Sunday, July 30, 2006

UK government to be challanged in court over legality of Iraq invasion

From The Herald (27.07.06)

THE families of four young soldiers killed in Iraq were yesterday granted permission to challenge the government's refusal to hold a public inquiry into why the UK took part in the war. But senior appeal court judges who overturned a previous ruling blocking the right to a judicial review over the legality of the conflict also warned it was unlikely that the move "has a real prospect of success".

The judges added that there were "formidable hurdles in the way of the applicants", who include Rose Gentle, the Glasgow housewife-turned-campaigner who lost her 19-year-old son Gordon in a roadside bomb attack in Basra in 2004. Lawyers for the government claim it would be "an unwarranted shift of power" for the courts to make pronouncements on the right of an elected government to go to war. Despite this, Sir Anthony Clarke, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Judge and Lord Justice Dyson, ruled that it was "at least arguable that the question of whether the invasion was lawful - or reasonably thought to be lawful - as a matter of international law is worthy of investigation."

The three judges said permission to appeal had been given because the case, brought jointly by Mrs Gentle, Beverley Clarke, Susan Smith and Peter Brierly, raised "issues of some general importance", but warned it was unlikely to trigger a public inquiry. Phil Shiner, the lawyer acting for the four families, hailed the decision as "a stunning victory" and said the government would have to produce evidence in its defence before a full hearing in the Court of Appeal on November 6.

For the full article go here

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lebanon Ceasefire Now Protest to take place in London on Friday

The London CEASEFIRE NOW protest against the war in Lebanon will be in Whitehall on Friday 28 July, 5pm to 7pm, when a letter to Tony Blair insisting that he demand an immediate ceasefire will be handed into 10 Downing Street.

Add your name to the Tony Blair letter here on the Stop the War website at


London Protest Friday 28 July 5pm to 7pm
Downing Street, Whitehall, SW1

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Murder in Samarkand: Media coverage of the FCO legal case (updated)

Media coverage of the Murder in Samakand document case is being logged here:

Whitehall dug for dirt on rebel envoy
The Sunday Times (16.07.06)

Furore over book on Western complicity in torture
Legal Brief (14.07.06)

Craig Murray: legal threat to war documents
Socialist Worker Online (12.07.06)

Foreign Office legal threat to Scot over abuse claims
The Scotsman (12.07.06)

Samarkand Shock
Ohmynews (12.07.06)

Former ambassador posts censored passages from memoir on website
The Guardian (11.07.06)

FCO takes on Murray and the blogs over Murder in Samarkand
The Register (10.07.06)

Ex-ambassador threatened with court
The Times (09.07.06)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Craig Murray forced to withdraw documents under pressure from UK government

So, after legal advice Craig has decided to take down, at least for while, some of the documents that the UK government is trying to supress. Maybe the government is a little late though, as the still growing list of sites mirroring the documents demonstrates. Current legal advice is that the copyright move only applies to Craig's site. Certainly, we currently have no intention of removing the documents from this site.

Interesting times. With the police investigation into the cash-for-parliamentary-seats scam slowly closing in on Tony Blair himself, it is hard to remember a time in Britain when the whole political/parliamentary process was held in such disrepute. The labour party should be in for a good conference in Manchester in September!

Friday, July 07, 2006

FCO moves to obtain court injunction against online Murder in Samarkand documents!

Latest site list update: 17.08.06

How effective the court injunction may be against the Murder in Samarkand documents will of course depend largely on how widely posted and mirrored the documents are. It is clearly just a matter of fact that the more sites that choose to host the documents, the less likely it is that the government will be sucessful in supressing them...

They first appeared on 2 sites in the UK and one in the US: Craig Murray, at Blairwatch and on Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches. Although they have now been removed from the Craig Murray weblog they are still available from the other two.

Heck! A couple of the best have turned up here as well:

The Iraq Memo
The Torture Telegram

Other sites that have them available include:

Many Angry Gerbils
Politics in the Zeros
Duncan Mcfarlane
James Cranch
Pickled Politics
An Oxford Mirror
Ministry of Truth
Septic Isle
Voltaire Net
Free in Holland

and a fair few others too...

Now entering the mysterious world of hostless hosting and p2p. has a .torrent file that they made for p2p sharing of the documents and is, apparently, gaining traction on the web:

It seems that providing a link to this .torrent file does not violate any copyright laws since the documents downloaded from the files that the .torrent file point to don't reside on any given web server...

Another alternative is provided via anonymous hosting at

Sites in Canada, France and elsewhere are also blogging on the documents issue. And finally, apologies to anyone missed out on this rather cursory summary. See comments for further details of the mentioned sites.

A public enquiry for 7/7: One year on the need is still as great

To: The British Government

We, the British Public, call for a fully comprehensive Public Inquiry into the July 7th 2005 London Bombings.

Only this can provide us with the information we need as to what actually happened, how it happened and why it happened so that we will be better prepared to prevent such a tragedy happening again.

We, the Public were attacked. We, the Public have questions. We, the Public want our questions answered, independently, transparently and honestly.


To sign the petition go here

To read more from one of the survivors go here

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Murder in Samarkand Published today!

Murder in Samarkand, the controversial and long-awaited book by ex-ambassador Craig Murray, has finally been released after ten months in legal limbo. Amazon are posting it out today. Bookshops are apparently still a bit wary of taking it into stock as they wait to see if the FCO carries out its threat to take legal action.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

One year on from 7/7 what has changed?

Two extracts from BBC Online pasted below capture the long-term failure of the UK counter-terrorism strategy. Short-term efforts at containment have been relatively sucessful but the underlying pressure continues to build. The disappointment over of the special taskforce set up by the government after the bombings and their failure with efforts to engage with the Muslim community has left an air of despondency amongst those trying to work the hearts and minds approach. Tony Blair's persistent denial of the importance of foreign policy decisions in domestic national security continues to infuriate and depress. While parliamentay impotence or indifference to efforts to hold him to account completes the downward spiral.

So what has changed since 7/7/05? Sadly, very little for the good, much to be concerned about. Still, there is always something positive to be found. The number of cyclists on the streets of London continues to grow and I for one will be sure to be on my bike this Friday...

"Officers at a Scotland Yard briefing said they continued to be very concerned by the intelligence picture, with 70 investigations continuing and some of the information received described as "very sinister". The head of the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist branch, Peter Clarke, said 60 people were awaiting trial in the UK for terrorist-related offences. But he warned: "This is unprecedented, and the flow of new cases shows no sign of abating - if anything it is accelerating."

The statistics are depressing. Since 22 July 2005, there have been three thwarted attacks on the British mainland, while the police and Security Service (MI5) say they are working flat-out monitoring those they believe are liable to carry out violent acts out of revenge for perceived injustices. A year ago, those individuals numbered about 800, today they believe the figure is at least 1,200.

The problem, they admit, is that the factors that helped radicalise Mohammed Siddique Khan and his co-conspirators are still around today.

They include the conflict in Iraq sparked by the US-led invasion, the denial of a viable Palestinian state, the conflict in Chechnya and, closer to home, a deep sense of alienation and victimisation by some sections of Britain's Muslim communities. These feelings have only been exacerbated by the bungled police raid this summer at Forest Gate in East London, in which a young man was shot in error and a suspected bomb factory turned out to be an ordinary, law-abiding household."

Former US private charged with rape and killing victim's family in Iraq

The Guardian reports on another prosecution of US soldierd that follows a brtual attack on civillians in Iraq

"The Pentagon said yesterday it had charged a former US soldier with raping and killing a young woman in Iraq and killing three members of her family in what may prove one of the most incendiary war crimes investigations since the invasion in 2003. Steven Green, 21, and a former private with the US army's 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was charged under military law with four counts of murder and one of rape."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Foreign invaders will never control the fierce Pashtun tribesmen of Afghanistan

Are the British really only fighting a war against Taliban 'terrorists' in Afghanistan, or is the truth more complicated and the situation even more intractable and unwinable than we are led to belive?

By Eric Margolis in Common Dreams

The war in Afghanistan that was supposedly won has resumed -- with a vengeance. Fighting is reportedly intensifying and spreading across southern Afghanistan as resistance to foreign occupation grows.
In 2001, unable to withstand high-tech U.S. forces, the Taliban leader Mullah Omar ordered his men to disband and blend into the civilian population. At the time, this column warned war would resume in about four years, just as it did after the 1979 Soviet invasion.

Now, Taliban forces have taken the offensive against U.S. and NATO troops, often employing deadly new tactics like roadside and suicide bombs, learned from Iraq's resistance. Significantly, the Taliban have been joined by many other political and tribal groups. Prominent among them: Hisbi Islami, led by former CIA protege Gulbadin Hekmatyar -- the most effective guerilla leader in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad -- and renowned mujahadin leader, Jallaludin Haqqi. Small numbers of foreign jihadis have also come to fight.
Most important, growing numbers of "khels," or clans of the Pashtun (Pathan) tribe -- the world's largest tribal group, numbering 40 million -- have joined the resistance. Pashtuns comprise half of Afghanistan's population of 30 million; 28 million more live across the border in Pakistan. The U.S./NATO campaign is increasingly directed against warlike Pashtun tribes like the Afridi and Orokzai, and their civilians, rather than against so-called "Taliban terrorists."

Only fools pick fights with Pashtuns.

Until recently, millions of dollars in monthly cash bribes from the CIA to Afghan warlords kept key areas under the nominal authority of the U.S.-installed Hamid Karzai regime. But that authority barely extends beyond the capital, Kabul.

Bodyguards 24/7
Karzai's popularity among Afghans is best judged by the fact that he is surrounded 24/7 by 100-200 U.S. bodyguards kept just out of range of western TV cameras. The Soviets built schools, clinics, and roads in Afghanistan, held "democratic" elections and branded the resistance "Islamic terrorists." The U.S./NATO occupation follows an identical pattern, complete with candy for kids, platitudes about women's rights and nation-building, and rigged elections. But the westerners won't be any more successful in winning hearts and minds of Afghans than the Russians -- particularly once Washington begins to cut back on the mission.

The biggest difference between the Soviet and U.S. occupation is that since 1989, Afghanistan has become a total narco-state. Close to 80% of national income comes from export of opium and morphine/heroin. Washington's allies (the Karzai regime and Afghan communists) are believed to be up to their turbans in the drug trade. Sending troops to Afghanistan was marketed to Americans -- and Canadians -- as a crusade against terrorism, with nation-building as a sub-theme. Blaming "terrorists" for the current upsurge in fighting obscures the natural and inevitable growth of resistance to foreign occupation.

Unbelievable claims
Claims by Washington and its allies that political progress is being made in Afghanistan are unbelievable. Many Afghans working for the foreign occupation are secretly in touch with the resistance. Of course. Afghans know one day the Americans, Canadians, and other foreigners will go home, just as did the Russians, British and Alexander's Greeks.

What Canada hopes to gain by waging a 19th-century style colonial campaign of "pacification" straight out of the pages of Rudyard Kipling, against wild Pashtun tribesmen in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, remains to be satisfactorily explained.