Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism 333

The British seizure of the Iranian tanker off Gibraltar was illegal. There is no doubt of that whatsoever. The Iranian response to the seizure of its tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar, by the seizure of a British Tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, was also illegal, though more understandable as a reaction. The implications for the global economy of the collapse of the crucial international law on passage through straits would be devastating.

It may seem improbable that the UK and or France would ever seek to close the Dover Strait, but in the current crazed climate it is no longer quite impossible to imagine the UK seeking to mess up access to Rotterdam and Hamburg. It is still easier to imagine them seeking to close the Dover Strait against the Russian Navy. Yet the essential freedom of navigation through the Kerch strait, respected by Russia which controls it, is necessary to the survival of Ukraine as a country. For Turkey to close the Bosphorus would be catastrophic and is a historically recurring possibility. Malaysia and Indonesia would cause severe dislocation to Australia and China by disrupting the strait of Malacca and the Suharto government certainly viewed that as an advantage from which it should have the right to seek to benefit, and was a continued nuisance in UN Law of the Sea discussions. These are just a few examples. The US Navy frequently sails through the Taiwan Strait to assert the right of passage though straits.

Keeping the Strait of Hormuz open is perhaps the most crucial of all to the world economy, but I hope that the above examples are sufficient to convince you that the right of passage through straits, irrespective of territorial waters, is an absolutely essential pillar of international maritime law and international order. The Strait of Gibraltar is vital and Britain has absolutely no right to close it to Iran or Syria. If the obligation on coastal states to keep maritime straits open were lost, it would lead to economic dislocation and even armed conflict worldwide.

Part III of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea relates entirely to passage through straits.

Please note that the right of passage through straits is here absolute, in a UN Convention which is one of the base blocks of international law. It does not state that the right to transit through straits can be subject to any sanctions regime which the coastal state chooses to impose; indeed it is clearly worded to preclude such coastal state activity. Nor can it be overridden by any regional grouping of which the coastal state is a member.

Jeremy Hunt’s statement to parliament that the Iranian tanker had “freely navigated into UK territorial waters” was irrelevant in law and he must have known that. The whole point of passage through straits is that it is by definition through territorial waters, but the coastal state is not permitted to interfere with navigation.

It is therefore irrelevant whether, as claimed by the government of the UK and their puppets in Gibraltar, the tanker was intending to breach EU sanctions by delivering oil to Syria. There is a very strong argument that the EU sanctions are being wilfully misinterpreted by the UK, but ultimately that makes no difference.

Even if the EU does have sanctions seeking to preclude an Iranian ship from delivering Venezuelan oil to Syria, the EU or its member states have absolutely no right to impede the passage of an Iranian ship through the Strait of Gibraltar in enforcement of those sanctions. Anymore than Iran could declare sanctions against Saudi oil being delivered to Europe and close the Straits of Hormuz to such shipping, or Indonesia could declare sanctions on EU goods going to Australia and close the Malacca Strait, or Russia could declare sanctions on goods going to Ukraine and close the Strait of Kerch.

There are two circumstances in which the UK could intercept the Iranian ship in the Strait of Gibraltar legally. One would be in pursuance of a resolution by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. There is no such resolution in force. The second would be in the case of a war between the UK and Iran or Syria. No such state of war exists (and even then naval blockade must be limited by the humanitarian measures of the San Remo Convention).

What we are seeing from the UK is old fashioned Imperialism. The notion that Imperial powers can do what they want, and enforce their “sanctions” against Iran, Syria and Venezuela in defiance of international law, because they, the West, are a superior order of human being.

The hypocrisy of arresting the Iranian ship and then threatening war when Iran commits precisely the same illegal act in retaliation is absolutely sickening.

Finally, there will no doubt be the usual paid government trolls on social media linking to this article with claims that I am mad, a “conspiracy theorist”, alcoholic or pervert. It is therefore worth pointing out the following.

I was for three years the Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I was Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. I both negotiated, and drafted parts of, the Protocol that enabled the Convention to come into force. I was the Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre and responsible for giving real time political and legal clearance, 24 hours a day, for naval boarding operations in the Gulf to enforce a UN mandated embargo. There are very few people alive who combine both my practical experience and theoretical knowledge of precisely the subject here discussed.


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333 thoughts on “Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism

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  • Karl Dankbars

    Will the World please wake up before WWIII starts….

    1) Trump comes to power and bombs the deal that Obama had negotiated with Iran.
    2) The latter retaliate by increasing their uranium production.
    3).The EU set up official sanctions against the ‘the Baniyas refinery’ in 2014, as part of their campaign against Syria and Anwaar Sadat. and the governor of Gibraltar, it appears, has waited 5 years before asking for the help of Great Britain’s Royal Marines to ‘seize an Iranian ship and it’s cargo.
    4).The BBC quotes ‘A defence source describing it as a “relatively benign operation” without major incident.’
    ……Well that’s either good or lucky then. In hindsight then; the Marines could have watched from the sidelines and left their weapons behind. Huh??
    5) NOBODY but NOBODY seems to address the issue that SOMEONE (I hear you say who??) ordered Her Majesty‘s Royal Marines to assault and seize an Iranian ship, having coincidentally ignored all the previous tankers for the last 5 years.
    6). A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May even said she welcomed the “firm action” by the Gibraltarian authorities‘
    7). The Iranians threaten to retaliate and we spend day after day going on and on with endless drivel on anti semitism, No-Deal Brexit, Corbyn, the NHS etc, etc
    ? All this ‘smokescreen’ is just a ‘snowman’ and is totally ignoring the fact that we are actually responsible for and have started, anonymously, to begin A W A R …!! ?????
    WHO GAVE THE ORDER…. Yes WHO? ?????
    Latest is that Trump has now changed his mind about cancelling the Uranian agreement.
    GOOD HUH….We’re preparing for war and the USA is preparing for peace ?

    • Piotr Berman

      Uranian agreement set a limit on Uranians so they would enrich their Irony but not as much as to reach the level of Sarcasm. Now that Uranians became Sarcastic, Trump strikes Saturnine poses, but in a Mercurial way.

    • S.N.

      “3).The EU set up official sanctions against the ‘the Baniyas refinery’ in 2014, as part of their campaign against Syria and Anwaar Sadat. ”
      Anwaar Sadat.??? May be Bashar Assad? 😉

  • Tatyana

    If i were a woman who stands behaind a man who is holding his hand a couple of milimeters above the nuke button, I would’t hold his hand. I’d say ‘enough’. Let’s begin with some minor territories and see if it teaches them a lesson. They have to accept what they’ve been asking for so long.

    I feel like some people in this world just play games and won’t take responsibility for their actions.

    *sorry, if it is a way of rude comment, but really, I feel bored by ever repeating articles and the same comments “alas, alas, someone did something wrong, let’s see if Russia or Iran could do something with it”.

