Cii News, Pic: (File; An anti-war demonstrator, dressed as bloodied former British prime minister Tony Blair, stands outside the Iraq war inquiry 2009. Getty Images)
24 August 2012
People with blood on their hands are not welcome to South Africa. That’s the message from the South African Muslim Network (Samnet) as the country prepares for the arrival of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
He will be attending a Discovery Leadership Summit , 30 August 2012, at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg. “We believe, given his track record particularly in Iraq, that he should be embarrassed at the very least or a citizen’s arrest attempted when he is in South Africa,” said Dr. Faisal Suliman of Samnet.
An international reward has been posted for anyone who attempts to arrest Blair with thousands of pounds up for grabs.
“This is not a hoax,” said Suliman . “Three people have already been paid out for just attempting to arrest him. A woman in Ireland, Kate Sullivan, just walked up and said: Mr. Blair, I arrest you for war crimes and she was paid out about £3000 and somebody else got £5000 at a book signing in Hong Kong.”
The website, arrestblair.org, has run the international campaign where anyone who attempts to arrest Blair for crimes against peace stands to receive the monetary reward and although an actual arrest would be highly improbable, it would undoubtedly create political resonance.
“It is essential that they are pursued peacefully and calmly, not least for your own safety: at no point should you create the impression that you mean to harm him, or you could be harmed yourself,” the site recommends to anyone who will attempt to carry out the citizen’s arrest.
“The method we recommend is calmly to approach Mr. Blair and in a gentle fashion to lay a hand on his shoulder or elbow, in such a way that he cannot have any cause to complain of being hurt or trapped by you, and announce loudly, “Mr Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge…You are advised not to put yourself at risk of charges of assault or false imprisonment. In other words, do not cling onto Blair or attempt to drag him anywhere.”
Protest action will also be taking place outside the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday. “As people of conscience, we should at the very least be demonstrating,” said Suliman. “We need to send out a message to the country as a whole, that whoever wants to invite someone with blood on their hands for whatever cause, they should know that by coming to South Africa you are not going to have a free ride.”
The US invasion of Iraq, supported by the UK under the leadership of Blair, has caused the deaths of between 100,000 and one million people.
The attack was supposedly provoked by the imminent threat Iraq presented to world peace with weapons of mass destruction.
“A series of leaked documents shows not only that these contentions are untrue, but that Bush and Blair knew they were untrue. The Downing Street memo, a record of a meeting in July 2002, reveals that Sir Richard Dearlove, director of the UK’s foreign intelligence service MI6, told Blair that in Washington, ‘Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,’” according to arrestblair.com.
Tags: arrest blair, discovery leadership, samnet, Tony Blair