The Troubling Decline of International Law 309


While it is true that rogue states – most notably the USA – have always posed a threat to the rule of international law, I see no serious room to dispute that the development of the corpus of international law, and of the institutions to implement it, was one of the great achievements of the twentieth century, and did a huge amount to reduce global conflict.

The International Court of Justice, the Law of the Sea Tribunal, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organisation, these are just some of the institutions which have played an extremely positive role, helping resolve hundreds of disputes during their existence and, still more importantly, helping establish rules that prevented thousands more disputes from arising. Regional Organisations, dozens of them including the EU, the African Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, have also flourished.

The judgement of the ICJ in the 160 cases it has heard has almost always been respected by the parties to the case. That has applied even when the dispute is radical, inflammatory and had already led to fighting and deaths, such as the settlement of the Nigeria/Cameroon border. The ICJ has been a massive success story.

The foundation of the International Criminal Court in 2002 was the high water mark in establishing the rule of law as the guiding principle of international affairs. As with all the major worldwide institutions of international law, the UK had played a leading role in the establishment of the ICC. I was in the FCO at the time, and I remember the quiet confidence that eventually the USA would join up, just as they had with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea after decades of havering. In fact, the ICC has been a major disappointment, of which more later. I refer to 2002 as the high water mark for the rule of international law, because subsequently the tide has turned decisively against it.

When Blair and Bush invaded Iraq, not only without the sanction of the UN Security Council but in the certain knowledge the Security Council was against it, and in Blair’s case against the unanimous opinion of the FCO’s entire cadre of Legal Advisers who stated that the war was illegal, they not only precipitated a crisis that has resulted in millions of deaths, they dealt a killing blow to the entire fabric of international law.

The results are now becoming every day more visible. We have just survived for now, thanks to Iran’s remarkable sense and restraint, a dangerous crisis in the Middle East following the illegal assassination of General Soleimani, who was travelling on a diplomatic mission at the time. The use on a massive scale of execution by drone – including execution of UK and US nationals – by the British and American governments, often without the permission of the government in whose territory the execution takes place, is an appalling breach of international law for which there appears to be no effective remedy.

The FCO Legal Advisers refused to advise that the killing of Soleimani was legal in international law. However the UK government no longer cares if something is legal in international law or not. The government line was originally that there was an “arguable case” that the assassination was legal, then after objections from legal advisers the line changed to “it is not for the UK to determine whether the drone strike is legal”.

The United Kingdom used to be a pillar, arguably the most important pillar, of international law. Thanks to a series of neo-con politicians, including Blair, Straw, Cameron, May and Johnson, the UK scarcely makes a pretence any more abut giving a fig about international law. It simply ignores the instruction of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to decolonise the Chagos Islands. It refuses to implement the binding international arbitration on debt owed to Iran. It mocks the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. It refuses to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women into asylum detention centres. I could go on. A direct consequence of this is sharply diminished UK influence in the world, and in particular for the first time in 71 years it does not have a seat on the International Court of Justice. As the UK has effectively spurned the authority of the ICJ, this is scarcely surprising.

It was the UK’s reputation as an upholder of international law that moderated outrage at the UN at the UK’s anachronistic permanent membership of the UN Security Council. That international respect no longer exists, and the British Government are deluded if they think that the UK’s privileged UN status will last forever, especially as it can no longer be represented as a proxy for EU foreign policy.

The UN itself is of course suffering a sustained threat to its authority. It is simply ignored on the dreadful Saudi led disaster in Yemen. By refusing the Iranian foreign minister a visa to attend a Security Council meeting on Soleimani, the USA struck at the very purpose of the UN. If the institution is to be held the hostage of its geographical host, what is its purpose? Ultimately, to regain relevance the UN would have both democratically to reform and to relocate, perhaps to South Africa. I do not see that happening in the near future.

As for the International Criminal Court, that has been a severe disappointment which in many ways symbolises the collapse of international law. Its failure to prosecute Bush and Blair for the war on Iraq set its direction from the beginning. Waging aggressive war is in itself a war crime and was indelibly established as such by the Nuremburg Tribunal. That it was not specifically mentioned in the Rome Statute was a flimsy pretext from judges not willing to take on power. The same judges have bottled out of investigation of US crimes in Afghanistan and appear to be in the same process over war crimes in Gaza, where astonishingly there has been no backing from states for the ICC against Netanyahu’s threat to institute sanctions against ICC staff if investigations continue. I used to defend the ICC robustly over accusations that it was simply a tool of neo-con policy. I now find it very hard to do so.

The UK is not the only country ignoring international law. Spain’s repudiation of the European Court of Justice decision that Junqueras must be released to take his seat in the European Parliament is a huge blow to the prestige and authority of that organisation. Spain’s vicious persecution of Catalonia is itself the most comprehensive challenge that “western values” have faced for decades in the European heartland, by a large measure worse than anything which Orban has done. Spain completely ignores its Council of Europe obligations.

The structure of international law is looking very shoogly indeed. It does matter, a very great deal. The world is becoming a significantly more dangerous place as a result.

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309 thoughts on “The Troubling Decline of International Law

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  • fedup

    The moral relativism that has yielded the contradictions that threaten the very foundations of the civilisation and rule based societies that are reliant on governance by consent, is further eroded by metastasising to a virulent and destructive force that is affecting every agent of change. Amnesty International has just clarified that it does not consider Julian Assange to be a political prisoner:
    “Amnesty International does not consider Julian Assange a Prisoner of Conscience. (people imprisoned based on their race, sexual orientation, religion, or political view, or non-violent expression of these things.) Our most recent statement is here;”

    The break down and Decline of International Law is an elegant consequence of the years of skewed priorities through the application moral relativism. The question arising is: are we witnessing the death throes of the crony financialism aka capitalism?

    • Giyane

      Fedup

      Islamism is an attack on civilisation. The war in Syria is not an attack on Assad, but a Taliban type vindictive war against the peacelovind and practicing Muslims who were thriving in the security of their traditional cultures. I cannot judge the Islamists because I believe they were torture-brainwashed to violence. The essence of Islamism is the opposite of Islam , that change must come through violence irrespective of who is the target of that violence, because violence is good for human beings to endure.

      I listened to an imams on Unity FM this week who castigated those who allowed the war in Syria to continue. Yes , his side,the aggressors feel secure in the knowledge that zionists like cameron and johnson will cover their backs in the institutions of international law like the UN. The salafists and the Tories, both foaming mad, are driving ordinary people into submission, by terror and economic austerity respectively.

      We should make no mistake with either. It is ordinary, normal , civilised human society that is their joint target. Though many other justifications are aired in the columns of the chatterers.
      When Trump is bonkers, johnson bonkers, bin salmon stark staring, and Erdogan eyeballinverted bonkers, the solution is simple, round up the politicians and drop them by helicopter in an Australian bush fire.

      • fedup

        You are debating the minutia. This trend is the outcome of calculated constructs that is an attribute of the Zeitgeist. Recollecting General Wesley Clark going on record about the strategy of wholesale invasion of the mid east. This yielding the Afghanistan war in which John Simpson invaded Kabul, and the bloody war on Iraq and the mass murder that went unrecorded; “we don’t do body counts”. This line of argument was to cover up the mass murder of Iraqis; a clear notion of unpeople whose deaths were of no consequence and need not be kept a tally of.

        Having read your various comments on this blog over the years. The evident lack of an evolutionary trend oddly enough has not crossed your mind. Syrian “revolution” that soon became a fully blown civil war, was based on the strategy that General Wesley Clark had already spoken about. This was a part of the “grand chessboard”. The mechanics of which entailed injection of various mercenary elements from neighbouring countries into Syria. This matter has been time and again outlined in the comments in particular with comments of an ex naval officer. This step was taken to appease the steadily fatigued audiences (populations) of the attacking nations. It was done by effectively subcontracting the war into the hands of mercenaries and privateers.

        The fact that these mercenaries have been given a brand of “Islamism” is an attempt to further foster the hatred of all things Muslims among the western populations, and the beleaguered populations caught in the crossfire in the area. There is no element of religion involved in the equations of the oil for free and recycling of the petrodollars through pouring expensive miracles of technology that are efficiently used in mass murder under the way in mid east.

        The solution is to see through the smoke screen and look for the truth, instead of regurgitating the memes that are aplenty.

        • Giyane

          The salafi imam used the Gospels’ Beatitudes to label Assad as the aggressor instead of his own side. Rabbit out of the hat for the Asian audience who know nothing about the Gospels.

          The local schools now using new textbooks to teach GLBT sex to infants by informing the kids that it is a valid option to disagree with GLBT ideas. So presumably the GLBT extremism they used before was a softening up exercise.

