Comment at end
2nd February, 2010
A commenter fabiusmaximus at Monbiot’s article : “Why don’t you start a campaign to erect wanted posters all over the UK. You could rent out billboards for the purpose. Wanted Dead or Alive! TB.”
I mentioned that kind of “bounty” association in an earlier post.
But another commenter, pottedstu warns - “What you are asking people to do is to assault or kidnap Blair”
Smart thoughts from (at least one of) your smart thinkers, eh, Monbiot?
Monbiot: Mock this campaign if you like, but how else can Blair be held to account?
“With the limits of power in Britain so ill-defined, the only way a reckoning for Iraq will ever come is via a citizen’s arrest
What else can you do? When the entire administration is engaged in a criminal act, when there is no clear separation of powers between the government and the judiciary…”
LYING AND FINANCIALLY REWARDING LIES
Monbiot is defending his ‘Arrest Blair’ campaign here today.
He LIES in his reference to the lady outside the Iraq Inquiry venue last Friday. He gives the false impression (widespread and believed) by his little crowd of peace-loving hangers ‘n’ floggers that she had tried to arrest Tony Blair. In actual fact she never got near him. She didn’t see him. None of us who were there did, unless in the Inquiry room. He did not at any time come out to the front of the venue.
Even those of us who only wanted to assure him that he has many supporters in this country over his decisions on Iraq didn’t get to see the great man.
Wonder why not? Hmmm… Monbiot?
Monbiot says, as part of their ongoing Arrest Blair lying campaign: “Already the campaign has borne fruit. Outside the Chilcot inquiry a woman called Grace McCann, inspired by the website, tried to apprehend Mr Blair, before she was restrained and removed by the police. She qualifies for the first bounty: one quarter of the total pot at the time of her attempt. She has pledged to give the money to relevant charities. The fund will remain open until Blair is officially prosecuted, and we will keep paying out to those who follow Grace’s example.”
“Until Blair is officially prosecuted“? Or until he’s dead, Mr Monbiot, as you stated here at your juvenile site?
[See my earlier call to arrest Monbiot here. And today, Rentoul in response to Monbiot’s “mock our feeble attempts to hold Tony Blair to account, but only if you propose an alternative” – John Rentoul’s Derision & his Alternative.]
But back to the plot …
PLAN OF ACTION FOR CASHING IN ON ARRESTING TONY BLAIR
Still, since he looks healthy enough to hang around for a few decades, having a go at arresting Mr Blair looks like a nice little earner. So here’s my advice: go down the Edgware Road, get a camera crew onside, then say to camera that you are waiting for Mr Blair’s car to come into view, upon which you will tear like a Stop-the-Warrior-inspired round to his street and tell everyone, including the puffed-out camera man, that you are there to arrest the former PM.
Job done! George Monbiot will be duty bound to send you a couple of thou just for trying, or saying you tried, as per Ms McCann. Worth the effort, don’t you think? But don’t carry a weapon whatever you do, nor even a rucksack. Those armed police can be sharp on the draw.
(Don’t forget you have to pay in your own £10 first before joining in the game.)
What?! Pardon? You didn’t think freedom was free or something?
WW1 & WW2 NOT JUSTIFIED
Monbiot is an anti-war activist. He seems to believe that the first and second world wars were also questionable because people died. He suggests that they were not worth the losses. To focus only on one part of his ‘hard-put’ justification – millions of women in this country and by extension around the world since 1914/18 would and should beg to differ with this foolish, dangerous man:
“The first world war secured votes for women, allowed the young to challenge a corrupt gerontocracy and began to crack the class system, but you would be hard put to argue that this justified the slaughter in the trenches. Europe has been a safer and more prosperous place since the conclusion of the second world war: this doesn’t mean that the Axis powers were right to launch it.”
For Monbiot NO WAR is ever justified, even when a country is clearly under immediate attack or threat of attack. How do we let such people write for newspapers? Even the Guardian? This is not an opinion, this is madness.
The man’s a fool, he AND his friends. It’s no wonder PayPal stopped taking payments from the Ten Pounders.
SOME COMMENTS AT MONBIOT’S ARTICLE
1 Feb 2010, 10:15PM
Why don’t you start a campaign to erect wanted posters all over the UK. You could rent out billboards for the purpose.
Wanted Dead or Alive! TB
1 Feb 2010, 10:22PM
We could try that london met thing where you shoot first
and then afterwards come out with an usual standard issue
met apology. is that reward valid for that sort of scenario?
after blairs little self incriminating speech it is starting to
look more like a dead or alive issue. i think its them gorillas
he had with him that made me think of idi amin.
1 Feb 2010, 10:22PM
The news reports last Friday of Blair returning home from the Chilcot enquiry showed police with machine guns stationed outside his house. I suggest anyone foolish enough to risk trying to nick him is likely to meet the same fate as Jean Charles de Menezes.
1 Feb 2010, 10:31PM
argrrh! this is just so maddeningly stupid. So you arrest Blair – tell me what tribunal do you have lined up to hear the case? What do you have in mind – a private prosecution for war crimes?
It’s not really very funny. Lives have been lost and in great number. Turning this into a three ring circus with no possible meaningful outcome is demeaning to them. Oh and it makes George look ridiculous, but that’s the least thing wrong with it.
1 Feb 2010, 10:32PM
“There is a massive public appetite to see justice done.”
Is there? I hadn’t really noticed.
I’m no fan of Tony Blair. Can’t stand the lot of them, but I don’t see the point of this at all.
It’s over. Let’s have an election and move on.
1 Feb 2010, 10:33PM
George, in the unlikely event that one of your more unstable followers attempts to arrest Mr Blair and injures him or themselves in the process, won’t you be in hot water?
1 Feb 2010, 10:39PM
Mock this campaign if you like
Already have done George, and will continue to do so.
1 Feb 2010, 10:40PM
It is because you are trying to do in a hearing room or a court what you and the anti-war lobby could not do at the ballot box.s.
So the war was put up for votes? Or are you suggesting we just let any old tyrant run loose and kill as many people as he wants (people from other countries by the way) just because he won an election?
1 Feb 2010, 10:45PM
Why oh why does this thread keep popping up?
The only reason that the war is seen by some as illegal is because of a perceived authority vested in the UN. If the UN actually has that authority let them arrest and try the responsible parties. Until then the action voted for by parliament remains within the law.
1 Feb 2010, 10:49PM
So the war was put up for votes?
I may be totally wrong here, but war in Iraq does not appear to me to ever have been pursued because of its electoral popularity.
Or are you suggesting we just let any old tyrant run loose and kill as many people as he wants (people from other countries by the way) just because he won an election?
No. What I am saying is that these decisions should be made by an elected politician, not outsourced to the UN (or the EU for that matter) who is accountable at the next election.
You could tell me – reasonably – that there should be an explicit need for a vote in Parliament for war, but we had that over Iraq.
Monbiot can run around whipping up a circus all he likes. We had an election and the anti-war lobby did not come close to unseating Blair. When Monbiot reconciles himself he might start looking a bit less like Malcolm Wright-Pratt from Viz.
1 Feb 2010, 10:49PM
Aren’t you meant grow out of this stuff when you leave lower sixth?
1 Feb 2010, 10:52PM
n 30 hours, before Paypal blocked the account without notice, the bounty fund at http://www.arrestblair.org, which rewards people trying to arrest the former prime minister for crimes against peace, cleared £9,000.
I have a better idea Geroge. The above won’t work but my plan will.
It costs £2000 a minute for Tony blair to do a speech.
We cifers raise £60k for a 30 minute speech. We hire a conference centre and make a fake business.
He comes and does the speech in a conference centre where we are all present.
We all jump on top of him and arrest him
1 Feb 2010, 10:59PM
He comes and does the speech in a conference centre where we are all present.
We all jump on top of him and arrest him
A very cunning plan :)
1 Feb 2010, 11:01PM
I applaude your attempt to, at least, bring some sort of civil reaction to political and corporate mass murder. And don’t worry Geoge, Blair isn’t far from paying his debts. Those are normally paid at the pillow, be it the prison guards locking you up or the security guards helping you to get old without getting killed. That kind of surrounding seems pretty hellish to me either way.
I can’t believe we still hear the excuses of Saddam’s attrocities at the center of the argument in favour of this invasion. I can’t believe people who get into that argument seem to completely ignore who put Saddam there in the first place, and which countries put sanctions on Irak, affecting mostly children and civilians.
Blair knew about the consequences of an invasion. He was told several times and still he went ahead. That’s accesory for murder, and all you people complaining to George Monbiot about how unrealistic his plan is I really do suggest you do as he says and come up with the goods yourselves, because it’s your equality that’s been pissed on, and all you can do is pretend to be ‘realistic”. If to be realistic means to not do anything at all, then I’d rather keep dreaming. At least I’d have lived hoping for better times instead of just sitting on the shit that surrounds me.
