Monday, January 25, 2010

Tony Blair prepares as do the demonstrators

This Friday, January 29th, the former prime minister and all time poodle Tony Blair will appear before the Iraq Inquiry in London. A major protest is expected to take place outside as War Criminal Tony testifies. From Stop The War Coalition's "Protest on Tony Blair's Judgement Day: 29 January from 8am:"

Peoples Dossier
New Stop the War pamphlet

Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, Broad
Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE

On Friday 29 January, Tony Blair will try to explain to the Iraq Inquiry the lies he used to take Britain into an illegal war.

Writers, musicians, relatives of the dead, Iraqi refugees, poets, human rights lawyers, comedians, actors, MPs and ordinary citizens will join a day of protest outside the Inquiry to demand that this should be Tony Blair's judgement day.

There will be naming the dead ceremonies for the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Blair's war. Military families who lost loved ones in Iraq will read the names of the 179 British soldiers killed.

Join us from 8.0am onwards.

The Telegraph of London reports that security for Blair's appearance could cost 250,000 pounds and that "road blocks, exclusion zones" will be used by the police who will also "deploy teams of armed officers and rooftop surveillance teams." Meanwhile the Daily Mirror reports that British families whose loved ones were "killed in Iraq are demanding a private showdown with Tony Blair this week." Robert Winnett (Telegraph of London) adds they are asking for a 15-minute meeting with Blair. Military Families Speak Out announces the following:

Blair at Iraq Inquiry: Join Military Families on 29 January
Members of military families who lost loved ones in the Iraq war will read the names of all 179 British soldiers who died.
1pm - 2pm on Friday 29th January at the QE2 Conference Center, London
Military Families will join writers, musicians, Iraqi refugees, poets, human rights lawyers, comedians, well known actors, MPs and ordinary citizens in a day of protest, performance and politics outside the Iraq Inquiry on Friday 29 January, as Tony Blair faces his judgement day.
If you'd like to take part in some way please call Andrew on 07939 242 229 or contact us via email:

Alastair Jamieson (Telegraph of London) proposes a series of questions for the Iraq Inquiry to ask Tony Blair while (video link) BBC's Adam Fleming provides his overview of what the committee may pursue when Blair appears. Bryan Gould (Guardian) offers his view of why Blair championed and started an illegal war:

Why did he support it? He had by this time convinced himself that he was a world statesman, equipped to partner George Bush in a duumvirate which would re-shape the world. Underpinned by a hitherto undeclared religious conviction, he increasingly saw the world in terms of absolutes – good and evil, right and wrong. Like the American conservatives, but for moral and religious reasons rather than misplaced ideological opportunism, he could not resist the chance to strike a blow not only for enlightenment but for his own destiny.

Before Blair appears, Mark Hennessy (Irish Times) reminds, other witnesses are due including two on Tuesday:

The foreign office's former top lawyer Michael Wood, who was known to have doubts about the war's legality, and another senior official, Elizabeth Wilmhurst, who quit in protest at the decision to go to war, will give evidence earlier in the week, followed by former attorney general Lord Goldsmith, who changed his mind about its legality just days before the invasion was launched.
The appearance of Mr Wood, who has not spoken publicly about his views up to now, and Ms Wilmhurst, was heavily trailed in British papers at the weekend, with all of them reporting sources "close" to both that they will clearly detail the doubts prevailing at the time in the foreign office -- doubts which they are believed to claim were over-ruled by Mr Blair and Downing Street.

But it's a busy week for the Inquiry period. Michael Savage (Independent of London) notes, "Crucial evidence will also be given by Mr Blair's chief legal adviser, Lord Goldsmith, who will give evidence on Wednesday. The inquiry has already heard that the former attorney-general appeared to give his decisive legal backing to the invasion only days before it was launched, after a further meeting with Mr Blair." As Andy Jack (Sky News) observes, "Ministers are bracing themselves for the biggest week at the Iraq Inquiry, leading up to the grilling of Tony Blair over whether he misled Parliament to take Britain into war."

Turning to Iraq, Michael Christie and Ralph Boulton (Reuters) report three bombings in Baghdad leading to at least 11 dead and at least twenty-one injured.

In the United States, The Hurt Locker has been awarded more honors. Susan King (Los Angeles Times) notes that Kathryn Bigelow's film "won the Producers Guild of America's Darryl F. Zanuck producer of the year award on Sunday" -- the films producers are Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicholas Chartier and Greg Shapiro. Kathryn also directed the film, Boal also wrote the screenplay.

Hurt Locker

As noted before, I know Kathryn and, offline, am campaigning for her film. Were Kathryn to win Best Director, she would be the first woman to do so. Were it to win Best Film, she would continue the path of women who've won for producing -- a path started with Julie Phillips's win for 1973's The Sting. Which brings us back to Democracy Now! and the hour with Redford. Remember, Amy Goodman is anti-woman. While there's a point in bringing up Sydney Pollack -- with whom Redford had a long working relationship, it's interesting how she brings up men, men, men and ignores women. 3 Days of the Condor is briefly noted during the conversation. Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway isn't window dressing in that film. Without her -- and that's without Faye, I don't believe any other actress at that time could have done what she did -- it's not the same film. In addition, he made three films with Natalie Wood (I'm counting the cameo she did in The Candidate at Robert's request -- and The Candidate is discussed by Goody and Robert and a clip shown) but we're not discussing Natalie? And of course, when Redford's asked why he doesn't work with strong women more often (he made Out of Africa with Meryl Streep), after pointing to his publicist, he generally notes Jane Fonda. [When he is asked in real interviews. Goody doesn't ask him this question, to clarify.] Two time Academy Award winner Jane Fonda with whom he made three films. Arthur Penn directed them (from a Lillian Helman screenplay) in The Chase. They followed that with the hit -- Redford's first real hit -- Barefoot In The Park (Robert played the role on Broadway, directed by Mike Nichols). Fonda and Redford reteamed in 1979's The Electric Horseman -- a huge box office film for him.

For him? Fonda was coming off Coming Home (1978), California Suite (1978), The China Syndrome (1979) (with 1980's 9 to 5 and 1981's On Golden Pond looming in the near future) so for her The Electric Horseman was yet another box office hit.

Goody yammers away about Paul Newman. He made two films with Newman. He made three with Fonda. The better actor? Fonda. Activism? I believe Fonda wins there as well. (I know everyone I'm dishing on here.) But Goody's got no time to talk about women -- like when she interviewed Daryl Hannah and avoided Darryl's biggest moneymaker: Steel Magnolias -- a film that found her working with three Academy Award winning actresses: Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts.

With Goody, it's always about the men. That's why she treats Larry F**nt and H**tler magazine as respected sources -- Playboy magazine as well. She's a queen bee who helps no woman.

Reality on Redford -- a reality not often grasped leading to box office flops, he was a leading man. He wasn't an action hero. He was a leading man. That's what made him a star. He filled a huge void in a period known as the Age of the Anti-hero. Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman (to name but two) were talented actors and Jack Nicholson will always be in a class by himself. All three were huge stars. But Redford wasn't the anti-hero. He was the traditional leading man and the only rival for that title in the 70s was Warren Beatty. The leading man. He was coupled in his best films (even in the homoerotic two films with Newman). It's as though Goody interviewed Cary Grant and never raised the names of Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn or Mae West but couldn't shut up about Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Fonda is also part of Women's Media Center. WMC has a new radio program -- a pilot program -- on WBAI and it airs at 10:00 am EST (if it's not finished its trial period) followed by Out-FM which airs at 11:00 am EST (both air over airwaves in NYC and stream online). Every Thursday night, we do "I Hate The War" and As Ruth noted Wednesday, "The Ballet does the song and I first heard it on Out-FM and told C.I. and everyone about it. (I blogged about it repeatedly.) I only learned yesterday that you can download the track for free and legally here at Out-FM's website."

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Commander of the Groin" went up last night.

The e-mail address for this site is