A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
Conclusions that the U.S.-led inspections of pre-war Iraq were "fundamentally flawed" were covered up, according to a world-renowned Australian chemical weapons expert who was part of the team. Dr. John Gee claimed yesterday that his six-page letter of resignation from the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) in March 2004 detailing the problems was suppressed by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
"The advice I gave the Government was that there was no WMD in Iraq, and I had lost confidence in the process that was being carried out in Iraq by the Iraq Survey Group," Gee said in a radio interview yesterday. "It didn't seem to me to be an intellectually honest process."
"I think it was just preconceived in Washington that there was WMD there, but they never stepped back to look at the whole process and say, is there WMD there? Had they done that, they might have got a different answer."
In his letter, Gee wrote that the Iraq Survey Group was "run by the CIA to protect the CIA" by trying to justify its initial assessment. "I now believe that there are no WMD in Iraq and that while the ISG has found a number of research activities . . . it has found no evidence so far on ongoing WMD programs of the type I had assumed would be there."
"I have concluded," Gee added, "that the process here is fundamentally flawed and that there is a distinct reluctance on the part of many here and in Washington to face the facts."
If Tony Blair is George Bush's lapdog, Australian Prime Minister John Howard is his lap-puppy. The Howard Government has bent over backwards to appease Bush for years, including on Iraq. Indeed, Gee's claims suggest Howard was complicit with Bush's war despite his now confirmed knowledge that Saddam did not have WMD.
Kevin Rudd, a leader of Australia's liberal opposition party, said the government "didn't want that message to get out to the Australian public before the 2004 federal elections. That's where this thing stinks. Mr. Downer has put politics first and Australia's national security interests last."
Though initially denying he even received Gee's letter, Downer acknowledged today having read it but maintains he did not order it to be concealed.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT