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So DID the Guardian back war on Iraq?

Philip Roddis

If I and a hundred likeminded others devoted ourselves 24/7 to rebutting the drivel above and below the line in the Guardian, we couldn’t make a dent. It would be like despatching midges, in August on a Highland bog, by crushing them one by one between thumb and forefinger.

So I seldom bother. But a few instances this year have seen me obliged to make some sort of response to twaddle too egregious to let pass. One was Matthew d’Ancona’s smug desire to see market forces rein in the purveyors of ‘fake news’ via the kitemarking of such online crusaders for truth as Full Fact, led by tory party donor Michael Samuels.

The other two were below the line. In an exchange with one btl commentator, back in April and over – what else? – Syria, I was told the idea of oil being a factor in the invasion of Iraq had been ‘thoroughly debunked’. I felt it incumbent, though it’s generally easier on such matters to spout nonsense than refute it, to put him straight on this small point.

More recently a commentator correctly asserted that the Guardian had supported the invasion of Iraq. This drew flat contradiction from another to the effect that, au contraire,  the Graun had opposed the war. I let it pass but, for reasons too mundane to test your patience with, it popped into my head today between lunch and walking the woofer.

A click or two of the mouse and here we are: an Observer editorial (pedants note, Observer is a sister of The Guardian within Guardian Media Group) of Sunday, January 19, 2003Its title? Iraq: the case for decisive action. The case, not to put too fine a point on things, for a war which – sanctions having already killed 500,000 children – proceeded with Shock And Awe to:

  • blast Iraq with depleted uranium (aka chemical warfare) …
  • snuff out the lives – and I’m being ultra conservative here – of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians …
  • stoke the flames of Salafist terror …
  • give us the infamies of Abu Ghraib …
  • and – because, guess what, it turns out oil was indeed an incentive – enrich the very men who’d taken the decision to invade.

 

Of course, this was all a very  long time ago, and things have changed massively since then. I mean, we’ve had that nice Mr Obama to restore America’s honour and soul …

… and it’s such  a crying shame the delightful Mrs Clinton wuz robbed by the Russians.

But though it was  such a long time ago, and though so much  has got better since, here’s how the Guardian – oops, Observer – began that January 2003 editorial.

A war with Iraq has become more likely in the past week. Thursday’s discovery of undeclared poison gas shells was insufficient to trigger war alone. But here was the first concrete, and predictable, confirmation that Iraq’s co-operation with Hans Blix’s UN weapons inspectors has been less than complete. And Saddam Hussein’s defiant speech on Friday even disappointed those who still hope that the Iraqi leader might choose comfortable exile in Libya or Belarus.

One thing which has been stressed too little in recent weeks is that it is Iraq’s choices that have brought war closer. The debate in Britain and Europe continues to focus largely on what America is doing and why. Too often, it is overlooked that it is Iraq which remains, at the eleventh hour, in defiance of the will of its region and the wider world. That will is still to find a sensible resolution to the current crisis without war. The coercive diplomacy that could yet lead to Saddam’s disarmament or his disposal by his own side must be pursued. Indeed, the military build-up remains the best strategy for seeking to disarm him, short of war. Yet he still shows signs of frustrating the demands of December’s UN resolution. If this continues, few analysts doubt that the United States will seek support for a military attack. It is becoming equally clear that Tony Blair’s Britain would participate. Would we be right to do so?

There are good – and bad – arguments for and against military intervention. And there are some on both sides who have relied on weak and intellectually dishonest positions to further their own cause. It devalues debate to belittle Tony Blair as ‘President Bush’s poodle’ – and the crude anti-Americanism which often accompanies this charge also overlooks the nuanced way in which the Prime Minister has sought with some success to influence the approach of his superpower ally. It is similarly unilluminating when detractors dismiss the Bush presidency as ‘stupid’. The President, regardless of his own capacities, is surrounded by some brilliant advocates of his visceral beliefs. Equally, however, it does not help casually to conflate any threat from Saddam with that from al-Qaeda, rather than detailing the demonstrable dangers posed by Iraq itself.

The arguments for coercive pressure may well end in war. But they combine two laudable motivations. The first is the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the call by many Iraqi exiles and dissidents for him to be overthrown. The appalling 1980s nerve-gasing of the Kurds is well documented. Less widely appreciated is that there are few Iraqi families which have not suffered directly, either in the massacres which crushed the 1991 uprisings, or by the violence routinely deployed by Iraq’s secret police. Both Bush and Blair could have emphasised more just how bad Saddam’s republic of fear has been for his people and the extent to which ending it is a desirable end in itself.

They could also have stressed more energetically that this dispute is not about oil…

Couldn’t happen these days, could it? Not with so sternly vigilant a monitor of arrant power as Guardian Media Group holding it to account.


77 Comments

  1. Pincus says

    All global Mainstream Media are the realm of Fake News.

  2. Dungroanin says

    4 leading articles on dissing Corbyn this morning, not one open to comments.
    (no comments on McCain the shadow king of America hagiofest either)

    The Obsessive rides forth into the valley of doom, half a league…
    It was Russian canons that time too.

    As for Chulov, any photos of him reporting from the ground? or can’t they find the right face for that borg collective?
    SCL/ Atlantic Council / Bell Pottinger – ‘resistance is futile, why are you all STILL resisting? Stop it at once and follow your orders or we will let lose the terrors upon you and your kids you JC loving scum!’

    I just can’t figure out whether Rusbridger sold out? If not, why he hasn’t called it out? He gave up his Scot Trust seat – is that enough?

    • James Connolly says

      They’re clearly not interested in finding out whether ordinary people agree McCain is a hero and Corbyn a racist. The great and the good say they are, so that’s that.

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  3. Bryan says

    Good work Mr Roddis, a timely reminder of the centrality of oil to the Iraq war (and evidence to back this up) plus helpful clarity that the Graun’s recent slide is not that recent !

  4. james bate says

    Been an Observer reader since Harold Evans fell out with Murdoch, wasn’t an obvious call as it was then owned by Tiny Rowland. Been a while since I could bring myself to buy it though.

    They’ve had a thing about Iraq since one of their cub reporters Fazard Bazoft was hanged by Saddam for being an Israeli spy, even then I thought he was dubious, knowing what we do now I think it’s clear he was used or compromised & the paper doesn’t come out too well.

  5. Thomas Prentice says

    Obama was far more evil that Clinton, George W Bush or DIck Cheney. But who knew at the time, immersed as we were in the tsunami of Obama as the reincarnation of FDR and JFK/LBJ? (And he was classey, wuzzen’t he?) It was the same schtick we fell for with Billary in 1992.

    Instead Clinton/Obama did the neoliberal work of The Businessmen’s War Against the New Deal (and New Frontier/Great Society) and accomplished more than the wettest wet dream of the right wing neoliberal fascist handlers of Reagan, H. W. Bush and Bush/Cheney along with the beltway think tanks ranging from the New American Foundation to the Heritage Foundation and worse and all the Koch brother evil doings up at George Mason University and over at the University of Virginia.

    I have wondered what it would have been like to grow up in Nazi Germany and guess what? I did.

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  6. Ghost Ship says

    Refute one lie in the Guardian and they produce twenty more. They now exist in the Bush regime’s new reality.
    The latest is today’s article entitled “Civilians in Syria’s last rebel stronghold brace for final battle” by Martin Chulov. It suggests that there are three million people under siege but I suspect that just like claims for East Aleppo, East Ghouta and Daraa it is a gross over estimation with about 1,500,000 people being closer to the truth. It also suggests that many of those were displaced from East Aleppo, East Ghouta and Daraa but from memory about 30,000 were evacuated from East Aleppo, about 20,000 from East Ghouta and about 10,000 from Daraa. Allowing 15,000 for evacuations from elsewhere that means about 75,000 people (~5%) in Idlib are bused-in hardliners and their families with nowhere else to go, perhaps about 25,000 local hardliners leaving the rest (.90%) as innocent bystanders.
    The article then goes onto claim that many of the hardliners have laid down their weapons so why isn’t Martin Chulov reporting from among them in Idlib?

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    • Paul X says

      There is never a mention of Syrisn and Russian escape corridors. The Italian aristocratic UN man pretends to want to help but doesn’t – same as last time. The talk is all of a Syrian chemical attack; you’d be forgiven for thinking it had already happened they are so sure about it. Will the real opposition then show its face? US, French and British air strikes with something offered by Israel? Will they push ahead and attack the Regime full on? They seem understandably a bit nervous of doing that; after all they might lose or get bogged down with feet on the ground? So much depends on Putin’s reaction; last time he allowed token missile strikes but if it comes to the real thing, who knows!

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      • JudyJ says

        The point you make about escape corridors had struck me as well, I thought I must have dreamt RT’s report about four days ago direct from the Syrian/Russian humanitarian corridor from Idlib at Abu al-Duhur, and their interviews with escaping civilians when I heard de Mistura suggest at the UN that it would be a good idea for the UN to think about setting up humanitarian corridors for Idlib civilians. No acknowledgement by him, or the MSM reporting on this proposed “UN initiative”, of the arrangements in place since the end of July.

  7. zach says

    The fact the leftmost boundary of mainstream British media sees D’Ancona as some kind of moral arbiter says it all really.

  8. Adopt a Muj says

    Note how the number articles critical of US actions around the world have suddenly and sharply dwindled, lately.

    And when you spot an article like this pointing at the crimes committed by USGOV and agencies, you see this article is published on Saturday and more likely on a Sunday … when readership at its lowest on a weekly cycle.

    Other days, John-adopt-a-muj[ahidin]-McCain is a Maverick and a hero, of course!

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  9. Like the author, I have for a long time been inclined to “let it pass” when faced with the wicked distortions of reality perpetrated on a daily basis by our once-admired Jokeiad. This little note is simply to make me feel a little better after a bout of projectile vomiting through the nose caused by seeing the following one time too often:
    “The Guardian is editorially independent – our journalism is free from the influence of billionaire owners or politicians. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion”.
    That outright lie is 100% in line with Macchiavellian and Goebbelsian standard practice – a whopping big lie, whose monstrous proportions are entirely attributable to its size and its endless repetition “until the people believe it”.
    I still have friends who actually claim to like the Guardian – as do others, of course… which only shows how many of us are complicit in the lie just because we don’t like to hurt our friends’ feelings…
    Our choice: Subject our noses to regular structural and mucous damage due to attacks of the above-mentioned involuntary reaction, or risk losing a few friends.

