Friday 29 August 2003

No One Comes Out Of This With Honour

by Paul Routledge

Hand on heart, proclaimed the Prime Minister yesterday, he believed it was all gen stuff from the spooks about weapons in Iraq.

But Tony Blair's hand was nowhere near his heart when he made his historic appearance in the Royal Courts of Justice to answer for his actions in the Kelly affair.

Instead, he fiddled with his specs and put his hand over his mouth when the going got embarrassing - the classic behaviour of a politician with something to hide.

The body language told us more than the words, though he did not know it. Blair left the dock, satisfied that no blame can be attached to his role in the tragic death of Dr David Kelly. He is responsible for everything, but guilty of nothing.

And he is not alone. His ministers, his spies, his advisers, his Whitehall mandarins and his spin doctors have given evidence, all seeking to evade responsibility for the suicide of a decent man who dared to doubt the wisdom of war against Iraq. They think they have just about got away with it.

In the clinical surroundings of the Royal Courts of Justice, Lord Hutton's search for the truth about Dr Kelly's suicide goes on. We will hear from the weapons scientist's grieving widow next week.

But the big political players have had their say, and it is now possible to come to an interim judgment on this dismal train of events.

And what a sorry conclusion it must be. Never before has the British establishment been subject to such deep and all-exposing investigation. Literally tons of secret memos, emails, draft policy documents and private remarks - sometimes of the most objectionable kind - have come to light.

This is the first inquiry of its kind in the age of the Internet. Trial by website. The most intimate contacts between our rulers have been revealed, and it is not a pretty sight. No politician has been spared, and not one of them has come out unscathed.

Reputations have not been made in Courtroom 73. They have been tarnished.

This has not been a game of winners and losers, but of losers and losers.

Full story...

Thursday 28 August 2003

So Many Deaths, So Few Answers

No answers but lots of war and lies, what does that tell you about our illustrious leaders? What does that tell you about what happened on 9/11? Wake up and smell the fucking coffee people!

The Second Anniversary of 9/11

As we approach the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it is important to take a hard look at the direction our country has taken since these tragic events occurred.

The United States has attacked Afghanistan and driven the Taliban regime from power. In the process, we killed some 3,000 to 5,000 civilians, more than died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The US has not been able to locate and capture Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Reports from Afghanistan are that the US-backed regime there controls little more than the city of Kabul, and warlords are in control of the rest of the country.

The United States has also attacked Iraq, but with neither evidence of a link between Iraq and the 9/1l terrorists, nor with the sanction of the United Nations. The US preventive war against Iraq killed some 6,000 to 8,000 civilians, about twice as many as died at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Since this war, it has come to light that in making its case for war, the Bush administration used false intelligence to inflate its claim that Iraq posed an imminent threat of using weapons of mass destruction against the United States.

The US has not been able to locate and capture Saddam Hussein or the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. Nor have any of the purported weapons of mass destruction, which supposedly made the Iraqi threat so imminent, been found. There is a strong sense that the Iraqi people are opposed to US occupation of their country, and American soldiers are being killed on an almost daily basis. Most recently, saboteurs have also been attacking the Iraqi oil pipelines.

In addition to the price in American and Iraqi lives, the occupation of Iraq is costing US taxpayers nearly $4 billion each month, adding to the over $450 billion projected deficit in the US budget this year. There is no clear plan for US withdrawal from Iraq, and the administration will not predict how long American troops are likely to remain or how much the occupation is likely to cost in total. US corporations, with links to the Bush administration, are being given lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and manage its oil production.

We still have no authoritative public report on the intelligence failures that led to 9/11. No one has been dismissed and no blame has been laid at the feet of the intelligence community. The impression from the Bush administration is that the lead up to 9/11 was just too difficult for the intelligence community to handle, due to the paucity of communication within and between agencies and the need to actually connect some dots. The families of the 9/11 victims, along with the rest of the American people, are still waiting for clearer and more complete answers to why our intelligence failed so dramatically.

In a Congressional study related to intelligence failures, much of the important information has been kept from the American people by the Bush administration, including 28 pages on the role of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi leadership and members of Congress have pleaded that this information be released to the American people, but to no avail. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated, "My judgment is 95 percent of that information could be declassified, become uncensored so the American people would know."

Since the war in Afghanistan, the United States has held prisoners, including US citizens, in a manner that defies the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners. The administration, aided by the Congress, has instituted the USA Patriot Act, which restricts the civil liberties of all Americans. The administration has put forward further legislation that provides even more drastic restrictions on our liberties.

The trends do not bode well for America. In two years, the country has engaged in two wars, at least one of which was clearly illegal under international law. The administration has engaged in a clear pattern of deception. Our wars have killed at least three times the number of innocent civilians as died in the 9/11 attacks. The individual thought to be principally responsible for 9/11 remains at liberty, while the liberties of Americans have been restricted. The goodwill with which America was held throughout the world in the aftermath of 9/11 has been squandered. We are viewed by much of the international community as bullies who use military force in defiance of international law and make our own rules when it suits us.

Full story...

Hoon points finger at No 10

Hoon's testimony reminded me of Manuel in Fawlty Towers, "Que...?"

It will be interesting to see how Phony Tony does today, my guess is he'll come out smelling of roses, either that or his masters intend to feed him to Lord Hutton whole.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, tried to save his career yesterday by blaming Downing Street for the public naming of David Kelly.

Mr Hoon is regarded as one of the most likely casualties of the affair that is threatening to engulf the Government.

He insisted during evidence to the Hutton Inquiry that he had played little part in the process that resulted in the scientist being identified as the source of a BBC story claiming that No 10 had "sexed up" its September dossier on Iraqi weapons.

Dr Kelly apparently committed suicide after being forced to appear before two Commons committees to discuss his contact with the BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan.

In particular, Mr Hoon denied any involvement in a proposal by Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's director of communications, to leak details to a newspaper to aid identification of Dr Kelly.

He accused Jonathan Powell, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, of responsibility for putting the scientist's name in a letter to Gavyn Davies, the BBC chairman.

He even distanced himself from his civil servants in the Ministry of Defence, first claiming that he had never read an MoD briefing paper for press officers that gave out information on Dr Kelly before admitting at the end of his evidence that he was aware of the document.

In blaming others, Mr Hoon created a picture of a minister at the mercy of others, having allowed an employee of his department to be subjected to a process that bore no resemblance to normal disciplinary procedures.

Full story...

Day of reckoning: Blair's future may hang on testimony

Wednesday 27 August 2003

Controlling The World's Monetary System The Bank For International Settlements

In case you're wondering who the real evildoers are.

While most people understand what took place when the American Revolution was fought, many are not aware of the permanent financial revolution that is being fought over the world's monetary system since 1694 when the Bank of England was created. At that time, a group of private individuals decided that they could make a great deal of money if they changed the laws of the land to shift control of the country's finances from the government to them. The Bank of England, which is England's "central bank," is a private corporation which earns a continuous stream of income when the British government borrows from them to run the country. England was the ingenious country that recognized they could run the world's finances if they established private corporations in all the countries of the world. The combined debt of all the world's country's would create an income stream of unbelievable amounts.

In 1913, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act creating our central bank. Most Americans don't know that this organization is a private corporation established to control America's monetary system through the banking industry.

In the last several years, our central bank has helped to push through two major pieces of legislation expanding its power over not only the banking system, but the stock market, insurance and real estate industries as well. Let me explain. When the stock market crashed in 1929, to safe guard our financial system Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act separating the commercial activities of banks (savings, checking, deposits and loans) from that of investment banks that bring new stocks and bonds to market, offering them to investor through their in-house stockbrokers. Our Federal Reserve worked very hard with the Clinton Administration to pass the Banking Modernization Act in 1999 which erased the Glass-Steagall Act. Furthermore this law expanded the functions of commercial banks to not only syndicate securities but to also sell both personal and commercial insurance as well as real estate, thus creating what is termed, "financial conglomerates."

Now let's understand what really took place. When Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, this private group of bankers only got control of our monetary system via the banking system. They did not have control over the insurance industry and stock markets. By passing the Banking Modernization Act 86 years later, they now have control over ALL of these areas worth trillions of dollars.

That same year, Congress also passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act with very little fanfare. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, now a co-Chairman at Citigroup which is a financial conglomerate, praised this bill as being necessary and critical. What it really did was amend key banking laws such as the Banking Act of 1933, the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, the Federal Deposit Institutions Act, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and the International Banking Act of 1978 to substitute the Federal Reserve as being responsible for our financial system instead of Congress! The permanent financial revolution that has been waged in America has been without any bullets being fired and with very little explanation from the main stream press.

While the Federal Reserve is a private corporation, it is also one of the owners of the Bank for International Settlements-BIS which America helped establish in 1930. Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown University, Dr. Carroll Quigley, said the BIS was to "serve as a 'Central Bankers' Bank'". The BIS is where all of the world's central banks meet to analyze the global economy and determine what course of action they will take next to put more money in their pockets since they control the amount of money in circulation and how much interest they are going to charge governments and banks for borrowing from them. Quigley further explained, "[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations."

