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Is Your Life Worth More to Your Government Than a Few Dollars' Gain in Oil Stocks?

Tony Blair plotted to free a terrorist in exchange for oil -- does this finally reveal the truth about Iraq?

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This affair seems to reopen the Iraq debate, in a way that vindicates Blair's most severe critics. Tony Blair's remaining defenders say he was motivated in Iraq by a hatred of terrorism and tyranny and had no regard whatsoever for getting access to oil. Yet at the very same time, the Labour government was plotting in Libya to hand the worst terrorist in British history to a tyrant in exchange for oil. It's proof that oil and corporate power were a much bigger factor in driving foreign policy than the public rhetoric of opposing tyranny or terror.

David Cameron refuses to establish an investigation into how this was allowed to happen. He has tried to soothe anger by saying he will release all the relevant documents -- but the Cabinet Secretary, Gus O'Donnell, added soon after that Blair's permission will be needed before any records of his conversations are shown to the public. Imagine if the police allowed suspects to take this approach: "Certainly, officer, you can look under my coffee table. But not in any of my wardrobes. Good day."

For the families of all the innocent people slaughtered in Lockerbie, this has been a cold-water education in what their governments really value. Cohen, remembering her murdered 20-year-old daughter Theodora, says: "Western governments seem to be run by one thing now -- the great God money. All that matters now is profits and money. Blood-money."

There's a revealing little postscript to this tale. Last month, Blair went to Libya on behalf of the large corporations who now employ him. He was greeted by Gaddafi himself -- who tortures dissidents and terrorizes his population --  "like a brother", according to the Libyans. There has even been rife press speculation that, now that they need a CEO, Tony Blair will go to work for BP. In many ways, it seems, he always has.


Johann Hari is a writer for the Independent.

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