Saturday, 31 December 2011

Samoa day - or just loving all the time we have

 A little whimsical suggestion for 2012.

When things seem just too much, when the thought of tomorrow brings feelings of dread or apprehension, why not simply skip it and take a 'Samoan day out'?

Well, if a country can just jump across the international dateline and lose a day from its existence, why not do the same?

Or maybe not. Better valuing every day, every minute of one's life, good times and bad.

A peaceful and precious New Year to one and all.


Thursday, 29 December 2011

North Korea and the BBC myth factory

Kim Jong-il dies, North Koreans weep and the Western media deride it all as contrived hysteria and crude propaganda, warning of a dangerous new threat to international security.

The BBC seek to establish the authenticity of the mass wailing. But its constant focus on the public emotion helps reinforce the image of a brainwashed people led by a mad and unpredictable regime.

In a typical exchange (News at One, 29 December), BBC newsreader Matthew Amroliwala presses senior correspondent John Simpson on the problems now for "the international community grappling with this rogue nation."

Simpson responds to this open bias with another rambling 'analysis' of the 'unstable, unknown intentions' of the regime. We learn little, other than 'we have to wait and see' and the implicit message that 'they are not to be trusted'.

In other reports, we hear of the Pyongyang regime's responsibility for mass starvation and see impoverished people eat grass to survive in a country isolated from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, many go hungry, poverty-stricken and without hope here in one of the richest nations on earth. Which economic system is worse?

A nuclear-laden North Korean military sucks the country dry as it guards itself, with some fair reason, against surrounding enemies. With no obvious Cold War or other 'external threat', an already nuclear-burdened Britain orders new multi-billion pound replacements while schools and hospitals are forced to close. Which military expenditure is worse?

North Korea issues token threats and tests an occasional conventional missile. Britain, in contrast, leads in mass wars of aggression, leaving over a million victims in its wake, in order to plunder countries' resources and maintain a perpetual arms economy. Which war-ready state is worse?

A youthful heir, Kim Jong-un, assumes the political leadership, with no notion of a democratic mandate, issuing the same autocratic edicts as before. Meanwhile, we in the West are offered a succession of youngish clone-type leaders, all smart suits, all beholden to the same corporate powers, all ready to hand-down brutal austerity measures that nobody wants, all leading us into more bloody wars we never voted for. Which political deceit is worse?

Kim Jong-il's eccentricities and indulgences are derided as unaccountable indifference to his 'adoring', suffering people. Yet, an 'accountable' Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and the rest of the 'we're-all-in-this-together coalition' have helped elite bankers continue their luxurious lifestyles, while people lose their homes and jobs in record numbers. Which hypocrisy is worse?

Writing from Seoul, BBC correspondent Lucy Williamson said of the North Korean state media:
"It is a myth-making factory that, for most of its audience, is their only source of news."
That can also be seriously said of the BBC, an institution so astute at preserving the myth of 'benign/sane us, menacing/disturbed them' that its audience see it as, if not the only source of news, the only source of 'impartial' news. Which media is worse?

Of North Korea's successor, Williamson asserts:
"Untried and untested, he will perhaps depend even more on the power of his lineage, and the personality cult created by his country's unique cultural machine."
Think, alternatively, of how the unique cultural machine that's the BBC has helped popularise the elite Oxbridge lineage of Cameron and Osborne. Think, also, how that cultural machine has given establishment cover to the "untried and untested" version of 'coalition politics' being used to impose the most brutal assault on the poor since the 1920s.

But this is not just about comparing/contrasting systems, societies and leaders. It's about the ways in which hegemonic legitimacy here is asserted through media vilification and derision of the 'strange and volatile' other.

While eager in its parody of North Korea's personality cult and state propaganda, liberal correspondents have very little to say about the illusions we live and internalise as a 'free and democratic West' - and certainly nothing about their own central part in that vital mythology.

Just try to imagine Amroliwala and Simpson on the BBC news labelling Britain a "rogue state" for the mass crimes it has committed around the world. The possibility is even more far-fetched than the odd claims of regime-supporting 'natural phenomena' coming out of North Korea these past days.

North Korea's myth-making factory may be in full-scale creative production right now, but it can't compete with the BBC's smarter range of state-approved Orwellian lines. That many would consider the comparison facile rests, of course, on the BBC's own mythical branding of itself as a free and neutral product. Crucially, while Pyongyang depend on industrial-scale output of its reinforcing myths, the BBC need only keep turning out that simple and more effective conceit.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Military Wives, selective lives

'Tis the season to be wary.

Wary, that is, of festive militarism.

As if crass commercialism of the season wasn't enough, the naked media promotion of the Military Wives single this Christmas shows just how effective cultural propaganda can be in sanitising 'our' warmongering abroad.  

The militarisation of Christmas is not new, but it's intensifying as entertainment shows fall into uniform line in support of the 'war effort'.

Besides the craven promotion of their song by BBC reporters and assorted celebrities, Military Wives have had multiple media outings, including  an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

In similar vein, ITV's Michael Buble Christmas show featured a wounded serviceman returned from Afghanistan, with a gushing Buble praising 'our selfless soldiers' and dedicating a song to him and his partner.

Just try to imagine the BBC or ITV openly promoting an anti-war Christmas song.

Who would deny the personal difficulties faced by these women and their partners? But did they or their media sponsors ever stop to think of the suffering experienced by invaded Iraqis or Afghans? As ever, it seems that only 'our' pain and separation is to be chorused.

Jonathan Freedland has tried to rationalise his support for the song by comparing it favourably to the formulaic X Factor output that usually makes Number 1. He also regards it as an uplifting statement of good in our stricken, austere times.  If only Freedland were to shine a little comparative compassion on the victims and families at the receiving end of Britain's foreign endeavours.

Indeed, it's a sign of the times that the apparent choice is between contrived commercial product or contrived militarist product.

Ah, well.

It'll all be over by Christmas.

Joyeux Noël


Monday, 19 December 2011

Inside Job, outside job

There's a neat moment in the film Inside Job where, confronted about his interchangeable roles as select assistant to the US government and multiple consultancies to elite financial institutions, Glenn Hubbard, Chief Economic Adviser and Bush Administration Dean of Columbia Business School, turns irritable and angry, giving his interviewer sharp notice that the exchange is about to be terminated.

It's a seminal scene in Charles Ferguson's highly-revealing film, showing just how grandiose and reactive such people can be when their coveted world is challenged.

As part of his 'academic' services, Hubbard had co-authored a paper with Goldman Sachs' chief economic adviser, praising credit derivatives and other volatile instruments that led to the banking meltdown of 2008 - being handsomely rewarded for his efforts.

Another Harvard neoliberal guru, economics professor Martin Feldstein - adviser to Ronald Reagan and key architect of US financial deregulation - simply blanks the questions of financial impropriety with sly smiles and dismissals. 

Yet another, Chairman of Harvard Economics Department, John Campbell, looks similarly sheepish, calling all such evident conflicts of interest "basically irrelevant."

How awkward and irascible even the most confident 'intellects' can seem when their claims to 'academic integrity' have been rumbled. 

As Peter Bradshaw notes in his review of the film:
"Perhaps the most sensational aspect of this film is Ferguson's contention that the crash corrupted the discipline of economics itself. Distinguished economists from America's Ivy League universities were drafted in by banks to compose reports sycophantically supporting reckless deregulation. They were massively paid for these consultancies. The banks bought the prestige of the academics, and their universities' prestige, too. Ferguson speaks to many of these economists, who clearly thought they were going to be interviewed as wry, dispassionate observers. It is really something to see the expression of shock, outrage and fear on their faces as they realise they're in the dock."

However, contrary to Bradshaw, there's nothing actually "sensational" at all about the discipline's 'compromises' - how very Guardian to think so. The truth is that America's academic system, alongside its political system, was already long-corrupted - as one of the film's contributor's puts it - by America's "Wall Street government".

Still, how telling of market life that so many well-educated professors have discarded academia for trading floor consultancies, with mathematician 'wizards' creating mind-boggling instruments even they don't understand. As the resultant collapses show, speculation in these Frankenstein products isn't genius science or 'wealth-creating' enterprise, it's parasitical selfishness, creating nothing for society at large.  

It's a study in itself to observe these groomed figures squirm in discomfort as Ferguson lists, in meticulous detail, their revolving-door positions as key political advisers and directorships in profit-obsessed banks.

As his penetrating movie suggests, the capacity of elites to swindle and lie is as vast and excessive as the astronomical figures involved. In the immediate aftermath, the US Treasury approved more than $700 billion in lifelines, most of it now spirited away by the same crooks.

Despite the collapse of giants like Lehman Brothers, the exposure of serial malpractice within iconic banks like Goldman Sachs and the complicity of super-trusted rating agents such as Moody's, guilty directors have all exited with vast payoffs, bonuses and other untaxed remunerations, while those evicted from their sub-prime homes are cast aside to live on the street.

The scale of America's banking heist, the corporate villainy and the ensuing protection of those responsible is simply staggering. And so is the consistency of the financial cabal's defence against any regulatory adjustments. As the film notes, Wall Street is more consolidated and, through intensified lobbying, politically stronger than ever.         

Inside Job is not, however, without its more analytical flaws, among them the honorary assessments of 'philanthropist financier' George Soros as an advocate for 'fair reform' of a promiscuous system he himself has played a considerable part in creating.

More centrally, it has nothing at all to say about the corporate-run media which plays such a crucial role in legitimising the overall system of profit and greed. Where's the critique of the business press in all of this discussion, in particular the liberal business media? It's a vital omission.

The Wall Street Journal and its stable-mates may revel in exposing this or that instance of financial corruption. But is this not part of the bigger deceitful prop of a 'decent-but-flawed' system?

The elite financial towers don't stand apart from the rest of the corporate jungle, of which the corporate media is a central structure. 

Whether ultra-conservative or reformist liberal, daily appraisal, dissection and approval of the business world keeps the 'integrity' of the business culture intact. Alas, perhaps betraying his own liberal constraints, Ferguson offers no investigation of this key ideological cover or the propaganda role of the financial commentariat.       

Thankfully, the film spares us any romantic narrative on Obama the 'saviour president'. As we see, all the same guilty people have been retained as advisers, the promised prosecutions never happened, the gigantic sums Obama oversaw in his part of the bailout will never be returned.

All of which has been a great new learning curve for the American and wider global public. The belated mass disillusion over Mr Hopey Changey has generated a more acute understanding that all the political class are in the expansive pocket of big business.   

The ensuing Occupy Wall Street movement has also drawn-in new inside reformist elements such as the Alternative Banking Group, comprising many already working in high finance.   

Yet, as Occupy Wall Street, like Occupy LSX, seek to engage 'repentant' bankers, such notions of reform carries with it the risk of believing that the system is fundamentally sound, merely in need of adjustment and better regulation.

The 'far-reaching reforms' of the UK banking sector, just announced, is evidence of the elite's latest attempt to protect and maintain; another damage limitation exercise to sweeten the toxic austerity pill.

Again, our corporate-liberal media indulge this charade with dutiful gravitas, the cited objections to Vickers confined to possible 'adverse impacts' on small business and token concerns from the public. Nowhere is there the merest mention of capitalism in crisis or the case for radical alternatives.

The stark, bottom-dollar truth is that the entire structure is beyond redemption. Wall Street and its satellite bastions don't need reforming. They need dismantling.  And, while films like Inside Job partly educate us on the deep, challenging nature of the problem, that task will only progress, however slowly, as part of an outside job of mass, non-incorporated resistance.


Monday, 5 December 2011

Guardian again in its true colours

Whatever its boast as a 'radical space', however celebrated its 'dissident' writers, the Guardian's truest function remains its chameleon-like support for state power.

Consider this Guardian 'interview' with Lieutenant General James Bucknall, Britain's most senior commander in Afghanistan.

One might have expected our 'leading critical' daily to place Bucknall under serious journalistic inspection over this country's occupation of another, its subservience to the US in that illegal invasion and the catastrophic loss of life it has helped cause.

Instead, much like BBC copy, the General is quoted extensively without question or challenge from Nick Hopkins and permitted to propagandise the war agenda.

A sample:
"The Taliban had been reduced to a terrorist group, adopting terrorist tactics, said Bucknall.

'I have not seen any insurgents who have assassinated their way to power. One hundred and forty [Afghans] have been assassinated this year. In the press that is painted as the government cannot survive this. But we are taking out 130-140 mid-level Taliban leaders every month. Sometimes it is worth turning the egg-timer on its head. They have been driven to this much vaunted tactic of assassinations.' 
He said that the idea the Taliban would sit and wait until western forces had left suited Nato well because it would allow Afghan police and army more time to get up to strength."
Nothing from Hopkins on the terrible suffering and blood of the Afghan people. Nothing, in the way of balance, on how the Taliban view the occupation and development of the war.

Hopkins's article is further evidence of the Guardian's vital fig-leaf role. But the myth still prevails, particularly amongst much of the liberal left, that it functions as a champion arena for independent thought - with the now-added task of exposing and weeding-out a 'bad tabloid media'.

The dual pretence is eagerly crafted by Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger in his now-regular deliberations on how we might best 'clean-up' the industry.

Likewise, in his recent evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, leading Guardian investigative reporter Nick Davies spoke in detail about the ethical intricacies of Guardian reporting/sourcing, contrasting it to "the culture of bullying" within Fleet Street.

Admirers of Davies's impressive exposures would have little reason to think about the culture of editorial expectation he himself adheres to at the Guardian.

The Guardian's "internal culture", Davies insisted in his testimony, is different from the more corporate-competing press due to its Trust-based status. The Guardian, he argues, has a relatively higher reliance on advertising revenue than the tabloids, which, he claims, depends more on  high-volume sale of papers. Hence, Davies concludes, the Guardian is "less intense in its commercial pressure" and, effectively, more independent in its reportage.

The distinction is in itself spurious. All press media, tabloid and broadsheet, rely extensively on advertising profit. Moreover, carefully avoiding note of its 'green credentials', Davies failed to mention the fossil fuel-related advertising carried by the Guardian and how, despite its Trust 'independence', it bows unashamedly to big corporate demands.

This is the real "internal culture" at the Guardian, a culture of unspoken compliance.

It's also a culture with a wide co-optive net.

Caught-up in its persuasive mesh, some activists appear to believe that 'Occupying' the Guardian's Comment is Free site helps galvanise their cause.  How mistaken. Again, it merely reinforces the system-serving myth of the Guardian is a radical-facilitating space.

Consider the stark absence at Occupy CiF of any critical charges against the Guardian itself. Where are all the Occupy questions about the Guardian's own corporate leanings, Rusbridger's own corporate-scale salary or, more disgracefully, the Guardian's protection of war criminals like Blair?

The Guardian's complicit pretentiousness here can be likened to that of Blair propagandist Alastair Campbell who disguises himself within the same liberal media, even appearing 'dutifully' at Leveson to excoriate the 'wicked redtops'.

Anyone doubting the true establishment credentials of Rusbridger et al should recall how the Guardian kept its editorial faith with Blair and Campbell.  Note also how Rusbridger, Davies and other Guardian notables have now turned on and vilified Julian Assange while its editors keep safe distance from stories on how Fox, Gould and Werritty plotted to undermine Iran. As Craig Murray reminds us:
"It should not be forgotten that the Guardian never stopped supporting Blair and New Labour, even when he was presiding over illegal wars and the massive widening of the gap between rich and poor. My point about Assange is that he has done a great deal to undermine the neo-con war agenda – and the Guardian is subjecting him to a campaign of denigration. On the other hand Gould/Fox/Werritty were pushing a neo-con project for war – and the Guardian is actively complicit in the cover-up of their activities.

The Guardian. Whom does it serve?"

Friday, 25 November 2011

Political and media vultures circling Iran

Think the charge of Iran's 'nuclear weaponisation' is now beyond doubt? Think the latest IAEA report is untainted? Think the BBC is telling the whole story? Think again.

As Israel, the US and their Western accomplices extend the propaganda offensive, here's the latest Media Lens Alert, 'They Found Nothing. Nothing', revealing just how complicit our media are in demonising Iran in preparation for another murderous 'intervention'.

Also, for the record, my letter on the ML article to the BBC's Iran correspondent James Reynolds:
Dear James Reynolds

In their current Alert, the Media Lens Editors have drawn your attention to crucial objections from notable figures on claims that Iran is actively constructing a nuclear weapon.

They also offer definitive evidence showing that "Yukiya Amano, the IAEA director general, is ‘solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision’."

This is key information and context that any average viewer would reasonably wish to know about.

Given all the criminal distortions peddled over Iraq and the disastrous conflagration likely to ensue from any attack on Iran, one might think that more 'vigilant' journalists would want to be much more certain about the authenticity of Iran's 'weaponisation' programme.

One would also think that 'specialist' correspondents like yourself would be only too aware of informed people like Robert Kelley warning of flawed intelligence and the politicised nature of the current IAEA report.

At the very least, any serious and balanced coverage would include such voices in their output.

Instead, when fairly questioned by Media Lens on these gross omissions, we have these replies:

"thanks for your message. I appreciate your comments and insight."

"I received your message - thanks. I shall reflect on the points you raise. It is always important for me to hear from licence-fee payers - the lifeblood of the BBC."

"points noted."

Such evasion could be safely considered patronising and dismissive - the standard replies received by many other courteous, critical enquirers. But there also lurks the more distinct possibility that you know your 'journalism' has been blatantly exposed.

In failing to offer even the merest explanation or argument, one can only conclude that you fear risking even greater exposure of your journalistic shallowness, your safe BBC compliance, or both.

If not, why don't you simply answer the Editors' questions as well as "appreciate" and "reflect" on them?

Kind regards
John Hilley
Observers of the gathering plot to 'pick-off' Iran should also be keeping tabs on damning new evidence exposing the dark activities of recently-appointed UK ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, ex-Defence Minister Liam Fox and his adviser in subterfuge Adam Werritty.

Undisclosed meetings with Mossad, liaisons with neo-con forces, 'unofficial' UK briefings in preparing to attack Iran: read and learn of the British state's deep pro-Israel agenda and its part in plotting more appalling misery in the Middle East.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Culling the poor

Here's the true, brutal face of Cameron's caring capitalism.

Helen and Mark Mullins took their lives after trying to get by on charity handouts and living in a single room of their house because they couldn't pay for fuel.


In the video, filmed shortly before their deaths, Mark explains the distressing problems Helen had faced in trying to have her benefits established and negotiating the unsparing appeals process.

