Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

Chilcot Report

July 7, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn made his first assessment of the Chilcot Inquiry in Parliament on Wednesday, a statesman-like address to the House of Commons. It was damning, yet touching, in equal measure – and without vindictiveness.

The Labour leader was one of the most prominent voices of opposition against the Iraq War at the time, leading protests and actively raising his grave concerns in Parliament.

Concerns that were shared by millions of people around the world, but tragically fell on deaf ears.

Corbyn opened by saying that:

I would like to remember and honour the 179 British service men and women killed, and the thousands maimed and injured during the Iraq war and their families, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died as a result of the invasion and occupation launched by the US and UK governments 13 years ago.

He then began his assessment by giving cool criticism of what he called “the extraordinary time it has taken for the report to see the light”, saying it “is frankly, clearly a matter for regret”. But when it came to the subject of the decision to invade Iraq itself. He did not mince his words:

The decision to invade and occupy Iraq […] was the most significant foreign policy decision taken by a British government in modern times. It divided this house, and set the government of the day against the majority of the British people.

Corbyn’s criticism became even more overarching. Directly attacking Tony Blair’s government …

the war was not in any way […] a last resort; frankly it was an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext, as the inquiry accepts, and has long been regarded as illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion.

Questioning the legality provoked a furious reaction from some MPs. However Corbyn continued with his criticisms:

it led to the deaths of 100,000 people […] it devastated Iraq’s infrastructure and society; it fostered a lethal sectarianism […] that turned into a civil war. Instead of protecting security at home and abroad, the war fuelled and spread terrorism across the region.

He cited Sunday’s suicide bombing in Baghdad, which killed 250 people and was the worst terrorist attack since the US/UK invasion in 2003 – implying that Daesh (Isis/Isil), which claimed responsibility, was a group that had come into existence as a result of the Iraq war. “By any measure”, Corbyn said, “the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been, for many, a catastrophe”.

He continued:

the decision to invade Iraq on what was clearly flawed intelligence about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) […] has led to a fundamental breakdown of trust in politics and in our institutions of government […] while the governing classes got it so horrifically wrong, many people got it right.

More jeering from backbenchers ensued, one of whom ITV’s political editor Robert Peston identified as Labour’s Ian Austin MP – who can be heard saying “sit down and shut up”, and “you’re a disgrace”.

But Corbyn seemed undeterred. He cited the protests against the Iraq war in February 2003 as being “the biggest ever demonstration in British history”. Amid more continuous heckling, he fired criticism at both Margaret Thatcher’s and John Major’s Tory administrations, implying that while many people protested about Hussein our governments had basically cosied up to him.

Turning his attention back to Blair, he recalled:

we could see that this state posed no military threat and the WMD evidence was flimsy […] If only this house would have listened to many of its own people […] the course of events might have been different. There are members here today who voted against the war […] but none of us such take any satisfaction from this report.

Corbyn briefly paid tribute to the late Robin Cook, Blair’s foreign secretary who resigned over the war. Cook warned at the time of his grave concerns, saying that “I can’t accept collective responsibility for the decision to commit Britain now to military action in Iraq without international agreement or domestic support”.

The Labour leader then rounded on the decision of Blair’s administration to go to war, saying:

the Chilcot report has rightly dug deep into the litany of failures […] but the reality is it was the original decision to follow the US president into this war, in the most volatile region in the world, and impose a colonial-style occupation, that has led to every other disaster.

He summed up by echoing what surely most people who remember the Iraq war must feel. Firing a parting salvo at Blair and the other members of the government who took the UK to war, Corbyn starkly said:

those laid bare in the Chilcot report must face up to the consequences of their actions. Whatever they may be. We make decisions that […] go on for decades and decades […] we need to reflect very seriously before taking any decisions again to take military action without realising the consequence of those we will live with all of us for many decades to come, and will often have incalculable consequences as a result.

While Corbyn’s detractors are often quick to criticise the leader’s soft-touch approach to his speeches in Parliament, no such criticism could be levelled on Wednesday.

Having been at the forefront of the campaign against the Iraq War, his stance at the time has now been wholly vindicated. His speech in Parliament must have been uncomfortable listening for many on his own backbenches, as there were countless MPs sitting there who voted for military action. He defied his party to stand on the right side of history in 2003. Some might say he is doing the same today.

In his address to Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn made clear his position: the choice of New Labour and the House of Commons to invade Iraq was one of the gravest mistakes in modern history. One which cannot be allowed to happen again.

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised by the coup plotters, most of who backed the Iraq War, for voting against Party. But what would we rather have, an automaton that follows party orders (in which case install a robot and save on expenses) of someone who thinks and  votes according to his conscience?

Contrast the address by Jeremy Corbyn on Chilcot to the House of Commons with the contrived response from war criminal Tony Blair.

Blair cannot see he has done anything wrong, Iraq is a better place as a result of his actions, he would do it all over again.

The tragic bomb blast at the weekend, killed more innocent people, than all the British military who lost their lives during this illegal war.

Warnings were given not only by the intelligence services, but also by Canon Andrew White, of the chaos into which Iraq would descend. These warning were ignored.

Cannot be  a coincidence that the Charity Commission launches an investigation into Andrew White aka Vicar of Baghdad, any more than a coup is launched against Jeremy Corbyn, days before the Chilcot Report is published?

Iraqis used to tell you they were Iraqis, now they are Christian, Shia, Sunni, Kurd.

