I WAS working on my computer when my brother phoned me from Liverpool and said, “Paul, they’ve got Ken. We’ve been on to the Foreign Office and they said they’ve taken control of the whole thing.”
I have 28 years of experience in the Middle East and I thought, “I’ve got to get in touch with people I know there.”
But my brother at that time said the family had collectively decided to let the Foreign Office deal with it.
He also told me there was a police officer in the room as he was talking to me.
I just thought, “There is no way it is going to work through the Foreign Office.”
So I started to communicate with people I know there. At that stage I did not go public.
Then news came that one of the US hostages had been killed, and the family said to me, “Do what you think needs to be done.”
I shut my business and hit the phone lines. Calls to the government were falling on deaf ears.
But very quickly we were on to Al Jazeera.
To date our government has not put out a plea through Al Jazeera.
I’ve pleaded for this, and once again it has fallen on deaf ears.
The Foreign Office, MI6 and other agencies say they have been working in the background, but that’s not enough.
I’ve spent time in the Middle East, time with real people—not flying in and flying out in a private jet.
I know things can be done peacefully, gracefully, and by word of mouth.
We were given great speeches about Iraq’s new sovereignty.
But when an Iraqi judge made a decision to release the two women who are in prison there, Bush put a blockade on it.
As a businessman I know it is impossible to sort out a problem unless you communicate.
Blair’s silence is a kiss of death for my brother.
The UN general secretary has declared this war illegal. It’s not only illegal, it’s immoral.
It’s costing too many lives. Iraqis are suffering. British and US people are suffering.
Iraq is now the cockpit of terrorism, when we were told the war would end terror.
The whole problem started in Palestine.
All the UN resolutions passed over that issue have just been left on the shelf.
I have hundreds of friends in the Middle East who are Muslim.
The two gentlemen from the Muslim Council of Britain who went to Iraq to help to free my brother are risking their lives just by being in that place because it is now total mayhem.
So anyone who wants to try to use what has happened to Ken to incite hatred of Muslims does not have my support, does not have the family’s support.
They, in fact, have my total opposition.
The people who led us into war have no credibility with the people of the Middle East.
Blair is past his sell by date. He should have immediately listened to what the family is saying.
If he won’t do that, he should go or be removed from office.