14-28 June, 2004

This entry was posted on
Monday, June 14th, 2004
at
9:22 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20040614
Google
Time
09:22
The answer given so often in Usenet and web groups that actually helped to establish Google is now a website.

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Date
20040614
Church & State
Time
09:24
Independent – Revealed: Blair’s link to schools that take the Creation literally: A controversial chain of schools teaching Biblical “creationism” has been given Tony Blair’s personal support despite serious doubts raised by parents and teachers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. Mr Blair, said to be the most religious Prime Minister since Gladstone, has backed the millionaire car dealer Sir Peter Vardy in his attempt to take over seven comprehensives and turn them into Christian Academies promoting Old Testament views of the world’s creation. This includes the claim that it was made in six days, 10,000 years ago. Two of Sir Peter’s schools are open already, in Gateshead and Middlesbrough, and a third is under construction in Doncaster.

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Date
20040614
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:26
Guardian – Red Cross ultimatum to US on Saddam – Release him, charge him or break international law, Bush told: Saddam Hussein must either be released from custody by June 30 or charged if the US and the new Iraqi government are to conform to international law, the International Committee of the Red Cross said last night.

Torygraph – Interrogation abuses were ‘approved at highest levels’: New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington this week, adding further to pressure on the White House. The Telegraph understands that four confidential Red Cross documents implicating senior Pentagon civilians in the Abu Ghraib scandal have been passed to an American television network, which is preparing to make them public shortly.

There’s also that memo and footage of children in Abu Ghraib to come.

Labour MPs determined to stick with Blair (or tempted to swing back after the morale-boosting ‘new plan’ meeting today) would do well to remember that.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the word that was so useful a few weeks ago (‘abuse’ in place of ‘torture’) should now look to become a huge liability…

Just look at the words and think about the picture they paint in your mind:

child torture

OK, now clear your mind and start again:

child abuse

The footage doesn’t even have to be released for that to be incredibly damaging, especially as we already know how prevalent the use of sexual humiliation was in the torture of adult detainees.

It will be *very* interesting to see how Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade deals with this when it breaks.

If this is the jumping-off point for Murdoch, she’ll be permitted to unleash her fury. If Murdoch is determined to keep playing, will she follow orders, actually try to bury it and do an appeal for abused puppies instead?

Back to the kiddies:

How evil is this?

Well, we already know why the torture and degradation the public already knows about was filmed and photographed. The resulting footage was shown to new detainees to put them in (ahem) the correct frame of mind for interrogation. It’s a sure bet that this footage was used for the same purpose.

And we can all be pretty sure what the first question was:

“Where are the weapons of mass destruction?”

A good thing that WMD is such a concern for Tony Blair as well. I can just hear him now:

“Well, it may not have been a popular decision, but it was the right one. I believe that we are dealing with a genuine threat, war on terror, etc. etc. etc.”

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Date
20040614
Tony Blair
Time
09:54
Michael Moore to target Blair next?: “I personally hold Blair more responsible for this war in Iraq than I do George W. Bush, and the reason is Blair knows better. Blair is not an idiot. What is he doing hanging around this guy?,” Moore told Reuters in an interview.

(Thanks to Steve and Scaryduck for the heads-up.)

UPDATE – Really, what yould I do without you people? Cheers, Mark

BBC – Director Moore denies Blair film: …a message posted on Moore’s website stated that reports of his plans for a film on Blair were false. It is not true. Michael made a joke in an interview and, apparently. it was taken seriously,” the statement added.

Bugger…

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Date
20040614
The Bush Administration
Time
10:06
New York Times – Epitaph and Epigone: At every opportunity, as the extraordinary procession solemnly wended its way from California to the Capitol, W. was peeping out from behind the majestic Reagan mantle, trying to claim the Gipper as his true political father.

UPDATE – This link requires registration, but the headache is worth it for the joy it brings…

LA Times – Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go: A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials, several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that President George W. Bush has damaged America’s national security and should be defeated in November.

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Date
20040614
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:34
Visit this blog or the duck gets it.

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Date
20040614
The Big Intervention
Time
10:48
The statements page was updated this morning, and now features the most recent statements first.

I kept myself busy over the weekend and had a lot of joy handing out simple stickers with ‘Will Blair Resign?’ and the URL on them. If you want a copy for the Word doc I used (suitable for a 24-sheet page o’ stickers – Avery L7159) then just ask.

Wimbledon was Saturday. Guildford on Sunday and again this morning. Woking at lunchtime.

Balders has been taking it to the streets, as has Poons, who brings us this report from Worcester City Centre.

Remember; to make a difference, you do actually have to get up, step away from the computer, go outside and Do Stuff from time to time.

In fact, if anyone out there works in London and wants a quick job, I need a pile of stickers delivered to Brain Haw (the protestor opposite Parliament). Drop me a line with your mailing address if you think you can help.

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Date
20040614
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:20
Various links and posts regarding Dave Winer’s decision to withdraw hosting at weblogs.com pretty much dominate Blogdex today.

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Date
20040614
The Big Intervention
Time
15:06
I have a new statement to add to the Big Intervention…. from Terry Jones.

I got in touch with his agent, I asked, I got. And if I can do it, you can do it. Pick a notable, any notable, and request your statement today.

And now, a few words from Terry:

–> “Tony Blair has successfully supported the most right-wing,

–> corrupt government the USA has ever known. He has successfully turned

–> the Labour party into a warmongers’ party. He has successfully led

–> the Labour party away from any form of socialism. As far as I can see

–> he has successfully destroyed the Labour party.

–> The only hope is for the Labour party itself to destroy him.”

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Date
20040614
Tony Blair
Time
16:12
Just in case you need clarification, Tony Blair’s apology on Friday was not in any way an apology for the war. I love that he’s still playing the ‘Do you want Saddam back?’ card.

Scotsman – Bitter blow to Labour’s recovery bid: Coming so soon after last week’s bleak results from the local government elections, last night’s display of public disenchantment was a bitter blow for the Labour Party. By midnight, Ian McCartney, the party chairman, had been reduced to declaring that the fall in Labour’s vote was actually quite good, because it was not as bad as the Tories’ slump.

Reuters – Blair seeks to calm party after poll rout: In what is likely to be a tense meeting of Labour parliamentarians later on Monday, Blair will try to calm those worried about losing their seats in the next election, expected next year. Blair does not usually attend the weekly meetings. With some angry Labour members demanding he stand aside, Blair has called on his followers to hold their nerve.

