Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kosovo, Criminality & Tony Blair--by Ian Johnson, ICDSM/Britain

Kosovo, Criminality & Tony Blair--by Ian Johnson, ICDSM/Britain

[Interesting how Fascist governments (the highly advanced capitalist wastrels {Lenin's imperialists} that dictate in the interests of that tiny elite that is defined by its accumulation and domination of surplus value) all work in the same perverse and miserable ways. For what else but freakish perversity could describe the willing submission of the interests of the vast general public to the fetishized whims of the cult of privatization? Bush is trying to privatize Social Security, Blair is trying to privatize the National Pension, and Chirac, with his blood-brokering lackey, Larry Fabius, is trying to write public interests totally out of the EU mix with their new Constitutional Treaty (more a treaty extenstion of Rome, Nice, Maastrich and the rest than a real European Constitution, as touted). And all of them celebrate the full-blown hegemonization of militarized criminality in places like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, the CIS and Central Africa, from Congo through Rwanda to Sudan. And they all would have us believe that their new/improved kind of Technicolor/70mm Panavision/LucasSound elections--unlike those clunky old B/W/mono ones held in those less enlightened though more populist nations, where if 51% of the electorate doesn't show it's a wash-out, like Yugoslavia/Serbia or Zimbabwe or Haiti or Palestine--have become the ultimate and irrevocable expressions of the public will. These so-called two-party democratic elections, that have for years been run in the US like bingo nights, in the interests of bought-off incumbents, indistinguishable from their opponents, and overseen by the kind of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing gangsters that only Hollywood, Madison Ave, and the USAID (oh yeah, and let's not forget the Catholic Church) can squeeze out of a festering body politic, have become the political equivalents of HIV tests: they prove nothing, they mean less. --Except that all these elections turn out to validate and perpetuate the dictatorship of the 5% over the interests of the 95%--which is why Hitler and his lot were hired in the first place by Harriman/Walker/Bush and their lot: to turn out the Judeo/Bolshevik government of Marechal Stalin and his commissars, who had completely inverted this formula by providing universal free health care, education, full-employment, subsidized housing and public transport to the 95 through the vicious suppression of the RKO-feudalist 5ers. Case in point: after each color-coded counter-revolution destroyed the favorable trade arrangements with Russia for such essentials as energy resources, the costs of gaz and electricity in these florid target nations rose exponentially--as did suicides among the under-privileged, under-employed and under-represented. But here's my good friend and ICDSM compadre, Ian Johnson, with an interesting breakdown of the recent degeneration in the quality of life for the subjects--and other victims--of Blatcherism. --mc]


By Ian Johnson

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong". – Voltaire.

Following the illegal Nato attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia British prime minister Tony Blair made a speech in his Sedgefield constituency in which he complained about the restrictions of current international law in the ‘changed circumstances of the present’. He bemoaned the fact that the actions of his government continually came into conflict with the accepted norms of international law. Rather than examine the conduct of his own government Blair called for changes in the law, which would allow for ‘more flexibility’.

In this call he was echoing the demands of the new United States president George Bush.

Today we can witness the result of this process of change as expressed in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and in the reactionary and anti-democratic US Patriot Act and the imminent introduction of new British ‘terrorism laws’.

Both these developments permit the detention and arrest of US or British citizens without the need to provide evidence of guilt, without even a charge being laid, without the accused being allowed access to legal counsel and the right of US and British governments to hold indefinitely all those who are named by the relevant politician. The ‘due process of law’ is abandoned and eight hundred years of judicial development is eradicated at the whim of a politician.

As journalist John Pilger noted prior to the recent British general election:

"By voting for Blair, you will invite more lies about terrorist scares in Britain so that totalitarian laws can be enacted. "I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state," said George Churchill-Coleman, the former head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad. Like the fake reasons for Blair's tanks around Heathrow on the eve of the greatest anti-war demonstration in British history, so anything, any scare, any arrest, any "control order", will be possible". (New Statesman 21/4/05).

While these developments have caused outrage it has not been generally recognised that the blueprint for the attack on international law and on democratic and civil rights that US and British citizens are now facing can be found in the previous, illegal, establishment of the UN ad hoc tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

For instance it is clear to anyone following the Slobodan Milosevic trial at the ICTY that he is not using his defence case to defend himself, he is using it to expose the truth about what was done to Yugoslavia, and he is using his defence case to defend Yugoslavia and its people and by extension he is exposing the corruption of legal norms and the shattering of international law being undertaken by Blair and Bush with Clinton before him.


In 1999 Blair became the cheerleader in chief for the Nato aggression against Yugoslavia, a nation that had never attacked another country, nor indeed had ever threatened to do so.

The term ‘humanitarian intervention’ was coined to justify this illegal act and a propaganda campaign launched that was reminiscent of 1930s Germany with its falsifications, faked photographs and unsubstantiated ‘evidence’ of ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘mass graves’ and ‘rape camps’, claims that were later so discredited that some British newspapers actually apologised to their readers for misleading them.

The Daily Mail of 5th November 1999 stated,

"The scale on which the public was misled about the atrocities…and not just Nato’s bombing ‘successes’….threatens to be mind-boggling."

Emilio Perez Pujol, head of the Spanish Forensic Team in Kosovo, attached to the International Criminal Tribunal, commented on the 12th October 1999, " I called my people together and said, ‘We’re finished here’. I informed my government and told them the real situation. We have become part of a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machine, because we did not find one…not one…mass grave.’

The New Statesman issue of 15th November 1999 stated, ‘Other atrocities of particular media interest, such as the ‘rape camps’ that so horrified Cherie Blair, are turning out to be fiction.’

Doctor Richard Munz who was based at Stenkoval Refugee Camp confirmed that, ‘The majority of media people I talked to, came here and looked for a story which they had written already. The entire time we were here, we had no cases of rape.’

Blair’s claim that, ‘up to 100,000 Kosovars have been murdered’ was also later exposed as untrue by Andrew Alexander who wrote in November 1999 in the Daily Mail,

"The head of the Spanish team sent out ready to provide 2000 post mortems, left last month having found only 187 corpses, some of which may have been bombing casualties!"

However, by the time these and many other similar reports had come out the damage had been done, and Blair was in a position to use one of his favourite phrases, ‘let’s move on’. That a sovereign nation had been destroyed, that thousands had died, that the entire region was now in chaos, was to Blair of no relevance.

(Coincidentally his phrase of ‘let’s move on’ is now being used in regard to Iraq and the non-existent WMDs).

Blair’s reasons for destroying Yugoslavia had little to do with ‘humanitarian’ concerns but had everything to do with the sections of society he actually represents.

It is relevant to note that prior to his first election victory in 1997 Blair and his colleagues spent much of their time convincing Wall Street and the City of London financial institutions that their interests would be ‘safe in the hands of a future Labour government’. Indeed Blair hosted so many dinners and cocktail parties for this financial elite that the nickname for the Labour party in the City of London is ‘the prawn cocktail party’.

Moreover, even at this early date, Blair felt confident enough to inform the assembled bankers at a meeting of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development that ‘when the East is opened up it will be bonanza time for the banks’.

Indeed the East is being opened up just as Blair promised his financier friends. But what has this development meant for the inhabitants of these countries?

James Petras in his article (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/PET406B ) outlined the results of this road as seen in countries over the last fifteen years. His findings are worth quoting at length:

‘In Poland, the former Gdansk Shipyard, point of origin of the Solidarity Trade Union, is closed and now a museum piece. Over 20% of the labor force is officially unemployed (Financial Times, Feb. 21/22, 2004) and has been for the better part of the decade. Another 30% is "employed" in marginal, low paid jobs (prostitution, contraband, drugs, flea markets, street venders and the underground economy). In Bulgaria, Rumania, Latvia, and East Germany similar or worse conditions prevail: The average real per capita growth over the past 15 years is far below the preceding 15 years under communism (especially if we include the benefits of health care, education, subsidized housing and pensions). Moreover economic inequalities have grown geometrically with 1% of the top income bracket controlling 80% of private assets and more than 50% of income while poverty levels exceed 50% or even higher. In the former USSR, especially south-central Asian republics like Armenia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan, living standards have fallen by 80%, almost one fourth of the population has out-migrated or become destitute and industries, public treasuries and energy sources have been pillaged. The scientific, health and educational systems have been all but destroyed. In Armenia, the number of scientific researchers declined from 20,000 in 1990 to 5,000 in 1995, and continues on a downward slide (National Geographic, March 2004). From being a center of Soviet high technology, Armenia today is a country run by criminal gangs in which most people live without central heat and electricity’.

Highlighting how the privatisation process has undermined the public health system in these countries Petras goes on to observe:

‘A big contributor to the AIDS epidemic are the criminal gangs of Russia, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Baltic countries, who trade in heroin and each year deliver over 200,000 'sex-slaves' to brothels throughout the world. The violent Albanian mafia operating out of the newly "liberated" Kosova (sic) controls a significant part of the heroin trade and trafficking in sex-slaves throughout Western Europe and North America. Huge amounts of heroin produced by the US allied warlords of "liberated" Afghanistan pass through the mini-states of former Yugoslavia flooding Western European countries’.

If we are to accept that Blair’s interventionist policies intentionally destabilise countries then it is a valid question to ask how can this policy assist his friends on Wall Street and in the City of London?

To clarify this it is worthwhile to quote some extracts from Naomi Klein’s work ‘The Rise of Disaster Capitalism’ (May 2005).

Commenting on the reconstruction of countries hit by disaster or war, Klein notes:

‘And there is no doubt that there are profits to be made in the reconstruction business. There are massive engineering and supplies contracts ($10 billion to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan alone);
"democracy building" has exploded into a $2 billion industry; and times have never been better for public-sector consultants--the private firms that advise governments on selling off their assets, often running government services themselves as subcontractors.
But shattered countries are attractive to the World Bank for another reason: They take orders well. After a cataclysmic event, governments will usually do whatever it takes to get aid dollars--even if it means racking up huge debts and agreeing to sweeping policy reforms.

In Afghanistan, where the World Bank also administers the country's aid through a trust fund, it has already managed to privatize healthcare by refusing to give funds to the Ministry of Health to build hospitals.
Instead it funnels money directly to NGOs, which are running their own private health clinics on three-year contracts. It has also mandated "an increased role for the private sector" in the water system,
telecommunications, oil, gas and mining and directed the government to "withdraw" from the electricity sector and leave it to "foreign private investors." These profound transformations of Afghan society were never debated or reported on, because few outside the bank know they took place:
The changes were buried deep in a "technical annex" attached to a grant providing "emergency" aid to Afghanistan's war-torn infrastructure—two years before the country had an elected government".

Klein further observes that:

".. the reconstruction industry works so quickly and efficiently that the privatizations and land
grabs are usually locked in before the local population knows what hit them.

"..The fires were still burning in Baghdad when US occupation officials rewrote the investment laws and announced that the country's state-owned companies would be privatized."

Consequently, the destabilisation or actual destruction of sovereign countries creates the conditions for the privatisation of state owned enterprises, and the reshaping and restructuring of once independent economies into market-orientated and World Bank and IMF dependent states.

In the pursuit of privatisation and bigger profits even natural disasters are not necessarily a bad thing, as observed by one of Tony Blair’s ideological colleagues in the US, the quite revolting Condoleezza Rice, who described the tsunami disaster as "a wonderful opportunity" that "has paid great dividends for us."

Klein comments on the actions of the World Bank:

"Now the bank is using the December 26 tsunami to push through its cookie-cutter policies. The most devastated countries have seen almost no debt relief, and most of the World Bank's emergency aid has come in the form of loans, not grants. Rather than emphasizing the need to help the small fishing communities--more than 80 percent of the wave's victims—the bank is pushing for expansion of the tourism sector and industrial fish farms. As for the damaged public infrastructure, like roads and schools, bank documents recognize that rebuilding them "may strain public finances" and suggest that governments consider privatization (yes, they have only one idea). "For certain investments," notes the bank's tsunami-response plan, "it may be appropriate to utilize private financing."

Further, commenting on the consequences of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Klein notes the following:

"Mitch parked itself over Central America, swallowing villages whole and killing more than 9,000. Already impoverished countries were desperate for reconstruction aid--and it came, but with strings attached. In the two months after Mitch struck, with the country still knee-deep in rubble, corpses and mud, the Honduran congress initiated what the Financial Times called "speed sell-offs after the storm." It passed laws allowing the privatization of airports, seaports and highways and fast-tracked plans to
privatize the state telephone company, the national electric company and parts of the water sector. It overturned land-reform laws and made it easier for foreigners to buy and sell property. It was much the same in neighboring countries: In the same two months, Guatemala announced plans to sell off its phone system, and Nicaragua did likewise, along with its electric company and its petroleum sector."

While millions now live in poverty and misery the banks and financial institutions are able to announce record profits. This is the political ideology of Tony Blair in action, and to achieve it he has shown no reservations about deliberately misleading the people of Britain. As John Pilger commented:

‘Blair is a liar on such an epic scale that even those who still protect him with parliamentary euphemisms, like Robin Cook ("He knew perfectly well what he was doing. I think there was a lack of candour") and the Guardian and the BBC, now struggle to finesse his perjury’. (New Statesman 21/4/05).


After the illegal intervention in Yugoslavia, Nato occupied the Serbian province of Kosovo and created a United Nations protectorate, serving until such time as a final status for the province could be determined. That, at any rate, was the official story. However the decision was taken long ago to declare an ‘independent’ Kosovo by mid-2006, thus ripping the province from its legally recognised homeland as part of Serbia and handing it to criminals of the KLA, an organisation that acted as Nato’s ground troops during the 1999 aggression and an organisation that is amply documented to be deeply involved in drugs and arms smuggling, child prostitution and people trafficking. (The involvement of both the US and Britain with such an organisation gives the lie to the so-called ‘war on terrorism’. Rather than making war against them they are in bed with them).

The task in the meantime however, was to create the impression that the Nato intervention in Kosovo was a success, a claim Blair never tires of making.

Despite the cooperation of a spineless British media in peddling this lie it has become apparent that the intervention in Kosovo was an unmitigated disaster, and that Kosovo today is, as described by one observer, ‘the most dangerous place on earth.’

The reality is that since NATO's entry into Kosovo, the province has been ethnically cleansed of Serbs and other minorities despite, or perhaps because of, the watchful eyes of NATO and UNMIK. Coincidence or not but since the province fell under UN control violence by the KLA, under various names, has escalated alarmingly.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council on April 13th, 2004, U.N. Peacekeeping Operations Director
Jean-Marie Guehenno described Kosovo, five years after the end of civil war, as a simmering cauldron of ethnic suspicions. Mr. Guehenno stated: "The onslaught led by Albanian extremists against Kosovo's Serb, Roma and Ashkali communities was an organized, widespread and targeted campaign."

The following is an extract from a letter sent to the UN from the Roma Rights Center last year, its contents are self-explanatory:

Your Excellencies,
The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), an international public interest law organisation which monitors the situation of Roma in Europe, is writing to express deep concern at the grave human rights
violations against Roma and Ashkaelia in Kosovo committed on and after March 17, 2004 and currently ongoing.

Your Excellencies,
The situation of Roma, Ashkaelia, Egyptians and others regarded as "Gypsies" in Kosovo is now extremely precarious. In March 2004, Roma, Ashkaelia and others have again been targeted for extreme violence as part of a campaign begun in 1999 by ethnic Albanians to expel minorities from the province, to seize their property and to do them serious physical harm. In the close to five years since an international administration was established in Kosovo, rudimentary security has never been durably established in Kosovo and minorities have been daily unable to enjoy basic freedom from fear of physical attack. A number of communities have lived for close to half a decade without effective freedom of movement.

