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The Testimony of Carne Ross

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Released yesterday, some startling revelations from a previously "suppressed document" written by a former U.K. diplomat and member of the Foreign Office, Carne Ross, who was among those actively involved in negotiating U.N. security council resolutions on Iraq. The formerly classified document asserts that Prime Minister Tony Blair must have known that Saddam Hussein was not in possession of weapons of mass destruction, hence he deliberately, and knowingly misrepresented claims that led to British involvement in the invasion, and decimation of Iraq. This testimony directly contradicts the findings of the Butler inquiry which cleared the prime minister, and Her Majesty's Government of having distorted, and tweaked the evidence needed to get England behind the war. (The Independent)

Mr. Ross, who worked with the Foreign Office for 15 years and was a member of the British mission to the United Nations, resigned last year because he had grave moral concerns about the legallity of the war. The public venting of his belief that Tony Blair knew that Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction, and that his government never believed that "Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests" is unprecedented for one who himself worked as a member of the British mission to the U.N. Moreover, Ross insists that, despite Tony Blair's claims to the contrary, "there was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of chemical weapon, biological warfare, or nuclear material" by Hussein before the invasion. Ross openly, and aggressively counters the prime minister's assertions that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, and was a menace to British security.

What's more, back in 2002, Ross acknowledges having spoken about his concerns about Blair's veracity with a British weapons expert, David Kelly, who was later named by the BBC as the source that the evidence needed to go to war was "sexed up" by Downing Street. Shortly after having been outed, Mr. Kelly killed himself.

Importantly, the Foreign Office, with whom Carne Ross worked until a year ago, has sedulously attempted to stifle release of testimony in which he claims that Tony Blair intentionally misled Parliament, under the Official Secrets Act, and Ross is still nervous about being prosecuted for divulging so-called "classifed information." While Tony Blair has resigned his post, and his Labour Party is in tatters, the release of this report, and news of the campaign to stifle it, will have far-reaching implications not merely with regard to Britain's foreign policy, but to future wartime partnerships between the U.K. and the U.S..

Not only do these findings validate that other extraordinary, and illuminating memo, from July 23, 2002, the so-called Downing Street Memo, which reveals a deliberate, and calculated plan to deceive citizens of England and the U.S., and manufacture justification for going to war with Iraq, but the manner in which the Foreign Office has attempted to stifle, and silence dissent is more proof that the empire of secrecy, and deception, has insinuated itself into the greater European continent.

If the consequences for lying to the citizens of the country you happen to govern are so grave that you lose your credibility, and public standing, as has happened with the American president, or you lose your position, as has happened to the British prime minister, maybe future leaders will think twice before cooking the causes for going to war. Maybe, if nothing else, we've learned that the politics of intimidation and fear, currently enveloping Carne Ross, and most of North America, flat out doesn't work. With any luck, the world community will now learn to sleep with one eye open with regard to evidence for why we should go to war.

Moreover, maybe the high cost of screwing up in Iraq will inspire future leaders of the "free world," before deciding to invade Iran, or anywhere else on the planet, to hold meetings and conduct inquiries, instead of issuing commands, and to practice statesmanship instead of California stop diplomacy.

We, in this country, can take a few tips from the British, and go after the truth about who, in our government, knew what, when, as well as how to accept responsibility for our actions, and their consequences.
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http://ladyjaynestahl.blogspot.com
Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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