Breaking News in London and D.C.

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Tony Blair is demoting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to serve as Leader of Parliament’s Lower House. Margaret Becket, who has been serving as Secretary of State for the Environment, will succeed Straw.
Straw is taking the same path of the late Robin Cook when he was demoted from the Foreign Secretary portfolio.
Straw has adamently opposed a strike against Iran, under current conditions, and has stated forcefully that it would be an “illegal act.” Blair seems to want to keep his Iran attack options open.
On the DC front, Porter Goss has resigned. It will be interesting to see if this rumor that has been milling about that Goss’s name was among those of several House members, including the indicted Duke Cunningham, involved in a Watergate Hotel prostitution ring.
Still north of Lisbon on Portugal’s coast here — but the big news is still reaching us.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

53 comments on “Breaking News in London and D.C.

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  3. civitas says:

    “Which is a bigger LIE than the one cited that elicited your response.”
    YOU may not like the trial and conviction of those who actually did torture, but most Americans think it was the correct thing to happen.
    “It appears your beloved handlers are PROTECTING the actual criminals that instituted these abuses.”
    If you could prove that, you might have something. But you can’t.
    “Gee, suprise suprise. Course, the fact that it has been PROVEN that Sanchez LIED about his role in the torture escapes your comment.”
    I don’t believe that anyone who wasn’t directly involved with torture should be tried. Sorry, just the way our system works.
    “You condone rendition”
    I don’t have a problem with rendition.
    “you convict without due process”
    Actually, it’s me who wants due process prior to conviction. It’s you who is willing to convict without it.

    Reply

  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “I’ve said that the public is quite satisfied that those who did torture were tried and convicted for it.”
    Which is a bigger LIE than the one cited that elicited your response. Most informed Americans realize that those indicted and tried were mere scapegoats, and the the true framers of the RAMPANT AND WANTON CRIMINAL HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere were ordered, justified and condoned by these treasonous sons of a bitches Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzales, who HAVE NOT been tried and punished for the crimes.
    BTW, if catching and punishing the people responsible for the torture is paramount to this administration, then why is it that this administration is IGNORING the mandate of the court that the additional Abu Ghraib photos be released to the public? Despite a court order, we have not seen them. It appears your beloved handlers are PROTECTING the actual criminals that instituted these abuses. Gee, suprise suprise. Course, the fact that it has been PROVEN that Sanchez LIED about his role in the torture escapes your comment. LIke I said, troll, you people are scum. You condone rendition, you convict without due process, and you deny deny deny……

    Reply

  5. civitas says:

    “What are your thoughts about Hayden’s leadership decisions to persist in the $1.2B TRAILBLAZER that is STILL not running?”
    Mostly that I’m not too interested in it.
    “What are your thoughts about ‘warrantless arrests’ following ‘warrantless wiretapping’ of US citizens?”
    I am FOR the wiretapping of anyone, including US citizens, talking to known terrorists. I’m also for the detention of such people.
    “What do u think is the problem that Hayden wants to solve by allowing the language in H.R. 5020 granting expanded powers to the security forces at NSA and CIA? These are secuirty forces answerable to the Director, NSA and Director, CIA? THis certainly does NOT sounds like COLLABORATION and SHARING among the agencies.”
    The CIA needs to be taken apart and put back together. It’s not working.

    Reply

  6. joe says:

    to civitas:
    What are your thoughts about Hayden’s leadership decisions to persist in the $1.2B TRAILBLAZER that is STILL not running?
    What are your thoughts about Hayden’s management decision to terminate THINTHREAD which received a considerable better evaluation than TRAILBLAZER?
    What are your thoughts about ‘warrantless arrests’ following ‘warrantless wiretapping’ of US citizens?
    What do u think is the problem that Hayden wants to solve by allowing the language in H.R. 5020 granting expanded powers to the security forces at NSA and CIA? These are secuirty forces answerable to the Director, NSA and Director, CIA? THis certainly does NOT sounds like COLLABORATION and SHARING among the agencies.

