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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Iraq: Not a civil war, but several civil wars

More than four months after the launch of the U.S. government's new Iraq strategy aimed at curbing violence in this war-torn country, the situation here shows no clear signs of improvement. Indeed, a recent report by a British think tank warns that Iraq is a "failure" on the verge of "collapse and fragmentation."

... According to figures by the Iraq Body Count -- a group which maintains a database of media-reported civilian deaths attributable to military action and sectarian and criminal violence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion -- in January, the month before the start of the Baghdad security plan, 2,800 people were killed.

In February the monthly total dropped slightly to 2,720, while in the first 27 days of this month, 2,500 civilians have been killed, showing no major decline in violence.

Citing the complexity of the situation in Iraq, the report by the prestigious Chatham House think tank notes that "there is not one civil war nor one insurgency, but several civil wars and insurgencies" going on simultaneously.

In the central parts of the country, Shia and Sunni Muslims are fighting each other. In the mixed areas of the north a conflict, though still small, has broken out between Arabs and Kurds. The western parts of the country are witnessing Sunni tribes fighting the al-Qaeda terror network, and in the south Shia political groups are fighting for power and control of oil-rich areas like Basra.

Added to this is a relentless insurgency by various groups against the Iraqi government and foreign troops. Link

Monday, May 28, 2007

All for one and none for y'all

Mr. ElBaradei pointed out the risks posed by existing nuclear arsenals as non-nuclear countries are moved to emulate other nations with nuclear capability. “And of course, plans to replenish and modernize these weapons creates a pervasive sense of cynicism among many non-nuclear-weapon States – who perceive a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude,” he said. Link

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Adam on an Allosaurus

The Creation Museum, a project of the socially conservative religious organization Answers in Genesis, mocks evolutionary science and invites visitors to find faith and truth in God. It welcomes its first paying guests -- $19.95 for adults, $9.95 for children, not counting discounts for joining a mailing list -- just weeks after three Republican presidential candidates said they do not believe in evolution.

Opinion polls suggest that about half of Americans agree Link

Neo-Labour War on Liberty

NEW anti-terrorism laws are to be pushed through before Tony Blair leaves office giving “wartime” powers to the police to stop and question people.

John Reid, the home secretary, who is also quitting next month, intends to extend Northern Ireland’s draconian police powers to interrogate individuals about who they are, where they have been and where they are going.

Under the new laws, police will not need to suspect that a crime has taken place and can use the power to gain information about “matters relevant” to terror investigations.

If suspects fail to stop or refuse to answer questions, they could be charged with a criminal offence and fined up to £5,000. Police already have the power to stop and search people but they have no right to ask for their identity and movements.

No general police power to stop and question has ever been introduced in mainland Britain except during wartime.

Civil liberties campaigners last night branded the proposed measures “one of the most significant moves on civil liberties since the second world war”. Link

db: To hell with Neo-Labour and to hell with all those who would give up our liberty. Liberty was never a gift. It was purchased with the blood of our abused and downtrodden ancestors - back in the day before the 'minimum wage' [that's the shockingly low rate per hour that an employer can legally get away with and yet still fly an 'investor in people' flag].

We're all suspects in 'John Reid World'

The government is considering giving police officers across the UK "stop and question" powers under new anti-terror laws, says the Home Office.

The proposal, allowing police to ask people about their identity and movement, is among measures being considered by Home Secretary John Reid.

The measure is so far used only in Northern Ireland.

Police elsewhere have to have "reasonable suspicion" a crime has been committed before they can stop people. Link

Saturday, May 26, 2007

'50 ways to war with Iran'. Number 14 (a series)

Did the Iranian government supply these to kill our troops in
Afghanistan? Probably not ...

British troops in Afghanistan are being targeted by surface-to-air missiles supplied by Iran, a senior Army source said yesterday.

Officers in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are supplying hundreds of weapons, including the missiles, to Taliban insurgents, it is believed.

Most worrying is the news that SA7 Strella anti-aircraft missiles have been supplied to the Taliban. The weapons are a serious threat to helicopters supplying more than 6,000 troops.

Arms have been discovered by American Special Forces teams working alongside the Afghan National Army.

"There is reporting that leads us to believe a number of agencies, that possibly include Iranian organisations, are significantly supporting the Taliban," a military intelligence source told The Daily Telegraph.

His remarks are the most authoritative confirmation that British and other Nato forces face an increasingly sophisticated threat from Iranian supplied arms. Link

Iran 'accused of attacks in Iraq to bolster US strategy'

The Bush administration may be highlighting accusations that the Iranian government is behind attacks in Iraq in order to strengthen its hand in preparing for military strikes on Iran, according to a leading British think-tank.

In a report sifting the evidence produced by US authorities against Iran, the independent think-tank Basic cast doubt on the strength of the intelligence, saying that proved links between the Tehran regime and militia inside Iraq remained "sketchy".

Given the close ties between Shia Muslim Iran and Iraq, which has a dominant Shia population in the south, the report warned of the dangers of conflating "legitimate acts of foreign relations and cross-border movements of people" with the alleged Iranian involvement in violence.

The UK and US governments have frequently accused Iran of aiding militant groups in Iraq who are attacking coalition forces. However, the report said that "despite efforts by the Bush administration to confirm the strength of evidence presented, doubt still surrounds the case against Iran, particularly with regard to the degree of direct involvement of the Iranian leadership.

"Whatever the true extent and nature of Iranian military action in Iraq, few independent analysts believe Tehran is playing a decisive role in the sectarian warfare and insurgency," said the report.

Turning to the US strategic motivation for highlighting the Iranian role in Iraq, Basic (British American Security Information Council) suggested that Iran could be a "useful scapegoat to divert the blame" for failures in Iraq away from the occupying powers. But also, "if Tehran can be cast as a source of regional instability in the eyes of the international community, then the US administration's hand will be strengthened as it seeks support for stronger measures to oppose Iranian nuclear ambitions". Link

Iraqi Freedom cummin at ya

Residents gather at the ruins of a building after an air strike
by the U.S. forces in Baghdad's Sadr City May 25, 2007

- 'Bombing a city you militarily occupy is probably illegal in international law'- Juan Cole

Friday, May 25, 2007

Iraq: He's 'radical', he's 'fiery', he's back

Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops leave Iraq. It was not immediately clear why he chose to return now to his base in the Shiite holy city of Najaf from Iran. His speech had new nationalist overtones, calling on Sunnis to join with him in the fight against the U.S. presence. He also criticized the government's inability to provide reliable services to its people."

His speech had new nationalist overtones, calling on Sunnis to join with him in the fight against the U.S. presence. He also criticized the government's inability to provide reliable services to its people.

Al-Sadr's reappearance, four months after he went underground at the start of the U.S.-led Baghdad security crackdown, came just hours before his Mahdi Army militia lost its top commander in the southern city of Basra in a gunbattle with British soldiers, Iraqi police said.

British military spokeswoman Capt. Katie Brown said Iraqi special forces carried out the operation with British troops in "a supporting role." Brown declined to reveal more about the shooting, saying details would have to come from the Iraqis.

The 33-year-old al-Sadr is believed to be honing plans to consolidate political gains and foster ties with Iran — and possibly trying to take advantage of the absence of a major rival, Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and went to Iran for treatment. Link

db: It must really hurt the Americans - USG - that al-Sadr now advocates non-violent resistance to the occupation. It's really quite a thorny issue for the Americans, this non-violence. I mean, just how do you deal with non-violence? Covertly I guess.

Iraq: Return of Muqtada al-Sadr

... Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr prays in the holy Shiite
city of Kufa 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad on
Friday, May 25,2007. Al-Sadr appeared in public for the first
time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American
sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops
leave Iraq. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)

Sunni resistance warms to Muqtada

Nationalist Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's bid to unite Sunnis and Shi'ites on the basis of a common demand for withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq, reported last weekend by the Washington Post's Sudarsan Raghavan, seems likely to get a positive response from the Sunni armed resistance.

An account given to Pentagon officials by a military officer recently returned from Iraq suggests that Sunni tribal leaders in al-Anbar province, who have generally reflected the views of the

Sunni armed resistance there, are open to working with Muqtada.

According to Raghavan's report on May 20, talks between Muqtada's representatives and Sunni leaders, including leaders of Sunniarmed-resistance factions, began last month. A commander of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Abu Aja Naemi, confirmed to Raghavan that his organization had been in discussions with Muqtada's representatives.

Muqtada's aides say he was encouraged to launch the new cross-sectarian initiative by the increasingly violent opposition from nationalist Sunni insurgents to the jihadis aligned with al-Qaeda. One of his top aides, Ahmed Shaibani, recalled that the administration of US President George W Bush was arguing that a timetable was unacceptable because of the danger of al-Qaeda taking advantage of a withdrawal. Shaibani told Raghavan that sectarian peace could be advanced if both Muqtada's Mahdi Army and Sunni insurgent groups could unite to weaken al-Qaeda.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

IRAQ: Domestic violence against children on the rise


Mental health specialists say there has been an increase in domestic violence against children largely a result of the violence that has gripped Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. They say the violence has affected people’s behaviour.

“We have observed that there has been an increase in the number of cases of aggression against children in Iraq and the main perpetrators of this aggression are the children’s own parents. Their aggressive behaviour is seriously affecting the daily life of thousands of innocent children,” said Ala’a al-Sahaddi, vice-president of the Iraq Psychologists Association (IPA).

“Parental punishments are becoming harsher. We investigated cases in which children were left with water but no food for over two days, or who were beaten with belts or sticks that left them with broken bones,” al-Sahaddi added.

According to al-Sahaddi, most Iraqis nowadays behave aggressively towards each other, and exhibit disturbed behaviour. He said the few psychologists left in Iraq do not know how to treat these problems.

