Category Archives: Tony Bliar

Is Tony Blair Delusional? Interview with Alex Salmond

Afshin Rattansi speaks to Scotland’s Former First Minister, Alex Salmond, about Tony Blair, Iraq, Chilcot and whether the Corbyn coup been co-opted by Blairites. (Going Underground)

Chilcot: Alastair Campbell Continues Tony Blair and Iraq War Whitewash

Former Labour Party spin doctor Alastair Campbell continues to whitewash the truth about Tony Blair and the Iraq War after the long awaited release of the Chilcot report last week. (BBC Breakfast)

How the Iraq War Was Sold

Jeffrey St. Clair writes for CounterPunch:

shutterstock_107740277The war on Iraq won’t be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as “weapons of mass destruction” and “rogue state” were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don’t need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair’s plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student’s website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister’s bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair’s speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

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Tony Blair is a War Criminal for Pushing Britain into Illegal Iraq Invasion: Interview with Tariq Ali and Sami Ramadani

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Tariq Ali, and Sami Ramadani about the long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War, the legacy of Tony Blair and the state of Iraq today. (Democracy Now!)

Chilcot Report and 7/7 London Bombing Anniversary Converge to Highlight Terrorism’s Causes

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Eleven years ago, three suicide bombers attacked the London subway and a bus and killed 51 people. Almost immediately, it was obvious that retaliation for Britain’s invasion and destruction of Iraq was a major motive for the attackers.

Two of them said exactly that in videotapes they left behind: The attacks “will continue and pick up strengths till you pull your soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq. … Until we feel security, you will be targets.” Then, less than a year later, a secret report from British military and intelligence chiefs concluded that “the war in Iraq contributed to the radicalization of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims.” The secret report, leaked to The Observer, added: “Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalization of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the U.K. as legitimate.”

The release on Tuesday of the massive Chilcot report — which the New York Times called a “devastating critique of Tony Blair” — not only offers more proof of this causal link, but also reveals that Blair was expressly warned before the invasion that his actions would provoke al Qaeda attacks on the U.K. As my colleague Jon Schwarz reported yesterdaythe report’s executive summary quotes Blair confirming he was “aware” of a warning by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

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In Political Fights Over Chilcot Report, Iraqi Lives Don’t Matter

Robert Mackey reports for The Intercept:

The bitter political debate over the 2003 Iraq War resumed once again on Wednesday in the United Kingdom and the United States, thanks to the release of a report on the British role in the invasion and occupation.

Parsing the report, prepared by a committee of Privy Counsellors chaired by Sir John Chilcot, will take time since it runs to 2.6 million words, but the reaction online has already begun. Partisans for and against the war are sifting through the text for new details that might support their original positions, a reminder that Iraq has only ever mattered to most Americans and Britons as material for attacks on their political opponents.

That becomes glaringly obvious when you compare the intensity and volume of commentary on the report to how relatively little was said about a suicide bombing in Baghdad on Sunday that killed 250 Iraqis.

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Chilcot Report: Tony Blair Told George W. Bush, ‘If We Win Quickly, Everyone Will Be Our Friend.’

Jon Schwarz reports for The Intercept:

The Chilcot report the U.K.’s official inquiry into its participation in the Iraq War, has finally been released after seven years of investigation.

Its executive summary certainly makes former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the British push for war, look terrible. According to the report, Blair made statements about Iraq’s nonexistent chemical, biological, and nuclear programs based on “what Mr. Blair believed” rather than the intelligence he had been given. The U.K. went to war despite the fact that “diplomatic options had not been exhausted.” Blair was warned by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

On the other hand, the inquiry explicitly says that it is not “questioning Mr. Blair’s belief” in the case for war — i.e., it is not accusing him of conscious misrepresentations. Blair is already spinning this as an exoneration, saying the report “should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies, or deceit.”

But consider that for as long as the Chilcot commission has existed, the U.K. and U.S. intelligence communities have probably fought over the language of the executive summary.

So the place to look for the less adulterated truth about Blair and the U.K. government is in the rest of the report’s 2.6 million words, including footnotes and newly declassified documents.

