Starmer, Nato and the death of truth

11 May

Sir Keir Starmer (left) and his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn

British newspaper, The Independent, May 3:

Starmer warned expelling Nato-sceptic MPs could spark Labour civil war

The Labour leader hinted he could take action against MPs questioning the party’s ‘unshakeable support’ for the alliance.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been warned he could ignite a civil war in his party if he follows through with threats to expel Nato-sceptic MPs.

He told Times Radio on Tuesday he will be “very clear and firm” with MPs questioning the party’s “unshakeable support” for the military alliance.

“We’ve been very clear about the expectations of our Members of Parliament when it comes to issues like antisemitism, when it comes to the false equivalence that some argue between Russian aggression and the acts of Nato,” he said.

Well he gets one thing right. Those who argue that “Russian aggression” and “the acts of Nato” – which is to say, the will of Washington – are as bad as one another are indeed trading a false equivalence. As I argued in Ukraine in La La Land:

Russia and China … have a record of invasion which pales into insignificance – whether reckoned by frequency, scale, duration or distance from their borders – at side of Britain’s, France’s and above all America’s.

On his blogsite yesterday – Biden Wanted $33B More For Ukraine. Congress Quickly Raised it to $40B. Who Benefits? – Glenn Greenwald says:

“the U.S. spends more than ten times on its military what Russia spends on its military each year; indeed, the U.S. spends three times more than the second-highest military spender, China, and more than the next twelve countries combined.”

Given that America faces zero threat, by any foreign power, to its people – not to be confused with a challenge to its exceptionalist ‘right’ to plunder the planet on behalf of the big investors who truly rule the USA – this is a telling statistic. 1

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As head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Sir Keir oversaw the hounding for Washington of the most important of this century’s many whistle-blowers. This truth PM Boris Johnson blurted out – without naming Julian Assange – in a rowdy exchange during that weekly sitcom, Prime Minister’s Questions. It was ignored by a media establishment which found it less implicating, given its own feeble defence of independent journalism, to focus on the second part of Bojo’s gibe: that as CPS Chief, Starmer had protected paedophiles. The PM meant Jimmy Savile.

And as contender for the Labour leadership – the previous incumbent having been ousted by a media onslaught unprecedented in scale and unrelenting baseness – Starmer promised party unity and an end to factionalism. Hence the Independent’s quoting Mish Rahman of Momentum (an allegedly Left faction within the party):

Keir ran on a platform to end factionalism, unite the Labour Party and defeat the Tories. But after months of attacks on the Left, this anti-democratic move would spell the end of the Labour Party as we know it … There is absolutely no mandate within Labour for such divisive, authoritarian action in the party, and we would fight it all the way.

I’ll believe that last claim when I see it. The piece goes on to speak of eleven Labour MPs:

… including left-wingers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell – who signed a Stop The War Coalition statement critical of Nato at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The statement said Nato “should call a halt to its eastward expansion”.

What, this?

The Independent closes with a factual observation, shameful but accurate, on the Labour Left:

After being threatened with the removal of the whip, all the names were withdrawn, with a party spokesperson saying the move showed Labour was “under new management” with Sir Keir.

Something tells me, therefore, that my reasons for rejecting a false equivalence between Russia and Nato are not what Starmer has in mind.

Hold that thought, will you?

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Just yesterday Caitlin Johnstone wrote:

The US doesn’t have political parties, it has narrative control ops disguised as political parties. One of them overtly promotes capitalism and imperialism by appealing to Americans’ worst impulses, the other covertly diverts healthy impulses back into capitalism and imperialism.

An elephant and a donkey fight in a puppet show and the crowd cheers for one or the other while thieves pick their pockets. And when people start to notice their wallets are missing, they’re told they can stop the pickpocketing by cheering louder for their favorite puppet.

People ask why the Democrats never codified Roe vs Wade into law, and the answer is, because that’s not their job. Their job is not to enact the policies you elected them to enact. Their job is not even to win elections. Their job is to keep you staring at the puppet show while the empire has its way with the world.

America’s is an extreme case since, last I heard, the cost of a US election is north of $2 billion. Which means, to be pedantically clear, that it is impossible to be a serious contender without the backing of a huge segment of the US ruling class.

