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Does Boris Johnson really want to see Tony Blair tried for war crimes?

12 May 2014

5:55 PM

12 May 2014

5:55 PM

What are we supposed to make of Boris Johnson? I mean, are we supposed to pay attention to what Boris actually says? Or is he permitted to play the game of politics by different rules? That is, the sort of stuff that applies to other politicians does not apply to Boris because the Mayor of London is a great entertainer and thus granted some kind of relief from the usual rules of responsibility.

Just asking, you know. Consider his recent remarks about Tony Blair and the Iraq War. During an appearance on LBC last week, the Mayor appeared to endorse the fashionable daft idea that Mr Blair should be tried as a War Criminal. At the very least, Boris suggested, this is what Blair deserves.

According to Boris:

“There will be plenty of arguments you can make about bringing all kinds of people to justice. […] I happen to think that in the case of Tony Blair, it will be quite difficult to secure a conviction. He is a very eel like customer. I think it would be very unlikely that you’d get him.

[…] He can be, you know, he’s a very, very adept and agile lawyer and I think that … our caller who thought that he was going to be imprisoned for what he did in Iraq, his heart is in the right place.”

Really? Now you may object that this was an off-the-cuff response on a radio phone-in programme and not, therefore, to be considered evidence of Boris’s own considered position. Perhaps. Then again, it might actually be what Boris really thinks, not least because a) it’s what he said and b) he had no time to prepare his remarks or consider how they might be received.

So does Boris think Blair should be tried? We have to presume that, yes, he does. His objection to the notion is not based on principle, but on the sense that, somehow, Blair would find a way to wriggle free of his predicament and escape justice [sic]. If, presumably, there were a better chance of securing a conviction Boris would be shouting Go for it, boys. 

Which is interesting, not least because Boris voted in favour of the war too. As, of course, did a majority of MPs. They did so for any number of reasons though few did so with relish or without some reservations. Boris himself now argues that he never believed all that “nonsense” about Saddam Hussein’s weapons stockpiles.

Which, actually, is a reasonable position and one shared, to one degree or another, by many of the war’s supporters. That is, the case for removing Saddam Hussein was not exclusively dependent upon proving he remained a threat to his neighbours or, indeed, to the Iraqi people. His presumed WMD capability – a presumption shared even by states that came to oppose the war – was a part of that but far from the only consideration.

[Alt-Text]


If Blair erred – and just perhaps he did! – it was in making this the central plank of the UK government’s case for removing Saddam. It should, and not just in hindsight, have been an assisting beam, not the principal one holding up the case for military intervention.

Still, this isn’t quite what Boris is complaining about. Rather, a) Boris did not believe the government’s arguments for the war, b) he voted for it anyway and c) he now complains he was hoodwinked. I can see how you might think two of these things could simultaneously be true; it is rather more difficult to create an acceptable scenario in which all three satisfy some serious burden of truth.

Or, as he puts it:

“Somebody like me, who basically had good faith about what the British government was telling us, thought there must be a plan to deal with the aftermath in Iraq.”

“I just could not believe it as things unfolded in the way that they did. I feel guilty because I voted for the wretched thing … I would like to understand more deeply on what basis a prime minister who, at that time, commanded so much trust, was able to persuade parliament and the country and me to go for war in Iraq with absolutely catastrophic consequences.”

The grotesque blunder lay less in the absence of post-war planning but the extent to which plans that had been prepared were thrown into the bin by the Pentagon’s most senior officials. Those plans might not have been enough to stave-off disaster – and there was plenty of disaster right enough – but it is hard to see how they could have been very much worse than what happened.

Even so, there is no mystery about the basis upon which Blair (and others) persuaded parliament – and the country* – to back the war. None at all. It was laid out, in considerable depth and detail, at both the United Nations and the Palace of Westminster. It even featured, from time to time, on the television news and in the pages of most of our newspapers.

There were many reasons to favour action and, like Boris, I did not think the WMD argument was the most persuasive one. Regime change was enough of a justification on its own. I am afraid I bought the stuff about remaking the middle east too.

That proved optimistic. Naively so, it now seems. Desperately so, too.

Be that as it may, there is something rancid about pretending Blair’s case for action was not made in good faith** and following his government’s interpretation of the national interest. That seems a poor basis for a prosecution.

That so many pre-war assumptions proved mistaken – calamitously so in many respects – does not actually prove that those assumptions were based on a deliberate lie at the time they were made. Nor does endlessly chanting Blair lied, people died make any case against the former Prime Minister any stronger.

Boris is supposed to be a straight-talking, you-may-not-agree-but-you-can-respect-my-views kind of politician. But, actually, he’s just as happy to trim and pander as anyone else. Which is fine but a reminder that there’s some gap between the idea of Boris and the reality of Boris.

*Everyone was always against it now. But they weren’t in 2003 when the public was divided and, no matter what poll you produce, a good chunk of the population backed invading Iraq.

**It requires one to believe Blair knew Iraq would be a disaster and decided to press ahead anyway. For the giggles, you know. This is preposterous.

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Show comments
  • Riaz Khan Hazarvi

    TONY BLAIR IS A WAR CRIMINAL :
    THERE IS A NEED TO PUT A PRESSURE ON OUR POLITICIANS ACROSS THE BOARD TO CHANGE THE PRESENT LAW OF JUSTICE.TONY BLAIR AND OBAMA’S CRONIES ARE BEHIND THE ISRAEL GAZA CONFLICT WHILE TONY IS ALSO INVOLVED IN IRAQ IRAN WAR,IRAQ WAR AND AFGHANISTAN WAR.TONY BLAIR SHOULD BE PROSECUTED FOR GENOCIDE AND CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY AND HE SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE WHILE THIS BEAST IS ALIVE ON OUR EARTH.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    From yesterday’s Daily Mail. Boris will be disappointed that there was no mention of ToniBler.

    “British people will have been shocked to learn that this body has decided to launch a preliminary investigation into allegations of ‘war crimes’ by British troops during the invasion and occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

    But it is not just individual soldiers who are facing legal scrutiny from The Hague.

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has warned that it will investigate the actions of figures much higher up the military hierarchy, including commanders and even senior Labour politicians. Among their number are Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary under Blair, his successor John Reid, and the former Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram”.

  • George Smiley

    It is simply not going to happen. Make no mistake, for even if Blair were an open and rabid anti-Semite, he had still been too much in bed with certain parts of North London, half of New York City and most of Tel Aviv, and so much so that all sorts of serious pressure, coercion and threats—even the odd or a few unexplained terrorist incident or incidents in London—would be brought to bear to make sure that no-one in power or authority in England and Britain would ever dare to ever seriously consider bringing him to book.

    • Kennybhoy

      Fuck off ya Jew hating loon! ;-(

      • George Smiley

        When did I actually mention Jews?! Now, be a good lad, and finish your bacon sarnie!

      • kievjoy

        I know plenty of Jews who don’t like Israel either or rather what they’re doing, which is why thhey don’t live there

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Can`t help noticing my “Wendi and Tony” contribution has been deleted.

    • George Smiley

      Says you?! I wouldn’t be so sure about that, if I were you!

    • Kennybhoy

      Big. Snowy. Rocks. Back. Under.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Tony Blair has done a very good job of convincing people that he lied about the invasion of Iraq. (8 out 10 think that he did lie, according to one opinion poll). That’s quite an achievement; it helped to queer the pitch for Dave Cameron ambition to fire cruise missiles into Syria. It’s an ill wind….

    • arnoldo87

      I don’t dispute the poll findings, but Blair himself has had nothing to do with what must be the biggest nexus of the Asch Effect and Cognitive Dissonance that has ever been seen in politics.

      Andrew Roberts, the right-wing historian summed it up perfectly when he said, in 2007:-

      “In Britain a vicious and disgraceful campaign began, attempting, on the flimsiest of evidence taken wildly out of context, to accuse Blair of deliberately lying in order to take the country to war.

      Its smears and slurs will not stand the test of historical analysis.”

      • Kennybhoy

        Hear! Hear!

        • Wessex Man

          There ! There!

          • Kennybhoy

            You stalking me…? 🙂

      • Bill_der_Berg

        He must be letting things get to him.

        • arnoldo87

          Is that reply in code, Bill?

          • Bill_der_Berg

            He was not speaking in the measured tones of a historian but with the angry voice of a frustrated partisan.

            • arnoldo87

              Bill – you are wrong. read the whole piece yourself and you will see that Roberts was critical of Blair initially and thought that Iraq was his defining moment. Here it is:-

              http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6636091.stm

              • Bill_der_Berg

                Thanks for the link, Arnold. I note that Andrew Roberts is completely uncritical on the subject of the Iraqi invasion which, after all, is what interests us.
                There may well have been a wild and vicious campaign against Blair,(perhaps by the same tabloids who had earlier printed preposterous scare stories about the threat from ‘WMDs’. There were also reasoned arguments by

                • arnoldo87

                  Bill,
                  I did submit a list of “responsible” people who had accused Blair of lying on Iraq without any proof, but for some reason this has been moderated out.
                  It’s OK apparently for scores of people to accuse Blair of lying on this site, but absolutely forbidden for me to accuse these notables of much the same thing.
                  Well – that’s freedom of speech for you!

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  The moderators are being over-cautious. All the accusations that I am aware of are already in the public domain.

                • arnoldo87

                  Let me try again
                  The list includes Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy, Michael Portillo, Sir Ken Macdonald, Baroness Tonge, and Max Hastings. There are plenty more, but just a flavour of the “responsible sources” for you.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  To exonerate Blair you have to attribute malign intentions to all who contradict his version of events. That approach may not convince everybody.

                • arnoldo87

                  Blair doesn’t need exoneration. Instead all of those who accuse him of lying need to produce evidence.
                  None of them has done so, and THAT is my point.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  “None of them has done so, and THAT is my point”.

                  No, Arnold, you have gone beyond that. You are saying that Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy etc were taking part in a wild and vicious campaign.

                • arnoldo87

                  There are few things in the political world that are more wild and vicious than accusing someone of taking the country to war by telling a lie. There was no organised campaign as we understand it, but as I have already said, it was an Asch effect phenomenon where people jumped on a bandwagon indiscriminately and without evidence because other people were doing the same thing.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  “There are few things in the political world that are more wild and vicious than accusing someone of taking the country to war by telling a lie”.

                  Yes, if it is done out of malice. Perhaps you believe the Chilcot enquiry was set up with malicious intent?.

                • arnoldo87

                  Even if it is done casually, without evidence, it is just as bad.
                  The Chilcot enquiry was quite properly set up to establish lessons that might be learned from the Iraq invasion.
                  No malice in that.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  MP’s and political commentators, if they are any good at all, should question Ministers’ statements and throw doubt on them if there reason to do so. It is expected of them. It is how liars and scoundrel are exposed. Committed supporters of the government may resent this but that will change when their party is in opposition..

