Tony Blair’s undeserved Save the Children award, update

This video from Britain says about itself:

26 November 2014

Should Save the Children charity have given Tony Blair its Global Legacy Award, ignoring his role in the Iraq war that slaughtered thousands of children and made millions more orphans? Former Blair advisor Matthew Doyle says yes. Stop the War‘s Chris Nineham says no. Broadcast on BBC radio.

From daily The Guardian in Britain, 26 November 2014:

More than 100,000 people have now signed an online petition against Blair’s award from the charity [Save the Children]’s US arm because of the former prime minister’s history of taking the UK to war in Iraq and his dealings with autocratic rulers.

Save the Children has also been criticised by hundreds of its own staff, who accused it of betraying its own values in an internal letter.

The row, revealed by the Guardian on Tuesday, escalated as the comedian Dom Joly tweeted that he was “‘pretty embarrassed” to be an ambassador for the charity if it was prepared to hand an award to Blair for his anti-poverty work.

“When @savechildrenUK gave an award to Tony Blair for his ‘anti-poverty work’ I can only assume they meant his own, personal poverty?” he added.

The row also reached the House of Commons when the Conservative backbencher Andrew Turner questioned whether Blair “should get a global legacy award from Save The Children for taking us to war unnecessarily in Iraq”. …

Save the Children UK’s chief executive, Justin Forsyth, worked for Blair on global poverty issues before being appointed to the charity, and Jonathan Powell, his former chief of staff and a former Brown aide, is on its board.

Save the Children’s director of global programmes, Fergus Drake, joined the charity in 2009 from Blair’s office in Rwanda, from where he advised president Paul Kagame.

Brendan Cox, the charity’s director of policy and advocacy, was a special adviser to Brown. …

Sir Alan Parker, who is the chairman of both Save the Children UK and the PR company Brunswick, is an associate of Blair’s, and helped to hire Forsyth as the charity’s chief executive in 2010.

Blair attend[ed] Parker’s wedding in 2008. …

The number of signatures to the internal letter, which describes giving the award to Blair as “morally reprehensible”, continued to grow, according to Save the Children insiders.

One staffer, currently in West Africa responding to the Ebola outbreak, said: “Some of the senior managers at regional level have signed it. There is also a very active email exchange of opinions and frustration among staff deployed in various corners of the world.”

Many feel the charity’s integrity and neutrality have been called into question.

“Unless the award is withdrawn immediately and public apologies made by those responsible for this awful decision, the credibility of Save the Children at global level is definitely going to sink.

“It is already happening. The organisation will not be considered as one who fights for children’s rights anymore, rather a logo that questionable leaders can use to raise their ‘charitable’ profile,” said an employee.

Some called for an internal inquiry and for those responsible for the decision to be held accountable.

Tony Blair’s ex-deputy against Iraq war re-start

This video from England is called Anti Iraq War Demonstration, London 15/2/2003.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

John Prescott says UK should stay out of Isis ‘regional dispute’

Former deputy prime minister urges all parties to think again over air strikes in Iraq and says history is repeating itself

Tracy McVeigh

Saturday 27 September 2014 23.00 BST

John Prescott has become the most senior British politician to openly criticise parliament’s decision to take military action again in the Middle East.

The former MP and life peer said he lived “every day” with the aftermath of the Iraq war which he, as a member of Tony Blair‘s cabinet, authorised and has since said he regrets. “History,” he said, “is repeating itself.”

At least, John Prescott, contrary to his ex-boss Tony Blair, has learned something from history.

Prescott, who was Blair‘s deputy from 1997 to 2007, urged “all parties to think again” saying too much Arab and British blood had already been shed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his regular Sunday Mirror newspaper column, Prescott writes: “Cameron says we shouldn’t be ‘frozen by fear’ by what happened 11 years ago. But yet again we are being led by the US. This is not our or their war. So here we are again. Parliament backs British military action in the Middle East and we’re bombing by the weekend. This time the enemy is not the Taliban or Saddam Hussein. The latest ‘threat to Britain’ is Islamic State. It is a regional religious dispute that we should leave to the Arab nations. Bombing is never clinical. From Dresden to Gaza, innocent people are often chalked up as ‘collateral damage‘. Do we as a country really want to be responsible for that again?”

On Friday, at a recalled session of the Commons, MPs voted by 524 to 43 to sanction the UK air strikes, limited to Iraq, with 69 MPs not voting. A total of 23 Labour MPs, six Tories and one Lib Dem voted against UK action along with MPs from the SNP, SDLP, Green party and Respect.

