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IRAQ INQUIRY: War Protesters Accuse Blair Of ‘Sneaking’ In (Videos)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 21, 2011


Ruth Barnett and Sky News reporter Mark Stone 

Protesters have said they are angry Tony Blair “sneaked” into the Iraq inquiry venue ahead of his second session of evidence.

Protester wears a Tony Blair mask at the Iraq inquiry

A protester wears a Tony Blair mask outside the QEII centre in London

Watch the inquiry live on Sky News

Mr Blair arrived two hours before his hearing was set to begin, pausing briefly to allow photographers to take his picture.

In contrast to his previous evidence session, he was not greeted by hundreds of protesters as he got there before most had assembled.

Andrew Murray, chairman of the Stop The War Coalition, said the former prime minister had “sneaked in under cover of darkness”.

He called on the panel to challenge Mr Blair to “tell the truth” about the legality of the war.

Another protester, Chris Nineham, told Sky News there remained “scepticism” about the hearings.

“There have been four of these inquiries and the truth hasn’t come out,” he said.

Mr Blair has been recalled to explain possible gaps and inconsistencies almost a year on from his last session before Sir John Chilcot and his panel.

Tony Blair arrives for second Iraq inquiry hearing

Tony Blair arrived early, while it was still partially dark

Since then, the inquiry has heard from scores more witnesses and it is thought that some provided evidence which contradicted that given by Mr Blair.

Sir John Chilcot and his team have now also seen documents to which they did not have access a year ago.

Some of these documents have been declassified and placed on public record.

Others, including Mr Blair’s private notes to former US president George W Bush, have not.

Against the wishes of the inquiry, the Cabinet Office has refused to declassify a number of memos written by Mr Blair to Mr Bush in the months prior to the invasion.

The panel has seen the memos and claims they provide “important and often unique insights into Mr Blair’s thinking and the commitments he made to President Bush, not reflected in other papers”.

Key Questions For Tony Blair

    :: Why did he appear to ignore legal advice from his Attorney General? 

    :: What did he say to President Bush in private memos?

    :: Did he over-egg incomplete intelligence?

    :: Did he deliberately misinterpret Jacques Chirac to blame France for the failure of a second UN resolution?

Tony Blair

 

But because the memos have not been declassified, they are unable to refer to their contents in public.

Among the declassified documents that could be referred to today is a note written by the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith to Mr Blair two months before the invasion.

In the memo marked “secret”, Lord Goldsmith states: “I remain of the view that the correct legal interpretation of resolution 1441 is that it does not authorise the use of military force without a further determination by the security council.”

In the margin, next to this statement, are the words “I just don’t understand this”, in Mr Blair’s handwriting.

In the past week alone, new testimony concerning the legal basis of the war has emerged.

In a new witness statement to the inquiry from Lord Goldsmith, there is a suggestion that Mr Blair had ignored, even contradicted, legal advice that he had been given.

Lord Goldsmith is asked whether the former prime minister’s words, in a speech to Parliament and a separate TV interview, were compatible with the advice he had given Mr Blair.

 

Former French President Jaques Chirac

Mr Blair is accused of deliberately misinterpreting comments by Jacques Chirac

He replied “no”, adding that he had found Mr Blair’s language “uncomfortable”.

Also this week another witness, Sir Stephen Wall, who advised Mr Blair on European issues, claimed that Mr Blair deliberately misinterpreted the words of former French president Jacques Chirac.

According to Sir Stephen, Mr Blair knew that what he was claiming Mr Chirac had said was not an accurate translation of what he had actually said.

Mr Blair, it was claimed, told his director of communicationsAlastair Campbell to brief the tabloid newspapers with this incorrect interpretation in order to blame the French for the failure of securing a second UN resolution.

Another development since Mr Blair’s last appearance comes in the form of his autobiography, A Journey, which was published last September.

In it, Mr Blair talks of his “anger and anguish” at being asked during his last appearance whether he had any regrets. He admits that his answer to the question was “incomplete”.

