Democracy Threatens: Putin, Georgia, Ukraine & “bang to rights” British spies

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28th January 2012

DEMOCRACY THREATENS

If you think international affairs do and, for that matter should impact on decisions made by western leaders, you need to watch the ongoing ‘Putin, Russia & the West’ series on BBC2.

Also at BBC website – for 3 more weeks (UK only) – Part 2 of “Putin, Russia and the west ‘Democracy Threatens

“BANG TO RIGHTS” for PLANKERS … er… PLONKERS

The bang-to-rights excerpt was shown on Thursday’s programme.

Can I tell you something? Are you sure now? You won’t get upset? Can you cope with this? OK. I’ll take your word for it.

If you think Jonathan Powell’s bang-to-rights phrase on the spy rock OR showing us that British spies CAN be found out is of more value than the rest of this excellent programme, you’re as thick as two short planks.

In fact if you’re under 21, and eligible to become a Russian citizen, you’d likely fit in well here with Hitl … Putin’s Youth –

In case you missed the real spy-rock story – Putin used the spy-rock to justify a new law drastically restricting the work of non-government organisations – NGOs.  Many had to shut down.

Scroll to 54 mins to see what Putin had to say about the murder of the leading reporter of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

“The journalist was a sharp critic of the Russian government. Journalists should know,  as experts are fully aware, that her influence on political life in Russia was totally insignificant.”

Like her death? Journalists should know.

The second episode includes an extraordinary interview with former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, who was widely thought to be responsible for murder, corruption and sanctions-busting. He tells how, in the 2004 election, he set about getting his chosen successor elected president – with the help of Putin and his Kremlin advisers. The opposition candidate, Victor Yushchenko, tells what it was like to be poisoned during the election campaign. It won him many voters and exit polls gave him a clear lead, but the Putin/Kuchma-backed candidate was still declared the winner. This result sparked the Orange Revolution.

Kremlin officials tell how they made sure that Putin would not face a similar revolution at home. It is claimed critics of Putin, including the British ambassador, were intimidated and some were even murdered. Tens of thousands of young Russians were mobilised to fight the threat of democracy.

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RELATED

Part 1 of 4 of Putin, Russia and the West – ‘Taking Control‘. (3 weeks left to view, UK only) – Watch it here Whole programme is also viewable on YouTube here

ETCETERA

1. The present Russian President, Medvedev is asked – “Are you ready to die like Saddam?”

Excerpt:

“An acute, revolutionary situation is now brewing in the country. Are you ready to face responsibility?” journalism student Vladimir Polyakov demanded.

“Do you realise that you could even be condemned to death? Are you ready to take it bravely just like Saddam Hussein did or will you emigrate to friendly North Korea?”

Read rest of above article on the upcoming Russian elections and candidates, or former candidates.

2. BBC News – Syria crisis: UN Security Council mulls Assad measures

The UN Security Council has met to consider a draft resolution against Syria’s government.

Activists and the Arab League urged the UN to take stronger action after an upsurge in violence this week in which dozens of people have died.

The UK, France and Germany drafted a resolution with Arab states supporting the League’s call for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to a deputy.

Russia, an ally of Mr Assad, has indicated it would not back the text.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the meeting in New York that the draft resolution was unacceptable in parts, but Moscow was ready to engage in talks about it, according to Reuters news agency.

Russia and China vetoed a previous draft resolution against Syria late last year.

Over to you, China.

By the way, I hope you’re still remembering –

TONY BLAIR WAS RIGHT

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1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

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Tony Blair was right on Chirac & UN Resolution on Iraq

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26th January 2012

TONY BLAIR WAS RIGHT

[Continued from previous post]

Put out of your mind this part of the narrative.

[At 35:00] “A few days after the Bushes and the Putins Russian soldiers in Chechnya carried out a routine raid on a village […] Russia’s overwhelming force drove the Chechens to suicide bombings and terror attacks“.

It is BBC western liberal parlance on Chechen Moscow Theatre terrorism (emboldened). It is the usual morally equivalent excuse from the “we made ’em do it – all our fault” brigade. Apart from a few minor flaws like that the programme was insightful.

But were France and Germany really determined to flummox UNSC support for Bush & Blair?

Enough to sign up to Putin’s manoeuvering? Putin, who had already by then shown himself to be not exactly trustworthy? It certainly seems so.

