Sunday, April 17, 2005

Robin Cook & the Labour government’s ‘ethical’ foreign policy.--from Ian Johnson, ICDSM-Britain

[This is from Ian Johnson of the ICDSM-Britain. A response to a letter Robin Cook wrote to The Guardian. Another friend of CM/P, Le Requin, describes Cook's slarving lap doggishness to the British Poodle Blair thus: le gros rat prétentieux Cook earns eternal "peace movement" street cred. No small fucking thanks to CommonDreams, to CounterPunch, to the Guardian (of Teabag privilege) etc. Venal fake-left shit. Tells us everything we need to know about the "Western left": that they're water-carriers in the political rehab of this reptile.. --mc]


Robin Cook & the Labour government’s ‘ethical’ foreign policy.

Under the heading ‘The surrender of Kosovo’s prime minister is an act
of real courage’ the 11th March 2005 edition of the Guardian newspaper
carried an article by former UK foreign secretary Robin Cook.

It is as well to remember however, that when writing about events in
Yugoslavia Mr Cook is not an innocent observer. As UK foreign secretary
during the 1999 Nato bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia he became known as the ‘butcher of Belgrade’, a term which
reflected his enthusiasm for the task.

It was also Robin Cook who supplied the ‘Kosovo Dossier’ to the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for
their case against Slobodan Milosevic. Unfortunately for the tribunal
it was a dossier so devoid of any serious evidence that in desperation
the ICTY had to add on Croatia and Bosnia to the indictment against
Milosevic in the hope that they would be able to uncover some kind of
evidence at a later date.

Mr Cook also boasts, as he did at a press conference, which was
directly broadcast on CNN, that he was instrumental in obtaining
satellite access for the pro-Nato B92 television station, much to the
embarrassment of the station’s operatives who claimed to be

Given Mr Cook’s involvement in destroying the sovereign state of
Yugoslavia his Guardian article should be viewed with suspicion, both
for its timing and for its attempt to rewrite history.


When Tony Blair’s Labour government took office in 1997 it unveiled
what it called its new ‘ethical’ foreign policy. The vagueness of this
term meant that at the time the majority of the British population,
though hopeful, was unsure what this would actually mean in practice.
Five international wars later things became much clearer. Blair’s
government had come up with a policy which they hoped would circumvent
the restrictions of international law and allow British intervention
into the internal affairs of independent nation states in the name of
‘humanitarian intervention’, a term that had no meaning in any
international legal charter. Under Tony Blair, Mr Cook, once a
spokesman of the left-wing of his party, dropped previous commitments
to unilateral disarmament and a Eurosceptic approach, and praised the
prime minister's "third way".

As Blair’s foreign secretary (1997-2001) it was Robin Cook who was
responsible for ‘selling’ this new concept of ‘humanitarian
intervention’ - a concept originally discussed in the US by, amongst
others, Madeleine Albright - and thus by- passing existing
international law and avoiding such troublesome restrictions as the

"No State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate
subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent
overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife
in another State.
The territory of a State shall not be the object of military occupation
resulting from the use of force in contravention of the provisions of
the Charter. The territory of a State shall not be the object of
acquisition by another State resulting from the threat or use of force.
No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force
shall be recognized as legal." (Declaration on principles of
international law in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
Extract from UN General Assembly Resolution 2625 – 24th October 1970).

Initially the supporters of the new Labour government claimed that this
‘ethical’ foreign policy could mean an end to any arms sales to
‘repressive regimes’. However this illusion was quickly dispelled as
outlined in the following two reports from 1999:

‘On coming to office in 1997, Labor foreign secretary Robin Cook
promised an 'ethical' foreign policy. Widely interpreted as meaning an
end to arms sales to repressive regimes, Cook's humanitarian foreign
policy was a commitment that came back to haunt him. Cook was pilloried
for visiting Indonesia and for issuing them with invitations to visit
British arms fairs. He was further embarrassed in September, with
revelations that £130 million of public money has been used in the past
year alone to help the Indonesian government buy Hawk fighters from
Britain’. (LM Magazine Oct 1999).