He writes: “The anger was at being put in a position in an inquiry that was supposed to be about lessons learned, but had inevitably turned into a trial of judgement…”

@news.sky.com

Last year inquiry clip:

This year clip:

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One Response to “IRAQ INQUIRY: War Protesters Accuse Blair Of ‘Sneaking’ In (Videos)”

  1. Annual NOTABLE awards for Blair and Bush ( 2005) – Afghan/ Iraq Review – Carter speaks.

    In 2003, the “NOTABLE” AWARD was presented to Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom. This year the NOTABLE COMMITTEE having reviewed our short-list for mendacity, again recognises Blair’s sterling contribution. President Bush remained a contender, but the committee determined that Bush does not have either the brains or the capacity for articulate deception.

    Bush, however, has this year been recognised as the President most worthy of the H.L. Mencken prize. In light of Mencken’s words, the committee commends President Bush for his undeniable suitability for the award, and congratulates Blair on his victory.

    CITATION TO PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR
    16th December 2003
    Prime Minister Anthony Blair
    10 Downing Street
    London SW1 A 2AA
    England

    Dear Prime Minister Blair,

    It is a distinct pleasure to inform you that the ‘NOTABLE COMMITTEE for liar of the year’ has by unanimous decision declared you ‘ NOTABLE liar of the year for 2003’. Normally, the committee makes its decision in January of the New Year. On this occasion, your mendacity so impressed us that for the first time in the committee’s history exemption was made in acknowledgement of your achievements.

    There can be no doubt that in your capacity as Prime Minister, you lied brilliantly in suppor t of the war in Iraq. No less a person than Saddam Hussein, is reputed to have said of one of your falsehoods, that you had just uttered, “The mother of all lies”. We crave your indulgence while we recall some of your finer moments.

    We noted the unflinching servility with which you dedicated yourself to lying for President Bush as his poodle, in advancing the case for war against Iraq. The claim that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) was a high point. It showed exceptional commitment to fabrication when months after Saddam’s statue was toppled in Baghdad, and it was clear no WMDs existed, you resolutely lied on.

    One cannot forget, when you were caught out on the fib about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger how you held fast to the lie. It showed strength of character when you shared the fib with your friend George Bush, and led him to repeat the lie in the State of the Union address. It did not go unnoticed that the CIA had dropped the Niger assertion, but you ducked in to another lie, embraced the original lie, and reasserted that the information shared with the CIA had been based on separate intelligence. That was clearly no simple cock-and-bull story, but a really imaginative and monstrous lie that greatly impressed the committee.

    It was astoundingly brilliant when you faked the ’45 minutes’ Iraqi capacity for deployment of WMDs. Hans Blix’s exposure of that lie, in his diplomatic turn of phrase as you having made a “fundamental mistake” never detracted you from further barefaced lying. Your performance in the House of Commons, and your twisted-tongue statements have all helped to get you to the top. The use of the dodgy dossier before the Security Council has to be a source of much pride for you.

    We recalled President Clinton’s famous words, which had nearly earned him the prize, when he said, “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky”. The committee realised then that Monica had blown it, but Bill ended up blowing it too when he relented and said that he had made a mistake. By contrast Tony, under pressure you resolutely lied on, and that commanded our admiration and has made you, ‘El numero uno fibber and fabricator’.

    It is a distinct privilege to acknowledge that you are not an ordinary liar, but a liar of the first magnitude. Tony Blair, on behalf of the committee, I bestow upon you the honour ‘NOTABLE LIAR FOR THE YEAR 2003’.

    Congratulations.
    Sincerely,
    x
    ___________
    NOTABLE
    P.S. We again bestow the honour in 2005 on Tony Blair, with nothing further to say as the war speaks for itself

    NOTABLE’S book is entitled “ Learn the Law: a retarded text for advanced readers”, and can be purchased online at http://www.trafford.com/robots/03-1143.html – or – http://www.globaljusticeonline.com – or -amazon.com

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