199 thoughts on “Jonathan Powell

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  • technicolour

    Jon, I think we are reaching a stage where our parliament – our parliament – will be filled with increasingly unpleasant people. It is fair to argue that our PM and Cabinet, and others, have often been extremely unpleasant, but in the past there were laws and parliamentary accountability to keep them in line. This is no longer, in practice, the case.

    Perhaps we do need to reach rock bottom; before people get so fed up that the Greens etc have a chance of getting in. But a) Green party candidates have a reasonable chance of being been crazily authoritarian and unpleasant too (I have met at least one). and b) I don’t really see how one can sit back and prepare to see the country suffer in the meantime.

    So if you have a decent person like Clare Short, who I would bet has a voting record you would agree with, and who stands a chance of providing some kind of counter-balance, then get her in, is my thinking. If not, hurrah: you have a real chance for an independent.

  • eddie


    I think that sometimes people on these boards say things so outrageous that anglo saxon language seems to be the only appropriate response. Such as Craig, who I respect to some extent, likening Powell to Saddam. I think that is outrageous and unjustified and I think “fuck off” is the only logical response. Goering was right to some extent about victors’ justice. We did some terible things in winning WW2, Dresden, the atom bombs etc but no one stood trial for these things, and who is to say that they did not save more lives in the long run? That is certainly the view of most historians about the atom bombs. So who is to say that we have not saved thousands of lives in invading Iraq, although many thousands have also been lost. This may sound like a specious moral argument, but it is one that Chomsky has made from the other side in defending red terror. History teaches us that sometimes, when we do nothing, it leads to more death and destruction in the long run. So I accept that Blair and his cabinet may have made a policy mistake (time will tell), but to describe it as a crime etc etc I think is wrong. I agree that the powerful can kill the weak, but it is not just about one country vs another. There is rarely any mention on these boards of the millions killed by Mao or Stalin in their own countries (Mao 60 million), or even the thousands suffering in the gulags of Korea or China, let alone Cuba. That is because the principal motivation of most of the people here is a rabid anti-Americanism that disgusts me, frankly. I think it is morally repugnant. And I did not say that the 58 million people who did not march supported the war, I just said that they did not march.

    I have accepted that the IBC figures may be an underestimate but I completely refuse to accept that they are TEN times higher viz the Lancet report. I think that is just propaganda.

    And I do assure you that I could get a counsel’s opinion that the moon is made of cheese!

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Courtenay writes:

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

    Courtenay, the name “Tim Osman” was made up by a guy who is serving time in California for cooking meth. He’s met aliens. He discovered limitless energy. He was at the release of the Iran hostages.

    In short, he’s a crazy person.

    A right-wing American crazy person.

    So now we know what satisfies as evidence for you.

    But no matter – you’ll be making the “Tim Osman” claim for years and years to come.

  • angrysoba

    “But no matter – you’ll be making the “Tim Osman” claim for years and years to come.”

    And I’m expecting that Glenn is going to return shortly and tell me, “John Farmer says 9/11 CR is rubbish!”

  • Larry from St. Louis

    And Courtenay – did you really use material from a nutjob conspiracy site and claim it as on your own. It seems that you plagiarized a shitload of crazy up top.

    I encourage you to stay away from http://www.globalresearch.ca. Apparently you don’t have critical thinking skills, so you’ll believe whatever is written there.

    But if you do quote from that website, be sure to attribute.

  • angrysoba

    Ha ha!

    I have seen the “Tim Osman” one before. It seems to be one that gets whipped out after every other harebrained theory has been debunked. In other words, it doesn’t matter if everything else is nonsense because Osama bin Laden was in the CIA so it was STILL an Inside Job GODDDAMMIT!!!1!

  • angrysoba

    Oh, by the way, Larry. On the Iraq Inquiry thread the subject of Bilderberg, 7/7 and Tony Gosling has come up. There’s a debate on Press TV between David Aaronovitch and Gosling. It’s very entertaining especially when Gosling starts saying that Benjamin Netanyahu got a phone call in his hotel telling him not to take the subway (or something)

    Aaronovitch: “Ohhhhhhh God!”


  • technicolour

    Yeah, well, if you’re using Aaronovitch as a guide…

    Do you see? You’re debasing debate. It’s fair to point out that a lot of left-wing paranoia fits in with a lot of right wing paranoia. It’s not only fair, but useful. It’s also valuable (I think) to give warnings about specific sites.

    But why these howls and jeers and ad hominem attacks? If the facts are wrong, why not point that out? Why the mockery and laughter and pleasure? It’s like telling someone their coat’s on fire while punching them in the face. I’ve had enough of it.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “But why these howls and jeers and ad hominem attacks? If the facts are wrong, why not point that out? Why the mockery and laughter and pleasure? It’s like telling someone their coat’s on fire while punching them in the face. I’ve had enough of it.”

