Jewish and Zionist Influence at the BBC

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By Karl Radl | Semitic Controversies 

Jewish influence, or power if you like, in mainstream media is one of those pink elephants in the room that everyone at some level realizes, but which badly needs to be openly discussed. This is happening more and more today due to, to their infinite credit, the efforts of the anti-Zionist left, which has found itself stymied by this influence and has spent some time documenting it. (1)

In order to contribute broadly to this discussion I thought it would be appropriate to explore the influence that Jews, be they pro or anti-Zionist, have in British state broadcaster; the BBC. This is important because the BBC has long been viewed, although less so today, as a relatively impartial broadcaster around the world and has been the subject of the umbrage of many a Zionist over the years.

The fact that Jews, as a minuscule part of the population of the British Isles, have so many members of their community in positions of power and influence in a state broadcaster committed to journalistic impartiality is obviously extremely concerning to any individual in their right mind. After all Jews, like any other group, are always going to promote their interests or push their particular perspective as a group and as such will knowingly or not distort the narrative to favour their perspective and interests.

When we look at the Executive Board we find the following individuals: (2)

Tony Hall (Director General, BBC)
Helen Boaden (Director, Radio)
Danny Cohen (Director, Television)
James Harding (Director of News and Current Affairs)
James Purnell (Director, Strategy and Digital)
Annie Bulford (Managing Director, Finance and Operations)
Tim Davie (CEO, BBC Worldwide and Director, Global)
Simon Burke (Non-Executive Director)
Sir Howard Stringer (Non-Executive Director)
Dame Fiona Reynolds (Non-Executive Director)
Sir Nicholas Hytner (Non-Executive Director)
Alice Perkins (Non-Executive Director)
Dharmash Mistry (Non-Executive Director)

Of these thirteen executives; three are jewish.

The executives who have jewish backgrounds are Danny Cohen, (3) James Harding (4) and Sir Nicholas Hytner. (5) This seems superficially reasonable until we note that, according to the 2011 census, jews are 0.5% of the British population. (6) Comparatively those of Jewish origin are 23% of the membership of the Executive Board of the BBC.

When we compare that to Indians who are a similar minority group in the United Kingdom; we note that while in the 2011 census they made up 2.3% of the British population. (7) They only have one representative (Dharmash Mistry) on the Executive Board of the BBC.

Therefore we can see that jews are both significantly over-represented among the individuals who are members of the Executive Board as well in them of themselves. In addition to being significantly over-represented relative to more populous ethnic minority groups such as those of Indian origin.

This situation becomes more concerning when we note that James Harding, one of the Jewish members, has made it explicitly clear that, after making the British daily The Times newsroom pro-Israel, he wants to do precisely the same at the BBC. (8)

This obviously already a violation of the BBC’s neutrality, which is explicitly required in its periodically renewed charter, since Harding is explicitly setting out to modify the BBC’s relative objectivity to a partisan pro-Israel stance.

Naturally Harding claims it is ‘injecting balance’ into the BBC newsroom, but such verbiage is a common linguistic trick (9) and is explicitly how Israel projects ‘soft power’ to attempt to create a pro-Israeli narrative (i.e. Hasbara). (10)

Even more concerning is the backgrounds of some of the other non-Jewish members of the Executive Board.

James Purnell is the former Chairman of the pro-Israel lobby group ‘Labour Friends of Israel’. (11) This group explicitly exist to influence the members and policy making of the Labour Party in Britain and has a substantial membership among Labour party Members of Parliament. (12)

Combined with James Harding this is enough cause for serious concern about jewish and Zionist influence within the Executive Board of the BBC.

However Sir Howard Stringer also has a strong Zionist connection given that he was the honorary chairman of the ‘American Jewish Committee’, a powerful Jewish communal organization dedicated to promoting Zionism in the United States, in 2004. (13)

That he has not repudiated his pro-Zionist views since this time is suggestive of the fact that Sir Howard continues to support the objectives and methods of the ‘American Jewish Committee’.

While Sir Nicolas Hytner, a Jewish member of the Executive Board, has often abused his positions in the world of acting and theatre to oppose the BDS (Boycott Divest Sanctions) movement against Israel. (14)

It is unlikely that Sir Nicholas will act any differently while he is part of the BBC’s Executive Board than he has when he was at the National Theatre. Indeed he has given us absolutely no reason to think he will do an about face on his track record of running political interference on behalf of Israel.

Danny Cohen, a jewish member of the Executive Board, has also publicly endorsed the Zionist cause only a year ago. (15) Since he has not given us reason to think otherwise; we may be confident that he will continue in his support for Israel and the pro-Zionist narrative.

Once we take the political affiliations of the Executive Board of the BBC into account we can see that all three of the Jewish members are openly pro-Israel/pro-Zionist, while two of the non-Jewish members are also pro-Israel/pro-Zionist.

This takes the pro-Israel/pro-Zionist bloc in the BBC’s Executive Board to five members, while none of the other members have any known anti-Israel/anti-Zionist convictions.

This means that 38% of the BBC’s Executive Board is pro-Israel/pro-Zionist. When added to the fact that three of those five members (James Harding, James Purnell and Sir Nicholas Hytner) have a track record of political interference on behalf of Israel in organizations then it becomes even more sinister.

When we further note that Harding is in charge of the BBC’s newsroom it suggests that the narrative the BBC will produce going forward will be pro-Israel/pro-Zionist and not in any way neutral.

James Purnell’s role as the head of Strategy and Digital makes him an invaluable ally for Harding in manipulating the pro-Israel/pro-Zionist narrative in such a way as to promote it as the ‘wave of the future’ for the BBC.

Danny Cohen’s role as the head of television, the BBC’s most powerful arm, is even more subversive given that it is by news, documentary/factual and entertainment television programming that many people, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, get their informational prism with which they view the world.

We get an absolutely intolerable situation where the neutral BBC has been/is being progressively hijacked by avowed pro-Israel/pro-Zionist activists with the stated aim of abusing its reputation for neutrality in order to promote Israel politically and neutralize dissenting views/unflattering coverage.

When we look at the next organizational layer down, the BBC’s Executive Team, we find the following individuals: (16)

Ken MacQuarrie (Director, BBC Scotland)
Rhodri Talfan Davies (Director, BBC Cymru Wales)
Peter Johnston (Director, BBC Northern Ireland)
Peter Salmon (Director, England)
Ralph Rivera (Director, BBC Digital)
Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth (Director, HR)
David Jordan (Director, Editorial Policy and Standards)
Philip Almond (Director, Marketing and Audiences)
Alan Yentob (Creative Director)
Francesca Unsworth (Director, BBC World Service Group)

Of the ten members of the Executive Team; one is Jewish.

The member of the Executive Team with a Jewish background is Alan Yentob. (17)

Peter Salmon is sometimes listed as being Jewish, (18) but while ‘Salmon’ could well be a contraction of the common Ashkenazi surname ‘Salomon’ there is no evidence I can find of such occurring here. Indeed ‘Salmon’ is a perfectly English surname to have (19) and without evidence to the contrary we can only assume that Peter Salmon is not Jewish.

While Yentob’s presence in the Executive Team takes the Jewish representation on it to 10%. The fact that it is only one individual that is Jewish suggests that the numbers alone here relative to the Jewish representation in the population of the British Isles (i.e. 0.5%) are in some-way reasonable (as you cannot get less than 10% of the membership of the Executive Team with representation).

It is worth noting however that the Indian population in the United Kingdom (i.e. 2.3%) are not represented at all, while no other ethnic or religious minorities are represented either.

This makes Yentob’s presence rather concerning given the general lack of diversity among the BBC’s Executive Team since Jews are a tiny minority even by ethnic minority standards and their having a voice on the Executive Team while no others do is inconsistent with the BBC’s fervent support for racial diversity and propagation of an anti-nativist narrative. (20)

We also need remember that there are internal politics in every organization and while Yentob seems rather innocuous as the ‘Creative Director’; he has recently openly boasted that he is very closely involved in the running of the BBC in general. (21)

Some would dismiss this as merely hot air, but we know that Yentob has long been tipped as a potential future Director-General of the BBC. (22) It was also Yentob who lead the charge against those BBC journalists who dared to doubt the BBC party line on the Jimmy Savile paedophile scandal and branded them ‘traitors’. (23)

One wonders why the BBC’s ‘Creative Director’ would get so closely involved in such things if he was not a significant political force within the BBC’s internal political world?

Contrast that with the fact that no other members of the BBC’s Executive Team have been named as behaving in a similar manner or censoring their own employees on said scandal and we can see that Yentob, in spite of being only one man, is a political force to be reckoned with within the world of organizational politics in the BBC.

Yentob is also quite active in the Jewish community (24) and is known to produce programming that lionizes said community. (25)

While I cannot link him directly to Zionist activity; given his background and lionization of the Iraqi Jews (who immigrated to Israel). It is reasonable to assume that, while not an open political partisan, Yentob is at least willing to allow a pro-Israel/pro-Zionist narrative on the BBC. Therefore while Jewish and Zionist influence in the BBC’s Executive Team is seemingly small; the fact that its only known representation is an obvious key political player in the BBC is suggestive that at the very least there would be no significant resistance to a pro-Israel/anti-Zionist, as opposed to a neutral, narrative from the Executive Team.

When we move on to the BBC’s editors and correspondents we find the following individuals listed: (26)

Mark Easton (Home [UK] Editor)
Bridget Kendall (Diplomatic Correspondent)
Andrew Harding (Africa Correspondent)
Carrie Gracie (China Editor)
Soutik Biswas (Delhi Correspondent)
Katya Adler (Europe Editor)
Anthony Zurcher (North American Reporter)
Robert Peston (Economics Editor)
Kamal Ahmed (Business Editor)
Mark D’Arcy (Parliamentary Correspondent)
Laura Kuenssberg (Political Editor)
James Landale (Deputy Political Editor)
Rory Cellan-Jones (Technology Editor)
David Lee (North American Technology Reporter)
David Shukman (Science Editor)
Jonathan Amos (Science Correspondent)
Nick Triggle (Health Correspondent)
Fergus Walsh (Medical Correspondent)
Hugh Pym (Health Editor)
Branwen Jeffreys (Education Editor)
Sean Coughlan (Education Correspondent)
Will Gompertz (Arts Editor)

Of these twenty-two editors and correspondents; six are Jewish.

Those with a Jewish background are: Katya Adler, (27) Robert Peston, (28), Laura Kuenssberg, (29), David Shukman, (30) Jonathan Amos and Will Gompertz. (31)

This means that the representation of Jews among the BBC editors and correspondents is currently running at a frankly frightening 27%. Compare this with their representation in the British population (0.5%) and it becomes obviously a matter of likely pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist bias.

It is more difficult to prove sympathies (one way or another) with the BBC’s editor and correspondents than with the BBC’s Executive Board and Executive Team. Since editors and correspondents by the nature of their profession are very aware of the need to carefully manage any statements they make outside of a professional context as they are aware of how closely scrutinized they will be once they pass into the public domain.

However something of the pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist views of some of the editors and correspondents can be gleaned from the fact that both David Shukman (32) and Will Gompertz (33) have abused their positions to insert an unbalanced historical narrative of Jewish suffering into the content they have produced for the BBC.

