Obama – Making Your Mind Up 107

Barack Obama does not lie awake at night worrying what Craig Murray thinks of him. One day he will go to his grave without ever knowing what Craig Murray thought of him. But as an infinitesimal fraction of the spreading of views and information in the digital age, I thought I might tell you anyway.

I am not a socialist. I have to say that from time to time, because people imagine that I am, from my dislike of the abuse of power and wealth. But my view remains that organised socialism has generally turned out to be one of the nastier ways of concentrating power and wealth. I am a liberal. My political inspiration has come from Mill, Bright, Hobson, Gladstone, Lloyd George, Keynes and Grimond, from Paine, Cobbett and Carlyle, from Milton, Byron, Burns and William Morris. I am a radical. I am not a socialist.

The point of which disquisition is to explain to you why I was prepared to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. Many of my fellow campaigners against war and for human rights, were writing him off after a couple of weeks.

“Give the man time”, I said.

I corresponded with Democrat friends in the US, who explained that, in trying to turn round the neoconservative juggernaut, Obama needed a critical mass of support. His aim was to capture people to his side. Many of those retained, who had served Bush, were careerists not ideologues. Their loyalty was to the Commander-in-Chief. With his authority allied to his charisma, Obama would align them to the new agenda. Give it time – the result would be the most powerful change in modern US history.

The problem is, to believe that someone is changing course, you do have to observe them putting some pressure on the tiller. I see none. On human rights, Obama’s government lawyers have continued seamlessly the positions adopted by the Bush administration in seeking to deny any rights before US courts for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, arguing that they are not legal persons in the US.

The US detention centre at Baghram airbase in Afghanistan, where prisoners have been subject to terrible deprivation and torture, and many have died, is being expanded to take another 244 prisoners. That appears to be the plan for closing Guantanamo Bay, and is one of the few things that could actually make life worse for the prisoners there.

Extraordinary rendition has not been stopped. And to quote just one of myriad cases, Obama continued the Bush administration’s efforts to have the details of the torture suffered by Binyam Mohammed kept secret by the puppet UK government, which complied, and the British courts – the latter thankfully having resisted.

There are to be no prosecutions of Bush administration officals or security service personnel for instituting or implementing the policy of torture worldwide. Which policy, as far as records of the law are concerned, was entirely dreamt up by Ms Lyndie England.

Obama ought to have encouraged prosecutions to deter from it happening again – except it appears not to have stopped. But there are not just to be no prosecutions – the truth is to be buried forever. It was under Obama that Binyan Mohammed was still held, with the complicity of Miliband, while he was pressured to sign a condition of release that he would not tell anyone about his torture. We still don’t know which basements Khalil Sheikh Mohammed was held in over three years and precisely what tortures he was subjected too. At the very least, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Torture and Extraordinary Rendition.

Those rendered to the unspeakable torture of Uzbekistan came on CIA flights from Baghram and from the secret prison at Szymano-Szczytny in Poland. Most if not all now lie in graves in the Kizyl Kum desert. The Americans must have lists of who they transported. We – and their relatives all over the World – don’t know their names.

In January, one of Obama’s first foreign policy initiatives was to send General Petraeus to Tashkent for talks with President Karimov, with a view to reopening the US airbase in Uzbekistan. Diplomatic talks continue. Interestingly, I hear from my Uzbek government moles that they have stalled over Karimov’s demand for a photoshoot with President Obama. That sounds crazy if you don’t know Karimov’s megalomania, and his desire to revive a faltering personality cult.

Hillary Clinton is resisting this strongly. She has nothing against an alliance with Karimov, opening the airbase, paying him a large subsidy and resuming the Bush policy of denying Karimov’s massive human rights abuses at the UN, OSCE and elsewhere. But she has made plain that she will not under any circumstances be pictured with Karimov, who boils opponents alive (literally). She doesn’t think Obama should do it either. But there is now a split over this issue in Washington between White House and State Department, with White House senior staff seeing no harm in a photocall with a man that 99.9% of Americans have never heard of, and who (this is a telling factor) is strongly allied with Israel.

The Uzbek policy particularly interests me, and is a subset of Obama’s disastrous Central Asian policy. In Afghanistan we have presided over massive increases in opium production, to exceed all previous levels by over 50%. The Karzai family and the majority of the Ministers and Governors of the government we installed, are deeply implicated in the industrial scale refining of opium into heroin and its export – much of it through neighbouring Uzbekistan and in collaboration with the Karimov family and their bagman Gafur Rakhimov.

What Obama expects to gain by a massive surge of Western troops into this mess is beyond me. Meantime he has actually increased the rate of air strikes into Pakistan, killing many scores of innocent civilians and contributing to the destabilisaton and growth of radical insurgency in that country.