Terrorism has spread across the region, has given rise to ISIS, has spread to Europe.

Blair has since devoted his life to the Middle East. Most people would be forgiven into believing he was promoting the interests of Saudi Arabia and Israel, whilst at the same time lining his own pocket.

On Wato, we had paid liar Alistair Campbell justify the action taken by Tony Blair.

Chilcot is a damning indictment of Tony Blair, but still he cannot see he did anything wrong.

A deafening silence from the Blairite coup plotters, who have every day been calling for Jeremy Corbyn to go. One of who was Angela Eagle, who not only supported the Iraq War, but also tried to block an Inquiry into the Iraq War. Can we imagine Angela Eagle, even less Hilary Benn, giving the speech Jeremy Corbyn gave?

The noise and abuse, which can be heard in the background as Jeremy Corbtn was addressing Parliament, was not coming from the Tory benches, it was coming from the Labour benches.

One of those shouting abuse was identified by ITN political editor Robert Peston as Labour MP Ian Austin – who can be heard shouting “sit down and shut up”, and “you’re a disgrace”.

The only disgrace was Ian Austin. Please sign the petition calling for him to be suspended from the Labour Party. His own local party should do the right thing, Vote of No Confidence and move that he be de-selected.

It is easy to see why the coup plotters were so keen to remove Jeremy Cobyn before the Chilcot Report was published. Jeremy Cobyn opposed the Iraq War, as did John McDonnell, which is more than they did. They were the war cheerleaders, their hands are as soaked in blood as that of Tony Blair.

Since the coop plotters outed themselves, Labour has seen a 100,000 increase in membership.

Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Alistair Campbell, should be put on trial at The Hague for war crimes. At the very least Tony Blair should be charged with Misconduct in Public Office.

Is there no dictator Blair will not act for, so long of course his palm is greased?

If the gassing of the Kurds had happened today, Blair would be doing the whitewash.

Intelligence was flawed. The executive wanted war, and the intelligence was tailored accordingly.

It was known, there were people in Iraq peddling dodgy intelligence for money or a visa to the west. It should have been verified, by satellite pictures, signal intelligence, via other sources.

When reliable, well placed sources said Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, those sources were ignored.

The weapons inspectors said there were no weapons. They were ignored.

We should not forget David Kelly, the man who was probably killed to silence him.

David Kelly was a weapons inspector. He was also a double agent working for the British. It was he who leaked to the BBC  that the Dodgy Dossier had been ‘enhanced’ at the behest of Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell.

Andrew Gilligan, the journalist at the centre of the ‘dodgy dossier’ row, writing in The Telegraph on evidence submitted to the Chilcot Inquiry:

What we now know is that, according to an MI6 officer working on the dossier, the 45-minute claim was “based in part on wishful thinking” and was not “fully validated”. Another MI6 officer said that “there were from the outset concerns” in the intelligence services about “the extent to which the intelligence could support some of the judgments that were being made”.

What we now know is that on September 17 and 18 2002, a week before the dossier was published, Alastair Campbell sent memos to its author, Sir John Scarlett, saying that he and Tony Blair were “worried” that on Saddam’s nuclear capability the dossier gave the (accurate) impression that “there’s nothing much to worry about”. On September 19, Campbell emailed Scarlett again, suggesting the insertion of a totally false claim that, in certain circumstances, Saddam could produce nuclear weapons in as little as a year. This fabrication duly appeared in the dossier.

What we now know is that in his September 17 memo, Campbell suggested 15 other changes to the text of the dossier. Most were accepted; their effect was to harden the document’s language from possibility to probability, or probability to certainty. Campbell lied to Parliament about the content of this memo, giving the Foreign Affairs Committee an altered copy which omitted his comments on the 45-minute claim and played down his interventions on most of the other issues.

And what we now know is that, contrary to his campaigning certainty at the time, Blair admits in his memoirs that he privately saw the case for war against Iraq as “finely balanced”. No wonder a little tipping of the scales was needed – or, as Blair also put it in his book, “politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interests of the bigger strategic goal demand that it be done”.

We knew nothing of this then. Indeed, in his evidence to the Hutton inquiry, Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, described the 45-minute claim, straight-faced, as “a piece of well-sourced intelligence”, two months after his own service had discredited it. Despite his key role as Dearlove’s military counterpart, General Laurie was never called to Hutton at all; his explosive statement, and that of the two MI6 people, emerged only in 2011, at the Chilcot inquiry.

I don’t blame you if you knew nothing of all this until now; most of it, by happy coincidence, came out only long after public attention had moved on, and the government could no longer be damaged.

But the government knew – and this is what makes its behaviour towards the BBC and David Kelly so incredible. He came forward to his bosses as my source under a promise that his identity would be kept secret, but was effectively given up to the world after Campbell, in his words, decided to “open a flank on the BBC” to distract attention from his difficulties over the dossier.

Yesterday, on Wato, liar Alistair Campbell said pressure had not been exerted, and put the blame on faulty intelligence, as did Tony Blair.

David Kelly was found dead in woods, his wrists slashed.

He had withstood the pressure in Iraq, confronting Iraqis. Was he likely to succumb to a couple of hours questioning by Commons Select Committee?

The summary by Peter Oborne demonstrates how damning the Chilcot Report is on Tony Blair.  Unlike many such reports, it does not pull its punches, and is not as many feared, an Establishment Whitewash.

War criminal Tony Blair, a liar, delusional, and seems to be possessed of a Messiah Complex.

Only last weekend, Blair was putting himself forward as the man to negotiate with the EU over Brexit.

Who Is Worse For Britain – Blair Or Corbyn?

August 30, 2015
Jeremy Corbyn: Alice in Wonderland

Jeremy Corbyn: Alice in Wonderland

Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair on trial if there is the evidence

Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair on trial if there is the evidence

We have all seen them, lunatics on the street, lost souls, raving to no one in particular and the world at large. That is the image I have of Tony Blair. Maybe it is a rehearsal for when he is finally and long overdue put on trial for war crimes, he lacks the mental capacity to plead.

Why oh why does the mainstream media keep giving this war criminal a soap box? The latest being The Observer.

This is the third time in as many weeks, the mainstream media has granted Tony Blair a platform from which to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

There is a new phenomenon in politics or perhaps the revival of an old one. But whatever it is, it is powerful. Someone said to me the other day re Corbyn mania: “You just don’t get it.” I confess they’re right. I don’t get it, but I’m trying hard, and I read with care Rosie Fletcher’s passionate piece in praise of Jeremy Corbyn in last week’s Observer.

The Corbyn thing is part of a trend. So Donald Trump leads the field of Republican candidates with thousands at his meetings, despite remarks about women and Mexicans that you might think would be a disqualification in a nation where half the voters are women and Latinos, the fastest growing group of voters.

Bernie Sanders is wowing the Democrats on a platform that wouldn’t carry more than a handful of states. The SNP win a landslide in Scotland after the collapse of the oil price means that the course they advised the Scottish people to take last year would have landed the country in the economic trauma unit.

The former Greek prime minister led in the polls on a bailout programme significantly harsher than that of the government he put out of office precisely on the issue of the bailout. Marine Le Pen rides high in France advocating an extreme nationalism combined with a quasi-socialist economic policy, with small business appeal, when, let us say, the historical precedents for such a combination aren’t exactly comforting.

Blair still does not get it why Labour was wiped out in Scotland. The Indy Ref politicised the population, and there is no putting that genie back in the bottle.

It is not SNP that has caused the world oil price to drop. It is various factors, economic slowdown, Saudi Arabia flooding the market with oil to force the price down and bankrupt Russia.

Blair lacks any understanding of the situation in Greece. Syriza was swept to power in Greece with a mandate to oppose austerity, oppose the neo-liberal agenda. The Greek people gave a massive NO in the referendum, their proposals were radical, forward thinking, on how to reform Greece, put the country back on its feet, write off the debt, but, they were crushed by the EU which could not tolerate dissent.

Tony Blair rants Jeremy Corbyn is taking us into Alice in Wonderland. I quite like Alice in Wonderland.

But who is lost to the fairies, who fabricated a pack of lies to attack Iraq, who had a dodgy dossier, who told us that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction that could be launched within forty-five minutes?

Tony Blair epitomises the venal politician, his hands are dripping with the blood of the dictators he associates with. His legacy is the Middle East set on fire, the rise of ISIS, immigrants flooding onto the EU.

Members of the Labour Establishment, now resigned to a Jeremy Corbyn win, are saying they will give him 18 months, that his leadership will be on their terms. One of Liz Kendall’s backers speaking on the awful Westminster Hour talked of loyalty.

Who do these people think they are? Jeremy Corbyn has massive backing from the British public who see a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the political establishment. If sections of the Labour Establishment do not like, it, especially Labour MPs, they have a simple choice, accept the will of the people, or face de-selection.

Labour still have not got their collective head around why they were wiped out in the General Election in May.

Tweedledee v Tweedledum. No one could tell the difference. Either find something better to do than visit the Polling Station and legitimise a corrupt system, or of you want Tory then vote Tory.

Four Labour leadership contenders, Jeremy Corbyn offering real choice, speaking to packed meetings across the country, three who represent the Establishment businesses as usual, no one can tell them apart, their policy, we do not like Jeremy Corbyn.

We keep being told Jeremy Corby is unelectable, even though all the evidence is to the contrary.

The latest self-selecting readers poll in the Mirror puts Labour with Jeremy Corbyn to win the Election in 2020 at 81% yes and 19% no.

Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair increases support by launching paranoid attack

August 12, 2015
optimism in the possibility of a new way forward

optimism in the possibility of a new way forward

Last month Tony Blair crawled out of whatever rock he hides under when not hobnobbing with dictators and showing how to wash away their crimes, for a hefty fee of course, to launch a blistering attack on Jeremy Corbyn. He has now crawled out again, to launch another attack, only this time it comes across as someone paranoid and completely off their trolley. But then he has reason to be, he could be on trial for war crimes, him and his associates Alistair Campbell and Jack Straw.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the left, right or centre of the party, whether you used to support me or hate me,” he wrote. “But please understand the danger we are in. The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.

Does Blair care what happens to the Labour Party? Of course not, the only thing Tony Blair cares about is Tony Blair, the only thing that motivates him is his own personal greed. He comes across as someone with a Messianic complex. He believes his own self importance.

Blair talks of annihilation. A rather inappropriate word from Tony Blair, is that not what he did to Iraq?

Maybe Blair looks at the packed meetings across the country and thinks, that is $200,000 going begging each meeting. Except of course no one at the meetings would wish to hear Blair speak, they would be demonstrating outside calling for him to be put on trial for war crimes.

What Blair and his ilk do not seem to grasp, the more they attack Jeremy Corbyn, the more it increases his support, as people realise they must be backing the right man.

All it now takes is Blair to endorse one of the other candidates, and it will be the kiss of death.

Such is the desperation of Labour MPs, they are calling for Ed Miliband to intervene. One of the worst leaders Labour has ever had, who should have been ditched at least a year before the General Election, a man who succeeded in seeing Labour wiped out in Scotland and suffering one of their worst ever defeats in England.

Daily Mail had a throw away line today in the editorial, Jeremy Corbyn described as a throwback Marxist.

In the same paper, Labour Party being infiltrated by er infiltrators, four Labour MPs calling for the leadership election to be suspended. The Labour Party responds that it has robust procedures in place to weed out infiltrators.

Throwback Marxist. I am sure there will be worse to come, especially from gutter rags like The Sun.

Infiltrators, the term conjures up SS infiltrating the French Resistance.

Infiltrators, who are these infiltrators. The Daily Mail helpfully tells us. A few Greens.

Does it actually matter if people have an association with another party? They are registering because they see the possibility of effecting real change.

Next we will be told members of ISIS have registered as Labour Party supporters. Or maybe Vladimir Putin has managed to infiltrate.

Comedian and columnist for The Independent Mark Steel  is one of those blocked. Film maker Ken Roach is another.

Apart from being supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, on what grounds to reject? In the case of Mark Steel, could it be because he mocked the way Labour is blocking supporters, to then run foul himself?

Of everyone I have spoken to, bar two, and I will come to these two, there is overwhelming support for Jermy Corbyn. The more he is attacked by Blair and the Labour Establishment, the stronger that support becomes. Many have registered, many have not, but all wish to see Jeremy Corbyn elected and bring about real change.

Of the two who raised doubts, one referred to Jeremy Corbyn as a Marxist, the other as being under the control of Trade Unions. I carefully explained neither was true, asked were they happy with the status quo. To which I received an adamant no. Support Jeremy Corbyn then, was my response. They will think about it.

And from where do they get these perverted notions? From rags like the Daily Mail and a Labour Establishment that seems keen to do Murdoch’s dirty work for him.

Of everyone I speak to, they see Labour as unelectable, they recognise why Labour did so badly in the last election, Tweedledee v Tweedledum, they can not see the difference, therefore why bother voting or if you do vote vote for the real thing and vote Tory.

Why is it, the mainstream media and the Labour Establishment cannot see what is plain and obvious before their nose? I can only assume because they inhabit the same worlds, reinforce each others perverted world view. But then they could not see what was happing in Scotland, the radicalisation and politicisation of the populations that was created by open discussion of Indy Ref.  The same is happening with Jeremy Corbyn, once the population is radicalised and politicised, that genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Another significant factor may be the number of people who have read Revolution and regularly watch The Trews.

It is laughable that anyone thinks Labour could win under Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham. These are the very people who lost the last election. They would make Labour irrelevant, cast to the margins of history as as happened to the LibsDems (who) and Labour in Scotland. And even in the unlikely event they could win, nothing would change.

Do we want to see mass library closures, as is being pushed through in Lincolnshire by a fundamentalist Tory leader of the County Council? Of 45 public libraries, 30 will close, and of the remaining 15, these will be on reduced hours. In Birmingham, the new state-of-the-art library, is now on reduced opening hours and appealing to the public for new books.

If we want to see where we are heading, visit the outposts of the Western Empire on the banks of Dnistr,  where people are eking out a living on less than $5 a day. Or see what the EU is imposing on Greece.

Such was the surge in people wishing to register as Labour Party supporters today to enable a vote in the leadership elections that the website crashed. The deadline for registrations originally midday, had to be delayed by three hours until 3pm.

T-O-N-Y! YOU AIN’T GOT NO ALIBI. YOU TORY!

July 24, 2015

It’s difficult to know anything certain about modern politics. As Adam Curtis points out in his “Oh-Dearism” documentary, there is an emerging “strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused, a ceaseless shapeshifting that is unstoppable because it’s indefinable”. It’s diaphanous, a dark attic full of spider webs, and the intention of the political elite is to make sure you don’t understand.

Every now and again, though, a little light breaks through the murk, and lets us see what the machinating cluster of arachnids are up to.

It seems rather telling that the mainstream establishment is getting all shrill and scurrilous about Jeremy Corbyn. After the poll that said Corbyn would win the Labour leadership 6 points ahead of Andy Burnham, centrists, Blairites and Blairs fell over each other to slander the man himself, as unelectable, and then to scoff at his supporters. St. Tony of Baghdad, lobbyist to the shadows, left many reeling with indignation when he spoke to the think tank Progress on Wednesday. Let us not forget that there is a wide consensus that this man should be tried for war crimes, and yet he has the gall to tell others to get “a heart transplant”?! He appeared from his coffin, looking like a wax puppet from an American remake of a Japanese horror film, and condescended to the nation with talk of winning “from the centre” and the dangers of comfort blankets. The sheep-dog yapped and the flock bolted. Margaret Beckett described herself as a “moron” for supporting Corbyn’s candidacy. Yvette Cooper said she would never serve in a shadow cabinet lead by Corbyn. John McTernan suggested that two candidates should drop out of the race to create an “anyone-but-Corbyn” campaign. The barks and bleats have become deafening.

