America Bombs Hospital in Mosul, Media Yawns

People run in panic after a coalition airstrike hit Islamic State fighters positions in Tahrir neighbourhood of Mosul
A coalition airstrike hits Tahrir neighbourhood in Mosul, November 17, 2016 (Source: Reuters).

Yesterday, the US military publicly announced that it had bombed a hospital in Mosul, which it claims (without showing any evidence) was an ISIS stronghold. Predictably yet depressingly, the British and American mainstream press have completely ignored this story, with a few minor exceptions, while continuing to scrutinise the Russian/Syrian onslaught against the people of Eastern Aleppo. It is estimated that 600 civilians have been killed so far in the US/British/French/Iraqi assault on Mosul, with almost 100 of those deaths being directly attributable to coalition airstrikes (although that is almost certainly a conservative estimate), including an entire family. Yesterday’s hospital bombing was just the latest grisly addition to this ongoing horror story.

What is so striking about this story is that unlike when the US military bombed an MSF hospital in Afghanistan in 2015 and then farcically tried and failed to excuse and then defend what it had done, there have been no official denials about what has happened this time; the US military has come right out and admitted that it intentionally bombed a hospital. The official justification is that it was used by ISIS as a base from which to launch attacks on Iraqi forces. The US military would only be willing to come right out and own up to committing a flat-out war crime if it was confident that the press would either ignore the story completely or obediently attempt to justify what had happened. And, because our journalists are so submissive to those in power, they have done just that; the media has totally covered up the incident, apart from The Guardian, NPRReuters and the International Business Times, and none of those outlets have described what happened as a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention. It is illegal to target a hospital for bombing. When Russia and Syria bomb a hospital in Eastern Aleppo, we recognise that fact. In fact, our journalists and political leaders can’t stop screaming about it for the next several months. But because it’s our side that has now done exactly that in Mosul, there has been complete silence in the media. Even if it were true that this hospital was an ISIS stronghold, it wouldn’t be legally or ethically justified to bomb it anymore than it is legally or ethically justified for Russia and Syria to bomb a hospital in Eastern Aleppo that is being used as a base by al Qaeda. Civilian infrastructure is never allowed to be targeted, regardless of whether it is being used as a cover by militants. The Obama administration just committed a war crime.

Why would ISIS hide in a hospital (assuming that the US military’s narrative is accurate)? The only reason why they would choose that kind of building as a stronghold is if it were sure to be ram-packed full of civilians. So when US pilots quite happily walked into their trap and blew it up, it’s extremely likely that they murdered many civilians in the process, thus giving ISIS a decisive propaganda victory. Of course, figures about civilian casualties are ‘not known’ at the moment; we don’t bother to count our victims. This incident really sums up our war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria; no accountability for war crimes, no facts or figures about civilian casualties, and no interest shown by our ‘adversarial press corps’. Is it even worth wondering if anyone will remember this when discussing ‘Obama’s legacy’?

When Warmongers and Sociopaths Demand Civility


Last night’s Question Time got pretty heated. About halfway through the programme, John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Labour Party, was accused of being abusive towards fellow Labour members by Tory MP Anna Soubry (without evidence), while Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell expressed similar sentiments about those on the “hard-left” of the party. In bizarre scenes, Soubry branded McDonnell a “nasty piece of work” and unleashed a vitriolic tirade against him and his “cronies”, before decrying the Twitter trolling of MPs and lamenting the case of Labour’s Ruth Smeeth, who has apparently been forced to live in a “safe-house” because of an angry Facebook post calling for her execution. The most absurd and laughable element of this isn’t that public figures literally get death threats and hate mail all the time, especially on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and so turning online trolling into some kind of ‘scandal’ or ‘crisis’ is such a dishonest and manipulative tactic; it is that the very people now crying out the loudest for ‘civility’ in politics are people whose actions tend to violate that same notion in the most extreme ways.

No one needs reminding of how this is true of Alastair Campbell, whose lies helped facilitate the killing, torture and displacement of over a million people in Iraq and who has since gone on to provide consultancy services to the Kazakh dictatorship. Campbell’s sheer audacity in lecturing others on decency is a testament to how skilful he is at deception; he has managed to blind even himself to the grotesque hypocrisy of his own actions. Anna Soubry, on the other hand, is undoubtedly one of the most sociopathic and sadistic politicians in Westminster; alongside consistently voting for the continued deployment of UK troops in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya (paving the way for that country’s destruction) and airstrikes on Iraq and Syria, she has also voted against the following: paying higher benefits to those too ill or disabled to work, spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for unemployed young people, and making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste. What kind of human being votes against making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste?

The fact that these two – a warmonger and a psychopath – are leading the way in demanding politeness in politics perfectly embodies the pettiness and warped morality of the political culture in general; you can launch aggressive wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people, support brutal dictatorships and oppress the poor and vulnerable in your own society, but when some anonymous troll sends unkind messages on Twitter, that’s what crosses the line. As Jesus Christ put it more than 2,000 years ago, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel!”.

More Proof That the Rule of Law Doesn’t Exist in Britain

Rule of Law

For anyone who has been paying attention to the so-called war on terror perpetrated by Western governments over the past fifteen years, what is obvious at this point is that there is a class of people in society which literally exists beyond the reach of the law. These people – statesmen, intelligence officials, military generals – can literally commit the worst crimes in the world (such as launching wars of aggression, constructing an international surveillance regime, kidnapping and torturing people, imprisoning people without charges, assassinating suspects and arming brutal dictators) and it is guaranteed that there will be no legal repercussions for them. It is for this exact reason that the US and its allies are able to continue unleashing massive violence and terrorism on the world; they are safe in the knowledge that they will never face justice for the crimes that they carry out.

New evidence has emerged of how intimately the judicial system in the UK is bound up with these lawless, murderous factions, despite its reputation as an independent entity which is able to impose constraints on the government. Cori Crider of the legal charity Reprieve recently published an article in The Guardian revealing that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided to uphold its decision that no one in the British government will face prosecution for UK complicity in the abduction and rendition to Libya of two Libyan families (including women and children) under the Blair regime. According to Crider, the CPS has refused to hear from any of the rendition victims, who were also subjected to torture, and it is more than likely that the investigators at the CPS charged with reviewing the case didn’t even read the police file attached to it (“With a police file of over 28,000 pages, they would have had to read 550 pages daily, seven days a week, just to process all the evidence. There is no real prospect that they even read the police file. This is the “careful and fully independent consideration” the Libyan renditions victims are thought to be worth”). One paragraph in Crider’s article is particularly revealing:

“It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the single guiding principle at the CPS is to act exactly as those at the top of government would wish. During the investigation and afterwards, I spoke to former senior prosecutors and others for advice. All of them were clear: members of the security services are basically never put on trial in this country and, however shocking this case, they probably never will be. The CPS would always, always close ranks and defend MI6 officers, looking for any excuse, however flimsy, not to bring a single official to book”.

This ‘closing of ranks’ that Crider describes in order to shield the government and the security services from accountability is a tendency which can be found not just in the judicial system but in mainstream journalism as well, with countless examples of journalists adopting a tribalistic mindset when it comes to reporting on their government’s wartime policies, so that instead of those in power being held to account and aggressively questioned on their claims they are instead allowed to propagandise the public unchecked and unchallenged. Often, it seems as though the “single guiding principle” in many mainstream journalistic outlets is also “to act exactly as those at the top of government would wish”. There are countless examples of this, from the BBC’s former director of news Helen Boaden apparently sincerely believing that the goal of the Iraq War was to bring democracy and human rights to the Iraqi people to a Sunday Times reporter explaining the strategy behind publishing a false propaganda piece stating that Edward Snowden has spilled operational secrets to Russia and China: “We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government”.

It is because the rule of law is such a joke in the West that it is more important than ever that investigative journalism is not stifled and suppressed but is instead allowed to flourish unhindered by those in power. The courts cannot bring true justice and accountability while they continue to operate with such close ties to the very people they are supposed to be holding to account. Likewise, mainstream journalism has become little more than the propaganda organ of the state, operating behind pretences of ‘objectivity’ and ‘impartiality’ while actually pushing an agenda overtly biased towards power and corporate interests. Of course, the rule of law doesn’t exist, and the law courts are often rendered impotent; but the court of public opinion is one place where we, the people, still have the power to hold the government to account.

