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Thread: Former U.K Foreign Secretary Cook Dies

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Former U.K Foreign Secretary Cook Dies

    Former U.K. Foreign Secretary Cook dies
    Outspoken opponent of Iraq war collapsed in Scotland

    (Gold9472: This is the gentleman who told us that "Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians." Things that make you go hmmmm... )

    Updated: 2:30 p.m. ET Aug. 6, 2005

    LONDON - Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who quit Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet in opposition to the Iraq war, has died, Scottish police announced Saturday.

    Northern Constabulary said Cook, 59, died after collapsing on Ben Stack mountain in the Scottish Highlands while walking with his wife. He was taken by Coast Guard helicopter to a hospital in Inverness, where he was pronounced dead.

    Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who is filling in for a vacationing Blair, was due to make a statement later Saturday, 10 Downing Street said.

    Jack Straw, Cook's successor as foreign secretary, said he was "devastated."

    "Robin and I had been good friends for nearly 30 years and that friendship survived our policy disagreements over Iraq," Straw said. "He was the greatest parliamentarian of his generation and a very fine foreign secretary. I deeply mourn his loss."

    Vocal critic of Blair
    Cook served as foreign minister from 1997 to 2001 before being demoted to leader of the House of Commons. His resignation speech, days before war began in March 2003, received a rare standing ovation from lawmakers.

    In it he asked: "Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create?"

    Renowned as an intelligent lawmaker and skilled debater, Cook remained a high-profile figure despite his withdrawal from government and became an increasingly vocal opponent of Blair's policies.

    Some supporters believed that Cook should have been leader of the Labour Party. But opponents saw him as arrogant and distant.

    A lawmaker since 1974, Cook -- a short and bearded redhead -- declined to stand in opposition to Tony Blair when he was elected Labour leader in 1994, declaring: "I am not good-looking enough."

    Instead, Cook accepted the post of foreign secretary following the landslide election victory that made Blair prime minister in 1997.

    But his promise of an "ethical dimension" to British foreign policy often came back to haunt him, particularly after he sanctioned the sale of 16 Hawk jet fighters to Indonesia in 1999, despite the country's widely criticized human rights record in East Timor.

    Another diplomatic miscalculation came during a trip to India and Pakistan when he suggested that Britain could mediate any negotiations over the disputed territory of Kashmir. The remark irritated both countries.

    Tabloid fodder
    Cook was praised by many for his tough-minded handling of the 1999 Kosovo crisis, but that and other successes were partly overshadowed by the scandal of ending his 28-year marriage to his wife Margaret at an airport as they were about to leave on vacation.

    Warned by Downing Street that a tabloid newspaper was about to disclose his long-standing affair with his secretary Gaynor Regan, Cook immediately told Margaret that he was leaving her. Margaret wrote a book accusing her former husband of being a drunk and a depressive.

    She said his intelligence and ability were unmatched, but that he had "absolutely no natural courtesy or sympathy."

    Cook, who later married Regan, had shifted to the right of the party under Blair's leadership but gravitated back to the left following his demotion, earning a reputation as a leading Cabinet "dove" opposed to war on Iraq without a U.N. mandate.

    An ally of Treasury chief Gordon Brown, Cook had been tipped to return to Cabinet should Brown succeed Blair as Labour leader, as many predict.

    © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Robin Cook dies,00.html


    Robin Cook, the former Foreign Secretary, died today after collapsing on a trek in the Highlands of Scotland.

    Sky News reported that Mr Cook, 59, collapsed during a walk with friends near the summit of Ben Stack and was then airlifted to Raigmore Hospital, a local district general hospital in Inverness. It was not clear whether he was involved in a climbing accident.

    Friends and colleagues, including the maverick Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, paid tribute to Mr Cook this afternoon.

    The spokesman also confirmed to Times Online that the Coast Guard had airlifted a “casualty” from a mountain near Dornoch, in Sutherland, this afternoon. The casualty arrived at the hospital at around 4pm, but the spokesman could give no information until the person’s condition or identity until relatives had been contacted.

    Both the Labour Party and 10 Downing Street were looking into reports that Mr Cook had been taken to hospital, but neither was immediately able to give any confirmation of his condition.

    Mr Cook is a keen hill-walker, and regularly spent his summer holidays with close family and friends enjoying the dramatic mountain scenery of Highland Scotland, rather than going abroad.

    A leading figure in the Labour Party for decades, Mr Cook was put in the key job of Foreign Secretary when the party won power in 1997.

    He was demoted to the post of Leader of the Commons following Labour's second election victory in 2001 and resigned from the Cabinet in protest at the Iraq War in 2003.

    Since then, he had become one of the sharpest critics of the Government's foreign policy in Iraq. He has repositioned himself as a supporter of Chancellor Gordon Brown and made repeated calls for Prime Minister Tony Blair to step down in his favour.

    Mr Cook was reported to have undergone cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

    But police would only confirm that a middle-aged man had collapsed near the summit of the 2,365ft Ben Stack in Sutherland, in the far north of Scotland.

    However, neither Northern Constabulary nor the ambulance service would confirm the man's identity.

    Police received the emergency call at 2.23pm and a rescue helicopter from RAF Stornoway airlifted the man to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, landing there at 4pm.

    A Northern Constabulary spokesman said: "The identity of the casualty has not been confirmed and details will not be released until next of kin have been informed.

    The aeronautical rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Kinloss was contacted by police in Dornoch at 2.30pm.

    Assistant controller at Kinross, Tom Docherty, said the centre received a call about a "collapsed male walker".

    He said: "He was given CPR with instructions over the telephone from ambulance control staff at Inverness.

    "We than scrambled the coastguard helicopter from Stornoway, MU Sikorsky S61.

    "The crew went across and picked up the casualty before taking him to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness where he is now in A&E."

    Mr Cook's devotion to enhancing the role of Parliament as leader of the Commons made him a popular figure among backbench MPs, and his powerful resignation speech on the eve of war won him great respect from opponents of military action.

    He has been tipped for a possible return to ministerial office if Mr Brown becomes Prime Minister. Since his resignation from the Cabinet, Mr Cook has remained president of the Foreign Policy Centre and the Party of European Socialists.

    The son of a schoolteacher, Mr Cook studied English Literature at Edinburgh University before becoming MP for Edinburgh Central in 1974. He has represented Livingston since 1983, during which time he has become known as a brilliant parliamentary debater
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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