The USSR was a stain on humanity. The only reason it is not as openly vilified and condemned as much as the antics in the 1930s and 1940s of its Teutonic neighbour to the West, with which it shared a version of socialism and the techniques to terrorise its captive population, is that the Soviet Union was never crushed in a war. It never had foreign troops ranging across the country discovering the state institutions dedicated to destroying the mind, body and spirit of its hapless citizens in the name of a morally bankrupt ideology that still attracts sympathy from major figures in the current Labour Party leadership.
Whenever people pointed out the small number of state-initiated assaults on human rights and dignities that leaked out from behind the Iron Curtain, the propagandists had a range of responses to the outrages committed in their name. One of these was ‘whataboutism‘.
‘Whataboutism’ was a deflection tactic. It did not directly address the crimes against humanity, freedom and dignity that were the outcome of state policy of communist dictatorship. Instead it used muddled socialist thinking to project a kind of equality where none existed. Over mistreatment of dissidents due to paranoia brought on by the justifiable inferiority complex of the nonentities that formed the leadership of the Soviet Union, the people paid to lie on behalf of communism would state that this was all very well, but that under capitalism in the United States of America, it was routine to lynch African-Americans. This was a pagan appeal to hypocrisy, invoking the biblical phrase ‘let he who is without sin, cast the first stone’.
It is in fact a text-book example of a tu quoque logical fallacy. Communism, it states, may have been bad, but guess what, the reasoning goes, capitalism was worse. Therefore communism was ‘relatively’ okay. It was not. People were not using the Berlin Wall to break into East Germany. There was not a steady exodus of African-Americans to populate farmsteads on the steppes. The traffic was virtually one-way, to escape communism and its anti-life and anti-hope design for living. The FBI did not persecute people for trying to obtain exit visas from the USA.
Which all brings me to The Guardian. Last week, solicitor Phil Shiner was given rather a bit more than a professional black eye when he was struck off by his professional body. For a number of years, Shiner, through his now-defunct firm, Public Interest Lawyers, had been mounting cases alleging war crimes and other brutality against servicemen who had been bravely serving Queen and Country in the Middle East. Shiner even tried to bring down the heroes who defeated our enemies in the Battle of Danny Boy in Iraq in 2004, which featured a bayonet charge against superior enemy numbers. A story to thrill the nation was dragged through the mud.
A five-year public inquiry, based on the allegations made through, and paid for by, Shiner, cost £25 million and concluded that these claims of torture and murder were “wholly without foundation and entirely the product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility”.
The Guardian‘s recent editorial deplores the misrepresentations made by Public Interest Lawyers. However, they cannot help but get on the Soviet bandwagon and indulge in whataboutism, by at the same time praising him for exposing some other excess committed in the warzone. They even manage to sneak in criticism of President Trump and Mrs May by way of distraction. The Soviets would be proud. Who needs Pravda?
What The Guardian does not state in their contorted editorial was how close they were to the activities of Public Interest Lawyers and Shiner in particular. A simple Google search shows numerous articles written by Shiner spanning over a decade for The Guardian. The newspaper’s editorial does not mention this intimate relationship between this disgraced ex-lawyer and its editors.
With headlines such as ‘Our military won’t find itself guilty’, ‘A catalogue of abuse’, ‘Bringing Britain to book’, ‘A cover-up of torture, racism and complicity in war crimes’, ‘End this lawlessness’, and many, many more, The Guardian seems to have willingly provided Shiner a platform to promote the ‘ingrained hostility’ found by the inquiry.
Perhaps to the Left it seems a fair exchange. On one side there is the fall and ruin of a well-paid rogue lawyer and his small team. On the other, years of unjustifiable anguish and distress caused to hundreds of serving men, who were in fear of prosecution for non-existent war crimes. Their only real ‘crime’, in the opinion of The Guardian and its perpetually confused readership, was to faithfully serve Queen and Country. At no stage has any of persecutors of these proud defenders of our realms seen fit to make any kind of apology. The Guardian is damned for its limited criticism of this disgraced professional.
According to the regulators, Shiner ‘has been found to have been dishonest’. His ‘misconduct has caused real distress to soldiers, their families and to the families of Iraqi people who thought that their loved ones had been murdered or tortured. More than £30 million of public funds were spent on investigating what proved to be false and dishonest allegations.’ The Guardian ignores its own part in the campaign of accusations, but also criticises Shiner for not presenting ‘genuine’ accusations. In their wishful thinking, The Guardian still believes there is abuse to be uncovered, despite an official inquiry. Nothing, according to The Guardian, is too bad for our serving men and women.
The Guardian owes an apology to our brave soldiers. They risked their lives while their critics penned vile abuse against them which was apparently published without a murmur or anything approaching fact-checking. The Guardian seems to have blindly supported Shiner year in, year out by giving him space in their pages and on their website. At the very least the much-touted ‘Readers’ Editor’ should append all online pages containing Shiner’s words with qualifications about the dishonesty that has emerged from his work to discredit our valiant armed forces. Like it or not, our soldiers, sailors and airmen keep The Guardian‘s staff and hangers-on with their ingrained hostility safe as well.
(Image: Resolute Support Media)