What Does Tony Blair Think He’s Up To? Utterly Disgraceful!

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31st May 2012

I have more to write on Tony Blair’s evidence session at the Leveson Inquiry on Monday (see previous – Excuse Me. We’re Missing The Mood Music ) but honestly I just couldn’t ignore THIS for one moment longer. (Slaps on best Nick Cohen Disgusted Face!)

Faiths Act in Sierra Leone reaches 100,000 homes

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s groundbreaking interfaith programme to tackle malaria in Sierra Leone has reached 100,000 homes and over 600 thousand individuals. Sierra Leone has only 102 medics but a huge network of churches and mosques. The Foundation’s programme, Faiths Act in Sierra Leone, is utilising these networks to disseminate key preventative health messages on malaria and the results have abundantly surpassed expectations.

Tony Blair, Founder and Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation said: “Integrating faith communities into national malaria plans in Sierra Leone has been incredibly effective. The 100, 000 homes reached in just six months by faith leaders and their networks tells its own story. The great strength of churches and mosques are not so much their bricks and mortar – though their hospitals and dispensaries play a vital role in many areas – but their communities, networks and leaders. Faith leaders work through compassion and a theological responsibility to do good, and are able to pass on simple but vital health messages to their communities.”

The programme in Sierra Leone is creating a pyramid training structure – a small number of faith leaders are trained in malaria prevention; these vital health messages are then passed onto congregants who carry out household to household visits delivering simple, practical advice throughout the country.

The depth and value of the contribution of faith communities to health in Africa has been so far difficult to measure due to a lack of data. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is working to help change this. Each aspect of the work in Sierra Leone is evaluated. Every week the number of households who have been taught about malaria prevention is recorded. More importantly, the number who are now are using bed-nets properly, or making timely visits to clinics where children show symptoms of malaria, is also recorded.

Banke Adetayo, Faiths Act Fellow, helping lead the programme on the ground recently said, “As we celebrate reaching this key milestone I have been reflecting on two things: the deep commitment of faith communities in Sierra Leone to work together to rid their society of this devastating disease and the realisation that despite the success of the programme so far we need to continue our work and strive even higher if we are to achieve the UN’s target of zero deaths from malaria by 2015.”

In tandem, the Foundation is also working to highlight the effectiveness of faith communities in health messaging. In collaboration with the Berkeley Center at Georgetown University, Washington DC, the Foundation has recently published “Global Health and Africa” – a report on faith communities’ work in the healthcare world.  It details what we know about how much faith communities contribute to health care, what we don’t know and what we ought to know. Research is also underway to find out just how effective religious leaders are at giving health messages in their communities.

Latest statistics from Faiths Act in Sierra Leone

  • Number of MFAs trained to date: 234
  • Number of MFCs trained to date: 6,320
  • Number of first household visits: 118,142 (with an average of 5-6 people per household). This means the project has reached over 600,000 people all over Sierra Leone, just through household visits alone.
  • Number of second household visits: 99,427
  • Estimated number of people who have been reached through community activities 203,043 (does not include additional people reached through radio and TV.)

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Excuse Me. We’re Missing The Mood Music

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29th May 2012

Update: The Guardian reports that Leveson has passed the Tony Blair protester case to the director of public prosecutions 

DANCING AROUND THE POINT OF THE ‘EXCUSE ME’

An ever-so-polite protester was restrained by security – eventually – as Tony Blair testified at the Leveson inquiry yesterday.

Yesterday a self-righteous individual with a “beef” wormed his way “easily” into the Royal Courts of Justice. He emerged from behind a startled Brian Leveson the judge who is leading the inquiry into the British media. The beefed-up one then stood a few metres away from this country’s former prime minister and politely shouted to him and the dumbstruck assembled “Excuse me!”

He yelled a few other things too. The sort of ice-breaking, meaningless chit-chat you make towards new, transient partners in the knowledge that you’re not expected to consummate the relationship. It took less than half a minute to spew out the ‘do you come here oftens?’

Then he pulled out a gun and shot dead The Judge, the Prize Witness and the Leading Barrister. Oh and the young legal beaver woman behind the barrister, even though she had clearly been enthralled by the enticing merry dance. 

[Would someone advise this young “legal person” (below on left) one doesn’t smirk tellingly when one’s judicial hearing is interrupted, especially when it is being shown live to the world? (See first few seconds into video.)]

CHANGE PARTNERS, PLEASE

Of course, this last bit didn’t happen. No-one died.

But they could have. THAT’S the point. And the social-media mood music which congratulates someone for having the contempt to gatecrash a judicial hearing encourages future have-a-goers. Encouraged even more by the fact that this man is not to be charged after his excuse-me jiggery-pokery.

I’m not taking a swipe at the security of the Leveson Inquiry court-room, though there are clearly issues.  Brian Leveson is quite capable of doing that. A few moments after the jig ended and the jigger had been juggled off, Leveson set up an immediate inquiry as to how the intruder had worked his way in through the judge’s personal entrance into court.

My reprimand is towards all those today echoing the mood music yesterday on twitter: “All Hail the Conquering Hero”

Those who would no doubt be excusing and supporting a certain David Lawley-Wakelin even louder if the Leveson Inquiry had found itself today one judge short of a merry dance or the country had noticed it was one former prime minister short of a foursome reel.

Change partners. Thank you. Time for a new dance.

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Longer version of the incident –

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Nick Cohen – Do get out of the right side of the bed tomorrow

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27th May 2012

To paraphrase:

“His [Cohen’s] love of money his own opinion has brought down the worst fate that could have befallen him. He now has the manners and morals of his opponents”

With a flourish of moral rectitude that would do Polly Toynbee or Richard Norton-Taylor proud, the inestimable Nick Cohen announced to a Leveson-awaiting world that  “Tony Blair’s moral decline and fall is now complete”

“now complete”? Whereas before now it was incomplete? Semi-complete? Half-way there? Why hasn’t Mr Cohen mentioned this decline and fall state of lack of grace before? Why now? Straw that broke the camel’s back? Though the story broke weeks ago?

