By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
There are people the world over who are not prepared to wait for history to pass judgement on Blair — they want to see him held to account now for his monumental crimes.
Tony Blair has long had to duck and dive from public view for fear that he would face a citizen’s arrest for his war crimes.
There is a price on his head and there have beenrepeated attempts to feel his collar in the hope that Britain’s most wanted war criminal will be held to account for his part in the mass murder of over one million Iraqis.
Appearing in public anywhere in the world is so risky for Blair that he is never seen in the company of the general public, but restricts his socialising to fellow war criminals, such as George W Bush and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Or despots such as Kazakhstan’s dictator Nazarbayev, who pays Blair £8.5m a year. Or oil rich states like Kuwait which is reportedly paying him £27m for “advice”. Or bankers like J.P. Morgan which pays him £2.5m a year for “consultation”.
But Tony Blair is becoming increasing confident about posturing and warmongering in the corporate media. And the media, having played its own disreputable part in promoting the lies which Blair used to take Britain into an illegal and unjustified war, has no reservations about giving him free reign to spout equivalent lies and distortions, this time in urging war against Syria and Iran.
Here he is on the BBC Today programme advocating intervention in Syria, and once again allowed to get away without challenge when stating:
There’s now been more people that have died in Syria in a civil war that shows absolutely no sign of ending than in the entirety of Iraq since 2003.
Blair knows only too well that this is simply not true. And the BBC should not have allowed him to get away with such a blatant distortion. The United Nations estimates that 100,000 have been killed in Syria. This figure includes troops from Syrian forces and rebels killed fighting them and yet this total is presented in the media as if they were all civilian casualties.
Compare this to Iraq, where the most compelling evidence shows that over the past ten years many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the Bush-Blair war, with the latest calculations putting the figure above one million.
And the slaughter in Iraq continues. Violence is escalating due to the decade of instability and division that the Bush-Blair intervention caused, with more than 2000 people killed in May 2013, making it the most deadly month in the country since the height of the sectarian war in 2007.
But Blair’s capacity for hypocrisy and sanctimonious self-delusion can still shock when it is as blatant as this comment recently in The Observer (a newspaper that seems particularly enthusiastic about helping Blair’s attempts at political rehabilitation):
I am a strong supporter of democracy. But democratic government doesn’t on its own mean effective government. Today, efficacy is the challenge. When governments don’t deliver, people protest… This is a sort of free democratic spirit that operates outside the convention of democracy that elections decide the government.
No occasion here for Blair to remember how he ignored the two million who filled London’s streets on 15 February 2003, opposing his drive to war against Iraq in the largest political protest in British history.
And Blair is quite open about the objectives of that war. In the BBC series on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, Blair stated baldly, “We decided we were going to remake the Middle East”. This was in effect an admission of participating in an international war crime — regime change interventions being illegal — but the BBC let it pass without comment. As Matt Carr wrote, “The BBC let Blair & Co say whatever they wanted without challenging them and never asked a single penetrating question, never offered any real alternatives to what they were saying.”
These days, it is the prospect for war against Syria and Iran that really has Blair’s mouth watering. “Personally,” he says, “I think we should at least consider and consider actively a no-fly zone in Syria.”
As for Iran, he adds, “We can’t afford a nuclear-armed Iran.”
The fact that there is no evidence that Iran has any intention of developing nuclear weapons is of no significance to Blair. Nor does his promotion of more war consider that western military intervention could be even more catastrophic in its regional implications than the Bush-Blair Iraq war.
And of course, no mention by Blair, under his quite ludicrous title of Middle East peace envoy, that there is one country in the Middle East that already has nuclear weapons and which — unlike Iran — refuses to sign the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Unsurprisingly, Israel is — like Blair — chomping at the bit to go to war with Iran.
However much the Observer, the BBC and the rest of the corporate media continues to indulge Blair, he will never escape the stain of his Iraq war crimes. In the words of comedian Mark Steele:
Everywhere Blair goes, the chaos of the war he created follows him. During his latest interview for the BBC, he answered a question about Iraq by saying angrily: “Look, we’ve been through this before.” And he’ll have to go through it again, every day forever.
There are people the world over who are not prepared to wait for history to pass judgement on Blair, and who want to see him held to account now for his monumental crimes, which left one million dead, created over four million refugees and devastated the whole of Iraq.
If you get close enough to Tony Blair to attempt a peaceful citizen’s arrest, you will qualify for the reward which has already been paid a number of times. For details, see http://www.arrestblair.org/