MI5’s Dystopian Powers Exceed the Limits of Legality and Morality


MI5, Britain’s secret police force (or ‘domestic intelligence agency’), announced to the press recently that it has helped to foil up to 7 potential terror attacks in the UK through the use of its Behavioural Science Unit (BSU). This unit was set up in 2004 to monitor the behaviour of people suspected of plotting to engage in terrorism, and is made up of criminologists, psychologists and other academics. There are no court orders or warrants involved in this process. Anonymous officials in MI5 independently decide which members of the public they are going to secretly surveil, analysing their behaviour for anything which might arouse suspicion. So you could be being secretly tracked right now because someone in MI5 has decided that you might be planning to engage in terrorism, and so everything you do is being closely watched and monitored in case you do something abnormal or erratic, in which case the state will take an even closer interest in your life. There is no way you can challenge what is happening to you because you don’t even know that it is happening to you. But, like a microbe in a petri-dish, you could be being studied, examined, analysed by nameless, faceless figures who wield infinitely greater power than you do, and there is nothing you can do about it. The people MI5 are monitoring are suspects – not people who have been found guilty of doing anything wrong in a court of law; not even people who are reasonably suspected of plotting terrorist acts on the basis of evidence which has been examined by a jury. A judge does not need to issue a warrant for these people to be secretly spied upon; they are simply selected by anonymous officials to be subjected to all-encompassing, arbitrary surveillance, even if it turns out that they are completely innocent of having done anything wrong.

MI5 claims that it has stopped up to 7 terror attacks in the UK through the use of this authoritarian program. First of all, journalists should be highly skeptical of such claims from the security services and subject them to close scrutiny (instead of uncritically reporting them as if they are tantamount to the truth). The security services regularly make all sorts of unevidenced claims to the press that are designed to make the power they exercise in the dark appear justified. Until MI5 presents evidence that it has indeed stopped up to 7 terror attacks in the UK through covertly monitoring suspects, its claims of doing so should be treated with extreme caution. However, even if it is true that MI5 has actually helped to prevent terror attacks through the use of this program (even though it provides no evidence of having done so), there is no reason why simply working in conjunction with the law, instead of bypassing the checks and balances that are supposed to exist, will not produce similar effects. If there is actual evidence that someone is actively plotting to engage in terrorism, not simply a vague suspicion that one day they might do something bad, then there is no reason why MI5 members can’t simply go into a court of law and present evidence before a jury, which then decides whether or not it is justified for this person to have their life closely monitored. If it is decided that it is justified for such authoritarian measures to take place, then a warrant can be issued by the presiding judge and the program can go ahead. The fact that intelligence officials appear to be using these powers in a highly indiscriminate, unfettered way with no judicial oversight whatsoever (they decide who to target using a network of informants and alerts from members of the public) is extremely alarming, and probably not even effective.

The powers which MI5 is exercising, whatever the context for them, are inherently tyrannical; closely monitoring someone’s behaviour as a clue to how they think and feel, allowing the state to tap into how their brain works and to scrutinise their innermost thoughts, is totalitarian. Even though these powers might be applied selectively to begin with (although that too is questionable), they are bound to end up being abused. As with all broad, authoritarian government powers, especially in the context of the war on terror, what seem like sensible measures for combatting specific societal ills will inevitably turn into mechanisms for control and repression. Right now, it is probably the case that this ‘mind-reading program’ (as the press is labelling it) is limited to the UK’s Muslim population, and so the fact that it is a gross violation of civil liberties has aroused no general concern. However, as with NSA and GCHQ surveillance, it will inevitably expand to encompass all citizens, not just Muslims. Until the security services are constrained, not just by the judiciary (which is all too often utilised as an another arm of the establishment), but by the will of the citizenry to combat creeping authoritarianism, the already excessive power of the state will continue to grow at the expense of democracy and individual liberty. No one should be above the law; especially those who wield the greatest power.

Saving Labour and the One-Party State

New Labour (left) and the Tories (right).

‘Saving Labour’, a shadowy, anonymous advocacy group whose express aim is to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader briefly rose to fame last week after it was endorsed by a number of anti-Corbyn, Labour-supporting celebrities such as author J.K. Rowling, comedian Robert Webb and actor Jason Isaacs. Some mild controversy has been brewing over the sources of this group’s funding, with fears that it essentially represents corporate interests and wealthy elites, which would not be surprising given those factions’ natural hostility towards Corbyn and socialist politics in general. The Scotland Herald pointed out that the pro-Corbyn Momentum group had been forced to undergo checks by the Electoral Commission over the sources of its funding after a request from Blairite MP Emma Reynolds earlier in the year, and so surely the same kind of procedure should also be conducted with this anti-Corbyn group. Whether or not this will occur is a test of how fair and free the electoral system really is; are rigorous checks on campaign funding only for those candidates who are anti-establishment and challenge the status quo, or are they for all candidates, regardless of their political message?

The forces behind this group, after receiving endorsements from a number of mainstream cultural icons, deserve further inspection. On their website, they claim to have “tens of thousands” of supporters, who are probably nostalgic for those good old days when Labour was invading Iraq and softening up the NHS for privatisation. Their message is clear: “Join our campaign to save Labour and save democracy”, ignoring the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party. Under the heading, ‘Challenge the Tories’, they state: “Labour needs to hold the Tory Government to account and be ready to form a radical alternative Government”, ignoring the fact that most Labour MPs left over from the Blair regime are indistinguishable from most Tories, and so the idea of “a radical alternative Government” or any kind of an opposition consisting of them is a complete joke. Was it “radical” when Blairites voted against Corbyn and with the Tories to bomb Syria and renew Trident? Give me a break.

Under the heading, ‘Build a strong democracy’, they state: “Jeremy Corbyn has alienated almost all his colleagues in Parliament, has failed to set any kind of policy agenda and cannot meet the profound challenges of the future”. Did he alienate his colleagues, or were they against him from day one? And has he alienated Party members, such as the 50,000 people who joined the Party in the aftermath of Corbyn’s election as leader last year and the numerous others who have joined up since? The answers to both of those questions are obvious, and yet apparently elude the likes of J.K. Rowling and Robert Webb. As for Corbyn’s “policy agenda”, it can be found here. I’m not too sure what “profound challenges of the future” the website makers had in mind, but two of the main ones I can think of from a traditional Labour Party viewpoint are putting an end to perpetual war and preventing the privatisation of public services. Given a choice between Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong principled opponent of both war and privatisation, and Owen Smith, who in 2006 said that he didn’t know whether he would have voted to attack Iraq (only to later come out with a fully-formed opinion post-Chilcot), and who previously actively pushed for the privatisation of the NHS, I’d go with Corbyn.

Robert Webb is quoted on the website as saying, “I’ve stopped grimly waiting for the next disaster. Signed.” Webb’s definition of “disaster” is the Party he supports losing the next elections. There are people in Iraq who would probably define that word slightly differently (having their country destroyed in an aggressive war carried out by a Labour government, for example); but so long as the Labour Party is ‘electable’, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what it does or what it stands for; only if it is marketable. Rowling and Webb and the other celebrities who endorse ‘Labour First’ are like the Bolsheviks who put an end to Tsarist tyranny in Russia and then went on to install their own form of tyranny and oppression, and justified all of the heinous abuses of power they carried out by saying that they were “defending the revolution”. Anyone who spoke out against and resisted the oppression they implemented was labelled an “enemy of the revolution”. But what even was ‘the revolution’ anymore, apart from a way of justifying a new form of totalitarian rule? Likewise, what even is ‘the Labour Party’ anymore, apart from a means of achieving power for power’s sake? What’s the point in supporting a Party if it doesn’t stand for anything? Labour without Corbyn would turn the UK back into a one-party state, where Labour and the Tories are just different faces of the same evil. That’s the real threat to democracy.

The Nuclear Deterrent Argument is a Total Fucking Fallacy


On Monday, MPs collectively agreed in the House of Commons to renew Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system. When asked whether she would be willing to press the nuclear button and exterminate humanity, Theresa May answered, “yes”. It feels so good to have a pragmatic, realistic Prime Minister whose willing to make these sorts of tough decisions, rather than a soppy, idealistic old socialist who actually values human life. The human race is overrated anyway.

The argument for keeping Trident, even on the Left, is that while everyone would love to live in a Utopia where nuclear weapons don’t exist and everyone’s riding unicorns on rainbows, we live in a world where many governments around the world do possess nuclear weapons, including adversary governments, and so we need to keep ours as this prevents Bad People like the Russians from nuking us, as if they did we would nuke them back, which would trigger a nuclear war that no one wants. The principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) ensures that no one would ever actually use their nuclear weapons. However, it is rarely pointed out that this argument is a load of fucking bullshit. Why? There are three main reasons:

  1. Everyone always worries about the possibility of ISIS and other similarly demonic forces getting their hands on nuclear weapons. At the same time, everyone constantly refers to ISIS as a nihilistic, unreasoning, apocalyptic death cult. Leaving aside the fact that a pack of nihilistic, murderous extremists already possesses nuclear weapons and other WMD, if ISIS is indeed an “apocalyptic death cult” whose purpose is to bring about the end of mankind, then it wouldn’t matter if we had nuclear weapons or not; ISIS would quite happily nuke us anyway. Why would they abide by the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction? They would be trying to initiate Mutually Assured Destruction, not prevent it. And now we have a PM who would be quite happy to assist them in this quest, by nuking them back and plunging the world into a nuclear holocaust.
  2. People can make the argument that this is only true of non-state actors, while the MAD argument only really refers to governments; while ISIS may be more than happy to initiate a nuclear holocaust, no government would be insane enough to nuke another country with nuclear weapons and bring about the destruction of the human race. However, this too is completely fallacious; there have been multiple times throughout history when America and Russia have literally almost brought about the end of humanity, simply through reckless Cold War jousting. The most famous example was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Kennedy Administration began putting its secret “doomsday plan” into effect as the confrontation with Khrushchev intensified, and the world edged ever closer to nuclear war. Dino Brugioni, a key member of the CIA team monitoring Soviet build-up, saw no way out of this confrontation with the Soviet Union except “war and complete destruction”. Famously, the Doomsday Clock, which monitors how close humanity is to annihilation, moved to one minute to midnight. Had the confrontation escalated and diplomacy failed, it is quite possible that America would have nuked Russia, with Russia retaliating and the human race becoming virtually extinct. Another not-so-famous example occurred on October 27th 1962, when US destroyers maintaining a quarantine around Cuba began dropping depth charges on Soviet submarines. The Soviet commanders onboard were seriously considering authorising the firing of torpedoes against the American mainland, which would have produced effects similar to those of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima. The commanders only refrained from initiating nuclear war because one Soviet officer, Vasili Arkhipov, managed to talk the others out of it. Had he failed, that probably would have been it for the human race. There is plenty of evidence that governments are more than willing to fire nuclear weapons even if it brings about Mutually Assured Destruction, simply because they are psychopathic entities; species survival isn’t a priority. Right now, America and Russia are continuing to proliferate with nuclear weapons, and as tensions increase over the Crimea the possibility of a nuclear holocaust occurring grows ever greater.
  3. The last point to make is that the possibility of these nuclear weapons being fired by accident, thus initiating a nuclear tragedy purely through error, is more than likely. For example, a cache of information leaked to WikiLeaks by Trident submariner William McNeilly, who has since been discharged from the Royal Navy, reveals a catalogue of safety and security issues with the British nuclear system. In McNeilly’s own words: “This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us. We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public”. One typical error McNeilly describes goes as follows: “The fixed firefighting system Weapon Stowage Compartment (WSC) fog spray was accidentally activated by the control room panel operator. None of the electrical isolations that are required to be made were made; creating a high risk of fire in a compartment which contains torpedoes. It sprayed seawater over everything in the compartment; torpedoes, lights, torpedo monitoring panel; everything. I was called down to help with the clean up by the coxswain; the place was flooded. Lucky there was no fire, this time”. This time. McNeilly continues: “That wasn’t the only mistake made by the control room panel operator during my patrol. The panel also accidentally shutdown the hydraulic pumps. Momentarily we lost all main hydraulics before the emergency pump kicked in. There may have been all [sorts of] incidents that I didn’t hear about. All it takes is for them [to] press one wrong button in that position to cause a disaster”. I expect most of the British public doesn’t know just how poorly maintained and secured our ‘nuclear deterrent’ is. Just one little accident could lead to the deaths of countless innocent people.

