In 2012, War Criminal Tony Blair began to find out — as Henry Kissinger had before him — how difficult it was to travel freely. The cost of lying a country into war is just now beginning to hit home with Tony. Arrest Blair is a website calling for citizens to arrest Blair (April 12th, he’s at Judson University in Illinois). The Press Association reports today:
The People v Tony Blair, published to mark the 10th anniversary of the huge anti-war protests on February 15, 2003, said the world-wide protests were held amid international “disarray” about the war.
Author Chris Nineham, a founder member of Stop the War Coalition, said a series of protest records were broken, with up to two million joining the February 15 event, the biggest weekday protest some months later when George Bush visited London, and the largest wartime march shortly after the bombing started.
That night, Donald Rumsfeld went public about Blair’s problems at a televised White House press conference, admitting Britain might not be showing up for the invasion. He reassured the media “there are workarounds.” Blair, Hoon and their colleagues were furious.
This was nine days before the invasion of Iraq.
Hoon’s phone call reflected panic in Blair’s camp. A few days earlier Home Secretary Jack Straw had told Blair that if he went to war with Bush without a second UN resolution, “the only regime change that will be happening will be in this room.” Next day, Jack Straw was apparently one of a number of senior figures arguing with Blair not to join in.
In Alistair Campbell’s words, “Jack S said that Rumsfeld’s idiotic comments gave us a way out.” One Guardian journalist reported in a piece headlined ‘Brought to the brink of defeat,’ “Senior civil servants began to check the procedures that might be necessary if Mr Blair was forced to quit.”
Whatever Donald Rumsfeld might have meant by ‘workarounds’ if Britain had pulled out of the war it would have been catastrophic not just for the government but for the whole Iraq operation.
As Hoon himself admitted later, the British and US forces were so intertwined there would have been a massive hole in military planning. Worse, the US would have lost vital political cover for an invasion that was leaving it more and more isolated.
The panic in Downing Street was largely a result of public opposition and protest, the impact of what the New York Times two days after the 15 February global protests called “the second superpower.” That day was the highest point of a movement that Blair admits shocked him and “reminded me of my isolation.” It took place at a time of maximum international disarray about the war. As Alistair Campbell noted in his diary the morning of the march, they had both slept badly, “every part of the strategy was in tatters – re the EU, re the UN, re the US, re the party, re the country which was about to march against us.”
Despite a number of reflections taking place currently regarding the Iraq War, Tony Blair’s apparently too shallow for reflection. He can’t even manage a Tweet these days — maybe the illegal war and all the deaths are haunting him? — and hasn’t Tweeted since January 28th.
February 15th was the day of the worldwide protests. In London, activist, author and journalist Tariq Ali spoke:
Friends, it is we, the one and a half million people gathered in London who speak for the majority in this country. Not Blair. He is a weak and isolated politician and I appeal from this platform to Labour Members of Parliament to remove this warmonger as Prime Minister and replace him with a leader who is in favour of peace.
I am fed up listening to their lies and propaganda. Saddam was at his most dangerous when Blair’s friends, Rumsfeld and Co. were arming Iraq. They sold him the chemical weapons. They supported his war against Iran. And they have a nerve to accuse the antiwar movement of being soft on Saddam.
We want change in Iraq and here, but we believe that only the people of a country have the right to remove their leaders.
More information on Tariq Ali can be found at this website. London saw two million people, by the Socialist Worker‘s count. Huffington Post UK runs an amazing photo of that protest today. It was a day of global protests, February 15, 2003, and this Socialist Worker article covers the protests in many countries.
The War Hawks and their enablers haven’t given up. They still try to minimize actions and pretend that what went down didn’t go down. For example, Colin Powell’s guy pal Larry Wilkerson debated anti-war activist and author Norman Solomon yesterday on Democracy Now! with Wilkerson insisting no one could have known — Wilkerson’s apparently cribbing from Condi Rice’s 9-11 line “No one could have guessed.” (Norman Solomon’s column this week reflects on the fact that War Hawks neither suffered nor paid for the illegal war.)
The war of words will always be defeated by reality and that’s why the same US media that sold the Iraq War has been in no rush to get their asses back over to Iraq and report on the realities of Iraq today. It’s no success story.
At Huffington Post UK, a number of arguments regarding the illegal war are provided space. We’ll note this from Haifa Zangana:
But in 2003 George Bush, Tony Blair and company labelled “it” Iraqis’ human rights. Bush said: “Every woman in Iraq is better off because the rape rooms and torture chambers of Saddam Hussein are forever closed.” Paul Bremer, head of occupation authorities, told the world Iraqis “do not have to worry about the secret police. Those days are over.”
The reality is different.
The shock and awe that the US and UK subjected Iraqis to was not just the bombardment and destruction of their infrastructure but the abuses and torture. The occupiers paved the way for their continuity.
Human Rights Watch’s 2012 report noted that the human rights of Iraqis “are violated with impunity”. In 2013 HRW reported Iraq’s security forces’ continued use of “threats, violence, and arrests of protesters and journalists” and that units from three ministries, as well as from the prime minister’s office, have “secret prisons” outside the law, and that there was a “record number of executions in 2012.”
If we’re jumping the gun on this entry — it’s not the anniversary of the protests yet — it’s because British community members e-mailed about this topic yesterday. There wasn’t time to get it into the snapshot — I was busy dictating e-mails and getting the report from Martha and Shirley at the same time (for the four who e-mailed regarding the Iraqi protesters demands being in English, I left that out of the snapshot but it was passed on to the journalist in a two-line dictated e-mail). I’m an American, it’s very easy for the non-Iraq focus to drift and stay with the US. That’s why the community needs to express itself when it feels something or someone’s being ignored.
Andrew Mason (Iraq Inquiry Digest) notes the upcoming documentary Wars Lies and Video.
The following community sites — plus Cindy Sheehan, Pacifica Evening News, Antiwar.com and C-SPAN — updated last night and this morning:
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.