Tuesday, May 29, 2012

#IRAQ: #Leveson Kissing The Hem Of War Criminal Tony Blair's Garment As Though One Million Iraqis Had Never Died!

A stranger to our shores watching Tony Blair at the Leveson Inquiry yesterday would have got the impression of a reasonable and decent man who had unaccountably been abused and mistreated by a — his word — ‘feral’ Press.

If I had not lived through the Blair years, and seen the way in which newspapers were manipulated and sometimes lied to by his formidable Press machine, I might have been persuaded by this suave and  confident performance.

Much as I admire Lord Justice Leveson and the sardonic Robert Jay, QC, who asks most of the questions, I am afraid that either as a result of ignorance or excessive indulgence, their interrogation of the former prime minister was terribly lame. He was not put on the spot over many issues where he certainly has a case to answer.

For example, he was not examined as to why he and his turbulent spin doctor Alastair Campbell — who has inexplicably been treated with the softest of kid gloves by this inquiry — aided and abetted the bid for the Daily Express by the pornographer Richard Desmond in 2000. At that time, the Express was a New Labour-supporting paper, and Mr Blair believed Mr Desmond’s assurances he’d keep it so.

No questions were put about why he had permitted Mr Campbell to oversee the crucial September 2002 dossier about Iraq, which convinced many people that Saddam Hussein constituted a danger to this country.

Equally, he was not required to justify his Press Secretary’s fraudulent second dossier — partly based unattributably on a long-out-of-date university doctoral thesis — published in February 2003.

He was not asked why, in an unprecedented move, he had allowed his spin doctor to give orders to senior civil servants, and was not made to explain why Mr Campbell had connived in the politicisation of the civil service by installing Labour placemen as departmental press officers answerable to him.

His evocation on leaving office of feral newspapers — among which he bizarrely included the distinctly non-feral Independent — was left largely unchallenged.

In fact, for six years, from his election in 1997 until the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mr Blair enjoyed the most favourable Press of any modern British political leader. ...read more