Socialist Worker

Paul Bigley: I want to know why they let my brother die

Issue No. 1923

PAUL BIGLEY’S extraordinary battle to save his brother Ken continued right up to his appalling execution last Thursday.

To the end, he also had to fight interference by the British government, which he says undermined that campaign.

Paul issued a statement on Friday, as news of his brother’s death broke, condemning the war and occupation of Iraq, and accusing Tony Blair of having “blood on his hands”.

Speaking the following day, Paul expressed his anger at the intervention of Iraq’s stooge prime minister, Iyad Allawi, who the vast majority of Iraqis hate.

“There has been the most monumental cock-up—I don’t care what anyone says,” said Paul. “Ken was nearly free, but then at the last minute there was Mr Allawi, the Iraqi prime minister. His intervention killed Ken.”

Tony Blair and foreign secretary Jack Straw were quick to claim they had been working behind the scenes to free Ken Bigley.

But whatever they were doing, it was not what Paul appealed for on the eve of the Labour Party conference two weeks ago.

He called for Blair to immediately send a message through the Al Jazeera television channel to attempt to make contact with the hostage takers and to tell George Bush to allow the release of two women scientists held prisoner by US forces in Iraq.

Bush had previously blocked their release, which the hostage takers were demanding, even though Iraq’s “interior minister” had authorised it.

Instead of breaking with the White House, Blair and Straw simply kept saying that “Britain holds no women prisoners”.

Then Paul Bigley had repeated visits to his home in Holland by police, including one with a British warrant card, who copied everything on his computer.

“I believe that it was the Foreign Office making a hamfisted attempt to shut me up,” says Paul.

Finally, as Paul Bigley succeeded in mobilising prominent figures around the world to appeal for his brother’s release, the US launched a ferocious aerial assault on Fallujah, the city where the US and British authorities say the hostage takers are based.

Hours after Ken Bigley was killed the US bombed a wedding party in the city, killing 12 people and injuring 17.

Amid the Bigley family’s grief, Paul says, “Mr Blair can’t negotiate the price of a pint of milk in the Middle East because they don’t trust him.

“He is fatally damaged by this mistake, and must resign now so someone new can get us out of this war before another family goes through what we have gone through,”

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Wed 13 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1923
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