Author:Lancaster, Pat

A dossier intended to rally the support of the British public for the invasion of Iraq has been exposed by a British newspaper, and confirmed by a Downing Street spokesman, as being largely based on the work of an American student who published his work on the Internet. Much of the information gleaned from the Internet source had been in the public domain for at least 12 years.

The dossier Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation was made public earlier this year as Mr Blair tried to convince the British public the war on Iraq was justified. Indeed, the "dodgy dossier" as the British press are referring to the document, formed a cornerstone of the Prime Minister's campaign to whip up enthusiasm for joining forces with President Bush in his plan to invade Iraq.

British Home Secretary David Blunkett admits one of the key documents supporting the government's case for war should not have been published. "I think it would be better if we hadn't published that dossier because it was about the background to Iraq, it wasn't about the identification of weapons of mass destruction.

"I think we should draw a line under what has become the most absurd political story in the whole of my lifetime ... The truth is the people of Iraq are free from a tyrant."

Absurd? Well you certainly got that one right Mr Blunkett. But whether or not the people of Iraq are free from a tyrant, and that in itself is debatable, how that position was reached can not and must not be ignored. "That dossier", was presented by the highest political force in the land as proof positive British troops should be sent to invade a Middle East state. It is not enough to pass it off now as a mere detail.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, who took up office on a wave of public enthusiasm, repeatedly told the British electorate the threat to the United Kingdom from Saddam Hussein was real and imminent. He assured them from the Houses of Parliament and in a series of television and newspaper interviews that he personally had "proof" weapons of mass destruction (WMD) did exist in Iraq and, he added, it was essential they were disabled.

When more than a million people took to the streets of London--the...

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