Blair caught lying about soldier’s "execution"

By Julie Hyland
29 March 2003

The sister of a British soldier killed in Iraq has denounced Prime Minister Tony Blair for lying about the circumstances of his death.

Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24, and Staff Sgt. Simon Cullingworth, 36, both members of a specialist bomb disposal unit, were killed earlier this week after their Land Rover was ambushed by Iraqi troops in Safwan, Southern Iraq. Al Jazeera television later broadcast pictures of their bodies, and Iraqi civilians dancing on the wrecked Land Rover.

The soldiers’ deaths figured prominently in Blair’s joint press conference with President George W. Bush at Camp David on Thursday, March 27, where they were used to claim moral legitimacy for the US/UK invasion of Iraq.

The two had been “executed” in an “act of cruelty beyond comprehension,” Blair stated.

The manner of their deaths was “further evidence of the depravity of Saddam’s regime,” he continued.

“It is yet one more flagrant breach of all the proper conventions of war.

“More than that, to the families of the soldiers involved, it is an act of cruelty beyond comprehension. Indeed, it is beyond the comprehension of anyone with an ounce of humanity in their souls.”

Bush joined in by asserting, “They were murdered ... unarmed soldiers executed. That’s a war crime”.

But Nina Allsopp, Luke’s sister, reacted furiously to Blair’s statement, accusing him of lying.

She told the Daily Mirror that she was stunned when she saw the prime minister on television denouncing her brother’s “execution”.

The family had been visited by a Colonel from Luke’s barracks to tell them that he had not been executed and “to set the record straight,” Nina told the newspaper. “Luke’s Land Rover was ambushed and he died instantly,” she continued.

The entire family was angry with the prime minister, she went on. “It makes a big difference to us knowing that he died quickly. We can’t understand why people are lying about what happened.”

“It must be a mistake. It’s important to us that people know the truth. That people know what really happened.”

Pressed by journalists after his press conference on the grounds on which he had claimed the soldiers were executed, Blair refused to give details. Later, however, his official spokesman admitted there was no conclusive proof of the prime minister’s allegations.

“It is a terrible thing to talk in these terms, but since we don’t have the two bodies we can’t be absolutely sure,” he said. In other words, no one can prove conclusively we are lying, so we will continue to lie in order to further our own ends.

The allegations of executions were not the only fraudulent statements made during the joint press conference. Both Blair and Bush made repeated references to their countries’ struggle against Nazism, when today it is the US/UK that is continuing the policy of fascist Germany in waging a war of unprovoked aggression. Both claimed to have widespread support for their war, when it has been condemned across much of the world, and has caused tens of millions to take to the streets in protest. And both claimed the war was aimed at “liberating” the Iraqi people, when its real purpose is to occupy the country, seize its oil resources and impose a pro-US dictatorship in Saddam Hussein’s place.

Far from being a mistake, Blair’s claim of executions is an integral part of a war that is built on a tissue of lies from beginning to end—all designed to cover over the fact that the real criminals and violators of international law are the British prime minister and US president themselves.