Chagos and the Dark Soul of the British Labour Party 634


Even if you think you know all about the Chagos story – an entire population forcibly removed from their island homeland at British gunpoint to make way for a US Air Force nuclear base, the people dumped destitute over a thousand miles away, their domestic animals gassed by the British army, their homes fired and demolished – then I beg you still to read this.

This analysis shows there could be no more startling illustration of the operation of the brutal and ruthless British Establishment in an undisguisedly Imperialist cause, involving actions which all reasonable people can see are simply evil. It points out that many of the key immoralities were perpetrated by Labour governments, and that the notion that either Westminster democracy or the British “justice” system provides any protection against the most ruthless authoritarianism by the British state, is utterly baseless.

Finally of course, there is the point that this is not only a historic injustice, but the injustice continues to the current day and continues to be actively promoted by the British state, to the extent that it is willing to take massive damage to its international standing and reputation in order to continue this heartless policy. This analysis is squarely based on the recent Opinion of the International Court of Justice.

Others have done an excellent job of chronicling the human stories and the heartache of the Islanders deported into penury far away across the sea. I will take that human aspect as read, although this account of one of the major forced transportations is worth reading to set the tone. The islanders were shipped out in inhuman conditions to deportation, starved for six days and covered in faeces and urine. This was not the 19th century, this was 1972.

The MV Nordvaer was already loaded with Chagossians, horses, and coconuts when it arrived at Peros Banhos. Approximately one hundred people were ultimately forced onto the ship. Ms. Mein, her husband, and their eight children shared a small, cramped cabin on the ship. The cabin was extremely hot; they could not open the portholes because the water level rose above them under the great weight of the overloaded boat. Many of the other passengers were not as fortunate as Ms. Mein and shared the cargo compartment with horses, tortoises, and coconuts. Ms. Mein remembers that the cargo hold was covered with urine and horse manure. The horses were loaded below deck while many human passengers were forced to endure the elements above deck for the entirety of the six-day journey in rough seas. The voyage was extremely harsh and many passengers became very sick. The rough conditions forced the captain to jettison a large number of coconuts in order to prevent the overloaded boat from sinking. Meanwhile, the horses were fed, but no food was provided for the Chagossians.

Rather than the human story of the victims, I intend to concentrate here, based squarely on the ICJ judgement, on the human story of the perpetrators. In doing so I hope to show that this is not just a historic injustice, but a number of prominent and still active pillars of the British Establishment, like Jack Straw, David Miliband, Jeremy Hunt and many senior British judges, are utterly depraved and devoid of the basic feelings of humanity.

There is also a vitally important lesson to be learnt about the position of the British Crown and the utter myth that continuing British Imperialism is in any sense based on altruism towards its remaining colonies.

Before reading the ICJ Opinion, I had not fully realised the blatant and vicious manner in which the Westminster government had blackmailed the Mauritian government into ceding the Chagos Islands as a condition of Independence. That blackmail was carried out by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The court documentation makes plain that the United States was ordering the British Government on how to conduct the entire process, and that Harold Wilson deliberately “frightened” Mauritius into conceding the Chagos Islands. This is an excerpt from the ICJ Opinion:

104. On 20 September 1965, during a meeting on defence matters chaired by the United Kingdom Secretary of State, the Premier of Mauritius again stated that “the Mauritius Government was not interested in the excision of the islands and would stand out for a 99-year lease”. As an alternative, the Premier of Mauritius proposed that the United Kingdom first concede independence to Mauritius and thereafter allow the Mauritian Government to negotiate with the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States on the question of Diego Garcia. During those discussions, the Secretary of State indicated that a lease would not be acceptable to the United States and that the Chagos Archipelago would have to be made available on the basis of its detachment.
105. On 22 September 1965, a Note was prepared by Sir Oliver Wright, Private Secretary to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Sir Harold Wilson. It read: “Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam is coming to see you at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The object is to frighten him with hope: hope that he might get independence; Fright lest he might not unless he is sensible about the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago. I attach a brief prepared by the Colonial Office, with which the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office are on the whole content. The key sentence in the brief is the last sentence of it on page three.”
106. The key last sentence referred to above read: “The Prime Minister may therefore wish to make some oblique reference to the fact that H.M.G. have the legal right to detach Chagos by Order in Council, without Mauritius consent but this would be a grave step.” (Emphasis in the original.)
107. On 23 September 1965 two events took place. The first event was a meeting in the morning of 23 September 1965 between Prime Minister Wilson and Premier Ramgoolam. Sir Oliver Wright’s Report on the meeting indicated that Prime Minister Wilson told Premier Ramgoolam that “in theory there were a number of possibilities. The Premier and his colleagues could return to Mauritius either with Independence or without it. On the Defence point, Diego Garcia could either be detached by order in Council or with the agreement of the Premier and his colleagues….”

I have to confess this has caused me personally radically to revise my opinion of Harold Wilson. The ICJ at paras 94-97 make plain that the agreement to lease Diego Garcia to the USA as a military base precedes and motivates the rough handling of the Mauritian government.

Against this compelling argument, Britain nevertheless continued to argue before the court that the Chagos Islands had been entirely voluntarily ceded by Mauritius. The ICJ disposed of this fairly comprehensively:

172. …In the Court’s view, it is not possible to talk of an international agreement, when one of the parties to it, Mauritius, which is said to have ceded the territory to the United Kingdom, was under the authority of the latter. The Court is of the view that heightened scrutiny should be given to the issue of consent in a situation where a part of a non-self-governing territory is separated to create a new colony. Having reviewed the circumstances in which the Council of Ministers of the colony of Mauritius agreed in principle to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago on the basis of the Lancaster House agreement, the Court considers that this detachment was not based on the free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned.

A number of the individual judges’ Opinions put his rather more bluntly, of which Judge Robinson gives perhaps the best account in a supporting Opinion which is well worth reading:

93. … The intent was to use power to frighten the Premier into submission. It is wholly unreasonable to seek to explain the conduct of the United Kingdom on the basis that it was involved in a negotiation and was simply employing ordinary negotiation strategies. After all, this was a relationship between the Premier of a colony and its administering Power. Years later, speaking about the so-called consent to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago Sir Seewoosagur is reported to have told the Mauritian Parliament, “we had no choice”42It is also reported that Sir Seewoosagur told a news organization, the Christian Science Monitor that: “There was a nook around my neck. I could not say no. I had to say yes, otherwise the [noose] could have tightened.” It is little wonder then that, in 1982, the Mauritian Legislative Assembly’s Select Committee on the Excision of the Archipelago concluded that the attitude of the United Kingdom in that meeting could “not fall outside the most elementary definition of blackmailing”.

The International Court of Justice equally dismissed the British argument that the islanders had signed releases renouncing any claims or right to resettle, in return for small sums of “compensation” received from the British government. Plainly having been forcibly removed and left destitute, they were in a desperate situation and in no position to assert or to defend their rights.

At paragraphs 121-3 the ICJ judgement recounts the brief period where the British government behaved in a legal and conscionable manner towards the islanders. In 2000 a Chagos resident, Louis Olivier Bancoult, won a judgement in the High Court in London that the islanders had the right to return, as the colonial authority had an obligation to govern in their interest. Robin Cook was then Foreign Secretary and declared that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would not be appealing against the judgement.

Robin Cook went further. He accepted before the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva that the UK had acted unlawfully in its treatment of the Chagos Islanders. And he repealed the Order in Council that de facto banned all occupation of the islands other than by the US military. Cook commissioned work on a plan to facilitate the return of the islanders.

It seemed finally the British Government was going to act in a reasonably humanitarian fashion towards the islanders. But then disaster happened. The George W Bush administration was infuriated at the idea of a return of population to their most secret base area, and complained bitterly to Blair. This was one of the factors, added to Cook’s opposition to arms sales to dictatorships and insistence on criticising human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia, that caused Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell to remove Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary.

Robin Cook was replaced by the infinitely biddable Jack Straw. There was never any chance that Straw – who received large donations to his office and campaign funds from British Aerospace – would stand against the interests of the arms industry or of the USA, particularly in favour of a few dispossessed islanders who would never be a source of personal donations.

Straw immediately threw Cook’s policy into reverse. Resettling the islanders was now declared “too expensive” an option. The repealed Order in Council was replaced by a new one banning all immigration to, or even landing on, the islands on security grounds. This “coincided” with the use of Diego Garcia, the Chagos island on which the US base is situate, as a black site for torture and extraordinary rendition.

Straw was therefore implicated not just in extending the agony of the deported island community, but doing so in order to ensure the secrecy of torture operations. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the depths of Straw’s evil. This was New Labour in action.

The estimable Mr Bancoult did not give up. He took the British Government again to the High Court to test the legality of the new Order in Council barring the islanders, which was cast on “National security” grounds. On 11 May 2006, Bancoult won again in the High Court, and the judgement was splendidly expressed by Lord Hooper in a statement of decency and common sense with which you would hope it was impossible to disagree:

“The power to legislate for the “peace order and good government” of a territory has never been used to exile a whole population. The suggestion that a minister can, through the means of an Order in Council, exile a whole population from a British Overseas Territory and claim that he is doing this for the “peace, order and good government” of the Territory is, to us, repugnant.” (Para 142)

The judgement did not address the sovereignty of the islands.

Unlike Robin Cook, Jack Straw did appeal against the judgement, and the FCO’s appeal was resoundingly and unanimously rebuffed by the Court of Appeal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office then appealed again to the House of Lords, and to general astonishment the Law Lords found in favour of the British government and against the islanders, by a 3-2 judgement.

The general astonishment was compounded by the fact that a panel of only 5 Law Lords had sat on the case, rather than the 7 you would normally expect for a case of this magnitude. It was very widely remarked among the legal fraternity that the 3 majority judges were the only Law Lords who might possibly have found for the government, and on any possible combination of 7 judges the government would have lost. That view was given weight by the fact that the minority of 2 who supported the islanders included the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham.

The decision to empanel only 5 judges, and the selection of the UK’s three most right wing Law Lords for the panel, was taken by the Lord Chancellor’s office. And the Lord Chancellor was now – Jack Straw. The timing is such that it is conceivable that the decision was taken under Straw’s predecessor, Lord Falconer, but as he was Blair’s great friend and ex-flatmate and also close to Straw, it makes no difference to the Establishment stitch-up.

If your blood is not now sufficiently boiling, consider this. The Law Lords found against the islanders on the grounds that no restraint can be placed on the authority of the British Crown over its colonies. The majority opinion was best expressed by Lord Hoffman. Lord Hoffman’s judgement is a stunning assertion of British Imperial power. He states in terms that the British Crown exercises its authority in the interests of the UK and not in the interest of the colony concerned:

49. Her Majesty in Council is therefore entitled to legislate for a colony in the interests of the United Kingdom. No doubt she is also required to take into account the interests of the colony (in the absence of any previous case of judicial review of prerogative colonial legislation, there is of course no authority on the point) but there seems to me no doubt that in the event of a conflict of interest, she is entitled, on the advice of Her United Kingdom ministers, to prefer the interests of the United Kingdom. I would therefore entirely reject the reasoning of the Divisional Court which held the Constitution Order invalid because it was not in the interests of the Chagossians.

It is quite incredible to read that quote, and then to remember that the British government has just argued before the International Court of Justice that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction because the question is nothing to do with decolonisation but rather a bilateral dispute. Thankfully, the ICJ found this quite incredible too.

You may think that by the time it fixed this House of Lords judgement the British government had exhausted the wells of depravity on this particular issue. But no, David Miliband felt that he had to outdo his predecessors by being not only totally immoral, but awfully clever with it too. Under Miliband, the FCO dreamed up the idea of pretending that the exclusion of all inhabitants from around the USA leased nuclear weapon and torture site, was for environmental purposes.

The propagation of the Chagos Marine Reserve in 2010 banned all fishing within 200 nautical miles of the islands and, as the islanders are primarily a fishing community, was specifically designed to prevent the islanders from being able to return, while at the same time garnering strong applause from a number of famous, and very gullible, environmentalists.

As I blogged about this back in 2010:

The sheer cynicism of this effort by Miliband to dress up genocide as environmentalism is simply breathtaking. If we were really cooncerned about the environment of Diego Garcia we would not have built a massive airbase and harbour on a fragile coral atoll and filled it with nuclear weapons.

In retrospect I am quite proud of that turn of phrase. David Miliband was dressing up genocide as environmentalism. I stand by that.

While the ruse was obvious to anyone half awake, it does not need speculation to know the British government’s motives because, thanks to Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables, we know that British FCO and MOD officials together specifically briefed US diplomats that the purpose was to make the return of the islanders impossible.

7. (C/NF) Roberts acknowledged that “we need to find a way to get through the various Chagossian lobbies.” He admitted that HMG is “under pressure” from the Chagossians and their advocates to permit resettlement of the “outer islands” of the BIOT. He noted, without providing details, that “there are proposals (for a marine park) that could provide the Chagossians warden jobs” within the BIOT. However, Roberts stated that, according to the HGM,s current thinking on a reserve, there would be “no human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the BIOT’s uninhabited islands. He asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents. Responding to Polcouns’ observation that the advocates of Chagossian resettlement continue to vigorously press their case, Roberts opined that the UK’s “environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates.” (Note: One group of Chagossian litigants is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the decision of Britain’s highest court to deny “resettlement rights” to the islands’ former inhabitants. See below at paragraph 13 and reftel. End Note.)

Incredible to say, that is still not the end of the ignominy of the British Establishment. As the irrepressible Chagossians continued their legal challenges, now to the “Marine reserve”, the UK’s new Supreme Court shamelessly refused to accept the US diplomatic cable in evidence, on the grounds it was a privileged communication under the Vienna Convention. This was a ridiculous decision which would only have been valid if there were evidence that the communication were obtained by another State, rather than leaked to the public by a national of the state that produced it. For a court to choose to ignore a salient fact is an abhorrent thing, but it allowed the British Establishment yet another “victory”. It was short lived, however.

