Message from the Stop The War Coalition


I have just received this message as part of an e-mail from the Stop The War Coalition:

(Nearest tube: Westminster)

On Tuesday 31 October, Parliament will debate and vote on the Iraq war for the first time since March 18 2003. Alex Salmond, one of the MPs who initiated the debate, says: "This is the first time since the invasion of Iraq that the government can be held to account over this illegal and unwanted war."

STOP THE WAR COALITION has called an emergency protest in front of Parliament when the debate takes place between 5pm and 7pm. MPs must end a war which has brought nothing but mass slaughter and devastation to the people of Iraq. There is no excuse. It's what the majority of British people want. It's what even the head of the British armed forces, General Sir Richard Dannatt, wants.


US to Insurgents: 'We Surrender'


Finally accepting, but not admitting, that Iraq is a failure the US is offering and amnesty and promising to go home. The utter lack of a clue in the US administration is shown in their threat to punish Iraq if they don't stop the violence in Baghdad.

A further example is the hapless Alberto Fernandez, who said that America was arrogant and stupid in Iraq. As he was showing dangerous signs of living in the real world the heavy squad was sent to deal with him. Initially the State department said that al Jazeera had mis-translated his remarks, but when the translation was described as accurate by many others, they sent the boys round and Fernandez came out grovelling
“Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase ‘There has been arrogance and stupidity by the U.S. in Iraq.’ This represents neither my views, or those of the State Department. I apologize.”

Meanwhile 1.6 million Iraqi's have voted with their feet by leaving Iraq, a massive movement of people which affects every neighbouring nation.

All the while a nervous Blair awaits his instructions from Washington.

Sunni or Shia?


FOR the past several months, I’ve been wrapping up lengthy interviews with Washington counterterrorism officials with a fundamental question:Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?

The Tipping Point


It's arrived. In the last few weeks the political climate has changed. There wasn't a catalystic event, but circumstances have united to bring us to the tipping point.

I remain optimistic about politics and political change despite all apearances because if you take a long term view it's now clear that the Neo-Con agenda, which began to rise under Reagan, is now in the decline and that decline will grow more precipitous in the coming years. I can imagine Cheney running around his bunker crying out, as Stalin did when the Germans advanced on the capital; "We were handed this great legacy and we fucked it up".

The Neo-Con experiment is dying. Even Bush has noticed and is preparing his escape. The mid terms will show us where we are. Sure there are local factors, but the question being asked of the American public is Has the penny dropped yet?

Indeed it appears to be dropping. They're admitting that they don't control Baghdad never mind the whole country. Their once feared fighting machine is disappearing into the sands.

The nearest think the UK has to a strategy is the Army's strong desire to relocate troops from the frying pan of Iraq into the fires of Afghanistan.

One moment the US is talking about troop withdrawls, the next they're saying troop levels will have to be maintained for another ten years.

Tony waits meekly on the sidelines for his instructions. Never have we had a leader so servile, so incapable of standing up for his country, one so mesmerised by power that he is helpless and detatched from reality.

Recently Campbell and Blunkett have spoken about their depression but the frightening reality is that the Blair cabinet is suffering from collective delusions, collective psychosis.

Reading accounts of new labour, one is struck by just how chaotic and dysfunctional they are behind the scenes.

We are led by a government and a party that, collectively is suffering from poor mental health.

The results can be seen in the graveyards of Iraq and Aldershot.

Conflation, conflation, conflation


Tony has been talking crap again, in what's laughably called 'Prime Minister's Questions'. 'Prime Minister's Bollocks', more like.

Apparently these are all the same people:

1) Shia militia infiltrating the Basra police with Iranian support
2) Shia militia infiltrating the Basra police without Iranian support
3) Sunni death squads
4) Shia death squads
5) Sunni foreign fighters under the al-Qaeda in Iraq banner
6) The Taliban in Afghanistan
7) Madmen scribbling on pieces of paper about absurd gas bomb and dirty bomb plots
8) Genuine Islamic radicals in the UK pissed off about Iraq
9) Muslim women wearing veils
10) Anyone who disagrees with Tony Blair (that's us, isn't it?), because you support terrorists.

Apparently all of those are a big bunch of Bad Guys to whom 'no quarter will be given'. He's completely lost it, and only the fact that David Cameron is a big girls blouse who hasn't got his story straight on Iraq and hasn't got the guts to go for the throat saves him from embarrassment. Who will rid of me of this tiresome loony?

Oh, and Blair quoted General Casey in support of his position that UK troops would be withdrawn as the Iraqis stepped up. That's the same Casey who predicted only a few days ago that troops would be in Iraq for another four years at least. Whoopsy-daisy.


I've just sent this email to BBC Radio 5's discussion on PMQs, which has royally got on my tits.

Can you and your guests please stop accepting Tony Blair's absurd conflation of threats across the Middle East? In particular, please take time to consider that al-Qaeda in Iraq, with their policy of massacring Shias, are about as likely to take over in Basra (should we pull out now) as Ian Paisley is to be the next Pope. Indeed, the best way to remove al-Qaeda from Iraq is to remove the reason they're there, which is our illegal invasion and occupation.

Not sure you'll read this out, but it would be nice for once to hear a discussion founded on reality instead of the spin put out by the Prime Minister. Isn't that what accountable democracy is for?



Blunkett advised Tony Blair to bomb Al Jazeera


It's not just Bush who tried to convince Tony Blair that bombing Al Jazeera was a good idea, David Blunkett is claiming that he also told Tony to attack the news outlet. On this occasion it was the transmitter in Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq.

DAVID Blunkett has admitted he urged Tony Blair to break international law and bomb al-Jazeera's Baghdad TV transmitter during the Iraq war.

The disgraced ex-Home Secretary makes his astonishing revelation in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, to be shown next week, saying he viewed the Arab television station as a legitimate target.

He brushes aside protests that, as a civilian organisation, the bombing of al-Jazeera would have been illegal under international law.

The amazing exchange will be shown on Monday in the second episode of a two-part screening of the audio-diaries he kept during his time in the Cabinet.

Mr Blunkett tells Dispatches he suggested to the war cabinet that al-Jazeera's Baghdad transmitter be attacked.

Asked whether he was not worried that this would be "outside the rules of engagement", Mr Blunkett says: "There wasn't a worry from me because I believed that this was a war and in a war you wouldn't allow the broadcast to continue taking place."

Dispatches reporter Isabel Tang protests: "But al-Jazeera was a civilian target."

Mr Blunkett replies: "Well, I don't think that there are targets in a war that you can rule out because you don't actually have military personnel inside them if they are attempting to win a propaganda battle on behalf of your enemy."

Tang goes on: "But surely that's against international law." Mr Blunkett says: "Well I don't think for a minute in previous wars we'd have thought twice about ensuring that a propaganda mechanism on the soil of the country you were invading would actually continue being able to propagandise against you."

Two weeks after Mr Blunkett pressed the Prime Minister to attack al-Jazeera, the station's Baghdad offices were bombed by the Americans, killing journalist Tareq Ayoub.

So if Blunkett can own up about suggesting a war crime, isn't it time Blair came clean about his little discussion with Bush?

Kim Howells, Iraq And Different Sorts Of Mess


Back in March we reported (OK, we had a good go at) Forein Office minister Kim Howells saying that Iraq was:

...starting to look like the sort of mess that most of us live in.

I thought we should draw up a list of where exactly things differ from the mess most of us live in and current conditions in Iraq.

1. Are Britons leaving the country for safe havens in places like Syria?
2. Are whole police units being taken out of service for taking part in death squads (no, here police leaders are being promoted for that kind of activity, but that's another issue)
3. Are large numbers of tortured bodies turning up in the River Thames?
4. Is the education system close to collapse (well, a few more years of PFI might have the same effect as a civil war, you never know).
5. Do the British people attack American soldiers every fifteen minutes?
6. Is the UK murder rate running at over 100,000 per year*?

