Freedom of Information Versus National Security?

Posted on June 2, 2014

Since the Vietnam War, there has been a conflict between what the Media feel is in the Public Interest and what the Leaders of the Government and the Forces require to be kept secret.  As the Chilcot Enquiry is being pushed to be more open about the conclusions, these battles continue.   This article from the Guardian and specifically the Defence and Security Blog raises some questions.

A mute military and a mute Blair over Iraq

  • Serving officers prevented from airing views
  • Chilcot needs to be frank on defence chiefs as well as Blair
  • But Blair talks sense on Europe
The stumbling block over the Chilcot inquiry into the invasion of Iraq has been the refusal of the “permanent government” – personified by successive cabinet secretaries – to release notes of conversations between Tony Blair and George Bush, and records of cabinet meetings. There is another aspect of the war in Iraq which is being blocked, not by the Cabinet Office but by the Ministry of Defence. The MoD is stopping the publication of six essays by senior serving officers, including General Sir Nick Houghton, now chief of the defence staff, on lessons learned from the conflict in Iraq. The essays should have been included in British Generals in Blair’s Wars, a collection of essays published by Ashgate. Sir Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of the History of War at Oxford university and one of the editors of the book, said they fell victim to “official paranoia”. Read more here>

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