British Blairite ‘Labourites’ support Cameron’s war on Syria

This video from Britain says about itself:

Don’t Bomb Syria day of action 28/11/15: Lindsey German BBC interview

With a vote for bombing Syria expected in parliament within days, Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, was interviewed by the BBC on 28 November 2015, a day of national action against Britain being taken into its fourth war in 14 years.

By Luke James in Britain:

75% Don’t Want War, as Labour gets a free vote on Syria, we must remind the party

Tuesday 1st December 2015

LABOUR MPs were granted a free vote yesterday over whether Britain should bomb Syria, but members overwhelmingly stand with Jeremy Corbyn in opposing air strikes.

Three-quarters of Labour members want the party’s MPs to vote against David Cameron’s bid to bomb Syria, according to a snap consultation carried out over the weekend.

More than 100,000 Labour members, party supporters and trade union members took part in an unprecedented exercise in party democracy.

Analysis of the 64,771 members who responded found 75 per cent don’t want to see British bombs dropped on Syria.

That compares with just 13 per cent who support bombing and another 11 per cent who are undecided on the emotive issue.

The results were revealed on the day Mr Corbyn met his shadow cabinet and MPs to hammer out the party’s position.

Some suggested it gave Mr Corbyn the ammunition to argue for the party to vote en-masse against strikes.

But after emerging from a two-hour meeting, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn revealed: “Today’s shadow cabinet agreed to back Jeremy Corbyn’s recommendation of a free vote on the government’s proposal to authorise UK bombing in Syria.”

“The shadow cabinet decided to support the call for David Cameron to step back from the rush to war and hold a full two-day debate in the House of Commons on such a crucial national decision.”

Mr Corbyn has written to the Prime Minister to request the two-day sitting.

“It is incumbent on us all to ensure the country feels there has been the fullest parliamentary discussion of what you have rightly described as a highly complex situation,” he wrote.

Mr Cameron set to make a statement on Syria last night and could call a vote as soon as tomorrow.

Although Labour MPs have been given a free vote, the Star understands that most shadow cabinet members believe the conditions for action in Syria agreed by party conference have not been met.

Backbench MP Emily Thornberry, a former human rights QC, also called the evidence for bombingthin, damned thin.”

And Mr Corbyn said an extended debate was necessary to “call David Cameron to account on the unanswered questions raised by his case for bombing.”

Concerns centre on what ground forces Britain would support, how supplies to Islamic State (Isis) would be cut off and dealing with any subsequent rise in the number of refugees.

Blairite MP John Woodcock, who backs bombing, welcomed the free vote and said the move would make resignations from the shadow cabinet over the issue less likely.

But Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards, who opposes air strikes, said: “By allowing a free vote on this matter, Jeremy Corbyn is paving the way for the Prime Minister to succeed in securing a Commons majority in favour of the UK launching air strikes in Syria.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas said the PM should follow Mr Corbyn’s example and give Tory MPs a free vote.

Defence select committee chairman Julian Lewis is among senior Tory backbenchers who were sceptical of Mr Cameron’s plan.

And Ms Lucas said: “The debate on such crucial issues is greatly diminished when MPs are subjected to the pressure of the whips’ offices.”

Labour whips believe as many as 100 of Labour’s 231 MPs back airstrikes, while 132 would follow Mr Corbyn into the No lobby.

A senior Labour source said both Mr Corbyn and [Blairite] shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn will speak for the party in the Commons debate, even though they would vote in opposite directions.

This video from London, England says about itself:

Tariq Ali speaks about the real issues with getting rid of ISIS at the Downing Street London Don’t Bomb Syria protest rally on 28th November 2015, put on by the Stop The War Coalition.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Scottish Labour: ‘Case for bombing hasn’t been made’, says Murray

Tuesday 1st December 2015

TWO of Labour’s most senior politicians north of the border do not believe the case for bombing Syria has been made.

Shadow secretary Ian Murray yesterday argued that advancing air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) in Syria will have no impact.

“Kez doesn’t think that the case has been made either,” he told BBC Radio Scotland speaking for Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

Mr Murray warned innocent people living in the Isis’ headquarters of Raqqa do not want airstrikes and are at risk, while the Free Syrian Army would be unable to support them.

Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism (CfS) also shared the sentiment.

CfS chairman Vince Mills welcomed the pair’s stance and called on Scottish MSPs to “show their support for the position taken by the Scottish Labour Leadership.”

The group reminded Labour that the conditions on advancing airstrikes in Syria agreed at its party conference in October have still not been met.

They point out that the recent UN resolution does not provide clear and unambiguous support for the use of force.

CfS convenor Elaine Smith said: “As we’ve seen in the press at the weekend exiles from Raqqa living in Turkey escaping Isis brutality have opposed further bombing.

