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20 September 2007

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In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, amid the Tom Clancyesque stories of Aluminum tubes, uranium from Niger and portable CBW labs, my dear and now departed Father turned to me one day and said "I hope for all our sakes that all this is true", because he was skeptical of both the reliability of the sources and the accuracy of the statements being made.

Now Dad was an intelligence officer, and he hadn't lost his touch, and I'd like to think that a little bit has rubbed off on me. I believe the same hoo haa is being played again, although with subtle script differences to throw a more discerning audience off the scent.

The rubbish being doled out is predictable, and again when one tries to run down the sources, they are either unreliable or inaccurate and sometimes both.

The giveaway that we are being fed disinformation by the thinktanks and the Israeli cheer squad is that in all of it the inferences drawn are based on "negative" intelligence that is calculated to reinforce the "Woodenheadedness" of the decider and the more gullible of the public.

For example the IAEA's negative conclusion that they can find no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program is spun as "Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program".

Iranian words to the effect that Israel is an historical aberration that predictably will fail is spun as "Iran is going to destroy Israel". Hitler famously interpreted British reticence before WWII about engaging in another war the same way - "A nation of shopkeepers" he called them.

Then of course there is the nonsense about Iraq's inability to build IED's, despite the fact that only six years ago the same pundits were telling us that Iraq had the required sophistication to make nuclear weapons.

The chorus is building to a crescendo and what concerns me is that one of the participants, Syria, Israel, America or Iran is going to twitch and set off a regional war, and after that, arguments about whether pressure was simply being applied to force Iran to the negotiating table are going to be rather academic.

Furthermore, I am not enamoured of airpower and I'm concerned that we have dangerously underestimated the will and capabilities of both the Iranians and the Iraqi people.

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