Blair, Bush Jr. and Lord Levy

Monday, December 18, 2006 1:31 AM

Crooks, con men, sycophants and phonies.  They are not confined to Washington; look for them in London as well. (See below.) When it comes to Washington's and Whitehall's joint policies in the Middle East--such as the invasion of Iraq purportedly to spread "democracy"--while concurrently abandoning the Palestinians under Israeli military occupation, not to mention those living for decades as refugees outside Palestine---one would be very well advised to "follow the money".

Stripped of all the patriotic posturing, lies, and sham sloganeering on the part of G.W. Bush and his sidekick, Tony Blair, their policy amounts to a self-serving game. It is, to a remarkable degree, a political fundraising and vote-getting opportunity--and a way to reciprocate those doing the funding and voting. In a word, a racket.

And it is nothing new. Indeed, it is part of a long tradition in Middle East policy. In England, it began with David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, during World War I with the 1917 Balfour Declaration. In America, it starts with Harry Truman, in the aftermath of World War II, with the recognition of “Israel”. No wonder Anglo-American policy in the Middle East is ending in a train wreck.

Blair and Levy face honours storm together

By Graeme Wilson and Toby Helm in Jerusalem ||

The Telegraph (London) || 12/18/2006

Lord Levy, the man at the centre of the cash for honours investigation, is with Tony Blair in Israel today on the latest leg of his Middle East peacemaking trip as detectives prepare to question again some of the Prime Minister's most important allies. The Labour peer, who has been arrested and questioned twice by police officers conducting the most serious political corruption inquiry for 70 years, has played a key role behind the scenes in organising Mr Blair’s crucial talks today with Ehud Olmert, the Israeli premier.

Lord Levy, Mr Blair’s personal Middle East envoy, had his own talks with Mr Olmert last night and with Moshe Katsav, the Israeli president. He is braced for a third interview with the police about his pivotal role in organising £14 million of secret loans at the centre of the investigation.

Jonathan Powell, the Downing Street chief of staff, is expected to be questioned again but this time possibly under caution. At the weekend the Prime Minister refused to offer any public support to the embattled Lord Levy, whom he apparently contradicted when interviewed by the police in Downing Street last week.

Mr Blair is said to have told detectives that he did not have full knowledge of the loans or peerage nominations. Lord Levy said the Prime Minister had been kept fully informed. A friend of Lord Levy said: “There is no rift. The media have exaggerated the problems — he will be with Mr Blair all day.”

In a further twist last night, it was reported that Downing Street aides and Labour officials involved in the honours inquiry could be investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. The Crown Prosecution Service is said to have advised detectives to look into whether there have been attempts to hamper the investigation. It follows claims that the hand-over of emails and documents may be incomplete.

Downing Street has denied the allegations, which were made in a newspaper. A spokesman for No 10 said: "Downing Street has fully cooperated with the police throughout their inquiry and will continue to do so."  .....

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