Yes. To hold one’s nerve is to show strength of character. To see what obviously needs to be done and act on it is to panic. Glad we’re all on the same page.

Independent – Senior colleagues rally round Blair after Labour suffers double election blow: Cabinet ministers rallied behind Tony Blair yesterday as they tried to prevent Labour’s drubbing in last Thursday’s elections provoking a crisis of confidence in his leadership…. Although a growing number of Labour MPs would like to see Mr Blair stand down before the general election, there were few signs at the weekend that they will try to force him out.

It’s up to us to change that.

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Date
20040614
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:46
Time – Redefining Torture – Did the U.S. go too far in changing the rules, or did it apply the new rules to the wrong people?: A series of leaked legal memos has revealed that since late 2001 the Administration has been quietly but fundamentally reshaping America’s stance on torture. Contradicting 50 years of policy governing the treatment of detainees captured during conflict, the memos meticulously list all the laws against torture—then offer methods of evading them. The White House insists that these documents were abstract musings rather than actual policy changes. Nevertheless, they suggest that what happened at Abu Ghraib was not unique but grew out of a climate of ambiguity regarding the treatment and interrogation of prisoners that was created by an Administration determined to do whatever it takes to win the war on terrorism.

And, as we all know, when it comes to terror, Iraq is the central front. Well, it is now

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Date
20040614
Tim Yeo
Time
17:29
Damn. I’ve been sticking pins in the wrong bloody doll. Tim Yeo has just been sacked as Shadow Minister for Public Services, Health, Education and Bottle-Washing!

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Date
20040614
The Bush Administration
Time
17:41
The Age – Cheney linked to suspect contracts: The Pentagon has acknowledged that Vice-President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and other political appointees helped make the controversial decision on a $1.8 million contract for the postwar recovery of Iraq’s oil sector. The decision to award the contract to the energy giant Halliburton overruled recommendations of an army lawyer. Eventually it resulted in the awarding of a much larger $US7 billion ($A10 billion) no-bid contract to Halliburton. Mr Cheney ran Halliburton for five years before he was nominated for vice-president…. Mr Cheney, who was chief executive of the Houston-based oil services company from 1995 to 2000, has repeatedly denied that he or his office influenced decisions to give contracts to Halliburton.

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Date
20040615
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:32
Guardian – British soldiers face abuse court martial: Charges against the four fusiliers include indecent assault, “which apparently involves making the victims engage in sexual activity between themselves”, said Lord Goldsmith. They are also accused of military offences – prejudicing good order and military discipline. In a written statement in the House of Lords, the attorney general said the case “concerns conduct alleged to have occurred while the civilians were being temporarily detained, but not in a prison or detention facility”.

New York Times – Unit Says It Gave Earlier Warning of Abuse in Iraq: Beginning in November, a small unit of interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison began reporting allegations of prisoner abuse, including the beatings of five blindfolded Iraqi generals, in internal documents sent to senior officers, according to interviews with military personnel who worked in the prison. The disclosure of the documents raises new questions about whether senior officers in Iraq were alerted about serious abuses at the prison before January. Top military officials have said they only learned about abuses then, after a soldier came forward with photographs of the abuse.

UPDATE – Analysis of the OLC’s Aug. 1, 2002 Torture Memo: In the views of the author/authors, there’s basically nothing Congress can do to constrain the President’s exercise of the war power. The Geneva Conventions are, by inevitable implications, not binding on the President, nor is any other international agreement if it impedes the war effort. I’m sure our allies will be just thrilled to hear that.

Keep telling yourself that we are only implicated by a necessary alliance. Keep telling yourself that we are only implicated by a necessary alliance. Keep telling yourself that we are only implicated by a necessary alliance. Keep telling yourself that we are only implicated by a necessary alliance.

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Date
20040615
Minions of Murdoch
Time
09:43
BBC – US channel’s BBC remarks censured: Ofcom said Fox News breached guidelines when commentator John Gibson claimed the BBC had displayed “a frothing-at-the-mouth” anti-American bias.

Pfft! They claim as part of their defence that; searching for the phrase “BBC anti-American” into the Google internet search engine resulted in 47,200 hits.

Searching Google for ‘murdoch is evil’ returns 46,800 results. Your point being…?

(And, as Joe has been kind enough to point out, searching in Google for ‘fox news is shit’ returns 175,000 results. So this statement is clearly three times as true.)

You can still see this fair and balanced report by John Gibson here and his response to direct complaints here.

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Date
20040615
The Big Intervention
Time
09:45
More on this soon. I have a big job to do first. In the meantime, why not busy yourself with finding contact details for notable folks who may wish to make a statement?

(Hint: Don’t look for their contact details. Instead, find out who their agent is and go through them.)

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Date
20040615
A Blog is Born
Time
10:14
Mike has started a weblog for Alan Milburn MP. He gives his reasons for doing this here.

I need to start up some static links to this, the Lewis Mooney weblog and others that come along.

I also have to change the status of a couple of links to James Mills, who is now an ex-Councillor (by 56 votes). But I won’t be removing the links, and I don’t think he should stop blogging.

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Date
20040615
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
11:30
The seven-year-old bloggers

Where are all the British blogs?

Muted dissidence? No comment.

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Date
20040615
The Big Intervention
Time
12:33
We have our first response. I can’t tell you who it’s from, but you do need to see it and know that it’s from someone who voted in favour of the war:

–> Having looked at the website I have no intention of responding.

–> I am disappointed you felt you could write to me in the way you did without

–> disclosing your intentions. As it happens, I never respond to surveys.

–> I shall, however, be passing this on to the Labour Party’s National Office.

Alll together now; WOOoooOOOoooooooo….

(I wonder if this will result in a black mark on my permananent record…)

UPDATE – Oh, go on then – have a clue.

Other MPs who get in touch with us and request time to think about it will get that time. Those who wish to speak off the record will be given that opportunity.

But dismissing this initiative (as this MP has, branding it a ‘survey’) rates as a ‘No Comment’ and the response will be recorded as such.

Get snarky about it, and we will go public with the full response.

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Date
20040615
The Big Intervention
Time
13:28
I’ve been a busy boy this lunchtime…

To: All Labour MPs (with one or two obvious exceptions)

Subject: The Big Intervention and child torture in Iraq

By now Tony has made his case and you’re aware of several bold initiatives. A way forward. With Iraq behind us.

It’s my sad duty to inform you that this simply isn’t going to happen.

You need to be aware of this memo, that clearly shows how outraged the Bush administration is by the use of torture in Abu Ghraib by one or two ‘bad apples':

http://tinyurl.com/2kbqx

Now think back to when the images of torture were first released. Piers Moron did Blair a tremendous favour with the distraction of the staged images, but the genuine photos still caused a major shift in public opinion here in the UK, and people are about to realise that one set of fake images does not make a story untrue:

http://tinyurl.com/2r4py

The next round of images are going to be even worse. They involve the children of detainees:

http://tinyurl.com/yuuxu

Children. Let that sink in for a bit.

These images exist because footage of this action was taken so it could be shown to new detainees to prepare them for questioning. (Where, presumably, the first question was; “Where are the weapons of mass destruction?”)

Successfully spinning this would be about as likely as getting away with calling September 11th a good day to bury bad news.

You need to know this is coming, because even the loosest association with this outrage is going to reflect very badly on Tony Blair, on yourself, and everybody in the UK. Together, we allowed this to happen. Because we supported it, because we didn’t fight it hard enough, or because we simply stood by and watched matters unfold.

In the next few days, you should be receiving letters from your constituents asking what your position is regarding Tony Blair’s suitability for leadership. I urge you to consider your position very carefully. You can see on the website that many people – like myself – believe in the Labour Party, but can no longer support Blair as leader:

http://www.bigintervention.org.uk/statements.htm

The only way forward in Iraq and in the war on terror is for mistakes to be admitted and for justice to be seen to be done.

You must take this stand for social justice here and abroad, or betray everything the Labour Party is supposed to stand for.

Fail to take action when given the opportunity, and you risk associating yourself with every crime and mistake behind this stupid, stupid war.

Yours Sincerely,

Tim Ireland

http://www.bloggerheads.com/

PS – And now a few words from the President of the United States:

http://tinyurl.com/3hfe2

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Date
20040615
The Big Intervention
Time
13:59
Dave needs some help tracking down contact details for Tony Benn. Please help out if you can.

UPDATE – Best routes appear to be via the person who built his site (who also happens to have the last name ‘Benn’) and his publishers. But do get in touch if you know of a better way.

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Date
20040615
Tony Blair
Time
15:21
BBC – Blair defiant on Europe and Iraq.

The Leader Who Can Do No Wrong spoke thusly: “Now is not the time for a change in direction … but a change in gear.”

But not into reverse, obviously.

Hm. Considering how likely he is to push these bold initiatives through without the simple currency of trust, can I instead suggest neutral?

(Link via Perfect.co.uk)

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Date
20040615
It’s Not About The Oil
Time
16:34
Attack brings Iraq oil exports close to a standstill.

Reuters reports that repairs will take 7-10 days, but oil prices surged by a dollar a barrel anyways (which is quite strange, because there was no connection between the ‘need’ to invade Iraq and our thirst for the black stuff).

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Date
20040616
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:43
Slate – A Moral Chernobyl – Prepare for the worst of Abu Ghraib: But get ready. It is going to get much worse. The graphic videos and photographs that have so far been shown only to Congress are, I have been persuaded by someone who has seen them, not likely to remain secret for very long. And, if you wonder why formerly gung-ho rightist congressmen like James Inhofe (“I’m outraged more by the outrage”) have gone so quiet, it is because they have seen the stuff and you have not. There will probably be a slight difficulty about showing these scenes in prime time, but they will emerge, never fear. We may have to start using blunt words like murder and rape to describe what we see. And one linguistic reform is in any case already much overdue. The silly word “abuse” will have to be dropped. No law or treaty forbids “abuse,” but many conventions and statutes, including our own and the ones we have urged other nations to sign, do punish torture—which is what we are talking about here at a bare minimum.

Past revelations from Iraq of this kind have followed this pattern:

- Blog whispers (done)

- Online report from small news agency/commentary site (you see it before you)

- Major article/programme with release of images through the cursed liberal media

- Shit/fan interface

Here it comes…

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Date
20040616
The Bush Administration
Time
09:48
Ken MacLeod: The American Revolution is over. When the President claims for himself powers outlawed in every country issuing from the English Revolution, and last exercised when James the II & VII personally supervised the splitting of Presbyterian shins, I guess we have to admit that in the long run the English Revolution failed.

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Date
20040616
It’s Not About The Oil
Time
09:51
BBC – Iraqi oil security chief killed: The security chief for the oil fields in northern Iraq has been assassinated, in the latest attack on the industry. Police said Ghazi al-Talabani was shot by gunmen as he travelled to work in the city of Kirkuk.

And now, here’s a speech by Tony Blair that happened inside someone’s head.

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Date
20040616
The Big Intervention
Time
09:55
We can do this, we can win this – but we won’t enable those rebel MPs (ding-ding-diddle-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding) unless they feel they have the backing to go for it.

They won’t feel they have that backing unless we can meet our traffic targets for The Big Intervention (more traffic results in more statements and more letters.) – and, overnight, traffic has stalled. We are going to fall far, far short of our target unless something is done about it today.

So today is Link-Whoring and Statement Day.

1. You’ve made a statement, but have you encouraged/asked other readers of your blog to do the same?

2. You’ve featured a link on your website, but have you submitted it to others? (This can be a major source of traffic if you score with a very large website.)

3. You’ve emailed a few friends, but have you really dug through your address book and milked it for all its worth?

4. Have you picked a quotable notable and pumped them for a statement?

I tried for Stephen Fry yesterday, but he’s in America. Today I’m trying again with Damon Albarn, Anita Roddick and anyone else I can track down.

We need more statements, we need more links.

Take a look around you and see what’s coming.

This is a fight that can be won.

This is a fight that must be won.

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Date
20040616
A Blog is Born
Time
10:06
Please welcome to the stage the weblog for Sandra Gidley, Lib-Dem MP for Romsley (by Adrian Sedgly and Andy Salridge).

OK, who’s next?

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Date
20040616
Stuff
Time
10:18
I’m as hard as nails, me. Here I am playing rugby, aged 7. Or 8. In fact, I’m so tough I don’t care if I can’t remember. Long-term memories are for pussies.

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Date
20040616
RWCs
Time
11:15
Hooray for the wingnuts who will do anything – anything – to keep George W. Bush in office. (Link via Atrios.)

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Date
20040616
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
11:26
Winer-Bash 2004 continues. Doc Searles has this to say.

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Date
20040616
Compare and Contrast
Time
11:31
Cheney Claims al-Qaida Linked to Saddam. Again.

No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.

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Date
20040616
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh s**t!
Time
11:32
Take it with a biiiiiiig grain of salt; this comes from Wingnut Central…

Moonie Times – Iran massing troops on Iraq border: Iran reportedly is readying troops to move into Iraq if U.S. troops pull out, leaving a security vacuum.

Hooray for this timely information from a ‘reliable source’…

Here’s an equally short, but opposing view.

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Date
20040616
Labour Needs Leadership Change
Time
13:58
Guardian – Gordon’s world: We know about Brown’s domestic record, but would he have handled Iraq any differently from Tony Blair?

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Date
20040616
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
14:21
Via this excellent post at Perfect.co.uk comes the Best. Article. Ever.

Terry Jones – This won’t hurt much.

I’m not going to quote from it. You have to go and read it in full. I’m in tears, myself.

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Date
20040616
The War on Terror
Time
14:41
Washington Post – 9/11 Panel Finds No Collaboration Between Iraq, Al Qaeda – Findings Contradict Comments by Cheney, Bush : There is “no credible evidence” that Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq collaborated with the al Qaeda terrorist network on any attacks on the United States, including the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings, according to a new staff report released this morning by the commission investigating the hijacking plot. Although Osama bin Laden briefly explored the idea of forging ties with Iraq in the mid-1990s, the terrorist leader was hostile to Hussein’s secular government, and Iraq never responded to requests for help in providing training camps or weapons, the panel’s report says.

Perhaps now people will stop posing that extremely misleading hypothetical question about the rights and wrongs of torturing a suspect who may have had information about an impending attack on the World Trade Centre…

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Date
20040616
RWCs
Time
16:34
Will somebody please suture the gaping wound in John Gibson’s face?

For the record, it was the sheer audacity and hypocrisy that shocked me. It continues in this latest offensive defence, that also includes a less-than-subtle jibe regarding sexual orientation.

Oh, and here’s a reply sent to someone who dared to email Gibson and ask for evidence to back his claim that the BBC ‘routinely trashes Americans, the American president, the American military and American policy':

oh gawd… do you ever listen to the bbc world service? did you watch

any of the bbc war coverage? why did brit sailors take the beeb off

their tv feed while at sea? give me a break? you can’t see the anti

americanism that drips from every elongated sylable on the beeb?

I’m amazed they give this troll TV time. Actually, I’m amazed that he’s permitted a share of our precious, precious oxygen.

The email address you need is myword@foxnews.com – reach out and touch the man.

I’ll blog what I’ve sent him as soon as I’ve calmed down a bit.

UPDATE – I sure am glad I calmed down before writing this….

To: John Gibson

Email: myword@foxnews.com

Dearest John,

Any criticism of ‘the American president, the American military and American policy’ by the BBC is far from routine.

Sadly, we live in a time when your un-president takes unprecedented liberties abroad and at home, so somebody has to speak up and state the bleeding obvious.

Yes, I was shocked by your report. I was shocked at the audacity.

I was staggered by the *hypocrisy* of this diatribe from a poster child for a regime and a network (strike that; try ‘corporation’) that regularly distorts, manipulates and misrepresents the truth.

Please also note that in my opening paragraph I omit the part where you claim the BBC ‘routinely trashes Americans’. I did this because it is part of a separate complaint…

You have a hell of a nerve:

1. Making this ludicrous claim without a shred of evidence.

2. Grouping yourself with Americans, as you are one of the most un-American people I have ever had the displeasure of laying eyes and ears on.

I’d even go so far as to say that you are the kind of person who has little to no claim to the lofty title of ‘human being’.

If you were on fire, I wouldn’t stop to piss on you.

(Not out of any lack of mercy on my part, mind, but because you’re better off getting used to flames where you’re headed. In fact, you may wish to start conditioning your arse by having friends or neighbours stab you regularly with a household pitchfork.)

Warmest Regards,

Tim Ireland

http://www.bloggerheads.com/

http://www.bloggerheads.com/bbc/

UPDATE – Guardian – Fox News censured for rant at BBC: The Guardian understands that some Ofcom policymakers would like to draw the restrictions more narrowly, applying them only to ITV, Channel 4 and Five. That would allow Mr Murdoch, if he wished, to remodel Sky News into a British version of Fox. It is unlikely, however, that the Fox rant would get past even a more relaxed regime in Britain, because of its lack of basis in fact.

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Date
20040616
The Big Intervention
Time
17:44
Details of The Big Intervention were today sent to the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA) – the Dutch version of the Labour Party – by the lovely Mirjam.

It has now been forwarded by their main office to all of their members in the Dutch government.

I’m not sure what good that will do, but it sure is cool.

Whore that link, people!

Send those emails!

Pump those quotable notables for statements!

That only 24 people made an official complaint about John Gibson speaks volumes.

It’s an arse problem. Not enough people actually get off theirs.

Also, consider this…

Time – Meet Joe Bloggs: We may be in the golden age of blogging, a quirky Camelot moment in Internet history when some guy in his underwear with too much free time can take down a Washington politician.

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Date
20040616
The Big Intervention
Time
21:48
I was really quite struck by that torture article by Terry Jones today. Bush & Blair’s defence is a house of cards. What we need is more stuff that cuts through the bullglue and brings it all down.

Tomorrow I’m going to try and convince Billy Connolly to chip in.

*coughs*

Unless sumbody wants to try an’… beat me to it.

/johnwayne

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Date
20040617
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
08:42
Six Log: Announcing Pricing & Licensing Changes to Movable Type.

And yet more Winer, Winer, Winer. Another day of staring at our own belly buttons? FFS.

Worry about your data later and count yourself lucky you have something to eat.

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Date
20040617
Inneresting
Time
08:46
I’ve blogged Bush/Zombie-Reagan 2004 before, but it’s worth blogging again as The Straight Dope brings you the answer to this very important question:

When the zombies take over, how long till the electricity fails?

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Date
20040617
Useful
Time
08:53
“Oh my god! There’s an axe in my head.” in 102 languages. Including many dead ones.

It brings to mind the I Can Eat Glass project (mirror) which recently disappeared from the Interweb. The stated aim of this project was as follows:

“The Project is based on the idea that people in a foreign country have an irresistable urge to try to say something in the indigenous tongue. In most cases, however, the best a person can do is “Where is the bathroom?” a phrase that marks them as a tourist. But, if one says “I can eat glass, it doesn’t hurt me,” you will be viewed as an insane native, and treated with dignity and respect.”

