August 6, 2005 at 18:56 #4024Sailing ShoesMember
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I’ve just heard the very sad news that Robin Cook has died of a heart attack.
For those of you who have been posting on the London Bombings thread, should take a look and remember the words of Robin during the days before the conflict with Iraq started.
(Edited by Sailing Shoes at 7:57 pm on Aug. 6, 2005)August 6, 2005 at 19:11 #93441Sailing ShoesMember
- Total Posts 368
I’m sure he would have figured in the Gordon Brown cabinet. The Labour party and politics as a whole will miss him greatly.August 7, 2005 at 14:57 #93443
His speech against the war in Iraq was much needed sense.
However, one should not forget that he was one of those responsible for the illegal bombing (and resulting deaths) of Serbia.
I regret that his death came in the hills of Scotland rather than a jail cell in the Hague which would have been more deserved.
SteveAugust 8, 2005 at 17:02 #93445
As long as people are happy with it, I’m going to use this thread to continue the discussion of Robin Cook.
Your links to the Amnesty International docs show that the Serbs continued a policing policy which bears a strong relation to the policing in communist Czechoslovakia, ie one which was probably quite familiar in that neck of the woods.
It was brutal and corrupt but, I’ve heard similar stories from my friends in Czech, Slovakia and other parts of the world less familiar with freedom of speech than ours.
Given there were regular attacks by the KLA against Serb forces, is it really surprising that those forces used torture, threats and harrasment to get the information they wanted?
While I’m not condoning it, I’d suggest that the US have justified much of the same (and possibly worse) at Guantanamo and in Iraq.
That doesn’t mean it’s ok, just that it’s unremarkable.
But there’s nothing in there that suggests that there was a central policy of displacement prior to the bombing.
What happened just prior to the bombing, where the Serbs built up forces in the region were, according to Wesley Clark’s version of a conversation with Milosevic at the time, was a response to what the Serbs regarded as a build up of a NATO invasion force.
They had also said that (according to Clark), if NATO attacked, they’d displace the Albanians. Not a reasonable response, of course, and not one which made a lot of sense.
Whether "Operation Horseshoe" existed is surely easy to prove. The German intelligence services were the ones who claimed they discovered it (via the Bulgarians). They simply have to show what they knew.
Why haven’t they? Also, why did they not announce the existence of this plan until a couple of weeks after the bombing started?
There are other questions such as why NATO insisted that, to have a peace agreement, NATO must have unrestricted to all of Serbia?
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œNATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia including associated airspace and territorial waters…ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚ÂAugust 8, 2005 at 17:09 #93446
I have to agree that Stavros perhaps went off the deep-end with his statements regarding the late Mr Cook. It did seem somewhat a churlish response, considering that the wee bauchle has only just shuffled-off this mortal coil.
I don’t see what death has to do with it. I’d have said the same if, 2 weeks ago, someone had asked, "what do you think of Robin Cook"?
If Blair was to die tomorrow, while I was dancing around my living room, would people be posting "great man, did a lot for gambling as he was PM when they abolished betting tax"?
SteveAugust 8, 2005 at 18:09 #93452
A rather informative web blog that pretty much describes the battle Robin Cook had in being a rebel in Mr Bliar’s dictatorial government. He did his best in adverse circumstances. It’s not Mr Cook’s fault that he was part of one of the most authoritarian leaderships of all time.August 8, 2005 at 19:37 #93459
I disgree with your suggestions of "naivity".
I think that’s a reflection of how we, as a society, have, in our illusions of sophistication, tricked ourselves into believing that something very simple is somehow complex.
Our system of government means each constituency has a representative who each has one vote in parliament.
That’s how we are represented.
However, if politicians mislead parliament and mislead our representative, then we have no representation.
I learned a number of years ago that, when someone gives you false reasons for you to do something, it’s usually because there aren’t good reasons for you to want to do it.
If a politician has an honest case, let him make it. If he doesn’t, why should we want him to get his way?
Simple notions of democracy.
The perversion of this simple process – Blair’s "I’ve got the evidence, but I’m not going to show you it" – has got our country into a lot of trouble recently.
Personally, I’d like to see some proper accountability in place. And that means banning people from public office and, where appropriate, jail sentences.
Why dance around the room if Blair died tomorrow? Even if you dislike the man, it seems an incredibly odd reaction.
It’s an inherent part of our social make-up. The desire to see those who have been getting away with a crime pay a price.
I bet most people here were glad when Jeffrey Archer went to prison. It’s the same thing.
5 years from now Blair will be a millionaire raking in the big bucks on the US speaking circuit while bragging of how he "made the world a safer place" and "spread democracy".
Where’s the justice in that?
I can’t see how someone could believe that Blair lied to parliament over Iraq and not prefer to see dead rather than enjoying that life.
But maybe I’m just twisted.
The etiquette when someone dies in my book is – "if you haven’t got anything nice to say about them – say nothing at all".
That’s your’s and you’re entitled to it. I thought that the comments about him were hugely misrepresentative of who he was and offered a counter-point.
Maybe you haven’t ever lost anyone close to you
I lost my best friend to stomach cancer 7 years ago. Does that count?
Plus assorted relatives and friends over the years.
What’s that got to do with anything?
but IMO it is a sensitive time for family, friends and admirers and not the time for the type of tirade you posted on the Horse Racing forum.
I think we can speak freely and in an adult manner here in the lounge, so I’ll be blunt. If he wanted to be remembered as an honest man, he could have chosen to be honest.
However, while I meant my words, I probably should have phrased it differently.
An interesting article.
It suggests that he went into the job with the best of intentions.
However, that begs the question why he stayed there when it was impossible for him to carry out his "ethical" ideas.
Why not a resignation speech then, rather than before Iraq? Why not expose Blair for his misconduct?
Why not quit the Cabinet and work to reform the corruption within the Labour leadership?
I think the answer lies in his own self-interest.
SteveAugust 8, 2005 at 19:46 #93462
Actually Grasshopper, while I still live in a free country (for the moment anyway), I couldn’t give a crap what those organizations think of my POV LOL I happen to think that fascism is rife in the US and, more so every week that passes, in the UK too.
Fascism was typified by attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life. Many scholars consider fascism to be part of, or in coalition with, extreme right politics.
The very freedoms that we are trying to protect are being ever more eroded by those that claim to be protecting them. National ID cards are just the tip of the iceberg. It needs to be stopped whilst we still have the liberty to do so.<br>Stating my opinion, as a patriot of the UK, is my right. It’s my right to be anti-establishment. The day they take that right away is the day i’ll start calling the UK a police state. You are right Grasshopper. It is scary.<br>I’ll read the article. It looks long, but I have five minutes to spare :)<br>
(Edited by Racing Daily at 9:01 pm on Aug. 8, 2005)August 8, 2005 at 19:55 #93463dave jayMember
- Total Posts 3386
And how many minutes silence does a waster space get .. ??August 8, 2005 at 19:55 #93464
You wanted me to show you evidence that the Albanians were repressed. I presented you with two reports that did just that. You then shifted the goalposts to say that this sort of thing has happened elsewhere. That wasn’t the issue. Another example of Chomsky-esque evasion.
While I’m not condoning it, I’d suggest that the US have justified much of the same (and possibly worse) at Guantanamo and in Iraq. That doesn’t mean it’s ok, just that it’s unremarkable
Again, I didn’t state that it was remarkable, merely that it happened and it was evidence of repression, evidence which you asked to see.
What happened just prior to the bombing, where the Serbs built up forces in the region were, according to Wesley Clark’s version of a conversation with Milosevic at the time, was a response to what the Serbs regarded as a build up of a NATO invasion force. <br>They had also said that (according to Clark), if NATO attacked, they’d displace the Albanians. Not a reasonable response, of course, and not one which made a lot of sense.
Hardly surprising that Milosevic would try and justify the build up of Serb forces, nor that he would try and shift the blame for the ethnic cleansing he was about to unleash onto NATO. I’m only guessing here, and I know it may sound a little cynical, but if I was a brutal dictator, you know I may well not tell the truth about what I was planning to do to a NATO general. I don’t know, dictators today – you just can’t trust ’em.
Whether "Operation Horseshoe" existed is surely easy to prove. The German intelligence services were the ones who claimed they discovered it (via the Bulgarians). They simply have to show what they knew. <br>Why haven’t they? Also, why did they not announce the existence of this plan until a couple of weeks after the bombing started?
This quote is from a Human Rights Watch report
The 1999 Offensive <br>The Serbian and Yugoslav government offensive in Kosovo that began on March 20, 1999, four days before NATO bombing commenced, was a methodically planned and well-implemented campaign. Key changes in Yugoslavia’s security apparatus in late 1998, including a new head of Serbian state security and a new chief of the Yugoslav Army General Staff, suggest that preparations for the offensive were being made at that time. In early 1999, a distinct military build-up in Kosovo and the arming of ethnic Serb civilians was observed. Police and army actions in late February and early March around Vucitrn (Vushtrri) and Podujevo (Podujeve), called "winter exercises" by the government, secured rail and road links north into Serbia.
The forced expulsion was well organized, which suggests that it had been planned in advance. Villages in strategic areas were cleared to secure lines of communication and control of border zones. Areas of KLA support, as well as areas without a KLA presence, were attacked in joint actions by the police, army, and paramilitaries. Large cities were cleared using buses or trains and long convoys of tractors were carefully herded toward the borders. Refugees were driven into flight or transported in state organized transportation to the borders in a concerted program of forced expulsion and deportation characterized by a very high degree of coordination and control. <br>Human Rights Watch also documented the common practice of "identity cleansing": refugees expelled toward Albania were frequently stripped of their identity documents and forced to remove the license plates from their cars and tractors before being permitted to cross the border. Before reaching the border, many Albanians had their personal documents destroyed, suggesting the government was trying to block their return.
