British Officials Knew About Abu Ghraib

Sir John Sawers, head of M16, headed a group that was stationed in Baghdad in 2003 during early stages of the invasion of Iraq by American and British troops. He told the Chilcot group which is conducting an investigation into who knew what or did what in Iraq, that his group picked up information about horrible conditions at the Abu Ghraib jail months before the information became public. They learned of “possible unnecessary violence” against prisoners, but did not realize until later the full extend of what transpired in the jail. When he finally discovered what was going on, “the revelations at Abu Ghraib were definitely a shock to us.”

According to Sawers there was lack of planning about what to do once the invasion had been successful. The British military wanted more troops on the ground while the Foreign Office leaned towards the American view that sufficient troops were available to handle the post war situation. Sawers told the Chilcot inquiry it was necessary prior to the invasion to have well developed plans, but the Americans and the Blair government refused to spend time on such intensive planning. The results of their blunders live on with us in 2009.

P.S. When will the United States government conduct a Chilcot inquiry in order to find out who knew what and who did what?