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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Did Saudi 'Bandar Bush' threaten Putin?

The Daily Telegraph, amongst others, reported a story in August sourced from Al Monitor/As-Safir  claiming that during a meeting with Vladamir Putin on July 21st Saudi Prince Bandar, aka 'Bandar Bush', made comments that came close to direct threats regarding the security of the Sochi games through what he claimed was Saudi control of the Chechen jihadist threat. Whilst the accuracy of the report can be called into question, and Bandar's spectacularly frank admissions to none other than Vladamir Putin indeed stretch credulity, it's worth remembering events of 2008. Bandar has form:-

Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their [BAE] arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Putin exuding warmth

Saudi machinations, French weapons

On his visit to Saudi Arabia French President Hollande appears dangerously close to taking sides in a sectarian war that is tearing apart the Muslim world, and making some money for the struggling French defense industry whilst he is at it. Already $3 Billion secured from Riyadh on an arms deal for Lebanon - one of the key theaters in a proxy war being fought by Saudi Arabia and Iran. May be worth one or two points in the polls for Hollande. And further trouble ahead for Lebanon. Syria, Iraq etc.

Patrick Cockburn on link below:

Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis

Everyone knows where al-Qa'ida gets its money, but while the violence is sectarian, the West does nothing Link

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (r.), applauds French President Francois Hollande after 
presenting him with the Order of Merit in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia in November 2012.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Spying on Israel not a bad idea

In opposing wholesale domestic spying on citizens/subjects, you wouldn't necessarily wish to preclude the monitoring of communications data flowing from and to carefully selected national and international threats -  subject to robust checks and balances.   The government of Israel would seem to be a good example. Who could argue against it?  Whether a supporter or critic of contemporary Israeli policies, it's difficult to see how advanced warning of bombing Iran/bombing Gaza/bombing Lebanon, for example,  wouldn't be a good thing.  Getting caught on the other hand is another matter. And they wouldn't have been if they - GCHQ, NSA - had restricted themselves to bona fide threats to security and avoided the overreaching and Orwellian scale of spying that has been revealed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he has ordered a probe into reports that the United States and Britain had monitored communications of the previous prime minister and defense minister, calling the actions unacceptable. Link

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Edward Snowden Xmas Message

Thursday, December 12, 2013

US Dirty War - Yemen

At least 13 people have been killed by an air strike on a wedding convoy in southern Yemen, say officials.
The attack happened near the town of Radda in al-Bayda province, a known stronghold of al-Qaeda.
It was unclear what aircraft carried out the attack, though local people said it was a drone.
The US has acknowledged using drones as part of its support for Yemen's efforts to tackle militant extremists, but does not comment on individual strikes. Link

Inside the U.S. Dirty War in Yemen with Jeremy Scahill, Nasser al-Awlaki, Sheikh Fareed