Discussion:
Blair on the cliff's edge
(too old to reply)
midtowng
2004-01-25 08:03:09 UTC
Permalink
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/hutton/story/0,13845,1130811,00.html

Tony Blair put his political future on the line last night when he
admitted for the first time that he considered his job was 'at risk'
48 hours ahead of the two-pronged attack of tuition fees and the
Hutton report.
Saying that the findings of Lord Hutton on the death of weapons
expert David Kelly would be a judgment on his integrity, the Prime
Minister added that whatever the political problems he faced, it was
better to take tough decisions than to look for an easier political
life.
'I think in this job you spend the entire time at risk, so there
is not a moment when you are not,' he said in an interview with The
Observer.
Officials close to the Prime Minister said that if Blair lost the
tuition fees vote on Tuesday and then found himself criticised by
Hutton, 'things could begin to unravel'.
Asked if it was an issue of integrity, he said: 'Of course. The
Conservative leader in particular has accused me of lying over weapons
of mass destruction, and as far as the report touches on these issues
it will be important.'
A YouGov poll for today's Jonathan Dimbleby programme on ITV
found nearly 60 per cent of people felt Blair should resign if he is
criticised by Hutton over the naming of Kelly or Number 10 is found
guilty of exaggerating the case for war. One in three said they
trusted Blair less than before the inquiry began.
Amid signs of growing optimism in Downing Street that the Prime
Minister will not be directly criticised over Kelly's death, aides
said he had not received a letter from Hutton warning of potential
criticism. Such letters are a routine courtesy in public inquiries to
witnesses facing censure, suggesting Blair may be cleared on key
questions - but he may still face trouble at Westminster over the
actions of his Ministers and aides.
[...]
James Knox
2004-01-27 23:36:37 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Blair on the cliff's edge
Date: 25/01/2004 08:03 GMT Standard Time
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/hutton/story/0,13845,1130811,00.html
Tony Blair put his political future on the line last night when he
admitted for the first time that he considered his job was 'at risk'
48 hours ahead of the two-pronged attack of tuition fees and the
Hutton report.
Saying that the findings of Lord Hutton on the death of weapons
expert David Kelly would be a judgment on his integrity, the Prime
Minister added that whatever the political problems he faced, it was
better to take tough decisions than to look for an easier political
life.
'I think in this job you spend the entire time at risk, so there
is not a moment when you are not,' he said in an interview with The
Observer.
Officials close to the Prime Minister said that if Blair lost the
tuition fees vote on Tuesday and then found himself criticised by
Hutton, 'things could begin to unravel'.
Asked if it was an issue of integrity, he said: 'Of course. The
Conservative leader in particular has accused me of lying over weapons
of mass destruction, and as far as the report touches on these issues
it will be important.'
A YouGov poll for today's Jonathan Dimbleby programme on ITV
found nearly 60 per cent of people felt Blair should resign if he is
criticised by Hutton over the naming of Kelly or Number 10 is found
guilty of exaggerating the case for war. One in three said they
trusted Blair less than before the inquiry began.
Amid signs of growing optimism in Downing Street that the Prime
Minister will not be directly criticised over Kelly's death, aides
said he had not received a letter from Hutton warning of potential
criticism. Such letters are a routine courtesy in public inquiries to
witnesses facing censure, suggesting Blair may be cleared on key
questions - but he may still face trouble at Westminster over the
actions of his Ministers and aides.
[...]
Over the first hump..... but only just.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3434329.stm

Blair wins key top-up fees vote

Blair now faces the test of the Hutton report

Tony Blair has scraped home by just five votes in a crunch House of Commons
test of his controversial plans to introduce university top-up fees.
The Higher Education Bill was backed by 316 votes to 311 after days of intense
campaigning by ministers and rebels.
<snip>
Ernst Blofeld
2004-01-28 04:57:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Knox
Blair now faces the test of the Hutton report
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2004041477,00.html
====
IT WAS the call every journalist in Westminster was waiting for — and
Britain's top political editor TREVOR KAVANAGH got it.

