The Old Fight of New Labour
When is a dictator not a dictator?
When he’s still in power.

by Emmanuel Goldstein in London


The rather worrying display of power in the welcoming of Jiang Zemin to London should not be seen as an aberration in the “ethical foreign policy” of the arch-hawk Tony Blair: it really ought to be seen as a case of “to the losers goes the spoils.” The fact is that there is a very worrying pattern in a regime that imprisons General Pinochet, but welcomes ex-terrorists and present dictators such as Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela and Jiang Zemin. The reason is not one of pragmatism, let alone ethics, but rather a crude hatred of the side that won the Cold War.


It is often simply asserted that Senator Pinochet was a “fascist” who somehow deserved to be arrested by eight armed guards when under sedation in a hospital bed. The fascism is easier to find in rhetoric than fact. It was true that he forestalled a civil war by overthrowing a dictatorial Allende – a fact welcomed by Chile’s Senate – and almost certainly killing him. 2,000 people were killed by Pinochet’s forces, 1,000 by his opponents (although it is often quoted as 3,000, as if Marxists couldn’t hurt a fly). He then privatized a large chunk of Chile’s social security system – which has rarely been the top priority of those who want more state control – and was also endorsed by the New Labour minister Frank Field. He supported the democratic British against the dictatorial Argentineans in the Falklands War (and saved countless British lives). His crime was not fascism – of which he was innocent – but his steadfast support of the Western side during the Cold War. Just because you would not invite a man to dinner, it does not make him a fascist.


Ask yourselves, what would have happened if Hitler had been overthrown in 1936? He was a proud socialist, although by no means an orthodox Stalinist; he had got to power by constitutional means (albeit with only a minority of the vote and with a single-minded desire to subvert that very constitution); hell, the Communists even preferred him for tactical reasons. And any alternative to Hitler would have been a rather conservative military type, who may have even used the same methods as his ousted predecessors. The wails from the left would still have been heard, remember that Hitler’s ideas for Lebensraum and a Final Solution were still only on paper, the “German Road to Socialism” brutally suppressed, a brave experiment in Democracy would have been trampled under foot. But the Left would have been wrong, no matter what one’s opinion is of Pat Buchannan’s A Republic not an Empire, it can’t be denied that a quick and nasty coup would have made the world a better place. The parallel is not between Hitler and Pinochet, but Hitler and Allende.


What is even more maddening about the whole process was the way in which the Chileans are not allowed the processes that the Spanish and British persecutors of Pinochet took for granted. The decision not to prosecute Pinochet and other perpetrators of torture and murder were definitely decisions where political expediency over-ruled justice, but Chile was not the only country that made this sort of decision. In Spain, which actually had the sort of Civil War that Chile avoided, the perpetrators of atrocities on both sides have been unmolested in a process of national reconciliation. The very judge who is persecuting Pinochet refused to persecute his own countryman for the petty crime of machine-gunning nuns. In the United Kingdom, Tony Blair has been very public in taking credit for a process which tries to legitimize terrorists by, well, releasing scores of convicted terrorists and putting them in positions of “responsibility” over “their” communities. The only difference between these two examples and that of Chile is that Chile tried to approach their amnesty with reasoned discussion rather than assuming that anyone who opposed it was a believer in terror. The Chileans are also not purely Caucasian, and so in the eyes of the old colonial powers cannot be trusted to make their own decisions.


Even if one thinks that what is actually best for Chile should be of no concern to a white man, the actual manner of the arrest was of singular discredit to the English legal system and a worrying portent for indigenous British dissidents. The British Ministry of Defence welcomed Pinochet on an arms buying trip, even paying for a VIP reception at the airport, luring him into a trap. He was then arrested under an invalid warrant. When this was discovered his legal team were not informed but the “prosecuting judge” (Spain uses an Inquisitorial judicial system, with no presumption of innocence, a system for which Mr. Blair has shown a worrying enthusiasm) was, allowing him to draw up a post facto valid warrant. In effect he had been held under arrest not at judicial discretion, but executive command, habeas corpus denied in pursuit of “human rights.” The spite of the British government also extended to Pinochet’s religious beliefs, with this “Christian” administration refusing the devout Roman Catholic permission to attend Mass on Christmas day.


The House of Lords (Britain’s rough equivalent of the Supreme Court) was forced to over-rule its previous decision for the first time ever. This was because one of the judges tasked by Tony Blair’s former employer to judge whether the General had been wrongly arrested was in fact married to an employee of Amnesty International, one of the prime movers in the persecution of General Pinochet. Naturally for this act of gross corruption, the judge, Lord Hoffman, has not been censured let alone sacked. Rather than fully over-ruling itself (which if it had followed legal procedure and disallowed Lord Hoffman’s vote it would have) the House of Lords decided to compromise and only allow allegations that occurred after 1986 – you wouldn’t want to lose too much face after all. Obviously the Prosecutor-Judge was allowed to add on a few more allegations (including car crash victims – road safety being another form of torture to the fantasist left) helpfully provided by the Chilean Communist Party, changing his warrant yet again.


The political use of the prosecution was particularly naked, with Tony Blair using a nationally televised speech to describe a prisoner going through the judicial process as “unspeakable.” His lieutenant, the former Young Communist Peter Mandelson, described the idea that he should be judged by international standards as “gut wrenching.” Sub Judice is another Latin phrase with which New Labour is unfamiliar. To appease the Marxist left of his party, Mr. Blair did not care for the awkward niceties of a fair trial or legal standards, and this does not bode well for the future. This was made even clearer when the Soviet spy Mellita Norwood was not prosecuted due to her advanced age although she was only four years older than Senator Pinochet. When Margaret Thatcher described Pinochet as “Britain’s only political prisoner” she was right, although hardly prophetic.


So ignoring another country’s sovereignty and subverting your own judicial processes may have been used, but this was justified to punish evil dictators. Leaving aside the fact that the autocratic Pinochet was less evil than the totalitarian Allende (a “hero” for Mr. Blair apparently) it doesn’t seem to be a doctrine that is thoroughly applied. This week President Jiang Zemin of China is being welcomed into London. Now I am not a believer in trying to judge what is suitable for China, and have no wish to fight to regain China for the Kuomintang or Tibet for the Dalai Lama. But on the scale of unspeakable and “gut-wrenching” regimes, the perpetrators of Tiananmen Square and the heirs of the Cultural Revolution easily trump a military regime that voluntarily ceded power after a plebiscite. The fact that demonstrators are not even allowed within sight of President Zemin shows that even the human rights of Londoners can be trampled by the Chinese. The peaceful death of Julius Nyerre in a London private hospital made no allowance for the fact that he ruthlessly persecuted his opponents, never handed power to a multi-party democracy (unlike Pinochet) and starved his country in demented pursuit of a Maoist paradise. The tacit acceptance of the Castro regime shows that nastiness is even allowed to Latins. The positive adulation of the former terrorist Nelson Mandela shows that some terrorists are allowed to mature, and the visit of the murderer of the Matabele people, Robert Mugabe, shows that some people don’t have to answer for their crimes.


So what is the motivation of this persecution, if it is not to make the world safe for democracy? Partly this may be due to the fact that Pinochet is no longer in power, and so there is less risk in detaining him. This may explain reticence towards nuclear-armed China or even Zimbabwe, but not towards the corrupt Benazir Bhutto who has lodged here to escape trial at home, nor the aforementioned Julius Nyerre. The simple fact is that what really annoys the bosses in New (World Order) Labour is that Pinochet was not only right wing, but also right. With the notable exception of Slobadan Milosovic, no heirs of Stalinism are being pursued in the same way that this erstwhile British ally is, although even Milosovic is in fact an heir of Tito rather than Stalin. And there is no wonder, for although the New Labour crowd may now believe in (although not understand) the market, this was not always the case. Peter Mandelson was a proud member of the Communist Party in the 1970s. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who has been overseeing this operation, made his name in the ultra-left world of 1960s student politics in alliance with the Stalinist wing of the Communist Party, and spent a long time in Allende’s Chile. The Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson denounced the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as a Communist troublemaker. And the Prime Minister himself was a public supporter of the Communist-dominated Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (but not Soviet disarmament), and was a proud member of Labour when the Soviet agent of influence Michael Foot led it. The fact was that major figures in the New Labour Party were supporting the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It may be a genuine point of disagreement as to whether the Soviet Union was a threat to this country and whether the Cold War needed to be pursued – but this was not a call to end the Cold War, but to surrender in it.


The detention of Pinochet hardly shows a slavish devotion to the cause of an ethical foreign policy. Blair's denial of the rights of habeas corpus, religious freedom and a fair trial belie any devotion to human rights. The simple fact is that Pinochet opposed Communism, and his tormentors allied with it. That is who the most trusted allies of America are, former ideological enemies, and when you next see Tony Blair talking about the morality of a certain position do not be intimidated: just ask what he did in the War.

Emmanuel Goldstein is the pseudonym of a political drifter on the fringes of English classical liberal and Euro-sceptic activity. He is a former member of the Labour Party, who knows Blair and some of his closest buddies better than they realise, yet. He has a challenging job in the real world, working for a profit-making private company and not sponging off the taxpayer in politics, journalism or the civil service.

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