Saturday, December 11, 2010

Foreign Office memo shows 2002 plan to sell Iraq invasion to UK media

Strategy for bringing the media onside was drawn up six months before UN gave approval for an attack on Saddam

Chris Ames and Richard Norton-Taylor, Friday 10 December 2010

"The Foreign Office was planning for the possibility that Britain might attack Iraq without UN approval more than six months before the invasion, according to a hitherto classified document written shortly before a meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush at Camp David.

The document, drawn up by John Williams, press adviser to the then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, spells out ways to soften up the media, including "critics like the Guardian". Under the heading Not taking the UN route, Williams wrote: "Our argument should be narrow, and put with vigour – Iraq is uniquely dangerous."

His memo, titled Iraq Media Strategy, is dated 4 September 2002, when the government was still trying to get UN support for military action and when Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, was advising that clear UN authority was needed. The document was also written as Whitehall and MI6 were being wound up by No 10 to provide much-needed ammunition for the government's Iraq weapons dossier......"

No comments: