Tony Blair barred from office for his Iraq lies?


This video says about itself:

Former British deputy PM admits regrets over Iraq war

10 July 2016

The man who was UK Deputy Prime Minister when British forces went to war in Iraq has issued an apology.

In a newspaper article written in the wake of the Iraq Inquiry, John Prescott also issued a damning indictment of Tony Blair‘s leadership at the time.

Meanwhile, British MPs are preparing to put forward a motion that finds former Prime Minister Blair in contempt of Parliament.

Al Jazeera’s Sonia Gallego reports from London.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Tony Blair could be barred from public office over Iraq War ‘deceit’

Jeremy Corbyn will support motion to hold Blair in contempt over Iraq War

Jon Stone

A cross-party alliance of MPs is pushing for Tony Blair to be declared guilty of “contempt” towards Parliament over the Iraq War – as calls for legal action against the former Prime Minister grow. A parliamentary motion, being tabled this week subject to approval by the Speaker, will declare that Mr Blair used “deceit” in the run-up to the invasion. Its proponents say it could see him barred from public office and stripped of his privy council position.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today signalled his backing for the motion, urging MPs to examine evidence suggesting that Mr Blair had misled Parliament over the invasion. The parliamentary device, to be formally proposed by outspoken Conservative MP David Davis, has attracted the backing of MPs from Labour, the Tories, Scottish National Party, Green Party and Plaid Cymru.

The landmark Chilcot inquiry, which, since 2009 had been investigating the circumstances of the invasion, said last week that Mr Blair’s intelligence case for the attack on Iraq was “not justified” by the facts. Mr Corbyn’s backing for the motion comes after John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time of the invasion, said Mr Blair had led Parliament into backing an illegal war.

“I urge colleagues to read the Butler report and the Chilcot report about the way Parliament was denied the information it should have had, the way there was lack of preparations for the conflict’s aftermath, and the way in which assertions of weapons of mass destruction [were made],” Mr Corbyn told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show. “Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us into this particular war. That is surely how a parliamentary democracy works. I haven’t seen [the motion] yet, but I think I probably would [back it].”

The Liberal Democrats, who opposed the war on the basis it did not have United Nations support, have also not ruled out backing the motion. The Independent understands that the party’s MPs will be meeting on Monday to discuss their position. Other supporters include former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, who has long opposed the war, and Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams. Green MP Caroline Lucas, who is supporting the contempt declaration, said the Chilcot report was “a damning indictment of Blair’s record”.

“It showed that the former Prime Minster actively deceived Parliament and led this country into a disastrous and bloody war under false pretences,” she said. “I’m joining with fellow MPs to hold Blair to account by tabling a contempt motion which could see him barred from public office and have his privy counsellorship stripped from him.” Mr Blair’s office declined to comment on the motion when approached by The Independent. …

A spokesperson for the group of MPs organising the censure motion said parallel legal action threatened by families of soldiers who served in the Iraq War could proceed separately to their efforts. “This initiative does not interfere in any way with legal action either by the authorities in terms of criminal law or by the service families in the civil courts. However, there is a specific parliamentary matter of holding the former prime minister to account given the revelations in Chilcot,” the spokesperson said.

“Most damning of all is the detailing of what Blair was promising US President George W Bush in private memos while he was telling Parliament and people something entirely different in public statements.

“If we are to prevent such a catastrophe happening again it is essential that parliamentarians learn to hold the executive to critical examination in a way that Parliament failed to do in 2003. Holding Blair to account will be an essential part of that process of parliamentary accountability. The case has been made by Chilcot and any Parliament worth its salt is duty bound to take action.”

At a press conference last Wednesday, families of some of the British soldiers killed in Iraq said they “reserve the right to call specific parties to answer for their actions in the courts”. Roger Bacon, whose son Matthew died when his Snatch Land Rover was hit by an improvised explosive device in Basra in September 2005, named Mr Blair as someone who might face legal action.

The 2.6 million-word Iraq Inquiry report was finally released last Wednesday around seven years after its launch was announced by Gordon Brown. Overall, Sir John Chilcot, the investigation’s chair, was damning in his verdict on the invasion. “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options of disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort,” he said.

“We have also concluded that the judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were presented with a certainty that was not justified. Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated and the planning for Iraq after Saddam Hussein [was] wholly inadequate.”

