Category Archives: Tony Bliar

Gaddafi’s warnings to Blair about Islamists sound almost prophetic now

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

The transcript of the Blair-Gaddafi phone conversations are publishedThe Libyan uprising always contained more extreme Islamists than portrayed by its supporters inside and outside Libya. There is a measure of truth in Muammar Gaddafi’s claim to Tony Blair that the jihadis had “managed to set up local stations and in Benghazi have spread the thoughts and ideas of al Qaeda.”

His claims sound particularly prophetic since the transcript of the Blair-Gaddafi phone conversations are published on the same day that a suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives killed an estimated 65 people at a Libyan police academy. The attack is likely to be the work of the Libyan branch of Isis which today controls Sirte, Gaddafi’s home region and last stronghold, and has been battling over the last week to take over Libya’s main oil ports.

But it is also true that protests which began in Libya on 15 February and turned into a general uprising had wide popular support among Libyans. By the time of the phone call, protesters had seized Benghazi, Misurata and many other cities and towns while part of the regular armed forces had defected to the opposition.

Gaddafi’s repeated claim to Mr Blair that there was nothing happening in much of the country shows that he was either eager to downplay the swift spread of the rebellion or he did not know what was going on. The latter seems the most likely explanation, given Gaddafi’s repeated invitations to Mr Blair, who was in Kuwait, to come to Tripoli and his belief that once foreign journalists arrived they would see for themselves that accounts of violence had been exaggerated. “Send reporters and politicians,” the Libyan leader says. “Talk to them [protesters] directly; see what kind of people they are and their connections to AQ [Al-Qaeda].”


Think Tank: Most Syrian Rebel Groups Ideologically Similar to ISIS

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

A new report from the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, a think tank that is part of the “Tony Blair Faith Foundation,” is warning that the military defeat of ISIS, while nominally desirable in and of itself, will do materially nothing to stop the Islamist takeover of the region.

The report says a third of the rebel factions, representing roughly 60% of rebel fighters, are ideologically similar to ISIS, and that 15 different rebel factions would eagerly step in and fill the vacuum if ISIS was defeated militarily.

Exactly how broadly they define “ideologically similar” is unclear, but the report appears to focus on Salafist movements, which would include several major rebel factions, including al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra and the Saudi-backed Ahrar al-Sham.

Ironically, at times a lot of these Salafist groups have been presented by Western officials as “moderates,” and as the allies who could be used to defeat ISIS. While that may be technically true, the think tank warns the defeat of ISIS doesn’t really end anything, but simply props up another, ideologically compatible faction in their place.


Blair and Bush went to war in Iraq despite South Africa’s WMD assurances, according to new book

David Smith reports for The Guardian:

President Thabo Mbeki urged Tony Blair not to invade Iraq but the British prime minister went ahead anyway.Tony Blair went to war in Iraq despite a report by South African experts with unique knowledge of the country that showed it did not possess weapons of mass destruction, according to a book published on Sunday.

God, Spies and Lies, by South African journalist John Matisonn, describes how then president Thabo Mbeki tried in vain to convince both Blair and President George W Bush that toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003 would be a terrible mistake.

Mbeki’s predecessor, Nelson Mandela, also tried to convince the American leader, but was left fuming that “President Bush doesn’t know how to think”.

The claim was this week supported by Mbeki’s office, which confirmed that he pleaded with both leaders to heed the WMD experts and even offered to become their intermediary with Saddam in a bid to maintain peace.


We don’t need to wait for Chilcot, Blair lied to us about Iraq – here’s the evidence

Peter Oborne writes for Open Democracy:

As background to our work, I asked my friend Dr David Morrison to prepare a series of background narratives on the four crucial questions. These are published today by openDemocracy and they address four key questions:

Question 1: Did Tony Blair enter into a secret agreement with George W Bush that the UK would support US military action, come what may?

Question 2: Was the information presented by the Blair government on WMD and other matters an accurate reflection of the underlying facts?

Question 3: Was the war legal?

Question 4: Did our military action in Iraq increase the terrorist threat to Britain?

I have known Dr Morrison for more than 12 years. Back in 2003, I read the devastating evidence that he dispatched to the Foreign Affairs Committee, as it made its report into the Iraq war. The Foreign Affairs Committee ignored the thrust of Dr Morrison’s arguments. However, they did publish his brilliant paper as a memorandum to their own report.

His paper and a later one on the Committee’s findings, which are still worth reading today, provided devastating evidence that Tony Blair misled the British public about the threat from Saddam Hussein in order to make the case for war.

I have not accepted all of Morrison’s arguments. However, his narratives provided an invaluable basis for our work, because he has a remarkable gift for highlighting like nothing else the key issues.

These documents set out with great clarity the key facts that everyone will need in order to assess whether John Chilcot has produced a fair report. I have summarised Morrison’s most devastating points here.


I’m sorry: Blair takes blame for Iraq War, admits conflict caused ISIS

Simon Walters, Glen Owen, Martin Beckford and Daniel Bates report for the Mail on Sunday:

Tony Blair, who has finally said sorry for the Iraq War during an interview on CNN, which is due to be broadcast today Tony Blair has finally said sorry for the Iraq War – and admitted he could be partly to blame for the rise of Islamic State.

The extraordinary confession by the former Prime Minister comes after 12 years in which he refused to apologise for the conflict.

Blair makes his dramatic ‘mea culpa’ during a TV interview about the ‘hell’ caused by his and George Bush’s decision to oust Saddam Hussein.

In the exchange, Blair repeatedly says sorry for his conduct and even refers to claims that the invasion was a war ‘crime’ – while denying he committed one.

Blair is asked bluntly in the CNN interview, to be broadcast today: ‘Was the Iraq War a mistake?’


Tony Blair’s Tripoli Adviser

Tony Blair's Tripoli Adviser

The very cosy friendship between Iraq inquiry chief and Tony Blair

Andrew Pierce reports for The Daily Mail:

Bereaved parents are disgusted their suffering is being dragged out while Sir John (pictured) gives leading figures in the inquiry, such as Mr Blair, the chance to rebut its findings – a process known as MaxwellisationWhen Tony Blair first appeared before the Iraq inquiry five years ago, the chairman Sir John Chilcot treated him with almost painful deference.

Chilcot, a crumpled figure whose opening remarks lasted seven minutes, never laid a glove on Blair, even though the former prime minister gave evidence for more than six hours.

What few people know is that the bumbling Chilcot, a retired career civil servant, could, in fact, have greeted Blair as an old friend.

The first time they met in 1997 — when Blair was still leader of the Opposition — was in a far more sedate environment. They dined together in the venerable Travellers Club in Pall Mall, where Chilcot is a member.


Tony Blair and the Self-Exalting Mindset of the West: in Two Paragraphs

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Tony Blair and the Self-Exalting Mindset of the West: in Two ParagraphsTony Blair today took a little time off from serving the world’s despots in order to exploit the 10th anniversary of the July 7 London train bombing. He did so by casting blame on “radical Islam” for the world’s violence while exempting himself, pronouncing:

This is a global problem … we’re not going to allow anyone to excuse themselves by saying that the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government.

The proposition Blair just decreed invalid — “the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government” — is exactly the rationale that he himself repeatedly invoked, and to this day still invokes, to justify the invasion and destruction of Iraq, as in this example from December 2009.’


Former London Mayor, Ken Livingston: “Since Blair-Bush decided on Iraq war, London terror attack was inevitable”

Blair’s bombs: on July 7 2005, the invasion of Iraq came home to London

John Pilger wrote in July 2005:

[…] The bombs of 7 July were Blair’s bombs.

Blair brought home to this country his and George W Bush’s illegal, unprovoked and blood-soaked adventure in the Middle East. Were it not for his epic irresponsibility, the Londoners who died in the Tube and on the No 30 bus almost certainly would be alive today. This is what Livingstone ought to have said. To paraphrase perhaps the only challenging question put to Blair on the eve of the invasion (by John Humphrys), it is now surely beyond all doubt that the man is unfit to be Prime Minister.

How much more evidence is needed? Before the invasion, Blair was warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that “by far the greatest terrorist threat” to this country would be “heightened by military action against Iraq”. He was warned by 79 per cent of Londoners who, according to a YouGov survey in February 2003, believed that a British attack on Iraq “would make a terrorist attack on London more likely”. A month ago, a leaked, classified CIA report revealed that the invasion had turned Iraq into a focal point of terrorism. Before the invasion, said the CIA, Iraq “exported no terrorist threat to its neighbours” because Saddam Hussein was “implacably hostile to al-Qaeda”.

Now, a report by the Chatham House organisation, a “think-tank” deep within the British establishment, may well beckon Blair’s coup de grace. Published on 18 July, it says there is “no doubt” the invasion of Iraq has “given a boost to the al-Qaeda network” in “propaganda, recruitment and fundraising” while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists. “Riding pillion with a powerful ally” has cost Iraqi, American and British lives. The right-wing academic Paul Wilkinson, a voice of western power, was the principal author. Read between the lines, and it says the Prime Minister is now a serious liability. Those who run this country know he has committed a great crime; the “link” has been made.’


The scandal of the disappearing Chilcot report into the disastrous and illegal Iraq war

Matt Carr writes at Stop the War coalition:

Blair and ChilcotWhen the Iraq Inquiry was first convened in 2009, it was expected to publish its findings before the 2010 general election.  Instead Sir John Chilcot and his team completed their hearings in February 2011.   At various times since then we have heard that its report was written and ready for publication.

In January 2014, the British press was reporting that the 1,000,000+word report was ready for publication later that year.

Earlier this year there were rumours that the report would be published before the election, and then in April BBC Newsnight suggested that it would be published after the election.

And now we have been told that the report is unlikely to be published until next year ‘at least’.

Yet neither the government nor the main opposition has appeared particularly concerned by the delay, and the public has also remained generally indifferent to it.  The lack of interest from the political establishment is only to be expected.’


Cherie Blair’s firm accused of ‘unethical profiteering’ over deal with Maldives

Paul Gallagher reports for The Independent:

Cherie Blair is the founder of Omnia Strategy (AFP/Getty)Cherie Blair has been accused of accepting money from repressive regimes after her legal consultancy signed a deal with the Maldives government – which faces international condemnation for human rights abuses.

Omnia Strategy, the London and Washington-based consultancy that Ms Blair founded and chairs, is to advise President Abdulla Yameen’s government on “democracy consolidation”.

The value of the contract, which was signed this week,  has not been confirmed. But the deal has sparked an outcry in the Indian Ocean archipelago, where the current regime has been accused of suppressing political dissent. The leading opposition movement, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), condemned Ms Blair’s decision, describing the consultants as “unethical and profiteering” people who were being employed to   “help wash the blood” off the President’s hands.’


Tony Blair speaks at Putin’s ‘vanity forum’… and considers a job with Ukraine

Matthew Holehouse reports for The Telegraph:

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, appeared to be courting both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as he appeared at Vladimir Putin’s “vanity summit”, hours after being offered a job by the government of Kiev.

Mr Blair this morning appeared alongside Russian bankers and government ministers at the St Petersburg Economic Forum, a pet project of Vladimir Putin modelled on the World Economic Forum in Davos.

[…] His appearance in the region gives a tantalising indication of where Mr Blair’s interests may now lie.

His network of business interests, clients and contacts already stretches across the world, providing advice to an oil firm in Saudi Arabia, JP Morgan Chase Bank in the US, and governments in Kazakhstan, Romania and Mongolia. He has built up extensive network of contacts in China.’


Tony Blair Questioned About His Attendance at Bilderberg in 1993

Tony Blair tells Labour to return to the centre ground to win again

Editor’s Note: A Century of Spin by David Miller and William Dinan contains two excellent chapters (8 and 9) on the rise of New Labour that are well worth a read.

Toby Helm reports for The Guardian:

Tony Blair Ed Miliband's resilience.Tony Blair has insisted that Labour can recover from its disastrous general election defeat only if it reoccupies the centre ground of British politics, proudly championing a pro-business agenda and bold new ideas to reform public services.

As the party attempts to come to terms with a devastating result that saw the Conservatives returned to office for five more years with an unexpected Commons majority, the former prime minister and three-times election winner said Labour has to be “for ambition and aspiration as well as compassion and care”.

While generous about Ed Miliband – praising him for showing “courage under savage attack” and campaigning brilliantly – Blair made clear in an article in the Observer that he believes Miliband’s left-of-centre agenda alienated the business community and failed to appeal to those wanting to get on in life. In an unashamed call for the party to return to the approach of New Labour which Miliband abandoned, Blair wrote: “The route to the summit lies through the centre ground.’


The Tony Blair connection: from Abu Dhabi to Colombia

Edward Malnick, Robert Mendick and Harriet Alexander report for The Telegraph:

P5210987Quartet Representative Tony Blair en route to Israel from a World Economic Forum meeting at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt (Israeli fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept Tony Blairs jet - the two warplanes adopting an attack position  no one on board was aware of any problem at the time). May 21, 2008     Perhaps Tony Blair always had half an eye on lining his pockets once outside the confines of Downing Street. Or maybe it was simply that the commercial opportunities presented themselves as he criss-crossed the globe on one do-gooding philanthropic mission after another.

Whatever the truth, the reality is that eight years after leaving high office, business is booming for Mr Blair.

His global consultancy offers investment and strategic advice to governments, corporations and billionaires. Mr Blair, although he denies it, is reckoned to be worth between £50 million and £100 million with several houses and a country estate among his assets.

The road to riches — make that the private jet flight to a fortune – began almost the moment he stepped out of the front door of Downing Street as prime minister for the last time in June 2007.’


Interview with Francis Beckett, co-author of ‘Blair Inc: the Man Behind the Mask’

‘Francis Beckett, one of the co-authors of Blair Inc: the Man Behind the Mask, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about former PM.’ (Going Underground)

Tony Blair Is Terrible at Promoting Human Rights, Great at Enriching Himself

Murtaza Hussein writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Tony Blair Is Terrible at Promoting Human Rights, Great at Enriching Himself[…] After almost a decade as envoy, it’s hard to see anything Blair has done to bring Israelis and Palestinians any closer to peace. The two parties are farther apart than ever by most accounts, with Israeli leaders publicly disavowing the “two-state solution” the Quartet on the Middle East was created to bring about. During Blair’s tenure, a Palestinian official described the group as “useless, useless, useless.” A Brookings Institution report concluded that “the Quartet’s role was usually relegated to that of a political bystander.”

But although he failed to broker peace, Blair did manage during his time as special envoy to transform himself into a well-paid and outspoken apologist for some of the most brutal autocracies in the world. The former prime minister, who once positioned himself as a principled supporter of democracy, even famously waging a war to bring democracy to Iraq, now leads a consulting firm that has reportedly received tens of millions of dollars doing advisory work for dictatorial governments in the Middle East and Central Asia.’


Report: Tony Blair to resign as Middle East peace envoy

Haaretz and JTA report:

Tony BlairTony Blair is preparing to resign his position as a peace envoy to the Middle East, a report said on Sunday.

According to the Financial Times, the announcement of the former British prime minister’s resignation from his role as the Middle East Quartet’s special envoy will possibly be made this week.

On Saturday, the former British prime minister reportedly met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the Red Sea resort city Sharm el-Sheik to discuss a job change, according to the newspaper. Blair also spoke with UN foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Blair is currently negotiating over a “recast” of his position in the group, sources told the Times, adding that Blair intends to remain involved in the Middle East peace process.’


Iraq War report delayed until after UK election

BBC News reports:

Sir John Chilcot‘[…] MPs have demanded that the report be published before voters go to the polls in May.

However, Nick Robinson said the process of giving witnesses time to respond to allegations against them, which began last autumn, cannot be completed in time for this to happen.

He said he expected Sir John to set out the reasons why the report could not be completed in time, a development first reported by the Guardian, on Wednesday.

Ministers had made it clear that the report would have to be finished by the end of February to allow enough debate on its contents before Parliament rises at the end of March ahead of the election.’


Angry MPs challenge ‘stitch-up’ over delay of Chilcot report on war in Iraq

Jamie Doward and Chris Ames report for The Guardian:

Tony Blair and George Bush shake hands‘Furious MPs are planning a parliamentary debate to challenge an alleged “stitch-up” that could delay the report of the Iraq war inquiry until after the general election.

A cross-party coalition has demanded that parliament’s backbench committee allocate half a day to discussing the continuing delay in publishing the Chilcot inquiry’s findings, which are expected to include severe criticism of the UK’s decision to join the US-led invasion in 2003.’


Tony Blair ‘could face war crimes charges’ over Iraq War

Christopher Hope reports for The Telegraph:

Tony Blair‘Tony Blair could face war crimes charges as a result of the Iraq war inquiry report, the House of Lords has been told.

Lord Dykes of Harrow Weald, a Liberal Democrat peer, claimed that the publication of the inquiry by Sir John Chilcot was being delayed “to prolong the agony” of the former Labour Prime Minister.

Lord Hurd – who as Douglas Hurd was Conservative foreign secretary from 1989 to 1995 – said the delay was now “becoming a scandal”.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire, a Government minister, disclosed for the first time that talks over the publication of the gist of conversations between Mr Blair and George W Bush, the former US president, were now completed.

These talks have held up the publication of the report. But he said that if the report is not published by the end of February, it will be delayed until after the general election.’


