Pretty straight to the heart Tony Blair has reacted to criticism of his shady deals with repressive dictators and huge banks by announcing that he will close all his commercial activities and focus on the simple things he is best at – massacring hundreds of thousands of innocent people in illegal wars. “People have asked why I,…
It is worth recalling that Karimov was a member of the last Soviet politburo, and was a part of the failed hard line “communist” coup against Gorbachev. His support for Uzbek independence was both a matter of self-preservation and a successful endeavour to sustain the massively corrupt system that enabled a few families to pillage Uzbekistan’s great natural wealth. Tashkent was already famously corrupt in Soviet times; Karimov increased this and concentrated the wealth in an ever smaller circle, while personal freedoms were higher in the Soviet period than now.
There is no telling if Karimov is already dead or not, but a massive stroke has with certainty ended his rule. There is much speculation on what happens next. The one thing we can be quite certain will not happen is a free and fair election of a successor.
The formal process, presided over by the speaker of parliament, is an irrelevance to the power grab that is going on and depends on control of the army, the separate Ministry of the Interior armed forces, the police and the security services. By common consent Rustam Inoyatov is a key kingmaker, and for the last two years Prime Minister Mirzaeyev has been carefully cementing this alliance. Mirzaeyev is probably the most ruthless of all the candidates – he is as cold-blooded a killer as Karimov, and I suspect this quality will bring him through.
Mirzaeyev comes from the same Samarkand power base as Karimov, but he faces a difficult balancing act in ensuring nobody else has any power to challenge him, while at the same time placating powerful Tashkent and Ferghana interests. If Mirzaeyev can gain the support of the Gafur Rakhimov/Alisher Usmanov mafia nexus he will probably be home and dry. But to emphasise how complex and vicious this will be, when the Alisher Usmanov/Mirzaeyev family relationship was due to be cemented in 2013 by a marriage alliance featuring Usmanov’s nephew and heir Babur Usmanov, the groom was killed in a “car crash” at the behest of Inoyatov. This murder was probably just a friendly reminder that Inoyatov cannot be cut out, and one Mirzaeyev seems to have heeded, but underlines the potential for it all to go violently wrong.
So how can this be hopeful? Well, quite simply things can only get better. Whoever takes over is unlikely to want immediately to rush into the arms of one of Uzbekistan’s three suitors, the USA, China and Russia. There is a reasonable chance that they will wish to portray themselves as having a reform agenda, in order to keep the USA and to some extent Russia interested. Putin never viewed Karimov as more than an embarrassment. Indeed, almost every potential President except Mirzaeyev does have an inkling that the deliberate stifling of all economic initiative and the enslavement of the country to a cotton monoculture is not a good policy.
Finally a message to Karimov, my old sparring partner. You won, you kept power and I lost, and got sacked for my pains. But then I am not dead, and when I am I shall not go to Hell. Good luck with that. Craig
Nothing more to see here.
I read the Chilcot report as I travelled across Syria this week and saw for myself what Blair’s actions caused
Robert Fisk — The Independent July 6, 2016
I guess a Nuremburg trial might have been a better place to sort out the minutiae of the Blair-Bush crimes we committed to go to war in the Middle East. We brought about the deaths of up to half a million people, most of them Muslims who were as innocent as Blair was guilty. A Nuremburg-style court might thus have concentrated more on the mass Arab victims of our criminal expedition than the heinous guilt and “profound regret” – his words, of course – of Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara.
Sure, Blair lied about the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction before going to war, then lied about the Foreign Office warnings of the chaos that would overwhelm Iraq and now – today – pretends that the Chilcot report has proclaimed him innocent when in fact it says he is quite the opposite.
But a prolonged study of the report, rather than the necessarily swift precis we have been fed these past few hours, may produce lines of enquiry far more distressing than the conclusions in the easy-to-regurgitate, simplified and shorter version handed out to the media. Besides, our concentration on the iniquitous Blair and his lies, while itself an understandable response to Chilcot, has provided a worrying diversion from the mendacity that still today afflicts our political class, our prime ministers and party leaders, and their insulting attitude towards those they claim to represent.
Hearing the first news of Sir John Chilcot’s epic work of literature while I was travelling across Syria was a disturbing experience. Not just because the plague of Islamist cruelty spreading outwards from Raqqa was (despite Blair’s nonsense to the contrary) a direct result of the Iraqi inferno; but because our own present, though discredited, Prime Minister used Blairite falsehoods to persuade MPs to bomb Isis targets in Syria last December. Remember the nonsense about the 70,000 “moderate” rebels who needed our help, even though they don’t exist and were manufactured by the very same Joint Intelligence Committee on which Blair relied for his criminal adventure?
