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The Corruption of New Labour: Britain’s Watergate?


John Simkin
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Rumours come and rumours go - but the prospect that Blair may become the "quartet's" Middle Eastern envoy seems to be growing.

Blair's skills in compiling accurate dossiers - and his most impressive track record while British PM of spreading peace and democracy throughout the middle eastern region - have clearly served him well.

I notice he recently dropped in to see the Pope and is contemplating becoming the 21st century's answer to Michael Muggeridge.

The conversation between them must have been inspiring.

Unfortunately, since the Vatican mafia took care of Paul John 1st, the Vicar of Christ has been rather muffled in his approach to middle eastern peace. Perhaps this was the occasion for a new start?

I hope the Pontiff advised Bliar that if he intends to make a real difference in that bedevilled part of the world, he must take public service to its ultimate limits.

The way to make a lasting impact is to be scourged and taunted while taking a stroll through occupied East Jeruslem, then affixed to a cross on the Mount of Olives.

I, for one, would purchase the DVD - a world-first collaborative venture between Spielberg and Mel Gibson?

Edited by Sid Walker
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Innocently imagining that it would now be safe to turn on BBC World, I flicked on my telly... to witness Blair fielding 'question time' to a House seemingly overflowing with sycophants.

Just how long can a resignation take?

The BBC seemed to be running a script written several years ago, when Blair was a genuinely popular PM. Smiling faces and awed respect all round.

Clearly enthusiasm for Tony didn't wane at the BBC when the British public turned its back on this lying war monger. It just kept growing, like a tumor.

A case of hanging together lest they hang separately?

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Rumours come and rumours go - but the prospect that Blair may become the "quartet's" Middle Eastern envoy seems to be growing.

Blair's skills in compiling accurate dossiers - and his most impressive track record while British PM of spreading peace and democracy throughout the middle eastern region - have clearly served him well.

I notice he recently dropped in to see the Pope and is contemplating becoming the 21st century's answer to Michael Muggeridge.

The conversation between them must have been inspiring.

Unfortunately, since the Vatican mafia took care of Paul John 1st, the Vicar of Christ has been rather muffled in his approach to middle eastern peace. Perhaps this was the occasion for a new start?

I hope the Pontiff advised Bliar that if he intends to make a real difference in that bedevilled part of the world, he must take public service to its ultimate limits.

The way to make a lasting impact is to be scourged and taunted while taking a stroll through occupied East Jeruslem, then affixed to a cross on the Mount of Olives.

I, for one, would purchase the DVD - a world-first collaborative venture between Spielberg and Mel Gibson?

Well he's gone.

But he's back--as Middle East envoy for the quartet. Hmm...maybe they should be called a trio as Russia seems a little reluctant:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=...ec=Worldupdates

I don't know how he'll possibly bring about a lasting peace in Palestine. Hamas don't want to know him and I suspect Israel will only accept a solution on their terms.

It seems to be a problem with no solution.

btw, a report on the BBC radio said that Cherie Blair cannot stand incoming PM Gordon Brown. This can be filed under U for useless information. :lol:

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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I don't know how he'll possibly bring about a lasting peace in Palestine. Hamas don't want to know him and I suspect Israel will only accept a solution on their terms.

It seems to be a problem with no solution.

btw, a report on the BBC radio said that Cherie Blair cannot stand incoming PM Gordon Brown. This can be filed under U for useless information. :)

Interesting article Mark.

Russia has cold feet about Blair... right on!

While most of Europe will probably go along with this farce, it's sad so observe that the UN is effectively voiceless.

It's the UN that should be running the whole show. In reality, it is utterly marginalized.

Another very long-term consequence of the coup of November 1963.

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Even though Blair has been forced out of office I will not end my persecution of him until he ends up in prison.

Interesting development in the BAE scandal has recently emerged. Politicians have to find ways of getting bribes into their accounts. For example, LBJ did it via his wife’s radio station in Texas. The money took the form of paid advertising. If you look through the radio station’s accounts you can find some strange companies buying advertising on the radio station.

The Blairs set up a family trust in 1997. This was used to buy property. This included the famous incident where Cherie arranged for Australian crook, Peter Foster, to buy two flats in Bristol (Cheriegate). It was claimed that these flats were to be for the Blair children when they were at university. This was in itself embarrassing as it was at the same time when Blair had reneged on his promises on university fees. Unfortunately most students don’t have parents to buy them flats while at university.

It has emerged that a company called Thales has paid a large sum for the use of these flats for their Bristol executives. Thales and the Blair Trust have refused to reveal how much money was paid to rent these flats. Thales is a company that gets defence contracts from the government. Alex Dorrian, chief executive of Thales, successfully lobbied ministers to stop the SFO inquiry into the alleged bribery of Saudi Arabia officials in the multi-billion-pound al-Yamamah arms deal. Thales now stands to earn tens of millions of pounds from the supply of Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia, which had been threatened by the bribes inquiry.

Martin Paisner is one of two trustees who run the Blair trust. He is the co-owner of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), a London legal firm. BAE Systems is also being investigated for corruption by South African officials. They have discovered that Thales paid a £69,000 bribe to Jacob Zuma, former Vice President of South Africa, to stop an investigation into another multi-million arms deal. This money was paid to Zuma via a Berwin Leighton Paisner bank account. Just a coincidence of course.

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Tony Blair was questioned for a third time by detectives investigating allegations of "cash-for-honours" last week. Blair had already become the first PM to be interviewed by police in the course of a corruption inquiry. A spokesman for Blair refused to confirm or deny the latest development. Jowever, the story was obviously leaked by Blair at a time when the media is mainly concerned with the announcement of Brown's new cabinet.

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Even though Blair has been forced out of office I will not end my persecution of him until he ends up in prison.

Interesting development in the BAE scandal has recently emerged. Politicians have to find ways of getting bribes into their accounts. For example, LBJ did it via his wife’s radio station in Texas. The money took the form of paid advertising. If you look through the radio station’s accounts you can find some strange companies buying advertising on the radio station.

