The Pantomime continues

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by finknottle, Jan 18, 2011.

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  1. Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell, head of the civil service, turned down the Iraq Inquiry's request for the communications between the then-British prime minister and Bush to be declassified and made public. The notes deal with extensive correspondence between Blair and Bush during the period leading up to U.S.-led 2003 invasion.

    It is my view that these withheld documents could show that Blair commited our country to war before parliament was consulted, this charade is a complete waste of time and tax payers money. Apparently O'Donnell said that the documents are not in the public interest, well I am bloody well interested, still with any luck they may turn up on Mr Assange's desk.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  2. Can Gus O' Donnell refuse the request. I note that the Prime Minister states that it was not his decision. Who runs the country, Civil servants or the Government?
  3. The Inquiry has had access to the letters between Blair and Bush and they clearly think it would be in the public interest or they would not have asked.Although Gus O'Donnell is the senior Civil Servant it is a little surprising that he has the final say given that he is appointed and not an elected member of Parliament.Blair is up for questioning again on Friday,let us hope someone asks him the right questions to see if he wriggles.I am sure we have yet to hear all the truth on this matter and somehow doubt we ever will.
  4. If Yes Prime Minister was to be believed definitely the Civil Servants
  5. The Freemasons?

    I'll get my apron............
  6. Didn't realise you were that interested in politics Finks, or is this just a passing trend like Mr Prescotts advertising career.
  7. I live and breathe politics but you knew that anyway, one thing I have grasped is that politicians excepting a tiny minority are all twats.

    As for Prescott, maybe he did it for Pauline?

    Link for those who have not seen it.

    I suggest that you have your vomit bag to hand.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  8. On a serious note, this is the unwinnable "rock vs hard place" argument.

    I am sure it is in the short term interests of the Chilcott Enquiry (and arguably the British public) to have irrefutable documentary evidence of what was going on in the run up to the Iraq War BUT the bigger story is whether it is in the longer term interests of the british public to risk future deep communication between the UK and US at the highest levels.

    If "confidential" discussions between the Prime Minister and the President cannot be guaranteed to remain confidential then the risk is that such open communication will just stop and that has severe longer term consequences at so many levels.

    It is also for that reason that the decision on whether or not to release the documents CANNOT be taken by a partisan government but must be held by those senior individuals who represent continuity in government (the Whitehall mandarins)

    Of course, a simple solution to both concerns would be for Blair to just tell the unblemished truth about whether he did or did not abuse his office and take us to war on the basis of a pack of lies - some chance!
  9. I do not believe that Blair is capable of telling the truth. It has been revealed on the BBC News that Mr Blair was asked if they could be given to the Chilcott Enquiry. It was he who refused using the Whitehall Mandarin as a scapegoat.
    What is the point of an enquiry if crucial evidence is not revealed....the end result is a whitewash and a waste of money.
    I do not believe that there is a special UK/US relationship anymore. America will do what its in Americas interests to do. I well remember Mr Brown being refused an audience with Mr Obama, and Mr Obama calling Mr Camaron a "Lightweight". Mr Obama has publicly stated that France was his No1 european choice of partner. Probably because they don't grovel like our PM's do.
  10. Why do Permanent Secretaries receive a Knighthood or equivalent and receive a salary greater than the Ministers they serve?

  11. There is a special relationship but it's not with us, it's with the Israelis and the Saudis. Yet still our governments of both colours continue to sniff round their legs and wag their tails like the good little poodles they are.
  12. You appear to be making a case for things to be kept secret from the public on the basis that someone may get embarrassed.I can hear all the polticians shouting Here,Here to that notion.A Rogues Charter if ever there was one.If we have to depnd on Blair or any other politician for that matter telling us the truth about anything we may as well not bother having any inquiry ever again.
    If it is a public inquiry about what led to a major war costing billions of pounds and many lives surely the public are entitled to see what led to the decision to go to war.
  13. Fishhead, yes, I do believe that some things should be kept secret from the public ... but not if the only consequence is that they may embarrass someone. My comments have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not people are embarrassed by any disclosure - I couldn't give a stuff about the personal sensitivities of politicians.

    The point I was trying to make is that disclosure of the content of some "private conversations" may lead to similar such "conversations" not taking place any more.

    Most of the time I am sure that would not be a problem but on occasion it could, with potentially damaging long term strategic consequences that could have a negative impact on state security. For example, what if Obama told Cameron, in confidence, that another nation was intending to do something that could damage UK interests, stressed to Cameron that it was important that the source of this information never be made public because it could, in turn damage US interests ... and then it was made public, what chance of further such disclosures/information sharing?

    My point in my earlier post (and repeated here) is that this is not a simple black and white issue.
  14. broadside. makes some very valid points. Our system requires us to vote for people (individuals) to look after and pursue our interests. That doesn't mean that every voter needs or has the right to see the precise detail of how it's done. If voters had, I suspect not much of importance would happen beyond our shores.

    While I agree it is not a good idea to put all facts before a Public Inquiry, it would be good and sufficient to know that it was to be subject to an internal inquiry. It would then be good to know whether the decision makers were culpable or not; we don't need to know why, where and when.
  15. I passionately disagree; in this particular instance where many thousands of lives have been lost we are entitled to know the truth. This hiding behind 'it is not in the public interest' is utter bollocks. We put politicians in place to represent our best interests and if the truth does not put further people’s lives at risk we should be told exactly what transpired.
  16. I am not surprised that you disagree Finks (passionately or otherwise) and I sympathise. I would also like Blair to stop hiding behind the system and think that the best solution for all concerned would be for him to make an honest statement, without implicating Bush (who we could also presume to have been up to his stetson in "interpreting the facts") that the decision to go to war was or was not based on falsehoods perpetrated on the British government and the British people ... but it won't happen.

    An alternative seems to me to be that Chilcott (who has seen the documents but is not being permitted to publish them) convenes some form of behind closed doors judicial hearing, on this aspect alone, and a statement is then made by Chilcott declaring whether or not (on the basis of the information seen) Blair misled the House.

    The details in the documents need not be made public but the public will be given an answer to the question on everyone's lips. I have seen enough of Chilcott to trust that he has the integrity to challenge any potential whitewash and, while it may be a bit embarrassing to the septics (and may cause some awkward questions across the pond if the decision went against Blair) it might just be a compromise that would satisfy both camps.
  17. The notes have been repeatedly referred to and quoted in books by Bliar himself, George the Simple and Alistair Campbell. They have been in the possession of the Chilcott Enquiry for a while and it is the discrepancy between what is contained within the notes and Bliar's verbal evidence that is the reason why Chilcott wants them to be a formal part of the Enquiry evidence. The effects on the 'Special Relationship' is just a red-herring and there is probably little in them that would cause embarrassment to anyone except Antony Lytton himself. It is understandable really - if Chilcott brands him a liar then the Bliar family money making machine will take a hard hit.

    It is typical of Bliar that he is refusing to allow Chilcott formal access to the notes but is doing so through the Head Shed Civil Serpent in order to keep his own hands clean. It's a little bit like Mr. Al Tikriti claiming that his purchases of Nerve Gas from the USA involved private conversations with Rumsfeld and were privileged or members of the Third Reich claiming that the invasion of Russia involved private conversations between Molotov and Ribbentrop and therefore were protected from examination.

    The notes will prove that Bliar lied to Parliament, ignored and side-lined his own Attorney General, lied to his Cabinet and lied to the British people. More importantly it will leave him exposed to existing war-crime legislation. Now that would be a result.

    I don't hold out much hope for this happening - I had the unfortunate experience of visiting the UK recently. What a shit-hole, inhabited by the most apathetic public on the planet. It is this apathy that allowed Bliar to operate for so long. It is this apathy which protects him to this day.
  18. Bergen, how very true and your opinion of us is tragically spot on. today:

    Tony Blair wanted a "silver bullet" of intelligence to put in the Government dossier on Saddam Hussein's alleged WMD, a senior MI6 officer has revealed to the Iraq Inquiry. The officer, known only as "SIS4" but one of its foremost experts on the Middle East, revealed how the Secret Intelligence Service "strongly disliked" the idea of producing a dossier because publicising their work went against "all our training, our our culture".
    In newly released transcripts of his private evidence to the Inquiry, it also emerged that the intelligence officer drafted a paper on Iraqi "regime change" within weeks of the 9/11 terror attacks.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  19. A good comment in the Guardian by Philippe Sands QC after Bliar had wriggled through his latest appearance before Chilcott. My bold.

    The questions sent by the Chilcott Inquiry to Tony Blair make crystal clear the key issues on which the report will focus.
    In the run up to the war these include: the timing, nature and extent of commitments given to President Bush; the preparation and presentation of intelligence; the circumstances of the decision to return to the United Nations; the role of the attorney general and the effect of his legal advice at various stages; the role of the cabinet; and the presentation of information to parliament and the public.
    Mr Blair's responses to those questions are, to put it charitably, elusive and less than complete. But once the fluff is stripped away, today's defensive testimony, the written answers and the totality of the evidence before the tribunal points to a simple story: the prime minister took an early decision to support President Bush in the quest to remove Saddam, assured him repeatedly of his unequivocal statement of support, ignored the law, and deprived the cabinet and parliament of key information.
    In short, Mr Blair managed to skilfully lead the entire machinery of government — attorney general, cabinet, parliament — into a place from which British involvement in the war became inevitable.
    Mr Blair has paid a big price for delivering his commitment to President Bush: his legacy is an unlawful and disastrous conflict that continues to cause misery and claim lives, shredding public trust in government, diminishing Britain's role in the world, and undermining the rule of law. To the Chilcott inquiry falls the task of picking up the pieces.

    Philippe Sands QC is professor of law, University College London, and a barrister at Matrix Chambers


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