Tag Archives: Iraq war

On the process of political smearing

Labour Leadership 2015I wasn’t planning to write another blogpost on the Labour leadership election. (I hope I’m not going to be starting a lot of blogposts over the next few weeks with that sentence.)

I don’t have a vote because although I’m a member of an affiliated organisation (which has sent me a mailshot about the election) I didn’t register for a vote because I am a member of the Scottish Green Party. So I’m just waiting for 12th September, like everyone else who doesn’t qualify for a vote, which is 99.0472% of the population of the UK.

610,753 people do have a vote, and according to most polls the majority currently plan to vote Jeremy Corbyn.
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Charles Kennedy, 1959 – 2015

Charles Kennedy, 2009Charles Kennedy’s post-election statement:

“I am very fond of political history. Tonight, if nothing else, we can all reflect on and perhaps tell our grandchildren that we were there on ‘The night of long sgian dubhs!'”

On 9th June 1983 Charles Kennedy became the Baby of the House – the youngest MP to be elected, and at the age of 23, he was the youngest MP at the time of his election from 1958 to 2015.
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A “Hutton style” inquiry?

rebekah brooks and tony blairOn Monday 11th July 2011, the day after the News of the World published its final issue, Tony Blair spoke to Rebekah Brooks in what Brooks says was an hour-long phone call, and Brooks summarised the phonecall in an email to James Murdoch:

“1. Form an independent unit that has an outside junior counsel, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal counsel, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a Hutton style report,”

“2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.
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11 thoughts for September 11

  • President AllendeForty years ago on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet, crushed the democratically elected Unidad Popular government of Salvador Allende.
  • Thousands of people were tortured and killed, others ‘disappeared’ at the hands of the authorities, the secret police and more were illegally detained. Men, women and children were rounded up by the military and taken from their homes. Most were never seen alive by their families again. 1 million people were forced into exile. – Chile 40 Years On network

    In the UK, widespread public support against the coup was not welcomed by the Conservative government in 1973:

    The shipbuilders’ union urged the government not to sell warships to Pinochet, even though losing these contracts could threaten their own jobs. The government’s response? To send spies to shipyards across Britain to check workers were not sabotaging vessels destined for Chile.

    When Labour came to power in 1974, it cut off arms sales, aid and credit to Pinochet and, in 1977, withdrew the British ambassador. But existing arms contracts were to be honoured, so trade unionists took matters into their own hands. Employees at East Kilbride engineering yard in Scotland refused to fix bomber-plane engines destined for Chile, forcing Rolls Royce to break its contract with the Chilean air force. This forgotten history of solidarity will be celebrated across Britain today, the 40th anniversary of the coup.

    Unsurprisingly, when Pinochet’s most prominent defender, Margaret Thatcher came to office in 1979, diplomatic relations were soon restored and arms sales resumed. Declassified papers reveal that, by June 1982, her government had sold the dictatorship: two warships, 60 blowpipe missiles, 10 Hunter Hawker bomber planes, naval pyrotechnics, communications equipment, gun sights, machine guns and ammunition. A unique attempt at a British “ethical foreign policy” had ended.

  • On 11th January, 2002, the first 20 illegally-detained prisoners were delivered to cages at Guantanamo Bay: over 11 years later, the US is still holding 164 prisoners in extrajudicial detainment illegal under international law.
  • Since 12th July 2005, it has been publicly known that the US government authorised US soldiers to torture Guantanamo Bay prisoners: US soldiers also tortured prisoners in Iraq and in Afghanistan and the US military is also linked to the use of torture in Iraqi-run prisons.
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On Syria

Iraq WarAs ever, The Onion cuts to the quick of the matter. Given Syria has allies on the Security Council at the UN, there is no legal way for a United Nations member to take military action on Syria.

Just as the 2003 war on Iraq was not lawful.

James Fallows in The Atlantic:

Fact 1: Atrocities are happening in Syria. Fact 2: The United States has bombers, cruise missiles, and drones. Putting those two facts together does not make the second a solution to the first.
….,
Only ten years after the disastrous “what could go wrong?” / “something must be done!” rush to war in Iraq, you would have thought these cautions would not need restatement. They do. In the face of evil we should do something, except when the something would likely make a bad situation worse.

We’ve done all this before.
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Wikileaks is not Assange

Wikileaks - CENSORED In 2007, Wikileaks published the protocol manual for the US army at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta. The manual included a designated list of prisoners to be off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross – while the US government and military had claimed all along that all prisoners held in Gitmo could be visited by Red Cross representatives: and in April 2011, Wikileaks published the US military’s secret files on 779 detainees. President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay, and never has.

In 2010, Wikileaks made available to selected media outlets a huge log of every Iraqi death recorded by the coalition forces (Multi-National Forces Iraq) in Iraq between January 2004 and December 2009. As Jacob Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, pointed out: the deaths over five years is still an undercount.

  • The database records 109,032 deaths in total for the period
  • The database records the following death counts: 66,081 civilians, 23,984 insurgents and 15,196 Iraqi security forces

Nearly a year ago the last convoy of US soldiers pulled out of Iraq, and now President Obama uses drones to kill people with even less oversight than in Iraq.

The end of the Iraq war
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Eleven years after 9/11: what is Margo MacDonald thinking on?

11th September is the day in 1997 when we went to the polls to vote yes/yes to a Scottish Parliament with tax-raising powers: a Parliament that had already been crowdsourced and mutually agreed to over seven years of debate in Scotland. Tony Blair later claimed to have “given” it to us, but however much that may rankle, it isn’t every day that an MSP suggests we arrest him.

Margo MacDonald holds a special place in Scottish politics, when in 2003, discovering that her party did not intend to have her re-elected by pushing her down the Regional list of candidates, she stood as an Independent. And won. And has continued to win ever since. She has a solid reputation for independent thinking and common sense. The SNP may well feel that their attempt to cut her out of Lothian and Scottish politics was one of the worse mistakes they’ve made since they decided not to get involved with campaigning for devolution.

Motion S4M-04022: Margo MacDonald, Lothian, Independent, Date Lodged: 06/09/2012:

That the Parliament agrees with Archbishop Desmond Tutu that Tony Blair should be tried for waging aggressive war against Iraq and further believes that the Scottish Government should take the opportunity afforded by the independence of Scots law to complete the incorporation of international criminal law by introducing a simple amendment making illegal the waging of aggressive war with the intention of regime change so that Tony Blair could be brought to trial in Scotland.

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