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The lying game

An A-Z of the Iraq war and its aftermath, focusing on misrepresentation, manipulation, and mistakes

01 June 2004

A Mohammed Atta. The Bush administration claimed that a meeting between the lead hijacker of the 11 September attacks and a senior Iraqi intelligence officer proved a connection between al-Qa'ida and Saddam Hussein. But there is no evidence such a meeting took place.

B Bush and Blair: The two leaders have reacted strongly to all suggestions they misled their respective electorates over the war, and maintain time will prove they were right to go to war. Both, though, are suffering poll difficulties, as problems in Iraq become worse, and each needs speedy improvement to shore up his position.

C Ahmed Chalabi. The leader of the Iraq National Congress, who is a member of the Iraq Governing Council, is now accused of having duped the Bush administration, as well as the media, into believing that Saddam Hussein represented a direct threat to US and British security.

D Dollars. Between 1992 and the US raid on Ahmed Chalabi's home last week, the US government channelled more than $100m (55m) to his Iraqi National Congress. The money may have been a motivating factor for defectors to say what they thought the Americans wanted to hear. That funding has now been stopped.

E Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, exposed as unfounded many of the claims put into the public domain by the US administration. The head of the UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix, also challenged the White House claims.

F The claim that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could be deployed within forty-five minutes of an order was a key plank of the Government's pro-war argument and appeared in its September dossier of 2002. We now know that the discredited claim - which applied only to battlefield munitions in any case - came from the party of the caretaker prime minister of Iraq: Iyad Allawi.

G Andrew Gilligan, defence correspondent on the BBC's Today programme, reported that the Government had "sexed-up'' Iraq's weapons capabilities. On one occasion, he suggested that it had done so deliberately. Events since suggest that case for war was exaggerated. Gilligan lost his job in the fall-out.

H Khidir Hamza. The man known as Saddam's bombmaker is now acknowledged to have tricked the administration into believing he had more knowledge of Saddam's nuclear programme than he actually did.

IWas Ahmed Chalabi an agent for Iran, which used him as part of a plan to manipulate the US government into overthrowing Saddam Hussein? Washington is holding an urgent investigation into the claim.

J The Joint Intelligence Committee was accused of allowing itself to be manipulated by Downing Street in the run-up to the war, and of firming up conditional language in the key September dossier on weapons of mass destruction.

K David Kelly, the MoD weapons specialist at the heart of last year's controversy, committed suicide three days after he denied to the Foreign Affairs Committee that he was Gilligan's source.

L Langley. The CIA headquarters, which was regularly visited by the US Vice-President Dick Cheney as he sought to pressure the intelligence services into exaggerating the Iraqi threat for political reasons.

M Mobile biological labs. The alleged discovery of biological mobile labs for the production of biological weapons was held up after the war as proof that Iraq continued its illegal weapons programme. But the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said there was no proof of their use.

N The Iraqi scientist Hamdi Shukuir Ubaydi buried documents related to Iraq's nuclear programme in his garden, and they were found last June in the search for WMD after the war last June. However there was no confirmation of the US claim that they were the "smoking gun" the Americans were looking for.

O Oil-for-food scandal. The recent accusations that Saddam diverted billions of dollars from a UN humanitarian programme, and paid countries for political support, came from documents distributed by aides of Ahmed Chalabi. US and UN investigations will attempt to uncover the truth.

P The Pentagon hawks, Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and senior adviser Richard Perle took their country to war on a false prospectus.

Q The Daily Mirror published photographs which it claimed showed members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment abusing one of its Iraqi prisoners. The photos have now been dismissed as fakes. But the regiment remains under investigation over the death of Baha Mousa, who died in custody.

R Karl Rove, president Bush's political adviser, is accused of "outing" the CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame amid the furore over the Niger uranium claim. A grand jury is investigating the leak.

S Bush and Blair insist there will be a transfer of "full sovereignty" to a caretaker government. But the appointment of Iyad Allawi, who has close US and British links, as Prime Minister raises questions over its independence.

T The New York Times last week issued a mea culpa for failing to question a Bush administration leak relating to aluminium tubes reportedly being used in Iraq's nuclear weapons programme. The IAEA demolished the claim, a key prop of the White House case for war.

U Iraq's alleged attempt to smuggle uranium from Niger was used by the allies as proof that Iraq was still attempting to build a nuclear weapon. While the Bush administration now admits the relevant documents were forged, the Blair government is still sticking to the claim.

V Iraq was said to hold stocks of VX gas, the deadliest chemical agent known to man. Not a single millilitre has been found.

W World Trade Centre. According to opinion polls, a majority of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein played a role in the 11 September attacks, a view long propagated by the Bush administration, particularly Dick Cheney.

X Camp X-Ray, now Camp Delta, is the US prison at Guantanamo where prisoners from Afghanistan were flown. But its practices were adopted at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad. The ensuing scandal has tarnished Bush's presidency.

Y Yesterday, denials by Dick Cheney that he no longer had any association with the Halliburton oil services company, where he was formerly CEO, were under new scrutiny.

Z Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, accused of beheading the American Nick Berg , was said to be the link between Saddam and Bin Laden. No such link has been proved.