...
TONY Blair is today sensationally cleared of any "dishonourable or
underhand" conduct leading to the suicide of tragic scientist David
Kelly.

Lord Hutton's long-awaited report into Dr Kelly's death also
exonerates ex-Downing Street media boss Alastair Campbell.

And it makes only passing criticism of the Defence ministry headed by
embattled Geoff Hoon.

But the document — top secret until it is published officially at noon
today — is a devastating indictment of the BBC and its defence
correspondent Andrew Gilligan.
...
"But I am satisfied Dr Kelly did not say the Government probably knew
or suspected the 45-minute claim was wrong before the claim was
inserted in the dossier.

"The allegation reported by Mr Gilligan that the Government probably
knew the claim was wrong or questionable was unfounded." As a result,
Today programme listeners were given a misleading impression that the
Government "embellished" its dossier.

"In the context of the broadcasts in which the ‘sexing up' allegation
was reported, I consider that allegation was unfounded," he says.
====
Ernst Blofeld
2004-01-28 17:22:32 UTC
Permalink
It's a clean sweep for Blair in the Hutton report.

Blair:
====
In conclusion I repeat what Lord Hutton said in his Summary, at page
322.
"The communication by the media of information (including information
obtained by investigative reporters) on matters of public interest and
importance is a vital part of life in a democratic society. However
the right to communicate such information is subject to the
qualification (which itself exists for the benefit of a democratic
society) that false accusations of fact impugning the integrity of
others, including politicians, should not be made by the media."
That is how this began: with an accusation that was false then and is
false now.
We can have the debate about the war; about WMD; about intelligence.
But we do not need to conduct it by accusations of lies and deceit. We
can respect each other's motives and integrity even when in
disagreement.
Let me repeat the words of Lord Hutton:
"False accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others ...
should not be made".
Let those that made them now withdraw them.
====
John Doh
2004-01-28 19:28:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ernst Blofeld
It's a clean sweep for Blair in the Hutton report.
====
"False accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others ...
should not be made".
Let those that made them now withdraw them.
====
Yeah, as if any Usenet left wingers would have the stones to do THAT.

Maybe Mr. Midtowng would like to say a few words. (He likes to demand that
"right-wingers" denounce stuff he doesn't like.)
--
John D'oh The only possible interpretation of any research whatever
in the 'social sciences' is: some do, some don't.
-- Ernest Rutherford
midtowng
2004-01-29 01:22:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Doh
Post by Ernst Blofeld
It's a clean sweep for Blair in the Hutton report.
====
"False accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others ...
should not be made".
Let those that made them now withdraw them.
====
Yeah, as if any Usenet left wingers would have the stones to do THAT.
That's what I love about right-wing useneters. We just got into a war
based on stockpiles WMD and ties to al-Qaeda. Now that those have
been proven to be BS, do usenet right-wingers fess up?
Hell NO! It's about WMD _programs_.
And then it turns out those WMD programs were nothing more than
paper programs. Do usenet right-wingers fess up?
Hell NO! It's about human rights. It's _always_ been about
human rights! As if google didn't exist and no one here has
a memory.

