Tag Archives: Tony Blair

Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq

By David Swanson, teleSUR
July 10, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

unnamedThe National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents, one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and the resources of the U.S. military.

Duelfer was appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to lead a massive search after an earlier massive search led by David Kay had determined that there were no WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Duelfer went to work in January 2004, to find nothing for a second time, on behalf of people who had launched a war knowing full well that their own statements about WMDs were not true.

The fact that Duelfer states quite clearly that he found none of the alleged WMD stockpiles cannot be repeated enough, with 42% of Americans (and 51 percent of Republicans) still believing the opposite.

A New York Times story last October about the remnants of a long-abandoned chemical weapons program has been misused and abused to advance misunderstanding. A search of Iraq today would find U.S. cluster bombs that were dropped a decade back, without of course finding evidence of a current operation.

Duelfer is also clear that Saddam Hussein’s government had accurately denied having WMD, contrary to a popular U.S. myth that Hussein had pretended to have what he did not.

The fact that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their team knowingly lied cannot be overemphasized. This group took the testimony of Hussein Kamel regarding weapons he’d said had been destroyed years ago, and used it as if he’d said they currently existed. This team used forged documents to allege a uranium purchase. They used claims about aluminum tubes that had been rejected by all of their own usual experts. They “summarized” a National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq was unlikely to attack unless attacked to say nearly the opposite in a “white paper” released to the public. Colin Powell took claims to the U.N. that had been rejected by his own staff, and touched them up with fabricated dialogue.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller concluded that, “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even nonexistent.”

On January 31, 2003, Bush suggested to Blair that they could paint an airplane with U.N. colors, fly it low to get it shot at, and thereby start the war. Then the two of them walked out to a press conference at which they said they would avoid war if at all possible. Troop deployments and bombing missions were already underway.

When Diane Sawyer asked Bush on television why he had made the claims he had about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, he replied: “What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, if he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger.”

Duelfer’s newly released internal report on his hunt, and that of Kay before him, for the figments of propagandists’ imagination refers to “Saddam Hussein’s WMD program,” which Duelfer treats as an on-again, off-again institution, as if the 2003 invasion had just caught it in one of its naturally cyclical low tides of non-existence. Duelfer also describes the nonexistent program as “an international security problem that vexed the world for three decades,” — except perhaps for the part of the world engaged in the largest public demonstrations in history, which rejected the U.S. case for war.

Duelfer openly states that his goal was to rebuild “confidence in intelligence projections of threat.” Of course, having found no WMDs, he can’t alter the inaccuracy of the “projections of threat.” Or can he? What Duelfer did publicly at the time and does again here is to claim, without providing any evidence for it, that “Saddam was directing resources to sustain the capacity to recommence producing WMD once U.N. sanctions and international scrutiny collapsed.”

Duelfer claims that former Saddam yes men, rigorously conditioned to say whatever would most please their questioner, had assured him that Saddam harbored these secret intentions to start rebuilding WMD someday. But, Duelfer admits, “there is no documentation of this objective. And analysts should not expect to find any.”

So, in Duelfer’s rehabilitation of the “intelligence community” that may soon be trying to sell you another “projection of threat” (a phrase that perfectly fits what a Freudian would say they were doing), the U.S. government invaded Iraq, devastated a society, killed upwards of a million people by best estimates, wounded, traumatized, and made homeless millions more, generated hatred for the United States, drained the U.S. economy, stripped away civil liberties back home, and laid the groundwork for the creation of ISIS, as a matter not of “preempting” an “imminent threat” but of preempting a secret plan to possibly begin constructing a future threat should circumstances totally change.

This conception of “preemptive defense” is identical to two other concepts. It’s identical to the justifications we’ve been offered recently for drone strikes. And it’s identical to aggression. Once “defense” has been stretched to include defense against theoretical future threats, it ceases to credibly distinguish itself from aggression. And yet Duelfer seems to believe he succeeded in his assignment.

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

By Glenn Greenwald
July 8, 2015
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:

Tony Blair has said he would have invaded Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and would have found a way to justify the war to parliament and the public. . . . “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?” Blair was asked. He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]”. . . . He explained it was “the notion of him as a threat to the region” because Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against his own people.

“Excusing the slaughter of totally innocent people” — whether in Fallujah or Gaza or Yemen — is a staple of Western elite discourse to justify the militarism of the U.S., the U.K. and their most special allies. It only suddenly becomes inexcusable when carried out by Muslims against the West. It is a stunning testament to Western self-delusion that one of the prime architects and salesmen of the most destructive political crime of this generation — the invasion of Iraq — can stand up with a straight face and to applause and declare: “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.”

There will undoubtedly be all sorts of self-loving jingoists in the West, along with those whose overriding political priority is the demonization of Islam, who will find this comparison invalid and even obscene. After all, their own governments’ violence, aggression and slaughter of innocents is kind-hearted, civilized and justified, whereas the violence, aggression and slaughter of innocents by Muslims is savage and barbaric. But that’s precisely the point.

While the leading lights of the West love to celebrate themselves as beacons of civilized, progressive rationality, their overriding mentality is just the crassest and most primitive form of tribalism: when Our Side does it, it is right, and when Their Side does it, it is wrong. No matter the esoteric finery in which it drapes itself, that is the primitive, banal formulation that lies at the heart of the vast, vast majority of foreign policy discourse in the West. So often, those who fancy themselves brave warriors for rationality and advancement by demonizing Islam are just rank tribalists whose own national, religious and cultural loyalties are served by doing so.

One last point while we’re on this topic: the notion that radical Muslims commit violence in response to violence by the West is often characterized as an attempt to deny that they possess agency or autonomy. That claim is just bizarre, the opposite of the truth. Those who deny that Muslims act with agency are, in fact, those who try to claim that they are manipulated by religious dogma into committing violence without any rationale or purpose. To point out that there’s an actual, rational causal relationship between their violence and the West’s — to acknowledge that they choose violence as a calculated course of action they believe to be justified just as the West does — is not a denial of their agency, but rather an affirmation of it.

This causal relationship is the point that Tony Blair and his like-minded comrades are, above all else, most desperate to deny. Blair thus expressly denies that the July 7 bombing in London was largely motivated by his war in Iraq even though his own government’s secret report reached exactly that conclusion; a Pentagon-commissioned report years ago acknowledged the same causal motive for “terrorism” generally. They’re desperate to deny this causation because to recognize it is necessarily to acknowledge that their professed moral superiority is the ultimate delusion, that they in fact are the embodiment of what they love to hear themselves condemning.

It’s always comforting to believe that one’s own tribe is morally superior yet perpetually victimized, so it’s an easy sell. But as Blair’s remarkably self-unaware comments today illustrate, this mentality centrally depends upon a steadfast commitment to blinding oneself to one’s own actions and failings. Nobody is more resolute in that commitment than Tony Blair.

Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP

Iraq’s Children: Ever Expendable – From Madeleine Albright to Tony Blair and “Save the Children.”

By Felicity Arbuthnot
February 08, 2015
Global Research

 

blair“It’s a hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it. “ (Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to the UN, on the “embargo related” deaths of half a million Iraqi children, 12thMay 1996.)

“The most traumatized child population on earth.” (Professor Magne Raundalen, Centre for Crisis Studies, Bergen, Norway, February 1992.)

Tony Blair was, mind-stretchingly, presented with Save the Children’s Global Legacy Award, on 19th November 2014. His acceptance speech included that his: “…  sense is that amidst all the challenges, and all the misery and deprivation that we seek to conquer and vanquish, there is something hopeful … something to be thankful for.”

Ironically, just two months earlier (15th August 2014) Save the Children released a Report (1) on the on the trauma amongst Iraq’s children in Northern Iraq alone, after eleven years of a Bush-Blair driven illegal invasion and ongoing resultant conflict. Iraq’s children, it was clear, had no hope and nothing “to be thankful for.”

Yet Blair was lauded by an organization that claims:  “We envision a future in which no child will die from preventable causes and where every child has nutritious food and clean water.”

Without Blair’s claims of fantasy WMDs with which Iraq could wreak annihilation in “45 minutes”, a lie quoted by General Colin Powell at the United Nations exactly twelve years ago, 5th February 2003, for the children of Iraq a genocidal “preventable cause” might have been avoided.

“Nutritious food and clean water”, had, of course, been deliberately destroyed on US Central Command’s order to bomb all water facilities in Iraq in 1991. Food was poisoned by the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons, contaminating all fauna and flora. DU’s “half-life” is 4.5 Billion years. And it is not “depleted.”