                  The Chilcot Enquiry will be looking into the way that decisions were taken in in the period before the invasion. This will be of particular interest to those who suspect that Tony Blair committed the UK to taking part in the invasion rather earlier then he would have us believe,

  • Bill_der_Berg

    ‘Regime change was enough of a justification on its own’.

    Not to Tony Blair.He had this to say in a speech to the House on 25 February 2003.

    “To those who say we are rushing to war, I say this: we are now 12 years after Saddam was first told by the UN to disarm; nearly six months after President Bush made his speech to the UN accepting the UN route to disarmament; nearly four months on from resolution 1441; and even now, today, we are offering Saddam the prospect of voluntary disarmament through the UN. I detest his regime—I hope most people do—but even now, he could save it by complying with the UN’s demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully. “.

  • Herman_U_Tick

    If Mr Blair was not responsible for Britain going to war on Iraq then who was?
    The (Hercule) Poirotian confrontation in the drawing room has already exonerated the army, the civil service, the intelligence service, Parliament.
    Who remains to be accorded responsibility for the deed?

    And if no one did it, then we must reconcile ourselves to being periodically involved in a war which no-one is responsible for starting.
    Does that make any sense?

    And as to the other matter of whether the war was legal or not, it is frequently concluded with satisfaction that it was.

    Which means, as far as I can see, that we must further reconcile ourselves to being bombed or invaded in the future because some unaccountable association of Nations has deemed our regime worthy of being changed, and we will not be able to claim that their attacks are illegal.
    Or am I the only person who fears that sowing the wind may result
    in reaping a whirlwind?

    • rtj1211

      He lied to his Cabinet, he lied in Parliament and then his Foreign Secretary lied for Britain across the global airwaves.

      You’re seeing exactly the same thing playing out in Ukraine right now. Lies, more lies and yet more lies. The only people who are suffering are all the Ukrainians who aren’t obsessed by posturing, power games and political shenanigans.

      • arnoldo87

        rj211,
        Please tell us when he lied to Parliament. It must be in Hansard, so is easily referenced.

        • arnoldo87

          Any luck yet, rj?

          • arnoldo87

            Apparently not?

            • Wessex Man

              He just can’t be bothered more than likely to engage with you and who could blame him?

              • arnoldo87

                Engaging with a half-wit, Wessex, are we?

              • Kennybhoy

                White flag fluttering proudly in the breeze! 🙂

      • Jim Knight

        His cabinet helped him create the lie please notice how many of the cabinet resigned just prior to the great lie Blair told to take the UK into an Illegal war

  • Bob339

    Boris should be kept well out of politics. He would make a great roadsweeper. Blair should have been hanged from a lamppost, with Gordon, Campbell and the other liars, years ago.

  • helicoil

    You’re right Massie, trying Bliar for war crimes is daft. He should be tried for “crimes against peace” which is a far more serious charge.

  • Eyesee

    The answer to your headline is, no, everybody does. The odious creature, still at large is just trotting around on a world tour of tin pot tyrants who appreciate the advice a weasel like him can give. (Tell me again, how did you get away with it?) And for which they pay generously (why not, it isn’t their money), which is all Blair has ever been about, driven no doubt by Mrs. Avaricious.

  • jesseventura2

    When Blair was asked before the illegal war if Saddam could remain in power if he gave up his WMD the reply was YES?
    And the dodgy dossier taken from the internet?
    A huge majority around the world want Tony the phony Blair on trial at the white mans court.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    “Tony Blair yesterday rejected a call by the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, to persuade the US to stop dropping cluster bombs on Afghanistan, saying they are “legal and are necessary in certain circumstances” (The Guardian, 2001).

    Good old Bambi. What a humanitarian!

  • arnoldo87

    All the tired old anti-Blair accusations are trotted out again in answer to Alex’s piece.

    How many times have we seen the word “Bliar” on Coffee House? Countless.

    How many times have any of the accusers, when challenged, been able to produce a lie that Blair actually told? Not one – most of them under challenge slink back under their stone, only reappearing much later on to make the same accusations.

    So – let’s go for it again. Please name a Blair lie, bearing in mind that someone lies when they know that what they are saying is untrue. For instance, anyone claiming that Blair lied would not be lying. They would merely be ill-informed.

    As for war criminality, the invasion of Iraq is presumably being quoted as a war crime because it took place without UN authority. This is a moot point since there were earlier UN resolutions that justified it.

    A much clearer case would be the invasion of Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing. This did not have any UN authority, so Blair might be regarded as a war criminal here. Problem is, though, that this was a NATO initiative, so ALL of the NATO countries’ political leaders would also be in the dock.

    • ChuckieStane
      • arnoldo87

        OK Chuckie

        The Clair Short article. She only mentioned one purported lie – that Blair had falsely claimed that France was about to reject the second UN resolution.

        Here is what Chirac said:-

        “”There is no need for a second resolution today, which France would have no choice but to oppose,” Mr Chirac insisted as he arrived for the European Union’s emergency summit in Brussels. He called it “the worst solution”. (Guardian 18 Feb 2003)

        So Short was plain wrong.

        The Global Research piece lists “20 lies about Iraq”. Global Research still thinks that 9/11 was not caused by Islamic terrorists – but never mind. Let’s look at the 20 lies:-

        Half of them were not claims made by Blair (1,2,3,4,7,12,13,14,15,16)

        Five of them (3,5,6,11,18) were claims made by MI6. Why would Blair not believe them?

        Three of them were true claims:-

        8. Hans Blix DID believe there were WMD at the time of the invasion

        http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/07/when-hans-blix-told-tony-blair-that-iraq-probably-had-wmd/

        9. This was true, and led to resolution 1441 being carried unanimously at the UN
        10. There is ample evidence in the various inspection reports that Iraq DID obstruct their work continuously (read them).
        Three of the claims are clearly not even claimed lies (12,13, 17)
        19. The UK clearly did not “Seize Iraq’s oil revenues”
        20. Is an opinion of what the found hardware could be – not a lie.
        So there you are – not a single lie left standing.

        • Kennybhoy

          Don’t misunderstand. I completely agree with you on this issue. And I dinnae mean to be impertinent. But why do you spend so much time refuting the loons? Did you work for Blair or are you one of his media supporters or what…?

          • arnoldo87

            I have no connection with Blair at all, but his thinking on Iraq was something that I totally agreed with.
            Those who call him a liar are in two camps:
            1. The right wing who hate him because he won three consecutive elections for Labour.
            2. The left wing (including the entertainment intelligentsia) who hate him because he supported an American president in a war.
            And although they keep calling him a liar, not a man jack of them can quote an actual lie on Iraq (or anything else for that matter).
            So it’s fun watching them wriggle.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              How would you classify the 45 minutes claim? I am not suggesting it was definitely a lie but many observers would claim, legitimately I believe, that the interpretation of the ‘intelligence’ was stretched to breaking point and was thus, to all intents and purposes, a lie.

              • arnoldo87

                Sorry, Inverted, but you will need to explain to me how the intelligence was stretched to breaking point.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Well I suppose that the small matter of there being no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever let alone those capable of reaching British targets at 45 minutes notice is one point. The general trashing of the ‘evidence’ and the dossier culled from the internet would be another or you suggesting that Blair acted on the basis of irrefutably sound intelligence?

                • arnoldo87

                  Your second post widens the ground of your first. But taking them in order:-

                  1. The 45 minute claim. This was made by the Intelligence Service and was included in the September 2002 dossier. Blair referred to it in his foreword to the dossier and in the debate in the Commons. No attempt was made to “stretch” the intelligence. If you disagree, please tell me when, how, and by whom it was “stretched”.

                  The dossier did not claim that ANY weapon could reach “British targets”. It did say that Saddam had retained some of his rocketry from the first Gulf War. These could have reached Cyprus in 1991, but certainly not Blighty.

                  Despite the lurid headlines in the redtops the next day, no-one got excited by the 45 minute claim before the invasion, and it didn’t figure at all in the considerable debate that took place before the war.

                  2. There is no disputing that the intelligence evidence was incorrect, but nobody knew this until after the invasion. NONE of the intelligence said ” Hold up guys, the WMD may be all gone”. So Blair, cognisant of the history of Saddam’s WMD ownership and usage, had no reason whatsoever to disbelieve what MI6 was telling him.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  “Despite the lurid headlines in the redtops the next day……”

                  Alastair Campbell may have had something to do with those headlines.

                • arnoldo87

                  Yes, indeed – they all used to wait with baited breath for his headline suggestions and invariably used them.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  They would have had to coax the suggested headlines out of a reluctant Alistair, who no doubt was horrified by the use the press made of them.

                  The thing about the tabloids concerned is that they they all seized on a few references in the document. Quite a coincidence, or is a case of great minds thinking alike.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  And doubtless Alistair Cambell’s involvement was benign, wholly patriotic, non-partisan and benign.

                • arnoldo87

                  So, Inverted,

                  You still haven’t told me exactly when how and by whom the intelligence was “stretched”.

                  Surely you didn’t make that claim without having evidence to back it up?

                  Hard to believe, that.

                • Wessex Man

                  Now Inverted Meniscus, you see the folly of engaging with a halfwit!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  I think you and efforts to display your intellectual superiority have been indulged for quite long enough.

                • arnoldo87

                  That’ll be no evidence then.
                  Yet again.

                • Kennybhoy

                  White flag fluttering! 🙂

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No I have simply indulged a fatuous, pompous idiot for quite long enough.

                • Kennybhoy

                  Nope. You got clusterf****d! 🙂

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You are not a very clever person are you?

                • Paul S HK

                  The JIC report of 15 March 2002 opened with the words: “Evidence on Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programmes is sporadic and patchy.”

                  Blair told the Commons: “The intelligence picture that they (JIC & SIS) paint is … extensive, detailed and authoritative.”

                  Blair was emphasising the threat, and if he turned a blind eye to the question of battlefield vs. ballistic missiles, and failed to correct the false impression encouraged by the Evening Standard headline (’45 minutes from attack’) and told the Commons: “Iraq is supposed only to have missile capability up to 150 km for conventional weaponry. Pages 27 to 31 of the dossier detail the evidence on that issue. It is clear that a significant number of longer-range missiles … remain, including up to 20 extended-range Scud missiles; that … by this year, Iraq’s development of weapons with a range of more than 1,000 km was well under way.” it was because he wanted us to believe we were under imminent threat.

                  This was encouraged by his words “which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population, and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.” the ‘including plainly suggesting that other then inside Iraq (including us) could be attacked, and this was part of the threat to us. If he had said “Saddam must be able to gas a few local camels with 10 year old mustard gas” it is unlikely he would have got support for the invasion.

                  Even his comment: “”Why now?”, people ask. I agree that I cannot say that this month or next, even this year or next, Saddam will use his weapons.” That ‘this month or the next’… is intended to and did suggest the ‘programmes’ could be imminently threatening. But in truth, that was not the case.

