Tony Blair Must Be Prosecuted

Tony Blair must be prosecuted, not indulged like his mentor Peter Mandelson. Both have produced self-serving memoirs for which they have been paid fortunes. Blair’s will appear next month and earn him £4.6 million. Now consider Britain’s Proceeds of Crime Act. Blair conspired in and executed an unprovoked war of aggression against a defenceless country, which the Nuremberg judges in 1946 described as the “paramount war crime”. This has caused, according to scholarly studies, the deaths of more than a million people, a figure that exceeds the Fordham University estimate of deaths in the Rwandan genocide.

In addition, four million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes and a majority of children have descended into malnutrition and trauma. Cancer rates near the cities of Fallujah, Najaf and Basra (the latter “liberated” by the British) are now revealed as higher than those at Hiroshima. “UK forces used about 1.9 metric tons of depleted uranium ammunition in the Iraq war in 2003,” the Defence Secretary Liam Fox told parliament on 22 July. A range of toxic “anti-personnel” weapons, such as cluster bombs, was employed by British and American forces.

Such carnage was justified with lies that have been repeatedly exposed. On 29 January 2003, Blair told parliament, “We do know of links between al-Qaida and Iraq …”. Last month, the former head of the intelligence service, MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, told the Chilcot inquiry, “There is no credible intelligence to suggest that connection … [it was the invasion] that gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad”. Asked to what extent the invasion exacerbated the threat to Britain from terrorism, she replied, “Substantially”. The bombings in London on 7 July 2005 were a direct consequence of Blair’s actions.

Documents released by the High Court show that Blair allowed British citizens to be abducted and tortured. The then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, decided in January 2002 that Guantanamo was the “best way” to ensure UK nationals were “securely held”.

Instead of remorse, Blair has demonstrated a voracious and secretive greed. Since stepping down as prime minister in 2007, he has accumulated an estimated £20 million, much of it as a result of his ties with the Bush administration. The House of Commons Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets jobs taken by former ministers, was pressured not to make public Blair’s “consultancy” deals with the Kuwaiti royal family and the South Korean oil giant UI Energy Corporation. He gets £2 million a year “advising” the American investment bank J P Morgan and undisclosed sums from financial services companies. He makes millions from speeches, including reportedly £200,000 for one speech in China.

In his unpaid but expenses-rich role as the West’s “peace envoy” in the Middle East, Blair is, in effect, a voice of Israel, which awarded him a $1 million “peace prize”. In other words, his wealth has grown rapidly since he launched, with George W. Bush, the bloodbath in Iraq.

His collaborators are numerous. The Cabinet in March 2003 knew a great deal about the conspiracy to attack Iraq. Jack Straw, later appointed “justice secretary”, suppressed the relevant Cabinet minutes in defiance of an order by the Information Commissioner to release them. Most of those now running for the Labour Party leadership supported Blair’s epic crime, rising as one to salute his final appearance in the Commons. As foreign secretary, David Miliband, sought to cover Britain’s complicity in torture, and promoted Iran as the next “threat”.

Journalists who once fawned on Blair as “mystical” and amplified his vainglorious bids now pretend they were his critics all along. As for the media’s gulling of the public, only the Observer’s David Rose, to his great credit, has apologised. The Wikileaks’ exposes, released with a moral objective of truth with justice, have been bracing for a public force-fed on complicit, lobby journalism. Verbose celebrity historians like Niall Ferguson, who rejoiced in Blair’s rejuvenation of “enlightened” imperialism, remain silent on the “moral truancy”, as Pankaj Mishra wrote, “of [those] paid to intelligently interpret the contemporary world”.

Is it wishful thinking that Blair will be collared? Just as the Cameron government understands the “threat” of a law that makes Britain a risky stopover for Israeli war criminals, a similar risk awaits Blair in a number of countries and jurisdictions, at least of being apprehended and questioned. He is now Britain’s Kissinger, who has long planned his travel outside the United States with the care of a fugitive.

Two recent events add weight to this. On 15 June, the International Criminal Court made the landmark decision of adding aggression to its list of war crimes to be prosecuted. This is defined as a “crime committed by a political or military leader which by its character, gravity and scale constituted a manifest violation of the [United Nations] Charter”. International lawyers described this as a “giant leap”. Britain is a signatory to the Rome statute that created the court and is bound by its decisions.

On 21 July, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, standing at the Commons despatch box, declared the invasion of Iraq illegal. For all the later “clarification” that he was speaking personally, he had made “a statement that the international court would be interested in”, said Philippe Sands, professor of international law at University College London.

Tony Blair came from Britain’s upper middle classes who, having rejoiced in his unctuous ascendancy, might now reflect on the principles of right and wrong they require of their own children. The suffering of the children of Iraq will remain a spectre haunting Britain while Blair remains free to profit.

John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most recent book is Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (2006). Read other articles by John, or visit John's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Ismail Zayid said on August 7th, 2010 at 11:22am #

    Tony Blair’s role in promoting the illegal war of aggression waged against Iraq has been confirmed again and again, as shown clearly in this article by John Pilger. Strangely, however, he continues to be rewarded for this infamous role.
    The lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction [WMD] and Iraq’s links to Al-Qaida have, as well, been exposed. But the after effects of this illegal war continue, in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and millions forced to flee from their homes.

    It is time that those who were primarly responsible for these crimes should be brought to justice.

  2. Gary S. Corseri said on August 7th, 2010 at 12:03pm #

    Thanks, John Pilger, for knocking the stuffing out of that scumbag, Blair. Like the Bushes, the Clintons, and so many other Anglo-American-Israeli politicoes, they have reaped personal profits from their murderous collusions with the financial and corporate war-mongering elitists who run the Global Empire. God speed in your efforts to take Blair and the other genocidists before the International Criminal Court. Can you join forces with Gilad Atzmon in Britain to rouse the consciences of decent Brits and Israelis? (You’ve got to start there. Making such progress in Amerika will be a thornier enterprise!)

  3. hayate said on August 7th, 2010 at 5:28pm #

    The blair is a war criminal andhe, and all the others in those war crimes (not just in Iraq) should be tried.

    Then executed.

  4. Michael Collins said on August 7th, 2010 at 8:47pm #

    This is a remarkable statement, elegant and immensely powerful. There is little doubt that Blair is guilty of premeditated deception in his support and participation in the Iraq invasion and occupation. As such, and just like George W. Bush, he’s guilty of the crime of murder. Vincent Bugliosi made this case from the standpoint of U.S. law beyond any doubt. Pilger’s piece is the opening argument for the case against Blair. Excellent stuff!!!

  5. John Andrews said on August 7th, 2010 at 11:50pm #

    Of course Blair should be prosecuted, together with Bush, his principle partner in crime. It almost goes without saying – but we all know they won’t be. But there is a much, much bigger picture.

    The main problem we ordinary mortals have is getting at the truth. As Martha Gelhorn said:
    “Never believe governments, not any of them, not a word they say. Keep an untrusting eye on all of them.”

    Take for example their Orwellian use of language. In this piece, JP quotes Blair as saying: “We do know of links between al-Qaida and Iraq”, and Buller saying: “There is no credible intelligence to suggest that connection”… suggesting these are incompatible statements. But of course they’re not. There is a world of difference between ‘credible intelligence’ and ‘links’ as Blair, a barrister by training, would know only too well.

    For me, one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that the ‘coallition of the willing’ knew in advance that there were no WMDs in Iraq occurred just after the invasion. One night there was a brief news report about the army team whose purpose it was to find these elusive weapons. It was no more than platoon strength – to scour a country more than three times the size of England! I don’t know about Bush and Blair, but if I was aware that my credibility hung on finding socking great missiles that could take out England in 45 minutes, and I really believed those missiles existed, I would ensure there were a few more pairs of eyes on the job.

    Then of course there are the considerable number of companions who should join Blair and Bush in the dock – from the war-mongering generals, to the individual pilots and missile operators who knew full well that they were killing defenceless civilians – never mind they were ‘only following orders’; from the ‘intelligence’…’experts’ who ‘sexed up’ reports, to the media owners and their editors who brainwashed the public into ‘supporting the troops’ bravely defending us in the ‘war on terror’.

  6. hayate said on August 8th, 2010 at 1:35am #

    Every person who died because of the Iraq war crimes, diedto further Jewish/ziofascist corporate interests.

    They prefer to spare Jewish lives in their machivelian buggery games, but when it comes down to it, the sods don’t really give a rat’s arse, as long as it aint rich Jews taking the plug up their wide bums unwillingly.

  7. mary said on August 10th, 2010 at 6:15am #

    The editors of Medialens have written this alert about the reports of Donald Macintyre of The Independent that were supportive of Blair.

    John Hilley has written subsequently to Macintyre thus:

    Latest Alert
    Posted by John Hilley on August 10, 2010, 11:29 am

    Excellent work, Eds.


    Dear Donald

    The latest Media Lens Alert response notes:

    “As British citizens, we, Macintyre included, all bear responsibility for Blair’s actions – our moral accountability is a very clear and obvious factor demanding that we hold Blair to account as far as we are able.”

    To restate the question posed by ML, I’d like you to show me precisely where you have, on any occasion, directly challenged Mr Blair or any other leading politician over their criminal responsibility for warmongering and human suffering, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine.

    Why, in particular, do you see it as your job to report Blair’s views? Isn’t it your job, as a supposedly ‘critical journalist’, to challenge Blair’s views?

    More specifically, shouldn’t you be questioning his very right to express those views from a position of high office rather than as a suspected war criminal?

    And why should that very elementary practice of critical journalistic questioning be regarded as wasteful “polemical argument”? Are we to assume that a “fast moving story” excuses or precludes such questioning? Or is the urgent transcribing of one of ‘our’ leaders’ views – at the instigation of your editor – more important than illuminating the reader on the role that leader and his state have played in the slow, static story of Palestinian suffering?

    Your lamenting of the West’s “woeful inaction” over Gaza rests on a similar set of template presumptions about its otherwise ‘benevolent’ spirit of “enterprise, freedom and democracy”, utterly failing to highlight the West’s financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel. In short, where is your journalistic examination of ‘our’ governments’ leading participation in that oppression?

    Avoiding polemical exchange over this ‘fast moving Alert’, could you, perhaps, take a little self-reflective time to examine these points in serious detail?


    John Hilley


    Well said John Pilger here and Gary Corseri’s comment.

  8. mary said on August 11th, 2010 at 1:49pm #

    Four demonstrators have just been acquitted. They have been protesting on a regular basis at the Ahava store in Covent Garden, London. Ahava make cosmetics with illegally obtained Dead Sea mud.

    Blair is involved with Ahava via his tie up with Arnault/LVMH.

    Another one of his many commercial and lucrative deals.

  9. mary said on August 12th, 2010 at 12:48am #

    ‘£30,000 bounty to anyone who manages to arrest Mr Blair’

    Taxpayers are facing a six-figure security bill to protect Tony Blair from angry protesters when he launches his autobiography next month.

    The former prime minister has announced that he will sign copies of the book, for which he is being paid a £4.6million advance, at a public event at Waterstone’s flagship store in central London.

    His decision comes despite warnings that the move will cause a massive security headache for police. Thousands of protesters are expected to stage an angry demonstration outside the store.

    Protesters against the Iraq war have promised a £30,000 bounty to anyone who manages to arrest Mr Blair, who has been accused of deceiving the public to take Britain to war in 2003.


    His partner in war crime, Gordon Brown, who is mentioned in the article as the author of a book that bombed, was on our screens yesterday exhorting us all to give generously to the DEC appeal for Pakistan. This is in sharp contrast to his inaction when the DEC appeal was launched for Gaza after Cast Lead, an appeal by the way that was never aired by the BBC on the direction of Mark Thompson, its Zionist supporting Director General.