They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sadr's Disciples Rise Again to Play Pivotal Role in Iraq

"Sayyid Moqtada is paving the road ahead for the people," Abdel-Hussein said. "He's surrounded by enemies. You can see. He's the only one who speaks about what's right. He stands alone. His line is sharp, and he never compromises his position."

iraqwar: In the tumult that followed the U.S. invasion in 2003, he hit the streets with a clique of fellow Shiite Muslim clerics to organize what became Iraq's first postwar popular movement. Their symbol was Moqtada Sadr, a young, radical clergyman and son of a revered ayatollah. The next year, Araji emerged as the group's public face, as it twice fought U.S. troops. He and others were arrested, and for nine months, he languished in U.S. custody in Abu Ghraib prison, then at Camp Bucca.

Now, as the country enters a time as politically uncertain as any since the fall of former president Saddam Hussein, Araji is a free man. So are a handful of Sadr's other closest, most dynamic aides, men in their thirties who have helped shape the organization's combustible mix of Iraqi and Arab nationalism, millenarian religious ideology, grass-roots protest and gun culture. With customary bravado, Araji and the others today are sending a message: They are ready to make up for lost time.

"It's a new dawn," said the turbaned cleric, with a hint of a smile. He leaned against a wall plastered with Iraqi flags and portraits of the Sadrs and those killed in last year's battles. "People have been released, and they're working harder than before."

Long the bane of the U.S. project in Iraq, Sadr's movement returned to center stage last week, with what his aides describe as a new confidence following the release of Araji and other leaders, along with the experience of their sometimes quiet activism. In dramatic fashion over three days, the movement embodied virtually every aspect of power in today's Iraq: support in the street, an easily mobilized militia and loyalists within the government that it often denounces.

After a clash Wednesday night in Najaf that they blamed on a rival Shiite militia, Sadr's armed followers poured into Baghdad and at least six other cities. Twenty-one members of parliament and three cabinet ministers loyal to him suspended their work in protest. Two days later, they organized some of the biggest demonstrations in recent years; ostensibly protests over government services, they were effectively shows of strength.

The newly freed aides say even they are surprised at the growing level of organization they have found within the group: clearer lines of communication, a more structured hierarchy and a sprawling social services network. In the Baghdad slum named after Sadr's father, the ramshackle headquarters that were wrecked repeatedly by U.S. troops last year only to be rebuilt sit next to the movement's newly completed, two-story stucco building with floodlights, air conditioners and seven agitprop-style megaphones clustered on the roof. A few miles away is a new office, trimmed in red and black, for the movement's social work, run by Araji. Across the street is an information center.

In a country whose sectarian and ethnic divides have relentlessly deepened, Sadr stands as a rare figure with support among both Sunnis and Shiites. At a protest Monday against Iraq's new constitution in Tikrit, near Hussein's home town, Sunnis held aloft pictures of the cleric. "Yes, yes to Sadr!" some of the 1,500 protesters shouted. Read more

Tony Benn: Bush is The Real Threat

iraqwar/guardian: Now that the US president has announced that he has not ruled out an attack on Iran, if it does not abandon its nuclear programme, the Middle East faces a crisis that could dwarf even the dangers arising from the war in Iraq.
Even a conventional weapon fired at a nuclear research centre - whether or not a bomb was being made there - would almost certainly release radioactivity into the atmosphere, with consequences seen worldwide as a mini-Hiroshima.

We would be told that it had been done to uphold the principles of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) - an argument that does not stand up to a moment's examination.
The moral and legal basis of the NPT convention, which the International Atomic Energy Agency is there to uphold, was based on the agreement of non-nuclear nations not to acquire nuclear weapons if nuclear powers undertook not to extend nuclear arsenals and negotiate to secure their abolition.

Since then, the Americans have launched a programme that would allow them to use nuclear weapons in space, nuclear bunker-busting bombs are being developed, and depleted uranium has been used in Iraq - all of which are clear breaches of the NPT. Israel, which has a massive nuclear weapons programme, is accepted as a close ally of the US, which still arms and funds it.

Even those who are opposed, as I am, to nuclear weapons in every country including Iran, North Korea, Britain and the US, accept that nuclear power for electricity generation need not necessarily lead to the acquisition of the bomb.

Indeed, many years ago, when the shah - who had been put on the throne by the US - was in power in Iran, enormous pressure was put on me, as secretary of state for energy, to agree to sell nuclear power stations to him. That pressure came from the Atomic Energy Authority, in conjunction with Westinghouse, who were anxious to promote their own design of reactor.

It is easy to understand why president Bush might see the bombing of Iran as a way to regain some of the political credibility he has lost as a result of the growing hostility in America to the Iraq war due to the heavy casualties suffered by US forces there .

It is inconceivable that the White House can be contemplating an invasion of Iran, and what must be intended is a US airstrike, or airstrikes, on Iranian nuclear installations, comparable to Israel's bombing of Iraq in 1981. Israel has publicly hinted that it might do the same again to prevent Iran developing nuclear nuclear weapons.

Such an attack, whether by the US or Israel, would be in breach of the UN Charter, as was the invasion of Iraq. But neither Bush, Sharon nor Blair would take any notice of that.

Some influential Americans appear to be convinced that the US will attack Iran. Whether they are right or not, the build-up to a new war is taking exactly the same form as it did in 2002. First we are being told that Iran poses a military threat, because it may be developing nuclear weapons. We are assured that the President is hoping that diplomacy might succeed through the European negotiations which have been in progress for some months.

This is just what we were told when Hans Blix was in Baghdad talking to Saddam on behalf of the UN, but we now know, from a Downing Street memorandum leaked some months ago, that the decision to invade had been taken long before that.

That may be the position now, and I fear that if a US attack does take place, the prime minister will give it his full support. And one of his reasons for doing so will be the same as in Iraq: namely the fear that, if he alienates Bush, Britain's so-called independent deterrent might be taken away. For, as I also learned when I was energy secretary, Britain is entirely dependent on the US for the supply of our Trident warheads and associated technology. They cannot even be targeted unless the US switches on its global satellite system.

Therefore Britain could be assisting America to commit an act of aggression under the UN Charter, which could risk a major nuclear disaster, and doing so supposedly to prevent nuclear proliferation, with the real motive of making it possible for us to continue to break the NPT in alliance with America.

The irony is that we might be told that Britain must support Bush, yet again, because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, thus allowing him to kill even more innocent civilians.

Tony Benn will be talking about War; Religion and politics; and Democracy, at the Shaw Theatre in London on September 7, 8 and 9

Link to

Iraq: Constitution - when an 'edit' is not an 'amendment'

detroitfreepress: The U.S. ambassador suggested Tuesday there may be further changes to the draft constitution in order to win Sunni Arab approval, saying he believed a "final, final draft" had not yet been presented.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad spoke two days after Shi'ite and Kurdish negotiators bypassed Sunni Arab negotiators and finished the draft. Sunnis objected to the inclusion of federalism or strong regional authority, references to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and the country's identification as an Islamic but not Arab state.

According to the version signed off on by parliament Sunday, there can be no amendments. But Khalilzad said that might not include edits to the approved text. Read more

You think of Monty Python

Iraq: 'SCIRI commandos' accused of committing massacres

informedcomment: Shiite politicians on the drafting committee disagreed vehemently with Khalilzad: "Influential Shiite lawmaker Khaled al-Attiyah, a member of the constitution drafting committee, insisted Tuesday that "no changes are allowed'' to the draft "except for minor edits for the language."

Dulaimi himself renewed his rejection of the constitution as presented, saying it did not reflect the aspirations of the Iraqi people. He said the Sunni Arabs would make every effort to see that it went down to defeat in the referendum. He also called for the dismissal of the Minister of the Interior [something like our director of the FBI], Bayan Jabr, because of his political affiliations (he is a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq). He alleged that the police commandos of the interior ministry were led by "political parties" (i.e. SCIRI). He also accused these security forces of committing massacres against the Sunni Arabs. Khalilzad stood there at the podium while Dulaimi made these serious accusations against the government to which Khalilzad is an envoy.

This event is truly extraordinary, and I am afraid that it does not reflect well on the job Khalilzad is doing in Baghdad.

