Claims That Iraq Had Weapons Were Based on Nicolas Cage Movie

  • Sir John Chilcot said Blair should not have accepted the intelligence reports on Saddam
    Sir John Chilcot said Blair should not have accepted the intelligence reports on Saddam’s weapons at face value. | Photo: Reuters / YouTube
Suspicions of Iraqi chemical weapons were based on an inaccurate and purely fictional depiction in the 1996 movie, “The Rock.”

A British spy agency apparently based some of its intelligence on Iraq’s supposed “chemical weapons” on a movie starring Nicolas Cage, according to The Chilcot report released Wednesday.

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Despite claims by the U.S. and U.K. to justify the decision to attack Iraq, no such weapons were found following the 2003 invasion. The voluminous report, seven years in the making, concludes that British intelligence reached its conclusions in large measure because “flawed intelligence and assessments” often went unchallenged.

Among these was the assertion that Iraq had increased its production of chemical and biological agents which British intelligence apparently based on a movie scene that inaccurately depicted nerve agents being transported in glass containers. Of this, the Chilcot report wrote:

“In early October, questions were raised with SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] about the mention of glass containers in the 23 September 2002 report. It was pointed out that… glass containers were not typically used in chemical munitions; and that a popular movie (The Rock) had inaccurately depicted nerve agents being carried in glass beads or spheres (and that) Iraq had had difficulty in the 1980s obtaining a key precursor chemical for soman (a chemical agent).”

Directed by action film director Michael Bay, “The Rock” is a 1996 blockbuster thriller starring Nicolas Cage as a FBI chemical-warfare expert.

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The Chilcot report stated that the intelligence officials had concluded that their information was unreliable, but with pressure mounting on then Prime Minister Tony Blair to produce evidence of weapons of mass destruction, SIS agents failed to inform the prime minister’s office of their conclusion.

“There were concerns about the risks if the inspections found nothing,” the inquiry noted.

David Manning, a former British diplomat, advised Blair that they “should hould work hard over the next couple of months to build our case.”

Following the release of the Chilcot report, Blair has expressed regret, but said that the world would have been worse off without the invasion of Iraq, and that the war was based on good intentions.

While the Chilcot’s report’s chairman, Sir John Chilcot, has said evaluating the legality of the Iraq war was outside the scope of the report, he added that Blair and his ministers should not have accepted the intelligence reports on Saddam’s weapons at face value.

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