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Friday, May 04, 2007


Carne Ross, Independent Diplomat

On his Situation Room today, Wolf Blitzer interviewed, very briefly (a segment on a frivolous law-suit against a dry cleaner lasted longer), a former British diplomat named Carne Ross. I shouldn't pick on Blitzer, though, because if you search Google or Yahoo news for that name, you'll come up empty - no one else is writing about him at all.

So who is Carne Ross? A former British diplomat who's written a book entitled Independent Diplomat, reviewed in March in The Independent. But already back in June, 2005, the essence of what he had to say was contained in this article in The Guardian, and created little or no stir in the United States:

"I was very conscious of what the British government was doing, and I was very sceptical of it. I contemplated resigning at the time and making a fuss, but felt that resigning would be standing up in front of a runaway train and I'd just be crushed.

"It was an agonised experience because I knew that the evidence they were presenting for WMD was totally implausible. I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too. We all believed the Iraqis had something, but that is very different from saying they had that much. The intelligence indicated that they'd failed to account for what they had in the past. They hadn't given us a complete account of the disposal of their past stocks, so we thought there was something, but there was no way that the claim of an imminent threat was sustainable. The 45-minute stuff was ridiculous."
On the Situation Room, Ross made clear that British intelligence knew very well that the idea that Iraq was an imminent threat to Britain, an imminent threat to its neighbors, or any kind of threat at all even to its neighbors, was nonsense. But not until December, 2006, when a Parliamentary inquiry allowed him to discuss previously secret documents, has he really been able to talk.

None of this is "new," in the sense that anyone paying attention knew the "case" for war was bollocks, but it's one more bit of weight on the war crime scale. It will be interesting to see if we hear any more from Ross; based on the amount of coverage in the press so far, and the brief interview on CNN, it seems unlikely.

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