Now they are attempting to block the publication of my new book in the
interests of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, one of those who has made
a fortune from the Iraq War. It is sad but perhaps predictable that
private profits from the illegal Iraq war, in which hundreds of
thousands of innocent people have died, are providing the funding to
try to silence my book.
Among the incidents I cover in my new book are the murder of Peter
McBride, the Aegis Trophy Video, the Papua New Guinea coup, the
Equatorial Guinea plot, Executive Outcomes' murder of civilians in
Angola and the Arms to Africa affair. I do hope that other bloggers
will generate another Streisand effect through blogging on these
A couple of events in London next week worth noting. Firstly, The Connolly Association brings us details of a talk by historian Ruan O'Donnell at Hammersmith Irish Centre on Wednesday:
Date: 14 November (Wednesday)
Time: 7pm, Irish Centre, Hammersmith, London
Speaker: Ruan O'Donnell; chair: Peter Berresford Ellis.
Further details tel. 0044 (0)207 8333022
A LEADING authority on the United Irish movement and the Irish rebellions against British rule of 1798 and 1803, the radical Irish historian Ruan O'Donnell has been turning his attention to more recent times - in particular the IRA's Border Campaign of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The meeting at the Hammersmith Irish Centre on 14 November will provide a fascinating foretaste of his forthcoming book on the subject
Meeting organised by the Four Provinces Bookshop.
The Irish Democrat's John Murphy has an intriguing description of O'Donnell's thesis:
when De Valera and Fianna Fail returned to power in 1951, they fell
totally silent on the northern injustices they had previously been so
vocal on, and Britain's responsibility for their continuance. The Fine
Gael-led coalition which also held office in the 1950s said nothing
about them either. The reason was the Cold War. If Ireland had sought
to raise the misdeeds of the northern unionist regime at the United
Nations or in other international forums at the time, the Russians
would have supported it. America and Ireland's vocal Cold Warriors
would in turn have been furious.
Stonor Saunders told the Eye she was 'dumbfounded' to learn that Gordon Brown was using the book, which she intended as an exposé, as a source of ideas for the war on terror.
The second story 'Whistleblowing in the Wind' on page 7 concerns a Foreign Office diplomat who is currently waiting to hear whether he will face charges under the Official Secrets Act, after leaking documents about government relations with organisations connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
As Spicer explained to me during the interview, he found the RFP (request for proposal) while surfing the Internet looking for work opportunities in Iraq. However, multiple sources with intimate knowledge of Aegis's bid have alleged to me that PMO (Project Management Office) security chief Brigadier General Anthony Hunter-Choat and Brigadier General James Ellery helped formulate the specifications for the RFP with Aegis in mind. Some security insiders claim that Spicer had a personal relationship with the two brigadiers from their days as contemporaries in the British military, but others are of the opinion that the awarding of the Aegis contract arose from a wish to have more British companies profitting off the reconstruction. Not surprisingly, Spicer vehemently denies all insinuations and charges, and claims, "it is a standard U.S. tender issued by the northern region. They wrote the spec." (Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill, p277)
In March 2004, Zimbabwean police impounded a jet carrying 64 mercenaries, led by former SAS officer Simon Mann. The event marked the unravelling of an extraordinary plot, backed by wealthy investors, to overthrow the Government of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny oil-rich nation in West Africa.
If this sounds like the plot of a Frederick Forsyth novel, that’s because it is. Roberts reveals that Forsyth’s bestseller The Dogs of War , is based on the thriller writer’s real-life involvement with a failed 1973 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea.
From what I've read so far, the book certainly lives up to its very positive reviews. There is one passage in particular I think is worth highlighting here. It concerns the IRB's response to Isaac Butt's proposal for a federal United Kingdom.
Butt's idea was unworkable because the creation of a federal government for the United Kingdom would have necessitated drafting a written (republican) constitution, while the entire British system of government, the monarchy's role therein and its professed status as an empire, was totally dependent, legally speaking, on the unwritten nature of the British constitution. His idea might have appealed to English or Irish republicans but few others.
"It is, indeed, a nemesis of Imperialism that the arts and crafts of tyranny, acquired and exercised in our unfree Empire, should be turned against our liberties at home." John A. Hobson
I have been looking for a decent tagline for the Green Ribbon for some time now, and I'm still not sure I've found one.
Until I can come up with something that expresses the same idea a bit more snappily, I've decided to use the above quote from John A Hobson, an English liberal thinker of the late 19th/early 20th Century, which I think captures many of the themes of this blog. [Update: I have now dropped this idea in response to Alex's comments below]
Hobson was an old school free trader who opposed Britain's turn to imperial expansion as its industrial supremacy was challenged by the United States and Germany. In some ways, the US could be said to be in a similar position today as regards China.
Hobson's 1902 book, Imperialism, A Study, is one of the most influential on the subject, and is available online.
My quote above comes from the chapter on The Political Significance of Imperialism. Hobson's critique of the Liberal Party of his own day is strikingly relevant to New Labour's adventurism of today. I have excerpted some of his particularly apposite comments at length below.
The Green Ribbon gets visits from Irish, English and Scottish nationalists, so I thought it might be worth highlighting a passage from Ronnan Fanning's contribution to Renovation or Revolution? which might be of interest to all three groups.
On the one hand, the course of Irish history dictates that no Irish Government can publicly oppose the Scottish aspiration to follow the Irish example and break the union with England. On the other, political realism dictates that support for the Scottish campaign for independence runs counter to the Irish national interest.