Anti-War Protester Disrupts Court During Tony Blair Inquiry

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Common Dreams

Anti-War Protester Disrupts Court During Tony Blair Inquiry

Blair ignores protest, admits he got too close to Murdoch empire

by
Common Dreams staff

Protester led away by police officers outside the High Court in London on May 28 after he burst into the chamber where the Leveson Inquiry was hearing evidence from former British prime minister Tony Blair. (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

Today, an anti-war protester broke into the 'Leveson Inquiry' court hearing as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair confessed he got too close to Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

The protester shouted, "This man should be arrested for war crimes. JP Morgan paid him off for the Iraq war six months after he left office... the man is a war criminal," referring to Blair's decision to take Britain to war in Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in office.

Meanwhile, in court Blair admitted he had 'courted' the press, refusing to regulate practices, for fear of a "huge and sustained" media attack against him.

Asked whether he had got too close to Murdoch's News International, he replied: "Yes."

Officials took the anti-war protester away. Around 20 protesters remained outside the courtroom waving banners reading "Troops home", "Bliar" and "Afghanistan out".

* * *

Agence France-Presse: Blair heckled as protester breaks in to press inquiry

A protester was bundled out of a British press ethics inquiry Monday as Tony Blair gave evidence after bursting in and yelling that the former prime minister should be arrested for war crimes.

The man was bundled out by officials after he interrupted proceedings at the Leveson Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

"This man should be arrested for war crimes. JP Morgan paid him off for the Iraq war six months after he left office... the man is a war criminal," the protester yelled.

Officials bundled him out of a back door as he continued to shout.

* * *

Agence France-Presse: Tony Blair admits he got too close to Murdoch empire

Former British prime minister Tony Blair told a press ethics inquiry Monday that he got too close to Rupert Murdoch's media empire, in evidence disrupted by a protester calling him a "war criminal". [...]

In his evidence, Blair, who is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children, was asked about his close relationship with the media baron whose tabloid The Sun -- Britain's top-selling newspaper -- gave Blair its backing.

Blair said he had made a strategic decision not to take on the power of the press during his time in office, despite calls for tougher media regulation following the death of Diana, princess of Wales in 1997.

He said he had taken care to court the press because if media groups had turned against him, it would have been a "huge and sustained attack".

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