Meanwhile Rory Cellan-Jones, the non-Jewish Technology Editor, has been a major figure in the anti-BDS/pro-Israel movement since early 2007 (34) and has abused, like James Harding and Sir Nicholas Hytner have done in the past, his position as a BBC editor to give credence to his pro-Israel views (which was regarded as a significant contribution to the Zionist cause by the website ‘Totally Jewish’). (35)

Then we have Robert Peston, the Jewish Economics Editor, who believes that his Jewish heritage has provided him with superior genes compared to non-Jewish heritage. (36)

This clearly suggests that Peston holds to some form of Jewish nationalism (i.e. Zionism) given these, essentially, Jewish supremacist sentiments that necessarily label non-Jews as inferior beings when compared to Jews.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Laura Kuenssberg is a very recent appointment to the position of Political Editor; previously the position was held, for several years, by Nick Robinson. He is, like Kuenssberg, Jewish. (37)

Interestingly Kuenssberg was promoted to the position of political editor over Robinson’s non-Jewish deputy James Landale, (38) which suggests that Kuenssberg may have been promoted (she was formerly merely a guest blogger) (39) merely because she is Jewish and Landale is not.

I cannot prove it one way or the other, but the otherwise inexplicable appointment of Kuenssberg over Landale would then explicable.

Given all this information we can see there at least four of BBC’s editors and correspondents (David Shukman, Will Gompertz, Robert Peston and Rory Cellan-Jones) who are pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist activists, while three others (Katya Adler, Laura Kuenssberg and Jonathan Amos) are likely to be such.

This then suggests that the pro-Jewish/pro-Israel/pro-Zionist narrative that seems to be part of James Harding’s overt plan for the BBC would find at least seven supporters out of the twenty-two current editors and correspondents at the BBC (i.e. 32% of all those concerned).

What we can see from the foregoing analysis is that the BBC has a disproportionate number of Jewish ethnic and non-Jewish pro-Zionist activists, particularly on its Executive Board and among its editors and correspondents to seriously impede the BBC charter’s requirement for neutrality.

In essence the bald way of putting it is that the BBC has been all but captured by Jewish ethic and non-Jewish pro-Zionist activists. We should therefore reasonably expect the BBC, a-la James Harding’s explicit plan, to become a particularly insidious weapon in the Israeli Hasbara arsenal.

References

(1) Notably Grant Smith, 2006, ‘Deadly Dogma: How Neoconservatives Broke the Law to Deceive America’, 1st Edition, Institute for Research: Middle East Policy: Washington D.C.; James Petras, 2007, ‘Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists, Militants’, 1st Edition, Clarity: Atlanta; James Petras, 2014, ‘The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East’, 1st Edition, Clarity: Atlanta
(2) http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/managementstructure/seniormanagement/
(3) http://www.thejc.com/articles/interview-danny-cohen
(4) http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/94037/jewish-editor-the-times-resigns
(5) http://www.thejc.com/arts/theatre/59361/how-nicholas-hytner-made-national-a-jewish-theatre
(6) http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/94111/census-2011-the-jewish-breakdown
(7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Indian#Population
(8) http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/47916/signs-the-times-jcc
(9) See: http://www.sott.net/signs/hasbara.pdf
(10) http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Hasbara-public-diplomacy-and-propaganda-358211
(11) http://www.palestinecampaign.org/tony-hall-defends-new-bbc-appointees/
(12) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Labour_Friends_of_Israel#Membership_and_Funding
(13) http://www.jewishjournal.com/circuit/article/the_circuit_20040430
(14) http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/dec/15/israel.booksnews
(15) http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2014/12/22/redress-online-bbc-executive-danny-cohen-publicly-endorses-key-zionist-mantra
(16) http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/managementstructure/seniormanagement/
(17) http://www.jewishrenaissance.org.uk/jr-outloud/94-iraqi-and-jewish-in-london-today.html
(18) For example: http://radioislam.org/islam/english/jewishp/gbmedia/update.htm
(19) http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Salmon
(20) http://biasedbbc.org/blog/category/anti-british/; http://whitegenocideproject.com/the-bbcs-white-problem/
(21) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/alan-yentob-im-more-involved-in-running-the-bbc-than-people-think-8349048.html
(22) http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/profile-alan-yentob-the-insiders-extrovert-1096476.html ;http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/jun/13/alan-yentob-bbc-creative-director-imagine
(23) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/11887548/Alan-Yentob-branded-BBC-journalists-traitors-over-Savile-expose.html
(24) For example: http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/57205/bbc-yentob-gets-role-young-norwood
(25) For example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2011/48/the-last-jews-of-iraq.html andhttp://www.thejc.com/news/the-diary/yentobs-expensive-account
(26) Compiled through the BBC’s online news portal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
(27) http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/authors.php?auid=15280
(28) http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jan/29/business-economics-journalists-reporting-celebrities
(29) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekkehard_von_Kuenssberg
(30) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18440223
(31) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18262621
(32) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18440223
(33) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18262621
(34) http://www.jta.org/2007/05/30/archive/a-prominent-british-television-journalist-started-a-blog
(35) http://archive.totallyjewish.com/news/nuj-drops-boycott
(36) http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jan/29/business-economics-journalists-reporting-celebrities
(37) http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/sep/26/diane-abbott-interviews-nick-robinson
(38) http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/steerpike/2015/07/bbc-twitter-gaffe-is-laura-kuenssberg-the-new-political-editor/
(39) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2009/06/a_call_for_deba.html ;http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2009/08/prospective_mps_selection.html

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Scottish Nationalism & the Yinon Plan

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By Barbara McKenzie 

The Scottish National Party, under Alex Salmond, has long been associated with opposition to illegal and immoral wars. Salmond was one of the few MPs who opposed the bombing of Serbia, and campaigned actively against the invasion of Iraq, subsequently supporting Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price in his attempt to impeach Tony Blair. Like Jeremy Corbyn he has been responding to the publication of the Chilcot report; like Jeremy Corbyn he is calling for Blair to be charged with war crimes.

What exactly is the position of the Scottish National Party with regard to global peace and justice?

The foremost objective of the Scottish National Party is Scottish independence. Beyond that, it has been  obliged to position itself as the centre-left party of Scotland, there being scarcely room on the right along with Labour and the Tories, and espouses certain left-wing causes such as the question of upgrading Britain’s nuclear missile system, Trident. However a commitment to Scottish independence and opposition to nuclear weapons do not in themselves add up to an ethical view on global affairs.

Despite Salmond’s stance on Iraq, the SNP, with Salmond as party leader, voted with the Government and Labour Opposition to bomb Libya in 2011. It should be noted that both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell voted against the motion, along with 11 other MPs. The reasons given for their No vote are varied and convincing.  That of Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, went : ’Given the West’s colonial past, its history of adventurism and support for dictatorship in the region, its failure to enforce UN resolutions in Palestine and the legacy of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I think its motives in Libya will always be in doubt.’ Quite so.

The SNP clearly did not see it that way. As Steve James puts it:

Since coming to power in Edinburgh in 2007, the [SNP] has repeatedly made clear it is willing to support British military actions, particularly if a UN flag is flying over the slaughter of the day—including in Libya. […] The SNP has repeatedly made clear that they support NATO, the European Union, a struggle against Russia, and increased spending on frigates, fast jets and long-range reconnaissance aircraft.

The SNP’s line on Syria could be seen as being consistent with its position on Iraq, in that it opposed the overt bombing of the country (ostensibly ISIS in Syria) in December, 2015.  When talking to the press after the vote was passed Salmond made a lot of sense (as he usually does), pointing out the lack of a proper strategy to deal with Islamic State.

However the elephant present in the chamber when the bombing of Syria was debated was the UK government’s known support for the extremist militants fighting the legitimate government in Syria, see here and here. Neither Salmond’s statement on the ‘bomb Syria’ vote nor Nicola Sturgeon’s contain any proposal for the obvious moral alternative, to stop supporting armed extremists, mostly imported, and instead help the Syrian people fight these terrorists. There is nothing said by either politician to suggest that the SNP does not support in principle the proxy war on Syria and enforced regime change.

It is obvious to all and sundry that there is a gross contradiction between the West’s claims to see terrorism and the growth of ISIS as a major threat, while in real terms prioritising the overthrow of the Syrian government who is actually fighting them on the ground. By not pressing the UK government and the EU to actually help the Syrian people fight jihadi extremists, instead of providing those same extremists with moral and material support, the SNP has shown itself to be just as compromised as the Labor and Conservative parties.

The Yinon Plan

Many active users of social media who follow global events will be familiar with General Wesley Clark’s  revelation in 2007 about the US plan, after having already invaded Afghanistan, to take out 7 further countries in 5 years.  It was made known to Wesley Clark a couple of weeks after 9/11 that the US planned to invade Iraq,  Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finally Iran.

Likewise, many people will be familiar with Oded Yinon’s Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties, a proposal to further Israel’s interests by destabilising the whole of the Middle East. The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states.

The objectives of the proposal articulated by Wesley Clark clearly further those of the second premise of the Yinon Plan. Furthermore, leaked documents (such as Clinton’s emails) confirm that Israel’s interests are paramount for US foreign policy. The same documents show that the decision to take out Syria had been made at least by 2006, but probably much earlier.

Given the catastrophic progression of wars from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya to Syria, all strongly promoted and either actively waged or heavily sponsored by the West, Israel and their ally Saudi Arabia, there is no moral or intellectual justification for seeing these wars as anything but a cold-blooded plan to destabilise the greater Middle East and fulfill the Yinon plan.

There is little in the actions of the SNP (and many of their supporters) to suggest that they do not support in principle this path of destruction. Nicola Sturgeon declared her unequivocal support for the Israel lobby by putting on a blue nose to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, which translates as something like ‘Destroy Palestine Day’.

nicolasturgeonyomhaatzmaut

Support for Israel, and for the Israel-backed programme of regime change in the Middle East, is a thread that runs through the Scottish independence movement.

The main Scottish ‘leftist’ pro-independence blogs, while they probably opposed the Iraq war, have abandoned any pretense at a moral perspective when it comes to global affairs. Rev. Stuart Campbell, the editor of Wings over Scotland and a strong supporter of the SNP, has wisely avoided commenting on issues such as the Syria conflict, focusing on what he knows best, i.e. Scottish affairs. However Campbell forms a mutual admiration society with one Stephen Daisley, a journalist with STV News who has been termed a ‘hate-filled and crazed right-winger’ by ex-UK ambassador Craig Murray. Daisley authored a quite extraordinary article attacking those who criticise Israel, which fully justifies Murray’s categorisation, offering such objective analysis as, ‘Why deny the Holocaust when you can throw it back in the Jews’ faces by fictionalising Gaza as a concentration camp? Why hurl rocks at a Jew in the street when you can hurl endless vexatious UN resolutions at Israel?’

Daisley’s article was published 24 August 2015. On the same day Wings over Scotland tweeted (not, I hasten to add, in reference to Daisley’s article, but also not for the first time)

WingslovesDaisley2

Daisley promoted Wings over Scotland’s crowd fundraiser in February 2015, while until late last year his blog was listed among the suggested links on Wings over Scotland’s Home Page.

The other major pro-indy blog, Bella Caledonia, which has been praised by such notable Scots as Irvine Welsh, has come out strongly in support for enforced regime change in Syria, posting, for example, an article What is to be Done about Syria by determined propagandist for the ‘revolution’, Mohammed Idrees Ahmed. To be fair to Scotland, the article attracted a number of negative (or appalled) comments, but editor Mike Small responded to criticism by digging himself into an ever deeper hole, and disappointed readers were left in no doubt of his support for illicit regime change in Syria.

