عدد المساهمات : 38354
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: Blair's medal of dishonour الإثنين 26 يوليو 2010, 03:18|| |
Blair's medal of dishonour
Pouring scorn on the warmongering ex-PM's latest 'peace' accolade
We live in strange times. In October 2009, the fledgling President Obama was awarded the Nobel peace prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples."
He declared himself "surprised and deeply humbled," accepting it as "a call to action."You might have thought this meant more "diplomacy and co-operation" were the order of the day. Not quite.
Two months later Obama announced that killing more Afghans and throwing millions of dollars into doing it was his first priority.
He didn't quite put it like that, though. He told an audience at West Point, New York, that the deployment of 30,000 additional troops was vital to "the common security of the world."
It would "break the Taliban's momentum and increase Afghanistan's capacity." Goals would not be set "beyond our responsibility, our means or our interests."
Six-and-a-half months into 2010, US deaths from improvised explosive devices alone are 188 - already exceeding the 152 for the whole year of 2008, in "Operation Enduring Freedom." Total deaths for 2009 in Afghanistan were 317. This year they are already 231.Dismemberments, disfigurements and deaths are seemingly part of Obama's perceived "interests." Enduring freedom indeed.
Under this shining example of all the Nobel peace prize now stands for, US drones are killing citizens of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.And now amid this Orwellian world, "Teflon" Tony Blair is set to collect the latest in a glittering array of awards for services to humanity - the 2010 Liberty Medal, awarded by the US Constitution Centre.
His contribution to the betterment of mankind has included joining the United States in the Afghanistan invasion and the silent cull of an average of 6,000 Iraqi children a month between 1997 and 2003 by instructing Britain's UN officials to veto everything from vaccines to Ventolin, insulin to incubators, paper to pencils, female hygiene appliances to aids for children at the schools for the blind and deaf.
After six years of this decimation under his watch, added to the previous seven under his predecessor John Major, Blair's officials cooked up a pack of lies. He ignored the advice of attorney general Lord Goldsmith and joined his little friend on Capitol Hill in reducing what remained of the cradle of civilisation to an illegally invaded pile of rubble. Swathes of Iraq's ancient history and historical records were destroyed, with the lynching, "disappearing" and imprisoning of a legitimate government whose sovereignty was guaranteed by the UN.
Recent estimates are than a further million Iraqis have died since the invasion - almost certainly an underestimate since those in remoter areas are often unrecorded.
Goldsmith, it now transpires, had written in his advice six weeks before the invasion of Iraq: "My opinion is that resolution 1441 does not revive the authorisation to use force in the absence of a further decision by the security council."
Blair scribbled in the margin: "I just do not understand this."
Did anyone ask which part of No he could not grasp? Two weeks later the legal opinion was reiterated in a further note.Blair walked from this carnage to be Middle East peace envoy, telling Parliament on his resignation: "As I learned it is important to be able to bring people together."
He can undoubtedly do delusion with some of the greats. As William Blum recently pointed out, General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, mass murderer and torturer, once said: "I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country."
Former president of apartheid South Africa PW Botha declared: "I am not going to repent. I am not going to ask for favours. What I did, I did for my country."
And mass murderer of Cambodia Pol Pot said: "I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country."To this list can be added Blair, who defending his role in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, said: "I did what I thought was right for our country."
Patriotism is indeed the last refuge of the scoundrel.
As Peter Oborne wrote in March: "We now know that the wretched Blair has multiplied his personal fortune many times over by trading off the connections he made while in Downing Street. Shockingly, he fought a long battle to conceal the source of his new-found wealth, and only this month did it finally become public that one of his largest clients was a South Korean oil company, the UI Energy Corporation, with extensive interests in Iraq. He has also made £1 million from advising the Kuwaiti royal family. It can be fairly claimed that Blair has profiteered as a result of the Iraq war in which so many hundreds of thousands of people died. In the league of shame, Tony Blair is arguably the worst of them all."
And the rewards for being an ally in mass starvation and murder keep rolling in.The latest is the Liberty Medal, plus $100,000 prize money. This is small change compared to the estimated $20m he's raked in since leaving office, but every little helps.
