BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
BARRY O IS PLANNING A CLOSED DOOR MEETING WITH GAY GROUPS THIS WEEK AND HOPES TO CO-OPT THEM THE WAY HE DID VINCENT WARREN.
BARRY O'S REFUSAL TO ALLOW FOR OPEN MEETINGS, HIS REFUSAL TO EMBRACE SUNSHINE AND INSTEAD HIDE IN THE SHADOWS HAS LED TO D.C. RUMORS THAT HE'S REALLY A VAMPIRE.
U.S. HOUSE REP. BARNEY FRANK IS TRYING TO CALM DOWN LGBT CRITICISM OF BARRY O BUT AFTER BARNEY FRANK BROKE HIS WORD AND VOTED FOR THE WAR SUPPLEMENTAL LAST WEEK, WHY HE THINKS HE HAS ANY PULL WITH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IS A GOOD QUESTION?
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with England where Prime Minister Gordon Brown's been the topic of the week all last week. Fresh from nearly losing his prime minister post and on the heels of the spending scandals in Parliament, Brown promised a new age of transparency only to turn around last Monday and offer the long promised inquiry into the Iraq War . . . as a back-door, hidden-from-public view song and dance. The Irish Independent observes, "Brown's reputation has been hit by his disastrous handling of the planned inquiry into the invasion of Iraq." Today John Chilcot -- appointed by Brown to lead the Iraq inquiry -- makes a statement. BBC reports that Chilcot has sent Brown a letter which includes this statement: "More broadly, I believe it will be essential to hold as much of the proceedings of the inquiry as possible in public, consistent with the need to protect national security and to ensure and enable complete candour in the oral and written evidence from witnesses." Haroon Siddique (Guardian) adds, "One reason why Brown is thought to have agreed to a private inquiry may have been pressure from the former prime minister, Tony Blair. The Observer reported that Blair pressed Brown to hold an inquiry behind closed doors because he feared he would be subjected to a 'show trial' if it were open to the public." This morning on BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, Marr spoke with Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg:
Nick Clegg: If his [Gordon Brown's] inquiry is to have any legitimacy it must first be held in public with only some exceptions made for evidence heard in secret. Andrew Marr: Do you think Tony Blair should be giving evidence in public? Nick Clegg: And second I'll be saying if the inquiry is to have any legitimacy, the prime architect of the decision to go to war in Iraq, along side George Bush, should give his evidence in public under oath. I think anything less will make people feel this is just a grand cover up for, after all, what was the biggest foreign policy mistake this country has made since has made since Suez. Andrew Marr: And what about Cabinet documents and documents that have been private before like, for instance, the one you mentioned from The Observer which suggest that there was a discussion [between Bush and Blair] about sending a plane over Iraq to see if they'd shoot it down as an excuse for starting the war? Nick Clegg: I think all of that should be made possible with, of course, some exceptions where you, for instance, endanger the lives of intelligence officers -- if you reveal through a public session where they're working how they're getting their intelligence. Just like the 9-11 inquiry in the United States. Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, some of these key players, they gave evidence in public and we should do exactly the same thing with only very small exceptions for evidence held in secret. I think, look, diplomats think it should be held in public, military figures do, the public clearly do, the families of the soldiers -- the brave service men and service women who've lost their lives, most political opinion thinks we should hold this in public. The only two people who don't are Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair because they want to cover up their tracks. We shouldn't have this inquiry determined by precisely the people who risk being most embarrassed by it.
Nick Clegg was asked of Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend (The Observer) report on a January 31, 2003 memo ("almost two months before the invasion") which is a "record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution". Let's drop back to June of 2005 when Michael Smith (Times of London) reported:
A SHARP increase in British and American bombing raids on Iraq in the run-up to war "to put pressure on the regime" was illegal under international law, according to leaked Foreign Office legal advice. The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later RAF and USAF jets began "spikes of activity" designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the allies a pretext for war. The Foreign Office advice shows military action to pressurise the regime was "not consistent with" UN law, despite American claims that it was. The decision to provoke the Iraqis emerged in leaked minutes of a meeting between Tony Blair and his most senior advisers -- the so-called Downing Street memo published by The Sunday Times shortly before the general election.