In their article ‘Aftermath of "Humanitarian" Intervention in Kosovo’ authors Carol Bloom, Eani Rifati and Sunil Sharma, state the following:

‘While the international civil presence is mandated to maintain civil law and order, protect and promote human rights and assure the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes, reports by the UN ombudsperson office, UNHCR, OSCE, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others state that KFOR and UNMIK have failed to fulfil these obligations. If the Albanians succeed in creating an independent Kosovo, it would seem that, in the end, they are to be rewarded for their massive ethnic cleansing campaign.
Is this a picture of democracy in action? Is this what the US and NATO are touting as a "success story"? Is another Diaspora, with no right to settle and no hope of return, what the Roma of Kosovo can look forward to in the 21st Century?’

Kosovo today is a province run by gangsters, it has an unemployment rate of 57% according to Associated Press, it distributes 70% of the world’s heroin trade, it is the largest supplier of child prostitutes in Europe, yet Blair insists this is a ‘success story’. To any decent person the above facts would constitute a vision of hell so why would Blair argue otherwise?

The answer is very simple, if somewhat unpalatable to Blair’s dwindling number of supporters.

His only concern is to represent his backers, the financial elite. It is his job to open up countries and areas to exploitation, and open their economies to privatisation, the fate of the ordinary people of these regions is of no relevance to him. It is on this ruthless basis that he sees Kosovo as a ‘success story’.

Here are extracts from two recent media reports on the sell-off of Kosovo’s assets:

‘A nickel plant in Kosovo went up for sale Wednesday as the U.N. mission in Kosovo agreed to give a mining license to the most successful bidder, the United Nations said.
Companies have been asked to table bids for Feronikeli plant in central Kosovo, which was badly damaged during NATO bombing of Serb forces in this disputed province in 1999 and is one of the major plants in the economically depressed province.
The United Nations, which administers the province, also agreed to provide potential buyers with the
license for exploitation and exploration of the mines, said Mechtild Henneke, a U.N. spokeswoman.
Kosovo is the poorest region in the Western Balkans with an annual gross domestic product per capita of around euro1,000 (US$1,300) and a jobless rate of at least 50 percent, according to EU figures despite the fact that it is rich in mines and minerals.
The privatisation of Feronikeli would be the most important sell-off of socially owned enterprises, a
term used for enterprises owned by the workers and managers under a system set up under communist-era Yugoslavia’. (Business Week Associated Press April 27, 2005).


15 Kosovo Companies Up For Privatization –Officials PRISTINA (AP)--Officials in Kosovo put 15 companies up for sale Tuesday, the fifth batch of firms to be privatized in the economically depressed
province, a statement said.
The businesses include a former producer of plastic moldings, a pharmaceutical wholesale trading company, an old rubber products factory, an electrical mill, a brick factory, warehouses, a clothing producer and a mineral water bottling plant.
Most of the companies will be sold to the highest bidder, while two will go to buyers that have submitted investment plans and negotiated workers' conditions with the Kosovo Trust Agency, a U.N.-run office charged with selling hundreds of enterprises.
The agency advertised the 15 companies for sale on its Web site, saying bids would be accepted from mid-July.
The U.N. mission that is running Kosovo recently set new rules for the privatization process, pledging a faster sell-off of the province's companies.
KOSOVA (sic) REPORT Tuesday, May 10, 2005.

As one astute observer correctly stated; ‘This is the rape of Kosovo. All these companies were state owned so UNMIK is privatising what does not belong to them. This is pretty much the Wild West!’

If a person breaks into someone’s home, steals their possessions and then sells them on, he would be prosecuted accordingly, if his break-in was with the use of a weapon, if he was armed, his sentence would reflect the charge of armed robbery. For such an offence he would certainly go to prison. What is the difference therefore, if, instead of robbing just one house, you rob an entire country, indeed many countries, you steal their assets by armed force and subsequently sell them on at a bargain price to your business friends? This is what Blair does for a living! Furthermore, is it any wonder that backward youth in Britain now think it is acceptable to rob, mug and steal from others? They have a prominent role model do they not?

Kosovo today is not only a dangerous place to live, it is a morally sick province. While the victory over Fascism was recently celebrated throughout the world the current Kosovo authorities, those same authorities supported by Blair, decided to erect a memorial complex to Nazi collaborators and members of the notorious Skenderbeg SS Division from the Second World War.

