LONDON, United Kingdom – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair contacted Hilary Clinton in 2011 to say he had phoned Colonel Gaddafi to tell him to find a “safe place to go”. Tony Blair's “very private” call was transcribed and handed to Jake Sullivan, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton.
Mr Blair made the call on February 11, during the period he served as peace envoy in the Middle East. He had previously been Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007, but by the time of the call his Conservative rival, David Cameron, was in 10 Downing Street.
The note was taken by Blair's head of strategy Catherine Rimmer, who claimed the former Prime Minister had delivered a “very strong message” to his ally in Tripoli to give up power. Blair had also suggested he might be able to broker a deal between the Libyan dictator and the Western powers that wanted him out.
Rimmer quoted Mr Blair as saying: “The absolute key thing is that the bloodshed and violence must stop. If you have a safe place to go then you should go there, because this will not end peacefully unless that happens and there has to be a process of change.
“That process of change can be managed and we have to find a way of managing it. I have talked to people and everyone wants a peaceful end to this.”
“The US and the EU are in a tough position right now and I need to take something back to them which ensures this ends peacefully,” the email quotes him as saying.
“If people saw the leader standing aside they would be content with that. If this goes on for another day/two days we will go past the point. I'm saying this because I believe it deeply. If we can't get a way through/out very quickly this will go past the point of no return.”
In a second email to Hilary Clinton on February 23 Blair's team touted him as someone who “might have a good relationship” with Gaddafi. This was less than one month before the US Airforce and the British Royal Airforce began attacking the Gaddafi regime.
The air strikes only ended on October 31, the day after Gaddafi's death in his home town. He had taken Blair's advice and fled the capital as the bombs began to drop. The locals that caught him and immediately killed him in punishment for the 40 year reign of terror he had inflicted on the country.
The emails make it clear that Blair did not want his involvement in the case to get into the media. They have only become public as part of the latest batch of emails released by the US State Department in response to a freedom of information request.
They shed further light on how close Blair had become to Gaddafi after his infamous “deal in the dessert” in 2004 which paved the way for Libya to rejoin the mainstream international community.
The deal was done despite the Libyan leader having been implicated in the blowing up of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988. A total of 270 people were killed, mostly British and Americans.
There is no evidence the Obama White House or the Clinton State Department raised any objection to Blair's actions.