Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Confirmed - MI-6 'misled' media on Iraq from lates 90's on

The Australian -- Britain's intelligence services ran a publicity campaign to gain support for sanctions and the use of military force in Iraq, it has emerged.

The Government confirmed at the weekend that MI6 had organised Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

The admission followed claims by Scott Ritter, a former US Marine who led 14 inspection missions in Iraq, that MI6 had recruited him in 1997 to help with the propaganda effort. He described meetings where the senior officer and at least two other MI6 staff had discussed ways to manipulate intelligence material.

"The aim was to convince the public that Iraq was a far greater threat than it actually was," Mr Ritter said last week.

Democracy Now - Former U.N. Iraqi Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter discusses how he was personally involved in the MI6’s "Operation Mass Appeal" in the late 1990s to "shake up public opinion" by passing dubious intelligence on Iraq to the media.

el - MI-6 had originally said the allegations were unfounded but this weekend a spokesman confessed to the propaganda campaign but tried to say they did not know the intelligence was dubious.

Times of India: "Stories ran in the media about secret underground facilities in Iraq and ongoing programmes to produce weapons of mass destruction," said Ritter.

"They were sourced to western intelligence and all of them were garbage." Kelly, himself a former United Nations weapons inspector and colleague of Ritter, might also have been used by MI6 to pass information to journalists.

"Kelly was a known and government-approved conduit with the media," said Ritter.

ADDED - Copy of Original Sunday Times article.

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