Sunday, 21 June 2009

Blair Demanding Secrecy

I don't guess it comes as too much of a shock to anyone that Tony Blair wants the Iraq Inquiry to be held in secret. The obvious question is why would he want that? The only answer is that because he is unable to get away with this, as he seems to have got away with 'accidentally' shredding his expenses.
According to reports, the former Prime Minister has urged Gordon Brown that the long-awaited hearings should be held in secret to avoid becoming a 'show trial'.
Mr Brown faced heavy and sustained criticism for announcing that the inquiry would be held behind closed doors and was immediately pressured into a re-think by an array of senior political and military figures denouncing the decision.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "If this is true about Blair demanding secrecy, it is simply outrageous that an inquiry into the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez is being muzzled to suit the individual needs of the man who took us to war - Tony Blair."
So if Blair is urging Brown to hold the Inquiry into the invasion of Iraq, be held in private, it simply reinforces the belief that he has something to hide and as he once replied when answering questions about his over zealous anti-terrorism laws: 'Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear'.
Remember that line Tone? Feeling a tad uncomfortable about the whole thing?


Anonymous said...

Certainly the former Prime Minister would want this inquiry held in private, not to protect himself, but to protect those agencies and individuals who risked their lives to deliver the intelligence we needed in order to make a decision. Clegg and you need to get out of the box. Really! You couldn't seriously think something as highly sensitive and delicate as a trial on Iraq would be a good thing. Of course, it IS evident the leftie loonies really don't care if they put anyone in any country in jeopardy as long as you get your former PM for "something". I pity you and your motives.

Stan said...

As you say, Anon,this is all about "getting" Blair regardless of other considerations.

Notice Lucy's headline "Blair DEMANDING secrecy" (taken from The Observer headline). As if he is forcing his opinions on everyone.

Blair obviously has a view on this, as would any former PM involved in the subject matter of an inquiry and it's right he should be consulted. But no, it can't be left at that. It has to be front page news with a sinister headline and with the worst interpretation being put on his ALLEGED motives (without any evidence of course).

There are all sorts of reasons why it might be best for the inquiry to be held in private (as other similar inquiries have been), not least in this case the obvious intention of the "get Blair brigade" to twist every scrap of information put to the inquiry to damn the man regardless of the conclusions of more objective adjudicators and observers (as was done in the case of the Hutton Inquiry.

In other words the demand for holding the inquiry in public has nothing to do with fairness but everything to do with the need of the "get Blair brigade" to have another platform from which to lambast the man regardless of where the truth lies.

Falling on a bruise said...

it IS evident the leftie loonies really don't care if they put anyone in any country in jeopardy as long as you get your former PM for "something"

Nice of you to worry about putting people in jeopardy, especially the person who had no qualms about jepardising the lives of his armed forces and Iraqi citizens.
If you think that Blair is demanding a private inquiry not to protect himself but to protect others then i pity, and at the same time find highly amusing, your naivety and oh so gullible nature.

Stan, as the man said himself, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. If he is innocent then let him put it out there and shame the get Blair brigade. Even you must see how it looks or are the old rose tinted specs misting up again?

Stan said...

It's not a matter of Blair having anything to hide. It's about the impossibility of the truth getting out through the distorting lense of a media that's determined to get him (see also my comment on your "Let's have a trial" post).

Falling on a bruise said...

The media excuse doesn't wash Stan.
If you don't like how it's reported in the Mirror, read about it in the Sun instead. If the BBC news is too hostile, watch about it on Sky News. At the very least acknowledge that the pro Blair sections of the media will be doing for Blair what the anti Blair media is doing against him.
The truth will get out and it is usually somewhere between the two. You just have to read both sides and make your own decision.

Aaron said...

I'm unfamiliar with the extent you all have investigated all the Iraq stuff in the UK. Would this inquiry be analogous to the 9/11 Commission Report we did over here?

Falling on a bruise said...

It will be along the lines of the 9/11 commision report effay in that it will look at everything the Government said and did in the run up, during and after the invasion. The controversy is the Government want to hold the inquiry in private, by people with ties to the Labour Party and to not blame anyone.
Blair, for whatever reason, wants the evidence heard in private. Now why do you think that is?

Aaron said...

Oops, I meant to say Iraq Study Group Report, not 9/11 Report.

Aaron said...

So you're saying the UK hasn't yet examined the lead-up and execution at all?

Falling on a bruise said...

As we were told by the Government for the past 6 years effay, it would not be right to hold a full inquiry while our troops are still risking their lives. As they are now withdrawn, the full inquiry into the whole shebang can at long last go ahead.

Aaron said...

In any case, don't get your hopes up. I still know countless, otherwise intelligent, people who will matter-of-factly declare that we had to invade Iraq to stop al-Qaeda, even after all the light that's been shed on that fallacy.

Stan said...

Here's a fuller explanation of what people like you, Lucy, are wanting from this inquiry, taken from David Aaronovitch's Times article headlined "Even if it's all in public they'll cry whitewash".

Not the truth since "opponents of the war are implacable in their interior knowledge of the wrongness of the conflict and of the perfidy that led up to it. No facts or interpretations that they could possibly hear would ever change their minds. Instead, they await the unlikely moment when their beliefs are demonstrated, by some hidden memorandum or mandarin testimony, to be utterly and irrefutably correct. Then, perhaps, they will get the Trial of Tony Blair for War Crimes that they have been wanting for so long - the final scratch to their intolerable itch.

