William Shawcross in his own words

William Shawcross Pic: Gov.UK

This is a selection of the speeches and writings of William Shawcross who has just been appointed to review the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy. They reveal consistent support for the most prominent right-wing causes of the last few decades, including praise for the Iraq War, George Bush and Tony Blair, the U.S military, Guantanamo Bay and opposition to “Islamism.”   

All the quotes below have been sourced from William Shawcross’s own website or public speeches.


“Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future. I think all European countries have vastly, very quickly growing Islamic populations.”

“Islamist abuse could be catastrophic for charities . . . we must be vigilant.”

“No one marches or calls emergency meetings of the UN and the EU to protest the vicious Muslim brutality against other Muslims that takes place every day throughout the Islamic world – and beyond. No one demonstrates on behalf of Christians murdered in the Middle East, their churches burned. Such horrors are waved away. Only Israel merits such constant abuse.”


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“Tim Montgomerie is quite correct that the criticisms of President Bush and Tony Blair are often hysterical and disproportionate, particularly in regard to Iraq and the post 9/11 War on Terror. President Bush’s response to 9/11 was measured, reassuring to the American people and won full support from the U.S. Congress and U.S. allies. He saw Islamist terrorism for what it is – a global assault on the freedoms of the democratic world and almost all Muslims; he understood that its demands are non negotiable and that it must be defeated.”


“A few weeks ago I took part in a televised debate on the War on Terror. I was on the side that defended the war and said that it was not of our making but that since it had been forced upon us on 11 September, we simply had to fight it… There is no escaping this war. Whatever the many faults of the West – our greed and our arrogance and our carelessness – we did not seek it. It has come to us and it will come again. But we have to fight it because we are all potential targets.”

“On Sunday the Iraqi people go to the polls in the most important election since the US and British invasion of 2003 removed Saddam Hussein. It is also probably the freest election ever in the Middle East, outside Israel. And all that is thanks to George Bush and Tony Blair and the brave soldiers of the US-led coalition, including those 179 British troops who died in Iraq. Thanks to American blood and treasure Iraq now has the nearest thing to democracy in the Arab world. It is imperfect and fragile and needs continued American support. Nothing in Obama’s statements suggests he understands this.”


“The US military was then, and still is today, the greatest defender of human rights that the world has ever seen. Think of the millions rescued from tyranny by American forces throughout the 20th century – and in the first ten years of this decade. Without the extraordinary commitment of American blood and treasure the world would not have enjoyed any such stability as it finally won during the century of totalitarians and mass graves.”


“I agree with Obama that Nuremberg was a success and should not be dismissed as victors’ justice. But what he failed to acknowledge was that the defendants at Nuremberg had far fewer rights than those at Guantanamo under the Military Commissions created by President Bush. Indeed, were a Nazi transported by time machine from Nuremberg to Guantanamo he would be astonished by the privileges and safeguards which were suddenly available to him.”


“The hatred that Israel arouses is absurd, even obscene.”

“The UN has become more of a lynch mob than a constructive debating chamber. Israel’s right to defend itself is ignored. So is the fact that Iran has threatened to obliterate it, and that the Hamas rulers of Gaza are Iranian agents also pledged to its destruction.”

“Europe prides itself on its tolerance of gay rights, free speech and feminism. These are all integral to Israeli society also, but Israel gets scant credit for that. Radical Muslims, on the other hand, stone women, hang homosexuals and kill to deny free speech. Do Europeans protest that? Not many, not often.”


“Since 9/11, drones have provided a vast revolution in warfare. They have multiplied, as missile platforms and observers, and their technology is still rapidly advancing. Soldiers can now launch drones from backpacks, and the Pentagon is experimenting with drones the size of dragonflies. Such technological developments raise new questions about the relevance of the Geneva Conventions, whose interpretation has dominated the waging of the War on Terror. P.W. Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert in robotic warfare, points out that the Conventions were last effectively updated in 1949, at a time when the 45-rpm vinyl record was a hot new invention. The old laws, he argues, are struggling to keep up with high-tech weapons ‘like the MQ-9 Reaper, which is being used to target a 21st-century insurgent who is intentionally violating those laws by hiding in a mosque or a civilian house.’”


“The issue is not whether Muslims have the right to build mosques in America but whether the sponsors of this one are wise. The heartache and the controversy that the plans have already aroused suggest not.”


“Rupert Murdoch has been the bravest and most radical media owner in Britain in the last 40 years.”

“Tabloids are an essential part of a vibrant market and the Sun is an excellent paper, catering well to its audience. In America, Fox News is sometimes over the top, but it has provided an essential counterpoint to the liberalism of the established broadcasters like CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS.”

“Hatred of Murdoch is a fierce and, in my view, corrosive emotion.”

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