The Blair Witch Project
On Western Censorship and War Crimes
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While preparing this article, I almost missed a small writing (always look at the fine print!) at the top left side of the screen: “One Minute Delay.” It was an unclear white on grey writing, which reinforced my impression that the BBC political officers would be more than happy if I had completely missed the detail. Below the writing, a sweaty Tony Blair was obviously uncomfortable answering a second round of questions the British Iraq War Inquiry had for him. The head of the committee - Sir John Chilcot – had said in October 2010 that the committee needed further details due to "gaps in the evidence" of Tony Blair and others. In parallel, British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith revealed he was "uncomfortable" with comments made by Mr Blair in the run-up to the war about the need for further UN authorisation of military action. But before touching the problematic actions of Tony Blair as British Prime Minister, I must refer to the worrying small letters.
The “One Minute Delay” wasn’t a technical constraint. After all you can see live concerts or games even on the BBC. The delay meant the event was being closely monitored and somebody had his fingers on a switch. If something unpleasant was to be said or inferred – for example that the UK had purposely committed war crimes in Iraq – the event would have been cut. Probably we would have seen a suddenly live transition to the studio where an analyst would have begin to analyze and disguise the censoring event.
During this event, Chinese president Hu Jintao was visiting the US. He was criticized upon human rights violations. The CNN commented on the blackening of its broadcasts in China whenever human rights were mentioned. I have seen that when in that country; moreover, in internet kiosks accessible to Chinese citizens the access to CNN and BBC is often blocked. During his recent visit, President Hu Jintao addressed this issue so delicately that Americans missed the point: Western countries also apply censorship on issues close to the oligarchies running them. Western war crimes all around the world are a non-issue in the west, for example. The “One Minute Delay” sign on the BBC screen was a powerful reminder of that.
Tony Blair Admits Crimes
There is no doubt the attack on Iraq was unjustified. The UN didn’t sanction the violent event. Instead of giving a lengthy analysis I just will quote Mr Blair himself during his recent testimony: the “nature of (Iraqi) regime alone didn’t justify intervention.” In other words, the attack was illegitimate.
Moreover, the information used to convince the British – and Western – public that the attack was legitimate had been cooked by Tony Blair’s government. “Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation” (download the Dodgy Dossier) was a briefing document issued on February 3, 2003, by Alastair Campbell, Blair's Director of Communications and Strategy. Together with the earlier September Dossier, it was used by the British government to justify its involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It contained whole sections of a different document which were repeated verbatim including typographical errors, while certain amendments were made to strengthen the tone of the alleged findings (e.g. "monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq" became "spying on foreign embassies in Iraq", and "aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes" became "supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes"). The document had been praised by Tony Blair and Colin Powell. The claims contained in these dossiers were questioned when weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq; subsequently they were analyzed by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry. The committee reported the sources should have been credited, and that the dossier should have been checked by ministers before being released. The committee also stated that the publication was "almost wholly counter-productive" and in the event only served to undermine the credibility of the government's case.
This wasn’t an innocent error by the Blair government. David Christopher Kelly was a British scientist and expert on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. In July 2003 he had an unauthorized discussion with a BBC journalist, Andrew Gilligan, about the British government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Apparently, the British government was well aware there were no such weapons in Iraq. Following the interview, he was invited to appear on July 15, 2003, before the parliamentary foreign affairs select committee, which was investigating the WMD lies. Kelly was questioned aggressively about his actions. Luckily for the British government, he was found dead two days later. Despite the official report on his suicide, his death looks like a carefully stage assassination aimed to save the British government face. Had James Bond acted here? MI5 knows. Curiously, this wasn’t the first lucky death in Blair’s history. In 1994, his predecessor as leader of the British Labour party died at the age of 56 from an unexpected heart attack. Lucky Blair.
There is plenty of evidence the attack on Iraq was decided independently of any events in that country; pretty much as Afghanistan had been attacked on 2001. How are such events correctly defined?
Crimes against humanity are defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum as "particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or depending on the circumstances, war crimes, but may fall short of falling into the category of crimes under discussion."
At least tens – and probably hundreds - of thousands of civilian victims in Iraq and Afghanistan give a solid testimony of “of a government policy or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government.” In the case of Iraq it has been admitted even by the perpetrating government that the evidence was false. In the case of Afghanistan nobody even bothered to make a formal linkage between the alleged events.
Contrary to what Western leaders seem to assume, Western countries do not own a monopoly on international justice. In the same way the international community investigated the crimes committed in Rwanda and Yugoslavia (through the International Court of Justice) it must address crimes committed by Western countries in other territories. Nobody can accept one international law for former Nazis or members of Imperial Japan, and other one for Americans, British and Zionist criminals. It time for you – Your Honourable Highness Tony Blair – to face justice for your crimes.
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