Yearly Archives: 2013


Edward Snowden Gets Sam Adams Award

Ray McGovern and the Sam Adams party have presented the Sam Adams award to Edward Snowden.  I am delighted.  This from Ray’s account of the event:

In brief remarks from his visitors, Snowden was reassured — first and foremost — that he need no longer be worried that nothing significant would happen as a result of his decision to risk his future by revealing documentary proof that the U.S. government was playing fast and loose with the Constitutional rights of Americans.

Even amid the government shutdown, Establishment Washington and the normally docile “mainstream media” have not been able to deflect attention from the intrusive eavesdropping that makes a mockery of the Fourth Amendment. Even Congress is showing signs of awaking from its torpor.

In the somnolent Senate, a few hardy souls have gone so far as to express displeasure at having been lied to by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA Director Keith Alexander — Clapper having formally apologized for telling the Senate Intelligence Committee eavesdropping-related things that were, in his words, “clearly erroneous” and Alexander having told now-discredited whoppers about the effectiveness of NSA’s intrusive and unconstitutional methods in combating terrorism.

Coleen Rowley, the first winner of the Sam Adams Award (2002), cited some little-known history to remind Snowden that he is in good company as a whistleblower — and not only because of previous Sam Adams honorees. She noted that in 1773, Benjamin Franklin leaked confidential information by releasing letters written by then-Lt. Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson to Thomas Whatley, an assistant to the British Prime Minister.

The letters suggested that it was impossible for the colonists to enjoy the same rights as subjects living in England and that “an abridgement of what are called English liberties” might be necessary. The content of the letters was so damaging to the British government that Benjamin Franklin was dismissed as colonial Postmaster General and had to endure an hour-long censure from British Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn.

There has been a determined attempt by government to justify the need to intercept everybody’s communications, all the time.  We have, yet again, had MI5 claim there are many thousand violent Islamic terrorists running around the UK, (yet somehow not managing to kill anybody).  The cry of “paedophiles” is raised, as always.  I can imagine them suggesting the entire population be shot dead, and justifying it as making sure they get the paedophiles.  The tabloids would go with that.

There still had not been a single credible claim by the mainstream media that any named individual has died, despite that contingency being trotted out all the time as the reason Snowden and Manning should not have revealed state crimes and abuse of power.  I am hopeful that, with the internet still largely free to the dissemination of information, out next massive whistleblower is only weeks away.

View with comments

Time Travel

I was just reading the Guardian’s piece about the rediscovery of episodes of Dr Who, The Web of Fear.

It took me back so strongly that it felt quite uncanny.  I have strong memories of watching this on TV with my sister Celia, when I must only have been eight years old.  I remember the dark mouths of the tube tunnels, and the yeti – who for the most part got glimpsed briefly – coming out of them with strange lights for eyes.  I remember the deadly fungus that made soldiers sort of flash in oscillating light then fall down dead – there was a kind of clumpy stuff, but in my memory there was a kind of horizontal layered cobwebby stuff across the tube tunnels too.  I don’t imagine I will actually watch these recovered episodes, but it would be interesting to know how much of that memory is accurate.

I remember the detail of the carpet and the furniture in our home.  A bit like Proust’s madeleines, this little recovered memory brings back so much.  Television was a shared experience then – Mark and Martin and Clive would all have watched the same thing, and we could discuss and play it together.  I was fortunate to have an extremely happy childhood.  It is strange how it makes me so terribly sad to recall it.

Weirdly enough – I have had a strange life – the article also gave me a vivid flashback to the first time I entered Jos, where the tapes were discovered.

 

 

View with comments

OK, Now You Sue Me!

MIS_BookPile

With grateful thanks to ANode – and to the others who submitted designs.

I repeat, that the producers of The Ambassadors, Big Tal, contacted me about acquiring the rights to Murder in Samarkand and hled a meeting with me in their office to discuss it at length.  They did not get the rights.  The concept of The Ambassadors, the series Big Talk subsequently produced, is very plainly based on Murder in Samarkand.  Big Talk are copyright thieves.

That is without the issue of making a state-sponsored satire with FCO approval and participation designed to justify and make light of our disgraceful collusion with the vicious Karimov regime.

This is the last correspondence I had from my solicitor on the subject – it would cost me £10,000 just to apply to see the scripts:

(a)    Application for pre-action disclosure

This is the next step highlighted in our letter of 6 March 2013.  This is an application to the court to order Big Talk to disclose certain information to you, namely, the treatment and the scripts.  This information would then enable us to understand if their show will infringe your book (or defame you).

Costs

The likely costs of proceeding with the application will depend somewhat on how the other side approach it, but at a minimum we will need to prepare a witness statement setting out the evidence to support your application, pay the court fee to issue the application, correspond with the other side and prepare for documents for the application and to appear at court to represent you.   Estimated costs for this application are likely to be in the region of £10,000 (plus VAT).

I don’t have money.  There is no access to justice for ordinary people against companies in this country.  So the copyright thieves of Big Talk can now sue me.  I would welcome any solidarity postings of the above image from other bloggers and media!

View with comments

Murder in Samarkand – Now a Major TV Series

The Independent has an article about the new FCO sponsored Mitchell and Webb “comedy”, which was made with FCO co-operation and is openly an attempt to bolster its image – and to make light of, and acceptable, the disgraceful British alliance with the dictator of Uzbekistan.  The argument that this series is based on – and is an attempt to counter the effect of – Murder in Samarkand – is overwhelming.

Not least because the producers of  Ambassadors, Big Talk, attempted to buy the rights to Murder in Samarkand.  They invited me to, and I attended, a meeting in their offices and they had several copies of Murder in Samarkand in their office.  They also had access to the original unpublished (and much longer) manuscript of the book, under its original title Should Not Be Known.   For them to pretend their “Tazbekistan” comedy is unrelated does not just make them lying bastards, it is ludicrous.

I did get solicitors to write both to Big Talk and to the BBC, but unfortunately the lawyers wanted money amounting to tens of thousands to apply for a copyright injunction, and I just don’t have it.

The Independent article takes the opportunity to recycle ten year old slurs against me by the FCO, without mentioning that they were disproven.

I wonder if one of my talented commenters could design an online “poster” for Murder in Samarkand, showing the book, Mitchell and Webb or the Ambassadors logo, and the slogan “Murder in Samarkand – Now a Major TV Series”.  Then we can get it everywhere we can on the web, and the bastards can try and sue me!  That would turn the tables nicely.

The other extraordinary thing in the Independent article is the contention that New Labour had an ethical foreign policy, as though the tabloid humiliation and marginalisation of Robin Cook- and the dodgy dossier and invasion of Iraq –  had never happened.

 

View with comments

The Theatre of War

My last post on the BBC footage of Syrian casualties – and the different versions of what the doctor said – has brought me a deluge of emails, not least from the Guardian who have been in touch with the BBC and, if the Guardian can get over its phobia at ever mentioning me at all, will doubtless produce a “Craig Murray is a Conspiracy Theorist” piece.  It would be unethical for me to reveal what the BBC said ahead of the Guardian, but I might point out that in a large amount of verbiage they completely failed to address or admit the point that they showed two different versions of what the doctor said.

Close inspection of the two different versions, by numerous commenters and for which I am grateful, reveals that there were actually two or more takes of this scene.  The easiest tell is the arm position of the man in the fluorescent jacket next to the doctor.

Actually, that is much worse than if it were overdubbing.  What this means is, that what is portrayed as a live action piece with casualties being rushed in, was actually a rehearsed piece of which several takes were done.  Rehearsed because, with the exception of the words napalm and chemical weapons, the words are precisely the same, which is not easy spontaneously especially under that kind of stress.

This raises some even weirder questions.  In a hospital where dozens of  desperately wounded casualties are at that moment being rushed in for life-saving treatment, this British doctor not only has time to talk to the BBC, but to do several takes? Is that not extremely strange?  Furthermore, nobody else in the courtyard is wearing a face mask.  If the doctor has time to do several takes with the BBC, why on earth has she not slipped off her mask to talk?  Is it for theatrical effect, to give the impression of someone just rushed from the theatre, as opposed to someone doing several takes for the BBC?

The BBC report says specifically the doctors were “overwhelmed”.  In which case how on earth could the BBC even ask them to do several takes of an interview in the middle of the crisis?  And why would they agree?

 

 

 

 

 

View with comments

Fake BBC Video

Irrefutable evidence of a stunning bit of fakery by the BBC:

In this version the medic being interviewed says about the 2 minute mark:

“..It’s just absolute chaos and carnage here, erm we’ve had a massive influx of
what looks like serious burns, er seems like it must be some sort of chemical
weapon, I’m not really sure..”

In this version she says – it is at about 2 mins 20 seconds in this edit:

“..It’s just absolute chaos and carnage here, erm we’ve had a massive influx of
what looks like serious burns, er seems like it must be some sort of, I’m not
really sure, maybe napalm, something similar to that..”

The disturbing thing is the footage of the doctor talking is precisely the same each time.  It is edited so as to give the impression the medic is talking in real time in her natural voice – there are none of the accepted devices used to indicate a voiceover translation.  But it must be true that in at least one, and possibly both, the clips she is not talking in real time in her own voice.  It is very hard to judge as her mouth and lips are fully covered throughout.  Perhaps neither of the above is what she actually said.

Terrible things are happening all the time in Syria’s civil war, between Assad’s disparate forces and still more disparate opposition forces, and innocent people are suffering.  There are dreadful crimes against civilians on all sides.  I have no desire at all to downplay or mitigate that.  But once you realise the indisputable fact of the fake interview the BBC has put out, some of the images in this video begin to be less than convincing on close inspection too.

 

 

View with comments

Gaia and all that

I have been trying for the last few days to discover a coherent logic towards my feelings on man’s relationship with his environment.  This is proving not to be simple.

The process started when I heard on World Service radio a gentleman from the International Panel on Climate Change discussing their latest report.  As you know, I tend to accept the established opinion on climate change, and rather take the view that if all our industrial activity were not affecting the atmosphere, that would be strange.

But what struck me was that the gentleman said that a pause in warming for the last fifteen years was not significant, as fifteen years was a blip in processes that last over millennia.

Well, that would certainly be very true if you are considering natural climate change.  But we are not – we are considering man-made climate change.  In terms of the period in which the scale of man’s industrial activity has been having a significant impact on the environment, surely fifteen years is a pretty important percentage of that period?  Especially as you might naturally imagine the process to be cumulative – fifteen years at the start when nothing much happened would be more explicable.

Having tucked away that doubt, I started to try to think deeper.  Man is, of course, himself a part of nature.  Anything man does on this planet is natural to this planet.  I do not take the view man should not change his environment – otherwise I should not be sitting in a house.  The question is rather, are we inadvertently making changes to the environment to our own long term detriment?

That rejection of what you might call the Gaia principle – that the environmental status quo is an end in itself – has ramifications.  It is hard to conceptualise our relationship with gases or soil, but easier in terms of animals.  I am not a vegetarian – I am quite happy that we farm and eat cattle, for example – and you might argue that the cattle are pretty successful themselves, symbiotic survivors of a kind.  Do I think other species have a value in themselves?  Is there any harm in killing off a species of insect, other than the fact that biodiversity may be reduced in ways that remove potential future advantages to man, or there may be knock on consequences we know not of that damage man somehow?  I am not quite sure, but in general I seem in practice to take the view that exploitation of other species and substantial distortion of prior ecological balance to suit men’s needs is fine, so presumably the odd extinction is fine too, unless it damages man long term.

I strongly disapprove of hurting animals for sport, and want to see them have the best quality of life possible, preferably wild.  But I like to eat and wear them.  I am not quite sure why it is OK to wear animal skin on our feet or carry it as a bag, but not to wear “fur”.  What is the difference, other than that leather has had the hair systematically rubbed off as part of the process of making it?  A trivial issue, but one that obviously relates to the deeper questions.

