Whether you refer to them as the ‘far left”, the “extreme left”, “Guardian left” – or, “Straight Left”, the name of the pro-Stalinist Marxist newspaper where Seumas Milne worked prior to joining the Guardian – those who champion, excuse, or defend totalitarian movements in the name of anti-imperialism by definition forfeit any claim to genuine progressive values.
Seumas Milne’s latest apologia for the Islamic Republic of Iran – which adds to similar defenses of the regime at the Guardian by Brian Whitaker and Mehdi Hasan - is not surprising to anyone familiar with Milne’s extreme politics.
Milne (who went by the name Harry Steel at Straight Left, a nom de plume in homage of his hero: Harry Pollitt, the party’s Stalin-era General Secretary) is an unreformed Leninist who lamented the fall of the Soviet Union.
Further, following the attacks on 9/11 which killed nearly 3000 Americans, Milne argued that the U.S. policy drove the al Qaeda terrorists to “sacrifice their own lives” and that the attack was fueled by (among other dynamics) “[America] recklessly throwing its weight behind Israel’s 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza…”
Milne’s extremism was also quite clearly on display in a speech he gave in 2010 in London, in which he waxed poetically of “resistance” movements in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Milne’s latest essay , “War on Iran has already begun: Act before it threatens all of us” serves as classic far left agitprop, and includes a subheading which spells out precisely who the antagonists are in his polemical tale:
Escalation of the covert US-Israeli campaign against Tehran risks a global storm. Opposition has to get more serious
Milne warns that “evidence has been growing that a US-Israeli stealth war against Iran has already begun” before arguing that such a war “is the more shocking” as ”the case against Iran is so spectacularly flimsy”, before concluding:
“There is in fact no reliable evidence that Iran is engaged in a nuclear weapons programme…. the evidence suggests Iran suspended any weapons programme in 2003 and has not reactivated it.”
In fact nothing could be further than the truth. The latest IAEA Report specifically concluded that:
“Iran has been conducting research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability…”
“Iran had carried out tests “relevant to the development of a nuclear device”.
As Dore Gold wrote in an analysis of the IAEA report:
“Iran is determined to obtain nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to target. The IAEA no longer has “suspicions” about the Iranian weaponization program – it has hard intelligence from “more than ten Member States.”
Even a Guardian report on Nov. 9 (which included a pdf of the full report) characterized the latest IAEA findings as establishing that that “Iran appears to be on a structured path to building a nuclear weapon.”
So, why is Milne running interference for the the Islamist Republic’s quest for nuclear weapons and – more broadly – regional hegemony?
Well, a clue could be found in the contempt he seemed to possess for Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators in 2009.
In a Guardian piece on Jun 18, 2009, Milne complained about the Western media’s favorable coverage of the Iranian reformers:
“[To] the western media, whose cameras focus so lovingly on Tehran’s gilded youth…Ahmadinejad is nothing but a Holocaust-denying fanatic.
The other Ahmadinejad, who is seen to stand up for the country’s independence, expose elite corruption on TV and use Iran’s oil wealth to boost the incomes of the poor majority, is largely invisible abroad….. But such details have got lost as the pressure has built in Tehran for a “green revolution” amid unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ruling Mullahs – only seemingly despotic and repressive – are in the vanguard of progressive resistance to Western Imperialism.
It is unlikely that Milne’s Marxist dialectic even allows for any genuine reflection over the overwhelming evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons.
For Milne, and his political fellow travelers, the political axiom which seems to dictate a position on any given issue is that the enemy of the U.S., Israel and the West are, by definition, within the realm of progressive imaginative sympathy.
The facts and stories may indeed change, but Milne’s anti-Imperialism of fools will never wane.
- “KGB agents loved the Guardian” (cifwatch.com)
- Babble of an extremist: Seumas Milne defends his post 9/11 essay which blamed attacks on US actions & support for Israel (cifwatch.com)
- Tin-Pot Pravda: Guardian editorial scolds Israel for taking Iranian nuclear threat seriously (cifwatch.com)
- Overrated: The Guardian’s Seumas Milne (cifwatch.com)
- Thousands of Brits reject Seumas Milne’s outrageous defense of rioters (cifwatch.com)
- Bashing America and Israel after 9/11: it’s popular and profitable (cifwatch.com)
- Seumas Milne’s extraordinary duplicity on the nature of terrorist threats in Europe (cifwatch.com)