Ayran Nation spotted in Baghdad as are the Crips and the BloodsPosted July 8th, 2006 by quarsan
Dangerous consequences of the US Military dramatically lowering their standards as they try to maintain
cannon fodder recruitment levels are in the air as Neo-Nazi's and street gangs are signing up as fast as they can.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre has just issued a report on Neo-Nazi infiltration of the US Army.
... "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members," said Department of Defense investigator Barfield.
"Last year, for the first time, they didn't make their recruiting goals. They don't want to start making a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military, because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."
How Bad is Life in Baghdad?Posted June 20th, 2006 by quarsan
Let's see what the US Ambassador is saying in a confidential memo
I would quote it, but you should read the whole thing.
Shooting The MessengerPosted June 14th, 2006 by quarsan
Remember this when some private military contractors aka mercenaries posted a video of themselves driving around Baghdad firinn wildly at traffic and passers by?
Well, there was an investigation. Guess how that turned out...
Yup, the security firm have been exhonerated as opening fire on civilians seems to be perfectly fine:
The company says its rules of engagement "allow for a structured escalation of force to include opening fire on civilian vehicles under certain circumstances".
And in the moral black hole that is Iraq:
Apparently he's let the side down by filming something that was perfectly acceptable.
Stating the Bleedin' ObviousPosted June 1st, 2006 by ringverse
Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq - by Dahr JamailPosted May 30th, 2006 by ringverse
The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004.
Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces has not stopped either.
The Haditha MassacrePosted May 27th, 2006 by polizeros
The U.S. military is expected to file murder charges against U.S. Marines for killing 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in cold blood in Haditha, Iraq last November. What is unusual here is that the usual propaganda machines aren't denying this happened.
John Kline, the Republican Congressmen for Minnesota who is a retired marine colonel, was briefed on the findings. "This was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians," he told the New York Times. "This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity."
The reprecussions from this will be enormous. Even right-wing media and bloggers aren't trying to defend what happened. The evidence is too damning.
The legality of the Iraq war revisited *UPDATED*Posted May 26th, 2006 by Davide Simonetti
Newly released documents obtained under the freedom of information act confirm America’s role in convincing attorney general, Lord Goldsmith that war with Iraq was legal despite his earlier secret advice to Tony Blair on March 7 2003. We already knew that ten days later he decided that the war was legal after all, and various leaks aroused suspicions that America played a part in his change of mind.
It was a complaint made by The Independent and upheld by the information commissioner, Richard Thomas which forced Lord Goldsmith to publish the information.
However, only a “narrative” (yes that word again, the smokescreen used to avoid proper scrutiny) was issued. Richard Thomas did not compel Lord Goldsmith to release other documents, such as minutes, e-mails and memos, which would have better illustrated the political pressures brought to bear on the attorney general between the 7th and 17th March.
Usually legal advice to the government remains confidential, but in the wake of leaks, and finally Downing Street publication of the March 7 advice, Mr Thomas agreed to FoI requests that further information be made available, although he described the situation as "exceptional".
Arguments from the White House, particularly from John Bellinger, a senior lawyer to George Bush and legal adviser to the National Security Council are said to have finally convinced Lord Goldsmith "after further reflection" that military action could be taken without the need for a second UN resolution and that three existing resolutions including 1441 could be used as justification instead. This view was reinforced by then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s ambassador to the UN at the time.
All this, of course, reopens the argument about the legality of the war, which the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said was "unlawful", just when Tony Blair is in Washington trying to justify the invasion with his fellow lame duck, George Bush. Tony Blair is now being accused of yet another cover-up and MPs are demanding the release of all documents involved.
"It appears to be at the behest of the Americans," he told the BBC News website.
"I'm sorry but I think he should have consulted international experts, not those who had a stake in this.
"I think it illustrates that the Americans had a decisive input in the final advice sent by the attorney general."
Lord Goldsmith also asked Tony Blair for confirmation that he thought Iraq had again broken UN resolutions opening the way for fresh criticisms that the Prime Minister mislead the attorney general and applied political pressure in order to get the legal decision he wanted.
Former international development secretary, Clare Short is now calling for a high-level judicial inquiry citing the importance of emails during the Hutton
Leading barrister Philippe Sands QC, said that “it seems to be confirmed that Britain was taken to war on the basis of decision-making that was largely informal and oral, without records being kept,". The Independent is also dissatisfied with the disclosures and is threatening to take its complaint to the Information Tribunal.
Equally important, this once again raises the issue of just how independent a nation Britain actually is. Earlier this month Jack Straw lost his job as Foreign Secretary and there is a suspicion (denied by the Prime Minister) that it was the Bush administration that demanded his removal after his comments about an attack on Iran being “inconceivable” and “nuts”.
Hat-Tip to Byrne in the comments for this.
Also, see here for further info.
Norman Baker to revisit the Hutton WhitewashPosted May 25th, 2006 by ringverse
I'm a little slow off the mark here, as the following story came out in last friday's Guardian, but is Cherie being a little premature by auctioning off a signed copy [who's signed copy we don't know] of the Hutton Whitewash that got her husband off the hook?
Lib Dem, Norman Baker MP, that assiduous asker of questions who stood down from the front bench a couple of months ago is to dedicate the next year to filling in the gaps and intends to do his best to try to uncover as much of what was covered up.
The former Liberal Democrat environmental spokesman Norman Baker today revealed his decision to stand down from the shadow cabinet two months ago was based on a quest to establish the "truth" behind Dr Kelly's death.
Mr Baker said he wanted to return to the issue because the 2003 Hutton inquiry had "blatantly failed to get to the bottom of matters".
The Hutton investigation into David Kelly's death covered 3 main areas, the role of Government, the role of the BBC, and how and why David Kelly died.
Despite the evidence that we all heard, Hutton absolved Government of any wrongdoing or responsibility for David Kelly's death, chosing to accept protestations that the state had acted in good faith at all times despite the evidence we all heard.
Hutton, as we all know took the opportunity to savage the BBC, who duly bent over and asked how far and how fast he would like to stick it in.
But as for the events leading directly up to, and circumstances surrounding Dr Kellys death, Hutton did little more than confirm the 'official' narrative of events. He was backed up in this by the refusal of the Oxforshire Coroner to hold an inquest after Hutton reported..
In the furore that followed Huttons findings[sic], the BBC vs Government spat became the story, and the nagging unanswered questions about David Kelly's death were pushed very much into the background.
Norman Baker outlines some of the questions he wants answering:
Given his knowledge of the human body, said Mr Baker, it is unlikely the scientist would have decided to kill himself by "slitting a rather hidden artery in his hand".
He said he had established through a parliamentary question that only one person in 2003 had committed suicide this way, which "presumably" was Dr Kelly.
Other puzzles include the fact that although Dr Kelly had supposedly taken 29 co-proxamol painkillers only "a quarter of one tablet" was found in his stomach, said Mr Baker.
He said he also wanted to know why the police hunt for Dr Kelly had apparently been launched before the scientist had actually left his house on his final walk, let alone been reported missing.
There were also questions about the time of Dr Kelly's death and the procedures followed at his post mortem.
And Mr Baker said he was also interested in the wider political implications of the scientist's death.
"There were unanswered questions about the way the government conducted itself which got lost in the mire of how the BBC was behaving," he said.
The Lewes MP, who was recently replaced as Liberal Democrat environment spokesman by Chris Huhne, stressed he did not want to speculate about alternative explanations for Dr Kelly's death at this stage.
"The facts do not support suicide, as set out, but nor do they necessarily support anything else and therefore those unanswered questions are what I'm looking in to."
He also said he was keen not to cause unnecessary distress to Dr Kelly's family.
"I have no wish to upset the family in any way and I hope that nothing I am doing is doing that. The fact of the matter is, in this most important of issues, there is a general feeling around that the facts have not been fully explored or revealed."
But he said the Kelly affair was "unfinished business" and there needed to be "political closure" on it.
"The public out there can smell a rat and they don't think it's finished business either," the MP added.
He has already started asking the questions...
Labour - Lowering the Bar *UPDATED*Posted May 23rd, 2006 by ringverse
I've been away from the net, and caught precious little news over the last week, which has been like a breath of fresh air.
But this latest Labour stunt, auctioning a copy of the Hutton Whitewash, autographed by Cherie Blair [it's a financial matter so she is 'Blair' rather than 'Booth'] re defines crass.
According to a Commons motion tabled by Tory MP Stewart Jackson, the event took place at the Arts Club in Mayfair last week and raised £400 for party coffers.
It was "in appalling bad taste" and had distressed the Kelly family, he said.
