Tuesday, 10 April 2018

When Britain attacked Russian villagers with chemical weapons


On her visit to Copenhagen yesterday, Mrs May asserted: "The UK utterly condemns the use of chemical weapons in any circumstances." (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-in-denmark-9-april-2018) That may be today's policy, but it hasn't always been so. 99 years ago, Britain attacked Russian villages with chemical weapons, under orders of  Minister for War, Winston Churchill, as the article below reveals


Winston Churchill's shocking use of chemical weapons
The use of chemical weapons in Syria has outraged the world. But it is easy to forget that Britain has used them – and that Winston Churchill was a powerful advocate for them
Winston Churchill speaking at a munitions factory in Ponders End, 1916.
Winston Churchill speaking at a munitions factory in Ponders End, 1916. Photograph: Hulton Archive
Secrecy was paramount. Britain's imperial general staff knew there would be outrage if it became known that the government was intending to use its secret stockpile of chemical weapons. But Winston Churchill, then secretary of state for war, brushed aside their concerns. As a long-term advocate of chemical warfare, he was determined to use them against the Russian Bolsheviks. In the summer of 1919, 94 years before the devastating strike in Syria, Churchill planned and executed a sustained chemical attack on northern Russia.
The British were no strangers to the use of chemical weapons. During the third battle of Gaza in 1917, General Edmund Allenby had fired 10,000 cans of asphyxiating gas at enemy positions, to limited effect. But in the final months of the first world war, scientists at the governmental laboratories at Porton in Wiltshire developed a far more devastating weapon: the top secret "M Device", an exploding shell containing a highly toxic gas called diphenylaminechloroarsine. The man in charge of developing it, Major General Charles Foulkes, called it "the most effective chemical weapon ever devised".
Trials at Porton suggested that it was indeed a terrible new weapon. Uncontrollable vomiting, coughing up blood and instant, crippling fatigue were the most common reactions. The overall head of chemical warfare production, Sir Keith Price, was convinced its use would lead to the rapid collapse of the Bolshevik regime. "If you got home only once with the gas you would find no more Bolshies this side of Vologda."The cabinet was hostile to the use of such weapons, much to Churchill's irritation. He also wanted to use M Devices against the rebellious tribes of northern India. "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes," he declared in one secret memorandum. He criticised his colleagues for their "squeamishness", declaring that "the objections of the India Office to the use of gas against natives are unreasonable. Gas is a more merciful weapon than [the] high explosive shell, and compels an enemy to accept a decision with less loss of life than any other agency of war."
He ended his memo on a note of ill-placed black humour: "Why is it not fair for a British artilleryman to fire a shell which makes the said native sneeze?" he asked. "It is really too silly."
A staggering 50,000 M Devices were shipped to Russia: British aerial attacks using them began on 27 August 1919, targeting the village of Emtsa, 120 miles south of Archangel. Bolshevik soldiers were seen fleeing in panic as the green chemical gas drifted towards them. Those caught in the cloud vomited blood, then collapsed unconscious.
The attacks continued throughout September on many Bolshevik-held villages: Chunova, Vikhtova, Pocha, Chorga, Tavoigor and Zapolki. But the weapons proved less effective than Churchill had hoped, partly because of the damp autumn weather. By September, the attacks were halted then stopped. Two weeks later the remaining weapons were dumped in the White Sea. They remain on the seabed to this day in 40 fathoms of water.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Novichok narrative questioned

Letter sent to The Times:
Your Diplomatic Correspondent’s front page reports on the source of the Novichok nerve agent used in Salisbury (“Salisbury poison ‘made at Russia’s Porton Down,” 6 April 2018; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/salisbury-poison-made-at-russia-s-porton-down-7p7kfcs3c) and “UK locates source of Salisbury nerve agent,” 5 April 2018; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/uk-locates-source-of-salisbury-nerve-agent-nx8p39kqv) appear to be based substantially on the assessment of Col. Hamish de Bretton Gordon, the former commander of Britain’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear  Regiment, who you  importantly report “has seen the intelligence.”
If accurate, this raises an important constitutional issue, as Security Minister Ben Wallace explained on the BBC radio Today Programme on April 5, that the number of people entrusted with the most sensitive intelligence details the needed to be deliberately kept small so intelligence sources were protected, when he justified not sharing  all the Government knows with  Jeremy Corbyn, the  leader of the official opposition in Parliament, even on  privy council protective  terms.

