| Tony Blair: never in the field of human history has one man earned so much from deaths of so many!

Tony Blair: never in the field of human history has one man earned so much from deaths of so many ~ Matt Carr, Stop the War Coalition, Matt Carr’s Infernal Machine.

Just as we learned that the US and UK governments were conspiring to stop us learning the truth of the Bush-Blair Iraq consiracy, Tony Blair picked up £150,000 for an hour-long speech in Dubai!

Blair war crimes

In the last fortnight a number of media commentators accused Russell Brand of naivete and political ignorance for his criticisms of the democratic system and the limitations of the right to vote.

This week however, the British public were presented with further evidence of how hollowed-out the democratic process has become, when the Chilcot Inquiry revealed that it was being denied access to 25 notes sent by Tony Blair to George Bush, and 130 documents relating to conversations between the two architects of the Iraq War, in addition to dozens of records of cabinet meetings.

There is no more serious decision that a government can take than a declaration of war, and there is no more serious test of a democracy than the ability to hold its leaders to account over why and how such decisions are taken, especially when a war is declared on false pretenses and results in a tragic and bloody disaster of the magnitude of the Iraq War.

The Chilcot Inquiry was established by Gordon Brown with the fairly mild remit to establish ‘lessons’ from the Iraq war, rather than ‘apportion blame.’ Much to its own surprise no doubt, it has shown more teeth than anyone expected, to the point when its investigations threaten the reputations – and the cash flow – of those responsible.

Today these noble statesmen have moved on. Bush now paints pictures of dogs and puppies, and makes donations to an organization that seeks to convert Jews into Christians. When he talks about Iraq at all it’s only to say that like Edith Piaf and Dick Cheney, he doesn’t regret anything.

Nor does his partner-in-crime, the Right Honorable Tony Blair, Peace Envoy and all-round money-making machine, who just gets richer and richer, and continues to urge on new wars with the same combination of bug-eyed fanaticism, pig ignorance and deference that once produced such sterling results in Iraq.

This week he picked up £150,000 for an hour-long speech in Dubai, whose subject, apparently, was something called ‘global affairs’. To paraphrase Churchill, never in the field of human history has one man earned so much from the deaths of so many.

And people are still dying in the broken country and interminable battlefield that Iraq has become. Yesterday, 67 Shi’ite pilgrims were killed and 152 more wounded in sectarian attacks on the Ashura celebrations in Karbala.

This year, more than 6,000 people have died in Iraq – exactly ten years after it was ‘liberated’ and its society effectively destroyed by the madcap free market experiment, the incredibly botched occupation, the lies and manipulations, the death squads, the suicide bombers and all the other disastrous consequences of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

That matters, and should matter most of all in the countries that made it happen. Yet now we find that the inquiry established to ‘learn lessons’ from the war will not be able to know what the two men most responsible for this bloody debacle were saying to each other, or what Blair was saying – or not saying – to his cabinet.

If a democratic society cannot establish mechanisms to hold its elected officials to account over a war that amounts to one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in British history – a war that according to the Nuremberg process amounts to a war of aggression and the ‘supreme crime’ then it is not serious.

If such a society allows those responsible to cloak themselves in secrecy on spurious grounds of reasons of state that are designed to protect them from scrutiny – then such a democracy is essentially a simulacrum, an elite-managed spectacle, a Darren Brown magic trick that provides the illusion, but not the substance of public participation in the political process.

It means that democracy is a kind of theatre, in which the public is allowed to play a limited role, like the audience in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Strictly Come Dancing, and press a buzzer for this party or that party, but it cannot be privy to the backrooms where politicians and civil servants take decisions without consultation and without explanation.

That is why it matters that the US State Department and Whitehall are conniving to keep Bush and Blair’s machinations under wraps. One of the key individuals who is blocking the Chilcot Inquiry’s access to key documents is Sir Jeremy Heywood, the UK’s most senior civil servant, formerly private secretary to Tony Blair during the lead-up to the Iraq War.

To expect such a man to behave otherwise is a bit like expecting MacBeth to hold a public inquiry into the murder of King Duncan.

But Heywood should not be allowed to get away with it, and nor should the Coalition, which is also complicit in this cover-up. All of them clearly hope that Chilcot will just go ahead without these documents and produce some polite and-all-very British pseudo-criticism that Blair can agree to and no one will pay any attention to.

Then everyone will agree that lessons have been ‘learned’, when we won’t have learned anything at all. We shouldn’t let this happen. Because it isn’t just about them and it isn’t just about Iraq. It’s also about us.

Because if a government can get away with this, it can get away with anything.

Source: Matt Carr’s Infernal Machine

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ON SELF-SERVING TONY B’LIAR + BLOOD-MONEY tr_newlogo-blogbg

Regarding the muppet called Tony Blair, 
Remember he had all Iraq bombed from the air. 
Then with great decorum, 
He set up a multi-faith forum, 
So now is a smug millionaire!

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| UK: Five reasons to march to the Tory Party Conference this Sunday!

Why Stop the War is marching to the Tory Party Conference this SundayChris NinehamStop the War Coalition.

Five reasons to march to the Tory Party Conference this Sunday.

 


This Sunday 29 September tens of thousands will join the TUC march on the Tory Party conference in Manchester to defend the NHS and challenge austerity. Stop the War is organising an anti-war block with CND on the demonstration. Here are five reasons why you should be there.

1) David Cameron insists welfare cuts are unavoidable, but he was the western leader keenest to get involved in another war in the Middle East by attacking Syria. The Libyan bombing cost Britain £1.7 billion pounds. Like the other wars of the last twelve years, it has left the country in chaos. An attack on Syria would be even more catastrophic. For Cameron there is always money for war. We have to confront this war addiction.

2) Twelve years after it began, the occupation of Afghanistan is a disaster for the Afghan people which is costing the UK taxpayer £12 million per day. The money spent on war in Afghanistan could have payed for 23 hospitals, 77,000 new nurses or 60,000 new teachers. This waste of lives and resources in Afghanistan must end. We should bring the troops home immediately.

3) Britain spends £43.3 billion a year on its military — the fourth biggest military budget in the world. If we ended our aggressive foreign policy, a large proportion of this money could be transferred to much needed civilian use.

4) Britain spends £3 billion a year on the Trident nuclear weapons system and £700 million a year on subsidies to the arms companies. The Trident programme should be scrapped. The ratio of jobs to investment in armaments is amongst the lowest in industry. The government should stop underwriting the arms trade and divert the money to housing and the NHS.

5) Anti-war protest helped block Cameron’s plans for war on Syria. Protest can defeat austerity. Come on the anti-war block on Sunday and join us as we march for a different set of priorities and demand cut war not welfare.

The anti war block will be assembling with the main demonstration at 11am, Sunday 29 September Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP.

Source: Stop the War Coalition 

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| Three steps to stop war on Syria!

Three steps to stop war on Syria ~ stopwar.org.uk

The US administration has today announced it is prepared to attack Syria without UN backing. If the attack goes ahead it could trigger a catastrophic regional war. 
 
But Obama is facing big problems at home and abroad.
 
Polling suggests that the Senate is divided and the House of Representatives is opposed to war. Meanwhile many G20 delegates are hostile to an intervention. This crisis for Obama has been precipitated by the vote in parliament here, itself a product of anti war campaigning.
 
Now we must step up the pressure on Obama. Stop the War is calling on all our supporters to do the following:
 
  1. Protest the day the debate in the senate starts. In London we call on everyone to go to the US embassy (Grosvenor Square) on the day of the debate. The timetable for a vote has not been set but we expect the debate to start one day next week.
  2. Hold ‘No attack on Syria’ public meetings. In London there is a public rally at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square on Wednesday 11 September at 7pm. More details here: http://stopwar.org.uk/events/rally-no-to-war-on-syria.
  3. Get MPs to pressure Congress. A motion has been tabled in Parliament urging US representatives to reject war. Lobby your local MP to sign up to it online using our lobbying tool: http://act.stopwar.org.uk/lobby/58.

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hypocrisy meterC

| Peace: Act now – we can make a difference!

Act now – we can make a difference ~ Kevin OvendenStop the War Coalition.

Stop the War Coalition national officer Kevin Ovenden looks at the arguments about whether protest makes a difference – and what we need to do now.


Protest against on attack on SyriaA Stop the War Coalition protest at Downing St against any attack on Syria, 28 August 2013.

It may seem wearily familiar – a rush to war, disputed intelligence dossiers and a determined effort to proceed without even UN Security Council authorisation.

 

There are echoes of Iraq ten years ago, and it casts a long shadow upon the mounting political crisis over moves to bomb Syria.

But we should not be weary or resigned. The combination of domestic weakness and declining authority in the Middle East (both consequences of the Iraq disaster) means that we are at a moment when what we as a movement do can have a major impact.

The compelling arguments against war on Syria are well made on the Stop the War site and are finding their way into the media and wider public discussion, not only from anti-war journalists and sympathetic public figures.

Still, for many, especially those hundreds of thousands of us who marched against the Iraq war in 2003, the question recurs: can we do anything about this impending disaster?

For lots of us, the moral case is reason enough to act. But throwing ourselves single-mindedly into building the movement against this intervention is not only the morally right thing to do, it can also have direct political effect. Not through wishful thinking, but based on grasping the moment we are in.

International division

There is great uncertainty in Washington over how to proceed. Barack Obama’s talk of “red-lines” over the use of chemical weapons has boxed him into a corner of threatening swift military action against Syria, while his generals warn that there is no strategic aim or clarity over what might be achieved.

The president who demanded two years ago that Bashar al-Assad stand down is now at pains to say that this bloody intervention will not be aimed at regime-change and will not lead to further operations in support of one side in the Syrian conflict.

Leave aside the fact that the US, its Gulf allies and Turkey are already heavily intervening. The point remains that in its official rationale the US and British governments are saying the purpose of bombing and maiming in Syria will be a “non-intervention” in terms of political outcome. The absurdity serves only to exacerbate all the establishment doubts about the unintended consequences of pouring fuel on the fire.

Syria’s allies – Russia, Iran and Hezbollah – are also, of course, intervening. Two years on from the revolutionary uprising, Syria is now a battleground for proxy forces and competing great power and regional interests. There have been long and at times bitter debates about the struggle in Syria. But for the left, whatever the position in that debate, what Obama, Cameron and Hollande propose now is not even purported to bring the victory of progressive forces in the country. If they are not claiming that, there is no reason for any of us to invest this bombing with moral worth or to haver in opposing it – in deed as well as word.

The UN route – gaining explicit support for military action from the Security Council – is blocked. The hubris of Western governments over Libya and the increasingly Cold War rhetoric against Vladimir Putin put paid to that, notwithstanding Russia’s own strategic interests in Syria and the region.

That leaves Britain and France, which both pressed for the Libya adventure. (Who talks of the success of that now: indeed Bernard Henry Levy, the clown-philosopher who urged the bombing of Libya, was told he could not visit Tripoli earlier this year as his Jewishness would make his hosts a target for jihadi attack.)

The France-UK-US (FUKUS) axis faces an extraordinary dilemma. Underpinning it is the weakening of the imperial architecture in the Middle East and the ongoing upheavals in the region. These are of epochal significance and will not be ended by the counter-revolutionary coup in Egypt or the debilitating civil war in Syria.

And there are further major differences with ten years ago. We are five years into an economic crisis. In parts of Europe it has produced big upsurges of social struggle. Everywhere it has weakened the legitimacy of governments and political elites – Obama’s included. It is the context for the residue of the enormous movement against the Iraq war in 2003.

On the anniversary of the start of that war there was much reflection on what the movement achieved – after all, Bush and Blair went to war anyway. While we did not stop the invasion of Iraq, the government launching a war against the will of its citizens reduced its legitimacy. Coupled with the destruction of Iraq, and its plundering for profit, Western governments have even less authority in the minds of the public now than then.

One look at the opinion polls on both sides of the Atlantic over whether to bomb Syria shows that. There is very widespread opposition to military action. Both major parties in Britain backed the Iraq war. At the time of writing, Labour is at least partially opposed to bombing Syria.

It’s easy to take that for granted. But in most western countries at most times since the Second World War there has been clear public support for governments at war. The extent of anti-war sentiment, even if for most of the time most of it is passive, is an historic gain from the movement against the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which went on in Britain also to oppose Israel’s wars on Gaza and on Lebanon and to mount a sustained argument against intervention in Libya and Syria.

That’s not a point for smug self satisfaction. Hundreds of thousands have died. It is a salient political factor now with which this government must reckon in the coming days over deciding whether to bomb Syria. It will play out in the coming months if it does bomb, with destabilising consequences, or if it does not, with fatally shattered prestige.

The problem of weakening hegemony in the Middle East and shrunken political capital at home has circumscribed Western policy for some time. Now it is immensely concentrated. Nowhere more so than in Britain.

Cameron’s arrogance and dilemma

For over 18 months Cameron and William Hague have tried to play the hard men over Syria, calling for greater action at international gatherings and threatening Damascus with other people’s F-16s. Now, the old Etonian’s arrogance has made Britain a weak link in the shaky FUKUS chain.

