See Oral Evidence: 29 January 2010 for links to videos and a transcript of Tony Blair's evidence.
On 2nd February 2010 I wrote to the Chilcot Inquiry expressing my concerns that Tony Blair had committed criminal offences contrary to Section 56 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in relation to Iraq.
In that letter to Sir John Chilcot, I mention a letter sent to Sir Paul Stephenson and the (then) Assistant Commissioner John Yates. I have posted the text of that letter on my The Police Are Cheating Us blog here: Terrorism Act 2000 Section 56 offences etc - Letter of 2nd February 2010 to Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates.
2nd February 2010
Sir John Chilcot,
Iraq War: Multiple Serious Offences under the Terrorism Act 2000
Dear Sir John,
I write to draw to your attention an important issue relating to the legality of the Iraq War which, to the best of my knowledge, your Inquiry has failed to address.
The important issue to which I refer is whether or not individuals concerned in the planning and execution of the Iraq War committed criminal offences under UK law when carrying out the actions which are the subject of the Iraq Inquiry.
Briefly, the Inquiry seems to have concentrated when exploring the legality or otherwise of the Iraq War entirely on questions of international law. The Inquiry appears to have omitted to examine whether actions relating to the Iraq War involved criminal offences under UK law.
I suggest to you that this is a serious omission on the part of the Iraq Inquiry which you require to rectify.
I enclose a copy of a letter I am sending today to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service and the Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations informing them of my belief that serious offences specified in the Terrorism Act 2000 were committed by a substantial number of UK citizens, a few of whom I list in my letter. The seriousness of some of these offences are such that Section 56 of the Terrorism Act 2000 indicates that life imprisonment is the punishment on conviction.
Your Inquiry has interviewed a number of those individuals who can, I believe, be fairly termed “terrorists” following a careful reading of Sections 1 and 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and who have, I believe, committed offences under Section 56 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and, on conviction, would be liable to life imprisonment.
So far as I am aware your Inquiry has entirely failed to explore this matter of terrorism (as specified in the Terrorism Act 2000) carried out by those who planned and executed the Iraq War. It seems to me that this is a grave omission on the part of the Iraq Inquiry.
It seems to me that you require to re-interview Lord Goldsmith in his role as the Government’s “expert” on matters of law. As far as I can ascertain your Inquiry did not explore the issues of criminal actions under UK law in respect of the actions proposed in Iraq from March 2003. If Lord Goldsmith, in issuing his advice, gave no consideration to the matter of criminality under UK law that seems to me to have been gross negligence on the part of Lord Goldsmith. I believe that you should explore his seeming omission in detail.
Similarly, so far as I can gather, your Inquiry entirely omitted to explore this important issue when you recently had a conversation with Mr. Blair. Your Inquiry further omitted to explore with Mr. Blair whether he knew that the action he proposed in Iraq was “terrorism” as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000 and whether or not he was aware that he might be committing an offence as specified in Section 56 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and causing others to commit the same criminal offence and a range of other offences under the Terrorism Act 2000.
You might also specifically wish to explore with Mr. Blair his level of awareness that for many years now the influencing by violence or overthrowing of the government of another state is an “act of terrorism” (see for example subsection 2(2) of the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993), a notion carried forward in the definition of terrorism in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
In addition to the narrow (but extremely important) matters of law that I mention above I suggest that the Inquiry also has a duty to explore with Mr. Blair (and probably others including Lord Goldsmith) the effect of the reality that the generality of those participating in the Iraq War are “terrorists” as defined in Section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000. That reality will, I surmise, be disturbing to the relatives of the dead terrorists from the British Armed Forces and the living terrorists from those forces who, perhaps unwittingly, committed criminal offences of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.
In sending this letter I hereby give you permission to enter this letter and a copy of the letter to Sir Paul Stephenson into the public record of the Iraq War Enquiry. If possible, I would be grateful if you would obscure my home address in any copies made available for public viewing.
I note that in your Opening Statement a few weeks ago you claimed that the Iraq Inquiry would be “thorough” and “rigorous”. I look forward to learning of your Inquiry’s diligent public examination of these important issues.
Andrew H Watt
cc. Sir Paul Stephenson
Sir John Chilcot,
35 Great Smith Street