There is not a whole lot of press about its activities, hence it is not a household name. The boot like structure of the BIS is only apparent from the backside. There is nothing about it that indicates it is the most important bank (and building) in the world. When the BIS holds its two-hour annual meeting, those who control the monetary system of their country-the central bank ministers walk to it from nearby hotels.

Once you enter the front doors of the BIS, you are confronted with two sets of glass doors that are circular. The only way to go beyond them is to have permission. Those who enter are escorted at all times. In order to be admitted to the middle of the circular doors, the two back glass panels slide open to let you in. When you are in the middle they close and the two front glass panels then slide open to allow you to enter into the tower where the offices are. Because it is rather unique, a fellow reporter remarked, "Masonic looking isn't it."

The great security makes you wonder why all the secrecy. Only once in all the years of holding annual meetings has the BIS given a tour for "outsiders" such as me. Of the various meetings rooms, two stand out: the special room where the Group of Ten* central bank ministers meet which has a round table positioned in the middle of the room with some kind of round halo hanging from the ceiling over it, giving the impression of the "Knights of the Round Table". Then there is the "green" room which is shaped like an almond, reminding you of an "eye" because of its shape and color. I gasped when I first entered the room, for the illusion could not be missed.

Over the years, the Bank for International Settlements has amassed more power over the global financial infrastructure then most people are aware of. They have a number of very powerful committees which include: the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision which has been working on how to regulate not only international banks of the world, but eventually those rules will pertain to every national bank as well, the Committee on the Global Financial System which monitors financial markets around the world with the objective of identifying potential risks for financial stability, and the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems looks to strengthen the infrastructure of financial markets with regard to rules on how to transfer monies and how to make payments between member banks.

One very important committee is Financial Stability Forum-FSF which was created as a result of the Asian Crisis. Their mandate is to help set up safeguards for the entire global economic system (notice that this responsibility no longer belongs to the individual nation-states). It should be noted that Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson is Committee Chairman of both the Committee on Global Financial Systems and the FSF. This Forum is comprised of the G7 Central Bank Governors, G7 Finance Ministers and the G7 Regulatory Agencies (in the US they are the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). In addition, a number of international organizations take active part: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, the International Organization of Security Commissioners and the newly formed International Accounting Standards Board. Besides the G7 countries, there are a number of emerging market countries such as India and China that participate. Dr. Knight concurred with my assessment that the FSF represents "greater cohesiveness and harmonization among countries."

Over the years, I have watched as the BIS has continued to push the envelope further in a borderless world. Some of their growing powers have come directly from governments like ours that have transferred the regulatory power they used to have over the banking system to the central bank while the rest comes from the simple fact that they do indeed control the monetary system of the world.

In an exclusive interview with the new BIS Managing Director Dr. Malcolm Knight , he went on record when he said, "We are not a central bank. We are the bank for the central bankers." This is extremely important for this fact has not been written about in books on the BIS. Furthermore, to my knowledge, no one at the BIS has explained that they are the "central banks' bank."

Full story...

Ashcroft's Little Secret

As the top law enforcement officer of the federal government, the Attorney General of the United States has a moral duty to act with honesty and integrity, and to guard his reputation as a law-abiding citizen. This means the Attorney General must -- at the very minimum -- make sure the political committees connected to him follow the nation's campaign finance rules. Respect for the law demands no less.

So why is John Ashcroft stonewalling about charges that his 2000 Senate campaign broke the federal campaign finance law?

A coalition of voters and campaign finance reform groups filed a complaint in March 2001 with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that Mr. Ashcroft's leadership PAC, "Spirit of America," illegally contributed a fundraising list of 100,000 donors to his 2000 Senate campaign in Missouri. Neither the PAC nor the campaign committee reported the contribution.

Spirit of America developed the list of donors between 1997 and 1999 at a cost of more than $2 million, according to a press report. Upon receiving the list at no charge, the Ashcroft campaign allegedly rented the list out and made over $100,000.

If this is true, Ashcroft's PAC is in hot water on a number of counts. PACs are prohibited from contributing more than $10,000 to federal candidates in an election cycle, and campaigns are likewise prohibited from receiving such contributions. That limit includes the non-monetary donations, like the fundraising list. Further, all PAC contributions must be reported by both the contributing PAC itself and the recipient campaign committee.

Quite simply, Ashcroft's campaign and leadership PAC broke the law by giving and receiving a contribution that exceeded the federal contribution limit by at least 10 times and possibly by more than 200 times, and by failing to disclose the contribution in the first place.

Full story...

Tuesday 26 August 2003

Blair damned by avalanche of evidence

Tony Blair was personally responsible for the decision to subject Dr David Kelly to the public grilling his family have blamed for his death, Scotland on Sunday has learned.

As the Prime Minister prepares to give court evidence on the circumstances of the scientist’s suicide, a damning declassified government document has revealed that it was he, and not defence minister Geoff Hoon, who ordered the move.

The evidence destroys Downing Street claims that Blair let the MoD decide how to deal with Kelly after it emerged he was the source for BBC claims that the government ‘sexed-up’ the case for war in Iraq.

The disclosure came as the Hutton Inquiry released an avalanche of government papers which threaten to further tarnish the Prime Minister’s already battered reputation.

Documents and e-mails point to the full extent to which Downing Street was involved in the handling of the Kelly affair, including leaking his name to the media on the evening of July 9; a move which also placed him under enormous pressure.

But it is the revelation that Blair, and not the Cabinet colleague he tried to blame, who was responsible for Kelly’s public humiliation which caused most anger last night.

Last week Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, stressed that the Prime Minister had regarded Kelly’s treatment as an operational matter for Hoon’s department.

That line is destroyed by a devastating document written by Blair’s intelligence coordinator Sir David Omand after a crisis meeting with the Premier on July 8, five days after the Prime Minister learned Kelly was the likely source for the damaging BBC claims.

Full story...

Friday 22 August 2003

Now We Are The Iraq Extremists

by John Pilger

The "liberation" of Iraq is a cruel joke on a stricken people. The Americans and British, partners in a great recognised crime, have brought down on the Middle East, and much of the rest of the world, the prospect of terrorism and suffering on a scale that al-Qaeda could only imagine.

That is what this week's bloody bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad tells us.

It is a "wake-up call", according to Mary Robinson, the former UN Humanitarian Commissioner.

She is right, of course, but it is a call that millions of people sounded on the streets of London and all over the world more than seven months ago - before the killing began.

And yet the Anglo-American spin machine, whose minor cogs are currently being exposed by the Hutton Inquiry, is still in production.

According to the Bush and Blair governments, those responsible for the UN outrage are "extremists from outside": Al-Qaeda terrorists or Iranian militants, or both.

Whether or not outsiders are involved, the aim of this propaganda is to distract from the truth that America and Britain are now immersed in a classic guerrilla war, a war of resistance and self-determination of the kind waged against foreign aggressors and colonial masters since history began.

For America, it is another Vietnam. For Britain it is another Kenya, or indeed another Iraq.

In 1921, Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Maude said in Baghdad: "Our armies do not come as conquerors, but as liberators."

Within three years 10,000 had died in an uprising against the British, who gassed and bombed the "terrorists".

Nothing has changed, only the names and the fine print of the lies.

As for the "extremists from outside", simply turn the meaning around and you have a succinct description of the current occupiers who, unprovoked, attacked a defenceless sovereign country, defying the United Nations and the opposition of most of humanity.

Using weapons designed to cause the maximum human suffering - cluster bombs, uranium-tipped shells and firebombs (napalm) - these extremists from outside caused the deaths of at least 8,000 civilians and as many as 30,000 troops, most conscripted teenagers. Consider the waves of grief in any society from that carnage.

AT their moment of "victory", these extremists from outside - having already destroyed Iraq's infrastructure with a 12-year bombing campaign and embargo - murdered journalists, toppled statues and encouraged wholesale looting while refusing to make the most basic humanitarian repairs to the damage they had caused to the supply of power and clean water.

This means that today sick children are dying from thirst and gastro-enteritis, that hospitals frequently run out of oxygen and that those who might be saved can not be saved.

How many have died like this?

Full story...

Decoding Media Lies About The Bomb at UN Headquarters in Baghdad

Gee, what a suprise, looks like the Israelis are saying the bomb came in from Syria. How stupid do you think the Syrians really are? With an entire fucking US armada right on their doorstep they're really going to do something suicidal like blow up the fucking UN. Don't even try and tell me the terrorists simply used Syria, maybe they did but maybe the bastards were really Israeli intelligence or black-ops or Palestinians paid by the Israelis in a round-about way. Either way the chances that it was Bashar al Assad are about the same as the chances of Osama bin Laden walking up to cop in Brooklyn and turning himself in! This UN bomb stinks of a FALSE FLAG operation!

