Publish and be damned – not as far as the Chilcot report is concerned!

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FAMILIES of British soldiers killed in the Anglo-American March 2003 invasion, and then occupation, of Iraq, were yesterday threatening legal action against the chairman of the inquiry into the war, Sir John Chilcot.

ix years after the inquiry finished, he has been unable to present its findings. The delay is said to be to give all those who want to contest its findings, and in particular their role in the dirty imperialist war, an opportunity to respond.

Clearly this practice, which has not been used in other important state inquiries, has led to delay, more delay and yet more delay, with the conviction now rapidly growing that the state and those who have a case to answer are determined that the inquiry findings will never be published.

The proud slogan ‘publish and be damned’ definitely does not apply to the Chilcot inquiry report. In fact, there seems to be a determination not to publish anything until, at least, the major plotters of the imperialist war are in their graves.

Lawyers for the soldiers’ families claim Chilcot acted unlawfully by refusing to set a deadline for publication. The five-member panel, led by Sir John, began its work in 2009 and held its last hearings in 2011. The inquiry took evidence from hundreds of witnesses, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Lawyers acting for 29 soldiers’ families have written to Chilcot calling for him to set a deadline for witnesses to respond and to promise the report will be published by the end of the year.

Reg Keys, whose son L/Cpl Thomas Keys was killed in Iraq in 2003, said he was ‘losing patience’ and the families had come to the ‘end of our tether’. He said yesterday: ‘Those who were seriously wounded and maimed, those families will want to know why their loved ones have ended up in that state.’

Sir John, who is paid £790 a day as head of the inquiry, has always declined to say exactly when the report would be released but has said he wholeheartedly shares the wish for it be made available as soon as possible. The inquiry looked at the decision to go to war and UK involvement in Iraq until 2009. The truth of the matter is that the state is determined that the truth about the Iraq war will not be revealed.

This truth is that not just thousands of UK and US troops died in the war and in the occupation, but that the war, which did not have the support of the UN Security Council and was illegal, cost hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis their lives, turned millions more into refugees in the years of occupation, and destroyed the Iraqi economy, smashing a society in which people enjoyed free state education and free health care, was secular, and with no discrimination against women.

Iraq became the model for dealing with the Arab states, which was followed faithfully in Libya and Syria creating millions of refugees, and mountains of corpses. In fact, it is well known that the Osama bin Laden attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11 2001 was seized on by President Bush as presenting a huge opportunity for attacking and destroying Iraq.

Bush assured Blair that the UK could stand on one side because of the anti-war movement in the UK, but Blair was full of enthusiasm for attacking Iraq, and insisted that the UK would make war alongside the US. Blair peddled lies and ‘dodgy dossiers’ to get parliament to vote for war alleging that Iraq had wmds that it could use against British troops in Cyprus within 45 minutes. He lied his way to war!

Events like the death of Doctor David Kelly, who did not agree with the ‘dodgy dossiers’ and who blew the whistle on them, were not allowed to interfere with the war. On July 18, 2003, the British biowarfare expert and UN weapons inspector Kelly was found dead on Harrowdown Hill, near his home in Oxfordshire. An inquest determined the cause of death as suicide.

The State is determined that the Chilcot report will never see the light of day. The secret treaties of the 1914 imperialist war were only revealed by the Bolsheviks in 1917 after their revolution. It will require the British socialist revolution for all of the findings of the Chilcot report to be discovered along with all of the illegal secret agreements that paved the way for the war and occupation of Iraq!