Chilcot report: Tony Blair could be sued for ‘every penny’ by families of soldiers killed in Iraq War

For the sake of all the dead, the Iraqis, the soldiers and their families, Tony Blair must not be let to ride Chilcot out, writes LINDSEY GERMAN: here.

HOLDING Tony Blair in contempt of Parliament is “crucial” to providing accountability for the Iraq war, anti-war activists said yesterday: here.

Abundant grounds now exist to indict Tony Blair on war crimes charges, writes ROB GRIFFITHS: here.

ICC won’t investigate Blair but might prosecute soldiers. The Hague says it is not in its mandate to prosecue Blair, but may use the long-awaited Chilcot report to prosecute British soldiers for malfeasance: here.

Iraq war, a criminal war


This video from Britain says about itself:

‘World’s worst terrorist’: Families attack Tony Blair as Chilcot Inquiry is published

6 July 2016

Sister of a serviceman killed in the Iraq War has branded Tony Blair the “world’s worst terrorist”, as the families reacted to the Chilcot report. Report by Sarah Johnston.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

The lessons of a criminal war

Thursday 7th July 2016

AT NO juncture in the Chilcot report are the words “lie” or “crime” juxtaposed with the name Tony Blair, but inquiry conclusions leave no doubt about culpability.

Blair has seen every accusation against him and been able to defend himself and yet the final report strips bare the web of lies he span to justify his determination to invade Iraq at George W Bush’s behest.

Career civil servant Sir John Chilcot couches his statements in moderate language, but the inferences are clear.

Blair first discussed regime change in Iraq with the US president shortly after the September 2001 al-Qaida atrocities in the US.

His July 2002 secret letter to Bush, promising “I will be with you, whatever,” committed this country to war.

His chosen task of confecting a pretext for war the following March involved misuse of intelligence, assisted by spin doctor Alastair Campbell, and the “far from satisfactory” manner in which Lord Goldsmith’s legal opinion was compiled.

As a lawyer, Blair knew that invoking regime change to invade Iraq was against international law.

Washington routinely disregards international law, but it could have proved problematic for Blair, which is why he encouraged and relied on fabricated assessments of Iraq’s capacity to deploy chemical and biological weapons — Campbell’s “dodgy dossier.”

Despite claims that all the world’s intelligence agencies believed at the time that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), UN weapons inspectors sent to the country after the first Iraq war 1991 reported all WMD destroyed.

Subsequent Iraq-wide inspections led by Hans Blix in 2002 and early 2003 found no trace of WMD before UN inspectors were forced to end their work because the long-planned invasion was about to begin.

The US-UK blitzkrieg soon defeated the Iraqi armed forces, prompting Bush’s Mission Accomplished braggadocio aboard a US warship, but the occupying powers’ destructive excesses sparked popular resistance to the occupation and sowed seeds of subsequent sectarian and national conflict.

Having crushed Saddam’s armies, the occupiers set about destroying Iraq as a state, until then among the most advanced in the Arab world.

The police, armed forces and civil service were disbanded while personnel learned they would receive no more salaries or pensions.

Ministries, apart from the oil ministry, were abandoned to looters, while state infrastructure, from power generation to clean water provision, was destroyed, opening the way for lucrative contracts for Halliburton and Bush’s other corporate paymasters.

Sectarian strife encouraged by Washington gave rise to Islamic State (Isis), even though Blair pretends that Isis was born in Syria.

His claim that there was no way of knowing that his war would bring about disaster for British troops and Iraqi civilians is dismissed by Chilcot, who does “not agree that hindsight is required.”

More pertinently, Jeremy Corbyn warned at the time that invasion would “set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation.”

Yet Blairite MP Ian Austin had the gall to heckle the Labour leader’s dignified response to David Cameron’s self-justifying parliamentary introduction to Chilcot.

Pro-war colleagues whined their support for Blair, defending their 2003 votes and accepting no responsibility for the foreseeable consequences of imperialist aggression.

Their abject backing for a man dubbed “the world’s worst terrorist” by Sarah O’Connor, whose soldier brother was killed in Iraq, confirmed their estrangement from not only Labour members but wider public opinion.

That these defenders of Blair’s crimes are the most ardent advocates of Corbyn’s resignation to be replaced by one of their own speaks volumes for their political degeneracy.

