Archive for the ‘It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 13, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid

Evening Standard – Surrender, anti-war man is told: Britain’s most persistent anti-war demonstrator was today ordered to quit his protest. Parliament Square protester Brian Haw has been served with a legal notice to dismantle his makeshift peace camp opposite the House of Commons. Ministers expect him to be gone by August…. Mr Haw’s removal would end demonstrations outside the Houses of Parliament for the first time in 350 years. The Home Office brought in special laws last month overturning the centuries-old right of people to challenge their elected representatives outside Westminster. They claimed the measures were needed for security reasons.

Yeah, *job* security reasons.

I described Brian Haw’s encampment as “a little cloud of shame that does and should hang over our representatives” in October of last year, and linked to an Independent article now mirrored on this support website. This article has a passage that deserves repeating, just to show you how desperate MPs are to do away with Haw:

Sir George Young, the Tory MP for Hampshire North West, has led the charge against Mr Haw, accusing ministers of an “inexcusable paralysis” for failing to get rid of him earlier. In a Commons debate in May he said that terrorists could hide behind the peace protester’s banners and “pick us off as we arrive at or leave the House”. No other democracy would allow “this shanty town” in the middle of the its capital, he said. Mr Blunkett agrees. He has decided to take the matter on with an amendment to the Serious Organised Crime Bill to be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech next month.

(cough)

So that’s legislation designed to target organised crime that targets a single peaceful protestor. It’s also an essential move in the ‘war’ on terror. Because Osama bin Laden could hide behind a paper sign and leap out to attack passing MPs. You can read more of Sir George Young’s claptrap on this subject by clicking here. FFS, he even cites environmental concerns.

In fact, there are almost as many ridiculous and false arguments being used to displace Brian Haw as there were used to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Brian Haw should stay. The shadow he casts across the Houses of Parliament should remain in place until the gutless wonders inside call Blair and his cronies to account.

People who bleat about putting the past behind us and ‘moving forward’ in Iraq (example) need to know that there can be no positive move forward until justice is done and seen to be done. Even from a purely practical standpoint, it’s the only way to cripple the terrorists that swept into that country following an invasion with little to no legal justification, a greatly compromised moral argument, and no long-term plan.

UPDATE – A somewhat related link via Toby

BBC – ‘Freedom fries’ lawmaker’s U-turn: A pro-Iraq war US congressman who campaigned for French fries to be renamed “freedom fries” is now calling for US troops to return home from Iraq. Republican Representative Walter Jones is to introduce legislation demanding a timetable for the withdrawal.








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 6, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Independent – Mr and Mrs Blair go to Washington: Privately, the British officials preparing for the summit have been amazed and angered by the “utter intransigence” of the Bush administration. Suggestions that Mr Blair needs to be rewarded for supporting the US in Iraq have met a dismissive response: “That was then; this is now.”








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 11, 2005

Category: George W. Bush, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Take a look at the two-panel bulletproof screen Bush relied on in Georgia and compare it to the 32-panel wall of bulletproof glass at his 2005 inauguration. Have a think about that.

A ‘possible’ grenade gets All Teh Press, while an actual bombshell goes ignored. Have a think about that.

And, while we’re dwelling on the past present:

Scotsman – Iraq Suicide Attacks Leave at Least 57 Dead

Something else that’s not being reported all that much (or is talked around with great tact): the car bomb that found its way into the market square did so because it was ‘successfully repelled’ from the police station.

See also: Reg Keys – Sedgefield speech transcript and video








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 22, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Tony 'King Blair, UK General Election 2005

I’d like to begin – if I may – by taking you back a month or so, when Blair likened his relationship with voters to a troubled marriage.

Now, there are several variations of this very old and rather pessimistic joke about marital relations, but the guts of it are as follows:

There are three stages to marital sex…

(more…)








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 19, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Independent – The senseless death of the woman who fought George Bush: If Marla was dedicated, she was probably also less concerned than she might have been about her safety. While the airport road on which she was travelling is a road that all journalists, aid workers and officials in Iraq must, at some point, travel on, the young woman believed she was somehow protected from the horror of Iraq’s violence because of her work. On Saturday afternoon, it appears she was travelling to visit an injured three-month-old Iraqi girl when the bomber struck, also killing Marla’s driver, 43-year-old Faiz Ali Salim.

And *cue* crocodile tears from Tony Blair in 5, 4, 3….

Also, take a look at who else mourns her passing and why.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 4, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Independent – Green light for Iraqi prison abuse came right from the top: America’s leading civil liberties group has demanded an investigation into the former US military commander Iraq after a formerly classified memo revealed that he personally sanctioned a series of coercive interrogation techniques outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. The group claims that his directives were directly linked to the sort of abuses that took place at Abu Ghraib. Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reveal that Lt General Ricardo Sanchez authorised techniques such as the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners, stress positions and disorientation. In the documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Gen Sanchez admits that some of the techniques would not be tolerated by other countries. When he appeared last year before a Congressional committee, Gen Sanchez denied authorising such techniques. He has now been accused of perjury.

