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Refused, rejected and relentless

The mainstream media need correction from ordinary citizens. Here are some examples of the 32 letters that one prolific peace activist wrote in 2016

Based on my own experience, the content of the letters pages of newspapers and journals is manipulated to ensure that certain views and even facts are not published.

For some months, for example, in connection with the 2001 conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, I tried to point out the significance of the fact that Scots law had three possible verdicts (‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, and ‘not proven’) and that the Scots court in Holland had not considered whether ‘not proven’ was the correct verdict as in law they were required to (I checked this out with professor Nick Grief).

The judges had admitted that there were holes in ithe evidence, and these were listed later by the Scottish equivalent of the court of appeal, so had the Scotttish judges considered whether a ‘not proven’ verdict was the right one, they would almost certainly have had to return it. Al-Megrahi would have walked free. The Americans were not going to see that happen at any price – so the Scotttish judges caved in.

No national newspaper in Britain – and I wrote to more than one – would allow my letter(s) to be published. The view that I put has never been aired before a national audience by any columnist, so far as I know.

Here are some of my unpublished letters to the mainstream media in 2016. If my letters are repetitive, it is due to my attempt to get a view over which was not expressed elsewhere. The repetition is due to trying again and failing again. I wish I could say with Beckett I was failing better – no, I was failing just as badly.
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 04/01/2016 - 14:12
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: The Hard Left/Moderates

Dear Sir,

We hear a great deal about Corbyn’s attempt to move the Labour Party to the Hard Left, which if the Labour Party is to be saved must be resisted by the Moderates.

A Moderate, apparently, is someone who voted for bombing Syria ( and probably also for the invasion of Iraq), who despite claiming to be anti-austerity, is adamant that money must be wasted on Trident and military interventions abroad (half a million for each bombing expedition in Syria).

And who, above all, is a supporter of nuclear terrorism and regards the threat of nuclear massacre as acceptable, while at the same time claiming to regard non-nuclear terrorism as wicked.

The Hard Left, on the other hand, opposes Britain’s involvement in foreign wars, is totally against Trident and regards it as deeply immoral, believes that society should be reorganised to reflect the equality of being of all humans, and would welcome refugees to this country unreservedly (‘refugees are welcome here’ is the policy of the Socialist Workers’ Party).

I am not a member of any political party, though I vote Green at local and national elections when I have the chance. But when on peace and other political marches, I hear the famliiar chant of the SWP, ‘They say warfare/we say welfare’, I couldn’t agree more and become appalled at the inability of all too many commenatators to avoid juvenile sneering and misleading labels.

Noam Chomsky represents for me the ideal of how we should all learn to talk about matters of war, peace, and society.

Yours ,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 28/02/2016 - 17:56
To: letters@newstatesman.co.uk
Subject: Chief Rabbi Guest Column NS 26th Feb-3rd March

Dear Sir,

It would seem that the Chief Rabbi is starry-eyed about Israel. A friend of mine went on a fact-finding mission to the Occupied Territories in 2007. He visited the Palestinian town of Hebron, where there is a settler enclave. He specially photographed a settler graffito which read: ‘Arabs to the gas chambers’ and I have seen photographs of similarly offensive Hebron settler graffiti: ‘Exterminate the Muslims’; ‘Kill All Arabs’; and ‘Gas the Arabs’.

Looks like virulent racism to me, Chief Rabbi. I don’t suppose you saw anything worse, or even quite as bad, when you were in South Africa.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock

From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 04/04/2016 - 10:40 (UTC)
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: Comment on Jonathan Freedland’s article Guardian April 2nd

Dear Sir,

With reference to Jonathan Freedland’s article in the Guardian, April 2nd. The intentional and deliberate killing of an unarmed man, whether his name is Osama bin Laden or Lee Rigby, is murder. And since murder is a crime, committing it or ordering it to be committed can never be a matter of congratulation. But by referring to the murder of Osama bin Laden as a ‘removal’ Freedland puts it to the credit side of Obama’s political account.

