Posts Tagged ‘PM Gordon Brown’

Tony Blair froze out Iraq war dissenters

January 14, 2010

By Michael Savage, Political Correspondent

The Independent/UK, Jan. 14, 2010

Tony Blair froze out anyone with concerns about the Iraq war and was not challenged on the issue by a Cabinet that had been “conditioned” to accept that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq inquiry has been told.

Lord Turnbull, who as Cabinet Secretary was Britain’s most senior civil servant, said that Mr Blair largely surrounded himself with those who would not disagree with him, while those who did have concerns were given almost no time to discuss the issue.

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Barnsby: Arrest Gordon Brown Now

October 17, 2009

George Barnsby, The Barnsby Blog, No. 948, Oct 16, 2009

A letter in the Morning Star from Roy Ormond of Skipton asks the
questions I have been posing since 2003. He asks: Are there no lawyers on the left, progressives or ones simply believing in the rule of law who could initiate and conduct a case against Blair. Such a step would bring widespread acclaim from an overwhelmingly number of British people and from millions of others internationally. Furthermore it would encourage those democrats in the USA to challenge the actions of George W. Bush, actions which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and misery for many  millions. Yes indeed arrest Bush and Blair, but add the name Gordon
Brown.

More on Gordon Brown:

GORDON BROWN GUILTY OF TORTURE BROUGHT TO BOOK

George Barnsby, Blog No. 945, Oct 14, 2009

The message has gone out. Brown and New Labour has been a Neo-con monster from the beginning and today I have asked Brown to confirm that he signed Edgar Kristol’s, originator of The New American Century, whose wife who was just as bad wrote an admiring preface to her book, thus showing that New Labour began as a lackey of US imperialism and is now dying its inevitable
and horrible death the same way.

In a war for democracy, why worry about public opinion?

October 15, 2009

Escalation in Afghanistan is aimed at rescuing the credibility of western power, whatever Afghans or westerners might want

Whoever is in charge, it seems, the war on terror has truly become a war without end. Eight years after George Bush and Tony Blair launched it, with an attack on Afghanistan under the preposterous title of “operation enduring freedom” and without any explicit UN mandate, Gordon Brown has agreed to send yet more British troops to die for a cause neither they nor the public any longer believe in.

Granted we are only talking about an extra 500 troops on top of the 9,000 already there, and the decision is hedged with qualifications. Brown has nevertheless bowed to pressure from the US administration, the British military establishment and the warmongering wing of the media, anxious to exploit the government’s Afghan failures in the runup to the general election.

But if any more proof were needed that foreign wars are not regarded as any business of the voters, this is surely it. Yesterday’s batch of polls confirm public opposition to the Afghan imbroglio is becoming ever more entrenched. There has been a 7% increase since last month in support for immediate withdrawal, according to a Populus poll for the Times, with 68% wanting troops out within the year and strongest backing for a pullout among Labour voters.

That is feeding the growing disaffection among serving soldiers towards what many see as a futile sacrifice, supposedly on behalf of a hostile population in Helmand province. The public opposition of Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, scheduled to face a court martial next month after refusing to fight what he regards as an illegal war in Afghanistan, clearly reflects a wider sentiment in the army. Stop the War Coalition activists drumming up support for next week’s national demonstration have reported sympathetic approaches from off-duty squaddies and their families across the country. It’s the kind of climate that saw parents of soldiers killed in Iraq tell the official inquiry on Tuesday they want to see Blair indicted as a war criminal.

Reports are multiplying of a similar mood among American soldiers in Afghanistan, as US opposition to the war has also hardened. As in Britain, the rampant rigging in August’s presidential election was a tipping point: dying for Afghans’ right to take part in a fraudulent sham is scarcely the noble cause for which Nato forces were assured they were the standard-bearers.

But the signs are that Barack Obama is once again preparing to send more troops – even if not the 40,000 demanded by his senior commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal. Last week, the US president explicitly ruled out any significant reduction in troop numbers or switch from a “counter-insurgency” to “counter-terrorist” remit (targeting al-Qaida, rather than the Taliban), let alone military withdrawal.