You might say that comment is unremarkable. True, if it had come from any one of a number of Guardian/Observer journalists. But from Nick Cohen!? Cohen who invariably defends Blair’s foreign policy stances? Cohen, who like Blair recognises there is a serious and long-term threat from fundamentalist Islamism? Cohen, who seems to rail against Old Labour-leftism as much as the average Blairite?

The very same Nick Cohen.

FINISHED AS A FORCE FOR GOOD IN POLITICAL JOURNALISM?

Until today I had a lot of time for Nick Cohen. He had slipped into the garb of the late, much-lamented Christopher Hitchens almost imperceptibly.  Now he seems to have decided the skin of the other brother fits him to a “t”.

The sub-heading to his article is that ‘Tony Blair’s willingness to prop up the brutal Kazakhstan regime shames the one-time champion of democracy’

“…shames the one-time champion…” indeed? These few words raise two questions:

1. Why “shames”? Because there may well be some financial reward in it?  I am forever reminded that democracy and the freedom to express opinions in a democracy do not come free. Yet we moan when we are asked to pay 50p per year for it. I am also frequently reminded that we underestimate the value of our democracies. Yet most non-democracies REALLY know how to keep their people in fear and poverty. And I am now reminded, thanks to Cohen, that unless democracy is seen as always free and forever free, democracy itself is seen to have no intrinsic value. In fact if money is attached in ANY way it is evidently valueless. Tell that to American presidential candidates. Each and every multi-millionaire of them.

2. Why “the one-time champion”? Tony Blair is working with several nascent democracies in African countries towards greater, better governance.  And he is bringing together peoples of different religious faith in the high ambition of better understanding and developing more open (democratic) principles to how they live their religious lives and how they view and treat others.

Despite the mentions of the good stuff, Cohen’s traducement is clear and single-minded. As an experienced journalist he should know that –

TEN GOOD THOUGHTS DO NOT OUTWEIGH ONE BAD ONE

Although his article does remind us of the good that Tony Blair did in many lands the reader is left with only ONE impression: whatever good Blair ever did he is now only in the business of making dosh, and lots of it, from wherever and from whomsoever it is offered.  Perhaps, some might say and some might even be right, it was always thus. Moral values, judgement and principles come poor also-rans in Blair’s priorities, we are led to believe. Heard this before? Yes, all the time from the extremes of left and right who have no time for Mr Blair and will do all in their power to castigate him.

Cohen has scribed nothing less than a total repudiation of all that one might describe as his previous admiration or even respect for the former prime minister. And he ends with another wordy flourish. Tony Blair’s –

“love of money has brought down the worst fate that could have befallen him. He now has the manners and morals of his opponents. He has become a George Galloway with a Learjet at his disposal.”

THE LEARJET-FLYING ‘GEORGE GALLOWAY’ RESPONDS

Tony Blair’s Office felt the need to respond to this outburst of Toynbeeism. To be fair to Mr Cohen I think the TB Office response grappled with the wrong end of the stick. They said –

“However, the analogy which the column makes between Kazakhstan and Iraq under Saddam or Serbia under Milosevic is totally unfair.”

I did not read Mr Cohen’s column as comparing Iraq or Serbia to Kazakhstan in any way which underrated Blair’s earlier actions.  Nick Cohen’s point at that juncture in the article was not as criticism for comparison but simply that once upon a time (in his opinion) Blair behaved well and for good reasons, even if his critics did not think so:

“Historians trying to capture the hypocrisy of Britain in the first decade of the 21st century may note, as we [Blairites] did, that Blair’s opponents turned on him not for allowing the banks to run riot but for insisting that Britain should play its part in stopping the civil war in Sierra Leone, in ensuring that Slobodan Milosevic could not ethnically cleanse Kosovo, in helping throw the Taliban out of Kabul and in saying that after 24 years of occasionally genocidal rule, Saddam Hussein must be removed from power.”

Blair & Cohen do not disagree on the need to remove Milosevic or Saddam. The main issue of concern as far as Cohen is concerned is the financial reward that Tony Blair seems to attract wherever he goes and whatever he does. An easy target in these times of austerity for the rest of us.

Mr Cohen tweeted me earlier that I should go out and enjoy the sunset as I has already tweeted him on this issue “about 30 times”.

The sun also rises and tomorrow is a big day for Tony Blair at the Leveson Inquiry. Mr Cohen’s remarks have not gone unnoticed in Twitterchitterchatterland. In fact I may make a little list of those inspired by his over-important article. Well over 30, I’d guess. But I warn Nick Cohen, they will NOT make pleasant bed-mates for him as he leaps presumably already flea-bitten from the arms of his erstwhile Blairite chums.

Perhaps tomorrow, as he rises to watch Mr Blair at the Leveson Inquiry with the rest of the twitterchatterati, he will get out of the right side of his bed.

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Statement from The Office of Tony Blair on Nick Cohen’s column on Kazakhstan in this week’s Observer

Sunday, May 27, 2012 in Office of Tony Blair

On 27th May 2012, The Observer ran a column by Nick Cohen under the headline, Tony Blair’s moral decline and fall is now complete. The Office of Tony Blair issued the following statement in response:

“As Tony Blair made clear in his speech in Astana this week, there are real issues to do with political, judicial and human rights reform.

“However, the analogy which the column makes between Kazakhstan and Iraq under Saddam or Serbia under Milosevic is totally unfair. Saddam took a country that in the late 60s was on a par with South Korea and made it an economic basket case despite oil, with a child mortality rate the same as the Congo; started two major wars with over 1m casualties; used chemical weapons to wipe out thousands of his own people in a single day. Milosevic was engaged in systematic ethnic cleansing against the Muslim population of Kosovo.

“Under President Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has increased the income per head of its people 10 times or more; he renounced nuclear weapons and dismantled them, something for which he was recently praised by President Obama. Despite being sandwiched between the giants of Russia and China he has remained a good ally of the West, vital to the effort in Afghanistan.

