Fantastic talk by Loretta Napoleoni on The Intricate Economics of Terrorism.
From The Guardian - The Mystery of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
The UK and the US have actively undermined international law in the way they fight terrorism, a report by judges and lawyers has said.
As Russia marks the 20th anniversary of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, officials in Moscow are warning that US and Nato-led forces are making exactly the same mistakes as the Soviet Union made when it invaded the country in 1979.
In January 2007 I mentioned War on Terror The Boardgame. Since then I have met one of the guys who was involved in creating it. No High Street retailer had the balls to stock it but 12,000 copies have reportedly been sold online or through independent stockists. Now the police have given the game a huge publicity boost by seizing a copy of the game, claiming that the included balaclava in the set could be used in a criminal act.
Just as the Justice Department was about to charge him over the 2001 US Anthrax attacks. Bruce E. Irvin committed suicide. The attacks were blamed on Muslim fundamentalists and played a significant role in persuading citizens to support the invasion of Iraq. In fact the anthrax came from a US govenment lab at Ft Detrick, the same lab that leaked reports implicating Iraq to ABC. PFID comments on an interesting Salon article.
Want to know if waterboarding is torture? Ask Christopher Hitchens
US President George W Bush has signed a bill removing Nelson Mandela and South African leaders from the US terror watch list, officials say.
From who Loves the Conspiraloons on Blairwatch:
The massed ranks of the 9/11 conspiraloons are thinning and their lunatic theories are discredited. Although they do follow the dictum of empty vessels make the most noise, their numbers are shrinking.
The Guardian has published a good article by Bruce Schneier about how silly the "war on photographers" is - Are photographers really a threat.
The New York Times Sunday Book Review includes this review of "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation" by Philip Shenon.
Singer-songwriter David Rovics has been harangued by 9/11 truthers and felt compelled to write a short essay on the truth about the 9/11 "truth movement". His conclusions seem very similar to my own.
A Yemeni man has described being held for nearly three years in secret CIA prisons, or "black sites", around the world and accused the US of torture.
David Miliband has admitted two US 'extraordinary rendition' flights landed on UK territory in 2002.
The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has accused the Westminster government of attempting to interfere with his appeal.
INTELWIRE has obtained more than 1,700 pages of FBI documents cited in the end notes of the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission. They reveal a wealth of new details about the hijacker's movements, possible links between the hijackers and the government of Saudi Arabia, and connections to extremist figures in the United States, including blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.
A leaked memorandum from the former 9/11 commission says it made repeated requests to the CIA for information on the interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects.
The MPAA has banned a poster advertising a film called "Taxi to the Dark Side".
Four of the five British residents held by the US at Guantanamo Bay are to be released, the BBC has learned.
The US Supreme Court is deciding whether inmates at Guantanamo Bay camp should have the right to contest their detention in US civilian courts.
A good article about al-Quaeda - There's no single story to al-Quaeda by Jason Burke.
Lawyers acting for the Lockerbie bomber are expected to ask the High Court to examine claims that vital documents were kept from the trial defence team.
In a similar vein to my last entry, here are Glen Allport's Top Ten Reasons for a New 9/11 Investigation. He mentions the "controlled demolition" theory but at least admits that it is unproven and omits it from his top ten reasons (it makes no sense at all to me and is in my opinion just a massive red herring).
Bernard Weiner, co-editor of "The Crisis Papers", recently published a list of "Twenty-Two" Things We Now Know Six Years After 9/11". It is a pretty good summary of the case against Bush but some of the charges are not very credible in my view. For example, although it doesn't actually claim that the twin towers were taken down with "pre-set demolition charges" it leaves it as an open question. As a scientist and Chartered Engineer with some structural engineering experience the idea that the towers came down as a result of anything other than plane strikes seems like utter nonsense to me. However, the paper does cover a lot of important points and is worth a read.
A lot of people are saying that the latest Bin Laden video is a forgery.
After an unexplained absence of nearly three years, the al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, has appeared once more on a 30-minute video posted on an Islamist website.
A CIA inquiry has accused the agency's ex-chief George Tenet and his aides of failing to prepare for al-Qaeda threats before the 9/11 attacks on the US.
The Los Angeles Times identifies three fliers facing kidnapping charges in Germany related to a 2003 counter-terrorism mission.