 They had been walking twelve miles to get emergency food from a Salvation Army kitchen.

Two desperate souls who, punished and ignored by the benefits system, decided, in the end, that they literally couldn't afford to live.

While bankers enjoy billions in state welfare and dreamy bonuses, lost and abandoned people are simply giving up. 

This is the fear society, a society of chronic insecurity and mercenary market rules, a society of poverty and want while Sainsbury's, Tescos and the other  grocers of greed make astronomical profits.

Tragedies due to benefit insecurity and stress are becoming increasingly widespread.

Some more examples of suicide and death prompted by government cuts and the punitive benefits system:

Depressed 'Jobseeker' commits suicide -

Cuts Kill: the story of a sister driven to suicide -

Man dies of kidney cancer after being told fit for work -

Woman's depressed brother commits suicide after benefits being stopped , at 3;40 -

Two die while waiting for appeals to be heard -

Man dies of heart attack after being told by Atos 'fit for work' -

Author's suicide 'due to slash in benefits' july 2010 -

3 die in West Dunbartonshire after being told fit for work, area also has one of the highest unemployment rates with 40 people chasing every vacancy - http://intensiveactivity.wordp...

Devastated Salford mum killed herself over redundancy blow -

Southfields dad committed suicide after housing benefit cut - http://labourinwandsworth.word...

Body found in River Wear is Leanne Chambers -

Christelle and her baby died at the hands of a callous state -

Woman who drowned in drain was upset about health check – http://www.thisishullandeastri...

Pregnant Mum leaps to Death after her benefits are stopped –

Stress of Tory benefits tests killed our dad, family claims –


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Palestine's UNESCO admission

In an act of calculated spite, the US has withdrawn $60 million in contributory payments to UNESCO following the vote to admit Palestine as a full member to the body.

Israel has wielded its own punishment by announcing the building of 2000 more settler homes in East Jerusalem and freezing Palestinian tax funds.

107 countries voted for Palestinian admission, 52 abstained (including the UK) and 14 opposed the motion (including the US, Israel, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Germany).

Washington later  mounted a paltry defence of its action, claiming that the vote was a "rejection of the international community", while repeating the default-line excuse that any UN recognition of Palestine creates a hostile atmosphere for the 'peace process'.

In resisting US/Israeli pressure, the mass of countries supporting Palestine's candidacy seem to have been motivated by three more elementary truths: the US is, as far as it's concerned, the 'international community'; the US backs Israel unconditionally; there is no peace process.

The extent of UN member state support for Palestine and resistance to US intimidation confirms the now-gathering diplomatic crisis for Israel.

Whatever resilient comfort Netanyahu may take from Obama's loyalty - always remembering, of course, what Israel gives America in return - he knows that the vote is yet another significant blow to Israel's standing.

Evidence of that concern can be gleaned in a recent Wikileaks cable detailing Israel's rearguard efforts to offset its increasing international isolation by pitching - unsuccessfully - for a top placement within UNESCO.

Meanwhile, news of the Palestinian admission to UNESCO barely rated a mention on the main BBC news.

As Craig Murray noted in a scathing indictment:
"BBC journalism hit a new low today. The BBC News channel devoted only a single sentence to Palestine’s diplomatic coup in gaining full membership of Unesco. It used that single sentence once at 18.23 and once during the following hour. And this is that single sentence: “Israel says that Unesco’s decision to admit Palestine to full membership will damage the prospects for peace in the Middle East.”

No other view was given, We did not hear what Palestine says, or what Unesco says, or what any of the huge majority of 107 countries which voted for Palestine say. The only view we were given was the Israeli view, and there was no questioning or discussion of that view.  
“Israel says” – what an astonishing opening two words to a report on a great day for Palestinian diplomacy. Everyone connected with BBC News should be utterly ashamed. Why don’t we just save the license fee and let Netanyahu’s office broadcast the news instead?"

Between US financial blackmail and loaded/curtailed reportage, Israel can still take some comfort in having its crimes funded and sanitised.


Friday, 28 October 2011

Media Lens: Killing Gaddafi

Anyone feeling squeamish or uncomfortable over the reporting of recent events in Libya might find solace in the latest Media Lens Alert, Killing Gaddafi, a most welcome antidote to the toxic inhumanity that passes for mainstream 'liberal' media comment on this gruesome execution.

The ML editors also lay bare the considerable evidence of Western lies and disinformation that allowed Nato and the National Transitional Council to ignore every possibility of productive negotiations with Gaddafi, resulting - despite Nato's 'mandate to protect' - in the much greater killing of Libyan civilians and ruthless destruction of cities like Sirte.

As with previous plaudits for Blair, the Alert shows just how far the BBC and other herd media have gone in praising Cameron as a leader 'vindicated' in his 'first war'.

The last section of the article sees ML at their most eloquent and humane, a rare oasis of compassion amid this desert of propaganda.

Where, the authors ask, is the basic concern for suffering others, whatever crimes they've committed? In particular, to those 'liberal humanists' who diminish Gaddafi's murder against the 'higher moral imperative' of Nato action, this searching question:
"Does anyone doubt that a Jesus or a Buddha would not merely have harboured sympathy for Gaddafi but would have intervened to save his life? And who would dare claim that doing so would make them ‘apologists’ for tyranny?"
Recognising the systemic conditioning that inhibits honest, independent journalism, ML offer their own compassionate thoughts on what drives even our most 'caring' media towards such hateful output:
"We suspect that most journalists are not actually unfeeling brutes. They are conformists wary of the high price they can be made to pay for even the suspicion that they might be 'apologists' for an official enemy."
Thus does the conformity multiply as further media endorsement of newly-appointed enemies and the case for more 'noble intervention'.

Among their many fine articles, this ML offering deserves particular praise for highlighting not just Libya's true human suffering and media complicity in that avoidable tragedy, but the more pernicious language of cruelty and spite so-readily adopted in denouncing 'our' foreign 'foes'.

In exposing such media apologetics for war and destruction, it advances, by another promising increment, the urgent construction of a truly moral, compassionate and radical journalism.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Resilience of Occupy Oakland

Some heroic actions from the 99 Percenters of the Occupy Oakland movement in California as they resist police stun bombs, tear gas, rubber bullets and other brutal efforts to break-up their protest encampment.

