Freesteel Blog » Condoleeza Rice came to Liverpool
It was an honour to see a part of the Great Game come to my neighbourhood close enough to get out in the street and shout at. We had two weeks notice of this return visit by the Secretary of State after she had shown our foreign secretary, Jack Straw, around her home town of Birmingham, Alabama last year.
Liverpool and the Northwest of Britain is not Jack’s home. He grew up in Essex and has his real home down in the South of England. He only holds a Parliamentary seat near here, in Blackburn. It is the rule, not an exception, in this dysfunctional state that the elected representatives in most regions to come from the same tight clique of the great and the good.
I got to the protest outside the town council meeting on 15th of March. Becka and Martin held a poster which said: “Condi Rice not welcome here. (Try the Hague)”, in reference to the place where war criminals are supposed to held for trial.
We were there for about an hour as all the councillors went in, including the leader of the minority labour block, Joe Anderson. He stopped to have a word with us. He said he was against the Iraq war, but not against welcoming Condi Rice’s visit, because — like the Liberal Democratic leader Charles Kennedy on Bush’s triumphant visit to London in November 2003 when 400,000 people took to the streets to block his victory parade — he believes that dialog is more important than a public message that such people have no business walking free in a civilized society. Apparently, protocol requires that you do not to bring up politics when you meet an an international statesman if you are a mere local representative. Your body is required just for the photographs.
As Joe Anderson went in, someone shouted, “But she kills children.”
“So did Ghengis Khan,” Joe retorted.
Actually he said, “So did Saddam Hussain,” but what’s the difference in that sentence between one mass murderer who has taken no part whatsoever in the last three years of Anglo-American carnage and another mass murderer who was not there either? No doubt there will be some dead-enders who will still blame the US bombs falling on Iraq in the year 2043 on Saddam Hussain. The fact is, the entirety of the war-fighting is wholly our own responsibility.
There were few of us in number that we all got in to watch the the start of the council meeting. The chairman of Merseyside Stop the War Coalition was allowed to make a 3 minute speech to the councillors for our efforts, after which the Liberal Democratic block stood and applauded. The Labour councillors remained quiet and seated, seeming to be so aligned are they with their leadership in 10 Downing Street that principles were irrelevant.
In spite of applauding the notion and holding the majority of seats on the council, the Liberal Democrat party members couldn’t be bothered to bring and vote on a motion opposing Condoleezza Rice’s visit to our city. In spite of being allied with the anti-war movement, this party has always let us down, and as such is as complicit as the Labour party in this system which conspires to sell us out at every available opportunity. It was therefore left to the people to take to the streets and do the job ourselves.
I had the pleasure of standing outside the hotel before and after she arrived hollering at her to go away. Jack Straw was there too, having dinner with her. As an international statesman himself, rather than a gagged local representative, he is allowed to talk policy to her. No doubt they were discussing the next move in the conquest of Iraq, as well as how to bomb Iran and get away with it.
Iran, as you may know, stands accused of attempting to arm itself with nuclear weapons. They have a good reason to do so, since there is a nuclear armed nation aggressively occupying the nation on its western border who need to be deterred. And, as we also know, if America threatens them with invasion unless they disarm and let weapons inspectors in, its not worth complying with since the United States doesn’t keep that sort of bargain.
So, for sure, those two people were conspiring to organize some terrorist-in-all-but-name actions in another country. And the British police were protecting them, rather than facilitating their arrest.
I did some work on Friday until I heard the helicopters coming overhead. Condi Rice was back in town after a swift trip up the M6 motorway to visit the British Aerospace factory in Samlesbury where they’re building a new military jet for a contract worth over 200 billion pounds. That’s a lot of money, and it’s a piece of kit that will be able to take-off and land vertically on a small boat and fly at supersonic speeds. Now why would someone want something to do that? Surely if it was to defend the United Kingdom from a military attack it could use these sensible airstrips that we have around the country here. Oh, I get it. It’s so they can be taken somewhere miles away from our shores to attack someone else. That’s why the Ministry of Bombing cites its job as “Defending the United Kingdom and its interests”. Today those interests are middle-east oil.
Condoleezza was driven back from the weapons factory to visit the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), established by one Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney was too worried about the clubbing of cute little baby seals in Canada to make a personal contribution to stopping the war. His reputation should not be confused with the late John Lennon who, being dead, was unable to object to the fact that later that evening his song “Imagine” was going to be sung for the entertainment of Condi Rice in the concert hall opposite the hotel. Who knows, if he was alive, he could have been as bad as Bono or Bob Geldof for putting their names forward for the promotion of war and poverty in return for the arrogant naivete that they could speak to our world leaders and persuade them to mend their ways — in fact all they succeed in is advising how better to package and sell their same old policies to a skeptical public. Lennon might have been like that. But then, he might have still had his musical abilities intact as well as the inner self-respect it takes to tell our great leaders to screw themselves. He might had the balls to withstand their anger when they turned their backs on him and smeared him in the papers. That could have been the difference. They would have called him a washed-up dangerous hippy, and he might have heard that as a compliment. Which it is from those sorts of people. It’s an honour to get abuse hurled at you by a war criminal.