Who’s next?

It is widely assumed that the next country in the sights of the NATO/Israel alliance will be Iran (although with all the recent sabre-rattling about Russia, one could be forgiven for thinking that country may be next in the firing line). It has also been widely assumed that the progression to war on Iran, either through direct military intervention or via a bogus revolution on the Syria model, is impeded by the failure so far to achieve a resolution in Syria that satisfies the NATO/Israel alliance, and that the ‘West’ will not move its attentions to Syria until the Syrian situation is resolved.

Quite how long Iran is safe from the predatory NATO/Israel alliance is hard to say. But those wanting to move against Iran sooner rather than later met in Paris on 9-10 July 2016, at a rally called Free Iran: Our Pledge Regime Change. This is an annual event convened by the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI), more commonly known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq or MEK, which was until 2012 on the US prescribed terrorist list. Daniel Larison in the hardly left-wing American Conservative described MEK in less than glowing terms.

… the MEK is probably best-known for its role fighting on the side of Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war against their own country. That is one of the chief reasons why the group is still loathed by almost all Iranians in Iran and around the world. The idea that this group speaks for dissident Iranians is nonsensical and insulting to the latter, and the fantasy that such an abusive, totalitarian cult has any interest in the freedom of Iranians is laughable even by Washington’s low standards.

The touted 100,000 participants included a number of politicians and other dignitaries such Prince Turki al-Faisal, ex-intelligence chief from Saudi Arabia, who talked of the importance of overthrowing an oppressive regime, but obviously could not go too deeply into the question of human rights, and Newt Gingrich, a potential running mate for Donald Trump.

It is well known that the MEK has close ties with pro-Israel lobby groups, so perhaps it should not surprise that convenor Maryam Rajavi paid a special tribute to Elie Wiesel, who won a Nobel Prize for his book on his holocaust experience. Now Elie Wiesel is considered by all except the most hardened Zionists as a fraud and a hypocrite, and certainly nothing like the great messenger for humanity described by Rajavi. Again, it is difficult to see such concern for the priorities of the Israel lobby resonating with the people of Iran.

The sentiments of the conference are also supported by a number of Anglican bishops. This episcopal empathy with Iranian Christians might inspire more conviction if the same had been shown for Syrian Christians. However a Google search for such an outpouring of compassion found only an article in the very unlikely Spectator, asking that Cameron Should Listen to Syrian Bishops Not the Anglican Ones. My search for “UK Bishops grateful to Hezbollah for protecting Syrian Christians” was no more successful.

Very proud to be sharing a platform with such august company as Prince Turki al-Faisal and Newt Gingrich were three MPs from the Scottish National Party:

IranParismonagh

Despite all these years of bloody war in the greater Middle East, the implications of attending a conference dedicated to regime change were clearly lost on the SNP representatives.

PaulMonaghanliked your tweet

The PMOI/MEK have an unsavoury reputation as terrorists and manipulators. The rally itself was a blatant display of hypocrisy of the highest order, with participants giving standing ovations to Turki al-Faisal of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as he lectured on oppressive regimes. His hostess Maryam Rajavi, who aspired to win the hearts and minds of the Iranian diaspora, stood on the same platform as al-Faisal and spoke of Iran as the source of terrorism and extremism, completely disregarding the fact that Iran (unlike Saudi Arabia) support no terrorist groups, but the legitimate government of Syria. Participation in such an event does the organisations that the delegates represent no favours.

Anyone who puts too much trust in the integrity and consistency of politicians is headed for disappointment. But for the Scottish National Party to allow three of its MPS to be associated with an organisation and event of such ill repute is an exceptional display of poor judgement, quite apart from what this says about the party’s values.

It is likely that when the decision is made to go for Iran, the NATO/Israel alliance will go for the more deniable ‘revolution’ option, though they will be hoping for more credible partners than the MEK. The chances of such an organisation ever managing to acquire credibility as an Iranian opposition within Iran are minimal. However the case of Syria has shown that as long as their governments are not actually invading or bombing, the British and American publics are quite happy to put up with blatant hypocrisy and hardly less blatant support for murderous extremists.

Whatever method is chosen to wipe out Iran, we needn’t look to the Scottish National Party to stand in the way.

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British politics: The Establishment versus Democracy

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By Neil Clark | RT 

With the dramatic withdrawal of the pro-Brexit Andrea Leadsom from the Conservative Party leadership race, the coronation of Theresa May, who supported ’Remain’ in the EU Referendum, is confirmed.

Ms. May is expected to be handed the keys to 10, Downing Street on Wednesday.

At the same time, the pro-Iraq war Labour MP Angela Eagle has launched her leadership challenge to the anti-war Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s not hard to see the connection between these two developments. May and Eagle, who says that she thinks ‘Tony Blair has suffered enough’, are the clear choices of the Establishment power brokers; Leadsom and Corbyn are most definitely not. Their appeal is with their party’s membership and the wider public and not with the Westminster/media elites.

What we are seeing played out before our very eyes is an attempt by said elites to reverse the democratization of Britain’s ‘Big Two’ political parties and to restore the power of Establishment insiders to shape the direction which those parties and the country takes. Party members who think differently must be put in their place. They must be seen, not heard.

The aim of this anti-democratic counter-revolution is simple. It‘s to make sure there is no major deviation from elite-friendly, neo-liberal, crony capitalist pro-war policies, whether it be a populist left-wing deviation, which promises re-nationalisation of the railways, wealth taxes and a less aggressive stance on foreign affairs, or a populist right-wing one, which wants the UK to Brexit without further delay and which opposes Blairite ‘liberal interventionism’ in foreign policy.

Anyone who threatens to take us away from the ‘extreme centre’ (a phrase used by Miriam Cotton and Tariq Ali) of crony capitalism, endless war and the cynical use of identity politics as a cover for the most regressive policies, is targeted for destruction.

One only has to consider the relentless smears and attacks that the anti-status quo Jeremy Corbyn has been subject to from the extreme centre since he announced he was standing for the vacant Labour leadership last summer. The attacks intensified after he was elected leader. The plotters of the current ‘Chicken Coup’ against Corbyn, clearly hoped to oust the Labour leader by a procedural technicality – they hoped that Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) would decide that Corbyn needed the nomination of 51 MPs or MEPs in order to stand. However, the NEC voted by 18-14, that Corbyn, as the incumbent, should automatically be on the ballot.

The fact that Labour’s coup supporters tried to keep Corbyn (who was elected with a huge mandate by the party’s members and supporters only last summer) off the ballot shows the utter contempt for party democracy that these people have. Blairites support bombing other countries to smithereens to promote ‘democracy’- but they hate it in their own party!

The coup plotters say that Corbyn is a disaster, yet he has been responsible for a massive surge in Labour party membership – which now stands at over 500,000 – its highest in modern history.

But instead of welcoming the recent membership surge, the anti-democratic Blairites seem appalled that the ‘great unwashed’ are signing up. For supporting Corbyn, Labour members have been called ‘wide-eyed loonies’, ‘rabble’ and even ‘scum’. But of course, let’s just focus on Momentum and Corbyn supporters being rude to Blairites who insult them, shall we?

The arguments given by those representing the extreme center for replacing Corbyn as Labour leader are as bogus as the claims the same people made about Iraq having WMDs in 2003.

We’re told Corbyn has to go because he’s ‘unelectable’ – in fact Labour were the most popular party in May’s local elections. Labour lost millions of traditional supporters during the Blair/Brown years, while Corbyn has encouraged these people – genuine Labour people – to return to the fold.

It’s also patently absurd to argue that in order to ‘reconnect’ with the electorate, Labour needs to ditch Corbyn – who accepts Brexit – and instead have a Blairite or Brownite who is in love with the EU as its leader. And in the very week following Chilcot, it’s an insult to the 1m people killed to have an MP who voted consistently for the Iraq war – and against an inquiry into it – challenging a principled MP (Corbyn) who opposed it.

Although Corbyn will be on the ballot for the leadership campaign, his opponents have done their best to tilt things in the contest in their favour. The NEC decided that only members who signed up before 12th January and those prepared to pay a £25 fee as a ‘registered supporter’ will be able to vote.

In last year’s election the fee for being a registered supporter was just £3: the thinking behind the change is clearly to deter poorer people- who more likely to support Corbyn, from voting.

However, Unite the Union, which supports Corbyn, and is affiliated to Labour, offers 50 pence a week community membership, providing a way for Corbyn supporters to make their voices heard.

If Corbyn is toppled this summer, then we can expect new leadership rules to be introduced by the party to make sure that a popular left-winger who promises a genuine move away from the ‘extreme centre’ can never again lead the party.

In the Conservative Party leadership election, we’ve witnessed a master-class in how the Establishment engineers the result it desires. Theresa May was obviously the anointed one, but in order for her to be crowned a few things had to happen first. The maverick Boris Johnson, who was decidedly dodgy on foreign policy, as I explained here, had to be knocked out of the race. And then, after she had beaten Murdoch’s favourite, Michael Gove, onto the final short-list it was time for the Establishment’s attack-dogs to be unleashed on Mrs. Andrea Leadsom.

Revealingly, the newspaper which did it for Leadsom is also the newspaper that’s been the most unrelentingly and obsessively hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. Rupert Murdoch’s Times is an Establishment organ that regards any deviation from the extreme Blairite/Cameronite center as a heresy that needs to be firmly stamped on. All of course in the interests of ‘democracy’ and ‘moderation’!

Rather naively, Leadsom, who supported Brexit, and said she’d send off Article 50 to the EU in September if she became Prime Minister, consented to be interviewed by the pro-Remain Times.

It was the biggest mistake of her political life.

Deeply shocked when she saw the Times headline on Saturday, she accused the paper of ‘gutter journalism’ for the way they presented the interview. The Times, in response, released a partial audio recording of the interview, but still hasn’t released a full one. The journalist who interviewed Leadsom, Rachel Sylvester, was accused of contradicting her own story about not raising the subject of family and motherhood to her interviewee.

A day later, the Sunday Times, intensifying the pressure on Leadsom, reported that up to 20 Tory MPs would quit the party if she won – in effect warning her that she would have the same problems in Westminster as Jeremy Corbyn. But this report was later denied by MPs.

One doesn’t have to share her politics to acknowledge that Leadsom was stitched up by Murdoch’s Establishment mouthpiece.

She became the target of some pretty unpleasant attacks by Parliamentary colleagues, inside-the-tent journalists and some liberal-leftists too who were only too keen to support The Times against her – not to mention the newspaper’s shameful record of neocon/Blairite warmongering.

It was no surprise that after a tearful weekend,

Leadsom pulled out of the Tory leadership race on Monday. Her campaign manager Tim Loughton said: “It is absolutely not the job of media commentators to ‘big up’ politicians whether in this leadership contest or elsewhere in politics. But neither should it be their compulsion constantly try to trip them up”.

With Leadsom successfully tripped up, and the Tory party’s 150,000 members deprived of having their democratic say in their party’s leadership election, Rachel Sylvester moved on to another outsider who threatens the status quo – Jeremy Corbyn – with an article in Tuesday’s Times charmingly entitled ‘Corbyn’s Labour must be tested to destruction’.

Destroy. Destruction. Weapons of Mass Destruction. These are words the Establishment loves to use in its war against its enemies.

Meanwhile, the fear of ‘the mob’ from those inside-the-tent is there for all to see. ‘If we don’t tame Twitter, we’ll face mob rule’ was the title of one Times comment piece on Monday.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair himself is concerned about ‘the mob’, and the way the extreme centre, which he personifies, is currently threatened. “It was already clear before the Brexit vote that modern populist movements could take control of political parties. What wasn’t clear was whether they could take over a country like Britain. Now we know they can”, he bemoaned in the New York Times.

Blair and his disciples – in both Labour and the Conservative parties – want to get back to ‘business as usual, that is, a situation where they and not us are in control. People power has already gone way too far for the party elites and they desperate to put a stop to it.

The coronation of Theresa May boosts their cause, but the Extreme Center also needs to topple Jeremy Corbyn if they‘re to succeed in their One Party Britain anti-democratic project.

The stakes really could not be any higher.

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‘US and British military interventions have been catastrophic for West’s true interests’

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Many people have suspected there was a plan to topple countries, such as Iraq, that are also enemies of Israel, the US, and UK, security analyst and former UK army officer Charles Shoebridge told RT.

The Chilcot Report on the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war was finally released, after seven years of investigation. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said he apologized for the mistakes made in planning and executing the intervention but he stood by the decision to go to war. He also dismissed accusations that his decision undermined the UN Security Council’s authority.

RT: Blair says Russia and France would have vetoed Iraq intervention at the Security Council. So is that fair justification for his decision to invade Iraq?

Charles Shoebridge: No, if anything, it is saying publicly as indeed many of us were saying at the time that: “It has been ruled unlawful, but therefore I am going to go ahead anyway.” After all, other than self-defense, which is clear and was clear at the time – notwithstanding how it was marketed at the time – that there was no imminent danger from Saddam Hussein; notwithstanding how much of the intelligence community, much of our politicians, and indeed much of the UK and US media tried to spin it into some kind of imminent threat.

Therefore, there was no imminent treat, so self-defense couldn’t be invoked. It would have to be by a UN resolution in the Security Council to allow that action to take place. Of course Blair knew that. But in some ways possibly France, particularly at the time and Russia even maybe perhaps unwittingly played into Tony Blair and George Bush’s hands by announcing that so publicly beforehand that they would veto it if it went to a UN Security Council resolution.

The reason they were going to veto, remember, is because the UN’s own arms inspectors hadn’t completed their work. They wanted to give a chance to Hans Blix and others to find those weapons that the US and the UK were claiming existed. Hans Blix and the inspectors were saying at the time to the US and the UK intelligence services: “Give us that information, give us that intelligence. We will go and check this out!” That intelligence was never forthcoming. That in itself, along with all the other aspects that are contained in this report, many of which are still to emerge, because it is still going to have very close scrutiny. It is of course questionable as to the extent to which that intelligence was reliable, and whether people knew it was reliable at the time.

RT: Tony Blair also said he regretted that parliament had voted against intervention in Syria. What do you make of that?

CS: It is an interesting line in one of his memos from 2001 – as far back as that to Bush – saying that shortly after 9/11 seeing the opportunity to attack Saddam; saying in many ways it could be interpreted as: “Ok, we’re looking at toppling Saddam, we can move on to Syria and Iran at a later stage.” Many people have suspected over the years that there was a plan, of which Iraq was just a part, to topple countries that by coincidence, some might say, are also enemies of Israel, of the US, and the UK, notwithstanding their own geopolitical situations. But that aside, it is really clear that much of the intelligence we know from Chilcot, that it was badly assessed; it was ill-thought-out and ill-informed intelligence in the first place. It was rushed; it wasn’t correctly assessed and analyzed properly.

It will still leave many, including so many in the intelligence community, who will ask the question, which doesn’t seem to have been addressed, or at least the accusation has not been made by Chilcot, as far as I can see at this stage whether there was any deliberate  falsification of that intelligence; whether MI6 particularly and… other actors within the US and UK intelligence establishment deliberately falsified or exaggerated intelligence to support the government of the day and Tony Blair in a decision already made to go to war.

It seems that in many ways the security services have been let off lightly, because they have been condemned not for dishonesty, deceit, or perhaps even for illegal activity – which many suggest has taken place – but for gross incompetence, which at the end of the day that intelligence – some would argue and argued at the time, was intended to justify going to war. Once that war decision was taken and war happened, of course it doesn’t matter if subsequently it was found that intelligence was faulty, or even didn’t exist, because some would argue that the whole purpose of it was to justify the war, not be the real reason behind it.

Time for people to demand US ‘war criminals’ face charges

When US and UK forces invaded Iraq, the country had not one weapon with which to resist, and had been totally disarmed and starved down by the sanctions, said Sara Flounders the head of the International Action Center.

RT: What do you expect to be Washington’s reaction to the inquiry? Do you expect anyone to be held accountable for what happened?

Sara Flounders: Of course the US wants to bury this immediately and Pentagon officials refuse to study it. But the real question the people of the world should be asking is: “When do the war crimes trials start?” Clearly this war by every count, and once again confirmed in this report, was a criminal violation of international law by every measure and by every standard. Any discussion that doesn’t involve a war crimes trial against these criminals that destroyed Iraq and led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, left a whole society in ruins, and has led to the terror that we face on a global scale today. Anyone who is isn’t asking that question and is going to push this off for further study or bury it – is not in any way serious, or really part of the cover-up. This report which was to take a year, took seven years, 12 volumes. It is ridiculous and yet it must be used as a basis to demand accountability of these criminals in Britain and certainly here in the US.

RT: How likely is it that the US will hold a similar investigation?

SF: The US won’t discuss their criminal conduct in any way whatsoever and they have refused to account for this war. I don’t expect them to respond to this, or to their use of torture; their use of tens of thousands of people detained in the war on terror; their massive destruction of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of Libya – on all of these they are silent. Yet, I think this is a time for the people of the world to demand that they be charged as criminals.

RT: David Cameron has given his take on the report, saying lessons should be learned. So have lessons been learned?

SF: The lesson they want to learn is that they didn’t do proper planning on what to do with the occupation. And that meant that there was enormous resistance by the people of Iraq in a heroic stand, yet completely unable stop the occupation, the destruction of Iraq and the conscious plan – which was a British and US plan on using sectarian violence to divide and as a way of overcoming the resistance they faced to the occupation.

RT: Given the findings of the report, which said Blair had presented the existence of weapons of mass destruction as a certainty which wasn’t the case, and the fact the conflict left Iraq in ruins, how do you assess Blair’s decision to invade the country?

SF: The report says it wasn’t right, it wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t justified, it was ill-prepared, and that Iraq presented absolutely no threat. Whether one more imperialist power piled on, which would be France to that invasion, or not, wouldn’t have made it anymore right, or wouldn’t have made Iraq anymore of a threat. Iraq had not one weapon with which to resist, and had been totally disarmed and starved down by the sanctions that had gone on for 12 years before the actual invasion and occupation. And this was well understood. There were UN inspectors across Iraq…

Read more:

‘Chilcot reveals: Case for Iraq war made before weapon inspections’

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Evolving History of the Anglo-American Alliance

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Tony Blair’s Policy on Iraq versus Harold Wilson’s on Vietnam
 
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British prime ministers have very limited freedom to make their own policy – this is heavily dictated by the United States. It is very difficult for any British prime minister to resist pressure from a US president. In contrast to Blair’s eager participation in the Iraq War, the British Labour prime minister in the 1960s, Harold Wilson, resisted significant US pressure to send British troops to Vietnam and repeatedly urged US restraint in Vietnam, to the point of being rebuked by President Johnson.

The US control over British policy is discussed by historian Clive Ponting in his book Breach of Promise about the Harold Wilson Government, 1964-70. One of the first duties of a British prime minister is to go with his deputy visit the US president to receive instructions on what British policy should be. Ponting obtained copies of the original minutes of these meetings, which became available from the US side under the US Freedom of Information Act, but which remain classified in Britain. These minutes reveal a series of outrageous demands on Britain, affecting both domestic and international policy, which shaped the course of the Wilson government, led to the failure of its economic policy and to its electoral defeat. For example, the US forced a currency exchange-rate policy on Britain that caused serious economic damage.

Ponting describes a detailed level of US control over British policy: –

Whenever ministers took office a large proportion of their time was spent talking to and corresponding with their opposite numbers in Washington.

However, even ministers and cabinet members were not allowed insight into the overall scheme of policy, which was largely kept between the PM and his deputy. Ponting says,

Relations between Britain and the United States had a dominating influence over the policy of the Labour government, particularly in its first three years in office. Previously secret American documents reveal that in the course of 1965 the Labour government reached a series of ‘understandings’ with the United States. What was agreed was never made public, yet these unwritten agreements fundamentally shaped both British domestic and strategic policy over this period. … The Cabinet was neither consulted nor told about what had been agreed, although individual members had their suspicions about what had been going on behind their backs as the consequences made themselves felt in… policy.

(Breach of Promise p48-9)

One of the inside circle was George Brown, Foreign Secretary for much of the period,

… George Brown told one of his colleagues Wilson was ‘bound personally and irrevocably to President Johnson and ceased to be a free agent’.

Yet, even at the height of US control over British policy, in 1965, Wilson resisted US pressure to send British troops to Vietnam – even a token gesture.

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk once told Harold Wilson that “the USA did not want to be the only country ready to intervene in any trouble spot in the world”. It aroused less resentment against the US to have an ally willing to act as a proxy on their behalf and for USA not to be seen acting unilaterally on its own.

Britain’s military policy was closely negotiated with the US. Britain maintained several military commitments during the period but Vietnam was not one of them.

Wilson had wanted to dispose of the empire East of Suez but the US insisted Britain should retain this. Subsequently, Wilson argued these military commitments conflicted with providing troops to Vietnam and left the government politically too weak to comply.

The US put immense pressure on Britain to contribute troops to Vietnam, to show solidarity with the US, and the US requests were repeated throughout the period. At the height of US control over British policy, in 1965, the US asked for merely a token UK presence in Vietnam but Wilson successfully refused even this. When Wilson refused, the US accepted and conceded they had already assessed he would be unable to deliver the concession they were asking.

Why did Wilson do this? Why was the US prepared to allow Wilson to do this? The US had a very accurate assessment of the capacity of the British PM to give the policies they were asking. The US understood that delivering some policies to the US weakened the capacity to deliver others. Every time the British prime minister had to refuse US policy demands, the US had already anticipated this in their own assessments. In effect, Wilson chose which battles to fight – he made concessions in most areas and hence earned the right to reserve his own decisions in others. Yet, despite knowing Wilson could not deliver this, the US pushed him on Vietnam anyway. The US pushed really hard. The US were quite prepared to force the British prime minister into political suicide – it was up to him to refuse. Ultimately, the cumulative effect of different US policy demands did lead to Wilson‘s electoral defeat.

The Wilson government presided over a Labour party that was not monolithic and had significant internal political differences. British public opinion had a large amount of opposition to the Vietnam war. If Wilson tried to deliver a token contingent to Vietnam, this would affect his ability to yield to the US in other areas of policy. Britain was largely held captive by the US, but there was some freedom to make choices. Ironically, as Britain became trapped by circumstances, such as the economic situation, in some areas it gained more freedom from US policy. Later in its term, as Wilson’s government became weakened by a deteriorating economic situation, caused by previous concessions to the US, policy divergences with the US gradually increased. A leader in a stronger position, with a more united party, with a simpler political situation, with a stronger economy, would have been under more constraints to observe US policy.

Great leadership is not about easy choices in simple situations – it is about difficult choices under extreme constraints. As an ally, the US was more like an adversary than a friend, forcing policies on the prime minister that were against the British national interest.

Many of the criticisms of the Chilcot Report related to the way Blair made decisions without consulting the Cabinet. However, what we learn from Ponting’s study of the Wilson government is that seems to have been the normal way of doing business. This seems the inevitable result of US influence over policy.

What was different about Blair’s government was the reckless and poor choice of decisions, disregarding the consequences, not considering advice, dismissing objections. The most memorable example of dismissing dissent was the revolt of all the Foreign Office lawyers (27 in total) who collectively advised the invasion of Iraq was illegal. They were sidelined. By contrast, lick-spittles who were prepared to change facts to meet the political ‘reality’ were promoted, such as John Scarlett, head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who revised the intelligence reports multiple times until they conformed to Blair’s requirements.

What had changed in the years between Wilson and Blair?

Blair had no serious internal dissent to face. In the 1960s and 70s, Wilson had led a Labour Party containing many diverse viewpoints and it was a constant struggle to maintain unity. In the late 1980s and early 90s, Blair’s predecessor as Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock, introduced a series of ‘reforms’ which dramatically curtailed internal democracy within the party. Dissenters could easily be removed. Unfortunately, several people of great ability were also lost. As leader, Blair was not really held in check by anyone. Once in government, this principle was then applied to civil service advisors. When the advisors who make objections are removed, it becomes impossible to avoid foreseeable problems.

To Blair, politics mattered more than policy. Defeating one’s opponents mattered more than examining the arguments. Winning was all that mattered. Democracy covers a wide spectrum, at one end including the whole population in participatory decision-making, and at the other confining competition of ideas strictly within a politburo. Unfortunately, it appears Blair failed to maintain even the latter. Democracy is fundamentally based upon the principle that policies have to be examined, justified and argued over; all different perspectives have to be heard. Without this testing of ideas, mistakes become inevitable.

Wilson was a real intellectual heavyweight – this is not a description ever used about Blair. Wilson was often regarded as the real author of Britain’s welfare-state, and the person who managed to ensure its successful implementation at a time of deep economic crisis, when post-war Britain was deep in debt, and its main creditor (USA) was opposed to the policy. It is difficult to imagine Blair carrying off an achievement of that scale. Wilson showed that the National Health Service and welfare state saved money and made the economy more efficient, laying the foundations for post-war recovery. (Additionally, the welfare state made the country more politically cohesive, thus made British leaders better able to delivery US policy demands.) By contrast, Blair began the process of dismantling the NHS at the request of the US. Blair compares badly with the leaders of the past and of other nations. One can only suppose that the selection process that led to Blair becoming leader had protected him from real challengers because there were others of much greater ability.

Previously, in the 1960s, the US government had been pretty realistic about what its allies could deliver – the US knew its limits and was prepared to relent at the point of pressing its allies to self-destruction. (Unfortunately, the US did in fact push Wilson to electoral defeat.) By the 2000s, the Bush administration was relatively crass and unskilful, disregarding the effect of demands on their allies, asking the unreasonable, because really they did not understand where to draw the line. When combined with allies whose leaders were themselves relatively isolated from the reality of what they could deliver, this became a toxic mix. Driving out dissent had left no reality-check to prevent stupid decisions.

How had we arrived at this process of driving out dissent? As a result of globalisation – imposing the Washington Consensus. It had become impossible to deliver the unpopular neo-liberal policies required by Washington within political parties with any semblance of internal democracy. The only way for parties to function in government was to expunge internal democracy. This has been the trend across Europe, leading to the democratic deficit so widely remarked today. This was the inevitable result of many decades of covert US subversion of national governments, forcing them to execute policies against their national interests and against the popular will. This did indeed create a system capable of executing unpopular policies and overriding popular protest, at the risk of ignoring reasonable concerns and creating an unhealthy political monoculture.

The long-term abuse of the allied relationship by the US led to the political deterioration of its allies. Ironically, it appears to be better for US policy and interests when its allies are more politically independent and the US has to negotiate more its relationship with its allies.

Unfortunately, the Iraq War was not a one off – it was preceded by the invasion of Afghanistan and has been followed by numerous other wars since. The Iraq War itself was not an isolated event but a policy of sustained occupation which lasted a decade and arguably still continues today. The military occupation of Afghanistan does still continue. New military interventions in north Africa (Libya, Mali, etc.) and the Middle East (Syria) have had disastrous impacts. This is why the Chilcot Report was delayed for so long, and why the Chilcot Report does not and dares not address the real problems. Western government has become dysfunctional and does not know how to correct itself; the Iraq War is symptomatic of this.

We should also consider how this reflects in the deterioration of internal politics and civil society. Our political leadership appear to have lost the capacity to recognise the problems that confront us and the solutions that are available. The current political system appears to have driven out those with sufficient ability to make the necessary changes.

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New UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson a “very outspoken friend of ‘Israel’”

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Boris Johnson at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, November 2015

Nureddin Sabir, Editor, Redress Information & Analysis, writes:

Boris Johnson, Britain’s newly appointed foreign secretary, is best known for his buffoonery, but beneath his clownish exterior lurks a deadly serious and arrogant far-right politician with a crude, ill-informed and xenophobic view of the world.

It should not be too surprising, then, that his most ecstatic cheerleaders, outside the odious cesspits of the Conservative Party’s right wing, is Israel’s Zionist establishment.

Tel Aviv will be looking forward to a “very outspoken friend of Israel”, the Zionist entity’s former ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, said on 14 July, the right-wing Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported.

“He is a very enthusiastic supporter, and his relationship with Israel goes back a long way,” said Taub, describing Johnson’s enthusiasm for Israel as “infectious”.

As a measure of his enthusiasm for the state that was build on the bones and stolen houses and farms of the indigenous Palestinians, Mr Johnson has gone out of his way to condemn the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Launched in 2005, BDS campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. It has since gained widespread international support.

But for Mr Johnson, the privileged, Eton- and Oxford-educated toff, the thousands of grassroots activists, including many Jews, who support BDS are “corduroy-jacketed lefty academics”.

During a visit to Israel in November 2015, he said: “I cannot think of anything more foolish” than to boycott “a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society”.

It would have been out of character for Mr Johnson – described as a liar by the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, on 14 July – to let the facts get in the way of his courtship of the Zionists. As the journalist Jonathan Cook reminds us, Israel is an apartheid state and its apartheid is far wider than the institutionalised discrimination practised against the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the preferential treatment enjoyed by the Jewish squatters in the territories.

  • Israel has nationalised 93 per cent of Palestinian-owned land in the country so that Jewish citizens can exclude Palestinian Arab citizens;
  • Israel operates vetting committees, enshrined in law, in hundreds of rural communities precisely to prevent Palestinian Arabs from living in these communities;
  • Israel has separate citizenship laws – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – based on ethnic belonging;
  • Israel has designed its citizenship laws to confer rights on Jews who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over Palestinian Arabs who do have citizenship and are present in the state;
  • Israel has more than 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group a citizen belongs to;
  • Israel defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies – the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund – whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging;
  • Israel denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders; and
  • Israel does not recognise its own nationality, and makes it possible to join the dominant national group (Jews) or to immigrate only through conversion.

But perhaps these are not problems for Mr Johnson. In one speech during his visit to Israel in 2015, he said that he admires it for “the audacity, the bravery, the willingness to take risks with feats of outrageous derring-do”.

That, it would seem, is coded language for Israel’s apartheid system, its contempt for international law, its violations of Palestinian human rights, and its war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights.

It is the “the audacity, the bravery, the willingness to take risks with feats of outrageous derring-do” of thieves, murderers and rapists.

Posted in UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Send Our War Criminals to the Hague Court

The Hague NL International criminal court -ICC

This week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning.

Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program ‘Yes, Prime Minister,’ are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper.

And beneath mountains of lies. The biggest lie on both sides of the Atlantic was that the invasion and destruction of Iraq was the result of ‘faulty intelligence.’ The Bush and Blair camps and the US and British media keep pushing this absurd line.

This writer, who had covered Iraq since 1976, was one of the first to assert that Baghdad had no so-called weapons of mass destruction, and no means of delivering them even if it did. For this I was dropped and black-listed by the leading US TV cable news network and leading US newspapers.

I had no love for the brutal Saddam Hussein, whose secret police threatened to hang me as a spy. But I could not abide the intense war propaganda coming from Washington and London, served up by the servile, mendacious US and British media.

The planned invasion of Iraq was not about nuclear weapons or democracy, as Bush claimed. Two powerful factions in Washington were beating the war drums: ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives who yearned to see an enemy of Israel destroyed, and a cabal of conservative oil men and imperialists around Vice President Dick Cheney who sought to grab Iraq’s huge oil reserves at a time they believed oil was running out. They engineered the Iraq War, as blatant and illegal an aggression as Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

Britain’s smarmy Tony Blair tagged along with the war boosters in hopes that the UK could pick up the crumbs from the invasion and reassert its former economic and political power in the Arab world. Blair had long been a favorite of British neoconservatives. The silver-tongued Blair became point man for the war in preference to the tongue-twisted, stumbling George Bush. But the real warlord was VP Dick Cheney.

There was no ‘flawed intelligence.’ There were intelligence agencies bullied into reporting a fake narrative to suit their political masters. And a lot of fake reports concocted by our Mideast allies like Israel and Kuwait.

After the even mild Chilcot report, Blair’s reputation is in tatters, as it should be. How such an intelligent, worldly man could have allowed himself to be led around by the doltish, swaggering Bush is hard to fathom. Europe’s leaders and Canada refused to join the Anglo-American aggression. France, which warned Bush of the disaster he would inflict, was slandered and smeared by US Republicans as ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys.’

In the event, the real monkeys were the Bush and Blair governments. Saddam Hussain, a former US ally, was deposed and lynched. Iraq, the most advanced Arab nation, was almost totally destroyed. Up to one million Iraqis may have been killed, though the Chilcot report claimed only a risible 150,000. As Saddam had predicted, the Bush-Blair invasion opened the gates of hell, and out came al-Qaida and then ISIS.

The US and British media, supposedly the bulwark of democracy, rolled over and became an organ of government war propaganda. Blair had the august BBC purged for failing to fully support his drive for war. BBC has never recovered.

Interestingly, this week’s news of the Chilcot investigation was buried deep inside the New York Times on Thursday. The Times was a key partisan of the war. So too the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the big TV networks.

Without their shameful connivance, the Iraq War might not have happened.

Bush and Blair have the deaths of nearly 4,500 US soldiers on their heads, the devastation of Iraq, our $1 trillion war, the ever-expanding mess in the Mideast, and the violence what we wrongly blame on ‘terrorism’ and so-called ‘radical Islam.’

The men and women responsible for this biggest disaster in our era should be brought to account. As long as Bush and Blair swan around and collect speaking fees, we have no right to lecture other nations, including Russia and China, on how to run a democracy or rule of law. Bush and Blair should be facing trial for war crime at the Hague Court.

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US-UK Dirty War: ‘Latin American-style’ Death Squads in Iraq Revealed Through Chilcot

chilcot2-1024x576

This week another toxic revelation dripped out of the Chilcot Report.

According to top British SAS officers, US commander Stanley McChrystal’s counter-insurgency “black-ops” featured a program of relentless violence designed to ‘speed up’ the process of political cleansing and the so-called “reconstruction” of Iraq.

What also interesting here, is the Chilcot’s choice of language, including the term “Latin American-style death squads”, which by default implies the United States government was party to war crimes in Central America during the 1980’s – a claim which it has always been strenuously denied in public, even though the general public and academia recognizes this to be a self-evident fact of America’s long-running ugly history of intervention in that region.

The Independent report reveals the level of sheer depravity by US command:

“The mission was an extraordinary set-up: inside the command centre – “The Machine” – was the “Death Star”, on the walls of which were banks of television screens, “Kill TV”, running live pictures of action taking place and surveillance footage in real time from which suspects could be picked out for future arrest or elimination.”

The Independent also detailed how reckless and violent practices by the US military caused noticeable divisions and splits between joint US-UK command structures and operations, including political tension between British military command.

Through the newly created Office of Special Plans, neoconservatives Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith rolled out their own sub-layer to the US controlled shadow government in Iraq, including the establishment of the “Iraqi De–Baathification Council” which, under the supervision of then US Viceroy Paul Bremer, began dismantling the Iraqi military, security and intelligence agency infrastructures of President Saddam Hussein.

And so began the process of the Pentagon’s ‘de-Baathification’ process in Iraq, immediately followed by a hive of violent ‘Gangs and Counter-gangs created by the US and UK covert military and intelligence apparatuses. Front and center in this effort were US operatives John Negroponte and his understudy at the time, Robert Ford, who was later dispatched as US Ambassador to Syria in the run-up to the Syrian Conflict which began in 2011.

The legacy of this destructive policy still lingering in Iraq and now in Syria. This unquestionably spawned ISIS and many other terrorist factions in both Iraq and Syria. Only last week, Iraq saw its most deadly car bomb ever, a questionable ‘sectarian attack’ (a narrative not challenged by the western and international press) which killed 200 innocent civilians, and injured many more.

Iraq-Car-Bomb-Map-2016GLADIO REDUX: A map of every car bomb in Baghdad since the US-UK invasion in 2003 (Source: Twitter)

Prof Michel Chossudovsky explains this same highly disturbing pattern that generally follows every US intervention overseas, be it overt or covert:

“The recruitment of death squads is part of a well established US military-intelligence agenda. There is a long and gruesome US history of covert funding and support of  terror brigades and targeted assassinations going back to the Vietnam war.

“As government forces continue to confront the self-proclaimed “Free Syrian Army” (FSA),  the historical roots of  the West’s covert war on Syria –which has resulted in countless atrocities– must be fully revealed.”

Once again, we can see the revelation of the US-UK method of not simply instigating wars, but facilitating dirty wars not only overseas, but also at home, as in the case of Operation GLADIO and numerous other false flag events admittedly staged in North America.

As 21WIRE will demonstrate in subsequent reports, this latest Chilcot revelation is only the tip of a much larger, covert iceberg…

Details have emerged of how US and UK Special Forces clashed and drifted apart over the conduct of the Iraq occupation, with one British officer complaining about the use of tactics more akin to “Latin American-style” death squads than a modern military.
 
The details of the Balad special forces base and its operations, which came to shape the war, are not recounted in last week’s long-awaited report by Sir John Chilcot.

However, kill or capture operations in and around Baghdad, launched from the Balad base 50 miles (80km) north of the city, were a key if little known chapter in Britain’s shadow war, the Independent reports.

Despite killing or taking as prisoner up to 3,500 insurgents, the mission against the Sunni insurgency caused deep rifts to the point where a senior commander, himself ex-SAS, demanded to know why the UK Special Forces were “helping to run Latin American-style death squads?”

The mission, under now-famed US General Stanley McChrystal, involved a shift from searching for apparently non-existent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to man-hunting.

Antagonism over the tactics led to UK troops being banned from some operations and a UK SAS commander lodging a complaint with US authorities for talking about British involvement in operations. Another SAS colonel was also ostracized from his regiment after serving under McCrystal.

Chilcot does sketch out some of the details of the growing rift, though his report appears to leave out direct references to Special Forces operations.

US and UK strategies had, in effect, been on different courses since the UK decision to focus its attention on MND (SE) [Multi-National Division South East, the British run zone] in 2003.

As result of this decision, the UK had acquired distinctly different priorities from the US,” the 2.6-million-word report argues.

It says the UK was then only “marginally involved in the central tasks of stabilizing the Iraqi government in Baghdad and managing sectarian divisions, while it had come to see its main task in Basra as one of keeping the situation calm while building the case for withdrawal.”

From that point on, it appears, the US became increasingly concerned that a wavering UK was chiefly focused on getting out of the unpopular war in the best order it could and as soon as possible.

In 2006, a former SAS soldier blew the whistle on some of the tactics used in and around Baghdad. Ben Griffin was later gagged by the UK courts for talking about his experiences, but before he was silenced told the Telegraph, “The Americans had this catch-all approach to lifting suspects. The tactics were draconian and completely ineffective.”

“The Americans were doing things like chucking farmers into Abu Ghraib [the notorious prison in Baghdad where US troops abused and tortured Iraqi detainees] or handing them over to the Iraqi authorities, knowing full well they were going to be tortured,” he said at the time.

It may be of note that the SAS commander’s reference to “Latin American-style deaths squads” appears to ignore the fact that at time of the Iraq war, in July 2003, the UK was itself stepping up training of Colombian paramilitary forces.

Commenting on the revelations at the time, human rights NGO Amnesty International warned “the Colombian government has not implemented the UN human rights recommendations and military assistance only gives a green light to the army to carry on as before.”

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“The Sloppy Dossier”: Plagiarism and Fake Intelligence Used to Justify the War on Iraq

NOVANEWS

Copied and Pasted from the Internet into an “Official” British Intel Report

Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky

 
Plagiarism: British Intelligence Iraq Dossier Relied on Recycled Academic Articles

The Chilcot Inquiry has been released. But it is worth noting that most of the dodgy dossier evidence pertaining to Tony Blair and George W, Bush was available before the onset of the Iraq war in March 2003.  

Fake intelligence as well as plagiarized quotations had been slipped into an official intelligence report pertaining to Iraq’s WMD presented to the UN Security Council by Secretary of State Colin Powell on February 5, 2003.  

Damning evidence refuting Colin Powell’s official intelligence report was revealed by Cambridge Lecturer Dr. Glen Rangwala in  Britain’s Channel 4 TV on February 6, 2003, on the day following Secretary of State Colin Powell’s historic Iraq WMD presentation to the UN Security Council: 

“I would call my colleagues’ attention to the fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed . . . which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.”

Powell was referring to “Iraq Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation”, published on January 30, 2003.

According to Rangwala, the  British intelligence document was fake. It had not been prepared by British intelligence. It was copied and pasted from the internet by members of Tony Blair’s staff:   

The Downing Street authors state they drew “upon a number of sources, including intelligence material” (p.1, first sentence). In fact, they copied material from at least three different authors and gave no credit to them. Indeed, they plagiarized, directly cutting and pasting or near quoting.

A close textual analysis suggests that the UK authors had little access to first-hand intelligence sources and instead based their work on academic papers, which they selectively distorted. Some of the papers used were considerably out of date. This leads the reader to wonder about the reliability and veracity of the Downing Street document.

It was a fake document prepared on the instructions of prime minister Blair with a view to building a “credible” justification to wage war on Iraq.  

Rangwala’s analysis was more than a smoking gun. It revealed the Big Lie. It invalidated Colin’s Powell’s presentation to the UN Security Council. It had to be suppressed. 

In many regards, the Rangwala revelation was far more important than the leak of the Secret July 2002 Downing Street Memo:  

C  reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

The “WMD facts” had to be “documented”. Did British intelligence refuse to comply with Tony Blair’s demands to produce a fast track report which would “fix the facts”?  Rangwala’s analysis confirms that British intelligence was not involved in what we might describe as the “Sloppy Dossier”.

The “facts” were put together in a hurry (not by MI6) but by Tony Blair’s public relations’ staff, who casually committed acts of plagiarism and political fraud. 

The report was finalized one week before Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN Security Council; the “facts” and supporting quotations were copied and pasted by members of Tony Blair’s cabinet from the internet and inserted into an official and authoritative document.  

Plagiarism had become a means to justifying the war on Iraq. 

The Rangwala revelation was the “unspoken truth”. With the exception of Channel $, it was not the object of media coverage both before as well as after the March invasion of Iraq. It had to be suppressed. The invasion of Iraq had already been scheduled for March 2003.

The Role of Colin Powell in Planning the War on Iraq

In retrospect, the Rangwala findings also bring to the forefront the insidious and complicit role of Colin Powell, who organized the Crawford Texas meetings in early April 2002 between Bush and Blair, as confirmed by the recently leaked emails (see below).

What these emails suggest is that Colin Powell had been entrusted in setting the stage for the war on Iraq, initially at the Bush-Blair Crawford meetings on April 5-7, 2002, leading up to his presentation of the British intelligence dossier on Iraq’s alleged WMD at the UN Security Council on February 5,  2003.

Lest we forget Colin Powell played a behind the scenes role in the Iran Contra Affair. 

The Crawford meetings were intended to plan the war on Iraq. 

Colin Powell was a central political instrument. The issue is who was Behind Colin Powell?

Who was present at the Crawford meetings? Reports confirm that Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleeza Rice  were among those present.

 

In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the plagiarized “British intelligence Iraq Dossier” presented to the UN Security Council by (former) Secretary of State Colin Powell was so to speak “forgotten”.  

The plagiarism issue nonetheless confirms beyond doubt the war crimes’ allegations against George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

Rangwala’s report was known to Britain’s parliament. It was only three months after the war was launched, in June 2003, that Rangwala submitted his finding to the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. (see below).

Michel Chossudovsky, November 8, 2015, updated: July 14, 2016


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Plagiarism and Iraq’s WMDs: British Intelligence Iraq Dossier Relied on Recycled Academic Articles

by Glen Rangwala

Below is the text presented by Dr. Rangwala to the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs 

It was presented in June 2003, in the wake of the invasion and occupation of Iraq

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmfaff/813/813we18.htm

THE PRESENTATION OF THE 30 JANUARY 2003 DOSSIER

1.  The 19-page dossier, entitled “Iraq—Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation”, was released on 30 January 2003. The document begins with the statement that:

    “This report draws upon a number of sources, including intelligence material (. . .”

2.  The assertion that the intelligence agencies were involved in the production of the dossier was made more explicitly by Prime Minister Blair when he announced the release of the dossier to the House of Commons on 3 February 2003:

    “We issued further intelligence over the weekend about the infrastructure of concealment. It is obviously difficult when we publish intelligence reports, but I hope that people have some sense of the integrity of our security services. They are not publishing this, or giving us this information, and making it up. It is the intelligence that they are receiving, and we are passing it on to people.”

www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk

A REVIEW OF THE CONTENTS OF THE 30 JANUARY 2003 DOSSIER

Sources

3.  The bulk of the 19-page document (pp 6-16) is directly copied without acknowledgement from three different sources that are on the internet. The most extensively used source is an article in the on-line Israeli journal, Middle East Review of International Affairs (September 2002), entitled “Iraq’s Security and Intelligence Network: A Guide and Analysis”.

http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue3/jv6n3a1.html

4.  The author of the piece is Mr Ibrahim al-Marashi, a postgraduate student then based at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, California, who is completing a doctorate at Oxford University. He has confirmed to me that his permission was not sought; in fact, he didn’t even know about the British document until I contacted him on 4 February to enquire whether his permission was given.

