[Marxism] Seumas Milne profile

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Apr 17 07:54:07 MDT 2016

Most newspaper columns are intended to surprise and provoke readers; 
predictable, orthodox, moderately expressed opinions are the province of 
politicians. Yet critics argue that Milne’s views are peculiarly 
hardline and extreme. Harding isn’t the only Guardian colleague with 
whom he has clashed. In October 2015, Brian Whitaker, the paper’s former 
Middle East editor, recalled on his blog al-bab.com a conversation with 
Milne in 1990 about the fate of Farzad Bazoft, a UK-based freelance 
journalist working in Iraq for the Observer. Bazoft, who had been making 
inquiries about a military site and taking soil samples nearby, was 
arrested and accused of being an Israeli spy working for the West. He 
was hanged on the orders of Saddam Hussein.

Whitaker was “startled when he [Milne] sought to justify Bazoft’s 
arrest” though not his execution. “He views international politics 
almost entirely through an anti-imperialist lens,” Whitaker wrote. That 
led him “to a sympathetic view of those dictatorial regimes which 
characterise themselves as anti-imperialist”. Milne, Whitaker said to me 
recently, “regards the people who want liberty in the Middle East as 
mostly Western stooges” and “never seems to express any libertarian 
instincts at all, either of the left or the right”. Whitaker’s concern 
is that Milne’s view of Britain’s historic role in the Middle East is 
even less subtle than Corbyn’s. “Britain’s relationship with repressive 
(but West-friendly) regimes,” Whitaker wrote last year, “and the Cameron 
government’s apparent determination to prioritise trade – including arms 
sales – over human rights are issues that desperately need serious 
public debate . . . Corbyn has shown a commendable willingness to raise 
them.” But can he do that with credibility “when his spin doctor has 
shown so much sympathy for anti-Western regimes that have been no less 

full: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/04/thin-controller

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