Red Mercury – Iraq – LBC – Blue Politics – Boris Johnson – Telegraph – Tony Blair – Leveson

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

Click to tweet this post

Comment at end

2nd June 2012

_____

Update: Boris Johnson was the Editor of the Spectator from 1999 to 2005 The writer below does not say in which year he spoke to Mr Johnson, but we can assume it was after 2003. Why did he sit on this information? FOI anyone?

_____

“… you are sitting on a huge international scoop. If you have evidence that even points to the Iraqis trying to acquire nuclear-related materials from the ex-Soviet countries, that’s big news. It vindicates Mr Blair and Mr Bush!”

I noticed an intriguing article this morning, which is pasted below in its entirety.

Some might say it raises more questions than it answers.  I am aware that even mentioning the possibility that Mr Dhondy’s recollections are accurate could be considered clutching at straws by we drowning Blair supporters. However it is clearly worth looking at, especially if such as Boris Johnson already know quite a lot about it. Am I being too suspicious to imagine that if it were a Tory PM whose name had been dragged through the mire over a political decision, the London Mayor might have been more willing to mention this? On second thoughts – if it were Cameron?

Still, political and personal ambitions and bias aside, perhaps some fair-minded newspaper or broadcasting organisation will consider it worth investigating properly if belatedly. That is the only way. If Tony Blair himself or those working for his interests sink time & effort into this investigation how many will accept those findings, given the zeitgeist?

__________

Mr Blair and the ghost of Iraq War

DHONDY.JPG
Farrukh Dhondy

“The world performs
And we are entitled to wonder.”

From The Proverbs
of Bachchoo

Like Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth, the Iraq War returns now and then to haunt Britain’s ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair. This week he was giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry on the relations his government had with the Murdoch newspapers. He was being asked if his friendship with the Murdoch family could have influenced his government’s policies or resulted in corrupt favouritism towards the family’s businesses.

As he stood at the witness’ rostrum a man appeared from behind the drapes where Lord Leveson, the chair of the enquiry, sat. The intruder shouted at Mr Blair playing to the cameras and reporters.

“You are a war criminal,” he repeated and alleged that Mr Blair had been paid by a bank to take Britain into the war. The court’s security guards grabbed him before he could say much more and frog-marched him away.

The newspapers and the TV stations which reported the incident scrupulously avoided the allegations about being bribed by a bank to go to war.

Why did Britain go to war? The question has been the matter of two parliamentary inquiries. Tony Blair and Alistair[sic] Campbell, his chief spin-doctor, insist that they received reports from the intelligence services which said that Iraq had and was acquiring and perfecting weapons of mass destruction (WMDs as they were subsequently dubbed) of the biological, chemical and nuclear varieties.

Mr Blair told Parliament and the nation that these WMDs were a threat to the security of Britain and that Iraq could launch an attack on this country or other countries in 45 minutes and asked Parliament to ratify the deployment of the armed forces.

As the world now knows, there were no WMDs discovered in Iraq. Mr Blair and Mr Campbell, it has been alleged, manipulated the Secret Services and falsified their report to exaggerate the threat of WMDs. The spooks had nowhere said that WMDs definitely existed and the 45-minute deployment was pure fabrication.

All over the world people allege that US President George W. Bush took the US to war to serve the vested interests of a group of American profiteers. That vice-president Dick Cheney, Mr Bush himself and Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary for defence, had connections and investments in the oil industry and in firms such as Halliburton which landed huge reconstruction contracts, is not a secret.

Allegations that Mr Blair had a financial motivation have never been established and Mr Blair immediately insisted for the record perhaps, in denying the allegation.

Nevertheless, the episode has revived the media’s interest in the matter. An Iraqi exile speaking on London’s LBC radio station said he supported Mr Blair’s stance about WMDs as he was himself an operative in the biological field in Iraq and escaped the country because he knew that the war would target his facility. He claimed he could locate the sites devoted to the development of biological weapons by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

I don’t know whether the Iraqi government or the British Secret Services will contact this gentleman and verify his allegations. If I were Mr Blair I’d use some of my considerable wealth to privately investigate his claim if only to be able to retrospectively justify sending a country to war and being responsible for the expenditure of lives and money in what very many see as a futile, destructive and even criminal conflict.

Some years ago I set out to assist Mr Blair to do just that, though, gentle reader, I can see that this may sound like the comedian Spike Milligan’s satirical book title Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall.

It was after the parliamentary enquiry into the Iraq War had declared that there were never any WMDs in Iraq that I received a phone call from an acquaintance of mine in Paris.

This person had a criminal past and had spent a lot of his life in jail. He was at the time free and living in Paris but still involved in deals which some might have found questionable.

“Farrukh, you studied physics, so tell me what is Red Mercury?”

“It’s an Antimony compound which Soviet scientists claim to have fabricated which can be used as a nuclear trigger. Very many other physicists doubt its existence,” I said. “But why do you want to know?”

He said he’d been in Bahrain before the Iraq War for an appointment with some Arab gentlemen who were interested in buying Red Mercury which he could broker, for a substantial sum, from an ex-Soviet mafia outfit. He had evidence of his meetings with these Arab agents and written and taped records of their interest in purchasing nuclear triggers.

“Iraqis?” I asked.

He was sure they were acting on behalf of the Iraqi government.

“Then you are sitting on a huge international scoop. If you have evidence that even points to the Iraqis trying to acquire nuclear-related materials from the ex-Soviet countries, that’s big news. It vindicates Mr Blair and Mr Bush! Come to London.”

I introduced him to Boris Johnson, now Mayor of London who was then the editor of the Spectator. Mr Johnson said it was too big a story for the “Speccie” to break. It had to be one of the big dailies. He introduced my person to a leading reporter of the Daily Telegraph who was instantly interested.

The snag was that the Telegraph said it couldn’t pay the sort of money that my person from France was asking in exchange for handing over the evidence of the proposed transaction. I believe, though I wasn’t there, that my Paris acquaintance and the Telegraph reporter spent several days circling each other. The deal fell through.

My man had an even bigger transaction he said which couldn’t wait and he flew off to Nepal. He probably still has the emails and proof of his meetings with the nuclear clients and again, if I were Mr Blair I’d pay him a visit in Kathmandu, where he is a permanent guest of the Nepalese government, and strike a deal.