He added that it was wrong to make money from the report, which was signed by Cherie Blair...
You could always ask your MP to sign the EDM...
May God, Allah, Jehova, Shiva or the ghost of the dear departed Dr Hunter S Thompson bless Beau Bo D’Or for this frontpage:)
Also worth checking out the comments on Guido Fawkes blog on the subject:
The despicable antics of Blairs family, let alone his government are systemic of a government without principle, ideology or popular support. In the words of Robin Cook it is a government that knows no shame and hides no shame or for that matter remourse. His words related to the goverment they sort to replace.
Obviously not only did they take many of their policies (the tories)to build on but also the disgusting behaviour of MP's, minister's, party apprechicks and hangers on and behave in an even worse fashion.
Judgement day will come and they deserve a hammering of the same magnatude the tories recieved in 1997 or worse. The poor and deprived in this country do not have a voice - abandend to a squalor and overty in life only matched by the shambolic behaviour of the government.
RAF Pay - "Bored RAF Whingers" Can Relax says Wing Commander Trevor Field...Posted May 12th, 2006 by ringverse
Members of the RAF who have been wrestling with John Reid's parting gift, the EDS payroll IT system can relax, all will be working fine by the end of the week, honest:
But the MOD still has to determine what the problem was before it can guarantee that the Joint Personnel Administration system (JPA) can be rolled out on schedule to the Army and Navy later this year.
The HR system, installed by EDS, has only been able to manage taxiing speed while engineers figure out what went wrong.
Wing Commander Trevor Field, a RAF spokesman and administrator, said he was unhappy with press interest in the delay and "bored" RAF "whingers" on chat sites like the Professional Pilots Rumour Network (PPRuNe), which he said make things appear worse than they are.
"It adds fuel to a fire that is now smouldering, and by the end of the week will be solved completely," he said.
I'm sure the army and navy can't wait for the roll out...
Satiric News: London Morgue Overflowing DailyPosted May 9th, 2006 by deadwood
London, Apr 14 - As sectarian killings continue to rise in Britain, the central morgue in London is unable to keep up with the daily influx of bodies.
The morgue is receiving a minimum of 78 bodies a day and sometimes more than 130, a morgue employee told Satiric News* on condition of anonymity.
"The average is probably over 110," said the employee on the morning of April 12, as scores of family members waited outside the building to see if their loved ones were among the dead.**
The family of a man named Alan, who had been taken away by the Police Feb. 16, anxiously searched through digital photographs inside the morgue. He then found what he was looking for.
"His two sons were killed when Alan was taken," said his uncle, 50-year-old Stuart. "Alan was a bricklayer who was simply trying to do his job, and now we see what has become of him in our new democracy."
Stuart found that the body of Alan was brought to the morgue Feb. 18 by the police two days after he was abducted. The photographs of the body showed gunshot wounds in the head and bludgeon marks across the face. Both arms were apparently broken, and so many holes had been drilled into his chest that it appeared shredded.
A report Oct. 29, 2004 in the British medical journal The Lancet had said that "by conservative assumptions, we think about 232,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Britain." ***
In an update, Les Roberts, lead author of the report said Feb. 8 this year that there may have been 700,000 British civilian deaths since the invasion.
Such findings seem in line with information Satiric News obtained at the London morgue.
Morgue official said bodies unclaimed after 15 days are transferred to the cemetery administration to be catalogued, and then taken for burial at a cemetery in Birmingham. As he spoke, three police vans trucks loaded with about 10 bodies each arrived at the morgue.
At the cemetery administration, an official told Satiric News: "From February 1 to March 31, we've logged and buried 3,348 bodies from London."
Requests by Satiric News to meet with administration officials at the London morgue were turned down for "security reasons."
Several surveys have pointed to large numbers of civilian deaths as a result of the occupation. A humanitarian group affiliated with the political party of the Prime Minister reported Jul. 12 last year that there had been 294,000 violent deaths since the invasion. The group said it had only counted deaths confirmed by relatives, and that it had omitted the large numbers of people who simply disappeared without trace.
Another group, the People's Rights, involved hundreds of academics and volunteers in a survey conducted in coordination with "grave-diggers across UK." The group said it also "obtained information from hospitals and spoke to thousands of witnesses who saw incidents in which British civilians were killed by Foreign fire."
The project was abandoned after one of the researchers was captured by militiamen and handed over to Foreign forces. He was never seen again. But in less than two months' work, the group documented about 118,000 violent civilian deaths up to October 2003.
The London central morgue alone accounts for roughly 39,000 bodies annually. That is besides the large number of bodies taken to morgues in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Manchester. ****
** To avoid any confusion that this is an actual news item, the news agency in the original article this post is taken from, has been renamed Satiric News.
** London has a population of 7.5 million, whereas Baghdad has a population of 5.75 million. With this in mind, the figures for casualties in Baghdad have been translated to the imagined similar situation happening in London by a factor of 1.3.
*** Iraq is a large country, almost twice as big as UK (Iraq 169miles square; UK 94 miles square), but it has half as many citizens: 25 million versus 58 million. Thus a factor of 2,32 has been used to translate any given countrywide figures from reality in Iraq to the imagined situation in UK.
**** Like most countries, there are major population centres spread throughout both UK and Iraq, with the capitals of London and Baghdad being the most populous. The 8 cities in the last paragraph were chosen as they are the largest cities in UK. They do not correspond to any of Iraqs cities, share any similarities or have been chosen to represent any Iraqi cities, other than being UK's largest population centres.
This post,and the figures contained within, is intended to be purely illustrative of the scale of death and destruction in Iraq, 3 years after Mission Accomplished, the "end of hostilities".
Would the UK government and media be so blasé about realities on the ground- the difficulties and dangers of daily life for Iraqis, even in this shining light of democracy, if this was to occur on our shores.
We can only hope we in Britain never have to live through death on such a scale, with victims passing unrecorded for history.
1 In 3 Iraqi Children MalnourishedPosted May 9th, 2006 by quarsan
According to the report, a full 25 percent of Iraqi children between six months and five years old suffer from either acute or chronic malnutrition.
Don't Vote Labour - Some polling day advice... *UPDATED*Posted May 3rd, 2006 by ringverse
Some polling day advice - Blatantly lifted from Don't Vote Labour
Well, make the most of it, because it may not be long before such an attitude could cost you as much as £40.
The Institute for Public Policy Research has just published a report calling for the introduction of compulsory voting. The report has the backing of many in government, and it isn't hard to see why. In last year's general election, Labour claimed victory on a 36% share the vote, yet turnout was only 61%. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the state of democracy in this country.
And the 2002 local elections were worse, with turnout as low as 32%!
Now compulsory voting isn't actually going to make people vote. So if the report's recommendations were to be introduce, it would be essential that voters have an opportunity to register their displeasure with the policies of all candidates. The addition of a "None of the above" option must be a integral part of any introduction of compulsion. And the reporting of such figures as spoiled ballots and "None of the above"s must also be clearly reported.
Of course, people might be more inclined to vote without compulsion if they felt their vote actually counted. To achieve that would require the introduction of proportional representation, something that Labour promised in 1997 and 9 years later has still failed to deliver. Understandable really, given that the current system allows a Party to form a majority government without actually receiving the endorsement of a majority of the electorate.
So compulsory voting will be the most likely way forward, especially if Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair. After all, how could Brown resist the introduction of another item of stealth taxation, namely a Non-Voting Tax or, more ironically, a Non-Poll Tax.
Given all this, and taking in to account the undesirability for many of voting Conservative or Lib-Dem, why don't you get in practice for saving £40. Tomorrow, go to your local polling station, and in large, friendly letters write NONE OF THE ABOVE across your ballot paper. Alternative, print off a Backing Blair logo or image and, using an easily concealed glue dispenser such as Pritstick, paste it onto your ballot.
Ideally, we'd prefer it if you actively voted against New Labour, but for many that is too much to ask. But failing that, try our alternative above.
Of course, if enough of us got together to form a party with the name 'None of theAbove" - and could find enough people to stump up the deposits, then we could get a box on every ballot paper with the words none of the above written next to it...
This post should be read in conjunction with Chicken Yoghurt's "Cut out and keep guide to new labour"
Post of the Week - Part IIPosted April 30th, 2006 by ringverse
I Didn't Know thisPosted April 28th, 2006 by ringverse
Maybe I'm just behind the curve, but I didn't know this:
If everybody else knew, just ignore me, if not - there you go.
This is the same John Reid who suggests those who oppose the Iraq war are appeasers, and supporters of Saddam!?
Thanks to the commenters on Chicken Yoghurt for the Hat tip.