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George Monbiot

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About George Monbiot

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  1. In one short statement to parliament last week the defence secretary, Des Browne, broke the promises of two prime ministers, potentially misled the house, helped bury an international treaty and dragged Britain into a new cold war. Pretty good going for three stodgy paragraphs. You probably missed it, but it's not your fault. In the 48 hours before parliament broke up for the summer, the government made 46 policy announcements. It's a long-standing British tradition: as the MPs and lobby correspondents are packing their bags for the long summer break (they don't return until October), the gov
  2. Never let members of this government complain about corruption abroad. Never let them blame the failure of Tony Blair's mission to rescue Africa on venal dictators and grasping officials. The allegations published in the Guardian yesterday about slush funds used to oil the Al-Yamamah deal suggest that there is nothing that foreign despots can teach us about corruption. In 2003, the Guardian uncovered evidence suggesting that the arms company BAE had been running a £60m slush fund, which it used to provide gifts and prostitutes to Saudi officials to facilitate its massive weapons deal. Prince
  3. Never let members of this government complain about corruption abroad. Never let them blame the failure of Tony Blair's mission to rescue Africa on venal dictators and grasping officials. The allegations published in the Guardian yesterday about slush funds used to oil the Al-Yamamah deal suggest that there is nothing that foreign despots can teach us about corruption. In 2003, the Guardian uncovered evidence suggesting that the arms company BAE had been running a £60m slush fund, which it used to provide gifts and prostitutes to Saudi officials to facilitate its massive weapons deal. Prince
  4. 'You did this hit piece because your corporate masters instructed you to. You are a controlled asset of the new world order ... bought and paid for." "Everyone has some skeleton in the cupboard. How else would MI5 and special branch recruit agents?" "Shill, traitor, sleeper", "leftwing gatekeeper", "accessory after the fact", "political whore of the biggest conspiracy of them all". These are a few of the measured responses to my article, a fortnight ago, about the film Loose Change, which maintains that the United States government destroyed the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Having spe
  5. 'You did this hit piece because your corporate masters instructed you to. You are a controlled asset of the new world order ... bought and paid for." "Everyone has some skeleton in the cupboard. How else would MI5 and special branch recruit agents?" "Shill, traitor, sleeper", "leftwing gatekeeper", "accessory after the fact", "political whore of the biggest conspiracy of them all". These are a few of the measured responses to my article, a fortnight ago, about the film Loose Change, which maintains that the United States government destroyed the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Having spe
  6. There is a state within a state in the United Kingdom, a small but untouchable domain that appears to be subject to a different set of laws. We have heard quite a bit about it over the past two months, but hardly anyone knows just how far its writ runs. The state is BAE Systems, Britain's biggest arms company. It seems, among other advantages, to be able to run its own secret service. This week, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) hopes to obtain a court order against BAE. The order would allow it to discover how the arms company obtained one of its confidential documents. CAAT instructed its
  7. There is a state within a state in the United Kingdom, a small but untouchable domain that appears to be subject to a different set of laws. We have heard quite a bit about it over the past two months, but hardly anyone knows just how far its writ runs. The state is BAE Systems, Britain's biggest arms company. It seems, among other advantages, to be able to run its own secret service. This week, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) hopes to obtain a court order against BAE. The order would allow it to discover how the arms company obtained one of its confidential documents. CAAT instructed its
  8. There is a virus sweeping the world. It infects opponents of the Bush government, sucks their brains out through their eyes and turns them into gibbering idiots. First cultivated in a laboratory in the US, the strain reached these shores a few months ago. In the past fortnight, it has become an epidemic. Scarcely a day now passes without someone possessed by this sickness, eyes rolling, lips flecked with foam, trying to infect me. The disease is called Loose Change. It is a film made by three young men that airs most of the standard conspiracy theories about the attacks of September 11 2001.
  9. There is a virus sweeping the world. It infects opponents of the Bush government, sucks their brains out through their eyes and turns them into gibbering idiots. First cultivated in a laboratory in the US, the strain reached these shores a few months ago. In the past fortnight, it has become an epidemic. Scarcely a day now passes without someone possessed by this sickness, eyes rolling, lips flecked with foam, trying to infect me. The disease is called Loose Change. It is a film made by three young men that airs most of the standard conspiracy theories about the attacks of September 11 2001.
  10. It is a testament to the power of money that Nicholas Stern's report should have swung the argument for drastic action, even before anyone has finished reading it. He appears to have demonstrated what many of us suspected: that it would cost much less to prevent runaway climate change than to seek to live with it. Useful as this finding is, I hope it doesn't mean that the debate will now concentrate on money. The principal costs of climate change will be measured in lives, not pounds. As Stern reminded us yesterday, there would be a moral imperative to seek to prevent mass death even if the ec
  11. How much longer can this farce carry on? Everywhere the chickens released by the government's private finance initiative are not so much coming home to roost as crashing into the henhouse and sliding down the wall in a heap of blood and feathers. The prediction made in 2002 by the Banker magazine - that "eventually an Enron-style disaster will be rerun on a sovereign balance sheet" - could be starting to materialise. The private finance initiative (PFI) is the scheme allowing private corporations to build and run our public services and lease them back to the government. The government says t
  12. ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable corporation. Its sales now amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil, and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle climate change. To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that HIV causes Aids. So what's its strategy? The website Exxonsecrets.org, using data found in the company's official
  13. That they have not seen his film is no impediment. That it has won the Palme d'Or at Cannes only quickens their desire for reprisals. Ken Loach has been placed in preventive detention and is having his fingernails pulled out. In the Times, Tim Luckhurst compares him - unfavourably - to Leni Riefenstahl. His new film is a "poisonously anti-British corruption of the history of the war of Irish independence ... The Wind That Shakes the Barley is not just wrong. It infantilises its subject matter and reawakens ancient feuds." I checked with the production company. The film has not yet been releas
  14. Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the internet. It's a turkey, whose evidence that white phosphorus was fired at Iraqi troops is flimsy and circumstantial. But the bloggers debating it found the smoking gun. The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November la
  15. Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the internet. It's a turkey, whose evidence that white phosphorus was fired at Iraqi troops is flimsy and circumstantial. But the bloggers debating it found the smoking gun. The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November la
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