Friday, March 30, 2007

John McDonnell slur on British Navy Iran “Kidnap” victims

Desperate “no hope loser” John McDonnell MP, is forced to attract support by siding with supporters of the Iranian quasi-fascists who have “kidnapped” 15 British Navy and Royal Marine personnel. Look at the disgraceful comments in his own website (quickly before he changes it – I have saved a copy).

While practically all democratic British politicians of all political persuasions, have condemned the brutal and despicable actions of the Ahmadinejad holocaust deniers, who publicly hang teenage gays and female rape victims (the photos on this link are shocking). McDonnell blatantly supports the Iranian absurd fiction by describing the despicable kidnap as an “arrest” saying that British forces “have to answer questions”. He supports doing “nothing” to upset the revolutionary guards!

I have always thought that McDonnell was a disgrace, ever since during an attempt to curry favour with Far Left extremists, he attacked my trade union, UNISON, while we were in the midst of difficult negotiations with our employers over the pension dispute. He accused UNISON of being “all rhetoric and no action.” While sharing a platform with his friends in the SWP and disRespect. Now it is even more obvious that he is not fit for any office.

Labour Left must look for a credible candidate in the forth coming leadership election. Why is he totally silent on the key issue of the day, that British sailors and marines are publicly being coerced and threatened by fascist, ignorant moronic thugs, who have no understanding of what a mess they are getting themselves into?

I agree with Timothy Ash (Guardian March 29) “Only someone whose political and moral compass is totally disorientated by hostility to American and British policy could dare to suggest that this act of shameless, lying, cross-border piracy is justified or excusable”.

Shame on McDonnell, thank God, UNISON, the biggest trade union in the country, has dumped him and he is no longer a Sponsored MP. See the resemblance with the upper class berk Cripps?

61 comments:

simon.deville said...

Hi John,

I'm not sure I understand your point - are you saying that the reactionary nature of the Iranian regime means that by definition anyone they hold are 'kidnapped' rather than arrested? Or does it mean because of the nature of the regime that British forces couldn't possibly have been operating inside Iranian territory? or are you simply asserting that the British government is so renowned for it's integrity and sense of fair play that to suggest it's version of events might be open to question and that the Iranian government are telling the truth is tantamount to treason?

John Gray said...

Hi Simon

(I assume that you are London UNISON Voluntary Branch Simon since your blog profile is “not available” – apologies if a hoax. A number of strange people post comments on my blog, none such strange as its author, but that I suppose is another story)

No, I assume that the Iranians do arrest real criminals – petty thieves etc from time to time (God help them). However, they seem to arrest, torture and murder, pretty much anyone who the ruling factions take a dislike to.

Yes, it is possible (hopefully probable) that “British forces” are operating inside Iranian Territory. Something that I have no knowledge whatsoever about, but I would expect them not to be wearing Royal Navy and Royal Marine uniforms in boats flying the White Ensign.

Yes, I do think that the British Government is renowned for its integrity and sense of fair play. It is of course not perfect. But does not as a rule arrest, torture and murder, pretty much anyone who its ruling factions take a dislike to. John McDonnell MP may be the exception that proves the rule?

The Iranians may be telling the truth (for a change). I doubt it. But there may have been a complete “cock up” in the RN maps? But come on…who do you honestly believe? Put aside your prejudices. I certainly do not believe these vile and disgusting gay and women murderers, holocaust deniers and general morons, who many in the Far Left happily support, solely since they are “Anti-West”.

Can I suggest who you should support in these months UNISON NEC elections?

e10 rifles said...

What a load of garbage. Sorry, but I can't think of any politer word to use.

Where has McDonnell 'sided with supporters of the Iranian quasi-fascists'? All it says on his website is that he supports an investigation into both sides' claims.

To try and smear someone who has campaigned against intolerance all his political life as somehow in bed with holocaust deniers and butchers, just because he doesn't categorically state that the British forces were completely in the right, is breathtakingly offensive and displays quite an incredible level of political illiteracy.

UNISON was all rhetoric and no action during the pension dispute. I should know, I'm in the LGPS and the leaderships of all the unions have completely screwed us over.

NOWHERE has McDonnell stated that "this act of shameless, lying, cross-border piracy is justified or excusable".

And no, I don't see the comparison with Cripps. McDonnell is neither upper class (fact) nor a berk (opinion).

Duncan McFarlane said...

Where did you get your quote from John McDonnell about the "arrest" of British sailors? Can you tell us ?Not on his blog post anyway - he says "detained" - which is a neutral word. He did not , as you imply, say it was only the British who had questions to answer - he says on his blog post that both sides had questions to answer.

Nor do i see what's unreasonable about asking questions about an incident that could lead to war.

He was diplomatic because its no secret some people in the Bush administration want a pretext for war on Iran which could lose an awful lot of British and American troops not to mention Iranian soldiers and civilians their lives.

It's also faulty logic to assume that because Iran's government tortures people and executes them without trial it must always be lying in any dispute with an elected government.

To give one example Saddam wasnt lying about WMDs in Iraq - Blair and Bush were.

The Iranian government and the British government were lying in this instance. Craig Murray - the former head of the Foreign Office's Maritime Unit - points out that in practice its impossible to define maritime boundaries except by negotiating agreements on them - since disputed islands and sandbanks and disputes over which triangulation points on coasts to measure from make the 12 mile/half way limit rule very vague in practice. Iran and Iraq have no negotiated maritime boundaries outside of the Shatt Al Arab -which our troops were outside and to the south of - and even in the Shatt Al Arab the agreement is meant to be renegotiated every 10 years due to shifting sands and sediment - and hasnt been).

As Craig says this doesnt justify the Iranians taking them captive - and John McDonnell has never said it did either.

So McDonnell's questions for both sides line was appropriate.

Also on torture and executing people without fair trial i agree its shameful and disgusting that the Iranian government treats people that way.

You should read Amnesty International's and Human Rights Watch's reports on Iraq.

For instance Amnesty's annual report 2006 for Iraq says : "Both the US-led Multinational Force (MNF) and Iraqi security forces committed grave human rights violations, including torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detention without charge or trial, and excessive use of force resulting in civilian deaths"

So some British and american forces are still torturing Iraqis and killing Irai civilians.

It seems to me that John McDonnell is far more balanced in his viewpoint than you are in assuming that the Iranian government are entirely evil in every instance and the British government are entirely good.

grimupnorth said...

What an unpleasant, vitriolic outburst. I believe others have posted on the inaccuracy of what you are saying.
Can I just say that "desperate no-hoper" John McDonnell got 400 people to a rally in London on saturday. He works tirelessly to defend the public sector against PFI and privatisation. It is you who are a disgrace. My union,the NUJ, is not affilated to Labour. But we applaud John McDonnell as one of the few principled MPs we have left. So do my comrades in the local Labour Party. Don't supopose you will post this but sending it anyway.

Duncan said...

Can I suggest that you actually read the article that you are attempting to criticise?

The fact that McDonnell says none of the things you suggest he does (and he hasn't changed it, I read it the same day it went up and before your 'comment') rather suggests that this is nothing more than a feeble attempt to slur a candidate in leadership election.

The fact that John McDonnell's article said that the most important thing was to get the sailors home, and then said that both sides had questions to answer is pretty straightforward. As is the fact that John McDonnell has consistently condemned the regime in Iran on precisely the sorts of issues you raise. (I do not see the names of Brown, Blair, Miliband, etc. on early day motions or international statements condemning the human rights abuses of the Iranian regime whereas John is consistently there. Believe it or not you can abhor a regime without thinking it would be a good idea to kill many of its people in a bombing campaign.

current voter said...

I am gobsmacked how you can be led by the nose by Murdoch and co. into this anti-Iran rhetoric, yet still claim to be left of centre.

It's a disputed territory but I think Bush has already put plans into place for this coming weekend, with his so called war games in the area. So there's no way the Brits are going to talk diplomacy are they? How convenient.

Why are our Union chiefs so right wing these days? Even Paxo was baffled during a TUC conf interview when the Amicus chief was praising Gordon in the face of refusal to repair union rights?

BTW you'd be amazed how many McDonnell supporters also supported the recent Unison march.

Thanks.

John Gray said...

Hi E10 rifles (whoever you are)
I think that if you do actually look at his site (not an experience I would ever recommend) you will see you are being rather selective. Interesting that this future British Prime Minister (yeah) doesn’t even bother to make the kidnap a key post. Instead he gives more space on slagging off Mandleson. Every democratic British politician has stood up for the marines and demanded that they are released. His silence is deafening.

It is a shame as a LGPS member (apparently) you support McDonnell’s back stabbing of the unions in the midst of negotiations. I was on the Pension strike picket line last year at 4am. Hope you weren’t “all rhetoric and no action”?

Please read my post properly, the quote was credited to Timothy Ash?

Okay, okay he may not be Upper Class, but he is a berk.

John Gray said...

Thanks Duncan
At last someone who comments in his own name! You asked where did he use the term “arrest” not “detained”, see the post title.
Iran's “Arrest” of British Military and Mandelson Resurfaces
Please refer to above about his deafening silence etc. Also, do you really believe Iran over this incident? You accept Iran is a state whose “government tortures people and executes them without trial”?
Don’t you see that accusing Blair and Bush of simply “lying” over Iraq WMD actually lets them “off the hock” for the gross intelligence failures?
I see that McDonnell is quoted “In May 2003 he praised the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), saying "It's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McDonnell_(politician)
Now I hope this is a Wikipedia hoax – if not “nuf said”.

Sorry, I repeat “Only someone whose political and moral compass is totally disorientated by hostility to American and British policy could dare to suggest that this act of shameless, lying, cross-border piracy is justified or excusable”.

John Gray said...

Hi Grim
Interesting that you “believe” others have posted on this issue? I come home from the union office tonight and suddenly find 5 hostile posts! Funny how things turn out (you voting for Blair as leader in 1994 when at the time I didn’t think he was “principled” enough). Look, McNoHoper is obviously an extremely unpleasant and unprincipled politician. He announced himself as the “left wing” candidate for the leadership election without any consultation or approval. He is so unpopular that it looks like he won’t even get enough nominations to run (this is in a government that has 100+ rebellions). McNoHoper is obviously a Far left Marxist, who does not believe in Parliamentary Democracy or the rule of law. Now, that may be fine by you but get real, he is a squabbling no hope loser. Find someone else who will not show you up. The Party needs a real credible “Left Candidate”. I reckon (an educated guess) that McNoHoper will get 3 votes at my GC. BTW I will always post stuff that is not racist, sexist, really foul language etc

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan (whoever you are)
I think that I have demonstrated above that I have read (and kept) a copy McNoHoper post. It is interesting that you do not dispute the accuracy of my report about his cheap trick in publically attacking us when we were in a middle of a dispute with our employers.
Trouble is Duncan, what do we do with these vile and disgusting regimes such as Iran? Send a letter of support?

Reg: [arriving at Brian's crucifixion] Hello, Sibling Brian.
Brian: Thank God you've come, Reg.
Reg: Well, I think I should point out first, Brian, in all fairness, we are not, in fact, the rescue committee. However, I have been asked to read the following prepare statement on behalf of the movement. "We the People's Front of Judea, brackets, officials, end brackets, do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you, Brian, on this, the occasion of your martyrdom. "
Brian: What?
Reg: "Your death will stand as a landmark in the continuing struggle to liberate the parent land from the hands of the Roman imperialist aggressors, excluding those concerned with drainage, medicine, roads, housing, education, viniculture and any other Romans contributing to the welfare of Jews of both sexes and hermaphrodites. Signed, on behalf of the P. F. J. , etc. " And I'd just like to add, on a personal note, my own admiration, for what you're doing for us, Brian, on what must be, after all, for you a very difficult time.

John Gray said...

Hi Gobsmacked

Good working class term – keep it up mate (whoever you are). Nice to get posts from fellow proper working class comrades.

I don’t as a rule actually read any newspapers (especially those sold outside union meetings to intimidate members from attending). Prefer “Today”, “PM” , Labourstart, E-Risks, BBC daily email and of course bloggers4Labour.

Shame that you think that attacking fascism is incompatible with centre left politics? Still, you are entitled to your views. Maybe things are not always as simple as they seem. I refer http://grayee.blogspot.com/2007/03/pre-emptive-strike-against-iranian.html

The key issue is what on earth are you suggesting is done about this situation? There is an almost complete failure of the “Left” over what to do with these new quasi-fascistic dysfunctional states. Since they are anti-American the “Left” oppose any meaningful action against them. What if the Iranians do harm the RN people? After all in 2004 they blindfolded the British captives, took them to a ditch and pretended to shoot them. After all they publicly hang children in Iran for being gay. After all they also publicly hang women who have been raped. So what do you suggest should be done with Ahmadinejad if he gets nuclear weapons and attacks Israel? ?

BTW there are 1.4 million UNISON members. The overwhelming mass of them will never, ever support the likes of McNoHoper and you wasting your lives thinking otherwise.

Thanks

e10 rifles said...

John

To take your points in order:

Interesting that this future British Prime Minister (yeah) doesn’t even bother to make the kidnap a key post. Instead he gives more space on slagging off Mandleson.

Whether or not he makes it a 'key post' is fairly irrelevant. McDonnell obviously only updates his site every few days so posts on whatever subjects are key at the time. As his website is dedicated to a campaign within the Labour Party I think it's relevant to comment on Mandelson.

Every democratic British politician has stood up for the marines and demanded that they are released. His silence is deafening.

"We all want to ensure that the Bristish Service personnel detained by Iran are safe and secure and are released unharmed." Seems fairly unequivocal to me.

It is a shame as a LGPS member (apparently) you support McDonnell’s back stabbing of the unions in the midst of negotiations. I was on the Pension strike picket line last year at 4am. Hope you weren’t “all rhetoric and no action”?

I'd interpret that rather differently. McDonnell was articulating the views of many, including myself, that the joint union leaderships were squandering a real opportunity to get a decent deal and selling out their members. I was on the picket line that day, in fact I was organising the pickets. What is your motivation for implying otherwise?

The quote may have been from TGA but your quoting it makes clear the implication.

Rory MacQueen
GMB shop steward and LP member.

[I didn't put my name earlier as you won't have heard of me and there was no need. I don't have a 'blogger profile' as I don't use these things very often.]

Gobsmacked said...

Mr Gray,

It's not a situation, its a bait to catch a fish, which unfortunately they fell for.

And sorry, guv, your fear of McDonnell's evident success is - palpable

Duncan Hall said...

"Hi Duncan (whoever you are0"

There's no reason why you'd know me, but my name is Duncan Hall. I assume you don't mind strangers posting to your site (after all you are using it to slur a public figure in a public election.

Having said that, can I thank you for approving the various comments that have been posted from supporters of John McDonnell; at least you are welcoming a debate.

I think that I have demonstrated above that I have read (and kept) a copy McNoHoper post.

Only if you're conceding you didn't understand it. Your characterization of it bears no resemblance to what was said.

It is interesting that you do not dispute the accuracy of my report about his cheap trick in publically attacking us when we were in a middle of a dispute with our employers.

I was responding to the comments about Iran (why is it okay for you to latch a point about a Unison pay dispute onto a post about Iran, but not for John McDonnell to combine a post abour Iran and one about Mandelson?) Do you imagine criticism of the union leadership's approach (from the perspective of voicing a view that is echoed throughout the union, from branch activist to NEC level) would have any impact on the negotiations you refer to? I can't imagine for a moment why.

Trouble is Duncan, what do we do with these vile and disgusting regimes such as Iran? Send a letter of support?

Clearly not (though Straw, Blunkett, Clarke and Reid have gone one stage further, instead sending them hundreds of dissidents to torture, who've been denied asylum in the UK, as apparently Iran is a suitable regime for such people to be returned to). What are you suggesting should be done? And what has it got to do with the specific issue of the British Navy personnel?

I'm happy to giggle along with the Life of Brian stuff, but what are you proposing? Sending in some marines to join the others?

Miles said...

If your union branch ever has a dispute John McDonnell will be one of the first MPs to question the version of events being spouted by your bosses.
And then you will be glad he doesn't always believe the big wigs.

susan press calder valley CLP aka grim up north said...

"McNoHoper is obviously an extremely unpleasant and unprincipled politician. He announced himself as the “left wing” candidate for the leadership election without any consultation or approval. He is so unpopular that it looks like he won’t even get enough nominations to run."

I will ignore the personal slurs because they are not worth commenting on.
John McDonnell consulted his CLP in Hayes and Harlington before declaring for the leadership and was unanimously backed.He is now supported by ALL the left pressure groups in the Labour Party, CLPD, Welsh Labour Grassroots, Campaign For Socialism in Scotland, ASLEF , T+G Broad Left, AMICUS Unity Gazette. I believe he has 24 confirmed MP nominations with lots more to come. I could go on.But I'm not sure it's worth it.
On a personal note, yes, I voted for Blair in 1994. So what? It was pretty naive but I don't think many of us realised just how insidious and reactionary New Labour would become. At least I have seen sense whereas you appear to make it your mission to slur someone whose commitment to peace and socialism is unquestionable. My partner is in UNISON and one of thousands actively campaigning in his workplace for John.He addressed a meeting where I live and everyone was right behind him/ It is you who is out of step.

grimupnorth said...

Forgot to say:"Far left Marxist" ?????? If you actually bothered to read John's policy platform as opposed to ranting in a completely unacceptable manner I think you would find it is ALL Labour Party policy as approved at conference or widely supprted by activists.
And clearly the voters in that well-known revolutionary hotbed of Hayes and Harlington have no problem with left policies - they keep increasing John's majority.
If he IS a Marxist,frankly I wish there were more of them in the PLP instead of the New Labour horrors you clearly support. If David and Ed Miliband had followed their dad's values (ie Marxist Ralph Miliband) would have a lot more time for them.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote "Trouble is Duncan, what do we do with these vile and disgusting regimes such as Iran? Send a letter of support?"

I think this was in response to Duncan Hall but there are lots of options other than more comprehensive sanctions (which, as in Iraq, would probably lead to ordinary people dying of starvation and lack of medicines without changing the government) or war.

One thing you can be sure of about Iranians is that no matter how many of them dislike their govt and its policies they will all rally behind it the moment Britain and the US begin threatening sanctions or war.

That's because in 1953 the US and British govts overthrew their first post-independence Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq who was democratically elected and replaced him with the Shah's military dictatorship in order to prevent Mossadeq nationalising the oil industry to give Iranian workers in it decent wages and get Iran's people a fair share of their own oil wealth.

The British and american govts were quite happy to support torture, execution without fair trial and massacres when it was the Shah carrying them out.

Some of their forces still use torture in Iraq too and the new government in Iraq does the same - and both kill civilians as well as armed insurgents.

So there is no reason to think that regime change in Iran by the British and American governments today would produce any more real democracy than it did when they toppled Mossadeq and replaced him with Shah or since they've toppled Saddam.

On top of that every time the British and American governments put pressure on Iran through threats of sanctions, military strikes or war its a gift - an absolute gift - to hardline Shia fundamentalists and nationalists in Iran - people like Ahamadinejad and more extreme.

Ahmadinejad was only elected due to the Iraq war and Bush's subsequent threats against Iran which were played over and over again on Iranian state TV during the last Presidential election campaign.

The Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and central and Eastern Europe collapsed without a shot being fired - so did Apartheid.

The best thing we could do to promote democracy in Iran would be
first to stop threatening them.

If we do that then current focus on the threat of a US /UK invasion or attacks or sanctions in Iranian politics will move on to domestic politics which the hard-liners cant get the same support on.

This would give an opening to politicians like former President Khatami and , given time, Iran would become more democratic.

Second we should grant asylum to Iranian dissidents.

Third we should normalise trade and diplomatic relations with Iran - banning only arms sales - and considering only targeted smart sanctions on individual members of the regime accused by Amnesty and HRW of involvement in serious human rights violations - including travel bans and siezure of any assets those indivdiuals hold in the EU.

We should also pull out of Iraq so that the Iranian government cant accuse us of hypocrisy over issues like torture and detention or execution without fair trial.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote :
Don’t you see that accusing Blair and Bush of simply “lying” over Iraq WMD actually lets them “off the hock” for the gross intelligence failures?

No - i see that by blaming intelligence failures they are attempting to get off the hook and blame the intelligence services despite the fact that their intelligence analysts (including David Kelly) told them Iraq probably had no significant WMD stocks or WMD programme.

Bush and Blair lied. Many people in British intelligence and CIA analysts told them one thing, they presented it as another.

John Gray wrote I see that McDonnell is quoted “In May 2003 he praised the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), saying "It's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McDonnell_(politician)
Now I hope this is a Wikipedia hoax – if not “nuf said”.


I've heard that quote before. Apparently it was the Sun that quoted him so it might or might not be reliable. If don't know if he said it - if he did i disagree with him. There were plenty of murders and atrocities on both sides and British Military Intelligence and the RUC were involved in collaborating with Loyalist terrorist murders of Catholics who werent in the IRA at all.

Having said that two wrongs dont make a right - murders and bombings by Republicans were wrong too. I'd accept the early IRA before the Republic of Ireland got its independence were mostly in the right and mostly targeted British military and intelligence - while British units like the Black and Tans massacred Irish civilians. However from what i've read the modern IRA targeted civilians and i dont believe that their bombings and killings led to negotiations - i think they delayed them.

John Gray wrote : Sorry, I repeat “Only someone whose political and moral compass is totally disorientated by hostility to American and British policy could dare to suggest that this act of shameless, lying, cross-border piracy is justified or excusable”.

Well thats a nicely worded quote but ignores the fact that the Bush administration has been having Iranians dragged out of their consulates in Iraq at gunpoint and are holding at least 5 whose fate remains unknown. That is likely to be one of the main reasons the Iranians took our sailors captive.

There are also US special forces in Iran already identifying targets for air strikes.

These actions are not conducive to producing trust of US and British forces among Iranians.

Also the cross-border part is wrong as i've posted above - there is no clear maritime border between Iran and Iraq outside of the Shatt Al Arab (and even that one may be out of date due to shifting sands and sediment)

Tom P said...

"your fear of McDonnell's evident success is - palpable"


What a total load of rubbish. He has no chance of winning whatsoever. Anyone (regardless of their politics) can see this. I really do have to question why people want unions to piss their money and influence away by suporting candidates who have no chance of ever being in power. It just makes unions look like political imbeciles.

John Gray said...

Hi E10 Rory MacQueen
As I type – there looks like there is good news in the offering about the RN kidnap victims. We are all in agreement with this although I would imagine that some wish the Iranians still held them captured. The even more Extreme Left and Neo-cons. Anyway, but to response. Apologies for being a bit late but I have been out all day (see blog later tonight)
Hang on – Again, McNoHoper is standing to be the British PM, this is a key national issue, Mandleson is a nobody. Glad to hear you were also on the picket line. I just wanted to make sure. Regarding the implication you are absolutely correct.
Thanks for using your real name although I am disappointed you don’t tell us anymore about yourself. There have been a number of cases where people have posted multi-comments using false names. Now, I know that some bloggers in the labour movement cannot openly “blog” since they will be subject to abuse and intimation. I have experienced a bit of this myself. So I don’t blame them. But over issue such as this I really cannot understand why people don’t have the courage of their convictions to post under there own names??
Finally, I always wonder what it would be like to feel a trade unionist and convinced that my leadership “sells out its members” (my emphasis) – Rory, didn’t 98% of your members vote to accept the LGPS deal? http://grayee.blogspot.com/2007/03/pensions-snatching-defeat-from-jaws-of.html Are so many of them so thick?

John Gray said...

Mr Gobsmacked, Mr Gobsmacked, what are we going to do with you….Tom has had a proper dig at you already (quite rightly). I don’t believe in cruel sports or unusual punishments so I will leave it for now. I suppose if McNoHoper had any chance of success I should be fearful of another 18 years of Tory rule? But really….

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan Hall (whoever you still are)
See comments to E10 about anon comments. I don’t mind strangers posting to my site but just wonder why they don’t say who they are or explain why not? I do make accurate and valid remarks about McNoHoper in my own name and I think that everyone knows exactly who I am? Surprise, surprise I believe my characterisation is correct about this appalling, divisive and anti-UNISON candidate McNoHoper. What I propose to do, is what the British government has done, which (fingers crossed has got the RN people realised). McNoHoper response would have been so pathetic that the Iranian would have milked it for all its worth. However, I asked the question, what would you do about a regime which you say you don’t suppose (but wouldn’t do anything about?)

John Gray said...

Hi Miles – Welcome back

Thank you for making what I think is a really important comment. You put your finger on what divides us. If McDonnell turned up on my branches picket line we would not of course not turn anyone away. However, in my view the big wigs would actually be rubbing their hands in glee since he has no credibility as a political figure. They will just ignore him because they know his views do not represent anyone except extremists. Come on, Gorgeous George would get more headlines (and the same 0% impact). He is a no hope, loser – dump him and find someone the Left could rally behind.

John Gray said...

Hi Susan Press aka Grimupnorth

Come off it, he “announced” he was the Extremist candidate without any endorsement B4Hand by the LRC/Tribune. There are more than enough inclined MP’s to support him but they don’t for obvious reasons. He has been quite rightly been dumped by UNISON, which is the biggest union in the country. We will remember his back stabbing remarks (which no one has denied) during our dispute. How can anyone whose “commitment to peace and socialism is unquestionable” support bombs and bullets in Northern Ireland (that quote is still there – so I assume it is true?).

I have read his policy platform nonsense. Come off it, he is a barmy squabbling no hope Marxist loser.

Why it is the Extreme Left are so sensitive of criticism? They can dish it out but can’t take it? Is it a class (middle) issue or is it they are so insecure about their views? Discuss.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan McFarlene

So we do nothing – I actually agree with a lot of your historical analysis but we are where we are – Ahmadinejad is not an “elected” president. Do not give him that status. So his regime will just collapse like the communist regimes? What are you and your comrades doing to help this? Why don’t you even refer to the “threats” against Israel and nuclear weapons? Do we live on different planets? (Yes). So we pull out of Iraq without any settled government and the Sunni massacre the Shiite and Iran will just ignore things yeah ok? Is that it? Is this going stop the murders and persecution in Iran?

What is sad is your implicit (in my view) relativism with the UK and Iran. You must so miserable living in our society?

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan 2
No, it is clear that “everyone” thought that Iraq had WMD. The extreme left always feel they are morally superior to their political opponents (discuss). So instead of attacking the actions they attack the man (person). This lead to Blair and Bush being left off the hook for wider failures.

Agree with what you say about the McNoHoper “quote” about IRA. However, you typically do not refer to the IRA “long tradition” of senseless sectarian murder and ethic cleansing”.

Again, I repeat my assertion that you appear to think that there is no difference between a state that publicly murders teenage gays and girl rape victims, anyone who the state dislikes and modern day Britain.

