199 thoughts on “Jonathan Powell

1 3 4 5 6 7
  • Larry from St. Louis

    “He also thought the weather was absolutely crap, and that the vast majority of Americans were incredibly fat.”

    So there’s not an increasing problem of obesity in the U.K.?

    I do have to say that’s the first time a British exceptionalist has made fun of America for the weather.

  • technicolour

    Sorry, that should have been “the actions of UK governments abroad”. It’s interesting, and very well researched.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    The very brief Wikipedia synopsis of Web of Deceit:

    “Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the English secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.”

    Damn, technicolour – sounds like a country with problems!

  • technicolour

    …it draws the very clear line between the actions of successive UK governments abroad and the behaviour and aspirations of the UK people.

  • technicolour

    Everyone I know (from old to young) who’s had the vaccine is fine, dreoilin!

    But still:

    EU to probe pharma over “false pandemic”

    04 January 2010

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is to hold an emergency debate and inquiry this month into the “influence” exerted by drugmakers on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global H1N1 flu campaign.

    The text of the resolution approved by the Assembly calling for the debate and inquiry states that: “in order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies influenced scientists and official agencies responsible for public health standards to alarm governments worldwide and make them squander tight health resources for inefficient vaccine strategies”

    http://www.pharmatimes.com/worldnews/article.aspx?id=17147

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “the behaviour and aspirations of the UK people”

    Interesting way to reconcile your British exceptionalism with your inherent self-hatred.

  • glenn

    In fairness, technicolour, much the same can be said about the US. Most people there are thoroughly decent and would be horrified if they knew even a small fraction of the crimes committed in their name. (Incidentally, the apologists for US imperialism on these boards and elsewhere further the bad name the US has.)

    What I was saying earlier (and Mark unfortunately mistook “Patrick” quoting me as making comment of his own, and went on to make the same point I’d made) is that we British to not withdraw as if stung when ugly truths about us and our past are revealed. We know good and well there’s a great deal of evil the British have done in our past, and it continues to this day in many respects. Unlike our American counterparts, we don’t have a child-like belief in a big daddy figure of the Great and Glorious administration, Founding Fathers and a wonderful, flawless, benevolent military.

    True Believers, of course, consider that America was born into perfection and has been getting better ever since.

    We also don’t believe that we are the best, the greatest and _by definition_ correct in all that we do. The fool that spoke about “British exceptionalism” must have been projecting something rotten – I’ve never heard anyone speak about such a thing. US exceptionalism, on the other hand, is taken as a matter of course over there.

    The “Why do they hate us?” ponderings after “9/11” was marvelous to behold. Like, they really don’t know?

  • technciolour

    Glenn, agree same could be said for US if not all countries. Not surprised the US were surprised by 9/11; I was.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “We also don’t believe that we are the best, the greatest and _by definition_ correct in all that we do. The fool that spoke about “British exceptionalism” must have been projecting something rotten – I’ve never heard anyone speak about such a thing.”

    Never hear anyone speak about such a thing? Once again, you’re remarkably ignorant, Glenn.

  • glenn

    techncolour; I wasn’t actually saying that “9/11” wasn’t a surprise, indeed it was – who could have expected a rag-tag bunch of non-practicing Muslims to make the entire air defence stand down that day? What wasn’t surprising was why anyone else in the world might just hate America enough to do it. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise, after all – the CIA have devoted the last 60 years to whipping up hatred, and one doesn’t have over 1/2 the world’s military if you genuinely believe everyone loves you.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Glenn, so what you’re saying is that 19 Arab Muslims did NOT do 911, but if they did, they were justified? Am I hearing that right?

  • Larry from St. Louis

    And Glenn, do you realize that Craig Murray thinks of you as a conspiraloon?

  • Jon

    @technicolour – yep, read it, have it on my shelf. It is bloody great when responding to people in writing – alongside William Blum’s work, it provides an excellent compendium of some of the West’s darkest days (though I fear, sadly, it needs updating to include recent atrocities). Who’da thought we were so involved in operations in Vietnam, and so privately supportive, whilst publically condemning in Parliament the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong?

  • Jon

    @technicolour: “the public are not really apolitical”. Not sure about that, I am inclined to regard them at the very least as unthinking. I avoid the use of the word ‘stupid’ here (though it is tempting) because, in the defence of the public, the propaganda of capitalism and consumerism has a powerful sway, and it is perhaps unreasonable to think that everyone should be immune. Perhaps, indeed, I am just blaming a human public for exhibiting very human behaviour!

    @eddie: comparing Powell to Hussein misses out a lot of detail, to be sure, specifically on the level of authoritarianism. But my guess about the *point* of the post is for Craig to claim they have both carried out crimes against humanity. This is not as unreasonable as you appear to want it to be. Indeed, Matrix Chambers, a leading law firm in London, released an opinion a number of years ago that said that there were grounds to impeach Blair while he was in office, and that impeachment itself was still constitutionally possible.

    On that basis, anyone involved in the modification of intelligence data to increase the saleability of the war must stand trial. And if it is a fair trial, and they are found not guilty, then fine. Guilty criminals are not always convicted, but bringing them to trial is an important first step nonetheless.

    But you have cleanly avoided the questions raised about your alliance to the Labour Party. With your activist hat on, I presume, you would rather focus us on the perils of a future Tory party; and while I agree with you there, for their war crimes (see above) New Labour deserve to lose the next election, simple as that. Given that much negative voting will be happening, it will be easy for you and other Labour supporters to blame voters for being “stupid enough” to let the Tories in (either by voting directly for Cameron, or for “wasting a vote” on a smaller party). But if voting patterns occur as a *response* to political events, then it makes sense to look at those events, and if any of them can be said to give rise to the electoral abandonment of Labour, then we collectively should hold the event (or the decision-makers behind it) responsible instead.

    Your attempts to discredit Chomsky avoided the main issue – I could easily have mentioned another author. The issue I was getting at was that the public are arguably suffering from a lack of political consciousness on a number of levels, and for a number of reasons. British society is inherently selfish and tends to prefer the status quo, so long as its subjects are comfortable and secure; their concern for foreign suffering and injustice is limited at best, and entirely permitted by the lack of concern in the media; they witness the most appalling corruption in their political classes, and yet have no idea how to feel angry about it; they see lies perpetuated by their leaders, but are ground down by inaction; they buy into patriotism, nationalism, consumerism and other ideologies that promote selfishness and exceptionalism, and all without questioning why.

    With that in mind, my question was how to encourage a culture of *selflessness* amongst the wider public, so that a better age of holding government to account, and caring for the downtrodden, can come about. Perhaps I am, however, asking for the moon on a stick!

  • Jon

    Side note: I am in a Labour area, and intend to vote for a smaller party come the election. Green maybe, or Respect if they stand. Not sure what good it will do, but it’s just about the only direction my conscience will reasonably stand, save inking a new box that says “None of the above”.

  • technicolour

    Jon, of the *people* standing in your area, are none from the main parties halfway decent?

  • eddie

    Jon

    I don’t buy the stupid moral equivalence crap that you and those like you come up with. To compare Powell to Hussein or Karadjic is just puerile schoolboy stuff and it discredits you and Craig and others. Stuff Matrix. I could get a counsel’s opinion that the moon is made of cheese – it means nothing. All that counts is what happens in a court of law and Blair will never be put on trial and it is naive of you to believe that it will ever happen. Believe it or not the vast majority of the British public have very little interest in Iraq a a political issue. The interest is confined to tiny corners of the internet like this one. The public is more concerned about homes and jobs or the latest iphone, and that is not being patronising it is just a fact of life. Yes I am a Labour Party member and I happen to think Blair was an outstanding PM. Leaders have to make difficult decisions and sometimes they make policy mistakes; Churchill bombed Dresden – that does not mean he was not also an outstanding leader. This silly talk of war criminals is exactly that, silly. Yes Labour are likely to lose the election, although we will very likely have a hung parliament. But they won’t lose it becasue of Iraq and it would be naive to think so. And the people on these boards have no credible alternative to Labour. Do they seriously think their lives will be better under the tories? Their rage arises from their powerlessness. They should get off their backsides, and get engaged and stop whining.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Larry,

    Your reply really does not advance discourse.

    “Tim Osman” is supposed to be the name assigned by the CIA for Osama Bin Laden, as a then ( maybe still ) functional asset.

    The debate really does not need to go down the path of innuendos of “conspiracy theories” in the sense of a person being off the mark in evaluating the known facts.

    Let’s keep it real Larry.

    Kind regards.

    PS. As you well know – there is a lot of information as well as disinformation out there. Cheers mate.

  • angrysoba

    “I wasn’t actually saying that “9/11″ wasn’t a surprise, indeed it was – who could have expected a rag-tag bunch of non-practicing Muslims to make the entire air defence stand down that day?”

    Hmmm…Too much nonsense to untangle completely here.

    Glenn, why do so many Truthers have this problem with the idea that Arabs/Muslims can fly planes? And fly them into buildings.

    As for the standdown, it never took place.

    You have read the 9/11 Commission Report have you not?

    You don’t appear to have done so which is one of the reasons so many people get muddled up.

  • glenn

    Soba: Sure, the US regularly allows planes to switch off their transponders, fail to respond to comms, and fly around randomly above cities for 45 minutes!

  • angrysoba

    “Soba: Sure, the US regularly allows planes to switch off their transponders, fail to respond to comms, and fly around randomly above cities for 45 minutes!”

    Leaden sarcasm also doesn’t qualify as irony, Glenn.

    And misrepresenting the facts to shoehorn your argument doesn’t make you smart.

    AA11’s transponder was switched off @8:21.

    AA11 crashed into the WTC (North) @8:46 (25 mins later)

    Jets were scrambled from Otis @8:53 to search for AA11.

    UA175’s transponder code was changed @8:47

    UA175 crashed into the WTC (South) @9:03

    (16 minutes later)

    AA77’s transponder was switched off @8:56 but it seems to have gone unnoticed at first. Glenn, you may be surprised to know that ATC were busy at the time looking for a plane (AA11) which had disappeared.

    Jets were scrambled from Langley @9:24 but they were sent up to look for AA11 (which no longer existed).

    Military were informed that AA77 was missing @9:34 due to some cock-ups.

    AA77 crashed into the Pentagon @9:37

    (about 41 minutes after it switched off its transponder but as you know, this wasn’t an average day).

    UA93’s transponder was switched off @9:41 (although hijacking was probably @9:28) but it crashed at 10:03.

    (22 minutes later).

    Truthers like to say that the whole operation went on for over an hour and a half and no planes intercepted the airliners but this is to completely distort what was going on at the time and what kind of difficulties they had.

    I would have thought you’d known all this having read the 9/11 Commission Report.

    Have you read it Glenn?

  • glenn

    You mean to tell me it takes 32 minutes – over HALF AN HOUR, according to your figures, between a transponder going off (and there was a bit more to it than that too if you were to be honest), and jets being scrambled, Soba? And this is above Manhattan, one of the best defended airspaces in the world? Hmm. And was the most local airbase summoned for action? Don’t be shy – tell the truth!

    And this in the face of at least 53 different warnings to the US, from multiple agencies worldwide, such that the President had a specific warning from a FBI agent sent to Crawford in August 2001, bearing the message “Bin Laden determined to strike” etc., and Dubbya took that seriously. Yessir. He patted the FBI agent, said “Go back to Washington, son, you’ve covered your ass.” He extended his record-breaking vacation to stay in Florida, where the entire state (run by his brother) was placed on the highest alert.

    Rice lied when she said “nobody considered aircraft could be flown into buildings”, that was precisely why Dubbya slept on an aircraft during the G8 meeting months earlier.

    Why don’t you acknowledge that Farmer has rejected your precious 9/11 CR as rubbish, Soba, instead of convincing yourself you’ve got a winning point in asking me whether or not I’ve read it? Why do you believe testimony that was never sworn in? Why do you dismiss testimony that was not even allowed into your hallowed 9/11 CR?

    http://www.amazon.com/Ground-Truth-Untold-America-Attack/dp/1594488940

    Nah, nothing wrong here – move along, goddammit, citizen – you trying to question an Official Truth here, you SOAB?

    Oh… that’s right. One must be insane to wonder about such things, because people that we trust so much – like you, soba – have got it absolutely 100% straight, just like the government says.

  • angrysoba

    Have you read either the Commission report or John Farmer’s critique of it?

    I can only assume you have not read the Commission report which is why you keep dodging the question and why you keep making irrelevant remarks.

    I would like to know specifically what John Farmer’s criticisms are. If you can’t tell me I can only assume you don’t know. In which case you continue to trot him out as a mascot and pretend he’s a Truther when he absolutely is not.

  • angrysoba

    “You mean to tell me it takes 32 minutes – over HALF AN HOUR, according to your figures, between a transponder going off (and there was a bit more to it than that too if you were to be honest), and jets being scrambled, Soba?”

    I have no reason to doubt it. Do you?

    “And this is above Manhattan, one of the best defended airspaces in the world?”

    According to whom? How is Manhattan one of the “best defended airspaces in the world”? I think you just pulled that one out of thin air because you liked its hyperbolic edge.

    “Hmm. And was the most local airbase summoned for action? Don’t be shy – tell the truth!”

    According to the Commission report there were only two “alert” sites in the region. Otis and Langley with a pair of fighters each. You haven’t read it so I don’t expect you to know that.

    Could you tell me an alert site that was closer where there were fighters already on standby?

    “And this in the face of at least 53 different warnings to the US, from multiple agencies worldwide, such that the President had a specific warning from a FBI agent sent to Crawford in August 2001, bearing the message “Bin Laden determined to strike” etc., and Dubbya took that seriously. ”

    Did this warning say that on September 11th 2001 al Qaeda would hijack aircraft and fly them into buildings? No. I don’t believe it did. If warnings are sufficiently vague they can’t be sufficiently acted on. Oh, and if they were then your average Truther will just deny that there ever was a threat.

    Now, here’s a question: Doesn’t the fact that 13 or more intelligence agencies from around the world telling the US that al-Qaeda was about to strike conflict somewhat with MIHOP?

    “Rice lied when she said “nobody considered aircraft could be flown into buildings”, that was precisely why Dubbya slept on an aircraft during the G8 meeting months earlier.”

    You’ll get no argument from me that Rice was lying. I am sure there’s been a fair amount of CYA going on.

    “Oh… that’s right. One must be insane to wonder about such things, because people that we trust so much – like you, soba – have got it absolutely 100% straight, just like the government says.”

    No need to be petulant. David Ray Griffin is furious about John Farmer’s book because in his mind Farmer is protecting the “official story” as Truthers call it.

    There isn’t an “official story” there’s plenty of room for debate, but if you start arguing that pixie dust brought down the WTC, for example – not saying YOU are, then you have removed yourself from serious debate.

  • glenn

    You’re the one dodging, Soba. Why are you swearing by the 9/11 CR, when you didn’t even know, until I’d told you, the principle drafter of the report was denouncing it? Perhaps his information would make the 9/11 CR irrelevant. Heck, we couldn’t have that.

    Why did you dodge every single point I’d put to you in my last post?

    I have read some of the 9/11 CR, I don’t know it all off by heart, nor do you. But here’s one for you – no cheating! – have you read “9/11 CR – omissions and distortions” ? No? Well, how can you defend your official government version, without reading some serious questions about the official government version? Or do you always believe everything the government tells you?

    We’ve grown way beyond that in Britain by now. Sorry you are still so stuck in the total trust phase, but, like believing Heavy Metal was going to rule forever, the rest of us have grown up a bit, and it’s time you did too.

  • Jon

    @eddie

    I think you dismiss the debate far too easily. To regard Blair and Hussein as having committed war crimes, or crimes against humanity, is not to say that they are cut from the same cloth – I acknowledged that previously. It is also insufficient to say “stuff Matrix”, as ignoring inconvenient facts won’t make them go away; their legal view was a lengthy and considered one, and no, you couldn’t get a counsel’s opinion that the moon is made from cheese.