The Blairs set up a family trust in 1997. This was used to buy property. This included the famous incident where Cherie arranged for Australian crook, Peter Foster, to buy two flats in Bristol (Cheriegate). It was claimed that these flats were to be for the Blair children when they were at university. This was in itself embarrassing as it was at the same time when Blair had reneged on his promises on university fees. Unfortunately most students don’t have parents to buy them flats while at university.

It has emerged that a company called Thales has paid a large sum for the use of these flats for their Bristol executives. Thales and the Blair Trust have refused to reveal how much money was paid to rent these flats. Thales is a company that gets defence contracts from the government. Alex Dorrian, chief executive of Thales, successfully lobbied ministers to stop the SFO inquiry into the alleged bribery of Saudi Arabia officials in the multi-billion-pound al-Yamamah arms deal. Thales now stands to earn tens of millions of pounds from the supply of Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia, which had been threatened by the bribes inquiry.

Martin Paisner is one of two trustees who run the Blair trust. He is the co-owner of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), a London legal firm. BAE Systems is also being investigated for corruption by South African officials. They have discovered that Thales paid a £69,000 bribe to Jacob Zuma, former Vice President of South Africa, to stop an investigation into another multi-million arms deal. This money was paid to Zuma via a Berwin Leighton Paisner bank account. Just a coincidence of course.

Fascinating stuff John.

How did you learn these things?

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Even though Blair has been forced out of office I will not end my persecution of him until he ends up in prison.

Interesting development in the BAE scandal has recently emerged. Politicians have to find ways of getting bribes into their accounts. For example, LBJ did it via his wife’s radio station in Texas. The money took the form of paid advertising. If you look through the radio station’s accounts you can find some strange companies buying advertising on the radio station.

The Blairs set up a family trust in 1997. This was used to buy property. This included the famous incident where Cherie arranged for Australian crook, Peter Foster, to buy two flats in Bristol (Cheriegate). It was claimed that these flats were to be for the Blair children when they were at university. This was in itself embarrassing as it was at the same time when Blair had reneged on his promises on university fees. Unfortunately most students don’t have parents to buy them flats while at university.

It has emerged that a company called Thales has paid a large sum for the use of these flats for their Bristol executives. Thales and the Blair Trust have refused to reveal how much money was paid to rent these flats. Thales is a company that gets defence contracts from the government. Alex Dorrian, chief executive of Thales, successfully lobbied ministers to stop the SFO inquiry into the alleged bribery of Saudi Arabia officials in the multi-billion-pound al-Yamamah arms deal. Thales now stands to earn tens of millions of pounds from the supply of Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia, which had been threatened by the bribes inquiry.

Martin Paisner is one of two trustees who run the Blair trust. He is the co-owner of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), a London legal firm. BAE Systems is also being investigated for corruption by South African officials. They have discovered that Thales paid a £69,000 bribe to Jacob Zuma, former Vice President of South Africa, to stop an investigation into another multi-million arms deal. This money was paid to Zuma via a Berwin Leighton Paisner bank account. Just a coincidence of course.

Fascinating stuff John.

How did you learn these things?

My information comes from a variety of sources. Unfortunately, unlike the JFK assassination and Watergate, insiders have yet to give me any information. Most of the information is buried in longer stories carried in the serious press. However, journalists are not very good at making the links. Nor do they get the articles printed on the front page. These stories also rarely get on television. It seems it is not acceptable to say on television that your prime minister is corrupt.

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Of greater interest though is Shayler'a allegation that a former MI5 colleague revealed that he had seen Blair's security file. Bambi, it appears, had been a nark since his Oxford days passing on information about student activists, and then later on about CND members, trades unionists and Militant tendency supporters.

I have also heard this story. He was originally recruited as a spy on the Labour movement. It has to be remembered he showed little interest in politics until meeting Cherie, the daughter of a socialist activist. Cherie was the one expected to have a career in politics but Tony turned out to have the skills needed to make it to the top.

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BAE, Baroness Symons, In Black Operations Against LaRouche

by Anton Chaitkin

http://www.larouchepac.com/pages/breaking_...ns_Blackops.asp

As documented in the widely circulating broadside, "BAE Scandal Demands Cheney's Immediate Impeachment" (see lead article in this section) Vice President Dick Cheney attempted to bury the BAE scandal in both Britain and the United States, precisely because investigation of this $80-100 billion British/Saudi slush fund could reveal the authors of very "black" Anglo-American covert intelligence operations, amongst them 9/11. According to British and other news accounts, Cheney prevailed upon Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.K. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith to shut down the British Serious Fraud Office's investigation of BAE, on "national security" grounds.

Ongoing investigations also shed new light on the role of Cheney crony Baroness Elizabeth Symons in covering up the BAE operation and in British black propaganda attacks on Cheney's leading U.S. political antagonist, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. Based on this background, it is hardly remarkable that Symons baldly proclaimed to Reuters news agency on Feb. 27, 2007, that the British criminal investigation of BAE was shut down because there was no evidence of bribery—"the reason they did not find anything is because there was nothing to find." Symons' attempt to bury the matter occurred just at the time that the cries of "coverup" were reaching a crescendo in the British press, and major investigations of BAE were developing internationally.

Elizabeth Symons was one of a handful of political operatives who shaped the 1990s rise of Tony Blair's New Labour as a poorly disguised Thatcherism. Her father, Ernest Vize Symons, had been director-general of the U.K. tax department (Inland Revenue), and a governor of the English-Speaking Union, which sought to reunite the U.S.A. with the British Empire. When her father retired in 1979, Elizabeth began working in the trade union division of the Inland Revenue, and later in other unions, in an effort to emasculate the unions and separate them from political power.

In 1996, Tony Blair nominated Symons for a life peerage for having helped create a labor-free Labour Party. By this time, Symons had long been a Fellow of the British-American Project for the Successor Generation, a project to tie together British and American defense and secret services strategists. (This was begun by Sir Charles Villiers in 1985, when his son-in-law, John Negroponte, now U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, was boosting the Contras as Ambassador to Honduras.)

