Rats Spotted Leaving Sinking ShipPosted January 18th, 2007 by quarsan
One of the public signs of Blair's decline is his lack of authority over his ministers. Gordon can now do whatever he wants and beat Blair to pronouncements on subjects far, far outside his brief.
The other ministers know which way the wind blows and are steadily distancing themselves from their past decisions and responsibilities. The Blairites are going into detox. They also need to deal with Tony's most poisonous legacy, Iraq. So they're coming over all contrite saying Labour has to admit it's errors. Note that it's 'Labour' and not I who was wrong, for all their mealy mouthed, weasel words they don't take any personal responsibility. But it is the first sign of the rats leaving the sinking ship; tough on sinking, tough on the causes of sinking. Expect these voices to get bolder and grow louder over the coming months.
Hilary Benn let us be clear about that truth. Look, the intelligence was wrong, the de-Ba'athification went too far, the disbanding of the army was wrong
Peter Hain The problem for us as a government ... was actually to maintain a working relationship with what was the most rightwing American administration, if not ever, then in living memory.
James Purnell I think the biggest mistake is that you always need to learn the importance of moral legitimacy and international support.
Yvette Cooper I think if different decisions had been taken early on, we might have seen a different course of events
And there's more. Writing an interesting piece on Europe Peter Mandelson says How, post Iraq, can we establish a more equal relationship with the US except by putting more effort into building common European positions, as we have done on Iran?
Interesting, even Mandy's saying Blair got too close to the US.
Blair's Speech - The Lads On The Ground RespondPosted January 17th, 2007 by quarsan
We discussed Blair's speech to military commanders and academics earlier, in detail but we noticed that soldiers have taken exception to his words, especially "On the part of the military, they need to accept that in a volunteer armed force, conflict and casualty may be part of what they are called upon to face."
I sit here typing this in tears of anger, frustration and despair.
Having never served, HOW FCUKING DARE YOU make a comment like that. The finest, brightest, strongest, bravest young men and women in this country signed on the dotted line in selfless service of their country and you BETRAYED them by sending them into unsound conflict without adequate support.
YOU have made the decision to send young soldiers into a HELL from which some have never returned.
And if you think I'm being unreasonable, consider for a second my friends and comrades who will never again see the light of day. Consider the parents who leave their brave young son's bedroom just as he left it in the false hope that he might one day come home to them. Consider the children who, whilst you were no doubt enjoying a family Christmas, wept and sobbed because daddy wasn't there to open his presents - Because you murdered him in your political pandering.
May your dreams be haunted for the rest of your days by the youth and laughter which you've so smugly poured away.
Blair. You fcuking cnut.
BAE Bosses Named and the FO Comes To The RescuePosted January 17th, 2007 by quarsan
The SFO are clearly very angry with Blair for dumping the Saudi/BAE inquiry and have started leaking, with a document naming the BAE bosses accused of corruption, this time in South Africa.
Meanwhile the Foreign Office have responded to yesterday's news that MI6 have refused to sign Blair's dodgy dossier justifying his personal blocking of the BAE/Saudi corruption inquiry:
Hardly a comprehensive denial.
Tony Blair's Corruption Is Getting Exposed - By MI6!Posted January 16th, 2007 by quarsan
I said yesterday that Tony's corruption chickens were coming home to roost, but I didn't think they're be coming this quick. Yesterday His spokesman refused to comment on the Tanzanian radar story or if he would be discussing 'good governance' with the institutionally corrupt Tanzanian government, whose President is due to meet Blair. I can imagine the conversation
Tanzanian President: How's the BAE corruption investigation going, you know the one you didn't personally block?
Tony: Lovely weather we're having for this time of year, don't you think?
Nobody is going to take us seriously on corruption again. That's another of Blair's little legacies.
But the Saudi/BAE Deal isn't dead yet
A group of 130 campaigning groups has asked Blair to reverse his decision to scrap a corruption inquiry into the Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Tony's response? The Attorney General set out the reasons for the decision on that and I have nothing further to add
Now the reason Lord Goldsmith gave was national security.
