There is a common maxim, often quoted by a relatively large group of people: “crime does not pay”. This adage is an absolute absurdity because it is fundamentally false. Those who commit the most loathsome and grotesque crimes are seldom caught, because such individuals get state protection to some degree, but not totally. When a member of parliament sexually assaults another human being, it is nothing more than a “misdemeanour”, or an “unfortunate incident”, when they thieve money and defraud the public purse, they have made a “catastrophic miscalculation”, when they fund terror groups, they are “acting in the public interest”, when they support the wholesale destruction of towns, villages, cities, even countries, they are “acting with the utmost decency”. Therefore, the very idea that crime does not pay is an absolute lunacy. The opposite ought to be applied: crime pays very handsomely to this class of people.
When people from different cultural backgrounds, different classes and regions use the maxim quoted above it is not in reference to the criminal class of politicians but the general population. These are the people, most of which are subject to a kind of class warfare; but for the majority, they do not even know it. Therefore, crime only applies to them; nobody else commits crimes. Open up a newspaper, put on the radio, watch news programmes on the television and on the internet. The result is entirely predictable. There are images, as well as moving images of men, women, and sometimes-even children who have committed “wicked”, “nefarious”, “abominable”, “evil”, “premeditated” crimes. We know their names because we are forced to know their names; we know their crimes, and we know their prison sentences because we are tormented by the mass media.
After these “news” items have withered away from our television screens, we are able to vent our anger at these “sociopaths”, “lunatics”, “perverts” and “vile criminals”. It is discussed in the market place, at home, in work, at our social gatherings; it is discussed everywhere, even in prisons, and the next day the same process begins anew. We see the days go by, the weeks soon disappear, the months dissipate and so on. All the while members of parliament are committing legal crimes but are seldom reported, and when it is there is a cover-up to a certain degree by a great number of authorities including the police, the politicians themselves, journalists, intellectuals, judges, the secret services. What are these legal crimes, one may ask.
Because Britain is such a secret state and a silent one, most of the crimes committed by members of parliament will forever be unknown to the public. However, of the ones we do know about there is an abundance of crimes. For example Mr. Muhammad gives copious amounts of donations to people who like to blow people’s arms and legs off. He is likely to spend much of his life behind bars, because, it is, so we are told, funding terrorists. But when the state does it different rules and principles are applied; when the wanderer, the man with nowhere to go and no bed to sleep in, steals because he is hungry, he, for his troubles, is given a criminal record, and receives some form of punishment, but when members of parliament use taxpayers money to fund their lavish and extravagant lifestyles, stealing, as the case may be, up to tens of thousands of pounds, they are applauded by their colleagues; when the brute beats his partner half to death, he is branded the greatest monster that ever existed, and is handed a life sentence. When the government beats the heads of the electorate with an ideological sledgehammer, conducting economic warfare on millions of people, they are urged to create only more barbaric crimes, translated as laws.
What is most repugnant about these people is the constant portrayal of them as grand moralists, and that they have “values” that they care deeply for humanity and could not even bear to see even a rodent in pain. If the majority of the population decided it was perfectly acceptable to murder, rape, rob, defraud and act cruelly to their neighbours, these politicians would support these actions because, for them, crime overrides any act of decency, principles, and good moral conduct. There are exceptions of course, not every member of parliament commits terrible abuses and crimes, but there are few of them, their voices are echoed and their names remembered.
These same politicians have been, and continue to be responsible for millions of displaced people all over the world, they are also responsible for grave criminal acts, such as concentrated bombing, invasion, colonisation, imperialism, but their most persistent war is one against their own people. In Anthony Burgess’ iconic novella, A Clockwork Orange, Frank Alexander, and we presume, a great deal of others, are put in prison because they are “subversives”. These people have the temerity to criticise the state. It is these people in the real world, not in a dystopian nightmare, that they face the boot of oppression. There is little need to put these dissidents behind bars because Britain is an open-air prison anyway. Freedom of speech, of expression no longer exist, protesting is illegal, Britain is not a police state, as many people believe, but a prison one and a police one rolled into one.
Noam Chomsky, the U.S linguist said, “If the Nuremberg laws applied every post war American President would have been hanged.” He was quite right of course. Nevertheless, almost every government of the bloodiest century in history, the twentieth century, so we are told and beyond, are guilty of heinous and immoral crimes. It is also the case every administration covers up the crimes of the previous one. Members of parliament in Britain are not quite the simpatico’s they claim to be; instead they are prevaricating, feral, bellicose and vacuous. The popular figures in twentieth century politics, appear to be heroes, and people of good character. Well that fairy tale ought to be quashed because their actions contradict this quixotic fantasy.
Ken Loach, the film director, directed a documentary called the spirit of ‘45. In it there are generous words said in praise of the Attlee Government, and evils deeds about the Thatcher administration. Well, what Loach does not touch upon is the barbaric actions of this same Attlee Government. Palestine is not mentioned, nor are the hundreds of thousands that were forcibly removed from their native land. The Israeli Historian, Avi Shlaim, highlights Aneurin Bevan's role in this monstrous affair, who was Foreign Secretary in Atlee’s Government, yes, Bevan’s role was an abominable one. Nye Bevin summed him up perfectly. After Bevan supported British “intervention in Greece, Bevan said of his fellow MP: “Mr Bevin has described what is happening in Greece. I have no time to answer him. However, there is one complete answer. Only three bodies of public opinion in the world have gone on record in his support, namely Fascist Spain, Fascist Portugal and the majority of Tories in the House of Commons”. This same Government held kept prisoners of war until 1948 and even kept them in forced labour camps; not even the Americans managed this feat, they were starved, beaten, and all this, shall we say, was in the spirit of ‘45, and beyond. Incidentally, such agreements contravene the Geneva Convention of Human Rights.