__________

RELATED

  • The Asian News at Twitter – The official Twitter page of The Asian Age, India’s only international daily newspaper. We have editions in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and London.  http://www.asianage.com
  • Radio London – LBC on Twitter London’s Biggest Conversation. This is their contact number. Please do call them on 0845 60 60 973. I could see no reference to this caller at their website or even on google. Plus ca change, Hmm?  http://www.lbc.co.uk

_____

Back to top

Click to tweet this post

Follow Blair Supporter on Twitter 

Advertisements

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

All blog posts 2012 + Original posts, from 2006 to 2012

Click to tweet this post

Comment at end


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.

__________

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.

__________

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]

__________

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.

__________

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*

__________

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.

__________

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

__________

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

__________

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.

__________

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.

__________

Thursday 8th February, 2007

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

__________

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.

__________

Monday 5th February, 2007

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

__________

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.

__________

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.

Back to top


Bountiful Lord Nazir Ahmed suspended by Labour party for offering 10m $/£ bounty on Bush, Blair, Obama

All blog posts 2012 + Original posts list: from 2006 to 2012

Click to tweet this post

Comment at end

16th April 2012

UPDATE 20th April – MEMRI has plenty of links showing what Ahmed said and who reported it. I suppose much of it was, er … lost in translation of this…  er… Pakistan-born “Lord” while in, er… Pakistan.

Lord Ahmed: “If the Labour Party want to suspend me I will deal with the Labour Party. They will have to give me some evidence.”

The “bounty” threats, spoken allegedly by Lord Nazir Ahmed, came in two online reports.

Episode 1 In his first mouthing-off, on Tuesday 10th April, it was reported that Ahmed would sell his house and beg in the streets to raise a US$10M bounty on George Bush (and Tony Blair.)

Somehow this evaded the attention of the Bush- &  Blair-hating press. At a seminar at the Punjab University he was reported as saying,  “I announce 10 million dollars reward against Mr George W Bush.” He also said, reportedly, then too that he would collect the money whether he had to beg in the streets  – but “Bush and Tony Blair should be charged with war crimes.”

(Source –http://pu.edu.pk/home/section/seminars/1445)

Episode 2, Upping the Anti,  Herald Tribune – ‘Sterling’ (GBP£10M) bounty offered for Obama, Bush

Ahmed’s second entry into public ranting on this issue, which seems to have culminated in his “suspension”, was reported by the Herald Tribune on Saturday 14th April. Here he mentions Obama as well as Bush. So perhaps someone in Obama’s administration took exception to this.

In both reports, unless BOTH misreported him, he called for a “bounty”

Now I’m not sure what YOU think when someone used the word “bounty”. Personally I imagine a wild west type poster with “dead or alive” in bold lettering.

Ahmed now claims to be shocked and horrified at these claims. I bet he is!

THE “10,000/10,000,000” INCITER

Ahmed seems to be obsessed by the number “10”. Can’t imagine why.

I noted how he managed to get an earlier threat removed from online publications. It was the threat to mobilise 10,000 Muslims on Parliament if Geert Wilders dared to turn up there to speak to other peers as arranged. I am therefore surprised that his original “bounty” story is still up there for all to see: ‘Lord Nazir announces $10m bounty for Bush, Blair‘ Excerpt:

Lord Nazir Ahmad said he is ready to give $10m as bounty for war criminals, Bush and Blair.

While addressing a seminar on World Panorama and Our Responsibilities at University of the Punjab, he said that courts have accepted innocence of Hafiz Saeed but ex-US president Bush and UK prime minister Tony Blair committed tremendously dangerous crimes in the in the name of war on terror; so special award should be announced for them.

He said that the US may hit Iran in order to have victory in general polls.

He said that if the US can have a dialogue with Taliban, government should also commence phase of dialogue with angry Balochs and Pakhtun warlords.Reply With Quote

Allowing for a misleading headline, and putting aside the notion that Ahmed supports a suspected terrorist and would be happy to work with Pakistan’s warlords, the call for a bounty on George Bush and at the very least by implication on Tony Blair can be seen here.

TWEETING GALORE

I picked this up last Tuesday, 10th April, at about 9:30pm, and tweeted on it repeatedly. There were a few Labour party members and supporters RTing but not, frankly, as many as there should have been.

I took the precaution to save his reported comments at the site as originally shown; just in case this evidence does a disappearing trick, as before. (A few of my tweets with dates, from 10th April, appear below).

AGENDAS AND (EDITED?) TAPES

I now understand via a tweet by Patrick Wintour that “Channel 4 has a tape of Ahmed speech – vows to raise cash to bring Bush and Blair to “justice” at ICC, but no mention of Obama or bounty.”

Channel4 is in the same Blair-baiting boat as the BBC. On Radio4’s News at 6 this evening they mentioned the suspension, finishing lightly with “Lord Ahmed expects the suspension to be lifted shortly”.

As if.

He should be stripped of the Labour whip AND his peerage. If he doesn’t know what to do with his old peerage papers he could always send them back to whence they came: Tony Blair.

__________

RELATED

Lord Nazir Ahmed has pledged a 10 million bounty on Bush and Blair?!

There is an interesting comment & smiley at the top of this post: Default USD 10m Bounty on Bush!

For arrest and conviction of course

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-5-102361-Nazir-puts-$10m-bounty-on-Bush

__________

Earlier posts at this site on Lord Ahmed

TWEETS, starting on 10th April:

Pakistani-born British politician Lord Nazir Ahmed announces 10 million bounty on George W Bush, Tony Blair. Idiot.

Blair Supporter

If true, this is criminal. Home Secretary – ARREST Lord Nazir Ahmed. #incitement to kill <$10m bounty on GW Bush & Tony Blair>

 Blair Supporter Blair Supporter@blairsupporter  So this is Tony Blair’s thanks for making Nazir Ahmed a peer. A bounty for $10M. FGS. DOCTOR!!!

I would have had Lord Ahmed locked up for this in 2009 – http://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/lord-ahmed-threatens-to-mobilise-10000-so-wilders-visit-off/ – Who the hell does he think he is? Good Lord!

Thanks, JR. Just found that. Though I do NOT normally judge people B4 real proof it’s time to let people know abt Ignoble Lord. @JohnRentoul

9:42 PM – 10 Apr 12
 Blair Supporter Blair Supporter@blairsupporter Lord Nazir Ahmed is an interesting “lordship”. He threatened jihad on the House of Lords if their lordships allowed Geert Wilders to visit.
9:38 PM – 10 Apr 12 via web

I had one or two telling me that I would be accused of racism or was stopping Ahmed’s “free speech”. (Sigh) Like –

Kameel Premhid ‏ you’re missing the nuance of what I’m saying. People will deride you for making what could be perceived as a racist attack

6:31 AM – 11 Apr 12

I didn’t miss that point, Kameel. I discount it as the usual & to be expected LIES that it is. ANTIS’ flawed “perception” @kameelpremhid

11:25 AM – 11 Apr 12 via web
And this interchange with James Dobson –
James Dobson James Dobson ‏ You DO suppress. You’re so fearful of extremist views you think they should be illegal. Don’t hide your own views.
2:35 AM – 11 Apr 12
Blair Supporter Blair Supporter@blairsupporter Btw, James, #extremist views, when they are used to #incite online & offline, ARE illegal. Do learn a little about the law.