“Most of the children I see have disturbed behaviour or post-traumatic stress disorder. They suffer from domestic violence and are being treated with simple medication, as it is very hard to find more potent drugs in Iraq,” said Ibrahim Abdullah, a psychiatrist and member of the National League for the Study of Health Disorders (NLSHD).

“Most of the [affected] families come here for help and sometimes we can do nothing for them. Some parents are aware of their disturbed behaviour in dealing with their children but claim they don’t have control, and only realise what they have done when they see their children are hurt and require urgent medical assistance,” Abdullah added.
Abdullah said that with the ongoing violence it would be very difficult to change such behaviour.

During former President Saddam Hussein’s regime, there were about 90 psychiatrists in Iraq and some 45 psychologists but today there are fewer than 40 of both in total, according to the IPA, most of them having fled to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Syria.

Research findings

A privately funded study - entitled 'The effects of war on psychological distress' - by the IPA with the support of the NLSHD in Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala and Babil provinces, showed that of the 2,500 families interviewed, 87 percent had observed a family member with psychological distress.

Some 91 percent of the children interviewed said they faced more aggression at home than before the US-led invasion in 2003; nearly 38 percent had serious haematomas [localised swellings filled with blood] after beatings.
Read more

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Germans tell Yanks: Kill Less Civilians (boneheads)

U.S. counterterrorism troops in Afghanistan need to limit the number of civilian casualties and prevent a backlash from locals, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said Monday.

"We have to do everything to avoid civilians being affected," Jung said on German state television ZDF on Wednesday. "We are in talks with our American friends about this."

Past incidents showed that the troops' behavior needed to be improved and they should show more restraint, Jung said, referring especially to the U.S.-led counterterrorism mission, which was known until recently as Operation Enduring Freedom and operates outside NATO's force of 36,000 troops. Link

Palestinians digging

Palestinians digging to find the bodies of those who were killed during an air strike by Israeli helicopters
Rafah Today

Vote 'New Tory' for the 'New' way forward

Tony and Dave Forever

There is not a fag paper between Neo-Labour and the Conservatives ... both bloody awful parties. Why don't they be done with it and merge. It can be the New Tory party. And it can be lead by a resurgent Tony Blair with Dave Cameron as his side kick [Tony can strike a deal to hand Dave the reigns in a 'few' years]. They'll be in power for millennia. And given that they've already sold off the few differentiating principles that once existed, the policy implications will be trivial.

I guess it wouldn't look like much of a democracy if they merged, and they wouldn't make as much cash for, erm, funding if they were consolidated into just 'one' party. Which is the reverse message to the one they espouse - the market - with its mergers and lay-offs and shipping the jobs off to the lowest bidder.

I vote we put the main two parties into the hands of a private equity company, pure money men, who can then 'leverage' the 'synergies' and mold a leaner, fitter 'New Tory' off shore registered single party state [+ the libdems/the queen]. Tony and Dave ............. F O R E V E R

... At a general election, the ICM poll result would leave Labour as the largest party, but short of a parliamentary majority by perhaps 25 seats. One in three voters backs the Liberal Democrats or a smaller party such as the Greens, unchanged on 2%. The Liberal Democrats - bruised by their performance in this month's local elections - remain on 21%. That should ease pressure on Sir Menzies Campbell after recent poor findings from other polling companies.Link

'The Guardian' beats Iran war drum

Iran's secret plan for summer
offensive to force US out of Iraq

Simon Tisdall

Tuesday May 22, 2007


US officials say
a senior US official in Baghdad warned
the official said
the official said
US officials now say
the senior official in Baghdad said
the official said
the administration official also claimed
US officials say
the senior official in Baghdad said
the senior administration official said
Washington analysts and commentators predict
former Bush administration official said
a senior adviser to Gen Petraeus reported
Iranian officials flatly deny

Read it in full if you want, here:,,329891795-103550,00.html

Monday, May 21, 2007

Police chief warns of Orwellian CCTV Britain

A police chief warned yesterday that Britain's millions of CCTV cameras were creating a 1984 Big Brother society.

Questioning whether more surveillance was needed, Ian Readhead said: "I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next.

"Are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner?

"I don't think that's the kind of country I want to live in." Link

Nato: Still have very much the hearts and minds

"We are not the same moral category as the Taliban" said the plucky Nato Sec. Gen.
"We grieve with you" said the president

"To Afghans who have lost innocent civilians, we grieve with you. To the Afghani families that have been affected by the Taliban using them as shields [sic], you know, we have great sympathy," said the president.

"We do not have sympathy, however, for the tactics of the Taliban," Bush added, amid the anger in Afghanistan at NATO strikes that UN and Afghan investigations found have killed civilians, including women and children.

... "Let me tell you one thing: We are not in the same moral category as our opponents, as the Taliban in Afghanistan," Scheffer said, stressing that NATO forces "still have the support of the large majority of the Afghan people."

"Every innocent civilian fatality, death, is one too many. But in a conflict, it is, from time to time, unavoidable," he said. "We still have very much the hearts and minds of the Afghan people." Link

db: Unavoidable see ...

Fisk: Scores dead as Lebanese army battles Islamists in bloodiest day since civil war

Butchery was the word that came to mind. Twenty-three Lebanese soldiers and police, 17 Sunni Muslim gunmen. How long can Lebanon endure this? Just before he died, one of the armed men - Palestinians? Lebanese? - we still don't know - shot a soldier right beside me. He fell down on his back, crying with pain, and I thought he had slipped on the road until I saw the blood pumping out of his leg and the Red Cross team dragging him desperately out of the line of fire. Not since the war - yes, the Lebanese civil war that we are all still trying to forget - have I heard this many bullets cracking across the streets of a Lebanese city.

And the dead. Five of the 17 gunmen were killed after paramilitary police stormed an apartment block in 200 Street in the centre of Tripoli. One lay on his back like a child, water from a broken hydrant streaming over his corpse. Another lay crumpled in a doorway amid glass and the Kalashnikov rifle he was still firing when he died. "How young they all were," a woman remarked with a kind of weariness, and I noticed the dead were also bearded, the little stubble beards al-Qaida's men like to wear.

The bloody events in Lebanon yesterday passed so swiftly - and so dangerously for those of us on the streets - that I am still unsure what happened. Clearly, an al-Qaida-type group tried to ambush the Lebanese army - and succeeded all too appallingly; 23 dead soldiers and police is a fearful figure for a tiny country such as Lebanon. But was it really a Syrian plot, as Fouad Siniora's government suggested? Was this the long hand of Syria stretching out once more across Lebanon's green and pleasant land?

So here are a few facts. A group of armed men tried to rob a Tripoli bank on Saturday and got cornered in an apartment block. Others holed up in the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp north of the city. When I arrived yesterday, army tank fire was bursting in the camp and black-hooded policemen were preparing to storm, Iraqi-style, into the city-centre building. But the robbers were said to have stolen only $1,500. Was that worth this massacre? And is "Fatah al-Islaam" - which has existed in the shadows of the camp for months - really a 300-strong armed group?

Certainly the dead gunmen were real. I found two more heaped together in Tripoli, covered in spent ammunition clips, the apartment building on fire - so hot I could not get up the stairs - but families still struggling down. One woman carried a baby. "Only four days old, he is only four," she wailed at me. One family I found huddling in their bathroom, 12 terrified Lebanese who had spent 24 hours in this tiny room as bullets swept the walls of their home. So what in God's name happened in Lebanon yesterday?

Well, Mr Siniora claimed it was an attempt to destabilise Lebanon - a good guess, to put it mildly - and Saad Hariri, son of the former prime minister murdered here more than two years ago, called the armed men "evil-doers who had hijacked Islam". This is the same Saad Hariri whom at least one American reporter - I refer to Seymour Hersh - suggested was indirectly helping to funnel Saudi money to these same gunmen in a recent article in The New Yorker. The Shia Muslim Hizbollah are supposed to be the bad guys in this scenario, not a Sunni group.

But Tripoli is the most powerful Sunni city in Lebanon - so powerful that not a drop of alcohol wets its restaurant tables - and the men and women running in terror across Tripoli's streets yesterday were also Sunnis. So are the Syrians really concocting an "al-Qaida" in Lebanon? And who are its enemies? The Nato army of the UN force in southern Lebanon, perhaps? But surely not the Lebanese army, the very same army which bravely prevented civil war last January? Yet in 2000, an al-Qaida-type group also ambushed the Lebanese army in northern Lebanon. Was this, too, supposed to be a Syrian invention?

Showers of bullets were still tracing their way over Tripoli last night and the army was said to be preparing to move into the camps. Fatah, Yasser Arafat's clapped-out organisation, announced it was on the side of the army, a wise decision after yesterday's bloodbath. "A dangerous attempt to undermine Lebanon's security," was the response of a government whose Shia cabinet ministers abandoned it last year in the hope of bringing the whole Siniora administration down. But where do we go from here?

And who were the dead men I saw yesterday, perforated by bullets, partly torn open by grenades? Silent testimony is all we receive from the dead. One of them had big eyes above his fluffy beard, eyes which stared at us and at the police who jeered at his corpse. I wonder if they will not come to haunt us soon. And if we will discover what lies behind this terrible day in Lebanon. Link

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sad Greetings from Mohammed - Rafah Today

This mail came from Mohammed at Rafah today:

Dear Friends,
I'm scared, i was almost killed or at least bleeding
till death. three militants were closing all roads and
they sudden, they said to me stop during the curfew, i
stop and then the masked-men open fire under my feet
hitting the ground under my feet. i thought I'm
killed, and i could not explain or scream as the
shooting was louder than my scream, so I said, :" No,
don't do that, stop stop, please" oh, i was in tears,
this is the first time I'm begging someone not to kill
me, and then the other guy who's also militant was
standing in my side and said, we don't want to kill
him, lets shoot him in his legs and leave him bleed. I
said, what? why? and then he said, your ID, I show it
with the press card and then they let me go. I was
scared that they would shoot at me once I turn my
back, but alhamdllah this didn't happen, I was scared,
scared, scared to death. this was not pleasant
experience, and they were doing this, as I got stuck
and could not find transport back home, so I went
walking in the streets. I'm scared to death. those are
just evil and terrible people. I don't wish to be in
that position again. i can't stand in my feet
anymore, I feel pain and scared. those are working for
preventive security, which is working closely with
Israelis. I was wearing my bullet proof vest, but this
didn't protect me enough. today, more than 10 were
killed and tens were injured, many by Israelis, but
still some by Palestinian clashes between Hamas and
Fateh. they don't want this to be reported. I didn't
tell about this to my mother, she will be scared

sad greetings!

Iraq: US military and 'contractor' deaths mount

At least 146 contract workers were killed in Iraq in the first three months of the year, by far the highest number for any quarter since the war began in March 2003, according to the Labor Department, which processes death and injury claims for those working as United States government contractors in Iraq.

...came closer to the number of American military deaths during the same period - 244 - than during any other quarter since the war began, according to official figures. Link

Hubble Finds Ring of Dark Matter


This Hubble Space Telescope composite image shows a ghostly "ring" of dark matter in the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17.

The ring-like structure is evident in the blue map of the cluster's dark matter distribution. The map is superimposed on a Hubble image of the cluster. The ring is one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date for the existence of dark matter, an unknown substance that pervades the universe.

The map was derived from Hubble observations of how the gravity of the cluster Cl 0024+17 distorts the light of more distant galaxies, an optical illusion called gravitational lensing. Although astronomers cannot see dark matter, they can infer its existence by mapping the distorted shapes of the background galaxies. The mapping also shows how dark matter is distributed in the cluster. Link

Blair: "She's never had it so good"

Linda and Jeana's: eggs over easy, large taser

There's a big difference between being anti American and anti USG foreign policy.

Breakfast at Linda and Jeana's, with the generous helpings of hash browns with chillies, onions, eggs over easy, coffee by the gallon and not forgetting the staff's frequent deployment of the taser (richly deserved I admit), reminded me how much I like the place. Thanks ma'am!

If you are ever near Lyons CO go there! - try the legendary Huevos Rancheros ... you won't need Tabasco - and what's more requesting it may offend.

We added a link:

Phil Taylor's Web Site

Phil needs some sleep

Dancing, not understanding

"Trying to do a tap dance on his political grave, aren't you?" Bush said Thursday at Blair's side in the White House Rose Garden, admonishing British reporters looking beyond Blair's tenure six weeks before he leaves office. "You don't understand how effective Blair is, I guess." Link

Blair's repulsive "goodbye" - Robert Fisk - foreground element: Repulsive

Blair's lies and linguistic manipulations

By great good fortune, I studied linguistics at Lancaster University. Indeed, I read the books of Noam Chomsky, many years before he became a good friend of mine; to be honest, when I read his work, I thought Chomsky was dead. What a pleasure, therefore, to discover that he shared my world - and my views on Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara.

But I have to admit a moment of regret this weekend. Lord Blair is going from us. His self-serving memoirs will, of course, remind us of his God-like view of himself (and, heaven spare me, we share the same publishers) but I doubt if Chomsky's "foregrounded elements" will save him. A "foregrounded element" was something unusual, a phrase placed in such a way that it warned us of a lie to come.

Take George Tenet, the CIA Ernest Borgnine lookalike who sat behind Colin Powell when the US Secretary of State was uttering all those lies about weapons of mass destruction in February of 2003. It now turns out that George is mightily upset with the White House. He didn't refer to evidence of WMD as a "slam dunk", he says - a basketball phrase which I don't need to explain. He was talking about the ability of the US government to persuade the American people to go to war based on these lies. In other words, he wasn't lying to the American president. He was only lying to the American people.

I was struck by all this last month when I came across one of Blair's lies in my local Beirut paper. Sandwiched beneath a headline which read "Saudi reforms lose momentum" - surely one of the more extraordinarily unnecessary stories in the Arab press - it quoted our dear Prime Minister as saying that he was very angry that a review committee had prevented him from deporting two Algerians home because their government represented a "different political system". The "foregrounded" element, of course, is the word "different". This is the word that contains the lie. For the reason why the committee declined to return these men to their country was not - as Blair well knew - because Algeria possesses a "different" political system but because the Algerian "system" allows it to torture to death its prisoners.

I have myself interviewed Algerian policemen and women who have become perverted by their witness of torture: one policewoman told me how she now loves horror films because they remind her of the repulsive torture she had to watch at the Chateauneuf police station in Algiers - where prisoners had water pumped into their anuses until they died. I still remember the spiteful and abusive letter that the Algerian ambassador to London wrote to The Independent, sneering at Saida Kheroui whose foot was broken under torture. She was a "terrorist", this man announced. This is the "different" political system that Blair was referring to. Ms Kheroui, by the way, never emerged from prison. She was murdered by her torturers.

Blair knows that the Algerian security forces rape women to death. He knows this. So how does he dare lie about the "different" political system which allows police officers to rape women? We Europeans now make a habit of lying about this. Take the Belgian government. It deported Bouasria Ben Othman to Algeria on 15 July 1996 on the grounds that he would not be in danger if he was returned to his country. He died in police custody at Moustaganem. A "different" political system indeed.

And now I have before me Blair's repulsive "goodbye" speech to the British people, uttered at Sedgefield. Putting the country first didn't mean "doing the right thing according to conventional wisdom" (Chomsky foregrounded element: conventional) or the "prevailing consensus: (Chomsky foregrounded element: prevailing). It meant "what you genuinely believe to be right" (Chomsky foregrounded element: genuinely). Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara wanted to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Britain's oldest ally, which he assumed to be the United States. (It is actually Portugal, but no matter.) "I did so out of belief," he told us. Foregrounded element: belief.

Am I alone in being repulsed by this? "Politics may be the art of the possible (foregrounded element: may) but, at least in life, give the impossible a go." What does this mean? Is Blair adopting sainthood as a means to an end? "Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right." Excuse me? Is that Blair's message to the families of all those dead soldiers - and to the families of all those thousands of dead Iraqis? It has been an "honour" to "serve" Britain, this man tells us. What gall.

Yes, I must acknowledge Northern Ireland. If only Blair had kept to this achievement. If only he had accepted that his role was to end 800 years of the Anglo-Irish conflict. But no. He wanted to be our Saviour - and he allowed George Bush to do such things as Oliver Cromwell would find quite normal. Torture. Murder. Rape.

My Dad used to call people like Blair a "twerp" which, I think, meant a pregnant earwig. But Blair is not a twerp. I very much fear he is a vicious little man. And I can only recall Cromwell's statement to the Rump Parliament in 1653, repeated - with such wisdom - by Leo Amery to Chamberlain in 1940: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go." Link

Iraq: Mortar fire greets Blair - wrecker of Iraq

Outgoing British leader Tony Blair arrived in Iraq on Saturday for his seventh - and final - visit as prime minister, hoping to press Baghdad to call new provincial elections and increase efforts to bring those linked to violence into the political process.

Shortly after Blair arrived in the capital's Green Zone, three mortar rounds or rockets exploded in the heavily fortified compound, wounding one person, said U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said.

One round struck the British Embassy compound, according to security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. It was not known if Blair was in the embassy at the time.

A fourth projectile exploded just outside the Green Zone.

Fintor made no mention of Blair's presence, and it was unclear how far the explosions occurred from where the British leader was to meet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani.

Blair's official spokesman downplayed the incident, saying there was "nothing to suggest anything other than business as usual." Link

Jimmy Carter: Blair support for Bush "tragedy for the world"

Former US President Jimmy Carter has criticised outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his "blind" support of the war in Iraq. Listen to BBC stream

Mr Carter told the BBC Mr Blair's backing for US President George W Bush had been "apparently subservient".

He said the UK's "almost undeviating" support for "the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world".

His comments came as Mr Blair paid what is likely to be his last visit to Iraq.

He flew into the capital, Baghdad, for talks with President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri Maliki at which he is expected to push for greater reconciliation between Iraq's Sunni and Shia factions.

Mr Blair is due to leave office at the end of next month.

'Global schisms'

Mr Carter said that if Mr Blair had distanced himself from the Bush administration's policy during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq it might have made a crucial difference to American political and public opinion.

"One of the defences of the Bush administration... has been, okay, we must be more correct in our actions than the world thinks because Great Britain is backing us," he told the Today programme on Radio 4.

"So I think the combination of Bush and Blair giving their support to this tragedy in Iraq has strengthened the effort and has made the opposition less effective and prolonged the war and increased the tragedy that has resulted."

The war had "caused deep schisms on a global basis", he said, and he hoped Mr Blair's successor, Gordon Brown, would be less enthusiastic in his support for it.

The former US president has been a fierce critic of the US-led war in Iraq.

In an interview last year, he said he was "disappointed" by Tony Blair's failure to use his influence with President Bush more wisely.

In 1976, Mr Carter unseated the incumbent Gerald Ford to become the 39th US president, serving until 1981.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, for what presenters cited as decades of work seeking peaceful solutions and promoting social and economic justice. Link

Friday, May 18, 2007

Paul "we-did-it-for-oil" Wolfowitz leaves Bank leaderless

Paul Wolfowitz's resignation as the head of the World Bank late Thursday comes as no surprise to those who have been following the drama surrounding the former U.S. deputy defense secretary over the past few weeks. Link

Wednesday 04 June 2003

Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to the US-led war.

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.

... Mr Wolfowitz is viewed as one of the most hawkish members of the Bush administration. The 57-year old expert in international relations was a strong advocate of military action against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Following the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, Mr Wolfowitz pledged that the US would pursue terrorists and "end" states' harbouring or sponsoring of militants. Link

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Afghanistan: EU complains as civilian deaths mount

German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said Monday that he had complained to NATO about the increased number of civilian casualties during US-led military operations in Afghanistan.

"I have told the NATO Secretary General ... that we have to make sure that such operations are not carried out in the future," said Jung, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of next month.

"We must ensure that operations do not develop this way. It would not be a victory to set the (Afghan) people against us," he said, after talks between EU defence ministers in Brussels. Link

db: Might it be too late?

Thanks Tony

2006 EU terror wave - Separatist not Islamist

4.1. Terrorist Attacks

Eleven Member States were targeted by 498 terrorist attacks in 2006. During October- December 2005, 51 terrorist attacks were carried out in the EU. Despite the high number of terrorist attacks, the vast majority of them resulted only in material damage and were not intended to kill.

There were no successful Islamist terrorist attacks in the EU in 2006. However, a coordinated but ultimately failed attack aimed at mass casualties took place in Germany.

The vast majority of terrorist attacks were perpetrated by separatist terrorist groups targeting France and Spain. In France, 283 attacks took place in Corsica in 2006. In Spain, despite the truce declared by ETA in March 2006, separatist groups perpetrated 136 attacks, mainly in the Basque region. Only the attack at the Madrid airport on 30 December 2006 resulted in casualties.

- Thanks Cryptome

John Reid "arrested at gun point" after BP Piss-up

BP executives working for Lord Browne spent millions of pounds on champagne-fuelled sex parties to help secure lucrative international oil contracts.

The company also worked with MI6 to help bring about changes in foreign governments, according to an astonishing account of life inside the oil giant.

Les Abrahams, who led BP's successful bid for a multi-million-pound deal with one of the former Soviet republics, today claims that Browne - who was forced to resign as chief executive last month after the collapse of legal proceedings against The Mail on Sunday - presided over an "anything goes" regime of sexual licence, spying and financial sweeteners.

He also claims that Home Secretary John Reid was arrested at gunpoint on a BP-funded foreign trip for being out on the streets after a military curfew had been imposed. Link to Google cache of the original Mail story

"He said, 'I am a British politician...' I urged him to be quiet, but then he said to one of the policemen, 'If you don't take that f***ing Kalashnikov out of my face I'm going to stick it up your f***ing a***' "

Monday, May 14, 2007

BP: Sex parties,Champagne,MI6, "can do" culture

BP executives working for Lord Browne spent millions of pounds on champagne-fuelled sex parties to help secure lucrative international oil contracts. The company also worked with MI6 to help bring about changes in foreign governments, according to an astonishing account of life inside the oil giant. Link

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Civilians die by the dozen in other Blair War

The Helmand provincial governor said 21 civilians, including women and children, were killed in Tuesday's air strike in Sangin district - a major opium-growing area and the scene of a large anti-Taliban operation by foreign troops.

The US-led coalition said its troops and Afghan soldiers on patrol in the area had come under fire on Tuesday and that there were no reported injuries to any civilians.

The deaths on Tuesday in the southern province of Helmand, if confirmed, would raise the civilian toll at the hands of foreign troops to 110 in the past two weeks.

It estimated 200 Taliban fighters were involved in the clash, in which one coalition soldier died.

The governor said the Taliban hid in civilian homes during the air strike and that they must take responsibility for the deaths.

Civilian deaths are a growing issue for President Hamid Karzai who is also under pressure over the country's slow economic recovery and rampant corruption since the Taliban's overthrow in 2001. Link

Blair: "This is the greatest nation on Earth"

Blair thought he was right

"I may have been wrong. That's your call but believe one thing if nothing else, I did what I thought was right for our country." Link

db: Blair probably did do what he thought was right. Like Saddam, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Bush, Osama, Zarqawi, you, me. It matters little. His lack of judgment cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

Blair resignation photo tribute 2

"An audience with Tony"

Bush and Blair agree - "No Ceasefire Now!"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blair resignation photo tribute 1

Tony Blair will announce on Thursday that he is stepping down as Labour leader, triggering a contest that will see him quit as Prime Minister within weeks, Downing Street has confirmed.Link

db: We will all be safer when he's gone. Too late for the dead.

It's a Def Brain Blair Photo-tribute week, so watch out for more fun.

Wolfowitz: Europe puts the boot in

Another Neocon in trouble.

db: He'll be gone before month end, probably

Iraq: Big Blast Greets Liberator

A thunderous explosion struck Baghdad on Wednesday, coinciding with a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss efforts to reduce the violence in Iraq. Link

db:"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." --March 16, 2003

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Iraq: Brown to acknowledge public anger - not personal guilt

As the Prime Minister's last band of supporters prepares to rally round the Chancellor, Brown spent the weekend finalising his pitch to the nation in which he will pledge to boost the role of Parliament, downgrade the status of political advisers and acknowledge the public's anger the Iraq war. Link

db: The voting ( record of Gordon Brown speaks for itself. No amount of Brownite spin can change the fact that this 'highly principled' man stood shoulder to shoulder with Blair during the run up to the Iraq war - at which time the British public were hoodwinked by a Neo-Labour/SIS conspiracy which successfully gained parliamentary and to a lesser degree public support for an illegal [see Kofi Annan statement] attack on Iraq. And now, four years later, Gordon above promises to 'acknowledge the public's anger' - might that be the anger the public feels over being lied to by a PM and a cabinet in which he was a leading member? Or perhaps he wants to acknowledge the anger felt at the sheer scale of violent death visited upon that country - probably more than 600,000 civilians alone, not to mention over 140 British troops.

Really, Gordon needs to do much more than 'acknowledge' the anger of the British electorate. Back in 2003 he was probably 'acknowledging' the mass demonstrations against the war. What is required from Gordon Brown - and the other members of Neo-Labour's war cabinet - is personal accountability.

How Gordon Brown voted on key issues since 2001:

* Moderately for introducing a smoking ban. votes, speeches
* Strongly for introducing ID cards. votes, speeches
* Very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals. votes, speeches
* Very strongly for introducing student top-up fees. votes, speeches
* Moderately for Labour's anti-terrorism laws. votes, speeches
* Very strongly for the Iraq war. votes, speeches
* Moderately against investigating the Iraq war. votes, speeches
* Moderately for the fox hunting ban. votes, speeches

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Chertoff: Radical genotype in a perfect world

"Those that are inclined to be radicalised will find a reason to be radicalised no matter what's going on in the world." Michael Chertoff - US Homeland Security chief. Link

db: Brilliant, now I see. If people were not getting radicalised by, for instance, the experience of watching their brother or sister or mother die from wounds received when US precision guided missiles hit their village then these same genetically predisposed trouble makers would be getting radicalised by something else, like US torture, secret prisons, illegal war, or the price of a caffellatte.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Blair loses Scotland for Neo-Labour

The Scottish National party has won a historic victory to become the largest single party in the Scottish parliament, it was reported tonight.

It won 47 seats as Labour came in second with 46, the Conservatives took 17, the Liberal Democrats 16 and others three, according to an unofficial final tally.

The results would mean no party has an overall majority and there will be a coalition or minority government.

Earlier, the SNP leader, Alex Salmond, said the Labour party had lost the "moral authority to govern Scotland". Link

Cryptome takes on the giants

Cryptome is now on a new ISP, Network Solutions, another US giant like Verio,
closely linked to the authorities. We'll see if it can take the heat or cave. We intend to test all the giants if necessary to see what is up with them and the censors: if one buckles we'll sign up with another. And air the results. Link

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Neo-Labour Neo-Failure

Labour awaits voters' judgement

It has to get worse before it can get better. Brown is not the answer. The Neo-Labour careerists in line behind him are worse. It's time for wilderness years to work their alchemy and perhaps model a Labour party that its 'supporters' recognise. But for now, may the losing begin.

Priests 'creepy'

We are shocked and horrified that he has fallen so far short of the very high standards expected of priests in the Church of England," he said. Link

db: Do bears shit in the woods? It's in the job description. Only God is naive enough to expect much from priests.

It's fair to say that the word "Priest" does not always bring to mind altogether wholesome associations. In fact I was watching 'Have-a-gamble' channel 38012 on Sky last night and they proved this very point via the 'Win-a-bundle' word association quiz. The word most people associate with 'priest' isn't 'God' or 'Jesus'. Far from it in fact.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blair's sad 20%

Asked by pollsters how they would feel when Blair finally steps down 20% said they will be sad Link


On This Day 2003: End of Iraq War

May 2003: Remarks by President Bush announcing the end of major combat operations in Iraq from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln

Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment - yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage - your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other - made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free. More

Afghanistan: US Boneheads kill civilians

On Sunday, hundreds of angry protesters chanting "Death to Bush" demonstrated in eastern Afghanistan after six people - including a woman and a teenage girl - were reported killed when U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces raided a suspected car bomb cell.

The U.S. forces said four militants were among the dead but it was the civilian deaths that infuriated protesters, who carried five bodies to a main highway and blocked traffic with felled trees during the demonstration. The bodies of the women were entirely covered by sheets, while the men's faces were revealed.

"Their operation was based on incorrect reports, and they carried out a cruel attack on these houses," said local resident Akhtar Mohammad at the protest. "We are not the enemy, we are not al-Qaeda. Why are they attacking us?"

Afghan officials have repeatedly pleaded with the United States and NATO to take care during operations that might harm civilians, and the latest violence is sure to deepen distrust among Afghans, whose support for international forces and the shaky U.S.-backed government is waning.

"It is extremely unfortunate that militants put others' lives in danger by hiding among their families," said U.S. Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman.

The protest was held on the same highway where a U.S. marines convoy, fleeing after being hit by a suicide car bomb on March 4, fired indiscriminately on vehicles and pedestrians, killing 12 people. Link