14 July 2003

What little intelligence was new on Iraq's suspected weapons has been called into question
The various items of intelligence provided by the US and Britain are all beginning to look like vaporware. To summarise:

Nigerien yellowcake - denied by US and Australia, maintained by Britain

Activity at nuclear sites - not happening

New Scuds - not happening according to UN

Aluminium tubes - not happening

Mobile labs - not happening

Iraq/al-Qa'ida link - actively denied by UK, maintained by US and Australia

Rice said Britain was unable to share more information it has with Washington because of sensitivities surrounding the source. But Britain, like all U.N. members, is resolution-bound to share any intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs with U.N. inspectors.

Robin Cook, who resigned from Blair's Cabinet to protest the war, told the House of Commons committee that information sharing between Washington and London was so intense that it was often difficult ''to spot which raw data was originally gathered in the United Kingdom and which was originally gathered by the United States.''

Other new intelligence presented by the United States and Britain before the war included a charge that Iraq was hiding scud missiles. So far no scuds have been found, U.S. weapons hunters told The Associated Press.

The United States claimed there were signs of suspicious activity at a number of sites previously used in Iraq's former weapons program. U.N. inspectors checked those sites and found no such activity. American weapons experts have not found anything either.

U.S. claims that Iraq was trying to buy aluminum tubes for a renewed nuclear program were dismissed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and by an outside panel made up of two American nuclear physicists, two British experts and a German expert. The United States however insists the tubes were for a nuclear program.

Two mobile labs found in Iraq which the Bush administration believes were designed to be used in a biological weapons program were reviewed by three different groups of experts who couldn't agree on the trailers' use. Some State Department analysts have questioned the CIA conclusion the two truck trailers were mobile weapons labs.

Compelling evidence linking Saddam to al-Qaida also has not been confirmed. In the run-up to the war, the United States failed to convince much of the world of the ties. Most U.N. Security Council members said flatly that they didn't believe a connection existed.

A U.N. terrorism committee says it has no evidence other than Secretary of State Colin Powell's assertions in his Feb. 5 U.N. speech of any ties between al-Qaida and Iraq. And U.S. officials say American forces searching in Iraq have found no significant evidence tying Saddam's regime with Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

The US and Britain share everything, including raw intelligence. Nothing has ever been held back before in order to protect a source. Blair and Straw can rabbit on all they like about separate intelligence of the Niger claim but they haven't shared it with anyone else, not the US, not Aistralia, not the IAEA, not even their own parliament. Why is that?

We do not need to go through lists of faith-based intelligence like this. We already know from Rumsfeld what the quality of prismatic intelligence is. Oh, and we now know one more thing - these people will say and do anything to avoid admitting a mistake.

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