Carmichael: An Extraordinary Lack of Humility

by craig on December 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Given that the election court had just found that he told a “Blatant lie”, Alistair Carmichael struck absolutely the wrong note in his statement after the case. He could have said:

“I did tell a lie, and it is something I deeply regret. I apologise to my constituents, to my family and to the people of Scotland for all the trouble my lie has caused. I have learned from it. I am grateful to the court for giving me aother chance, and I have now learned never to indulge in that kind of bad behaviour again.”

Instead, with extraordinary arrogance, Alistair said this:

“I am pleased with the decision of the court.

Although I was always confident of winning the last few months have been a difficult and stressful time for me and my family.

We have been enormously grateful for the tremendous levels of support received from local people, in both Orkney and Shetland, regardless of which political party they normally support…

This case was politically motivated. It was a deliberate attempt by nationalists to remove the last Scottish Liberal voice at Westminster, and is a mark of the unhealthy polarisation of Scottish politics since the referendum.”

Co-ordinated statements were put out by Willie Rennie and “Bomber” Tim Farron saying much the same thing. So the utter lack of any humility must have been deliberate. This is an orchestrated act of arrogance.

You will recall that I predicted that there was no way that Scotland’s deeply conservative and unionist judiciary would find against Carmichael. The reasoning behind their judgement is intellectually risible. They say that Carmichael only lied in denying a specific leak; he was therefore not making a false claim about his general character. If he had specifically stated that he never leaked he would have been making a false claim and disqualified.

Here is the pathetic “reasoning” of the judge Lady Paton:

They explained that if a candidate made a false statement that he would never leak an internal confidential memo, no matter how helpful that might be to his party, as he regarded the practice of leaking confidential information as dishonest and morally reprehensible, and he would not stoop to such tactics, when in fact that candidate had leaked an internal confidential memo containing material which was inaccurate and highly damaging to an opponent, they would be likely to conclude that the candidate had given a false statement “’in relation to [his] personal character or conduct” because he would be falsely holding himself out as being of such a standard of honesty, honour, trustworthiness and integrity that, in contrast with what others in Westminster might do, he would never be involved in such a leaking exercise.

“In the present case, when speaking to the Channel 4 interviewer, the first respondent did not make such an express statement about his personal character or conduct,” Lady Paton continued. “We are not persuaded that the false statement proved to have been made was in relation to anything other than the first respondent’s awareness (or lack of awareness) of a political machination. Accordingly we are not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the words used by the first respondent amounted to a ‘false statement of fact in relation to [his] personal character or conduct’. It follows that we are not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an essential element of section 106 has been proved.

There are several glaring errors in this reasoning. The first is that if I denied knowledge of a murder I had in fact committed, I would be making a false statement about my general character whether or not I had added a condemnation of the morality of murder.

The second is that Lady Paton ignores the “conduct” in “false statement in relation to his character or conduct.” In denying knowledge of a leak he had in fact made himself. Carmichael was beyond any reasonable doubt making a false statement as to his conduct, even if we accept Paton’s argument it did not go to his character. Note that there is no reference to his “general” or “usual” conduct.

This is the judgement of a woman justifying a pre-determined stitch-up.

Despite al this, I would not be tremendously concerned about the result if Alistair had the decency to be a bit chastened by it. It is only because of our ridiculously undemocratic electoral system that representation is so skewed. You didn’t ought to get over 95% of the seats on 52% of the votes, and I am not sure what is gained by magnifying that other wrong. But any mixed feelings I have on those grounds are dispelled by the utterly inappropriate triumphalism the Lib Dems are displaying, as though to be found a blatant liar by a court is something to be proud of. The brass neck of it all is sickening.

Henry Jackson Society as Bad as Donald Trump

by craig on December 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

On Saturday I shall be speaking at a conference in Edinburgh on the changing face of racism, and how Islamophobia is now not only mainstream but actively promoted by government.

Donald Trump’s remarks have brought appropriate condemnation, but the Henry Jackson Society got there first. In February 2006 Douglas Murray, Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society, stated :

“It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. In the case of a further genocide such as that in the Balkans, sanctuary would be given on a strictly temporary basis. This should also be enacted retrospectively… Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.”

Douglas Murray also came out with a straight defence of the use of torture by Western intelligence agencies.

Yet the politicians who pretend to be outraged by Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from the US, line up to support the man who declares “All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop.” Not only Jim Murphy, but a role call of top Blairites sits on the Political Council of the Henry Jackson Society – Margaret Beckett, Hazel Blears, Ben Bradshaw, Chris Bryant, Gisela Stuart etc. All of course enthusiasts for bombing Syria. It astonishes me that the Labour Party is now complaining about “infiltration” by groups on the left when a large number of very senior figures can belong to an organisation which is avowedly neo-conservative, is linked to the US and European far right and is funded by the CIA.

The Henry Jackson Society is the go-to organisation for broadcasters looking for comment on Islamic affairs. I was both pleased and surprised to see the Henry Jackson Society named two days ago in a Guardian article on the mainstreaming of Islamophobia. Pleased because the maximum exposure is necessary to make people understand what people are getting when they see “independent” HJS staff interviewed on the BBC and Sky, and surprised because the Blairite controlled and US marketed Guardian doesn’t usually run this kind of stuff anymore.

I tucked it in to the back of my mind until I came to write this article. Guess what? The Guardian Editors have now excised all mention of the Henry Jackson Society from the article on the mainstreaming of Islamophobia. Interesting that, isn’t it?

The Henry Jackson Society seconds staff to the Quilliam Foundation. This extraordinary organisation is a career vehicle for “reformed jihadists” to milk huge salaries and luxury lifestyles from government money, in return for fronting an organisation run by the security services. Quilliam specialises in denouncement of Muslim organisations and talking up the Jihadi threat, offering “expert advice” on the government’s anti-free speech strategy. At the same time, it seeks to maximise the income of its directors. One interesting collaboration to make money was its collaboration with the current head of Pergida UK, and former head of the English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Alias Tommy Robinson).

Quilliam have received millions from the taxpayer for their dubious “work”. But their application for Home Office funding to split with Yaxley-Lennon remains an episode beyond belief. Several of Quilliam’s staff are “lent” by the CIA-funded Henry Jackson Society.

Do come along to the meeting on Saturday. Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9BX.

Sadly, Terrorism Is Easy

by craig on December 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

I wish a speedy recovery, both physically and mentally, to the people stabbed at Leytonstone tube station. It must have been horrifying.

The following comments are in part predicated on a presumption that the media reports of the incident are broadly true. This comes with a serious health warning. At this stage after another tube station incident, we were universally assured that various official “sources” and “eye-witnesses” had affirmed that Jean Charles leapt the barriers and ran through the tunnels, wearing a bulky jacket with wires sticking out. All of those turned out to be absolute lies deliberately spread by the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office.

But assuming this time the account of his shouting about Syria is not lies, what we can see from video is that a single man in a very silly hat, armed with a very small knife indeed, can carry out a vicious terrorist attack with apparently no need for planning at all. Not even planning enough to get a less tiny knife from his kitchen.

Because, sadly terrorism is easy. As I stated recently, if I were crazed enough to want to kill somebody tomorrow, and did not care how I did it, who I killed or if I died myself, I could kill a few people without too much effort or planning. That is why the continual propaganda about “seven foiled ISIS terrorist plots” or “4,000 active Islamic terrorists in the UK” is quite simply untrue. If all those terrorists existed, they would not be so entirely unproductive. What the authorities do catch continually are fantasists, often children, boasting and “plotting” online about being terrorists. That is quite a different thing. It is worth noting that nobody has been charged over any of these seven foiled ISIS plots. Strange that, isn’t it?

As for the man in the silly hat, I fear he is mentally unstable. That is no comfort to his victims. The truth is, of course, that it is always the little people who get hurt. None of the 1% who foment, promote and profit from war have ever set foot in Leytonstone Tube Station. But their agenda is forwarded today. By its continual acts of violence and repression, the neo-con state eventually goads a mentally unstable person into a nasty, vicious and pointless act. They then use that act to justify more wars and repression.

For the security and armaments industry it is a very profitable cycle.

Swing From Tory to Labour at Oldham West was 8.4%

by craig on December 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

I just thought I would report that swing because, for the first time in 50 years in an English by-election, the BBC nowhere reported the swing between the two major English parties.

I wonder why?

I have a lifetime of memories of Bob McKenzie, Peter Snow and others saying “now here is the swing between the two main parties”. This was invariably followed by “Now then, let’s just for fun extrapolate from that swing to what the House of Commons would look like if that swing were repeated in a general election. This of course comes with a health warning, by-election swings are not a good guide”.

This time, even on election night, nothing at all, zilch, nada. In fact at no stage, then or after, did the BBC mention the swing between the two main parties. I don’t think the word swing was used at all. Nor was “collapse” or any other word that would describe the disappearance of the Tory vote – from 23 to 19 to 9% in the last three elections, in what was within my own adulthood a Tory constituency. The BBC by-election coverage with Andrew Neil in fact concluded 45 minutes before schedule, presumably because they had to bin all the pre-records on the demise of Corbyn, and stand down Umunna.

We are nowhere near mid-term. Any good psephologist will tell you, that while by-elections are a very poor guide to future events, to attain an 8.4% swing against the government only six months after a general election, the opposition is doing very well (and the government doing very badly).

No Brake and No Disclosure on Media Owners’ Interests

by craig on December 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Times today carries an article on ISIS’ oil interests, Syria and Turkey. Nowhere does it inform its readers that the owner of the newspaper, Rupert Murdoch, has a vested interest in this subject through his role and shares in Genie Energy, an Israeli company granted oil rights in Syria by the Israeli government. Dick Cheney and Lord Rothschild are also shareholders.

