The opiate of the masses

Imagine that you had helped Britain and France in the Great War and had been deceived.

Imagine that a man turned up at your home, you opened the door, he carried a gun in one hand and the Old Testament in the other. He said, “this book says that 2000 years ago this was my land.”

Imagine living with several million other people in a piece of land the size of the Ards Peninsula.

Imagine that the West cares little.

I spent two years in Saudi Arabia 1980-82.

While the Saudis were welcoming, many harboured a dislike of the USA and the UK. Apart from the matters above, they felt that the West had screwed them over  oil.

When the Falklands War started it was obvious whom they backed. A generation on, after the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other countries , I judge that the dislike of the West has turned to hatred.

That is not to condone the Paris killings.

But until we truly understand the reasons for the hatred, nothing will change.

Why should not the Palestinians have a state?

It is easy for people to pontificate about terrorism, try experiencing it at first hand.

It is easy, too, to drive unhappy people into the arms of religion. “There is no God but Allah and Mohammet is his messenger” Killing for a greater power gives legitimacy.

Four hundred years ago , this state burned people at the stake. Not that long ago the USA had witch trials. Read Miller’s play.

Next time you read the Daily Mail, ask yourself this question; “who is speaking to me?’

I bet you will come to the conclusion that it is not the ordinary man, in London, New York, Gaza, Tel Aviv or Tripoli.

Why I admire Jim Swire

The Times today published a letter from Dr Jim Swire, “father of Flora, murdered at Lockerbie”. Can a father ever have written a more poignant phrase?

The bombing, in 1988, remains fresh in the minds of those who were then alive.

British foreign policy might be summed up as ” we have no allies or enemies, only interests”.

Dr Swire has been unswerving in his search for the truth and for justice for Flora, though the twists and turns of the case.

He is a man who fears no-one. Read today’s letter.

He is correct. Who would tell you the truth? The judiciary? The prosecution service? The State?

All is subsumed to the requirements of the State and all the state’s actors play their part.

I wish him well, I hope I can stay the course as he has done.

NI Executive, Libya and the opportunity

One of the problems with the present talks is lack of additional money. Another is funding “the past”. In May 2011, the National Transitional Council in Libya signed a memorandum of understanding in which they said that it was their “sincere desire to enter discussions to consider an appropriately resourced humanitarian fund to be set up to recognise the pain and suffering of such victims and the wider society in the UK , and in particular Northern Ireland”. This was after it had apologised for the harm caused by the supply of guns and semtex to PIRA, led by Martin McGuinness and others.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was tasked with examining ways in which this fund might be established and resourced. Three years on , it has made no progress.

It is estimated that 3,500 people, mostly in Northern Ireland, could benefit from this fund. It is an important aspect of dealing with the past.

Billions of pounds of Gadafy’s assets are frozen in the UK , yet no politician, or lawyer,local or national,  appears to have the skill to make this happen.

Spot the spook

X is shot dead by Y[unknown to anyone?]  as X sits in a pub with A and B.

X’s member of parliament, C, says that it is disgraceful.

D, a journalist, reports  on the shooting of X.

E, X’s lawyer, says that he has written to C, X’s MP.

C  calls upon F  , the relevant minister, to condemn and investigate the killing.

G is appointed to investigate the killing and report to F

candidates are asked to spot the spook, or alternatively the non-spook….

Libya and the craven British Government

A British diplomat wrote these words to Moussa Koussa, the head of Gadafy’s intelligence agency. [Think PIRA nutting squad, only bigger].

“most importantly I congratulate you on the safe arrival of Abu Abd Allah Sadiq. This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over the years”

This man had been kidnapped by British Intelligence and handed over to Moussa Koussa.

The   message was sent to a regime which had supplied the IRA with guns and semtex , used to kill hundreds of British citizens in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain.

Not one penny of compensation has ever been paid by Libya, despite £200 million being spent by the British Government , bombing Gadafy’s army during the Libyan Spring.

Perfidious Albion is found both at home and abroad.

Bassingbourn, Libya and the inept Tory government

Imagine that the ruler of a country supplied the terrorists in your country with guns and explosives, which killed many of your fellow countrymen and caused billions of pounds worth of damage. That ruler was overthrown but many of his supporters are still around. The other country said sorry and promised to compensate for the deaths and injuries. Only three years on , it hasn’t.   Unabashed they sent soldiers to be trained in your country and promised to pay for it, only they haven’t. Better still some of the men they sent committed sexual crimes in your country.

That would be a queer sort of country to live in , wouldn’t it?

Terrorism and frozen assets

Nobody can explain why assets are frozen and when they might be unfrozen. If the freeze was to punish Gadafy, well he is long gone. If it was to stop a long list of his family and henchmen from helping themselves, well that has worked too. Meantime the money, shares, property etc, sits wherever it is, doing not much for anyone.

David Cameron, in March 2011 said that “the assets really do belong to the Libyan people ” and did not support the idea of using a fraction of the wealth to compensate Libyan victims of semtex.

The NTC gave Jason McCue a promise to pay compensation, a month later.

On 27 July 2011 the British Government recognised the National Transitional Council “as the sole governmental authority in Libya”.

In August Henry Bellingham Foreign Office Minister, wrote to Dr McCrea MP, about my claim and said: “I know Mr McCue was able to get a MoU signed by Abdul Jalil of the NTC which gave agreement to compensation. It may be possible to consider, when the time is right, making a further approach to the NTC for the setting aside of assets for compensation”

This language is typical of  mealy mouthed Foreign Office speak. When somebody makes you a promise to pay  but does not pay, the time is immediately right. No hand wringing necessary.

Time for the FCO and the Prime Minister to show some steel in support of victims of terrorism.

The time is right.

Terrorism in the UK

To those affected by PIRA’s use of Libyan semtex anywhere in the UK, I suggest that we make more noise, that we question why Cameron has not secured the same rights for us as for our US “Allies”;that we draw his ambivalence and sloth to a wider audience and that we give him no peace until payment is secured.

Contact me on this blog if you agree, let’s build up a head of steam!

Dave’s dithering

On 5th September 2011, in reply to Nigel Dodds, Cameron told the House this:”There is no doubt that the Libyan provision of semtex to the IRA was immensely damaging over many years and it possibly still is today. We need to be clear that this will be an important bilateral issue between Britain and the new Libyan authorities.”
Three years later not a penny has appeared. Other Tories are not impressed.

Cameron-talking tough-doing what?

On 4 May 2014, the Sunday Telegraph reported that the Prime Minister had appointed Sir Kim Darroch: “to lead a new effort to gain compensation from Libya”. Six years after the Americans were paid. Five months on, I have heard nothing from Sir Kim. Cameron talks a good game but has delivered nothing. Many victims are in ill health and old age. Many are in dire financial straits. This compensation, which Libya has admitted is due to the victims, would transform their lives. Meanwhile, how many British firms are doing business with the Libyans? Time for action, Prime Minister.