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. UK And Australian Prime Ministers Both Knew There Were No WMDs

Australian Prime Minster John Howard (L) gestures as his British counterpart Tony Blair looks on during a press conference at the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 28 March 2006. Photo courtesy of Rob Griffith and AFP.
by John C.K. Daly
UPI International Correspondent
Washington (UPI) May 16, 2006
A former U.N. biological weapons specialist is asserting that the prime ministers of Australia and Britain knew at the time that pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was false.

Rod Barton, an Australian, worked as a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq for a decade. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on May 13 that Barton turned whistleblower over the machinations of American, British and Australian politicians distorting pre-war intelligence in order to justify the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In March 2004, Barton and fellow Australian, foreign affairs disarmament specialist John Gee, resigned in protest from the Iraq Survey Group.

Following the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense established the Iraq Survey Group to locate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Following its efforts, the group issued a final report, usually referred to as the Duelfer Report, compiled by the ISG's 1,400-member international team.

In his new book "The Weapons Detective," Barton goes into detail about his work for the Defense Intelligence Organization, which he joined in 1972 as a microbiologist. Baton asserts that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard both knew before the invasion that the intelligence on Iraqi WMDs was false.

Barton says that U.S. President George W. Bush may not have known, because his intelligence agencies were reporting what he wanted to hear.

When shown the pre-war Iraqi WMD Australian intelligence assessment, Howard even asked, "Is that all there is?"

Barton said, "I knew that blowing the whistle would bring some penalties, but not to this extent. Was I that much a threat to the security of Australia when -- what was it I spoke out about: prisoner abuse?"

Barton's security clearance has been withdrawn, and after pressure the prime minister's staff, Barton and Gee were dropped from the 2005 guest list for the Australia Group's 20th anniversary meeting in Sydney, a forum of intelligence specialists from 38 countries on chemical and biological weapons, which Barton and Gee had helped to found in 1985.

Source: United Press International

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