Blair’s support for Sharon and the Zionist project

Tony Blair’s heroic peacemaking is not as it seems. Take the Middle East. When Blair welcomed Yasser Arafat to Downing Street following 11 September, it was widely reported that Britain was backing justice for the Palestinians.

Editorialists drew a favourable comparison with the bellicose Bush administration. Indeed, the promotion of Blair as the steadying influence on Washington has been the main theme of Downing Street spin during the “war on terrorism”. The falsehood of his moderation is exemplified by his betrayal of the Palestinians.

The meeting with Arafat was no more than a public relations exercise designed to placate the Arab world. It served to disguise Blair’s support for the Zionist project and his role as Ariel Sharon’s closest ally in Europe. Little of this has been reported in the mainstream media.

Shortly after his election in 1997, Blair shamelessly appointed a friend, Michael Levy, a wealthy Jewish businessman who had fundraised for new Labour, as his “special envoy” in the Middle East, having first made him Lord Levy. This former chairman of the Jewish Appeal Board and former board member of the Jewish Agency, who has both a business and a house in Israel and had a son working for the Israeli justice minister, was the man assigned by Britain’s prime minister to negotiate impartially with Palestinians and Israelis.

Under Blair, British support for Israeli repression has accelerated. Last year alone, the government approved 91 arms export licences to Israel, in categories

— source | john pilger | 14 Jan 2002

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Blair has made Britain a target

The prime minister’s “we are at war” statements are irresponsible in the extreme. It is said that some of his senior officials understand this, as do many MPs: thus the messages of “restraint” now being whispered to journalists.

Tony Blair is endangering the people of this country as well as Britons abroad. His willingness to join Bush’s “crusade” and use military force will neither avenge nor bring justice to nor honour the memory of the ordinary people who died so terribly in America last week because this will almost certainly lead to a gratuitous slaughter of more innocents in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. It also risks nurturing a new generation of suicidal killers. Two years ago, Denis Halliday, the assistant secretary general of the United Nations who resigned over the Anglo-American-imposed embargo of Iraq, told me: “We are likely to see the emergence of those who may well regard Saddam Hussein as too moderate and too willing to listen to the west. Such is the desperation of people whose children are dying in their thousands and who are bombed almost every day by American and British planes.”

Blair’s wanton disregard of this threat has been demonstrated in recent years. On a bogus pretext, he joined America’s all-out assault on Iraq in 1998 and backed Clinton’s missile attack on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. The following year, his “moral crusade” with Clinton against Yugoslavia killed hundreds of

— source | john pilger | 21 Sep 2001

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Denying India its Tax Revenue is Neo-colonialism

MORE than 23 crore Indians have been pushed into poverty (that is below the national minimum wage threshold of Rs 375) since the covid pandemic began last year, says a recent report by Azim Premji University.

Meanwhile, the UK, the home country of Cairn Energy, has already spent close to 18% of its annual GDP. The United States (where Cairn is suing India to enforce the 1.2 billion dollars arbitral award) has spent in excess of 5 trillion dollars (almost 25 percent of its GDP) on the Covid-19 relief package for their people. However, India, a developing country, has not been able to provide commensurate relief and succour to its poor and needy. Hamstrung by its precarious fiscal and monetary situation, India has only spent 8.6% of its GDP in providing covid relief to its people.

It is in these perilous times when Covid-19 has devastated India with hospitals running out of oxygen and medical supplies, Covid-infected patients dying due to shortage of medical facilities and bodies of covid victims washing up on the banks of the Ganges, that the country has been slapped with two arbitral awards by private arbitrators appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague, Netherlands, ordering India to forego over $3.8 billion in taxes due by two foreign corporations—Vodafone and Cairn Energy.

While Cairn has initiated legal proceedings in foreign courts to seize Indian assets including Air India aircraft, its lawyers have now gone on a publicity

— source | Ashish Khetan | 27 May 2021

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Gilligan was an exception

Shortly after the collapse of the Iraqi regime, the BBC’s Today programme sent Andrew Gilligan to Baghdad. Gilligan’s reports were unlike anything the BBC had broadcast. They contradicted the official Anglo-American line about “liberation” and made clear that, for a great many Iraqis, the invasion and occupation were at least as bad as life under Saddam Hussein.

This was heresy, prompting Alastair Campbell to move Gilligan to the top of his list of “rants”, as Greg Dyke has described them. “Gullible Gilligan” was Campbell’s term of abuse, which meant that the reporter was on to something. Like his subsequent report that the government had “sexed up” its Iraq dossier, Gilligan’s conclusion was right, and has since been repeatedly proven right. There is no liberation in Iraq. There is a vicious colonial occupation. The government “sexed up” not one, but two dossiers.

Campbell’s attacks were reminiscent of those orchestrated against other journalists who have distinguished themselves by departing from the script. For telling

— source | john pilger | 9 Feb 2004

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Family fortunes built on brutality

This is an important book and not just because it is a chilling account of slavery and commerce in the West Indies in the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s important because it establishes a vital link between then and now, cause and effect, history and its long and damaging legacy.

