From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Blair, Murdoch and the war
Sunday 27 May 2012
by Paddy McGuffin
Peace campaigners will confront Tony Blair outside the Leveson inquiry tomorrow where he faces questioning over his links to the pro-war Murdoch empire.
The protest takes place the day after the Ministry of Defence confirmed that a British soldier was killed in Helmand province this weekend bringing the total British death toll to 415.
The former prime minister will will be quizzed over whether he allowed his relationship with Murdoch and News International to become too close.
Mr Blair flew to Hayman Island in Australia to address News Corp executives in 1995 – shortly after becoming Labour leader – as part of a plan to attempt to win over the Murdoch press which had been rabidly hostile to his predecessors Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock.
In 1997 the previously staunchly Tory Sun threw its weight behind Labour.
Last year it emerged that he had been named as godfather to one of the media tycoon’s children and attended the christening on the banks of the river Jordan in 2010.
Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry last week former Labour spin doctor Lord Mandelson said it was “arguably the case… that personal relationships between Mr Blair, Gordon Brown and Rupert Murdoch became closer than was wise.”
Stop the War Coalition said the correct venue for Mr Blair’s testimony was the Hague war crimes tribunal.
It said: “The court Blair should be in is the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague to account for the culture, practice and ethics of his lies that took Britain into the illegal war with Iraq, on the coat tails of George Bush and which has left one million Iraq civilians dead and the country devastated.
“These days – and quite rightly – Blair can’t go anywhere without being confronted with his war crimes, as happened in the United States just last week.”
The group point out that all 127 of Murdoch’s papers backed the war in Iraq and that Murdoch has confirmed that he was frequently in direct contact with the then PM.
They also highlighted the fact that all the Mudoch papers ran with the infamous “dodgy dossier” and the erroneous claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in 45 minutes.
Stop The War questioned whether there was a “pact” between Labour and News International to ratchet up pro-war sentiment and “be relentless in promoting the war, even if this meant using lies and distortion.”
The demonstration will take place [Monday] morning between 9am and 10am outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.
Update: demonstration report: Tony Blair was met by protesters brandishing “Troops home,” “Bliar” and “Afghanistan out” banners as he arrived at the Leveson inquiry on Monday: here.
Update: report on Blair at the inquiry: here.