    If you want to change something – so you take your gun into your hands and go and change something. Stop begging for Russia or Iran to do it for you.

      • Tatyana

        Neither of these, Republicofscotland.

        Some people want to be elected into Moscow administration, but they are not registered as candidates because of the large number of fake voters’ signatures. These people now think that they are opressed opposition, so they rise protests, unauthorised protests of course. Nothing new, the same people did the same action just 2 weeks earlier.
        As expected, the protesters are detained, 1074 in total. There is a report about 2 policemen with eyes damaged by gas spray. So I think it was not a peaceful protest. If someone used gas spray onto the police, so highly likely they were beaten, I’m sure.

        It is nothing about Putin, or the West, or the freedoms. This is race for getting closer to the feeder power.
        Does Amnesty Iternational report on fake votes?

        • Republicofscotland

          Thank you Tatyana for your opinion on it, I think like HRW, AI, can be a bit selective at times on what they cry out about.

          • Tatyana

            oh, I wish they said a single word about Kiril Vyshinski, russian journalist who is detained in the Ukraine for being russian journalist.

          • glenn_nl

            SE: “Amnesty International is a sham.”

            That’s a lazy and disgraceful slur.

            AI have certainly made some questionable decisions over the years, particularly when it comes to personnel. But to describe them as a “sham”, implying they are corrupt throughout, is to denigrate the many thousands of highly well meaning people who volunteer and support them – including Craig Murray.

            Not to mention casually dismissing the huge amount of work they have done for individuals by the tens of thousands, and many millions more who’s distress has caused embarrassment to authorities, and are forced to tamp down repressive inclinations.

            I know it is beyond SE to ever admit herself as having been rash or mistaken, even in the slightest. Indeed, I do not recall a single retraction or even the mildest admission by way of self reproach despite consistent, daily blanket condemnations and denouncements. She obviously is entirely right every time, day in, year out. Utter perfection. Guilt by association being the primary stock in trade.

            All the same, declaring a fundamentally good and decent organisation like this to be a “sham” is the devil’s work. Shame on you, SE.

        • Kempe

          I did read that to be able to stand you have to have at least 5,000 signatures and that people are cautious about signing because they fear being added to a government database.

          Who decided the signatures were fake and how?

          • Tatyana

            There are election commitees in every district, they check the voter’s signatures. The simpliest check is if a voter even lives in the district.
            What special government database you mean, Kempe? We digitalized nearly everything, you can find all types of records on people in public databases and in the social media. Born, graduated, married, divorced, bought a car, got a house, works at, friends, parents, etc etc
            I find it extremely strange that opposition is always in Moscow or Petersburg. As if we have no other cities in Russia 🙂 Oh, well, capital city is the richest, maybe this is the reason. No opposition wants to change life for better in province, they all want to govern in Moscow.

          • Tatyana

            If you take into concideration the populace of Moscow, that is 12 500 000 people, so you’ll find out that 5 000 makes approximately 0.04%. Not even half a percent, but 4 hundredths of it. And if you pay attention to the functions of the Moscow government, you will learn that it s more about finance and spending budget money than about politics.

          • Tatyana

            Another way to visualize.
            There are 260 apartments in my house. Suppose there lives a single voter in each apartment, then you need to enlist the support of residents of 20 houses. Assuming that each apartment has 2 voters, then 10 houses will make 5 000 signatures. If even 10 houses from all Moscow do not support the candidate, then what is democracy? What is the way? Is it more democratic to conduct an election campaign with the money of “private investors”?

          • Kempe

            So if we go with 2 voters per household a prospective candidate would have to knock on 2,500 doors, assuming they all wanted to support him/her, just to get nominated and you’re trying to claim that isn’t a intended as a deterrent? The test of a candidate’s support comes at the ballot box not a time wasting exercise collecting signatures. Which I might add must also waste a lot of officialdom time being checked.

            Do you know of any other countries that demand so many nominations? In the UK you only need 10 signatures to stand for local council or to stand as an MP.

          • Tatyana

            Kempe, why make it absurd? I wrote clearly – for visualization. To show the scale. It’s silly to go from a door to a door, if you can just catch all the inhabitants of the area in one place. I mean kindergartens, schools, shops, clinics, and yet there are great public events.
            My personal opinion – 10 is too few. One big ‘family’ would be happy to have ‘their man’ in a local administration 🙂 I can even imagine a doctor ‘persuading’ his patiens to sign for a nominee 🙂

        • pretzelattack

          how do you know the gas wasn’t sprayed by the police, and came back on them?

          • Tatyana

            because I’m russian? I live here and I know russian people, and russian police, and russian language, and I can read news and messages both in russian and in english?
            because the normal way to resolve the issue with fake/real signatures is to turn to the court and to the media and publicly prove that the election commission is biased?

          • pretzelattack

            pepper spray is commonly used by police in, say, the u.s. that doesn’t preclude people from buying it; what do russia police usually use?

          • Tatyana

            rubber buttons.
            There are gas sprays for the police, but they are different by shape, by concentration, the irritant is the mixture of pepper and synthetic substance, and these sprays are not sold to individuals, for organizations only. https://10.мвд.рф/upload/site14/fotos/5_4_06.jpg

            Look here, published on July 10, after some videos appeared in social media.
            “…possible provocations during this event (in particular, there may be people in half-masks who will try to use pepper spray, etc.), which can lead to violations of public order, GU MVD of Russia in Moscow warns the organizers and participants of the event about the need to comply with the law,” – said the press service.”

            295 of detained people don’t even live in Moscow. It is every 3rd or every 4th of detained. Who are they? What is their interest in the Moscow local elections, for what purpose did they arrive to Moscow and went to the protest, what do you think?

            Why are you so sure that the policemen sprayed themselves? Why do you think it is peaceful residents of Moscow came out in the streets to defend their right for fair local elections?

          • Tatyana

            And to make it more clear, we still have “прописка” in Russia. Registration of the place of permanent or temporary residence. It is recorded when you buy a property or when you legally rent a house.
            in both cases the tax is paid, so I think it is fair that the residents of the region should decide who are trusted persons to enter the government and manage budget money.

          • Kempe

            ” Why are you so sure that the policemen sprayed themselves? ”

            Why are you so determined to assert that they did not? I’ve not seen any conclusive evidence either way and it seems to me that if anybody went out looking for trouble it was, as is common, the police. All dressed up in riot gear for a peaceful demonstration.

