War Hawk Tony Blair is forever tied to the illegal Iraq War.
He's back in the news as the British judicial system examines whether or not he can be sued for his actions.
Stepping forward to add his thoughts today is John Chilcot.
Bowing to pressure -- and seeing writing on the wall that others ignored -- prime minister Gordon Brown agreed to an inquiry into the Iraq War.
Had other Labour politicians recognized the same reality, Gordon Brown might not be the last Labour member to be prime minister thus far.
But instead of recognizing reality, others dug in and made Labour (actually New Labour) the apologist party for Tony Blair instead of a political party for the people.
John Chilcot headed the Iraq Inquiry which issued their findings a year ago.
Today, he sat down with the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg.
Tony Blair was not straight with the nation & the inquiry about his decisions in the run up to Iraq War - Sir John Chilcot tells @bbclaurak.
From the transcript the BBC posted:
LK: And they were, particularly the sessions with Tony Blair, they were extraordinarily tense.
LK: You say he always tried to make the most persuasive case, the advocate's case.
LK: Do you feel he was as straight with you as he ought to have been?
JC: I think I'd have to take us back into the body of the report itself, and the critique that we made. There is, I argued, you know, including in the launch statement, the responsibility on the leading politician, of a government, both to make the case for the policy decision taken but also to balance that with realism about risks, downsides, counter-arguments. If you act simply as a one-sided advocate you risk losing that. And I think that risk did come - come about.
LK: And indeed, your report would say, says, for example on the intelligence.
LK: He gave it a certainty that wasn't justified. I mean that's another way of saying it was exaggerated.
JC: He found - I don't know whether consciously or not - a verbal formula in the dossier and his foreword to it. He said - and used it again later. 'I believe the assessed intelligence shows beyond doubt.' Pinning it on 'my belief'. Not on the fact, what the assessed intelligence said. You can make an argument around that, both ethical and - well, there is an ethical argument I think.
LK: Do you think it was ethical to do that?
JC: We criticised it and said it shouldn't have been done.
LK: But was it ethical?
JC: I don't know that I - I'm not an ethicist. (laugh)
LK: But you spent years studying this -
LK: Intelligence. The way you put it in the report and what you've just said would suggest that's somebody who's spent their life in government, in public service.
LK: That you feel he manipulated the evidence to make his own case.
JC: Again I'm declining the word 'manipulate'. Using as best he could. But it's only fair to him to say that on the very eve of the invasion he asked the then chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee, can you tell me beyond any reasonable doubt that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. To which the answer was, yes I can. He was entitled to rely on that. But would it have been wise to rely on it?
LK: And when it came to his evidence to you -
LK: Do you feel he gave you the fullest version of events?
JC: I think he gave an - what was - I hesitate to say this, rather, but I think it was, from his perspective and standpoint, emotionally truthful and I think that came out also in his press conference after the launch statement. I think he was under - as you said just now - very great emotional pressure during those sessions. Far more than the committee were. He was suffering. He was deeply engaged. Now in that state of mind and mood you fall back on your instinctive skills and reactions, I think.
LK: But he was relying, you suggest, therefore on emotion, not fact?
JC: Both. I mean fact, insofar as there are facts particularly in the intelligence sphere. Nobody should be allowed to become a senior minister reading intelligence without undergoing a training course. That was a diversion, but it's also true.
LK: But just having been part of those incredibly intense sessions and then having studied that version of events along with the enormous array of documentary evidence that you had, just in the most simple terms, do you believe that Tony Blair was as straight with you and the public as he ought to have been?
JC: Can I slightly reword that to say I think any prime minister taking a country into war has got to be straight with the nation and carry it, so far as possible, with him or her. I don't believe that was the case in the Iraq instance.
Meanwhile . . .
Michael Tracey Retweeted
"Hobby Lobby May Have Been Paying Off ISIS For Stolen Iraqi Antiquities" is a Coen brothers movie
Yesterday, the US Attorney's office for the Eastern District New York issued the following:
United States Files Civil Action To Forfeit Thousands Of Ancient Iraqi Artifacts Imported By Hobby Lobby
Derek Hawkins (WASHINGTON POST) reports:
Arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby has agreed to pay a $3 million fine for illegally smuggling thousands of ancient clay artifacts into the United States from Iraq, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Under a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Hobby Lobby will forfeit thousands of cuneiform tablets, clay bullae and cylinder seals it falsely labeled as “samples” and shipped through the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
The Oklahoma-based company brought more than 5,500 artifacts for $1.6 million in December 2010 from an unidentified dealer in an acquisition prosecutors said was “fraught with red flags.” Hobby Lobby got conflicting information about where the artifacts had been stored and never met or communicated with the dealer selling them, according to court documents. When it came time to pay, the company wired money to seven separate bank accounts.
How does a three million dollar fine cover this?
What they did was illegal.
A fine is not enough.
A civil complaint is not enough.
This requires criminal charges because this was criminal activity.
Thousands of civilians may be trapped in Mosul as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces make a final push to reclaim the city from ISIS:
Day **262** of The Mosul Slog.
In June of 2014, the Islamic State seized control of Mosul.
The Iraqi government did nothing in 2014.
The Iraqi government did nothing in 2015.
Finally, in October of 2016, they initiated an operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul.
That is the ongoing Mosul Slog.
Jessica Durando (USA TODAY) notes:
But a humanitarian crisis looms for survivors, many of them children, who are suffering from dehydration and malnutrition in northern Iraq. U.S-backed forces have entered the final stages of the Mosul offensive to retake the second-largest city.
The fight for Mosul is having a “devastating” impact on residents, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement on Wednesday. Only a “fraction … who require medical attention are receiving it, and many are dying on the battlefield,” the organization said.
Thought for the day:
By using our voices we stopped the war in Vietnam. By not using them we acquiesced to war in Iraq. Learn facts. Say prayers. Use your voice.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, DISSIDENT VOICE, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and GORILLA RADIO -- updated:
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