In a leadership election that should be defined by new rules that make it more democratic, it seems ironically undemocratic that this tactic of sabotage should be used from within the party. The momentum is with Corbyn. Doesn’t it show a huge arrogance, for the other leading Labour politicians, to flagrantly disregard what the most significant faction of Labour supporters are saying? Rather than denigrating the man’s personality and dragging their heels in New Labour mud, shouldn’t they recognise that what many people want is a party of real opposition to sit next to the SNP in the house of commons? And if the left-wing are so “unelectable”, please tell me how the SNP won all those seats?

I’m not sure that this hullabaloo is at all damaging to Corbyn’s campaign though. That conversation we were all having for the previous god-knows-how-long (you know, the one about the Westminster bubble and the London elite being out of touch; the one that resulted in massive election turn outs for the SNP and UKIP), it didn’t just go away because we had a general election. Right now, the more Jeremy Corbyn is held cheap by the establishment, the more he begins to look like an intriguing outsider, relatable, and unfazed with the squabbling in the political playground.

The inverse of Nigel Farage, he appears to be a cool-headed, honest, considerate man, one of the few modern politicians who doesn’t seem to have been trained in neuro-linguistic programming, unconflicted in his political views, and abstemious in his daily life. He is one of the only politicians of note that seems to truly recognise the dire inequality that exists in this country today and actually have a problem with it. There is something inherently virtuous about him, and that is a quality that can rally the support of a lot of people, and most importantly, a lot of young people. With the big three zero on the horizon for me, I don’t know if I still count as a “young person”. What I can say is that for the first time in my adult life there is a politician from a mainstream party who shares my views and those of most people I know, and also has a chance of actually doing something to create a shift in the paradigm, from corporate puppetry to conscientious societal representation.

The hysteria that has rendered certain members of the Labour party catatonic, and has the right wing press rubbing its hands together in glee, is ultimately based on nonsense. The fact is that this election is not for the position of king of kings but for the leader of a party of equals. No matter how far left Jeremy Corbyn is, if he is voted leader he will have to represent a party that is jam packed with shy Tories and Blairites. He would be dragged towards the centre ground anyway. But he would have galvanised the support of many disparate factions of society, who didn’t vote in the general election, or who voted UKIP, or maybe even some of those who voted Tory.

In the USA, Senator Bernie Sanders is currently running his presidential campaign for 2016. He is a firebrand, a self proclaimed democratic socialist, and support for him is snow-balling. He’s a straight talking realist who is committed to outing the perversions of the system and seems to be unafraid of standing up for the rights of individuals against those of corporations. At the official opening of his campaign in Vermont in May, he had one clear message to anyone who doubted his ability to win: “Don’t underestimate me.” It seems that it wasn’t until Jeremy Corbyn took the lead in the polls that the rest of the Labour party worked out not to underestimate him. It just might be that he is the right person to clean out the cobwebs and fix those attic lights.

— Charlotte Church

Reposted from CharlotteSayshmmm.

Wonderful words from Charlotte Church.

As she says

He is one of the only politicians of note that seems to truly recognise the dire inequality that exists in this country today and actually have a problem with it. There is something inherently virtuous about him, and that is a quality that can rally the support of a lot of people, and most importantly, a lot of young people. … What I can say is that for the first time in my adult life there is a politician from a mainstream party who shares my views and those of most people I know, and also has a chance of actually doing something to create a shift in the paradigm, from corporate puppetry to conscientious societal representation.

Jeremy Corbyn has managed to engage with ordinary people, who do not wish to be ruled by a political class that acts for banksters and corporations.

If you want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, simply register as a Labour Party Supporter at a one off fee of £3 and you can vote.

UK taxpayers pay costs of war criminal Tony Blair as he sniffs for work with despots

June 13, 2015
Blair lines his pocket

Blair lines his pocket

It was “pretty distasteful”, says ambassador, how Blair “used the ticket of Middle East Envoy” to make commercial deals with governments.

THE SCALE of Tony Blair’s globe-trotting is exposed for the first time in secret documents that suggest the taxpayer is paying up to £16,000 a week to help the former prime minister build his business empire.

Documents seen by The Telegraph contain details of Mr Blair’s travels around the world, accompanied by a squad of police bodyguards, flying on private jets and staying in five-star hotels.

The files suggest Mr Blair has used identical trips to carry out both private business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet Representative to the Middle East – leaving him open to accusations of a potential conflict of interest.

The documents show how Mr Blair has been visiting up to five countries a week – at a potential cost of between £14,000 and £16,000 to the public purse.

One British ambassador described how a number of companies linked to Mr Blair, including his wife’s law firm, were “sniffing for work” in one European country.

During the trips Mr Blair must be accompanied by a team of Metropolitan Police officers, whose salary, overtime, expenses, travel and meals are picked up by the taxpayer. The most complex trips involve eight officers of varying ranks, while at least four remain at his homes in Britain. Each of the 12 officers is likely to be earning at least £56,000, but can earn upwards of £70,000 due to the overtime they accumulate on foreign trips.

Documents seen by The Telegraph as part of an investigation into Mr Blair’s business interests show how he has nurtured a network of some of the world’s most influential leaders and businessmen to build up a roster of clients paying tens of millions of pounds for his advice.

However, the disclosures prompted suggestions that his paid work had created what appears to be a series of conflicts of interest with his unpaid envoy role, from which he will step down at the end of this month after eight years.

One ambassador who attended meetings with Mr Blair on his Quartet work said the apparent conflict was “pretty distasteful”, adding that Mr Blair “used the ticket of the Middle East Envoy and Quartet” to deal with governments on a commercial basis.

The Telegraph investigation revealed how:

  • Mr Blair stays with his entourage in five-star hotels around the world, with each room for his police bodyguards costing the taxpayer an estimated £1,000 on multi-leg trips;
  • The former prime minister travels on a series of private jets, in some cases lent by clients and governments;
  • Mr Blair secured a £1 million private contract with the World Bank, while simultaneously working with the Bank in his role at Middle East envoy;
  • He struck lucrative commercial deals with Abu Dhabi while he was also in negotiations with the emirate as Middle East envoy over $45 million (£29 million) funding for the Palestinian Authority;
  • Mr Blair’s team has sought assistance from British officials in order to further his private business interests, including briefings on countries including Canada, Albania and Macedonia;
  • In several cases the influential figures Mr Blair meets on private business trips are the same people who are his contacts in his official role as Quartet envoy;

Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative MP who has previously criticised Mr Blair’s wide-ranging business interests, called for Mr Blair to declare fully all his dealings. He said: “Mr Blair has consistently blurred the line between his official and commercial activities, while his security entourage has incurred huge expenses for the British taxpayer.

“It is not appropriate for a man who has held the highest office in the land and has been privy to every one of our nation’s secrets to undertake work for a foreign power.”

Chris Doyle, the director of The Council for Arab-British Understanding, said: “Mr Blair needs to be transparent about his business activities, otherwise he faces the risk of being accused of having conflicts of interest.”

The investigation gives the most detailed picture yet of Mr Blair’s crowded international itinerary. The files show how he is shepherded around America on a speaking tour, and crams meetings with ministers and business leaders into 24-hour visits to Abu Dhabi – one of his biggest clients.

The total cost of wages and expenses for the 12-strong team guarding him would amount to between £14,000 and £16,000 for each week he is travelling, based on a conservative estimate of the number of officers remaining in Britain, and a reported figure of £5,000 expenses per week.

It is likely that Mr Blair picks up the cost of his bodyguards’ travel when they fly on private jets. In one week in February 2012 Mr Blair travelled to Israel in his role as Middle East envoy and then flew on to UAE, Qatar, China and Kazakhstan where he conducted a mixture of charity work and private business.

He stayed with his entourage at hotels including the five-star Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the Four Seasons in Doha.

Mr Blair has also been nurturing a relationship with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

At one meeting in January 2011, apparently attended by Mr Blair at least partly in his capacity as Quartet envoy, he was accompanied by Stephan Kriesel, the then head of his government advisory practice.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said that Mr Kriesel “happened to be travelling with him”.

The Telegraph’s investigation also reveals how Mr Blair’s firm, Tony Blair Associates, now has a £1.1 million contract with the World Bank to carry out consultancy work, after he enjoyed a close relationship with the Bank as Quartet envoy. A member of the World Bank staff was seconded to work in his Quartet office.

As part of its contract with the Bank, Tony Blair Associates has provided a team of consultants to advise the Romanian government on setting up a “delivery unit”.

The Bank said Mr Blair’s firm offered “the most competitive price” of five competing bids. A spokesman for Mr Blair said the work was “not for profit”.

In October 2013 Nicholas Cannon, the British ambassador to Albania, told Whitehall mandarins that several “Blair-related outfits” were “sniffing for work in Albania”, including Cherie Blair’s law firm Omnia Strategy.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: “There are no conflicts of interests with any of Mr Blair’s work, including his role as Quartet representative.”

“Clear policies and procedures” were in place to prevent conflicts, including a clause in his commercial contracts stating he will not undertake work that conflicts with his Quartet responsibilities.”

The spokesman added that Abu Dhabi’s funding for the Palestinian Authority came from a “separate organisation” to Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund that Mr Blair advises.

She added that Mr Blair had “absolutely never used his position as a Quartet representative to further business interests” and suggested that it was in “the country’s interests” for Foreign Office officials to support Mr Blair’s work abroad.

Spokesmen for Mr Blair and Scotland Yard declined to comment on his security arrangements.

Reposted from Stop the War UK, originally posted The Telegraph.

There seems to be no despot Tony Blair will not deal with in his insatiable lust for money. He backed the ousted Hosni Mubarak, he backs Al-Sisi, he hobnobs with the the corrupt House of Saud.

He recently tried to blag some extortionate fee from a conference on world hunger.  They told him to sling his hook.

What does Tony Blair know of hunger?  Other than the destitute and starving people he has created in the Middle East. He is not an expert on either food or agriculture.

Last year Save the Children gave Blair a humanitarian award at a  glitzy celebrity infested award ceremony in New York.

A few years ago he tried to blag a fee from Rio as an advisor on the Olympic Games. They showed him the door.

Why is Tony Blair Not In Gaol?

January 16, 2015

Why is Tony Blair not in gaol? A question many people would like to see answers to.

Apparently Tony Blair cannot understand Russell Brand.

What cannot he understand? That he is pushing for democracy? That he does not have a desire to hang out with people like Blair?

A dictator with an image problem, then Tony Blair is your man. For a fee, a very hefty fee, he will help you explain away, or if not explain away, make light of, any atrocities, torture, mass killings. Clients include brutal regimes in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Egypt.

Tony Blair was recently named Philanthropist of the Year by GQ magazine. And they say cartoons in Charlie Hebdo are offensive.

And more recently a humanitarian award by Save the Children.

ISIS is a direct result of the destruction of Iraq by Tony Blair and fellow war criminal George W Bush.

Having destroyed Iraq, destabilised the Middle east, Blair is only too happy to adopt the role of war profiteer.

The Blair Iraq Dossier has still not been published. Now we are told not until after the May 2015 General Election.

Former aid defends Save the Children humanitarian award to Tony Blair

November 26, 2014

If you can stomach listening to it, an interview with a former aid to Tony Blair defending a humanitarian award by Save the Children to Tony Blair.

BBC must have really scraped the bottom of the barrel to find anyone to defend Tony Blair as the recipient of this award.

Granting of the award has been slammed in a letter signed by nearly 200 of the people who work for Save the Children.

Over 100,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Save the Children to strip Tony Blair of this undeserved humanitarian award.

We are told Tony Blair has his people on the ground in in West Africa dealing with Ebola. What are they doing, trying to sign up another lucrative contract for the Blair money making machine?

Aid to African a success?

Aid to Africa, is being used as cover for a massive corporate land grab, countries like Ghana told to pass Monsanto Law where farmers are to be criminalised for saving seed, face fine and prison, told they have to buy corporate seeds from the likes of Monsanto.

Western interference in Africa, is a neo-liberal agenda, privatise health care and education, use your land for cash crops, then when a disease like Ebola strikes, we see a health care system unable to cope, bodies left in the street.

Debate not about Iraq?

It has everything to do with Iraq, a man responsible for the death of tens of thousand of innocent children, should not be given an humanitarian award by Save the Children.

Once again, we see the revolving door at work.

Former political director and close aid to Tony Blair, Matthew Doyle wheeled out to defend Tony Blair.

Matthew Doyle started working with Tony Blair in 2005 when he was appointed as his special comms adviser at Number 10. He was previously press aide to the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Blunkett, and before that he worked at the Labour Party as head of press and broadcasting for the 2005 general election. He then, as did many other Blair aids, went to work for the Office of Tony Blair. In other words like too many of our Members of Parliament, a party apparatchik who has never done an honest day’s work in his life.

Then we look at those associated with Save the Children.

Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former chief of staff, is currently on the board of Save the Children.

Save the Children UK chief executive, Justin Forsyth, was a special adviser to Blair for three years. Save the Children was attacked last year when it was learnt Justin Forsyth was paid £163,000 a year, including more than £22,000 in performance-related pay. He has since taken a pay cut to £140,000.

So what do Save the Children get out of it?

The big increase in UK aid budget, when it is not going to fund coal-fired power stations in China, or sponsor corporate land grabs in Africa, is channelled through Big Business charities like Save the Children.

Save the Children slammed over humanitarian award to Tony Blair

November 25, 2014
war criminal for hire for any brutal dictator who has blood on their hands

war criminal for hire for any brutal dictator who has blood on their hands

Did they really think they would get away with it, did Save the Children really think they would get away with a tacky glitzy New York award ceremony to honour Tony Blair for his humanitarian work?

This is a man who has the blood of children on his hands, who profiteers from bloody conflict in the Middle East, who advises brutal murderous dictators, Al Sisi in Egypt, Nursultan Nazarbeyev in Kazakhstan. He also has lucrative consultancy contracts with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Colombia. And JPMorgan.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Blair had signed a multimillion pound contract with a Saudi Arabian oil company in 2010 to broker secret deals on the firm’s behalf with Chinese state officials. The revelation raises serious questions over his role as Middle East envoy, and his personal vested interests in the region.

Earlier this year, Tony Blair managed to successfully quash a Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged corruption regarding an arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

There is growing public outrage demanding that Tony Blair be stripped of this award. And that he be indicted as a war criminal. Former ambassadors have demanded he be stripped of his role as Middle East envoy.

There is a petition demanding Tony Blair be stripped of the award. As I write, it is approaching 100,000 signatures. Please sign and spread the word.

Amid widespread criticism on social media, many of the charity’s staff have complained that the presentation of the award has discredited Save the Children. An internal letter, which gathered almost 200 signatures – including senior regional staff – in the first six hours of dissemination, said the award was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally”, and called for it to be withdrawn.

It said that staff wished to distance themselves from the award and demanded a review of the charity’s decision-making process.

We consider this award inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values. Management staff in the region were not communicated with nor consulted about the award and were caught by surprise with this decision.

The award has also raised questions about Save the Children’s integrity and independence because of close links between Tony Blair and senior people at Save the Children.

Its UK chief executive, Justin Forsyth, was a special adviser to Blair for three years, and Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former chief of staff, is currently on the board of Save the Children.

Save the Children was attacked last year when it was learnt Justin Forsyth was paid £163,000 a year, including more than £22,000 in performance-related pay. He has since taken a pay cut to £140,000.

It is the same old story, advisers and politicians, leave politics, nice little earners on the board of quangos and NGOs, the political-media establishment, revolving door, jobs for the boys, you look after my interest, I will look after yours.

Why the deafening media-political silence on this scandal? Because they are all part of the same club, awaiting their turn to get their snouts in the trough, to get onto the merry-go-round, an advisor here, on the board there, a stint in broadcasting.

