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No one escaped unscathed in week of dramatic twists and turns

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QuietStorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-15-03 08:34 PM
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No one escaped unscathed in week of dramatic twists and turns
At 2.48 on a hot and slow afternoon in the Hutton inquiry, Martin Howard, an intelligence chief, casually dropped into his evidence that the Prime Minister had personally intervened in the case of David Kelly. Amid the frantic scratching of journalists' pens on their notebooks, there was a loud whisper, "torpedo running".

By the end of this first week of the inquiry, any hopes Tony Blair and his government may have had that Lord Hutton would confine himself to the narrow channel of the immediate circumstances of Dr Kelly's death have evaporated.

In a series of meticulously crafted questions, James Dingemans QC, counsel for the inquiry, has drawn witnesses into the incendiary issue of the Government's case for war on Iraq. With the timing of a conjurer, he has produced a deck of hitherto undisclosed official documents that give a tantalising insight into how the September weapons dossier, the justification for the invasion, was constructed, and the level of friction and disquiet it created.

The inquiry was shown successive drafts of the now notorious September dossier, something the MPs in the Foreign Affairs Committee had asked for from the Government and been refused. Mr Dingemans asked Mr Howard why the drafts were not made public. Why were they not given to the Foreign Affairs Committee? As Mr Howard squirmed, the QC took him through the various stages of the document as the Government tried to prove Saddam Hussein could launch a chemical and biological attack within 45 minutes.

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