The prize, according to the Constitution Centre, "reflects the values of the US constitution - a belief in justice, fairness, self-governance and in resolving issues through deliberation, compromise and respect for diverse viewpoints."
It is to be presented to him by his close friend and fellow Iraqi children's tormenter "Bomber" Bill Clinton, who said of Blair: "Tony continues to demonstrate leadership, dedication and creativity in promoting economic opportunity in the Middle East and the resolution of conflicts rooted in religion around the world and is building the capacity of developing nations to govern honestly and effectively."
And as if that wasn't sickening enough, National Constitution Centre president and CEO David Eisner said: "Tony Blair has significantly furthered the expansion of freedom, self-governance, equality and peaceful coexistence. This award recognises both his dedication to and his success in building understanding among nations and creating lasting solutions in areas of conflict."
Blair responded: "It is an honour to receive the Liberty Medal. Freedom, liberty and justice are the values by which this medal is struck. Freedom, liberty and justice are the values which I try to apply to my work."
Incidentally, six of those who were awarded the Liberty Medal have gone on to receive the Nobel peace prize. It was Tom Lehrer who said: "Satire became redundant the day Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize." No longer.
Blair may already share something with Kissinger - apparently he checks with his legal advisers every time he boards a plane in case he is arrested for war crimes on arrival.And just another reminder, George Orwell's real name was Eric Arthur Blair.
by the Morning Star2 comments
Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz Clegg's 'illegal' Iraq war prompts warning
Nick Clegg and Jack Straw clash at PMQs Link to this video Nick Clegg was tonight forced to clarify his position on the Iraq war after he stood up at the dispatch box of the House of Commons and pronounced the invasion illegal.
The deputy prime minister insisted he was speaking in a personal capacity, as a leading international lawyer warned that the statement by a government minister in such a formal setting could increase the chances of charges against Britain in international courts.
Philippe Sands, professor of law at University College London, said: "A public statement by a government minister in parliament as to the legal situation would be a statement that an international court would be interested in, in forming a view as to whether or not the war was lawful."
The warning came after a faltering performance by Clegg in the Commons when he stood in for David Cameron at prime minister's questions. The deputy prime minister made an initial mistake when he announced that the government would close the Yarl's Wood centre as it ends the detention of children awaiting deportation. The Home Office was forced to issue a statement saying that the family unit at Yarl's Wood would close but that the rest of the centre would remain open.
Shortly before that slip-up, Clegg threw the government's position concerning the legality of the Iraq war into confusion when, at the end of heated exchanges with Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time of the war, Clegg said: "We may have to wait for his memoirs, but perhaps one day he will account for his role in the most disastrous decision of all: the illegal invasion of Iraq."
Clegg's remarks could be legally significant because he was standing at the government dispatch box in the Commons.
Downing Street played down the significance of the remarks by issuing a statement saying that he was expressing his "long-held view" about the Iraq conflict. In an attempt to avoid speculation about splits with Cameron, who voted in favour of the war, Downing Street added that the government would await the findings of the Chilcot inquiry before reaching a view on the war.
"The coalition government has not expressed a view on the legality or otherwise of the Iraq conflict," the No 10 spokesman said. "But that does not mean that individual members of the government should not express their individual views. These are long-held views of the deputy prime minister.
"The Iraq inquiry is currently examining many issues surrounding the UK's involvement in Iraq, including the legal basis of the war. The government looks forward to receiving the inquiry's conclusions."
But this appeared to be contradicted by the Chilcot inquiry, which issued a statement saying it was examining the legal issues in the run-up to the war but would not make a judgment about the legality of the war. A spokesman said: "The inquiry is not a court of law, and no one is on trial."
The government also faced a challenge in explaining an apparently new constitutional convention that the second most senior member of the cabinet is now free to stand at the dispatch box and express opinions of his own that do not reflect government policy.
Asked whether Clegg had been speaking as the leader of the Liberal Democrats and not as deputy prime minister, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Yes."