No, they really are. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is a conspiracy.

That Israel should grant oil rights within Syria is of course a striking example of contempt for international law, but then that is the basis on which Israel normally operates. Of course Genie’s share value will be substantially boosted by the installation of a neo-con puppet regime in Damascus which can be bought to underwrite the oil concession granted by Israel. Contempt for international law has been the single most important defining characteristic of neo-conservatism, and the need to uphold international law the recurring theme of this blog. I never thought the UK government would make the withdrawal of its support for the concept of international law explicit, as Cameron has done by removing the obligation to comply with international law from the Ministerial Code. That is truly, truly disgraceful.

But to return to Murdoch’s oil interests in Syria, it seems to me a fundamental flaw that when Fox News, Sky News, the Times, the Sun and Murdoch’s numerous other media outlets bang the drum for Western military action in Syria, there is no requirement for the consumer of this propaganda to be told that the outlet is pushing a policy in line with the financial interests of its owner. Even for those actively seeking information, there is no register of the interests of media proprietors.

It is a wonderful irony that there is a register of the interests of the board members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, but no register of the interests of media proprietors!

This is not an accident. The Leveson Inquiry did receive evidence and questioned a witness – Dr Rowan Cruft of the University of Stirling – who suggested that a proprietor’s financial interest in a story should be revealed. Robert Jay, QC to the counsel asked:

Robert Jay

This is on your page 8, our page 00885. You say:
“First of all, the code could do more to require proprietors, editors and journalist to declare their financial and also their political interests and to declare these to readers as well as editors.”
I don’t think the code does anything to require proprietors, editors and journalist to do that.

Dr Rowan Cruft
That’s right.

Robert Jay QC goes on first to suggest any duty to declare financial interests should only apply to specifically financial journalists. He then moves quickly on to discuss the implications of declaring political interests of proprietors. Robert Jay QC is a clever man and he managed to avoid any discussion of the financial interests of proprietors whatsoever. Shortly after the Inquiry concluded, he was promoted by the Government to be a High Court Judge.

The Leveson Inquiry totally ignored the real rot in Britain’s media – the massive concentration of media ownership and its subservience to other corporate interests. The revised Code of Conduct which was its result does not contain any reference to proprietors’ interests even in the very limited context of writing about stocks and shares. A financial journalist has a duty to declare any interest which he or his family have in a company he writes about, but no duty to declare any interest of his proprietor – the person who is paying him to write.

If you think this is an accident, you are extremely naïve. It is just a tiny glimpse into one aspect of the UK’s extraordinarily dense web of elite corruption,

Stella Creasy Demands I Retract Article

by craig on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

UPDATE

Ms Stella Creasy is offended by this article. At 8.14am this morning 5 December she tweeted:

“This is just an offensive and wrong article and I hope Mr Murray retracts.”

Nothing in it is wrong to the best of my knowledge, but if anything is, I should be most happy to retract it. Nobody has indicated anything is factually wrong so far. I have changed the title of the post to be literal rather than sarcastic, because that was the only thing about it that was “wrong”.

But offensive? Really? She must be a very shrinking violet indeed.

Given that the whole point of this article is to suggest that Ms Creasy believes she should be above criticism and above democratic accountability, for her to describe the criticisms in this article as “offensive” purely proves my point. It is not offensive. It is legitimate criticism of somebody who lives off my taxes.

For me, the inevitable conclusion is that a woman whose Wikipedia page states “Creasy has aristocratic family connections on her mother’s side, including with the Howards, Earls of Carlisle (through whom she is related to Polly Toynbee), the Cayzer family and the present (9th) Viscount Gort who is her fourth cousin” believes she is not answerable to the hoi polloi.

If she regards this article as “offensive” and something that should be retracted, and given she described the extremely polite vigil in the video below as “intimidation”, I think we can all form our own view of Ms Creasy and her sense of entitlement to rule.

For the benefit of the media, she is currently organising a “public meeting” with in fact a highly selected and vetted audience to be seen to be “open and democratic” and justify to her constituents her decision to blow up Syrian children. Expect wall to wall media coverage of stooges coming out saying she convinced them.

The original article of which she complained starts here:

There is a very natural temptation for members of the SNP to laugh without sympathy at the universal media hostility faced by Corbyn and his supporters. That is because we faced an equally massive and equally unrelieved torrent of biased media propaganda during the referendum campaign, and then the entire Labour Party, including its left wing, not only did not condemn the biased media but actively sought to promote it.

On top of which the corporate media is in utter confusion in Scotland, and still largely under instruction to boost Labour, it being at least unionist. The peculiar result of this is that an alien landing in Livingston and following the media would come to the conclusion that John McTernan must be leader of the country, given his ubiquity on media and the extreme deference shown to him, especially by the state broadcaster.

I am however of a peculiarly forgiving disposition, and take the view that two wrongs don’t make a right. What is by any standards fascinating is the way that the media use precisely the same tactics against Corbyn they used against the SNP. First you have the expressions of scorn, of incredulity that such a view could be held, the dismissive body language of presenters, the comment of “unelectable” presented as fact.

When all that does not work, you get the portrayal of anybody putting forward a view outside the neo-con consensus as fanatic, desocialised and violent. We experienced precisely this with the massive “cybernat” campaign of the mainstream media, in which independence supporters were presented as hideous thugs and bullies. This is precisely the narrative which is now being relentlessly deployed on all media for the last 24 hours against the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. The narrative is reinforced by promoting a celebrity “victim”, preferably female and blonde. Step forward J K Rowling the first time, and Stella Creasy now.

Here is a shocking video of the hate-filled mob which besieged Ms Creasy’s constituency office, with the result that her staff dare not go to work and she herself felt intimidated.

Terrifying, wasn’t it? The truth is this was an extremely polite and quiet bunch organised in fact by the local vicar Stephen Saxby, who writes in Red Pepper:

This week I took part in a vigil with a wide section of the local community. I am deeply saddened by the misinformation about the vigil which has circulated in the media, and grateful to Sue Wheat for correcting the misreporting of the vigil.

I am also surprised that some in the party appear to be overly influenced by irresponsible coverage in the media, such as the Mail’s description of the peaceful people on our vigil being called ‘Hard-left hate mobs’ and the Mirror stating ‘Vicars, imams and net trolls target MPs’.

I am shocked by Tom Watson’s statement on Radio 4 today that ‘any Labour members on that demo should be removed from the party’.

At the same time as I condemn intimidation of MPs or their staff, I reiterate that the vigil was not intimidation, and condemn those who seek to portray democratic, peaceful actions as such. This is also is a form of intimidation.

For my part, I shall not be intimidated into not speaking on issues about which I am passionate and alongside others within and beyond the Labour Party.

I refute the erroneous allegations about me and about our peaceful vigil, and look forward to continuing to support Stella Creasy as MP for Walthamstow, and the campaigns to elect Sadiq Khan as mayor and Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.”

It is astonishing that Tom Watson says that anybody in that video should be expelled from the Labour Party, and that the entire mainstream media has described it as “intimidation”. There really is a genuine attempt to delegitimise even the concept of dissent from the neo-con war agenda.

In truth, we all know that social media abuse does exist to a certain extent, just as abuse exists in every other form of human communication. But the one thing we learnt for certain from the Scottish referendum campaign, is that the media will report constantly any abuse allegedly from the anti-establishment camp, but will ignore the at least equally bad and quite possibly much worse torrent of abuse from supporters of the other side of the argument. The absolutely false connection of social media aggression uniquely to anti-establishment politics is an organised media propaganda trick as morally disgusting as it is pernicious.

The object to delegitimise a political view – be it Scottish Independence or Corbynism – is taken further in the current example. There is a concomitant media campaign to portray as an affront to democracy the idea of MPs facing reselection by party members – to portray the idea that an MP should have a lifelong right to the party nomination as norm.

This is a complete inversion of truth. The idea that MPs should be subject to reselection by members as the candidate at the end of the term for which they were chosen, is obviously in reality the more democratic. Should an MP be deselected, they have the democratic option to stand as an independent if they truly believe the voters were electing them, and not the party.

A final word on Ms Creasy. She has belatedly come out and denied the false reports all over the media that demonstrators gathered outside her home – though anyone who thought the Porsche Cayenne driving, Oxbridge Ms Creasy lives in a terrace in Waltham is very naïve. She is a fanatic supporter of Trident missiles and of any bombing opportunity going, and is precisely the sort of MP everybody should be trying to get rid of. Here is Andrew Neil exposing her for a shallow careerist fool:

Presumably that ranks as intimidation and abuse.

Murdoch Trails Behind Murray

by craig on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Eight days ago I published a leak from an MOD source that the MOD’s Defence Intelligence Service fundamentally disagreed with Cameron’s “70,000 moderate rebels claim” and were incensed about. Today the Murdoch Press – the Times and the Sun – publish as massive front page exclusives exactly what I published eight days ago.

Interesting isn’t it that they didn’t publish it before the parliamentary debate on Syria?

murdoch2murdoch

As I constantly point out, this is not just a blog of commentary. It is a source of news the mainstream media does not choose to print (or chooses to delay).

On 26 November I published:

There is a very interesting parallel here with the claims over Iraqi WMD. The 70,000 figure has again been approved by the Joint Intelligence Committee, with a strong push from MI6. But exactly as with Iraqi WMD, there were strong objections from the less “political” Defence Intelligence, and caveats inserted. As the Head of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Michael Laurie, told the Chilcot Inquiry:

“we could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It was clear to me that pressure was being applied to the Joint Intelligence Committee and its drafters. Every fact was managed to make the dossier as strong as possible. The final statements in the dossier reached beyond the conclusions intelligence assessments would normally draw from such facts.”

