UK held secret war talks with U.S. general 11 months before Iraq invasion

Posted By: Nairita Das
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London, Oct 3 (ANI): America's senior most general Tommy Franks flew into Britain for top secret talks on the invasion of Iraq 11 months before the attack on the Saddam Hussein's regime, according to secret Pentagon documents revealed about the details of the classified meeting, held at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

According to the Daily Mail, the details suggest the Tony Blair Government was involved in detailed discussions about toppling the Iraqi dictator earlier than previously disclosed.

General Tommy reportedly flew in to the base in April 2002 to attend a summit meeting called by the then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. It followed similar meetings Gen Franks had in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

According to documents, Hoon asked about 'US plans for Iraq'. Although the exact demands were censored, declassified sections of the documents show General Franks had a separate meeting with Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, then Britain's chief of defence staff, and senior officers.

At that meeting, 'regional issues' including Iraq were discussed, and General Franks was told that the Ministry of Defence had 'put together a small cell' for 'thinking strategically about Iraq' and 'what courses of action are available to handle the regime', the paper reports.

'I do recall meeting [Gen Franks] at Brize Norton but I am pretty confident that the primary purpose was to discuss Afghanistan.'Whether in the course of that meeting there were discussions about Iraq wouldn't entirely surprise me, but I am confident that there wasn't anything more specific other than questions like, "What's going on?" Hoon said.

Hoon, however, did not mention the meeting when he gave evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq earlier this year. And Admiral Boyce, now Lord Boyce, told the Chilcot panel he had set up an Iraq planning group, but only in May 2002. (ANI)

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