All posts tagged: Tony Blair

Leavings

Tony Benn used to say that he grew more radical as he got older. As in many things, Benn was unusual. People are generally apt to grow more reactionary as they get older. This is particularly true of MPs of all persuasions. For all its timid and marginal reforms of itself, the Palace of Westminster is still more like a traditional gentlemen’s club than any other institution. MPs are easily lulled by the comforts and the rhythms of the House.

WATCH: Robert Newman’s History of Oil

Philip Roddis The best comedians are the cleverest people on the planet. I’m grateful to a BTL comment on OffGuardian, below a piece of mine on Venezuela, for linking to this forty-five minute video. It has Robert Newman saying exactly what I try to say, but with vastly greater wit and panache, on the history of oil and, more generally, a materialist perspective on history. Performed in 2006, it could have been yesterday given the clueless way we insist on viewing each “pro-democracy” intervention – Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Venezuela – on a case by case basis. Given too the criminal way ‘our’ media ignore the material drivers of war. In both my two posts this week on Venezuela, I described corporate media as having “abdicated a core duty in their refusal to explore motives that cast a very different light on Western interventions sold to us as humanitarian”. Newman treads the same ground but here too – damn the man – he does it better.

How a Second Referendum would reach beyond Brexit

Prof. Gloria Moss Voices are braying again for a Second Referendum, adding a familiar chorus to our Seasonal celebrations. We take a break from end of year festivities to look at the arguments advanced and look at what these might mean for the worlds of Sport, Education, Politics and the Law. They would make 2019 and the years following like no other, and make it life as we know it today a distant memory. First, let us take a look at the arguments for a Second Referendum (SR). Second Referendum Arguments There are nine prominent voices, five arguing for a rerun on the basis of the difficulties and controversy now facing Parliament and four on the basis of changing circumstances and voters’ ignorance. Problems in Parliament to blame Of the six arguing for a SR on the basis of a messy situation in Parliament, the most recent voice is that of Dominic Grieve, former Attorney General, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield. Writing in the Guardian on 29 December, he wrote of the need to hand the …

Your debt and mine to Julian Assange

Philip Roddis In a recent post I referred to the vile treatment of a man who brought us irrefutible evidence, and in screeds, that the widely cherished notion of the West being democratic is a fat lie. True, some of us knew this already, but Wikileaks shocked even the most hardened critics of liberal democracy by the extent and unprecedentedly fine granularity of that evidence. In view of its shabby betrayal of Julian Assange – and the fact its readership demography maps closely onto that of my own site – I, pace Media Lens, singled out the Guardian for particularly scathing treatment. Two examples were columnists Deborah Orr and Suzanne Moore. It should surprise no one that both are women. Though Assange’s character assassination has involved many a male journalist – not least Russia Cold Warrior Luke Harding, whose uniquely personal betrayal of trust marked an all time journalistic low [1] – shills and hacks who also happened to be female had a spearhead role to play, given the precise form the assassination assumed. Here’s what computer …

“Democratic Institutions?” – 10 Lessons from history that will destroy your trust in the CIA

In the hysterical wake of the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, President Donald Trump was roundly criticised in the media for taking the side of a “hostile state” over his own intelligence agencies. The Guardian referred to Mueller as a “heroic marine” who Trump disbelieved in favour of a “Russian dictator”.

In the past, when Trump has criticised the FBI, CIA or NSA he has been accused of “undermining faith in our institutions”. He’s been blamed for a collapse of trust in the government. But was this trust ever earned?

At every corner, we are urged to simply believe what we are told. Whether it is about believing Porton Down and MI6 about “novichok”, or believing the White Helmets about Sarin, or believing the FBI about “collusion”, we are presented with no facts, just assertions from authority. Those who question those assertions are deemed “bots” at best or “traitors” at worst.

Well here, fellow traitors, are the Top Ten reasons to question anything and everything the CIA – or any intelligence agency – has ever told you.

From Troy to Damascus: Seeing the Light

by Hugh O’Neill One of the oldest cities in the world, Damascus was already 2,000 years old at the time of Homer’s Trojan War (1200 BC). In order to understand the present, we have to place it within the context of the past. However, there is a caveat that only the winners write history and so the challenge to historians is to read between (and behind) the lines. Historians must also deploy their judgement of the various human factors in the events recorded, by whom recorded and why; they must also be aware of their own biases which inevitably influence their vision i.e. what they choose to see or ignore. War may be defined as the deployment of mass violence to acquire resources of the many to benefit the few. Homer would have us believe that many thousands of Greek heroes left their homes and families for ten years so that King Menelaus could rescue Helen his queen who had been abducted by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy. We also learn from Homer …