ACLU – Army Memo Released By ACLU Suggests Perjury In Lt. Gen. Sanchez Sworn Testimony on Torture: “Lt. Gen. Sanchez’s testimony, given under oath before the Senate Armed Services committee, is utterly inconsistent with the written record, and deserves serious investigation,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. “This clear breach of the public’s trust is also further proof that the American people deserve the appointment of an independent special counsel by the attorney general.” Although the Washington Post first disclosed its existence, the memorandum at issue was initially withheld from public release by the Defense Department under national security grounds. The ACLU obtained a physical copy of the memorandum, however, under an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, and released a hard copy on Tuesday. The memorandum, dated September 14, 2003, was signed by Lt. Gen. Sanchez and laid out specific interrogation techniques, modeled on those used against detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for use by coalition forces in Iraq. These include sleep “management,” the inducement of fear at two levels of severity, loud music and sensory agitation, and the use of canine units to “exploit [the] Arab fear of dogs.” During sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lt. Gen. Sanchez flatly denied approving any such techniques in Iraq, and said that a news article reporting otherwise was false.

Keep telling yourself that a few misguided grunts were to blame…

Related link: Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 1, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Oh, come *on* people! We’ll get nowhere if we continue to kick this issue around. It’s time to draw a line under it and move on, etc. etc. etc…

DailyKos – Malnutrition has doubled in Iraqi children: While George W. Bush was frantically fighting to keep one woman’s feeding tube in place, the war that he started has doubled the rate of malnutrition in Iraqi children.

This post also cites a Lancet report stating that – out of the civilians who died during our little adventure – not all of them got shot or blowed up: Most died as a result of the violence, but many others died as a result of the increasingly difficult living conditions, reflected in increasing child mortality levels.

Perhaps we can send them our Turkey Twizzlers.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 1, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Washington Post – Data on Iraqi Arms Flawed, Panel Says: U.S. intelligence agencies were “dead wrong” in their prewar assessments of Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and today know “disturbingly little” about the capabilities and intentions of other potential adversaries such as Iran and North Korea, a presidential commission reported yesterday. While praising intelligence successes in Libya and Pakistan, the commission’s report offered a withering critique of the government’s collection of information leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, calling its data “either worthless or misleading” and its analysis “riddled with errors.” That resulted in one of the “most damaging intelligence failures in recent American history.”… Yet while unstinting in its appraisal of intelligence agencies, the panel that Bush appointed under pressure in February 2004 said it was “not authorized” to explore the question of how the commander in chief used the faulty information to make perhaps the most critical decision of his presidency. As he accepted the report yesterday, Bush offered no thoughts about relying on flawed intelligence to launch a war and took no questions from reporters…. The nine-member panel, officially called the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, blamed intelligence agencies for overselling their knowledge and not disclosing conflicting information to policymakers. At the same time, it exonerated Bush and Vice President Cheney from allegations of pressuring analysts to conclude that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. “The analysts who worked Iraqi weapons issues universally agreed that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments,” the commission said. “That said, it is hard to deny the conclusion that intelligence analysts worked in an environment that did not encourage skepticism about the conventional wisdom.”

This all seems terribly familiar. A deliberately blinkered remit, the vague suggestion of subconscious influence…

Ben Russell sees things differently, but mainly because he focuses on the savaging the intelligence services got (he does get there in the final paragraphs, which I’ve included here)…

Independent – Two nations, two reports, two very different languages: The contrast between the language in the Presidential Commission report on intelligence and the British inquiries into the run-up to war in Iraq could not be starker. From the first paragraph of the 618-page report, the 10 members of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States cut to the chase in words a world away from those in the Butler and Hutton reports. Where Lord Butler found that “validation of human intelligence sources after the war has thrown doubt on a high proportion of those sources and their reports”, the US Commission said the intelligence community was “dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgements”…. The Commission insisted that it was “not authorised to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence assessments they received”. That echoed a complaint about Lord Butler’s inquiry, which was not charged with looking at the use of intelligence by politicians, although it did criticise the decision to remove caveats from the intelligence judgements presented in the Government’s dossier on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.

So there you have it. The buck stops… somewhere over there. Again.

An important thing to remember about this is that Mr “darn good intelligence” was warned that this intelligence was often unreliable or downright false, but this conflicted with his agenda so he chose to ignore those warnings.

Something else that’s important about this commission may have slipped your mind. Blair bent over backwards (or forwards, depending on your view) to appease Bush… but the moment things got awkward, Bush dumped him in it without hesitation…

Guardian – Blair alone after Bush WMD move








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 14, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Underblog – Curiouser and Curiouser: So now they say that the 13 page document was not “the” legal advice at all (although it is known that it contained legal advice)! They are making the absurd claim that the 2-page answer given to parliament was the full legal advice.

Next, we’ll find that the “full legal advice” was the draft for the 2-page answer… which was scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin (or perhaps Camp David stationary circa 2002).








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 11, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

[NOTE – I don’t do this kind of thing often, but this article has been mirrored here in full so it may be found by those who missed it during today’s shedfight.]

Independent (11 March 2005)

Iraq war revelation – There was no full legal advice

Cabinet Secretary admits invasion based on single page of A4

Britain went to war on the basis of a single piece of paper setting out the legality of invading Iraq, the country’s most senior civil servant has revealed.

(more…)








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