“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

George Galloway or the US Congress: Who do you believe? Have they learned nothing? It is simply the case that the British government, along with its Nato allies including the US, were - in both the wars in Syria and Libya - on the same side as, and even arming and funding, the very extremists, "jihaidists", and even al-Qaida-supporting fighters they claim pose the greatest menace to world peace.

On Wednesday afternoon in the British Parliament, near the end of question time for British Prime Minister David Cameron, a short though incredibly revealing exchange occurred between Cameron and Respect Party MP George Galloway. Whatever one's preexisting views might be of either of these two polarizing figures is entirely irrelevant to the points and facts raised here about this incident.
Galloway stood to ask Cameron about a seeming contradiction in the policy of the British government (one shared by the US government). He wanted to know why it is that the British government is so intent on fighting and bombing Islamic extremists in Mali, while simultaneously arming and funding equally brutal Islamic extremists in Syria (indeed, although it was once taboo to mention, it is now widely reported in the most establishment venues such as the New York Times that while many ordinary Syrians are fighting against the savagery and tyranny of Assad, Islamic extremists, including ones loyal to al-Qaida, are playing a major role in the war against the regime). The same question could have been posed regarding Libya, where Nato-supported rebel factions were filled with fighters with all sorts of links to al-Qaida.
There certainly are reasonable answers to Galloway's point, but whatever one's views might be on those points, there's no denying it's a reasonable question. It is simply the case that the British government, along with its Nato allies including the US, were - in both the wars in Syria and Libya - on the same side as, and even arming and funding, the very extremists, "jihaidists", and even al-Qaida-supporting fighters they claim pose the greatest menace to world peace.
In lieu of addressing the substance of the question, Cameron unleashed a 10-second snide attack on Galloway himself. "Some things come and go," proclaimed the Prime Minister, "but there is one thing that is certain: wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world, he will have the support of [Galloway]." Here is the one-minute video of this exchange:

As usual, anyone who questions the militarism of western governments is instantly smeared as a sympathizer or even supporter of tyrants. Thus, those who opposed the aggressive attack on Iraq were pro-Saddam; those who now oppose bombing Iran love the mullahs; those who oppose Nato intervention in Syria or Libya harbor affection for Assad and Ghadaffi - just as those who opposed the Vietnam War fifty years ago or Reagan's brutal covert wars in Latin America thirty years ago were Communist sympathizers, etc. etc. Cameron's outburst was just the standard smear tactic used for decades by western leaders to try to discredit anyone who opposes their wars.
The more important point here is that of all the people on the planet, there is nobody with less authority to accuse others of supporting "brutal Arab dictators in the world" than David Cameron and his Nato allies, including those in the Obama administration. Supporting "brutal Arab dictators in the world" is a perfect summary of the west's approach to the Arab world for the last five decades, and it continues to be.
In January of last year, Cameron visited the region's most repressive dictators, the close British allies in Saudi Arabia. In Riyadh, he met King Abdullah and Crown Prince Nayef in order, he said, to "broaden and deepen" the UK-Saudi relationship. That "relationship" was already quite broad and deep, as "Saudi Arabia is the UK's largest trading partner in the Middle East with annual trade worth £15bn a year."
Moreover, "a Saudi official told the BBC the leaders would discuss sales of the latest technology and weaponry, and making Britain a major part of a massive Saudi military expansion." Indeed, as the Guardian noted in 2012, "during the third quarter of last year Britain exported arms valued at more than £1m to Saudi Arabia, including components for military combat vehicles and turrets." In June, Cameron again visited Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE, and the Huffington Post UK reported at the time: "Cameron has been open about his desire to sell arms to the Saudis, the UAE and Oman."
In November - just two months before yesterday's attack on Galloway - Cameron again traveled around to several tyrannical Gulf states - including his close ally Saudi Arabia as well as the United Arab Emirates - in order to sell British fighter jets and other military hardware to those regimes. As Amnesty International UK's head of policy and government affairs Allan Hogarth said: "Saudi Arabia has been the recipient of record-breaking arms deals involving the UK." Indeed, as the Guardian noted during this trip: "In 2009 the Saudi air force used UK-supplied Tornado fighter-bombers in attacks in Yemen which killed hundreds – possibly thousands – of civilians."

Then there was that charming incident in May, 2011, when - at the height of the violent crackdown by the Bahraini regime on democratic protesters - Cameron welcomed Bahrain's Crown Prince to 10 Downing Street and posed for photographers shaking hands with the tyrant. Former Labour foreign minister Denis MacShane protested that Cameron should not be "rolling out the red carpet for Bahrain's torturer-in-chief".
In August, Cameron met with Bahrain's King in London. While the Prime Minister's office claimed he pressed the King to implement greater political reforms, the Guardian noted that the King was "given red carpet treatment in Downing Street".

Just last year, it was reported that - despite a temporary suspension of licenses - "Britain has continued to sell arms to Bahrain despite continuing political unrest in the Gulf state". Indeed, "several licences were granted for arms exports, including in February and March 2011, and during the height of the violence." Specifically:
"According to the figures the government approved the sale of military equipment valued at more than £1m in the months following the violent crackdown on demonstrators a year ago. They included licences for gun silencers, weapons sights, rifles, artillery and components for military training aircraft.
"Also cleared for export to Bahrain between July and September last year were naval guns and components for detecting and jamming improvised explosive devices."
As Maryam Al-Khawaja of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said: "The US, UK and France attack Russia for providing weapons to Syria, but that's exactly what they are doing for the Bahrain government; Russia is criticised for a naval base in Syria, but the US has one here." Of course, Bahrain wasn't the only close UK ally to violently attack democratic protesters in the kingdom. "During last year's uprising, Saudi Arabia sent forces to Bahrain in British military trucks."
Then there's Britain's long-standing support for the Mubarak dictatorship, and Cameron's personal support for Mubarak as the protest movement unfolded. In January, 2011, as tens of thousands of Egyptians assembled to demand an end to their dictatorship, he sat for an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, who asked him whether Mubarak should resign. Cameron said: "What we support is evolution, reform, not revolution." As Egyptian police were killing protesters, this exchange then occurred:

"ZAKARIA: Is Mubarak a friend of Britain?
"CAMERON: He is a friend of Britain. Britain has good relations with Egypt."
The following month, as Mubarak's crackdown intensified, "the British government refuse[d] to say whether it would follow the example of Germany and France and suspend exports of arms and riot control equipment to Egypt." In 2009, Britain sold £16.4m worth of arms to the regime in Egypt.
In 2010, the UK granted licenses for the sale of arms to Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the UAE and Yemen. In July of that year, shortly after Cameron assumed office, "the Scrutiny of Arms Exports report by the Parliamentary Committee on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) show[ed] that there are still 600 existing arms exports licences in place for the sale of goods including assault weapons, ammunition, and surveillence equipment, to Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen." In 2011, Der Spiegel reported:
"Britain exported over €100 million ($142 million) in weapons to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in the last two years alone. Included in those shipments are sniper rifles that may currently be in use against the Libyan opposition. Furthermore, Gadhafi's terror police are British-trained."

So who exactly is it that is guilty of supporting every "brutal Arab dictator in the world"? At the top of any honest list, one would find David Cameron, along with the leaders of most leading Nato countries, beginning with the US (see here and here). Indeed, as Der Spiegel noted in April 2011 about yet another of Cameron's trips to visit Arab tyrants: "Cameron flew on to Kuwait, where he got down to the real purpose of his trip: selling weapons to Arab autocrats."
Cameron's so-called "slapdown" of Galloway was predictably celebrated in many precincts. The reality, though, is that it was quite cowardly: he refused to answer Galloway's question, then smeared him knowing that he could not reply, then simply moved on to the next questioner. Galloway was able to respond afterward only by posting an open letter on his website, noting the multiple Arab dictators steadfastly supported not by Galloway but by his accuser, David Cameron.
The more important point here is that this so perfectly reflects the central propagandistic self-delusion amazingly sustained throughout the west. The very same western countries that snuggle up to and prop up the planet's worst dictators are the same ones who strut around depicting themselves as crusaders for democracy and freedom, all while smearing anyone who objects to their conduct as lovers of tyranny. That's how David Cameron can literally embrace and strengthen the autocrats of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen and so many others, while accusing others with a straight face of lending support "wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world".
In the most minimally rational universe, Cameron's act of extreme projection would provoke a sustained fit of mocking laughter. In the propaganda-suffused western world, it all seems perfectly cogent and even inspiring.
The Hillary Clinton version
The outgoing US Secretary of State on Wednesday unleashed this bizarre description of the Egyptian people: "It's hard going from decades under one-party or one-man rule, as somebody said, waking up from a political coma and understanding democracy." As As'ad AbuKhalil astutely replied: "The US and not the Egyptian people were in denial about the true nature of the Sadat-Mubarak regime. No, in fact they were not in denial: they knew full well what they were doing against the Egyptian people."
Indeed, it was Hillary Clinton - not the Egyptian people - who proclaimed in 2009: "I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States." (As a related bonus, see this all-time great Hillary Clinton quote about the US role in the world.) In sum, any list of those lending support "wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world" must begin with the leaders of the US and the UK in order to have any minimal credibility.


  1. Not George.

    I'd trust Ash before I'd trust George. Ash isn't on the Canadian No Entry List, at least.

    Forbidden to enter Canada

    On 20 March 2009, Galloway was advised by the Canada Border Services Agency he was deemed inadmissible to Canada on "security grounds" due to his involvement in the Viva Palestina aid convoy to the Gaza Strip following the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.[140] The Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas, which is on Canada's list of terrorist organisations. This resulted from a personal donation of £25,000 made by Galloway ten days earlier. The Canadians ruled (and maintained on appeal) that this constituted explicit support for Hamas, although Galloway argued it was not the case as the money was intended to be used for aid purposes.[66][141]

    George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, author, journalist, and broadcaster, and the Respect Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford West. He was previously an MP for the Labour Party, for Glasgow Hillhead and then its successor constituency Glasgow Kelvin from 1987 until 2005.

    He was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 because he was found guilty of four of the five charges of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.[1] He subsequently became a founding member of the left-wing Respect Party, and was elected as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005.[2] In 2010, Galloway unsuccessfully contested the seat of Poplar and Limehouse, and in 2011 he unsuccessfully contested the Glasgow list for the Scottish Parliament, before being elected as an MP in the 2012 Bradford West by-election.[3][4]

    Galloway is well known for his campaigns in support of the Palestinians in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In the late 1980s Hansard records him delivering a ferocious assault on the Ba'ath regime, and Galloway opposed Saddam's regime until the United States-led Gulf War in 1991.[5] Galloway is known for a visit to Iraq where he met Saddam Hussein, and delivered a speech, which ended in English with the statement "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability."[6] He has always stated that he was addressing the Iraqi people in the speech.[7] Galloway testified to the United States Senate in 2005 over alleged illicit payments from the United Nations' Oil for Food Programme.[8]

    George is all over the map, except Canada of course, he can't go there, and always has been. He is, in short, crazy.

    1. In the past, on occasion, I have gotten George confused in my mind with "Red Ken" Livingstone, Mayor Of London.

      It is understandable. They are both crazy.

      Neither like the Jews, either. Always hammering on the Jews. Couple of crazy cookies from the same mold.

    2. Just what specific part of what he actually said on any part of the interview do you object to and what is your counter argument?

    3. I can't get the video to play. It is a recurring problem for me. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
      I'll give it another try tomorrow.

  2. The Washington Post is surprised by the ‘mysterious’ high cost of gasoline in the US but does not mention in this article that the US government, at the insistence of the Israel lobbies, reduced Iran’s petroleum exports by 40% in 2012 by strong-arming countries to leave it in the ground and not import it on threat of third-party US sanctions.

    Petroleum prices are at near-historic highs this winter. The average for gasoline in the US has jumped to $3.75 and it is much, much higher in Europe. The price of petroleum as a primary commodity is not a very complicated calculation– it is just supply and demand. The world is producing roughly 90 million barrels a day of oil. The world wants all of that and more, and hence the price is high. If Iran’s one million barrels a day — which the US has forced countries in Europe and elsewhere not to buy– were on the market, the price would be less. (There is a little twist in that sulphur-heavy, ‘sour’ crude is more expensive to refine into gasoline, so taking ‘light sweet’ oil off the market and trying to replace it with sour crude from e.g. Nigeria is costly).

    Ironically, the high petroleum prices produced in part by the blockade of Iran oil sales cushion Iran’s government from the sanctions, since what oil it does sell goes for high prices and feathers the ayatollahs’ nests. Over time, some Iranian exports may be taken over by the private sector, which is not subject to the same sanctions as the government-owned enterprises.

    The Neoconservatives behind the largely congressionally-led financial blockade against Iran’s oil exports (mandated by last year’s National Defense Authorization Act) promised that the policy would not harm the American economy because Saudi Arabia would be willing to pump extra petroleum to cover the Iranian shortfall. The Saudi ability to replace Iranian exports in the medium to long term, however, is doubted by many analysts, and Saudi exports fell slightly in the last quarter of 2012 from last summer’s heights. There was also a strike at a plant in Libya, and continued security problems for exports in northern Iraq. Not to mention that Syria and South Sudan exports have been halted by political upheaval, and that technical problems reduced the UK’s North Sea production.The Washington Post is surprised by the ‘mysterious’ high cost of gasoline in the US but does not mention in this article that the US government, at the insistence of the Israel lobbies, reduced Iran’s petroleum exports by 40% in 2012 by strong-arming countries to leave it in the ground and not import it on threat of third-party US sanctions.

    Petroleum prices are at near-historic highs this winter. The average for gasoline in the US has jumped to $3.75 and it is much, much higher in Europe.

    1. The Jews are responsible for our high gas prices.

      I knew it!

      The Jews control the policies of the entire European Union, too.

      The Jews even control the policies in Turkey.

      The only countries in the whole world that the Jews don't control are China, India, Japan and Taiwan, who are importing almost all of Iran's oil exports these days.

      Them Jews.

    2. As for me, I'd happily pay higher gas prices if it would keep Iran from nuking up. It wouldn't, of course.

    3. Not only that, the Jews control the United Nations too, cause they voted sanctions on Iran.

  3. Who cares about Americans who have to drive to their jobs and are paying record prices for gasoline? Certainly not Obama who flew his personal 747 to Palm Beach for golfing while his wife and kids took the other one to Colorado for skiing.

    Never complain. Never explain.

    1. Who cares about Americans who have to drive to their jobs and are paying record prices for gasoline?

      Not Barky. He still hasn't approved the pipeline from Canada, so he doesn't care. That could have been done years ago. And the Gulf, and Alaska, and ......and ....

  4. There is an amazing disconnect going on in this country of two nations.

  5. Here it is. While the average American is slowly going broke, we have the tally of the drone wars:

    WASHINGTON — A US senator has said an estimated 4,700 people, including some civilians, have been killed in the contentious bombing raids of America's secretive drone war, local media reported Wednesday.
    It was the first time a lawmaker or any government representative had referred to a total number of fatalities in the drone strikes, which have been condemned by rights groups as extrajudicial assassinations.

    The toll from hundreds of drone-launched missile strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere has remained a mystery, as US officials refuse to publicly discuss any details of the covert campaign.

    But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of the drone raids, openly cited a number that exceeds some independent estimates of the death toll.

    “We've killed 4,700," Graham was quoted as saying by the Easley Patch, a local website covering the small town of Easley in South Carolina.

    “Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al-Qaeda,” Graham told the Easley Rotary Club.

    Graham’s office did not dispute his reported remarks but suggested that he had not divulged any official, classified government figure.

    A spokesman told AFP that the senator “quoted the figure that has been publicly reported and disseminated on cable news."

    His remark was unprecedented, as US officials have sometimes hinted at estimates of civilian casualties but never referred to a total body count.

