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Letter from America Ian Williams

Written By: Ian Williams

Published: May 14, 2016 Tribune

A decade later, who remembers the alleged United Nations Oil For Food Scandal? Once the smoke had blown
away, and the media had put down their mirrors, the biggest financial scandal in history had gone with the
wind.
It was clearly about governments and their companies and had little or nothing to do with the UN. In fact, the
media totally ignored the real scandal, which was that the programmes surplus, some $10 billion, was handed
over to the US occupation authorities who, in the end, could not say how they spent it. It was certainly nothing
to do with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, whom they pilloried and witch-hunted.
The American neoconservatives succeeded with this beyond their wildest dreams: to weaken and punish the
United Nations and Kofi Annan, to destroy their moral authority which was an obstacle to American
hegemony, as expressed in the Project for a New American Century. One of the purposes of that hegemony
was backing up Israel and in particular the like-minded Likudnik regime there.
Tony Blairs support for the Iraq War largely derived from his genuine distaste for the regime of Saddam
Hussein. It followed his intervention in Sierra Leone, and in Kosovo against the ethnic cleansing perpetrated
by Slobodan Milosevic. The American instigators of the Iraq War generally had not shown any concern for
Saddams murderous behaviour with Kurds and others in the 1980s while he was invading Iran. In fact, the
Iraqi ambassador was the toast of Washington, which rushed to cover for Saddam over poison gas usage. They
were more concerned about removing a threat to Israel.
Kofi Annan went out of his way to accommodate Israel at the UN, but once the BBC badgered him into
admitting that the Iraq War was illegal, the pack was on his tail. The neocons and the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC) were already calumniating the UN for its condemnations of occupation. The
media followed with pitchforks and the torches and amplified each others ill-founded allegations and
exaggerations. All it took was a coterie of well-connected ideologically committed pundits, like-minded
journalists and publishers to whip up a perfect smoke storm. Of course, they did not mention their real motives,
since the reality of its aftermath had already made support for the Iraq War very questionable.
Who in the media would risk a career to defend the United Nations which in the US (and Murdoch media)
was axiomatically corrupt, anti-American and anti-Israel? They weakened Annan and the institution as he tried
to steer through changes that would make the UN more effective although, ironically, the Two Years Hate
in the American and British media possibly made Annans reforms more palatable to the developing world bloc
since it suggested he was not in fact the superpowers chosen one.
And so now to Britain and the Labour Party. The anti-anti-Semitism campaign is truly an anti-Jeremy Corbyn
campaign. Did any of the fervent accusers of Ken Livingstones, maybe crass but on the whole verifiable
statements, oppose the Iraq War? One suspects not. Many of them are connected to lobbyists for Israel. Have
any of them condemned the settlements, or the verifiably illegal behaviour of Benjamin Netanyahu? No.

The spectacle of the Daily Mail, original sponsors of Oswald Mosley and apologists for Adolf Hitler right up to
wars outbreak, helping to lead the charge against leftists in the Labour Party under the banner of combatting
anti-Semitism gives a choice of gagging or laughing.
Pillorying Ken Livingstone for defending Naz Shah, the Labour MP who had lifted a website image from the
site Norman Finkelstein, an American son of Holocaust survivors, certainly suggests a witch-hunt. But who
wants to stand up to defend anyone against such charges if you end up tied to the stake yourself?
For the record, the Labour Party supports the United Nations, which has ruled repeatedly that Israel is illegally
occupying the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and is besieging Gaza. The International
Court of Justice has ruled that those are occupied territories, that the Separation Wall is illegal, as are the
settlements. Numerous international jurists have condemned the Israeli forces for their behaviour in the
territories. The UK Government has supported those positions over the years. After Sabra and Shatila, so did
the Labour Party. It is now apparently thoughtcrime.
Surely, Gerald Kaufman follows in the deeper, more historical humanitarian tradition of British Jewry in the
Labour Party. But I forget. The former member of the British Board of Deputies was one of the first to find the
pitchforks and torches massed outside his door.
Let us stick with UN principles. The Iraq War was illegal, as is the Israeli occupation. Let those who are
delating Labour colleagues establish their credentials and say where they stand on those issues and maybe
admit that their real target is Jeremy Corbyn, and that they are prepared to destroy the Labour Party in order
to save it.