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Tuesday 12 January 2010 - the plan so far

Sarah McDermott | 12:22 UK time, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tony Blair's ex-spokesman Alastair Campbell is facing the Iraq war inquiry - David Grossman is there for us.

Meanwhile Peter Marshall is at the Hague where the Dutch government has commissioned its own inquiry into the Iraq war.

Also, the radical Islamist group that planned to march through Wootton Bassett will be banned under counter-terrorism laws, and we'll be investigating why.

And we have part two of Tales from Guantanamo. Tonight former guard Brandon Neely is reunited with two former prisoners. Catch up with what happened in part one here.

More later.


  • Comment number 1.


    In the last minutes before lunch, they asked Campbell about '45 minutes'.
    Ex-media man Alastair, stated he did not see the 45 minute claim as anyting special, and (by inference) had NO IDEA it would make the headlines. HE WAS NOT ASKED IF ANYONE THOUGHT OF ISSUING A CORRECTION, TO THE PRESS! (Perhaps like the correctional tirade Alastair Campbell delivered to Channel 4, regarding Gilligan's 'falsehoods'.

    Ah – Martha Kearney has just declared Campbell did not lose his temper. Really? So he must have got out his pram (as I watched) to go for a pee then.

    At one point, Campbell said he would NEVER CRITICISE SCARLET 'for whom he has a huge regard'. Duly noted. Might he be regarded as a 'hostile witness' should the integrity of Scarlett (soon after, knighted and given MI6 job) be impinged upon?

  • Comment number 2.


    I withdraw my complaint of yesterday (that you made a 'number' out of this appalling business) I had not realised the clue was in the title.

    However - would not 'GUYS AND TROLLS' have been a bit more edgy, and have allowed for a few dance sequences - perhaps employing simulated stress positions?

  • Comment number 3.

    Iraq War Inquiry -

    The government will blame the security forces the security forces will blame the government. The real question - why are we paying for cock up after cock up and the inquiry that always comes about 'truth'. Fascinating it maybe but why cant we make the ruling class legally responsible for their monumental cock ups of delusion,selfishness and greed that affect us all.


    Financial regulation

    Politicians expenses in the context of armed forces equipment

    Stuff that's not yet known

  • Comment number 4.

    "Tony Blair's ex-spokesman Alastair Campbell is facing the Iraq war inquiry"

    by the looks of it, he is anything but the ex spokesman of t blair.

    interestingly he did lay down from the get go all of the participants that would be implicated if his submission was anything close to the reality of events. so there was never a chance of chilcott being anything more than a whitewash.

    "the radical Islamist group that planned to march through Wootton Bassett will be banned under counter-terrorism laws, and we'll be investigating why"

    freedom of speech? right to be offensive? disagree with illegal wars? democratic right to protest?

    "And we have part two of Tales from Guantanamo. Tonight former guard Brandon Neely is reunited with two former prisoners"

    a case of wiping the bloodstains post the crime.

    what are we supposed to be offering to afghanis?

  • Comment number 5.

    NN are such media tarts. only covering the inquiry when a pin up is there. the real revelations happen in the other sessions.


    imo all the FO witnesses have been hostile with a prepared 'line'. the military and some of the other civil servants have been open and expansive.

    monday's session gives more 'truth' than a hundred sessions with campbell might?

    Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff session is extraordinary in as much the view we got from the press and politicians was so different from the grim reality the troops faced.

    he said we had an exit strategy not a 'winning strategy'.

  • Comment number 6.

    ...what are we supposed to be offering to afghanis?

    blood, sweat and tears?

    there is no such thing as a science of nation building [no textbooks, no professors, no centres of excellence etc]. yet the govt claims and believes they are world experts at it. the govt and the neocon castle that is the FO is addicted to their false beliefs.

  • Comment number 7.

    I hope that people who really care are not so enamoured with the experiment that they forget the happiness and wellbeing of their target.


  • Comment number 8.

    Last night's interview of Woodward went some way to restoring my faith in Newsnight.

    The frolics with Hattersley, Prescott and the Demos man were entertaining, nothing more.

    I could not bring myself to watch the Guantanamo piece or the "positive" thinking bit; and Cilla returns tonight!

    I don't understand why the media are so absorbed with Chilcot; you expecting confessions, inadvertent slips, people like Campbell being overawed by the panel?

    We all know the truth already; equally we know that nothing will happen to any of the perps.

    We really should not be getting exercised over whether anyone lied about Iraq/Saddam/WMD; we know from Blair himself that he would have gone to war in any case, all that was required was the excuse; and we know that Campbell would have done his job and produced the scenario justifying war, whatever was required.

    What is clear is that the consequences of their actions bore no weight on them at all, apart from "removing Saddam."

    We really must stop giving them every opportunity to parade their "good faith" and "genuine belief".

    Nobody should turn up when Blair gives his evidence. Lack of audience is the most hurt anyone could provide for him.

    The whole Iraq shambles was an unmitigated catastrophe; will we learn the lessons?

    Watch out Iran.

  • Comment number 9.

    #7. add on

    And anywway, I want the internophysical experiment to stop ASAP or I will be leaving this country for it to be sorted out. I don't mind being filmed ice skating but the bodily experiment is simply unacceptabble.


  • Comment number 10.

    iraq inquiry

    Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff session

    he could not believe that after 3 and a 1/2 years the uk had no uav capability that could fly over Basra. He was told by the MOD no staff time could be given to it. He compared the inaction of the MOD with the Australian force that within 8 weeks had drawn up plans arranged a manufacturer and had them flying....

    [i have long said the constant mess up within the MOD is sabotage not 'bad luck']

    he said the UK did not want the help of a USA unit in Basra because they saw it as a 'uk patch' and so would rather place huge burdens and risk upon the small uk troop force than bring to bear all the means available it to them.
    [which sounds like pure vanity and snobbishness on behalf on London]

    he said they found a concentration camp in basra [in theory uk responsibility] full of people in a bad way.

    he said the uk was unable to deliver a 'big idea'.

  • Comment number 11.

    8 The whole Iraq shambles was an unmitigated catastrophe; will we learn the lessons?...

    according to the iraq inquiry evidence the exact same mistakes are being made in afghanistan.

    yemen is the the new buzz word in the war without end.

  • Comment number 12.

    I just saw Campbell being asked about the possibility of there being no WMDs and said John Scarlett had raised the possibility. This was interesting as all the evidence before the war was that there was none, specifically-

    1. The uranium from Niger documents were forgeries which came about using papers and seals stolen from the Niger embassy in Rome on 2001 New Year's holiday, before 9/11.

    2. Hussein Kamel, son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, and head of Iraq's weapons program who defected to the West in 1995 was debriefed and testified that all the WMDs had been destroyed after the first Gulf war.

    3. The UN weapons inspectors had determined in their first round of inspections after Gulf War I that the Sarin Iraq produced was of such low quality that it could only be stored for 4-6 weeks before it became inert, so any stockpile would have to be dynamic rather than static, so it would have to be constantly produced, given the amounts claimed by Colin Powell at the UN this is something that would be observable by examining and interpreting satellite imagery. There are no satellite images of such actions, if their had been they would have most definately been deployed to support the theory that Iraq had WMDs.

    4. Aluminum tubing that Britain and the US said was being used to manufacture centrifuges for enriched uranium production was actually being used to manufacture short range conventional rockets, in fact the BBC were taken to see the rocket production and appeared to my knowledge only once on BBC News 24.

    Perhaps a James Bond quote is apropos-

    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is Enemy Action."
    -- Auric Goldfinger

    After the war the black propaganda continued with the "mobile weapons labs" which were no such thing, and continuous reports of WMDs being "found" which of course where not.

    It seems the Iraq inquiry are being "Good Germans" and avoiding all these hard truths.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thinking back surely the Iraq war of 2003 partly came about because Bush Snr. didn't finish Saddam off after the Kuwait invasion?

    Bush jnr. felt he had to avenge his father who failed in bringing Saddam to trial or killing him. Saddam meanwhile kept killing Kurds and the marsh people by whatever means he could.

    Although I do agree with everyone that probably oil was the main motivator, after all the west only survives on burning oil copiously.

    No matter how long, or who is interviewed, the inquiry is a waste of everyones time. Do you honestly think we are ever told the truth here, they will put whatever gloss and spin they like on the Iraq inquiry. It will be a hundred years before someone might have an inkling of what really happened.

    And another thought, why do moderate islamic countries never get involved in these wars? That shouts that they fully supported Saddam Hussein, so why did we invade? Why don't we leave the muslim countries alone, and explain to the muslims already living in the west, you are free to practice your religion, but don't expect the west to become an Islamic state and follow sharia law. You are free to leave at any time and practice Islam in the Islamic countries, there are many of them.

    I do not understand the constant appeasement of muslims in Britain or europe, when we chose to fight a war against muslims in their own country. It says to me we are hypocrites. And as there are so many factions of Islam that are fighting and killing each other, why don't we leave them to fight amongst themselves?

    Or is that damn oil too important?

  • Comment number 14.


    Campbell was an open book, if you are versed in the allied languages of 'Dissembling' and 'Deception'.

    Campbell was asked to justify the assertion, made by Blair to Parliament, that the threat from Sadam was 'GROWING'. Alastair Campbell explained that Tony was in receipt of more and more intelligence that caused him (Tony - one individual) GROWING concern. Ergo (spot the AC logic) THE THREAT FROM SADAM WAS GROWING. It is a tribute to the breeding of the panel members, that they did not even crack, let alone fall off their chairs. Blatant bamboozling that a ten year old would blush at!