Then we have economic policy.

I praised Obama’s initial economic stimulus bill for old-fashioned Keynesianism, creating jobs in a recession through public works. But it has now been followed up by Geithner’s Public-Private Investment Program. No wonder Wall Street cheered. It represents a huge transfer of money from the man in the street, not just to the wealthy, but specifically to the speculators.

The plan will bankroll private investment firms and guarantee them huge profits in return for buying failed home loans and securities from the banks at vastly inflated prices. Its name conceals the fact that it involves no private investment of any value, and certainly no private risk. It aims to get the whole speculative hedge fund casino back up and running.

But this is not any casino. This is an exclusive casino with a very tough door policy, where the high rollers can keep their winnings, but know that if they lose, their losses will be taken by force from all the little people who were not allowed into the casino. What fun!

Barack Obama will always have the benefit of not being George Bush. I like him for that. But then I like my cat for not being George Bush. Does he really represent the positive change for which Americans yearned? Will he fulfil the aspirations of his ethereal oratory?


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107 thoughts on “Obama – Making Your Mind Up

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  • Anonymous


    You seem to engage in very little other than personal attacks on other posters.

    I said “the beginnings” of such a society. With the attacks on civil liberties, the increased power of the police and state, the deluge of pro-war propaganda and an increasingly controlled media, we are definitely heading in that direction – the very core theme of Craigs site.

    From where do you get your assertion that I “hate the USA?”. On the contrary, most of my favourite writers and websites are from the US. It is Imperialism I am opposed to. Not just Western imperialism, but since I live in the West I feel inclined to direct my criticism at our governments more than say those of the other major powers, in order to help preserve the freedoms we still have which are being eroded ever more rapidly.

    Try emailing the editors at medialens if you are having problems registering as this appears to be a common technical problem.

    As for Orwell, your description of him is accurate but your interpretation appears to be one sided in that you appear to believe that the authoritarianism he wrote about could not possibly apply to our own governments.

    By the way, you are the first person who claimed I was taking George Orwells name in vain. Everyone else seems to think it’s a perfectly decent handle

  • eddie

    MJ You’re right, in the same way that a cat resembles a dog – a face, four legs etc. Other than that your analogy is utterly false. I think I have said it before, but if you compare 1948 to 2009 the freedoms we enjoy now are massive in comparison. Economic freedom (rationing in 1948), hugely higher levels of prosperity, legislation that has promoted equality and human rights, freedom of travel and of expression. Surely you cannot be serious? If you are, you must have a very miserable and twisted view of your life. As for a non-existent enemy, am I mistaken or did two planes destroy the World Trade towers? Perhaps that was an illusion? As for Orwell, here is his description of 1984, IN HIS OWN WORDS.

    “My recent novel [1984] is NOT intended as an attack on Socialism or on the British Labour Party (of which I am a supporter) but as a show-up of the perversions … which have already been partly realized in Communism and Fascism.” If you think that we live in either a communist or fascist society then you are ignorant.

  • MJ

    Young eddie revealed in an earlier post that he was around in the war so I fear growing up is something he has decided to give a miss this time around. I blame Arabs personally.

    That reminds me eddie: when you responded with “two rights don’t make a wrong” what on earth were you talking about?

  • MJ

    You’ll note that I listed three similarities. I didn’t suggest it was the same in all respects.

    “am I mistaken or did two planes destroy the World Trade towers?”

    No, you’re perfectly correct. I’m still waiting however for the long overdue inquiry into that event. Once that has happened we will hopefully be in a position to determine who was responsible and take the appropriate measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

  • jjboulas

    Eddie, my friend, it may come as a surprise to you but wikipedia is often incomplete and sometimes even mistaken. I am afraid you may need to go to the sources.

    If you decide to do a bit of research, look as well for the meaning of “allegory”.

  • jjboulas

    Young eddie may say he is Tutankamon cousin, but the fact is that he talks (writes) like an overexcited 14 year old

  • eddie


    Two wrongs don’t make a right, of course. The fact that Egypt sheltered nazis as well as the US doesn’t mean either were right to do so. I would like to see your evidence that Zionism collaborated with the Nazis. I know the history of the ghettos and the Jewish administrations, but I don’t know what you are referring to. As for 9/11 – well, apart from the fact that Osama has admitted the deed and the vast majority of thinking people know he did it I don’t know what purpose your ludicrous scepticism serves, other than to make you look very wise or very stupid. You decide. If not him, who?

    I was not alive in the war but I have read enough about it and the post war period to know that we are better off now. Of course, it is all part of your general thesis and weltanschaung that life is terrible and wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if we had communism/socialism/fascism/anarchy (delete as appropriate) in this country but I don’t buy into that nonsense. The Orwell quote is by Orwell.

  • MJ

    “I would like to see your evidence that Zionism collaborated with the Nazis”.

    No probs. Read “Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal” by Lenni Brenner. It is available online at http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/index.htm

    If not him, who?

    The point of a proper enquiry is that among other things it might help identify the perpetrators. By the way, do you think Dick Cheney is a member of al-qaeda? I ask because it was he who gave the stand down order in respect of the non-interception of AA 77, the Pentagon plane, as reported to the 911 Commission hearings.

  • eddie

    Orwellian – actually I do find your name offensive, for the reasons listed above. Tell me, for example, that you condemn the Hamas Charter, or the Mugabe regime, or the fact that the Chinese regime executes annually more than the rest of the world put together and I would be more likely to take you seriously as an even handed person who puts principles before polemics. We live in a global world so your claim that you only care about the imperialsim of the West is ludicrous. All of us have the pwer to do something. When terrible crimes are being perpetrated by criminal regimes around the world and yet people like you do or say nothing, it makes me puke, frankly. I don’t believe people like you are anti-War or anti-totalitarian, rather the opposite. Instead, your obsessive attacks on the USA and Zionism reveal your true agenda. As for media lens, what would be the point of posting anything on their message board? Do you think it would change any minds? If so,I am happy to try it. To me, it has all the appearance of a mutual masturbation society in a minor public school. You can take that as personal abuse if you like. I’m well used to it.

    MJ – thanks for highlighting that author for me. I had not heard of him before, but it seems he is a marxist and another self-hating Jew in the mould of Chomsky, so I will not bother paying him any attention as a serious historian. To suggest that Zionism collaborated in the genocide of 6 million Jews is about as plausible as saying that Dick Cheney was responsible for 9/11 which appears to be your chain of thought.

  • MJ

    “I will not bother paying him any attention as a serious historian”.

    A superbly researched book by an eminent historian, but I don’t wish to disturb your cosy infatuation with all things Zionist. “There’s none so blind as those who do not wish to see” I think the saying goes.

    I suspect Cheney had only a bit part but of course we’ll need a proper enquiry to get to the truth.

  • John D. Monkey


    I have always read your posts, even though I mostly disagree with your line of argument.

    But now you have trotted out the old “self hating Jew” line to diss Lenni Brenner without even reading him you’ve lost me. I guess you’re just another bigoted troll after all.

    I shan’t even bother to read what you post any more, and suggest everyone else does the same.

  • Ruth


    I agree with you but I think he might be a government lackey under the guise of a Zionist brought in to disrupt rational argument. And often such people have a sparring partner.

  • Jon

    @John D. Monkey – couldn’t agree more. The general disturbance from eddie was occasionally worth engaging with, but using the ‘self-hating Jew’ tagline on Jewish people who are not toeing the neo-conservative/Zionist line is a shameless propaganda technique as old as the hills. I too will also avoid dealing with this gentleman from now on.

    == plonk ==

    (For those not in the know, the above is the sound of a troublesome board poster being added to an “ignore bin”).

  • Chris


    you suggest that: “If you think that we live in either a communist or fascist society then you are ignorant.”

    That’s interesting in light of this : “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

    Benito Mussolini.

    Sound familiar?

  • eddie

    Interesting. Lose the argument and you refuse to engage. Cowards. I don’t think you people realise how far off the political spectrum you are. I have been a member of the Labour Party for years yet you attack me as if I am a member of the BNP. But what is the reality of political power? You can either skulk on boards like these and achieve next to nothing or you can engage with the political process. It is very likely that we will have a Tory government next year. So will that be better or worse than our present situation? If the Tories get in what will you do? Carry on slagging off everyone in power from the privacy of your homes until you die? What does that do exactly? You change nothing. You are nothing. Get involved. The bald truth is that we will have either a Labour government in this country or a conversative one and no other options are likely. So get real and grow up.

    MJ I’m sorry, but would you read one of David Irving’s books? Is there any real difference between him and the author you mention? They both have a world view that is subjective. What they research and what they write all stacks up in favour of their party line. If I want to read history I will stick to people I can trust to be objective. If you want names I am happy to supply them.

  • frank verismo

    “Interesting. Lose the argument and you refuse to engage.”

    Except it’s not interesting.

    Not at all.

  • MJ

    “Lose the argument and you refuse to engage”

    This a good example of Orwellian doublespeak eddie. It is you who have lost the argument. It is you who refuses to engage. Your comment about “self-hating jew” says it all and reveals your blinkered, partisan view of history. Brenner’s book is objective. It is based on well-referenced facts. But it doesn’t correspond with all the garbage you’ve been fed. So you run away and don’t want to know.

