By Paddy McGuffin and Luke James in Britain:
Chilcot Inquiry – Eight More Months
Friday 30th October 2015
BEREAVED families of soldiers killed fighting in Iraq were told yesterday they will have to wait at least another eight months to hear the official verdict on Britain’s role.
Six years after launching his inquiry into the Iraq war, Sir John Chilcot announced he will belatedly publish the final report by next summer.
The 2 million-word document, which has cost £10m to date, will be finished by April and published by “June or July,” he said.
The latest delay was the final insult for many relatives of the 179 military personnel who lost their lives thousands of miles away from home.
Rose Gentle of Military Families Against The War, whose son Gordon was killed in a bomb attack in Basra in 2004, branded the news “another let-down.”
“It’s another few months to wait and suffer again,” she said.
And Reg Keys, whose son Tom was killed in 2003, expressed fears that the final report would be a whitewash.
“All we will get now from the report is a watered-down version of some of the criticisms that Sir John put to these civil servants and senior politicians,” he warned.
Sir John said the latest delay was caused by a need for “national security checks” to ensure human rights obligations and security “will not inadvertently be breached by publication of the inquiry’s report as a whole.”
He also said it will “take some weeks to prepare the report for printing” because of its “considerable size.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a vociferous opponent of the 2003 invasion, said the wait was “getting beyond ridiculous.”
“We need to know what happened. We need to know why it happened. We need to know who made the decisions. And we never need to make these kind of catastrophic mistakes again,” he said.
Mr Corbyn added that he hoped the inquiry was “not still negotiating with Tony Blair” over the report’s contents.
Mr Blair issued a statement insisting that any suggestion he had delayed the report through the Maxwellisation process was “categorically incorrect.”
But Stop the War coalition spokesman Chris Nineham warned the process, along with the report’s vetting by the security services, could leave the report a “long-delayed whitewash.”
He told the Star it was “extraordinary” that Chilcot should have taken so long to try to establish facts that most people already believed had been settled.
“The key issue is that of deliberate fabrication,” he said. “Recently leaked documents show that Tony Blair lied to Parliament and the people to take them into an illegal war of regime change.”
The inquiry, ordered by former Labour PM Gordon Brown, has been beset with delays since its launch on June 15 2009.
They included the Maxwellisation process where those criticised in the report, including former Labour PM Tony Blair, were given advance warning so as to prepare their defence.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
An insult to Iraqi victims
Friday 30th October 2015
TONY BLAIR denies responsibility for constant delays in completing the Chilcot inquiry, but he has always had a problem with putting his hand up.
Whether it is Blair personally, his lawyers or accomplices who have elected to spin out proceedings by raising one pretext or another, the inquiry, which has already lasted six years and will take another, is a prime example of the political and legal Establishment pulling together to frustrate public sentiment.
Blair took Britain into the illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003, honouring his pledge to George W Bush the previous year.
It beggars belief that the people of this country, and especially the families of the service personnel who died at his behest, should still be waiting over 12 years later for our rulers to cough up some elements of the truth concerning the real reasons for this conflict.
Bush made no secret of his determination to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the once extremely close US and British ally who had become an irritant to Washington.
As a lawyer, Blair understood that stating this openly would be problematic under international law, so his case for war accused Baghdad of possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in breach of UN security council motions.
Both Bush and Blair stressed that the Iraqi dictator had used poison gas against his own citizens in the Kurdish region in 1988, but neither mentioned that this had happened against a background of Saddam’s unprovoked war of aggression against Iran, which Washington and London actively supported.
Indeed the US government went so far as to blame the gas attacks on Tehran.
There was no call for action to be taken against Iraq for the atrocities visited on defenceless Kurdish civilians.
Saddam was certainly a murderous bastard, but he was our murderous bastard. That was the US line until he miscalculated, invading the corrupt emirate of Kuwait in the belief that the administration of George Bush Snr had signalled tolerance of his expansionism.
The Iraqi people paid a heavy price for his adventurism, suffering a vicious 12-year UN sanctions regime that more than doubled the child mortality rate.
This video from the USA is called [then United States Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright Says Deaths Of 500,000 Iraqi Children Is Worth It.
Hundreds of thousands perished, leading one US politician to speak of “infanticide masquerading as policy.”
The United Nations sent teams of weapons inspectors into Iraq charged with detecting and destroying chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery.
This programme was carried out successfully by 1995, as Iraqi defector Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, reported in 2002, but his testimony was misrepresented by Blair who needed Parliament to believe — or affect to believe — his lies that Iraq was armed to the teeth with WMD.
The Bush-Blair axis forced the evacuation of new teams of UN weapons inspectors in early 2003 by rigid adherence to the March invasion date decided the previous year.
Criminal conspiracy to prevent a peaceful resolution of the WMD “crisis” and to launch a war that would claim the lives of up to a million Iraqis and prepare the ground for the growth of the Islamic State (Isis) death cult should not be the subject of interminable polite legal diplomacy conducted by Chilcot.
The Morning Star has always insisted that the correct forum for Blair and his closest associates to answer for their deeds is the International Criminal Court.
Punting the enormity of the Iraq invasion into a genteel “lesson-learning” exercise, as Gordon Brown did, was a betrayal of the war criminals’ victims — the people of Iraq and the service personnel directed to invade and die there.
Whatever soggy long-winded compromise eventually emerges from Chilcot, Blair and company cannot escape the guilty verdict of history.
WHOSE PEACE WILL IT BE?
Exploring a future for Iraq and the Middle East, we interviewed all kinds of people.
Iraqi academics of the diaspora mused on the need for freedom, education and humanity for the Arabic world. Refugees from Iraq and the vicinity exposed the cruelty of the actual disaster. We approached western philosophers and authorities who elaborated how knowledge about and respect for other cultures and people have vanished. Artists explored their belief in other ways to consider society. Civil servants of the United Nations glanced at the interventions of UN in the past decennia.
In what way are we, the West, accountable for the mess in the region? What political actions are to be undertaken by the UN? What are the odds for so called enlightened nations to propose real dialogue respecting the particularities of the people involved?
What means do we have to restore the human and cultural richness of the Arabic world? How to enable people to decide upon their own destiny? What can we do to make Iraq and the whole region safe and viable?
Can distress be reversed into hope?
Whose peace will it be when war is over?
All these questions led to a film full of options and possible futures.
We do not show the atrocities from ongoing wars: we are all too aware of them. We do not show the unbearable and self-defeating aspects of human behavior.
We let people speak for themselves in their true colors. Fiction meets reality in poetry of the image and in esteem of the human kind!
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