The Limits of Debate 48


An organisation called Intelligence Squared recently sent me an email asking me to promote their next debate, on the War on Terror. Speakers are General Musharaff, Colleen Graffny (ex senior Bush diplomat), Jeremy Greenstock and Bernard Kouchner.

But who, I inquired, is on the other side? The rather surprising answer I received is that Musharaff and Graffny are speaking for the War on Terror, and Greenstock and Kouchner against.

Which just about sums up the current lack of political debate in this country. Jeremy Greenstock is the Ambassador who assisted Straw in presenting the lies about Iraqi WMD to the UN. Bernard Kouchner is the intellectual poster-boy of “liberal intervention” and fan of Tony Blair. “Liberal intervention” is the highly fashionable theory that bombing brown people is good for them, as currently on show in Libya and Afghanistan.

Now Jeremy is a good man, but if he was against the “War on Terror” he signally failed to do anything about it when he was UK Ambassador to the UN. He did in fact tell one of his staff morning meetings in New York that one of my telegrams from Tashkent, condemning US support for Karimov and other dictatorships, was just the kind of thinking and reporting we needed. But he received every one of my telegrams condemning the use of torture in the War on Terror, and did not join in to support me on any of them.

Like many in the FCO, Jeremy would not himself have instituted the attack on Iraq or extraordinary rendition, but did nothing serious to try to dissuade ministers from them either.

It is quite extraordinary that an organisation like Intelligence Squared, which is happy to invite along extremist neo-cons like Douglas Murray to participate in debates, cannot contemplate giving a platform to an actually anti-war, and anti-war on terror, speaker (like Ray McGovern, for example). I am of course reminded of the New Statesman’s refusal to allow any whistleblowers on the panel of their “debate” on whistleblowing.

These are small straws in the wind, but as our society becomes increasingly dysfunctional, the scope of “respectable” or “acceptable” thought ever narrows.


48 thoughts on “The Limits of Debate

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  • Joe

    Yeah. Imagine that debate with Slavoj Zizek on one side. Now that’d be a debate worth seeing (whichever side he decided to speak on).

  • Suhayl Saadi

    This is akin to what I was writing about on the ‘Oborne’ thread, that ruling elites constantly manage the parameters of the debate. So, some foreground figures will appear to be against the hegemon, but it’s a facade. ‘Intelligence Halved’, I’d say. Courtiers, nothing more.
    .
    They should’ve bloody well invited you, Craig, to take part in their debate, not to publicise it!! What utter cheek!

  • Tom Welsh

    ‘“Liberal intervention” is the highly fashionable theory that bombing brown people is good for them’.

    Magnificently pithy. You do turn a good phrase, Craig.

  • Tom Welsh

    In return, here is a nice piece of Bterand Russell. (I can’t think of anything nearly clever enough myself).

    “I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: ‘The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair.’ In these words he epitomized the history of the human race”.
    – Bertrand Russell (Education and the Social Order)

  • ingo

    Well spoken Craig, why are they prepared to present such a lame debate as controversial, the meeting should be boycotted! or face a demo placating Greenstock for what he is, an establishment apologist.

  • mary

    wwwcaatorguk CAAT
    : RT @piombo: Cameron: “A culture that
    : glorifies violence.” London hosts DSEi,
    : the world’s biggest arms fair in five weeks
    : time #londonriots
    .
    A brand new feature for DSEi 2011, a series of free to attend seminars will be held on the exhibition floor. Get a preview of the latest technologies and solutions to hit the market. Understand how these new technologies will affect your business, and how you can use them to your advantage.
    .
    http://www.dsei.co.uk/
    ~~~~
    Greenstock – enough said
    Post retirement
    .
    Greenstock is Chairman of Gatehouse Advisory Partners, a Geopolitical consutancy he established with Sir David Manning in 2010. He was Director of the Ditchley Foundation 2004-2010 and was a Special Advisor to the BP Group. He is a Non-Executive Director of De La Rue plc, and a Trustee of the International Rescue Committee (UK).

    The Labour MP for Luton North, Kelvin Hopkins, told the House of Commons on May 19, 2011 that Greenstock took up an advisory consultancy post with the oil industry in Iraq.[10]
    ~~~~
    De La Rue pops up again. All those bundles of currency printed for the Americans tio hand out in Iraq. No count was kept. In $billions.

  • Sunflower

    Hi Craig, would it be possible for you to ask your site admin to increase the amount of posts sent out by your comments rss-feed please?
    .
    Atm it seems 20 posts are relayed and the feed can’t keep up with all the comments. 1-200 posts would be better.
    .
    Thanks again for a very nice blog. Best regards, Sunflower.

  • ingo

    Thanks for that role call pg.1, the right honourable peter mandelson is also part of the speaker list and many more planners. I wonder haow many of them have connections to DSI

    Thanks for that rabid video Vronsky, seeing that your hand has improved, after your motorcycle emergency brake tests 🙂 how’s the music going?

  • Azra

    @Tom Welsh,remember GWB? what did he say regarding Algeria?? ” to defend democracy, sometime you have to be undemocratic”.. I suppose he meant to defend Democracy GWB style, we should go out there and kill all who disagree, or “Don’t you dare to challenge authority of the dictator ruler we are backing, if you do you will be responsible for our “liberal intervention”.

  • Craig E

    Craig,

    It always amazes me that the like of Douglas Murray aew regularly invited onto programs like Any Questions and other BBC programs. He was one of the panel that insulted Scotland and its parliment on Any Questions last year then is invited back onto the programe being broadcast from Scotland a year later!

    He is an odeous little man, How did he get into this axalted position as a commentator?

    CraigE

  • Herbie

    A few weeks ago, politicians, police and media were all on the back foot, having been exposed as operating a criminal nexus of power and influence which was used to suborn any semblance of civil or democratic debate.
    .
    Those were worrying times for these elites.
    .
    Now happily, the real enemy is back in the news again – feral yoof.
    .
    God is in heaven and all is as it should be.
    .
    How convenient.
    .
    Next week we’ll be looking at how many agents provocateur it takes to start looting and rioting across the country, whilst the police stand idly by.
    .
    We’ll also be examining the curious question as to why relatively peaceful political protests are policed so aggressively whilst violent criminality is almost encouraged.

  • Herbie

    This is interesting:
    .
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8697334/UK-riots-Sir-Hugh-Orde-says-politicians-were-irrelevance-in-quelling-violence.html
    .
    It’s a spat between senior police officers and senior politicians over who gets the kudos for sorting out the looting. There have been a number of spats recently between police and government, which seem to arise mostly as a result of the government’s desire to cut their funding or impose elected commissioners of even American bosses.
    .
    It reminded me of an incident in an otherwise boring Newsnight last night where Prescott was describing how politicians eventually took control of events through the COBRA committee, and Fraser Nelson intervened chiding Prescott and laughing off such a notion saying instead that it was the police who sorted it all. Prescott more of less just backed down, perhaps through boredom or just being out of office, but it was clear that this wasn’t just about party politics it was actually about the relative power of police and politicians.
    .
    Whilst there are always rivalries in the various power centres of the state, this one seems unusual. It’s unusual that senior police are so critical of the government in public. “Megaphone diplomacy” they used to call it.
    .
    It’s possible though that politicians have been trying to reign in an increasingly out of control police but are themselves being hampered. I remember even Blair addressing such issues, talking of difficult vested interests. Perhaps politicians are just as much victims of the deep state as the rest of us.
    .
    It’s probably worth bearing this in mind as events unfold in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

  • Jives

    Most interesting to see the riot debate being clouded by the 3 power players in the Hackgate affair.
    The spillover from that is The Govt,Met and News International/Sky putting the boot into each other but its all grudges from Hackgate being aired under the umbrella of The Riots debate.
    Interesting to watch the subtext as they all wrestle for vengeance on the rioting issue.

  • Jaded.

    Like Russo said, and everyone with a solitary working brain cell knows, this current phase all stems from 9/11 and 7/7. Even village idiots have figured out the truth. It’s all a farce and a fraud based on lies. I don’t even class knowing what really happened as conspiracy theory any more. It’s like working out the solution to one plus one. The paid deniers, like Lamby, still lamely protest to no avail. It’s all just ridiculous. How did we get into this big mess? Who authorised these attacks? I would say a couple of things. Small as 7/7 was, compared to 9/11 anyway, was it really necessary? I don’t think it had to be done to achieve their agenda. They were doing what the hell they liked in Afghanistan and Iraq anyway. Absolutely disgusting in my view. As for 9/11, if you really need to kill to start wars, then you do it without profiting on insurance policies, destroying evidence on corporate crime and whatever else. It’s something the people in charge would do with heavy hearts and no ulterior motive or profit. Just what the hell! I would suggest that we now live in a post-conspiracy theory world in relation to the crimes of the unelected elites. Everything is just so obvious that hundreds of millions know it’s all true with no doubts. Limits of debate eh? I think what needs debating is the stunts they are going to pull next, especially in relation to internet freedom.

  • wendy

    “Small as 7/7 was, compared to 9/11 anyway, was it really necessary? I don’t think it had to be done to achieve their agenda. ”
    .
    .
    they did if their agenda was (and is) in fact Pakistan before the so called arab spring – sprung.

  • Jon

    @Mary, I’d be more worried about the presence of Roger Ailes than Aaronovitch! But I wonder that although the title of “People” suggests they all are linked to this organisation permanently, I think that they might just be past speakers at I2 events.

  • YugoStiglitz

    Jaded: “As for 9/11, if you really need to kill to start wars, then you do it without profiting on insurance policies, destroying evidence on corporate crime and whatever else.”

    You have to be really dumb to believe that anyone profited from 911 in respect of insurance policies, or that 911 was perpetrated to destroy evidence of corporate crime. Just silliness.

  • voila

    Yugostirlits,
    Several events immediately preceding the September 11th attacks suggests many people other than Islamic extremists anticipated the attack. These include the following:

    Extremely large purchases of put options on stocks of American Airlines, United Airlines, and other companines hurt by the attack
    A surge in financial transactions on computers in the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11/01
    Avoidance of the airlines and New York City on September 11th by a number of important people, some admitting to having been warned of an attack
    The behavior of five Israelis who appeared to be celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center as they filmed it from across the Hudson
    Donald Rumsfeld’s disclosure on the eve of 9/11 that the Pentagon had lost over 2 trillion dollars
    A warning received by Rudolph Giuliani that the South Tower would collapse ten minutes before the event
    The privatization of the World Trade Center six weeks before the attack
    source: http://911research.wtc7.net/sept11/foreknowledge.html

  • Carl Weetabix

    It’s sort of the NPR version of debate. You’d have two individuals on the subject of spousal abuse where the diversity of opinion would be, “Of course it’s ok to a spouse” and “Well, it’s ok to hit a spouse, but only under certain circumstances.”

  • YugoStiglitz

    Extremely large purchases of put options on stocks of American Airlines, United Airlines, and other companines hurt by the attack

    -Nothing out of the ordinary; similar purchases over the years. Coincidence. Absurd to think that the establishment would commit mass murder to order to make a few million dollars, which might be a small amount to you, but is very little money to big business. For instance, around that time, millions and millions of dollars would being poured into very silly Internet companies.

    A surge in financial transactions on computers in the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11/01

    – Absolutely false.

    Avoidance of the airlines and New York City on September 11th by a number of important people, some admitting to having been warned of an attack

    -Nope; false.

    The behavior of five Israelis who appeared to be celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center as they filmed it from across the Hudson

    -It might very well be the case that a few people were celebrating the attacks. There are also reports of Muslims celebrating the attacks. I think it’s highly doubtful that those responsible would publicly celebrate the attacks in the area of the WTC.

    Donald Rumsfeld’s disclosure on the eve of 9/11 that the Pentagon had lost over 2 trillion dollars

    -No; the money wasn’t lost; there were issues in tracking the accounts, given the outdated accounting system. Why does this even matter? Why would he announce something nefarious to the world? No, he was cleaning house.

    A warning received by Rudolph Giuliani that the South Tower would collapse ten minutes before the event

    -Again, why would he announce this if he were part of the conspiracy? The Towers had major structural damage.

    The privatization of the World Trade Center six weeks before the attack
    source:

    -Complete bullocks.

    Once again a 911 conspiracy theorist proves that he can’t get anything right, and is completely unaware of how the world works.

  • Jaded.

    Voila, what i’m saying is that it doesn’t even need to be debated any more. Almost everyone knows it’s a lie, though some might argue the degree of stink. You have to be a tinfoil hat wearing crankpot, like Lamby/Stupid, to state otherwise. So not only are these dangerous idiots respnsible to blame for committing these crimes in the first place, they are also to blame for making such a mess of it that almost everyone knows. All of this, in itself, creates new problems where they know full well that we know. The question is what are these idiots going to do next? I find it all very alarming to be honest.

  • Jaded.

    Mod – ‘This is NOT a thread about 9/11. Cut it out or get deleted!’

    That’s exactly what I am saying as well. There is nothing left to debate.

  • YugoStiglitz

    Jaded, Craig Murray has referred to you as a conspiraloon for believing this silliness.

    Btw, do you think the Jews did it?

  • mark_golding

    If Greenstock did not join you under the circumstances to support you against the use of terror in the ‘war on terror,’ then in my book he is NOT a ‘good man’ – he did not respond to my reports on infant mortality in Iraq – he is weak and irrelevant in my opinion – sorry.
    .
    The debate on 6th September 2011 by IQ2 is propaganda, a false negative. IQ2 ‘learning by debate’ in English schools undermines attempts by me and others to educate +16yrs students in the history of using deception to jump-start wars and destruction culminating in the genocide of innocent Iraqi children before they had a chance to love.

    condemning the use of torture in the War on Terror, and did not join in to support me on any of them.

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