A Key Test for International Law 126


The ethnic cleansing by the British of an entire small population and culture – the Chagos Islanders – is probably the most despicable act by Britain of my lifetime.  As if the Iraq War and Extraordinary Rendition were not enough, New Labour’s moral dereliction – or more properly evil – was confirmed by the breathtaking cynicism of David Miliband’s proclamation of a Marine Protected Zone around the islands, designed to protect the American base on Diego Garcia and make it impossible for the Chagos Islanders to return to their living as native fishermen, and keep away any eyes that might see the secret prison inmates.

Extraordinarily and to their eternal shame, a number of prominent British environmentalists and conservationists lent their support to the Diego Garcia marine protected zone.  These purblind fools, obsessed with a single cause and blind to wider policy and justice, are in the same category as the ridiculous “feminists” who were co-opted by the neo-conservatives agents (be they propaganda media or secret service or both) to frustrate the aims of Julian Assange and Tommy Sheridan.

In truth, if colonial conquest and force majeure are legitimate grounds of sovereignty, and if extermination of a population can wipe out the legal right to self-determination, then in international law Britain has the right to Diego Garcia and to give it as tribute to their US overlords.  But if international law has any relationship of any kind to principles of justice, then Britain should not be permitted to reap the dubious benefit of genocide.  What international law actually is in the neo-conservative era is the real question before the UN tribunal now looking at the Diego Garcia question.

The UK is represented by Sir Michael Wood.  He is the man who overruled my objection inside the FCO to the use of “intelligence” gained from torture, and argued that British cooperation with extraordinary rendition was legal.

If anybody in Scotland can read through this and read through the links, and does not want to take the chance to leave the stinking cesspit of international shame that is the United Kingdom, they are severely deficient in moral sense.

 


126 thoughts on “A Key Test for International Law

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  • Kempe

    ” Scotland would be relieved of the dead weight of Westminster, and thus freed to pursue improvement. ”

    Ahh like Salmond wanted to ditch Westminster’s “gold plated” banking regulations back in 2007 because they weren’t needed by Scottish banks with their superior probity?

  • Mary

    I read Aaronovitch’s piece in a caff yesterday Craig. I will never give Murdoch a penny piece so do not have access to the digital version. I will ask the Medialens editors if they have sight of it and if so, let us have a copy. His piece was about fraud and the chap who claimed to have run the London Marathon in record time.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Mary

    “I have just heard Hugh Robertson MENA FCO minister on The World At One pouring derision on the planned election in Syria. …etc…”
    _________________

    Mary, could you not – of only as a simple matter of courtesy towards Craig – try and stay on topic until at least let us say page 2?

    If you have nothing to say on the subject of this thread, you do have the option of remaining silent for a day or so. We do follow the news, you know, without your help and some of us do actually listen to The World at One all by ourselves.

  • Kempe

    ” Can you find for me what it was that Aaronovitch actually said about Amazon reviews? I still can’t actually find this. It seems to be behind the Murdoch paywall. I thought I might do a piece about it. ”

    Be careful that you haven’t fallen for a bit of disinformation. Truthers hate Aaronovitch’s book for obvious reasons and as you might’ve noticed around here a common reaction when a Truther is challenged is to accuse the challenger of being a paid “shill”. The logic being that only someone in the pay of the government would support the official version of events. It also saves the Truther from getting into a debate which they know they will loose. The same logic would dictate that good reviews of Voodoo Histories could only have come from the author or those in his influence plus of course there’s the added benefit of a smear.

  • mike

    Hear, hear, Mr M.

    Diego Garcia — wasn’t that the price we had to pay for staying out of the Vietnam War?

  • Mary

    They responded quickly. Really kind of the Medialens editors.

    April 21, 2014 Monday
    Edition 1;
    National Edition
    Marathon man Jumps barrier of credibility;
    David Aaronovitch Notebook

    SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 24

    LENGTH: 647 words

    The fourth greatest moment in my life was finishing the London marathon in 2006. The time wasn’t bad for a chap in the forest depths of middle age: 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 21 minutes. Bear with me here, because the stats are going to matter. I ran the first half of the marathon in just under 2 hours and the second half took nearly 30 minutes longer. This “split” was not surprising, because towards the end it was only willpower keeping me going.