    Reply

  7. civitas says:

    “Fact is, you convict people in your statement, when in fact there has been no due process of law to determine that these people are “jihadis and terrorists”.”
    There wasn’t any due process of law to determine that nazis were nazis either. Yet we still managed to identify a good number of them.
    “If you think the American people agree with TORTURE, administered in the name of the United States, then you are sorely mistaken.”
    I don’t. I’ve said as much, can you not read? I’ve said that the public is quite satisfied that those who did torture were tried and convicted for it.
    “You people are an EMBARRASSMENT to everything this country once stood for, and it is time we stopped mincing words with you sick fascist perverts. If you want to hold the Idi Amins of this world up as your role models, leave the average American out of your twisted reality.”
    You’re hardly the average American. Most Americans are not on the side of the terrorists. Nor would they have been on the side of Idi Amin or any of the other horrendous, murderous dictators you support.

    Reply

  8. colo springs says:

    Air Force General Hayden is going to be appointed by Our President this morning.
    Let the round-up of the disaffected and Godless in Our Country begin.
    Praise the Lord!
    God Bless America!

    Reply

  9. Malcolm Ford says:

    Thought you should see this article in Monday’s UK Guardian.
    **It wouldn’t be the first time that the Bush administration has played an important role in persuading Tony Blair to sack his foreign secretary. It was little discussed at the time, but Robin Cook’s demotion in 2001 also followed hostile representations from Washington and private expressions of doubt in Downing Street about his ability to work with a Republican administration. Again, there may have been other factors, but of those suggested at the time, none seems convincing. Last week’s reshuffle helps to put the episode in a new, revealing context.
    The first signs of what lay ahead came in the run-up to the 2000 presidential elections, when telegrams from the British embassy in Washington started to report an attitude of suspicion towards the Blair government on the part of those likely to fill senior positions in an incoming Bush administration. People such as Dick Cheney and Richard Perle were expressing scepticism about Labour’s reliability, citing the presence at senior level of ministers who had supported nuclear disarmament and criticised US foreign policy in the cold war.
    There was little reason to suppose these telegrams had made any impact until a relatively small incident at Labour’s annual conference. Like all cabinet ministers, Cook was commissioned to write a “pre-manifesto” paper, setting out Labour’s provisional second-term agenda and illustrating how the government intended to build on its achievements. One proposal was to appoint a special envoy to campaign for global abolition of the death penalty. Switching Britain’s position to support abolitionism was one of Cook’s early foreign-policy decisions, and he thought that a special envoy would be an uncontroversial, but useful, way of promoting the government’s policy.
    Blair had other ideas. On the day the proposal become public, Jonathan Powell and other Downing Street officials warned Cook that it was unacceptable and must never be mentioned again. The reason? The only one given was that a special envoy would inevitably indulge in “finger wagging” at America, one of the biggest users of capital punishment, and therefore strain diplomatic relations with Washington. Under no circumstances would the prime minister countenance this, especially under a Republican administration. The Foreign Office could continue to support abolition of the death penalty, but not in any particularly active sense.
    Cook was aware of his vulnerability, especially after the Florida chads ended up hanging in the wrong direction. He sought to replicate the strong relationship he had enjoyed with Madeleine Albright by cultivating her successor, Colin Powell. Indeed, the two men established a relationship of mutual respect even before Bush was sworn in. But in a foretaste of Powell’s own marginalisation, this cut little ice. As Cook revealed in his diaries, the neoconservatives never dropped their hostility to him and eventually got their wish.
    The treatment of Straw seems uncannily reminiscent, but the issue of Iran is of a different order of seriousness to anything Cook was grappling with five years ago. There is a pressing need for Blair to tell Bush what Attlee had the guts to tell Truman in the Korean war: that a decision to breach the nuclear threshold would encourage proliferation and make America an outcast from the community of civilised nations. He may think it clever strategy to put pressure on Tehran by keeping all options open, but the Iranians are not the only ones who need deterring.
    Once again, Blair seems willing to put the wishes of the US government before those of the British people. That should be reason enough for wanting him out of office as soon as possible.
    · David Clark was special adviser to Robin Cook from 1997 to 2001.**
    Chilling!

    Reply

  10. ahem says:

    I very much doubt that Margaret Beckett is going to be any more enthusiastic about military action against Iran than Straw was.
    I very much doubt that she’ll have any chance to make a difference. Foreign policy is going to be directed from Number 10 in the months ahead, and as Bush rattles the sabre w/r/t Iran for electoral gain, Blair will expect to play his usual role, unless his party intervenes.
    Thing is, Britain doesn’t do ‘transitions’. It’s a feature of parliamentary politics. Brown is smart enough to look at the Chrétien-Martin handover and its aftermath, but is stuck: he doesn’t want to be seen as the figurehead of long-term Blair-haters who want a hasty transition of power, but doesn’t want to inherit a wrecked party and another foreign mess courtesy of the Americans.
    There are a couple of months until the British ‘silly season’, but by the time the conferences roll around, you might get the perfect storm of Bush asking Blair to play poodle on Iran just as his own party considers asking him to fall on his sword.

    Reply

  11. Pissed Off American says:

    Where is you evidence for any of this? It looks to me that as long as no further attacks occur on the US, the American public is quite willing for jihadis and terrorists to be rounded up and held outside of the US. Funded however they are funded. The important thing to Americans is that there be no further attacks against the US.
    Posted by civitas
    You’re so full of crap. Fact is, you convict people in your statement, when in fact there has been no due process of law to determine that these people are “jihadis and terrorists”. We are supposed to take the word of these slimey sons of bitches like Rumsfeld, who LIED us into the debacle in Iraq?? If you think the American people agree with TORTURE, administered in the name of the United States, then you are sorely mistaken. But we both know better, don’t we? You people are an EMBARRASSMENT to everything this country once stood for, and it is time we stopped mincing words with you sick fascist perverts. If you want to hold the Idi Amins of this world up as your role models, leave the average American out of your twisted reality. Listen, THIS American does no condone torture of ANYONE. And you can shove your perverse sense of right and wrong up the same Bush orifice you seem to have buried your head in.

    Reply

  12. elementary teacher says:

    Matthew,
    There’s a lot on Operation 40. Google it for basics. For relevance, you might also want to check out:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/crumpacker07022005.html

    Reply

  13. civitas says:

    “The American public does not approve of the tortures at Abu Ghraib and the continual violence done to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who are held without charge.”
    actually, the American public has been very blase about Guantanamo. Some of what happened at Abu Ghraib most Americans don’t even consider torture. Some of what happened was torture but since people were tried and convicted for that, the US public seems quite ok with the handling of what did amount to torture.
    “The American public feels it is a violation of basic human rights when untold numbers of humans are swept off the streets in countries around the world, only to disappear in a gulag of secret prisons, in oppressive countries, funded from the CIA budget.”
    Where is you evidence for any of this? It looks to me that as long as no further attacks occur on the US, the American public is quite willing for jihadis and terrorists to be rounded up and held outside of the US. Funded however they are funded. The important thing to Americans is that there be no further attacks against the US.

    Reply

  14. elementary teacher says:

    On the morning of 9-11, Goss had breakfast with General Mahmud Ahmad — the head of Pakistan’s intelligence service. Ahmad ran a spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. (Washington Post, 18 May 2002).
    General Ahmad sent 100 000 dollars to Atta according to a plethora of other press reports.
    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/122001/sl.slant.shtml

    Reply

  15. joe says:

    General Hayden’s name is being floated that the one that the Administration will nominate tomorrow to replace Porter Goss. Here’s some background on Hayden:
    As DIRNSA, General Hayden
    1. directed the NSA to engage in warrant-less wiretapping of US citizens. In so doing, one can only conclude General Hayden ordered NSA personnel not to prepare the necessary paperwork for the FISA court in the 72 hours following the start of the eavesdropping of American citizens;
    2. oversaw a $1.2 Billion program called Trailblazer that is suppose to uncover key nuggets to protect the nation against an ever-changing collection of enemies. According to a Baltimore Sun article on January 29th, System error – baltimoresun.com,
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.trailblazer29jan29,1,7228842.story
    after more than six years, Trailblazer is not up and running. NSA failed to deliver the system. Today, NSA lacks a system to comprehensively evaluate all the communications collected by its vast networks. According to the article, the NSA Inspector General reported in 2003, “inadequate management and oversight” of private contractors and overpayment for the work that was done;
    3. cancelled a separate and less-expensive program, Thinthread which a Pentagon report in 2004 found to be more promising than Trailblazer and could be put to use faster;
    4. hired William Black Jr. from SAIC in 2000 to be the Deputy Director of NSA. San Diego based SAIC, won the contract for Trailblazer according to a second Baltimore Sun Article
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.saic29jan29,1,5221259.story
    and by 2002, Black was overseeing Trailblazer. According to the article, “Two other top NSA managers who worked on Trailblazer – Hal Smith and Sam Visner – also left the spy agency for jobs at SAIC. There, Smith worked on Trailblazer and the FBI’s Virtual Case File program,…” .
    As the Deputy Director of National Intelligence (DNI), General Hayden
    5. either reviewed or was cognizant of the language in H.R. 5020, and thereby approved which among other things, expands the powers of the security forces of the NSA and the CIA to make warrantless arrests. The NSA security forces are answerable to the Director of NSA and the CIA security forces are answerable to the Director of Central Intelligence. See the Baltimore Sun article of April 25, 2006.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.spies25apr25,1,5102889.story
    The American public does not approve of the tortures at Abu Ghraib and the continual violence done to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who are held without charge. The American public feels it is a violation of basic human rights when untold numbers of humans are swept off the streets in countries around the world, only to disappear in a gulag of secret prisons, in oppressive countries, funded from the CIA budget.

    Reply

  16. Matthew says:

    Would someone please tell me what “Operation 40” is?

    Reply

  17. Ben says:

    The first link has a picture of Porter Goss sitting next to Barry Seal at a bar in Mexico City, by the way. So I’d say it’s fairly credible to assume that he was up to his eyeballs in Operation 40, and who knows what else afterwards.
    I wonder if he knew Clay Shaw.

    Reply

  18. RichF says:

    btw — is there any truth to the speculation that Porter Goss was a member of Operation 40?
    A few researchers — and I don’t have any way to measure credibility — seem to believe he was working closely with Thomas Clines, Ted Schackley, H.W. Bush, Felix Rodriguez, and Barry Seal. Working on anti-Castro matters, as well as other issues.
    Anybody able to clarify? Or verify? There’s plenty of material out there on this. But I’m interested to hear what readers of this site might have to say on this.
    Unless that’s another elephant in the room, about which we dare not speak? In order to maintain our ‘credibility’?
    It might explain a lot. Dems didn’t say much about Goss’s appointment. Neither did John Kerry, who is very likely to know, which also makes ya think a bit.
    I’m not makin claims here. Just sayin. If anyone has info that would indicate otherwise, out with it. I’m equally interested in that.

    Reply

  19. RichF says:

    vachon & MN —
    re “stepping on” the Kennedy story.
    Maybe it’s the reverse: wouldn’t someone time the Goss resignation in order to have it stepped on BY the Kennedy story?
    I don’t know if it’s even possible, nor if the timing of events would make it at all possible.
    Two things might support such an admin calculation: 1) the reluctance of the MSM to be forthright re the hookers & Cunningham & their mutual connections to corrupt contractors and to possibly to Goss. This can also be seen in the reluctance to use the word “Republican” in speaking of Cunningham & Abramhoff. 2) There’s ALWAYS a ready chorus of media types willing to squawk “Chappaquiddick!!”, irrelevantly, when Republican malfeasance is at issue.
    It’s a telling measure of where we are that this could be possible, and that it didn’t seem to work at all.
    Not speculating here, but with both Houses potentially in play in ’06, if I was a Kennedy or any other Dem, I’d keep a close eye on my drinks. And my medication. And any travel plans involving small planes. NOT asserting anything. Just sayin. A phone-jamming operation in NH, a real strong drink here, … the sudden glare of intense media exposure — already headlines in NY area were saying Kennedy’s seat might be at risk. Again, not making claims — but factually speaking, they’re not above it.

