Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., repeatedly lobbied Tony Blair to invade Iraq.
In the days leading up to the invasion, Tony Blair's Director of Communications wrote that "(Blair) took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc. Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got."
The phone call in question took place just days before a crucial vote on Iraq
, and was one of three personal calls from Murdoch that Blair received in that week alone.
Blair recently testified, admitting an "unhealthy" level of closeness
with Murdoch, oftentimes communicating more with him than with his own ministers.
In the first 19 days following the invasion of Iraq, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News averaged 3.3 million viewers, a 236% increase from the weeks preceding the war
. Huge increases in newspaper sales
were seen throughout his global media empire
, with advertising revenue soaring to record levels. That empire now faces serious calls for it to be broken up
Photographer Tolu Omokehinde
, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in suburban Silver Spring, Maryland, shot 175,000 photographs
over a 7-month period and edited them together into a time-lapse video
of the daily rhythms at Blair. [more inside]
In tonight's semi-annual Munk Debate
in Toronto, Tony Blair and Christoper Hitchens square off over the topic "Is religion a force for good in the world?"
For those who couldn't get tickets, you can watch a live webstream
(PPV, $5) of the debate this evening, starting at 7pm EST.
Better late than never
A report by Police Commander John Cass says an unnamed SPG officer dealt the fatal blow to Blair Peach.
NYT: "The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5.
" [more inside]
Bush and Aznar pre-Iraq Invasion--
Transcript of their private conversations in Crawford, Feb 22, 2003: "Quedan dos semanas. En dos semanas estaremos militarmente listos. Estaremos en Bagdad a finales de marzo", le dijo a Aznar.
("2 weeks. In 2 weeks we will be ready militarily. We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March", he told Aznar.) Consider this historical documentation. Full transcript here
, and audio clips in first link. [more inside]
I'm rubbish at political comedy, so I'll leave it up to Tim Ireland to properly say Goodbye, Tony Blair. (via)
The UK media is like a "Feral Beast"
, and is undermining Britain, says Tony Blair. Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, responds
. Some reasons why Blair might not be too keen on the press
on Blair's farewell tour by Martin Amis. Accompanying video essays.
Highlights include a visit to the Green Zone in Baghdad (which "resembles the embassy district of a minor South American capital after a period of immiseration and collapse"), a comparison of Presidential vs. Prime Ministerial motorcades, and a few candid reflections from Blair.
Releaed British navy commander
: We were gathering intelligence on Iran (Watch the interview
: The sailors were on a legitimate UN mandate
: The MoD confirmed last night that the Iranians had made the claim that they had become interested in Cornwall's activities after learning about it on British television, but denied the decision to allow the ship's crew to be interviewed while on active duty had jeopardised the mission.
George Orwell né
Eric Arthur Blair is probably best known to readers for his eerily prescient novels 1984
and Animal Farm
. This comprehensive Orwell site
betrays an erudite
personality who wrote about a variety of subjects, from an exposition on British class relations affecting the art and practice of murder
, to the complex moral compromises of Gandhi's practice of non-violent resistance
, to the doublespeak-laden corruption of the English language
as a telling reflection of a corrupt, brutal, post-WWII culture — and much, much more
. This site also includes Russian translations
of much of Orwell's work.
New questions over the death of David Kelly.
Previously, on MeFi...[1
]. It's a theory
, that wants to explain the death of a Weapons Inspector who was involved in little problem concerning Weapons of Mass Destruction. And of course, one cannot link to the Daily Mail without a fondness for the daily-mail-o-matic
In this episode of the George & Tony Show
the President and the Prime Minister are in Russia eating brie, discussing geopolitics, leaving their mics open
, and whatnot.
New York Times to release Bush/Blair memo tomorrow.
The memo, which was mentioned previously
, but never publically disclosed, confirms that George W. Bush and Tony Blair were determined to invade Iraq, regardless of UN approval, and despite what both leaders told their citizens. More troubling, the memo also indicates that Bush may have conspired to assassinate Saddam Hussein, which appears to violate Sec. 5g of Executive Order 11905
, which states that "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." This executive order was considered the law of the land
even after 9/11, when Bob Barr proposed legislation H.R. 19
, which was never enacted into law.
British soldiers filmed beating Iraqis.
A British tabloid has released footage showing British troops beating Iraqi rioters. The video, available in realplayer format
or Windows Media format
, was apparently taken by a British corporal, and shows at least eight British soldiers dragging four young rioters inside a British army compound, where they were repeatedly beaten with batons, boots and fists, and kicked in the genitals. Arab television and the BBC have since aired the footage.
"We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq." A newly released memo
of a meeting of George W. Bush and Tony Blair
reveals a determination to invade Iraq
regardless of a second UN resolution or evidence of a weapons program. UK's Channel 4 News claims to have seen the memo
, which is dated 31 January 2003 (two months before the invasion), and aired a report
Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of “flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours”. Mr Bush added: “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]”.
More discussion here
, and here
Bush and Blair slated by Pinter
George W Bush and Tony Blair must be held to account for feeding the public "a vast tapestry of lies" about the Iraq war, writer Harold Pinter said.
[Postroad: but then, what do artists know about politics?]
Don't Bomb Us.
In response to credible reports that Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera's HQ in allied Qatar
on MeFi), Al Jazeera staffers start their own English-language blog. Their site contains remembrances of their fallen colleagues
, firsthand accounts of US attacks
on their offices, links to relevant reports
on the controversy
, Flickr photosets
of protests calling for an official investigation
, and al Jazeera's code of ethics
. Also, a quick note to Tony Blair: " P.S. Thanks for talking Mr. Bush out of bombing our offices!
" Not surprisingly, their blog is generating some comments
Finally, The Bush vs. Blair debate
that we've all waited to see. Silly Friday-Flash. [Warning, contains profanity]
UK Gags Media on Bush-Blair row over bombing al-Jazeera.
In 2004 Bush and Blair got into a shouting match over bombing Al-Jazeera in Qatar, as Bush, in his pointy-headed non-wisdom, ached to do. The bombing didn't happen, and now the Blair gov't is threatening jounalists with prison if they print the story. One British journalist replies
Is the Blair government creating another dodgy dossier?
Following Tony Blair's recent outburst
accusing the Iranian government of supporting attacks on British troops, a team are being dispatched to Iraq on a hunting expedition, in the hope of proving him right. Meanwhile, a prominent neo-con
who served as the Iraq desk officer for the Office of Special Plans
is telling the British that only the threat of force will tame Tehran
. Sound familiar?!
FT changes headline on Blair's statement.
This morning, I picked up the paper copy of the Financial Times
, scanned the headline, and harrumphed, remarking that "I had seen something like this before". Yesterday, the FT website had the same title - "Blair rejects calls for probe into bombings." Today, however, the headline has been changed to "Blair promises to hunt down bombers".
(BTW, it's UK conservatives calling for a probe). Not only that, but the text in question is purged:
Tony Blair will on Monday reject Conservative demands for a government inquiry into last week's London bomb attacks, insisting such a move would distract from the task of catching the perpetrators.
Gentlemen, prepare your tinfoil hats!!
more iraqgate: "Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’"
"MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal
Blair wins third term in UK
overcoming public outcry against his handling of the war in Iraq. His Labour party was elected despite attracting votes from only 22% of those eligible to do so.
I'm amused by today's Editorial in The Sun
. It starts off with how a protest vote against Labour
may mean 'you could be signing a young person's death warrant' due to the Liberal Democrat party's drugs policy
The second half of the newspaper's editorial is a tribute to Anthony Wakefield
... whose death came, of course, as part of the Blair government's war in Iraq... a basic irony that the newspaper has failed to pick up on. [via Bloggerheads
For those who don't know, The Sun - which backs Blair
, though not like this
- is the UK's biggest selling newspaper
and is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Damning leak for Blair / Bush!
A leaked transcript of a senior British government meeting indicates that the Bush administration viewed war with Iraq as "inevitable"
as of July 2002, even though the rationale for war was "thin"
and that "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
It further states that the desire to bring about regime change was "not a legal base for military action"
, and that the only legitimate reason to declare war was with UNSCOM approval. Most disturbingly, it indicates that there were "strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change."
Blair government attacks the BBC, while attempting to "fix" the news.
In the aftermath of the Hutton Report fallout
, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott reopened the war of words between Labour and the BBC by accusing the BBC of slanting their news coverage of the war in Iraq. Apparently, an Iraqi friend of Prescott's, Shanaz Ibrahim, was refused a (unscheduled) interview. What Prescott fails to mention, however, is that Ms. Ibrahim has lived in London for over 30 years, and is married to Abdul-Latif Rashid
, the brother-in-law
of Iraq's president
. So... where have all the *real* Iraqis gone, anyway?
Britain's new opposition party?!