    The weekend before last, a thirtysomething male model called Jason Scotland-Williams did something extraordinary. In the April sun he ran the London marathon in 3 hours 9 minutes. Pretty good. But Mr S-W’s split was incredible. He’d covered the first half in 2 hours 8 (slower than me) and the second half in 1 hour 1 minute. This is more or less the UK men’s record for a half marathon. People are suspicious.

    There is a stretch, just after halfway, when the marathon route doubles back on itself. If you were to somehow jump the barrier you would go straight from, say, mile 14 to mile 22. But Mr S-W is adamant that this is not what he did. He told the Telegraph indignantly that “nobody thinks maybe I just trained hard. No one thinks ‘maybe he paced himself through the first half and when the second half came he just let himself go'”. Or, to put it another way, nobody thinks “maybe he turned from David Aaronovitch into Mo Farah somewhere on Tower Bridge”. The odds are not good.

    But the question is why might someone cheat? In this case, as far as we know, no money rested on it and if my experience is any guide, the number of people who are actually interested in what time you do is disappointingly small. Really it’s about your perception of yourself. And what would you rather think: that you were a slow, honest runner or a slow, dishonest one?

    Sock puppet show

    Such cheating, however pointless it may seem, has a long history. The week’s second piece of confabulation concerns a much more recent form of deception. There is a minor public figure, let us call him Alter Ego, who is given to making grandiose claims about his expertise and experience. Mr Ego has now become a regular invitee on TV and radio programmes. In certain online and social media forums such as Twitter Mr Ego, a combative figure, is often backed up by supporters who, though independent, invariably praise what he has to say, and disparage his critics. “Great performance by Alter Ego on Every Question tonight!” tweets a Verity Speekes. Ms Speekes has little to say about herself. That’s because she is a “sock puppet” – an online identity created and manipulated by Ego himself. And if Mr Ego has the time, he may manufacture several of these identities. Sometimes, to brush over their footprints, he will even fabricate a short, false dialogue. As in “you really won that battle, Mr E!” “Why thank you, Verity. Always good to hear your opinion!” But is this actually fraudulent behaviour? No more than jumping the barrier.

    Stars in their eyes

    Sometimes though, even good people (ie me) have to do questionable things, because the system makes us. Take my last book debunking conspiracy theories. There are many thousands of people who have invested deeply in believing that 9/11, the Malaysia airliner and swine flu were all inside jobs.

    Something like half of all book sales are now made through Amazon, and when you find a book on Amazon it is accompanied by reviews from “readers” who give it a 1 (lowest) to 5 star rating. So, almost before my book was published, the first 1-star reviews started to appear, from people who had never read it. After a week, even I wouldn’t have bought it.

    There is only one thing you can do in this situation. You ask every friend and family member to go onsite PDQ and 5-star your baby. You get your frauds to balance off their frauds. Ce n’est pas magnifique, mais (grâce à Amazon) c’est la guerre.

  • A Node

    Kempe 22 Apr, 2014 – 2:57 pm

    “Be careful that you haven’t fallen for a bit of disinformation. Truthers hate Aaronovitch’s book for obvious reasons and as you might’ve noticed around here a common reaction when a Truther is challenged is to accuse the challenger of being a paid “shill”. The logic being that only someone in the pay of the government would support the official version of events. It also saves the Truther from getting into a debate which they know they will loose. The same logic would dictate that good reviews of Voodoo Histories could only have come from the author or those in his influence plus of course there’s the added benefit of a smear.”

    However, if it turns out that Aaronovitch really has admitted to admitted to putting fake reviews of Voodoo Histories on Amazon, or encouraging others to do so, then it is you who have smeared the ‘Truthers.’

    Who are the smearers on this blog? Watch this space.

  • A Node

    Having considered the evidence, the jury concludes ….

    Kempe is the smearer.

    Again.

  • A Node

    BTW, I genuinely hadn’t read Mary’s confirmation of Aaronovitch’s admission when I posted my challenge to Kempe, and even if I had, my point would have remained.

    Apology, Kempe?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Re Aronovitch and his book reviews on Amazon

    Some here are in danger of forgetting that what is important is whether his arguments hold up and are convincing, and not whether he planted favorable reviews.

    To find out whether his arguments are convincing or not, you have to read the book and not the Amazon reviews.

    In a way, it’s a little like links, isn’t it. They are no substitute, in matters like this, to making up your own mind. (Apologies to Mr Douglas Scorgie)

  • Mary

    ‘Murdoch calling. Murdoch calling.’ I am just old enough to remember hearing ‘Germany calling. Germany calling.’ They knew how to do it in those days.
    http://www.rundfunk-nostalgie.de/sendero.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany_Calling

    ~~~~

    From the Medialens editors

    Murdoch’s propaganda machine in full swing on Russia.
    Posted by The Editors on April 22, 2014, 1:24 pm

    Two-page spread in this weekend’s Sunday Times:

    ‘Rise of the New Russian Empire’

    ‘Taking advantage of turmoil. Almost a century on, Putin and the crisis in Ukraine have disturbing parallels with the rise and pre-war territorial expansion of Hitler.’

    And, without any irony from within the belly of News International, Matt Rudd writes a classic of the genre:

    ‘This is the Kremlin calling: the propaganda channel in your living room.’

    We look forward to the following instalments of Rudd’s clever repartee:

    ‘This is Downing Street/Whitehall/Westminster calling: the propaganda channel in your living room.’

    For the relevant images, see our FB post below:

    DC

    Link: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=656709311032895&id=147079088662589

  • Kempe

    ” Apology, Kempe? ”

    Only if you have evidence that ALL the five star reviews of Voodoo Histories can be traced back to Aaronovitch and his friends, family etc and apologise on behalf of all the Truthers who posted negative reviews before the book went on sale.

  • Ben-Smoker, joker, red-eyed toker

    “German propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, was well aware of the necessity to seize every opportunity to benefit and promote the Third Reich.[4] Goebbels claimed the radio was the “eighth great power” [5] and he, along with the Nazi party, recognized the power of the radio in the propaganda machine of Nazi Germany.****** Recognizing the importance of radio in disseminating the Nazi message, Goebbels approved a mandate whereby millions of cheap radio sets were subsidized by the government and distributed to German citizens.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_propaganda

  • OldMark

    The enforced exile of the Chagos islanders, at the behest of the UK government and in the interests of Cold War realpolitik, is indeed a shameful chapter in our post war history, but Iain Orr is right to take Craig to task for the language he used here. Linking this episode to his ongoing pro- independence stance is also a bit lame, frankly.

    As for this being a ‘a key test for international law’, well, that may depend on the motivation of the party bringing this issue before the UN, namely, the Mauritian government. I doubt if they are doing this purely out of fellow feeling for the exiled Chagossians; they have done little to assist them since their forced relocation to the Mauritian mainland. The lease on the US base is of course due for renewal shortly; I suspect they are warm to the idea of becoming new landlords for the base, and would come to an amicable settlement themselves with the US over its continuation, should the partition of their archipelago by a cynical UK government 50 years ago retrospectively be declared illegal. The Chagos islanders may then be offered a few more crumbs, to add to the pitiful compensation already paid by the UK government, but a ‘return’ to their former homeland won’t be agreed.

    Meanwhile, as the O/T items include Aaronovitch’s own fake testimonials for his ‘Voodoo Histories’, here is an elucidation of why such self praise was necessary-

    http://spartacus-educational.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/voodoo-histories-role-of-conspiracy.html

  • Ben-Smoker, joker, red-eyed toker

    OM; Aaronovitch knows how easy it is to intimidate with identity politics. The deep sink of ‘conspiracy theories’ can color any germane conclusions as barmy.

    ‘Antisemitic’ has been an effective diversion as well.

  • A Node

    ” Apology, Kempe? ”

    Only if you have evidence that ALL the five star reviews of Voodoo Histories can be traced back to Aaronovitch and his friends, family etc and apologise on behalf of all the Truthers who posted negative reviews before the book went on sale.

