3rd August 2010
Yes, I know things have moved on since John Prescott told us on Friday that the Iraq invasion was legal and that – “I learned that true leadership is not about having the benefit of hindsight. It is about having a gift of vision, courage and compassion, and I believe that Tony Blair had all those three.”
And I realise that the ConDem government is/are even more befuddled since David (burn him) Cameron put his undiplomatic foot in his big mouth, and since the Dem part of government has slipped in the polls to 12%. TWELVE PERCENT!!!???
And yes, that Obama has confirmed that the USA is withdrawing from Iraq by the end of August, more or less. Well, in 18 months or so. No Big O eye on upcoming mid-terms, of course.
And it’s all over the papers that Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation has linked up with Peking University. AND that he has a new website for early, extracts of his book, and hasn’t sold the extract rights to ANY of the oh-so-deserving British press.
What? Pardon? You didn’t know the last two? You mean the great British press haven’t mentioned them. Much?
Well, blow me down with an ‘I don’t believe it’. Quel surpris!
Read more here and here about his new memoirs ‘previews’ site. I think I can safely say that this was the first place to point out that “The Journey” was now “A Journey”. Picked up by the great independent-minded Independent journalist John Rentoul, another member of “we few, we happy few.”
This title is a very wise alteration, of course, since the journey is not over yet, littlies. Oh, no it isn’t.
But I started this post the other day and in my ongoing narrative – working title,“No, he’ s not El Diablo Encarnado” (Devil Incarnate), I’m damn well going to get it out of my drafts folder. If only so that you can delight in Julie’s edited Independent front page, below and at The Wisdom of Lord Prezza for the original.
So, back to the press on Prescott’s evidence at the Iraq Inquiry.
READ ALL ABOUT IT!!! IN OUR PAPERS? I ‘DOUBT’ IT
[YOU’LL FIND REAL, FULL & UNVARNISHED QUOTES BELOW]
This post, as so often before at this site, is partly a diatribe on the corruption, fact-bending and brainwashing within our press. We have probably the worse press in the free world, with a few notable exceptions. And, interestingly, they THINK they are the best.
There’s The Independent with no less than 5 takes on the Iraq Inquiry.
One of the more interesting is from Andy McSmith, with a Prescottism – “haddock (‘ad hoc’) committee”. Yes, his IS one of the more interesting, imho. This, remember, is the anti-Iraq war Viewspaper, named by Blair as NOT independent in his “feral beasts” speech in June 2007, just two weeks before leaving office, hounded out at least in part, by the press. Its hard cover front page has its own twist on Prescott’s words. Performing a linguistic somersault that would do David Cameron proud after his 1940/junior partner/America/WW2 date memories –
Thanks to Julie for this much improved, edited version – see her post on “The Wisdom of Lord Prezza”
But, we ALL KNOW, DON’T we, what the press’s headlines on Prescott at the Iraq Inquiry were? We ALL KNOW that when it comes to brainwashing journalism the story is in the headline, sub-headline and first sentence. Not one of those headlining with the easy phrase – “tittle-tattle” – has actually included the entire quote and its context. Not one that I have yet found. DISGRACEFUL. (Just noticed, The Mail did. Well done, for once.)
From ‘Honest John’ they would have been hoping for the deadly bullet for Blair or the foot in-the-mouth blunder. They got neither. In fact quite the opposite. Once the press exhausted themselves on Prezza funnies, including “Goldsmith was not a happy bunny”, Blair’s sofa – “I took a picture” and his offer of dinner to the transcriber to make up for his talking too fast, I guarantee this (the boldings are mine) –
Their headlines won’t be taken from this John Prescott sentence on Blair bashing –
PRESCOTT: “I know it is quite fashionable to be critical of Tony Blair inside and outside this Inquiry.
Nor from this on others’ glossing over –
“We have seen a few people gloss over their part of the history and what happened, but let me say that no-one in Government took this decision to go to war lightly. We thought considerably about it.”
Nor from this on Blair’s agonising over deaths in Iraq –
“I personally and privately witnessed the Prime Minister agonise over each and every death over Iraq, civilian and military, British and Iraqi.”