The two War Hawks were admitting that WMD might not be found and that they needed other ways to force the war with Iraq. Blair doesn't want to testify in private and has argued against it. Jason Beattie (Daily Mirror) adds, "Tony Blair sparked fury yesterday over claims that he tried to 'muzzle' the Iraq War inquiry. The former PM is reported to have told Gordon Brown the probe would have become a 'show trial' unless it was kept behind closed doors." Jane Merrick and James Hanning (Independent of London) surmise, "A public appearance by Mr Blair before the Chilcot inquiry would also damage his ambitions of becoming EU president, a role that needs the support of European countries that opposed the war." The New Statesman explains, "Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, is said to have communicated Blair's anxieties to Brown. Yesterday the Northern Ireland Secretary, Shaun Woodward, confirmed that Blair had discussed the inquiry with O'Donnell." The reaction to former Prime Minister and always Bush Poodle Tony Blair attempting to circumvent the process resulted in a backlash even among Labour (Blair and Brown's party). William Hague (Daily Mail) argues, "He is the last person who should be setting the rules for an inquiry that will largely be concerned with decisions and events during his time in office." Nigel Morris (Independent of London) reports, "The Labour rebels' anger was intensified by the disclosure yesterday that Tony Blair, likely to be the key witness, had consulted with the Cabinet Secretary on the form of the inquiry. They want him to give evidence under oath."
This anger may be apparent in the increasingly public role of Education Secretary Ed Balls. Balls backed a public inquiry last week when he was caught by surprise with the question during a live interview. James Chapman (Daily Mail) notes, "Ed Balls today signalled that the Government would perform a U-turn and hold the Iraq War inquiry in public. The Education Secretary said it would be a 'good thing' to hold some of the hearing in public after Gordon Brown faced fury from Labour backbenchers over his initial decision to keep them private." Blair's not helped by news of an upcoming interview to run in Esquire. Rachel Cooke (Daily Mail) quotes Blair saying, "I've no regrets about that decision" to start an illegal war with lies "because it was difficult to get rid of Saddam, but leaving him would also have been difficult, and when I look at the region now, I think it would be a lot more complicated [were he still there]". And would over a million Iraqis have died? Would 173 British service members have died? Would 4315 US service members have died? Tony Blair sent what members of his own family into Iraq?
In the BBC interview, Nick Clegg mentioned Alastair Campbell. James Chapman (Daily Mail) observes, "Like ghosts at the feast, the sulphurous spirits of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell loom large over Gordon Brown's latest political disaster. . . . Mr Campbell, who helped draw up the infamous Iraq War dossiers as Mr Blair's chief spin doctor, remains a major player behind the scenes and a conduit between the two men. He too speaks regularly to Mr Brown by phone and makes frequent visits to Downing Street." Bruce Anderson (Independent) advocates even further opening of the inquiry, "Crucial decisions were taken in the closest partnership with the Americans. Condi Rice, then the National Security Adviser, was in daily contact with David Manning, her nearest equivalent in No.10. It would be impossible to understand the UK role without the US dimension. That requires long interviews with President Bush, Secretaries Powell, Rice and Rumsfeld, plus a score of lesser names. The Chilcot report will not be complete unless it contains a chapter entitled: 'Mr Blair becomes a neo-conservative'." Lucien Rajakarunanayake (Sri Lanka's Daily News) also argues for expanding the scope:
The facts of the UK's involvement in the invasion of Iraq, it would show there is every reason to call for a fully independent and international probe into why the UK went to Iraq, what it did there and what it has left the Iraqi people with.The reasons are compelling. They went to a foreign land. They went there uninvited by its people. They went under false pretexts, having lied to their own legislature, the House of Commons, that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of acquiring WMD. They spun and twisted intelligence reports to mislead their own legislature, and even worse, together with those in Washington who misled both Houses of Congress about Iraq and WMD, also misled the UN Security Council on the same matter. They fooled the UN into endorsing the invasion of Iraq, which was in fact an illegal and criminal act. The entire invasion was a war crime of the highest order. All the bloodshed there was a humanitarian catastrophe - bloodbaths aplenty that no one in the UN warned about. But what do we have instead. Gordon Brown, David Miliband and the other pathetic caricatures of true Labour politicians, eating off the hands of a so-called Tamil Diaspora that promises them vote banks and plenty of undeclared stuffed brown paper envelopes, have announced a probe into the UK's participation in the war against Iraq, to be held in private. An international atrocity of such magnitude is to be probed in private, without even the media present to report what happens, at least to the British people, if not the world. Such is the level of transparency practised by those who demand the very extremes of public disclosure from us.
This Wednesday, the Stop the War Coalition is rallying Wednesday. "Protest at parliament against holding Iraq enquiry in private" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports the demonstration will be "outside parliament at 2pm this Wednesday, demanding 'No Whitewash, No Cover Up', in the Iraq enquiry."
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