I realise it is arguable that the “proviso” mentioned in the programme’s narrative gave Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder wiggle room.

Putin wanted Chirac’s word that he would vote against the war unless there was hard evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The joint position was agreed. If there was a vote without these conditions we would both veto it.

It is arguable. But only just. In realpolitik both had already made it clear to Tony Blair that they did not support the US and British leaders in their quest for a new UN resolution.

Putin, Schroder, Chirac. (We'll wipe the smile off laughing-boy Blair's face)

After forming their newly found mutually helpful relationship with Putin, imagine either the French or  German leader suddenly agreeing to support the UNSC resolution on Iraq.  Acceptable “hard evidence” or not, it would not have happened.

Blair was right.  Putin’s advances to Chirac were simply using the French President’s already public position against the Iraq invasion.

REMEMBER THE HISTORY

Chirac to Blair - "Leo will not thank you ..."

In October 2002, at a crucial EU summit, as Blair and US President George W Bush were becoming increasingly isolated, Chirac privately urged caution, even using the Prime Minister’s then-infant son to bolster his argument, saying – ‘Leo will not thank you if you take Britain into war.’ (See Guardian)

It was also reported in the Guardian article, quoting Stephen Wall, that Blair and Alastair Campbell had decided to place the blame for deadlock squarely on Chirac, following a breakdown of diplomatic efforts to get a second Security Council resolution that could have delayed an invasion.

‘I recall the moment,’ Wall says in the documentary, ‘because I happened to be in the corridor in Number 10 when he and Alastair Campbell were walking down the corridor and they decided effectively to play the anti-French card. They’d been given an opportunity to do so because President Chirac had given a broadcast interview the previous day in which he said that, as of that moment, France would veto a resolution authorising war.’

[NOTE the last sentence above. “They’d been given an opportunity … Chirac … veto”]

Wall also says it was clear that Chirac had not ruled out the possibility of future French support for such a compromise.

Ah oui, mes petits. Peut-être.

Mr Wall did not have to make the decisions.

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Part 1 of 4 of Putin, Russia and the West – ‘Taking Control‘. (Four weeks left to view, UK only) – Watch it here.  Whole programme is also viewable on YouTube here

“Putin, Russia & the West”, Part 1 of 4  is also reviewed here at The Telegraph.

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Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition

1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

See full signature list


Putin conspired with France’s Chirac to block UN Resolution on Iraq

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Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm June 6-8 2007, shortly before Blair left office.

24th January 2012

Tony Blair’s testimony to Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry and to every other questioner on the issue of France blocking a new UN resolution was accurate. France’s Chirac really was determined to scupper the allies’ drive to secure UN backing for war.

According to BBC 2’s Putin, Russia and the West it us hard to come to any other conclusion than this one:

Tony Blair was right.

France and Germany, fair-weather friends of Britain and the USA, were in it together in order to foil US/UK attempts to secure UN backing for war against Saddam’s Iraq.

“BANG TO RIGHTS” – THE RUSSIANS

So, did you switch over to BBC2 last Thursday evening hoping to see the bit about how British spydom was simply dumb? Me too.  It was all over the media, including the BBC. The Russians were “bang to rights” said Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former aide. Since we Brits just LOVE to hear how the bad guys are the good guys and we Brits and Americans, as we all know, are really the bad guys, I had to make sure I didn’t miss it.  I even let the laptop cool down for an hour or so!

Know your enemy, as they say.

I dutifully switched to the BBC and it seems the use of “bang to rights” was no more than a sprat to catch a mackerel. We read all about the “bang to” and “rights” bit on the Russians. Just as we haven’t read all about this interesting excerpt that – let me repeat for the hard of understanding of political intrigue and ally skewering:

TONY BLAIR WAS RIGHT

If you did watch the programme you might have been (temporarily) disappointed.

No stone was left unturned in my efforts to catch the up turning of the “spy rock“.  It didn’t show up; not in a Moscow street, park or anywhere else. This Thursday, it seems.

However, last Thursday’s episode was not to be missed.

Part 1 of 4 of Putin, Russia and the West – ‘Taking Control‘. (Four weeks left to view, UK only) – Watch it here

Update: Whole programme is also viewable on YouTube here

RELATED

Putin, Russia & the West is also reviewed here at The Telegraph by David Blair (no relation, as far as I know.)

