Feile An Phobail Belfast 4110

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.

4,110 thoughts on “Feile An Phobail Belfast

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  • NR

    @ egb 28 Aug, 2013 – 4:24 pm
    “@NR, IMO conspiracy theories are crap. When you have official impunity you don’t need a conspiracy. CIA assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Fred Hampton, Walter Reuther, et al: not conspiracy but crime, crimes committed with impunity by US government officials. US government armed attacks on civilian populations at Kent State, OKC, WTC ’93, 9/11, Boston ’13: not conspiracy. Crime.”

    No argument on events, or that some of those are crimes, the conspiracy comes in the official narrative and subsequent phony permanent history to cover up the crime. Some like Boston ’13, feel more like a cover-up of one of FBI’s famous stings gone wrong, rather than an intentional false-flag, as was the TWA 800 tale a cover-up of the embarrassment of a missile taking down a passenger plane — can’t panic travelers, etc. Never heard of Hampton and Reuther.

  • nevermind

    Just written to my MP, telling him to vote against any move’s to war.

    Should our MP’s be whipped into voting for war then I hope its with a cat of nine tails,
    and if Labour only so much thinks of playing global police man, regardless of the propaganda that is coming out of Obama’s orifice, the cheek that man has to wax lyrically, besmirching Martin Luther Kings 50th. anniversary, with him howling like wardog, then they are no different to the Tories. war mongering scum!

  • mike

    C4 news is saying not so fast with the bombing; at least some MPs are saying this has to go to the UN. Maybe there’s still time for this distraction from Snowden to be averted.

    Don’t look over there – look at shock and awe redux, the same bangs being looped and drooled over by MSM fluffers.

    If you look at the timeline with the NSA stuff you’ll see that it was less than 3 weeks ago when the Washington Post exposed the Drone King’s lies he gave to a White House press conference just the week before.

    “I have a dream…that one day the NSA will have total information awareness.” Not so mellifluous as the original, but hey it’s a work in progress.

    Cameron and Hague are just useful idiots.

  • BrianFujisan

    An exellent Piece by John Hilly on the Disgusting bbc

    ” No prizes for spotting which one here is the BBC’s leading line:
    ‘Syria crisis: Diplomacy has not worked, says William Hague’
    ‘President Assad says the claims are “politically motivated” and defy logic as the regime has forces near the area.’
    It’s the former, of course, announcing the case for ‘military solutions’, like all others in this ‘speak our words of war’ reportage, with the latter claim safely buried for token ‘balance’ deep down the page.

    All serving to get the critical message across that ‘something must be done’, and that Cruise missiles figure ‘logically’, ‘normally’ and ‘humanely’ in dealing with the problem.

    Imagine a run of BBC headlines announcing:
    ‘Attack on Syria would be illegal and a war crime, according to UN and international law’
    ‘Western bombing would be disastrous and criminal, warn Stop the War and others urging political solutions’
    Instead, we see a constant barrage of headline encouragements like:
    ‘UK urges ‘serious response’ on Syria’

    And this From last year..Mistake my arse..Propaganda Criminals

    10:39PM BST 27 May 2012

    Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources.
    The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.

    It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”.

    The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”.

    A BBC spokesman said the image has now been taken down. 26 May 2012

    Mr di Lauro, who works for Getty Images picture agency and has been published by newspapers across the US and Europe, said: “I went home at 3am and I opened the BBC page which had a front page story about what happened in Syria and I almost felt off from my chair.

    “One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.

    “Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam.

    “What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all.

    He added he was less concerned about an apology or the use of image without consent, adding: “What is amazing it’s that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happened yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre. [in another country entirely!]

    “Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose.”

    A spokesman for the BBC said: “We were aware of this image being widely circulated on the internet in the early hours of this morning following the most recent atrocities in Syria.

    “We used it with a clear disclaimer saying it could not be independently verified.”

    “Efforts were made overnight to track down the original source of the image and when it was established the picture was inaccurate we removed it immediately.”


  • resident dissident

    Erin Go Bragh

    Nice to hear from someone else who believes that human rights are universal and need to be sttod up for and defended whoever is the abuser. To be honest the Assad monarchy already has a long enough charge sheet to warrant conviction and putting away for many many years under any legal or moral framework worth its name, and I for one have argued this for a long time. Yes – I like many Syrians, especially the millions who have been displaced by these butchers, would like to see regime change. I have also repeatedly argued that one effect of ignoring totalitarians is that over time the problem becomes nearly always becomes even worse – and have I been proved right in the case of the Assads.

    Of course we need to hear and see what the evidence is regarding the gassing of innocent civilians – although this hasn’t stopped some here taking their usual evidence light approach and already concluding that it was an Israeli false flag operation or that it wasn’t even a gassing. Perhaps, those making such claims perhaps should go and look at their usual haunts of Russia Today and Press TV perhaps note that neither of their favoured regimes have yet jumped to previous trick of blaming the Syrian opposition for any atrocity (though of course some here have said exactly the opposite).

    That said I have doubts about whether the likely proposed military operation will actually achieve very much and might actually have negative results. I can very much see a scenario where the Assad regime (particularly given the advance notice) sits out a short term bombing campaign and then come out of it stronger by playing the martyr card. At present it is very difficult to see clearly what the objectives, end game and exit plan (as Villager and Lord West have pointed out). Whatever peoples views are on the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – there is pretty much a consensus that the situation was made much worse because of these same weaknesses in the plans for those interventions.

    Far better than what I guess is being proposed will be to use recent events to ramp up the pressure and yes shame the backers of the Assad regime in Iran and Russia – who I’m sure have a much greater ability to engineer regime change. I’m sure the way to hit Putin is through his pocket – taking action which is likley to pump up oil prices isn’t the way to do that. I would also listen to the sensible liberal voices among the Syrian opposition – who as far as I can see are not yet calling for intervention of the type proposed.

  • Villager

    RD, two good points in your last two sentences.

    Yeah i’d like to hear more clearly what the *Syrian* people think?! There’s very little of it around here or there, be it the msm or RT etc. Anyone?

    Second, re the oil prices shooting up means (a) the Saudis and Qataris are funding their war for free, or rather on our account as consumers and (b) look at the horrible effect (collateral damage) on developing economies i.e. the majority of human beings, our brothers, on our planet in an already wobbly economy.

    Is there any real choice but to get back to Geneva 2?

  • Dreoilin

    Meanwhile, at Infowars, they’re arguing

    “Phone calls by the Syrian Ministry of Defense intercepted by Mossad and passed to the US reveal that Syrian government officials, “exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people,” in the hours after last week’s attack.

    “Why would the Syrian Ministry of Defense be making panicked phone calls “demanding answers” about the attack if they had ordered it?”


  • NR

    @ BrianFujisan 28 Aug, 2013 – 8:06 pm

    Great comment on the BBC using the wrong pic to further the govt’s. agenda, then bleating it’s not their fault because they warned it was unverified. What’s the point of the old media if not to verify before publishing?

    On a less serious matter, the venerable Huffington Post published a fake story from one of their mummy-bloggers (paid one-cent per page view, if anything at all). The tall tale claimed a big red-necked man, in a WalMart no less, accosted a mummy and her boy-child, wearing a pink ribbon in his hair, and plucked the ribbon from the poor child’s hair while issuing a horrific homophobic slur.

    Total fiction, but it doesn’t matter because it “rings true” and fits the prejudices of HuffPo’s customers.

    You will be pleased to hear that in the US the far-right, after a two day silence on Syria, sorted out their hymnal pages, and join in opposition to any hasty missile lobbing in that direction. Sometimes for unexpected reasons, such as it will put our closest ally, Israel, in the greatest danger.

    The old MSM, left and right, continue the call to war. NBC TV, the most shameless of the bunch, had a new portfolio of yet more dead children, some so horrifying they couldn’t allow us to see them. But they have them. Believe! Believe!

  • Right-footed Irishmyn

    Thx Alcanon for that useful link: “Hague … insisted the international community still had a duty to act even if agreement could not be reached in New York.”

    When Fetus gets it through his thick skull that he can’t push Russia and China around, his next option is to submit a UNGA resolution under UNGA Res. 377 (Uniting for Peace) provisions. Absent a ruinous campaign of bribes and threats, uniting for war on Syria will fail in the most humiliating way. NATO can’t afford to buy the world.

    So Fetus will try to end-run the UNSC with Chapter VIII. As always, some state with diplomats that have actually read the Charter will rub his nose in Article 53, clause 1, affirming that no enforcement action may be taken without UNSC authorization.

    Fetus doesn’t have the balls to commit criminal aggression without some simulacrum of UNSC permission. The crime of aggression is now defined, and Rome Statute treaty parties are signing on to it in onesies and twosies. The Iraq war triggered a flurry of accessions to the Rome Statute, putting it over the top, and an illegal attack on Syria will give the crime of aggression a similar boost.

    NATO’s window of impunity is closing. By 2017 at the latest, the UNSC will be empowered to debate not just more NATO war, but criminal aggression charges against NATO commanders.

  • Phil

    Nevermind 28 Aug, 2013 – 7:19 pm
    “Just written to my MP, telling him to vote against any move’s to war.”

    Yes I did too. Miliband seems to be backtracking a tad. There is a labour meeting tomorrow morning.

    It’s got to be worth a minute of your time to fire off an email to your mp. Especially marginal labour seats.

  • resident dissident

    Clearly Obama is pulling the strings quietly behind the scenes – I suspect he still sticks to his original lightweight assessment of Cameron. Perhaps those here yesterday forecast nuclear armageddon and similar catastrophes just need to calm down a little.

  • Jay

    Rouge 10,55 am.

    Thanks for the link to Jaques Fresco.

    Out of this world truly science fiction.

    Like we need science fiction and stone age- perfectly blended.

  • Jon

    I’ve been interested today in the very noticeable shift of position from the Tories – I honestly thought a US-UK attack on Syria was to be started today or tomorrow.

    I expect it was the spectre of Iraq within Miliband’s own party that, by a hair, pushed him to come out in favour of a UN-backed approach, despite many quietly furious transatlantic telephone calls. This would have given Hague and company some pause for thought, indicating that a cross-party agreement to an illegal military operation could not be counted on. That at least is a good thing.

    As usual the left is in a genuinely awkward position. In the unlikely event that the UNSC agrees to action, would we regard that as sufficient, given that each member country is, in the main, fishing only for its own strategic interests?

    I’m not such a pacifist that given a well-motivated armed force I would always oppose limited military action in all cases. But, there is no well-motivated armed country, none. Given what happened to Iraq, maybe the moral case is to stay out of Syria, given that (if past experience is a guide) an external intervention from the West will just cause more deaths? The few good people within the British Establishment have not come to terms with the fact that, as a machine, it (or they) are collectively a sociopath that lied knowingly to bring war to Iraq, and are responsible for 1M+ civilian deaths.

    Should the decent (and genuinely humanitarian) left turn to that same entity and expect a different motivation, compassion? They would be foolish to do so, I think.

    There’s a lot more disagreement within the ruling classes, as well the battle of wills within the UNSC. The Sun carried a minor front headline today that says “Brits Say No To War In Syria”. What on earth is going on when the Sun won’t reflexively propagandise for conflict?

  • Dreoilin

    The Telegraph

    The Prime Minister has now said he will wait for a report by United Nations weapons inspectors before seeking the approval of MPs for “direct British involvement” in the Syrian intervention.

    Downing Street said the decision to wait for the UN was based on the “deep concerns” the country still harbours over the Iraq War.

    MPs had been recalled to vote on a motion on Thursday expected to sanction military action. Instead, after a Labour intervention, they will debate a broader motion calling for a “humanitarian response”.

    A second vote would be required before any British military involvement. This could now take place next week.

    In a statement on Wednesday night Downing Street said that it only wanted to proceed on a “consensual basis” and was now wary about becoming embroiled in another divisive conflict in the Middle East in the wake of Iraq.


    and a pic of crowds outside Downing St earlier


  • mike

    Yeah, my bad, RD. I think I had caffeine psychosis yesterday. But I do think that if Russia and the US go toe-to-toe over Syria it could escalate, what with all that hardware in the Eastern Med (you’ll recall that in June Putin created a permanent naval presence there).

    The bear’s boats are old but the missiles on them are the best. I also noticed that yesterday there were a few heavy transports coming into Latakia from Russin. Who knows what the Syrian now have in their locker.

    If people didn’t speculate, we’d still be cowering in caves every time there was a lightning storm. Call it storytelling.

  • NR

    US CNN: “Will the president recall Congress? No.” “The Democrats won’t recall the Senate.” “Will the speaker of the house recall the House of Representatives? Well no, because if he did, as things currently stand there are enough Rs and Ds to vote against missile strikes, and this would be very embarrassing to the president and the United States and make it more difficult to bring the UK and others onboard.” “Action needed before week is out to prevent Assad gassing thousands more men, women, children and babies.” Yes babies. No mention of pussy cats and puppy dogs — yet.

    US Fox: A retired CIA type, who at least said he doesn’t see the difference between chem weapons and any other kind of death. However, he’d just been in contact with an agent returned from Syria who assured him the FSA is the horse to back — like Secretariat. Lob missiles to help them.

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