The truth is the military tends to be much more honest about these matters than the spooks. Rather than make the same mistake again, parliamentarians should be calling Laurie’s successor, Air Marshal Philip Osborn, to ask him the truth about the nature, composition and availability of the 70,000. I happen to know that signals of dissent from Osborn’s staff – quite probably with his blessing – are reaching not just me, but many Tory MPs.

Technical Help Wanted

by craig on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

I want to make an important point about the Walthamstow demonstrations against Stella Creasy’s enthusiasm for bombing. There are videos of the demos here on Guido but I can’t get an embed code off them, nor can I find them on Channel 4. Can anyone help me find a way to post them, with my observations?

Massive Collapse in Tory Vote Share in Oldham

by craig on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

The true story of the Oldham West by-election is a massive collapse in the Tory vote, which fell from 19.0% to 9.3%. The Tory vote share halved.

The Tory vote in Oldham West was not tiny and statistically insignificant. In 2010 it was 23%. The national media has been plugging a narrative about the political dominance of the Tories for months, which bears no relationship to people’s experience in real life. Tens of thousands of words of utter bilge have been written about the Conservatives “Northern powerhouse” strategy and how it will enable them to win in the North, and especially in precisely this Greater Manchester region. This is revealed as complete and utter nonsense. This by-election shows the Tories are deeply unpopular.

The media were also doing everything possible to talk up UKIP’s chances, in the hope of damaging Jeremy Corbyn. In fact, my own contacts in Oldham had been telling me for weeks that UKIP were struggling to hold up their percentage vote, and that proved to be the case. This leaves the Blairites of the Guardian looking particularly stupid, having produced a whole series of articles predicated on UKIP gaining ground as a protest against Corbyn.

The media’s last resort in spinning this result goes thus:
a) Do not mention at all the collapse in the Tory vote
b) Emphasise it was a personal vote for a local man, Jim McMahon
c) Portray McMahon as a Blairite

This formula is being universally followed in the state and corporate media. The difficulty with the McMahon angle is that his predecessor was a very popular long term MP, Michael Meacher, who also had a big personal vote. And McMahon declared both last week and tonight that he would have voted against bombing Syria, so no Blairite.

We are nowhere near mid term yet and already the Tory vote is collapsing. People are not nearly as stupid as the media wish them to be.

Emily Benn and Alex Salmond

by craig on December 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Emily Benn inherited her grandfather’s physiognomy.

ebenn

She has come to fleeting attention by criticising Alex Salmond for saying that Tony would be “birling in his grave” at Hilary Benn’s warmongering.

During the Westminster elections, I received a text from the SNP asking members living in the centre of Edinburgh to nip down to the Mound for a photocall with Nicola Sturgeon. I looked out of the window at a cold Edinburgh morning, rain driving horizontally, and decided against it. Nadira remarked “If it was Alex Salmond you would have gone.” This is true. If it were Alex Salmond, I would have gone if it had entailed attempting to cross a river of molten lava.

It is therefore with consideration that I say that on this occasion I think that while Salmond was absolutely right that Tony Benn would fundamentally have disagreed with Hilary’s speech, the expression was perhaps over-colourful. I did not really get to know Tony until 2005 on, when the great chasm of Hilary’s support for the Iraq War already loomed between them, but Tony’s parental affection and pride were undimmed. There would be something really wrong with you for your opinion of your children to be conditional on their sharing your political opinions. So probably not birling.

But equally, I am quite sure Tony would not have felt Alex had anything to apologise for, and would have much admired Salmond’s own contribution on Syria.

UPDATE Several commenters have formed the impression that I object to the phrase “birling in the grave” as offensive. I do not, it is a perfectly ordinary phrase. My point is rather that there was no family split in the Benn family despite some radically different political opinions, and that seemed to me in fairness worth noting. I describe “birling in the grave” as over-colourful purely as a description of the Tony-Hilary relationship, not as an offensive phrase. Tony certainly is birling in his grave over the Syria vote.

Zionist Benn’s Grab For Power

by craig on December 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hilary Benn is very serious about his power grab and has been laying the ground for it very carefully. On 18 November BICOM – the British Israeli Communications and Research Centre – published this:

Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn told a Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) lunch yesterday that relations with Israel must be based on cooperation and rejected attempts to isolate the country.

Addressing senior party figures in Westminster, Benn praised Israel for its “progressive spirit, vibrant democracy, strong welfare state, thriving free press and independent judiciary.” He also called Israel “an economic giant, a high-tech centre, second only to the United States. A land of innovation and entrepreneurship, venture capital and graduates, private and public enterprise.”

