Friday, January 14, 2005
1) Proximity in time (choreography).
2) Repetition of false claims (reading from a script).
3) Hysterical tone (histrionics).
Those three ingredients make for a cheap music hall production of The Crucible. Almost all of the false claims are authored by those who supported the war in the first place, although the following claim from Peter Tatchell appears on the LFoI 'open letter':
Right now, the STWC supports "the resistance" in Iraq by any means necessary – a tacit endorsement of the suicide bombing, hostage-taking and execution of innocent civilians, including brave, selfless aid workers, election supervisors and ordinary Iraqis on their way to school and work. The STWC justifies this carnage in the name of "national liberation".
The fact that none of this is true doesn't detain a respected political campaigner, reputed for his honesty. I have already dealt with the charge about the statement on the IFTU here . To quickly summarise, despite as yet unsubstantiated rumours that such a statement ("by whatever means they deem necessary") was present in an October 8th e-mail sent to members of the steering committee, it was not present in any statement issued by the StWC. It is not the policy of the StWC to support, even tacitly, the murder of civilians. The StWC has already made clear its opposition to such murders here . It and groups associated with it, went to great lengths to try to stop the murder of Ken Bigley and called for his release.
The LFoI 'letter' repeats the charge above, and adds:
Here is what Andrew Murray, the StWC Chair wrote on Independent journalist Johann Hari’s own website, hidden away in a ‘comments’ section. This is the only comment from StWC leaders on the murders - one line, in one post, on one blog, while writing about another topic - ‘We condemn this killing and its perpetrators, whoever they are.’ That’s it.
In fact, Andrew wrote a letter to the Independent condemning the attacks which the editors chose not to publish. It is available on the Stop the War Coalition website .
The 'open letter' also conflates the actions of a few lunatics on the fringe of the resistance with the resistance tout court, and attempts to imply guilt by association with a flimsily constructed syllogism: You support the right to resist the occupation; some of those alleged to be part of the resistance carry out acts of extreme brutality; you must therefore support these acts. You would think that any fool would notice that the conclusion does not follow from the premises, but not these fools.
The bulk of the LFoI's "open letter" is therefore based on nonsense and spin. The fact that it has been sent to local StWC groups supports the claim that this is part of an attempt to split the coalition before the elections. LFoI enjoys rather convivial relations with some senior Labour ministers, including the surrealist Ann Clwyd MP who is a leading member. Its sole political accomplishment to date has been to contribute to achieving union backing for the Blairite stance on the occupation of Iraq at the last Labour conference. It, of course, supports continuing the occupation and does not support the right of Iraqis to resist that occupation.
You can excoriate them at: email@example.com
* Johann Hari gave a false rendering of the ESF meeting at which a member of the IFTU spoke in his Independent article, discussed below. For the record, I include the TUC's version of events here .