Press Review

The Campbell diaries: Bush left in no doubt over Blair's support for Iraq war

06/15/2012
The former Downing Street spin doctor recounts the days leading up to the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein The final volume of Alastair Campbell 's diaries cover the period that came to haunt Tony Blair 's premiership – the attacks on 9/11 and the Iraq war in 2003. The diaries show that Blair was convinced it was right to take action against Saddam Hussein but they show his frustration with members of the US administration, such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who wanted to bypass the UN. Campbell gives a vivid account of the pressures on the prime minister who was even lobbied by Rupert Murdoch to speed up military action. Wednesday 2 October 2002 - Labour conference Hans...

Owen Jones: It's time to demolish the myth about Tony Blair

06/01/2012
His defenders argue Labour couldn't have won without him but Black Wednesday in 1992 finished off the Tories You will struggle to find more devout supporters of Tony Blair than those at the top of the Conservative leadership. "I can't hold it back any more; I love Tony!" Michael Gove once exclaimed. David Cameron famously described himself as "the heir to Blair", and senior Tories refer to him as "The Master". "His influence is very firmly felt," a senior Tory told The Times. "He's like the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo – gone but still greatly admired." Screaming teenagers at Take That concerts in the mid-1990s come to mind. As Blair took to the Leveson Inquiry this week, his admirers went a...

Blair-Bush Iraq conversation 'must be released'

05/21/2012
Extracts from a record of a phone call between Tony Blair and George Bush on the eve of the Iraq War must be released, a tribunal ruled today. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was ordered to disclose parts of a note detailing a conversation between the two leaders on March 12 2003. Mr Blair and Mr Bush are believed to have used the call to discuss a TV interview given by then-French president Jacques Chirac two days earlier about ongoing talks on Iraq at the United Nations. F ormer British government ministers have blamed Mr Chirac's comments for the breakdown of efforts to secure a second UN Security Council resolution specifically authorising military action against Saddam Hussein's regime. The...

Tony Blair's star turn in Kazakhstan video

04/24/2012
Former British PM Tony Blair has appeared in a promotional video for Kazakhstan praising "progress" in the former Soviet state. In heavily edited clips from a TV interview he talks about the country's "extraordinary economic potential". Mr Blair has been advising President Nursultan Nazarbayev on political reform and economic development. But human rights campaigners say the video presents a "sanitised image of this repressive country". The country has been criticised over clashes in December between police and striking oil workers in which at least 14 people died. This week the New York-based campaign group Human Rights Watch said the country should suspend the trial of other oil workers who took part, who have claimed they were tortured. The hour-long video,...

Foreign Office fights order to disclose 'key phone call' between Bush and Blair

03/28/2012
Conversation days before Iraq invasion believed to relate to whether France would veto UN resolution The Foreign Office is fighting to overturn an order to disclose the transcript of what has been described as a key conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush , days before the invasion of Iraq. It is appealing against an order by Christopher Graham , the information commissioner, to disclose records of the conversation between the two leaders in March 2003. The appeal is being heard by the information tribunal which adjudicates on disputes over disclosure orders. "Accountability for the decision to take military action against another country is paramount," Graham said in his ruling against the Foreign Office last September. He ordered that part...

Iraq war in figures

12/14/2011
The US is withdrawing the last of its troops from Iraq, the final phase in the eight-year operation which has cost billions of dollars and many thousands of lives. The onus of ensuring Iraq's security and rebuilding the devastated country now rests with Iraqi leaders. Almost every figure related to the war is disputed, with none more keenly debated than the total number of Iraqi deaths. This is a summary of some of the key numbers and the arguments surrounding them. Troop levels US troops led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, in coalition with the UK and other nations. The numbers of US "boots on the ground" have mostly fluctuated between 100-150,000 apart from the period of the...

Blair Government aided Gaddafi with LSE place

12/06/2011
Tony Blair's government has urged Oxford University to secure a place on an MA course for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in a bid to build positive relations with the former regime of Muammar Gaddafi. The head of Oxford's department for International Development, Professor Valpy FitzGerald, said in a report that a senior Foreign Office official made contact with the university in 2002, two years before former Prime Minister's well-known deal in the desert. “It was made clear that the FCO would appreciate help in this case since Libya was opened up to the West again,” Fitzgerald said in the report. Adding, but Saif was rejected by Oxford University since he “had no social science training and his degree did not meet...

Iraq war inquiry report delayed

11/16/2011
Chilcot inquiry panel cites refusal by Whitehall departments to disclose sensitive documents as one reason for delay until summer 2012 Damning criticism of Tony Blair and the way his government led Britain into invading Iraq, and continuing rows over the disclosure of secret documents, have delayed the report of the Chilcot inquiry until well into next summer and possibly much later. In a statement on its website, posted on Wednesday but pointing only in general terms to the serious difficulties it is confronting, the inquiry panel said: "Pulling together and analysing the evidence and identifying the lessons, for a report that covers so wide and complex a range of issues and a time period of some nine years, is a...

Statement by the Iraq Inquiry

11/16/2011
The Iraq Inquiry has concluded its public hearings and is currently analysing the written and oral evidence it has received and drafting its report. Pulling together and analysing the evidence and identifying the lessons, for a report that covers so wide and complex a range of issues and a time period of some nine years, is a significant task. The Inquiry has advised the Government that it will need until at least summer 2012 to produce a draft report which will do justice to the issues involved. Very considerable progress has already been made, but there is still much to be done. As well as drafting the report, the Inquiry will need to negotiate the declassification of a significant volume...

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