Blair Getting Away With Murder 561

Blair just said “You would be hard pressed to find anyone who in September 2002 doubted that Saddam had WMD”.

It wouldn’t have been that hard. If he had asked members of the Near East and North Africa Department of the FCO, the Middle East experts in the FCO’s Research Analysts, or in the Defence Intelligence Service, he would have found absolutely no shortage of people who doubted it, whatever position No 10 was forcing on their institutions.

One of the many failures of this Inquiry has been a failure to ask individual witnesses before it whether they personally had believed in the existence of any significant Iraqi WMD programme. I know for certain that would have drawn some extremely enlightening answers from among the FCO and probably MOD participants.

Sir Martin Gilbert allowed Blair to conflate Iran, Iraq, Al-Qaida, WMD and terrorism in a completely unjustified way. When Straw tried exactly the same trick, Rod Lyne did not allow him to get away with it.

A further stark contrast with Straw is that both Blair and Straw were asked about the failure of the UK to secure movement in the Middle East peace process by using our role in Iraq to influence the USA. A major, detailed and fascinating part of Straw’s answer was that Israel’s – and specifically Netanyahu’s – political influence in the USA had prevented progress.

By contrast, Blair did not even mention Israel in response to the questions on the failure to achieve progress in the Middle East. He solely blamed the Palestinian Intafada. He has been anxious to widen the discussion beyond Iraq at every opportunity, and frequently referred to destabilising factors in the Middle East, and again and again pointed to a growing threat from Iran and Iranian sponsorship of terrorism, and to Palestinian terrorism (including Saddam Hussein’s past sponsorship of it).

He has made not one single comment about Israel’s behaviour as a contributing factor in Middle East instability. Given Blair’s official position as Middle East envoy, this lack of any bare pretence at impartiality is most revealing.

561 thoughts on “Blair Getting Away With Murder

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    It has been reported by Reg McKay, who wrote a book on him, that Arthur Thomson (Senior), deceased, one of the organised crime bosses in Glasgow for many decades,was an informer for the SS (MI5). Largely, supposedly, this concerned matters pertaining to Unionist terrorist groups in Northern Ireland. But when one reads about how the various agencies operated in Northern Ireland… the relationship b/w organised crime and the intelligence services and other elites of many countries (and not just Russia!) are systemic and mutually instrumental. Read ‘Gomorrha’, Roberto Saviano’s book on the Camorra.

  • writerman

    I think it’s instructive to look at the critical reaction to Clare Short’s appearance at the Chilcot inquiry in the UK media.

    Her was a woman who dared, for a few hours, to lift the bourgeois, liberal, “democratic”, veil aside, and reveal something of how government and power work inside “steel circle” of the political system.

    And she was basically smeared for it. A great deal of attention was given to irrelevant details, but the damning substance of her revaltions were pushed aside, primarily because she broke the rules of the concensus about how government works and how decisions are arrived at.

    Her version of events calls into question the very nature of our “democracy” and that is deemed unforgivable, and means that one is effectively cast out of the castle of power to live among the powerless peasantry. One is allowed to speak, but no one is really listening anymore.

    The only thing that matters to “ruling class”, isn’t what we say, or think, or write; what matters is what we Do, or if you like, how we act, concrete action. The rest is “insteresting” but is only as long as it doesn’t lead to action.

    Short shows the limits of what is acceptable inside the boundaries of our version of “democracy”, and that’s not much.

    How do we stop the coming attack on Iran? The short answer is, we can’t stop it. That decision has already been taken. The only question is when exactly, and how? The cover-story about non-existant weapons of mass destruction has already been rolled-out and is in place.

    About the only thing that could stop it would be something that resembles a General Strike, stopping the Power State’s war-machine, by switching society off at it’s source. That is really all the power ordinary people, the demos, have; and that’s why they are never allowed to use it, or even think about it.

    How likely is a “General Strike”? Not very in the current climate, is it? The Power State only respects and notices power. The Power State hates democracy, the power of the people, because democracy threatens elite rule; that’s why democracy is being systematically undermined, as the interests of the “ruling class” and the people diverge radically, in a the coming, post-consumer society, in the age of less, not more.

    And after Iran, who is next? My bet is on Venezuela.

  • Clark


    “The only thing that matters to “ruling class”, isn’t what we say, or think, or write; what matters is what we Do, or if you like, how we act, concrete action. The rest is “insteresting” but is only as long as it doesn’t lead to action…

    The Power State only respects and notices power”.

    I agree.

  • Clark

    What about the “Green Movement” and the many people that are repelled by politics? What of the “Transition Towns”? Many people regard the collapse of consumer society as inevitable, and are trying to build an alternative now. If this movement were large enough, it would have the same effect as a general strike, but it doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough to prevent more war.

  • Clark

    It seems to me that at least two approaches are needed simultaneously. The Transition Towns, Permaculture, etc; these are the long-term solution. But something needs to be done about the immediate crisis. The “Power State” is pushing towards war, driven by their fear of diminishing resources. But that war will DESTROY much needed resources in huge quantity.

  • dreoilin

    Three US soldiers killed in Pakistan, 2 more wounded, and according to Juan Cole at least 200 of them on the ground in there.

    According to Jeremy Scahill (was it?) Blackwater/Xe is already “guarding” Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. The Pakistani people are furious at US inroads into their country and this discovery of troops on the ground will infuriate them further.

    Juan Cole:

    “Opinion polls show that many observers in Pakistan already feel that the US is humiliating their country and sowing discord there, and this revelation of the presence of US troops on the ground, along with the Department of Defense role in building girls’ schools, will further raise hackles (and risks making girls’ schools unpopular even among non-Taliban).”

