Britain’s Mad-House Foreign Policy

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

The best and cheapest way of protecting our national security is simply to eject the madmen from the Foreign Office and stop pimping for the US and its mad-dog protegé.


by Stuart Littlewood


UK Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham

My local MP, Henry Bellingham, is a Foreign Office minister whose responsibilities include the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and conflict resolution.

I take this to mean he’s tasked with keeping the British Government on the straight-and-narrow as regards international law, with ensuring dutiful conformity with the UN’s Charter and numerous resolutions, with saving our warmongering hotheads from the calaboose in The Hague, and with treading the path of peace at all times.

The International Criminal Court is, to say the least, challenging. The world is crawling with high-ranking war criminals but the ICC in its 10 year history has delivered only one verdict. As if to underline the Court’s utter uselessness as an instrument of justice, the ICC prosecutor has just rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to have the war crimes tribunal investigate Israel’s conduct during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza.

His excuse is that the status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not a “Non-member State”. The fact that more than 130 governments and certain international organizations, including United Nation bodies, recognize Palestine as a state makes no difference.

Let’s see how quickly the UNGA, with Mr Bellingham’s help, can get their skates on and straighten out the simple matter of Palestine’s status so that Israel’s strutting psychopaths can finally be brought to book.

Hague’s threats are costing us dear

A recent Reuters article Iran sanctions bring unintended, unwanted results, by their Political Risk Correspondent Peter Apps, points to Western sanctions against Iran having so far failed to deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme and generating instead unexpected side-effects and posing new problems.

It seems to me the consequences of sanctions were entirely predictable.

The expected loss of Iranian crude production has helped push oil prices to levels seen as threatening the global economy. And expert opinion seems to be saying that the ratcheting-up of economic pressure is not having the desired effect but simply increasing Tehran’s determination. “While Iranians may bear the brunt of the economic pain, people around the world are also feeling the knock-on effects of rising fuel prices that also drive food and price inflation.”

The message received is that whether sanctions work or not, “it may now be far from easy for Western states to significantly alter course to reduce or remove the restrictions, even if they want to”.

And Rosemary Hollis, head of the Middle Eastern studies program at London’s City University, is quoted as saying: “The terrible thing is that this is the moment there might be a possibility to at least begin to make progress. But we are going to miss it.”

The other day NASDAQ carried a Dow Jones report saying the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration had joined a panel of energy experts in dismissing the idea that a “quick fix” could reduce US gasoline prices, suggesting instead that rising demand for oil around the world and supply concerns stemming from Iran sanctions were driving prices at the pump.

The sanctions, coupled with other geopolitical events such as Libya’s civil war, are a source of “grave concern” for the oil markets said Dan Yergin, chairman of energy research organisation IHS CERA.

Hague led the charge on oil sanctions and the imposition of other measures to make economic life a misery. They are backfiring. So that’s another fine mess the Cameron-Hague foreign policy mad-house has got us into.

And now he’s fallen into a legal quagmire

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers  in a  statement issued 26 November 2011, said it was deeply concerned about the threats against Iran by Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Referring to the most recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) stated that:

(1) The threats by Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom are unacceptable, and are dangerous not only for all the region but for the whole of humanity.

(2) Article 2.4 of UN Charter forbids not only use of force but also the threat of force in international relations, and that the right of defence settled by the Charter does not include pre-emptive strikes.

(3) While Israel, is quick to denounce the possible possession of nuclear weapons by others, it illegally has had nuclear weapons for many years; and

(4) The danger to world peace caused by nuclear weapons is so great as to require the global eradication of all nuclear weapons, and to immediately declare the Middle East a nuclear free zone and a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, as required by UN Security Council resolution 687.”

What do UN Charter Articles 2.3 and 2.4 actually say?

  • “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered”, and
  • “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.

It sounds crystal clear. What is it about this that Messrs Hague and Cameron don’t understand?

Let’s look a little closer at the settlement of disputes, one of Mr Bellingham’s specialisms. Article 33 of the UN Charter requires that “the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means…”

I have asked the Government repeatedly, through Mr Bellingham, what efforts the Foreign Secretary made to meet and discuss with Iran’s ministers before resorting to economic ‘terror’ tactics.

  • How many times has a British foreign secretary visited Tehran in the 32 years since the Islamic Revolution?
  • Did Mr Hague go and talk before embarking on punitive sanctions?

He remains silent. Communication doesn’t seem to be Mr Hague’s strong point, except when lecturing. It was Hague’s decision to shut down the British embassy in Tehran and eject the Iranians from London. He had not in any case maintained a full diplomatic presence in Tehran and the embassy operated at chargé d’affaires level for several months after the previous ambassador left. Now we talk to Iran through a third-party country, Germany.

So much for his stated desire to improve relations, reach out and engage.

Negotiations in bad faith

I’m indebted to Dr David Morrison for reminding me that in 2003 the Foreign Ministers of the UK, France and Germany visited Tehran and initiated discussions with Iran on its nuclear programme. This of course was pre-Hague. In a statement issued at the time, the three EU states said they “recognise the right of Iran to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]” – i.e. Iran had a right to uranium enrichment on its own soil like other parties to the NPT. This was repeated and confirmed at the Paris Agreement in 2004. Iran agreed “on a voluntary basis” to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. The three EU states recognized the suspension as “a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation”.

However, proposals published by the UK, France and Germany the following year demanded that all enrichment and related activities on Iranian soil cease for good. In other words, Iran’s voluntary suspension of these activities was to be permanent. What had happened to the trio’s earlier commitment to “recognise the right of Iran to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the NPT”? Was Iran to be the only party to the NPT forbidden to have uranium enrichment on its own soil?

Yes. The West’s aim was to halt all enrichment in Iran. From now on Iran would be treated as a second-class party to the NPT, with fewer rights than the others.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

Still rewarding evil in our name


As for the British Government’s enslavement to Israel, the following statement appears on the Foreign Office website…

Israel is an important strategic partner and friend for the UK. The UK and Israel hold a number of important shared objectives across a broad range of policy areas and countries.

These include: shared regional security concerns, including diplomatic efforts to deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons; international work to counter anti-Semitism; bilateral defence cooperation; academic, scientific and cultural partnership; the promotion of democratic governance, judicial independence and media freedom; and building and maintaining strong trade and financial links.

Regional security concerns? This cosiness with a rogue military power in the most explosive region of the world actually undermines our national security.

Israel’s illegal and murderous blockade of Gaza, its closure of West Bank, the annexation of East Jerusalem, the relentless Juda-isation of the Holy City, the building of the Apartheid Wall, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the illegality of the settlements… all demonstrate the lawlessness of the Israeli regime. In recent months, three internal EU reports by the EU Heads of Missions in the Occupied Territories have detailed shocking human rights violations committed by Israel.

As for “democratic governance”, the Foreign Office surely knows that Israel pursues deeply racist policies and there is no such thing as justice for Palestinians who come before Israeli courts on trumped up charges, or are detained on no charges at all.

I have visited Holy Land several times and seen for myself the brutality of the illegal Occupation and the human rights abuses inflicted daily on the Palestinian people. Yet Britain fails to hold the state of Israel to the same standards of human conduct expected of the rest of the international community.

“We do not hesitate to express disagreement to Israel where we feel necessary,” says the Foreign Office. “Although we do not agree on everything, we enjoy a close and productive relationship. It is this very relationship that allows us to have the frank discussions often necessary between friends.” What claptrap. The UK Government takes no action whatever to hold the Israelis to account. On the contrary, it continues rewarding their endless crime-sprees and recently relaxed our Universal Jurisdiction laws to protect Israel’s war criminals from arrest.

It is an outrage that the British Government, which is supposed to work for us the British people, aligns itself in our name with such evil. This revolting intimacy with the thugs of the Israeli regime is the scandal of our times. Since 1948 what exactly have those “frank discussions” achieved? Has Israel ended its illegal occupation and stopped its murderous assaults? No. Has it lifted its blockade of Gaza and closure of the West Bank? No. Has Israel brought its huge nuclear arsenal and other WMDs under international inspection and safeguards? No. Is Israel nice to its neighbours? No.

And what are the Government’s sanctions against Iran going to achieve? The cruel starvation of another half-a-million children like before, in Iraq?

