Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan 242


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I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.

I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.

Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.

But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was “a very unhappy place”. The other described the situation as “Tense – much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq”.

Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent – and competitive – people and diverse interests involved.

There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan “national” army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.

But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as “amazingly arrogant – they don’t seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks”.

Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?

I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers – who incidentally is not British:

“Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.”

Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador. He is also a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

Reviews of Craig Murray’s War on Terror Memoir, “Murder in Samarkand” – published in the US as “Dirty Diplomacy”:

“It really is a magnificent achievement” – Noam Chomsky

“A fearless book by a fearless man. Craig Murray tells the truth whether the “authorities” like it or not. I salute a man of integrity” – Harold Pinter


242 thoughts on “Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

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  • amk

    “all of you think that I’m part of the Grand Conspiracy”

    I’d be more inclined to think Holocaust deniers were trying to smear Craig by association.

    There’s an Israeli group (I forget the name, but I did go to their site at the time and they were open about what they did) that produced some software to co-ordinate “volunteer online activists” to visit and influence online discussions. It was particularly active during the Gaza conflict.

    Anyway this group started out as “volunteer online activists” but were trying to sell their software as a campaign tool.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “*Richard Goldstone’s report”

    I’m perfectly willing to concede that one or more of Congress’ 500+ members denounced the report.

  • Bert

    “I express an alternative opinion … so all of you think that I’m part of the Grand Conspiracy …

    BWWWAAHHHAAAAAAAAHHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

    Answer the questions put to you, you Dork

    Where else do you inhabit Larryboy?

    You are giving your game away bigstyle

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “You are giving your game away bigstyle”

    So do you think I’m a secret agent man?

  • Fulano

    In fact, I am hoping that this incident contributes to the destruction of NATO or at least to very serious reform. Without wishing to insult honest and decent people working in the organisation, NATO was hijacked by neo-cons and Nu Labour in the late 90s. It should have been given a decent burial following the end of the Cold War but it has become a shamelessly agressive alliance that spits on the UN and allows the US to pass on the bloody costs of its foul and idiotic adventures to fellow members. I can even see some members of congress exploiting this incident to argue for Israel’s membership (at a minimum it would relegate this type of incident to a dispute between members, at most it would drag NATO into a full-scale military conflict in the Middle East to the delight of Netanyahu and Co, not to mention Loser Larry). If you think this is a far-fetched idea, then ask yourself why Jose Maria Aznar raised this possibility approvingly a few years back in an interview on BBC Hardtalk. Was it a trial balloon? On whose behalf was he speaking? Things will get alot worse before they get better.

  • Conrad

    Guys I appreciate the feedback. Plan to follow this blog. On my favorites now. Have a bless day.

  • Conrad

    Guys I appreciate the feedback. Plan to follow this blog. On my favorites now. Have a bless day.

  • cadaver

    If you lot put as much effort into doing something as you all do talking and patting yourselves on the back, perhaps more ships could have sailed to Gaza – Israel can’t kill everyone!

    George Orwell got off his backside and fought in the Spanish Civil War.

    You lot, and your “men of conscience”, i.e. Craig Murray, Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, et al, just keep everyone discussing current events, or – in the case of Dawkins – personal opinion, endlessly, maintaining the public’s role as a mere spectator.

    Since the general election, I’ve watched no news; I don’t know what’s happening generally, I don’t know what MPs (Mafia People, that is) are in what positions in government, or how well they are serving their don, the PM – and I don’t care!

    Those in power are, effectively, a mafia, a bunch of criminals who impoverish, murder, destroy lives and hope on a scale other mafias can only dream about. No one discusses the politics of the Italian or Russian Mafia, so why should I discuss what the British one gets up to?

    You’re all bloody useless! You all might as well be dead in a morgue.

  • Conrad

    Guys I appreciate the feedback. Plan to follow this blog. On my favorites now. Have a bless day.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “NATO was hijacked by neo-cons and Nu Labour in the late 90s.”

    Really?

    Bosnia

    Kosovo

    And I think the military leaders of the other NATO member states would disagree with you.

  • glenn

    Oh Bert, don’t bother with the trolls please – they just try to distract from the murderous indifference Israel shows the world.

    A far better response would be to talk about just that. Israel does not care about a supposed ally, it does not care about NATO, International Law, and most certainly not about the UN.

    It’s all sewn up, because America backs it. That makes everything it does A-OK. If only America had stopped giving it complete and full approval over everything that it has done for decades, then it would not have stooped to the depths in which it now finds itself. Palestine would not be “put on a diet” by a cynical, filthy Israeli regime.

    A fair minded person would not have to find themselves pondering the fact that Turkey has recently had an accord with Iran concerning nuclear fuel, just before Turkish flagged vessels were attacked. Nor wondering how on earth peace activists from Europe, America and indeed Israel had become “terrorists” trying to supply arms to blood-thirsty Arabs, who were naturally more interested in weapons that housing or eating.

    Nor would a fair minded person wonder why no mainstream media outlet in the US had gone anywhere near this, because all MSM employees know they might as well clear their desks right then and there, as they would write an article even suggesting some mild criticism of Israel.

    If only the US had been more even handed, instead of following an assumption that Israel can do no wrong, then Israel – like a child – would not have been forever pushing the boundaries, seeing what the limits of atrocities and unaccountable power might hold. If only for a little justice, from the US in particular, then fair minded people would not have to be aghast at all this, and get beaten and killed on aid flotillas trying to bring life-saving relief to the besieged and desperate people of Gaza.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “Nor would a fair minded person wonder why no mainstream media outlet in the US had gone anywhere near this,”

    My God, you’re just dense. It’s all over the news.

    We can always count on Jew haters like you to make this shit up.

  • Alfred

    Glenn,

    You’re right. Rebutting Larry is an unrewarding occupation. There’s not even the force of sincerity in what he says, which might justify taking it seriously.

    AMK

    “So yes, you DID say Jews run the US and Israel.”

    Good point. But my point was really this: The US ruling elite is plutocratic. The bulk of America’s wealth is in Jewish hands (60% of the Forbes wealthiest 100 are Jews, and many of America’s largest corporations are controlled by Jews). Most wealthy American Jews are Zionists. Thus, America’s ruling elite is largely Jewish and Zionist.

    Not every member of the American ruling elite is Jewish, obviously, but of those who are not Jewish the great majority are Zionist. Moreover, it is difficult to see how someone could be a part of the ruling elite if they were overtly hostile to Zionism.

    So, a Jewish inspired Zionist agenda dominates the thinking of the American elite and non-Jewish members of that elite go along with it, e.g.., Hilary Clinton (who learned where the power lay after too warmly embracing, Yasser Arafat’s wife), George W. Bush (an alleged anti-Semite), Conrad Black (why is he in jail, he seems to have made all the right contacts, has a Jewish wife, and had the right people on the board of his company?).

    In fact, there is not so much a USIsraeli elite as an Anglo-Franco-American-Canadian-Australian-Israeli elite. What proportion of the elite are Jews one cannot say with any exactitude, since it would take a monumental piece of research to identify all of the major personalities and their power relationships.

    Nevertheless, it seems clear, that most of the elite are either Jewish or Zionism-supporting non-Jews, e.g., Conservative/Liberal friends of Israel such as David, Bringing-you-a-better-Britain, Cameron (of Jewish extraction anyway).

    In this connection, it will be interesting to see how Nick Clegg’s view of Israel evolves now that he has rather unexpectedly achieved a position of power.

    So, to sum up, I would say that Jewish ideology rules: an ideology that is imposed with the support of most Jews, at least in America, and exercised by an elite of which Jews represent an remarkably large proportion.

    One might further discuss, exactly what Zionism is, and how it relates to British imperialism and other movements. To do such a question justice would require considerable scholarship. It seems reasonable to assume, however, that there is a consensus around the idea of creating a global empire, the main question in dispute being whether this will represent the realization of God’s promise that the Jews would rule over the nations of the Earth or whether it will be a rather more mongrel elite that achieves world empire.

  • amk

    “I’m perfectly willing to concede that one or more of Congress’ 500+ members denounced the report.”

    Congress condemned the report 344-36.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/u-s-house-backs-resolution-to-condemn-goldstone-gaza-report-1.4853

    Israeli “Information Minister” (what would Orwell say?) denounces Goldstone as anti-Semitic:

    http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3839044,00.html

    “According to Edelstein, “After World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel, anti-Semitism is not directed at Jews but at Israel and the Israelis. The Goldstone Report, the publications in Sweden about organ harvesting and similar reports, are simply a type of anti-Semitism.””

  • glenn

    AMK: Good work. The pro-Israeli racist trolls here will want a pointless, distracting conversation (“Where did I say that?” Right there. “No I didn’t, you said it.” et cetera ad infinitum).

    What is useful is that each weak rebuke, meant to be used for a tit-for-tat distraction from the thrust of a blog subject, is used to bring it back into focus instead.

    For instance – there is not one, not a single MSM (Main-Stream-Media) outlet which has given voice to the fact that this was a crime by Israel. Nothing but equivocating, and on-one-hand, but-on-the-other style pretence at journalism. They are so brave at criticising, except when it comes to Israel.

    They’ll scream and shout at the hideous crimes of Saddam Hussein, who spent decades being a good friend, but concerning who they are “shocked, shocked!” to find he killed and tortured and was actually a dictator all along.

    There’ll be brave, in-depth analysis of every last crime of every Official Enemy. And even questions about Official Friends who don’t seem to be supporting us quite well enough (such as France). But about Israel? Don’t make me laugh!

    For some reason, apologists for Israel have to cover this blog like a greasy slick when Israel commits yet another crime against humanity. You can judge the depth of the crime, by weighing up the proportion of said apologists’ posts. A total of 27/198 entries so far from a single poster speaks for itself.

    We had a 2-star “Larry-alert” above within minutes of my making a post, at 01:34. That’s good, but I must try harder… I know I can do better than that.

  • Mount of Olives

    We often discuss issues rationally.

    That’s a cultural thing.

    More often we seek the love and comfort of friends.

    That’s a cultural thing too.

    I remember an Irish citizen called Chaim Herzog being asked by a British journalist to coment negatively about Irish Republican activity. He didn’t do so, instead pointing out the long history of British abuse in Ireland.

    Chaim Herzog was President of Israel at the time.

    I remember his son, who was a minister in the last Israeli government, quite literally speechless when official Irish government complaints were put to him on British television.

    I know too that Irish people were very helpful in assisting the formation of the Israeli state.

    For some reason, Irish people have a natural sympathy for the underdog.

    At one time it was for Jews and the formation of Israel.

    Now it’s Palestinians and a secure state, free of outside interference.

  • Fulano

    Cadaver:

    You have a point. But please aim it at our elected scum who launched illegal wars from the comfort of their sitting rooms.

    The truth is we are not all cut out to be heroes and it is simply not practical to expect everyone to set sail for Gaza. I take my hat off to the bravery of those aboard the flotilla. Robert Fisk notes correctly that it is thanks to individuals, not governments, that the true crime of Gaza is being brought to world’s attention. But there are other ways to help the Palestinians. Do you not agree that high profile people such as Craig Murray have a duty to speak out? The courageous flotilla exposed Israeli savagery but no amount food and medical cargo will solve the fundamental problem which is Israel’s carte blanche (obtained from the US Congress) to violate international law. Just look at the magnitude of the problem:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25597.htm

    See how the whoring IDF-worshipping Spitzer and his buddies gets to manage the news in the United States? How do you think that came about? What does it tell you that the only American president who squeezed a peace treaty out of the Middle East is reviled at home? Sadly, this is not a problem that can be fixed by humanitarian convoys. It requires a relentless effort to counter official propaganda but it is no less worthy for not involving confrontation with the IDF. The inhumane blockade of Gaza is horrible but it is one part of an even uglier picture.

    In fact, it is Israel’s banker, the master rogue United States, that needs to be isolated diplomatically. I would start by ignoring and even rejecting every US initiative in the Middle East. If our European leaders had any balls, they would put a genuine peace-makers like Lula and Carter in charge and put war criminal trash like Blair and Straw on an Interpol wanted list. We need to fight at all levels – political, economic, media, humanitarian. I don’t think the brave souls aboard the flotilla would disagree.

  • Conrad

    Seb

    Sorry for the delay I am trying to catch up. As for your question. It is a complete and utter mystery to me. But I will try.

    1. You are dealing with an education system that is second to none into indoctrination and never critical thought. Shorthand, the living has been too good and the people became fat, dumb, and lazy. The further we go in economic decline and trust me we ain’t pulling out(Housing has totally collapsed) the better their hubris will be checked.

    2. The willfill ignorance here is amazing. People don’t read. It’s the T.V. or nothing and the spin doctors here in America are utterly devoid of integrity. I think most of them know it but chose money over truth. What’s the old saying in the bible You can’t have two masters you will love one and hate the other. You can’t worship both God and money. They don’t read the bible.

    3. Their preachers quote Genesis,I will bless thee that bless thee and curse thee that curse thee. And with there complete lack of critical thought they accept without questioning Israeli as the Chosen One. They never think that Jesus and Paul curse thee and so are they in hell?

    4. If you do disagree with their worldview and voice it you can forget about ever doing business with them.

    5. Really these are all excuses. They are willfully ignorant therefore in my view complicit.

    6. The deep south history is one of slavery and if you could get them to be honest they hate Obama because he is black and they think he is a muslim. Can you believe that?

    7. I don’t want devoid everybody of hope. There are a lot of good people in this country. Probably 60% a majority. The slaughter of innocence on the high seas of aid workers has been a shock to their worldview. Cognative dissonance. I think the worm is beginning to turn. It has to be won here. And the American Jews have got to chose and clean up their own mess. There is beginning a serious challenge finally from many young Jewish American writers to the AIPIC USA. Either you want justice for all or justice for none. Barney Frank a Jewish representative from a predominately Jewish district in Massachussets gave an interview today stating he was shamed that as a jew there are other jews(Israeli) in the world treating a minority as bad as they are. This is huge. The first time it has ever happen.

    8. You could wipe out every Christian Zionist in this country and nothing would change politically. They are useful idiots. They do control the voting block in the southeast but they don’t wield any real power. Bush used them.

    9. There just is no excuse for the christian zionist. I swear I don’t think they have ever read the New Testament. It’s like they are stuck in the old testament 2200 years ago.

    10. Listen my country has a lot of blood on its hand. It is deeply saddening. I believe deep down in side the vast majority of people(not the christian zionist) know it but don’t know how to stop it minus. When we elected Obama. We elected a black man who was going to put an end to this insanity. We were duped. I think Obama knows we are wrong but unfortunately I think his power is limited. The good news people in the democratic party are awakening. The Republicans are the enemy of mankind. Our only hope is taking back the democratic party. from the Zionist.

    Americans are not a monolith, change happens, granted way too slow even though we voted for it. Bush left office with 22% approval.

    11. The real question is will we every really get to chose a president who isn’t overtly or subvertly controlled by powerful Zionist interest. If they go Iran then this country will break and maybe its about time. This country has been addicted to war way to long.

    12. Finally, as a christian I believe the majority of muslims, christians, and jewish people in this country want peace and we who believe worship the same God. He is a God of love in my bible and yes I do believe everybody will be held accountable. As powerful as the athiest ruling class believe they are and they have to be atheist are they couldn’t sleep. Revel in your

    confidence today for you will be defeated.

  • Rehmat

    I agree with the writer about Washington’s shameful obedience to Israel. Washington did not attack Israel when its own ships USS Liberty and USS Cole were attacked by Israel, directly or indirectly – thanks to the powerful Jewish lobby groups. Turkey has more reasons not to expect the US and other western NATO countries to fulfil their obligation towards a fellow NATO-member under attack – because Turkey is 99.7% Muslim-majority country.

    Just imagine the reaction of the US and other western NATO members – if the commando attacking aid vessel had been Iranian instead of Israelis?

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/pharaoh-opens-rafah-border-crossing-and-israelis-celebrate-massacre-at-sea/

  • Jonny

    I notice that the BBC has reverted to form, talking now about Israel “expelling” those whom it kidnapped.

    This is the real terrorism what we live with daily.

    The BBC is a totally disgraceful propaganda organisation which no one should be forced to pay for.

    It really is about time the people who pay for the BBC propaganda outfit take a class action against it for its abuse of our views.

  • glenn

    Conrad: An interesting post, and I find much with which I agree. There might be some misinterpretation with your point (12), however – would you please clarify?

    I’m not too sure I’d agree with your point (1) completely – people do not have it very good, but blithely accept. Have you read “What’s the matter with Kansas” ?

    I’d certainly agree most Christian Americans know very little about the Bible – nor do most Catholics, for that matter. They certainly fail to appreciate the story of Christ is that of an original socialist.

    Your point 6 – yes, the tea-baggers are the clan.

    7 – I found most people in the US to be thoroughly decent people. The “good German” was a thoroughly decent person at heart too, just terribly, terribly mislead. There is an understanding that Israel is beset by enemies. If you express disapproval at its policies you are an “anti-semite”, if you take any action (such as trying to bring aid to Gaza), you are a “terrorist”. There are no grey areas.

    10 – We had the same supposed choice in 1997, and chose “New” Labour instead of corrupt Tories. We ended up with the same. I doubt if Obama would have got in had Bush not done such a horrible job. You are right about republicans – but I’d go one further. Republicans are evil, Democrats are cowards.

    An interesting post, thank you for making it.

  • doug scorgie

    Stephen Hero

    “However, is it possible for you to ban the anti-semitic scumbags polluting the comments sections of various articles and delete their racist nonsense?”

    Please give details of the anti-semitic comments that gave rise to this statement.

  • doug scorgie

    Larry from St. Louis,

    “I do a fair amount of related reading, and I’m still waiting to read a Jew exploiting the Holocaust as a reason to justify Israel’s existence or policies”

    Read The Holocaust Industry by Norman Finkelstein. It’s only been in print for seven years; perhaps your a slow reader.

  • CheebaCow

    amk:

    The Pro Israel trolling software you refer to is The Megaphone desktop tool.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaphone_desktop_tool

    Everyone, re Larry:

    FFS stop talking to Larry. Not only is it a waste of your time, but it wastes everyone else’s time who has to wade through the drivel. Of course this is Larry’s intention, so by engaging with him you are doing exactly what he wants you to do.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “Read The Holocaust Industry by Norman Finkelstein”

    Finkelstein is whiny and exaggerates. He focuses on the worst examples, without giving proper context. Much like a book written by Bill O’Reilly or Ann Coulter or other Fox News figures.

    But he knows he has a market in Jew-haters like you. Just like Ann Coulter has a market for her bullshit.

    People like you don’t understand context or nuance. You just hate.

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