Jack Straw Follows Boris Johnson in Truth Telling 131


Jack Straw has been surprisingly truthful about Israel, following on from Boris Johnson’s welcome moment of candour about Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately I cannot recall Straw saying anything anywhere near this honest when he was Foreign Secretary. Yesterday he told Parliament’s International Relations Committee

@ 11:55:03
Lord Howell: “Even if by some miracle there was a different government in Israel and President Trump’s aspirations could go forward and there were some kind of settlement…. even if that happened, would that actually make more than a pimple of difference to the vast storms of the ethnic and religious wars and civil war in Syria, in Iraq?
Jack Straw: I think it would. Because I think to people not just in the Arab world but in the Muslim world the obvious injustices carried out, I’m afraid, by the Israelis against the Palestinians speak to them as of a world which is unfair and which doesn’t recognise justice for everybody, at all. And I don’t know how many of you and your colleagues have been to Israel and Palestine in recent years, I was last there three years ago, at this time of year, but the situation is terrible, and humiliating for Palestinians just going about their daily lives, constant gratuitous humiliations. I understand the security concerns of the Israelis, I do understand and I don’t dismiss them for a second, but much of what the Israelis have been doing is unnecessary, and their continuing flouting of international law and the building of these settlements and the incredible discrimination which they then go in for, so piping water to a settlement, for example, which I went to, in South Hebron, which is on top of a hill, so the Israelis have got water and electricity at relatively cheap prices, but denying water, piped water, just a couple of hundred meters down the hill to a Palestinian village, and then wrecking their cisterns, is an illustration of the problems the Palestinians face, and the difficulty of there being any kind of resolution. The other thing that I’d say is that were there to be a change of government in Israel, the chances are it would be a more right-wing government rather than a more left-wing government, because of the very profound demographic changes which have taken place in the last 25 years in the make-up of Israel’s population.”

I have never understood why it is almost universally accepted that diplomacy is the one area of government where dissembling, dishonesty and disguising what you really think is the best way to achieve results. We wouldn’t accept that approach as the best way for example to run the motorway network. I have never found misrepresentation and concealment to be any more effective in dealing with other governments than it is in dealing with other people in daily life. When I myself practised diplomacy I did so on the basis of being normally straightforward and saying what I believed the government I represented really to think. I would argue that over twenty years this approach worked perfectly well as regards successful dealings with representatives of other governments. It did not work well with Jack Straw, who sacked me. Assuming the above are his genuine views on Palestine, I still persist in the belief it would have been better had he acted on them as Foreign Secretary.


131 thoughts on “Jack Straw Follows Boris Johnson in Truth Telling

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  • Pete

    Craig, did you ever meet Sir Peter Ford, British ambassador to Syria 2003-2006? I heard him on radio four the other day, arguing with some American neo-con about Aleppo, Sir Peter Ford was pretty undiplomatic, dismissed the American’s claims saying “he’s just making it up!” and commented that the moderate opposition are a fiction and that “there’s never been a secular Arab regime that Britain didn’t want to overthrow.”

    If I hadn’t already lost all trust in the BBC I’d have been surprised that this guy wasn’t interviewed more often, after all Sky and Russia Today clearly know where to find him. Instead we have wall-to-wall emoting from Lise Doucette et al.

    • lysias

      Not to be confused with Robert Ford, the U.S. Ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014, who played a major role in getting the civil war going.

      • giyane

        It is 100% impossible for Jack Straw to be telling the truth.

        The Syrian conflict endgame has always been that Israel would take on the role of peace-keeping between the brutal Assad regime and the even more brutal Muslim Brotherhood.

        This role would give them permission to carve out a Greater Israel in the empty Syria. 15 million people have been displaced.

        But before they can be presented as eligible for peace-keeping, Mr Nasty has first to have a facelift and become Mr Nice. The incorrigible Zionist poodle Straw is just the man for the job.

        You know those logs in the river down where the buffalo and gazelles drink? They’re not logs…

      • Pete

        @Lysias, yes that was the American he was arguing with on radio four, they were both called Ford! Sir Peter Ford said of Robert Ford, “he’s making it up.” In a newspaper article he stated that “Cameron’s foreign policy was based on arrogance, ignorance, and wishful thinking.”

    • giyane

      Wall to wall support for Al Qaida on the BBC today.

      ” They don’t care about our freedom ” as pleaded by a retreating Aleppo rebel on radio 4 today was a bit rich coming from the Al Qaida People enslaver community.