Britain is slightly less obviously ruled by an oligarchy, but assuredly has its own checks and balances to keep ‘democracy’ from getting carried away with itself. For my money the biggest of those checks – as set out in Britain decides! is provided by corporate media:

I can think of no more cogent argument for insisting that Western democracy is ninety-five percent bogus than that (a) democracy implies consent, (b) consent is meaningless if not informed, and (c) informed consent implies truly independent media. That last we do not have when they are [as Chomsky says] “large corporations selling privileged audiences to other corporations”.

But in extremis, should media controls fail, the UK government is Her Majesty the Queen’s. She may dismiss it by royal fiat, backed by armed forces whose oath of loyalty is not to the British people – their status that of Crown subjects, not citizens – but again to HM the Q.

What’s that you say: mere pageantry, dear boy; good old English quirkery?  In business-as-usual times, yes. But should things get edgy on the class war front, do you suppose such cards would not be played? More fool you!

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But let me finish where I began, on that proposal to silence criticism of Nato. Do you suppose having evidence to back claims of its culpability over Ukraine would halt a member’s expulsion? If the post Corbyn record on weaponising both the “antisemitism” and “transphobia” charges are anything to go on, all the evidence in the world damning Nato will count for sweet FA.

As I’ve observed before, postmodernism has found its logical resting place in a post truth era.

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  1. I further recommend the Greenwald piece for its insights into the fast revolving door between Capitol and military industrial complex. Before Biden made him Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin had sat on the Board of Raytheon – up there with Lockheed-Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman as one of the top four US arms makers. Now we learn that:

    “by transferring so much military equipment to Ukraine, the U.S. has depleted its own stockpiles, necessitating their replenishment with mass government purchases. One need not be a conspiracy theorist to marvel at the great fortune of this industry, having lost their primary weapons market just eight months ago when the U.S. war in Afghanistan finally ended, only to now be gifted with an even greater and more lucrative opportunity to sell their weapons by virtue of the protracted and always-escalating U.S. role in Ukraine. Raytheon, the primary manufacturer of Javelins along with Lockheed, has been particularly fortunate that its large stockpile, no longer needed for Afghanistan, is now being ordered in larger-than-ever quantities by its former Board member, now running the Pentagon, for shipment to Ukraine. Their stock prices have bulged nicely since the start of the war.”

    This is the status quo Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, is there to defend. 

4 Replies to “Starmer, Nato and the death of truth

  1. The operational capability of any organisation is only as effective as the context in which it operates.

    Entities like NATO are, like everything else, dependent upon the robustness of the multi-layered systems which they rely on to maintain their effectiveness.

    EG: The Ukrainian military is taking a beating in part because there are insufficient resources to maintain it. Personnel, fuel, transport, the right munitions, etc etc.

    But back to NATO.

    So the donkey and the elephant have funneled another $40 billion to US arms companies on the back of this at the expense of increasing poverty and, lets be blunt, avoidable resulting civilian deaths among the US populace.

    Question is, how long can they keep this up not just in Europe but the US?

    Over to Larry Johnson:

    Gas Transit Services of Ukraine (OGTSU) declared force majeure on Tuesday, saying it was impossible to continue transit of gas through a connection point & compressor station located in the Lugansk area. As OGTSU personnel “cannot carry out operational and technological control” over the Sokhranovka connector point & Novopskov compressor station, the company cannot continue to fulfill its contract obligations, it said.

    Gas from this connection will not be accepted into the transit system of Ukraine starting at 7 am on Wednesday, OGTSU said.

    Consequences:

    (a). when the supply of an essential good or commodity like gas is reduced significantly the price will increase dramatically. That adds to inflation in Europe. It is akin to a game of musical chairs. But instead of having 10 players competing to snag a seat from 9 chairs, we now have 10 players but only 5 chairs. The competition will be fierce.

    (b). reduced supply will probably force some businesses to close shop. That means some unemployed people. So not only will the affected countries face higher costs, they also will be burdened with more jobless.

    (c). there is a ripple effect. The price surge and the loss of product or services from businesses forced to close their doors will spread outward and produce negative effects in the countries that are trading partners with nations forced to curtail use of natural gas.

    The UK & Europe already went into last autumn with record low levels of gas storage reserves [the UK having the lowest] because of virtue signalling by the EU on buying from the speculative spot market rather than pursue stable lower priced gas contracts from Eurasia (Russia).

    Leading to record price increases going into the last winter period.

    In the UK the Energy Regulator raised the price cap on April 1 by 52% (gas & electricity). A further 32% increase is set for October 1.

    Meanwhile, UK Farmers & Growers report high % levels of winter growers of UK foods deciding not to plant this last January as the cost of gas to heat the polytunnels was uneconomic.

    Coupled with high prices increases of fertiliser across the world + loss of food crops from Russia/Ukraine this will inevitably result in food shortages within the coming months across UK & Europe. The same analogy as in (a) above applies.

    So not only will German Industry, at the very least, effectively collapse the ripple effect across Europe and the EU will also impact on the UK.

    One school of thought – there are some cynics around – is that Ukraine’s action here [the ‘force majeure’] is dictated by the US as a further threat to backsliding on sanctions by individual European Countries.

    Be that as it may, as Larry Johnson further notes:

    The inflation that is now surging in Europe and the United States (and in other countries for that matter) is doubly dangerous because it is not the traditional inflation. What do I mean? Traditional inflation is a product of printing too much money and that money chases a relatively fixed amount of goods.

    This current beast is different and more dangerous. First, there are increases in production costs, specifically labor, that is a consequence of the Covid shutdowns. Many employers are having to raise wages in order to entice workers to come back.

    Second, there are supply shortages.

    Inflation in America is rising like a massive Tsunami wave and will sweep over all of the economy. We are already experiencing shortages of chips and baby formula. Food shortages will continue to appear and multiply and desperate consumers will have to pay more for a limited number of key commodities. We are not talking about an isolated event. This is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off over New York City and Washington, DC.

    It is a perfect storm–shortages of key commodities, rising fuel prices, massive cuts imposed by sanctions of key minerals only available from Russia, and trillions of U.S. dollars floating around the globe as key international trading partners shift to other currencies.

    If you hold a loan interest loan, hang on to it for dear life. I fear we are on the verge of an inflationary disaster on a global scale. Ukraine has just added a new log to the fiery pyre that is starting to consume the international financial structure.

    When the necessary and vital support systems are falling apart at the seams the question becomes how effective is NATO in such an unfavourable context?

    Or anything else for that matter.

    I note Andrei Martyanov is quoting TASS that the May 9 debacle for Ukraine was down to the British:

    “DaveHansell
    @DaveHansell
    ·
    1h
    “MOSCOW, May 10. /TASS/. The order to attack Serpent Island, during which the Ukrainian armed forces suffered significant losses, was given by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on the advice of British consultants, despite the objections of the leadership of the Ukrainian Armed Forces….

    …. CIC of the Ukraine AF Valery Zaluzhny & his General Staff were against this suicidal operation, the idea of ​​which was suggested to Zelensky by his British advisers.” “The finale of this action was supposed to be a joint statement on the so-called” “Ukrainian” victory “- the British Prime Minister [Boris] Johnson & Zelensky, but in the end only Johnson spoke yesterday, without mentioning a word about the catastrophe of the operation to storm the Serpentine ”

    Given that the UK seems incapable of organising an effective vote count in a local election – Croydon last week which took until at least Monday – no one should be surprised. Martyanov’s perennial complaints about the total absence of any ability in anything across the Western elites seems spot on.

      • In the meantime, not to be outdone, the cream of Europe’s “Elites” (spelled L-E-M-M-I-N-G-S) scoff at the US Congress ‘paltry’ $40 billion and raise $214 billion:

        https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/EU-Plan-To-Ditch-Russian-Gas-May-Cost-214-Billion-More-Than-Planned.html

        “The European Union’s current plan for eliminating its reliance on Russian gas by replacing it with gas from other sources could cost the bloc up to $214 billion more than originally planned, climate think-tank and organizations Ember and Global Witness said in a report on Wednesday, calling for faster renewables rollout. ”

        What this article does not reveal is the original estimate of the cost – as the £214 billion estimate is in excess of the initial one.

        Still, that will show the Americans at the poker table who the daddy is.

        $40 billion! Bloody cheapskate Yanks.

        ‘Chuck a few more more poverty stricken coffin dodging plebs on the ‘pyre to save on the gas bill will you Ursala. There’s a good girl.’

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