Before the Attlee Government and its peccant practices was that decorated leader, worshipped for all eternity, Winston Churchill. Heathcote Williams, the English poet, highlights some of the Great War leader’s finest achievements:
Churchill had a school-friend called Aubrey Herbert who, in 1915, wrote in his diary, “Winston's name fills everyone with rage. Roman emperors killed slaves to make themselves popular, he is killing free men to make himself famous.” “A curse should rest on me,” Churchill said, “because I love this war. I know It's smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment and yet I can't help it. I enjoy every second.” “I don’t understand this squeamishness about the use of gas”, Churchill would say. "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes." "I do not admit,” Churchill said "that any great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken its place”. After Hitler came to power, Churchill proclaimed that' If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable [as Hitler] to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." And to Mussolini, whom he addressed In Rome on 20 January 1927, he declared: “I could not help being charmed, like so many other people have been, by Signor Mussolini’s gentle and simple bearing and by his calm, detached poise in spite of so many burdens and dangers. If I had been an Italian, I am sure that I should have been whole-heartedly with you from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism. I will, however, say a word on an international aspect of fascism. Externally, your movement has rendered service to the whole world. 'I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.' 'After today we begin to burn villages. Every one. In addition, all who resist will be killed without quarter. The Mohamads need a lesson, and there is no doubt we are a very cruel people.” Such action was vital, Churchill argued, because the Pashtuns “recognise superiority of race”.
It was once said to me by a rather dilapidated person, but educated in some respects, Harold Wilson, he said, was one and only true leader of the working man, and a true socialist. This was no laughing matter because he was more serious than I thought possible. It is entirely possible this “mad anarchist”, as he liked to call himself, was aware of the effects on the indigenous people on Diego Garcia. These people, like the Palestinians two decades before them, were forcibly removed from their land (to make way for an American military base). According to journalist John Pilger: “During the 1960s, in high secrecy, the Labour government of Harold Wilson conspired with two American administrations to "sweep" and "sanitize" the islands”. He goes on:
"To get rid of the population, the Foreign Office invented the fiction that the islanders were merely transient contract workers who could be "returned" to Mauritius, 1,000 miles away. In fact, many islanders traced their ancestry back five generations, as their cemeteries bore witness. The aim, wrote a Foreign Office official in January 1966, "is to convert all the existing residents ... into short-term, temporary residents."
This ethnic cleansing is not even part of history. For most, it never happened. As George Orwell says: “If a leader says such and such of an event, ‘it never happened’-well, it never happened. If he says that two and two make five-well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs”.
When an “offender”, as the probation service, police and prison officers like to call men and women who find themselves confined to prison for whatever reason, are released, and placed on “licence”, a probationary period, a list of their “conditions” are drawn up. One of these conditions is usually for the ex-prisoner to stay away and not associate with any known “offenders”. Nevertheless, as we have seen, different precepts apply to statesmen and their colleagues. The most cruellest and sadistic megalomaniacs in history have been faithful allies to British Prime Ministers past, present and no doubt for posterity. These “allies” are known and so are their crimes.
One of Tony Blair’s closest allies was Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister of Israel. It was Sharon, in 1982, as Defence Minister, who oversaw massacres in Shatila and Sabra but what is more obscurely known is his terrorist past. In 1953, the El-Bureig refugee camp in Gaza was subject to a bloody massacre by Sharon’s 101 units; two months later, he headed another massacring operation in the village of Qibya, Jordan. United Nations military observers described the they witnessed:
Riddled bodies near the doorway and multiple bullet hits on the doors of the demolished houses indicated the inhabitants had been forced to remain until their homes were blown up over them...witnesses were uniform in describing their experiences as a night of horror, during which Israel soldiers moved about in their village blowing up buildings, firing into doorways and windows with automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades.
These were what Sharon called “reprisals”. In the 1970s, the same man forcibly removed thousands of farmers from their own land, their houses were bulldozed and their crops destroyed. I have deliberately left out Sharon’s biggest crimes, but an ally of Tony Blair nonetheless.
Thatcher can better her affiliations in the rogue gallery. There is Saddam Hussein, whom she supplied mustard gas to; she supported Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; the admiration of the Chilean fascist, Augusto Pinochet; the Indonesian mass murderer, General Suharto; the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin; the Mujahedeen; the white supremacists in South Africa and so on. This is true of every Prime Minister in history. They, every single one of them, are reprobates; they are amoral and scrupulous thugs. The exception, so we are told, is John Major: that peaceful and amicable man. So amiable that he bears much responsibility for the starvation and liquidation of Iraqi children in the 1990s, in the form of sanctions. He was such a good man that he was content to witness the genocide in Rwanda. Such amicability.
However, there is an important point to be made here. These members of parliament past and present whose “hands are clean”, need not expect to be applauded at all. For they are part of a system that is criminal from the outset. It has a criminal structure as well as a criminal framework and they know as much. The people they claim to represent are subjected to a sort of permanent Kafkaesque nightmare of terror. Their lives are emptied of any sort of meaning, any individuality. For that is the great evil of capitalism, it soon enough, breaks the individual. These same individuals are robbed (in the form of taxes), have their freedoms reduced (in the form of work), and so on.
If an individual witnesses a crime, and is part of that clique or clan, they are as much criminals as the perpetrators, so we are told. It should be no different to members of parliament. If they wish to be part of a criminal system, they must be designated as criminals from the outset. The free market, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, NATO, and so on are all criminal enterprises, as well as the Monarchy. People who are part of the system are part of the problem. There are lone and moral voices in the Houses of Parliament but such voices are so distant and removed from public attention that their existence is nothing but a cruel joke.
27-29th March 2014
This is the first of 8 essays on 'crime'. The second instalment shall be posted soon.