Leading figures in drive for war prepare for public relations offensive
FAMILIES OF SOLDIERS who were killed in the Iraq War are set to join the former UN envoy to Iraq and leading anti-war campaigners to hold a ‘People’s Tribunal’ to scrutinise the official inquiry into the invasion.
The tribunal will be held on Wednesday (8 June) less than a month from the long-awaited publication of the Chilcot Inquiry, and will also hear from soldiers who took part in the war.
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition said: “The announcements about Chilcot have stirred long dormant feelings of opposition to the war and a sense of determination to ensure that the victims of this war receive justice by holding to account those responsible for it.
“At the People's Chilcot Tribunal, expert witnesses will put the case against war and the sordid politics behind it. This is the opening salvo in a campaign to ensure that we get truth and justice over Iraq. We owe it to everyone – from the people of Fallujah to the British soldiers who died.”
The tribunal will come after suggestions that Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s chief media handler during the drive to war who promoted the so-called dodgy dossier of erroneous evidence on Iraq’s weapons capabilities, will not come in for significant criticism in the Chilcot report.
Campbell did not receive a letter in the ‘Maxwellisation’ process, by which those criticised in the report will have a right to reply. The process has been roundly criticised by the soldiers’ families and campaigners who opposed the Iraq War, as it has led to repeated postponements of the report’s publication.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was the chief British figure in the drive to war with Iraq, is expected to come in for criticism and has increased his media presence in recent weeks to counter negative commentary on the war and his role in it.
The Iraq War in 2003 resulted in years of civil war and the final disintegration of the country in 2014.
Shi’ite militias have in the last week stormed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in an attempt to wrest it from the violent jihadi group Daesh. It is the third major siege that the city has been subjected to since 2003.
The war was opposed by the largest street protest movement in British history.
Picture courtesy of Chris Beckett
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