Luckily for us, raw video footage always tells the truth!

by Joe Vialls

The media would have us all believe the New York fairy tale that, “a suicide bomber driving a large blue cement truck drove inside the UN Building in Baghdad, came to an abrupt halt directly under the office of Sergio de Mello, where he [the suicide bomber] detonated the charge, killing 24 people”. Some media networks misread their common script and said “yellow truck” instead of “blue truck”, but hey, anyone can mistake one primary color for another can’t they? Essentially though, this is the politically-correct media garbage you are all supposed to swallow about the massive bomb in Baghdad.

Unfortunately for the dream weavers in New York, there is enough raw video around on this bombing to expose every one of the weavers as obsequious disinformation whores, faithfully acting on the orders of their various media proprietors, and completely ignoring the long term impact this strike may have on ordinary folk like you. How can we prove this? Let us start in the seconds preceding and immediately following the blast, which were faithfully recorded on continuous video at a press conference inside UN Headquarters.

As you can see on the video frame shown above left, a UN official was addressing a packed media briefing not more than fifty feet away from Sergio de Mello’s office. The windows of the briefing room were partly open, because the air conditioning was not working properly. One split second the official is speaking, them the video film goes black for two frames, then there is an ear-splitting bang which sends journalists and others reeling across the briefing room, as shown in the center and right frames above. Obviously there is something critical missing from this sequence, but what is it?

The sound of a large Kamaz “cement truck” is missing, that’s what! Rather artfully invented by FBI Special Agent Thomas Fuentes, the blue [or yellow] Kamaz truck lies at the very heart of this outrageous media lie, so if we use hard science to remove the truck, at the same time we comprehensively discredit Special Agent Fuentes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and ninety-percent of the American media.

Many years ago I actually drove one of these Eastern European Kamaz monsters, and people could hear the gears crashing nearly a mile away. Now imagine how much noise a Kamaz makes when it crashes through the steel railings outside the UN Headquarters [formerly the Canal Hotel], before attacking the glass, windows frames and double brickwork below Sergio de Mello’s office. In reality the noise would have been so loud it would have stopped the UN media briefer dead in mid-sentence, but failed to do so.

There is not a trace of background sound on the tape in the seconds leading up to the massive explosion, which in turn proves conclusively that no giant [or even little] Kamaz truck charged the UN Headquarters building like a crazed elephant in search of a mate. Nor is there the slightest trace of camera shake or vibration, which there certainly would have been if a Kamaz had just charged through the ground floor below the briefing room.

If you don’t believe me, get hold of a copy of the video footage that the obliging media has left lying around all over, probably blissfully unaware that it completely destroys their politically-correct myth. Either that, or the media simply don’t care. It probably doesn’t matter too much if folk on the Internet manage to make idiots out of them, just so long as 250-million Homer Simpsons believe it all on television.

Full story...

Thursday 21 August 2003

The Imperial Bluster of Tom Delay

Dreams and Delusions

by Edward Said

During the last days of July, Representative Tom Delay (Republican) of Texas, the House majority leader and described routinely as one of the three or four most powerful men in Washington, delivered himself of his opinions regarding the roadmap and the future of peace in the Middle East. What he had to say was meant as an announcement for a trip he subsequently took to Israel and several Arab countries where, it is reported, he articulated the same message. In no uncertain terms, Delay declared himself opposed to the Bush Administration's support for the roadmap, especially the provision in it for a Palestinian state. "It would be a terrorist state" he said emphatically, using the word "terrorist" as has become habitual in official American discourse without regard for circumstance, definition, or concrete characteristics. He went on to add that he came by his ideas concerning Israel by virtue of what he described as his convictions as a "Christian Zionist," a phrase synonymous not only with support for everything Israel does, but also for the Jewish state's theological right to go on doing what it does regardless whether or not a few million "terrorist" Palestinians get hurt in the process.

The sheer number of people in the southwestern United States who think like Delay is an imposing 60-70 million and, it should be noted, included among them is none other than George W. Bush, who is also an inspired born-again Christian for whom everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. Bush is their leader and surely depends on their votes for the 2004 election which, in my opinion, he will not win. And because his presidency is threatened by his ruinous policies at home and abroad, he and his campaign strategists are trying to attract more Christian right-wingers from other parts of the country, the Middle West especially. Altogether then, the views of the Christian Right (allied with the ideas and lobbying power of the rabidly pro-Israeli neo-conservative movement) constitute a formidable force in domestic American politics, which is the domain where, alas, the debate about the Middle East takes place in America. One must always remember that in America, Palestine and Israel are regarded as local, not foreign policy, matters.

Thus, were Delay's pronouncements simply to have been either the personal opinions of a religious enthusiast or the dreamlike ramblings of an inconsequential visionary, one could dismiss them quickly as nonsense. But in fact, they represent a language of power that is not easily opposed in America, where so many citizens believe themselves to be guided directly by God in what they see and believe, and sometimes do. John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, is reported to begin each working day in his office with a collective prayer meeting. Fine, people want to pray, they are constitutionally allowed total religious liberty. But in Delay's case, by saying what he has said against an entire race of people, the Palestinians, that they would constitute a whole country of "terrorists," that is, enemies of humankind in the current Washington definition of the word, he has seriously hampered their progress toward self-determination, and gone some way in imposing further punishment and suffering on them, all on religious grounds. By what right?

Consider the sheer inhumanity and imperialist arrogance of Delay's position: from a powerful eminence ten thousand miles away, people like him, who are as ignorant about the actual life of Arab Palestinians as the man in the moon, can actually rule against and delay Palestinian freedom, and assure years more of oppression and suffering, just because he thinks they are all terrorists and because his own Christian Zionism--where neither proof nor reason counts for very much--tells him so. So, in addition to the Israeli lobby here, to say nothing of the Israeli government there, Palestinian men, women and children have to endure more obstacles and more roadblocks placed in their way in the US Congress. Just like that.

What also struck me about the Delay comments wasn't only their irresponsibility and their easy, uncivilized (a word very much in use concerning the war against terrorism) dismissal of thousands of people who have done him no wrong whatever, but also the unreality, the delusional unreality his statements share with so much of official Washington so far as discussions of (and policy toward) the Middle East, the Arabs and Islam are concerned. This has reached new levels of intense, and even inane abstraction in the period since the events of September 11. Hyperbole, the technique of finding more and more excessive statements to describe and over-describe a situation, has ruled the public realm, beginning of course with Bush himself, whose metaphysical statements about good and evil, the axis of evil, the light of the almighty and his endless, dare I call them sickening effusions about the evils of terrorism, have taken language about human history and society to new, dysfunctional levels of pure, ungrounded polemic. All of this laced with solemn sermons and declarations to the rest of the world to be pragmatic, to avoid extremism, to be civilized and rational, even as US policy makers with untrammeled executive power can legislate the change of regime here, an invasion there, a "re-construction" of a country there, all from within the confines of their plush air-conditioned Washington offices. Is this a way of setting standards for civilized discussion and advancing democratic values, including the very idea of democracy itself?

One of the basic themes of all Orientalist discourse since the mid-19th century is that the Arabic language and the Arabs are afflicted with both a mentality and a language that has no use for reality. Many Arabs have come to believe this racist drivel, as if whole national languages like Arabic, Chinese, or English directly represent the minds of their users. This notion is part of the same ideological arsenal used in the 19th century to justify colonial oppression: "Negroes" can't speak properly therefore, according to Thomas Carlyle, they must remain enslaved; "the Chinese" language is complicated and therefore, according to Ernest Renan, the Chinese man or woman is devious and should be kept down; and so on and so forth. No one takes such ideas seriously today, except for when Arabs, Arabic, and Arabists are concerned.

In a paper he wrote a few years ago, Francis Fukuyama, the right wing pontificator and philosopher who was briefly celebrated for his preposterous "end of history" idea, said that the State Department was well rid of its Arabists and Arabic speakers because by learning that language they also learned the "delusions" of the Arabs. Today, every village philosopher in the media, including pundits like Thomas Friedman, chatters on in the same vein, adding in their scientific descriptions of the Arabs that one of the many delusions of Arabic is the commonly held "myth" that the Arabs have of themselves as a people. According to such authorities as Friedman and Fouad Ajami, the Arabs are simply a loose collection of vagrants, tribes with flags, masquerading as a culture and a people. One might point out that that itself is a hallucinatory Orientalist delusion, which has the same status as the Zionist belief that Palestine was empty, and that the Palestinians were not there and certainly don't count as a people. One scarcely needs to argue against the validity of such assumptions, so obviously do they derive from fear and ignorance.

Full story...

