Arresting Tony Blair – Cronin’s Cant on why he Couldn’t

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    24th March 2010

    Honestly, it’s tough to know where to start with this one. Paragraph by paragraph or line by line? It’s ALL so easily dissected, chewed up and spat out, to mix metaphors. Following on from my post yesterday on this Guardian scribbler – Guardian, war criminal, Blair, Guardian, Cifers, citizen’s arrest, Guardian, Cronin, anti-free market, Milosevic, EU

    CRONIN’S CANT:

    “George Monbiot, the environmentalist and founder of the Arrest Blair campaign, has indicated to me that I am eligible to a share of a bounty he has collected (after I go through a verification process).”

    CRONIN COULDN’T:

    “Mr Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest,” I said.  For a split second, he looked directly at me, treating me to an expression that seemed both blank and quizzical.

    BLAIR’S EXPRESSION WAS BLANKLY QUIZZICAL … er … QUIZZICALLY BLANK!?

    “Blank and quizzical”? Make up your mind, man!  You purport to be a writer!?

    Before you waste a minute or three of your life reading his exhortation as to why HE was on his quest (even dung beetles have a useful purpose) to arrest Tony Blair, let me list just a few reasons HIS CANT IS ALL “CAN’T”:

    1. Citizens’ arrests cannot be made with a policemen in the vicinity. (Otherwise the police would be cuffing the ‘villain’ themselves. And if they don’t, you the ‘injured’ suspicious citizen MUST ask them to, because of the terrifying and threatening villainy of the villain!) PLEASE NOTE: Tony Blair is always protected by security AND police, albeit in plain clothes. Protected. NEVER under threat of arrest.

    2. The ICC has already investigated the possibility of charging Mr Blair, following calls from those who know nothing, and care less for Iraq and Iraqis (mostly Cifers, presumably.) The ICC has decided there is no case to answer (See here) Precis:

    • A court has to determine if the ‘crime’ falls within its jurisdiction, and the threshold is very high.
    • Rendition? This may be a crime, say legal experts, but probably not on the scale of a war crime, or crime against humanity.
    • For the ICC to prosecute charges of torture, unlawful transfer or wilful killing, they must be committed as part of a policy that is executed on a wide scale.  “With the ICC what we’re looking at is a government or regional organization that has sat down and said we’re going to do ‘x’ against civilians or non combatants, and we’re going to kill them in a systematic way,” says Professor David Crane, the former chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.  “It has to be a government policy to do harm to human beings that don’t have a right to be harmed.”
    • While there had been wilful killings and inhuman treatment, he said, the number of incidents was comparatively small. Nor was there evidence of a policy by the British government to deliberately target civilians, or of civilian death and destruction clearly excessive of the military advantage achieved.
    • The ICC inspectorate also noted that national courts were dealing with the relevant Iraqi cases.
    • In the British justice system the first thing the prosecutor would still do is go to the British authorities and say look here’s the information I have, what have you done, or what do you intend to do about it. So even if they had previously refused to do anything about it, he would still give them the chance to do something now. That would be the first step.”

    3. Crime Against Peace? (Peace? In Iraq? Under Saddam?)

    That odd twisting of reality and history aside, this is from the site to which you, Cronin, directed your readers:

    ‘An important exception to the foregoing are defensive military actions taken under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Such defensive actions are subject to immediate Security Council review, but do not require UN permission to be legal within international law. “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.” (UN Charter, Article 51) The legal argument centres around whether or not the Security Council’s earlier resolutions conferred the  legally the “right of individual or collective self-defence”, or it may appoint another UN organ to do this.’

    4. Tatchell? Mugabe? If we haven’t managed to indict the Zimbabwean leader, (and Mugabe and Blair loathe each other more even than Cronin hates Blair), what chance has this journalist got to arrest a good man like Blair? Think yourself lucky, Mr Cronin, that Mr Blair’s bodyguards are more tolerant of this kind of one-man-bandmanship than were Mugabe’s. Tells you everything you need to know about freedom and Blair’s protection force. No? It should.

