Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling 176

It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.

Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

The BBC was of course gutted following its revealing of the truth about Iraqi WMD, and the subsequent murder of David Kelly. Following the ousting of Greg Dyke, both Governors and Directors-Generals have been known supporters of the war. Of the 107 bureaucrats in the BBC who earn over 100,000 pounds pa, insiders estimate that only five were opponents of the war. Craig Oliver – who has now left the BBC for Cameron’s media operation – and James Purnell are absolutely typical of the BBC Iraqocracy.

Every current editor of a UK national newspaper supported the Iraq war. At the time of the war there was one editor opposed – Piers Morgan – who subsequently became a derided and marginalised figure. Not only are the editors firmly from the neo-con alliance, but the high profile commentators who cheered on the war – David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, John Rentoul, Rod Liddle etc. – have all seen their careers flourish. None has suffered from their appalling lack of judgement. There is no similar raft of commentators who were against the war who enjoy such constant media promotion and massive salaries. Many, like Peter Oborne, have suffered unexpected career glitches. There is no head of a major TV channel in the UK who was against the war in Iraq.

The theme runs through all the public professions. Of the hundreds of academics who took firm positions against the Iraq War, I cannot find a single example who went on to become a University Vice-Chancellor or Principal. By contrast actual war criminals Richard Dearlove and Valerie Amos were parachuted into academic leadership posts. The Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces were all true believers, compared to the massive scepticism that existed among senior officers.

The Iraq test even extends into the heads of institutions apparently quite unrelated, such as City of London banks and insurance companies. There are a tiny number of heads of FTSE 100 companies who were against the war.

It is not that there is an Iraq test. It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus. All these professionally successful people share a number of attitudes, of which support for the Iraq War is a good indicator. There is a very strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and fierce Zionism. But there is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics. The strongest correlation of all lies in support for the Iraq War and for “business-friendly” tolerance of corporatism, TTIP, multinational tax avoidance, low taxation and marketization of public services including in education and health.

To return to where I started, the quite extraordinary thing is that there is a near-universal recognition in wider society that the Iraq War was both completely unjustified and a dreadful strategic blunder. Yet its support is a major pre-condition for membership of the governing elite.

The answer of course lies in its value as an indicator for a broad range of neo-liberal consensus attitudes. That is why both the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn provide such a threat to the Establishment, through denying those attitudes. The fascinating thing is that the SNP and the Labour Party could be the only public institutions in the UK of any note with an anti-Iraq War leadership. The significance is that, in slightly different ways, both the prominence of the SNP and of Jeremy Corbyn are the result of a public revolt which the Establishment has been trying, absolutely desperately, to cut off.

Ed Miliband did not actually vote against the Iraq War, contrary to popular myth. Having both the Labour and SNP parties led by people who reject the raft of values symbolised by the Iraq test, who have broken through the depleted uranium ceiling, is a massive, massive threat to the meritlessocracy. Institutional control appeared to be complete and impermeable. Suddenly they face the danger of the opinions of ordinary people carrying weight. Expect the media control mechanisms to whir into still greater overdrive.

176 thoughts on “Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling

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  • Ruth

    Yes, there’s very tight control of positions of power and this includes the judiciary and legal profession. In sensitive cases you get Establishment judges to do the ‘right’ thing. There are certain chambers which have a reputation for manipulating their client’s defence to conform to government wishes.

  • Salford Lad

    Excellent analysis Craig. The IRAQ war cheerleaders litmus test is certainly proven. We now know who our predators/deceivers are after this exposure.
    As the Roman Justice system asked, ‘CUI Bono’. Who benefits.
    The like;ly culprits can be deduced from this simple question.
    Who gained from the Iraq War. The Military Industrial Complex ,Oil Corporations and Zionism of course.
    The perpetrators of Dr David Kellys’ death can be deduced from this reasoning. They facilitated or worked alone on this operation.

