The UK In The Dock 61

I am delighted by the news that the International Criminal Court is to investigate war crimes committed by British armed forces in Iraq. The ICC – which in principle I strongly support – needs to show that it is not simply a tool of neo-con policy. It has confined itself to date to action against the defeated or the authorities of very poor countries. If it is to regain the support of decent people, which the concept of the ICC certainly deserves, it has to show itself prepared to act against the wealthy and victorious when necessary.

The other good thing about the ICC is that it will not confine itself to considering the prosecution of junior personnel. The reaction of the UK and US authorities to their own crimes is to refuse internal prosecution where possible, or if absolutely forced to do so, to sacrifice a pawn like Lynndie England or Donald Payne – the kind of people the politicians and billionaires are happy to see die to promote their interests anyway. The ICC investigators will rather be looking for evidence of structural and policy complicity leading to the very top – and I certainly can vouch there is plenty to find. I do hope Hoon and Straw find their sleep patterns disturbed.

It is two days since I saw Phil Shiner interviewed by Gavin Esler on this, and it was really extraordinary to watch. Esler appeared to find it intellectually impossible to comprehend that senior UK officials and “even Ministers” could find themselves up before the judges at The Hague, alongside “the likes of Charles Taylor and Slobodan Milosevic”.

I almost feel sorry for Gavin Esler. His job gives him access to an enormous amount of information, but he is only capable of absorbing and processing it through a filter of establishment narrative. The fact that in invading Iraq, British ministers were responsible for more deaths than Milosevic, or even than Charles Taylor, is something which he is somewhere, deep down, aware of as an abstract truth, but he has self-censored from synthesizing it into his world view.

Gavin Esler. What a wanker.

I should also just note that the dossier has been given to the ICC by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. You may recall I gave a talk there two years ago.

Here is Gavin Esler happily at work, peddling without question a narrative that turned out to be entirely false and a very transparent piece of state-funded propaganda:

Here is Esler reacting when somebody says something actually true, but which the political establishment do not wish you to hear:

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61 thoughts on “The UK In The Dock

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  • Mary For Truth and Justice

    Will Ed press for Chilcot release? 🙂

    Miliband challenged over ministers’ explanations for Iraq war decision
    Chilcot inquiry points out that Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Gordon Brown have given ‘three rather different explanations’, and asks foreign secretary to explain why he voted for war
    8 March 2010

    ‘Ed Miliband has already been warned, by Peter Mandelson among others, that he will have to be careful in his response to Chilcot. I’m sure he will be. But he has little personally to fear from it. Indeed its publication will allow him to assert that the next Labour government will in crucial details operate differently from the last one. It will help Miliband detach himself from some of the more unfortunate aspects of the New Labour legacy. Labour stands to gain politically from Chilcot, not be damaged by it.’

    ‘That could mean the next general election being fought against the backdrop of heavy criticism of the Blair government’s support for the US-led invasion of Iraq – an unnerving prospect for key advisers to the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

    A leading Labour figure, who will be among Mr Miliband’s closest confidants at the election, told The Independent the party would not want the “hurt and trauma” of Iraq to be revisited close to an election. He said the report held the potential to “remind the electorate of what went wrong” and the “fiasco on our watch that left a prime minister discredited”.’

  • Ba'al Zevul (Demoniser)

    I think your opinion of Esler may be a little severe – not having a thought-destruction box flickering in my living room. I haven’t really come across him, but this piece suggests to me that he is in fact as thick as the proverbial two short ones, and probably a congenital nomark. And cannot help it. The masturbation is merely incidental, and should not be the target of your opprobrium.
    Respectfully yours…

  • guano

    Tony M
    “The same quote from Craig Murray: “… access to an enormous amount of information, but he is only capable of absorbing and processing it through a filter of establishment narrative.” could almost apply to Murray himself, his hilarious and I still hope tongue-in-cheek posts here (on his own blog too, how dare he) on the west’s war machine’s latest follies, in Ukraine, might well have been the work of a slavish junior or intern, anxious to please his masters ‘upstairs’, he seemed to have slipped back into an ultra-establishment, greasy pole shinning obsequiosness, anxious to rejoin the bandwagon suspended in thin air over the edge of a cliff…”

    Strong criticism of your host.