I held a sign up that said: “How Many Must Die For Your Stupid Ideas, Condi?” as her entourage drove past. Then I went home for a pot of tea and came back at 4:30pm to stand at the now blocked Hope Street on the south side. The line of police eased us away so we were no longer so close to the hotel. The main demonstration was at the other end of the road where I didn’t go. I stayed on my spot till one o’clock in the morning, having channelled the spirit of Brian Haw. I watched the world go past. Friends came and went.
Between six and seven the audience dribbled through, mostly well-dressed old couples with grey hair who looked like the Blue Rinse Brigade. They would present their tickets and their passports to the police as at an international border before being let through. They also had to endure us shouting: “Shame! Shame! Shame! You’ve got blood on your ticket! That’s a terrible suit you are wearing, man! You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Just like the police, many people on demonstrations don’t understand what it’s about, and a young female student took exception to our shouting because she could tell we were hurting the feelings of some of the innocent old ladies who were only coming to see their dear little grand-daughters sing in the concert. It wasn’t fair of us to be shouting at them. I could tell she was making up the bit about the grand-daughters for emotional effect, but she made her message clear. All you have to do is carry a small child into a room full of marines, and the swearing must stop. The question that those who are offended should stay away from that which is offensive did not apply. How big a killer do you have to be before old ladies are disgusted enough that they won’t go to a concert hosted for you? Would they see a show while sitting next to the Yorkshire Ripper? Alternatively, if the Yorkshire Ripper had helped organize a military operation that dropped cluster bombs on schools in Yorkshire killing thousands more young women than he could have done with his own bare hands, is that any better? Why does it matter if the Yorkshire Ripper looks like a sick old man or a suave and glamourous black woman in the grand scheme of things? I think this was where it got way over her head and she realized I was a single-minded nutter.
Later, at around ten, a couple of old ladies came out and the one who was tired and emotional started shouting back at us. She told us we were “bigots who couldn’t think for ourselves,” and that Condi Rice was a lovely woman with great musical talents who had done so well for herself. We were ruining the reputation of this city. You don’t understand, nobody in their right mind wants war, of course not. The evening was about the music.
Later I was asked whether I hated Condi Rice as a person, and I couldn’t find an answer because the question is meaningless to me. The crux of modern democratic politics is that we can only vote for people and never policies. So I am unwilling to dissociate the actions of a political character from the character itself since the system denies us that choice. If we allow the charm and charisma of a person cloud our judgement of their political actions, rather than their actions influencing what we think of their character, then we’re lost. We might as well simply vote for the politician who kisses the most babies.
What I am willing to hate is a political system which enables war-loving psychopaths to lie and organize massive events of illegitimate violence around the world. Condoleezza Rice and Jack Straw can’t help it if they are evil. In a sane world such people would have got jobs in Canada clubbing baby seals to death for their fur coats. They would not have anything to do with running the world.
It was very rainy after midnight and I clung to my sign faced by a line of six policemen. I had been joined by two friends and we stood in the middle of the road discussing geometric torus problems while getting cold and wet. I could have stayed there all night, but it wouldn’t have been fair on them. So I decided to make a move. We turned our backs and walked away. Before we had gone five paces, all six policemen were packed into their van and eating sandwiches.
I stayed up till three in the morning at home listening to a speech by Chomsky on Democracy Now as an antidote. It didn’t work. Every time I closed my eyes all I could see were policemen in a street. During the interview, Chomsky was shown a news clip of a US general being asked what he thought of the fact that the Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, had been seen reading a book by him. The general didn’t think much of it, but as Chomsky pointed out, if you are a Prime Minster of an occupied country 80% of whose population wants the US army out yesterday, then why wouldn’t you want to read a book that’s very critical of US foreign policy? It might help you represent your people better.
I woke early to the sound of Condoleezza and Jack giving an extended interview on the radio which made me sick.
I have transcribed parts of it.
Condi: You said a moment ago, well yes, Saddam Hussain was there, he was oppressing people, well that’s no small matter. When you have 300,000 people in mass graves, what does it mean to defend human rights? When you have the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish populations and against Shia populations, I think we can’t just blithely say, Well, there wasn’t …
Translation:  So this gives us the license to kill 300,000 Iraqis ourselves. At 250,000 by latest estimates, we’re almost there.  The date was 1988, when Saddam Hussain was a US ally and this sort of behaviour was condoned.  Don’t forget the white Phosphorus in Faluja in 2004.
Condi: The President and Prime Minister Blair were quite clear that we were going to war because Saddam Hussain had to be dealt with. We’d had dozens of resolutions that said he was a threat to international peace and security, he was flying, shooting at our aircraft as we patrolled the no-fly zones, he was cheating on the oil-for-food program much at the expense of his own people. The notion that there was some other way to deal with Saddam; we had 12 years trying to deal with Saddam Hussain after he had committed a bloody war of aggression against his neighbour, so yes the decision was finally made to overthrow him and give the Iraqi people a chance.
Translation:  Mostly to do with Kuwait’s security, war reparations, the oil-for-food program and weapons inspections, every one of which was faithfully complied with, even if the US has tried to deny it.  The no-fly zones were unilaterally imposed and often patrolled by bombing raids; there was no UN authority for them.  The oil-for-food program was rotten from start to finish. The cheating was the US insisting that the UN sanctions continued long after Iraq had complied with all disarmament requirements by refusing to acknowledge this.  By assassination so he is replaced with Saddam-lite, the kind of dictator we could do business with.  Although this invasion of Kuwait killed hardly anyone, and serious negotiations were offered by Iraq for a withdrawal when the Saddam Hussain detected he had blundered, the US was determined to apply military force and reinstate the dictator of Kuwait. Meanwhile, Iraq’s forgotten invasion of Iran which killed more than one million people during eight years lovely warfare was so good we supplied Saddam Hussain with chemical and biological weapons to fight the good fight.  This was illegal.
Condi: I would just note that we all thought that Iraq had WMD. Saddam Hussain was given an opportunity to come clean with the international community. Indeed there was a 15 to 0 resolution 1441 in the UN Security Council telling them to come clean. He still refused to answer the question. So that was the reason for the invasion.
Translation:  False. The US and UK governments didn’t, but they lied and some fools believed them.  Which he did.  Which was fully complied with.  The invading forces refused to hear an answer.  It was for the oil.
Jack: Had 1441 been complied with, and been seen to comply with, Saddam would remain. It wouldn’t have been satisfactory, but he would have remained there. No question of it.
Translation:  Which it had been.  Which for political purposes you refused to permit.  So long as he survived repeated assassination attempts which often utilized large missiles commensurate with associated, but irrelevant, collateral damage.
Jack: I believe what I said at the time. At the time when we made the decision in the House of Commons, a democratic decision on the 18th of March three years ago that that was necessary in order to see the compliance with the UN resolutions. And that was a laid out and as Condoleezza said it’s not just us who thought Saddam still had WMD.
Translation:  This was disproved by his leaked memos.  The MPs were whipped and lied to, so their vote was as sound as a knobbled jury in a Mafia case.  Comprising all those who either (a) agreed with your immoral intentions, (b) were paid to lie, or (c) were too stupid to see through the lies.
Jack: Dr Blix, don’t forget on the 6th of March 2003 produced this 173 page document of unanswered questions in 29 separate chapters and I’ve often thought it’s extremely revealing that Dr Blix had that document in his hand and failed to submit it to the security council until after the security council meeting.
Now, given that this interview was recorded the night before it was broadcast, a serious news agency would have checked out a few of the allegations made and filled us in on the facts. I’m pretty curious about this “173 page document”, what it contains, or whether it even exists. We know Hans Blix is honest, and Jack Straw is emphatically not, so knowing nothing about it I’m willing to bet money that it was entirely benign.
But the BBC is no serious news agency. That’s why John Stewart of the Daily Show on the Comedy Channel produces better journalism. When the politicians spout blatant lies, he bursts out laughing. The BBC gives these statements the serious consideration to the extent that people watching wonder if they are losing their minds.
At 3:30pm I heard helicopters and scrambled with a bit of paper and a marker. I stood in my old spot till five o’clock when Condi and her entourage drove by, and I believe I caught a glimpse of her squashed in the middle of the back seat of a large black car. My message was very simple: “Too Many Lies “
A policeman jested that I must be referring to the lie that more people were going to turn up today. “No,” I said. “It’s about those serious lies that start wars. It’s about mass murder and death caused by this woman in a foreign country. Just because no one else is standing with me today doesn’t make me less right.”
I went home and worked on the transcription of the above interview until I got too pissed off (I admire the people who can do that sort of job — so many words every minute; that’s real RSI). Then I cycled down to the docks to find the Maritime Museum cordoned off where she was probably getting a tour round the Slave Trade exhibits alone. Bit pointless really. There were some of the usual suspects at the gate, and there were horses. I wrote the placard:
“Public Whip Will Stop You Killing, Jack.”
It’s supposed to be a message of hope. The idea that one day Parliament might vote the way the people want them to vote, and not give gits like Jack the authority to wage wars. I gave my “Too Many Lies” sign to a black woman who wanted to borrow my marker pen to turn it into something which involved calling Condi Rice an “Uncle Tom”. I didn’t like the racial connotations and refused to lend her my pen. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from; it’s what you do that counts.
The Condi Rice entourage came out of a different gate. I headed back up the hill on my bike in time to see all the cars disappearing into a back alley behind the hotel. I spend a few minutes ranting at the nice policeman guarding the entrance, and he told me she was expected to attend a service in the Anglican Cathedral. It figured. She wouldn’t have gone to the Catholic Cathedral, on whose steps the protest had convened, because if you remember the Pope actually said the invasion of Iraq was immoral. No condemnation has ever emanated from the Anglican establishment. In fact, this was the same cathedral that allowed Tony Blair to hold a service in November 2004 in memory of the war contractor Ken Bigley outside of which I was the sole protestor. Let us be reminded that Blair has never been to a funeral for a single one of the soldiers he has ordered out there to defend British interests.
My signs have become more blatant. Then it said in biro on an A4 sheet of paper: “100,000 deaths. 0 WMD. Why?” For this, the police had tried to move me on, although I did not budge. Now I was going to say: “This Church Never Resists State Violence.” However, I stayed in bed all evening with an awful headache while Becka was out watching the usual evening helicopter and black car commotion as Condi and Jack went somewhere else. Turned out they had cleared off to Baghdad in the night to go kick some ass in the dysfunctional Iraqi Parliament and get them to appoint a new Prime Minister, because George W Bush “doesn’t want, doesn’t support, doesn’t accept” the retention of the current PM, Mr Jaafari. This is what US democracy looks like.
Jack made a statement, the gist of which was: “We’ve paid for this democracy in Iraq with British and American blood and money, so we expect to see some results.”
My theory is that neither the US nor UK ruling clique knows the ass end of a cow from the meaning of the words “governance” and “democracy”. As the great I. F. Stone said: “All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.”
From their point of view, the purpose of a democratic government is to sell-out the interests of the people to big business. The problem with a “young democracy” like Iraq is that the representatives haven’t been trained in the art of gaining the trust of the people, through idiocy or apathy, and delivering it to America where it belongs. The British government are masters of this art, but in places like Iraq, the Pentagon has had to write fake stories and pay money to plant them in the press. In a mature democracy the media is owned by Murdoch and knows how to fabricate its own propaganda.
The US designed Iraqi government has the job of converting an 80% majority of the public demanding that the US army be removed yesterday and the oil resources repatriated back to the nation, into a mandate for the continued US military presence and due respect for the 40 year 40-dollars-a-barrel Product Sharing Agreements signed with the US oil companies by the US appointed government. An impossible task for any Prime Minister who reads Noam Chomsky and possibly takes his job seriously. The former US appointed Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, who now says Iraq is experiencing a civil war, scored 9% of the seats in the Iraqi Parliament. And the all-time US favoured candidate, con-artist, and Pentagon funded advisor, Ahmed Chalabi, won zero seats in spite of spending millions of US dollars on his campaign. These were the kinds of guys who could have delivered that level of sell-out. But it takes a life-time of indoctrination before people will settle down and vote for that type of character.
Only in fully developed nations like Britain and America do psychopaths like Jack Straw and Condi Rice get elevated into positions of power through democratic processes.
Postscript: A lot of other people did cool things apart from me. This is only my story and my thoughts. For further details, go to the Blairwatch link below.
- The Blairwatch write-up of the weekend Read this. It gets quite personal about Jack Straw.
- March 16 2006 protest outside council The report and photo in the local paper
- Comedy Channel, Save the Date An example of why this show is better than the BBC at reporting news.
- One of the BBC news reports Of the protests.
- Bloggerheads on lying in the media And talking about the stories planted at home and abroad.
- The Iran-Iraq War Short history of events recounted on Wikipedia. There is no excuse for this conflict to be less in the public mind than the invasion of Kuwait, if Saddam Hussain’s record of invading other countries is to be used against him.
- Condi and Jack at the military jet factory This is where the useful idiots build the actual killing machines. Remember, children, it’s all about Jobs. These jobs are well worth massacring thousands of people for.
- Condi and Jack radio interview At least one lie in every single sentence.
- What Uncle Sam Really Wants Referring to the actual history of the First Gulf War.
- Hit the road to Baghdad They slipped out in the night for a quick flight to Iraq to tell this fledgeling democracy that they needed to get a new Prime Minister. A democracy is a country that does what the US President tells them to.