My Speech in Whitehall Yesterday 115

Not beautifully crafted, but the situation was somewhat hectic. This is not just a blog, which is perhaps why this blog had 81,490 unique visitors in May.

I have the Financial Times delivered every day in deadwood form. It has an absolutely brilliant editorial today. As I pay them a fortune for my subscription, I am going to reproduce it in full without feeling guilt:

Israel is lost at sea

With Monday’s brazen act of piracy, Israel dealt a blow to the legitimacy of its own struggle. The killing of activists aboard the captured ships sent Israel’s way of defending its security, which it was already imperative to return within the bounds of international law, hurtling into lawlessness.

Israel claims the activists had links with extremist groups and that some attacked Israeli soldiers with knives and sticks (and in some accounts the odd light firearm). Even if true, this would not justify the illegal capture of civilian ships carrying humanitarian aid in international waters, let alone the use of deadly force.

Outrageous as this behaviour was, the true outrage is the illegal blockade of Gaza that it enforced. Since the January 2009 Gaza war, which exposed Israel’s determination to destroy Hamas’s capabilities regardless of the cost to innocent Palestinians, Israel and Egypt have colluded to prevent the enclave’s reconstruction. According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the damage has not been repaired and 60 per cent of homes do not have enough food.

The ostensible goal is to weaken Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that rules Gaza (and whose Egyptian incarnation is Hosni Mubarak’s only real opposition). But the blockade aimed at crushing it, besides the illegal collective punishment it implies, only shores up Hamas’s support. If Israel and Egypt wanted to turn Gaza into a mafia-run statelet, they could hardly do better than sever any alternatives to Hamas’s smuggling network, leaving the population even more at its mercy.

Hamas engages in terrorism and fires occasional rockets into Israel, but it is an example of that rarest of Middle Eastern species: a popularly elected government. It has also signed up to the 2002 comprehensive peace offer by the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. If this is a bluff, it is one Israel has yet to call. That is what this is ultimately about. Israel’s government has been pretending it is ready to negotiate for peace, but that there is no one to negotiate with on the other side. The attack on the blockade-busters lays bare the country’s slide into contempt for international law, intolerance of dissent and wilful sabotage of viable representation for Palestinians.

Israel has always known the importance of its conduct being judged legal by the world’s leading powers. Those powers ?” in the body of the Quartet and the UN Security Council ?” must now make clear it has gone too far.

I was talking overnight to friends in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York who were personally sickened by the US role in negotiations. The US threatened to veto any statement which named Israel as the attacker. There is not even a mention of Israel in the security council statement. My friend in New York described the attitude of the American negotiators under Obama as even more aggressively and openly pro-Israel than under Bush.

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

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115 thoughts on “My Speech in Whitehall Yesterday

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  • Kebz

    Craig, can you elaborate on what terrorism Hamas engages in? They stopped suicide bombings many years ago didn’t they? The rockets they fire are usually a response to Israeli attacks on their people rather than just for the hell of it. It is a popular media myth that rocket fire into Israel is just some random act of insanity on the part of Palestinian groups. We are rarely told what precedes those rockets.

  • Craig


    I wasn’t aware Hamas had foresworn suicide bombing. Any link? But I don’t regard the rockets as in any sense helpful. In fact they give Israel a huge propaganda weapon while having virtually nil military impact.

  • ingo

    well done for getting up and speak about such outrage.

    The San remo treaty is being mentioned on Radio 4 today, as we are expected.

    I am now looking at the time frame of this state sponsored kidnapp at sea.

    What was it that held up two boats?

    This hold up meant that the landing would happen in Gaza on Monday morning.

    This time frame was perfect for an intervention at precisely the time, when news agencies and news papers had their monday morning stories ready or in print. The masses of blood sapping tabloid readers did not get the truth and have to feast on the words of the 24 hrs. late damage limitation exercise.

    In news terms, this operation was pin point accuraccy, in political terms, they seemed to be assured that the US, who probably knew in advance of this action, had 24 hrs. to work on other NATO memmbers and calm them down.

    The situation in Gaza will be challenged again and next time Turkey will sent military protection to accompany humanitarian aid.

    I’m so fed up to have to listen to apologists like ambassador Prosser and Mark Regev.

    Why are we not hearing of the condemnations of these actions by Israeli’s? How come we still not hearing from the Stop the war coalition and/or the Gaza campaign?

    As if a fascist blanket has been sprerad over Parliament, all we hear is of Israels insecurity, their fear of being attacked, how much they tried to mediate, that they ‘only acted in self defence’, barbarity dressed up as legitamit action.

    Israel has never officially declared war on Gaza, hence they cannot claim that they are in a war situation in Gaza. Their belligerance and stoic ignorance of the humanitarian situation there, is breathtaking, akin to the Guards in Sobibor and Bergen Belsen, who turned around when Jews were exterminated and claimed to have done as they were told and that they did not see anything untowards.

    Then the world turned its back until the last minute, just as now, waiting to see what beasty policy they can come up with next.

    I am not surprised that Obama has turned into O’bummer, he has been solidly supporting Israel in its expensive mission to US taxpayers.

    yesterdays arm twisting and the exasperation Craig is pointing to amongst staff and administration, can be seen as proof that regardless who comes to power in the US, it will always have a Rahm Emanuel/Auersbach, plus many others, who will coordinate the US military inductrial complex with the arms requirements of Israel and visa versa, who will make sure that the jewish diaspora, in support or not, coughs up some shekels for the cause and sits tight.

    This sad fact makes a major world flagration almost inevitable. As singular people we are very much powerless to do anything against this, unless we unite, cut through the maze of gizmo consumerist freakery on the net and appeal to the better judgement of people and educate the young to take an interest, for they haven’t got a clue as to what is happening here.

    Turkey has shown more diplomatic backbone over this massacre on the high seas, than the EU and the US together, knowing the Turks, it is inevitable that they will try again.

  • LeeJ

    I came up with an analogy which I think sums up what is happening to the Palestinians.

    Imagine the school bully (Israel) daily beating up a defenceless kid (Palestinians). The teachers (western govts) and the headmaster(UN) stand by and do nothing.However,everytime the defenceless kid manages to land a punch in his defence, the teachers howl in dismay at such a devious act and when the bully then strikes harder, the teachers claim that it is the bullys’ right to defend himself.

    Each day the bully takes the kids lunch off him.This makes the kid weaker and weaker. The school nurse (the flotilla) comes along to offer assistance, but the bully attacks the nurse – outside the school – and the teachers say the nurse should have stayed away as the bully had warned her. Some teachers say the nurse even done it to provoke the bully to make him look bad!

    All the other children do nothing as it has nothing to do with them.The only thing the other kids do is buy the food and water that the bully has stole from the defenceless kid.

    I think this pretty much sums up the moral situation in Gaza.

  • Monty

    Great blog, Craig. I share your anger, having FCO dealings myself.

    Sadly, I am not expecting Nick Clegg’s voice to be heard much, though it would be most welcome, because it will be over-ridden by Cameron’s:

    “I am proud not just to be a Conservative, but a Conservative Friend of Israel; and I am proud of the key role CFI plays within our Party” Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Leader of the Conservative Party.

    This illegal act of state piracy and kidnap is an outrage.

    Hopefully some good will come of it in that it has brought considerable, widespread international condemnation.

    Militarily, footage shows it was a botch job combined with intelligence failings. There will be sackings.

    And so soon after the Dubai debacle.

    Off topic, what do you make of Col. Richard Kemp’s extraordinary defence to the UN of the IDF actions in Operation Cast Lead?

    “During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

  • Curious

    Can anyone clarify why it is a big deal if America vetoes the statement ? Can it not be issued with them dissenting ? Else it is a mockery if everything has to be watered down.

  • Craig


    Sadly the permanent members of the security council (UK, France, Russia, China, USA) each does have a veto. This means if even one of them disagrees, the statement cannot be made.

    If a non-permanent member disagrees, the statement can be made with a dissenter or two noted.

  • writerman

    Israeli leaders calculate very carefully before they act and very little is left to chance. Clearly there are costs involved in the attack, but there are benefits too.

    The Israeli state employs highly sophisticated techniques developed in the realms of advertizing, phychology, economics, market analysis ect. in order to ‘read’ and fathom all the possible reactions to variety of military actions and options that are available to the state.