In the last 24 hours there has been uproar in the UK over Government plans to snoop on every household’s emails, website visits and other private online activity. This sneaky intrusion by officialdom is said to be necessary to the war on terror.

But the best and cheapest way of protecting our national security is simply to eject the madmen from the Foreign Office and stop pimping for the US and its mad-dog protegé.

Editing: Debbie Menon


The Record, Stockton, Calif., Michael Fitzgerald column: Too long a search to stop now.(Column) go to site brown hair color

The Record (Stockton, CA) January 28, 2007 Byline: Michael Fitzgerald Jan. 28–Joyce Tafoya has spent 25 years, $30,000, used 10 private investigators and has sifted through countless records seeking her long-lost mother. The trail ends in Stockton. Around 1953, when Tafoya was a child, her mother, Elizabeth Fern Rathjen, was committed to Stockton State Hospital. Several years later, she mysteriously vanished.

“That was the last place my mother was at,” said Tafoya, 62, of Pleasanton. “Her whole life stopped there. I have spent thousands of dollars to find her. And I can’t. So it all goes back to there.” Tafoya’s detective found press accounts of the 2005 accidental discovery of around 30 remains of patients buried on the former hospital’s grounds.

The grounds are now a satellite campus for California State University, Stanislaus, and are also being commercially redeveloped. Hard hats unearthed the remains. Tafoya wants someone, possibly the state Department of Mental Health Services, to DNA test the remains. She’s not the only relative wanting answers. But she may have gone to the greatest lengths to get them. “Can you imagine what a void this has been?” she asked, sniffling. Elizabeth Fern Rathjen was born in Yankton, S.D., in 1924. Her mother died when she was 15. Her father sent her to be raised by an Oakland grandmother. “She was a wonderful little gal, happy, popular,” recalled her brother, Harold Rathjen, now 81 and living in San Antonio. When she came of age, Rathjen moved out to an apartment of her own. She may have worked as a housekeeper. During World War II, when she was 20 or 21, she had a relationship with a Marine, from which Tafoya was born. Tafoya never knew her father. She lived with her mother until age 2. She remembers her “vaguely. She was an upbeat person. She was a lot like me. The build, (brown) hair color, naturally curly hair, green eyes.” When Tafoya was 2, her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bused to Stockton State Mental Hospital. Tafoya was adopted out. She found records showing her mother underwent electroshock treatments in Stockton — 66 of them, Tafoya says. Harold visited his sister twice. “She appeared to be relatively normal to me,” he recalled. And she wanted out. “She was very unhappy with the hospital situation.” Harold exchanged frequent letters with her over the next three years, sent her commissary money and paid the rent on the Oakland storage unit holding her belongings. Then her letters stopped. Harold called the hospital only to be told his sister had fled. Officials said they retroactively recorded her as released, Harold said. She never contacted Harold, or her daughter, again. She did not return to her Oakland home. She did not reclaim her stored belongings. She left no record. What happened? “Sir,” admitted Harold Rathjen, “I have no idea.” Tafoya says DNA testing may help. “I want a closure,” Tafoya said. “I just want closure. If she is one of these bodies, then,” she quavered, “then wouldn’t that be nice to know? I’ve been going for years looking for her.” The remains were found in old redwood coffins constructed with handmade nails of a kind used in the late 1800s, when the asylum was founded. Since records say Rathjen was released in 1956, she did not die there, so the Department of Mental Health Resources deems DNA testing unnecessary. Oakland police, for whom Rathjen is a cold missing-person’s case, are too taxed by present crimes, a police spokesman said. Tafoya is left with the void. And questions. “I’m not the kind of person to insinuate anything. But again, it all reverts back to Stockton State Mental Hospital. … She disappeared into thin air? I don’t think so.” But maybe she did. State Mental Health officials checking records discovered belatedly on Friday that patients who died in Stockton in the 1950s and ’60s were not buried. They were cremated in the asylum’s basement. Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or [email protected]. Visit his blog. website brown hair color

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.


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After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also "indulged himself" as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books - Also, check out Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper. It tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and explains to me why the Zionists who control Israel should be brought before the International Criminal Court. Stuart's Very Latest Articles:  2023 - PresentArchived Articles:  2010-2015 - 2016-2022