US tries to Censor British Report on Secret Bush-Blair Push for Iraq War (Lazare)

Sarah Lazare writes at Commondreams.org

If the U.S. gets its way, the world will never know the details of top-level discussions between George W. Bush and Tony Blair that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

An exclusive report released Thursday by The Independent reveals that the White House and U.S. State Department have launched a fierce battle against the release of a four-year government-ordered investigation into the lead-up and aftermath of British participation in a war now widely viewed in the UK as a catastrophe.

The inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, is believed to take aim at the official version of events, including misrepresentation of Iraq intelligence, as well as questions about whether former British Prime Minister Tony Blair engaged in secret negotiations with the Bush administration while lying to the British people.

Yet, the U.S. government is forbidding the release of communications between Blair and Bush in the lead-up to the war, declaring it classified information and pressuring British Prime Minister David Cameron to wipe this information from the report.

The Independent reports that the hidden documents "are said to provide crucial evidence for already-written passages that are highly critical of the covert way in which Mr Blair committed British troops to the US-led invasion."

The paper goes on to quote a top-level diplomat, who declared, “The US are highly possessive when documents relate to the presence of the President or anyone close to him… this is not Tony Blair’s or the UK Government’s property to disclose.”

There are signs that the British government is poised to cave to U.S. pressure, in a bid to protect the 'special' relationship between the two countries.

The Independent reports:

Although the Prime Minister told Chilcot in a letter last week that some documents needed to be “handled sensitively”, the Cabinet Office decoded the Prime Minister’s phrases yesterday, telling The Independent: “It is in the public’s interests that exchanges between the UK Prime Minister and the US President are privileged. The whole premise about withholding them [from publication] is to ensure that we do not prejudice our relations with the United States.”

Immediately following the release of the report, a Cabinet spokesperson denied that the U.S. has veto power over the Iraq War inquiry, declaring, "All sides recognize that this raises difficult issues, involving legal and international relations considerations."

The inquiry was launched by Gordon Brown in 2009, expected to take a year to finish, and has already been concluded but remains hidden from the public. The report has no set publication date at this time, according to The Huffington Post.

An editorial by Guardian editors sounds the alarm over the delayed release of the report, declaring, "If there is an urgency, it is because only with publication of Chilcot's report can this generation hope to learn the lessons of that misguided war and how to avoid repeating those mistakes."

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Mirrored from Commondreams.org

14 Responses

  1. Where is Snowdon when you need him. Over here in England there is outrage about the silencing of this report, not least because its one of several and costs the tax payer millions of pounds. The main reason for the incredulity of the public and political commentators, is the fact that this report is being blocked by a civil servant and not by anyone in parliament or the house of Lords (our version I think of your senate). Its astounding that this unelected clerk can exercise such power even greater than the prime minister or even the Queen herself. If you Americans think your government is being manipulated by backroom boys, you should come over here and see what we’ve got, hands up the rectum and puppets come s to mind!!

  2. No doubt the American Empire will get its way and the British public will be fed a watered down report. It is an absolute scandal the way a report, made at public expense, is not being released to those who funded it. The sooner we “prejudice our relations with the United States” the better – it is imperative we remove ourselves from Washington’s foreign policy orbit. I hope the Syria vote was the start of it.

    • I also hope that “the Syria vote was the start of it,” as an American. And I was pleasantly surprised here when the people in opinion polls rejected an intervention in the Syrian civil war. This was at the time President Obama was running for political cover and he tried to get the Congress to approve his intervention.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Note the lack of attention to the fact that not releasing the report prejudices the relationship in a favorable and fabricated manner.

  3. “If the U.S. gets its way, the world will never know the details of top-level discussions between George W. Bush and Tony Blair that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.”

    The world already knows the essential facts. The war on Iraq was greased with barrages of lies and fearmongering. The Chilcot report would most likely just have dotted the “i”s and crossed the “t”s.

    “There are signs that the British government is poised to cave to U.S. pressure, in a bid to protect the ‘special’ relationship between the two countries.”

    Folding is what puppets do when the puppetmaster pulls the right cords.

  4. It is difficult to come to any conclusion other than the US government and other players involved in the war on Iraq fear that facts in the Chilcot Report would at least be very embarrassing, and evidence beyond a reasonable doubt would be very embarrassing, indeed.

  5. america has become such an embarrassment to itself … and seems addicted to continuing … secret guilt at play

  6. Reading the actual story, it seems that the objection is to releasing the actual transcripts/minutes of conversations, not the report itself.

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