Socialist Worker

Top spies are 'uneasy'

Issue No. 1865

WEAPONS EXPERT Dr Kelly wasn't even against war with Iraq. Like other 'intelligence' officers, he grew angry at the way the government exaggerated weapons claims. The Hutton inquiry heard how two senior intelligence officers had taken the unusual step of formally protesting over the way the government was using their reports.

A few weeks ago one of the two complained again after foreign secretary Jack Straw had testified to a parliamentary committee. Straw was asked if 'any complaints had been made by senior intelligence officers' about the dossier. Straw declared 'None whatever.'

One of the senior intelligence officers immediately wrote to his boss, saying he 'felt very uneasy' about Straw's statement. The officer asked if he should set the record straight. His boss wrote back saying to let the matter drop.

BBC stories were true

THE INQUIRY saw a spat between rival BBC journalists last week, with Newsnight's Susan Watts deliberately distancing herself from Radio Four's Andrew Gilligan. Both had spoken to Kelly. Both told the inquiry that Kelly had pointed to Alastair Campbell as playing a key role in 'sexing up' the Iraq dossier.

Gilligan reported that part of the story. Watts did not use the reference to Campbell. But behind the BBC rivalries four points became clear. Kelly told journalists that the dossier was hardened up before publication. He did claim that the 45 minute claim was added to the dossier at the last moment.

Kelly did claim that 'intelligence' officials were unhappy with the government's dossier and he did suggest Alastair Campbell was at the centre of the affair. All Kelly's claims were backed up by documents and testimony at the Hutton inquiry.

US troops shot photographer

US TROOPS in Iraq shot dead an award winning photographer last weekend. Mazen Dana, who worked for Reuters, was filming outside a Baghdad prison. The last film he shot was of two US tanks coming towards him. Dana's driver said the US troops knew Dana was a journalist. The troops claimed they mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade.

More chaos in Afghanistan

ANOTHER WAR and occupation is going badly wrong for the US and Britain, as well that in Iraq. The BBC reported last week on the growing chaos now engulfing Afghanistan: 'The United Nations has suspended road travel in parts of southern Afghanistan following a spate of attacks.

'A resurgent Taliban movement has been attacking government targets. The worsening situation comes as Nato is about to take over leadership of the international security force in the capital.'

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Sat 23 Aug 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1865
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