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Open Letter : Iraq Inquiry : Three huge evidence holes

Felicity Arbuthnot


A demonstrator wears a Tony Blair mask outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, in central London January 21, 2011.

January 21, 2011

Ms Margaret Aldred,
Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry,
35 Great Smith Street,

Dear Ms Aldred,

Might I draw to your attention three points:

I have not heard all the evidence given by the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, today, as I had commitments. I will. But early on, Mr Blair stated the usual "Iraq did not comply .." with UN Resolutions, Inspectors, etc. Never mentioned is the 12,800 pages of accounting for the weapons Iraq did/did not have, delivered to the UN Weapons Inspectors Office, on 7th December 2002. It was stolen, by the US delegation - there is no other word - and returned with 3,800 pages: "so heavily redacted as to be indecipherable." At the time I called every Ambassador's Office of the non-permanent Members of the Security Council and they were beyond outrage and all said virtually the same thing, as one said, that it was: "an act unprecedented at the UN", as far as he was aware. Entirely removed was the index of the weapons sold to Iraq, including those by the US., UK., France, Russian and Germany.

Mr Blair also repeated the old mistruth that the Weapons Inspectors pulled out in December 1998 because of Iraq's non-compliance. This is not true . They were ordered to leave by the then Head, Richard Butler, because Iraq was about to be bombed again (remember Blair standing in front of his Christmas tree announcing that four day blitz?) They packed up and headed for Bahrain, ahead of the bombs. Count Hans von Sponeck, then Head of the UN in Iraq, was staying in a room in the same hotel and heard them noisily gathering belongings etc., together very early in the morning and leaving. He headed for the Canal Hotel, where the UN was based and asked what was going on. They said Iraq was about to be bombed again and they had been ordered to leave.

von Sponeck said he had one million US $'s in his safe - there were no banks due to the embargo, so expenses and salaries had to be paid in cash. Concerned about looting, he asked them to take it with them and bank it for safety, until the crisis was over. They refused and headed for safety. He will confirm the details: (email )

As for not being aware that fundamentalist factions from Iran would take advantage of the situation, had he no advice on recent and indeed modern history since the UK meddled with the borders in the 1920's- dividing clans and families? Why did Saddam Hussein drain part of the Marshes? For the same reason. When the British left the borders wide open in 2003, those alliances did not need to creep through the Marshes - they just flooded in. Whilst predominately Shia, Basra is also Sunni, and had sizeable Christian population led by Archbishop Kassab. Until the invasion, co-existence and cohesion was good. Ironically, of course, Siegfried Sassoon: "When the war is over, and youth stone dead, and old men toddle home and die in bed .." came from a wealthy Basra Jewish family.

Ignorance of Iraq and Iraqis broad feeling at the time of the invasion, was, of course, was near total, since there had been no US or UK Embassy there since Sir Richard Walker also scuttled down the road ahead of the bombs in 1990. Those who "advised", the "Curveballs", Chalabis, Allawis, and their ilk, were exiles, the latter two for decades, with highly dubious backgrounds. And, of course, paid by various Security Services to tell governments what they wanted to hear and keep their salaries coming in. Plus "Sweets and flowers", etc. That is an aside. A country has been near destroyed, its history, academia, society. A largely pro-Iranian government (at the top) has been installed. Blair's blind ambition, ego and ignorance has created a political fault line in the region which may haunt uncounted generations. He has also enjoined a war of aggression, Nuremberg's "Supreme international crime ...."

I live in hope that these three points are put to him, I am sure other will have picked up many more.

Thank you for your time,

Yours sincerely,

Felicity Arbuthnot (Dr. Hon., Phil.)

:: Article nr. 74127 sent on 21-jan-2011 16:28 ECT


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