David Cameron: I am not in control of when Iraq war report is published

Rowena Mason reports for The Guardian:

‘David Cameron has conceded he has no control over when the Chilcot report into the Iraq war will appear after previously urging the inquiry to publish before Christmas.

[…] There have been lengthy delays to the five-year inquiry because of diplomatic negotiations between the US and UK about what can be revealed from correspondence between Blair and former president George Bush.

There have been reports, however, that Blair and others criticised by the inquiry have now received official notifications of what it will say about them and been given the chance to respond.

Blair’s office insists that he has no interest in delaying publication and he would like the report published so he can justify his actions in the face of claims that he misled the public about the reasons for going to war.’


Tony Blair: ‘I’m worth £9.5m not £100m and, like role model Henry Kissinger, will not retire’

Lewis Dean reports for the International Business Times:

‘Tony Blair has cleared up the issue of his wealth by claiming it is equal to what he has donated – about £9.5m. Since leaving Downing Street in 2007, reports have estimated the former prime minister’s wealth as being up to £100m. But in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Blair said his wealth had been overestimated.

[…] During a wide-ranging interview, Blair, who led Labour to three consecutive election successes between 1997 and 2005 and cast a looming shadow over the Labour party and British politics, named former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres as his role models.’


Save the Children staff furious over ‘global legacy’ award for Tony Blair

Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian:

Tony Blair at the Save the Children Illumination Gala in New York City‘The international charity Save the Children has been engulfed by a furious backlash from staff after it presented Tony Blair with a “global legacy award” in New York last week – despite privately acknowledging that he is a controversial and divisive figure.

Amid widespread criticism on social media, many of the charity’s staff have complained that the presentation of the award has discredited Save the Children (STC). An internal letter, which gathered almost 200 signatures – including senior regional staff – in the first six hours of dissemination, said the award was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally”, and called for it to be withdrawn.

It said that staff wished to distance themselves from the award and demanded a review of the charity’s decision-making process.’


Tony Blair’s Murky Millions

Tony Blair’s secret deal with Saudi Arabia

Jon Stevens reports for The Daily Mail:

‘Tony Blair has amassed a personal fortune since standing down as prime minister – often acting as an adviser to controversial businesses and regimes.

But yesterday the hefty fees he charges to act as a go-between were revealed.

A previously secret contract with a Saudi oil company headed by a member of the country’s royal family has been leaked showing Mr Blair charging £41,000 a month and 2 per cent commission on any of the multi-million-pound deals he helped broker.

The emergence of the Saudi deal led to new criticism of Mr Blair’s role as a Middle East envoy, but he strongly denied there is a conflict of interest.’


Tony Blair named as one of top gay icons of past 30 years

Editor’s Note: Another award for Tony Blair when he should be serving a long jail sentence for war crimes. He may have done some good things for the LGBT community in Britain, but what about the LGBT community in places like Saudi Arabia and other dictatorships that Blair has cuddled up to for many years? Don’t they count? 

The Press Association reports:

Tony Blair has been recognised as one of the top gay icons of the past three decades, along with figures such as Boy George, Sir Ian McKellen and Barbra Streisand.

He has been given the accolade by Gay Times to mark its 30th anniversary.

Blair’s period as PM saw the lowering of the gay age of consent, bringing it into line with that for straight couples, as well as the introduction of civil partnerships.

Gay Times said Blair’s status as an ambassador of gay rights was undeniable.’


The new ‘Blair rich project’: Pushing the Trans-Adriatic pipeline against Italians’ objections

Claudio Gallo writes for RT:

Trans Adriatic Pipeline (Image from by Genti77)‘[…] Yo, Blair – what are you doing this time? He is pushing a huge global project in the name of some big guys who care less than nothing that the local people don’t want it.

The scheme is, as always, a case of powerful elites against ordinary people, and guess which side he is for? He is gazing now at Puglia’s southern coasts in his capacity of facilitator of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s president, nominated in 2012 for Person of the Year by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the TAP consortium of energy, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, formed by British oil giant BP (20 percent), Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR (20 percent), Norway’s Statoil (20 percent), Belgium’s Fluxys (16 percent), France’s Total (10 percent), Germany’s E.ON” (9 percent) and Switzerland’s di Axpo (5 percent). It’s a 2,000-mile pipeline transporting gas from Shah Deniz-2, the biggest Azeri gas field in the Caspian Sea, across Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy.’


‘Tony Blair is a crusader’ says former deputy PM John Prescott