It confirms the need for Corbyn to remain as Labour leader.

Tony Blair was specifically warned that Isis could come into being – and now we’re paying the price. The Chilcot report specifically states that Blair had been warned this could happen, in great detail: here.

John Prescott reveals his guilt at the ‘illegal’ Iraq War will haunt him for the rest of his life: here.

Chilcot inquiry: Black ops in Iraq caused split between US and UK. How tensions grew between the American and British military as the security situation in Iraq unravelled: here.

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.

‘Blair toppled Saddam, brought 1,000 Saddams to Iraq’


Rumsfeld meets Saddam Hussein

The Iraq war of Tony Blair, George W Bush and his ‘Defence’ Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was based on lies.

They said the war was because of ‘Iraqi weapons of mass destruction‘. Oops … a lie.

They said the war was because the Iraqi regime was guilty in the 9/11 attacks in the USA. Oops … another lie.

As the two other lies were exposed, the Bushist-Blairite apologists for the Iraq war changed their propaganda to a third issue: Saddam Hussein, they said, was a dictator, and they wanted to replace him by war with democracy.

That Saddam Hussein was a dictator had not been the slightest problem for Donald Rumsfeld when he had gone to Iraq as US government special envoy to shake hands with Saddam and to try to sell him more United States poison gas to kill more Iraqi Kurds.

Pretty soon, it became so obvious, in the torture cells of Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, in the disastrous fate of Iraqi women under Bush’s, Rumsfeld’s and Blair’s occupation, in the over a million people killed, in the over four million refugees etc. etc. that the Bushist-Blairite talk of democracy in Iraq was such a lie as well that the propagandists became fairly silent on it.

In 2015, Tony Blair went a step further. He said that he did not want democracy. Though that sounds, and is, pro-dictatorship, at least it was unusually honest for Blair, compared to his earlier lies.

Also in 2015, Donald Rumsfeld followed Blair’s example, saying he did not want democracy in Iraq.

Ali Abbas, who as a 12-year-old lost both arms and 16 family members in a United States airstrike on his country Iraq, recently said about George W Bush and Tony Blair’s war on Iraq:

They took away one Saddam Hussein and gave us many, many Saddam Husseins: killers, and also the corruption, because Iraq is so corrupt now.

What does another Iraqi say about this? From daily The Independent in Britain, 6 July 2016:

‘Saddam is gone, but in his place there are 1,000 Saddams’

Max Bearak

It is an image seared in the minds of war-ready and war-weary Americans alike. Just weeks after the invasion of Iraq, American armored vehicles bore down on Firdos Square in downtown Baghdad, where an emboldened man had already taken a sledgehammer to the base of a statue of Saddam Hussein.

That man, Kadhim Sharif al-Jabouri, had once repaired the Hussein family’s motorcycles, but was also imprisoned by Hussein after falling out of favor. He says that 14 or 15 members of his family were executed by Hussein’s regime.

In an interview aired Tuesday by the BBC, more than 13 years after the invasion, Jabouri speaks of his longing for the relative peace of the years before it.

“Now, when I go by that statue, I feel pain and shame. I ask myself, why did I topple that statue?” said Jabouri. The toppling of the statue became the iconic image of the beginning of the invasion. It conveyed hope — although many have since alleged that the whole scene was more or less staged. …

Iraq is yet to fully emerge from the bloodbath the invasion precipitated. …

Jabouri has long since left Baghdad, which he found to be too unsafe for his family. He now lives in Beirut, along with more than 1 million refugees from Iraq, Syria and Palestine, who have added incredible stress to Lebanon’s public infrastructure and services. Once a weightlifter and wrestler, he now continues with the hobby that brought him into contact with the Hussein family in the first place: motorcycle repair.

He, like many interviewed in my colleague Loveday Morris’s reporting, blames the current situation squarely on the Iraqi government. After the American invasion, he says, things got worse every year. “There was corruption, infighting, killing, looting. Saddam killed people, but it was nothing like this current government,” he said. “Saddam is gone, but in his place there are 1,000 Saddams.”

And that government was instituted by the invading coalition. For them, Jabouri had these words: “Bush and Blair are liars. They destroyed Iraq and took us back to zero, and took us back to the Middle Ages or earlier. If I was a criminal, I would kill them with my bare hands.”

British daily The Independent updates about the Chilcot report on the Iraq war: here.

Even British Chilcot semi-whitewash damning for Blair’s Iraq war


This video says about itself:

Chilcot Report Reveals Tony Blair’s Pledge to George W. Bush

6 July 2016

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a memo to then-U.S. President George W. Bush where he pledged “I will be with you, whatever.”

The war in Iraq was not a blunder or a mistake. It was a crime, by Owen Jones: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

A bloody shambles: Blair didn’t tell truth about WMDs, didn’t tell truth about deal with Bush, and didn’t the truth about warnings of fallout– how Britain went to war in Iraq

Chilcot report: Tony Blair convinced himself Iraq had WMDs – but intelligence ‘did not justify’ his certainty

Damning conclusion finds former Prime Minister deliberately blurred lines between what he believed and what he knew

Andy McSmith, Charlie Cooper

Tony Blair convinced himself that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, though the secret intelligence reports he had been shown “did not justify” his certainty, Sir John Chilcot concluded.

In a direct contradiction to what Mr Blair asserted to the Iraq Inquiry, Sir John found that he and George W Bush were made fully aware of the risk the country could descend into sectarian violence after the fall of Saddam Hussein, yet went to war regardless.

The issue of whether the then Prime Minister lied to Parliament to justify the UK’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq has been a source of damaging controversy for more than 13 years.

Follow the latest live updates

And while Sir John did not use the word “lie” – in fact his report specified that it “is not questioning” that Mr Blair believed in those non-existent WMDs – his damning conclusion is that the former Prime Minister deliberately blurred the distinction between what he believed and what he actually knew.

Sir John said the risks of internal strife, regional instability and the burgeoning of al-Qaeda in Iraq “were each explicitly identified”, yet planning and preparations for Iraq after Hussein were “wholly inadequate”.

He also criticised intelligence chiefs for allowing the Prime Minister to get away with misrepresenting what they had told him when he presented his now notorious dossier to the House of Commons in September 2002.

“The judgements about Iraq’s capabilities in that statement, and in the dossier published the same day, were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” he said.

“The Joint Intelligence Committee should have made clear to Mr Blair that the assessed intelligence had not established ‘beyond doubt’ either that Iraq had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons or that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued.” …

Sir John’s report damningly added that as the prospect loomed that the US was going to invade Iraq whatever the British decided, the intelligence chiefs gave “no consideration” to the possibility that Saddam Hussein was – for once –telling the truth when he said that his regime had destroyed all the chemical weapons it possessed and used in the 1980s.

During August 2002, Tony Blair became worried about speculation that the US and UK had decided to invade Iraq but were not telling the public. His response to that pressure was to present Parliament with the dossier summarising the available intelligence, and a foreword in which he put his own interpretation on what he believed it meant. His foreword included the discredited claim that “military planning allows for some of the WMDs to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.”

According to the Chilcot report: “The deliberate selection of a formulation which grounded the statement in what Mr Blair believed, rather than in the judgements which the JIC had actually reached in its assessment of the intelligence indicates a distinction between his beliefs and the JIC’s actual judgements.

“The assessed intelligence had not established beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons.

“Nor had the assessed intelligence established beyond doubt that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued… The dossier made clear that, as long as sanctions remained effective, Iraq could not produce a nuclear weapon.”

The Iraq government announced in November 2002 – four months before the invasion – that it no longer had any weapons of mass destruction, but Mr Blair refused to believe it. Speaking on the telephone to President George W. Bush the following month he said that the Iraqi declaration was “patently false” and that he was “cautiously optimistic” that weapons inspectors would be able to prove that the Iraqis were lying. Two days later, he issued a statement saying that “this obvious falsehood”  meant that Saddam Hussein had “rejected the pathway to peace.”

Sir John’s report concluded: “The decision to use force – a very serious decision for any government to take – provoked profound controversy in relation to Iraq and became even more controversial when it was subsequently found that Iraq’s programmes to develop and produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons had been dismantled. It continues to shape debates on national security policy.

“Although the coalition had achieved the removal of a brutal regime which had defied the United Nations and which was seen as a threat to peace and security, it failed to achieve the goals it had set for a new Iraq.”

From September 2002, six months before the invasion, Foreign Office and intelligene reports raised the alarm that the war would create an “easier environment for terrorists” and the destabilisation of the country.

An FCO paper on Islamism in Iraq, shared with the Americans in December 2002, even foreshadowed the rise of extremist groups like Isis which went on to exploit the chaos of post-war Iraq.

It warned that it was likely groups would be looking for “identities and ideologies on which to base movements” and anticipated that a number of emergent extremist groups would use violence to pursue political ends.

Isis, which 11 years after the invasion declared a caliphate in Iraq, remains in control of vast swathes of the country, including its second city Mosul. The group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombing in Baghdad, the death toll of which has now risen to 250– the worst such attack since the invasion in 2003.

“Mr Blair told the inquiry that the difficulties encountered in Iraq after the invasion could not have been known in advance,” Sir John said, as he released the report in London on Wednesday morning.

“We do not agree that hindsight is required. The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuit of its interests, regional instability, and al Qaeda activity in Iraq, were explicitly identified before the invasion.”

Chilcot report destroys Blair’s case for war: here.

Families of bereaved speak on Chilcot: here.

Reg Keys hits out as Tony Blair set to avoid Iraq trial after Chilcot Report: here.

Chilcot Report: Bereaved families say Tony Blair is ‘the world’s worst terrorist’ and we want to see him in court. Relatives of servicepeople killed in Iraq are looking to use the report as the basis for legal action – with Tony Blair one of their main targets: here.

Tony Blair Got It Wrong: He And George W. Bush Did Fuel Terrorism: here.

No impunity for Blair’s Iraq war, dead soldier’s parents say


This video says about itself:

IRAQ WAR: BLAIR ACCUSED ON TERRORISM AND WMD

17 March 2015

Dr Hans Blix (Former UN Chief Weapons Inspector) interview

Talks of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush being convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction / Have to weigh the evidence before war / 9/11 motivated the Americans / Talks of military action based on poor intelligence / Iraq war has been breeding a lot of new terrorism /

Policy of containment had worked in the case of Iraq.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Chilcot Report: Parents of major killed in Iraq say Blair must now face legal action

A leader who sends a country’s soldiers to fight unnecessarily must face ‘consequences … because the consequences for the people they send is that some of them die,’ father says

Adam Lusher

The parents of the 95th British serviceman to be killed in Iraq have said there would be “something terribly wrong with our political process” if the Chilcot Report did not produce grounds for the families of dead soldiers to take legal action over the Iraq war.

Roger and Maureen Bacon lost their son Matthew, 34, a major in the Intelligence Corps, when his Snatch Land Rover was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Basra on 11 September 2005.

Speaking to The Independent hours before the long-awaited publication of Sir John Chilcot’s report on the Iraq War, Mr and Mrs Bacon accused Tony Blair of betraying their son and misleading Britain into a war that was “a total and utter catastrophe”.

However the former Prime Minister is expected to escape condemnation in the report, although Sir John revealed on the eve of the report’s publication that there were “more than a few” decisions which would be criticised.

There is already a growing backlash against the anticipated findings of the Chilcot Report, with Conservative commentator Peter Oborne arguing that “if Chilcot fails to nail Blair’s lies, it’s final proof our democracy is broken”.

And Mr Bacon, a retired police officer, said there had to be “consequences” for leaders who sent soldiers to war unnecessarily.

“Because the consequences for the people they send is that some of them die doing the job they were told to do,” he said.

As a result of the Chilcot Report, he added, “there has to be a basis for some kind of [legal] action, to ensure this never happens again. If not, I would say there is something terribly wrong with the political process.”

He added that the British and American intervention in Iraq had been “a total and utter catastrophe that was completely unnecessary”.

After Major Bacon died, Mr Bacon found himself thrust into the role of an unofficial spokesman for some of the families of the 179 service personnel who died in Iraq.

He was also awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2016 New Year Honours list for his work as the founder chairman of the Bereaved Families Support Group of the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA.

He revealed that he and his wife had been highly sceptical about the grounds for war right from the start. In February 2003 Mrs Bacon, a retired primary school teacher, had even marched through London along with a million others to voice her opposition to military action.

“It was my quiet protest,” she said. “There were a lot of people from military families there. The US wanted us to go in, and it was Blair who dragged us in. We were absolutely, completely misled by Tony Blair.”