“Therefore, the work we are doing is precisely to boost the reform programme which is already underway and is consistent with the demands made of President Nazarbayev by the international community.”

Earlier this week, Tony Blair delivered a speech to university students in Astana where he spoke about the challenge of political reform for Kazakhstan. Read it here.

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Watch Tony Blair at the Leveson Inquiry from 10:00am – 4:30pm tomorrow, Monday 28th May.

I must admit this post by Nick Cohen on Thursday was one I did not feel the need to retweet ‘Don’t Trust the West

Enough said.

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Pt 2 – ICC trials. Britain stopped murderous “war criminals” in Balkans & Sierra Leone

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23rd May 2012

This post follows on from here – ICC trials. Britain stopped “war crimes” in Balkans & Sierra Leone. Why no press mention of OUR role?

MEANWHILE AT THE HAGUE

Ratko Mladic

On 16th May at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, former Bosnian Serb army chief Mladic

The Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic is on trial in The Hague 20 years after the start of the conflict. He is charged with 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the massacre of almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.

Charles Taylor

Again at The Hague Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has already been found guilty at the Special Court for Sierra Leone of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, and conscripting child soldiers.  After a trial of several years which started in Sierra Leone and was moved for Taylor’s security reasons to The Hague, judges at the U.N.-backed court said his aid was essential in helping rebels across the border in Sierra Leone continue their bloody rampage during the West African nation’s decade-long civil war, which ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.

That would be this Sierra Leone.

And yet some braincell-challenged twerps tweeps still see Tony Blair as being just as culpable of chargeable war crimes as Taylor and (the as yet unconvicted) Mladic, the forerunner of this kind of Kosovo ethnic cleansing. After Srebrenica we can’t say we hadn’t been forewarned.

BOSNIA FAILURE

It is true, and some might suggest it is shameful, that John Major’s Conservative government was not moved to intervene as Mladic killed tens of thousands on Europe’s doorstep. Not that John Major was the only European or international leader to ignore Bosnia.  They all did. Once in office Tony Blair made it clear he was no John Major. He even persuaded President Bill Clinton how best to deal with Yugoslavian President Slobodan Miloševic and his cronies over Kosovo atrocities.

Clearly my responsibilities and moral rectitude compass is out of kilter with the norm. What we SHOULD be doing is applauding John Major for er… doing nothing.

COLLECTIVE EMBARRASSMENT

The excuse by some for seldom if ever praising Blair is that Iraq was the wrong decision for the wrong reasons, perhaps even lies. Therefore it follows, goes this ‘thinking’, that Blair was always wrong and always a liar. Even when he was right and clearly not lying. That utterly wrong-headed excuse has no traction as to whether we should thank Tony Blair for what he and his government did in a European country and in an African country at the turn of the century.

The only things that should embarrass us about our approach to Blair’s foreign policy is our own lack of common sense, our short political memory, our lack of support for oppressed peoples and with regard to Blair himself – our sense of fairness, even courtesy.

LOVED BY THE POLITICIANS (mostly), HATED BY THE BIASED

In fact real practising politicians do not hate Tony Blair as do many so-called columnists and their little commenters at such as the Daily Mail, Guardian and  Independent. The Conservatives were more gung-ho for the Iraq invasion than were some in Labour and it was only through their support that he had parliamentary permission to go to war. To the present Tory part of the frontbench he is still “The Master”. The Chancellor, George Osborne is said to enjoy listening to Blair recite his audio version of his memoirs “A Journey”.  And we all know where David Cameron gets his hand gestures from.

What of the other half of the coalition? The Liberal Democrats have long been against the Iraq war. That position is the reason I am never likely to vote for them again. But they are not all so lacking in international political nous.  Alex Carlile worked under Blair & then Brown from 2005 to 2011 as the independent reviewer of British anti-terrorist laws. And former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown was recommended by Blair as High Representative for Bosnia & Herzegovina, a position he took up in May 2002.  Ashdown had been a long-time advocate of international intervention in that region.

On 14 March 2002 former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown testified as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of Slobodan Miloševic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Milosevic was found dead in his prison cell at the Hague in March 2006. He had faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged central role in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo during the 1990s.  He’d also faced genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnia war, in which 100,000 people died.

See Ratko Mladic trial postponed, and Charles Taylor trial background.

OBDURATE MEDIA

Our media is being deliberately obdurate in its determination to elevate its Blair hatred to impenetrable heights, or rather to depressing depths.

It is already guilty of failing to notice that Tony Blair was right on our Responsibility to Protect as mentioned here.

The apparent side-stepping even deliberate ignoring of actions of which we as Brits should be immensely proud is only the next step on its “Let’s Get the Real Criminal” game.

Meanwhile, recently, Tony Blair spoke to Stanford Graduate Business Students regarding Africa governance issues and was applauded loudly, stigmata marks or not.

(See African Governance Initiative and for full video see here )

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(Re-published) Police – The State We’re In. Leveson/Press/Politicians

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21st May 2012

I just found the below in my archives and thought I should re-publish it. It is a compilation of some posts at this blog from January to November 2007, a particularly hot time for Tony Blair and his colleagues. Its contents may have some relevance today as Peter Mandelson made it clear at the Leveson Inquiry that he believes John Yates personally leaked information to the press as the Cash for Honours debacle of an investigation did its worst. (Most recent at top.) I’ve noticed that some of the links below no longer work. Interesting that.

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16th November 2007

A few quick updates:

1. The Met continues to have its worries over whether or not another Blair should be given the chop! Sir Ian Blair, Met Commissioner, following the Jean de Menezes affair. He shouldn’t go. Like the other Blair, we need him.

2. And, the Cash For Honours fiasco cost the taxpayer almost one and a half million pounds!

3. And Jonathan Evans, Head of MI5 is telling us what the politicians, in hock to the liberal press and the inner-city Muslim vote, are afraid to tell us. We are under long and short-term threat from jihadist brainwashers.