To be continued in next post. (That’s enough of a shock for the Blair haters for one day.) Just remember –

TONY BLAIR WAS RIGHT

AU REVOIR DIT CHIRAC ET SES BONS AMIS – PUTIN ET SCHRODER

Chirac, Putin & Schroder agreed to veto ANY US resolution at UN to attack Iraq. Principled or political?

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Programme info:  Putin, Russia & the West – Taking Control

  • Broadcast on BBC Two, 9:00PM Thu, 19 Jan 2012
  • Available until 9:59PM Thu, 16 Feb 2012
  • First broadcast BBC HD, 9:00PM Thu, 19 Jan 2012

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Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition

1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

See full signature list


Crazy Constellations! TB? It’s written in the stars. I’m NOT making this up!

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17th January 2012

I told my fellow tweeps earlier that there was a constellation that looked like a “T” – Great Dog (in green, at bottom of chart.)

Bottom of chart - Great Dog Constellation - in shape of a "T"

To be honest (and aren’t I always?) I was only messing around. I had no idea.

It just seemed appropriate with all the goings-on today over Luke Bozier a strong Blairite defecting from Labour to the Conservatives; the Blair-less Labour party doing nasty things to the popular Glasgow MP Tom Harris (also a Blairite) over a spoof Hitler/Alex Salmond video he’d  uploaded to YouTube thus getting booted out of his job – see ‘Tom Harris Downfall’; and Unite’s Len McCluskey up to some old Union divide-and-rule tricks. In Mr McCluskey’s case it seemed Ed Miliband was embracing “discredited Blairism” (yes, yes, I know!) so McCluskey said they had to sort him out.  Else, he would be really sorted out by the er… Blairites (the “discredited” losers y’know) who would then claim the party for their evil little selves.

I’m still trying to get my head around all of this.

So in this stargazing week it seemed just the time to say something about TB and the stars.

I told fellow tweeps that I thought I’d go and take a look for a constellation in the shape of a “B”.  As if – thought I! Great constellations! I didn’t even know the “T” existed then, if truth be told!

Lo and behold, miracle of miracles, there it was. To the upper right of the “T”, just as I had hoped for.

After “Great Dog” “T” there was “B” -“Hunter” constellation.

Hunter constellation, to right above Great Dog("T") in shape of a "B"

The whole thing is so coincidental, so … er weird.  If I was the type, I’d be yelling – ‘there you go – it’s written in the stars.’

OK, I will anyway…..

TB = Great Dog/Hunter – it’s written in the stars!

Even the names are good. Not a Swan or an Aiden or a River or a Chained Princess – but a Great Dog/Hunter.

I’m almost speechless. Wonder what Brian Cox makes of this? I have to go and lie down.

Of course there is always the chance it’s referring to Tony Benn – as this tweep suggested to me. Or to Tony Booth, Cherie Blair’s father or …

But I think I’ll stay with my interpretation.

Go here to download the AstroViewer.

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Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition

1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

See full signature list


Statement from the Office of Tony Blair: Sunday Telegraph expenses story

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13th January 2012

It seems the Telegraph has received this statement from Tony Blair’s office. I’m not sure when – today or days ago.  But it is worth noting and keeping an eye out. Let’s see if and when the Telegraph retracts any of its ‘story‘ in the light of this. As soon as I notice they have published an apology I promise I’ll post it here. On that you can really ‘count’!

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Friday, Jan 13, 2012 in Office of Tony Blair

On 8th January, the Sunday Telegraph ran a story under the headline, Tony Blair and the £8million tax ‘mystery’. The following statement from the Office of Tony Blair was sent to the newspaper following publication of that story:

“Even by the standards of the Sunday Telegraph campaign on Tony Blair’s post Prime Minister career, your story was a shocker.

“Mr Blair does not only pay £315,000 in tax. The tax you refer to is not Mr Blair’s personal tax but that of the company through which he administers the costs of his different activities worldwide. There was a surplus in the company at the end of the accounting year of just over £1m. It paid £315,000 tax on this. That has nothing whatever to do with Mr Blair’s income, nor his personal tax, nor the profits or revenues of his business.

“The £12.005m you refer to are not his earnings, nor the earnings from his business. It is the money allocated to cover the costs of administering all the various things he does in the world. So to elide costs with earnings and then use a tax figure that has nothing to do with Mr Blair’s earnings, and implying it is all Mr Blair pays personally in tax is completely misleading.

“For the record, on Mr Blair’s actual earnings he is a 50% top rate taxpayer and his businesses pay full UK corporation tax.

“He also supports, from his earnings, the charities he has established as well as making other donations. There are more than 120 people working on all his activities around the world. He actually spends the majority of his time on unpaid pro bono work in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.”

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Original source – ‘Statement from the Office of Tony Blair on last week’s Sunday Telegraph story’

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Related

Harry Langford also mentions this, and says to his fellow Labour party members:

” Shame on the members of The Labour Party that use false stories put out by The Sunday Telegraph and other papers of a similar political nature to discredit the most successful Labour leader ever.”

Well said, Harry. As I think I may have mentioned before – we should recognise our friends, so that we may better identify our enemies.

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Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition

1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

See full signature list


Twitter fails to act over Ed Miliband lookalike’s anti-Israel death threats

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5th January 2012

This is a crosspost (very cross) from The Jewish Chronicle Online (original source)

I’ll let the article speak for itself.  With sincere thanks to Martin Bright

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Twitter fails to act over Ed Miliband lookalike’s anti-Israel death threats

The social networking site, Twitter, has provoked fury after refusing to act against a user responsible for a stream of death threats and antisemitic abuse.

Shereef Abdallah, who advertises himself as an Ed Miliband lookalike and claims to have worked on the Labour leader’s election campaign, began by targeting people identified as supporters of Tony Blair. He has since widened his online attacks to anyone who challenges him.

As the violence of his language escalated, Mr Abdallah turned his fire on a young British Israeli woman, “Rachel”, who had criticised his description of his opponents as Nazis.

Using often explicit pornographic language, Mr Abdallah made direct threats such as: “I will hunt you down & fight you min by min. hr by hr. day by day. wk by wk. month by month. year by year for the rest of yr life.”

He later threatened to beat her to death, noting that this was “a promise” he would carry out. The police have now taken up the case after a former Labour Party press officer intervened – only to be threatened with having his throat cut.

Mr Abdallah, who has worked as a volunteer at the office of Glenda Jackson and blogged for the Labour Party affiliate organisation Young Fabians, started his campaign with attacks on “Julia”, a young woman who runs the Blairite blog Julie’s Think Tank. The JC has been advised not to reveal the identity of the women involved as there is a risk that Mr Abdallah may turn his violent, often sexual fantasies into real acts of violence. Many of his tweets end with the sign-off “R.I.P.”

The probation officers’ union, Napo, which is running a campaign to toughen up the laws on stalking, referred the tweets to a psychological profiler who helps the police identify violent offenders. She concluded that there was a 30 per cent chance that Mr Abdallah would turn his threats into real acts of violence.

When a Twitter user known as @blairsupporter reported the abuse received from Mr Abdallah, Twitter responded: “We have investigated the reported account and have found that it’s not in violation of the Twitter rules at this time. We have a policy against violent threats, but the content of this account lacks the specificity to meet the criteria of an actionable threat.”

A spokeswoman from Twitter’s “Trust and Safety” department suggested contacting dealing with the matter locally. She continued: “Websites do not have the ability to investigate and assess a threat, bring charges or prosecute individuals.”

But the Community Security Trust spokesman, Mark Gardner, said Twitter’s position set a dangerous precedent: “These tweets are a clear example of racist intimidation and threats. We cannot have a situation where modern media is exempt from basic legal protocol.”

Harry Fletcher, who is running Napo’s campaign on stalking law reform, said: “The threat to these women is real, frightening and could escalate. Social media companies need to wake up to their responsibilities and deal with this as a matter of urgency.”

John Mann MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: “Individuals continue to peddle hate online. This highlights the ever-emerging problem with Twitter and it is very troubling that they refuse to act.”

Mr Abdallah, who has used the names @Sheik74k and @LFCSheikKD on Twitter, bombarded “Julia” with messages such as: “Your nightmare is just starting, Julia, it will only get worse for you every day 24/7 till you leave twitter”; “Zionists can’t save you, Julia, the only way to stop it is to leave twitter. Racist tory anti Islamic scum”; “I fear nothing not even death so will fight you and your ilk to my last breath.” Most chilling of all was the message: “… are you still alive FFS? You will be next after I end [Rachel]…. that’s a promise. sleep tight”.

The young blogger became seriously concerned when Mr Abdallah turned up at her university.

To “Rachel”, he wrote in capital letters: “I WILL BEAT YOU TO DEATH… R.I.P; THIS IS NOT A THREAT… THAT IS A PROMISE.”

The Fabian Society said Mr Abdallah had falsely claimed to be a member of the Young Fabians when he posted as a blogger on its website. His post was subsequently removed.

Mr Abdallah refused to answer the JC’s questions.

● A Jerusalem-based lawyer has claimed that Twitter is providing services to groups such as Hizbollah.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who specialises in cases against terror groups, said that the company could be violating US law.

Although Hizbollah does not have an official Twitter account, that of the Al-Manar TV network, which Hizbollah controls, has 7,500 followers.

● Twitter users in Israel are only able to select “Palestinian Territories” when listing their location.

Users can choose a location using their mobile phones. But anyone wanting to choose Israel finds a drop-down menu which offers only “Palestinian Territories”.

Twitter says: “We list countries where we’ve launched SMS with at least one operator. We’ve been in touch with operators in Israel but haven’t yet been able to launch SMS there. So it’s not included on the list.”

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NOTE: To whomsoever it may concern, I have several days  of Mr Abdallah’s tweets saved and able to be viewed or forwarded on request.  These include printscreens going back several weeks of many particularly virulent, violence-threatening tweets.

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Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition

1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

See full signature list


BBC’s (& Quentin Letts’) ‘let’s pretend’ obituary for Tony Blair

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2nd January 2012

Happy New Year to all! Let’s hope it’s better than the old one.

London's world-famous clock tower, commonly known as Big Ben, seems to explode in a blaze of fireworks. Guy Fawkes would have been proud.

The oddly timed news (rather leak – the broadcaster itself didn’t tell us) that the hallowed  BBC was doing interviews ready for Tony Blair’s eventual obituary  (yes he’ll have to go one day like the rest of us – no way out of that way out) raised a few eyebrows when it broke at The Sun.

Tony Blair at an event in London, beginning of December, 2011

For the record I saw Mr Blair in recent weeks and he didn’t look at all as though he was even approaching death’s door.  But questionably untimely as is this scour around to record snips from presumably the usual suspects  – in case they pop off before he does – it has some rhyme and reason. Quentin Letts’s reasons for his atrocious piece of work are far less excusable.

Let’s do Letts later, as it were.

The BBC MUST be prepared.  After all their broadcasting outfit is a near monopoly and bears a lot of responsibility for being right up there with the latest, so to speak. The BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world with the world’s largest broadcast news organisation and a reach in Britain of more than all the other British media outlets put together.

Aside : Despite this my request several weeks ago to the Leveson “Press” Inquiry as to whether or not broadcasters too are being looked into remains unanswered.

Since 73% get their news from TV, with the BBC supplying 70% of all TV news, the Beeb certainly has some responsibility; and some power.

It would never do if in say 20/30/40 years time when the time comes to remind us all about Tony Blair and the life and reasons for (successes & not to mention failings of the then late lamented) to find such as Tam Dalyell, Tony Benn, Clare Short and George Galloway had already popped their clogs.  Oh tragedy – true, utter, real tragedy! Not one of them to be found opining liberally on the Commons grassy bits .

The horror! Bereft indeed!

Dig out the archives, replay the video clips. Find SOMEthing … ANYthing to remind the waiting, wailing punters of… you know the rest.

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Just a little background aside or three on some likely interviewees. Come back to the below later if you prefer.

ORDER! ORDER!

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ALAS, POOR YORICK TONY! I KNEW HIM …

So the usual suspects and perhaps even a few sensible types have got their er… tributes in first.  In the can; on the record; ready for the big day when we can all find out how and why the most electorally successful Labour leader ever was such a … what’s the word …  oh yes, failure.

I DO realise that this writing up of early obituaries is common practice, just in case.  Since Mr Blair is just 58 it may be a decade or several premature.  I discount immediately perceived “threats” to him as suggested by someone here. The BBC may be at times illiberal with the verity but it is not a  killer setup regardless of Jeremy Paxman’s cross-media article (let’s pretend it’s about his fave pic) inadvertently I’m sure, rousing would-be assassin types who hang out at the rough corners of the Guardian of the TROOF.  As if, eh?

But nor do I imagine this BBC obituary will be a quick two-minute snip mourning a senior statesman’s demise.  Instead it will be a programme-length exhortation – or perhaps a series – as to what NOT to do with power. While of course explaining in no unbiased terms as to why exactly Mr Blair was such a ‘disappointment’ (to some.)

BBC ANTI-BLAIR BIAS

Why, I hear you ask, don’t I completely trust the BBC’s motives in recording, collecting, editing and collating ‘alas poor Tony! …’ wails from the affected…  er… effected?

It’s very simple.

I have watched over many years as the BBC’s anti-Blair/anti-Iraq war bias has shone through almost every news item: analysis pouring knowledgeably from the lips of assuredly informed Today broadcasters; echoed and chiming in a cacophony of  Newnights; muddling through middle-class mumblings at Any Questions masterclasses; chattering classily through quirky Question Times; not to mention Panoramically looking to let’s-put-things-right oh so liberally-leftily in that self-important overseeing seewetoldyou way.

All BBC gems undimmed in their omniscience due usually to the orchestrated absence of the airing of balancing countervailing arguments from any not quite liberal intelligentsia types among us.

‘I KNOW I KNEW HIM NOW. BUT WILL I KNOW HIM THEN?

Put aside that it is clear that despite often being accused by the political right of being too “left” the BBC and its commenters and broadcasters are, with a few honourable exceptions, against the Iraq war. Thus it follows anti-Blair.  Beseeching us for understanding, as though they had mistakenly cheerled for Hitler, they have the humility – nay – lofty self-flagellation and deserved meekness to make it clear they can’t apologise enough. Especially because he won’t.

Pumpkins.

Thing is, even if Blair is/was of “the left”, his having been a Labour PM actually makes it so much easier for them to put on their earnest lefty luvvie tones – ‘sorry we didn’t realise/he seemed so nice’.

Has the BBC considered there is an issue in recording opinions on a late lamented who isn’t yet late even if, by some, seriously lamented?  The man himself might outlive many of them. There may well be far more to be said about him than that he joined in on a war they did not like. On second thoughts – they clearly have considered that.

En passant – it’s been reported that a 24 year-old former drugs-dealing gang member has just been awarded an OBE in the News Years Honours List. For turning round his life in an acceptable way he has been rewarded.  How on earth does that compare to the work already being done by Tony Blair all over the world through his Faith Foundation, Climate Group, African Governance Initiative to name but some? Not that I think he’s looking for a gong, but where is Tony Blair’s award?  Where is his recognition for decades spent in public service?

And in decades to come will today’s OB units filming GG’s words REALLY do the man justice?

I conclude not.

There is one issue which is harder still to get one’s innocent head around.

How can such as Tam Dalyell (if indeed he is one with a starring role) talk today about a future deceased Mr Blair in tones which will have any pertinence when that sad day comes? After all it’s a different thing to talk today of someone yet warm than it may be on that cold distant morn. So how?

Only, might I suggest to Dalyell/Galloway clones, by being asked about matters they feel strongly about today: Iraq, in other words.  And who knows how the world and even today’s MPs will feel about Iraq in 20/30/40 years time?

So, yes I am suspicious about the filming of MPs re Tony Blair’s inevitable, eventual televised obituary.  Not because I think they expect him to die any time soon, but because I think they expect him NOT to.  They can’t dare allow him and the passing of time here and in Iraq to change perceptions. Not when such as Gorgeous George are still around to “balance” things by reminding us how evil was the man. (Not Saddam, silly, but Tony Blair the remover of that ‘indefatigability‘.)

Look – I’m fed up with this already. And I’ve hardly touched on Letts. Cant imagine how YOU feel!

I’ll write on Letts later, if he hasn’t by then been found dead in a “small shed” somewhere. Methane accruement in his particular case should take about ten minutes.

In which case, I suppose I’ll have to do an obituary.

What a stinker.

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Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition

1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!

2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.

3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.

4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!

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