Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Foreign reports used to sell war: "The Federal Government selectively used intelligence to bolster its case for war against Iraq... The findings were in Parliament's intelligence committee report into prewar reports, which also said that the Government went beyond Australian assessments in major addresses to the public on the threats."

"The report, released yesterday, also poses serious questions about the possible politicisation, and effectiveness, of Australia's premier intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments (ONA).... ONA cleared all the major speeches, including those making assertions that went beyond the advice of Australian intelligence agencies. But the "case made by the Government was that Iraq possessed WMD in large quantities and posed a grave and unacceptable threat to the region and the world".

""This is not the picture that emerges from an examination of all the assessments provided to the committee by Australia's two analytical agencies [ONA and the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO)]." Instead, the Prime Minister, John Howard, and senior ministers chose to use more alarming findings by the US and British agencies as it sold the case for war. ONA checked the use of the foreign material to ensure it was quoted accurately, but did not scrutinise the content of the claims to ensure they were true."

Just as the perfect media for modern government is media which reports accurately government pronouncements but does not investigate whether they might be true or not, perfect intelligence checks as to whether dubious 'sources' have been quoted accurately but does not bother with whether or not the statements are true.

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