    “Now this is the first time a US official has put a total number on it,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

  6. 4700 drone assassinations. What is the end game for that? Is the magic number 6000, 10,000? If we assume that all of these people deserve to be killed, how many more are there that also need killing? Where are they all coming from? Is is only a matter of time and the drone wars will no longer be a monopoly. Drones can fly in both directions.

    Remember the when the US Army owned the night because of the exclusive use of night vision goggles? Now you can buy them at WalMart.

    Here is a nifty little drone for sale for $349: Predator style and UAV type RC planes amazing remote control airplanes. This plane is an RC enthusiast's dream as the full size one is flown by remote control too! Now you can fly your own covert missions and more with the RC Reaper style planes. This package comes with everything you need including the remote control, electronics, and upgraded lipo battery. Still want more? Order today and get upgraded to a brushless motor and speed control. Get everything you could possible want all for under 400 bucks! Don't be fooled by other sites as they do not have this item with accessories in stock. 4 channels give you complete flight control. This RC Predator style plane is the real deal. Get really high tech and purchase one of our wireless mini cameras for only $99.99 featuring full motion video and sound to conduct your operations from the ground. Watch where you fly right on the screen. This RC plane is fantastic and the wingspan is over 5 feet long making it very stable while in flight.

    In real life, the RQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which the U.S. Air Force describes as a "medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle system." It is a Joint Forces Air Component Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the Joint Force commander. The Predator can be employed in moderate risk areas without risking the life of the operator. Examples include areas where enemy air defenses have not been fully suppressed, open ocean environments, and biologically or chemically contaminated environments.

    The RQ-1A/B Predator is a system, not just an aircraft. The fully operational system consists of four air vehicles (with sensors), a ground control station (GCS), a Predator primary satellite link communication suite and 55 people.

  7. Every god fearing American should demand his or her right under the constitution to own a missile armed drone. We all need a new Buttfucker III killer drone. We are so totally fucked.

    1. Good idea! We should all be as well armed as the coming Police State so as to be able to stop it.

      The Fathers would have agreed!

      Death To Tyrants! it says at the top of this blog.

  8. JihadWatch back on line!

    Jihad Watch

    Iran starts upgrade of nuclear site
    Feb 20, 2013 05:00 pm | Robert

    What could go wrong? So they're genocidal antisemites. Don't be "Islamophobic." "Diplomats: Iran Starts Upgrade of Nuclear Site," by George Jahn for the Associated Press, February 20 (thanks to Twostellas): In a disheartening signal to world powers at upcoming Iran talks, Tehran has started installing high-tech machines at its main...
    read more

    Iranian ayatollahs condemn internet provider for undermining Islam and encouraging immorality
    Feb 20, 2013 04:00 pm | Robert

    How do you put an internet provider to death? Still more evidence of the desperate insecurity and authoritarian mindset of Islamic supremacism. "Iranian ayatollahs issue fatwa against 3G internet provider," by Adi Robertson for The Verge, February 20 (thanks to Twostellas): Four Iranian ayatollahs have condemned mobile internet provider RightTel...
    read more

    #MyJihad in Nigeria: Iranian-backed jihad assassination and terror cell broken up
    Feb 20, 2013 03:53 pm | Robert

    Targeting USAID, the Peace Corps, and Israeli and Nigerian targets. "Nigeria secret police say terror group broken up," by Bashir Adigun for the Associated Press, February 20 (thanks to Block Ness): ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's secret police said Wednesday they broke up a terrorist group backed by "Iranian handlers"...

    First three articles have to do with Iran.

    The truth is, folks, while Israel is obviously for Sanctions and More, they don't control the foreign policy of any other country. Lots of folks who don't like Jews just say they do.

    1. I meant to add, it's behavior like the above, and much more, that has brought sanctions on Iran, and not the 'Israel lobby'.

  9. What about the sanctions on the American workers and those using heating fuel in their homes and factories?

  10. A lot of rural people in the US depend on propane. Why are they being taxed on their needs because of sanctions on Iran? Can they expect some support from the Israeli government to help them pay their other bills? How is the Israeli aid package to US workers at the lower end of the scale these days?