Today MI6 disagree and the newly Kinghted John Scarlett has refused to sign another dodgy dossier that Blair is hoping to present to an OECD enquiry into the matter, as Britain has signed treaties making bribery a criminal offence.
Goldsmith, and Blair have also tried to justify themselves by saying there was little evidence and it probably wouldn't have gone to court. The SFO disagree.
Blair - The Stench Of Corruption GrowsPosted January 15th, 2007 by quarsan
The chickens are coming home to roost for Tony, in particular a dodgy deal over an exorbitantly expensive military air traffic control centre for Tanzania - the proud owner of eight military planes that was described as a waste of money by everyone from Claire Short and Gordon Brown to the World Bank.
Yes, Gordon. This is why I think this story will run. Blair, backed by Hewitt and Hoon, pushed through this outrageous deal just after Gordon had wiped out Tanzania's debt and he and Claire were furious.
It's been long believed that corruption was at the heart of this deal, and the truth has come squirming out into the daylight as the middle man admits a 12 million quid bung and the police are hot on his trail.
Blair has blocked one investigation into BAE corruption, will he block another? One with his grubby fingerprints all over it?
Will Gordon let him?
Listening to Tony Blair's recent speech aboard HMS Albion in Plymouth in which he stated his desire for Britain to be involved in even more wars, you'd get the impression that he'd jump at the chance to send more British troops to Iraq, especially if asked to do so by his lord and master in Washington. However, it seems now that our war addicted Prime Minister was given such a request and, strangely, balked at the idea.
The Prime Minister was confronted with the request for extra help to supplement the thousands of American reinforcements on their way to Baghdad, during conversations with President Bush before Christmas.
But he turned down the plea for around 2,000 extra British troops - to add to the 7,200 already stationed around Basra - because it would conflict with the government's hopes of scaling down Britain's Iraq presence in the coming months.
In his speech Blair said that:
How does that square with his refusal to send the requested troops? Is this a tacit admission that our armed forces are in no state for an escalation of an already disastrous conflict, or has Blair decided that in the light of the huge opposition to this failed war, and in consideration of his all-important legacy that it's all too difficult and that doing the easy thing is also doing the right thing? Perhaps in an all too rare moment of lucidity Blair has realised that Bush's escalation plan goes beyond batshit crazy and is doomed to fail. Either way this is the best indication so far of a possible split between London and Washington. No doubt this welcome decision will be used as evidence of Britain's independence from the USA after the recent stinging criticisms of Blair's subservience to Bush. I'd be more inclined to believe that if I heard an unequivocal statement that Britain will not in any way be part of an attack on Iran. I can't help suspecting that Blair's bellicose speech was partly an attempt to smooth some ruffled feathers in Washington.
Interestingly, the same article in Scotland on Sunday had this little gem:
"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
There was another strategy proposed for ending the violence in Iraq. It was called the Iraq Study Group report and Bush ignored it.
Tony Blair, Man Of SteelPosted January 14th, 2007 by quarsan
So, the Labour party's in a deep financial hole after Tony's cunning plan to sell honours brought them to the edge of bankrupcy.
how does Tony solve the problem? Simple, hit Mittal for a 2 million quid loan.
Yes, Mittal, that Mittal. The one who bunged Labour 125 grand and, in return got a personal letter from Tony helping him to make mega millions on a Romanian steelyard and gave him a secret loan to buy a steelworks in Kazakhstan. Tony said it was all right because Mittal was a British firm... But it wasn't.
No wonder Labour are so soft on corruption. What a change from 1997 when Tony promised us that his administration would be whiter than white and doesn't history just keep on repeating itself:
Finally, Tony's To Get His GongPosted January 14th, 2007 by quarsan
After many years of waiting, Tony's off to collect his Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, aka the Good Doggie Award, in November 2007. It was actually awarded in July 2003, indeed he's already given him acceptance speech, but this is the clearest sign that:
1, He is going to resign before then, and
2, He's going to do a Beckham and relocate to the States, though it's less likely that he'll be falling into the clutches of the Scientologists.
