Friday 2 October 2009

Iraq Inquiry Digest Launched

There has been nothing new on the Iraq Inquiry since early September, then its chair Sir John Chilcot announced that he had written "to veterans groups, service charities and Regimental and Service Associations seeking their views on what the priorities of the Inquiry should be." An announcement about public hearings is expected later in October, but meanwhile it is interesting to see that a website called 'Iraq Inquiry Digest' has been set up to monitor and comment on the investigation.

Its supporters include MPs from the three Westminster parties, Rose Gentle of Military Families Against the War, whose son Gordon was killed in Iraq, Dr Glen Rangwala (who is editor of Labour Briefing and who discovered that Downing Street's 'dodgy dossier' was plagiarised from a postgraduate student's thesis) and the journalists Peter Oborne and Michael Smith, who published the Downing Street documents. The website is supported by Index on Censorship and openDemocracy.

Iraq Inquiry Digest editor Chris Ames wrote in the Guardian yesterday:

As this is a citizens' resource, we are also extending an open invitation to anyone who has information, including people who are providing information to the inquiry, to pass it to us. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who knows of any attempt to mislead the inquiry or to withhold information. There is no doubt that this has happened before, and information given to previous establishment inquiries never saw the light of day.
It'll be interesting to see whether anyone from inside the establishment takes up his offer.

However, it seems the cover-up has already begun. The government has indicated that it intents once again to block, on the grounds of “damage to international relations”, the release of documents relating to the dossier that Tony Blair presented to Parliament on 24 September 2004 to claim that Iraq possessed and was continuing to develop weapns of mass destruction.

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