‘Britain also made a significant contribution to Indonesia's military
training. The Observer has established that, since May 1997, 24 senior
members of Indonesia's forces have been trained In UK military
colleges. This included training in running military units efficiently
and how to used technical equipment like guided missiles. In addition,
29 Indonesian officers have studied at non-military establishments.
Revelations of the extent to which Labor has used taxpayers' money to
aid the Indonesian military has angered many MPs, who claim it makes a
mockery of Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's 'ethical foreign policy'. In
the last four years of the Tory Government, only one Indonesian soldier
was trained in the UK’.(London Observer Sept 19th 1999).


The non ‘ethical’ dimension of this new foreign policy was further
revealed by Robin Cook’s wholehearted support for the continuation of
sanctions on Iraq during the 1990s. Such was the extent of Cook’s
hypocrisy in trying to defend a system of sanctions that was
responsible for the deaths of 5000 Iraqis each month that the
campaigning group Voices in the Wilderness were compelled to issue a
pamphlet entitled ‘Robin Cook’s 10 lies about sanctions on Iraq’. For
example, Cook had claimed that ‘Food and medicines have never been
covered by sanctions’ (Daily Telegraph 18th November 1998) when in fact
food exports to Iraq were banned for a period by UN Security Council
Resolution 661. Cook also stated ‘We must nail the absurd claim that
sanctions are responsible for the suffering of (Iraq’s) people’ (Daily
Telegraph 18th November 1998). Yet all competent observers agreed that
the economic sanctions were the primary cause of the humanitarian
crisis in Iraq. Denis Halliday, who was in charge of the UN oil for
food deal resigned because of the appalling effects of the sanctions
and stated, ‘ The deal is Band-Aid stuff. The sanctions discriminate
against the weak, the poor and the lower echelons of the economic scale
in a way I find unacceptable and contrary to the basic rights of
individuals throughout the world.’ He went on to state, ‘4000 to 5000
children are dying unnecessarily every month due to the impact of
sanctions’ (Independent 1st October 1998) and further, ‘We are in the
process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying
as that. It is illegal and immoral.’ (Independent 15th October 1998).

Clearly there are completely different interpretations as to what Blair
and Cook meant by the word ‘ethical’ and what decent human beings
understood that word to mean.


Cook begins his Guardian article by stating:

‘Occasionally, the greatest grounds for optimism are that nothing has
happened. Kosovo this week provides a good illustration.
On Wednesday, its prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, was indicted by the
war crimes tribunal and surrendered himself to stand trial in The
Hague. Hundreds of extra troops were rushed to Kosovo in expectation of
riots in protest at his arrest, but at the time of writing none has
materialised. In part, this must be a result of the dignity of
Haradinaj's appeal for his people to accept that it was the right
decision for the honour of their country.’

In this opening paragraph, as well as expressing his admiration for the
former KLA commander, Cook is trying to mislead the readers into
believing that Kosovo is a ‘country’.

It is not. Kosovo is legally recognised in law and by the United
Nations as a province of Serbia.

Cook goes on:

‘I had a number of contacts with the Kosovo Liberation Army before and
during Nato's intervention to halt the ethnic cleansing of the
Kosovans. Its fighters undoubtedly demonstrated real courage in taking
on the formidable
Serb military machine with no artillery, armour or air cover to match
their opponents…’

Apart from the fact that here Cook confirms his contact with the KLA
‘before’ Nato’s intervention, this piece of fawning nonsense reiterates
the accusation of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Serbs without providing any
proof whatsoever, as if by mere repetition it can become an established
fact. In the absence of any factual evidence Mr Cook is relying on his
readers to take his word for it! The Washington Post gave an insight
into the reality of the situation when it made this comparison with

"Under the fascist-Nazi umbrella, the Albanians gained control of
Kosovo, efficiently cleansed it of 300,000 Serbs and kept the Yugoslav
resistance busy, thus relieving Nazi troops for duty in Normandy.
History repeats itself. Under a different patron, the Kosovars are now
cleansing the territory of non-Albanians. Why not? NATO gave the
Yugoslav army only days to get out of Kosovo, but it is "negotiating"
with the KLA about what weapons to surrender and when. In the meantime,
ancient Orthodox Churches are destroyed and innocent farmers massacred
by NATO's local allies. Madeleine Albright and Tony Blair may still
harbor illusions about a multi-ethnic Kosovo, but that is not what
Albanians have in mind. Their goal is "an ethically pure Albanian
Kosovo," and they are pretty close to achieving it." (The Washington
Times, August 11, 1999).

Perhaps Mr Cook is unaware of this history and the real aims of the
KLA? Or perhaps not.

As we have seen with Cook’s pronouncements on Iraq, cited above, the
words ‘truth’ and ‘Robin Cook’ don’t blend well together in the same
sentence. Moreover, when stating that the KLA had no ‘air cover to
match their opponents’ he has obviously forgotten Nato, who acted as
the air force for the KLA during the 1999 aggression.

Furthermore, in view of Cook’s reverence towards Mr Haradinaj and the
KLA it is of interest to note the contents of a recent letter to the
Guardian newspaper, which is self-explanatory:

"So Denis MacShane believes it was "very brave" of indicted war
criminal Ramush Haradinaj to give himself up to a UN tribunal (Kosovo
government falls, March 9). Haradinaj, as Mr MacShane knows, was a
senior commander of
the Kosovo Liberation Army, which was responsible for sickening
atrocities against both Serb and Albanian civilians. Haradinaj and his
followers were backed by western governments during this time.
I have witnessed the true nature of Haradinaj's men. During an
investigation into the international arms trade for Channel 5 and the
Sunday Mirror, senior KLA veterans who claimed they took their orders
from "Ramush" sold a
huge cache of Semtex plastic explosives to myself and other members of
an undercover team. When they were told the Semtex could be used in
terrorist attacks against targets in the UK, their response was to
offer us rocket
launchers. The men responsible are now dead or imprisoned. The weapons
are under UN control.
The UN governor of Kosovo says he has lost a "friend and partner" in
Haradinaj. The UN should be more cautious about the company they keep".
(Dominic Hipkins London).

Given Robin Cook’s admission that he had dealings with the KLA both
before and during Nato’s aggression and given the fact, as stated in Mr
Hipkins letter to the Guardian, that the KLA were willing to supply
weapons for attacks against the UK, can it be said that Mr Cook and the
government he represented, were acting in the best interests of the
people of Britain?

Again, without any factual evidence, Cook states in his article:

‘ Milosevic may be out of power, but the Balkans will not be free of
his legacy unless it confronts the violent ethnic hatred he promoted’.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to promote ethnic hatred without
promoting it via writings or speeches. It is a fact that no one can
cite an article or speech where Mr Milosevic has promoted ethnic
hatred. In the absence of such evidence the only thing left for
unscrupulous rogues to do is to make something up. Needless to say
Robin Cook has attempted this trick.

On 28th June 1999 Cook made this comment about the speech delivered by
Slobodan Milosevic in 1989 at Kosovo Field.

"Milosevic used this important anniversary not to give a message of
hope and reform. Instead, he threatened force to deal with Yugoslavia's
internal political difficulties. Doing so thereby launched his personal
agenda of power and ethnic hatred under the cloak of nationalism. All
the peoples of the region have suffered grievously ever since."

According to this you would be forgiven for thinking that this speech
was indeed a speech filled with ethnic hatred.

However here is a section of that speech:

" Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, more than in the
past, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it. This
is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is an
advantage. National composition of almost all countries in the world
today, particularly developed ones, has also been changing in this
direction. Citizens of different nationalities, religions and races
have been living together more and more frequently and more and more

Socialism in particular, being a progressive and just democratic
society, should not allow people to be divided in the national and
religious respect." (A link to the full text of this speech can be
found at )

(A common myth fostered by Western political and media elites is that
Slobodan Milosevic launched his supposed campaign of "ethnic cleansing"
by whipping up hatred among Serbs against their fellow Yugoslav
nationalities through the use of fiery, demagogic hate speech at mass
rallies reminiscent of Adolf Hitler at Nuremberg.

Yet you may be surprised to find that even the most cursory examination
of his speeches reveals just the opposite. It is seldom mentioned by
Western journalists or politicians that there is not one single
instance of President Milosevic making any derogatory or racist
statement against any ethnic group or people on the grounds of their
race, religion or nationality. Nor has he ever espoused Serbian racial
supremacy. Indeed, you will find him frequently stressing that
Yugoslavia and Serbia are a home to the many nationalities that live
within them, not just the Serbs).