She added that when she told her son she was going on the anti-war march, “he just said ‘If that’s what you want to do, mum, that’s fine”.

Mr Bacon explained: “Most soldiers would assume that if their senior officers told them ‘You are going to be doing this’ it would be the right thing to do – that the whole campaign was the right thing to do, because the Government wouldn’t do it otherwise.”

Which meant, Mr Bacon said: “From our point of view, Matthew was betrayed. Because the full facts weren’t there. Blair was the one who persuaded Parliament.

“We were misled into believing that there were weapons of mass destruction and that the intelligence showed we needed to do something about it.”

Mr Bacon added that he had been incredulous when he saw Mr Blair tell Parliament that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that were deployable with 45 minutes.

“I thought to myself ‘really?!’ It was part of the argument to make us feel directly threatened by WMD, as if Saddam had something like a Soviet-style intercontinental ballistic missile system.

“I thought to myself that if he really had that kind of sophisticated system, the intelligence on it would be a lot more solid than just a dodgy dossier.”

Mr Bacon also accused Mr Blair of delaying military planning and equipment procurement for the war “because he didn’t want it to be seen that he was pre-empting any UN resolution, he was manipulating the system”.

The result, said Mr Bacon, was that his son died in a Snatch Land Rover with inadequate detection systems to protect against IEDs that could go through the insufficiently armoured vehicle “like a knife through butter”.

Mr Bacon said: “Matthew’s was the 27th incident in which a serviceman got killed travelling in a Snatch Land Rover. The first incident had been in 2004. With Snatch Land Rovers it was like Russian roulette.

“If the IED had been laid on that patrol’s route, and if the insurgents had people in place to set it off, then that vehicle was going to get hit.”

Mr and Mrs Bacon said they would wait until they had seen the contents of the Chilcot Report before deciding precisely what legal action they and other bereaved relatives might take.

But when asked what he hoped the Chilcot Report would tell them, Mr Bacon replied: “It’s simple really – the truth as to why Matthew died.

“It was completely unnecessary.”

Last March Mr and Mrs Bacon travelled with a BBC Panorama crew to Basra, to see where the spot where their “always smiling, always joking” son died.

“We wanted to see for ourselves why Matthew lost his life,” said Mrs Bacon. “You try to make sense of it all … but you don’t succeed.

“It doesn’t get better. It gets worse. You don’t get over it. It doesn’t work that way when you have lost your child.

“You make your way through the fog as best you can. Because Matthew wouldn’t have wanted us to mope.”

Mr Blair, she said, “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.”

Mr Blair, she said, had declined to meet with them and other bereaved families.

But she had gone to the Iraq inquiry to see him give evidence.

“He acted his way through,” said Mrs Bacon. “It was like going to the theatre and watching a production where everyone had already learned their lines.

“I am sure he will be well rehearsed again when the report comes out. He will pop up abroad again, on a phenomenal salary.  What do they call him? Teflon Tony.”

Blairite dirty tricks in British Labour


This video from London, England says about itself:

Keep Corbyn Rally – Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Dennis Skinner, Jeremy Corbyn

27 June 2016

Several thousand people rallied outside parliament this evening, Monday, in defence of left wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Hundreds more joined similar rallies in Newcastle and Manchester to defend Corbyn against moves by Labour MPs to get rid of him.

Labour left group Momentum, which organised the London rally said 10,000 turned out to support Corbyn. It came as Corbyn faced Labour MPs and peers inside parliament, who were meeting to debate a motion of no confidence in his leadership.

The rallies had the feel of Corbyn’s huge public meetings during his leadership election campaign last year.

Speaking at the rally in London, Corbyn reflected the reasons why many of his supporters voted for him last year. He said, “We’re absolutely the spirit of hope—not the spirit of despair”. He also said Labour supporters needed to build a “politics of unity” to beat austerity.

But the rallies were also angry and defiant. It’s incredible and appallling that just when all the attention should be on the Tories’ problems, the right has divided Labour.

Chants of “Tories out—Corbyn in” rang out across Parliament Square in London and at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle city centre.

Jeremy Corbyn coup designed to stop him ‘calling for Tony Blair’s head’ after Chilcot report, says Alex Salmond. ‘It would be a mistake to believe that Chilcot and current events are entirely unconnected. The link is through the Labour Party’: here.