An Italian judge has ordered 26 US citizens - most of them CIA agents - to stand trial over the kidnap of an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003.
The European parliament has approved a damning report on secret CIA flights which condemns member states that turned a blind eye to the operations.
I reported on this back in October, but at the time it only appeared in the North-West Evening Mail. Well finally it has gone national and is being reported by the BBC. A former British National Party (BNP) candidate who held explosive chemicals in anticipation of a civil war wanted to shoot Tony Blair, a court heard.
Nearly 60 countries signed a treaty on Tuesday that bans governments from holding people in secret detention, but the United States and some of its key European allies were not among them.
The New Yorker has an article by George Parker called Knowing the Enemy about the so called "war on terror". The article talks a lot about an Australian called David Kilcullen who had been working for the past year as chief strategist for Henry Crumpton, the US State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism. By speaking of Saddam Hussein, the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, the Taliban, the Iranian government, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda in terms of one big war, Administration officials and ideologues have (according to Kilcullen) made Osama bin Laden's job much easier, playing right into the hands of Al Qaeda's information strategy - the same information strategy which Bin Laden used to assist Bush's 2004 re-election. It is a long article but well worth a read.
The SITE Institute (Search for International Terrorist Entities) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides information related to terrorist networks to the government, news media, and general public.
Germany has ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents over the alleged kidnapping of one of its citizens.
The Canadian government has agreed to compensate Maher Arar to the tune of $10.5m, and has urged the US to drop him from its list of terror suspects.
A British boy whose father has been detained at the Guantanamo Bay camp delivered a letter to Downing St, ahead of a protest outside the US Embassy.
I know it is too late to buy it as a Christmas present, but I thought I would mention it any way - War on Terror The Boardgame.
The "War on Terrorism" is not only targeting Islamic terrorism, but in the US it is being twisted to target US animal rights and environmental activists. Check out the GreenScare website.
A banned cleric is still preaching support for terrorism to young British Muslims by appearing incognito on the internet, the BBC has learned.
Fraser Clark took some heat for publishing stuff in his Parallel Youniversity newsletter which was sceptical of the theory that the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition. Since I am of the considered opinion that said "theory" is just an implausible work of fiction I emailed Fraser to offer my support. He then quoted my email in an exchange he was having with one of his critics, whose email user name was "rabbit". I ended up getting sucked into an email "debate" with rabbit which proved about as much use as trying to convince a Jehovah's witness of the non-existence of God. It never ceases to amaze me what rubbish people will believe. Not that that I think the full truth has (or will ever) be revealed about 9/11 - elements loyal to the Bush Administration may well have been complicit in some way. The thing is, as a Chartered Engineer with some experience in structural engineering, it seems entirely plausible that the impact of commercial airliners caused the towers to fall, and the controlled demolition theory makes no sense even if you were to believe that the Bush Administration was behind the attacks. If they knew it was not possible to take the towers down with aircraft they might have carried out a controlled demolition and blamed it on terrorists. The evidence would be destroyed anyway and there would be no need to plan a complex cover-up operation involving planes which would just hugely increase the risk of being rumbled (and if it were not possible to take the towers down with planes then that would be a stupid cover-up anyway). The conspiracy theorists may of course accuse me of being part of the cover-up but that makes no sense either. I would love to see George Bush get his comeuppance and have no reason to try to deny any truth about him which would make him look even more "evil" than he already does. But I am not going to try to prove that he is a shape-shifting reptilian or any other bogus theory - he is already guilty of enough bad stuff without making shit up. Check out what Maddox thinks about it.
Check out THE WORLD - upside down on the website of Dr. Udo Ulfkotte.
Transcript of a speech by RAWA member Zoya at a benefit for RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), called "Breaking the Propaganda of Silence" organised by the Afghan Women's Mission on October 7, 2006.
A falsely accused "enemy combatant" describes his imprisonment in Guantanamo.
Retired UK dentist, David Bolais Jackson, was arrested last week in the Lancaster area after police found rocket launchers, chemicals, British National Party literature and a nuclear or biological suit at his home.
Canada is to make a formal protest to the United States over the case of Maher Arar.
The commission of inquiry into the actions of Canadian officials in relation to Maher Arar has reported its findings.
Bruce Schneier has some interesting thoughts about the "terrorist threat" in his latest Crypto-Gram Newsletter.
A former soldier who served in Afghanistan has criticised the military campaign in the country.
President Bush has acknowledged the existence of secret CIA prisons and said 14 key terrorist suspects have now been sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
NIST has a FAQ which addresses some of the outlandish claims made by various people that the WTC collapse was not caused by planes slamming into it.
No police officers are to be prosecuted over the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at a Tube station last July.
All US military detainees, including those at Guantanamo Bay, are to be treated in line with the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions.
Italy has just indicted three CIA officers and a U.S. Air Force officer on charges that they participated in the illegal 2003 rendition, or torture/kidnap, of a Muslim cleric in Milan.
The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Bush administration does not have the authority to try terrorism suspects by military tribunal.
Europe's human rights body has passed a resolution accusing European states of colluding with the CIA on secret flights transferring terror suspects.
The FBI's Sears Tower Plot by Joel Wendland offers an alternative view of the recent alleged "plot".
Beneath the Hoods by Dana Stephens is a good review of Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross' file "The Road to Guantanamo" about three British youths who spent over two years in military prison for no justifiable reason.
And for a bit of humour check US gets itself in a noose with its core democratic values.
The US should close any secret "war on terror" detention facilities abroad and the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba, a United Nations report has said.
The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has called for the closure of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.
The first permanent ceasefire called by the militant Basque separatist group Eta has come into effect.
Noam Chomsky's The Terrorist in the Mirror is worth a read.
A Swiss senator carrying out an enquiry into claims the CIA has run illegal secret detention centres in Europe has said he has no doubt they exist.
A missile strike apparently targeting al-Qaeda's deputy leader in a village in Pakistan has prompted Islamabad to protest to its American allies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay "should not exist", in an interview days before she meets George W Bush.
The European Union's top justice official has warned that any EU state found to have hosted a secret CIA jail could have its voting rights suspended.
The UN has formally rejected a US invitation to visit the Guantanamo prison camp, saying it cannot accept the restrictions imposed by Washington.
Government-proposed measures to combat terrorism have been branded "unlawful" and "intolerable" by senior experts.
A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.
Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has warned that "a small number" of Australians have joined the al-Qaeda terrorist network .
Two Yemeni prisoners have claimed they were held in secret, underground US jails for more than 18 months, Amnesty International has said.
From "Terrorist" Lists:
This website was launched in June 2005 by Statewatch in association with the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities and the Human Rights and Social Justice Institute, London Metropolitan University, to monitor the largely secret development of the policy of "proscribing" groups and individuals connected with "terrorism" (see press release).
Following the recent bomb attacks in London, a Chatham House report has said that support for the US-led invasion of Iraq put the UK more at risk from terrorist attack. No shit Sherlock! I don't like to say "I told you so" but can't resist referring you to my 2002-12-02 entry on this very page.
The CIA sent a team to Afghanistan days after 9/11 with orders to kill Usama Bin Laden and bring back his head, a former agent has revealed.
Eric Rudolph recently pleaded guilty to a string of terrorist bombings including the one at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
Meanwhile, the Kamel Bourgass trial has been making waves in the UK but the press has been reporting little more than government spin. For a more realistic analysis of the case check out this 2005-04-13 article by George Smith in National Security Notes.
Latest findings from NIST World Trade Center Investigation have been released and the probable collapse sequences for both towers have been finalised.
There is a long article by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker about the Outsourcing of Torture.
Five European governments are setting up a hi-tech team to monitor how terrorists and criminals use the net.
I have just read this article about Operation Northwoods. This plan, conceived in 1962 as a way to justify military action against Cuba, involved such ideas as staging a "terror campaign", including the "real or simulated" sinking of Cuban refugees. I wonder how much of this sort of thing is going on now?
A US judge has ruled that special military tribunals being used to try hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are illegal.
Britons held by the US in Guantanamo Bay will be returned to the UK, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is expected to tell the Commons on Tuesday.
On 2004-12-27 Cryptome published this report about how the British Army Intelligence Corps website had been compromised by a former agent. This update was published four days later. People emailing an address given on the website apparently received replies advising them not to seek to join the Intelligence Corps because through its sub-units it has been "responsible for the murder of innocent civilians and the direction of terrorism". This incident has been discussed on the Spy Blog at www.spy.org.uk.
Detaining foreign terrorist suspects without trial breaks human rights laws, the UK's highest court has ruled.
If you have been to any anti-war demos in the UK recently you are bound to have seen this SWP placard bearing a photo of George Bush looking suitably diabolical under the caption "WORLD'S #1 TERRORIST" (I am no fan of the SWP but I can't deny the effectiveness of their placard operation). Perhaps you have dismissed the placard as hyperbole? If so then read Home Cooking by Chris Floyd, published 2004-12-10 in the Moscow Times. Not quite as easy to dismiss is it?
At least seven people are reported to have died after gunmen stormed the US consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
The war on terror has made the world less safe and is not addressing the underlying causes of conflict, Pakistan's president has told the BBC.
In the UK, you might think that if you were accused of a crime you would have the right to defend yourself in a UK court. Apparently not! Under the 2003 Extradition Agreement the US no longer needs to produce evidence in court for you to answer, merely a statement of what you are accused of. This agreement is now in force and is being used to extradite a British citizen who is accused of having committed a crime - not in the US but in this country! Stop Political Terror have helped organise a Justice for Babar Ahmed demo at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes at 12:30 on 2004-11-28.
In his Harpers article Whitewash as a Public Service, Benjamin DeMott explains how the 9/11 Commission Report defrauds the nation.
The 9/11 Commission Report, despite the vast quantity of labor behind it, is a cheat and a fraud. It stands as a series of evasive manouvers that infantilize the audience, transform candor into iniquity, and conceal realities that demand immediate inspection and confrontation.
I find it very strange that with all the resources available to the Bush administration they have failed to eliminate Usama bin Laden. As I understand it, huge rewards have been offered for information, and yet he is able to sit calmly in front of a video camera to make a statement which is then broadcast in the West. Aljazeera has the full transcript of Usama's recent address to the American people and Cryptome compares it with a number of other translations.
Arabic TV station Aljazeera has aired a videotape in which Usama Bin Laden threatens fresh attacks on the US.
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the 'inevitability' of a catastrophic terrorist attack. But has the danger been exaggerated? A major new TV documentary claims that the perceived threat is a politically driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion.
The first uncensored letter from a Briton held at Guantanamo Bay shows he has been tortured, his lawyers claim.
The agency that owns the site of the World Trade Center in New York says it is suing Saudi Arabia for damages suffered on 9/11.
Russian troops have stormed the school in North Ossetia where hundred of children and adults have been held hostage since Wednesday. The hostage takers must have had balls to try something like that after what happened during the Moscow Theatre Siege. It is not yet clear how many were killed or injured, hopefully the majority of the hostages will live to tell the tale. Would this have happened if George Bush had not agreed to overlook Russian abuses in Chechnya in exchange for a green light to invade Iraq? Who knows? But it is a valid question and I submitted it as a comment on this BBC "Have Your Say" page.
As an aside, I was going to point out that the BBC have never published any of the half dozen or so comments I have submitted on previous occasions, but I thought I should just check first. In fact, out of the few comments published by people called Ian Gregory, the one on this page was actually by me.
The US DoD has admitted having contact with a former US soldier, Jonathan Idema, charged in Afghanistan with torturing civilians.
The Register reported that an Al-Qaeda computer geek nearly overthrew US (not).
The US Supreme Court has ruled that Guantanamo detainees can use the US legal system to challenge their detention.
On 2004-06-10 I mentioned how the ICC statute entered into force on 2002-07-01, despite US attempts to block it. However, for the past two years it seems the Bush administration has been able to wangle an exception, basically granting it's troops immunity from prosecution by the new International Criminal Court. Well not any more!
Aaron Swartz reminded me about Terry Gilliam's excellent film called "Brazil". In this blog entry he provides a whole bunch of URLs which illustrate its remarkable prescience. I liked the one about bureaucrats sitting in fancy offices pushing papers about torture.
Global terror attacks are on the rise, says the US State Department, admitting an earlier report (which had claimed attacks were tailing off) was wrong.
I went through this page today and moved some of the stuff over to my new Palestine page. In the process I found a few other things which I should comment on:
In January 2002 I mentioned US attempts to block the formation of an International Criminal Court. Well that clearly did not work too well because the 60th ratification needed to create the Court was received in April, and the ICC statute then entered into force on 2002-07-01. As of 2004-05-03, 94 countries were "States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court" - the Unites States is conspicuous by its absence. For further information check out the ICC website.
Then in March last year, shortly before the US invasion of Iraq, I suggested that people might want to get involved in the Adbusters "Boycott America" campaign. Adbusters now have a new website with no mention of such a campaign - try Boycott America instead.
Finally, in January this year I mentioned the disturbing case of Mahar Arar and gave a link to his 2003-11-04 statement to the media which was hosted by Amnesty International Canada. That link is now dead, and even the trusty Wayback Machine is unable to retrieve it! Fortunately I was able to track down another copy here.
Amnesty International have blamed the US led "War on Terror" for a global surge in human rights abuses.
Michael Moore's new documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 has won the prestigious Palm d'Or best film award at the Cannes festival. What has this got to do with the "War on Terror"? Well, the film explores the connections between George W Bush and the Bin Laden family so I guess it is somewhat relevant!
There is an online game called September 12th at newsgaming.com which simulates one of the key effects at work in the "War on Terrorism". Terrorists and civilians wander around in an Afghan village, you have a missile launcher and can attempt to kill the terrorists but it is difficult to avoid killing civilians. When a civilian dies, others gather around to mourn the death and then morph into terrorists themselves.
Copies of "Against All Enemies" by Richard Clarke are selling like hotcakes. Just three days after publication the book went into it's fifth printing. According to Clarke, Bush did not take terrorism seriously enough, and then insisted on blaming Iraq for the attack on the WTC regardless of an inconvenient lack of evidence.
Of course the big news was the bomb attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda which killed 201 commuters in Madrid, and the subsequent shock election results in Spain. The vast majority of Spanish people were opposed to the invasion of Iraq, and Anzar's toadying to the US did nothing for his popularity. For some strange reason though, opinion polls had been predicting that his party would be re-elected. In the wake of the bombings he was quick to blame ETA and decided not to postpone the election, presumably in the hope that no Al-Qaeda connection would be made until the vote was in the bag. This act of brinkmanship failed spectacularly, to the immense delight of Basque people who hated Anzar with a passion. The new government announced that they would withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq barring UN intervention, which is good news for the people of Spain, firstly because they didn't want them there in the first place, and secondly because they are no longer a prime Al-Qaeda target.
Unfortunately for us in the UK, we now seem to be the next logical target for the bombers. Thanks a bundle Tony!
Dr Jim Swire, who helped convict Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, now believes the Libyan security agent is innocent.
Lawyers and families of the freed UK Guantanamo detainees are delighted at the men's release from British custody.
Three states and 256 counties in the USA have passed resolutions condemning the Patriot Act. San Fransisco is in the frontline.
Jose Padilla, a US citizen held without charge for two years on suspicion of planning to set off a "dirty bomb", is to have his case considered by the Supreme Court. See this BBC report.
Here is an interesting US DoD briefing on detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay.
Cryptome have produced this detailed article about suspicious activities involving Israeli art students at DEA facilities.
Only 75 days until Mordechai Vanunu is due to be released from prison in Israel.
I found a great feature by James Bovard in (of all places) The American Conservative on how Bush has been using what are called "Free Speech Zones" to quarantine dissent. I am sure he would have liked to pack a few of these handy FSZs in his luggage when he visited the Queen last year, but thankfully thinks are not quite that fucked up over here yet.
I had somehow managed to avoid finding out about Mahar Arar until today. A Canadian citizen born in Syria, he fell down a rabbit hole while changing planes in New York and ended up in a dungeon in Syria. OK so the rabbit hole was a metaphorical one, but I kid you not! Read his disturbing 2003-11-04 statement to the Media.
The BBC reports that families of Britons held at Guantanamo Bay have launched a new human rights body because they have "fallen into a legal black hole".
I only just came across this 6 month old story but I had to mention it. Apparently British Airways turned around a full plane on the tarmac, delaying 300 passengers because a passenger refused to remove a button. John Gilmore was wearing a button that said "Suspected Terrorist" - referring to the fact that everyone is being treated as such. Read his story here.
Much has happened since my last update so I will have to try to be brief. I guess the biggest story was the 2003-12-13 capture of Saddam Hussein by US forces near Tikrit. This was obviously a welcome boost for the Bush regime but it is not clear what effect it will have in the longer term. Clearly any trial of Saddam will be an opportunity for all sorts of dirty laundry to be aired. What, for example, was the full extent of US support for Saddam's brutal 8 year war with Iran and who should pay the mooted $100bn reparations?
Libya's decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction has been warmly welcomed by the United States and Britain. It has also been warmly welcomed by CND who of course urge the UK government to follow suit.
Finally, some good news regarding oppressive "anti-terrorist" laws. In the UK, MPs and peers on the privy council review committee called for UK laws allowing indefinite detention of foreign nationals without trial to be revoked on the basis that they are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Meanwhile, in the US, a federal appeals court has ruled that detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba should have access to lawyers and the US court system.
The Norwegian Nobel committee today issued this press release confirming the award of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize to the Iranian lawyer, judge, lecturer, writer and activist Shirin Ebadi. She is the first Iranian, and indeed the first woman from a Muslim country, to be awarded this honour. Her Nobel Lecture covered many important contemporary issues, and expressed her concern that regulations restricting human rights and basic freedoms are being given legitimacy under the cloak of the war on terrorism. She had a few things to say about the treatment of Guantanamo detainees!
Writing about Shirin Ebadi reminded me about the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. I have spoken to a few members and they seem like a sound bunch. Check out the RAWA website which describes the organisation as "the oldest political/social organisation of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan"
On 2003-10-15, just 10 days before scheduled mass marches and rallies against the occupation of Iraq, the FBI issued Intelligence Bulletin #89 entitled "Tactics used during protests and demonstrations", threat level Yellow (Elevated). This somehow leaked, resulting in a 2003-11-23 article in the New York Times by Eric Lichtblau entitled "FBI Scrutinises Antiwar Rallies". The FBI then responded by posting for public scrutiny both the full text of the Bulletin and their response to the NYT article, in which they deny the allegation of a "coordinated, nationwide effort to collect intelligence regarding demonstrations". The final line of the Bulletin however ("Law enforcement agencies should be alert to these possible indicators of protest activity and report any potentially illegal acts to the nearest FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.") does seem to cast the net rather wide; obstructing traffic may well be illegal, but since when is it terrorism?
In other news, I was amused to see that Donald Rumsfeld has won an award.
The BBC reported today that a deal to repatriate Britons held by the US at Gantanamo bay could be finalised by Christmas.
I have been pre-occupied with George Bush's recent State Visit to the UK. The scale and intensity of public opposition combined with the threat of terrorism kept his public appearances to a minimum but Tony Blair's spin doctors have insisted that the visit was a success. The third day of the visit coincided with a devastating explosion at the British Consulate in Istanbul. Bush and Blair's reaction, totally predictable though it was, made my heart sink - we are being asked to accept a state of perpetual war. To add more fuel to the fire, a speech by Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane has provoked anger amongst senior British Muslims. The only positive news I can see is that the recent bombings have prompted thousands of Turks to demonstrate for peace.
Check out Michael Moore's website website for information about his eagerly awaited new book called "Dude, Where's My Country?"
I have not been adding stuff to this page recently but that doesn't mean I have lost interest! At the moment I am obviously concentrating on the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq and am mainly working with the University of Hertfordshire Staff and Students Against the War group - see my UHSSAW page.
Things are really kicking off now from what I hear. I don't listen to the news because it is depressing and pointless. I just got an email from an American friend in New Hampshire. She confirmed that the Bush Administration has got the mass media firmly screwed down and they are pumping out propaganda whilst denying any platform for alternative views. Fortunately there is the Internet so those with a connection at least have access to information. Sounds like Nazi Germany to me - people being arrested for wearing a T-shirt that says "Peace on Earth" etc. So big up to all our brothers and sisters over there who are putting up resistance - stand up for your rights. We did our best to steer Tony Blair towards the path of righteousness but the dark side was too strong. Bush and Blair both claim to be Christians - I suggest they re-read the bible - I am sure Jesus never said "Blessed are the warmongers".
Strange times we are living in! We are clearly now in a sort of endgame but remember, win or loose, what matters is how you play. It looks likely that Bush and Blair will go to war very soon regardless of the UN or world opinion. Keep an eye on the Stop the War Coalition website for up to date information. If you are into candlelight vigils there is a global vigil for peace being organised by MoveOn.org with 422 (rapidly increasing) vigils already scheduled in 37 countries for 2003-03-16 at 19:00 local time. If a bit of good old boycotting is more up your street then take a look at the Adbusters Boycott America campaign.