If all of this isn’t reason enough to scrap Trident, I don’t know what is. The government is always lecturing us about how money doesn’t grow on trees and that if we want to invest more in the NHS or other vital social programs which actually help to preserve life, rather than end it, the money has to come from somewhere. Well here’s an idea: instead of spending £167bn on renewing Trident, invest that money into leading humanity further away from war and destruction, rather than closer to it. It isn’t Utopian or idealistic; it’s pure pragmatism. Governments aren’t moral agents, but we are. This is something so simple and obvious; we need to take a stand on it. Before it’s too late.

Truth, Power, and the Duty to Act


Lauri Love, a young political activist from Stradishall in the UK, is currently facing extradition to the US. There, he would face 99 years in prison, most likely in isolation. Love has Aspergers Syndrome, and told a British court today that he fears he would kill himself if he was extradited to the US. He has been accused of hacking and stealing data from US Government computers including the Federal Reserve, the US Army and NASA.

There is something hideously ironic about two governments which subject their citizenry to 24-hour mass surveillance, much of which has previously been declared illegal, suddenly seeking retribution against a young man who has dared to subject them to the same level of scrutiny. Indeed, there is something grotesque about it, given that we purport to live in a democracy, the very foundation of which is open government; in an ideal democratic society, those who wield the greatest political power would operate with transparency and openness, while the ordinary citizenry would not be subject to any level of close scrutiny or surveillance, hence the distinction between ‘public officials’ and ‘private citizens’. As pointed out by Edward Snowden, however, in the UK and the US this principle has been completely reversed; now, those who wield the greatest political power operate behind a wall of opaqueness and secrecy, while everything that private citizens do is open to maximum scrutiny and surveillance. Instead of our leaders being accountable to us, we are accountable to our leaders. What Lauri Love did, therefore, was seek to restore some semblance of balance to the vast disparity of power which now characterises our society. For that, he must be punished.

It is a universal truism that the powerless simply cannot adopt the same methods as the powerful. What the strong do to the weak can never be revisited upon them, because all of the power is on the side of the strong. If the weak even attempt to do to the strong what is consistently done to them, they are promptly crushed, unless they operate with extreme caution and tact. The case of Lauri Love proves that the powerful do not play by the same rules as the powerless, and that to resist the powerful through inflicting on them the same acts that they inflict on us is to sacrifice your life and freedom. After all, it is the strong who have a monopoly on violence. The reason why Love faces 99 years in a cage, a punishment so cruel and abhorrent that it seems more suited to a totalitarian state, is simple; a message is being sent out to the rest of us that disobedience will not be tolerated. The forces we are attempting to resist and overthrow are so beyond the reach of accountability and morality that they can throw us inside a cage for 99 years and there’s nothing we can do about it. The message being sent echoes Saruman’s advice to Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: “Against the power of Mordor there can be no victory”. We should go back to being loyal, obedient citizens. This is the same reason that the US and its allies attacked and destroyed Iraq, abducted people from all over the world and locked them up without charge or trial in Guantanamo, and subjected Chelsea Manning to such egregious and brutal treatment while she was awaiting trial: “This is what will happen to you if you stand up to us. So stand down”.

But we can never stand down. To give up means to abandon those whom we are fighting for. It is true that to take action the way Lauri Love took action means to surrender your freedom, but there are so many other ways we can all resist the power of our rulers through smaller but no less significant actions. As George Orwell recognised, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. The most radical thing we can do right now is tell the truth. Snowden and Manning are heroes because they faced harsh and brutal punishment as a result of doing what they knew was right, but those of us with the privilege of not facing such punishment have an even greater responsibility to act upon our consciences in the face of injustice. This is especially true for those of us residing in the UK and the US, as we are relatively free to criticise and condemn the powers that be without facing repression and torture as a result, while we are defending the weak and vulnerable not just in our own societies but all over the world as well, who face terror and violence sponsored or perpetrated by our own governments.