“They know it will cost more innocent lives in a city where the civilian population is now held by Isis to serve as a human shield.”

This video from London, England says about itself:

28 November 2015

My coverage of the London event, protesting Cameron’s march to war.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Intervention has become an obsession

Tuesday 1st December 2015

THE Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) has four clear responsibilities.

First, it must hold the government to account, which can only be done fully and consistently by taking a view on the major issues of the day.

Second, it must represent the interests of the people of Britain — especially, in Labour’s case, the interests of workers and their families who comprise the vast majority of the population.

Third, the PLP must express the views of the party’s members and supporters, which should reflect those same interests. In a genuinely democratic Labour Party, these views and interests would be articulated by the policies adopted in its representative decision-making bodies and, above all, at the annual autumn conference.

Fourth, the PLP should strive to present itself as a government in waiting, preparing to implement the policies agreed upon and presented to the electorate in its manifesto.

In order to fulfil the first of these responsibilities, Labour is right to confirm its conference policy against British military involvement in Syria.

To fulfil the other three, Labour MPs should oppose the nefarious plans laid by Prime Minister David Cameron and his co-conspirators.

Doing otherwise would be to swallow Tory government claims that its primary aim in Syria is now to speed the defeat of Isis by sending in British war planes to assist 70,000 pairs of Free Syrian Army (FSA) boots on the ground, thereby making the people of Britain safer from terrorism.

These claims are fantasy at best — or cynical deception at worst. That some originate with the Joint Intelligence Committee suggest they may be a combination of both.

Do Labour MPs believe that the Tory leadership has abandoned its sole objective of two years ago — namely to strengthen the FSA and other “moderate” forces dedicated to overthrowing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad?

Will RAF involvement really make a difference to “Operation Inherent Resolve?” The 2,857 strikes on Isis targets in Syria so far have accomplished little except where co-ordinated with Kurdish ground forces. FSA members have either retreated or defected, putting their Western-supplied armaments in Isis hands.

As refugees from Raqqa confirm, uncoordinated US bombing terrorises only the civilians trapped in occupied Syrian towns and cities, as the Isis invaders hide in cellars and tunnels.

Labour’s policy, reaffirmed at the shadow cabinet yesterday, represents the views of a clear majority of the party’s members and registered supporters. It also reflects the interests of the people of Britain.

The threat of terrorism here and in the Middle East will only be defeated when the major Western powers stop their obsession with military intervention and genuinely support the resolution of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere on the basis of negotiation, human rights and international law.

Dutch Nijmegen University lectures for refugees

This Dutch 30 November 2015 video shows a Nijmegen University lecture for refugees from Heumensoord refugee camp.

Translated from NOS TV today:

Especially for highly educated refugees the Radboud University in the near future will be organising lectures. The objective is to give refugees academic depth. Speakers from different departments will participate. …

For many highly educated refugees it was a relief to be guests at lectures specially organized for them. According to the Syrian Manal Abdullateef these lectures give hope: “The hope that we will again take up our own studies one day.”

One of the speakers was Serkon Heno. He himself fled from Syria more than one year and a half ago and is now studying law at the University of Nijmegen. Heno knows what study means for the refugees. “It really means a lot. They want to be active, not passive.”

Tuition fees

For many refugees it is impossible to study during the asylum procedure in the Netherlands. They are not entitled to financial assistance. Furthermore, the tuition fees for students from outside the European Union are much higher than for Dutch students. If refugees have a legal status, then they are subject to the same rules as Dutch youths.

The refugees can hardly wait until the time comes and they like Serkon Heno will be able to resume their studies. “A future for everyone,” laughs Serkon. “And a smile on all faces.”

David Cameron’s fantasy ‘moderate’ Syrian insurgents

Londoners protest against bombing Syria, photo by Getty Images

By Robert Fisk in daily The Independent in Britain:

David Cameron, there aren’t 70,000 moderate fighters in Syria – and whoever heard of a moderate with a Kalashnikov, anyway?

The Blairite Labour MPs are going to vote with Dave because they loathe Corbyn more than Isis

30 November 2011

Not since Hitler ordered General Walther Wenck to send his non-existent 12th Army to rescue him from the Red Army in Berlin has a European leader believed in military fantasies as PM Dave Cameron did last week. Telling the House of Commons about the 70,000 “moderate” fighters deployed in Syria was not just lying in the sense that Tony Blair lied – because Blair persuaded himself to believe in his own dishonesty – but something approaching burlesque. It was whimsy – ridiculous, comic, grotesque, ludicrous. It came close to a unique form of tragic pantomime.

At one point last week, one of Cameron’s satraps was even referring to this phantom army as “ground troops”. I doubt if there are 700 active “moderate” foot soldiers in Syria – and I am being very generous, for the figure may be nearer 70 – let alone 70,000.

Four or five, according to United States General Lloyd Austin.

And the Syrian Kurds are not going to conquer Isis for us; they’re too busy trying to survive the assaults of our Turkish allies. Besides, aren’t the “moderates” supposed to be the folk who don’t carry weapons at all? Who’s ever heard before of a “moderate” with a Kalashnikov?

The Syrian regime’s army – who really are ground troops and who never worried about the “moderate” rebels because they always ran away – are the only regular force deployed in Syria. And thanks to Vladimir Putin rather than PR Dave, they’re beginning to win back territory. Yet after losing at least 60,000 soldiers – killed largely by Isis and the al-Nusra Front – the Syrian army would be hard put to fight off an assault on Damascus by Dave Cameron’s 70,000 “moderates”. If this ghost army existed, it would already have captured Damascus and hurled Bashar al-Assad from power.

Yet in the Commons last week, we were supposed to believe this tomfoolery – all in the cause of launching two or three fighter bombers against Isis in Syria. It wouldn’t make us more vulnerable, Dave told us. In fact we were already vulnerable because we were bombing Isis in Iraq. Yet Dave knows – and we all know, don’t we? – that Isis will most assuredly try to commit an atrocity in Britain to revenge Dave’s latest schoolboy adventure. Then – à la Blair after 7/7 – Dave will insist that Isis are killing us because they hate our “values”. Then will come the inevitable video of a suicide killer saying he killed our innocents because Dave sent his miniature air force to bomb Isis.

The odd thing about all this is that most Brits I come across – and most Arabs I talk to in the Middle East – are well aware of the above. So is the Labour Party. But the Blairite MPs in the Labour Party are going to vote with Dave because while they loathe the evil cult of Isis, they hate the evil cult of Corbyn even more. Do they too believe – as we are all supposed to believe – that the so-called “Joint Intelligence Committee” is telling the truth about the mythical 70,000 “moderates”? Is this unspeakably valiant committee so stupid that it does not tell Dave about the role of the Saudi Wahabi death cult, which is the direct religious and sectarian inspiration for Isis? And if it did tell Dave, why didn’t he talk about the Saudis in the Commons last week?

No, we are not “at war”. Isis can massacre our innocents, but it is not invading us. Isis is not about to capture Paris or London – as we and the Americans captured Baghdad and Mosul in 2003. No. What Isis intends to do is to persuade us to destroy ourselves. Isis wants us to hate our Muslim minorities. It wants civil war in France between the elite and its disenfranchised Muslims, most of them of Algerian origin. It wants the Belgians to hate their Muslims. It wants us Brits to hate our Muslims. Isis must have been outraged by the thousands of fine Europeans who welcomed with love the million Muslim refugees who reached Germany. The Muslims should have been heading towards the new Caliphate – not running away from it. So now it wishes to turn us against the refugees.

To achieve this, it must implicate hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim refugees in its atrocities. It must force our EU nations to introduce States of Emergency, suspend civil liberties, raid the homes of Muslims. It wishes to destroy the European Union itself. It wishes to strike at the heart of the European ideal by liquidating the very foundation of the union: by persuading us to tear up the Schengen agreement and to close our frontiers. And we are doing exactly that. Are we, in some auto-panic, actually working for Isis? If that gruesome institution did not ban alcohol, their members would be toasting with champagne our political leaders for their vacuity, their sophistry, the abject fear with which they now regularly try to inject us under the dangerous old cry of “Unify the nation”.

Vladimir Putin comprehends this. He knows that Turkey is helping Isis – this is why he is going to destroy the Isis oil smuggling route to Turkey – and, as a former serving KGB officer, he understands the cynicism of any crisis. If an American aircraft had strayed into Turkish airspace, he asked at his Kremlin press conference with François Hollande last week, does anyone believe that Turkey would have shot down the US pilots? We all know the answer to that. If Turkey wished to destroy Isis, why does it bombard Isis’ Kurdish enemies? Why does it imprison two of Turkey’s top journalists for reporting how the Turkish intelligence service smuggled weapons to Islamist fighters in Syria? And Putin is hardly going to object if the EU is bent on suicide-through-fear.

Amid all this, PR Dave raves on. And why not? Having Photoshopped a fake poppy on to his lapel

as reported by the Daily Mail, which supports Cameron’s Conservative party

to honour Britain’s war dead, why shouldn’t he get away with Photoshopping 70,000 fake “moderates” on to a map of Syria?

BOMBING Raqqa will see a large number of civilians killed, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn warned yesterday: here.

Barely more than two weeks after the terror attacks in Paris, it has become utterly clear that the US and European ruling classes intend to use the events as the pretext for massive escalations of the Syrian-Iraq war: here.

British peace movement against bombing Syria

This video says about itself:

John Rogers reports from Stop the War, Don’t Bomb Syria Protest Downing Street, London 28th November 2015 with Diane Abbott, Owen Jones, George Galloway.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Anti-war feeling grows outside Downing Street

Monday 30th November 2015

Protesters at PM’s quarters to warn against war

ANTI-WAR protesters assembled outside Downing Street at the weekend to call on MPs to “do the right thing” in voting against air strikes on Islamic State (Isis) in Syria.

Actor Mark Rylance, musician Brian Eno, former Respect MP George Galloway and Labour MP Diane Abbott joined thousands of demonstrators urging the Commons to reject war when a vote is held.

Demonstrators held placards saying: “Don’t bomb Syria” and “don’t add fuel to the fire.”

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) organised the traffic-stopping event after Tory Prime Minister David Cameron said he would call a vote on the RAF air strikes as soon as this week.

But Downing Street has said it’s not “putting a timetable on a vote” after Mr Cameron faced tricky questions over his plans from Labour leader and StWC vice-president Jeremy Corbyn and even senior Tory MPs.

Launching air strikes in Syria would “make all [Isis’s] dreams come true,” said Mr Eno.

Bombing Syria would trigger “angry and determined” militants to cause more death and destruction, and would “recruit more desperate young men” to Isis, Mr Rylance told the crowd.

He added: “We need to look more deeply at the causes rather than just blow the place to smithereens.”

Film-maker Ken Loach, comedian Frankie Boyle, Green MP Caroline Lucas, Mr Rylance and Mr Eno were some signatories of an open letter handed to Downing Street, arguing against Britain launching military action in Syria.

It says: “Far from tackling terrorism, the last fourteen years of war have seen massively increased jihadi terrorist organisation around the world.”

Mr Cameron had reportedly been contacting Labour MPs to persuade them to vote for the air strikes, shadow international development secretary Ms Abbott told the crowd.

She also said she was not convinced by the PM’s justifications for air strikes and used war-ravaged countries Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq as examples as to why Britain should not get involved again.

Ms Abbott added: “I believe and I hope under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour MPs in Parliament will do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, smaller anti-war protests were being staged at 20 locations across the country, including Bristol, Coventry, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Swansea and Norwich.

DAVID MORGAN takes a look at the latest Strategic Defence and Security Review – and finds that the Tories are prioritising global power games over keeping this country safe: here.

Tony Blair, godfather of ISIS, wants to bomb Syria

This video says about itself:

Inside Iraq – Are Bush and Blair above the law?

7 June 2010

Many attempts have been made to try Tony Blair and George Bush for war crimes, but to no avail. In this episode of Inside Iraq, we ask: Is justice the property of the strong and is this a case of might is right?

Tony Blair is not only literally the godfather of a child of fellow warmonger Rupert Murdoch (with whom he quarreled later in a sexual jealousy conflict). Blair is also figuratively the godfather of ISIS terrorism. Because, as President Obama and many others have pointed out, without George W Bush’s and Tony Blair’s 2003 war on Iraq, there would be no ISIS now.

By Luke James in Britain:

Blair renews call for Britain to take military action in Syria

Friday 27th November 2015

TONY BLAIR has made a renewed call for Britain to bomb Syria — during a recording for a comedy podcast.

The unpopular former prime minister made a belated apology last month for dragging Britain into the Iraq war in 2003 on the basis of his “dodgy dossier.”

But now Mr Blair has backed David Cameron’s campaign for another British military intervention in the Middle East.

He played cheerleader for the Tory PM on Wednesday evening while recording the lighthearted Political Animal podcast, which is hosted by Labour adviser turned comedian Matt Forde.

Asked if he supported bombing, Mr Blair replied: “I would support the position that has been set out, not just by David Cameron, but by many Labour MPs.

“I think it’s important that we take strong action against Isis and take that action against them where they are headquartered, which is in Syria, so obviously I would support that.”

Stop the War convenor Lindsey German said Mr Cameron has failed to explain how bombing would improve the situation in Syria.

And she told the Star: “Tony Blair conveniently omits that these groups have grown since the war on terror began.

His policies of bombing and invasion set the world on fire. Now he wants to fan the flames even further.”

Mr Blair also indicated that further unwelcome political interventions could be expected from him.

He said he would be willing to appear alongside his historic rival Gordon Brown at events in the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union.

Syrian air strikes mean civilians seeing their family killed by a faceless enemy – leaving Isis free to choose a face for us. The Prime Minister states that complexity should not be an excuse for non-intervention. True. But complexity is not an excuse, it is an important reality: here.

Thousands protest against Syria air strikes as Stop the War Coalition marches on London: here.