Part 1 – The “Iraq Inquiry Digest”, edited by Chris Ames

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    Comment at end

    8th December, 2009


    There’s a website called the ‘Iraq Inquiry Digest’, edited by Chris Ames, and set up to keep us informed about the Iraq Inquiry. Necessary or unnecessary? Given that the Iraq Inquiry official website itself links to all their (unedited) videos of evidence, all their transcripts and all their timetables for witness appearances as well as a lot more, I’m not completely convinced that sites such as the importantly named “Iraq Inquiry Digest” are not superfluous to requirements. But there we go. It’s a free country and people can do what they like on the internet. They can even take advantage of its thirst for opinions as compared to facts.  Then ‘opinion’ flowers and blooms far and wide, like weeds in the wind.

    As long as that opinion and those weeds serves their own, some might say.

    I couldn’t possibly comment.

    At the About Us page it says:

    This is a project to monitor and comment on the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war. Its aim is both to inform and to provide a dynamic forum for comment and analysis as the Inquiry progresses. It seeks to provide a balance of views and opinion. Its objective is to be constructive and to provide reasoned and well argued comment.

    The main aims are to set out what appear to be the main questions or issues that the Inquiry will need to address and to provide a commentary on the Inquiry’s proceedings and revelations.

    (More here, including list of  contributors and supporters.)

    I’m trying – I really am – to regard this site as neutral. But this at the top of the “Evidence” page, doesn’t aid my reassurance:

    Papers laying everything out have flown between very senior Government
    representatives and Ministers, which will make certain people’s eyes
    water when they see them. Our inquiry saw all those things, and the
    Chilcot committee must see them and be able to report on them.
    [Michael Mates MP, member of the Butler Review, 24 June 2009.]

    I have seen the Iraq Inquiry Digest’s site’s findings dotted about the internet. The usual clippings of evidence from the Inquiry, the usual headlines as per The Daily Mail, often described and quoted selectively and thus incompletely. These reports are selective, both purposely and purposefully. Thus they are being countered by sites such as the one you’re presently reading.  And John Rentoul’s … and Julie’s Think Tank … and Blair Foundation Watch.

    For instance:  there is ONE contributor at The Iraq Inquiry Digest, Stan Rosenthal, who is a Blair supporter who often contributes here at this blog. His evidence is also worth a study. Especially if you want a report of the Iraq Inquiry which does not always and automatically cherry-pick the juicy bits to suit an opinion, pro or anti.

    Still, hats off to Mr Ames. At least he has ONE pro-Blair/Iraq war contributor at his site. Out of about 12, that’s about par for the course.

    We few, we happy few …


    by Stan Rosenthal

    These hearings were interesting for what the press chose to highlight compared with what was actually said. The sinister Day 7 headline from the Guardian (4 December), for example was “Ministers hindered military planning for Iraq to keep the invasion secret, says forces chief,” and for Day 8, “Britain joined Iraq war coalition ‘to buy influence with US’ ”.

    I will return to those headlines later but here are quotes from the proceedings (with acknowledgement to Julie ) which are rather more representative of the contributions of the witnesses concerned.

    Now read Part 2 of a report regarding the Iraq Inquiry Digest to follow. Will link here when I have written it.

    If you doubt what I say about the reports of today’s Iraq witness, look for the headlines in the mainstream press, regarding the post-war adviser, who said that he warned Mr Blair that we were not ready for the post-war situation in Iraq. I doubt if any of them will lead with:

    “I did not expect him to say ‘right. we’ll call this off’. I was just one of  any number of people briefing him.”

    This man had a job to do. So did Mr Blair. And it was not to jump in response to every opinion given to him.


    FT, Philip Stephens, Excerpt:

    ‘Britain’s Iraq inquiry is destined to disappoint. Its chairman Sir John Chilcott declares no-one is on trial at his committee’s investigation of Britain’s role in the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Sad to say, the admonition misses the point. Tony Blair has already been tried, convicted and sentenced in the court of media opinion.

    Anything but official affirmation from the inquiry that a mendacious prime minister tricked the nation into an illegal invasion at the bidding of his war-crazed chum George W. Bush will be judged, alongside earlier independent reports into the war, as an Establishment “whitewash”.

    The mood has been summed up by the reaction to the inquiry’s opening sessions. Anything that seemed to make the case against Mr Blair grabbed a headline. Everything else was ignored. The tone was captured by the commentator who observed scornfully that Sir John seemed set on writing a report that was “detailed, nuanced and balanced”.

    Mr Blair’s reputation must be shredded sufficiently to ensure the eternal condemnation of history. His portrait must be hung in the gallery of shame alongside Anthony Eden, author of that earlier debacle in the desert. Eden really lied about Suez.’ (More here at the Financial Times)

    My thoughts on this:

    Mr Blair may have already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, a rough crowd of impressionable heavies if ever I read one.  But he hasn’t yet been sentenced. It is intriguing to note the “sentence” some friendly folks in Tehran (at ‘Iran’s leading international Daily’) would like to hand him. The protectors of Baghdad, I presume!

    The hangers ‘n’ floggers in Britain’s press are in suitable, duplicitous company! I DO hope they enjoy it.

    Iran is a BIG MATE of Iraq’s as you will no doubt recall! Their reason for wanting THIS fate for Tony Blair has nothing  to do with their concern about Iraq. This political reality may escape some of you. It doesn’t escape all of us.

    They can “hang” his portrait in the hall of shame if they must. I predict it won’t be there for long.

    ADDENDUM: For PROOF of the determination of some to LIE their way to the TROOF, read this, just added at The Iraq Inquiry Digest.

    Indigestible Digest! UnbeLIEVABLE twisting of another’s meaning!

    Par for the course? Again, I couldn’t possibly comment.

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    2 Responses to “Part 1 – The “Iraq Inquiry Digest”, edited by Chris Ames”

    1. Stan Says:

      Another spendid post, KTBFPM. I have picked up on that UNBELIEVABLE twisting of the FT article by leaving this comment at the site.

      “Come off it, Andrew. Your carefully selected snippet was obviously designed to link in with the Digest’s negative coverage of the Inquiry.

      Had this not been your aim you could have easily added the article’s next paragraph to your extract which would have clearly shown the irony of the opening words that Blairsupporter has referred to. Here it is for those who cannot bother to click on to the whole piece.

      “The mood has been summed up by the reaction to the inquiry’s opening sessions. Anything that seemed to make the case against Mr Blair grabbed a headline. Everything else was ignored. The tone was captured by the commentator who observed scornfully that Sir John seemed set on writing a report that was “detailed, nuanced and balanced”.

      The writer is saying exactly what I have been saying about how the inquiry is being reported (or rather misreported). Your distortion of what he said provides yet another example of how this is being done.

      Shame on you.”

    2. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      Thank you for your support, Stan, at the often Indigestible Digest.

      I have e-mailed Mr Philips, just in case Andrew Mason doesn’t.

      Not to say that Mr Philips will reply. But at least we have tried.

      More nonsense about taxi divers and WMDs today in the Daily Maul. Of course it appeals to the gullible, as all of this pre-requisite opining to a REAL trial must.

      It’s the law, don’t you know?

      Pity for them that they will by their own actions make any hoped-for trial so unfairly biased and pre-decided via public opinion, as to be completely out of the question.

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