If Alex Renton’s last book, Stiff Upper Lip, exposed the wealthy’s perverse complacency about abuse in Britain’s boarding schools, Blood Legacy lays bare the ruling class’s most heinous historical crime: the brutal project to reduce human beings to the condition of working farm animals for financial profit.

Just as Renton used his own dubious privilege of a boarding-school education to bring a personal perspective to his previous work, so he draws on his family’s involvement in slavery as a moral touchstone here. One set of his ancestors were from Ayrshire, an area of Scotland whose large landowners disproportionately invested in plantations in the Caribbean (Scots owned more slaves per capita than any other nation in the UK).

The Fergussons of Kilkerran, of whom Renton is a direct descendant, were powerful members of the landed gentry. Sir Adam Fergusson was an 18th-century lawyer, MP and someone who knew many of the key figures in the Scottish enlightenment. He was thought of as a well-educated and highly cultured man. And he ran the

— source | Andrew Anthony | 23 May 2021

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Johnson government’s herd immunity plan envisaged 800,000 deaths in UK

Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has confirmed the Conservative government planned for a herd immunity policy envisioning the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. A Public Health England (PHE) exercise revealed by Cummings worked out scenarios based on up to 800,000 people dying of Covid-19. Cummings states that behind closed doors the architects of social murder in Downing Street worked on a Plan B, assuming over a quarter a million would die. Johnson government implemented a herd immunity policy from the start of the pandemic and had carried out exercising envisaging mass deaths. Johnson hired him as his main adviser after Cummings oversaw the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

— source | 24 May 2021

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Conspiracy in Venezuela shows how censorship works in free societies

When the conspirators made their move on 12 April, the response of the British media provided an object lesson in how censorship works in free societies.

The BBC described Chavez as “not so much a democrat as an autocrat”, echoing the Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane, who abused him as “a ranting demagogue”. Alex Bellos, the Guardian’s South America correspondent, reported, as fact, that “pro-Chavez snipers had killed at least 13 people” and that Chavez had requested exile in Cuba. “Thousands of people celebrated overnight, waving flags, blowing whistles . . .” he wrote, leaving the reader with the clear impression that almost everybody in Venezuela was glad to see the back of this “playground bully”, as the Independent called him.

Within 48 hours, Chavez was back in office, put there by the mass of the people, who came out of the shanty towns in their tens of thousands. Defying the army, their heroism was in support of a leader whose democratic credentials are extraordinary in the Americas, south and north. Having won two presidential elections, the latest in 2000, by the largest majority in 40 years, as well as a referendum and local elections, Chavez was borne back to power by the impoverished

— source | john pilger | 29 Apr 2002

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Lessons from the UK’s Girobank

In the comments of a recent Positive Money blogpost on central bank digital currency (CBDC), Stephen Hart raised an interesting question:

“A public company to provide accounts direct to ordinary people, run by the Post Office – do you remember the Girobank? That was its exact description, when it was set up by the Wilson government in 1968. It worked so well that it was privatised by the Thatcher ministry in 1989-90, then taken over by Alliance & Leicester, and in turn became part of Santander. In other words, it disappeared, becoming part of the private sector. What makes Positive Money, or anyone else, think a new such enterprise would fare any better?”

While I sadly wasn’t old enough (I was only 10 when it was fully absorbed into Alliance & Leicester) to remember it, I agree we have a lot to learn about the experience of the Girobank today.

As Stephen explains, the Girobank, named after the ‘giro’ method of transferring money between bank accounts (and not to be confused with Venetian public bank established in the 16th century bearing a similar name!), was set up by the Wilson government in 1968. Originally named the National Giro, it not only introduced a new payments system which laid the foundations for the modern means of money transfer we enjoy today (finally bringing the UK up to speed with

— source | Simon Youel | May 27, 2021

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Without any evidence Iraq was a threat

The Blair government was told in January by the Americans that there was no justification for attacking Iraq in the “war on terrorism” and that their main aim was getting rid of Saddam Hussein who stood in the way of the West’s control of Middle Eastern oil wealth.

This partly explains why Blair abandoned presenting to Parliament a famous “dossier” in which “the evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction is simply vast”.

The dossier is no more than a stream of warmed-over assertions and deceptions, supplied by Washington. According to reliable intelligence sources in another Western country, who were privy to the same communications, the Central Intelligence Agency has made clear that there is “no credible evidence” justifying an attack in Iraq.

While Blair has continued to repeat propaganda that Iraq is a threat to the region and to what he calls “civilisation”, the truth has long been an open secret.

— source | john pilger | 27 Aug 2002

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UK spends millions training security forces to control Palestinians

Declassified reveals the UK has seven army and air force personnel in the West Bank, training Palestinian security forces. Palestinian protesters face British-trained security units in the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon. Lebanese authorities receive UK-funded training to prevent ‘flash points’ among ‘volatile communities’ in Palestinian refugee camps. Jordanian riot police squad at last week’s West Bank border protest was UK-trained. The project — the Capability, Accountability, Sustainability and Inclusivity Programme — provides support to the internal security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the interim government in the West Bank which was created in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords. It cost £3.3-million last year.

— source | May 22, 2021

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