United Kingdom - Iraq Inquiry told to "protect US interests"

From the wikileaks website: UK promises to protect “your interests” (of the United States) during the inquiry led by Sir Chilcot on the war in Iraq.

 

Alex Plough, 30 November 2010, 17.07 GMT

 

The Ministry of Defence decided to influence the official inquiry into the Iraq War in order to "protect US interests", according to a classified US diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks.

 

A dispatch sent by Ellen Tauscher, the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, describes a conversation with Jon Day, the MOD Director General for security policy, in which he "promised that the UK had ’put measures in place to protect your [US] interests’during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq War.

 

Day made the admission in late September 2009, during one of a series of meetings between Tauscher and senior British officials attending the London P5 Conference on Confidence Building Measures Towards Nuclear Disarmament.

 

The UK delegation also included David Miliband, then Foreign Secretary, although there is no evidence in the cable that he was aware of Day’s assurances.

 

On 6 January 2010, Day was called as a witness to the Iraq Inquiry where he was questioned about the MOD’s policy decisions from 2007 to 2009.

 

Day’s apparent knowledge of Whitehall interference into the Inquiry prior to his testimony contradicts the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s claim that it would be both "fully independent of Government" and "unprecedented" in scope.

 

At the news conference launching the Inquiry, chairman Sir John Chilcot was asked by Guardian Journalist Andrew Sparrow if the panel planned on taking evidence from American officials.

 

Chilcot replied, “Discussions and evidence sessions are not necessarily the same thing, and of course we have no power to compel witnesses here, let alone people in foreign governments. Nonetheless, I accept the thrust behind your question, that the Anglo-American relationship is one of the most central parts of this inquiry, and how that was conducted is something that we need to get a very strong understanding of.”

 

Between 17 and 21 May 2010, members of the committee held a series meetings in Washington DC with officials from the former and current US administrations. However, as the meetings were not formal evidence sessions, there is no published record of the discussions.

 

The Iraq Inquiry plans to deliver its final report at the end of the year.

 

 

Cablegate publicized by Wikileaks:

 

Tuesday, 22 September 2009, 14:13

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 LONDON 002198

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EO 12958 DECL: 09/21/2019

TAGS PARM, KNNP, PREL, CH, EG, FR, IN, IR, IZ, JA, KN, PK

 

Political consensus on a Strategic Defense Review

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8. (S/NF) Day acknowledged that “the next year will be pretty disruptive” in the UK as the two

major parties prepare for the next general election. He stressed that both the Labour and Conservative

parties are committed to a Strategic Defense Review after the election. He predicted that neither

political conflict between the two major parties nor the defense review would affect arms control policy,

although he advised that these factors “may distract the attention” of political leaders. He predicted that

“defense will be a bigger issue than it usually is” during the British electoral period. He cited intense

debate over Britain’s role in Afghanistan and the “defense budget crisis” as two prominent issues.

 

9. (S/NF) Day opined that “mobilizing” NATO allies after General McChrystal released the results

of his review would be “very difficult.” “Our message” to the U.S. is “bear with us... we will continue

to work closely with you,” Day said. He pledged to work closely with the U.S. on the Quadrennial

Defense Review (QDR) and National Posture Review (NPR) as well as on the UK’s Strategic Defense

Review. In regard to the UK review, Day observed that he had worked on the last review in 1997-98,

and he bemoaned the lack of institutional memory within HMG regarding the review process.

 

10. (S/NF) Day also promised that the UK had “put measures in place to protect your

interests” during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq war. He noted that Iraq seems

no longer to be a major issue in the U.S., but he said it would become a big issue-- a

“feeding frenzy” -- in the UK “when the inquiry takes off.”