At the start of this week Cameron was strutting the airwaves pressing for immediate bombing. By Thursday he had been forced into a tactical retreat – though the intention to press ahead is clear. Washington too rowed back a little to give Cameron, facing potential parliamentary defeat, a lifeline.

Officials mooted that the date for bombing could be pushed back to the middle of next week. If anyone thinks they are in control of events, consider that on that timescale US and British planes will be bombing a Russian ally just as Obama and Cameron sit down in St Petersburg at the G20 summit, hosted by Putin.

The call for restraint by the UN’s Ban Ki-moon hardened Labour’s opposition to the government. On Wednesday it went from reluctant support for the government to tabling its own amendment in the parliamentary debate on Thursday. That amendment placed significant obstacles in the path to military action. But it said only that the UN Security Council must be allowed to consider and vote on the weapons inspectors’ report, not that a Security Council authorisation was necessary before Labour would support action.

Nevertheless, Labour MPs and others report that they are swayed by both the deep divisions in the political class and state structures over action and by the mounting public opposition. Diane Abbott’s political stock soared sharply when she said she would resign from the Labour frontbench if the party rushed into war.

The emergency demonstration called by Stop the War in London on Wednesday drew 1,000 people, extremely significant at short notice and in the bank holiday week.

It seems impossible now for the government to avoid a second parliamentary vote before bombing, and its own motion on Thursday in effect conceded that.

These are not trivial parliamentary games. They are the actual working out of the impasse of the government’s position. They mean that MPs who were expecting to be sunning themselves this weekend will now be in Britain subject to intense, contradictory pressures.

They mean that what was meant to be a lightening strike on Syria this week is now prolonged even before it begins. A question that was of concern for only a minority in Britain is now at the centre of national politics and life – should we support Cameron, should we bomb or not bomb, can we do anything about it.

A major public debate has erupted way beyond the circles and social media that we as activists use to talk with one another. The debate is open. Our opponents are an out of touch government that is inflicting deep social suffering on millions of people, most of whom declare that they are alienated from the official political parties.

The government is a coalition. Its majority depends on Lib Dem MPs, many of whom owe their seats to the anti-war posture the party took in 2003. They are particularly vulnerable to pressure, which in this instance means public opinion marshalled and concentrated into action and political engagement.

There are serious divisions in the Tory ranks too – usually reflective of foreign policy and military establishment concerns. Nevertheless, a move by anti-war MP Jeremy Corbyn and others of the left earlier this year to force the government to declare that it would seek parliamentary approval for any strike on Syria succeeded in winning support from Tory rebels.

A principled mass movement acting intelligently can drive a wedge deeper into the Tory ranks as well as stiffen the position of Labour MPs.

Mass movement – unity of purpose

Action now can make a difference. It requires taking the clear anti-war arguments which Stop the War is promoting and which are voiced by many others, including the Daily Mirror, deep into British society. All movements need activists, but we cannot simply be a movement of activists. We have to aim to be a mass movement of people who can be stirred by this question.

The fact that figures such as Peter Hain MP who supported the Iraq war are now strongly against bombing Syria is an indication that our anti-war argument can reach into new and broad layers. That feeling needs to be focused through public protest and through inundating MPs in order to tip the balance. There are many forms of action. Over the coming days the job is to hone them to a single point that will be felt in parliament and the government as they mull how to proceed.

There is every chance that we can play a big role in shifting the debate. What if we do not and they manage to press ahead anyway? Well, our efforts will have been far from futile.

First, whatever the blithe talk of a limited three day bombing with no fallout, the truth is that there will be major repercussions throughout the Middle East if they do go ahead. The only question is how great they will be. They will certainly mark a new phase in which the pressure for further action will intensify and with it the necessity of a strong, united movement of opposition, as well as solidarity with genuine progressive forces in the region.

Second, this is not about something happening far away to other people. It is about the direction of politics and society in Britain. The outcome of the next days and weeks will impact on the scale of opposition to the Coalition’s assaults on the mass of people at home.

A government weakened by defeat of its foreign policy, or even by its curtailment, is going to find it harder to deal with the protests in defence of the NHS, the strikes by public sector workers and the developing social resistance to its austerity policies.

Many of us have supported Stop the War or taken part in its mobilisations over the years. Quite naturally there has been ebb and flow, reflecting events and the possibility at any one time of achieving results. We’ve also had many healthy debates as the disaster of Western policy in the Middle East and the War on Terror has unfolded.