A media report on this announcement states:

‘The decision foresees the building of a memorial park on a surface of some 1.5 hectares and a monument in the location where Yugoslav officials at that time and Partisan forces executed fascist
collaborators, the members of the Second League of Prizren.
This organization was founded in 1943 in Prizren upon the initiative of the Gestapo.
Recorded in the chronicle of acts of terror by Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija are crimes in Babuska municipality, forcible expulsion in Urosevac, executions in Velika Hoca, forcible detention (of the population) from Prizren and Grbol, murders in the village of Vitomirica.... Two hundred
Serbs were killed just in the district of Djakovica and 5,000 Serbs were taken away to fascist camps in Albania. The participation of the Prizren League through its military formations in the extermination of Kosovo Jews is one of the most shameful episodes in the history of Kosovo. Out of 281 Jews arrested by the military formations of the Second League of Prizren, more than 200 were killed in the Belsen Nazi death camp. The entire Jewish population of Kosovo was destroyed and never recovered to its pre-war numbers.

Hence it comes as no surprise that the Municipality of Pristina is not planning any sort of commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the victory against fascism. The memorial tomb dedicated to the heroes and victims of Nazism during World War II in Pristina has been destroyed. The plates bearing the names of fallen fighters (Serbs, Albanians, Turks and Jews) have been removed and destroyed, and the monument is today covered with graffiti celebrating the Kosovo Liberation Army.’


During his investigations into the lobby firm LLM, journalist Greg Palast discovered LLM’s guide to New Labour philosophy. On page three of this ‘confidential guide’ was the headline, ‘ An Old World Is Disappearing And A New One Emerging’ under the sub-heading ‘Emerging World’ was written ‘Pragmatism will replace Ideals, Consumption will replace Convictions and Buying takes the place of Belief.’ (Page 298). Such is the nature of Blair’s New Labour.

The Blair rhetoric used to mislead the British people on international issues is also used to mislead on the domestic front. The fawning mainstream media never mentions the widening gap between a very rich tiny minority and the rest of the population. Under Blair London has become a leading tax haven for the world’s billionaires, and is the only place where you can buy a 15 million pound diamond encrusted swimsuit.

In contrast workers are searching for accommodation outside the capital because of the exorbitantly high property prices.

At the same time as the major banks and financial institutions are announcing record profits, personal debt in Britain has now surpassed the one trillion pounds mark, and it is this debt, with its accompanying stress, broken families and even suicides, that is fuelling these record profits.

John Pilger commented on the economy in his article published in the New Statesman 21/4/05:

"The ballyhooed "boom" and "growth" in Britain have been booms for the rich, not for ordinary people. With scant media attention, the Blair government has transferred billions of pounds' worth of public services into private hands under the private finance initiative (PFI). The "fees", or rake-off, for PFI projects in 2006-2007 will be in the order of £6.3bn, more than the cost of many of the projects: a historic act of corporate piracy. Neither is new Labour "supporting" the National Health Service, but privatising it by stealth; by 2006-2007 private contracts will rise by 150 per cent. Under Gordon Brown, Britain has the distinction of having created more than half the world's tax havens, so that the likes of Rupert Murdoch are able to pay minimal tax. "Growth" has meant the rapid growth in the gap between rich and poor".

When Blair came to power in 1997 he assured the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), that ‘ a Labour government would put the interests of business at the heart of its position.’ And when the EU drew up its Charter of Fundamental Rights Blair sent the Attorney General to demand that British anti-trade union laws should be preserved. The EU agreed, which left Blair free to boast to the CBI that, ‘ British law is the most restrictive on trade unions in the western world.’

A recent study commissioned by Help the Aged charity showed that two-thirds of elderly people in Britain have to cope with ‘medium to high deprivation’. Help the Aged spokesperson Mervyn Kohler stated, ‘ The shocking poverty and low quality of life experienced by so many older people is a disgrace’. The charity subsequently accused the government of ignoring older people and called for a commitment from the government to take account of their needs.

