Court rules that Bush and Blair’s pre-Iraq conversation must be disclosed to the public
“You big mug – give me a kiss!”
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Extracts of a phone conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush a few days before the invasion of Iraq must be disclosed, a tribunal has ruled.
The Foreign Office lost an appeal against an order by the information commissioner, Christopher Graham, to disclose records of the conversation between the two leaders on 12 March 2003. Graham’s order was made in response to a freedom of information request by Stephen Plowden, a private individual who demanded disclosure of the entire record of the conversation.
“Accountability for the decision to take military action against another country is paramount,” Graham had said in his original order.
Upholding that ruling on Monday, Judge John Angel, president of the information tribunal, said Foreign Office witnesses had downplayed the importance of a decision to go to war, a view the tribunal found “difficult to accept”.
The tribunal added: “Also in our view, particularly from the evidence in this case, the circumstances surrounding a decision by a UK government to go to war with another country is always likely to be of very significant public interest, even more so with the consequences of this war.”
It said parts of the phone call between Blair and Bush recording what the former British prime minister said must be disclosed. The two men are believed to have discussed UN resolutions on Iraq and a television interview given by Jacques Chirac, then French president, on 10 March 2003. Blair repeatedly blamed Chirac for the failure to get a second UN security council resolution backing an invasion of Iraq…
Angus Lapsley, a Foreign Office official responsible for US-UK relations, argued against disclosure on the grounds that Britain had “a uniquely close and privileged relationship with the US“. He added that there was “no comparator” in terms of the “breadth and depth” of the UK’s relationship with the US, which was vital to Britain’s national interests.
That’s a long and incredibly polite redefinition of the word “lapdog”.
As criminal as were the decisions made by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to invade Iraq – the Yes Man routine played to the hilt by Tony Blair was a significant asset to the whole despicable venture.