Monday, 16 November 2009


Mr Baha Mousa, 26, was beaten to death by British troops in Iraq, this matter is not contested by the MOD and compensation of nearly three million pounds has been paid to the families of the deceased and others tortured by Tommy.

In 1980, during an appeal by the Birmingham Six (who were later acquitted) Lord Denning judged that the men should be stopped from challenging legal decisions. He listed several reasons for not allowing their appeal:

Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial ... If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous. ... That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, "It cannot be right that these actions should go any further." [83]

Alfred Denning was a popular if unconventional judge, some of his judgements compassionate and far-sighted, others, like the one above, damnable; the Birmingham Six, he felt, could be properly left rotting in prison if their release were to result in police malpractice being revealed; better the innocent suffer than institutional corruption be revealed.

And so it may prove with the apparent iceberg-tip 32 cases currently being brought against the Army alleging abuse, torture and rape by troops serving in Iraq. It may be that investigators are aware or find themselves being reminded that should these cases be proven then not only the long-discredited Blair invasion itself will be tarnished far beyond re-burnishing but so, too, will be the hitherto discrete, separate reputation of our armed forces.

Here in Ishmaelia, as in much of the unlicensed commentary on Ruin, we have crouched in that awkward posture of being agin the wars but sympathetic to Tommy, Kiplingising our responses; armchair generals, lambasting Hoon and Browne and Ainsworth for their manifold deficiencies, their deceit and charlatanry, their cruel careerism.

What shall we say and where shall we turn if Tommy, too, is villainous, is Godless, blood-letting Crusader, maltreating Ahmed, as though the Coldstream Guards were the Adolf Hitler Brigade of the SS?

And where should we go, in the solid world, should our name, thanks to our troops, be Torture?

We must await events but it is probably better that counsels such as those of Denning do not prevail for, despite his filthy, faux-paternalistic police statism, everybody now knows that the West Midlands Regional Crime Squad and many of the lawyers involved in the framing of the Birmingham Six were just dirty criminals - Denning predicted as much, should the Six ever gain release, in his judgement above. Convictions, however, of the true wrongdoers were deemed undesireable and no-one concerned with helping the true bombers evade capture and in securing sixteen years imprisonment for the innocent was ever punished.

We have long argued that coming after an illegal Blitzkrieg on a sovereign state the expenses scandal is small beer - if we let them away with Iraq, as we did, then sticky fingers is the very least we might expect; we have long argued that the massively tooled-up US/Israeli hegemony is the most dangerous Axiom of Evil in the world, despite the drunken fathead Fawkes sending propaganda Pizza to its child-killing Nazis. It is inevitable, I feel, that, close-quartered with Uncle Sam's crewcut, gang-raping psychobastard MommasBoys, betrayed by mincing, whoring, lickspittle criminals like Tony and Imelda Blair and directed now by a government which does not know, cannot tell right from wrong, Tommy Atkins will have, in the wost possible way, let down those who won the honours on his bloody flag. An unjust, shitty, immoral war led by thieves and fuckpigs like Campbell and Scarlett, drunken, wife beating coke-fiends and simpering ladyboys like Bush and Blair has probably dragged the regimental colours in the shit and stomped on them.

There may be some way back from Ruin but probably not, given the conduct of our elected dictatorship, of their chief constables, their heads of this and that, of skymadeupnewsandfilth and of bent financiers who, post- Thatcher, now pimp and swagger where once industry and manufacturing stood firm, given what goes on at home and given the threadbare poverty of his cassus bellus it would be little wonder if, increasingly, Tommy, abroad, joins the national shame.


Rasmus said...

It is very plain that the British army is made up these days of mercenaries. Mercenaries must be quite happy to pull the trigger or lob the grenade. They do not do either for the fun of it they.?
The police force is similarly made up of mercenaries.

In a small society which is constantly under threat and often attacked it is little wonder that total self restraint is sometimes a bit raggy.

That is no defence, I know, but it is an explanation, which, coupled to the attitude of total disdeign for all and everything, except their own well being,that our rulers exhibit, could go some way to explaining how standards of compassion and concern have dropped.

EU Army said...

And when they slink out of Afganistan with their tails between their legs,the ruination will be complete.

mongoose said...

Uncle Tom "Be ye ever so mighty, the law is above ye" Denning was indeed a strange, old cove but generally a decent fellow. Though a creature of a different age, he was usually to be found on the right side of the argument.

