Author Archives: Brian Cloughley

Now is the time to cancel sanctions on Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has often declared that he considers himself to be a devout evangelical Christian, and in November 2019 told the New York Times Magazine that the Bible “informs everything I do.” Continue reading

More about Trump’s Ukraine connections

Hardly a day passes but some new and usually disturbing light is cast on President Donald Trump, and a recent illuminating glimpse came from publication of a recording that showed yet more of his expansive bluster. The video/sound evidence of his performance showed him at a dinner table “in a private suite in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the centre of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics, and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine.” Continue reading

Drone strikes leave innocent widows and orphans

The killing of Iranian General Soleimani was big news. There were a few points made in the Western mainstream media about its legality being dubious, but nobody seems to be concerned that it contravened international law, in addition to be totally amoral. One wonders if any of the drone operators, the little key-tapping techno-dweebs thousands of miles away, were awarded a medal for their gallantry in prodding buttons to blast human beings to shards of flesh and bone. Continue reading

Trade and peaceful cooperation will beat the warmongers

In the United Kingdom on December 3-4 a gathering of the US-NATO military alliance took place to mark the 70th anniversary of its creation. It might be expected that such an occasion would have been one of jovial self-congratulation for managing to keep such a moribund institution on its expensive feet for so long, but the mood was decidedly downbeat, and divisions between some national leaders were most marked. Indeed the entire affair declined into farce rather than being dignified and productive. Continue reading

Human rights and hypocrisy in the White House and Congress

For months Western media outlets have been retailing stories about riots in Hong Kong. With lip-smacking relish there have been such reports as “On October 1, China’s National Day, the first live round to hit a protester was fired by riot police pursued by protesters in the distant suburb of Tsuen Wan.” Unfortunately for the anti-China zealots in the US and Europe there were no deaths of rioting students, except one “who fell from a parking garage during a police dispersal operation… escalating tensions between police and the public that have been increasingly strained over the months of worsening violence.” The two incidents in which rioters were shot by policemen made Western headlines. Continue reading

How surveillance and propaganda work in ‘the Free World’

A Bloomberg report of October 22 was concise and uncompromising in declaring Russia to be a surveillance state. Harking back to the good old days of the Cold War, as is increasingly the practice in much of the Western media, Bloomberg recounted that “The fourth of 10 basic rules Western spies followed when trying to infiltrate Russia’s capital during the Cold War—don’t look back because you’re never alone — is more apt than ever. Only these days it’s not just foreigners who are being tracked, but all 12.6 million Muscovites, too. Officials in Moscow have spent the last few years methodically assembling one of the most comprehensive video-surveillance operations in the world. The public-private network of as many as 200,000 cameras records 1.5 billion hours of footage a year that can be accessed by 16,000 government employees, intelligence officers and law-enforcement personnel.” Continue reading

Trump’s Cuba sanctions are sadistic and spiteful

The history of sanctions is grim, and it is generally acknowledged that they penalise ordinary people to an unjustifiable degree. It is difficult to forget the excruciating pronouncement by Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s Secretary of State, when she was ambassador to the UN and commented on their effects in Iraq in the 1990s, in the run-up to the US invasion. In a media interview her questioner said that in Iraq “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Continue reading

Britain is out of control

One of the rallying cries of the Brexit movement, whose supporters want Britain to leave the European Union, is the slogan “Let’s Take Back Control”—meaning, in the words of The Atlantic magazine, they imagine that by quitting Europe “they would be returning power from Brussels back to lawmakers in Westminster and, by extension, to the British people themselves.” The “Vote Leave” group declared “We’ve lost control of trade, human rights, and migration” and there was an intensive and most misleading campaign waged to encourage the British people to believe that they had endured decades of unproductive cringing subservience to the EU. Continue reading

Now for confrontation in space

There was much international news in mid-March, although little of it was encouraging for those who prefer peace to war, handshakes to sabre-rattling, and cooperation to confrontation. Continue reading

Is the world closer to conflict because of Trump?

President Trump has recently flown out of Hanoi, having failed to reach any sort of agreement in negotiations with President Kim of North Korea, who went back home by train, with his tail up and wagging—having laid a wreath at the mausoleum commemorating Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese leader who led his country’s fight for independence for so many years. Continue reading

The US mainstream media prefer confrontation to cooperation

The Washington Post is a noisily anti-Russian newspaper which every weekday by email produces for subscribers (of whom I am one) the Daily 202 (“Power Post—Intelligence for Leaders”) which covers US politics, a little international stuff, and a section called “There’s a Bear in the Woods” aimed at denigrating, belittling and generally insulting Russia. Continue reading

Britain prepares for war against Russia

The headline in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail on August 7 encapsulated much that is paranoid in sad modern Britain. It read “Russian warships pass through English Channel as Putin’s armed forces ratchet up pressure on the Royal Navy.” Continue reading

Washington is intent on destroying Iran

On February 18, the leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared that Iran “is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. This is a very dangerous development for our region.” Netanyahu’s presentation was dismissed by the Iranian foreign minister as “a cartoonish circus,” but it was nonetheless a reflection of the policy of the United States, which is Israel’s mentor and unconditional ally. Continue reading