Mauritius challenged the UK to arbitration before a panel constituted under Article 287 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, a Convention I am happy to say I was directly involved in bringing into force, by negotiating and helping draft the Protocol. Mauritius argued that the UK could not ban fishing rights which it enjoyed both traditionally, and specifically as part of the agreement to cede the Chagos Islands. The UK brought four separate challenges to the jurisdiction of the panel, and lost every one, and then lost the main judgement. It is pleasant to note that acting for the Chagos Islands was Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the FCO Legal Adviser who had resigned her position, telling Jack Straw that the attack on Iraq constituted an illegal war of aggression.

Which brings us up to the present Opinion by the International Court of Justice after the government of Mauritius finally took resolute action to assert sovereignty over the islands. Astonishingly, having repudiated the decision of the Arbitration Panel on the Law of the Sea, very much a British-inspired creation, Jeremy Hunt has now decided to strike at the very heart of international law itself by repudiating the International Court of Justice itself, something for which there is no precedent at all in British history. I discuss the radical implications of this here with Alex Salmond.

This is apposite as throughout the 21st Century developments listed here in this continued horror story, the Chagossians’ cause was championed in the House of Commons by two pariah MPs outside the consensus of the British Establishment. The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands was Jeremy Corbyn MP. His Deputy was Alex Salmond MP.

Chagos really is a touchstone issue, a key litmus test of whether people are in or out of the British Establishment. The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, the manufactured witch-hunt on anti-semitism, all are designed to return the Labour Party to a leadership which will continue the illegal occupation of the Chagos Islands; the acid test of reliable pro-USA neo-conservative policy. The SNP, at least under Salmmond, was an open challenge to British imperialism and hopefully will remain so.

Chagos is a fundamental test of decency in British public life. If you know where a politician – or judge – stands on Chagos, most other questions are answered.


634 thoughts on “Chagos and the Dark Soul of the British Labour Party

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  • dutch

    In the Declaratory Act parliament claimed the authority to legislate in all matters whatsoever regarding its American colonies. The Revolution followed shortly after. In the intervening centuries, British thinking seems to have evolved little.

  • Roger J Wise

    The whole debacle is put into perspective in that the Chagoossian iwere eventually given inadequate compensation by the British government in 1982, after they had taken their plight to the streets of Mauritius – at the very time the U.K. was setting about, in its own words defending the Falkland Islanders, somewhat ironically.

  • John ward

    I have posted before that I worked (hardly lived – there only to make money) on Diego Gsrcia for 2 years fom 81 -82. We were building the US base.. So I didn’t meet any locals who were already long gone. On Sundays, we would pack the barbeque and coolers and head off to the pristine beaches on the other side of the atoll. Mostly Americans, a few Brits and Filipinos, where we would explore, eat, swim and get drunk. Most of us shit faced in fact. The eastern side of the atoll is where the main town had been before they we’re all forcebly removed. There was a beautiful church, the walls built entirely of coral. There was a giant clam shell baptism front inside.. maybe a meter wide. There was a square, houses and a police station. The Brits said there were no “permanent residents,” Why wouldn’t you believe this unless you had seen it for yourself? We would poke around the deserted houses and see tools sitting on benches. That’s when I knew they had been forcibly removed.
    Whilst there, the HMS Sheffield popped in. We all got drunk at the Brit club, and then she was urgently ordered to the Falklands, where she was hit by an Exocer and sank with the loss of most of the crew..
    This was the irony Britain forcibly removed some 1500 islanders, and then went to war to defend the rights of 1200 British settlers. Different color of course.

    • james

      thanks for sharing your personal story on this john.. it is heart breaking to read…

      • Ingwe

        Thank you John ward, for sharing. Very poignant ending. We the British, should hang our heads in shame.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Are you the John Ward of The Slog? I know this part of the World too, but only as a paying tourist. Even then, I felt somewhat guilty. One island for the fat tourists, which quite obviously had been cleared of locals, and mosquitoes, and another island, only a short distance away, where the locals ridden with mosquitoes lived in poverty.

      Meanwhile, these two articles that I read today about Julian Assange, made me feel ill, about the state of the world, we are rapidly approaching, if not already there.

      “Ecuador Imprisons US Journalist As Ambassador Tells Assange to ‘Shut up’ and Accept Spying” By Cassandra Fairbanks

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51337.htm

      “Rendition Plane, Increased Police Presence Raise Fears for Assange”

      “A mysterious flight of a U.S. rendition plane to London and increase of plainclothes British police outside the Ecuador embassy has heightened concern for the WikiLeaks founder, as Elizabeth Vos reports.”

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51338.htm

      Tony

    • Clark

      Thank you for your story John. I have a friend who was in the navy at the time. His friend and colleague was killed during the UK attack on the Falklands. I accompanied my friend to protest at Thatcher’s state funeral.

    • Dennis Revell

      :

      Oh, well, look on the bright side amongst all this US-UK imposed inexcusable misery:

      At least the Sheffield was sunk, with most on board.

      – Appropriate payback for the criminal sinking of the Belgrano which was FAR OUTSIDE the Gorgon Thatcher’s “Exclusion Zone” at the time it was sunk – which if memory serves was only sunk because the utterly evil Thatcher felt the war she needed for electoral purposes was slipping from between her fingers, ‘cos negotiations with the Argentinians in some 3rd. South American country were going fairly well – I have some vague memory of Thatcher’s foreign secretary resigning in disgust at this scuppering of those negotiations by Thatcher’s murderous order – or did he (who? Pym?) just get as mad as hell?

      .

      I wonder where the Conqueror’s log book is?

      .

      .

      • Kempe

        Negotiations with Argentina ended when the military junta took over in 1976. Pym took over at the Foreign Office after Carrington resigned over the FO’s failure to foresee the invasion. Pym was a Tory “wet” who opposed Thatcherism and was sacked in 1983.

        The point of the Exclusion Zone was that inside it ANY ship or aircraft was liable to be attacked without warning. The Russians were wise enough to withdraw the submarine they’d sent to spy on proceedings. No guarantee was made that Argentine warships outside the zone would be left alone.

        Twenty of Sheffield’s crew of 286 died in the attack.

        • Ken Kenn

          I remember Max Hastings – the first embedded British MSM reporter sailing with Our Boys in the venture.

          I also remember Al;Haigh the US Secretary of State trying to broker a deal between the Argentinians and the UK at the time.

          I also remember the UK fleet being so diminished that it had to requisition various ships as it din’t have a proper fleet in order to take on the ‘Argies ‘

          I do remember Thatcher being at her lowest poll ratings since 79 and needing to prosecute a war ( as did Galtieri ) and I remember Michael Foot succumbing to patriotic fervour from the Sun and various other fake partiots.

          I also remember the woman who caught Thatcher out lying about the Belgrano sailing into the so called ‘ Exclusion Zone ‘ when they were actually leaving the zone.

          Finally I remember the French saying that most of their Exocet missiles they flogged to Argentina a few years earlier were a bit duff.

          Otherwise the Falklands War may have turned out different.

          I remember that in actuality rather than via Wikpedia.

          I msut say though to the Islanders credit – they din’t take the Carrinton money as the Tories at the time were more than happy to try and bribe them into submission.

          Things never change with the Tories Eh?

          You train them – we buy them.

          In this instance not he case.

          • Squeeth

            It wasn’t the war, it was the compulsory Liarbour split and the fascist electoral system that did for us all.

          • J Galt

            The UK fleet was still quite large at the time, and certainly adequate for their task – taking merchant vessels “up from trade” for trooping and transport is a fairly normal wartime practice.

          • Dennis Revell

            Ken Kenn:

            You said:

            “I msut say though to the Islanders credit – they din’t take the Carrinton money as the Tories at the time were more than happy to try and bribe them into submission.”

            I don’t think that was to the islanders credit. I don’t think anyone came out of that mess with any credit not the Argentinians, the British or the islanders.

            I remember at the time thinking, foolish young thing that I was, that if Argentina offered each Falklands family a millions dollars – or even just the equivalent at today’s value (ie: less than a million) – to buy them out that:

            1. This would likely be much cheaper – for both sides – than prosecuting a war with the War-loving still colonialist-minded UK.

            2. No lives would be lost.

            3. Any family’s decision makers refusing such overgenerous buy-out, a wonderful opportunity to escape from those seagull-shit spattered lumps of frozen rocks, and go and live lives of relative luxury in some warmer clime, should be easily classifiable as certifiably insane. IN any case, such hold-outs would be subject to unbearable pressure from their neighbours if Argentina – whoever – providing the buyout funds, also made it a condition that it was all or nothing: everyone or no one.

            Of course nothing to stop people from staying who were willing to accept Argentinian sovereignty over the islands, and still getting the money – though it beats me why with a load of money anyone would want to stay there.

            .

            Call it a bribe, call it what you want. If it would avoid the inevitable carnage and expense of war and never ending simmering resentment thereafter from the losing side, I would call it very good indeed. Hell, with a VERY WIDE restriction on latitudes (longitudes not so much) I’d re-locate any-fucking-where for such a sum.

            I also remember at the time working in the ‘civilian’ section of a large technology company that also had a ‘military’ technology section – I guess they had projects with the MOD. The management delivered a letter to everyone in the civilian section that because of Thatcher’s war, all personnel, engineers, whoever, in the civilian section might be required at zero notice to transfer to military projects (a large amount of high technology being easily transferable); and moreover we had to sign a copy of the letter to signify agreement to that. Now I remember this, the pride and joy I felt at the time comes back to me: EVERY man-jack, and EVERY woman-jack in receipt of the letter collectively delivered what must have figuratively been the largest “fuck off” ever received by that management. NOT ONE signed the letter, feelings were made very clear to immediate managers, which obviously quickly made their way “up the chain”, and we heard nothing more about it.

            If that was some “test of loyalty” by the management, I was utterly delighted that it failed.

            .

        • Dennis Revell

          :

          Well hence my use of question marks at various places – memory fades and I couldn’t be arsed to check the details.

          Only 20 lost? Too bad, I thought I remembered it was more. May be I mixed it up with the losses on the Belgrano.

          S’one later mentioned Carrington – that sounds right, certainly ringing a bell there, another Tory toff. OK, my memory’s NOT that bad, perhaps s’one can remember the highly placed Tory who got hopping mad at sinking of the Belgrano – scuppering negotiations he was involved in. IN ADDITION, I have NO recollection whatever of the imposition of the Exclusion Zone meaning that Argentine ships would still be sunk outside of it. I am absolutely clear that the general understanding in the United Kingdom at that time was that ALL shipping outside of the Exclusion Zone would be safe from British aggression – certainly NO ships barring aircraft carriers at this distance could possibly be of any threat to the islands. THis stuff about the Exclusion Zone being for the guidance of non-Argentinian shipping only sounds like Thatcher re-writing of that general widespread understanding, the victor re-writing history so to speak – to excuse her unforgiveable order to the Conqueror. If I’m wrong about any of this, I will defer ONLY to Clive Ponting, who I know drops into Craig’s board occasionally.

          I guess to the mournful idiots disgusted at my initial post, the fact that the Belgrano was sailing AWAY from the Falklands and the Exclusion Zone, that the Conqueror’s log book disappeared – nothing dubious or suspicious there, eh? – with the UK Govt. using a back-story that should get it’s place in the annals of political comedy (C. Ponting?), and the sinking of the Belgrano producing the first deliberate fatalities of Thatcher’s war matter not a jot.

          Thatcher KNEW that the Belgrano in the disposition in which it was sunk was NO threat; the Conqueror could and should have more justifiably continued with its monitoring of the Belgrano and neighbouring Argentinian ships to make sure that condition improved even more – probably all the way back to port in Argentina. But she needed a “hot” or a “hotter” war; an election was coming up.

          .

        • Andyoldlabour

          Clark

          I totally agree Clark, and as Kempe correctly pointed out, it wasn’t “most on board” it was twenty navy personnel who died.

      • IrishU

        Dennis,

        Your post is full of errors, not to mention the disgusting comment, ‘At least the Sheffield was sunk, with most on board.’

        Cretinous.

        • Dennis Revell

          :

          Well, I do know of a couple of errors – I don’t know if that qualifies as “full of errors”; perhaps you’d care to detail the rest.

          It was probably the graphic TV pictures of the raging fires and masses of black smoke I remember coming from the Sheffield that tricked my memory as to casualties.

          I’ll find Wikipedia references VERY dubious – though I am curious about the degree to which the “history” has been re-written to suit the victor – I’m already very suspicious about the Exclusion Zone rules – which seem re-written to excuse a heinous act to ensure that negotiations would not be possible. I can not imagine, with the furor that I remember in Britain over the Belgrano being outside the Exclusion Zone when it was sunk, that I remember that incorrectly.

          Well, I guess ‘cretinous’ – a cretin sometimes, is better than ‘cretin’ – a cretin all the time. Is that word politically correct again?

          No doubt I’ll get a chance to return the favour sometime.

          .

          .

          .

  • Paul Byrne

    I think John Ward’s comments and your own tell us all we need to know about our fundamentally corrupt politicians.
    Jack Straw especially is a disgrace to the Labour Party and should be expelled along with Blair and Milliband.

  • Peter

    “The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, the manufactured witch-hunt on anti-semitism, all are designed to return the Labour Party to a leadership which will continue the illegal occupation of the Chagos Islands;”

    Tom Watson, presumably. Or perhaps one of the many other Blairite gravy train surfers.

    Many thanks for this informative and illuminating, not to mention enraging, piece Craig.

      • Terry Rand

        Anyone in the Labour Party who has the temerity to express sympathy for the beleaguered Palestinians is at risk of accusations of anto-semitism. Dare to criticise Netenyahu, his policies or the activities which have led to him being investigated for criminality, and you are an “anti-semite.

        Clearly a co-ordinated campaign to discredit the Labour Party. Mrs Hodge should hang her head in shame for allowing herself to become involved.

        • Jo1

          Re Hodge, “allowing herself to become involved.” A bit more than that! She was a main player. Shameless woman.

      • Dennis Revell

        :

        Well Jackie Walker does “sail closer to the wind” than I do; though I don’t think in the short time I’ve had to check her out that comments of hers that I’ve seen so far merit expulsion.

        I can’t figure it. I doubt if anyone is more critical of Zionism and Israel than I am – unless it’s that religious Jewish sect known as Neturei Karta, and it’s difficult even for me to generate as much justified venom as they do against Zionism and the concept of a ‘Jewish State’ aka Israel.

        What I can’t figure is that there is no difficulty, no thought required in more correctly using the term Zionist – I usually modify this to Zio-NAZI, Zionism to ZioNAZIsm, than Jew etc; or if the context allows the word, in a critical fashion ‘Israeli’, again rather than Jew.

        Persistent use of the word ‘Jew’ and its derivatives, in a critical sense, can not other than be in the long term at least interpreted as anti-semitism; eventually a claimed ‘clumsiness’ in language that is never corrected is no excuse, and the conclusion is obvious and correct.

        .

    • Jo1

      I think David Miliband is who they want in charge, in due course. The “moderates” I mean.

  • portside

    Tony Blair’s NEW Labour that was. All of the living luminaries mentioned here are still being treated as the wisest of the wise, except Corbyn, the only one who comes out of it with any honour. Straw and Miliband should really be behind bars for this and other crimes along with the People’s Tony.

      • Node

        Martinned. You are not stupid. Neither are most contributors to this blog. Your comment suggests Corbyn electoral problems are due to his own incompetence rather than a coordinated media campaign against him. I don’t believe you believe that, and certainly the rest of us don’t. So why did you say it?

        • Martinned

          I most certainly believe that. Or, to be more precise, I believe that there is no need to identify just a single cause for Labour’s weakness in the polls, and that Corbyn’s utter uselessness as a politician is a material cause of said “problems”, as you called them.

          • Node

            … Corbyn’s utter uselessness as a politician …

            Which would you say is the better politician? One who achieves power by putting the interests of powerful non-democratic forces over the interests of his constituents? Or one who does the opposite?

          • Martinned

            A politician who doesn’t achieve any kind of power is, by definition, useless. We can talk about achieving power in the form of moving the Overton window without actually holding office, etc., but I see no evidence that Corbyn is really doing that either.

          • Clark

            Jeremy Corbyn has already achieved considerable power. His leadership has:

            * Tripled membership of the Labour Party to over 550,000,
            making Labour the largest political party in Western Europe;
            * Achieved a net gain of 30 seats for Labour, the first net gain in twenty years;
            * Achieved the largest vote-swing to Labour since 1945;
            * Deprived the previous Conservative government of its overall majority.

            These also prove that Corbyn has shifted the Overton window.

            Maybe some would prefer Corbyn to insult, rant and condemn, in the fashion of more typical politicians. Maybe some wish for the spectacle of vicious ‘debate’, and a peaceful, rational politician insufficiently stimulates their aggression. So be it.

  • Philip Cade

    Why can’t I watch your discussion with Alex Salmond? Says video unavailable? Sinister?

  • Sharp Ears

    Hunt, the current Foreign Secretary (who replaced Johnson) and formerly in charge of wrecking OUR NHS, has said it would be ‘morally bankrupt’ for the UK to stop supplying Saudi Arabia with aircraft and weaponry for use in bombing Yemen! Incredible.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/yemen-crisis-wont-be-solved-by-uk-arms-exports-halt

    Here is a Campaign Against the Arms Trade petition which please be good enough to sign.

    Tell the Foreign Secretary that enough is enough. Stop arming Saudi Arabia now.
    https://www.caat.org.uk/get-involved/act-now/petition/stop-arming-saudi-petition

    They also have a Twitter page with more info. There is the UK Arms Fair at Farnborough.
    https://twitter.com/CAATuk

  • fwl

    re Brexit:

    Bill Cash and Richard Bacon have nailed it this evening on the currently being debated Statutory Instrument vote to extend the time and date of exit from the EU.

    Gov suggesting the SI is only to avoid ambiguity in application of EU law between now and 12 April and that exit date has already been extended by PM under the Royal Prerogative, but the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is very clear: before a minister can change the date Parliament needs to vote on the change of time and date (see Schedule 7 para 14) and S20 para 4.

    In other words:

    Gov misleading by suggesting that there is already a binding extension as to the exit date as there is not and won’t be without a valid vote; and

    Gov also only entitled to amend under the 2018 Act by amending the exit date to a new exit time and date and not to amend to two alternate dates.

    Therefore (a) if this SI vote does not go through this evening we crash out and (b) if this vote goes through it may be challenged on the basis that it poses not one new exit dates but two and is therefore ultra viries and invalid in which case we crash out.

    • fwl

      To do anything more than change the time and day of exiting from the EU treaties would require an Act.

      An SI is ok to change the time and date but not more than that.

      This SI seeks to impose two alternate dates: 12 April or 22 May. Therefore if passed there is not then an amended exit day. Arguably the SI would not have met the requirement of the 2018 Act and we could discover that we have crashed out at 11PM on the 29th March.

      • michael norton

        We leave at eleven o’clock in the night tomorrow unless Parliament votes to accept the May Deal.
        Any other option would not comply with U.K. Law.

          • michael norton

            In the United Kingdom, a law only becomes a law, after the Queen of England has agreed to sign it.
            So far our queen has signed bugger all to halt Brexit.

          • Martinned

            That is quite clearly not right as a description of the constitution of the United Kingdom, starting with the fact that the Queen (unlike the President of the United States, for example) does not “sign” things. She gives her assent. Which she does with statutes, such as the EU (withdrawal) Act 2018, which contains, in s. 20(4), a procedure for amending the date of Brexit, which has now been followed to postpone Brexit day until either 12 April or 23 May, as the case may be.

  • Roger Wise

    When Nicholas Ridley met his Argentinian counterpart in a clandestine meeting two years before the Falklands conflict, with the proposal of sovereignty been handed over to the then junta, sales of missiles and helicopters had been agreed with Argentina. One of the main reasons stated for the need of an agreed handover and lease was the cost involved as in the remote location of the Falklands. The islanders themselves seemed a secondary consideration, in the negotiations. Britain had seized the Falkland islands by force in 1833.

  • Anon1

    The vast majority (around 80%) of the 900 or so “Chagossians” at the time of deportation were not born there. They were migrant workers, mostly from the Seychelles. Their ’cause’ is largely a fabrication by British leftists searching for a human rights outrage with which to smear Britain. The Chagossians themselves appear to be rather more keen on a financial settlement (compensation) than an award of land (which was never owned by them in the first place).

    • fwl

      I don’t know if your right with your figures but if you are that would still leave 180 Chagossians, or all natural residents of that land.

      So 180 or 900 how does that make it less offensive?

