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British inquiry into Iraq war turns toward Bush, officials: report

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Senior Bush administration officials, including former President George W. Bush himself, have been asked to give testimony before a British committee investigating the basis for the invasion of Iraq, according to a published report.

Other officials contacted by the panel include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Bush adviser Stephen Hadley, among others.

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“Members of Sir John Chilcot’s panel are believed to be willing to travel to the US to take evidence – almost certainly in private – on the administration’s policies between the 2003 invasion of Iraq and 2009,” The Telegraph reported on Sunday.

The paper’s lead is based on statements made by unnamed sources in Washington, D.C., and the story notes that even while the Chilcot has succeeded in obtaining testimony from high-ranking British officials, it does not have subpoena power in the U.K. or U.S.

The panel has so far managed to put former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the hot seat for hours at a time, forcing both men to offer repeated justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However, while the Telegraph claimed approximately 10 Bush officials had responded positively to the panel, Washington Post columnist Al Kamen noted on Friday that most were “decidedly cool” to the idea.

He writes:

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“The general view,” we were told, was that while everyone was free to talk, “it was not right for American officials to be subject to a foreign investigative body.” Former national security adviser Hadley, for example, was said to have been among those voicing a strong disinclination to participate. A decidedly minority view was that talking to the panel made some sense, on the assumption that it might be worth the effort to get the administration’s views into the official record.

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Regardless of whether the interviews happen or not, the British panel cannot accept “formal evidence” from foreign former officials, the Post reported in February.

After his six hour testimony before the Chilcot panel, former PM Tony Blair blasted what he called the U.K.’s love of “conspiracy,” claiming his motives in launching an unprovoked war were pure. Sitting PM Gordon Brown later reaffirmed his predecessor’s sentiment, calling the invasion the “right decision.”

The United States and the United Kingdom both went to war with Iraq amid fervently repeated claims that the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, even as weapons inspectors claimed there was no proof. After seven years of war and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, no such weapons have ever been found.

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When American officials were forced to state publicly that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, they blamed the intelligence community and professed their personal honesty. A key British document called the “Downing Street Memo” later surfaced, detailing U.S. and British pre-war political strategy, noting that the decision to invade was made months before it was announced and that “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Paul R. Pillar, a former national intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, later confessed in a piece for Foreign Affairs that the Bush administration had used the intelligence community’s resources to “cherry pick” information that aided their drive to war.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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John Oliver cites Donald Trump’s final offer for Greenland: ‘$200 and I’ll throw in Don Jr.’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's favorite highlight of the week was, of course, President Donald Trump's decision that he wanted to buy Greenland.

In his opener Sunday, the HBO host said that he wasn't all that surprised given Trump's track record.

"Of course, he f*cking did. Of course, he did. Greenland is icy, distant and autonomous is exactly Trump's type," Oliver said, showing a photo of Trump with the first lady.

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Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Angry Minnesota farmer bashes ‘insulting’ Trump comments that ‘we’re great patriots’ during his trade war

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President Donald Trump has insulted at least one Minnesota farmer by his claim that farmers are "great patriots" who want him to continue his trade fight against China.

"This wound is self-inflicted, by our president," said Gary Wertish, who is the Minnesota Farm Bureau president. "We definitely agreed with it in the beginning. But it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B. Some of the callous comments come, especially from the president, you know, that farmers are 'winning,' we’re 'great patriots,' that’s very insulting. That’s coming from someone who never has faced the challenges of a family farmer. I go into the bank and tell the lender I can’t make the payment because we lost our market? The banker is going to tell me you don’t have to make your payment because you’re a patriot."

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