You can support Lauri Love here, and keep up to date with the court proceedings by following this Twitter account. So long as we have hope, we will never be truly defeated. As Howard Zinn reminded us, “If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory”.

Why Jeremy Corbyn is So Dangerous


The Guardian recently reported that the government has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money, if not more, on protecting Jack Straw (former home secretary under Tony Blair) and Mark Allen (former MI6 spy chief) from facing criminal charges over the abduction and rendition to Libya of anti-Gaddafi dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife. Belhaj was brutally tortured while in the custody of the former Libyan dictator, while his wife, Fatima Boudchar, has alleged that she was chained to the wall of a dungeon for five days shortly before giving birth to her son, who was born weighing just four pounds. Documents between MI6 and Gaddafi’s spy chief Moussa Koussa reveal that Allen referred to Belhaj and Boudchar as “air cargo”.

This incident reveals a crucial insight into the way that power functions at the highest levels of the establishment; once you reach a position at which you wield near-unnacountable power, it is necessary not to view the people over whom you are exercising power as human beings. The establishment is necessarily psychopathic. The rendition of a man and his pregnant wife to Colonel Gaddafi’s torture chambers was a business deal, and nothing more. If Allen had allowed himself to view Belhaj and Boudchar as human beings, no different from himself, who were about to enter a hell on Earth on his command, it is likely that he would not have gone ahead and rendered them. But then an important strategic transaction would not have been completed, and he would no longer have been a useful cog in the system. The system does not function by prioritising people, but by prioritising profits. Rendering a man and his pregnant wife to a foreign dictator was perfectly understandable, given that it was in the interests of the British government at the time to be on good terms with the Gaddafi regime. Morality simply doesn’t enter the equation. The State is not a moral agent, and nor was Mark Allen when he authorised the abduction and rendition of Belhaj and Boudchar.

This may sound harsh, and I don’t mean to suggest that the government officials operating at the highest levels of the establishment are inhuman. Of course, they love their wives, they love their children, they are ordinary human beings in their personal lives who are capable of compassion and empathy just as every human being is. But the same can be said of Hitler. When they are functioning within the framework of the State, they no longer have moral agency, because in order for the State to function it is necessary for it to be operated with moral blindness. Any normal human being would be repulsed by the very suggestion of kidnapping and torturing a man and his pregnant wife, or by the idea of selling weaponry to a ruthless regime unleashing violence and terror on helpless civilians subject to its control. This is because we do not view other human beings in terms of how useful they are to maximising our own personal satisfaction; that is the very definition of psychopathy. But this is how the State functions; Belhaj and Boudchar were not ‘human beings’, they were ‘air cargo’ necessary for completing a transaction, just as civilians killed in airstrikes are not ‘human beings’, they are ‘collateral damage’, whose value is exactly zero. People are not people, they are a means-to-an-end, and that end is maximum power. Once the system is understood in these terms, it becomes perfectly comprehensible how someone could participate in torture, or invade and destroy a country in order to control its oil reserves, or sell arms to a brutal dictator. And this is how the State survives, which is a naturally and necessarily oppressive instrument of domination, whereby one group of human beings exercises power over another group of human beings.

This is why Jeremy Corbyn is so dangerous. He threatens to humanise a necessarily inhuman system. In order to reach the top, you need to be willing to see the people under your control as less than human, but Corbyn does not follow this maxim. He does not view the State as a mechanism for domination and control, or as a way of maximising power, but as a way of maximising happiness and wellbeing for all people. He regards power as a means-to-an-end, rather than as an end-in-itself. This is crucial because it fundamentally changes the nature of the system; it is no longer pathological, but humane, which in turn necessitates a more equal distribution of power and wealth. But that’s not how the game works. If you want to join the company of political elites, you need to play by the rules, and that means coveting more and more power and wealth for those at the top while abandoning those at the bottom to poverty and destitution. This is the very essence of state capitalism: economic tyranny. By refusing to play by these rules, Corbyn poses a threat to the very existence of the political establishment in its current form, whose interests overlap with those of corporations and banks, constituting a conglomerate of powerful and antidemocratic elites. By humanising the system, Corbyn would destroy the system.