As Prime Minister in 1997, Blair appointed Baroness Symons to the post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign Office. Symons represented the Foreign Office in the House of Lords in March 1998, when she was questioned about the coup and countercoup in Sierra Leone in West Africa. Executive Outcomes, a mercenary group tied to the British Crown, had moved a protection racket into Sierra Leone in 1993, taking its payoff in diamonds. When Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was elected President of the country in 1996, he acted on the encouragement of U.S. President Bill Clinton to cancel the British mercenaries' contract, despite the Executive Outcomes threat that he would be overthrown.

A military coup then removed Kabbah; British High Commissioner Peter Penfold, in exile with Kabbah, successfully urged him to hire Sandline, Executive Outcomes' partner mercenary company. Sandline shipped in 30 tons of arms, contravening the United Nations sanctions on arms to that civil-war-devastated country.

Sandline had fully informed the Foreign Office, and others in the Anglo-American black-operations chain of command. A Foreign Office official had told BBC on March 9, 1998, that Baroness Symons was in the circles that had been briefed on the transactions, and that she knew of the ongoing criminal investigation by British law enforcement.

On March 10, 1998, Lord Avebury, a Liberal Democrat in the House of Lords, asked Baroness Symons on the official record, would she investigate press reports that "the future diamond resources of the country have been mortgaged in an illegal arms transaction in which a British company, Sandline International, was involved?"

Symons denied all, obfuscating that "the newspaper article to which the noble Lord refers ... was in several respects not entirely accurate, or at least not on all fours with the reports that Her Majesty's Government are receiving." There were then calls for Symons' resignation, which Blair rebuffed. As BBC reported the same day: "The Prime Minister has leaped to the defence of foreign office minister Baroness Symons, at the centre of allegations that she misled parliament over the arms-to-Africa affair. Tony Blair told MPs ... that he had not asked her to resign and said there was 'not a shred of evidence' that she ... had deliberately misled anyone."

In 2000, Dick Cheney, chairman and CEO of the Halliburton oil services company of Houston, Texas, and candidate for Vice President, was the American co-chairman of a British conference held April 14-16, on the subject of privatizing the British and American armed forces. This was the special project of Baroness Symons, whom Blair had appointed in 1999 as Minister for Procurement in the Ministry of Defence. The conference was attended by all the main Ministry of Defence officials working to implement her plans for military "Public Private Partnerships," the "Smart Acquisition" initiative, and the "Private Finance Initiative." The event was sponsored by the Rand Corporation, and hosted by the Ditchley Foundation, an Anglo-American power elite group in which Baroness Symons is a trustee and governor.

In his opening remarks to the conference, Cheney referred to his own leadership, first, as Defense Secretary (1989-93), in scheming to have private companies and mercenary soldiers usurp the traditional national military function, and then, steering his Halliburton company to play that role. Cheney said: "I have approached the question of privatization of defense support services from several different perspectives: first as a member of Congress, then as Secretary of Defense, and currently as chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton." He noted that "our British colleagues are far ahead of us in ... successful privatization efforts." Cheney complained that a "challenge for DoD [Department of Defense] is to develop a strategy for countering political resistance. This conference ... provides a tremendous opportunity for us to share experiences, and to learn how the U.S. might take advantage of the concepts and principles that are embodied in the U.K. experience."

Cheney's personal appearance in England at just that moment coincided with Baroness Symons' first planned big privatization: Martin Kitterick, a Defence Ministry consultant on Symons' "Private Finance Initiative," spoke to the conference on the scheme to turn transport of battle tanks over to private companies' trucks and drivers, a contract that Halliburton wanted.

On April 17, 2000, the day after the Cheney-Ditchley conference, the Ministry of Defence announced Baroness Symons' plan for privatizing the British government's giant Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. Baroness Symons then led the parliamentary debate on the plan, reassuring the Lords that she was working closely with the Americans.

After the Supreme Court decision of Dec. 12, 2000, Dick Cheney was designated as Vice President and George W. Bush as President of the United States, to take office Jan. 20, 2001.

The announcement by Baroness Symons, that a consortium headed by the Halliburton company was awarded the £300 million contract to privatize military heavy transport, was graciously delayed until Jan. 24, after the inauguration. Cheney was then presumed to be out of the company, although his Halliburton stock options and continuing compensation became an increasingly heated Washington topic. While Cheney was in England, another British contract went up for grabs. The U.S. Lockheed Martin Corporation was bidding for the Joint Strike Fighter program. In 1994, just after Dick Cheney had taken the helm at Halliburton, his wife, Lynne, had become a Lockheed director, serving on the board's Finance, Nominating, and Corporate Governance committees. Lynne Cheney stepped down from the Lockheed board on Jan. 5, 2000.

On Jan. 17, just before Dick Cheney took power, Symons was in Washington. At the Pentagon she ceremonially signed Britain's commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter program. This Anglo-American venture was labelled "the largest defense procurement program ever conceived." The Defence Ministry announcement awarding British funds to Lockheed in the Joint Strike Fighter program came in October 2001, at a decent time interval from the Halliburton announcement.

On June 11, 2001, Baroness Symons moved out of the Defence Ministry, becoming simultaneously Minister of State for the Middle East, in the Foreign Office, and Minister of State for Trade, in the Department of Trade and Industry.

On July 1, 2001, just after Symons' departure from Defence, the shape of her overall scheme for a private power-and-money grab came before the public. The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency was split into a huge private firm, to be called QinetiQ, and a smaller residual government agency. In the next year, the Blair government shocked some people with the announcement that the Carlyle Group—the private equity fund tied tightly to the Bush family—was to be awarded a large stake in QinetiQ, the "public private partnership." On Feb. 28, 2003, less than a month before the Cheney-Blair-Bush invasion of Iraq, the Carlyle group paid £42.3 million for a 34% holding in QinetiQ. When a large block of QinetiQ stock shares was later put on the public market, the Carlyle Group got about an eight-fold return on its investment. Among those reaping gold from Baroness Symons' planning was former Tory Prime Minister John Major, who had become European Chairman of the Carlyle Group while Baroness Symons was Minister for Defence Procurement.

Baroness Symons' own machinations on behalf of BAE Systems began surfacing in 2005, when the Observer newspaper described her earlier intervention with her Washington circles. This had been in the Summer of 2002, when Cheney was driving hard for war with Iraq.

The story, as told by the British media, is that, at a dinner given by a neo-conservative professor, the Baroness sat next to Attorney David Mills, husband of Tessa Jowell, Blair's Minister of Culture, Media, and Sport. Mills had arranged a $200 million deal with BAE Systems for the Iranian company Mahan Air to buy a fleet of passenger jets. Mills asked Symons to use her influence in Washington to get around the U.S. sanctions law that would penalize a company doing that kind of business with Iran.

On July 9, 2002, ten days after the dinner, Mills wrote to Symons that "BAE will sell or lease as the case may be to [name redacted], a company incorporated in the UAE [united Arab Emirates] and majority-owned by UAE citizens for which I act. It is a condition precedent of the deal that there will be no US objection. It is my understanding, however, that the US government operates the embargo with a degree of discretion. I am sure HMG [Her Majesty's Government, that is, the Blair regime] will wish to offer such support as it can to smooth the path with our American friends, and I would be very grateful if you could do what you can to ensure that BAE get the help they will ... need."

Baroness Symons wrote back to Mills, "Given the obvious political sensitivities you will need to tread very carefully with this one. This is a difficult time to be raising Iran policy in Washington. The advice I have been given, with which I am inclined to agree, is that our official support for you with the administration would raise the profile of the case and, by so doing, increase the chance of eliciting a negative response. So you will need to think very carefully about a lobbying strategy calibrated to achieve the right result. I am pleased that Allan Flood [the BAE Systems director] will be in Washington next week and that he will be calling on the embassy to discuss this further. They are best placed to advise on next steps."

Nothing happened to the Baroness when this was published; David Mills was subsequently charged with money laundering and tax crimes (indicted July 2006) as a cohort of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of the Cheney-Blair-Bush war axis. That August, Dick Cheney was raving that Saddam Hussein was pursuing a nuclear bomb capability. The same theme was rattling around the Prime Minister's office, where Baroness Symons' husband, Phil Bassett, was a longtime Blair aide. From September 2002 until October 2003, Bassett was senior advisor and headed the Strategic Communications Unit at 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's office. It was there that Bassett helped pull together Blair's Sept. 24, 2002 "Big Lie" dossier claiming that Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction" ready to launch at 45 minutes' notice.

Bassett and government Press Secretary Alastair Campbell went to Washington in October 2002, to coordinate strategy for lying about the Iraq danger. With the White House, they established the Coalition Information Centre, which Tucker Eskew, Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Communications, then went to London to implement with Bassett and Campbell. This apparatus and MI6 continued to produce falsified Iraq intelligence as a pretext for war.

Then a factional brawl broke out in London and in the United States, with intensified opposition in leading circles against the Cheney-Blair Iraq War.

On April 3, 2003, two weeks after the start of the war, BBC interviewed Lyndon LaRouche on the "Live Five" show for six minutes, introducing him as a leading critic of the Iraq War policy, and as a candidate for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination. Two days earlier, the LaRouche campaign had released a quarter-million-run pamphlet, "Children of Satan: The 'Ignoble Liars' Behind Bush's No-Exit War." On June 9, 2003, BBC's "Live Five" interviewed LaRouche again, this time for 12 minutes, on LaRouche's recent call for Cheney's impeachment and on Cheney's role in faking Iraq intelligence—faking that Blair, Campbell, and Bassett had also done. In between these two LaRouche interviews, BBC ran two stories (May 29 and June 2), using leading British government weapons scientist Dr. David Kelly as its source, charging that the propaganda team in Tony Blair's office had "sexed up" their Iraq-weapons dossier to make a better excuse for war. After being bullied during interrogation by Blair-controlled members of Parliament, Dr. David Kelly turned up dead, an alleged suicide.

The counterattack by the Blair-Cheney gang also aimed directly at LaRouche. In March 2003, Jeremiah Duggan, a British student studying abroad, committed suicide while in attendance at a Schiller Institute conference in Germany. The Schiller Institute has long been associated with the international economic development proposals of Lyndon Larouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche. German police and prosecutors thoroughly investigated Duggan's death and ruled it a suicide.

Baroness Symons, however, met on April 1, 2004 with Erica Duggan, Jeremiah's mother, announcing that she would appoint a lawyer to work with the Duggan family to pressure German authorities to reverse their assessment of the case. What has followed has been a lurid international propaganda campaign, alleging that Jeremiah was murdered or terrorized to death, without a scintilla of factual evidence contradicting the German findings. The latest twist in the Symons-steered crusade is the Spring 2007 introduction of a resolution in the House of Commons, agitating for a new British investigation into the death of Jeremiah Duggan.

Since leaving her ministerial posts in 2005, Baroness Symons has been Tony Blair's Special Envoy to the Middle East, and to Saudi Arabia, standing as an inner-circle guard for the British-Cheney-Bandar relationship, and, by extension, the lucrative Al-Yamamah project. She is chairman of the British-Saudi Business Council, and vice president of the Middle East Association.

From her station in the House of Lords, she has chaired the all-party group on Qatar. That tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, bordering on Saudi Arabia, has just set up the Qatar Financial Centre, a projected speculators' paradise modelled on the City of London financial district. The BAE Systems company, shaken by mushrooming scandal and facing several potential U.S. investigations, has reached into Qatar to give itself hoped-for credibility. Lord Harry Woolf, the former Chief Justice of England, now works as "chief judge" in the Qatar Financial Centre, alongside Tony Blair's brother, attorney William Blair, who heads the Centre's regulatory body. BAE Systems has hired the Qatar-based Lord Woolf to head a panel of experts to decide whether the company is completely ethical, or needs sprucing up. On June 28, the Qatar Financial Centre sponsored a conference on the potential uses of the sea of money now washing through the hands of Britain's Persian Gulf clients. Baroness Symons was scheduled to chair the meeting.

