Sunday, December 13, 2009

Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret.

The Chilcot inquiry is already beginning to look like a sick joke, as if a group of pro-government mandarins are preparing a whitewash right in front of our noses and don't care how blatant they make it appear.

Now, on the back of their disgracefully soft questioning of Sir John Scarlett, we hear this:

Key parts of Tony Blair's evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War will be held in secret, sources close to the hearings revealed last night.

His conversations with President George Bush when he was prime minister, and crucial details of the decision-making process that led Britain into war, will fall under the scope of national security and the protection of Britain's relations with the US.

But there are also suggestions by well-placed sources that anything "interesting" will also be shrouded in secrecy, leaving his public appearance containing little more than is already known.

The revelation will dash hopes that Mr Blair will finally detail in public why he committed British troops to the disastrous military invasion on the basis of flimsy intelligence.
Blair has recently abandoned his reasoning that he invaded Iraq on the grounds of WMD and argues that he would have invaded anyway, but concedes that he might have had to use a "different argument".

It's an astonishing claim that deserves to be publicly examined, as there is no way that parliament would have agreed to an invasion had Blair been anywhere near as candid in 2003.

But Chilcot is going to allow Blair to give his evidence away from the public gaze.
The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg last night condemned the move, saying if a significant proportion of Mr Blair's evidence were held in private then the public would "rightly conclude that the inquiry is simply too weak to give us the truth".
But we did we ever expect given the make up of Chilcot's team?
Himself the mandarins' mandarin, Sir John Chilcot was the very model of a modern permanent under-secretary, and then "staff counsellor" to MI6. Two of his team, Sir Lawrence Freedman and Sir Martin Gilbert, have been denounced as "Zionists" by Richard Ingrams, which may be less to the point than the fact that Freedman wrote speeches for Tony Blair, or that Gilbert, Winston Churchill's official biographer, had earlier compared Blair with Churchill.
I have lost all faith that this is anything other than an exercise by the Labour government to find itself not guilty of anything other than an over exuberance in trying to keep the country safe from a madman.

The last thing it is going to reveal is the extent to which Blair ignored all evidence which told him that Saddam probably did not have WMD, and certainly didn't have the means of delivering them. We are, instead, going to get the government line. Blair acted in good faith, blah, blah, blah...

The whole thing is already beginning to feel like a monumental waste of everyone's bloody time.

Click here for full article.

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