    As I have said before, I think that Craig undergoes a personality change when he gets near an election, or in this case, a referendum. The political Craig downloads the staus quo narrative in order to move onto his thesis, in this case the case for Scottish Independence, Yes etc.

    That is a different Craig from the one that whistleblows against the establishment, against his own material interests and safety. In fact Gavin Esler is not a wanker, he is doing the same as Craig, bypassing whole swathes of discussion in order to focus on a particular issue, viz feminist hijacking of Assange’s whistleblowing.

    Trouble is that if you do that, as Craig has done recently by talking about events in Ukraine in FCO cold war terms, one misses the burning issue so far as I’m concerned, which is the issue of Macchiavellian UKUSIS war on Syria.

    NATO is on the same side as Russia and Iran against their ideological enemy, Islam, and they gave Russia the Crimea with a nod and a wink, to compensate them for their loss of ports in the Mediterranean in Libya and Syria. NATO used Russia to bolster Assad against Al Qaida and the population of Syria, and now they want Russia out the way, the anti-aircraft technology switched off, so that they can hit Assad and Israel can take control of its northern neighbour.

    This betrayal of Al Qaida was totally predictable to the majority of Muslims. But USUKIS deceived political Islam with carrots such as ging them back control of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the formation of a re-united Kurdistan and the creation of a Sunni country in Eastern iraq and Western Syria.


    What Assange did in bed with a feminist, and what USUKIS promised political Islam is totally irrelevant. The fact is that another Muslim country has been destroyed by us, and Gavin Esler and Craig Murray want to talk about sexual consent and the Ukraine.

  • Mary For Truth and Justice

    Mr Axelrod (The Axe) must try harder. LOL

    Miliband election adviser in name-spelling tweet blunder
    David Axelrod tweet

    Axelrod addresses shadow cabinet
    Labour hires Obama poll guru Axelrod

    Labour’s new election campaign adviser has misspelled Ed Miliband’s name in a tweet praising the party – which then linked to a spoof Twitter account.

    David Axelrod wrote: “Enjoyed my visit with @Ed_Milliband and his @UKLabour team.”

    The reference to Ed Miliband with its incorrect spelling actually links to a spoof Twitter account in the Labour leader’s name. The site includes tweets saying: “I am resigning.”

    Mr Axelrod has now corrected the tweet.


    Does the placing of this story mean that ZBC is behind Cameron?

    I read this morning in the Times that Clegg is employing his own election guru, one Ryan Coetzee. He is employed as a special adviser and is therefore paid from the public purse.

    The Times have just picked it up. They must also try to keep up. 15 April 2014

  • mark golding


    The detritus of nature is our problem and my dilemma. Perhaps our minds have become disconnected from source and therefore from each other. We live cocooned, insular, cut off from the annoyance and failures of existence; the lies, the bullying, the model of despair, the betrayal of trust.

    The fragmentation of Union must therefore be an oxymoron, an allusion towards recovery from the blue devils of our sick rat race. It is not.

    Forget politics, forget justice, I am weary of the confab, the quarrel. All that remains is a slap, an advance, a push of the reset button, a way out of devolution.

    To me that is what Scotland’s autonomy is. The light at the end of a tunnel. Hope.

  • Peacewisher

    Mary…. this is an inevitable consequence of the independence of the BBC (once sancrosact?) being eroded. All our state apparatus is being politicised… including health and education. Blair and Brown used this to their advantage, and it is hardly surprising that Cameron isn’t doing the same. If the BBC was doing an Independent job, David Cameron would have been forced to resign after his association with Coulson and Brooks was exposed. This is the reality, and I’m sure Miliband knows it. That is probably one reason he got Axelrod… in an effort to counteract.

    However, I can’t say I’m sorry that the BBC are publishing embarrassing stories about the previous administration’s adventures in the Middle East.