Now officially in private life, although still Special Envoy to Saudi Arabia, and so on, the Baroness is a paid consultant to the Anglo-American law firm DLA Piper, long the attorneys for Halliburton. Recently her London DLA Piper office has been home base to Michael Lester, who had been general counsel and a director of BAE Systems from the year (1999) that Symons became Minister for Defence Procurement. He had been responsible for BAE's "ethical policies and principles." Lester's entry into Baroness Symons' firm was announced on Dec. 16, 2006—the day after the Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation of BAE Systems.

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BAE, Baroness Symons, In Black Operations Against LaRouche

by Anton Chaitkin

http://www.larouchepac.com/pages/breaking_...ns_Blackops.asp

As documented in the widely circulating broadside, "BAE Scandal Demands Cheney's Immediate Impeachment" (see lead article in this section) Vice President Dick Cheney attempted to bury the BAE scandal in both Britain and the United States, precisely because investigation of this $80-100 billion British/Saudi slush fund could reveal the authors of very "black" Anglo-American covert intelligence operations, amongst them 9/11. According to British and other news accounts, Cheney prevailed upon Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.K. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith to shut down the British Serious Fraud Office's investigation of BAE, on "national security" grounds.

Ongoing investigations also shed new light on the role of Cheney crony Baroness Elizabeth Symons in covering up the BAE operation and in British black propaganda attacks on Cheney's leading U.S. political antagonist, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. Based on this background, it is hardly remarkable that Symons baldly proclaimed to Reuters news agency on Feb. 27, 2007, that the British criminal investigation of BAE was shut down because there was no evidence of bribery—"the reason they did not find anything is because there was nothing to find." Symons' attempt to bury the matter occurred just at the time that the cries of "coverup" were reaching a crescendo in the British press, and major investigations of BAE were developing internationally.

Elizabeth Symons was one of a handful of political operatives who shaped the 1990s rise of Tony Blair's New Labour as a poorly disguised Thatcherism. Her father, Ernest Vize Symons, had been director-general of the U.K. tax department (Inland Revenue), and a governor of the English-Speaking Union, which sought to reunite the U.S.A. with the British Empire. When her father retired in 1979, Elizabeth began working in the trade union division of the Inland Revenue, and later in other unions, in an effort to emasculate the unions and separate them from political power.

In 1996, Tony Blair nominated Symons for a life peerage for having helped create a labor-free Labour Party. By this time, Symons had long been a Fellow of the British-American Project for the Successor Generation, a project to tie together British and American defense and secret services strategists. (This was begun by Sir Charles Villiers in 1985, when his son-in-law, John Negroponte, now U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, was boosting the Contras as Ambassador to Honduras.)

As Prime Minister in 1997, Blair appointed Baroness Symons to the post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign Office. Symons represented the Foreign Office in the House of Lords in March 1998, when she was questioned about the coup and countercoup in Sierra Leone in West Africa. Executive Outcomes, a mercenary group tied to the British Crown, had moved a protection racket into Sierra Leone in 1993, taking its payoff in diamonds. When Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was elected President of the country in 1996, he acted on the encouragement of U.S. President Bill Clinton to cancel the British mercenaries' contract, despite the Executive Outcomes threat that he would be overthrown.

A military coup then removed Kabbah; British High Commissioner Peter Penfold, in exile with Kabbah, successfully urged him to hire Sandline, Executive Outcomes' partner mercenary company. Sandline shipped in 30 tons of arms, contravening the United Nations sanctions on arms to that civil-war-devastated country.

Sandline had fully informed the Foreign Office, and others in the Anglo-American black-operations chain of command. A Foreign Office official had told BBC on March 9, 1998, that Baroness Symons was in the circles that had been briefed on the transactions, and that she knew of the ongoing criminal investigation by British law enforcement.

On March 10, 1998, Lord Avebury, a Liberal Democrat in the House of Lords, asked Baroness Symons on the official record, would she investigate press reports that "the future diamond resources of the country have been mortgaged in an illegal arms transaction in which a British company, Sandline International, was involved?"

Symons denied all, obfuscating that "the newspaper article to which the noble Lord refers ... was in several respects not entirely accurate, or at least not on all fours with the reports that Her Majesty's Government are receiving." There were then calls for Symons' resignation, which Blair rebuffed. As BBC reported the same day: "The Prime Minister has leaped to the defence of foreign office minister Baroness Symons, at the centre of allegations that she misled parliament over the arms-to-Africa affair. Tony Blair told MPs ... that he had not asked her to resign and said there was 'not a shred of evidence' that she ... had deliberately misled anyone."

In 2000, Dick Cheney, chairman and CEO of the Halliburton oil services company of Houston, Texas, and candidate for Vice President, was the American co-chairman of a British conference held April 14-16, on the subject of privatizing the British and American armed forces. This was the special project of Baroness Symons, whom Blair had appointed in 1999 as Minister for Procurement in the Ministry of Defence. The conference was attended by all the main Ministry of Defence officials working to implement her plans for military "Public Private Partnerships," the "Smart Acquisition" initiative, and the "Private Finance Initiative." The event was sponsored by the Rand Corporation, and hosted by the Ditchley Foundation, an Anglo-American power elite group in which Baroness Symons is a trustee and governor.

In his opening remarks to the conference, Cheney referred to his own leadership, first, as Defense Secretary (1989-93), in scheming to have private companies and mercenary soldiers usurp the traditional national military function, and then, steering his Halliburton company to play that role. Cheney said: "I have approached the question of privatization of defense support services from several different perspectives: first as a member of Congress, then as Secretary of Defense, and currently as chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton." He noted that "our British colleagues are far ahead of us in ... successful privatization efforts." Cheney complained that a "challenge for DoD [Department of Defense] is to develop a strategy for countering political resistance. This conference ... provides a tremendous opportunity for us to share experiences, and to learn how the U.S. might take advantage of the concepts and principles that are embodied in the U.K. experience."

