Sunday, 28 June 2009

Who leaked a secret dossier for Iraq war inquiry to the Sunday Mirror and why?

Thanks to British newspapers such as the Mirror and Daily Mail, the Iraq war inquiry has turned into a farce before it has even started. Someone has leaked a secret 100-page dossier to the Mirror, and the Daily Mail has published details of the same 'secret' report naming 'a Sunday paper' as its source.

How are readers able to determine whether a 'leaked secret report' is true or not? Surely the Mirror and Daily Mail ought to be investigated and fined for publishing details of a secret document written (by whom?) for former Army head Sir Mike Jackson. What was the leaker's motive, will s/he get away with it, and what has become of the Official Secrets Act, I wonder.

See News report by RUPERT HAMER, Sunday, 28 June 2009 - Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to blame over Iraq war, says Army report - excerpt:
A secret report by Army bosses to be presented to the Iraq war inquiry blames Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for the botched occupation of the country.

The dossier - prepared for ex-military chief General Sir Mike Jackson - criticises then Chancellor Mr Brown for withholding funds to rebuild Basra for FIVE months after our troops went in. And the 100-page document attacks Mr Blair for "uncritically" accepting flawed US plans for the March 2003 invasion, which led to tens of thousands of deaths, including those of 179 British troops.

The report - Stability Operations in Iraq - will not be officially made public because the inquiry's head, Sir John Chilcot, ruled all documents will remain secret.

But the contents have been leaked to the Sunday Mirror. [...]
Note that (and thanks to eagle eyed Blair Supporter for pointing it out) the photo of Tony Blair published in above report is incorrectly titled as follows:

Here is a better photo, taken on the same day. The caption tells us that the photo was taken in Sderot, southern Israel. Why should one believe a word the Mirror says?

Tony Blair during a visit to Sderot, southern Israel, Sunday, March 1, 2009.

Photo: Middle East Envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair looks at a display of rockets that have been fired at Israeli communities by Palestinian militants in Gaza, during a visit to Sderot, southern Israel, Sunday, March 1, 2009. (Source: Daylife Publishing/Washington Post Newsweek Interactive)
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Here's another question. Did the Daily Mail plagiarise the Mirror's report or are they in cahoots with each other or what? See the following excerpt from the Daily Mail -
Army bosses blame Gordon Brown and Tony Blair for botched occupation of Iraq
Last updated at 3:11 PM on Sunday, 28 June 2009:
Army chiefs have laid the blame for the botched occupation of Iraq full square on the shoulders of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

In a devastating secret memo to the Iraq war inquiry, they say Mr Brown's refusal as Chancellor to release vital funds for the Army played into the hands of insurgents.

The report, written for former Army head Sir Mike Jackson, also attacks Mr Blair for 'uncritically' accepting flawed U.S. plans for the invasion when he was prime minister.

The 100-page dossier, Stability Operations in Iraq, will not be made public but its contents were leaked to a Sunday newspaper. [...]

The report will not be made public because the head of the Iraq war inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, has said that all documents sent to him will remain secret.
Finally, here is an excerpt from The Independent today that quotes Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on his views re the upcoming Iraq war inquiry.

From The Independent
Sunday, 28 June 2009 at 08:41 am
Ben Bradshaw: Glad to be 'more Wagner than Wenger'
Does he think the Iraq inquiry should be held in public? His response is controversial. "To be perfectly honest I'm not convinced by the need to have one, because I think there will be people who will never be satisfied, and what people seem not able to accept on the Iraq war is that it's possible to reach sincerely and strongly held views on both sides of the question as to whether it was the right thing to do.

"However, an inquiry [having been promised by the Government], I accept there needs to be one, and it should be as open as possible."

How about Tony Blair's fears that it would be a "show trial" if held in public? "What his critics hate is the fact that they have never been able to pin anything on him. In my view they never will. Some people have just got to accept that they took a view on the war that this Government did not share and I think history will be the judge as to who was right."
I say, what a profound response. Well said, Mr Bradshaw.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Urgent message to Lord Soley for guidelines or legislation re mainstream media and online libel and slander

R.I.P. Michael Joe Jackson 1958-2009

R.I.P. Michael Joseph Jackson August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009. (Photo source: soumya/

The following message is for Lord Soley who ought to be a Guinness World Record holder for being the world's first blogging Lord. Lords of the Blog is Clive's brainchild. Sadly, his original blog (circa 2003-2007), Clive Soley MP, has disappeared from the Internet.

Dear Clive, I am posting this message to you at Lords of the Blog in the hope that the site acts as an email contact address for you. I have published the following today (Saturday, 27 June 2009) at my new blog, BLAIR FOUNDATION WATCH - A Blairite's blog:

Dear Clive,

I hope this finds you well. I often think of you and still miss your first blog and great writings on press standards. Hence the reason for this note to you (that I have turned into a blog post) to request you please to start writing blog posts at Lords of the Blog that focus on ways and means that people can be protected from libelous and slanderous commentary published about them in mainstream media and the blogosphere.

Over the past six years, it pains me to think of the miles of outrageous lies and disgusting foul hateful comments that I have seen online about Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Michael Jackson, Prince Charles and Tony Blair, to name a few. Even though a court of law found the late great Michael Jackson not guilty, the world now knows that it contributed to costing him a fortune and his life.

Something must be done to protect people from being verbally ripped to shreds and hounded to financial ruin and/or death. In my view, the rabidness of feral journalists and commentators online has become worse, not better, post-Diana, Princess of Wales.

Recently, I have interacted online with a blogger who goes by the name of 'Blair Supporter' or 'B'. S/he anonymously authors a three-year-old blog called 'Keeping Tony Blair for PM' (recently re-named 'Tony Blair').

We are horrified by the grossly unfair treatment that Tony Blair is getting at the hands of mainstream media, pressure groups, politicians (particularly Clare Short), bloggers and commentators. The avalanche of unfair accusations, lies and propaganda could become unstoppable and deadly dangerous as it spreads around the world for all to see in the run up to, during, and after the inquiry on Iraq.

We want to be able to do something about it. At the moment we are working hard tracking and blogging, writing rebuttals, responding to commentary, etc., but there is only so much two people can do without being armed with some sort of warning that carries weight.

For example, in our blogs, and when finding slanderous comments, etc., we need to be able to point to a URL that provides the latest Codes of Conduct and/or guidelines on legislation that warns publishers (and anonymous authors) against libel, slander, character assassination, bullying, etc. If the latest Codes of Conduct are useless and legislation does not exist, we need your help and advice on pushing for urgent legislation.

Also, please see (copied here below) what BNP leader Nick Griffin said about Tony Blair at the BNP's recent annual conference.

Clive, I hope you will be able to find the time to do some blogging on the above issues.

Kindest regards
Ingrid Jones (Ms)
Address and phone number (on the coast of southwest England, UK) is still the same, since 2000.
Author of:

PS Clive, here are four links - including the one re BNP mentioned here above.

Ethics for the “Feral Beast”

What if a free media is not a watchdog guarding citizens’ rights, but a “feral beast,” sinking its teeth into any politician’s throat? Legislation providing for a free press is not sufficient to establish a democratic press. The media itself must be accountable for its own actions. Journalists must know that their first duty is toward the public, not toward their shareholders. Codes of conduct and a sufficient degree of self-regulation must be in place, preventing media frenzy that may result in biased reporting, disregard of facts, or plain disregard of the public. Media assistance donors are aware of that and provide journalism training to promote, among other objectives, professional ethics. For instance, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), UNESCO, and Internews support the establishment of press councils and professional codes to strengthen the media’s ability to self-regulate.

“At present, we are all being dragged down by the way media and public life interact,” Blair stated toward the end of his remarkable speech. There is no doubt that democracy needs a free and independent media system. But upholding freedom of the press comes with a subscription to another democratic value: balance.
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Blair: media is feral beast obsessed with impact

By PATRICK WINTOUR, political editor, The Guardian, 13 June 2007

British newspapers will and should be subject to some form of new external regulation, the outgoing prime minister, Tony Blair, said yesterday in a broadside that attacked the media for behaving like feral beasts and eschewing balance or proportion.
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The Internet Journalist - Fact Checking and Defamation requirements
By Don Burleson, Burleson Consulting website:
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Ref: Nick Griffin, MEP for the North West, addressing the BNP’s victory rally in Blackpool on 20 June 2009.

In a wide ranging speech which covered several topics he also revealed that he would personally be laying a war crimes charge against Tony Blair over an incident in the Balkans.

See this excerpt from BNP News [20 June 2009, BNP website: 'Establishment Parties Have Turned Britain into a Multicultural Bankrupt Slum, Says BNP Leader]:
“We all know that they have announced that there will now be another inquiry into the Iraq War,” Mr Griffin said. “Of course there should not be an inquiry, but rather a war crimes trial, based on the principles established during the Nuremburg Trials.

“The accused must include the politicians and the propagandists who generated the background to the war,” he continued.

“This will include the newspaper editors and media owners who are just as responsible for the lies which led to that war.

“However, we have enough evidence right now to make a case against Jeff Hoon and Tony Blair for an incident during the Balkans War when a Serbian TV station was bombed. I will be laying a charge with a central London police station very soon over this matter.

“Even if they do not want to take it any further, the groundwork has been laid for it to be taken to the war crimes commission in The Hague. As an MEP, I have the right to pursue this matter, and Tony Blair is going to have that hanging over him,” Mr Griffin said to applause from the crowd.
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Update about half an hour after publishing the above blog post:

Here is a copy of my comment that is awaiting moderation at Lord Soley's blog post at Lords of the Blog - News of the World and Lobbying - 05 February 2009:

Ingrid Jones
June 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm
Dear Clive, I have just tried twice to post a comment here but as soon as I press send a white page appears saying “discarded”.

So, I hope to get my message to you via my new blog

Please see:
Message to Lord Soley: Call for guidelines on legislation against mainstream media and online libel and slander

Kindest regards,

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Guardian issues correction but no apology

From the The Guardian by its Corrections Editor, 25 June 2009:
In a report, The £7,000 roofing bill two days before Blair left office, we said that Tony Blair declined a peerage on stepping down as prime minister and as an MP in 2007 partly to protect his post-Downing Street finances from scrutiny. This was untrue. Peerages have customarily been offered to prime ministers on leaving the House of Commons, but Tony Blair's office has informed us that having neither sought nor been offered a peerage, he has not declined one to protect his finances from scrutiny (19 June, page 4)
Note that the correction contains no word of apology and fails explain that the roofing bill was for work carried out several months before.

Journalists libelling Alastair Campbell

For the record, here is a copy of Alastair Campbell's blog post, 25 June 2009:
Apology from the Spectator on Iraq boosts Henry Hodge fund
I have never been a fan of the libel laws, and contrary to the claims of some in the media, I rarely bother to complain about things written about me. Life is too short and in any event if people in our street believed the bile and the bilge in papers like the Mail, I wouldn't be able to walk down to the shops.

But it would seem some critics of government policy on Iraq think it is once again open season to say what they like, including the kind of thing that I simply cannot allow to go without comment and action. This not least because many journalists now routinely regurgitate libels without making any independent checks whatever.

I was grateful to Steve Richards of The Independent for agreeing he had misrepresented my position with regard to prior consultation about the Iraq inquiry, and my position as to whether it should be public or private. It didn't stop William Hague making the same claim in the Commons, but there is not much I can do about that other than point out he was wrong.

Today The Spectator, who also did not bother to check before committing to print, ran a report making all sorts of claims about TB, GB and Peter M in relation to the Iraq inquiry. It is up to them if they want to do or say anything about those claims. But amid it all there was a statement - as in statement of fact - that I prevailed upon Lord Butler to water down the most important sections of his report on intelligence about Iraq.

Put to one side that this may be defamatory of Lord Butler in its suggestion that he allowed such prevailing to make him change his report. It is certainly defamatory of me in suggesting I tried. And it is totally untrue.

I left Downing Street in 2003, a year before his report was commissioned. Though I continued to keep in touch with the PM, I played no part in the Butler Report at all, at any stage. I did not discuss it with Lord Butler or any of his committee, to which I was not a witness. I did not see the report in advance of publication.

I think the allegation that I, as a former government employee, sought improperly to influence the content of such an important report, is a serious allegation to make and there is no substantiation for it.

I called the editor Matthew D'Ancona to complain this morning, after it was drawn to my attention. He checked it out with the reporter, John Kampfner, and reported back to me that Kampfner stood by the story and that his source was on the Butler committee.

By now, I got a lawyer involved. I do not know what discussions Matthew D'Ancona then had with Kampfner but I do know that as I left a conference in Manchester a few hours later, he called to say he accepted Kampfner could not substantiate the story, and agreed to run the apology I had drafted for him in the morning, which runs as follows.

'In John Kampfner's article, we stated that Alastair Campbell prevailed upon Lord Butler to tone down important sections of his report on intelligence used in the build up to war in Iraq. We are happy to accept that this is not so, and that Mr Campbell, who left Downing Street in 2003, played no role in relation to the Butler inquiry to which he was not a witness. We apologise to him for our error and have agreed to make a donation to the fund he has established for Leukaemia Research in honour of Henry Hodge.'

My lawyer has since been on saying I should have got far more out of them, as it was a serious libel. But I am glad Matthew D'Ancona sorted it all out speedily, and suggest Kampfner and others minded to print what they might want to believe to be true do a little more checking first.

To any other journalists who feel they may have libelled me in relation to this or any other agenda-driven nonsense, please feel free to visit

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Hello and Welcome

This blog was created on Friday, 17 July 2009. Some earlier dated items have been copied and pasted from one of my other blogs, namely Blair Foundation Watch - A Blairite's blog (see link in sidebar here on the right). More here later.