Rushanara Ali, MP for Tower Hamlets, resigned as shadow education minister before the vote in order to abstain, saying she believed “further air strikes will only create further bloodshed and pain in Iraq”.

There was also criticism from Labour MP John McDonnell. He said: “This is madness and an absolute disaster. The war on terrorism will be brought to our streets as a result.”

The White House welcomed the British vote along with decisions by Belgium and Denmark to join the military campaign, but Prescott was withering in his criticism of the US tactics.

“The US and our government say the aim is to destroy and degrade the militants. But since America started bombing Isis positions, it’s claimed 6,000 people have joined Islamic State’s army – 1,300 from outside Syria and Iraq.

“Isis desperately wants Britain to join in. The public beheadings of journalists and other hostages were an open invitation for the west to strike. They’re desperate to drag us in …”

To some, it will legitimise Islamic State’s self-proclaimed statehood and lead to further recruitment and funding from around the world.

“Up until a few weeks ago, Obama admitted he had no strategy to combat Isis. Launching solitary air strikes shows he still hasn’t got one.”

Prescott also attacked his former boss: “Tony Blair said air strikes alone won’t destroy Isis. And he’s right. He also said the US and UK should follow up with putting boots on the ground. And on that, he’s absolutely wrong. Because make no mistake, this WILL be a war. Not a limited air strike. We will get sucked in. Again.”

Chickenhawk Tony Blair wants more dead British soldiers in Iraq

Tony Blair and the Iraq war, cartoon

This is a cartoon by Martin Rowson about Tony Blair and the Iraq war.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Tony Blair says British ground troops should return to Iraq

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Infamous warmonger believes air support insufficient for country he ‘helped fracture’

Tony Blair said yesterday that British military intervention should be considered in the fight against Islamic State (Isis), as peace activists advised the former PM to shut up.

This is the second time Mr Blair has called for armed troops to go into Iraq, after suggesting in June that the region would be politically worse off had it not been for the Iraq War.

In the new article the Labour politician insisted that “our capacity and capability to wage the battle effectively are second to none in part because of our experience [in Afghanistan and Iraq].”

Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German came out furiously against the essay saying: “Surely Tony Blair is the last person anyone should consult about the success or failure of bombing Iraq.”

Ms German maintained that “his last effort was based on a lie and the policies he supported helped fracture the country.”

And she contradicted the former PM’s belief that the Iraq war helped, stressing his policies in the region were “partly responsible for the creation of Isis” as they “destroyed the infrastructure, fragmented the country and increased sectarianism.”

According to Ms German, Mr Blair’s former political allies in the Middle East, namely Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been arming and financially supporting the extremist organisation, giving the politician no leg to stand on.

“A period of silence and reflection is the very least we deserve from him,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, ISIS is stopped, not by Tony Blair, not by Blair’s ground troops, not by United States-Saudi-Bahraini-Arab Emirates-Jordanian air strikes in Syria, but by Turkish and Syrian Kurds whom Tony Blair helped to keep on NATO countries’ lists of ‘terrorists’.

By Ben Chacko:

Syrian Kurds halt Isis advance in autonomous Rojava state

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Syrian Kurds fighting for the autonomous socialist Rojava state said yesterday they had halted the advance of Islamic State (Isis) fanatics in Kobane canton, near Turkey.

But heavy clashes were ongoing east of Kobane city, a Rojava spokesman confirmed.

Kobane Premier Anwar Moslem has warned that Isis is laying siege to the territory “with tanks, artillery and Humvees [US-made armoured cars] they seized in Mosul.”

The news came as Turkey said that the number of Syrians who had crossed the border in the last four days had hit 130,000. …

“This is not a natural disaster. We are faced with a man-made disaster,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.

“An uncontrollable force on the other side of the border is attacking civilians.”

But he did not acknowledge Turkey’s role in fomenting the crisis by allowing Islamist fighters and weapon-smugglers to flood across its border into Syria over the last three years.

Nor did he confront Rojava residents’ accusations that trains full of weaponry arrived in Isis-held territory from Turkey shortly before the latest offensive.

Turkey has made no secret of its wish to see Syria’s secular Bashar al-Assad government fall and rumours that it has an understanding with the terrorist organisation have been fuelled by Isis’s surprise release of 46 Turkish hostages on Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to divulge what prompted Isis to give up its captives, merely saying “there are things we cannot talk about.”