Posts Tagged ‘BANALITY OF EVERYDAY EVIL’

Sat drinking a cup of tea and cogitation starts as usual. I’ve been away from my blog for a long time.

I’m trying to reconcile how one of the main areas of growth in art in the last few years has been in what’s now been dubbed “Post-atrocity Art”, it’s got it’s own label, it’s become a thing and probably it’ll soon be an area of study – no doubt there’s a thesis there.
And it, Post-atrocity Art, has burgeoned, I almost said exploded but stopped myself, due to the prevalence of Social Media and everyone’s desire to display. The latest symbol is the painted symbol of the CND chicken-foot incorporating the Eiffel Tower.
There is a market and now a commodity for collective grief, is it grief? Is it a genuine wish to connect with others and show sympathy and unity through symbolism? Or is it something else? Is there vanity involved as well? There is a correlation to the Post-Diana reaction.

It’s probably worthy of research as a psycho-social phenomenon?

libyan-rebels-massacres

THIS IS FOR ALL OF YOU – Please read and SHARE.

This explains how your opinions are being formed, played and manipulated by Foreign Billionaires into clambering for War in Syria.

The source here is from “VETERANS FOR PEACE UK” on Facebook.

This blog link ( https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/09/why-murdoch-pushes-for-war/ ) explains EXACTLY why the PSYCHOPATH Rupert Murdoch and his minions Rebekah Brooks and prime-puppet David Cameron are escalating the push for all out War in Syria.

Rothschild’s Genie Energy ( Link: http://genie.com/media/genie-energy-in-the-media/ ) has “permission” to drill in Syria’s Golan Heights and Rothschild’s GENIE ENERGY in Kurdistan which is now the main exporter of crude oil towards Western refineries in Turkey.

ISIS/ISIL/ DAESH in Iraq conveniently destroyed all Iraqi state pipeline network infrastructures which were enabling Iraqi state to sell its own northern oil around Mossul.
How convenient is Daesh to the Rothschild and Israel???
Before the rise of Daesh (in which the west have the utmost responsibility) Iraq refused to sell oil to Israel in support to the Palestinian struggle.
Now, through GENiE ENERGY, Israel imports 2/3 of its oil from Kurdistan … And guess who is the main supporter for the recognition to an “independant” Kurdistan ? Benyamin Netanyahu of course …

From the Turkish port of Ceyhan, oil is shipped towards Cyprus and then to Ashkelon and Ashodot where it is stocked and refined by PAZ OIL (Which had been created by the Rothschild back in the day and is now bigger than the Israeli state company).

Imagine, an oil rich Kurdistan supplying oil to Israel in the middle of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran of course! What a better excuse for more wars ?

I also read that the Iraqi state complained on what is a blatant theft of Iraq’s resources by the Rothschilds.


Rebekah Brooks, first day back on the job for the heinous ginger c*nt and the shit rag Sun paper begins ramping up the War rhetoric on the orders of her psychopathic FOREIGN boss Rupert Murdoch who is playing this country’s Prime Minister like a fuckin puppet.

Wake Up! We’re sleepwalking into yet another OIL war!


Its all interlinked with US Vanguard Group inc.

Dick Cheney was also a member of Genie Energy Corporation Strategic Advisory Board.

Dick Cheney (Halliburton), had close to $85 million invested in the Vanguard Group.

Rupert Murdoch is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of News Corp.

Vanguard Group Inc held 85,939,439 shares on 12/31/2012 worth $2,192,315,109 in News Corp.

John Kerrys wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has over $3,500,001 stake in General Electric Co.

Biggest stakeholder in General Electric Co is Vanguard Group:

Jul 30, 2012
The board of directors of General Electric Co. has elected John J. Brennan as an independent member of the company’s board of directors.

Brennan is chairman emeritus and a senior advisor of The Vanguard Group Inc.

Vangaurd got Investments in every going concern.

Raytheon, for example #5 15,664,626 $920,923,362

This from 2013:

‘Raytheon stock nears all-time high amid news of possible cruise-missile strike in Syria

Stock shares of perennial defense contracting powerhouse Raytheon hit nearly $77 apiece Tuesday as news of a possible US strike in Syria intensified. The US has said if it strikes Syrian government targets for alleged use of chemical weapons, it would likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles from warships positioned in the Mediterranean. Raytheon is responsible for making and selling the bulk of the long-range, subsonic missiles to the US government.’

John Kerry spouse, Teresa Heinz Kerry, holdings.

3. Raytheon Co. $960,010 – $2,200,000

• Raytheon Co. received $11,662,797,975 in government contracts for fiscal year 2007, including a total of approx. $10 billion from the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

US goes to war, they the politicians get return on investments from the very instruments that do the killing.