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26th Sep, 2007: Updated link:tb_19july03_kelly.jpg

John Humphrys interview of Tony Blair, February 2nd 2007. “I’m not going to beg for my character”. [Note: This audio link may not work. BBC loses things! See transcript here]

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Friday 20th July, 2007

IT’S OVER, MR BLAIR

As I write the CPS have made their official announcements on the ending of this ‘cash for peerages’ inquiry. So THIS time the leakers were on the ball. I expect it genuinely HAS ended. Should bl***y well think so too.

“Insufficient evidence” it seems, according to some in the press. Sounds unlikely and inaccurate reporting that. Couldn’t be, could it, from our trustworthy press?

GB/PM seems to want to draw a line under all of Tony Blair’s time in office, or perhaps a line THROUGH Blair’s time in office! In April 2007 the file went from the Met to the CPS. Mr Blair was questioned again, for a third term but not under caution, so he was never likely to be charged.

To be fair to the police, this £1,000,000+ inquiry, once it had started, was bound to go on until it had reached a conclusion. Whether they were wise to pursue this particularly high-profile inquiry I’m sure they will be wondering.

The bottom line to me has been that some kind of quid pro quo has been the norm for centuries as regards peerages. In the absence of full public political funding, and people do NOT seem to want to pay for democracy through taxes, that is to be expected.

Was it an SNP-inspired political stunt as Tony McNulty insists? Possibly. If so it was irresponsible, since Angus MacNeil should have known that it could have brought down a Prime Minister and a whole government. And this was the government that had already made changes in party funding and in Lords reform – not BECAUSE of SNP allegations, but well BEFORE that.

“Why is nothing going to happen after ALL this time, paperwork and money?” said Angus Robinson, of the SNP.

You might well ask.

This government – hardly the worst abusers of all time.

HOW DAMAGING?

We will have to wait to see; but suffice it to say that the usual climate is that politicians are not trusted by many at the best of times.

The “whiter than white” hopes of Tony Blair on coming into Downing Street were a rod for his own back, of course. But it is shameful that he goes down in history as the ONLY sitting prime minister ever to have been questioned by the police. And not just once, but three times.

It’s been damaging – VERY damaging. And for me, losing my trusted prime minister under this cloud has made me question the propriety of the Scottish Nationalist party, the Press and even the Police.

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Sunday 29th April, 2007

BEWARE Yates, warns Palace

Following the Paul Burrell case on the late Princess Diana’s artefacts, an inquiry investigated by Assistant Commissioner John Yates, The Observer reveals that Buckingham Palace was severely rattled by Yates’s approach.

It is understood the Queen’s Private Secretary, Sir Robin Janvrin told Jonathan Powell, the PM’s Chief of Staff, that they were unhappy with Yates’s “dogged approach” during the Burrell investigation. Powell was told that John Yates turned the royal household inside out during the Burrell affair.

Yates’s handling of the investigation that led to the trial of Paul Burrell, the former butler to the late Diana, Princess of Wales on charges that he stole some of her property, angered the Palace. The Palace felt badly bruised by the trial, which collapsed in 2002 after the Queen recalled a conversation with Burrell in which he said he was keeping some of the princess’s effects.A well-placed source claimed: ‘Jonathan was told Yates is a menace.’

Number 10 has probably realised that. In fact we have all been told that Yates is terrier-like in his tenacity. That’s been interpreted as a “good thing”; someone not intimidated by anyone at the top of government, even the PM. Someone who was “just following the leads”.

But Yates lost the Burrell case after all that work. And there is nothing quite so grizzly as a terrier with a bone in its mouth, who has had it removed – not just once, but twice.

One day we might ask if Yates was the right one to pursue the cash-for-honours investigation at all.

  • Was he able to distance himself objectively from the failure in the Burrell case after the last-minute high-level recollection by the Queen, whereupon the case collapsed?
  • Would he have been determined to compensate for that earlier failure?
  • For instance, were his interviews of the Prime Minister to make sure that Mr Blair would be less likely to recall something at the last minute to throw the whole case?
  • In other words would his investigations be fair and proportionate as well as thorough?

I expect one day we’ll hear something about how Downing Street was turned upside down by Yates’s men in the great Quest for Truth and Justice that will go down in history as –

  • *Tony Blair – First Prime Minister Questioned by Police – and TWICE*

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Thursday 26th April, 2007

Tracing The Leak – Wet Fingers?

Today the word is out that Scotland Yard itself, or members of, might have been leaking on the Birmingham terror event. And the Home Secretary has denied in a letter that anything was leaked from his department. So the Conservatives might have been running their fingers along the wrong pipework, going for the Government yesterday in Parliament. Today David Cameron is trying to make mileage out of the fact that Tony Blair said “no” to Cameron’s demand into an inquiry into this. What else is he going to say? “Yes, OK”? A week before the local elections? Come on, Mr Cameron. We can see right through you.

As I have said before, the leakers are not all necessarily in the government. The police and press are equally likely to be culpable. After Mr Blair goes, the next PM will have greater motivation and fewer constraints to getting to the bottom of this tripartite and powerful relationship. With the cash-for-honours nonsense still ongoing, and elections in the air, this is not the time.

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Wednesday 25th April, 2007

DAC Peter Clarke is complaining about leaks around the January Birmingham case, where several were arrested but as yet, no-one has been charged. The implication being drawn is that someone connected to the government is the leaker. Whether that is what he meant to imply, only he knows, and he has said he implied nothing. But it does make me wonder; if, as he says, the leak “endangered life” why, if these men (or the leak) were so dangerous, hasn’t someone been charged with the Birmingham “beheading video”? Can’t have it both ways. They were either dangerous or innocent.

Who is distracting whom here. It’s bad enough that the opposition parties are using this for electoral advantage at this time, but worse still if the police are using it to cover up their inability to progress with charges against these “dangerous'” men. Hhmm..mm

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Thursday 15th March, 2007

Inspector Yates today implied that he is going to go on and on, with no time limit on his inquiry. So that’s that then. Shut up and do as you’re told, the British government. You know who’s in charge. Click here for latest news

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Friday 9th March, 2007

Who Runs This Joint?