  • eddie

    Objective? Says you perhaps. Facts may be well researched but if you only include the ones that match your world view then it remains a pile of garbage. I’ve been quite happy to engage but most of the points I’ve made have been either ignored or met with puerile abuse. Do you not think such a thing as a “self hating Jew” exists? It is your side that has been guilty of anti-Semitism in recent months. One of the posters on here claimed that Zionists had collaborated with the Holocaust for christ’s sake. It may even have been you.

  • Anonymous

    “Facts may be well researched but if you only include the ones that match your world view then it remains a pile of garbage”.

    Are you describing yourself? Since you refuse to read him, I’m not sure how you know what Brenner’s views are.

    “Self-hating Jew” is one of the most pathetic Zionist slurs around. I presume it refers to someone who happens to be Jewish but has the decency and courage to say something that opposes or reveals the Zionist agenda. Whether Brenner is self-hating, or Jewish, I neither know nor care. It is irrelevant. I suspect he’s self-respecting, since he’s gone to the trouble of researching and writing an important book, but I don’t really know.

    “One of the posters on here claimed that Zionists had collaborated with the Holocaust for christ’s sake. It may even have been you”.

    Not me. I did point out however that there is good evidence to show that some Zionists collaborated with the Nazis. You asked for the evidence. I took the trouble to provide it. You refused to read it.

  • Anas Taunton

    I am grateful to writerman for the description of Obama as ‘a bag of wind, rather like Blair’. Like a hot air balloon, Blair does not appear to have been able to control any of the purpose or direction of his political career.

    I am also grateful to researcher for introducing me to the description ‘ Zionist shill’ as a label for that group of people whose efforts result in Islamophobia in this country and persecution of Muslims abroad.

  • eddie

    Zionist shill and Islampohobia are no better nor worse as slurs than self hating Jew. If someone is claiming that zionists collaborated with the Holocaust then if that does not amount to “self hating Jews” I dont know what does, so they clearly exist in your eyes. I don’t want to read that book for the simple reason that there are probably thousands of other history books that are better written and less subjective and time is short. For the record I despise all religions, especially fundamentalists, whether it is Christians (including the Pope with his despicable views on abortion and condoms), Sikhs, Jews or Muslims. Religion is a human construct that has no basis in truth. The reason that I particularly despise Islamists is that they are the only ones of the above who want to blow me up in the name of religion. People like you use the slur Islamophobic to describe a disgust of murderous, life-hating, death-loving, homophobic misogynists. I prefer to call it common sense. I am not Jewish. I am not a Zionist. I was brought up in the CofE.

  • Anonymous

    “If someone is claiming that zionists collaborated with the Holocaust then if that does not amount to “self hating Jews” I dont know what does”

    So it doesn’t matter if the claim happens to be true or not? If a Jew discovers that it is true, but is perfectly self-respecting, where does that leave you eddie? Also please get it into your confused little mind that that the collaboration was with Nazism rather than the holocaust as such.

    When you think about it, the claim is hardly ludicrous. Ask yourself two questions: in the decades prior to WWII, who were lobbying intensely for a Jewish homeland in Palestine? What was one of the most signifcant outcomes of the Nazi regime and WWII? See the connection? Brenner’s book simply sifts through the evidence and joins the dots.

  • Chris

    The problem with Eddie is unfortunately simple… If you were to suggest that the sun might rise tomorrow, Eddie would give you ten thousand reasons why it wouldn’t, probably starting with “evil islamists wont allow it because they despise our western sunshine…”

    Maybe we should desist from feeding the trolls.

  • eddie

    What did I just say about abuse? Have I levelled persoanl abuse at you?

    OK, you attack me for raising the notion of “self-hating Jews”, right? Then you refer to a book that outlines Zionist (Jewish) collaboration with the Nazis and ergo the Holocaust. Right? So your world view accepts that there were Jews who participated in, or implicitly assisted, the annihilation of other Jews. Right? So if they are not self-hating Jews what are? Ergo you accept the notion of self-hating Jews. Whether I believe your claim or not, you clearly do, so you accept the notion.So what is your problem exactly? Collaborating with the Nazis implicitly means collaborating with the Holocaust, unless you are a Holocaust denier, or one of those people who believe that the German people did not know about it or that they were just following orders, and therefore not culpable. That was part of the Eichmann defence and he hanged for it, as did others post war. Your last paragraph is despicable.

  • eddie

    Yes you must be sending yourself to sleep with your prevarication and evasion. As I said before, I get either abuse or a refusal to answer points. So I shall take it that you can’t defend yourself. Returning to the topic of this post, today I saw “The Damned United” which is about the sacking of Brian Clough after only 44 days at Leeds United. It’s a great film. So Clough was judged and sacked after only 44 days yet went on to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, managers in English football. So the moral is, don’t judge people prematurely, as you are so keen to do. It is not wise.

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