Labour’s new defence chief slams ‘selfishness’ of Corbyn coup plotters: here.

Grassroots movement to #KeepCorbyn snowballs: here.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

More Dirty Tricks up their Sleeve

Monday 4th July 2016

EXPOSED: Labour plotters bid to keep Corbynista off NEC seat

PLOTTERS seeking to topple Jeremy Corbyn were last night accused of dirty tricks to prevent the Labour leader from standing in a second leadership election.

Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) is likely to adjudge whether Mr Corbyn automatically makes the ballot or has to gather signatures from MPs in the event of a leadership challenge.

But today the Star can exclusively reveal that a new left-wing member of the committee has already received an email threatening him with disciplinary action, within 48 hours of taking up his position.

Darren Williams, a PCS union official and Cardiff city councillor, has been accused of having “taken a photo of Welsh Labour print material and sent this to the press.”

Mr Williams could not be contacted for comment yesterday but friends say he is baffled by the allegation.

The email, sent on Friday afternoon by Labour’s head of disputes and discipline Kat Buckingham, invites Mr Williams to attend an “urgent meeting” this afternoon.

Ms Buckingham writes: “Should this allegation be true, the NEC is likely to consider that this action was prejudicial to the party’s interests.

“I should stress that the evidence I have received is strong. I will be reporting this matter to the NEC disputes panel on Tuesday and I am asking to meet with you on Monday to gather your views in advance of that meeting.”

Mr Williams, a runner-up in the previous elections for the committee, has taken the place of Ken Livingstone, who resigned his position on Wednesday night. The former London mayor’s suspension from party membership meant he could not attend meetings.

A source close to the Labour leadership told the Star: “It really strains credibility to think this is a coincidence. It seems like an attempt to prevent [Mr Williams] taking his seat on the NEC in order to weaken support for Jeremy.

“Let’s remember this is a tactic the right has used throughout — they’ve objected to anyone they can joining the party in order to undermine Jeremy.”

The source also said that tonight’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party could be “turned into a hustings for an anti-Corbyn candidate.”

Angela Eagle, who resigned as shadow business secretary in a call for Mr Corbyn to quit, has reportedly been preparing a challenge.

But with the Chilcot report into the Iraq war due to be published on Wednesday, it is understood MPs believe her support for the illegal invasion could hinder her chances against the anti-war Mr Corbyn.

Another candidate touted to run is “soft left” ex-work and pensions secretary Owen Smith.

But in a TV appearance yesterday, the leader of Labour’s largest affiliated union asked the pair to back down. “We would bring both parties together and resolve this issue,” Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said.

“The alternative, if Angela goes ahead with this, and I hope she doesn’t, or Owen, is that we’re plunged into a civil war that will be bitter and ugly and may never allow the Labour Party to re-unite again.

“I’m suggesting that Angela and Owen should desist from this, that they should allow the trade union general secretaries to broker a peace deal.”

Figures on the left say that Mr Williams’s alleged offence could have been fabricated by Labour rightwingers in order to discredit him. But sources also said it was unusual for a party boss to travel the breadth of Britain for a short-notice questioning session.

A lack of clarity in Labour’s rulebook over whether an incumbent leader is automatically put on the ballot has given a new sensitivity to the NEC’s composition since Mr Corbyn was elected last autumn.

Ms Eagle, who sat on the executive as a shadow cabinet representative, has been replaced by shadow lord president Jon Trickett, who is a supporter of Mr Corbyn.

And the upcoming elections for the constituency posts on the executive have been steeped in controversy since former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy intervened in vain to block a young Jewish GMB rep, Rhea Wolfson, from standing.

The Labour Party could not be reached for comment.

IF YOU’RE confused about last week’s botched coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn, just remember what Tony Blair said about fighting a general election. “I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform,” he told Labour-right faction Progress during last summer’s leadership race. “Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it”: here.

Labour MPs must abandon their coup and take on the Tories, says IAN MEARNS MP: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dirty tricks of oblivion

Monday 4th July 2016

SIGNS that a “dirty tricks” campaign is under way aimed at keeping Jeremy Corbyn off the ballot paper in any Labour leadership contest are unsurprising.

The proposal may seem absurd: if the man elected to lead the party by almost 60 per cent of members just 10 months ago is challenged, it’s a no-brainer that he should be allowed to run against his challenger.

