Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Brown’

The men who love war

March 11, 2010

Morning Star Online, March 11, 2010

Solomon Hughes

Two arms dealers attacked Gordon Brown for not spending more on weapons. It doesn’t have the same ring as “army big guns attack Gordon Brown’s defence budget claims” or “Prime Minister is targeted by top brass over army funding claims.” But it is true.

Admiral Lord Boyce and Lord Guthrie are publicly attacking Brown for not buying enough weapons. But Boyce and Guthrie are not merely a retired soldier and a former sailor.

Boyce is a director of the VT Group, which makes hundreds of millions of pounds selling goods and services to the navy.

Continues >>

Welcoming Stan Newens

August 24, 2009

George Barnsby, The  Barnsby Blog, August 23, 2oo9

I had a great surprise today. A call from Stan asking if he could call on me within an hour or so. Stan visits me regularly but it has usually been at the end of a series of visits to John Saville and other contributors to the Dictionary of Labour Biography and a visit to relatives in the Midlands before coming on to me and then returning to Essex where he has lived for many years, a sort of Grand Tour of Britain which he undertook regularly. But, alas John Saville and others are dead so that he is paying me the great honour of coming specially to Wolverhampton and then returning home.

Continues >>

For more on Stan Newens, see  Wikipedia,

British Lance-Corporal Joe Glenton refuses to go to Afghanistan

August 4, 2009

LC Glenton says the Afghan war is unjust

Christopher King, Redress Information & Analysis, 3 August 2009

Christopher King explains why it is the legal obligation of soldiers and officers who have been ordered to carry out illegal orders to disobey them, in accordance with the Nuremburg Principles, and why everyone, from army commanders to rank-and file soldiers, are personally responsible for the orders they carry out.

Lance-Corporal Joe Glenton, facing court-martial for refusing to be redeployed to Afghanistan, has written to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, saying in part:

The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk, far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country. Britain has no business there. I do not believe that our cause in Afghanistan is just or right. I implore you, sir, to bring our soldiers home.

Having served in Afghanistan, unlike Gordon Brown who has no services experience, Lance-Corporal (LC) Glenton knows what he is talking about. Further, he says:

It is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy.

LC Glenton is clearly a young man of intelligence and thoughtfulness. Unlike Gordon Brown who stands to be paid off in cash by the Americans and Israelis like his friend Anthony Blair, LC Glenton has earned the right to form, hold and express his views on this war. And to act on them.

Continues >>

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to blame over Iraq war, says Army report

June 29, 2009

By Rupert Hamer | The Mirror/UK, June 28, 2009

Tony Blair visits gaza (pic: Getty)

A secret report by Army bosses to be presented to the Iraq war inquiry blames Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for the botched occupation of the country.

The dossier – prepared for ex-military chief General Sir Mike Jackson – criticises then Chancellor Mr Brown for withholding funds to rebuild Basra for FIVE months after our troops went in. And the 100-page document attacks Mr Blair for “uncritically” accepting flawed US plans for the March 2003 invasion, which led to tens of thousands of deaths, including those of 179 British troops.

The report – Stability Operations in Iraq – will not be officially made public because the inquiry’s head, Sir John Chilcot, ruled all documents will remain secret.

But the contents have been leaked to the Sunday Mirror.

We can reveal that a lack of cash for the operation meant British troops sent to fight in Iraq:

Used mobile phones to communicate in combat because radios did not work.

Were forced to leave wounded soldiers on the battlefield for an average of two-and-half hours before getting them to a field hospital.

Needed more “spy in the sky” aircraft to track rebel fighters.

Lacked machine guns, night- vision equipment and grenade launchers when protecting supply convoys.

Were in danger of breaching the Geneva Convention by having so few resources. The convention says occupiers must provide vital services such as humanitarian aid and water.

In a broadside at the then PM Mr Blair, the report says the battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis was lost because of a lack of planning and the five-month delay in starting to rebuild their country.

It says: “The failures to plan… seriously hindered Coalition chances of stabilising post-Saddam Iraq. The lack of improvements to essential services and the standard of living together with disorder meant many locals who were ‘sitting on the fence’ were not persuaded to support the Coalition.”

It was only after riots in Basra in August 2003 that Mr Brown agreed to release £500million for reconstruction work, the report says.

And it contradicts six years of Government spin which claimed ordinary Iraqis backed the “liberation”, saying troops “found themselves fighting insurgents without clear support (from local people)”.


