Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


He's jus' spoutin' crayzee talk. /sarcasm
September 6, 2003 2:45 AM   Subscribe

Met by "howls of outrage" and questions about his sanity, Michael Meacher, the ex-Environment Minister for the UK, known mostly for his opposition to GMOs, and revelations about the less than honest and upright behaviour surrounding the issue, has spent some time thinking, free from the constraints of Ministerial duties. "the PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the "go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise have been politically impossible to implement."
- Commentary - Commentary - Commentary
posted by Blue Stone (24 comments total)

 
There's 'left' and then there's 'left the realm of sanity.'

I'll admit there are plenty of lingering unanswered questions that a noticeably absent-until-now investigation of 9/11 could've cleared up, but there's certainly nothing that warrants this kind of statement. I do wonder if he'd publicly executed or merely assassinated for making that statement on this side of the pond?
posted by Ryvar at 3:34 AM on September 6, 2003


In the words of Bill Hicks "Jesus, what balls". I mean, most of what he is saying is true, on public record and well documented, but Meacher was part of the government that sent UK troops to Iraq. He was part of that decision. Why wait until he has been sacked and has no future in government to make these remarks? He's just another career politician who will only speak out if it won't affect his own career.
posted by chill at 3:41 AM on September 6, 2003


Real audio interview with Meacher from BBC radio (Real)

There's 'left' and then there's 'left the realm of sanity.'

He's hardly loony left. Michael Meacher is one of the old guard of New Labour. Yes he's left of centre, but only just.
posted by influx at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2003


This is only notable because it's a fairly high profile politician saying this. It's not like these are the most original thoughts out there. I suggest Kolko's "Another Century of War?" for similiar (and occasionally ponderous) sentiment.

BBC: And he said the US Government intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power because of its need for further secure oil supplies.

This is not only true, but admitted to. The secure the oil thing.

BBC: Tony Blair's office distanced itself from his remarks, with a spokeswoman pointing out profits from Iraqi oil were being put in a trust fund for the country's reconstruction.

"Controlling" and "profiting" are two different things. Control is much more important especially in regards to the long term of a limited resource.
posted by raaka at 5:15 AM on September 6, 2003


"This war on terrorism is bogus"

No shit, sherlock. What was your first clue?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:16 AM on September 6, 2003


There's 'left' and then there's 'left the realm of sanity.'

Ummm.... those comment from PNAC are in the public forum and have widely been discussed multiple times, on this site alone, Ryvar. The PNAC did indicate those positions on the Middle East, and the post-9/11 era has led to military action which has met countless PNAC-endorsed goals.

You make it sound like he's spouting some conspiracy theory. How is saying something that's known to be true "leaving the realm of sanity?" Or did you just find the cute line on another message board somewhere and were dying to use it?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:19 AM on September 6, 2003


Meacher has previously stated similar views.
Yet what's puzzling is that his voting record shows him to have voted for the war on Iraq every time...
Of course he might have considered his work as environment minister too important to abandon (with the GM issue looming), but still if this isn't important enough of an issue to resign over, what is?
And not a word of self-criticism in the artice either...
Anyway the points he makes are valid and this is not just idle rambling... although some of the points about the reaction to 911 on the same day are rather spurious.
Could Michael Meacher be reading MeFi?
posted by talos at 6:41 AM on September 6, 2003


Better late than never, I suppose, though a bit rich from someone with Meacher's voting record...

The reaction of the US embassy spokesman was telling:
His fantastic allegations - especially his assertion that the US government knowingly stood by while terrorists killed some 3,000 innocents in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia - would be monstrous, and monstrously offensive, if they came from someone serious or credible.
Fantastic? No, he's simply reporting the stated aims of the PNAC and the lack of response of the US intelligence services to act on information from allied organisations, an undisputed fact. His rhetorical questions merely suggest the possibility two possible explanations for this inaction: incompetence, or malicious intent. Monstrously offensive? Well, yes, if the US intelligence services were indeed doing everything in their power to prevent a terrorist attack. But, quite clearly, they weren't, for whatever reason. Finally, Meacher's a former cabinet member, privy to the decision making processes of the UK government. While this hardly makes him credible and serious by default, he's not exactly a crackpot on the fringes.

The official response from the US to these allegations is nothing but bluster. Not an attempt at a rebuttal to Meacher's allegations in sight. Wonder why?
posted by jack_mo at 8:07 AM on September 6, 2003


Yet what's puzzling is that his voting record shows him to have voted for the war on Iraq every time."

If you are a member of the current Government of the UK, you never vote against an government introduced bill, period. Doing so is, quite simply, a rebuke to the party and the government, and your position in the Government is gone the moment you do so.

There is a way to register a protest during a division. The House of Commons votes by dividing -- literally, they leave the chamber through separate doors that lead to two lobbies -- the "Aye" and "Noe" lobbies. As they enter the lobby, they are counted by the tellers. Once counted, you are counted -- you cannot retract your vote. If you made a mistake and went through the wrong door, you can not change your vote. You can, however, go back into the House chamber proper and walk into the other lobby, which will then register you as having voted both Yea and Noe -- thus, you can at least nullify your vote.