    5. Grace McCann did not get anywhere NEAR trying to arrest Blair on January 29th. Though she got money from Monbiot for being filmed telling a policeman she wanted to perform the arrest. You have no picture of yourself in the “act” and are therefore are NOT eligible for your cut.

    6. Over one million dead in Iraq? If it was ONE dead it would still be a crime, presumably – IF the invasion were illegal, which it isn’t. The numbers are hugely and widely disputed. Apart from the differing numbers there is also the uncomfortable FACT that even today it is INSURGENTS and not allied (now only American) forces doing the killing. Killing their own in other words, because YOU, Cronin, are fooled by their propaganda. So they keep doing it.  Suicide bombers? Ever heard of them? Iraqis/Iranians and others in the region are the killers.

    7. Tony Blair did not lie and moreover has not been proven to have lied. If the Iraq Inquiry suggests there is proof he did, then it’s a different story and may be looked at at that stage. The Iraq panel are presently considering the entire body of evidence, unlike yourself, Cronin.

    8. Blair’s Middle East envoy post. Satire? No. If so he would not have been promoted to a political role recently and you would have heard the Palestinians complain about him right from Day One. He has been promoted and you haven’t heard ANYONE in Palestinian positions of authority who are unhappy with his efforts.

    By the way, do you realise this, Mr Cronin:

    YOU, PERSONALLY, COULD BE CHARGED WITH UNLAWFUL ARREST

    (More on that is also pasted here at end of page)

    David Cronin’s article follows:

    By David Cronin

    A short while ago, I got up close and personal with Tony Blair.

    As the former prime minister made his way into a packed committee room in the European Parliament, I stepped up to him and laid my hand on his arm. “Mr Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest,” I said.
    For a split second, he looked directly at me, treating me to an expression that seemed both blank and quizzical. Then I was pushed away firmly, though not too aggressively, by one of the phalanx of body guards surrounding him. “You are guilty of war crimes,” I shouted after him, adrenaline giving me the kind of high I haven’t experienced in years.

    I had prepared a more lengthy speech about how I believed Blair should be prosecuted for authorising the war against Iraq as this involved crimes against peace and the crime of aggression. I had also intended to invite him to accompany me to the nearest police station so that I could file a criminal charge against him.
    Yet to no surprise, I did not get a chance to recite these arguments and to test out my hastily acquired knowledge of the Nuremberg principles that were set down following the Second World War and the more recent Rome statute (the agreement under which the International Criminal Court was founded).

    I will happily admit that my attempt was the work of a copycat. A woman named Grace McCann made a more daring effort to apprehend Blair as he left the Chilcot inquiry in January. And Peter Tatchell suffered permanent damage to his health when he was beaten up by thugs shielding Robert Mugabe as he tried to hold the Zimbabwean autocrat to account for human rights abuses in 2001.
    I guess that I could invoke Oscar Wilde’s defence of plagiarism – “talent borrows, genius steals” – but it would be more honest to say that I could not think of a more original method of protest.

    Although I passionately concur that Blair must be tried at some point for lying to Britain and the world about his motivations for joining George Bush’s offensive against Iraq and for helping to cause the deaths of possibly one million Iraqis, there are several other offences for which he should be tried.
    His similarly gung-ho enthusiasm for the war in Afghanistan; his refusal to condemn Israeli atrocities during its 2006 attacks in Lebanon; his acceptance of Israeli settlements in the West Bank; his approval of the use of cluster bombs during NATO’s bombardment of Serbia in 1999 are all despicable and worthy of criminal investigations.

    More generally, I am tired of the notion (rarely questioned among the media or political elite here in Brussels and some other European capitals) that war crimes are only committed by men with names that westerners have trouble pronouncing or by ‘savages’ in distant lands.
    I fully support the work of the International Criminal Court but am outraged that all of the indictments it has issued have been against Africans. And why have all the proceedings relating to atrocities in the former Yugoslavia been against Serbs and Croats and Bosnians? Were the NATO forces that relentlessly bombed Serbia incapable of committing crimes?

    I am troubled, too, about how Blair is now an international envoy to the Middle East. The film-maker Ken Loach has pithily explained the absurdity of that appointment. “They say that satire died when Henry Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize,” Loach told a little-reported event in Brussels last year. “Well, it died again when Tony Blair was appointed a special representative for the Middle East.”
    To prove just how unworthy of that job he is, Blair has only visited Gaza twice since he took up the role of envoy in 2007. And he has kept largely mum about the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, even though he can see some of the houses that have been expropriated by Israeli settlers from his office in the luxurious American Colony hotel. (OK, he recently described the building of new settlements in East Jerusalem as “unhelpful”, but that hardly counts. “Unhelpful” is the kind of term that’s suitable if you encounter a grumpy waiter in a restaurant, not for denouncing the attempted erasure of an entire culture).

    George Monbiot, the environmentalist and founder of the Arrest Blair campaign, has indicated to me that I am eligible to a share of a bounty he has collected (after I go through a verification process). Because Blair has abetted crimes committed against the Palestinians, I have asked Monbiot to donate any money I might be owed to a Gaza-based human rights organisation. My feeble efforts are nothing compared to the relentless work undertaken by many of those who have to live with the consequences of war crimes.

    Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 21:49

    RELATED

    1. Journalist attempts citizen’s arrest of Blair in EU parliament

    Excerpt:

    A Brussels reporter attempted to place Tony Blair under a citizen’s arrest on Monday (22 March) for his role in the invasion of Iraq, during a visit by the former UK prime minister to the European Parliament for a hearing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    On the seventh anniversary of the invasion almost to the day, late afternoon, David Cronin, an Irish journalist with the Inter Press Service news agency and a regular writer on European Union affairs for The Guardian, the British centre-left daily, approached Mr Blair, as he was due to discuss with MEPs his current work as a Middle East special envoy.

    Tony Blair, currently a top-level envoy to the Middle East, is finding it hard to shake off the Iraq War ghosts (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

    Placing his hand on the former prime minister’s arm, Mr Cronin said: “Mr Blair, this is a citizens’ arrest.”

    The ex-Labour leader, in the parliament to speak as the special representative of the Quartet – the EU, US, Russia and the UN – momentarily flinched, but the 38-year-old reporter was quickly pushed away by a bodyguard.

    The reporter was not himself arrested or accosted by European Parliament security, but simply left the room of his own accord. Attempting to re-enter half an hour later, Mr Cronin was refused entry and guards later requested to see his press card.

    Spokespeople for the UK mission to the European Union refused to comment on the incident.

    2. Blair’s guards rebuff citizen’s arrest

    3. Irish Times on Cronin’s “peaceful” arrest attempt:  “I wasn’t trying to harm the guy”

    Excerpt:

    ‘Cronin works for news agency Inter Press Service and is a contributor to the Guardian newspaper’s website. He has also contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Tribune and for five years was political correspondent for the European Voice, a specialist publication owned by the Economist . He said he was inspired by the “Arrest Blair” campaign led by environmentalist and columnist George Monbiot. The campaign’s website (www.arrestblair.org) says attempts to arrest Mr Blair would be “largely symbolic” but would have great political resonance. “It was an entirely peaceful attempt to arrest him. I wasn’t trying to harm the guy,” Cronin said.

    Cronin remained in the parliament building but was later refused access to the room where Mr Blair spoke. “When I was on my way out of the building I was followed by three security guards and one of them asked to see my press badge. He took my name.”

    Cronin worked for Ms McKenna between 1995 and 1998. He was a member of the Green Party in the early 1990s but withdrew his membership in 1994.’