Yes I draw a distinction between animals which are intelligent and those which are not.  I would not eat whale or dolphin.  But this does not seem entirely logical – animal intelligence and sensibility is evidently a continuum.  Many animals mourn, for example.  The BBC World Service radio (my main contact with the outside world at present – I have just today found my very, very weak internet connection just about works if I try it  at 5am) informed me a couple of days ago that orang-utans have the ability to think forward and tell others where they will be the next day.  Why cattle and fish are daft enough to eat is hard to justify.

I quite appreciate the disbenefits to man of radically changing his environment, even if it could be done without long term risk to his existence – the loss of beauty, of connection to seasons and forms of behaviour with which we evolved.  But I regard those as important only as losses to man, not because nature is important intrinsically.  In short, if I thought higher seas, no polar bears and no glaciers would not hurt man particularly, I don’t suppose I would have much to say against it.  I fear the potential repercussions are too dangerous to man.  At base, I don’t actually care about a polar bear.

 

 

 

 

View with comments

Russia versus Greenpeace

Russia is casting around for legal measures it can use against Greenpeace.  To any reasonable person the accusation of piracy is ludicrous.  Russia has come to it because there is no other charge over which it can claim jurisdiction.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Russia has ratified and is in force, the criminal jurisdiction of a coastal state operates only within its territorial sea of up to twelve miles.  Beyond that it may have an exclusive economic zone of up to two hundred miles, and a continental shelf may extend even beyond that; but within those zones the rights of coastal states are limited to jurisdiction over economic activity and mineral exploitation.

The Russians appear very aware of the legal position.  When the Greenpeace activists were first arrested, I heard on BBC World Service radio here in Accra a Russian government spokesman say the vessel appeared to be towing a seismic buoy.  Greenpeace explained it was a survival pod.  But the point is, if it had been a seismic buoy, that would have been an economic activity which the Russian government is indeed entitled to regulate, so it was s thought out pretext (though I have no doubt a dishonest one).

Obviously the argument that they were engaged in unlawful economic activity may have justified the original arrest but quickly falls.  What else is left?  The seas above the exclusive economic zone are part of the High Seas – a fact often misunderstood.  The only criminal activity on the High Seas over which a state other than the flag state of the vessel can claim jurisdiction is piracy.  So if the Russians want to bring charges, it is piracy or nothing.

Of course any sensible government would opt for nothing, and accept that demonstrations happen.  The Russian government is not sensible in that sense, and would far rather throw away the international kudos gained over Syria, than admit for one second that Putin is not in complete macho control of absolutely everything.

The stupid thing about all this is that Russia has every legal right to be drilling for oil in the Arctic, a great deal of which is rightly within Russia’s exclusive economic zone.  The Russians have the right to drill, and Greenpeace have the right to protest about it.

What this is not, is piracy.  Greenpeace were not intending to steal or damage any rig, vessel or cargo, or to commit violence.  They were just protesting.  The definition of piracy in UNCLOS is quite clear:

Article 101

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

 Plainly this is not piracy.

 

View with comments

Gordon Brown

I have a guilty political secret.  I do not detest Gordon Brown.  That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it.  And yes, I do realise that he went along with the Iraq War and all the other horrors of the Blair era. Interestingly, I don’t remember the question of what Gordon Brown really thought about Iraq ever being discussed; he deserves condemnation for having not tried to stop it, and perhaps he was indeed an enthusiast.  And I am well aware that the Private Finance Initiative is a terrible disaster, and that he oversaw creeping privatisation in the health services, and – worst of all – the introduction of tuition fees.

And yet I cannot dislike him.  Probably because I just know too many people who have  known him through decades, who are themselves good people, and who like him.  Around Edinburgh and Fife you will find it hard to find people who actually know him who share the hatred and contempt he seems to arouse among the political and media classes of London.

As a general rule I do not like or dislike people according to their politics, but rather according to the sincerity of their political beliefs and the goodwill with which they hold them.  I am sure Anders Breivik is sincere in his political beliefs, but those are lacking in goodwill. Sincerity is not enough – humanity and inclusiveness are also important.

