For its 25th Anniversary, the Lord Caradon Lecture featured the eminent Right Honourable Lord Butler speaking about the Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction in the lead up to the Iraq War.
He presented the ‘treacherous and slippery nature of intelligence’ in an enthralling lecture at Marjon’s Desmond Tutu Theatre on Monday 14 November.
Taking a walk through the timeline of events following 9/11, Lord Butler who chaired the 2004 ‘Butler Review’, revealed serious flaws in the UK’s legal case for war, detailing unreliable analysis, theories and sources.
Lord Butler said: “I have never believed that Tony Blair lied”, but highlighted a warning to Blair that said the intelligence on WMDs was ‘sporadic and patchy’, which was later described by the Government as ‘extensive, detailed and authoritative’.
He refuted claims of “conspiracy theories” surrounding the medical circumstances of David Kelly’s death. Kelly, a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, was found dead after being named as the source which lead to media reports claiming the government had ‘sexed up’ the dossier into weapons of mass destruction.
He said: “I can’t prove this but I suspect that he found out that a science correspondent had recorded their telephone conversation that morning. I think that broke him and caused him to kill himself.”
He spoke of the vital importance of good intelligence and the need to defend the UK against future attacks. He believes the biggest future threat exists in cyberspace.
The annual lecture series aims to build understanding of international affairs and tolerance of other ideologies, races and religions.
The trust depends entirely on public voluntary contributions and thanked the continuing assistance provided by the University of St Mark and St John and Plymouth University. Monday’s lecture raised over £350 in donations for the charity chosen by Lord Butler, UK Homes 4 Heroes.
The Lord Caradon Lectures Trust was established to commemorate the life and work of Hugh Mackintosh Foot, Lord Caradon (1907-1990). Today, the trust exists to recognise Lord Caradon’s long and devoted service to the ideals of the United Nations and his work for the United Kingdom’s contribution to those concepts.
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