Getting away with it

February 2010

The key word so far this decade where Middle Eastern affairs are concerned: Deception.

First up,the masters of the dark art themselves, Alistair Campbell and Tony Blair, flicking flies at the Chilcot enquiry. Tony didn't have the guts to face a generous crowd who had assembled at the crack of dawn to demand he be held accountable for leading the country into an illegal war, squandering more than £25 billion on military action in Iraq and causing the deaths of 1.4 million innocent Iraqis. He arrived half an hour early and sneaked in the back door. 

Although Tony was initially visibly shaky, and looked like he hadn't slept much (although I suppose he had to get up so early to avoid his critics), he soon relaxed when he realized he wasn't going to get a hard time from the committee tasked with investigating 'what really happened' in the lead-up to invading Iraq. This was not a surprising conclusion since the committee contains not a single lawyer, was hand-picked by the government and includes a colleague of Blair's on the JP Morgan Chase 'advisory' payroll, two historians (one of whom penned a peech for Blair defending the decision to invade) and another phoney peer, doubling up as the token woman and non-white person, Baroness Usha Prashar, a known apologist for the war anyway with close links to the political establishment.

Tony stuck closely to the furrow ploughed for him by Lord Mandelson in his earlier appearance, saying he had no choice and no regrets. The Middle Eastern 'peace envoy' did manage to get in some war-mongering digs at Iran though which indicates military action against that country is probably not far off.


In an ideal world where there was real Justice, and Truth actually mattered, how would things have gone at the Chilcot enquiry?

First, the committee would have been genuinely interested in establishing whether or not Blair knew that his commitment to supporting President George W. Bush in attacking Iraq in order to force regime change was an illegal act of aggression under international law. You'd think that as a highly professional lawyer married to a human rights lawyer, he would be aware of the Geneva Convention... even if he was a bit rusty on that, plenty of people told him it wouldn't be legal, including Attorney General Lord Goldsmith (before his brainwashing trip to Washington a few days prior to the invasion).

Not only Goldsmith, but also leading Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) lawyers Sir Michael Wood and Elizabeth Wilmshurst (who resigned over Iraq), who told the Chilcot enquiry on 26 January 2010 that the entire FCO legal team had advised against invading, but were overruled by Jack Straw.

Second, they would have wanted to know whether, in the absence of a mandate from the UN to invade Iraq, Blair deliberately misled his cabinet, parliament and then British people by making up evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. Hans Blix and his team of UN weapons inspectors found nothing in the run up to the war, and the CIA confirmed in 2005 that no such weapons existed at the time of the invasion.


Third, they would be extremely interested in whether phoney Tony has benefited financially from his collusion with Bush to bring down Saddam Hussein and replace him with a 'friendly' government in Iraq. It is said that he earns £1million a year for one day's work a month at JP Morgan, which has invested heavily in reconstruction projects in Iraq. (As mentioned above, Chilcot committee member Roderic Lyne is also a JP Morgan 'advisor').


If the Chilcot enquiry had then found that Tony Blair fabricated evidence to prosecute an illegal war which has caused the deaths of nearly one and a half million innocent Iraqis, and from which he has personally benefited then, in an ideal world, they would recommend he be brought to the International Criminal Court in the Hague and tried as a war criminal.   

At least Tony Blair would be given a fair trial in The Hague, something that was denied his Iraqi counterpart, President Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was tried instead by a 'Special Tribunal' that organizations such as the UN's High Commission for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said did not meet international standards for a fair trial. Saddam, of course, was hanged.

But the world in Westminster is not an ideal world, which is why Tony relaxed as the day went on, realizing what a fool he'd been to worry.... Families of soldiers killed in Iraq, who had been invited to attend the hearings, managed to speak for the majority of Brits when, sickened by the whitewashing that was going right under their noses, they shouted  'murderer' and 'war criminal' at Blair before being carted out by security officers, guilty of the crime of free speech. Hats off to the feisty older woman who attempted a citizen's arrest on Tone as he left and to George Monbiot for offering a reward to the first person to succeed in this duty.



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