But is that ballsy enough? Of course not! Usenet right-wingers will
not only deny their own dishonest, but still accuse people who
aren't right-wingers of being the ones who are dishonest.
I have to tip my hat. That takes stones the size of Mt. Rushmore.
Post by John Doh
Maybe Mr. Midtowng would like to say a few words. (He likes to demand that
"right-wingers" denounce stuff he doesn't like.)
You got that a little wrong. (big surprise there!)
I've asked for right-wingers to denounce attacks on things that
they have told me they stand for (a little different from
"stuff he doesn't like"). Those things include civil rights
and smaller government.
But asking you and your buddies to stand up for things you
say you believe in seems to be asking for too much, because you
just flat out refuse to do so. (Paul is starting to be a lone
exception to that rule. Perhaps if I keep prodding him he might
get downright angry, like he was at Clinton for doing things that
paled in comparison to Bush's attacks on civil rights.)
Ernst Blofeld
2004-01-29 02:11:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by midtowng
That's what I love about right-wing useneters. We just got into a war
based on stockpiles WMD and ties to al-Qaeda. Now that those have
been proven to be BS, do usenet right-wingers fess up?
Hell NO! It's about WMD _programs_.
I don't see any effective difference between WMD programs and
WMD stockpiles in the decision to go to war. Saddam as a
potential supplier to terrorists was an issue in either
case, and both were prohibited by the UN,
and were not declared in the "full and final" statement
by Iraq. Whether or not the Iraq threat was "imminent"
was irrelevant, since Bush specifically rejected that
criterion in the SOTU address.
Post by midtowng
And then it turns out those WMD programs were nothing more than
paper programs.
No, they weren't.

NYT:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/26/international/middleeast/26KAY.html?hp
====
Dr. Kay also reported that Iraq attempted to revive its efforts to
develop nuclear weapons in 2000 and 2001, but never got as far toward
making a bomb as Iran and Libya did.

He said Baghdad was actively working to produce a biological weapon
using the poison ricin until the American invasion last March.
...
From interviews with Iraqi scientists and other sources, he said, his
team learned that sometime around 1997 and 1998, Iraq plunged into what
he called a "vortex of corruption," when government activities began to
spin out of control because an increasingly isolated and fantasy-riven
Saddam Hussein had insisted on personally authorizing major projects
without input from others.

After the onset of this "dark ages," Dr. Kay said, Iraqi scientists
realized they could go directly to Mr. Hussein and present fanciful
plans for weapons programs, and receive approval and large amounts of
money. Whatever was left of an effective weapons capability, he said,
was largely subsumed into corrupt money-raising schemes by scientists
skilled in the arts of lying and surviving in a fevered police state.

"The whole thing shifted from directed programs to a corrupted process,"
Dr. Kay said. "The regime was no longer in control; it was like a death
spiral. Saddam was self-directing projects that were not vetted by
anyone else. The scientists were able to fake programs."
...
Regarding biological weapons, he said there was evidence that the Iraqis
continued research and development "right up until the end" to improve
their ability to produce ricin. "They were mostly researching better
methods for weaponization," Dr. Kay said. "They were maintaining an
infrastructure, but they didn't have large-scale production under way."
...
He added that Iraq did make an effort to restart its nuclear weapons
program in 2000 and 2001, but that the evidence suggested that the
program was rudimentary at best and would have taken years to rebuild,
after being largely abandoned in the 1990's. "There was a restart of the
nuclear program," he said. "But the surprising thing is that if you
compare it to what we now know about Iran and Libya, the Iraqi program
was never as advanced," Dr. Kay said.
...
Dr. Kay said Iraq had also maintained an active ballistic missile
program that was receiving significant foreign assistance until the
start of the American invasion. He said it appeared that money was put
back into the nuclear weapons program to restart the effort in part
because the Iraqis realized they needed some kind of payload for their
new rockets.
...
Dr. Kay said he believed that Iraq was a danger to the world, but not
the same threat that the Bush administration publicly detailed.

"We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq," he said. "And now
we know that there was little control over Iraq's weapons capabilities.
I think it shows that Iraq was a very dangerous place. The country had
the technology, the ability to produce, and there were terrorist groups
passing through the country — and no central control."
...
"All the analysts I have talked to said they never felt pressured on
W.M.D.," he said. "Everyone believed that they had W.M.D."
...
"The only comment I ever had from the president was to find the
truth," Dr. Kay said. "I never got any pressure to find a certain outcome."
====
Post by midtowng
Do usenet right-wingers fess up?
Hell NO! It's about human rights. It's _always_ been about
human rights! As if google didn't exist and no one here has
a memory.
Since when has the decision to go to war been only about
one thing to the exclusion of all others? In fact, in my
major post about why we should go to war with Iraq, written
several months before the war, I said there were a number of
reasons--including human rights. You've already been pointed
to this post. Why you choose to misrepresent the positions
of others is up to you, but don't think other people haven't
noticed your dishonesty.
chris.holt
2004-01-29 12:20:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ernst Blofeld
I don't see any effective difference between WMD programs and
WMD stockpiles in the decision to go to war.
Well, the time scale and immediacy of a threat makes a
difference. If someone points a gun at you, you might
feel a bit more threatened than if they just carry a
gun, or if they start procedures to buy a gun. Wouldn't
you say?
--
***@ncl.ac.uk http://homepages.cs.ncl.ac.uk/chris.holt
John Doh
2004-01-29 16:22:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris.holt
Post by Ernst Blofeld
I don't see any effective difference between WMD programs and
WMD stockpiles in the decision to go to war.
Well, the time scale and immediacy of a threat makes a
difference. If someone points a gun at you, you might
feel a bit more threatened than if they just carry a
gun, or if they start procedures to buy a gun. Wouldn't
you say?
Well of course you are ignoring the fact that the intelligence agencies of a
lot of countries DID NOT KNOW how far along Saddam was. That was one of the
things that David Kay pointed out. And it was one of the reasons we took out
Saddam and his slaughter-o-matic regime.
--
John D'oh The only possible interpretation of any research whatever
in the 'social sciences' is: some do, some don't.
-- Ernest Rutherford
chris.holt
2004-01-29 17:59:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Doh
Post by chris.holt
Post by Ernst Blofeld
I don't see any effective difference between WMD programs and
WMD stockpiles in the decision to go to war.
Well, the time scale and immediacy of a threat makes a
difference. If someone points a gun at you, you might
feel a bit more threatened than if they just carry a
gun, or if they start procedures to buy a gun. Wouldn't
you say?
Well of course you are ignoring the fact that the intelligence agencies of a
lot of countries DID NOT KNOW how far along Saddam was.
I'm not ignoring that; nor am I ignoring that we knew at the
time that a lot of the information presented was spurious,
that the intelligence agencies were protesting at the way
their information was being used by politicians, and that
the inspectors on the ground in Iraq were pleading for more
time to do their job.
Post by John Doh
That was one of the
things that David Kay pointed out. And it was one of the reasons we took out
Saddam and his slaughter-o-matic regime.
Since inspectors were in Iraq, don't you think it might
have been more cost-effective to let them inspect?
--
***@ncl.ac.uk http://homepages.cs.ncl.ac.uk/chris.holt
John Doh
2004-01-29 23:05:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris.holt
Post by John Doh
Post by chris.holt
Post by Ernst Blofeld
I don't see any effective difference between WMD programs and
WMD stockpiles in the decision to go to war.
Well, the time scale and immediacy of a threat makes a
difference. If someone points a gun at you, you might
feel a bit more threatened than if they just carry a
gun, or if they start procedures to buy a gun. Wouldn't
you say?
Well of course you are ignoring the fact that the intelligence agencies of
a
Post by John Doh
lot of countries DID NOT KNOW how far along Saddam was.
I'm not ignoring that; nor am I ignoring that we knew at the
time that a lot of the information presented was spurious,
that the intelligence agencies were protesting at the way
their information was being used by politicians, and that
the inspectors on the ground in Iraq were pleading for more
time to do their job.
Who are "the intelligence agencies" then? Are you including Russia's and
France's and Germany's too? The CIA has a lot of ass covering going on, and I
bet that's the agency you are referring to.

You also ignored what David Kay said.
Post by chris.holt
Post by John Doh
That was one of the
things that David Kay pointed out. And it was one of the reasons we took
out