    • Clark

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depopulation_of_Chagossians_from_the_Chagos_Archipelago#Chagossians

      In the latter half of the 20th century, there were thus three major strands to the population – Mauritian and Seychelles contract workers (including management), and the Ilois.[38] There is no agreement as to the numbers of Ilois living in the BIOT prior to 1971.[39] However, the UK and Mauritius agreed in 1972 that there were 426 Ilois families numbering 1,151 individuals[40] who left the Chagos for Mauritius voluntarily or involuntarily between 1965 and 1973.[41] In 1977, the Mauritian government independently listed a total of 557 families totaling 2,323 people – 1,068 adults and 1,255 children – a number which included families that left voluntarily before the creation of the BIOT and never returned to the Chagos.[42] The number reported by the Mauritian government in 1978 to have received compensation was 2,365 – 1,081 adults and 1,284 minor children.[43] The Mauritian Government’s Ilois Trust Fund Board certified 1,579 individuals as Ilois in 1982.[44]

      The entire population of the Chagos, including the Ilois, was removed to Mauritius and the Seychelles by 27 April 1973.[1]

      38 – The High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, Case No: HQ02X01287, Approved Judgment, 2003, Paragraph 10.
      39 – England and Wales High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division (The Administrative Court) ruling, Paragraph 6.
      40 – Peter H. Sand, “United States and Britain in Diego Garcia – The Future of a Controversial Base”, 2009, Palgrave MacMillon, New York, p. 25.
      41 – The High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, Case No: HQ02X01287, Approved Judgment, 2003, Paragraph 417.
      42 – The High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, Case No: HQ02X01287, Approved Judgment, 2003, Paragraph 523.
      43 – The High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, Case No: HQ02X01287, Approved Judgment, 2003, Paragraph 421.
      44 – The High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, Case No: HQ02X01287, Approved Judgment, 2003, Paragraph 629.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Anon1 March 27, 2019 at 21:08
      No one, ‘Leftist’ or otherwise, would have any trouble at all ‘..searching for a human rights outrage with which to smear Britain..’ – the ‘British Empire’ was one huge outrage.

  • FranzB

    Re Jack Straw, when he was Home Secretary he ensured that Pinochet returned to Chile instead of being deported to Spain to face charges of genocide, torture, terrorism and crimes against humanity. These charges were brought by a Spanish judge who was seeking Pinochet’s extradition. For some bizarre reason, Pinochet came to the UK for surgery. One of the strange aspects of Pinochet’s detention was that it was Peter Mandelson who ranted and raved about Pinochet calling him a brutal dictator and insisting that he shouldn’t be given immunity. Robin Cook who was then Foreign Secretary was delighted at the thought that Pinochet would be brought to book for his crimes. But, had Pinochet gone to Spain, the role of the US in the coup against Allende in September 1973 would doubtless have been raised. Special relationship, etc., trebles all round, etc.

    One of Straw’s other many claims to fame was that he covered up the Hillsborough disaster and refused those seeking a public enquiry that enquiry. That wrong was eventually righted with the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

  • Graham Burnby-Crouch

    Shocking read and it’s no wonder Robin Cook “died” and no wonder the establishment has thrown everything it can to stop people like Foot and Corbyn getting into power. Thank you for sharing

    • Charles Bostock

      Robin Cook had a history of heart problems and died a natural death. That fact has never been put in doubt either by his wife (a medical doctor, as it happens) not his mistress Ms Gaynor. Therefore the use of quotation marks around the word “died” is puzzling.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Charles Bostock March 28, 2019 at 11:33
        Almost any ‘death’ that serves the PTB deserves quotation marks – Michael Meacher, John Smith. Beverly Eckert, Michael Hastings, Danny Jowenko, David Kelly and so on.
        The murderous Mafia nature of our war-criminal ‘Leaders’ (in HMG’s case, with their SAS ‘Increment’) makes it necessary to consider all options.

  • Tarla

    The Labour party has always been the staunchest supporter of imperialism and against national liberation and left wing movements. They have to show the ruling class that they can be trusted to run capitalism. Ever since it’s inception it’s role has been to reform capitalism rather that arguing for a workers state. In 1945/46 Atlee armed the Greek fascist collaborators against the left wing movement that fought the Nazi to a standstill and defeat. It was Labour that helped set up NATO as a ‘bulwark against communism’. In fact the post 1945 ‘agreement’ was so designed to save capitalism from being overthrown.
    It’s should come as no surprise that Labour does imperialism’s dirty work as they are embedded in the system and it’s gravy train. Their role is to keep the working class away from radical politics that may get rid of capitalism. They do the ruling classes bidding as they are now with the Blairite coup against Brexit. Their petty bourgeoise contempt they hold for those that voted to leave – a majority of their constituents in many many places- is contemptible. These shenanigans will not go unnoticed on the working class. If only they put as much effort into making the country ungovernable, when the Tories launched their vicious austerity attack against the poor – in and out of work – the disabled, vulnerable and weak. But they wont. In fact it was Blair/Brown that started most of the reactionary policies carried out by Cameron and May.
    The Chagos islands are just a long line of Labour’s collaboration with imperialism. In that instance to please its US masters.

    • Xavi

      Quite so, Tarla. Corbyn stemmed Labour’s haemorrhaging of working-class support in 2017 but anti-democratic Mps seem determined to revive the pattern and complete the job. It’s a contempt for and deliberate abandonment of the working class mirrored by centre-left Third Way parties the world over, accounting for their lack of electoral success. Dominic Strauss Kahn was more open than most in advocating the abandonment of the French working class for a bourgeoisie owning “a little bit of money and an apartment”.
      https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/03/the-french-lefts-long-march-to-the-right

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Tarla March 28, 2019 at 08:53
      Although Wilson’s Chagos antics were heinous, at least he kept Britain pretty much out of Vietnam, probably why he was obliged to ‘retire’ (skeletons in the cupboard – Marcia?).
      MI5/6 definitely wanted shot of him.
      It’s because of Jeremy Corbyn’s genuine care for the people, both British and Foreign, that he is getting so much flack from all the ‘usual suspects’.

      • Tarla

        @Paul Barbara
        There were UK military personnel in Vietnam see numerous book/articles.
        As far as Corbyn goes there is an international US dominated ‘get them’ wish list individuals, groups, political parties and countries. What is deafening though is his and the Labour party’s silence about what is happening in colonial occupied Palestine, whether that be the continuous blockade or the shootings by the IDF or the way the IDF rush into schools with pointed guns and haul primary school children out of their classrooms.Their silence is sheer cowardice and their political opportunism with the ‘populist’ second referendum. You only have to look at those advocating this scandalous anti democratic second ‘vote’ to know what their attitudes and intentions are.The Labour party as a whole should have had no truck with the anti democratic second vote malarky. That way those Blairites Kinnock, Benn, Cooper, Watson, Flint, Eagle etc.would have been forced to shut up or leave showing their contempt for the working class. Democracy to them is fine as long as they get their way. The irony is those same forces have dared call into question first Putin’s democratic credential but also Maduro’s and before that Mugabe’s. But I suppose there is democracy and their is hypocrisy.
        The UK and world political landscape is shattering the old certainties. And that includes the Labour party and what it stands for.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Tarla March 28, 2019 at 11:16
          I am aware of some British involvement in Vietnam, which is why I wrote ‘..at least he kept Britain pretty much out of Vietnam…’.
          The SAS also trained Pol Pot’s lot after the Vietnamese kicked them out of power.
          As for JC I believe he goes as far as he can in supporting Palestinian rights – if he gets to be PM he will be in a position to do a lot more, and will do so. That is what the PTB and the ‘Lobby’ is deathly afraid of.
          Seems the ‘Opposition’ have more faith in JC than you do.

          • Tarla

            @Paul Barbara

            Of course the ruling class in this country, in the EU and wider afield don’t like Corbyn. They don’t like anyone who is slightly to the left of Thatcher. That is for the time being.
            ‘I believe he goes as far as he can in supporting Palestinian rights’. Ask yourself this question, ‘If he wasn’t leader of the Labour party what would he be saying now about occupied Palestine now? He’d be loud and clear condemning the brutality and viciousness of the IDF. He would also be all over the colonialists who occupy Palestine latest ‘non Jews have no rights’ in ‘Israel’.. His silence over the actions of the colonial occupiers is everything to do with opportunism and not wanting to take on those in the media and the Labour party who are supporters of the continued occupation of Palestine.But, ‘if he gets to be PM he will be in a position to do a lot more, and will do so’. Really. Corbyn has been on the back foot since he became leader over Hamas, Hezbollah and the Irish republicanism. And apologising for his ‘past’.
            Corbyn may well take up the cudgel over Palestine when/if he becomes PM. And if he does then we will all be better for such a positive stance against an injustice perpetrated by, amongst others, the Labour party in 1948.

        • Alyson

          Agent Orange was called the black rain in Malaysia where the British invented it for use against the local insurgents to destroy their crops. Becky Curtis Jones gives a balanced and insightful view of relations between the British and the local people in her book The Rain in Panang

    • Squeeth

      St Clement of Attlee also imported a Ukrainian SS division and Baltic state SS units en masse, while making sure that hardly any survivors of their atrocities came here. Liarbour? I’ve shit ’em. (With thanks to Harry Shand)

      • Tony

        That Labour government also used Japanese troops to control Indochina before they could hand it back to the French. Truly sickening behavior!

        But quite a few people at the top of the Labour Party, including Attlee, started off as Conservatives.

  • michael norton

    Dear @jeremycorbyn – instead of talking about things that happened when I was eight years old girl, how about showing some leadership today? You could start by asking yourself why the polls show you still trailing behind the most incompetent Tory government in our lifetimes.
    Quote Ms.Nicola Sturgeon

    Sturgeon: PM’s plan to quit could make Brexit worse
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-47707247

    Bring it on Nicola, show them what u are made of.

  • Charles Bostock

    Do readers believe that parents of the Muslim religion should be able to withdraw their children from compulsory classes intended to promote the acceptance of human sexual diversity in a spirit of tolerance and multiculturalism?

    • Clark

      Sorry, what’s the overall curriculum and full name of the subject of these “compulsory classes intended to promote the acceptance of human sexual diversity in a spirit of tolerance and multiculturalism”?

      • Clark

        A link will do; I rather hope the site team delete this pointless exchange on a rather important thread, but while your leading question sits there it requires some qualification.

    • Borncynical

      An alternative question:
      “Do readers believe that it is only the fear of being accused of being bigoted for standing up for their beliefs that prevents many Christian parents from withdrawing their children from compulsory classes ….”?

      • Charles Bostock

        My response to your alternative question is : yes, it may well be the case for some of them.

        And now, would you like to have a go at answering mine?

        • Andyoldlabour

          Charles Bostock

          I am guessing that this is a reference to “diversity” classes and very young children – primary school – being enlightened about LGBT++% and all that, when they should be learning English, Maths, Science etc.
          There is plenty of time for pupils to learn about this in secondary school, and if the parents – any parents, not just Muslim ones – wish to complain, then they should be able to remove their children from the class, particularly those classes being promoted by Stonewall or Mermaids.

        • Borncynical

          OK, my straightforward answer to your question is “Yes”. With regard to my views on whether the lessons are appropriate (voluntary or otherwise) in the first place, I agree with @Andyoldlabour (13.16).

      • Stonky

        Do readers believe that it is only the fear of being accused of being bigoted for standing up for their beliefs that prevents many Christian parents from withdrawing their children from compulsory classes ….

        Why on earth should Christians “fear being accused of being bigoted for standing up for their beliefs”? Nobody has made any public fuss at all about the Moslems who are actively campaigning to remove their children from these classes, or accused them of being bigoted for standing up for their beliefs.

        Why would a Christian have any reason to imagine that they would be treated any differently?

        So my answer to your question is “No.”

        • Borncynical

          Stonky

          You ask why on earth should Christians “fear being accused of being bigoted for standing up for their beliefs”. I’m sure that’s what the owners of Ashers Bakery in Belfast thought before they were dragged through the courts … until the Supreme Court eventually ruled in their favour after much finger pointing and stress.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Charles Bostock March 28, 2019 at 11:07
      This reader does, and not just Muslim parents.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      And suddenly we’ve stopped talking about Palastine, Malaysia, Chagos and JC.

  • Jeremn

    Off topic, but this looks interesting. Max is an independent researcher who has been questioning the implausible MH!7 narrative churned out by the same people that brought you Russiagate. Implausible? Sure, unless you think the Russian Army would send a launcher carrying four missiles (with no command vehicle support, no radar support and no logistics), transporting it on the back of a Volvo truck in broad daylight, through Ukrainian lines and during a series of attacks and counter-attacks, under bridges which were too short for it to pass under, to a filed near Donetsk so that it could launch one missile and scurry back to the Russian frontier …

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/832749946/mh17-5-years-on

      • Jeremn

        Plenty, but that’s not the point (although with one major anti-Russian conspiracy collapsing this week perhaps it could be). But I am interested in this one. And the fact that fragments of a BUK missile from the Ukrainian 223rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade were found at the scene. And that the 223rd was in the theatre of operations in the summer of 2014. Along with dozens of other Ukrainian batteries deploying BUKs (deployed to counter the expected Russian offensive that July).

        On the probabilities alone there should be some serious investigation into what those Ukrainian batteries were doing.

          • Jeremn

            I don’t think the US was planning to build a base on Crimea. I think they would have eventually done that, but they weren’t planning to. There.

            Now, about those Ukrainian missile batteries. Why is it, do you think, they never get mentioned? Why aren’t journalists asking about them?

          • Jeremn

            I did. He was a bit vague. I still think the phone intercept by the Russians of Ukrainian Colonel Grinchak is the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to western coverage. In September they released a recording of him saying “If this goes on we’ll take down another Malaysian Boeing and everything will be great again”. Not much in itself, but the key is that Grinchak was in charge of the 164th Radio Technical Brigade in July. To put it another way, he was in charge of the radars over Donbas.

            The Ukrainians say their radars weren’t working. Russia says they were, and, by releasing this recording by this official, implies they have a lot more up their sleeve than this recording.

          • Kempe

            Three way talks between the Russians, Dutch and Australians over MH17 have just started. Vasily’s intervention at this precise time is very convenient for the Russians; a bit too convenient.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Jeremn March 28, 2019 at 13:42
          Also the fighter aircraft machine gun/cannon holes in the MH17 cockpit, and the ‘Cui bono’ argument – a scam to smear Russia and/or it’s allies. The idea originally put forward that the Ukranians thought it was Putin’s aircraft doesn’t hold water – Ukraine Flight Control knew precisely which aircraft they were dealing with, because they directed it to fly lower, and over a war zone.

          • Jeremn

            I also think the context is important. it is becoming increasingly clear that Parubiy and the nationalists had their snipers fire on the police and the protestors at the Maidan. Some where Georgian snipers, but there are photos of others. These were desperate people. The same mind-set could have led to the shooting down of an aircraft to further their cause, or it could have been a training exercise gone horribly wrong. What it was not, I think, was a single launcher trundling through the countryside on some absurd mission … with four missiles.

          • Kempe

            Oh the 800+ irregularly shaped holes made by one or another aircraft which can’t carry more than 250 rounds?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Jeremn March 28, 2019 at 13:23
      Not only MH17 and Russiagate, but MH370, ‘Remember the Maine!’, the ‘Spotty Lincoln’ controversy, Gulf of Tonkin Lie, Iraqi WMD’s, Kuwaiti Incubator Babies Lie, Suez, Qaddafi’s feeding Viagra to his troops so they could rape more women…
      The supine nature of our MSM means the PTB get away with concocting the most ridiculous drivel, and it’s just repeated ad infinitum till it’s accepted as Gospel.
      Question any of those lies, and you can be put down as an anti-Western ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ by those who are ‘in the know’, ‘1984’ style.

      • freddy

        Is there any pro-Ukrainian conspiracy theory that those people won’t believe? 😉

        • Paul Barbara

          @ freddy March 28, 2019 at 15:15
          One doubts it, or any pro-Western conspiracy, already.
          But thick-wits don’t seem to be able to distinguish between the ‘Conspiracy Theories’ from the ‘Conspiracies’, already.
          Such a thing.

    • Charles Bostock

      Yes – so much for that dreary but often repeated claim that the BBC acts as a Peoroshenko cheerleader at the behest of the UK govt or otherwise.

      R.I.P. one more conspiracy way of thinking.

    • Alexander

      I suppose it depends what you mean by “corrupt”. Did you not, for instance, see his proud mention in the Panama Papers?

      But it is interesting to see this horrible man being scrubbed up by neo-con PRs for the election. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig….

    • Republicofscotland

      From your link Martinned.

      “Under the terms of the settlement the BBC has joined in the making of a Statement in Open Court in which it accepts that the claims it made were completely untrue, ”

      Thank you for providing evidence that the BBC makes claims that are completely untrue. Of course many of us already know this, however it’s nice to see you know it as well, as does Charles by the look of it.

      • Martinned

        I have no unwavering faith in anyone, be it the BBC or Russia Today. The only distinction I make is between people who are at least trying to tell the truth, and those who don’t.

        • Republicofscotland

          “The only distinction I make is between people who are at least trying to tell the truth, and those who don’t.”

          Well you do surprise me Martinned, by that I mean, I’ve never read a comment by you that included Putin, Maduro, Assange or Rouhani, in which you claimed they were telling the truth.

          Does that mean you vehemently think that all four men do nothing but lie constantly?

          • Martinned

            Not at all. They will all tell the truth when it suits their ends.
            (And I probably wouldn’t put Rouhani in with those other three anyway.)

          • Republicofscotland

            “They will all tell the truth when it suits their ends.”

            Does that include Rutte, May, Trump, Macron and a whole host of western leaders? Or does your observation just apply to those I’ve mentioned?

          • Martinned

            My original observation was about the press, not about politicians.

            With politicians, the distinction is slightly different. There, we have:
            – Politicians who will tell you the truth when it suits them and who will be silent the rest of the time.
            – Politicians who will tell you the truth when it suits them and who will lie the rest of the time.

          • Republicofscotland

            “Politicians who will tell you the truth when it suits them and who will be silent the rest of the time.

            “Politicians who will tell you the truth when it suits them and who will lie the rest of the time.”

            So Martinned you actually believe that there is a section of politicians who haven’t told a lie. I can’t quite believe someone as astute as yourself would buy into that.

            Forgive Martinned I’m curious, could you please enlighten us as to which politicians don’t tell lies. I’m sure many in here and further afield would love to know who these paragons of truth are so we can vote for them.

            As for the press, well I think we can safely say they are no strangers to bending the truth.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Martinned March 28, 2019 at 16:06
            Could I take it that you would tell the truth if it didn’t suit your purposes?
            Obviously, I could so take it, but would you state that, yep, you would tell the truth if it didn’t suit your purposes?

  • Athanasius

    The people’s tribunes strike again. And again. And again. That’s the left. Building a better world, one mountain of skulls at a time.

  • Sharp Ears

    An ex UK Ambassador (not Craig) defends the acquisition of a £12m apartment for the British Consul General in New York and Trade Commissioner for North America. He says that in order to be able to entertain the rich and powerful, such accommodation like this is essential.

    Exceptionalism.

    Denying our man in New York a £16m penthouse? That would be churlish
    Oliver Miles
    The UK’s trade commissioner simply must have a suitable home in which to entertain the rich and powerful https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/28/new-york-penthouse-new-york-trade-commissioner

    • Republicofscotland

      SE, yeah I read that yesterday, apparently the luxurious apartment (whole floor) is in the same building as that lovely ex-US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s apartment.

      As poverty, homelessness, and hunger are widespread in Britain, of which a UN rapporteur reported in a scathing report. Millions are spent on an opulent apartment, under the guise of garnering trade.

  • Muscleguy

    If the remaining Labour Law Lords did not react to the gerrymandering of the panel by immediately becoming cross benchers that tells you all you need to know about them and their probity.

    Those members of the public who naively look on the Lords as a bastion of their human rights should read this and revise their opinions. Those who rely on political patronage for their positions will NEVER be non self interested champions of the rights of ordinary people.

    This and other reasons is why the SNP do not nominate peers and will expel any member who accepts a peerage. First Scotland saw the co-option of the Clan Chiefs in their ennoblement and sending their sons to English public schools. Even today most of the chiefs speak with upper class English accents.

    Then there was the case of the Labour party, coopted by peerages and London clubland.

    • Republicofscotland

      “First Scotland saw the co-option of the Clan Chiefs in their ennoblement and sending their sons to English public schools. Even today most of the chiefs speak with upper class English accents.”

      The Statutes of Iona set the ball rolling on that I’m afraid. Initiated by King James I/VI.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutes_of_Iona

  • Sharp Ears

    and that is the situation whilst these types are jockeying for the main job.

    ‘At least 10 cabinet ministers are considering putting themselves forward to take over from Theresa May as prime minister after she promised to step down if her Brexit deal passes.

    Sources said Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Amber Rudd, Michael Gove and Matt Hancock are all considering their options, having been urged to run by fellow MPs.

    Liz Truss, Gavin Williamson, Andrea Leadsom, Stephen Barclay and Penny Mordaunt are also understood to be weighing up leadership bids.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/28/cabinet-ministers-considering-running-prime-minister-theresa-may-conservatives-tories

  • Alyson

    Inequality is perhaps the spur for the extreme far right. Having the wealth to subvert democracy is perhaps the best argument for taxation and public funded education and public services.

    Open democracy is working hard on investigative journalism to open our eyes as to who, how, when and where the agenda is being advanced.

    ‘Trump, the far right and the Christian ‘legal army’

    Two of the Trump-linked American groups examined by openDemocracy are Christian right legal powerhouses: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the American Center for Law and Justice. Together, they have spent more than $20 million in Europe since 2008.’

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/revealed-trump-linked-us-christian-fundamentalists-pour-millions-of-dark-money-into-europe-boosting-the-far-right/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=wcf

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