The Chilcot ‘Inquiry’: A Theatre of the Absurd By William Bowles

16 December 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Why does the extermination of an entire culturecause not a ripple in our public discourse? The answer is obvious: we don’t have any kind of discourse with those who wield power. The Chilcott ‘Inquiry’ demonstrates this down to a tee. It’s brazen in its disregard for the reality of the crimes the British state has committed in Iraqand continues to commit in Afghanistan. And brazen in the way it scoots a lot of very guilty-looking ‘witnesses’ through the process as painlessly as possible. How has this come to pass?

My ‘co-conspirators’ over at Media Lens put it this way:

“When public scepticism erupts in response to resultant extremes of criminality and violence that even the media are powerless to deny, the illusion must be bolstered. Then Tweedledum-Tweedledee will choose from their own to rig an “inquiry”, while their media allies present the process as something other than a farce.” —Chilcot Inquiry – The Establishment goes to work – Part 1[1]

But I don’t think it is merely public skepticism that has made it so, I think it’s the public’s total lack of trust and ultimately indifference to anything the state puts its bloodstained hands on. Which in turn explains why the Chilcot ‘Inquiry’ farce or not, ends up being tedious, state-inspired theatre that ‘Uncle Joe’ would have been proud of. Even better, it’s not even a trial, show or otherwise! They don’t care what we think as they know we have given away what little power we used to possess to a gangster political class who consequently behave with total impunity knowing full well that there is nothing we can do about it.

As far as Chilcot and his handpicked accomplices are concerned there are no guilty people here, merely passive witnesses to the crime, who regurgitate what is already known and has been for years. And if it made no difference the first (and second) time round, why should it this time? Indeed, Chilcot went out of his way to inform us that it wasn’t a trial, there was to be no attempt assign culpability or responsibility, no serious cross-examination. So what’s the point?

And to rub some more salt into the gaping wound that is Iraqthere is no pretense at impartiality, just look at the five ‘eminent’ persons selected to perform the whitewash[2]. The media of course goes along with entire charade, what choice do they have (except make their coverage as boring as the ‘Inquiry’ itself is)? It’s all theatre of the worst, mediocre kind.

So by now, anybody still interested in the alleged inquiry into the origins of the illegal invasion, occupation and subsequent destruction of the most developed country in the Middle East, will have been bored witless by the ‘witnesses’ to the barbarity that has seen fully half the population of Iraq either killed, wounded or driven into exile, internal or abroad. Iraq’s health, education, transportation, housing and communications infrastructure, blasted to pieces. Add to this the poisoning of the land and people with depleted uranium and we have a crime of gargantuan dimensions, fully comparable with the Nazi slaughter of millions. What makes it worse, just as with the barbarity that was Operation Cast Lead, it was done in full view of the world’s public, nay, lauded as the work of civilized and ‘civilizing’ man. Have they inured us totally to the suffering our state (and many others) are raining down on defenceless men, women and children 24/7?

Yet judging from the coverage of the Chilcott ‘inquiry’, you’d think it was just a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. The testimony is made by a variety of suits masquerading as members of the human race, all desperately doing a mea non-culpa on the whole, sordid conspiracy. ‘It weren’t me guv!’

But if what these barbarians did was so noble, why are they are they all to a man, trying to put so much distance between themselves and their political masters?

As a result the Chilcott ‘Inquiry’ is in fact little more than a cynical PR exercise, designed largely to placate those members of the political class who are more than a little uncomfortable with the fact that they have been accomplices in the commission of a gigantic war crime and hence felt it necessary to make some kind of attempt at shifting the blame onto ‘mistakes’ or ‘lack of intelligence’ but definitely not themselves. ‘It ain’t me guv!’

And in any case, we’ve been here before and with same result as inevitably this one will have. And just to make sure the BBC did its bit for the state, reinforcing the lie that ‘nobody knew’:

“Iraq details ‘scanty’ before war

“In it [the Dodgy Dossier], he said the 45-minute claim arose because British intelligence was ‘squeezing’ agents in Iraq for information, under pressure from Downing Street to back up its case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “‘The provenance of this information was never questioned in detail until after the Iraq invasion, when it became apparent that something was wrong,’ he said. “‘In the end it turned out that the information was not credible, it had originated from an emigre taxi driver on the Iraqi-Jordanian border, who had remembered an overheard conversation in the back of his cab a full two years earlier.’ “Mr Holloway stated that an intelligence analyst had at the time flagged up – via a footnote – that the claims were ‘demonstrably untrue’.