Instead, the hints are of schemes to buy off Taliban footsoldiers in an attempt to repeat the trick that created US-sponsored Sunni militias out of elements of the Iraqi resistance during the 2007 US surge. The Iraq analogy is not a happy one, however. Those Iraqi “awakening councils” are already falling apart, notably in what was supposed to be their showcase of Anbar province, where a string of deadly attacks has taken place in recent days.

Add to that the fact that there is no equivalent Shia or Iranian-style threat to the Taliban in the Pashtun areas where they are strongest, and the new wheeze’s potential looks a good deal less impressive. As Gilles Dorronsoro of the Carnegie Institute puts it: “You cannot break an insurgency that strong with money. It’s not a mercenary force.” In fact, the Taliban now effectively controls up to 70% of the country, according to Pakistan government estimates, its support fuelled by nationalist anger and the thousands of Afghan civilian casualties inflicted by Nato forces.

Meanwhile, years of occupation and intervention in Afghanistan are yielding ever more bitter fruit in Pakistan. The war with the local Taliban is expected to escalate next week into a full-scale US-sponsored assault on South Waziristan, retaliatory attacks are spreading in the cities, US drone attacks have exacted a relentless civilian death toll and two million have already been made homeless by the spillover war.

Yet one after another, the official aims and justifications of the war in Afghanistan have failed or been discredited. It was a war fought to kill or capture Bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but both are still at large. It was a war fought to destroy al-Qaida, whose leadership simply decamped and set up new bases from Pakistan to Iraq. It was a war for democracy, women’s rights, development and opium eradication – all successively demonstrated to be a hollow joke.

Now we are told it is a war to prevent al-Qaida-inspired terrorism on the streets of London, which shamelessly turns reality on its head. There were no such attacks before 2001, and both bombers and intelligence agencies have repeatedly identified the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan as a central motivation for those who try to launch them. Last week, General Richards, new chief of the general staff, conjured up an even more lurid justification: if Nato pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban and al-Qaida would seize Pakistan and its nuclear weapons.

The opposite is the case. It is the Afghan war that is destabilising Pakistan and driving the Pashtun rebellion there. The last remaining argument, that withdrawal from Afghanistan would risk “undermining the credibility of Nato” and the “international community”, used by Brown last month, is the closest to the truth. In the wake of its strategic defeat in Iraq, it would certainly signal that the US and its allies can no longer impose military solutions on recalcitrant states at will, as they have done since the end of the cold war.

Which is why US, British and other Nato soldiers are likely to go on dying in Afghanistan, along with thousands of mostly unreported Afghans. The alternative is not to “walk away” from the country, as often claimed by supporters of the occupation, but the negotiated withdrawal and political settlement, including the Taliban and regional powers, that will eventually end the war. That’s what most Afghans, Britons and Americans want. But political pressure will have to grow stronger – including, grimly, from a rising soldiers’ death toll – if it’s going to be achieved any time soon.

For Britons, The Party Game Is Over

September 18, 2009

By Pilger, John, ZNet, Sep 18, 2009
John Pilger’s ZSpace Page

On the day Prime Minister Gordon Brown made his “major policy speech” on Afghanistan, repeating his surreal claim that if the British army did not fight Pashtun tribesmen over there, they would be over here, the stench of burnt flesh hung over the banks of the Kunduz River. Nato fighter planes had blown the poorest of the poor to bits. They were Afghan villagers who had rushed to siphon off fuel from two stalled tankers. Many were children with water buckets and cooking pots. “At least” 90 were killed, although Nato prefers not to count its civilian enemy. “It was a scene from hell,” said Mohammed Daud, a witness. “Hands, legs and body parts were scattered everywhere.” No parade for them along a Wiltshire high street.

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How Gordon Brown can cease being a warmonger and nuclear maniac

September 17, 2009

Dr George Barnsby, The Barnsby Blog, Sep 16, 2009

Critics of the war in Iraq continue to proliferate. The Daily Telegraph
claims that the cost of the war in Iraq has now reached 5 billion pounds  with another 1 billion in Afghanistan. Tony Blair has recently confessed to Al Jazeera that the war  in Iraq was a total disaster, and Kissinger one of  the greatest war criminals of all times responsible for the genocides of  Indo-China condemns the war in Iraq.

If Brown could be persuaded to abandon the Barbarians who support war and join the Civilised part of humanity who oppose war then he might just  save the Labour Party. But if he did this Cuts would no longer be necessary  because the economic crisis would end and the vast savings made would even  be enough to finance our social services adequately.

Then if only Brown could be persuaded to renounce his Nuclear Lunacy he would become a national hero and the Labour Party would certainly win the next general election because we could all sleep safely in our beds certain that our planet would continue to exist.

Wave of protest greets Israeli PM

August 26, 2009
Morning Star Online, Tuesday 25 August 2009
by Daniel Coysh
Gordon Brown meets Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu for talks

Gordon Brown meets Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu for talks

Hundreds of peace and solidarity campaigners have gathered at Downing Street to protest at Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s cosy meeting with far-right Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

Protesters from the Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the British Muslim Initiative converged on Downing Street at lunchtime, demanding an end to Israel’s violations of international law, with its refusal to dismantle the illegal settlements on the West Bank, the “ethnic cleansing” of east Jerusalem and its ongoing siege of Gaza.

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Barnsby to Prime Minister Gordon Brown

August 9, 2009

Dear Gordon Brown

The fact that you are on vacation and delegated control of Great Britain to whichever fellow Torturer or Nuclear Maniac Harriett Harman, Lord Mandelson or Allan Johnson shows your   complete inability to comprehend the gravity of the present world situation. You should immediately recall Parliament, although that is probably beyond your provenance now – the Speaker of the House of Commons should call Parliament and you would be at once deprived of your liberty unless you immediately renounce the wars you are waging.

An equally important effect of such a renunciation would be that vast sums now spent on war would be available for peaceful purposes and the present Economic Crisis would disappear and we could all sleep safely in our beds at night.

Unless you do this you will be arraigned before the same court that tried the Nazis in 1945 and charged with Crimes against Humanity.

GEORGE BARNSBY

August 8, 2009

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The Barnsby Blog, August 9, 2009

NO MORE WAR

As the folly and wickedness of the wars being waged by Obama and
supported by Brown is recognized anti-war feeling sweeps across the world. On Wednesday the largest EU countries Germany and France united against the war in Iraq. Thirty two US Mayors of the Institute for Policy Studies are mobilising to prevent a war against Iran. And the British Army General in Afghanistan, Sir David Richards says that British involvement in Afghanistan could take 80 years and this echoes the opposition of his predecessor Sir Richard Dan who also opposed the war in Afghanistan. Only madmen can continue to support this slaughter and the Torture and Nuclear madness that is involved.

Fortunately in Wolverhampton we have a Sikh mayor Surjan Singh Duhra who we shall certainly ask if he will join the US Mayors anti-war appeal and what he can do to promote it. This brings me back to Frank Spittle who wrote the original letter which I sent to the Mayor asking him to support Frank’s Send a Vet Scheme which has since blossomed into a campaign to send 2nd World War Vets back to the countries where they served their time.
Everything I have received today has a connection direct or indirect
with Peace and Multiculturalism and pride of place again goes to Frank Spittle. He has produced a portrait of a First World War Communist which has not so far been incorporated into our  History of the Communist Party of Wolverhampton, but which certainly will in future. Chris Knowles is the name and he worked in Frank Spittle’s father’s factory after the war. Chris had been decorated for bravery with the DCM. More about Chris will follow.

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Memo confirms Bush and Blair knew claims Iraq had WMDs were lies

June 26, 2009

By Paul Bond | wsws.org,  26 June 2009

A confidential memo obtained by the Observer, detailing a meeting between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, confirms their determination to press ahead with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 without any evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and without United Nations approval.

The five-page memo, written by Blair’s foreign policy adviser Sir David Manning, is dated January 31, 2003, some two months before the invasion began. It records the thinking of Bush and Blair as it became increasingly obvious that United Nations weapons inspectors would not find the advanced weaponry, including a nuclear capability, that both leaders were using to justify military action.

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The International Court of Justice must investigate the Iraq war

June 17, 2009

The evidence is that war crimes have been committed

By Christopher King | Redress, June 17, 2009

Christopher King argues that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s announcement that an inquiry into the Iraq war would be held in secret is an attempt to dismiss the appalling consequences of the Iraq war, and is an insult to the country and to the British dead in Iraq and the London bombings.

