Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Dear Queen, Before you post my New Year’s Honour I must tell you I don’t want it. It’s not that I’m against honours you understand, far from it. Recognising someone’s unique contribution and dedication, their sacrifice and lifetime commitment to a cause is fine by me. Indeed a friend of mine who follows these things as closely as you do recently pointed out that as National Convenor and joint spokesman of the SSP for the past 10 years I’m now Scotland’s longest serving party leader. Modesty prevents me from ‘carrying my own banner’ as it were but as you know I have served ‘my socialist community’ loyally now for 35 years. I am sure observers, regardless of their own political views, will admire such an record and accept the socialist movement has faced many stiff challenges since 1980. And no one interested in Scottish politics as you are will have failed to notice the considerable demands I have faced in the past decade as SSP national spokesman. But before you send me my well-deserved ‘gong’ I want you to know I will not accept it. For it is not your recognition I have sought throughout the past three decades or that of the British establishment you lead. I favour, as you know, a modern, democratic republic for Britain. As far as I’m concerned the British monarchy has no honour to it. The recognition of an un-elected, unrepresentative and unaccountable monarch would affront and negate all I believe in. I seek the recognition of the majority, the working class. I have nothing but contempt for ‘Commanders of the British Empire’, feudal Knights and Dames. I realise there are many who began as socialist supporters of a modern, democratic republic who subsequently accepted your ‘bauble’. My former comrade Lord Reid of Celtic Park is one who springs readily to mind. But his is not the example I respect. Rather I favour the approach dear old Hamish Henderson took when offered your OBE for his services to folk music. You will recall how he convened a press conference to publicly turn it down as an anti-imperialist supporter of a modern, democratic republic. So please Your Majesty put the ‘gong’ you were going to give me back in its cupboard ready for the next establishment lackey on your list who so yearns for it. I remain your reluctant ‘subject’ Colin Fox
Thursday, 11 December 2014
The US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence report into the interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] was published this week and makes grim reading for anyone who believes the US [and Britain] are the ‘good guys’ upholding the law and bringing felons to justice. It is so bad that the normally bi-partisan Barack Obama and US Democrats have condemned the CIA and former Republican President George Bush for sanctioning the use of inhumane and illegal practices to extract confessions from prisoners in their custody across the world. ‘Water boarding’, where suspects are repeatedly held under water until they are all but drowned and pass out is just one of many macabre portfolio of tortures widely used. Sexual humiliation, rape, ‘rectal hydration’, stress positioning, applying electric shocks to the genitals, extracting fingernails and toenails, sleep deprivation, all these punishments and more too blood curdling to describe here are outlined in the Senate report and all are completely illegal under international law. When you might ask then is George Bush to be brought to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to stand trial? And where do the tortured find justice after such criminal violations? UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson has demanded US officials responsible for using such torture should be handed over for prosecution. That of course will never happen. Even Obama is not calling for that because he too believes the US is above international law. Laws they nonetheless expect everyone else in the world to live under. The Senate report chronicles the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and dozens of other locations. Notwithstanding such double standards this Senate report will be widely circulated around the world. The CIA will of course get off scot-free and continue to use such methods of torture claiming they secure information vital to the ‘War on Terror’. The truth is they are the best recruiting sergeants the so called ‘terrorists’ could wish for. And the United States’ enemies will use this report to radicalise another generation of suicide bombers and ‘jihadists’. Such terror techniques do not end the ‘war on terror’ they perpetuate it.