2:42 AM – 11 Apr 12 via web

   James Dobson James Dobson You DO suppress. You’re so fearful of extremist views you think they should be illegal. Don’t hide your own views.
Blair Supporter Blair Supporter Btw, I have never been accused of hiding my own views ;0) Some say they wish I would. I won’t. Ever. #Iknowmyenemy
2:40 AM – 11 Apr 12 via web
11 Apr James Dobson James Dobson You DO suppress. You’re so fearful of extremist views you think they should be illegal. Don’t hide your own views.
Blair Supporter Blair Supporter If you’ve no concerns over extremists’ views u are naive, ignorant or very young. EVERY day people die at extremists’ hands.
2:39 AM – 11 Apr 12
James Dobson James Dobson You DO suppress. You’re so fearful of extremist views you think they should be illegal. Don’t hide your own views.
2:35 AM – 11 Apr 12
Blair Supporter Blair Supporter I DON’T suppress. I AIR their views frequently. Little liberrtarians want to execute Tony Blair. I want to charge INCITERS.
Blair Supporter Blair SupporterAnd yet he and his type of fundamentalists call for “respect” from rest of us. Why? A convicted criminal who threatens us? 
2:34 AM – 11 Apr 12   Blair Supporter Blair Supporter It matters HUGELY. He does not respect the parliamentary system or the PM that gave him a voice. He’s a scumbag. Imho.
11 Apr James Dobson James Dobson ‏ Suppressing freedom of speech is no way to achieve freedom. It’s sad that you’re so fearful of extremist views.
Blair Supporter Blair Supporter So AGAIN I say I do NOT suppress. I air the truth. He is calling for a “bounty” & is ignored as though that doesn’t matter.
__________

Back to top

Tweet this post   –  Follow Blair Supporter on Twitter

Jeremy Paxman in Wonderland. “BBC Trust” findings.

All blog posts 2012 + Original posts list: from 2006 to 2012

Click to tweet this post

Comment at end

16th March 2012

PAXMAN IN WONDERLAND (Continued) …
Below, in blue, is the full text of the letter from the complainant in response to the BBC Trust findings (p31) on the Paxman interview with Douglas Alexander on Newsnight, BBC2 on 21 February 2011, which formed the basis of my previous blog post.  As is shown, the  extra details of the findings are even more outrageous and nonsensical than those included in the Wonderland story.
__________
FROM THE COMPLAINANT TO THE BBC TRUST
The complaint is based on the fact that consideration of this case has not followed the basic rules of an appeal process i.e. that the decision should be related to the precise terms of the original complaint, that the objections to a finding should be properly considered and then the decision made on the basis of whether or not these objections are plausible and whether there was evidence to back up any case being made.
In this case the Committee’s decision is not related to my original complaint and your conclusions have been endorsed without addressing my precise objections to them.   No evidence has been provided to support the Committee’s conclusions whereas evidence to support my objections has been ignored. Finally, the reasoning behind the Committee’s decision is quite absurd.  All this can be seen from the following analysis of the Committee’s justification of their findings, which can be summarised as –
  1. it could not be concluded from the substance of Mr Paxman’s questions that they represented his personal views;
  2. most viewers would not have judged that Mr Paxman’s combatitive questioning on this topic went beyond what was expected of Mr Paxman in this respect;
  3. the Committee did not agree that the questions put to the daughter of the murdered Libyan dissident were leading questions;
  4. the style of the interview did not reveal in any way the presenter’s views;
  5. just because an interviewer may hold certain views does not mean that an interview is conducted in a partial manner;
  6. the key question was not the distinction between whether the presenter actually held personal views or gave the impression that he held personal views; it was whether the material  broadcast was impartial. The Committee then declare the evidence that I have provided to support my case to be irrelevant.
The obvious answers to these points, which I have repeatedly made in the correspondence, are
1)  It was not the substance of Mr Paxman’s questions which revealed his personal views or gave the impression that they were his views but the way in which they were put ;
2)  this is simply a matter of opinion, no evidence having been provided. Even if  such combatitive questioning was expected by the audience this does not override the need for Mr Paxman to abide by the guidelines I have referred to about interviewers not revealing their own biased views on a subject or giving the impression of such bias.
3)  this observation flies in the in the face of the actual questions put in this case –
“It was not just a matter of Mr Paxman’s softer tone with Ms Abuzeid but of the way questions were put to her to simply confirm the case that Mr Paxman was making. As I said in my submission to Ms O’Brien, “Mr Paxman then turns to the daughter of a murdered Libyan dissident and gently asks her some leading questions about what she thinks of the pictures of Blair and Gaddafi (as if she’s going to reply, great!) and whether she had any anxiety that the Blair relationship was reinforcing Gaddafi’s position in Libya (as if she’s going to answer ‘no’.)”
4)  this observation also flies in the face of the way the questions were put in this case –
“His lips curling with contempt, Paxman asked Alexander whether he was proud of the pictures of Blair embracing Gaddafi, emphasising the words “proud” and “embracing”.He then went on to refer to “the killing being done by someone who our former PM had clasped to his bosom and whose son referred to him as a close personal friend (with the words “bosom”, “close” “personal” “friend” being almost spitted out. This was followed by “So we have got a despot still in power, having been clasped to his bosom by our former PM (notice the repetition of the bosom clasping reference) and you still show no sign of apologising for this? (with a note of incredulity in his voice). Then in response to an answer from Alexander he almost screams at him “Stop passing the buck to the international community!”
Moreover, putting the observation in this way begs the question of whether Mr Paxman gave the impression that these were his own biased views even if they were not.  As I have already said, giving such an impression seems to go against the BBC guidelines on this matter and although I have provided a link to an ESC finding apparently agreeing with this interpretation of the guidelines the Committee have completely ignored this aspect of my appeal. 
5)  I was not arguing that the interview was lacking in impartiality just because Mr Paxman held certain views about the subject of the interview. My argument was that the interview was biased  because Mr Paxman allowed his attitude towards Tony Blair to be revealed (or gave the impression that this was his attitude) in the manner of his questioning.
6)  this is the most obtuse, convoluted and contentious part of the Committee’s justification of their finding.  First of all they have distorted my argument as explained in my answer to point 5 above (it was not a matter of the presenter just holding certain views etc but of the presenter revealing those views etc in the interview and thus affecting the impartiality of the interview). Second they seem to be saying that the interview was impartial just because they say it was impartial, dismissing the evidence I presented to the contrary as irrelevant. It was like a judge in  the Wonderland of Alice finding someone innocent on the basis that it was not part of his job to consider evidence presented by the prosecution.
THE EVIDENCE
As regards the question of the evidence itself in this case, the  Committee’s decision is even more like the logic of Wonderland  in that, as I have pointed out before, the Committee had come to their conclusion on the irrelevance of the evidence even though on a previous complaint I had made  (Newsnight, BBC TWO, 28 September 2009) the Committee had rejected my appeal on the basis that “the complainant had not presented it with any evidence to support his complaint that Jeremy Paxman was presenting his own opinions and as such the Committee was satisfied that in carrying out his role of interviewer Jeremy Paxman had been impartial and even-handed in his approach and style of questioning”.
Thus, as I went on to say, in the previous case the test of impartiality was whether evidence had been provided whereas the test in this case is simply whether the Committee considered the interview to be impartial regardless of the evidence provided. This seems to be a clear case of moving the goalposts in that evidence is crucial where I haven’t provided it but irrelevant where I have. Or in Wonderland terms. “When I use a word, it means what I choose it to mean…nothing more nor less”.
THE PRECISE NATURE OF THE COMPLAINT
Finally the Committee seems to have come to a view on this case based on the key question being whether the “material as broadcast” was impartial whereas my complaint was about the phrasing and manner of the questioning, which is a very different thing.
CONCLUSION
So on all the key elements of handling this appeal i.e. addressing the precise terms of my appeal,  properly addressing my objections to your conclusions, properly addressing the question of the evidence provided (and not provided) plus the need for the findings to stand up to logical analysis, the Committee have fallen far short of what should be expected. In that sense I consider their handling of the case to be grossly unfair and the explanation of their findings not clearly communicated.  To add insult to injury they have also rejected my request that the extracts from my letter setting out the precise nature of those parts of the Paxman interview that I objected to should be included in the published findings. I wanted these extracts included so that visitors to the site could determine whether the Committee’s views on the impartiality of the interview were justified.”
__________
RELATED
Earlier, 28th July 2011, complaint – HOW THE BBC TRUST BETRAYS OUR TRUST, Part 2  [and prior to that (Part 1, 28th June 2011) and after those (Part 3, 8th August 2011)]
John Rentoul on yet another complaint to said BBC re Paxman bias