Consequently, said Benn, “Our future relations must be built on cooperation and engagement, not isolation of Israel. We must take on those who seek to delegitimise the state of Israel or question its right to exist.”

It is worth reading the next article BICOM published. Brigadier General Michael Herzog, head of strategy for the Israeli defence Force, sets out a strategy for Israeli interests in Syria which dovetails precisely with what Benn and Cameron were pushing in the Commons. Note that Herzog says an overall diplomatic solution is not realistic and rather de facto partitioning of Syria suits Israel’s interests. Therefore there should be no waiting for diplomatic progress before western military action.

With his abandonment of any pretended concern for the slow and agonising genocide of the Palestinians, and his strident support for Trident, Benn is embracing the Israeli establishment and the British military and political establishment. In return, the Tories roared his speech to the rafters, while the media, and especially the Genie Energy linked media, are boosting him to the Labour leadership.

The United Kingdom has, temporarily, an opposition leadership which is not controlled, Zionist, neo-con and in the pocket of the arms industry. Benn has positioned himself very carefully to offer himself as the vehicle for the entire establishment to move to correct this aberration.

Justice Delayed Is Still Welcome

by craig on December 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

In general I am not a fan of the power of the state, and take a Rumpolesque view of the justice system. But I think nevertheless that justice has been well served by today’s Supreme Court verdict in the Pistorius case. Plainly, at the very least, he intended murderous violence towards whoever was locked in the toilet, and that person could not in any rational sense be said to have been posing an immediate threat to him.

I happened to watch the entire original trial – I cannot recall what on earth was going on in my own life then that I could find the time to do that. Today’s Supreme Court judgement was not allowed to query the finding that Pistorius did bot know it was Steenkamp in the toilet, but I must say I had thought that finding to be astonishing given the evidence. The Supreme Court’s ruling that in any event Pistorius murderously was aware he was killing someone, could be reached without questioning that.

I have no doubt the original Judge Maripa acted conscientiously and was motivated by consideration of making every possible allowance for Pistorius’ disability and its effect on his state of mind. I would much rather judges are too susceptible to compassion than the opposite. But the signals sent – about violence towards women and about the implied right of the wealthy to shoot to defend their property even when obviously not threatened – were awful. This was a much needed correction.

War Porn

by craig on December 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

With over 50,000 sorties already flown by allied aircraft against ISIL, it added nothing substantial for a tiny number of British jets to fly instantly after the Westminster vote to hit an oilfield in Syria. It was purely war porn, to provide all those pictures of jets taking off to excite the public and continue the propaganda. Worth noting that none of the mythical magical missiles that don’t kill civilians was used last night, just high explosive freefall bombs. The target is also a useful reminder that, as always, oil features prominently in neo-con foreign policy. MPs spoke openly in last night’s debate of breaking up Syria, which will be music to the ears of Genie Energy and Messrs Murdoch and Rothschild, and the Israeli government which astonishingly has already issued oil licences within Syria.

If we actually wanted to bomb the oilfields that fund ISIL, we would be bombing Saudi Arabia.

Scotland is being dragged into a war it voted near unanimously against. 96.5% of Scotland’s MPs voted against the airstrikes in Syra. On platforms all up and down this country, I argued that I do not care a damn about how strong powers are given to Scotland’s parliament in domestic affairs, it we are not a sovereign nation and can still be taken to war against our will. I was proud of Alex Salmond last night for expressing contempt at the notion that civilians are not killed in British airstrikes, a big lie nobody else directly challenged.

I am reassured that last night’s events must be yet another step along the road to independence, and will have invigorated SNP hearts against the temptation of being too comfortable at Westminster.

I don’t know how many oil engineers, or people who cook and clean for oil engineers, we incinerated last night, but the triumphalism of the Blairite warmongers over it is not a very edifying sight. It says something for the strength of the delusions entertained in the Blairite bubble that the fact that Hilary Benn’s speech led to the rafters echoing with Tories making HWOAR HWOAR noises, is taken by them as a massive sign of imminent triumph within the Labour Party. The 28% of Labour MPs who supported Cameron – which they did with explicit attacks on their own leader and on Labour members who were opposing the Tories – will be experiencing the shock of hangover as the heady moment of triumph seems a lot less clever the next day.

UPDATE: I have withdrawn a statement about British aircraft intercepting Russian aircraft, as my informant has been in touch to say they were in fact referring to an incident several days ago.

Deselection is Essential to Democracy

by craig on December 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

There is a very extraordinary meme which Blairites keep raising in the Commons debate, that it is “abusive” or “undemocratic” for Labour MPs to face deselection by their members.

In the SNP, there is never any automatic reselection for anybody. You are selected for one term and have to be renominated for another term, where you can be opposed. Indeed deselection happens quite often in the SNP without drawing any comment at all. If the members aren’t happy with your performance, they will get in someone else.

It is remarkable that Labour MPs feel that they should have a job for life, whether the constituency members are happy with your performance or not. If Labour party members decide they do not want an extreme right winger like Stella Creasy or John Mann to represent them, why is it “undemocratic” to get rid of them at the end of the term for which they are elected? Individuals do not own the party, and nobody is stopping them from running as independent candidates or joining the Conservative Party.

This goes to the heart of the Blairite cause. It is apparently not “undemocratic” for them to take legal advice on whether they can keep Jeremy Corbyn’s name off the ballot in a future membership ballot. It is not “undemocratic” to discuss deselecting the Leader, but it is a heinous offence against democracy to consider deselecting an MP. The odious Blairites are the most self-centred, selfish and indeed sociopathic group ever to have a serious presence in the UK parliament.

Neo-Con YouGov At It Again With Leading Questions

by craig on December 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

This blog has over the years expended some energy on explaining that YouGov is anything but a disinterested seeker after evidence of public opinion, but rather a tool for creating a false impression of public opinion and pushing it in a direction. Needless to say, various legal threats I have received from YouGov and its directors have come to nothing.

Now take this YouGov question in their latest poll:

Would you approve or disapprove of the RAF taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria?

There is no need to mention the RAF in this question – it is not their decision and the impression is subtly conveyed that the RAF want to do it. The question is carefully designed to tap in to the public’s well-documented inclination to support the armed forces in any conflict situation.

If you asked:

Do you approve of the government’s proposals for taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria?

you would get a very different answer. Which of course is why the charlatans at YouGov asked the first question.

Nevertheless, there are two very interesting facts. Even on this biased question opinion is swinging very fast against airstrikes. Secondly, yet again there is a very real divergence of opinion between England and Scotland.

Since I joined the SNP, the comments section has been riddled with people claiming that the SNP is in fact no less neo-con than the other established parties. Today’s debate on Syria, in addition to the recent debate on Trident, make plain that is absolute nonsense.

The Old Etonian Sir Mark Lyall Grant

by craig on December 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

Sir Mark Lyall Grant was born with so many silver spoons in his mouth it is a miracle he didn’t choke. The National Security Adviser is, surprise surprise, an Old Etonian. He is also one of the nastiest people I have ever met.

In 1999 within the FCO he tried to remove me from my position as Deputy High Commissioner in Accra because, in a speech at an anti-corruption conference, I had stated that British firms too were sometimes involved in corruption. My speech had in fact been cleared in advance by DFID, and I survived. But Lyall Grant was dismissive of my argument that it was intellectually bankrupt to attend anti-corruption conferences and pretend corruption was just something foreigners did. In a very frosty interview, he told me my job was to promote British interests, not promote the truth.

I survived Lyall Grant’s attack only by appealing to the Head of the Diplomatic Service, John (now Lord) Kerr, in a minute in which I complained directly of Grant’s unpleasantly aristocratic attitude towards me, and used Hazlitt’s words about Byron applied to Lyall Grant “This spoil’d child of fortune…”. The entire episode was published in detail in my memoir “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo.”

Lyall Grant is now National Security Adviser and made responsible by Cameron for persuading Labour MPs to bomb Syria. A disagreement has arisen tonight over whether he admitted or not that a great many of the “70,000” are “extreme Islamists”.

But one thing that should be very well understood, is that I can personally testify that Mark Lyall Grant has no respect for or attachment to the truth. He directly told me that furthering the British interest is more important than truth. In that case, he was taking the interest of corrupt British companies – especially BAE – as being identical with the national interest.

In the current case, I have no doubt he will be conflating the interest of his fellow old Etonians in government and again of the arms industry with the national interest. I can guarantee nothing will pass his lips undistorted to suit that agenda.

That a truly obnoxious man like Mark Lyall Grant is such a senior official is the most complete proof you could have of the rottenness of the United Kingdom.

70,000 is the new 45 minutes

by craig on December 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

Precisely as I reported two days ago, Cameron really is in trouble over the Syria vote due to his patently ludicrous claim of the existence of 70,000 “moderate rebels”. Most MPs are pretty unpleasant people, but they do have a high opinion of their own importance. They will vote for anything they see as in their own self-interest, but not if it means kneeling and licking the floor when they are being treated with very obvious contempt, in public. Well, a great many of them will even do that if it advances their career, and the George Osborne tendency do it in private and pay for it. But not even pretending to take MPs seriously is a risky tactic, and that is what Cameron has done with his foolish ruse of just inventing 70,000 moderate fighters.

Today the government rubbed MPs faces further in the dirt by saying they could not give a breakdown of who the 70,000 are, because it is a secret.

Yes, honestly. The identity of our allies – even just in terms of what groups they belong to – is a secret.