5.  In addition to Mr Marashi’s work, there is also the use of two articles from the specialist security magazine,Jane’s Intelligence Review. On-line summaries of articles by Mr Sean Boyne in 1997 and Mr Ken Gause in 2002 are on the GlobalSecurity.org website, at:

http://globalsecurity.org/intell/world/iraq/

These texts were also amalgamated in part into the UK dossier.

6.  The fact that these sources were copied is most clear from the typographical errors and anomalous uses of grammar in the original pieces that are incorporated into the Downing Street document. For example, Mr Marashi had written:

    “Saddam appointed, Sabir `Abd al-’Aziz al-Duri as head (. . .)”

There is a misplaced comma after the second word. On p 13, the British dossier incorporates the same misplaced comma:

    “Saddam appointed, Sabir `Abd al-’Aziz al-Duri as head (. . .)”

7.  Because the texts of these three authors are copied directly also results in a proliferation of different transliterations (for example, different spellings of the Ba’th party, depending on which author is being copied).

Modifications to the original articles

8.  The only exceptions to these acts of copying were the tweaking of specific phrases. For example, most of p 9 on the functions of the Mukhabarat (General Intelligence) is copied directly from Mr Marashi’s article. However, Marashi writes of the Mukhabarat’s role in:

    “monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq”.

This becomes in the British dossier:

    “spying on foreign embassies in Iraq”.

Similarly, on the same page, Marashi writes that the Mukhabarat had a role in:

    “aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes”

The British dossier renders this as:

    “supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes”.

9.  A further example is from the section on “Fedayeen Saddam” (Saddam’s Self-Sacrificers). Most of this text is copied from the 1997 article by Sean Boyne. However, Boyne writes that the personnel of this organisation are:

    “recruited from regions loyal to Saddam”, and refers to their original grouping as “some 10,000-15,000 `bullies and country bumpkins.’”

10.  This becomes in the British government’s text, at pp 15-16, a reference to how its personnel are:

    “press ganged from regions known to be loyal to Saddam” . . . “some 10,000-15,000 bullies.”

11.  The reference in Mr Boyne’s article to how the organisation was made up of “bullies and country bumpkins” was shorn of its last three words in the UK dossier, perhaps to render a more threatening picture of the organisation than that contained in the original article.

12.  Numbers are also increased or are rounded up. So, for example, the section on “Fedayeen Saddam” (pp 15-16) is directly copied from Boyne’s article, almost word for word. The only substantive difference is that Mr Boyne estimates the personnel of the organisation to be 18,000-40,000 (Ken Gause, in another article that was substantially copied, estimates personnel in the region of 10,000-40,000). The British dossier instead writes “30,000 to 40,000″. A similar bumping up of figures occurs with the description of the Directorate of Military Intelligence.

Errors

13.  There is at least one serious substantive mistake in the British text, on p 14, about the Iraqi organisation the Military Security Service (al-Amn al-Askari). After an initial two paragraphs copied from Marashi’s 2002 article, the remainder of the text is taken from the description by Sean Boyne in his 1997 article of a wholly different organisation called the General Security Service (al-Amn al-Amm). That is, it mixes up the descriptions of two different organisations.

14.  The result is a confusion that renders the description incoherent. The description of the Military Security Service (al-Amn al-Askari) begins by relating how this organisation was created in 1992 (in a section copied from Marashi). It then describes how the Military Security Service moved headquarters in 1990 (in a piece copied from Boyne on the activities of the General Security Service), two years before the organisation was even created.

15.  Later in the same section, the UK dossier claims that the head of the Military Security Service is Taha al-Ahbabi. This is from Boyne’s description of the General Security Service. In fact, the Military Security Service was headed by Thabet Khalil when the dossier was released.

FURTHER COMMENTS

16.  The information in the UK dossier is presented as being an accurate statement of the current state of Iraq’s security organisations. However, it may not be anything of the sort. Mr Marashi—the real and unwitting author of much of the document—refers in his article to his primary source as being the documents captured by Coalition forces in 1991, and which are now retained by the Massachusetts-based organisation, the Iraq Research and Documentation Project. His own focus is the activities of Iraq’s intelligence agencies in Kuwait in the period from August 1990 to January 1991, as this is the subject of his thesis. As a result, much of the information presented as relevant to how Iraqi agencies are currently engaged with UNMOVIC is 12 years old.

17.  When the document was first released as a Microsoft Word document, I checked the properties of the text in the File menu. It revealed the authors of the text as P. Hamill, J. Pratt, A. Blackshaw, and M. Khan. Those names were removed within hours from the downloadable file. However, in collaboration with journalists, I have since checked who these individuals are. The identity of the authors is as follows:

    Paul Hamill, a Foreign Office official;
    John Pratt, a junior official from the Prime Minister’s Strategic Communications Unit;
    Alison Blackshaw, Alastair Campbell’s personal assistant;
    Mustaza Khan, news editor of the 10 Downing Street website.

THE ORDERING OF THE DOSSIER

18.  The dossier is ordered as follows:

p 1 is the summary.

pp 2-5 consists of, firstly, a repetition of the comments of Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, to the Security Council in January on the difficulties they were encountering. Further claims about the activities of al-Mukhabarat follow. These claims are not backed up, and have in some cases been specifically denied by Hans Blix. For example, the UK dossier claims on p 3 that:

    “Journeys are monitored by security officers stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence. Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that arrival is anticipated. The welcoming party is a give away.”

This can be contrasted with the assessment of Hans Blix on 14 February 2003 that:

    “Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.”

http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/blix14Febasdel.htm

Similarly, the UK dossier claims on p 3 that:

    “Escorts are trained, for example, to start long arguments with other Iraqi officials `on behalf of UNMOVIC’ while any incriminating evidence is hastily being hidden behind the scenes.”

By contrast, Dr Blix relates in the same presentation of 14 February that:

    “we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences.”

p 6 is a simplified version of Mr Marashi’s diagram at: http://cns.miis.edu/research/iraq/pdfs/iraqint.pdf

p 7 is copied (top) from Mr Gause (on the Presidential Secretariat), and (middle and bottom) from Mr Boyne (on the National Security Council).

p 8 is entirely copied from Mr Boyne (on the National Security Council).

p 9 is copied from Mr Marashi (on al-Mukhabarat), except for the final section, which is insubstantial.

p 10 is entirely copied from Mr Marashi (on the General Security Service), except for the final section, which is insubstantial.

p 11 is entirely copied from Mr Marashi (on Special Security), except for the top section (on General Security), which is insubstantial.

p 12 is entirely copied from Mr Marashi (on Special Security).

p 13 is copied from Mr Gause (on Special Protection) and Mr Marashi (Military Intelligence).

p 14 is copied from Mr Marashi (first two paragraphs) and then wrongly copied from Mr Boyne (on Military Security). The last section, on the Special Republican Guard, is copied from Mr Marashi.

p 15 is copied from Messrs Gause and Boyne (on al-Hadi project / project 858).

pp 15-16 is copied from Boyne (on Fedayeen Saddam).

p 16: The final section, on the Tribal Chiefs’ Bureau, seems to be copied from Anthony H. Cordesman, “Key Targets in Iraq”, February 1998, http://www.csis.org/stratassessment/reports/iraq_argets.pdf, pg. 8

pp 17-19 make general claims about human rights in Iraq.

Dr Glen Rangwala

Newnham College

Cambridge

16 June 2003

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Bush-Blair and The Great Iraq War Fraud

NOVANEWS
 
Chilcot

Last week, seven years after the Iraq Inquiry was set up, Sir John Chilcot finally delivered his long-awaited report. Although it stopped short of declaring the Iraq war illegal, and although it failed to examine the real motives for war, the report was not quite the whitewash that had been feared by peace campaigners.

Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, gave a succinct summary of the Chilcot report, listing four of the main findings (each followed by our own comment):

1. There was no imminent threat to Britain from Saddam Hussein, so war in March 2003 was unnecessary.

In reality: utterly devastated by war, bombing and 12 years of sanctions, Iraq posed no threat whatsoever towards Britain or the US. The idea that there was any kind of threat from this broken, impoverished country was simply a lie; a propaganda fabrication by warmongering cynics and corporate hangers-on eager for a piece of the pie.

2. The existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was presented with a certainty that was not justified. It was never ‘beyond doubt’ that the weapons existed. None have been found in the subsequent 13 years.

In reality: it was completely clear, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the whole ‘weapons of mass destruction’ issue was a propaganda fabrication; a way of suggesting a ‘threat’ where none existed. Iraq only ever possessed battlefield biological and chemical weapons that were of no conceivable threat to the West. Iraq didn’t even use them when the West attacked the country in 1991. Not only that, but UN weapons inspectors had overseen the near-complete destruction of even these tinpot devices between 1991-1998; only ‘sludge’ remained: a known fact. Iraq was of no more threat to the West in 2002-2003 than Thailand or Iceland; that is all that needs to be said. Almost everything else is superfluous: cynical propaganda which was, and is, manipulated by violent Western leaderships that think nothing of smashing other countries to bits for whatever reason they declare ‘necessary’.

3. There was a failure of democratic government and accountability, with Blair keeping most of his Cabinet in the dark. This meant that he avoided telling them things which they ought to have known.

In reality: The Americans decided to exploit the dead of September 11 to wage war in the name of power and profit. Blair decided to take part in the crime, come what may, from the start. His whole intention was to make that possible, to trap Iraq into war and to use the UN to apply a veneer of legality to the monstrous crime. One million people paid with their lives, and a whole country was destroyed in the process. Bush at least had an ‘excuse’; he was, after all, a hard-right president operating out of a notoriously venal, violent and corrupt Republican ‘party’. (As Noam Chomsky has noted, it is wrong to consider it a legitimate party. It is merely a collection of greedy vested interests, qualifying it as a candidate for ‘for the most dangerous organization in human history’.) Blair, on the other hand, was prime minister on behalf of a supposedly left-leaning Labour party rooted in supposedly genuine ethical values. His rejection of democracy in the name of war was the perfect culmination of his coup transforming Labour into another power-serving Tory party.

4. George Bush and Blair worked to undermine the authority of the UN.

In reality: Bush and Blair sought to exploit the good name of the UN to provide a cover for their crime. The intention was to use the appearance of diplomacy as propaganda justifying war. If Saddam could be trapped into appearing intransigent in the face of UN resolutions, so much the better for war. Diplomacy was only ever perceived as a means to achieve war, not peace. The whole ‘weapons of mass destruction’ fraud had been concocted by conspirators intent on war. Why would those same fraudsters attempt to work through the UN to achieve peace? That was the last outcome they wanted.

In an already infamous phrase, Blair told Bush that:

I will be with you, whatever.

Those words will haunt Blair to his grave.There is no doubt that his reputation is now in tatters, even in ‘mainstream’ circles. There have been follow-up calls for him to be punished by being thrown out of the Queen’s Privy Council, impeached and put on trial for misleading Parliament, and charged with war crimes.

Unusually for the ‘mainstream’ press, Andrew Buncombe of the Independent wrote a piece focusing on the death toll in Iraq. As he notes, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in the prestigious journal The Lancet in 2006, estimated the number of Iraqi dead at around 650,000. Even worse, a report (pdf) last year by Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated the Iraq death toll as around one million. Added to this ghastly pyramid of corpses, the Bush-Blair ‘War on Terror’ has led to 220,000 dead in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. These appalling figures hardly ever appear in the ‘mainstream’ media. As Les Roberts, one of the Lancet authors, observes, the media is guilty of ‘failing to report on uncomfortable truths.’