  • MJ

    “He comments in 1957 that “the Thing is more secure than it was 50 years ago””

    An interesting remark given that, only ten years earlier, Atlee’s government had introduced a radical programme of public services and taxation that was not seriously undermined until the arrival of Blair in 1997.

  • Macky

    @Anon1, you key fame on this blog is an Islamophobic troll, whose last propaganda efforts at demonizing Muslims fell apart the moment Clark was kind enough to take it serious & look at it; the only fellating going on here is your opportunistic & inadvertent support for Craig, simply because his anti-Russian position fits in with yours, you being the type of person that Craig’s above Post is referring to. Instead of childish insults, why don’t you try to address the point I made, and while you are at it, also the other two points I’ve made on the last two threads, as Craig obviously doesn’t want to.

  • Silvio

    Friedman played a significant role in this campaign, writing numerous columns in which he promoted the myth that Saddam Hussein’s regime either possessed or was developing weapons that threatened the United States, and lambasting the Clinton administration’s unwillingness to face up to the scale of the supposed danger posed by Iraq.’

    Interesting that a week after 9/11 anthrax filled letters were sent to two US politicians (the only ones who were publicly questioning the need for a quick passage of the so-called Patriot Act) and to members of the US media. Initially Iraq was fingered by some politicians and in media reports as the most likely source of the anthrax spores, although further investigation finally found the spores in the letters actually originated in a domestic US lab that did work for the US military and intelligence agencies.

    Synopsis of Prof Graeme MacQueen’s book: THE 2001 ANTHRAX
    DECEPTION: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy

    The 2001 anthrax letter attacks in the United States killed five people and wounded dozens. They were widely blamed on extremist Muslims and their backers and used to support the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    They were also used to justify and hasten the passage of the USA
    PATRIOT Act, which was being presented to Congress just as the first
    anthrax victim grew ill.

    In October 2001, one of the hypotheses that gained ground was that of the Double Perpetrator, the claim that al-Qaeda was carrying out the attacks with the support of Iraq. Much evidence was put forth to support this Double Perpetrator hypothesis but independent scientists soon discovered that the anthrax spores came from a domestic lab in the US serving the military and intelligence communities, not from al-Qaeda or Iraq.

  • Simon

    Brilliant, depressing, what can be added to this analysis. This is why we pay you so handsomely 🙂

  • Roderick Russell

    Re MJ @ 1.30 PM comment above – I can’t answer for APJ Taylor’s comment in 1957 that “the Thing is more secure than it was 50 years ago”. I don’t know if he was correct or not.

    However, I don’t think that members of “the Thing” were really bothered about the cost of the Attlee NHS et al since they would not have paid for it anyway. High taxes often batter the middle classes and damage investment, but they seldom effect the really rich who pay very little taxes anyway, here or elsewhere.

    However, I would suggest that “the thing” is even more dominant today half a century later. One example: as we all now know “The Thing” has repeatedly shut the entire legal system down to protect establishment pedophiles from justice – and at the expense of children in care too. To be able to behave in this disgusting manner and get away with it takes serious power. There are many other lesser examples of abuse of power by “the thing” – my own case being one of them.

  • fedup

    Now we have Islam barbecuing people alive the world really has moved on.

    And racist scum like you are free to get on with inciting hatred against Islam and Muslims !

    If you mean Daesh the creature of the western SIS that has been burning people alive, what has that to do with Islam, or Muslims?

    PS for the benefit of others; read the comments in DM (the same DM that came out in support of Mussolini) the hatred and venom directed at the Muslims and Islam and the calls to annihilate/eradicate them, is a token representation of what is now accepted and tolerated frame of reference to Muslims.

  • Daniel

    Despite the reservations I have with your claims regarding David Kelly, this has to be your greatest ever post. Quite brilliant and on the button.

  • craig Post author


    Perhaps I was unclear? The current Chiefs of Staff were all pro-war. The Chiefs of Staff at the time were not.