  • Tony M

    Peacewisher: Can you point me to or summarise the BBCs embarassing stories about the previous administration’s adventures in the Middle-East. I don’t believe that is the case, and find such a claim surprising and at odds with my own observations and conclusions. While there should be and will be no escape for Westminster’s war criminals past, a certain amount of water has gone under the bridge, and broadcasters have no prosecutorial role, their focus should be on what the present lot are doing here and now and what they are planning next, amongst which will be arranging immunity for themselves and for the last lot. You get Blair and Straw and the LaBour Party held to account and punished for their supporting roles in one of the greatest orgies of mass-murder human history has ever seen, by getting co-conspiratorsCameron and Hague and cohorts, still in power, stopped and dealt with now. I don’t hold the view that there are good people remaining out of sight in either of the Labour, Tory or LibDem parties, these are criminal conspriracies against the public good and interest and against peace, anyone hoping to have a defence of innocence, or even of credibility should have been out and blowing the whistle loud and hard on everything they’ve seen and heard, for whatever good it might do, and also because a point in time and in history has passed where presumption of guilt merely by association, would be entirely justified and has become necessary.

  • Peacewisher

    They don’t do it overtly, Tony, but there is definitely an undercurrent that started with “Cash for Questions” shortly before Blair prepared to leave office. It is to the credit of the British people that calls for justice have continued to grow since the Chilcott inquiry, and the BBC have given these calls due publicity, when presumably they could have suppressed them.

    More specifically, the audience reaction on Question Time yesterday was reasonably spontaneous, but also predictable. Are you suggesting that it is thanks to David Dimbleby and the panel (Tory & Labour excepted), rather than the BBC, that this issue was allowed to be held up to public scrutiny?

  • Tony M

    @Peacewisher: I don’t watch Question time, don’t suffer any of the BBCs mainstream product, so I can’t comment on that example. I find establishment public inquiries invariably become exercises in PR if not set up with that express purpose, the BBCs Question Time also never amounts to more than superficial stage-managed lightweight puff.

    I still, with a plurality of others contend that the BBC is not doing a great job, or even any sort of job except to cause mischief and harm in messing with people’s minds recklessly and is figuratively awash in innocent’s blood, from fetid basements to executive suites and everything and everyone in between dripping wet. You’ve not suggested differently or even planted reasonable doubt with your charming anecdotal tale and character reference and testimonial, in lieu of any sort of credible plea from them in their own defence being possible, and there is nothing whatever to suggest such an outfit is fit to continue, could change, or reform, other than for the worse. The BBC by willingly assuming the mantle of Goebells ministry of propaganda on behalf of a similar gang of fascist thugs running amok at Westminster these last decades, will deservedly be smashed in the long overdue resultant overwhelming tumult fast approaching.

    Linked with the massacre in the forests of Katyn of the Polish elite by the Soviets, the vicious destruction of the principles of law at the Nuremberg trials established a precedent; those who devised this could not have conceived that such hostages surrendered to fortune as their very own trembling hides or those of their successors and inheritors, could one day be found in the dock subjected the full weight of the uncorrupted forces of law than to the arbitrary punitive retribution they dished out. The mildly-cross multitudinous mob would dispense with them all too willingly and quickly at this stage with relish and it is difficult to say which is the better option. Perhaps both.

  • Peacewisher

    I see what you mean. Mary!

    So not only did Cameron surround himself with the alleged architect of “Phone Hacking on an Industrial Scale”, he also appointed one of the of the key workers behind the war based on lies. Hmmmm! If only Miliband could find his spine again… that speech on phone hacking was his finest moment.

  • Mary For Truth and Justice

    90% of All Deaths In War Are Civilians
    Global Research, May 16, 2014

    Washington’s Blog

    And the U.S. Launched 201 Out of the 248 Armed Conflicts Since the End of WWII

    The June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health notes (free PDF here; hat tip David Swanson):
    ◾Around 90% of all deaths in war are civilians:

    “The proportion of civilian deaths and the methods for classifying deaths as civilian are debated, but civilian war deaths constitute 85% to 90% of casualties caused by war, with about 10 civilians dying for every combatant killed in battle.”


  • doug scorgie

    Mary For Truth and Justice
    16 May, 2014 – 9:30 am

    That is interesting Mary because Ed Miliband had previously refused to be drawn on the issue of Zionism.

    I wonder why the change of heart.

  • mark golding

    Ed Miliband is sitting ‘in the wings’ Doug, cooling his heels for the Neo-Labour victory next year.

    In place is Rory Stewart MP as the new chairman of Westminster’s Defence Select Committee.

