Rachel North, Kirsty Jones, Jo Kerr and John Reid on the need [or not] for an Independent Public Inquiry into 7/7
Rachel from North London, Kirsty Jones and Jo Kerr [7/7 survivors and relative] provided the lead in to C4 News' interview with John Reid tonight. Their calm measured pragmatic positions made the 'attack dog' Reid look like a petty, vituperitive, snarling Pit Bull terrier who knows if he lets go of the stick he has clamped between his jaws, he will never get it back.
Watch here [11min 55sec into the clip], or Listen to Rachel, Kirsty and Jo [LoFi mp3] here , and listen to John Reid [LoFi mp3] here.
Kirsty wants to know what drove 4 men to blow themselves up.
Rachel points out that the suicide video obviously points to Iraq, and wants to know if the government are considering their foreign policy position.
Jo welcomes the reports as at least something, but points out that both are massively flawed by the political context in which they are written and says he can almost see the censor's blue pencil at work in the Narrative. He gives as an example, the absence of any real discussion of Iraq as a contributory factor. There are only 2 indirect references to Iraq in the narrative, one in the timeline mentioning Feb 2003 as the start of Coalition action in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, and the second a reference to "robust allied action in Muslim countries". This he quite appropriately describes as a "pisspoor description". He points out that in his opinion it is wrong to make crude causal links, but that nobody outside Government thinks Iraq and 7/7 are not linked.
Rachel reiterates the point that in order to prevent further attacks, we need to understand why this attack happened,
Asked what message they had for the Home Secretary, who was waiting to be interviewed, their message was clear.
Rachel - "I would like a Public Inquiry John."
Kirsty - "I would second that, and if not public then at least independent."
Jo - " That a sense of urgency is missing, and we must take action to stop this happening again."
All the above appeared like reasonable pragmatic obvious stuff, but it's time to let the dog out. A breathtaking performance even by John Reid's standards.
Apparently we are 2/3 of the way there on calls for a public independent Inquiry, because the Intelligence and Security Committee is independent... and woe betide anybody who suggests it isn't even if its members are appointed by the Prime Minister... We would be unwise, scowls John, to question it's integrity...
He assures us everything possible is being done to keep us safe, assuring us that the security services will have sufficient resources in future, but that offers no guarantees...
Challenged on the comparison to the scale of the 911 commission, and that a similar investigation might address the perception of 'covering backs' that is persisting with enquiries into the 7/7 bombing, John scales down his assertions of the ISC's independence, to now having "a degree of independence". The real and main reason we are told, that we aren't getting an independent Inquiry, is that it would require resources. Diversion of said resources into an Inquiry, in the 4th largest economy in the world, would put the security of the nation at risk. [Subtext - so those of you calling for one, are putting the security of the Nation at Risk, which I guess is one step away from describing those calling for one as a threat to our National Security...]
However, in an attempt to patronise survivors and families, and to marginalise the rest of us, John is prepared to meet them, and answer their questions... though what he is going to tell them that he can't tell us, or wasn't in the 2 reports published today is far from clear...
When challenged about the war in Iraq as a factor, John shows his canine tendencies assuring us that there is no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with what caused 4 young men to blow themselves and their fellow countrymen up, and that such an idea is based on our preconceptions [and Sidique Khan's presumably], and it would be improper for the government to make such a thing up!?
Like any Pit Bull, John Reid's main aim in life [like his predecessor] is to protect his master. That role has defined his ministerial career.
His robust refusal to accede to the more than reasonable request for some sort of independent public Inquiry into the worst terrorist outrage we have ever seen on the United Kingdom mainland has got to lead one to believe he is continuing to put protecting his Boss, above protecting us.
Today's reports appear to have satisfied nobody, Reid told Parliament today that this was not a party political issue - this was followed up by Conservative and Lib Dem front benchers calling for a Public Inquiry. The sad thing is, this has been reduced to a party political issue, Labour are the only party resisting full and frank investigation into the events of 7/7.
I haven't read the full narrative yet, and I have only skimmed the ISC report and government response, so I am not going to get into the detail of what they do, or do not clear up here [Davide does an excellent job in this previous post]. From what I have heard, watched and read today there appears to be little that is new, and lots that is unresolved after todays reports. Victims and survivors still want answers, as do the rest of us, and the conspiraloons who take the legitimate questions that remain unanswered will continue to draw their own conclusions, blurring the issues and marginalising those who are asking the questions, not answering them.
The refusal to hold a full Independent and or Public Inquiry, IMHO, is one of the most shamefull and blatantly self serving decisions this Labour government has taken in recent times, and let's face it, the bar is set pretty high.