But the rebel MPs are desperate and have already reconciled themselves to the hatred of their own party.

We are all familiar with the phrase “the Westminster bubble,” the distorting atmosphere in the corridors of political power that means most MPs see the world differently from the rest of us.

In this strange and rarefied world, things that are obvious become invisible — things such as admitting that British foreign policy has made terrorist attacks more likely, or that renationalisation [of railways] is a vote-winner.

And inside that bubble, the voices of 400,000 party members or trade union leaders collectively speaking for millions are irrelevant.

Members are seen as footsoldiers who can be helpful for knocking on doors at election time but should be strung up for insubordination if they dare to express opinions on anything important.

Decent women and men who care enough about politics to trek to Parliament to support their leader, on a Monday evening with an England [European football championship] game on the telly, are dismissed as “dogs.”

And the trade unions whose members still provide the bulk of Labour’s funds are an embarrassment, tolerated because Labour cannot compete with the Tories when it comes to fat-cat funding but out of order if they think that gives them the right to influence policy.

This battle is about much more than Corbyn. It is about whether the Labour Party has any meaningful future at all.

Unlike the Tories, a party that grew out of a parliamentary faction, Labour has always been about much more than Parliament. It was founded as a mass movement to give the working class a political voice.

Years of aping Tory free-market fanaticism and ignoring the interests of working people have created a gulf between MPs and the communities they serve, a gulf dramatically demonstrated by the EU referendum result.

If Labour is to survive it has to be a movement, not a parliamentary faction. It has to reconnect in the workplace and on the streets. Corbyn and John McDonnell have begun that process, marching alongside doctors and nurses, standing on picket lines with striking workers.

It is precisely this sort of behaviour that the rebels see as un-prime ministerial.

So Corbyn’s removal would not allow the left to pick some smoother-talking candidate and carry on. It would mean the comprehensive defeat of any idea of Labour as a social movement and the end of any concept of it speaking for the organised working class.

The rebels suspect they cannot beat Corbyn in a leadership contest. They are reluctant to break away from Labour and form a new party, because without any support whatsoever outside Parliament they know they would be crushed as soon as an election were called.

So they are resorting to efforts to keep him off the ballot paper. No skin off their noses if the members leave in droves: they would prefer the party to be more like the Tories, funded by big business and with a smaller membership passive to the point of senescence.

As for the electorate, despite a litany of election defeats and the referendum shock, they almost unbelievably still hold they have nowhere else to go.

There is no future for Labour in such a vision. The party and the movement would face oblivion. The dirty tricks campaign must be seen off: if a contest is called Corbyn must stand, and Corbyn must win.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Tony Blair’s epitaph: the lies that killed one million Iraqis

25 September 2012

Tony Blair’s attempts to rehabillitate his reputation are doomed. This report on the tenth anniversay of the “dodgy dossier” recalls the lies and the assault on democracy that Blair used to take the UK into an illegal war on the coat tails of George W. Bush and the USA.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

McDonnell won’t rule out calling for trial of Tony Blair

Monday 4th July 2016

SHADOW chancellor John McDonnell refused yesterday to rule out calling for Tony Blair to be tried for war crimes over Iraq.

A number of MPs are expected to try to use an ancient law to try to impeach the former prime minister once the findings of the long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq war are published on Wednesday.

Mr McDonnell did not confirm or deny whether he felt Mr Blair should face questions in the International Criminal Court.

“I want to see the Chilcot report,” he told Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News.

“Nobody can comment on this until we see the report itself and I’m hoping that the report will be thorough and for me the importance is not Tony Blair or any individuals — it’s about the processes so we never ever get into this tragic, tragic mess again with such loss of life.”

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said there “has to be a judicial or political reckoning” for Mr Blair’s role in the Iraq conflict.

“He seemed puzzled as to why Jeremy Corbyn thinks he is a war criminal, why people don’t like him,” he told Sky News.

“The reason is 179 British war dead, 150,000 immediate dead from the Iraq conflict, the Middle East in flames, the world faced with an existential crisis on terrorism — these are just some of the reasons perhaps he should understand why people don’t hold him in the highest regard.”

Britain faces dangerous times after the EU referendum campaign and Labour plotters trying to oust their leader, but amid it all there’s the chance to beat back Tory policies, says GLYN ROBBINS: here.