Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Yes, Minister! (by Uri Avnery): "Clearly, he who appoints a commission of Inquiry decides in advance what the conclusions will be. When a member of the Establishment is appointed to investigate the Establishment , the conclusion will be that the Establishment has committed no wrong.

"In Israel, for example, we had the Agranat commission. Shimon Agranat, a respected Supreme Court judge, was appointed chairman of a commission and asked to apportion blame for the fateful failures of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The inquiry was limited in advance to the first days of the war, so the events leading up to the war (including government decisions) were excluded. The result: The Prime Minister (Golda Meir) and the Minister of Defense (Moshe Dayan) came our white as snow. All the blame landed on some military officers.

"(The conclusions were so scandalous that the general public rose up against them. The commission’s report was thrown into the waste basket, Golda and Dayan were forced to resign.)"

"Common sense would say: Bush & Blair were “deceived”, because they wanted to be deceived. Bush and the Neo-cons who have taken over Washington had decided from the beginning to attack Iraq, mainly in order to control the oil, and the tales of WMD were designed to provide a pretext that would frighten the masses.

"Did the political leaders explicitly demand that their intelligence organizations supply them with mendacious reports? Perish the thought! The commissions of inquiry will affirm that no such thing happened. And correctly so. The leaders did not ask for this, because there was no need to ask. The American, British and Israeli intelligence chiefs knew perfectly well what was required of them and delivered the goods. They knew which side their bread was buttered on.

"Did the intelligence people deliberately falsify their information to achieve this? There was no need. The intelligence community collects enormous quantities of information. From this huge pile they are supposed to extract the items that they consider credible. Surprisingly enough, the credible material is always that which the political leaders desire."

"I predict that all three commissions of inquiry, each in its own country, will come to the conclusion (a) that the political leaders did not ask the intelligence people to falsify their reports and did not exert any pressure on them, (b) that the intelligence people acted honestly and supplied intelligence evaluations according to their best knowledge and abilities, (c) that everybody acted according to the best information available at the time, and (d) that there was a lamentable professional failure."

"Neither of the three commissions will state the obvious: that the intelligence agencies are under the jurisdiction of the President (in the US) or the Prime Minister (in the UK and Israel), and that these bear the responsibility for their deeds and misdeeds. They appoint the intelligence chiefs and are supposed to supervise them. Therefore, in view of this colossal intelligence failure, all three of them should resign. That will not be said and will not happen."

If anyone was serious about an inquiry into the WMD fiasco and the war they could appoint a special commission of Uri Avnery, John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Ray McGovern, Andrew Wilkie etc. It would be far more credible and thorough than anything that could be produced by the official channels and would in fact be hardly much more than a collation and distillation of the information that has already been published on the web.

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