PRODUCTION COMPANY

Molucca Media

PRODUCTION TITLE

The Killing$ of Tony Blair

RUNNING TIME

91mins

CREDITS (IN, OUT & DURATION)

 

 

Timecode

Vision

Sync/Commentary

Audio (In & Out)

 

 

1. Opening sequence

 

 

Fighter jet preparing for take-off at night, then taking off.

 

 

 

Caption: Baghdad, March 2003

 

 

 

Shot of bombs exploding across the Baghdad skyline at night, CNN news bar at bottom.

 

 

 

Tony Blair (TB) piece-to-camera addressing Iraqi people.

TB: This is Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I’m glad to be able to speak to you today to tell you that Saddam Hussein’s regime is collapsing, that the years of brutality, oppression and fear are coming to an end.

 

 

Wikileaks ‘Collateral Murder’ clip. Massacre of Iraqis seen through cross-hare of apache helicopter gunship.  Voice captioned.

US military officer: Light ‘em all up. C’mon, fire!

Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.

 

 

TB piece-to-camera addressing Iraqi people.

TB: Our enemy is Saddam and his regime, not the Iraqi people. Our forces are friends and liberators of the Iraqi people, not your conquerors.

 

 

US marines surveying dead bodies on floor of empty room.

 

 

Marine 1 shoots the man’s body.

Marine 1: He’s fuckin’ faking he’s dead. He’s faking he’s fucking dead.

 

Marine 2: Yeah he is faking it.

 

Marine 1: He’s dead now.

 

 

TB piece-to-camera addressing Iraqi people.

TB: I know, however, that some of you feared a repeat of 1991, when you thought Saddam’s rule was being ended. But he stayed, and you suffered. That will not happen this time.

 

 

Executioners wrapping rope around Saddam Hussein’s neck, then dropping him to hang.

 

 

 

TB piece-to-camera addressing Iraqi people.

TB: This regime will be gone and ended. And then we will work with you to build the peaceful, prosperous Iraq that you want, and that you deserve.

 

 

4x4 driving along road, hit by an explosive. Man holding camera scrambles to safety.

 

 

 

 

TB: So it is in the spirit of friendship and goodwill that we now offer our help. Thank you.

 

 

Black screen & title: A George Galloway film

 

 

 

George Galloway PTC in front of a church altar, flanked by candles.

George Galloway (GG) Piece to Camera (PTC):

I’m George Galloway. I spent decades in the Labour Party and in parliament with Tony Blair. I also campaigned against his and Bush’s wars, together with millions around the world. Since then, every prediction we made has played out tragically before our eyes. But one thing nobody predicted was that Blair would be so richly rewarded for his crimes. This film, crowdfunded by over 5000 people, seeks to set the record straight: about Blair's near-killing of the Labour Party, the killing of Iraq, and the huge financial killing he has made thereafter. This is the Killings of Tony Blair.

 

 

Black screen & title: The Killing$ of Tony Blair

 

 

 

Standing ovation in House of Commons. Close-up of TB acknowledging applause.

 

 

10:03:13

-TB striding through group of people, smiling and shaking hands.

-TB and Cherie Blair (holding flowers) walking past a crowd outside Downing St.

-TB walking onto a stage followed by another man. Screen behind him reads ‘2013 Global Conference’.

- Still: TB seated in front of World Economic Forum logos.

Voiceover (VO): When Tony Blair resigned as prime minister in 2007 he wasted no time before stepping onto the lucrative public speaking circuit, where his statements of the bleeding obvious have been in high demand. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TB, seated, speaking at World Economic Forum

TB: The single toughest thing government’s find today is getting the job done.

 

10:03:35

 

VO: At his first stop Blair picked up a Chinese take-away of almost a quarter of a million pounds for an hour-long speech in the Peoples Republic.

 

 

 

TB speaking to Chinese TV audience

TB: The art of leadership is the combination of listening and leading.

 

10:03:50

 

VO: Since then his fees have gone up and up, and his speeches have taken him across the globe.

 

 

 

TB, seated, speaking to Sharm el Sheikh audience, Egypt.

TB: The most difficult thing about government is taking the great idea and turning it into reality. 

 

10:04:04

 

VO: In the Philippines the average wage for an hour’s work is under a pound. Blair did rather better.

 

 

 

 Indian interviewer questioning TB

Indian interviewer to TB: Unfortunately you come to India at a time when British papers like The Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, are running stories about what they call the ‘jet-setting billionaire lifestyle he has enjoyed ever since leaving Downing St in June 2007.’ And the real point they’re making is that the pursuit of money has become the dominant theme in your life.

 

TB: I could make a lot more and have a very gentle and easy life, and when they talk about a jet-set lifestyle what they actually mean is that I spend a lot of time on jets, which is true.

 

10:04:43

 

VO: True indeed – so much so that Blair charters a thirty million pound private jet, known as “Blair Force One.”

 

 

10:04:58

 

VO: But even more lucrative for Blair than public speaking is his global business empire, headquartered in London’s wealthiest neighbourhood, Mayfair.

 

 

George Galloway (GG) approaching Tony Blair’s Mayfair office. Rings bell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GG turns and walks away

Concierge: Good afternoon, Grosvenor Square.

 

GG: Good afternoon, I’m George Galloway, I’m making a film about Tony Blair. I’m wondering if you’re going to respond to the two letters I’ve delivered through your door seeking an interview.

 

[Concierge hangs up]

 

GG: Hello? […] Hello? […] Hello?

 

GG: They hung up. What can I say?

 

10:06:08

 

VO: I was joined by Francis Beckett, who has investigated the consultancy firm Blair operates from here.

 

 

 

Francis Beckett: Tony Blair Associates is a very, very secretive operation that makes a very large amount of money all over the world from a large number of governmnets, some of them you might regard as less than respectable, some of them Middle Eastern governments, some of them former Soviet Union governments, and it also makes a large amount of money in consultancy fees from private companies. What they seem to take is the sort of advice that involves the consultant picking up a telephone and putting them in touch with the right world leader, or the right business leader, so what he’s doing, really, is living off the contacts book that he retired with as prime minister.

 

GG: You mentioned the scale of it; how many countries do you think Tony Blair is now working in?

 

FB: Well, there’s at least twenty. There could be more than thirty, but I can vouch for well over twenty.

 

10:07:13

Animation showing the extent of Tony Blair’s business empire, ‘Tony Blair Inc.’

VO: Tony Blair Inc, like the British empire in its heyday, is so vast that upon it the sun never sets. Well, my Irish grandfather used to say that was because no one would trust the British in the dark.

 

 

10:07:30

 

VO: Blair’s choice of clients doesn’t exactly inspire trust either. The ruler of Kazakhstan for instance.

 

 

 

 

Francis Beckett: Tony Blair and Nursultan Nazarbayev first met when Tony Blair was still prime minister. He became one of Blair’s most loyal clients.

 

 

 

2. Dictators

 

 

 

2a – Kazakhstan

 

10:07:50

 

VO: Nazarbayev had something of an image problem. Despite often paying lip service to democracy, he is widely regarded as a dictator. After all, he has ruled Kazakhstan for a quarter of a century. Those who criticise the President face imprisonment; but his opponents are not always so lucky.

 

 

 

 

Craig Murray: Leaders of opposition and dissent are regularly murdered; they are simply shot out of hand. The worst atrocity in Kazakhstan in the last few years has been when the government shot about sixty striking miners.

 

10:08:39

 

Many hoped the autocrat’s new courtier would condemn the massacre. Instead, Blair was soon starring in a Kazakh propaganda film.

 

 

 

TB speaking as talking head in Kazakh government documentary

TB: The important thing about President Nazarbayev is that, I think, he had a combination of the toughness necessary to take the decisions to put the country on the right path, but also, I think a certain degree of, erm, subtlety and ingenuity that allowed him to manoeuvre in a region that is fraught with difficulties.

 

 

 

IV Craig Murray: Blair was sustained by a coal mining district throughout his parliamentary career and now he’s taking massive cheques from somebody who shoots miners if they go on strike.

 

10:09:31

 

VO: Media reports put Blair’s fee at sixteen million pounds over two years. But what was this King’s ransom for? Good governance, as Blair claimed? A leaked letter he sent Nazarbayev suggests otherwise. In it Blair provides a phrase to help the dictator spin his massacre for a Western audience: ‘these events, tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress that Kazakhstan has made…’ He continues, ‘Dealing with it in the way I suggest, is the best way for the Western media.’ Signed, ‘With very best wishes. I look forward to seeing you in London! Yours ever, Tony Blair.’

 

 

 

 

2b – Egypt’s General Sisi

 

10:10:18

 

VO: Fresh from his Kazakh snow-job for Nazarbayev Blair was soon showering praise on another dictator. Egypt’s General Sisi had just seized power in a military coup.

 

 

 

 

IV Seumas Milne: Blair himself explicitly praised not only the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, but the overthrow of the elected government in Egypt, which he described as the rescue of a nation. Now this is a coup. The minimum estimate is that 2,000 people were killed on the streets of Egyptian cities in that coup d’etat. 20,000 people were arrested and held without trial. There have been a thousand death sentences handed out by this regime, which by any reckoning is one of the more brutal dictatorships in the region. And this guy, Sisi, is the one that Blair is openly championing.

 

 

TB speaking at pro-Sisi conference in Sharm el Sheikh

TB: For the first time in my memory, you have a leadership in Egypt that understands the modern world, is prepared to take the measures that are relevant to the modern world, and wants Egypt connected to the modern world in the right way, and that is a fantastic opportunity.

 

 

 

IV David Davis: You shouldn’t need rules to tell an ex-prime minister he shouldn’t do these things, you really shouldn’t need rules, it should be self-evident in your ethical standing that you should not do this sort of thing. What does it do for the ongoing reputation of Britain if, you know, somebody hawks himself around essentially as an influence agent. 

 

 

 

2c – Burma

 

 
GG PTC in front of House of Commons
PTC: When I look at Tony Blair’s client list, I can’t help remembering the last one-to-one personal conversation I ever had with him, in the building behind me, in the library corridor, outside the gentlemen’s lavatory to be precise. It was right on the eve of the Iraq War, and I asked him, ‘Tony, why Iraq?’ His eyes lit up; actually they swivelled just a little bit, as he gave me a list of those countries that he would, if he could, invade. And one of those was Burma. So he was ready to send your son to overthrow the Burmese junta just over a decade ago, and now he’s working for them. 
 
 
 
 
Mark Farmaner: 2011, a new government was formed in Burma. It was a … pretty much exactly the same people who had been in power before. But they’d taken off their uniforms, and one of the old generals became  the new President. And this President announced a big reform process and said that Burma was now on a transition to democracy. 
 
 
Burmese president Thein Sein speaking at press conference.
 
 
 
 
Mark Farmaner: This reform process attracted a lot of international attention and a lot of support and Tony Blair was one of those who visited Burma. We had imagined that his involvement would be something positive. The last thing we expected was for him to go and work for President Thein Sein, someone with an atrocious record on human rights, and that’s the person that Tony Blair went to work for. 
 
 
 
Francis Beckett: He appears to be attempting to help Thin (sic) Sein to burnish the generals’ international image. 
 
 
 
Mark Farmaner: What the Burmese government engaged on (sic) was an international charm offensive. But once sanctions were lifted, once the pressure was off and the aid and trade’s flowing, they went back to land confiscation, forced labour, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 
 
 
 
Mark Farmaner: Tony Blair’s involvement in Burma will end up just helping public relations trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community. 
 
 
 
Peter Oborne: You know there’s a pattern here. One dictatorship after another, one dictator after another receives the ministrations of Mr Blair. 
 
 
 
Clare Short: No previous Labour prime minister in the whole history of the Labour Party has behaved in this shameful, money-grubbing way. 
 
 
 
Peter Oborne: There’s an honour about being a prime minister of Britain, and a dignity about being a former prime minister of Britain. Mr Blair is usng that dignity to go around the world advising torturers, dictators, murderers, in return for hard cash, and negotiating deals which clearly benefit him personally.
 

 

 

3. The killing of the Labour Party

 

 

 

3a – 97 election/charm

 

 

 

Watching Blair’s mercenary antics, it’s easy to forget how differently it all began.

 

 

TB addressing 97 election victory celebration

TB: A new dawn has broken, has it not?

 

10:15:24

 

VO: In 1997 a fresh-faced Tony Blair embodied the hopes of a nation as his landslide victory ended 18 years of Conservative rule.

 

 

 

 

IV Stephen Fry: 97 was an extraordinary year, all those wonderful pictures of that sunny day when Tony and Cherie processed along Downing St with screaming crowds.

 

 

 

IV Norman Baker: We were happy for the country to end the years of Thatcherism, and even though he wasn’t my party I welcomed his election to Labour leader and I thought this was an opportunity for a new direction in British politics.

 

 

TB addressing crowd outside Downing St.

TB: As I stand here before number 10 Downing St, I know all too well the huge responsibility that is upon me, and the great trust that the British people have placed in me.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: We were all convinced that Blair would find a way of reconciling the divisions in Britain and making us a sort of more honourable and less cynical country.

 

 

TB addressing crowd outside Downing St.

TB: And it will be a government that seeks to restore trust in politics in this country.

 

10:16:35

 

VO: It’s undeniable – even for me - that Blair’s easy-going charm had mass-appeal. But then, once you can fake the sincerity, the rest is easy.

 

 

 

 

IV Lauren Booth (LB): I remember my dad saying, ‘God, she’s married this middle-class Tory type, and he was kind of disturbed about that. But I know that he quickly grew to … to love Tony because of the love that Tony and Cherie had.

 

GG: What kind of impact did he make on you?

 

LB: I adored him, quite simply as an older brother I thought he was er, you know, the bees’ knees basically.

 

 

 

IV LB: Tony was the kind of young lawyer who would wear his shirt without ironing it, and his wife would shout at him, ‘Could you change that shirt?!’ You know, on the right side of cool, kind of older brother figure. George I think he could even charm you. He could. If he walked in here now, I know you don’t like to hear this, but I reckon Tony could sit here and go, ‘George, you know I’ve always admired you,’ and I’m telling you your heart would flutter. What do you think?

 

GG: Maybe, but I would then arrest him, [LB laughs] which would be the end of the fluttering.

 

 

 

Stephen Fry: He made a terrific impression on me. He was an extremely … he had that Clinton thing, you know, he looked into your eyes, and his eyes were round and big and smiley, and he was very charming.

 

GG: He was a real pro, yeah?

 

SF: He was a total pro. And, you know, he’d been a lawyer, he liked his cricket, he liked his football. He had all the charm of manner that could make one think, well this is, really, this is gonna be something.

 

 

 

IV David Davis: The media liked the game, they liked the presentation, they liked the packaging, they didn’t care there was no product inside it.

 

 

TB playing tennis with Pat Cash.

 

 

 

 

IV Lauren Booth: He became this incredible, pop idol kind of prime minister, and the first one that we’d had.

 

 

Chris Evans introducing TB onto stage at the Brit Awards. TB enters stage right, down stairs.

Chris Evans: With this award, here is the foot-tappin’, pop-lovin’, he’s got nice hair Tony Blair.

 

 

Noel Gallagher, being interviewed as he left Downing St ‘Cool Britannia’ party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NG’s wife Meg Matthews covers his mouth, both laughing. 

Noel Gallagher: We talked about married life actually, which was a funny thing,

 

Interviewer: Did you?

 

NG: Yeah

 

Interviewer: And what did you have to say about married life?

 

NG: Well, me and Tony both reckoned it were (sic) rubbish.

 

 

 

3b – Blair’s pact with Murdoch

 

10:19:27

 

VO: But many of us in the Labour Party didn’t buy into Blair mania. For us the party had been hijacked, and was being flown to destruction.

 

 

10:19:40

 

VO: Because we’d seen Blair stab his best friend in the back to become Labour leader, and then hack off the party’s commitment to socialism. But most deadly of all was Blair’s dance with one of Labour’s worst enemies – and one of the world’s most powerful men. 

 

 

 

1960s B/W Australian TV interview with Rupert Murdoch.

Interviewer: Do you like the feeling of power you have as a newspaper proprietor, being able to sort of formulate policy for a large number of newspapers in every state of Australia?

 

Rupert Murdoch: Well there’s only one honest answer to that of course, and that’s yes.

 

10:20:04

 

VO: Rupert Murdoch’s news empire spanned over 150 newspapers across four continents, including a third of Britain’s newspaper market. His papers had always backed the Tories, and the Tories had always won.

 

 

10:20:26

 

VO: But with Labour on course for victory in 97, Murdoch was worried about the party’s plans to loosen his grip on the press. But he wouldn’t worry for long.

