Posted Friday, February 7, 2003

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We once had a parrot in our apartment in Madrid that could even imitate the ring of the telephone that its cage stood next to. Jack Straw's cage must be within squawking distance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. -- David Irving on the abilities of Foreign Secretary, who went to the same school as he, but evidently had different teachers


February 6, 2003 (Thursday),


A GRACIOUS letter comes from Jeremy Paxman, who is one of the BBC's finest broadcasters and most challenging, no-nonsense interviewers. We had sent him reference copies of "Hitler's War" (Millennium Edition, 2002) and "Churchill's War", vol. ii: "Triumph in Adversity"; he confesses to having read only one of them so far. "Must try harder."

In the e-post somebody sends me two aerial photos taken in June 1991 of Saddam Hussein's "Peenemünde," the al-Kindi Missile Research Centre near Mossul in Iraq. (Not Mosul: I am a conservative. I still write "Peking" too). I am not sure what he is getting at.

I am familiar with Mossul: In May 1941 Adolf Hitler had a two-week ambition to conquer Iraq before the British could get there; Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg's son Axel was killed when his Messerschmitt crash-landed at Mossul in the first wave of planes that Hitler sent down. The Führer gave up the attempt almost immediately, and although the oil would have come in handy I suspect that Iraq would have been the same kind of headache for the Nazis in 1941 that it is for the Israelis and their stooges now. But I digress.

Irving and HarrisMy knowledge of the region is anchored in its World War I and II origins. We British have been dropping bombs (including gas bombs) on the Iraqi villagers ever since the 1920s. I remember Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris (right, with me) or perhaps it was his deputy Sir Robert Saundby, who had taken part in those early exploits of the Royal Flying Corps, telling me: "The Iraqis were very sporting about it at the time." That was in 1961, half-way between then and now.

Saddam's sporting instinct now seems to be less evident. According to the U.S. Secretary of State, General Colin Powell -- notice how we British insist on pronouncing his name the right way -- the US Intelligence authorities have photographs showing that Saddam had the effrontery to move vehicles parked near a bunker site between the time that two air photos were taken.

I am not sure how long the interval was: A Traffic Warden would pronounce, "Long enough!" but the UN are not traffic wardens. Just as the British government's Intelligence report on today's threat from Iraq turns out today to have been plagiarised from a 1990 U.S. graduate student's essay, the "before" photo may have been taken in June 1991 for all we know; indeed, it may in fact have been the "after" photo. That is how little we can trust the Americans, when they are arguing on behalf of war.


THE photographs should not impress any intelligent observer. The Americans are claiming that they can see things from 40,000 or 50,000 feet, or from an orbiting satellite, that UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and his team have not spotted while visiting the same location on the ground. Yeah, right.

Judge Gray was taken in by the same woolly arguments in the Lipstadt Trial: He was impressed by photos of four smudges on the roof of Krema II in Auschwitz when photographed from 36,000 feet -- and totally unaffected by the admission by Lipstadt's own expert, under my cross-examination, that there was no evidence of any holes on the actual roof when inspected from an altitude of six inches.

No, let's get back to yesterday's Security Council session. I am more interested in the surroundings as Colin Powell, the only dove on the Bush administration, reads out his text at the United Nations, perspiring gently.

As we predicted, he concentrated heavily on alleged telephone intercepts, which tickered up on the projection-screen above the audience, while a thick Arab voice spoke the lines, overlaid with scratchy sounds in rather the way that the Forrest Gump movie clips were overlaid with heavy vertical scratches to suggest authenticity.

Gullible American critics have marvelled that the administration has let the cat out of the bag by revealing to an astonished world that they are listening in to phone conversations: what a price to pay, they have murmured in awe to each other, but when the world is being held to ransom by a wild, ruthless, stop-at-nothing dictator, no secret is too precious to be sacrificed. Good old Bush. Clutching at Straws. (We'll come to my old schoolmate Jack Straw later).

So why the perspiration on Powell's cafe-au-lait brow at the Security Council? Unlike any of the smart British television commentators, I have noticed the two men sitting tightly behind Powell -- have a look the next time that shot is screened: the sinister US ambassador behind Powell's left shoulder, and none other than the heavy-set, fleshy-faced, pug-ugly George Tenet, director of the CIA to his right. Tenet failed the United States people so miserably on the occasion of Sept. 11.

The quiet, smug grin on Tenet's face as Powell reads his lines is unmistakeable. It tells us more than Powell's prepared text, and more than the probably phoney intercepts.

I say "probably phoney", because the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md., could have told us precisely where the intercepted conversation-partners were located and identified them by name and number; it could have provided the surrounding context, and produced other conversations between the same men. But it did not. And even the Iraqi ambassador, who had just heard the tapes at the same time as we did, objected at once at the odd language and Arabic phrases being used.