Cheney's personal appearance in England at just that moment coincided with Baroness Symons' first planned big privatization: Martin Kitterick, a Defence Ministry consultant on Symons' "Private Finance Initiative," spoke to the conference on the scheme to turn transport of battle tanks over to private companies' trucks and drivers, a contract that Halliburton wanted.

On April 17, 2000, the day after the Cheney-Ditchley conference, the Ministry of Defence announced Baroness Symons' plan for privatizing the British government's giant Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. Baroness Symons then led the parliamentary debate on the plan, reassuring the Lords that she was working closely with the Americans.

After the Supreme Court decision of Dec. 12, 2000, Dick Cheney was designated as Vice President and George W. Bush as President of the United States, to take office Jan. 20, 2001.

The announcement by Baroness Symons, that a consortium headed by the Halliburton company was awarded the £300 million contract to privatize military heavy transport, was graciously delayed until Jan. 24, after the inauguration. Cheney was then presumed to be out of the company, although his Halliburton stock options and continuing compensation became an increasingly heated Washington topic. While Cheney was in England, another British contract went up for grabs. The U.S. Lockheed Martin Corporation was bidding for the Joint Strike Fighter program. In 1994, just after Dick Cheney had taken the helm at Halliburton, his wife, Lynne, had become a Lockheed director, serving on the board's Finance, Nominating, and Corporate Governance committees. Lynne Cheney stepped down from the Lockheed board on Jan. 5, 2000.

On Jan. 17, just before Dick Cheney took power, Symons was in Washington. At the Pentagon she ceremonially signed Britain's commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter program. This Anglo-American venture was labelled "the largest defense procurement program ever conceived." The Defence Ministry announcement awarding British funds to Lockheed in the Joint Strike Fighter program came in October 2001, at a decent time interval from the Halliburton announcement.

On June 11, 2001, Baroness Symons moved out of the Defence Ministry, becoming simultaneously Minister of State for the Middle East, in the Foreign Office, and Minister of State for Trade, in the Department of Trade and Industry.

On July 1, 2001, just after Symons' departure from Defence, the shape of her overall scheme for a private power-and-money grab came before the public. The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency was split into a huge private firm, to be called QinetiQ, and a smaller residual government agency. In the next year, the Blair government shocked some people with the announcement that the Carlyle Group—the private equity fund tied tightly to the Bush family—was to be awarded a large stake in QinetiQ, the "public private partnership." On Feb. 28, 2003, less than a month before the Cheney-Blair-Bush invasion of Iraq, the Carlyle group paid £42.3 million for a 34% holding in QinetiQ. When a large block of QinetiQ stock shares was later put on the public market, the Carlyle Group got about an eight-fold return on its investment. Among those reaping gold from Baroness Symons' planning was former Tory Prime Minister John Major, who had become European Chairman of the Carlyle Group while Baroness Symons was Minister for Defence Procurement.

Baroness Symons' own machinations on behalf of BAE Systems began surfacing in 2005, when the Observer newspaper described her earlier intervention with her Washington circles. This had been in the Summer of 2002, when Cheney was driving hard for war with Iraq.

The story, as told by the British media, is that, at a dinner given by a neo-conservative professor, the Baroness sat next to Attorney David Mills, husband of Tessa Jowell, Blair's Minister of Culture, Media, and Sport. Mills had arranged a $200 million deal with BAE Systems for the Iranian company Mahan Air to buy a fleet of passenger jets. Mills asked Symons to use her influence in Washington to get around the U.S. sanctions law that would penalize a company doing that kind of business with Iran.

On July 9, 2002, ten days after the dinner, Mills wrote to Symons that "BAE will sell or lease as the case may be to [name redacted], a company incorporated in the UAE [united Arab Emirates] and majority-owned by UAE citizens for which I act. It is a condition precedent of the deal that there will be no US objection. It is my understanding, however, that the US government operates the embargo with a degree of discretion. I am sure HMG [Her Majesty's Government, that is, the Blair regime] will wish to offer such support as it can to smooth the path with our American friends, and I would be very grateful if you could do what you can to ensure that BAE get the help they will ... need."

Baroness Symons wrote back to Mills, "Given the obvious political sensitivities you will need to tread very carefully with this one. This is a difficult time to be raising Iran policy in Washington. The advice I have been given, with which I am inclined to agree, is that our official support for you with the administration would raise the profile of the case and, by so doing, increase the chance of eliciting a negative response. So you will need to think very carefully about a lobbying strategy calibrated to achieve the right result. I am pleased that Allan Flood [the BAE Systems director] will be in Washington next week and that he will be calling on the embassy to discuss this further. They are best placed to advise on next steps."

Nothing happened to the Baroness when this was published; David Mills was subsequently charged with money laundering and tax crimes (indicted July 2006) as a cohort of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of the Cheney-Blair-Bush war axis. That August, Dick Cheney was raving that Saddam Hussein was pursuing a nuclear bomb capability. The same theme was rattling around the Prime Minister's office, where Baroness Symons' husband, Phil Bassett, was a longtime Blair aide. From September 2002 until October 2003, Bassett was senior advisor and headed the Strategic Communications Unit at 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's office. It was there that Bassett helped pull together Blair's Sept. 24, 2002 "Big Lie" dossier claiming that Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction" ready to launch at 45 minutes' notice.

Bassett and government Press Secretary Alastair Campbell went to Washington in October 2002, to coordinate strategy for lying about the Iraq danger. With the White House, they established the Coalition Information Centre, which Tucker Eskew, Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Communications, then went to London to implement with Bassett and Campbell. This apparatus and MI6 continued to produce falsified Iraq intelligence as a pretext for war.

Then a factional brawl broke out in London and in the United States, with intensified opposition in leading circles against the Cheney-Blair Iraq War.

On April 3, 2003, two weeks after the start of the war, BBC interviewed Lyndon LaRouche on the "Live Five" show for six minutes, introducing him as a leading critic of the Iraq War policy, and as a candidate for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination. Two days earlier, the LaRouche campaign had released a quarter-million-run pamphlet, "Children of Satan: The 'Ignoble Liars' Behind Bush's No-Exit War." On June 9, 2003, BBC's "Live Five" interviewed LaRouche again, this time for 12 minutes, on LaRouche's recent call for Cheney's impeachment and on Cheney's role in faking Iraq intelligence—faking that Blair, Campbell, and Bassett had also done. In between these two LaRouche interviews, BBC ran two stories (May 29 and June 2), using leading British government weapons scientist Dr. David Kelly as its source, charging that the propaganda team in Tony Blair's office had "sexed up" their Iraq-weapons dossier to make a better excuse for war. After being bullied during interrogation by Blair-controlled members of Parliament, Dr. David Kelly turned up dead, an alleged suicide.

The counterattack by the Blair-Cheney gang also aimed directly at LaRouche. In March 2003, Jeremiah Duggan, a British student studying abroad, committed suicide while in attendance at a Schiller Institute conference in Germany. The Schiller Institute has long been associated with the international economic development proposals of Lyndon Larouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche. German police and prosecutors thoroughly investigated Duggan's death and ruled it a suicide.

Baroness Symons, however, met on April 1, 2004 with Erica Duggan, Jeremiah's mother, announcing that she would appoint a lawyer to work with the Duggan family to pressure German authorities to reverse their assessment of the case. What has followed has been a lurid international propaganda campaign, alleging that Jeremiah was murdered or terrorized to death, without a scintilla of factual evidence contradicting the German findings. The latest twist in the Symons-steered crusade is the Spring 2007 introduction of a resolution in the House of Commons, agitating for a new British investigation into the death of Jeremiah Duggan.

Since leaving her ministerial posts in 2005, Baroness Symons has been Tony Blair's Special Envoy to the Middle East, and to Saudi Arabia, standing as an inner-circle guard for the British-Cheney-Bandar relationship, and, by extension, the lucrative Al-Yamamah project. She is chairman of the British-Saudi Business Council, and vice president of the Middle East Association.

From her station in the House of Lords, she has chaired the all-party group on Qatar. That tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, bordering on Saudi Arabia, has just set up the Qatar Financial Centre, a projected speculators' paradise modelled on the City of London financial district. The BAE Systems company, shaken by mushrooming scandal and facing several potential U.S. investigations, has reached into Qatar to give itself hoped-for credibility. Lord Harry Woolf, the former Chief Justice of England, now works as "chief judge" in the Qatar Financial Centre, alongside Tony Blair's brother, attorney William Blair, who heads the Centre's regulatory body. BAE Systems has hired the Qatar-based Lord Woolf to head a panel of experts to decide whether the company is completely ethical, or needs sprucing up. On June 28, the Qatar Financial Centre sponsored a conference on the potential uses of the sea of money now washing through the hands of Britain's Persian Gulf clients. Baroness Symons was scheduled to chair the meeting.

Now officially in private life, although still Special Envoy to Saudi Arabia, and so on, the Baroness is a paid consultant to the Anglo-American law firm DLA Piper, long the attorneys for Halliburton. Recently her London DLA Piper office has been home base to Michael Lester, who had been general counsel and a director of BAE Systems from the year (1999) that Symons became Minister for Defence Procurement. He had been responsible for BAE's "ethical policies and principles." Lester's entry into Baroness Symons' firm was announced on Dec. 16, 2006—the day after the Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation of BAE Systems.

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Robert Cummings has emailed me with details of his article in this month's Playboy. I highly recommend reading the complete article that can be found here:

http://www.playboy.com/magazine/features/lockheed/index.html

Bush couldn't go into Iraq without a major ally and Lockheed knew it. To sweeten the pot for Blair, Lockheed dragged BAE Systems into the F-35 deal. When BAE still struggled prior to the war (Goldman Sachs reported that BAE would have to cut its dividend), Lockheed began renegotiating the contract -- with the new version unveiled in 2005, giving BAE billions more to be paid "as needed." This put BAE back on its feet, able to build the Typhoon jet fighter for sale to Saudi Arabia in a $70 billion deal, saving 10,000 BAE jobs and 4,000 Rolls-Royce jet engine building jobs.

Meanwhile, a government accountability office report for Congress says the Defense Department is investing too heavily in the F-35 without knowing whether the aircraft will work properly. The report criticizes the Pentagon plan to spend $49 billion on 424 fighters before full testing on the stealth plane is completed in 2013. "Starting production before ensuring the design is mature through flight testing significantly increases the risk of costly design change that will push the program over budget and behind schedule," the report concludes. But that is all light years away, as far as Lockheed and BAE are concerned. As Bob Elrod, a senior executive at Lockheed's fighter plane division boasted, "We're looking at world domination of the market."

To make things even better for Blair, Lockheed brought the British in on the new presidential helicopter deal, notwithstanding the loud protests of then-Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut, where Sikorsky -- America's leading helicopter manufacturer and the losing bidder -- is located.

Meanwhile Jackson closed down the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq in June 2003 because its human rights rationale for the war had been abandoned.

"We were cut out," Jackson explains, "after the whole thing went to Rumsfeld. The Department of Defense didn't want anyone looking over their shoulder. Rumsfeld took it all away from State." Jackson had lined up people like Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, Natan Sharansky of Israel and Carl Bildt, the prime minister of Sweden, to support the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, but Bush and Rumsfeld took off in another direction. Stephen Hadley explained to Jackson that "terrorism and WMDs" were now the rationale for the war, not human rights.

News of torture at Abu Ghraib prison undermined all of Jackson's efforts and, to his credit, he called for Rumsfeld's resignation. He acknowledges that things are not going well in Iraq, but still sees the removal of Saddam Hussein as morally justified. He declines to predict how it will all end.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alistair Campbell has just published a book on his time working for Tony Blair. It is an attempt to promote Blair’s image as an honest politician. However, it does include a couple of interesting passages, including the claim that he contemplated suicide after the body of Dr David Kelly was found. Strange reaction if one considers his claim that he was not responsible for his death.

The funniest episode is when Glenys Kinnock accused Tony Blair of sending his son Euan to “Waffen SS Academy”. Kinnock tells Campbell that “Blair has sold out before he has even got there”. Unlike, her husband, who sold out after he had been appointed as a European Commissioner.

See below Steve Bell's cpmment on Campbell's diaries.

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On BBC’s Newsnight last night there was a piece on the 1998 BAE deal with South Africa. Apparently, Tony Blair visited South Africa and helped to negotiate the BAE deal. Government advisers suggested that the ANC government bought Italian fighter planes. However, the government went with BAE because the “cash-back” involved improved the finances of the ANC. The Serious Fraud Office is still investigating this deal but the ANC are complaining as they argue that they are being treated differently to the government of Saudi Arabia.

So here we have Tony Blair persuading the ANC to spend money on fighter planes instead of on social programs. His main argument seems to have been that this is a good way to fund the party. Obviously, he was suggesting that the ANC did the same as the Labour Party.

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Alastair Campbell's confessions of a Svengali at the court of King Blair are mind-bogglingly tedious. A great diary should be true to its moment in time. Censor it into a work of political propaganda and it ceases to be a first rough draft of history, just a first rough distortion. As for the "Blair years", it is hard to believe that they were one long jeer against the media. Blair's Cheshire cat has clearly eaten a rotten mouse.

The Blairs never did dignity. We have had Cherie's abusive "We won't miss you" shouted at the press. Now we have Campbell's macho obscenities and complaints of "a culture of press negativity", and this from a former columnist whose collusion with the Labour leadership to sabotage the Major government made old-fashioned press bias seem like driven snow. The book has been launched as if it were a royal wedding dress, with leaked extracts, blogs and gossipy titbits about "Diana". No interviewers or reviewers were allowed advance copies lest they pick up on the wrong bits or in any way dent Campbell's massive sensitivity and self-importance. Publishers have a lot to answer for these days: bribing all political eras to end not with a bang but a whinger.

The truth is that Campbell was a first-class press officer and his book is at its best as an account of derring-do in the Westminster lobby. He genuinely transformed the game of political propaganda, making it proactive and aggressive rather than reactive and defensive. He understood the need "to change the terms of trade" in media relations, to ensure uncluttered news management and keep presentation on top of events. He must have read Goebbels. A modern political movement needs more than a press officer. It needs a cheerleader with only one loyalty, to the boss.

From his assumption of the leadership in 1994, Blair worked solidly to eradicate all checks on his office, first from the Labour party and then from the constitution. This left the press as the one critic beyond his control, a daily mirror held up by Campbell and Peter Mandelson, with a running commentary on his performance. Campbell's shielding of his weak and gullible boss from the world's most reptilian press was easy to ridicule. But after Labour's experience at the media's hands, he was right to take no prisoners. As Team Blair stripped Labour of its residual socialism and prepared for the great Thatcherite U-turn, Campbell's keeping the lid on what was happening was masterly.

Conventional wisdom holds that Blair should never have brought Campbell into Downing Street. His ego was too big and his responses too oppositional, grating and antagonistic. He treated government as if it were a football team that needed only a foul-mouthed manager to win a match. Mandelson, who had other flaws, was a more subtle spin doctor and had at least a passing interest in the reality of government. But Blair clearly craved Campbell, kept him on and left him to wrestle with an outdated government information machine that Campbell expertly reformed even as it tore him apart emotionally.

Campbell's failing was the opposite of the one usually laid at his door, that he used the power of government to corrupt the press. From the moment he entered Downing Street he used the power of the press to corrupt government. To him a good decision was anything that next day's Murdoch or Rothermere editors would applaud. If Campbell declared a policy unacceptable to the media (such as drugs reform), it was dead. Since he operated with the authority of the prime minister, ministers had to take his word as gospel. Soon government was operating on a strict 24-hour cycle, measured not in policy outcomes but in headlines, news snatches, soundbites. Success was a good picture that edged out a bad one, an "initiative", however vacuous, that smothered bad news.

The removal of (most of) Gordon Brown and the Treasury from the diaries unbalances the central tension in all governments and thus leaves the play without a villain. The memoirs of the Downing Street adviser Derek Scott, even David Blunkett, are more revealing. We are left with the author's pitying self-regard, enlivened by his boyish delight in dallying at the elbow of power. He falls for Diana, adores Clinton, admires Donald Rumsfeld and is played like a fish by George Bush ("one of my biggest supporters"). But when he starts playing the politician as propagandist for the war in Iraq, he flies too close to the sun.

The hundred or so pages on "why I was right (and the BBC wrong) on weapons of mass destruction" now read as fantasy, given the frantic doctoring that we know was made under Campbell's aegis. These passages should have gone the way of Brown v Blair. As for the great defence, that everyone in Downing Street "thought we were doing the right thing at the time", I am sure Chamberlain thought the same at Munich, and Eden at Suez. We pay our masters not to think the right things but to do them.

The real casualty of this overblown saga is not Campbell but the man who overpromoted him. It was Blair who, on coming to office, ordered the cabinet secretary, Robin Butler, to replace civil servants with his courtiers. It was Blair who moved Campbell into the old chief whip's office and gave media strategy primacy over government strategy. It was Blair who wanted presentation wherever he went, like a film star with a hairdresser in tow. He seemed to regard Campbell as his answer to Cherie's Carole Caplin, as his political style guru.

Blair should have seen the damage that Campbell's ubiquity and management style were doing to the workings of his government. How could there be open cabinet discussion when the prime minister's henchman was in the room jotting down every word of dissent, with added bile, for leaking to the press if need be? It made ministers unwilling to take risks, for fear of what the press, and Campbell, might say on the morrow. It fed the publicity machine with cod statistics while turning every internal debate into a flaming row. It snapped the links between policy and delivery and left Blair after 2003 miserable and floundering.

The cruel photograph chosen for the cover says it all. Blair gazes up into Campbell's eyes like an obedient labrador. The penultimate line in the book is equally bathetic: "As I left, TB had said, 'You do realise that I will phone you every day, don't you.'" True or false? Spin or substance? Who cares?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...2123362,00.html

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