UN Attack Underlines America's Crumbling Authority And Shows It Can Not Guarantee The Safety Of Any One

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website What UN member would ever contemplate sending peace-keeping troops to Iraq now? The men who are attacking America's occupation army are ruthless, but they are not stupid. They know that President George Bush is getting desperate, that he will do anything - that he may even go to the dreaded Security Council for help - to reduce US military losses in Iraq. But yesterday's attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad has slammed shut the door to that escape route.

Within hours of the explosion, we were being told that this was an attack on a "soft target", a blow against the UN itself. True, it was a "soft" target, although the machine-gun nest on the roof of the UN building might have suggested that even the international body was militarising itself. True, too, it was a shattering assault on the UN as an institution. But in reality, yesterday's attack was against the United States.

For it proves that no foreign organisation - no NGO, no humanitarian organisation, no investor, no businessman - can expect to be safe under America's occupation rule. Paul Bremer, the US pro-consul, was meant to be an "anti-terrorism" expert. Yet since he arrived in Iraq, he has seen more "terrorism" than he can have dreamt of in his worst nightmares - and has been able to do nothing about it. Pipeline sabotage, electricity sabotage, water sabotage, attacks on US troops and British troops and Iraqi policemen and now the bombing of the UN. What comes next? The Americans can reconstruct the dead faces of Saddam's two sons, but they can't reconstruct Iraq.

Of course, this is not the first indication that the "internationals" are in the sights of Iraq's fast-growing resistance movement. Last month, a UN employee was shot dead south of Baghdad. Two International Red Cross workers were murdered, the second of them a Sri Lankan employee killed in his clearly marked Red Cross car on Highway 8 just north of Hilla. When he was found, his blood was still pouring from the door of his vehicle. The Red Cross chief delegate, who signed out the doomed man on his mission to the south of Baghdad, is now leaving Iraq. Already, the Red Cross itself is confined to its regional offices and cannot travel across Iraq by road.

An American contractor was killed in Tikrit a week ago. A British journalist was murdered in Baghdad last month. Who is safe now? Who will now feel safe at a Baghdad hotel when one of the most famous of them all - the old Canal Hotel, which housed the UN arms inspectors before the invasion - has been blown up? Will the next "spectacular" be against occupation troops? Against the occupation leadership? Against the so-called Iraqi "Interim Council"? Against journalists?

The reaction to yesterday's tragedy could have been written in advance. The Americans will tell us that this proves how "desperate" Saddam's "dead-enders" have become - as if the attackers are more likely to give up as they become more successful in destroying US rule in Iraq. The truth - however many of Saddam's old regime hands are involved - is that the Iraqi resistance organisation now involves hundreds, if not thousands, of Sunni Muslims, many of them with no loyalty to the old regime. Increasingly, the Shias are becoming involved in anti-American actions.

Future reaction is equally predictable. Unable to blame their daily cup of bitterness upon Saddam's former retinue, the Americans will have to conjure up foreign intervention. Saudi "terrorists", al-Qa'ida "terrorists", pro-Syrian "terrorists", pro-Iranian "terrorists" - any mysterious "terrorists" will do if their supposed existence covers up the painful reality: that our occupation has spawned a real home-grown Iraqi guerrilla army capable of humbling the greatest power on Earth.

Full story...

The UN bombing: a product of the US occupation of Iraq

Bush and Blair are both on holiday, sunning themselves, playing golf, swimming in warm tropical waters and drinking Pina Coladas. All the while around them the world is being sold out to their corporate paymasters, people are starving and dying to line the pockets of people like David Rockefeller and Poppy Bush. Now if that's not sick I don't know what is.

A massive truck bomb yesterday tore through the Canal Hotel that houses the UN offices in Baghdad killing at least 20 people, including the top UN official in Iraq—Sergio Vieira de Mello, and injuring more than 100. The explosion took place at around 4.30 p.m., as a press conference was underway in the three-storey building that has functioned as the UN headquarters in Iraq since 1991.

The attack was well organised. A concrete truck packed with an estimated 250 kilograms of C4 military explosives was detonated outside a newly-built, concrete retaining wall around the UN compound. The wall offered no protection from the huge blast that destroyed the front of the building, an adjoining hospital and a number of cars and shattered windows blocks away.

No organisation has claimed responsibility for the bombing. It has been immediately seized upon by the Bush administration to justify further indiscriminate reprisals and repression against the Iraqi people. At the same time, the attack underscores the depth of hostility, anger and despair felt by wide sections of the population in Iraq and throughout the Middle East towards Washington's criminal occupation of the country. Political responsibility for the bomb blast rests with the US and its accomplices, who have created nothing short of a nightmare for the Iraqi people.

US President Bush briefly interrupted a game of golf to make a banal statement to the media condemning the UN bombing. “Every sign of progress in Iraq adds to the desperation of these terrorists and the remnants of Saddam’s brutal regime. The civilised world will not be intimidated,” he declared. “The Iraqi people have been liberated from a dictator. Iraq is on an irreversible course toward self-government and peace.”

His comments stand reality on its head. Washington has not liberated Iraq but replaced a brutal dictatorship, which it helped create, with a neo-colonial regime headed by Paul Bremer III, a proconsul with absolute powers. The Iraqi people are no freer under Bremer than they were under Saddam Hussein. Under the pretext of hunting down “Baathist remnants,” US troops routinely search people, vehicles and houses, killing or incarcerating anyone suspected of opposition. Thousands of people are being held, and in some cases tortured, in US-run jails and detention centres in flagrant breach of their basic democratic rights.

The purpose of the US-led invasion was not to bring “self-government and peace” but to loot the economy, particularly the country’s huge oil reserves. Much of the limited and decaying physical and social infrastructure that existed under the previous regime has been destroyed, leaving masses of people without jobs, basic services and essentials such as electricity, water and adequate food.

Full story...

Wednesday 20 August 2003

Blair's own office knew Iraq posed no urgent threat


Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for war against Iraq suffered what may prove to have been a mortal blow yesterday when documents from his own office showed Saddam Hussein's weapons program was not an "imminent threat".

Mr Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, warned on September 17 last year that a dossier being prepared about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction did not show he was an imminent threat either to the West or his Arab neighbours.

However, documents released to the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly showed that Mr Blair's communication chief, Alastair Campbell, had responded to this by saying the intelligence dossier needed a "substantial rewrite".

When Mr Blair presented the dossier on September 24, he described the Iraqi weapons program as "active, detailed and growing" and said the threat was "serious and current".

Mr Blair also included the now controversial claim that the weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes.

The inquiry already has been told that the original wording was that Saddam "may be able to" deploy them. It also has heard the 45-minute claim was not in the first draft at all.

The British Government already has insisted that it never used the word "imminent" to describe the Iraqi threat but critics said "serious and current" amounted to the same thing.

An indication of how the issue is hitting the Government came in a new opinion poll in which 50 per cent of Britons canvassed now believed the case for war was deliberately embellished.

Only 6 per cent said they trusted the Government to tell the truth ahead of its foe in this affair, the BBC.

Full story...

Tuesday 19 August 2003

Alastair in not a monster

In the interests of hearing both sides of the story...

The dump-on-Alastair Campbell campaign will reach its hysterical climax today when his critics take their knitting to a front-row seat at the Hutton Inquiry.

They will be hoping that when the guillotine falls, it will justify their unrelenting portrayal of him as a man spinning out of control - or someone simply plain "bonkers", as a BBC boss reportedly said of a man who knows more about the dark despair of a breakdown than any of them.

But the plain fact is, his friends - and I am proud to count myself among them - do not recognise the monster they have created.

We feel his detractors - and he has plenty - do not like him because he is his own man, speaks bluntly and refuses to dance to their tune. Witness the daily use of the scowling picture - even his mother asked him if the papers ever took a picture of him smiling. If they took the trouble to travel with him to Burnley when he goes to watch his favourite football team, they'd see smiles aplenty.

One of the crimes - and he's accused of many - is putting the best possible shine on his boss and his policies - something the hacks who despise him would never do to maintain their well-heeled life-styles.

When authors set out recently to write his biography, at least one gave up after finding his true friends would not dish the dirt.

I for one was unable to help, because I couldn't think of anything juicy, and if I had, talking to them would have betrayed the quality that Alastair holds dearest - loyalty.

They had to rely on the hoary old chestnuts - he had a breakdown and, wow, when he was a student he used his imagination to write saucy stuff for top shelf magazines to help pay his way. Imagine.

If they had been real offences they would have long ago been regarded as spent convictions.

Full story...

No 10 knew: Iraq no threat

Just found out that apparently Phony Tony's favorite meal is Campbell's Cream of Bullshit Soup. Those lying war-mongering twats are up shit creek without a paddle, good it's fun watching them squirm!

One of the prime minister's closest advisers issued a private warning that it would be wrong for Tony Blair to claim Iraq's banned weapons programme showed Saddam Hussein presented an "imminent threat" to the west or even his Arab neighbours.

In a message that goes to the heart of the government's case for war, the Downing Street chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, raised serious doubts about the nature of September's Downing Street dossier on Iraq's banned weapons.

