"Perle's depiction of his delight at first meeting the future president reads like Fagin relating his initial encounter with the young Oliver Twist... (p. 42)On 12 September 2004, Buchanan said this on CNN's 'Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.'
Who would benefit from these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America-save oil… Who would benefit from a 'war of civilizations' with Islam? Who other than these neoconservatives and Ariel Sharon? Indeed, Sharon was everywhere the echo of his American auxiliary… (p. 52)
Israel is in an existential crisis. It can wall itself off and annex what it wants on the West Bank, and leave Palestinians in tiny truncated, nonviable bantustans that will become the spawning pools of terror. Or it can give the Palestinians what Oslo, Camp David, Taba and the 'roadmap' promised; a homeland, a nation and a state of their own. Israel is free to choose. But American needs a Middle East policy made in the USA, not in Tel Aviv, or at AIPAC or AEI... (p. 241)
America has given up its role as 'honest broker.' President Bush no longer sits at the head of the negotiating table, but directly behind Sharon... (p.242)
Dissent to the neocon line on Iraq or Israel has come to be equated with treason." (p. 248)
"My views with regard to the security of this country? I disagree with Sharon's agenda. I think we have outsourced Middle East policy to Ariel Sharon. I think that's a disaster for this country. It's damaging our relations over the world.On 16 September 2004, the BBC website reported thus:
And we cannot allow ourselves to be silenced because people call us names. My objection to the neoconservatives is not their ethnicity, Wolf. It is their war-mongering."
"A British man has been shot dead in the Saudi capital Riyadh, raising fears of a new wave of militant attacks. Edmund Muirhead-Smith, 56, who worked for communications firm Marconi, was killed in a car park at a shopping centre in an eastern suburb.On 28 September 2004, at the New Labour Party Conference, Tony Blair said this:
Witnesses said two gunmen in a Toyota car fired four bullets at him as he walked towards his car. A spokesman for the company said Mr Muirhead-Smith was apparently targeted because he was a foreigner. Mr Muirhead-Smith's brother-in-law Terry said the family were ‘devastated and in total shock’ at the news.
Security sources told Reuters news agency that Wednesday's shooting was linked to a wave of anti-Western attacks in Saudi Arabia by supporters of al-Qaeda…
British ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles condemned the killing. ‘His murder will only make the British government more determined to stand with the Saudi government and people in the struggle against senseless terror of this kind,’ he said…
In May, two Britons were among six people shot dead by militants in an oil contractor's office in Yanbu, north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah. Another died in an attack on a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar later in the month".
"The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong. I acknowledge that and accept it. I simply point out, such evidence was agreed by the whole international community, not least because Saddam had used such weapons against his own people and neighbouring countries.The world did not turn out to be a 'better place' for all of those who have been killed and injured in Iraq since the invasion, or for those who have died as a result of Muslim reprisals in the wider world. Nor did it turn out to be 'better place' for those who loved them.
And the problem is, I can apologise for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologise for removing Saddam.
The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power.
I can apologise for the information being wrong but I can never apologise, sincerely at least, for removing Saddam. The world is a better place with Saddam in prison."
Nor has it turned out to be a 'better place' for all of those who have lost their homes, their jobs, their security and their peace of mind.
I reckon that apart from the Neocons and the 60 percent of the Israeli electorate who voted for Ariel Sharon, only the most corrupt and/or dim-witted New Labour apparachik and a sizeable fraction of America's God Squad would agree with Tony B Liar on this one.
At the New Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting, held at the 2004 Conference, Blair said:
"I am a friend of Israel both in good times and bad times".On 27 September 2004, 46-year-old former Royal Marine, Alan Wimpenny, was killed near Sammara whilst working as a Security consultant when he was killed by an improvised anti-tank mine near Tikrit.
Disgracefully, ArmorGroup, for whom he was working as a security consultant, did not at first acknowledge that he was working for them.
On 28 September 2004, 25-year-old Gunner David 'Loz' Lawrence and 27-year-old Corporal Marc Taylor were killed in an ambush on the outskirts of Basrah.
On 29 September 2004, 31-year-old Iain Hunter, as Security Contractor with Armor-Group was killed in a road accident in Tikrit.
On 29 September 2004, Tony Blair said this on Radio 4's Today progamme:
"The view we took at the time, and we take it now, is that the war was justified legally because he (Saddam) remained in breach of UN resolutions."On 14 October 2004, the US began a massive air assault upon Falujah, prior to an intended attack upon the Iraqi city with ground troops.
Two days after the attack began, the US asked Tony Blair to help them out and, almost immediately, the Ministry of Defence announced that 850 Black Watch soldiers would be re-deployed to Baghdad, in order to free up US troops for the forthcoming ground assault upon Fallujah.
