Prosecute Blair for Iraq war, dead soldiers’ families say

This video from Britain about the Iraq war says about itself:

Military Families Against The War

27 September 2006

Represented by Rose Gentle at the Manchester Time to Go Demo.

From daily The Independent in Britain, 6 July 2016:

Chilcot report: Families of Iraq War dead lead calls for Tony Blair to be prosecuted

Families and MPs among those calling for Mr Blair to face legal action

Adam Lusher

The father of a soldier who died in Iraq has issued a stinging rebuke to Tony Blair amid calls for the former prime minister to face legal action over the invasion.

Roger Bacon, whose son Matthew was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in 2005, said he had listened in amazement as Mr Blair delivered a 6,000-word statement in response to the Chilcot Report.

“I listened,” said Mr Bacon, “And I listened, and listened and listened as he went on and on and on.

“I began to feel that actually what was happening was that I was hearing Iraq Report Mark II – one that was completely different to the report Sir John Chilcot has just published.”

“I was amazed really,” added Mr Bacon, a former police officer.  “I knew he was going to make a statement, but then he started going into such forensic detail, disappearing down the road of what was happening now and what was happening in the future.  It was as if he was writing Iraq Report II.   It was one huge justification for his actions.”

Earlier Mr Bacon had revealed that he and other bereaved relatives were considering legal action against the former Prime Minister, at a press conference where the sister of one dead soldier called Mr Blair “the world’s worst terrorist”.

The shadow Commons leader Paul Flynn said the Iraq Inquiry’s findings amounted to an “utter condemnation” of Mr Blair’s “terrible” decision to commit British troops to the US-led invasion and prosecution of the former statesman should be given “serious consideration”.

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said he would like to see Mr Blair investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a crime of aggression and face parliamentary action to stop him holding public office again.

And a former director of public prosecutions said the report indicated Mr Blair could face charges of misconduct in public office.

Lord Macdonald of River Glaven said it “seemed very likely” Mr Blair has “roundly abused” the trust placed in him by the public and that he had twisted the evidence that provided the justification for going to war.

After listening to Mr Blair, Mr Bacon laughed out loud at the ex-Prime Minister’s insistence that the Chilcot Report stated that Parliament and Cabinet had not been misled.

He directed Mr Blair to Sir John’s statement that: “We have also concluded that the judgments about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – WMD – were presented with a certainty that was not justified.”

Mr Bacon, who was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work helping other bereaved service families, said: “We were misled and the report effectively says so in black and white.” …

Mr Blair’s press conference performance came after Mr Bacon’s wife Maureen had predicted to The Independent: “I am sure he [Mr Blair] will be well rehearsed again when the report comes out.”

The retired primary school teacher had added that Mr Blair “Will be able to go back to his family, but 179 families will live the rest of their lives without their sons or daughters. And then there are all those who were injured, and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died.  And after all this time, Iraq is still in a dreadful state.” …

Last March, Mr and Mrs Bacon had travelled to Iraq, to the spot where their son was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Rejecting Mr Blair’s insistence that he would “never, ever accept that those troops who got injured or gave their lives did so in vain,” Mr Bacon said: “Having been on the ground, meeting people out there and seeing something of it, all I can say is that I do not think that what occurred in Iraq was worthwhile.

“Do I feel that Matthew lost his life in a worthwhile cause?  The answer is no.”

I read the Chilcot report as I travelled across Syria this week and saw for myself what Blair’s actions caused

Also from The Independent, today:

The Sun has deleted its list of ‘Iraq war traitors’ from 2003

by Louis Doré

The Sun appears to have deleted their 2003 story instructing readers to cut out and use the faces of those who opposed the Iraq war as a dartboard. …

“You can aim your own missiles at the cowards and traitors who opted to support Saddam Hussein rather than the brave troops who laid down their lives for freedom.

These are the people who wrongly told us that war would last months, the Iraqi people did not want it and many thousands of civilians and coalition soldiers would die.”

It targeted among others:

George Galloway

Jacques Chirac

Vladimir Putin

Lord Hunt

Robin Cook

Bob Crow

John Denham

Charles Kennedy

Clare Short

Kofi Annan

The story urged readers to cut out the dartboard and “launch your missiles”.

Robin Cook’s 2003 resignation speech to parliament over Iraq: here.

TONY BLAIR took Britain into war in Iraq before all “peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted,” Sir John Chilcot said yesterday in the damning conclusion to his seven-year inquiry: here.

TONY BLAIR should be forced out of the Labour Party following the Chilcot Inquiry’s scathing assessment of his involvement in the Iraq invasion, an anti-war group said yesterday after paying respects to dead soldiers: here.

23 thoughts on “Prosecute Blair for Iraq war, dead soldiers’ families say

  1. Thursday 7th July 2016

    posted by Will Stone in Britain

    Families give their verdict on Iraq inquiry

    “TERRORIST” Tony Blair must be sent to court for taking us into the Iraq war, families of soldiers killed by the former PM’s drive for war said yesterday in the wake of the Chilcot report.

    Grieving mothers, fathers, partners and other relatives of some of the 179 British troops who died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq broke down in tears on reading the Chilcot report.

    They were given an early glimpse of the long-awaited 2.6 million word tome, which has taken seven years to complete.

    Ronnie Barker, whose son Private Lee Ellis died in 2006, said: “We went in thinking it was going to be a whitewash but I actually cried.”

    Mr Ellis was 23 when he was killed by a roadside bomb along with Captain Richard John Holmes when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off under their vehicle.

    The Chilcot report found the vehicle they were travelling in “not fit for purpose.”

    Ms Barker said she “would like to see Tony Blair sent to court.”

    Sir John Chilcot heavily criticised Mr Blair for committing to backing US president George Bush over Iraq.

    He found several military operations were “hastily prepared,” leading to equipment shortages.

    The report also found that vehicles were too lightly armoured and ill-equipped to deal with roadside bombs, responsible for killing many soldiers.

    Military Families Against the War co-founder Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon was killed while travelling in a Snatch Land Rover, said: “I hope he (Blair) goes to his bed and thinks: ‘What the hell have I done?’ Because he will never be forgiven.

    “He will be remembered not as a prime minister but as a person who sent them on an illegal war.

    “I would love to see him in court.”

    Roger Bacon’s son Major Matthew Bacon also died in a Snatch Land Rover that was hit by an IED.

    He said: “Never again must so many mistakes be allowed to sacrifice British lives and lead to the destruction of a country for no positive end.

    “We were proud when our husbands, sons and daughters signed up to serve our country. But we cannot be proud of the way our government has treated them.”

    He said the families reserved the right “to call specific parties to answer for their actions in the courts.”

    Sarah O’Connor, whose brother Bob died when a military plane was shot down near Baghdad in 2005, branded Mr Blair a “terrorist.”

    And Reg Keys, whose military policeman son Tom “died in vain,” said it was clear that the prime minister “deliberately misled” the country.

    But the report stopped short from commenting on the legality of the decision to go to war.

    Shadow leader of the Commons Paul Flynn said there “should be serious consideration to [Blair] being prosecuted.”

    He told BBC Daily Politics: “I think that the important issue here is that it is not just one individual, Parliament’s on trial.

    “It wasn’t just Tony Blair, it was most of the Labour backbenchers, it was all of the Tory backbenchers — except half a dozen.”

    Mr Blair said he accepts “full responsibility” and apologised for the decision to go to war in Iraq.

    The families’ lawyer, Matthew Jury, said: “In the coming days and weeks, the families will undertake a full and forensic review of the report’s content and conclusions.

    “If state officials are determined to have acted unlawfully or in excess of their powers then the families will then decide on whether to take any necessary and appropriate action at the proper time.

    All options will be considered.”


  2. Ten things Blair ‘told untruths’ about

    Thursday 7th July 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    1. There was no credible evidence of the existence of weapons of mass destruction – let alone that anything could be deployed in 45 minutes.

    2. There was no clear evidence that Saddam Hussein had restarted chemical or biological weapons production, or planned to do so.

    3. Iraq had no ability to produce a nuclear bomb while sanctions remained active.

    4. The Iraqi government didn’t lie about its capabilities.

    5. Blair had been told that Saddam wasn’t a threat to the West.

    6. Blair had been told by the Foreign Office that toppling Saddam would probably lead to chaos and aid terror.

    7. Military action was not a last resort, there were other options.

    8. The legal argument was not airtight when war was declared.

    9. Britain was not acting on behalf of the international community — and was acting in defiance of Security Council wishes.

    10. Refusing George Bush’s invitation to war would not have ruined the “special relationship” between Britain and the US.


  3. Thursday 7th July 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    Luke James talks to former soldier Ben Griffin

    I was in the British Army for eight years. I was deployed to Iraq in 2005 into a joint US-UK special operations force based in Baghdad.

    As a result of the experiences I had and the things I saw I ended up refusing to continue to serve there, refusing to serve under American command and was discharged from the army.

    I was a professional soldier. I was deployed on eight operational tours and saw every tour as a chance to prove my military prowess and I probably thought the same about Iraq.

    Unfortunately when I was deployed there I was part of a team that attacked civilians in their homes and took many away to be tortured and that was something I didn’t think British soldiers should be doing.

    I also felt at the time that we’d been rented out to the Americans. I didn’t join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy.

    It made me pretty angry, pretty disillusioned so I refused to carry on.

    Veterans for Peace have no great belief in any sort of justice that will happen today. This is the Establishment’s version of the Iraq war.

    The Establishment would have us believe that this is the end of it and Iraq was a one off. But since then we’ve reinvaded Afghanistan, we’ve bombed Libya, created death and destruction throughout the Middle East and unleashed these Islamic insurgents.

    Now we’re involved in bombing attacks again in Iraq and Syria and are also backing Saudi Arabia in a disgusting attack on the people of the Yemen, where thousands of innocent civilians have died.

    So Iraq wasn’t the end. It was the start.

    Our message to the people of Britain is that we need to understand that war is not the solution to the problems that the world faces in the 21st century.


  4. Thursday 7th July 2016

    posted by Lamiat Sabin in Britain

    MILITARY officials who lobbied for a greater role in the Iraq war should be held to account, peace campaigners said yesterday in light of the Chilcot report.

    The report raises questions over top brass ahead of the invasion and how much they pushed for involvement, according to pacifist group Peace Pledge Union.

    No institution should be “immune from criticism,” especially if it recruits vulnerable teenagers as soldiers, said union co-ordinator Symon Hill.

    Sir John Chilcot confirmed that Tony Blair did not use war as a last resort in backing US president George Bush in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the quest to topple leader Saddam Hussein.

    Saddam was “not an imminent threat,” the report says.

    But Mr Chilcot glossed over military influence that also lead to the deaths of 179 British soldiers even though the report accuses top brass of pushing for more British troops to be deployed.

    “The primary impetus to maximise the size of the UK contribution and the recommendations on its composition came from the armed forces,” it states in paragraph 811 of the 150-page executive summary.

    Section 6.1 of the report says then chief of defence staff Admiral Michel Boyce asked for a greater role than the largely support-based one expected by the US so as not to “damage morale.”

    Mr Hill said: “Blair did not invade Iraq single-handedly. Blair could ignore the British public because he knew soldiers would do what they were told.

    “Let’s recognise that democracy is not served by the existence of a large body of people who are required to obey orders without question, even orders to kill.”


  5. Thursday 7th July 2016

    posted by Luke James in Britain

    JEREMY CORBYN said yesterday that public opposition to the war in Iraq had been “vindicated” and called on politicians who ignored pleas for peace to “face up to the consequences.”

    Speaking in Parliament after the publication of the long-awaited Chilcot report, the Labour leader said its conclusions proved the 2003 invasion of Iraq was “an act of military aggression launched on false pretences.”

    He said Parliament had been “misled” by then-prime minister Tony Blair, describing the infamous “dodgy dossier” claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction as “only the most notorious of many deceptions.”

    Directly referring to Mr Blair, he concluded: “Those who took the decisions laid bare in the Chilcot report must face up to the consequences of their actions, whatever they may be.”