"We will need to make it clear in launching the document that we do not claim that we have evidence that he is an imminent threat," Mr Powell wrote on September 17, a week before the document was finally published.

His remarks urging caution contrasted with the chilling language used by Mr Blair in a passionate speech in the Commons as he launched the dossier a week later.

He described Iraq's prog-ramme for weapons of mass destruction as "active, detailed, and growing ... It is up and running now".

Mr Powell's private concerns came in the form of an email which was copied to Alastair Campbell, Downing Street's director of communications, and Sir David Manning, Mr Blair's foreign policy adviser.

The fact the three closest men to the prime minister knew of this information strongly suggests Mr Blair would have been aware.

Full story...

The e-mails, the rewritten dossier and how No 10 made its case for war
Blair's office "substantially" altered Iraq dossier, British probe hears
Blair's Top Man Said Saddam Was Not Imminent Danger

US troops 'crazy' in killing of cameraman

Searing heat, lack of supplies, idiotic political leadership, no cold beer and to top it all off the illustrious Pentagon is planning to cut their pay. Oh yeah, and if they get injured their fucked because the Veterans Administration is a poor pussy-whipped version of itself. I'm not suprised the GIs are going crazy!

Journalists who were with a Reuters news cameraman shot dead by US troops while filming outside a Baghdad prison yesterday accused the soldiers of behaving in a "crazy" and negligent fashion.

They claimed the Americans had spotted the Reuters crew outside the jail half an hour before Mazen Dana was killed and must have realised he was not a guerrilla carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

The chief executive of Reuters, Tom Glocer, said: "The latest death is hard to bear. That's why I am calling upon the highest levels of the US government for a full and comprehensive investigation into this terrible tragedy."

Dana, 43, is the second Reuters cameraman to be killed since the US-led force invaded Iraq. His death brought to 17 the number of journalists or their assistants who have died in Iraq since the war began on March 20.

The journalist was killed on Sunday when soldiers in two tanks opened fire while he was filming near Abu Ghurayb prison, which had earlier come under mortar attack.

The US army, which has launched an investigation, claimed its soldiers thought his camera was a weapon.

But colleagues who were with the award-winning cameraman when he was killed told a different story.

Nael al-Shyoukhi, a Reuters soundman, said the soldiers "saw us and they knew about our identities and our mission.

"After we filmed we went into the car and prepared to go when a convoy led by a tank arrived and Mazen stepped out of the car to film.

"I followed him and Mazen walked three to four metres. We were noted and seen clearly.

Full story...

Monday 18 August 2003

45-minute claim on Iraq was hearsay

Tony Blair's headline-grabbing claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order to do so was based on hearsay information, the Guardian has learned.

The revelation that the controversial claim is even weaker than ministers and officials have been saying will embarrass No 10, already reeling after the first week of the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons expert David Kelly.

It came as the Hutton inquiry announced that Alastair Campbell, Downing Street's communications chief, will testify on Tuesday. Underlining the danger of the inquiry for the government, Lord Hutton has called virtually every member of the prime minister's inner circle.

The government has been under fire for including the allegation in a September 2002 dossier used to justify the war against Iraq.

The revelation that the 45 minute claim is second hand is contained in an internal Foreign Office document released by the Hutton inquiry. It had been thought the basis for the claim came from an Iraqi officer high in Saddam Hussein's command structure. In fact it came through an informant, who passed it on to MI6.

The document says the 45 minute claim "came from a reliable and established source, quoting a well-placed senior officer" - described by intelligence sources as a senior Iraqi officer still in Iraq.

The government has never admitted the key information was based on hearsay. On June 4, Tony Blair told the House of Commons: "It was alleged that the source for the 45 minute claim was an Iraqi defector of dubious reliability. He was not an Iraqi defector and he was an established and reliable source."

Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, said of the claim on May 29: "That was said on the basis of security service information - a single source, it wasn't corroborated."

The irony is that the government launched a furious attack on the BBC for broadcasting allegations that the dossier was "sexed up" based on a single, anonymous, uncorroborated source. That source was Dr Kelly.

Mr Campbell told the foreign affairs select committee: "I find it incredible ... that people can report based on one single anonymous uncorroborated source."

In fact, the foundation for the government's claim was even shakier, according to the document: a single anonymous uncorroborated source quoting another single anonymous uncorroborated source.

Full story...

Iraqi Commander Swears He Saw USAF Fly Saddam Out of Baghdad

Film will soon be made public of an Iraqi Army officer describing how he saw a US Air Force transport fly Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad. The explosive eyewitness testimony was shot by independent filmmaker Patrick Dillon, who recently returned from a risky one-man odyssey in Iraq. In the film, the officer, who told Dillon that he commanded a special combat unit during the battle for Baghdad airport and whose identity is temporarily being withheld, explains in detail how he watched as the Iraqi dictator and members of his inner circle were evacuated from Iraq's capital by what he emphatically insists were United States Air Force cargo planes.

Presently, the only copies of the film (which I have not yet seen) are in New York City. People who have viewed it describe it to me as compelling.

Dillon told me by phone that, prior to the final assault on the capital by American ground forces, the officer had been entrusted with the near impossible job of ensuring that one of Baghdad airport's runways would remain operational no matter what. In civilian life the officer is reportedly a highly trained civil engineer specializing in airport operations. He states he was selected to command this hazardous mission in part because of his expertise in concrete surface construction. He goes on to report that there was a ferocious battle at the airport, with losses on both sides far worse than the mainstream news services acknowledge. He deviates even further from officially sanctioned accounts, by unequivocally stating that the battle for control of the airport actually lasted several days longer than commonly believed, dragging on through April 8th and culminating around dawn on the morning of the 9th. Most news sources cite April 4th as the day when the airport fell. But many conventional accounts also acknowledge, if only in passing, uncertainty as to exactly when the airport was fully subdued,frequently offering the 5th and the 6th as other possibilities. Virtually everyone agrees on April 9th as the day that the battle for the entire city officially ended.

In any event, the officer adamantly maintains that his combat/construction brigade, despite heavy casualties, managed to hold off US troops and preserve a useable length of runway right through the night of April the 8th.

Then early on the morning of April 9th, as the remnants of his unit were close to being overrun, a general cease-fire was unexpectedly declared for 6 AM. Shortly after it went into effect, and in broad daylight, the officer claims a motorcade of 10 Mercedes stretch limos suddenly barreled onto the airfield, carrying Saddam and his entourage. Almost simultaneously, a flight of what the officer asserts were four USAF Hercules transports swooped down and landed on the lone stretch of intact runway. All four C-130s dropped their rear loading ramps and the limos drove up into the cargo bays of the waiting planes, which then took off. The officer insists he has no idea where Saddam or any of the other members of his party may have gone.

Full story...

Rafi Eitan Plotting New 9/11?

by Jeffrey Steinberg - Executive Intelligence Review

On July 30, United Press International intelligence correspondent Richard Sale reported that Rafi Eitan, the Israeli spymaster who recruited Jonathan Jay Pollard to spy against the United States, ``has reemerged on American soil and is being scrutinized by the FBI.'' Sale elaborated, ``According to federal law enforcement officials, Eitan has, for the last year or so, been traveling to the United States on an Israeli passport, but using an alias.

These sources told UPI that Eitan lands at Columbus, Ohio, and then moves about the Midwest, to cities such as Indianapolis. Eitan has been seen and photographed in the company of `known dealers who belong to a ring dealing in the drug ecstasy,' one federal law enforcement official said.''

In a followup UPI story on Aug. 7, Sale wrote, "U.S. officials said Eitan, at first described by former Israeli officials as being 'sidelined' and 'in mothballs' as far as Israel is concerned, has, in fact, been brought back into government life by Sharon who is employing him as a counter-terrorism adviser... 'We all thought he he was in disgrace,' a federal law enforcement official said. 'We were wrong.''

Sale quoted from a June 1997 interview with Eitan by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, in which the former chief of Mossad operations in Europe said, "I failed in the Pollard affair, just as I failed in other intelligence operations behind enemy lines. That is the lot of the intelligence officer who runs complex operations.'' Note Eitan's reference to the United States as "behind enemy lines.''

Full story...

Revealed: how Israel helped Amin to take power

Typical really, it would make sense that one of the most fascist regimes the world has ever seen supported one of the most despotic leaders in Africa. Israel seems to think it has a God-given right to interfere anywhere it likes because they're Jewish so that means they're more important than the rest of us. Like I said, typical...

When Radio Uganda announced at dawn on 25 January 1971 that Idi Amin was Uganda's new ruler, many people suspected that Britain had a hand in the coup. However, Foreign Office papers released last year point to a different conspirator: Israel.