What would Americans think about it if the British ambassador in Washington held a joint press conference with an American politician; if the ambassador alleged that the US constitution could be tinkered with by himself, Bush and Hilary Clinton; and stood there while that politician accused Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of having 36 political enemies kidnapped and shot in the head? Read more

'600 dead' in Baghdad bridge disaster

Guardian: Up to 600 people are reported to have been killed and more than 250 injured in Baghdad, after Shia pilgrims panicked amid reports that a suicide bomber was in their midst.

Police said that the stampede occurred on a bridge over the Tigris river, packed with Shia worshippers during a religious procession. A spokesman said some people were killed in the crush and others fell into the river and drowned when a railing on the bridge collapsed.

Most of those killed in the disaster are believed to be women and children, said interior ministry spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Adnan Abdul-Rahman.

Conflicting reports have put the death toll between 300 and 648. Brigadier General Khalid Hassan told Associated Press at least 340 people died, but Iraq's deputy health minister, Jalil al-Shumari, told Reuters that more than 500 may have died. An interior minister is reported to say the death toll had risen to 648 with 322 injured.

One Iraqi television station reported that the prime minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, has declared three days of morning for the victims of the stampede. Read more

Iraq: Don't fire up the BBQ yet

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why Washington will never extradite Sinister Minister Pat Robertson

Thanks Cindy for more great work - Cindy Hubschmitt is an occasional contributor to deficient brain

Many good-willed people in both Venezuela and the US are hopeful that Washington would extradite Sinister Minister Pat Robertson for his remarks calling for the assassination of President Hugo Chavez. In a perfect world, this might happen - or at least Robertson would have been 'defrocked' by his followers.

Welcome to the Kool Aid drinking capital of the world - the USA. ('Drinking the Kool Aid' is a reference to the followers of Jim Jones who willingly drank poisoned Kool Aid)

It is here in the US where the many mindless, dumbed down Sheeple dutifully listen to their hate-filled radios and watch their worshipped televisions, all the while their brains are telling them subconsciously, "Tell me what to think, oh leaders, for I cannot think for myself."

The Sheeple believe their leaders (political, religious) when they are told how good they have it. The Sheeple gladly hand over their money to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts to the rich and 'donations' to their preachers (including Robertson who owns a diamond mine in Africa). Think about it for a moment - these leaders - these wolves in sheep's clothing - have actually managed to persuade a segment of the population that it is in their best interest to give their hard earned money to the richest!!!

If the Sleaders (sleazy leaders) can do that, surely they can convince their followers that Pat Robertson (like King George Bush) is a man of God and was probably having a hard day when he 'mis-spoke' about the assassination of President Chavez. It's kinda like how King George mis-explanified (George's word) about WMDs in Iraq. It's very easy to get most of the Sheeple to believe whatever their Sleaders tell them: you just scare the heck out of the Sheeple, tell them they are about to be invaded (maybe even by a boatload of people carrying 100,000 AK-47s, wow, what a threat!). Point is, the Sheeple, having no ability to think for themselves, will gladly follow their Sleaders over any cliff, if only they will be promised 'security' in doing so.

The Sheeple have already forgotten about Pat Robertson's comment - talk of it has died down from the radios and televisions in corporate controlled Amerikan media. The words have left the airwaves and consequently, their brains.

The question remains, How could someone like Pat Robertson - with a long history of public speaking - have spoken such a snafu (situation normal all freaked up)? Answer: he works as the Right wing propaganda machine for this administration which, many believe, was 'testing the waters' to see if the American public would tolerate another 'intervention' into sovereign Venezuela. Thankfully, the waters were pretty darn cold! This writer called in to her local radio talk show and re-educated the Kool Aid drinkers about Chavez and Venezuela. I informed the quasi-religious of how Chavez was using his country's oil money to help the poor, as the wealthy can take care of theirselves. I explained to them how Jesus didn't keep company with the Pharises or the Roman Elite - he stayed with the poor. If they were to follow Christ's teachings, how could they in good conscience, call for assassinating one of Christ's followers who actually walks the walk?! They hadn't thought of that then, but they are now.

Back to the extradition question. Will it happen? No. Will the UN step in? No. Those who help the powerful and wealthy in the US don't get extradited. Look at Luis Posada Carilles. Feliz Rodriguez is living a good life too. Crimony, Oliver North has his own television show! The US protects its evil-doer patsies. I almost forgot to add to the list, one of our most famous CIA patsies - Osama Bin Laden.

One good thing to come out of Pat Robertson's comments regarding Hugo Chavez: whereas before not many people in the US knew much about Venezuela and Chavez, THEY DO NOW!!! They are getting the real story like never before. They've become educated - even some of the Sheeple broke free from their I'll-follow-you-off-the-cliff paradigm.

Extradition for Pat Robertson? not likely. Wake up call for the American public (and a few of the Sheeple)? Now THAT is priceless!

cindy hubschmitt
wilmington, delaware

Iraq:56 civilians killed in US air strike - says China

Xinhuanet [chinese and by definition government] reports that a US air strike earlier today near the Iraqi western town of Qaim killed 56 civilians. 185 Google news sources are reporting something quite different - namely the US military claims of another success in the [global] battle with Al-Qaeda. Observe the unfolding of this story to see if one of the most repressive regimes on the planet is now first with the truth concerning the slaughter in Iraq.

Iraq: Sunnis Charge Interior Ministry in Killings

Al-Zaman/ AFP: The Iraqi Islamic Party accused elements in the Iraqi ministry of the interior on Monday of having kidnapped 36 citizens from Hurriyah Township in Baghdad and then throwing them in the Tigris after they were bound and shot in the head. The party called on the United Nations, the Arab League and human rights organizations to intervene immediately to protect innocents "in this wounded land." The IIP charges are incendiary and will inflame feelings between Sunnis and Shiites. (The Ministry of Interior is controlled by the Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI]). The charges echo similar ones made weeks ago by the hard line Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars against the Badr Corps, the paramilitary of SCIRI. That crisis only passed when Muqtada al-Sadr mediated between the two.

from informedcomment

Sunnis, Sadr Followers Mobilize Against Iraq Charter

IslamOnline:Iraqi Sunnis, along with a major Shiite faction, began Monday, August 29, rallying followers against the hard-passed draft constitution, casting heavy doubts the document could make it through an October 15 referendum.

In a worrying sign for the government and its US backers, leaders of Sunni Arabs like imams and tribal chiefs were encouraging people to register for the referendum, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"Everybody is registering to vote in the referendum -- this constitution is against Iraq as a united Arab Islamic nation," Sheikh Majed Jassim Al-Showah told AFP.

Another local tribal leader said the city's "imams are encouraging everybody to vote (in their sermons) at prayers every Friday."

But Sunnis are not alone. Shiite firebrand leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, only minutes after the draft was read in the National Assembly, made it clear he would give it the thumps-down.

"It is not the time for federalism under occupation. It will draw a lot of trouble," Abbas Rubie, political director of the Sadr group, was quoted as saying by the Christian Science Monitor. Read more

Straw denies that illegal Iraq war is terror factor

BBC: Straw plays down Iraq war warning

The UK was a terror target before the Iraq war, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said after news of his officials' concern about the conflict's impact.

The Foreign Office's top civil servant, Sir Michael Jay, warned in May 2004 the war was fuelling UK Muslim extremism.

Responding for the first time to leaks of the warning, Mr Straw said he had agreed Sir Michael's letter. He said extremists used the war as an "excuse" but that did not mean the UK would have been safer without it. "We were in any event a target, and so was the rest of the world, for this extremist terrorism before Iraq," he said.

He refuted any suggestion that the UK would somehow have been immune from attack if the war had not happened.

db: Jack - your mind is not that dull; but it may have been warped by over indulgence in the herb. Like the other war-mongers you twist this argument. Nobody is saying that had the UK not attacked Iraq we would have
been free from all risk of being targeted by terrorists. What however is plain for anyone to see is that by attacking Iraq that risk increased exponentially. Like it or not Jack your foreign policy significantly contributed to the factors that brought terror to the streets of London. A more noble defense would be that 'it is a price worth paying' - surely that is what you must have believed when you were brain storming the possible consequences of throwing in your lot with the worlds #1 terrorist - and after all you are spreading freedom around the planet [as a farmer spreads muck]. And if you didn't see it coming - despite the warnings and your own misgivings - then that's pretty incompetent, Jack.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Iraq: Healing divisions is not a US thing

db:Take away a man's livelihood and slap his face; watch the resentment grow - the US never did have a strategy to heal divisions [laughable notion] - they are only interested in securing strategic advantage in the region. Sectarian discord - which has exploded since the downfall of Sadaam - only serves the US's goal which is, and surely always was, carving the place up into weak, manageable, tamed blocks. A little bit of ethnic cleansing to tidy things up [John Negroponte had an outstanding cv in this troublesome area] and the job is almost done. Just a small question of a constitution to secure an aura of legality for the whole flawed process.