    The game has been loaded,the moves have been made and hey the ‘dodgy dossier’ erased from history. NATO and the United States of Europe is ‘running up the flagpole’ for the opening of the gates of hell in Russia. Whispers in the Admiralty are connecting and President Putin knows it.

    Dispensable? Unrequired? yes we are!

  • Rehmat

    Aha, good-old BBC.

    Last year, UK’s so-called “Crown Corporation”, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Jewish Governor, Baroness Ruth Deech, has called for an apology from internationally-famed violinist Nigel Kennedy for calling Israel “an apartheid state”. She said Kennedy’s remarks were “offensive and untrue”. She also claimed that there is no apartheid in Israel or the Israeli occupied PA territoris (Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem).

  • ToivoS

    Boy Craig can be naive. Support the ICC?? It has been used to prosecute those who are in opposition to US and UK policies. Or really poor leaders from black Africa. It is an institution that makes of mockery of international law. To think, even for a moment, it will be used to prosecute, let alone convict, war criminals working for the UK is delusional.

  • ben

    dont think id ever watched that clip about assange in full.. what a farce that section was. and so embarrassing to have someone from the ‘independent’ spouting such guff. every single point she and Esler made was turgid bollocks and can be swiftly answered. they were total and complete establishment mouthpieces at that point.
    “i just want him to go to sweden” strange.. why would she not be satisfied with a telephone call, or an email exchange, or a video call, or a visit to the embassy? all of which have legal precedent for resolving such matters pre-actually-being-charged-with-anything!
    anna ardin has appeared on television media talking about the case, so yes, she can be named, and yes, its probably quite pertinent to point out some facts about the case that they’re all so apparently eager to find out about and resolve.
    but no, as soon as you delve into the established facts, it falls apart, and they daren’t even look at it.
    why did Wilen refuse to sign her statement?
    why was Ardin in the room with her while she was giving it?
    how can they maintain this boohockey about it being ‘easier to extradite from the UK’ when we can point to at least 2 high profile Sweden-to-undesirable circumstances extraditions in the Egyptians Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery?
    why is it ok for sweden to simply refuse to give reason for their refusal to do the interview in the country where the accused is, when they have previously done one for a murderer accused while he was in serbia?
    even without giving the guarantee to not extradite to the USA, can we not recognise Ecuadors diplomatic right to make an assessment of the LIKELYHOOD of that risk, based on… well, E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G., but crucially the existence of a ‘secret’ court that has been cooking up, for the last 2 years, a subpoena for Assange.

    its just eternally depressing that the assumed intellectual authorities in media are often the most deceitful and harmful to the public discourse. for shame.

  • John Goss

    Ben, I have reason to believe that Ardin was an agent having worked in an embassy in South America and Stockholm. There is circumstantial evidence too. Why she sat in on the Wilen interview is incomprehensible unless it was to help dictate proceedings. I am not sure about whether Wilen had any prior involvement with the Spooks but suspect not. Others would not agree. However I believe both women have been promised substantial payouts if they can deliver Assange. Proving it would be difficult.

    The best thing that can happen is for Reinfeldt to be voted out in September and speedy negotiations with a proper government then ought to see the matter sorted, that is, Massi Fritz, Claes Borgstrom, Marriane Ny and the prosecution team should come, or send representatives, to London to question Julian Assange. He should then be free to return to his native Australia. The Australian embassy has left much to be desired in this case. That was because Bob Carr was Minister of Foreign Affairs and in bed with the Yanks. (Conversely he has called for the return of land to Palestine – so not all bad). The new minister of foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, spoke out in opposition about why Bob Carr had let an Asutralian suffer in this way. She might not find it as easy now she is in office because of other Americanophiles in high places.

    There is no case. If there had been it would have been prosecuted while Assange was in Sweden. This is totally political.

  • babushka

    “That was because Bob Carr was Minister of Foreign Affairs and in bed with the Yanks. (Conversely he has called for the return of land to Palestine – so not all bad). ”

    Dear John Goss

    Thank You for your analysis on this.

    It is the ‘not all bad’ that ‘gets’ me

    as there is no one person who is ‘all good.’