    I would see Venezuela as a long way off. But there are others here who will have other takes on things. (And I’d love to hear from Craig, whenever he wakes up.)

    I remembered last night Tony Blair’s aborted attempt to become President of the EU Council. And I’m SOOOOO glad that I engaged with all the campaigns to stop him. Rest assured that if he’d gone in there it would not be the quiet “administrative” role that it is now.

  • hawley_jr

    The Nazification of the Knesset.

    “Arab politicians are particularly concerned about a bill introduced last month requiring all parliamentary candidates to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. If passed, the seats of the 10 Arab MPs belonging to non-Zionist parties in the 120-member parliament, or Knesset, would be under threat.”

    (Thanks for link, George.)


    @dreoilin: “I would see Venezuela as a long way off.”

    See George’s link to Eva Golinger’s Postcards from the Revolution:

    “What this intelligence report really means is that operations against the Chavez government will substantially increase this year. The report will be used to justify a larger budget allocation to intelligence missions against Venezuela.”

  • Anonymous

    So Hilary Clinton opens her mouth again

    Maybe, and only a clue here, just maybe they should be gettin their own house in order before they talk about ‘humanitarian issues’. Bagram and Guatanomo…..and just how many senior American people should be in front of the UN for breaching Geneva convention on tourture?

  • writerman

    I honestly don’t mean to sound overly pessimistic, or fatalistic… But, I do think we are rapidly leaving one type of society and entering another.

    This is mainly because “capitalism” as we’ve known it, is “breaking down.”

    Why? The fundamental problem, simply put, is that the dogma, the ideology, the quasi-religious faith, in infinite, unlimited, economic growth; is increasingly banging up against the harsh reality of an environment/planet with limited/finite resources.

    One hears a lot about “realism” in politics and economics. Well, realistically, “capitalism” as we’ve known it, doesn’t have a future. What’s unrealistic is to imagine that it can continue in it’s present, gross, form.

    However, our “ruling class” is determined to push this redundent economic model forward for as long as possible, no matter what.

    An example is that “everything” that happens in international politics, these ghastly wars… underneath, in some shape and form, one finds… oil and gas. Follow the oil.

    Oil is vital to the well-being of the Power State. Take it away, curtail it, and the rules of the game change.

    For now, the Chinese are simply buying access to what they need, for now. Whilst the Americans are using their vast and bloated military to secure access to and control over oil.

    For example, recently it was revealed that there are potentially vast oil reserves in the sea between… Haiti and Cuba. This information, published by the US Geological Survey, puts the situation of Haiti in different perspective. Like why are the Haitians so poor? Because, if they weren’t they might start using and developing their resources for primarily their own benefit.

    Supposedly the oil reserves around Haiti have been “known about” for decades, but they were regarded as a form of strategic reserve which we wouldn’t access until we really needed it. Such it the way rich countries treat the poor. Their lives are unimportant. Their resources are.

  • writerman

    And finally, sorry! I read a report from Pakistan, which we are already involved in, which complained that over the first month of 2010 over 123 innocent civilians were killed in Pakistan by American drone attacks. These are attacks ordered by the sainted Obama; the prophet of change and hope! 3 high-value terrorist targets were blown to pieces in these attacks.

    Yet where are the condemations of these American terrorist outrages in our supposedly free, liberal, democratic, media? Nowhere, is where.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    Wise words, interesting ‘Larry’ appeared – when Roderock posted; y’know he never did answer my questions – in fact, when I asked, he disappeared for a while. I asked:

    Are you being paid to post here, Larry?

    Do you specialize in Ch 11 bankruptcy?


    I am now certain that either NSA or GCHQ monitor our web traffic, although I am fairly convinced as an engineer that it is the British side doing the monitoring – which degrades the connection. It does annoy me however that UK traffic has to be routed through US servers – WHY?!

    I’m no alarmist, but monitoring does produce a ‘sloooow’ rendering of the page.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    Drones – exactly, from the ‘Area 51’ playing fields. They are even networking them now into coordinated, space concious swarms of hornets (secret project – no link) each with it’s own passive missile and active defence systems.

    I have written in WaPo many times condemning these 21st century beasts that seem to trash all the hard earned rules of sovereignty.

    In ten years time we will have these fucking spies flying over our cities if the British public remains sat on it’s anus doing nothing about their proliferation – Where is the ‘death to drones’ party?!!!

  • Richard Robinson

    “Where is the ‘death to drones’ party?”

    They’re all taken up with bankers’ pay and MPs expenses ?

  • Clark

    Mark Golding –

    less than ten years. Kent Police have been testing them. Deployment for surveillance in about two years – but they’re the same model that can be fitted with weaponry, I think.

  • Clark

    Come to think of it, a drone could explain the UFO incident from Wales some time ago, though it would have to have been a faster model, I think. From memory – a police helicopter, about to land at an airfield, took evasive action to avoid a collision. The helicopter gave chase, but had to give up due to shortage of fuel. I can’t remember where I saw the report now.

  • Richard Robinson

    (guardian link)

    “preventing theft of tractors” ? “fly-tipping” ?I hadn’t realised they were such major problems.

    And, what’s the photo ? Looks like a good old-fashioned blimp, to me.

  • arsalan

    Who said this?

    I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.

  • Clark


    Google tells me that your quote is from an 1899 book by Churchill, when he was 25.

  • Vronsky

    I noticed that larry popped up after a mention of nine eleven. Perhaps in future if we refer to ix:xi we won’t trigger his alert.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Nonetheless, anno, on a more profound note, I think your analysis of people being taken for rides is accurate.

    Interestingly, the BBC World Service is owned by the Foreign Office, not the BBC. Not that it’d make any difference, nowadays, or perhaps ever.

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