          • Tatyana

            Social media start publishing videos and opinions

            here is a provocator, Kempe. Look through to the end, there’s a couple of people who pull their baby out of the stroller and give into his hands. Apparently for this man to leave the place as if he is a peaceful citizen

            here is another stupid guy

            here comes the gas spray, together with the gas mask, knife and hammer and the person even does not know that there are only 45 seats in Moscow Duma 🙂 He believes there are “about 500 seats” 🙂 Protestor, indeed!
            And a lot of moments in the video that western MSM prefer to hide from you – blocking roads and streets, breaking fences, throwing trash bin and bottles at the police.
            At the end you can see oppositioner and critic, who collected the signatures and was registered. As well as another self-nominee, oppositioner to both “putinistas” and “opposistas”
            he says “Just go and register if you want to change something. Well, there’s no point in rallies, just no. You only spoil, although there is nowhere further, the opinion of citizens about the opposition. I am against local “United Russians”, but I don’t call myself “opposition” as I will be laughed at and will be equaled to raging crowds. Have to choose neutrality. Because of you, hoppers.” (* re. ukrainian maidan slogan “who does not hop those are Moscowites”, people hopped to demonstrate they are not Moscowites 🙂

            If you read the comments, you’ll see that many people in Russia do not like authorities, but also they do not want these illegal activity from ‘opposition’. One of popular meme today says “Where’s the gas? Where are the water cannons and rubber bullets? Am I paying my taxes for nothing? Let’s have it like in Paris!”

        • Patricia Ormsby

          Thank you, Tatyana. This is what makes reading the comments section worthwhile.

          • Tatyana

            Thank you for the feedback, Patricia. I am grateful for the opportunity to express my opinion and I am grateful that you are interested in reading it 🙂
            Sorry for the off-topic.

      • Tatyana

        an update on your question, @Republicofscotland

        Moscow mayor’s office confirms that August 3, Academician Sakharov’s Avenue, from 2 till 4 p.m. is the agreed place and time for the meeting for the unregistered candidates.

        “I believe that if people want to express their opinion, they can do it, it is their constitutional right. Another thing is that their constitutional right should be expressed in the legal form. In this case, there is such a form, it can be done on academician Sakharov Avenue” – says Mikhail Fedotov, the head of Human Rights Counsil in Russia.

        source in russian https://ria.ru/20190729/1556980842.html
        I’m asking now, well, was it worth it? And what do Moscow residents think about this ‘opposition’ now? A gang of street thugs, that’s what. What the hell would they do in the government?

          • Kempe

            Why have you posted videos of the US police in action? Thanks because it reinforces my point that wherever you go in the world the police are quite often the instigators of violence. This is as true of the British police, particularly the Metropolitan who patrol London, as it is of anyone else. I just don’t see what it has to do with the demonstration in Moscow.

          • Tatyana

            Isn’t it obvious, Kempe?
            Next time you accuse the police of instigating violence, you think twice whether to add the word ‘Moscow’ or ‘Russian’.
            That simple.

          • Kempe

            They were the Moscow police and they were instigating violence by using snatch squads to arrest people, including two old ladies, at random. True or false?

            Actions of the US police are irrelevant to this.

          • Tatyana

            speaking of relevance, why did you share a video of a different event? Golunov dug up dirt on the police itself.

            US police are relevant, Kempe, because they must be the best police in the world. You know, it is an exceptional nation etc 🙂 Russian police are just learning from the best experts.

            Btw, look at this trick, how they carry a man in their arms. Doesn’t it remind you of the removal of a famous man from the Ecuadorian Embassy?

            Well, if you’re interested, Golunov is now under state protection, Putin fired two generals and the case is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s office.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Kempe July 31, 2019 at 23:47
            I didn’t know the Kool-Aid Company made glasses!
            What most people would see from that video is Russian police arresting people (rightly or wrongly – I don’t know why they are being arrested), but with an absolute minimum of force (no baton use, ‘rubber bullets’, tear gas, water canon).
            Put that against the typical French, US, Spanish (to say nothing about Dictatorial Regimes which you and the West seem so fond of) arrests at Demos. Chalk and cheese.
            Admittedly, there was more orchestrated ‘screaming’ from the ‘ladies’ than you typically hear from Western Demos, al choreographed for the Western Propaganda MSM.

      • Tatyana

        Another update on the question.
        Consideration of complaints of unregistered candidates to the MHD. Online report (in russian)

        …The head of the Moscow city election Committee Valentin Gorbunov announced that 233 candidates were registered, including 171 representatives of the parties and 62 self-nominees. At the same time 57 people were refused…
        …Ivan Kulnev, Zoe Shargatova, Alexander Soloviev, Elmira Shagiakhmetova and Gennady Gudkov. More than ten percent of defective signatures and other offenses found in their papers…
        …the head of the Central Election Commitee (CEC) Ella Pamfilova said that the refusal of registration can be appealed either to the CEC or to the court. Part of the representatives of the party “Apple” on one of the complaints to the CEC appealed to the court…
        …The head of the CEC said that despite the criticism of the Institute of signature collection, it exists in many countries — members of the Council of Europe. At the same time, she admitted that the procedure itself should be simplified, so that it does not become an obstacle to the elections and the participation of candidates in the elections…

        What are the defects in the lists of these candidates? For example, a member of the district election сommission was engaged in collecting signatures, and this is prohibited. Collectors do not indicate their date of birth, education, property abroad . After the checking of the Federal migration service, 14 signatures of dead people revealed (candidate Konstantin Lisitsa).
        After re-checking 94 signatures were counted in favor of Sharagatova, but over a thousand signatures are still non-valid. Solovyov 410 signatures valid, but more than two thousand void. Gudkov 437 signatures valid, 1952 signatures non-valid.
        If the falsification of signatures in favor of Serebryanskaya is confirmed, a criminal case can be opened against her.

        • Tatyana

          A special section reports on the Moscow Duma elections, you can follow the news here (it is in russian, please use your translation tool)
          The latest news is that unregistered candidates don’t want academician Sakharov Avenue, they want Lubyanka, so the application was withdrawn.
          Vasiliy Oleinik says they have 4 meeting applications for August 10 and 2 notifications for August 11. The authorities coordinated the event up to one hundred thousand participants on August 10 from 14.00 to 16.00 hours.

          Again, I don’t know how you do this type of events in your countries, but here in Russia it is made like this. If you want my own opinion, we are so fed up with the absence of a law in the 90’s. Now we are just happy that the rules work and the state is concerned about citizens. their rights and legality.

          Another my personal opinion is on this certrain representatives of ‘opposition’. Opposition is itself is a very good thing. На то и щука в реке, чтобы карась не дремал. *a pike is in a river for a carp to not be lazy* we say. But really, from all these events I see clearly why these ‘oppositioners’ do not appeal to the court and prefer meetings.
          Imagine this man Lisitsa saying to the judge ‘well, there were 14 signatures of dead people in my list, it is only because …’ Here I just don’t know what to say. Because Putin is a dictator?
          Or, he may say ‘I ignored the law on protests, but I really want to get into the Moscow government.’
          I say no, thank you.
          This person has an inclination to choose which laws he obeys and which he ignores, according to his personal profits preferences.

          • Tatyana

            Todays news.
            “opposition” created a group ‘Scaner’ to discover and deanonimise policemen using their photos in social media.

            Detained Vladislav Sinitsa, who in his Twitter called to violence against children of the policemen.
            translation: “Look at the cute family photos, learn geolocation, and then the child of the valiant defender of law and order just one day will not come home from school. Instead, in the mail comes a CD with a snuff video. It’s like the first day you live in the world, asking questions like that.”

            What is the punishment for such statements in your country?

  • Derek Aitken

    According to https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/iran-seizes-two-uk-operated-tankers,
    “the British ship had switched off its tracking systems in violation of maritime rules and regulations and was making an entry from the exit point of the Strait of Hormuz in the south, disregarding the established procedures that require all entries be made through the northern pass.” The northern portion of the strait is administered by Iran.
    All the appearances of a false flag incident to me i.e. deliberately getting impounded or trying to cause an accident.

    • N_

      I think the old word “provocation” might be more appropriate here than “false flag”.

      It is possible that the electronics of the ship was taken over. In any case there is no sensible “whoopsadaisyist” explanation of why it went off course, violated the regulations governing shipping lanes, and headed without radio explanation towards the Iranian island with the military base the way it did.

    • David Macilwain

      I agree Derek – and was about to make the same point to Craig. I believe that this was a “false flag” or “provocation” as the Russians like to say, which was following on from the unsuccessful attempt to engage the IRGC over the empty British Heritage tanker. What made this second incident suspect was that the Montrose was within range, and closely observing the Iranian reaction to the provocative movements of the Steno Imperio, and then claimed to have been too far away to prevent the seizure. The Iranians may have been looking for an opportunity to impound a UK vessel, and provoked further by the UK’s decision that same day to extend the detention of the Grace 1. I think the Iranians fell into a trap in fact, as their action allowed Hunt to ratchet up the aggression and declare his “freedom of navigation” plans.
      It has also been pointed out before that the pirating of the Grace for transporting oil TO Syria was illegal, as such imports by Syria are not proscribed. Syria wouldn’t need to import Oil if its own oil weren’t being stolen by the US-SDF-IS coalition and sold via Iraq and Turkey into European markets. Oh the irony!

      • giyane

        The purpose of the provocation would appear to be to create a crisis , to create an oil price , to make fracked US oil sustainable, to keep Trump in power.

        Iran, US UK and EU would appear to be up to their old tricks of working together against Sunni Islam.

        All in collusion. Fake news by the inventor of fake news. Property developer and owner of the gilded boudoir

        • Laguerre

          US UK and EU working together against Sunni Islam? That’s complete nonsense. They’re hand in glove with the Sunni Saudis, the Sunni Gulf states, Sunni Egypt, Sunni Jordan … a lengthy list … and against the Shi’a regime in Syria.

          • giyane

            There once was a man with a tache
            Who said it ” I knew it was rash ,
            We armed hisbullah,
            ISIS n Qaida
            Now our proxies are all fighting US

  • adrian Evitts

    Thanks Craig for another authoritative post that cuts through the usual blizzard of media misinformation.

    I am sorry that you feel obliged to anticipate being rubbished by the establishment for alleged personal shortcomings as a result. It’s obvious to bystanders that your views are well-considered and utterly objective.

  • Wikikettle

    Meanwhile Syria in rubble and blockaded, its own oil fields in others hands. No doubt the pack of dogs will soon ravage Iran.
    I could’nt give a toss about BJ and Brexit.

      • giyane

        The job of a Fool is to talk truth to power.
        Power does not consist in belonging to a marginal policy of the neo con Zionist 1%. Power consists in mutual respect for and by international law.

        Johnson doesn’t get power by the approval of a Potus whose only power base racism and Zionism ( another name for racism ). By definition international law is the opposite of racism.

        Just being able to say ‘ spaffing’ in a posh accent is the one talent Johnson has taken from an expensive upbringing.
        Always the same problem with the Tories
        No policies no understanding no ideas.

    • Blissex

      «No doubt the pack of dogs will soon ravage Iran.
      I could’nt give a toss about BJ and Brexit.

      One of the more (or less) “amusing” speculations is that B Johnson is also considering an invasion of Iran starting soon in cooperation with Likud and the Republicans, and then everything is up in the air and he can appeal for support as a “war leader”.

  • N_

    If the obligation on coastal states to keep maritime straits open were lost, it would lead to economic dislocation and even armed conflict worldwide.

    And the economic dislocation could crash the worldwide insurance sector early on. This is of course known within that sector: here is an article in Lloyd’s List arguing that the, ahem, “legal case” for Britain’s seizure of the Iranian ship off Gibraltar is “far from clear”. In other words it’s patently obviously a V-sign to international law.

    As an aside: whereas the big-name banks in Britain were mostly beyond criticism in this country until Lehmans (thus BCCI could be criticised, but no “polite” opinion was ever expressed against say Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC or Abbey National calling them the bunch of moneygrabbing lying con-merchant loanshark crooks that they are), criticism is now common. (This is always assuming that it doesn’t go anywhere and remains within strict limits of course. For instance there is little understanding in the population of why house prices are so high or what direct debit and credit cards are all about.) BUT the insurance sector which is a similar (and related) bunch of crooks was (and still is) beyond criticism. Tell people that insurance is robbery and they’ll still give you blank stare.

    The global centre of maritime insurance is still in the City of London.

    The rule is that when insurance of a business activity stops, the business activity stops. That applies to all business activities that need insurance – such as shipping.

  • Phil Espin

    Craig, I have read claims that shortly before Grace 1 was seized the Panama state under whose flag the ship was flying, de-flagged the ship as a result of pressure from USA. If that is correct the ship was effectively sailing without a flag. How would that effect your analysis?

    • Andyoldlabour

      Phil, according to Vesselfinder, Grace 1 is still sailing under the Panamanian flag, and has had its oil cargo seized by the Gibralter government for breaching EU sanctions against Syria.


      Only the UN can, as Craig has correctly pointed out, place sanctions on Syria which all other countries have to obey.
      US/UK/EU sanctions can only be enforced by bullying other countries.

  • Chris Barclay

    “The second would be in the case of a war between the UK and Iran or Syria. No such state of war exists.”

    Very true. There is also a broader issue of whether a state of war exists when there is an insurgency such as ISIS. Is the UK at war with ISIS? How can war be declared with an entity that is not a recognised nation state? If no war has been declared, why is the UK able to treat going to fight for ISIS as a crime? (Especially as ISIS is trying to overthrow the same Government that the UK is seeking to topple).

    • Republicofscotland

      “If no war has been declared, why is the UK able to treat going to fight for ISIS as a crime? (Especially as ISIS is trying to overthrow the same Government that the UK is seeking to topple).”

      ISIS or IS or ISIL, whatever the West is now calling them, are used to give legitimacy (even though they have none) to enter a sovereign nations territory and airspace to remove whom ever their agenda suits to remove at the time.

      So the pretence is that the Western coalition is/was attacking the terrorists in Syria, the reality they were attempting to overthrow Assad, mostly through proxy fighters,of whom Westminster described as moderates, they only killed people moderately, that makes it alright then.

      • J

        It’s astonishing how few educated western commentators question why three years of allied airstrikes saw ISIS go from strength to strength while one month of Russian airstrikes turned the tide.

        • Andyoldlabour

          Because on this blog, we are informed people, unlike 99% of the population who accept what they are fed by the MSM.

      • Blissex

        «ISIS or IS or ISIL, whatever the West is now calling them, are used to give legitimacy (even though they have none) to enter a sovereign nations territory and airspace»

        You may have missed an important detail: the UK, the USA and some other countries no longer recognize Assad as the legitimate president of Syrias, but recognize as the legitimate government a group of “freedom fighter” organizations, which has invited them to bomb-bomb-bomb their own country to kick our the rebellious and illegitimate government of Assad. Something very similar has been happening with Venezuela.

        The UN Assembly still recognize as the Assad government as the government of Syria, but since USA decided to go unilateral as a “hyperpower”, multilateral institutions like the UN or instruments like global treaties (e.g. the Non Proliferation Treaty, the Law of the Sea on Straits) have become nearly irrelevant to them.

  • Sharp Ears

    Grace 1 is still at Gibraltar.

    Stena Impero is still at Bandar Abbas

    Mt Riah Stated ‘position unknown’. https://www.fleetmon.com/vessels/mt-riah_8816455_2090336/?language=en
    Nine out of its twelve Indian crew were released yesterday.

    ‘It left 21 other Indians in Iranian detention however, including three others from the MT Riah and 18 from the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker which was captured by Iranian forces last week.

    The Stena Impero and its 23 crew have been impounded at the southern port of Bandar Abbas for allegedly breaking “international maritime rules”. The vessel is at the heart of the showdown between Iran and Britain.
    Apart from the 18 Indians, there are three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino on the ship.
    India announced on Thursday that its diplomats in Iran had been given access to Stena Impero crew.
    “All 18 Indian crew members on board are safe and doing fine. Will continue to push for their early release,” junior foreign minister V Muraleedharan said on Twitter.

    Iran has hinted it is open to swapping the Stena Impero for an Iranian vessel, Grace 1, that was detained in Gibraltar allegedly carrying Iranian oil to Syria in breach of international sanctions.’

    There must be a great deal of activity down at the futures exchanges.

    • michael norton

      This all seems to have been planned for some time.
      Announce in December 2014 that the Royal Navy will again have a base East of Suez.
      Re-establish a permanent Royal Navy Base in Bahrain, now called HMS Jufair, in April 2018.
      Deploy Frigate HMS Montrose F236 to HMS Jufair.
      Detain Grace-One at Gibraltar.
      Deploy HMS Duncan D37, the newest Destroyer to the Gulf of Persia.
      British Registered tanker gets captured by Iranians, deploy an Astute sub to the Gulf.

      It could be read as an excuse for loading up our base in the Gulf with a large fleet, in readiness for what?

          • Republicofscotland

            As the report says security of the Straits should be down to the Gulf states. Sending EU military ships into the region will only heighten tensions, although the Straits must be kept open for trade.

            This whole debacle could quite easily be settled through sensible dialogue. But then I guess the US/UK don’t particularly want to go down that route just yet, if at all.

          • michael norton

            United Kingdom to send another Type 23 frigate HMS Kent to Gulf
            so that’ll be and Astute sub, one destroyer and two frigates,
            room for any more?

          • Republicofscotland

            Michael Britain has a history of attacking Iran ever since the East India company set up a trading post at Bushehr. British captain Wainwright, attack the Persian’s in the Straits of Hormuz from his sloop the Fury around 1809. Just one of many British incursons into Iran.

            Is it any wonder that the Iranians don’t trust the British. They even made a very popular tv show based on British machinations in Iran, though it was more tongue in cheek, called My Uncle Napoleon.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ michael norton July 28, 2019 at 15:15
            Ooh, ah, Mick lad, plenty of room in Davey Jone’s Locker!

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Republicofscotland July 28, 2019 at 16:10
            Never mind the Iranians, wonder would be if anyone trusted the Perfidious, Scheming, War-Mongering British PTB.

        • Wikikettle

          Komodo. Indeed. When the Navy got its two aircraft carriers – it screwed the RAF and got tied into the F35 money pit.
          It should have stuck to building ships, defending ‘our’ waters and let the RAF defend ‘our’ air space from ‘our’ RAF stations. Using planes designed and built by us. It is New Labour and the Tories have been unpatriotic.

  • DA

    Craig, you may remember that pre-war Great Britain (as it was called then) asserted the right to inspect all ships sailing through Gibraltar. This was one of Mussolini ‘s key grievances in the run up to WW2. Just sayin….

  • Ross Stanford

    Thank you Mr Murray. Clear, sensible, unbiased as ever.

    I am, as usual, disgusted by the imperialist actions of our government.

  • Sharp Ears

    The British PTB took Press TV off satellite TV. I seem to remember that it was available on Freeview at one time.

    The same censor, OFCOM, have fined Russia Today £200,000 for not abiding to their impartiality rule.

    The state broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (whose motto is ‘Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation’ adapted from the book of Micah) broadcasts unhindered.

    The Press TV website. https://www.presstv.com/
    A search for ‘oil tankers; thereon https://www.presstv.com/Default/Search?q=oil+tankers

  • Conall Boyle

    Thank you Craig for your well-known expertise here! But you were a bit slow out of the traps this time, and I feared for you safety, briefly. Keep up the good work, and that reminds me — I must increase my donation to your cause. You speak for so many of us, and we need you!

  • Sharp Ears

    This wonderful exhibition at the British Museum in 2009 which I attended came back to my mind today whilst I was working outdoors. The very many exhibits were so beautiful and original, objects I had never seen before, and the story of Shah ‘Abbas was extremely interesting. Neil MacGregor was the curator of the Museum at the time. He was a very good explainer and often appeared on TV and radio to pass on his knowledge and enthusiasm. He is now in Berlin at the Humboldt Forum.

    It is a pity that no video of the Shah ‘Abbas exhibition exists.

    Shah ‘Abbas. The remaking of Iran

    On MacGregor – ‘His tenure included exhibitions that were more provocative than the museum had previously shown and some told stories from perspectives that were less Eurocentric than previously, including a project about the Muslim Hajj. He sparked debate with his claim that the ancient Persian empire was greater than Ancient Greece.

    In 2010, MacGregor presented a series on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service entitled A History of the World in 100 Objects, based on one hundred artefacts held in the British Museum’s collection.

    From September 2010 to January 2011 the British Museum lent the ancient Persian Cyrus Cylinder to an exhibition in Tehran. This was seen by at least a million visitors on the Museum’s estimation, more than any loan exhibition to the United Kingdom had attracted since the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition in 1972.’ Wikipedia.

    How times and attitudes have changed over ten years.

    • Jo

      It state the UK ship was supportng french ships in live action in Syria….I just wooonnddeeeerrrr what that was…..

  • Blissex

    «The Strait of Gibraltar is vital and Britain has absolutely no right to close it to Iran or Syria.»

    Right now every mediterranean country knows that their access to the open seas is subject to Likud veto, enforced by the UK, with USA endorsement. Once upon a time when the Barbary Coast states threatened shipping in the same area the USA sent the marines to Tripoli.

  • George Brennan

    Radio Four News 4pm Sunday today. “…a British ship was seized, apparently in retaliation for the detention of an Iranian ship..”

    They seize, we detain. How dare Craig Murray speak of British Seizures

    • michael norton

      Now the Royal Navy has a base in Bahrain and we will have at least four capable vessels in the area, things will either ease up or ramp up.
      If they ease up, nothing much will happen to world crude price, if they ramp up and the Straits are effectively shut, then the big winner will be Russia, they can supply all the oil and Methane you need.

      • Goose

        Unintended consequences…. just like the Iraq war increased Iran’s regional clout as the Shia majority finally let their numbers realise their potential democratically(rightly so, too).

        It’d be in Russia’s interests to make any conflict a long drawn-out affair too. Keeping oil prices sky high while Iran and KSA(if their refineries are targeted) could be out of the game.Also Scottish independence arguments will be far easier to make with sky-high crude oil prices.

        • michael norton

          At the moment the price of Crude Oil is about 13 dollars a barrel less than it was twelve months ago
          and forty dollars a barrel less than it was five years ago.
          So no impact whatsoever, so far.

  • Harry Law

    Belligerent reprisals are usually committed in times of war, however in my opinion the Iranians are fully justified in the action they took.
    A reprisal is a limited and deliberate violation of international law to punish another sovereign state that has already broken them.
    Reprisals refer to acts which are illegal if taken alone, but become legal when adopted by one state in retaliation for the commission of an earlier illegal act by another state.
    Before reprisals could be legally undertaken, a number of conditions had to be satisfied:
    • There had to be a previous act by the other party that violated international law.
    • Reprisals had to be preceded by an unsatisfied demand for reparation or compliance with the violated international law.
    • There must be proportionality between the offence and reprisal.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      We’ll it is good to see one sane American voice actually get into print.

      Even better to read about The Madness of King Mike.

  • Arch

    @CraigMurray – You may have to revisit your assertion that Iran’s action in seizing the Uk vessel was illegal, if the following report is true:

    “Iran has defended its move in capturing a British tanker in the Persian Gulf, saying that the vessel was impounded after it breached international law by attempting to flee the scene of a dangerous collision with an Iranian boat.

    In the letter on Wednesday, Iran told the United Nations Security Council that the British tanker “Stena Impero” collided with a small fishing boat on July 19, and badly injured its crew — some of whom remain in critical condition.”

  • remember kronstadt

    Every so often GREAT britain gets an urge to crawl out of its empty mint imperials box, embarrasses itself and slinks back under the hegemony shadow. Notable only for its ineptitude. Waterway interventions haven’t improved since Suez.

  • Sharp Ears

    The daughter in law of the late Tessa Jowell has just had a baby. I thought I would look to see what Jowell’s widower, the bad egg, David Mills, was doing now.

    Saw this on his Wikipedia entry –

    ‘In 2003, it was revealed that Mills was involved in an unsuccessful deal for Iranian airline Mahan Air to buy a fleet of BAe 146 aircraft from British Aerospace. He commented that the sale did not go through and that he was not granted any preferential treatment. However, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons gave advice to Mills on the political climate surrounding the project.

    It was subsequently disclosed that as a consequence of these dealings, Jowell had been excluded from Cabinet papers and talks on Iran since 2003.’

    The entry details his dealings from Berlusconi onwards.

    • Goose

      Everything about New Labour and its leading figures is a bit like that. It’s as if a group of middle class people, who never held socialist values, hijacked a party, took it for a spin, then crashed it into a ditch.

      The more you learn and the more we’ve seen since, makes you understand why Corbyn is still highly valued and seen as purer than the rogues who came before.

      • giyane

        Radio 4’s Westminster Hour was mostly about the irresponsible fantasist and liar who is now PM.
        Apparently our passive smoking of the Tory scam will not cause political cancer.
        While our deep admiration of Corbyn’s honesty and principles is despised as if it were 1970s horticultural recreation.

  • Oscar Peterson

    My questions:

    1. What is the impact of Iran’s not being a party to the UNCLOS III convention on the legal question?
    2. The US–John Bolton or whoever–obviously planned this seizure pretty carefully. Iran has maintained that the US claim to be able to use transit passage rights for USN ships in the Hormuz Strait is invalid since the US is also not a party to the treaty. Was the US, among other goals, using Iran’s position on Hormuz against it in respect to Gibraltar? Does innocent page apply here as well; I believe it was covered in UNCLOS in 1958 which Iran signed.
    3. I read a piece in the Spanish paper, El Pais, that suggested that unspecified Spanish intelligence sources believe that the captain of the ship or some other officer may, on his own initiative, taken the ship into Gibraltar’s waters–for a bribe from an intelligence agency perhaps. How does mutiny play into the legal question?
    4. One thing I did not realize was that to cross from the Atlantic into the Med, you cannot escape going through Spanish (i.e., EU) waters. The 12 mile limit from Spanish waters proper overlaps with the Spanish waters from the Ceuta exclave. It is also interesting to note that Morocco once again broke relations with Iran in May of 2018, claiming implausibly that Iran, via Hezbollah, was support the Polisario insurgents in Western Sahara. So do we presume that Bolton had preplanned a snatch with Morocco as well. And why would Bolton have put all his money on the UK to stop the ship (rather than Spain) unless he knew that the ship would enter Gibraltar waters, which suggests either the unauthorized move of the ship into Gibraltar waters or that the RM took the ship outside of Gibraltar waters.
    5. The EU legal document banning oil shipments to certain Syrian concerns says that it obtains in EU waters. You say that UNCLOS III takes precedence, but where is that precedence codified and again, what is the legal impact of Iran’s not being party to the convention?

    • giyane

      As you say, this is more fiction from the same studios that made the epic film about Islam Lord of the Rings inhabited by Taliban, Al Qaida and Isis.The Hero is Gandal Bolton and the forces of Usukis hegemony.

      Bollocks in the Straits of Hormones.

    • Goose

      Given the planning involved and extensive diplomatic and legal effort that’s clearly gone into this, and still going into this, you’d think Iran would’ve approach this by not playing their role. When Iran impounded the Stena Impero, you can wager someone somewhere was popping the champagne, as another piece in their dastardly drive towards the war they lust for, falls into place.

      If our populations could view political elites and other decision makers, provided with better information and analysis than our corrupt media provides, they’d doubtless be sickened by the chicanery.

  • Luftwaffe

    The Iranian regime is a global scale worrisome pest. It aids and abets war and terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond through its proxies like the Houthis and Hezbollah (who are UK Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn’s friends). President Trump is wise to defer to Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and Mohammad Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia about how to tackle Iran. They have the most to lose from these loonies, so will have the best ideas about how to scupper them. That just leaves the problem in the UK of The Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, a man paid by Press TV, who appears to support these terrorists, on top of being tainted by accusations of anti-semitism.

    • giyane

      Iran is a covert ally of Usukis against Sunni Islam. Gripping stuff. I especially like oversized Elf Erstwhile Foreign Secretary Hunt pontificating on international law last week.

      Back to the Green Room. Bit of make-up. Maybe next week he’ll be playing Frankenstein in a Gothic melodrama.

      • Laguerre

        “Iran is a covert ally of Usukis against Sunni Islam.”

        Bonkers conspiracy theory.

        • giyane


          Pakistan proverb for you.

          The moustache is bigger than the beard. With such an outlandish group of crooks in goverment, you have to think large …

    • Goose

      To quote Pat Buchanan from the article I link to above:

      “The people who have a problem with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon are the Israelis whose occupations spawned those movements.

      As for Yemen, the Houthis overthrew a Saudi puppet.”

    • glenn_nl

      That’s pretty good going Luftwaffe – a long, unbroken paragraph without a single true point being made.

      There are competitions for this sort of thing, where one is challenged to make a long point (over, say , one minute) where absolutely nothing said is true. Can you perform like this in person, while keeping a straight face?

    • Wikikettle

      Luftwaffe – You call the Persians “worrisome pest”. As you no doubt call Palestinians cockroaches. It is common for the torturer to dehumanise their victim as they stamp their crushing boot on them. Abby Martin has just made a film about Gaza. Israel has lost its way.
      It has morphed into Goliath. Yet only against a defenceless population. It can engineer all sorts of chaos and get away with unspeakable crimes. But don’t forget, it was the Persians that freed its people from Egypt. Don’t forget the large community of Jews, live happily in Iran.
      The victims of the Holocaust would say…NOT IN OUR NAME. Shame on Israel.

      • Rowan Berkeley

        Wikikettle, the Persians freed the so-called Israelites from the Babylonian captivity, not the Egyptian one.

    • Andyoldlabour


      Whatever you are taking, it isn’t doing you any good, so either find a different supplier or knock it on the head altogether.

  • Hatuey

    Well, the Iran stuff is interesting enough but it looks like Boris is more concerned about plundering oil rich countries closer to home.

    The cover story is that he’s in Scotland tomorrow as some show of resolve and commitment towards preserving the Union. We should suspect that there’s more to it than that.

    Rumour has it that Ruth Davidson is livid and contemplating decoupling her Scottish Tory party from the rest. I think that’s a pile of crap too, though.

    If Boris wants to get any sort of Brexit deal through Parliament, he’d need to do two things; 1) agree a deal with the EU, and 2) carry that deal through Parliament. We can assume he’d want to avoid a General Election even if it helped towards creating conditions that would facilitate 2 above.

    I’ve studied EU politics for years and in situations like this they have always found a compromise solution, usually at the last minute.. I think, then, that the EU will come to an arrangement with Boris but only if he can convince them that he will secure enough support for it in Parliament.

    And I think that’s why Boris is in Scotland. Boris wouldn’t need SNP support for a deal, he’d only need them to abstain. Why wouldn’t the SNP agree to that in return for a section 30 order that paves the way towards a second independence referendum?

    There’s a symmetry in all this that makes a lot of sense.

    • Wikikettle

      Hatuey. I am sad that you, Craig and others will leave me behind in a very nationalist England. I don’t care much for the EU or Brexit. As you quoted Hume – we are governed by consent. By which I think he meant…the population don’t really care and ergo consent to their rulers doing all kinds of bad things ? (Correct me if I’ve got this wrong). In which case the population chose not to demonstrate on mass, despite high levels of information previously not available ?!

      • Hatuey

        If I was English, I’d be content to live there. England within the EU and UK has much more control over its affairs than Scotland has now. The idea that being in the EU somehow weakens England is a flat falsehood, along the lines of arguing that Union membership weakens the hand of workers.

        Hume was deconstructing assumptions concerning authority and, as I recall, argued that real power always lay with the majority; he meant that in a simplistic literal sense. It follows from that that it’d be virtually impossible for a small minority to govern over a majority without consent. And I agree.

        Incidentally, despite being an independence supporter, I’m not in the least bit a nationalist. I actually think Scotland has more to be ashamed of — historically speaking — than to proud of. In truth, I don’t even know what “proud” means in a context like that where we are talking about mostly random things.

        • Rowan Berkeley

          Hatuey, ‘England’ is a serial war criminal on a scale exceeding Nazi Germany. So is the USA. Do you imagine that the ‘English-speaking world’ (the Five Eyes) can withstand the political and military pressure of the entire world community for any length of time without using its nuclear weapons? I don’t.

          • Hatuey

            It’s a good question, Rowan. I don’t see the pressure you are talking about though. Not yet.

            The dynamics right now are almost identical to those of the early 30s; economic nationalism, trade wars, arms races, pampered western workers feeling the pinch and turning to extremes, etc.

            We could be heading for a big fight but I doubt it. The Europeans and most others are firmly on the same side as the FVEY countries you refer to. China, Russia, and Iran want more access and involvement to the system, they don’t want to destroy it.

            The global economy is very much like a big night club. The US plays the part of bouncer and most of the revellers are pretty happy with that. They consent to it and if the bouncer refuses to let a couple of guys in, say Russia and Iran, that’s fine. As long as the music keeps playing…

            Britain in the above analogy is a seedy guy that hangs around the toilets of the night club acting as a fence for pickpockets, drug dealers, and other swindlers.

            Everyone has a part to play.

    • Laguerre

      “I’ve studied EU politics for years and in situations like this they have always found a compromise solution, usually at the last minute.”

      Well, that’s a great discovery (not). You think the EU is going to surrender its fundamental interests, and the basis of its existence, just because Johnson can get a vote through parliament. Brexiters have always been cakeists, you appear to be one of them, in spite of your claimed years-long study of EU politics.

      • Jack


        What is your view on the Soviet Union, you believe states should have been able to leave freely without Soviet Union refusal to do just that? Could you see any comparsion to this situation?

      • Hatuey

        Laguerre, the EU economy would be more jeopardised by Britain leaving on bad terms, without a deal, and a future of uncertainty and animosity.

        May’s big mistake was to allow them to separate withdrawal and trade. If you discuss all of those things at once, a deal would be easy to find.