Burying The Facts And Stifling Dissent

As well as burying the Iraq death toll, the corporate media have been guilty of hiding or downplaying the following:

• Iraq’s people and infrastructure had already been crushed by a genocidal regime of UN sanctions, maintained with especially brutal vigour by Washington and London.

• Iraq had already been essentially disarmed of any WMD, as revealed by relevant experts; notably Scott Ritter, former chief UNSCOM weapons inspector. This was known well in advance of the war, as our media alerts from October 2002 make clear (‘Iraq and Arms Inspectors – The Big Lie’, Part 1 andPart 2).

• In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, there was an agreed-upon Washington strategy to start wars against seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran) in five years, asrevealed by US General Wesley Clark.

• The infamous ‘Downing Street Memo’ showed that the intelligence and facts were being ‘fixed around’ the pre-existing policy of invasion. Indeed, this was nothing less than a conspiracy to launch a war. You will struggle in vain to find ‘mainstream’ commentators linking any of this to Blair’s ‘I’m with you, whatever’ pledge to Bush.

• The West’s desire to control oil resources was a key motivating factor for war.

• The role of corporations and financial interests in driving government policy; in particular, the profits demanded by the ‘defence’ industry and arms manufacturers.

• War crimes committed by US armed forces; for example, in Fallujah.

• The devastating long-term impacts of the invasion in terms of cancer rates and congenital abnormalities.

In 2004, when we challenged media editors to critique their own abysmal performance on Iraq, we were essentially told: ‘We have nothing to apologise for’. The response from David Mannion, then head of ITV News, summed up media complacency, indeed complicity, in channelling war propaganda:

The evidence suggests we have no need for a mea culpa. We did our job well.

Today, the body of media evidence that we have accumulated shows precisely the opposite. In particular, the bulk of BBC output on Iraq can be characterised by one word: ‘Newspeak’. In 2003, a Cardiff University report found that the BBC ‘displayed the most “pro-war” agenda of any broadcaster’ on the Iraq invasion. Over the three weeks of the initial conflict, 11% of the sources quoted by the BBC were of coalition government or military origin, the highest proportion of all the main television broadcasters. The BBC was less likely than Sky, ITV or Channel 4 News to use independent sources, who also tended to be the most sceptical. The BBC also placed least emphasis on Iraqi casualties, which were mentioned in 22% of its stories about the Iraqi people, and it was least likely to report on Iraqi opposition to the invasion.

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Andrew Bergin, the press officer for Stop the War, told Media Lens:

Representatives of the coalition have been invited to appear on every TV channel except the BBC. The BBC have taken a conscious decision to actively exclude Stop the War Coalition people from their programmes, even though everyone knows we are central to organising the massive anti-war movement. (Email to Media Lens, March 14, 2003)

In 2003, Richard Sambrook, then head of BBC News, told staff not to broadcast ‘extreme’ anti-war opinion. His deputy, Mark Damazer, issued an email to newsroom staff ‘listing which categories of journalist should not attend’ the peace march in London in February 2003:

These include all presenters, correspondents, editors, output editors and “anyone who can be considered a ‘gatekeeper’ of our output”.

David Miller, then a professor of sociology at Strathclyde University and co-founder of SpinWatch,noted afterwards:

BBC managers have fallen over themselves to grovel to the government in the aftermath of the Hutton whitewash… When will their bosses apologise for conspiring to keep the anti-war movement off the screens? Not any time soon.

In a speech at New York’s Columbia University, John Pilger commented:

We now know that the BBC and other British media were used by MI6, the secret intelligence service. In what was called “Operation Mass Appeal”, MI6 agents planted stories about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction – such as weapons hidden in his palaces and in secret underground bunkers. All these stories were fake.

Pilger’s documentary on the propaganda role played by the corporate media, The War You Don’t See, is a must-watch.

‘Bringing Democracy And Human Rights’ To Iraq

It is worth reminding ourselves just what some media ‘gatekeepers’ were saying back in 2003. The BBC’s Nicholas Witchell declared of the US invasion, as it steamrollered its way into central Baghdad:

It is absolutely, without a doubt, a vindication of the strategy. (BBC News at Six, April 9, 2003)

Natasha Kaplinsky, then a BBC breakfast news presenter, beamed as she described how Blair ‘has become, again, Teflon Tony’. The BBC’s Mark Mardell agreed:

It has been a vindication for him.  (BBC1, Breakfast News, April 10, 2003)

ITN’s Tom Bradby said:

This war has been a major success. (ITN Evening News, April 10, 2003)

ITN’s John Irvine also saw vindication in the arrival of US armed forces:

A war of three weeks has brought an end to decades of Iraqi misery. (ITN Evening News, April 9, 2003)

On Channel 4 News, Jack Straw, then UK foreign secretary, told Jon Snow that he had met with the French foreign minister that day:

Did he look chastened?’, asked Snow wryly. (Channel 4, April 9, 2003)

Snow did not respond when he was asked on Twitter a few days ago by one of our readers whether the Channel 4 News presenter ‘felt chastened’ on being reminded of this.

In 2006, we noted that ‘embedded’ BBC reporter Paul Wood had asserted that US and British troops had come to Iraq to ‘bring democracy and human rights’. When we challenged Helen Boaden, then head of BBC News, to explain this propagandistic reporting, she sent us six pages of quotes by Bush and Blair as supposed proof of noble intent. The notion that ‘we’ are the ‘good guys’ is fully embedded in the mindsets of senior media professionals. When Boaden grew exasperated with Media Lens challenges about the BBC’s systematically biased reporting on Iraq, she changed her email address and joked about it to an audience of media professionals.

Boaden was not alone in her ideological fervour, however. Many MPs bought Blair’s rhetoric about ‘bringing democracy and human rights’ to Iraq. Investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed notes that most of the Labour MPs now opposing Jeremy Corbyn are ‘stained with the blood of Iraq’. He adds:

nearly 100 percent of the Labour MPs who have moved to oust Jeremy Corbyn voted against an investigation into the Iraq war.

Ahmed continues:

Amongst the Labour MPs who had voted in 2003 on the Iraq war, an overwhelming majority who voted against Corbyn were in favour of the military invasion of the country, which paved the way for an escalation of sectarian strife, and ultimately the rise of the Islamic State (IS).

More generally, well over half of the Labour MPs against Corbyn are supportive of British military interventions abroad.

These so-called ‘chicken coup’ plotters attempting to oust Corbyn are now ‘in retreat’, pinning ‘their hopes on a challenge by Angela Eagle, despite many believing that she will not beat Mr Corbyn because of his support among members.’

Broken Promises, Regrets And Silences

Cast your mind back to April 9, 2003. US troops had just reached central Baghdad. Recall the footageof Saddam’s statue being pulled down in Firdos Square in what is now known to have been a staged public relations exercise to create a ‘propaganda moment’. The US army even admitted as much later.

That night, Andrew Marr, then BBC News political editor, addressed his audience on BBC News at Ten. It is worth recounting in full what he said:

Frankly, Huw, the main mood [in Downing Street] is unbridled relief. I’ve been watching ministers wander around with smiles like split watermelons.

The fact that Marr delivered this with his own happy smile was a portent of what was to come. He was then asked by BBC news presenter Huw Edwards to describe the significance of the fall of Baghdad:

Well, I think this does one thing. It draws a line under what had been, before this war, a period of… well, a faint air of pointlessness, almost, was hanging over Downing Street. There were all these slightly tawdry arguments and scandals. That is now history. Mr Blair is well aware that all his critics out there in the party and beyond aren’t going to thank him – because they’re only human – for being right when they’ve been wrong. And he knows that there might be trouble ahead, as I’ve said. But I think this is a very, very important moment for him. It gives him a new freedom and a new self-confidence. He confronted many critics.

I don’t think anybody after this is going to be able to say of Tony Blair that he’s somebody who is driven by the drift of public opinion, or focus groups, or opinion polls. He took all of those on. He said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right. And it would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result.

This was BBC ‘impartiality’ in action. Although reading those words today and, especially, watching the clip is jaw-dropping, such propagandist comments about Blair and Iraq were not unusual then on the BBC, and elsewhere in the national news media. The next time BBC News praises itself as ‘the best news organisation in the world’, just think of that clip.

In the wake of Chilcot, we reminded readers about this – arguably now infamous – Marr clip. Weasked Marr for his thoughts about it now; he ignored us. However, he responded to someone else who asked him about it. He answered:

it was rubbish but it came after weeks when I’d been predicting Baghdad bloodbath – the Iraqi army gave up.

Gave up? Or were slaughtered under ‘Shock and awe’? As for the gushing praise for Blair, Marr was silent.

Marr’s successor as BBC News political editor was Nick Robinson. We reminded Marr of Robinson’s mournful comment:

‘The build-up to the invasion of Iraq is the point in my career when I have most regretted not pushing harder and not asking more questions.

(Nick Robinson, Live From Downing Street, Bantam Books, London, p. 332)

Robinson had been ITV News political editor from 2002-2005. We asked Marr whether he shared his colleague’s regrets. Again, the response was silence.

Of course, Robinson had earlier excused himself by saying that in his role as political editor:

It was my job to report what those in power were doing or thinking . . . That is all someone in my sort of job can do.

(Nick Robinson, ‘”Remember the last time you shouted like that?” I asked the spin-doctor’, The Times, July 16, 2004)

As the US journalist Glenn Greenwald later remarked:

That’d make an excellent epitaph on the tombstone of modern establishment journalism.

In the same Times column, Robinson had attempted to justify his lack of scrutiny of government propaganda:

Elsewhere on our bulletins we did report those who questioned the truth of what we were being told.

There is scant evidence of that being the case. Those with the expertise, not just to question, but to demolish, Bush and Blair’s ludicrous excuses for war were rarely seen.

In his article, Robinson had also made this solemn promise:

Now, more than ever before, I will pause before relaying what those in power say. Now, more than ever, I will try to examine the contradictory case.

To little or no avail, as we have seen in the intervening years. Those with the expertise, not just to question, but to demolish, Bush and Blair’s ludicrous excuses for war were nowhere to be seen.

As for Blair, John Pilger had already written back in 2010 that the former Prime Minister should be prosecuted for his shared responsibility for a war of aggression that had led to the deaths of a million Iraqis. But the responsibility does not stop there:

The Cabinet in March 2003 knew a great deal about the conspiracy to attack Iraq. Jack Straw, later appointed “justice secretary”, suppressed the relevant Cabinet minutes in defiance of an order by the Information Commissioner to release them.

Also sitting in the Blair Cabinet were Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary; Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who released the finances to fund the war; and John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister. Last Sunday, Prescott tried to dodge his part in the supreme international crime by claiming that he was ‘forced’ to sign up to what he now concedes was an illegal war by the devious, wily Blair. Prescott, we are to believe, was duped by Blair’s mendacious charm, even while millions of people saw through the lies and went out to march in protest on British streets.

As Lindsey German of Stop the War sums up:

Thirteen years after the war, the Middle East is in flames, Britain is a more dangerous place than it was and the threat of terrorism across the region is greater. Chilcot makes clear that this was a catastrophe both foretold and avoidable.

Chilcot would not have happened without the anti-war movement and we should not see it as the end.

‘There have to be consequences for those responsible for this terrible war.

Those responsible include not only those politicians who took this country into war, but also the media that facilitated the greatest crime of the century.

Posted in UK, USA0 Comments

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