                  All in all, this is enough for fraud in the investment world – omission of material facts and allowing misleading impressions to induce people to take certain courses of action… Fraud is dishonesty, and like a lie, this was deliberately devised to mislead. Which it did. A highly functional statement that served as a lie.

                  As for choosing between Cook and Blair for integrity, given what I have set out above, I think the question must be rhetorical…

                • Jim Knight

                  Part of it was written by a 13 year old boy, for a start!!! Also Saddam was not involved in any international terrorism, as he was to busy terrorising his own people. The Iraq invasion based on the LIES told by Blair which took the UK to war was invalid as no, WMD’s were ever found!! I can also tell you that all troops should have read the various Armed forces Manuals of Military Law and QR in which they would have found that all of them had the legal right to refuse to participate in an Illegal act. I know that Tony was lying having served in Desert Storm I am just glad that my reserve finished on the Day that in my opinion Traitor Tony took this country into an Illegal war!!!

                • arnoldo87

                  Well, Jim – if you served in Desert Storm and know that Blair was lying then I suppose that he must have been lying.
                  You just can’t argue against logic like that.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Point 1) is arrogant, simplistic nonsense. Many of us are able to consider Blair’s actions on Iraq and judge them on their merits without resentment at his winning three elections.

            • Kennybhoy

              Re point 1. Oh we hate the slippery wee sh** for a lot more than that Maister A. And many of us actually admire his election winning ability. Personally I am mair inclined to blame the f***w**s who voted for him!

              Re point 2. While I make no claim to speak for the left-wing, I suspect that you would know better than I here, they too hate him for more than his foreign policy.

              “So it’s fun watching them wriggle.”

              Aye. It is. No arguments there. 🙂

              • Wessex Man

                reading the comments of you two is an education best left not learned!

                • Kennybhoy

                  As opposed to what? The catty unsubstantive wee playground jibes that you have now descended to?

            • Paul S HK

              Try these lies, arnoldo87:

              Lie 1. “Stockpiles”

              We know Saddam Hussein has stockpiles of major
              amounts of chemical and biological weapons…
              – Tony Blair, interview on NBC News, 3 April 2002

              BUT the JIC said earlier on 15 March 2002

              Intelligence on Iraq’s WMD) and ballistic missile
              programmes is sporadic and patchy… From the evidence available to us, we believe Iraq retains some production equipment, and some small stocks of CW agent precursors, and may have hidden small quantities of agents and weapons.

              Lie 2. Regional threat

              … there is no doubt at all that the development
              of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein poses a severe threat not just to the region, but to the wider world.” said Tony Blair, to the House of Commons, 10 April 2002

              However, the the “Iraq: Options Paper”, secret “eyes only” Cabinet Office paper, 10 March 2002 said earlierrt that: “Saddam has not succeeded in seriously threatening his
              neighbours.”

              Lie 3. Nuclear weapons

              Tony Blair said at a Camp David news conference,
              7 September 2002, replying to a question (Q: … what conclusive … new evidence you have of nuclear weapons capabilities of Saddam Hussein?) (referencing the IAEA inspectors’ report) “… what we know from what has been going on there for a long period of time is … that they were
              trying to develop nuclear weapons capability.”

              BUT: IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said on 26
              September 2002, “There’s never been a report like that issued from this agency… There is no evidence in our view that can be substantiated on Iraq’s nuclear-weapons
              program. If anybody tells you they know the nuclear situation in Iraq right now, in the absence of four years of inspections, I would say that they’re misleading you because there isn’t solid evidence out there.”

              Lie 4. “Beyond doubt”

              Tony Blair said in the foreword to the intelligence dossier on Iraqi WMD, 24 September 2002: “What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and that he has been able to extend the range of his ballistic missile programme.

              –BUT the JIC assessment of 15 March 2002 previously said: “We believe that this uncertainty should have been highlighted to give abalanced view of Saddam’s chemical and biological capacity.”

              AND the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report, 11 September 2003 had said: “Intelligence remains limited and Saddam’s own unpredictability complicates judgements…”

              Lie 5. “45 minutes”

              Tony Blair told the House of Commons on 24 September 2002: “It [the dossier] concludes… that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population.

              BUT Robin Cook, reported in the Guardian on 12
              July 2004 said: “The exchange is recorded in my diary on March 5 2003. Tony Blair gave me the same reply as John Scarlett, that the battlefield weapons had been disassembled and stored separately. I was therefore mystified a year later to hear him say he had never understood that the intelligence agencies did not believe Saddam had long-range weapons of mass destruction.”

              Lie 6. Regime Change

              Tony Blair said, in an interview on Radio Monte
              Carlo, 14 November 2002: “So far as our objective, it is disarmament, not regime change – that is our objective… I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is disarmament of weapons of
              mass destruction, it is not regime change.”

              BUT Mr Blair’s own advisors reported things differently in talking about Blair’s contemporaneous intentions:; Sir David
              Manning’s memo to Tony Blair, 14 March 2002 noted: “I said [to Condoleeza Rice] that you (TB) would not budge in your support for Regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. While Alastair Campbell’s diary entry for 2 April 2002, after meeting with Blair in Chequers noted: “We discussed whether the central aim was WMD or regime change. … TB felt it was regime change in part because of WMD but more broadly because of the threat to the region and the world.”–

              Lie 7. Weapons Inspectors

              Tony Blair told the House of Commons Liaison Committee on 21 January 2003: “In respect of Iraq we have the clearest possible evidence, both because of what they have done before and what is left over from the previous inspections when the inspectors were kicked out in 1998…”

              BUT Richard Butler, executive chairman of the UNSCOM weapons inspectors, in his book Saddam Defiant said: “I received a telephone call from US Ambassador Peter Burleigh inviting me for a private conversation at the US mission… Burleigh informed me that on instructions from Washington it would be ‘prudent to take measures to ensure the safety and security of UNSCOM staff presently in Iraq.’… I told “him that I would act on this advice and remove my staff from Iraq.”

              Lie 8 Saddam’s son-in-law

              Tony Blair told the House of Commons, on 25 February 2003: “It was only four years later after the defection of Saddam’s son-in-law [Hussein Kamal] to Jordan, that the offensive biological weapons and the full extent of the nuclear programme were discovered.”

              BUT Hussein Kamal, speaking with UN weapons
              inspectors in 1995, first reported by Newsweek on 24 February 2003 said: “All chemical weapons were destroyed. I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons – biological, chemical, missiles, nuclear were destroyed.” (Blair may have missed this, and all his advisors; or maybe just ignored it; but his friends were able to plagiarise a PhD, so their internet research capabilities were ‘adequate’ to find Newsweek!

              Lie 9. International opinion

              Tony Blair said on 25 February 2003: “On 8 December he [Saddam Hussein] submitted the declaration denying he had any WMD, a statement not a single member of the international community seriously believes.”

              BUT Vladimir Putin earlier said, in a Moscow news conference with Tony Blair, 11 October 2002: “Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet.” (Putin was right)

              Lie 10. Mass graves
              Tony Blair said on 20 November 2003: “We’ve already discovered just so far the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.”

              BUT: Downing Street admitted to the Observer (as THe Observer reported on18 July 2004) that repeated claims by Tony Blair that ‘400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves’ is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.

              • arnoldo87

                Looks like you have done lots of homework, Paul.
                In fact you have just lifted this from a Guardian article in 2010 by the well known Blair hater Mehdi Hasan.
                In other words you have no idea whether all of Hasan’s claims are true by dint of your own research, but have just believed him because of your own feelings about Blair.
                Cognitive Dissonance in action.
                Nevertheless, I am prepared to dig in and find out if there is any basis for Hasan’s claims. I can see already that there are some old chestnuts there that can easily be proven to be tosh, but watch this space.

                • arnoldo87

                  OK take lie 4 first.

                  I can’t find anywhere in the JIC report of March 2002 the words:-

                  “We believe that this uncertainty should have been highlighted to give a balanced view of Saddam’s chemical and biological capacity.”

                  Please give me the page number it is on.

                  And the ISC report was made AFTER the invasion!

                  Lie 6 Regime change

                  I don’t have access to Radio Monte Carlo records, but I’m sure you do. There is no discrepancy here. Blair made it clear he was perfectly happy to have regime change because this was a guaranteed way of removing the WMD threat. From the UN point of view however, to get their support would need to concentrate on the WMD element. The UN would never have supported a resolution for regime change.

                  More to come

                • Paul S HK

                  You won’t find the quote in the JIC report as it’s in the ISC report…

                • arnoldo87

                  You see, this is the sort of garbage in Hasan’s article. If it was in the ISC report, why did he quote it as being from the JIC report?
                  More shockingly – how come a Trinity man failed to spot the error?

                • Paul S HK

                  You mustn’t let the stress get to your reading skills.
                  It is quite clear Hasan attributes the first quote to the JIC and the second one not to the JIC but to the ISC.
                  It was the ISC that said the ambiguities in the JIC report, that made clear there was no solidity to the fragmentary evidence on Iraqi WMD, should have been made clear by Blair.

                • Paul S HK

                  Actually, the fault is mine in that I reversed the attribution of the quotes in the process of verifying them against the original documents on the Chilcot inquiry website.
                  But the quotes are accurate and reflect the consensus in Parliament that Blair and his agents… Campbell had control of the process within No.10… Had insufficiently alerted Members to the qualifications in the intelligence.
                  Turning ‘the conditions are not inconsistent with rain tomorrow’ into ‘a thunderstorm is certain’.

                • arnoldo87

                  Apology accepted.
                  From now on I’ll read the organ grinder’s version and not the monkey’s cut and paste efforts.

                • Paul S HK

                  You can read whatever you please, insolent Arnoldo…
                  But the readers await with interest your promised further replies and attempted refutations.

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 5 45 minutes

                  The claim about 45 minutes was supplied by MI6 and is accurately quoted by Hasan.

                  Blair has already said that he was not aware at the time of whether this referred to battlefield weapons or missile weapons. And, in truth the difference did not impinge upon the main thrust of his argument about WMD material and terrorist groups.

                  By the time March 2003 came around Scarlett had obviously told Blair of the battlefield weapon dismantling that had taken place. This was presumably received as good news (even though we now know it was not true) because it meant that the danger was reduced for allied troops.

                  Robin Cook’s statement falls into ignorance when he starts talking about “long range” missiles. The dossier never claimed that Saddam had long range missile capability.

                  Neither did Blair, and we do not have a confirmatory source that backs up Cook’s assertion of what Blair told him a year later – just his memory

                  So – where is the evidence of a lie?

                • Paul S HK

                  The JIC report of 15 March 2002 opened with the words: “Evidence on Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programmes is sporadic and patchy.”
                  Blair told the Commons: “The intelligence picture that they (JIC & SIS) paint is … extensive, detailed and authoritative.”