Gordon Brown’s inquiry into the Iraq war will:

  • Be in private, that is, secret
  • Be held by privy councillors
  • Not seek to apportion blame

None of this is in the public interest or the interests of the country.

  • The secrecy of the hearing is transparently to enable a cover up of the facts.
  • Privy councillors are core pillars of the establishment and share the interests of the wealthy rather than those of democracy and the country as a whole.
  • The Iraq war was a war of choice, a pre-emptive war and on all the evidence a war of aggression – a war crime. As such it would be in breach of the United Nations’ Nuremberg principles, falling under the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

The effects of the Iraq war were of extraordinary seriousness:

  • Over one million Iraqis killed, many more wounded
  • Four to five million Iraqis made refugees, most still displaced
  • Destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure, still unrepaired
  • Widespread destruction of housing and buildings
  • 179 British soldiers killed, probably about 1500 wounded, 222 seriously
  • Waste of approximately GBP 9 billion in direct costs
  • Reprisal attacks and deaths in London and elsewhere, decreased UK security together with huge costs and inconvenience of security precautions
  • Destruction of the United Nation’s authority, loss of UK credibility, a precedent for aggressive warfare, breach of international law, thus decreased world security.

Gordon Brown’s attempt to dismiss these appalling consequences by a secret inquiry is absurd. It is an insult to the country and to the British dead in Iraq and the London bombings. Brown himself voted in Parliament for the war as a member of the Blair cabinet at that time.

Nor could any form of parliamentary inquiry do justice to this disaster to Iraq and this country. We have a Parliament of professional politicians who are for the most part both incompetent and corrupt. They are not politicians of principle; they are politicians of self-interest. Most, with a few honourable exceptions, voted for the Iraq war. They did not read the weapons inspectors’ reports; they did not read the United Nations proceedings, yet they voted to invade another country and collude with the dangerous fool whom America chose as its president, not once, but twice. Their vote showed contempt for the British people whose money they take and who marched peacefully, a million strong in London, to tell them that the Iraq war was wrong.

On his resignation as premier, Anthony Blair, who marketed the war for George Bush, was immediately rewarded by the Americans with a job at the investment bank JP Morgan at a salary of GBP 2.5 million per year. This is reported to be the first of a series of posts that could gain him GBP 40 million. JP Morgan is now involved in Iraqi oil and stands to make huge profits by mortgaging future Iraqi oil production. One must ask, “Would Mr Blair have gained these rewards if he had refused to place the UK armed forces at America’s disposal and market the Iraq war to the rest of the world?” All the evidence is that the objective of the war was the seizure of Iraq’s oil resources and Anthony Blair’s objective was money.

This secret, disgusting, cover-up inquiry organized by Gordon Brown should be ignored. It is a waste of time to oppose it or to attempt modification of its terms of reference, whatever they might be. Those named to hold it would do well to reconsider as they will henceforth be regarded as apologists for and concealers of war crimes. Those concerned with peace, justice and the rule of law should concentrate their effort where it will bear results. The future morale, reputation and direction of the country are at stake. The country needs to be cleansed.

There is only one possibility for demonstrating that the United Kingdom has returned to the rule of law. The Iraq war inquiry must go to the International Court of Justice.

Gordon Brown is obliged to call an election in less than a year. Those political parties or independent candidates who stand on the undertaking to take the Iraq war to the International Court of Justice will gain overwhelming public support. The country is sickened of its self-serving politicians. A means of expressing public opinion is needed. Coalitions of the minority parties for this purpose should be formed since the major parties will not support this action. If our serving soldiers, the injured and families of the dead want the truth, they will find it at the International Court of Justice – not in Gordon Brown’s secret whitewash inquiry that he hopes will get him past the next election.

At the last parliamentary election, the Liberal Democrats had the opportunity to stand on a platform of withdrawing our forces from Iraq. Anthony Blair successfully bluffed them that it would be “disloyal to our brave troops”. The evidence is that Anthony Blair’s lies and cynical use of our troops for his personal enrichment put them in harm’s way and left 179 of them dead.