    Reply

  20. Ben says:

    Erk, open your mouth saying that Brown is bound to be the new leader barring anything unexpected, and events conspire to prove you wrong..
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4981532.stm

    Reply

  21. ali says:

    At this point its probably more important what Brown thinks than Blair and he’s cannily playing his cards close to his chest on this one.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17129-2144520_1,00.html
    Brown’s naturally pro-American and if Iraq was not an apparent disaster (Yougov has only 33% of Brit’s approving of the decision to invade now) he’d have probably behaved much the same as Blair. Now however the domestic political costs of Blair’s loyalty to the failing Bush agenda are prohibitive.
    Brown can cope with the aftermath of an American attack on Iran, dealing with the event itself could lose him the next election. If DC is just saber rattling its way up to the midterms Tony may survive until then otherwise he’ll helplessly take the spear in the chest and Gordon will thank him for it.

    Reply

  22. SevenOneEight says:

    Goss did not know that Friday was his last day when he paid a visit to the White House that morning. It is only a matter of days before the pictures of Goss and the hookers make it out to the internet.

    Reply

  23. vachon says:

    Joe Klein (ofallpeople) actually said someting smart on a Tim Russert rerun last night. He said if America really wants to hurt Iran, it should recognize them.

    Reply

  24. Ben says:

    By the way, the deal was allegedly supposed to be 2 terms for Tony, let Brown fight the 3rd election. So Tony already broke it, and now (as I posited in my blog a while ago) we really are seeing Tony Blair – The John Major years.

    Reply

  25. Ben says:

    Brown will definitely succeed Blair, bar some extraordinary revelations.
    A deal was struck at Granita restaurant in the weeks after John Smith’s death that Brown would step aside and let Tony run the party if when he was done Brown could take over. This deal has never been acknowledged directly by either party but ask anyone with any amount of knowledge – it’s historical fact. There was even a film made about it – http://imdb.com/title/tt0381131/
    I’m seriusly worried by the fact that Straw’s ‘friends’ are putting it about that his sacking was directly as a consequence of his ‘nuts’ comment. I can understand Blair moving Brownites (seriously, the camps have names and everything) out of the cabinet, but for this reason to appear so soon after the reshuffle and attributed so directly makes me very, very nervous.
    What has Blair already committed to? He needs to be asked very directly, in parliament. Then at least we can judge his evasion, as lying to parliament is still treated seriously over here.

    Reply

  26. Maezeppa says:

    Is it possible Mary McCarthy kept a Hiroshima file?

    Reply

  27. blogtricks says:

    This makes it appear that something big is about to happen pertaining to Iran.
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    Reply

  28. civitas says:

    “On Straw, well it’s a damn shame he seemed like a stand-up guy.”
    It seemed unlikely that Straw would be staying on with such radically different views than the administration.

    Reply

  29. vachon says:

    A bit of irresponsible speculation, if you’ll allow me.
    Stepping on the Kennedy story would have normally been an almost fireable offense except that Foggo may have gotten a formal notice that he, personally, was being targeted Thursday evening or Friday morning. That might explain the WSJ today stating as fact that Foggo was definately being investigated. (link via Josh Marshall). Goss probably had no timing alternative.
    I doubt Negroponte has enough pull to get Goss’s resignation, although it’s possible that if he did, Goss decided to go out with the biggest bang he could, a sort of screw you to whatever benefit might have come from it.

    Reply

  30. MNPundit says:

    On Goss, why if this was planned, did they announce it during the Patrick Kennedy thing? It shoved it right off everyone’s radar when otherwise it would have been wall-to-wall Kennedy+drugs all weekend. Now it’s all “Goss? Goss! Goss!? Hookers? Bribes?”
    On Straw, well it’s a damn shame he seemed like a stand-up guy. I wonder what this will do for Condi’s own leverage as they actually seemed to be able to work together. Otherwise I don’t pretend to understand British politics.

    Reply

  31. civitas says:

    “There are very few people in the UK who think this is a good idea; and after the Iraq fiasco, no one is going to support another military action without a series of cast-iron UN resolutions giving explicit legal authorisation for an attack”
    I disagree. If anything, the UN has been exposed as a feckless, impotent organization and I think Brits more than anyone, now recognize this. After all, the UN is doing such a bang-up job with the Sudan, where it has been reduced to begging the US to “do something”.
    “Blair is in a rapidly weakening position, both within his party and in the country at large, and it’s unlikely that he will survive much beyond the Labour Conference this Autumn.”
    How long are people going to be able to predict the imminent demise of Blair, much less his “rapidly weakening position” with a straight face? Are you not even somewhat embarrassed to keep saying this when you’re clearly wrong?

    Reply

  32. civitas says:

    “I doubt if Blair could survive as PM if Iran is attacked…..The likely post-attack consequences are dire.”
    Goodness, it seems like we heard all this before…

    Reply

  33. chris from boca says:

    anyone see any “fix-is-already-in” parallels to porter goss?

    Reply

  34. vachon says:

    Front page of the UK Guardian this morning:
    “In an escalation of the power struggle between New Labour’s two creators, Andrew Smith, a former cabinet minister and an ally of Mr Brown, identified Mr Blair as the problem on the doorstep in the elections. He said: “We have uncertainty over the transition and it has to end very soon. It gets worse with every month that passes and reinforces the lack of trust in this government.”

    Reply

  35. vachon says:

    Peter Mandelson, call your office.

    Reply

  36. bob h says:

    Straw must have been the cabinet member most closely associated with the Special Relationship, so his demotion may reflect a desire to put distance between Blair and Bush.

    Reply

  37. ali says:

    Margaret Beckett’s appointment is more to do with internal Labour Party politics than Iran. She’s a Blair loyalist and Straw got too close to Brown. It’s all about a fading leader asserting control of the party.
    Grim Gordon runs Britain and Traveling Tony does abroad, that’s how New Labor has governed. Still I find it rather alarming that Blair would risk putting a lightweight like Beckett in this important job, Straw at least had some ability.
    I doubt if Blair could survive as PM if Iran is attacked, his base in the party is shrinking and the Tories are plainly recovering under Cameron. Labour MPs will want to keep their seats. British politics is ruthless and the party will turn on him just as the Tories turned on Thatcher.
    The likely post-attack consequences are dire. What sky high oil prices will do to the world economy is bad enough. Having 9,000 British troops down Basra way is already very unpopular with the parties base. Getting them decimated when Iran throws the Shi’a South into mutiny will not be a vote winner either and it will mobilize the Tory base who have much affection for the Army.

    Reply

  38. Shawn says:

    Will it be the Town’s End lady or some other crony?
    Harriet Meyer is the chief candidate.

    Reply

  39. Hedley Lamarr says:

    If Goss’ exit has been in the works for weeks, where is the replacement? Will it be the Town’s End lady or some other crony?

    Reply

  40. dan says:

    I very much doubt that Margaret Beckett is going to be any more enthusiastic about military action against Iran than Straw was.
    There are very few people in the UK who think this is a good idea; and after the Iraq fiasco, no one is going to support another military action without a series of cast-iron UN resolutions giving explicit legal authorisation for an attack; this will extend to the use of key UK military facilities such as Diego Garcia and Fairford.
    Blair is in a rapidly weakening position, both within his party and in the country at large, and it’s unlikely that he will survive much beyond the Labour Conference this Autumn.

    Reply

  41. ccobb says:

    Holy crap. Goss, Straw, who’s next and why?
    Glad Oakley is here to keep thing steady over the weekend.

    Reply

  42. PW says:

    OT: Steve: Did you hear John Bellinger’s tense and sometimes wavering voice as he asserted the Bush admin’s opposition to torture when he spoke to the UN panel today? Quite striking.

    Reply

  43. Carroll says:

    Interesting….
    Likely it had to do with the revolt within the CIA itself…and also installing someone even more suitable to the neo’s aims.
    I would guess there is a question from Goss to himself …and from the adm ….about how far even partisan Goss would go to manfacture the same intell for Iran as Iraq.
    Let’s see who replaces him…that will tell the tale.

    Reply

  44. Super Chump says:

    Goodbye Mary…goodbye Jane…will we ever meet again? Ah…hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah! Thus it shall ever be with lying political buffoons. Can anyone say Keystone administration?

    Reply

  45. Bob King says:

    Vachon,
    I’m not an expert on all the ins and outs (just going off what I’ve read over the years) but apparently Blair and Brown originally made a deal at a restaurant in London called Granita that Blair would eventually hand over to Brown and, in the meantime, Brown would have a free hand as Chancellor of the Ex. This was the plan they set up prior to Labour’s original election with Blair as PM. These links are a bit old but they give some background
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2968204.stm
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/01/19/do1904.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2003/01/19/ixop.html
    I think Brown’s fear is that Blair will run the Labour party into the ditch and only then hand over. The longer Brown has to wait the higher the odds his premiership (if he gets it at all) will fail. Apparently Blair has told Brown privately that he’d quit and then gone back on his word, at least once and may prefer a more Blairites sucessor. Also, Brown hasn’t, by some reports, been doing that good of a job at the Exchequer lately
    http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1737208,00.html
    Some people see Brown as being too dour and Scottish to do well as PM. Also, Blair and Brown seem to be genuinely divided on “New Labour” vs “Old Labour” values.

    Reply

  46. TLittle says:

    I think that Straw has done some good while in his posistion, and it is a shame to see him go. Blair is sending a clear message about just how open he is to military action against Iran.

    Reply

  47. linda says:

    tim russert and john king are doing their part to propel the propaganda (as some say) that goss’ exit has been in the works for weeks. supposedly he was displeased that negroponte’s appointment had usurped alot of his power and influence, not to mention the general unhappiness due to goss’ purges at the cia.
    and if you believe that, you too can be a major media chatterbox.

    Reply

  48. vachon says:

    Bob King,
    Thank you for your reply. I had read off and on that Blair didn’t want Gordon Brown to succeed him, either, and I never got the gist of the reason(s) why. Is this a case of personal acrimony or is Brown really unqualified? He seems to be doing a good job at the Exchequer. The public seems to like him, too.

    Reply

  49. Bob King says:

    Vachon,
    It’s unclear that Gordon Brown will ever succeed Blair or, if he does, it will likely be a sort if Anthony Eden-ish premiership.
    And I doubt that Blair’s Iran plans revolve around Brown. Blair is cut from the same mold as Bush – a true believer.

    Reply

  50. vachon says:

    Are you sure about Blair and Iran? Does Blair really hate Gordon Brown so much that he would even consider leaving him an Iran mess?

    Reply

  51. bob king says:

    And an article in the Guardian links Straw’s demotion to his having been saying publicly – and repeatedly, despite complaints from Downing Street and the WH – that bombing Iran is “inconceivable” or “nuts.”
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ewen_macaskill/2006/05/post_69.html

    Reply

  52. Sally says:

    The spin has started that Negroponte asked Goss to resign and the two have been discussing it for weeks. But I suspect there’s at least some connection with the poker/prostitute scandal. From where I sit, everyone was caught flat-footed–the hem and hawing prez and his reporter mouthpieces. Great day for the CIA unless it gets another Goss.

    Reply

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