In the case of the Shia, Muqtada al-Sadr is tough opposition to the plan however and of course the Sunni will overwhelmingly reject it.

The 'March of freedom' is a cover and democracy of secondary importance. Iraq continues to be a laboratory experiment - and might yet become the model for democracy lite - and may soon be joined by Egypt - where the main body of political opposition is banned and the criminal that runs the place - Hosni Mubarak - will no doubt be back after an election smelling of rose Bush.

What next for Iraq's new charter?

Commending the constitution to Iraq's National Assembly, Humam Hammoudi, chairman of the committee that drafted it, described the moment as a "marvelous experience for all Iraqis".

They should be congratulated, he said, for this was "a constitution written by Iraqi hands".

However, as the document was read out to MPs chapter by chapter, line by line, the occasion had something of a hollow ring. For the hands that wrote this constitution may have been Iraqi, but they were also exclusively Shia or Kurd.

All 15 of the Sunni representatives on the negotiating committee stayed away from Sunday's signing ceremony, refusing to be associated with a document they regard with deep suspicion.

Old regime

So why, after months of increasingly tortuous negotiations, have the Sunnis ultimately rejected this vision of the future Iraq?The roots of their dissatisfaction lie in the era prior to the US-led invasion of the country when, despite comprising only 20% of the population, it was the Sunnis who held the reins of power through Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. The Shias and the Kurds were marginalised. Thousands were terrorised or killed by Saddam's henchmen.

With the dictator now having departed the scene, the Shias in particular believe it is their turn to exercise power in what they hope will be a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.To do this, they are determined to sweep away the remnants of the old regime.The first draft of the constitution stipulated that former senior Baath party officials would be excluded from public office in the future.

The wording has subsequently been toned down, but Sunni leaders believe the revised text will still mean many professionals within their communities being deprived of the right to earn their livelihoods. Read more

NKVD in Iraq

db: References to the Baath party in the draft constitution document reads like an NKVD notice, 2 million Baathists have been criminalised - as a means of negating their political authenticity, and excluding them en masse from the so-called democratic process and who knows what else:

Article (7): 1st - Entities or trends that advocate, instigate, justify or propagate racism, terrorism, "tafir" (declaring someone an infidel), sectarian cleansing, are banned, especially the Saddamist [?] Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols, under any name. It will be not be [sic!] allowed to be part of the multilateral political system in Iraq, which should be defined according to the law.
- Sounds more like the NKVD than democracy rising from the ashes [we will be back with more concerning the status of the Baath purge - the one using guns as well as the one that is more overt].

When the oppressed become the oppressor, as seems to be happening in Iraq, new dangers arise. The murder of 58 teachers as reported here might be a case in point. In case you wonder, nobody seeks to establish that all Baaths are innocent - however when millions of people are branded as villains - and the media is relatively silent about it - then it is permitted to ask some questions, rather than accept wholesale the black and white version of events that we are fed by our governments and, for the most part (with some notable exceptions) the media.

Juan Cole wrote: "If the US had tried to exclude Japanese members of the fascist government after the war the way they are doing to the Baathists, Japan would also have become ungovernable."

** NKVD poster above reads "We will eradicate spies and diversionists, agents of the Trotskyite-Bukharinite fascists"

Arab League chief: Iraqi charter a "recipe for chaos"

kuna: The newly announced Iraqi charter is sloppy and certain extracts could be taken for "a recipe for chaos," Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa stated to the media Monday.

Talking to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) today, Moussa stressed he is worried about the consequences of the exclusion of certain components of Iraqi society in the constitution drafting process.This was in reference to Sunni statements expressing opposition to or reservations about the new charter that was announced yesterday. It also reflects Kurds' anxiety of being ignored in a state of an "exclusively Arab identity." However, the official said he is still optimistic this is "a start" and urged all parties to approve this document. "It is a 'draft' and, as such, could be amended still," he added.

While the Shiites and Kurds expressed approval of the draft, the representatives of the Sunnis yesterday issued a statement expressing opposition on certain articles which means the charter failed to get the consensus that would make it legal.

Furthermore and in the same statement, the Sunnis urged the United Nations, Arab League, and other international institutions to intervene and prevent ratification of the recently announced draft.

However, despite this position, the Sunnis have pledged not to boycott the political process and to actively participate in the December elections.

The current vote system means the Arab Sunnis could hamper approval of the constitution through a 'no' vote in the public referendum in regions where they are the majority. That would stop the document short of implementation. Link

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Iraq: 58 professors killed; professionals leave in droves

Azzaman: More Univ. Professors killed

Unidentified gunmen have gunned down three university professors, all of them from the University of Mustansiriya in Baghdad.

The incident, which took place at main entrance to the campus, takes the number of professors murdered since the U.S.-led invasion of the country to 58.

"Unidentified people shot and killed Dr. Zaki al-Ani from the College of Arts and Dr. Hashem Abdulamir from the College of Education," a university source told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

The third professor, Dr. Sameer Yalda of the College of Economics and Administration, was kidnapped as he left the university and his body was found dumped on a main street in Baghdad.

The incentives behind the killings are now known.

And the police have not yet solved the mystery behind any of the previous 55 murders of Iraqi university professors.

As a result, Iraqi professionals are leaving in droves.

Statistics by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research show that more professors have left the country since the U.S. invasion than under the reign of former leader Saddam Hussein. Link

Iraq: USA gets ready to dig those "victory gardens"

reuters: The top U.S. military officer faulted U.S. political leaders on Friday for failing to get across what he portrayed as the huge stakes in Iraq and elsewhere in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism.

"The most important thing we have... right now in this kind of conflict is our will and our resolve," Gen. Richard Myers, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the Pentagon, adding the U.S. public does not get the stakes.

"I think it's incumbent on the national leadership, writ large, to help communicate this to the American public," said Myers, reporting on a 10-day, 18-base tour that included Iraq, Afghanistan and bases in Asia and Europe.

"The soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen engaged in this fight are the reason we are winning. Their successes are the untold story of the global war on terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom," he said.

He contrasted the national mood with World War II, when Americans planted "victory gardens" of vegetables and took part in scrap metal and paper collection drives to boost the military effort.

"And that of course is not the case today. And so I think it's easy for people that don't have individuals indirectly or directly involved in this to forget for a minute that we are a nation at [db edit:ILLEGAL] war," he said. Read more

db: Now I see - the problem is a lack of communication. Which is very often the last thing that is said before a failed policy goes down the toilet.

Iraq Sunni delegates reject "American" constitution

reutersfoundation: A Sunni Arab delegate on the committee drafting Iraq's constitution said all his colleagues on the panel objected to a draft presented to parliament on Sunday and would campaign against it in an October referendum.

"We have not agreed on this constitution. We have objections which are the same as we had from day one," Hussein al-Falluji told Reuters, saying he was speaking for all Sunni delegates and denying suggestions the group was split.

"If there is no forging of the results, I believe the people will say "No" to the American constitution," he said, in reference to an expected referendum in October.

"This is an American constitution and we will not accept it no matter what," he said.

Referring to French and Dutch referendums this year that sank a draft constitution for the European Union, he said: "The Iraqi people will be the third after the French and Dutch to say 'No' to a constitution." Link

Blair half-inched our bust and gave it to George

observer: A bronze bust of Winston Churchill, owned by the British Government Art Collection and paid for by the taxpayer, is at the centre of a row after it was loaned by Tony Blair to George W Bush.

The renowned Jacob Epstein sculpture that sits in President Bush's Oval Office was loaned to the White House four years ago, on orders from Blair's office, in an unprecedented act outside the strict remit of the collection.

The claim, to be made in a BBC radio documentary on Thursday and supported this weekend by art specialists, forms part of new scrutiny of the GAC and its backroom handling of tens of millions of pounds worth of British art each year.

'This is a little-known government arm that still works in surprising secrecy,' said Mark Whitaker, the reporter and presenter of the Radio 4 investigation. 'But it was clear the GAC are rather embarrassed by the loan to Bush. They could only tell me they didn't think it had happened before.' Read more

db: have forgotton more than you or I will ever know about the Churchill bust. And those boys want it back, NOW:

Isn't it a contradiction that although the 'war on terror' is often described as 'a different kind of war' - every time there is a justification for pre-emptive action, George Bush and Tony Blair invoke Winston Churchill (1874 -1965). Generally the hawk's resort to similarities with Churchill's prophesies of the dangers of Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia. His battle with an apathetic public to take action, and his spirit of 'never surrender' which is summoned in times of tragedy.

This year alone notable comparisons include New York Mayor Guiliani who likens George Bush to Churchill. George Bush who likens Tony Blair to Churchill remarking, "I see the spirit of Churchill in Prime Minister Tony Blair." Tony Blair who asks the British nation to unite behind him, comparing recent set backs in Iraq to the darkest days of World War 2. Even Tory party leader Michael Howard has jumped on the bandwagon comparing himself to Churchill. So where did it all start?

Iraq: Dahr Jamail - Two "Green Zones"

As the US-backed Iraqi puppet government flails about arguing over the so-called constitution, Iraq remains in a state of complete anarchy. There is no government control whatsoever, even inside the infamous "Green Zone" where the puppets seem to have tangled their strings.

Why the harsh tone for the conflagrations of the so-called Iraqi government?

Because the price paid for this unimaginably huge misadventure of the neo-conservative driven Bush junta is being paid by real human beings who shed real blood and cry real tears. Because well over 100,000 Iraqis and over 1,800 US soldiers would be alive today if it wasn't for the puppeteers of Mr. Bush.

The coward sits behind his guards in Crawford, Texas, too afraid to deal with the reality of the grief he and his masters have caused to thousands of military families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. Meanwhile, fires are raging out of control not only in Iraq, but right here in the US.

"I ask you, Mr Bush, if you believe that this war is for "Our Freedom" and "Our Values" why don't you send your daughters to fight for freedom," wrote Fernando Suarez del Solar recently, who lost his son in Iraq due to the lies of Mr. Bush.

He continued, "Why don't your closest associates send their children to defend these values? Why are the children of immigrant families dying? Why are children from working families who are the least privileged dying? Why Mr. Bush? Why?"

Of course Suarez del Solar knows the answer. It's a rhetorical question asked of a prep school punk who has never earned nor risked anything. A smirking dimwit, who has never truly served his country, let alone fellow human beings outside of his gangster corporate crony pals who inserted him into the highest office...twice.

Today he chooses to ignore the fire which is spreading across the US as he ignores the debacle in Iraq, where the US military must leave, will leave, but are unable to leave for fear of tarnishing what is left of the now sordid reputation of the US. Read more

Chavez: 'US entering a phase of desperation'

venezuelanalysis: Venezuela's President Chavez, in his first extended response to Reverend Pat Robertson's call for Chavez's assassination, said that Robertson expresses "the desire of the elite that governs the U.S.A." Chavez added that this was nothing new because there is plenty of evidence that the U.S. supported plots for his assassination.

Chavez made the remarks during a ceremony in which the government paid its debt of back pay and retirement benefits to university employees that had accumulated during the years 1999 to 2001.

..According to Chavez, the dominant political and economic classes of the U.S. are "entering a phase of desperation now, at the beginning of the 21st century - which is why they are interested in resorting to acts such as assassination." Chavez also mentioned that the Fox News Channel had presented a former CIA agent, who said, "one must put an end to Chavez before he puts an end to us."

With regard to the U.S. governmen's official response to Pat Robertson, Chavez said that the U.S. "has not taken any action. What would happen here in Venezuela if someone gets on television asking my government to assassinate the president of the U.S.?" Read more

db: It's inconvenient for some that Chavez spreads billions of dollars of oil revenue around the country in support of good causes - it's also inconvenient that most of Venezuela's population seem to admire him - and vote for him - again and again. That is not enough though to guarantee him a long and healthy life - given that he takes the piss, and justifiably, so well. He is warm, funny, and an idealist - with the power to act on it. So perhaps he is also a 'dead man walking'. I hope not.

Regarding Robertson's comments - they are more interesting for the fact that they indicate the current political culture that exists in Bush's America - one of more or less open criminality. Robertson only slightly misjudged the mood - and it wasn't even what he said - more the way he said it.

PM: Pakistan 'does not support military strikes on Iran'

dailytimes: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has stressed that Pakistan does not support military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities and all disputes should be resolved through talks.

"We have friendly relations and are in constant touch with each other on regional issues, including that of Iran's nuclear capabilities," Aziz said at a press conference here on Saturday. He hoped the France, Britain and Germany's offer of economic incentives to Iran in exchange for abandoning uranium enrichment would succeed.

The prime minister said most seminaries in Pakistan were doing a good job and the government wanted to bring them into the mainstream by registering them, but seminaries teaching sectarianism and hatred would not be tolerated.

"There is this misconception that seminaries are brainwashing students and preparing them for suicide missions. Seminaries are working well and it is wrong to say that they are all preaching violence," Aziz said. Read more

Iraq: Sunni negotiator warns of "terrifying and dark future"

newsday-AP: Iraq's Shia-dominated constitution committee will submit an amended draft charter to parliament this weekend despite opposition from minority Sunni Arabs who rejected a proposed compromise, negotiators said early Saturday.

The committee chairman, Sheik Humam Hammoudi, a Shia, said "there has been an agreement on the differences including the federalism issue. This will give guarantees for the Sunnis." But Sunni negotiators said they did not accept the revised document and one, Saleh al-Mutlaq, called on Iraqis to reject it in the Oct. 15 referendum, warning of a "terrifying and dark future" for Iraq.

..Al-Mutlaq, the Sunni negotiator, told Al-Jazeera television of the breakdown in the talks after Sunnis studied the Shia offers. The Sunnis had asked that decisions on some issues be delayed until a new parliament is elected in December.

"It is important to present services for the Iraqis now, as well as to maintain security, and it is not important to write a piece of paper that all Iraqis disagree on," al-Mutlaq said.

"This is the end of the road," government spokesman Laith Kubba, a Shia, told Al-Arabiya television. "In the end, we will put this constitution to the people to decide." Read more

Egypt frees Brotherhood member

aljazeera: Egyptian authorities have released senior Muslim Brotherhood member Mahmoud Ezzat after holding him without trial for more than three months, official sources said.

Ezzat, the secretary-general of the Islamist movement's Guidance Office, was detained on 22 May as part of a crackdown on the Brotherhood a few days before a referendum on a constitutional amendment introducing presidential elections with more than one candidate.

He was released late on Saturday, said an official in Cairo on Sunday.

The Brotherhood, which is Egypt's largest opposition group but which the government refuses to recognise, had called for a boycott of the referendum because of the conditions limiting independent presidential candidates. Read more

Andrew Marr: UK press 'can learn from' miserable Iraq failure

The Sunday Herald reports that Andrew Marr, speaking in a Q&A session at the Edinburgh Book Festival spoke of the decline in British Journalism - and reasons for it - deftly avoiding the 'tipping point' that was the UK press's miserable performance concerning the build-up to the attack on Iraq - until Mr Tam Dalyell, in trade mark style, shined a light on the elephant in the room...

He was caught off guard by a question from Tam Dalyell, the former MP and the former leader of the House. Dalyell asked why journalists such as Marr had not bothered to question the veracity of the "Dodgy dossier", even though colleagues on the ground in Iraq, such as Robert Fisk and Patrick Cornwall, had already rubbished many of its claims. "It just never crossed my mind the dossier could be that ropey."

Marr admitted that most of the British press were prepared to suspend their disbelief and "collectively exaggerate" the terror threat - exactly the outcome the government had been hoping for in publishing the dossier, in February 2003.

It led to extraordinary headline such as The Sun's "Britain: 45 minutes from doom".

Marr admitted: "Most of us got over-excited [by that] and that is something that we can learn from." Read more

Understatement of the century. No wonder we have all turned to the internet - where the volume of newsfeeds and alternative sources enables you to, at least partly, overcome the need for trust in overfed, lazy, spineless newspaper reporters. I like Andrew Marr, but he is no Seymour Hersh.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Iranian oil bourse: Killing the dollar in Iran

asiatimes: Could the proposed Iranian oil bourse (IOB) become the catalyst for a significant blow to the influential position the US dollar enjoys? Manifold supply fears have driven the price of crude oil to its recent high of US$67.10 - only a notch below its highest price in inflation-adjusted dollar terms. With the world facing a daily bill of roughly $5.5 billion for crude oil at current price levels, it becomes apparent that sellers and purchasers of the black gold are looking into all ways that could lead to a financial improvement on their respective sides.

Non-US-dollar holders so far have been the victim of additional transaction costs in the oil trade. The necessary conversion of local currencies into oil-buying greenbacks can be considered a hidden tax, charged and enjoyed by the international banking sector. The IOB, by eliminating this transaction cost, will become a factor that could unsettle the dollar's dominant position. Read more

Video: Sunnis, Shiites Protest Iraq Constitution Talks

db: The speaker of parliament in Iraq has said that the draft constitution will be presented to the assembly despite strong Sunni objections. See link to AP video of yesterday's demonstrations - which were impressive. Muqtada al-Sadr goes from strength to strength.

Link to video - 300K Stream

100,000 rally against Iraqi constitution draft

scotsman: A hundred thousand Iraqis across the country marched yesterday in support of a maverick Shiite cleric opposed to a draft constitution that government leaders say will deliver a brighter future.

The protest could reinforce the opposition of Sunni Arabs who dominate the insurgency and are bitterly against the draft constitution.

Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, who has staged two uprisings against coalition troops in Iraq, also protested against poor services during their marches, stepping up the pressure on the government.

Sadr supporters marched in eight cities, including 30,000 people who gathered for a sermon delivered on his behalf in a Baghdad slum district.

Mr Sadr returned to centre stage this week after his fighters fought a rival Shiite militia, the Badr organisation, raising fears of a new front in Iraq's relentless cycle of violence.

He is stirring hopes among his vast following at a time when Iraq's divided politicians have missed a series of deadlines for reaching a consensus on the constitution, which is expected to be put to a referendum in October.

Mr Sadr has also come out in support of Sunni opposition to the federal state that his Shiite rivals in government, with their Kurdish allies, have outlined in the charter.

The young cleric has gained followers by portraying himself as a champion of the poor and his cult-like popularity means he can quickly mobilise his fighters if a full-scale conflict with the Badr movement breaks out.

With an apparent stalemate in efforts to agree on the shape of a new constitution for Iraq, Shiites yesterday called for the charter to move straight to a referendum rather than seek parliamentary approval.

db: "Mr Sadr has also come out in support of Sunni opposition to the federal state that his Shiite rivals in government, with their Kurdish allies, have outlined in the charter." - Sadr + Sunni + Baath + ? = formidable opposition to the draft. Given that those who reject the document require only a two thirds majority in three out of eighteen Iraqi provinces, the so-called 'reaching out' to the Sunnis currently taking place is understandable.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Pat Robertson - man of the people - thank you

Time: Why Pat Robertson's Statements Help Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a new best friend this morning: television evangelist Pat Robertson. With his astonishing call for the left-wing leader's assassination last night - "I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it...We have the ability to take him out" - Robertson will have surely made Chavez an even more popular anti-yanqui icon in Venezuela, Latin America and around the world. Like his mentor Fidel Castro, Chavez thrives on threats from the U.S., real or perceived. He has long insisted that his foes are plotting to kill him, and this summer had armed civilians training with the Venezuelan military to prepare for what he says is an imminent U.S. invasion. A public effort to whack him, offered from the right-wing Christian establishment so closely aligned with President Bush, is just what Chavez needs to keep his approval ratings soaring as high as the price of the Venezuelan oil he controls, the largest crude reserves in the hemisphere. Read more

db: We pontificated yesterday that maybe Pat was a servant of Beelzebub. Clearly that was flawed thinking. Without doubt Pat is a sleeper agent for the people - and the primary earth focused gods are socialists. Long live Hugo.

Iraq: Marginalised Sunnis rally for Saddam

Yahoo-reuters: Thousands marched in adoring praise of Iraq's deposed leader Saddam Hussein on Friday, offering a stark display of the loss of power and leadership felt by some of Iraq's Sunni Arabs.

Drawing inspiration from the Baath party strongman, who now languishes in jail awaiting trial, marchers in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, danced and chanted his name and condemned plans by the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government to push through draft constitution to create a federal Iraq.

They accused the Shi'ite Islamists in government of kowtowing to
Iran, Iraq's non-Arab neighbor where many Shi'ites sought refuge during Saddam's rule, and the United States, which backs the government with some 140,000 troops.

"Bush, Bush, listen well; We all love Saddam Hussein!" crowds chanted. "We reject the American and Iranian constitution" and "No to a constitution that breaks up Iraq," their placards read. Read more

De Menezes 'shot for 30 seconds'

guardian: Armed police officers fired at Jean Charles de Menezes for over 30 seconds when they killed him at Stockwell tube station, according to a witness statement made to independent investigators and obtained by the Guardian.

The witness says the shots were fired at intervals of three seconds and that she ran for her life fearing terrorists had opened fire on commuters. Read more

Iraq: Will federal constitution mean US bases stay?

db: Confusion and spin concerning the status of the draft Iraq constitution currently rules. Thumbing through the document [which the BBC posts here - pdf] you are struck by a few things, three of which follow below:

The Law - It's Islamic and it's Democratic - in harmony

Firstly, there seems trouble ahead for the thorny Article 2-a and 2-b of the Basic Principles. I am neither lawyer or Islamic scholar - but really - is it possible to accommodate the undisputed rule of Islam and the supremacy of democracy both at the same time? The scope for Montey Python style humor is limitless - but probably illegal in the UK.

Article (1): The Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic.

Article (2): 1st - Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:
(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.
(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy

Well, there's something to be said for a society that avoids the perils of over-legislation - and with articles 2 a and 2 b above Iraq will not be running the risk of becoming one of them.

Forgiveness - for god, saints and sons of god only

Secondly, Article 7 below is testament to the fact that 'forgiveness' is not a central pillar of this draft constitution:

Article (7): 1st - Entities or trends that advocate, instigate, justify or propagate racism, terrorism, "tafir" (declaring someone an infidel), sectarian cleansing, are banned, especially the Saddamist [?] Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols, under any name. It will be not be [sic!] allowed to be part of the multilateral political system in Iraq, which should be defined according to the law.

- Sounds more like the NKVD than democracy rising from the ashes. Clearly there are good reasons why the following doesn't apply to Baathists - Saddamite ones or otherwise:
PART ONE: RIGHTS FIRST: Civil and political rights.
Article (14): Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination because of sex, ethnicity, nationality, origin, colour, religion, sect, belief, opinion or social or economic status.

Do Federal Authorities have the right to invite US forces to stay?

Thirdly, those who maintain that coalition [read US] forces are never likely to leave Iraq completely might find their views supported in Chapter Four: Powers of the Federal Authorities - db emphasis:

Article (107): The federal authority will maintain the unity of Iraq, its integrity, independence, sovereignty and its democratic federal system.

Article (108): The federal authorities will have the following exclusive powers:
1st - drawing up foreign policy, diplomatic representation, negotiating international accords and agreements, negotiating and signing debt agreements, drawing up foreign sovereign economic and trade policies.

2nd - drawing up and executing national defense policy including setting up and operating the armed forces to ensure the protection and security of Iraq's borders and itdefensece.

3rd - drawing up financial and customs policy, issuing currency, organizing trade policy among regions and provinces in Iraq, setting the general budget for the nation, drawing up currency policies and establishing and administering a central bank.

Looks like it might amount to a blueprint for a large ongoing US presence in Iraq - to protect American interests and those of it's federal friends.

Word count:

Freedom 19
Terrorism 6
Oil 4
Coalition 0
Occupation 0

Support the state - with the blood of your sons - Now Don't Support the Troops

The state is greater than the individual; more important than anything else, and all must be sacrificed to protect it, even from its own parts. Those who are willing to sacrifice themselves should be held above all others - praised as though they were saints. This is what we're tacitly saying when we Support the Troops! Read more

Tasers safe but maybe not for heart, eyes, ears, and brain

democracynow: Stun gun manufacturer Taser is facing another lawsuit over the safety of its product. This time the lawsuit has been filed by a police chief in Hallsville, Missouri. Jacob Herring has sued the company claiming that he was severely injured after being shocked with a Taser weapon during training. Herring says he suffered at least two strokes, loss and impairment of his vision and hearing, neurological damage, a head injury and "significant cardiac damage" after being shocked by a Taser M26 during a class last year. Taser has now been sued 14 times since 2003 by officers who say they were injured in training.

thanks logicalvoice

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Confusion over Iraq constitution

guardian: There was confusion today over the status of Iraq's draft constitution after rival sides gave opposite accounts of the document's readiness to be put to the country in a referendum in October.

Government spokesman Laith Kubba told reporters that a final version of the document - which was originally due to have been finalised by August 22 - had been completed and it would be approved tonight.

He said parliament did not need to formally meet to approve the deal because it had effectively been passed on Monday.

A Sunni member of the constitutional panel, however, said the process was still deadlocked.

"Laith Kubba has been saying that we solved the disputes for a month now, but so far we have not got anywhere," Hussein al-Falluja told Reuters. "If this constitution continues to include federalism it should be put in the bin and done again." Read more

Stockwell shooting: Some have few doubts

Footage of Tube shooting has gaps, says IPCC

timesonline: Police watchdogs investigating the death of Jean Charles de Menezes believe that they have all the relevant closed-circuit television film relating to his shooting but admit that there are gaps.

According to Brazilian officials, who were briefed yesterday by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, some of the cameras at Stockwell Underground station may not have been working.

Manoel Gomes Pereira, a senior Brazilian Foreign Ministry official, said the IPCC had mentioned that some of the CCTV cameras could have been out of order. He added that the three-man Brazilian mission had been told: "Apparently there are parts of the film which do not exist." Read more

db: Confused? You are not alone

IPCC: Delay taking over Stockwell shooting case 'cause for concern'

Times Online:
'Crucial' Stockwell CCTV footage given to inquiry

CCTV footage recovered from the scene of the shooting by police of Jean Charles de Menezes has proved to be "crucial" to the inquiry into his death, the inquiry head said tonight.

Nick Hardwick, chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), said he was confident his team now had all the relevant CCTV from Stockwell Tube Station and that there was "no reason" to believe any had been deliberately withheld.

However he said tonight that the delay between the shooting and the IPCC taking on the investigation had been a "cause for concern" that his organisation would have to address.

Speaking after a meeting with a delegation of senior Brazilian officials, Mr Hardwick said he was not aware of any "missing" information about the incident on July 22.

He confirmed that the issue of the CCTV was something that the Brazilian officials had asked about.

"I am confident that we have all the CCTV footage but as I have said on many occasions, we are not going to believe anything until we have independently verified it," he said.

"Some of the CCTV footage we have had has been crucial to the investigation. I have seen it and it is very helpful. I have no reason to believe that anything has been withheld."

However Mr Hardwick declined to definitively clarify whether there was any CCTV film from the platform at Stockwell Station which would show Mr de Menezes's last moments. Read more

db: Nick Hardwick is choosing his words carefully. He is clearly seeking to avoid a further public confrontation with the Met. It may become clear later how much CCTV footage, if any, was subject to synchronized technical problems and/or 'planned outages'.

London: Born 1919 - To Be Free

Born: 1919
Likes: Freedom
Dislikes: New Labour, George W Bush, PNAC, Blairs 1 and 2, terrorists [not all mutually exclusive]
Likes: Younger Woman - His Wife Born 1928
Last Seen: Both observed confronting lawlessness in the proximity of Scotland Yard, London on August 22nd around 7pm onwards.

Iraq: al-Sadr allies boycott after offices attacked 4 killed

signonsandiego: A Cabinet minister and 21 lawmakers allied with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will boycott their official duties to protest an attack Wednesday on their leader's office in Najaf, a key supporter said.

The move could seriously complicate efforts to convene parliament to vote on a new constitution and raises fears of internal conflicts among the Shiites at a time when Sunni Arabs are outraged over the new draft constitution.

The statement by Fattah al-Sheik was confirmed by Transport Minister Salam al-Maliki, who said he had "suspended" his membership in the Cabinet to protest the burning of al-Sadr's office in Najaf.

The clashes broke out in Najaf between supporters and opponents of al-Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S. forces in central and southern Iraq last year. Read more

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Video: US based Preacher of Hate Calls for Assassination

Yahoo-AP: Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has suggested
that American agents assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

Another US extremist-terrorist-nut to add to the uk-BANNED list Link to stream

Hey, all you crazy Christians out there

America is a very young democracy. We look at this kind of thing from old Europe and we wonder - where are you people heading? In your own black and white terms of good versus evil - is this man not looking a little too much like a servant of beelzebub? Don't those born againers ever lay awake at night and wonder ......if.........their leaders are.........................SATANISTS???

Update: Further, I'd like to see all US* Christians stand up, be counted and condemn him - because if you are not with us....then you are with the satanists-terrorists....and legally you can be fukced up big time.

* no - all earth based

Iraq: Constitution draft is a sectarian stitch-up

asiatribune: Iraqi constitution delayed again amid deep differences

A vote on a new constitution for Iraq was delayed last night for another three days due to the bitter, fundamental differences among the various political factions in the parliament.

The US-dictated Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) currently in force in Iraq stipulated that if a draft was not accepted by August 15, then the parliament had to be dissolved and new elections called. A referendum is supposed to take place on October 15, and elections on December 15.

Twenty minutes before the first deadline elapsed, more than two-thirds of the legislators voted to amend the TAL and extend the deadline for an extra week. Last night, the dissolution of parliament was bypassed with another manoeuvre. An incomplete draft was tabled just before midnight, enabling the speaker to declare the deadline had been met and to schedule a vote for Thursday.

There is little prospect that a consensus among the ruling factions will be reached. The draft that was tabled is a thoroughly sectarian document drawn up behind the backs of the masses. It was drafted entirely by the Shiite Muslim fundamentalist parties and the Kurdish nationalist bloc, the two largest factions in the parliament, in back-room negotiations with the US ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad. Sunni representatives were excluded.

..The document presented last night.....provocatively aims to entrench American economic and military domination over the country by the reduction of Iraq into a loose federation, in which a layer of the Shia establishment and the Kurdish elite would benefit at the expense of the Sunni ruling class and the Iraqi masses as a whole. The constitution establishes the basis for the privatization of Iraq's state-owned oil industry and will enable a puppet government to sanction long-term US military bases. Read more

Veteran deploys Bush protection

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush, on screen at rear, addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their 106th convention Monday, Aug. 22, 2005, in Salt Lake City. Moyer served during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Cryptome sourced

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Stockwell shooting: some protesters uneasy with police behavior

Where is the cctv footage of Stockwell shooting?

timesonline: Staff at Stockwell Underground station have protested at police suggestions that closed-circuit television cameras were not working when an innocent man was killed by police hunting potential suicide bombers.

Senior officers are reported to have told the independent investigation into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes that they had no footage from inside the carriage or from on the platform because all five cameras were not working.

But the Tube workers have challenged the police claim, allegedly telling investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission that three out of the four cameras covering the platform were definitely working on the morning of July 22.

Staff say that they do not know why the camera inside the carriage would not have filmed the moments when the Brazilian electrician was shot dead by armed police.

Meanwhile, the head of the IPCC investigators has been ordered to appear before a coroner today to report on his progress. John Sampson, the Inner London Coroner, has asked John Cummins, a former detective, to appear before him. Read more

Jean Charles de Menezes Protest London 22.8.05 photos

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sir Ian Blair and the London shoot-to-kill fandango

scotsman: The undoing of PC Blair

.."All talk of the commissioner folding over and falling on his sword is rather preposterous," one government source insisted last night of a man who originally described his force's response to the terror alert as "close to genius". But, confronted with the acute political embarrassment that his management of the terror crisis has provoked, the source added: "You can take it for granted that no one in the Cabinet is happy about this fandango."

..For the de Menezes family, the official refusal to clarify the circumstances surrounding Jean Charles's death is a key failure for which Sir Ian must answer. "For three weeks we have had to listen to lie after lie about Jean and how he was killed," Pereira said. "The police knew Jean was innocent. Yet they let my family suffer. They let us suffer. Ian Blair let us suffer."

Hours after the killing, Sir Ian claimed de Menezes, to the best of his knowledge, "was challenged and refused to obey police instructions". Police were aware that he had not been wearing a heavy coat, that he did not jump over the barriers - in fact, he picked up a free newspaper and passed through the ticket barrier normally - and that he was shot in the head after being restrained by a surveillance officer.

Sir Ian's own account of how he learned the truth, appearing in a newspaper interview today, offer an unnerving picture of chaos and a lack of communication between senior officers and their men and women on the ground. Admitting that he did not know his officers had killed an innocent man until 24 hours after the fatal shots were fired, the most experienced policeman in the country said: "Somebody came in at 10.30 [Saturday morning] and said the equivalent of 'Houston we have a problem'.