Now is a time to throw ourselves fully into this upswing of the movement – inundating MPs, taking to the streets on Saturday, getting ourselves into the media – mainstream, new and social – everywhere persuading friends, colleagues and family that we need to take a stand, and that by doing so we can make a difference.

Kevin Ovenden, 29 August 2013

Source: Stop the War Coalition

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Humility Pill

WAR Unhealthy

| Stop the War Coalition welcomes Parliament’s rejection of war on Syria!

Stop the War Coalition welcomes Parliament’s rejection of war on Syria ~ Stop the War Coalition.

For immediate release:

The Stop the War Coalition welcomes the defeat of David Cameron’s plan to attack Syria in parliament tonight. We didn’t stop the war in Iraq, but we did create a mass anti war opinion in Britain. That tide of anti war opinion has made itself felt in the past few days. MPs have in their majority refused to back a fourth intervention by western powers since 2001. They have for once reflected the majority public opinion in this country.

We now have to reject all attempts at intervention in Syria and to develop a foreign policy which is based on equality and justice, and the rights of national sovereignty.

The Tory led government will try to recoup the situation. We will demonstrate on Saturday against this intervention, whether by the US alone or with Britain involved. It is the aim of the anti-war movement to ensure that the US is forced to abandon the attack on Syria now that the country with which it is supposed to enjoy a ‘special relationship’ has carried a parliamentary vote against war.

For more information contact:
John Rees 07951 535 798 Chris Nineham 07930 536 519.

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MLK war chisel

| The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error!

The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error ~ , The Telegraph.

Britain and America show contempt for the lessons of the past in pressing for action!

Hard sell: to gain the support of a sceptical nation, David Cameron needs to make the speech of his life

Hard sell: to gain the support of a sceptical nation, David Cameron needs to make the speech of his life Photo: Getty Images

It is more than 10 years since Parliament last voted on whether or not to go to war. This was on March 18 2003, when a stirring speech by Tony Blair convinced many sceptical MPs of the case for military action against Iraq.

But Mr Blair’s claim that Britain possessed “extensive, detailed and authoritative” evidence concerning Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction turned out to be nonsense, and we invaded the country on the back of a false prospectus. The consequences were terrible: countless Iraqis were killed in the civil war that followed, along with 179 British soldiers.

The similarities with today’s Commons vote are haunting. The Prime Minister is contemplating an attack on Iraq’s near neighbour Syria, also ruled by a Baathist regime. At the heart of the issue are allegations about weapons of mass destruction. Once again, Britain finds herself in alliance with the United States, and without the authority of the United Nations.

Many of the same voices are cheering us on. Most zealous of all is Tony Blair, while Alastair Campbell, the New Labour propagandist who spread the stories about WMD in Iraq, said yesterday that it would be “irresponsible and incredibly dangerous” not to intervene in Syria.

And many of the same voices are opposed. Hans Blix, the UN chief arms inspector whose investigations were cut short 10 years ago at the insistence of George W Bush, this week warned against rushing to judgment. Dr Blix might just as well have been speaking about Mr Blair when he criticised Mr Cameron on the grounds that he does not seem “to care much about international legality”.

Meanwhile, the governments of America and Britain have made up their minds. They have accepted without question that the Assad regime must be punished for what the Prime Minister called “the massive use of chemical weapons”. They are not interested in examining any contrary evidence.

As in 2003, only Parliament, in today’s vote and the one that will follow the report of the UN inspectors, stands between Britain and military action, the latest of a long series of attacks by the West on Muslim countries.

With Labour seeming likely, despite some prevarication, to support a strike, and Nick Clegg rather surprisingly on board, Mr Cameron may not have to make the speech of his life (as Mr Blair did in 2003) to win either vote. To gain the support of a sceptical nation, however, he needs to do exactly that.

He will not achieve this with the long-winded and contradictory motion he has submitted to the Commons for debate today. His problem is that the British and American foreign policy, intelligence and military establishments have made a series of dreadful mistakes over the past 15 years. It can be stated with complete fairness that the Stop the War Coalition (a miscellaneous collection of mainly far-Left political organisations, by no means all of them reputable, which marches through London this Saturday in protest) has consistently shown far more mature judgment on these great issues of war and peace than Downing Street, the White House or the CIA.

More surprising still, the Stop the War Coalition has often proved better informed than these centres of Western power, coolly warning against the diet of propaganda masquerading as bona fide intelligence.