And most definitely not from here on Blair’s leadership, vision, courage and compassion –
“I learned that true leadership is not about having the benefit of hindsight. It is about having a gift of vision, courage and compassion, and I believe that Tony Blair had all those three.
In order not to confuse our little heads with the facts the rest of the papers were at it too –
- The Mirror’s headline – “John Prescott: WMD evidence was a load of of [sic] old tittle tattle.”
- From The Mail comes the whole quote of Prescott’s on “tittle tattle.” Not that that inclusion prevents them from declaring that he was talking particular and not general Intelligence “tittle tattle”. Their headline – “John Prescott: Intelligence that led us into Iraq war was ‘tittle-tattle'”
- Even here at Reuters it’s all about “doubt” and in the body about “tittle tattle” – “UK former deputy PM doubted Iraq WMD intelligence”
So what else might the press have cherry-picked to tell their tale? Did they headline with this Prescott comment, on leaking from within Cabinet? –
RT. HON. THE LORD PRESCOTT (P7): “How do you have a discussion in the Cabinet if the military people are beginning to say, ‘We need a longer timetable to make our decisions’, and the political one of, ‘How far can you go to get a second resolution?’ That is a conflict. I think if that had gone to the Cabinet there would have been a big discussion and then the press would have gone out saying, ‘You are not trying to find a UN solution. You are just looking for a military one.'”
Or with this, also on the difficulties of marrying early military preparations in case of war with cabinet (ir)responsibility? –
RT. HON. THE LORD PRESCOTT (P98 – 99): “So to that extent I don’t know that you can improve it any more, but I am still left with the major question in my mind about this business about if you are on a UN tack and you have military preparing where the logistic timetable is a lot longer than the tail end of a UN one, could you have given that three-option paper at the stage when it was being developed to a Select Committee? Would the argument have been, ‘Well, it is intelligent, of course, to plan like this in case it doesn’t happen’?”
Or with his criticism of the press? –
RT. HON. THE LORD PRESCOTT (P98): “I suspect, given our press — I am not the greatest admirer of them — given our press, they would have actually said, “This is the evidence we are going to war”, and there were people in the Cabinet like Clare who were saying basically this is what it was. Even Robin, when he resigned, made it clear, “Because I didn’t get the second resolution, I feel I have to resign”. He didn’t talk about the changing containment and regime policy in that speech, but he did talk about that. So I don’t know that you can do a great deal more than was actually done, and I am quite proud that we did try to give as much information to them, given a press that — you know, it is a quite vigorous press in our situation. It also has its own ways of looking at and interpretation of events.”
Or on Blair’s government’s comparative openness and accountability? –
RT. HON. THE LORD PRESCOTT (P98): “I think in all the issues of contention, whether it was in the Select Committee, whether it was the Prime Minister, which is his initiative, appeared before all the chairs of Select Committees to be answerable, I think probably we could claim there has been more democratic accountability and checking on what we are doing than any other military situation we may have been involved in.”
Or on this, another reminder of the democracy-vanquishing all-pervasive press? –
RT. HON. THE LORD PRESCOTT (P99): “So I don’t know that you can do a great deal more than was actually done, and I am quite proud that we did try to give as much information to them, given a press that — you know, it is a quite vigorous press in our situation. It also has its own ways of looking at and interpretation of events. So politicians have to work within that framework.”
Or on doing it again -?
I JEST, OF COURSE.
WHAT THE PRESS HEADLINES SAID was all about doubts , uncertainty, intelligence, illegality. But mainly about …
Friday’s Independent, picked up from AP says – “Prescott reveals Iraq invasion ‘doubts”. WOW! Doubts! He himself admitted to doubts when he spoke to the Liaison Committee in June 2007, a week before leaving Downing Street.
Excerpts, Liaison Committee members to Tony Blair on “doubts” and on being a “human being”:
Q182 Mr Leigh: You are a liberal interventionist, do you not realise that your brand of liberal interventionism, your great ideas of peace and democracy and the values of the western world, which we all accept around this table, are not necessarily the values of your opponents? Let me just put this last question. I think history is very important and I was in my son’s school yesterday and I saw a war memorial with 130 names of the Great War and I thought, “How can these people actually ever take us into war, how can they interfere in other countries in the way I think you have done”? In the dark watches of the night, is there never this regret? Do these thousands of people who have now died as a result of your decision never come back to haunt you or are you just completely filled with self-belief?
Mr Blair: It is not as simple as that, is it? Of course I accept a deep and profound responsibility for what has happened and anybody who has ever sent people into action, particularly when our troops are killed, and does not feel the weight of that responsibility is not a human being, and I am a human being. But I also say to you that we have an example when we did not intervene in Bosnia – 250,000 people died and in the end we had to intervene. When we intervene, and I have done it four times now – in Kosovo, in Sierra Leone, in Afghanistan, in Iraq – the question which also has to be asked is, “Supposing in this modern world, where we are linked together, we do not intervene?” That is why I favoured intervening in Darfur. If we do not end up in a situation where we take action, look at Rwanda, where – how many? – 2, 3 million people died.
Q193 Dr Wright: Could I, Prime Minister, ask just a couple of quick personal questions at the end? One picks up on what Edward asked you, which is this bit about believing things too much. When we are all beating ourselves up over Iraq and not knowing what to do, what struck me was your absolute certainty about it. I was never sure whether that was just a front you had to adopt or whether you really believed it. Then when we had the report on intelligence, it seemed to say you believed things you should not really have believed. You are often said to be a destiny politician, but does destiny sometimes get in the way of a critical examination of the facts? Do you really ever have doubt? That is what I am asking you.
Mr Blair: Of course.
Q194 Dr Wright: Do you?
Mr Blair: How could you possibly not have doubt? In the end in politics, you have to come to decisions and take decisions and you do so on the basis of belief, but the idea that you do not doubt anything —
Q195 Dr Wright: So you have doubt.
Mr Blair: Is this a revelation? I have given you a headline for tomorrow, “He has doubt”!
Q196 Dr Wright: You are almost certainly one of the nicest people ever to have been Prime Minister of this country.
So yes, he had doubts. This man who was called by his colleagues “one of the nicest people ever to have been Prime Minister.” The man who was given an unprecedented standing ovation after his last speech to parliament “some may belittle politics…”
Full transcript of the June 2007 Liaison Committee meeting is here
GO TO THE IRAQ INQUIRY WEBSITE FOR THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
In the web’s viral way the twisted story got around. For instance there’s this – http://www.newsbyme.info/top-stories/prescott-doubted-tittle-tattle-in-iraq-invasion-intelligence/
You’d be far better advised, if you are STILL an independent (in the real sense of the word) thinker (in the real sense of the word) to visit the Iraq Inquiry website itself – Home page
And you can see all and any papers and notes posted by the Inquiry panel itself. Straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were WITHOUT the varnished opinion of the British press shading every article.
ALL POSTS IN THIS TRUTH-FINDING SERIES
- Iraq Inquiry (Part 1 of 4), John Prescott: Tony Blair had the gift of “true leadership”
- Iraq Inquiry, Part 2: John Prescott & The Media’s take; BBC
- Iraq Inquiry, Part 3: John Prescott according to our ‘Views’papers
- Iraq Inquiry, Part 4: John Prescott STRAIGHT quotes. Unspun by press
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A recent comment from an Albanian, Mr Leonard Dedej from Tirana – “It takes big leaders to make the hardest turns in peoples life…mr Blair is a big leader and a great man for millions of people in Balkans!!!for stopping a savage war!about Iraq I believe that the press wherever it is has not the right to judge on this issue because it simply is to small to judge!!history will judge mr Blair!as long as it is an ongoing war no one can blame mr Blair,after all he started something for a big reason..the press its often wrong because it fights for audience!!!”
Tags: 12%, BBC, Blair agonised, Chilcot Inquiry, compassion, courage, coverage rebuttal service, David Cameron, deaths, former Prime Minister, gift of vision, Hans Blix, humanitarian interventionism, Iraq, Iraq inquiry, John Prescott, Julie, Lord Prescott, Lord Prezza, media, not about benefit of hindsight, peking university, press, RT. HON. THE LORD PRESCOTT, Sir John Chilcot, sky news, Tony Blair, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, true leadership, truth and lies, twelve percent, videos