Bliar

In the Independent's series of articles on 'The Iraq Report', Andy McSmith writes: 'producing evidence that Iraq still held WMDs' was one of 'the most contentious questions of the whole Iraq debacle – did Tony Blair lie when he claimed that there were WMDs still in Iraq? Over the years, the suspicion that he did has hardened into certainty. To many people the entire case against the war is encapsulated in the two words: “Blair lied.” To doubt that he lied is to be an apologist for war.'

McSmith goes onto argue that intelligence was not good - dissident Iraqis clearly always presuming the worst.

'Out of this circle of deception and self-deception came the formal document that is sometimes referred to as the “dodgy dossier”. To avoid confusion, it should be said that there were two dossiers that were called “dodgy” ... The dodgy dossier that mattered was the one presented to Parliament on 24 September 2002 by Tony Blair, who told MPs that it proved that “the weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down; it is up and running now.

“It concludes,” he added, “that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population, and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.”

But just as the Prime Minister could not know for certain that there were no WMDs left in Iraq, neither could he have known that there were any. He was not lying. He was presenting to Parliament a series of guesses made by the intelligence services – but he dressed them up as if they were hard facts backed by solid intelligence.' And that certainly is deceit.

Stop The War Coalition meets tonight - 26th January at the Friends' Meeting House in Cambridge.  Speakers include Andrew Murray, Julian Huppert and Dr Sanaa Al Khayat.