Schlagwort-Archive: #UK

Assange Extradition Ruling Is a Relief, But it Isn’t Justice

Assange Extradition Ruling Is a Relief, But it Isn’t Justice

January 4, 2021 

Caitlin Johnstone says the judge supported virtually every U.S. prosecutorial argument, no matter how absurd and Orwellian.

British Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled against U.S.  extradition for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but not for the reasons she should have.

Baraitser’s frightening ruling supported virtually every U.S.  prosecutorial argument that was made during the extradition trial, no matter how absurd and Orwellian. This includes quoting from a long-discredited CNN report alleging without evidence that Assange made the embassy a “command post” for election interference, saying the right to free speech does not give anyone “unfettered discretion” to disclose any document they wish, dismissing arguments from the defense that U.K. law prohibits extradition for political offenses, parroting the false claim that Assange’s attempt to help protect his source Chelsea Manning while she was exfiltrating documents she already had access to was not normal journalistic behavior, saying U.S.  intelligence might have had legitimate reasons to spy on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, and claiming Assange’s rights would be protected by the U.S.  legal system if he were extradited.

“Judge is just repeating the U.S.  case, including its most dubious claims, in Assange case,” tweeted activist John Rees during the proceedings.

In the end, though, Baraitser ruled against extradition. Not because the U.S.  government has no business extraditing an Australian journalist from the U.K. for exposing its war crimes. Not because allowing the extradition and prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act poses a direct threat to press freedoms worldwide. Not to prevent a global chilling effect on natsec investigative journalism into the behaviors of the largest power structures on our planet. No, Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition because Assange would be too high a suicide risk in America’s draconian prison system.

Assange is still not free, and he is not out of the woods. The U.S.  government has said it will appeal the decision, and Baraitser has the legal authority to keep Assange locked in Belmarsh Prison until that appeals process has been carried through all the way to its end. Discussions on bail and release will resume on Wednesday, and Assange will remain imprisoned in Belmarsh at least until that time. Due to Assange’s bail offense which resulted from taking political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, it’s very possible that bail will be denied and he will remain imprisoned throughout the U.S.  government appeal.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian trade union to which Assange belongs as a journalist, has released a statement on the ruling which outlines the situation nicely.

“Today’s court ruling is a huge relief for Julian, his partner and family, his legal team and his supporters around the world,” said MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom. “Julian has suffered a 10-year ordeal for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day, and it has had an immense impact on his mental and physical health.”

“But we are dismayed that the judge showed no concern for press freedom in any of her comments today, and effectively accepted the U.S.  arguments that journalists can be prosecuted for exposing war crimes and other government secrets, and for protecting their sources,” Strom added. “The stories for which he was being prosecuted were published by WikiLeaks a decade ago and revealed war crimes and other shameful actions by the United States government. They were clearly in the public interest. The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalisingjournalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

Indeed, the ruling today was a huge relief for Assange, his family, and for all his supporters around the world. But it wasn’t justice.

“It’s good to hear that court has ruled against the extradition of Julian Assange but I am wary of the fact it’s on mental health grounds,” AP’s Joana Ramiro commented on the ruling. “It’s a rather feeble precedent against the extradition of whistleblowers and/or in defence of the free press. Democracy needs better than that.”

“This wasn’t a victory for press freedom,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald. “Quite the contrary: the judge made clear she believed there are grounds to prosecute Assange in connection with the 2010 publication. It was, instead, an indictment of the insanely oppressive U.S.  prison system for security ‘threats’.”

It is good that Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition, but her ruling also supported the entirety of the U.S.  government’s prosecutorial narrative that would allow for extradition of journalists under the Espionage Act in the future. The ruling is a significant step toward freedom for Julian Assange, but it changes nothing as far as global imperialist tyranny is concerned.

So, the appropriate response at this time is a sigh of relief, but not celebration. The Assange case has never been about just one man; the greater part of the battle, the one we are all fighting, continues unabated.

That said, the message of the empire here was essentially “We totally coulda extradited you if we wanted, but you’re too crazy,” which sounds a lot like the international diplomacy equivalent of “I could kick your ass but you’re not worth it.” It’s a way of backing down while still saving face and appearing to be a threat. But everyone looking on can see that backing down is still backing down.

I think it’s a safe bet that if this case hadn’t had such intense scrutiny on it from all over the world, we would have heard a different ruling today. The empire did what it could to try and intimidate journalists with the possibility of prison for exposing its malfeasance, but in the end, it backed down.

I’m not going to take that as a sign that we’ve won the war, or even the battle. But it is a sign that our punches are landing. And that we’ve got a fighting chance here.

Dissident British ex-diplomat Craig Murray indicted for blog posts in Kafkaesque case | The Grayzone

UK diplomat turned peace activist Craig Murray was charged with contempt of court for writing blog posts. He faces two years in jail, with no jury and no freedom of speech. It appears to be retaliation for his exposing British government crimes.

Quelle: Dissident British ex-diplomat Craig Murray indicted for blog posts in Kafkaesque case | The Grayzone

Wird es einen Brexit geben?

Elke Schenk
globalcrisis/globalchange news 20.11.2018
Hallo zusammen,
seit knapp einer Woche liegt der Entwurf für ein Austrittsabkommen zwischen
der EU und Großbritannien vor.  Premierministerin Teresa May hat mit Mühe die
Zustimmung des Kabinetts dazu erreicht, eine Reihe von Ministern sind
zurückgetreten. Unter den Tory-Abgeordneten gibt es Bestrebungen zu einem
Misstrauensvotum gegen May.
Um den Text beurteilen und die weitere Entwicklung abschätzen zu können, habe
ich in der Datei im Anhang die wesentlichen Inhalte des Vertragsentwurfs


The British Government’s Legal Justification for Bombing is Entirely False and Without Merit

Craig MURRAY 15.04.2018
UPDATE Perhaps you will forgive me for pointing out that the argument in the legal opinion by Professor Dapo Akande of Oxford University, published today by the Labour Party, is identical in every respect and in detail to the analysis I published yesterday. So for all the trolls who claimed I do not know international law…
I have published Prof Akande’s summary at the end of this post. (…)
Quelle: The British Government’s Legal Justification for Bombing is Entirely False and Without Merit

About Craig Murray 2

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
Personal Biography:
Craig Murray was born in West Runton in October 1958 and educated at Sheringham Primary and Paston Grammar schools.
He graduated from the University of Dundee in 1982 with a MA (Hons) 1st Class in Modern History.
From 1982 to 1984 he was President of Dundee University Students Association and he was a member of Dundee’s tournament winning Granada TV University Challenge team in 1983.

Weapons of Mass Deception

Weapons of Mass Deception

von alexandrabader

Sergej und Julia Skripal, von denen es kein Lebenszeichen gibt, sollen mit russischem Nervengas vergiftet worden sein, behauptet Großbritannien, das auch am meisten Druck machte für einen “Militärschlag” gegen Syrien. Dort fand blitzartig eine angebliche Giftgasattacke statt, kaum dass die USA bekanntgaben, dass sie sich aus dem leidgeprüften Land zurückziehen wollen. Zwar wurden unter Aufsicht der OPCW syrische – nie eingesetzte – Chemiewaffenbestände von den USA und Russland vernichtet, aber wen stören solche Details, wenn man Kriegspropagandapresse zur Verfügung hat? Diese verbreitet eifrig Behauptungen und sichtbar gestellte Aufnahmen von angeblichen Opfern, die sämtlich von Organisationen kommen, die Jaish Al-Islam (Al Nusra Front) und Al Qaida nahestehen. Erst mit Trump kämpften US-Truppen gegen den IS und andere Gruppierungen, statt sie mehr oder weniger offensichtlich zu unterstützen. Wie beim Irakkrieg 2003, wo aus “Weapons of Mass Destruction” bald “Weapons of Mass Deception” wurden, gibt es keine eigentlichen Geheimdienstberichte, die stichhaltige Beweise liefern, sondern man bastelt sich etwas zusammen, gibt sogar wie im Fall Frankreichs zu, dass das Material aus dem Internet bzw. von “NGOs” stammt (“White Helmets” und Co.). (…)

Craig MURRAY, 5.4.2018: „Knobs and Knockers“ — der zentrale Kern der Novitschok-Saga wird zerstört

globalcrisis/-change NEWS
Martin Zeis, 05.04.2018 22:50
Heute morgen veröffentlichte der frühere britische Botschafter Craig MURRAY einen Artikel „Knobs and Knockers“, in welchem er die jüngsten Geschichten der britischen Regierung zur Novitschok-Affäre kritisch unter die Lupe nimmt. (vgl. )
Craig Murray mit besten Kontakten zu entscheidenden Wissenträgern in der britischen Administration, dem wissenschaftlichen Personal diverser Fachgebiete und mit einschlägigen (auch mit geheimdienstlichen) Erfahrungen aus seiner Zeit als Botschafter in Usbekistan hat in bester kriminalistischer Manier, gestützt auf einschlägige Expertise aus der Organischen Chemie und der Nervenkampfstoff- Herstellung, in seinem Beitrag m.E. die zentrale Schwachstelle der Novitschok-Story Großbritanniens und seiner NATO-/EU-Verbündeten getroffen.
Dem Text folgend referiere ich einige zentrale Fakten, Überlegungen, Kritikpunkte.
Daniel COLLUM, Professor für Organische Chemie an der Cornell-Universität, teilte Murray heute Nacht (3:03 AM) per Tweet mit, dass die höheren Semester des Chemiestudiums durchaus in der Lage seien, Kampfstoffe der Novitschok-Klasse herzustellen. Dies könnten die Fachkollegen/-innen der Organischen Chemie bestätigen, würden sie denn gefragt (was Regierung und Medien tunlichst vermeiden).
Die britischen Medien sind in letzter Zeit von den Geheimdiensten + deren „Quellen“ gebrieft worden, die Regierung sei im Besitz eines geheimen Handbuchs Russlands für das Trainieren von Attentaten. Dort werde im Einzelnen ausgeführt, wie man Türgriffe (knobs) mit Nervenkampfstoffen/-giften kontaminiert. Ein nach dieser Anleitung „platzierter“ Nervenkampfstoff sei am Griff der Haustüre des Skripalschen Anwesens gefunden worden und „… dies waren die Fakten, welche die Verbündeten Großbritanniens überzeugten, dass nur Russland als Täter in Frage kommt.“ (zit.a./übers. Daily Mirror, reveals-russian-agents-12284582 )
Daraus ergeben sich für Murray zwei Fragen:

  1. a.) Wie glaubwürdig ist es, dass die Skripals über den Türgriff ihrer Haustüre mit einem Nervenkampfstoff (der Novitschok-Klasse) vergiftet wurden?
  2. b.) Wie glaubwürdig ist es, dass die britische Regierung im Besitz eines geheimen russischen Trainings-Handbuchs für Attentate mit Novitschok- Kampfstoffen ist?

Es folgen die Infos/Überlegungen/Einwände Murrays zu Frage a.):
a.1) Die britische Regierung wies alle Personen, die mit dem Kampfstoff an der Haustüre bei Skripals in Kontakt gekommen sein könnten, an, ihre Kleider zu waschen und andere Oberflächen mit warmem Wasser oder Feuchttüchern abzuwaschen/-wischen.
Daraus leitet sich weitere Fragen ab: Wenn es sich also um eine abwaschbare Substanz gehandelt hat, weshalb wurde diese auf dem Außentürgriff der Haustüre angebracht – an einem Tag, wo es in Salisbury längere Zeit heftig regnete?
Und: Kann jemand das Szenarium erklären, wie beide Skripals zusammen den Haustürgriff beim Hinausgehen und Schließen der Türe berühren; und weiter: weshalb kontaminierte sich nicht die Ärztin, welche sich bei nahem körperlichen Kontakt intensiv um die Vergifteten kümmerte?
a.2) Der zentrale Einwand ist jedoch, dass die Nervenkampfstoffe der Novitschok-Klasse sofort wirken. Es gibt keinen Nervenkampfstoff mit verzögerter / aufgeschobener Wirkung. Nicht umsonst wies Theresa May darauf hin, dass das bei den Skripals verwendete Nervengift zehnmal giftiger ist als das im Chemie- Kampfstoff-Labor von Porton Down entwickelte Nervengift VX, das den Bruder von Kim Jong-un in 15 Minuten tötete.
Bei den Skripals jedoch wirkte der Nervenkampfstoff erst nach vollen drei Stunden (!). Und nicht nur das. Die Skripals waren in der Lage Auto zu fahren, in einem Shopping-Center herumzuspazieren, ein Pub aufzusuchen und – unglaublich – ihr Zentralnervensystem war in solch guter Verfassung und ihr Verdauungsapparat so intakt, dass sie sich an den Tisch setzen und ein komplettes Menü zu sich nehmen konnten.
Und danach sollen die beiden, trotz ihres stark unterschiedlichen Körpergewichts, gleichzeitig von dem Nervenkampfstoff niedergestreckt worden sein, der nach dreistündiger Inaktivität plötzlich – ohne Vorwarnung – tödlich zuschlug.
F a z i t: Hier liegt eine absolut unglaubwürdige Geschichte vor. Militärische Nervenkampfstoffe sind Waffen auf dem Schlachtfeld und halten den Gegner nicht stundenlang voll kampf-/einsatzfähig.
Unter Bezugnahme auf einen Artikel im „Scientific American“ vom 9. März 2018 (2) wären bei den Skripals nach Kontakt (Haustürgriff) mit dem Nervenkampfstoff folgende Wirkungen eingetreten, bevor sie nur ihr Auto erreicht hätten:
Nervenkampfstoffe sind flüchtig und ihre Konzentration bei normaler Raumtemperatur ist tödlich. Die Symptome der Vergiftung treten rasch auf: Brustenge, Atembeschwerden, Ersticken; begleitende Symptome sind (blutiges) Erbrechen, massive Inkontinenz.
(1) Am 17. März 2018 haben wir (Stephan Best, Martin Zeis) auf dieser Liste einen längeren Aufsatz „Eskalation in die Nowitschok-Falle“ gepostet. Der Beitrag ist unter folgender URL abrufbar:
(2) Simon COTTON: Nerve Agents: What Are They and How Do They Work?; URL:

The SAKER We're Headed To War With Russia, and No One Seems to Care
We’re Headed To War With Russia, and No One Seems to Care
“Russia is ready. NATO sure ain’t! Oh, they have the numbers and they think they are strong. The truth is that these NATO midgets have no idea of what is about to hit them, when the Russians go to war these NATO statelets won’t even understand what is happening to them.”
Frankly, I am awed, amazed and even embarrassed. I was born in Switzerland, lived most of my life there, I also visited most of Europe, and I lived in the USA for over 20 years. Yet in my worst nightmares I could not have imagined the West sinking as low as it does now.
I mean, yes, I know about the false flags, the corruption, the colonial wars, the NATO lies, the abject subservience of East Europeans, etc. I wrote about all that many times. But imperfect as they were, and that is putting it mildly, I remember Helmut Schmidt, Maggie Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, even Chirac! And I remember what the Canard Enchaîné used to be, or even the BBC. During the Cold War the West was hardly a knight in white shining armor, but still – rule of law did matter, as did at least some degree of critical thinking.
I am now deeply embarrassed for the West. And very, very afraid.
All I see today is a submissive herd lead by true, bona fide, psychopaths (in a clinical sense of the word)
And that is not the worst thing.
The worst thing is the deafening silence, the way everybody just looks away, pretends like “ain’t my business” or, worse, actually takes all this grotesque spectacle seriously. What the (expletive deleted) is wrong with you people?! Have you all been turned into zombies?! WAKE UP!!!!!!!
Let me carefully measure my words here and tell you the blunt truth.
Since the Neocon coup against Trump the West is now on exactly the same course as Nazi Germany was in, roughly, the mid 1930s.
Oh sure, the ideology is different, the designated scapegoat also. But the mindset is *exactly* the same.
Same causes produce the same effects. But this time around, there are weapons on both sides which make the Dresden Holocaust looks like a minor spark.
So now we have this touching display of “western solidarity” not with UK or the British people, but with the City of London. Now ain’t that touching?!
Let me ask you this: what has been the central feature of Britain’s policies towards Europe, oh, let’s say since the Middle-Ages?
That’s right: starting wars in Europe.
And this time around you think it’s different?
Does: “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” somehow not apply to the UK?!
Let me also tell you this: when Napoleon and Hitler attacked Russia she was undergoing deep crises and was objectively weak (really! research it for yourself!). In both cases Russian society was deeply torn by internal contradictions and the time for attack as ideal.
Not today.
So I ask this simple question: do you really want to go to war against a fully united nuclear Russia?
You think that this is hyperbole?
Think again.
The truth is that the situation today is infinitely worse than the Cuban missile crisis. First, during the Cuban missile crisis there were rational people on both side. Today there is NOT ONE SINGLE RATIONAL PERSON LEFT IN A POSITION OF POWER IN THE USA. Not ONE! Second, during the Cuban missile crisis all the new was reporting on was the crisis, the entire planet felt like we were standing at the edge of the abyss.
Today nobody seems to be aware that we are about to go to war, possibly a thermonuclear war, where casualties will be counted in the hundreds of millions.
All because of what?
Because the people of the West have accepted, or don’t even know, that they are ruled by an ugly gang of ignorant, arrogant psychopaths.
At the very least this situation shows this:
Representative democracy does not work.
The rule of law only applies to the weak and poor.
Western values have now been reduced to a sad joke.
Capitalism needs war and a world hegemony to survive.
The AngloZionist Empire is about to collapse, the only open question is how and at what cost.
Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en masse and they are feeling very strong and manly. Polish and Ukrainian politicians are undergoing a truly historical surge in courage and self-confidence! (hiding, as they do, behind Anglo firepower)
The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war.
For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. And Russia is ready. NATO sure ain’t! Oh, they have the numbers and they think they are strong. The truth is that these NATO midgets have no idea of what is about to hit them, when the Russians go to war these NATO statelets won’t even understand what is happening to them. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.
I was born in a Russian military family and I studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all my life. I can absolutely promise you this, please don’t doubt it for one second: Russia will not back down and, if cornered, she will wipe out your entire civilization. The Russians really don’t want war, they fear it (as they should!) and they will do everything to avoid it. But if attacked then expect a response of absolutely devastating violence. Don’t take it from me, take it from Putin who clearly said so himself and who, at least on that issue, is supported by about 95% of the population. From the Eastern Crusades to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, enough is enough, and the Russians will not take one more western attack, especially not one backed by nuclear firepower. Again, please ponder Putin’s words very, very carefully: “what need would we have a world if there is no Russia?
All that for what? The USA and Russia have NO objective reasons to do anything but to collaborate (the Russians are absolutely baffled the fact the leaders of the USA seem to be completely oblivious to this simple fact). Okay, the City of London does have a lot of reasons to want Russia gone and silent. As Gavin Williamson, the little soy-boy in charge of UK “defense”, so elegantly put it, Russia should “go away and shut up”. Right. Let me tell you – it ain’t happening! Britannia will be turned into a heap of radioactive ashes long before Russian goes away or shuts up. That is simply a fact.
What baffles me is this: do American leaders really want to lose their country in behalf of a small nasty clique of arrogant British pompous asses who think that they still are an Empire? Did you even take a look at Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Gavin Williamson? Are you really ready to die in defense of the interest of these degenerates?!
I don’t get it and nobody in Russia does.
Yeah, I know, all they did is expel some diplomats. And the Russians will do the same. So what? But that’s missing the point!
You can get 200,000 antigun (sigh, rolleyes) protesters in DC but NOBODY AT ALL ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR?!
What is wrong with you people?!
What happened to the West where I was born in in 1963?
My God, is this really the end of it all?
Am I the only one who sees this slow-motion train-wreck taking us all over the precipice?
If you can, please give a reason to still hope.
Right now I don’t see many.
The Saker
PS: yes, I know. The rules of the blog prohibit CAPS as this is considered shouting. Okay, but this time around I AM TRYING TO SHOUT! So, for this one time only, feel free to use caps if you want. The world badly needs some shouting right now, even virtual shouting.
Source: Vineyard of the Saker


BREXIT-Document: Letter Delivered From The UK To The EU Triggering Article 50 – full text, 29.03.2017

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

29.03.2017 —

This Is The 6-Page Letter Delivered From The UK To The EU Triggering Article 50: Full Text

Moments ago, the UK Prime Minister’s office posted the 6-page letter that was delivered by the UK to the EU, triggering Article 50 and officially starting the 2 year Brexit process.

In the letter, Theresa May proposes “bold and ambitious” Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and says the agreement should cover important sectors, including financial services and network industries. Some of the key highlights from the letter, courtesy of Bloomberg:

  • U.K. Seeks to Minimize Disruption in Brexit Talks
  • U.K. Seeks Technical Talks on Policy Details ASAP
  • U.K.’s May Wants to Avoid Return to Hard Irish Border
  • U.K. Seeks Implementation Periods to Ease Transition to Brexit
  • U.K. Seeks Free Trade Agreement That Includes Finance

A scanned version of the letter can be found here:

Transcript by zerohedge (see attachment, pdf-file)

Martin Zeis


Documented: Theresa MAY speech: The government's negotiating objectives for exiting the EU

Elke Schenk

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS


complete transcript of the speech attached.

Prime Minister Theresa May set out the Plan for Britain, including the 12 priorities that the UK government will use to negotiate Brexit.

A little over 6 months ago, the British people voted for change.

They voted to shape a brighter future for our country.

They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world.

And they did so with their eyes open: accepting that the road ahead will be uncertain at times, but believing that it leads towards a brighter future for their children – and their grandchildren too.

And it is the job of this government to deliver it. That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.

My answer is clear. I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country – a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead. I want us to be a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

I want Britain to be what we have the potential, talent and ambition to be. A great, global trading nation that is respected around the world and strong, confident and united at home.



Serge HALIMI: Why Britain Walked Out: Brexit Can’t be Written Off to Populism and Xenophobia; Counterpunch / Le Monde diplomatique 06.07.2016

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 06.07.2016

We continue the debate on the BREXIT with an article by Serge HALIMI, president of Le Monde diplomatique. — Full text is attached.


This article appears in the excellent Le Monde Diplomatique, whose English language edition can be found at This full text appears by agreement with Le Monde Diplomatique.

Why Britain Walked Out: Brexit Can’t be Written Off to Populism and Xenophobia
by SERGE HALIMI — Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique —

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, must regret having compared a UK Leave vote to ‘the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also western political civilisation in its entirety’ (1). Nevertheless, the thunderclap of the Brexit victory resounds across Europe.

This time it will be difficult to ignore universal suffrage and ask a political class disowned by the result of the 23 June referendum to patch up an arrangement the people have rejected. No one imagines that the UK will be subjected to a democratic denial as flagrant as those perpetrated in France and the Netherlands after their no votes on the European constitution in May and June 2005. It is also unlikely that the British will be treated with as much contempt as the Greeks who, in response to their pleas for the EU to change course, were financially asphyxiated and socially purged, with disastrous economic consequences.

De Gaulle opposed the UK joining the European Economic Community in 1967 because he did not want ‘the creation of a free trade area in western Europe, in preparation for one covering the Atlantic area, which would rob our continent of its unique character.’ To blame the British government alone for this loss of identity would be unfair, however, when it had so many willing accomplices in Berlin, Paris, Rome and Madrid; so many that it’s hard to see what ‘unique character’ or specificity the EU still defends. It is also telling that, in an effort to stop the UK from leaving, the EU hadreadily agreed to measures that would have suspended welfare benefit payments for workers from other EU countries and strengthened legal protection for the UK’s financial sector.

The EU, brainchild of an intellectual elite, born in a world divided by war, missed one of history’s great choices, or opportunities, to take another route 25 years ago. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a chance for Europe to rebuild a project that could have satisfied its peoples’ aspirations for social justice and peace. If it had had the courage to demolish and rebuild the EU bureaucratic structures surreptitiously erected alongside its states, and remove free trade as the engine of the machine, it could have opposed the triumphal progress of global competition with a model based on regional cooperation, social protection and top-down integration of the peoples of the former eastern bloc.

But instead of a community, it built a market. (…)


— emphasis, m.z. —

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