Any more suggestions?

* based on 3300 murders a month in Iraq, adjusted for population

Boris Spells It Out


In the week of the Tory Party Conference, no doubt lots of ink will be wasted speculating that the British people don't like old Etonians (we much prefer Fettes-educated liars or something), that David Cameron is as substantial as the power source for his wind turbine and that the Tories are too young/posh/muddled to seriously challenge Reid/Brown (delete as applicable). All of which may be true, but there's one old Etonian who's still worth listening to. Boris Johnson is a curate's egg of a man - a particularly bad case of politician's 'please love me' syndrome matched with a tendency to think with his dick that would make Jeffrey Archer blush - but there's a sharp intellect there all right and he seems to have, under a veneer of the usual Tory nastiness and his public buffoon image, an instinctive grasp that traditional British fair play and American love of freedom aren't quite what they were (he was born in New York City, of course, and is, or was, a traditional Tory Atlanticist).

He naturally supported the Iraq war originally, but is now charging around declaring that it's a disaster, which is far stronger talk than most in his party's leadership. Quite what he'll make of the USA's recent decision to abolish itself and turn into a totalitarian dictatorship with a side order of show trials and torture I can only imagine. His recent blog post lambasting the farce that is the Saddam Hussein trial is worth reading, forceful, well written and well argued. One sinner that repents, etc. He also quotes Cicero and Ian Hislop, which has to be something of a first.

Bush administration kept vital intelligence on Iraq from Blair


One of the advantages of the so-called 'special relationship' between Britain and America is the sharing of intelligence by the respective security services. This has been proclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic as vital, especially in the 'War on Terror'.

So it is interesting to read that Blair has had to protest to Bush over America's refusal to share intelligence on Iraq with its 'closest ally'. This revelation comes from Bob Woodward's new book 'State of Denial'.

TONY BLAIR was angered by America’s refusal to share intelligence on Iraq with Britain, according to a revealing new book by Bob Woodward, the veteran journalist who exposed the Watergate scandal.

The prime minister protested to President George W Bush about the way intelligence was routinely marked NOFORN (no foreigners), denying access to the US’s closest ally.

In State of Denial, published tomorrow, Woodward reveals that raw intelligence gathered by British operatives in Iraq and fused with the Americans’ own data was stored on the classified Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET).

“The British couldn’t see it, let alone get a copy, because it was marked NOFORN,” Woodward writes.

British pilots flying American warplanes such as F-117 Nighthawks and F015E Strike Eagles were even denied access to classified pilot manuals for the same reason.

“At times it went beyond absurd,” Woodward notes.

State of Denial is stirring up all kinds of trouble for the White House. We've already heard, for example, how Bush has been misleading the American people about the true extent of the insurgency in Iraq and that there is an insurgent attack every 15 minutes on average. I think this book will be a 'must read' when it comes out.

Quote of the Day

"The American presence has always prevented any kind of foreign invasion to Iraq," - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani

Coming later - an analysis of blair's speech after we've filleted the gibberish from it.

Some straight talking from a media mogul ...

Ted Turner: Iraq war among history's 'dumbest'
POSTED: 1548 GMT (2348 HKT), September 20, 2006

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- The U.S. invasion of Iraq was among the "dumbest moves of all time" that ranks with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia, billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner said Tuesday.
The founder of CNN and unabashed internationalist also defended the right of Iran to have nuclear weapons and the effectiveness of the United Nations and, in a jocular mood, advocated banning men from elective office worldwide in a Reuters Newsmaker appearance.

Alternately combative and humorous, Turner spoke nine years after his pledge to donate $1 billion to the United Nations over 10 years and on the same day President Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly a mile away.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has caused "incalculable damage" that will take 20 years to overcome "if we just act reasonably intelligently."

"It will go down in history, it is already being seen in history, as one of the dumbest moves that was ever made by anybody. A couple of others that come to mind were the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia," Turner told the forum...

