Thursday, February 7, 2013

Iraq: An ex-serviceman’s view

We have received the following communication by email from Stephen Kelcoyne-Lawrence, a former officer of the Royal Australian Navy who lives in Tasmania, and publish it with his permission:

As an ex-Naval Officer who was serving at the time, I would fully subscribe to & support an Inquiry into the Iraq War; the circumstances leading up to it; Howard's decision to send us to war in defiance of 80% of the population at the time (under what we all knew then were blatantly false pretences). I believe that terms of reference for such an Inquiry should also encompass: Philip Ruddock's involvement in the matter & in so far as his [retrospective] determination that it was a 'legal' war; the 'AWB Affair' & certain politicians' roles in 'aiding & abetting the enemy in a time of war' (noting that this particularly despicable crime is still punishable by death under the Defence Force Discipline Act (the DFDA); the Media's role beforehand, throughout & since 2001 (Packer, Murdoch and yes, sadly, the ABC too); the blatant Censorship of the Internet that ensued then (& since); Australia's role in any 'Rendition' activities (including the 'David Hicks' Affair); as well as the granting (& subsequent abuse) of outrageous powers to organisations such as the Australian Federal Police, ASIO & the DSO that have continued to be abused through to the present time: (locking Refugees & children up in what can only be described as 'concentration camps' for indefinite periods of time; the power to deport Australian citizens from their own country (e.g. the Cornelia Rao scandal) and, of course, my personal favourite: the power to detain Australians without charge in our own country, and to do so supposedly in the 'national interest', as examples).

These are NOT the values that I subscribe to as a human being or an Australian; nor are they the values for which I put my life (and others' lives) in harm's way, nor are they the values that that I Swore an Oath to defend & uphold at the time – I am ashamed & embarrassed by what our politicians have supposedly done in my name.

I feel so strongly about this abhorrent, outrageous un-democratic farce, that I would be prepared to give evidence if it would serve the endeavours of such an Inquiry; serve the interests of my country; and/or serve to bring about the truth, just for once.

There must be many ex-ADF people who feel the same way, and we would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact us by email at .

Monday, February 4, 2013

Funding request to our supporters

Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (CIWI - formally IWIG)
ARBN 162 022 979
Suite 406, 1 Queens Road
Melbourne Vic 3004
4 February 2013

Dear Supporters and Friends,

Now that our incorporation formalities have been completed, the Campaign needs to move on and make itself felt.

March will mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the 2003 Iraq War - i.e. the US, UK, Australian led invasion. We know of the enormous death toll it caused, and the irreparable damage to property and lives suffered (and still being suffered), as was predicted before the war. After all this time Iraq is in no better state. The region is even more chaotic.

Parliament was not consulted about Australia’s participation in the war, and the enormous demonstrations against the war that took place here and elsewhere on 15th February were ignored by our government.

There are innumerable conflict situations either already existing or possibly about to surface. Some are in our region; many not. Australia must not become militarily involved in any of these overseas conflicts unless, at the very least, Parliament approves the involvement and the Australian people are fully informed of the reasons.

If such exercises in futility involving Australia, as was the Iraq War, are not to happen again the message we are seeking to get across from a careful inquiry into the origins of that war needs to be communicated loudly and clearly. For this we need funds. The original contributions have got us this far but can take us only a little way further. We need to be able to:

  • finance a professional campaign director (part-time)

  • meet the fees involved in a carefully targeted Freedom of Information campaign

  • conduct opinion polling, both to assist with the design of our campaign and to measure its effectiveness, and

  • promote the Campaign to the many other organisations and key individuals who support our cause.

Much, of course, is already being done on a voluntary basis.

As the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq looms on March 19th, events are being organised throughout Australia, including

We are being active in this regard with articles and through participation in related events - as will be evident from our blogs. We would urge you as supporters and friends of our campaign to attend any of these events you are able to get to, and to take such opportunities as you can to speak or publish articles and opinion pieces bearing on the issues we are campaigning on. 

Beyond that, we seek and welcome suggestions from members and supporters for additional activities and we invite articles and comments on a continuous basis - the website, blogs and other social media are lively and hungry, and need to be fed.

Above all we need funds if we are to carry out necessary promotions, etc. at a professional level.
We therefore ask you please to give urgent consideration to making a contribution to our funding.

Contributions can be made:

  • by cheque payable to: ‘Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry’, and forwarded to the Hon Treasurer (Andrew Farran), c/- PO Box 7389, BEAUMARIS, Vic. 3193; or

  • paid directly to: Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bank account at NAB’s 300 Collins Street Branch:

BSB 083-054
A/c No: 14-992-1270.

If you contribute funds by direct deposit or electronic transfer, please send an email to giving your name, address and amount credited so that we may send you a receipt.

We look forward to hearing from you. The task is challenging. The need is urgent.

Please forward this letter to any of your friends whom you feel may wish to support our campaign.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Barratt, AO
President, Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry – for the Committee.