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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, discussed the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Mr Wilkie is the former Senior Intelligence Analyst who resigned a week before the invasion because the Federal Government was peddling the dishonest case for war based on false allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was cooperating with the al-Qaida terrorist network. He was the only intelligence official to resign before the war in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

“Twenty years has not diminished the horror of the Iraq War,” Mr Wilkie said. “Hundreds of thousands of people died, and the security vacuum created facilitated the emergence of Islamic State which wreaked havoc in Iraq, spilled over into Syria and resulted in terrorist attacks around the world.

“Nor has 20 years righted the wrong of the staggering dishonesty behind the war. Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program was always disjointed and contained, and there was never any cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaida. That Prime Minister John Howard, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair took us to war on those lies remains unconscionable.

“Regrettably no one in Australia has ever been held to account for this egregious misconduct. Moreover the opportunity to learn from it and to reform war powers, in other words to give the Parliament responsibility for deciding to go to war, has been ignored.

“On this anniversary we should also reflect on Julian Assange, the award-winning Australian journalist and publisher still rotting in Belmarsh Prison in London. It’s only because of Mr Assange and Wikileaks that the world knows of some of the shocking war crimes committed by the United States in Iraq, and for the US to be pursuing him the way they are is simply unconscionable.”