Another Cunning Plan


The Madness of King Tony


Writing in a pamphlet for the Foreign Policy Centre (Patron T Blair), Tony develops his recent theme of Global Alliance for Global Values. In it he sticks the boot into anyone who annoys his boss saying that anyone who has anti-American feelings is 'mad'.

Tony thinks global values is a new idea, but they've been around in such concepts as International Law, Human Rights, and others pioneered by the UN. Tony's Global Values seems to be more and more military invasion, backed up by Guantanamo Bay, rendition, secret prisons, torture, dropping bunker busters on apartment blocks and cluster bombs on towns and villages.

The problem is that Tony's calling for an alliance of moderates to fight extremism... while standing shoulder to shoulder with the right of sensible Neo-Cons. You can't have both Tony. It doesn't work:

Most M.E. leaders say Iraq was a disaster for the region
Nobody'd daft enough to send troops to the bodged mission in Afghanistan
Can you blame them?

Still, at least Iraq has been a success - at least for Iran it has...

As for Lebanon, I earlier asked why Tony couldn't ask for a ceasefire and a UN resolution. A complementary approach, I thought. Now Kim Howells admits that not pursuing this strategy was a mistake.

A mistake? When I nip down to the supermarket and forget my shopping list; thats a mistake. This is an entirely different order of magnitude. Let's listen to someone we respect:

The Liverpool MP Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, said: "There's no doubt that a dual approach would have been the right thing to do both morally and in terms of what is in the country's interest. It's clear to see, if only because of what has been shown during the Blair visit to the Lebanon, that our approach has devalued our standing in the region."

This is why Tony has to go
He's just not acting in the country's best interests. The job of a British Premier is not to provide political cover for whoever is in the White House, but to act for Britain. In this, he has been an utter failure.

Great Britain's standing has never been lower, because of Blair's support for invading Iraq, rendition, Guantanamo and all the rest of the Neo-con agenda. In the Middle East we are loathed, in Asia sidelined, in Europe we're ignored - and remember Blair promised to put us in the heart of Europe and led the worst EU Presidencies in living memory, and in America we're patronised by the Republicans.

What foreign policy success has Blair had? What has he done to improve Britain's standing in the world? None and nothing.

Craig Murray mp3 - Liverpool 13.09.06


Here is a recording of Craig Murray's talk organised by Merseyside Stop the War Coalition in Liverpool tonight. Speaking to a crowd of about 100 Craig held the room for about half an hour, talking about his time as ambassador to Uzbekistan, the use and misuse of intelligence, and the implications of that in the war on terror including WMD, the Ricin free Ricin plot, Forrest Gate and bombs made out of babymilk. All reasons why you should make the effort to get to Manchester for the 'Time to Go' protest at Labour's conference on Saturday 23rd September.

He also reveals a fondness for Angelina Jollie, that he isn't a 911 Conspiracy Theorist, MI6's love of good coffee, and demonstrates what he describes as Scotsmans genetic abilities to go for a pee at just the right moment.

Part I - 35mins 13mb Lo-Fi mp3
[The main body of the talk]

Part II - 2.5mins 3mb Lo-Fi mp3
[Craig's response to the Q & A, not including the questions from the floor, they didn't record well, and some of them went on longer than the answers...]

For anybody who was there tonight, here are the the Documents Craig referred to, and the background to the documents hosting can be found if you flick down these pages.
Craig's website is here.

Craig Murray - Speaking in Liverpool Weds 13th Sept


As part of the 'warm up' for the Time to Go protest at the Manchester Labour Conference there are a series of public meetings around the country.

Craig Murray will be speaking at the Caribbean Club Upper Parliament St, Liverpool, tomorrow Weds 13th Sept at 7.15.

Other speakers are to be confirmed, but I understand Dr Azam Tamimi, Muslim Association of Britain, and Ghada Razuki, from Stop The War Coalition should be speaking too.

Find out who is speaking near you here, and a map of Liverpool showing the Caribbean Club can be found here.

See you there.