Meacher flips

by Chris Bertram on September 6, 2003

There’s no real need to comment on Michael Meacher’s ravings about 9/11, but the BBC report (as currently displayed – I’m sure they’ll fix it) contains the following:

bq. Mr Meacher told the Today programme he was a conspiracy theorist and said he was simply “in favour of giving people the facts”.

UPDATE: They’ve now inserted the “not”.



Bob 09.06.03 at 11:38 am

Tony Blair seems to have appointed quite a collection of ministers with eccentric positions on the Iraq war, judging by ex-cabinet minister Clare Short saying we were duped into going to war: and Robin Cook, another ex-cabinet minister, claiming we were not told the whole truth:

I did enjoy that pic on the last webpage of Tony Blair silhouetted against the Union Jack flag. As Samuel Johnson said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Curious that The Observer reported on the secret plan for war with Iraq as far back as December 2001:,6903,610461,00.html


James Hamilton 09.06.03 at 2:23 pm

What the Observer article makes me wonder is:- what opposition forces in the south of Iraq? It’s simple enough to link the Observer’s account of the plan to what happened in Kurdish Iraq, much of which was of course already de facto free of Saddam (and thriving as a result), but less clear for the south. There, the US and British forces fought their way north quite unassisted by any kind of indigenous force. If the Observer story is to be taken seriously (and it’s loaded with caveats and unnamed sources – they have probs of their own with it) it’s as one option among others that the US were looking at.
On the subject of Meacher, well, you can’t blame a politician for trying to build a base in some putative post-Blair Labour world, but I don’t particularly feel that he believes what he says here, again assuming he’s been quoted with any kind of accuracy. Although he says he’s not a conspiracy theorist, he IS giving some support to the theory that the US knew 9/11 was coming but let it happen for their own purposes. And he is pretending that only the US pursues its strategic objectives in the world. One wonders what he makes of Chinese support for North Korea! Then there’s his use of the European meaning of ‘neo-Conservative’ which Kristol and others have been rather vainly trying to fight off of late (the interpretation of neoconservatives as a species of rabid Goldwaters, rather than the extremely loosely connected group of former left-wing writers and journalists and scholars that you find when you actually look at Wolfowitz, Kristol et al). The neocons’ take on Islamic terror has been adopted by the Bush administration, but regrettably not their take on economics, where he seems happy to spend his way through a recession in pure Old Labour style.


Bob 09.06.03 at 4:42 pm

James – For avoidance of doubt as to what Meacher actually wrote, his piece in The Guardian can be found at:,12956,1036687,00.html

He makes a convincing case IMO. One passage argues:

“We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush’s younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

“The plan shows Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says ‘while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'”

If so, that rather blows apart claims that the Iraq war was about liberating Iraqis from Saddam’s tyrannical regime. The oddity is that Tony Blair eventually decided to go along with it, absent UN approval, despite saying to the Chicago Economic Club in April 1999 before he flipped: “If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar.” – from:

However, the recent overtures towards the UN by the Bush administration to seek additional military support for maintaining security in Iraq do rather suggest that belatedly it has come round to Tony Blair’s way of thinking in 1999.

Front ranking American economists in the Keynesian tradition, such as Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong, have beem writing that for all Bush’s rhetoric, his fiscal policy has little, if anything, to do with creating jobs. The tax cuts mostly benefit the very rich and at the cost of mounting fiscal deficits for the foreseeable future. Despite the upturn in US economic growth, payrolls are still falling and unemployment is rising. Try:


Jimmy Doyle 09.06.03 at 4:43 pm

As I said at Harry’s place, it’s a bit like discovering that David Icke impersonated a government minister for seven years. Come to think of it, maybe Meacher’s one of those lizard-people…


Jimmy Doyle 09.06.03 at 4:50 pm


If you think that Meacher makes a convincing case for the claim that top Pentagon officials connived in the partial destruction of, uh, the Pentagon, perhaps I could interest you in the purchase of several bridges in the greater New York area? Or perhaps you’re of the opinion that the whole Pentagon attack was an elaborate fiction, as alleged in that notorious French bestseller. In which case, there’s also this really big bridge in San Francisco…


SteveMG 09.06.03 at 6:32 pm

The Bush Administration is just, well, awful. There is absolutely no long-term (much less short one) vision in almost any of their policies. Everything appears to be short term, “What will the polls say next week?” policy with little regard for the future of the country.

It IS too closely tied to corporations and conservative special and powerful interests. Nearly all of their policies ignores anything beyond a narrow constituency. Lip service is paid for those oustide of that narrow band of groups.

But . . but . . but . . . every time I listen to elements – and not just a small fraction – on the liberal/left spout this absolute nonsense of the neocon Pax Americana secret plan, of how Wolfowitz and Libby and Perle and gawd knows who else – secretly (or not to secretly) – issued this or that conspiracy to take over the Middle East or Asia or whatever, I recognize that for all of its failings (see above), we must not – cannot – permit the liberal/left to capture the White House. No. We can’t.

Too many – NOT all – on the liberal/left still think it’s September 10. The next day never occurred; or, if it did, it was not a group of radical Islamists driven by some ancient vision of driving infidels and westerners out of their holy lands. It was somehow either a smaller part of a larger plan or a pretext, an excuse for that larger plan to be enacted. That the response to that day is not driven by a sincere concern for our and our allies safety, but an rationale to put into action some Protocols of the Learned Elders of Neocons.


Steve MG


Martin Wisse 09.06.03 at 8:25 pm

“If you think that Meacher makes a convincing case for the claim that top Pentagon officials connived in the partial destruction of, uh, the Pentagon, perhaps I could interest you in the purchase of several bridges in the greater New York area? ”

Notice that Meacher raised the possibility more than he posited it as the truth. Personally, I would not be shocked too much if the attacks were allowed to happen, though atm I’m not convinced they were.

Everything else Meacher said is obvious to anybody following the news. It became clear from the start the socalled war on terror was hijacked by geopolitical concerns and abundantly clear after Iraq became the focus and Osama was “not important” anymore.


SteveMG 09.06.03 at 8:43 pm

What would it take to disprove your argument?

Who specifically do you think possibly allowed the attacks to occur? Give me some names.

We’re talking about dozens if not hundreds of people here. This isn’t a grassy knoll second shooter sneaking behind a fence. This would have to include not only dozens or hundreds of individuals directly involved, but hundreds more indirectly involved. All working in unison, all keeping it quiet – never telling their spouses or friends or neighbors.

Never in the history of mankind has such an endeavor been successfully accomplished. No documentation, no leaking, no snitching. This is like the Wannsee Conference times a thousand and with no records.

Geez, these neocons are some smart sunavabitches.



Bob 09.06.03 at 9:22 pm

“The Bush Administration is just, well, awful.”

I believe it will go down in the annuals when they come to be written – with the emphasis on “down”. The curiosity is how Tony Blair came to get mixed into pushing the Neocon agenda on this side of the Atlantic against the great mass of anti-war sentiment in mainland Europe. We shall probably never know for sure but “flipped” will do for now. A politics professor on the BBC news the other night commented on how Blair’s personal rating had slumped in the polls as a result.

In response to a question: “Do you trust Tony Blair?” 74% gave an affirmative response in a 1998 poll but only 27% in response to the same question in a recent poll. Allowing for sampling errors, that means almost 50% of the electorate have ceased to trust Blair, which is a huge swing.

He has plainly become an electoral liability to Labour and if he genuinely cared for the future of the New Labour project, now would be a good moment to want to spend more time with the family. The trouble is that Labour MPs dare not force a change in the leadership as that would be seen as endorsing the mounting criticism. The MPs just have to grit teeth, go along with the lies and pray that with him desperately hanging on he might just manage to salvage some trust in due course. Of course, it hasn’t helped with the botched Iraq war coming on top of his obviously misguided enthusiasm for Britain joining the Euro at the soonest when a long succession of polls show a steady two-to-one majority in Britain against joining. His once vaunted political judgement seems to have got lost in the trash can of politics.


SteveMG 09.06.03 at 9:55 pm

Hmm, it’s hard to argue against Blair’s remarkable political judgements and acumen. He’s been, as they say over there, spot on. The Labour Party – or at least the Arthur Scargill/Tony Benn wing – was wrong during the Cold War; perhaps, they’re wrong again? Hell, Red Ken? John Pilger? I know those fine men are wrong.

I have to disagree with the “lies” accusation. Seems to me that the tide is, perhaps, slowly turning in his direction re the BBC flap. Slowly, not perhaps enough to save him. But one never knows (the late Dr. Kelly supported regime change, no?)

It seems to me that Blair endorses (implicitly if not explicitly) the Tom Friedman argument re Iraq. The only hopes of helping the moderate Islamists to defeat the radicals is to provide a safe harbor for them to point to. The radicals can (and have) point to the corrupt and authoritarian western-supported regimes and say, “Aha, this is what you’ve done. You’ve sold out our people and our riches to the Crusaders, to the infidels”.

They (the radicals), of course, don’t have the solution to the fundamental problems confronting the Islamic world. Or, at least, one that actually works in a modern world. But, they do offer an alternative. They can point to a glorious past that somehow seems possible to attain again if the infidels and sellouts are removed. This, I think, appears to be their appeal.

A successful, democratic Iraq can possibly provide the answer to this challenge. It’s certainly better than any alternative. Can we run? Or do we destroy them all? No in either case.

Islam must save itself; it must be won from within. We can only help at the margins. Iraq may be one of those self-help lessons.

We face two direct threats: state-sponsored terrorism and rogue terrorism. The former poses the greatest direct threat to us. Marrying radical Islamists with modern technology and the tools of mass destruction poses the most dangerous threat we have faced since the Cold War. Indeed, perhaps worse than the Cold War since the MAD doctrine seems to have no effect on those who laugh at things like “material determinism” and “dialectical materialsm”. Although, I guess they believe history is on their side.

Obviously, we cannot defeat all of the rogue terrorist groups in the Islamic (and non-Islamic) world. But we can (and must) defeat the states that sponsor these groups. We must prevent these nations from helping those terrorists to achieve the reach and capability of destroying not just buildings, but cities.

That, I think, is what Mr. Blair sees. Correctly, too.

Leaders of great vision – especially when they take their party or movement in a direction against its wishes – are often denounced by those who disagree with that policy. I think Blair is one of those types; you, obviously, do not. History will tell – not today’s public opinion’s poll.




Chris 09.07.03 at 12:10 am


Jimmy Doyle 09.07.03 at 2:34 am

Martin Wisse:

“Everything else Meacher said is obvious to anybody following the news.”

Not so. I follow the news, and the only thing obvious to me is that Meacher’s gone bonkers.


Martin Wisse 09.07.03 at 5:40 pm


I don’t know. And more importantly, neither do you. What I object to is not whether or not you think it’s possible that the Bush administration allowed the attacks to happen, but the way in which Meacher’s concerns are dismissed out of hand by y’all.

There are dodgy issues surrounding 9-11: why did Ashcroft stop using commercial flights, why were various concerns regarding a possible attack dismissed and warnings ignored, what exactly is in those missing pages in the 9-11 report?

Was it sheer incompetence that allowed the attacks to happen, or was something more sinister going on? For example, could it be certain warnings were ignored because they came from the outgoing Clinton administration, were Saudi suspects treated with kid gloves because of Bush family business concerns?

Steve, you are wrong when you say that if there’s a conspiracy, they must have been very succesful in suppressing the truth from coming out and in getting people to keep their mouth shut. Yet in reality, there are quite a few people who have raised questions about what happened just before and during 9-11, people who got orders that they thought strange.

No, I’m not saying there was a conspiracy of hand rubbing neocons letting the planes through so they could start their grand crusade; all I’m saying is that there are genuine concerns about the conduct of the Bush administration and that these should not be dismissed out of hand, like Chris did.


Jimmy Doyle 09.07.03 at 8:49 pm


“No, I’m not saying there was a conspiracy of hand rubbing neocons letting the planes through so they could start their grand crusade; all I’m saying is that there are genuine concerns about the conduct of the Bush administration and that these should not be dismissed out of hand, like Chris did.”

Is that really all you’re saying? I don’t know; your earlier post seemed to go a little bit further:

“Personally, I would not be shocked too much if the attacks were allowed to happen, though atm I’m not convinced they were.”

Could that loud whirring sound be a frenzy of backpedalling?


Martin Wisse 09.11.03 at 8:14 pm



It would not surprise me in the slightest IF it turned out that the Bush administration let the september 11 attacks happen, because I don’t trust them one bit. This is a government that came into power by tampering with the presidential elections after all, were already looking for a way to implicate Iraq hours after the attacks, have consistently lied about why Iraq needed to be attacked, as well as most if not all of their other policies and still refuse to properly investigate why the attacks could happen.

HOWEVER, at this point in time I have only my suspicions and various clues that something smells fishy, but no hard evidence.

Unlike you or Chris, I keep an open mind.


chris 09.11.03 at 8:27 pm

A letter writer in the Guardian had a nice line on this the other day:

“I try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.”


thedossier 09.17.03 at 5:32 pm

In a brainwashed society most sheep believe the crap fed to them by their government is the truth. We need more people asking questions about the actions of our leaders. Before saying Meacher has lost his marbles we should find out the facts for ourselves……

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