Asked how MPs could establish in future whether Clegg is speaking as deputy prime minister or as leader of the Liberal Democrats, the spokeswoman said: "The deputy prime minister is entitled to express his own view at the dispatch box."
The Lib Dems were keen to play down the significance of Clegg's remarks. But it is understood that the Lib Dem leader feels freer to speak out against the alleged illegality of the Iraq war after the recent publication of previously classified documents by the Chilcot inquiry.
Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, wrote to Sir John Chilcot on 25 June to allow the inquiry to publish more documents relating to the legal advice. The most significant of these documents was a note on 30 January 2003 by the then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to Tony Blair.
In the note Goldsmith wrote: "I remain of the view that the correct legal interpretation of [UN security council] resolution 1441 is that it does not authorise the use of military force without a further determination by the security council."
Goldsmith famously changed his mind on the legality of the war in March 2003 after Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the former chief of the defence staff, demanded a clear undertaking that military action would be lawful. Boyce feared that British forces could face legal action unless the invasion had legal cover.
On 7 March 2003, after visiting Washington, Goldsmith told Blair that a new UN resolution may not be necessary, although invading Iraq without one could lead to Britain being indicted before an international court. Ten days later Goldsmith ruled that an invasion would be lawful.
Sands said: "Lord Goldsmith never gave a written advice that the war was lawful. Nick Clegg is only repeating what Lord Goldsmith told Tony Blair on 30 January 2003: that without a further UN security resolution the war would be illegal and Jack Straw knows that."
by The Guardian0 comments
Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz Former MI5 chief demolishes Blair's defence
Tony Blair's evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry that toppling Saddam Hussein helped make Britain safe from terrorists was dramatically undermined by the former head of MI5 yesterday.0 comments
Giving evidence to the same inquiry, Eliza Manningham-Buller revealed that there was such a surge of warnings of home-grown terrorist threats after the invasion of Iraq that MI5 asked for – and got – a 100 per cent increase in its budget. Baroness Manningham-Buller, who was director general of MI5 in 2002-07, told the Chilcot panel that MI5 started receiving a "substantially" higher volume of reports that young British Muslims being drawn to al-Qa'ida.
She told the inquiry: "Our involvement in Iraq radicalised, for want of a better word, a whole generation of young people – a few among a generation – who saw our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as being an attack on Islam."
She added: "Arguably we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad so that he was able to move into Iraq in a way that he was not before."
Her words are in stark contrast to the claim that Mr Blair made in front of the same inquiry on 29 January. The former prime minister told Sir John Chilcot: "If I am asked whether I believe we are safer, more secure, that Iraq is better, that our own security is better, with Saddam and his two sons out of office and out of power, I believe indeed we are.
"It was better to deal with this threat, to remove him from office, and I do genuinely believe that the world is safer as a result."
But the evidence presented by Lady Manningham-Buller does not just call Mr Blair's credibility into question, it also throws down a challenge to the coalition Government, warned Lord Carlile of Berriew, a Liberal Democrat peer who has acted since 2005 as the independent reviewer of anti-terror laws. He told The Independent: "It's certainly the case that the threat and number of home-grown terrorists – and 'not home-grown' terrorists coming into the UK – increased after the Iraq war.
"This makes life difficult both for the old government, who have criticisms to answer, and for the current Government. It makes their review of current terrorism law a delicate exercise because there is no evidence of any significant reduction in the threat. We are where we were."
Sir Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, added: "I should be astonished if Mr Blair were to return to give further evidence, but questions will remain as to what it was which prompted him to disregard the reservations of officials and their advice. If only Britain had been as well served by its politicians as it was by Eliza Manningham-Buller then we would never have got ourselves into the illegal mess of Iraq."
Lord West, who was counter-terrorism minister in the Home Office under Gordon Brown, told the BBC that he had "no doubt" that the Iraq war increased the threat of terrorism in the UK, which hit the government like a "bow wave" in 2003.
Ken Livingstone, who was Mayor of London at the time of the 7 July bombings, said: "Eliza Manningham-Buller's evidence is a damning indictment of a foreign policy that not only significantly enhanced the risk of terrorist attacks in London but gave al-Qa'ida the opening to operate in Iraq too."
