2007 - 2020

FinCEN, Oligarch Britain and Compromised Politicians


Multiple recent revelations expose the swirling nexus of dark money, oligarch influence and gangsterism and make it clear Tory Britain is a cesspit and London is a haven for money-laundering on a vast scale.

FinCEN

A huge trove of secret US government documents (the ‘FinCEN files’) has revealed for the first time how the big banks – including HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank AG, Standard Chartered and Bank of New York Mellon Corp – moved trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists gangs and drug lords. The interface between high finance, sleazy politics and criminality has never been more exposed.

FinCEN stands for the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The FinCEN Files also expose how US intelligence sees the UK as a “higher risk jurisdiction” and show it is awash with Russian cash from unexplained sources.

On Monday BuzzFeed and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (CIJ), released the findings of a global financial investigation involving trillions in banking secrets & corruption on a global scale (see ‘HSBC got busted for moving dirty money’).  The Huffington Post reported:

“The FinCEN Files show trillions in dollars flow freely through major banks, swamping a broken enforcement system. More than 2,000 sensitive banking papers detailing more than two trillion US dollars’ worth of transactions were analysed after being leaked to BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (CIJ), which distributed them to 108 news organisations.”

But describing this as “a broken enforcement system” may be missing the point. This is international capitalism in action. This is how it’s supposed to work. This is how it does work. The #FinCENFiles revelations are jaw-dropping, but they’re not new. Anyone expressing surprise at HSBC being corrupt hasn’t been paying attention.

In a twin release Panorama broadcast Banking Secrets of the Rich and Powerful which also revealed the “£10 million Brexit backer with two names” (watch it here). While the BBC Panorama was great investigative journalism it did frame it as regulatory failure – rather than an exposure of the seamless connections between big banking and criminality.

A lot of this we knew already, but the detail is rich and the level of corruption astonishing.

Lubov Chernukhin and the Scottish Connection

The scandal of Russian money has a foul stench but this is not an issue confined to London. George Galloway, Tommy Sheridan and Alex Salmond all host shows on Russia’s propaganda station RT and two out of the three of them are to stand for election at Holyrood next year, and Ruth Davidson was famously “bought” for £20,000 by Mrs Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to ex-Russian deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin.

Lubov Chernukhin famously successfully bid £160,000 at a previous Black and White Ball to play tennis with Boris Johnson, and has given £1.7m to the Conservative Party since 2012, but the new documents also show her husband was given millions of pounds from a politician facing US sanctions due to his closeness to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

What was previously considered ‘cash for access’ now seems to be operating completely openly as a form of media gossip and light entertainment.

But the ‘left’ or elements of the nationalist movement can’t denounce the billionaires dark money sloshing about the accounts of the Tory party whilst not also denouncing the Russian regime with its appalling domestic human-rights records, its military aggression and its support for President Assad. Tommy Sheridan, George Galloway and Alex Salmond’s association with RT/Sputnik is even more indefensible in light of the revelations about Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei Skripal and now Alexei Navalny. 

I don’t think its credible to argue that the “BBC is propaganda too” – or that “this is Russophobia” – or to point to Western atrocities and militarism.

This isn’t a zero-sum game.

Criticism of the Russian state doesn’t imply endorsement of the west.

It is possible – in fact it is absolutely necessary – to point to both (and any) human rights abuses, authoritarianism, imperialism, militarism and covert activity and state murder. It is not credible or appropriate for democratic forces in Scotland to align themselves with the Russian state. It may be convenient to assume that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” but this is old and redundant thinking. The assumption that Russia represents a political alternative in a bi-polar world is just reactionary and wrong (and has been for a very ling time). The fact that Russia has different geopolitical interests than Britain, America and NATO doesn’t make it a force to be allied with.

You can’t be representatives articulating a vision for a new Scottish democracy and ally yourselves with forces operating state murder.

 

There are other factors at play here including the funding of the Tory party, the funding coming from Alexander Temerko the former chief of a Russian state arms company, Johnson’s links to Evgeny Lebedev – the Russian owner of London’s Evening Standard newspaper, the role of people like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who’s companies have donated tens of millions of pounds to a highly controversial Israeli settler group accused of displacing Palestinian families from Jerusalem, and the influence of the multi-billionaire and Kremlin insider Len Blavatnik who has created key political and educational institutions in Britain and the US (‘Money Talks: Len Blavatnik And The Council On Foreign Relations’):

“The substantial donation from Blavatnik, who, according to estimates by Forbes, is worth nearly $19 billion, is far from his first financial gift to a prominent Western institution. In 2010, he donated over $90 million to Oxford University to found the Blavatnik School of Government, with an additional donation of approximately $60 million to the Tate Modern, bankrolling the museum’s Blavatnik Building. In the U.S., Blavatnik’s most substantial donation went to Harvard University last year: $200 million to Harvard Medical School, founding the Blavatnik Institute. Those donations are among the reasons CFR refers to Blavatnik on its website as a “distinguished philanthropist.”

It’s worth noting that Chris Deerin was employed as the Director of External Relations at the Blavatnik School of Government. Hilariously Blavatnik donated $50,000 to the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, prompting the founder and director Charles Davidson to resign.

Listing of donations to Conservatives from Mrs Lubov Chernukhin:

 

The $8 Million Dollar Man

The FinCEN files also show an $8 million transaction from a Kremlin ally to Lubov Chermukhin just two months before Brexit vote was flagged as ‘suspicious activity’ by Deutsche Bank officials. Arron Banks has always  insisted there was was “no Russian money, no interference” in the £8m he gave to the unofficial Brexit campaign, but refused to disclose which of his companies had generated the cash.

 

These multiple exposés about corruption and cash for access in British politics are not new, though they are perhaps a new nadir. The scale of the money involved and how it is used to leverage influence and “buy” politicians is extraordinary in its scale and brazenness. As we shape and manifest a new Scottish political space, we must avoid replicating these networks. Media independent of state and corporate influence, publicly owned and controlled banking and finance and political institutions free of dark money and lobbying could and must be the basis of the new Scotland, and all are possible, even emergent, right now.

Comments (43)

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  1. Tom Ultuous says:

    It’s easy to see why they all wanted Brexit. It’s all about escaping the impending EU investigation into tax avoidance and offshore accounts. Britain’s the right place for their money. Where else would they find a populace stupid enough to vote for the facilitators?

  2. Derek Thomson says:

    I do wonder though, if you’ve ever watched (I would doubt it, given your obvious bias) the Alex Salmond show on RT? I don’t often, as it happens, but when I did, it was an interview with Dennis Canavan, very informative and enjoyable, and all about Scotland. There’s an assumption that because it’s RT, it’s about Russia – it’s not. And plus, he’s hardly likely to be given a BBC programme, is he?

  3. Pete Roberts says:

    I totally agree with the main thrust of the article but I don’t think Alex Salmond is spoilt for choice when it comes to media outlets. RT does not impose any restrictions on its columnists like Alex so I really don’t understand how his column can be interpreted as aligning himself with the Russian state, please give me some examples of how he does this. And whatever the shortcomings of the Russian state, we are not fundamentally much different, our politicians and institutions are just better at brainwashing the UK public into believing that we live in some kind of democracy. We have a choice of dictators, hard right and not so hard right, they both serve the same masters and we get to choose our dictators every five years in rigged elections and that’s it.

    And the institutions which perform this brainwashing are our very own state broadcaster the BBC and various billionaire owned print media, all of which abandoned any pretence of impartiality in an absolutely disgraceful self serving years long campaign of vilifying Jeremy Corbyn, a mildly left of centre politician. The Russians would give their eye teeth for a mind control operation like we have in the UK. As for state murder, we have been doing that for centuries, it’s now called Austerity, and they are destroying the NHS as a public service which is going to make things even worse.

    I am sure that Alex would much rather not be associated with RT and the likes of Galloway and Sheridan, but until we actually have “Media independent of state and corporate influence” which we do NOT at the moment, then he’s not going to get a look-in. So should he just shut up and go away because he can’t find an ideologically pure media outlet? Have you offered him a regular column?

  4. Axel P Kulit says:

    This has been known for years but the media did not cover it. Private Eye has been exposing fraud and corruption for decades, but not linking it to the operation of Capitalism. David Guyatt has exposed a lot in the last 30+ years on http://www.deepblacklies.co.uk/

    I have seen a lot of articles on this theme in Nexus Magazine in the last 20 years but this is the first time I see it threatening to go mainstream. I suspect the pandemic and lockdown will stop this being forgotten quite as quickly as normal by the public since they have more time on their hands.

    The question in my mind is how this was covered up and then normalised.

    We seem to have reached a point where banks have ditched ethics and morality in search of profit. This is what I would expect from a Capitalist corporation: the pursuit of money tends to obliterate all else.

    I am wondering how a corporation staffed by basically honest people can end up doing all sorts of criminal and unethical things. I can almost see how it might happen but I am not sure.

    Has (corporate) capitalism been hijacked by Big Money?

    1. Michael says:

      High jacked by cynically self serving psychopath’s. Highly hierarchical and compartmentalised organisations are the perfect vehicles to high jack.

      If anyone had been looking at the data seeping out and theorising about these conspiracy of networks and activity they would must likely have been labelled and dismissed as conspiracy theorists… how very handy for the gangersters… erm, I mean bankers and political elites!

  5. Daniel Raphael says:

    Outstanding as usual, Michael. As with your other, recent analyses of the routine corruption euphemistically called “the marketplace,” I have tweeted your article along–using part of one of those “pregnant paragraphs” of yours that I alluded to on a prior occasion–to my usual band of suspects. Keep on stoking the fires of critical outrage–it’s probably the best counterfire we have available, in this world so full of literal fire and rhetorical smoke.

  6. James Mills says:

    Corruption in the Banking system – who’d have thought it , eh ? Corruption in the Conservative Party , really ?

    There was a time , many years ago when I was young , that such revelations would have resulted in a scandal that would have seen heads roll , both in the corporate world and the political world .

    Sadly , those days have gone .

    This present Tory gang are openly awarding many millions of public money to an array of dubious people/businesses for services/goods that are patently not being provided – yet there appear to be no consequences . When the money runs out they will depart to their feathered ( off shore ) nests and those of their co-conspirators leaving us , the mugs who pay our taxes , to pick up the shattered pieces of a bankrupt economy .

  7. John says:

    “This is international capitalism in action. This is how it’s supposed to work.“

    Very true. Watch ‘Capitalism in the 21st century’. Globally, the investment practice of the rich, no matter where they’re domiciled, is to invest in new buildings like offices, campus buildings etc as the bedrock of their portfolio.

  8. J Galt says:

    You mention “revelations” about Alexei Navalny, Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvenenko. What are these “revelations”?

    1. Michael says:

      Indeed, their is no material evidence, that I’m to aware of, to support the claims made in the western MSM and parroted here. Their are highly politicised statements and claims, but all the curcimstancial evidence points to western operations on both counts.

      It would be unthinkable to jeopardise Nordstream2 by trying (and failing!) to eliminate someone who is for all intents and purposes, of zero existential threat to Putin’s regime.

      I’d love to see the evidence that suggests otherwise?

      1. J Galt says:

        Well if they are all the work of the Russian Federation Government it would certainly suggest that quality controls at the GRU and/or FSB RF have sadly gone downhill since Litvenenko.

        To foul up a “deadly” Novichok poisoning once might be thought to be unfortunate, but twice?

      2. Sorry Michael – your claim is that western intelligence poisoned Alexei Navalny, Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvenenko, is that right?

        I’d love to see the ‘material evidence’ for such a claim.

        1. Michael says:

          Hi Mike, if you pathology disables you from a actually reading what I have written, and forces you to read something different and then fit you response to that and your pathologising of me, then I don’t really know how any fruitful discussion can come of this?

          But, by way of an answer, do you understand that the whole foundation of security services activity is plausible deniability? Do you get that? Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that you will find any material evidence either way. However, as with all criminal investigation, circumstantial evidence is accepted as a reasonable basis (and sometimes more important than material evidence which can be fabricated and mishandled) to form a judgment with a reasonable degree of certainty.

          So back to my original comment… what evidence (material or otherwise) have you been presented with by the MSM (or other source/s) that persuade you that it was a blundered operation instigated by, or for, Putin? An operation that was obviously going to be used to severally damage Russia’s strategic interests (Nordstrea2!). I think I have already outlined the case regarding how absolutely aligned with certain UK and US interested are both operation!

          1. Sorry – I’m trying to keep up.

            What are the “the curcimstancial evidence points to western operations on both counts” ?

          2. Michael says:

            “Sorry – I’m trying to keep up.” – I can imaging 🙂

            I note that you parroted the MSM claims but thus far have been unwilling to point to any evidence (even a link to something other than an unsubstantiated claim)! I think the onus is on you at the moment?

          3. Maybe your suggesting as Putin has that Alexei Navalny poisoned himself? Or that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were steeple sight-seers?

        2. Pete Roberts says:

          If the Russians wanted these people dead they would be dead, and given that Novichok has been known for years to be of Russian origin they would have to be really stupid to use it, which they are not. However the UK has been able to copy it for some time, do you really think our corrupt, lying, degenerate politicians are too morally upright to stoop to using this in an attempt to discredit the Russians?

          1. Michael says:

            Again Mike, you are replying to something that I have not said. Re-framing and answering questions with questions are classic avoidance tactics – gas-lighting tactics that abusive spouses are often accused of deploying.

            I’m not an apologist for the Russian regime, but I do think it is worth trying to get to the truth of a story. Likewise, I was not an apologist for Saddam Hussein, but he was not brought to justice for wrongs that he did commit, but was accused of things that he didn’t do that were then used as justification to start an ongoing campaign of western genocide in the Middle East. No matter your feelings about Hussein, I do not think that it was acceptable for the media to parrot state lies then, and I do not think it is acceptable now.

            I simply ask the question: please send me a link to the evidence that you base you judgment on?

  9. MacNaughton says:

    It has never been about “supporting” the Asad regime, just as it was never the case of “supporting” Sadam Hussein, Mike Small.
    It is about, and always should be about, removing the western military presence from the Middle East, from ceasing to foment war there and sowing chaos.
    The Middle East has been turned into a mass graveyard by the UK and by the USA, not by the Russians exactly.
    Did Russian invade Iraq?
    Is Russia screwing Iran with sanctions now, reneging on an international treaty?
    Did Russia bomb Lebanon, and unseat Gadhafi turning Libya into a failed State?
    Why the hypocrisy?
    Why talk about the Assad dictatorship but not about the Saudi dictatorship armed to the teeth by the UK and the USA?
    What about the war in Yemen, furthered by the UK with arms sales?
    It is yet another proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, between Shia and Sunni Muslims, just like the war in Syria was.
    Britain and the USA have been fomenting that war for decades, siding with the Saudis obviously.
    Why talk about dodgy Russian money in London and not about Saudi money in London?
    Somebody close to Putin – highly unlikely to be an order from Vlad himself – poisons Russian dissidents, whereas the Saudis chop up theirs in foreign embassies…

    1. MacNaughton says:

      I mean, the British State treats its own subjects and critics, much better than the Russian State treats its citizens and dissidents, that’s for sure.
      But when it comes to foreign policy, I’m sorry, the UK and the USA have been acting like tyrants in the Middle East for over a century now.
      Like tyrants.
      Bombing civilian populations, toppling regimes they don’t like, arming terrorist States like Saudi Arabia, and defending expansionist Israel a country which has ignored countless international rulings by the UN.
      The big war is coming and it is the annihilation of Iran by the Saudis and the Israelis.
      The war in Yemen is a practice game, a warm up…
      Why is the BBC any better than Russian TV?

      1. Of curse the USA and the UK have been acting like tyrants, not just in the Middle East but across the world. That’s not the point.

        “I don’t think its credible to argue that the “BBC is propaganda too” – or that “this is Russophobia” – or to point to Western atrocities and militarism.

        This isn’t a zero-sum game.

        Criticism of the Russian state doesn’t imply endorsement of the west.

        It is possible – in fact it is absolutely necessary – to point to both (and any) human rights abuses, authoritarianism, imperialism, militarism and covert activity and state murder. It is not credible or appropriate for democratic forces in Scotland to align themselves with the Russian state. It may be convenient to assume that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” but this is old and redundant thinking. The assumption that Russia represents a political alternative in a bi-polar world is just reactionary and wrong (and has been for a very ling time). The fact that Russia has different geopolitical interests than Britain, America and NATO doesn’t make it a force to be allied with.”

        Why is the BBC better than Russian TV?

        Because despite its many many flaws problems political biases and national and regional deficiencies it has spaces and broadcasts and researchers that are sometimes (deeply) critical of the government and the state. Russian TV just doesnt.

    2. “Somebody close to Putin – highly unlikely to be an order from Vlad himself – poisons Russian dissidents, whereas the Saudis chop up theirs in foreign embassies…”

      Well indeed and both are utterly barbaric.
      We would utterly condemn both and any such atrocities. This week and this story was about Russian money and the hypocrisy of sections of the left and the nationalist movement. I dont see why this is difficult?

      1. MacNaughton says:

        What’s “difficult” is that your basic worldview is in line with the mainstream media here in Britain… you just swallow the whole thing hook, line and sinker…
        The war in Syria, Bella, wasn’t a war between valiant Syrian democrats and the tyrant Assad.
        Where did ISIS come from?
        The Islamic State was funded and armed by the Saudis.
        And no one is suggesting that Scotland should align itself with Russia.
        Who is suggesting that?
        You say the BBC is critical of government here.
        When has the BBC ever treated the Scottish independent movement fairly?
        This is the BBC that gave a platform to Nigel Farage for ten years, free?
        This is the same BBC who are suffocating the local print press into oblivion by invading their territory?
        It’s called the British Broadcasting Corporation, why don’t they stick to broadcasting and butt out of written news?
        This is the same BBC who embed with British troops on foreign wars and systematically lie to viewers back home?
        Who have misreported systematically on the Republican movement in Ireland and the miners and anybody basically opposing the British State, anywhere?.
        The BBC is the imperialist, racist and classist organ of the British ruling class, and it always has been.
        The idea that it is any better than the Russians is highly dubious. I don’t watch enough TV to have a considered opinion.
        Neither of them are impartial probably.
        Finally, the Russians were promised that NATO would not continue to expand to the East, and NATO broke that promise.
        At which point, the hardcore Russian nationalist element started to retrench…

        1. “The idea that it is any better than the Russians is highly dubious. I don’t watch enough TV to have a considered opinion.”

