War Criminal Blair :Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War has been delayed for another year because officials are refusing to allow Tony Blair's private messages to George W. Bush to be released. - Could It Be To Do With Giving The OK To Use Nepalm In Fallujah ?
The publication of the final report from the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War has been delayed for another year because officials are refusing to allow Tony Blair's private messages to George W. Bush to be released. The delay was announced today by inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot in a letter to David Cameron. It means the committee's final judgement will not be delivered until at least a decade after the war.
Secret relationship: The publication of the final report from the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War has been delayed for another year because officials are refusing to allow Tony Blair's private messages to George W. Bush to be released
Sir John complains that the inquiry team's ability to publish 'a balanced, fair and accurate' report is being undermined by the refusal of Whitehall officials to let them publish the documents on which their conclusions are based. Intelligence papers relating to MI5, MI6, the listening post GCHQ and the deliberations of the Joint Intelligence Committee are understood to be among the messages being held back.
But in his letter, Sir John also makes clear he wants the government to release Mr Blair's private letters to President Bush, which are understood to show that he committed in principle to support a US war in Iraq long before he came clean with the public. He also wants to be able to show the public details of deliberations in Cabinet over the war, which are likely to expose the true nature of the discussion over the legality of the conflict and the degree to which ministers were in the dark about the intelligence case for war. In a letter to Mr Cameron, Sir John says there are unresolved disputes over 'a number of particularly important categories of evidence, including the treatment of discussions in the cabinet and cabinet committees and the UK position in discussions between the prime minister and heads of state or government of other nations.' Sir John explicitly says issues around Mr Blair's evidence 'will need to be resolved'.
Facing questions: Tony Blair addressing the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry in January 2010. Sir John Chilcot wants the government to release Mr Blair's private letters to President Bush
He also refers to the inquiry's desire to publish 'transcripts from a small number of private hearings' - understood to include testimony from intelligence officers. Mr Blair has already discussed his letters widely in his evidence and his spin doctor Alastair Campbell reveals elements of the discussions in his diaries. Yet Cabinet Office officials, led by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and his predecessor Lord O'Donnell, have argued that publication of the letters would undermine future candour between leaders if there was a prospect of them being published. Sir John's letter will pile pressure on Mr Blair to grant a one-off exemption to the rules to allow publication of his correspondence with President Bush.
Report author: Sir John fears the inquiry team's ability to publish 'a balanced' report is being undermined
Gus O'Donnell told the Chilcot panel that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US and would not be in the public interest. 'We have attached particular importance to protecting the privacy of the channel between the prime minister and president,' he said. But Sir John has emphasised that the protocols were 'put in place to protect national security, international relations and the personal security of individuals. 'They are not there to prevent embarrassment.' The inquiry held 18 months of public hearings between the end of 2009 and early 2011 and was originally expected to publish by the summer of 2011. But Sir John Chilcot has now revealed that he will not even begin approaching witnesses the report will criticise for their comments before the middle of next year. That means the final report will not be published until the autumn of 2013 and potentially into 2014. It is expected to criticise Mr Blair's use of intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in making the case for war - in particular through the creation of the so-called 'dodgy dossier'. Sir John is on record as saying that Mr Blair's claim that MI6 established 'beyond doubt' that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was 'not possible to make on the basis of intelligence'. He reveals that the report is expected to exceed one million words in length, though it will also come with a more digestible summary for the public.