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CIWI Bulletin #10
23 May 2014

Dear members, supporters, readers and well-wishers,
Welcome to the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bulletin.

In this edition:
-Correspondence with ministers
-Blair note promising to back Iraq missing
-ICC to investigate UK for Iraq war crimes
-Think more carefully before sending young Australians to war’
-Maliki leads Iraq polls
-Bombings in Fallujah
-Malcolm Fraser’s Dangerous Allies

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Correspondence with ministers

The Campaign has recently been engaged in correspondence with the Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Defence Minister. Read more, including CIWI’s letters and official responses, on the blog.

Blair note promising to back Iraq goes missing

The Daily Mail reports:

“A personal letter written by Tony Blair to George Bush backing his plan to wage war on Iraq has reportedly ‘gone missing’ from the official Presidential library – as pressure grows on the former Prime Minister to sanction the release of the private notes he wrote to Mr Bush. 
“The letter, which is said to begin with the words: ‘You know, George, whatever you decide to do, I’m with you’, was last night described by a senior figure involved in the diplomatic negotiations at the time as ‘absolutely critical’ to the public’s understanding of the war – because it reveals the extent to which Mr Blair gave Mr Bush a ‘blank cheque’.
“Mr Blair’s refusal to authorise the publication of 25 personal letters and 130 official records of conversations with Mr Bush has led to a long delay in the publication of Sir John Chilcot’s official report into the war. Sir John held his last public hearings in 2011.”

ICC to investigate UK for Iraq war crimes

The ICC is conducting a preliminary investigation into ‘new evidence’ British troops may have committed war crimes, though prosecution is unlikely because “genuine criminal investigations” are already taking place in UK:
“Britain is to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over claims of war crimes by troops.
“Prosecutors in the Hague have launched a 'preliminary examination' into allegations UK forces tortured and mistreated Iraqi prisoners between 2003 and 2008.
“[…] It took the first step towards a formal investigation after studying more than 400 allegations of beating, sexual assault, mock executions and electric shocks of Iraqi captives. 
“The claims are made in a 250-page dossier compiled by Phil Shiner’s Public Interest Lawyers.
“[…] Under the Statute of Rome which established the ICC, the court can only intervene in cases where there is no effective investigation by the national authorities.”

‘Think more carefully before sending young Australians to war’

An op-ed by Martin Flanagan in the Age earlier this month questions why leaders are not held more accountable for “military disasters”:

“Each year I like Anzac Day for what it says about the Anzac spirit, and there are plenty of historical sources to support the view that the Australians in World War 1 were a spirited lot. One of the things that intrigues me was the respect they had for the Turks, particularly given the lack of respect they had for many British officers.
“But each year what disappoints me is the lack of critical thinking about sending young men off to war. What were we doing over there? Why did those young men have to die? After Black Saturday, the CFA was interrogated like potential criminals. Why does that never happen with military disasters?”

Maliki leads Iraq polls

Washington Post reports:

“The bloc led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is heading for a commanding lead in nationwide elections held last month, putting him in a strong position to secure a third term in office, according to preliminary results released Monday.”

Bombings in Fallujah

The Guardian reports:
“A series of bombings in Iraq have killed 14 people a day after army shelling killed 11 civilians and gunmen in the militant-held city of Fallujah.
“Police officials said the deadliest of Saturday's attacks happened in the afternoon when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the security checkpoint in the town of Dujail, killing six security force members and a civilian. They said the attack wounded 15 people. Dujail is 80km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.”

Malcolm Fraser’s Dangerous Allies

Malcolm Fraser’s new book Dangerous Allies, which is highly critical of Australia’s alliance relationship with the United States, has received mixed reviews:
Robert Manne has called it “the most radical book ever to have been written by a former Australian prime minister.” The Saturday Paper says that it “reminds us that we have never imagined ourselves as a truly independent nation.” John Blaxland disagrees with the book’s conclusions. The Lowy Interpreter has uploaded an interview with Fraser.

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The views expressed in this bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (Inc). Readers should note that the Campaign for an Iraq war Inquiry (Inc) seeks a diversity of views and opinions in order to identify common ground.
Copyright © 2014 Australians for War Powers Reform, All rights reserved.

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