Don’t Believe The Hype

In 2003 we were told about the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and that a war was needed to stop it.  About a million people died, with many more injured or displaced, in order to pacify this danger which turned out to be non-existent.  In fact it was based on lies, as the Downing Street Memo  made clear.  To justify the invasion of Iraq  “the intelligence and facts were… fixed around the policy“.

Now, ten years on from this horrific act of international barbarity, are we seeing the same process at work over Syria, and it’s chemical weapons?  The cynic in me says yes, absolutely.  Syria was named by arch-hawk John Bolton as a nation to be added to George Bush’s “axis of evil“.  (As was Libya and Cuba, incidentally)  I think it is also fair to note that the pacification of Syria is pretty much a prerequisite for those who have long been advocating an attack on Iran.  There are many who have argued that ‘the road to Tehran runs through Damascus.’

A striking echo from 2003 is how those of us suspicious of Western motives in Syria are being accused of being ‘pro-Assad’, or some kind of Assad apologists.  This is exactly the same rhetoric that was used by those of us who, rightly, opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Indeed, Tony Blair infamously, and quite incredibly  claimed that the peace movement would have “blood on it’s hands” for it’s opposition to the Iraq war.

Let us also recall that it was not only the politicians that lied to us in 2003, it was also the media.  And it is quite clear they are doing so again.  The spin, lies, and distortion put on the UN report into the massacres at Houla is a good example.  The UN in it’s report outlined different possible explanations for the massacre.  It did so because it could find no definitive evidence to identify the perpetrators.  To my knowledge the only mainstream reporter to acknowledge this was Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News.  Everywhere else it was reported that the UN had found Assad’s forces responsible.  This may or may not be the case, who knows?  I don’t.  The UN claimed not to.  But that is not what the overwhelming majority of our media outlets reported.  Forgive me for smelling a rat, and feeling a distinct sense of deja vu.  I don’t like being lied to.

I will not be joining this cheer-leading for some kind of military intervention in Syria.  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Has Amnesty UK Lost It’s Mind?

I was absolutely stunned earlier today when I read this ‘Action Alert’ from Amnesty UK.    Just look at some of the language used –

As negotiations for the first ever Arms Trade Treaty draw to a close it has never been more important for the UK to demand human rights are enshrined at its heart.”

Does Amnesty UK actually believe that the UK is in any moral position to ‘demand’ anything from anyone in regards to human rights?   Amnesty UK have either forgotten, or have chosen to forget, that the UK is a serial human rights abuser.  The UK cannot be asked to ‘demand’ something it does not in fact practice.  The UK is arguably a rogue state.

As one of the most influential countries, the UK must make its voice heard.”

If the UK is “influential” it is not because it leads by example.  Far from it.  The UK’s influence comes from it’s military and nuclear power, which provides it a United Nations Security Council seat.  The UK has historically made it’s “voice heard” through ‘speaking softly while carrying a big stick’.

Minister Alistair Burt has made strong statements committing to a bulletproof Treaty but a small, vocal and determined minority of countries are putting the UK under pressure to compromise.”

One could be forgiven after reading this for thinking that the UK is the sole virtuous nation in the world, beset on all sides by those who wish us to “compromise” our noble principles.  Our intentions are purely benign.  Iraq did not happen.  Extraordinary rendition did not happen.  Assaults on civil liberties did not happen.  Arms shipments all over the globe did not, and do not happen.

In this Action Alert, Amnesty encourage us to write to William Hague, the UK Foreign Secretary, and Alistair Burt MP and ask them to “stand firm on human rights“.  Someone should point out to Amnesty that these are people who are not exactly renowned for their stance on human rights.  They are members of a party that regularly advocate the ripping up of the Human Rights Act for crying out loud.

Either Amnesty UK have lost their minds, or they have lost their souls, and are now nothing but handmaidens for imperialists.