Well, it’s not QUITE a police state, but I’m still very concerned about the length of time they have taken to find “villains” in this destructive inquiry. Perhaps there aren’t any! At last MPs are beginning to raise this question. What kept them? Who runs this joint anyway? It seems they wish Inspector Yates to appear before their committee. Having suspended their own inquiry into the cash-for-honours issue last May, they, like the rest of us, had a right to expect that the police would have dismissed or got to the bottom of this by now. And now the Met, and particularly Yates, are getting desperate. And desperate men are not the most reliable.

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Sunday, 4th March, 2007

Following the Attorney General’s injunction to the BBC to prevent the broadcast of a ‘cash-for-honours” report, speculation is rife as to how long before charges are brought, on what and against whom. It seems the police are unhappy about “leaking” of e-mail information which, it seems, they hold as evidence against members of the Prime Minister’s inner circle.

Three questions come to my mind.

1 Do the police know for sure and without reasonable doubt that No 10 was leaking to the BBC?

2 How did No 10 know about this imminent police angle on the e-mail? Is it a recent development or long-standing?

3 Could this be a police ‘double bluff’ – with the police doing the leaking but blaming it on No 10? If the police suspect the e-mail evidence to be too flimsy to hold up, it is not beyond imagination that they are attempting to spread unfounded rumours of No 10 dirty tricks. Then No 10, or those associated, might be tempted to incriminate themselves, so breaking SOME law or other. The police know you use a sprat to catch a mackerel. And while I’m in this metaphorical mode, as someone once said, “you must lose a fly to catch a trout”.

Remember, the injunction is still in place, so every party is (presumably) gagged. Does that apply to the police too?

Powers of Arrest – Citizen’s Arrest

I’ve been thinking about this powers of arrest business, both from the police point of view and from the angle of a “citizen’s arrest” arising from this page.

When the honours suspects were arrested I couldn’t quite see why they needed to be arrested at all. And this BBC website seems to confirm that it was a bit over-the-top in the cases of those particular individuals, as they were hardly likely to abscond! But, it seems that the police have wide powers of arrest, though you could have fooled some of us, when we watch some criminals being cautioned gently rather than arrested. The BBC site says:

“In reality, this means that the police have almost unlimited powers of arrest if they choose to exercise it. Unless you are carrying some kind of identity card, any offence could be regarded as arrestable.”

So, if they all had identity cards, and so could have confirmed their identity, perhaps they would not have been arrested!? I don’t think so somehow. The reason for the arrests had less to do with identification than with making some sort of statement, in my humble opinion.tb1.jpg

The “citizen’s arrest” is something else which has aroused my interest. A BNP member’s website, from which I have quoted here, seems to be hinting at this legal process. (At least I THINK that’s what it’s hinting at!)

“To paraphrase another serial killer, George W. Bush, if we can’t bring Tony Blair to justice, we must bring justice to Tony Blair.”

Citizen’s Arrest – as on the BBC site

The police are not the only people with the power to make an arrest. Although there have been some highly publicised cases which suggest the power of the individual citizen is strictly limited, the law still recognises a citizen’s arrest. So a member of the public may arrest someone who is committing an arrestable offence such as theft or assault, or suspects that such an offence has been committed. They are allowed to use reasonable force in doing so.

What exactly is “reasonable force”? And is a citizen’s arrest limited to such as “theft or assault”, presumably in which someone is caught red-handed? If so, the Conspirators on this page, with their ideas of justice, can put their ‘cuffs away . By the way, how many “citizens’ arrests” are made annually in this country? If you have any idea, please let me know.

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Thursday 8th February, 2007

All leaks sorted! Wonder if the plumber will need to be called again any time soon?

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Tuesday 6th February, 2007

The CPS has said there is insufficient evidence to press charges on Des Smith, the headteacher questioned by police at the beginning of the whole sorry business.

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Monday 5th February, 2007

Leaks, leaks and yet more leaks. Somebody has a retention problem! The Times is today’s villain of the piece.

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Saturday 4th February, 2007

Iain Duncan Smith has gone up in my estimation. On Radio 4’s “Any Questions” he had the audacity to question the Police’s handling of this inquiry focusing so heavily as it has done, on the Prime Minister. Glad to see one member of parliament not afraid to raise his head above the parapet.At some stage in the future, perhaps we can expect more of this reasonable reaction from others. Come to think of it – I think that blond, mad but likable Tory – Boris Johnson said something about the length of time it is all taking on Andrew Neil’s sofa politics programme last night. You know, the one with Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott – This Week(?)So there you are then. I’m not the only one who’s noticed this police treatment of the PM as though he is beneath the law and can be treated any way, any how. So far the complainants have both been Conservatives! What’s going on here? Would they like Mr Blair to take over their party. Replace the Clone with Tone?

Friday 2nd February, 2007pm-sweden.jpg

The police have released a statement backing up the Prime Minister’s stated reasons for the news blackout over his interview last Friday. It was at police request and for operational reasons.  The Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying:

“The prime minister has been interviewed briefly to clarify points emerging from the ongoing investigation. He was interviewed as a witness, not as a suspect and co-operated fully.

“We requested the meeting was kept confidential for operational reasons. We are not prepared to discuss further.”

And in an interview with John Humphrys on Radio 4’s “Today” programme the PM touched on some of the questions of his authority raised by the continuing inquiry as well as on matters of policy which he would like to complete before his time in office is over.

Video & Audio Reports

Update to this – added 26 September, 2007.

This Humphrys interview below seems to have disappeared from the web! If anyone has a copy please let me know. In the meantime, listen to this report by the BBC’s Mark Sanders on the issue.

Radio 4 Interview with John Humphrys – Audio (27m 33s)

JH – “You could say, ‘I’m going to put an end to it’ … and then it wouldn’t be about Tony Blair the Prime Minister, would it? That’s the point. Why not stand down now?”

PM – “It’s not a very democratic way to decide who the prime minister is …”

JH – “You’ve already decided that, you’ve said that you’re going.” So why not stand down – why not put an end to it all?”

