If the alleged plot to attack airliners flying from London is true — remember the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, and to the raid on a “terrorist cell” in east London — then one person ultimately is to blame, as he was on July 7 last year. They were Blair’s bombs then; who doesn’t believe that 52 Londoners would be alive today had the prime minister refused to join Bush in his piratical attack on Iraq? A parliamentary committee has said as much, as have MI5, the Foreign Office, Chatham House, and the polls.
A senior Metropolitan Police officer, Paul Stephenson, claims the Heathrow plot “was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” The most reliable independent surveys put civilian deaths in Iraq, as a result of the invasion by Bush and Blair, above 100,000. The difference between the Heathrow scare and Iraq is that mass murder on an unimaginable scale has actually happened in Iraq.
By any measure of international law, from Nuremberg to the Geneva accords, Blair is a major prima facie war criminal. The charges against him grow. The latest is his collusion with the Israeli state in its deliberate, criminal attacks on civilians. While Lebanese children were being buried beneath Israeli bombs, he refused to condemn their killers or even to call on them to desist. That a cease-fire was negotiated owed nothing to him, except its disgraceful delay.
Not only is it clear that Blair knew about Israel’s plans, but he alluded approvingly to the ultimate goal: an attack on Iran. Read his neurotic speech in Los Angeles, in which he described an “arc of extremism,” stretching from Hezbollah to Iran. He gave not a hint of the arc of injustice and lawlessness of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its devastation of Lebanon. Neither did he attempt to counter the bigotry now directed at all Arabs by the West and by the racist regime in Tel Aviv. His references to “values” are code for a crusade against Islam.
Blair’s extremism, like Bush’s, is rooted in the righteous violence of rampant Messianic power. It is completely at odds with modern, multicultural, secular Britain. He shames this society. Not so much distrusted these days as reviled, he endangers and betrays us in his vassal’s affair with the religious fanatic in Washington and the Biblo-ethnic cleansers in Israel. Unlike him, the Israelis at least are honest. Ariel Sharon said, “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion … that there can be no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish state without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” The current prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told the U.S. Congress: “I believe in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land” (his emphasis).
Blair has backed this barbarism enthusiastically. In 2001, the Israeli press disclosed that he had secretly given the “green light” to Sharon’s bloody invasion of the West Bank, whose advance plans he was shown. Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon — is it any wonder the attacks of July 7 and this month’s Heathrow scare happened? The CIA calls this “blowback.” On Aug. 12, the Guardian published an editorial (“The challenge for us all”), which waffled about how “a significant number of young people have been alienated from the [Muslim] culture,” but spent not a word on how Blair’s Middle East disaster was the source of their alienation. A polite pretense is always preferred in describing British policy, elevating “misguided” and “inappropriate” and suppressing criminal behavior.
Go into Muslim areas and you will be struck by a fear reminiscent of the anti-Semitic nightmare of the Jews in the 1930s, and by an anger generated almost entirely by “a perceived double standard in the foreign policy of Western governments,” as the Home Office admits. This is felt deeply by many young Asians who, far from being “alienated from their culture,” believe they are defending it. How much longer are we all prepared to put up with the threat to our security coming from Downing Street? Or do we wait for the “unimaginable”?
August 19, 2006
John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, filmmaker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism’s highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia. His new book, Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs, is published by Jonathan Cape in June. This article was first published in the New Statesman.