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Chilcot Exposes How Blair Kept Ministers and Generals in the Dark

Nick Hopkins reports for The Guardian:

Sir John Chilcot’s report is more than just a carefully worded, clearly argued dissection of the decisions that led Britain to go to war in 2003, and the failures thereafter. It amounts to an uncompromising and deeply critical exposition of the way Tony Blair conducted himself in office during this period.

In page after page, the report highlights how the former prime minister appeared to be privately saying one thing “sotto voce” to George W Bush, while keeping many of his own ministers – and military commanders – almost completely in the dark.

It also underlines how huge decisions about the legality of the war and the execution of the military campaign were never properly discussed at cabinet meetings.

In one particularly damning passage – paragraph 634 of the executive summary – Chilcot clinically exposes the inadequacies of organisation, analysis and management within government that contributed to Britain’s disastrous mission in Iraq.

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Could the War in Iraq Have Been Averted? Interview with Nafeez Ahmend, Piers Robinson and Frank Ledwidge

Presenter Martine Dennis discusses the Chilcot report and its conclusions with Nafeez Ahmed, investigative journalist and author, Piers Robinson, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester, and Frank Ledwidge, Senior Fellow at the Royal Air Force College at the University of Portsmouth and former Military Intelligence Officer who served in Iraq. (Al Jazeera English)

Chilcot’s blind spot: Iraq War report buries oil evidence, fails to address motive

David Whyte and Greg Muttitt write for Open Democracy:

 British troops carry out an evening patrol targeting smugglers at an oil plant in southern Iraq in 2003. Credit: David Cheskin The long-awaited Chilcot Report was finally released today, examining the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War and occupation. Unfortunately, on the most important question, the report’s conclusions are all but silent: why did the UK go to war?

Chilcot takes at face value the Blair government’s claim that the motive was to address Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and limits its criticism to mistakes in the intelligence on WMD, and on insufficient administrative and military planning. He shows a remarkable lack of curiosity about the political factors behind the move to war, especially given the weakness (even at the time) of the WMD case.

Most important of these is oil. Buried in deep in volume 9 of the 2.6 million-word report, Chilcot refers to government documents that explicitly state the oil objective, and outlining how Britain pursued that objective throughout the occupation. But he does not consider this evidence in his analysis or conclusions. Oil considerations do not even appear in the report’s 150-page summary.

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Chilcot report: The demonisation of Tony Blair distracts from where things really went wrong in Iraq

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

blair-bush.jpgDenunciations of Tony Blair as the evil architect of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War often dominate discussions of what happened there and many will look to the Chilcot inquiry to provide further evidence of his guilt. But the demonisation of Mr Blair is excessive and simple-minded and diverts attention from what really happened in Iraq and how such mistakes can be avoided in future.

He may have unwisely followed the US into the quagmire of Iraq, but British government policy since 1941 has been to position itself as America’s most loyal and effective ally in peace and war.

There have been significant exceptions to this rule, such as the Suez Crisis and the Vietnam War, but during the last 70 years the UK has generally sought to influence US policy in its formulation and then support it unequivocally once adopted.

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Chilcot’s judgment is utterly damning, but it’s still not justice

George Monbiot writes for The Guardian:

Little is more corrosive of democracy than impunity. When politicians do terrible things and suffer no consequences, people lose trust in both politics and justice. They see them, correctly, as instruments deployed by the strong against the weak.

Since the first world war, no British prime minister has done anything as terrible as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq. This unprovoked war caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the mutilation of hundreds of thousands more. It flung the whole region into chaos, which has been skillfully exploited by terror groups. Today, three million people in Iraq are internally displaced, and an estimated 10 million need humanitarian assistance.

Yet Blair, the co-author of these crimes, whose lethal combination of appalling judgment and tremendous powers of persuasion made the Iraq war possible, saunters the world, picking up prizes and massive fees, regally granting interviews, cloaked in a forcefield of denial and legal impunity. If this is what politics looks like, is it any wonder that so many people have given up on it?

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The U.S. Needs Its Own Chilcot Report

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

As the UK parliament released its long-awaited Chilcot report on the country’s role in the Iraq war on Wednesday, there have been renewed calls all over Britain to try former prime minister Tony Blair for war crimes. This brings up another question: what about George W Bush?