If you want to read more the full link is below
Operation Horseshoe existed. Do you want to know how I know it existed? Because the Serbs put it into effect. It started before the bombing and it accelerated during the bombing. It actually happened. The German intelligence about a Serbian plan to expel Albanians from their homes was right because that’s what happened.
The hypothesis that the Serbs only intensified their ethnic cleansing after the bombing started and so therefore the people who perpetrated the bombing are to blame for the ethnic cleansing is simply glib. It is the self-justification of an arrogant tyrant and to hear apparently intelligent people on the left parroting it is frankly depressing.
They had also said that (according to Clark), if NATO attacked, they’d displace the Albanians. Not a reasonable response, of course, and not one which made a lot of sense
I’d agree, not a reasonable response at all, unless of course you happen to be a genocidal tyrant.
I think we didn’t want a pro-Russian, anti-free marketeer in charge of Serbia and we were undermining him for a number of reasons.
Partly to open the country up to free-markets, partly because of the mineral resources in Kosovo, partly to stop Serbia aligning itself with Russia, and partly because of the strategic significance of that part of the world.
This is the point at which it gets really silly. You don’t happen to mention that the pro-Russian anti free marketeer just happened to have been responsible for some of the worst atrocities to take place on the mainland of Europe since the Second World War. But, hey, there’s more. It was all about the minerals, apparently. Or possibly the strategic significance of Serbia aligning with Russia. Are there any more? Again, this is a typical Chomsky tactic: when the argument gets too detailed, move on, grab at whatever half-baked conspiracy theories you have to hand and chuck them in. Show me the evidence that it was all about minerals and I will happily go along with you.
Personally, I believe he chose to not check the facts so he could present it as fact to make the case for war (as part of the demonisation of the Serbs).
I think the Serbs did a pretty good job of demonising themselves without any help from Mr Cook.
But as you say, it is your belief that Mr Cook deliberately misused the facts to take us to war. It is my belief that taking military action against Serbia was the right thing to do.
We have both put forward evidence. I still believe that the evidence indicates strongly that the Serbian forces had already begun deploying against civilians and that they intended the ethnic cleansing of Kosova. When the bombing began, they simply continued with their plans. There was an immediate humanitarian crisis and a threat to regional stability (which was not the case in Iraq). Military action had the support of NATO, the EU and all of the neighbouring countries. It did not depend on Mr Cook’s interpretation of the incident at Racak.
I strongly recommend that you read Noel Malcolm’s book on Kosova.
As for Milosevic, he’s got charges to answer
Another late, but potentially winning entry for understatement of the year.
(Edited by Aranalde at 9:00 pm on Aug. 8, 2005)<br>
(Edited by Aranalde at 9:10 pm on Aug. 8, 2005)August 8, 2005 at 20:02 #93466
Many apologies to Grasshopper and everyone else…I’m having serious trouble with me fonts today.
Is there a text doctor in the house?August 8, 2005 at 20:11 #93467
Aha! Italics, my old reliable, trusty friend, you are slanty and slightly wonky, but you are at least legible!August 8, 2005 at 21:13 #93469
Sorry to quickly jump off of topic. Grasshopper …
"Rather than being rooted in the U.S. Constitution, the Bush administration’s doctrine of executive power has more in common with the "Enabling Act" passed by the German Reichstag in 1933, which gave the German chief executive ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ÂAugust 8, 2005 at 21:54 #93470dave jayMember
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I’m struggling to see what you lot are finding to discuss about Cook. He was almost a bigger disappointment as Claire Short was .. loads of principals and heart held beliefs and when they were put to the test they were both found sorely lacking. Cook will be remembered for resigning, but resigning from exactly what post that was, has already been forgotten, it has by me anyway.
As for the conspiracy theory RD, so what ? If it’s all true then so what ? If the CIA, et al .. are all tuned into this thread then what exactly does that mean. Where is this ‘freedom’ that we are about to lose ? I would suggest that freedom is a state of mind and more to do with perception than reality. So, what you are really talking about is mind control or controlling the our perception of reality .. perhaps MK Ultra would be a more fitting subject than some daft law that Dim George has just passed ??August 8, 2005 at 22:08 #93471
Quote: from Grasshopper on 7:57 pm on Aug. 8, 2005[br]The Robin Cook article is ok, RD, but the follow on is an outstanding piece of journalism – and scary to boot. Everyone should take the time to wade through it. <br>
dave, I posted a link to a blog commentry on Robin Cook. Grasshopper then diverted my attention to the second article on the page. It’s about 20mins of reading, but I was simply commenting on it.<br>The link is above. By all means take 20 mins out and read it. It will open your eyes to the fact that the once great USA is being Bush-whacked. Conspiricy theory, maybe. I don’t think it is however. The American people are being hood-winked by a dictator. What’s the betting that the constitution gets changed in the next three years, to allow unlimited terms in office? I wouldn’t lay odds on it personally.<br>My final comment as I don’t want to hijack the thread.
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