Sunday, November 27, 2005

True Love and the World of Leo Blair

Not for the easily perturbed!

Click here to play the Quicktime movie
Alternatively, there is always this

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bloggers back Boris

Click to visit Blairwatch and join the pledge

In the wake of Boris Johnson, Blairwatch and many other bloggers have have put themselves down as being prepared to publish the Bush-Blair Al Jazeera memo should it become available.

It's a brave call that deserves support.

The official secrets act has a legitimate pupose - protecting politicians by silencing evidence of a possible criminal conspiracy is not one of them.

Interestingly, the Attorny General, Lord Goldsmith let it slip this morning that in his view the Act is not just for protecting national security. The second half of this radio interview makes it plain. Well at least he is being half straight about what his game plan is. He tried to protest that his use of the Act was to protect a current prosecution. Not at all convincing as a normal court injunction would be quite sufficient for that purpose.

That memo needs to come out!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Al Jazeera Staffers Blog 'Dontbomb'

Al Jazeera staffers have set up their own blog following partial disclosure of discussions between Bush and Blair on bombing their headquaters.
It's at

You can read it here

Cross-party motion tabled today for full enquiry into Iraq war

A cross-party motion has now been tabled in Parliament to set up a Select Committee to investigate the conduct of the Government's policy in going to war in Iraq.

The names appearing on the Early Day Motion include Alan Simpson (Labour), Kenneth Clarke and Douglas Hogg (Conservatives), Menzies Campbell (Liberal Democrats), Alex Salmond (SNP) and Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru).

Speaking at Westminster Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, who drafted the motion, said:

"Too many questions remain unanswered about the way we were taken to war in Iraq, and we demand to have them answered. Neither the Hutton nor the Butler Inquiries addressed the central question - were the Parliament and country misled? Therefore it is essential that a committee is set up to investigate the matter thoroughly. If we do not restore proper accountability to the Government, it will corrupt our whole society by providing evidence that allows our enemies to call our democracy a sham."

The Early Day Motion reads:

"Conduct of Government Policy in relation to the war against Iraq

That this House believes that there should be a select committee of 7 Members, being members of her Majesty's Privy Council, to review the way in which the responsibilities of Government were discharged in relation to Iraq and all matters relevant thereto, in the period leading up to military action in that country in March 2003 and in its aftermath."

See previous posting for background and further details

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bush and Blair discussed bombing Al Jazeera: Official secrets act used to block disclosure of the full facts

"If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration" Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell.

"The evidence is stacking up to suggest that the US decided to take out al-Jazeera in Baghdad, as a warning not only to them but to other media about their coverage. If true, it is an absolute scandal that the US administration can regard the staff of al-Jazeera as a bunch of terrorists and a legitimate target." International Federation of Journalists

Al Jazeera, the media organisation which has been the target of at least two US military attacks, comments on the gagging of the Daily Mirror story.

"Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper has been ordered to cease publishing further details from an allegedly top secret memo revealing that US President George Bush wanted to bomb Aljazeera.

The gag order from Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith came nearly 24 hours after the paper published details of what it said was a transcript of talks between Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In those talks, which took place during the prime minister's April 2004 visit to Washington, Blair is said to have talked Bush out of launching "military action" on the television channel's headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

"No 10 did nothing to stop us publishing our front page exclusive yesterday (Tuesday)," the Daily Mirror said on Wednesday, referring to the British prime minister's office.

But the attorney-general warned that publication of any further details from the document would be a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

He threatened an immediate High Court injunction unless the newspaper confirmed it would not publish further details."

For the full article go here

The Guardian also discuss the implications of the leaked information and evidence that previous attacks were deliberate.

Monday, November 21, 2005

3 from 4: The real war on terror

Channel 4 Dispatches runs three documentaries this week on Iraq and the US/UK so called "war on terror". Should make for interesting yet depressing viewing:

Iraq: The Reckoning
Monday 11pm
Peter Oborne, political editor of the Spectator, reports on the West's exit strategy for Iraq. He believes the invasion of Iraq is proving to be the greatest foreign policy failure since Munich. Oborne argues that the plan to transform Iraq into a unified liberal democracy, a beacon of hope in the Middle East, is pure fantasy.

Kidnap and Torture American Style
Tuesday 22 November, 11.10pm
As Tony Blair unveils his tough new line on deporting foreign terror subjects following the July bombings, journalist Andrew Gilligan investigates whether these new rules will mean suspects, who have never been found guilty by a jury, will be delivered into the hands of torturers. Gilligan examines the evidence that Britain's support for America's War on Terror has extended to alleged complicity in the practice of extraordinary rendition: the abduction of terror suspects and their removal to regimes with poor human rights records. More

America's Secret Shame
Wednesday 23 November, 11.10pm
President Bush's decision to declare war on Iraq has now cost the lives of more than 2,000 American troops and injured another 30,000. With such substantial loss of life and appalling numbers of injured, reporter Deborah Davies investigates how the Bush administration has attempted to suppress the scale of the casualties and so minimise this public relations disaster.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chemical weapon use by US forces in Iraq confirmed

White phosphorus is sprayed into Fallujah, November 2004

"I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete ... Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children." Jeff Englehart, a US marine who fought in Fallujah

The Pentagon has admitted US forces used white phosphorus during the assault last year on Fallujah. A Pentagon spokesman's comments last night appeared to contradict the US ambassador to London who said that American forces did not use white phosphorus as a weapon. The ambassador also, rather pathetically, tried to claim that napalm, aka Mk-77, was not used in the original invasion.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venable said that white phosphorus - which is normally used to lay smokescreens - was not covered by international conventions on chemical weapons.

But Professor Paul Rodgers of the University of Bradford department of peace studies said it would probably would fall into the category of chemical weapons if it was used directly against people.

In a BBC radio interview they first talk with RAI, the Italian news organisation that was larely responsible for bringing the story to a wider audience with their film Falluja: The Hidden Massacre. While the interviewer is slightly confused by the issue of targetting civilians - any deliberate targetting of civillians using any weapon is of course illegal - the interviews also bring out interesting perspectives from Ming Campbell and others.

However, this TV interview from Democracy Now and an excerpt from the RAI documentary brings out the human impact of the story in a much more powerful way. The full film can also be viewed from the Truth Out site here with Real Player or here using Windows Media Player.

Finally, the original US army article that confirms the use of white phosphorus and the attempts of the US government to mislead world opinion can be seen here.

Update: The Times Online has published an article confirming that the use of white phosphorus in this fashion is contrary to the Chemical Weapons Convention

"Flayed alive" - human rights in Iraq today

Listen to the latest information on the starvation and torture of prisoners in Iraq.

At times like this Blair will usually trot out Anne Clwyd to try and obscure the British governments direct or indirect responsibility by a historical recantation of the previous regime's crimes. I guess we have reached the point where this just doesn't work anymore.

As the current colonial powers, the US and UK are responsible. They are failing in a quite appalling fashion.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Today in Iraq

So, Jack Straw's concerns that Iraq would "revert to type" post invasion may appear to be coming true as around 170 starving and tortured prisoners are found by US troops in a Ministry of Interior interrogation centre. American troops intervening to protect human rights? - now that's a turn up for the books given recent history!

The latest horrific revelation from the war ravaged and socially shredded country emphasises, however, that things are now acutally worse now than pre-invasion, at least that's what you would hear if you asked the Iraqi people rather than their politicians.

The Americans, and to a lesser extent the British, just don't understand their enemy and will of course evntually loose the war, partly for that reason.

"Zhou Dynasty strategist Sun Tzu's sagest advice, "know your enemy," has never been easy to follow. But some Iraq experts caution that, in this conflict,soldiers and civilians alike may have forgotten it altogether. What substitutes,even among top political and military leaders, is often well-intentioned rumor and speculation - and, sometimes, poorly developed racial and religious composites. "

Meanwhile, US lawmakers at last slowly start to work together to bring the US presence to an end in some sort of a predictable timescale (i.e. withdraw to a few highly protected bases and exert power indireclty through proxies) while elements of the Iraqi resistance indicate their willingness to re-engage in direct negociations with the US. Will the US be smart enough to take the opportunity this time?

One Million Pounds for the Truth

Click here for further details of the 1 million pound reward for the exposure and removal of Tony Blair

Monday, November 14, 2005

British troops to stay in Iraq indefinitely, until the "job is done"

John Reid, the UK Defense Secretary was grilled on BBC Radio this morning over reports that British troops will be pulling out of Iraq by the end of next year. While the reply was predictably unclear and rhetorical, he was forced onto the defensive by the results of a previous poll showing that an overwhelming majority of Iraqis want foreign troops to leave now. Results from this poll are similar to previous findings, however, rather embarrassingly, this one was actually conducted on behalf of the British Ministry of Defense. Details of the poll can be found here. Key findings are quoted below:

* Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

* 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

* less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;

* 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

* 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

* 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Enquiry blames UK foreign policy for London attacks

"British foreign policy - especially in the Middle East - cannot be left unconsidered as a factor in the motivations of criminal radical extremists. We believe it is a key contributory factor."

From the Telegraph

Government foreign policy is a "key contributory factor" in driving British Muslims to extremism, official Home Office advisers have concluded.

A group of Islamic experts appointed by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, after the July 7 attacks said the Government should learn from the impact of policies abroad.

"British foreign policy - especially in the Middle East - cannot be left unconsidered as a factor in the motivations of criminal radical extremists," their report said."

The advisors also condemned a wide range of the Government's anti-terror proposals, saying the measures risked alienating law-abiding Muslims and driving fanatics underground. Ifath Nawaz, deputy convenor of one of the working groups, said there was huge concern about the anti-terrorism legislation: "It is excessive and it is going to drive people underground."

The Labour Party grows up?

So at last the labour party showed a small ammount of backbone and blocked Blair's 90 day imprisonment escapade. Even scheduling the vote for euro date 9/11 didn't help the Prime Minister. The only way he was going to win was for there to be an attack on the UK on the day, but the terrorists just wouldn't play ball this time.

No doubt Blair will now hang on in power just long enough to cripple his sucessors chances. But still their is the possibility of a new war - that might just swing things back Tony's way for a few years - but he better get on with it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

90 days imprisonment without charge: Straw and Brown recalled from foreign trips to back up Blair

A critical vote is looming today in the UK parliament on the Terrorism Bill. In a sign of how tight things are both Jack Straw and Gordon Brown have been recalled, from Russia and Israel respectively, to support Blair in the house of commons this evening. While there may be ample speculation on the real motives of Brown saving Blair's bacon yet again, the real issue is of course the prospect of this extremely ill conceived and damaging piece of legislation becoming law and the long term damage it is likely to do for national security as well as civil rights.

Hazel Blears, in defense of the proposed Terrorism Bill managed to spin on habeas corpus this morning. So what is it and why was she being forced into dishonesty?

In English Common Law habeas corpus is the name of several writs which may be issued by a judge ordering a prisoner to be brought before the court. More commonly, the name refers to a specific writ known in full as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, a prerogative writ ordering that a prisoner be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not he is being imprisoned lawfully.

Without a charge being required how can any court efectively determine the legality of imprisonment? Without charge there can be no determination of guilt or innocence. Habeas corpus is effectively removed, the state executive rules via the security apparatus.

Will be an interesting vote!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Impeachment of Tony Blair Over Iraq Broadens into a Cross-party Initiative

As reported in the Times online, the initiative started by the Impeach Blair project has now broadened into a broad based, cross-party initiative. Detailed discussions continued over the summer between MP’s of all parties committed to holding the Prime Minister to account over his conduct of policy on Iraq. As a result, a coalition will table a motion to set up a Commons committee to examine “the conduct of ministers” both before and after the war.

With Blair's popularity and leadership under increasing strain the prospects for a genuine reckoning are looking better than for a long time. So what can we do to help? If you are in the UK Fax your MP to ask them to support the call for an enquiry. Wherever you are spread the word and contact the press to let them know what is happening. This is doable!

Click here to send a quick, easy and free fax to your MP
"TONY BLAIR is set to face an unprecedented parliamentary inquiry into his conduct in the run-up to the Iraq war. A coalition of Tory and Labour MPs is to table a motion to set up a Commons committee to examine “the conduct of ministers” both before and after the war. They believe they need the support of about 30 Labour rebels to succeed.

The committee, comprising seven privy counsellors, would have the power to see all sensitive documents and call any British witnesses, including intelligence chiefs.

The failure to plan for the aftermath is likely to be at the heart of the committee’s inquiries now that Iraq is in the grip of a violent insurgency, says the Tory MP Douglas Hogg, one of the inquiry’s architects and who is canvassing support for the move. The coalition already has backing from the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, said his party had not supported earlier attempts to impeach the prime minister but was in no doubt that parliament should hold its own inquiry.

“Information that has emerged, in particular the memos leaked to The Sunday Times, strengthen overwhelmingly the case for an inquiry into the judgments of ministers, and in particular the prime minister, in the run-up to war and thereafter,” he said.

The prime minister is the main target of the inquiry but in addition it will examine the conduct of Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, Geoff Hoon, then the defence secretary, and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general.

The inquiry is also expected to look at the secret air war against Iraq that began in May 2002, just weeks after Blair had agreed that Britain would take military action with America to achieve regime change."

And lastly, don't forget the Pledgebank reward that is available for whoever lays the killer punch and forces him from office!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Future Perfect

By Chris Floyd, wildly speculating in The Moscow Times :-)

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2007 -- Calvin J. Hooper was sworn in today as the 49th President of the United States in a quiet ceremony that many hope will put an end to a tumultuous period that has seen the inauguration and resignation of five chief executives in the 12 months since former president George W. Bush fled the country for exile in Saudi Arabia...

...The new president received immediate pledges of bipartisan support from Democratic leaders. "We think the American people want unity and closure in these difficult times," said Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. "They don't want us to take partisan political advantage of the Republicans' little spot of bother." The quiet, consensus politics of the opposition party is a carry-over from the 2006 midterm elections, when, to the astonishment of most experts, the Democrats failed to retake Congress, despite the fact that 85 percent of the Republican incumbents were either in jail, under indictment or had joined Bush's so-called "holy remnant" of exiles in Medina. Some attributed the Democrats' lackluster showing to the official campaign slogans the national party adopted in 2006: "The War: We Can Do It Better" and "Corporations: What's Not to Like?"

Leading Democrats also lauded Hooper's intention to "stay the course" in the war. Democratic Senator Joe Biden of Delaware urged Hooper to send "at least 100,000 more troops" to the MEWZ (the Greater Middle East War Zone), which now encompasses Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the West Bank. Biden said the extra soldiers could be gathered from the vast, roaming mobs of homeless people dispossessed by the draconian 2005 bankruptcy bill championed by Biden on behalf of the credit card companies headquartered in his state. These "Joeboes," as they are now called, could fill up to 10 new divisions for front-line duty, Biden said.

Meanwhile, the ex-leader whose panicky flight set off the spiraling chaos that has engulfed the American political system was sanguine about the latest imbroglio. "These pretenders come and go, but one day soon I will return to reclaim my birthright," Bush said in a telephone interview from his cubicle at the headquarters of the BinLadin Group, where he now works as a junior market analyst. The wealthy Saudi family, which helped launch Bush in business in the 1970s, took him in after his indictment for war crimes last year. On his days off, Bush holds court with his "remnant" at the Medina Starbucks, where he signs "executive orders" prepared by Karl Rove, plots geopolitical strategy with Condi Rice and occasionally launches food fights against nearby tables of "suspected terrorists."

"Tell Hooper to leave my stuff alone," Bush said before hanging up. "I got some pretzels in my desk that better be there when I get back."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Family split by Blair's presence at memorial service for London bomb victims

Many hundreds remain badly injured following the attacks - Photo from Bloggerheads The Queen is due to lead a national memorial service in London today dedicated to the victims of the 7 July bombings. Relatives who lost loved ones, survivors and members of the emergency services will join a 2,300 congregation at St Paul's Cathedral.

The attacks by four suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured hundreds.

More than half of the congregation will have lost a family member or friend or been injured in the attacks. Four candles will be lit to represent King's Cross, Aldgate, Edgware Road and Tavistock Square - the scenes of the four bombs which exploded during the morning rush hour.

It is not, however, the an event of healing unity for all.

The family of a man killed in the July 7 bombings has been divided over a national memorial service for victims.

While Ruby Gray, seven, will present flowers to the Queen, her 11-year-old brother Adam is refusing to go because he blames Tony Blair for making London a terror target. Adam has told his mother he wants no part in the service, to be attended by the prime minister at St Paul’s Cathedral today, and will stay at home in Ipswich.

Their mother Louise said: “He is very angry. He fully understands what happened. He is very angry with the bombers but he also blames the war and he blames the government. He doesn’t want to be part of anything that has Tony Blair there."