The Self-Appointed Elite 331

I am an unrepentant enthusiast for the European Union, indeed a European Federalist. I think the freedoms of movement of people and goods within the EU are the most profound political achievement of my lifetime, and have made the world a very much better place.

I am therefore flabbergasted by the group of unpleasant elitist bastards who apparently will lead the pro-EU campaign for the referendum. How could anybody wishing to win a vote believe that a Board including Peter Mandelson and Danny Alexander is going to help? While the appointment of Lord Rose seems to confirm belief in the “Michelle Mone theory”, that selling knickers grants universal expertise.

Most egregious of all, the Executive Director is Will Straw, whose main qualification is that his father is a war criminal. Founder of the rabid anti-Corbyn website Left Foot Forward and every bit as Atlanticist as Liam Fox, Will Straw is as insanely pro-United States hegemony and as ultra-Zionist as only an extreme Blairite can be. He really is a deeply unappealing figure.

I have no doubt they will be flooded with corporate money. But what I want to know is this. If this referendum is supposed to be a democratic exercise, where every citizen is equal, what grants this self-serving sample of the metropolitan elite the right to nominate themselves as the In campaign? I don’t see how any decent person can have anything to do with them. Having had a lot of respect for Caroline Lucas, I must say if she really is going to work alongside Will Straw then my respect for her is going to plummet.

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331 thoughts on “The Self-Appointed Elite

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  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabis Bigotry

    On July 20, 2014, Kerry declared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.”

    Russian-made Buk anti-missile battery.
    But such U.S. government information is not mentioned in the 279-page Dutch report, which focused on the failure to close off the eastern Ukrainian war zone to commercial flights and the cause of the crash rather than who fired on MH-17. A Dutch criminal investigation is still underway with the goal of determining who was responsible but without any sign of an imminent conclusion.

    I was told by a U.S. intelligence source earlier this year that CIA analysts had met with Dutch investigators to describe what the classified U.S. evidence showed but apparently with the caveat that it must remain secret.

    Last year, another source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me they had concluded that a rogue element of the Ukrainian government – tied to one of the oligarchs – was responsible for the shoot-down, while absolving senior Ukrainian leaders including President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. But I wasn’t able to determine if this U.S. analysis was a consensus or a dissident opinion.

    Last October, Der Spiegel reported that German intelligence, the BND, concluded that the Russian government was not the source of the missile battery – that it had been captured from a Ukrainian military base – but the BND blamed the ethnic Russian rebels for firing it. However, a European source told me that the BND’s analysis was not as conclusive as Der Spiegel had described.

    The Dutch report, released Tuesday, did little to clarify these conflicting accounts but did agree with an analysis by the Russian manufacturer of the Buk anti-aircraft missile systems that the shrapnel and pieces of the missile recovered from the MH-17 crash site came from the 9M38 series, representing an older, now discontinued Buk version.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Baal intones:

    “If that’s the usual suspect, Bevin, that’s pretty well par for the course. Useless to point out that, given the size of Israel relative to the rest of the world, any ratio, including, say, that of the production of pigmeat in Belorus to the consumption of falafel in Haifa, is vastly to the disadvantage of poor little Israel and is antisemitic. Like ambulances…


    Yes, it is useless to point that out since the comparison was between the population of Israel and the population pf the Arab countries surrounding it and not with “the rest of the world”.

    Perhaps Baal’s readng vision is affected by the thinner air up there at his lofty perch on Mount Olympus?


    As for the figures on ambulances allegedly attacked, I note that his source is the Palestine Red Crescent. I do not say that the PRC is lying but how can Baal be certain that it is telling the truth and not inflating the figures – after all, it is hardly a disinterested party, is it.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “Jonathan Cook from within the belly of the beast.”


    Not really within the “belly of the beast” : Mr Cook doesn’t live in the State of Israel proper, he lives in the West Bank (Nazareth, I believe).

    And has been living there for years, writing highly critical pieces about the State of Israel and Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza and……surviving unscathed and untroubled.

    It’s a good job he isn’t living in Russia, China, Cuba or President Nicolas Maduro Moros’s Venezuela (to mention just a few of the countries the Eminences love so much). 🙂

  • Macky

    Re MH17, here’s an interesting CrossTalk discussion, where two people make the same point that I made above, namely without an intentional motive, how can a criminal case be made ?

    If people are going for criminal negligence, than Ukraine is already at fault for not closing down its airspace to civil traffic.

    If in a conflict zone, a wrong target is mistakenly hit, than NATO would never be out of court; as per the numerous wedding massacres, hospital hits, journalists killed, etc, etc

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “Habbabkuk: “Just for the record, the UK letter rate is not out of line with that of most Western European countries and the letter delivery service (including Saturday deliveries) is much better than in some of them.”

    In other words, “Not much worse than some other European countries””

    No, Glenn, those are not “in other words”.

    If you like: as good as in those other West European countries and much better than in some of them.

    Don’t try to be cute, it doesn’t suit you. 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel (aka Galilee).”


    You are right – and the point I was making is thereby reinforced.

    A writer like Mr Cook would not survive for long in any of the Arab countries neighbouring the State of Israel, whicj-h just goes to show that the State of Israel is a free and democratic country tolerating dissent (and dissent from a resident foreigner no less).

  • Mary

    Thank you for that reminder Lysias. I think the phrase ‘the belly of the beast’ hit a nerve, again! Here’s another variant of the word ‘belly’.

    Dark underbelly of Upper Nazareth politics
    14 January 2013

    On the tours I lead of Nazareth and Upper Nazareth, I explain the strange – in fact, unique – problem Israel faces in these two cities. Upper Nazareth was built to “Judaise” Nazareth: swallow it up and leave it a poor Arab ghetto suburb of a modern vibrant Jewish city.