    Why would I have to prove that?
    Mary was the first to bring this matter to our attention on the previous thread. She said:

    “I read some of the scribbler Aaronovitch’s piece in the Times today. He admits to getting family and friends to put in good reviews on Amazon for his rubbish book Voodoo Histories to counter the one star reviews put on by the ‘conspiracy theorists’ as he calls anyone who disbelieves the output of the corporate media.”
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/04/uk-moves-to-block-us-senate-report-to-protect-blair-straw-and-dearlove/comment-page-3/#comment-453343

    Then you came along and said:

    “Be careful that you haven’t fallen for a bit of disinformation. Truthers hate Aaronovitch’s book for obvious reasons and as you might’ve noticed around here a common reaction when a Truther is challenged is to accuse the challenger of being a paid “shill”. The logic being that only someone in the pay of the government would support the official version of events. It also saves the Truther from getting into a debate which they know they will loose. The same logic would dictate that good reviews of Voodoo Histories could only have come from the author or those in his influence plus of course there’s the added benefit of a smear.”

    (1) Read Mary’s comment. Is there evidence of of disinformation or smearing?
    (2) Read your own comment. Did you accuse the person who supplied the information of disinformation and smearing?

    If you answered (1) “no” and (2) “yes”, then you owe Mary an apology.
    If your answers were different, please explain why.

  • Richard

    Mick at 10.12am.

    I have no idea how the vote will go in September, but on this fact I’m sure that you are right; the people can vote “No” as often as they like, but they only have to vote “Yes” once. With the inexorable logic that some Canadian wag (in connection with the separatism of Quebec) called a ‘Neverendum’ they will almost certainly keep getting asked until they get the answer right. That is a pity for several reasons, but mostly because it keeps attention on this sideshow, this non-issue, while the country continues to go to hell in a bucket. Serious issues to do with the economy, education, the environment, the privatisation of the N.H.S., why our leaders continue to do anything that the nutters in Washington ask of them without question and to the detriment of Britain and her people are side-lined while we “debate” the merits of a petty and parochial separatism.

    It is ironic, given the Republicanism of many separatists, that they allow their sense of identity and the shape of contemporary British political discourse to be dictated by the power struggles between Norman-French-speaking aristos seven hundred years ago. Oh, well, what can be done?

    You may guess that unlike you I have little sympathy for the separatist cause.

  • CanSpeccy

    CanSpeccy,
    You must be aware that your outburst is absurd. I suspect you are taking the mickey, adopting the manner of a certain type of pub bore, but cranking the levels of crassness and ignorance right up to ‘dangerously deranged’, for comic effect.
    But if I’m wrong and you are actually serious,

    Good work. The usual liberal resort to insults and derision, without rebuttal of a single fact or argument.

    But it leaves open the question of whether English liberals are all brainwashed morons, as Tony_Opmoc suggests or — the only apparent alternative — perverted, self-hating white humbugs.

  • Foolish dissenter

    Mike – wasn’t the price for staying out of Vietnam the pound sterling & the British economy.

    Clark – I can’t help but suspect that you are being naive, just as many were naive about Obama. I say suspect, perhaps its just a feeling as I don’t base it on much empiric evidence. Its exciting to think of an independent Scotland, but politicians are politicians and surely deals will be done one way or another. New countries are like babies and they need grown ups to protect them or they face danger, or else they need to be very grown up and tough (eg Israel, which like it or loathe it has survived because it has been exceptionally realistic and tough). Look at the liberal party. I could not comprehend (well there was a change of leader) how having stood up on Iraq they suddenly folded over Libya, or indeed how all the parties with very few dissenters opposed Libya.

    Why are we not working towards a more regionally balanced United Kingdom, rather than a United States of Europe? Of course Ireland , Wales and Scotland have plenty to be aggrieved about and plenty to be proud of. Why don’t we build the New Atlantis here in our own yard including with those we might not get on with very well? I can’t help but feel, from a Welsh perspective that nationalism is rather defeatist; is celtic regional independence not finally waving goodbye to the long lost lands. Of course lands belong to no one ultimately and an over insistence on identity is rather sad, whatever that identity.

  • Foolish dissenter

    Mary: RT is doing not a bad job with propaganda either for lets not forget that is what it is. I am not complaining as I like to read and hear all propaganda. It will be interesting to see the response to Putin’s arctic naval base announcement.

  • Clark

    Foolish dissenter, 12:14 am; I don’t see any effective way to change or effectively influence the Westminster system. I helped campaign to change to the Alternative Vote system. That was defeated, and there probably won’t be another such opportunity for decades.

    I agree that politicians are politicians, but my argument is about structure. The Westminster structure is inherently unresponsive. That the Scottish Parliament has so many MSPs that are not from the major three British parties demonstrates that the Scottish system is far more responsive.

    My position is that Scottish independence would move power to some extent from politicians to the people.

    Yes, deals will be done over the Trident nuclear weapons. But Trident will have a more difficult time if Scotland becomes independent than if it doesn’t.

  • Not me but, etc (life really is good, you should try it)

    CanSpeccy

    I really don’t think I’m a brainwashed moron or a self-hating aryan or whatever it was you said.

    But I’m certain I’m not a fuçking liberal.

    I love and respect my father and those of his generation who fought against fascism with selfless bravery, sacrifice, and bullets.

    No pasaran. And that means you.

  • Macky

    OldMark: “Meanwhile, as the O/T items include Aaronovitch’s own fake testimonials for his ‘Voodoo Histories’, here is an elucidation of why such self praise was necessary-

    Thank you for that immensely enjoyable & totally devastating exposure of Aaronovitch.

  • Kempe

    “Meanwhile, as the O/T items include Aaronovitch’s own fake testimonials for his ‘Voodoo Histories’, here is an elucidation of why such self praise was necessary ”

    John Simkin has written about the Kennedy assassination and is/was the host of a website devoted to “research” into the event. Hardly an unbiased opinion, certainly someone with an interest in keeping the debate going.

    http://jfkfacts.org/tag/john-simkin/

  • Kempe

    “(1) Read Mary’s comment. Is there evidence of of disinformation or smearing? ”
    (2) Read your own comment. Did you accuse the person who supplied the information of disinformation and smearing? ”

    My comment was posted before the text of Aaronovitch’s latest opinion piece was posted here and wasn’t directed at Mary. If you read it I was only raising the possibilty that it could be deliberate misinformation.

    For the record I’m not a cheerleader for Aaronovitch. I’m aware that he supported the Iraq war and has some other unpleasant political views, Voodoo Histories is the only thing of his I’ve ever read (I won’t buy Murdoch papers either) and I think he hit the nail pretty squarely on the head with it.

  • OldMark

    ‘John Simkin has written about the Kennedy assassination and is/was the host of a website devoted to “research” into the event. Hardly an unbiased opinion, certainly someone with an interest in keeping the debate going.’

    Classic ‘play the man, not the ball’ response from you there Kempe. He may be an old Labour leftie who hasn’t swallowed the whole Warren Commission-Arlen Spector- ‘Magic Bullett’ farrago, but this background doesn’t invalidate his forensic demolition of your hero’s ‘Voodoo Histories’ I posted earlier.

  • Kempe

    “Forensic Demolition”? Where? He concentrates on the JFK assassination which occupies 15 pages of a good size book and provides no evidence. His claim regarding historians, proper historians, and their attitude to the Warren Report is just plain wrong too.

  • A Node

    “My comment was posted before the text of Aaronovitch’s latest opinion piece was posted here and wasn’t directed at Mary. If you read it I was only raising the possibilty that it could be deliberate misinformation.”

    Weasel words, Kempe. You begin with “Be careful that you haven’t fallen for a bit of disinformation” ie, deliberately false information, designed to mislead. You then suggest there are dishonest motives behind the post.
    You may not have been aware it was Mary’s post you were referring to, but nonetheless it is she you have maligned and owe an apology to.

  • Abe Rene

    This is a good point. An independent SCotland could wash its hands of Diego Garcia. On the other hand, the Labour party is stronger in Scotland. Labour activitists could try to get Milliband the Younger to reverse the stance of the unjust historic stance of the British government on this issue.

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