In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."
Mr Ross revealed it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been "effectively contained".
He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. "I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)," he said.
"At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos."
Supplementary evidence submitted by Mr Carne Ross, Director, Independent Diplomat
SUBMISSION TO BUTLER REVIEW
"I am in the Senior Management Structure of the FCO, currently seconded to the UN in Kosovo. I was First Secretary in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York from December 1997 until June 2002. I was responsible for Iraq policy in the mission, including policy on sanctions, weapons inspections and liaison with UNSCOM and later UNMOVIC.
During that time, I helped negotiate several UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq, including resolution 1284 which, inter alia, established UNMOVIC (an acronym I coined late one New York night during the year-long negotiation). I took part in policy debates within HMG and in particular with the US government. I attended many policy discussions on Iraq with the US State Department in Washington, New York and London.
My concerns about the policy on Iraq divide into three:
I am in the Senior Management Structure of the FCO, currently seconded to the UN in Kosovo. I was First Secretary in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York from December 1997 until June 2002. I was responsible for Iraq policy in the mission, including policy on sanctions, weapons inspections and liaison with UNSCOM and later UNMOVIC.
I was a member of the FCO from 1989 to 2004, when I resigned after giving evidence to the Butler review. As a member of the so-called "fast stream" of the Diplomatic Service, I served, inter alia, as head of the Middle East Peace Process section (1995-97), speechwriter to the Foreign Secretary (1997-98.), and First Secretary (Political) at the UK Mission to the UN, New York, where I was responsible for the Middle East, and in particular Iraq (1998-2002). I served briefly in Afghanistan after the US/UK invasion and was seconded to the UN mission in Kosovo in 2003-04. By the time I resigned, I had joined the Senior Management Structure of the FCO.
I read the available UK and US intelligence on Iraq every working day for the four and a half years of my posting. This daily briefing would often comprise a thick folder of material, both humint and sigint. I also talked often and at length about Iraq's WMD to the international experts who comprised the inspectors of UNSCOM/UNMOVIC, whose views I would report to London. In addition, I was on many occasions asked to offer views in contribution to Cabinet Office assessments, including the famous WMD dossier (whose preparation began some time before my departure in June 2002).
During my posting, at no time did HMG assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests. On the contrary, it was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained. I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed). (At the same time, we would frequently argue, when the US raised the subject, that "rÃ©gime change" was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos.)
nigegilb said:Carne Ross should have come clean years ago. There is no way this lying deceitful Govt would win a case before a jury. Blair should be tried in the Hague and the British people should get rid of this Govt at the earliest opportunity. This war was illegal. The Inquiry a whitewash. I am ashamed to call myself British under this regime.
Today evidence has been published that suggests the government NEVER truly believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Sir John Major tells us his views.
Unsworth said:Yes. A man of notable courage and personal integrity. Of course his words and actions will cost him dear, if they have not done so already. But one has to admire him both for his bravery and for the clarity of his thought and comments.
Would that there were many more like Mr Carne Ross...
Stonker said:You'd do better to ask why the information in his testimony was withheld until now: I am sure that most of the people who spoke to the enquiry were as honest - but didn't know as much.
I wanna know:
Who decided to keep a lid on this? Did they think it would stay buried? Did they let it out today in hopes of taking attention away from TB 'helping the Police with their inquiries'? Or was it the other way round?