PM – “Because I don’t think that’s the right way to do it and I think it would be particularly wrong to do it before the inquiry has run its course … so you’ll have to put up with me a bit longer”.

——————————————————————————

BBC News Video clip – Mark Sanders (1min 41sec)

TB – “I’m not going to beg for my character in front of anyone”.

MS – “Mr Blair blames the media for making a meal out of the affair”.blair_300×3880.jpg


Thursday 1st February, 2007

BLACKOUT Order by Police

The PM’s second interview as a witness is now public knowledge. The interview took place last Friday, four days before that of Lord Levy. It is important that we understand that Scotland Yard insisted that the interview was to be kept secret until today for “operational reasons”. This blackout was not the Government’s or the Prime Minister’s choice. In fact, it seems that very few people knew about the interview, most of the PM’s staff included.

Now I know the political climate is such that NOTHING concerning the PM is taken at face value. But if the Police made this confidential request, which they have confirmed today, Mr Blair can take none of the blame for this withholding of information. The press are making much of this, as you might expect. They feel their noses out of joint. They criticise the fact that the PM’s official spokesman did not tell them anything at the daily press briefings (though it is clear that he was also kept behind the Police blackout order). If the Police wanted knowledge of the interview kept back “for operational reasons” and they were subsequently “completely satisfied” with Mr Blair’s co-operation, the resultant press furore is perhaps evidence that even the Police realise the damage their extensive and extended inquiry is causing through news commentary.

As to whether the goings-on have any underlying purpose from the Police’s viewpoint, I think the jury, no pun intended, is still out. I was expecting to read a statement by the Police as mentioned on No 10’s website today, but have as yet been unable to find one on The Met’s website, or elsewhere. Are the Police preparing the ground for an announcement that there will be no charges? Newsnight tonight raised this viewpoint as “from sources”. If so, their arguments could follow this line:“We interviewed the PM as a witness in December and then, tbquestioned(since the damage had already been done to his reputation – [though I doubt if that was a concern of theirs] ) again last Friday. Our questions have been answered satisfactorily. The other chief suspects in this investigations have also answered all of our questions. We have done all we can and will provide the CPS with our (limited) information. It is then in the hands of the Crown Prosecution Service to decide if there is a case to answer. Our investigation can no longer be accused of interfering with the smooth running of government.

Click here to read more of my musings on the police handling of this investigation which has repercussions for all of us, not just those in the glare of the media spotlight.

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Wednesday 31st January, 2007

No 10 Call For Media Restraint

Media (and presumably Police) expression of opinion has been called upon to restrain its opinion and comment in the light of the fact that those under the spotlight are unable to defend themselves.

Since I am one of the few who speak out in support of the government’s position I will happily go along with this, as soon as others do. In any case I do not have the readership of the dailies! At the moment I receive dozens of e-mail alerts from those convinced of pm/government guilt with each arrest or development. This includes national newspaper reports from anti-war / anti-Blair papers as well as bloggers and media reports on leaked snippets from Scotland Yard.

**********

POLICE INQUIRIES – Terrorist Plots & Cash For Honours

Our police are the best in the world. I believe that implicitly and unreservedly. It still amazes many that we have an unarmed force (largely) in this day and age.

Sterling work is going on this morning in the Birmingham terror raids. Earlier today a security specialist commented on the news that the eight arrested might have been looking at different terror tactics than the usual bombings.

Since then the police have asked for restraint in speculation and analysis at this early stage. Fat chance of that! Perhaps police leaking of honour snippets is resulting in their protestations being largely ignored.

The earlier suggestion by SkyNews’s security specialist of, for example, political assassination, seems to be inaccurate. But the suspected plan of kidnapping a young Muslim soldier, possibly murdering him and then posting this act on the internet is still about as political as it gets!

And co-incidentally, Mr Blair’s historic announcement of elections in Northern Ireland in March, after ten years of work to secure peace, was all but overshadowed yesterday by Lord Levy’s arrest. A bitter-sweet moment then for Mr Blair, and some backing for my thoughts on the present undermining of real politics by the relentless focus on No 10.

Here comes the “but” …

But, while the Police are protecting us all against terrorism there is some justification for wondering what judgement is compelling Scotland Yard to pursue so relentlessly this country’s government. Even if there is ever proved to be a case to answer, even a charge of “conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”, a much more serious criminal charge than the original inquiry focus, who does this drawn-out pursuit serve in the real interests of justice in this country?

Unless digging up the gardens at No 10 proves differently, this is a “victimless” crime. Is Yates of the Yard’s quest to show himself as “purer than pure” in his “… just following all the leads…” approach impeding his better judgement?

The reason I ask is that regardless of the particular party involved, and I am not a member of any party, it is our government and not just our governing party which is in danger of being seriously undermined or even collapse if this investigation drags out much longer.

John Yates, who is supposed to be above politics, has shown himself a dab hand at the political/pr spin business too. This morning a pre-recorded interview was used by the Radio 4 Today programme. Pre-recorded – thus no questions could be asked of him. Pre-recorded – when? Presumably in the full knowledge that Lord Levy would have been arrested by the time of the broadcast. In the meantime the Prime Minister, the Government and No 10 staff are unable to comment, for obvious reasons. No pre-recorded statements, leaks or running commentary for them as this story unfolds.

Nick Robinson remarked today that “rarely has Tony Blair been so unable to control events“. Smirkingly satisfying to some that might be. But I’d prefer to know that our elected government, whose day will come soon enough in the ballot box, are in control of the Police rather than the other way round. That’s why we elect them.

Yes, I realise the Police are stuck between the proverbials; damned if they do, damned if they don’t. But having started the whole investigation, perhaps unwisely, they either have enough proof to sustain their original suspicions or enough proof to push charges on a cover-up to those suspicions. It is time the CPS cast its eye over the Police evidence. Even if the CPS decides not to press charges, Inspector Yates will almost definitely have managed to secure long overdue changes to the country’s system of honours. Not a bad legacy for a policeman. And with the damage already added to Mr Blair’s legacy by this ongoing business, and considering Yates’ length of service in post, the Inspector’s mark on politics may compare favourably to the perceived legacy of the Prime Minister. Unjust? I think so.