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Date
20040617
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:01
Official verdict: White House misled world over Saddam: The Bush administration’s credibility was dealt a devastating blow yesterday when the commission investigating the attacks of 11 September said there was no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had assisted al-Qa’ida – something repeatedly suggested by the President and his senior officials and held up as a reason for the invasion of Iraq.

To paraphrase John Gibson: They feel entitled to lie. And when caught lying, they feel entitled to defend their lying.

Speaking of John Gibson, Toby Bryans has pointed us in the direction of this report (PDF) that shows that 24 complaints is actually quite a lot when you consider how few people complain at all about all manner of things that make it to air. (You can also see the report about the offending My Word programme in PDF format is you wish.)

Me, I’ve always been amazed at how few people know how to – or take the time to – make an official complaint about anything.

Back to John Gibson. The pin-wearing wingnut.

Below is an unedited transcript of his correspondence with someone deep inside the anti-American liberal agenda machine. (So deep, in fact, that I cannot tell you his or her name.) The emails started following his offensive defence for calling the BBC liars. I didn’t get a reply to my email, but Gibson obviously couldn’t resist baiting someone from the BBC:

Evil Minion of Auntie:

“major media outlet, which routinely trashes Americans, the American

president, the American military and American policy?”

And your evidence is…?

No, no, carry on making sweeping statements based on your honest

opinion. I need a good laugh.

American Hero John Gibson:

oh gawd… do you ever listen to the bbc world service? did you watch

any of the bbc war coverage? why did brit sailors take the beeb off

their tv feed while at sea? give me a break? you can’t see the anti

americanism that drips from every elongated sylable on the beeb?

check for earwax.

gib

Evil Minion of Auntie:

Yes Gib, I did watch the coverage, particularly the Rageh Omaar’s piece

to camera while the US soldiers were helping the locals in Baghdad pull

down the Saddam statue. As I recall he was rather complimentary. This

despite the fact that the hotel he and other reporters were staying in

had been hit repeatedly by US soldiers just days earlier. I also recall

John Simpson’s report when he and his BBC colleagues, plus some US

special forces, plus some anti-Saddam Iraqi militia were bombed by an

American jet in a classic, though sadly not rare, friendly fire

incident. His later documentary was also polite about the people who

injured him and killed his translator, without hint of malice. It was a

remarkably understanding, forgiving but essentially factual account

(including that of the jet pilot himself) of the accident.

And the spelling of the word is syllable.

Check for spelling and selective hearing yourself Gib.

Cheers

American Hero John Gibson:

yes i suppose it was good of them to note that iraqis might be happy to

be rid of a killer/ruler… and to not carp too much about the nasty

bits involving war…

but puhleeze (sp check please)… you cannot be serious claiming the bbc

did not come at this war from the point of view it was wrong and the

americans were wrong to be waging it, can you?

sorry about the missing l. i was using it scribbling the word lies…

gib

Evil Minion of Auntie:

As I recall Gib, the last American to use the line “you cannot be

serious” was one John McEnroe, whilst complaining about a line call by

an English umpire at Wimbledon. He now presents on the BBC when

Wimbledon comes around. See, they like you Americans so much they even

end up employing you! Isn’t that sweet? No doubt it was rather an effort

for the BBC to admit the Iraqis were happy to be rid of Saddam. In the

same way it may have been an effort to admit that Rumsfeld use to visit

on his arms-sale-away-day visits to Saddam. Nevertheless, as for the

point of view, as a broadcaster the BBC has been chastised by even the

British government (Margaret Thatcher’s to be

accurate) over its coverage and “point of view” on the Falklands war.

That was one of ours, if you’ve forgotten. The one where Haig didn’t

want us to go and fight as it might upset that nice Mr Galtieri chap the

Reagan administration liked. So, while the BBC is being attacked for not

backing the troops, by Fox (owned by a Mr R Murdoch I believe, who has

been rather clear about his feelings for the BBC in the past), I think

it’s rather obtuse of you to say the BBC has some kind of agenda. That

kind of thinking would eventually lead to, say, suggesting Fox News has

some kind of agenda when it comes to reporting on the BBC’s behaviour.

And that can’t possibly be “fair and accurate” can it Gib. Bless you.

You should really be working on your next piece rather than gossiping

with me this fine morning. Cheers

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Date
20040617
Normal People
Time
09:27
It’s wrong to laugh at foreign names. So don’t.

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Date
20040617
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:27
New York Times – With 9/11 Report, Bush’s Political Thorn Grows More Stubborn: In questioning the extent of any ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the commission weakened the already spotty scorecard on Mr. Bush’s justifications for sending the military to topple Saddam Hussein.

Guardian – No Iraq link to September 11 plot, US report finds: The commission’s report confirmed the judgment of US intelligence officials, who have said that since the fall of Baghdad last April no proof has been found of a significant link between the Saddam Hussein regime and Osama bin Laden. The US vice president, Dick Cheney, revived the allegation at an election campaign appearance on Monday, telling supporters that Saddam “had long-established ties with al-Qaida”, and President George Bush came to his defence on Tuesday, citing the suspected presence in Iraq before the war of an al-Qaida supporter, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. A poll by the University of Maryland in April found that 57% of Americans believed that Iraq helped al-Qaida before the war, and 20% believed Iraq was linked to the September 11 attacks.

New York Times – The Plain Truth: It’s hard to imagine how the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks could have put it more clearly yesterday: there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11. Now President Bush should apologize to the American people, who were led to believe something different.

In response, Ann Clwyd was on BBC Radio 4 this morning spouting the humanitarian/liberation argument. She said: “I think the scale of crimes committed by the regime against their own people has constituted war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide and had to be dealt with. They couldn’t continue.”

Well, I’m sure that if this is the case, at least the Iraqis will be behind them… right?

Independent – Poll reveals hostility to US and support for rebel cleric: The Bush administration’s last remaining justification for the invasion of Iraq has been demolished by a private poll revealing that only 2 per cent of Iraqis regard the occupying forces as liberators. The poll results are devastating for both President George Bush and Tony Blair, who are fond of saying that future generations of Iraqis will thank them for liberating their country. Tony Blair has consistently said that history will prove him right for engineering the downfall of a cruel tyrant, even if weapons of mass destruction were not found.

Right, let’s go down that list of justifications for war:

WMDs – none found

War on Terror – no connection found

Humanitarian – hmm, let me see… do I want to use the word ‘torture’ or ‘abuse’…?

Moving right along…

The findings of the commission (which ‘change nothing’ according to The Texas City Sun) were released yesterday. Today they feature in every major British newspaper. Bar one.

Today’s Sun carries no mention of the findings. At all.

In fact, the only mention of the word ‘Iraq’ today (apart from this passing mention where a photographer compares his experience at the football violence in Portugal to that conflict) appears in this feature, which is obviously a build to another flag-waving ‘support the troops’ exercise: Hubby away from home? Is your husband currently posted in Iraq? We want to talk to women whose husbands are serving overseas about how they are coping home alone. Perhaps you have a young family you are bringing up while your husband is away and would like to tell us about how you cope. If this sounds like you, we want to hear your story. Simply email us your name, daytime phone number and a brief outline of your story on sunwoman@the-sun.co.uk – Don’t forget to mark your email ‘ARMY WIVES’.

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Date
20040617
The Big Intervention
Time
10:30
I’m mostly working behind the scenes on The Big Intervention today, but will blog any fruits of my labours this afternoon. Check out The UK Today and Howling Spoons for activities and updates in the meantime.

We need more statements from Joe Blogs (like this one from Phlegma), and we need more statements from famous peeps. Help out if you can. Please.

UPDATE – Oh, there is this via Perfect.co.uk

Guardian – A change of leadership is now in Labour’s interests: But it should also be clear that a change of leader before the election is in the interests of Labour as a party. If Blair insists on limping on as prime minister through the next election, he will inevitably be seen as a lame-duck caretaker for the long-heralded Brown premiership, his tarnished reputation sapping Labour support, masking government successes and sowing the seeds of disintegration and defeat… There are a multiplicity of ways in which Blair could orchestrate a face-saving exit in the next six months. But his overweening self-belief suggests there is little chance of that. With Labour’s rules rigged against an open party challenge, only Labour MPs and the cabinet are in practice able to call time on his leadership. But Labour has no tradition of deposing its leaders, who have in any case rarely lasted long enough in government for the issue to arise.

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Date
20040617
Pretend You Care
Time
13:31
National Dad Dancing Championships.

Gosh, do you think Fathers-4-Justice are planning to crash the event? Just maybe? (Oh, and I found a new site for these chappies here. Pow! Zap! Etc!)

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Date
20040617
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
16:14
Guardian – No 10: Saddam let al-Qaida operate: Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein did let al-Qaida operate out of Iraq, Downing Street insisted today. A US report yesterday said there was no conclusive evidence of a link between the former Iraqi dictator and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group. But Downing Street said Saddam had created “a permissive environment” for terrorists and al-Qaida operatives were in the country during his time in office.

Typical Blair.

1. There’s no arguing with that.

2. That’s not what he and Bush have been claiming/inferring/not-clarifying all this time and he bloody well knows it.

More at The UK Today.

UPDATE – Now Dubya’s disputing it. I guess he really doesn’t have much choice. There are so few justifications left…

Says Bush: “This administration never said that the 9-11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaida…”

No, you only suggested it again and again and again and again until nearly everyone believed it. Hands up who didn’t see this particular denial coming…?

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Date
20040617
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cock-Up
Time
16:22
Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Best laugh you’ll have all day, I promise.

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Date
20040617
RWCs
Time
17:15
Well, that settles it. John Gibson is nothing but a malicious troll.

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Date
20040617
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
17:30
MSNBC – Rumsfeld ordered prisoner held off the books – Iraqi terror suspect hidden from International Red Cross: Pentagon officials tell NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held “off the books” — hidden entirely from the International Red Cross and anyone else — in possible violation of international law. It’s the first direct link between Rumsfeld and questionable though not violent treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

But of course he was only kept from the Red Cross because he was dangerous. So dangerous that he later got ‘lost in the system’. Do read it; the last line of this story will blow you away.

And, from Camp Murdoch, a timely attempt to yet again ensure that when people hear ‘Abu Ghraib’ they think of Saddam Hussein; Saddam atrocity footage is being ignored by the cursed liberal media!

Saddam was a bad man. We know this. We don’t question this. Even though that nice Mr Blair dares to suggest that us misguided peaceniks think otherwise with ‘Would you prefer Saddam was back?’ (possibly the last line of his crumbling defences).

The reason this footage isn’t being played is because it isn’t necessary. It isn’t news. People know what Saddam was capable of. By and large, they don’t yet know what the Bush administration is capable of. But they will. And very soon, by the looks of things. Why else would this pre-emptive ‘even worse atrocity’ story be necessary?

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Date
20040617
Tony Blair
Time
17:38
Still on the hunt for famous peeps who’ll speak up. It ain’t easy.

The only real news I have for you this afternoon is this:

This time last week I requested from Ladbrokes odds on a bet that Tony Blair would not be the leader of the Labour party after July 1st 2004.

They’ve since updated their site with these odds on the UK General Election but – despite direct email harassment – they have yet to come up with my odds.

Why the delay in calculating these odds? You’d think they’d be happy to take my money.

Perhaps you’d care to get in touch and request odds on a similar bet

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Date
20040617
Funny
Time
18:28
I love people who still put music on their website. The best page/music on this site can be found here.

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Date
20040617
Images
Time
19:57
He is George W. Bush, and his Kung Fu is strong.

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Date
20040618
Updates
Time
10:39
Google Adsense has been removed from Bloggerheads after a very disappointing trial. It amounts to little more than pocket change and often displays ads that I’m less than happy with. Out it goes. (Sorry. I’m not even interested in their new gadget.)

Fark.com has been removed from the ‘follow me’ links. This removal should not be taken lightly, as fark.com was one of the earliest inclusions and I cut my photoshopping teeth there. The reason it’s been removed? Let’s just say that I’m not happy with the way they choose their articles for the front page. The omissions are subtle, but deliberate. And The Sun gets plugged in a ha-ha-jolly way every other day. Goodbye, Fark. No more traffic from me.

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Date
20040618
Pluggage
Time
10:41
You’re a bloody fool if you don’t enter Giltsharp’s short story competition. There’s less than two weeks to go and plenty of prizes still up for grabs. Anybody who strings a few words together has a bloody good shot at a Swiss Card Quattro, and I could throw a stone from here and hit at least five people with the hummus required to take home one of the three SwissMemory jobbies with the sexy USB stick.

I’m not involved in the shortlisting or the judging, so even if we’ve shared email or a pint, you can enter freely without creating on of those conflict of interest thingies.

It’s a gift for bloggers, people. Make this one work and I’ll bring you another.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040618
The War on Terror
Time
10:47
Independent – Defiant Bush and Blair insist Saddam had al-Qa’ida links: In a carefully co-ordinated riposte to the commission, London and Washington both insisted that Saddam had allowed al-Qa’ida to operate inside Iraq before the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

Washington Post – Bush Defends Assertions of Iraq-Al Qaeda Relationship: “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush said after a Cabinet meeting.

Well, that settles that, then. But he never, ever claimed a direct connection… that would have been a lie. And we all know that George W. Bush is a good Christian who would never bear false witness.

“I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”George W. Bush, March 21, 2003

“The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding.”George ‘Flight Suit’ Bush, May 1, 2003

Actually, I found the response from Downing St to be the most illuminating…

Guardian – No 10: Saddam let al-Qaida operate: But Downing Street said Saddam had created “a permissive environment” for terrorists and al-Qaida operatives were in the country during his time in office. No 10 said it was not claiming a direct link but a spokeswoman said: “The prime minister has always said Saddam created a permissive environment for terrorism and we know that the people affiliated to al-Qaida operated in Iraq during the regime.

So from this we learn that Saddam presented a danger that warranted a pre-emptive strike because he had created “a permissive environment” for terrorists.

Let’s step back with George W. Bush…

“Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front.”George W. Bush, September 7, 2003

And who made it the central front?

FACT: al-Qaida are far more active in Iraq than they ever were before – even with that dirtbag Saddam in charge.

It’s not just the opportunities presented by the chaos of war that motivates and enables them, it’s the charging in without a UN mandate, killing and torturing civilians. Works wonders. There and elsewhere.

In short, Bush and Blair have created a permissive environment for terrorism and we know that the people affiliated to al-Qaida operate in Iraq far more effectively during their occupation. And we now know that terrorism has increased worldwide under their watch.

The final word I leave to Loretta Napoleoni…

Hussein’s Weapons of Mild Destruction: What ever the real causes, it is apparent that coalition forces not only have gone to war for the wrong reasons but they have ended up fighting an unexpected new enemy. Since the victory over Hussein’s army, American solders have been engulfed in a vicious guerrilla war, waged by a variety of forces, whose lifeline is the former dictator’s massive arsenal of conventional weapons and small arms. What is killing hundreds of American GIs and thousands of Iraqis civilians are explosives, guns, Kalashnikovs, Soviet-made AK-47s, shoulder missiles similar to US Stingers — these are commonly known as small arms, terrorist groups’ favourite weapons. Ironically, unable to achieve WMD, Saddam Hussein stockpiled ‘weapons of mild destruction’.

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Date
20040618
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:07
Winer, winer, hosting, whining, Winer, Winer, weblogs. Get a f**king grip, people!

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Date
20040618
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
11:10
Demagogue on Bush and the Iraq/terror lie: Now, maybe it wasn’t quite a lie; maybe Bush thought it was true, in spite of the absence of evidence for it. If so, Bush is even less competent than he’s looked lately. But in any case, what he said was false. And now, his flaks are trying to pretend he never said it. But he did. And he didn’t just say it; he went to war on it.

Every justification for the war has been shot to hell.

Meanwhile, here in the UK we operate on a two-party system and – in the recent elections – the ruling government were lucky to come third. And Blair is still in power. Why?

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Date
20040618
RWCs
Time
11:18
Pin-wearing wingnut John Gibson owes Mark B five squid:

—–Original Message—–

From: Mark B

To: myword@foxnews.com

Sent: 6/17/2004 12:17 PM

Subject: Hahaha

You are a troll and I claim my five pounds.

—–Original Message—–

From: Show -My Word [mailto:myword@FOXNEWS.COM]

Sent: 17 June 2004 21:09

To: ‘Mark B’

Subject: RE: Hahaha

congrats.

Heh. Here’s an excellent breakdown of the Ofcom ruling, just in case you need it.

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Date
20040618
The War on Terror
Time
11:27
I was looking for a citation for this:

“The greatest danger of bombs is in the explosion of stupidity that they provoke.” – Octave Mirabeau

And found this: The war on terror is the new Cold War and will not help bring peace.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040618
The Big Intervention
Time
11:56
A whopping great load of Big Intervention stickers is now in the hands of Brian Haw. Keep an eye out for them in and around Westminster.

This weekend, I’m going to try and apply the blog model (user get audience) to real life by hitting boot sales at sparrow’s fart and handing out individual stickers to sellers who’ll wear them and sheets of stickers to sellers who wish to hand them out.

The hunt for statements from famous peeps goes on, but I keep hitting brick walls. Picking up the phone instead of using email gets you closer, but the job of these people – sadly, a necessary filter for such contact – is to prevent clients from doing silly things like speak up once in a while. Ho-hum.

Oh, and I’m *still* having to chase Ladbrokes, who appear to be having some difficulty calculating the odds of Tony Blair not being the leader of the Labour party after July 1st 2004.

What are you up to? Blog it and I’ll plug it.

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Date
20040618
Pretend You Care
Time
14:04
Big Brother 5: the animals are getting restless.

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Date
20040618
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
15:12
Fox News lies – proof by Google (via Not A Blog).

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Date
20040618
The War on Terror
Time
16:44
Well, Cheney is sticking to his guns, but he doesn’t have much choice after saying in 2002 that; “We know that al-Qaeda is operating in Iraq today.”

Also, curse the liberal media, who attack Bush every chance they get. Unless it’s lunchtime, of course.

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Date
20040618
Useful
Time
17:46
Amusing places close to you (link via the latest B3ta newsletter).

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Date
20040621
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:17
Some fine words from Anthony Sampson, author of Who Runs This Place?

Payment/subscription is required, but the guts have been quoted below for those of you in the cheap seats…

The damaging legacy of our silence over this offshore haven for torturers: The extent to which the British have lost their moral authority by condoning lawless warfare is only gradually beginning to sink in. It is already becoming evident now, with the diminishing British prestige throughout the Middle East. But in the longer term it may more serious consequences by undermining effective protests against torture and abuses of prisoners throughout the developing world. No condemnation of the treatment of prisoners, from Zimbabwe to China, will carry the same weight if the British are seen to have colluded with the methods in Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib.

Samspon also speaks of the US methods of torture that have infected British soliders. And on that note…

Guardian – UK troops accused of mutilating Iraqi bodies: Military police are investigating claims that British soldiers mutilated the bodies of Iraqi insurgents after a firefight last month near the southern Iraqi town of Majar al Kabir. The allegations are contained in official death certificates seen by the Guardian written by Dr Adel Salid Majid, the director of the hospital in Majar al Kabir, on May 15, the day after the battle. Seven of the certificates state that corpses handed over to hospital authorities by British troops showed signs of “mutilation” and “torture”.

And Time takes us a step closer to The Big One with this Notebook entry…

Time – New Abuse Charges – Allegations of mistreatment of female detainees: Could the abuse of prisoners in Iraq have gone beyond the beatings and sexual humiliation already alleged?

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Date
20040621
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:22
Finally, interest turns away from bellybuttons and back to politics. And Clinton. Which, as we all know, is less about politics and more about public interest in the correct use of a cigar.

Yahoo – 9/11 Panel Underscores Saddam Controversy.

Washington Post – Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears: The American occupation of Iraq will formally end this month having failed to fulfill many of its goals and stated promises intended to transform the country into a stable democracy, according to a detailed examination drawing upon interviews with senior U.S. and Iraqi officials and internal documents of the occupation authority.

Meanwhile, there are joys elsewhere in the world…

New York Times – Dare We Call It Genocide?: The world has acquiesced shamefully in the Darfur genocide, perhaps because 320,000 deaths this year (a best-case projection from the U.S. Agency for International Development) seems like one more boring statistic. So listen to Ms. Khattar’s story, multiply it by hundreds of thousands, and let’s see if we still want to look the other way.

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Date
20040621
Give ‘Em Enough Europe….
Time
10:26
Was I the only one who laughed out loud at Tony Blair’s declaration that the debate over the new European Union constitution would be “a battle between reality and myth”?

Myth.

Reality.

Anyway, enough about Iraq. Let’s get back to Europe for a moment…

Independent – So what is fact? And what is Eurosceptic fiction?

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Date
20040621
Told You So
Time
10:29
Guardian – Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden’s hands: Al-Qaida may ‘reward’ American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says.

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Date
20040621
The Bush Administration
Time
10:33
Bush plans to screen whole US population for mental illness. And you’d have to be a little bit funny in the head not to see the benefits of this bold initiative…

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Date
20040621
A Blog is Born
Time
10:39
Sarah Teather is my MP by Rob D is the latest weblog written on behalf of an MP.

Oh, and Dan had some good advice when commenting on Tom’s blog: Warning: many MPs love litigation. If you blog “on behalf of” your MP, remember that you could risk being sued for impersonation, particularly if you are putting words in their mouth they would not normally say.

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Date
20040621
The Big Intervention
Time
11:04
Max Hastings – Only prime minister Brown can win an EU referendum: Yet faith in Blair seems damaged in a fashion that cannot be undone. If he invites the British people to trust him on a matter of such magnitude as the European constitution, he will get a resounding raspberry. Indeed, the more personal the campaign Blair conducts on behalf of the constitution between now and a referendum, the less effective it seems likely to be.

I’ve a mind to include this on the statements page, but should probably ask permission first.

A further statement from me will follow later today.

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Date
20040621
Updates
Time
12:39
Well Blair may not know when to quit, but I do.

The official deadline for The Big Intervention is midnight tonight, but – truth be told – this particular battle was over last Wednesday.

The UK Today will now be taking control of The Big Intervention, aiming for action at the upcoming Labour Party Conference. This is a far more conservative plan, operating on a more generous timetable. Will enough MPs have the sense and the guts to take on Blair and take back the party? Time will tell, but I won’t be taking part.

From tomorrow, Bloggerheads will be going away for a while. What shape it takes and what the priorities will be upon its return remain uncertain at this stage, but there will be no more activism through this blog until matters are settled in the US in or around November. (Please note that in that sentence I make no assumption that Bush will lose or even that an election will take place.)

The campaign to get Tony Blair to establish a publicly accessible email facility had a great many strengths. A clear precedent had been set (every other western leader had one) and a promise had been made (in the closing days of the last general election). Oh, and I was actually receiving email intended for the PM. But in the end, Blair’s communications team delivered the service in their own sweet time, pretending that nothing of consequence had happened. They even managed to rip off my specifications in the process. Blair won.

When Bush came to town, he didn’t dare set foot on a London street. But Blair took Bush back to his constituency with a specially arranged pub lunch complete with its own Free Speech Zone. Again, Blair wins. By pretending that nothing of consequence has happened.

In these campaigns, pornography or the prospect of seeing bare bums in public were the aspects that generated the most public/media interest.

In both campaigns there were many visitors, but very few participants.

I’m glad to see some uptake on the call for people to blog on behalf of their MP, but everybody participating needs to be aware that the actual effectiveness of these blogs will be limited to the actions that are taken OFFLINE by the blogger and/or the readers it reaches. (Note – new blogs will still be plugged here during my period of rest.)

In the days following the local and European elections, Blair was particularly vulnerable. That’s why I pushed for such a tight deadline for the Big Intervention. It was the perfect time to go for the throat.

But in the end, Blair won again. By pretending that nothing of consequence had happened.

So, here I sit, worn to a frazzle and unable to anything but pray.

From tomorrow, Bloggerheads will be going away for a while. It will return, but you may not recognise it when it does.

But nothing of consequence has happened.

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Date
20040622
Goombye
Time
09:48
I have a few final words to say in Flash format. I’m just sorting out hosting for this parting shot… with you in a moment

UPDATE – Yep, here you go… parting shot, as promised.

For occasional updates and an email alert when Bloggerheads gets going again, simply send a blank email to bloggerheads-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

For UK-centric news and commentary, see:

The UK Today | Perfect.co.uk | London News Review | howlingspoons

For US-centric news and commentary, see:

Atrios | The Washington Monthly

Everything else, watch Blogdex, but do keep an eye on where the link support originates from. When in doubt, run the URL through Technorati.

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Date
20040628
A Blog is Born
Time
08:43
Don’t get your hopes up. The only new posts here – for quite some time – will involve the promised pluggage of new weblogs written on behalf of MPs. Like this one…

The weblog for Jim Cousins, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central: The blog’s primary aim is to let his constituents see what he is up to, to find out if he is their ideal person to represent them and most importantly to make their views heard. If the real Jim Cousins ever finds out about this blog he can have it, and the associated gmail address, as long as he keeps it up to date. How good an offer is that? Nice, easy to use way to get in touch with his constituents. For free. Come and get it Jim.








About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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