        I can easily imagine a free trade deal on the table, Northern Ireland’s status being factored out to some new multilateral body, subject to a referendum on Irish unity, etc., and all the other issues being resolved.

        If Scotland can facilitate that by abstaining in return for a referendum, it should. Why should we deny the English their Brexit?

        • Laguerre

          “the EU economy would be more jeopardised by Britain leaving on bad terms, without a deal, and a future of uncertainty and animosity.”

          You don’t say more than what, so I could be mistaken in your meaning. Perhaps you mean, more than if there is a deal. Well, obviously. The EU have said they’re ready for that, having done the calculations. Or perhaps you mean, more jeopardised than the British economy. That’s the common line of Brexiters repeated endlessly over four-five years, and it was disproved ages and ages ago, as you well know, but like most Brexiters you simply shut your eyes. We won’t go through the details yet again, but the idea that as Raab has suggested the British economy is going to miraculously be reborn like the Phoenix is for the birds.

          • Hatuey

            No, you misunderstand and, as you suggest, that is my fault and down to my clumsiness.

            If we consider the WTO route as a possibility, well, I think it’s abundantly obvious that both the EU and the UK would come out of that economically weaker. Britain would be significantly and immediately more seriously injured than the EU but I assume that the EU would still be keen to avoid that sort of situation.

            I’m almost ashamed to admit these days that I’m quite neo-liberal when it comes to trade and I think anything that hinders trade between the EU and UK will inevitably hurt both parties, for at least some time.

            The brexiteers look at the balance of trade and assume that the EU has more to lose than Britain — because they sell more to us than we do to them — but that’s insanity. You can’t magically turn economic weakness into strength with economic nationalism, otherwise every country with a poor balance of trade standing would do so.

            I’ve never said that brexit will be anything other than bad for the UK economically; and the harder that Brexit is, the more damaging it will be. I also think the consequences could be extremely bad for the UK… nobody knows what impact a sudden 10 to 15% downturn in a modern economy would be. Then you have all the chaos and dislocation, etc., it could very easily get scary fast.

          • michael norton

            The United States has a GDP of twenty trillion, the United Kingdom has a GDP of three trillion.
            The European Union has a GDP of eighteen trillion but if you remove the U.K. from the E.U.
            the remaining E.U. will be left with a GDP of fifteen trillion.
            But If the U.K. and U.S.A. work together they will have a combined GDP of Twenty Three Trillion.
            If Canada $1.8 trillion and Mexico $1.2 Trillion is added in
            20 + 3 + 1.8 + 1.2 = 26 Trillion dollars of combined GDP against a reduced E.U. GDP of 15 Trillion dollars
            with almost no way to add big economies into their hands.

          • Hatuey

            Michael Norton, it’s not a game of Risk. Your calculations are completely childish and irrelevant.

          • michael norton

            How wrong you are Hatuey, a game of RISK is exactly what it is.
            The E.U. can never find another member as impressive as the U.K.

            It could allow Ukraine to join but they are essentially up to their eyeballs in trouble and debt, GDP $135 billion,
            so you would need twenty Ukraines to make up for the U.K.
            there is only one Ukraine.
            Serbia then, GDP 52 billion, Norway perhaps, $400 billion, Turkey, maybe, GDP $700 billion, so if Norway, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine joined the E.U. you would still be short of one and three quarter trillion dollars
            to make up the difference,
            go figure.

  • Antonym

    Iran = the Ayatollah regime, not the suppressed population.
    Is the UK population supporting this Gibraltar seizure, or even Parliament? Is it just Mi6 + part of Westminster?

      • Sharp Ears

        Bear in mind that over 4million of the UK population, living in grinding poverty, are ‘just about managing’ to keep their heads above water, let alone worrying about Iranian and UK oil tankers.

        ‘More than 4 million people in the UK are trapped in deep poverty, meaning their income is at least 50% below the official breadline, locking them into a weekly struggle to afford the most basic living essentials, an independent study has shown.

        The Social Metrics Commission also said 7 million people, including 2.3 million children, were affected by what it termed persistent poverty, meaning that they were not only in poverty but had been for at least two of the previous three years.’


        • remember kronstadt

          didn’t you read the manifesto..?
          I choose to look forward: confident that we have the vision, the plan and the will to use this moment to build a better Britain. A stronger Britain where everyone has the economic security they need and the chance to live a secure and happy life. A fairer Britain that works for everyone, not just a privileged few.
          Theresa May Prime Minister

    • Laguerre

      Iran is a (limited) democracy, about as democratic as Britain (i.e. far from perfect). They elect their governments. Only the people out of power complain (and the exiles, of course, who can no longer pillage the oil budget). I was there to see a couple of months ago.

      • Andyoldlabour


        How did you get on over there? Did you find the people friendly and inquisitive? I went last year, but couldn’t afford to go this year because the Iran Air tickets had nearly doubled because of British Airways stopping their service – probably falling into line with the US sanctions – like a good little, brown nosed puppy dog.

  • pete

    Another excellent post from Craig and from which view it is difficult to argue with, not least because it is backed up with quotes from relevant international agreements signed up to by the UK (or former UK as we will shortly have to get used to calling it).
    It is sad to see a nation bringing itself into disrepute by slavishly fawning over the delirious dictates of its former North American colony.

    • Jack


      I guess it is part due to Brexit, the UK regime want to act tough of so called enemies during these times to the love of the people.

  • Goose

    Liberty loses high court challenge to snooper’s charter

    Judges reject claim that mass surveillance powers breach human rights – Guardian

    How the hell mass surveillance(bulk collection) is compatible will respecting human rights laws idk?

    Related: You may have not seen this in the news, but there’s been a big row over browsers making DNS-over-HTTPS available. Firefox views it as a ‘basic privacy right’ measure to thwart mass collection. From this very month July 2019:


    If you want to see your current status Check:


    Here is how you get all 4 green ticks in Mozilla FireFox:

    First of all make sure you’ve got the latest Firefox.

    •In top browser toolbar type ‘about:config’ and click on the ‘I accept the risk!’ blue button.

    • In the search bar below the browser toolbar type : network.security.esni.enabled

    It’s default value will be set to “false”, double click on it to change the value to “true”.

    •Now in the same search bar type “trr” and look for ‘network.trr.mode’ …..right-click it select ‘modify’ and set to 2 or 3 (2 is on but with fallback; 3 is strict) I set this to 3.

    • Now look for ‘network.trr.uri’…. right-click and set to

    exit, then and try https://www.cloudflare.com/ssl/encrypted-sni/ again…if you’ve done it right you should see all four green ticks.


    ISP DNS 30.0 – 70.0 ms 14.8ms

    Don’t know if it’s that fast but it’s certainly fast.

    Use DuckDuckGo as your search provider. And install WebRTC leak prevention.

    Whether Cloudfare is 100% trustworthy idk? But Mozilla’s team genuinely believe communication privacy is a basic right.

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