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  1. #1
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    For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened (OP)


    Salaam

    A statement of the obvious,

    For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Far from paying any price, the British system has rewarded ministers for their fateful decision on Iraq

    March 20th marks the 15th anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq which plunged the country into a brutal occupation leading to sectarian civil war, terrorism and a death toll of hundreds of thousands.

    Yet in Britain the anniversary marks another year of impunity for the ministers who authorised the invasion. This lack of accountability for crimes committed abroad is a British disease with a very long history.
    A disastrous decision

    No British minister was forced to resign over Iraq or has been held properly accountable for it, despite the disastrous decision to go to war made collectively by the Cabinet on 17 March 2003.

    Where are they now, those Cabinet ministers who gave their assent? No less than six of them have since been elevated to the House of Lords: John Prescott, then deputy prime minister, was given a life peerage as Baron Prescott.

    He is joined by former fellow Cabinet members David Blunkett, Tessa Jowell, Alastair Darling, John Reid and Paul Boateng. Other Cabinet members were promoted following the invasion: Margaret Beckett later became foreign secretary, Darling became Chancellor and Reid became defence secretary.

    What about the main actors? Tony Blair, then Chancellor Gordon Brown and the International Development Secretary Clare Short were subsequently allowed to perform top international jobs: Blair became official special envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East until 2015, Brown became UN special envoy on global education and Short became chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

    It is perhaps tragi-ironic that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary in March 2003, was later allowed to become justice secretary.

    Far from paying any price, the British system has rewarded ministers for their fateful decision on Iraq. But not just ministers. Matthew Rycroft, Blair's private secretary at the time who drafted the "Downing Street memo" that was central to the build-up to the war, subsequently served as UK ambassador to the UN.

    Earlier this year, he was promoted further to become permanent secretary at the Department for International Development.

    A crime of aggression

    The basic issue remains: the evidence is overwhelming that the war was illegal and constituted a "crime of aggression" – one of the worst crimes in international affairs. John Prescott himself later said he thought the war was illegal.

    He is joined in this view by a long list of others including then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, later deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, not to mention most international lawyers.

    When the Chilcot report on the Iraq war appeared in 2016, the media widely commented that it failed to explicitly say the war was illegal. But it did say: "Mr Blair asked Parliament to endorse a decision to invade and occupy a sovereign nation, without the support of a Security Council resolution explicitly authorising the use of force. Parliament endorsed that choice."

    The invasion could only have been legal if it had secured such explicit UN authorisation. All Cabinet members were surely aware of this since it is basic international law - even though, as the Chilcot report showed, Blair withheld some key legal advice from them.

    Sir Michael Wood, the most senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office at the time of the invasion, was unequivocal, advising the government that military action without UN approval was "contrary to international law" and would constitute a "crime of aggression".

    He told ministers they risked offences under the International Criminal Court Act and for "misfeasance in public office". Wood's deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned in protest on the eve of the invasion, told the Chilcot inquiry that "all the lawyers dealing with the matter in the Foreign Office were entirely of one view."

    Escaping accountability

    British ministers have been involved in war crimes abroad throughout the post-1945 period, as can be seen in declassified government files.

    In the forgotten war in Oman in 1957-9, when Britain leapt to the defence of an extremely repressive regime against a rebellion, the files show that then prime minister, Harold Macmillan, personally approved British "attacks by rocket on water supplies" and on agricultural gardens – civilian targets that constitute war crimes.

    In the mid-1960s, British governments covertly supplied arms to the regime in Iraq to be used to attack Kurds in the north of the country. In 1963, British officials described this as a "terror campaign" involving "the clearing out and destruction of Kurdish villages".

    Yet British rockets, to be fired by British supplied warplanes, were provided to Baghdad "intended for use against the Kurds", a Cabinet file noted.

    No-one, as far as I know, ever questioned ministers about this at the time or when the declassified files were released. What is happening now in Yemen is simply a repeat: ministers are also escaping accountability for their involvement in consistent Saudi attacks on civilian targets such as schools and hospitals – using similar rockets to those supplied to Iraq in the 1960s.

    Bribery undertaken by British companies overseas can now be prosecuted in UK courts. But involvement in human rights violations and war crimes can be conducted with impunity.

    Ministers are thrown out of the Cabinet for trivial driving offences (Chris Huhne) or viewing porn at work (Damian Green) but not for instituting foreign wars involving mass killing.

    The invasion of Iraq was tragic for the people of that country but for the British political elite it is as though it never happened. Jeremy Corbyn, if he attains power, should make good on his signal to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq war, and it should cover other Cabinet members too.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/british-political-elite-invasion-iraq-never-happened-435103022

  2. #21
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

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    Salaam

    Yes, and guess what lessons the pathetic Blair has learnt? Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, NOTHING.