Christopher King is a retired consultant and lecturer in management and marketing. He lives in London, UK.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: They lied about Iraq in 2003, and they’re still lying now

December 23, 2008

Gordon Brown has been spinning his own fairy tale of Baghdad

The Independent, UK, Dec 22, 2008

Change font size: A | A | A

Triumphalists are getting off on Iraq again, intoning hallelujah songs as they did after staging the fall of Saddam’s statue then again and again, sweet lullabies to send us into blissful sleep and wake to a new dawn. The composers and orchestrators – Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Straw, Hoon and Rice – still believe history is on their side.

Bush visited his troops at Camp Victory in Iraq this month and said: “Iraq had a record of supporting terror, of developing and using weapons of mass destruction, was routinely firing at American military personnel, systematically violating UN resolutions … Iraqis, once afraid to leave their homes are going back to school and shopping in malls … American troops are returning home because of success.” Only one shoe and one without a sharp stiletto was hurled at him by Muntadar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi who begged to differ.

Gordon Brown, also in Iraq, spun his own fairy tale of Baghdad, where everyone is living happily ever after and British soldiers come home proud heroes. The reality is that some of our soldiers are broken – physically and mentally – fighting this illegal and unpopular war and that too many did terrible things in the land of endless tears. General Sir Mike Jackson now blames the Americans for their “appalling” decisions. And yet he too insists the campaign was a success.

Even the choral backers of Bush and Blair, once oh-so-influential, sound tinny now, out of tune. In a new book, The Liberal Defence Of Murder, Richard Seymour names many usually enlightened individuals who cheered on the disgraceful crusade and have now gone silent. Others who supported the adventure have escaped through passages of ingenious exculpation. Most Tories, for example, now say they were hypnotised by the Government’s false dossiers.

Really? Even hard-of-hearing Mrs Kirkpatrick down the road – she’s 79 – understood that we were being deceived. The UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Scott Ritter both told us there were no WMDs. Ken Clarke said this weekend: “I opposed the Iraq war. I’m not sure whether anybody believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to anybody. Most American spies didn’t believe that, most British spies didn’t believe that and most of the Foreign Office didn’t believe that”.

Nor did the Opposition but it still backed Blair because Conservatives love wars and one against a swarthy potentate was irresistible.

So to Iraqis, the beneficiaries of our noble “sacrifices”. This week Nahla Hussein, a left-wing, feminist Kurdish Iraqi, was shot and beheaded for her campaigning zeal. Fifty-seven Iraqis were blown up in Kirkuk. Christians in Mosul are being savagely persecuted and sharia law has replaced the 1959 codified entitlements given to women in family disputes. Women in Iraq have fewer rights today than under Saddam. Yes, there is some normality in parts but tensions between Shias and Sunnis are explosive. When troops are withdrawn next year, expect more bloodshed. The resources of Iraq, meanwhile, are being plundered.

For these blessings, one million Iraqis had to die and their children still suffer from illnesses caused by our weapons and our war. Five million Iraqis are displaced and, of these, the US took in 1,700. It is easier for an Iraqi cat or dog to gain entry to the land of the free. Try Baghdad Pups, which offers (for a hefty fee) to get the adopted pets of US soldiers into America. In 2007, 39,000 Iraqis sought refuge in the EU countries and we took in 300. Sweden, which has no responsibility for the havoc, gave refuge to 18,000.

I have been talking to exiled Iraqis in London. One young man has a child whose mother killed herself after giving birth during the war. He both loves and hates this country, as did Bilal Abdullah, the NHS doctor convicted for dreadful plans to blow up people in the UK. A beautiful Iraqi woman told me her nephew gave plastic flowers to our soldiers when first they went into Basra. Last year, they shot him dead, mistaking him for an enemy.

On Friday, I met an Iraqi artist, Yousif Nasser, whose studio has become a hub for other exiles, artists, musicians and the mentally ill seeking art therapy. A gentle, melancholic man, he showed me his series titled “Black Rain”, enormous works depicting the violence in Iraq: “There are no bodies, only pieces, bits, of a little bit of this and that. People don’t buy my pictures – they are too dark. How can I tell you what has happened to my country? I have no words, only these images.”

I have words, too weak and inadequate to carry the rage felt by millions at the renewed arrogance of the villains who first devastated Iraq and now garland themselves. Lies, lies and now delusion. There is no glory to be salvaged in this desert.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk


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