    Whine, whine, whine, whine. You’ve said worse, technicolour. And you seem to have no problem with Holocaust deniers.

    Yet another thing in common you have with the American right wing – you throw out the worst venom, but you whine and whine the moment someone gives you a stern look or calls you out for your bullshit.

  • MJ

    Aaronovitch is a moronic nutjob conspiracy theorist. You ought to see what he wrote about Iraqi WMD!

  • angrysoba

    Larry, technicolour was actually one of the few who stood up to the Holocaust denying anti-semitic loons before. So he/she’s okay with me.

    I think a bit less Bilderberg in the diet would be a good idea though.

  • technicolour

    By the way: I was ‘one of the few’ because I was actually around, with an internet connection and the time. From my years on this site I can name dozens of contributors who would have done the same, and no serious contributor who would not, in fact. Good Lord, Murray himself has stood against the BNP twice (and in fact is almost their polar opposite). If you remember, it took some time (and also your approach) to establish that jaded/apostate/steelback were not innocents abroad but an attempt to insert a poisonous neo-nazi agenda onto a board otherwise mainly filled with rather peaceful and curious people.

    So well done. But I thoroughly object to people being bullied and insulted, for much the same reason that I object to people being bamboozled and misled.

  • technicolour

    which does not mean to say that the occasional ‘what the fuck?’ is not sometimes the most obvious response.

  • hawley_jr

    @Larry: “Angrysoba, thanks! I’m a big fan of Aaronovitch!”

    Aaronovitch, arch supporter of all things w.o.t, writes a book in which he juxtaposes disparate conspiracy theories from over the years in a spurious attempt to discredit those at the forefront today.

    In his RSA lecture to promote his book he says:

    “I mean, think about how brilliant you must think the Bush administration is if it really did bring down the Twin Towers itself, It’s a feat of organisation that puts D-Day absolutely in the far shade; you know, of coordination, and the timing, et cetera.”


    Osama (or should it now be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?) tops D-Day for organisation! Now who’s batshit crazy?

  • Courtenaybarnett


    I think we are at cross-purposes, and you do sound really cross.

    The facts which I posted did not veer to saying what you represented. In a more nuanced way, I was not endorsing the “Tim Osama” point, which you injected into the thread – but, you seem to want to go along your own path of reasoning – not related to that which I expressed.

    There does not seem to be any disproving of anything of fact that I had stated.

    You go on:-


    So interesting how you pathetically attempt to distort history. For instance, you forgot to mention that Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait.”

    There is no doubt in my mind that for much the same reasons I stated about the US invading Iraq (i.e. violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter) the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was also a violation of international law. The political dimension that pre-dated Saddam’s invasion realtes to events surrounding one April Glasby, when she signaled to Saddam that Bush the elder would not be involving itself in a regional dispute over Kuwait.History, shows that quite the opposite happened, and Bush the elder did not then pursue the war all the way once the Iraqi troops were pushed out of Iraq.

    But,in saying that both Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the US invasion of Iraq were violations of the UN Charter under internaitional law, I suppose, makes me “distort” history …huh? I also suppose that if I state that Colin Powell relied on fabricated evidence in his presentation to the Security Council, when he sought to rely on the excuse of WMDs in Iraq as the causus belli, is another distortion of history? Anyway Larry – seems pointless me corresponding further if there really is no disproving any of the factual statements made.

    Politely I might close and say – I have answered you without resorting to any vulgarities or “distortions” of history.

    Kind regards.


  • technicolour

    hawley, can’t you find a better quote to criticise Aaronovitch with than that one? Surely you can.

  • hawley_jr

    @technicolour : “hawley, can’t you find a better quote to criticise Aaronovitch with than that one? Surely you can.”

    That one’s stupid enough to serve the purpose. I’ll leave the better ones to you.

  • Jon

    @eddie – we should have held war crimes for the atom bombs too, by todays human rights standards. However the framework of international law did not support it, even if it was obviously murderous to incinerate hundreds of thousands of civilians who had committed the crime of being Japanese. I am not in sympathy with the macabre algebra of ‘lives saved’ on that one, and I’d suggest victors’ justice has transmuted into victors’ history too. Perhaps when our time is hundreds of years past, historians will see it differently – I don’t know. But that’s off-topic somewhat.

    You say that you “did not say that the 58 million people who did not march supported the war”, but you stated it directly after the number of people who did, thereby hinting at this possibility. In the same way as your casual use of abusive language, I do think you need to be more careful about how you say things. But I will let that drop.

    Two points, first briefly on the accusation of anti-American racism. I am sure racism against all nations exists, and there are a number who “hate” American people – I have seen one or two posts on this board that might fall into that category. But it is fine to hate murderous foreign policy, and if such policy is coming out of Washington and not Beijing, then it is fine to make statements opposing *American* policy and not, say, Chinese policy. The reason why people talk about US policy here is because it is part of the raison d’etre of Craig’s blog, because he got fired for opposing it, and because it is happening now. I dare say that is why we don’t talk about Stalin and Mao too much – the current murder can be opposed now, but past murder cannot. So I would tend to regard this claim as a canard – it would probably be better for your case if you took each statement on, and calmly explained why you disagree with it.

    I must say I hesistated to mention any substantive topics above my main point, lest you get sidetracked in them, or mentioning Chomsky again, or whatever else. I originally put it to you that your support for the Labour party, a strong admiration for Blair, and a worry about the severe societal damage that a Tory win would have, may have created in *you personally* a substantial cognitive dissonance in which you ignore key issues that do not fit in with your world-view. In this case, how much Blair was set on war, how WMD were misused to fix policy, how intelligence was sexed-up to order, your prefererence for IBC over the Lancet report, not to mention the arms-to-Africa debacle which had previously demonstrated lawyer Blair’s scant regard for international law.

    Given that you aggressively like to point out what you see as other people’s blind spots, will you admit that you might have one too?

  • Larry from St. Louis


    You wrote that “The US assisted in the training of the JEM Darfuri rebels.”

    Are you still defending that as a fact?

  • eddie

    Jon, once again I did not say that the anti Americanism on here was racist. Please take more care. To suggest such a thing is clearly ludicrous as the USA comprises many diverse races. Yes, we all have a world view. I may shift at the margins, but I am not going to change my position fundamentally.

    The people killed in Japan were not killed because they were Japanese but because they were implicitly supporting a fascistic, nihilist government and emperor.

  • hawley_jr

    @technicolour: “”Well, hawley, I agree with it, so can you find another one, please.”

    Then you obviously think that Al-Qaeda were capable of carrying out, in Aaronovitch’s words, “a feat of organisation that puts D-Day absolutely in the far shade; you know, of coordination, and the timing, et cetera.”

    I don’t.

  • techicnolour

    hawley; depends what you mean by al quaeda. far as i know they got their name from a CIA database. otherwise what i think is pretty irrelevant, isn’t it, without proof of any kind?

  • Courtenaybarnett


    My enemies enemy is my friend.

    This is from Wikepedia:-

    “In October 2007, the JEM attacked the Defra oilfield in the Kordofan region of Sudan. The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, a Chinese-led consortium, controls the field. The next month, a group of 135 Chinese engineers arrived in Darfur to work on the Defra field. Ibrahim told reporters, “We oppose them coming because the Chinese are not interested in human rights. It is just interested in Sudan’s resources.” The JEM claims that the revenue from oil sold to China funds the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia.[4]”

    I am very sure that the Chinese government would not be paying any faction to attack its petroleum companies.

    You would no doubt reason that all these “orange revolutions” did not have any US support, nor does the Iranian movements for change of the revolutionary government in Iran.

    The way these matters work is denial, secret funding, pushing of an agenda where the strategic interests of the US are better served by support of one faction versus the other(s). As with the US position in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, one can clearly see:-

    A. Failure to insist on compliance with international law, and insistence on a return to the 1967 borders.

    B. A mature and balanced role played primarily by the US, and other powers to arrive at a fair resolution for the legitimate concerns of Israel and of the Palestinians.

    C. Projection of US power, not to deny the free vote of the Palestinian people, if they democratically embrace any faction not of the US choosing, but to accept that military might alone does not always make right.

    Go after leaders in Sudan, and strengthen the rebels position in Darfur. A covert war in Sudan, is empowered by claims of “genocide” and use of the legal institutions of the West to target one faction not on the US side of the global trajectory. Absolutely consistent with how US foreign policies operate, and have operated during the entire post World War 11 era ( by reference to the historical record ?” from the 1953 CIA overthrow of Mosaddegh in Iran onwards).

    You would have us believe that the US is simply sitting hands folded, no active push or support of any faction, while totally ignoring the spoils and rich resources of Sudan.

    Of course, in saying all of this, I remain fully convinced ( indeed I do..ha..ha) that the US has absolutely no active interest in Sudanese oil resources. Sure, Larry, yeah! Has Chevron played any role in the region? If you lose control over the country’s government, you lose control over the country’s resources, so you arm factions to try and win back influence and control over the resources that are desired. No US special forces in Sudan either ?” oh no Larry ?” never!

    Of course, Larry would have everyone on this thread believe that I “distort” history. However, to the contrary, I would like to believe that I do speak truthfully.

    I obviously see things differently than you do Larry, but never mind ?” I thank you for good healthy discussion. That we have had, and I wish you all the best in your personal life and for now and the future.

    Kind regards.


  • Courtenaybarnett

    Actually, I belive that my first sentence should have read:-

    “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”.

    But Larry, you can correct me gramatically, even if I got my history right.

    Kind regards.


  • Larry from St. Louis

    What an incredibly irrelevant passage from Wikipedia.

    Is that supposed to be an argument?

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