Anti-war campaigners protested on Monday as Gordon Brown announced that the government’s inquiry into the Iraq war will be held in secret.
Its appointed committee of “the great and the good” does not inspire confidence. Sir John Chilcot, its chair, was part of the last Iraq whitewash, the Butler inquiry.
Another committee member, Sir Lawrence Freedman, wrote Tony Blair’s 1999 Chicago speech setting out the idea of “humanitarian” war.
Their hearings will be held in private, and the report will be published with the “most sensitive information” held back. Brown said it will not appear for a year – in other words, after the next election.
The Stop the War Coalition called for a public inquiry, not only of the war itself, but into how George Bush and Blair took us into it.
Rose Gentle, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq, reacted angrily to news that the inquiry would be secret.
“We have fought and fought for this,” she said. “But it could all be for nothing if it’s held behind closed doors. We will be lobbying parliament to make sure that this is all transparent.”
Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition, which called the emergency protest outside parliament to coincide with Brown’s statement, said the inquiry will be a “complete whitewash, just like the Butler inquiry was a few years ago.”