Monday, November 13, 2006

Danes On Trial Over Iraq "WMD Leak"

The BBC is reporting that two reporters and an editor from a Danish newspaper are on trial over an alleged leak of information that was supposed to be kept secret.

The secret: Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

You could be forgiven if you didn't glean that key bit of information from the first few paragraphs of the BBC story:
The editor and two reporters from one of Denmark's main newspapers have gone on trial charged with publishing secret intelligence about Iraqi weapons.

In articles published in 2004 they quoted from analysis by a Danish intelligence agent, Frank Grevil.
Grevil (shown in the photo) has already been sentenced to four months in prison for leaking the "secret".

The three who are currently on trial claim that they did nothing wrong because there is "a huge public interest" in the truth of this matter, according to their attorney.

But they are in an unfortunate position, because, as the BBC reports:
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen supported the US-led invasion of Iraq and told parliament he was convinced former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was in possession of WMD.
Everyone else in the whole world -- or at least everyone who had been paying attention -- knew Saddam Hussein had no such weapons. The UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, led by Hans Blix, were reporting every day that they hadn't found anything they could classify as WMD. These reports were available on the world media scene every day during the pre-invasion period. I used to listen to Blix every night on Radio Sweden, and every night he said more or less the same thing: "We can go anywhere we want to go; we can look at anything we want to look at; we haven't found any weapons". So the fact that Saddam had no WMD was hidden in plain sight, if it was hidden at all.

But the secret that wasn't so secret appears capable of landing people in prison -- even in Denmark -- primarily because it was politically unacceptable to the Danish Prime Minister.

As the BBC report drily notes:
In October 2003, seven months after the invasion, the body set up by the US to search for WMD, the Iraq Survey Group, reported that no such weapons had been found.