28 January, 2008
How Britain’s political and military leadership pays scant regard to justice and the law, especially when it comes to the Palestine-Israel conflict.
In the crossbenches stands Lord Boyce, former British Chief of Defence Staff. In a ‘defence’ debate with his peers on 22 November 2007, he spoke of blood on the deck of the Ministry of Defence; fellow warriors have been pleading for the weapons and leaving almost empty handed. Brown without an ‘e’ is in the frame. The register of peers’ interests show that this ex-sailor [Lord Boyce] holds a remunerated directorship in VT Group plc. This little business sells warships to Her Majesty’s Government, among other boys’ toys. Hansard records no declaration of his possible interest in the hardware central to the debate.
General Lord Guthrie GCB, LVO, OBE, DL and Chief of Defence Staff before Lord Boyce, filled the chamber with his honeyed voice. This soldier had a similar view to the sailor. Now, the register shows him to be a part of Colt Defense LLC. Assault rifles is its stock in trade and security services another string to a deadly bow. Few ‘defence’ companies can neglect an ‘industry’ which is third only to oil and killing in Iraq, and which is yet another facet of the supreme international war crime from which all other crimes flow. Hansard – no pecuniary interest in this debate was declared by him.
When Lord Guthrie was speaking at a conference in Herzliya, Israel, in January 2006 and 2007, it would of course have been unnecessary to speak of his commercial interest in small guns. His subject in 2007 was ‘Upgrading Israel’s strategic partnerships with the Atlantic community: the US, NATO and the EU’. There was a good sprinkling of Israeli warriors there like Netanyahu and Perle. Being subject to the Official Secrets Act and to military honour, he would have confined himself in speech and debate. After all, as an ex-chief of defence staff he must know the whole shebang.
At the centre we have the Liberal Democratic Friends of Israel. This was the first party to so affiliate. It demonstrates appropriate chutzpah on its website. The website brazenly states that group’s first aim is to ”maximize support for the State of Israel within the Liberal Democrats and Parliament” and, furthermore, to ”develop and maintain a broad-based Liberal Democratic Friends of Israel membership inside and outside of Parliament”. The Conservative Party boasts that about 80 per cent of members are within this fold and the party’s youthful leader, David Cameron, has declared his allegiance, saying ‘I am a Zionist’ (Jerusalem Post, 13 June 2007). Further to the right we have the Labour Friends of Israel. The president is Dr Gwyneth Dunwoody and the vice-chairman is Ms Louise Ellman, Member of Parliament for Liverpool Riverside.
Find any Commons debate on Palestine/Israel or the Middle East on the website of They Work For You, or in Hansard in the public library, where an MP declares this potent affiliation. It will be as rare as hens’ teeth. How many citizens of this sceptred isle even know of Friends of Israel, let alone which member is an acolyte when he or she is speaking on Palestine. When one gets a reply from Dr Kim Howells, the minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in response to a letter about the slow genocide in the remnants of Palestine, there is no meaning or humanity in the words of Dr Howells and certainly no admission that he is a past chairman of Labour Friends of Israel.
And on the left we have Tony Benn speaking as a lion among the lions of Trafalgar Square at those rallies to stop the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to end the brutal occupation of Palestine. As president of the Stop the War Coalition he headed up a letter to Kofi Annan. The letter was signed by over 4000 passionate persons, including the author, and it sought the arraignment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair MP and his cabal for war crimes. But a movement which was fully justified by many crimes against humanity ended in the long and bloodied grass. Tony Benn records this entry in his most recent diary:
Lindsey German and Nicholas Wood came to see me about the next stage in the campaign on the war crime question, about how we could advance the cause of the letter. There’s been no coverage in the press, although Kofi Annan has replied. We went on to discuss the whole question really of whether we were demanding a war crimes tribunal. My view is that you shouldn’t do that. I think it’s a complete waste of effort trying to put Blair and Bush on trial : (a) it won’t happen; (b) it’s so negative: ( c) it’s all about personalities.
Oh, how and why have the dead, the maimed and the displaced of Iraq, of Afghanistan and Palestine been forsaken? Where is the law and whence did our ethos fly?
The peace envoy is now a powerful conduit for J.P. Morgan. He has sucked the blood from the Iraqi people and now he sucks the oil. Without a blush, he helps commit another war crime; he helps remove the treasure of a country he and his vile friends have raped. No justice now means the incineration and shredding of more innocents in even darker years ahead.
‘Where the law ends, tyranny begins’ (John Locke, lawyer and philosopher, 1632-1704).
Source: The Website of David Halpin