ARE we really to believe that the NSA, which only a year ago was bleating that it had so few Arabic speakers that it had been unable to identify and exploit the millions of Arabic intercepts it had stockpiled before and after September 11, 2001, has suddenly blundered out into a sunlit Intelligence clearing, and that it has found that it can after all pinpoint not just one but several such needles in the Middle East haystack, and find them, lying around in the long grass, just like that NASA astronaut's helmet, of all things, which was, so we are told, miraculously found, barely scorched, within a matter of hours in a search area of 400 miles by 200.

NASA helmetThose of us reasonably familiar with the region around Palestine, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana (not "Texas", as the BBC news reader told us), will know what a wide open and unpopulated waste it is. Yet there was the helmet, a 0.5 square foot object, just ready to be snapped by the world's press photographers.

We are being asked once again to suspend disbelief, but this time it is in the name of Moloch, and nobody seems to be able to ask real questions any more. The American "press conferences" are stuffed with docile rabbits frightened of losing their press passes. The regimented North Korean military audiences listening stiffly to their great leader seem positively animated by comparison. British journalists are even more bedazzled.

Our Parliamentary opposition to Blair is non existent. The Conservative leader is dead from his one-eighth Japanese neck up. The Labour politicians are winging it; they are flying by the seat of their pants, secure in the knowledge that while they are going to have a increasingly bumpy ride from here on in to February 17, or whenever D-day for those "3,000 missiles in the first forty-eight hours" will be, they are not going to burn up on re-entry, because the moment that the first flash-bangs detonate on the television news-feeds the British public will be glued to their screens with all the fervour of spotty-faced adolescents in a video arcade.


February 6, 2003 (Thursday),

Geoffrey HoonTWO days ago in the House of Commons Geoffrey Hoon, the defence minister, refused to put the coming war to a debate. On television last night, confronted by Jeremy Paxman in what must have been the most uncomfortable hour-long grilling of his life, his prime minister side-slipped the other way -- a World War II Lancaster bomber pilot would have called the manoeuvre "corkscrewing" -- and easily responded to Paxman that it would be left to the decision of the House. This is just what Geoff Hoon had refused.

Hoon waddles arrogantly out of the House, oddly reminiscent of the brainless, grinning geese that my brother keeps on his farm down in Wiltshire. Democracy and humanity waddle out with him: war crimes are in; they are now a la mode, and like the villagers living around Belsen we ordinary citizens seem powerless to prevent them.

There will soon be tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed in the fulfilment of a Resolution; killed in my name and yours. They will be just as dead as those killed by us in Dresden, or by the Nazis in the tank pits of the East, or by Pol Pot's minions in the killing grounds of Cambodia. As I watched Blair's ordeal last night, as he nervously wrung his hands under the onslaught of Paxman, I wished that just one member of the audience had asked a question that would bring it home to the viewing public. "Mr Blair, we still have not seen any evidence linking al-Qaeda to September 11!"

Or: "Mr Blair, how much is this adventure going to cost the British taxpayer!"

Not a very nice question of course, but right now the taxpayer is bleeding from every limb: nurses, teachers, and other public servants are taking pay cuts in real terms, and yet we are going to be burning billions over the next weeks for some reason that the government is unable properly to explain. Worse: unlike the American taxpayer, who can take some comfort in the jobs that this new war will create, most of the British tax money that we are spending will go to purchase American-made weapons from American war industries -- from TRE, Jack Straw with Friendfrom Martin Marietta and from all the other unpunished merchants of death.

Our Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (right, with friend) has only waffled. We once had a parrot in our apartment in Madrid that could even imitate the ring of the telephone that its cage stood next to.

Straw's cage must be within squawking distance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: he parrots the men there with equal facility. He repeatedly wheels out the shibboleth of Weapons of Mass Destruction but with none of the religious fervour and mock sincerity that Blair musters : a veteran United Airlines flight attendant telling us for the thousandth time how to fasten our seat belts speaks with greater conviction than either of these two.

8 a.m.: I drive Jessica down Park Lane to school as usual, and we chatter happily all the way. Next week London's £5-a-day congestion charge begins, and Park Lane will be either virtually free of traffic, or solid bumper-to-bumper all day, like the San Diego Freeway.

Like the outcome of wars, nobody can predict.


 [Previous Radical's Diary]

on this website:

Stephen Pelletiere: A War Crime or an Act of War? and comment by David Irving on the use of NSA intercepts to justify bombing Tripoli
 Victor Ostrovsky (former Mossad agent) on how The Mossad planted electronic devices in Libya to fool the NSA into blaming Ghaddhafi for the disco bombing
 Secretary of State Colin Powell to reveal electronic intercepts
Global vendetta
[This is the early draft of a publication being prepared on the international campaign mounted to silence to author David Irving since 1989. In its final form it will be longer, illustrated, and have links to key documents on which the narrative is based]

[Download a different and better printed form as a pdf file]
© Focal Point 2003 [F] e-mail: Irving write to David Irving