Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

It's front page news on every Australian paper... why not here?!

Today, Australia's major newspapers are ablaze with the story -- Hans Blix, chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, told Australian Prime Minister Howard five weeks prior to the war that he was not convinced by the evidence that Iraq had WMDs.

Blix recently emailed The Age reporter Peter Brown, saying "I am confident that far from saying to Mr Howard that there were WMDs in Iraq, I conveyed to him that we were not impressed by the 'evidence' presented to this effect. Regrettably, there were few at that time who cared to examine evidence about Iraq with a critical mind."

After his meeting with Blix, PM Howard addressed a group of Australian journalists, saying "I don't think it's helpful at this stage for me to be trying to put some particular interpretation on the discussion I had."

In other words, he didn't want to tell the press that the Coalition's case for war was not supported by Blix's briefing.

Now, this is big news over in Australia, and it may very well be the end of the road for Howard, who appears to have not only ignored the intelligence he was given by Blix, but also committed a grave lie of omission that led his country into a war that the majority of Australians opposed. It will undoubtedly lead to calls from Australians that the records of this conversation be made public.

...but the story should be an enormous issue in the U.S., because, after meeting PM Howard that day, Blix met with Condoleeza Rice and gave her an even more damning, detailed assessment of the failure of the WMD claims.

According to Blix, he told Rice that he had sensed in Baghdad "a more serious effort to co-operate actively", although he could not rule out the possibility that it was "part of a dilatory tactic". The Iraqi government had finally agreed to surveillance flights by American U-2 aircraft. "I went on to say that I had not been 'terribly impressed' by the intelligence that had been provided by member states so far. By now UNMOVIC had been to a number of sites indicated by intelligence tips and only one had proved of relevance to the commission's mandate."

Rice responded by saying that it was Iraq that was on trial, not intelligence, and that the issue was "quickly coming to an end".

In other words, the WMD claims didn't matter... at least to the Bush administration.

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