Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I would say this was an important and brave dialogue, conducted with an understandably pseudonymous correspondent, Darius, currently at Harry's Place. Very much worth following, at a time when we hear of the executions of protesters against Ahmadinejad's regime. Two were executed on 28 January. You can put a face to one in the first link. Nine more have been condemned. I am working from home all day today and will be calling in regularly. Anyone can ask a question.

Sample answer:

...Unfortunately, probably tens of thousands have been killed by the authorities since 1979 and according to various sources 4 to 6 million Iranians have had to leave the country during the last 31 years which, as far as I know, is a world record. Yearly, some 200,000 Iranians are leaving the country, mostly the young and educated part of the population.

It's good to know that sterling folk like George Galloway, and all who associate with him, approve and applaud the regime responsible for all this.


Gwil W said...

Thank you George. I too have just heard about these "Stalinsit-style show trials". I will look at your link.
'Reporters Without Borders' speaks of 16 defendants all being charged with "mohareb" - being enemies of God, though I don't suppose God will be summoned to give evidence.

RWB's 2009 league table shows that Iran is only one place above "the infernal trio" of Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, when it comes to freedom of the press.

Desmond Swords said...

I have just watched a programme on BBC earlier this evening, A Taste of Iran (available for the next 7 days on i-player).

It looks like a lovely culture, with warm, freendly people. This is not to say I 'support' the government there of course, just that it does seem to draw a lot of flak from a somewhat dis-credited western media.

Not that I support it of course. If I could influence events, I would have world-peace and free elecetions: but the west are on dodgy ground. They are in Afghanistan and that country just had rigged elections. The warlords are in governement and drug money rules. All down to the people in the UK who voted in a presidential style of prime-minister, who wanted war because .. anyone know? Ego, Claire Short reckons.


You may recall Obama, in a break from the G20 talks in Pittsburg in Septmeber, ramping up the theatricality with an anouncement that American intelligence had uncovered a 'secret' nuclear facility.

This set of a firestorm of comment and chestbeating of the chattering classes sat on our fannies in the West, civilized, intelligent, able to discriminate good from evil and knowing, from our media, the black and white issues.

There was one article, in amongst the lunacy, by Scott Ritter, chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, who argued what turned out to be, after Bush and Blair had their underhanded go at causing mass destruction in the country next door to Iraq - the Truth.

The truth that we in the West wrestle with every time we see parent of X from Anywheresville UK, weeping in the two minute piece to camera, and informing us how their son would have done anything for anyone, and was only doing his patriotic Duty, in the streets of Afghanistan, thousands of miles away from home to fight for .. Truth?

Ritter's piece appeared without fuss or fanfare and soon got lost in the rolling op-ed machine which employs so many well-educated, decent types who proffer forth our opnion on anything from Posh Spice's diet to what it is we believe will lead to world peace. Often, beginning with the removal of blood-thirsty bullies thousands of miles away, who threaten our way of life with their talk and actions. We, whose history was built on keeping peace in the world and engaging in harmless Trade.

Ritter pointed out that, actually, Obama was engaging in spin and there was no intelligence led discovery of a 'secret' base, but rather it was:

"Iran's own voluntary declaration. Iran's actions forced the hand of the US, leading to Obama's hurried press conference Friday morning."

He then goes into the detail (which you can read at the link) that explains the exact legal position and finishes with the statement that is technically and legally wrong Obama was "technically and legally wrong" when he stated: 'Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow'

But no one is interested because we are told in black and white by the western media, exactly what's happening in the world, and it is not spin, but Truth.

Claire Short, she exposed the nonsense about Blair.

"Beware politically motivated hype" Ritter tells us.

George S said...

I have absolutely no idea why you should think 'the western media' speak with one voice, Desmond.

Claire Short blethered as she generally does.

Desmond Swords said...


Claire Short came in the front door and is the only one of that spinning bunch of bullshit merchants who came acoss as a real human being. I had never taken much notice of her before, thinking she was just some blethering brummie, but I watched her evidence, recorded it, as I watched and recorded Blairs and a few others.

She reconciled everything into a picture that seemed human and real. In a couple of hours she blew the whole lie apart and showed Blair for what he is.

The cabinet meetings were short, no briefings or papers beforehand, no sitting down thrashing it out round the table, but all the work on the New Labour careerists done on them alone, Tony's charm directed into the singular, never were the Group democratics allowed to flourish, typical divide and rule.

I saw Campbell and he was a bletherer, talking utter tosh about ' I was very proud' to have been part of the biggest aggresive pact between two men who started a criminal war because of delusional male ego, God on their side, moning about the Religious fundamentalists and they themselves the instigator of it all.

Claire Short's job, dept, was the co-ordination of humanitarian aid in disaster areas, someone who was actually living the Old Labour ethos, whose principles weren't bough and paid for like the rest of the 'chaps' and as she said, he lied, Goldsmith lied and it is a 'sad' story. Blair now of course is a multi-millionaire funnelling his money via a recondite legal route, and he went in the back door. Says it all.

Happy New Year.

Gwil W said...

Yesterday Iran launched an orbiter containing what looked like a box of worms, a white rabbit or possibly a cat and also some other animals or insects. This launch took place only a couple of days after an American long range missile interceptor failed to meet its test target due to RADAR problems we are being told. A good job it wasn't the real thing.
Next week, in 7 days time in fact, Iran will celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Mullah-led revolution against the highly unpopular Shah regime.
Iran has now agreed, but not yet in writing, to send some of its nuclear material to Russia and France to be enriched. Whether this is another time-wasting ploy remains to be seen. Perhaps this news and the launch of the orbiter are intended to divert attention from what's going on inside Iran.
The International community is waiting for Iran to follow Libya's lead and join it. Meanwhile, in secret places, people are joining up the dots...
George, we live in interesting times.

Mark Granier said...

'Claire Short blethered as she generally does.'

George, that's possibly the kind of attitude Claire Short encountered in her sessions with Blair et al (the meetings when she tried to challenge the drift towards war): 'Oh, it's just Claire blethering on as usual.'

But I agree with Desmond here. Claire Short did not blether (not in the excerpts I saw anyway). She came across, to me anyway, as absolutely precise and coherent; what she said (bar the rather cosy opening preamble) was revealing because it made sense. She differed completely from Blair in her down-to-earthness, forthrightness and, I think, honesty. Mo Mowlam, it seems, was another ballsy 'blethering' woman Blair saw fit to sideline.

I never was one of the Blair-haters (and I often sympathised with him) but my suspicions that he had a dangerous messianic tendency are all but confirmed.

Mark Granier said...

Incidentally, it is not Desmond's remarks on Iran that I agree with, but some of his impressions of Claire Short, the following for example: 'She reconciled everything into a picture that seemed human and real.'

I am not sure how much she reconciled, but she certainly seemed human and real to me, like someone who would actually weigh the evidence and speak her mind, as she claimed to have done. Also like someone who could be overwhelmed on occasion, and misled by the slicker blethering of Blair, those seemingly important little 'chats'.

As for Iran, the show trials do not surprise me. Ahmadinejad's regime seems both pathetic (in its repressive and blatant fear of subversion) and lethal, and far more more likely to build operative long-range WMDs than Saddam ever was. I would NOT like to see Iran acquire nuclear capability.

Rachel Phillips said...

That sounds a bit male chauvinistic saying Claire Short blethered as she always does or whatever. It was the way it was to her, spoken honestly by a woman in a way that men don't know how.

George S said...

If that is true, Dubois, then presumably you are saying something female chauvinistic in declaring that "men don't know' how to speak honestly. I have no time for that.

As for Short, I quote Norm here:

Clare Short is singularly ill-equipped to tell people that the case for war in early 2003 was without merit. This was entailed both by her claim before the Chilcot Inquiry today that the case was based on deception, and by her suggestion that parliament was merely a 'rubber stamp'. Short resigned from the cabinet two months after the invasion - as it says here, 'in protest at planning for the war's aftermath'. She was asked by the Chilcot panel why she didn't resign before that and answered, 'If I knew then what I know now, I would have.' That's fair enough; she changed her mind, as anybody can. But if she felt able to support the invasion before seeing what went wrong in the aftermath, how arrogate to herself the right to say of her colleagues in the House who voted for the war, that they were just a 'rubber stamp' rather than individuals voting as they thought right? The same question is prompted by this: 'She said she was focused on making sure Britain "did it right" after the conflict.' And by this:

She knew at that point that the war would go ahead regardless because the Tories were going to back the Government and she decided it was worth staying, she said.

'I took a hell of a lot of flak for it but I still think if we had done those things it would have been much better...'

There was something there worth doing 'right', then. This is not the testimony of someone able to show convincingly that, as she evidently came to believe along with so many blinkered others, the whole issue was black and white, cut and dried. It wasn't, and Short will carry this divisive fact along within her person and her personal history.

That is the blether.

Rachel Phillips said...

Ok, I will stick to John Terry.

Desmond Swords said...

You can watch and read all the evidence at the Chilcot site, and this is Clare Short's.

I didn't know that Short knows the civil service inside out, as she used to be 'a private secretary years ago in the Home Office when Sir John Chilcot was a young assistant secretary., and she explains in coherent and precise detail, how Blair's govt was a one-man show full of secrecy and deception, with Campbell and Blair the axis of testosterone male warmongering.

That all power was 'pulled into number 10', with ex- Daily Star editor Campbell 'briefing against you' if you didn't do as Tony wanted. A game of spin and subterfuge and Blair by-passing the official chanels and ignoring all the expertise he had to hand.

The Foreign Office was sidelined, and you may remember the first witness from the FO who talked about the Crwaford pact 'signed in blood' - makes sense now Short has clarified everything.
"The first thing to say and I'm not the only one saying it, the
Cabinet doesn't work in the way, and didn't under the whole of the time I was in government, in the way that, according to our constitutional theory, it is supposed to work.

I mean, the meetings were very short. There were never papers. There were little chats about things, but it wasn't a decisionmaking body in any serious way.

.. it became a sofa government, and if ever you raised an issue that you wanted to bring to the Cabinet, Tony Blair would see you
beforehand and cut it off, saying, "We don't want those things coming to the Cabinet."

.. everything that has happened since makes me know that there was deliberate blockage and there were all sorts of private meetings, and all the normal systems of Whitehall are that meetings that might be relevant to your departmental responsibilities would always be minuted and those
minutes would be circulated. Phone calls with other ministers internationally, or President Bush would normally be minuted in a letter and circulated, all those things closed down. So the normal structures of Whitehall communications start to close down."


George S said...

t became a sofa government, and if ever you raised an issue that you wanted to bring to the Cabinet, Tony Blair would see you
beforehand and cut it off, saying, "We don't want those things coming to the Cabinet."

If that was her experience of the cabinet, Desmond,she should have resigned even earlier, and not give us this 'bullying' stuff. She certainly comes on like a woman well capable of looking after herself. That is what she proclaims herself to be.

Gwil W said...

As Winston Churchill said: the first casualty of war is always the truth.
There is no way that Bush, Blair**, Cheyney & co. are going to step forward with truth's head on their platter.
What is going on now at Chilcot is merely a piece of theater for the general public's, mainly domestic, consumption.
A 1,000 or 2,000 page report will come out in a year or two*. By then we'll all have other things on our minds. The next financial crisis. The next oil war. The next earthquake. The next pandemic. Whatever.
*A year or two is an eternity in politics.
**In any investigation we must not allow our attention to be diverted so that we forget about the squirrel.

Mark Granier said...

Well George (and Norm), you can dismiss Claire Short as a bletherer (on the basis of such Short-comings as that rubber-stamp remark) if you wish.

But I detect a little bit of your own (blether?) in remarks such as this: 'This is not the testimony of someone able to show convincingly that, as she evidently came to believe along with so many blinkered others, the whole issue was black and white, cut and dried.'

'Evidently'? Sorry, but this seems like your own patented 'black and white, cut and dried' caricature of Short. I find your determination to dismiss her testimony on the basis of the above rather strange. And if Short is a bletherer what does that make Blair?

I think Short stuck her neck out, and showed courage, but not enough. It was Robin Cook who had the giraffe's (rather than the brass) neck. And it is Cook's words that put the case against the war so clearly and elegantly for all of us poor blinkered sods.

Here are some excerpts from his resignation speech. All blether of course):

'We delude ourselves if we think that the degree of international hostility is all the result of President Chirac.

The reality is that Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner - not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council.

Our interests are best protected not by unilateral action but by multilateral agreement and a world order governed by rules.

Yet tonight the international partnerships most important to us are weakened: the European Union is divided; the Security Council is in stalemate.

Those are heavy casualties of a war in which a shot has yet to be fired.

Our difficulty in getting support this time is that neither the international community nor the British public is persuaded that there is an urgent and compelling reason for this military action in Iraq.

The threshold for war should always be high.

None of us can predict the death toll of civilians from the forthcoming bombardment of Iraq, but the US warning of a bombing campaign that will "shock and awe" makes it likely that casualties will be numbered at least in the thousands.

Ironically, it is only because Iraq's military forces are so weak that we can even contemplate its invasion. Some advocates of conflict claim that Saddam's forces are so weak, so demoralised and so badly equipped that the war will be over in a few days.

We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.'

All of these things (and more of what Cook said) struck me at the time, but of course I was 'blinkered' to have such reservations. And I am no doubt a fool to blether about them now.

Unknown said...

All of the comments so far seem to have forgotten about George, Galloway I mean not Szirtes. No one has commented on what Galloway has actually said - and no one has actually quoted or refuted his arguments. Can we do that please?

George S said...

I didn't think I had said anything about Robin Cook, Mark. He resigned and he did right by his beliefs.

Edward, I have heard and seen enough of Galloway to last me several lifetimes. I consider him as loathsome a figure as any I have come across.

George S said...

A quick ps - Do I take it from the post to which argument is attached that there is general approval of the executions in Iran? Disapproval? Notice?

If not, why the immediate reaction to jump to the subject of Iraq? Iran is, after all, the 'lovely place with warm, friendly people' so we are 'on dodgy ground' even talking about such things? Best talk about Iraq then. There we know who the guilty men are.

The actual post seems not to have meant very much to anyone. Am I wrong?

Billy C said...

The only thing I have to say about Galloway way is that he's an unprincipled creature of opportunity. I could say exactly the same about Peter Mendleson. Both of them make my skin crawl.

Billy C said...

George, back to the original subject of this thread. The link you provided was educational and I think the person who answered the questions is a very brave individual. I have to admit that I'm not an expert on the Middle East, but it is good to learn something from within rather than relying on media reports from outside sources. Those outside sources have, obviously, failed us because I cannot recall being informed of the executions in Iran. Perhaps I shouldn't watch the BBC so much. They seem to be too preoccupied in the blame game.

Mark Granier said...

Hi George, I already attached a separate post in which I made clear that I find the regime in Iran detestable. I have done for some time, and for this reason I am not in the least surprised by those show trials.

Desmond Swords said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Granier said...

Just to emphasise that it is Ahmadinejad's regime that I deplore, NOT the people of Iran who have suffered so much and who have shown such immense bravery in their various protests against a government that murders its own. I salute Darius and if I were a believer I'd pray for him. As it is I can only wish him all the luck in the world. He deserves it.

Desmond Swords said...

What Granier said.

The one positive thing that's come out of this, is the positive force of the internet. As a force for global democracy.

Now we are all our own media empires, potentially, and can tell our truth to the world, this is changing the world for the better.

The trials themselves, are what you'd expect from this regime, as I 'experience' it through the filter of western media.

All I know about the Iranian regime, is what I read in the papers and see on the news, which limits what real knowledge I can have, and make anything other than thumbns up or down, nothing but pub-talk.

All I can say is, if it were in my gift, I would make all the planet fair and free, and then, being a dreamer, would say, eradicate poverty, develop drugs which removed the aggressive macho gene at birth, make everyone a happy clappy lover doing it only for their neighbour and fellow man, give everyone here a million dollars and basically .. we can all rank the seven billion in the world into our schema and political philosophy.

Depending on one's circumstance we could say, people X are living in ghettoes, but that's a price I feel is worth paying because I believe..blah blah blah

Peoples Y are dispensible because I think Z have a legitimate claim on blah blah blah.

Culture A must be defended and preserved atv all costs because me and my pals think ..blah blah blah.

The difference is, people like Blair get to put into practice, what to us is pub-philosophy, our theoretical, univolved, detahced commentary, they get to do effect in real life.