There are one nation Tories who seem to me perfectly decent people, genuinely trying to do good.  I don’t hate them because their political conclusions on the best way to do good are different to mine.  Gordon Brown I put rather in the same category – I feel he was trying to do good for ordinary people, he just got it wrong.

Blair is in a whole different category again – insincere, absolutely focused on attaining personal power, and with a Messianic belief that what is good for him must be good for the World.  The Guardian is publishing some emails around the Blair Brown rivalry this week.  I don’t care and won’t read them.  But while I see Blair as quite properly damned for eternity to the seventh pit of hell, I don’t think Brown deserves anything worse than North Queensferry.

I have been in Ghana the last 20 days living in a house with no internet connection and working (extremely hard) in an office with virtually no internet connection – not enough to load WordPress.  I hope to get more chance to blog shortly.

 

 

View with comments

Blair and Kanye West are Prostitutes

blairnaza

The Tony Blair House Journal (editor Alan Rusbridger) reports on Kanye West’s disgusting private performance for the Kazakh dictator and his family, and takes a sideswipe at David Cameron for visiting that country.

But peculiarly they fail to mention that Tony Blair receives US $4 million a year as a consultant to the worker murdering Kazakh dictator, and that Alistair Campbell and Jonathon Powell as well as Blair visit to give this support – which has included a behind the scenes campaign to help Nazarbaev win the Nobel Peace Prize, fortunately with no result to date.

View with comments

We Can Rule the World – Err, No We Can’t

Alistair Darling has warned Scots that they will lose diplomatic influence if they leave the United Kingdom.  He gives Syria as an example.  Syria having been such a resounding diplomatic success for the UK, and the UK having contributed hugely to the successful resolution of the conflict – or presumably his reasoning is something like that.

An Independent Scotland would almost certainly not have invaded Iraq and would be most unlikely to have occupied Afghanistan for ten years.  It would thus not have squandered vast sums of money, not contributed to the continued political disaster of both countries.  An independent Scotland would not be a permanent member of the Security Council.  This would impact terribly on the population, who would be benighted like the peoples of Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Australia, in all of which  the lives of ordinary people are absolutely intolerable because of their non membership of the Security Council, and all of which have been repeatedly invaded and wiped out in nuclear attacks continually throughout the last six decades.

I worked in multilateral negotiations in both the UN and EU and found colleagues from countries like Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada to be professional competent and influential.  The Scots certainly can be all of those.  Small countries contribute to policy, to peacekeeping and to humanitarian effort.  This latest bit of unionist nonsense is contemptible.

View with comments

The Troodos Conundrum

troodos2

 

The GCHQ listening post on Mount Troodos in Cyprus is arguably the most valued asset which the UK contributes to UK/US intelligence cooperation.  The communications intercept agencies, GCHQ in the UK and NSA in the US, share all their intelligence reports (as do the CIA and MI6).  Troodos is valued enormously by the NSA.  It monitors all radio, satellite and microwave traffic across the Middle East, ranging from Egypt and Eastern Libya right through to the Caucasus.  Even almost all landline telephone communication in this region is routed through microwave links at some stage, picked up on Troodos.

Troodos is highly effective – the jewel in the crown of British intelligence.  Its capacity and efficiency, as well as its reach, is staggering.  The US do not have their own comparable facility for the Middle East.  I should state that I have actually been inside all of this facility and been fully briefed on its operations and capabilities, while I was head of the FCO Cyprus Section in the early 1990s.  This is fact, not speculation.

It is therefore very strange, to say the least, that John Kerry claims to have access to communications intercepts of Syrian military and officials organising chemical weapons attacks, which intercepts were not available to the British Joint Intelligence Committee.

On one level the explanation is simple.  The intercept evidence was provided to the USA by Mossad, according to my own well  placed source in the Washington intelligence community.  Intelligence provided by a third party is not automatically shared with the UK, and indeed Israel specifies it should not be.

But the inescapable question is this.  Mossad have nothing comparable to the Troodos operation.  The reported content of the conversations fits exactly with key tasking for Troodos, and would have tripped all the triggers.  How can Troodos have missed this if Mossad got it?  The only remote possibility is that all the conversations went on a purely landline route, on which Mossad have a physical wire tap, but that is very unlikely in a number of ways – not least nowadays the purely landline route.

Israel has repeatedly been involved in the Syrian civil war, carrying out a number of illegal bombings and missile strikes over many months.  This absolutely illegal activity by Israel- which has killed a great many civilians, including children – has brought no condemnation at all from the West.  Israel has now provided “intelligence” to the United States designed to allow the United States to join in with Israel’s bombing and missile campaign.

The answer to the Troodos Conundrum is simple.  Troodos did not pick up the intercepts because they do not exist.  Mossad fabricated them.  John Kerry’s “evidence” is the shabbiest of tricks.  More children may now be blown to pieces by massive American missile blasts.  It is nothing to do with humanitarian intervention.  It is, yet again, the USA acting at the behest of Israel.

 

 

View with comments

Don’t Celebrate Yet

There is no obvious reason why the Western powers should care whether it was the friends or the family of Mohammed which took over the leadership of his movement upon his death.  However there is plainly an agenda led by the USA to support the Sunnis in their spiralling regional conflict with the Shia.

This is not hard to rationalise.  The ultra wealthy members of the Gulf regimes continue to act as the West’s proxies in the region and provide  harbour to its neo-imperialist armed forces, while at the same time maintaining themselves a obscurantist version of Islam which would have horrified Mohammed and breaks virtually every precept of the Koran, particularly as regards treatment of women and of minority religions within their territory.

In Bahrain the large Shia majority is brutally repressed with active western collusion; in Saudi Arabia the Shia minority in the East is degraded.  Iran is the great Shia bogey, and the West is so determined to maintain it as “the enemy” that they refuse the most basic diplomatic openings.  The UK turned down an invitation to be represented at the inauguration of a new more moderate President and hold initial conversations.  Meanwhile, Shia groups have mustered the only effective military resistance to Israeli aggression, and in Syria a Shia friendly regime is under intense pressure from the West and its Gulf allies.  Peculiarly, in Iraq Western invasion resulted in the installation of a Shia regime, but that was only one of the entirely unforeseen consequences of that most stupid of invasions, and the Western response is to try to split up the country and fuel multiple insurgencies.

Meantime the CIA have now got a controlled and pro-Israeli military dictatorship back in power in Egypt, while the extraordinary complicity of the mainstream media and entire political class in the United States has never been more evident than in the acceptance that the military coup will not be designated a military coup.  The manipulation of Western public opinion in the Syrian chemical weapons episode has, rarely, been too blatant to work.  But events in Turkey and Egypt have shown that western public opinion is easily manipulated by the “secularist” angle.  No matter how ugly political forces are – and in Turkey the Kemalists are very ugly – call them “secularist” and hide the rest, and you can attempt to topple elected governments in their favour with the full throated support of the media cheerleaders.

Last night’s vote in the Commons is welcome, but a blip.  It owes more to political tribalism than to principle.  Miliband and New Labour did not oppose military action, they merely wanted to be seen to be dictating the terms.  As neither Tories nor Labour were prepared to accept the other’s terms for military action, the anti war minority could combine with the tribalists of each to make sure everything got defeated.  Good but fortuitous.

The media are still in full war cry.  Ashdown has never been so ashamed, apparently.  He is not ashamed by extraordinary rendition and our torturing people.  He is not ashamed of our responsibility for the death of hundreds of thousands in Iraq, with 2,000 people a day still meeting terrible deaths.  He is ashamed that we don’t respond to the deaths of children by chemical weapons, we don’t really know at whose hands, by blasting to pieces a lot more children.  Well, Paddy, you are a merciless fool who thinks a spiral of death is the answer, and I have never been more ashamed that I was for most of my adult life a member of the Liberal Democrats.