The first telegrams to London from the British High Commissioner in Kampala, Richard Slater, show a man shocked and bewildered by the coup. But he quickly turned to the man who he thought might know what was going on; Colonel Bar-Lev, the Israeli defence attaché. He found the Israeli colonel with Amin. They had spent the morning of the coup together. Slater's next telegram says that according to Colonel Bar-Lev: "In the course of last night General Amin caused to be arrested all officers in the armed forces sympathetic to Obote ... Amin is now firmly in control of all elements of [the] army which controls vital points in Uganda ... the Israeli defence attaché discounts any possibility of moves against Amin."

The Israelis moved quickly to consolidate the coup. In the following days Bar-Lev was in constant contact with Amin and giving him advice. Slater told London that Bar-Lev had explained "in considerable detail [how] ... all potential foci of resistance, both up country and in Kampala, had been eliminated". Shortly afterwards Amin made his first foreign trip; a state visit to Israel. Golda Meir, the Prime Minister, was reportedly "shocked at his shopping list" for arms.

But why was Israel so interested in a landlocked country in Central Africa? The reason is spelt out by Slater in a later telegram. Israel was backing rebellion in southern Sudan to punish Sudan for supporting the Arab cause in the Six-Day War. "They do not want the rebels to win. They want to keep them fighting."

The Israelis had helped train the new Uganda army in the 1960s. Shortly after independence Amin was sent to Israel on a training course. When he became chief of staff of the new army Amin also ran a sideline operation for the Israelis, supplying arms and ammunition to the rebels in southern Sudan. Amin had his own motive for helping them: many of his own people, the Kakwa, live in southern Sudan. Obote, however, wanted peace in southern Sudan. That worried the Israelis and they were even more worried when, in November 1970 Obote sacked Amin. Their stick for beating Sudan was suddenly taken away.

The British may have had little to do with the coup but they welcomed it enthusiastically. "General Amin has certainly removed from the African scene one of our most implacable enemies in matters affecting Southern Africa...," wrote an enthusiastic Foreign Office official in London.

Full story...

Thursday 14 August 2003

America, The Fourth Reich

"Dictatorships start wars because they need external enemies to exert internal control over their own people." -Richard Perle

Americans are the new Nazis. There, that's earned me a lot of enemies very quickly hasn't it?

"How dare you," comes the riposte from the neo-cons in the administration and the right-wing think tanks like JINSA and the PNAC, as well as the "Fox news compliant" brigade whose heads are still stuck up their backsides enjoying the televised view. "America is a democracy, a free country run by a democratically elected government. It is the land of the free, the home of the brave and the protector of the free world," I hear them chorus.

To that I say, bullshit.

To say America is a democracy these days is just stretching things too far. Consider: Bush was not elected by the majority of people in the USA. Admittedly the turnout was low (you do, after all, get the government you deserve if you don't exercise your franchise) but George W didn't get a mandate. To do that more than 50 percent of the voters have to vote for you, and that didn't happen. In fact, Georgie boy lost. However, good old George made sure that, mandate or not, win or not, with a little help from friends and family in Florida he could win it by cheating. Let's not mince words, George W Bush stole the presidency of the United States. He is not the democratically elected leader of America.

It also appears that some unelected officials in the Bush administration may have acquired more power than the president himself. Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Bolton, Abrams, Rumsfeld all share the same right-wing neo-conservative views held by organisations such as the Project for a New American Century, the Zionist Organisation of America and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. As members of these organisations, it could be said that this unelected cabal of neo-cons in the White House and the Pentagon have interests other than America at heart. This is not only undemocratic, it is treason.

So, we now see that America is governed by a president who was not democratically elected, supported by an unelected cabal of people with very extreme and in some cases, very un-American views. This cannot, therefore, classify America as a democratic country. A country that is governed by a non-elected power is, as we have seen and heard these last few months concerning Iraq, Iran and North Korea, classed as a "dictatorship". Dictatorships are fascist by nature. Fascism is described as "right-wing dictatorship". Look up the word fascism. See what I mean?

Full story...

Wednesday 13 August 2003

We Brits are so wacky

by AL Kennedy

I'm just back from a spot of work abroad - sorry, the Source of all UK Crime, Bad Driving and Childcare - and after days of European public speaking, cream-based sauces and nude swimming my fettle is fine. Not least because - although my nation's leaders consistently behave like a troop of sub-standard baboons - in foreign parts, there still lingers a fondness for our wacky little island full of lies.

Despite our ever-closer links with the world's most unconvincing Texan psychopath, many Europeans still want to see us as simply the generous purveyors of madcap humour and weirdly suppressed sex - we are Mrs Peel in The Avengers, we are Connery's Bond and we are, above all, Mr Bean and Monty Python. Such is the goodwill generated by Monty Python alone that we would all have to spend every afternoon standing on a dying pensioner while eating raw Iraqi babies before anyone believed how fatally ugly our domestic and foreign policies can be.

We're also acknowledged to be only slightly less terrifying than the Americans, but there's a lingering suspicion that, safe in Barbados, Tony Blair will dress up as a woman and hit himself with fish while, at home, Gordon Brown dances in stockings and leather suspenders.

I'm beginning to see Europe's point. For example, I left Britain expecting I'd return to find those lovable rogues Tony and Alastair had been hung upside down from lamp-posts and nibbled by dogs. Only a population with an immeasurably advanced sense of humour would continue to allow them free run of their national budget when 99 out of 99 toddlers wouldn't trust them with a bag of crisps and they're both blatantly pawning our future while converting us to a murder-based economy.

But we Brits get wackier than that. Take the transformation of cautious, informed reports from various spies and inspectors into what we in Scotland call utter shite, as spouted and still spouting from various government representatives. Rather than be tedious and declare those involved irretrievably corrupt before sacking them, we prefer weeks of music-hall banter about sod all.

I'm waiting for the edition of Newsnight when Paxman waddles in wearing baggy trousers to find a dead cow in his seat and must ask Jack Straw questions for 15 minutes without mentioning anything bovine or on mortality. We'll laugh till we cry.

And then we'll laugh more, because of that edgy, alternative humour for which we are famed. This presumably allows the hounding to death (or assassination by conspiracy) of David Kelly to be a laugh riot - not to mention the recent suicide of the future US navy secretary and multiple military suicides in Iraq. These are especially amusing because they prove that Bush and his cohorts are right up with us in the quest for delightful pranks.

America's finest ongoing wheeze, apart from smothering news of uranium poisonings, is its casualty figure fiddle. Obviously, it's deeply funny that anyone at all is dying in Iraq for no good reason, that US veterans' benefits have been slashed and that the loyalty of so many has been manipulated so magnificently by so few.

But this gets even funnier if you only tell the folks back home about soldiers who die as a result of enemy action. Anyone dying by accident, unknown cause or as a result of personal despair simply isn't acknowledged. The total US death toll in Iraq is 258; compare this with the sanitised version and laugh yourself sick when you realise the final insult is the denial that so much grief even exists.

Full story...

Labour's attack on Gilligan is just nit-picking

by Rod Liddle

I am not privy to how Andrew Gilligan recuperated yesterday evening after his grilling at the deft hands of Lord Hutton. He does not smoke, drink or take drugs, so those recourses would have been barred to him. Perhaps he opened a couple of cans of Fanta - a favourite tipple - instead. He is in many ways a strange fellow, with his incessant supply of sugary drinks and chocolate bars and crisps.

He would have known that the government - and its supporters on those newspapers whose proprietors have most to gain, financially, from attacking the BBC - would leap gleefully upon his admission that he might have phrased better a minute part of the earliest one of his interviews - heard by almost nobody at seven minutes past six on the morning of May 29. Apparently his editor, Kevin Marsh, thought he might have phrased it better too, according to a memo he sent to one of his multifarious bosses.

As a vindication of the government's position it seems rather a slender affair.

But let's examine the charge against him, anyway. It relates to only one of Gilligan's 18 radio broadcasts on May 29 and did not figure at all in the original complaint made by Alastair Campbell. That, in itself, is an important point. But then, every time one looks up, the goalposts have been moved.

Anyway, at seven minutes past six, on the Today programme, Gilligan reported the comments made to him by Dr David Kelly, all of which have since been corroborated by other security service personnel. And then, after doing so, in response to a question from John Humphrys, Gilligan suggested of his own volition that the government had inserted the infamous 45-minute claim [that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in that time] into the September dossier and - here's the contentious bit - had done so knowing it to be wrong.

We know, for a fact, that the government knew full well that senior security sources had grave misgivings about the 45-minute claim. We know that fact from Monday's proceedings at the Hutton Inquiry and from countless, unattributed, briefings from security personnel to the press, including this paper's Richard Norton-Taylor.

We know too that Kelly - and others - complained that the 45-minute claim had been inserted at the front of the dossier at the government's insistence. So the only point of contention is Gilligan's use of the word "wrong." Perhaps, then, we should concede that a better word, a more felicitous description, would have been merely "dubious". Or how about: "knew it to be unsupported by evidence of any kind and derided by every expert called upon to give advice."

But not necessarily "wrong." Even though, as it turned out, it was entirely "wrong", as Gilligan asserted. And that the government may, in fact, have known that it was wrong. But we cannot prove here and now that the government knew it to be wrong, whatever we might suspect.

As I say, this allegation against Gilligan and the BBC did not even figure in the gist of the original complaint. Then, Campbell's objection was the wholly fatuous point that Gilligan had used only one source, if you remember. I suspect nobody heard the earliest interview. Throughout the rest of the morning, Gilligan didn't repeat the wording he had used at seven minutes past six; not once during 18 broadcast interviews. In other words, the government's case now rests upon proving that Gilligan was at fault for using the word "wrong" rather than "dubious" or "unsupported by any evidence... etc" - and doing so once in 18 broadcasts.

But, of course, that's not the issue at all. The point is that this government will do anything it possibly can to wriggle off the charge that it deliberately misled parliament and the public over the severity of the threat posed by Iraq. It will dissemble, obfuscate and mislead the public. It will vilify and attempt to destroy the reputation or career of anyone who stands in its way, be it the angry members of the security services, Gilligan, Kelly, BBC chairman Gavyn Davies, the BBC governors and - I suspect, by the time this inquiry concludes - its own ministers or press officers or both. It will rewrite history and hope, in the meantime, that nobody notices. It will even attempt, slyly, to threaten the BBC's independence and funding when the corporation will not bow to its wishes and cave in.

Full story...

US Tried To Plant Iraq WMDs - And Failed

Just think how dangerous the bastards would be if they actually got it right all the time instead of being complete fuckups. I was wondering when stories like this would surface, given how much the evildoers need to find WMD I'm not at all suprised that they tried to plant them. You just can't believe anything coming out of official channels anymore, it's all lies!

According to a stunning report posted by a retired Navy Lt Commander and 28-year veteran of the Defense Department (DoD), the Bush administration's assurance about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was based on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan to "plant" WMDs inside the country. Nelda Rogers, the Pentagon whistleblower, claims the plan failed when the secret mission was mistakenly taken out by "friendly fire", the Environmentalists Against War report.

Nelda Rogers is a 28-year veteran debriefer for the DoD. She has become so concerned for her safety that she decided to tell the story about this latest CIA-military fiasco in Iraq. According to Al Martin, "Ms Rogers is number two in the chain of command within this DoD special intelligence office. This is a ten-person debriefing unit within the central debriefing office for the Department of Defense."

The information that is being leaked out is information "obtained while she was in Germany heading up the debriefing of returning service personnel, involved in intelligence work in Iraq for the DoD and/or the CIA. "According to Ms Rogers, there was a covert military operation that took place both preceding and during the hostilities in Iraq," reports Al Martin, an online subscriber-based news/analysis service which provides "Political, Economic and Financial Intelligence".

Al Martin is a retired Lt Commander (US Navy), the author of a memoir called "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider," and is considered one of America's foremost experts on corporate and government fraud. Ms Rogers reports that this particular covert operation team was manned by former military personnel and "the unit was paid through the Department of Agriculture in order to hide it, which is also very commonplace".

According to Al Martin, "the Agriculture Department has often been used as a paymaster on behalf of the CIA, DIA, NSA and others". According to the Al Martin story, another aspect of Ms Rogers' report concerns a covert operation which was to locate the assets of Saddam Hussein and his family, including cash, gold bullion, jewelry and assorted valuable antiquities. The problem became evident when "the operation in Iraq involved 100 people, all of whom apparently are now dead, having succumbed to so-called 'friendly fire'. The scope of this operation included the penetration of the Central Bank of Iraq, other large commercial banks in Baghdad, the Iraqi National Museum and certain presidential palaces where monies and bullion were secreted."
"They identified about $2 billion in cash, another $150 million in Euros, in physical banknotes, and about another $100 million in sundry foreign currencies ranging from Yen to British Pounds," reports Al Martin.

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'Those People Are Not Human Beings'

Does this world get any more sick? Of course it does, especially with people like George Bush in positions of power.

"Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world", Phony Tony
"Politicians are a boil on the arsehole of the world.", ewar

The Real Casualties Of War

The big bad American Navy keeps a safe distance Clutching her daughter's photograph to her breast, Rebecca throws back her head and wails. Fighters burst into her home and raped the 10-year-old girl before the helpless mother, leaving the child lying in a pool of blood and vomit - dead.

Women are raped every time fighting surges in this war-battered country, but aid workers say that this time it's on a scale impossible to calculate, or fathom.

Wild-eyed gunmen on both sides are going door to door, ransacking homes, beating and killing residents, and raping any women - or girls - they find.

"Those people are not human beings," sobs Rebecca, who has found shelter in a friend's yard. July 20, the day Rebecca's daughter turned 10, began with the mother waking the sleeping child with a chorus of "Happy Birthday".

Rebecca gathered her son and a friend's 14-year-old girl with them for Sunday prayers. Without warning, government fighters started pounding at the gate.

Uncle Sam wants YOU to die for big business When Rebecca (42) refused them entry, they forced their way inside and started carting away the family's belongings.

One man - barely in his 20s - smashed Rebecca's head with a hammer and ripped off her clothes. When he realised she was menstruating, he kicked her.

Through it all, the 10-year-old held on tightly crying "Mommy! Mommy!" Rebecca says - clutching the spot on her blouse as if she can still feel the child's tug. Another fighter - going by the name Black Dog - ripped the child from her mother and threw her to the floor.

"When he got through with her, I saw blood, I saw vomit, I saw toilet," she says, moaning rhythmically. "He raped her to death."

As her daughter lay on the floor, another man grabbed the 14-year-old, but she fought and kicked. Frustrated, he forced himself into her mouth.

The fighters took everything from the house, even the family album. Rebecca has only one picture left of her daughter, taken when she was 11 months old - a solemn child with bright bows in her hair, standing unsteadily with the help of a piece of furniture.

Falling to her knees, Rebecca sobs: "Just kill me. I want to die."

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Sharon corruption probe gathers momentum

In my ignorant youth I often wondered why Africa's leaders were so utterly corrupt when it seemed like the leaders in the West were all moral upstanding people. Now in the senility of old age (30) I have come to realise that all along the Western leaders were the really corrupt ones, they were just much better at hiding it! We can't expect Africa to become less corrupt until we put our own house in order. Below is a perfect example of the utter hypocrisy of so-called modern western democracies. Scratch the surface of the prim and proper politicians and you'll find a seething, steaming layer of bribery, greed and, of course, death.

Two corruption investigations against Ariel Sharon have picked up in intensity and public scrutiny in recent weeks after two years of tedious progress, raising for the first time the possibility that the Israeli prime minister could be forced out of office.

Yet most believe the cases against Sharon will eventually fizzle, as have others against Israeli leaders in recent years, after the attorney general declined to press charges.

Polls suggest two-thirds of Israelis believe Sharon is hiding something from the police, but almost as many say he shouldn't step down.

Sharon denies any wrongdoing. The investigations focus on allegations that he obtained an illegal loan during his 1999 primary election campaign - possibly in exchange for financial favors - and that he was bribed by an Israeli businessman to promote a real estate project in Greece while serving as foreign minister in the late 1990s.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported Monday that the businessman, David Appel, will probably be indicted on charges of bribing Sharon. This does not necessarily mean Sharon will be indicted as Israeli law does not require an alleged bribe taker to be charged because a bribe giver is.

The Justice Ministry refused comment on the Haaretz report and on the case in general. Spokesman Jacob Galanti would only say the investigations are continuing.

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Tuesday 12 August 2003

MoD Officials Slam Dossier Spin

Next contestant: Piers Morgan from the Daily Mirror
Special subject: THE BLEEDING OBVIOUS!

Three Ministry of Defence intelligence officials complained about the spin in Tony Blair's Iraq war dossier, a probe heard yesterday.

They were worried about the language and "level of certainty" in the dossier's spy claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

An official document which noted their concerns declared: "The personnel did not share its judgment."

Disturbingly, it was revealed that the 45-minute allegation WAS added later to the dossier, as claimed by critics.

The inquiry also heard that Dr David Kelly, dismissed as a Walter Mitty fantasist by a No10 spokesman, was in fact Whitehall's leading expert on Iraqi weapons programmes and one of the world's most respected microbiologists.

Lord Hutton is heading the inquiry into how Dr Kelly, 59, came to commit suicide after being named as the possible source of a BBC story that No 10 "sexed up" intelligence to strengthen the case for war on Saddam Hussein.

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Monday 11 August 2003

A call to arms, a troubled scientist and the unravelling of a mysterious death

Why would a man due to give his daughter's hand away in marriage commit suicide? Why would a man choose to leave his wife and not his job or the country...? When are we going to get a government that isn't full of lying spinbags? I suggest you prepare yourselves; sunglasses for the blinding white-wash that's coming frm that Hutton investigator-guy, and a nose-clip or gas-mask to prevent the inhalation of the repulsively synthetic smell of roses that will follow Phony Tony off the FREE plane-flight back from Barbados - which will have payed for by me and my fellow tax-slaves.

