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Jo Cox, her assassination, the White Helmets, “humanitarianism,” and regime change

It is no coincidence that some of the world’s most ardent imperialists are behind the cynical exploitation of one heinous murder — of British MP Jo Cox — to enable global mass-murder as well as human trafficking under the pretext of “ethical” and “humanitarian” intervention.

by Vanessa Beeley and Whitney Webb

Part 2 - Who was Jo Cox?

Prior to her untimely and tragic death, Jo Cox was a “tireless advocate” for the Syrian opposition following the 2011 outbreak of the Syrian conflict, even going so far as to promote Western military intervention to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Indeed, Cox consistently called for the U.K. to unilaterally establish a “no fly zone” in Syria with U.S. support and argued that the U.K. military could achieve an “ethical solution” to the Syrian conflict by intervening in the war in order to “compel” the Syrian government to negotiate.

Cox was deeply connected to the Fabian Society, the claimed representative of “modern Labour” in the U.K. This society has certainly furthered U.K. imperialist politics, which included the “patriotic funding of war machines,” according to author Dr. P. Wilkinson, who analyzed the impact of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader in 2015 upon the Blairite factions within the party. While the Fabian Society can lay claim to some good work on child poverty, as an example, more recently it has been instrumental in the expansion of Global Britain’s economic and military interests.

In pursuit of U.K./NATO military intervention, Cox vocally denounced Assad and — throughout her short career in Parliament — had maintained that the Syrian president had “helped nurture ISIS [Daesh] and been its main recruiting sergeant.” She had also asserted that the Syrian government had killed seven times more civilians than the infamous terror group and the hundreds of other militant, extremist groups and foreign mercenaries in Syria at the behest of their backers among NATO member states and Gulf States with Israel as their hospital wing, treating armed militants, including Nusra Front in Israeli medical centres.

Cox’s precarious positioning of facts upon a mountain of misleading information has been discredited over time, as the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have waged a successful and authentic “war on terror” inside Syria and on its borders. All such wild accusations and Coxian theories have been eroded with each liberation of occupied Syrian territory and reintegration of armed militants into Syrian society via the Russian-brokered Amnesty and Reconciliation agreements.

Cox failed to pinpoint the U.K. Government’s involvement in the bankrolling of the various extremist and terrorist factions that invaded Syria from 2011 onwards. Armed militants, who have committed all manner of atrocities against the Syrian people, Cox claimed to defend. Cox, like so many regime-change promoters, had never been to Syria. She relied upon the narratives emerging from Syria produced by the U.K. FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)-manufactured and financed White Helmets and a number of other U.K. state-funded entities on the ground in Syria. The U.K. Government was engineering a shadow state inside the borders of a sovereign nation and Cox supported this blatant violation of international law either deliberately or unwittingly.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Cox claimed that Syria was not another Iraq. This is a familiar mantra often repeated by those who support the regime change war in Syria and one that is verifiably false. It appears that Cox had never perused the Bush/Blair communications revealed in the Chilcot report that demonstrated the progression from Iraq to Iran and Syria in the U.K./U.S. drive towards hegemony in the region. Syria was in Bush’s crosshairs, as described in a TIME article, as far back as 2006 but this was overlooked by Cox. Tony Blair must have been proud of the efforts made by Cox to expand “Global Britain’s” interests inside Syria:


Above is a presentation slide showing just one of the Bush/Blair communiques as revealed by the Chilcot report. Blair suggests offering Syria and Iran a “chance at a different relationship,” one that would be soured by President Assad’s refusal to comply with the conditions of that “different relationship” — conditions included favoring the Qatar/Turkey oil pipeline preferred by the U.S. coalition. Assad said “no,” and he said “no” to abandoning his allies in the region or reneging on his commitment to the Palestinian cause. In 2002, Blair had even included an honorary knighthood in his early sweeteners to persuade Assad to embrace the “different relationship.” Blair soon changed tack when it was recognized that Syria would not abandon its principles so easily. Plan B, which was regime change, was put into effect.

Cox voted against the proposed bombing of Syria in 2015, not because she thought it was a bad idea but because she wanted David Cameron’s government to go further and send British troops into Syria to save the “moderates.”

In October 2015, Cox co-wrote an article with Andrew Mitchell, former Conservative Secretary of State for International Development (2010-12) and Libya war-hawk. The article was published in The Guardian, whose record on manufacturing consent for U.K. state “humanitarian” intervention is legendary. The title said it all – “British Forces could help achieve an ethical solution in Syria”.

Cox and Mitchell argued that Syria was this generation’s moral test, its “responsibility.” With little regard for the reality on the ground in Syria, Cox and Mitchell merged the threat of international terrorism with the perceived threat from the Syrian government and Syrian Arab Army. The Labour and Tory MPs laser-focused on the refugee “crisis.” No context was provided, only emotional humanitarian flag-waving that ignored the fact that the refugee crisis was actually caused by a far greater percentage of non-Syrian refugees driven from Libya, Central Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq by previous NATO “ethical interventions.” Cox and Mitchell erased the U.K. government’s criminal record under international law with customary virtue-signalling.

[T]here is nothing ethical about standing to one side when civilians are being murdered and maimed. There was no excuse in Bosnia, nor Rwanda and there isn’t now.