                  Blair was emphasising the threat, and if he turned a blind eye tho the question of battlefield vs. ballistic missiles, and failed to correct the false impression encouraged by the Evening Standard headline (45 minutes from attack) and if he told the Commons: “Iraq is supposed only to have
                  missile capability up to 150 km for conventional weaponry. Pages 27 to 31 of the dossier detail the evidence on that issue. It is clear that a significant number of longer-range missiles … remain, including up to 20 extended-range
                  Scud missiles; that … by this year, Iraq’s development of weapons with a range of more than 1,000 km was well under way.” it was because he wanted believe we were under threat.

                  This was encouraged by his words “which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population, and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.” the ‘including plainly suggesting that other then inside Iraq (including us) could be attacked, and this was part of the threat to us.

                  Even his comment: “”Why now?”, people ask. I agree that I cannot say that this month or next, even this year or next, Saddam will use his weapons.” That ‘this month or the next’… is intended to and did suggest it could be imminently threatening. But in truth, that was not the case.

                  All in all, this is enough for fraud in the investment world – omission of material facts and allowing misleading impressions to induce people to take certain courses of action… Fraud is dishonesty, and like a lie, this was deliberately devised to mislead. Which it did. A highly functional statement that served as a lie.

                  As for choosing between Cook and Blair for integrity, given what I have set out above, I think the question must be rhetorical…

                • arnoldo87

                  The truth is that very few people understand what the significance of the 45 minute claim is. I have never heard ANYONE explain this. If you are under attack from WMD, would it really matter to you if it had taken 45 minutes to set up or145 minutes?
                  And if it was a case of Iraq keeping the option to use WMD on a battlefield very quickly even if the preparation time was long, then what was to stop them doing most of the preparation in advance.
                  Blair merely repeated what the JIC told him, and I don’t believe that he thought it desperately important, even though he did put it in the summary. Like I said hardly anybody mentioned it before the war.
                  As for correcting Daily Mail headlines. These were a one day wonder that Blair and Campbell probably laughed at since they were so ridiculous.
                  And they WERE ridiculous because the dossier made it perfectly clear that Iraq did not have any long range capability (to hit Britain). They even included a map!

                • Paul S HK

                  This is perhaps the nub of our difference. Like you, I read the report with highly jaundiced specs. As a political professional, i know the meaning of single words. And nothing I read said there was any threat at all, read literally.
                  But as a pro, I also know the effect of emotional words taken together.
                  The aim, and the effect, of the dossier’s giving prominence to the 45 minutes claim in the context of nuclear and WMD fear-mongering was the popular and Parliamentary conviction that we were under immediate threat.
                  To say we were silly and naive is to miss the key role of the PM in bringing about that state of affairs.
                  The honest inclusion of a ‘may’ or ‘patchy’ would have derailed the effort.
                  Which is why the qualifiers were taken out; which is why it was dishonest – fraudulent – to do so.
                  Hence liar.
                  Hence despised.
                  Hence traitor.

                • Paul S HK

                  Arnoldo, I know you have indicated enough is enough in our debate, but I’d just like to share an analysis of why Bush could be regarded as a liar and a fraud, that picks up and states well the contention that deliberately misleading people, even if one believes the aim is a good one, is fraud in law and makes the utterer guilty of fraud, which is the legal and moral equivalent of being a liar.
                  I am not trying to persuade you, just to add some depth to my views on this point.

                • arnoldo87

                  Comparing Blair and Cook’s integrity? Which of the two cheated on his wife?

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 2 The threat to the region
                  This really is rubbish.
                  Blair saw the coming together of WMD and terrorists as the main FUTURE threat to the region and the World. Armed with WMD the terrorists could harm Israel and the Western world.
                  The memo is simply a matter of fact statement that Saddam had not threatened his neighbours up to that point.

                • Paul S HK

                  That’s why he used the word “poses” not “could” or “will pose”? In the context of a debate about the present threat?
                  Bit of a shame he got us all worked up about something that might have happened in future, by suggesting it was a present threat…

                • arnoldo87

                  This is the full quote from Blair:-
                  “there is no doubt at all that the development
                  of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein poses a severe threat not just to the region, but to the wider world.”
                  Talking about “development” coupled with the word “poses” clearly indicates a future threat.
                  Just like:-
                  The development of a robust youth team policy by Spurs threatens Arsenal’s domination of North London Premier League football.
                  Not today’s domination but FUTURE domination.
                  Likewise – not a threat today, but in future. The whole thrust of Blair’s argument before the war was of a future threat, which he argued we must head off.
                  Remember also that the Iraq Survey Group found that it was Saddam’s intention to re-develop WMD once sanctions had been lifted – which they would have been had we not invaded.
                  So we did, in fact, head it off.

                • Paul S HK

                  I hate to nit pick grammar when a PM is trying to persuade Parliament and the rest of us to get onside with his war, but poses is not ‘will pose’ and is clearly the present tense, meaning ‘now’.
                  And after he has spent ten minutes detailing the history of the development of WMD over the last ten years… Despite the evidence this happened being ‘sketchy and sporadic’, it is natural that his listeners will read ‘development’ as referring to the past, not as shorthand for ‘the potential future development, assuming he gets access to fissile materials and assuming the sanctions ceae to bite and assuming he suddenly gets chummy with his sworn enemies the religious fundamentalists whom he hates and has fought for years’…
                  On top of which there has never been any respectable view that Saddam posed any real threat to the rest of the world or really even the region, as sanctions had crippled his powers… At least according to the inspectors, tho admittedly not the nutters in the DIA.

                • arnoldo87

                  This is angels on pinhead stuff.
                  I ask you to read in full sections 1 through 4 of the document (dated 8th March by the way, unless I have the wrong one). The comment about Saddam not threatening his neighbours refers to the period of containment from 1991 to 2002.
                  The next paragraph points out the threat (obviously future) that exists as a result of Saddam’s continuing development of WMD.
                  Blair’s April comment chimes with this.
                  There is no lie here – just a narrative of history and the immediate threat.
                  As for there not being a “respectable view” that Saddam posed any real threat etc., what do you think 1441 was about with its talk of consequences if Saddam did not comply?
                  Sanctions would definitely have been lifted had we not invaded. The only alternative to invasion was a continued effort by Blix to discover WMD. We know now that he would have found none and that is when sanctions would have been taken off.

                • Paul S HK

                  Given Saddam Hussein’s history, while it is possible sanctions with anti-humaniarian impact would have been lifted, if is impossible to imagine sanctions on nuclear/CBW related materials would have been.
                  There is no need to postulate a hypothetical future in which Saddam Hussein might have gained weapons. The threat was presented as immediate, but the evidence for that didn’t exist – or at least was thin, and would have been shown up as inaccurate by Blix. Programmes of the mind, probably; actual capacities that represented a threat to the UK or its troops without an invasion, no.

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 10 Mass Graves

                  This is where you have to understand the meaning of the word lie. It is NOT a lie if someone says something that he believes to be true. In this case Blair merely reported what he had been told by researchers. Just like the WMD intelligence really.

                  The difficulty these people had in getting correct numbers is detailed below:-

                  “Hania Mufti, one of the researchers that produced that estimate, said:

                  ‘Our estimates were based on estimates. The eventual figure was based in part on circumstantial information gathered over the years.’

                  A further difficulty, according to Inforce, a group of British forensic experts in mass grave sites based at Bournemouth University who visited Iraq last year, was in the constant over-estimation of site sizes by Iraqis they met. ‘Witnesses were often likely to have unrealistic ideas of the numbers of people in grave areas that they knew about,’ said Jonathan Forrest.

                  ‘Local people would tell us of 10,000s of people buried at single grave sites and when we would get there they would be in multiple hundreds.’
                  When Blair realised that the estimates were wrong they downscaled the figure and admitted the original figures were wrong. For it to be a lie, he would have to have KNOWN that he was exaggerating the figure.

                • Paul S HK

                  Again, a cavalier disregard for the truth has been characteristic of Blair’s modus operandi. Sometimes the untruths were direct, sometimes by implication.
                  It’s good he corrected himself; but it would have been better if he had not insisted on cherry picking evidence in such a way as to deliberately create an impression, that, if the full evidence had been presented, would have led to people (MPs, &c) deciding you were wrong.
                  And it is indeed a lie to say something one believes, if in fact the belief is based on assertions so specious that no-one could reasonably believe them, yet they rely in you to tell the truth, due to your special position. A PM before a war has a special duty to be meticulous about the facts, as Churchill was in the run-up to and operation of WWII. I do agree with you that not all facts are easily ascertained. But the duty is to take care, and to make clear if your sources have expressed doubts; not to paper over the doubts.

                • arnoldo87

                  “And it is indeed a lie to say something one believes, if in fact the belief is based on assertions so specious that no-one could reasonably believe them”
                  Even if you agreed with this claim, which I do not, then the “specious assertions that no one could reasonably believe” have to be named.
                  What were they in this case?

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 7 Inspectors
                  I don’t even understand on this one what the lie is supposed to be.
                  So please explain what it is.

                • Paul S HK

                  This deals with the question: did Iraq throw out the Inspectors (impliedly, get frightened of being discovered and throw them out) or not?
                  Richard Butler said in his book that he left because he was warned by the US ambassador there was going to be a bombing campaign, and it might be dangerous to stay. So they left. And there was then a bombing campaign.
                  So to say they were thrown out was untrue. Where is the evidence they were thrown out, according to Blair?
                  Trying to add to the mistrust of Iraq was part of the game plan, so the story was convenient, I agree. But untrue.

                • arnoldo87

                  Paul,

                  I am afraid that you are displaying your ignorance here. there is ample evidence that UNSCOM were obstructed regularly by Iraq, and it was they who refused to allow UNSCOM to continue their efforts. This site has a concise summary of what happened.:-

                  http://www.mideastweb.org/iraqtimelineunscom.htm
                  The key entry is November 1st 1998. Refusal by Iraq to co-operate is the same as being kicked out.
                  Again, Hasan’s desperation to find Blair guilty of lying is almost childlike.

                • Paul S HK

                  A draw.
                  The immediate reason was the US intervention, but it is fair to say Iraq was highly obstructive.
                  Which helped get the inspecors pulled before they could show there was no material threat in 2003…

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 8 Hussein Kamal

                  You only have to read the transcript of the information supplied by Hussein to see that what Blair said was true.
                  The “truth” quote is also what Hussein said in the interview, but is NOT a refutation of Blair’s statement. Therefore, this again is not a Blair lie.

                  If Hasan was trying to say that Kamal’s statement proved that all weapons had been destroyed, then remember it was 1995 and the international community had to follow through with UN inspection teams to check if it was true. When they did try they were met with obfuscation from the Iraqis, and World Intelligence communities were nearly all saying that there were still WMD in Iraq.

                • Paul S HK

                  I agree.

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 9 International opinion
                  No doubt Blair here was persuaded by Putin’s support of resolution 1441, which called for proof of Iraqi WMD disarmament.
                  If Putin DID seriously believe Saddam’s claims of disarmament then why did he support 1441?
                  You have to say here that Hasan’s attempts at blackening Blair’s name verge on the fanatical – looking at every quote and radio broadcast ( Radio Monte Carlo, for God’s sake!) for the slightest chance that he can catch Blair out somehow.

