Monthly Archives: July 2016

Trident: Call It What It Is… The British WMD Programme

article-567

Photo: commonspace.scot

Tomorrow the Westminster Parliament will debate and vote on whether to renew the British Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programme, commonly known as Trident. Now I’m not saying the euphamism Trident makes it any more morally acceptable, but it helps mask the reality. Saying “I support Britains WMD Programme” would go down at the dinner table like a cup of cold sick. WMD’s are for foreigners, evil despots and tyrants. Supporting “Trident” on the other hand is patriotic, responsible, safe and righteous.

Baillie Trident

The MOD says that Trident supports 520 civilian jobs

Trident supports British jobs. The number of jobs depends on the sources you listen to. Labour MSP Jackie Baillie claims that over 11,000 jobs are dependent on Britains WMD Programme in the Faslane area and beyond. The MOD has said that their are 520 civilian jobs at Faslane. The MOD figures are verifiable, Ms Baillies figure is not and expands at every turn, having gone from 7,600 to 11,000 in the blink of an eye.

BaillieFMQs1GT

I say that Trident supports 11,000 jobs.* Only one of which matters to Jackie…

I myself worked on the construction of Faslane in the late 1980’s. I was employed building the office blocks which would house the administrative side of the base. I was witness to the horrific waste of public money which went on there. On one occasion a naval officer came in to where we were working and ordered that a recently tiled kitchen area be redone as he “didn’t like it”. He wasn’t paying, so what the hell. That was simply one example, and if that attitude is still prevalent it’s an indicator of where the final cost will be: far higher that the estimate. Jumped up Admirals are always free with other peoples money.

Like I say, I worked in construction. You can attribute many unrelated jobs to Britains WMD programme if you put your mind to it. Delivery drivers, local shops, pubs, transport, stationery and office supplies, you can extend this to the nth degree. It still doesn’t make it morally right.

In the Second World War the Nazi’s had a network of death camps across Europe. They too employed people, they were supported by a network of other industries which fed off them; the railways which delivered the prisoners, the need for food, fuel and supplies, the staff who worked there and the families who lived nearby and who also turned a blind eye to what was on THEIR doostep. No one would have discussed death camps and mass exterminations, these were “bath houses”, “special installations” and “actions”. No one in their right mind would suggest that death camps should be kept because they were good for the economy, so why would anyone try the same line with Weapons of Mass Destruction? Backing Britains Trident WMD Programme should be as socially unacceptable as backing concentration camps as a job creation scheme. So why is that not the case?

Using the right language avoids the need to actually address what you are dealing with. Trident is a holocaust programme for killing hundreds of thousands of people in the blink of an eye: the Nazi dream of industrialised killing is writ large for the modern age. Britains WMD Programme should be called out for what it is; a mobile WMD threat against other countries and a guarantee of a seat at the international top table for the shrinking remnants of a dead empire.

Britains Nuclear Deterrent failed to deter Argentina, it failed to deter the IRA and will fail to deter in future. With a No First Strike policy it’s not a deterrent, it’s a weapon of retaliation, of revenge.

If you want to create jobs, build infrastructure, build housing, build hospitals. Employ builders and teachers and doctors. Invest in useable conventional armed forces whose job is to defend us, not a nuclear armed one whose job is to implement aggressive British foreign policy abroad. If you did all of that you still wouldn’t have spent a fraction of what a new generation of WMD’s would. Given all these arguments, why aren’t Labour MP’s and MSP’s demanding investment in peace, instead of investment in fear?

Advertisements

Tony Blair: An Appropriate Response

tony_blair_iraq_war

Photo: arrestblair.org

So we’ve have the fallout from the Chilcott Report. It was outwith the remit of John Chilcotts enquiry to apportion blame, simply to lay forth the facts and allow others to judge them. In the spirit of Tony Blair’s actions in Iraq I suggest that Blair be immediately sentenced to life in prison. The sentence should be served in an Iraqi prison, and he should immediately be barred from holding public office. His pension and assets should be siezed and the proceeds of his war crimes donated to deserving charities in Iraq.

Now, after finding him guilty and having imposed sentence, all that is left to do is to gather the evidence to support the charges. That’s how it works, right?

Q: When Is A Terrorist Not A Terrorist? A: When The Media Says So. *

(c) The Internet Somewhere

(c) The Internet Somewhere

Many years ago as part of my job as a recruit instructor in the Royal Engineers I taught a short introduction to terrorism lesson, where I asked the question What Is Terrorism?

The definition of terrorism, broadly speaking was violent action by groups with the intent of bringing about political change through the creation of a climate of fear and terror.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990s our main focus was on Irish terrorism. One can argue about the rights and wrongs of the independence movement in Ireland, but what is inarguable is that they attempted to bring about political change not via the ballot box but by bombs and bullets. In the generally accepted international definition, that is terrorism.

Fast forward to the early years of the 21st Century and at this moment terrorism has taken on a shared global persona. It’s defined not by the accent, region, or the country, but by the religion which many share. The first question asked by the media in the event of any violent tragedy is “Is the perpetrator a Muslim?” Before you can say Donald Trump there will be a host of people blaming ISIS, Daesh (delete as appropriate) and demanding we “do something”. And that’s just the more acceptable end of the spectrum. Follow the hashtags and you can go all the way down to the sewers where people demand that “we” round them up/send them home/kill them all.

Britain has a long history of doing just that, from the concentration camps of the Boer War, the internment of German and Italian citizens in World War 2, the incarceration and torture of Kenyans in the 1950’s, the the jailing of Irish on trumped up charges in the 1970s and 1980s, the list is a long one. It’s an abhorrent response, the demonising of an entire religion is a short step away from Nazism and the way it shaped public perception against the Jews; once you have convinced people that another group is Untermenschen you can treat them in ways which right minded people would find unacceptable. We cannot go down that road.

Yesterdays attack in Nice was the latest attack where no direct link is apparent to any larger terrorist organisation. I’m sure ISIS/Daesh/Whatever they are called this week are more than happy to claim credit for these “loner” attacks. It gives the impression they have a greater reach, a greater influence and a greater network than they actually have. But strip it back, look at the intelligence and the evidence isn’t there. There’s no line of communication, no funding, no arming, no nothing. You can pour money into intelligence, broadcast soundbites about resolve, not surrendering to terrorism, you can put troops on the street and arm the police, but it’s a false investment which creates an illusion of security. You cannot detect a threat from an individual who operates in their own bubble based on their own motivations.

When Tommy Mair killed MP Jo Cox he was presented to the world as a mentally unstable loner, not a white supremacist terrorist. When Matthew Tvrdon mowed down 18 people in Cardiff  using a van, killing one woman in the process he was a “paranoid schizophrenic ” not a terrorist. No one went through his life to find if he had been radicalised, because terrorists aren’t called Matthew, they have foreign sounding names and darker skin. There are angry people who take violent action in every walk of life; this is not a trait exclusive to Muslims, even though it suits some people to present it as such.

I understand that 24 rolling news needs to have a narrative. It has to find context, and an international war on terrorism is a lazy cop out. We need to be a bit less hasty in immediately labelling violent acts by Muslims as terrorism. Because every time we do, we do the terrorists work for them.

 

 

 

*May contain cynicism