          OK these are minutiae. The soft sell of jihadist mercenary violence through Christian references and the soft sell of forced indoctrination by weasel tolerance. Trouble is , soft sell definitely doesn’t work on me. I spent too many years of my life conned by soft sell adultery by my first wife and soft sell recruitment to be a terror patsy, to buy soft sell now.

          The biggest soft sell of the moment is the darling illusion / lie that after Brexit in a few days time all the money we give to Europe will be dished out to you and me.

          • fedup

            Pointless to point out that Salafism promoted by the al saud was the preferred version of Islam by the west. However, whether the “Asian” people know of the gospels or not, is not at issue. The strategy of invading seven countries in five years as outlined by General Wesley Clark, still is on going and strong, albeit its time lines have been extended and the mode of invasion is at variance.

            The fight back is a natural response to such an invasion by the inhabitants of those lands that have their natural resources turned into a curse upon their lands blighting the lives of the inhabitants of those lands.

            Some news that the echo chamber media is not going to hint at; Hejaz Arabs are rising against the al saud ruling family, with the cries of “death to al saud” in their droves. The indomitable spirit of humanity cannot be oppressed for long, as it is manifested in the crowds of people rising up to confront their tormentors and oppressors despite the odds stacked against them by cries of: “death to al saud” and “death to US”.

          • Giyane

            Fedup

            All Iraqis and Iranians know that the US is dividing and ruling them General Betrayus style. The US backs Iran against the Sauds and the Sauds against Iran, and tyrant Erdogan piggy in the middle working direct for USUKIS full time.

            The US knows which buttons to push, and Trump is chief button pusher right now.
            Even the Sauds are unhappy that none of their billions ever seem to achieve any progress against the Russia Turkey NATO alliance.

            May and Johnson’s high profile accusations of Russian meddling or Iranian meddling are a sure sign of NATO – Russian collusion and NATO – Iranian collusion.
            Satan’s plan is weak. Is double divide so complicated to understand? After all we were all brought up in families so we should understand satan’s pathetic little games by now?

          • Fedup

            you have misunderstood the situation, US is no longer an entity that can hang onto the mid east. We have witnessed the Suez Canal moment of US. The chauvinistic disdain you have for the people of “colour”/”Asiatic” somehow leads you to believe that the people of those lands are hapless idiots falling for the plots of uncle sam.

            It is important to recollect that states are different to people, the news that I broke here about the Hejaz Arabs uprising, is a manifestation of people power at work, regardless of the degrees or suppression/oppression and manipulation.

          • N_

            All public administrators in Britain and honchos in the private sector too are scared to go against the New Doctrine on “LGBT” and “gay marriage”. Nobody

            * calls the new doctrine a new doctrine
            * dares notice that it is centrally enforced, with dissent being banned.

            (Some facts are in order. Please throw rocks at me if anybody doesn’t like them, and then look in the mirror, because throwing rocks at facts isn’t a good look.

            1. In Britain it’s SIX years old only.
            2. In the world it’s 20 years old – it started in the Netherlands.
            3. It has spread to only a small area of the world – no more than about 20 or 30 countries, western or pro-western.
            And a prediction:
            4. It is unlikely to spread much further.)

            This morning on the radio I heard some cruel-toned “experts” explain that parents don’t have the right to determine how their children are educated (actually they DO, according to international, Scottish and English law) and that “toleration” of “gay marriage” isn’t good enough, because it MUST be CELEBRATED. (I am not making this up.) Needless to say, no alternative view was allowed to be expressed.

      • N_

        @Giyane – “The essence of Islamism is the opposite of Islam , that change must come through violence irrespective of who is the target of that violence, because violence is good for human beings to endure.

        Certainly what comes across from the glossy Daesh magazine “Dabiq” is a completely psychotic attitude towards violence. On one page there is a picture of a “fighter” cuddling a cat, to illustrate a story about how a cat appeared on a battle scene; on another there is a picture of a recently decapitated human body, photo composed as if to accompany a reportage piece – with in both cases the underlying message being “God is great”. Totally sick.

        But “Islamist” is a western propaganda word though, replacing “Islamic fundamentalist” (aimed at Shia) and the older “Mahommedan”.

        I should add that the Iranian government has called “Dabiq” a CIA job, and Daesh are reported to have said there are fake issues as well as true ones.

        I get the impression that a lot of these male “fighters” would be in seventth heaven if they were at a luxury car show or in a store such as Selfridges, surrounded by well-lit logos for big brands.

        • Giyane

          N_

          Our minds do not encompass the fakeness of Islsim. Put it like this. The orangutan’ s hair is genuine, wispy and orange. The copy is more realistic and takes longer to produce .
          I.e. the hollywood version. Most Potuses have an inner man but there is no inner man in Donald Trump , just more fake outfits from the same chest, some female, some animus, some real fake genuine. You never see the real person as you might for example with the Queen.

          If you were to take off the layers of an Islamist, you would find a red-haired Ottoman French spy with a Viking horned pirate cap on.
          Inside that is the pathetic wretch that gets a kick out of frightening people.

          It’s probably a way of dealing with a colonial past by acting out the persona of the colonial
          Bogeyman

        • Spencer Eagle

          Dabiq may well be fake. Al Qaeda’s alleged monthly, ‘Inspire’ was in all probability a CIA hoax. It’s content was laugh out loud in places, sort of Four Lions meets Jack Hargreaves, it was however sufficiently plausible to the media for them to believe the military explosive grade used in 7/7 was produced in a Blackburn bathtub, so serving its purpose.

      • Piotr Berman

        I guess that the death of Assange would be a bother. I could be also the sharpest rebuke that UK can muster for the failure to consider the extradition of Anne Caloolas (sp?), who killed an English lad by driving on a wrong side.

        According to The Times (where I read that Craig Murray is a bad person, it tells me that Craig is being noted even in London), the driving habits of the Americans who visit the military base near the place of that fatal accident regularly follow the right line, feeling very much at home, so the authorities have to do something. Now, if I had my druthers, I would retaliate by flying Assange to his native Australia, but moving him to a shared cells can be a “tut-tut” directed at Americans.

      • N_

        What is the supposed “justification” for holding this prisoner in solitary? He was previously allowed to associate. Does Priti “I got caught committing treason and let off” Patel believe that some danger to the state arose requiring that he be slammed into solitary?

        I don’t follow this case closely. Has he finished serving his sentence yet for bail violation? Reason I ask is that if he has then he’s a remand prisoner, right?

        • michael norton

          What does surprize me, is why doesn’t a member of parliament get up on their hind feet and ask questions about the confinement of Julian Assange, there are over six hundred of them, it must have occurred to some of them, that this is puzzling?

          • Magic Robot

            Well, probably because the 600+ took a vote one day, whether to exterminate countless 1000’s of their fellow human beings, in an illegal invasion of a country that was no threat to us, and that their decision amounted to a war crime punishable by hanging.
            Years later, Julian Assange publishes video evidence of the actual result of the 600’s decision, in the starkest, most brutal way one can imagine – the massacre of unarmed people.
            Is it any wonder they have confined him ‘oubliette’ style?
            If they weren’t who they were, they probably couldn’t sleep at night.

          • michael norton

            Into the valley of Death. Rode the six hundred.

            However, we have had a substantial turn over of Members of Parliament, multi General Elections, since the days of Tony Blair.
            Most of those who voted to crush Iraq have removed their sorry carcasses or been removed by the electorate, even Dominic Grieve and Jo Swinson
            have had the chop.

    • Magic Robot

      I can say from personal experience that ‘Amnesty International’ is fake to the core.
      fedup
      January 24, 2020 at 21:14
      I attended a meeting of ‘Amnesty International’ (sic) many years ago, and brought up the situation of the Palestinians. There was no internet in those days, and the problems in the Middle East were unknown to the majority of the general public.
      I was then approached by the Treasurer, and was told in no uncertain terms, that if I continued with this subject, I would be asked to leave.
      “These are our premises, and we are perfectly entitled to exclude whomever we want”, he said.
      It was a Catholic Church.
      I told them where to stick their ‘Amnesty’ B.S. and left forthwith.
      Draw your own conclusion.

      • James Dickins

        “I attended a meeting of ‘Amnesty International’ (sic) many years ago, and brought up the situation of the Palestinians. […] I was then approached by the Treasurer, and was told in no uncertain terms, that if I continued with this subject, I would be asked to leave.”

        This is no longer the situation. Amnesty are now calling for a complete ban on Israel settlement good (in line with international law): https://www.amnesty.org.uk/ban-israeli-settlement-goods-local-groups

        • Magic Robot

          I guess that’s because many stopped giving them money over this issue.
          The URL you cite is lame. A shortened extract:

          “What you can do:

          • Take action online – and share the link with others by forwarding it…on social media
          • Sign the offline petition – use this petition to get signatures in your community
          • Buy a T-shirt – to show your support for the campaign
          • Raise awareness – campaign materials are available to order …
          • Network – work with other groups in the area “.