And when MPs questioned this claptrap, they were haughtily put down by General Gordon Messenger, deputy chief of the defence staff, who said that for security reasons these various rebel units could not be named – even though we know the identity of these ragtag CIA outfits and of their inability to fight anyone. The appropriately named Messenger went along with David Cameron’s fantasy and was duly promoted, just as John Scarlett, the JIC’s chairman who provided all the duff “intelligence” to Blair, was later knighted.
And so we went to war against Isis in Syria – unless, of course, Isis was attacking Assad’s regime, in which case we did nothing at all, despite all the outrageous huffing and puffing of Hilary Benn about pre-war fascism. Condemn Blair we will, poor chap, but don’t think that anything changed in the six years Sir John spent writing up his Biblical tome.
And that’s the problem. When Blair can say, as he did the moment the Chilcot report was published, that it should “lay to rest allegations [sic] of bad faith, lies and deceit” – without a revolution in the streets against his bad faith, lies and deceit – then you can be sure that his successors will have no hesitation in swindling the public again and again. After all, what’s the difference between Iraqi WMDs that don’t exist, 45-minute warnings that are falsities, 70,000 non-existent Syrian “moderates” and a fictitious NHS windfall of millions if Britain left the European Union?
There are many versions – and misquotations – of that most cynical of Nazi propagandists, Joseph “the bigger the lie, the better” Goebbels, but it is impossible not to be shocked by some of his observations. “The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence,” he wrote in 1941. “Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
What is chilling about these words is not that the wartime English Goebbels maligned, nor that Churchill (who was his special target) did actually lie. Given the struggle against Nazism – and despite Churchill’s observation that truth in war should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies – the British had a virtuous ability in the 1939-45 conflict to tell the truth even when a bit of Blairite flummery might have sufficed to cover up Britain’s defeats. No, what is frightening is that Goebbels’s words apply so painfully to English politicians today.
Who do we know after the report, for example, who keeps up their big lies even at the risk of looking ridiculous? I fear, in an awful way, that small men who want to walk in big shoes – who actually think they are Churchill and take their country to war – are committing the very lies of which their political ancestors were largely innocent. Perhaps the key to all this was captured in Sir John’s contention that Blair relied more on his “beliefs” – whatever that dangerous word obscures – and the judgement of others.
Thus he can tell us – and tell me as I drove in from the Syrian desert city of Palmyra whose desecrators brought their vile practices from the Iraqi disaster that Blair helped to create – that “I do not believe [that Saddam Hussein’s removal] is the cause of terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world”. All this duplicity, of course, is to form part of the “full debate” that Blair now threatens in the aftermath of the Chilcot report.
He is going – heaven spare us — to “set out the lessons I believe future leaders can learn from my experience”. But Blair doesn’t need to bore us with his lies all over again. They’ve already been imbibed by Dave “70,000 moderates” Cameron and the Brexit lads who are now self-destructing amid the very lies they told – and which may achieve all that Goebbels wished for this country: the end of the United Kingdom.
In this context, the Chilcot report is not so much a massive work of investigation into the sins that took us to war in 2003, but just another chapter in the story of our inability to control a world in which Britain’s public relations politicians treat their people with contempt, kill some of their soldiers and slaughter hundreds of thousands of foreigners without any real remorse.
James Tapsfield, Martin Robinson, Tim Sculthorpe and Richard Spillett — Mail Online July 6, 2016
Tony Blair’s reputation was today lacerated by the Iraq War report as it revealed he told George W Bush they should ‘act now, explain later’ in a secret memo sent two years before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The former prime minister was also accused of twisting intelligence about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein to justify the war that led to the deaths of 179 British soldiers and left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead – but Mr Blair insisted this afternoon: ‘There were no lies – there was no deceit’.
After seven years of deliberations, the Chilcot report found that the former prime minister overplayed evidence about the dictator’s weaponry and ignored peaceful means to send troops into the country.
In a devastating set of conclusions, Sir John found Blair presented the case for war with ‘a certainty which was not justified’ based on ‘flawed’ intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
It also said Blair had ‘overestimated’ his ability to influence US president George W Bush and the way the legal basis was established was branded ‘far from satisfactory’ and bypassed the UN and undermined the international system.
And Blair was not prepared for the consequences of Iraq War despite ‘explicit warnings’ as he doggedly pursued an invasion, Sir John’s report said.
29 secret letters Mr Blair wrote to George W Bush were published for the first time today and in July 2002, eight months before MPs voted to back an invasion, Mr Blair had told the president: ‘I will be with you, whatever’. On the day after 9/11 he told President Bush: ‘Act now, explain later’.
But after Sir John published his report today Tony Blair gave a 45-minute speech where he said Sir John proved ‘there were no lies, Parliament and the Cabinet were not misled, there was no secret commitment to war, intelligence was not falsified and the decision was made in good faith’.
And in a message to the families of the 179 servicemen and women who died in the Iraq War – who say Chilcot shows him to be ‘the world’s worst terrorist’ and he should be prosecuted – Mr Blair told them: ‘I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe.’
He added: ‘I can look those families and the country in the eye and tell them I did not mislead them. What I cannot do, and will not do, is say that the decision was wrong. I think the world is a safer and better place because of it. I cannot accept that they (British soldiers) died in vain’.
Do not expect a full truth and a full accounting from the Chilcot panel of establishment trusties today. Remember who they are.
Sir John Chilcot
Member of the Butler Inquiry which whitewashed the fabrication of evidence of Iraqi WMD. The fact is that, beyond doubt, the FCO and SIS knew there were no Iraqi WMD. In the early 1990’s I had headed the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, tasked with monitoring and preventing Iraqi attempts at weapons procurement. In 2002 I was on a course for newly appointed Ambassadors alongside Bill Patey, who was Head of the FCO Department dealing with Iraq. Bill is a fellow Dundee University graduate and is one of the witnesses before the Iraq Inquiry this morning. I suggested to him that the stories we were spreading about Iraqi WMD could not be true. He laughed and said “Of course not Craig, it’s bollocks”. I had too many other conversations to mention over the next few months, with FCO colleagues who knew the WMD scare to be false.
Yet Chilcot was party to a Butler Inquiry conclusion that the Iraqi WMD scare was an “Honest mistake”. That a man involved on a notorious whitewash is assuring us that this will not be one, is bullshit.
Sir Roderick Lyne
A good friend and former jogging partner of Alastair Campbell.
Last time I actually spoke to him we were both Ambassadors and on a British frigate moored on the Neva in St Petersburg. Colleagues may have many words to describe Rod Lyne, some of them complimentary, but “open-minded” is not one of them.
If the Committee were to feel that the Iraq War was a war crime, then Rod Lyne would be accusing himself. As Ambassador to Moscow he was active in trying to mitigate Russian opposition to the War. He personally outlined to the Russian foreign minister the lies on Iraqi WMD. There was never the slightest private indication that Lyne had any misgivings about the war.
From Uzbekistan we always copied Moscow in on our reporting telegrams, for obvious reasons. Lyne responded to my telegrams protesting at the CIA’s use of intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers, by requesting not to be sent such telegrams.
Sir Lawrence Freedman
Lawrence Freedman is the most appalling choice of all. The patron saint of “Justified” wars of aggression, and exponent of “Wars of Choice” and “Humanitarian Intervention”. He is 100% parti pris.
Here is part of his evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution on 18 January 2006:
The basic idea here is that our armed forces prepared for what we might call wars of necessity, that the country was under an existential threat so if you did not respond to that threat then in some very basic way our vital interests, our way of life, would be threatened, and when you are looking at certain such situations, these are great national occasions. The difficulty we are now facing with wars of choice is that these are discretionary and the government is weighing a number of factors against each other. I mentioned Sierra Leone but Rwanda passed us by, which many people would think was an occasion when it would have been worth getting involved. There was Sudan and a lot of things have been said about Darfur but not much has happened…
…Iraq was a very unusual situation where it was not an ongoing conflict. If we had waited things would not have been that much different in two or three months’ time and so, instead of responding either to aggression by somebody else, as with the Falklands, or to developing humanitarian distress, as in the Balkans, we decided that security considerations for the future demanded immediate action.”
Sir Martin Gilbert (died in course of Inquiry)
Very right wing historian whose biography of Churchill focussed on Gilbert’s relish for war and was otherwise dull. (Roy Jenkins’ Churchill biography is infinitely better). Gilbert was not only rabidly pro-Iraq War, he actually saw Blair as Churchill.
Although it can easily be argued that George W Bush and Tony Blair face a far lesser challenge than Roosevelt and Churchill did – that the war on terror is not a third world war – they may well, with the passage of time and the opening of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and Churchill. Their societies are too divided today to deliver a calm judgment, and many of their achievements may be in the future: when Iraq has a stable democracy, with al-Qaeda neutralised, and when Israel and the Palestinian Authority are independent democracies, living side by side in constructive economic cooperation.
A governor of the FCO institution the Ditchley Foundation – of which the Director is Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK Ambassador to the UN who presented the lies about Iraqi WMD and was intimately involved in the lead in to war. So very much another cosy foreign policy insider.
So, in short, the committee – all hand-picked by Gordon Brown – could not have been better picked to ensure a whitewash.
Over 50% of the British population were against the Iraq War, including for example many scores of distinguished ex-Ambassadors, many military men and many academics. Yet Brown chose nobody on the Inquiry who had been against the Iraq War, while three out of five were active and open supporters of the war.
Do not expect to see this truth reflected in any of the mainstream media coverage.
But, the wars and lies will continue.
In 2011, Britain’s Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly to support action in Libya.
This ‘action’ led to the destruction of Libya.
557 MPs, including all the spooky Scottish National Party MPs, supported action in Libya.
13 MPs opposed action.
Richard Sale, the UPI Intelligence Correspondent, wrote that Saddam Hussein worked for the CIA. (Exclusive: Saddam Was key in early CIA plot). Saddam was allowed to escape from Iraq.
How do you persuade MPs to vote for the destruction of a country?
Denis Healey, former UK cabinet minister and Bilderberg member, with Jimmy Savile, suspected agent of the spooks.
The Members of Parliament are controlled through child abuse rings, false flag incidents and even mind control.
The public is usually fed untrue information before a war.
The Rock, apparently used by MI6.
Before the Iraq War, MI6 reported on chemical weapons, but, it was apparently describing invented chemical weapons equipment in a Hollywood film called The Rock.
Source: Daily Maili
Tory MP Henry Smith highlighted the missive – sent from a British citizen working for the EU in Brussels – and has sent a copy of the letter to MailOnline, which you can read in full below.
The employee, who has remained anonymous due to data protection laws, says politicians should not support invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty despite the clear Leave vote in the referendum.
She wrote a list of remarkable claims on why MPs should block last month’s Brexit vote.
Among the most outlandish was a claim the referendum was ‘not an exercise in real democracy’ – despite a record 33.5million people turning out to vote.
She also told MPs to reject the Brexit result…
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By Peter Oborne and cross-posted from Open Democracy. This report was first posted in October 2015. Its findings are even more damning than Lord Chilcot’s.
Two weeks ago I found myself in conversation with Dr Hans Blix, head of the United Nations weapons inspection team ahead of the Iraq invasion in 2003.
Dr Blix told me that Tony Blair’s claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were simply not an accurate reflection of the intelligence provided to the British government.
“The big difference in the British dossier,” Dr Blix told me, “was that they simply asserted that these items are there. But when Mr Blair asserts that there were weapons, well that’s an assertion and it was not supported by evidence. Both the UK and the US replaced question marks by exclamation marks. I certainly think it was a misrepresentation.”
He was talking about how cautious assessments were turned into bold…
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Total nonsense has been written widely that it would be retroactive law, and thus unacceptable, for Tony Blair to be tried at the Hague for the crime of waging aggressive war. But the crime itself was very plainly already in existence when Blair committed it.
Indeed, Blair apologists claim that the Statute of Rome of 1998, which set up the International Criminal Court, means that Blair cannot face trial because it specifically exempts aggressive war from the jurisdiction of the court. But in fact that is the opposite of the truth. The Statute of Rome unequivocally confirms the existence of the crime of waging aggressive war. It states that the tribunal “shall not exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression”. That is in itself sufficient evidence that the international community reconfirmed the existence of the crime of aggression in 1998, shortly before Blair committed it in 2003.
It just means that at present the crime has to be prosecuted somewhere else. The FCO’s Legal Advisers, a department of extremely able professional international lawyers, unanimously believed the invasion of Iraq was an act of aggressive war, as plainly told to Chilcot by their then Head Sir Michael Wood.
If the Hague tribunal obtains, as expected, power to cover this crime, there is no reason in principle why it should not investigate such crimes which were committed before it had that jurisdiction. Except that we can be sure that the British government will ensure there is a clause in the agreement forbidding that. Then there is the fact that Blair is not a black African and has never been bombed by NATO. Nobody who fails to meet those criteria will ever be tried at the Hague.
Blair is a war criminal. He can be tried by n international tribunal, or he can, more satisfactory still, be tried in the UK. The attempts of his defenders to claim it is impossible technically to try him gives some sign how desperate they have become. Aggressive war was a crime at the time he committed it.
Tomorrow the Chilcot whitewash will be liberally splashed around. I do strongly recommend that you buy and read Peter Oborne’s Not the Chilcot Report to get the real picture.