‘Double-standards’

When they launch their bombing campaigns the regimes of the West deploy arguments about humanitarian values, about ‘freedom’ and about ‘democracy’. Their enemies are condemned as ‘brutal’ dictators. However; they remain entirely silent if not collusive about the brutalities of their client regimes. And, as we know, today’s favoured client regime frequently becomes tomorrow’s “brutal dictator”. The dictator remains the same. It is the narrative that changes.

At the moment the

A change of tune

This is William Hague today on Syria, discussing the threat posed by some of the hundreds of people from Britain who have gone to fight in Syria soon returning home, radicalised and trained for terrorism.

The longer it goes on the greater these dangers are. That’s why promoting a political solution there is so important.

But. Since the start of this conflict Mr Hague has been precisely not doing that. He has been actively supporting one side in the military conflict. By demanding (contrary to Geneva 1) that Assad step down he gave diplomatic support which encouraged the opposition to believe in a military victory. By focussing purely on the wrongs of Assad and never on the opposition he continually supported the opposition in its belief that a military victory is the solution. He has supplied the opposition with military equipment. (‘Non-lethal’ is a euphemism. If Britain supplies the flak jackets, Jeeps and night vision goggles acting in concert with Saudi Arabia who supplies machine guns then Britain is arming the opposition for war). Britain is almost certainly providing military training and intelligence to the armed opposition. In other words since the start of this conflict Mr Hague’s policies have been precisely to achieve a military victory for the opposition and a toppling of Assad. His policies have massively prolonged this war. These policies have led to enormous suffering for Syrians. They also seem to have created a new domestic terrorist threat.

What is the root of this ‘policy’? It appears that after their abuse of the UN resolutions and their quick intervention in Libya these leaders of our ‘democracies’ thought that a quick military victory would be possible in Syria too. This isn’t a well thought-out sinister plan for world domination. This looks more like greedy, stupid, bungling. In Libya there was the unpleasant sight of France and the UK competing with each other to support the armed opposition (who was opposing the regime they were supporting and selling weapons to a few weeks before) so as to win contracts from them when they got into power. These military interventions for regime change (Iraq, Libya, the attempt in Syria) all lead to chaos and huge suffering for the people in these countries. It doesn’t work.  Look at Libya now. A mess. Look at Iraq. The project has failed in Afghanistan too. The idea that you can bomb your way to a ‘prosperous democracy’ is foolish. One may wonder why they keep repeating the same mistake. Part of the answer must be that while they don’t get the ‘outcome’ they tell the people they are aiming for, and which no doubt they convince themselves they are aiming for, they and their corporate buddies, are still making a killing out of it all. Even when they fail to achieve the stated objectives all these conflicts are fantastic for the arms industry, for all sorts of firms who contract to the armies, for the aid industry, for the oil businesses. They present endless new opportunities to launder the tax dollars of Western tax-payers to corporate profits. They sustain the unstable and chaotic system of Western capitalism for a while longer.

It leaves people like Mr Hague making silent volte faces. But the Western media by and large won’t so much as raise a murmur. They are completely on-side with the project. For example for a while Reuters included the following text in almost every story they ran on Syria:

It began in March 2011 when the government tried to crush pro-democracy protests and eventually became a full-scale war.

A line which was clearly intended to support the political narrative of ‘nasty Assad crushing a democracy movement’ and thus support Western intervention. They’ve dropped it now. Probably because a military intervention is no longer on the cards.

So. The Western, capitalist, war-machine blunders on. For how much longer?

Stop organising terrorism

In response to the attacks in Volgograd David Cameron has “tweeted” that:

I’m shocked and saddened by the Volgograd attacks. I’ve written to President Putin to say the UK will help Russia in whatever way we can.

Whatever the circumstances they never miss the populist and emotive PR tweet do they?

The main point though is that there are plenty of ways that David Cameron and his allies could help. Here are some ideas:

  • Stop giving diplomatic and military support to one faction in the Syrian civil war. This hasn’t led to a ‘victory’ for the West’s favoured candidates to rule Syria. It has though prolonged the war and the longer it is prolonged the more international jihadist groups flourish there.
  • Stop abusing UN resolutions. Respect international norms. Don’t break any more UN resolutions. As you abused the resolutions on Libya.
  • Don’t collaborate with other parties such as the French who supplied the ‘rebels’ in Libya with weapons

Ah the irony…

Following a “Friends of Syria” meeting the war-criminal Hague has said:

We are clear that Syrian President Assad has no role in a peaceful and democratic Syria

The irony of a British Foreign Secretary determining in advance of any kind of electoral process who can and can’t have a role in a sovereign foreign country while claiming to be promoting democracy in that country, appears to be lost on the war-criminal William Hague. On the other hand, it is revealing about what they mean when they talk about promoting democracy around the globe.

The second irony is of course “Friends of Syria”. The group includes those countries who are spewing in arms, fuelling a violent civil war, causing untold suffering and countless refugees. Not really all that friendly. Reliable and independent estimates at the start of the conflict were that about 40% of the Syrian population supported Assad.

Criminalising the Population

Increasingly these days government agencies are taking the most efficient approach to policing the population. It turns out that the most efficient approach is to assume that everyone is guilty, to treat everyone like a criminal.

Possibly one reason for this is that this is the most cost-efficient way of policing a population. For example; (and speed cameras provide a very good example of this kind of mass disciplinary system) consider two police forces. Police force A sets out to catch people who knowingly speed, who are a danger to others. These criminals are savvy about speed cameras. To catch them therefore takes an intensive operation involving multiple police cars. In one morning Police force A nets 10 of these criminals. Police force B on the other hand realises that it is a numbers game. They set up a single camera in a spot where it is easy to make a mistake (typically they find a stretch of road with a 30 mph limit but with no buildings – the sort of road where there may well be a good reason for the speed limit but where it is also possible to make a genuine mistake). Police force B captures 50 people in the morning for a fraction of the cost of the operation conducted by Police force A. In the New Years Honours lists it is the Chief Constable of Police force B who is honoured.

Examples abound. One of the most notorious examples of this kind of dragnet policing is the BBC’s campaign of sending intimidating