In his Guardian article Mr Cook speaks of Haradinaj as an ‘advocate of
tolerance’ in Kosovo and mentions approvingly the ‘courage’ of the KLA.
Although Robin Cook would rather we just took his word for these claims
of ‘’tolerance’ and ‘courage’ amongst the KLA and its leadership, we
would urge people to do their own research into these matters. This is
just a very small example of what they will find:

"A pogrom started in Europe this week, with one U.N. official being
quoted as saying, 'Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo.'Serbs are
being murdered and their 800-year-old churches are aflame. Much of the
Christian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is on fire and could be lost
forever. By these deeds too many of Kosovo's Albanians have shown that
their rhetoric about 'democracy' and 'multiethnicity' is false, and
demonstrates also that the international community's acceptance of them
has been naive." ( March 2004).

"The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have
subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an
ethnically pure and independent Kosovo. We have never blamed them for
being the perpetrators of the violence in the early '90s and we
continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of
evidence to the contrary." ( former Canadian UNPROFOR Commander Maj.
General Lewis MacKenzie).

"Kosovo today is a gangster state ruled by armed gangs that deal in
drugs, prostitution and extortion: the ethnic cleansing of the last
remaining Serbs from the land of their forefathers has been going on
since the ‘liberation’ and is only being noticed now that it is
reaching a blood-soaked crescendo. Five years of UN rule, and a
military occupation, have produced this." (Justin Raimondo. ‘The Déją
vu War).

"Today, almost five years since the ‘humanitarian bombing’ and the
establishment of a UN protectorate, Kosovo is one of the most dangerous
places in the world for Roma. Very few Roma, pejoratively referred to
as ‘gypsies’, have remained; estimates range from 22,000 – 25,000.
Before the US/Nato intervention in Kosovo there were more than 150,000
Roma in the region." (Voice of Roma 2004 report).

"The onslaught led by Albanian extremists against Kosovo’s Serb, Roma
and Ashkali communities was an organised, widespread and targeted
campaign.""(UN Peacekeeping Operation Director Jean-Marie Guehenno 13th
April 2004).

"Increasing numbers of local women, the majority of them girls, are
being internally trafficked within Kosovo. Women are often sold several
times in transit. According to the International Organisation for
Migration women have been sold for prices ranging from 50 euro to 3500
Women and girls are now being trafficked out of Kosovo into countries
in Western Europe, including Italy, Netherlands and the UK." (Amnesty
International May 6th 2004 – Facts and figures of women and girls for
forced prostitution in Kosovo).

"The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is upheld as a self-respecting
nationalist movement struggling for the rights of ethnic Albanians. The
truth of the matter is that the KLA is sustained by organised crime
with the tacit approval of the United States and its allies... the
links of the KLA to criminal syndicates in Albania, Turkey and the
European Union have been known to Western governments and intelligence
agencies since the mid-1990s." (Michael Chossudovsky – Kosovo ‘Freedom
Fighters’ Financed by Organised Crime).


Deep into his article Mr Cook attempts to denigrate both Mr Milosevic
and Mr Karadzic by writing the following:

"Bizarrely the two first met when Karadzic acted as psychiatrist to
Milosevic, but in this case the patient seems to have had greater
influence on his therapist's mental state than the other way round. I
had some insight into why Milosevic might have needed a psychiatrist
when I spent a long afternoon vainly trying to reason with him to
withdraw from Kosovo and avoid the need for military action. At the
time I felt deeply frustrated that I had been unable to get him to
grasp that we were serious, but I subsequently heard he had spent the
rest of the day blind drunk on brandy, which encouraged me to believe I
had been more successful than I first thought".

This juvenile nonsense tells us more about the writer than it does the
subjects. By his comment ‘drunk on brandy’ it is obvious that Mr Cook
is relying on hearsay evidence which is ironic given that the entire
prosecution case at the illegal Hague tribunal also revolved around
hearsay evidence. (Furthermore, given his own personal history Cook is
ill advised and ill equipped to delve into the realms of someone’s
private behaviour).

As for diagnosing a person’s mental state perhaps the following will
give us an insight into the mind and morals of Robin Cook who, as UK
foreign secretary endorsed the attack described below:

‘Shortly before a planned missile strike on the headquarters of
Milosevic's ruling Socialist Party--which was located in a residential
neighborhood of Belgrade--an internal memo assessing the likely
civilian destruction was distributed among NATO leaders:
Next to a photograph of the party headquarters, the document said:
"Collateral damage: Tier 3—high. Casualty Estimate: 50-100
Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty Est: 250—Apts in
expected blast radius."
In short, NATO anticipated that the attack could, in the worst case,
kill up to 350 people, including 250 civilians living in nearby
apartment buildings.
Washington and London (emphasis added) approved the target, but the
French were reluctant, noting that the party headquarters also housed
Yugoslav television and radio studios. "In some societies, the idea of
killing journalists—well, we were very nervous about that," said a
French diplomat."
Ultimately, Paris went along. But in going ahead with the attack, NATO
appears to have directly breached Article 51 of the Geneva Convention
(Protocol I), which prohibits any attack which may be expected to cause
incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to
civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in
relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
The Socialist Party building was itself a civilian facility located
hundreds of miles from the site of any military conflict. Asked by a
reporter at the next day's press briefing what military rationale lay
behind the party headquarters strike, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea could
not name any specific military function. Instead, he declared that NATO
considered "any aspect of the power structure" in Yugoslavia to be a
legitimate target, adding that the party headquarters building
"contains the propaganda machinery…of the ruling Socialist Party."

(Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting Jan 28th 2000).

What is one to make of the morality of a man who, when given
notification that a planned bombing mission will likely cost the lives
of approximately 250 innocent civilians, gives his approval for that
mission to go ahead?


Robin Cook ends his tiresome article with these comments:

"It is equally important that there is seen to be a process of holding
to account individuals for their personal responsibility. Without it we
will never break the cycle of conflict in which whole ethnic groups are
collectively guilty for the acts of a few. That is what distinguishes
justice from revenge.

Haradinaj has done a greater service to Kosovo by encouraging his
people to accept the rule of international law than any action he could
have taken by staying in office. As a result, Kosovo may now be nearer
to international
acceptance of eventual independent status. Conversely Serbia will find
it more difficult to resist that outcome if it persists in failing to
demonstrate the same degree of cooperation with the tribunal".

So we come to the crux of the matter and the real reason for his
article and the real reason Haradinaj has gone to The Hague, ‘Kosovo
may now be nearer to international acceptance of eventual independent

With this statement Cook is preparing the ground for the announcement
of ‘independence’ for Kosovo. Similar statements have also recently
been made by Richard Holbrooke Former U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations at his speech on 11th March at the George Bush Presidential
Library and by Soren Jessen-Petersen, head of the U.N. Mission in
Kosovo (UNMIK). These are not coincidences. The United States has
already decided to grant ‘independence’ to Kosovo no later than
mid-2006. In order to achieve this it is important that the
intervention in Kosovo is perceived as a ‘success story’, that Kosovo
is perceived as law abiding and stable. That the opposite is true, that
Kosovo, as observed by one journalist, "is the most dangerous place on
earth", is to the builders of the ‘new world order’, an irrelevance.

By hiding the reality of life in that province and falsely portraying
it as a ‘success story’, the ‘international community’ are getting
ready to hand over the Serbian province of Kosovo to the KLA mafia.

Despite a brief falling out with Tony Blair over the occupation of
Iraq, Mr Cook is now back on message and peddling his spite against a
president and a country (Yugoslavia) that not only has never attacked
another country, but has never even threatened to do so. Unlike his own
government who, under the cover of an ‘ethical’ foreign policy has,
since 1997, launched wars against Sierre Leone, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia
and Iraq twice. All of dubious legality and most just blatantly illegal.

For the benefit of Robin Cook and the Labour government we hereby
remind them of The Principles of International Law recognised in the
Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgement of the Tribunal
1945/6. Confirmed unanimously by the General Assembly of the United
Nations in Resolution 95, 11 December 1946

Key statements from the Judgement of the Nuremberg International War
Crimes Tribunal

" ... The second aim of the trial was to establish the rules of
international law for the future, so that not only the launching of
wars of aggression would be illegal, but also, for the first time, to
make the rulers who lead their countries into wars of aggression
personally responsible for their actions." - Lord Shawcross - Principal
British Prosecutor at Nuremberg, 1945.

"To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime, it
is the supreme international crime."

"To initiate a war of aggression is a crime that no political or
economic situation can justify."

Ian Johnson
March 2005


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