View Full Version : Blair didn't know 45 min claim related to battlefield weapons

5th Feb 2004, 04:00
Today in the House of Commons there was a debate on the Hutton reports findings. The following occured.

A Conservative MP asked the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, "if he knew that the 45 minute claim only referred to battlefied weapons when this house broke on Mar 18?"

Answer from Rt Hon Tony Blair MP: "No".

The reply from the questioner was apparently along the lines that "I am so stunned that the PM did not know that I cannot at this moment think of another question"

The Rt Hon Robin Cook MP, who resigned from the Government prior to the war due to his misgivings over it then spoke and said "I knew that the 45 minute claim only referred to battlefield weapons".

The Secretary of State for Defence was then asked if he knew that the 45 minute claim only referred to battlefield weapons.

The Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP replied with "Yes".

When asked as to why the PM did not know that this was the case the reply was some waffle along the lines "that it was felt that the PM did not need to know that the 45 minute claim referred only to battlefield weapons".

A very interesting session in the House. Thoughts???
Edited at 042218Z Feb 04 to include the "Mar 18" following BBC 10' o'clock news.

5th Feb 2004, 04:03
I saw 1234000 pigs fly over my house at 1747Z.
Nowt wrong with what he says

Spearing Britney
5th Feb 2004, 04:11
Chiglet, your profile says England yet you say that you saw pigs at 1747Z, i put it to you that it was dark and had been for about 45 minutes. Do you have night vision goggles that you can mobilise in 45 mins? Answer quickly or George W may act against you!

5th Feb 2004, 06:17
Two words come to mind:-

Credible and Politician , rarely it seems that these days the two words can be used in the same sentence:confused:

There thats all my profound used up for this month!

5th Feb 2004, 08:18
Those talking of pigs flying ought to note that some years ago an airmiss was filed between a helicopter and a flying pig, not far from Westminster. Not on 1st April of the year either, as I recall.

Bet this gets shifted to Jetblast.

5th Feb 2004, 15:01
The British Government are a fundamentally misunderstood, basically honest, group of public servants who have the best interests of the British people at heart.

I'm sorry, I thought it might look more convincing in print, but I was wrong!

Per Ardua Ad Ibiza

John (Gary) Cooper
5th Feb 2004, 15:43
Strewth I thought I was being thick, I now see the discrepency, one knew it meant battlefield weapons the other long range missiles, that will make me believe in the integrity of politicians even more, shift the goalposts 20' to the left (or is that right?).

Gordon Bennett!!!

5th Feb 2004, 16:13
A very interesting session in the House. Thoughts??? Do bears sh!t in the woods? :hmm:

5th Feb 2004, 17:38
Good grief. All the man did was send our country to war on the basis of this information. I mean, it's not like he had to understand it in order to make any important decisions or anything.:rolleyes:

Wriggle, wriggle, wriggle little worm - here come the fishes.:E

5th Feb 2004, 17:43
Buff Hoon was on the Today program this morning. He said that he was not aware of the headline in "The Sun" about the 45-minute claim until he was told about it this morning.

However, he told the Hutton Inquiry that he had had it brought to his attention.

So he's yet another liar. (As if we didn't know).

He also claimed yet again that their "intelligence" (I wish they wouldn't call it that) was fundamentally good. As I have pointed out before, that makes him either a liar or fundamentally stupid since their "intelligence" was being passed to Hans Blix who hurried to the scene identified by the "intelligence" and they found zilch every time.

Malcolm Rifkind on TV the other night said that, while he was Foreign Secretary, he saw all sorts of "intelligence" about Iraq, ALL of it strongly labelled with caveats as to the unreliability of the information contained and the impossibility of confirming it, so he was astonished that, all of a sudden, the current Labour Administration could get 100% reliable "intelligence" out.

Yesterday Bliar claimed that all of the "intelligence" would have to be studied in camera for the Butler Inquiry to protect sources. Would these sources be the people who were in danger from Saddam Hussein's henchmen and have since been "liberated"?

