Newman sets out to explain why a revolution occurred in France, but not England, using a multidisciplinary methodology. She investigates the origins of the French Revolution using demographic patterns, land-tenure and inheritance systems and comparative research.
In this extraordinary interview, revealing more political abuse of the British legal system, Chris Hedges talks to Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was removed from his post after he made public the widespread use of torture by the Uzbek government and the CIA.
Murray has since become one of Britain’s most important human rights campaigners, a fierce advocate for Julian Assange and a supporter of Scottish independence. His coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges, saw him charged with contempt of court and sentenced to eight months in prison. The very dubious sentence, which upends most legal norms, was delivered, his supporters argue, to prevent him from testifying as a witness in the Spanish criminal case against UC Global Director David Morales. The company founder is being prosecuted for allegedly installing a surveillance system in the Ecuadorean Embassy when Julian Assange found refuge, that was used to record the privileged communications between Assange and his lawyers. Morales is alleged to have carried out this surveillance for the CIA.
The original title of this interview of Craig Murray by Chris Hedges on 27 June 2021 was, "On Contact: Judicial lynching." The original URL is https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/527602-craig-murray-judicial-lynching/ Below we have reproduced the videoed interview and the transcript.
YouTube channel: On Contact
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Chris Hedges: Welcome to On Contact. Today, we discuss the judicial lynching of the human rights, activist Craig Murray.
Craig Murray: When I became a whistleblower, they were very keen to put me in prison but that--they couldn’t find a way of doing it without the obstacle of a jury. I think they finally--the state--the establishment has finally found a way to imprison me without a jury. There’s also the fact that what this is about is that there’s a split in the independence group. And the reason, they were trying to frame Alex Salmond and I should be totally blamed. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was an attempt to fit up Alex Salmond on false charges orchestrated by those currently in charge of his own party, particularly orchestrated by the current First Minister of Scotland. And that this attempt to frame him was foiled by the jury. The jury saw through it. And the reason for this, the split in the Scottish National Movement was behind this is that Alex Salmond and I and others believe that the movement has been hijacked by people who have no intention of actually obtaining Scottish independence.
CH: Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan was removed from his post after he made public the widespread use of torture by the Uzbek government and the CIA. He has since become one of Britain’s most important human rights campaigners, a fierce advocate for Julian Assange, and a supporter of Scottish independence. His coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges, saw him charged with contempt of court and sentenced to eight months in prison. The very dubious sentence, which upends most legal norms, was delivered, his supporters argue, to prevent him from testifying as a witness in the Spanish criminal case against UC Global Director David Morales who is being prosecuted for allegedly installing a surveillance system in the Ecuadorian Embassy when Julian Assange found refuge there, that was used to record the privileged communications between Assange and his lawyers. Morales is alleged to have carried out this surveillance on behalf of the CIA. Joining me to discuss his case is Craig Murray. So Craig, before we talk about the rather complicated judicial procedures that have been leveled against you--charges that have been leveled against you, let’s talk about UC Global and Julian Assange. You, I think, did probably the best coverage of the trial and have written, you know, very presciently and eloquently about Julian’s case.
CM: Thank you. Yes. UC Global was spying, specifically, on Julian’s defense counsel, and on meetings Julian had in which he was discussing his defense, and the evidence is--and the evidence that’s been given in court is, by former employees of UC Global who have turned whistleblower, that that was at the behest of the CIA. And of course, this is quite extraordinary. The idea that the government which was trying to extradite Julian Assange, was spying on his legally privileged conversations with his counsel to defend that extradition. In any normal course, anywhere, in any Western so-called democracy, that would be enough to have the case dismissed in itself. That hasn’t been the view taken by the London courts. The counsel for the US government claimed that due to Chinese walls, the CIA have never given the Justice Department any of the material which the CIA had obtained on the defense counsel. In which case, why were the CIA specifically instructing UC Global to spy on the defense counsel if they weren’t going to use the material? What other use could the CIA be putting that material to, you know? It’s plainly nonsense. You don’t--you don’t tell a company to spy specifically on somebody’s lawyers if you’re not going to use it in the legal case. So this whole thing is a [INDISTINCT] of lies and evasion, and it all goes back to the--to the CIA and the state department.
CH: So we should be clear that a lot of the stuff is leaked, El Pais, and other newspapers. So we have videos that they took inside. You know, the leaks, this isn’t conjecture. Can you--a lot of this evidence has become public. Can you lay out, you know, what we’ve been able to see, especially in the Spanish press?
CM: Yeah, certainly. The Spanish press has, you know, put out in some detail that the employees have testified that they were ordered specifically to spy on the defense counsel. The video material itself has been leaked to the media. You can find it online, including video material of my own conversations with Julian, because it wasn’t only his legal counsel who were spied upon. And as well as that, you know, it’s been leaked that there were discussions of potentially poisoning and killing Julian Assange. There were discussions on kidnapping him, there were discussions on obtaining material like nappies of his babies, so their DNA could be mapped and the parenthood checked. The--and also, not discussions, what actually happened was not just videoing his lawyers, but following his lawyers away from the embassy, tracking them to their homes, surveilling them more generally. And in fact, there have been burglaries at offices of some of his lawyers, which, so far, evidence hasn’t directly linked to UC Global, but we--it seems almost certainly was.
CH: And for those of us who visited, I visited Julian a couple of times, we had to turn over all of our electronics to the UC Global security system, and we now know, from these leaks, that our information was copied, is that true?
CM: That’s absolutely right. In fact, you know, both you and I are, I think, in a situation where, you know, all the information, as well telephones has been--has been taken and given to the CIA by UC Global.
CH: So let’s talk a little bit about--and this isn’t the first time you’ve run into a confrontation with the CIA as ambassador to Uzbekistan. You exposed the widespread use of torture on detainees held at the behest of the CIA by the Uzbek government. And so you, you know, for many years, have I think been a--safe to say, a target. I know we can talk about what’s happening at this moment, but before we got to this moment, where you’ve been charged with contempt of court and we can talk about, you know, how they’ve kind of twisted legal normalities to get to that verdict, what--since you left the diplomatic service, and then especially during your long campaign, you’re quite close to Julian, have you seen other attempts to essentially criminalize you in any way?
CM: Well, very much so. And it should be said, of course, that the CIA was actively shipping people to Uzbekistan from other countries, in order for them to be tortured, that they were sending people there to be tortured, taking them on the CIA-controlled rendition flights, and one of the things that happened was Tashkent being a small place, I used to actually meet and talk with the people who physically did the renditions with the pilots who flew them in. So, you know, there’s no doubt at all that was happening, and I was able to provide with my testimony as to it happening. At that time, I was threatened repeatedly with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act which carries very long jail terms, and in many ways, it’s the equivalent of the Espionage Act which Julian is now--is now charged. Those didn’t--that didn’t happen in the end, and these that didn’t happen. It was under the Official Secrets Act. In those days, you got a jury trial, and the jury would have had to decide whether to send me to jail or not. And we have hesitance and particularly the late and great whistleblower Clive Ponting who blew the whistle on British publications that deliberately inflamed and led to full warfare in the Malvinas, or Falkland Islands, with the sinking of General Belgrano. He leaked information that the Belgrano was in fact steaming away from the islands at the time we sank it, killing many hundreds of people. He undoubtedly leaked that information and should have been jailed under the Official Secrets Act legally, strictly, but the jury refused to convict him because the jury felt he had done the right thing. And in my case, the government felt that they tried to convict me under the Official Secrets Act. It was extremely likely the jury would refuse to convict even though I was, you know, openly admitting to having leaked the material and to doing my best to whistle-blow on them and stop CIA torture. So that was a difficult period, when I was expecting potentially to be jailed for a long time. I’ve face numerous legal threats, and so like many whistleblowers, I’ve had evidence, and first-hand evidence of government interference every time I tried to get a job [INDISTINCT] with the government going and talking to potential employers and telling them not to employ me. I’ve had a great deal of surveillance and intimidatory surveillance, and those kinds of things. So it’s a climate, that in many ways, I got used to it, and which, to be honest, serious national security whistleblowers have to get used to it, it’s what is going to happen to you if you become a national security whistleblower.
CH: You have stood up for other people who are being persecuted. I mean, you’ve really become quite an important voice within the UK. And you sat in on this trial with Salmond. And just--we have a minute and a half before we have a break, but just lay out what he was being charged with, which you found to be--or you always believe was untrue.
CM: Basically, there were accusations from nine women of sexual assaults, which went at one end of the spectrum from the actual attempted rape, possible attempted rape, to the other end of the spectrum, putting a knee on somebody--a hand on somebody’s knee in a--in a car. But the circumstances of each of the accusations was staged in ways I can’t really detail here. And the--and the women all knew each other, and were all very closely connected to each other, and were--and the majority of them were extremely close allies of the current First Minister of Scotland. And they’re stories were--just didn’t work, they just didn’t match, and ultimately, he was acquitted by the jury. So that’s what made me suspicious of the entire thing when I first heard of it. There were aspects to their stories which just didn’t square with known facts, and that led me to start my investigation.
CH: Great. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Craig Murray. Welcome back to On Contact. We continue our conversation with Craig Murray about his trial, conviction, and appeal. So you sat in on a courtroom. It was a very brief trial, wasn’t it? And I read through twice the--what they’ve charged you with. It’s really quite obscure and not very clear. They essentially blame you for identifying those witnesses but you never named them. Just, you know, explain, you know, how they’ve essentially twisted the legal framework to go after you.
CM: Yeah. No, this is--this is quite extraordinary. I’ve been found in contempt by Jigsaw Identification. And that means not that I named anyone and not that I personally identified anyone but that I gave clues in what I vote, which put together with other information that could be found elsewhere in the public domain might enable or make it lightly in legal terms that somebody could identify someone. There was no evidence at all presented to court anybody had been identified as a result of anything I published. But the idea was that somebody could be identified. And if I can give one example, if a piece of information I’d written in reporting the defense case were added together with another piece of information which six years previously and unbeknown to me had been published on page six of the regional newspaper. And that were added together to a piece of information in a book which I had never read and heard anyone else had ever read either. If you put those three together, that would give you sufficient clues to work out who somebody was, what was--was the argument. Some of them were more direct than that, I mean, some of them saying if you put together what I said with the BBC report, then those two might give you enough clues to work out who somebody was. It’s an extraordinary thing because, of course, it makes it almost impossible for any reporter to know what somebody else knows or know what the BBC are going to report or to say anything at all about the events that happened and who was involved, without the chance that you’re giving a little bit of extra information that may enable somebody to reveal an identity. And it’s extremely--it’s called Jigsaw Identification. That’s what courts formally call it. It’s not called batting statutes. This is a construct the courts have been--have come up with in their history of finding ways to enforce contempt laws. And of course it’s not total--it’s not totally daft. The idea is is that if somebody is a protected witness, you shouldn’t be able to say that they live in such and such streets. They work in such and such profession. They drive a red car. They were born in this town. And then say, “Oh, I didn’t publish for them therefore I’m not guilty.” I mean, you can understand why there is a law that prevents you getting at an identity by publishing clues. It’s not unreasonable to have such a law. It’s just that in this case, they’ve used it at an extreme stretch to say that little bits of information I gave out and gave out solely in the context of reporting the case of the defense could, added together with other things from a wide variety of places, help be a clue that help find an identity.
CH: This sentence of, you know, this prison sentence, what’s the legal basis for it? It, you know, of course there’s no legal basis now to hold Julian in Belmarsh. One hopes this isn’t endemic throughout the UK judicial system but how do they justify the sense? And I think one of the things that struck me when I read through this is that they also said that it didn’t matter what intent was, that even if you had no intent to expose the identities of these women, you still would be found guilty.
CM: Yeah, it’s what they call in the UK and possibly they use the same terminology in the US. It’s what they call an offense of strict liability, that if you do it, even if you do it by accident, you are just as guilty. And possession of narcotics is perhaps an example of the best known offense of strict liability, saying I didn’t know I had them isn’t an excuse. You have them, you have them and you’re going to jail. That was quite extraordinary because, I mean, one thing I will say, I want to make absolutely plain, I have no intent whatsoever to reveal these identities and I do not believe I did reveal them. And I most certainly did not intend to reveal them. The judgment does says there’s no--there’s no requirement for intent in the legislation. Intent doesn’t have to be--has to be pilgrim. They did gratuitously asked--they did gratuitously add that they believed I did have intent despite there having been no evidence whatsoever given of intent. And the hearing only lasted an hour and a half. And it had no evidence for anybody had identified anybody. And no evidence of intent but then the verdict said that I had been deliberately trying to put out names or deliberately trying to identify people. And the prison sentence was because this would cause, you know, potentially serious harm to protect the witnesses or prevent other protected witnesses from coming forward based on no evidential basis whatsoever. Very, very peculiar judgment. And I should say my defense team can’t find any evidence of anyone publishing, anyone from the media, old media or new media, having been jailed for contempt for over 40 years in the UK. People just don’t get jailed for contempt of court. And there are rulings of the European Court of Human Rights to which, you know, just gotten the subject which state unequivocally that normally you shouldn’t be jailing journalists. If a journalist does do something wrong, they or their media organization should be fined. And, but it--you know, to actually jail journalists for writing things is a very serious intrusion upon freedom of speech.
CH: Okay. Let’s just from the broad picture why are they doing this and what do they hope to accomplish?
CM: I think it’s several things coming together. And, of course, there was no jury in my trial. And I sent you the note , when I became a whistleblower, they were very keen to put me in prison but that--they couldn’t find a way of doing it without the obstacle of a jury. I think they finally--the state--the establishment has finally found a way to imprison me without a jury. There’s also the fact that what this is about is that there’s a split in the independence group. And the reason, they were trying to frame Alex Salmond and I should be totally blamed. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was an attempt to fit up Alex Salmond on false charges orchestrated by those currently in charge of his--in party, particularly orchestrated by the current First Minister of Scotland. And that this attempt to frame him was foiled by the jury. The jury saw through it. And the reason for this, the split in the Scottish National Movement was behind this is that Alex Salmond and I and others believe that the movement has been hijacked by people who have no intention of actually obtaining Scottish independence. And what this is about is putting a lid on people like me who support Scottish independence actively and really want Scottish independence shortly. And I should say there are four or five other--the speech prosecutions. Prosecutions for what I would call court crime currently active in Scotland. I’m not the--I’m not the only one. And all of them against independence supporters. In fact, there are five prosecutions and four of them are of people I know, which shows you that it’s a close group being picked upon all for just saying things. So I think the motives are essentially critical.
CH: I think also--I mean, wouldn’t you agree you’ve already become a lightning rod because you are one of the most prominent and vocal defenders of Julian Assange;.
CM: Well, I think that certainly lays behind a lot of it. I mean, my relationship to Julian and my relation to WikiLeaks and my having a platform which is widely read internationally which could expose the shenanigans of the--of the court hearings against Julian. I think that certainly increased the market labor costs, willingness--the state’s willingness to try to shut me up and imprison me, yes. There’s no doubt that’s in play here.
CH: And just to close last 50 seconds, you are--you and your lawyers are appealing this decision, is that where we are?
CM: Yes, we filed our appeal to the Supreme Court today. I have a stay of imprisonment until the 6th of July in order to enable me to appeal to the Supreme Court and that’s what we’re now--we’re now doing.
CH: And if the Supreme Court decides not to hear your appeal, what happens?
CM: At that stage, I’ll go to prison. Though strongly, I will be appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.
CH: Great. Thank you very much. That was Craig Murray on his trial, conviction, and his struggle for appeal over his coverage of the trial of former Scottish Minister Alex Salmond.
The most honest man in Britain today is Julian Assange, while the most dishonest are those who are engaged in his ongoing persecution.
(This article by John Wight was first published at https://www.rt.com/op-ed/461768-assange-extradition-justice-british/ on 13 June 2019.)
The latest instalment in that persecution is a court hearing in London on June 14, where details of the request for his extradition to the US, it is expected, will be revealed for the first time.
The formal request for the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks was made to the UK by US authorities earlier in the week – and with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signing the relevant papers sanctioning it, the final decision on whether Julian Assange’s extradition to the US goes ahead now rests with the courts.
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Extradition order to send Assange to US poses existential threat to all truth seekers – Galloway
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Assange’s poor state of health means that it’s uncertain whether he will be able to attend the hearing in person, or whether instead he will address the court by video link from Belmarsh Prison, where he’s been detained since being arrested and forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London on April 11.
What the start of the extradition proves is that Assange was right all along in claiming political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, on the basis that he was under threat of extradition to the US, and that those who rubbished and ridiculed him for doing so stand exposed as charlatans.
Where we are now is that for daring to publish details of US war crimes and atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention later exposing the corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC in the lead-up to the US presidential election in 2016, Assange is facing the prospect of being sent into the void that is the US justice system – forever.
Or at least as close to forever as possible, given that he is looking at being sent to prison for 175 years on a raft of espionage charges.
In revealing to the world the beast of US hegemony that resides behind the velvet curtains of democracy and human rights, Julian Assange exposed the lie upon which this American Empire (and make no mistake, it is an empire) depends.
It depends on it in order to persuade its supposed beneficiaries – i.e. people living in the West – to continue to suspend disbelief as to the reality of a system they’ve been conditioned to believe is rooted in values that emanate from the human heart rather than from the heart of the machine.
The end result is that in exposing this lie, Assange and WikiLeaks became a bigger threat to the ability of US hegemony to function normally than a million bayonets. As such, it became imperative that he, as the founder and face of WikiLeaks, be destroyed.
Britain’s role in this process couldn’t be any more sordid or shameful. Its legal system and judiciary has effectively been turned into a subsidiary of its US counterpart; its function not to dispense justice but to deliver a man into the arms of injustice.
The fate to befall Assange proves that there’s a world of difference between believing that you live in a free society and behaving as if you do. He is the canary down the coalmine of Western democracy, signalling the warning that its foundations are rotten to the core.
As I said when I spoke at a recent Imperialism On Trial event in London, I will never forget the chill that slid down my spine as I watched him being dragged out of his political asylum in the aforementioned Ecuadorian Embassy in London and hurled into the back of a van. It was a scene you would associate with a fascist state in the 1930s, not a democratic one in 2019.
It was a vision of the future unless people in the West wake up and stand up.
Compounding the injustice involved in the treatment of Julian Assange has been the complicity of a mainstream media which has, without exception, engaged in an unrelenting campaign of demonization, delegitimization, and even dehumanization where he’s concerned.
These people are not journalists, they are ideological foot soldiers. In fact, they’re not even that; they are expensively educated cranks and hacks – so-called progressives, who with a chai latte in one hand and a signed copy of Campbell’s Diaries or Blair’s autobiography in the other, step over homeless people in the street on the way to their hot yoga classes and sushi bars; there to congratulate one another on the latest offering of vacuous tripe served up to the God of yellow journalism.
Compare and contrast the treatment of Julian Assange at the hands of the mainstream media in the UK, and the treatment of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in the Russian media.
