Another War Criminal comes to town, promoting religious tolerance?
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will address the Econ Club audience tonight in downtown Grand Rapids, where he is expected to talk about current events in the Middle East and religious tolerance.
At least this is what the Executive Director of the Econ Club, Lorna Schultz, stated on Mlive. “He definitely has a lot to say that can help all of us learn about what is happening outside of the United States and how it affects us here.”
Schultz also believes that since Tony Blair’s new Foundation, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, teaches religious tolerance, it will, “dovetails nicely with area leaders “Year of Interfaith Understanding.”
However, for anyone who refuses to ignore history it is hard to forget what Tony Blair did in conjunction with the Bush administration to promote a military invasion of Iraq.
The Iraq war, which started in 2003, has caused the deaths of between 100,000 and one million people, depending on whose estimate you believe. Two men were ultimately responsible for the decision to start it: George W Bush and Tony Blair.
Bush and Blair claim that they were provoked into starting the war by the imminent threat Iraq presented to world peace. They further maintain that the war was legal. A series of leaked documents shows not only that these contentions are untrue, but that Bush and Blair knew they were untrue.
The Downing Street memo, a record of a meeting in July 2002, reveals that Sir Richard Dearlove, director of the UK’s foreign intelligence service MI6, told Blair that in Washington “Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
The foreign secretary (Jack Straw) then told Mr Blair that “the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.” He suggested that “we should work up a plan” to produce “legal justification for the use of force.” The Attorney-General told the prime minister that there were only “three possible legal bases” for launching a war: “self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC [Security Council] authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case.” Bush and Blair failed to obtain Security Council authorisation.
In other words the memo reveals that Blair knew that the decision to attack Iraq had already been made; that it preceded the justification, which was being retrofitted to an act of aggression; that the only legal reasons for an attack didn’t apply, and that the war couldn’t be launched without UN authorisation.
The legal status of Bush’s decision had already been explained to Mr Blair. In March 2002, as another leaked memo shows, Jack Straw had reminded him of the conditions required to launch a legal war: “i) There must be an armed attack upon a State or such an attack must be imminent; ii) The use of force must be necessary and other means to reverse/avert the attack must be unavailable; iii) The acts in self-defence must be proportionate and strictly confined to the object of stopping the attack.”
Straw explained that the development or possession of weapons of mass destruction “does not in itself amount to an armed attack; what would be needed would be clear evidence of an imminent attack.”
A third memo, from the Cabinet Office, explained that, “there is no greater threat now than in recent years that Saddam will use WMD … A legal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to Law Officers’ advice, none currently exists.”
Anti-war activist David Swanson created an entire project based on the lies of the Blair government known as After Downing Street – Now called http://warisacrime.org/. Swanson and his team of contributors continues to provide new information on the war crimes in Iraq committed by the Bush and Blair regimes, with the most recent dealing with the British trial of Media owner Rupert Murdoch, which ironically is connected to the role that Murdoch’s media outlets played in justifying the US/UK invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Graffiti is a crime, bombing people is not
Blair is only the most recent war criminal to come to Grand Rapids. In the past the Econ Club has invited George W. Bush, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and Margaret Thatcher.
There have been protests against many of these former Econ Club annual dinner speakers, but never any investigation by the local “law enforcement” agencies into their war crimes.
Within the past 18 months there has been an intense campaign to arrest people involved in graffiti and brick throwing in Grand Rapids. The GRPD claims they now have the suspects under custody and anticipate they will spend time in jail for “property destruction.”
Tony Blair lied to the British people and they provided military support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which led to the deaths of more than 1 million Iraq civilians and he will get a police escort to the Convention Center tonight. It is a strange world indeed.