That’s how the game works.

School Days Over, by Ewan McColl, sung by Mary Black.

A Welsh mother’s lament as she sends her very young sons to their first morning’s work down the pit at the turn of the 20th century.

This version is 1987 and Mary Black is playing “Schooldays Over” with the Chieftains.

LYRICS

Schooldays over, come on then John
Time to be getting your pit boots on
On with your sack and your moleskin trousers
Time you were on your way
Time you were learning the pitman’s job
And earning a pitman’s pay.

Come on then Jim, it’s time to go
Time you were working down below
Time to be handling a pick and shovel
You start at the pits today
Time to be learning the collier’s job
And earning a collier’s pay.

Come on then Dai, it’s nearly light
Time you were off to the anthracite
The morning mist is on the valley
It’s time you were on your way
Time you were learning the miner’s job
And earning a miner’s pay

Schooldays over, come on then John
Time to be getting your pit boots on
On with your sack and your moleskin trousers
Time you were on your way
Time you were learning the pitman’s job
And earning a pitman’s pay.

In researching the song by Ewan McColl I found an interesting history to it had been compiled in a blog elsewhere here: http://schooldaysover.tumblr.com

When you begin to sit down and assess every atrocity happening right now, not just historically, RIGHT NOW, and then compare this as the Irish people use their democratic right to vote in favour of two adults of the same sex choosing to marry….

Then Read of this;
“The Pope’s right hand man has called the landslide yes vote a

‘defeat for humanity’.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/26/vatican-ireland-gay-marriage-referendum-vote-defeat-for-humanity

“I was deeply saddened by the result,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said at a conference in Rome on Tuesday night. “The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelisation. I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.”

And when you contemplate the Cardinal’s words and step back to look at the ecological and humanitarian crises he actually SHOULD be directing his comments toward, you realise what an utterly fucked up institution the catholic church and other religious institutions are.
The fact that so many Billions of the Earth’s human population lack the cognition and enlightenment to think and act for themselves and depend on these fucking charlatans makes me “deeply saddened” and see this as the greatest threat, a “defeat for humanity.”

what an incredibly stupid man Cardinal Pietro Parolin undoubtedly is.

link to the quote in The Guardian

Parolin’s remarks on the Irish vote are significant given the broader role Parolin plays in crafting the church’s message on major diplomatic and social issues.

At the time of his appointment in 2013, veteran Vatican reporter John Allen wrote in the National Catholic Reporter that Parolin had been “on the frontlines of shaping the Vatican’s response to virtually every geopolitical challenge of the past two decades”.

Among other issues, the Italian cardinal has been an outspoken advocate for action to combat global warming. In recent remarks, he denounced the “globalisation of indifference and the economy of exclusion” that has put the planet in peril.

He has also been the public face of Francis’s diplomatic efforts, including the church’s role in helping Cuba and the US restore diplomatic ties.

But on Tuesday, with his choice of words, Parolin differed from the pope in one respect: the Argentinian pontiff has also used the phrase “defeat for humanity”, but he was talking about war, not the legalisation of gay marriage.

just so you know… the Wales Office is at Caspian Point, Cardiff Bay.
It’s Westminster’s outpost in Cardiff. 

Essentially a Tory office in Wales.

It’s a modern yet rather unremarkable looking building (basically a big red-ish cube with turquois windows at the top and a relatively flat roof.)

You’d never notice it unless you knew about it.

The Wales Office used to be very noticeable at Plas Glyndwr in the civic centre but moved around 2011, probably to get away from anti-Tory protests in the city centre.
Now it’s out of the way, hidden in the office district of Cardiff Bay.

Be a shame if someone was to paint “cunts” or something like that on it… so don’t go there ok?

Coal, Capitalism, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and the massacre of Two hundred Miners, Women and Children.
Today is the 101st Anniversary of America’s own “Chartist” type atrocity – The LUDLOW MASSACRE.

Woodie Guthrie – The Ludlow Massacre


http://www.upworthy.com/have-you-ever-heard-of-the-ludlow-massacre-you-might-be-shocked-when-you-see-what-happened?c=ufb3

The early 1900s were a time of great social upheaval in our country. During the years leading up to the Ludlow Massacre, miners all around the country looking to make a better life for themselves and their families set up picket lines, organized massive parades and rallies, and even took up arms. Some died.

Coal Country, Colorado

100 years ago, the Rocky Mountains were the source of a vast supply of coal. At its peak, it employed 16,000 people and accounted for 10% of all employed workers in the state of Colorado. It was dangerous work; in just 1913 alone, the mines claimed the lives of over 100 people. There were laws in place that were supposed to protect workers, but largely, management ignored those, which led to Colorado having double the on-the-job fatality rate of any other mining state.

It was a time of company towns, when all real estate, housing, doctors, and grocery stores were owned by the coal companies themselves, which led to the suppression of dissent as well as overinflated prices and an extreme dependence on the coal companies for everything that made life livable. In some of these, workers couldn’t even leave town, and armed guards made sure they didn’t. Also, if any miner or his family began to air grievances, they might find themselves evicted and run out of town.

Union Parade, Trinidad, Colorado, 1913

The Union

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) had been organizing for many years in the area, and this particular company, Colorado Fuel and Iron, was one of the biggest in the West — and was owned by the Rockefeller family, notoriously anti-union.

Put all this together, and it was a powder keg.

The Ludlow Colony before the massacre, 1914

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914

Strike!

When a strike was called in 1913, the coal company evicted all the miners from their company homes, and they moved to tent villages on leased land set up by the UMWA. Company-hired guards (aka “goons”) and members of the Colorado National Guard would drive by the tent villages and randomly shoot into the tents, leading the strikers to dig holes under their tents and the wooden beams that supported them.

Why did the union call for a strike? The workers wanted:

  1. Recognition of the union as bargaining agent,
  2. An increase in tonnage rates (equivalent to a 10% wage increase),
  3. Enforcement of the eight-hour work day,
  4. Payment for “dead work” that usually wasn’t compensated, such as laying coal car tracks,
  5. The job known as “Weight-checkmen” to be elected by workers. This was to keep company weightmen honest so the workers got paid for their true work,
  6. The right to use any store rather than just the company store, and choose their own houses and doctors,
  7. Strict enforcement of Colorado’s laws, especially mine safety laws.

The “Death Special,” an improvised armored car (with machine gun) built by the coal company’s private security

Cavalry charge on striker women in nearby Trinidad

Militia and private detectives or mine guards, Ludlow

The Powder Keg Explodes

The attacks from the goons continued, as did the battles between scabs (strikebreakers) and the miners. It culminated in an attack on April 20, 1914, by company goons and Colorado National Guard soldiers who kidnapped and later killed the main camp leader and some of his fellow miners, and then set the tents in the main camp ablaze with kerosene. As they were engulfed, people inside the tents tried to flee the inferno; many were shot down as they tried to escape. Some also died in the dugouts below the burning tents. In the first photograph below, two women and 11 children died in the fire directly above them. A day that started off with Orthodox Easter celebrations for the families became known as the Ludlow Massacre.

The “Death Pit”

Rear view of ruins of tent colony

Funeral procession for Louis Tikas, leader of Greek strikers

The 10-Day War

The miners, fresh off the murders of their friends and family members, tried to get President Woodrow Wilson to put a stop to the madness, but he deferred to the governor, who was pretty much in the pocket of the mine companies.

So the miners and those at other tent colonies quickly armed themselves, knowing that many other confrontations were coming. And they went to the mines that were being operated by scabs and forced many of them to close, sometimes setting fire to the buildings. After 10 days of pitched battle and at least 50 dead, the president finally sent in the National Guard, which promptly disarmed both sides.

Union Victory

While close to 200 people died over the course of about 18 months before and after the battles at Ludlow and the union ultimately lost the election, the Ludlow Massacre brought a congressional investigation that led to the beginnings of child-labor laws and an eight-hour workday, among other things.

But it also brought national attention to the plight of these miners and their families, and it showed the resilience and strength that union people could display when they remained united, even in the face of extreme corporate and government violence. Historian Howard Zinn called it “the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history.” And the primary mine owner, John D. Rockefeller Jr., received a lot of negative attention and blame for what happened here.

The UMWA is still a solid union today, and there is a monument in Colorado to those who died in the Ludlow Massacre.


"Intolerant Bastards: if this is Man, then what?" - Discordion, 2014.

“Intolerant Bastards: if this is Man, then what?” – Discordion, 2014.

These Tory quacks and charlatans are beyond belief


For some time now, Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby has been reassuring his adopted party they will reach “crossover”. This is the term he’s been using to describe the moment when they take over the lead from Labour in the polls and push ahead.

The date of crossover, rather like the rapture, keeps being pushed back. It was meant to be Christmas last year, but nothing of significance happened then apart from a particularly good Dr Who special. January was also disappointing, February was frigging desolate and March passed without a squeak.

Now we’re in the middle of April, what TS Eliot described as “the cruellest month”: for the Tories that’s proved true, with Labour and Conservative still stuck on more or less 33%.

It would be easy then for David Cameron to give up on Mr Crosby and his promise of good polls ahead; except, he can’t. Lynton Crosby is his Designated Bastard, the man his party has paid fistfuls of money to order all of them about and get them to do whatever it takes to win. It’s the stuff of tradition for Tory governments to get in an expensive Designated Bastard at election time; it’s the line of life, a cycle of comfort. The Designated Bastard arrives, tells them not to be pussies, puts up posters about Labour’s tax bombshells, flashes up cartoons of the Labour leader in the pocket of someone, or being the poodle of someone, sitting on someone’s lap, wearing someone’s hair, or being stuck up someone’s arse.

Usually, the party pays devoted attention to the Designated Bastard.

First, because he’s so expensive but really because he’s such a Bastard. He gets them to do things they’ve spent the past five years being ordered not to under any circumstances. For five years, they’ve been clenching their teeth and talking about partnership and coalition. They’ve been pushing Big Societies and feeling everyone’s pain by sobbing that we’re all in it together.

Except, this time, it seems not to be. Lynton Crossover hasn’t worked.

And that’s a problem, since there is no plan B.

The Tories believe in tradition and the tradition has always been that being a Bastard works.

So panic sets in. Once panic starts, rational political behaviour falls apart. Hence the true “crossover” we got last week – the much commented on swapping of clothes brazenly taking part in the Labour and Conservative manifestos.

Labour painted themselves as the party of fiscal rectitude, while the Tories went crazy on uncosted spending commitments. In this crazy looking-glass politics, Labour turn out to be the party with the most conservative financial commitment to the NHS, while the Conservatives are the most profligate.

This muddle has been a long time coming. For decades now, each main party has been defining itself on how similar it is to the other and how different it is from its own past. New Labour stole Thatcherite prudence and Cameroonian Conservativism detoxified its nasty image by going green and socially aware. Like two galaxies drawing closer to each other, it’s no wonder they ended up in a massive swirl of confusion.

The spinning can’t be stopped: if anything, it gets faster and faster until you can’t tell which one is which.

Labour’s paranoia about looking like Old Labour I can understand: battered for so long by a mostly rightwing press, it still clings to a suspicion that even in this digital age the old tabloid headlines still affect people’s opinion.

The Tory volte-face I find truly extraordinary, though. Normally, this type of trickery is done with just words. Last election, it was the verbal gymnastics contained in such slogans as “Vote Blue, Go Green” or that most perfect of semantic paradoxes, “Vote for Change: Vote Conservative”. It’s a basic trick with words, in which you take a word and insist it means its opposite. The more you insist, the greater chance people will believe you. (We know it as Orwellian double-speak)

This time round, though, there is something desperate about the trick.

  • They will “spend” on the NHS more than Labour, but that spending will be funded by carrying on with their “track record” on the economy.
  • They’ll block Scottish MP’s voting on certain tax laws but that will somehow keep the UK united.
  • They will rail against recklessness, but concede a European referendum (to stave off a threat to their support)
  • and pledge billions in public spending based on no more than an inkling the economy’s going to keep growing.

All this time, they’ll muffle this panic with words such as “steady” and “on course”, words used to conceal an unsteady veer away from stability.

They’re like bad magicians who, at the moment of subterfuge, simply shout: “What’s that?” and point to the other side of the room in the hope we’ll turn away.

This isn’t wordplay – this is charlatanism pure and simple.

David Cameron is indulging in basic quackery, trying to sell you stuff he knows doesn’t work. He’s doing it with our money and he’s conjuring with people’s lives.

We know there’s no magic; the money will come from the cuts and deficit reductions and benefit targets and financial squeezes on those Cameron knows won’t be voting for him anyway.

It’s the bastardly misuse of the public purse and the final proof, if any were needed, that he is unfit to lead his country and his party unfit to govern.


Mark McGowan

Katie Hopkins is the typical private school toff.

Her parents never cared about her much, never said they loved her, and packaged her off to some boarding school aged 7. She’s a twisted victim of her upbringing. She sees the world as cold and loveless as her childhood and realised a great way to get attention is to spit bile and vitriol and draw shocked reactions to her attention seeking. She should be in a psychiatrist chair not on tv and in newspapers. She is mentally unstable, possibly sociopathic, and is being exploited by Murdoch media for entertainment.


I still Don’t care” is the ideology of David Cameron and Katie Hopkins, it is the message of our time.


The David Clapson story  – David Cameron left furious after the Andrew Marr interview

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-left-furious-andrew-5551652

David Cameron was left fuming today after being grilled on live TV over the death of a diabetic ex-soldier whose benefits had been stopped.

The angry Prime Minister’s “lips went thin” with rage after he was quizzed about tragic David Clapson, according to witnesses.

Downing Street did not deny the PM was angered by the questions but rejected suggestions he “stormed out” of the studio after filming finished.

The Mirror told last summer how David, 59, died with just £3.44 in his bank account after his £71.70-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance was axed because he missed an appointment .

Tests show he died from diabetic ­ketoacidosis – caused by not taking his insulin.

His devastated sister Gill Thompson said he may have stopped injecting himself with the lifesaving drug after becoming so desperate over his lack of cash and work.



Published on

Five Years On, the WikiLeaks ‘Collateral Murder’ Video Matters More than Ever

A still image from “Collateral Murder.” Soldiers arrive at the scene of the attack. (Credit: CollateralMurder.com)

This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of the release of the WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” video which showed a July 12, 2007 US Apache attack helicopter attack upon individuals in a Baghdad suburb. Amongst the over twelve people killed by the 30mm cannon-fire were two Reuters staff. The video was part of the huge cache of material leaked to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning.

It is worth marking the anniversary of its release for a number of reasons.

First is the film’s enduring, haunting quality. I have written numerous articles and conference papers on Collateral Murder, which I consider to be the one of the most influential pieces of material released by WikiLeaks. Yes, WikiLeaks has made public a massive volume of written information, but the raw emotional power of this video is special. Every time I show it to students or colleagues it never fails to elicit a strong emotional reaction. Some people can’t watch. Some look away. Many are mesmerized. Almost all get angry.

In a statement by Manning made during her 2013 trial she outlined her motivations for the leak, stating (in relation to Collateral Murder) that one of the most disturbing aspects was the “bloodlust” exhibited by the US military. At one point we can hear members of the aerial weapons team begging a wounded Iraqi to pick up a weapon so that they would have a reason open fire on him once again.

This, as Manning put it, was “similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.” The violence in the video is both dehumanizing and grotesque, and serves to remind viewers of the perversity of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as well as the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

This brings me to the second reason why the video is so important.

In the film we see two Reuters staffers killed by US military cannon-fire, and the symbolism of this act is striking. The lead-up to the US occupation of Iraq was marked by a high level of government propaganda and disinformation, as well the failure of mainstream journalism in the United States to engage (in a critical fashion) with the claims made by the Bush administration that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

So, to me, when those two Reuters employees are blown to bits on the ground in the suburb of New Baghdad, their deaths symbolized all state violence committed against those who search for the truth. In addition to the tragedy of human death, there is also the tragedy of what is symbolically destroyed. Transparency. Democracy. Knowledge. Critical thinking.

Finally, what makes Collateral Murder such a powerful video is not only what it shows, but also the knowledge of how it was obtained. This was classified material, seen by a US citizen who felt that it violated the things for which her country was supposed to stand, and so she leaked it (aware of what this might entail at the personal level) for all the world to see. If the content of the video illustrates the violent arrogance of power, then the leak of the video illustrates the potential power of dissent and courage. As we now know, such dissent is not taken lightly as Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison as thanks for her act of conscience.

So, as Collateral Murder turns five, rather than looking at the video as a curiosity from a bygone conflict, we should watch it again and consider how the film continues to speak to us about the state of contemporary geo-politics, journalism and whistleblowing.

How much has actually changed?

Manning continues to sit in jail.

Snowden continues to sit in Russia.

Civilians continue to die in Iraq.

US drones continue to kill civilians.

And whistle-blowers continue to be targeted.

Happy Birthday..?

SOURCE: Stop The War Coalition

At last Jack Straw speaks about his complicity in CIA torture and rendition
Robin Beste 14 December 2014.

Jack Straw’s wriggle room seemed to shrink when the Guardian submitted questions to him that would clarify his role in CIA torture.

Following publication of the US Senate’s CIA torture report the Guardian submitted questions to Jack Straw, Tony Blair’s foreign secretary at the time Britain was taken into the illegal Iraq war. it received the following responses:

Q: Why did Straw decide in January 2002 that the government should raise no objection to US plans to remove to Guantánamo Bay British nationals and residents detained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the grounds that this would be the best way for the UK to meet its counter-terrorism objectives? Was he not concerned that this removal was unlawful or that these individuals were at risk of severe mistreatment?

Straw: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law, and I hope to be able to say more about this at an appropriate stage in the future.”

Q: Did Straw authorise MI6 involvement in two rendition operations of 2004 that resulted in two Libyan men being delivered to the Gaddafi regime, along with the pregnant wife of one man and the wife and four children of the second? What steps if any did Straw take to inquire into the wellbeing of the members of these two families after they had been kidnapped and taken to Libya?

Straw: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law.”

Q: Why did Straw tell the House of Commons foreign affairs committee the following year that any suggestions of UK involvement in renditions were “conspiracy theories” and should be disbelieved unless the committee members were prepared to believe that he was lying?

Straw: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law.”