NATO – the tool of European neo-fascism and Pope’s “blessed silence”

by Prof. Arthur Noble, via InSerbia March 24, 1999 was a day of gross shame and ignominy in the historical annals of Britain and America. It was the day when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation became the North American Terrorist Organisation. NATO, for the first time since its founding in 1949, launched a vicious, unprovoked and illegal attack against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia, in a pre-planned act of aggression sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. The 78 days of NATO air strikes took place without the necessary UN Security Council authorisation. It is equally loathsome that Clinton’s violence against the Serbs, who were our gallant allies in the battle against Hitler and the Nazis in World War II, was aided and abetted by his subservient poodle, the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Photo: defense.gov At one stroke NATO overturned the fundamental purpose of its founding charter, which committed it to assuring the freedom of its constituent members by means of a purely defensive system of collective security against the threat of the then …

The “European Values” think-tank and their list of “Useful Idiots”

Just when you think that the Russo-phobic hysteria of the Western world couldn’t possibly make itself any more ridiculous…something like this comes along. This is the europeanvalues.net list of “useful idiots”. The list is very long, over 2300 names, because it contains the name of every person to ever appear on either Sputnik or RT. Hosts or guests, hostile or friendly, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the list, you are a useful idiot.

Guardian Plugs War Criminal’s Book

by Kit Nobody should be surprised to learn that Alistair Campbell, the former Blair PR guru, suffers from psychological problems. Obviously, lacking empathy to the extent that you can start an illegal war with a peaceful country, for the lone purpose of enriching corporate interests, would be a red flag to any psychiatrist worth his salt. Even supposing you weren’t entirely psychopathic beforehand, the associated guilt-rotting of the soul, after the fact, would surely be enough to drive one mad. Just look at Blair. Look at his mummified, rictus grin and tell me that’s not a man whose evil has stained his face. No, no one is surprised that Alistair Campbell has mental problems. And, sadly, no one is surprised that the Guardian gives him column inches – not just to whine about the stress involved in coordinating (among other things) mass-murder – but also to plug his book. I will not name it or link to it here, it doesn’t deserve the clicks. In any right-thinking society, this man would be in prison for …

Social-Democracy and the Centre-Left: Decline and Fall?

Viewed retrospectively, the significance of the Reagan-Thatcher counter-revolutionary offensive of the 1980s has been seen primarily as a political project aimed at the overturning of the post-WW2 political and social settlement; an undertaking in which it has largely succeeded. However, perhaps of equal importance was the political assimilation of centre-left, liberal class, into this emerging neo-liberal, neo-conservative movement.

Road to Destruction

by W Stephen Gilbert The Labour party is on a perilous path. That it may end in an irrevocable split is the least of our worries. Of greater concern is the prospect of fighting in the streets. The party conference – scheduled for next month in the fissiparous city of Liverpool, but in some doubt because no security has yet been secured – will attract protesters, probably thousands of them. If it goes ahead, it could turn into the notorious Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago, a pitched battle outside the amphitheatre in which police used mace, tear gas and batons, and dozens were hurt including reporters and an observing British MP. Not surprisingly, the subsequent election was won by a Republican, Richard Nixon. Whence this anger, this prospect of civil disobedience? First, consider a proposition: Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular politician in Britain. That the government and the media and the parliamentary Labour party are all in denial about it does not stop it being so. No leader has ever received a mandate …

UK’s Labour Party: A view from the grass roots

by Rosie Brocklehurst After a whole year of being accused of criminal behaviour with not one shred of evidence, the innocent newbies, would-be Labour joiners, are learning about the state of politics today in a way that will either put them off politics for life or put steel into their backbone. Adrien Mostyn (not his real name), 28, a young film-maker who became interested in politics at the last General Election, believes the Labour Party he joined just over 5 months ago is out to get him. “Why do they hate the grass roots so much?” he asks me. We are talking in a café where I have arranged to get his views as a new member on the new rules that prevent him from voting in the leadership election. Diagnosed late with autism – he was in his early 20s – Adrien has rarely lasted long in a job due to his inability to express feelings of enthusiasm or despair appropriately. He receives ESA at £73 per week, and has jumped from unpaid work …

One Nation Labour: The Party That We Need

by David Lindsay On the scale of public ownership and on the extent of trade union power, Jeremy Corbyn is well to the right of Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. That is not hyperbole. It is fact. As it is that Margaret Thatcher presided over publicly owned railways, and over a 60p top rate of income tax well above that proposed by Corbyn. And as it is that Tony Blair promised to renationalise the railways in several speeches leading up to the 1997 General Election. Why would Corbyn’s position not be the centre ground? You can have all the private health insurance that you like. But if you were hit by a car, or if you collapsed in the street with a heart attack, then someone would call 999, and an NHS ambulance would take you to an NHS hospital. That that call would certainly be made, even by a perfect stranger, is testament to the definition of the United Kingdom’s culture by the social democratic legacy of previous Labour Governments, and supremely of that …

Corbyn: blowback at the not-OK Corral

by Philip Roddis, July 26, 2016 Millionaire Labour donor Michael Foster wants to reverse the NEC decision and seeks a [high court] declaration that, under Labour party rules, Corbyn must obtain the requisite number of nominations before his name can appear on the ballot. Guardian, July 26. I’m no fan of taking it to the wire – on my sixty-fourth spin round the sun I’ve the old ticker to think about – but here’s my fantasy: Mr Justice Foskett does rule against Corbyn and the world cries foul but he gets the fifty-one nominations and wins by a bigger margin than in September.  Sweet or what?  OK, I did say fantasy.  For the sake of my six hours a night I want to see Foskett kick that suit into the Mariana Trench but there’s nowt surer to put a smile on the lips of simple Yorkshire folk like me than a spot of schadenfreude.  All the better when pratfall takes the form of blowback. Hoist by one’s own petard, the bard would say, but now …

The Origins of Labour’s Civil War

As the poisonous and potentially irrevocable conflict inside the Labour Party gathers pace, it seems a useful exercise to try to plot the origins of the animus. This analysis is written from the perspective of an unashamed supporter of Jeremy Corbyn; nonetheless, it is intended to be as factual and objective as possible and to avoid assumptions, speculations and accusations. Much of the heat in the present conflict is undoubtedly generated by the deployment of propaganda. The deconstruction of some of the myths that inform the anger is one of the aims of this essay.

Chilcot: Internal memos show Syria may have been on the agenda since 2001

The Chilcot Report was released On Wednesday, and a hard copy can be yours for just £767 (though I would suggest reading it free online here), and while there will doubtless be many and varied autopsies of the evidence and documents, this early observation is an interesting one. An eagle-eyed reader brought the following documents to our attention, as they contain many sections that hint war with Syria may have been on the NATO/US agenda as far back as October 2001. First there is this, from a letter dated 11th of October 2001 (all emphasis ours): …The uncertainty caused by Phase 2 seeming to extend to Iraq, Syria etc because it seems to confirm the UBL [Osama Bin Laden] propaganda this is the West vs Arab[sic]. Tony Blair, letter to GW Bush, 11/10/01 This quote suggests that Syria and “etc.” (Lebanon or Iran, at a guess) were already in the crosshairs. Interestingly, it is followed by: Incidentally, the leaders all warned about treating Syria like Iraq. It’s safe to say the warnings of these “leaders” …

Guardian: Iraqis think Blair made a ‘mistake’

by Jonathan Cook It will be no surprise to readers of this blog that I believe Tony Blair should be put on trial for crimes against humanity for assisting George Bush in attacking Iraq in 2003. The Chilcot inquiry, however compromised its members were by their establishment ties and however cautious they were in their use of language, have very belatedly reached the same conclusion. If “military action at that time was not a last resort” and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat”, then Bush and Blair launched a war of aggression. And that, according to the definition laid out by the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” But what I think of Blair’s actions and what Chilcot thinks of them are irrelevant to the question of what Iraqis – who were the chief victims of this crime – think of the attack on their country. And here a deception, mirroring those we have …

War Criminal Blair Warmongers for Ground Invasion of Syria and Iraq

from New Eastern Outlook In an ideal world, Tony Blair would have been tried for war crimes years ago, and most probably would be over a decade into a life-time jail sentence for his role in the Iraq war. However, in our Orwellian world, devoid of justice and accountability, Blair is doing what he does best: warmongering. The former British Prime Minister stated this week that in order to defeat ISIS, Britain and the wider West will have to “wage a proper ground war against them.” Blair has been a vocal of proponent of deploying ground forces against ISIS in the Middle East and North Africa, calling again for Western troops on the ground in March of this year. Blair’s remarks are conformation of what many in the independent media have been warning about for years now; that some individuals in the West are trying to use the threat of ISIS (which they created) to launch a full-scale invasion of Syria and attempt to oust Assad. If the West is filled with enough hubris to …

Silencing America as It Prepares for War

Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

Owen Jones: Tough on meanness, tough on the causes of meanness

In his latest piece on Vladimir Putin, Owen Jones demonstrates the weakness of the politically left-of-centre press in the UK – and indeed the Western world as a whole. A certain kind of chinless, sweater-vested, well-meaningness that achieves nothing but smugness and twitter shares.