Despite outraising and outspending
all other parties, Britain's conservative Tory party is falling in the polls
to P.M. Tony Blair's "New Labour" party. This collapse seems likely to increase; just days after conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch indicated his love of cheap labour
, his paper "The Sun"
is endorsing Blair.
What isn't being pointed out, though, is that the Liberal Democrats are gaining former Labour voters just as fast
as Labour is gaining conservative voters. A British public opinion site
indicates that 43% of its visitors support LibDem policies
, while the Guardian's unofficial "poll-u-like"
shows 45% support for the LibDems, even though The Guardian has encouraged its readers to "hold their nose"
and vote for Blair. Given that prior election polls in Britain have been off by as much as 19%
, could there be a major shift here?
Brian Eno's next big thing?!
Politics, it appears. Brian Eno, an outspoken opponent
of Tony Blair's administration in Britain, has started up http://www.libdemthistime.org
, encouraging prominent Brits to show their support for the Liberal Democrats. If that isn't enough, he's helping bankroll the father of a British soldier killed in Iraq
to run against Tony Blair in his constituency, in the hope of unseating him. Could Labour win and Tony lose?
. Tony Blair's new Education Secretary Ruth Kelly
is almost certainly a member of masochistic Catholic cult Opus Dei
, as featured in The Da Vinci Code
A Tale Of Two Believers: Blair
hides his church attendance - because he may be a secret Catholic; Bush promotes Faith Based Initiatives
, yet doesn't seem to go to church at all.
leader have a secret spititual life?
Blair on the slide
Charles Kennedy's dreams may come true next spring, it seems [UKfilter].
Sleeping with the president is not a good idea.
Bush had no answers to big questions, such as 'what happens on the morning after.' The Daily Telegraph reports that documents show Prime Minister Tony Blair signed up to the U.S. policy of regime change in March 2002, a year before the conflict started... after he was warned that postwar stability would be difficult and the U.S. had few answers. Oh, no problem. This week, Bush said he is 'pleased with the progress' in Iraq.'
Impeach Tony Blair.
Backed by a large dossier
, supported by a handful (so far) of UK members of parliament. Summarised
by The Spectator.
A recent non-scientific poll conducted by ABC News in the US found that 35 percent of voters feel that hot-saucing
is an acceptable form of discipline. Blair Whelchel (yes, that
Blair Whelchel) is a fan. Whatever happened to soap?
As the verdict of Butler
into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, draws near in
Britain, a senior intelligence source reveals
took the "rare step" of withdrawing the intelligence
that underpinned the claim that Saddam had continued to produce WMD (an
admission that such information was fundamentally unreliable), however Blair did not
tell the public "that the
evidence of WMD was crumbling beneath him"
. [Watch the Panorama
programme in question here for 7 days from 11-7-2004
The Dossier that Lord Hutton declared was not sexed-up
senior BBC resignations), Dr Brian Jones (former head of the nuclear, chemical and
biological branch of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Intelligence Staff) says was
sexed-up, and details exactly how
The State of Britain today.
of it's citizenry. ID cards. Making criminals of teenagers who snog
(!) And a bill to rival the USA Patriot Act
removing property & human rights at a minister's whim. With men being imprisoned in UK jails for over almost 2 years, without charge or trial (ala Guantanamo) it looks like the partnership between Bush and Blair is a little more than simple expediency.
Dear President Bush, I'm sure you'll be having a nice little tea party with your fellow war criminal, Tony Blair. Please wash the cucumber sandwiches down with a glass of blood, with my compliments.
Harold Pinter, Playwright.
Some caustic open letters in The Guardian for the big state visit.
"Global warming is now a weapon of mass destruction.
It kills more people than terrorism, yet Blair and Bush do nothing." So writes Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office
and co-chair of the scientific assessment working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception
The New York Times runs a
long article detailing its preliminary findings in the matter of Jayson Blair, The Times' young staff reporter who made up sources, facts, and anecdotes in potentially hundreds of stories. Does this investigation help the Times avoid permanent disgrace? Or does this just confirm what you've always thought about the Times?
Slate magazine is attributing part of the problem to affirmative action
(Blair is black). Is AA relevant here?
Love and Poison
tells the story of BritPop's love triangle -- Blur's Damon Albarn, Suede's Brett Anderson, and Elastica's Justine Frischmann. These articles from The Guardian are an excerpt from John Harris' "The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock."
You big babies.
Chirac gives Blair the perfect birthday gift.