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Posts Tagged ‘iraq war’

• Blair ‘lied’ over war preparations
• Attorney general ‘misled’ government
• Brown ‘marginalised and unhappy’
Clare Short at the Iraq war inquiry – as it happened
James Sturcke, The Guardian/UK, Feb 2, 2010
Clare Short arriving to give evidence at the Iraq Inquiry

Clare Short arriving to give evidence at the Iraq inquiry. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Clare Short, the former international development secretary, today accused Tony Blair of lying to her and misleading parliament in the build-up to the Iraq invasion.

Short, giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the war, also said that the 2003 conflict had put the world in greater danger of international terrorism.

Declassified letters between Short and Blair released today show she believed that invading Iraq without a second UN resolution would be illegal and there was a significant risk of a humanitarian catastrophe.

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Letter from Clare Short to Tony Blair on humanitarian planning and the role of the UN, 14 February 2003 (pdf).

Letter from Short to Blair on the UN and US roles in post-conflict Iraq, 5 March 2003 (pdf).

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A sea of placards filled Parliament Square on Friday morning

A sea of placards filled Parliament Square on Friday morning

“Blair lied, thousands died.” That was the chant which reverberated around Parliament Square on Friday as former prime minister Tony Blair gave evidence to the Iraq inquiry.

Even from the safety of the Queen Elizabeth II centre, where he had been spirited by his security detail hours before the inquiry was due to start, Mr Blair could not have failed to hear the fury of the hundreds of protesters who thronged the square throughout the morning.

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By Andrew Grice, Political Editor | Independent | Monday, 4 January 2010

An internet-based “people power” campaign is asking its 60,000 members to draw up the “tough questions” that Tony Blair must be asked when he is questioned by the Iraq inquiry this year.

38 Degrees, a group set up last year in memory of the Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick, wants to ensure that Mr Blair is not let off the hook or allowed to answer the most sensitive questions in private.

Although Sir John Chilcot, the former Whitehall mandarin chairing the inquiry, has insisted that Mr Blair will be questioned mainly in public, critics of the 2003 invasion fear the former prime minister may cite national security in an attempt to ensure some of the hearing is behind closed doors.

An initial survey by 38 Degrees found strong demands among its members for Mr Blair to answer these questions:

  • Why did you insist that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were the reason to attack Iraq?
  • Did the Bush administration threaten, tacitly or otherwise, to withdraw American investment from the UK if it did not support the invasion?
  • Why was there no strategy to rebuild Iraq following Saddam’s overthrow?
  • What was the total value to the UK and its businesses of contracts arising directly from the Iraq invasion?
  • Why does the UK Government support the creation of new governments which oppress women more than their predecessors did?

(more…)

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Prince thought Tony Blair was wrong on Iraq and mocked him as 'our glorious leader'

By Robert Jobson, 03/01/2010  

PRINCE Charles was so convinced Tony Blair was WRONG to take Britain to war in Iraq he broke Royal tradition and actively campaigned against the invasion, the News of the World can reveal.

Behind closed doors, the heir to the throne voiced his fears to senior politicians and mounted a staunch anti-war crusade in which he:  

  • ATTACKED the then prime minister’s stance, mockingly calling him “our glorious leader”.
  • BLAMED American president George W Bush for action he believed to be misguided after reviewing secret intelligence.
  • WARNED the war would only stir up more serious trouble in the region.
  • ACCUSED western leaders of failing to deal with what he feels is the real cause of Islamic unrest – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meddling

Our extraordinary revelations – from the most impeccable inside sources – are certain to pile pressure on former premier Blair as he prepares to give evidence to the Chilcott inquiry into the war.  

And they come as ex-PM Sir John Major twisted the knife yesterday, accusing Blair’s handling of the 2003 invasion of damaging trust in the UK political system more than the expenses scandal.  

Read more…

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PM Blair seems to have deployed arguments as they suited him. Our weapons inspections were telling another story

Before the Iraq war was launched in March 2003 the world was given the impression by the US and Britain that the goal was to eradicate weapons of mass destruction. Recent comments by Tony Blair suggest, however, that regime change was the essential aim. He would have thought it right to remove Saddam Hussein even if he had known that there were no WMD, he said, but he would obviously have had to “deploy” different arguments. Must we not conclude that the WMD arguments were “deployed” mainly as the best way of selling the war? Blair’s comments do not exclude a strong – but mistaken – belief in the existence of WMD even when the invasion was launched. However, given that hundreds of inspections had found no WMD and important evidence had fallen apart, such a belief would have been based on a lack of critical thinking.

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The purpose of the Chilcot inquiry is to normalise an epic crime by providing enough of a theatre of guilt to satisfy the media

by John Pilger, The New Statesman, Dec 13, 2009

[President George W. Bush gestures as he answers a reporter’s question during a joint press availability with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom Friday, July 28, 2006, in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Paul Morse - CC license)]
President George W. Bush gestures as he answers a reporter’s question during a joint press availability with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom Friday, July 28, 2006, in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Paul Morse – CC license)

I tried to contact Mark Higson the other day, only to learn that he had died nine years ago. He was just 40, an honourable man. We met soon after he resigned from the Foreign Office in 1991 and I asked him if the government knew that Hawk fighter-bombers sold to Indonesia were being used against civilians in East Timor.

“Everyone knows,” he said, “except parliament and the public.”

“And the media?”

“The media – the big names – have been invited to King Charles Street [the Foreign Office] and flattered and briefed with lies. They are no trouble.”

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James Cusick, Westminster Editor
The Herald
Published on 13 Dec 2009

Tony Blair’s confession that he would have taken Britain to war in Iraq even if he had known Saddam Hussein had no ­weapons of mass destruction leaves him more vulnerable to legal action, a leading international lawyer warned yesterday.

Professor Philippe Sands QC, director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals at University College London, and a member of Cherie Blair’s Matrix law chambers, said the former prime minister’s admission that he would have deployed “different arguments” besides the weapons to justify the war and the removal of Saddam, means “he fixed on the policy first and then found the justification”.

Prof Sands, who claims Mr Blair and the former US president George Bush violated international law in the 2003 invasion, said: “The fact that the policy was fixed by Tony Blair irrespective of the facts on the ground, and irrespective of the legality, will now expose him more rather than less to legal difficulties.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Tony Blair accused of ‘twisting facts’ on Iraq

Daily Mail – Brendan Carlin, Christopher Leake

Tony Blair was last night accused of ‘breathtaking cynicism’ after he claimed that he would have invaded Iraq even if he had known it had no weapons of mass destruction. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg …

Who will turn the heat on Tony Blair over Iraq?

Telegraph.co.uk – Andrew Gilligan

The former daytime TV host Fern Britton seems to have had greater success grilling Tony Blair on Iraq than the Chilcot Inquiry, says Andrew Gilligan. So if it’s closure and condemnation you seek, don’t hold your breath …

Untouchable: Blair to give Iraq War evidence in secret

Independent – Jane Merrick, Brian Brady
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 …

Hans Blix, head of the UN weapons inspectorate in 2003, said that Mr Blair’s confession to Fern Britton had left a “strong impression of a lack of sincerity”, adding that the WMD argument was a “figleaf”.

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