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  10. vexarb says

    From Britain’s very own Vanessa Beeley, Patreon Aug 31 at 7:56pm

    ”As I was walking back up to the Old City yesterday, I saw the lorries and bulldozers removing the barriers that have stayed in place during the 7 years that Western-backed terrorists occupied the suburbs and surrounding countryside of Damascus – in Eastern Ghouta and Yarmouk.

    This is a hugely symbolic moment for Syrian civilians in the ancient city of Damascus, especially in the primarily Christian area of Bab Touma which was mercilessly targeted by mortars from Eastern Ghouta for 7 years. Mortars which tore into crowds of schoolchildren, residents, shopkeepers and busy shopping areas almost every day. 14,800 mortars were fired over six years. 11,000 civilians murdered, 1500 children. 30,000 have been permanently disabled by the US Coalition proxy terrorism embedded in urban areas…

    We ran to the Syrian Arab Army commander to ask permission to photograph this momentous occasion when the terrorist stone was finally lifted from the beating heart of Damascus. He smiled and gave me permission to take photos. So here they are. They may appear to be nothing but they mean so much to all who witnessed and endured mass murder on a terrifying scale for so long. ”

    https://www.patreon.com/posts/bab-touma-of-is-21105175

    [Try getting that on to the Fraudian ; their Soros financial overseers would have the flesh off any Guardian censor who let it slip through — flesh from nearest the heart]

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  11. vexarb says

    Japanese govt donates medical equipment to the Syrian govt via WHO:

    https://sana.sy/en/?p=145866

    What medical equipment has the UK regime donatedto the Syrian government headed by medical Dr.Assad?

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    • if Balky remembers correctly, there was a rumour that the British Ambassador left one of those lil’ plastic cups, for eyewash >> Knowing Assad’s qualifications, they thought it humorous 😉

    • Jonny says

      Chlorine is a steriliser. Didn’t they supply chlorine shells via the white helmets? The whole situation is so depressing as an Englishman, alas, satire is all I can offer.

  12. Frankly Speaking says

    Good article, but most of us are surprised, that is in fact the reason why we are here. Since the Mancunian Guardian Of The Truth moved south it has progressively been overtaken by the Establishment to eventually become the Guardian Of The Establishment in all aspects. They deceptively wave a bit of feminasty crap and display some eco warrior rainbows at the gullible Millennial Brigade to fool them into thinking that the Guardian is their spiritual home.

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    • Frankly Speaking says

      First paragraph should read “…not surprised…” of course.

    • It is now controlled by American Neocons, and glory be, as a result it toes the neocon line obediently.

  13. Kaya3 says

    I followed the link “put him straight” in the third paragraph which I presumed was going to show evidence that the Iraq invasion and regime change was all about oil, however the article it took me to was some vague thing about the UNSC and them needing to sort their shit out. Apologies if I missed something, can someone tell me what it was? Alternatively does it link to the wrong article?

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  14. vexarb says

    Meanwhile in the real world, far from the Fraudian Fairy Land of Mad Mullahs and Backward Bigots, Iran is Developing Refinery Catalysts for its own use and the world market.

    Iran is now the second country in the world, after the US, that makes such high-tech catalysts, noting that 9 Iranian refineries and 11 petrochemical plants have begun to use the homegrown catalysts. The new technology helps Iran save around $1 billion each year, and reap $60 billion in profit per annum through exports, Sobhani added.
    Export of the new catalyst is now on the agenda, he noted, saying Iran will be able to meet the regional demand for catalysts.
    He said Iran’s daily production of Euro 4 and Euro-5-compliant gasoline using domestically-made catalysts stands at 96 million liters, saying such achievement has made the country invulnerable to gasoline-related sanctions.
    Catalysts are major components of gasoline isomerization process during which low-octane oil fractions are turned into high-octane commercial gasoline.

    https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2018/08/30/1816267/iran-develops-technology-to-make-gasoline-refinery-catalysts

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  15. vexarb says

    Philip Roddis, thank you for the money map. I dont knowwho owns Exxon or Total but British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell are Rothschild companies. Which ties in with the fact that in those days the Guardian Trust always had a representative from Rothschild on board.

    What I found even more egregious than their support for B.Liar’s gang rape of Iraq was the Guardian’s praise of Brown’s financial wizardry and the robust health of the British economy under Brown’s stewardship — from financing B.Liar’s war to Quantitative Easing. Both Brown and B.Liar were r.warded with directorships in Rothschild companies, for services rendered to Rothschild if not to their country..

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    • Francis Lee says

      Yes, who could forget Gordon Brown’s fatuous claim that he had achieved, ‘An end to boom and bust’ in 2007. In much the same vein I think it was, just beaten by a head by Sir John Templeton’s analysis of financial market euphoria regarding asset-price bubbles and their imminent bursting . The financial community were convinced that the bubble would last forever, they always do, uttering the four most expensive words in the in economics. ‘This time it’s different.’