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Russian media solidarity for Golunov contrasts with loathsome US/UK press bootlicking over Assange
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Upon what appears to have been Golunov’s unjust arrest and detention by the police in Moscow, the Russian press united in demanding his release. Largely as a result of the media’s stance, which galvanised public opinion in Russia, Golunov’s detention ended in a matter of days. It stands as a pristine example of how a free and independent press functions in holding the authorities to account on behalf of the people.
Today in Britain, in grim contrast, we have a mainstream media that operates more along the lines of holding the people to account on behalf of the powerful; the plight of Julian Assange being a case in point.
From this point on, at every stage of this execrable extradition process, it is British justice on trial, not him. And thus far the verdict tends towards guilty – guilty of being a US vassal; guilty of the violation of Assange’s human rights; guilty of putting truth and justice behind bars and setting untruth and injustice free.
Ultimately, the stakes in this case couldn’t be any more important or higher, and in the last analysis it really is very simple.
Until Julian Assange is free, none of us are.
This little-known documentary contains rare and compelling footage of Greek villages and Greek partisans during World War 2. It also interviews male and female partisans who survived a series of international betrayals. In 1940 Mussolini attacked Greece from its colony of Albania. The attack was repulsed and the Greeks conquered one third of Albania in their counter attacks. At the time, Greece was Britain's only ally against Nazi Germany in Europe. (France Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Luxumbourg had all been conquered.) Four years later, Britain savagely turned on the same heroic Greeks who had resisted the Italians and subsequently fought against their Nazi German-allied occupiers. It was only possible for the British to succeed because the communist ELAS-Partisans trusted the Greek Communist Party (KKE).
After they landed in October 1944, the British pretended to arrest former Greek collaborators and saved them from furious Greek crowds in Athens. The former collaborators were 'imprisoned' in a hotel overlooking the central Athens. During one of the protests by Athenians against the British, the 'arrested' former collaborators opened fire on the Athenian crowds, killing many.
This provoked a ferocious fightback against the British by the ELAS-Partisans. So fierce was their fight that the British were forced to get reinforcements from the Italian front and from Belgium, where they were fighting the German Ardennes offensive. However, the communist Greek KKE, under Stalin's orders, then agreed to completely disarm and return to their homes in the suburbs of Athens and elsewhere. This was under the pretext of recognising the British puppet forces as the legitimate national Greek army.
In the suburbs of Athens many former ELAS fighters became victims of gangs of former collaborators. Many ELAS fighters were imprisoned by the British and their puppets.
In 1946 those ELAS fighters who had fled to the mountains, and many more, who had escaped from Greece, restarted the civil war against the Greek dictatorship. From 1946-1948 the ELAS partisans (who had changed their name to the Democratic Army). With heroism and brilliant leadership, they outfought superior numbers of government forces, with many from the government forces defecting to the Democratic Army. However, the Greek Government started to overcome the Democratic Army, now with the aid of United States military 'advisors' and the CIA, and from the same source, the provision of war planes capable of dropping napalm, a fearsome new weapon of the time. The Democratic Army was further hamstrung by instructions from the KKE leadership to engage in conventional warfare rather than guerilla warfare, thus enabling the government to more effectively use its numerical and logistic superiority against the Democratic Army partisans. The fighting ended in 1949, when the last of the Democratic Army partisans fled across the border into Albania. From Albania, many were granted 'exile' in the Soviet Union.
BREAKING!Medical witness and remarkable documentation of how a false-flag chemical attack was filmed in Douma, and has almost brought about WW3. The Russian Defense Ministry has presented what it says is proof that the reported chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged. It also accused the British government of pressuring the perpetrators to speed up the “provocation.” Originally published at https://www.rt.com/news/424047-russian-mod-syria-statement/. [Two photos derived from video and slight change to introduction this https://candobetter.net version.]
During a briefing on Friday, the ministry showed interviews with two people, who, it said, are medical professionals working in the only hospital operating in Douma, a town near the Syrian capital, Damascus.
In the interviews released to the media, the two men reported how footage was shot of people dousing each other with water and treating children, which was claimed to show the aftermath of the April 7 chemical weapons attack. The patients shown in the video suffered from smoke poisoning and the water was poured on them by their relatives after a false claim that chemical weapons were used, the ministry said.
“Please, notice. These people do not hide their names. These are not some faceless claims on the social media by anonymous activists. They took part in taking that footage,” said ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov.
“The Russian Defense Ministry also has evidence that Britain had a direct involvement in arranging this provocation in Eastern Ghouta,” the general added, referring to the neighborhood of which Douma is part. “We know for certain that between April 3 and April 6 the so-called White Helmets were seriously pressured from London to speed up the provocation that they were preparing.”
According to Konashenkov, the group, which was a primary source of photos and footage of the purported chemical attack, was informed of a large-scale artillery attack on Damascus planned by the Islamist group Army of Islam, which controlled Douma at the time. The White Helmets were ordered to arrange the provocation after retaliatory strikes by the Syrian government forces, which the shelling was certain to lead to, he said.
The UK rejected the accusations, with British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce calling them “grotesque,” “a blatant lie” and “the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russian propaganda machine.”
One of the interviews published by the ministry showed a man who said his name was Halil Ajij, and who said he was a medical student working at Douma’s only operational hospital. This is how he described the origin of the footage:
“On April 8, a bomb hit a building. The upper floors were damaged and a fire broke at the lower floors. Victims of that bombing were brought to us. People from the upper floors had smoke poisoning. We treated them, based on their suffocation."
Ajij said that a man unknown to him came and said there was a chemical attack and panic ensued. “Relatives of the victims started dousing each other with water. Other people, who didn’t seem to have medical training, started administering anti-asthma medicine to children. We didn’t see any patient with symptoms of a chemical weapons poisoning,” he said.
The first photos claiming to show the aftermath of the alleged chemical attack on April 7 were published online on the same day, and featured the bodies of many people, including children, some with foam around their mouths and noses. Footage from the hospital was released on Sunday, with the sources behind it claiming that it had been shot on Saturday.
Konashenkov said Russia hoped that international monitors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is due to investigate the circumstances of the incident, will help establish the truth. He added Eastern Ghouta is currently trying to return to peaceful life after being liberated from militant groups by Syrian government forces. He called on other nations and international organizations to provide humanitarian aid, which is badly needed in the area. Russia is already supplying food, medicine, building materials and other essential supplies to the neighborhood, he said.
Residents of the neighborhood, who previously fled violence, are returning to their homes now that the area is relatively safe, the Russian official said. The latest reports from the ground say about 63,000 people have returned, which is over half of the displaced residents, he added.
The reported chemical weapons attack escalated tensions over Syria, just as Damascus was about to seize full control of Eastern Ghouta.
The US and allies such as the UK and France threatened military action in response to what they claim is an atrocity committed by the Syrian government. Russia insists the incident was staged and said it reserves the right to counter any attack on Syria.
RT spoke about the Russian claims with Lord Alan West, a retired officer of the British Royal Navy. He said he had strong reservations about taking allegations against Damascus at face value, because it didn’t make much military sense.
“It seems to be utterly ludicrous for the military that is in the process of taking over an area to go and do something with chemical weapons, which will draw the wrath of the larger enemy down upon them,” he said. “If I was advising the opponents of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, I would be delighted to kill a few people there. Let’s face it, [the insurgents] don’t care if they kill women and children.”
“I am not willing to accept tweets. We need to see incontrovertible truth about what has happened there and make a decision on that basis,” he added.
Did you know that Great Britain is going down the drain because the citizens want to remain British?
Did you know that the British are inherently racist, jingoistic, bigots, and obnoxious because they don't want to become Pakistanis, Syrians, Africans or some multicultural combination?
Did you know that the British people voted to leave the European Union not because they oppose their loss of sovereignty to a foreign and unelected power in Brussels, but because of their hatred and contempt of foreigners, especially the dark-skinned ones that the EU forces them to accept in unlimited numbers?
If you don't know this, you are not stupid like Brian Cloughley, who lays it out for you in the website strategic-culture.org. Here is the URL for Cloughley's imbecillic article:
Britain Going down the Drain: Racism and Bigotry Are Growing (21/11/16) | Strategic Culture.#fn1" id="fntxt1">
While Cloughley calls the white British racists, last May these racists elected a Muslim, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Can you imagine the Mayor of London, England, is a Muslim named Sadiq Khan? Either the British are not racists or the Pakistanis outnumber Englishmen in London, which might before long be renamed New Islamabad.
Cloughley calls the British people every name in the book and then upbraids them for "the racial abuse" of using words such as "Pakis" and "niggers."
Cloughley, obviously a self-hating Britisher, reports that Brexit (the British people's vote to restore their sovereignty by departing the EU) has caused hate crimes to rise by 41 percent. Why would departing the EU cause a rise in hate crimes?
Perhaps the answer is related to the fact that the use of traditional British words, such as "wog," has been criminalized. "Wog" is a British word that according to the English Oxford Dictionaries means simply "a person who is not white."#fn2" id="fntxt2"> #fn3" id="fntxt3"> Despite this innocent meaning, for a white Britisher to use this word as a description of a not white person or group can result in hate crime charges. What is most peculiar about politically correct speech is that political correctness itself marginalizes non-white people by eliminating the use of words that mean non-white. Political correctness has made it so shameful to be non-white that ordinary words such as negro and wog that mean a non-white person have been turned into slurs. How can non-whites have racial pride when words that mean non-white cannot even be used?
As Cloughley's screed against the British people develops, we see that it is a brief against leaving the EU. As the EU was an OSS (original name of the CIA) initiative, Cloughley, knowingly or unknowingly, is serving as a CIA asset.
