Thursday, 31 July 2003

Terms of engagement

Herewith, definitions to keep on top of current events

by Eric Margolis

It's very difficult keeping up with Mideast news due to the Orwellian newspeak coming from Washington.
So here's a handy list of key terms, translated into simple English.

Liberation - Invasion.

Coalition - The U.S. and British invaders, plus some troops from rent-a-nations like Romania and Poland. In the past, "the coalition" would have been called imperial forces and mercenary auxiliaries.

Dictator - A ruler you don't like, or who does not cooperate.

Statesman - A cooperative dictator.

Stability - when things go the way Uncle Sam likes, ie., the status quo.

Instability - when things don't go the way Unc Sam wants, ie., when trouble-makers try to change the status quo.

Iraq reconstruction - a process whereby big firms that contribute to the president's re-election campaign obtain contracts to rebuild the damage caused by U.S. bombing.

Freeing Iraq's oil assets - Washington's seizure and sale of Iraqi oil, which in no way can be compared to Cuba's seizure and sale of U.S.-owned property, a dastardly crime.

Mideast democracy - regimes that hold rigged elections and obey Washington's orders.

Free trade - pouring goods and services into the newly "liberated" country, and buying up its key industrial assets at fire-sale prices.

Terrorism - violent acts by dangerous fanatics and malcontents who refuse to accept the downtrodden status assigned to them by Washington.

Anti-terrorism - State terrorism.

Uranium - a yellowish mineral from Niger that causes red faces in the White House.

Iraq Administrator - A pro-consul or gaulieter, disguised as a minor suburban bureaucrat.

Drones of death - Iraqi remotely piloted aircraft that the White House claimed were poised to fly off Iraqi ships lurking in the North Atlantic and shower fiendish germs on a sleeping America - which turn out to be two model airplanes, only one of which could fly. See "vans of death."

Vans of death - Claimed by Washington to be Iraqi mobile germ warfare laboratories, but turn out, on inspection, to be British-supplied trucks for inflating weather balloons.

Weapons of Mass Destruction - Nasty weapons, existing or non-existing, that the other side has. When your side has them, they become invisible.

Torture - a foul act committed by your enemies. When your side does it, it's called intensive interrogation in Guantanamo.

Homeland security - bolting the barn door after the horse has escaped by rounding up Muslims and denying them due process of law.

French - Insubordinate ingrates and depraved chain-smokers who had the nerve to try to block the jolly little war in Iraq, and now sneer, "we told you so."

Germans - Untrustworthy. Just when you order them to be warlike again, they go soft. Wait until they see the next dozen WWII epics from Hollywood.

Canadians - A bunch of pot-smoking, pinko, wimp nancy boys who marry their best friends and refuse to obey orders from the Great White Father in Washington.

Islam - An evil faith that promotes violence and hatred, as proven by the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, who learned about the agents of the devil while encountering them in motel rooms.

Full story...

Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Blair's lack of courage

If Britain had held out for UN control of Iraq, we wouldn't be bogged down in a bloody occupation

by Clare Short

It is right that we should continue to argue over the route to war in Iraq. But it is more urgent that we address the continuing chaos, suffering and loss of life. The British military was very clear that the conflict would take no more than a few weeks. In my briefings, they talked of the need to prepare for very rapid success. And - despite claims to the contrary - the UN was well prepared to return to Iraq as soon as order was restored to take charge of emergency humanitarian needs.

The advice that I, and the Department for International Development, gave to the prime minister was that we should internationalise the reconstruction effort as quickly as possible. This was based on our experience in East Timor, Kosovo and Afghanistan, and also on our understanding of international law. I was delighted when the attorney general provided clear legal advice on the limitation of the authority of occupying powers, which strongly reinforced the case we were making.

The legal position is laid down in the Geneva convention and Hague regulations. They provide that occupying powers have a duty to keep order, keep civil administration functioning and provide for immediate humanitarian need. They have no powers to engage in major political, economic or constitutional reform. They also have no power to bring into being a sovereign government since they hold no sovereignty. Only the UN can do that. The attorney's advice concluded: "The lawfulness of any occupation after conflict has ended is still governed by the legal basis for the use of force... namely, Iraqi disarmament... the longer the occupation of Iraq continues, and the more the tasks undertaken by an interim administration depart from the main objective, the more difficult it will be to justify the lawfulness of the occupation."

Thus it was clear the right way forward was that the coalition focus on keeping order and that the UN humanitarian system restore food supplies, water and electricity. The security council needed to lift sanctions and appoint a special representative to establish an interim government and a route to elections, as had been done in Afghanistan. This would enable the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and IMF to provide support for the interim government's economic reform programme. And it would ensure that all contracts were let transparently.

When the prime minister pressed me to remain a member of the government, he promised that the UN would be given the central role in reconstruction. I was much criticised for staying, but decided that although the war was unstoppable it was possible to organise a proper international effort to rebuild Iraq.

Full story...

Tuesday, 29 July 2003

What's Behind Liberia's Crisis

The rape and plunder of Africa continues, Western-supported corruption, incompetance and brutality. The victims are the wonderful people of that glorious continent, the blame for their suffering lies squarely at the feet of the rich corporate scumbags who are making money out of the natural wealth which is the property of the African people. An entire continent is being raped and we sit back and worry about how there are so many immigrants coming into Britain. Does it suprise you? Here's a novel solution to the "immigration problem" why don't we stop fucking around in their countries and maybe they wouldn't have any reason to try and kill themselves getting into the UK... But of course that would mean that some rich fat fuck in the City can't buy himself that fifth sports car, or twelfth house, or his seventeenth goddamn fucking bitch mistress her new solid gold 24 carat diamond $5000 arse-intruding dildo!

This subject touches a nerve and it pisses me off to see a people so friendly being raped and starved in their own homes! I've also decided to stop caring about being all nice and sweet and proper in this blog, fuck that! If you have a problem with it then find some happy, candy-coated, sugar-filled, Murdoch-scented, media-whore and read their mindless sycophantic drivvel. I have no time for petty, meaningless rules and conventions, nor people who can't handle a little bit of colourful language!

How Washington Set The Stage For War

The rhetoric is about AIDS and poverty, but the agenda is oil and empire. George W. Bush’s mid-July tour of Africa highlighted the ways in which the U.S. is consolidating its economic and strategic role across the continent--from preparing a possible deployment of American troops amid Liberia’s civil war, to praising pro-market "neoliberal" policies in Uganda, Senegal and South Africa.

But the more involved the U.S. becomes in the crisis-wracked continent, the clearer it is that Washington isn’t the solution--but bears responsibility for the civil wars and social catastrophes across Africa. Exhibit A is Liberia.

Established in 1847 by wealthy Americans determined to rid the U.S. of slaves by sending them to Africa, Liberia functioned as a virtual American colony, ruled by a tiny elite of the descendants of former slaves. Known as Americo-Liberians, they worked with U.S. companies like Firestone, which established the world’s largest rubber plantation there in 1926, while the indigenous population remained impoverished.

During the Cold War, Liberia, despite its small population--still only 3 million today-- became a key outpost for U.S. efforts to undermine national liberation movements and prop up pro-Washington dictators in the name of fighting communism. In 1980, Master Sgt. Samuel Doe took power in a coup against the Americo-Liberian elite. When the Reagan administration took over the White House, it immediately flooded the new regime with millions of dollars in aid, in exchange for help in its efforts to destabilize nearby Libya.

Doe ruled through assassinations, repression and fraud. Once the Cold War was over, the U.S. cut him loose, and he was assassinated by rebel forces in 1990. "Master-Sergeant Doe is the latest victim of imperial euthanasia," wrote Nigerian journalist Tunji Lardner. "He died because his treatment was withheld by the United States and his life-support system shut off."

After a civil war in the early 1990s, the power vacuum was eventually filled by Charles Taylor, an Americo-Liberian who used widespread hatred of Doe and ethnic tensions to mobilize support. Taylor had backing from Libya as well as the former French colonies of Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, and he successfully exploited regional rivalries to divide a series of peacekeeping forces sent by West African nations--principally, Nigeria--in the mid-1990s.

A combination of brutality and bribery allowed Taylor to win presidential elections in 1997 with 75 percent of the vote. Key to Taylor’s success was his control of much of the region’s diamond trade and his constant shifts of alliances in the region.

Full story...

I like a good conspiracy

One thing I've learned is that if even 5% of all conspiracy theories are true then there is still some seriously evil shit happening on this planet.

If you spent the middle-range of childhood during a particular decade (the 1980s), having been born into a particular kind of family (old Labour broadly covers it, but mung beans were probably involved), you will be inclined to find a conspiracy theory wherever a conspiracy theory could conceivably be found.

This is either (a) because there really were a lot of conspiracies in the 1980s (b) because the 1980s were a more political decade than, say, the 1990s, and wherever there is grassroots opposition to a government, it is assumed by the grassroots that the government is trying to kill, or at least bug, them, or (c) because there were some good conspiracy films made at that time, most of them featuring Gabriel Byrne. We won't know the answer for 75 years after any given event, which is the period deemed by the Public Records Office to be "well, we may as well tell them now, surely they can't still mind?" time.

Since then it's been passé to have a conspiracy theory of any kind. The phrase "that's just a conspiracy theory" has become a kind of insult, capable of discrediting its proponent immediately, as if the idea of anything sinister happening anywhere at all were so outlandish that just by dint of questioning what you were told, you might as well have said: "I believe in UFOs and send my cat postcards when I'm on holiday."

Furthermore, since conspiracies are so silly, nobody ever comes out with them after a prominent death - the aftermath of a tragedy is, by consensus, the last time anyone should be thinking silly things, even though (paradoxically) most decent conspiracies do have a death or two involved somewhere. Consequently, only one person voiced any suspicion after the death of David Kelly, and that was Darcus Howe, reporting in the New Statesman the conversation that occurred down his local (it wasn't suicide, the CIA did it; or MI5, difficult to say). Even while you've got to be impressed at his neck-sticking-out, at the back of your 1990s-trained mind, you're thinking: "That's just a conspiracy theory!"

But this week things are all starting to look a bit Hollywood. Which is to say that, if you were going to write a film about a real conspiracy, and you didn't want to make it too complicated, this is what you'd write. Scene 56 sees the Labour MP Eric Illsley casting doubt on the mental state of Andrew Gilligan, calling him "close to the edge". With respect to the floppiness of the expression, it basically means he's suicidal. And when people who already don't like you start questioning your will to live, be honest, doesn't a loud, Hitchcockian "ching ching ching" go off in your head?

Full story...

Britain's Dirty Tricks Campaign To Push War In Iraq

It never ceases to amaze me how the BushBitchMonkey's can lie so blatantly and -with the help of Murdoch- get away with it. These right-wing war-mongering nutters are leading us towards the edge of an abyss, and most of the population is dancing merrily along...

Revealed: The Secret Cabal Which Spun For Blair

Britain ran a covert 'dirty tricks' operation designed specifically to produce misleading intelligence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction to give the UK a justifiable excuse to wage war on Iraq.

Operation Rockingham, established by the Defence Intelligence Staff within the Ministry of Defence in 1991, was set up to 'cherry-pick' intelligence proving an active Iraqi WMD programme and to ignore and quash intelligence which indicated that Saddam's stockpiles had been destroyed or wound down.

The existence of Operation Rockingham has been confirmed by Scott Ritter, the former UN chief weapons inspector, and a US military intelligence officer. He knew members of the Operation Rockingham team and described the unit as 'dangerous', but insisted they were not 'rogue agents' acting without government backing. 'This policy was coming from the very highest levels,' he added.

'Rockingham was spinning reports and emphasising reports that showed non-compliance (by Iraq with UN inspections) and quashing those which showed compliance. It was cherry-picking intelligence.'

Ritter and other intelligence sources say Operation Rockingham and MI6 were supplying skewed information to the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) which, Tony Blair has told the Commons, was behind the intelligence dossiers that the government published to convince the parliament and the people of the necessity of war against Iraq. Sources in both the British and US intelligence community are now equating the JIC with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) in the US Pentagon. The OSP was set up by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to gather intelligence which would prove the case for war. In a staggering attack on the OSP, former CIA officer Larry Johnson told the Sunday Herald the OSP was 'dangerous for US national security and a threat to world peace', adding that it 'lied and manipulated intelligence to further its agenda of removing Saddam'.

He added: 'It's a group of ideologues with pre-determined notions of truth and reality. They take bits of intelligence to support their agenda and ignore anything contrary. They should be eliminated.'

Full story...

Monday, 28 July 2003

Galloway Memoirs Stolen

Looks like someone wanted a sneak-peak.... Another dodgy crime, we have mysterious suicides, burglaries, what next????

A first draft of memoirs by anti-war MP George Galloway have been stolen from his Portuguese cottage.

Mr Galloway arrived at his Iberian retreat on Friday evening to discover his computer, desk and chair all missing.

The Glasgow Kelvin MP, who was suspended from Labour after an outspoken interview on an Arab TV station at the end of March in which he denounced war in Iraq, said the burglary appeared to be no "ordinary crime".

But the raiders, he said, were "doomed to disappointment", since there was nothing "remotely of interest" apart from his first draft.

The property had been unoccupied for six weeks, and it was not clear when the crime was committed. Mr Galloway said he had other copies of the draft.

The MP added that police were investigating the break-in at the £82,000 converted farmhouse in the Algarve.

He said the thieves had worn gloves and would have needed a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach the remote farmhouse.

Most burglaries in the area were "drug-fuelled" and "reckless", he added, suggesting that the break-in appeared suspicious.

Full story...

Short blames government 'abuse of power' for David Kelly's death

Wouldn't it be nice to see Paxman interview Phony Tony and start off by saying: "So is it true you're a lying twat?"

Clare Short has blamed the death of Dr David Kelly on "an abuse of power" by the Government and warned that the tragedy has become a symbol of Prime Minister Tony Blair's "obsession with spin".

In an interview with The Independent, the former Secretary of State for International Development says the affair has made it more likely Mr Blair will stand down before the next general election. She describes him as an "emperor" and a "neo-Conservative", saying his speech this month to both houses of the US Congress shows he shares the analysis of Washington hardliners. "He is a complete convert to the neo-Conservative view of the world."

Recalling her 1996 attack on spin doctors "who live in the dark", she says: "I said spin would damage and destroy Tony. There is a danger the tragedy of this death encapsulates the argument [about spin] and then everyone sees it through that lens. Public confidence has changed enormously. It has deepened the sense there is something wrong in the way in which No 10 is run. There is more scrutiny of that, so that affects Tony Blair's reputation."

Ms Short says normal Whitehall procedures were breached in the way Dr Kelly was unmasked, triggering the events leading to his apparent suicide. She believes resignations should follow Lord Hutton's inquiry. "The truth needs to be found and those responsible need to be held to account. Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair work very, very closely together. They are all implicated, it seems to me."

Ms Short adds: "We all ended up mesmerised by Alastair Campbell attacking the BBC. In the course of that, Dr Kelly felt so pressured he felt the need to take his life. It has got enormous significance." But she hoped "some good" might yet come out of the tragedy, if the Government abandons spin and changes the way decisions are made.

Full story...

Kelly told church of dossier fears

It is not enough simply for the blame to be laid at the feet of Hoon, his boss and their paymasters must also be held to account. David Kelly's family and this Nation deserve nothing less than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Will they get it? No, I don't think so either.

Scientist briefed Hoon days before attack on Iraq

David Kelly spoke openly to fellow members of a religious sect about his concerns over the 'interpretation' of intelligence material in the Government's September dossier on whether Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

As the dead scientists' family yesterday met the senior law lord appointed to head the judicial inquiry into the affair, remarkable new details emerged of Kelly's views on the dossier during a discussion with worshippers of the Bahai faith, a Persian religion that promotes global peace, inter-racial harmony and self-discipline.

The disclosure of new evidence about his 'unhappiness' with the dossier came as it was revealed last night that Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, had a private lunch with the weapons scientist shortly before the Iraq conflict, undermining government claims that Kelly was a middle-ranking official with little access to intelligence.

Hoon met Kelly to discuss Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction. Although it is not clear whether Kelly raised his concerns about the use of intelligence to make the case for war, it is unusual for a member of the Cabinet to meet officials unless they have high levels of information unlikely to be known by the Minister.

Kelly, who joined the 5000-strong British followers of the Bahai faith in 1999, made his comments at the home of Geeta and Roger Kingdon, two fellow worshippers, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on 5 October last year. Also present were around 30 other invited Bahai guests.

Kelly gave a 40-minute talk, which was accompanied with a slide show, about his work as a weapons inspector in Iraq. He ended with a question-and-answer session on the intelligence dossier, which had been made public 10 days earlier as part of what opponents claim was a government attempt to swing public opinion behind war on Iraq.

Roger Kingdon told The Observer last night that Kelly expressed his unhappiness with how the document was being interpreted, saying the intelligence information supplied was accurate, but indicating that he was uncomfortable about how it was being represented.

Full story...

Sunday, 27 July 2003

Ministers accused of threatening BBC chiefs

Ministers threatened revenge on the BBC in the feud that led to the death of the government scientist David Kelly, according to senior sources within the corporation. One said: "There have been phone calls from within government saying 'we are going to get you', talking about 'vengeance'. There's a war going on against the BBC of some kind."

The threats were seen by the BBC as part of an orchestrated campaign to intimidate the corporation over its coverage of Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. Another highly placed source alleged that the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson had sought to negotiate a "deal" which it is believed would have involved the BBC publicly retracting allegations made by Andrew Gilligan, defence correspondent for the Today programme, who claimed in a broadcast on 29 May that Downing Street had altered intelligence reports on Iraq to make them "sexier", to buttress the case for going to war.

The BBC subsequently phoned Mr Mandelson back, rejecting the suggested deal. According to the source: "That's when the not-so-veiled threat was made. Essentially, the meaning was 'we'll throw everything at you'. It was a clear attempt to threaten the BBC's independence by getting us to pull a story we had publicly said we stood behind. The tone of the conversation seemed to be 'retract or else'."