On 16 October 2004, 62-year-old Liverpudlian, Ken Bigley, was kidnapped in Iraq by the hardline Tawhid and Jihad group, which is led by Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi. Along with Ken, Americans Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong were taken from the home they shared in the Mansour district.
On 18 September the kidnappers released their first video of the three hostages. On the 19th Eugene Armstrong was beheaded. The execution was videotaped and broadcast throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
Two days later, on 22 September 2004, the first of Ken's video appeals was released.
"I am Ken Bigley from Liverpool in the Walton district. I am here in Iraq, and I think this is possibly my last chance to speak to someone who will listen from Europe. I need you to be as compassionate as you have always said you are and help me, help me to live so I can see my wife and my son and my mother and my brothers again.
I don't want to die. I don't deserve it. And neither do those women held in the Iraqi prisons. Please, please release the female prisoners who are held in Iraqi prisons. Please help them. I need you to help, Mr Blair. You are now the only person on God's earth that I can speak to… Please help me.
I also now realise how much the Iraqi people have suffered. The Iraqis have suffered, the Iraqi children who haven't got their mothers. It's not fair. A child wants his mother. It's of no use keeping a mother in prison, no use whatsoever, ever. Let the mothers go back to their children. Give these people a chance. Please, I beg you…
Mr Blair, I am nothing to you. It's just one person in the whole of the United Kingdom - that's all - with a family like you've got a family, with children, like your children, your boys, your wife. Please, you can help. I know you can. These people are not asking for the world. They're asking for their wives and the mothers of their children.
Please, Mr Blair, please show some of the compassion you say you have. Please, I don't know what I can say. Please, I wish you could talk back to me. I wish you could tell me what I've got to do. I'm nothing, am only a small man. I'm nothing. I have no political gains. I have no ambitions of grandeur. I made the mistake in coming here… I just didn't have real fear, not like I have today. Please, please, help me Mr Blair. You know you can. You know you can…
I need to live… these people here need to see their mothers and their wives back in their homes. They do.
I've been here a week, and they've taken good care of me… So, please, anybody, anybody in England, anybody at all that can talk to you Mr Blair and convince Mr Blair to help me and help the Iraqi people.
This is not only helping me. This is helping the Iraqi people who need help. They don't need bully boys. They need help.They need care. And they need compassion - the things you say you are, Mr Blair…
You look at yourselves, and think of your wife or think of your husband not being home - not because they committed a crime but because they just get arrested and are guilty by association, just thrown inside a jail. And the families want these people home like you would want your family, your mothers, your wives, your husbands home.
Please, please, lobby Mr Blair. Please lobby all of the political parties that you are involved with, and ask them to stop and have a look at the Iraqis' plight. Iraq is suffering, and has been suffering too long. And it needs its country, like you. Would you like the Germans or any other country walking down the street with a gun, in England, in Scotland? I don't think so. And the Iraqis don't like foreign troops on their soil, walking down the street with guns. It's not right. And it's not fair. We need to pull the troops out and let the Iraqis run their own country, their own destiny…
They need to be left alone to rebuild their country and their own futures at the speed they want to do it and not be pushed and shoved. People of Britain and people of Liverpool particularly, you are very special people, you are people who can open your mouths and speak and say, 'Enough is enough. Enough is enough of playing with Iraq like a toy. Pack your bags and get out.' And let's hope we can come back and visit the country as a guest, as a guest of the Iraqis…
Please, please look at Iraq and help. Me, yes, I want to live. Yes, I want to live. But please look and help Iraq, Iraqi women and children, women and children.
I've been in Iraq some months now. Believe me, they have nothing. They have nothing, only their pride. They're kind people… please, please open your mouths and be listened to and speak up for the freedom of Iraq, please."
"We will continue to do whatever we can. If you will forgive me, I don't think there is much more I can or should say at the moment."On 29 September 2004, the second of Ken's video appeals was released. He was in a cage, bound in chains and was visibly upset and crying.
"I want to inform my British citizens that there's no progress, there's no negotiations to save my life. And there's no negotiation to save the humiliation of the Iraqi prisoners, female prisoners in the Iraqi prisons.Tony Blair said:
Tony Blair is lying. He's lying when he says that he's negotiating. He's not negotiating. My life is cheap. He doesn't care about me. Please, please help me and the Iraqi mothers. Mr Blair says he won't negotiate with terrorists.
The French have negotiated with these people to release hostages. I am begging you, I am begging you to speak and push Blair, push Blair to help me.