So Mr Cameron first of all needs to show us that we have solid evidence, capable of standing up in a court of law, that proves his claim that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a large scale against its own people. On the face of things, it looks highly unlikely that Assad would have carried out such an action – let alone within three days of international inspectors arriving in Syria.

Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them. It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a UN commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible.

The rush to judgment by Britain and the US looks premature, especially in view of the record of our intelligence agencies in providing misleading and fabricated evidence as a justification for war before 2003. (This time it is said that they have been convinced by intercept evidence, but this too can prove seriously misleading.)

The second question that Mr Cameron must answer is: why now? There have been numerous other atrocities, many far worse, carried out across the Middle East in the past few years. For example, there is no doubt at all that the Egyptian military junta has shot dead more than 1,000 protesters, the vast majority unarmed civilians, since seizing power. Yet there has been no outraged condemnation. Indeed, the West, by continuing to supply arms to the Egyptian army, is quietly condoning this policy of mass murder.

The moral authority of Britain and America in the Middle East is shaky, as an article published in Foreign Policy magazine last week reminds us. It provides documentary evidence that the US helped Saddam Hussein’s Iraq launch a series of chemical weapons attacks upon Iran in the late 1980s, an offensive that killed approximately 20,000 Iranian troops – which dwarfs the number of victims of the Syrian attack. Iran, of course, is Assad’s closest ally. Our moral indignation over chemical weapons looks selective.

This raises questions about Western objectives. Are we merely intending to teach Assad a lesson? Or does an unspoken strategy to “rebalance” the war away from him and back towards the rebels lurk behind this intervention?

It must be said that something terrible happened in Damascus last week, and interventions of the sort that Mr Cameron will argue for today are not always wrong. The Prime Minister and President Obama are decent men, acting for honourable reasons out of horror at the atrocity that took place.

This means that there are some important differences between the circumstances of today’s debate and the one in March 2003. I do not believe that Mr Cameron and Mr Obama are part of a conspiracy to mislead the public and twist the truth, as Bush and Blair were. Significantly, France is part of the coalition, not against it, as was the case 10 years ago. The action contemplated is limited, and unlikely to lead to the dreadful consequences of Iraq.

Nevertheless, on the basis of what I know at the time of writing, I could not vote for war. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbon monarchs, London and Washington have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing since the invasion of Iraq.

They are showing the same contempt for evidence, for international institutions and for the lessons of history.

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| War Criminal Tony Blair jeered by UCL students!

Tony Blair jeered by UCL students ~ guardian.co.uk.

Students and campaigners from Stop the War Coalition repeat call for former prime minister to be tried for war crimes.

UCL

UCL students joined with the Stop the War Coalition to protest against Tony Blair. Photograph: Ashley Cowburn for the Guardian

Tony Blair was jeered by anti-war protesters at University College London on Tuesday.

Students and campaigners from the Stop the War Coalition repeated their demand that the former prime minister be tried for war crimes.

Blair was speaking in London Bridge at the launch of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies (ISRS) – a research institute which shares an address with UCL – alongside former defence secretary John Reid and education secretary Michael Gove.

UCL says it is independent from the ISRS however protestors point out professor Malcolm Grant, who is president and provost of UCL, appears on the ISRS’s advisory board.

Students say the event’s organisers behaved in an underhand manner by failing to advertise where the speech would take place, and by charging £700 for tickets.

Chris Nineham, vice-chair of Stop the War Coalition, which organised the protest at UCL says: “It is completely insane for a man who lied to parliament to be speaking at a conference supported by one of Britain’s premier educational institutions. It is an absolutely mad situation.”

UCL student Ollie Sutherland, one of dozens who protested, agreed that Blair was not welcome on campus: “Universities need to make the world a better place and inviting people like Tony Blair runs contrary to that.”

UCL, however, has defended its position, saying: “The event is being held under the auspices of the ISRS, an independent research institute and not-for-profit company.

“They are responsible for the conference, and no funding, facilities or accommodation for the conference have been requested or are being provided by UCL.

“The conference is not taking place at UCL. As an institute devoted to learning, UCL values freedom of speech highly and encourages the widest possible expression of differing views, within the law. We do not operate a policy of barring speaker with controversial views.”

Earlier this week, Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell said they were “appalled” by the news that Blair was to appear at the event, and called on UCL to “reconsider its position in hosting this institution and instead protect its own academic independence”.

• This article was amended on Wednesday 14 November. The original story suggested Tony Blair was appearing at UCL. This has been corrected. It was also added that ISRS shares the same address as UCL, and that the university’s provost appears on the ISRS advisory board.

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