He's also be out of the reach of international law. Result all round.
Tony's Defence - Nice of Blair to notice us at lastPosted January 13th, 2007 by Tom
From today's Independent
I hadn't read much of Blair's speech before this (my main reading yesterday was the Guardian in a pub - recuperation is such a nuisance sometimes), but it seems to be a humdinger deserving of much fisking for its vivid portrayal of a man let down by everyone - the army, the media, the British public. We've let ourselves down, we've let the school down and worst of all we've let Tony down and we should all stand in the corner wearing a big hat with a 'D' on it until the State Dunce Police come to pick us up. Strangely, the only people who haven't let him down are 'The Enemy', who have given him his life purpose back. That they're largely an imaginary friend of his own devising does nothing for anyone trying to argue that Blair is still sane.
In reality, of course, this is classic projection and another indication that the Prime Minister isn't mentally fit to lead the country any more.
With this in mind, I set out to search for a full transcript of the speech, rather than some journalist's juicy bits (an unpleasant image, I think). Oddly enough, the Number 10 website has it. Here goes:
First thing to note is that this is one of a series of lectures the Lord Protector is giving on the subject of 'Our Nation's Future'. Since about the only thing we know is that Tony Blair isn't going to be part of our nation's future if us or 78% of the electorate have anything to do with it, it's unclear what the utility of this is beyond Tony's pathetic attempts to go out leaving us 'wanting more'.
What stands out:
It's always new and different. I'd expect Tony to react to a change in the decoration of the Kellogg's Corn Flakes packet by annoucing solemnly that this momentous event requires a qualitatively new approach to breakfast. It's dangerous baloney when applied to real-world conflict as it absolves those in charge from any necessity to look to the past for any lessons, including those that they should have learnt from their own mistakes. To learn from one's mistakes first requires that you admit them, which as we've seen before is always a little difficult for Tony.
A dig at the French, I think, who after all are doing peacekeeping in south Lebanon these days but unaccountably declined to participate in the Iraq jaunt. Presumably Tony would have preferred them to join him and Dubya in backing the Israeli attacks on the Lebanese population. Blair is fond of dividing the world into easy-to-understand lumps, and conjuring up a defeatist/pacifist Francosphere is quite in character. The fact that the French were right on Iraq and have pointed this out repeatedly has made no impact on Blair whatsoever. So much for the alliance with Europe he talks about elsewhere (ranked after the alliance with the US, naturally).
Two things here - he neatly forgets the considerable involvement of Israel in the Suez crisis. The implied message (which runs throughout) is that the UK fails when it undertakes military action away from the US umbrella (and with those perfidious Frogs to boot), but should be actively involved when the US turns up. We're lost without America in other words - the presence of the USA sanctifies us. Still, pre-1997 history in a Blair speech is a novelty, thought typically he gets it arse-about-face and gets in another dig at the French.
While the demands on it have gone up dramatically, including running several wars in parallel. Has no one else spotted that he's effectively admitting having a failed defence policy?
Why's he buying the massively-expensive Astute class hunter-killer submarine then, that's 4 years late and a billion quid over budget, almost entirely on his watch. The only contribution each of these three (yes, we're only getting three of them at something over a billion quid each, although BAE SYSTEMS shareholders will be delighted to hear that Tony and the boys are ordering another one) can provide to the kind of operations Tony has in mind is to fire cruise missiles, the counter-insurgency weapon of choice for military morons. Dare I suggest that there are better delivery mechanisms than a 7800-ton nuclear submarine and better uses for the money?
Beyond irony. There's no qualification to say what distortions so exercise the PM, but it's possible he's referring to later on in his own speech, such as this bit:
Yes, he believes the Taliban were defeated by air power, rather than us teaming up with some really quite unpleasant warlords (with more than a passing resemblance to the Sierra Leonian 'gangsters' he refers to at another point) to help them win a pre-existing civil war. It often occurs to me that if you did an identity parade with the leaders of the Northern Alliance and the Taliban in it, the average Sun reader wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Beards, AK-47s, Korans, antique attitudes to women's rights - like any civil war (apart from ours, where we helpfully put on fancy dress) it's extremely hard to get a handle on it from outside.
What was unclear then but is very clear now is that what we were and are confronted with, is of a far more fundamental character than we supposed. September 11 wasn't the incredible action of an isolated group, a one-off strike masterminded by Osama Bin Laden.
Why the juxtaposition of Iraq and bin Laden? Why was it 'unclear' 18 months after 9/11 when we'd supposedly been concentrating on it (actually, we weren't, we were concentrating on invading Iraq, weren't we? Another Blair failure of priorities)? Why does he say three months instead of three weeks (17 March - 9th April 2003)?
Here he's started veering off the path of sanity big style. It's 'ludicrous', apparently, to suggest that the vast upsurge in terrorism in Iraq, the terrorism here by people quite openly pointing to Iraq as a factor indicates that there's somehow more terrorism around. He's also setting up a classic straw man by trying to suggest that the argument is that it was just the removal of Saddam that increased the threat of terrorism. It's not, of course, it's the military occupation and promotion of sectarian politics that came after Saddam. As for Afghanistan, unlike Saddam, the Taliban didn't go away, so by conflating the two he commits yet another sin against common sense.
Accelerating over the sanity horizon, he's now suggesting that when people question why UK soldiers are 'there', there are two reactions, an understandable one and by implication a non-understandable one. That the understandable one is an emotional reaction and the non-understandable one is a rational question is incredibly revealing. Blair likes his public emotional and passive (think Diana). Rational and pro-active citizens really don't float his boat. We like to think we're in the second category, so this is a pleasant conclusion to draw.
There follows a long segment arguing that the problem with war reporting is that there's too much of it, it's not controlled tightly enough and there's a bit too much 'reality' in it for his liking. In Tony's world we'd have less reality and more propaganda, which smartly contradicts what he said earlier about distorted or embellished truth. Frankly, if I watch a video of an IED attack on a US patrol, I think the exultant whoops of 'Allahu akbar' as the bomb goes off would give me a clue that the originators were of an Islamic jihadi persuasion, just as the Fox News logo in the corner of the screen would give me a clue that I was being fed the neocon line. Oops, I'm using that cool, rational component of my brain again, in direct contravention of Tony's desires.
Two more assertions without any backing. Failed states can't threaten us, they're failed states, for crying out loud. Terrorism doesn't destroy progress, it destroys lives, property and creates distress and hatred, but it's not going to stop Apple launching the iPhone or someone setting up a flower selling business. It can't threaten the integrity of the state.
Whenever Blair describes something as 'reality', assume the opposite is true. In this case the opposite is that Britain should keep its Armed Forces but use them rationally. Sounds pretty sensible to me. Blair is effectively admitting that in his 'reality' we shouldn't make rational decisions about the deployment of the Armed Forces. He's saying, before an audience of servicemen and women, 'Trust Me With Your Lives, I'm Mad'.
Blair wields supreme power on a minority vote and uses this power to suppress democratic protest and ancient freedoms. He then redefines 'security' to mean 'pre-emptive attacks to impose his way of thinking' and attempts to remove the word 'defence' from the military lexicon. He has no need of defence, only attack. Breathtaking.
Because people join up thinking it's a gadget filled opportunity for exciting foreign travel? This insults everyone in the Army, Royal Navy and RAF who know bloody well what a volunteer armed force is.
I'd settle for protecting our security, given the results of Blair trying to advance what he thinks are our interests and values. I'll use the old-fashioned definition of security, not Tony's redefinition, thanks. And I'll continue to call our alliance with the US neocons in Iraq a bloody mistake of epic proportions, too.
Oh, an attack on the UN now.
'You're wrong, I'm right'.
Only in your reality, Tony. The rest of us haven't the faintest idea what you're on about.
No you don't, you look forward to stating your beliefs and ignoring anyone with a professionally grounded opinion, as you usually do. I look forward to reading ARRSE and PPRUNE for some actual debate from the bits of the Armed Forces that matter.
Tony Blair - UK 'must continue to fight wars'Posted January 12th, 2007 by Davide Simonetti
Tony Blair has spent most of his time as Prime Minister at war. He now wants Britain to continue fighting wars after he's finally left office. I suppose that's what he'd consider to be a worthy legacy. Never mind that the British armed forces are over-stretched, under equipped and losing two wars simultaneously.
Now would be a good time for Gordon Brown to state clearly whether or not he wants to be locked into more of the same disastrous policies.
Iraq Strategy: More Yanks, Fewer BritsPosted January 11th, 2007 by quarsan
Such perfect timing - almost as if Blair is trying to distance himself from Bush. As George announces a surge of 22,000 Troops, Team Tony are quietly leaking that 4,000 Troops will be leaving in May, just in time for his triumphal departure from Downing St.
There are a couple of interesting things about Bush's plan - straight out of the AEI playbook. Firstly, it's the numbers; originally the leaks said he was planning 50,000 extra troops, then it went down to 30,000 and now hits the low at 20,000. Secondly, these troops seem to include a lot of 'specialists', mainly REMF types and not front line soldiers.
Bush still doesn't understand what is happening in Iraq, preferring the Fantasy version. In his speech to the nation we only have to wait for the third sentence to see how far removed he is from reality:
Not true, the Iraqis voted for a sectarian government, shia voted for shia, sunni for sunni and kurd for kurd. None of them wanted a unified government. The fifth sentence shows how delusional his planning is:
Most commentators were warning that the government would be highly divisive, indeed it took months to choose a Prime Minister - a sure sign of trouble ahead, a sign that was ignored.
The surge plan itself is frighteningly inept. Here's what he says about his big plan:
These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations - conducting patrols, setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.
Would you want a visit from the militia-riddled Iraqi forces acting as door-to-door trust salesmen? I think the prospect of the Iraqi forces closing down an area and going door-to-door to be one that is frightening for the majority of Baghdad residents.
How long is this operation going to last?
If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people....
... So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.
To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November.
So, if it all goes wrong, he's already got a plan to blame Iraq for messing up Iraq.
Now, here's a problem; The US and Iraqi forces have recently fought a day long battle in Haifa Street, Baghdad, claiming it to be a success.
Haifa Street, a sunni stronghold where 100 shia were kidnapped and hung from lamposts as revenge for Saddam's execution. Once again the Iraqi forces are doing the shia militias work for them. not a good sign for the forthcoming operations...
The Blair InheritancePosted January 8th, 2007 by quarsan
Interesting. Gordon has moving to distance himself from Tony and George. This is difficult for the chap who has made a point of supporting them both all the way. The real question is why is he doing this and doing it now?
If there was going to be a coronation then all Gordon has to do is keep his head down and be patient. It looks like he's trying to head off a stop Gordon candidate, certainly he's annoying Tony, having forced him to finally make a statement on Saddam's execution. to put this in perspective, it took Tony over a week to do this, even at gunpoint, whereas he walked out of a G8 meeting to deliver a tribute to Frank Sinatra within 30 mins of him kicking the bucket.
Will Gordon become the 'nearly man' of British politics? Is this what he is brooding over?
The Coming Middle East War - UpdatedPosted January 7th, 2007 by quarsan
The war in Iraq is just a sideshow. The larger conflict is a regional one and people are taking sides. On one side you have Israel, the US, UK, the GCC and Saudi Arabia; On the other is Iran, Stria and Shia movements in Iraq and Lebanon.
These are not monolithic blocks and there are tensions between different factions within nations - and the semi-nations of Iraq and Lebanon.
The crunch will come soon, probably in the next few months and Tony Blair will be involved - maybe to the extent of not leaving office for a while yet. The crunch is Iran.
The battle is the same one started by the Bush/Blair axis. The Iraq invasion wasn't about WMD, it wasn't about oil, it was about who controls the region and it's resources. Indeed laws are about to be enacted that will hand over control of Iraq's oilfields to Western companies for wholescale exploitation, initially taking 70% of revenue out of the country... So much for the plan to reconstruct Iraq with oil revenues.
Dick Cheney and the neo-cons still hold sway and it is no coincidence that the reincarnation of PNAC, the deeply batshit American Enterprise Institute is advocating the 'surge' of troops in Iraq - Choosing Victory a plan for success in Iraq - are the same ones arguing for a military strike on Iran and the Israelis are thinking of a tactical nuclear strike, no doubt hoping that the radiation isn't going to blow too westerly...
Tony's been silent on Saddam until Bush gives him the go-ahead and he's been silent on the response to the Iraq Study Group - a report Bush privately refers to as 'a flaming turd' left on his doorstep and he's been helping out on the Iran line. The reason there is so much animosity to the report is simple; it advocates a regional solution, bringing in neighbouring countries for dialogue. The White House don't want that. They want the US to decide (Hey I'm the decider!) and run the region.
As the timeline for an assault on Iran - air strikes only this time is in the next six months, could there be something else for Tony? Could he use this as an excuse to stay in power? Will Gordon want the job if it all goes wrong, as everyone who is not a neo-con is predicting?
Does Tony think that he has to play double or quits with the Middle East to achieve his messianic dreams of being the deliver of peace to all nations? Is he insane enough to try to go along with the neo-con war plan?
Yes he is, the question to ask is this; 'Are there enough voices of sanity in the Labour party and military to stop him?' Maybe.
Many thanks to the excellent comments in this thread. I would like to add that the coming war is about a lot more than oil; the Saudi's want Wahabiism to be the dominant form of Islam and to protect their powerbase, something the Shia and fundamentalists challenge, Israel wants security and can live with the Saudi's, who don't threaten them. The Kurds want their own country and have good relations with Israel and the West.
Secondly, I have it on good authority that the UK military will not agree to an attack. All three branches of the US military oppose it also. However, if one goes ahead there will be serious consequences and the real risk of turning the Iraq quagmire into a regional war. Blair will forever be associated with this and, in statements on Iraq is supporting the Cheney/neo-con agenda.
John Reid: New Labour project must continue after BlairPosted January 4th, 2007 by Davide Simonetti
John Reid seems to be preparing to enter the Labour Party leadership fray which is likely to commence once Tony Blair finally quits. He wants to make sure that the "New Labour project" continues after Blair. How depressing! It's not as if the New Labour project has been a stunning success is it? So what is it exactly that he wants to continue? More corruption, sleaze, unwinnable wars, more loss of privacy and civil liberties, more pandering to a failed American neo con agenda?
Reid's statements could be crudely summed up as 'same shit, different arsehole', whether it's him who wins the leadership contest or the current favorite Gordon Brown. I sincerely hope that Reid's speech is met with hollow laughter and the derision it deserves.
Spot The Difference - UpdatedPosted January 3rd, 2007 by quarsan
Two quotes from Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie:
Dec 31st: “He was respected throughout before and after the execution. We followed rigorously international and Islamic standards.”
Today: The video was Deplorable
Notice how people are criticising the film, not what was being filmed. Even John Prescott didn't specifically call the execution 'deplorable', just the filming.
Neither has Bush or Blair condemned the lynch mob atmosphere or the sectarian taunts.
I've just seen al-Rubaie being interviewed on CNN where he claimed that:
He didn't see anyone with mobile phones because he was busy supervising the execution
He did see people with mobile phones but he couldn't ask for the phones to be confiscated because he didn't know who was in charge of the execution