However Mr Kohler was mistaken. Mr Blair had no intention of ignoring the elderly, indeed his government is going to address this question, although unfortunately for the elderly, not quite in the way Help the Aged have requested. Blair intends to make people work longer, at least to seventy years of age, at the same time, while claiming a pension crisis, he will abolish state pensions and bring in compulsory private pensions, thus achieving what no previous government had dared to attempt, the privatisation of the state pension.

The formerly disgraced David Blunkett has been brought back to head the Work and Pensions department to complete this task.

Yet, as one opposition MP pointed out, since coming to power in 1997, "The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, stole £5 billion a year from pension funds." (Manchester Evening News 12th May 2005). So having robbed the state pensions on a yearly basis Blair is now demanding that workers pay for it.

Again we can draw a comparison with the petty criminal. There is seldom a crime as despicable as the street mugging of an old aged pensioner, often for the sake of only a few pounds. What are we to make then of a government that ‘mugs’ pensioners to the tune of £5 billion a year?


Recent years have seen a pattern emerging whereby Tony Blair will be in the forefront of accusing countries of holding ‘fraudulent elections’. No credible evidence to back these claims up is ever produced but that still doesn’t stop Blair demanding ‘regime change’ in these countries. Indeed, not only demanding ‘regime change’ in words but by engaging in active interference in the internal affairs of the targeted country. It would appear that what Blair calls a rigged election is an election that is won by a political party that wants to retain some kind of independence from the threat of foreign control over their economy or independence from the dictates of the European Union. However, interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation is once again a breach of international law, but with the might of the United States alongside him Blair, like a bully in the school playground, pursues his much smaller victim.

Rather than look at unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud, let us look at some substantiated evidence, not in any foreign country but here in Britain.

In a High Court ruling on April 4th this year, Richard Mawrey QC, acting as election commissioner, issued s 192-page judgement stating that the polls in two wards in Birmingham, the Aston and Bordesley Green electoral wards, were corrupted by "massive, systematic and organised" vote rigging by Labour party members during the June 2004 local elections.

This High Court ruling was briefly mentioned in some mainstream media papers but what was not highlighted was the fact that investigations into electoral fraud by Labour party members was ongoing in at least six other areas.

The judge stated that between one third and half of all Labour votes in some areas may have been fraudulent.

Mawrey was quoted as stating, "the evidence of electoral fraud would disgrace a banana republic" and that the system of postal voting in the UK, " is wide open to fraud and any would-be political fraudster knows that it’s wide open to fraud."

The QC also accused Labour of attempting to delay the vote-rigging hearings until after the general election.

When asked to change the election procedures to make fraud more difficult Blair replied that there was no time before the general election to do this. Apart from showing contempt for democratic norms, this statement was untrue. The government was not legally obliged to call a general election until the year 2006.

During the course of the court hearing the QC heard evidence that voter-rigging was organised on a large scale and included the fraudulent use of postal ballot, death threats and other forms of intimidation.

In a submission to the court, one barrister identified fifteen different types of fraud carried out in the elections, including:

Labour people stood on main roads attempting to bribe local people into handing over their postal ballots.

Children were sent to steal election papers from letterboxes. (I would have thought that this is hardly the correct way to educate children away from a life of crime and it leaves Blair’s pledge of ‘being tough on crime’ sounding somewhat hollow).

Householders were intimidated into handing over their election forms.

A postman was offered £500 for a sack of ballot papers. He was then allegedly threatened with death if he refused.

As part of the rigging operation hundreds of voting forms were sent to a ‘safe house’ to be filled in. Many had been changed with correcting fluid.

Some votes were taken to the election counts in plastic bags. For instance a bag full of 300 postal ballot votes in envelopes was delivered to the counting station. After brief negotiations these were accepted as valid votes.

The hearing was informed that this bag of ballot papers all recorded votes for Labour candidates.

Really, all this should come as no surprise. Blair is a man who has a completely different agenda to the spin he portrays. He has lied about Yugoslavia, he has lied about Afghanistan and he has lied about Iraq. On the domestic front therefore is it seriously expected that he will tell the truth?

I was surprised some years ago when I heard a barrister, in private conversation, call Blair a ‘thug and a gangster’. Today, I can only marvel at the insightfulness of the comment.

Ian Johnson

May 2005.


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