Cloughley is at perfect ease calling his fellow British every hateful name, seemingly impervious to the fact that if he were not calling white people names he would be committing hate crimes.
In addition to their loss of sovereignty to an unelected EU commission sitting in a foreign country, what the British people are objecting to is that they have been made second class citizens in their own country. White people in Great Britain have to be very careful about what words they use to describe illegal and legal aliens or they can be charged with "hate crimes" for employing vocabulary formerly used by prime ministers themselves.
Yes, Britain is going down the drain. But not because it is trying to rescue itself at this late date from loss of sovereignty and multicultural hell. Britain is going to hell because, judging by the closeness of the Brexit vote, almost half of the British population have been so brainwashed that they are ashamed to be British.
This article was previously published 28/11/2016 on PaulCraigRoberts.org. It was initially republished only in part here on 28/11/2016, but, now, with the author's kind permission, has been re-published in full.
#fn1" id="fn1">#fntxt1"> ↑ In spite of its publication of this ridiculous article, Strategic Culture also publishes insightful and informative articles about many of the world's current geopolitical conflicts.
#fn2" id="fn2">#fntxt2"> ↑ NOTE (by author, Paul Craig Roberts): I have been reminded from England that WOG stands for Worthy Oriental Gentlemen, a term imposed by British officers on uncouth troops to stop them from using racist names for colonized peoples.
#fn3" id="fn3">#fntxt3"> ↑ (by Candobetter editor): It is some years since I have heard the term 'wog' used, but, in my own experience in Australia, and not in Great Britain, back in the 1960s and 1970's, contrary to what the author has written, 'wog' was considered an offensive and racist term. However, like Paul Craig Roberts, I consider it outrageous that the use of the term should be criminalised.
On 23 June, just prior to the vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union (referred to as 'Brexit'), Paul Craig Roberts (pictured right) put the case for Brexit in a 30 minute interview with Richie Allen (pictured left).
The interview is embedded below as a YouTube video. This 30 minute interview, provides clear, compelling arguments as to why it is urgently necessary for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, not only to preserve its national sovereignty, but to prevent the war against Russia planned by the rulers of the United States. In the interview Paul Craig Roberts also confronts, and thoroughly demolishes, claims by those arguing for Britain to remain in the European Union, that those advocating Brexit are racist and xenophobic.
He puts clearly and succinctly the arguments that everybody has the right to control the numbers of people entering their community. It is not unreasonable for a community to object to large numbers of people from a different culture suddenly moving into their midst.
Paul Craig Roberts argues that while the British and other Europeans are right to object to as sudden high influx of refugees and immigrants, they should remember that these people are fleeing their own countries because of wars that the rulers of Europe and Britain have inflicted upon their countries.
Paul Craig Roberts "NATO Wants Britain In the European Union For War with Russia. Vote LEAVE Today!"
Afshin Rattansi goes underground with the world's most wanted publisher - the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. He has just co-authored a book - the WikiLeaks Files, and it paints a picture of systemic US torture and killing as well as the destruction of the lives and livelihoods of billions of people right around the world.
Immigration policy in Britain continues to reveal depths of incompetence, as Europe is under increasing pressure from illegal immigration. Government claims that they are tackling the issues will do little to reassure a worried public.
Migration has enriched many societies, but immigration and the growing cost to communities of accommodating large-scale inflows of people, in a now crowded world, raises many challenging questions. This is not a left or right issue or racist. It is about social and environmental sustainability.
Over 22,000 illegal immigrants have arrived in southern Italy alone in the first three months of 2014. Many more have entered Greece and Spain. Well over 100,000 African immigrants landed in the Spanish Canary Islands trying to gain access to the EU in the last few years. The EU and the media attempt to cloud the picture by calling them ‘irregular’ migrants and ‘undocumented workers’, but the growing consequences of these pressures will have profound impacts.
In 2010 the European Union's population topped half a billion. Of the 1.4 million growth from the previous year, 900,000 resulted from legal immigration alone into the EU. according to Eurostat in July 2010.
The number of foreign nationals given UK passports has soared. By 2050 the Government Actuary’s Department estimates the UK’s population could rise to 90 million, 70 per cent of this due to inward migration - enough to fill a major conurbation the size of Birmingham every five years in what is already the most densely populated country in Europe. Add to this, illegal immigration.
We now face a massive increase in population as our economy is struggling. Is this a sustainable policy supported by the environmental lobby? Is this a future we would vote for? We need to know but are still not being asked.
Displaying a mixture of complacency and incompetence the UK Government first lost control of the immigration and asylum system and then tried to spin the idea that large-scale immigration was vital to our economic interests. Growing evidence has shown this to be profoundly misleading.
What matters, not least to those in already vulnerable communities, is how immigration increases the number of people who are entitled to claim on the economy and the huge impact on infrastructure, schools, health, housing and the environment. The fact that the extra population cancels out any real benefit to the resident population was repeatedly denied until exposed by an investigation published in April 2008 by the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords.
In the last five years, with high unemployment in some member countries, net migration from the whole of the EU rose to about 36 per cent of total net migration into the UK, says MigrationWatch, so nearly two-thirds is still from outside the EU. The eurosceptic press ignores this. But there is much Europe could do.
Illegal immigration pressure builds in Europe
Instability in North African countries has seen a big jump in illegals trying to get into Europe. National authorities in the EU apprehend more than 500,000 illegal migrants annually. In addition, there were 335,895 asylum claims in 2012, according to the EU Home Affairs Directorate.
Five amnesties have taken place in Italy since 1986, involving more than two million immigrants; four in Greece, four in Portugal since 1992 and three in Spain. These amnesties confirm that such strategies do not solve the long-term challenge of dealing with illegal migration.
Immigration has also had a major impact on Sweden and Norway, with their generous policies to would-be immigrants. Of nine million Swedes, roughly 1,080,000 are now foreign-born with around 900,000 children of immigrants. The city of Malmö’s population is almost 40 percent foreign, with high unemployment, social-welfare dependency and crime. Now the government wants to spread the burden, pushing other EU countries to take their share of this Swedish generosity.
Illegal migration into the EU from high-fertility countries that do not provide enough opportunities for their people presents a huge challenge. Lobby groups like the Refugee Council demand that Europe should just roll over and accommodate these continual pressures. Merely, negotiating how many each EU country should take.
Do the media and politicians seriously think that Europe can take in the populations of sub-Saharan Africa and beyond? When will the line be drawn? Most developed countries are already unsustainable in terms of resource use and the environment.
Using conflict situations to override border controls will only worsen this trend. This is a legitimate concern for millions of people, whatever their colour and background.
Once refugees and illegals are given leave to remain, most apply for citizenship and few go back to their country of origin. This can’t go on.
A global people-trafficking industry is running rings around the EU’s ‘human rights’ approach. The EU needs to send a clear message that illegals landing in Europe will simply be sent back to their county of origin within days, not be accommodated and then allowed to move around Europe.
Part of the problem is that EU countries don’t have repatriation agreements with many sender countries, but this could be remedied quite simply, as just about all the sender countries in Africa and many in Asia are recipients of generous Western aid. We need to tell them sign the agreement or aid will not be forthcoming.
Today, only Syria currently has an acute refugee crisis, but even here there is no need to give often large families permanent access to host countries, with follow up ‘family reunion’ leading to chain migration. They could simply be given temporary leave to remain while the situation settled and aid should primarily be targeted cost-benefit wise on refugee camps in neighboring countries
A bigger picture
Some people applaud Australia’s immigration system. They fail to say that Australia is letting in more immigrants each year than the country’s total annual net increase in the resident population. This, in an arid continent with only six per cent of the country suitable as arable land.
Similarly in Canada, where much of the country is too barren to support people, the Government is letting in over 260,000 immigrants a year – over twice the country’s annual net increase in births - and wants it to reach 330,000. Nearly 80 per cent of immigration in Canada is now linked to large-scale family reunion and an asylum backlog rather than primary skilled migration.
In the USA there are believed to be over 12 million illegals in the country and half a million illegal entries into the United States each year. (Pew Hispanic Center).
Ironically, Poland opened its doors to workers from outside the EU in an attempt to ease labour shortages, as it finds itself short of skilled workers because they're flocking to Britain.
Well over a million young people are not in education, work or training in the UK. Yet the Government more than doubled the number of work permits to non-EU immigrants since 1997 - despite the unprecedented influx of migrants from Eastern Europe who do not need permits. British workers wages are being depressed for employer profit, while taxpayers pick up the cost of low-wage welfare payments.
In some London boroughs, which now have immigrant majority populations of over 50 per cent, the proportion of immigrant origin school children is far higher, with potential social implications for increasing alienation and parallel societies, in conflict over cultural values. Official figures show one in every four babies born in Britain in 2009 was to a migrant mother – the rate in England and Wales was one in three.
A report by MigrationWatch (UK) in October 2010 says more than half a million school places will be needed over the next five years to meet future demand. The cost of the 550,000 extra school places will reach £40 billion over the five-year period and rise to £100 billion between now and 2020.
The UK’s Local Government Association warned that “Councils find it difficult to provide services for growing populations that are not recognised by the official statistics and for which they, therefore, receive no financial help” Yet the Government says it is scrapping the 10-year Census to save money.
Even the Conservatives’ pre-2010 election plan to allow 20,000 asylum seekers plus their dependents to come to Britain each year is equivalent to building a town the size of Truro in Cornwall or Godalming in Surrey every year. This is still environmentally unsustainable in a country as densely populated as Britain.
Crime hits us all, not least in vulnerable communities. Research by the International Centre for Prison Studies shows the percentage of foreign nationals in prison in 2012/2013 was 12.8 per cent for England and Wales, 34 per cent in Italy, 31 per cent Spain, 30 per cent Sweden, 44 per cent Belgium, in Austria 49 per cent, Greece 63 per cent and Switzerland 74 per cent - putting huge strain on our prison systems.
These are things we must face in our efforts to tackle existing inequalities in our society, not bury them in the politics of denial. We need more than ‘band aid’ campaigns and must focus real political will on tackling global environmental loss, bloody turf wars and religious feuds, overpopulation and under-employment that leads to poverty and despair.
The safety valve of migration is part of our collective history, but large-scale migration now raises vital social, environmental and economic questions about where the world is going and how we deliver reform and a better life for people wherever they are born. Like most of the key problems of the 21st Century, time to find solutions is running out.
By Brian McGavin, April 2014
In light of the riots in Britain, we are publishing an article based on some correspondence from the "Trotskyist", "socialist" and "revolutionary" UK group, Workers' Liberty, first published in 1995 at http://www.workersliberty.org/node/4900 on 30 September, 2005. The correspondence calls into question, especially now, different attitudes on the likely consequences of high immigration and population growth in Australia and Britain among other countries mentioned. Describing himself as still a socialist internationalist at heart, James Sinnamon writes that, however, "today the ideal of unconditional internationalism is an unachievable pipe dream, and, in fact, dangerous [because] that ideal has been subverted to suit the needs of globalised capitalism."
The correspondence below began as a private exchange in 2005 between James Sinnamon and Martin Thomas, and so its appearance on the Workers' Liberty site came as something of a surprise to James at the time, as he was not asked permission or told it would be used to construct an article. The correspondence actually originated after James spent an evening with Martin Thomas at Thomas's invitation. During that evening they put their respective views about politics which, as the article below, shows, differed quite markedly. This experience caused James to compose and send an e-mail to Martin Thomas to explain more precisely and in greater detail, his differences with Martin Thomas and, among other things, why he felt that continuing high immigration served the needs of capital and was against the democratic and human rights of the receiving countries and international socialism. The published correspondence includes a letter from candobetter site contributor James Sinnamon, who agrees that he had indeed posted that letter to Martin Thomas in 2005. It was published on the Workers' Liberty site during a past stay in Australia by Martin Thomas. Thomas was a qualified teacher and able to teach both in Australia and the UK. During one of those stays in Australia in 2005, Martin Thomas contacted James in order to re-establish his previous contact when from 1984 and 1985 when James had been an active supporter of the Australian group affiliated to Workers' Liberty, then known as "Socialist Fight."
Sinnamon expressed his opinion that open door immigration policies would give rise to dangerously high immigration and population growth. He warned that, whilst benefiting rich globalists, for everyone else, rapid population growth carried high risks of poverty, linked to fuel shortages and the socially unsustainable inflation of housing prices and basic natural resources, like water and land. He argued that this outcome would be environmentally dangerous to survival. Martin Thomas expressed the view that unlimited immigration was an overall good and that if receiving countries did not embrace it, they would be invaded forcibly, under threat of nuclear war, by sending countries like India and China.
A number of other writers responded to the views of James and Martin, and we also include their correspondence below. It all makes interesting reading.
The correspondence below talks about the rights of sovereign nations to defend themselves generally against the ravages of global capitalism, which also deploys high immigration (in open-door policies) as a weapon against democracy. Whilst thus utterly failing to support the right of peoples to self-government and self-determination, phony socialist organisations continue actively to waste the energy of their many young, enthusiastic and trusting supporters by diverting their attention to phony progressive causes.
The correspondence published below throws some light on the attitudes associated with undemocratically high levels of immigration and population growth and the problems it creates for self-government and self-determination, resource depletion and inflation.
For more about the publication, Workers' Liberty, see footnote 
A letter from James Sinnamon and a reply from Workers' Liberty Australia.
Further to last night's conversation. Towards the end I frankly expressed my thoughts on what have been taboo subjects within socialist circles, that is, population levels and immigration.
These issues are an aspect of a question which, as I have said, has been avoided by almost the whole socialist movement, that is the finiteness of this planet, and how we can hope to create a stable basis for a sustainable society within the constraints of the physical limits of our planet, given the unprecedented population levels of well over 6 billion.
If we can't achieve this, our future may be too awful to contemplate.
As I said in less than two hundred years, less than a blink of an eye in human history, we have dug up and burnt off energy stored in carbon, which took tens or hundreds of millions of years for the earth to accumulate thorough biological and geological process (I wrote this in a letter which was printed in March this year in The Canberra Times and The Australian)
This, to me, is an astonishing and frightening fact.
We have increased global populations because we have squandered what should have been treated as a priceless resource for this and future generations.
In our discussion, it didn't strike me that you fully appreciated this fact and all the implications of all of this.
In Australia, we are close to exceeding the carrying capacity of this country if we have not already. As just one example, planners don't know how either NSW or South East Queensland can establish sufficient supplies of water to satisfy the needs of the current population, let alone the additional 1,000,000 (that will be allowed to move here by 2025 in order to satisfy the needs of the property speculation 'industry').
Many informed people believe that the current population levels are already well in excess of this country's carrying capacity, especially if you take into account that our economy largely depends on non renewable petroleum. Coal may be a possible alternative, but an expensive and dirty one, which is also finite. In any case it may increase CO2 levels in our atmosphere to unacceptable levels. Even if Peter Beattie's recent claim that we have 300 years worth of coal left in Australia is true, that is still a blink of an eyelid in terms of overall human history.
No socialist current has ever given a clear answer as to what it thinks the population levels of this country should be and hence what the levels of immigration should be. Your response last night is that firstly you still supported open door immigration and that you didn't believe that that many people would want to come here anyway, so it is not really an issue.
With one billion on the planet in dire poverty living in shanty towns on the outskirts of cities (see New Left Review Article, "Planet of Slums") I would suggest that the potential for Australia's current population to be easily overwhelmed many times over if an open door policy were to be adopted is beyond doubt.
Which one of these one billion people, do you believe would not come to a county like Australia if given an opportunity?
And let's not forget 100,000 largely wealthy business migrants who are already coming here every year. The surest way to gain resident status these days is to have money to buy a house and thereby to add to the already obscene levels of housing hyper-inflation.
Of course I am not being judgmental about these people. They are only doing what I would do, if I were in their shoes#fn_1" id="text_1">, and I dare say if they were in my shoes they would in all probability adopt the same attitude that I have adopted.
Already the increased levels of population have clearly had detrimental effects for the existing population : housing costs gone through the roof (property speculators are open about this, if your read their literature), the quality of life largely destroyed in cities like Sydney, water supply crises as I mentioned earlier. These are just not even broached in any socialist literature that I have read.
In my heart I am still a socialist internationalist, but today the ideal of unconditional internationalism is an unachievable pipe dream, and, in fact, dangerous. As a friend put it so well a few months ago, that ideal has been subverted to suite the needs of globalised capitalism.
For the past generation, the whole of the left has had no answer to the developments that have not only harmed the interests of ordinary Australians, but have threatened our sustainability: off-shoring of jobs to countries like China and India, privatisation, deregulation, lifting of limitations on foreign investment, allowing foreigners to buy and speculate in Australian property, with disastrous consequences for ordinary home buyers. To have raised objections to these developments would incur accusations of nationalism and sometimes, even racism.
We need a serious answer to this and that answer must be a pragmatic compromise between socialist internationalism and the recognition of our own collective interests as a national community.
I hope that you all will all come to understand the sense of what I am saying, and quickly ditch the cornucopian baggage carried by the socialist movement up to now. If you do so, then I think there is a hope that you will be able to contribute positively to the future political development of this country, and even the rest of the world, if not, I believe that you will continue to be regarded as irrelevant by all but a small minority of our population.
If you cannot do so right away, please at least start to acknowledge these questions in your newspaper and try to refute what I have said.
Reply from Martin Thomas
You raise two issues: the threat to human life on the planet Earth from the exhaustion of fossil fuels, and the threat to conditions in Australia from increased openness to the world, including immigration. You draw two conclusions: global reshaping of human society to reduce the use of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels; and immigration controls (tighter than the present ones, if I have understood you right) for Australia.
I think your two lines of thought contradict each other. On an ultra-optimistic scenario such as some neo-liberals project, it would make some macabre sense to support tight immigration controls. They could serve as a way to avoid disruption and "jumping the gun" - to keep order in a queue from which everyone will eventually reach a Californian middle-class lifestyle.
If rural China, Bangladesh, and Nigeria will all in the due course of industrial development reach that Californian level, then their people, or at least enough of them, may be willing to wait.
But if humanity faces ecological catastrophe, then it makes no sense to argue that the people of the regions which will "go under" first will lie down to die quietly while the people of global "gated communities"
continue to live in plenty.
China and India, after all, have nuclear weapons. If in a few decades' time, they face mass starvation, while Australians continue to live comfortably behind a big wall inscribed "Yellow and brown-skinned people, keep out!", then why would any conceivable Chinese or Indian government not use those nuclear weapons to break down that wall?
Presumably your support for barriers to protect relatively advantaged countries applies generally, not just to Australia. It would apply, for example, in countries with land borders. It would apply in South Africa, for example, where hostility to Nigerian and Mozambican immigrants as a supposed threat to conditions is already widespread among black as well as white South Africans.
But if the prospect is not just for Nigeria and Mozambique lagging behind South Africa, but of human society collapsing - and for sure it would collapse in Mozambique and Nigeria a long while before it collapsed in relatively well-off South Africa - then how would any restrictions imposed by any South African government hold the desperate human tide?
Global catastrophe would not happen through peoples quietly dying off one by one, each dutifully taking its turn. If, in the run-up, the richer countries had been trying to seal themselves off as "gated communities", the first step towards extinction would be world war in which the peoples of the poorer countries sought, quite literally, space to live in.
The greater the risk of global ecological catastrophe, the greater the need for human solidarity and cooperation in dealing with that risk - and the more disastrous a policy of "looking after number one" will be.
I agree that there are grave ecological dangers. More urgent than the threat of fossil fuels being completely exhausted is the threat of disruption through global warming arising from their use; but both threats are real. It is not possible, even if it were desirable, for the whole world population to live in big air-conditioned houses, eat highly processed and packaged food, use clothes dryers and dishwashers, go round in four-wheel drives, take frequent trips by air, etc. - any more than in the 19th century socialists could think that in the future everyone could live in houses with teams of domestic servants.
It is even arguable (I'm not sure about this) that ecological sustainability requires converting more of the population to a vegetarian diet.
But we know that capitalist consumerism is not an unavoidable part of human nature. There have been societies where out-consuming your neighbour is considered foul, not a cause for pride. Many studies have shown that people get happier with increasing material wealth up to a definable point - but that beyond that point, already passed by the Californian middle class, they do not.
In a society of solidarity, people could live in "abundance", on a rule of "to each according to their needs", with comfort and some luxuries - while accepting that some sorts of consumption must be restrained for ecological reasons. But only in a society of solidarity! In a capitalist society, both capital's drive for profit and the consumerist drives instilled in the mass of the population by the workings of commodity fetishism make impossible the development of any such collective responsibility for the sustainability of our society.
You agree in general, I think. You write that some form of socialism is the only sustainable future. But if the ecological problems are global, then, more than ever, this socialism must be global - based on a recognition of a common humanity, and a common human interest in sustaining the Earth's environment - not a socialism of "gated communities".
And, in any case, how can we possibly hope that working classes preoccupied with keeping up the barriers around their relatively favoured patches of the Earth's surface, or wondering how they can possibly jump those barriers to escape their earlier-doomed patches, will ever achieve any form of socialism? If the working classes of the world are turned towards that way of thinking, then there will be no socialism.
I think I have a less catastrophist view of future energy supplies than you do, if only because I have no objection to the development of nuclear power with safeguards of democratic and working-class control. Its risks are far less than those of continued escalating use of fossil fuels, or of leaving a large part of humanity without electricity.
Nuclear fission draws on finite resources, but with a much longer span of availability than fossil fuels. Nuclear fusion - if it can be developed workably, and a prototype nuclear fusion power station is already under construction - can draw on practically infinite resources.
Of course I am also in favour of the development of renewable energy sources - hydroelectric, wind power, tidal power, solar power, etc. At present none of these sources has the portability and the capacity to produce energy round the clock which fossil fuels and nuclear power do.
But I agree that there are real ecological threats. Only, I conclude that to tackle them we need a global working-class solidarity, and moves to raise higher barriers between countries run directly counter to that.
But, you say, open borders are unworkable, even if they might be desirable. Open the borders of Australia and tens or hundreds of millions of paupers would flood here the next day, creating social disaster.
In the first place, such immigration as has been allowed to come to Australia has clearly benefited the people of this country. An argument could be made against that immigration, that it consists of robbing many poorer countries of some of their most educated and energetic people, but for Australia the immigration has plainly been beneficial.
Working as a high school teacher, I can see this every day: the higher proportion of immigrant kids in a school, the better the education, the lower the level of social despondency.
Even where immigration is less selective than in Australia - in Britain, for example - the benefits, both in bringing new productive person-power and in cultural enrichment, are clear.
If there is a level at which immigration becomes unworkably disruptive, we are certainly nowhere near it now.
Would "open borders" bring us there? Well, the USA had open borders up until 1921. A transatlantic boat trip, or a journey across the Rio Grande, was more expensive and difficult than analogous journeys today, but not prohibitive even for very poor people in Europe and Central and South America. Millions of people migrated to the USA, many of them fleeing starvation or extreme poverty in countries like Ireland and Italy. The result was the richest and most dynamic country in the world.
Argentina and Brazil, which also received mass transatlantic migration, also developed - as capitalist economies, to be sure, with all the cruelties and inequalities that implies, but they developed.
They did not collapse.
Today there are "open borders" within the European Union, a population of 460 million. There are still some restrictions on the movement of people from the poorest EU countries in Eastern Europe, but some richer countries, the UK for example, do not apply those restrictions, and in those that do apply them, like Germany, the restrictions are easily evaded.
National income per head in Luxemburg is six times what it is in Latvia, or five and a half times what it is in Poland. Will opening the borders of Luxemburg to all those Latvians and Poles lead to catastrophe? On all the evidence, no. In the UK, we have a lot more Poles in London since Poland joined the EU, but no catastrophe at all.
The USA does not have open borders, but geography makes it practically impossible for it to police its southern border. The US government estimates that the USA has at least seven million illegal immigrants living it. That they are illegal creates a heap of problems. As workers, they have no usable legal rights. But on the evidence, the fact of having seven million more people, doing jobs otherwise hard to fill, benefits their fellow-citizens rather than harming them. If the border were made legally open, rather than just practically hard to police, things would be better.
Israel has had an "open border" for Jews since 1948, and as a consequence its society - a mere 650,000 Jews in 1948 - has received large and unpredictable inflows of Jews from the Arab world in the 1950s and after 1967, and from Russia and Eastern Europe after 1989. On a tiny patch of land with few energy resources and scanty water supplies, its population has been increased to 6.5 million. Israel has had to build desalination plants to extract fresh water from the sea (a technology used more extensively by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states), but it continues to develop.
It would develop much better, to be sure, if it would cease its oppression of the Palestinians, withdraw from the Occupied Territories, and recognise the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own. But its policy of unlimited immigration has not wrecked it.
Germany has "open borders" for anyone who can claim German origins.
In 1945 west Germany had to deal with some 13 million Germans forcibly expelled from Eastern Europe. After 1990 it received a new flood of immigrants from the East. Again, no catastrophe.
According to Nigel Harris, author of a recent book arguing against immigration controls, "Thinking the Unthinkable": "There were up to two hundred econometric studies done in the United States in different localities at different times in order to try to detect whether there was a decline in wages or an increase in unemployment of native workers as a result of a significant inflow of immigrants and in general they could find no trace whatsoever. And that is because the immigrants are moving into the jobs that the native workers won't do..."
In Britain, according to Kenan Malik, "a Home Office study published last year concluded that 'the perception that immigrants take away jobs from the existing population, or that immigrants depress wages of existing workers, do not find confirmation in the analysis of the data'."
Teresa Hayter, in her pamphlet "The Case Against Immigration Controls", pursues the argument:
"There are many who say that the abolition of immigration controls is a desirable goal, one they themselves would like to see achieved, but that it is politically impossible in a world in which there are severe international inequalities. But the argument that, without controls, there would be 'floods' of migrants who would overwhelm the rich countries some of them go to is little more than scaremongering.
"The fact that there are huge international inequalities in material wealth does not mean that, as neo-classical economists might predict, there would be mass movements of people throughout the world until material conditions and wages equalised. It is true that if there were no controls there would probably be more migration, since the dangers and cost of migrating would be less; how much more is impossible to estimate...
"[But] most people require powerful reasons to migrate; in normal circumstances they are reluctant to leave their countries, families and cultures. When free movement was allowed in the European Union, some feared there would be mass migration from the poorer to the richer areas; the migration did not happen, to the chagrin of the proponents of flexible labour markets. The great desire of many who do migrate is to return to their own countries, when they have saved enough money, or if conditions there improve. Immigration controls mean that they are less likely to do so, because they cannot contemplate the struggle of crossing borders again if they find they need to".
History backs up Harris's and Hayter's arguments. And the urgency of global solidarity also means that it is urgent to fight against immigration restrictions.
Submitted by Anonymous on 11 December, 2005 - 16:03.
Martin's argument seems to be that the third world will invade the first world unless there are open borders. He also implies that high rates of immigration in the US and in Germany are overall beneficial and manageable. His opinion is also that Australia's schooling system benefits from a stream of immigrants to that country, which he implies would be depressing without that stream.
He gives no evidence for this opinion. It is merely his opinion apparently that no stable polity can be a happy place and that all communities must be in constant turmoil to be cheerful.
He relies on worker solidarity to engineer a future low consumption economy. He does not mention how workers have been consistently seduced to consume and endebt themselves in the process, thus contributing to the upkeep of their opressors and the upkeep of our tragic gobbling up of fossil fuels and cooking of the planet.
My conclusion is that the benefits from the current situation outweigh the negatives for Martin, and that he has decided that what is true for him must be true for others.
James discloses a quite different point of view, which he came round to after living for a while a Martin perspective.
My view is that human population has only been able to outgrow its dependency on trees and dung for fuel since coal and oil. This overgrowth and outgrowth that we call the Industrial Revolution started in England around 1750 and was the first time that human populations began to grow unsustainably on a very large scale. So far those countries which were able to gain power over fossil fuel resources have been able to feed their vast populations, but most indicators of quality of life and standard of living, industrial rights etc, and rate of endebtedness, have been falling.
The poor have been the losers in the West as in the third world. I do not see any prospect of the third world rising to meet the first world. All I see is an international clique of rich people organising the poor to serve them. In Australia this movement is very pronounced.
I think that the socialist movement, to restore credibility, must support the rights of the poor in Australia, by refusing to support immigration until such time as industrial law protects all workers equally - imported and locally born.
This is not the current outlook.
Martin seems to be suggesting that we should let things get worse and worse and then that the workers will rise up. In the mean-time the capitalists are reconquering the land, purchasing water and power. The workers have less and less access to land, which is the only thing that can ever make them independent of capital.
I don't see business as usual, i.e. economic growth, an employer/employee society with no protection for workers, and high immigration as sustainable or fair. I don't think the revolution will bring about justice either. I think it is too late.
I would like to see the natural world protected as much as possible and permaculture to be taught along with self-sufficiency. The capitalist/labour paradigm seems to be nearly dead in the water. We have the corporate/slave paradigm waiting in the wings.
Let the peasants have their land back.
Submitted by Arthur Bough on 11 December, 2005 - 17:46.
I thought this was an excellent discussion to which I would like to make just a few points. The first point is in relation to earlier emigrations say to the US. I remember asking Sir keith Joseph when he made a visit to my old University how he reconciled his belief in the free market, including the free movement of labour with his support for Immigration Controls. He had no good response to make. However, in response to this point when I have debated with US Libertarians they do have a response which is we have no objection to open borders as a means of free movement of labour, if it is combined with the abolition of welfare payments so that the influx of labour reduces wages to absorb the increased supply of labour, and so that this influx does not just consume more benefits leading to increased taxes etc.
The US, Brazil etc. at the time of the large emigrations not only had a lot of land that could be settled, but also had no welfare payments.
The argument is not really comparable with the situation today where welfare payments, minimum wage agreements etc. are in place.
Consequently, where immigrant workers do come in to do jobs that indigenous workers will not do there is a base put underneath the level to which the wages can fall. To a certain extent this reduces the attraction of bringing in foreign labour for anything other than the most unpopular jobs, or leads to the kind of abuses of illegal immmigration and slavery whereby those employed never appear on the official statistics, and can therefore be employed at whatever wages the gangmasters see fit. The other area where immigration arises, for example with Poles coming to Britain, is where the worker has a specific skill, for example as plumbers, which either is in short supply and normal wages would be significantly higher than the minimum wage, or where the worker can become self employed in which case minimum wage regulations do not apply.
I can envisage conditions in which a socialist society might wish to have immigration controls, just as it would want to have a monopoly of foreign trade. But the aim of such a society would be to work with workers in other countries to raise their standard of living and to try to plan co-operatively the movement of labour along with the planning of other aspects of economic activity. But that is no reason for promoting immigration controls under capitalism. For one thing, it sends out the message that economic problems (or environemntal problems) are caused by immigration rather than capitalism.
As far as global environmental problems are concerned as martin argues the best means of solving this problem (if we are not already too late) is by international workers co-operation and solidarity to develop means by which the living standards of everyone on the planet can be raised to a decent standard by means which do not threaten its very existence. I'm not sure I agree with Martin about nuclear power because every economic study shows that its cost is greater than its benefit, but I do believe that a socialist society would be far less wasteful than capitalism and so energy and resource use would be lower in relation to the quantity of use values produced. Moreover, the use of technology to produce bio mass or other renewable energy close to its point of use (30% of electricity is lost in transmission), the use of individual power generators such as windmills on every home, heat exchangers etc. could vastly reduce energy production requirements, along with the use f fuel cells, clean coal technology etc. mean that energy requirements should be capable of being met. The individual electric cars which run on a track being introduced at Heathrow Airport also seem to me an excellent means of combining the requiremnt for meeting the individual need for flexibility with the public need to reduce resource usage, energy production, and congestion.
I think we have the basis for resolving all the problems of humanity in the 21st century, but capitalism will only employ them if it is profitable to do so. Only a socialist society based on co-operation can begin to introduce the changes necessary, and the basis of that has to be international working class action, not allowing the ruling class to divide us by artifical boundaries.
Submitted by Arthur Bough on 14 December, 2005 - 10:01.
In reference to Martin's points about vegetarian diets, and the possibility of needing to convert people to them for sustainability I read the following today in the Daily Reckoning e-letter, by Dan Denning.
"- "Ninety-five percent of the nitrogenous fertilizers used in America are made out of natural gas," observes
Jim Kunstler in his book, The Long Emergency, "and so it has become indispensable to US agriculture."
- What happens to global agricultural production,
therefore, when natural gas soars to an all-time high, like it did yet again last week? Let's query the experts...
- "A world of 6.4 billion people, on the way to 9
billion or more, needs more protein than the planet's croplands can generate from biologically provided nitrogen. Our species has become as physically dependent on industrially produced nitrogen fertilizer as it is on soil, sunshine, and water," writes Stan Cox, a scientist
at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.
- "Vaclav Smil, distinguished professor at the
University of Manitoba...has demonstrated the global food system's startling degree of dependence in nitrogen
fertilization. Using simple math[s] - the kind you can do in your head if there's no calculator handy — Smil showed that 40 percent of the protein in human bodies, planet-wide, would not exist without the application of
synthetic nitrogen to crops during most of the 20th century."
- "That means that without the use of industrially produced nitrogen fertilizer," he concludes, "about 2.5 billion people out of today's world population of 6.2 billion simply could never have existed."
- Simply stated, therefore, no cheap natural gas, no cheap fertiliser, less food. Or to put it another way,
- For some background, let's talk about protein. "Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids," the Vegetarian Society explains. "There are about 20 different amino acids, eight of which must be present in the diet. These are the essential amino acids. Unlike animal proteins, plant proteins may not
contain all the essential amino acids in the necessary proportions."
- "Protein quality is usually defined according to the amino acid pattern of egg protein, which is regarded as the ideal," the vegetarians continue. "As such, it is not surprising that animal proteins, such as meat, milk and cheese tend to be of a higher protein quality than plant proteins. This is why plant proteins are sometimes referred to as low quality proteins. Many plant proteins are low in one of the essential amino acids. For instance, grains tend to be short of lysine whilst pulses are short of methionine."
- It's clear human beings need protein. We can get it from plants or we can get in from animals. Most of us get it from both. And China, lately, has been getting an awful lot of protein from soybeans, many of which are grown in North and South America. You might say, as Jim Kunstler implies, that China's rise would not have been possible without the oil boom of the 20th century. No natural gas, no soybeans. No soybeans, no extra protein boost for factory workers working longer hours.
- China's soybean imports for the first 9 months of 2004/2005 (October-June) have jumped more than 8%. Obviously, this is good news for soybean producers and exporters, the biggest of whom are in the United States and Latin America. Chinese demand, by itself, provides very solid support for a soybean bull market, even before one considers the supply-limiting impact of rising natural gas prices.
- Following a similar line of thinking, Steve Belmont, Senior Market Strategist for the Rutsen Meier Belmont
Group in Chicago, also suggests a bullish position in the soy market, specifically soy meal. "Asian affluence, bullish seasonal patterns and low prices mean it's time to take a look at the long side of soybean meal," Belmont suggests.
- "Livestock and poultry operations the world over depend heavily on soybean meal as a key source of feed, especially since the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy [Mad Cow Disease] has sharply curtailed the feeding of rendered parts [ground up offal]. Not surprisingly, Chinese consumption of soybean meal has been rising rapidly."
- Soybean production is dependent upon copious amounts of nitrogen fertiliser. Nitrogen fertiliser is made from natural gas - which as we write this, is trading at roughly 3 times the price fifteen months ago.
- "Cheap nitrogen fertilizer fuels the big yields that
have made soybeans and by extension, soybean meal, cheap. Remove the nitrogen fertilizer or make it prohibitively expensive for farmers and soy meal supply could be negatively-affected."
- "Soy meal's portion of protein feed demand has increased markedly since the early 1990s, rising from less than half of global demand in the 1993/1994 growing season to well over two-thirds today. We expect solid demand from the growing nations of Asia and the potential for lower soybean yields due to expensive nitrogen fertilizer to provide soybean meal with long-term support."
- "But that's not the only reason to like soy meal...Similar to soybeans and corn, soybean meal has a seasonal tendency to make important lows in the winter and rally during spring and early summer. Soybean meal is unloved and oversold. Therefore, we believe it may be a good time to pick up some call options."
- The world needs protein as much as it needs oil...and with oil over $60 per barrel, protein is about to become much more expensive."
Further details of Daily Reckoning articles at
Submitted by seanysean on 14 December, 2005 - 20:06.
My diet is vegetarian + fish. I choose this diet because I believe its unfeasable for the world's population to consume large quantities of beaf, pork, lamb, etc. and people are going hungry in the third world so the west can gorge itself on meat. I also don't trust the meat industry to put food safety before profit. Lastly, I couldn't bring myself to slaughter an animal so I'm not comfortable with the idea of eating one.
I'm not sure what is the point of the above post. Is it saying people should be vegetarians? Or is it saying being vegetarian will get more expensive? Furthermore, soya is not the be all and end all of vegetarianism. Guess what! There were vegetarians long before people started eating soya protein.
Submitted by Arthur Bough on 15 December, 2005 - 14:44.
What it is saying in short is that all food is going to get much, much more expensive as a result of diminishing supplies of oil and natural gas, and consequently of nitrogenous fertiliser. As the article argues a considerable amount of agriculture is now dependent upon such fertiliser in order to produce the quantities required. Without that fertiliser, or with the cost of that fertiliser increasing dramatically the cost of agricultural products will rise considerably.
Firstly, plant sources of food will increase in price. Secondly, because animal production is dependent on the production of plant feedstocks the cost of animal protein will rise considerably. Finally, because China has increased its consumption considerably and relies on Soybean production as animal feedstock the cost for the type of animal protein most frequently consumed in China, poultry, will rise considerably. Given China's position as workshop of the world, increasing food costs for China will also have considerable knock on effects for the rest of the world economy.
Submitted by seanysean on 16 December, 2005 - 17:18.
...does this mean people should consider converting to vegetarian/low meat diets? Or has it got nothing to do with that?
I am asking because you say at the start of it you say "In reference to Martin's points about vegetarian diets, and the possibility of needing to convert people to them for sustainability..."
Submitted by Arthur Bough on 16 December, 2005 - 23:33.
Yes, it does mean that. Although as the article says meat protein tends to be of a different type to plant protein, the nutrition obtained from a certain quantity of plant food is greater than that obtained from animals which have had to be fed on plant food in the firt place. To make that clearer a loss of nutrition occurs as a result of feeding plnts to animals and then eating those animals compared to consumin the plants or their equivalents that were fed to the animals.
If everyone had a vegetarian diet, therefore, more nutrrition could be obtained for the same amount of cost, and resource inputs. However, what the article is also pointing out is that whether such a switch occurs or not the cost of food is likely to rise substantially, both in terms of meat, and of plant food for the simple reason that one of the primary input costs - nitrogenous fertiliser - is going to become much more scarce, and its cost is going to rise.
My personal view is that the world could produce a vast quanity of food in excess of what it produces now, if the world's resources were used rationally, even without massive use of fertiliser, or GM plants.
Vast swathes of potential agricultural land are not used in underdeveloped countries, because of the structure of world trade, and the impossibility of small farmers and peasants in these reas epanding production. That is not even taking into consideration the fact that a number of studies has shown that the biggest increases in agricultural output result from simple capital invetsment such as better drainage etc.
But it is not in capitalism's interest to do that. World Trade remains dominated by the interests of the most powerful capitalist nations, and agribusiness is now a powerful force within those countries. High prices go with relatively stable longer term business plans that these businesses need in order to plan investment. They also form the basis of high profits for these businesses. It is not in their interests to introduce competition into this process from potentially lower cost producers in underdeveloped countries, who can utilise extensive rather than intensive farming methods.
Ironically, it is probably not in the interests of consumers in the Wrest either. There is an economic theorem called the cobweb theorem.
It shows that for products such as agricultural products where supply can only respond to price with considerable lags i.e. if the price of potatoes is high now, it will encourage farmers to plant potatoes but those potatoes will only become supply next year, then instead of the price mechanism acting to bring about equilibrium it actually acts to create greater and greater disequilibrium. Prices rise farmers plant that product in great quantities at the expense of other products. Next year the result is a glut of this particular product and shortage of other products. Prices of that product collapse because of the glut, and rise for other products now in hsort supply. The collpase in the price and increase in price of other goods causes farmers to abandon growing the product and switch to others. The following year there is no supply and prices rocket, and so on creating greater and greater disequilibrium.
It is the reason most countries intervened in agriculture, and the reason for the CAP.
 More about the publication, Workers' Liberty: Although the organisation which produces that publication describes itself as a socialist organisation, and says it is against the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which is an expanding military alliance of capitalist governments, it has nonetheless supported NATO's current war against Libya. This amounts to Workers' Liberty supporting the furthering of the interests of capitalism in British and US private profit military industrial complexes. (See "Left-wing" groups and "social movements" support US war against Libya?! of 9 July.) This support for an illegal war against the sovereign nation of Libya, whilst surprising for an organisation that purportedly champions the rights of poor nations against capitalist domination, is only the latest in a line of confusing alliances with global capitalist causes for Workers' Liberty . These include failure to question the false flag terrorist attack of 9/11 in New York which continues to be used to justify the NATO occupation of Afghanistan and indirectly, by sleight-of-hand, the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. Workers' Liberty has also fallen in with the mainstream line which dismisses the achievements of US President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, which include his prevention of global nuclear war on at least three occasions. Workers' Liberty also has consistently failed to seriously discuss important evidence of a conspiracy to murder Kennedy in 1963.
Their overt stance in support for the war against Libya formally distinguishes Workers' Liberty from most other 'socialist' organisations. Informally, however, the silence of other 'socialist' groups on the rights of Libyans, must have an equally devastating effect on the people of Libya. Such a stance utterly fails to support the right of sovereign nations to defend themselves against the war.
#fn_1" id="fn_1">3 [#text_1">back] Having given some more thought to this some years later, I don't necessarily agree that I would necessarily only do what intending immigrants would do if I were in their shoes. Whilst, obviously, I now, in many ways, prefer the more materially affluent (if wasteful and ecologically damaging) lifestyle of the country I live in to the lifestyle of most third world countries in which many intending immigrants live, I would also want to do what I could to help solve the world's ecological, social and economic problems. That would almost certainly be far better served if I were to remain in the third world country in which I lived and do my best to solve the political and ecological problmes of my country and bring about population stability than if I were to migrate to an industrialised nation.
"A Christian nurse who refused to remove a crucifix at work has lost her claim for discrimination after an employment tribunal panel ruled that she should have reached a compromise with her hospital employers."
[The (UK) Sunday Times, 7th April 2010, 'Crucifix ban nurse Shirley Chaplin loses NHS discrimination case'].
The case was first reported back in September 2009 by the (UK) Telegraph newspaper article, Nurse faces the sack for refusing to take off her cross'
UK Equality Act Open to Subjective Interpretation
It is inconsistent that a small neck cross worn by British nurse Shirley Chaplin could be health risk to patients, while bangles worn by Sikh nurses and while headscarves and long sleeves worn by Muslim nurses are not deemed to be a health risk to patients.
One rule for some?
Anti-Christian rules in a traditionally Christian country?
Workplace bias towards non-Christians?
The tribunal's judgment is inconsistent and discriminatory and so misinterprets the principle of equity in the workplace. It makes a mockery of the law. Worse, it contradicts and outlaws traditional British Christian values.
The UK Equality Bill became an Act of Parliament on 8 April 2010. [Easy Read Version].
The UK Equality Act 2010 was introduced to replace outdated, complex and inconsistent anti-discrimination legislation. It is intended to provide a more simplied legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all people in the UK.
The spirit and goals of the UK Equality Act 2010 seem fair and equitable for the most part by encouraging mutual respect, equal treatment and opportunity to people irrespective of gender, race, age, sexual preference, religion, ethnicity, disability, etc.
But is it achieving this?
The Shirley Chaplin case highlights a fundamental oversight in the legislation by permitting subjective interpretation of the Equality Act. The Equality Act's aim of addressing disadvantage and under-representation in British society, especially in the workforce, has to be consistent to be universally accepted across British society.
Shirley's tiny tight neckless cross a patient health risk? What a spurious diversion! What a dangerous social precedent for Britain! What gross injustice! The tribunal's biased decision exposes the failing of the Equality Act and a betrayal of British local tradition.
Are they going to ban church bells across Britain in case it may upsets immigrant Muslims?
The Equality Act rings dangerously like the Neville Chamberlain's Munich Agreement of 1938 which sought appeasement to avoid conflict. But equality is not about appeasement. It is about applying fairness consistently.
Inequality still prevails under the Equality Act. Now the pendulum has swung against the traditional Christian Brits themselves. What next, Sharia Law in the Royal Courts of Justice?
"Positive Action to Increase Diversity" - means just what?
The Equality Act also has a troubling component as well. It prescribes "Using positive action to increase diversity" to the extent that social minority groups should be represented at executive level of government, across the judiciary, in commerce and indeed across all social institutions.
Given Britain's long Parliamentary history, given that mass immigration has only been happening since post WWII, fifteen MPs of differing races is frankly a significant representation. But an MP does not have to be of the same racial background to be capable of representing special interests of migrants of a certain racial subgroup in Britain.
Britons are represented based on the electorate they live in, not according to race.
Would it not be approximating Apartheid to seek parliamentary representation on a racial basis. When immigrants settle in a country they assimilate into the population. Migrants to Britain become British.
In any case, how does Britain compare to the countries where many of these different races originate? I would argue that it fairs incredibly fairly. How many non-indigenous MPs are there for instance in Indian, Pakistan or Bangladesh for instance? The following table lists where most UK immigrants came from in 2001.
And yes, ideally the top university positions should be held 50/50 men/women. But are senior administrative roles the types of jobs most women want? Yes the opportunities should be equal to women as they are to men and this university issue perhaps requires case by case analysis, but what is the end game by putting token females in these roles just to make the statistics comply with some utopian ideal? It would only undermine the rights of women to be treated equally as men on merit.
The problem with this utopian social prescription is that it prioritizes perfect and complete demographic representation irrespective of merit. The Act also fails to clarify the underlying vaues of British society and to provide for clear guidance when minority diversity clashes irreconcilably with the social values of the majority.
Britain is naturally dominated by Britons of Christian Anglo-Saxon origin (those born there with local ancestry). It is therefore logical that most social institutions are dominated by those of Christian Anglo-Saxon origin. Leadership is a factor of many complex attributes of a person particularly the understanding of the culture of an organisation. Cultural fit is a mission critical attribute of a leader.
Migration is changing the demographic makeup and steadily new arrivals are being represented, but social change takes time and must take time. The alternative of rapid social change is to risk social unrest. Britain is one of the few ancient societies that can lay claim to having averted revolution.
Leaders of UK society, indeed any society should be chosen on merit. If all minorities are to be represented on all social institutions, that representation risks being tokenistic.
It is a noble and ethical aim to be nondiscriminatory. It is totalitarian to impose minority interests on the majority.
Perhaps migrants with vastly different values sets to the dominant British values should consider the reciprocal application of such a law in their country of origin. How long will it take for such social equality to apply in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?
The new UK equality legislation is being subjective interpreted to enable some social minorities to be more equal than others.
The legislation needs to go back to the UK's legislation drafting board.