      These sort of claims always occur when the bubble is at its most febrile inflexion point. That is the time to take your money and run.

      • Dungroanin says

        Bubbles are how the banks convert the imaginary money deposits to plebs into crystallised real money into the bankers own pockets.
        Rinse and repeat – the rich get richer while the rest get fleeced. We keep letting them!

  16. In autumn 2002 Ed Vulliamy, a correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Observer newspaper, stumbled on a terrible truth that many of us already suspected.

    In a world-exclusive, he persuaded Mel Goodman, a former senior Central Intelligence Agency official who still had security clearance, to go on record that the CIA knew there were no WMD in Iraq. Everything the US and British governments were telling us to justify the coming attack on Iraq were lies.

    Then something even more extraordinary happened. The Observer failed to print the story.

    In his book Flat Earth News, Nick Davies recounts that Vulliamy, one of the Observer’s most trusted reporters, submitted the piece another six times in different guises over the next half year. Each time the Observer spiked the story.
    Imagine that, a story that would have, without doubt, stopped the propaganda drive in its tracks.
    All who worked for Guardian media group at the time should know this, and if they didn’t demand explanation or resign in protest I think it fair to consider them partly responsible for the needless death that followed.

    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/2015-09-21/red-neoliberals-how-corbyns-victory-unmasked-britains-guardian/

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    • Graun’s sister-in-war the Oddserver suppressing real news! What ever next…Polonium tea, KGB spooks and doorknobs….

  17. Robbobbobin says

    “[Viner] was appointed by the board, made up of 100% white males, all City or Oxbridge, and connected by who knows what fraternal order.”

    Viner won a ballot of editorial staff, for which four Guardian Media Group journalists stood as candidates, and was thus assured a place on the shortlist ultimately selected by the board. The job was advertised externally and about 30 people applied in total. The GMG used an executive headhunting outfit to help manage the process. I seem to recall that Viner was not Rusbridger’s preference for his successor, but he had no role in the process other than that of expressing a privileged opinion. He certainly backed Viner after her appointment and I may have a false recollection of his original support for someone else. However, the checking of facts is clearly not such a big deal around here as one might suppose from a publication putatively set up to counter the Guardian’s obviously agenda-skewed attitude to their proclaimed sanctity, so I don’t feel much need to rummage around looking back for the evidence that has left me now believing that Viner was not his fave. One thing is sure, however, is that the Chairman of the Scott Trust overseeing the appointment process was not a 100% white male. Nearly as sure as the fact the Guardian and Observer both love shitting on ragheads, but still – short of an authoritative upskirt – not quite so sure.

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    • George cornell says

      At the time she was appointed I looked up the members of the board and who are you saying was not male?

      • Robbobbobin says

        Your “research” appears to be fucked and now you can’t read either?

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        • George cornell says

          No need to be abusive. Since you contradicted what I said you were asked to supply the evidence. Instead you lose control of yourself. So who was not a white male? Should be easy for you to reply instead of blustering.

          But the point was that the control of the Guardian was by a board that was completely unrepresentative of its constituency, and contained no one with a an easily discernible career in foreign affairs, social services, charity, or in the core issues projected by the Guardian as important to them. And no one of colour, etc.

          And what confidence should anyone have that the Scott Trust Chairperson would overrule the board and is there precedence for that?

          • Robbobbobin says

            “No need to be abusive.”

            No need for you to lose control of the capitalization of your own surname. At least not within the same BTL.

            “Since you contradicted what I said you were asked to supply the evidence.”

            Bullshitty use of the passive(-aggressive) voice there. But that aside: you want “do your own research and do it properly this time” in little schoolboy phraseology instead? OK: “I leave the establishment of the facts of the matter as an exercise for the reader”. Diddykums feeling better now?

            “Instead you lose control of yourself. So who was not a white male? Should be easy for you to reply instead of blustering.”

            Should have been easy for you to put pen to paper after sorting out the readily obtainable facts for yourself instead of bleating for Mummy to come by with her comfort spoon after you haven’t.

            However, does my lazy little darling still sob for a freebie little clue? OK: there are two (2) boards at the top end of the Guardian (Grauniad) and only one (1) of them is the legal owner (calls all the shots).

            Now bugger off and continue your pre-adolescent pastime of endlessly practising your signature.

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    • Not sure who approved Viner though I’m sure she was vetted by MI-5 and Zionist Central 🙂

      Regarding the Scott Trust though Jonathan Cook has this to say:
      HSBC and the sham of Guardian’s Scott Trust

      https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-03-03/hsbc-and-the-sham-of-guardians-scott-trust/

      This comparative study of editorials at (Canada’s ‘liberal’ news paper) The Toronto Star vs The New York Times by Hanan Mian Ahmad
      York University
      http://cjms.fims.uwo.ca/issues/03-01/ahmad.pdf

      ABSTRACT
      This paper presents the coverage pattern of the front pages of The New York Times and
      The Toronto Star from March 1, 2003 to April 15, 2003 regarding: A-coverage of antiwar
      protests and B- the coverage of Iraq war. This study also examines the dependence of
      newspapers on the U.S. official sources in war and its impact on news coverage. Further,
      this study establishes the relationship between the press coverage and national interests.
      In addition, it also projects how far the Canadian newspaper- The Toronto Star’s
      coverage is converged or diverged from the American Newspaper–

      –The New York Times.The government officials stage the events, leak selective information, cover-up
      facts behind the wall of secrecy, overwhelm the media with barrages of press releases,
      and even lie occasionally to the point that the press becomes a tool in the hands of the
      president and his legion of media managers. Within this context, Altschul (1984)
      maintains that the press tends to support status quo and dominant political patterns, part
      of establishment or agent of its power (Altschul 1984, 254-56). Therefore, various
      organizational, governmental and structural factors play a vital role in shaping the
      coverage pattern of The New York Times and The Toronto Star regarding the Iraq war.

      The Toronto Star better reflected the mood of the country back then (unlike the Guardian), and Canadian PM Jean Chretien wisely kept Canada out of the Iraq war.

      • Nafeez Ahmed, an investigative reporter fired by the Guardian for his work exposing the connection between Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its interests in Gaza’s natural resources, exposes the sham of the Guardian’s Scott Trust:
        https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-03-03/hsbc-and-the-sham-of-guardians-scott-trust/

        Ahmed details that the Scott Trust board members have deep ties to HSBC. Consider, for example, board member Anthony Salz’s CV, care of Ahmed:

        “a senior investment banker and executive vice chairman of Rothschild, and a director at NM Rothschild and Sons. He was a key legal adviser to Guinness during the notorious share-rigging scandal, helped Rupert Murdoch form BSkyB, and was vice chair of the BBC’s Board of Governors before it was replaced by the BBC Trust. He was also lead non-executive director of the board at the Department for Education under arch-neoconservative Michael Gove. Until 2006, Salz led a highly successful 30 year career as a corporate lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he was head and senior managing partner since 1996.

        So the UK’s involvement in the war was still about seizing oil.

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        • vexarb says

          Manfromatlan, thank you, it confirms in sordid detail what I gleaned from my own amateur attempts to understand what drove the Fraudian’s insane editorial policy (in those days I was still a reader). Follow the money.

        • Robbobbobin says

          “So the UK’s involvement in the war was still about seizing oil.”

          Oh, for heaven’s sake, stop cruising along on a sea of innuendo, endlessly re-implicating the bleeding obvious.

          Of course the Iraq war was superficially “all about oil” – “kick their ass and take their gas”, as one American pre-teenager, probably channeling Daddy or a bumper sticker, posted in at least one online “forum” at the time. In fact, far more interesting insights, if you insist on staying in the realms of easy conjecture rather than documented fact, come from looking at possible explanations for the oil rationale in much longer term geo-politico-commercial strategies than the immediate tactics, such as exploring tne implications of a perhaps perceived requirement to retain centrality of profit taking across the now seen as imperative transition from dirty big oil to at least equally big “clean renewable” without giving ground to the possible development any of the as-efficieht but small, people-scale alternatives to big energy that a different energy management model might enable, for instance. Mao’s steel works in every village brought up to date in for a different technology in a less coercive society, say. And how that might influence the targetted conditioning of the world’s Monbiots, whether through the structures of their occupational environments (à la Ahmed) or their personal ego-prone blandishmentability (or both), to conclude that only necessarily-big nuclear could possibly fill the appropriate intervening energy gap. Maybe.

          Point is, Ahmed does’t have a fucking clue why he was spiked and sacked – it could have as well been something so historically quirky as Rusbridger having the hots for Freedland and Freedland having the downs on anything anti-Zionist – so he is forced to conjecture on the reason, and the grander that reason is in the scheme of things then the more it assuages Ahmed’s anxiety and the more it fits in with the average off-Guardianista’s pretty well predetermined narrative. But, underneath that, it’s just more conjectural waffle trying to establish patterns in endless arrays of hitherto un-preconnected dots.

          The sole attribute that distinguishes Chomsky (and the Chomsky-like few) from the hoards of other commentators with initially dotty theories is that Chomsky has had the low level discipline needed to get down from the ivory tower and do the grunt-level, hard-labour spadework required to put some actual evidence behind the original inductive observation and its consequent theoreticization. Having then theorized the “manufacture of consent” (way before Ahmed’s RT interview) he didn’t leave it as a pile of intellectual waffle-iffing before launching it as a formal thesis, he did (or organized the doing of) the mountain of sheer hard work reading and sorting and counting needed to support that theory (while inherently suggesting a valid method of falsification) with layer upon layer of hard (i.e. irrefutable) statistics.

          As for the Guardian, despite its mind-bogglingly naïve attempt to build a Chinese wall between its old “Trust” arm and a new GMG “business” arm with a commercial(!) restructuring of the Trust(!) and a funtional separation of “independent” boards, replete with a Trust←GMG “reporting” heirarchy putatively reflecting a Trust→GMG “authority” heirarchy – John Lewis dreamt up better from his sick bed without the “aid” of a bunch of expensive(!!) commercial(!) lawyers(!) – of course the bastard result is a massive sellout. So do you need a prize for that blinding non-insight? No, we need solid, documentary proof of instance upon instance upon instance. Or forget it as the diversion it is.

          So enough with the soundbite echoes already. Or, more exactly, enough with passing them off as “proof” of anything. The entire political and financial structure of the ruled world is as irremediably corrupt as it has been for millennia, except now the centuries-old exponential development of the noösphere’s external technology of mechanized communication has rendered only the perception of that corruption – or, worse, the juvenile elevation of perception to proof – about as useful as a Belgian waffle tank barrier in Tiananmen Square.

          The times have afforded the big boys very big toys and while whistling the Marseillaise might still raise the blood, raising strategically effective people’s armies it won’t. It may still be an effective recruiting song but as a battle strategy for crying out loud, it isn’t. Move on. Not enough to see there any more.

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          • Jim Scott says

            I am not sure about much of what you said in your post Robbobbobin because I found your emphatic but erratic writing style difficult to understand, which I readily admit coul be due to my own lack of patience. However I do understand your statement that – Of course the Iraq War superficially “was about oil”. The war was in fact principally and overwhelmingly about oil as Paul Wolfowitz attested in Singapore.

            The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz – who has already undermined Tony Blair’s position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a “bureaucratic” excuse for war – has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is “swimming” in oil.

            The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German newspapers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.

            Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: “Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.”

            Furthermore increased Western control of Iraqi oil and installation of a more manageable government post war added physical evidence to Wolfowitz’s statement.
            I think it is important to not allow this great crime against humanity to be trivialised and forgotten, and this humanity includes all of us who think truth and openness as being the lynchpin for the survival of democracy peace and social justice.

      • George Cornell says

        Agree. But do object to calling it the Iraq war. It did not fit the definition of a war but was an illegal invasion.

    • JJ139 says

      One of the other 4 internal candidates was arch zionist Freedland. Cant imagine he would have been any less terrible than Viner.

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      • Jen says

        It would have been like choosing among five variations on Tweedledee and Tweedledum, only one would have needed the latest model high-powered microscopes to find any differences.

      • Robbobbobin says

        “One of the other 4 internal candidates was arch zionist Freedland. Cant imagine he would have been any less terrible than Viner.”

        The four candidates on the staff ballot did not include Freedland. He may have put his name forward as an anonymous applicant, I have neither checked nor asked. The ballot was organised by the NUJ, so may have been returned and audited by Electoral Commission.

        I think (again unchecked) that the Guardian Media Group executive board met all four staff ballot candidates but their conclusion about them or any other candidate was, like Rusbridger’s, not binding on the Trust, which alone had full say on both the shortlisting (via a shortlisting committee) as well as on the final appointee, whether he or she was either a candidate in or the winner of the staff ballot, one of the list of candidates rounded up by the headhunters, or just a stray respondent to the external advertisement who made it onto the shortlist by osmosis (Paul Dacre, say).

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    • Robbobbobin says

      “So, the despicable Guardian has consistently made the case for war since back when.”

      Have you actually read either of the articles you link to, other than their headlines?

      If I were Happold, especially, and you had a real or traceable name, or this were a publication which had the ear of the mostly self-important bunch of bullshitters comprising the class of “important people who matter”, or you had at least a sizeable pile of readies, I would sue you shitless.

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      • Withdraw my comment about Happold, with apologies (for truth, not because I’m not traceable or, ‘scared shitless’). The rest of my post stands, and given Guardian’s abject failures since then as shown by Jonathan Cook and Nafeez Ahmed, germane to this article.

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        • Willem says

          I read the article

          Happold says:

          ‘It is difficult to know on exactly what grounds the government is basing its arguments that that is a legal basis for war, …’ but as he explains further in the article, the government had no legal basis for war.

          But Happold sticks to ‘difficult’

          Sounds like a pretty biased opinion to me

          • Sadly, the cowardice of the western journalist class is all too apparent here, but I couldn’t let my initial comment about Happold supporting the war stand. ‘Ambiguity’ is about the best the Guardian could come up with in the 2003.

            Post 2008, with change in ownership of the Trust as shown by Nafeez Ahmed, the ‘liberal’ Guardian became a lapdog for Zionist interests.

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          • Robbobbobin says

            Many laymen who seek to respect the opinion of lawyers very often find themselves nevertheless objecting when the resulting legal opinion is not entirely affirmatively entirely congruent with their own view of the situation. These are usually the same people who tend to believe that The Law is there to cast a floodlight on contested situations when even the most superficial observation of The Law as it actually is reveals that spotlights are the sole illuminants made available to it. Like the rest of us in less exalted professions, lawyers have to do the best they can do with what they’ve got rather than what external participants, such as litigants and barrack-room commentators, would like them to have.

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            • JudyJ says

              I gave up respecting the opinion of lawyers a long time ago, especially when they select to give an ‘opinion’ rather than rely on what the law says. Who can forget Sir Keir Starmer on BBC Question Time declaring that the US/UK and France were right to bomb Syria. Innocent until proven guilty? I always thought that was THE most fundamental legal principle, but clearly not in Starmer’s legal mind. Ironically I note from his Wiki page that he worked as a defence lawyer specialising in human rights!

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        • Robbobbobin says

          “Withdraw my comment about Happold, with apologies (for truth, not because I’m not traceable or, ‘scared shitless’). The rest of my post stands…”

          Whoever said you were ‘scared shitless (quotes salient)? I’ve read the thread again, even the bits of it I wrote myself, so should have been able to remember, and a provisional answer seems to be “no-one”. Perhaps you could clarify with a hint or twho?

          As for your first link, to a report by “Staff and agencies” (read: junior- or sub-editors and stringers or hacks) on a BFBS broadcast by Tony Blair to “the troops”: nn what way (i.e. exactly how) did it misrepresent what he said or indicate editorial bias for or against his (self-proclaimed, lying scumbag) postion? You think it should not have been reported at all and that in doing so lay editorial bias? That what Blair was saying to “the troops” should have been withheld from the broader public in the interests of editorial “impartiality”?

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  18. Well put Philip I understand that the Guardian has always eventually towed the establishment line. Now it is the establishment. It is owned.

    I remember that for example the BTL was pretty open until the Ukraine Coup. For a few months it was populated by many who saw through the increasingly fabricated narrative.The repetition of false memes rewriting the original reports of events as they had unfolded in Kiev. After the downing of MH-17 the whole censorship BTL started to shift up several gears.

    The day of that terrible event I was driving from Sochi in the direction of Moscow on the M-4. there was no military activity along the boarder region. I even diverted to the side roads and villages, I saw not one military vehicle. It was clear to me that if the so called Russian military invasion had happened and an attack on a civilian aircraft had occurred there would be some evidence of military vehicles, tanks personnel etc. I saw nothing.

    However I was put on special measures by the Graun for my efforts to refute their growing false Ukraine narrative.

    Finally I was banned for criticising of all things their article on Industrial World Heritage sites in Europe when I pointed out they had left out Saltaire Bradford…

    I’m from Yorkshire like Philip and live and work in Russia…

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    • Paul X says

      My experience about BTL at the Guardian is the same; Ukraine sparked off a torrent of protest at the blatant mis reporting of the likes of Luke Harding and Shaun Walker which flew in the face of what most people knew was happening. Then came the clamp down. I was chucked for criticising Freedland. Nowadays they don’t give you live BTL with its ‘recommendation’ tally – of some interest – but a selected group of comments. The Guardian is in lock step with the FCO and the spooks. There is never a chink in their ‘Assad is an evil monster’ and ‘oh! Those poor jihadis getting bombed’ stances. Like the BBC they can’t ignore a good ‘Chinese are a menace’ story. They were first to run the ‘1 million in Internment Camps’ story. No photos, no reporting. Nor any acknowledgement that China, like most countries, has a jihadi problem. The U.K. relies on ite Prevent policy to re-educate (or is it brain wash?). Recent news from Idlip in the Guardian voices the fears of those who say it’s impossible for them and their families to take advantage of seeking refuge and of course the imminence of a chemical attack from Assad which will prompt a heavy military response from US, UK and France. No mention of the town in Idlip that is currently run by several thousand Chinese jihadists!

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      • Antonyl says

        But every fart in Kashmir will be published. India & Hindus can get lost. Pakistan on the other hand will hardly get an article with comments on.

    • Jen says

      Have just seen news that Donetsk People’s Republic leader Alexander Zakharchenko has been killed in a bomb blast in a cafe.

      Zakharchenko: a hero to his people and to others beyond the DPR.

      RIP Zakharchenko.

  19. Harry Stotle says

    “It devalues debate to belittle Tony Blair as ‘President Bush’s poodle’ – and the crude anti-Americanism which often accompanies this charge also overlooks the nuanced way in which the Prime Minister has sought with some success to influence the approach of his superpower ally. It is similarly unilluminating when detractors dismiss the Bush presidency as ‘stupid’. The President, regardless of his own capacities, is surrounded by some brilliant advocates of his visceral beliefs.” – you bastard, Roddis, the coffee literally snorted out of my nose when I read this segment about Blair’s nuance and Bush surrounding himself with Einsteins.

    I assume such swivel eyed BS was produced by one the papers more deranged commentators – Nick Cohen perhaps?

    Just to add – to this very day the Graun still censors anyone who has even a smidgeon of doubt about Bush’s 9/11 conspiracy theory – one presumably dreamt up by his brilliant inner circle?

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    • My comments on “Comment is free” were put on permanent moderated status 🙂 since I didn’t hew to the narrow parameters of the accepted narrative (oh, and linked to Off Guardian one times too many.

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    • Yr Hen Gof says

      Similarly any comment suggesting that MI5, the police or any secret intelligence service might be involved in ballot rigging in future General Elections is immediately censored.

    • George Cornell says

      “In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil. ” what he meant was we will take it.

      This from the Defense Planning Guidance for 1994-1999 from Wolfowitz’ department when he was an under secretary in the Foreign Office equivalent.

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  20. George Cornell says

    The metamorphosis of the once beloved Fraudian happened quickly. However it was not a result of the appointment of Viner as editor as suggested in a comment section on this site. Viner was a symptom not a cause. She was appointed by the board, made up of 100% white males, all City or Oxbridge, and connected by who knows what fraternal order. No women, no minorities, no colour, no foreigners, just a microcosm of Little Britain who somehow found themselves in control of an organ with whom they had no background in common. Snowden and The Fraud’s status as the go-to paper for whistleblowers must have occasioned some dialogue between board members and their fratmates, lodge fellows, or school cravat sharers. And presto, they became warmongering acolytes of the Hillary Clintons of the world, forbidding any criticism of Israel, dumping the Palestinians, overly easy on American follies and hard on any Hillary opponent. For a brief moment it was almost enough to want to give Trumpolini the time of day.