      Bill Wiley from the Centre for International Justice and War Crimes said his organisation was funded partly by the UK government …. and focussed mainly on the Assad regime …

      I can’t find this organisation on the web. Maybe it doesn’t exist.

      • Sharp Ears

        described here in an anti Assad piece –

        Commission for International Justice and Accountability, (CIJA) an independent investigative body founded in 2012, in response to the Syrian war.

        previously
        Syrian Commission for Justice and Accountability (SCJA).

        Wiley is a Canadian lawyer working for the employers of the rebels.

      • giyane

        I found the NGO ‘Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA)’ But that was not the title given in PM.

  • bill williamson

    There is in the Labour Party a long tradition of support for Israel goiing right back to the early days after the war. Aneuran Bevan supported Israel. So did Michael Foot and Dick Crossman. Blair and Brown were supporters and Labour friends of Israel are a powerful group in the parliamentary party. Tom Watson, the current Deputy Leader is an active Zionist. Their motives have been mixed e.g. Bevan thought Israel was a socialist country! Tom Watson’s support arises from ignorance and an induced, uncritical sympathy for Zionism and a mistaken belief that Israel is a strategic asset and ally. In office, any doubts they had or have about Israel have been suppressed because the logic of the situation for office holders is that the UK is part of a broader network or system that constrains them to adopt pro-Israel positions. The ‘system’ involves US power and policies towards the whole Middle East, arms trading, military [email protected], intelligence sharing and fear of provoking Israeli criticism. It is held together by powerful PR from Israel and its supporters abroad – especially among Christian Zionists in the US. In Europe, there is a strong undercurrent of Holocaust guilt – especially in Germany – and the EU is powerless to influence Israel and any European politician who steps out of line is marginalised. The politicians get away with this supine stance because citizens allow them to. Foreign affairs are of little interest to mass electorates duped into believing that the key questions of politics are about individual well-being and prosperity. That’s why I have argued in my book, Place is the Passion: Reframing the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Radical Read 2016) that a peaceful resolution of this conflict depends a lot on radical changes in western public attitudes and concern for foreign policy, especially toward the Middle East. If the politicians won’t act – and Jack Straw is a good example of this – public opinion must compel change in their country’s representatives. To do that, many other changes are needed to strengthen both leadership and democratic dialogue in public affairs.

    • Ron

      they should also completely ban the ‘friends of Israel’ from parliament after all there’s no friends of luton group is there?

      • BJ

        That could be tricky, I believe that 88% of the Tory party are Friends of Israel and 64% of the Labour party.
        It might also be argued; if one was at all concerned about such things, that M.P.s of the Jewish faith are rather well represented in parliament.
        Were Muslims to be as equally represented: per head of the Muslim population, they would have over 200 M.P.s.
        Nothing, repeat nothing is going to change.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      It is fair to say that Israel were quite experimental and at the cutting edge of socialist thinking in the fifties and sixties and there was a great deal of sympathy for this people who had managed against huge odds to create what seemed like an oasis of modernity and rationality in the cultural desert that was post Ottoman Palestine. The Israeli’s created a great deal that seems rather worthy-agricultural and industrial systems that used then modern technology to raise living standards. The Labour party has always had many strands to it but one of the dominant themes has been creating a rational collectivism combined with an accommodating political environment for the propagations of the ‘civilising’ effects of technology. The roots of the gender politics of the modern Labour party lie in challenging archaic attitudes and stereotypes which had been based on largely religious beliefs (but also certainly had some kind of ‘ecological’ survival validity. Israel was very much involved in attempting to re-define gender attitudes to work and using technology to facilitate that process. Of course there are many inconsistencies in this convenient story,the biggest one being that there was no way of ennacting a ‘modern’ social vision such as this without cracking down pretty hard on the ‘regressive’ and ‘reactionary’ indigenous population as well as a residue of colonialism. The British somply seemd like the modern day equivalent of the Roman empire, and in itself an oppressive military force .
      Israeli’s also perceived themselves as welcoming and inclusive of the local existing population and perceived themselves as liberators and civilisers of them, and the proponents and facilitators of a superior democratic ideal, but this only works if you can put aside the major elephantine reality of the British colonial dictat post 1st world war, which simply decreed , in keeping with some deeply offensive (but then normalised ) sentimental Christian religious belief/ideas about re-establishing the Kingdom of God.
      There isn’t any secret that Israel changed direction in the eighties and moved energetically from this dabble in alternative, partially agrarian, and practical socialism towards a Thatcherite neoliberal high tech business model with an emphasis on sophisticated computer/coding/software, biotech and supercharged agribusiness and military systems all supported by an emphasis on education. It seems remarkably unsurprising that NuLabour would be highly sympathetic to this vision. Essentially we( the UK) are a rather inept lumbering and makeshift version of that vision.
      Of course there are countless moral conundrums and dilemmas here. Alliances with regressive and archaic anti-democratic religious despotism( Saudi/qatar/etc) and Turkey- rapidly deteriorating into a variant of Fascism.
      The problems of how to be positive about the Israelis-how to deal with the manifest oppressions of the Palestinians while maintaining the adherence to the ‘rationality’ of the techno-industrial, quasi-socialist social benefit, systems creates huge tensions. I noticed a right wing commenter in the Guardian today saying the Tories were not Neoliberals because they actually only want to reduce the costs of social benefits and collective ownership-rahter than wanting to abolish it altogether. It is a rather moot point but there is a weird logic to it too.
      Anyway-essentialy our politics does not in any way come close to articulating the kinds of tensions and degree of inconsistency that has been created by the advance of technical possibilities without any idea of how to distribute the benefits.

