A Blair trap laid for our leadersView(s):
When it was first revealed-no thanks to our foreign ministry which was hiding the news like it was their family boodelay- that Tony Blair would deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture last year, my Sunday column was headlined “Beware of Blair bearing fibs”.
When the Blair family eventually turned up in Sri Lanka last November supposedly on holiday, my column of the week was titled “Blair pair came with their sales ware.” One can now understand why everybody in the know buried their heads in the sand. Obviously embarrassed at inviting a former leader under investigation for his role in invading Iraq and any war crimes flowing from it, to give the Kadirgamar lecture, they wanted to keep it under wraps until the last minute. Kadirgamar respected the UN and international law. Blair had proved he respected neither.
Did not the person who initiated this invitation know that Blair is the most denounced post-war British prime minister and is even shunned by the party he once headed?
Had they read the book by Blair’s biographer Sir Anthony Seldon which is what is expected of diplomats, they could have advised Colombo. “To a controversial premiership, which ended in May 2007, Tony Blair has added a still more controversial post-premiership”, said Seldon who called Blair “the most reviled prime minister since 1945.”
Did they invite Blair to insult Lakshman Kadirgamar, arguably the best foreign minister we have had, and to kowtow to a neo-imperialist former prime minister reportedly using his previous official contacts and friendships to construct money-making ventures raking millions of dollars to Blair’s private foundation?
What was Blair doing in Sri Lanka last week so shortly after his November visit? Some said it was to attend the Soros-Stiglitz led Economic Forum. Instead, Blair found himself discussing accountability, reconciliation, peace and other issues with Opposition Leader Sampanthan.
Having failed miserably as a West Asia representative for the “Quartet”-UN, US, Russia and the EU- and credited with few tangible results after seven years in that role, is he trying to poke, like Little Jack Horner, his contaminated fingers into the Sri Lankan pie?
It is bad enough that the Quartet got rid of him, albeit diplomatically, from his assignment with the Arabs bearing down on Blair, the man seems intent on carving out a role for himself in Sri Lankan affairs, no doubt with some help from those who led him up to the Kadirgamar Institute.
During Blair’s meeting with President Sirisena last November, he thrice mentioned his readiness and availability to help Sri Lanka. Like Julius Caesar who at the Lupercal thrice refused a kingly crown Maithripala Sirisena very wisely thrice ignored Blair’s overture to more western shenanigans.
That is not all. The British media reminds that Blair does not do anything for nothing, that invitations for Blair to deliver a lecture costs the hosts a very large sum- something like £200,000-£250,000 for 45-minutes.The Blairs- both husband and wife- are hardly known for altruism.
For the benefit of some of our political leaders and diplomats who hardly inform themselves of the Blair necessities, let me quote from a Newsweek article on Tony Blair that appeared in early November 2015, coincidentally at the time the Blairs were holidaying in Sri Lanka and Blair (Tony not Cherie) was readying himself to praise Kadirgamar.
Alex Perry writes: “Many Britons consider him to be a Machiavel with a Messiah complex, a war criminal who claims-the deviousness of the man-to be saving the world. He is said to be a fixer for dictators, bankers, media barons and billionaires, a method actor who believes in lines, a globe-trotting Iago with penny-pinching addiction to free holidays who charges a small fortune for a 45-minue speech and more for advice and whose speed dial is a diabolical list of 21st century power, fame and money…….Blair was up to something. He was always up to something. He lied about Iraq. Probably lied about everything. Always seemed to make out himself. Insufferable, slippery, greedy, shameless, sun-tanned *******.”
This was the opinion of an incisive journalist after a series of interviews conducted in three countries.
If the initiator of the Blair ‘infiltration’ and others who take credit for having persuaded (if persuasion was indeed necessary) the Blairs to ‘holiday’ in Sri Lanka have hardly recognise Machaivelli or Iago, then the sooner they do their home work, the sooner our country will be saved from a tragic error of judgement and a Blair misadventure.
This Newsweek interview should be read with a contemporaneous report by Sebastian Shaker of the Daily Mail who, was apparently in Sri Lanka during the Blair holiday which said “Blairs and their two protection officers were put up at a luxurious hotel in Anuradhapura. The multi-million pound annual bill for Blair’s protection officers and their expenses is footed by the British taxpayers.”
Given the Newsweek’s reference to Blair’s penchant for free holidays and the Daily Mail’s carefully chosen words “were put up” rather than “stayed in”, for instance, would it be wrong to surmise that Blair’s holiday was paid for by one or more persons in Sri Lanka?
Given also the fact that Blair does not give free speeches though he might support free speech, would it be wrong to presume that he received a fee for the Kadirgamar lecture? If so who paid for it? Or was there a quid pro quo- Blair gives the lecture and he gets a family holiday?
These two reports were not the only ones on Blair that appeared around the time he was holidaying. There was a more damning one in November in Global Research by Felicity Arbuthnot who had spent time in Iraq and wrote often to London’s Gemini News Service when I was working there.
In her article headlined “Tony Blair heading for handcuffs and a war crimes indictment”? she quoted former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald’s scathing attack on Blair:
“The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer. This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions ………It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner, George Bush.”
So is Tony Blair, QC. finally headed for handcuffs and a trial at The Hague Arbuthnot asked adding that ” Ian Williams, Senior Analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus, New York, has a view. He believes:
… it’s increasingly serious enough to be worrying to him. And I think Tony Blair is rapidly joining Henry Kissinger and Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet and other people around the world.”
The case against Blair would become even more solid when the John Chilcot inquiry report is finally released this summer. Have any of our government thinkers asked themselves why Blair is so very careful where he travels and his use private jets often. He is scared that somebody will arrest him especially under the law of universal jurisdiction.
In an interview with CNN last October, Blair conceded that there is “some element of truth” in the charge that getting rid of Saddam contributed to the rise of the Islamic State.
If we enlist the help of a person with potential war crimes charges hanging over him how will ISIS supporters in Sri Lanka and elsewhere react to such a shortsighted policy?