    Mr Corbyn detailed the consequences: the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and 179 British service personnel, the displacement of millions of refugees and an explosion of sectarian civil wars and terrorism. The fallout was still being felt on Sunday when an Islamic State bomb attack in Baghdad killed more than 250 people.

    Mr Corbyn said the invasion and subsequent “colonial style occupation” had been a “catastrophe” for Iraq, “fuelled and spread terrorism” in the Middle East and “led to a fundamental breakdown in trust in politics” at home.

    The veteran anti-war campaigner added: “The tragedy is that while the governing class got it so horrifically wrong — many of our people actually got it right.

    “On February 15 2003, over 1.5 million people spanning the political spectrum and tens of millions of other people across the world marched against the impending war, in the biggest demonstration in British history.”

    Mr Corbyn said though he was “not satisfied” but “saddened” in the wake of the report. Turning to the lessons that can be learned, he called for a “more open and independent relationship with the United States and for a foreign policy based on upholding international law.”

    He also called for a new War Powers Act, which would give Parliament the final say over any military intervention, and is set to be debated by MPs next week. Mr Corbyn met with families of British and Iraqi people killed in the conflict last night.


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  11. Wednesday 20th July 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    BEREAVED families who lost loved ones in the Iraq war shouldn’t have to run an online crowd-funding appeal to finance possible legal action against Tony Blair and other ministers.

    That is the situation in which they find themselves after the Chilcot report.

    The families, led by Roger Bacon and Reg Keys, whose sons were both killed in Iraq, have been let down by the Establishment as comprehensively as Matthew Bacon, Tom Keys and other British troops were during the invasion and subsequent occupation.

    Chilcot wasn’t authorised to judge on the war’s legality, but the report was forthright in its exposure of the misdeeds of those who put allegiance to a US president above duty to the people of Britain.

    Service personnel and their families are fully aware of the dangers they face on the field of battle.

    But they have a right to believe that their political masters will declare war only as a last resort and will ensure that their equipment is of a standard appropriate to protect them.

    Neither condition applied to the British troops despatched to Iraq in 2003 by Blair and his war cabinet.

    The then prime minister declared that the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed chemical and biological weapons (CBW), some of which could be discharged against British military targets within 45 minutes.

    He claimed too that Baghdad was intent on developing a military nuclear programme.

    This despite reports from UN weapons inspectors, who had crawled all over Iraq in the 1990s, following the 1991 first Iraq war when a US-led coalition had forced Saddam to end his occupation of Kuwait, that Iraq no longer possessed the means to develop or deliver CBW.

    Blair agreed in 2002 with US president George W Bush that the invasion would happen in March 2003, even though he insisted that further UN teams, led by Hans Blix, would be given time to effect definitive inspections.

    Blix and his inspectors were ordered out of Iraq before their work was complete because Washington gave notice that its invasion was about to begin.

    No CBW were found, which Blair put down to concealment rather than their non-existence.

    Chilcot made a point of stating that the politicians could not hide behind the pretext of hindsight, meaning that the shortcomings acknowledged now were knowable at the time by anyone intent on discovering the truth.

    The Stop the War Coalition, CND, Military Families Against the War, the Muslim Council of Britain and many other organisations did not need years of an inquiry to work out that the electorate was being sold a pup.

    Nor did it take long for British soldiers to understand that the Snatch Land Rovers previously used by troops in Northern Ireland offered insufficient protection against the improvised explosive devices (IED) planted by Iraqi resistance forces.

    Snatch Land Rovers became known as “coffins on wheels” as a dozen were blown up, killing 19 soldiers, with a similar number perishing in Afghanistan.

    It’s not acceptable to say that service personnel know the dangers of conflict. For all that, the government has a duty of care to them and a responsibility towards their families.

    Chilcot is uncompromising in its conclusions that political leaders failed those they sent overseas.

    Our political elite has been deficient in ensuring that ministers answer in court for their failures.

    The Iraq War Families Campaign Group has a right to expect that its crowd-funding appeal will be answered generously, not least by those in Parliament who still shrink from answering for their own complicity.


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