Here’s some intelligence for you Blair

Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry

It was better to deal with this threat, to remove him from office and I do genuinely believe the world is a safer place as a result.

Even before you invaded, the CIA and FBI disagreed with you on that Mr Blair. And we all know how much you passionately believed in intelligence agencies.

When it suited the aims of you and your corporate sponsors that is.

Like every other government inquiry, the Chilcot Inquiry will be a whitewash. The findings aren’t due to be published until 2011 anyway and when it is, it will conclude something like “mistakes were made”, “intelligence was flawed” but there was no “criminal intent” by Blair and his cohorts.

By that time, Tony will no doubt still be earning £1,000,000 a month with his after dinner speaking engagements while the rest of us have to live in the infinitely more dangerous world that he helped create.


Chomsky responds to me on the BBC

It’s not everyday you see something you’ve written on the BBC website. Last month I wrote a post about the chance to ask Noam Chomsky a question on the BBC’s HardTALK program. Well, like hundreds of others, I sent in a question in and the BBC decided to use it – the very first question in fact!

It’s a testimony to the man’s popularity that such was the interest in his appearance, the BBC saw fit to allow him to respond to further questions online and credit to them for that. So thanks Noam and thanks a lot BBC. The question I asked is below and you can read all the viewer questions answered by him here.

Q: What is the “liberal elite” that you have referred to and what defines their morals and ideas? Nicholas Mead, UK

A: The terms of political discourse are vague and obscure, including these, but also virtually all others: ‘capitalism,’ ‘market’, ‘socialism’, ‘conservative’, etc. I was using the term in the conventional manner, with ‘liberal’ understood in the American sense, something like ‘mildly social democratic’, roughly ‘New Labour’ in the British context.

The term elite refers to those with more privilege and opportunity, hence who dominate decision-making in the economic, political, and ideological spheres. There are no sharp boundaries, no club to belong to. To discover their morals and ideas we investigate what they say but more significantly what they do.

Also polls, which reveal that corporate executives tend to share the views of ‘liberal elites’ on social and cultural issues, though they tend more towards what’s called ‘conservative’ (a much abused term) on economic issues. Impossible to spell it out here, but I’ve written reams about the matter, as of course have many others.

A liberal whitewash of the ultimate crime

The BBC and Guardian both report today that the UK Ministry of Defence is probing allegations that Iraqis were tortured and abused by British troops.

But notice there will be no probe into the biggest crime of all – the war of aggression launched by the UK and it’s allies on Iraq. Since without this act, none of the above alleged crimes would have been possible, it should be this crime which is on the front pages, not the terrible acts of a few soldiers.

Why are the lessons and conclusions laid down by the Nuremberg tribunal and enshrined in law by the UN continually ignored by the liberal mainstream media? Quite rightly, they get extremely upset if someone tries to deny the holocaust. But they don’t even a raise a whimper when the laws that resolved to ensure nothing like it ever happened again are so blatantly ignored by those in power.

The Nuremberg tribunal defined aggression and aggressive war as the supreme international crime. This is exactly what the UK and it’s allies launched on Iraq in 2003. Benjamin Ferencz, one of the chief prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials, best describes how international law was clearly violated in 2003:

The United Nations charter has a provision which was agreed to by the United States formulated by the United States in fact, after World War II. Its says that from now on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N. Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defense, but a country can’t use force in anticipation of self-defense. Regarding Iraq, the last Security Council resolution essentially said, ‘Look, send the weapons inspectors out to Iraq, have them come back and tell us what they’ve found — then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do. The U.S. was impatient, and decided to invade Iraq — which was all pre-arranged of course. So, the United States went to war, in violation of the charter.

Yet again, this is a textbook example of how the mainstream media continue to distract public attention away from the crimes of the powerful.

The beauty of privatised rail

The UK’s first £1,000 rail ticket has been described as “scandalous” and “appalling value” by opposition MPs. The first-class return walk-up fare is from Newquay, in Cornwall to Kyle of Lochalsh, in the Scottish Highlands.

But don’t worry. If you can’t afford that:

Cross Country Trains, which sells the ticket, said an advance fare was available for £561.

Whoever said that governments were run in the interests of corporations and not people? Thank you Margaret Thatcher and New Labour. This story is quite literally, First Class.

Ridiculing the right to avoid our own failings

One thing that’s been common in the wake of Nick Griffin’s infamous appearance on Question Time has been to ridicule him for his far right beliefs. Many liberals have been patting themselves on the back and celebrating a witty remix of Griffin’s appearance on the show making him out to be an absolute buffoon. Satire can be a powerful political tool where the truth can’t be told but what’s happened to Griffin and his supporters isn’t so much satire as ridicule and humiliation.

This is very dangerous. It may be considered harmless fun but the effect of it is to whip-up even more hatred on the right who perceive – correctly so – their problems are being laughed at by the liberal elite. In fact, I wonder if this ridiculing doesn’t create more racial tensions than actually giving the far right a platform as some people argue. Judging by some of the comments following the YouTube clip in question, it has certainly flared-up more hatred than any of the unedited clips from the show.