Duncan Hall said...

I think there was a confusion of Duncans again there (though we're trying to make it so easy for you!) Both of those were in reply to Duncan McFarlane, I assume.

John - it seems odd the you should resort to abuse and then say that the left can't take criticism! It seems that you're the only person refusing to take a reasonable tone here (oh and Tom P's contribution is hardly reasoned either), using lazy language and giving people silly nicknames, etc. Are you prepared to have a sensible debate or not? I shan't bother posting again if your responses are always going to be so irrational.

Fine - you disagree with John McDonnell's policies. Say so and explain why. Otherwise, I don't see why anybody should be interested in what some LibDem turncoat (we can all engage in petty name-calling if we want to) has to say about tabloid tittle-tattle, stultifyingly ill-informed rants on the politics of the left and on international relations, or his own invented version of John McDonnell blogs. People can read the read thing and comment on what John actually says.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan “?” Hall

May I suggest that you might have made it clear when you originally posted that you were not the original “Duncan” (Good Scottish name) However, I accept that Blogger is very confusing on the order it posts comments and stuff gets well out of sequence.

The reply you refer to was actually meant to refer to your comment. Although, I admit that I probably was also thinking of the other “Duncan”.

However, to refer to your latest post, I am surprised and disappointed it is “anonymous”, so I really don’t know who I am communicating with – why, do you have anything to be scared about posting your real identity?

I have had some problems with BNP supporter posting comments while pretending to be Labour Left, so frankly I am surprised that you are taking a moral “high stand” on things – then, such is life.

I don’t think you are a fascist (but I don’t really know since there I say you do not have the courage of your convictions to say who you are) so I will reply.

With respect, it is a little rich for you to complain that I (and Tom) am being unreasonable. The abuse that I have got (you included) for my views and opinions, you may feel justified (and I’m perfectly prepared to accept and not moan – I’m a front line housing officer in an inner London Council local Estate office after all, so I have had a lot worse) but it is simply hypocritical of you to complain about it.

Funny enough it was people like you and Blair that made me leave the Labour Party in the first place. However, that was the lazy option and I have now rejoined and made my bed and will lie on it. I will also do whatever I can (within reason, since actually I don’t think that you sort of people are actually that much of a threat) to support the Labour Party going down the non-Marxist, parliamentary government, mixed economy, rule of law, social justice road that I believe in. I will do what ever is necessary (within reason) to accomplish these aims. Actually, if truth be known, if you don’t like real knock about politics, then don’t post on my comments, just read and weep. There is going to be a lot more on McNoHoper.

BTW the link “read thing” in your post does not work. NMF.

Duncan Hall said...

What are you talking about?

It was not anonymous - I simply don't have a blogger account. I will put a link to another website of mine on this one, if it makes you feel better.

I'm afraid I was largely baffled by your last comment. What was the point about the BNP to do with me and my comments? What did you mean when you said I'd given you abuse about your opinions? The only 'abuse' was when I said you either hadn't read or hadn't understood John's original post. That isn't abuse: it has been demonstrated repeatedly that you misrepresented the content of John's blog (though, fairs fair, you did link to it).

If real knock about politics is throwing insults around and being bizarrely paranoid about people's 'real identities' online (when frankly you could be anyone as well!) then no - I don't like it, can't see the point of it, and will read it and weep (though they weeping is likely to be puzzled laughter rather than sadness).

I look forward to reading your next 'interesting' and certainly original remarks about John McDonnell's campaign.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote "So we do nothing – I actually agree with a lot of your historical analysis but we are where we are – Ahmadinejad is not an “elected” president. Do not give him that status. So his regime will just collapse like the communist regimes? What are you and your comrades doing to help this?"

As i've already explained threats made towards Iran by the US and UK are as big a boost to Ahmadinejad and Khameini as September 11th was to Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush in the US.

Doing "something" if that means wider sanctions or war will kill considerably more Iranians than their government is killing now - and, as in Iraq, probably result in civil war (with Arab and Kurdish separatists being large minorities in Iran) and torture and killings by the Iranian government being replaced by torture and killings by British and American forces on the one hand and sectarian militias and insurgents on the other (as in Iraq today).

Yet you seem to prefer the option of taking action - any action if it opposes the Iranian government - no matter whether it will make ths situation much worse and result in the killing and torture of far more Iranians plus the deaths of more British troops.

Doing "nothing" (as you call ending threats of war or sanctions , pulling out of Iraq and actually allowing Iranian dissidents asylum in the UK) is far more likely to promote democratisation in Iran as it will allow Iranians to focus on their government's lack of democracy, use of torture persecution of gays and dissidents and failure to share Iran's oil wealth fairly with the rest of the population (rather than on the threat of foreign attack)

Threatening or attacking Iran will not improve the treatment of gay people or dissidents there.Nor will sanctions. More of them will suffer - starving , dying of lack of medicine or being killed or tortured by both sides.

John Gray Why don’t you even refer to the “threats” against Israel and nuclear weapons? Do we live on different planets? (Yes).

Because Israel has a large and advanced nuclear missile arsenal - as does its ally the US. If the Iranians were to develop nuclear weapons (and the IAEA and British intelligence estimate they're 5-10 years from being able to ) they won't start a nuclear war with Israel because they would be the ones wiped off the map and they know it.

It's one thing getting some poor impressionable dupe to become a suicide bomber - its another for a whole government and country to committ suicide in nuclear war. The Iranians wouldnt do it more than any other government.

While i believe the position of "Supreme Leader" in Iran is undemocratic Khameini has issued fatwas saying the production, stock-piling or use of nuclear weapons is un-Islamic.

The Shah also had a civilian nuclear power programme in the 70s - so its nothing new.

There are 25,000 Jews living in Iran. They suffer prejudice but not as bad as that suffered by Israeli Arabs in Israel or Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The entire "second holocaust"/nuclear armageddon script on Iran is wild eyed ranting with no basis in reality.


John Gray wrote So we pull out of Iraq without any settled government and the Sunni massacre the Shiite and Iran will just ignore things yeah ok? Is that it? Is this going stop the murders and persecution in Iran?

No - we need a UN force - preferably Indonesians or other neutral Muslims but possibly Iranian and Arab League sectors - as with the Russians and NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo. US and British forces are one side in the conflict so, as the Iraq Study Group Report says, they won't be seen as neutral and have no chance of disarming the militias or insurgents.

John Gray wrote What is sad is your implicit (in my view) relativism with the UK and Iran. You must so miserable living in our society?

What relativism? I consider torture by beatings, stress positions, sleep deprivation and electric shocks torture whether its British or American troops torturing Iraqis or Iranians torturing Iranians or Iraqis torturing Iraqis.

I'm very happy to live in a country where (until recently most people) arent held indefinitely without fair trial, aren't tortured and have freedom of speech. I want the same for Iraqis and Iranians neither of whom currently have these rights.

If Iraqis were being treated by British and American troops or the Iraqi government the way the British government treats most British or American citizens in the UK and US there would be no problem.

I simply don't accept torturing and jailing or killing Iraqis without trial by the thousand to be democratic.

I'm not a moral relativist - you seem to be unwilling to face facts though - our forces and the new Iraqi government are treating Iraqis much the same way Saddam did.

Invading Iran would have similar results, kill more Iranians than it would save and weaken rather than improve prospects for greater democracy in Iran.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wroteNo, it is clear that “everyone” thought that Iraq had WMD.

This is the lie Bush and Blair and some of their government keep repeating in the hope people will believe it and blame the intelligence instead of them for lying and misrepresenting the intelligence.

Iraq having a few chemical artillery rounds that it wouldnt use unless invaded is not the same as Iraq having "active WMD and nuclear programmes" or posing "a serious threat to the UK" or its allies.

British intelligence and the CIA thought that Iraq's WMD capability was no more than some chemical and possibly biological warheads - and mostly for artillery shells not long ranged missiles ; and both said Saddam would be unlikely to use even these unless someone invaded Iraq and was on the point of overthrowing him.

Saddam had chemical warheads for scud missiles in the 1991 Gulf War but the scuds he fired into Israel had conventional warheads - because he knew otherwise Israel and the US could have responded with nuclear weapons. (see Joseph S. Nye & Robert K. Smith (1992) , ‘After the Storm’, Madison Books , London , 1992 , p211-216 ; Nye is a former CIA man by the way so they're no lefties)

So Blair knew Iraq did not pose the "current and serious threat" to the UK he claimed it did.

Can you explain why, if all this intelligence evidence that Iraq had major WMD capabilities and Saddam intended to attack other countries with them neither the US nor the British governments have provided it since Saddam was overthrown, despite repeated demands that they do so?

The simple answer is because it doesnt exist - as most of British intelligence and the CIA told them (see below)

Dr. Brian Jones who was head of the Defence Intelligence Staff when Blair's WMD dossier on Iraq was being drafted told the Hutton inquiry he and the entire DIS rejected the re-writing of the Dossier to suit Blair. Only John Scarlett (the head of MI5) approved it and even then only after "debate".

David Kelly , despite one journalist misquoting him and despite his support for the war, also said Iraq had no significant WMD capability other than artillery and wouldnt use them on other countries unless invaded.

In June 2003 MI5 and MI6 demanded that the government should never doctor intelligence again as it had on Iraq in 2002-3.

The dossier on Iraq's WMD was re-written at least 6 times with Blair's personal involvement to make it sound like the intelligence suggested what Blair wanted it to suggest.

The situation on the other side of the Atlantic was similar. The CIA were telling Bush Iraq had no WMDs - except for their director George Tenet who simply agreed to tell Bush what he wanted to hear.

Then there was Rumsfeld's 'Office of Special Plans' which was established basically to disseminate propaganda and bypass the CIA (which wasnt saying what Bush wanted to hear).

Bush and Blair lied and presented their own claims as intelligence reports.

The only other possibility consistent with the facts is that Blair and Bush were so delusional and selective in their approach to the evidence that they can't be trusted to tell probabilities and realities from what they want to believe - in which case they're equally unfit to be in government.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wroteAhmadinejad is not an “elected” president. Do not give him that status.

I agree the elections werent properly free and fair (neither were either of Bush's - though the Republican's tricks were more advanced and didnt involve violence or threats of it).

Both however, despite the element of intimidation and vote-rigging , did get a lot of votes - and my point was that Ahmadinejad got enough votes to make the rigging to put him over the top work because of Bush's invasion of neighbouring Iraq and threats against Iran - much as Bush was re-elected largely thanks to the boost September 11th gave his admin.

The way to weaken people like Ahmadinejad and Khameini is to remove the US and British threats that get them most of their support .

Then politicians like Khatami have a chance.

A US /UK occupation of Iran would be no more democratic than the current mass torture and jail without trial in Iraq - or the Shah's regime.

I'm happy we have democratic freedoms in the UK - unfortunately our governments have never yet extended those freedoms to Middle Eastern peoples in their foreign policy.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan (Hall)

It is one of life’s many ironies (?) that a Duncan Hall and Duncan McFarlane (apparently) have made a number of responses to my original post. I think you are confusing my responses to Duncan McFarlarne with a response to your own posts. I think that I have made similar mistakes so I will not make a meal of it.

I repeat that I do believe that commenters should always post in their own name and identify themselves. There may be good reasons why you do not want to id yourself. But if you don’t express why you want to be anon there will always be the suspicion you are not what seem.

OK, I accept you are Duncan Hall (link to the bloke with the beard). Let’s hopefully move forward?

Actually, I accept that you (link to bloke with beard) were not abusive unlike your similar namesake. Apologies for this. I don’t agree with what your saying but I accept you have been forthright and honest about these views. They are of course still nonsense, but I will take this up with Duncan McFarlane.

John Gray said...

Dear Duncan (McFarlane)

I do respect your research. However, it would appear that pretty soon you will be trying to convince that pictures of the British Marines, actually portrayed them outside kidnap camps rather than within inside due to some fence pole.

Come on, answer my question, what are you proposing is done about these tyrants? What??? If you think we should do nothing (because of some bonkers Marxist “hidden hand” theory) then have the courage to say so.

So, just because you feel it is unbelievable that Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel because of the inevitable retaliation, you think it will never happen? Duncan, have you never read any history? Are we doomed to repeat it?

Agree that we do need ideally a neutral UN force to take over security duties in Iraq. If they say no, who will take their place???

How can you deny you are not a relative moralist when you think oppression in Iran is justified by oppression in Iraq? Yeah.

I stand amazed that Blair was able to survive the immediate fallout of the Iraq war. This is solely due to the incompetence and stupidity of STW et al. You (et al) let him off the hock due to your own ignorance and inability not to confine arguments to facts not personal abuse. If people had stuck to the government taking responsibility for clear governance failures rather than making personal attacks, then Blair would have gone years ago. More fool you.

Interesting that you think that Iran is like Florida? As long as you are not gay, a women or any form of dissenter suppose. BTW Have you ever put yourself at risk for your country or your beliefs?

Duncan McFarlane said...

Here's the link to John McDonnell's blog - i've forgotten the .uk part myself a few times.

John Gray wroteI do respect your research. However, it would appear that pretty soon you will be trying to convince that pictures of the British Marines, actually portrayed them outside kidnap camps rather than within inside due to some fence pole.

Yet another John Gray trademark Straw Man argument that has zero to do with what anyone said or argued. Try to deal with other people's arguments - not with ones you just made up.

You're trying to imply (based on sweet f*** all ) that i've constructed a conspiracy theory based on photos or tiny discrepancies. In fact I quoted senior British intelligence analysts by name and the links they were quoted in are mainstream newspapers - The Guardian, The Telegraph etc.

My source on torture by British and American forces in Iraq is Amnesty International's annual report 2006 - independent and reliable.

I try to debate reasonably with you but 90% of what you write
is either an insulte or a
straw man argument. You make claims but back them up with nothing - no sources, no historical examples.

John Gray wroteCome on, answer my question, what are you proposing is done about these tyrants? What???

I already answered this question twice. You could try actually reading the answers before asking the same question over and over again without listening like a broken speak your weight machine or Mr. one trick pony Jeremy Paxman.

I'll try this time to make it simple enough for you to understand - but you might need to actually read it.

Sanctions against Iraq killed around 500,000 children according to two consecutive heads of the UN sanctions programme - Dennis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck - without getting rid of Saddam. Thats why the British government has rejected blanket sanctions on Zimbabwe (rightly this time) and continued foreign aid to keep ordinary Zimbabweans alive.

So tell me do you want blanket sanctions on Iran and Zimbabwe so hundreds of thousands of ordinary people will die to punish their governments?

Or perhaps you'd like war on Iran and Zimbabwe . The Iraq war has resulted in hundreds of thousands more civilians killed - a large proportion by coalition air strikes - according to the Lancet study which MoD science officers said had tried and tested methodology. That's been followed by civil war , Al Qa'ida being able to operate in Iraq , and a continuation of torture methods like saddams by the new government.

So thats what you want as action against Iran and Zimbabwe is it?

Please tell me what you mean by action if not sanctions or war?

Perhaps military strikes on nuclear sites which every expert says would probably fail to prevent Iran's nuclear programme and strengthen support for Iranian hardliners who would want to produce nuclear weapons?


And are also for bombing Saudi John Gray? And all the other emirates which are torturing dictatorships who execute their people without fair trials? If not why not if you want to bomb and invade Iran?

John Gray wrote If you think we should do nothing (because of some bonkers Marxist “hidden hand” theory) then have the courage to say so.

Wow yet another straw man. I am not a Marxist nor have i proposed any such theory. Try responding to what people actually say.

I said the hardliners keep power because of the history of US and British intervention to get and keep the Shah in power - which is why modern threats to intervene by the US and UK get Iranians to rally behind extremists they wouldnt support if the external threats ended.

So, just because you feel it is unbelievable that Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel because of the inevitable retaliation, you think it will never happen? Duncan, have you never read any history? Are we doomed to repeat it?

Plenty. You seem to be one of those people that talks of the lessons of history without reading any - because
your argument here is not based on history.

The only time nuclear weapons have ever been used were when only one country possessed them. By the US against Japan in 1945. Not because there's anything especially bad about the US but because at that time no other country had nuclear weapons.

Nuclear deterrence has prevented any use of them since by regimes ranging from Stalinists (USSR) to military dictatorships (Pakistan) to religious fundamentalists (Hindu BJP in India in the 90s) to half-crazy Maoists (North Korea). Not one of them has used any because it would mean the suicide of whole governments and countries to use them against other countries which possess large nuclear arsenals - or whose allies do.

From a historical point of view you really arent making any sense.

The largest scale killings currently being carried out or threatened by powerful governments and militaries - like Germany's in 1939 - are in Darfur, Iraq and Iran.

There are no mass killings of Jews being threatened or carried out.

To learn from history you have to look at the similarities to the past - and also the differences from it.

By your logic we should be invading Germany
now before they committ another holocaust.


John Gray wroteAgree that we do need ideally a neutral UN force to take over security duties in Iraq. If they say no, who will take their place???
The Arab League and Iran - neither of whom are neutral but it worked in Kosovo and Bosnia as well as could be expected with Russians in the Serb zones and NATO in the mostly Albanian ones. A long way from ideal but better than constant civil war and sectarian killings.

Even if they wont US and British forces are failing to prevent bombings of Shia - and killings of Sunnis. (the last one of the latter was brought to a halt by Iraqi army forces)

How can you deny you are not a relative moralist when you think oppression in Iran is justified by oppression in Iraq? Yeah.

Yet another straw man. (maybe you should get a job making scarecrows) I said nothing of the kind. I said one was as bad as the other - not that either was justified.I said that torture and killing by US and British forces or the new Iraqi government arent somehow morally superior to the same torture and killings carried out by Saddam's regime - and that since that , civil war and killings by militias and insurgents followed from 'liberation' in Iraq the same would follow from 'regime change' in Iran.

John Gray wroteI stand amazed that Blair was able to survive the immediate fallout of the Iraq war. This is solely due to the incompetence and stupidity of STW et al. You (et al) let him off the hock due to your own ignorance and inability not to confine arguments to facts not personal abuse. If people had stuck to the government taking responsibility for clear governance failures rather than making personal attacks, then Blair would have gone years ago. More fool you. I agree personal attacks are counter-productive - though it's really pretty ironic coming from you when half your blog and half or each reply to comments seem to be a long line of personal attacks and assertions backed up with very little.

John Gray wroteInteresting that you think that Iran is like Florida? As long as you are not gay, a women or any form of dissenter suppose.
My God - how many straw men can one man make? Again try to read what people actually said before you respond. I said Bush's elections were rigged like Ahmadinejad's - but using subtler methods than Iran's govt which used violence and threats of violence plus censorship.

John Gray wrote
Have you ever put yourself at risk for your country or your beliefs?


By which you mean , i take it , have i ever been in the military? No. Neither has Blair, Adam Ingram, Cheney or Bush (the last two havind dodged the draft in Vietnam).

You should also note that many US and British veterans and families of soldiers killed or still fighting in Iraq are against the Iraq war and against war on Iran.
Have a look at Iraq Veterans against the war's website and Military Families against the War's.
Then you might see how stupid it is to suggest that only people who havent fought for their country in its military are against the Iraq war.

Here - i'll show you what you sound like. You must be arguing that no-one who hasnt fought in a war for their country's military has a right to political opinions or a vote. So you want to take away the vote and freedom of speech from anyone who's not fought in a war or served in a war zone in the British military. And you're saying no other job is worth anything or does any good.

If that's not what you mean and this is a straw man then make clear what you mean.

John Gray said...

Actually, Duncan Hall I have just double checked and discovered that you have been posting insulting comments (calling me a “Turncoat” you socialist attack dog you) so I unreservedly withdraw last nights apology.

Nevertheless, I hope you are all having a happy Easter up there in the land of my fathers!

Duncan Hall said...

Sorry to bang on about it, but I just looked on the UNISON website and saw John McDonnell listed as in the UNISON group of MPs... Was there ANYTHING in your original post based vaguely on fact?

John Gray said...

Thanks Duncan (McFarlane) for your comments. Your conclusions are largely nonsense but the breath of your research is pretty impressive. I am a little worried however, that you appear to have been up until 4.30am last night writing up your comments? Not the best use of a Bank holiday Friday I think? Obviously, I have hit a raw nerve somewhere!

Anyway, “Straw Man” attack, interesting, not bad really? But a bit weak. I have made a number of arguments that you don’t accept which is your right. Actually, I wasn’t intending to suggest that you have constructed a conspiracy theory but come to think about it, you have constructed a world which you think you live in which I simply don’t recognise.

Which brings me to your claim that you have answered my question (twice) about what should be done about the tyrants? All you have done is point out some of problems with regard to any actions. You have never suggested anything positive or constructive. Therefore, what about calling you “Convoluted Man”

It is of course a perfectly valid argument to say that actually there is nothing we can do about these regimes and that if we tried it will always make things worse. So let the tyrants in place and hopefully they will not kill murder or torture that many people. Anyway they are not really responsible for their actions it is all the fault of America.

So, if you don’t think there is anything we can do just say it. You know my opinion of such coward ness.

I would support targeted sanctions against Iran (still) and Zimbabwe. While out running this morning I heard an interesting programme on the crisis. BTW South Africa has acted disgracefully so far. However, it would appear that British banks are still bank rolling the regime (export credits etc) so I will get in touch with fellow pension trustees to see if we can do anything about this.

The Iranian petrol-chemical industry needs to be bought to its knees thorough sanctions (as eventually worked with Libya). I suspect that Israel will probably attack Iran in a pre-emptive attack. Although as you rightly point out it would be difficult to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities. At this time I would not support this.

I don’t think that any of the other Middle East dictatorships threaten international peace as much as Iran. At least they are moving (every so slowly) in the right direction. Syria is of course a possible exception.

Glad you are not a Marxist – what did Luke Arkhurst say the other day “nice theory, shame about the practitioners"

With regard to the use of nuclear weapons you obviously have more trust in the sanity of the North Koreans. At the moment the best guess is the device they exploded was the size of a double decker bus. I have no doubt whatsoever that they are perfectly capable of using such a weapon if they are able (as with Saddam)

Iranian forces in Iraq? Bet the Sunnis and Kurds will love to go along with that!

It is a shame (no straw man arguments here – you are condemned by your words) that you cannot see any difference between the deliberate murder and torture of Saddam and Iran and the criminal actions of a tiny % of Coalition troops who many (not enough) have been righly prosecuted and jailed for their crimes.

No response to my remarks regarding the stupidly of the STW et al in not holding Blair to account?

So Bush’s elections (both) “were rigged like Ahmadinejad’s - but using subtler methods than Iran's govt which used violence and threats of violence plus censorship.”

So Bush is really just as bad as Ahmadinejad? What can I do with logic like that?

You are wrong about Blair, and putting himself at risk. No matter what you think of him and his policies, he is a very brave and courageous man. He has constantly been targeted by IRA dissentents and Islamic fascists. They would not hesitate to murder his family. He will need to be protected for the rest of his life.

I didn’t suggest that only veterans has a right to political opinions, I am just curious at your total lack of empathy with British service personal while they were held hostage (while clearly defending the Iranian actions)? When we all knew what they were going through – even you in your heart of hearts.
“We had a blindfold and plastic cuffs, hands behind our backs, heads against the wall. Basically there were weapons cocking. Someone, I'm not sure who, someone said, I quote, 'lads, lads I think we're going to get executed'.
After that comment, someone was sick and as far as I was concerned he had just had his throat cut.”

Royal Marine Joe Tindell http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6533287.stm
I notice that McNoHoper, the future Prime Minister, still hasn’t bothered making any comment on the marines.
Finally, a quote from the respected labour movement commentator Eric Lee (who would not agree with many of my views even though he was complementary on my blog)
“An injury to one is an injury to all – and that's true even when the one doing the injuring is no friend of George Bush. These are the ABCs of working class internationalism and they must be repeated from time to time, and passed on to the next generation.” http://www.ericlee.info/2007/04/workers_rights_and_online_camp.html

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan Hall
I assume you missed my last response. Yes, McNoHoper is a "UNISON" member (pity we can't expel him) but he does not (or rather his CLP) does not get any sponsorship anymore from UNISON. I was proud to be one of the Regional Labour Link committee who unanimously voted on this. Check out Dave Prentis comments on the Labour Link Newsletter that I gave a link 4 on main page “he attacked”

"He reflected that it was therefore
Surprising to find some at UNISON Conference the previous week criticising the union for naction. He found it particularly disappointing that Labour MP John McDonnell should choose to share a platform with Respect and SWP representatives to accuse
the union of being “all rhetoric and no action.” How can he say that after we have just brought a million people out on strike in local government, after we’ve just organised a big rally in Newcastle in support of the health service. After we’ve just organised a lobby of Parliament, and after we have
already taken a decision that our main campaign for the autumn will be an anti privatisation campaign
against this government’s policy using all the resources at our disposal including the Labour Link"

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote
“It is a shame (no straw man arguments here – you are condemned by your words) that you cannot see any difference between the deliberate murder and torture of Saddam and Iran and the criminal actions of a tiny % of Coalition troops who many (not enough) have been righly prosecuted and jailed for their crimes.”

If this difference was as great as you claim it is you would be right there.

In fact as Amnesty International , Human rights watch and British and American troops report the Bush administration has a tacit policy of torture which is hidden by the fig leaf of making scapegoats of a few soldiers.

The new Iraqi government’s police forces and military also systematically torture suspects using the same torture methods Saddam used.

Is every soldier or even a majority of soldiers involved – probably not –just as most Iraqi soldiers probably didn’t torture people under Saddam – with that mostly done by the mukhabarat (many of whom now work for the coalition and the new govt in Iraq)

It’s not though a tiny number of troops out of control who torture prisoners. In most case they were following orders – and most of those involved have not been prosecuted – particularly since approval came from the President himself.

Excessive use of force leading to heavy civilian casualties as in e.g the assaults on Samarra and on Fallujah in which half the dead were women and children is equally not a few soldiers out of control. It’s soldiers and pilots obeying orders to attack entire cities, fire if in doubt, to fire on ambulances in case they’re being used by insurgents and on civilians just in case they might be insurgents too. And coalition forces still get orders to employ “excessive use of force resulting in civilian deaths”

Tom P said...

"(oh and Tom P's contribution is hardly reasoned either)"

it is reasoned, you might not like what I say, but you must admit there is quite abit of logic in my argument.

I said he had no hope of winning and that unions backing him made them politically clueless. If you think he will win I am happy to bet you right now that he won't, the loser can donate the cash to charity.

What exactly do unions gain by backing a no-hoper? All it does is reinforce the impression that many people in the unions are (still) more interested in ideological fidelity than practical politics. It's a classic example of failing to look outside the Lefty fishbowl.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote "Which brings me to your claim that you have answered my question (twice) about what should be done about the tyrants? All you have done is point out some of problems with regard to any actions. You have never suggested anything positive or constructive.
"


Actually I did. Here they are copied and pasted from the first time.
-----------------------------------
The best thing we could do to promote democracy in Iran would be
first to stop threatening them.

