The Prime Minister had announced to the Commons that the hearings would be held in private but, in an attempt to defuse anger over the issue, opened the way for some of them to be in the open.
Mr Brown's spokesman claimed that it had never been "an issue of theology" for the Government that hearings be held closed doors.
That's Philip Webster (Times of London) reporting on what is happening and not our own Rebecca explaining what should have happened. But it is similar and that's not because Rebecca' psychic but because p.r. was her field and few have ever done it better than she did. Gordon Brown's problems never go away. He's had to walk it back because a high profile critic is expected to go public today. James Kirkup and Alastair Jamieson offer "Former cabinet secretary Lord Butler to criticise Gordon Brown's Iraq inquiry" (Telegraph of London)
Pressure for the Iraq War inquiry to sit in public is mounting amid reports that Lord Butler, who headed the last official inquiry, is critical of the decision to hold the hearings behind closed doors.
The former cabinet secretary, who is the author of the last official report into the Iraq war, will accuse the government of "putting its political interests ahead of the national interest", the BBC said.
Political Editor Nick Robinson said the former cabinet secretary will argue in the Lords that there should be a public element to the latest inquiry, which is to be chaired by one of those who sat on his own inquiry - senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot.
At the Guardian, Toby Helm states that "Buter will accuse the government of 'putting its political interests ahead of the national interest'" today. Andrew Grice, Kim Sengupta and Nigel Morris (Independent of London) report it's not one noted person who'll be speaking out against Brown, it's two:
And in a further blow to Mr Brown, two peers who chaired previous inquiries into aspects of the Iraq conflict, Lord Hutton and Lord Butler of Brockwell, support the bulk of the evidence to be heard in public, The Independent has learnt.
Their views undermine the Government's claim that the best way to learn lessons would be for the inquiry to be held in private.
Last night, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, said the Government had not consulted him. "I was not privy to the discussions," he said. "I am sure the option of part in public and part in private was considered and I think that that is an option that has got a lot of merit to it."
And Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary and a close Brown ally, broke ranks yesterday by hinting that he wants at least part of the proceedings to be held in public. "If you're asking my personal view, I'd prefer it to be as open a process as possible," he told ITV.
This is a big story and it remains largely unreported outside the UK press. Great Britain's Socialist Worker offered "War Inquiry To Be Kept Secret" yesterday:
Anti-war campaigners protested on Monday as Gordon Brown announced that the government’s inquiry into the Iraq war will be held in secret.
Its appointed committee of "the great and the good" does not inspire confidence. Sir John Chilcot, its chair, was part of the last Iraq whitewash, the Butler inquiry.
Another committee member, Sir Lawrence Freedman, wrote Tony Blair's 1999 Chicago speech setting out the idea of "humanitarian" war.
Their hearings will be held in private, and the report will be published with the “most sensitive information" held back. Brown said it will not appear for a year -- in other words, after the next election.
The Stop the War Coalition called for a public inquiry, not only of the war itself, but into how George Bush and Blair took us into it.
Rose Gentle, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq, reacted angrily to news that the inquiry would be secret.
"We have fought and fought for this," she said. "But it could all be for nothing if it’s held behind closed doors. We will be lobbying parliament to make sure that this is all transparent."
Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition, which called the emergency protest outside parliament to coincide with Brown’s statement, said the inquiry will be a "complete whitewash, just like the Butler inquiry was a few years ago."
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Democracy Now! today is a plethora of propaganda and misinformation. PM was not merely "left wing." Otto Katz and some fools from The Nation (hello, Freida!) did backdoor meetings on PM. It was predominately propaganda and Katz was an operative of several foreign states. He wasn't just a spy, he was a spy several times over. And his death was completely expected including that his former supporters would ignore him and refuse to assist him -- even when his forced confression was so obviously forced. Liars and fools help no one. It's a shame that Amy Goodman wants to look at I.F. Stone AFTER the 2008 election. As anyone who actually knows Stone's work (apparently no one at Democracy Now! or her guest who has just 'written' a book on Stone) is aware, he argued against the two-party system. See, for example, "When a Two-Party System Becomes a One-Party Rubbert Stamp" during Vietnam but, pay attention, also see "Challenging the Left: 'Back Ike for Peace'" from 1952 when he's advocating that the left vote for Ike because he feels the Democratic Party is too craven. The reason that so many are always suspicious of the left is because to hear these liars tell it, no one was ever a Socialist or a Communist. Not in the US! What a bunch of crap. And the idiot on Democracy Now! wanted to yammer on and on about it and then to yammer on and on about the New York Post. There is a connection there, a thread, that results from a split over Truman or Henry Wallace. But boys named "D.D." rarely do the work required. All the more so when they work for The Nation. And few are ever served by nonsense. Communists and Socialists did exist in the US. There's no reason to deny it. That's not all that different from continuing the witch hunt. Get honest about history because it does no one any favors to pretend otherwise. And it also sends the message that Communists and Socialists must be denied because they were doing something wrong. It's past time for everyone to relax and get honest. You won't catch 'cooties,' I swear.
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