    Tony Blair warns of 'flabby liberalism'


    Tony Blair has warned against "flabby liberalism" and says there needs to be a tougher centre ground approach to issues such as tackling extremism and responding to the refugee crisis.

    The former UK prime minister is planning a global project to prevent extremism through education.

    But he warns that too often the West can "be made to feel guilty about itself" and fails to make its case.

    "We're in a situation where we have to fight back," said Mr Blair.

    "The centre has become flabby and unwilling to take people on. We concede far too much. There's this idea that you're part of an elite if you think in terms of respectful tolerance towards other people. It's ridiculous," Mr Blair told the BBC.

    After leaving office, Mr Blair set up a foundation which works to promote greater understanding between the world's religions and to challenge extremism and prejudice.

    But he warned that moderate voices were too defensive about arguing their case and this was fuelling a culture of extremism in religion and politics.

    "One of the problems with the West is that it constantly can be made to feel guilty about itself - and I'm not saying there aren't things we should feel guilty about.

    "But you know, we shouldn't let people intimidate us into thinking there are certain values we shouldn't be standing up for," said Mr Blair, who was attending the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai last week.

    "I'm a supporter of multiculturalism. But there's been a long period of time when we've allowed the concept of multiculturalism to be abused."

    As an example, he said that if people were asserting the equality and fair treatment of women that they should not be made to feel "somehow we're being culturally insensitive".

    "We have to be clear no one has the right to abrogate those basic human rights."

    But he warned that moderate voices were too defensive about arguing their case and this was fuelling a culture of extremism in religion and politics.

    "One of the problems with the West is that it constantly can be made to feel guilty about itself - and I'm not saying there aren't things we should feel guilty about.

    "But you know, we shouldn't let people intimidate us into thinking there are certain values we shouldn't be standing up for," said Mr Blair, who was attending the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai last week.

    "I'm a supporter of multiculturalism. But there's been a long period of time when we've allowed the concept of multiculturalism to be abused."

    As an example, he said that if people were asserting the equality and fair treatment of women that they should not be made to feel "somehow we're being culturally insensitive".

    "We have to be clear no one has the right to abrogate those basic human rights."

    On the challenge of migration and refugees, he says that in an "era of anxiety", a lack of a coherent mainstream response has opened the door to more extreme arguments.

    "You have to give a real solution and not one which is populist but false. If you don't give a solution, and you leave people with a choice between what I would call a bit of flabby liberalism and the hardline, they'll take the hardline I'm afraid."

    He called for a more assertive policy of "muscular centrism".

    The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is promoting the idea that all countries should include a commitment to tackle extremism and promote tolerance between different religions and beliefs.

    He says there is clear evidence that education can reverse the spread of intolerance and he blames extremists for cultivating bigotry and conflict between religions.

    "The truth is this extremism is being incubated in school systems, formal and informal, which are teaching children a narrow minded and often hateful view of those who are different," says Mr Blair.

    "What people need to understand is that this culture of hate is taught.

    "They are taught a culture of hate and they can be untaught it."

    "This extremist thinking is what you have to attack, if you don't attack the ideology you'll never defeat the violence."

    Mr Blair says that when people are taught to hate people in other religions "it's not surprising that a proportion of them go into violent extremism".

    He says that he is talking to international leaders about this proposed Global Commitment on educating against extremism - and expects countries in the Middle East to be supportive.

    "What is happening in all the turmoil, particularly since the Arab Spring, is that there is a much clearer understanding in this region of the need to fight back, and a realisation that you can't fight back unless you're putting a better idea in place than the extremists."

    He argues that education against extremism and intolerance will come to be seen as an international obligation - in the way that environmental policy, such as tackling pollution, is addressed by international agreement.

    But Mr Blair rejected the idea that promoting values of tolerance would be seen as a form of Western interference.

    "The West has just got to get over this," he said.

    "There are many other people in the region who do not regard the notion of peaceful co-existence as a Western value, they see it as a sensible human value, a global value."

    The former prime minister also warned that both the far right and far left were promoting arguments in favour of "isolationism and protectionism".

    "People are very anxious and uncertain and they are turning to the demagogic populism of left and right."


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35862598

    What a sick and twisted human being, may Allah have mercy on his soul.

    Edit:

    Some new this man was a slippery customer way way back.

    Spitting Image - Tony Blair Interview
    Last edited by Junon; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:20 PM.

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    During a conflict Rreports like this are routinely denied unless the evidence is overwhelming. After the intial phase of the conflict its over the truth starts the emerge.



    Last edited by Junon; 4 Days Ago at 09:35 PM.

  5. #23
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    This was during the 90s.



    On the eve of the second Gulf war.

    Last edited by Junon; 1 Day Ago at 12:43 AM.


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