          LOLs

          1. MacNaughton says:

            Bella, there are media specialists who will do a study of Russian TV and the BBC and offer a comparative analysis of their content and which is more objective, or more truthful or more critical. I mean, it is something tangible and measurable.
            Maybe there have been studies like that? I don’t know.
            But you mix up Salmond and Sheridan appearing on Russian TV, individual Tory donors, the poisoning of a dissident, and the idea you create is that all of these things are connected – are they? I don’t know – and that there is a threat to British democracy from Russia, when British democracy is obviously past the point of saving anyway when the very government is breaking international law…
            Are the Russians much worse than the British? It depend where you live on the planet.
            Probably, if you live in Iraq, you’ll think the British and Americans are worse…
            I don’t know…but it’s not black and white like you make it out to be…

          2. I dont make it out to be black and white. If you’d like to refute a point of fact I’d be happy to fact check it.

            The reality is that many of the Tory donors I have named are very close to (or in) the heart of the Russian government. This isn’t really disputed.

        2. MacNaughton says:

          Look at this clip of Question Time from last week and tell me the BBC is even watchable these days?

          https://youtu.be/XO-5xFeGu7s

        3. “What’s “difficult” is that your basic worldview is in line with the mainstream media here in Britain… you just swallow the whole thing hook, line and sinker…”

          To be honest that’s ignorant and offensive nonsense. Ive spent over a decade systematically critiquing the state of the British media.

          1. MacNaughton says:

            Well, you’re talking about Russian foreign policy here (official or unofficial, in Britain) and its State broadcaster, and I’m saying that I think British foreign policy has been much, much worse over the last 20 or 30 years than Russian foreign policy without any question – hundreds of thousands of people, millions even, have died from British military adventurism including thousands of British soldiers – and that our State broadcaster probably does more or less what the Russian State broadcaster does, maybe it is slightly more critical of govt as you say, I don’t know.
            The smart thing maybe is to watch Russian TV to get some critical view on the UK and the USA, and British TV to get some critical views on Russia?
            And in any case, to be sceptical of both…
            As for taking offense, that is a bizarre reaction to a critique of your essay…
            I think you seriously downplay the disastrous consequences of British military intervention in the Middle East over the last 20 years…Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Lybia.
            The moral authority Britain once had following is resistance to Hitler has long since been squandered… Britain flouts international law and bombs civilian populations, just like Russian have done in Syria…

          2. “Britain flouts international law and bombs civilian populations, just like Russian have done in Syria …”

            Indeed they do and you’ll have read hundreds of articles by me and others on this site analysing and denouncing British foreign policy and and imperialism over many years.
            I dont think you need me to link to them but can if you want?

            By the way the people on here I am talking about refute the fact that Russia have done any wrong. It is them the article is directed at.

          3. MacNaughton says:

            I don’t think you fully get what I’m trying to argue Bella – and which I couldn’t have argued 20 years ago.
            I’m saying Britain’s standing in the world today is no better than Russia’s standing. For many people around the world, it’s probably a lot lower.
            If that is the case, it amounts to the same thing for Salmond to appear on the BBC as Russia Today.
            They’re both rogue States.
            You accept the UK’s catalogue of crimes against Muslim countries, but that doesn’t seem to enter into your overall computation of Britain’s standing.
            Who is Britain admired by today?
            It’s by not the Europeans. It’s not even by the Democrats in America.
            It’s a basket case, war mongering, aggressive, destabilizing, rogue State…

          4. I don’t argue that Britain has any standing in the. world. Please point me to me arguing that. I don’t.

            What I do argue is that pointing to Russian corruption, human rights abuses, state murder and imperialism is both legitimate and necessary and that to do so does NOT in any way detract from a similar analysis of the many problems with the British state. This is self-evident.

          5. MacNaughton says:

            It’s a waste of time arguing with you Bella.
            You’ve become part of establishment Scotland.
            You’re anti-Salmond, anti Julian Assange, anti Craig Murray….
            I just don’t understand it.
            Why would anybody take a partisan view of the Salmond legal case before it actually went to court as Bella did?
            It’s a legal case, you’re not meant to have an opinion?
            Why would you not be interested in the biggest leak of classified documents of our time, graphically depicting war crimes perpetrated by US soldiers against unarmed civilians in Iraq?
            Why would any progressive person not be outraged by that?
            Why the silence on Julian Assange and the outrage about Russia?
            You’ve become an establishment figure, Mike.
            Give it time and you’ll be a national treasure and Nicola will be recommending you for a knighthood or something…

          6. Oh, we’ve veered wildly off topic and resorting to personal abuse. Interesting.

            It’s hilarious that to be against a gangster state murdering opposition politicians is to be ‘establishment’.

            I’ll repeat: “I don’t argue that Britain has any standing in the. world. Please point me to me arguing that. I don’t. What I do argue is that pointing to Russian corruption, human rights abuses, state murder and imperialism is both legitimate and necessary and that to do so does NOT in any way detract from a similar analysis of the many problems with the British state. This is self-evident.”

          7. MacNaughton says:

            It’s not off topic, I think the main thrust of this article is to take yet another swipe at Salmond.
            And there is no personal abuse in it or at least none intended.
            I don’t understand the loathing of Salmond.
            I don’t understand the determination to sink the man without trace.
            I must be missing something?

          8. It’s wildly off topic and the article is (clearly) about Russian interference, corruption and abuses. I argue that its not a state that progressive radical or democratic forces should ally themselves with.

            None of this should be difficult or controversial.

            I said earlier (quoting yourself): “Britain flouts international law and bombs civilian populations, just like Russian have done in Syria …”

            Indeed they do and you’ll have read hundreds of articles by me and others on this site analysing and denouncing British foreign policy and and imperialism over many years.

            I dont think you need me to link to them but can if you want?

            It seems I’ll have to do that – as you seem to have just forgotten a decade ++ of writing.

            Is that right?

            Okay, I’ll start here. I’ll cite every single fucking article Ive written to refute your nonsense. Ok?

            ***

            This is me in July 2010 in an article called ‘Troops Out’:

            Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.

            – George Orwell

            Afghanistan is little more than a sanitised bloodbath and if Cameron and his Liberals feel this it is still right to be there it doesn’t mean that we have to agree. The Wikileaks denoument of British Foreign Policy and complicity in war crimes and atrocities confirms the facts that we have known for a long time: the British State is irredeemable and we should leave it at the first opportunity.

            As the Scotsman reported: 2British soldiers allegedly shot or bombed Afghan civilians, including women and children, on 21 different occasions, according to the leaked US army archives. At least 26 people were killed and another 20 wounded in the attacks by UK forces. They allegedly include 16 children, three women and a mentally ill man.”

            British foreign policyis an unreformable moral chasm – and the Afghan ‘war’ is the latest expression of its imperial drive. It is no excuse to claim ‘junior partner’ status in America’s wars.

            In 2008 Alex Salmond claimed that Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq was “the most disastrous foreign policy decision of recent times”. In Iraq Scotland (with 8% of the UK population) suffered 11% of the UK war dead. I don’t know the figures but I’d be suprised if they were very different in Afghanistan. We are again following an ancient tradition of disproportionate representation in the British Armed Forces.

            It’s time to leave this imperial force and bring our troops home.

            In 2007 Wikileaks broadcast a secret video showing US air crew falsely claiming to have encountered a firefight in Baghdad and then laughing at the dead after launching an air strike that killed a dozen people, including two Iraqis working for Reuters news agency. The release of the video came shortly after the US military admitted that its special forces attempted to cover up the killings of three Afghan women in a raid in February by digging the bullets out of their bodies.

            This is the Afghan Mai Lai. Assange is our Seymour Hersh with his desktop on his back and working for no media outlet he is the epitome of the new world disorder. The presence of the Task Force 373, extensive use of drones and their application in civil society, mass civilians deaths, unaccountable secret units and regular units ‘off the leash’ – add up to an unquestionable fact – this is a war we should not be fighting and Scottish soldiders should be withdrawn.

            Of course we can’t do this but to raise the question would be to remind people that we are tethered to this war machine and maybe let people question the sanity of this imperial union. Speaking in London, Mr Assange said: “It is up to a court to decide clearly whether something is in the end a crime.

            “We would like to see the revelations that this material gives to be taken seriously, investigated by governments and new policies put in place as a result, if not prosecutions of those people who have committed abuses,” Mr Assange said.

            “It’s important to understand this material does not just reveal abuses. This material describes the past six years of the war.”

            He described the role of WikiLeaks as directly accountable to the “court of public opinion”, with no commercial interests.

  10. Wul says:

    The “Market” was supposed to be a self-regulating, stabilising, beneficial mechanism because each person can “vote” with their dollar or pound for the kind of world they want. No-one would “vote” with their cash for Facism or Authoritarian state control. Free Markets would save us from state-control-gone-mad situations like Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR.

    At least, that was the theory of neo-liberal free-marketeers like Hayek and M.Thatcher.

    All these criminals, oligarchs, billionaires and financial titans now have many multiple million “votes” than the rest of us. They are distorting our world, our democracy our lives. The same way a black hole distorts space-time around it. We need to find ways to take their money away from them, and we need to do it quick.

    1. Axel P Kulit says:

      OR, and this will be hard, let them keep their money but remove the power it brings. I recall reading that in Ancient Imperial China merchants were the richest people but at the bottom of the class ladder and had no political power.

      SO how do we let billionaires keep the money but not the power?

      Ideas, on a postcard to….

  11. w.b. robertson says:

    this site seems to be the only editorial product (in my experience) where the Editor argues with (and at times denigrates) his readers. Unhealthy! Unusual. and Unwise.

    1. Interacting with readers is always a pleasure w.b and a key aspect of new media? Sorry if its different.

      Sometimes people love what they read – sometimes they hate it.

      1. MacNaughton says:

        Bella, I’ll reply here cause there is no room up the page. I know you have condemned British foreign policy here on many occasions. I’m not accusing you of being a closet imperialist.

        I am surprised by your partisan take on the Salmond case.
        I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of Alex Salmond.
        But he is a private citizen and perfectly entitled to work for Russian TV if that is what he wants to do.
        Do you think John Pilger and Noam Chomsky are wrong for collaborating with RT? Or Glen Greenwald and Ed Snowden?
        Who are you to chide Alex Salmond, a private citizen, for having a gig with Russian TV?

        I believe in the rule of law. I believe in governmental transparency which this SNP doesn’t seem to be interested in because it is refusing to cooperate with Enquiry on the Salmond Affair. Again, why that is the case, no one on these pages seems to want to know.

        I am also amazed that the trial of Julian Assange hasn’t been touched by almost anybody really – Craig Murray apart.
        Andrew O’Hagan, who must have made quite a bit of money from his piece on Julian Assange for the LRB (“Ghosting”), and many other media outlets who lined their pockets with the first batch of documents, are far too reticent about what is happening to Assange. They’ve all but washed their hands of him.

        O’Hagan’s piece is just titillating the British establishment. It’s a character assassination of Assange effectively.

        As for Russia, I don’t know enough about it.
        But as far as I can see it is just another one of a long line of States which commits human rights abuses.
        China, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and various other States who are the West’s allies and who get off scot free when they commit atrocities.
        It’s always Russia which is condemned and damned.

        The Saudis may one day turn the weapons the UK sold them on the West.
        I think it’s a matter of time before they turn them on Iran.

        1. MacNaughton says:

          It ought to be remembered that, according to the United Nations, Julian Assange is being illegally detained by the British State and has been for many years now.

          He is a political prisoner of the British State. It’s true he hasn’t been poisoned yet but they have done all they can to break him and it remains to be seen if he will ever be allowed to walk free. He is a writer and a journalist and an Australian citizen. How on there can be any grounds to even consider extraditing him to the USA on charges of treason is beyond my comprehension…

  12. w.b. robertson says:

    and sometimes a reader might just suspect that someone is on an ego trip.

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