    I think Iraq is a bigger issue in the public mind than you give it credit for, but on the other hand I think it is still not as big as it deserves to be. I sense that Blair has been *somewhat* discredited in public consciousness because of Iraq and the number of references to this I’ve encountered recently in the mainstream is heartening. I was quite surprised to hear an acknowledgement on the Today Programme that Blair is keeping a low involvement in the election campaign, because of the public association with Iraq.

    I doubt you would argue that you are quite rude to people on this board, which, just above, includes telling people to ‘fuck off’, and that they are ‘ignorant nincompoops’, and that they are talking ‘bilge’ or ‘bile’ – pretty strong stuff. Would it be unreasonable for me to attribute this to your general frustration that, just maybe, you privately agree with the notion that rules and laws need to be applied to powerful people? I am not intending to patronise you – it just seems to me that you have a conscious understanding that your preferred powerful nations can kill people in weaker nations without so much as a possibility of a subsequent war crimes tribunal. Accordingly, the whole mental construction is built on morally dubious positions, and is highly vulnerable to criticism – hence your general sensitivity.

    Incidentally, as Craig has said elsewhere, you generally argue well, and you have a good range of knowledge to quote from, so I would have thought you of all people would be less likely to use insults. Just a thought.

    I agree that Blair is unlikely to face the music for his (alleged) crimes, but I believe there is plenty of evidence for him to do so. If he does not, I think this will be more evidence that powerful people are above the law, not that there is no case to answer. As MJ says, there are plenty of people who offered the advice that the invasion was illegal, but this conflicts sharply with your sense that Blair is a good man. You prefer the IBC figures even though you know they are compiled from media reports that don’t report all deaths, they missed deaths where they could only find one mention, and in any case are ideologically compromised by having generally supported the war in the first place. You dismiss the Lancet figures even though they are from respected, published epidemiologists whose other work is extremely well regarded. You dismiss the largest public demonstration the UK has ever seen, and then bind to the logical fallacy that 58 million Brits supported the war.

    Everyone in my view should admit to cognitive dissonance, and – I mean this kindly – I think this is where yours kicks in. Investigating the crime we committed in Iraq is not in the same vein as the 9/11 debate; the facts are available, and we either believe in international law and human rights frameworks, or we don’t. If you think it was a mistake, then fine – I disagree with that – but mistakes should still be investigated. If I accidentally kill my neighbour, then I might be charged with manslaughter rather than murder, but I would still expect to be charged. Blair likewise should also be charged, and if his defence would rest on the fact that it was a mistake, and that he did not lie, or knowingly commit an illegal act, so be it. A war crimes panel could still decide whether he is telling them the truth, and if he is, whether a punishment would be in the public interest.

  • angrysoba

    “You’re the one dodging, Soba. Why are you swearing by the 9/11 CR, when you didn’t even know, until I’d told you, the principle drafter of the report was denouncing it? Perhaps his information would make the 9/11 CR irrelevant. Heck, we couldn’t have that.

    Why did you dodge every single point I’d put to you in my last post?”

    Looks like we crossposted. I think I answered every one of your “points”.

    In fact, I even anticipated a new one as you brought David Ray Griffin into the mix as well.

    You can’t have it every which way. David Ray Griffin has denounced John Farmer’s book as DRG thinks it UPHOLDS the official story. Just look for DRG’s review of Farmer on the Amazon page.

    And, no. You weren’t the one to tell me about Farmer’s book. Your “point” about Farmer, such as it is, hasn’t been substantiated at all. You have to tell me what Farmer’s criticisms are before you can use them to further your “theory”.

    Anyway, go back and read my post at 4:19 because it is quite clear you haven’t read and digested it.

  • Jon

    @technicolour – of the people standing in my area, are any of them decent? My MP is Clare Short, and is in my view a decent person. But I am still not going to vote Labour, for the reasons I have expanded above. I don’t know who represents the Conservative party locally, but a vote for them would be an endorsement of Thatcherite-lite i.e. not good if you’re poor.

    So voting on “how good people are” may not be the best strategy…

1 3 4 5 6 7

Comments are closed.