Supposed Iraqi WMD described in MI6 dossier resembled inaccurate portrayal in Holywood film The Rock

The Iraq Inquiry noted that 1996 Hollywood film The Rock had initiated a similarly inaccurate portrayal

Jon Stone
Wednesday 06 July 2016 17:15 BST
US soldiers during the invasion of Iraq
US soldiers during the invasion of Iraq

Supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction identified in an intelligence dossier resembled an inaccurate portrayal of such weapons in a fictional Hollywood movie, the Chilcot Report has noted.

The Iraq Inquiry’s report into the invasion says that a 2002 reference to supposed nerve agents in glass containers bore a striking similarity to inaccurate portrayals in the 1996 film The Rock.

The film, which stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, has a scene in which a Sarin gas leak occurs in a laboratory.

Britain’s MI6 intelligence service – officially known as SIS – is said by the inquiry panel to have noted the resemblance when questioned.

No weapons of mass destruction were ultimately found after the invasion of Iraq. The war was justified to the British public and Parliament on the basis that Saddam Hussein could attack Britain with WMD in 45 minutes.

“In early October, questions were raised with SIS about the mention of glass containers in the 23 September 2002 report,” the report says.

“It was pointed out that glass containers were not typically used in chemical munitions; and that a popular movie (The Rock) had inaccurate depicted nerve agents being carried in glass beads or spheres.

“The questions about the use of glass containers for chemical agent and the similarity of the description to those portrayed in The Rock had been recognised by SIS.”

Overall Sir John Chilcot, who chaired the Iraq Inquiry, was damning in his verdict on the invasion.

“We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options of disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort,” he said on Wednesday.

“We have also concluded that the judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD were presented with a certainty that was not justified.

“Despite explicit warnings the consequences of the invasion were underestimated and the planning for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.”

Tony Blair and David Cameron today refused to apologise for their part in backing the war. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has however apologised on behalf of the Labour party.

The Rock was directed by Michael Bay and released in June 1996.

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