Flawed US plans were rubberstamped by Blair

Brown blocked vital funding for five months

It took mass rioting in Basra to make him pay up

Chaos lost us the battle for Iraqi hearts & minds

Obama must call off this folly before Afghanistan becomes his Vietnam

June 28, 2009

Senseless slaughter and anti-western hysteria are all America and Britain’s billions have paid for in a counterproductive war

Simon Jenkins |, Thursday 28 June 2009 22.00 BST

If good intentions ever paved a road to hell, they are doing so in Afghanistan. History rarely declares when folly turns to ­disaster, but it does so now. Barack Obama and his amanuensis, Gordon Brown, are uncannily repeating the route taken by American leaders in Vietnam from 1963 to 1975. Galbraith once said that the best thing about the Great Depression was that it warned against another. Does the same apply to Vietnam?

Vietnam began with Kennedy’s noble 1963 intervention, to keep the communist menace at bay and thus make the world safe for democracy. That is what George Bush and Tony Blair said of ­terrorism and Afghanistan. Vietnam escalated as the Diem regime in Saigon failed to contain Vietcong aggression and was deposed with American ­collusion. By 1965, despite Congress scepticism, American advisers, then planes, then ground forces were deployed. Allies were begged to join but few agreed – and not Britain.

The presence of Americans on Asian soil turned a local insurgency into a regional crusade. Foreign aid rallied to the Vietcong cause to resist what was seen as a neo-imperialist invasion. The hard-pressed Americans resorted to ever more extensive bombing, deep inside neighbouring countries, despite ­evidence that it was ineffective and politically counterproductive.

No amount of superior firepower could quell a peasant army that came and went by night and could terrorise or merge into the local population. Tales of American atrocities rolled in each month. The army counted success not in territory held but in enemy dead. A desperate attempt to “train and equip” a new Vietnamese army made it as corrupt as it was unreliable. Billions of dollars were wasted. A treaty with the Vietcong in 1973 did little to hide the humiliation of eventual defeat.

Every one of these steps is being re-enacted in Afghanistan. Every sane observer, even serving generals and diplomats, admit that “we are not winning” and show no sign of doing so. The head of the British army, Sir Richard Dannatt, remarked recently on the “mistakes” of Iraq as metaphor for Afghanistan. He has been supported by warnings from his officers on the ground.

Last year’s denial of reinforcements to Helmand is an open secret. Ever since the then defence secretary, John Reid, issued his 2006 “London diktats”, described in a recent British Army Review as “casual, naive and a comprehensive failure”, intelligence warnings of Taliban strength have been ignored. The army proceeded with a policy of disrupting the opium trade, neglecting hearts and minds and using US air power against “blind” targets. All have proved potent weapons in the Taliban armoury.

Generals are entitled to plead for more resources and yet claim that ­victory is just round the corner, even when they know it is not. They must lead men into battle. A heavier guilt lies with liberal apologists for this war on both sides of the Atlantic who continue to invent excuses for its failure and offer glib preconditions for victory.

A classic is a long editorial in ­Monday’s New York Times, congratulating Barack Obama on “sending more troops to the fight” but claiming that there were still not enough. In addition there were too many corrupt politicians, too many drugs, too many weapons in the wrong hands, too small a local army, too few police and not enough “trainers”. The place was damnably unlike Connecticut.

Strategy, declared the sages of Manhattan, should be “to confront the Taliban head on”, as if this had not been tried before. Afghanistan needed “a functioning army and national police that can hold back the insurgents”. The way to achieve victory was for the Pentagon, already spending a stupefying $60bn in Afghanistan, to spend a further $20bn – increasing the size of the Afghan army from 90,000 to 250,000. This was because ordinary Afghans “must begin to trust their own government”.

These lines might have been written in 1972 by General Westmoreland in his Saigon bunker. The New York Times has clearly never seen the Afghan army, or police, in action. Eight years of training costing $15bn have been near useless, when men simply decline to fight except to defend their homes. Any Afghan pundit will attest that training a Pashtun to fight a Pashtun is a waste of money, while training a Tajik to the same end is a waste of time. Since the Pentagon ­originally armed and trained the Taliban to fight the Soviets, this must be the first war where it has trained both sides.

Neither the Pentagon nor the British Ministry of Defence will win Afghanistan through firepower. The strategy of “hearts and minds plus” cannot be realistic, turning Afghanistan into a vast and indefinite barracks with hundreds of thousands of western soldiers sitting atop a colonial Babel of administrators and professionals. It will never be secure. It offers Afghanistan a promise only of relentless war, one that Afghans outside Kabul know that warlords, drug cartels and Taliban sympathisers are winning.

The 2001 policy of invading, ­capturing Osama bin Laden and ­ridding the region of terrorist bases has been tested to destruction and failed. ­Strategy is reduced to the senseless slaughter of hundreds of young western soldiers and thousands of Afghans. Troops are being sent out because Labour ministers lack the guts to admit that Blair’s bid to quell the Islamist menace by force of arms was crazy. They parrot the line that they are making “the streets of London safe”, but they know they are doing the opposite.

Vietnam destroyed two presidents, Johnson and Nixon, and ­destroyed the global confidence of a ­generation of young Americans. ­Afghanistan – ­obscenely dubbed the “good war” – could do the same. There will soon be 68,000 American troops in that country, making a mockery of Donald Rumsfeld’s 2001 tactic of hit and run, which at least had the virtue of coherence.

This is set fair to be a war of awful proportions, cockpit for the feared clash of civilisations. Each new foreign ­battalion taps more cash for the Taliban from the Gulf. Each new massacre from the air recruits more youths from the madrasas. The sheer counterproductivity of the war has been devastatingly analysed by David Kilcullen, adviser to Obama’s key general – David Petraeus – no less.

Obama is trapped by past policy ­mistakes as were Kennedy and Johnson, cheered by an offstage chorus crying, “if only” and “not enough” and “just one more surge”. He and Petraeus have to find a means and a language to ­disengage from Afghanistan, to allow the anti-western hysteria of the Muslim world – which the west has done so much to foster – now to cool. It is hard to imagine a greater tragedy than for the most exciting American president in a generation to be led by a senseless intervention into a repeat of America’s greatest postwar debacle.

As for British politicians, they seek a proxy for their negligence in Afghanistan by staging a show trial of their ­negligence in Iraq. Why do they fiddle while Helmand burns? Might they at least ask how they can spend £40bn a year on defence yet watch a mere 8,000 troops on their one active front having to be rescued by Americans?

Barnsby: ‘Vote for the removal of Gordon Brown as prime minister’

June 23, 2009

Dear John Bercow

Many congratulations on being elected Speaker of the House of Commons. What  I would hope is that some anti-Iraq war MP should present a motion that you  would accept and the House vote Brown out of office.

Who would it be who accomplished this historic act?

My own choice would be Diane Abbott MP female and black being the next Prime Minister thus trumping the US brown President Barak Obama, the hope of all who voted for him, but who disappoints by being enmeshed in US neo-imperialism.

In this way would British authority throughout the world be established.

But one step at a time perhaps and I would hope that some MP who has been anti-Iraq war from the beginning and borne the brunt of the struggle such as George Galloway, so inventive in so many ways, should pull the chain which would flush Brown out.

Or our own Wolverhampton MP, Ken Purchase, due to retire at the  end of this Parliament  who could retire  in a blaze of glory after a life time of service and integrity to the people of Wolverhampton.

Or anyone else Tory or Lib-Dem or other party who have preserved British honour from those who have supported Torturers and Nuclear Maniacs who would contemplate the destruction of the planet and all of us on it.

So, again, congratulations from those of us who have struggled so long for Peace and Multiculturalism.


90 year old lifetime militant and Communist.
GB Working Class Library and Free Communist Bookshop.
141 Henwood Rd. Wolverhampton, W.Mids
Tele and Fax 01902 751888

Tony Blair pushed Gordon Brown to hold Iraq war inquiry in private

June 21, 2009

• Former PM feared facing ‘show trial’
• Leak reveals plan to provoke invasion

Prime Minister Tony Blair

Tony Blair announces on 20 March 2003 that British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea in the war against Iraq. Photograph: PA

Tony Blair urged Gordon Brown to hold the independent inquiry into the Iraq war in secret because he feared that he would be subjected to a “show trial” if it were opened to the public, the Observer can reveal.

The revelation that the former prime minister – who led Britain to war in March 2003 – had intervened will fuel the anger of MPs, peers, military leaders and former civil servants, who were appalled by Brown’s decision last week to order the investigation to be conducted behind closed doors.

Blair, who resisted pressure for a full public inquiry while he was prime minister, appears to have taken a deliberate decision not to express his view in person to Brown because he feared it might leak out.

Instead, messages on the issue were relayed through others to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary, who conveyed them to the prime minister in the days leading up to the announcement of the inquiry last week.

A Downing Street spokesman last night said: “We have always been clear that we consulted a number of people before announcing the commencement of the inquiry, including former government figures. We are not going to get into the nature of those discussions.”