It is time we permitted the government to get on with its job. Character assassinations by implication and threats of further arrests do not serve any of us well.

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ICC trials. Britain stopped “war crimes” in Balkans & Sierra Leone. Why no press mention of OUR role?

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20th May 2012

The simple and  depressing answer to the question posed in my headline…

… because Tony Blair was involved in the stopping of such “war crimes”

Stigmata may not be visible, nor a mark of the way Mr Blair would wish to emulate Jesus.  But he has been stigmatised.

STIGMA

Despite, arguably, somewhat slanted American-made portrayals of heroes & anti-heroes as in Blood Diamond our own dear British media and certainly our spin-loving entertainment industry has a blind spot when it comes to thanking Tony Blair for anything. Even – perhaps especially – when he inarguably deserves our unbounded praise.

I am sure this state of affairs would be a worthy topic for psychoanalysis of the mind & mindset of the mass media. Here I am not so ambitious. I only wish to make the disconcerting observation.

Someone tweeted me the other day that there seems to be a (media) stigma attached to our former prime minister. True, some do seem to have ‘crucified’ him while washing their hands and bemoaning “I am innocent of this man’s blood”

One day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, historians will look back on this period of press-inspired Blair hatred and wonder how on earth seemingly balanced people were so comprehensively taken in by the Fourth Estate and its agenda.

MEANWHILE AT THE HAGUE –

Ratko Mladic & Charles Taylor

(to be continued in next post…)

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Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)? As in UN Charter since 2005. Syria anyone?

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

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16th May 2012

I mentioned the Responsibility to Protect a few days ago but got distracted. Next morning we heard that twin suicide car-bomb attacks had killed at least 55 people and wounded 372 in Damascus.

But we live in interesting times. Since then twitterwonderland has lol-ed into Leveson hysteria at David Cameron’s hitherto mis-comprehension of the meaning of “LOL” according to the now charged with criminality Rebekah Brooks. France has a new left-wing President who brought with his instant visit to Merkel’s Germany some bad news and inclement weather. Greece is still on its in/out EU game and Ed Miliband is  talking to Tony Blair & even Peter Mandelson who is talking to Ed Balls. Elsewhere, Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic is on trial in The Hague 20 years after the start of the conflict, charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.  And Charles Taylor at his own Hague trial says he sympathises with victims of the civil war in Sierra Leone he helped foment. That would be THIS Sierra Leone. and yet some braincell-challenged little tweeps still see Tony Blair as just as evil as Taylor, yes and even Mladic. Mladic of THIS kind of Kosovo ethnic cleansing.

WOW! Isn’t life grand?

So where was I?

Oh yes, Syria and the Right/Responsibility to Protect.

As Kofi Annan’s UN monitors come under attack and the rest of the world looks away at all its other problems why do we not care a little more about the ongoing carnage in Syria? After all, don’t we have a right, even a responsibility to protect?

SYRIA

DOES THE WORLD HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY, EVEN A RIGHT TO PROTECT?

UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, UN report January 2009. That was more than 3 years ago. (See pdf file)

Syrian opposition activists’ handout picture of Juret al-Shayah district in Homs, were regime forces have reportedly shelled rebel-held neighbourhoods since the truce took effect. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

“When a State nevertheless was “manifestly failing” to protect its population from the four specified crimes and violations, they confirmed that the international community was prepared to take collective action in a “timely and decisive manner” through the Security Council and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.” Source

In the light, or rather darkness of the unfolding situation in Syria, some may wonder  –

WHY does the UN fail to ACT decisively in Syria?

Surely the R2P (RtoP) gives the UN the right AND responsibility to act in defence of the Syrian people being massacred? Sadly, yes and no, though not necessarily in that order. A little like so-called International Law, it depends.

The responsibility to protect (RtoP or R2P) is a United Nations initiative established in 2005. It consists of an emerging norm or set of principles, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility. RtoP focuses on preventing and halting four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, which it places under the generic umbrella term of Mass Atrocity Crimes.

The Responsibility to Protect has three “pillars”.

  1. A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities.
  2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state if it is unable to protect its population on its own.
  3. If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.

So, did you get that? If pillar 1 is missing, as in Syria, pillar 2 and then 3 are written into the UN Charter including the “last resort”. But –

In the international community RtoP is a norm, not a law. RtoP provides a framework for using tools that already exist, i.e. mediation, early warning mechanisms, economic sanctioning, and chapter VII powers, to prevent mass atrocities. Civil society organizations, States, regional organizations, and international institutions all have a role to play in the R2P process. The authority to employ the last resort and intervene militarily rests solely with United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly.

KOFI ANNAN and “History”

The world watches and waits in despair as Kofi Annan struggles to balance the fact that the UN does NOT practise what it preaches. It is like the drunkard who says in moments of sober lucidity “I’ll never touch the stuff again”, until the next time. The UN, which is meant to DO good, as well as sound good, is limited by its own shortcomings as well as by many of its membership.

History

Following the genocide in Rwanda and the international community’s failure to intervene, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the question – “when does the international community intervene for the sake of protecting populations?” In 2000, the UN explicitly declared its reaction to Rwanda a “failure”. Then Kofi Annan said of the event – “The international community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret.”.

The Canadian government established the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in September 2000. In February 2001, at the third round table meeting of the ICISS in London, Gareth Evans, Mohamed Sahnoun and Michael Ignatieff suggested the phrase “responsibility to protect” as a way to avoid the “right to intervene” or “obligation to intervene” doctrines and yet keep a degree of duty to act to resolve humanitarian crises.

In December 2001, the ICISS released its report, The Responsibility to Protect. The report presented the idea that sovereignty is a responsibility and that the international community had the responsibility to prevent mass atrocities. Economic, political, and social measures were to be used along with diplomatic engagement. Military intervention, as mentioned before, was presented as a last resort. R2P included efforts to rebuild by bringing security and justice to the victim population and by finding the root cause of the mass atrocities.