If the Government believes it is acceptable to share such secret information with a retired chemical weapons expert - albeit one who now makes a living as managing director CBRN of Avon Protection Systems, based in Wiltshire, selling respirators to the US military - but not with Mr Corbyn, we have a serious problem of trust.

You cite ret.Col de Bretton Gordon as dismissing the notion the Novichuk could  have come from a chemical laboratory in Uzbekistan, rather than Shikhany in Russia, but provide no supporting evidence for this assertion.

What is known is that in August 1999, the US military began dismantling the Chemical Research Institute at Nukus, in Uzbekistan, where Novichuk was tested on the nearby Ustyurt plateau.(“US dismantles chemical weapons,”  BBC News on line, August 9, 1999; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/415742.stm)

We also know from an earlier report from the New York Times (“US and Uzbeks Agree on Chemical Arms Plant Cleanup,” , May 25 1999; https://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/25/world/us-and-uzbeks-agree-on-chemical-arms-plant-cleanup.html) the Pentagon announced  that it intended to spend up to $6 million under its Cooperative Threat Reduction program “to demilitarize the so-called Chemical Research Institute, in Nukus. Soviet defectors and American officials say the Nukus plant was the major research and testing site for a new class of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons called Novichok."

For Government to work properly on national security issues, it is essential that the leader of the opposition is provided with the full intelligence details on ‘privy council’ conditions. Otherwise the public may rightly conclude there is something inconvenient to the Government’s  “novichok narrative” it wishes to keep to itself and its friends.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Remembering Great Moments of History: on the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King's murder

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

https://www.afscme.org/union/history/mlk/ive-been-to-the-mountaintop-by-dr-martin-luther-king-jr
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Mason Temple, Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968 — the day before he was assassinated. License to reproduce this speech granted by Intellectual Properties Management, 1579-F Monroe Drive, Suite 235, Atlanta, Georgia 30324, as manager for the King Estate. Write to IPM re: copyright permission for use of words and images of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy in his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It's always good to have your closest friend and associate say something good about you. And Ralph is the best friend that I have in the world.
I'm delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow. Something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world.
As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?" — I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn't stop there. I would move on by Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.
But I wouldn't stop there. I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and esthetic life of man. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even go by the way that the man for whom I'm named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg.
But I wouldn't stop there. I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
But I wouldn't stop there. Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy." Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a away that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same — "We want to be free."
And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence.
That is where we are today. And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn't done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed. Now, I'm just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding. And I'm happy that He's allowed me to be in Memphis.
I can remember, I can remember when Negroes were just going around as Ralph has said, so often, scratching where they didn't itch, and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God's world.
And that's all this whole thing is about. We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God's children. And that we don't have to live like we are forced to live.
Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that's the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.
Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we've got to keep attention on that. That's always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn't get around to that.
Now we're going to march again, and we've got to march again, in order to put the issue where it is supposed to be. And force everybody to see that there are thirteen hundred of God's children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out. That's the issue. And we've got to say to the nation: we know it's coming out. For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.
We aren't going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces; they don't know what to do, I've seen them so often. I remember in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were in that majestic struggle there we would move out of the 16th Street Baptist Church day after day; by the hundreds we would move out. And Bull Connor would tell them to send the dogs forth and they did come; but we just went before the dogs singing, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me round." Bull Connor next would say, "Turn the fire hoses on." And as I said to you the other night, Bull Connor didn't know history. He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn't relate to the transphysics that we knew about. And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. And we went before the fire hoses; we had known water. If we were Baptist or some other denomination, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist, and some others, we had been sprinkled, but we knew water.
That couldn't stop us. And we just went on before the dogs and we would look at them; and we'd go on before the water hoses and we would look at it, and we'd just go on singing "Over my head I see freedom in the air." And then we would be thrown in the paddy wagons, and sometimes we were stacked in there like sardines in a can. And they would throw us in, and old Bull would say, "Take them off," and they did; and we would just go in the paddy wagon singing, "We Shall Overcome." And every now and then we'd get in the jail, and we'd see the jailers looking through the windows being moved by our prayers, and being moved by our words and our songs. And there was a power there which Bull Connor couldn't adjust to; and so we ended up transforming Bull into a steer, and we won our struggle in Birmingham.
Now we've got to go on to Memphis just like that. I call upon you to be with us Monday. Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we're going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.
We need all of you. And you know what's beautiful tome, is to see all of these ministers of the Gospel. It's a marvelous picture. Who is it that is supposed to articulate the longings and aspirations of the people more than the preacher? Somehow the preacher must be an Amos, and say, "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Somehow, the preacher must say with Jesus, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to deal with the problems of the poor."
And I want to commend the preachers, under the leadership of these noble men: James Lawson, one who has been in this struggle for many years; he's been to jail for struggling; but he's still going on, fighting for the rights of his people. Rev. Ralph Jackson, Billy Kiles; I could just go right on down the list, but time will not permit. But I want to thank them all. And I want you to thank them, because so often, preachers aren't concerned about anything but themselves. And I'm always happy to see a relevant ministry.
It's all right to talk about "long white robes over yonder," in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's all right to talk about "streets flowing with milk and honey," but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day. It's all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.
Now the other thing we'll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now, we are poor people, individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That's power right there, if we know how to pool it.
We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles, we don't need any Molotov cocktails, we just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."
And so, as a result of this, we are asking you tonight, to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy—what is the other bread?—Wonder Bread. And what is the other bread company, Jesse? Tell them not to buy Hart's bread. As Jesse Jackson has said, up to now, only the garbage men have been feeling pain; now we must kind of redistribute the pain. We are choosing these companies because they haven't been fair in their hiring policies; and we are choosing them because they can begin the process of saying, they are going to support the needs and the rights of these men who are on strike. And then they can move on downtown and tell Mayor Loeb to do what is right.
But not only that, we've got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank—we want a "bank-in" movement in Memphis. So go by the savings and loan association. I'm not asking you something we don't do ourselves at SCLC. Judge Hooks and others will tell you that we have an account here in the savings and loan association from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. We're just telling you to follow what we're doing. Put your money there. You have six or seven black insurance companies in Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an "insurance-in."
Now these are some practical things we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base. And at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts. I ask you to follow through here.
Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we've got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point, in Memphis. We've got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.
Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. One day a man came to Jesus; and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters in life. At points, he wanted to trick Jesus, and show him that he knew a little more than Jesus knew, and through this, throw him off base. Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. But Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn't stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But with him, administering first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou," and to be concerned about his brother. Now you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn't stop. At times we say they were busy going to church meetings—an ecclesiastical gathering—and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn't be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that "One who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony." And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather to organize a "Jericho Road Improvement Association." That's a possibility. Maybe they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effort.
But I'm going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It's possible that these men were afraid. You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles, or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about 2200 feet below sea level. That's a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the "Bloody Pass." And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.
Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.
You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, "Are you Martin Luther King?"
And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that's punctured, you drown in your own blood—that's the end of you.
It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've forgotten what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it. It said simply, "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze."
And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze.
And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."
And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/i-have-a-dream-speech-text-martin-luther-king-jr_n_1207734.html
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King :The “I Have A Dream” speech he delivered in 1963 in Washington, D.C.

The full text is below,

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

 

If you attack someone for erasing history, be sure you are not doing so yourself




 
Your Comment on Monday (Daily Mail, 2 April 2018) attacks Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn for deleting his  personal Facebook page which you describe as “the erasing of  history” in the furore over anti-semitism raising its  nasty head in the  Labour Party.

The Mail needs to reflect a little on its own history in making such pointed attacks over anti-semitism. Over eighty years ago, in January 1934, the then owner of the Daily Mail Viscount Rothermere,  wrote  under his own byline an article headlined "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" in backing the anti-semitic fascist political party led by Oswald  Mosley's party.
 



Documents released by the British National Archives at Kew – part of the Foreign Office Intelligence files - in April 2005 reveal a series of supportive and congratulatory telegrams from Viscount Rothermere  to Nazi Germany's leaders, including Hitler, just months before the second world war.

In June 1939, Rothermere wrote to Hitler as follows: "My Dear F├╝hrer, I have watched with understanding and interest the progress of your great and superhuman work in regenerating your country."

(“Months before war, Rothermere said Hitler's work was superhuman, Guardian, 1 April 2018; https://www.theguardian.com/media/2005/apr/01/pressandpublishing.secondworldwar)

In the early 1930s, Rothermere was so close to Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists that Daily Mail staff began to mimic their dress – wearing black shirts to work, Will Wainewright reports in his book “Reporting on Hitler.”

Your current proprietor cannot be blamed for the mistakes of his great grandfather. But as the Mail daily excoriates the Labour leader over alleged anti-Semitism, it should also accept he is capable of making errors of judgment, and should be allowed to honestly correct them, as has your newspaper

Monday, 2 April 2018

Questioning nuclear orthodoxy

Two letters to newspapers raising  important nuclear issues:

Your correspondent Richard Burnett-Hall (‘Value of Euratom,’ Times letters, Mar 31) asserts that Euratom “is not an EU institution.” This is demonstrably incorrect.Chapter One of the 1957 Euratom Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, sets out the planned EU-wide ‘Promotion of research’ as follows:


“The [European] Commission shall be responsible for promoting and facilitating nuclear research in the Member States and for complementing it by carrying out a Community research and training programme….” and goes on to state in the next Article “For purposes of coordinating and complementing research undertaken in Member States, the Commission shall, either by a specific request addressed to a given recipient and conveyed to the government concerned, or by a general published request, call upon Member States, persons or undertakings to communicate to it their programmes relating to the research which it specifies in the request.”


eur-lex.europa.eu
Consolidated version of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community






All legislation implementing Euratom decisions are published via the European Journal, as directives. For example, the European Council Directive of 8 July 2014 amending Directive 2009/71/Euratom establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations. (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2014.219.01.0042.01.ENG)

eur-lex.europa.eu
Council Directive 2014/87/Euratom of 8 July 2014 amending Directive 2009/71/Euratom establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations






 

The European Commission’s periodical ‘Nuclear Illustrative Programme’ (COM[2017] 237) commonly dubbed the PINC - presented under Article 40 of the Euratom Treaty – most recently published on May 12 last year, demonstrates how the entire Euratom  project is administered fully by the European Commission, stressing: ”The EU has the most advanced legally binding and enforceable regional framework for nuclear safety in the world.” (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/nuclear_illustrative_programme_pinc_-_may_2017_en.pdf)

ec.europa.eu
2 1. INTRODUCTION This Communication on a Nuclear Illustrative Programme (PINC), a requirement under Article 40 of the Euratom Treaty, provides an overview of investments in the EU for all the steps of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Your first [Guardian] leader on 27 March on the Labour leadership (“Antisemitism is morally wrong-Jeremy Corbyn should show leadership”) asserts that “this latest episode [of alleged antisemitism inside the Labour Party] is not about Israel.”

I humbly disagree.

Many of the protest leaders outside Parliament and their supporters among various Labour MPs are very strongly pro the state of Israel and would proudly call themselves zionists, even though many would not be supporters of the current policies of the Israeli government led by the right wing bigot Benjamin Netanyahu. Many simply cannot  accept the current Labour leader is - and has been for many decades - a strong critic of the policies and actions of successive Israeli Governments.

In a debate in Parliament on the Middle East and North Africa nearly four years ago, Mr Corbyn said: “In the past few weeks, 200 Palestinians have died in Gaza, and sadly one Israeli has been killed as the result of one rocket landing. This is wholly disproportionate. It is a horrible way forward, and the demonstrations around the world show just how isolated Israel is and just how isolated are those Governments who think that they can keep on and on apologising for Israel’s behaviour rather than pressure it to do something different. Such Governments are becoming out of touch with the feelings of an awful lot of ordinary people all over the world.”

(Hansard, 17 July 2014: Columns 348-9WH)


publications.parliament.uk
Read the House of commons debates for 17 July 2014 on Middle East and North Africa, ...






In a similar debate nearly nine years ago, Mr Corbyn demonstrated significant international scholarship on the possibilities of Israel playing a constructive geo-political role in the region, stating:

“The Paris summit of Mediterranean countries was held on 13 July 2008, under the co-presidency of the French Republic and the Arab Republic of Egypt and in the presence of Israel, which was represented by its then Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. It discussed the issue of peace within the region, and said that it was in favour of

‘regional security by acting in favour of nuclear, chemical and biological non-proliferation through adherence to and compliance with a combination of international and regional nonproliferation regimes and arms control and disarmament agreements such as the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT)’"

 (Hansard, 11 November 2009: Columns 93-4WH)


Critics of Corbyn need to give him credit for creative thinking, not jump I on every bandwagon set rolling by those ( inside and outside Labour) who cannot accept his legitimate leadership of Britain’s best socialist hope for a fairer future for all.

 

It is impossible to understand how Euratom operates without recognizing it is integrated completely into the EU system.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Aldermaston marches @ 60: Corbyn leads the arguments for nuclear disarmament


Letter submitted to The Guardian:
 
In his timely article (“Corbyn has to lead on nuclear weapons,” The Guardian, 29 March; www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/29/nuclear-weapons-jeremy-corbyn-apocalypse) Owen Jones  rightly highlights the Trident obsession by ministers and many Labour MPs.

But the exhortation in the headline is misplaced. Corbyn consistently does just what it wants, but his words do not  get reported.

For example, in a debate in Parliament on Monday evening ( 26 March) on ‘National Security and Russia’ he stressed:

“We should not be about to mark the 50th anniversary of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty this June while its two key signatories, Russia and the United States, are behaving as though it no longer applies to them. It was a Labour Government who, in 1968, promoted the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). We urgently need the other signatories to that treaty, including the United Kingdom, to take a lead in insisting that Russia, the US and all other nuclear powers return to the negotiating table and to the principles that underpinned that very important treaty in 1968.”


 
Corbyn’s history is accurate: on 27 June 1968 the then Labour government presented to Parliament the final text of the NPT (as Cmnd 3683), which Labour ministers had helped negotiate.

 

Papers available in the National Archives show that earlier that year, on 23 January 1968, Fred (later Lord) Mulley, as the Labour Government's disarmament minister, told  the UN committee on disarmament, why nations should sign up to the newly negotiated NPT:

 

" it is our desire that these [nuclear disarmament] negotiations should begin as soon as possible and should produce speedy and successful results. There is no excuse now for allowing a long delay to follow the signing of this treaty."

But ministers ambiguously share this atomic aspiration. Lib Dem peer, Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer, was told by foreign office minister Lord Ahmad on 22 March:

As a responsible nuclear weapons state, the UK is committed to the long term goal of a world without nuclear weapons... However, we do not believe the UN High Level Conference in May 2018 will lead to effective progress on nuclear disarmament. It will not address the serious threats to international peace and security posed by nuclear proliferation nor will it take account of the international security environment.” HL6201