The suppression of Blair's criminality and that of his administrations is described in Gareth Peirce's Dispatches from the Dark Side: on torture and the death of justice, published in paperback this month by Verso. Peirce is Britain's most distinguished human rights lawyer; her pursuit of infamous miscarriages of justice and justice for the victims of state crimes, such as torture and rendition, is unsurpassed. What is unusual about this accounting of what she calls the "moral and legal pandemonium" in the wake of 9/11 is that, in drawing on the memoirs of Blair and Alistair Campbell, Cabinet minutes and MI6 files, she applies the rule of law to them.
Advocates such as Peirce, Phil Shiner and Clive Stafford-Smith have ensured the indictment of dominant powers is no longer a taboo. Israel, America's hit-man, is now widely recognized as the world's most lawless state. The likes of Donald Rumsfeld now avoid countries where the law reaches beyond borders, as does George W. Bush and Blair.
Deploying sinecures of "peace-making" and "development" that allow him to replenish the fortune accumulated since leaving Downing Street, Blair's jackdaw travels are concentrated on the Gulf sheikhdoms, the US, Israel and safe havens like the small African nation of Rwanda. Since 2007, Blair has made seven visits to Rwanda, where he has access to a private jet supplied by President Paul Kagame. Kagame's regime, whose opponents have been silenced brutally on trumped-up charges, is "innovative" and a "leader" in Africa, says Blair.
The very concept of war was wrenched from its dictionary meaning and became "our values versus theirs." The actual perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, mostly Saudis trained to fly in America, were all but forgotten. Instead, the "splashes of color" were made blood-red -- first in Afghanistan, land of the poorest of the poor. No Afghans were members of al-Qaeda; on the contrary, there was mutual resentment. No matter. Once the bombing began on 7 October 2001, tens of thousands of Afghans were punished with starvation as the World Food Program withdrew aid on the cusp of winter. In one stricken village, Bibi Mahru, I witnessed the aftermath of a single Mk82 "precision" bomb's obliteration of two families, including eight children. "TB," wrote Alistair Campbell, "said they had to know that we would hurt them if they don't yield up OBL."
The cartoon figure of Campbell was already at work on concocting another threat in Iraq. This "yielded up," according to the MIT Center for International Studies, between 800,000 and 1.3 million deaths: figures that exceed the Fordham University estimate of deaths in the genocide in Rwanda.
Immersed in its misadventure and lies, listening only to their leader's crooned "sincerity," the Labor government consulted no one who spoke the truth. Peirce cites one of the most reliable sources, Conflicts Forum, run by the former British intelligence officer Alastair Crooke, who argued that to "isolate and demonize [Islamic] groups that have support on the ground, the perception is reinforced that the west only understands the language of military strength." In willfully denying this truth, Blair, Campbell and their echoes planted the roots of the 7/7 attacks in London.
Today, another Afghanistan and Iraq beckons in Syria and Iran, perhaps even a world war. Once again, voices such as Crooke's attempt to explain to a media salivating for "intervention" in Syria that the civil war in that country requires skilled, patient negotiation, not the provocations of the British SAS and the familiar, bought-and-paid-for exiles who ride in Anglo-America's Trojan Horse.