Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“Dodgy Dossier” to Newspaper “Editor”: Tony Blair Re-invents Himself.

We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed … we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them…
— Erskine Childers, 1870-1922
Even by the standards of a seemingly increasingly partisan British media, the decision to invite Tony Blair to Guest Edit the London Evening Standard on June 27th, the fifth anniversary of his leaving office, was, well, bizarre.

The Standard (established1827) gained early eminence for its detailed foreign news. Within little over forty years of its founding, reporters had covered the American Civil War, the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Fast forward to the turn of this century when well grounded fact-checking had apparently become less relevant. The last time Blair “edited” The Standard (or apparently detonated all editorial scrutiny and detachment) was on September 24th, 2002, when the newspaper’s bannered page one read: 45 Minutes from Attack with a picture of Saddam Hussein and: “Dossier reveals Saddam is ready to launch chemical war strikes.” The full front page was taken up by the then Prime Minister’s “revelations” of the (first) “Dodgy Dossier.”

Blair’s current editing foray was heralded by a breathless interview with him by Sarah Sands, the actual Editor, in his offices “with a view of the American Embassy from the window”, the room adorned with photographs of him including with “… Arnie Schwarzenegger, and crowds of laughing African children.”
Tony Blair’s stated global vision includes his “Africa Governance Initiative.”
Further: “Whether in the Middle East, faith, Africa, climate change … my focus is on devising long term solutions to some of the world’s most difficult problems”, he states modestly.

The mass graves and apocalyptic destruction in the Balkans and Iraq, the near world beating corruption in Kosovo – where streets and children are named after him – Iraq’s despotic, nepotistic US-UK choice “Prime Minister” — whose improbity and inability to restore or to halt the collapse of even basic services, burdens under which the population stagger daily — hardly reflect beacons of hope for his messianic, megalomanic, planetary “long term solutions.”
Back to The Standard interview. Incredibly, he cites Iraq’s growing economy and falling infant mortality rate: “It will end up with a happy ending but it has to go through what the whole region has to go through which is to put religion in its proper place and to realise democracy isn’t just a technical system but an attitude of mind”, opined the man of whom George W. Bush said: “We pray together” and who, of course, joined that chilling “Crusade”.

However, infant mortality in Iraq “dropping” from the death-dealing embargo years? Iraq, with the second largest oil reserves, is now a shocking nine places below Zimbabwe in neo-natal deaths on the world scale.

Moreover, Doctors in the 2004 bombarded city of Falluja have been “overwhelmed” by birth defects, including babies with two heads, Cyclops eyes, no eyes, no brain, no limbs, paralysis and a cancer epidemic.
Iraqi children being born with birth defects has been devastating families for years. A July 2010 study showed that increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in Falluja surpass those of the atomic bomb devastated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945......read more