Ashdown did say bitterly that there was now no point in having such large armed forces.  Hallelujah!  The danger to the establishment that people might realise that spending more on weapons systems than on hospitals is a poor choice, is one reason this is not over.  Much is at stake for the security state.  Expect a mounting barrage of propaganda on the need for action in Syria.  This is just the start.

 

 

View with comments

We Won’t Be Fooled Again

Having sat through 25 minutes of intensive propaganda for bombing Syria called the BBC Ten O’clock News – which did not feature a single interviewee against bombing – it was delightful to see them have to report at the end that the Commons has now rejected the Government’s motion to authorise military action.

 

It will, Nick Robinson quickly assured us, take a few days to work out what this vote means.  He means it will take a few days for those who profit from war to work out how to spin the vote against military action as a vote for military action.  That process will start in the next few minutes.

View with comments

Neo-Con Bloodlust Let Rip

If a country breaches an International Convention, that in no sense makes it legal in international law for other countries to bomb it.  Otherwise Britain should certainly be bombed for continual and flagrant breaches of the UN Convention against Torture in the context of extraordinary rendition, and for breaches of several international arms control treaties with regard to the planned acquisition of a new, enhanced, and ruinously expensive, Trident missile system.

Even if we accept that the Assad regime was responsible for chemical weapons attacks, that does not give a right to bomb Syria.  Why the lunatic bloodlusters all over our screens – including recycled Blairites who should be in jail –  think that blowing children to pieces ourselves is the correct response to horrible pictures of dead children, is something no TV journalist has had the guts to ask them.

Even the lunatic warmonger Blair felt the  need to bolster the almost non-existent legal arguments for the attack on Iraq with a claim, however ridiculous, that there was imminent danger of an attack by Iraq on British sovereign territory with WMD – in that case the British military bases on Cyprus.  Yet another reason, incidentally, that those colonial remnants must urgently be returned to the Cypriots.  If Britain had been in genuine imminent danger of attack, that would indeed have been a justification of some validity.  On Syria we have merely the claim that some civilians have been destroyed by chemicals; a terrible thing, but when hundreds of thousands have already been eviscerated by white hot metal, and horribly murdered by all side in this gruesome civil war, not the most logical of spurs to action against only one side in particular.

That the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attacks is perfectly possible but very,  very far from certain.  Particularly as those who claim to have the most certainty about it are precisely those who lied repeatedly about WMD.  That the Assad regime should risk this action now it is winning the war seems peculiar, to say the least.  But the truth is that even if it was Assad himself, nobody else has any legal right to intervene in this civil war without the express authority of the UN Security Council, and there is no possibility of that.

Many on the right are arguing that the Security Council is irrelevant, but we should not bomb anyway as we have no idea of the long term result.  That is true but still short sighted.  The same prudence should apply to the consequences of destroying international law and the authority of the UN.  To do that might seem smart to the neo-cons when the USA is the most powerful military force on earth and we in the UK are its sidekick.  But within my lifetime China will be the most powerful military force on earth.

The neo-cons may feel that destroying the idea of international restraint, in favour of might is right, is  to their advantage, but that is simply further proof of their quite extraordinary short sightedness and stupidity.

 

 

 

 

View with comments

Feile An Phobail Belfast

The Respectability of Torture


St Mary’s University College, Thurs 1st August, 7.30pm

 

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, was a whistleblower who was removed from his ambassadorial post by Tony Blair for exposing the Tashkent regime‟s use of rape and systematic torture, including the boiling to death of political opponents. He has also spoken out against Central Asia‟s appalling dictatorships, regimes which are allies of the West, involved in torture and rendition, and was accused of threatening MI6‟s relationship with the CIA. Now a human rights activist, author and broadcaster, he outlines the dynamics of torture and the hypocrisy of incriminated Western governments.

 

My first public appearance for a while will be in Belfast on 1 August where I shall be giving a talk.  Long term readers of this blog will recall that, while my focus is largely on international affairs, the domestic political achievements I most hope to see are a united Ireland and an independent Scotland.

View with comments

Navalny, Ward, Assange, Snowden and the Attack on Free Speech

Russia does not have a functioning criminal justice system at all, in the sense of a trial mechanism aimed at determining innocence or guilt.  Exactly as in Uzbekistan, the conviction rate in criminal trials is over 99%.  If the prosecutors, who are inextricably an arm of the executive government, want to send you to jail, there is absolutely no judicial system to protect you.  The judges are purely there for show.

When critics of Putin like Alexei Navalny are convicted, therefore, we have absolutely no reassurance that the motivation behind the prosecution or the assessment of guilt was genuine.  Which is not to say that Navalny is innocent; I am in no position to judge. People are complex.   I sacrificed my own pretty decent career to the cause of human rights, but in my personal and family life I was by no means the most moral of individuals.  I see no reason for it to be impossible that all of Navalny’s excellent political work did not co-exist with a fatal weakness.  But his criticisms of Putin made him a marked man, who the state was out to get, and the most probable explanation – especially as prosecutors had looked at the allegations before and decided not to proceed – is that he is suffering for his criticisms of the President rather than a genuine offence.

It fascinates me that the Western media view the previous decision by the prosecutors not to proceed as evidence the case is politically motivated against Navalny; but fail to draw the same conclusion from precisely the same circumstance in the Assange case.

David Ward MP has not been sent to jail.  He has however had the Lib Dem whip removed, which under Clegg’s leadership perhaps he ought to consider an honour.  It is rather a commonplace sentiment that it is a terribly sad thing, that their community having suffered dreadfully in the Holocaust, the European Jews involved in founding the state of Israel went on themselves to inflict terrible pain and devastation on the Palestinians in the Nakba.   Both the Holocaust and the Nakba were horrific events of human suffering.  For this not startling observation, David Ward is removed from the Liberal Democrats.  He also stated that, with its ever increasing number of racially specific laws, its walls and racially restricted roads, Israel is becoming an apartheid state.  That is so commonplace even Sky News’ security correspondent Sam Kiley said it a few months ago, without repercussion.  In Russia you cannot say Putin is corrupt; in the UK you cannot say Israeli state policy is malign.  Neither national state can claim to uphold freedom of speech.  Meanwhile, of course, David Cameron announces plans to place filters on the internet access of all UK households.

In the United States, the House of Representatives failed by just 12 votes to make illegal the mass snooping by the NSA which was not widely publicised until Edward Snowden’s revelations.  What Snowden said was so important that almost half the country’s legislators wished to act on his information.  Yet the executive wish to pursue him and remove all his freedom for the rest of his life, as they are doing to Bradley Manning for Manning’s exposure of war crimes and extreme duplicity.

Around this complex of issues and the persons of Manning, Navalny, Snowden and Assange there is a kind of new ideological competition between the governments of Russia, the US and UK as to which is truly promoting the values of human freedom.  The answer is none of them are.  All these states are, largely in reaction to the liberating possibilities of the internet, promoting a concerted attack on freedom of speech and liberty of thought.

States are the enemy.  We are the people.

 

 

 

 

View with comments

Gently Back Into the Water

I had excellent news from my cardiologist yesterday.  Ready to think about other things now.  I am horrified by the continuing stream of ” royal” baby hype on television.  Truly pathetic – is this 1313 or 2013?  Who buys into this nonsense?

I thought the Lib Dem take on Trident missiles was hilarious.  This small group of islands does apparently need to retain the ability to wipe out one third of the urban population of humankind, as a defence against something undefined – possibly people we invade getting too annoyed about it – and  in order to increase our “influence” in the World.  As we plainly have less influence than the Germans, who don’t feel this need for the power of obliteration, I do not quite see how this works.  Nor do I see Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons, as very influential.  Nor do I quite understand how our influence can be increased by possessing something  under effective American control.  But there you are.

Anyway, the Lib Dems have come to the intellectually scintillating conclusion that we do need this world shattering power, but we don’t need it on Wednesday or Thursday afternoons or on Saturday mornings, which will be cheaper.  Brilliant, and plainly does not dodge any big ethical or practical questions at all.

 

 

 

 

View with comments