For six years now - and, of course, it can be understood - the war's critics, unconfronted with the alternative reality that their preferences would have bestowed upon the world, have had it all to themselves. The war was “immoral”, “illegal” (so why no prosecutions in all that time?) and fought under a “false prospectus”. Claims of up to two million dead in Iraq have been bandied about and believed. Any of the inquiries into events leading up to the war have been dismissed as whitewashes, essentially for failing to give the answer that critics want; that answer being that there was a deliberate and wicked attempt to fool the peoples of America, Britain and the world into war.

Then came Lord Butler of Brockwell, who looked at intelligence failures in the run-up to the war. He did criticise the Government, and how its “informality” had “reduced the scope for informed collective decision making”. But this is what Lord Butler's committee said about the evidence: “We have reached the conclusion that prior to the war the Iraqi regime... had the strategic intention of resuming the pursuit of prohibited weapons progammes, including, if possible, its nuclear weapons programme... In support of that goal [it] was carrying out illicit research and development and procurement, activities... [and it] was developing ballistic missiles.” Not whitewash maybe, but “mandarin understatement” said the more intelligent critics.

So the “lies” weren't lies at all, leaving just one extant charge of culpable dishonesty - that Mr Blair and Mr Bush secretly decided on war in 2002, come what may. I went into this at length with those I interviewed for a series on the Blair premiership in late 2007. Sir David Manning, his foreign affairs adviser and later Ambassador to the US told me that Mr Bush had agreed with Mr Blair that, were Saddam to comply fully with international obligations, there would be no need for invasion because they would have effectively “crated the guy”. There was no prior hidden compact.

The irony of the discussion on an open inquiry, is that I think Mr Blair would probably be the star turn, pointing out some of the above and that, as a consequence, critics would declare another whitewash. And, though this would be a waste of time, at least we'd be able to tell Jon Snow and others that it had been done"

I think that Mr Aaronovitch is being a bit naive in thinking that the truth will lance the boil, given the above mindset and the determination of the opposition and almost all the media to twist the facts to suit their own anti-Blair agenda. But I think he expresses the nature of that mindset very accurately.

Falling on a bruise said...

I repeat what i said above about the truth laying somewhere inbetween.
David Aaronovitch would fall in your
pro-Blair category because i remember at the time he was probably the most pro-war journalist around although he rubbished the WMD and Al Queada claims and just wanted Saddam out for being evil.
He also followed Chris Hitchens in going from left to right and i do think there is a bit of trying to wind up his former allies.

He's your pro now find an anti.

Stan said...

Glad to see that you are accepting the truth may lie somewhere in- between, Lucy,which can only mean that you now believe the pros and cons of this issue are finely balanced . At least that moves you away from the anti-war certainty of your Rewriting the Iraq War post that brought me to your site.

Maybe you are open to rational argument after all. :-D

Falling on a bruise said...

I hope that i have always been open to rational debate stan and will listen, weigh up what the other person has to say and then either take it or leave it.

What you had to say about the Iraq War i had listened to a long time ago, weighed up and dismissed. You never had anything new to say that hadn't been already said years before so it was just repeating the same old arguments yet again.
I did try and get you to do something new so this wasn't the case.
I expect i had nothing to say you hadn't already heard either.

Now,i wonder just how open to other views are you?

Stan said...

Lucy, if an argument tells it as it is and stands up to analysis there's no need to change it. One can only keep repeating it in the hope that it will get through to the thickest of skulls (as it seems to have done here).

As for being open to the views of others, I always am, as long as they actually address the points I am making and are based on facts and RATIONAL argument - very rare in anti-war circles.

Falling on a bruise said...

Stan, once you stop listening to what other people have to say and dismiss them without giving them a hearing, then you are simply a bigot.
Don't confuse me giving you a fair hearing with me accepting what you had to say as i did, and still do, find your entire argument regarding Iraq, nonsense, weak, foolish, naive and ill-thought out. Doesn't mean i should just shout louder and longer to make you change your mind though as seems your style. I give you my opinion and let you do what you want with it. Also doesn't mean that i will automatically be anti anything you have to say on other other subject.

Stan said...

Lucy, if you found my entire argument SO nonsensical etc what prompted you to move from a staunch anti-war position to one where you consider that the truth lies somewhere in between?

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Falling on a bruise said...

Maybe i misunderstood but i thought that we were discussing your comment about the impossibility of the truth getting out through the distorting lense of a media regarding Blair and his appearance at the inquiry. I suggested if you didn't like the coverage in one media outlet, you switch to another and that the pro Blair media are just as guilty of bias as the anti in their coverage. That's where i said the truth probably lies between the two.
If you are discussing the War then my position has not changed from staunch anti. If you are discussing the bias of the media then i tell you to read and watch both sides.
It seems i misinterpreted your comment.

Stan said...

I dont think you can get away with it that easily, Lucy.

A biased anti-war position will be staunchly anti-war, a biased pro-war position will be staunchly pro-war.

If the truth lies somewhere in between, as you have said it is, you cannot be STAUNCHLY anti-war.

Q E D.

Falling on a bruise said...

I thought i had made it clear in my last comment Stan but obviously not. Let's try again.

David Aaronovitch - pro war, pro Blair. Obviously going to be pro-Blair at the inquiry.

George Galloway - anti war, anti Blair. Obviously going to be anti-Blair at the inquiry.

We should have the intelligence to know that the truth is going to be somewhere between these two extreme points of view. Neither should be taken as the difinitive view just because they support your own view. Read both and interpret it your own way because both sides will write to their own agenda.
I would never base a piece entirely on what Galloway had to say even if i did agree. It's the same as the 'Butchers say meat is good for you' argument. Of course they would say that.

If this doesn't make it clear then
i'm really not sure how else to explain it.