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    • mark says

      The Guardian has always been a piece of lying Zionist toilet paper, going back to the old Manchester Guardian. It was shilling for Israel even before Israel existed.

  21. Michael Leigh says

    Commentator Philip Roddis is to be complimented for exhibiting the ” oil connecession carve up of Iraks oil liftings market !

    I never knew this until today, all though I had always though it was the real purpose for the murderous bombing and slaughter of the Irak peoples’ But until today I never was able to read about the so-called peace carve-up ?

    And Mr Roddis exposure of these facts deserves the greatest political and public exposure, particularly for the ‘ evil British Government ‘ who choose to give cover to this crime and which was probably the key action to criminalise its enablement !!!

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    • Robbobbobin says

      Broader than Iraq. The US wants all the oil in the middle east and any other territory, oil rich or pipelinable or not, that might be of strategic use in helping them get it.

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    • writerroddis says

      Thanks Michael but you’re too kind. I’m not an investigative journalist, nor a researcher, and much as I’d love to, can’t claim credit for exposing the oil aspects. In fact, like you, I’ve only recently realised this truth. Talk about hiding out in the open!

      • Hi there, Philip:

        Shame that I have no time here on the NATO frontline to go into detail, but having analysed & researched & provided the daily brief for the CEO of B.P. personally and having been head-hunted to work nights , before the first Gulf War started, for same, back in the ’80’s >> me thinking you can imagine why I have not even bothered to read what you have written (yet).

        No disrespect intended , but the Fascist Ukrainians & their CIA buddies have just MURDERED Alexander Zakharchenko , now today, an sh8t gonna’ hit the fan as a consequence >> so , please study where Shell’s Fracking licenses were , in the Ukraine and put 2 + 2 together , like Burisma Holdings & Joe Biden’s son and Guy Verhofstadt lobbying for his Energy buddy for a big fat commission , as confirmed by Bloomberg, when the Ukraine had no President or PM back in 2014 to even negotiate such deals .. ALL Scandalous: Logic, it won’t take much investigation , believe me .. not rocket science 😉

        More importantly, if you want to understand just how naive Rusbridger was back then in 2003, read his article. Not a bad piece, in some ways, a bit of a confession, other than he avoids mentioning 9/11 completely and gives only the most fleeting of references to ENRON, that is humanly possible >> for whatever reason >> not interested coz’ I already knew and know what’s going down, even before it happens or at least as soon as it happens, like today with Zakharchenko >> Check Shell’s Fracking Licenses sold by profiteers in the Ukraine, not sold by their politicians even: coz’ they had none, when the deals were done and do the Math..

        https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/31/alan-rusbridger-who-broke-the-news

        Must search more urgent stuff’ right now, but glad you are getting up to speed and so honest in your appraisal of matters ..

        kind regards
        Balkydj

        P.s. with well over 50 years in the ‘saddle’ & Major Bumsores , from sitting in and rolling canoes & rafting , even in ice & snow & the middle of Winter, balky looks forward to getting a quiet moment to write to you elsewhere .. In the meantime F**K No NAME mcCain, the murderous coward who voted six times against sanctions against S.Africa and always voted for Apartheid & War, he was a ‘PUTKA’ & Devil of the worst order and deserves zero respect unlike , Alex ..

        R.i.P. Alexander Zakharchenko , your place in heaven is reserved and the gates thrown open: &

        remember , Hell is no longer empty .. coz’ No Name has finally departed and ended up where he always deserved to be .. in HELL .. yep, met the guy , once, disgusting slimy dumb creep ..
        Act 1 scene 2 McCain is down under , something to celebrate , at least .. thousands more to go ..!

        Oh , and if anybody can get a ticket for Rusbridger’s speech at the Barbican on Sept 5th , (see article) please go and ask something poignant , anything ! ! ! I can think of loads, but can’t leave where I am presently for security reasons and they’d bar Balky anyway, rest assured .. 😉 being totally banned for life from the Guardian for addressing truths and GCHQ infiltration of the moderators dept. , lol ..

        Good luck on facing down Rusbridger ..

      • writerroddis says

        Do calm down Robbo. And look again. What was the first word of my reply to Michael?

        For the rest of what you say in these discussions, I’m hard pressed to know whether and to what degree we might find common ground. There’s so much spit- venom in your tone, I can’t always make out what you’re saying. Whatever else I may get wrong in my writings, ATl or BTL, I do take the trouble to be clear – and in the main courteous.

        Why? Cos (a) clarity of communication is every bit as important as (but more hard won than) “reposting relevant material” and (b) my dear old gran drilled into me that courtesy costs nothing.

      • writerroddis says

        Fuck. Dunnit again, accidentally liked my own post. Bad form. Rank bad form.

        • George Cornell says

          I liked it but won’t thumb it up. You are off the hook.

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