His point I can only think was that the conspiracy and cheating must have been be so vast that it was inconceivable to him that it could have been perpetrated. It could not have been true because all of those bastards must then have been as corrupt as the criminals they were not bothering to catch, and in fact, very much worse. "Yes, Tom, that would be the West Midlands Serious Crime Unit. You have it in one."

If the lie is big enough.

MrsMacnaughty said...

How quickly we forget...

Kenneth John Bigley (22 April 1942 - 7 October 2004), born Liverpool, England, was a civil engineer who was kidnapped in the al-Mansour district of Baghdad, Iraq on 16 September 2004, along with his colleagues Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong, both U.S. citizens. The three men were working for Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services, a company working on reconstruction projects in Iraq. All were subsequently beheaded.

On 18 September, the Tawhid and Jihad ("Oneness of God and Jihad") Islamist group, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, released a video of the three men kneeling in front of a Tawhid and Jihad banner. The kidnappers said they would kill the men within 48 hours if their demands for the release of Iraqi women prisoners held by coalition forces were not met.

Armstrong was beheaded on 20 September when the deadline expired, Hensley 24 hours later, and Bigley over two weeks later, despite the intervention of the Muslim Council of Britain and the indirect intervention of the British government. Videos of the killings were posted on Islamist websites. Using voice-recognition technology, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has claimed that al-Zarqawi personally carried out the beheading of Armstrong.

After Bigley's death, it was claimed that the British Secret Intelligence Service (commonly known as MI6) had launched a rescue operation that had allowed Bigley to escape for a brief period, but he was recaptured at a roadblock, taken back to the Tawhid and Jihad safehouse, and beheaded shortly afterwards.

MrsMacnaughty said...

Torture - it's not just a Government thing.

Paris withdrew its special forces soldiers previously deployed in Afghanistan after taking high casualties. Some of their dead were reported to have been skinned alive after being captured.

call me ishmael said...

It is a sign of the times in which he worked, mr mongoose, that many, for his pioneering of what became the Matrimonial Causes Act, are or were prepared to overlook Denning's complicit bulwarking of the monstrous Birmingham convictions.

My own view is that many in the political-legal nexus were fully complicit in this frame-up and others, fully cognisant of the extent of the corruption and happy to be associated with it.

Denning's view is open to your benign interpretation, of course; it is possible that a Master of the Rolls may be unaware of the extent of corrupt practice in jurisprudence but it seems both unlikely and infelicitous, if true and I think that those wrongly held and abused for so many years might quail at your description of him as a decent old cove. But I know what you mean.

I am sure, Mrs M, that dreadful atrocity is commonplace, being buried alive by the Provisional IRA, skinned alive by Mujahadein or beaten to death by The Queens Own Nancyboys are just points on a spectrum of human rights abuses, all of which we deplore, none of which are exculpatorily barterable - or, by some ruinous equilibrium, are they?

Mr rasmus makes a more salient point - that those led and ordered by carefree wickedness are more likely to be brutish than noble and this, this phoney martial erudition, this facetious sholarship militaire, this six-of-one-and-half-a-dozen-of the-other-atrocity, this is the crux of Ruin. Ahmed and his Mrs do not torture, before the world, in British uniforms.

I do not, incidentally, trade links, nor follow them, like some obedient bloodhound; if the matter may not be usefully paraphrased then why should it be of interest?

This linking thing, it is like texting, innit, an impertinence. Regulars here link, occasionally, to pieces of music but that is entirely different. The link, to my mind, is the cyber equivalent of the nutter on the bus, Read this, mate? Gahn, 'ave a look at it, it's good, You'll love it. I do.

Clare Macnaughton said...

or b.) the link was a reference to the source.

It's easy to sit behind your internet tag and pontificate about atrocious acts with glib, unfeigned arrogance about the abuse of human rights.

Using this freedom of speech, that you take for granted, and yet use so liberally and disparagingly to wage a verbal war of disgust at people, who don't hide behind masks, but who chose a public life.

(I am sure they are all corrupt, greedy bastards who had it coming, of course.)

Maybe one of the Queen's Own Nancy Boys found the bodies of those skinned soldiers. Would you be man enough to do that Mr Ishmael to protect this freedom of speech that you enjoy to exercise so freely?

I wonder, and ask you, what would you give to preserve this right to blog in the style that you do?

I can see that you are very clever indeed. Much cleverer than I. Verbally spar me to the written death, for sure. The master of the pen, which is far mightier than the sword.

Compared to you, I am illiterate. You know it, I know it. You are Professor Higgins, and I am, Eliza Doolittle. Pygmalian indeed.

Clare Macnaughton said...

Bollocks - Pygmalion - Grrrrrr!!! Or roar.

mongoose said...