                • Paul S HK

                  Clearly Blair was at the least exaggerating when he said what he said, as he knew a critical part of the WMD issue, the nuclear part, was not something Putin thought was demonstrable. Putin supported 1441, as he had been told it was not a final authorising resolution, and he preferred to keep the US and UK dancing.
                  It’s a minor untruth, but still a lie on Blair’s part.
                  I agree Radio Monte Carlo is pretty much everyone’s radar screen of serious journalism (good though it might well be).

                • arnoldo87

                  Just let me give you Hasan’s quotes again:-

                  “Tony Blair said on 25 February 2003: “On 8 December he [Saddam Hussein] submitted the declaration denying he had any WMD, a statement not a single member of the international community seriously believes.”

                  BUT Vladimir Putin earlier said, in a Moscow news conference with Tony Blair, 11 October 2002: “Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet.” (Putin was right)”
                  You will note that the Putin quote does NOT say that Russia agreed with Saddam’s declaration but says that they did not have any data that proved Saddam was wrong. It’s not the same thing at all. And Blair had Putin’s support of 1441 as a definite indication of what Putin believed.
                  You have no more idea what was in Putin’s head at the time than Blair did. He could only take Russia’s vote at face value. So not even a “minor untruth”.

                • Paul S HK

                  If I have no more ida than Blair did, and I have no idea, nor did Blair, and so he was guilty of attributing something to Putin, ‘not caring whether it was true or false’, another formal definition of fraudulent behaviour.
                  Guilty as stated.
                  Resolution 1441 was intended to give Saddam one last chance to comply with reporting obligations so the disarmament process could continue and be assured; and it closed by asserting the UNSC would remain seized of the matter … another point on the legality of a war without a UNSC resolution to visit serious consequences upon Iraq if 1441 were not complied with…

                • arnoldo87

                  ‘not caring whether it was true or false’
                  Sorry, what does this refer to?

                • Paul S HK

                  ‘not caring whether it was true or false’ what Putin believed, since Blair, like me, hadn’t a clue, you say, what Putin thought… so he doesn’t know, but he makes a firm attribution: that strikes me as indifference to the truth or falsehood of a statement.

                • arnoldo87

                  What is the source of the “not caring whether it was true or false” statement? When and where did Blair say it?

                • Paul S HK

                  You did.
                  I say Blair was indifferent to the truth or falsehood of Putin’s thinking.
                  You said that he didn’t know, not me.
                  But i can’t get too excited about this one.
                  it’s a standard international politics lie.

                • arnoldo87

                  Sorry Paul – you introduced the phrase as a definition.
                  Is it all getting a bit too much for You?

                • Paul S HK

                  I think I was quite clear.
                  I introduced the phrase a part of a definition of fraudulent behaviour.
                  You said neither i nor Blair would know what Putin was thinking.
                  If Blair didn’t know, he can’t reasonably have an opinion on the matter that he can present as true.
                  So, if he expresses an opinion (assuming we cannot know), then he doesn’t care as to its truth or falsehood.
                  Thus (in law) his state of mind is that of a fraudster.

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 3 Nuclear
                  From what I have been able to find out on this issue, I think you may have conflated two different statements from the IAEA man.
                  So you need to be more specific about what Blair said and what the IAEA guy said, and prove that the both statements are linked.
                  In the meantime, I am going to take a break. I’ll deal with the balance of the false accusations later.

                • Paul S HK

                  In the 2002 press conference, Bush had said “we’ve just heard the PM talk about the new report.” Then added (looking back a while) “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were … finally denied access, a report came out of the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.” To which Blair added: “Absolutely right.”

                  But Scott McLennan later said that Bush was referring not to the 1998 IAEA report but a 1991(!) one…

                  The disavowal by IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdeckyof what Bush said and what Blair separately asserted was from a phone interview reported in the Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2002/sep/27/20020927-091051-4501r/?page=all

                  If you look at the report you’ll see that Blair asserted as true something that had not happened. Could be a mistake, but you’d think the checkers would check something so easily checked – say with the IAEA itself? The IAEA itself was even less inclined to think in 2002, after years of sanctions, that Iraq was within six months of producing a weapon.
                  Trying to validate your false suggestion of risk, by referring to an authority that does not actually support you, is to commit the sin of lying. To be so cavalier with the facts is to deliberately court misleading the world.

                • arnoldo87

                  I have searched in vain for the transcript of the September 7th press conference. So what is your source, so that I can read what was said in full?

                • Paul S HK

                  Not easy to find on the White House website, … But here …

                • arnoldo87

                  Paul,
                  Searched in vain for the report to which Blair referred. Fairly sure that he was talking about comments from the UN team as reported in the New York Times by Julia Preston:-
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/06/international/06NATI.html
                  El Baradei put out a statement denying that the report was an official IAEA report in the 24 hours before the press conference.
                  Blair was almost certainly referring to the NYT article, and probably at that time had not heard about the refutation. This is plausible because none of the journalists said “Hold on Tony what about El Baredei’s refutation?”
                  Bush then came in with his (incomprehensible) 1998/1991 statement, ending with the words “what more evidence do you need?”
                  Blair then said “absolutely right”. Was Blair saying he agreed with Bush’s assertion, or was he merely trying to support Bush? The bottom line is that it was NOT Blair who made the claim about “six months”, and a simple interjection in support of a garbled paragraph by an ally does not in my book count as a lie. (Again- think about the definition of a lie – a statement told by someone who knows it to be untrue).

                • Paul S HK

                  Well, I suppose it depends how serious a man, even if not PM, ought to be about starting a war.
                  We can all accept there is room for error in stressed situations, but the group that believes Blair is a war criminal believes he deliberately blinded himself and others to the truth of the threats facing the UK, and did so in order to foment a war of aggression outside the scope of international law … i.e. neither in self defence, nor explicitly authorised by the UNSC.

                • Paul S HK

                  I think Bush went first, referring to a non-existent report, as was subsequently made clear by (i think) el baradei – the journos wouldn’t have known, and no-one had tried to Bush’s statement before he actually made it; Blair followed on, blithely indifferent to the truth or falsehood of the existence of such a report.
                  Again, classic behaviour of the fraudster. Any story, true or false, if it advances the deal
                  Indeed, Tony. Off to war on a fraudulent misrepresentation.

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 1 Stockpiles

                  Some very selective quotes here from Hasan.

                  Blair believed there were major stockpiles because he had access to not just MI6 intelligence but US intelligence too. Their report said:-

                  “Saddam probably has stocked a few hundred metric tons of CW agents.”

                  There was also the reports of UNMOVIC and UNSCOM, both of whom reported that they had found no satisfactory evidence that known stockpiles of WMD material had been destroyed.

                  Hasan did not quote from the JIC report that there WERE major stockpiles of biological weapons.

                  So – no lie from Blair – he was merely re-iterating what he had seen in intelligence reports.

                • Paul S HK

                  Even in the much maligned banking world, it is established law that omission of a material fact from a prospectus constitutes fraud.
                  Blair may well have decided he could rely on ‘Curveball’, a single unsubstantiated ‘friend of Chalabi’, whose evidence was later retracted; but he misled Parliament by omitting to mention the level of doubt in the intelligence assessments, which was a material fact that certainly should have been mentioned. Fraud or self-serving self deception combined with deception of others by omission – a lie by any name.

                • arnoldo87

                  Where in the September 2002 dossier did the JIC “mention doubt in the intelligence assessments”?

                  Where is the evidence that Blair knew that this was a “material fact”?

                  By the way, read your last sentence again and ask yourself if you’ve reached the bottom of the barrel here.

                • Paul S HK

                  The bottom of the barrel is to tell people one thing in order to get them to agree to war, when you know they wouldn’t agree if you gave them the full facts – that is the bottom of the barrel.
                  If you can’t understand that is why Blair is so despised, then that is a poor reflection on your moral values and your sense of what honesty means.

                • arnoldo87

                  Paul,
                  What about the answers to my two questions?

                • Paul S HK

                  Sorry, I thought it was obvious from the earlier materials ‘sporadic and patchy’ vs. ‘beyond doubt’ … he surely knows the difference…

                • arnoldo87

                  You keep talking about “sporadic and Patchy, but you know full well that this was a comment made in March 2002 and NOT September. The JIC said that new evidence had arrived in the intervening 6 months. I don’t believe that you will find any evidence in the September dossier that contains these words.

                • Paul S HK

                  the ‘new evidence’ was Curveball and ‘Niger yellowcake’… disproved even before put into debate by “British Intelligence” and the DIA.

                • arnoldo87

                  You have no idea what the new evidence was. The JIC didn’t say what it was – they didn’t need to.

                • Paul S HK

                  As noted elsewhere, the September JIC report was concerned with the risk that might be faced by our troops if we invaded Iraq. It actually said: “The use of CBW prior to any military attack … is unlikely.”
                  I am not sure how that translates into an imminent threat to our key interests.
                  And by now, we all have a very clear idea what the new evidence was, as there have been many research projects and books that have gone through the list of faked up rubbish deployed by the war-seekers, most likely including the DIA, Chalabi and others.
                  But given the JIC said the CBW would not be used before any invasion, I guess we really don’t need to know what the new evidence was.
                  We just need to ask why Blair considered war was necessary to get rid of WMD that weren’t imminently going to be used, when inspections were still offered a real way forward without war…. which was precisely the problem if, like Blair, you were pre-committed to a war.
                  Really, Arnoldo, you seem as wilfully blind to the evidence as your idol.
                  Are you sure you’re not Alastair Campbell?
                  You are very good and very persistent; as well as on the wrong side of justice and history.

                • arnoldo87

                  “We just need to ask why Blair considered war was necessary to get rid of WMD that weren’t imminently going to be used,
                  You really haven’t studied this subject very well have you, Paul? Any reading of Blair’s reasons for getting rid of Saddam’s WMD will tell you that he feared the nexus of WMD and the 9/11 type terrorists. How many times did Blair say “they killed 3,000 on 9/11, but would have killed 300,000 if they could have done”?
                  If you don’t understand that fact, then I really don’t see you as qualified to discuss his motives. All you have to do is read his set-piece speeches on Iraq before the invasion to understand that it was the WMD MATERIAL that was the problem.

                • Paul S HK

                  Even I, as foolish as I may be, realised that Blair was suggesting we should act now, as otherwise we might find Saddam Hussein tying up with fundamentalist terrorists. Also the mad neocon drumbeat of the Feiths, the Wolfovitzes…
                  The trouble is, that apart from the false ‘Prague’ meeting, there no plausible evidence to suggest such a connection.
                  Saddam Hussein was in fact one of the prime sworn enemies of fundamentalism in the ME.
                  Our biggest ally against Iran. A secular leader dead set against the fundamentalists.
                  If you say Blair asked us to believe that link, I say another lie, unsupported by any plausible relationship except fear in the mind of the public.
                  FUrther evidence, in fact, of folly, dissembling, lies and manipulation.
                  Come on, Arnoldo, your man is not a ‘pretty straight kind of guy’. At best he’s a fantasist, at worst a man who ended up making promises he never should have made, to another who totally lacked judgement, and mixed up his professional obligations as PM with his personal need to honour his promises, that he twisted the balance of facts, knowingly, to get his country to do what, given the full and actual facts, it never would have agreed to do.
                  That’s why I regard him as not merely a despicable liar with blood on his hands, but an actual traitor to his country.