Almost a year has passed since Tony Blair's Government issued its first fateful dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This was not what became known as the "dodgy dossier". That came later. But, as it happened, the controversy surrounding the first dossier on the threat from Saddam Hussein was far more grave.

Dr David Kelly, a former Porton Down scientist and UN weapons inspector in Iraq, was among those involved in compiling it. He had worked for the Ministry of Defence as an expert on biological warfare for the past four years. The dossier was published on 24 September 2002. It contained the portentous warning that Saddam Hussein had chemical or biological weapons ready to use within 45 minutes of the order being given.

We now know, that David Kelly was expressing reservations about this core claim. We know this - even before the Hutton Inquiry takes its first evidence today - because since Dr Kelly's body was found near his Oxfordshire home on 18 July a stream of intriguing new details have emerged.

In October 2002, Dr Kelly gave a slide show and lecture about his experiences as a weapons inspector in Iraq to a small almost private gathering of the Baha'i faith, which aims to unite the teachings of all the prophets. Dr Kelly had converted to the religion three years earlier, while in New York on attachment to the UN. When he returned to England he became treasurer of the small but influential Baha'i branch in Abingdon near his home.

Roger Kingdon, a member, recalls: "He had no doubt that [the Iraqis] had biological and chemical weapons. It was clear that David Kelly was largely happy with the material in the dossier, but he was not so happy with how the material had been interpreted."

Several months later - the date is unclear - Dr Kelly bumped into Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State and confronted him, a meeting which the politician later claimed to forget. Exactly what was said will probably never be known. But conversations between Dr Kelly and his friend, Tom Mangold, the television journalist, suggest that while he was broadly supportive of the document's content he was sceptical of the "45-minutes" claim.

"We laughed about that," Mr Mangold said later. "He reminded me it would take the most efficient handlers at least 45 minutes just to pour the chemicals or load the biological agents into the warheads." A precise man, Dr Kelly was irritated by inaccuracy; he believed the dossier exaggerated intelligence for effect.

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Victoria Falls Belongs To Zambia

Just setting the record straight...

The Niagara Falls is a major tourist attraction in North America, but when I visited it years ago, my first thought was: 'You call this a waterfall? I’ve seen something far more impressive in Zambia: the rain falling off my roof.'

The Niagara didn’t impress me at all, largely because I was comparing it to the majestic, breathtaking Victoria Falls. And there’s just no comparison. While Victoria Falls is called ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (the smoke that thunders), the Niagara should be called ‘Mosi-oa-Tiny’ (the smoke that whispers).

I used to be so proud that Zambia was home to the most beautiful waterfall in the world. But that was many years ago, before I discovered that Victoria Falls had been stolen right before our eyes. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, Victoria Falls isn’t in Zambia anymore. It’s in Zimbabwe! And you thought Robert Mugabe just seizes farms!

How did I discover this grand theft? Well, it didn’t take any real detective work. I just kept my eyes open and, much to my surprise, continually spotted references to 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls' and 'Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.' I wanted to scream: 'Victoria Falls is in Zambia! The Zimbabweans can see it, but it still belongs to Zambia!'(Just because you can stand on Independence Avenue and view State House doesn’t mean you own it.)
I did an Internet search on Google and found at least 162 references to 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls,' but only 13 to 'Zambia’s Victoria Falls.' There are also 1,840 references to 'Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe' and only 299 to 'Victoria Falls in Zambia.' This is absolutely shocking. When did Zimbabwe steal the falls? And what were members of the Zambia National Tourist Board (ZNTB) doing at the time - bungee jumping?

Believe it or not, there are even three Internet references to 'South Africa’s Victoria Falls.' South Africa? This thievery is getting out of hand. If the ZNTB doesn’t do something about this, we might soon start seeing references to 'Kenya’s Victoria Falls' and 'Egypt’s Victoria Falls.'

The Kenyans are experts at promoting tourism. Their brochures would probably say something like this: 'Come to Kenya and visit the magnificent Victoria Falls. It’s only a short plane ride from Nairobi.'
President Mwanawasa needs to order an investigation, perhaps even file a complaint with the UN. We just can’t allow other countries to steal our tourist attractions. First it’s 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls' and next thing you know, it’ll be 'Zimbabwe’s Kuomboka Ceremony.'

If the UN doesn’t act, we can take Zimbabwe to court. We can try to force them to replace the words 'Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls' in their tourism brochures with a more accurate description: 'Zimbabwe’s view of Zambia’s Victoria Falls.'

In return, we can show our neighborly spirit by mentioning Zimbabwe in all our brochures: 'Come to Zambia for a totally magnificent view of Victoria Falls or go to Zimbabwe and totally miss out.'

What if the Zimbabweans don’t agree? Well, we’ll be left with no choice but to show them who really controls the Victoria Falls.

Yes, we’ll drain the Zambezi.

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Jakarta CCTV Proves Bush & Howard Lying About "Muslim Terrorists"

by Joe Vialls

The attempted western deception surrounding the bomb blast at the Jakarta Marriott has been destroyed by a handful of frames from a closed circuit television camera located inside the hotel lobby. Though the Australian Prime Minister and media have been leading a desperate charge to convince the west that a "Toyota Van” allegedly driven by a "Jemaah Islamiah Terrorist” exploded outside the hotel entrance, the CCTV photo shown above proves this to be a deliberate lie.

It has been said that a picture speaks a thousand words, which is certainly true in this case. The white cloud you can see is superfine concrete dust from the reinforced lobby floor, blasted upwards when the bomb exploded in the hotel basement below. How can we be sure of this? If the bomb had been a puny "Potassium Chlorate – Paraffin – TNT” bomb as repeatedly claimed by Australian and American officials, this cloud would instead be oily-black and travelling horizontally from left to right, instantly incinerating the man seen crouching in the picture. In fact this lucky man lived, because he was outside the zone of the vertical [expanding] blast vector.

For those who may still be skeptical, remember that although puny by comparison with fast 28,000 feet per second RDX high explosive, the shock wave from potassium chlorate-paraffin low explosive still travels at about 3,500 feet per second, or about three times the speed of sound. What this means is that if a "Toyota Van” had really exploded outside the hotel [about 100 feet away from the crouching man], the incoming horizontal shock wave would have reached him in 28.5 milliseconds, or 0.0285 of a single second.

As any psychologist will tell you, all humans require nearly a second to comprehend a noise or command, and another second to physically react to it, which means that the man in our picture could not have started to crouch in reaction to the bomb blast for a minimum of 2,000 milliseconds – which is seventy times as long as it would have taken for a genuine "horizontal” shock wave to reach him and kill him outright. It is therefore proved with 100% certainty that the awesome weapon was placed and detonated in the basement; not outside on the hotel driveway "in a Toyota Van”.

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First Kelly Inquiry Witness to Attack No 10

When you were a kid and neglected to show the proper respect chances are you'd get a clip round the ear from your old man. We have here a government that has no respect for the loss and grief of a family robbed of one of its members. Blair has shown himself beneath contempt, I don't just mistrust him now, I loathe the man. You simply cannot treat people with this little respect, while Phony Tony is sunning himself on his free holiday do you think he's sparing any thoughts for the widow of David Kelly who, at this moment, is enduring the most hellish experience known to humanity - the loss of a beloved partner. Believe me I know, I've been down that road - I'm still down that fucking road and every damned day brings moments where you wish that you were the one who were dead. For the government to whom I pay taxes, and supposedly represents me, to turn round and try and smear a brave and honest public servant is lower than even the Pits of Shyte where Spinmeister Campbell regularly fills the airwaves with his putrid bile.

The first witness at today's David Kelly inquiry will say the weapons expert was tough and cool under pressure - smashing Downing Street's "Walter Mitty" smear.

Testimony to Dr Kelly's character will come from former army colonel Terry Taylor, a director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Both worked in Iraq, where Dr Kelly was a United Nations inspector and a key to uncovering biological weapons.

A further attempt to besmirch Dr Kelly was revealed yesterday. Top MoD civil servant Sir Kevin Tebbit allegedly told a BBC reporter that Dr Kelly - found with a slashed wrist last month - was "weird" and "eccentric".

Mr Taylor, speaking in advance of Lord Hutton's London hearings, said the apparent suicide was "way out of character for a man I had seen cope with extreme pressures so well".

He added: "During my 15 years of friendship, and 10 years in the most difficult and trying circumstances together battling the Iraqis, I have always admired him for his coolness and his measured approach.

"He certainly didn't flap under pressure, he was a model of how to conduct yourself in tense situations."

Mr Taylor will claim that he and Dr Kelly - outed as a BBC source for its "sexing up" claims over an Iraq dossier - had "tacit permission" from the Government to brief the media.

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