Back to top

Click to tweet this post

Follow Blair Supporter on Twitter 

Paxman in Wonderland

All blog posts 2012 + Original posts list: from 2006 to 2012

Click to tweet this post

Comment at end

10th March 2012

(Updated 13th March: John Rentoul on BBC’s Paxman &  “over-compression”!)

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 2)

Jeremy’s Adventures in Wonderland

Once upon a time there was a big, bad TV presenter who went by the name of Jeremy Paxman. He worked for a nationwide broadcasting channel, the BBC, which prided itself on being righteously impartial in a wicked media world of self-serving partiality.

[“Now, I give you fair warning,” shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke; “either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!”  (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9) ]

"Oops! I didn't really mean it", said Queen P from behind her mask. "Now put it back on."

However, Jeremy was a very opinionated sort of person who found it difficult to abide by the detailed impartiality rules that had been drawn up for the BBC. One day he could hold back no longer and tore into an unfortunate politician, Douglas Alexander (as mentioned here by John Rentoul, when it occurred ONE year ago) who had the temerity to defend a former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for whom Jeremy had much disdain, likening him to a “millionaire Messiah”.  The interview concerned Blair’s relationship with a nasty Arab leader, Colonel Gaddafi, who had been persuaded by the former Prime Minister to give up his extremely nasty weapons and join the fight against an even nastier common enemy.

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 5)

The Queen of Hearts rules over Wonderland and is a tyrant - violent, authoritative and dominant. She likes to play croquet with live flamingoes and hedgehogs as mallets and balls (but only when she wins, and by her own rules) and constantly orders the beheading of people when something isn't to her liking (although these orders apparently never are actually carried out). She also has her own ideas about how trials should be conducted, and is feared by all other Wonderland inhabitants because of her lack of patience and explosive character.

Jeremy conducted the interview in such an obviously biased way that a member of the public was prompted to complain to the BBC.

'That's what you call a History of England, that is. Now, take a good look at me! I'm one that has spoken to a King, I am: mayhap you'll never see such another: and, to show you I'm not proud, you may shake hands with me!'

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6)

The complaint centred on a passage in the interview which the complaining person reported as follows:

“His lips curling with contempt, Paxman asked Alexander whether he was proud of the pictures of Blair embracing Gaddafi, emphasising the words “proud” and “embracing”. He then went on to refer to “the killing being done by someone who our former PM had clasped to his bosom and whose son had referred to him as a close personal friend (with the words “bosom”, “close”, “personal”, “friend” being almost spat out. This was followed by – “So we have got a despot still in power, having been clasped to his bosom by our former PM (notice the repetition of the bosom clasping reference) and you still show no sign of apologising for this? (with a note of incredulity in his voice). Then in response to an answer from Alexander he almost screams at him “Stop passing the buck to the international community!”

After the complaint had been duly rejected by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit (otherwise known as the BBC Protection Society) it was taken to the BBC’s eminent watchdog, the Great and the Good of the BBC Trust, which had the task of ensuring that the BBC complied with its impartiality rules.

Such a clear case of bias presented the Great and the Good with a problem. To uphold the complaint might result in the BBC upsetting and possibly losing one of its star performers: to reject the complaint would make a mockery of its sacred impartiality rules.

SCURRYING DOWN THE SHRINKING RABBIT HOLE

Alice falls down the rabbit hole. When she turns the corner the Rabbit is gone and Alice finds herself in a long, low hall, with doors all round it. She tries them, but they are all locked.

So there was only one answer, to go down the rabbit hole and have the matter dealt with by the Wonderland branch of the BBC Trust where the accepted rules of logic and adjudication, such as addressing the precise terms of a complaint on the basis of the arguments and evidence provided, do not apply. Moreover the Wonderland branch of the Trust could be relied on to convey their findings in such a long-winded, gobbledygook kind of way that no one would bother to read them, let alone make the effort to understand them.