  • RobG

    With regard to the absence of the usual trolls from this board, I would guess that it has something to do with the Investigatory Powers Act (aka Snooper’s Charter) being recently passed into law in the UK.

    This Act makes the UK just about the most repressive regime on Earth, far more than the likes of China.

    When the trolls come back, as they will, they’ll be armed with this.

    I, of course, will continue to tell the trolls to feck off, and will continue to push for prosecutions of those within the security services and government.

    Think about it: this is where we are now at.

    How much worse does it have to get?

  • Sharp Ears

    Voices for Palestine at Christmas

    As part of the Make It Right Campaign, join us to celebrate the festive season with carols at Trafalgar Square and remember Palestine this Christmas.

    When: 17:00 -18:00, Thursday 22nd December
    Where: Trafalgar Square, Central London
    Nearest Tube Station: Charing Cross

    Singing for Palestine
    “Singers from the Choir of St Luke’s Church, West Holloway and the acclaimed north London choir Vox Holloway, directed by Justin Butcher & Harvey Brough, together with members of the London NUT Choir, supported by the brass quartet Holloway Brass, directed by Richard Leigh – carols from across the world and down the ages, raising funds for Amos Trust’s Women of Palestine Christmas appeal – see http://www.amostrust.org/give/women-of-palestine-appeal/

    Sponsored by the Palestinian Mission London

    Follow the Campaign:https://www.facebook.com/MAKE-IT-RIGHT-Palestine-2017-290667264668060/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

  • RobG

    When it comes to the ever collapsing American empire, the Philippines has been a notable recent one…

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-philippines-idUSKCN12K0AS

    But guess what..? Regime change, baby!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/14/philippines-president-rodrigo-duterte-personally-killed-criminals

    The only change will come when Americans start understanding the total lie that they live in; but don’t hold your breath on that one: many Americans believe that Donald Trump is a new broom.

    Are you serious?!

  • bevin

    “Their motives have been mixed e.g. Bevan thought Israel was a socialist country! ..”
    He was not alone in that. One of the first books I read on the subject was a Left Book Club book, written by an officer in the Army, full of stuff about gardens blossoming in the desert, kibbutzin where men and women toiled in equality, children in creches, socialist ideas etc. And then there was the TU Federation….
    The problem in the Labour Party is and was a refusal to get beyond imperialism of the “we are only doing it to help them, to assist them to develop” Macaulayan nonsense. It is the core of an ideology which could almost be called the British Idea: the Royal Navy safeguarding mankind’s sea lanes for the good of humanity, the District Officer in India, Nigeria, the Malay States (perhaps even the Mountie in Canada!) bringing peace, order and good government to savages only recently tamed after bloody centuries of cannibalism and treating their (rather attractive, actually) women badly.
    It is a well known story, founded as much in the un-self-conscious hypocrisy of Evangelicalism as in the dismal science of Political Economy (see Cannibalism above) and Utilitarianism.
    It was one of the things that inspired the Zionists, who saw it as a sure way to gain the assistance of imperialists by building an outpost of the west in the jungle or in this case desert (though Madagascar and Uganda had both been looked at before Palestine became available.)
    If you look at the history of the Labour Party it has always been infested with left liberals (former Utilitarians) like Colonel Wedgwood, and direct descendants of the imperialist bureaucracy-the Stracheys, Cripps..Virginia Stephens and her husband Leonard the former Ceylon Civil Servant and the Webbs-Beatrice being a Potter whose father was head of both the Great Western and Canada’s Grand Trunk railways, brought up among Indian Civil Servants.
    In short the Labour Party, Attlee being a prime example, has always been respectable, an alliance of Trade Union leaders and liberal intellectuals who skated around the edge of imperialism and its meaning just as they regarded capitalism as something that just needed to be run by the same sort of people who ran India, for the good of the people but not by the people. Hence Nationalisation without Workers Management.
    ( I think that I read somewhere that Corbyn is one of the very few, perhaps the only, Labour Party leader who had ever joined a picket line. )
    Zionism is a form of racism, that is impossible to doubt, and as an imperialist country Britain has always been infected by racism. Even to the extent that the working class and agricultural labourers particularly were regarded as an inferior stock, incapable of self government, addicted to drink and saved from idleness only by the stick of starvation and the fear of the master.
    Tom Watson doesn’t just believe that Palestinians need to be told what to do by white men, he believes that the working class needs to be told what to do by himself, Hillary Benn, Chris Bryant, Tristram Hunt and others who have been willing to sacrifice their lives to saving the people from themselves- a job for which the Labour Party, like the Democrats in the States, have unique qualifications.

    • RobG

      Bevin, any views on the ‘regime change’ that’s now going on in the Philippines?

      Not that America has ever overthrown any elected governments…

      Not that the elected poodles in the UK have their tongues firmly up Uncle Sam’s arse.

      As a Brit born and bred, I find this fecundity to be totally embarrassing; not to mention traitorous.

      • bevin

        The US regards Phillippines as its private property. It hates Duterte, who comes from Mindanao the scene of some of the worst massacres the US Army ever carried out-and as you know, that is saying plenty- massacres which have never been forgotten.
        I’ve no doubt that Obama would like to get rid of Duterte but I don’t know whether he will. Any US intervention would be on the side of a ruling class whose record of brutality and criminality makes Duterte’s macho posturing-and murders- pale in comparison.
        To put the matter into perspective document released this week in Washington record the attitude of the US to the disappearances being carried out by its friends in Argentina in 1983. Anyone who thinks these guys give a toss about murders knows nothing of their history. How many times did they attempt to kill Castro ? Something like 650, wasn’t it?

    • K Crosby

      I think you put that rather well, the only socialism in the Liarbour partei has been of the national kind. Remember that nice Mr Attlee who allowed Ukrainian and Latvian SS units to migrate to Britain while making sure that only token numbers of camp survivors were allowed in?

  • Roslyn Ross

    Israel is increasingly loathed around the world as occupier, coloniser and apartheid State. How they think they can get away with maintaining their abuse of the Palestinians beggars belief. But the insane rarely know they are insane – that is because they are insane. If Israel were an individual it would have been committed long ago for the sake of others and itself.

    Why anyone supports it is the question?

  • bevin

    This is from the Angry Arab blogspot. It puts the role of the UK in Yemen into proper perspective. It is not only supplying the weapons but, essentially, wielding them too:

    “The U.S. has been a silent partner to the war (in Yemen) ever since, supplying targeting intelligence, flying refueling missions for Saudi aircraft, and authorizing more than $20 billion in new weapons transfers. Since the beginning of his administration, President Barack Obama has sold $115 billion in weapons to the Saudis, more than any of his predecessors. Saudi Arabia is dependent on the U.S. in its bombing campaign, explained Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and 30-year CIA officer, at an event in April. “If the United States and the United Kingdom, tonight, told King Salman [of Saudi Arabia] ‘this war has to end,’ it would end tomorrow. The Royal Saudi Air Force cannot operate without American and British support.” ”

    There is also this:
    “40% of the 11000 injured in the 2014 war on Gaza have permanent disabilities. “

  • RobG

    Still no mention of the Philippines and the overthrow of a democratically elected leader.

    It’s all n-o-r-m-a-l, innit.

    (oh-my- God…)

  • Brianfujisan

    Yeh.. I Agree with those thinking there is some calculated thinking on Straw’s Newfound Conscience..Especially When HE, And They, Knew full well what the result of the Illegal war in Iraq would be

    Just Now ..Abby Martian has said.. ” Friends of Israeli Defense Forces’ got YouTube to take down our original video—even though we were within fair use guidelines for media—about state-backed settler terror against Palestinians. Please watch and share what they’re trying hard to censor “: http://bit.ly/2hC7V4E

  • Kief

    There is a lot of Karma related to the Trump supporters (including the hillary haters who seem to think that’s does not equate to Trump support. Laughably delusional perspectives won’t save them from the world wide consequences.