And my mother, my mother is in hospital. They tell me my mother is sick in hospital. You helped her, you want to help her. Have the same compassion for the female Iraqi prisoners. All these people want is the Iraqi prisoners free. They don't want to kill me. They could have killed me a week, two, three weeks ago, whenever. All they want is their sisters out of prison and back with their families where they belong.
And Tony Blair, I am begging you for my life. I am begging you for my life. Have some compassion, please."
"If you take a situation here in this country, if a hostage is taken and the police turn up, they will talk to the people who are holding the hostage. They are not going to give in to the hostage takers' demands, that's a different matter all together, that would be completely wrong."On 16 September 2004, Ken was executed. He had managed to escape for a short time prior to his death and was beheaded almost immediately after his recapture. A video released by the kidnappers showed Ken on his knees with six hooded, armed men standing behind him. One of the six said they group would carry out 'the sentence of execution against this hostage because the British government did not meet our demands to release Iraqi women' detained by the US in Iraq.
He then took a knife from his belt and cut off Ken's head as three others held him down. Tony Blair said:
"I feel a strong sense, as I hope others do, that the actions of these people, whether in Iraq or elsewhere, should not prevail over people like Ken Bigley, who only wanted to make Iraq and the world a better place."Like you, then, Tony. You 'wanted to make Iraq and the world a better place.' Didn't work, though, did it? I mean hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died horribly, haven't they? And they would still be here if you hadn't 'wanted to make Iraq and the world a better place,' wouldn't they?
Hey, Tony, you know when you went on national TV after Ken's death and slyly associated yourself with him by saying that he, just like you 'wanted to make Iraq and the world a better place,' well, if it had been up to me I would have had you associating yourself with him before his death. If you had empathised then, he would, probably, still be here.
I wonder, if it had been you in the orange jump-suit with your hands tied behind your back, would strings have been pulled? Would female prisoners would have been released? Would the Americans have called a halt to the slaughter for a while?
Interesting image that. Tony Blair all trussed-up in an orange jump-suit with a great, big knife at his throat. Things would turn out differently if those who made the decisions had to suffer the consequences. You can be sure of that.
On 17 October 2004, The Observer reported thus:
"Economist Irwin Stelzer is Rupert Murdoch's right-hand man. But does he really deliver orders from the media magnate to the Prime Minister and Gordon Brown?…
Few passers-by would have noticed the lone figure slipping discreetly through the front door of Number 10…
According to media reports at the time, the visitor was delivering a message from his master. And for Tony Blair it turned out to be a Corleone-style horse's head in the bed.
The visitor was Dr Irwin Stelzer, the American economist widely defined as Rupert Murdoch's emissary, secret agent and representative on earth. To some this makes him a devil incarnate…
But there are two men who do regularly sup with the patrician New Yorker: Blair and Gordon Brown, the Chancellor. It is therefore unsurprising that, in the eyes of liberal conspiracy theorists, when Murdoch says jump and the Prime Minister jumps, it is Stelzer wielding the cattle prod.
Last spring was seen as a brutal example of who really runs Britain. Stelzer visited Blair in Downing Street. Soon after, the Prime Minister made the biggest U-turn of his career by announcing a referendum on the European Union constitution, a matter on which he had originally said he would not budge. Political commentators were in no doubt: Stelzer had threatened Blair with an ultimatum that, unless he let the people decide, the Eurosceptic Murdoch would order the Sun and the Times to withdraw their support and back the Tories at next year's general election…
He summarises the bemusement he felt when the Stelzer conspiracy broke: 'I never felt so powerful in my entire life as when I read the paper. Just try to imagine this: here's a Prime Minister who's under enormous pressure to do a U-turn on Iraq. His party is against him, the country is against him and he won't do it. A little Jewish economist walks in and says: 'You ought to change your position on the constitution.' He says: 'Right, I think I'll do that'…
As well as being cast as Darth Vader to Murdoch's Emperor, and castigated for having worked for the disgraced Enron (and for defending it in print), he is neoconservative…
He is, inevitably, an unrepentant champion of Reaganomics, the Iraq war and the Bush-isn't-as-stupid-as-he-sounds school of thought. 'There I take the testimony of Tony Blair, who tells me that George W Bush is one of the most intelligent men he's ever met. Most British people fall down laughing when I repeat that'…
Now based in Washington and St James's in London, Stelzer is a director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute think tank, a columnist in Murdoch newspapers and the editor of Neoconservatism, a collection of essays published by Atlantic Books tomorrow. The prodigious networker has pulled together contributions from Condoleezza Rice, Robert Kagan and other leading Americans of the neocon 'persuasion'.
More intriguingly, and enough to get Old Labour spinning in its grave, the book includes a speech by Blair and a dust jacket endorsement from Brown…
'I see them when they want to see me if there's a specific issue I know about and occasionally socially. I know more about energy policy than anybody ought to really know because I've been working on it for 40 years, so I might call up and say I have an idea and if it's worth listening to me we'll have a cup of coffee.'
He plays down folklore that he 'spotted' Blair's talent in the 1980s and became his patron… 'We [Stelzer and Blair] have a relationship intellectually… I have no stake in anything other than what I think the policy ought to be. He must find it useful to talk to people who are not beholden to him in any way…
Tony Blair has great confidence in his sense of what people want, especially Middle England. I think he's more comfortable in the Middle England and celebrity milieu than the Chancellor is'…Stelzer, so close to Brown that he attended the funeral of the Chancellor's baby daughter, Jennifer Jane, denies his friend is eaten up with ambition for the top job.
Stelzer gives no sign of turning his back on his New Labour friends. When asked about British Tories' failure to match the influence of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz in the US, he points to his book which includes a 1996 speech by Margaret Thatcher - 'she was the first one to use the phrases 'rogue nations' and 'weapons of mass destruction' - and a forward-looking essay by Michael Gove. In it the Times journalist and likely future Conservative MP urges British conservatives to learn from the neocons movement that is 'modern... intellectually self-confident... alive to the great challenges of our time'…
Are we listening to His Master's Voice, a pronouncement of Tory doom from Murdoch himself? Stelzer cannot deny it often enough. 'I've been a friend of Mr Murdoch for a very long time and I'm a consultant to News International and to News Corporation, but I do not have any formal position. I certainly don't have the position of formulating Mr Murdoch's political views and enforcing them on the British Prime Minister. The notion that I'm an enforcer is so bizarre: I can't tell you how bizarre it is.'
But this is a man so powerful, well connected and free from self-doubt that his reputation as Murdoch's man, and the brickbats it attracts, seems unlikely to keep him awake at night…
'Neoconservatism', edited with an introduction by Irwin Stelzer, is published by Atlantic Books at £19.99."
On 22 October 2004, another videotape appeared on Al-Jazeera television. In it, Margaret was seen begging Tony Blair to save her life by scrapping the planned redeployment of British troops to Baghdad. This is what she said:
"Please help me, please help me, these might be my last hours… Please, the British people, ask Mr. Blair to take the troops out of Iraq and not to bring them here to Baghdad. That's why people like Mr. Bigley and myself are being caught and maybe we will die. I will die like Mr. Bigley. Please, please, please, the British people, please help me".On 27 October the Black Watch began moving north from Basra towards Baghdad, to relieve US Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, who were to be used in the Fallujah operation.
On 2 November, Al-Jazeera broadcast again. The tape showed Margaret making one last emotional plea, after which she was seen to faint. She had been an aid worker in Iraq for more than 25 years and was a vehement and very vocal opponent of the war. She had also been extremely critical of the thirteen-year-long regime of crippling sanctions and air strikes that had preceded it. She even went to New York in January 2003 to warn the UN Security Council of the 'humanitarian catastrophe' that she feared could follow a war. It made no difference to her kidnappers.
On 16 November 2004, Margaret appeared on Al-Jazeera television wearing an orange jump-suit. This time she was blindfolded. After a short time, she was shot in the head by a hooded terrorist. A spokesman for Tony Blair said:
"The Prime Minister sends his sympathy to the family of Margaret Hassan and shares their abhorrence at the cruel treatment of someone who devoted so many years of their life to helping the people of Iraq."Helping the people of Iraq. 99 percent of the Iraqi people would agree with that statement from TB's office. I wonder what the percentages would be if the people of Fallujah heard St. Tony credit himself with the same altruism.
Journalist Felicity Arbuthnot, who was a close friend of Margaret Hassan, said this:
"Margaret was a woman who had fallen in love with Iraq, given her life to Iraq, stayed with Iraq through the bombings during the Iran/Iraq war, the devastation of the 1991 war, the grinding misery of the 13-year embargo.Margaret was born Margaret Fitzsimons on 18 April 1944 in Dublin, Ireland. It is thought that this delightful human being died two days before the final videotape was shown on 14 November 2004 in Baghdad.
She then pleaded for Iraq not to be invaded both to the UN and to the UK parliament and then returned to Iraq yet again for the bombs to fall. It is a horrific irony that someone who had fought for this country should die in this way…
As soon as the Black Watch went up to the Letizia region and the onslaught of Fallujah started, where Iraqi deaths aren't even counted, I knew she was dead. I just knew. Iraq is very close-knit, complex, very loving, but not if you invade the society. I just felt that, whoever was holding her, once people started being indiscriminately slaughtered in the name of democracy, what was one life going to mean? I just knew she was dead. That was it."