#Blair Aka “Miranda” Rhetoric – Truth and all things in between

What do you really know about Tony Blair? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question?

Is this possible

Tony Blair as “Miranda” or here

‘Blair covering up paedophile scandal?’

brought to my attention via @charlesfrith

Be it far from me to feed you the answer because mine would be a view of the kaleidoscope of a very rich man by the name of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

Copied from Bigraphy.com

Tony Blair Biography

Environmental Activist, Lawyer, Prime Minister (1953–)
Tony Blair was leader of the British Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, and prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.

Synopsis

Tony Blair was born on May 6, 1953 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1994, he became the youngest leader of the Labour Party. In 1997, he was sworn in as prime minister of the United Kingdom. He stepped down as prime minister and left his position as leader of the Labour Party in 2007. In more recent years, he has been in the press for allegedly attempting to keep quiet a phone-hacking scandal.

 

Nafeez Ahmed has this to say

Tony Blair’s Islamist obsession is a smokescreen to defend ‘blood for oil’

Tony Blair speaking at Bloomberg

Tony Blair speaking at Bloomberg in London yesterday. ‘These are the reflections of a hugely experienced politician who has the trust of the Quartet’ says former Labour adviser John McTernan. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Yesterday morning, Tony Blair – former Prime Minister and current Middle East envoy for the UN, US, EU and Russia – delivered one of the most Orwellian speeches of his career at Bloomberg London HQ, on the subject of ‘Why the Middle East matters’:

“When we consider the defining challenges of our time, surely this one should be up there along with the challenge of the environment or economic instability.”

Blair is talking about what he sees as “a radicalised and politicised view of Islam” that “distorts and warps Islam’s true message,” an ideology which is “spreading across the world,” “destabilising communities and even nations,” and “undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation.”

Spearheaded largely from the Middle East, the expansion of Islamist ideology “still represents the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st century.”

Oil and money

But Blair also candidly sets out his four key reasons for elevating the significance of the Middle East to such a level. The first reason is control of oil:

“First and most obviously, it is still where a large part of the world’s energy supplies are generated, and whatever the long term implications of the USA energy revolution, the world’s dependence on the Middle East is not going to disappear any time soon. In any event, it has a determining effect on the price of oil; and thus on the stability and working of the global economy.”

So presumably something needs to be done to ensure our continued access to oil on the most favourable terms possible to ensure the stability of global capitalism.

Blair’s second reason is the region’s proximity to western Europe, just “a short distance from the Levantine coast.” Third, he highlights the centrality of Israel at the “centre of this maelstrom,” and the need to protect its “alliance with the USA, its partnership with leading countries of Europe, and the fact that it is a Western democracy” – no mention here of Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation and legal apartheid. And fourthly, he argues that Islam’s future “will be decided” in the region:

“Underneath the turmoil and revolution of the past years is one very clear and unambiguous struggle: between those with a modern view of the Middle East, one of pluralistic societies and open economies, where the attitudes and patterns of globalisation are embraced; and, on the other side, those who want to impose an ideology born out of a belief that there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy.”

You’re either ‘with us’, or ‘against us’

In other words, for Blair the “essential battle” is between benevolent capitalists – associated by definition with democrats – and mad fundamentalists, whose tyrannical social models stand in the way of the techno-utopia of globalisation; this means ‘us’ in the west “taking a side and sticking with it.”

But Blair’s binary Bushi’ite vision of the world obscures well-documented realities. For instance, although he laments the last half century of “funding, proselytising, organising and promulgating coming out of the Middle East, pushing views of religion that are narrow minded and dangerous,” he simply ignores that throughout this period, such activity blossomed with western acquiescence and support precisely to guarantee access to cheap oil. More recently, as former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke points out, the US has tacitly approved continued Saudi and Gulf state financing of Islamist extremists to weaken Syrian and Iranian influence.

Similarly, when Blair refers to the “terror being inflicted” in north and sub Saharan Africa, such as “Nigeria, Mali Central African Republic, Chad and many others,” he overlooks the fact that our very own security services have turned a blind eye to the Algerian state’s ongoing sponsorship of al-Qaeda affiliated terror networks across the region. The strategic benefit of that gamble, it appears, once again turns out to be protecting access to Algeria’s, and northwest Africa’s, lucrative oil and gas supplies.

Capitalism’s unspoken holocaust

Indeed, the bulk of Blair’s argument is derived from utter fantasy. He says that “the modern world” works through “connectivity”; its “essential nature is pluralist,” favouring “the open-minded.” Modern capitalist economies, he said, “work through creativity and connections.”

While there is certainly much to celebrate in the values, principles and achievements we associate with modernity, Blair’s black and white vision is incapable of acknowledging that the expansion of global capitalism was and remains a deeply violent process.

Wherever one stands ideologically on the benefits or pitfalls of modern capitalism, the expansion of global capital since 1945 was not a wondrous process of economic inevitability. It was tied directly to military interventions in over 70 developing nations designed to create the political conditions conducive to markets that would be ‘open’ to western capital penetration, and thus domination of local resources and labour.

In his landmark book, Intervention and Revolution: The United States in the Third World (1968), the late former State Department official Richard J Barnet observed:

“Even the word ‘communist’ has been applied so liberally and so loosely to revolutionary or radical regimes that any government risks being so characterised if it adopts one or more of the following policies which the State Department finds distasteful: nationalisation of private industry, particularly foreign-owned corporations, radical land reform, autarchic trade policies, acceptance of Soviet or Chinese aid, insistence upon following an anti-American or non-aligned foreign policy, among others.”

The number of people that died in the course of this forcible integration of former colonies across Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East into the orbit of an emerging US-UK dominated global economy, is astonishing.

In his book, Unpeople (2004), British historian Mark Curtis offers a detailed breakdown of the death toll at approximately 10 million – a conservative under-estimate, he qualifies. American economist Dr JW Smith, in his Economic Democracy (2005), argues that globalisation was:

“… responsible for violently killing 12 to 15 million people since WW II and causing the death of hundreds of millions more as their economies were destroyed or those countries were denied the right to restructure to care for their people… that is the record of the Western imperial centers of capital from 1945 to 1990.”

It’s not ‘us’ – it’s ‘Them’

But obfuscating imperial history and its legacy is necessary for Blair to convincingly project an image of a near-perfect “modern world” whose chief problem supposedly boils down to Islamists holding back the region’s growth potential. The reality is that what we face is not a ‘clash of civilisations’ with barbarians out there, but a Crisis of Civilisation that encompasses us all – a global political, economic and ideological system that is breaching its own environmental and natural context.

The turmoil of the Arab Spring, for instance, that Blair wants to reduce to religious rivalry, is actually rooted in the increasing incapacity of regional states to remain stable in the face of mounting challenges of oil depletion, climate-wrought droughts, and widening inequality wrought by neoliberal austerity.

Yes, this crisis is refracted through the lenses of longstanding political repression, inter-religious divisions, and sectarian competition. But Blair’s focus on the latter serves to distract from the deeper, systemic causes of the crisis, beguiled instead by the ever-looming spectre of ‘Them.’

But this is no surprise. In truly Orwellian language, Blair’s prescription for action in the Muslim world entails “supporting” polities which uphold “the principles of religious freedom and open, rule based economies” – which seems to mean any political system capable of underpinning the legal basis for west-friendly capitalism.

Egypt – ‘democracy’ with guns?

For instance, Blair describes the Egyptian coup of July 2013, bringing to power indefinite Army rule under the command of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as “the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation.” While millions of people did indeed take to the streets to protest the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood via President Mohamed Morsi – who whatever the many faults of his regime was at least originally democratically elected and up against overwhelming odds – the regime now in place whose success Blair claims is “massively in our interests” is essentially Hosni Mubarak’s tyranny on steroids.

Compare Blair’s narrative with the facts. He trivialises the ‘new’ Army regime’s crimes, which he concedes we “disagree strongly with – such as the death sentence on the 500,” by emphasising the need to be “sensitive” to the “violent deaths” of “over 400 police officers.” In the process, Blair conveniently overlooks the Army junta’s unprecedented massacre of thousands. As the Economist reports:

“In the months since the coup more than 300 policemen and soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks or clashes with protesters. Egypt’s press has near-unanimously pinned blanket blame on the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government officially declared a terrorist organisation in December. This is despite evidence that the security people were targeted by more radical Islamist groups, and despite the killing of an estimated 3,000 civilians, most of them supporters of Mr Morsi.”

Having declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist” group without an ounce of due process, the regime continues to accelerate its crackdown on anyone who dares to protest the legitimacy of the Army’s reign, which appears less a transitional phase to democracy than a stepping stone to “a hybrid regime that would combine Islamism with militarism” – at least if Sisi’s 2006 US Army War College thesis is anything to go by.

Peacemaker

Blair’s unashamedly tokenistic cheerleading for ‘democracy’-junta-style should come as no surprise. During and since his stint as Prime Minister, under the guise of do-gooding, his diplomatic clout has consistently been wielded in the interests of the fossil fuel industry.

He has, for example, given speeches and presented reports on climate change, including at the Copenhagen summit, focusing on “the need for governments to fund new technology while allowing industries to keep polluting.” Among schemes he advocated were “global carbon-trading” enabling “polluting industries and countries” to “buy the right to emit extra greenhouse gases from those with lower emissions.”

Even as Middle East envoy, his ‘peacemaking’ has included brokering “large business deals in the West Bank and Gaza involving telecoms and gas extraction which stood to benefit corporate clients of JP Morgan” – the giant banking firm that employs him as a “£2m-a-year adviser.” Among these deals was a plan to sell Gaza’s gas to Israel, which could prevent Palestinians from accessing the bulk of the revenue.

Blair’s blood-drenched, oil-soaked speech comes at a time when expert warnings on how business-as-usual will intensify global energy, economic and environmental crises are at an all time high.

So make no mistake – this is not simply about Tony Blair. His speech is about rehabilitating the narrow, powerful interests he represents; a thinly veiled effort to distract public attention from the systemic causes of the Crisis of Civilisation and onto its symptoms, with a view to shore-up the old guard of a dying system through fear-mongering propaganda.

Old habits die hard.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books. Follow him on Twitter @nafeezahmed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t give hate minstrel a platform to dance

I refer to the following:

  • Tragic death of Lee Rigby
  • Guilty of murder – M.Adebolajo & M.Adebowale
  • Anjem Choudray on BBC

Woolwich Soldier Murder Attackers Urged Passersby To Film

Lee Rigby murder: How killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale became ultra-violent radicals

One was set on the path to murder by a deluded belief that 9/11 was a Western conspiracy. The other told of his disgust at watching television in 2003 as Western missiles rained down on Baghdad to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Please read the full article here [Independent]

BBC’s Today programme criticised for giving airtime to radical cleric

Anjem Choudary declined to condemn killers of soldier Lee Rigby during debate on Radio 4 show
Video: Inside the mind of Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo

Anjem Choudary

Anjem Choudary, former leader of the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA

The BBC is under fire for inviting the radical cleric Anjem Choudary on to a Radio 4 Today programme debate about the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby.

The corporation was accused of lending a platform to a “hateful extremist” when it featured Choudary alongside Lord Carlile in a discussion about radicalisation, following the conviction on Thursday of Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.

The debate triggered strong criticism on Twitter, including from the Independent columnist Owen Jones, who said: “Why do media keep giving a platform to Anjem Choudary, a hateful extremist who doesn’t speak for British Muslims, other than to troll us?”

The Jewish Chronicle editor, Stephen Pollard, said: “Really, what is the point of giving an attention-seeking maniac like Choudary the one thing he wants – attention?”

The BBC has faced criticism in the past for inviting Choudary, a former leader of the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun, on to its topical discussion programmes.

Both Adebolajo, 29, and Adebowale, 22, had ties to al-Muhajiroun and were frequently seen at its demonstrations in London. Adebowale was seen at a al-Muhajiroun-linked demonstration outside the US embassy as recently as September 2012.

The Metropolitan police has said it monitors Choudary’s public comments for potential breaches of the law.

When asked by the Today presenter John Humphrys whether he condemned the killings, Choudary said: “I think that to talk about condemnation or to talk about how we feel is not the most important question now, and I’m not going to go down that road. I think that what is important is to learn lessons from what has taken place.

“Whether you agree or disagree with what took place, you cannot predict the actions of one individual among a population of 60 million when the government is clearly at war in Muslim countries. I condemn those who have caused what has taken place on the streets of London, and I believe that the cause of this is David Cameron and his foreign policy.”

Carlile, the government’s former anti-terrorism adviser, told the programme: “Mr Choudary is a demagogue,. He doesn’t like the United Kingdom. He doesn’t believe in democracy. He wouldn’t be allowed to say what he has said in almost any other country in the world, including Muslim countries.

“He is an outrageously bad influence on young Muslims in this country. I think he offends the law-abiding Muslim community that is proud to be British and I think we now need to hear much more from the Muslim community – particularly from young leaders in the Muslim community – about how they condemn his actions.

Imran Awan, a criminologist and expert on terrorism and extremism, said: “My view is that it’s almost like a continuous narrative – I’m not sure if it’s to do with piquing their audience – but I think he fuels everything that is anti-British. In a way many people believe he is one of the key links to radicalising young people and, if he is one of those people, it is giving him the oxygen of publicity he so badly craves.”

Awan, a lecturer at Birmingham City University, said he felt uncomfortable with Choudary using the collective “we” in his interview. “That I found uncomfortable because it implies he’s talking for us, myself as a Muslim and the law-abiding Muslim community. He doesn’t speak for myself or the law-abiding Muslim community.”

He added: “As a Muslim and as a criminologist the whole idea is trying to counter the extremist narrative and you can genuinely do that – but inviting people like him on the show all you do is give him a platform.”

Referring to a separate story about two students who were forced to cover up clothing featuring a cartoon depiction of the prophet Muhammad, the broadcaster Samira Ahmed said on Twitter: “UK’s free speech confusion: LSE apologises over clamping down on T-shirts followed by Anjem Choudary happily stirring thing ups few mins later.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We have given great consideration to our reporting of the Woolwich murder and the subsequent trial, and carried a wide range of views from across the political and religious spectrums. We have a responsibility to both report on the story and try to shed light on why it happened.”

“We believe it is important to reflect the fact that such opinions exist and feel that Choudary’s comments may offer some insight into how this crime came about. His views were robustly challenged by both the presenter, John Humphrys, and by Lord Carlile, the government’s former anti-terrorism adviser.”

Anjem Choudary “The Pantomime Villian”

Excellent article by Imran Awan

Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University

Anjem Choudary

Anjem Choudary (Photo credit: darkroom productions)

As a British Muslim and Criminologist, one of my areas of research, is around British Muslim communities and counter-terrorism related issues. After yesterday’s guilty verdicts, following Woolwich, BBC Radio 4 Today, this morning began their analysis with the pantomime villain, Anjem Choudary. As I gasped with shock and horror at the news, reality began to set in. Choudary is after all a man, who knows how to cause controversy and stir up emotions and feelings of anger and hate. Indeed, Choudary has in the past been invited to appear on the BBC’s Newsnight programme in May when he refused to condemn Lee Rigby’s murder and today continued to espouse that same volatility, hate and animosity. At the time, the faith and communities minister, Baroness Warsi, said she was ‘angry’ that the BBC had given him a forum and had provided a platform for an ‘appalling man who represents nobody’. And I agree with her sentiment.

As a criminologist, we are interested in understanding the causes of crime, whether that be terrorism and the reasons for it. However understanding the causes, does not mean the BBC need to continuously invite Anjem Choudary for his ‘expert’ opinion. Surely, a more productive interview would have been with people who are on the ground and those who understand the nature of extremism and therefore can provide credible solutions in helping prevent another Woolwich happening again. And by that, I do not mean organisations such as Quilliam, who have little confidence from within Muslim communities.

Choudary added this morning that his radical and extreme views did not mean he acted outside of the law. He said: “I’m not inciting people to do anything, otherwise I’m sure I would be sitting behind bars”. But by giving him such a platform it does allow the ‘oxygen’ so many extremists crave. Clearly, there is a fine line between reporting a news story and simply acting as a sound piece for extremists.

The other person on the panel included Lord Carlile the former counter-terrorism legislation reviewer who made the case that Choudary risks exacerbating the conflict of extremism and creating more divisions. I agree that Choudary does risk acting as that individual that some young people may be inclined to follow. However, I was also uncomfortable with the continuous references made that the ‘Muslim community’ should do this and the ‘Muslim community’ should do that narrative. Extremism is a problem for us all and we all need to work together eradicating it and not simply single out one community.

Interestingly, Choudary also at numerous points used the term “we” to continue to make his argument and stated that: “We cannot control the actions of one individual… this is a problem we will continue to face.” I do hope, by this “we” he does not include the vast majority of Muslims who are opposed to everything he stands for. I think the phrase should have been: “You” and not “We” as the vast majority of Muslims do not like those associations made with Choudary.

In a paradoxical way, the media can act as a gatekeeper for helping extremists spread their message to a wider platform. We saw this happen with the BBC fascination with the former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson. The risk is if we continue to provide a platform for people like Choudary and extremists from the EDL all we are doing is providing the mood music by which people can dance too the tunes they set. Terrorism is a disease and we need to find a cure for it, but we need to start this process by engaging with serious people who can make a difference to the counter extremist narrative and not invite the likes of Choudary or organisations such as Quilliam who do not speak for British Muslims.

Assange’s Christmas address from Ecuador Embassy, London

Thank you RT [Link]

Will Julian Assange be an alternative to the Queen’s speech at Christmas?

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