When asked by UK defence secretary Michael Fallon to reveal what he knew about the CIA’s torture and rendition programme, Straw gave another non-answer:

“I was never complicit in any of the CIA illegal processes. I consider it to be revolting, unlawful and also unproductive, as has come out in the Senate report. Of course, when it is possible for legal reasons for full inquiries to take place I will cooperate fully with them, as I always have done.”
But it doesn’t take rocket science to find out how Jack Straw and his partner in war crimes Tony Blair colluded in CIA torture. Government intelligence sources told The Telegraph:

Both Mr Blair and Mr Straw knew in detail about the CIA’s secret programme after the September 11 attacks and were kept informed “every step of the way”. “The politicians took a very active interest indeed. They wanted to know everything. The Americans passed over the legal opinions saying that this was now ‘legal’, and our politicians were aware of what was going on at the highest possible level. The politicians knew in detail about everything – the torture and the rendition. They could have said [to M16] ‘stop it, do not get involved’, but at no time did they,”
The source’s claims echoed those made publicly by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, who said in a speech in 2012 that MI6’s cooperation with the CIA’s rendition programme was a “political” decision.

“Tony Blair absolutely knew, Dearlove was briefing him all the time. He was meticulous about keeping the politicians informed,” the intelligence source said.

But Jack Straw’s criminality goes far beyond secret collusion with CIA torture and rendition. He was shoulder-to-shoulder every step of the way, as Tony Blair’s lies took Britain into an illegal war against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and so devastated the country that eleven years later it is still being torn apart.

If there were any justice in the world, Jack Straw would be held to account for his complicty in the supreme war crime, as defined by the Nürnberg Tribunal, set up after World War II, following the trials of leading Nazis:

To initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
In 2009, when he was UK justice minister, Jack Straw — without a drop of irony — unveiled a law in parliament which created new powers to prosecute war criminals living in Britain who have committed atrocities dating back to 1991. Introducing the new law, Straw said:
“Those who have committed genocide or war crimes or crimes against humanity during the 1990s must not escape justice. These people must face up to their terrible crimes and we are doing everything in our power to make them accountable for their actions… we are committed to ensuring those guilty of these crimes are punished appropriately and to the full extent of the law in this country.”
If this new law was applied with due attention to the facts, there is little doubt that Jack Straw would be among the first to be arraigned under this law for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Source: Stop the War Coalition

Socialism lives in Britain, but only for the rich: the rules of capitalism are for the rest of us. The ideology of the modern establishment, of course, abhors the state. The state is framed as an obstacle to innovation, a destroyer of initiative, a block that needs to be chipped away to allow free enterprise to flourish. “I think that smaller-scale governments, more freedom for business to exist and to operate – that is the right kind of direction for me,” says Simon Walker, the head of the Institute of Directors. For him, the state should be stripped to a “residual government functioning of maintaining law and order, enforcing contracts”. Mainstream politicians don’t generally talk in such stark terms, but when the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg demands “a liberal alternative to the discredited politics of big government”, the echo is evident.
And yet, when the financial system went into meltdown in 2008, it was not expected to stand on its own two feet, or to pull itself up by its bootstraps. Instead, it was saved by the state, becoming Britain’s most lavished benefit claimant. More than £1tn of public money was poured into the banks following the financial collapse. The emergency package came with few government-imposed conditions and with little calling to account. “The urge to punish all bankers has gone far enough,” declared a piece in the Financial Times just six months after the crisis began. But if there was ever such an “urge” on the part of government, it was never acted on. In 2012, 2,714 British bankers were paid more than €1m – 12 times as many as any other EU country. When the EU unveiled proposals in 2012 to limit bonuses to either one or two years’ salary with the say-so of shareholders, there was fury in the City. Luckily, their friends in high office were there to rescue their bonuses: at the British taxpayers’ expense, the Treasury took to the European Court to challenge the proposals. The entire British government demonstrated, not for the first time, that it was one giant lobbying operation for the City of London. Between 2011 and 2013, bank lending fell in more than 80% of Britain’s 120 postcode areas, helping to stifle economic recovery. Banks may have been enjoyed state aid on an unprecedented scale, but their bad behaviour just got worse – and yet they suffered no retribution.
Contrast this with the fate of the unemployed, including those thrown out of work as a result of the actions of bailed-out bankers. In the austerity programme that followed the financial crisis, state support for those at the bottom of society has been eroded. The support that remains is given withstringent conditions attached. “Benefit sanctions” are temporary suspensions of benefits, often for the most spurious or arbitrary reasons. According to the government’s figures, 860,000 benefit claimants were sanctioned between June 2012 and June 2013, a jump of 360,000 from a year earlier. According to the Trussell Trust, the biggest single provider of food banks, more than half of recipients were dependent on handouts owing to cuts or sanctions to their benefits.
Glyn, a former gas fitter from Manchester, was sanctioned three weeks before Christmas 2013, and received no money. He had missed a signing-on day because he was completing a job search at Seetec, one of the government’s corporate welfare-to-work clients. Then there’s Sandra, a disabled Glaswegian who lives with her daughter. She was sent a form asking to declare whether she lived with someone; assuming it meant a partner, she said no, and was called in to a “compliance interview”. Because her daughter was not in full-time education, Sandra was stripped of her entitlement to her £50 per week severe-disability allowance. While the financial elite could depend on the state to swoop to their rescue, those who suffered because of their greed felt the chill winds of laissez-faire. Socialism for the rich: sink-or-swim capitalism – and food banks – for the poor.
Socialism for the rich manifests itself in a variety of ways. In 2004, corporations were posting record profits, and yet their workers’ wages had begun to stagnate or – in the case of those in the bottom third of the income scale – had started to decline. To ensure that these underpaid workers have an adequate standard of living, they receive tax credits “topping up” their take-home pay – subsidised, of course, by the taxpayer. In 2009–10, for example, the government spent £27.3bn on such tax credits. Between 2003–4 and 2010–11, a whopping £176.64bn was spent on them. Now, millions of working people who would otherwise be languishing in abject poverty depend on these tax credits. But that does not detract from the fact that tax credits are, in effect, a subsidy to bosses for low pay. Employers hire workers without paying them a sum of money that allows them to live adequately, leaving the state to provide for their underpaid workforce.
The same principle applies to the £24bn spent on housing benefit. In 2002, 100,000 private renters in London were forced to claim housing benefit in order to pay the rent; by the end of the New Labour era, rising rents had increased the number to 250,000. On the one hand, this was the symptom of the failure of successive governments to provide affordable council housing. With tenants instead driven into the more expensive private rented sector, housing benefit acts as a subsidy for the higher rents of private landlords. But housing benefit is another subsidy for low wages, too. According to a study by the Building and Social Housing Foundation in 2012, more than nine in every 10 new housing-benefit claims in the first two years of the coalition government went not to the unemployed but to working households. Many of these claimants are workers whose pay is so low that they simply cannot afford the often extortionate rents being charged by private landlords. As well as individual private landlords, companies providing private housing were being subsidised by housing benefit, in some cases receiving more than a million pounds of taxpayers’ money each year, such as Grainger Residential Management and Caridon Property.
One such private landlord is Conservative MP Richard Benyon, one of Britain’s wealthiest parliamentarians whose family is worth around £110m. Despite having condemned spending on social security for “rising inexorably and unaffordably”, and having applauded the government for “reforming Labour’s ‘something for nothing’ welfare culture”, Benyon benefits from £120,000 a year through housing benefit collected from his tenants. Another vigorous supporter of cuts to the welfare state was Tory MP Richard Drax, whose estate received a substantial £13,830 housing benefit in 2013. They are both wealthy benefit claimants who advocate slashing state support for the poor.
Much of Britain’s public sector has now become a funding stream for profiteering companies. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), around half of the £187bn spent by the public sector on goods and services now goes on private contractors. One such company was Atos, first hired in 2005 by the then Labour government to carry out work-capability assessments. Its contract was renewed by the coalition in November 2010, now with far greater responsibilities as the government launched a sweeping programme of so-called “welfare reform”. This five-year contract was worth £500m, or £100m of public money every year. In 2012 the NAO condemned the government contract with Atos for failing to offer value for money. Atos had not “routinely met all the service standards specified in the contract”, the report declared; its record on meeting targets was “poor”; the government had failed to seek “adequate financial redress for underperformance”; and the “management of the contract lacked sufficient rigour”.
