British government hypocrisy on human rights

This video from Britain shows ‘Military Families Against the War Peace Camp – 22nd & 23rd September 2006. Music by Peggy Seeger.’

From British daily The Morning Star:

Crimes of the empire

(Thursday 20 September 2007)

THERE is something surreal about Gordon Brown mounting his high horse and telling European and African government leaders that they must choose between his attendance and that of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at a summit in Lisbon on December 8-9.

The Prime Minister insists on Mr Mugabe’s exclusion from the summit because of the Zimbabwean president’s “abuse of his own people.”

He declares that there is neither freedom of association nor freedom of the press there. And, further, there is “widespread torture and mass intimidation of the political opposition.”

Without excusing in any way, the excesses of the moribund and authoritarian ZANU (PF) regime in Zimbabwe, are the crimes denounced by Mr Brown unique to Zimbabwe?

Aren’t they also endemic in such states as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, which are not only regarded as international forces of moderation but are also fully fledged participants in the US-led fraudulent “war on terror?

Then again, horrific as torture and intimidation are, do they begin to compare with the international war crime of illegally invading and occupying Iraq?

Before claiming the moral high ground, all British government ministers should examine their own hands for blood.

Our Prime Minister, as Chancellor of Exchequer, was totally implicated in Tony Blair‘s collaboration with the White House in preparing for war for oil and military domination while passing it off as a means of controlling weapons of mass destruction.

He provided the finance for the invasion and pledged to make available whatever it took to back Washington’s self-appointed role of global policeman.

And what has been the result? A 2006 study by the respected medical journal The Lancet suggested that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the March 2003 invasion.

And, last week, a new report by the Opinion Research Bureau, a polling organisation that has been engaged to conduct studies for the BBC and the Conservative Party, reported that no fewer than 1.2 million Iraqi citizens “have been murdered” since the invasion.

When the PM insists that Britain will stand by its responsibilities, he should also acknowledge his own responsibility for the mayhem that is Iraq. Nor are Britain’s hands clean with regard to Zimbabwe. Ministers and media vie with each other to condemn the nationalisation of white farmers’ land and foreign-owned businesses in Zimbabwe, but they don’t examine why this happens.

When the British empire conquered what is now Zimbabwe in 1889, it allocated 70 per cent – the most fertile areas – of land to white farmers to raise export crops. Africans received no compensation.

At the 1979 Zimbabwean independence negotiations in London in 1979, white settler land ownership was enshrined for a decade and, following that, the British government was to fund land sales to landless Africans.

Britain suspended that agreement in 1997-8 when Zimbabwe rejected a World Bank structural agreement programme, halted privatisation and introduced tariffs to protect local industry.

The country has since suffered an imperialist economic blockade, provoking political and economic crises. The struggle for basic freedoms in Zimbabwe, including trade union rights, will not be assisted by being confused with a sinister outside-directed conspiracy to impose regime change that is acceptable to the US and Britain.

Lisbon summit controversy update: here.

1 thought on “British government hypocrisy on human rights

  1. Humanitarian Imperialism
    Using Human Rights to Sell War
    By Jean Bricmont

    Since the end of the Cold War, the idea of human rights has been made into a justification for intervention by the world’s leading economic and military powers—above all, the United States—in countries that are vulnerable to their attacks. The criteria for such intervention have become more arbitrary and self-serving, and their form more destructive.

    Jean Bricmont’s Humanitarian Imperialism is both a historical account of this development and a powerful political and moral critique. It seeks to restore the critique of imperialism to its rightful place in the defense of human rights. It describes the leading role of the United States in initiating military and other interventions, but also on the obvious support given to it by European powers and NATO. Timely, topical, and rigorously argued, Jean Bricmont’s book establishes a firm basis for resistance to global war with no end in sight.

    Jean Bricmont is professor of theoretical physics at the University of Louvain, Belgium.

    Monthly Review Press, softcover, 192pp, bibliography, notes, index


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