Bliar also ruled out of the scope of the inquiry how the politicos used the "intelligence".

Errrrr - I think that's exactly why an inquiry is necessary, is it not?

5th Feb 2004, 21:49
Well this almost made me spit a mouthful of tea over my desk in astonishment.

"I see the spirit of Churchill in Prime Minister Tony Blair", President George Bush said in a speech yesterday.

"In some ways, our current struggles or challenges are similar to those Churchill knew", he added, "we are the heirs of the tradition of liberty, defenders of the freedom, the conscience and the dignity of every person."

Poor Winston must be turning in his grave. :*


John (Gary) Cooper
5th Feb 2004, 21:52
SSS I didn't see that quote but:-


5th Feb 2004, 21:58

I saw that too and I am sad to say that is not the first time I have heard such a comment over here. The first time it was made by pilot I know, shortly after 9/11. I think he's just a wee bit right of Genghis Khan (the bloke who lived some time ago, not the one who posts on here!)

Biggles Flies Undone
6th Feb 2004, 00:14
Dear All

There have been complaints about some of my posts so I have decided to order a full PPRuNe enquiry.

I shall pick the PPRuNer to head the enquiry (who will of course be entirely independent and under no threat of me pouring beer over them at the next bash).

I shall clearly state which two of my posts may be studied.

I shall clearly state that the other 3,000-odd of my posts are not relevant to the enquiry and must not be considered.

There, that should do it. Long live free speech. :E

Pax Vobiscum
6th Feb 2004, 01:20
On PM (Radio 4) this evening the Blessed Margaret Beckett was comparing the Great Helmsman to Sir Winston (neither were concerned with 'details' apparently). Pass the sick-bag ...

6th Feb 2004, 05:15
We Froggies are very happy our high class Governing Bodies are also lying, day after day........................because their lies are not related to war, death of young soldiers and civilians.....

Hope they persist in that direction.

El Grifo
6th Feb 2004, 05:57
Casting my mind back to the dark days of the conservative governments, I recall that they consisted heavily, of both liars and perverts.

All that can be said of the labour government is that it consists heavily of only liars.

Great thing progress !!

:confused: :cool: :confused:

6th Feb 2004, 05:59
Remind me again, Grandpa. Which government was it that sent agents to blow up the (unarmed but annoying) Rainbow Warrior in a harbour in a friendly foreign country?

I seem to remember that a civilian lost his life as a result.

For some strange reason I cannot remember which country was responsible, but I'm sure you can help me out.

6th Feb 2004, 11:30
well, caslance, if it was blown up by the americans, Mr. President would have said "we will take whatever means to ensure the safety of our country and our people" (maybe in a better english than mine...)
hey, they disturbed the testing of weapons needed to defend the french homeland from foreign terrorist attacks, what else do you expect?

West Coast
6th Feb 2004, 12:00
Well blipdriver, it wasn't the Americans, it was the French who screwed the pooch on that.

6th Feb 2004, 12:19
This article appeared today at

http://www.crikey.com.au/columnists/2004/02/06-0001.html (http://)

It all sounds very "Sir Humphrey" to me.
I am not exactly up to speed on UK Civil Service subtleties. Can anyone comment?



As London settles into its early dim evening, clubs and salons will be sitting in judgment on Lord Butler of Brockwell, the man Blair has today appointed to lead his panel to review the quality of intelligence from pre-war Iraq. Undoubtedly, to the steady clink of glass and ice, the word will pass: he's sound; he's one of us; he's a safe pair of hands.

What has not yet been made clear is that Lord Butler has form in undertaking the most cursory inquiries to satisfy his Lords and Masters, which have come to blowback on nearly everyone concerned bar Lord Butler.

Lord Butler is the mandarin's mandarin: he's served Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major and Blair - and was Cabinet Secretary to the latter three, replacing Sir Robert Armstrong (of "Spycatcher" fame, more of which later) in 1988, and serving till 1998. In that capacity, he also held the Secret Vote - the unannounced appropriations for the secret intelligence services. Where other Departments would have their Secretary of State or Minister put the case for their budget, Lord Butler would put the intelligence service's case straight to the Exchequer.

But it appears that Blair has seemingly appointed one of the least curious men in Britain to head this inquiry. When the wave of sleaze threatened to wash over and drown the Major Government, Major asked Butler to inquire into allegations that a Tory defence Minister, Jonathon Aitken, had been looked after when it came to a sizable bill for his accommodation at the Paris Ritz. Sir Robin Butler's inquiries seemed to consist entirely of asking Mr Aitken whether the allegations were true, and upon receiving Aitken's denial, co-opting Aitken into drafting the rebuttal to The Guardian where the allegations first appeared.

This most satisfactory outcome for Mr Aitken was revealed when he rushed to reply to Gordon Brown, the current Chancellor, when he asked an out of order question of Aitken:

"With great respect to you, Madam Speaker, I would very much welcome a chance to answer that question, not least because it is my first chance to clear myself of the scurrilous accusations that have been made. With your indulgence, I simply say to the hon. Gentleman that, first, I completely deny the allegation that he has made.

Secondly, I think that he should be aware that the Cabinet Secretary has today sent a letter to the editor of The Guardian , Mr. Peter Preston, repudiating and denying the scurrilous allegation that Mr. Preston made this morning, to the effect that I had lied to the Cabinet Secretary. The relevant sentence from Sir Robin Butler's letter reads:

"For the record, I confirm that I do not regard Jonathan Aitken as having lied to me or misled me."

I hope that the House, which is a very fair-minded place, will accept both my assurance and the Cabinet Secretary's assurance and put an end to the hysterical atmosphere of sleaze journalism by The Guardian."

In 1999, Peter Preston, the lead investigative journalist for the Guardian on the Aitken story, told of his frustration of chasing the rabbits down every hole, and being left with no alternative but to hand over his evidence to the Cabinet Secretary:

"I did something I had never done before. John Major had lately published his Questions of Procedure for Ministers as a public guidebook to Ministerial conduct. So I used it, privately complaining to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robin Butler, that something was wrong, and sending him the entire correspondence. No dice. He said there was nothing amiss and it wasn't his job to investigate. I tried a complaint to John Major's office. They said Sir Robin had cleared Aitken and they couldn't comment further. Circularity betokened contempt."

In 1999, Jonathon Aitken was sentenced to eighteen months prison for perjury in denying the Guardian's allegations when he sued it and Granada Television for libel.

In September 1994, further allegations were being made by Mohammad Al Fayed about the role of several MPs in pursuing his cause for citizenship among other interests, including the asking of Parliamentary questions in return for money. The "cash for questions" scandal engulfed three MPs, most notably Neil Hamilton. Again Major turned to his Cabinet Secretary to investigate - again Sir Robin seemed to conduct his investigations looking out through the narrow end of a dirty telescope.

He took two weeks to commence his investigations, telegraphed his intentions to Neil Hamilton, and failed to ask whether there was any relationship between Mr Hamilton and Mr Al Fayad's lobbyist. It took the President of the Board of Trade and Industry to indicate to Sir Robin that this might be a good idea. Subsequently, Sir Robin wrote a note on the matter:

"Extract from Note dated 21 October 1994 by the Cabinet Secretary to the Private Secretary to the Prime Minister:

4. There is one other development to report. The President of the Board of Trade called me round and asked me whether it had been put to Mr Hamilton that, while he might not have received money from Mr Al-Fayed, either directly or through Mr Greer, this did not exclude his having had some other form of financial relationship with Mr Greer. I pointed out that the Chief Whip and I had asked him whether there was any other interest which he had not declared or anything else of which he was aware which could be of embarrassment to the Government and he had said that there was not. Nevertheless, I encouraged the President to put this point to Mr Hamilton himself. The President has now done so and Mr Hamilton has given him an absolute assurance that he had no financial relationship with Mr Greer, and the President has accepted this. Given this, the President assents to the proposition that, given Mr Hamilton's denial and the lack of any evidence against him, it would have been unjust to insist that he stood down from the Government. I did not discuss with the President whether it would be wise to re-distribute Ministerial responsibilities within DTI.

5. I am copying this minute and the enclosure to the Chief Whip, with whom I have already discussed the draft report.

Robin Butler
21 October 1994"

Like Aitken before him, Hamilton sued the Guardian for libel, where the proceedings eventually exposed Hamilton's improper relationships with Greer, Al Fayad's lobbyist and bagman.

Butler's defence in the face of this less than stellar bout of rigorous fact finding was to plead:

"The only role of officials can be to advise, not to be arbitrators. We are not determinants. We are not this independent arbitration machinery."

Doesn't that bode well for a thorough review of the WMD intelligence?

So how does Lord Butler handle himself in the world of Middle Eastern intrigue, intelligence and weapons for sale? Not much better, I'm afraid. In the words that noted British political observer (and frequent habitué of the Australian scene, David Butler quoted from The Economist, the Scott Inquiry:

"‘Sir Richard exposed an excessively secretive government machine, riddled with incompetence, slippery with the truth and willing to mislead Parliament’.

Remember at this time, Butler was appearing before the blessed Committee, not conducting it!

During the inquiry into the sale of weapons to Iraq at and around the time of the first Gulf War, Justice Scott was seeking to identify the framework in which advisers would give information. It lead to this exchange with Butler:

Lord Justice Scott: "In your experience of government . . . do you think there is anything in the proposition that the convenience of secrecy emphasis about what the Government is doing, because it allows government to proceed more smoothly without the focus of attack that might otherwise be levelled, does in practice inhibit the giving of information about what [the] government is doing?"

Butler: "You can call that a matter of convenience, if you like. I would call it a matter of being in the interests of good government".

Sir Robin, bless his heart, even tried to make a distinction between Ministerial accountability and responsibility to make the lives of his Lords and Masters much easier:

Again according to David Butler, Sir Robin told the Scott Inquiry that "Ministerial ‘accountability’ is a constitutional burden that rests on the shoulders of Ministers and cannot be set aside. It does not necessarily … require blame to be accepted … A Minister should not be held to blame or required to accept personal criticism unless he has some personal responsibility for or some personal involvement in what has occurred."

Sir Robin was also noted for his remarkably flexible view that "half a picture can be accurate". This view was justified by having "to be selective about the facts. It does not follow that you mislead people. You just do not give the full information ... It is not justified to mislead, but very often one is finding oneself in a position where you have to give an answer that is not the whole truth."

It all reeks of Sir Robert Armstrong's attempted justification of being "economical with the truth" when he appeared to defend the realm's interests in the NSW Supreme Court when Malcolm Turnbull was appearing for Peter Wright and Heinemann Publishers in their efforts to publish Spycatcher.

Nearly twenty years later, Lord Butler expressed his views to the Committee of Standards on Public Life that Sir Robert had been unduly flayed for his fondness for the phrase "economy with the truth".

In providing answers to the Committee in 2002, Butler said:

"Let me take one example - I am speaking from memory - but one of the emails I saw said, “I have chosen to give a restrictive interpretation to this question and this makes the answer very easy”. I take it to mean that the person drafting the answer had drafted it with a rather restrictive interpretation on it and therefore had not felt it necessary to give very much information. I do not think there is anything very wrong in that. If the MP is not satisfied, the MP can always come back and try again.

Over the years, the history of oppositions in government is that oppositions try to extract information from the government which they very often do not want to give. It is naïve to suppose that is wrong or anything else is likely to happen.

Lord Goodhart: So, being economical with the truth is a legitimate part of the game?

Lord Butler: Being economical with the truth - as you will know very well - was a quotation from Burke who was describing it as a virtue. “Be economical with the truth that you may speak it the longer”. It was his way of describing being discreet. It was not interpreted that way by the press and, in my view, is a great injustice to my predecessor [Armstrong]."

And to round out this small (dare I say half) picture of Lord Butler, Number 10 should be having a look at Lord Butler's registered interests in the House of Lords. According to his most recent return, he is a non Executive Director of HSBC Bank, which earlier this month was awarded one of the four Iraqi foreign banking licences by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Even more embarrassingly, last year HSBC was found to be doing regular business with Saddam Hussein's Rafidain Bank, which was blacklisted at the time. God knows what assistance might be lent to HSBC by having a thorough look at the intelligence coming out of Iraq.

If you thought Hutton was a whitewash, I'm here to warn you that Lord Butler might yet come up with a whiter shade of pale.

6th Feb 2004, 12:24
And the innocent photographer they murdered that night was Portugese. The boat was registered to a Canadian charity.

The harbour in which it was sunk belonged to a long-friendly nation who had twice sent the cream of its sons to die so that France could be free again; free from a tyranny and an oppression which France was unable to counter on its own, free to pursue an agenda of pollution and homicide a half a world away from the disinterested eyes of her own selfish and hypocritical populace.

Even after these terrorists were caught (by an unarmed Police force) the French Government who employed them continued to lie about their activities; right up until they were forced to pay $NZ12 million compensation for the costs of the investigation and subsequent trial of the DGSE agents.

There has been little respect or sympathy here, for the nation in question, its people, its Government, or their lies, ever since.


6th Feb 2004, 16:29
We Froggies are very happy our high class Governing Bodies are also lying, day after day........................because their lies are not related to war, death of young soldiers and civilians..... Sorry Grandpapa, this is the typical elitaire bull that only French are capable of. The way Chirac was defending Juppe was pathetic and repulsive, never seen a man lying through his teeth so obviously.

6th Feb 2004, 17:23

Could you please bring the thread back to the topic? I have no problem if you wish to start a thread on the Rainbow Warrior affair but this is not that thread.

Furthermore I would ask do you really want to go down the road of discussing illegal acts by western democracies? I would think that the US and the UK have far more to be ashamed of than the French.



6th Feb 2004, 17:53
Sorry Bill

I have nothing to be ashamed of as a Brit. If you want to indulge in self flagellation, please don't use too long a whip lest you hurt us innocent passersby :p :}

This thread will go round in such circles because the pre-ordained "answer" you want will not be borne out by all the evidence given so far. Criticism of Blair is wholly justified when one considers the pi$$ poor performance of this Government in almost every direction, but somebody voted them in didn't they ?

Nobody seemed to mind the lies and spin and manipulation of the truth that basically won them the landslide victories that shafted the unpopular Tories and gave Blair his current, but not too much longer lasting God complex, and has resulted in the most interfering nanny state incompetence we have arguably seen in the UK for decades .

The anti war lobby is just as guilty of selective memory and seem to be enjoying the self indulgent but ultimately totally non productive arguments which disappear up their own ar$e$. Did I see a " Stop the War" demo in London last week ? Which planet are those to$$ers on ? The Hutton Report was quite acceptable until it surprisingly exonerated Blair and Campbell then it was ritually burned by rentamob

The whole story will probably never be known and Blair will continue to spin his way from crisis to crisis until democracy returns to the UK at the next election in the shape of a much more delicately balanced House, or even a new Government.

6th Feb 2004, 18:18
Mr.Rules, a friendly advise; pls send Danny a PM and apply for the job of moderator.

And another advise, have a google on Jaques Massu and Algeria...

6th Feb 2004, 18:41

Let me repeat for the cheap seats :-





6th Feb 2004, 19:04

From a very cheap seat, give some examples please of our "skeletons" :8

6th Feb 2004, 20:13

What nationality are you?

How far back do you want me to go?



6th Feb 2004, 20:19
To the plush seats:

Exactly Mr.Rules, every world/colonial power does have skeletons in their backpocket. That's why my reaction to Grandad.

Now tell me, what are your parameters that makes it worse, or less worse, like in terms of Morality, Justice, Number of Deaths, Number of Wars etc.

