Cover of The Long View vol 6, Issue 1The January 2024 issue of the quarterly magazine “The Long View” is dedicated to “Palestine and the Shifting Paradigms of Peace” and includes my article How to Make a Genocide and How to Resist It.

The Long View editorial says:

“In our lead essay, Richard Haley looks not at why there is so much tacit and explicit support for a genocidal project in the west, but how this is able to operate. He contends that three issues have been key to opening the door for this next stage of annihilation being unleashed since October 2023 on the Palestinians. There are three pillars to the procedural and discursive framework that has made this genocide possible: the imputation of anti-semitism to critics of Israel, the invention of an Israeli right to self-defence that goes beyond its rights under the UN Charter, and the criminalisation of armed Palestinian resistance. Haley takes no prisoners in detailing how international law and institutions have been disregarded and undermined, and solidarity movements cowed and or socialised. His conclusion is clear: the language of the oppressors cannot be used to liberate the oppressed.”

Continue reading “How to Make a Genocide and How to Resist It” »

This blog was offline from April 2023 until March 2024. Sorry! Normal sevice has, perhaps, been resumed.

I have added a few short items I originally posted to facebook during the offline period. They are dated with the date of the original facebook post.

The blog was also offline from October 2021 to 12 March 2022. One or two items posted prior to October 2021 escaped inclusion in backups and it has not been possible to restore them.

The blog may be a bit wobbly on its feet for a bit, so please be patient if you come across anything that looks a bit dishevelled or doesn’t quite work properly. I’ll try to fix any problems as they emerge, and perhaps also to make some improvements.

Feel free to contribute via the comments. To do so you’ll need to register an account (which will be approved manually, so please be patient) or login using your facebook or twitter account. However you log in, your first comments will need to be approved manually, so again please be patient. I hope this doesn’t sound tedious. It has to be better than facebook, doesn’t it?

If commenting, just bear in mind what I’ve said before:

“If you are socialism-averse, or you are thrilled by the sight of military parades, or you worry that Europe is being Islamified, or you fear that your town is about to be swamped by immigrants, or you are fond of locking people up and throwing away the key, or you think Britain’s security services are doing a great job, you probably won’t like this blog. You’d be much happier somewhere else.”

You’ll also be unhappy here if you’re thrilled by the prospect of war with Russia, or if you don’t like to describe Israel’s actions in Gaza as genocide.

Comments along any of those lines are unlikely to be treated kindly. But if that’s not you, you’re welcome.

 

“Israel has a right to defend itself” is a vacuus phrase that will go down in history alongside “just obeying orders” as a fraudulent passport to genocide. It has become so ubiquitous that it is being used not just by downright rascals but also by people in official positions making otherwise decent-ish statements.

Israel does not have a right to “defend” its control of territory internationally recognised as occupied. The correct response to attacks on occupation forces is to lift the siege of Gaza immediately and then end the occupation.

The Palestinian people, on the other hand, do indeed have a right to resist the occupation by armed force. Their right barely gets a mention in the corridors of power and has been ghosted by the banning in many countries of organisations attempting to exercise it.

What if we recognised Israel’s right to self-defence while banning the IDF and Israel’s main political parties?

Doubling down on horror. Tzipi Hotovely justifies the RAF’s unquestionably criminal bombing of Dresden in ww2 en route to justifying Israel’s planned genocide in Gaza. She also, completely bizarrely, compares Gaza under Hamas to Nazi Germany.

The most shameful and militarily pointless actions of the UK during WW2 are being recycled to justify more crimes. The fact that Nuremburg, while a benchmark for justice in some senses, was also quite blatantly a victors’ justice, is being cynically exploited to destroy justice altogether.

This the open abandonment of international law. It’s a claim that international law doesn’t matter as long as you win.

Biden-Netanyahu-Sunak are determined on a course of action that is openly genocidal and, even from their own point of view, full of risk. They know that they have no friends in the Middle East, precious few friends outside the US bloc, and are facing widespread domestic opposition. They want to do it anyway. We have to step up the pressure until they stop wanting that. Join the protests on Saturday.

Palestinians have broken out of Gaza. Good. They came out shooting. What did anyone expect? Remember what happened when they walked out peacefully in 2018, in the Great March of Return?

protest against the Iraq war, Glasgow, 15 February 2003

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the huge demonstrations in London and Glasgow against the imminent US-UK invasion of Iraq. A few days later David Aaronovitch published a nasty, condescending article in the Guardian that he must have hoped would help break the momentum of the anti-war movement. It was headlined “Dear marcher, please answer a few questions.” I took him at his word and sent the Guardian an article with answers to his questions. Naturally they ignored it. Here it is, written on 28 February 2003.

Continue reading “Dear David, I’m not going to give war a chance” »

Funeral of Tony Catney
Funeral of Tony Catney

For almost two and a half years the British media have been running stories about a dissident republican fixer and supposed MI5 agent called Dennis McFadden. Some of the stories have more than a whiff of MI5 propaganda about them. Reporting fairly on MI5 is difficult, but the media need to try harder.

McFadden was exposed in August 2020 when he was described in court as a state agent by lawyers representing ten people charged with offences related to alleged New IRA terrorism. Committal proceedings against the ten have been under way since 24 October 2022 to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial.

McFadden was central to the events leading to these people being charged, but he has not been named as a suspect in the case or called as a witness and has apparently disappeared. The circumstances surrounding his involvement make it virtually impossible to doubt that he was working for the British state.

Nine of the people charged were at the time of their arrest members of Saoradh, a political party that the media often describe as the “political wing” of the New IRA. The tenth person was Issam Bassalat, a Palestinian doctor from Edinburgh. His limited connection with Saoradh was solely through McFadden, and his lawyers say that his presence at a meeting that is key to the charges against him was the result of pressure and deception by McFadden. They say that in any case Dr Bassalat spoke only about the situation in Palestine and committed no crime.

MI5 is said by police to have been a “partner” in the operation – codenamed “Arbacia” – that led to the arrests, and to have made the covert recordings on which the prosecution relies. But the spy agency has so far refused to confirm or deny that McFadden was working for them.

Continue reading “Spooks and Spin – What was the role of suspected MI5 agent Dennis McFadden?” »

Stop the war in Ukreaine, poster

Saturday 7 May is an international day of  action for peace in Ukraine, supported by Codepink, the Stop the War Coalition and the No to NATO network.

The UK’s Stop The War Coalition is calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops, an end to the military escalation by the NATO countries and for all efforts to be focused on finding a negotiated solution to this terrible war and is holding demos around the UK.

The Stop The War Coalition Scotland is calling a national demo in Glasgow, assembling at 11.30am on Saturday 7 May in Blythswood Square, Glasgow.

For events in the US (events elsewhere in the world will perhaps be added here), see www.peaceinukraine.org.

man holds a poster with the inscription in Russian “no war.”

The war in Ukraine grows more dangerous every day. The US Congress is close to approving a massive new arms and aid package for Ukraine. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says “the war in Ukraine is our war” and “we will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine.” US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said he wants to see Russia “weakened.”

These statements create the impression that the US and its allies intend to use the war to catalyse the collapse of the Russian state. If Russian leaders believe that to be the case they will think it worth running almost any risk to try to strengthen their position.

Western statements appear to be calculated to squeeze Russia between a rock and a hard place and block any prospect of negotiation. Continue reading “Stopping the War in Ukraine – Five Demands” »

Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair

There are few things that friends of the establishment dislike more than the kind of contextualisation they call “whataboutism”. When Washington says “Ukraine”, we mustn’t say “Iraq.” They are right, in a way. Trying to keep a score card of war crimes and human rights abuses by the world’s great powers would certainly be a futile task if the aim was to pick demons and saviours.

But that isn’t the point. The purpose of context and history is to create a picture of how international law actually works in the hope of understanding what consequences might follow from particular actions. You would be unwise to jump to conclusions about an alleged breach of domestic law without looking not only at the evidence, but also at police actions and case law and perhaps also the sociology of comparable incidents. You would be even more unwise to approach international law in ignorance of its case history. There is no international police force and no single straightforward court system comparable with domestic court systems. The concept of customary international law – the accumulation of unchallenged actions by states – has no real parallel in domestic law. War crimes prosecutions always involve politics in a much more explicit way than domestic prosecutions. You cannot talk about international law without talking about history.

So what about Afghanistan and Iraq?

Continue reading “What About International Law?” »