Sunday 15 November 2009

Iraq Inquiry Condemned as 'Whitewash' By Former Diplomat

Carne Ross, the UK's former Iraq expert on the UN Security Council, has told the Observer today that he believes having former Butler Review member Sir John Chilcot chair the Iraq inquiry is "like trying the same crime twice with the same judge and jury – not a credible standard for truth-seeking. Nor would a truth-seeker allow the inquiry's staff to be headed by the civil servant who was in a senior position in the foreign and defence policy secretariat of the Cabinet Office during Britain's military occupation of Iraq."

Ross testified at the Butler Review that "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." He also argued that alternatives to invasion, primarily targeting Iraq's illegal oil revenues across its south-eastern border with Turkey, were ignored. This testimony directly challenged assertions that the war was legally justified by Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction that could be "activated" within 45 minutes and therefore posed a threat to British interests.

The Observer also reports Philippe Sands QC, a barrister in Matrix Chambers and a professor of international law at University College London, who has said: "Having some familiarity with Sir John's questioning... it is not immediately apparent that he will have the backbone to take on former government ministers." Other (unnamed) legal figures have reportedly expressed their fears that Chilcot "will do a job for the government".

Read more here.

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