Like so many neocons, Cox fundamentally argued that the only pathway to peace was the removal of Assad and victory for the “rebels.” They gave little or no consideration to the reality that this would inevitably lead to the rise of violent sectarianism under an alleged “moderate” Islamist governance, which would plunge Syria into the same terrorist vacuum that Libya has been dealing with since NATO’s “ethical solution” reduced that prosperous sovereign nation down to a failed state.

Even after Cox’s untimely death, her colleagues insisted that her “legacy” should be Britain going to war in Syria. Just prior to her death, Cox had been working on a paper entitled “The Cost of Doing Nothing.” Posthumously this paper was completed by Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, ex-military chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, and Alison McGovern, a Blairite MP who was elected chair of the all-party parliamentary group “Friends of Syria,” founded and previously chaired by Jo Cox.

According to a report by journalist and academic Paul Dixon, “the report was due to be published on the day of the Chilcot inquiry on 6 July 2016, to counter growing British scepticism about foreign military interventions.” Tugendhat, in particular, had argued (in a 2015 paper entitled “Clearing the Fog of Law”) against the human-rights laws that, in his opinion, curtailed and restricted British military action, he argued that “judicial imperialism should urgently be reversed.

In an article written for the Telegraph, Tugendhat stated that “his friend” Jo Cox would “never want Britain to withdraw from the world — we must be ready to intervene.” A jingoistic argument was deployed by Tugendhat to justify British imperialism: “We wanted to show that Britain’s history of intervention, military and otherwise, is common to both our political traditions and has been an integral part of our foreign and national security policy for over two hundred years.

During her life, Cox had been an advocate of war to bring peace in Syria. Furthermore, as this article series will show, her monstrous murder has been weaponized and politicized by the neocon war hawks in British politics in order to further the imperialist ambitions of the U.K. government in Syria and beyond. Significant media coverage, for instance, has been given to Cox’s “compassion,” but little coverage has been given to her pro-interventionist policies — which she often promoted in apparent ignorance of reality and historical context. The use of the “humanitarian” pretext to promote war is hardly a new concept, but the sudden and shocking death of Jo Cox has been exploited in order to elevate it and shield it from honest criticism. Indeed, one could argue that to criticize Jo Cox posthumously is akin to questioning a “Saint.” Who could find fault with her campaign against “genocide,” her pleas for safe havens for refugees, her apolitical stance on the world’s “inhumanity?”

Nevertheless, despite the possibility of being labeled insensitive and cynical, the question that should be asked is who determines the meaning of the terms so liberally used by Cox and her colleagues? What are the implications of this humanitarian hyperbole for U.K. government policy? Indeed, in the past, misplaced or even misleading “compassion” has been used to encourage us not only to betray the principles of international law but also to justify the escalation of armed conflict that has brought only greater inhumanity.

In the case of Syria, such pro-interventionist “humanitarians” have largely promoted policies that have only deepened the suffering for the vast majority of Syrian people. What diplomatic efforts have been deployed? What rational, Syria-centric, political resolution has been proposed for discussion? What respect has there been for the self-determination of the Syrian people?

As an example, both Cox and the White Helmets were committed advocates of a No-Fly Zone over Syria — the White Helmets still are, of course. Despite the very real risk of escalating tensions with Russia, which intervened at the request of the Syrian government in September 2015, Cox argued strongly, in 2015, for a No-Fly Zone, defying even possible UN vetoes: “This is not about escalating a conflict directly to take on Russia. This is about a deterrence effect to stop the Syrian regime targeting their own civilians.

A “No-Fly Zone” is recognized by many acclaimed journalists and analysts as nothing less than a “declaration of war.” Even Hillary Clinton, neocon warhawk extraordinaire, conceded the certainty that a No-Fly Zone would kill more Syrian civilians: “To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.

The precedent of Libya stands as a horrifying example of the death and destruction that is a consequence of such a policy, yet Cox was willing to endorse such wholesale devastation, which would inevitably affect more innocent lives in Syria and further fragment an already destabilized nation. Notably, she did so by promoting “humanitarianism,” despite the clearly inhuman consequences of such a policy.

Furthermore, Cox campaigned tirelessly for refugee rights. However, she did not highlight the British Government’s role in creating the refugee crisis in Syria by financing, promoting and equipping the “moderate” opposition that drove civilians from their homes and into refugee status. Neither did she highlight the British government’s role in NATO-member-state interventions that further exacerbated the refugee crisis in countries like Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Africa.

Beyond the conflict itself, Syrians have endured almost eight years of crippling economic sanctions, sanctions that were imposed by the U.K. and its allies in the U.S. regime-change coalition. As history has shown time and again, sanctions never damage a target government but instead wind up punishing the innocent people who resist any kind of foreign meddling in their sovereign affairs. These particular sanctions have decimated the Syrian state medical sector, by destroying hospitals and reducing the nation’s ability to treat its population for all manner of chronic illness and to counter the trauma of an externally waged war. Why did Jo Cox never argue that these sanctions should be lifted, if she truly cared for the plight of the Syrian people? Indeed, why were the solutions she supported largely policies that — in practice — would deepen and prolong the conflict, and why did she invoke the well-being of the Syrian people to promote them?

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