Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Good news. Sir John Chilcot, head of the British inquiry on the causes and reasons for the Iraq War, has decided that evidence be taken in public. This means that former PM Tony Blair will give evidence in public regarding his decision to have the U.K. join Bush and the U.S. in the disastrous invasion of Iraq. I say "disastrous, because over 600,000 Iraqis lost their lives, not counting the lives of 4,600+ Americans and the 150+ British who were part of the military invasion and occupation.

Nicholas Watt reports the story for The Guardian today:

"In a setback for Brown, who had hoped the inquiry would be held in private, Sir John Chilcot has ruled that all witnesses will be expected to give evidence in public. This will apply across the board unless there are "compelling reasons" in a small number of cases for evidence to be heard in private. This would be if evidence could jeopardise national security or upset allies."

Originally, Gordon Brown had signaled that the inquiry would take evidence and testimony in private. Reportedly, Tony Blair wanted private hearings because he feared that opening them to the public would amount to a "show trial" of his own decisions in going along with Bush and Cheney.

Writes Watt:

"The prospect of public grillings for Brown and Blair shows how the prime minister's plans for the inquiry have been dramatically changed since it was established last week. On 15 June Brown told MPs that the inquiry would be modelled on the Franks inquiry into the 1982 Falklands war, which met in private. He said: "I believe that that will also ensure that evidence given by serving and former ministers, military officers and officials is as full and candid as possible.""

Still, the testimony from Tony Blair and others will not be under oath. This is indeed unfortunate, because we have seen how Bush and Cheney managed to avoid sworn testimony when talking to the 9/11 Commission.

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