    MY THOUGHTS:

    This Cronin person abused his press pass. It should be removed from him and he should never be permitted to attend any press conference or political or ANY gathering at which Mr Blair is present.



    I have noticed something interesting at Monbiot’s Arrest Blair site. I’ll expand on this in another post. This post is far  too wordy already.


    CITIZEN’S ARREST  (Wikipedia) and pasted here. I have added red bolding for the hard of understanding, ie. Cronin and Monbiot.

    CITIZEN’S ARREST (Wikipedia)

    A citizen’s arrest (officially called an “any person arrest”) is permitted to be made on any person under section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 for an indictable offence, including either way offences (in this section referred to simply as “an offence”), but excluding certain specific ones listed below. It is thus permissible for any person to arrest:

    • Anyone who is without doubt in the act of committing an offence, or whom the arrestor has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be in the act of committing an offence, and
    • Where an offence has been committed without doubt, anyone who is without doubt guilty of that offence or whom the arrestor has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of it

    In order for the arrest to be lawful, the following two conditions must also be satisfied:

    • It appears to the person making the arrest that it is not reasonably practicable for a constable to make the arrest instead
    • The arrestor has reasonable grounds for believing that the arrest is necessary to prevent one of the following:
      • The person causing physical injury to himself or others
      • The person suffering physical injury
      • The person causing loss of or damage to property
      • The person absconding before a constable can assume responsibility for him

    Use of the second power above is rather risky, since it relies upon the person carrying out the arrest knowing that an indictable or either way offence has been committed. If, for example, the arrested person is later acquitted in court, then it could be concluded that no offence has been committed; thus, the arrest would be unlawful. The Act therefore gives a constable additional powers to arrest the following:

    • Anyone who is (without doubt) about to commit an offence, or whom the constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be about to commit an offence
    • Anyone whom the constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of an offence which is merely suspected to have taken place

    A constable’s arrest power is not limited to indictable offences and conditions different from the above apply.


    So, Cronin, in your wisdom, have you considered that the police who accompany Mr Blair in numbers have already decided he has NOT committed an indictable offence? They have, and they have dismissed the thought.

    And do you realise that if Blair were ever tried after one of YOUR little arrest episodes and found NOT GUILTY that YOU could be charged with an ‘unlawful arrest’?

    For that, if that were ever to be the case, a life sentence would be just about long enough. You AND your mate Monbiot, to name but two copper-bottomed eejits.

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    7 Responses to “Arresting Tony Blair – Cronin’s Cant on why he Couldn’t”

    1. margaret walters Says:

      Cronin should have taken Blair to a police station when he tried to arrest him on 22 march and then see Blair walking out totally free because he has nothing to answer for, as prosecuter of ICC has said after he had investigated the case. That would make Cronin look like what he is – a fool. Blair flinched when Cronin touched him apparently. Who wouldn’t, when you know people want to kill you and someone you don’t know touches you. However gently it might be, you don’t know what they’re going to do.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        That’s a thought, Margaret. Maybe they should let this happen next time. And I think there will be a next time, unfortunately.

        If that kind of failure – police-station/release etc would shut this crowd up, it’d be useful. But I fear we’d only get “Ah-hah, you can run Mr Blair, but you can’t hide. Next time you travel watch which countries you land in.”

        Or even worse, the summary justice threats. I think one of them needs to be arrested and tried for this, to be blunt. Or change the law so that it is illegal to try it on anyone accompanied by a policeman. At the moment the citizen’s arrest warrant only works if there is not a policeman present, but it is not illegal to try it when a policeman is there, from my understanding.

        So if Blair ALWAYS has a policeman on hand, there is no chance. And he always does. What a way to have to live.

        These people are utterly insane and clearly incapable of understanding the law. Until it’s thrust down their throats. Thrusting time?

    2. margaret walters Says:

      The only law they understand is the law that they think is on their side and not the law of fairness and same for all.

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