Noam Chomsky will address the annual Amnesty International lecture tonight (unfortunately I don’t think you can watch it online but a video and transcript should be released shortly afterwards) and an excerpt from his forthcoming speech is very telling:

In the US, inequality has soared to unprecedented heights. There is now a mass of people with real grievances, who want answers but are not receiving them. The far-right is providing answers that are completely crazy: that rich liberals are giving their hard-earned money away to illegal immigrants and the shiftless poor.

A common reaction in elite educated circles and much of the left is to ridicule the right-wing protesters, but that is a serious error.  The correct reaction is to examine our own failures.  The grievances are quite real and should be taken seriously.

It’s growing inequality in the UK that has created the racial tensions that have given rise to the BNP. And ridiculing them is a convenient way for those on the left to avoid “examining their own failings” as Chomsky says. The failings are of course, allowing things to get to this stage. It’s very easy to blame Blair, Brown, big business and the mainstream media for creating this state of affairs but too many on the liberal-left have gone along with their agendas while turning their back on the social and economic problems that are right in front of their eyes.

The answer, is not ridicule, but for the public to reject these agendas, and organize locally to deal with these problems. Chomsky adds:

In South America, there are at last serious steps to confront poverty and other severe human rights abuses. The driving force is mass popular movements. They are beginning to address what Amnesty calls ‘the unheard truth’: that ‘poverty is the world’s worst human rights crisis, this generation’s greatest struggle.

If as Chomsky adds, that the poverty stricken in South American have overcome death squads and worse to create a better society, the same is surely true in a rich society like the UK.

Question Time revealed more about the liberal elite than the BNP

screen-captureThe appearance of British National party leader Nick Griffin on the BBC’s Question Time served to prove many things about the media and political elite in the UK, two of which are particularly notable and concerning. One is that a rational, open and honest political debate is impossible in the mainstream media. Two is that mainstream political parties and liberal elites will now do anything to win moral authority and avoid talking about policy and real issues that affect the majority of the population. This is nothing new but it was illustrated acutely and obscenely in this particular show.

Some of the questions asked during and after the event are also mystifying to say the least in a supposedly democratic and intelligent current affairs show. Two examples are:

Should Nick Griffin have been allowed on Question Time?

This is a non-question. Anyone that professes to be in favor of free-speech and claims to oppose a party such as the BNP has to say yes. It is an insult to people’s intelligence – especially the 1 million that voted for him – to suggest they are unable to assess whether the BNP are fit to vote for. The answer to dealing with extremist organizations such as the BNP is not to repress them. It’s to prove the irrationality of their more extreme viewpoints (which isn’t hard).

Would Winston Churchill have joined the BNP?

Again, I don’t see why there’s been so much debate over this. The answer is unequivocally yes because Churchill lived in a far more “backwards” era towards race relations which is where the BNP belong. During that time,  it was fine for Churchill to proudly proclaim such things such as “I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes” and “I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place.”

The point is, Nick Griffin is a racist and even a panel of kids could have proved that. The main reason the liberal elite i.e. BBC, New Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were so keen to debate him is because they know how morally bankrupt they are and how little they have to offer the electorate in terms of policy, solutions and debate so they pick on an easy target to lynch to get the public onside. It is the very same political establishment’s fault the BNP have come this far. They long ago jumped into bed with big business leading to the deteriorating social and economic conditions which have inflamed the racial hatred the BNP thrive on. It was particularly sickening to see Jack Straw – a man with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis and Western soldiers on his hands – reveling in some kind of moral superiority over Griffin. If actions speak louder than words, then he is as offensive – if not more so – than the BNP leader.

There has been little decent commentary worth reading in the aftermath of the debate but Brendan O’Neil writes an excellent piece here in Spiked and prior to the event, Neil Clarke highlighted the reasons behind the rise of the BNP.

Heavy handed police tactics that ended in tragedy

The Guardian have obtained footage of the British police attacking a man minutes before he died of a heart attack at the G20 protests in London. In the video, Ian Tomlinson can be seen walking in front of around 10 police officers with his hands in his pocket on his way home from work. Suddenly, one of officers strikes him on the leg with a baton before charging into him and sending him tumbling to the floor. Tomlinson appears dazed and confused although later got up and walked on. Several minutes later though, he collapsed and died of a heart attack.

Everyone understands that the police have a tough job to do when faced with thousands of angry protesters, a minority of which are there just to cause problems. However, this is a blatant example of how heavy handed tactics by the police are not the answer. Tomlinson was clearly not causing any major problems and indeed, wasn’t even involved in the protesting. Why then charge him to the ground?

It will be interesting to see the results of the Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry into this and let’s hope that the family get some answers and that the UK police learn that heavy handed tactics on innocent people is simply not acceptable.

More from the BBC.