03:40 GMT +311 December 2019
Listen Live
    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves his home in London on July 6, 2016

    Edinburgh Festival Stages 'Biggest Indictment' of Tony Blair 'War Crimes'

    Get short URL

    A production at this year's Edinburgh Festival, Scotland, features the continuous reading - out loud - the entire Chilcot report into Britain's decision to follow the US into the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which is a devastating attack on the former UK prime minister's decision-making.

    The inquiry into the Iraq invasion, headed by Sir John Chilcot, found that policy on Iraq was based on flawed intelligence and assessments and that the legal case for going to war was "far from satisfactory."

    Chilcot said Blair's government had not exhausted peaceful means of dealing with Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction — clearly inferring Blair had jumped prematurely into war.

    Blair — along with George W. Bush — had failed to agree a United Nations resolution that gave the US and UK the go-ahead to invade. Blair sought the advice of the UK Attorney General, Peter Goldsmith.

    Sir John said: "We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory."

    ​In Edinburgh, the entire contents of the report are being read out by actors, politicians and others over a period of days. One of the readers, former Scottish Socialist lawmaker Colin Fox told Sputnik:

    "It felt like taking part in the biggest legal indictment of Tony Blair that's ever been. There are twelve volumes — 2.6 million words — and I only read about 100, so I feel I've party indicted Tony Blair for war crimes, which is what millions in this country want to do."

    "He deserves it doesn't he? This was 2003 — 13 years later [reading the report] I was wearing my Scottish Socialist Party t-shirt to remind people we were at the forefront of [the anti-Iraq war campaign]. It feels like only five minutes ago, it's still very important," he told Sputnik.

    'Ethnic, Bloody, Barbaric'

    He said the situation in Iraq — post-war — is still unstable. "It's a sectarian civil war. It's absolutely hellish. People are butchering each other. A couple of weeks ago, there was the biggest ever loss of human life in one day when a car bomb went off and killed 250 people shopping in a bazaar. It didn't even make the news.

    "What Toy Blair has left behind in Iraq is an ethnic, bloody, barbaric civil war. It's absolutely shocking and it's almost like a living testimony to what George W. Bush and Tony Blair did to the world. It's appalling," he told Sputnik.

    Chilcot also blamed flawed intelligence for the decision to go to war. "The Joint Intelligence Committee should have made clear to Mr. Blair that the assessed intelligence had not established 'beyond doubt' either that Iraq had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons or that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued."

    ​The creator of the show, Bob Slayer, told Sputnik the idea behind staging the mass readout of the Chilcot report:

    "People are coming out of [the readings] saying, 'Oh! We actually got a juicy bit there,' thinking that was perhaps a one-off. But a lot of the subject matter is a lot of testimonials with individuals who were involved, so you get their complete picture, so you can sit there and, in an hour, get a certain person's complete picture of what went on."


    Chilcot Report: 'Blair Suffered Harm to His Already Tarnished Reputation'
    Chilcot Report Slams Tony Blair for Iraq War: Will He Be Prosecuted?
    Bush, Blair, The Chilcot Report and Unlearned Lessons of Mass Deception
    UK Labour MPs’ Loyalty to Blair Divides Party After Chilcot Report
    stage, performance, actors, festival, war crimes, theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Iraq War, United Nations, John Chilcot, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Iraq, United States, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik