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

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein Hanged

A video grab taken from al-Iraqiya television shows ousted Iraq president Saddam Hussein moments before being hanged in Baghdad. A defiant Saddam refused to wear a hood over his head before the noose was wrapped around his neck and a trap door dropped beneath his feet, eyewitnesses to his hanging said (AFP/Al Iraqyia TV)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Desmond Tutu: Apartheid in the Holy Land

People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God's world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust. Link

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Beckett: Sleazy leaders stick together

"What I would certainly not dispute is that, on what people tend to call loosely the Arab Street, Britain's standing has been affected by the events of recent years.

"But when it comes to the governments, the negotiators, the people who are trying to do deals, the people who are trying to bring things together, the people who want advice and support and so on, Tony Blair's influence continues to be substantial.

"That is why he is there, because people want to talk to him and they want him to talk to them." Link

Blair Legacy Failure

Chatham House says the Blair legacy will be one of failure. And that Britain is the loser.

The post-9/11 decision to invade Iraq was a terrible mistake and the current debacle will have policy repercussions for many years to come. The root failure of Tony Blair's foreign policy has been its inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice - military, political and financial - that the United Kingdom has made. Link to Chatham House report [pdf]

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rumsfeld: Feed the military-industrial complex

Rumsfeld said."Ours is also a world of many friends and allies, but sadly, realistically, friends and allies with declining defense investment and declining capabilities and, I would add, as a result, with increasing vulnerabilities," Rumsfeld said. "All of which requires that the United States of America invest more." Read more

Thursday, December 14, 2006

BAE/Saudi Corruption case dropped - for our security!

Lord Goldsmith said the SFO had advised in a statement that its decision was taken after representations made "both to the Attorney General and the Director (of the SFO) concerning the need to safeguard national and international security."

The statement continued: "It has been necessary to balance the need to maintain the rule of law against the wider public interest.

"No weight has been given to commercial interests or to the national economic interest."

They have expressed the clear view that continuation of the investigation would cause serious damage to UK/Saudi security, intelligence and diplomatic cooperation, which is likely to have seriously negative consequences for the UK public interest in terms of both national security and our highest priority foreign policy objectives in the Middle East," he added Read more

db: And this stinky one comes the same day the PM of the UK - Blair - was interviewed by the cops.

Sleaze: UK Prime Minister questioned by cops

Prime Minister Tony Blair has been quizzed by police in the cash-for-honours inquiry. Link

"Absolutely possible" Margaret Beckett isn't a puppet

The UK foreign secretary has said the time is right to reassess Iraq policy, but added the country does not have to slide into "gloom and disaster".

Margaret Beckett criticised "incessant harping" about the worst, telling the BBC it was "absolutely possible" that Iraq could become stable and unified.

However it was right to reassess policy although there was no "magic formula".

She added that the future of Iraq was "in large part" in Iraqis', and its neighbouring countries', hands.

A report published last week by the US cross-party Iraq Study Group said the situation there was "grave" and "deteriorating". Link

As Israel bombed Lebanese civilians in the July War John Williams [spokesman for the past three foreign secretaries] says Margaret Beckett was little more than a "frustrated bystander" since all policy came out of Downing Street

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bush defends human rights. No really

Bush said "The United States supports the Syrian people's desire for democracy, human rights and freedom of expression," * Link

* Not including radical, political or militant Islamists. Excludes those being tortured by the US or US proxies including Syria.

Tickets for the fucking Diana gig

eBay banned sales of unwanted tickets for a Lady Di worshiping festival.

Fury as Diana tickets end up on eBay ..... "In view of the unique and commemorative nature of the event and as a mark of respect for the memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, eBay has decided to not allow the re-sale of tickets." Link

db: eBay you are making me sick.

Torture is at the heart of America's War of Terror


... That the US tortures, routinely and systematically, while prosecuting its "war on terror" can no longer be seriously disputed. The Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project (DAA), a coalition of academics and human-rights groups, has documented the abuse or killing of 460 inmates of US military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay. This, it says, is necessarily a conservative figure: many cases will remain unrecorded. The prisoners were beaten, raped, forced to abuse themselves, forced to maintain "stress positions", and subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation and mock executions. Read more

Blair: Everthing Iran doing in region is neg

"I look around the region at the moment and everything that Iran is doing is negative" Link

db: And 'we' are having an immensely positive impact on the region of course. I mean, for example, didn't it go down well when 'we' supported Israel's right to slaughter over a thousand Lebanese civilians .... that was incredibly positive ... and won the UK a host of new friends.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Iran Ku Klux Klan Stupid

"I mean to go and invite the former head of the Ku Klux Klan to a conference in Tehran which disputes the millions of people who died in the Holocaust ... what further evidence do you need that this regime is extreme?" Link

db: Yeah, ok, you godda point, extremely stupid.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Puppet President Protests

Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, comments on Baker report

"The report has a mentality that we are a colony where they impose their conditions and neglect our independence." Link

Clueless Prez will pull it together

It's a very complex set of issues, ranging from military strategy and tactical decisions to economic and political and diplomatic matters," [White House counselor] Bartlett said "All these elements coming together will help him sort through all the different interests and recommendations, and then pull it together for a comprehensive decision and announcement." Link

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Decider has an open mind

The White House has dismissed an appeal by James Baker, the former US secretary of state, that the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group be largely adopted as a whole.

Baker had appealed to Congress on Thursday to accept most, if not all, of the report's 79 recommendations for Iraq and said George Bush, the US president, should do the same.

Baker said: "I hope we don't treat this as a fruit salad, and say, 'I like this but I don't like that.'"

But White House officials said on Friday that the president was instead considering various proposals for a change in course.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said that Bush, "as commander in chief, still has the obligation to take seriously every bit of analysis and advice he gets and to make his own decisions."

"Open mind"

Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, said on Friday the ISG report would be considered along with internal reviews conducted by the Pentagon, the state department and the national security council.

... Democratic senator Richard Durbin said Bush did not reject the report outright but "when he talked about his approach to Iraq, there was no indication of a change in basic strategy. He talked about changing some tactics."

Perino said Bush is keeping an "open mind" about recommendations from the bipartisan panel on ways to change US stratedy in Iraq. Read more

db: See, there is a whole bunch of 'reports' 'reviews' and suchlike currently being looked at. And what the President has to do, as commander in chief, is sit down and make his own mind up; giving due consideration to all those who offer council, and yet, at the same time, recognising that being The Decider is everything.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bush: "It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?"

The Age

The rhetoric of success in Iraq had not changed all that much, but a day after the report of the Iraq Study Group painted a dark and devastating picture of his Iraq venture, George Bush's body language spoke of something approaching defeat.

At a press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his closest ally, Mr Bush looked old, grey and diminished. There was an unreal quality to his determination to sound emphatic and confident that America could - had to - succeed in Iraq. Not win, mind you - the US President has stopped talking about victory - but succeed.

When Mr Bush said that the situation in Iraq was "unsettling", a British journalist asked why he seemed to still be in denial about how bad things were in Iraq and whether this denial meant he was not serious about major changes in Iraq policy. Mr Bush looked resigned rather than angry that he would so brazenly be accused by a journalist of denying what was obvious to virtually everyone.

"It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?" he said and then proceeded to talk of the families of fallen US soldiers whom he met regularly, his visits to US hospitals where he met wounded and maimed service men and women; the people who were, he said, making the sacrifices.

"I would not have our troops in harm's way if I did not believe it was important and if I did not believe we would succeed," he said. Link

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Iraq: "Pessimism is pervasive", but Blair offers hope

[Blair] conceded conditions in Iraq were "tough and challenging"

But he said the people of the Middle East faced a choice - either secular or religious dictatorship, or "they can enjoy the same possibilities of democracy that we hold dear" Link

The challenges in Iraq are complex. Violence is increasing in scope and lethality. It is fed by a Sunni Arab insurgency, Shiite militias and death squads, al Qaeda, and widespread criminality. Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability. The Iraqi people have a democratically elected government, yet it is not adequately advancing national reconciliation,providing basic security, or delivering essential services. Pessimism is pervasive. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe. Neighboring countries could intervene. Sunni-Shia clashes could spread. Al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations. The global standing of the United States could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized.
Excerpt from 'Execitive Summary' - Iraq Study Group Report [pdf]

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gordon Brown - Trident supporter - goes green

Chancellor Gordon Brown today ended the freeze on fuel duty and doubled the tax for air travellers as he sought to establish his "green" credentials. Read more

db: How 'green' are we planning to get? At least as green as the leader of the Tory party, who also backs Trident and most other Neo-Labour big ideas - including cash-for-peerages. It's the great british undemocratic parliamentary consensus.

Gets worse for Blair

This Is London

A Labour rebel was last night elected chairman of the parliamentary party - ousting a close aide of Tony Blair.

Former Foreign Office minister Tony Lloyd, who has rebelled on Iraq, tuition fees and foundation hospitals, defeated Ann Clwyd in a vote of Labour MPs.

Mrs Clwyd, the Prime Minister's special envoy to Iraq and MP for Cynon Valley, was axed after just a year in the post after being branded a 'government patsy'.

... Senior Labour backbencher Dr Ian Gibson said: 'There will be a lot more room for dissent. This is an amazing victory and it illustrates just how much unhappiness there is in the parliamentary party at Downing Street control. 'Ann Clwyd was seen as being far too close to the whips and others. People were booed and hissed if they dared to speak out. We've now got a chair who will stop all that.' Link

Canadians question Afghanistan strategy

Toronto Star

Canada is on the way out of Afghanistan - or at least out of the battle zones in that country's south.

This is not official. It has certainly not been announced. But both the governing Conservatives and now the Stephane Dion Liberals are signaling that this is where they intend to go.

The Liberals, originally the architects of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan, have become, under their new leader, some of its harshest critics.

"(Trying to) kill the Taliban in every corner of the mountains doesn't work," Dion said on Monday. "So we will try to propose to the government an approach that makes sense." Read more

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hans Blix: Britain, UNSC, failing to fulfil NPT obligations

Former United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix took aim on Monday at the United States and Britain, accusing the Iraq-invasion allies of increasing the risk Iran and North Korea will possess deliverable nuclear weapons.

Speaking just ahead of a British parliamentary vote on upgrading the British nuclear deterrent, Blix said countries without nuclear weapons feel "cheated when the have-states are deciding new types of weapons."

He added the Bush administration pledge that "all options" remain on the table in dealing with Iran and North Korea shows Washington still claims the right to use pre-emptive force - a policy Blix believes could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

"Despite some valuable progress in arms control and disarmament during the 1990s, we are actually in a phase of re-armament," Blix told international lawyers at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London.

... Blix said the United States, Britain and the other nuclear powers with permanent UN Security Council seats - France, China and Russia - are all guilty of failing to fulfil their side of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It calls for their eventual disarmament in return for a promise by non-nuclear countries to shun nuclear weapons. But the nuclear "club" has expanded in recent years to include India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Iran, said Blix, is "under suspicion" of seeking to do the same.

Blix said the world "missed the opportunity" to work towards disarmament at the end of the Cold War, saying there had been a "fragmented" approach towards non-proliferation through an array of treaties, and he called for the UN to call an international conference.

He gave numerous examples of how he believes the United States is raising tensions, citing in particular U.S. development of the missile shield, which he said made Russia and China feel vulnerable, and talk among U.S. policy makers of placing weapons in space.

Blix said U.S claims to the right to use pre-emptive force are particularly worrying when coupled with what he called the "conventionalization" of nuclear weapons - something for which the British had once argued in the case of "low-yield" nuclear weapons if used in areas such as the high seas where few civilians would be killed.

"While the overwhelming majority of states reject the U.S. claims to (pre-emptive) licence on the use of armed force, there may be a risk that these U.S. policies and doctrines, the development of smaller nuclear weapons, and the trend towards conventionalization could, one day, lead to the use of nuclear weapons," he said. Link

Monday, December 04, 2006

John Bolton resignation


The US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, today became the Bush administration's latest foreign policy hawk to fall victim to the Democratic takeover of Congress.

With senators refusing to confirm his nomination, the White House bowed to the inevitable and said Mr Bolton would step down in a few days.

The White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President George Bush had reluctantly accepted Mr Bolton's decision to leave the UN post when the current session of the US Congress ended, possibly at the end of the week. Read more

db: John Bolton resignation. John Bolton resignation. John Bolton resignation.
- That felt good.

Iraq: It's Civil War - Kofi Annan

BBC: Is it civil war?

Kofi Annan: I think, given the level of violence, the level of killing and bitterness and the way that forces are arranged against each other. A few years ago, when we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war. This is much worse. Full text

"Chavez isn't going anywhere"

Times Online

Hugo Chavez has been resoundingly reelected as President of Venezuela, capturing an ample mandate to extend a socialist revolution that challenges Washington's influence in Latin America.

Dressed in his trademark red shirt, Mr Chavez celebrated his second six-year term late last night from a balcony of the presidential palace after his challenger, Manuel Rosales, conceded defeat in yesterday's vote.

Mr Chavez dedicated his victory to the ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro - whom he calls his "father" - and told a mass of cheering supporters that his landslide win was a bitter defeat for President Bush.

"Today we gave another lesson in dignity to the imperialists, it is another defeat for the empire of Mr Danger," he roared to the crowd. "It's another defeat for the devil who tries to dominate the world."

The National Electoral Council said that Mr Chavez won 61 per cent of the vote while Mr Rosales, the governor of an oil-producing province who managed to unite the fractured opposition, won 38 per cent after nearly 80 per cent of the vote had been counted.

Chavez supporters fired off thunderous fireworks in the capital and drove through Caracas chanting, "Chavez isn't going anywhere" Link

War of Terror not cheap

Last rites for indicted former dictator Pinochet

Chile's former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, has bean given the last rites after suffering a heart attack.

Pinochet Indicted for 1973 Executions

Iran grateful for US Aid

In Teheran, Iranian leaders have made clear that they believe they are the big winners from America's involvement in Iraq. "The kind of service that the Americans, with all their hatred, have done us - no superpower has ever done anything similar," Mohsen Rezai, secretary-general of the powerful Expediency Council that advises the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei, boasted on state television recently. Link

Sunday, December 03, 2006

'Yo' Blair heads for Washington

Times Online

Tony Blair will fly to Washington this week for a summit with President George W Bush to discuss the gradual handover of Iraq, amid renewed doubts about Britain's influence over the US, write David Cracknell and Sarah Baxter.

The prime minister will travel to the White House on Wednesday for a two-day visit, with attention likely to be focused on the publication of a major review of US policy in Iraq.

The report of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker, the former secretary of state, will suggest gradually phasing the mission of US troops in Iraq from combat to training and supporting Iraqi units.

Blair's visit is likely to be dominated by the issue. Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, announced last month that British troops could pass responsibility to Iraqi forces early next year.

The prime minister is also likely to face awkward questions about how much influence he has over the White House. Kendall Myers, a State Department official, said last week the special relationship between Britain and America was "totally one-sided" Read more

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Raul Castro: US rejected pre-emptive war, torture, kidnapping

Raul Castro speaks during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the celebration of the 80th birthday of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Recent events in the international arena bear witness to the failure of the adventurous policies of the current US administration. On 7 November, the people of that country showed by the ballot box their rejection of the strategic concept of pre-emptive war, the use of lies to justify military interventions, kidnappings and secret prisons, and the despicable legalisation of torture in the so-called war on terrorism.

Three years and seven months after President Bush euphorically and precipitately declared on board an aircraft carrier "mission accomplished" with regards to the war in Iraq, the bodies of young American soldiers killed in a war spurred by the desire to control the region's energy resources continue to be sent back to the United States.

Nobody dares anymore to predict when it will end.

The US government is at a dead-end: on the one hand, it realises that it cannot prolong occupation in Iraq, while on the other it admits that it doesn't have the minimum conditions needed to pull out without damaging their interests.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths and mutilations continues to mount among civilians subjected to an internecine war, the result of the anarchy and chaos created by the US invasion.

Some in the United States are now suggesting that they simply withdraw from the chaos that they themselves created.

We don't know what they will do in this case, with the Nato left high and dry by its American buddies in the conflict in Afghanistan, which is also becoming increasingly unmanageable and dangerous.

In the eyes of the world, the so-called "crusade on terrorism" is unavoidably heading down the path to a humiliating defeat.

The American people, just as in the case of Vietnam, will put an end to these unjust and criminal wars.

We hope that the US authorities will learn that war is not the solution to the growing problems afflicting the planet; that proclaiming their right to irresponsibly attack "60 or more dark corners" of the world, even when they are already stuck in two of them, makes their differences with other countries more complex and profound; that power based on intimidation and terror will never be anything more than a passing illusion and that the terrible consequences of this on the peoples of the world, including the American, are clear to see.

We feel certain that the way to resolve the pressing conflicts afflicting mankind is not through war, but rather political solutions.

We take this opportunity to once again state that we are willing to resolve at the negotiating table the longstanding dispute between the United States and Cuba, of course, provided they accept, as we have previously said, our condition as a country that will not tolerate any blemishes on its independence, and as long as said resolution is based on the principles of equality, reciprocity, non-interference and mutual respect.

In the meantime, after almost half a century, we are willing to wait patiently until the moment when common sense prevails in the Washington power circles.

Regardless of this, we shall continue to consolidate our nation's military invulnerability based on the strategic concept of the War of All the People which we planned and began introducing 25 years ago.

This type of popular war, as repeatedly proven throughout modern history, is simply invincible.

Full text

Israel compensation dream

A United Nations human rights inquiry said on Friday that Israel should be made to pay compensation for damage caused by its month-long war in Lebanon this past summer, especially losses incurred by civilians. It suggested setting up an international compensation program similar to the one which has paid out billions of dollars to cover losses due to Iraq's 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Link