2 Feb 2010, 9:11AM
You quote hundreds of thousands of people killed in the aftermath of the war. These would be almost entirely Iraqis killed by other Iraqis. What right do you have to appropriate responsiblity for these deaths? Aren’t the Iraqis who did the killings allowed to take that responsibility? Why are we in the West the only people allowed to have a conscience? Is this some kind of imperialist superiority of morals you have?
And what about the million of so people killed by Saddam Hussein. Is that somehow by contrast “nothing to do with us”? Can you smugly sit at home and wash your hands of it just because we did nothing? The doublethink is breathtakingly arrogant.
2 Feb 2010, 9:49AM
So now the Guardian is calling for the harassment of individuals, eh?
Nice one. Pure class.
2 Feb 2010, 11:14AM
Prof Bowring is barking if he thinks the Nuremberg trials or the Garry Newlove case are precedents.
Blair didn’t set out to kill any innocents and didn’t commit any of the Nuremberg crimes.
2 Feb 2010, 11:37AM
George – this story doesn’t start with Chilcott, or even with the Iraq war. TB had to stand for election as an MP. He had to stand for election as leader of the Labour party. He had to go to the country and win a couple of general elections. Unless he had won these various elections, he wouldn’t have been in the position of power and influence that he was, and he wouldn’t have been able to take us to war in Iraq.
If you want to influence what happens in Britain, and if you want to reform the legal system or the political system, first of all get into a position of power. You do this by getting elected. If you can’t get elected, then there isn’t much support for your point of view.
2 Feb 2010, 11:45AM
(i) If the iraq war was unlawful as a matter of international law, as I think it was, does this give all of us the power to arrest Blair? Answer no, because
(a) that doesn’t mean it was unlawful as a matter of UK domestic law; and
(b) the appropriate party to effect any arrest would be a police officer, see the police and criminal evidence Axt 1984
(ii) Monbiot clearly has had some legal advice as what he is suggesting is not any longer detaining blair but merely touching. Unfortunately, the advice is not very good as this would still be a tort, and he along with the guardian would be liable for procuring it.
(iii) Even on its own terms as a protest, protesting about something’s illegality by doing something illegal strikes me as a bit daft. Indeed, even if it had been lawful it is,as Geras says, buffoonery.
(iv) march up and down, shout, write in protest etc by all means. But don’t think that doing what monbiot is suggesting is lawful, because it isn’t.
2 Feb 2010, 1:23PM
look he’s been judged and found guilty by most on CiF, so a fair trial has already been held (with the moderators presiding).
Surely the question is has George Monbiot got a big enough house to detain him in and feed him in accordance with his rights under the Human Rights Act?
2 Feb 2010, 12:34PM
Mock this campaign if you like, but how else can Blair be held to account?
Why should he be? He made a decision that was supported by Parliament and it is clear that whatever his defence you would have him convicted ahead of any ‘trial’ because you have already chosen self-serving terms of reference that will secure the desire result. Such as:
I agree with Polly that the legal issue must not obscure the moral issues. But it doesn’t: it highlights them. Wars of aggression are illegal for a good moral reason: they kill people without justification.
It would be outrageous in the extreme if Blair as to be found a war criminal and George Bush wasn’t. Perhaps you subscribe to the sort of historical revisionism that would have Churchill denounced as war criminal? And indeed there is a better case for having him regarded as such as there is Tony Blair. (Policy of carpet bombing for example?)
I repeat a comment made in an earlier post. Grow up George.
2 Feb 2010, 12:06PM
Consider you campaign, and you personally, thoroughly mocked.
2 Feb 2010, 12:15PM
the reason Iraqis cannot prosecute blair under UK law is that what he did was authorised by parliament.
Interesting suggestion that what Monbiot is suggesting is a crime under the protection from harassment Act. That Act requires a course of conduct, so I don’t think a single touching would suffice, but if it happened more than twice, the conduct would be attributable to Monbiot and he would be responsible. His employer would also be vicariously liable for the civil wrong procured.
So, in summary, a piece of buffoonery which is certainly tortious if carried out but probably criminal as well. As a protest about illegality. Foolish and disgraceful.
2 Feb 2010, 1:30PM
Blair will never be arrested, or made to appear in a court of law to answer for his crimes.
I suspect George knows this, but like many people he’s just clutching at straws.
After Blair’s appearance I posted a story on Andrew Rawnsley’s blog which speculated at just what is going on inside this man’s head.
The only comfortable conclusion I came to was that, somehow he must be going through some form of mental anguish, either in the form of nightmares, or a genuine fear that, despite all his security a member of the public will actually get to him.
