's regime and the "implied accusation of a breach of the U.N.'s authority by Israel" were "potentially very serious" matters.
A Jew is not a zionist.
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