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Fresh accusations of Iraq war cover-up

by Louise Nousratpour

July 25, 2010

A former diplomat has accused the government of "covering up" key information from the Iraq inquiry to hide mistakes.

Carne Ross, who quit the Foreign Office in 2004 after criticising Britain's involvement in the war, said he had been denied access to key material before his recent appearance.

The former Iraq expert at the United Nations also claimed he had been subjected to "subtle intimidation" from Whitehall to drop references to a classified memo warning of inaccuracies in a paper prepared for Labour MPs.

Giving evidence to Sir John Chilcot's panel earlier this month, Mr Ross complained about a "culture of unaccountability and sometimes dishonesty" in government.

In a hard-hitting article published in a Sunday paper, Mr Ross renewed a call for all but a few of the "most secret" documents related to the 2003 invasion to be made public.

"Though profoundly embarrassing, there is little here that damages national security, except in the hysterical assessment of officials protecting their own reputation," he wrote.

Mr Ross said "most" of the key documents he had requested to see were missing from large files sent to him to look through before his inquiry appearance.

He was told certain records, including those related to a visit to Syria by then prime minister Tony Blair, could not be found - something he said was "simply not plausible."

Mr Ross warned that the inquiry was being given a "very one-sided account" to the panel that military action was "more or less unavoidable" because sanctions and containment were failing.

"The government is covering up its mistakes and denying access to critical documents," the ex-diplomat claimed. The true story is there to be seen in the documents."






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