Before 2003, MI5's concern had been the possibility that foreign terrorists would infiltrate the UK. Afterwards, she said: "We realised that the focus was not foreigners. The rising and increasing threat was a threat from British citizens and that was a very different scenario to stopping people coming in. It was what has now become called home-grown."
She added: "We were pretty well swamped – that's possibly an exaggeration – but we were very overburdened with intelligence on a broad scale that was pretty well more than we could cope with in terms of plots, leads to plots and things that we needed to pursue.
"By 2003 I found it necessary to ask the Prime Minister for a doubling of our budget. This is unheard of, but he and the Treasury and the Chancellor accepted that because I was able to demonstrate the scale of the problem."
The Chilcot panel published a previously classified document which showed that the former MI5 boss was not simply being wise after the event. A year before British troops went into Iraq, she sent the Home Office a memo which – though phrased in official language – demolished the idea that Saddam Hussein's regime represented a credible terrorist threat to the UK.
In a memo to John Gieve, Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, in March 2002, Lady Manningham-Buller told him that Saddam was not likely to use chemical or biological weapons unless "he felt the survival of his regime was in doubt".
The memo went on: "We assess that Iraqi capability to mount attacks in the UK is currently limited."
Lady Manningham-Buller also hinted at tension between Mr Blair's office and MI5 over the dossier that the Prime Minister presented to Parliament in September 2002, to prepare public opinion for the likelihood of war.
"We were asked to put in some low-grade, small intelligence to it and we refused because we didn't think it was reliable," she said.
Evidence: What he said – and what she said
False claims of links between al-Qa'ida and Saddam Hussein
Tony Blair claimed on 21 Jan 2003:
"There is some intelligence evidence about loose links between al-Qa'ida and various people in Iraq... It would not be correct to say there is no evidence whatever of linkages between al-Qa'ida and Iraq."
Foreign Office spokesman claimed on 29 Jan 2003:
"We believe that there have been, and still are, some al-Qa'ida operatives in parts of Iraq controlled by Baghdad. It is hard to imagine that they are there without the knowledge and acquiescence of the Iraqi government."
Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, yesterday:
"There was no credible intelligence to suggest that connection and that was the judgment, I might say, of the CIA."
Hand-picking flimsy 'intelligence'
Blair, to the Commons 24 Sept 2002:
"It [the intelligence service] concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes; and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability..."
Blair, to the Commons 25 Feb 2003:
"The intelligence is clear: He [Saddam] continues to believe his WMD programme is essential both for internal repression and for external aggression. The biological agents we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. All eventually result in excruciatingly painful death."
"The nature of intelligence – it is a source of information, it is rarely complete, it needs to be assessed, it is fragmentary... We were asked to put in some low-grade, small intelligence to it [the September 2002 dossier] and we refused because we didn't think it was reliable."
Iraq posed no risk to Britain
Blair, to the Commons 10 April 2002:
"Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction, and we cannot leave him doing so unchecked. He is a threat to his own people and to the region and, if allowed to develop these weapons, a threat to us also."
"We regarded the direct threat from Iraq as low... we didn't believe he had the capability to do anything in the UK."
Ministers were told that invading Iraq would increase the threat of terrorism to Britain
Blair, farewell speech at the Labour conference, 26 September 2006:
"This terrorism isn't our fault. We didn't cause it. It's not the consequence of foreign policy."
"It was communicated through the JIC assessments, to which I fed in... I believe they [senior ministers] did read them. If they read them, they can have had no doubt."
The Iraq war made Britain a more dangerous place and allowed al-Qa'ida to gain a hold in Iraq
Blair, 29 Jan 2010:
"If I am asked whether I believe we are safer, more secure, that Iraq is better, that our own security is better, I believe we are. The world is safer as a result."
"Our involvement in Iraq radicalised a generation of young people who saw our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as an attack on Islam. We [MI5] were pretty well swamped... with intelligence on a broad scale that was pretty well more than we could cope with in terms of plots, leads to plots and things that we needed to pursue.
"We gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad so that he was able to move into Iraq in a way that he was not before.
The post-Iraq plots
7/7 bombers - 2005
The bombs detonated on London Underground trains and a bus in July 2005 killed 52 members of the public and injured around 700. Three of the four suicide bombers had been born in Yorkshire; the fourth, born in Jamaica, came to the UK aged five. In his video, one bomber said: "Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities."
London Haymarket/Glasgow Airport attacks – 2007
Bilal Abdulla, a doctor, and Kafeel Ahmed, a PhD engineering student, tried and failed to set off bombs outside a London nightclub on 29 June. The following day they drove a jeep filled with gas canisters into Glasgow Airport. Abdulla's trial heard his involvement was "because of events in Iraq".
Liquid bomb plot – 2006
A terror plot was exposed in which liquid bombs were to be smuggled on to airliners. Many of the men made 'suicide' videos citing British foreign policy. Umar Islam said in his video: "If you think you can go into our land and do what you are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and... think it will not come back on to your doorstep, you have another think coming."
By the Independent
Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz uncertainty causing aid funds to dry up
(IRIN) - A lack of funds from international donors in 2010 has hindered UN and NGO assistance programmes for the most vulnerable Iraqis, leaving many of the country’s pressing humanitarian needs unaddressed, says a UN mid-year review report.
“Insufficient funding has seriously constrained the implementation of UN and NGO assistance projects in Iraq planned for in the 2010 IHAP [Iraq Humanitarian Action Plan],” said the 19 July report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “Many projects have not begun.”
Early this year, eight UN agencies, seven NGOs operating in the country and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced IHAP as a continuation of the inter-agency consolidated appeal process launched for Iraq in 2008 and expanded to Iraq and the region in 2009.
IHAP was launched “with an emerging consensus that Iraq has passed the acute humanitarian emergency phase and is progressing towards normalized relations and improved Government capacity to address the country’s longer-term recovery and security challenges”, said the report, adding that the focus was on “enduring vulnerabilities across Iraq, while targeting assistance to 26 priority districts where humanitarian needs are most acute”.
The overall funding requirements for IHAP were determined to be US$187.7 million. But as of 8 July, the UN had secured only 31 percent, $58 million, of this. Of this amount, $35.8 million is a carry-over from 2009 pledges and the remaining $22.3 million is new donor contributions, according to OCHA.
In addition to insufficient funding, the delay in forming Iraq’s new coalition government months after inconclusive general elections has delayed key decision-making processes “as now many crucial decisions are pending the nomination of new ministers and officials” and thus affecting the implementation of many IHAP programmes and projects, the report said.
Baghdad-based analyst Hadi Jalo said political infighting since the 7 March elections had “created a state of confusion in the international community and then a lack of trust, especially among international donors - mainly the European Union and the United States.”
“I don’t believe that international financial aid will be available unless there is political stability in Iraq,” he said. “Political stability in Iraq gives legitimacy to any work and cooperation and will protect the money from being spent improperly.”
Ahmed Hassan Rasheed, spokesman for the Baghdad-based NGO Human Relief Foundation, said that donors’ reluctance to spend could also be due to slow bureaucratic procedures in Iraq, a lack of transparency on how donor money is spent and the impact of the global financial crisis.He said the government should step in to fill the gap in funding as its coffers were filled with petro-dollars. “.”
Most affected areas
Edward Kallon, the World Food Programme representative for Iraq, explained that because of the shortfall in IHAP funding “food distributions to 800,000 pregnant and nursing women and malnourished children have had to be suspended. Food distribution to 960,000 school-going children has also been suspended."
In addition, the report said the livelihoods of 500,000 drought-affected people in the self-ruled northern governorates of Suleymaniyah and Dahuk are threatened and some people have started to become displaced.
Also to be suspended is a plan to provide 22,500 vulnerable displaced families throughout Iraq with emergency shelter."We appeal to donors not to give up on their commitment to the Iraqi people and to help pave the way for Iraq's future development," Christine McNab, humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said.