Four days after the historic global anti-war protests here is my somewhat delayed report on the London demonstration. My friend Aidan was there and was inspired to send out this message to the cosmos. Ms Dynamite, who took part in the rally, will be performing an anti-war song at the Brit Awards tomorrow night - I wonder if Tony will be watching!
As US action against Iraq looks increasingly inevitable it becomes all the more important for opponents of war to make their voices heard. The powers that be are now putting all available pressure on the media to deny a platform to the nay-sayers and get us all to accept that Saddam Hussein is a terrible danger to the world who must be stopped. Going to war is clearly the greater danger, partly because it will play right into the hands of extremist Islamic elements. Also, once Bush has secured access to Iraqi oil supplies and demonstrated the futility of resisting US might, his masters in Exxon etc will be free to continue raping the planet for the benefit of a tiny minority of greedy bastards who have already accumulated enough wealth to see out the rest of their lives in comfort while the sea rises, crops fail, and millions die fighting over the polluted scraps.
Even if Bush and Blair can not be stopped we have got to kick up a stink. In a few days, on Saturday the 15th of February there will be anti-war demonstrations in cities all over the world - be there! I will be joining the march in London to say "Not in my name!" - see www.stopwar.org.uk for latest news and details. My only difficult decision is what sort of banner to make - a giant pair of underpants with the slogan "War is Pants" is near the top of my list. I also liked a sign which read "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot".
A lot has happened since I put this page up. You don't hear too much about the state of things in Afghanistan any more as the media machine attempts to crank us all up over the "Iraqi threat". If the west (US/UK) goes to war against Iraq it is bound to lead to a huge upsurge in recruitment for militant/extremist Islamic groups. That much is obvious when you consider that Israel certainly possesses weapons of mass destruction and is violating numerous UN resolutions but, far from being punished, continues to receive political, economic, and military backing from the US. If there is a terrorist action in the UK the blame must fall squarely on Tony Blair and his cronies for supporting Bush's ridiculous game and setting us up as the obvious target.
I have of course been doing my little bit to try to turn the tide. I marched with approximately 350,000 others in London on 2002-09-28 and joined a candle lit vigil outside a local shopping centre as part of the Stop The War Coalition's Halloween Day of Action. It seems pretty hopeless at times and I get the feeling that even if 90% of the population was opposed to UK military involvement Tony would just go ahead with it anyway and hope to get re-elected on the basis that few people want another Conservative government - what a sad state of affairs. But we have to try, so for information about what is going on and what you can do to help take a look at www.stopwar.org.uk
Afghanistan has taken a pounding over the years but the recent American bombardment was something else and brings to mind the famous words: "And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is George Dubya when I lay my vengeance upon thee."
So what did this rain of high explosives achieve apart from turning lots of big rocks into smaller rocks and polluting large areas with toxic residue? The US action was clearly not motivated by concern for the welfare of the Afghan people though many of them welcomed the downfall of the Taliban regime. What it has done is increased US domestic support for Dubya, helped the arms industry, opened up possible opportunities for US oil companies and scared the shit out of any country that might have considered opposing US interests.
What about the role of the UK? Well, as expected Tony Blair rushed to support his buddy and took us into a phony war without even consulting Parliament. There were plenty of people who opposed the action; I was one of more than 20,000 who marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in London on 2001-10-13 though I never felt confident that we would change anything.
But hold on, I haven't mentioned the T-word yet. Terrorism is bad so a war on terrorism must be good, like the war on drugs right? I don't think so, how can a meaningless cliche be good? I won't bore you with a catalogue of US involvement in terrorism but you could start by looking at School of the Americas Watch. George Bush is acting like a Mafia Boss who condemns "petty criminals" and then goes above the law if they get in his way. It seems telling that Senator Helms has proposed an "American Servicemembers' Protection Act" designed to attempt to block the establishment of an International Criminal Court
Oh, and if anyone tells you that the attack on the World Trade Center and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands are unrelated they either lying or talking bollocks.
For Tony Gosling's view on the subject have a look at PEPIS #33
Or for a completely different take on events - my good friend Aidan speculated on the idea of a Karmic disturbance set in motion when hard line elements of the Taliban regime ordered the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan six months prior to the WTC attack. It makes more sense than some of the rubbish spouted by various politicians.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010