    Campbell is defined in the above (if such were needed) and was/is beloved of Tony. Indeed, I have posted before on the uncritical love that flows the other way, also. To my mind this is all part of defining the Prime Minister that we elected three times; he is the wrong kind of stuff, and his tenure and works have done this country untold harm.

    Now we have Brown, carrying on the tradition. Are you ready for another?
    If not - you know what to do.

  • Comment number 15.

    I can't wait for tonights Newsnight.
    And it'll be Paxo I'm twice as happy.

    Boy oh boy, I'll bet someone in Connaught Square, isn't having a good tuesday.

    Tony Blair's emails to george bush said something like this, according to Alistair....“We are absolutely with you in making Saddam face up to his obligations and making sure Iraq will be disarmed. But if that can’t be done diplomatically, if it has to be done militarily, then Britain will definitely be there.”

    quote from todays FT, see lead story

  • Comment number 16.

    IRAQ ATTACK (#13)

    Hi Lizzy. When you have just pulled a stunt that killed thousands of your own people, for wider political advantage, there is intense focus on the site of the crime. If you INSTANTLY declare: "The Bogey Man dun it", and rush off to flatten the BMs goods and chattels, (declaring all dissent UNPATRIOTIC) making the atrocity-site a shrine, and doing the FAMILIAR "our brave boys" stuff, you have some chance of getting away with it. It is, currently, touch and go who's going to win. I think they reckoned without the internet - we are all learning about the internet . . ..

  • Comment number 17.

    ~16 Barrie we are all learning about the internet Yes I don't think (we)it can be ignored! ; )

    I wonder if Alastairs depression ever clouded his judgement?

    Mental illness can make for strange thoughts and decisions.

  • Comment number 18.

    Roger ahead as usual...

    How does he do it, always talking of some problem before the media catch up, perhaps they take a cue from him.

  • Comment number 19.

    KELLY - 50:50 I'D SAY. (#17)

    I gather they are going to take another look at Kelly.
    I knew nothing of the emotional hinterland, when he died. But I did ponder what knocks a guy's legs out faster than anything else. "Cherchez La Femme" my unconscious replied. A couple of days later, his 'femme fatale' was in one of the papers - Mai Pederson. All the pieces fitted terribly well - except one.

    Such was his infatuation (?) he took up her religion (Bah'ai) WHICH FORBIDS SUICIDE. But then - if she had rebuffed him in his hour of need, did he dump HER religion, to get back?

    I'm watching that space.

  • Comment number 20.

    The more he gave evidence the longer grew his nose.....

  • Comment number 21.


    Do we have a body-language expert on the blog? I saw the tell-tale touch of the nose, on a fair few occasions. He also masked is mouth quite a bit; heavily, after one particuly bit of economy. Also - is it me, or does he do the 'Lady Di' wary look-out thing, sort of under the fringe?
    And ALL THAT BLETHER! No wonder his session was long.

  • Comment number 22.

    19 barrie

    remember susan was involved in the kelly story

    a bunch of medical experts signed a piece of paper saying there are unanswered questions about his death- lack of blood etc.

    Our doubts about Dr Kelly's suicide

    apparently this is the one case we are not supposed to believe 'scientists'?

    Kelly death paramedics query verdict

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.


    (Thanks for the link - read with care.)

    Helpful deaths are always accompanied by madly conflicting evidence, it seems. As I typed that, I realised what a good way to mess up any enquiry that is. Instead of trying to eliminate all the evidence, or do the perfect deception, simply flood the incident with all sorts of conflicting data.

    Diana. 9/11. Kelly. others?

    Are we dealing with a Machiavellian assassination technique? Did he cover this area? Is it in the Masonic handbook? MIx CIA etc?

  • Comment number 25.

    today's evidence was evidence of technique.

    compare this evidence style [the same as the the FO style] with that of the military then ask from which you would buy a secondhand car?

  • Comment number 26.


    As the Headmaster said to me: "Singleton - people like you don't get on."

    Google knows where you live . . .

  • Comment number 27.



    the one time i ventured into local politics someone tried to frame me for a robbery. the first thing the cid officer said to me was 'who have i upset'. which only struck me later as a bizarre first thing to say.

    a few months later the local council chief was sacked for unspecified 'improper actions'.

    the thing with kelly was he stood between 'many dark actors playing' games.

    the inventor of the iraqi supergun also ended up dead.

    On 5 December 2009 six doctors began legal action to demand a formal inquest into the death claiming there was "insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt he killed himself."

  • Comment number 28.


    Why does that not fill me full of hopeful anticipation? After all, failing to realise that people who will work for a tiny wage are generally outside THE LAW is not an offence - is it?

    Orwell understood when he wrote the end of 1984.

  • Comment number 29.

    Lots in the media about Google refusing to be censored by China.

    Will Newsnight be covering this? Considering the connection.


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