British Gov cleared of sexing up WMD claim

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Sabir, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Sabir
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  2. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3434661.stm

    BBC chairman quits over Hutton


    Davies is writing to the prime minister to resign
    BBC chairman Gavyn Davies has resigned in the wake of Lord Hutton's criticisms of the corporation's reports.

    Mr Davies told the corporation's governors of his decision as they met at 1700 GMT.

    It comes after Lord Hutton said the suggestion in BBC reports that the government "sexed up" its dossier on Iraq's weapons with unreliable intelligence was "unfounded".

    And he criticised "defective" BBC editorial processes over defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan's broadcasts of the claims on the Today programme.

    Announcing his resignation, Mr Davies said the people at the top of organisations should accept responsibility for their actions.

    "I have been brought up to believe that you cannot choose your own referee, and that the referee's decision is final," he said.

    He would be writing to the prime minister to tender his resignation with immediate effect.

    Lord Hutton also said he was satisfied Dr Kelly had killed himself after being named as the suspected source of the BBC's controversial weapons dossier story.

    Prime Minister Tony Blair said the report showed "the allegation that I or anybody else lied to the House or deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence of weapons of mass destruction is itself the real lie".

    "I simply ask that those that have made it and repeated it over all these months now withdraw it fully, openly and clearly," he said.


    In other key developments:


    BBC director general Greg Dyke said the corporation apologised for things which were wrong in Mr Gilligan's reports and pointed to changes in the corporation's procedures

    But Mr Dyke argued Dr Kelly had been a credible source and provided they were reported accurately it was right the public should hear his views

    Former Downing Street media chief Alastair Campbell said: "If the government had faced the level of criticisms which today Lord Hutton's report has directed at the BBC, there would have been resignations by now, several resignations at several levels."

    Lord Hutton said the BBC governors should have properly investigated Downing Street's complaints as they defended the corporation's independence

    Lord Hutton said Tony Blair's wish for the dossier to make a persuasive case might have "subconsciously influenced" Joint Intelligence Committee chairman John Scarlett to use stronger words than usual but Mr Scarlett had acted to ensure the dossier was consistent with reliable intelligence

    There was no "dishonourable, underhand or duplicitous strategy" by the government to leak Dr Kelly's name covertly to help its battle with the BBC

    The Ministry of Defence was "at fault" for failing to tell Dr Kelly that his identity as the suspected source would be confirmed to journalists who suggested it, said the report

    Lord Hutton "deplored" the leak of some his findings in the Sun newspaper and is looking at an investigation and possible legal action

    BBC political editor Andrew Marr's reaction to the report was: "In the end what it comes down to is a judgement by Lord Hutton - who he believes, whose motives he trusts most and in that, again and again, he comes down on the side of politicians and officials."

    Key points at-a-glance

    Dr Kelly's family urged the government to learn from their tragedy. "No other person should have to suffer the pressure he experienced," said their solicitor, Peter Jacobsen.


    Tackling the prime minister amid rowdy scenes in the House of Commons, Conservative leader Michael Howard said nobody in government could look back at the affair with pride.

    He said: "Isn't there the starkest contrast between Dr Kelly, who had done so much for our country, and the cabal of ministers and advisers, including the prime minister himself, who were so obsessed by the war with the BBC that they gave scant attention to his welfare?"

    Mr Howard suggested Mr Blair's denial to journalists that he had authorised the naming of Dr Kelly was at odds with Lord Hutton's conclusions.

    But Mr Blair said Lord Hutton had found that Downing Street had only helped draw up the press release saying an official had met Mr Gilligan.

    It had not been involved in what MoD press officers told journalists.

    Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy said an independent inquiry was still needed into the Iraq war.


    "We are still no closer to determining whether this country went to war on a false prospectus," he said.

    The judge's 328-report is based on evidence from 74 witnesses over the six weeks of the Hutton inquiry last summer.
     
  3. 5.10 leader
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    OK so now the Hutton Report has been published which apparently lets Blair off the hook. My comments arising from the report are:-

    1. The British Government appointed Hutton

    2. The British Government established the terms of reference for the enquiry

    3. The British Government determined what evidence could be presented to the enquiry

    4. Blair presented his evidence which contradicted that presented by other witnesses yet he was not available for cross-examination.

    5. The report contains some curiously worded statements which apply to key issues.

    One must ask how impartial was the enquiry?
     
  4. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Cleared by a political appointee of Tony Blair...So much for objectivity. Polls show the British still trust the Beeb more than Blair to tell the truth.
     
  5. nbdysfu
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    Was this a trial or an assessment? Was meant to be an assessment of the government or on the credibility of the Beebzeera?
    How much control did Blair really have over the trial?

    As far as I'm concerned the Beeb got a slap on the wrist. The government disowned them as a credible news outlet.

    A slanted verdict would have been to accuse Gilligan of involuntary manslaughter of David Kelly. :p:
     

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