  • bevin

    The insistence on “Russian interference” being behind the Trump victory is getting beyond the weird and well into the sinister territoey. Moon of Alabama is quite sure what is happening :
    The “Elite” Coup Of 2016

    Other normally sober minded sites are also behaving peculiarly: Emptywheel, for example, is determined that Trump must have been put in power by the Russians. Normally Marci Wheeler is scrupulously fair and insistent on evidence being produced to support charges. But not in this case her latest piece contradicts Craig Murray at some length. But without evidence.

    Things seem to be progressing quickly. Anyone with decent contacts in the betting market should invest on the proposition that, one way or another, Donald Trump will not be inaugurated President. The odds ought to be astronomical, in excess of 100:1. But don’t be surprised if all you can get is 10:1.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      bevin

      I have enormous respect for Benhard of Moon of Alabama, and have read his piece. Whilst it entirely possible that Trump could have a “medical incident” such as a heart attack (which I also think highly unlikely) before January 20th, I think it extremely unlikely he would be denied the Presidency by the means that Benhard outlines – even though that probably is the plan of “the crazies”.

  • K Crosby

    Morning Craig, you’ve just had an honourable mention on this morning’s Cross Talk, although it appears that they don’t know that your real name is Craig Murrayski, the notorious Russian master spy….

    • Shatnersrug

      Omg!!! The front of the guardian today!! Hahahaha how embarrassing! Obama says retaliations against Putin’s hacking!!!! It’s so embarrassing! Doesn’t he realise that anyone who isn’t invoked either in the NYT the WaPo or the Guardian is laughing at him!

    • harrylaw

      K Crosby. His name is not Craig Murrayski as his credit card will prove, “Last year my bank phoned me up to check if I was really trying to buy a car with my credit card in St Petersburg” just two queries here.. 1/ He did not give a reply. 2/ I saw him pushing a Lada last week. [Only joking]

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    It is difficult to arrive at a sensible position vis a vis the situation in Syria in the face of such polarised rthetoric and misinformation.
    We seem to have a competition of hypocrisy -on the one hand the US/UK/EU perception of a despot killing of vast numbers of his own population with the assistance of the oppressively inclined Iranians and Russians. None of these actors seem remotely appealing to anyone who is not inclined to murderous solutions to political problems.
    There is also not much doubt that whatever the involvement of the US/UK/EU it
    (the west) was largely ‘content’ and provided low level logistical and other ‘facilitation’ and ‘support’ in the attempt by our lovely allies, the Saudis, Qataris, etc to finance and create a movement to unseat Assad.
    i am pretty sure that western Intelligence systems were well aware of these processes and indeed may have been actively involved in seeking them. there would no dount have been much glee at the thought that Assad could be brought down by a hands off-only distant involvement – and indeed no doubt also be making a lot of money from the sales of arms and equipment to the Saudi/Turkey.
    It is difficult, after the disasters of Iraq and Libya for russian not to see this as a real threat to any kind of influential position in the world. If Russia had sat back and allowed Assad to fall to this rag bag of religious crankery and opportunistic despotism, it would have been marginalised and ceased to be ay kind of serious actor.
    The hypocrisy, the dishonesty, is what stinks here. It envelops everything and arrives from all directions

  • Sharp Ears

    Trump chooses pro-settlement hardliner as Israel envoy. He is also relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    David Friedman in Jerusalem, Oct 2016
    David Friedman advised Mr Trump during his election campaign

    US President-elect Donald Trump has chosen right-winger David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to Israel.

    The 57-year-old lawyer is strongly critical of the long-held US goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    He also supports Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which the Obama administration considers an “obstacle to peace”.

    A liberal Jewish group opposed his nomination. Conservatives welcomed it.

    Mr Friedman said he looked forward to working “from the US Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem”, a statement that will anger Palestinians.

    The United Nations does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the US embassy has been located in Tel Aviv for decades.

    But Mr Trump had promised during the presidential campaign to move it to Jerusalem, one of several overtures he made to Israel.

    The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38337108

    There are no words.