The journalistic use of euphemism is corrupt, as its aim is to obscure the truth.

Yours for truth,

Malcolm Pittock

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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com

Date: 01/06/2016 - 00:19
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: Obama and Hiroshima

Dear Sir,

According to Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry, Shimon Peres, the well-known Israeli politician, bracketed Auschwitz and Hiroshima as parallel atrocities. Yet while [West German chancellor] Willy Brandt went to the monument in memory of the Ghetto victims in Warsaw to express Gernany’s contrition for the first crime, Obama went to Hiroshima with no intention of making any apology for the second. A sad case of ‘US we can do no wrong’ exceptionalism it would seem.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock

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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com

Date: 11/06/2016 - 15:20
To: letters@newstatesman.co.uk
Subject: The case for leaving the European Union – a Peace activist’s view

Dear Sir,

I quote from Perry Anderson’s superbly-researched and penetratingly-intelligent book on the EU, The New Old World (Verso, 2009): ‘In the wider Middle East, Europe is joined at the hip with the US, wherever the legacies of imperial control or settler zeal are at stake.... As for Palestine, the EU showed no more hesitation than the US in plunging the population into misery, cutting off all aid when voters elected the wrong government.’

And we know too that the EU supports the Israeli siege of Gaza. NATO, quite obviously, is under US control, and represents the projection of US military power onto Europe. In many ways the EU is the civilian wing of NATO, to which it is clearly connected, since all the major EU powers are in NATO too, and will take no major decision which is incompatible with US policy.

Hence, though the EU joined with the US in slapping sanctions on Iran because it might develop nuclear weapons, it would never have dared to propose sanctions against Israel for having secretly developed them.

As a lifelong pacifist and peace activist, I do not want to be part of an organisation which is capable of supporting Israel and the US in oppressing the Palestinian people and which is ultimately subordinate to the aims of US militarism and US hypercapitalism.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 28/06/2016 - 20:11
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: Racism

Dear Sir,

It is incorrect to claim that [Boris] Johnson, [Michael] Gove, and [Nigel] Farage fought a racist campaign [over the EU referendum]. They were merely opposing unrestricted immigration from countries from the EU, though anyone who speaks an Indo-European language, as most of their inhabitants do, is ethnically homogenous with all three of the leading Brexiters.

It is the EU which is racist: it wants to restrict immigration from the non-white world as its dirty deal with Turkey to deport immigrants from Greece sufficiently demonstrates. And instead of being concerned about the thousand or so who have perished trying to make the crossing to Europe, the EU prefers the refugees and migrants to risk drowning in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels rather then providing them with assistance to cross safely.

And then, by supporting the Israeli siege of Gaza, the EU is a willing party to the immiseration of the Palestinian Arab people. Indeed,Western policy as a whole is shot through with a racism more dangerous and vicious than that of those who merely shout abuse at black people or Asians.

At the turn of the century, I was one of a number of people who campaigned against the sanctions on Iraq, which were exterminating 167 children a day (UN official Hans von Sponeck’s calculation). And yet all three of the then MPs in Bolton, where I live, upheld the sanctions and my own family have never forgiven me just for asking them to oppose them. The victims were Arab children you see.

None of the many countries which have suffered heavy US bombing have been white (with the exception of Serbia). Three-quarters of a million tons of US bombs were dropped on Laos alone. And I knew immediately that 9/11 involved revenge for the racist bombing of Hiroshima even before I had seen the interviews with Bin Laden which supported that view.

Do people who sentimentalise the EU as a beacon of light really not understand what is going on in the world? Both the EU and NATO are subservient to to the priorities of US power

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 29/07/2016 - 19:32
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: Definitions of terrorism

Dear Sir,

Nicolas Hénin (Guardian, 29 July) defines terrorism as ‘violence against a civilian population and its infrastructure commited by a non-state actor with a political objective’. One correction to this definition is needed: ‘commited by a state or a non-state actor with a political objective’. Hiroshima was an act of terrorism wasn’t it?

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 01/08/2016 - 13:05
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: Archie Bland How the language of politics turned toxic G2

Dear Sir,

It is sadly typical of the anti-Corbyn culture of the media, that in his article, ‘How the Language of Politics Turned Toxic’ (Guardian, 2 Aug 1sr), Archie Bland should fail to mention that Corbyn is the shining exception to all his otherwise well-merited generalisations: Jeremy never indulges in abuse or putdowns and is unfailingly courteous to his opponents. Why was this not worthy of mention?

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 21/08/2016 - 18:51
To: letters@newstatesman.co.uk
Subject: Reply to Jane Middleton

Dear Sir,

Jane Middleton asserts that [Clement] Attlee was a more radical leader of the Labour party than Jeremy Corbyn on the basis of the radical domestic policies of the ’45 Labour government as against what she sees as Corbyn’s much more modest proposals for reform.

But the true test of radicalism is a regard for the worth of each human being across the board. Attlee supported the bombing of Hiroshima, secretly initiated a British nuclear weapons programme, sent troops to fight in the barbarous Korean war, and joined the US-dominated NATO alliance, which was formed to counter an illusory territorial threat to Western Europe from the Soviet Union.

Corbyn, on the other hand, completely opposes British nuclear weapons and the inhuman terrorist threat that they represent and has opposed all the wars in which the British state has been involved since he entered parliament. He has also been a national officer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which opposes British membership of NATO. Only two previous leaders can be compared to him: Keir Hardie and George Lansbury. Keir Hardie opposed the First World War and stood against pro-war hysteria. And George Lansbury was, of course, a pacifist.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 29/08/2016 - 15:47
To: letters@newstatesman.co.uk
Subject: George Eaton on Owen Smith

Dear Sir,

George Eaton, like all other commentators on the Labour leadership contest, does not answer the basic question: since Owen Smith is standing for domestic policies which are very similar to those of Jeremy Corbyn, why does he believe that the Labour Party would win with him as leader but would lose with Jeremy?

The answer can only be that Smith believes in Trident renewal and would press the nuclear button, whereas Jeremy does not and would not and Jeremy would spend the billions which Smith believes should be siphoned off for Trident renewal on helping to fund the creation of a more just and peaceful society.

For Trident is clearly the litmus test that separates those who support Corbyn as leader from those who oppose him. These latter are also virtually certain that Labour can’t win unless it is willing to waste money renewing a weapon of mass destruction. They may very well be right: after all, Hitler could not have been elected if he had not been determined to persecute the Jews. But it is certainly worth putting to the test.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock
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From: pittock6hy@btinternet.com
Date: 08/12/2016 - 11:29
To: guardian.letters@theguardian.com
Subject: Owen Jones and Trotskyism

Dear Sir,

Owen Jones really ought to know better than to regard Trotskyists as saboteurs of [the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting movement within the Labour party] Momentum (‘Momentum is a beacon, but the saboteurs willl destroy it’, 8 December).

As a green-voting anti-capitalist pacifist and lifelong peace activist, I count members of the Socialist Workers Party among my friends and comrades. Like me, the SWP is totally against Trident, British militarism, NATO and voted Brexit as I and some members of the Labour Party did and for the same reasons.

With the Greens, the SWP is the most progressive party in British politics, and has a natural affinity with progressive members of the Labour Party and Momentum. Its quarterly journal, International Socialism, rivals New Left Review in the seriousness and scholarship of its articles (in the current issue, there is an article on Castro’s Cuba, which in its balanced rigorousness is the best that I have read).

Where I differ from the SWP is that, although they oppose all wars waged by states, they support armed struggles of liberation. I’m all for liberation struggles so long as they are nonviolent.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Pittock



Note: We should point out that Malcolm did include his address and phone number in his emails, as is necessary to get published.

Topics: Activism