‘Prosecute Tony Blair about Iraq war’


Anti-Tony Blair demonstrators, photo Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

New move to impeach Tony Blair over Iraq War gains cross-party support

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has begun rallying support for an attempted prosecution

Charlie Cooper, Whitehall Correspondent

A cross-party group of MPs, including former SNP leader Alex Salmond, may renew their attempts to impeach Tony Blair following the publication of the Chilcot report later this year.

According to reports, Mr Salmond has begun rallying support for an attempted prosecution, pending the findings of the report, which will be released in July.

In the UK, impeachment is the procedure whereby MPs can vote to have someone put on trial before the House of Lords. It is a centuries-old procedure which has not actually been used since 1806.

While some MPs still want to use the procedure to hold Mr Blair to account over his actions in the run-up to the Iraq War, Mr Salmond told The Times the best route to a prosecution could lie through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“If, as I believe…Chilcot finds that there was a prior commitment from Blair to [George W.] Bush at Crawford ranch in 2002, that would provide the reason for pursuing the matter further,” he said. “My own view is that the best route would be to use the ICC because the prosecutor is able to initiate action on his or her own behalf on presentation of a body of evidence, which Chilcot would provide,” the former First Minister of Scotland, and current SNP foreign affairs spokesman said.

A campaign to impeach the former Prime Minister was first launched in 2004, backed by a cross-party group of MPs that included Boris Johnson – now the figurehead of the EU referendum Leave campaign and a favourite to become Prime Minister in the event of Brexit.

Conservative MP Sir David Amess told The Times he had been contacted by Mr Salmond seeking support for a new campaign, pending the findings of the Chilcot report.

“If it’s proved that Tony Blair misled everyone, I personally am determined to see justice prevail and to see him impeached,” Sir David said.

See also here.

Dutch government warned Blair on Iraq war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Rupert Murdoch Pressured Tony Blair Over Iraq

18 June 2012

Rupert Murdoch joined in an “over-crude” attempt by US Republicans to force Tony Blair to accelerate British involvement in the Iraq war a week before a crucial House of Commons vote in 2003, according to the final volumes of Alastair Campbell’s government diaries. In another blow to the media mogul, who told the Leveson inquiry that he had never tried to influence any prime minister, Campbell’s diary says Murdoch warned Blair in a phone call of the dangers of a delay in Iraq…”.* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more here from Nicholas Watt in The Guardian.

Translated from Nu.nl in the Netherlands:

‘Balkenende warned Blair against invading Iraq

December 13, 2015 21:00

Former [Dutch] Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2003 [when they were both Prime Minister] that an attack on Iraq could lead to civil war in that country. …

[United States] President Barack Obama recently said that ISIS is an “unintended consequence” of the United State war on Iraq.

Balkenende is a right-wing politician. Unfortunately, Blair preferred to listen to other right-wingers; more powerful but less realist on Iraq: George W Bush, Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch.

Unfortunately, his relative ‘realism’ did not stop Balkenende later from sending Dutch troops to help occupy Iraq. Balkenende did not want Dutch Big Business like Shell oil to miss out on the spoils of bloody war in Iraq.

Warmonger Tony Blair not a ‘moderate’


This video from England says about itself:

Thousands of ardent “Stop Bombing Syriaanti-war protesters marching towards 10 Downing Street, London.

Saturday 12th December 2015, the marchers were on Haymarket Street (near Piccadilly Circus); they were on their way to 10 Downing Street (the home of the UK Prime Minister; David Cameron) to voice their concerns at the decision by the British government to start bombing Syria.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

World turned on its head by Blairites

Monday 14th December 2015

Burgon slams those claiming war criminal is a ‘moderate’

LABOUR frontbencher Richard Burgon took on Jeremy Corbyn’s critics head on yesterday, accusing those who view Tony Blair as the moderate of living in a “topsy-turvy” world.

The shadow treasury minister argued that “demonising” Mr Corbyn for opposing the bombing of Syria while “pretending that Mr Blair and others “got it right in Iraq” was wrong.

Speaking on the BBC Sunday Politics programme, Mr Burgon said: “It’s part of an open democratic process and people shouldn’t be demonised for being part of it and Jeremy Corbyn certainly shouldn’t be demonised for being part of it.

“It’s a topsy-turvy world we’re in when attending Stop the War events is controversial. We’re still pretending that Tony Blair and others got it right in Iraq is seen as moderate. That’s a topsy-turvy world indeed.”

He said the attacks on Stop the War were “proxy attacks” on the Labour leader.

“When Charles Kennedy was speaking at the 2003 demonstration against the Iraq War which two million people attended, the Liberal Democrats and Charles Kennedy weren’t attacked for that and quite rightly so.”

And Blair’s own deputy prime minister John Prescott waded into the row yesterday, saying that some Labour members were continuing “a war that they lost.”

He branded those who had failed to accept Mr Corbyn’s leadership as “bitterites.”

Mr Corbyn refused to drop out of a Stop the War fundraiser last week despite sniping from rightwingers.

He was not present at this weekend’s protests against Syrian airstrikes, but sent a message of solidarity to Stop the War chair Andrew Murray to be read out at the day’s rally.

It said: “The anti-war movement has been a vital force at the heart of our democracy.

“The attacks on it as somehow illegitimate are an attempt to close down democratic debate and campaigning.

“We in Parliament will hold this government to account for the conduct of their campaign — and step up the pressure to bring the conflict to an end.”

KIERAN CROWE
North London

I’m here because the Stop the War Coalition has been absolutely right for the last 15 years. We should have never gone into an aggressive war in the Middle East. It’s brilliant that we’ve been able to keep this going and that we finally have a leader of the Labour Party who supports us and we support him.

I think it’s a fantastic show of unity today, despite the ridiculous controversy that’s been in the media. There will be more of these demonstrations and I urge more people to get involved.

TOM HAYES
Manchester

I am here today because obviously I am opposing the bombing of Syria. I hope it stops. It’s related to that, but also in terms of more generally the leadership of the Labour Party and austerity.

The anti-war movement has been attacked by the media and by the political class and we have to defend our right to protest. If we don’t, then we have lost a big argument about international policy and it will weaken what has been recently a more hopeful situation for the left. It’s all connected.

NICOLA BELLE
University of East London

I’m the black students officer at my university and I felt I needed to come to represent my students. They are against the bombing.

This video from London, England says about itself:

Peter Brierley, Military Families Against the War: Stop Bombing Syria. Demonstration 12 12 2015.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

‘I lost a son in war, in Syria they’re losing entire villages

Monday 14th December 2015

THE father of a soldier killed in Iraq reduced anti-war protesters to tears at the weekend with a moving speech opposing British bombings in Syria.

Peter Brierley, whose son Shaun died in action in 2003, was addressing the thousands of people who attended Saturday’s Stop the War Coalition demonstration in London, where the Military Families Against the War spokesman took to the stage along with politicians and religious leaders.

“I lost my son and people often say to me: ‘I don’t know what it’s like. I can’t imagine what you feel like to have lost a son’,” said Mr Brierley.

“It’s only recently that I started thinking that, in a village in Syria or Afghanistan or Iraq, they are not losing a son, they are losing a family.

“They are losing their neighbours. They are losing practically their whole village. I cannot imagine how that feels.”

Speaking about David Cameron’s push for British air strikes in Syria, he added: “The gentleman in there thinks bombing brings peace — I wouldn’t want to live in his house. You cannot bring peace by bombing. The only way to bring peace is by negotiation.”

His words of solidarity with the Syrian people were delivered after a peaceful march from Broadcasting House to Downing Street brought traffic to a halt.

Syrian priest Nadim Nassar also addressed the march, saying: “It seems it is very difficult to learn from our history.

“I’ll tell you something. One party is winning: the warlords and those who are exporting and importing arms. Those are the winners on every occasion.”

‘Stop bombing Syria’ marchers on their way to Downing Street

‘Tony Blair complicit in torturing innocent Guantanamo prisoner’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Marr Show: Alex Salmond on British illegal kidnap+torture, Gitmo (13 December 2015)

SNP’s Alex Salmond talks about the British government’s illegal kidnap and torture of people like ex-Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainee Shaker Aamer.

By Luke James in Britain:

Aamer suffered ‘to save Blair

Monday 14th December 2015

SNP’s Salmond backs claim that Blair knew of torture

SHAKER AAMER’S Guantanamo Bay hell may have been prolonged to protect Tony Blair from claims he “collaborated” in torture, former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said yesterday.

Speaking about his almost 14-year ordeal at the notorious US prison for the first time since being released in October, Mr Aamer alleged at the weekend that Mr Blair and former home secretary Jack Straw were aware that he was being tortured.

Now SNP MP Mr Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland, has backed his claim that the pair must have known about the “illegal abduction” and “torture.”

“As in so many things Messrs Blair and Straw have a great deal to answer for,” he told the Andrew Marr Show.

“They have to be asked a straight question: How could they possibly not have known about the fate that had befallen a British citizen?

“The prime responsibility of all governments is to keep their own citizens safe from harm.

“Governments are not meant to collaborate on the illegal abduction and then the torture of one of their own citizens.”

He went further, suggesting that concerns Mr Aamer would implicate the pair in his torture was behind the delay in his release.

The British resident was twice cleared for release from the gulag by a panel of US intelligence officers, most recently in 2009.

Yet he spent another six years in the camp, being placed in solitary confinement, suffering sleep deprivation and interrogations.

Mr Aamer has claimed that British intelligence officers witnessed this torture first-hand at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in 2002, where he was held before being tranferred to Guantanamo.

Mr Salmond pointed out that the spooks flew into the base on the same flight as Mr Blair, who was visiting British troops.

“One of the suspicions that people who have been campaigning for his release have had is that there had to be a reason for him not being released despite being cleared for release twice over that period.

“It’s obviously centred on the revelations he would have on what’s been going on at Guantanamo Bay.

“It now appears a reason might have been on what had gone on in January 2002 at Bagram air base.”

Mr Aamer demonstrated how he was “hog-tied” for almost an hour by US troops at the air base as part of the Mail on Sunday interview.

“It kills you, man. You cry, the pain is so bad,” he said.

“They were kicking me at the same time. I thought I was going to lose my legs.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Blair insisted he had “never condoned” the use of torture.

Mr Straw also refuted Mr Salmond’s allegations, ludicrously claiming: “I spent a large part of my time as foreign secretary making strong representations to the US government to get British detainees out of Guantanamo Bay and the US government’s ill-treatment and torture of detainees remains a terrible stain on its record.”

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign called for their claims to be tested by a public inquiry.

Chair Joy Hurcombe told the Star: “I think they were party to it and therefor they should be made accountable for their involvement.”

Ms Hurcombe, who is one of the few people to have met Mr Aamer since his return, also called for him to be granted British citizenship immediately.

Forty-eight-year-old Mr Aamer also opened up this weekend about his new challenge of resuming normal family life.

He said: “I’m finally living. I’m here with my kids, trying to learn to be a father.”