  • mike

    US warplanes have just hit ISIS near Palmyra. Watch out for more “accidental” strikes on the SAA like we saw at Deir Ezzor. A stray bomb to the west and it’s, whoops, there goes the Tyas airfield. Sorry about that, it’s the fog of war, you know…

  • mike

    Barely a single mention of the fact that offshoots of al Qaida are among the “rebels” being carted off to the next hotspot, Idlib. This is a disgraceful omission by the corporate media. Do they really expect us to forget that al Qaida was the fucking REASON why we started the never-ending War on Terror in the first place?

    Today on Twitter, in reply to Owen Jones, George Monbiot (who sometimes manages his cognitive dissonance better than most) said “there are some right bastards among the Syrian rebels – on this we can all agree”.

    But no one does agree! It barely gets a mention in the mainstream narrative! So “we” don’t agree at all, I’m afraid, George. Most of your fellow “journalists” admit nothing of the sort. The fact that huge numbers of foreign militants – not fucking “rebels”! – were brought in from other countries and armed and trained by other states for the express purpose of regime-change does not figure in an explanation of what is happening and why. These facts have disappeared down the memory hole. The media is complicit in the deliberate destruction of yet another middle eastern state. And you can slice THAT one any way you like, Georgie boy.

  • mike

    Compare and contrast: Russia and Syria send thousands of militants off to their new homes in a convoy of buses; the US and UK air force kill an estimated 10,000 Iraqi conscripts in one day as they retreat from Kuwait in February 1991.

  • Node

    Yesterday I googled some key phrases from Jack Straw’s speech and found only this site. Did it again just now, searched for “Palestinian village, and then wrecking their cisterns”. There’s still only this site comes up plus two others (beforeitsnews.com and speymouthg.co.uk) reposting Craig. Also tried DuckDuckGo and Bing, exactly the same.

    Searching for “jack straw International Relations Committee” brings up parliamentlive.tv and parliament.co.uk where I can find a video and a reference. Presumably I can find a transcript in Hansard too.

    Is it the search engines imposing a blackout, or is Craig really the only person who thinks that a politician speaking the truth is newsworthy? Would anyone else care to check this and see if they get the same (lack of) result?

  • Sami Joseph

    I don’t think Straw is genuine. I suspect he just wants to please a section of his constituency.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    O/T but still on the subject of truth – the interception by the Chinese today of an unmanned submersible (a Slocum Glider) belonging to a US ‘oceanographic research’ ship is being presented as an outrageous affront by Western media. While some acknowledge that the USNS Bowditch, the parent vessel, is in fact operated by the USN’s Sealift Command, they seem to have missed its position as one of 29 ‘special mission’ ships within the command – with a very wide remit, certainly not confined to oceanography. Unlike the fleets operated by, say the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, or Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where the Slocum glider was developed, the USNS ships carry a military contingent numbering up to 27 personnel, described in Wikipedia as ‘military sponsor personnel’.

    The Slocum glider is designed to cover hundreds of nautical miles, sampling oceanic parameters at a wide range of depths as it travels. It can be fitted with virtually any sensor you care to name which doesn’t require too much power. And it transmits its data home via satellite during its brief stops at the surface. It’s a better long-distance surveillance instrument than a drone in some ways. Oceanographers worldwide use it or similar products from other manufacturers, for wholly innocuous ocean monitoring…but if I were Chinese, I too would be interested in establishing exactly what it is recording in this instance.

  • nevermind

    Wha its diplomacy worth? in a world of fake news, rampant right wing propaganda and disregard for the rules we once set outr for our conduct, does it really exist?

      • michael norton

        O/T
        Breaking News:
        Magnitude 8.0 earthquake strikes 157 kms east of Rabual, Papua New Guinea

        • michael norton

          Magnitude 8.0 quake hits east of Papua New Guinea, tsunami warning issued – a BIG ONE

          http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-papua-quake-idUKKBN1460CD

          A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck 157 km (98 miles) east of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, prompting a warning about tsunami waves in the region.

          “Widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said in a message following the quake, which struck the New Ireland region of Papua New Guinea at a depth of 73 km.

          The PTWC said tsunami waves were possible in the next three hours along some coasts of not only Papua New Guinea but also Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Nauru, Kosrae and Vanuatu.

          Not a mention on The Ministry of Truth BBC

  • mike

    Sorry for OT, but according to SouthFront and other outlets these are the names and nationalities of military advisers caught in Aleppo by Syrian Special Forces. An important development. Perhaps they should be held as PoWs.

    Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
    David Scott Winer – USA
    David Shlomo Aram – Israel
    Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
    Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
    Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
    Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
    Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
    Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
    Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
    Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
    Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
    Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
    Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan

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