“‘Despite this glaring factual inaccuracy… the report was characterised as reliable,’ he said. The government has yet to respond to his claims.” — Adam Holloway Tory MP and Commons Defence Committee member — ‘Ex-spy chief says Iraqi WMD claims not manipulated’ BBC News at 6, 8 November, 2009

“Factual inaccuracy”? Newsspeak for lie, the word that dare not be mentioned, not once, not ever in the eight long years of this obscenity.

Take the testimony of Sir John Scarlett, the man who produced the ‘Dodgy Dossier’ in September of 2002. The BBC carried a video of Scarlett’s brazen lies and ‘it ain’t me guv’, and from the look on the man’s face as he spoke, it was clear he wasn’t too happy about it either (see below).

“Sir John, who was in charge of the dossier, said it was produced in good faith: ‘There was absolutely no conscious intention to manipulate the language or to obfuscate or to create a misunderstanding as to what this might refer to.


“Sir John defended the dossier but said it should have stated the 45-minute claim referred to battlefield munitions not ballistic missiles to avoid the information ‘getting lost in translation’.


“He [Scarlett] went some way to distance himself from Tony Blair’s foreword. Sir John said he had made small corrections, but he insisted it had been Mr Blair’s wording.”

“Discussing the general reliability of intelligence ahead of the war, he said the nature of Iraqi society – where policy revolved around the ‘whims and personality’ of Saddam Hussein – meant it was difficult to produce intelligence, particular about secretive weapons programmes.” — ‘Ex-spy chief says Iraqi WMD claims not manipulated’ BBC News at 6, 8 November, 2009

Now I’ve read the ‘Dodgy Dossier’ and it is packed full of extremely detailed information about Iraq’s military arsenal, but the kicker is that it’s mostly based on the military capabilities that Iraq had before the USUK bombed the hell out the place for twelve years. In other words, it mostly describes the situation as it was back in 1991 in full knowledge of the fact that between 1991 and the invasion in 2003, Iraqhad been bombed back into the stone age or as the barbarians put it, its military capacity ‘degraded’. All contemporary information is based on fabrications and outright lies.

This is from the Executive Summary:

6. As a result of the intelligence we judge that Iraq has:

  • continued to produce chemical and biological agents [False];
  • military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, including against its own Shia population. Some of these weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them [False];
  • command and control arrangements in place to use chemical and biological weapons. Authority ultimately resides with Saddam Hussein. (There is intelligence that he may have delegated this authority to his son Qusai) [False];
  • developed mobile laboratories for military use, corroborating earlier reports about the mobile production of biological warfare agents [False];
  • pursued illegal programmes to procure controlled materials of potential use in the production of chemical and biological weapons programmes [False];
  • tried covertly to acquire technology and materials which could be used in the production of nuclear weapons[False];
  • sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it. [False. No doubt a reference to the fabricated ‘Niger Yellowcake’ document];

Pretty definite don’t you think? But this didn’t stop Scarlett, author of the report from shifting the blame for the lies onto Tony Blair’s introduction, yet compare the wording of Blair’s introduction to Scarlett’s:

“…the document discloses that his [Hussein’s] military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.”— Tony Blair

“Some of these weapons are deployable within 45 minutes of an order to use them”— Sir John Scarlett. In fact, the words are almost identical, so it’s obvious where Blair got them from in spite of Scarlett’s protestations to the contrary:

“He went some way to distance himself from Tony Blair’s foreword. Sir John said he had made small corrections, but he insisted it had been Mr Blair’s wording.”

But the additional crime here is the way these war criminals simply ignore the reality of what has been done to Iraq, its people and its culture. In fact, searching through the media coverage of the ‘Inquiry’, the destruction of Iraq with the loss of well over one million lives doesn’t even get a mention (and this doesn’t include the over one million who died during the twelve years of sanctions)!

What we have then is a parade of the accomplices to the crime, ably ‘facilitated’ by the Chilcot‘Inquiry’ that guides them through the process as painlessly as possible, in full knowledge of the fact that there are no avenues open to us to challenge this fraudulent process.

But let us be realistic, there is no way the government are going to investigate themselves, let alone prosecute, to believe otherwise is nothing other than self-delusion. There is only one way that justice can be done for the victims of this monstrous crime and that is through public action that demands that these war criminals be prosecuted.


1. For an excellent analysis of the media’s complicity in the Big Lie see Part 1 and Part 2 of MediaLens’ ‘ Chilcot Inquiry – the establishment goes to work’.

2. See ‘The Iraq Inquiry: The who, what and why of Gordon Brown’s hand-picked ‘independent’ panel’ By Kevin Blowe

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