This is why it is now crucial more than ever for people of conscience to support him. He is not without flaws, but a flawed and decent leader is better than a polished and amoral one. Blairites and right-wingers within the Labour Party are attempting to orchestrate a coup against his leadership in the wake of the fallout from Brexit, and this time it looks like they might succeed. We cannot allow that to happen. Of course, ultimately the overthrow of the system is the final goal. But in order for us to even contemplate that outcome, first it must be reformed and reformed until finally reform is no longer possible and revolution is the only alternative. Right now, we have many alternatives. And Corbyn is the best one.

Freedom for Britain


This island is under siege. At this very moment, as I write these words, dark forces are trying to penetrate our borders, trying to invade our peace and comfort to snatch away our children, rape our women and destroy our way of life. Our way of life. We want our country back. We need to defend our values. If there is something that is ours, there must be something that is theirs. There is an us, and there is a them.

Who are we, and who are they? We are noble Britons, proud Englishmen, good people. We are a sacred race of warriors. But above all, we are human. We have thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams – an inner life. They, on the other hand, are foreign, dangerous and different. They are the Other. And thus, they are not what we are. We are human, so they are not. They are lesser. If there are British Values, then there must be Unbritish Values; after all, self implies other. Our values are not their values, and their values are not our values. British Values are tolerance, freedom and respect for the rule of law. So, Unbritish Values must be intolerance, despotism and lawlessness; in short, barbarism. And so the wielders of these Unbritish Values must be barbarians. They are no longer humans, they are vessels, carriers of a plague of foreignness and savagery. They are not valuable in themselves, therefore; their value is no longer determined by what they are, but by what they denote. And what they denote is evil.

We are the survivors, shut up in our watchtower, defending everything that is ours against everything that is theirs. But slowly, the plague creeps in, as plague-carriers are washed up on our beaches in boats, after which point they must be immediately quarantined, or else destroyed. We must send them a message that we will not tolerate their nest-building in our precious palace, lest the infestation should spread to our shores. Or perhaps the plague is already here; perhaps the plague-carriers are already among us. They look just like us, they talk just like us, they dress just like us. But they are still Other. They do not share our values. They are parasites, pretending to be human, when in fact they are not. And then, there are those of Us who defend Them. Who speak out for Them, who claim that there is no divide between Us and Them. These traitors can no longer be called Us. They are, in fact, Them. This plague must be driven out, must be eradicated.

And who told us that all of this is true? Who warned us of the Other? The question should be: who yet hasn’t warned us of the Other? Everyday, on the front-pages of our newspapers, on our television screens, on our radios, our leaders warn us of this scourge, this “swarm”, coming to destroy everything we hold dear. Hatred is festering in the heart of this nation like a gaping wound. Hitler articulated the prevailing mentality in Mein Kampf: “the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew”. Except, instead of the Jew, it is now the Muslim. The Migrant. The Traitor. The Other.

Human beings are dying at the hands of other human beings. We are all Us, and we are all Them. There is no Other; there are no borders; there are no nations. There is only this home we call Earth, and all of us who dwell here. There are no British Values, except in the minds of fantasists clinging onto superstitious notions of superiority and exceptionalism. Likewise, there is no intrinsic property called ‘otherness’, which certain people and objects possess. Otherness, or the quality of being strange and different, exists only in the mind; it refers to an illusory world constructed by politicians and media elites who deliberately engineer the reality they want us to see.

Only if we see a certain class of people not as human, but as Other, can elite agendas be served, be they the poor and destitute in our own society, the poor and destitute from other societies seeking our hospitality and compassion, or the poor and destitute in the third world we are helping to kill through economic terrorism and neocolonialism. Throughout history, there have been only two distinct classes in society: the oppressor and the oppressed. And, as Nelson Mandela reminded us, both must be set free. Our innate human instinct is to side with the oppressed, but this has been suppressed by the ruling classes who seek to ensure that their interests are served above all else. There is a threat to civilization, but it comes from above, not from below.