Labour misled Britain over Iraq role in terror threat – Farron

A party news release hits The Voice’s inbox:

Commenting on Eliza Manningham-Buller’s evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry, in which she said the conflict in Iraq ‘substantially’ increased the threat to the UK from international terrorism, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Tim Farron said:

“This is a shattering blow for Labour’s claim that the Iraq war did not increase the terrorist threat to Britain.

“We already knew that this was a disastrous war for our own brave service personnel and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Now we have the head of MI5 at the time saying it increased the threat to Britain – the precise opposite of what Labour claimed it would do.

“As Foreign Secretary in the last Government, David Miliband must come clean on why his administration misled the British people on this issue for so long.”

Notes to editors

1. Appearing before the Chilcot Inquiry today, Eliza Manningham-Buller said:
“What Iraq did was produce a fresh impetus to people prepared to engage in terrorism.”
“Al Qaida had not focused on the UK. It attacked us abroad in 2003 but it became clear that its ambition was to attack us in the United Kingdom.”

2. When asked by Roderic Lyne, “To what extent did the conflict in Iraq exacerbate the overall threat your service and your fellow services were having to deal with from international terrorism?”, Manningham-Buller replied, “Substantially”.

3. Labour has long denied that the Iraq invasion led to an increased terrorist threat against the UK. In 2004, Jack Straw said: “No one should get the idea that somehow if you were a country which was opposed to the military action in Iraq, you are less of a target for al-Qaida.”

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17 Comments

  • Labour misleads the country, the country is quite aware and protests against it. Meanwhile the operation is backed 100% by the Conservatives, a position they have maintained ever since.

    Some years later, after they fail to win a majority of votes, the Conservatives are supported by the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government, in which support for the invasion of Iraq remains the stance.

    Where once the Liberal Democrats could be proud of their opposition to the Iraq invasion, any attempts they now make to take pride in the results of this inquiry is fundamentally crude and hollow, as they have now aligned themselves with a party who would have done exactly the same as Labour.

  • Um, what? Is this a spoof post?

  • (directed at Ben F, not LDV)

  • all I have to say 20th Jul '10 - 7:21pm

    It must keep you warm at night knowing the fascist murderer Saadam Hussein would proudly wear his “I agree with Nick” teeshirt.

  • Ben Frew,

    It is not quite true to say that Cheney’s illegal was for oil in Iraq was backed 100% by the Conservatives. There were one or two honourable dissenters willing to stand up for the international rule of law and not bow down and lick the boots of the US elite on absolutely every occasion demanded of them. Examples: Ken Clarke, John Gummer, Douglas Hogg.

    I felt thoroughly nauseated over the weekend when Hague reacted to the transparently synthetic rage from across the Atlantic over Abol-Basset Al-Megrahi by saying it had been “wrong” to release this innocent man. I say “synthetic”, because Cheney and his gang know full well that Al-Megrahi had been fitted up by the CIA in order to protect Syria, whose help the US had needed with the First Gulf War.

    No words of outrage from a prominent Lib Dem yet. One of the prices of being in “coalition”, I guess.

  • Illegal WAR for oil.

    Small print and sore eyes don’t go well together.

  • “Where once the Liberal Democrats could be proud of their opposition to the Iraq invasion, any attempts they now make to take pride in the results of this inquiry is fundamentally crude and hollow, as they have now aligned themselves with a party who would have done exactly the same as Labour.”

    How so? Being in a coalition does not mean you agree with your coalition partners over every issue. If this government had to make decisions whilst still engaged in the Iraq war, and followed the Conservatives line that it was a good thing then I’d agree with you, but that isn’t the case, whether Iraq was right or not simply doesn’t enter in to the coalition equation… you can’t just pick on every issue that two parties disagree with and call it a reason for them to not be working together, or say that one of them has no right to their own opinion on a matter?

    You clearly don’t seem to understand the nature of coalition. I honestly can’t understand how this concept of two distinct and separate organisations working together is so hard for people to understand, it happens outside of politics continuously in nearly every walk of life; business, social.

  • I just think that Farron and others are obliged to direct some of their opprobrium towards their own coalition partners who also supported the invasion.

    It’s too easy to attack with blinkers at the new opposition without acknowledging that their new bedfellows were just as keen on the operation.

    “As Foreign Secretary in the last Government, David Miliband must come clean on why his administration misled the British people on this issue for so long.” said Farron.

    Indeed, and Farron should also demand why, as Shadow Foreign secretary in the last Parliament, William Hague was so acquiescent towards Labour’s actions in Iraq.

  • And LibDem Voice continue to ignore the elephant in the room.

  • Andrew Suffield 20th Jul '10 - 11:32pm

    No words of outrage from a prominent Lib Dem yet. One of the prices of being in “coalition”, I guess.

    More likely that nobody’s really sure about this one. The case against al-Megrahi was blatantly flawed and going to be overturned. The case against the CIA is just speculation, not something we can prove. Lib Dems are, mostly, less inclined to outrage on suspicion alone.

  • Keith Browning 21st Jul '10 - 8:21am

    I never understood why al-Megrahi takes the blame as an individual when all other soldiers/spies/covert operatives are treated as members of the opposing government’s forces. Is every CIA operative to be held to personal account for the murder and atrocities they undertake ??

    He was clearly swapped for an oil deal with Libya, who were our friends for most of the 20th century.

    Oil/war/peace treaties/arms sales etc, have been the main plank of US/UK foreign policy since the 1920s. Why the shock and outrage in the US over this deal.

  • I entirely agree with this and wrote something similar yesterday. http://bit.ly/baTehb

  • Andrew Suffield,

    You have erected a straw man. Nowhere have I said that senior Liberal Democrats should express outrage at the complicity of the CIA in fitting up Al-Megrahi – that would be rather difficult for a UK Parliamentarian. Rather, their outrage should be directed at the continuing vilification of an innocent man, and the failure of the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to apprehend the true culprits. The case against the CIA is more than speculation, I think, given that the main prosecution witness was a paid CIA informant. I consider that the elite indulged in an excess of hubris yesterday when they forced Cameron to grovel in public. We know Cameron is a puppet on a (US) string, but humiliating him in public is seriously overdoing it.

  • Andrew Suffield 21st Jul '10 - 10:37pm

    their outrage should be directed at the continuing vilification of an innocent man

    I find it hard to be outraged by some Americans being complete jerks towards non-Americans. Or even remotely surprised. I expect other people are the same.

    the failure of the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to apprehend the true culprits

    I think that’s more depressing than outrageous. Would be nice to see a fresh investigation though.

    The case against the CIA is more than speculation, I think, given that the main prosecution witness was a paid CIA informant.

    The CIA has paid informants everywhere. There’s certainly some in the UK government, along with every other major world power, most of the minor ones, and a lot of organisations they have been interested in for one silly reason or another. I don’t think this means the CIA is responsible for every bad thing that happens in those groups, although they’ve certainly done a few of them.

    But all this really proves is that the CIA should have known he was innocent all along (and probably did). It doesn’t mean they were the ones responsible (although they probably have a good idea who the real culprits were).

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