    Some years ago I was deeply moved by a book written by a lawyer-The Almond Picker.

    It was set in Italy, and the author (from dim recollections in my ‘senior’ years) was Anglo/Italian and female.

    That deeply poignant story provided my very first experience/knowing, the hideous effects of ‘political correctness/properness’ in the restrictive/repressive/controlling/totalitarian that today personifies our PTB.

    Meaning: criminals in charge of the jail
    looneys in charge of the asylum

    Not all mafia people are bad
    and not all ‘proper’ people are good

    And most concerning/alarming of all

    few people ‘know’ themselves, while ‘expert’ on Others.

    “totally political’ (EGO) is almost the total opposite of ‘True Self’ (Spirit=who we are each born to BE, while on Planet Earth…)

  • Mary

    Saw this on Medialens. Unbelievably, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones sent a letter to BLiar supporting him in the Iraq War.

    Now the hypocrite is involved in a movement called Playing for Change.

    He and his lot are also performing in Israel despite many pleas not to go.

    Rolling Stones to Perform Debut Israel Show for Record Sum
    Legendary British rock band reportedly finalizing early summer show, offered record $4.5 million.

  • Mary

    Rehmat. I agree about the awfulness of Deech, an ardent Zionist but she is not a governor at the BBC now. It became a trust in Jowell’s time when she was at DCMS.

    Trustees are:

    Coyle is married to Rory Cellan Jones, technology correspondent. BBC is incestuous. Think of the Dimblebys.

    PS When I see the word ‘trustees’ I think of the word ‘trusties’ as applied to a long term prison inmates!

  • Mary

    That’s a coincidence Sofia. Brian posted in on Squonk giving its author praise and I agreed.

    Did you hear how Libyan ‘adventure’/intervention/war that the axis inflicted on Libya ended up?

    From Medialens –

    Benghazi is being bombed from the air.
    Posted by Peter on May 17, 2014, 10:56 am
    (Blogged here)

    This from a BBC article:

    ‘Fierce clashes in Libya killed 24 people on Friday after a paramilitary force led by a former general attacked Islamist militias in Benghazi.

    Local media reported that government troops had also joined the attack against the Islamists.

    But acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni condemned the operation as “a coup against the revolution”‘.

    The article goes on to say that ‘Eyewitnesses told the BBC that an Islamist militia base was attacked by helicopters and warplanes’.

    The ‘former General’ is Khalifa Haftar, who spent years living in Virginia in the U.S. (i.e. C.I.A. country), but who returned to Libya in 2011 to aid the ‘rebels’, and who was almost certainly a C.I.A. asset at some point in his career.

    Anyway, this guy is now reportedly bombing Benghazi from the air, and assaulting it from the ground – the prospect of which was apparently intolerable in March 2011, when it was Gadaffi threatening to do similar.

    And it will be interesting to see if the coalition of neo-conservatives, liberal imperialists, ‘humanitarian interventionists’ and pro-war anti-war activists who supported bombing Libya in 2011 to prevent such a thing happening have much to say this time around. My guess is that the silence will be deafening, as usual.

    That, or you’ll get the usual string of ‘Teething problems’ / ‘You can’t expect it to become Sweden overnight’ / ‘Are you saying Gadaffi would have been better?’ type arguments that we are still hearing about Iraq over ten years later.

    Anyway, I would say if you are able to mobilize jets and combat helicopters, like Haftar apparently has, then you have pretty big sway within the Libyan armed forces.

    That the acting Libyan Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, has condemned the attack on Benghazi is a strong signal that he’s not really in charge. And it leaves you wondering just who is.

    What you can say with a degree of certainty, though, is that 3 years on from NATO’s brutal ‘humanitarian intervention, the country is still a complete and utter mess.

  • Jemand

    Make no mistake about it. The UK will NOT appear in the dock, ever. Some hapless corporal, sergeant, lieutenant maybe but absolutely no one of any political import will appear as a defendant. That’s a fact.

  • James

    Craig…. the way you conducted yourself was admirable.

    My “dim” view. It’s a “set up”.
    Of course we’ll hear the “it woz rape” crowd.
    This guy provided “proof positive” America acted “way out of order”.
    They don’t like that !

    America has little or no credibility at all these days.

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