Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Timely and Topical Relevance of 'Maggie's Hammer'

The radio interviews in which I have been engaged this past month or so, promoting my book Maggie's Hammer, have produced almost an epilogue's worth of information detailing the continuing and increasing relevance of the allegations in that book. In no particular order:

Caroline Flint, MP for Brighton Pavilion, addresses the UK Parliament on the obvious connection between Britain's huge sale of hi-tech weaponry to the Middle East (and the fact that many of such sales are covertly on behalf of the US government - my addition, not Caroline's), and the fact that the resulting devastation in Syria and Iraq is the cause of the thousands of refugees landing on the doorsteps of Europe and the US.

This while London hosts the largest arms fair in the world (DSEI). Some 30,000 attendees. Not including representatives for oversight organizations, such as Amnesty International. which have, for the very first time, been excluded. Possibly due to allegations that the technology on offer includes equipment for undertaking torture more effectively.

I have repeated ad nauseam that I really do not like labels like 'military-industrial complex,' 'British elite,' 'New World Order,' especially 'conspiracy theory.'

But. When one in every five people employed in the UK works directly or indirectly in association with its arms industry, such that the socialist trade union movement supports the arms industry, because it provides so many jobs for its members, when the UK government still pimps out its military and intelligence services to undertake clandestine arms sales and special military operations on behalf of the US government, so that the latter may avoid Congressional oversight (and more of that in a moment), then, while avoiding the suggestion that the UK and the US wish to foment war around the globe, is it safe to say that this US-UK arrangement is hardly one that promotes peace?

Is it also fair to posit that, if British politicians are, as my book claims, still receiving millions of pounds in arms kickbacks, there is little political incentive to halt the toxic influence of the UK arms trade or the curious military and intelligence relationship between the US and the UK? Especially when the body responsible for UK Parliamentary oversight of intelligence activity is about to be chaired by someone intricately associated with distributing the kickback largesse?

I mentioned continuing operations by the UK in support of covert US foreign policy. First, a quick example of how the events of the Eighties carried forward and still affect us today. Back in the Eighties, one of the most important geopolitical issues was the huge war between Iran and Iraq, 1980-1988. Both countries were embargoed by the UN from being supplied with military technology with an offensive capability. Which was merely a green light for the West to proceed with supplying them with the same.

Ah ha. You go. Know about this. Iran-Contra? Wrong. Oliver North was a distraction. Deliberately set up to deflect attention from the real trade. North sold $1 billion of utterly useless missiles to Iran (useless because they all carried the imprint of the Israeli Defence Forces). The real pipeline in arms funneled some $80 billion in arms to Iran and some $60 billion in arms to Iraq. A huge amount of it through London.

This technology included nuclear, chemical and biological capability. Which contributed and still contributes to Iran's desire to have its own nuclear capability.

We'll get a little tendentious here. We have Gulf War I in 1991. Consequently, efforts are made to coerce Saddam Hussein into getting rid of his NCB capability. The same one that the West had sold to him. Those efforts fail, when the UN Inspectors are thrown out in 1998. This was the ostensible reason for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (Gulf War II), led by a left-wing British Prime Minister and a right-wing US President (a coupling which surprised many, but which won't surprise you when you read my book, and understand that Blair was blackmailed by said US President and the British military-industrial complex; you know, that label I hate to mention - and I'l be coming back to that, too). Oops. Apparently no WMD. Apparently, Saddam voluntarily removed every last scrap of said WMD before 2003, and then dared the West to devastate his country and kill him in any event. Iraqi Army disbanded. Iraqi generals need to pay mortgages. Set up ISIS. Lo and behold, they 'discover' non-existent chemical weapons in Iraq. Are now a threat to the world. And the US and the UK have reason for a new war in the Middle East.

Pause, while I replenish my strength with a bowl of Conspiracy Theory Special K.

Just a few weeks ago, Seymour Hersh, a well known US investigative journalist (who features in my book) wrote an article suggesting that the British were arming al Nusra (the not-ISIS opposition group in Syria), on behalf of the US, because such arming might not have gained Congressional approval. A week later, it was reported that the UK had begun its own drone attack program, targeting non-US Westerners, again on behalf of the US, again because the US government would have been unlikley to gain Congressional approval.

In my book, I state that, as a consequence of the UK agreeing in the Eighties to become the outsourcing surrogate of choice for the US government's covert foreign policy, be it to engage in arms sales the US couldn't, or to undertake US-desired special operations that would not pass Congressional muster, London became a money-generating layby for all these US military and intelligence undertakings. As a result of that development, the City of London, ever eager to make money, jumped in on the act, and transformed itself into a global trading exchange for all manner of global covert, as well as the financial overt.

In his book Gomorrah, author Roberto Saviano supports this contention with his own research suggesting that London is now the money-laundering center of the world. Whether for drugs, terrorism, intelligence agencies, whatever. The combination of City expertise with global finance, lax regulation, few exchange controls and political openness makes the City of London the place to undertake any clandestine business transaction. Want a mercenary army, a coup d-etat, a ship for drugs, an assassination, an offshore haven? London is your destination.

Have a good look at the headlines. The banks getting fined for nefarious financial activity are British. HSBC. Barclays. What was going on in the Eighties was mere foretaste for what has now become entrenched. While protest groups focus on the overt demonstration of globalism, the covert element has become focused in London.

Which has us deep in the land of those labels I say I hate so much. So. Let's lighten the atmosphere by underlining the fact that it is no longer only the 'lunatic fringe' using such labels.

The new left-wing leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, apparently and happily believes in the New World Order, the 9/11 'conspiracy' and the con that was the Iraq invasion of 2003.

A well-respected journalist for the London Guardian newspaper, Seamus Milne, writes of unelected peers of the 'British elite,' and a military-industrial complex of senior military and intelligence officials seeking inappropriately to influence Britain's elected leaders.

By the by, while we're on the subject of lurid headlines, the widely reported spat between Lord Ashcroft and David Cameron had nothing to do with donations, government office or pigs. Ashcroft was angry that Cameron denied him access to any share of the $300 million a year in continuing kickbacks from British arms sales. And for more on that, you're just going to have to read the book. So there.

Now, let's end this update with an historical flavor. Just to add gravamen. Here's a question. If British and American political and spiritual leaders talk of Christians under threat in the Middle East, and an Oxford University professor of the history of the Crusades publishes a book talking of Pope Urban II planning the First Crusade in 1095 in order to liberate co-religionists in Jerusalem, does it mean that I'm no longer firmly placed on the 'lunatic fringe' when I write that some in the Middle East see continued Western military involvement in the Middle East as the Last Crusade?