If we do that then current focus In Iranian politics on the threat of a US /UK invasion or attacks or sanctions in Iranian politics will move on to domestic politics which the hard-liners cant get the same support on.

This would give an opening to politicians like former President Khatami and , given time, Iran would become more democratic.

Second we should grant asylum to Iranian dissidents.

Third we should normalise trade and diplomatic relations with Iran - banning only arms sales - and considering only targeted smart sanctions on individual members of the regime accused by Amnesty and HRW of involvement in serious human rights violations - including travel bans and siezure of any assets those indivdiuals hold in the EU.

We should also pull out of Iraq so that the Iranian government cant accuse us of hypocrisy over issues like torture and detention or execution without fair trial.
-----------------------------------
- but no doubt you'll keep pretending i havent made any suggestions and that sanctions, air strikes and invasion - all of which have failed to bring democracy or end torture and killings in Iraq while killing hundreds of thousands - can work in Iran.

If you're so blind that you believe sanctions or war can bring democracy and that anything else is 'doing nothing' then thats up to you.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John GraySo, if you don’t think there is anything we can do just say it. You know my opinion of such coward ness.

I've already said three times - and a fourth pasted above - it is not cowardly to consider whether war would cost far more lives than it would save while actually damaging the prospects for democracy. There are a lot of lives at stake on all sides. Rashly going to war and damn the consequences in other peoples' lives is not bravery.

John GrayYou are wrong about Blair, and putting himself at risk. No matter what you think of him and his policies, he is a very brave and courageous man. He has constantly been targeted by IRA dissentents and Islamic fascists. They would not hesitate to murder his family. He will need to be protected for the rest of his life.

There is a difference between bravery and careless recklessness with other peoples' lives.

Or are suicide bombers brave men, no matter what you think of their politics and their methods, because they're willing to give up their lives for what they believe in?

Blair started a war without considering the consequences or even telling people the facts as provided by intelligence reports so they could make their own judgements.

He threw away the lives of British soldiers and Iraqi civilians in Iraq because he didn't consider any risks to Britain or to Iraqis. Didn't think about whether it would result in more dead Iraqis and more dead British people and more support for Al Qa'ida - or whether it would allow al Qa'ida a new base and a new cause.

He presented his own version of the situation as if it was based directly on intelligence reports despite protests by most British government intelligence analysts.

It is of course a perfectly valid argument to say that actually there is nothing we can do about these regimes and that if we tried it will always make things worse. So let the tyrants in place and hopefully they will not kill murder or torture that many people. Anyway they are not really responsible for their actions it is all the fault of America.

Which is of course not what i've argued. I've argued that in any country - including the US facing the September 11th attacks and fears of more and the Iranian people fearing US invasion with hundreds of thousands killed - people will tend to react to foreign threats by rallying behind their government. So threats of sanctions, air strikes or war against Iran are a gift to the current Iranian government in keeping moderates and dissidents from getting more power and influence to bring about reforms.

All out regime change has managed to massively increase the number of people being tortured and killed in Iraq but not doubt all good torture and good killing in your eyes since half of it is done in the name of democracy and other high ideals - or just a few 'bad apples' in the military getting out of control (which isnt the case - see my post on torture and killings above)

John Gray said...

Come on Duncan (Hall) enough is enough. I have said this before, but do you really think that your country’s soldiers, sailors and airfare are just as bad as Saddam’s? Your government just as bad? If so you must feel you live in a fascist state? If so, what are you doing about it? If I felt the same as you I would not rest until I had overthrown this state? So, what are you doing to fight the British fascist state you live in? Play a song or two? If we lived in Iran you and I would probably be tortured and dead for expressing such ideas.

Don’t just moan about the awful vile society you live in, do something about! See you in the hills!

Duncan McFarlane said...

No response to my remarks regarding the stupidly of the STW et al in not holding Blair to account?

First the main bodies which failed to hold Blair to account were the majority of the Labour party's MPs - who should have had the integrity to vote against going to war on Iraq - and most of the Conservative opposition who also voted for it.

Only the terminally naive could have believed the case for war put forward by Bush and Blair - that Saddam would suddenly become suicidal and start a nuclear war.

Holding the STWC as having the primary responsibility - and more than already elected members of parliament - is laughable.

I do think the Stop the War coalition have made some mistakes in the past(though these pale into insignificance compared to what Blair and Bush have done) in my opinion . For instance while i believe in policies that would broadly be labelled democratic socialist I dont think the STWC should aim at forwarding socialism or 'anti-imperialism'.

To get the maximum support from people of all political persuasions who oppose the Iraq war (and to a lesser extent the war in Afghanistan) we should campaign against specific wars based on the consequences (and likely consequences) of them - and avoid socialist liberal or conservative labels for the STWC so as to get support from all those who oppose the war.

However thats just my opinion. The STWC , unlike the Labour party, has real one-member one-vote policy making at its conferences with the votes binding on the leadership's policies.

There are some people who i disagree with in the STWC but these people are all in a small minority in it (e.g those who said Hezbollah attacks on Israel are a justified response or that we should support the Iraqi armed resistance).

Those minorities dont set the arent policies of the StWC Its central policy is to get the troops brought home from Iraq.

Military Families against the War have also had a very important influence on the coalition in getting people to emphasise that the troops are not to blame - the government is.

Duncan McFarlane said...

Neither I nor Duncan Hall have claimed British citizens are tortured and killed by their government - but in Iraq British and American forces continue to kill and torture Iraqis in large numbers as the most reliable and independent sources - like amnesty and human rights watch tell us - not to mention accounts from British and American troops. Not all troops are involved but those that are have been ordered to and many troops dont like it , turn whistle blower, and suffer for it.

That is the point.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan (McFarlane)

Okay, Okay, sorry I got confused again with Duncan Hall, maybe it would be helpful to refer to your positive (but largely barmy) responses when you are making more “section-al” comments? (In true sense of the word) But since you have previously remarked (God knows where) on sanctions being useless and counterproductive…? Good idea to pull out of Iraq at the moment – no doubt this will reduce torture and murder.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan (McFarlane)

Interesting post – shame you don’t address my point that people like you have let Blair off the hock? Love your innocence about STW (SWP front who declared that the resistance in Iraq are entitled to use “what ever force deemed necessary” to torture and murder Iraq trade unionists) I note that you are not a trade unionist so this sort of thing obviously doesn’t bother you.

John Gray said...

Eh, don’t think that I have claimed that British citizens are tortured and killed by the British government?? Come on face facts you think the society that has nurtured you, educated you, fed you, clothed you and protected you is a evil fascistic state that murders and tortures people. Either accept this or do something about it. Sleep tight!

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan (McFarlane)
Good that you recognise Blair’s personal courage and bravely. I don’t think that suicide bombers are necessary brave since they seem to mainly to try to kill innocent civilians rather than soldiers or statement. It appears that they are too frightened of failure to attack defended targets. These cowardly morons who attack soft targets (7/7) just make you sick.

I assume you were drunk when you posted your most recent comments ( and why not)? For obvious reasons.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wroteInteresting post – shame you don’t address my point that people like you have let Blair off the hock?

I did - the people who let Blair off the hook were primarily the majority of Labour and Conservative MPs.

Love your innocence about STW (SWP front who declared that the resistance in Iraq are entitled to use “what ever force deemed necessary” to torture and murder Iraq trade unionists) I note that you are not a trade unionist so this sort of thing obviously doesn’t bother you.


The statement you're referring to was made in January 2005 before i was a member and was retracted within days. The Stop the War Coalition's current policy is to get the troops brought home - and at the 2006 AGM a motion calling for support for the Iraqi resistance got very few votes and failed to pass.

The statement you're referring to was retracted within days as the drafters realised its critics were right. It said that under international law the population of occupied countries were entitled to resist occupation "by any means necessary". That was both factually incorrect in terms of the law and wrong since it could cover killings of civilians and when critics pointed out what that it implied the phrase was removed.

At the last AGM of the Stop the War Coalition in 2006 the conference passed a resolution to call for British troops to be brought home from Iraq. Another resolution - to support the Iraqi "resistance" failed to pass - it was voted against by the vast majority. After that i joined the StWC.

I accept (as Kofi Annan did as UN general secretary) that under international law the population of a country occupied by another's military have the right to resist occupation - but i can't support attacks on British troops.I want them brought home - and that's now StWC policy - no support for the Iraqi resistance but a call for British troops to be brought home.

It's also worth pointing out that no-one knows who carries out these assassinations. Since many of them are of critics of the presence of foreign troops(Hadi Saleh called it occupation and the IFTU and GFIW union confederations still do - just as they condemn the militias and criminal gangs who oppose the foreign forces but also murder Iraqis) - and since many of Saddam's Mukhabarat secret police now work for the Pentagon or the Iraqi government both sides are likely to be murdering trade unionists, academics, journalists and other civilians.

In my view most of the IFTU are between a rock and a hard place and have the bravery to condemn both the occupation and the insurgent and militia killers. They do not deserve to be labelled collaborators - even if some of them have verbally backed people who are not democrats but murderers like Saddam (e.g Iyad Allawi )

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wroteGood that you recognise Blair’s personal courage and bravely. I don’t think that suicide bombers are necessary brave since they seem to mainly to try to kill innocent civilians rather than soldiers or statement. It appears that they are too frightened of failure to attack defended targets. These cowardly morons who attack soft targets (7/7) just make you sick.

I think neither Blair nor suicide bombers are brave - both are reckless and fail to consider whether by acting dramatically they will actually kill more people than they save. Blair sees himself defending democracy and peoples' lives against terrorism - and gets over 500,000 Iraqis and over 100 British troops killed because he didnt consider whether war would make things better or worse. Many suicide bombers see themselves as defending their country's people or 'true' Muslims lives and principles too - and are even more wrong - both killing innocent people and helping precipitate wars in which even more Muslims (and other people) get killed.

The point is it is not enough to "act" - you have to consider which actions are likely achieve the end you want and not jump to the most dramatic and decisive (e.g war , sanctions) if the lives lost as a result will be far more than those saved - and if it will strengthen rather than weaken enemies like Al Qa'ida.

It isnt cowardice to be careful not to throw away other peoples' lives for nothing without considering the consequences.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan
I had the unpleasant experience of listening last year to Andrew Murray droning on at our branch AGM. Then this year the even more disagreeable Lindsey German (Life long SWPer and central committee member - we have such fun in our AGM’s).

No, it is quite clear that the STW leadership have completely failed to land any punches against Blair since the March 2003 mass demo. Because I think, it is dominated (not totally) by rabid extremists (certainly their organisers) who are pushing their own political agenda.

Some good stuff about Iraqi trade unions and I’m glad you have (finally – I think) come out of the closet and told us (well all two of us) that you do not support attacks on British troops (nor Iraqi trade unionists).

Don’t be fooled over what the IFTU may say publicly about the invasion or the “occupation”. Nearly (not all) everyone I have ever spoken to, privately, fully supported the War. Even though they knew better than most what the likely aftermath would be.

I think you are still falling into the Extreme Left paranoia by implying that the death squads that murdered Hadi Saleh were American or Iraqi government agents. Your own link to the Labour Friends of Iraqi makes it quite clear that (excellent organisation – hope you have joined) that it was the neo-fascists, who many in the left support, who were responsible.

John Gray said...

Hi Duncan
There you go again, despite having a go at me for this sort of stuff (I admit my politics is personal), you are personalising your attacks.

Who was it who said “Attack the idea not the man” I remember Amitai Etzioni using this once very effectively when dealing with an abusive CP questioner during a lecture on communitarianism (whatever happened to that?). I think I have heard it elsewhere?
Anyway, accept that Blair did consider whether or not War would make things worse (and it is inconceivable that he did not). However, you have the right to say that he made a massive misjudgment (or whatever).

Again, thankfully, at long, long last you agree that Al Qa’ida is the enemy!

I’ll be signing you up for the Labour Party next!

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote Don’t be fooled over what the IFTU may say publicly about the invasion or the “occupation”. Nearly (not all) everyone I have ever spoken to, privately, fully supported the War. Even though they knew better than most what the likely aftermath would be.

From the hundreds of statements on their website condemning bothe the insurgents and the occupation i think you're misrepresenting them - they condemn all the armed 'resistance' groups but they opposed the invasion and continue to oppose the occupation.

If you were right that they'd said one thing publicly and another privately over and over again they'd not be worth supporting.

I have read claims (don't know if they're true )that Abdullah Muhsin of the IFTU told the TUC it should welcome Iyad Allawi - the former Ba'athist Mukhabarat assassin , then CIA funded organiser of car and cinema bombings (and more recently organiser of torture and cold-blooded murderer.

Allawi was Bush's and Blair's chosen 'democrat' in the Iraqi elections - which should really make you a bit wary of defending either of them if their lies/delusions on WMD and Al Qa'ida in Iraq or Bush's global torture policy don't.

I don't know if Abdullah Muhsin said that or not. If he did his commitment to democracy would be questionable to say the least - and the IFTU's for making him Muhsin one of their officials.

If he didnt then Ramadani and the others who accused him of saying it should apologise for putting Muhsin's life further at risk.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wrote"I think you are still falling into the Extreme Left paranoia by implying that the death squads that murdered Hadi Saleh were American or Iraqi government agents. Your own link to the Labour Friends of Iraqi makes it quite clear that (excellent organisation – hope you have joined) that it was the neo-fascists, who many in the left support, who were responsible."

Labour Friends of Iraq make an assertion based on the fact that the killings are similar to those carried out by the previous regime.

Yet such wildly left wing sources as the Conservative party supporting Times newspaper and Telegraph
report that the Pentagon and the new Iraqi government employ Mukhabarat secret police officers who worked as torturers and assassins for Saddam the fact that these murders are carried out in the style of the previous regime's Mukhabarat proves nothing about who ordered them.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch also report the new govt and the Multinational Forces in Iraq continue with the same torture methods used by Saddam on a large scale.

The dominant force in the US-UK coalition is the Bush administration - made up of people like Dick Cheney, John Negroponte and (and previously Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer ). These are the same people who backed and helped arm and train the contra death squads to murder trade unionists, aid workers and school teachers among othersd in El Salvador , Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala in the 80s.

The evidence shows they havent changed - they're doing the same with the new Iraqi govt forces in Iraq.

I don't doubt for a moment that some of the insurgent and Islamic extremist groups also murder trade unionists - but don't be fooled into thinking that the Bush admin is protecting trade unionists or promoting democracy - they're having them killed too.

The new government has also kept Saddam's anti-trade union laws in force on the demand of Bremer's CPA and has passed another law allowing the Iraqi govt to sequester trade union funds. US and Iraqi govt forces also regularly raid trade union offices in Iraq.

Duncan McFarlane said...

John Gray wroteWho was it who said “Attack the idea not the man” I remember Amitai Etzioni using this once very effectively when dealing with an abusive CP questioner during a lecture on communitarianism (whatever happened to that?). I think I have heard it elsewhere?
Anyway, accept that Blair did consider whether or not War would make things worse (and it is inconceivable that he did not). However, you have the right to say that he made a massive misjudgment (or whatever).


No - sorry - i don't hate Blair but he is completely unfit to be Prime Minister. First he lied to start a war by presenting his own opinions as intelligence reports. That's an established fact. He pretended to MPs, the country and our soldiers that his claims/opinions were intelligence reports when they werent.

Now i cant look inside his head and see if he sincerely believed Iraq was a threat or not - but if he sincerely believed that Iraq was a threat to the UK despite all the intelligence reports and assessments provided to him that doesnt make things better - it makes him delusional to the point that he ignores any evidence which doesnt fit with what he wants to believe even if all the evidence conflicts with what he wants to believe.

His judgement is certainly flawed but it goes beyond that - he's a proven liar on life and death matters and possibly delusional in being incapable of distinguishing between the belief he starts with and the evidence (or lack of it) for that belief.

John Gray wrote"Again, thankfully, at long, long last you agree that Al Qa’ida is the enemy!"

That has never been a matter for debate , despite shoddy claims by some pro-Iraq war people the opponents of the war in the UK and the US never supported Al Qa'ida or Saddam - and Al Qa'ida was never able to operate in the part of Iraq controlled by Saddam.

Blair and Bush are strengthening Al Qa'ida and throwing away British and Iraqi lives in the process - and promoting torture.

I will not support either of them on the basis that they're not quite as bad as Al Qa'ida - especially as they play straight into Al Qa'ida's hands.

John Gray said...

Well Duncan
No real surprise here. I suppose you have the right to call Lyad a monster if you want, even thought you don’t produce any evidence (apart from sensational web sites). I think it demeans you to say such a thing about someone who obviously puts his life in his hands over his politics. Unlike you (or me). Compared to you and I who frankly can post what we like, a punch in the nose being the worse we can expect from upsetting people.

Abdullah, to my certain knowledge has always condemned the invasion and the occupation. However, don’t you even realise by suggesting such things about him you could give the fascists an excuse to have him murdered and tortured?

I will hold you personally responsible if anything happens to Abdullah.

ASHLEE said...

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a news conference to announce the release of the personnel as a gift to Britain, stating: On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet, and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial forgave those 15. This pardon is a gift to the British people." When returned to the UK the group claimed to have been put under constant psychological pressure from the Iranian authorities. In addition, British equipment including secure voice communication kit and navigational hardware has not been reported as being returned.The Ministry of Defence announced on 7 April 2007 the beginning of a detailed inquiry into the circumstances leading to the capture of 15 personnel by Iran.The confidential inquiry was headed by Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fulton, the Governor of Gibraltar and former Commandant General Royal Marines. On 22 July 2007, the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee released a report into the incident, however, Fulton's Navy report had not been released to the parliamentary committee.
-----------------------------
Ashleejames


Drug Rehabs