“I quite agree with you,” said the Duchess; “and the moral of that is–‘Be what you would seem to be’–or if you’d like it put more simply–‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'”
“I think I should understand that better,” Alice said very politely, “`if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it as you say it.”
“That’s nothing to what I could say if I chose,” the Duchess replied, in a pleased tone.
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9)

The Duchess is very ugly and mistreats her baby. She is also fond of finding morals in things. She tries to be in everyone's good books (especially the Queen's) by acting very complimentary.

MADNESS IS AS MADNESS SAYS IT IS 

Many months later, Jeremy’s case found its way to the Wonderland adjudicating committee (things move very slowly in such cases). His defence, formulated by the Editorial Complaints Unit (the BBC Protection Society) rested on the usual proposition that any views or attitudes that Jeremy had shown in the interview were not his own and that the public did not consider them to be his own anyway. The opposing case was based on there being no evidence for the proposition and clear evidence that the reverse was true.

"We're all mad here" (The Cheshire Cat)

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

The Committee eventually delivered their inevitable verdict, finding against the complaint and deploying all the absurdities of Wonderland to justify their decision.

“Oh”, said Alice the Complainant, “substance and bias and phrasing and manner. Whatever can it all mean?”

The substance of Jeremy’s questioning, it concluded, did not show any bias, even though the complaint was not about the substance of the questioning but about the phrasing and manner of the questioning. Just because an interviewer may hold certain views, it went on, does not mean the interview was conducted in a partial manner, despite the complaint being about Jeremy revealing his bias by the manner of his questioning.

Finally, in a dazzling display of Wonderland logic the Committee, ruled that the evidence supporting the case against Jeremy was irrelevant, even though on a very similar case previously put to the Committee they had concluded that the views and attitudes conveyed by Jeremy were not his own (and no one thought they were) because no evidence had been presented to the contrary.

The brothers Tweedledee & Tweedledum (aka BBC & BBC Trust) are rather affectionate with each other, but don't hesitate to fight over insignificant matters. They are also cowardly.

Everyone, bar the complainant, was happy. Jeremy was happy because there would be no verdict against him at a time when he was strutting his Empire stuff. The BBC was happy since they had avoided an embarrassing punch-up with one of their most valuable assets which could not be allowed to fail. And the BBC’s poodle (sorry, watchdog), the BBC Trust, happily wagged its tail having once again done its master’s bidding.

The only slight doubt was about whether someone in an influential position might notice that the verdict came from the Wonderland branch of the Trust. But on past form they knew they had little to worry about since those who reported these things tended to turn a blind eye to Wonderland verdicts which concerned the former Prime Minister.

“Tut, tut, child!” said the Duchess. “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9)

__________

In case some might dismiss the above as a fairy tale, it should be noted that the recent BBC Trust decision on which the story was based is even more replete with Wonderland absurdities, as can be seen from this link to the actual findings

(scroll down to page 31) and from this extract from the full response of the complainant to the findings.

__________

(Thanks to this site for most of the pictures, quotes & interpretations of Alice’s adventures.)

(‘Jeremy in Wonderland’  –  continued here)

__________

Back to top

Click to tweet this post   – Follow Blair Supporter on Twitter 

Tony Blair: ‘Doctrine of The International Community’, Chicago 1999

Comment at end

Or –

1st February 2012

[Jump here if you can’t wait to read all of Tony Blair’s 1999 Chicago speech]

But it might be worth a quick read of the below (in grey) in order that you know why the international community is disgracefully lacking in its behaviour as regards the RtP.

It seems quite a few have never heard of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’. It was added to the UN Charter in 2005 AFTER Tony Blair and others of the interventionist mindset had embarrassed the UN by intervening WITHOUT United Nations mandates in such as Kosovo.  (See here, Responsibility to Protect)

Excerpt:

Background: The emergence of the concept of “humanitarian intervention”

Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and Kosovo in 1995 and 1999, the international community began to seriously debate how to react effectively when citizens’ human rights are grossly and systematically violated. The issue at the heart of the matter was whether States have unconditional sovereignty over their affairs or whether the international community has the right to intervene militarily in a country for humanitarian purposes.

It was during this period in the 1990s, with incidents in Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica and Kosovo, that the discussion of a “right to humanitarian intervention” evolved into the concept of a “responsibility to protect”.

In his Millennium Report of 2000, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, recalling the failures of the Security Council to act in a decisive manner in Rwanda and Kosovo, put forward the challenge to Member States:

“If humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica, to gross and systematic violation of human rights that offend every precept of our common humanity?”

Hat tip for the speech below to PBS Online News Hour

____________________

The Blair Doctrine, April 22nd 1999

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: It is a great pleasure to be here in Chicago this evening and addressing the Economic Club. My thanks to your Chairman, Phil Rooney, and your President, Grace Barry. My thanks too to Mayor Daley for your kindness in welcoming me here.

I must start this evening by saying, on behalf of the British people, how saddened we are by the tragic events in Linleton on Tuesday. For us it brings back sad memories of a school tragedy of our own on 13 March 1996 in a small town called Dunblane in Scotland when 16 children and a teacher died in a hail of bullets. From us in Britain to you here in the United States: we offer you our deepest sympathy, our thoughts and our prayers.

1 am absolutely delighted to be the first serving British Prime Minister to visit Chicago. I wanted to come here to the heart of this great country. To a great cosmopolitan city and the capital of middle America.

Despite the absence of Prime Ministerial visits, there is a long British history with Chicago We set up our Consulate here in 1855.

Marshall Field opened their first overseas buying office in Manchester in 1870. One of Field’ s shop assistants subsequently opened his own store in London in 1909. His name was Harry Selfridge. He employed the same architect who designed your City Hall to build Selfridge’s, the landmark store on London’s Oxford Street.

That sort of interchange goes on today too. Chicagoland is the headquarters of some of Britain’s most important inward investors: Motorola, Sara Lee, RR Donnelly. Nearly half the $124 billion US firms spent on foreign acquisitions last year went on British companies. We would like it to be even more.

Nor is the traffic all one way. British investment in Illinois generates some 46,000 jobs, making us the biggest foreign investor in the State. And the London Futures Exchange is working alongside your Board of Trade and Mercantile Exchange to lead the revolution in electronic trading. The London Futures Exchange looks forward to receiving early CFTC approval for its system to be installed here.

Kosovo

While we meet here in Chicago this evening, unspeakable things are happening in Europe. Awful crimes that we never thought we would see again have reappeared – ethnic cleansing. systematic rape, mass murder.

I want to speak to you this evening about events in Kosovo. But I want to put these events in a wider context – economic, political and security – because I do not believe Kosovo can be seen in isolation.

No one in the West who has seen what is happening in Kosovo can doubt that NATO’s military action is justified. Bismarck famously said the Balkans were not worth the bones of one Pomeranian Grenadier. Anyone who has seen the tear stained faces of the hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming across the border, heard their heart-rending tales of cruelty or contemplated the unknown fates of those left behind, knows that Bismarck was wrong.

This is a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand. We must not rest until it is reversed. We have learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. If we let an evil dictator range unchallenged, we will have to spill infinitely more blood and treasure to stop him later.

But people want to know not only that we are right to take this action but also that we have clear objectives and that we are going to succeed.

We have five objectives: a verifiable cessation of all combat activities and killings; the withdrawal of Serb military, police and paramilitary forces from Kosovo; the deployment of an international military force, the return of all refugees and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid; and a political framework for Kosovo building on the Ramnbouillet accords. We will not negotiate on these aims. Milosevic must accept them.

Through the air campaign, we have destroyed the greater part of Milosevic’s operational airforce; a quarter of his SAM radar systems – the rest do not operate for fear of being destroyed; his oil refineries and the lines of communication into Kosovo; his military infrastructure including his means of command and communication; and a good part of his ammunition dumps. The morale of the Yugoslav army is beginning to crack. And the KLA is now larger and has more support than when Milosevic started his campaign.

We have always made clear this campaign will take time. We will not have succeeded until an international force has entered Kosovo and allowed the refugees to return to their homes. Milosevic will have no veto on the entry of this international force.

Just as I believe there was no alternative to military action, now it has started I am convinced there is no alternative to continuing until we succeed. On its 50th birthday NATO must prevail. Milosevic had, I believe, convinced himself that the Alliance would crack. But I am certain that this weekend’s Summit in Washington under President Clinton’s leadership will make our unity and our absolute resolve clear for all to see. Success is the only exit strategy I am prepared to consider.

We need to begin work now on what comes after our success in Kosovo. We will need a new Marshall plan for Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia too if it turns to democracy. We need a new framework for the security of the whole of the Balkans. And we will need to assist the war crimes tribunal in its work to bring to justice those who have committed these appalling crimes.

This evening I want to step back and look at what is happening in Kosovo in a wider context

Global Interdependence

Twenty years ago we would not have been fighting in Kosovo. We would have turned our backs on it. The fact that we are engaged is the result of a wide range of changes – the end of the Cold War; changing technology; the spread of democracy. But it is bigger than that

I believe the world has changed in a more fundamental way. Globalisation has transformed our economies and our working practices. But globalisation is not just economic. It is also a political and security phenomenon.

We live in a world where isolationism has ceased to have a reason to exist. By necessity we have to co-operate with each other across nations.

Many of our domestic problems are caused on the other side of the world. Financial instability in Asia destroys jobs in Chicago and in my own constituency in County Durham. Poverty in the Caribbean means more drugs on the streets in Washington and London. Conflict in the Balkans causes more refugees in Germany and here in the US. These problems can only be addressed by international co-operation.

We are all internationalists now, whether we like it or not We cannot refuse to participate in global markets if we want to prosper. We cannot ignore new political ideas in other counties if we want to innovate. We cannot turn our backs on conflicts and the violation of human rights within other countries if we want still to be secure.

On the eve of a new Millennium we are now in a new world. We need new rules for international co-operation and new ways of organising our international institutions.

After World War II, we developed a series of international institutions to cope with the strains of rebuilding a devastated world: Bretton Woods, the United Nations, NATO, the FU. Even then, it was clear that the world was becoming increasingly interdependent. The doctrine of isolationism had been a casualty of a world war, where the United States and others finally realised standing aside was not an option.

Today the impulse towards interdependence is immeasurably greater. We are witnessing the beginnings of a new doctrine of international community. By this I mean the explicit recognition that today more than ever before we are mutually dependent, that national interest is to a significant extent governed by international collaboration and that we need a clear and coherent debate as to the direction this doctrine takes us in each field of international endeavour. Just as within domestic politics, the notion of community – the belief that partnership and co-operation are essential to advance self-interest – is coming into its own; so it needs to find its own international echo. Global financial markets, the global environment, global security and disarmament issues: none of these can he solved without intense international co-operation.

As yet, however, our approach tends towards being ad hoc. There is a global financial crisis: we react, it fades; our reaction becomes less urgent. Kyoto can stimulate our conscience about environmental degradation but we need constant reminders to refocus on it. We are continually fending off the danger of letting wherever CNN roves, be the cattle prod to take a global conflict seriously.

We need to focus in a serious and sustained way on the principles of the doctrine of international community and on the institutions that deliver them. This means:

1.In global finance, a thorough, far-reaching overhaul and reform of the system of international financial regulation. We should begin it at the G7 at Cologne.

2.A new push on free trade in the WTO with the new round beginning in Seattle this autumn.

3.A reconsideration of the role, workings and decision-making process of the UN, and in particular the UN Security Council.

4 For NATO, once Kosovo is successfully concluded, a critical examination of the lessons to be learnt, and the changes we need to make in organisation and structure.

5.In respect of Kyoto and the environment, far closer working between the main industrial nations and the developing world as to how the Kyoto targets can be met and the practical measures necessary to slow down and stop global warming, and

6.A serious examination of the issue of third world debt, again beginning at Cologne.

In addition, the EU and US should prepare to make real step-change in working more closely together. Recent trade disputes have been a bad omen in this regard. We really are failing to see the bigger picture with disputes over the banana regime or hushkits or whatever else. There are huge issues at stake in our co-operation. The EU and the US need each other and need to put that relationship above arguments that are ultimately not fundamental.

Now is the time to begin work in earnest on these issues. I know President Clinton will stand ready to give a lead on many of them. In Kosovo but on many other occasions, I have had occasion to be truly thankful that the United States has a President with his vision and steadfastness.

Globalisation

Globalisation is most obvious in the economic sphere. We live in a completely new world. Every day about one trillion dollars moves across the foreign exchanges, most of it in London. Here in Chicago the Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade contracts worth more than $1.2 billion per day.

Any Government that thinks it can go it alone is wrong. If the markets don’t like your policies they will punish you.

The same is true of trade. Protectionism is the swiftest road to poverty. Only by competing internationally can our companies and our economics grow and succeed. But it has to be an international system based on rules. That means accepting the judgements of international organisations even when you do not like them. And it means using the new trade round to be launched at Seattle to extend free trade.

The international financial system is not working as it should. The Asian financial crisis of last year, and the knock on impact on Brazil, demonstrate that.

The fact is that the Bretton Woods machinery was set up for the post war world. The world has moved on. And we need to modernise the international financial architecture to make it appropriate for the new world.

The lesson of the Asian crisis is above all that it is better to invest in countries where you have openness, independent central banks, properly functioning financial systems and independent courts, where you do not have to bribe or rely on favours from those in power.

We have therefore proposed that we should make greater transparency the keystone of reform. Transparency about individual countries’ economic policies through adherence to new codes of conduct on monetary and fiscal policy; about individual companies’ financial positions through new internationally agreed accounting standards and a new code of corporate governance; and greater openness too about IMF and World Bank discussions and policies.

We also need improved financial supervision both in individual countries through stronger and more effective peer group reviews, and internationally through the foundation of a new Financial Stability Forum. And we need more effective ways of resolving crises, like that in Brazil. The new contingent credit line at the IMF will assist countries pursuing sensible economic reforms and prevent damaging contagion. But we should also think creatively about how the private sector can help to resolve short-term financial crises.

Secretary Rubin and Chancellor Gordon Brown both put forward ideas yesterday. They highlighted the progress already made on improving transparency and in developing internationally agreed standards, particularly for the financial sector. But both identified the key challenges going forward, including how to involve the private sector in the prevention and resolution of crises. G7 Finance Ministers will be discussing these issues next week. I want to see agreement on the key outstanding questions reached by the Cologne Summit.

I hope the Summit will go further too in the case of Russia. We simply cannot stand back and watch that great nation teeter on the brink of ruin. If it slides into the abyss, it will affect all of us. A democratic, outward looking, prosperous Russia is of key importance to the West. We must not let our current differences set us on a route towards the mutual hostility and suspicion which has too often characterised our relationship in the past.

I very much hope that Russia and the IMF can reach an early agreement on a new programme to provide macro-economic stability, avoid hyper-inflation and encourage Russian companies and savers to keep their own money in the country. This however will only be a first step. I want to see a wider dialogue between Russia and the G7 focussing on all of the structural and legal reforms that are needed to improve the economic prospects for ordinary Russians. Russia is a unique economy with its own special problems and its own unique potential. We all need to build on the lessons of the last few years and develop a long term strategy for reform that respects Russia’s history, her culture and her aspirations. If Russia is prepared, with our understanding and co-operation, to take the difficult economic action it needs to reform its economy – to build a sound and well-regulated financial system, to restructure and close down bankrupt enterprises to develop and enforce a clear and fair legal system and to reduce the damage caused by nuclear waste – the G7 must be prepared to think imaginatively about how it can best support these efforts.

We will be putting forward concrete ideas on how to do this at the Cologne Summit – by opening up our markets to Russian products. by providing technical advice and sharing our expertise with the Russians, by providing support both bilaterally and through the 1MF. the World Bank and the other lEls and the Paris Club for the Russian reform efforts.

I believe passionately that we will all benefit hugely from a thriving Russia making use of its immense natural resources, its huge internal market and its talented and x~eIl-educated people. Russia’s past has been as a world power that we felt confronted by. We must work with her to make her future as a world power with whom we co-operate in trust and to mutual benefit.

International Security

The principles of international community apply also to international security.

We now have a decade of experience since the end of the Cold War. It has certainly been a less easy time than many hoped in the euphoria that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Our armed forces have been busier than ever – delivering humanitarian aid, deterring attacks on defenceless people, backing up UN resolutions and occasionally engaging in major wars as we did in the Gulf in 1991 and are currently doing in the Balkans.

Have the difficulties of the past decade simply been the aftershocks of the end of the Cold War? Will things soon settle down, or does it represent a pattern that will extend into the future?

Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men – Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. Both have been prepared to wage vicious campaigns against sections of their own community. As a result of these destructive policies both have brought calamity on their own peoples. Instead of enjoying its oil wealth Iraq has been reduced to poverty, with political life stultified through fear. Milosevic took over a substantial, ethnically diverse state, well placed to take advantage of new economic opportunities. His drive for ethnic concentration has left him with something much smaller, a ruined economy and soon a totally wined military machine

One of the reasons why it is now so important to win the conflict is to ensure that others do not make the same mistake in the future. That in itself will be a major step to ensuring that the next decade and the next century will not be as difficult as the past. If NATO fails in Kosovo, the next dictator to be threatened with military force may well not believe our resolve to carry the threat through.

At the end of this century the US has emerged as by far the strongest state. It has no dreams of world conquest and is not seeking colonies. If anything Americans are too ready to see no need to get involved in affairs of the rest of the world. America’s allies are always both relieved and gratified by its continuing readiness to shoulder burdens and responsibilities that come with its sole superpower status. We understand that this is something that we have no right to take for granted, and must match with our own efforts. That is the basis for the recent initiative I took with President Chirac of France to improve Europe’s own defence capabilities.

As we address these problems at this weekend’s NATO Summit we may be tempted to think back to the clarity and simplicity of the Cold War. But now we have to establish a new framework. No longer is our existence as states under threat. Now our actions are guided by a more subtle blend of mutual self interest and moral purpose in defending the values we cherish. In the end values and interests merge. If we can establish and spread the values of liberty, the rule of law, human rights and an open society then that is in our national interests too. The spread of our values makes us safer. As John Kennedy put it “Freedom is indivisible and when one man is enslaved who is free?”

The most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people’s conflicts. Non -interference has long been considered an important principle of international order. And it is not one we would want to jettison too readily. One state should not feel it has the right to change the political system of another or forment subversion or seize pieces of territory to which it feels it should have some claim. But the principle of non-interference must be qualified in important respects. Acts of genocide can never be a purely internal matter. When oppression produces massive flows of refugees which unsettle neighbouring countries then they can properly be described as “threats to international peace and security”. When regimes are based on minority rule they lose legitimacy – look at South Africa.

Looking around the world there are many regimes that are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts. If we wanted to right every wrong that we see in the modern world then we would do little else than intervene in the affairs of other countries. We would not be able to cope.

So how do we decide when and whether to intervene. I think we need to bear in mind five major considerations

First, are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators. Second, have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance, as we have in the case of Kosovo. Third, on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake? Fourth, are we prepared for the long term? In the past we talked too much of exit strategies. But having made a commitment we cannot simply walk away once the fight is over; better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than return for repeat performances with large numbers. And finally, do we have national interests involved? The mass expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the notice of the rest of the world. But it does make a difference that this is taking place in such a combustible part of Europe.

I am not suggesting that these are absolute tests. But they are the kind of issues we need to think about in deciding in the future when and whether we will intervene.

Any new rules however will only work if we have reformed international institutions with which to apply them.

If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar. But we need to find a new way to make the UN and its Security Council work if we are not to return to the deadlock that undermined the effectiveness of the Security Council during the Cold War. This should be a task for members of the Permanent Five to consider once the Kosovo conflict is complete.

Politics

This speech has been dedicated to the cause of internationalism and against isolationism. On Sunday, along with other nation’s leaders, including President Clinton, I shall take part in a discussion of political ideas. It is loosely based around the notion of the Third Way, an attempt by centre and centre-left Governments to re-define a political programme that is neither old left nor 1980s right. In the field of politics, too, ideas are becoming globalised. As problems become global – competitivity, changes in technology, crime, drugs, family breakdown – so the search for solutions becomes global too. What amazes me, talking to other countries’ leaders, is not the differences but the points in common. We are all coping with the same issues: achieving prosperity in a world of rapid economic and technological change; social stability in the face of changing family and community mores; a role for Government in an era where we have learnt Big Government doesn’t work, but no Government works even less.

Certain key ideas and principles are emerging. Britain is following them. It is one of the things that often makes it difficult for commentators to define the New Labour Government. We are parodied as either being Mrs Thatcher with a smile instead of a handbag; or as really old-style socialists in drag, desperate to conceal our true identity. In reality, we are neither. The political debates of the 20th century – the massive ideological battleground between left and right – are over. Echoes remain, but they mislead as much as they illuminate.

Let me summarise the new political agenda we stand for:

1.Financial prudence as the foundation of economic success. In Britain, we have eliminated the massive Budget deficit we inherited; put in new fiscal rules; granted Bank of England independence – and we’re proud of it.

2.On top of that foundation, there is a new economic role for Government. We don’t believe in laissez-faire. But the role is not picking winners, heavy handed intervention, old-style corporatism, but: education, skills, technology, small business entrepreneurship. Of these, education is recognised now as much for its economic as its social necessity. It is our top priority as a Government.

3.We are reforming welfare systems and public services. In Britain, we are introducing measures to tackle failing schools and reform the teaching profession that would have been unthinkable by any Government even a few years ago. Plus big changes to the NHS. For the first two years of this Government, welfare bills have fallen for the first time in two decades.

4.We are all tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. The debate between “liberals” and “hardliners” is over. No one disputes the causes of crime. In particular social exclusion – a hardcore of society outside its mainstream – needs a special focus. We won’t solve it just by general economic success. But we don’t excuse crime either. Criminals get punished. That’s justice.

5.We are reinventing or reforming Government itself. The Government machine is being overhauled. Here, Al Gore has led the way. But the whole basis of how we deliver Government services is being altered.

For Britain. there is a special dimension to this.

We are modernising our constitution. We have devolved power to a new Parliament in Scotland and a new Assembly in Wales. We are handing power back to local government, because we believe that power should be exercised as close as possible to the people it affects. We have introduced the concept of elected Mayors which, strange as it may seem to you here in Chicago, has not existed in the past in Britain. The first election for a Mayor of London will take place next year. And we are removing the constitutional anomalies from the past, like hereditary peers voting on legislation, that have proved too difficult to tackle previously.

We also want to change the way in which Northern Ireland is governed, and let me say something on this.

We have made great progress in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement last year was a breakthrough. We have to make one last heave to get over the one remaining obstacle, so that we can establish the executive and the North/South bodies and hand over power to the elected Assembly. The stand off on decommissioning cannot be allowed to de-rail the process when we have come so far. Bertie Ahern, the Irish Taoiseach, and I are determined to find a way through. The people will never forgive the politicians unless we resolve it.

And I would like to thank President Clinton and the Irish American community in the US for the great contribution they have made to coming this far. I know you will assist us again in the final straight.

And the final thing we all have in common, the new centre, centre-left Governments, is we are internationalists and that returns me to my original theme.

For Britain, the biggest decision we face in the next couple of decades is our relationship with Europe. For far too long British ambivalence to Europe has made us irrelevant in Europe, and consequently of less importance to the United States. We have finally done away with the false proposition that we must choose between two diverging paths – the Transatlantic relationship or Europe. For the first time in the last three decades we have a government that is both pro-Europe and pro-American. I firmly believe that it is in Britain’s interest, but it is also in the interests of the US and of Europe.

Being pro-Europe does not mean that we are content with the way it is. We believe it needs radical reform. And I believe we are winning the battle for economic reform within the EU. Two weeks ago the Conservative Spanish Prime Minister and I issued a joint Declaration on economic reform. Shortly, the German Social Democratic Chancellor Schroeder and I will be issuing a declaration on the same subject. We all understand the need to ensure flexible labour markets, to remove regulatory burdens and to untie the hands of business if we are going to succeed. The tide of Euro-sclerosis has begun to turn: the Third Way in Europe as much as in Britain.

As to Britain and the Euro, we will make our decision not on political grounds but on the basis of our national economic interests. We must however ensure that we are ready to enter if we make the decision to do so. And the government has put a national changeover plan in place to convert sterling that will make that possible if we decide to do so.

I also pledge that we will prevent the European Union becoming a closed fortress. Europe must he a force for openness and free trade. Indeed it is fundamental to my whole thesis tonight that we can only survive in a global world if we remove barriers and improve co-operation.

Conclusion

This has been a very broad-ranging speech, but maybe the time is right for that. One final word on the USA itself. You are the most powerful country in the world, and the richest. You are a great nation. You have so much to give and to teach the world; and I know you would say, in all modesty, a little to learn from it too. It must be difficult and occasionally irritating to find yourselves the recipient of every demand, to be called upon in every crisis, to be expected always and everywhere to do what needs to be done. The cry “What’s it got to do with us” must be regularly heard on the lips of your people and be the staple of many a politician running for office.

Yet just as with the parable of the individuals and the talents, so those nations which have the power, have the responsibility. We need you engaged. We need the dialogue with you. Europe over time will become stronger and stronger; but its time is some way off.

I say to you: never fall again for the doctrine of isolationism. The world cannot afford it. Stay a country, outward-looking, with the vision and imagination that is in your nature. And realise that in Britain you have a friend and an ally that will stand with you, work with you, fashion with you the design of a future built on peace and prosperity for all, which is the only dream that makes humanity worth preserving.

____________________

Back to top

__________

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


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

Comment at end

Or –

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.

__________

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

Back to top

__________

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