Friday, 21 January 2011

While many are wishing to walk the plank at Chilcot and point the finger of blame over Britain’s actions inside of Iraq, its been noticed that few questions have been asked into the credibility of the evidence, that was initially provided and prompted the 2003 invasion.

The main allegations given at the time, seemed to change each day, as every government argument buckled under the failure to provide credible evidence, especially relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction, which if Blair was to be taken seriously, would have wiped us all out in 45 minutes, eight years ago.

But neither Britain or Iraq’s neighbours were exterminated by weapons, built in some secret lab and the reason for this lies not in the answers Blair has given at Chilcot but in the fact that the answers were already in the public domain and not in some shock “WikiLeaks” revelation.

The British Government have so far spent over £2.7 million looking for answers at the Chilcot Inquiry, with Britain having spent millions of pounds already chasing after Weapons of Mass Destruction, when a basic Google search would have first drawn Parliaments attention to the 1997 essay “De-Linking sanctions: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” by US activist Sara Flounders.

After the Gulf War in the early 1990’s, the UN imposed a sanctions regime upon Iraq, where the country’s ability to import and export, was put into the hands of a New York based committee, where according to Flounders, “the U.S. has already justified some of the most harmful sanctions by calling them necessary to prevent Iraq from developing any "weapons of mass destruction".

Unbeknown to the £2.7 million Inquiry in London, is that the UN sanctions committee had “banned pencils for school children because these pencils contain graphite, which is also a lubricant. It has banned batteries, X-ray machines, ambulances because they could be used in battles, computers, and even enriched powdered milk, which supposedly could be used in germ warfare.”

Sara Flounders also demonstrated how thousands of Iraq’s children, who perished under the sanctions, died as a consequence of impure drinking water, in comparison to life before the Gulf War, where over 96% of the population had a potable supply, but the destruction to water supplies in 1991 and the subsequent efforts to prevent Saddam from building his stockpile of weapons, caused the United States and UN to take the following measures;

“Washington defines chlorine as a dual-use item, as it does the pipes that would be used to carry water. The U.S. government considers these and a thousand other items as having some possible dual use, i.e. that could be used to assist the Iraqi military” and so even if sanctions had been ‘de-linked’, into categories of humanitarian and military, these prohibited items would have been placed in the dual-use category under ‘military sanctions’ and there-fore denied.

It can almost be treated as an irony, that in 2001 Andy Kershaw of the Independent included the statement, “Tony Blair, on numerous occasions, has misled Parliament and the country (perhaps unwittingly)” over Iraq, in the highly acclaimed article “A chamber of Horrors near the Garden of Eden”.

Kershaw asked the following questions, which Chilcot has conveniently brushed aside, that the severity of the UN imposed Sanctions had brought about such destitution across Iraq, did Blair seriously expect Saddam Hussein to wage war with "beef extract powder and broth"? Or did the Sanction Committee expect him to turn on the Kurds again by spraying them with "malt extract"? Or to send his presidential guard back into Kuwait armed to the teeth with "pencils"?

It seems that twenty years after the first Gulf War, both Tony Blair and the Chilcot Inquiry still haven’t heard of UN Security Council 661 Committee. If they have, then as Kershaw pointed out “they keep quiet about it“ because as the Independent revealed in 2001, “This committee, which meets in New York and does not publish minutes, supervises sanctions on Iraq. The country's requirements have to be submitted to 661 and, often after bureaucratic delay, a judgement is handed down on what Iraq can and cannot buy“.

So while people sit at home, watching the Chilcot Inquiry and reading the press reports over the allegations against Anthony Blair QC, just remember the ghost of Gertrude Bell is now haunting the corridors of Parliament and whose voice will forever echo in the ears of those who walk them, if only to serve as a warning to Britain, “You may rely upon one thing — I’ll never engage in creating kings again.”


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