The African Union pioneered the concept that the international community has a responsibility to intervene in crisis situations if the State is failing to protect its population. In the founding charter in 2005 African nations declared that the “protection of human and peoples rights” would be a principal objective of the AU and that the Union had the right “to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.” The AU also adopted the Ezulwini Consensus in 2005, which welcomed RtoP as a tool for the prevention of mass atrocities.

Forgive me if I am sceptical here, but it seems to me that mention might have been made of Tony Blair’s Doctrine of the International Community (1999) and of the Iraq intervention. In the latter case the roles such as George Bush and Tony Blair and others played in incidentally embarrassing the UN over its colossal failure to intervene in Iraq for 12 years. If an earlier intervention had been made it might have cut short Saddam’s 30 years slaughter of his own people.

The United Nations mandate

At the 2005 World Summit Member States included RtoP in the Outcome Document agreeing to Paragraphs 138 and 139. These paragraphs gave final language to the scope of RtoP. It applies to the four mass atrocities crimes only. It also identifies to whom the R2P protocol applies, i.e. nations first, regional and international communities second.

Paragraphs 138 and 139 state:

138. Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.

139. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for the General Assembly to continue consideration of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law. We also intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out.

2005 World Summit Outcome Document.

In April 2006, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reaffirmed the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 in resolution (S/RES/1674). This formalized their support for the Responsibility to Protect. The next major advancement in RtoP came in January 2009, when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a report called Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. His report led to a debate in the General Assembly in July 2009 and the first time since 2005 that the General Assembly had come together to discuss the responsibility to protect. Ninety-four member states spoke. Most supported the R2P principle although some important concerns were voiced. They discussed how to implement RtoP in crisis situations around the world. The debate highlighted the need for regional organizations like the African Union to play a strong role in implementing RtoP; the need for stronger early warning mechanisms in the United Nations; and the need to clarify the roles UN bodies would play in implementing RtoP.

One outcome of the debate was the first RtoP resolution adopted by the General Assembly. The Resolution (A/RES/63/308) showed that the international community had not forgotten about the importance of the responsibility to protect and it committed to further address the issues involved.

In Practice

Threshold for military interventions

According to the International Commission for Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) Report in 2001 (which was not adopted by national governments), any form of a military intervention initiated under the premise of responsibility to protect must fulfill the following six criteria in order to be justified as an extraordinary measure of intervention:

  1. Just Cause
  2. Right Intention
  3. Final Resort
  4. Legitimate Authority
  5. Proportional Means
  6. Reasonable Prospect

Instances

Events that have involved mass atrocities since the Cold war:

Criticism

RtoP and National Sovereignty

One of the main concerns surrounding RtoP is that it infringes upon national sovereignty. This concern is rebutted by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the report Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. According to the first pillar of RtoP, the state has the responsibility to protect its populations from mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing, and according to the second pillar the international community has the responsibility to help States fulfill their responsibility. Advocates of RtoP claim that only occasions where the international community will intervene on a State without its consent is when the state is either allowing mass atrocities to occur, or is committing them, in which case the State is no longer upholding its responsibilities as a sovereign. In this sense RtoP can be understood as reinforcing sovereignty. However it is not clear who makes this decision on behalf of ‘international community’. Because of this in practical terms, RtoP is perceived as a tool of western countries to justify violations of sovereignty of other countries especially in developing world, using international institutions The West controls.

Libya, 2011

On March 19, 2011, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved resolution 1973 which reiterated the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan population. The UNSC resolution reaffirmed “that parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians…” It demanded “an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute ‘crimes against humanity’… It imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace, a no-fly zone, and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.” The resolution passed with 10 in favor, 0 against and 5 abstains. Two of the five permanent members of the council abstained, China and Russia. The subsequent military action by NATO resulted in mixed opinions. Detractors of the intervention believe that problems in Libya are best resolved amongst Libyans.

RtoP Scope

The scope of RtoP is often questioned. The concern is whether RtoP should apply to more than the four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. For example, should RtoP be used to protect civilians in peril following natural disasters? In general, the consensus is that the scope of RtoP should remain narrow and well-defined. At the General Assembly debate on RtoP in July 2009, several Member States reaffirmed the original scope of RtoP and said that broadening the applicability of RtoP could diminish its effectiveness.

In other words it was agreed to fail to agree.

Use of Military Intervention

The question of military intervention under the third pillar of RtoP remains controversial. Several states have argued that RtoP should not allow the international community to intervene militarily on States, because to do so is an infringement upon sovereignty. Others argue that this a necessary facet of RtoP, and is necessary as a last resort to stop mass atrocities. A related argument surrounds the question as to whether more specific criteria should be developed to determine when the Security Council should authorize military intervention.

Selectivity in the Security Council

Another concern surrounding RtoP is that the Security Council in the UN, when deciding to which crises RtoP applies, have been selective and biased. A veto from one of the five permanent members brings bias to the process. As an example, the UNSC did not vote to intervene in Chechnya because Russia opposed such action. This has been acknowledged as an issue of major concern, and has hindered the implementation of RtoP. Some of those involved advocate that the UNSC permanent members agree not to use their veto when proven mass atrocities are taking place.

Tony Blair’s 1999  “Doctrine of The International Community” was a valiant attempt, if ahead of its time, to put into words why the international community must learn to work and act together.

WHERE ARE WE?

Because the “international community” (a misnomer if ever there was one) has not yet learned how to work and act together in the face of such refuseniks as Russia and China, we are where we are today. Frankly nowhere. This is not helped when international law as it is written and as it is adhered to and practised are not always the same thing.

I am on record as not supporting intervention in Syria. This is not because I wish to leave Syrians to be massacred by their own president – Assad.  It is simply that until the international community (including the Arab world, Russia & China) gets itself organised as an entity I am not up to the lifetime job of arguing the reasons that western interventionists are right and are NOT “war criminals” for trying to stop such atrocities.

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