 

 

 

IV Seumas Milne: Tony Blair, who had an unerring instinct for where power lay in society, and understood that in this era it was very important to bring the media onside and to offer them a deal.

 

10:20:57

 

VO: Two years before becoming prime minister, Blair went half way around the world to attend a Murdoch conference in Hayman Island, off the coast of Australia, to pay tribute at the Court of the Sun King.

 

 

 

 

IV Matthew Norman: It should have been called hymen island, I was thinking looking at the name today, because he went there and yielded himself, gave his virginity to, his media virginity to Mr Murdoch,

 

 

 

IV Ken Livingstone: Blair just sent this sign right away, you know, we’re yours if you want us, tell us what to do.

 

 

 

VO: In his conference speech Blair said he opposed new laws to limit how much of the media could be owned by one person. In other words he opposed his own policy.

 

 

 

 

IV Seumas Milne: He went to make a very clear deal, I will look after your interests, if you call off your dogs, and if you back me.

 

10:21:49

 

VO: Sure enough, by election time in 1997 all of Murdoch’s papers backed Blair to the hilt.

 

10:21:57

 

Once in power, Blair returned the favour, protecting the Murdoch empire from any new media legislation.

 

 

Reporter shouting question to Murdoch as he gets into car.

Interviewer: How would you describe your relationship with Tony Blair?

 

Rupert Murdoch: I’m a supporter.

 

 

 

IV Seumas Milne: New Labour was backed in power by the most powerful media interests, the most powerful corporations and City interests, because they realised he was representing them.

 

 

 

Stephen Fry: You sup with the devil, you eat … you take a long spoon is the rule, isn’t it, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that as far as the British polity was concerned Rupert Murdoch was the devil, in that to come to an accommodation with him meant sacrificing all the principles the Labour Party stood for.

 

 
GG PTC walking along the Thames opposite Parliament.
GG PTC:
The Labour Party I had joined as a 13 year old was, as it says on the tin, a party of the working class. It prided itself on its internal democracy, with members having the right to vote on policy. But under the banner of what they called New Labour, and I called non-Labour, Blair and his clique began to steer the party into the eager embrace of Thatcherism. Dragging a left-wing party in the Iron Lady’s footsteps would require an iron fist. For Blair, democracy was so overrated.
 
 
 
IV Will Self: What we see developing very early in the Blair administration is the kind of tactics that one associates with emperors, or rulers of one sort of another who are non-democratic. 
 
 
 
IV Ken Livingstone: They just had a party in which dissent really wasn’t tolerated. 
 
 
 
IV Clare Short: No decisions were made in the Cabinet. It didn’t operate as a Cabinet in the way that constitutional theory says it should. It was a sort of little chat. If there was ever anything coming up that he thought you might want to argue about he’d ask to see you beforehand and try and iron it out, he didn’t want any clashing or discussion of ideas and a kind of collective thrashing out of a line, I mean that … it just didn’t happen. 
 
 
 
IV Stephen Fry: Blair had this presidential manner, he ruled by, you know, sofa politics. You picture him and Alastair Campbell leaning back and sort of, you know, their feet up, deciding the fate of the nation.
 
 
 
Iv Lauren Booth: The appointment of Alastair Campbell was an acceptance of the brutality and bullying culture that is endemic in Westminster. You know, if Tony didn’t want to see you and you were shown in to see Alastair Campbell, you were going to get a rollicking. 
 
GG: You were going to get monstered. 
 
LB: You were gonna get monstered. 
 
 
 
Clare Short: Campbell was there, with Blair, and he was like the hard guy. Tony was Mr Charm. Campbell could be rude and rough and swear and, so they were like a duo, Mr Tough and Mr Nice, but shoulder-to-shoulder. 
 
 
 
IV Matthew Norman: Not only were Mandelson and Campbell the … the pillars who supported Blair, and did all his enforcing and his fixing, but they were often used as lightening rods. When things happened and it was clearly Blair who had done something appalling or wrong or stupid, they would step forward and take all the lightening for him, and protect him. He was very well protected. 
 

 

 

3c – Blair the Machiavellian/sofa government

 

10:25:25

 

VO: Surrounded by sycophants and slippery by nature, Blair soon earned the nickname Teflon Tony – because dirt never stuck to him.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: There was a remarkable quote in Chris Mullin’s, er, diary. Blair giving advice to David Milliband about how to conduct himself in public office. He says, ‘Smile at everybody, and get somebody else to stab their back.’

 

 

 

3d – The Ecclestone Affair

 

 

TB speaking at a podium, at the 1996 Labour Party conference.

TB: We will be tough on sleaze and tough on the causes of sleaze.

 

10:26:17

 

VO: Less than six months after becoming Prime Minister Blair was caught up in a corruption scandal that would have ended most politicians’ careers. His government had announced plans to ban tobacco advertising from sport. But what we didn’t know was that before coming to power Blair had accepted a one million pound donation from Bernie Ecclestone, owner of Formula One. Ecclestone then secretly visited Blair in Downing Street as the decision was being made.

 

 

 

Reporter interviewing Bernie Ecclestone

Interviewer: Did you give a donation expecting something in return?

 

Bernie Ecclestone: No. I didn’t want anything. I still don’t want anything to be honest with you.

 

10:27:01

 

VO: Within hours of the meeting Blair had ordered his minions to grant Formula One a special exemption from the ban.

 

 

10:27:16

 

VO: His Health Secretary protested, saying the U-turn would result in ‘serious damage to the government.’

 

 

10:27:28

 

VO: Blair simply overruled him and Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One continued to peddle tobacco.

 

 

 

Peter Oborne: The Ecclestone Affair should’ve been the moment that we in the press and indeed the nation saw through Mr Blair. He was caught red-handed trading policy in return for hard cash from a businessman.

 

10:27:51

 

VO: Blair’s back-room bullying remained secret for another decade, allowing our new prime minister to wriggle free from the scandal with this priceless apology to the nation.

 

 

 

3e – Blair and BAE Systems

 

10:28:18

 

VO: Just as people hoped for an end to Tory sleaze under New Labour, they also hoped Britain would play a decent role in the world.

 

 

 

Robin Cook foreign policy speech at Chatham House, 1997.

Robin Cook: The Labour government does not accept that political values can be left behind when we check in our passports to travel on diplomatic business. Our foreign policy must have an ethical dimension.

 

10:28:42

 

VO: Whatever his party wanted, when it came to hawking weapons around the world Blair took his cue from Mrs Thatcher.

 

 

 

Thatcher talking to journalists in Saudi Arabia, next to model of a fighter jet.

Thatcher: Aircraft are very expensive these days, and so you don’t want them to have just one role when that one role is advanced training, so they also are being adapted for a strike capacity, a ground strike capacity, which is why you’ve got these on. So they’re very good not only for advanced training, but for striking.

 

10:29:10

 

VO: From Day One Blair cosied up to Britain’s biggest weapons dealer, BAE Systems and its Chief Executive, Dick Evans.

 

 

10:29:25

 

VO: A year into government Blair yet again overruled his Cabinet to rubber-stamp BAE’s sale of hawk jets to Indonesia’s dictatorship, which was ethnically cleansing thousands in East Timor.

 

 

 

 

IV Craig Murray: This was Blair sending out a plain message, ‘You can say what you want about ethical foreign policy, but I’m in charge of this government, and if we want to sell planes to dictators to bomb their civilian populations we’re going to do so.

 

 

TB speaking at podium, at Labour conference 2001.

TB: The state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world.

 

10:30:10

 

VO: That was almost Oscar-worthy. Because even as he uttered those words, privately Blair was persuading one of the poorest countries in Africa, Tanzania, to spend 28 million pounds on BAE’s military air traffic control system. Tanzania had no operational airforce. Smelling corruption, one of Blair’s ministers confronted her boss.

 

 

 

 

IV Clare Short: In the case of Tanzania, it couldn’t afford this, and I was planning some tens of millions aid to pay for a big move to universal primary education. So if they went ahead with it we were going to use British aid in effect to pay for this wretched old fashioned, useless air traffic control system. And I thought there must be corruption here. So it was a disgusting, disgraceful project, and Tony thought I was making a fuss about nothing.

 

10:31:14

 

VO: But Blair was about to help BAE in a much bigger way – and not only them.

 

10:31:23

 

VO: The company had long been accused of corruption around the huge arms contract they signed with Saudi Arabia under Mrs Thatcher. Called Al Yamamah, the deal was worth over forty Billion dollars. Dick Evans, at the time BAE’s man in Saudi Arabia, had gone as far as eating sheep’s eyeballs to drive the deal through.

 

 

 

 

IV Will Self: Those of us who have examined Al Yamamah are fond of remembering the phrase that was bu … you know, bruited about at the time the deal was cut, you know, the ‘biggest sale of anything by anyone to anybody ever.’ I mean we are talking amazingly large amounts of money here. It’s a matter of public record that there were vast amounts of sweeteners involved in this deal. 

 

10:32:17

 

VO: A close family friend of George W Bush, the Saudi Prince Bandar, alone was accused of trousering 2 billion dollars.

 

 

10:32:29

 

VO: Blair blocked the publication of a Parliamentary report on Al Yamamah. But an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office then uncovered damning evidence that could wreck BAE and reveal the Saudi royal family as little more than 40,000 thieves.

 

 

 

 

At the heart of BAE’s bribery web, the investigators discovered a shell company, based around the corner from the Saudi embassy in London. Its purpose was to pay for anything the Saudis wanted, from gambling trips to prostitutes. The payments continued on Blair’s watch.

 

 

10:33:14

 

By 2006 there was enough evidence for a prosecution against BAE and its Chief Executive Big Dick Evans.

 

 

 

 

IV Max Keiser: The Serious Fraud Office had a … started an investigation into that slush fund, and Prince Bandar of course went into Tony Blair’s office and asked him to shut down that investigation. So what did Tony Blair do? He acquiesced.

 

 

Blonde female news anchor reading news.

News anchor: An inquiry into the deal was dropped by British fraud watchdogs last year. The UK government said it posed a risk to national security.

 

 

 

IV Clare Short: There was clear corruption, I mean the evidence is overwhelming, and he just stops the inquiry and uses the national interest, you know, card to stop it all.

 

 

TB and George W. Vush standing on White House lawn. BBC reporter Nick Robinson questioning TB. 

 

TB and Bush look at each other and laugh.

 

Nick Robinson: Were you aware that your government was approving payments to a friend of President Bush’s as part of British Aerospace’s kickback system, and is that why you suspended a fraud inquiry?

 

President Bush: I’m glad you’re answering that question. Friend of mine!

 

 

 

IV Craig Murray: One of the worst things Blair did, which may not seem as terrible as his killing of … as his actions resulting in the deaths of a million people in Iraq, but the long-term effects could be even worse, of (sic) his deciding that the executive, the prime minister, could stop a prosecution of BAE because it’s not in the national interest, or the security interest of the state to prosecute, which absolutely wipes out the rule of law.

 

 

TB next to Bush on White House lawn, responding to Nick Robinson’s earlier question.

TB: I don’t believe the investigation incidentally would have led anywhere except to the complete wreckage of a vital strategic relationship for our country, in terms of fighting terrorism, in terms of the Middle East, in terms of British interests there.

 

 

 

VO: That was Blair’s take. This was Bandar’s.

 

 

Prince Bandar responding to interviewer’s question on bribery allegations.

Prince Bandar: If you tell me that, building this whole country and spending 350 billion out of 400 billion, that we had misused, or get (sic) corrupted with 50 billions (sic) I’ll tell you yes, but I’ll take that any time. What I’m trying to tell you is, so what?

 

 

 

3f – Achievements/TB Tory

 

10:35:17

 

Despite the sleaze and corruption under New Labour, it would be unfair to dismiss its record entirely. There were some achievements. A national minimum wage was introduced for first time. Child poverty in the UK was reduced dramatically. And Blair’s finest achievement was brokering peace in Northern Ireland, ending decades of conflict.

 

 

 

TB speaking at podium at Labour conference 1996.

TB: Ask me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education, education.

 

10:35:55

 

Education and healthcare did receive much-needed investment. But there was a catch. Under New Labour’s Private Finance Initiative, corporations were invited to build and run schools and hospitals for the first time. PFI was privatisation by stealth, and robbery by daylight. According to the Financial Times, these projects cost taxpayers up to 25 billion pounds more than if they’d been government-funded. PFI schools and hospitals slipped into an endless spiral of debt. But debts for some means profits for others.

 

 

 

IV Richard Brooks: Under New Labour big business bloomed in the City of London because of the effective absence of regulation. Foreign banks were falling over themselves to get business into London because it wouldn’t be as tightly regulated as it would elsewhere. The government effectively decided that for the wealthiest and for the biggest business (sic) the tax regime would be almost voluntary.

 

 

 

3g - New Labour legacy Summary

 

10:37:02

 

VO: In a speech at a Goldman Sachs soiree Blair even boasted how every high-roller in the room was paying less tax under him than they had under Margaret Thatcher. When Mrs Thatcher was asked to name her greatest legacy, her response was immediate: Tony Blair and New Labour.

 

 

 
GG PTC overlooking City of London skyscrapers. 
GG PTC: It’s long been my thesis that Tony Blair set out to kill the Labour Party, by cutting it adrift from its roots, and then selling its soul to the banksters and big business. But the impact of the Blair era on British politics runs even deeper. By continuing Margaret Thatcher’s legacy of privatisation, Blair accelerated a form of corruption previously rare in Britain: the revolving door.
 
 
 
4. Revolving door – JPMorgan & PetroSaudi
 
 
 
IV Will Self: He absolutely exemplifies a completely revolving door between the higher levels of the British civil service and private enterprise, and particularly forms of private enterprise that profit from conflict. 
 

10:38:38

 

VO: And when he left office, Blair wasted no time before going through the very same revolving door, to join the real wolf of Wall Street, JPMorgan Chase. According to Blair his 5 million dollars a year is for advice on, quote, the huge political and economic changes that globalisation brings. Like JP Morgan didn’t know that already. To find out what he’s really up to, I met with someone who’s worked on the inside.

 

 

 

IV Nomi Prins: What he would’ve been expected to do is very different from the press release, which is just he’s going to advise them and give them information about what’s going on on a geopolitical global basis. The reality is banks are about making money. And having a former, celebrity type of a prime minister gave them access to use the relationships with leaders. So if Tony Blair has relationships in the Middle East, if Tony Blair has relationships with any European countries, the fact is that JPMorgan Chase would want it to be translated into deals.

 

10:39:51

 

And deals bring commission – as Blair no doubt appreciated after the 30 billion pound corporate merger he brokered just around the corner from his Mayfair office. Francis Beckett walked me through the deal.

 

 

 

 

IV Francis Beckett: He was brought in at the request of his client JPMorgan to grease the wheels on a merger between Xstrata and Glencore, two very large companies. There were one or two little obstacles in the way and Tony Blair was asked to sort it out, so he walked from his office to here, which as you’ve just seen, George, is probably less than two minutes’ walk. He spent a couple of hours in there, he was paid a million dollars for it, it’s nice work if you can get it.

 

GG: Two or three hours’ work …

 

FB: Not bad at all.

 

GG: … in the comfort of Claridge’s. Beats being at the coal face. 

 

 

 

VO: As Blair’s million-dollar payoff leaked by chance, it’s anyone’s guess how many such deals Blair has brokered.

 

10:41:06

 

VO: Besides JPMorgan, Blair also landed a job for PetroSaudi – an oil company owned by one of Prince Bandar’s many cousins. Blair is popular at the court of the head-choppers for obvious reasons, and it pays dividends.

 

 

 

Seumas Milne: All these relationships that he’s built up in the years since he was prime minister are in most people’s estimation corrupt relationships. They are clearly indicating that the decisions that Blair took when he was prime minister had a direct impact on who paid him money thereafter, and of course it’s impossible to believe that that didn’t affect the decision-making in the first place. And that idea that people take decisions with the knowledge that they are going to be lavishly rewarded in the years to come is a knife at the heart of our political and democratic systems.

 

 

 

5. TB secrecy/wealth management

 

 

 

VO: Blair certainly has been lavishly rewarded, although estimates of his wealth differ wildly.

 

 

 

TB speaking at a Progress conference.

TB: I mean I read that I’m supposed to worth a hundred million pounds. Cherie’s kind of asking where it is in that case.

 

10:42:27

 

VO: So how much is he really worth? With 31 UK homes, the Blairs’ property portfolio alone accounts for 25 million pounds. In search of an answer to the multi-million dollar question, I joined financial journalist Richard Brooks outside Blair’s country estate.

 

 

 

IV Richard Brooks: He’s set up a very complicated corporate structure to conceal the income that he’s getting. There’s a limited partnership called Windrush Ventures Number 3 Limited Partnership. Now it’s owned by something called Windrush Ventures Number 2 Limited Liability Partnership, and it, in turn, is owned by two companies called Windrush Ventures [echo effect].

 

10:42:33

 

VO: All this jargon left me more confused than I was to begin with. And that’s precisely the point.

 

 

 

IV Richard Brooks:  A loophole in the law allows him not to publish accounts of the limited partnership. So his income is completely secret.

 

 

 

6. Why is TB greedy?

 

 

 

IV Will Self: I am staggered by Blair’s avarice since he has left office. I simply cannot get my head round it.

 

10:43:55

 

VO: Blair is clearly enchanted by money. But how did he fall under that spell? As a child his family sent him to Fettes College, an elite school they struggled to afford.

 

 

 

GG PTC: In this kind of Hogwarts Castle, Tony Blair learned to rub shoulders with the big boys; the boys who would go on to run much of this country. But he also learned the lesson that he’s only feel truly secure when he had just as much money as them.

 

10:44:31

 

VO: But when his father had a stroke and was unable to work, Blair was alarmed by the modesty of his background compared with his chums’.

 

 

TB speaking on BBC Radio, 1996.

TB: That obviously was probably the most important event of my childhood. I mean I did learn, through that, that not everything in life was not just a sort of smooth run, and it obviously brought with it tremendous insecurity.

 

10:44:54

 

VO: In his wife Cherie, Blair found a kindred spirit. I knew her when she was a campaigning socialist. Now she’s a highly paid lawyer and businesswoman. But she still felt the need to sell Tony’s autograph on Ebay for tenner a time.  

 

10:45:22

 

VO: But the money-grubbing matters. Because since becoming a multimillionaire, Blair has also become one of Britain’s biggest benefit claimants. First there’s the more than a hundred thousand pounds he claims as a former prime minister to run his private office; and then there’s his security detail, costing taxpayers up to 16,000 pounds a week. Eight police officers accompany Blair as he criss-crosses the globe, while others guard his houses.

 

 

 

IV Will Self: He’s unable to walk down a street in Britain without heavy, heavy police protection. His house here in London is guarded by members of the Metropolitan Tactical Firearms Support Unit 24/7.

 

 

 

IV Seumas Milne: I mean the idea that the public purse is funding Blair’s security to run what are in fact commercial operations around the world is an outrage.

 

10:46:26

 

VO: But he needs an armed guard for a reason.

 

 

 

Protestor: JPMorgan paid him off for the Iraq War. He was then paid six million dollars every year and still is, from JPMorgan, six months after he left office. The man is a war criminal.

 

 

Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition giving a speech at an Iraq Inquiry protest.

Protestors chanting: … war criminal! Tony Blair: war criminal. Tony Blair: war criminal.

 

Lindsey German: Tony Blair’s legacy is absolutely clear. He will always be remembered as the man who took us into an illegal and unnecessary war.

 

 

 

7. The Killing of Iraq

 

 

 

GG PTC: The two-million march, which ended here in Hyde Park on February 15th 2003, was the biggest in British history, by many times over. Tony Blair’s decision to defy the millions has of course defined his political legacy. As for me, as one of the leaders of that march, well, Tony Blair expelled me from the Labour Party. Of course I would’ve opposed the war in any case, but Iraq was special. In the 1980s, led by the late Tony Benn, I’d been one of those Labour MPs opposing Britain arming Saddam Hussein in the first place.

 

 

10:47:48

 

VO: In the 1990s I took a London bus from Big Ben to Baghdad to oppose the West’s sanctions on Iraq, which killed half a million children.

 

 

 

GG PTC: When the American war drums began beating, we feared the worst; because we already knew that our own prime minister had developed his own taste for regime change.

 

10:48:19
 
VO: Even before Iraq, Blair had led us into four wars - more than any other prime minister. Blair’s foreign policy championed the right of the West to police a simplified world of good and evil. It goes without saying that our allies were the goodies. In 1999, Serbia, a Western enemy, was suppressing an armed uprising in its Kosovo region. To stop one massacre, Blair convinced Clinton to launch another. 
 
 
TB speech at podium beside NATO flag.
TB: It is a just cause. And it is a cause that we will succeed in winning. 
 

10:49:04

 

VO: The attack violated international law, escalating the killing on both sides. But the media hailed it a success, and Blair its hero.

 

 

 

IV Matthew Norman: Going to Kosovo is possibly the key moment, when he’s walking through that camp and people are kind of treating him like … like Jesus, really, almost on their knees praying to him. All these babies have been named after him …

 

GG: [Chants] ‘Tony…’

 

MN: … cheering his name, now to somebody with a latent and incipient messianic tendency, it’s like somebody who, you know, has soft drugs and suddenly you give them heroin, one hit and you’re hooked. If he wasn’t already, but if you are it’s going to exacerbate the addiction.

 

 

TB speaking to cheering crowd in Kosovo

TB: We will do whatever we can to make sure that these people are allowed by the world community acting together, back to their homeland, back to Kosovo.

 

10:49:57

 

VO: Kosovo catapulted Blair into the big league of global power players. But it also taught him an important lesson: if you’re on the winning side, you’re above the law. You can get away with murder.

 

 

 

VO: Blair’s inner crusader was soon to be challenged by an event of Biblical proportions.

 

 

TB speech at podium at Labour Party conference 2001

TB: This is a moment to seize. The kaleidoscope has been shaken, the pieces are in flux, soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us reorder this world around us.

 

 

 

IV David Davis: I think he suddenly saw himself as some sort of warrior in the self-styled War on Terror.

 

 

TB speech at podium at Labour Party conference 2001

TB: This is a battle with only one outcome: our victory, not theirs.

 

 

 

IV Clare Short: He changed and became, ‘I’m gonna to show I’m tough and powerful and important and significant on the world stage. I’ll do that by being best friends with the President of the United States.’

 

10:51:48

 

VO: Blair needed a dose of sanity; but Dubya definitely wasn’t the guy to provide it.

 

 

President Bush addressing Congress after 9/11.

Bush: Every nation and every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

 

 

 

IV Noam Chomsky: The special relationship means England is our lieutenant, the fashionable word is ‘partner.’ That’s the word they like to hear.  

 

 

 

IV Elizabeth Murray: Tony Blair seemed to always be at our President’s side, nodding his head and agreeing with erm whatever policy it was and I believe he was even called George Bush’s poodle for that reason.

 

 

 

IV Matthew Norman: It would’nt have mattered who was in the White House. It could’ve been Big Bird from Sesame Street, or the late Stanley Matthews or, you know, or a martian. It didn’t matter who was in the White House, the personnel are irrelevant. The thing is that it the White House.

 

 

President Bush addressing Congress after 9/11.

Bush: America has no truer friend than Great Britain.

 

 

 

IV Matthew Norman: By the time he goes to Congress for that joint address by Bush, to both houses of Congress, and he’s sitting up there among the senators and representatives, he’s given standing ovations. And this is the global citadel of pure power. The American president is bringing about standing ovations for you. There is no bigger stage in the world than that.

 

10:53:25

 

VO: Blair took his seat at the heart of American empire and was ready to follow Bush’s crusade to the ends of the earth. First stop: Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden. But instead of just smoking their bogeyman out of his cave, they bombarded, occupied and ultimately destroyed one of the world’s poorest countries.

 

10:53:53

 

VO: In truth Bin Laden was a sideshow; Afghanistan a springboard for a much more ambitious plan for the region.

 

 

Former four-star general Wesley Clark speaking at a conference.

Wesley Clark: I went through the Pentagon ten days after 9/11. An officer from the joint staff called me into his office and said, ‘Sir, we’re gonna attack Iraq.’ I said, ‘Well did they tie Saddam to 9/11?’, he said, er, ‘No.’ I walked out of there pretty upset. And then we attacked Afghanistan. And then I came back to the Pentagon about six weeks later, I saw the same officer, I said, ‘Why haven’t we attacked Iraq, are we still going to attack Iraq?’ He said, ‘Oh, sir…’, he says, ‘It’s worse than that.’ He said ‘We’re going to attack, and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We’re gonna start with Iraq and then we’re gonna move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.’

 

 

 

VO: So why this interest in dominating the Middle East? And why was Iraq at the top of the list?

 

 

 

 

IV Noam Chomsky: I think it was primarily for oil. Not just the oil of Iraq, but establishing a base in the … at the heart of the main energy-producing region of the world.

 

10:55:08

 

VO: The fact that many in the Bush administration stood to profit from Iraq’s oil no doubt helped too. The policy was regime change, a crime under international law. To get the ball rolling Dubya invited Blair to his ranch in Texas, where they were alone together for several hours. Some say they got down on their knees and prayed.

 

 

 

 

IV Matthew Norman: If two people want to pray in private, that’s their own business, good luck to them. If they are praying to receive instructions from the Almighty about destroying a country and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, then I think we start to have our problems. There were four big political figures around the world, global figures, at the time: Blair, Bush, Osama bin Laden and Saddam. And of the four of them the only one who wasn’t a religious maniac was Saddam.

 

10:56:08

 

VO: When they left the ranch, Bush and Blair were singing from the same hymn sheet.

 

 

Bush and Blair speaking at podiums at Crawford press conference, April 2002

Bush: We both recognise the danger of Saddam Hussein harbouring and developing Weapons of Mass Destruction.

 

 

Bush and Blair speaking at podiums at Crawford press conference, April 2002

Blair: The president is right to draw attention to the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction. That threat is real.

 

10:56:28

 

VO: As minutes of a Bush-Blair meeting spell out, the war was to be justified by imaginary threats: Iraqi terrorism and weapons of mass destruction; the intelligence to be fixed around the policy.

 

10:56:45

 

VO: As Blair toured the world drumming up support for the war, the Americans had discovered the only real WMD around: a weapon of mass deception.

 

 

 

IV Noam Chomsky: Blair’s strong, passionate often, er advocacy of the war carried a lot of weight.

 

 

Blair speaking at press conference beside Polish PM.

Blair: That evidence, of Weapons of Mass Destruction, is evidence the truth of which I have absolutely no doubt about at all.

 

 

 

IV Chomsky: Without Blair’s vocal support and participation, they might not have been able to carry it off.

 

 

 

IV Elizabeth Murray: I think he facilitated it. I think he was very eloquent, er even much more eloquent, of course, than, um, our President.

 

10:57:36

 

VO: But Blair knew his toughest sell would be at home.

 

 

 

TB speaking at UK press conference.

TB: The Iraqi regime has Weapons of Mass Destruction, we know that.

 

 

TB speaking at UK press conference.

TB: Weapons of mass destruction…

 

 

TB speaking at UK press conference.

TB: Chemical…

 

 

TB speaking at UK press conference.

TB: Biological…

 

 

TB speaking at UK press conference.

TB: And nuclear weapons.

 

 

 

IV Craig Murray: I don’t think anybody in the British Foreign Office believed Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction. I met Sir William Patey, who at the time was head of the Middle East department. And I stopped Bill in the corridor and I said, ‘Bill what … what’s all this about WMD, it’s not true is it? And he said, ‘Of course not, it’s bollocks.’ And that was at precisely the time that Blair makes his claim.

 

10:58:18

 

VO: With the letters W-M-D now etched onto the public imagination, Blair and his spin doctor Alastair Campbell cobbled together a dossier of so-called intelligence to crank up the fear of Saddam.

 

 

TB presenting first Iraq dossier to Parliament, September 2002

TB: He has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons which could be activated within 45 minutes.  

 

 

 

IV Alexander Coker: Tony Blair was implying that Iraq could launch an attack using Weapons of Mass Destruction within 45 minutes against the British Isles. I’ve been to pretty much all chemical facilities in Iraq. I oversaw the inspections of a huge number. I just don’t think there was any evidence to support that they could launch anything within 45 minutes.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: The UN inspectors were there and they were finding nothing, so why lie about it, continue to lie if you had not er ulterior motives to go into war regardless, and that was the truth. 

 

 

TB speaking at podium in front of blue background.

TB: This danger is present, and real, and with us now. And its potential is huge.

 

 

 

IV Noam Chomsky: As the rhetoric heated up, the media coverage heated up, and the poll results followed along. People really became frightened.

 

 

President Bush speech at election rally in Illinois.

Bush: Saddam Hussein is a threat to America. He’s a threat to our friends. He’s a man who said he wouldn’t have Weapons of Mass Destruction, yet he has them. He’s a man who would likely team up with Al Qaeda.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: That proved a lie. Saddam and Al Qaeda were enemies. Everybody Iraqi knew, it was common knowledge that Al Qaeda were opponents of, er, of Saddam.

 

 

 

IV Elizabeth Murray: My office was certainly placed under political pressure in this polic-politicised effort to go to war on these pretexts of a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which was of course fiction.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: When the propaganda machine is full blast, it is a sight to behold, in a way. The lies became so frantic that, wow, even a child would know who Saddam is, where Iraq is and why it should be invaded. 

 

 

TB addressing Parliament with motion to go to war.

TB: This is not the time to falter. This is the time for this House, not just this government or indeed this prime minister, but for this House to give a lead. To show that we will stand up for what we know to be right. To show that we will confront the tyrannies and dictatorships and terrorists who put our way of life at risk. To show, at the moment of decision, that we have the courage to do the right thing. I beg to move the motion.

 

 

 

VO: On the brink of war, the anti-war movement became a tidal wave of opposition around the world.

 

 

Nelson Mandela speaking at International Women’s Forum conference, January 2003.

Nelson Mandela: Both Bush as well as Tony Blair are now wanting to plunge the world into a Holocaust. And I’m happy that the people of the world are standing up, and opposing.

 

 

GG speaking at anti-war rally in Hyde Park, February 2003.

GG: I say to Mr Blair, the British people have voted with their feet. And their vote is no war on Iraq!

 

 

Robin Cook resignation speech to Parliament, March 2003.

Robin Cook: I cannot support a war without international agreement or domestic support. It is for that reason, and for that reason alone, and with a heavy heart, that I resign from the government.

 

11:02:26

 

VO: The cries of millions were ignored. Bush and Blair were on a mission, and nothing was going to stop them.

 

 

 

TB to-camera television announcement of the war to the British people

TB: Tonight, British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and disarm Iraq of its Weapons of Mass Destruction.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: Just imagine being a child in…

 

GG: Shock and Awe…

 

SR: Shock and Awe, imagine being a child in Baghdad, listening to that … that incredible, terrifying noise.

 

 

 

IV Denis Halliday: I would term it to be state terrorism, of the first order, in fact. Terrified the Iraqi population of Baghdad.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: They refused to count the dead. That is to their shame to the end of time.

 

 

 

VO: With Baghdad crushed in a matter of weeks, Bush and Blair boasted of their success.

 

 

 

Bush speech at ‘mission accomplished’ conference on an aircraft carrier in front of a crowd of marines.

Bush: In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And Iraq is free. [Crowd cheers].

 

11:04:04

 

VO: The triumphalism was amplified by a faithful media.

 

 

Andrew Marr, speaking to-camera outside Downing St, April 2003.

Marr: He said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath. He has been proved conclusively right, and it would be entirely ungracious, er, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result.

 

11:04:28

 

VO: More credible commentators took a different view.

 

 

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan speaking in interview.

Annan: It was not in conformity with the UN Charter from our point of view, and from the Charter point of view it was illegal.

 

 

 

VO: The fall of Baghdad was not the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. The Iraqi people bitterly resisted their invaders. And so-called liberation became brutal occupation.

 

11:05:07

 

VO: Then, in the cruellest of ironies, the invaders unleashed on Iraq the very thing they supposedly invaded the country to prevent: chemical warfare.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: They used phosphorous. With white phosphorous, once it touches the skin it eats into it to the bone.

 

 

 

IV Michael Mansfield: Depleted uranium, sometimes contaminated with plutonium, also being used. Now that comes well within the definition of a war crime.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: Depleted uranium was used across Iraq, poisoning the land, poisoning the waters, silently killing people. And the rates of cancer have risen enormously.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: War brutalises people. And unfortunately some British soldiers also practised brutality, mistreating prisoners, torturing them in captivity, killing some of them under torture.

 

 

British soldier forcing Iraqi prisoners into stress positions against the wall.

British soldier: Get fuckin’ [inaudible]!. You, fuckin’ [inaudible]! Down!

 

 

 

VO: For all the brutality of the occupation, the Iraqi resistance refused to lie down. To break it, the invaders used the oldest trick in the coloniser’s book: divide and rule.

 

 

 

IV Seumas Milne: Sectarianism was incubated and deliberately fostered by the occupation forces from the first day. Power was divided up between the sects and between the ethnic groups. They also played a role in deliberately supporting both sectarian camps against each other to weaken resistance to the occupation.  

 

 

 

VO: Sunni was pitted against Shia, and Iraq descended into a sectarian bloodbath.

 

11:07:52

 

VO: The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, put the Iraqi death toll at 655,000 as of 2006. Bush and Blair rubbished the report. But later estimates were even higher.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: I think a million and more were killed. They want to lower the figures so that history doesn’t judge them, because they keep saying Saddam would have killed more had he stayed in power. Well, all the people he killed do not come to that sort of horrific, er, total, nowhere near it.

 

 

 

IV Noam Chomsky: The US and Britain unilaterally carried out the worst crime of the twenty-first century.

 

 

 

IV David Davis: I am no, er, supporter dictators of any sort around the world, but the people of Iraq today have a worse life today than under Saddam Hussein. It is plainly not as good today as it was before.

 

 

 

IV Denis Halliday: Going to war illegally should have brought down the British government I would’ve thought, and certainly terminated Mr Blair’s career. 

 

 

 

IV Oliver Miles: Is Tony Blair a war criminal, in my opinion yes.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: Most definitely.

 

 

 

IV Craig Murray: If Tony Blair isn’t a war criminal, who is? There… there can be no such thing as a war criminal if Tony Blair is not one, having started an illegal war of aggression.

 

 

 

8. Middle East Peace Envoy

 

 

 

 

VO: Having ignited a fire in the Middle East that might never go out, Blair stepped down as prime minister. But even the most cynical among us couldn’t have predicted his next role.

 

 

 

TB speaking on US TV, to-camera.

TB: I’m the Middle East Peace Envoy, out in the Middle East trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

 

 

 

IV Lauren Booth: What a joke. What a… what a … beyond a joke, what an insult.

 

 

TB speech at AIPAC conference, US.

TB: My job is to try to get agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, for the Quartet, which tries to get agreement between the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia. I thought after being Prime Minister of Britain for ten years I should try something easy.

 

 

 

IV Matthew Norman: It does have the flavour of a purely satirical gesture.

 

 

 

IV Mahathir Mohamed: [Laughs]. I think he’s the person least suitable for that kind of job. This is a man who created war, to ask him to struggle for peace is absurd.

 

 

 

GGPTC: At the time I described Blair’s appointment as the most grotesque since the Emperor Caligula appointed his horse a pro-consul of Rome. But others disagreed. On top of Blair’s peace-making successes in the north of Ireland, there were signs that he was seeking redemption. After all, he had set up several charitable foundations. He had even converted to Catholicism. But when we found out who was behind his appointment, all hope of atonement quickly evaporated.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: This was a favour from his old mucker George W Bush to give Blair a role on the world stage on day one after leaving office. But then of course he pays a price for that, because ever since then Mr Blair has been the American point-man in the Quartet.

 

 

 

IV Will Self: I can only assume that the Americans and the Israeli government viewed him as a safe pair of hands. In other words, they were confident that he would do nothing.

 

11:12:16

 

VO: Israel’s brutal domination of Palestinians in the illegally Occupied Territories worsened significantly during Blair’s tenure as peace envoy. Fatalities rose seven-fold, from 373 in 2007 to 2300 in the year he left office.

 

 

 

IV Stephen Fry: As we speak, while you and I are talking, George, Israel is pounding Gaza, erm having pounded the West Bank earlier in a… in a way that, as a Jew, I find deeply upsetting.

 

 

TB Al Jazeera television interview, to-camera.

TB: There was a greater mood of optimism actually at the meeting today than I’ve seen for several years.

 

 

 

IV Sir Richard Dalton: The way in which Mr Blair has conducted himself in that office, er, makes one want to cry.

 

 

 

IV Oliver Miles: The whole concept of the Quartet was a sideshow. It was put there simply to keep everybody quiet, while the usual business of doing nothing continued.

 

11:13:25

(Wild)

 

VO: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  

 

 

 

IV Ilan Pappe: The Quartet, more than anything else, is an international umbrella giving immunity to criminal policies on a daily basis. It’s such an abomination, things become even worse with military invasion. Then the soldiers do what they want at will. They can destroy your house, can demolish your shop, they can arrest you. You are not immune whether you are an old lady, a child, a toddler.

 

 

TB speech at AIPAC conference.

TB: In many respects the Middle East region should regard Israel not as an enemy, but as a model.

 

 

 

VO: Without American weapons and money, Israeli aggression would have to stop, and a peaceful settlement might be possible.

 

 

 

IV Nabil Shaath: The Quartet eventually became just a… a place where people meet every six to nine months to say something that doesn’t anger the Palestinians, doesn’t anger the Israelis, and doesn’t anger anybody. So it’s become utterly useless.

 

 

 

IV Clare Short: Very early on, he named six projects that should be done, one of them was about sanitation in Gaza, which is a very serious crisis. Even that isn’t done. So what is he doing?

 

11:15:08

 

VO: One thing Blair did accomplish was a lucrative telecoms deal.

 

 

TB speaking to-camera in CNN interview.

TB: It’s a $700m investment over the next few years. It’ll bring in revenues to the Palestinian Authority, about $300m a year, so it’s really, really important for the Palestinian Authority. 

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: He said that it was on behalf of the Palestinians, but the fact is that… that one of the major bankers to that deal was his own bank, JPMorgan, something that was not disclosed at all at the time.

 

 

Mohammd Shtayyeh television interview. 

Shtayyeh: Tony Blair has very serious conflict (sic) of interest in which he is doing business in the term of his official duties.

 

 

 

VO: In eight years as peace envoy, Blair has visited the Middle East around 120 times. He visited Gaza just twice.

 

 

 

IV Nabil Shaath: It’s a grave disappointment for this man to turn out an opportunist in a cause that does not allow any more profiteering and, er, making use of our tragedy. 

 

11:16:27

 

VO: Another contact from his prime ministerial days proved very rewarding to globe-trotting peace envoy.  

 

 

 

IV Francis Beckett: People thought he was going as a representative of the Quartet to discuss Middle East peace with the Emir of Kuwait. There was a… a clue, however, in the fact that he didn’t take with him anybody from the rather well-staffed office of the Quartet in Jerusalem, but instead he took with him the senior consultant for Tony Blair Associates, Jonathan Powell, the former Chief of Staff of Downing Street.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: This is an extraordinary confusion of roles. Blair is going there on behalf of the world to pursue Middle Eastern peace, but he’s piggybacking on that role to pursue personal financial gain in the shape of Tony Blair Associates.

 

11:17:21

 

VO: The alleged fee always seemed rather a lot for Blair’s customary ‘advice’ on economic reform.

 

 

 

IV Francis Beckett: Well, the figure that I heard was £27m, erm, and er, I mean, that figure has never been convincingly argued with. Er, I think Tony Blair has said the figure is wrong, but as usual he doesn’t offer us an alternative figure. 

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: Basically, the Emir of Kuwait was boundlessly grateful to Mr Blair for his role in the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

 

 

 

IV Francis Beckett: Certianly the Emir of Kuwait feels a certain sentimental attachment to Tony Blair because of the Iraq War. To him, Tony Blair was the man who rescued his regime and his country. And it may well be that he feels that if he’s going to hire a consultancy firm he should at the same time show his gratitude to Tony Blair. I have no idea whether that’s the case or not, but it certainly doesn’t seem a particularly good way to spend £27m.

 

11:18:29

 

VO: But it was his relationship with a rather better-known Arab dictator, Colonel Gaddafi, that started to eat away at the remains of Blair’s credibility.

 

 

 

IV Annie Machon: I’m sure a lot of the relationship that Blair was very keen to build with Gaddafi was financially motivated.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: The Libyan, er, sort of sovereign fund before the fall of Gaddafi was incredibly attractive to international bankers. They circled around it like bees round a honeypot.

 

 

 

IV Max Keiser: He could go into a place like Libya, he can open the door to an $80bn sovereign wealth fund and, er, let JPMorgan swoop in and snatch and grab.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: And there was huge commission. Huge commission, for whoever could get hold of a portion of it and get it to their bank. You’ve got to ask the question, was he, at least in part, on these missions to Libya out to try and land himself that personal commission.

 

11:19:27

 

VO: When Gaddafi was overthrown, half a billion of his dollars were stashed at JPMorgan. But Gaddafi had made demands of Blair, too. The Colonel’s sponsorship of a French airline bombing in the 1980s now landed him a massive compensation bill from victims’ families.

 

 

 

IV Annie Machon: They demanded I think a sum of $1.5bn as recompense to the families of the Americans who died in that attack, and it seems that Gaddafi put the squeeze on Blair to go and intercede with his old buddy George Bush to get this dropped.

 

11:19:59

 

VO: At the end of his presidency, Bush passed a law preventing future compensation claims against Gaddafi.

 

 

 

IV Peter Oborne: It’s extraordinary that Mr Blair was lobbying George W Bush on behalf of Colonel Gaddafi, all the more so because his lobbying had implications for British victims. Given that Mr Blair had commercial interests in Libya, the affair is very difficult to explain in a (sic) honourable way.  

 

11.20.25

 

VO: But even worse was the discovery of documents indicating a blood-stained backstory to his waltz with Gaddafi: extraordinary rendition.

 

 

 

IV Clive Stafford Smith: And that’s the legal term for what we as governments do when we take a person against his or her will, and take them from one country to another without any legal process, it’s called kidnapping. The mafia does a lot of it, and so do the governments unfortunately.

 

 

 

IV Michael Mansfield: It’s a process in which people are abducted, smuggled, taken in aircraft and ships to another country, while, of course, they’re subjected to certain methods of questioning, which, again, is not subject to due process because again, it gets in the way. It’s much quicker just to beat it out of you.

 

11:21:17

 

VO: Libyan dissident Abdul Hakilm Belhaj is suing the British government. He has evidence that British and American secret services colluded in his extraordinary rendition.

 

 

 

IV Abdulhakim Belhaj [translated from Arabic]: We were kidnapped and taken via Bangkok, Thailand, both myself and my wife, who was in a delicate condition. She was pregnant.

 

 

Al Jazeera interview with Fatima Boudchar, Belhaj’s wife.

Boudchar: They tied my hands with chains and hung me from them. I stayed there for about two days. On the last day they came to take me and put me on a stretcher and tied me up from top to bottom. And they injected me with I don’t know what. A man came and punched me in the stomach.

 

 

 

IV Abdulhakim Belhaj: Because of the co-operation between British and American intelligence services, my pregnant wife and I were tortured physically and psychologically.

 

 

 

VO: Belhaj was tortured in Abu Selim prison for seven years. He was only released when Gaddafi was overthrown.

 

 

 

IV David Davis: It became quite apparent that we had been involved not just in the rendition, but also it was plain that we knew this was going on, that in some cases it looks as though we provided the information to the questioners, the torturers to put to the, er, to the victims.

 

 

 

IV Annie Machon: The Brits cut a deal with the CIA so that they provide the intelligence, the CIA swoops in and black bags him and his heavily pregnant wife and then flies them all the way back to Libya to Gaddafi. And we know this because the former foreign secretary and intelligence chief, Musa Kusa, who fled from Libya to Qatar as Gaddafi was toppling, left a lot of paperwork in his office.  And one of the letters was from this Sir Mark Allen, ex-MI6, currently BP, who was crowing about the success of this British-led operation to get Belhaj, and saying, you know, have him as a gift, we hope that you’ll be please with us. I mean how disgusting is that?

 

11:23:29

 

VO: Blair’s dirty laundry increasingly became the subject of mockery in the media.

 

 

Have I Got News For You clip – picture of Belhaj on a screen; Ian Hislop speaking on panel.

Hislop: Yeah, he was basically a gift, Blair and Straw needed a present for their favourite dictator. You know, maybe they’d get something in return. Oil rights or, I dunno, a bung when you leave office. [Audience laughs]. Erm, hahaaa that won’t go in.

 

Panellist Paul Merton: Extraordinary accusation there.

 

Hislop: Extraordinary suggesting that Mr Blair has made a huge amount of money since leaving a rather blood-stained period when he was in charge. I do hope that doesn’t get through. [Audience laughter].

 

 

 

VO: Mr Blair chose his words very carefully when asked if he knew what was going on.

 

 

BBC radio interview with Tony Blair.

Interviewer: Your government’s been accused of being complicit in the rendition of Abdulhakim Belhaj, did you have any knowledge of that.

 

TB: No, as I say each time I’m asked, erm, about the Belhaj case, I mean I don’t have any recollection of it at all.

 

11:24:31

 

VO: But for all his ducking and diving, the dirt was finally beginning to stick to Teflon Tony.

 

 

Channel 4 News bulletin, with Jon Snow.

Snow: Tonight, three former UK ambassadors and major public figures have called for Tony Blair’s removal as Middle East Envoy.

 

11:24:45

 

VO: Mired in scandal, Blair finally resigned in 2015; his cloak of respectability torn away.

 

 

Sky News bulletin.

News anchor: Tony Blair has cancelled a high-profile book signing of his memoirs in London on Wednesday, after protestors threw eggs and shoes at him in Dublin.

 

 

Reporter interviews female protestor holding signed copy of TB’s memoirs.

Interviewer: Are you going to read it?

 

Protestor: No, I’m going to burn it [laughs]. I’m not reading this, this is a book written in blood.

 

 

Female anti-Blair protestor interviewed on Sky News.

Protestor: I was actually just hoping to make a citizens’ arrest on Tony Blair. I feel very strongly that the war was illegal.

 

 

 

IV Lauren Booth: I would have to arrest Tony if I saw him today, and that doesn’t make for good inter-family relations.

 

 

TB interviewed on the This Morning couch, by Philip Schofield and co-host.

Schofield: This is quite nice and quiet in here I would’ve thought, are you worried we’re gonna leap forward and perform some sort of citizens’ arrest on you’?

 

TB: No [laughs awkwardly] I’m sort of hoping not.

 

Co-host: You’re safe.

 

Schofield: It might happen.

 

TB: You never know.

 

11:25:32

 

VO: Tony Blair, once immensely popular, now lingers at the edge of British politics like a bad smell.

 

 

 

IV Clare Short: In the court of public opinion, he is despised. That’s a strong word but I think that is the situation.

 

11:25:49

 

VO: With his reputation at rock bottom, Blair made an enemy of the one man who might’ve helped him limit the damage. The Blair-Murdoch alliance had grown so strong that Tony became godfather to Rupert and Wendi’s daughter when she was baptised in the River Jordan. But rumours then spread that Blair had enjoyed a dalliance with Wendi. Murdoch immediately divorced her.

 

 

 

IV Francis Beckett: This is a disaster for Tony Blair. Because whatever the truth of the Blair-Wendi Deng story, the fact is Rupert Murdoch thinks it’s true. And these days it’s Blair versus Murdoch. What a shame somebody has to win.

 

11:26:29

 

VO: The killings of Tony Blair have left the future of the Labour Party and British politics hanging in the balance. But his most damning legacy is in the Middle East. The destruction of Iraq spawned a Frankenstein monster: ISIS.

 

 

 

IV David Davis: We actually had a military victory against Al Qaeda in Iraq, and basically eradicated it. But we didn’t do anything to make sure the politics were sorted out, that the state actually operated fairly to all the peoples that make up Iraq. And because of that we created a vacuum that then created ISIS. We are responsible for this.

 

 

 

IV Sami Ramadani: They planted the seeds of terrorism in Iraq. After they occupied Iraq terrorism spread not only in Iraq but across the region.

 

 

VICE News interview with Barack Obama.

Obama: ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq, that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences, which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.

 

 

 

IV Stephen Fry: Blair can try and make us believe that without his intervention in Iraq it would be in a worse state than it is now, which is frankly incredibly difficult to believe. Erm, but what I … to quote John Lennon, is ah, how do you sleep at night? It’s that, it’s as a person.

 

 

TB, seated, speaking in television interview.

TB:  How can you not feel sorry about people who have died, I mean you would… you would be inhuman if you didn’t think that. But when I’m asked if I regret the decision, you know I have to say I take responsibility for it but I can’t regret the decision.

 

 

GG PTC in a church, walking towards the camera with a crucifix statue and altar in the background.

GG PTC:

The flames of Tony Blair's legacy continue to spread ever further. European capitals are lockdown for fear of more Paris-style attacks. In Afghanistan, the Taliban fight ISIS for power amid a new sea of poppies. And Britain is at war again. But, in truth, Tony Blair is a mere symptom of the West’s wider malaise: an economic system run by and for the super-rich; the corruption of political parties; wars waged for profit and resources; all fuelled by a common evil: greed. In the end Blair succumbed to that evil, ending up a pariah in his own land. For, as Jesus's disciple Mark once asked: ‘What shall it profit a man if he shall gaineth the whole world, only to lose his own soul.’

 

 

 

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