Your humble servant,


6th Feb 2004, 20:57

Scottish, but much travelled. Do tell of the skeletons which I should be ashamed of, apart from our National failure at every sport we ever invented or participated in :}

7th Feb 2004, 01:02
Curling, Pilgrim101 - don't forget curling. Scotland are world-beaters at curling.;)

Go on then, theblipdriver, explain to me exactly how blowing seven shades of sh:mad:t out of bits of the South Pacific serves to "defend the french homeland from foreign terrorist attacks".

I'm fascinated, especially since the possession of barrowloads of nuclear weapons doesn't seem to have done all that much to protect the UK, USA and Russia from terrorism over the years.

I'm no tree-hugger by any means, and apologies to all French Ppruners out there, but if the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior wasn't an act of terrorism then I don't know what is.

Thread creep, BHR - happens all the time, mate! The weekend is almost upon us, so chill out and go with the flow.......... :ok:

7th Feb 2004, 03:40

Do u you remember your high school history when we the British went around the globe killing anyone we wanted?

Do u want something more recent? What about Iraq in the 1920's?

More recent still? Suez in the 1950's?

More recent still? Failure to properly supply our troops in combat in the last 3 major conflicts?

That enough or do u want more?


This is not a game. It is not a matter of parameters Wrong is wrong no matter who does it. It is not a matter of "The French blew up Rainbow Warrior so therefore we can do whatever we like". Two wrongs do not make a right. In these cases it just means more dead innocent people.


Nice to see you again mate. How you been?

Can I ask why you feel that the French are not entitled to the same as the UK?

As for chilling out, I am sat here with a frosty Bud Ice and feeling good about it.



7th Feb 2004, 04:08

Must be nice up there on the moral high ground all the time.

I have nothing to apologise for or be ashamed of since my service and my country has acquitted itself courageously and honourably on countless occasions which you fail to mention since it doesn't fit your pen picture of the wicked British.

Your recall of history is clearly slanted. Human history is littered with good and bad and you seem to delight in torturing yourself, and us, with all the hand wringing angst of our colonial past which seems to sit very heavily on your shoulders.

Please don't highlight the recent deaths of servicemen in Iraq to illustrate a weak point in your own jaundiced argument. I can assure you that I am well aware of the shortcomings of human behaviour and performance in the fog of war, and the equipment/supply failings which we have had to live with.

Defence expenditure is always the first to be reduced in peacetime and I didn't see many protestors out on the streets before the Falklands or the Gulf Wars insisting that more funds should be pumped in to minimise our casualties. Nor are they out there now.

7th Feb 2004, 05:39
yeah, it was meant ironically. Don't like greenpeace on all things (some things they do is OK), and didn't like the frenchies to blow the rainbow warrior.
I was more pointing that Mr. POTUS uses his standard excuse ("protect the homeland and my fellow americans bla bla bla") even for things as developing mininukes, which are not especially useful when dealing with al qaida...
how do define "terrorism"? many countries do similar things, maybe not that obvious, but they still do it.


7th Feb 2004, 06:33
Aaaaah!!!! Irony.....now I see!

Hi, BHR. I'm fine and dandy and I hope I find you the same way. Entitled to the same what?

8th Feb 2004, 04:01
....to be late.
Did you notice my dear friends, that my post was written at present tense?
Did you notice my pleasure to note our Jakie and "best of all" Juppé were not lying about life and death?
Did you notice my hope is they go on, same direction ?(I'm too old to imagine they could stop lying...........)

This being repeated, I agree with you the bombing of Rainbow Warrior was a case of state terrorism..........and a stupid one.

Power drives mad, absolute power drives absolutely mad!

9th Feb 2004, 00:40

I see you could not be bothered to answer my post so simply went off on your little rant.

Whatever makes you feel better about yourself.



9th Feb 2004, 06:57
Very Late repy to Spearing...so apologies to all
I live in a "town" [collection of hovels with street lighting] as oppsed to a "village" [small town, ergo no lights]..Labour Council, don't forget..
So the formation of flying Porkers was observed due to the reflection of said streetlighting/low clouds scenario. No "HiTec" aids here my boy
watp, iktch