Street demonstrations in Syria are commended by Washington.  Opposition forces in Libya can be lauded and backed by Nato bombers when it suits American political, military and business interests. But any peaceful dissent at home must be ruthlessly crushed.

As with the state's violent oppressions on Wall Street, it's another illustration of just how much the US regime fear and suppress real democracy.

Expect more such brutality from the anxious 1 percent and their state enforcers.  As Chris Floyd says: "You can smell the fear in the boardrooms."


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Occupying liberal street

As a radical new surge of people power sweeps around the globe, politicians and the mainstream media seem worryingly perplexed about how to respond.

Stuck in the safe world of machine politics and parliamentary-type reporting, their comprehension of the current unrest still speaks of 'errant' political/financial behaviour and 'misapplied' capitalist democracy.

Such was the intonation when Jeremy Paxman asked Michael Moore what he hoped Occupy Wall Street could achieve.

Did Moore want to change capitalism or end it, Paxman enquired? "End it", came the unequivocal response.

Capitalism is an "evil", inequitable system, Moore asserted, adding, as importantly, that the very function of standard politics has been to protect the rich and help maintain that very system of power.

For Moore, that's why people are now on the street, rejecting both the life-sucking power of greedy bankers and what's been handed-down to them as 'political partcipation'.

While Paxman seemed to acknowledge the frustration behind such action, he struggled to see how its aims could be advanced outwith the 'political process', the assumption being that OWS is not, in Paxman's BBC world, 'political'.

Thus, does Paxman (BBC annual salary, circa £750,000), like so many comfortable liberal media careerists, maintain a homogenised notion of what constitutes 'political life'.

Nor does the spectre of global occupation and rejection of corporate existence easily register in the liberal mindset as 'political crisis'.

That term denotes, more-readily, perceived 'emergencies' in party and governmental life: corruption/expenses scandals and the like.

Witness the liberal buzz as the BBC, Guardian and other 'vanguard' media recover the scandalous detail on fallen Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Of course, Fox's demise is newsworthy, the media copy serving to reveal a little more of the cosy relations between our political and business elites.  But it also helps cement the notion of a 'liberal protectorate' acting to 'insure' us against those 'shocking abuses' of the system.

It speaks, implicitly, of Fox as some aberration within an otherwise functional, if still imperfect, system. In the process, we're encouraged to believe that the liberal media, like liberal politicians, are doing 'their job' in working to expose and weed-out the offenders. Rarely, if ever, does this come with any more damning indictment of the system itself.

But liberals also need to be 'on the street', to be seen as present, aware, 'involved'. 

And so liberal politicians and journalists 'shadow' the new direct-action politics - as with the radical blogosphere - like 'awkward oldies' fascinated by an edgy young trend, wanting to get in with the 'subculture', the people, 'the kids', the 'zeitgeist'; a hovering, anxious force afraid of being shut-out.

Thus do the dynamics behind Occupy Wall Street make for instructive observation on liberal sensitivity and its identity crisis.

Chris Hedges, a prolific chronicler of the OWS and wider protests, sees this nascent rejection of corporate life as a key threat to capitalist and liberal interests, alike:
"Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands. This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart.
 For Hedges, the space for liberal response is becoming acutely narrowed:
"But the liberal class has no credibility left. It collaborated with corporate lobbyists to neglect the rights of tens of millions of Americans, as well as the innocents in our imperial wars. The best that liberals can do is sheepishly pretend this is what they wanted all along."
And with this has come a heightened resistance to liberal co-optation:
"The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new. It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power. It holds fast to moral imperatives regardless of the cost. It confronts authority out of a sense of responsibility. It is not interested in formal positions of power. It is not seeking office. It is not trying to get people to vote. It has no resources. It can’t carry suitcases of money to congressional offices or run millions of dollars of advertisements. All it can do is ask us to use our bodies and voices, often at personal risk, to fight back. It has no other way of defying the corporate state. This rebellion creates a real community instead of a managed or virtual one. It affirms our dignity. It permits us to become free and independent human beings."
As the resistance of OWS to any friendly endorsements from Obama or advances from his Democrats shows, the movement, worldwide, appears particularly vigilant to party takeovers.

With the protest movement exercising new strategies of real political action, the potential displacement of standard liberal politics is of gathering concern both to party and media liberals as well as the system of corporate power they serve.

Here's to the intensification of their common crises.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Gaddafi's execution - the killing of empathy

Hillary Clinton's laughing pronouncement on the execution of Muammar Gaddafi gives disturbing insight into the callous minds of those who control today's main imperialist empire:

Extolling the Nato ‘mission', Obama, Clinton, Cameron and their peers have been busy denouncing the 'Mad Dog' and rejoicing his removal.

And, in ever-subservient tune, our media offer barely a word on Nato's aggression or the hypocritical gloating of such leaders.

Whatever Gaddafi's own crimes, how telling that the BBC and other leading Western media have offered only nominal space to the illegality of this gruesome lynching, selecting to accentuate the 'necessary cost' of Libya's 'assisted liberation'. 

Amnesty has already called for investigations into a prima facie war crime.

There's seems little doubt that Gaddafi could have been taken alive. Nor is there the slightest credibility in National Transitional Council claims that he was killed after his ambulance was "caught in crossfire". It's reasonably obvious that Gaddafi's capture and murder constitutes a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwhile, the 'liberal' Guardian's Ian Black dispensed with the merest humanitarian formality over Gaddafi's brutal termination in declaring: "good riddance".

Even for our most 'humane' media, the elimination of 'them' merits little compassionate regard.

Could we ever imagine people like Black writing such lines after the deaths of Bush, Rumsfeld or Blair?

Noting more of Clinton's ugly utterances, the Independent's Peter Popham offers a more familiar line in liberal excuses:
" "OOOMGOOOMG I just saw Gaddafi's body video," she wrote. "My heart won't stop racing... I can't believe this day has come. My whole life I've waited, prayed, wished, this is it no words."
For us, the footage of Muammar Gaddafi's body – dead or alive, who knows – being dragged off a truck by a crowd of screaming men, who then hauled it about and kicked it like a football, was deeply disturbing: the lynch mob at its 'most primeval. But who are we to judge? We never lived under the man's all-powerful terror."
But we, the wider world, do know about the all-powerful terror of American and Nato aggression. Where's the damning judgement here on that merciless force?