I will not touch Save the Children with a bargepole.

Whoever bears responsibility at Save the Children should be forced to resign.

Save the Children honour Tony Blair for his ‘humanitarian work’

November 20, 2014

This is sickening, (alleged) war criminal and profiteer Tony Blair honoured by Save the Children.

They not only gave him this award, but it was at a glitzy stomach churning charity event.

I am lost for words, offensive, disgusting, appalling, sickening ….

This is a man who hobnobs with some of the world’s worst dictators and corrupt politicians, sleaze does not begin to describe Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and Hosni Mubarak count as his cronies.

His latest has been to advise brutal ruler of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev how to sanitize human rights abuses and killing of unarmed protesters, for a retainer of £7 million a year.

The revolving door, the political-media-charity establishment. Chief executive of Save the Children (UK) is Justin Forsyth, who was an adviser to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He was appointed in 2010 on a salary of £160,000.

Save the Children done themselves a huge amount of damage with this glitzy charity bash.

I will be telling a local Save the Children charity shop exactly what I think of them, and I urge others to do the same.

Paulo Coelho and his wife Christina help support an orphanage in Rio to support the kids from the favelas. I do not see them being honoured by Save the Children. Nor the many unsung heroes who work in the field, nor the volunteers who man their charity shops.

Save the Children has lost all credibility with this award.

In Revolution, Russell Brand tells of going to a glitzy Hollywood charity bash, and being told it was mandatory for the success of his career.

The latest Band Aid circus regurgitation, a line up of a bunch of tax dodgers. Adele refused to take part. That it was reelased on tacky X Factor, says it all.

A group of African musicians have recorded Africa Stop Ebola to raise money. Was you aware of that?

If you really want to help, make a donation to MSF.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein documents the abuses by Big Business green groups, including oil drilling on a nature reserve.

This is why I do not support Big Business charities and green groups.

If we want real change, assuming you are not happy with money being transferred from the poor the the rich, the trashing of the planet, then effect real change.

Tony Blair attacks Islam to absolve his wars from any responsibility for the Woolwich killing

June 4, 2013

Humility is supposed to be a Christian virtue, but it is one that has always evaded Tony Blair. Even so it was something of a shock to see his latest venture into print in the Mail on Sunday this week over the question of the Woolwich murder and Islam.

This article, judging by the comments beneath it, was too much for even the Mail’s conservative readers to stomach. Blair’s arrogant and pompous self-justification allows no element of regret for the wars into which he plunged millions of people, or for the instability in much of the Middle East and south Asia that his policies have helped create.

Blair’s thesis is that ‘there is a problem within Islam — from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.’

He continues, ‘I’m afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.’

The world of the Middle East according to Blair is divided into two sorts of Muslims:

‘On the one side, there are Islamists who have this exclusivist and reactionary world view. They are a significant minority, loud and well organised. On the other are the modern-minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and who hate the new oppression by religious fanatics.’

To unpack this: Blair is saying that there are fanatical and extremist Muslims, who are driven to commit acts like the murder of Lee Rigby through ideological hatred of ‘western values’, and who are given support and succour from much larger groups of Muslims who really should know better and who should embrace pluralistic and liberal values as exemplified by…Tony Blair.

Except that isn’t how it looks to millions of people. The people of the Middle East and Afghanistan might be forgiven for asking which pluralistic and liberal values brought them the torture at Abu Ghraib, the use of depleted uranium in Iraq, the bombing of women and children in Afghanistan. They might wonder why when they ‘hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators’ they received no backing from the open minded Tony Blair or his fellow warmongers.

They might even wonder whether the spreading of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not an example of Jewish extremism, the whole Project for the New American century an example of Christian fundamentalism, or the massacres of Muslims Rohinga in Burma an example of Buddhist extremism?

Above all, we are all entitled to wonder just what deficiency in Blair’s mental image of the world allows him to consider that he has anything to contribute on this question? He has launched two major wars that are generally acknowledged to have been failures in their own terms and to have increased the likelihood of terrorism around the world. He lied in order to go to war in Iraq and will be the subject of criticism when the long delayed Chilcot report comes out.

The war was illegal under international law and in any fair society he would now be facing trial at The Hague, not posing as envoy for peace in the Middle East.

Rather than acknowledge any of this Blair’s brass neck leads him to advocate further wars, now against Syria and Iran, and to pose any opposition to him and his policies in terms of a ‘clash of civilisations’.

He talks about ideology driving terrorist attacks, but ignores his own dangerous ideology: the promotion of neo liberal free markets, the support for wars which protect those markets, and the defence of growing levels of inequality and misery caused by these policies.

The wars that he has done so much to promote have fuelled attacks on Muslims and a wave of Islamophobia, recently exacerbated by the events in Woolwich. Blair’s response? To attack Islam as a means of absolving his wars from any connection or responsibility. How much worse can he get?

— Lindsey German

Published by Stop the War Coalition.

We should never forget Stop the War Coalition is a Trotskyist front organisation, and in recent years has been hijacked by and become an apologist for Muslim fundamentalists. Nevertheless, that does not mean to say Tony Blair did not write a load of stomach churning garbage.

Contrary to what Lindsey German writes, there is a problem with Islamic extremists, Islamic fundamentalism does pose a threat, you only have to ask Nigerians what it is doing to their country, but a threat that is exacerbated by polices of US and UK and their support for Israel.