Blair is believed to have been alarmed by the prospect of giving evidence in public and under oath about the use of intelligence and about his numerous private discussions with US President George Bush over plans for war. A spokesman for the former Labour leader would only say last night: “This was a decision for the current prime minister, not for Tony Blair.”

The Observer reveals today that six weeks before the war, at a meeting in Washington, the two leaders were forced to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second UN resolution legitimising military action.

Bush told Blair that the US had drawn up a provocative plan “to fly U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, painted in UN colours, over Iraq with fighter cover”. Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes, he would put Iraq in breach of UN resolutions and legitimise military action.

Last night, Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, whose party opposed the war from the outset, said: “If this is true about Blair demanding secrecy, it is outrageous that an inquiry into the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez is being muzzled to suit the individual needs of the man who took us to war.”

Brown provoked uproar in the Commons on Monday when he announced the inquiry’s scope, membership and remit. Following protests from military leaders and mandarins, including former cabinet secretary Lord Butler, he announced a partial retreat on Thursday, asking the inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, to consider opening a few sessions to the public.

But the move did not ease pressure for a total climbdown. Last night, Brown appeared cornered as MPs of all parties prepared for a Commons debate on Wednesday in which they look certain to back calls for the inquiry to hold sessions in public “whenever possible”.

A Tory motion likely to win wide cross-party backing also calls for the committee to include military experts. The Lib Dems are demanding that it also include constitutional and legal experts to assess the legality of the invasion.

In a sign that the government is preparing to retreat, Chilcot is to meet both Clegg and the Conservative leader, David Cameron, on Tuesday, before the debate. MPs believe that he may then announce a bigger public element to the inquiry in order to avoid the humiliation for Brown of defeat in the Commons.

Chilcot will come under pressure from both leaders to open up the inquiry. Clegg wants a guarantee that witnesses such as Blair will give evidence under oath, while Cameron will ask if the committee can issue an interim report early next year, ahead of a likely spring election.

The Tories say that if Brown does not order a U-turn, an incoming Conservative government will “reserve the right” to widen the scope of the inquiry and increase its powers where necessary after an election.

Sir Christopher Meyer, who was the British ambassador in Washington in the run-up to the war and is likely to be called to give evidence to the inquiry, yesterday backed calls to make it public. “It should be open,” he said. “I think it should also have powers of subpoena and people should give evidence on oath. I would be perfectly comfortable with that.”

He said the case for openness was increased because there had been “a ton of stuff” published in the US, both via official inquiries and in memoirs written by key players, making public what had previously been confidential. “I would be perfectly happy for the whole embassy archive in Washington [to be disclosed],” he added. “I haven’t got a problem with that being made available. Things were very sensitive then, but this is 2009.”

On his blog, Alastair Campbell, Blair’s former spin doctor, says that “on balance” he believes Brown was right to order the inquiry to be held in private. “I can see the arguments for both sides – openness and transparency favours a public inquiry, but it may well be that the inquiry will do a better job freed from the frenzy of 24-hour media.”

In a letter to the Observer, a group of current and former Labour MPs, headed by Alan Simpson, the chairman of Labour Against the War, demands a complete rethink. “Neither the public nor parliament will understand how the prime minister’s ‘new era of openness’ can begin with an Iraq inquiry held behind closed doors,” says the letter.

Dr Barnsby’s letters to Gordon Brown and David Cameron

May 13, 2009

The Barnsby Blog, May 13, 2009

The following message has been emailed to  Gordon Brown today:

Dear Gordon,

When are you going to stop supporting the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere?

When are you going to oppose the daily slaughter of innocent civilians and our own troops?

When are you going to cease to be a party to Torture supported by and initiated by your own government?

And when are you going to understand that ending the wars will release such a flood of money that the Economic Slump we are currently suffering from would disappear overnight?

George Barnsby


A second message was sent today to David Cameron:

Dear David

When are you going to stop supporting the wars in Iraq and  Afghanistan and elsewhere and making yourself an accessory to the Torture sanctioned by the Brown government?

And when are you going to understand that ending these wars will release such a flood of money that the Economic Slump we are suffering from would disappear overnight?

And when are you going to end your hypocrisy of pretending to be a democrat when you do not reply to my correspondence?

A reply to this email is requested.

George Barnsby


November 18, 2008

Dr George Barnsby, Nov 17, 2008

Why are there so many fools and knaves who share Brown’s illusions that he is important. He is in only one respect. Now that George W Bush has been reduced from the most powerful tyrant in the world to a blithering idiot by the stunning victory of the new US president Obama, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have now become the second and third most important war criminals in the world, because they support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the views of most sensible people that these wars are illegal, racist and unwinnable. A further reason to arrest Brown NOW is that he is a Nuclear Maniac prepared to take the risk of seeing the world blown to smithereens in another Holocaust.

Now there is now yet another reason to put Brown under lock and key – Somali pirates have reappeared and captured a Saudi-owned Aramco tanker. Here there are two dangers one is that a ship loaded with nuclear arms will  be captured and sold to the highest bidder who will then hold the USA, Britain and other western powers to ransom, or if they fail to respond blow up targets that they, the Pirates have chosen.

All these dangers have been aired in this BLOG, but most members of the Commentariat, as Media Lens christened them because of their almost monopoly powers of providing ordinary people with news and when we complain are so contemptuous of public opinion that they do not reply to me.

Such people include the chief executive and chairman of the BBC, the head of ITV, the news commentators, Paxman, Marr, Wark, Kearney and Jon Snow of Channel Four. Also the head of the Learning and Skills Council, Sir Trevor Phillips the chair of the Commission of Equality and Human Rights because he will not let us know whether he is for or against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When Obama won his great, but limited victory as US president. I took a breather. Some people have warned me that by writing a BLOG every night I was putting my health at risk and perhaps I should only BLOG on a five day week or perhaps only once a week.and catch up on my reading. It seemed appropriate since my last BLOG on Friday dealt with the English Revolution of the seventeenth century and the fact that Obama seemed to be following the same path as Oliver Cromwell who after executing Charles the First  reneged and eventually destroyed the Levellers who were the working class ‘root and branch’ of the revolution.

Continued >>

Brown abandons 42-day detention after Lords defeat

October 14, 2008

Gordon Brown tonight abandoned his parliamentary battle to allow police to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 42 days, after the Lords overwhelmingly rejected the proposal by 191 votes. In an emergency statement to MPs tonight, Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, said that the counter-terrorism bill would continue its journey through parliament without the 42 day measure.

But in a face saving gesture, the government will publish a bill containing the 42 day plan; this bill will be held in reserve to be introduced should there be a terrorist emergency. Ministers said they had decided to follow this course because the introduction of the counter-terrorism bill would have been delayed by a year if the government had embarked on a lengthy battle with the Lords.

“I do not believe, as some Hon Members clearly do, that it is enough to simply cross our fingers and hope for the best,” Smith told parliament. “Mr Speaker, that is not good enough. Because when it comes to national security, there are certain risks I’m not prepared to take.

Smith’s announcement came after the former lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, dismissed the government’s arguments as “fanciful”. His comments came in a lengthy debate which ended in peers rejecting the 42 day plan by 309 to 118.

Government sources said Brown’s hand was forced because whips in the Commons told Downing Street that they would struggle to muster a majority in favour of the proposal. The 42 day plan was only passed by MPs in June by nine votes after the prime minister won the support of the nine Democratic Unionist MPs.

If ministers had insisted on keeping the 42 day plan in the counter terrorism bill, Brown would have to have held a series of votes in the commons to overturn the Lords’ rejection. The overwhelming opposition in the lords would have resulted in a game of parliamentary “ping pong” in which the bill would have been passed from chamber to chamber. Brown would then have had to use the parliament act to force the bill through next year.

The announcement by the government came after Falconer told peers how he had changed his mind after supporting Tony Blair’s plan to detain terror suspects without charge for 90 days in 2005.

He had done so because police could now detain terror suspects by using the so-called “threshold test”, an option under which they can charge a suspect on a lower threshold if they have a reasonable suspicion that evidence will be compiled in a reasonable time.

“It has changed in practice the basis upon which it operates,” Falconer said. “The idea that extending [the detention period] from 28 days to 42 days is going to make a difference is utterly fanciful.”

Lord West, the home office minister, warned peers of the dangers of voting against the plan. “If we get it wrong we could all live to regret it. When the need for more than 28 days arrives — and it will — we can either have a well considered and debated back-pocket measure in place ready to make available to prosecutors, or we will be forced to release terrorists on to the streets unless some hurried legislation is passed. And we all know hurried legislation in a period of emergency is bad legislation. Whoever is in power will find it a very uncomfortable moment.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, welcomed the government’s climb- down. “Liberty has been overwhelmed by public and parliamentary support for our campaign against the extension. Rest assured that if any government tries again we will be ready,” she said.

%d bloggers like this: