Category Archives: Hypocrisy

Truss guns for Putin

Liz Truss, in her pretend role as all an powerful foreign secretary of a global power, has been proposing that the Putin should  be in irons in the dock in The Haig, being tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC)  for war crimes. Like most of the external initiatives of the UK, it produces good domestic headlines, often aids the USA’s excesses by playing the useful village idiot, but in reality (like ‘net zero’) has no meaningful impact whatsoever on the outcomes in the real world. Setting aside the patently obvious attempts by Truss to play to the gallery for her (no doubt) forthcoming bid to succeed Bojo, her proclamations require more robust analysis.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the ICC does not have universal support. The country leading the sanctions against Putin, the USA,  has not ratified the ‘Rome Statute’ which governs the activities of the court. Not just that, but it has pro-actively impeded any investigation involving the USA or its citizens. Donald Trump addressed the UN General Assembly and stated that the  “United States will provide no support or recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority.” That’s pretty clear, and appears to have been overlooked by Ms Truss.  Putin’s lawyers might just bring that out against any attempt to arraign him.

It might also be noted that the UK shrugs its shoulders at international justice by ignoring rulings by the International Court of Justice (the UN’s highest court) with regard to the Chagos islands. whose inhabitants were banished to allow the US to build a bomber base there. Mauritius is considering referring the UK for crimes against humanity to the ICC, the very self same body Truss  wishes Putin to be tried at for similar crimes. As the Keir Starmer might say, “it’s one rule for us, and another rule for them”   

Secondly, accusations of war crimes – as with most other humanitarian transgressions -always tend to be suffocatingly hypocritical; “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” springs to mind. Especially in this woke age, when the world starts examining historical perspectives, the callous realpolitik of the US exercising its position of the world’s dominant power is hardly the voice of pious judgement.

One act cited as evidencing war crimes was the use of cluster munitions, which are subject of an international treaty, the “Convention on Cluster Munitions”. One non signatory to this is Saudi Arabia – a key US ally, where there is evidence that they have been used by them in the Yemen, including weapons sold to them by the British and the USA. Moreover, the USA has not ratified the cluster convention, and indeed has taken steps under Trump to continue their use, along with land mines

. A Martian reading this would be taken aback by this sanctimonious cant. It’s as though a judge trying a drugs case took a break to take a snort of the white stuff. Grumpy carries no banners for Putin, but the reality is that military conflict  is messy  and In the ‘fog of war’, Stuff Happens, as Donald Rumsfeld once observed about bad things happening in Iraq.  Surely the focus should be longer term steps to create a framework for European stability in particular and the world in general, rather than grandstanding in Parliament. One reason for a more strategic perspective is that  these events are just a rehearsal  for the inevitable China / USA showdown.

Patriotic vetting and hypocrisy

The Guardian underlined its slightly odd take on the world (presumably suffering under the delusion that the UK had any real impact globally of the affairs of same) by bemoaning the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong saying “China’s top law making body has formally unveiled plans to ensure that only “patriots” can govern Hong Kong, as Beijing tightens its grip on the city with electoral changes including a vetting process for all parliamentary candidates”.

As Grumpy has pointed out several times in this blog, the writer seems to have set aside the fact that Hong Kong was ruled by the British for 155 years as a colony, with precisely zero ability of the citizens to vote for their leader, or have independent control of the laws they were subject to. Even worse, this state of affairs came about because the UK took the territory by two acts of war, to establish their right to act as a narco state and kill Chinese mainland citizens with heroin. This is hardly a position of holding the moral high ground.

The objection the Guardian raises is the wish of the Chinese government to ensure that those elected (democracy ?) to rule the territory recognise that it is, and will continue to be, integral with China in perpetuity, and not to work to subvert that fact, which is not open to a local government to change.

The Guardian, as well as setting aside the brutal colonial past of the UK, conveniently ignores that the United Kingdom too enforces the same exactly the same undertakings on members of its own parliament. Sein Fein’s democratically elected members are unable to take a seat at the Westminster, because they have refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Head of State, which they are required by law to take. This seems to mirror the Chinese position in that it ensures that only patriots can participate in the government and is clearly a form of “vetting” – just as in Hong Kong.

Many of the pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong have a stated goal to subvert Chinese authority and push for independence and secession. As Grumpy pointed out elsewhere in this blog, European citizens in Catalonia, Spain, are current spending years in prison for merely seeking to hold an illustrative referendum – something the Chinese wish to avoid. Might Nicola Sturgeon also find herself incarcerated if she declares UDI and holds a referendum, if Boris follows the example of his European friends ?

Law – what law ?

Labour (along with a motley assortment of remainers and of course the SNP) has predictably got into a flurry over the Internal Market Act and the assertion that it will ‘break international law’. Their feigned horror that the UK will become an international pariah in so doing is couched in words that imply (for the benefit of the casual listener or uninformed) that (a) there is some coherent codification of such global laws, and (b) that there is some body that might impose sanction on an ‘offender’.

Neither of these things appears to be the case. To quote Wikipedia, International Law operates “largely through consent, since there is no universally accepted authority to enforce it upon sovereign states. Any enforcement authority is rather less defined than that of the local magistrate fining a drunk. Further, the claim that the UK will lose all international standing as a trustworthy party has a whiff of hypocrisy about it.

One body for enforcing law pan-nationally is the International Court of Justice (ICJ). A casual glance shows, for example, that their rulings went against the UK (on the Chagos Archipelago) and over the years the UK government has found every way to avoid complying with those rulings. Indeed, the UK rejected the ruling of the ICJ as having no authority in the matters at hand. The issue was rights of the indigenous islanders against Uncle Sams’s shilling for having the nuclear air base of Diego Garcia sited there. The labour party (in the shapes variously and particularly of Harold Wilson, JackStraw, David Milliband and Lord Falconer) and never seemed to bother about the injustices they heaped on the Chagos islanders in the face of ICJ rulings. So much for ‘International Law’ as far as Labour is concerned.

The Conservative party endorses these injustices. Not only did the UK reject the ruling of the ICJ, the UN overwhelmingly passed a motion that the UK should allow the islanders to return in 2019; the UK ignored this on the basis that it was non-binding. Consideration if morality or trustworthiness was certainly not raised over these matters by any of the current bleaters over BoJo’s move.

Another source of cross border treaty ‘enforcement’ is possibly the Vienna Convention on treaties, which MP’s said provided a framework for the validity of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement. Is this universally recognised? Well, no, because Iran and San Salvador are not signatories – as indeed is the position with the United States, which has never ratified it. So the world’s largest military and economic power sees no reason to even become a party to such structures to govern international treaties. [The US also withdrew as a signatory from the International Criminal Court, presumably on the basis that its military excesses might be held to account].

As to what the rest of the world might think about expedient breaking of treaty agreements, we just have to look westward at the USA’s view of treaties and enforcing organisations; one can list JCPOA, START, NAFTA, WHO and the Paris Accord to see that the USA feels it is perfectly ok to unilaterally pull the plug on something they signed with another country when it suits them. It is therefore all the more surprising (and irritating) that geriatric Nancy Pelosi (speaker of the House of US Representatives) has somehow forgotten all these acts when threatening the UK on trade if it signs an act in our sovereign parliament – one would have thought that she had enough troubles at home without criticising the UK about an agreement to which the USA is not a party, and none of their business, other than for political expediency with the Irish lobby.

{Of the many analyses of the Chagos situation, comprehensive references can be found in ]

Hong Kong Hypocrisy

As Grumpy has written before, the history of the British in Hong Kong is not one which brings them any respect. Britain went to war with China twice to enforce their role as a state driven narcotics dealer, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Chinese citizens. Having acquired control of the territory by acts of war, its citizens were then subject to rule by a foreign power without any democratic participation.

So for a century and a half no Hong Kong citizen ever had the right to vote for those who ruled them. The British, in an extraordinary act of breathtaking hypocrisy, then sought at the end of their occupation to dictate to a state recovering its own lands that its citizens should have freedoms that they never had for 156 years under their British oppressors.

China is now the latest scapegoat rolled out by Donald Trump to avoid taking any responsibility for the deaths of 100,000 Americans. The US (and other countries) point to Beijing implementing by edict laws covering “treason, secession, sedition, subversion”, as being indicative of the sort of repressive laws that could be expected from a communist government. Grumpy is no apologist for China or communism, but the facts deserve to be stated in an balanced rather than Trumpian way.

1 Article 23 of the ‘Basic Law’ (essentially a constitution for Hong Kong) states that the HKSAR Legislative Council “… shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of
treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government
(CPG) …”. Critically, the UK government agreed this term in the hand over arrangements. However, the Legislative Council have failed to implement this agreed provision in Hong Kong Basic Law, so after 17 years of inaction Beijing has stepped in to implement the joint agreement.

2 The Basic Law also sets out in Articles 27 and 39 the freedoms that citizens would enjoy for 50 years, which are no less than the denizens of the UK or the USA have, bar universal suffrage. The lack of laws covering treason etc. (which every country has) was because the Basic Law supplanted the then PRC law, which is why Article 23 was included.

3 Trump and UK detractors have focused on the words of Article 23 as representing a repressive regime. Yet (for example) sedition remained a crime on the UK statute books until 2009, and treason remains a crime. In the US, the legal code in Chapter 115 covers “Treason Sedition and Subversive activities” , essentially identical to those proposed by Beijing. The man (to use his own words), seems to be “as dumb as a rock”.

4 The US and elements in the UK push a scenario where it was envisaged the end situation in Hong Kong from ‘one country, two systems’ would be universal suffrage. This is pure sophistry; surely no-one, including the last governor, Chris Patten, surely imagined that there would be universal suffrage in 2047. This is certainly not part of the Basic Law. Hong Kong is, and has been for 20 years, both ‘Chinese’ and ‘China’.

5 Britain retains a colonial mindset and an attitude of arrogance which should have gone with the ending of Empire. Perhaps it is because the transfer of Hong Kong was the last vestige of empire that approach this still lingers. The initial acquisition of Hong Kong was a shameful episode in a long list of acts of war undertaken to brutally subjugate foreign peoples for domestic commercial gain by both successive sovereigns and the aristocracy, albeit ennoblement was generally the result of such acts.

6 The UK, with little land and few natural physical resources and now no empire to pillage, must look to see its future evolve by the soft resource of intellect, where it has a history of which it can be proud.

Footnote : Lest the reader might venture that Grumpy had no knowledge of the region or of Chinese culture, he would note that he was a director of a Group headquartered in Hong Kong, and he travelled there frequently over the years. His general impression of the mindset of the Chinese staff was that they were less interested in politics than having a good job and the opportunity to earn high wages,

Political duplicity

International law breaker Brandon Lewis

In the first week of November, 2020, Foreign Secretary of the UK issued a statement about the Chinese disqualifying a number of legislators from the Hong Kong parliament, saying it was breach if the Sino-British declaration on the status of the Special Administrative Region post the expiry of the UK lease on certain territories there. “With our international partners, we will hold China to the obligations it freely assumed under international law”, Dominic Raab said.

Really ? How short Raab’s memory is. Just one month before, Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland Secretary, admitted in parliament that the Internal Markets Bill broke the UK’s freely assumed obligations under international law.

Grumpy is struggling to understand the difference in principle here. He also wonders how Raab is going to square his distaste of countries that break binding agreements when he and Liz Truss are trying to persuade Joe Biden that it’s fine for the Brits to do just this because it’s essential but the Chinese are being oppressive to the would be democratic legislators.

Ever heard of Oriol Junqueras? No ? Well he is languishing in prison serving a 13 year sentence (along with a dozen colleagues) for Sedition in Spain. The action of the Spanish government in these and other sentences was fully supported by that bastion of liberal government, the EU – including the UK. They were pushing for independence, just as the Hong Kong agitators have been doing.

But wait ! Wasn’t the fact that the Chinese government introduced a Sedition law (which the Hong Kong LegCo had failed to do for 13 years (in spite of an obligation so to do enshrined in the Basic Law) the triggered for sanctions by the USA, and an offer of British Citizenship from the UK ?

Amongst other things, the banned persons had refused to acknowledge Beijing’s authority, something Western hypocrites also lambasted. Here in the UK, however, anyone who is elected as an MP has to swear an allegiance to the Crown under the 1868 Promissory Oaths Act, or they cannot take their seat in parliament – just like in Hong Kong. This runs through establishment English life; every Freeman of the City of London has to make a solemn declaration in GUildhall to “be good and true to our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth II” and even that they “will know no Gatherings nor Conspiracies made against the Queen’s Peace but will warn the Mayor thereof…” Wow, just like the East German stasi in snitching on one’s fellow citizens.

Grumpy carries no banners for China, as he had frequently said here; but what he finds repulsive – and yes, that is a good word in this context – is that politicians like Raab are happy to voice such obvious inconsistencies of sanction without a twinge towards their own integrity as individuals.

As a footnote, Grumpy would add that many of the ‘democracy’ advocates in Hong Kong have been openly canvassing support against their government with enemies of the State. It’s called treason; this was something that the UK and others also railed against. when it was introduced into Hong Kong law along with Sedition. However, there is (of course) a law against it in the UK and USA (Trump wanted to jail Obama for it) – it’s just morally justified in the West but not with those dangerous commies.