  • twoleftfeet

    Anon1, this isn’t the first time you’ve claimed that Iraqis are generally pleased Saddam was removed. Maybe this time you could provide some information or data supporting your claim? BTW, we don’t have “Islam barbecuing people alive”, we have a relatively small number of psychopaths tainting a religion with their vile interpretation and being directly or indirectly supported by the US, UK, Israel, Saudi, Turkey and who knows what others.

  • bevin

    Refreshing to see RR`s references to The Thing. William Cobbett, as both Karl Marx and William Morris knew, wrote with such perception and regularity (essentially, weekly over a thirty three year period) that his works remain the most important writing on politics in the language. Which goes a long way to explaining why he is alternately jeered and trivialised by bearers of the liberal imperialist ideologies that he exposed and fought.
    As to Major Attlee and The Thing, he was very much a part of it, a determined enemy of the socialist left and a reliable promoter of the Cold War. It would be very surprising if a man whose wartime role was a crucial as his had not been made a member of the Establishment. As to the achievements of the 1945 government all involved the sort of compromises which have made them easy to dismantle; the nationalised industries, for example, on the insistence of Mandelson`s grandfather, were organised in rigidly hierarchical corporate fashion which, in the long run, ensured that employees would remain alienated from them. It was in 1945 that, following the debacle of 1931, The Thing finally swallowed that part of Labour which had remained outside of it. Fabianism had always been part of The Establishment.

  • bevin

    Re the astonishing observation that
    `…Seriously though even the the Iraqis don’t bang on about the Iraq War as much as the left does..“ This sort of idiocy refutes itself. As twoleftfeet points out it is a blood libel of epic proportions to blame Islam for the behaviour of the US-UK sponsored, trained and financed ISIS, though it does appear, like its predecessor AQ, to have slipped the leash.
    No serious person, however, doubts (Patrick Cockburn had a perceptive article in The Independent a day or two ago) that ISIS owes its current ability to conquer and occupy territories to the support it has received and continues to receive from Turkey, Israel, Jordan and their western allies. ISIS exists to carry out a sectarian war which is the fruit of western civilisation`s strategic cunning.
    Supporters of NATO who want to identify those responsible for these atrocities need look no further than the closest available mirror.

  • Republicofscotland

    Very good article Craig, so it now appears that the pro-war zionist neoliberals, who backed the Iraqi madness, are now in influencial positions across the spectrum.

    Whilst those who opposed the murder and mayhem in Iraq, have found themselves out of favour, so to speak.

    Westminster must by now have a plethora of gatekeepers in just about any field, that they can call on when war or austerity for that matter, is the order of the day.

    To recap, the Westminster system is corrupt, bar a few individuals it sets out its agenda, and it has academics and army personnel in high places to back that agenda up, whether it’s right or wrong.

    Finally the agenda can be carried out with or for the benefit of a foreign nation, because such a nation has powerful political friends within the Westminster government.

    For our part the vox populi, we are spoon fed propaganda in order that we may look kindly upon the cause, and support it.

    Roll on Scottish independence.

  • Republicofscotland

    DU weapons and how they were tested in the UK.

    In 1996, the UN Subcommission on Human Rights classified Depleted Uranium (DU) ammunition as an indiscriminate ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction’, and a ‘Crime Against Humanity’.

    Grant Wakefield, of opposition group ‘The Fire Next Time’, says: “The use of DU, and the subsequent massive efforts to downplay its after-effects represents one of the most stupendous and outrageous lies ever told by Western governments.”

    A minimum of 940,000 rounds of DU were fired by US forces during the Gulf ‘war’. An estimated 300 metric tonnes of DU material was deposited over vast tracts of land, primarily in Southern Iraq. A letter was sent to the Royal UK Ordnance on April 21st 1991 by Paddy Bartholomew, Business

    Development Manager of AEA Technology, the trading name for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Enclosed was a ‘threat paper’, marked ‘UK restricted’ which set out the true nature of the contamination:

    “US tanks fired 5,000 rounds, US aircraft many tens of thousands of rounds, and UK tanks a small number of DU rounds. The tank ammunition alone will amount to greater then 50,000 lbs. of DU. […] If the tank inventory of the DU was inhaled, the latest International Committee of Radiological Protection risk factor calculates 500,000 potential deaths.

    The DU will spread around the battlefield and target vehicles in various sizes and quantities. [….] It would be unwise for people to stay close to large quantities of DU for long periods and this would obviously be of concern to the local population if they collect this heavy metal and keep it.”

    Many thousands of DU tipped shells have been test-fired from the Dundrennan range, and the Solway Firth though the MoD insist that the environmental contamination caused by the shells is negligible as “they were fired into a cloth target” and there was no known risk to public health.

    This process, which sets up the Dumfries countryside and its local population as an open air medical experiment, was halted recently, ironically, because of restrictions over access to land due to foot and mouth disease. But now they’re testing again.

    While the after-effects of depleted uranium are shrouded with expected secrecy, the bald facts are made plain in several key reports. A frank admission from the US in 1990 stated: “Short-term effects of high doses can result in death, while long-term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer.”

  • mog

    Great analysis, very telling.

    I would go one step beyond ‘meritlessocracy’ to describe it as a kakistocracy. Like in organised crime gangs, the self incrimination demonstrates loyalty to a neocon ideology that is, when stripped bare, essentially fascistic.

  • eddie-g


    Thanks for clarifying, I think we’re agreed. Definitely my understanding that the Chiefs of Staff in 2003 were skeptics; I don’t know about the current lot.

  • RobG

    @Robert Crawford
    1 Sep, 2015 – 11:47 am

    As I’ve probably said before, the USUK use of depleted uranium munitions, and the ensuing catastrophic health effects, is one of the biggest recruiting tools for nutters like ISIS.

    Republicofscotland quoted: “Many thousands of DU tipped shells have been test-fired from the Dundrennan range, and the Solway Firth though the MoD insist that the environmental contamination caused by the shells is negligible as “they were fired into a cloth target” and there was no known risk to public health.”

    I don’t know about the British military, but just about all depleted uranium artillery rounds used by the American military don’t have a casing. These rounds are, in effect, a lump of radioactive waste. After firing, as the round travels at high velocity, air friction makes it very hot and the outer part of the shell burns off and becomes aerosolized. According to some this is just as much a threat to human health as when the round actually hits its target.

  • Tom Welsh

    I think you will find that UKIP adopted a firm stance against the Iraq war. Just as today it advocates strengthening the British armed forces and using them purely for the defence of this country. Standing as it does principally for the continued (or renewed) independence of the UK, UKIP does not support participation in wars fought for the benefit of foreign nations or multinational corporations.

    It’s amusing to see how many people marvel that “a right-wing party” should be against war. UKIP isn’t right-wing: its main policies are orthogonal to the conventional “left-right” axis. It’s pro-British, which actually differentiates it from some other parties a lot more than you might think.

  • Mark Golding

    1 Sep, 2015 – 3:44 pm

    The Chiefs of Staff questioned the legality of the Iraq war and having done both some homework unquestionable ‘Macho Jacko’ General Jackson and Chief of the Defence Staff Michael Boyce were pro Iraq war – Period.

  • Tom Welsh

    Thanks very much, Craig, for that densely distilled summary of the consequences of dissent. It’s a useful supplement to some of the things MediaLens and others have long been telling us; for instance, that overt censorship is unnecessary when journalists, editors, and media proprietors all know very well which side their bread is buttered. These are very subtle interactions and influences, and it is very useful to have them dissected and illuminated as you do.

  • Republicofscotland

    DU shells fired in one area have left DU dust in areas six klms away.

    DU particles being found six kilometres away in the village of Milom. Across the Solway, Dundrennan has been used for assessing the accuracy and range of the UK’s 120mm DU tank rounds. Since 1982, more than 6000 rounds have been fired from the cliffs into the Solway, equating to 31 tonnes of DU.

  • Ben-Hemp Rules

    There is no ceiling on supporting the Status Quo. If you scratch a ‘progressive’ liberal you’ll find a whole lot of statist sap. Bernie Sanders, the Soshulist, finally was pinned down on foreign policy on sunday and he peddled the ‘exceptional american’. The US should remain the military juggernaut it is, because that’s a good thing for the World. Of course it’s not completely the fault of politicos who must pander to the low-information voter. Much of the blame rests with the electorate who want their ears tickled by liars and charlatans.

  • CanSpeccy

    David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, John Rentoul, Rod Liddle etc. – have all seen their careers flourish. None has suffered from their appalling lack of judgement.

    They didn’t lack judgement, they lacked conscience. The ruling elite is psycho. That’s why there are so many psychopaths — psychopathology pays, and the psychos know that it is essential (for their own advancement) to support the party, especially when it is “wrong.”

    Anyhow, in what way was the Iraq war wrong? It began the process of smashing up the nation states of the ME, and helped distract attention from the destruction of the nation states of Europe through mass immigration, multiculturalism, and petty state separatism, all of which you support. So what’s a few tons of depleted uranium and thousands of deformed babies compared to the advent of global governance.

    Long live our psychopathic elite and their Internet enablers.

  • Republicofscotland

    Andrew Feldman, chairman of the Conservative Party, is one of Cameron’s oldest friends.

    “I’m always telling him to bring out his inner Semite,” said Feldman, referring to Cameron’s Jewish ancestry (Cameron is descended from the Jewish financier Emile Levita).

    The former head of Britain’s Armed Forces, General Sir David Richards, has blamed David Cameron for the rise of Islamic State (ISIS).

    The boss of MI6, Sir John Sawers told Cameron that intervention in Libya is not a matter of ‘national interest’.

    When Benghazi was secure, General Richards said that hostilities should cease and talks be opened with Gaddafi. Cameron ruled out the suggestion.

    In 2012, Peter Oborne at the Telegraph pointed out the very close connections between David Cameron’s Conservative Party and Israel.

    80% of all Conservative Members of Parliament MPs, and most Conservative Cabinet ministers, are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

  • Mary


    Lord Boyce was a director of VT Group plc naval shipbuilders in 2008. He seems to have relinquished it.

    His current register of interests reveals:

    Category 2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

    Adviser, Computer Science Corporation

    Chairman D Group Advisory Board

    Strategic Adviser, ATOS Origin

    Senior Adviser, Protection Group International (risk-mitigation and security company)

    Adviser, W S Atkins plc

    Adviser, Sherpa Millbank (strategic counsel to companies)


    General Sir Mike Jackson retired in 2006.

    ‘At the end of 2006 Jackson took up a consultancy job with PA Consulting Group,[69] and he has given lectures on leadership. He also serves as a non-executive director for ForceSelect and security company Legion and is a member of Rolls-Royce’s International Advisory Board.’

    ‘Since leaving the army Jackson has also made a number of corporate speaking appearances, applying his military values to a business environment with a company called Military Speakers.’

    Plus their CGS pensions of course.

  • Mary

    Another director of the D Group is

    ‘Sir Richard recently retired from seven successful years as Head of the UK Government’s Defence and Security Organisation. During his tenure DSO helped deliver over £60bn in export sales for the UK. Prior to DSO Sir Richard held senior positions in BP with regional responsibilities covering Africa, Russia and the Middle East. He is now active across a range of commercial interests.’

    Also there is Jane Corbin, infamous for the BBC travesty ‘Death on the Med’, her account of the Mavi Marmara killings by the Israelis.

    ‘Broadcaster, author and journalist specialising in the Middle East, Central Asia, defence, intelligence and nuclear proliferation issues.’ !!

  • Robert Crawford

    Republicofscotland and RobG, thank you both for the more detailed account on DU in the Solway.

    I despair at times what my countrymen and women accept from the government. I never believe a word they say.

    It is mainly the rich English who live down there. I wonder if they are aware of DU in the Solway?

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