                • Paul S HK

                  I suggest you browse this list of comparisons http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/table.pdf
                  It makes it clear enough that there was doubt in the intelligence assessments, that was not expressed in the government’s portrayal of the evidence.

                • arnoldo87

                  There was not any doubt in the final dossier. if you think there was, quote the page number and the words used.

                • Paul S HK

                  The opening ‘key judgements’ section in the September JIC report were all about the likelihood of Saddam Hussein using CBW if he were attacked. It stated ‘the use of CBW before a [coalition] attack is unlikely’.
                  It is tedious to go through all the coulds and mights in the JIC report, but the long and the short is that Iraq probably had some weapons, and even if they were substantially degraded, those could be produced in weeks or months (depending on the agent) and used against (say) Kuwait or Israel, if not or in addition to any invading troops.
                  It does not establish or consider a global threat from WMD.
                  The assessment relates to the threat on the Iraq battlefield, if we were to invade.

                • arnoldo87

                  These were not doubts about the fact that he had WMD (which is what you should be trying to prove), but about what Saddam might or might not do with them.
                  So this does not relate in any way to a possible Blair lie.

                • Paul S HK

                  No one said there were absolutely no WMD.
                  We said (and we did) that they were not a threat of any material sort to anyone of ‘us’ i.e. those not unlucky enough to be in Iraq at the time. Even the September JIC report only really considered risks to UK troops IF we invaded.There was no suggestion in that report that he would attack us, even in Cyprus as the conclusion was precisely that he would NOT.
                  So the lie was to impute a threat where there was none; a necessary precondition to get the war going.
                  Hence the belief he deserves to be in The Hague; tho there are technical obstacles, regrettably!

                • Paul S HK

                  Paragraph 1 opens with the description of the intelligence as ‘sporadic and patchy’.
                  If Blair did not understand that the the difference between sporadic and patchy and ‘beyond dobt’ is a material difference, then i would be astounded. He may have wished to persuade the Commons to do something it otherwise wouldn’t do by omitting the relevant qualifications in the intelligence, but he surely knows the difference…

                • arnoldo87

                  Sorry, Paul.
                  I cannot find these words anywhere in the September dossier. You are talking about this one, are you not?

                • arnoldo87

                  Lie 4 Beyond doubt

                  Blair’s assertion was a full 6 months after the JIC March 2002 report. If you read Scarlett’s evidence to Chilcot you will see that there was fresh intelligence that arrived between these two dates.

                  Certainly, if the intelligence in the September dossier had been true (which of course it was not) then Blair’s conclusion is totally understandable.

                  As for the ISC comment that is referring to something different and was critical not of Blair but the JIC. Here is the full extract (which Hasan did not reveal):-

                  “110. The use of the phrase “continued to produce chemical and biological weapons” in the foreword and the absence of detail on amounts of agents produced in the executive summary and main text could give the impression that Saddam was actively producing both chemical and biological weapons and significant amounts of agents. However, the JIC did not know what had been produced and in what quantities – it had assessed, based on intelligence, that production had taken place.

                  We believe that this uncertainty should have been highlighted to give a balanced view of Saddam’s chemical and biological capacity.”

                  Also the report contained the following:-
                  “78. John Scarlett told the Committee that he spent the next few days getting the final version ready for printing and publishing on 24 September. He stated that he was wholly
                  content with the finished product, including the foreword, as were the other JIC members. The Agency Heads and other JIC members have confirmed this.”

                  So no lie here – merely Blair summarising what he had read in MI6 and other intelligence sources.

                • Paul S HK

                  “…could give the impression that Saddam was actively producing both chemical and biological weapons and significant amounts of agents”
                  Which indeed it did…

                  “…this uncertainty should have been highlighted to give a balanced view”

                  Which it was not.
                  Between dissimulation intended to deceive and lying there is no gap, in my world, and that of millions of others.
                  Case proved.

                • arnoldo87

                  Paul,
                  As I said, the ISC was criticising the JIC, not Blair.
                  He was not the source of the intelligence – a fact which many people do not seem to grasp.
                  Case most definitely NOT proven.

                • Paul S HK

                  The ISC was not criticizing the JIC, whose report was nuanced.
                  It was criticizing Blair’s dossier, which removed the nuances and claimed clarity where it did not exist.
                  As today’s reports make clear, this cherry picking of intelligence was worrying enough that Intelligence personnel wanted to keep Blair away from raw intel, as he cherry picked ‘to suit his worldview’…

                • arnoldo87

                  Blair had no ownership whatsoever of any intelligence report or any dossier. The September 2002 dossier and the executive summary was written by the JIC alone. They also approved the foreword by Blair.

                • Paul S HK

                  A technical argument that sidesteps the point that the forward was misleading, approved or not. It was Blair’s forward; of course he had ownership. And the dossier itself would never have been as un-nuanced if Blair had been willing to accept the original way of expressing things the JIC preferred. John Scarlett certainly allowed himself to be browbeaten, but that does not remove the ‘hand of Bair’ – to paraphrase Maradona – from the document.

                • arnoldo87

                  Those of us who didn’t go to Trinity spell it “foreword” and not “forward”
                  The dossier report was the work of the JIC. They were happy with it and with the foreword.
                  Your assertion about Scarlett being browbeaten has no evidence behind it.

                • Paul S HK

                  Sorry about the spelling – funnily enough i’d seen just that correction earlier on the net… spellcheck? probably me… never mind n thx for the correction.
                  The JIC accepted the Foreword, they did not write it. Blair must take responsibility for what he wrote. he certainly wanted to have his word put forward. he was uncompromising and excluded doubts.
                  There is plenty of evidence that Alastair Campbell sent multiple re-writes to Scarlett. All those who know Campbell assert he is a bully – that was certainly his way.

                • arnoldo87

                  There is plenty of evidence that Alastair Campbell sent multiple re-writes to Scarlett
                  Could you give me some of this, please, Paul?

                • arnoldo87

                  “I am satisfied that Mr Scarlett did not accept drafting suggestions emanating from 10 Downing Street unless they were in keeping with the intelligence available to the JIC and he rejected any suggestions which he considered were not supported by such intelligence. This is demonstrated by his minute to Mr Campbell dated 18 September 2002 in reply to Mr Campbell’s minute of 17 September”
                  Does this sound like a man being browbeaten?
                  Quote from Lord Hutton.

                • Paul S HK

                  From the whitewasher in chief.
                  I’m surprised you rely on a source so totally discredited as Hutton.

                • Paul S HK

                  You’re moving a bit slow Arnoldo…
                  Anyway Chilcot will nail your hero…
                  We can wait.

                • arnoldo87

                  There’s a big difference between doing proper research and copying and pasting someone else’s article.
                  Teach you plagiarism at Trinity did they?

                • Paul S HK

                  At Trinity they taught me to look at facts.
                  Indeed, Trinity can be proud that it was Glen Rangwala, a Fellow of the college, who first brought to our attention the fact the dodgy dossier was substantially plagiarised…

                • arnoldo87

                  Well – good for him.
                  Trinity has had some notable graduates.
                  Some brilliant – some Soviet spies.

                • arnoldo87

                  Who’s moving a bit slow now Paul?
                  Or is it slink-back under-your-stone time?

                • Paul S HK

                  Sorry Arnoldo… Art Basel HK and a cold…
                  But I appreciate your seriousness…
                  At one point i thought, given your speed of response and precision, you must be Alastair Campbell…but saw your denial of a blair relationship which looked sincere.
                  Will respond and honour the debate!

            • Paul S HK

              You miss out class 3 – those who think he deliberately stretched the truth and distorted the proper perspectives to exploit emotion to get a war that he wanted, irrspective of the facts he’d rather we remained ignorant of.
              Deep, deep shittery of personality and policy, if ever there was!

              • arnoldo87

                I’m having trouble entering replies onto this blog – some glitch.
                So I’m going to summarise where I am following our long debate, via a Word paste..

                Every person has Cognitive Dissonance – you, me and Tony Blair included. Therefore we all look at a piece of relevant information and assume that it supports our view of a particular issue, which invariably has been formed beforehand. For instance I don’t think Blair is a liar, but you and lots of other people do.

                Tony Blair had many reasons to believe that Saddam still had WMD, and when he saw the New York Times report on nuclear activity in Iraq, he naturally used it to support his view, in a press conference. It would have been better if he had checked it out first. However, once he had found out the denial by El Baredei, he never used it again. This is the key point:-

                A liar is someone who makes a claim knowing it to be untrue.

                In all of the 10 “lies” that Hasan quoted, you have offered
                absolutely no proof that Blair was a liar by the above definition. There have been occasions where politicians have lied and it is demonstrable that they have – Chris Huhne, Jack Profumo, Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Aitken are just a few.

                And if you look fairly and honestly at each of the 10, you
                will conclude that you have NOT demonstrated that Blair said something that he knew to be untrue.

                • Paul S HK

                  Looking into someone’s mind to ascertain how far self-deception has taken them from the truth is indeed difficult.
                  But PMs of all people can expect that they will be judged by high standards of objectivity, especially in matters of war. And in court, as in life, one also looks at motive.
                  That is why Blair fails the tests for integrity.
                  I agree with you he thought Saddam Hussein a menace, and believed it was right for him to be removed; also that he believed it was essential for UK interests to stick by the USA; also that he had a genuine (if, as we see these days, rather paranoiac) view of the threat of ‘fundamentalist Islam’, as if the Queen were about to be forcibly converted.
                  But the trouble is that, by the test of reasonableness, examined under the arc lights of motive, it is clear that Blair used his privileged and authoritative position, and his narrow access to intelligence often denied to others, to present people with cherry-picked facts with the intention to cause them to accede to his world view, even though it was very obvious that if (for example) he had not led the Government produce documents that functionally distorted the available intelligence, he would not have got the vote for war.
                  My objection is not that he had views that at the time I described in writing as based on demonstrable falsehoods, but that he deliberately set bout getting others onside with him by distorting the facts they were presented with.
                  For you, this falls short of a lie, for me it does not.
                  And for you to retreat into the assertion that his statements may have been false, but the poor boy didn’t know it just reinforces the view that they were untrue in fact, and he just didn’t care about truth or falsehood.
                  That is quite enough to convict a man of fraud. I.e. telling lies.

                • arnoldo87

                  I think that you have conceded that, by the definition of a lie as stated, Blair did not lie.
                  As for the last two paragraphs, Paul, YOU initially stated that Blair had told a lie (Hasan’s Number 8), and then retracted.
                  Does that make YOU a liar?