Gaddafi's execution by Libyan 'rebels' is, of course, the most convenient outcome for the West, shielding Nato's own vital role in his killing, while sending to the grave more key evidence of the West's -
notably Tony Blair's - dealings with their former associate.

The Guardian's Simon Tisdall also notes the 'good result for the West' line, but without a word on Nato's vast, aggressive input:
"And after all the waiting, the killing and the tears, the wheel of history turned inexorably, and all who watched knew it would never turn back. The Arab spring had claimed another infamous scalp. The risky western intervention had worked. And Libya was liberated at last."
Yes, as ever, that "risky intervention".

The BBC, in truest Orwell-speak, sought to excuse Nato to the very last:  
"Nato, which has been running a bombing campaign in Libya for months, said it had carried out an air strike earlier on Thursday that hit two pro-Gaddafi vehicles near Sirte. It was unclear whether the strikes were connected with Col Gaddafi's death."

As if Nato's overall actions could somehow, even at this last brutal stage of its murderous campaign, be isolated from Gaddafi's actual death.

Newsnight's Gavin Esler could offer no more searching effort in questioning arch neo-con John McCain.

Jubilant over Gaddafi's demise, McCain promised that other world dictators, such as Assad, Putin and the Chinese leadership, would now be more worried over potential protest against their regimes. Esler let the comment pass without even a cursory reminder of the historic happenings on Wall Street and gathering mood of dissent across America.

Another report from Tim Whewell asked if Blair had made "a mistake" in dealing with Gaddafi and whether 'we' should be engaging other tyrants, the core assumption being that ‘our’warmongers are morally fit to make such judgements.

Clinton's "we came, we saw..." jibe, a crass allusion to conquests past, reveals an inhuman lack of empathy for suffering others, whatever their enemy status.

How can supposedly civilized senators and leaders speak in such ways? And how is such open cruelty being reflected in the wider society?

Craig Murray fittingly puts it, "we seem to have become as dehumanised as ancient Rome."

That dark truth is all the more ironic given America’s own home crisis and the declining legitimacy of its political-corporate elite.

Perhaps a case of ‘Rome burns while Clinton giggles’.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Occupy LSX

Party politics is dead.  Real politics is finding its voice on the street, confronting anonymous elites directly in the high places of financial power.

From Washington, New York and across the US, home of corporate power, new and confident assemblies are making their mark against the ravaging, savaging effects of capitalist existence.

Taking its cue from the Arab Spring, the inspiring expression of people politics, the "99%" movement, that's resolved to Occupy Wall Street has given impetus to a whole new global moment.

Across the world today, 800 protests will help spread that resistance against the banking leviathans who control, manipulate and destroy human lives, with occupation of the London Stock Exchange a notable element of this growing civil awareness.

Follow Occupy London LSX with constant updates here.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Abunimah: Blair and Quartet need to be removed

While the US reaffirms its intention to veto any bid for Palestinian statehood, the Middle East Quartet plays its own appointed role in protecting and advancing Israel's vital interests.

At the same time, Tony Blair has used his position as Quartet 'peace envoy' to advocate unashamedly for Israel while enriching himself in the process.

With criticism of Blair also now coming from inside Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, the complicit role of the Quartet - as well as the PA itself - is increasingly apparent.

In a searing indictment, Ali Abunimah argues that Blair's blatant profiteering and deception raises larger questions about the Quartet's own status, purpose and funding.

Noting the recent Dispatches exposure of Blair's lucrative dealings with dictatorships across the Middle East, Abunimah discusses how the Quartet has facilitated that patronage while locking the Palestinians into a spurious 'peace agenda'.

The time has come, he says, not just to remove Blair but to dismantle the Quartet.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Abbas's glory moment may be just that

If you want to avoid any engagement of the possible, keep insisting that your adversary recognise the impossible.

Benjamin Netanyahu is the Israeli exponent, par excellence, of that duplicitous tactic.  And Barack Obama is always reliably on-hand to ensure that the deceit is efficiently stage-managed.

No negotiations can take place, Netanyahu insists, without Palestinian endorsement of Israel as a Jewish state. 

Palestinian acceptance of such a state would, of course, mean not only the abandonment of UN Resolution 194, the right of return, it would also be a ratification of Israeli apartheid, signing-away any claim to equal, democratic rights of the 20 per cent Arab Palestinians currently inside Israel.

As the Palestine Papers show, Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have already revealed their willingness to 'do the impossible' in giving away such Palestinian rights.

Yet, even he sees the dire fallout for the PA on the Arab Street from recognising Israel as a Jewish state.

Just think for a moment about this staggering demand. Imagine, say, an emerging independent Scotland asking other countries to recognise it as a Protestant, Catholic or otherwise Christian state.

Yet, as the Middle East and its Arab Spring press for real democratic constitutions, Israel wants to push further down the theocratic road, denying non-Jews the same democratic and civil rights as Jews.

Even if the Palestinians did recognise such a state, Israel would still find some other precondition to stall and dissemble.  The greatest 'fact on the ground' is that Israel has no intention of ceding an inch of the West Bank or Jerusalem.  And no amount of diplomatic window dressing can disguise that truth.

Although Mahmoud Abbas surely sees the ways in which Israel and the US are using the standard call for a 'negotiated settlement' - with that 'Jewish state' demand  - to bluster and delay, he still shows a subservient willingness to engage in a fixed and dominated game.

As Frank Barat comments:
"While it is easy to understand the PA’s motivations in making a move at the UN — taking matters for the first time in a long time into their own hands, not succumbing to pressure, making a statement — it has unfortunately very little chance to make any real difference on the ground. By going to the UN, the PA continues to accept the rules of its master/oppressor."
While Abbas may have returned triumphantly from the UN, his statehood bid has, conveniently, been kicked into the diplomatic long grass, with the US now threatening disinvestment against the West Bank unless he gets back to the same posturing negotiations.

This is where the politics of dependency, old party survival and international stagecraft all combine to 'create' more of the same stasis, nothing of substance, serving the hegemonic fiction of Washington and the rest of the Quartet as determined 'solution seekers' and 'honest brokers'.

For Jonathan Cook, this latest key shaming of Washington as the ever-ready protector of Israel may have provided a moment of glory for Abbas, but, as reality bites, it also signals the gathering demise of the "old guard" Palestinian Authority which, as a product of the Oslo process, will now become its inevitable "casualty".

And from this dialectic an emerging new-blood is now rising above the old, tired politics, refusing to engage those controlling entities.  As Cook puts it:
"Instead we are entering a new phase of the conflict in which the US, Europe, and the UN will have only a marginal part to play. The Palestinian old guard are about to be challenged by a new generation that is tired of the formal structures of diplomacy that pander to Israel’s interests only.
The young new Palestinian leaders are familiar with social media, are better equipped to organise a popular mass movement, and refuse to be bound by the borders that encaged their parents and grandparents. Their assessment is that the PA – and even the Palestinians’ unrepresentative supra-body, the PLO – are part of the problem, not the solution. 
Till now they have remained largely deferential to their elders, but that trust is fast waning. Educated and alienated, they are looking for new answers to an old problem. 
They will not be seeking them from the countries and institutions that have repeatedly confirmed their complicity in sustaining the Palestinian people’s misery. The new leaders will appeal over the heads of the gatekeepers, turning to the court of global public opinion. Polls show that in Europe and the US, ordinary people are far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than their governments.
The first shoots of this revolution in Palestinian politics were evident in the youth movement that earlier this year frightened Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas into creating a semblance of unity. These youngsters, now shorn of the distracting illusion of Palestinian statehood, will redirect their energies into an anti-apartheid struggle, using the tools of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. Their rallying cry will be one person-one vote in the single state Israel rules over."
Obama, in his default-line defence of Israel, told the UN that there can be "no shortcut" to statehood for the Palestinians. When all the raised expectations of Abbas's statehood bid subside, a more useful reality will surface: that there can be no shortcut to ending the occupation and delivering a true state of peace, democracy and equal human rights.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Palestinian 'statehood' bid - what really changes?

As the day nears for attempts to establish a Palestinian state at the UN, key Palestinian figures and civil society groups have raised significant objections to the plan.

While the bid seems popular with many Palestinians and may garner welcome publicity for their cause, it also creates many more detrimental possibilities, all to Israel's advantage. 

The bid for statehood is, first and foremost, a survival strategy for Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA).  And, in that vital context, it elevates the PA's own political agenda above that of any true liberation agenda.

Omar Barghouti argues, convincingly, that the Abbas administration has neither the political authority to present such a motion nor any intention of defending the wider rights of Palestinians, as entrenched, most notably, in UN resolution 194:
"Without any sense of irony, Palestinian officials who have time and again colluded in eroding official international support for UNGA 194, as the Palestine Papers have amply shown, are now appropriating that very number and using it in a bid that runs the risk of surrendering the right of return associated with it for more than six decades. This is merely a symbol of the far more substantive moral, political and legal bind that this Initiative may potentially place the Palestinians and their supporters in. 
The “September Initiative” is at best vague and confusing and at worst damaging to the interests of the Palestinian people. Regardless, it is entirely divorced from the will of the Palestinian people, and those advocating it have no democratic mandate from the people to employ it in any way that jeopardises our UN-sanctioned rights."
Barghouti also cites strategic Zionist thinking on the bid, noting, in particular, the dangers of any transfer of authority from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) - the officially-recognised voice of all Palestinians, occupied or exiled - to the effective hand of a PA-led state, a scenario that would only diminish Palestinian rights and entrench Israeli claims to a Jewish state.  Thus:
"The spokesman of the Israeli delegation, notable writer Sefi Rachlevski, was quoted in Yedioth Ahronoth on September 5 saying, “We are a group that fully supports [Israel’s] declaration of independence and the Zionist dream of establishing the State of Israel, and we see the Palestinian initiative a definite continuation of that.”"
With the US pledging to veto the bid if it gains the necessary nine SC votes, even the likely endorsement of the General Assembly will mean only an attenuated version of UN membership (note that only states can recognise other states, the UN can only consider membership of states).

All of which begs the question: why is Netanyahu so vehemently opposed to the UN statehood bid.

The answer lies, mainly, in Israeli fears of further international isolation. Any US veto, should the bid first be referred, as promised by Abbas, to the Security Council, would also place Obama in a more embarrassing situation, having openly-declared US support for a two-state solution. 

Avi Schlaim, seeing the symbolic merit of the UN bid, elaborates the point:
"Why are Israel and the US so hysterical about the UN bid if it doesn’t make a difference? They are hysterical about it because until now, for the last 20 years, they have everything their way. There was the American-sponsored peace process, which was leading nowhere slowly, and Israel was carrying on with its expansionist agenda and pretending to be involved in a peace process. Now this has ended. There is no pretending."
More fundamentally, Netanyahu, like all previous Israeli leaders, lives by the expansionist dictum that no settlements can ever be sacrificed, no serious concessions ever granted to already occupied and dispossessed Palestinians. 

While Israel has always pitched for Abbas as the preferred 'negotiating' party - with all the useful stalling props and collaboration that entails - the apparent problem for Netanyahu now lies in the prospect of having to recognise, or at least deal with, a Palestinian state, rather than a territory, notably one that includes illegal Israeli settlements. 

And yet, what would statehood effectively change in this regard?  The occupation would still be in place.  The settlements would still be present. Jerusalem would still be annexed.  Would Israel, now intensively arming the settlers, suddenly be more inclined to vacate the West Bank?  Would it end the siege of Gaza?  After six decades of calculated oppression, would this declaration make Israel rush in genuine haste to the negotiating table?       

The biggest risk for Palestinians, on the other hand, in terms of international support, is that any realisation of statehood could be widely interpreted as the issue having been 'resolved': Palestine, many might say, now has its state, so does Israel, and the 'facts on the ground' suggest that the settlements are there, long-established, and, therefore, a realistic fact of life. 

Not only would the settlements remain in perpetuity, but the claims of diaspora Palestinians would be rendered an increasingly abstract issue.  Jerusalem would still be under Israeli control and the wall would still be in place protecting stolen land beyond the 1967 line.

Adherents of the plan also argue that statehood would allow Palestine a more effective means of challenging the occupation through the UN and its legalistic bodies.  This all sounds convincing in theory.  

Yet, consider that Lebanon and Syria, both holding such state 'rights', have been unable to use those procedures to halt Israeli violations of their borders. 

Joseph Massad's analysis suggests that whatever of the two possible outcomes comes to pass, Israel will be the main beneficiary. 

Any failure of the bid would see Israel carrying on as determined occupier, with the US and Israel able to impose even more stringent, punishing conditions on a disobedient PA.

Alternatively, should a state be declared, it would mean effective relegation of the PLO and sacrificing the right of return, with Israel also likely declaring, once and for all, the limits of Palestinian 'sovereignty': namely, the minuscule pockets of West Bank territory they already 'control'. 

In addition, notes Massad, the establishment of any such state would firm-up the reality of Israel as a Jewish state alongside it, with Israel now better able to set punitive preconditions for recognising a Palestinian state, including the relinquishing of its recent pact with Hamas. 

Whatever happens on the political stage after the bid is presented, the reality on the ground will be one of ongoing occupation, siege and apartheid policies. 

Abbas has created a heightened sense of expectation in the West Bank - less so in Gaza - and the likely frustration that will be created after the full bid fails  - or gets committee-delayed at the Security Council - may be expressed as either raised street reaction or weary resignation. None of these scenarios augurs well for Abbas's own survival. 

Netanyahu's late 'appeal for direct talks' can be easily read as yet another stalling move, intended to show Israel as a 'willing negotiator'. 

Whether Abbas succumbs to more last-minute Israeli-US platitudes remains to be seen.  In an effort to offset its increasing pariah status and prevent the US from having to use its veto, Israel may offer token 'assurances' that something could still be 'on the table'. 

If Abbas resists another such charade, and the bid proceeds, some useful publicity might be earned from the exercise.  But it will still leave the core problem unresolved and Palestine stuck as a limbo-land 'state' with no effective authority. 

When all the dust settles on this 'diplomatic offensive', the reality of Israeli power will still be grossly apparent.

True Palestinian liberation will only come about through sustained popular resistance to the occupation itself - using the Arab Spring and BDS as tactical opportunities - not via any superficial claims to statehood or upgraded UN status.     


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Censoring Gaza's kids

An art exhibition by Gazan children depicting the trauma of being bombed and besieged by Israel has been censored by a US gallery.

The decision to pull the show, set to open in Oakland, California, was taken after intense pressure from pro-Israeli organisations.

Board directors at the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) cancelled the show, A Child's View of Gaza, citing the “inappropriate nature” of the work.

It's yet another illustration of the power wielded by a massively-funded Israeli lobby in the US.

It might also be the first time ever that pictorial experiences of traumatised children have been deemed inadmissable by a gallery, particularly one that's already hosted other childhood victims of warfare.

Fortunately, the adverse publicity generated by this shameful decision only helps highlight the artwork and its laudable, moving message.

If every picture tells a story, every effort to subvert the truest one exposes a more worried and mendacious hand at work.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Britain's dark trade with Gaddafi in arms, oil and torture

New and damning evidence now confirms Britain's dark trade and torture arrangements with the Gaddafi regime.

In a treasure-trove of documents recovered by Human Rights Watch from the disused office of ex-Gaddafi intelligence chief Moussa Koussa - openly welcomed as a defector to the UK - we now have written proof that MI6 were sending 'terrorist suspects' to Libya for rendition torturing.

A whole flow of similar communications reveal how Britain was briefing Libyan intelligence about opponents of the regime in Libya and abroad.

Many other papers disclose the cosy, cordial ties between Libyan and British intelligence in promoting Tony Blair's visits to Libya and how UK officials even helped write a speech for Gaddafi to assist his rehabilitation: 
"The papers illustrate the intimate relations Mr Koussa and some of his colleagues seemingly enjoyed with British intelligence. Letters and faxes flowed to him headed 'Greetings from MI6' 'Greetings from SIS', handwritten Christmas greetings, on one occasion, from ' Your friend', followed by the name of a senior British intelligence official, and regrets over missed lunches. There were also regular exchanges of gifts: on one occasion a Libyan agent arrived in London laden with figs and oranges. "
Meanwhile, Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News has recovered further evidence of Britain's dark weapons trade with the Gaddafi regime. 

His report reveals the $165 million deal secured by military supplier General Dynamics UK, all facilitated by ex-UK Ambassador to Libya Sir Vincent Fean, following on from Blair's 'deal in the desert' with the regime.

The Cameron government has also been found operating a secretive Whitehall cell serving to undermine Gaddafi by seeking to manipulate and control the Libyan oil sector.  International Development secretary Alan Duncan has been closely involved in the operation, liaising with giant oil company Vitol, a firm he was previously employed by.  

In a standard rebuttal of this highly embarrassing evidence, Downing Street has denied any conflict of interest, claiming that Duncan was essential to helping officials on the ground 'understand the intricacies' of the oil market.

One can but imagine the political and media furore if, say, a Libyan or Iranian cell had been involved in plotting similar destabilisations inside the UK or any other Western country.

It all goes with the imperialist territory.  When America, Europe and Nato - what Bill Blum calls "The Holy Triumvarate" - want a state 'called-in', questions of international law, recognition of sovereignty or just plain democratic conduct has no bearing:
"If The Holy Triumvirate decides that it doesn't want to overthrow the government in Syria or in Egypt or Tunisia or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or Jordan, no matter how cruel, oppressive, or religiously intolerant those governments are with their people, no matter how much they impoverish and torture their people, no matter how many protesters they shoot dead in their Freedom Square, the Triumvirate will simply not overthrow them.

If the Triumvirate decides that it wants to overthrow the government of Libya, though that government is secular and has used its oil wealth for the benefit of the people of Libya and Africa perhaps more than any government in all of Africa and the Middle East, but keeps insisting over the years on challenging the Triumvirate's imperial ambitions in Africa and raising its demands on the Triumvirate's oil companies, then the Triumvirate will simply overthrow the government of Libya.

If the Triumvirate wants to punish Gaddafi and his sons it will arrange with the Triumvirate's friends at the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for them.

If the Triumvirate doesn't want to punish the leaders of Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan it will simply not ask the ICC to issue arrest warrants for them."
As Libya's new order and the 'international community' decry Gaddafi's atrocities, it's worth reflecting on the crucial part that Britain and America have played in torture arrangements, oil deals and arms to that regime.

If Gaddafi ever does end up at the International Criminal Court, more of that evidence might well emerge, a troubling thought no doubt exercising Nato minds as they deploy every available resource to eliminate their former friend.