The contamination nightmare was compounded in orders of magnitude by the further use of DU weapons in 2003, used again by the UK under Blair’s government. (2)

Befoulment of air, water and food for infinity condemns future generations of unborn, newborn and developing children in Iraq and the region to a poisoned legacy of cancers and deformities for generations to come. War crimes unequalled in history.

Moreover: “ The special investigator of the UN Sub-Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights has declared DU munitions illegal under existing humanitarian law. DU weapons also produce a toxic metal fume (sic) that violates the Geneva Protocol on the Use of Gas in War, which the US signed in 1975.” (3)

Further, after thirteen years of the US-UK driven embargo resulting in the deaths of an average of six thousand children a month from “embargo-related causes”, according to the UN, Prime Minister Blair was integral in instigating a war against children:

In 2003 Iraq’s population was just twenty four million. Over forty percent were aged 0-14. The median age of the country was nineteen. (4)

By 2010, seven years in to an unending war, over a quarter of Iraqi children suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. (War Child Report, May 2013.) In the five months prior to the Report’s publication, 700 children and young people had been killed, a figure, as all on Iraq, almost certainly a significant underestimate. Between financial constraints, fear of authority and the dangers of travel, numerous deaths are unrecorded.

Also in 2010 a study of cancers, leukemia’s and birth defects linked to the use of DU proved:“… that there are massive increases in cancer, a 38-fold increase in leukemia, 10-fold increase in breast cancer and infant mortalities are also staggering,” stated one of the authors, scientist Malak Hamdan. (5)

“We invest in childhood – every day, in times of crisis & for our future. We give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn & protection from harm”, states Save the Children on Facebook.

They should urgently research what their Global Award winner has unleashed on the child population of Iraq by viewing the eye watering, mind numbing UN Report on total deaths and injuries month by month, November 2012 to date. (6) 2014 was the “deadliest year since 2008”, which was the deadliest year since 2005 in Iraq’s never ending annual hell. The figures should be engraved on Blair’s tombstone.

As Tony Blair and fellow architects of the invasion celebrated Christmas and New Year it was announced, on 1st January 2015, that: “According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 1,101 Iraqis were killed and another 1,868 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in December.”

January 2015 saw no sign of improvement.

Of course, as recounted before, after the 1991 decimation, US and UK ‘planes bombed Iraq illegally, often daily, throughout the grinding deprivation of the embargo years until the 2003 blitzkrieg and invasion. That criminal onslaught intensified under Blair’s government.

As ever, children were the paramount victims. After one attack on Baghdad the children in the main orphanage refused to sleep in their beds ever again, huddling under them for pathetic perceived extra safety.

When the flocks of sheep and goats were routinely bombed – Iraqis were convinced they were to be deprived of all food since broadly fifty percent of all livestock were targeted and destroyed, as were precious date palms, in 1991- the child shepherds were blown to bits with their flocks.

In context, but as also recounted before, when I telephoned Blair’s Ministry of Defence and asked why they were targeting these flocks, always tended by very young children whose ages were not even in double digits, the spokesman did not miss a beat: ”We reserve the right to take robust action when threatened”, he replied.

On receiving his Award Blair also said: “What we celebrate is the opposite of cynicism and the reason for optimism …” Not if you are a child in Iraq or Afghanistan, the latter also decimated and invaded with the help of his forces.

In the UK, Miranda Pinch was outraged enough by the Award to instantly set up a petition condemning this honouring of Blair, which gathered 125,000 signatures. With Robin Priestly of the “38 Degrees” petition organization and writer Miranda Landgraf she delivered it to Save the Children UK’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, Brendan Cox on 13th January.

Landgraf, who also crochet’s professionally: “handed Brendon Cox three baskets of 490 crocheted flowers with the name and age, where known, of a child victim in Gaza. Countless more flowers could have been produced to represent the innocent children that have died across the Middle East under Blair’s watch in his various roles”, writes Miranda Pinch, detailing the meeting. (7)

Brendan Cox agreed to make a public statement regarding the Blair debacle, and the “error of judgement” of his colleague Justin Forsyth.

Forsyth is a former special advisor to Blair and is now Chief Executive of Save the Children, UK. He delivered the Award invitation to Blair personally.

After the meeting and some negotiation, Miranda Pinch received a letter (8) from Brendan Cox, it included:

“As you know, this was a decision made by Save the Children US and although we were made aware of the decision, and we passed on the invite to his office at their request, we weren’t part of the decision making process. In retrospect we should have foreseen the controversy this might generate.” Indeed they should.

“For a number of reasons this is not a decision Save UK would have taken.”

The really mind bending bit is: “This isn’t because Tony Blair doesn’t deserve recognition for the leadership he showed on Africa – he does – but because his other actions, particularly those on Iraq, which Save the Children opposed strongly at the time, overshadow how the public see him in the UK.”

Blair of course has made a mint from advising some controversial alleged human rights decimators in Africa. From his Africa Governance Initiative website:

“AGI works in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal at present, with new countries on the horizon. We work at two levels: At the political leadership level, Tony Blair draws on his ten years as Prime Minister to offer leaders the kind of advice on reform that only someone who has stood in a leader’s shoes can give.”

Apart from jaw dropping arrogance, how his “ten years as Prime Minister” which including erasing children and their families, engaging in mistruths justifying an illegal invasion, and enjoining another (Afghanistan) and the decimation of the former Yugoslavia qualifies him to “offer leaders the kind of advice on reform …”, surely only a psychiatrist could fathom.

His direct involvement in the Iraq embargo as Prime Minister from 1997, and the subsequent illegal invasion are not an “overshadow” but a genocide.

A truly astonishing phrase in Brendan Cox’s letter is that: “The intent behind the (Save the Children USA) Award was to incentivize and recognize political leadership on development.”

“Leadership on development”? Blair enjoined in destroying the “Cradle of Civilization”, outdoing the Mongol Hordes in their 1258 destruction of Baghdad.

Bush and Blair’s onslaught obliterated unique archeological gems, ancient libraries, manuscripts, monuments, throughout the country, with infrastructure, social structures, education, health, welfare, all civil records – births, deaths, marriages, land deeds, national archives – environment, normality.

Save the Children’s co-founder, Eglantyne Jebb, established the organization in the UK in response to Europe and Russia’s tragedies after World War One. She: “ …wanted to make the rights and welfare of children a major issue around the world. Her ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ was adopted by the forerunner of the UN, The League of Nations and inspired the current UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Having established by telephone that Save the Children International is still London based, I emailed: “My main query is fairly kindergarten. If, as I understand it, Orange Street (in central London) is, if you will, the ‘head office’ for StC International a) why were they not consulted regarding the Award to Tony Blair and b) why have they no say in rescinding it?”

So far, there has been no response.

Notes:

1.     http://www.savethechildren.net/article/increasing-number-iraqi-children-displaying-signs-trauma-after-fleeing-violence-north

2.     Daily Hansard – Written Answers, 22 July 2010 : Column 459W, Written Answers to Questions: Depleted Uranium  (Scroll to last question.)

3.     http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/68824:craig-etchison–depleted-uranium-pernicious-killer-keeps-on-killing

4.     http://www.indexmundi.com/en/facts/2003/iraq/demographics_profile.html

5.     http://rt.com/news/uk-iraq-depleted-uranium/

6.     http://www.uniraq.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=category&id=159:civilian-casualties&Itemid=633&lang=en

7.     https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-save-the-children-charity-from-giving-tony-blair-their-annual-global-legacy-award

8.     http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-campaign-to-revoke-war-criminal-tony-blairs-global-legacy-award-save-the-children-stc-responds-and-apologizes/5428784

9.     http://www.africagovernance.org/africa/pages/our-approach

10.  http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/history#sthash.RTNZdYWk.dpuf

The Iraq Invasion: The “Six Wise Men” Tony Blair Ignored

By Felicity Arbuthnot
January 26, 2015
Global Research

 

“Nothing justifies killing of innocent people.” Tony Blair, CNN, 15th January 2015.

The Independent on Sunday has revealed that having decided to back George W. Bush in the illegal invasion of Iraq come what may, in November 2002 the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, with senior advisors, consulted “six wise men” – then ignored all they had to say. Four of those consulted agreed to talk to the Independent (1.)

The revelations end a week when the publication of Chilcot Inquiry in to the invasion is further delayed and government statements confirm it will not now be released until after the UK elections in May, fuelling suspicions that Prime Minister David Cameron – on record as Blair’s admirer, regarding him as a “mentor” – is watching Blair’s back.

Senior politicians are calling for an immediate release of the Inquiry’s findings with Welsh Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary leader Elfyn Lwyd demanding in a parliamentary debate this week: ”for all documents cleared for publication to be released immediately.” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stated that the delay is leading to fears the Report is being “sexed down.” (Guardian, 24th January 2015.)

Thus, the revelations of the “wise men”, all academics with exceptional knowledge of Iraq, “the Middle East and international affairs” can only further embarrass Cameron and put further pressure on a (hopefully) embattled Blair.

The consultation, held in the Cabinet Room was for the experts to “outline the worst that could happen.” The invasion, had been decided just days after 11th September 2001 (2.) Consolidation was at a meeting between Bush and Blair seven months before the day of the “wise men”, in April 2002 (3.)

“They were expecting a short, sharp, easy campaign” and grateful Iraqis said Dr. Toby Dodge, then of Queen Mary University of London, now of the London School of Economics and Senior Consulting Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies.

He warned that Iraqis would fight against invaders and for their country over celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein. He warned of “disaster” and civil war. “My aim … was to tell them as much as I could, so there would be no excuse and nobody saying ‘I didn’t know.’ “

Dr. Dodge still has faith in the Chilcot Report (4) stressing the long fight to obtain the transcripts of the Blair-Bush conversations. He believes it will: “ be damning.”

Professor George Joffe of Cambridge University concurs: “I think it is bound to be damning. The errors of judgement were so blatant, there is no way they can whitewash this.”

Dr. Dodge commented on the detailed briefing they six had from Blair’s staff on the day of the meeting, 19th November. They were warned: “Don’t tell him not to do it. He has already made up his mind.”

And after the invasion? “They had no plan for what would happen …” said Professor Joffe: “The approach was: “the Americans are heading this up. They will have a detailed plan. We need to follow them.” There was no such plan. “The State Department spent a year preparing a detailed briefing (on the post invasion scenario.)” It was “junked. They were making up policy on the hoof.”

Professor Joffe also “emphasized the rigid power structure in Iraq” thus the complexities of removing, collapsing it. He “became frustrated” when Blair’s simplistic response was: “But the man is evil, isn’t he?”

George Joffe also states: “The people who were put in charge of Iraq had very little knowledge or experience of the Middle East … They were quite childish in somehow believing democracy would bloom”, demonstrating “ignorance” of the region, even of political workings.

Moreover, the decision to dismantle the army and the ruling Ba’ath party “opened a Pandora’s box” removing the lid which had been in place. “Islamic State is a direct consequence of the decision to invade.”

Steven Simon, then Deputy Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a US diplomat seconded from the State Department who attended the gathering believes whatever the planning, the invasion would have anyway been catastrophic.

With proper planning there might have been a slender chance: “But only a small shot.”

Professor Michael Clarke, then of King’s College London, now Director General of the Royal United Services Institute believes Blair’s public justification of the invasion was mistaken. “ We knew there was no nuclear stuff in Iraq.”

He did, however, believe there were chemical weapons, in spite of the fact that the embargo was so strangulating that even vital water purification and blood products, ping pong balls, building materials, just about everything was denied and all seeing US satellites monitored all movement.  Nevertheless, the “45 minute” strike against British troops in Cyprus was “always absurd.”

With the two “dodgy dossiers” Blair: “presented his case to the public as if he had incontrovertible evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. That was rubbish. They were ridiculous documents, both those documents.”

Professor Clarke though seemingly has some sympathy for Tony Blair: “He has been knocked about, but I think history will judge him more kindly than his contemporaries.” There will certainly be many who have no such expectations, believing Blair may well join history’s most infamous reviled.

Notes

1.    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iraq-invasion-2003-the-bloody-warnings-six-wise-men-gave-to-tony-blair-as-he-prepared-to-launch-poorly-planned-campaign-10000839.html

2.    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/apr/04/iraq.iraq

3.    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8386645.stm

4.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Inquiry

Save the Children Trying to “Contain” Damage from Tony Blair Award: Leaked Email