                • Paul S HK

                  That’s your definition, not mine, nor the law’s.
                  I say he must have known people would be deceived and he did deceive them with intent, as to the probabilities of the allegations of WMD being true or untrue, and regardless of whether he thought the WMD case might be true or not. I don’t think he wanted to hear the opposite. he certainly ensured no-one else in Government got access to the whole truth.
                  He is still a fraudster on that basis.

                • arnoldo87

                  Paul,
                  All you have done above is outline the basis of your belief that Blair intentionally deceived the nation.
                  Unfortunately, you have not produced any evidence that proves that he did.
                  He said what he believed to be the truth at all times.
                  And as I asked you before (and you have not replied) – Was your accusation on Lie number 8 a lie, or was it something you believed to be true?

                • Paul S HK

                  I am not shutting my mind to the question of whether Blair might or might not have been telling the truth as he saw it. I am not pushing contrary evidence to one side. I am attempting to assess it. I therefore look at what you (and he) claim to be the truth through the spectrum of fact.
                  I am not pretending certain facts, available to the likes of Glen Rangwala (and me, actually) dealing with, let us say, Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capabilities, the tubes, the yellowcake, were not also available to Blair. They were, as were the qualifications in the bulk of the intelligence reports, and the legal opinions of all 27 FO lawyers and the AG originally (tho Blair did not tell his cabinet).
                  So, unlike Blair, I am not turning a blind eye to what contradicts my judgement in the matter, nor trying to conceal it from others.
                  And my judgment is that on the balance of probabilities, given the motives, the background, the methodology and the objective facts, Blair must have believed that it was essential, if we were to go to war on Saddam Hussein, that the facts were as biased as possible in favour of that outcome, and that he knew people would not support him if he stated the facts fairly; and so he determined to state them unfairly and incompletely, as i have previously explained.
                  Thus he is a fraudster and a dissimulator, not a truth-teller, nor someone who in good faith misjudged things.
                  I, by contrast, have no motive to be against Blair. He did really well in Northern Ireland. He respected markets. He pushed many useful social reforms and tolerance.
                  I have no reason to be pro-Saddam: he was indeed a monster.
                  So I am not lying, though I may be wrong when I state my belief is that Blair knew full well what he was doing, as the evidence supports that view.
                  That’s the difference.

                • arnoldo87

                  This will be my last contribution, as I feel we have both
                  had our full say. The definition of a lie will always contain reference to “the intent to deceive”. So the key question in examining Hasan’s 10 lies is “Did
                  Blair set out to deceive”?

                  In summary, here is what we find:-

                  Stockpiles: Blair’s statement based on ALL
                  intelligence, including US; JIC only prevailing UK intelligence. NO DECEPTION

                  One statement historical 1991-2002; the other
                  about threat from 2002 on i.e – future threat. NO DECEPTION

                  Nuclear. It was Bush who made the garbled claim.
                  Blair’s “Absolutely Right” statement was impromptu and followed on from his own
                  quote about the NYT report. NO DECEPTION.

                  Doubt: Six month gap in the two quotes, during
                  which fresh intelligence had come in. NO DECEPTION

                  45 minutes; No one in government or intelligence
                  claimed or believed that Saddam’s missiles could hit the UK. NO DECEPTION

                  Regime Change: Blair believed, and said so, that
                  the best way to get rid of the WMD threat was regime change. NO DECEPTION

                  The inspectors WERE kicked out. NO DECEPTION

                  H Kamal; you agreed eventually that this was
                  nonsense.

                  Putin. No proof that Putin believed that Saddam had eliminated WMD. 1441 indicated that Putin
                  did not believe him. NO DECEPTION

                  . Blair did not COLLECT the evidence personally,
                  but relied on those who did. He was merely reporting their estimates. NO DECEPTION

                  And, talking of deception, in this dialogue you have claimed
                  the following:-

                  Blair & the JIC both claimed that Saddam’s
                  missiles could hit the UK

                  Blair wrote a dossier

                  Scarlett allowed himself to be browbeaten

                  Campbell sent multiple rewrites to Scarlett

                  There was a level of doubt expressed within the
                  September dossier

                  That the inspectors were not kicked out. (later
                  changed your mind)

                  That Hutton and his team’s report was a whitewash

                  Hasan’s claim # 8 was true ( later changed your
                  mind)

                  All without any evidence.

                  Your later posts have lapsed into standard anti-Blair poison
                  ( traitor etc) so time to make my departure, still awaiting the first successful attempt to nail a Blair lie.

    • jesseventura2

      The Iraq war declared illegal by the UN secretary genaral?

      • arnoldo87

        That was certainly his opinion – but not one shared by the British Attorney General.

        Me – I don’t recognise the “authority” of the United Nations to rule on these matters as long as they have undemocratic regimes in a position of power.

        Kosovo was illegal by UN standards, so are we sending all the NATO heads of government at the time to The Hague?

        • Kennybhoy

          “Me – I don’t recognise the “authority” of the United Nations to rule on these matters…”

          Fascinating how Wingnuts, on both sides of the Atlantic, turn into UNOphiles on this issue…?

        • Paul S HK

          After he had advised it would be illegal…
          And not forgetting all 27expert lawyers in the FO…
          And my ex teachers at Trinity Cambridge, who certainly understand it better than either Arnoldo or the ex-AG…

    • Kennybhoy

      As usual spot on.

      Just for the record. I was and am against the bombing and dismemberment of Yugoslavia, for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, equivocal about Libya and against intervention in Syria.

      Work that out…:-(

      • Wessex Man

        What on earth makes you so self important that you think we are interested in what you are against?

        • Kennybhoy

          Actually my comment was addressed to arnoldo87 who has in the past hereabouts made it clear that he was in favour of all of the above mentioned interventions/wars/conflicts…

          But to answer your school playgroundish wee question. What makes any of us here in this wee parish so self-important as to think that anyone, anywhere is interested in what we are for or against …?

    • Bill_der_Berg

      It is more important to know if Blair told the truth, which is not the same as not telling a lie. Did he keep back information which should have been made available? Did he mislead without telling a direct lie? Those are the questions.

      • arnoldo87

        And where do we get the answers? You tell us, Bill.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          We may get some of the answers when the Chilcot Report is published in ten years or so. Apart from that, we have to rely on the spadework already carried out by commentators and journalists, then decide what version of events we find most convincing.

          • Wessex Man

            We’ll never get the answers, one Attorney General after another will veto it until we are kicking up daisies, we in the CEP have seen this happen time after time!

    • sfin

      Blair described the intelligence, to Parliament, (and, therefore, the nation) as “detailed, extensive and authoritative” when the actual intelligence was single source and described as “patchy and sporadic”.

      When asked, at the Chilcott Inquiry, to explain this discrepancy he replied:

      “I was being political”

      Nuances in our language can leave defining the verb “to lie” open to debate.

      In my view, Blair lied.

      • arnoldo87

        sfin,
        Please give me the page number on the Chilcott transcript where Blair said “I was being political”

        • arnoldo87

          Any luck, yet, sfin?

  • roger

    Boris is one man, but many thousands want Blair to be brought to justice , or as his friend Bush said ‘ have justice taken to him’, for the Iraq war and the Bombing of Belgrade. The man , von Lohr, who ordered the bombing of Belgrade in 1941 was hanged in 1947, they used to know how to bring justice in those days.
    Publish Chilcot now.

  • goodbloke03

    1st Point is many of the MP’s went by the rule book and therefore did vote on the WMD ..The WMD were a pack of lies made up by the neo-cons as the one thing that was un-provable ,,We didn’t go for regime change .2nd. point is:Business savvy, greedy Blair must have known that when he made the decision to lie he stood to make millions on the back of that decision.once he’d left office ..which he ofcourse did ..He should get life in solitary ..

  • serialluncher

    Iraq intervention was not a war crime by any stretch. The bottom line is Saddam broke the terms of the Kuwait cease fire. Whether it was a good idea is another matter entirely.

  • wufnik

    (1) “Regime change was enough of a justification on its own.”
    Say what? Since when? However odious Sadaam was, he did not attack either the US or the UK, and was not involved in 9/11. But you still think this is a rational excuse for this clusterfuck? There is so much wrong with this viewpoint I don’t even know where to start.
    (2) “That so many pre-war assumptions proved mistaken – calamitously so in many respects – does not actually prove that those assumptions were based on a deliberate lie at the time they were made.”
    A bit slippery, this, and this is not the basis of many of the arguments against Bush, Cheney and Blair. It’s that we now know that there were deliberate lies at the time, irrespective of the fact that “many pre-war assumptions proved mistaken….” Even if the result had been better, that would not alter the fact that the whole enterprise relied on deliberate lies.
    (3) Agree with you completely about Boris. He’s given entirely too much slack.

  • Tony_E

    The problem was not the vote, but the timing of the vote. Blair had already put the troops and assets in place – had we voted against war at that point, we would not have had any credibility with either our allies or our enemies.

    The vote for war was simply an inevitable consequence of the timetable that Blair and Bush used to promote it.

    I would also add that I was pro war on the basis that we could not back down at the point of the vote. I felt that had we done so, no British ally overseas could ever have had confidence in us again, no potential aggressor any reason to fear us. Also, the timetable by then could not be altered as the summer was fast approaching and the heat would have rendered the task more difficult. My argument with Blair is that he organised the vote in such a way as to utilise these facts.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Go and kiss your boyfriend, oh wait, he is a ‘pretty straight kind of guy……’

    Lets face it, Blair declared war against England.

    • Kennybhoy

      “Lets face it, Blair declared war against England.”

      Much much nearer the mark. It isnt his foreign policy that he and his accomplices should be indicted for. And even then the rot goes back before 1997…

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    In retrospect, it may be realised that Tony`s little fling with Wendi that signaled the beginning of the end. Because if Chilcot is as damning as it`s cracked up to be, it could be Game Over for Teflon Tony. I do hope so,

  • Kaine

    The objection is that a man became wrapped up in his own Messiah complex and, because he was Prime Minister, there was essentially no structure in place to stop him taking the country into a war the public did not want to enter.

    Strangely enough, his own twenty-something son wasn’t sent off to die for democracy in the desert.

    The best argument I’ve ever heard for national service was that politicians would be rather less likely to go to war if people they loved would be put in harms way.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      When Blair was beating the war drum, he did mention that one of his sons ‘was considering a career in the military’. That raised a chuckle or two.

    • Kennybhoy

      “Strangely enough, his own twenty-something son wasn’t sent off to die for democracy in the desert.”

      What is “strange” about this in a country who’s armed forces are all volunteer?

      “The best argument …rather less likely to go to war…”

      Did not stop them in the past…

  • balance_and_reason

    yes…in my case

  • fundamentallyflawed

    “Boris is supposed to be a straight-talking, you-may-not-agree-but-you-can-respect-my-views kind of politician.” Only if you believe the hype. I have never seen him as a anything other than a shameless self publicist and a boorish intellecutal oaf. A willing jumper on whichever bandwagon will get him the most press

    • allymax bruce

      Boris is a circus entertainer; best remembered dangling from a wire at the 2012 Olympics. Boris makes me laugh, but I wouldn’t want him anywhere near serious politics.