    In fact, the task failed and many wealthier residents of Nazareth – starved of land to build on – bought homes in Upper Nazareth instead, to the point where a quarter of the city’s residents may now be Palestinian.

    We all knew Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, hadn’t taken this lying down. He’s building a new neighbourhood for 30,000 ultra-Orthodox (ie religious extremists), has brought in settlers who were moved out of Gaza, and has set up a hesder yeshiva, a seminary combining religious study and army service – ie for religious extremists with guns.

    But now we find out from the state comptroller (a sort of ombudsman) that he’s been doing all this through an illegal arrangement, backed by the government, that employed a “settlements adviser” at great expense – and paid for in part by his own Palestinian residents. The adviser, a rabbi called Hillel Horowitz, is one of the leaders of the Hebron settlers in the West Bank and is running for Habayit Hayehudi, a fascist party so extreme even Netanyahu avoided bringing it into his coalition.

    Anyone who really wants to understand where the logic of Zionism leads needs to study the dark underbelly of Upper Nazareth politics.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Occupation is occupation is occupation.

    Cook might not have been harmed but other Westerners have not been so lucky and have received a bullet in the head for their pains. As for the population under occupation… it is much worse.

    The fact that Arab regimes (in common with many other regimes) are oppressive and that people are killing people +++ in Syria and Iraq is another, separate, matter, a metter whose aetiology has been very discussed in great detail on this blog and elsewhere.

  • Mary

    This story was carried on the BBC main news just now and will feature on Reporting Scotland.

    A psychopath in the police force has been named.

    Sheku Bayoh custody death officer ‘hates black people’
    By Mark Daly
    BBC Scotland Investigations Correspondent

    The beautiful young woman who was the partner of the dead man and who is mother of their child spoke.

  • Mary

    A little more on Nazareth for the elucidation of the uninformed commenter. I visited in the 80s and found it a sad place.

    ‘Two years after Nazareth Illit was founded in 1954, the first settlers arrived in line with the government plan of “Judaizing the Galilee” to safeguard the “Jewish character” of the Israeli state. In 1954, despite protests from Palestinians, the first 1,200 dunams of land were expropriated from Palestinians, supported by laws that permitted the government to declare land a military zone and seize control of it for “security reasons.” In 1957 Nazareth Illit was built as a development town, officially being established in 1962 and continuing to grow and attract Jewish immigrants and large industries.

    At the moment, Nazareth Illit is continues to achieve what it originally set out to do: halt the development of Arab Nazareth by overpowering and strangling it economically, politically and socially. As Abu Ali sorrowfully exclaimed, “it is Nazareth Illit that all along was planned to be the thriving city, not the original Nazareth where the majority of Arabs live.” He added, “I have been in the souq for 30 years and don’t know where I will go from here; there is nothing I alone can do.”’

    Nazareth, the neglected city of Jesus

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “As for the population under occupation… it is much worse.”

    Are you talking about Israel proper?

  • Herbie

    Habby isn’t very familiar with Israel if she thinks Nazareth is in the West Bank.

    I’d therefore treat her many outpourings on Israel with a pinch of salt.

    Clearly clueless on the issue.

    Explains a lot.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    The fact that there have been documented conspiracies throughout history does not justify certain people claiming that virtually every political event of modern times occurred because of a conspiracy.

    But I do understand that life must seem dull after a career in the services and that there is a need to compensate; into which one should also factor that delicious feeling of “I can see clearly where others are blind”.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “No need to provide any examples of abduction by the Western security services, most notably the CIA. They are too well-known to require any listing.”

    No lists necessary – just mention a couple of examples.

  • bevin

    Talking of open democratic societies tolerant of dissent:

    Israelis shout obscenities at dying Palestinian child
    “Onlookers can be heard shouting insults at the bleeding boy, including, “Die, son of a whore!” Another person tells the police to “give him one in the head.” The video has generated shock even among Palestinians regularly exposed to the occupation’s violence. Wattan TV said that it demonstrated the “ISIS-like and terrorist” mentality of Israeli occupation forces and settlers toward Palestinians.”

  • glenn

    Habbabkuk : “If you like: as good as in those other West European countries and much better than in some of them.

    I did actually wish I’d phrased it a little differently, tbh. How about: “No worse than that of several other European countries”?

    Surely that’s a record we can be proud of. What about the rest of my challenge:

    Can anyone think of an example of the country being better served by one of its institutions being sold off, usually on the cheap, and very often to foreign profiteers?

  • Herbie

    I see, habby.

    Your defence to an ignorance of Israel’s internal political status is to point to someone else’s ignorance in the rather arcane matter of Switzerland’s membership, or not, of international bodies.

    That’s poor, very poor, and places in even further doubt anything you may say about Israel.

    The truth is, you simply haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

    Please confine yourself to matters you know something about.

    That should cut down on your spam.

  • lysias

    Michael Scheuer has admitted that he started the rendition program while he was an officer in the CIA. Cited Wikipedia article lists many examples, including the Abu Omar case that led to the conviction in an Italian court of law of several CIA officers.

  • Mary

    The Kunduz post is way back now.

    The President of MSF, Dr Joanne Lui, has been speaking on Hardtalk.

    Stephen Sackur speaks with Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières, Doctors without Borders. In early October, American forces in Afghanistan fired missiles into a Kunduz hospital killing 22, including 12 staff working for MSF. The organisation demanded that the incident be investigated as a war crime. But in the world’s most dangerous conflict zones, is it possible to save lives and not take sides?

    24 mins. Available for 11 mths.

  • Tony M

    Even in the days of the Taliban, MSF were left to do their work, including women’s clinics.

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