I really believe he is suffering, and just that small beleive makes me happy.
2 Feb 2010, 1:50PM
The first world war secured votes for women, allowed the young to challenge a corrupt gerontocracy and began to crack the class system, but you would be hard put to argue that this justified the slaughter in the trenches.
You see right here is your problem George – you make soundbite quotes to justify your stance without any actual understanding.
The First Word War actually was a “Just War” – a war that started in direct reponse to the aggression of Imperial Germany fomented by the Military clique that surrounded the Kaiser.
The casualties were not because of the cause for which the war was fought – but because of a technological shift that had been foreshadowed in the trenches of Petersburg, Cold Harbour, Spotslyvania, and Spion Kop.
Just as technological shift now renders conventional high-tech military kit ineffective in the asymmetric warfare we have seen in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Europe has been a safer and more prosperous place since the conclusion of the second world war:
And it actually would have been so after the First World War except the politicians lost the peace by visiting on a newly Democratic Germany the penalties due the Imperial one.
The politicians at Versailles couldn’t let go of the past – something you seem to share in common – the relentless desire for revenge on someone, some thing, some country.
Just as with climate change and the falsified evidence you seem to believe the end justifies the means – provided its “your” end – which makes you no better than Blair or Cheney.
I don’t what worm of doubt gnaws at you that you feel the need to be so relentless in promoting yourself – but whatever it it I suggest you get therapy, spank your inner moppet, but get over yourself – everybody else has.
2 Feb 2010, 1:55PM
Did you ever take legal advice on the issue of whether a citizen’s arrest, in these circumstances, would be lawful? I’m thinking of the operation of s.24A PACE.
Might it not be wise to clarify this point, before encouraging further attempts?
2 Feb 2010, 2:47PM
So you can mock our feeble attempts to hold Tony Blair to account, but only if you propose an alternative.
That’s simply not how it works. If I think this idea is ridiculous (I do) then I can mock it (I will) without needing to propose any kind of alternative.
This whole campaign is pathetic. Though I have previously agreed with many of your ideas and articles you do really seem to have stepped over that line that separates the ‘bearabley smug’ from the ‘unbearabley smug’.
2 Feb 2010, 2:49PM
Let?s get real, Blair also did good, everyone?s forgotten about the Balkans civil war and the Northern Ireland peace deal. The French & Germans, our so-called allies stood by and watched the slaughter in the Balkans but Blair galvanised support through NATO. The streets of Northern Ireland are far safer today. The UN were happy were powerless to act, just as in Rwanda when the UN the French ran away and did nothing as 800000 people were slaughtered, the UN can not even implement UN resolution against Israel going back 43 years. Let?s find a new murdering dictator to replace Saddam and everyone will happy again, we could do through the UN .
Maybe we could arrest journalists who lie and mislead the public, there won?t be many left roaming the streets.
2 Feb 2010, 2:57PM
If it’s against the law to remove from power someone who has committed genocide then I’m quite happy for that law to be broken in my name.
Great. Now attend to the consequences of breaking that law: pay reparations and criminal proceedings against the instigators.
After all, it’s a small price to pay for getting rid of Saddam.
2 Feb 2010, 3:26PM
I have to continually rub my eyes in disbelief at what I read on here.
There seems to exist a very real angst in some quarters over the fact that Blair won’t be ‘brought to justice’ for doing what he had to do.
This is a former prime minister! of the United Kingdom! – who stands on the same platform as a former President of the United States of America! We’re not talking tin-pots here.
Has someone tipped a a couple of lorry-loads of psychotropic drugs into the water supply? I think they have.
2 Feb 2010, 3:37PM
Had he waited the risk would have been greater. Chemsuits are now being re designed. Then they were designed for warfare in the EU ie temperate climes. Anywhere hot they cause heatstroke.
The problem here was Russia. Russia bugg**** the credibility of the UN for its own economic interests. Iraq owed Russia billions for arms sales which they have now written off in exchange for re activating some but not all of the oil leases.
It would not have been a good idea to wait until the risk became greater.
The potential missing VX was considerable and the precursers considerable and they had the expertise and they had the time to make more.Half a drop of VX is lethal and it persists.
So it was do it immediately or not at all or take large numbers of casualties.
The treatment here described is not possible in combat beyond auto injectors.
They now think Gulf War Syndrome is the result of Sarin exposure.
Not at all would have left Saddam and its big bully in the playgroud mate Russia dominent in the region, controlling lots of oil, and threatening all Iraqs neighbours including all the places we get oil from (and we cannot do with oil then less so than now). They all wanted him gone including Iran.
