Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Corbyn Proved Right Again

A month ago, when Jeremy Corbyn argued that the government was shooting from the hip over the Salisbury nerve agent attack, he was derided by the Tories, the Tory media, and the right-wing of the PLP.  Its not a coincidence that this is the same coalition of forces that is also attacking him over ant-Semitism.  It is the same coalition of forces that have attempted to undermine him and the Labour Party ahead of every set of elections since he was elected Leader, in 2015.  It is the same coalition of forces that also dominates the so called "mainstream Jewish organisations" of the British Board of Jewish deputies, and the Jewish Leadership Council.  But, yet again, as with the war in Iraq, and Libya, Corbyn has been proved right, and his attackers have been proved wrong.

Let's be clear what he has been proved right about.  Corbyn never said that Putin was not responsible for this attack.  What he said was, as with the claims about WMD in Iraq, that the government had not proved their case; they have not provided the necessary evidence of guilt, and without that, a sensible person would hold back from supporting the government's knee-jerk, shoot from the hip response.

As I wrote previously, the likelihood still remains that Putin is responsible for this attack.  What is more, as Corbyn has made clear in several statements in Parliament and elsewhere, whether Putin is responsible for the attack or not, does not change the vile nature of his regime, and its oppression of Russian workers, of the LGBT community, and so on.  But, all of that is irrelevant in terms of whether we should simply accept what the government, or the intelligence services say without question.  If the government presses ahead with actions against Russia, that cause economic frictions that may result in workers losing their jobs, then we should at least know that the actions they are taking are based upon some facts, and reliable evidence.  Even more, if such a ramping up of tensions leads to more serious consequences, in what is becoming an increasingly dangerous world, given the erratic behaviour of Donald Trump, we should demand conclusive proof from the government, otherwise the mistakes that flowed from the Iraq dodgy dossier might seem minor by comparison.

What we have seen is the familiar pattern of selected facts, speculation, and half-truths mangled together into a plausible story, that no one is allowed to dissent from, hence the irrational response to Corbyn's original refusal to sign up unquestioningly to the government line.  In fact, a similar pattern is being used to try to bludgeon Corbyn and others into submission over the anti-Semitism claims.  So, far, the government have provided no evidence either to Parliament or to the public to substantiate their claims.  They made some evidence available to Privy Council members, but clearly Corbyn felt that the information provided there also failed to pass the sniff test.

Its not just the Tories and Labour Right left with egg on their face.  The SNP, anxious to attack Corbyn, as they see their support slip back to a more Corbynite Labour Party in Scotland, was keen to do their usual trick of lining up with the Tories.

The tories have done exactly what Blair did over Iraq.  They have put together this plausible story, and sold it to Britain's EU partners, and to the US.  Having then obtained public support from those other governments, the Tories then say, "you see, its not just us, these other governments know its Putin too."  But, of course, over Iraq, that process, whereby all of the different intelligence agencies share the same information, and give the illusion, therefore, of multiple sources, all falls apart, when its found that the original information they all shared was in fact, completely bogus.

Over Iraq, Blair failed to convince the French, German and other Europeans, but went ahead with his and Bush's war anyway.  This time too, France and Germany initially demanded Britain provide more information, but possibly influence by the Brexit talks, and undoubtedly provided with exaggerated information by May and Bojo, the EU leaders this time allowed themselves to be drawn into the web behind perfidious Albion.  That should serve as a further lesson to them not to trust May in the further Brexit talks.

Having spent weeks deriding Corbyn, and claiming that they had 101% certainty that Russia was responsible for the attack, based on confirmation of that fact by the scientists at Porton Down, the government has now had to admit that it lied.  The scientists at Porton Down have come out to say that they have not been able to prove where the nerve agent came from, as the government had previously claimed, and the government has been forced to delete a tweet, claiming that they had done so.

What, of course, all that does is to strengthen the hand of Putin, because he can now point to the fact that the government lied when it claimed that they had proof that Russia was responsible, and can point to that fact as being the reason for May's government being reluctant to follow the protocol on the control of Chemical Weapons, which required them to give Russia 10 days to respond to the allegations against them, required that Britain provide samples of the nerve agent in question, and that they bring in the OPCW.  Only now has the government brought in the OPCW, after they claimed that Russia was 101% responsible, and after sanctions had been imposed.  It enables the vile Putin regime to claim some credibility, and to justify its sarcastic responses to the actions of the British government over the last month.  This is yet another example of the high-handed, approach of the Tories, seen also in their attitude towards the EU and Brexit, which simply exposes them, when all of their bravado collapses, and results in them being bitten in the arse by reality.

It may well be the case that Putin is responsible for this attack, but if you have had someone murdered, you would not expect the police and CPS to go into court, having picked up some likely suspect, who has some previous convictions, and say "Its him, guv, we have the evidence, 101%, but we don't feel we need to share it with you."  You would not be happy that they had the real culprit, or that the murderer was not still at large.  You would want to see the evidence, and proof that the real culprit had been brought to book.  The government have completely failed to conform to that basic requirement of the Rule of Law, and of British Justice, let alone the requirements of international law.

They have simply done what they have done over brexit which is to ride roughshod over Parliament and over the public, resisting any attempt to question them.  And, in fact, the same approach is being taken over the claims over anti-Semitism, and the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

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