           
          That the best they can offer?
          Sell a few [email protected] T-shirts and leaflets or sign a petition that the occupiers will nail to the wall in the toilet?
          No mention, at all, of joining the BDS movement. An Amnesty diversionary tactic.

      • Mary

        I had dealings with them on Palestine. They are total clowns. Just a lot of jaw jaw.
        eg
        ‘While working for AIUK, Benedict has been involved in grassroots activism. For example, he has helped plant olive trees and has dined with Palestinian families and listened to their stories.’
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristyan_Benedict

  • Brianfujisan

    The ineffectiveness of the UN, and International Law..Is indeed worrying.

    Hardly a day passes without the US threatening to commit more War Crimes, and breaking of International Law..

    Like Pompeo threatening to Bury Iraq if they kick the US out.. There were Millions in the streets of in Baghdad today, (24th January ) in protest at the continued occupation by US and allied forces

    Like Trump threatening to hit 52 Iranian sites, including centuries-old places of profound importance not just to Iranians, but to all of human civilization.

    Like Pompeo Threatening to take out more Iranian Ieaders if Iran retaliates

    Like Every drop of oil Smuggled out of Syria..Every day.

    Like US Enabled Crimes against Humanity in Palestine..Every Day.

    Craig says ” The structure of international law is looking very shoogly indeed. It does matter, a very great deal. The world is becoming a significantly more dangerous place as a result.”

    Very True. And what Happened Only Yesterday ( 23rd January ) – To reinforce Craig’s words –

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ moved the Doomsday Clock from two minutes to midnight to 100 seconds to midnight.
    The Scientists Cite Worsening Nuclear Threat, Lack of Climate Action & Rise of “Cyber-Enabled Disinformation Campaigns –

    https://thebulletin.org/2020/01/press-release-it-is-now-100-seconds-to-midnight/

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Pompeo, Brian, majored in Managing Engineering which is not Electrical Engineering or Psychology Engineering at the Point as they are separate departments, and they all are far away from International Law and International Relations. The guy knows everything about tanks.

      • Giyane

        Trowbridge

        Would those be the ww2 Italian tanks that were rumoured to have 11 reverse gears?

        • Brianfujisan

          I’d love to see him ( Pompeo ) up against Putin in a Dojo..Putin is I think a 9th Dan..
          I am a 3rd dan..

          But Putin is too much the State’s man.. for that Shit.. whereas I would Slap pompeo Happy…Evil Swine that he is.

          • N_

            It would be quite something if Putin were a 9th dan in judo. But although he’s strong at it, he is only a 5th dan. (He wears a black belt. If he were 6th-8th he’d wear red-and-white; if 9th, solid red.) He was given an “honorary” 9th dan in taekwondo and 8th dan in kyokushin karate, but…honorary only.

  • Dungroanin

    Utterly pathetic by msm to cover the million plus iraqis marching peacefully to demand the invaders of 2003 just fuck the fuck off!

    Our toadies have totally lost the plot.

    7 days for the EU to be free from our machinations to get them involved in a showdown over Iran and Syria – get the champagne on ice!

    There will finally be peace.

  • Roberto

    Relocating the UN to South Africa is an hilarious suggestion; but why not Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela?
    I do disagree with the ludicrous, or perhaps just ironic, denial of visas for Iran’s diplomats to attend the UN, which one would suppose rests on neutral or non-sovereign territory – wait a minute – it’s on INTERNATIONAL TERRITORY.

    • Piotr Berman

      Actually, one could boot out the current residents of Diego Garcia and turn it into UN territory. I am guessing that the airport is decent, the climate benign, former residents could be invited back, UN being a better industry than copra…

      • michael norton

        U.S.A. and British military personnel and associated contractors are the only people currently living in the BIOT

        I wonder what is meant by contractors,
        are they meaning mercenaries?

      • Tom Welsh

        “Actually, one could boot out the current residents of Diego Garcia and turn it into UN territory”.

        Excuse me for harping on the Melian Dialogue, but actually you couldn’t “boot them out”. That, indeed, is the whole point. Remember how Stalin, on being informed that the Pope disapproved of something or other, replied, “How many divisions has the Pope?”

        As we used to say as school boys, “You and what army?”

    • N_

      The UN HQ in NYC is on US sovereign territory but it is treated as extraterritorial and the US has no right to impede a visit by the representative of a member state or by a person the UN has invited. Part of the story should be why the illegal US action has not been considered by the General Assembly so that every member state can take a formal position on it by voting or abstaining. What would be likely to happen is that almost every country in the world would condemn the US action. This has actually happened in the past (in relation to Yasser Arafat), and there was also the case when the US armed forces invaded the residence of the Nicaraguan ambassador in Panama and stole his weapons (they apologised and returned them). Things have changed. And they will change more. In the same direction.

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    I have an abiding interest in the thought of the Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977), onetime Professor of Philosophy of Law at the Free University of Amsterdam. Georgio Del Vecchio, the Italian philosopher of law, called Dooyeweerd “the most profound, innovative, and penetrating philosopher since Kant”.

    Firstly, a Dooyeweerd remark regarding individual State assumptions of global military prerogative (proving nothing is new):

    “Hugo Grotius in his famous book ‘Mare liberum’ denied with good reason the claims of England to the propriety of the open sea, just as in his earlier treatise ‘De jure praedae’ (ch. XII) he denied the same claims of Portugal. […] A State can never justify an absolutely selfish international policy of the strong hand with an appeal to its vital interests….Only a blind man does not see that the vital interests of the nations are in a great many ways mutually interwoven.” (Dooyeweerd, ‘A New Critique of Theoretical Thought’)

    I primarily, though, wish to draw attention to a longer quote which has relevance to international law, but also I suggest helps put our current experience of incipient neo-fascism, populism, leftish postmodernist relativism etc, into wider context. Essentially, Dooyeweerd argues that humanism manifests an inner “nature versus freedom” dichotomy, ie between impersonal mechanistic law and personal subjective lawlessness (both extremes becoming destructive when absolutised). At different stages of European history one or other polarity of this dualism has come to the fore, eg in the historic pendulum-shift in art from Neo-Classicism to Romanticism. Such tensions still remain clear enough today however in popular culture, eg the likes of Terminator and Matrix movies, and many other genres. Romanticism and Post-modernism undoubtedly have real merits, of course, but nevertheless locate on the continuum of relativistic “Historicism”.

    The following extract then is from material which initially formed a series of Dutch newspaper articles published in the aftermath of the traumatic WW2 Nazi occupation of the Netherlands (during which the Dooyeweerd family provided refuge to a Jew). It plots a trajectory from an earlier European (supra-national) view of law as applying to all nations at all times, to a subsequent polarised romanticist tendency to recognize no law above a nation’s own “personal genius”, thereby fostering the all-eclipsing “might is right” feature of Nazism, justified as the “Destiny of the German folk” [“Schicksal des deutschen Volkes”].

    DOOYEWEERD WRITES:
    ‘We have witnessed the unspeakably bloody and reactionary regime of nazism, the degenerate spiritual offspring of modern historicism. Totalitarian “racial” [volkse] ideals, inspired by the myth of “blood and soil,” reverted western culture to the dark night of the pagan nature religions. Moreover, these totalitarian ideals were backed by the military power of a mighty modern state. […] Science and art, child rearing and education, industry and technology, labour organizations and philanthropy – all were made subservient. […] Following the example of the mathematical and natural sciences, earlier humanistic theory had always searched for the universally valid laws that control reality. It constructed an “eternal order of natural law” out of the “rational nature of humankind.” This order was totally independent of historical development, and was valid for every nation at all times and in all places. […] But as a result of the polarity of its religious [ie ultimate] ground-motive, humanism veered to the other extreme after the French Revolution. Rationalistic humanism (in its view of mathematics and modern natural science) turned into irrationalistic humanism, which rejected all universally valid laws and order. It elevated individual potential to the status of law. […] When the Historical School attempted to understand the entire culture, language, art, jurisprudence, and the economic and social orders in terms of the historical development of an individual national spirit, it elevated the national character to the status of the origin of all order. […] Historicism robs us of our belief in abiding standards […] If everything is in historical flux and if the stability of principles is a figment of the imagination, then why prefer an ideology of human rights to the ideals of a strong race and its bond to the German soil?’ (Herman Dooyeweerd, ‘Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular, and Christian Options’, Paideia Press, 2012, pp 52, 63, 74, 87)

    • N_

      So “international” “law” stands on “pillars” rooted in TWO one-time colonial AND banking powers – Britain (or England and especially the Square Mile of the City of London if we go back to the 17th century) and the Netherlands – two Protestant sh*thouses wanting to show the Spanish goldheads how it was really done (not to mention earlier grabbers such as the Vikings). Ah, “civilisation” – it thieves, it occupies, it kills, and it can supply judges, philosophers and nowadays scientists at terribly good rates to justify itself.

    • bevin

      Sorry Fearghas- thank you for sharing those interesting quotations. The reception that people get for such posts amounts to a valuable snapshot of society as a whole.

  • Piotr Berman

    The Only Remaining Superpower can get away with invasion, murder, but what they practice most is theft. Now Iraq is told that either they stop buying electricity and natural gas to run their power station from Iran, creating a crisis, or their 35 billions deposit in USA will be frozen, creating a crisis. The gangsterism of the logic is as bad as the brazen claims justifying the murder of Suleimani, imminent or eminent (as Trump was once quoted) or immanent (the true meaning of imminent in Bethlehem doctrine) danger from plans that were known to Americans in the loop, and that did not include Secretary of Defense, but in any case, he was a bad guy saying bad things about America.

    Ultimatum here, ultimatum there, and suddenly poof, another world war.

  • frankywiggles

    “The United Kingdom used to be a pillar, arguably the most important pillar, of international law”

    A big arsed claim on behalf of one of the world’s great pirate nations.

  • Monster

    The Nuremburg show trials set the tone for future international institutions, like Nato, to enforce the ‘might is right’ agenda, regardless of facts, needs or concerns. All the institutions mentioned by Craig and others, such as the OPCW, are either partially corrupt or rely on malign horse trading and bribery to arrive at a publicly acceptable agreement. The Security Couxcil is an absolute disgrace. It has made Israel eternally immune to any sanctions, through its absurd composition and veto system. The current US raft of trade sanctions should be abhorrent to the WTO, but they are ignored. The ICJ made an ass of itself over the Balkans war, ignoring the illegality of bombing Serbia and the reason for the dismemberment of Yugoslavia..
    All were essentially powerless from the start, unless the US approved. Therein lies a dilemma: do we want US ‘values’ to be continually enforced worldwide, or do we want a multipolar world assailed by tribal/nationalist local rule.

    • Tom Welsh

      Very true, Monster. Furthermore, as well as establishing that “might is right”, the victors saw fit to dress up their power in the guise of laws and principles which they themselves have never respected.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Monster,

      Excellent post. The whole system is rigged – UN, OPCW, World Bank, IMF, ICC, Bilderburg (Davos).
      The “might is right” analogy is spot on.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    For quite along time now I have thought that the situation vis a vis the environment is beyong meaningful intervention.No other explanation exists.I ‘sort of’ estimate that 1968 was the last time when action to curtail consumerism, and for technological change to be brought under some kind of control, that placed human welfare and the ability of the natural world to renew itself. In some intuitive sense 1968 was a tipping point.Since then, humanity has been under chaotic entropic influences well in excess of the capacity of the earth to absorb the insults from capitalist abuse and exploitation of its resources. In another sense we are on the ‘downward’ slopeof some gigantic process.
    Although I am no fan of Lovelock and his hypothesis that the earth is a huge homeostatic organism, it is a useful metaphor.
    I also think that this condition has been blindingly obvious to anyone who has bothered to read and think about the position we are in and I also think that this state of affairs has been intimated to people who rise to high status through the different political or commercial systems.For instance Thatcher was well aware of the dilemma of economic growth and its inconsistency with quality of environment or sustainability through her connections to the oil industry.So too Blair.
    The essence of Neoliberalism or accelerated consumer capitalism is the placing of accumulated material wealth ahead of justice fairness,stabilty, a steady state, or perhaps ‘control’ through institutions and settlements such as ‘international law’ or justice.
    There can be no other explanation for the wild utterances of Trump and Australia’s Morrison ond our ‘wee Trumpettes’ (the 2020 Tories).
    They know the game is up and can no longer be bothered to even maintain the pretence.
    Of course I have no doubt that human life will persist but not in the ways we have become accustomed to or think of as ‘civilised’ but as Ghandi pointed out,’western civilisation would be something to be welcomed.
    The rejection of international and agreed customs represents the panic to get to the back of the bus to where the least impact is expected, as it careers downhill out of control.My suspicion however, is that it is impossible to predict what will be or where the impacts will be felt. We are in for some surprises.

    • N_

      The way the current Chinese virus is being dealt with by the almost certainly now Downing Street and Cummings-controlled “Today” programme on BBC radio (a programme from which ministers have been banned) is a giveaway. Two “takeaways” (as I believe is the parlance) from this morning’s programme were as follows:

      1. The Chinese government is well organised – it is “locking down” cities, it can build a hospital in 10 days, it can get moving fast; whereas the British government isn’t, but damned well soon will be.

      2. Next winter, ah, you just wait, next winter.

      I would urge readers of this blog to listen to the Today programme because the Cummingsist message is being rammed home there really hard. We are way beyond Thatcher and Blair now.

      • N_

        Kenneth Clarke made a similar point a few days before Chistmas: “When I read the newspapers, Dominic Cummings seems to be briefing the newspapers on his own personal agenda and says the government is going to reorganise departments, tackle Ministry of Defence procurement – well, I agree with that, that needs tackling – and so on.

        When he says “I agree with that”, one is tempted to smile and ask “Why don’t you support him, then?”

        But this story from a week ago made things clearer: cabinet ministers have been banned from tarting around the media as they usually do.

        Put the evidence together, and what do we get? We get a much more centralised government with a much more centralised control over the media – and that’s not to do with “phonetapping” or “Leveson” and all that utterly boring rubbish that has been talked about at luvvies’ and politicos’ dinner parties for a decade or more. It’s to do with what the main stories actually are, what the messages are, what the “expert” w*nkers have to say if they’re to stay in their jobs, and where we’re being taken. This is all changing, and changing fast.

        For decades it has been the case that the main political editors sort out each day’s news with Number 10. There’s nothing new about that. What’s happening now is that the Duke of Cummings is in control and no sh*t is being taken, either from editors or from cabinet ministers. The main theme is? Cut huge amounts of waste, and actually put some boots on and kick the state into some kind of order, here on this little island wedged between the US and China.

        How on earth the Duke is going to integrate “weirdos” into the ARPA-state I really don’t know. His other big problem is how to whop the army brass, “procurement” fixers and “defence” interests around their crooked heads… He can’t tell them Sun Tzu wouldn’t have wanted those aircraft carriers surely? But the defence review is unlikely to be postponed for ages. Decisions will be taken. My prediction is he will concede over the aircraft carriers in return for tightening up the procurement regime. (Now I’m wondering how he’s viewed in Riyadh.)

      • N_

        The Sun is “reporting” (if one can use the word “reporting” to describe what that rag does) that China will build a “1000-bed hospital” in “just five days”. Meanwhile some “expert” tw*t was on the Today programme this morning saying watch out for next winter, virus-wise.

        Perhaps a few “Duke of Cummings Special Vaccine Hospitals to Save Sun-Readers from Dropping Dead From Chinese Snake Flu” will be erected within the space of a week too, towards the end of the year and in time for the Brexit cliffedge. Famine and plague, but a lovely vaccine.

        I propose that if the new Duke Hospitals have got big chimneys they should be called “Eugenics Chimneys”.

        Perhaps Extinction Rebellion can don yellow hard hats and volunteer to help build them?

        • N_

          The Duke will surely have already looked at this live chart showing the spread of the coronavirus and demanded it be displayed on his office wall, on some guy called “Boris’s” wall too, and in the COBRA room. (I’m not trying to take the mickey here. That’s a very sensible thing to do.)

      • N_

        Dominic Raab is “drawing up a plan” to evacuate a few hundred British citizens from Wuhan. Good BOY! If he tracks issues and progress on a big Mission Control-like screen, the other Dominic might let him stay in his job! Of course if any of the evacuees get wrongly tested negative and end up spreading the virus in Britain he’ll be carpeted.

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Superb! Craig, it never ceases to amaze me how the USA and A.N.other, or Israeli’s and A.N.Other or UK and A.N.other
    Veto rulings by the UN .
    Apart from the murder of millions by the above, we see the illegal incarcerations of Individuals, for exposing all of the above to crimes committed.
    Julian Assange and now we read they’re going after Snowden and
    Greenwald.
    Regards🐼🐼

  • Peter

    Excellent, timely and poignant piece Craig, thank you very much for an outstanding summary of the current state of the world, the UK, and its place in it.

    “The United Kingdom used to be a pillar, arguably the most important pillar, of international law. Thanks to a series of neo-con politicians, including Blair, Straw, Cameron, May and Johnson, the UK scarcely makes a pretence any more abut giving a fig about international law. … … A direct consequence of this is sharply diminished UK influence in the world”

    How true. The outlaw bully’s sidekick is not a position that commands much respect.

    And how different it could have been if we had now had Prime Minister Corbyn.

    Even outside the EU, the UK would have much greater standing and influence in the world if we had a truly ethical foreign policy which we stood up for on the world stage.

    That is what Jeremy Corbyn stood/stands for and is one of the main reasons he incited such wide, virulent opposition. The thought of a Corbyn premiership would certainly have struck fear in to the hearts of the likes of Netanyahu, not to mention Blair. Something which may explain a lot.

    • Bayard

      “That is what Jeremy Corbyn stood/stands for and is one of the main reasons he incited such wide, virulent opposition. The thought of a Corbyn premiership would certainly have struck fear in to the hearts of the likes of Netanyahu, not to mention Blair. Something which may explain a lot.”

      What ultimately did for Corbyn is not the Establishment’s dirty tricks, but the simple fact that Tory voters voted Tory first, Brexit second and Labour voters voted Brexit first, Labour second. The secret weapon of the Tory Party is loyalty.

        • N_

          What policy do you think Labour could have adopted that would have won them a larger slice of voteshare? The answer is obviously not “Remain”. (They were in no position to run intellect against emotion. Is any party ever, these days?) If they had said “Let’s negotiate a better deal” they would have had to promise to put it to a referendum, which is the policy they ran on, so that’s not the answer. The only remaining possibility would have been to back the existing agreement, i.e. have the same policy as the Tories. In theory that would have taken “Get Brexit Done” away from the main opponent, so that other issues could get a hearing instead, issues on which Labour were strong. (I mean who in their right mind thinks the Tories are better for the NHS than Labour?) But in practice? In the “popular” press Johnson would stil have been Mr Brexit, Mr “Gives You What You Want”. Then there are the Liberal Democrats. They would screw that plan up.

        • Giyane

          MJ

          Obviously Blair should have got in first in privatising the electoral system with a stooge of his own. Oh the green naivety of those heady days when a PM defied the will of the people.
          Never realising that the Tories would scalp the entire electoral system and replace it with an algorithm.

          The labour Bexit policy was wise, democratic, cautious and courteous. It wasn’t good enough for the feminists who wanted to strut their egos on the podium, nor the red Tories. Whatever we get next will like cold alcohol-induced vomit compared to the integrity of Jeremy Corbyn.

          All that is left of for Labour is Hong Kong activism. Born and bred in the briar patch.
          Dominic Cummjngs made a big mistake not letting his algorithm get Corbyn win.

          • Andyoldlabour

            Monster,

            Excellent post. The whole system is rigged – UN, OPCW, World Bank, IMF, ICC, Bilderburg (Davos).
            The “might is right” analogy is spot on.

          • Andyoldlabour

            Giyane

            What a rambling post. Labour’s Brexit policy didn’t exist, it was a non policy of sittinjg on the fence.
            What they should have done was to honour the wishes of their traditional voters in the Labour heartlands, who largely voted to leave the EU.

          • Giyane

            Andyoldlabour

            I cannot fault Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
            But I can fault the majority of his own party that refused to follow him , both to compromise inside the country and also compromise with the European Union.
            Disgusted , from Birmingham.

          • MJ

            I can fault Corbyn’s leadership. He failed to stick to his principles and allowed his enemies in his own party to draft Labour’s absurd Brexit policy, which led to the party’s loss and his own resignation. Now those same enemies are going to take over the party again.

          • cimarrón

            From comments above:

            “And Labour’s Brexit policy was rubbish.”

            “Labour’s Brexit policy didn’t exist, it was a non policy of sitting on the fence.”

            “…Labour’s absurd Brexit policy,…”

            You’ve been listening to too many antisocialist semites.

            Labour’s policy should have been the official government policy, ie, people know what they’re voting for before they decide to Remain or to Leave.

            “Labour will give the people the final say on Brexit. Within three months of coming to power, a Labour government will secure a sensible deal. And within six months, we will put that deal to a public vote alongside the option to remain.”

            and

            “Labour rules out a no-deal Brexit, and we will end the scandal of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being wasted on no-deal preparations.”

            https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/the-final-say-on-brexit/

          • MJ

            “You’ve been listening to too many antisocialist semites”

            Listening to too many socialists I think you mean. Ever heard of Michael Foot or Tony Benn? Find out about their status within the British Left and their views on the EU. You’ll be amazed!

          • Bayard

            “What they should have done was to honour the wishes of their traditional voters in the Labour heartlands, who largely voted to leave the EU.”
            All that would have meant is them losing different seats where Remain was in the majority amongst their supporters.

      • Tom74

        No, it was the establishment’s dirty tricks – a bought-and-paid-for media that the law allows to lie to the British public with impunity, and an absurdly inflated postal vote tally, which suggests vote-rigging in the marginals. The ‘simple fact’ isn’t a fact at all but disinformation put out by the same crooks who, I’d suggest, stole the election.

        • bevin

          Bearing in mind that the Blairites-the Labour right- are an essential and central pillar of The Establishment. And that in ensuring Corbyn’s defeat, as only they could, they were acting on its behalf, you are correct.
          The equivalents of the modern Blairites have on several crucial occasions done the same thing. In 1931 with a Labour government faced with the depths of the Depression and a large part of the Cabinet inclined to methods we now call Keynesian, Ramsay Mac and his followers essentially carried out a coup to protect capitalism from the Labour Party.
          In 1981 with Thatcherism just beginning to register in the country for the horror that it was/is the Gang of Four split, founded the SDP and, again saved capitalism from a challenge by the Laboir Party.
          And then there was the rolling coup that we have just seen.
          I would argue, but not here, that the biggest triumph of the Labour Right was in 1945 when, with great difficulty they steered a country dead set on socialism into the Cold War and onto the course that led to Thatcher and what we have now,.

  • Marmite

    It is hard for me to be nearly as optimistic about international law.

    I understand the sentiment of this post, but I think it is misguided, and misses the bigger picture.

    It is kind of like saying the Third Reich was okay because it solved a lot of economic problems for German citizens.

    This law is spoken in the language of the white coloniser, and I think that if you are part of that group, it is hard to appreciate just how much it has failed the world and failed all life forms.

    International law means nothing to indigenous peoples all over the world, or to the great biodiversity that is exterminated everytime there is an inferno or an oil spill.

    International law means nothing to those who have had their lands stolen,raped and laid waste by extractivism of all kinds.

    I’d regard international law, for what it is, as one of the great indicators of the stupidity of the human race.

    Singing its praises just won’t do, and is irresponsible, unless you have set the bar for human intelligence very low.

    The law is an ass. It exists only to protect power and privilege, whatever scale it is at.

    • Marmite

      Otherwise, I agree with everything that was said. We have sunk much lower than was hitherto thought to be possible.

    • Giyane

      Marmite

      So you’re an anarchist? There’s always a hard way and an easy way. The hard way has just been tried in Syria by USUKIS and they lost their credibility and game plan. As Fedup rightly said above, “We have witnessed the Suez Canal moment for the US.”
      Which means in fact that we have witnessed the rise of the next empire from the ashes of communism in China and Russia. China is not known for anarchism. So my guess is that things are going to start swinging the other way very soon.

      Without wishing to be sentimental, this us a Nunc Dimittis moment for Jeremy Corbyn. Like Simeon who as an old man saw the child Messiah, he is leaving his political career at a time when he has seen Russia face down USUKIS in Syria and China overtake the US economically.
      Now let you servant go in peace because I have seen the fulfilment of all the prophecies. Oaf is in Oaf Heaven with all that taxpayers cash were not sending to the EU. But Corbyn has seen the fruition of his intellectual Marxism.

      • michael norton

        It isn’t easy to know if Russia “Faced Down” the U.S.A. in the region of Syria.
        Where is the evidence that the Russians stopped Donald Trump proclaiming
        The Golan
        should now be legitimised as part of Greater Israel, only this week Donald has been blathering, again, about Greater Israel.
        When the Syrians shot down a Russian aircraft and 15 Russian servicemen were killed.
        https://edition.cnn.com/2018/09/17/politics/syrian-regime-shoots-down-russian-plane/index.html
        this was caused by Israel attacking Syria.

        I see very little to show that Russia is facing anyone down in Syria other than actual terrorists.

  • Vassili Papastavrou

    Agree entirely with your blog. Just for information the USA has not yet ratified UNCLOS.

  • Republicofscotland

    Indeed what is the point of the UN if the likes of Israel, the US, and the UK ignore its findings, those three amigos complain when the likes of Russia or China, or any other nation they don’t particularly like bends or breaks the rules.

    Just because the USA is the biggest donor of cash to the UN doesn’t give it the right to flout UN decisions, the same applies to its increasingly obedient minion the UK, which will become even more of a lackey once we leave the EU.

    As you say if the ICC, has been captured then its not fit for purpose just like Nato.

    Meanwhile Boris Johnson telephoned Donald Trump to say how disappointed he was that the US werent giving up Anne Sacoolas. I suppose if it had been any other time the PM would’ve pushed a bit harder, then again recalling
    Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Johnson doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, however with Trump calling the shots on any future post-Brexit deal, I think Johnson will need tread lightly.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/25/boris-johnson-presses-trump-over-harry-dunn-suspect-returning-to-uk

  • Buffalo_Ken

    You know what I’m tired of. I’m tired of how all the Western politicians especially in my country “tis of thee” for which I have nothing but love.

    I’m tired of all the puppet politicians. They need to get some courage and if I could send it to them I would, but I don’t know how.

    Like my good friend, from Germany, a professor of history with great knowledge and a fine man if there ever was one. He said: “Sometimes I wonder if we are all on the same planet”. I agree with him.

    • Republicofscotland

      Politicians wanting elected don’t express interest they reflect power to those who fund them and their campaigns.

      Global corporate and private wealth rules the world. Add in that in history most intellectuals have served power, they wrote the history we know today.

      There may well be some honest and hard working politicians out there who care deeply, however todays politics is a very different animal, from that of putting the peoples interests first. Political advisors tell candidates and current politicians seeking reelection what to say that will give them the best chance of obtaining office.

      • Buffalo_Ken

        With all due respect RoS. Global corporate and private wealth do NOT rule the world. I could tell you what does, but I doubt you would appreciate what I say so I won’t.

        I’m just tired of puppets.

        • Republicofscotland

          Go on Buffalo I’m sure we’d all like to know.

          Oh and Chomsky said global corporate and private wealth rules the world, I’m sure he knows better than you. Unless of course you believe Chomsky is a puppet?

          • glenn_pt

            “Love” does not appear to be much in evidence as the primary motivator of those in power.

            Unless you refer to love of money and/or power, of course.

          • Republicofscotland

            Aaawwww, Buff, you old romantic you got me there, even if it is just fantasy. 😀

          • Tatyana

            Republicofscotland, the biggest disappointment in life for me was to realize that many people say “love” meaning “passion”.
            Love is much more. Love is the desire to be a part of. That is, when I say “I love my son,” I mean “I am happy to be a part of his life and share with him what I have” in the broadest sense.
            I have a lot of love in me, that is, there are many people and things and phenomena around me that I am happy to be a part of, to share existence and to contribute to.
            Love is the way to live.

          • michael norton

            Well explained Tatyana,
            some hate, some exhibit shallow love, some exhibit deep love to one object/person, the lucky people are those that are able to give themselves to loving.

          • Buffalo_Ken

            Hey by the way RoS – how long do you think it is before your hero dies. My hero, Kropotkin, has already died but it is my mission to keep his message alive because let me tell you that Russian genius knew what he was talking about and he wrote it all down in a book or two for the sake of posterity. He knew what he was talking about. As for Chomsky, frankly, I could give a flip. I just want Jullilan to be free. The man deserves to be free and I can relate to his time in prison because I’ve been there myself and I won’t go back. Just kill me first please. So JA deserves to be free and I’m thinking I’m going to do what I can (which ain’t much) to make that happen. Please – take your hubris and shove it up your…….I hope you get the message.

          • Tatyana

            Yes, Michael, I’m glad you understand 🙂
            The essence of love is harmony. It is balance in an interweaving, when everyone has enough space for comfort and everyone is happy.
            Love is different to the desire to possess, in other words, to the desire to occupy as much space as possible in someone else’s life.
            Love is pure, in the sense that it is purified from the ‘personal’. Love is not selfish, on the contrary, it dictates us decisions that a more noble, more altruistic ideal creature would make.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Buffalo_Ken January 25, 2020 at 19:11
            Old Nick’s worshipers rule the world, but Love will triumph:

            ‘And the devil led him (Jesus) into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.’ Luke lV : 5-7

          • Republicofscotland

            “Hey by the way RoS – how long do you think it is before your hero dies. ”

            First of Buffalo Chomsky isn’t my hero, he’s a well informed man, who like Craig, Pilger, Fisk, Assange, Snowden and Curtis etc who isn’t afraid to relate his info to the public.

            I admire that, that some folk are willing to risk it all to educate others on what’s really going on.

            As for Chomsky dying, well he’s in his nineties now, and he’s still informing young folk, and older people of what’s really going on, that I think takes commitment.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Buffalo Ken;
      First the puppets are chosen and then they are turned into succesful politicians.

  • Buffalo_Ken

    I mean come on. The rest of you all must realize that there are many puppets in gubment. Have you ever had to deal with the bureaucracy. I can tell you this, I sure have, and I’m sick of it and I’ve decide just now that when I encounter it, I’m going to speak my mind. I hope that is allowed.

    Peace is EASY…..what we do after we have it is not, but once peace is established then I believe wiser minds than mine will know how to figure it out.

    Personally all I care about now is setting up a family trip to a wonderful park north of Albany sometime in August and I want to ride that roller coaster of my youth with my current family members whom I so LOVE!

    • glenn_pt

      You’re talking rubbish, Ken, and this peace is easy (sorry, “EASY”) is a bit insulting to those of us that tried very hard, but unsuccessfully, to stop war.

      • Buffalo_Ken

        That war ain’t gonna happen. Do you want to bet. That would be a good bet for me because what do I have to lose if war you think is gonna happen does. If it does – we all lose. Seem that way to me. So once again – and I say this with respect. Do you want to bet?

        • glenn_pt

          Here’s news for you chief… war has happened, is happening, and most assuredly is going to happen.

          Not sure what trip you’re currently on, but it seems to be working for you – so enjoy it while it lasts.

          • Andyoldlabour

            glenn_pt

            You are sadly, quite correct, war has been going on around the World since 1914, it never stopped. My wife witnessed first hand the Iran Iraq war, tended the chemical weapons casualties in a Tehran hospital.

        • nevermind

          Ken with all due respect, the security mechanismns once in place to stop us acting up MAD, agreed by the then Warsaw pact and NATO countries, do not exist anymore.
          They are replaced with multiple amplifications of preferred statements/news, most of the skewed and contorted, planted strawmen arguments, sucked up by the spiked editorial offices that harbour plants such as our favourite Newsnight Scripal commentator.
          To have a bet on Norwich winning at Burnley is just an addiction, to ignore that it only takes two committed people/nutters/psychos to set off a set of events that will take us to a horrendous nightmare, is naive ignorance of an increasingly chaotic state regards global affairs and diplomacy.

          Great article Craig, and excellent comments from monster and Brian F.

    • Republicofscotland

      Mary saw it on Craigs Twitter feed, apparently the cons rioted at the disgraceful treatment that Assange has been receiving at Belmarsh, I think they moved Assange out of solitary confinement because of it.

      What does it say about the UK governments atrocious handling of Assange and his unjust imprisonment, when even the lags at Belmarsh care more about his health that the UK government.

      I tip my hat to the inmates who saw the injustice, and did something about it bravo!

  • Buffalo_Ken

    I’ll keep this as simple as possible. Is there anybody here who does not want peace and harmony?

    With that said, is there anybody who thinks this will arise by virtue of “International Law”?

    So that is the quandary. It ain’t gonna come from International Law. It will only come for Virtue and Justice. Two trees of peace is how I like to think of them and that gives me joy. But more than that we need justice. Lets see what happens and then act accordingly – that is my plan and I sure hope I never need to rely on contingencies.

    Man I love my Irish blood because I feel it in me strong now and that gives me hope. I don’t care if you think I’m a goof ball because I have hope for the future.

    • Tatyana

      Wrong connection, Ken.
      Corrrect chain is: Harmony-Love-Peace. Alternative chain is: Imbalance-Hatred-War.

      The first link to the PEACE is Balance, which can only be achieved through making efforts for Compromise (In the broad philosophical sense of this concept). Signs of imbalance are feelings of invasion or offence, these should be sincerely discussed, borders set up, forgiveness asked for, compensation given. Compromise is the key.

      Antonym for Compromise is Egocentrism.
      If the event has more egocentrism than compromise, then it upsets the balance and leads to hatred and war. As with Crimea, Crimeans went to Russia, and Ukraine feels offended because Crimea did not ask for the opinion of the rest of the country. Imbalance of interests – hatred – war. Iraq cannot get rid of American soldiers – an imbalance of interests – hatred – war.

      The Law should be one of the means to achieve Balance, but on the example of the Bethlehem doctrine, we see that the laws have authors and performers who act in their own interests. And there is no effective mechanism for punishing these corrupt people. How to make people keep the balance if their personal motives are of higher value to them?

  • Smiling Through

    It’s not just the decline of international law that should trouble us.

    A former Labour MP, Colin Challen, has made Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in response to its inquiry into Labour Party over alleged institutional antisemitism.

    Their pathetic and wholly inadequate reply can be found on his blog and subsequently reproduced on the website of Jewish Voice for Labour.

    Needless to say the EHRC has lawyers in its lay management as well on its full-time staff.

    The silence of a Parliament stuffed with lawyers over this, the issues raised by Craig and, of course, Julian Assange is deafening.

  • David

    The “Voice of Truth” (BBCR4) shipping forecast today at 5:30am, or maybe it was the early-news around that time informed me that Prince Charles would like to officially visit Iran…. (he unofficially was there sixteen years ago apparently)

    WTF:urgent post-exit trade deal for pistachios?
    HMG:apologies for one of their previous coups? film trailer here https://hyperallergic.com/538348/coup-53-iran-documentary/
    one-up on someone called Megan?

    • jake

      It’s less about trade than getting someone out of jail to save Boris’s blushes. That, and the new efforts at rebranding core royals as having value and relevance.

  • Republicofscotland

    Sky news reporting that the Irish EU minister has said that goods entering Northern Ireland from the UK will need to be checked.

    Boris Johnson insisted prior to this news, that no goods entering NI from the UK would be checked.

    What other misleading information, other than the stuff we already knew about beforehand, has the UK government told us? And we’re not even out the EU yet.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      If the UK remained in full compliance with EU regulations and standards, hauliers passing from NI to the UK mainland will have to fill in a Safety & Security Certificate with 29 mandatory sections. This would be largely a pain in the erse and is unlikely to include any physical checks on vehicle loads.
      Ayn Rand fanboy, Javid has said that the UK will diverge from EU regulations & standards. Every degree of divergence must be met with an incremental increase in the intrusiveness of Customs checks at Belfast, Larne and Warren Point. Johnson is merely being his disingenuous self.
      All of which is to be welcomed. If Johnson is content to go down in history as the leader of the Conservative & Unionist Party that “lost” Northern Ireland, then the psychological leap to “loosing” Scotland is less daunting.

      • michael norton

        What will happen, will be Cliff Edge Brexit towards the end of this year, maybe, even earlier, there will be a Hard Border, between Ulster and rest of Ireland.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          That scenario is entirely possible, but the medium term end result is the same; a united Ireland.

    • Laguerre

      Johnson is openly reneging on the WA he signed with the EU, a legal international agreement. The question is what the EU is going to do about it. After going to the ECJ, of course, whose judgement will be ignored. I wouldn’t have thought that, after all that, that there’d be much choice other than to re-erect border checks on the international land border .

      My own preferred solution, a little bit naughty, is for the French to take all the inhabitants of the Calais Jungle, and any other willing illegal migrants, put them in buses, ship them over to Ireland by the Roscoff-Cork ferry, and dump them a few yards from the border, telling them to walk over. Will only cost a couple of thousand, and within a week there’ll be British border posts and checks everywhere, and heavy controls on the NI ferries. It’ll cost Britain a fortune, and incur the wrath of the US for breaking the GFA. France can even do it surreptitiously, doesn’t have to be public.

      • N_

        The Calais jungle got cleared in 2016.

        If the French authorities do what you say, they’d have to sort it out with the Irish government which would probably have to join Schengen. Cue heavy controls on all transport between Britain and Ireland including the Republic of Ireland.

        With the US (and the Catholic Church) well p*ssed off, perhaps Britain will have to beg to become a Chinese colony.

        It’s interesting that the Duke of Cummings thinks the “special relationship” is a load of old bull.

        • Laguerre

          The Calais Jungle recreates itself every time it gets cleared.

          “Cue heavy controls on all transport between Britain and Ireland including the Republic of Ireland.” I think you’ll find the Irish have already been preparing for that for some time. There’s been reinforcement of the French-Irish ferries. I’m always amused by these threats of retaliation from Britain, as though everybody else is going to lie down in front of them.

          Yes, probably the Brexiters will realise their long-desired dream of repeating 1940, and declaring war on the EU. There is already that idiot MEP from Dover who wants to declare Briatin’s independence from the White Cliffs, such that it can be seen from Calais.

          • bevin

            “probably the Brexiters will realise their long-desired dream of repeating 1940, and declaring war on the EU. ”
            Is that your explanation of the war? Britain’s refusal to go along with a united europe? The rapid spread of fascist revisionism is troubling.

          • Laguerre

            Did I say it was my explanation of the war that actually took place? I don’t seem to remember saying that.

          • Laguerre

            Bevin
            Mind you it must be difficult being a Brit in Canada, you get out of touch so quickly with what actually happens in Europe. It’s how people get to be lexiters, isn’t it?

          • michael norton

            Germany invaded Poland who had a bit of a treaty with the United Kingdom, so the U.K. essentially declared war on Germany, which also included Austria, as Austria and Germany had previously merged known as Anschluss.
            At this time Laguerre, the European Union did not exist.

          • Laguerre

            Norton, don’t accuse me of bevin’s invented accusations. It has nothing to do with what I said.

        • Tony_0pmoc

          N_,

          “The Calais jungle got cleared in 2016”. The son of a friend of ours worked there as an unpaid volunteer for many months. He was interviewed several times, by the Worldwide press. Then during the process of closing it down, he was arrested and slung in jail. He was eventually released and sent back home to his Mum in England, but the French did not drop the ridiculous charges, and he had to go back to France, several times to attend court at his own expense, often to find that the court proceedings had been delayed to another date. He was about 27 years old at the start of this. All this stress caused him to lose a lot of weight, and by the time it was all over, he looked like a skinny teenager who had not been fed. I have enormous respect for people like that, who actually try and do something to help, even if I do not necessarily agree with all their political views, I do agree with their basic humanity, sadly lacking in all our governments.

          Tony

    • Cubby

      All the posters on here who regularly highlight all the issues regarding the UK government and there are many and most pretty terrible who insist that Scotland should continue to be subject to the governence they so bitterly complain about should take a long hard look at themselves. Everyone knows the reality is that it is only a UK gov by name and an English gov in reality. An English dictatorship of Scotland Wales and N. Ireland.

      • nevermind

        Please count then cubby, but you will find that the majority here, myself included, are yearning for the day when you lift the proverbial kilt to expressly show a pair of humongous balls.
        Don’t expect busy Nicola to show them, she ain’t got any.
        A Scottish Citizens Assembly? Asking the powers to be for help in establishing an Independent Scotland, whilst sounding out other countries support for this idea?
        Europe might be a good choice, Norway, Danmark, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands would be a good try/ start.
        It’s the modern way of charging down a hill swords swirling in the mist.
        Meet you DTRH for a pint if you fancy, much to be expected / music and poetry, and to talk over expectations we share or proffer.

  • fedup

    ” Thinking is the enemy of the Totalitarian State.”

    So twentieth century, so démodé.

    Chinese are managing to build a hospital in seven days; turning a buggy patch of land into a modern 1000 bed hospital. When was the last hospital built in our Freedom of everything land?

    We can’t even sort a damn high speed rail track to bring up the infrastructure to 21st century code, and there are a lot “thinkers” around our joint talking out of their hats to boot.

    Give over mate this kind of cock-and-bull yarn isn’t cutting the mustard; show me the money/progress/achievements/benefits

  • Republicofscotland

    So it could cost £10 billion pounds and upwards to the taxpayer to cancel HS2, and at £403 million pounds a mile HS2 is the most expensive railway on Earth.

    • Tom74

      I don’t suppose HS2 will be cancelled. It looks like another will-they-won’t-they saga to keep the plebs divided and the companies involved on their toes while the bribes are being finalised.

    • Laguerre

      According to the railway magazines, the problem is hyper-specification. The cost is 2-3 times as much as a similar French TGV line. Less than 25mm sag has been demanded over 25 years, which means that concrete viaducts have to be inserted everywhere, rather than simple earth embankments.

      I thought the problem was Tory landowners in the home counties demanding high compensation. No doubt that’s also true.

      In the end the issue is not speed, but capacity. If HS2 is not built, then present lines will have to be upgraded. That’ll cost and cause trouble over 15 years, according to the experts.

      Personally I don’t care as I don’t take that line. But the logic for building it on French specifications seems the solution.

      • Bayard

        “In the end the issue is not speed, but capacity.”

        AFAICS, the problem is precisely speed. If the trains weren’t specced to go so fast, they could use more of the existing built-to-Berne-gauge-but-long-closed Great Central main line, wouldn’t need so many viaducts/embankments/cuttings/tunnels to make sure the line is not only straight but flat. But then, if the trains weren’t specced to go so fast, they wouldn’t be bringing Birmingham within commuting distance of London, with all the uplift in land values that implies.

  • remember kronstadt

    just watched virus warrior Pitiless Patel ‘taking all the precautions’ (the US is flying their people out) which includes a poster at airports advising people who feel unwell to visit their doctor. So join a queue of sick people and share your ailments.

  • N_

    Here is a note on the British regime’s heroic contribution to international humanitarian law against nasty stuff and against bad attitudes towards the invaded, displaced and occupied. It’s from an interview with Dave Wallis, who talks bout when he was in the British army in Egypt (he was also in the Communist Party and involved in the Cairo Forces’ Parliament, and later wrote the novel “Only Lovers Left Alive”):

    I want to tell you one of the decisive moments in my life. Within a week of landing in Egypt, I had already got all the ‘right’ ideas on racism, and in fact, before I ever joined the YCL [Young Communist League – the youth organisation of the Communist Party – N_ note] (…) Although I had a YCL card, I was absolutely green in politics … I was a romantic … with dreams of universal brother­hood, and so on – with a certain level of political sophistication as well, but really very little. I was brought on parade at [Dikla?] Camp in late April ‘41, and this incident has always lingered in my memory. It was decisive, it was one of the turning points in my life, I think. We were stood ‘at ease’ and a fatherly old regular sergeant-major came out. Now I want to emphasise the type of man … I’m told by people with experience that you can even meet them in the prison service. Any authoritarian ideas that they might have had, any personal sadism they may have had, any power complexes have long since been lost in the general defeats of middle age. For one reason or another, they have once again … become human beings. You would even meet regular sergeant-majors like this – generally heavy drinkers, but tired men who just wanted to get by, who knew perfectly well that life had very little for them or indeed, from their point of view, very little meaning … He stood us ‘at ease’ and moved us into the shade, which was a humane thing to do. And he took this as a cue for giving us his fatherly … ‘new recruits in Egypt’ lecture – about staying out in the sun too much, that’s why he’d moved us into the shade. ‘If you have to go to the brothels, for God’s sake go to the army-approved ones, and go to the Prophylactic Station immediately afterwards. And he made feeble little jokes about it – you can imagine the type of joke – but he did it in a benign and fatherly fashion … He warned us of drinking too much cold beer on a hot day, even if we could afford it, and it was best, after all, to drink British imported beer in the canteen ‘And I’m not just saying this because I’m the sergeant major responsible for the canteens – really some of this cold wog lager is gnats’ piss, and you shouldn’t drink it’, and so on and so on. And that if we had some personal problems at home, ‘Don’t be afraid to come and see me; don’t be afraid to put in to see your Company officers – they’re decent enough fellows …’ In the course of all this fatherly talk, he said: ‘Now then, especially you drivers, just a word of advice. Traffic’s very chaotic in Cairo – so, if you do happen to knock down a wog, stop and back over him and finish him off. It’s much the best thing to do. The British will pay compensation to his widow – more than she would ever earn in a hundred years. It saves a lot of form filling … If you injure a fellow, you’ve got to be responsible for getting him to a civilian hospital. You can’t take him to a British Army hospital – the civilian police are involved.’ He said: ‘You wouldn’t believe the paperwork you’ve got to go through, and you might end up on a charge anyway.’ ‘So’, he says, ‘my advice is, if you knock a wog down, stop, back over him and finish him off.’ … I thought it was decisive moment in my life because I was so boiling with … with a boyish rage … I damn near walked off that parade, on the spot. But discipline tells … and I stood there … I was in such an emotional state, I nearly fainted, and he would have put it down to sun-stroke. Then I thought about it, for hours afterwards – have been thinking about it for 30 years, but I reached the conclusion within the first hour of thinking about it, which I haven’t really fundamentally altered. This is the face of the enemy. The enemy is not some kind of Eichmann or some kind of sadistic lunatic brooding in a black uniform with a whip. No, this is the face of the enemy – the acceptance of received ideas, even by kindly, gentle, defeated men – this is what’s got to be altered, this is the enemy. It made me think much more deeply about the propaganda slogans and the general humanitarian clichés which I had in my brain. They really took flesh for me at that moment, and I would say that my attitude towards my four and a half years in Egypt was determined at that moment. One hopes that, without it, I would have remained faithful to socialist principles … but it would have been in a pompous, cliché-ridden fashion …

    The US forces in Vietnam took a leaf out of their former colonial motherland’s book when they operated the “Mere Gook Rule“. This helped ensure that hardly any US servicemen got into much trouble for the My Lai massacre in which 500 innocent civilians were murdered, including many who were raped and mutilated, including children, in one day.

    In Britain today I understand that after Woolworth’s went bust the medical fraternity (whom much of the population look up to as “doctors”) stopped referring to the “Woolworth’s Test” and spoke instead of the “Primark Test”.

    Tells you a lot about medics and about Britain, country of such huge deference on one side and class hatred on the other, that does.

    Then there’s the “worried well”, which has been mentioned in the British Medical Journal recently in relation to the Chinese coronavirus.

    Ah, what a land of such respect for everybody, in all our “diversity”!

    • Laguerre

      What you cite is very true, N. The British in Egypt did try to behave like they did with Indians, but it didn’t work. There was a famous incident in 1906 called the Denshawai incident, where a number of Egyptian villagers were killed and others hanged, because they resisted British officers. Indians would have accepted it but Egyptians did not.

      It was a lot of the problem in Iraq too. The US troops behaved much like they had in Vietnam, and regrettably the British followed them. It was the main reason why the British lost Basra, nobody trusted them to behave properly. There were lots of videos on line of poor behaviour in the 2004-2008 period, I downloaded a good number, and I’ve still got them.

    • michael norton

      It is almost as if Priti Patel is “protected” how could this be?

      Is she the confidant of our new Prime minister>
      Perhaps she knows “quite” a few details, which would not be acceptable in the public domain?

  • Wikikettle

    Blistering monologue by George Galloway just now on You Tube on Mother of All Talk Shows 1900-2200. Guest include Chris Hedges

    • Cubby

      Galloway is just another Britnat Labour democracy denier who shouts a bit louder than the other Britnat Labour democracy deniers.

      British Labour in Scotland the most treacherous Party to ever pitch up in Scotland.

      • Brianfujisan

        Cubby

        Maybe GG should go on one of our Huge Marches. See the Peaceful, Family / Dog Friendly, beautiful, Peaceful Events.. It’s only when we pass the dozen or so Unionists that we hear theid foul mouthed abuse

        He GG screams for the democratic rights of other nations..But not his mother nation

        GG rightly pushes the Palestine cause..as do many of us..On the All Under One Banner Marches we often see many Palestine Flags..I myself carry one on the Marches.

        .

        • Cubby

          Brianfujisan

          I agree. Flags of many nationalities including St George as there are many English Scot for Yes who attend. Democracy and justice for all.

          If Englands wants its Brexit and its Tory governments then that’s what they voted for. Scotland voted for neither and England has no right to impose their wishes on Scotland and call themselves anything other than a dictatorship.

      • michael norton

        George Galloway is an intelligent man, who does his best to expose the truth, just because he thinks the United Kingdom is better staying together does not make him Untermensch

        • Cubby

          Michael Norton

          “Does his best to expose the truth” well that’s a joke. What truth has he ever exposed about Westminster/Englands abuse of Scotland. Nothing not a thing.

          Well it is a statement of the “bleedin” obvious to say that the UK is better staying together. If it didn’t stay together it wouldn’t exist at all so therefore it’s obviously better for it. But what does this really mean. It really means it is better for old Blighty England – thats what it means – it is not better for Scotland not by a long way. So people who claim to be Scottish and are willing to see Scotland abused by their bullying neighbour – they may be intelligent – they may be dumb – but I know what they are – take a guess.

        • Brianfujisan

          Well michael.. GG wasn’t telling the Truth when he interviewed Craig recently..He was spouting MSM lies about the ScotGov, and SNP performance.. He Can’t even be bothered to research the facts.

          He might think the UK is better staying together..this is exactly the lies Scotland were told in the 2014 referendum…” Vote No to Stay in the EU ” was just one of their Lies.

          We, in the indy movement don’t just think, we know Scotland would be better off Rid of Corrupt London Rule.

        • remember kronstadt

          george used to be ‘in’ the tent… then he wet himself, ran out and now spends the rest of his life complaining about it

          • OnlyHalfALooney

            He must have become a muslim to have a nikah (muslim wedding) when he married his Dutch muslim wife. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But he’s not exactly open about it either. (Blair was also very secretive about his “closet catholicism”. And Reagan and especially Carter greatly exaggerated their religiosity. Why all this lack of openness and honesty?)

            Galloway is a curious character and a very unlikely chum of Arron Banks. I suspect he’s something of a scrounger.

            As an Egyptian socialist academic once said to me, “Beware my friend: professional politician!”

  • Cubby

    The three British Nationalist Parties.

    Labour is the left cheek of the British arse.

    Conservative is the right cheek of the British arse.

    Sitting in the middle of the British arse are the arseholes called the Lib Dems

    When it comes to Scotland they all speak with the one tongue – a London tongue – “Shut up and do what you are told. You have no rights and no democracy so get back in your box.” An English dictatorship masquerading as a Union.

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