In consequence the Tory majority Foreign Affairs Committee has refused to endorse airstrikes. Cameron will be under real pressure to come up with a more intellectually tenable line by tomorrow. He can hardly enter the debate on the basis that the entire strategy depends on allies whose existence is secret. Or perhaps he can, on the grounds the Blairites are conditioned to support bombing anybody, anywhere, and the Tories are mere lickspittles. He may look down his long Etonian nose with contempt at the Commons, and think “the peasants will do anything I ask”.

It is going to be an interesting 24 hours. The self-respect of the Commons is at stake. I still think Cameron may have overreached.

The Desolation of Labour

by craig on December 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

It is universally accepted that the extremely vindictive terms of the Treaty of Versailles, and particularly the massive reparation payments, were a major factor in the rise of Hitler and the second world war. Nobody accuses you of defending Hitler, justifying Hitler or hating the UK if you state that.

Yet the entire mainstream media and political establishment is united in shrill condemnation of Ken Livingstone for stating the undeniable fact that the 7/7 bombers were motivated by outrage at the British invasion of Iraq.

Labour is in a mad panic over Ken Livingstone’s fundamental departure from the neo-con narrative. He has had the temerity to point out that when we inflict “shock and awe” on other countries, and massacre from the air thousands of women and children, the result is assymetric warfare which includes terrorist blowback.

We are instead supposed to believe that our enemies are a spontaneous manifestation of pure evil, something that has with no cause arisen from the bowels of the earth to hurt us, like a devil in a horror movie.

The Blairites of course have still never admitted that the Iraq War was wrong, unjustified and had terrible consequences in the Middle East, let alone in the UK. They are desperate to keep bombing and bombing the Middle East until they can prove that Tony and they were right.

Ian Murray, Scotland’s remaining MP, is a particular weasel. He is voting against airstrikes not to alienate his constituents, but is doing so on the grounds he thinks Britain should also send in ground forces – going the “full Blair”. Murray has called for Livingstone to step down as joint chairman of Labour’s defence review, and is brimming with fury and indignation at Livingstone’s departure from a line acceptable to the media. Murray is quite possibly the most weasely and dishonest politician in the Labour Party, but that is a very strong field.

The media are delighted that, instead of querying David Cameron and the Tories on the unbelievable 70,000 moderate rebels claim, they can instead concentrate entirely on the split in the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn has blinked, and the Labour Party goes into the debate as a completely useless instrument, hopelessly split and with members speaking all over the place.

I dislike the whipping system and it is not the free vote that is the problem. It is the fact that a third of Labour MPs are extreme right wing warmongers. That is the problem.

There really is no point in the existence of the Labour Party any more. The best thing would be for the Blairites simply to join the Tories, which would move the Tory Party to the right. Or they could show the courage of Dick Taverne and resign and fight outside the Party. But they wish to try to regain control of the Party’s assets and finances, so this will never happen. Were I a Labour Party member, I would concentrate on the deselection of every MP who votes for bombing. I do not expect that will happen either. The Labour Party has declined into utter irrelevance, its only role being as a punching bag for the corporate media.

It is hard sometimes to be optimistic, but actually it is a good thing that it is now exposed for all to see that the Blairites were simply Red Tories. The loss of a pretend opposition is a necessary step towards establishment of a genuine democracy. It is ever more plain to me that Scottish independence in inevitable. I have real hope that politics in England and Wales will also reform in a way that no longer purely services the 1%.

The 70,000 moderate rebels are mostly cavalry. On unicorns.

by craig on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

Wow

by craig on November 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

I think you can measure the death of democracy by the sheer audacity of the propaganda that government can get away with. Michael Fallon today on the Marr programme churned out the “70,000 moderate rebels” lie with a smooth bland face, and mentioned only the Free Syrian Army when pressed on who they were exactly. This is dishonesty on an epic scale.

But the really breathtaking one was to follow. Fallon claimed that the UK had killed hundreds of ISIL militants by bombing in Iraq and caused not one single civilian casualty. This risible claim had appeared in the Daily Mail last week, which is to be expected. But that a government minister can state such an absolutely ludicrous lie before a major BBC journalist without being seriously pushed on the matter, really does say a great deal about what kind of “democracy” the UK now is.

As does the fact that a substantial number of MPs of the official “opposition” have spent the weekend actively colluding with government ministers to forward the government’s militarist agenda.

I am proud to say that Scotland seems largely immune from the prevalent jingoism. The idea that bombing Raqqa will prevent terrorist attacks in Europe is plainly so nonsensical, that it is hard to know whether people like Fallon have actually managed to convince themselves of it or not. What this all will do, of course, is reinforce the military/security state that the UK has become.

I have no doubt that the Iraq War was one factor in making the people of Scotland realise that the UK is not an entity that matches their aspirations for the way a state should behave. Splitting the UK is a process. This incomprehensible Westminster bloodlust for bombing will drive the division wider. As will the whole ambience of the Etonian government and the peculiar social behaviour of its inner group, as even our coy media is hinting at in its coverage of the Shapps/Clarke group.

I can sense Independence coming close with every new morning.

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