"He didn't use those words but he said, 'We have some difficulty here, there is a lack of connection'. I thought, 'That's dreadful, what are we going to do about that ?'."

Although he uses the interview to dismiss allegations of a cover-up, Sir Ian fails to explain why, once the force was in possession of the full, awful truth, it failed to correct the misleading accounts in circulation.

Even after it was admitted that his officers had killed the wrong man, Sir Ian continued to give misleading details. When pressed on standard procedure for handling suicide bombers who were trying to surrender, he said: "We will try and get them under control and that was what this man was being asked to do."

Subsequent revelations have now confirmed that the police themselves were retailing the inaccurate account of de Menezes' final seconds. The Brazilian's post-mortem report, dated five days after his death, recorded the information that he did vault the ticket barrier and fled on to the train - information that experts maintain could only have been provided by the police.

The revelation that Sir Ian later attempted to delay the official inquiry, in order to maintain the primacy of the anti-terror campaign, only reinforced suspicions that he had something to hide. Read more

Shoot to kill? Protest and rid London of this new threat

We need as many people as possible to come along. It is only through continued public support that we can put pressure on the police and government to take responsibility for what they have done. It is in the public interest that justice is done for the Menezes family and that those responsible for his killing are held to account.

Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign

"Bomb Blair" scholar is just like my Dad

db: There is a new sport beginning to appear in the UK - it's rules are quite simple and they do not require any special skills or abilities.. Tabloid journalists are the sport's main proponents. It's called Make-the-Muslim-say-something-stupid [then splash it on the front page as though it's news].

So he said Bomb Downing Street - so what? My Dad is 79 and is full of insights like 'Blair? String him up' or 'Blair? he should be assassinated' or 'Blair? I CANT STAND THE MAN' Are we going to arrest my old dad too? And if not is that because he is not a Muslim or because he hasn't had a dickhead from the Sun camped on his doorstep provoking him for the last eight weeks.

My Dad's definition of 'Britishness' includes his right to threaten treason, murder and assassination where and when the fancy takes him - subject to blood-sugar levels and the timing of his last visit to the loo.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wake Up! Conversations with a pro-war, priveledged dad

Thanks to cindy for a mother's perspective on the inequalities of war and the opportunity it brings to die for freedom, America, other peoples privileged kids and corporate share value.

I had a series of interesting and enlightening conversations with a friend today. We were talking politics. He agrees with the US war against Iraq. He thinks Saddam Hussein is "the biggest megalomaniac - - besides Hitler - who ever lived."

I gave him a rehash of all the countries the US has had illegal 'military interventions' in, in order to promote 'US [corporate] interests' in which many innocent people were killed (and trust me, the list is long)! He gave me what to him was the ultimate reasoning: the end justifies the means. "This is what we need to do in order to have this great standard of living," he advised me. "Do you want to live like a third world country?"

The economic and military enslavement of other people who share this world mattered little to him. What mattered most to this UPS pilot with a six figure a year income was that he lived a cushy life and all his children went to private school so they could live this cushy life too - the masses be damned!

Earlier in our talk he even conceded that most often one's position in life is mostly due to the luck of the family they were born into. Those born to a family with a good income usually prospered, while those unfortunate enough to be among the struggling classes usually didn't fare so well. Of course there were exceptions, and it's a shame it has to be that way. He even went so far as to acknowledge that many, many brilliant people were not able to achieve a full education because of their economic situation. He saw it as a detriment to the country.

As the discussion drifted away we began to take in some of the radio news chatter. I made a comment along the lines of, "It looks like they will be bringing back the draft. What will you do with your soon-to-be-of-draft-age son, send him off to Canada to avoid induction?"

"Oh, I won't have to do that. I have some connections. He'll get a position stateside."

"Wait a minute," I admonished him. "You said you support these wars -- in Afghanistan and Iraq..."

"Oh sure," came his unbelievable reply. "Of course I support the wars. You see, my son is too smart to be killed in these wars. Let someone's child who's not as bright as mine go and take the bullet. My son has a great future ahead of him."

I was stunned. This man is an ardent supporter of the coalition of the killing. He backs these illegal wars completely. He has no problem with 'collateral damage'. Yet he has no intention of allowing his son to 'serve his country' this way. When I questioned his ability to protect his son from going overseas to possibly 'take a bullet,' he explains to me how it works...

"My Dad was a colonel during Vietnam. My dad didn't 'agree' with the Vietnam War, so he got my older brother a position stateside as an MP. My kid will never have to fight. My son -- being very bright with a good education -- can better serve his country by staying alive."

I was flabbergasted (but should not have been). I am a single Mom with four children + an extra whose mother can't seem to handle him. When I say that I struggle to make ends meet, I'm not exaggerating. My children have gone to public school because I cannot afford private, and a couple of them have been partially homeschooled because public school failed them.

Are my children, whom I love dearly, any less deserving of life than this man's?

As much as I have worked to oppose these illegal wars, will my children be doomed to be nothing more than state cannon fodder simply because the children of the well-off and privileged - who totally back the wars - mistakenly believe that THEIR children, by luck of their birth, deserve to live more than mine?

The working classes need to wake up before all of our children are sent to the slaughter so that the children of the privileged can continue to live their 'cushy' lives at our ultimate and terrible expense!

cindy abramowicz hubschmitt

wilmington, de,

Pope: Forgetfulness of God, explosion of brands

db: More than 1 million Roman Catholic young people camped out overnight in a field to welcome Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday for the concluding Mass of his four-day trip to Germany, his first foreign travel as pope. "Freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness so that we ourselves can become true and good," said Benedict XVI "There is a strange forgetfulness of God,while at the same time the sense of frustration and dissatisfaction has led to a "new explosion of religion."

"I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery," he said. "Yet, if it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it."

"But religion constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us [db: this is fud - fear uncertainty doubt - classic tool of salesmen]. Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ."

I don't know if this pope is living on planet Earth, because quite clearly his remark that their is a "strange forgetfulness of God" is false. If only we would forget - all that we inherited and all that was learnt about this relic from the dark ages - and make the cognitive leap towards the acceptance of our pond-scum status in the universe; then within a thousand years or two we could 'get over it' and focus our energy on the here and now.

"Yet, if it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it."

'Pushing' religion hard or not so hard makes little difference - without exception they are all 'consumer products'- the new ones, the old ones the yet to be invented ones. The Pope's shocking news that 'some are even able to make a profit from it' sounds like envy - given that his church's finances are rocky despite it's wealth - like [2003] $8 billion pa income from parish collections, the biggest property portfolio on the planet, and more art and jewelry than the Saudi royal family [ need to exaggerate]. Pope Benedict XVI owns more shoes than Imelda Marcos.

The final call to 'help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ' is a big-brand slogan from a big player in the global battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of the willingly self-sacrificing, after-life focused masses. Go Benny!

If the Catholic church was able to act like any other corporate entity, rather than wasting his time attempting to coax people away from the D-I-Y religions he could just buy them up, strip their assets, and consign their unacceptable beliefs to the dustbin. On the downside, the Catholic church would also, under these circumstances, need to be transparent concerning it's finances. Maybe user choice isn't such a bad thing.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Londoners safer with Kratos? More at ease? White?

The end doesn't justify the means

db: The introduction of a shoot-to-kill policy on mainland UK was a decision taken by someone other than the Prime Minister, or so he claimed in a televised press conference a few days after the slaying of Jean Charles de Menezes. Mr Blair asserted that the issue 'never crossed his desk'. This is a staggering admission, given that the decision gave a green light to the 'preventive' assassination of British subjects [and/or other nationalities].

In effect, a decision was made to reintroduce a form of state execution - free from all safeguards that the law can provide and with no scope for appeal. Not only that - as we have already seen, this form of summary 'justuce' is prone to error - and as proud as we apparently are of our great police service - and all it's militaristic ski-mask wearing offshoots - they are never going to get good at this because London is unlikely ever to become Baghdad in terms of a training ground where mistakes can be made with impunity and the opportunity to practice comes daily. For our police to get good at this stuff a lot of innocent people will have to die first.

The decision to introduce this reckless formula onto the streets of London puts at risk the lives of all innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless of the argument that 'Kratos' serves a greater good - which is a numbers game - the fact is it could be 'you' next.

That such an enormous decision could have been made without crossing Blair's desk is beyond belief. It is not as though shoot-to-kill is unknown to British SIS, SAS, former FRU etc - the difference is that operation Kratos is not a secret and it isn't taking place out of sight in someone else's back yard. Short of the sovereign promoting it in the Queens speech, official endorsement of this policy could not have been clearer. And yet the issue did not cross Tony Blair's desk.

Reading the leaks concerning the events preceding the killing of Mr de Menezes one is struck by the mundane uselessness of the Stockwell operation - where a policeman 'relieving himself' can contribute to a massive failure leading up to the death of an innocent man on the pretext of protecting 'us' - that group of the population that isn't lying dead, a victim of the greater good. Blairs instinct tells him to claim that the issue 'never crossed his desk'. He is, no doubt, just playing with words.

The Metropolitan police made a significant effort to gain acceptance of an Orwellian description for the method by which Jeam Charles de Menezes was killed - 'shoot to kill to protect policy'. Thankfully this is not America and the name never caught on.

Police rethink shoot to kill policy

guardian: Britain's top police officers are reviewing the controversial shoot to kill policy after its first use ended in the gunning down of an innocent man, the Guardian has learned.

The review by the Association of Chief Police Officers comes amid a continuing dispute around the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, over his handling of the killing of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

A senior police source and member of Acpo said: "The review is not theoretical, it is looking in great depth."

Among the issues to be considered are:

Whether any other non-lethal weapons exist or are in development that could rapidly incapacitate a suspected suicide bomber

How much intelligence is needed before officers are authorised to shoot to kill

How to assess intelligence rapidly when under massive pressure

How to ensure effective communications between commanders at base and those pursuing a suspect. Read more

Friday, August 19, 2005

Iraq: "No! No! to division," "Yes! Yes! to unity"

Yahoo-Reuters: Iraq's national security adviser said on Friday Iraq would descend into civil war if federalism was not entrenched in the constitution.

"Without federalism it means that no community interest has been addressed or fulfilled and therefore different communities will try to find and defend and fight for their rights," Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told Reuters in an interview.

"I am worried about that. Yes. Absolutely. With a civil war you can't say 'today we don't have a civil war, tomorrow a civil war erupted'. Civil war creeps into the country very gradually."

But underscoring deep divisions in Iraqi politics, several thousand supporters of a Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through a district of the capital Baghdad denouncing federalism, saying it would rip Iraq apart.

Politicians are struggling to overcome sensitive issues such as federalism to meet an extended August 22 deadline for presenting a draft constitution to parliament.

Kurds want to expand autonomy in their de facto state in the north, some Shi'ites are pushing for their own region in the south, and Sunni Arabs are fiercely opposed to federalism.

January's election boycott left Sunnis with little representation in parliament and, as a result, limited influence in negotiations over the charter.

But Iraq's government, led by Shi'ites and Kurds, wants to draw Sunnis into politics in a bid to defuse the Sunni insurgency so the minority sect has some leverage.


Differences emerging among Shi'ites could further complicate efforts to strike a deal.

"Federalism is very good for the Sunnis as well. Just imagine we have three provinces in the (Sunni region) triangle coming together in one region and that region enjoys all the rights of Kurdistan for example," said Rubaie, a member of the Shi'ite Dawa party, part of the ruling coalition.

"It is a federal system we are after and I think this is the only insurance policy for the unity of Iraq."

Supporters of Sadr, who has led two uprisings against U.S. and Iraqi forces, gathered in one of their largest protests in recent months to reject federalism.

"No! No! to division," "Yes! Yes! to unity" chanted the crowds as they marched through the poor Sadr City neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad and Khadamiya and Bayaa, two other mainly Shi'ite districts. Read more

db: There is little evidence to indicate that carving up Iraq will win the approval of the insurgents; Sadr and his supporters oppose it as do most Sunnis. The adoption of a united front by those who see a federal Iraq as a sectarian invention of the occupier - and for his benefit alone - would be a difficult alliance to combat.

Jean Charles de Menezes killing: It's Police Vs IPCC

times: A clerk at the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was suspended last night for allegedly leaking secret documents about the Stockwell Underground shooting of an innocent man to a television station.

The suspension will come as a severe blow to the credibility of the commission, which is handling its first big inquiry since it was opened 18 months ago to replace investigations by police themselves.

The clerk, who could face serious charges, is alleged to have links with ITV news staff.

On Wednesday Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, privately asked Nick Hardwick, head of the IPCC, to call in an outside police force to investigate the leaking of papers which revealed a series of "catastrophic blunders" over the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Sir Ian yesterday rejected demands for him to resign. He said: "I'm not going to resign - I have a job to do."

The suspension comes amid a growing dispute between the IPCC and Sir Ian, who is understood to want a "Hutton style" judicial inquiry into the case, like that conducted into the death of Dr David Kelly, the government scientist. Read more

db: "Hutton style" is white and goes on nicely with a roller

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Message from Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign

db: An enquiry to the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign received the response below. The db team will be at Downing St August 22nd - support the family - be there too.

Dear Friend

..It now appears that a catalogue of errors has unfolded regarding Jean Charles' murder. This includes deliberate and continued misleading of the public and the family by the Metropolitan Police.

The family are very shocked and distressed by the leaked information but it verified what the family already knew, that Jean did nothing wrong, that he was not wearing a bulky jacket or running from the police. The Family campaign is calling for the sacking of Metropolitan Chief Commissioner Sir Ian Blair who continued to mislead the public and for an immediate public inquiry into Jean's murder.

This Monday marks a month from Jean's murder. On this evening the family campaign will be calling a demonstration:






August 22nd

Outside Downing Street

(nearest tube Westminster)

contact 07931337890/07956210332 for more information

We need as many people as possible to come along. It is only through continued public support that we can put pressure on the police and government to take responsibility for what they have done. It is in the public interest that justice is done for the Menezes family and that those responsible for his killing are held to account.

Please forward.


The family campaign is several thousand pounds in debt, all the money thus far has been donated by a handful of supporters and friends. The Menezes family are humble farmers in Brazil and cannot afford to continue the campaign without urgent financial support.

If you donate any amount of money please send cheques made payable to Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign, PO Box 273, London, E7 or transfer money to Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign, Account Number: 61455664, sort code: 40-07-12. HBSC bank, 349 Green St, London, E13 PA5.

We will be circulating a statement from the family tomorrow and an online petition in due course. We encourage all supporters to write to their MP's and demand a public enquiry into Jean's killing. Please keep us updated with any feedback you get from MPs.

best wishes

Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign

deficient brain - 1st for high quality, impartial news

Jean Charles de Menezes: The killing that shamed justice

newstatesman: The revelations about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes contained in the documents leaked to ITN will not have surprised the Brazilian's family, who revealed as early as 27 July that he was not wearing a bulky jacket at the time he was shot, did not vault the ticket barrier at Stockwell Underground station and could not have been said to be acting suspiciously.

They have now learned some further details that are equally shocking - for example, that de Menezes appears to have been in the firm grip of one officer when he was shot by another - but, for them, the picture is essentially the same. Nothing will bring back this innocent man, who died at the hands of people whose duty it was to protect him, for no other reason than that he lived in the wrong building, used public transport, and was a little dark in appearance. One officer referred to his "Mongolian eyes".

For policing and government, however, the new evidence has implications that take the breath away. The responsibility for delivering a first judgement lies with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but the leaked documents (although the picture they paint is likely to be incomplete) leave little doubt that there is more to this than an individual error or even a chain of errors. Read more

db: Shortly after Mr de Menezes' execution - perhaps a day or two - Tony Blair was interviewed on TV [it's possible that I have a record of this] and stated that the decision to apply the methodologies of 'shoot to kill' - operation Kratos - 'didn't pass my desk'. How could that be? Because this is more than an 'operational issue' and goes to the very heart of the current debate concerning 'what does it mean to be British?'. Whatever the answer to that question my guess is that 'shoot to kill' is not part of it - and the sooner this failed policy is abandoned the safer all non-lilly-white Londoners will be.

Had the appalling cock-up at Stockwell led to the detonation of an explosive devise and with it the death of an innocent man - living in the UK legally or otherwise - operation Kratos would now be under review - or even defunct. But because the failure resulted in the shooting dead of an innocent man at the hands of the police - rather than his death in a bomb blast - somehow the police seem to believe that Kratos is still without doubt the correct approach. Bomb blast or execution - a innocent man died and Kratos failed all Londoners.