I am not convinced, Mr Ishmael, of the corruption of Denning. How many times overturned by the House of Lords? How many times making a law in Court for the weak and drawing the contempt of the strong? His brother an Admiral, his brother a General, the other dead in the horror of WWI. I think that he was an Edwardian and could not conceive of it. Just as he couldn't quite conceive of the Profumo business. This is my only conceit in this matter. An artificial life - in Court in the morning and back to Wessex and his tea in the afternoon.

The notion of Tommy torturing Ahmed is as abominable and horrorful to me as it is to you. That this be almost officiallly sanctioned is the loss of everything we strive, and they fight, to conserve. The arguments that one reads in the Press that torture is justified because it saves people is sounding brass. If it was your daughter or son... But what if it was your daughter or son they were torturing? And so the argument ends. Do unto others as you would be done unto.

Ms Clare, we must stand at post. We must try to be better. We can explain and forgive folly and error, and anger and rage but we must not embrace them as policy.

Anonymous said...

Clare Macnaughton said... " Fuck me I knew it was a bad idea to give this slag any publicity.

Mother's Ruin said...

I also send you a virtual hug,Mr Ishmael.
Didn't Denning say some such words as to the effect that if they had hung the guildford four,justice would have worked in a mysterious but righteous way?
Tidy bastards those lawyers.

call me ishmael said...

I do admit to a split, contradictory reaction to Denning which embraces those aspects you admire, mr mongoose. There is, however, at best, a naievity grotesque in his Birmingham Six remarks, a sort of unspoken droit de seigneur, the right of the powerful to fuck us for our own good, which ultimately obliterates any other good he may have done at the bar or on the bench, the pedestrian good eclipsed by the vaulting bad. Do, as you say, as you would be done unto.

Aye, the torture business, people either get it or they don't.

call me ishmael said...

Don't you start, with that hugging stuff, Mothers Ruin.

Yes, thanks, I had forgotten that little Denning apercu, one which should make the blood run cold. In a truly civilised country he would have been removed from any public office for such a suggestion.

call me ishmael said...

Dear Poor Clare.

I take no freedoms for granted and that is what the blog and most of the comments are about. I wage no war against soldiers - read the back pages, read stanislav in ARRSE - but torturers. And like anyone I would do what I needs must do.

What you must do is go back to ARRSE and a tumult of acclaim for, wittering vainly as you do, you will find none here. This is not the place to "Raise your profile"

mongoose said...

"a naievity grotesque"

Exactly that, Mr Ishmael. "How can it be?" And I had forgotten the quote re the hanging of the Guildford lot. A blot indeed on his career. And but...

Lawyers are strange fish, you know. They win some and they lose some. And in this adversarial system, and in the days when the losers went to the scaffold, it was a different perspective. 28 days to get an appeal or a reprieve. Colder, more brittle days with colder, more brittle minds. It all done and they dust, win or lose, right or wrong by next month. Argue better next time.

I mean no excuse; I just describe.

woman on a raft said...

If you want a Chronicle of Ruin look at the final judgment of the House of Lords, in which it wimped out and told Kier Starmer - the Director of Public Prosecutions, a mere functionary of the law - that he was going to effectively be interpretting the law by deciding when to prosecute people assisting suicide by travelling to Switzerland.

They could have said "It is for Parliament to decide if it wants to explicitly allow this thing, and the DPP must always prosecute, that is his job". They could have said "So long as the DPP is satisfied that Aunt Agatha got on the plane voluntarily with informed consent, then it is beyond our jurisdiction if she then decides to top herself in some foreign place". Both rulings would have been what we pay judges for, regardless of whether one agrees with them.

Instead they mumbled "Well cheps, no point in getting in to a paddy on the last day of work, especially as no one will agree no matter what ruling we give, so let's get this squared away and get off on our hols. Let that little tic Starmer collect the flak for it". It crossed my mind that they had all but gone off in a huff.

Whatever else Lord Denning was - the law students all love him, the law lecturers think he's an over-rated maverick - he at least wasn't affraid of doing his own job and taking the criticism which came with it.

call me ishmael said...

Albeit, Mrs WOAR, that such criticism did not extend to a brief handshake with Mr Pierrepoint, a precisely-calculated drop and dead before eight had finished ringing.

I can just remember people being hanged and have though about it much since abolition and for his whimsy over the Guildford Four Denning should rot in Hell.

I quite agree about the avoidance of responsibility in the Dignitas matter, hijacked by the rancid Mrs Purdie and intended at the time to make the observation you make above, something must have intervened and I am grateful for your comment. It struck me, then, that without a moment's parliamentary debate their Lordships made Starmer into something quite sinister, supra-parliamentary, something quite New World Orderish. Fancy that.

PT Barnum said...

The British army rank and file are, now, comprised largely of the Children of Blair, ill-educated, rootless in a world of relativistic neo-values. With no core of certain right and wrong, that they should - individually or collectively - descend to barbarism is not really to be wondered at. When the gap between public words and private actions is so vast in their political masters, it can be no surprise that soldiering shades inexorably into rage-driven revenge. Since Truth was snuffed so successfully in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, the first casualty of war now would seem to be Honour.

And who the hell is Clare McNaughton? Osmosis means I could name most of the X Factor contestants, but this name has passed me by.

lilith said...

Clare blogs about nuts on the Daily Politics, Mr Barnum.

mongoose said...

But Mr PTB, have not armies always been like this? Turn your back on a Roman Legion and they'd be off raping and pillaging along with the worst of the so-called barbarians. What did Wllington say "I don't know what they do to the French but, by God, they frighten me"?

The horror is not in the conduct, horrible though it is. The horror lies in the semi-official sanction. That we are now no longer any better than the worst bastard out there. The fact that we have to discuss this crap is signal enough that we have fallen from grace. Into Ruin, indeed.

PT Barnum said...

Your point is well made, Mr Mongoose. No one who has spent any time in an army town could be under any illusion about the mythic heroic cast of squaddies or the fatuousness of the officer class. Testosterone is a powerful drug.

But, over decades, I have observed a decline in the calibre of recruits. Where once a teenager would have made a choice between skilled labouring and the armed forces, now the choice is between nothing (crime, drugs, benefits) and the armed forces, as so many of the ones with any nous whatever are diverted towards vaccuous university "education" or call centres.

And yet. However low the brows of current troops, to hear some rent-a-gob lawyer declaring that a vast swathe of the British army relishes sadistic violence and homosexual rape of children defies credulity. If I am proved wrong on this, we are, indeed, utterly Ruined.

richard said...

an acquaintance of mine from an elite regiment was a complex character. he had been courts-marshalled at least twice, once for throwing an NCO off a ferry, and also for firing a pistol whilst interrogating a Somali. he said he had been "bored" at the time. yet he showed me several letters of commendation from his officers, was remarkably thoughtful and kind towards children, and was a learned historian of the ancient Roman army.
i would not presume to pre-judge any soldier, or their reactions after weeks, months or years of stress. nevertheless, UK soldiers are engaged in illegal warfare, ie no declaration of war, and invading a non-belligerent country. by supporting them in that war, we are guilty as a nation under the Neuremberg principles. the face in the picture is O'Brien's prophecy come true. "picture a boot stamping on a human face forever"
and, even allowing for the pressures of the battlefield, anyone who beats a helpless prisoner to death should, if justice is to be done, suffer the same terrible fate as did Breaker Morant.

mongoose said...

For my sins, I once lived in Camberley. Our consolation then was that at least our squaddies were officers. OTOH Aldershot of a Saturday night was a scene best avoided.

call me ishmael said...

It may well be that this shit always goes on, is the currency of belligerence, torture and rape just darker aspects of warfare from which we have been shielded; certainly one "side" of the vague war in Ulster always maintained that British troops, especially the paras, were quick to torture and abuse, Adams and McGuinness would always maintain that their atrocities were retaliatory and it is true that despite the whitewash of the Widgery Report HM Armed Forces were found by the UN to have tortured prisoners - this is the same UN via whose validation we invade the Balkans and the Middle East and Asia.

Unlike some here, I have no special knowledge of soldiers or of barracks towns, indeed, much of my view of Tommy is coloured by the obit pages of the Telegraph, over the past twenty years or so, not all of which can have been exaggeration and hyperbole, some of those tales must be more than myth and propaganda but if conflict liberates the greatness of soul eulogised in despatches and obituaries then it can also do the other thing, free the demons of cruelty to bite the hapless foreigner, and stomp him to death.

Those guilty of Mr Mousa's torture and murder must be held to account, all the way up the chain of command for if they are not then the good soldier is tarnished, as are we who, as mr richard points out, support him, cagily, aware that his enterprise is illicit; a crumb iof comfort in this ghastly business is that Blair and Imelda do not strut the European stage, entirely free, as they would have been, from any prospect of prosecution; until Blair and Campbell and Scarlett and Bush and Rumsfeld and the rest are indicted then we are only pissing about with guilt and innocence, as though World War Three was an episode of the X Factor.