He’s got the smirking grin of a politician who knows that he got away with his crimes. He escaped responsibility for his political murders and the full brunt of moral outrage for the wasteful public sacrifice on his behalf.
I can see it in his eyes. They don’t know half the truth. They don’t know they’re asking the wrong questions. I’m scott free.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair got a second grilling in London last week over his decision to force Britain into the Iraq War, though U.N. weapons inspectors had uncovered no caches of illegal weapons to justify the invasion. Iraq was already broken by United Nations sanctions and had no capacity for self defense at all.
In the aftermath of sectarian strife and daily bombings, Blair’s delusion of nation-building has collapsed. Not so his preening moral rectitude to justify the War.
That smirk tells it all. Blair knows his legacy of public deception has prevailed.
What the British people don’t realize is that up to this point, while Blair’s government fabricated nonsense stories of Pre-War Intelligence and phony moral arguments, intelligence Assets involved in Pre-War Iraq have been locked up in prison or otherwise silenced by phony indictments that functioned as a gag on political discourse. So much for the moral courage of Washington’s favorite puppy dog.
I myself covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations in New York from August, 1996 until March, 2003. A few weeks after requesting to testify before Congress about a comprehensive peace framework that would have fulfilled all U.S. and British objectives without killing a single Iraqi child, I got indicted as an “Iraqi Agent” in “conspiracy with the Iraqi Intelligence Service.”
I got hit with all the bells and whistles of the Patriot Act– secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. My demands for a trial were blocked to protect the government. Instead, I “disappeared” into prison on Carswell Air Force Base in Texas for 11 months, where I faced threats of indefinite detention up to 10 years without a trial. Actually that proved to be the least of my worries. In prison, I had to fight off a Justice Department demand to forcibly drug me with Haldol—a rhinoceros tranquilizer that imitates the effects of Parkinson’s Disease—so that I could be “cured” of knowing the unhappy truth about the Iraqi Peace Option and Iraq’s substantial contributions to the 9/11 investigation.
Making matters worse, my team had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s private staff and the Office of Counter Terrorism in August, 2001. I was definitely persona non grata at the White House and 10 Downing Street.
My indictment continued five years. It ended five days before the inauguration of President Obama. Those five years gave pro-war leaders in Washington and London ample time and free rein to invent a totally fictitious story about Iraq and anti-terrorism that beefed up their personas in the corporate media.
I watched it all on prison television at Carswell Air Force Base. And I watched it again when Blair testified last week. In the absence of public knowledge, Blair has manipulated silence and secrecy to his own advantage. He has abused security classifications to obfuscate his weakness and policy mistakes. And Blair’s government has continued to promote policies that have caused grave harm to global security, and perhaps most ironically, the War on Terrorism.
Unhappily for Blair’s legacy of deception, today Assets are free from prison and false indictment. Now it is our day to defend the public’s right to disclosure and accountability.
And so I challenge the British Government to summon Blair back to face the Inquiry. Only this time the British people should ask Blair about the comprehensive peace framework negotiated by the CIA in the two years before the War.
Oh never fear. MI-6 tracked our back channel talks exhaustively, even appearing at restaurants in New York at lunches with senior diplomats on the Security Council. British Intelligence had full knowledge of the Peace Option. Blair’s top intelligence staff understood that every single objective demanded by Washington and London could be achieved through peaceful means.
That included major oil contracts for the United States, and a package of highly innovative democratic reforms proposed by Baghdad to guarantee the successful repatriation of Iraqi Exiles and international election monitoring. Iraq also offered major reconstruction contracts for U.S (and British) corporations in any post-sanctions period. Iraq promised massive engineering contracts, translating to thousands of jobs and billions in revenues for any U.S. (or British) corporation that helped rebuild Iraqi infrastructure after sanctions.
Everything the U.S and Britain wanted was free for the taking. No blood had to be spilt. And this was no last ditch appeal for peace. It was a rock solid framework, with careful attention to all potential flash points for future conflict identified by the CIA. The truth is not remotely similar to what the international community has been told.
Once the British people understand the right line of questions, let us start again— with the truth this time. For the sake of historical integrity, Tony Blair should face the people to answer questions that would have been asked if Assets like myself had not been locked in prison to protect pro-War leaders in Washington and London. If Tony Blair deceives the British people in this next round of questioning, let him face criminal prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice, like any other British citizen who lies under oath.
For that matter, I am prepared to stand before Parliament myself—as one of the very few Assets covering Iraq before the War. I am ready to look the people in the eye, and raise my hand to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Assets are primary sources of intelligence, in direct contact with people and events after all. As it stands, for all the tens of thousands of pounds financing this inquiry, the British people don’t know anything. Why not ask those of us who do?
That would wipe the smirk off Tony Blair’s face. Because now Assets are free from prison and phony indictments. And Tony Blair’s legacy of deception is finished.
Susan Lindauer covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years before the invasion.