The row comes as the Prime Minister has appealed for restraint in the wake of the death of Dr Kelly. Today, Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, accuses politicians, broadcasters and journalists alike of being sucked into a "Westminster bubble" where political debate is driven out by spin and "on-message government boredom".

Full story...

Friday, 25 July 2003

Brighton rocks

Now for something completely different...

It's been eight years since she left London to live on the coast. Julie Burchill on why she loves it

Click here to see what you are missing Growing up, and all through my salad days, I was never what you could call an outdoor girl. Born jagged with sophistication and paler than putty, you could pick any summer out of my first 16 and you would have found me shut away for the full six weeks of the school holiday in my Bristol back bedroom with the curtains firmly closed. Occasionally I would take my nose out of an eye-wateringly pretentious turn-of-the-century novel, in translation, to poke it through said drapes and press it against the sizzling windowpane to stare at the sun; "Make it go away," I would whine pitifully.

In the hottest summer of the century, that of 1976, I took myself off to London in search of fame, fortune and a whole new city of buildings in which to sulk, lurk and sneer through safely sealed windows at people in shorts. I went on like this for coming up to another 20 years - and then in 1995, I came to Brighton. And my life as a sunworshipper, beach bum and water baby began in earnest. Now, when I look back at the first 35 years of my life, I regret just one thing; WASTING SO MUCH TIME STUCK INDOORS, WHEN IT'S LOVELY OUT THERE!

As in all things, my mother was right. But it took a seaside town to change my mind. There is a reason why people in landlocked places prefer to cultivate a nightclub tan rather than sun-kissed glow; when the temperature rises in the concrete canyons, it is more than ever a jungle. Italian and Spanish cities handle the heat by taking a siesta; all the Parisians who can afford to simply abandon their city wholesale.

But Londoners hang on in there, neither napping nor fleeing, and they get mad as hell. You are better off behind closed doors. Brighton comes into its own in the sunshine. Our town is still beautiful in wind and rain, when walking on the esplanade feels like being in a Morrissey or Pet Shop Boys video, and connects one thrillingly with the timeless island spirit of our damp, dazzling people. But when the sun comes out, it truly is "that paradise of brightness" that AE Coppard eulogised, and that SPB Mais was thinking of when he stated that: "Anyone who does not live in Brighton must be mad and should be locked up."

When the sun shines and the temperature rises in the UK, the other Two Nations schism alongside rich and poor, north and south - becomes illuminated. The landlocked Britain closes in on its captives; the coastal Britain opens up, up, up, giving the experience of living physically on the edge of one's country an almost vertiginous dazzle and shimmer. It's like we're so... out there... that anything could happen. And most Brighton stories, which can variously end up in rooms rented by the hour, painting oneself as a zebra (and meaning it sincerely) or waking up dressed in the clothes of the opposite sex on a ferry to Rotterdam, start on the beach.

Strictly speaking, the beach of the city of Brighton & Hove stretches almost three miles from Shoreham to Rottingdean, but the spirit of Brighton beach resides between the peace statue in the west to the marina in the east. Between the two piers, massive investment has transformed the central mile of beachfront over the past five years.

Full story...

Injustic & Iraq : United States Concentration Camps

Unfortunately Messers Blair and Bush wouldn't understand shame if you shoved it up their arses. How many more sick stories have to come out (and get supressed by the media) before we wake up and realise that our governments have been hijacked. Democracy is cut open and bleeding on the floor and most people don't even care, all they want is more Big Brother and a fucking Happy Meal!

The Ugly Truth Of America's Camp Cropper, A Story To Shame Us All

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website Now here's a story to shame us all. It's about America's shameful prison camps in Iraq. It's about the beating of prisoners during interrogation.

"Sources" may be a dubious word in journalism right now, but the sources for the beatings in Iraq are impeccable. This story is also about the gunning down of three prisoners in Baghdad, two of them "while trying to escape". But most of all, it's about Qais Mohamed al-Salman. Qais al-Salman is just the sort of guy the US ambassador Paul Bremer and his dead-end assistants need now. He hated Saddam, fled Iraq in 1976, then returned after the "liberation" with a briefcase literally full of plans to help in the restoration of his country's infrastructure and water purification system.

He's an engineer who has worked in Africa, Asia and Europe. He is a Danish citizen. He speaks good English. He even likes America. Or did until 6 June this year.

That day he was travelling in Abu Nawas Street when his car came under American fire. He says he never saw a checkpoint. Bullets hit the tyres and his driver and another passenger ran for their lives. Qais al-Salman stood meekly beside the vehicle. He was carrying his Danish passport, Danish driving licence and medical records.

But let him tell his own story. "A civilian car came up with American soldiers in it. Then more soldiers in military vehicles. I told them I didn't understand what had happened, that I was a scientific researcher. But they made me lie down in the street, tied my arms behind me with plastic-and-steel cuffs and tied up my feet and put me in one of their vehicles."

The next bit of his story carries implications for our own journalistic profession. "After 10 minutes in the vehicle, I was taken out again. There were journalists with cameras. The Americans untied me, then made me lie on the road again. Then, in front of the cameras, they tied my hands and feet all over again and put me back in the vehicle."

If this wasn't a common story in Baghdad today - if the gross injustices meted out to ordinary Iraqis and the equally gross mistreatment in America's prison camps here was not so common - then Qais al-Salman's story would not be so important.

Full story...

Was whistleblower Kelly’s death suicide?

"How can you expect compassion in a world full of sleeping people."

The body of Dr. David Kelly was found on July 18. His left wrist had been slashed.

At the end of May, Kelly, a leading Ministry of Defence microbiologist and former senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq, had told BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and other journalists of his concerns over the misuse of intelligence material concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction by the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Kelly became the focus of a government and media campaign to expose his identity. He was named and then forced to testify at two parliamentary inquiries into whether the government had lied in its intelligence dossiers of September 2002 and February this year.

Kelly testified in public to the Foreign Affairs Committee on July 15 and in private to the Intelligence and Security Committee on July 16. He disappeared from his home and died on July 17.

The police, the government and the media have all proceeded on the assumption that Kelly committed suicide by slitting his wrist due to the enormous pressure he was under. On July 19, Thames Valley police declared that he had bled to death after he slit one wrist. Superintendent David Purnell said a knife and an open package of Coproxamol tablets, a paracetamol-based painkiller, had been found at the scene.

Such a rush to judgement, even before a coroner’s inquiry has concluded, is impermissible given the high profile role Kelly was playing and the political embarrassment he was causing to the government, the Ministry of Defence and others.

The case for Kelly having committed suicide is plausible, but one does not have to declare categorically that he was murdered to understand that events must be seriously investigated before a verdict on his death is given. Before doing so, a number of important inconsistencies in the accounts of events that have been made public must be examined and explained:

Kelly is said to have walked out of his home at 3:00 p.m. It was not until he had failed to return by 11:45 p.m., that his family phoned the police.

It was only then that the police launched a search for Kelly, involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and more than 70 officers.

It was only at 8:20 a.m. the next day that the police went public, appealing for sightings and issuing a photograph of Kelly. When his body was discovered at 9:20 a.m., his identity was still not confirmed for several hours, although the media was already reporting the body as Kelly’s and there would have been no difficulty in recognising such a high profile person.

His wife, Janice, was only asked to confirm his identity to a coroners officer on Saturday July 19.

These events are peculiar for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the slowness of official reactions throughout the two-day period.

Full story...

Thursday, 24 July 2003

There is no defence for Guantanamo

Yeah, him and the whole stinking government who are letting those men rot in Cuba without so much as a fuss. Send the fucking SAS in there to get them out and let's see what they've done! We have an illiterate cowboy stripping away the human rights of British citizens without giving them the same means with which to defend themselves as the rest of us have (hopefully). Talk about messed up...

Goldsmith's US trial concessions are a sham and he should resign

When it was first announced that two British citizens, Feroz Abbasi and Moazzam Begg, were to stand trial before a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, it appeared that at long last Tony Blair would do something to stand up for their human rights. The government came under parliamentary pressure, with 200 MPs of all political parties, including senior Tories and Labour loyalists, signing a motion calling for the men's repatriation to this country. Government ministers Chris Mullin and Baroness Symons were authorised to say that vigorous representations would be made and the government dispatched its most senior law officer, Lord Peter Goldsmith, the attorney general to the US for talks.

Now, however, it appears Tony Blair has done a u-turn and is not to stand up to the US government at all. The "concessions" announced by the attorney general yesterday - that British citizens will not face the death penalty and that a British lawyer may be allowed on to the defence team as a "consultant" - cannot disguise the simple fact that the proposed trial will breach all international norms.

It will be in front of judges who are military officers. They will be wearing the same uniforms as those who have held Feroz and Moazzam captive for over 18 months incommunicado and in conditions which can only be described as inhuman and degrading.

Detainees are incarcerated in wire cages 8ft by 6ft 6in, with no privacy and with the lights on all night. They are allowed out for exercise only twice a week for 20 minutes in a small, enclosed exercise yard. These are conditions which would challenge anybody's mental health. During this time the detainees have been intimidated and coerced into speaking to interrogators without a lawyer being present. The situation is already one of grave abuse of human rights.

After 18 months of doing nothing about this, despite pleas and even court proceedings in the UK and US brought by the families, it finally appeared that the British government would have to do something. The attorney general will have been well aware that military commissions that are not independent of the US government (George Bush is head of the US armed forces) cannot satisfy the basic requirement for a fair trial as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 14, to which the US is a signatory. It is inconceivable that he will not have pointed this out to US officials and asked for a fair trial in a civil court. His representations have gone unheeded.

What should happen, and should have happened long ago, is for the British government to make formal diplomatic protests. The Pakistani government has done this and has secured the release, with no requirement for domestic court proceedings, of 30 to 40 of its nationals. A Pakistani passport is a better protection than a British one against US abuses.

Full story...

This BBC row is not about sources - it is about power

Downing Street and Rupert Murdoch want revenge on the corporation

What a difference a day makes. The daily skirmishes between the government and BBC have seen both sides at various points claiming victory. On Sunday, when the BBC confirmed Dr David Kelly had been "the source" for its claims about the mishandling of intelligence information, the government was bullish. Now, following reports that the Newsnight's Susan Watts has a tape recording of her conversation with Dr Kelly, ministers are sounding less confident.

Yet the question now being asked is this: even if the BBC wins the battle (in other words is vindicated by the Hutton report), will it lose the war? Has the BBC, in defending Andrew Gilligan so robustly, brought about its own downfall?

For the word that recurs is "revenge". Downing Street insiders, ministers and backbench MPs are saying privately that No 10 intends to wreak vengeance on the BBC, whatever Lord Hutton decides. Forget palm pilots or tape-recordings; the real agenda now is to humble and curb Britain's public service broadcaster. This is not a row about journalistic standards. It is a fight about power.

No 10's original excuse for its attack on the BBC was the Gilligan story. At first it looked as though Alastair Campbell had a genuine spasm of anger at a particular act of reporting; that this then bubbled through his irritation at the corporation's handling of the war; and after that - well, things got out of hand. He lost it on Channel 4 News. To start with, the government seemed to have blundered into a fight and couldn't find a way back. Now I am not so sure. I think it wanted this row all along.

There were so many moments in the story of the reporting of the government's selling of the Iraq war when No 10 could have calmed things down. On every occasion, instead, they ratcheted it up again. Even now, in the gloomy pause after Dr Kelly's death, while Blair is saying little in public, New Labour operators are charging around briefing in private, upping the odds. They want to get the governors. They want to get Greg Dyke. They want a new system of regulation. The licence fee is far too generous. Get the message, BBC? As Chris Smith pointed out in the Financial Times yesterday, any attempt to link recent events to the BBC's future is little short of blackmail.

The BBC prime crime has not been sloppy reporting or an anti-war agenda. Its crime is to have pointed the finger at gaping holes in the government's case for going to war to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. If Gilligan had reported a single source to the effect that WMD were a threat, and that Campbell et al should have been more bellicose, would this row have happened? Don't be absurd. It is not the detail of language the government objects to; it is the whole story.

The BBC has done what good journalism ought to do: probing and questioning insistently - things that the government would rather not discuss. During the war it reported and commented about what was happening in the sand and cities of Iraq. It did not do what some US broadcasters - notably Fox - did, and act as a patriotic national cheerleader.

Full story...

What David Kelly knew

The more I think about it the more this death was NOT a suicide. Dr Kelly was silenced because he could (and probably would) blow the entire Iraqi WMDgate scandal wide open. He was serious, believable and by all accounts beyond reproach. Dead men tell no tales, they also send a message to the living. Silence or death.

The killing of Saddam's sons won't divert attention for long from the specious reasons given for invading Iraq

by Richard Norton-Taylor

Uday and Qusay are killed and the delighted British and American governments suggest that Iraq will be a safer place. Yes, Iraqis may well feel safer. And - with the dictator's brutal sons out of the way for ever - more confident about continuing the resistance against the American occupiers.

Shortly before their deaths were announced, Richard Gephardt, Democrat presidential hopeful, delivered a blistering attack on Bush's foreign policy which was driven, he said, by "machismo" and "arrogant unilateralism". Bush, he continued, had treated US allies "like so many flies on America's windshield". He added: "Foreign policy isn't a John Wayne movie."

The attack on the villa where Saddam's sons were hiding might be seen as driving home the point. Instead, the announcement that they had been killed by US troops in a shoot-out is welcomed by Tony Blair as "great news".

Jack Straw was more circumspect. He said the death of what he called "extremely unpleasant psychopaths" would bring relief for the Iraqi people. But he added: "I am not rejoicing. I mourn the death of anybody, but it has to be said that it is a very great relief for all Iraqis."

Both the prime minister and the foreign secretary seized the opportunity to remind us about the brutality of Saddam's regime. This was something many of us pointed out more than 15 years ago. But then, Straw says, there was a Conservative government and, anyway, Iraq was at war with Iran. It was as though they were mightily relieved that attention had been diverted away from the increasingly damaging controversy over what weapons of mass destruction, if any, Iraq possessed when Bush and Blair decided to invade the country, and from the death of David Kelly in particular.

And it was another welcome opportunity to remind us of the nature of the Saddam regime. Uday and Qusay, Blair told journalists yesterday, were responsible for the torture and killing of thousands of Iraqis. That is not, of course, what we were told we were going to war for and is not the legal justification the attorney general gave for it. Never mind; let's milk the deaths of Saddam's sons as much as possible and hope the dictator soon shares their fate.

But Dr Kelly's death will continue to haunt the government. The man described by Blair after his death as a "fine public servant" was dismissed, before it, by those in Whitehall battling with the BBC as some kind of middle-ranking expert, pretty marginal in the general scheme of things.

In fact, he was a central figure in the government's continuing quest for evidence of banned weapons in Iraq. He had recently been to Iraq to advise the US-led Survey Group of scientists (including former UN inspectors damned so recently by Washington as incompetent), which Bush and Blair so desperately hopes will come up with credible evidence which could give them a post-hoc justification for war. It is a tragic irony that Kelly will not be able to continue the work. A fellow expert on biological and chemical weapons familiar with Iraq described Kelly yesterday as a "real loss - he knew the place so well, the individuals so well, he's not somebody you could easily replace".

Kelly was one of the toughest and most effective Unscom weapons inspectors in Iraq in the 1990s. He was convinced Saddam Hussein had possessed weapons of mass destruction. As a senior adviser to both the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office on the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons he had to have access to up-to-date intelligence to do his job.

Full story...

David Kelly’s murder – Is it a punishment or a warning?

Is it a mafia-like execution to hide the truth?

Murder of Dr. David Kelly, one of the members of UN’s Weapons Inspection team in Iraq to find the weapons of mass destruction allegedly manufactured and piled up by the Saddam government, has left no doubt that to which extent the group of criminal-minded individuals responsible for a new conflict in the Middle East could go to serve its vested interests.

Although all the government agencies in UK and the media in United States is trying to portray this seemingly cold blooded murder as a “suspicious suicide”, the circumstances led to Dr. Kelly’s disappearance and death clearly indicate that who should be held responsible for silencing a voice for sanity and truth.

UN inspectors were under grave threat before the war. Before the war on Iraq, the US administration, acting like mafia gangsters, used all fair and foul tactics to justify a war on Iraq to appease some specific lobbies. Top US officials were hurling threats to the UN inspectors and were pressurizing them to declare that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The diplomats representing the members of the Security Council were being threatened for dire consequences if their countries did not vote for a war resolution. It was not diplomacy. It was not statesmanship. It was abuse of power and authority for which both George W. Bush and Tony Blair are personally responsible.

Now when Blair faced tough criticism because of a BBC’s report that he intentionally exaggerated the facts and added fiction to his analyses to sell the war plans to the people of Britain, an inspector is killed. Is it the punishment to speak to the media and disclose what the truth was? Or it is a warning to other inspectors and government officials that they could be murdered if they spoke truth.

Full story...

Killing Qusay and Uday

The Sons are Dead, But Resistance Will Grow

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website So they are dead. Or are they? Even Baghdad exploded in celebratory, deafening automatic rifle fire at the news.

The burned, bullet-splashed villa in Mosul, the four bullet-ridden corpses, America's hopes--however vain--that the death of Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Qusay, will break the guerrilla resistance to Iraq's US occupation troops, all conspired to produce an illusion last night: that the unidentified bodies found after a four-hour gun battle between Iraqi gunmen and US forces must be those of the former dictator's sons--because the world wants them to be.

Of course, they might be dead. The two men are said to bear an impressive resemblance to the brothers. A 14-year-old child killed by the Americans--one of the four dead--might be one of Saddam's grandsons. The house was owned by Mohamed el-Zidani, a tribal ally of the Husseins.

Qusay was a leader of the Special Republican Guard, a special target of the Americans. The two men obviously fought fiercely against the 200 American troops who surrounded the house. The Americans used their so-called Task Force 20 to storm the pseudo-Palladian villa on a main highway through Mosul.

Task Force 20 combines both special forces and CIA agents. But this is the same Task Force 20 that blasted to death the occupants of a convoy heading for the Syrian border earlier this month, a convoy whose travellers were meant to include Saddam himself and even the two sons supposedly killed yesterday. The victims turned out to be only smugglers.

And American intelligence--the organisation that failed to predict events of 11 September, 2001--was also responsible for the air raid on a Saddam villa on 20 March, which was supposed to kill Saddam. And the far crueller air raid on the Mansour district of Baghdad at the end of the air bombardment in April which was supposed to kill Saddam and his sons but only succeeded in slaughtering 16 innocent civilians. All proved to be miserable failures.

Full story...

Floating On A Dinghy

So there, we have figured it out, go back to bed America, your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed America, your government is in control again. Here, here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed America, here's American Gladiators. Here's 56 channels of it. Watch these pituitary retards bang their fuckin skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America, you are free... to do as we tell you. - Bill Hicks

Why Facts on Iraq Don't Matter

I have read it twenty times and I still don't believe it. The latest PIPA Knowledge Networks poll shows that a third of the American public believes US forces have actually found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A further 22 per cent think Iraqi troops used banned chemical or biological weapons against US soldiers in Iraq.

Poll analysts, who go to great pains to appear to respect the subjects of their research, have come up with an interesting name for this surreal phenomenon. They call it 'cognitive dissonance'. When pressed to explain the meaning of this term in plain English, they admit -with a sense of humble discomfort- that it describes the lack of agreement between reality and a person's understanding of it. In other words, it describes one's inability, or even downright unwillingness, to grasp the truth.

Not surprisingly, the poll showed that the above erroneous beliefs were expressed primarily by those supporting the war on Iraq.

Now, it is true that ever since Antonio Gramsci's writings were smuggled out of his stingy Italian prison cell, educated liberals have accused media propaganda of being responsible for popular misconceptions throughout this century's wars. And, granted, with ample reason. From the paid lies of American Civil War correspondents, to the fraudulent nationalistic rants of reporters covering World War I, to the disgraceful, corrupt journalist intelligentsia of the Cold War, no modern institution is more directly responsible for the perpetuation of mass militarism than the corporate media -and this includes the military itself.

Yet the media is not to blame for the findings of this latest poll. Sure enough, rarely do the American corporate media seriously question the striking absence of illegal weapons in Iraq, the cold-blooded murder of over 6,000 Iraqi civilians, or even the 'intelligence' invented by the Bush Reich to reinvigorate the American weapons and oil industries. But nobody, not even the fascistoid Fox News Network, has announced the incontrovertible finding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. No one, not even the CIA's own disinformation unit, has yet thought to invent non-existent biological attacks on US troops, with non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. In fact, why should the CIA go to all the trouble of making up false news, when large chunks of the American public are actually doing it themselves? This is a professional propagandist's dreamland -the blissful earthly paradise of fifth-column emissaries!

Full story...

Italian Officials Say Banker Was Murdered

They finally figured it out! Here's another death that was reported as a "suicide" when it happened... Makes you wonder... These bastards wouldn't think twice about killing you, me or anyone else if it mean't they'd get what they want. Now if that's not pure unadultarated evil then I don't know what is!

Prosecutors investigating the apparent 1982 suicide of Roberto Calvi, the Vatican-connected financier implicated in Italy's biggest postwar banking scandal, have concluded he was murdered, reports said Wednesday.

Four suspects in the case, including an alleged mafioso, have been notified of the conclusions but have not been indicted, the ANSA news agency reported. Their lawyers have 20 days to respond, it said.

RAI state television said prosecutors believe the Mafia killed Calvi because he lost their money and knew too much about their operations. Legal officials were unavailable Wednesday to confirm the reports.

Calvi's body was found hanging under a London bridge in 1982 within days of the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, of which he was president and in which the Vatican's bank held a significant stake.

Last year, a panel of forensic experts also concluded that Calvi was killed. A Rome tribunal appointed the experts to study new evidence, including re-examining Calvi's body, which was exhumed in 1998.

The forensic experts could not find any injuries to Calvi's neck normally associated with death by hanging, news reports said.

Calvi's family has contended he was slain. A London coroner's jury could not decide if his death was a suicide or a homicide.

Calvi was dubbed "God's Banker" because of his ties with the Vatican's bank and its former top official, Archbishop Paul C. Marcinkus.

After the Banco Ambrosiano collapsed following the disappearance of $1.3 billion, the Vatican's bank agreed to pay $250 million to the Italian bank's creditors but denied any wrongdoing. Marcinkus also denied wrongdoing.

Full story...

Wednesday, 23 July 2003

BBC says it has a tape of Dr Kelly criticising Number 10

The BBC says it has a tape recording of David Kelly voicing serious concerns over the role of Downing Street in the disputed Iraq dossier.

The corporation is planning to submit the tape as evidence during the inquiry into the death of the weapons expert. Susan Watts, the science editor of Newsnight, recorded her conversations with Dr Kelly, parts of which were later broadcast anonymously as a "source", using the voice of an actor.

The report, which was broadcast on 2 June, suggested Downing Street had been "desperate" to find information to justify its stance on a war against Iraq. Referring to the claim Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, the source said: "It was a statement that was made and it just got out of all proportion, They were desperate for information, they were pushing hard for information which could be released. That was one that popped up and it was seized on and it's unfortunate that it was.

"That's why there's an argument between intelligence services and the Cabinet Office and Number 10, because they picked up on it and ... you can't pull it back."

Full story...

Murdoch papers step up war of words with BBC

A concerted campaign by News International newspapers to castigate the BBC in its row with No 10 sparked accusations yesterday that Rupert Murdoch's titles were being used to damage his biggest broadcasting rival.

Murdoch-owned newspapers such as The Times, Sun and News of the World have been significantly more zealous than other newspapers in backing No 10 over the BBC.

A source on The Times said yesterday there was "unease" among its journalists about the paper's recent coverage of the dispute.

Responding to a story in The Times, the BBC said it was considering legal action if it did not get an apology from an MP who told the paper that Gavyn Davies, the BBC chairman, had misled governors over the identity of the source for its Iraqi dossier story.

In a letter to the paper yesterday Lord Ryder, the deputy chairman, challenged Robert Jackson's claim and said Mr Davies had not known the source was Dr David Kelly at the time of the meeting.

While, under recent editors, newspapers like the Sun and The Times have rarely been slow to criticise the BBC, the ferocity of the attack intensified this week. Speculation that someone above the level of editor had intervened was fuelled on Saturday when News of the World staff were surprised by a sudden switch in the paper's editorial line over the row.

Journalists had spent the day working on a piece critical of the Government only to be told late in the afternoon they were now to write one that was sympathetic. Sources on the paper claim the turnaround was ordered "straight from the top".

Full story...

Bush Administration Deception on Iraq: Only the Tip of the Iceberg

They're all in this together, Blair, Bush, Berlusconi, bin Laden... Hmmm, I'm starting to see a pattern here... What is it about the B anyway?

After recently moving out of Washington after more than 22 years there, I realize now more than ever how divorced from reality (and the ethics of the rest of the country) the nation’s capital has become. What is regarded as deception and even lying everywhere else is just good clean fun on the banks of the Potomac. A case in point is the administration’s admission that President Bush’s State of the Union reference to Iraq’s alleged quest to buy uranium from Africa should not have been inserted in the speech.

The media and Democrats are rushing to thrust, with a twist, the verbal dagger into the Bush administration over the “gotcha” in the speech. The administration so richly deserves acerbic criticism over its bellicose invasion of a sovereign Iraq and its subsequent botched attempt at nation-building there. But the real question is why it took so long for the criticism of administration duplicity to be exposed and debated. This question goes to the heart of culture of the nation’s capital.

Many Washington reporters, policy analysts and politicians--even Republican ones--knew before the invasion of Iraq that the administration’s multiple reasons for going to war were shaky. For example, in a speech on October 7, 2002, President Bush stated flatly, “Iraq could decide on any given day [my emphasis] to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.” But a National Intelligence Estimate from the U.S. intelligence community, released on October 2, contradicted the president’s statement. The estimate said that Saddam Hussein was likely to use chemical and biological weapons, or give them to terrorists, only if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime--that is, the administration’s very policy. The full estimate was only declassified recently but, at the time, the then-chairman of the intelligence committee pressured and succeeded in compelling CIA director George Tenet to make public that conclusion.

Full story...

On the Killing of Dr Kelly - Rant in E-minor

by ewar

How many more innocent genuinely good people have to die? Are those son's of bitches going to kill every good, honest, non-sycophantic public servant that tries to tell us what is really going on? I don't know if I'm more sad or angry about this, his poor family must be completely devastated, there are no hollow words from me that will comfort them so I shall simply say that my heart is with them in this dark hour. One person that nobody is mentioning is Andrew Gilligan, he must be equally devastated, I mean he's the guy that brought all this stuff out so he must feel guilty as hell. On the off chance that you read this Andrew then don't beat yourself up, you did the right thing mate!

As for the suicide, I want to see the autopsy report before I believe anything like that! There are reports, since supressed, of a gunshot wound to the back of the head and witnesses reported seeing Dr Kelly smiling - and NOT seeming the least bit like a man on the edge of taking his own life. Reports from the village in which he lived say that people who knew him do not believe that it was a suicide. Are the mainstream presstitutes reporting that? NO!

Even if we do accept the "official" verdict (which I don't) then it's still a scandal of enormous proportions. A scientist comes forward and says he's had contact with Mr. Gilligan, next thing you know he's the "mole-person" who shagged the government up the arse about their own Iraqi lies. Then a few weeks later the guy kills himself because he's been hounded by everyone and his dog. Does this all sound like some bad Hollywood movie they never thought of or what? Excuse me, did I suddenly wake up on the set of the next fucking James Bond film, or in a pod in a power-plant or something???? By all accounts Dr Kelly was a good, honest, kind man who loved his family, his wife and kids obviously loved him dearly. So, why in the name of all the All Holy Conspiracy Kook would he slash his wrists on a dark rainy night while ostensibly out on a walk? It just doesn't make sense!!! This smells like the biggest pile of rotting fish in the entire country - except of course the Iraq Invasion itself!

We'll never know what really happened of course, every piece of real evidence will be classified, the inquiry will be a white-wash and Phony Tony and the Cronies will come away smelling of roses - as per usual. Either that or someone powerful has decided that Tony isn't cutting the mustard and needs to be gotten rid of. Even better, new driver same damned car! Then the cycle will continue, on and on until either the banks own the whole world and we're all debt slaves or world peace breaks out and we explore space together forever. Everyone is trapped by the system, even the people who don't think they're in it, question is, what do we do about it? Anyone who stands in their way gets murdered, anyone who looks like they may actually change things on a big scale gets murdered or ridiculed or smeared. Looks like it's happened again in nice peaceful sleepy civilised England.

"Go back to bed Britain, your government is in control again. Go back to bed Britain, your government has all the answers. Go back to bed Britain for when you rise we shall all be living on the set of Big Brother!"

Blair misled us all, say ex-ministers

The knives are out and it looks like this abscess, sorry this recess, of parliament will be a bloody and nasty affair. Good.

Robin Cook and Clare Short were told by MI6 in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein did not have any weapons of mass destruction capable of posing a threat to British security.

In separate appearances before MPs, the two former Cabinet ministers revealed for the first time the source for their damaging claims that Tony Blair misled Parliament and the public over the war.

They confirmed that they had each received regular personal briefings from officers of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, who had persuaded them that Saddam Hussein was not a "current and serious" threat.

Miss Short also gave MPs a graphic account of the way Mr Blair bypassed the Cabinet, tried to prevent his ministers from receiving MI6 briefings and left the decisions on the invasion of Iraq to a small, unelected "entourage" in his private office.

Mr Blair is being investigated by two separate Commons inquiries over allegations that he exaggerated the danger posed by Iraq's attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction in order to win support for the war.

Mr Cook, who resigned in March days before war broke out, said his claim that Iraq did not possess "a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic target" had reflected "almost word for word" a briefing he received from MI6.

Full story...

Tuesday, 22 July 2003

Torture testimony 'acceptable'

Expert tells terror appeal hearing that MI5 would use information obtained under duress in court

An MI5 expert in terrorism has admitted that the security service would use information extracted from tortured prisoners as evidence in court.

The secret witness told a panel of judges that in spite of knowing that a victim had been tortured or had come from a country where the regime sanctioned torture, she would still consider their testimony to be relevant to security service investigations.

The admissions will add to growing public concern over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, who were questioned by the CIA and by MI5 officers. Critics claim that the government has condoned torture by the US in its attempts to garner evidence against people it suspects of having been involved in al-Qaida or the Taliban.

The implication of the testimony has shocked human rights campaigners, as well as lawyers and the families of those detained. Article three of the Human Rights Act says "no one shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

Malcolm Smart, director of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, criticised the government for being party to torture, "either directly or by proxy".

Full story...

Tony Blair's Vince Foster?

British newspapers are comparing the suicide of Weapons-gate scientist David Kelly to the death of Vincent Foster, the top aide and friend to Bill and Hillary Clinton who was found shot to death in a Virginia park 10 years ago yesterday.

"The Prime Minister and his entourage were obsessive observers of the Clinton years and Dr. Kelly's death instantly reminded them of the suicide of Vince Foster," London's Sunday Telegraph reported.

"In the eyes of the Blairites - the lesson of Foster's death and what it led to has always been clear and chilling," the paper said, noting that the 1993 imbroglio spawned the Whitewater investigation and eventually led to President Clinton's impeachment on a separate matter.

Kelly's demise, coming just days after he denied telling the BBC that the Blair government had "sexed-up" its intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, prompted the London Observer to revisit the Foster case as well.

"[Foster] had, it seemed, shot himself," the paper noted. "Within months, it was being suggested in newspapers and on radio stations that Foster had died because he 'knew something' incriminating about the Clintons' involvement in the so-called Whitewater affair and couldn't take the pressure."

The Observer complained that after Foster's death, America's "right-wing press used and abused any argument to try and portray [Clinton] as a devious semi-criminal," adding, "It feels like that now over here."

But as the Telegraph observed, "The two fatalities, of course, have almost nothing in common. ... Foster was a close friend of the Clintons, while Dr. Kelly, a quietly-spoken microbiologist, had no association with the New Labour elite."

The paper might have also noted other key differences.

Full story...

GM Crop Con

When was the last time the government actually told us the truth? In case you hadn't noticed Tony "The Phony" Blair is trying to sell Britain to the corporate scumbags even more completely than the Tories did back in the Horrible Eighties! This government is an unlimited liability to the nation and Tony Blair makes Maggie Thatcher look like Mother Theresa!

Scandal as Government scientists back crops without testing them

A report claiming genetically modified crops pose little risk to health was dubbed a scandal last night.

The Science Review Panel admitted they had not carried out any new tests or research into the crops, which the Government want to see grown across the UK.

But they declared the risks to human health were very low.

Former Environment Minister Michael Meacher, sacked in the last reshuffle, said there were yawning holes in the report.

He said: "It is a scandal that no one has actually looked for the evidence.

"Until you have done systematic, comprehensive health tests on the impacts of eating GM food we should exercise caution."

Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King, who headed the panel, admitted they had done no new tests. He said: "We were set up to review the state of current scientific knowledge on GM foods."

But he said they had not given blanket approval to all GM foods and wanted to see further work carried out.

The report was also damaged by claims that a key member of the inquiry team quit because it was too dominated by the bio-tech industry.

Full story...

Hoon threw Kelly to the wolves

As if we needed another reason to loathe and despise the Defence Secretary, his boss and the whole stinking rotting seething pile of shit which is the British government and it's agents and agencies. I'm sure they sleep perfectly well at night, they don't give a toss that a family has been robbed of one of it's members. Life and death don't mean anything to these people, they will happily send your kids to a foreign land to die for lies and deception and greed. Do you really think that they're not prepared to sacrifice one insignificant pawn to accomplish their aims? Is this a government you want to have representing you? Where lies and corruption abound like so many flies swarming over a freshly laid pile of shit!

The name of a key guilty party can be given today to the judicial inquiry into Dr David Kelly's death.

It is Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence, the politician responsible for mobilising British forces for the onslaught on Iraq.

He is also the New Labour snout who put Dr Kelly's name into the public domain, triggering the tragic sequence of events that led to his death.

He wrote to the BBC Director general Gavyn Davies, identifying the weapons scientist. His people are also suspected of steering three newspapers towards Dr Kelly's name, forcing him into the open when he thought his name would stay secret.

The Government did not try to use the Official Secrets Act against the unfortunate Dr Kelly. Hoon simply threw him to the wolves, causing the trauma that drove the 59-year-old scientist over the edge.

And whose instructions was the Defence Secretary carrying out? It is impossible to believe that this weak-chinned wannabe soldier - known derisively among his own staff as Buff - could have taken this step on his own initiative.

I remain convinced that he was acting on the orders of Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's top spin doctor, who orders ministers around as if they were school prefects.

Full story...

The Kelly Suicide? Naming the Elephant.

It was absurdly easy to murder Dr. David Kelly. His regular habit of walking through the quiet fields to nearby Longworth Hill saw to that.

The killer was waiting there, amid the trees near the hilltop. As Kelly arrived he moved into plain sight, pretending to admire the view while reading a map.

He casually asked Dr. Kelly for directions. But once he got close, he sprayed a mist in the scientist's face. Kelly collapsed and was instantly unconscious.

With a fast deft movement, he slit Kelly's left wrist, standing well clear to avoid bloodstains on his own clothing. While the still unconscious Dr. Kelly bled to death, he pressed a packet of Co-proxamol, a prescription painkiller, into Kelly's right hand, then shook it onto the grass nearby.

The tablets were mere window dressing designed to enhance the suicide scenario. As the post mortem would later confirm, Kelly died as a result of the massive hemorrhage.

It had taken only minutes to create a sacrificial lamb who could be the spur for overthrowing Blair's leadership of the British Labour Party. An outcome which could eventually have explosive effects on the US political system too.

There was no other choice.

In Washington, Blair had just made a tactical appeal to the judgment of history for his action in invading Iraq, as US politicians cheered him on.

Meanwhile, the BBC Board was living on borrowed time:

"Dr Kelly was supposed to have been the joker in the pack that would end the long-running battle with the BBC. He was supposed to have knocked down Andrew Gilligan’s claims once and for all, allowing Mr Blair to head off to Washington with the affair all but finished."
The Scotsman, 19 July, 2003,
Prime Minister faces his biggest challenge

Kelly was clearly the BBC source for Gilligan's story on the "sexing-up" of evidence of Iraqi WMD. Soon Alistair Campbell would no doubt claim Gilligan exaggerated Kelly's comments and the BBC had backed him in a lie by claiming their source was in the intelligence services.

Tony Blair would then piously condemn sloppy journalism and insist his Iraq dossier was soundly based overall. As he had done in Washington, he would appeal again to the court of history to judge of his actions. The campaign to oust Blair would be over.

That outcome was preventable. By murdering Dr. Kelly.

Full story...

No 10 overruled defence chiefs in leaking Kelly's name to Press

Notice how desperate the government is to turn this whole thing into an issue about the BBC, thereby neatly side-stepping the real issue; that they are lying warmongers who had no justification for the invasion of Iraq. Dr Kelly was sacrificed for political expediency. Whether it was suicide (doubtful) or (more likely) some shadowy forces killed him and made it look like suicide we shall never know. The truth points to itself.

Downing Street overruled senior Ministry of Defence officials who wanted to protect the identity of David Kelly and prevent him appearing before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, according to Whitehall sources.

Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, is expected to be questioned by the judicial inquiry into Dr Kelly's death over whether he sided with Downing Street on the unmasking of the government scientist. Dr Kelly is understood to have been given guarantees from the MoD that his identity would remain secret.

The revelation calls into question Downing Street's assertion that the MoD took the lead in dealing with Dr Kelly after he admitted he had met Andrew Gilligan, the BBC journalist who claimed No 10 had "sexed up" a dossier on Iraqi weapons.

Downing Street conceded yesterday that it had been consulted by the MoD over the handling of the Kelly affair.

An important issue for Lord Hutton's inquiry will be whether Downing Street was determined to disclose Dr Kelly's identity to help it in its dispute with the BBC over Mr Gilligan's claim.

A senior Whitehall official said: "There was a lot of concern about the way things were going. There was a feeling at a very high level that we must do our utmost to protect the man.

"Some of us felt that David Kelly's identity should not be disclosed at all. However, the view from No 10 was that this was untenable; there were enough clues for the media to track him down."

The officials, including one of the highest-ranking civil servants in the MoD, believed the matter could be dealt with< internally without the weapons expert being identified. Among those involved in the MoD meetings were Mr Hoon; Sir Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary; Pam Teare, the director of news, and Richard Hatfield, the personnel director.

There were also regular telephone calls from Downing Street ­ including, it is claimed, from Alastair Campbell. MoD sources confirmed that No 10 demanded, and was told, Dr Kelly's name. Asked yesterday if Mr Campbell was consulted on the release of Dr Kelly's name, Tony Blair's official spokesman said: "We were consulted, and the MoD was the lead department and remained the lead department."

Full story...

Monday, 21 July 2003

British voters blame government for Kelly's death

Damn fucking right we do! Blair has the blood of an innocent man on his hands and I don't care what he, Campbell, Hoon or the whole goddamned government say, they are responsible for this obscenity!

A majority of British voters blame the government for the death of defense ministry "mole" David Kelly with most saying their opinion of Prime Minister Tony Blair has gone down over the tragedy, according to a new poll.

The poll, published in the Daily Telegraph Monday, found an overwhelming 83 percent believing Kelly's death last week was a direct consequence of being caught up in the row over the government's claim about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Asked who was thought most to blame, 47 percent said the government for making his name public and suggesting he was the main source of a BBC report in May that claimed Saddam Hussein's threat had been exaggerated to justify the war against Iraq.

Almost a quarter of voters believe that the Foreign Affairs Committee, which interrogated Kelly, was mostly to blame, but only 9 percent said it was the BBC for refusing to reveal the name of the source of its report prepared by defense correspondent Andrew Gilligan.

Almost 60 percent said their opinion of Blair had gone down as a result of the Kelly affair, while 69 percent said they were not very confident or not confident at all in the judicial inquiry set up by the prime minister to investigate the circumstances of the death.

Full story...

Tesco found using 'spy chips'

You are free, to do as we tell you. You are free, to do as we tell you.

The UK supermarket chain Tesco has admitted testing controversial technology that tracks customers buying certain products through its stores. Anyone picking up Gillette Mach3 razor blades at its store in Cambridge, in the east of England will have his or her picture taken.

The London-based Guardian newspaper, alerted by Katherine Albrecht, director of US-based Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy and Invasion and Numbering, to the use of the smart electronic tags, has found that tags in the razor blades trigger a CCTV camera when a packet is removed from the shelf.

A second camera takes a picture at the checkout and security staff then compare the two images, raising the possibility that they could be used to prevent theft.

"Customers know that there are CCTV cameras in the store," said a spokesman for Tesco. He went on to insist that the aim of the trial was to provide stock information and not security, but the manager of the Cambridge store, Alan Robinson, has already described how he presented photos of a thief to police.

The trial uses radio frequency identification (RFID) in which tiny chips can communicate with detectors up to 20ft away. The chip can then return information -- anything from a unique serial number to more complex product details. Or, as in Tesco's case, it could trigger a camera.

Retailers have hailed the technology as the "holy grail" of supply chain management but civil liberties groups argue that the so-called "spy chips" are an invasion of consumers' privacy and could be used as a covert surveillance device.

The technology is mostly used to track batches of products through the supply chain.

Full story...

Bush deserves to be impeached

by Eric Margolis

"Worse than a crime, it was a blunder," was how the cynical Talleyrand famously described Napoleon's murder of the Duke d'Enghien.

The same may be said of President George Bush's attempts to murder the leader of a sovereign nation, Saddam Hussein, and his foolhardy eagerness to invade Iraq.

Thanks to Bush's blundering, nearly 50% of U.S. Army combat units are now stuck in a spreading guerrilla war in Iraq , costing $4 billion US monthly, that is becoming the biggest, most expensive, and bloodiest foreign mess since Vietnam. This when the U.S. is threatening military action against North Korea.

As the furor in Washington grows over Bush's admission of now-discredited claims about Iraqi uranium imports from Africa in his keynote state of the union address, administration officials are viciously blaming one another.

George Tenet, the CIA's meek director, became the fall guy for the uranium fiasco, though he repeatedly warned the White House its claims were unsubstantiated.

Blame rightly belongs to Bush himself, and to his woefully inadequate national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice. Either they knew the uranium story was false, or they were unfit for high office.

For one thing, uranium ore is no more threatening than cake mix.

To weaponize it, ore must be laboriously transformed into uranium hexafluoride gas, then separated and enriched in huge, highly visible plants, equipped with "cascades" of thousands of high-speed centrifuges.

The U.S. knew there were no such nuclear plants in Iraq. French intelligence warned it the Niger story was bogus.

Full story...

Kelly warned of 'dark actors playing games'

Suicide my arse!

Weapons expert Dr David Kelly reportedly told of "many dark actors playing games" in an email to a journalist hours before his suicide.

The words appeared to refer to officials at the Ministry of Defence and UK intelligence agencies with whom he had sparred over interpretations of weapons reports, according to the New York Times.

The message gave no indication that he was depressed and said he was waiting "until the end of the week" before judging how his appearance before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee had gone.

The newspaper did not name the recipient of the email.

It said another associate had received a "combative" message from Dr Kelly shortly before he left his Oxfordshire home for the last time on Thursday.

The scientist said in the email that he was determined to overcome the scandal surrounding him and was enthusiastic about the possibility of returning to Iraq.

Dr Kelly was grilled by MPs last week over his comments to reporters about the use of intelligence in the run-up to the war in Iraq. He had denied being the main source for a BBC story about claims that a dossier on Iraq had been "sexed up" to boost public support for military action.

Dr Kelly's wife Janice told the New York Times her husband had worked on Thursday morning on a report he said he owed the Foreign Office and had sent some emails to friends.

She said: "After lunch, he went out for a walk to stretch his legs as he usually does."

Mrs Kelly said she had no indication that her husband was contemplating suicide.

Full story...

Saturday, 19 July 2003

Iraq Expert Driven to Tragic 'Suicide'

Tony Blair's government was in crisis last night after the apparent suicide of a scientist embroiled in the Iraq WMD controversy.

David Kelly - named as the mole who said the case for war was "sexed up" - was found dead in a field yesterday morning.

Angry friends said the mild-mannered expert had been left devastated by his treatment at the hands of Labour's spin machine and the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Blair was so shaken by the tragedy he immediately ordered a judicial inquiry.

The roles of communications director Alastair Campbell and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon are under scrutiny.

Father-of-three Dr Kelly, 59, denied being the source for a BBC story which said the Government's dossier had been "sexed up" to include the claim that Saddam Hussein could use WMD within 45 minutes.

MPs said he was a "fall guy" and had been "thrown to the wolves" when he appeared before a Commons select committee.

Dr Kelly disappeared after telling his wife he was going for a walk. When he did not return home, police were informed and a search began.

At 9.20 yesterday morning, officers found a body face down by a copse at Harrowdown Hill, five miles from Dr Kelly's home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire. It was described as a "grisly find", but police did not say how Dr Kelly died.

Full story...

Friday, 18 July 2003

Body 'matches' Iraq expert

Looks like it's true, another innocent man murdered for doing the right thing and speaking up against murderous liars. His name will be added to a long list of heroes who have been killed by the Forces of Evil for doing the right thing. If there were more people like him in government then maybe this country wouldn't be run so badly. It emphasises and proves that this government hides it's true face behind secrets and lies.

Now here's an interesting tidbit, a google search for Harrowdown Hill (where the body was found) shows that the site lies on an interesting line which passes through Dorchester Abbey, the Big Rings, a causewayed ring ditch on the cursus, Windmill Hill, a church by a holy well in Oxford, and two cross-tracks further north. A further line passes through the multi-junction at Berrick Salome, the wood henge on the cursus, the Big Rings, a church in Abingdon and one in Tubney, and Harrowdown Hill, which looks from the map to be a spectacular clump. The name also implies prehistoric associations. More occult symbolism at work, or just my over-actve imagination. I'll let you be the judge of that one!

Police searching for the weapons expert suggested by the government as the possible source for a BBC story on Iraq say the body they have found matches Dr David Kelly's appearance.

The body was found at 0920 BST by a member of the police team searching for Dr Kelly in a wooded area at Harrowdown Hill, near Faringdon, Oxfordshire.

Government adviser Dr Kelly, 59, went missing from his home in Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at about 1500 BST on Thursday.

The body was found lying on the ground, a police spokeswoman said.

She said items had been removed from Dr Kelly's house as they would in any missing person's inquiry.

The body was found around five miles from Dr Kelly's home.

Full story...

Body found in Iraq expert search

Looks like the worst has happened... I don't want to jump to conclusions here but it's a bit hard not too... Another life sacrificed for greed, lies, power and money - damn all who seek to keep the truth from We the People!

Police searching for the weapons expert named as the possible source for a BBC story on Iraq say they have discovered a body.

The body was found at Harrow Down Hill, near Farringdon, Oxfordshire, but has not yet been identified.

Government adviser David Kelly, 59, went missing from his home in Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at about 1500 BST on Thursday.

The body was found at 0920 BST On Friday.

Acting superintendant Dave Purnell said: "At this stage the identity of the person has not been established.

"What I would ask is because of the considerable amount of media interest is that the family are treated with respect and are not contacted at this time.

"We haven't ruled anything out yet. Clearly there are people at the scene now and there is no further information as to the body that has been found apart from to say it is a male.

"This is clearly a sensitive inquiry at the moment. The family of Dr David Kelly have been aware of what the police have been doing in relation to the search for him."

Earlier, police appealed help from the public to help find Dr Kelly and the police helicopter is being used in the search.

His family contacted the police when he failed to return by 2345 BST.

Earlier this week, Dr Kelly denied being the BBC's main source for a story claiming Downing Street had "sexed up" a dossier about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

He appeared before the Commons foreign affairs committee on Tuesday.

Full story...

Concern as MoD 'mole' reported missing

The sun is up, but it's still dark as hell on this planet of ours. I hope for his sake and the sake of his family that David Kelly turns up alive and well and this proves to be a hoax. But nothing would suprise me any more.

An official adviser on Iraqi arms named as the possible "mole" for a BBC report claiming the Government "sexed up" its dossier on weapons of mass destruction has been reported missing by his family, police said today.

Dr David Kelly, 59, went missing from his home near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at around 3pm yesterday after telling his wife he was going for a walk, Thames Valley Police said.

The family called police when he had failed to return by 11.45pm last night.

Dr Kelly faced a grilling on Tuesday by MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee about what he told BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan, who filed the original report claiming the Government had "sexed up" the weapons dossier.

Full story...

Nothing Left To Lie About

With BushCo reaming the nation on just about every possible front, is implosion imminent?

And the lies, the flagrant GOP bitch slappings of the American public, the maniacal jabs straight in eye of truth with the icepick of utter BS, have just reached some sort of critical mass, some sort of saturation point of absurdity and pain and ridiculousness and you just have to stand up and applaud.

Really. It's almost as if you should cheer the invidiousness, it is so spectacular, unprecedented, the tower of lies reaching the point where you, Jaded and Benumbed American Citizen, are forced to either recoil and ignore and deny, succumb and scream and laugh, or, like Bush himself, just sort of stand there, wide eyed, dumfounded, blinking hard, looking more blank and confused than ever, as the unified BushCo front begins to gloriously unravel.

This much we now know, as compiled by the CIA and the U.N. and U.S. military leaders and Bush's own teams of experts and scientists and lackeys and pretty much anyone with any sort of common sense or astute observation as yet unclouded and unmisled by the raging masturbatory pro-war gropings of, say, Fox News. A brief summary:

1. Saddam was all over 9/11. Funny how U.S. intelligence never found a single connection. Funny how BushCo knowingly led the nation on to believe there was one. Funny how the only role Saddamn actually played in 9/11 was to watch it unfold on CNN and exclaim, "Holy Allah with a case of Cuban cigars, Hashim, a million dinars says BushCo uses that as an excuse to come swipe our oil and pump up Halliburton and build a Starbucks in downtown Baghdad! Prepare the escape pod!"

2. Iraq was al Qaeda's bitch. See above. Fact is, U.S. intelligence found no proven link between Iraq and any recent terrorism threats against the U.S. Fact is, bin Laden hated Saddam and denounced his socialist Baath party as "infidels.". Fact is, BushCo worked extremely hard to manipulate the media to make you think the two were so close they might as well have been gay lovers. Curiously, this sinister obfuscation is still not clear to millions of Americans most of whom tend to live in Texas and/or anywhere near major military manufacturing plants. Go figure.

3. Those 9/11 terrorists? Buncha snarling Iraqis. Well, no. Most were, in fact, Saudi. There were no Iraqis at all. Saudi Arabia remains a desperately important American ally, one that provides billions in U.S. investment and hence BushCo loves them and kisses their rings and doesn't say a peep about the millions they also give to terrorist cells -- like, say, those of al Qaeda -- to protect their oil fields. Shhh.

4. Saddam has millions of drumfuls of scary chemicals ready at a moment's notice to poison the entire world and most of EuroDisney. Not even close. Huge chunks of "proof" of Iraq's purported chemical-weapons and nuclear-weapons programs have already been dismissed by U.N. inspectors and weapons experts. Saddam did, however, possess large quantities of bootlegged Britney Spears posters, which, if dropped on Israel, would have certainly caused pandemonium if not outright giggling and many heavy longing sighs.

5. Saddam scored uranium from Niger to make nukes. This is so cutely wrong it's painful. The document stating this was forged and bogus and BushCo knew it and referenced it anyway in the State of the Union address to help justify the war, and now he's all flustered and denying everything and the CIA director is bumbling in as the fall guy, and oh my freaking God do they ever think you are stupid.

6. The war on Iraq will be as easy as lancing a boil on Dick Cheney's forehead. Yes! Instant and painless and easy it will be, and it will inflict minimal casualties and we'd be all done in a week and America will be back home and happily watching "The Bachelorette" and the world would love us and see how glorious and righteous we are and everyone will convert to Christianity and join Promise Keepers and the 700 Club and never have sex and we will ban all icky gay people to Canada. Whee!

Or not. Never you mind that thousands of soldiers are to be stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq "indefinitely," for years to come. Or that more than half of the U.S. Army's entire combat force is bogged down in Iraq right now. Or that U.S. soldiers are still dying in Iraq every day, more than 80 so far (33 in hostile fire), with more to come, endless guerrilla warfare possibly requiring even more U.S. troops, months after BushCo declared the war essentially over. Whoops. Gosh. Sorry.

7. The Jessica Lynch "rescue" was all-American heroism at its finest. So cute. The "rescue" was actually all-American Pentagon PR bulls** at its finest, a rather embarrassingly staged hoax so full of overblown stunts and dumb machismo and awkward twists that not even Fox News would touch the story after a while, and they'll run anything. No wonder the Pentagon has refused to release the unedited video footage of the "rescue."

8. Iraq's oil money will go straight to "liberated" Iraqi people. Seriously now. Did anyone really ever believe this, even in their most drunken and heavily Xanaxed state? The money, of course, is going straight into U.S. and U.K. coffers as "payment" for the Gulf War, with only a fraction going for "rebuilding." But the bottom line is, we control the oil. We control Iraq's billions. We do not care who knows it. Special note from Donny "Beady Eyes" Rumsfeld to all you people who somehow genuinely believed we bombed Iraq for the betterment of the Iraqi people: Tthhppbbbhhhppbb.

9. Oh my God look just look at all those scary WMDs. There are no WMDs. There are no WMDs. There are no WMDs. And there never were. Two little words from BushCo, straight to you: Ha-ha, suckers.
The list goes on. This list is nearly endless. The list is growing and expanding and now threatens to split and explode and spread like some sort of giant viscous blob and invade small towns and kill plants and induce women to slap their hands to their faces and scream while it slowly steamrolls innocent children as they innocently stand there in the street playing innocent Frisbee, innocently.

Full story...