2 Feb 2010, 4:03PM
It’s the UN Charter. There’s a clause prohibiting war unless it meets certain conditions.
I think you’re probably alluding to Article 51.
Too bad it’s undermined by The Caroline Affair 1837 doctrine of preemptive action reserved for when your sovereign interests come under the threat of an attack so imminent that it leaves no time for deliberation.
I think our base in Cyprus and the bona fide belief that it could be attacked within 45 minutes is covered by the doctrine
2 Feb 2010, 4:07PM
Enhanced interrogation techniques should be used on Blair, Straw, Goldsmith and Hoon.
2 Feb 2010, 4:16PM
The news reports last Friday of Blair returning home from the Chilcot enquiry showed police with machine guns stationed outside his house.
If those reports are true then it sounds as though the guy is already banged up.
2 Feb 2010, 4:16PM
save it for the judge.
It’s open to any state party or the Security Council to refer the legality issue to the ICJ ( Blair, as an individual would have to go to the ICC).
Why has this not been done if your case is so good?
Incidentally, the Canadian Bar Association and others have already tried to get Blair indicted at the ICC but last I heard they were sucking lemons.
2 Feb 2010, 4:33PM
It might be a good idea for those who opposed the military intervention/invasion/occupation of Iraq to remember that their expressed position is a matter of opinion and not an absolute truth.
@raymonddelauney wonders whether many posters have relatives in the armed forces, I do. The relatives of some service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan also, have accused Tony Blair and the MoD among others of being responsible for their loved ones’ deaths in fighting an illegal or unjust war. Still more have said that their son, daughter etc died doing the job they loved. It doesn’t make it any easier to lose a relative in a conflict that many people suggest is pointless at best and criminal at worst. In the aftermath of the Great War the overwhelming majority of those who had lost loved ones still felt that they had died in a just cause edespite the appaling scale of the carnage. The ‘futility’ narrative only came later. It was important for people to believe that their loved ones’ sacrfice wasn’t in vain. I think the same is true today.
The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a victory against totalitarianism; unfortunately the ongoing mass murder of Iraqis by terrorists in the aftermath of the invasion has been disastrous. Undoubtedly, many mistakes were made regarding Iraq, not least the planning for the aftermath of the invasion and those responsible need to be brought to account. However, the trying Tony Blair as a war criminal lobby is ridiculous. Blair was elected to lead a government that we invest with the authority to make decisions on our behalf – including unpopular ones. Millions marched against the invasion of Iraq and our government weren’t swayed by them. If governance by popular opinion was the norm there’d be dozens of paediatricians hanging from lamp posts.
I wonder how the situation in Iraq will develop and, furthermore, I wonder how we will view the invasion of that country in 2003 twenty years after the event. I hope for the people of Iraq that they will be able to look back to 2003 as the start of the, albeit long and painful, road to something better than living in Saddam’s republic of fear.
2 Feb 2010, 5:08PM
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Just wanted to see what it looked like!
Tony, why won’t you at least die in a car crash?
I’d like to know if anybody could make the nation laugh
as much as Diana P of Wales’ death made us cry?
2 Feb 2010, 5:11PM
Mr Monbiot, you are encouraging – indeed paying – naive members of the public to commit a serious crime. Nobody has the legal authority to perform a citizen’s arrest on Blair even if he is guilty of crimes against humanity. That’s not how citizen’s arrest works: it’s only legal if you see someone commit a crime and there is no police officer around to arrest them. What you are asking people to do is to assault or kidnap Blair, which may get them arrested and jailed, or even killed. Perhaps you want a martyr to your cause, but if so, do it yourself.
[Ed: So there we go. Just a selection of the comments at Monbiot's. Some wiser than others. Some even by adults.]
There was someone appearing at this morning’s Iraq Inquiry with whom Monbiot would no doubt agree wholeheartedly. The blessed Clare Short. Who else? (see Andrew Sparrow’s coverage on this. I have better things to do.)
With friends like her, George Galloway and Tony Benn, Monbiot is in interesting company. Of course she brought her fan club along and as with the other uncoverer of the TROOF Elizabeth Wilmshurst they all gave her a resounding round of applause at the end. I DO wish I’d been in the Inquiry room on Friday when Mr Blair spoke instead of just in the Additional Viewing room. I may well have been the only one, but I’d have applauded him.
2 Feb 2010, 5:22PM
If you believe in innocent until proven guilty, sign this:
It might be you or even Mr Monbiot next.