Disabled people who needed support were having their support stripped away by Atos. In one three-month period in 2012, 42% of appeals against Atos judgments were successful; but it is a process that is expensive for the taxpayer and often traumatic for the claimant. In the harsh benefit-bashing climate of austerity Britain, disability charities reported that “scrounger” rhetoric had provoked a surge in abuse towards disabled people on the streets. But the behaviour of state-funded private contractors such as Atos must surely raise the question of who the real scroungers are. It was not until April 2014 that Atos was forced to abandon the contract because of the growing backlash, but not until they had pocketed large sums of public money.
This hiving off of core state functions – in this case, assessing support for some of the most vulnerable people in society – to private companies who exchange public money for a poor service is a striking feature of the modern establishment. Another such business is A4e, a welfare-to-work company dogged by controversy over poor performance. As one former A4e contractor suggested to me, A4e was running a “farming exercise”, cherry-picking easy cases and leaving the rest in the “field”. Its former chairman Emma Harrison paid herself £8.6m in dividends, all courtesy of the taxpayer. In February, four former A4e employees admitted committing acts of fraud and forgery after charging the state for working for clients that did not even exist.
In 2012, £4bn of taxpayers’ money was shovelled into the accounts of the biggest private contractors: Serco, G4S, Atos and Capita. It led to a damning assessment from the NAO, which Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, summed up: this outsourcing, she concluded, had created “quasi-monopolies”, the “inhibiting of whistleblowers”, the trapping of taxpayers into lengthy contracts, and a “number of contracts that are not subject to proper competition”. G4S had been contracted to provide security personnel for the 2012 Olympics; when it failed to provide them, the state – predictably – had to step in, mobilising 3,500 soldiers and leading even the then minister of defence, Philip Hammond, publicly to question his previously unwavering commitment to private sector provision of state functions. At the end of 2013, the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into Serco and G4S, after they allegedly overcharged the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds for the electronic tagging of clients, charging for clients who had left the country or were even dead. Many of these private contractors, such as Atos and G4S, pay little or no corporation tax, even as they benefit from state munificence.
Rail Owen Jones ‘Privatisation of rail was a form of socialism for the rich.’ Photograph: Velar Grant/Demotix/Corbis
Privatisation of rail was a form of socialism for the rich that became particularly notorious. According to a report by the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, state spending on the privatised railways was six times higher than it was in the dying days of British Rail. And yet under the privatised system, rolling stock was replaced less frequently, there was not enough carriage space to accommodate rising numbers of rail passengers, and ticket prices were the highest in Europe. As the report put it, technological innovation and improvement were powered or underwritten by the state. The taxpayer shouldered the risk, while profit was privatised: or “heads they win and tails we lose”.
Big business is dependent on the state in a multitude of other ways. An expensive law-and-order system defends its property. The privatisation of Royal Mail ensured that the state kept the pension liabilities – nationalising the debt, privatising the profit. The business elite benefits from around £10bn spent on research and development by the British state each year: and innovations from the internet to the technology behind the iPhone originate from public sector research, as Mariana Mazzucato uncovered in The Entrepreneurial State. Big business relies on extensive spending on infrastructure: in 2012, the Confederation of British Industry suggested savings from cuts to benefits – raids on the pockets of the working and non-working poor – could be used to invest in the road network. And the state educates the workforce of big business at vast expense.
Royal Mail Owen Jones ‘The privatisation of Royal Mail ensured that the state kept the pension liabilities.’ Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
With big business benefiting from so much state largesse, you might expect gratitude in the form of the glad payment of taxes. After all, this socialism for the rich is not cheap. A common figure bandied around by defenders of Britain’s wealthy elite is that the top 1% of earners pay a third of all income tax, conveniently ignoring the fact that only a quarter of government revenue comes from income tax, with much of the rest coming from national insurance and indirect taxes paid by the population as a whole. But tax avoidance is rampant among much of the corporate and wealthy elite that benefits so much from state handouts. While the law cracks down on the misdemeanours of the poor, it allows, even facilitates, the far more destructive behaviour of the rich. Compare the billions lost through tax avoidance to the £1.2bn lost through benefit fraud, an issue that remains the news fodder of choice for the rightwing press.
The manner in which this happens shows who the state exists to serve. The Big Four accountancy firms – EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – have been slammed for their role in tax avoidance. But their response is instructive. “We don’t ever condone tax avoidance or support tax avoidance,” pledges EY’s Steve Varley. “Fundamentally, parliament has to legislate what parliament wants to happen … And people like us can follow the legislation and provide advice to our clients.”
But what Varley conveniently fails to mention is that firms such as EY help design the law in the first place, and then go off and help advise their clients on how to get around it. “We have seen what look like cases of poacher, turned gamekeeper, turned poacher again,” declared the Public Accounts Committee in April 2013, “whereby individuals who advise government go back to their firms and advise their clients on how they can use those laws to reduce the amount of tax they pay.” This is an astonishing finding. Senior MPs have concluded that accountants were not simply offering governments their expertise: they were advising governments on tax law, and then telling their clients how to get around the laws they had themselves helped to draw up.
When it comes to rhetoric, the modern establishment passionately rejects statism. The advocates of state interventionism are dismissed as dinosaurs who should hop in a time machine and return to the discredited 1970s. And yet state interventionism is rampant in modern Britain: but it exists to benefit the rich. No other phenomenon sums up more starkly how unjust modern Britain is. Social security for the poor is shredded, stripped away, made ever more conditional. But welfare for large corporations and wealthy individuals is doled out like never before. The question is not just whether such an establishment is unjust: the question is whether it is sustainable.