    • Kennybhoy

      To give him his due. I seem to recall that he was one of very few mainstream journalists who dissented from the belligerent, anti-Serb line during the destruction of Yugoslavia…?

  • Andrew Smith

    Mr Johnson said a) It would (note the conditional tense) be difficult to nail Tony Blair because he’s a slippery customer. B) The caller has his heart in the right place. This is not a call to arraign the former PM.

    Having your heart in the right place usually means “misguided but in essence a good bloke, ie good ethical base translated into inappropriate or wrongheaded behaviour”

    So no, he’s not. What a daft way of approaching a serious question.

  • Jonathan Burns

    Blair subjected the Paras to a Show Trial while ignoring the 171 murdered by the IRA in 1972. Why should he not get a taste of his own medicine?

    • Kaine

      Bloody Sunday wasn’t about the paras. It was about the higher-ups who stupidly used soldiers as policemen within the United Kingdom, and then an establishment who turned tragedy into treachery when they lied about the intentions of British citizens engaged in peaceful protest for their civil rights.

      A Republican will look at Bloody Sunday and shrug, because he expects Britain to act that way. It’s Unionists who should have demanded justice. Had hose events happened on the mainland the government would have collapsed in a week,

      • Kennybhoy

        “It was about the higher-ups who stupidly used soldiers as policemen within the United Kingdom…”

        No other option available.

        The rest is fair and accurate comment. the second paragraph in particular is insightful.

  • you_kid

    Why is it that the Mayor of London keeps speaking for the Mayor of the City of London? Is not Bliar solely to blame for deregulation getting out of hand?

  • Bill_der_Berg

    “Even so, there is no mystery about the basis upon which Blair (and others) persuaded parliament – and the country* – to back the war”.
    It’s a bit mysterious that there was no mention of oil.

  • swatnan

    Johnson has come out with some weird comments of eg on ‘racism’, and now Blair.
    I hate Show Trials. I hated the Milosovic trials even the the man was a monster. In my view PMs and Presidents should get immunity for decisions they take in Public Office. Show Trials are a complete waste of time and money; in my opinion the Public get what they deserve in the Leaders they choose. So its the Public that have to share the blame as well. next time they might make a better job of it.

    • Kaine

      So you let everyone at Nuremberg walk free?

      • swatnan

        Yes. I’m sure the German People would have dealt in their own way with those that led them down the nasty road of Nazism. The German People though have a collective guilt for that decision to elect Herr Hitler. Hitler himself committed suicide as did many of his close Cabinet. So the nurenberg Trials were the Mother of all Show Trials, to make the victors feel a bit better about themselves. Saddam was dealt with by the Iraqi People. And the death sentence by hanging was the appropriate punishment. He should have been shot at dawn.

      • Kennybhoy

        Ridiculous conflation.

  • LB

    Yep. It would be a start.

    Then all MPs who got out of their frauds by paying cash back. Lets have them.

    Then all MPs for running a Ponzi pension. Sentencing guidelines a la Maddoff.

  • tjamesjones

    Boris’s response seems pretty reasonable to me. If you’re talking to some caller who is pressing for Blair to be tried for War Crimes, then I couldn’t do much better than (a) it’s never going to happen, but (b) I can see where you’re coming from.

    Which is what Boris said.

  • Terry Field

    The question surely should be, does anyone consider Blair should NOT be tried for war crimes; for crimes against British democracy; for crimes against animal welfare; for crimes against common decency; for crimes of arrogance and stupidity; for crimes against the settled happiness of the british people.

  • sfin

    (Sigh!) You do like winding us up don’t you Alex?

    Tony Blair formulated a plan called ‘liberal interventionism’ – involving the use of force (or, more accurately, wars of aggression) to effect regime change in countries that didn’t hold to his own view of liberal democracy.

    What he – and you – overlook, is that wars of aggression, and wars to solely effect regime change, are against international law – hence by some definitions of international law, Tony Blair is a war criminal.

    In my view, Tony Blair overlooked a major moral point: That using military power, not as the option of last resort, but as an instrument to project your world view puts you in the same league as Adolf Hitler and Eastern Communism.

    Tony Blair developed his taste for this policy in Kosovo (where he persuaded Clinton – still smarting from international inaction over Rwanda – to back him.) and Sierra Leone. When Bush decided to ‘finish his father’s business in Iraq, Blair bought it merely an extension of his ill concieved policy – and committed us much earlier than he let on.

    He then lied to parliament and the public to gain approval (and before this, a parliament always backed a prime minister committed to war – David Cameron suffered the fallout from Iraq deception over Syria) and, despite the biggest public demonstration ever seen in this country, launched our armed forces, shockingly equipped and with no plan for the aftermath. I was in the army at that time and it was a dreadful feeling to think you were fighting on the wrong side.

    The points on international law may be debatable, but my last paragraph isn’t. For this alone Tony Blair belongs in the dock.

    • arnoldo87

      Questioned but not charged.

      The offence, by the way, was handing out titles in return for cash.

      I invite you to look at the very long historical list of Knights of the realm and Lords, and then tell me that cash for honours is a practice that has not been going on for over a century.

      • rtj1211

        There are scurrilous stories around the web that he was arrested as a young man for propositioning a male in a public toilet. Probably lies, but you never know……..

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          You mean the one where he gave his name as Lyndon Blair and his influential mates got him off the hook? I heard that too, but never let it be said that I would disseminate unfounded rumour.

        • GeeBee36_6

          The late Clarissa Dickson-Wright revealed that in his chambers as a junior barrister (same chambers as DIckson-Wright’s) he was known as Miranda. From that scene in The Tempest where Miranda is so excited at seeing all those sailors…

    • arnoldo87

      “…..wars of aggression, and wars to solely effect regime change, are against international law”

      Thank goodness that we didn’t go in to effect regime change on Syria, then.

      Just think of the carnage that would have occurred if we had.

      Nah – far better sticking to the legal route.

      • Paul S HK

        it probably was far better to stick to the legal route .. hahaha.. don’t you think?… even simply as a matter of practical results and without the point that law-breaking is often a bad idea… tho civil disobedience can be OK

    • allymax bruce

      “Tony Blair formulated a plan called ‘liberal interventionism’ –
      involving the use of force (or, more accurately, wars of aggression) to
      effect regime change in countries that didn’t hold to his own view of
      liberal democracy.”

      Correct; and, ‘Aggression’, along with ‘Regime Change’, are illegal according to ICC. (Oh, I see you say this in your next para’).

      I think the reason why Chilcott is taking so long is they’re waiting for the ‘political will’, to change the law. I said in Jan’, that it would be this year.

      • Wessex Man

        you never cease to amaze me, on one thread you talk a load of tosh and on another you shine as here.

        • Kennybhoy

          “Shine”? ROTFLMFAO

          • Wessex Man

            whoa, who’s the clever boy?

            • Kennybhoy

              Translate please…?

        • Kennybhoy

          Nope. Talks incessant caca. You on the other hand Maister W…? 🙂

    • GeeBee36_6

      ‘using military power, not as the option of last resort, but as an
      instrument to project your world view puts you in the same league as
      Adolf Hitler’.

      Actually, this is unfair to Hitler. His country had been sliced up and given away by the victorious (and spiteful) allies at the treaty of Versailles, in the aftermath of WWI. Bliar had no such pregnant animus, no such injured patriotism and no such sense of grievance in need of redress.

      All he had was his o’erweening ambition, coupled with a palpable, dangerous sense of excitement at being such a clever boy in the first place (in having hi-jacked the Labour party), and then to strut about with the dumbest POTUS in history, over whom his vanity allowed him to become convinced that he had some sort of influence.

      Gordon Brown was, without doubt, the worst PM Britain has ever known. Bliar, on the other hand, was far worse than just that (yes, my statement does make sense, alas. Think about it).

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    Bliar lied to Parliament. Bliars lies convinced Parliamentarians to vote for war. Blair should be tried for this, and executed once the death penalty for treason has been reinstated with his body hung in chains outside Parliament in order to remind politicians what happens to traitors.

  • Durham Dan

    Given that it was Blair who signed us up to the International Criminal Court I cannot think of a more delicious irony than to see him shipped off to The Hague to stand trial.

    Hoisted by his own petard.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Keep in mind Blair`s gang abolished capital punishment for treason.

      • Bob339

        And now we can guess why!

    • Donafugata

      Absolutely and Cherie can be his defence attorney using human rights, no doubt.

  • Swiss Bob

    It’s well known Blair thought that after the British Army’s little escapade in Sierra Leone he sent them on that they could do anything.

    Five wars in six years, blood and treasure of the UK wasted while importing millions of immigrants to provide cheap labour and cheap Labour votes, that’s why he should be at the end of a rope, though I’d prefer piano wire from a lamppost in Parliament Square.

    • roger

      I think it was his pushing NATO to bomb Serbia, illegal for a self-defence alliance, that was his first act of hubris.

      • Swiss Bob

        He involved this country in so many wars it’s easy to forget one or two!

      • Kennybhoy

        Same to you as to the other eejit Telemachus above: don’t get carried way by the up vote! 🙂

    • evad666

      Piano wire is way too quick we should restore traditional punishments for the likes of Blair. Hang Draw and Quarter him.

  • WatTylersGhost

    I want Blair on trial for war crimes and I want Chilcot published immediately. The Westminster Cosa Nostra are again protecting each other against the will of the people.

    • telemachus

      I think the people who should go on trial and be hung are those Johnny come lately wimps like you who jump on a bandwagon for political ends
      Did you not read the above
      Whatever we may feel about Blair and the New Labour Experiment the vast majority of MP’s including Cameron and most of the Cabinet current were enthusiastic cheerleaders for the destruction of Saddam, Chemical Ali and associated th*gs
      *
      We have to pray Boris will veer get near Number 10

      • Kennybhoy

        Don’t get carried away by the up vote ya loon! 🙂

      • Wessex Man

        come on tele boy, you can do so much better than this, where’s the fire from your belly that made you stand as a candidate for Ukip gone, Blait, Brown, Reid, Cameron and Clegg should all face war crimes!

      • GeeBee36_6

        Does Disqus really mod out the harmless word thugs?

        We’ll see very shortly…

        • Kennybhoy

          Aye it does apparently…:-(

  • MirthaTidville

    Whilst I cannot speak for the admirable Boris I know that I most certainly do. Massie is as usual a disingenious apologiser for Bliar..This man knew exactly what the score was, down to the last detail. In George Bush he saw an manipulable idiot, plain and simple and Phoney Tony moved in. As a result many innocent, decent and brave people lost their life. Gripping the dock rails in the Hague would truely be a fitting end to this most slippery of eels…

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