    In a nutshell, how much can we get away with and how far can we go, and it what timescale, before the world demands that we stop. This has been the foundation of their military strategy for decades.

    Increasingly the rightwing regime in Israel, which in reality is a military regime masked as a civilian democracy, knows that it can go very far indeed before it is ‘reigned in’ by it’s protector, the United States.

    Both countries, which opperate in tandem, have calculated that the Arab leaders and the socalled Arab street are too weak to do anything concrete, as the ‘moderate’ leaderships are more frigtened of their own people than they are of Israel. In fact the ‘moderate’ states are in an unholy alliance with Israel. But it’s a highly unstable alliance and a very dangerous one.

    What we are seeing is the buil-up to a new largescale war in the Middle East, an attempt to settle things once and for all. This involves the destruction of Iran and Syria in much the same way Iraq was destroyed.

    We are being ‘groomed’ by Israel for a new war, these continuing and escalating acts of Israeli agression are designed to push us towards war and get us used to it’s ‘style.’

    Israel has calculated that it can launch a new war in the region and ‘get away with it’ without much reaction from the West and without the ‘Arab street’ rising up and toppling their corrupt leaders. There will be a lot of shouting and screaming, but no real action and the regimes in Egypt, Saudi, the Gulf States and Jordan will survive the storm, as they don’t have a choice, they sink or swim together with Israel.

    Israel knows that the coming war with Iran is part of the American plan for regime change in Iran and is sanctioned by the ruling elite in the United States.

    The only question left is how to spin the propaganda wheel to justify an attack on Iran, and the question of timing, when is the best time to attack Iran and it’s allies?

    Israel’s ruling elite needs to inflame a seige and war mentality inside Israel as well to prime the Israeli public and the military for yet another war of agression, the reacions of the world to the lastest outrage play into the hands of the Israeli rightwing nationalists, who prostitute Israeli national and religious mythology for their own cynical ends.

    Last night on the BBC’s flagship news programme The World Tonight, I was incredulous to hear them actually ingterviewing the thriller writer Andy McNabb about the Israeli army’s methods. They were already spewing the lie that this was a ‘cock-up’ rather than a carefully planned attack on a defenceless ship full of civilians. One couldn’t make this stuff up!

    Then I listened to Talksport radio. They have replaced George Galloway with ‘man of the people’ type brownshirt called Mike Graham. He was extremely biased towards Israel and felt that the UK press had had a very bad day as it’s reaction to the days events was unecessarily negative and critical of Israel! Come back George Galloway, all is forgiven!

  • jalus

    NOTE the MV Rachel Corrie is still proceeding to Gaza…and israelis military are lying in wait:

    ‘Israel’s navy is ready to stop another aid ship headed to Gaza, a

    commander said on Tuesday, playing down the prospect of his men shying

    from confrontation after their bloody seizure of a Turkish vessel a day


    Israel’s Army Radio reported that the MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship, would reach Gazan waters by Wednesday.

    A marine lieutenant who was not named told Army Radio in an interview that he expected an easy takeover of the ship

  • Apostate

    The idea that Israel craves international legitimacy is a little wide of the mark.

    By and large the state’s greatest psychological weapon:”anti-semitism” has proved more effective than all its ethnic cleansing and terrorization of the Arabs.

    The state was born on the back of widespread massacre and terror against Palestinian civilians. UN officials who sought to mediate were not spared either.

    Israel has been an outlaw state from day one.The repulsive spawn of Frankist elites at the UN in NY.

    The state’s survival for over sixty years has been down to the popular mythology-abetted by the corporate media-it created about itself.

    The elite-driven Zionist perception that Jews had to have a state in Palestine because they had come very near to extinction that had failed to convince anyone after WW1 proved far more successful after WW2.

    The elites who orchestrated the two major conflicts that established the conditions in which Zionist propaganda could ultimately prosper are the very same elites who created the UN and the League before that.

    If those who have succumbed to Zionist foundational myths about eternal Jewish victimhood are once more having to endure yet another bout of cognitive dissonance as the criminal state adds yet another outrage to its long list of crimes against humanity then Israel’s latest victims will not have died in vain.

  • Kebz


    Hamas confirmed the end of its campaign of suicide bombings four years ago:

    As regards the rockets, I agree they are ineffective and counterproductive yet when you have a young population under siege and facing IDF bullets each day, it is difficult to contain natural frustration and anger. Youths have a natural inclination to fight back however ineffective and counterproductive it is. The rockets are merely a symptom rather than the cause of the conflict as the media like to portray. The cause is the wretched and vicious occupation and the constant persecution of the Palestinians.

  • Anonymous

    and as of yet still sub standard coverage in the press.

    Israels explanation of its stance is primarily against the HAMAS terroist organisation. NO mention is made that

    a) the majority of the palestinians through democracy voted for HAMAS.

    B) no mention of the fact that Israel is an occupying country

    c) no mention of the outstanding UN resolutions against it

  • ingo

    Well said writerman. Does anybody here believe that the US did not know in advance of this action?

    They knew the flotilla was on their way, they knew that the timing was right for an action and they are the one’s twisting arms in the UN, hence, this was a coordinated action by both, the active IDF and the passive US, not to speak of the silent support by the western vasalls at large.

    The MV Rachel Corrie, on its way to Gaza, should get a military escort from an EU state, to guarantee its rights on the high seas, aynthing else would be asking for more of the same.

    I also can see the large red brush strokes of war mongers painting over the middle east. It looks like Syria Turkey and Iran will be attacked by Israel.

    This is a conflict that will set the glovbe alight and I do not think that Israel will get away with it. China will not sit on its hand and feel for israel when 20% of its oil is in jeopardy.

    Saudi Arabia will think twice before its going to take the western side once they see how millions of Muslims rise up in the world, the scenario of the next major’unpleasantness’is not straight forward imho.

  • Ed

    Perhaps you can clarify this, Craig.

    The ship that was boarded by Israeli soldiers was being sailed under the Turkish flag.

    Turkey is a member of NATO.

    Isn’t an attack on one NATO member regarded as an attack on all?

    Ps. Is there any coincidence that the attack on a Turkish vessel comes a week or so after the uranium-enrichment deal with Iran?

    The strains within NATO must be even more severe than usual.

  • Control

    Nice to see Melanie Phillips is full of her usual reasonable worldview – unbelievable…

    ‘ Israel kills Islamic terrorists who are trying to lynch its soldiers by clubbing them to death, stabbing them with massive knives and firebombing them ?” and according to Sir Jeremy Greenstock, this shows that Israel must now start talking to Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organisation which is committed to the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews’

  • Steelback

    The FT and Haaretz pieces read very much the same.

    In both articles the emphasis is on Israel’s strategy and the Gaza blockade playing into the hands of its enemies.

    No attention is paid to and no names are given for the victims of the atrocity.Had Iranian gunboats been responsible WW3 would now be imminent!

    So the impulse to the portray Israel as “the victim” is readily detectable in both articles.In both while it’s a given that Israel has gone too far we need not worry because the concept of international law will be vindicated ultimately.

    It’s pretty much the same narrative we get from the same sources when Afghanistan and Iraq are discussed.

    Both wars,especially the latter,were promoted by Israel and its dual-citizen neo-con allies in Washington.Both wars forward Israeli plans for regional domination.

    Yes the US and Britain resorted to unilateral pre-emptive attack was contrary to international law but the very act of transgression only vindicated international law.

    Sadly this kind of vindication seems always to satisfy the STW/pacifist opposition who insist, in line with the establishment narrative, that like intrnational law itself they too have been vindicated.

    Alas were anyone to spend a little more time discovering who the founders of the UN were they would soon discover that these people’s intention was to establish an international body that would rubber stamp, or at least not stand in the way of, any war upon which they saw fit to embark.

    The UN was to be an instrument of war not peace.

    This was the case in Korea in 1949 when the US and Britain waged war on the peninsula under the UN flag.It has been the case ever since.

    Check out Jackie Patru’s Jewish Persecution for the real background to the UN:

  • Tim

    If we’re not careful this masty terrorist state, Israel, will drag us all into nuclear conflagration.

    Despite claims from Clegg and all the other nutters in the US and across our media, Israel is not a victim, never has been a victim and never will be a victims.

    The victims are those against whom this increasingly evil state launches attacks, murders, kidnaps, denies the right to food and life.

    It truly is depressing that all our media and leading politicians, even Clegg, continue to appease and bolster one of the nastiest and most dangerous terrorist states on the planet today.

  • Jim

    Would it not be possible to report that SKY buffoon, Murnaghan, and his editors and producers to OFCOM.

    He continually refers to arrests and custody when discussing those whom Israeli has clearly kidnapped in international waters.

    Why is he allowed to support Israel’s illegal actions in this way?

    Aren’t there rules about supporting terrorism?

  • Ian M

    One of the sinister, although typical, aspects of this war crime is the way Israel is witholding information about the victims, keeping prisoners and thus denying them the ability to tell their side of the story. Jonathan Cook has a good piece on this at Counterpunch. The Foreign Office should be carpeting the pathetic Israeli ambassador and demanding to know who the British prisoners are and why they are being held. Israel has obviously decided to deny any access to the media by the victims of their criminal assault. Like everybody, I have had enough of our government being so craven, appeasing an apartheid, violent state and not having the guts to stand up for justice, or even its own citizens. Robert Fisk is good on this in today’s Independent, contrasting it with the governments of the past who would organise airlifts etc when the occasion demanded. I think ordinary citizens are way ahead of their pathetic leaders in this. The media are astonishing in their inability to ask some basic questions of the Israelis, you know the elementary principles and methods of journalism. Amazing how people are cowed by the Israel propaganda machine.

  • Tone

    I had to laugh when Sky interviewed that woman whose brother or husband was on the flotilla.

    She was sweet, and wearing a hijab.

    Bit dodgy, eh.

    Can just imagine those scheming shits in Sky organising that one.

    Sky could have interviewed any number of wives, sisters etc whose relatives were on the flotilla, the vast majority of whom would look just too British for broadcast.

    Wrong message, you see.

    Sky just wants to perpetuate the myth that criticism of Israel is confined to dodgy muzzies. And we all know what they’re like, eh. Sky tells us often enough.

    Nah. We can’t have nice middle class women from the home counties criticising Israel.

    The thing is, they do!!

    I have a feeling that despite the best efforts of the myth makers in broadcast media, there’s a bubble about to burst there, and dirty great big slabs of reality are about to hit us all on the head.

    There’s always a price to pay for lies.

  • Ian M

    From the always excellent Juan Cole blog:

    :There are no new details of the Israeli assault on the humanitarian aid flotilla early Monday morning, largely because the 480 eyewitnesses had been sequestered by the Israelis. Some, including an 81-year-old former US ambassador, a Turkish woman with a baby, and a former US navy sailor who had been on the USS Liberty when the Israelis attacked it in 1967, are now trickling home. The whereabouts and condition of many others is unconfirmed, including European parliamentarians, Nobelists, and Swedish mystery writer Henkell Manning (whose anti-imperialist novel The Man from Beijing I just read and enjoyed.)

    The incident could have implications for the future relationship of Israel to the European Union. Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin hinted that Dublin might go so far as to cut expel the Israeli ambassador, thus cutting off diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. Some 8 Irish citizens are among Israel’s prisoners, and one of these humanitarians, Fiachra O’Luain, is said by his father to have been wounded by Israeli gunplay. Martin thundered, “These citizens did not enter Israel illegally ?” they were essentially kidnapped from international waters, taken into Israel and are being asked to sign documents saying they entered illegally.”

    Now if the Irish have the balls to state the obvious and demand some answers, where are the British ministers demanding the same for the British kidnapped? Why should they sign anything, particularly a false claim? Craig might make some enquiries as to what exactly the British diplomats in Israel are doing?

  • Tom

    I suspect the reason that Israel is refusing to reveal the names of those whom it has kidnapped is so that it can whack a few more of its critics.

    In the confusion no one will know who was killed, how many, who was injured, the severity of injuries, whther they died later etc.

    Israel now has total control of this information, its release and can kill off a small number of carefully selected critics should it wish.

    It’s absolutely disgraceful that this terrorist state, Israel, can kidnap people in international waters and refuse infomation.

    Even Iran didn’t do this! And they were dealing with armed forces, not civilians.

    Israel needs to be totally isolate now!

    Latest: Buffoon Murnaghan back blaming the victims.

  • Arsalan

    And then when anyone criticizes them, they will give the usual cry, “Antisemitism”.

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