The former US president most responsible for the foreign policy catastrophe has led a peaceful existence since he left office. Not only has he avoided any post-administration inquiries into his conduct, he has inexplicably seen his approval ratings rise (despite the carnage left in his wake only getting worse). He is an in-demand fundraiser for Republicans not named Donald Trump, and he gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at corporate events. The chances of him ever saying in public, “I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever believe,” as Blair did on Wednesday, are virtually non-existent.

The only thing close to the Chilcot report in the US was the Senate intelligence committee’s long-delayed investigation on intelligence failures in the lead-up to Iraq, released in 2008. The Democratic-led committee faulted the CIA for massive intelligence failures and the Bush administration for purposefully manipulating intelligence for public consumption. It led to a couple days of headlines, denunciations from the Bush White House (still in office at the time) and that was it.

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Chilcot: The Iraq Inquiry That Took Longer Than the War

Mark Hallam writes for DW:

Sir John Chilcot Untersuchungsausschuss Irak The Iraq InquiryNASA’s Juno probe took two years fewer to reach Jupiter than the UK’s Chilcot Inquiry needed for completion. British troops spent less time on Iraqi soil than Lord John Chilcot and his team spent investigating the government’s behavior before, during and after the 2003 decision to go to war. World War II was over more quickly, too. Vietnam did at least drag on longer.

Expected to clear 2 million words, the report won’t be a swift read either – weighing in at double the length of the Harry Potter series, or three times the complete works of Shakespeare.

Years of evidence gathering and witness testimony should culminate on Wednesday in the release of the mammoth report, which is expected to be highly critical of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s actions in the lead-up to the Iraq war. The burning question is set to revolve around intent – did Blair knowingly mislead the electorate, or did he merely propagate false and flawed information he genuinely believed to be true?

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The Snooper’s Charter and Chilcot: Interview with Annie Machon

Afshin Rattansi speaks to former MI5 agent Annie Machon about the dangers of drowning in data as the House of Lords discusses the Snoopers Charter. They also cover the long awaited Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War which is due to be published in a couple of weeks, seven years since it began. (Going Underground)

Tony Blair Hints He Could Refuse to Accept Chilcot’s Iraq War Verdict

Andrew Sparrow reports for The Guardian:

Tony Blair has suggested that he will refuse to accept the verdict of the Chilcot inquiry if it accuses him of committing Britain to invading Iraq before he told parliament and the public.

In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the former prime minister said he did not think anyone could say he did not make his position clear ahead of the 2003 war that led to the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Sir John Chilcot is due to publish his long-awaited report into the war on 6 July. It is expected to be highly critical of Blair and other political and military figures. During the inquiry hearings there was particular focus on evidence suggesting Blair had given a firm commitment to back President George W Bush’s decision to invade while he was publicly saying a final decision had not yet been taken.

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Tony Blair Courted Chinese Leaders for Saudi Prince’s Oil Firm

Randeep Ramesh reports for The Guardian:

Tony Blair obtained a “blessing” from Chinese leaders for a company owned by a Saudi prince to do business in China as part of an arrangement that paid the former UK prime minister’s firm £41,000 a month and a 2% commission on any multimillion-pound contracts he helped to secure.

A series of documents, seen by the Guardian, show how Blair courted some of the most influential Chinese political leaders in 2010 and then introduced them to the Saudi-owned company he worked with, PetroSaudi. The company was not allowed to divulge his role without permission, according to the contract.

The emails suggest PetroSaudi was told of fears that the City regulator was targeting Blair over concerns he was not just opening doors but arranging and advising on deals for investors – a regulated corporate function that he is not authorised to conduct.

Blair began lobbying for PetroSaudi, a London-based company co-owned by Prince Turki bin Abdullah – the son of Saudi Arabia’s then monarch – in the summer of 2010. By the end of the year, the emails show, the former prime minister had arranged a meeting between the chair of the China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the largest companies in the world, and PetroSaudi in Saudi Arabia.

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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].”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?’

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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.

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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.’

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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.’

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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.’

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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.’

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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.’

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