So, members of the Government who are also members of Parliament can register protest by voting both Aye and Noe to a given bill. But to simply vote against, except in the most exceptional of circumstances, ends your position with the Government.
posted by eriko at 8:25 AM on September 6, 2003


eriko - surely they can just not turn up to vote at all? Or do as Cook did and resign before voting?
posted by chill at 8:31 AM on September 6, 2003


Not fantastic, just covered up. All of the evidence is there, splintered throughout the mainstream news media. Luckily some are out there working hard to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

See this 9-11 TIMELINE to give you an idea of the overwhelming that exists that suggest that the Bush adminstration knew of the attacks beforehand.

And before you dismiss the website, www.fromthewilderness.com, as "left the realm of sanity", please note that the timeline is composed of articles gleamed from mainstream news media such as the BBC, Le Figaro, Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, MSNBC, etc.

I suggest that you take the blinders off and at least entertain the possibility that there is more to this than wacky conspiracy theory.
posted by sic at 8:48 AM on September 6, 2003


...to simply vote against, except in the most exceptional of circumstances, ends your position with the Government.

Oops. The reason for this is what happens if a bill that the Government has declared as "a matter of confidence" fails -- the Government and Parliament dissolves, and elections are held.

Surely they can just not turn up to vote at all? Or do as Cook did and resign before voting?

Well, yes, you can resign before voting -- but what is the practical difference between resignation and then voting no -- or just voting no and being fired? In either case, you are no longer a member of the Government.

As to not showing up, you run across the Party Whips. When the agenda is distributed (by the whips) to the MPs, some items will be underlined. One underline means "The Party would like you to pay attention to this issue." Two underlines means "The Party considers this a matter of great importance, and asks that you give it your full attention."

Three line whips, however, mean basically, "You will show. You will vote with the Party." Failure to do so is dramatic -- if you vote against your party on a three line whip will, at best, result in your suspension from the party (and, if you a part of such, the Government or Shadow Government.) It's very possible you will be thrown out of both the Government and Party.

There are exceptions. Mass rebellions do happen, but the chances of becoming part of the Government if you rebel on a three line whip plummet to almost none. Even so, there was a massive rebellion on the Iraq vote -- 122 members of Labour rejected a three line whip and voted against the Government. This was a particular slap against Blair, who had to rely on Tory votes to gain passage.

To be a member of the UK Government means you have only two choices -- either stand with, or leave, the Government.
posted by eriko at 8:59 AM on September 6, 2003


Just because he voted for the war, has no bearing on this argument - the facts speak for themselves and are most compelling.

I think this is a chilling article, and the fact that the government is basically counter"arguing" with "oh what a loony he must be", shows that they are all spin and no substance. Come on blair, you pussy, tell us why he's wrong, tell it to us like we're six years old, so we can all understand - not these cheap attacks which make you look like a fool.

something is rotten....
posted by carfilhiot at 9:12 AM on September 6, 2003


uhm insert bush for blair above.. we all make mistakes =) not that it's a hard mistake to make.
posted by carfilhiot at 9:19 AM on September 6, 2003


When the agenda is distributed (by the whips) to the MPs, some items will be underlined : eriko

up until just this second i'd never known why they were called three-line whips. thanks eriko.
posted by knapah at 10:16 AM on September 6, 2003


Tinfoil beanie...check!
Obligatory PNAC link...check!
"It's all about the oil"...check!
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc...check!
oh, never mind.

Weren't we just through this?
posted by ednopantz at 1:49 PM on September 6, 2003


> Just because he voted for the war, has no bearing on this argument - the facts

Exactly, I dont care if this guy was caught eating human flesh when he finished the essay. The facts are there and have been for some time, how will the world digest them is the real question. Today its Michael Meacher, maybe tomorrow it will be the mainstream TV news. Who knows, but the war on terror, especially the Iraq war, is bogus.
posted by skallas at 5:54 PM on September 6, 2003


ednopantz:
Are you implying that the PNAC quote is made-up or mal-attributed?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:40 AM on September 7, 2003


Tinfoil beanie...check!
Obligatory PNAC link...check!
"It's all about the oil"...check!
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc...check!


Your point ednopantz? Show me something Meacher says that isn't just plain old true, rather than whimpering about the regularity of discussion of these matters on MetaFilter. And are you quite certain you know what a post hoc fallacy is?
posted by jack_mo at 9:40 AM on September 7, 2003


Are you implying that the PNAC quote is made-up or mal-attributed?

No, what I am saying is that the conspiracy theorists have replaced the Knights Templar and the Trilateral Commission with the PNAC as their source of all evil. They pull quotes from its members and documents and then create imply an elaborate conspiracy that follows from those couple of sentences.

I suspect what it really means is that having decided that evil in the universe is personified by an oil industry lobbyist in a suit, believers are incapable of imagining evil that comes from any other source.

Show me something Meacher says that isn't just plain old true:
Plenty of what Meacher says is plain old bullshit, smoke blowing, etc. from interested parties. Note that the July 2001 claims are all based on comments by unnamed "American officials" sourced to people who either 1) have an axe to grind or 2) aren't even identified. Pakistani officials trying to undermine America's campaign to oust Pakistan's puppet client state in neighboring Afghanistan. Gee, why would they do that? He salts his article with press attributions to unnamed persons' reports of what unnamed Americans said.

Meacher places questions around his central allegations to distance himself from the lunatic conspiracy theory that he has in mind. "Was air security", etc. This bozo clearly thinks that an evil cabal got together and secretly plotted to kill thousands of Americans because he can't belive that any force other than GW Bush could possibly be responsible for such a bad thing happening. He wants a simplistic universe where his idea of evil is the only one out there and he is prepared to accept a nonsensical conspiracy theory to get there.

Yeah, I do know what post hoc means. It means that two events can follow one another without implying causality. Somebody in PNAC writes up a policy paper, jets hit buildings. Therefore PNAC was behind 9-11.

The trouble is, of course, that amid all the nonsense there is a valuable question: does 9-11 represent the beginning of mass civilian casualty asymmetrical violence practiced by non nation state actors (terrorism) and if so what is the proper response? Wolfie and the "drain the swamp" crew have one answer. We could always benefit from hearing another proposal.
posted by ednopantz at 10:30 AM on September 7, 2003


ednopantz:
I hear what you're saying, and I'm not going to pretend that sites like whatreallyhappened.com aren't espousing conspiracy theories. That, however, is an entirely different matter from PNAC.

Most people that I know don't believe that the US intentionally brought about 9/11, but that doesn't make the expolitation of 9/11 by certain (dare I say) neoconservatives in the White House any less wholesale, transparent, or worthy of discussion. If your grandma died, and I used that occaision to become friends with your grandpa, and then swindled him out of all his money, you would not refrain from kicking my ass just because I wasn't the one that killed your grandma. I would still be a morbid, sleazy fuck.

Does it mean nothing to you that PNAC stated their goals were improbable without a Pearl-Harbor-like event, and then followed such an event with a very aggressive grafting of their agenda onto the template of American foreign policy? To me this is alarming without PNAC needing to have foreknowledge or agency in 9/11, especially in light of their steadfast resistance to substantive inquiry into the matter.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:21 PM on September 7, 2003


A more accurate metaphor would be if your grandmother died of preventable cause, say, not wearing her seatbelt, and I, a longtime advocate of seatbelts, took the shock at her death to push you to start wearing one.

Much of what the neocons say is that the world is a dangerous place, but one that is fixable, as long as the US uses its unrivaled power to push fundamental change on it. Prior to 9/11, when Bush was dissing nation building and vowing to pull the troops back from Bosnia, these guys were ignored. After 9/11, these guys are the ones with a worldview and a plan of action. No wonder they got the President's ear.

Why is their resistance to inquiry? Because they don't want to take the blame. That simple.
posted by ednopantz at 5:05 PM on September 7, 2003


Sorry for my snippy tone regarding Post Hoc-ness, ednopantz - thought you were referring to a previous comment, rather than Meacher's PNAC argument (and folk do tend to bandy such terms about on here with little regard for their meaning, which gets up my nose!)

But I still can't see where you're getting this bozo clearly thinks that an evil cabal got together and secretly plotted to kill thousands of Americans from. He raises the questions with a raised eyebrow, and then draws well short of concluding that such a conspiracy was behind the attacks on September 11th. His conclusion is that the war on terror is being used as a prop to further US interests in the Middle East. Which it is.
posted by jack_mo at 4:53 AM on September 8, 2003


more accurate metaphor would be if your grandmother died of preventable cause, say, not wearing her seatbelt, and I, a longtime advocate of seatbelts, took the shock at her death to push you to start wearing one.

If violently and unilaterally taking over the world while lying to the citizenry about it (and don't think that the lies are only there for convenience and practicality. A Machiavellian learned elite that hides from public discourse is a hallmark of the Straussian universe) is the same as wearing a seatbelt, then you're right. And if the US' failure to do so earlier can be seen as the real reason that we were vulnerable to a particular terrorist attack, which the current increase in international terrorism in Iraq ought to disprove pretty well instantly.

Why is their resistance to inquiry? Because they don't want to take the blame. That simple.

Have you been following this story at all? Until Kristol wrote a column sort of "comin out" a few weeks ago, many pundits and even neocons denied their own existence. They tried to paint all inquiry with the brush of anti-semitism. Remember when Donald Kagan suggested that anyone using the word "neoconservative" could just substitute "Jew?" Most people that I know don't enjoy false accusations of anti-Semitism, so I can only assume they were trying to color the credibility of those who wish to vet their ideology. Please direct me to any evidence about them being forthright about their plans. I would love to see Richard Perle buy some air-time a la Ross Perot and use a pie chart to tell us how much money and lives we need to pour into the Total War.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:27 AM on September 8, 2003


« Older " Socialism teaches you to avoid taking care of ot...  |  Debunking The Debunkers?... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments